Peat protection rule may be a double-edged sword for Indonesia’s forests

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong Banner image: Fire set for peatland clearing in Riau Province, Indonesia in July 2015. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. A government regulation issued in 2016 requires logging companies to restore peat with protected status in their concessions, mostly in Sumatra, and prohibits them from developing on it.But activists say this prohibition threatens a massive supply shortfall for two of the world’s biggest paper producers, which they warn could push the companies to source wood from unprotected forests in other parts of Indonesia.Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) face a supply crunch of up to 30 percent and 25 percent respectively, according to an analysis by NGOs.Both companies dispute this finding, saying their supplies remain secure even as they seek to boost their output. JAKARTA — A logging prohibition in Indonesia aimed at protecting peatlands threatens a supply crunch for two of the world’s biggest paper producers that could drive them to source wood from as-yet-untouched forests elsewhere in the country, a recent study indicates.Suppliers of pulpwood, typically acacia, to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) are subject to an Indonesian government regulation that prohibits them from clearing peat forests with protected status, such as those with peat layers deeper than 3 meters (10 feet) and those that contain high biodiversity. The regulation, issued in 2016, also stipulates the conservation of at least 30 percent of all peat domes — landscapes where the peat is so deep that the center is topographically higher than the edges. Newly conducted spatial analysis shows that this type of peatland accounts for a combined 12,000 square kilometers (4,600 square miles) of these suppliers’ concessions — an area half the size of Vermont — located mostly in Sumatra.The study was carried out by a group of NGOs trying to verify whether the companies were complying with the regulation to conserve these deep-peat areas of their concessions.“We don’t know whether the peat concessions that should be protected have actually been rehabilitated or not,” Syahrul Fitra, a researcher with one of the NGOs, Auriga, told Mongabay. “We can’t access the work plans for conservation submitted by the companies to the government, and thus we don’t know what the companies are doing.”So the NGOs overlaid a government map of peat areas onto maps of the pulpwood concessions reportedly supplying wood to APP and APRIL. Their analysis showed the suppliers’ total concessions spanned 41,000 square kilometers (15,800 square miles), over a quarter of which constituted peat forests that should be protected.These affected zones represent 30 percent of the plantation area in APP’s supply chain, and 25 percent of APRIL’s, according to the analysis.Protecting them from being cleared for planting pulpwood would therefore be “likely to have significant negative impacts on each group’s overall wood fiber supply,” the study says.But in trying to protect areas of deep peat, the government regulation may inadvertently push the suppliers to clear forests elsewhere for their plantations, the study says. This includes the vast and mostly intact natural forests of Papua, in Indonesia’s far east, where oil palm growers are already clearing the land after having depleted much of the forests in Sumatra and Borneo.A pulp and paper plantation neighboring peat forest in Riau, Sumatra in 2015. Photo by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Feeding the millThe potential supply crunch thrown up by the peat protection regulation comes as both APP and APRIL look to ramp up their pulp output.APP opened a massive new pulp mill in southern Sumatra’s Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI) district at the end of 2016, rated at maximum capacity to process 2 million tons of pulp a year. The company said it could feed the mill entirely through its own pulpwood plantations without having to rely on outside suppliers. But a 2016 analysis by various NGOs show APP’s overall demand for wood fiber in Sumatra could rise by more than 50 percent.APP’s current planted area, then, even under a high-growth scenario, won’t be sufficient to supply the company’s new mill and two older ones, with the company projected to face an annual shortfall of 3 million cubic meters (106 million cubic feet) of plantation wood.And that was before it was revealed that the new mill had actually been approved for a much higher maximum capacity: 3.25 million tons a yearThis has stoked fears among environmental activists that APP will have to source its supplies from natural and peat forests to feed the mill, as the company’s demand could increase by 85 percent if production at the OKI mill ramps up to the full 3.25 million tons.For its part, APP says it will not resort to clearing rainforests even after the OKI mill is operating at full capacity. It says it’s committed to its forest conservation policy (FCP) that espouses zero deforestation. Under the pledge, APP says it won’t accept timber sourced from the clearing of peatlands and rainforests.Auriga’s Syahrul questioned APP’s commitment, saying the company faced a supply shortfall even before taking into account its suppliers’ concessions affected by the peat protection regulation. The coalition’s analysis identified more than three-quarters of concessions in South Sumatra supplying wood to the OKI mill are on peatlands.Their spatial analysis shows that the largest areas overlapping with the peat protection zone are those surrounding the OKI mill, comprising nearly half of the land expected to be planted with pulpwood to serve as the mill’s fiber supply base.