Engen adds to list of drought relief

first_imgThe donation was made in response to a call for help from the agricultural company Senwes. (Image: Engen)South Africa has been experiencing severe drought across large regions of the country, but corporates and ordinary people have been pitching in with mass drought relief efforts.In the latest move, Engen Petroleum, a leading South African producer and marketer of fuels, lubricants and oil-based products, handed over a cheque for R1-million to Agri SA, a non-profit organisation that works to build a stable, profitable agricultural environment, for drought relief.“We understand the negative impact exerted by the current drought on agriculture and we hope that our donation will help to make a small contribution in assisting farmers,” said Mike Stead, Engen’s manager: commercial fuels.Johannes Möller, the president of Agri SA, said the donation would make a big difference. “For every R1.00 we receive towards the Drought Relief Fund, the value we give back is R5.00, which goes towards farmers, throughput, feeding pellets and similar products.”Agri SA, a federation of agricultural organisations, was established in 1904 as the South African Agricultural Union. It consists of nine provincial and 24 commodity organisations. Essentially Agri SA, through its affiliated membership, represents a diverse grouping of individual farmers regardless of gender, colour or creed.MONEY FOR ALL FARMERSHowever, Möller stressed that the Drought Relief Fund was not only used for Agri SA members. “The money is also used to support all farmers, whether commercial or emerging farmers. Assistance is also offered to the community.”Engen has a historical agricultural focus, with one in every two South African farmers depending on the company’s products, local expertise and global technical excellence.“Engen’s contribution represents another step in our commitment towards supporting those in dire straits in a sector whose value we really understand,” said Stead.Joe Mahlo, Engen’s general manager of sales and marketing, concurred. “Over the past 40 years we have demonstrated to farmers that ‘with us you are number one’. This has resulted in excellent integrated relationships and working methodologies.“After all, when it comes to the future, nothing less than a vibrant and brilliantly supported agricultural sector will meet the needs of the economy and all of our people.”OTHER DROUGHT ASSISTANCEShoprite and Checkers customers also helped to raise R200 000 for drought-stricken communities across South Africa over two months since March through the retailers’ Act for Change initiative.Operation Hydrate, the NGO that has been donating water in drought stricken areas of South Africa, has distributed more than six million litres of water so far. The group aims to collect R95-million worth of water by Nelson Mandela Day this year.PLAY YOUR PARTPlay Your Part urges you to share your story. If you or anyone you know has gone out of their way to brighten up the day for someone else, we want to know.If you have a story to tell, be it your own or that of an organisation or initiative dear to you, submit your story or video to our website and tell us how South Africa is playing a part to build a better life for all.last_img read more