“If it’s true that APP’s existing suppliers must restore their concessions located within protected areas, then the suppliers won’t be able to meet the demand from APP because almost half of their concessions are affected,” Syahrul said.“So according to our analysis, the OKI mill will be heavily affected” by the regulation, he added.APP has downplayed the concerns, saying it has sufficient supply to meet projected demand at its mills through at least 2020. It says it has improved yields by cutting waste and cloning the most productive tree species for its plantations.Importing wood chips is also an option, the company said in a response to questions from Mongabay. “This allows us to purchase responsibly managed plantation wood chips from South East Asia and Australia to maintain adequate supplies of wood chips,” it said.APP has added 35 new suppliers since March 2018, according to its FCP monitoring website, including chip mills in Malaysia, Australia and Thailand. Fifteen of them were added in 2019 alone. The company says it’s taking on new suppliers to mitigate fluctuations in demand and local supply and to ensure future supply.Syahrul, though, said this onboarding of dozens of new suppliers only “affirmed our suspicion that APP doesn’t have enough supply.”Elim Sritaba, APP’s director of sustainability and stakeholder engagement, said the company could guarantee a sufficient fiber supply because it sources more than 96 percent of its fiber from existing suppliers. Only 2.5 percent of its fiber comes from one-time suppliers — the sole component of its supply chain for which supplies can’t be guaranteed in the long term — while the rest is sourced from community plantations under long-term partnerships, Elim said.“Even if we can’t secure the 2.5 percent fiber supply, we can just adjust our production,” she told Mongabay. “The question of whether there’s enough supply or not is merely about business. Recently we shut down our OKI mill because our pulp stock was too high and also for maintenance.”Syahrul said this in itself raised more questions. Seventy percent of the $2.6 billion tab for the initial phase of the OKI project was financed through loans from Chinese state-owned banks. The initial loan from China Development Bank has been described as “one of the largest financings ever signed between Indonesian and Chinese interests.”Activists like Syahrul say APP’s ability to pay off those loans depends on the profitability of the OKI mill, and thus APP may have no choice but to operate the mill at full capacity to service that debt within the 12-year tenure.APP, though, says paying off the loan “is not the responsibility of any single mill, but a shared responsibility borne by APP as a group,” and that to date the OKI mill is operating profitably below a threshold of 2.8 million tons a year.The completion of PT OKI Pulp & Paper Mill in South Sumatra — which has greater production capacity than initially advertised — has raised concerns among NGOs whether APP will be able to maintain its zero deforestation commitment. Photo of an acacia plantation in various stages of harvest by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.Fiber for fashionSyahrul has raised similar concerns about APRIL, whose parent company, Royal Golden Eagle (RGE), needs a growing supply for plant fiber as it expands into the textile industry in Indonesia.At its Kerinci complex in Sumatra’s Riau province, where APRIL’s flagship mill is located, RGE recently built a large mill to produce viscose staple fiber (VSF) from plant cellulose. VSF is increasingly popular in the textile industry as a less water-intensive, and thus eco-friendly, alternative to cotton.During the annual World Economic Forum in January, RGE director Anderson Tanoto said VSF could help the fast-fashion industry become more sustainable, touting it as biodegradable and “sourced from sustainably managed tree plantations.”But the spatial analysis of APRIL’s suppliers shows the two concessions that have historically been the prime sources of pulpwood for the mill in Riau will be particularly affected by the peat conservation program.The analysis found that a combined 2,383 square kilometers (920 square miles) of these two concessions, controlled by APRIL subsidiaries PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) and PT Sumatera Riang Lestari, fall within peat protection zones. Together, they represent 40 percent of the concessions of APRIL’s suppliers that should be protected, the NGO coalition says.Like APP, APRIL has made corporate commitments to manage its plantation operations on drained peatland areas responsibly. But the coalition says both companies’ commitments need to be monitored through strict government supervision “to ensure that the peat protection zones within their licensed areas remain protected.”Responding to the supply concerns about its new foray into the textile industry, APRIL said there wouldn’t be an increase in production capacity, and thus no increase in the group’s overall pulpwood requirements.“Dissolving pulp production will be done within the current pulp production capacity of 2.8 million tons [annually],” APRIL said. “Volume will be periodically determined based on market demand.”However, the coalition said the company had not released enough details about its expansion for independent analysts and civil society organizations to verify the claim.APRIL said that while it couldn’t disclose its long-term wood supply plans because they were commercially sensitive, production capacity will remain at 2.8 million tons a year until at least 2025. Like APP, the company says it is also looking to increase efficiency and cut waste in order to boost productivity.Syahrul said APRIL was still exporting dissolving pulp, from which VSF is made, to its sister company in China, Sateri, which also produces the fiber, putting further pressure on its supply. In 2016, APRIL exported 90,000 tons of dissolving pulp to Sateri mills in China; export volumes increased to 240,000 tons in 2017 and an estimated 500,000 tons in 2018.APRIL said it would reduce its exports to accommodate the demand from the Kerinci mill, targeted to produce 240,000 tons of VSF a year.“Reducing exports aren’t that easy if there are long-term contracts,” Syahrul said. “And if they do reduce their exports, will it be by the same amount as the increase in demand due to their expansion in Indonesia? Or will they still need to increase their production? If it’s the latter case, then there’s a possibility they will open up new plantations or continue cultivating on peatlands.”The tree from which APRIL derives its dissolving pulp is an acacia species, Acacia crassicarpa, grows best on peatland. Syahrul said this indicated the company would continue “cultivating in protected peat areas by planting Acacia crassicarpa based on the justification that the species is peat friendly.”“But planting a species suitable on peatland isn’t the same as restoring peat,” he added.The company said that “regardless of source, all wood supply that comes into APRIL’s mill must comply with our Sustainable Forest Management Policy. The safeguards for sustainable fiber production are well in place and independent audit shows we are upholding these commitments.”Fire set for peatland clearing in Riau Province, Indonesia in July 2015. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Opaque numbersThe Ministry of Environment and Forestry says 67 pulpwood firms and 127 plantation firms that are required to protect and rehabilitate their peat concessions have already done so. In all, they have restored 31,000 square kilometers (12,000 square miles) of peat areas nationwide, according Karliansyah, the ministry’s head of environmental degradation mitigation.He said the government’s Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) had restored another 9,000 square kilometers (3,500 square miles), for a combined total that far exceeds a national target of restoring 24,000 square kilometers (9,300 square miles) of degraded peatlands by 2020.But the NGO coalition disputes that claim, saying the 31,000-square-kilometer figure for the private companies cannot be independently confirmed. Syahrul said the government had failed to disclose detailed information on the implementation of the companies’ restoration plans or any follow up to the plans, which are required to be carried out immediately upon approval.“We were surprised when we heard the number,” he said. “We can’t get the names of the companies, and so there’s no way for us to check the number. And that figure is only an aggregate, it only distinguishes between pulpwood plantations and palm oil plantations.”Karliansyah said the ministry couldn’t publicly disclose the data for each company because of privacy concerns. Both APP and APRIL also declined to disclose their peat restoration plans, saying only the Ministry of Environment and Forestry had the authority to decide whether the documents should be made public.APRIL said an ecosystem restoration program it launched in 2013 aimed to restore 1,500 square kilometers (580 square miles) of peat ecosystem on Riau’s Kampar Peninsula. APP said it had retired 70 square kilometers (27 square miles) of plantation land, an initiative announced in 2015. That area represents less than 1 percent of the peat concessions managed by the company and its suppliers as indicated by the NGO coalition.APP’s Elim said the company had since 2015 retired more than the initially declared 70 square kilometers, but wouldn’t give a new figure, deferring again to the government. She said the focus of the peat protection initiative shouldn’t be on the total area restored, but on the quality of the restoration, especially the effectiveness of efforts to rewet drained peatlands.“So we don’t want to focus on the number. That’s why APP always reports on forest fires” in its concessions, she said.Syahrul said the government and companies should still disclose their peat restoration plans and progress to the public to allow for independent verification of their claims.“Because if we’re talking about natural resources, we’re not only talking about the rights of the companies, but also the implication [of their businesses] on the greater public,” he said. “When these companies fail to restore their concessions and they start burning again, those affected will be the public.”The secrecy surrounding companies’ peat restoration efforts also threatens to derail the wider move to restore peatlands nationwide, given that the largest area of such ecosystems falls within existing concessions.Syahrul said it was also crucial to restore peat ecosystems as a whole, not partially, because fires could still spread from unrestored peat concessions to restored areas.Government-restored areas, he said, “are connected to peat areas inside concessions. And if you truly want to restore a peat ecosystem, you can’t do it partially.”For a government agency like the BRG to ensure the restoration initiative is effective, it needs access to companies’ full restoration plans documents, he added.“It’s just wrong to see an institution established solely to restore peatland not be given access to that information,” Syahrul said. “The BRG can’t even monitor [peat restoration progress] if it’s located inside a company’s concession.” carbon, Carbon Emissions, Deforestation, Dry Forests, Ecosystem Restoration, Fires, forest degradation, Forest Destruction, Forest Fires, Forests, Industrial Agriculture, Landscape Restoration, Peatlands, Pulp And Paper, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Restoration last_img read more