WOTUS Sent Back to EPA

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Todd NeeleyDTN Staff ReporterOMAHA (DTN) — The 2015 waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule may have suffered a final defeat, as a Texas court Tuesday granted a motion for summary judgement to the American Farm Bureau Federation that sends the rule back to EPA.The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled EPA violated the law in making changes in the final rule that were not proposed in the preliminary rule.“The court finds that the final rule violated the notice-and-comment requirements of the APA (Administrative Procedure Act) and therefore grants summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on this ground,” the court said in its ruling.“The court remands the final rule to the appropriate administrative agencies for proceedings consistent with this order.”In drafting the 2015 rule, EPA relied heavily on a so-called draft connectivity report that included the agency’s analysis of numerous studies on the connected nature of the nation’s waters.After an EPA scientific advisory board issued comments on the draft connectivity report on Oct. 24, 2014, the agency re-opened the public comment period on the rule for one month.“However, the agencies declined to do the same after issuing the revised version of the connectivity report on Jan. 15, 2015,” the court said in its ruling.“This meant that the proposed rule was never open for public comment after the final connectivity report was finalized. Almost six months after publishing the final connectivity report, the agencies released the final rule on June 29, 2015, which proposed a different definition of the phrase WOTUS.”In particular, EPA’s final rule departed from the proposed rule in a key aspect. The final rule defined adjacent waters using distance-based criteria rather than the ecologic and hydrologic criteria used in the proposed rule.For example, the final rule changed the term “neighboring” to mean “all waters located within 100 feet of the ordinary high water mark” of a jurisdictional water.“This was the first time that the agencies gave notice that they intended to define adjacency by precise numerical distance-based criteria rather than the ecologic and hydrologic criteria in the proposed rule,” the court said in its ruling.Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the ruling was important because it will aid EPA in repealing the rule.“This critical federal court decision is a major victory for the people of Texas’ ability to regulate their own natural resources, including ponds, puddles and streams on private property, and a major win for property owners, whose land would have been subject to unlawful and impractical EPA regulations,” Paxton said in a statement.In a statement to DTN Wednesday evening, an EPA spokesperson said the agency has concerns about the 2015 rule and will consider the court’s ruling in repealing the rule.“Like the court, EPA has serious concerns about the legal underpinnings of the 2015 rule,” the agency said in a statement.“EPA and the Army Corps have made these concerns clear in the proposed repeal of the 2015 rule, including that the rule may have exceeded the agencies’ statutory authority under the Clean Water Act. We’re in the process of reviewing the public comments we received on that proposal and anticipate taking a final action on the proposal this summer. We are committed to following the rule of law, and we will take the district court’s order into account when taking final action on its proposed repeal of the 2015 rule.”WOTUS BATTLEOn April 3, 2019, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the Texas court to issue a national injunction on the 2015 WOTUS rule, after a court in Ohio denied a similar motion earlier this spring.After a long series of court actions the past couple of years, a split remains between states still under jurisdiction of the 2015 rule and those that are not.At present, the rule is on hold in 28 states and in effect in 22.In the meantime, EPA continues to work on finalizing a new rule.For the past three years, the 2015 WOTUS rule has been hung up by dozens of lawsuits and legal procedures across the country.A number of court and government actions were taken in 2018 on the WOTUS rule, including:— In January, EPA finalized a rule to delay the 2015 rule by two years to allow for an agency rewrite.— In February, attorneys general in 10 states sued EPA, alleging the rule to delay was unlawful. A federal court threw out the rule.— Also in February, the AFBF and other agriculture groups asked a court in Texas for a national preliminary injunction to prevent the 2015 rule from taking effect.— In June, the U.S. District Court for the District of Georgia issued a preliminary injunction against WOTUS in 11 states.— In August, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina ruled EPA did not follow the Administrative Procedures Act in finalizing its rule to delay the 2015 WOTUS for two years. As a result, the rule took effect in 26 states. That meant the rule was on hold in 24 states at that time.— Also in August, the AFBF asked an appeals court in Virginia to stay the ruling in South Carolina.— At the end of August, the AFBF asked the Georgia court to issue a national injunction to prevent the 2015 rule from taking effect.Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com.Follow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN(CZ)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Singer Aditya Narayan caught in a controversy

first_imgSinger Aditya Narayan allegedly got into an argument with IndiGo ground staff and abused them at the Raipur airport on Sunday morning, after he was asked to cough up ₹13,000 for excess baggage, the airline said in a statement. At the time of check-in, Mr. Narayan was asked to pay for extra baggage weighing 40 kg, which led to a heated argument between him and the IndiGo ground staff, the statement read.“(If) you are going to offload me, I will see you in Mumbai…phir dekh lenge (then we will see),” the singer can be heard threatening a duty manager, in a video being played by TV channels.The airline said, Mr. Narayan also used “unparliamentary” language while arguing with a female staff. However, he was later issued a boarding pass after he apologised to the ground staff. The airline did not say whether he paid the excess baggage fee or not.Narayan did not reply, despite repeated attempts to contact him.last_img read more