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This one’s for mom – Bennett dedicates Walker Cup win to principal and mother

first_imgHydel’s coach Corey Bennett dedicated the school’s first ISSA schoolboy football title to his mother and principal of the 25 year-old institution, Hyacinth Bennett. After a 2-0 victory over Excelsior in the Walker Cup final at Stadium East on Wednesday, the coach recognised the principal for her strong support and commitment to the team and players, and devoted their success to her. “It’s our 25th (year) anniversary so what a way (for the school) to celebrate. Mrs Bennett is at every match, all when we are playing practise matches and scrimmage. So we do this one for her, we really want to dedicate this one to her and the entire school community,” he said after the game. Meanwhile, the school principal said she envisioned the victory, as they had faith in attaining the victory, after the experience of being in a Manning Cup final in 2012. “I support sports (at Hydel) in general. But I want to give all glory and honour to Hydel’s master coach, the lord God almighty. Secondly to my son, Corey Bennett, the head coach and of course to Mr (Leebert) Haliman, the technical director and to Mr (Karumie) Huie, his assistant and of course a heartiest congratulation to the boys who gave it their best shot today (Wednesday),” she commented. “Remember in 2012 we went to the Manning Cup final, so it is not a new experience going to a final. But I believed we were going to come out on top, faith move mountains. This morning (Wednesday) at devotion we spoke about it (game) and prayed for them and we anticipated this (victory),” she added. Meanwhile, Corey Bennett, a former Manning Cup player himself with Wolmer’s Boys, hopes this first schoolboy football title will give the school a boost and be a catalyst for more success.  “We just hope this one can be a catalyst going forward. We are going through some tough times at the school and we are hoping this one can help the school uplift.  We hope more boys in the school will believe that once you have structure and discipline you can achieve goals. We only had five on the bench because of (in)discipline, so we are hopeful that can help others and help turn things around for the school,” he said.last_img read more

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Sevilla, Villarreal, Genk advance in Europa

first_img Eight teams knocked out of the Champions League – Benfica, Club Brugge, Galatasaray, Inter Milan, Napoli, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia and Viktoria Plzen – also qualified for the round of 32 by finishing in third in their groups. The draw for the round of 32 will be held on Monday, an hour after the Champions League draw is held. Chelsea failed to keep a perfect record, but Willian and Olivier Giroud salvaged a 2-2 draw against Vidi by scoring from free kicks. ELIMINATED TEAMS Sevilla, Villarreal and Genk qualified for the knockout rounds of the Europa League yesterday, the final night of group-stage matches. Rapid Vienna, Malmo, Krasnodar, Rennes and BATE also advanced. Sevilla advanced from Group J after a 3-0 win over Krasnodar, which also advanced. Villarreal defeated Spartak Moscow 2-0 to progress from Group G with Rapid, which scored in the 84th minute to win 1-0 and knock out Rangers. Genk cruised to the next phase with a 4-0 rout of Sarpsborg in Group I, and Malmo also made it with a 1-0 away victory over Besiktas. Rennes’ new coach, Julien Stephan, celebrated a 2-0 victory in Group K and a spot in the next round by knocking out Astana. Arsenal, Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea, Dinamo Zagreb, Dynamo Kiev, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbahce, Lazio, Real Betis, Salzburg, Sporting, Zenit and Zurich already booked their places in the round of 32 earlier in the competition.last_img read more

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The Clash of Civilisations?

first_imgA quarter of a century ago, Harvard’s Samuel Huntington unfurled his “Clash of Civilisations” thesis which seemingly became the working model for western, especially US, foreign policy strategists. In the wake of the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and the end of the Cold War, the timing was maybe more than just fortuitous. After all he was also part of the US think tank that had conjured up the “modernisation” thesis after WWII that became the western blueprint to win the hearts and minds of the Third World in the Cold War that had just been declared.It would seem that Huntington has proven to be a prophet. As the book’s blurb explained, Huntington predicts not only how clashes between civilisations are the greatest threat to world peace but also how an international order based on civilisations is the best safeguard against war. More specifically, as ideological distinctions among nations during the Cold War have been replaced by cultural differences, world politics has been reconfigured. Across the globe, new conflicts – and new cooperation – have replaced the old order of the Cold War era.It might very well be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Huntington postulated “how the population explosion in Muslim countries and the economic rise of East Asia are changing global politics. These developments challenge Western dominance, promote opposition to supposedly “universal” Western ideals, and intensify inter-civilisation conflict over such issues as nuclear proliferation, immigration, human rights, and democracy. The Muslim population surge has led to many small wars throughout Eurasia, and the rise of China could lead to a global war of civilizations.Huntington offers a strategy for the West to preserve its unique culture and emphasises the need for people everywhere to learn to coexist in a complex, multipolar, multi-civilisational world.” It is argued by Huntington that the Western movement for Universalism will only lead to confrontation with non-western cultures. Western Universalism is advocacy of western values including democracy, freedom of speech, and human rights in an attempt to universalise them throughout the world.One reason that this promulgation of “universalistic” values may be destabilising is that while some who preach such “universalism” may be benign, others may not be of like mind. The latter movements, such as the “religious freedom” disguise propagation of fundamental Christianity through proselytising people of other religions and cultures can alienate them from their native cultures. They can also teach them to berate their native cultures although many may not have even comprehended the new values. There is resistance in the world against alienating people from their native cultures and weakening integrity of the races.The main issue with Huntington’s thesis, however, is his conflating of Christianity with modernity. It goes against the history of church and development of modernism in Europe. Modern advances in sciences and scientific and even industrial development as well as every modern intellectual thought came by resisting the influence of Christianity. Science and Church stand opposite to one another in modernisation. It must be accepted that almost every culture/religion can modernise without having to westernise. It is from this perspective, for instance, we must view the changes that are sweeping the Islamic world. The resurgence of the Islamicists as not definitionally “non-modern”.Finally, there can be universalism not of the kind advocated by the fanatics. The West pushed its form of universalism as the basis of human rights protection through non-State organisations. It is possible to conceive of Universalism based on Scientific Humanism and accepting the best of all cultures on a rational basis. This is what Mahatma Gandhi meant when he called himself a Hindu, a Muslim and also a Christian, not that there is such a cult that integrates a composite of all three. What made man “Human” are the innate instincts of kindness, tolerance, mutual love and sense of fairness inherent in all human beings, prior to the birth of all of “religions”.It is unfortunate that the Trump presidency is pandering even more single-mindedly to Huntington’s thesis.last_img read more

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Investments to support sugar not a handout

first_imgDear Editor,My blood boils with wrath and rage right now. Sugar workers, whose jobs were mercilessly ripped from them by APNU/AFC, are legally entitled to their severance payments, having earned it by sweat and blood; none of them is asking for a handout, only what they are legally entitled to. The Government, through GuySuCo, was required by law to make those payments immediately after they ripped away the jobs from sugar workers. There are no “ands, ifs, buts”; there is no room for ambivalence; no room for excuses; pay the sugar workers their severance with interest now.Instead of telling the sugar workers when they will be paid their overdue severance, behind their backs, President Granger tells his supporters that paying sugar workers is “haemorrhaging” the treasury. In so doing, he abrogates his responsibility to uphold the laws of Guyana. Instead of sitting with his Finance Minister and his Cabinet to determine a way to meet this legal expense, he makes another arrogant excuse. Clearly, paying the sugar workers their legally entitled severance is too painful for President Granger.In fact, when the decision was made to close four sugar estates, he was obligated to find a way to make severance payment with immediate effect. Failure to do so then, and failure to still do so now, is reckless, unlawful, and is misconduct in office. As pointed out by a Canadian union leader, the ministers responsible for the non-payment would have been jailed in countries like America, Canada, Europe.The President did not have the decency to meet with sugar workers and tell them that they are “haemorrhaging” the treasury. He has steadfastly and egregiously refused to meet the sugar workers. In more than three years, in spite of all the efforts of sugar workers, since the estates were closed, the President, his prime minister and other cabinet ministers never once showed any inclination to meet the sugar workers. Yet, behind the backs of sugar workers and in front of his own supporters, the President constantly bemoans the fact that his Government must pay sugar workers their severance.Clearly, he considers the payments unfair and undeserving.The President could think what he wants; it does not change the fact that sugar workers earned severance, and there is no room for prevarication.As President Granger, his prime minister, and their Cabinet continuously complain of the money the Government has to invest in sugar, they conveniently ignore that sugar pumped close to $100 billion into the treasury to support Government expenditures during the 1980s, including expenses to subsidise bauxite, pay public servants etc. Even now, sugar pays billions for non-sugar drainage and irrigation.Investments to support SUGAR are not handouts or subsidies, as this Government wants people to believe — a lie they deliberately have promoted to their supporters. They have demonised sugar and the sugar workers. The President leads in this awful charade, characterising sugar workers as parasites. This plain political discrimination is the kind of behaviour that forces the UN to include Guyana in a “shame list” that now includes 38 countries.Sincerely,Dr Leslie Ramsammylast_img read more

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Crusaders open title defence with victory, Waratahs win late