Deep impact of Lakshadweep

first_imgThe island of Kadmat has become a popular haunt for scuba diversEver been in one of those moods–when you want to get away from the madness of the city and wrap yourself in solitude, and yet you don’t want it to be so devoid of activity that it would bore you to tears? One would think that it’s precisely for such temperamental moods that Kadmat exists.Kadmat is one of the lesser known islands of the Lakshadweep uclster. It is slowly getting trendy, which is one more reason to head there pronto before it is overrun by the hordes. But the basic reasons for its appeal are much more compulsive. An elongated island, some  8-km long and half-a-kilometre at its widest, Kadmat is one of those rare places packed with such natural beauty that it could get a tad overwhelming at first. Apart from two large lagoons, one on each side of the island, Kadmat has plenty of palm-fringed sandy beaches and sand banks which look towards the azure blue waters of the Arabian Sea. So from leisurely dips in the tranquil sea to lolling around the beach and sun bathing, there’s enough methods of R&R here. But that’s not where the appeal ends. Kadmat is slowly gaining ground as a haven for serious water sports, and not just the tame boat-ride variety.Diving deep The island of Kadmat has become a popular haunt for scuba diversIn recent years, the Kadmat Dive School has become a very popular entity with scuba divers. The fascinating thing is the school welcomes almost anyone–from beginners to those seeking instructor certification. And so, scuba diving is probably the best way to see the wall like coral reefs which line the coast on the outer sea. On good days, visibility can  be as much as 50 metres and can reveal a passing parade of tiny coloured fishes lion fish, lobsters, tuna, eels, turtles, rays and even sharks.A glimpse of life under the water surfaceThe underwater show is an entirely different world. So do a take an underwater camera along, just so it won’t seem like your fertile imagination just made up the whole thing. And before long, even though it could feel like just minutes since you have been underwater, it’s time to surface. However, there are many other ways to enjoy the sea. Kayaks, pedal boats and ordinary boats for rides are for those who want to play it safe. For the more adventurous, there’s sailing and water skiing to be tried.Minicoy callingAn aerial view of KadmatIf the underwater holds enormous fascination and the dives at Kadmat leave you longing for more, then Minicoy, another island in the cluster has some more interesting activity. Like Kadmat, it has an immense variety of marine life, but is made more interesting with the presence of three large shipwrecks just off its coast. The wrecks are virtual underwater museums and make for interesting viewing. Besides which, the fish found in and amidst the wrecks are found to be larger in size. Of special note are the rays, barracuda, red and black snappers and sharks.Home away from homeA state-run beach resortBack on shore, the Kadmat Beach Resort, a state-run enterprise, might not boast of elaborate meal options, but the seafood is certainly fresh and cooked to a delicious consistency. And as the sun goes down, and a cool breeze blows, even a simple meal becomes good enough to merit the title of a royal repast.By the end of the trip, the temperamental mood swings are a thing of the past and you will be ready to take on even the most challenging assignment with equanimity. advertisement Fact fileA glimpse of life under the water surfaceKadmat Island Lakshadweep archipelago, 407 km from KochiKadmat Dive School Kadmat Island; tel: Mumbai contact-(022) 6662 7381/82; www.lacadives.comMinicoy Lakshadweep archipelago, 390 km from KochiKadmat Beach Resort Kadmat Island; tel: (04897) 274 203; www.lakshadweeptourism.comlast_img read more

Sharks take out Men’s 45’s final in extra time at NTL

first_imgThe SQBD Sharks have beaten the Sydney Scorpions in extra time in an exciting match in the Men’s 45’s division at the 2009 X-Blades National Touch League in Port Macquarie.With the match locked at 5-5 at full time, the game got down to four players on each side in extra time before the Sharks’ Luke Shaw scored after 3 ½ minutes to give his team their first title in this division.The Scorpions’ start to the game was fast paced, scoring two tries in the first two minutes through Geoff Cheung and Rob Wethrill. Darryl Lancaster scored the Sharks first try in the 15th minute to get them onto the scoreboard, while Cheung had to be taken from the field just before half time, due to an injury. The Scorpions led 2-1 at half time.The Sharks leveled the score at 2-2 six minutes into the second half through Gary Nicholson. Scorpions captain and former League great Cliff Lyons was a forced substitute soon after, and Mark Jansson capitalised on this, scoring his first try to get the Sharks in the lead for the first time in the game.Lyons’ first touch of the footy after returning to the field set up Amir Ayoub in the corner to level the scores at 3-3 in the 12th minute of the second half. Jansson scored his second try two minutes later, while Ayoub scored his double not long after to bring the score to 4-4. Jansson then scored his third try in the next set of six to put the Scorpions into the lead, but Wethrill replied for the Scorpions to lock the game up at 5-5 at full time. Scorpions had their chances early on in extra time, but the Sharks proved too strong in their come from behind victory.last_img read more