first_img0Shares0000Harold Voster of the Lions could not evade Bautista Ezcurra of the Jaguares © AFP/File / STRINGERJOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Feb 24 – A penalty try ensured the Canterbury Crusaders launched the defence of their Super Rugby crown with a win over the Waikato Chiefs on Saturday while the NSW Waratahs snatched victory in the final minute.The Crusaders beat the Chiefs 45-23, but it was harder work for the Waratahs who needed a last-ditch try by Ned Hanigan to clinch a 34-27 win over Western Stormers. Golden Lions, runners-up in the past two seasons, trailed by 10 points before taking control against the Jaguares and winning 47-27 in Johannesburg.ACT Brumbies had to come from behind for their 32-25 victory over the Sunwolves in Tokyo.The Crusaders’ scoreline blew out after they were awarded a penalty try when desperately clinging to a 26-23 lead inside the last nine minutes.It put the defending champions 10 points ahead, forcing the Chiefs to take risks which backfired as they gave away two intercept tries.The late scoring burst from the Crusaders came after the Chiefs rose from a 19-3 deficit in the first half to lead 20-19 early in the second.There were nine tries in the helter-skelter but error-strewn encounter — seven of them to the Crusaders.The champions were also hit with two yellow cards, leaving captain Sam Whitelock unimpressed with their overall effort.“It’s very, very tough when you’re down to 14 men for periods. We gave away too many penalties,” Whitelock said.In Sydney, the Waratahs lost the lead five times against the Stormers, but clinched victory following a lineout steal after the final siren.A strong run from reserve back-rower Jed Holloway and passes from fly-half Bernard Foley and replacement prop and debutant Harry Johnson-Holmes set up Hanigan, who crashed through two defenders to score in the corner.It was a win that went a long way to dispelling much of the criticism of 2017, with the Waratahs hanging tough until the final seconds, and showing some much-needed desperation when the luck, and the numbers, were against them.The Waratahs scored four tries to three and were down to 14 men for 10 minutes of the second half, when lock Rob Simmons was sin-binned for a lineout infringement on his ‘Tahs debut.The young Stormers flyhalf Damian Willemse limped off just after half-time in a major injury concern.At Ellis Park, Lions’ giant wing Aphiwe Dyantyi celebrated his second Super Rugby appearance with two superb tries against the Jaguares that had the pundits thrilled.“He had an outstanding game and is a fantastic talent,” said hard-to-please SuperSport analyst and former Springboks coach Nick Mallett.Ill discipline once again cost the Argentines dearly with wing Bautista Delguy and replacement hooker Julian Montoya yellow-carded.The Sunwolves, now under Japan’s national coach and former Highlanders mentor Jamie Joseph, looked a vastly improved unit to that which produced just three wins in the previous two seasons.They took an early lead against the Brumbies courtesy of tries to Hosea Saumaki and Samoa-born Timothy Lafaele.When the Brumbies replied with their first try to Lachlan McCaffrey the Sunwolves countered with a second by Saumaki.On half time the Brumbies narrowed the gap as centre Kyle Godwin crossed the line and in the second half they showed glimpses of the form required if they are to again dominate the Australian conference.cf-rsm-mtp-dl/pb0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Greek football club banned from refugee shirt protest

first_img0Shares0000Greek football players of AEL Larissa F.C (L), who have been banned from wearing refugee crisis awareness messages on their shirts, and Acharnaikos F.C held a sit-in protest at the start of a match in favor of migrants and refugees January 29, 2016 © AFP/File / Nichalis MPATZIOLASLARISSA, Greece, Dec 16 – Greek top flight football club Larissa said Friday that they have been banned from wearing shirts bearing a slogan highlighting Europe’s refugee crisis.Players were planning to have ‘The refugee children are our children’ splashed across the front of their shirts but Greek officials rejected their idea as a “highly political message.” “In order to maintain our dignity and complete independence, we decided not to succumb to petty financial proposals in relation to sponsoring our jerseys,” said a Larissa statement.“Instead, we decided to send a strong message for one of the major social and humanitarian issues of our time, reflecting the phrase ‘The refugee children are our children’.”Larissa is one of many Greek cities where thousands of refugees arriving from Africa and the Middle East have been housed during the recent migrant crisis.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Cancer takes back seat to Sunshine Kids