88 NLFT rebels surrender in Tripura

first_imgAgartala: Eighty-eight members of the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), on Tuesday, surrendered to Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, three days after signing a tri-partite agreement in New Delhi with the Centre and the Tripura government. Accompanied by their 125 family members, NLFT members of the SD faction, led by Sabir Kumar Debbarma, also surrendered arms and ammunition at Ambassa in the Dhalai district, 100 km north of Agartala. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The surrendered arms included 3 AK-47 rifles, 6 self-loading rifles, 4 Chinese rifles, 4 carbines, 4 pistols, 1,876 ammunition and other devices, like 16 time devices and 9 wireless sets. Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma was also present at the event. Addressing the event, the Chief Minister urged them to join the development process initiated by the state government with special thrust on education, health and infrastructure. “The rebels understood that they were on a wrong path and have joined the mainstream. We expect all cooperation from them for welfare measures undertaken,” Deb said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K A a tripartite memorandum of settlement (MoS) was signed on August 10 between the Centre, the Tripura government and the NLFT facilitating the surrender. After the signing of MoS, the NLFT representatives also met Home Minister Amit Shah. According to an official release, the MoS was signed by Union Home Ministry’s Joint Secretary (North-East) Satyendra Garg, Tripura government’s Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Kumar Alok and Sabir Kumar Debbarma and Kajal Debbarma on behalf of the NLFT. “The government told the NLFT leaders that surrendered members would be given benefits as per the Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation Scheme, 2018 of the Union Home Ministry,” the release said. The Tripura government would help the surrendered rebels in construction of their houses, recruitment in government jobs and education of their children. According to the official release, the NLFT was banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 1997. The NLFT was involved in 317 violent activities in which 28 security force personnel and 62 civilians were killed in 2005-2015, it said. The peace talks with the NLFT were initiated in 2015 and the group had desisted from any violent activities since 2016. “The NLFT (SD) militants came to Tripura from their Bangladeshi camps earlier this month. They along with their family members are kept in safety in the Dhalai district,” a Tripura Home Department official told IANS. This is the third signing of peace accord with rebels in Tripura in three decades. In 1988, a tripartite agreement was signed with the outlawed Tripura National Volunteers (TNV). In 1993, the state government had signed a bi-partite accord with the All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF).last_img read more

Sexual abuse charges against UN staff rose by 88 in 2018

first_imgUnited Nations: The UN received a total of 259 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by the staff working in its agencies and their partner organisations in 2018, an increase of more than a hundred in such incidents from the previous year, according to a report presented by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The report, presented to the General Assembly, said that from January 1 to December 31, 2018, the UN received a total of 148 sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) allegations directly involving UN workers, and 111 involving staff from partner organisations implementing UN programmes. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThis represents an increase in the total number of incidents reported in 2017, when 138 allegations were made, and 165 allegations made in 2016, it said. The report said while the figures of allegations rose in 2018 compared with the previous two years, there was increased awareness among the UN and UN-related staff, and improved and harmonized reporting tools across the organisation towards a ‘zero tolerance’ effort to end sexual exploitation and abuse across the UN. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsAccording to the report, not all the allegations have been fully verified and many are still under investigation or are still in a preliminary assessment phase. The report said that the third system-wide survey on sexual exploitation and abuse was administered in 2018 to the UN and affiliated personnel at 34 duty stations with humanitarian and/or peace operations. The duty stations included those in countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, India, Iraq, Liberia, Libya, Pakistan, South Sudan and Syria. There were some encouraging signs in Peacekeeping Operations, where allegations were down almost by half over the past two years, it said. While 103 SEA incidents were reported in 2016, only 54 allegations were made in 2018, the report said. Despite this improvement in the UN’s peacekeeping wing, the number of allegations went up against personnel in other UN entities, with 94 allegations received in 2018, compared with 50 in 2017. In a troubling sign, the number of allegations against partner organisations implementing the UN’s programmes reached a high of 109, increasing more than four-fold from 2017 when only 25 incidents were reported. “The numbers show that the UN’s victim-centred approach, implemented over a year ago, is paying off as there seems to be an increased trust among the victims and survivors to come forward and report incidents,” the UN said in a statement. The Secretary-General has stressed that there will be zero tolerance towards sexual exploitation and abuse across the UN. His strategy, in its first phase, focuses on addressing the issue within the UN system, as well as those mandated by the world body to carry out programmes. This entails more than 90,000 staff in more than 30 entities and more than 100,000 uniformed personnel. In 2017, Guterres had launched a new strategy to prevent and end sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel. A major element of this new approach was the creation of the ‘Circle of Leadership’ for Heads of State and Government to demonstrate resolve and commitment at the highest political level to eradicate the scourge. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a member of the Circle of Leadership. The Secretary General said in the report that he encourages Member States to give greater visibility to their initiatives to eradicate sexual exploitation and abuse, including information on the status of administrative and judicial processes, which will be included in a public electronic hub. In 2018, he had asked the members of the circle to provide him with updates, and seven Member States have responded, including India, Australia, Germany, the UK and Uruguay.last_img read more