first_imgThere are only two VIPs who get the LAPD’s Code 3 treatment – lights flashing, sirens blaring – when they’re in town on business. The president and the governor. The Los Angeles Police Department added one more to the list on Thursday: the Sunshine Kids. They’re a great group of teenagers from all over the country who are in L.A. for a week of fun after undergoing months of hospital stays and painful chemotherapy treatments to battle the cancer trying to take their young lives. They’d already met Jay Leno, visited Disneyland, seen the hit musical “Wicked.” On Thursday, it was time to be sworn in as honorary police officers and cruise Code 3 in two dozen police cars from Sheraton Universal Hotel to Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, where actress Kyra Sedgwick films the TV police drama “The Closer.” “I feel like a movie star,” 13-year-old Ashli Cooper said to her new friend, 17-year-old Hope Schalberg, leaning close so she could be heard over the sirens. Ashli lives in Colorado City in West Texas – population 4,000 – a town so small, she said, there isn’t even a Starbucks. “Heck, you guys have a Starbucks on just about every corner out here,” she said, waving to a group of tourists on Hollywood Boulevard who were taking pictures of the police caravan, figuring somebody important must be going by. “We love you,” Ashli shouted to them. She lost her right eye to cancer but not her sense of humor. Every time she opened her mouth she said something that had everyone in the police car laughing. “You’re so silly, Ashli, you crack me up,” said Hope, who lives in St. Charles, Mo. This is exactly what volunteers with the nonprofit Sunshine Kids Foundation, which pays for these trips, want for these teens. You can’t put it any better than one Louisiana mother, who wrote the group after her son returned from this same trip last year. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving my son the opportunity to have something that was taken away by cancer – some plain old fun.” Hope’s chemotherapy left her gaunt and bald, but she’s still beautiful when she smiles. And she smiled a lot on Thursday. The girls didn’t know each other before this week, but they quickly developed a close friendship. All 30 kids from different parts of the country did. Having cancer is a powerful bond. “There are only two people who get this kind of treatment – the president and the governor,” LAPD Officer Sean Lewis told them, blowing through another red light as motorcycle officers held up traffic. “Really?” Hope and Ashli said at the same time. “Yeah, really,” Lewis said, smiling as he looked in his rearview mirror and saw the girls high-fiving each other. “Hey, did you see that?” Ashli said, as we drove by a gas station where a limousine was stopped waiting for the police caravan to pass. “That limo driver just flipped us off. That’s not very nice.” Ashli and Hope tried to persuade Lewis to break off from the caravan and take them to the beach, but he didn’t think that would be a good idea. When the Sunshine Kids arrived at the studio, they got out of their police cars, thanked the LAPD reserve officers for the ride, and took pictures with them. “Man, that was so cool,” said Cody Bunnell, 16, from Iowa. “My first airplane ride coming out here and now my first time in a police car, and I wasn’t even in any trouble.” The kids were heading into the studio to see an episode of “The Closer” before lunch when Kimberly Clark, also from Iowa, walked up to Ashli and Hope. “Hey, did you see what that limo driver did?” she asked them. The girls nodded and laughed. And then they laughed some more. For one beautiful week in L.A., cancer was taking a back seat to some plain, old fun for the Sunshine Kids. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. dennis.mccarthy@dailynews.com (818) 713-3749160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Study: Prep sports injuries down due to gear, medicine

first_imgSANTA CLARITA — High school football doesn’t always seem so safe when the best player gets injured, but prep sports injury rates in the United States have dropped by more than half in the past decade, researchers recently reported. In a review of nine major sports, all except volleyball had injury rates that were at least two times higher in the mid-1990s than during the 2005-06 school year, said Dawn Comstock, a researcher at Columbus Children’s Hospital in Ohio and lead author of the study. Researchers said the drop likely reflected improved equipment and other advances. “Too often it’s believed sports injuries are unavoidable. We know that’s not true,” she said. The study was released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even if injuries aren’t as frequent, when they do happen, it doesn’t just affect the athlete but the coaches, too, according to Canyon High football coach Harry Welch. “A few years ago, we just had a rash of injuries, and it was starting to drive me crazy because as a coach I feel responsible if a player gets hurt,” Welch said. “We’re the ones who put kids in harm’s way on the football field.” Canyon offensive lineman Marc Valdez is back in the starting lineup after suffering a severe knee injury last season. One of the Foothill League’s top players, Valdez never considered not returning as soon as he could — and neither did his parents. And sometimes that determination can help heal an injury faster than anything. “Marc would never not play football. It’s his passion,” said his mother, Gina. “It’s been that way since he was a little boy watching the Dallas Cowboys with me on TV — they were my favorite team. When he got hurt, he just dealt with the situation and came back as soon as he could.” A previous study comparing national high school injury rates for different sports was published in 1999. It looked at 1995-97 injury rates for 10 sports at more than 200 high schools. Comstock’s group looked at injury rates for nine sports at 100 high schools in the 2005-06 academic year. The sports studied were football, wrestling, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, girls’ volleyball, boys’ baseball and girls’ softball. Nationally, about 4.2 million high school students participated in the sports during the academic year studied, and an estimated 1.4 million injuries occurred. Football had the highest injury rate, according to both the Comstock and 1999 study. In the Comstock study, the overall football injury rate was 4.36 per 1,000 — meaning a high school football player who participates in 1,000 games and practices can expect 4.36 injuries. A girls’ softball player, in contrast, can expect 1.13 per 1,000 games. In the 1999 study, the football injury rate was 8.1 and the girls’ softball rate 3.5. Devin Mills, a former Hart offensive lineman who helped the Indians to a 2003 section title, suffered a broken ankle as a high school freshman and a broken thumb as a senior. He missed his entire freshman season, but stuck it out during his senior year by wearing a cast during games. “It was tough as a parent to see Devin sit through a whole year because he really wanted to get back out there,” said his father David. “I played hockey as a kid and kept injuring my hip. Eventually, my doctor told me if I kept playing, I’d pay for it later when I got older. “Devin always wanted to play and always wanted to get back out there. He was one of the biggest, strongest players on the team, but by the end I think he was tired of getting beat up, and that’s one of the reasons he hasn’t played in college.” Comstock’s group defined an injury as a problem that required medical attention and restricted an athlete’s participation in sports at least one day beyond the day the player got hurt. In the 1999 study, injuries that did not keep an athlete off the field were not included. Comstock said that might explain some of the reported drop-off in injuries. But she said she believes the rates still would have dropped significantly if injuries had been defined the same way in the two studies. Much of the decline probably stems from rule changes, better safety gear and improvements in injury diagnosis and treatment, Comstock and others said. Scientific advances, for example, have improved the diagnosis of a concussion. Rule changes have increased water breaks, which in turn have decreased heat-related illnesses. Eye protection in stick sports like lacrosse has reduced serious injuries. Both studies gathered data only from schools with certified athletic trainers who have medical training. An estimated 42 percent of U.S. high schools have certified trainers. Many of the area’s top football players who’ve been injured in recent years have come back sooner than expected, thanks to expert medical advice and a willingness to work hard. Former Hart star receiver Ryan Wolfe came back from a serious knee injury two years ago, eventually earning a scholarship to UNLV. Canyon linebacker Tyler Hawkins fractured his leg three years ago, but eventually returned and keyed a section championship season as a senior last year. But worrying about whether a player will get hurt will take the fun out of sports, according to Saugus defensive back Kyle Monson, who suffered a concussion last year but has otherwise enjoyed a healthy career. “I think you worry more that if you do get hurt then you’re not going to be able to play as well,” Monson said. “For me, getting injured would take away some personal pride and break down my confidence. If you’re playing with a bad knee, you can’t cover a guy as well, but I’ve been playing for 10 years and don’t worry about it.” Brandon Arndt, a Hart defensive back, agreed. “There’s always that risk but you just can’t think about getting hurt,” Arndt said. “I broke my ankle playing football when I was a kid, but it wasn’t a big deal because I’ve been playing dangerous sports all my life. I used to race bikes in motocross, and that’s even more brutal than football.” Poorer schools may also have worse field conditions and equipment that result in higher injury rates, said Steve Marshall, a sports injury epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina. That’s not a problem in Santa Clarita, where football — as well as other sports — is a high priority, and so is medical care for the athletes. “The medical care today is the best I’ve seen by far,” Welch said. “On the sidelines, we have two trainers, two chiropractors and an orthopedic surgeon. Not only is there better medical care but there’s also better followup and better rehab. We have top-of-the-line rehab programs that compare to a Division I university.” Marshall praised the Comstock study and said it will probably become a standard reference for high school sports injury rates.— The Associated Press contributed to this story. Gerry Gittelson, (661) 257-5218 gerry.gittelson@dailynews.com AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Chelsea eye World Cup finalist to replace Fabregas, having lost out on Paredes