Water battles with elephants kick off Thailands New Year

first_imgAyutthaya: Elephants with hearts and flowers painted on their bodies sprayed water at revellers celebrating Thailand’s traditional new year Thursday, in an annual event which has animal protection groups crying foul over animal cruelty. In Thailand’s former capital Ayutthaya, a tourist hotspot famed for its ancient temple ruins, more than a dozen elephants walked along the streets with their handlers on their backs, splashing and spraying water at locals and foreigners under a blistering sun. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe soaking by the pachyderms kicks off a weekend of festivities for Songkran, the traditional Buddhist new year celebration which officially begins on April 13. Revellers “can come to pay respects to Buddha and offer alms to monks in the morning and in the afternoon play water with the elephants,” said Laithongren Meepan, owner of the Ayutthaya Elephant Camp. “(Using their trunks to spray water) is the elephants’ natural way of playing,” he added. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsTraditionally marked by paying respects to elders and sprinkling water over Buddha figures at local temples, the Songkran holiday has largely evolved into a raucous water fight. Locals and foreigners armed with water guns and protective googles engage in soggy street parties, bringing much of the country to a standstill. “In other provinces, they have foam parties. But in Ayutthaya, you can celebrate Songkran with the elephants,” Laithongren said. Their handlers, known as mahouts, have trained the giant mammals to do tricks like lifting their front foot in greeting or gyrating their bodies to music as if they were dancing — much to the delight of revellers. Such practices are “cruel”, said Tom Taylor of Wildlife Friend Foundation Thailand, which rescues and rehabilitates domesticated elephants. “Forcing the elephants to perform unnatural behaviours is normally done through fear using a sharp tool called a bull hook,” Taylor told AFP. His organisation allows 24 rescued elephants to roam, bathe and forage freely, while tourists can learn about how the mammals should be treated with respect — “not chained up, beaten or ridden”, he said.last_img read more

Morocco Participates In 58th Session Of The UN Commission On Women

first_imgNew York (UN) –  Morocco participates in the 58th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, held on March 10-21 at the UN headquarters in New York, and which focuses on development, particularly education and reproductive rights.The Moroccan delegation participating in the session is led by Bassima Hakkaoui, minister of solidarity, women, family, and social development.In her remarks on Monday at a high level roundtable on “achievements and difficulties in achieving the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls,” Hakkaoui  highlighted the achievements of Morocco, mainly the constitution of 2011, which recognizes the rights of women. She also stressed the efforts of the Kingdom to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, particularly regarding the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, economic and political empowerment of women, strengthening women’s access to decision-making positions, and the fight against all forms of discrimination and violence.last_img read more

Mane I am a lucky boy

first_imgSadio Mane is loving life alongside his fellow strike partners, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, and he has warned Real Madrid that there is more to come from themThe three forwards made history in the semi-finals of the competition by becoming the highest scoring-trio in the Champions League after Mane had scored in the return leg against AS Roma in the ninth minute of the match.The Liverpool striker has scored 19 goals this season and has warned Real that more are on their way.“I think more goals are coming! Of course, I am happy, but as a striker, you’d love to score every single game to help your team,” said Mane, according to Irish Independent.“Now we have one more important game, so why not try to do our best, score for the team and win the trophy?”While the 26-year-old’s goalscoring tally pales in comparison to Firmino’s 27 and Salah’s 44, he is loving the experience of playing alongside the duo.“Like I have always said, I have always been enjoying playing alongside these great players,” said Mane.divock origi, liverpoolReport: Origi cause Klopp injury concerns George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Divock Origi injury in today’s game against Newcastle is a cause for concern for Jurgen Klopp.Perhaps with one eye on Tuesday’s trip to Italy…“They make everything easier for me. I am a lucky boy.“But we always talk about the front three. Don’t forget it starts with the guys behind. They make it easier.“The power of Liverpool Football Club is the collective. We always do everything together, this is our power.”Saturday’s final at Olympic Stadium in Kiev will be Liverpool’s first final in the Champions League in 11 years with the club aiming to lift the famous trophy for the sixth time in their history.last_img read more