first_img Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? 2 REPLY Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move Rakitic makes life easy for team-mates, such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez MONEY Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ BEST OF Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars REVEALED ADVICE Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade shining Nicolo Barella and Leandro Paredes were both targets in the January transfer window, but the former has decided to remain in Cagliari for the time being and the latter has joined Paris Saint-Germain.Spanish publication Sport, report Chelsea will now wait until the summer before making anymore signings and Rakitic is on the shortlist. 2 RANKED Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic scored a wondergoal against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League huge blow Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury no dice Chelsea plan to contact Barcelona about taking Ivan Rakitic to Stamford Bridge in the summer.Manager Maurizio Sarri is keen to add to his midfield and provide cover for Jorginho following the sale of Cesc Fabregas. Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions REVEALED Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card Frenkie de Jong is joining Barcelona in the summer and there is speculation the 30-year-old Croatia interntaional could make way.Asked if De Jong’s move would effect his own position, Rakitic said: “That’s a good question for [manager Ernesto Valverde] or the [president Josep Maria Bartomeu] I am 30 and I am in the best moment of my career. I want to enjoy football and enjoy Barça,” adding that he’s very happy in Spain and if possible, he wants to renew his contract.Raktic has been a Barcelona player since leaving Sevilla in 2014 and has become one of the most important players in the team.Whether it’s on the right of midfield, the left, as a midfield pivot or even emergency centre-back, the blonde-haired warrior’s presence always appears to make life easier for his team-mates. LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS In December, talkSPORT.com’s man in Spain, Lee Roden was discussing Rakitic’s uncanny knack for being in the right place all the time.“Sometimes it involves slotting in to the deep area of midfield to provide the first passing option for Busquets when the Catalan places himself between the centre-backs.“On other occasions, he’s on the left wing to put out fires behind [Jordi] Alba and [Ousmane] Dembele. The Croatian will also appear in the space behind the attack to look for a splitting pass or lofted ball to an overlapping full-back in the final third, but only when it isn’t a risk to his team. He’s as tactically sharp as they come.”last_img read more

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