Athletes will break the ‘Games jinx’ this time

first_imgHaving represented India innumerable times in the field of athletics, I have always believed that the mantra behind my success was not the urge to win medals but to give my best shot every time I wore the national colours.I have always appreciated performance, not medals. Medals don’t make great athletes, consistent performance does.But some regrets remain. Although I got to represent India in the 1960 Rome Olympics, 1962 Asian Games and the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the opportunity to compete in the 1962 Perth Commonwealth Games eluded me. The country did not send any contingent to the 1962 Games because of the Indo- China war.I still feel bad about missing this opportunity, for I was at the peak of my career at this time. Had I participated in the Perth Games, I would have definitely bagged a gold medal for my country.I did get an opportunity to participate in the 1966 Games but I failed to win a medal.Coming to the Delhi Commonwealth Games, despite all the ominous predictions from eminent personalities that Indian athletes will put up a poor show in front of their foreign opponents, I feel our sportspersons will put up their best performance in the history of the Games.Never before have we won more than two medals in athletics in a single edition of the Games. But I’m confident this year we’ll break that jinx. Those gunning for a medal are Krishna Poonia, Harwant Kaur and Seema Antil (discus throw), Vikas Gowda (discus throw), Om Prakash (shot put), Renjith Maheshwary (triple jump) and – most probably – Tintu Luka (800m).advertisementPoonia and Maheshwary’s chances of bagging a medal have been further enhanced because of the fact that Dani Samuels and Philips Idowu have pulled out, from discus throw and triple jump respectively.In case of Luka, I would use the term ‘most probably’ because she Tintu Luka is India’s best bet in 800m.is still young and performing in front of a jam-packed home crowd can unnerve the best of athletes. But I would still expect her to give it her best shot. But Caster Semenya’s pull-out should give her some confidence.Nevertheless, I wouldn’t want to burden her with expectations. The fact that she will gain experience competing on such a big stage is a reward in itself. Also, the 20-km walkers can get a medal if they can repeat the act of their predecessors – who, in the 1982 Asian Games, had managed to run a fair distance in the middle of the race.Coming to the foreign athletes, we will definitely hold the upper hand as they have just ended their season and wouldn’t be at the top of their game. Their season starts in May and ends by the first week of October. So, they would have exhausted themselves by now.This was one of the major reasons behind the pullouts of the likes of Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell.Security wasn’t a concern for them, but preparing for next year’s World Championships was. On the other hand, we have been preparing our athletes for the past two years, keeping in mind the Commonwealth and the Asian Games. So I expect them to be at their peak.While many would accept that performing in front of the home crowd can often go against an athlete as expectations get higher, I believe in encouraging them. They are professionals and know their job well.Those who are criticising the current lot might be doing so out of frustration – don’t ask me the reason – and because they don’t believe in the capabilities of our athletes. But I strongly feel the team is dedicated and determined to do a good job.Frankly, at the end of the day, everybody wants to perform for their country and criticism wouldn’t do much good for their confidence. We should all come together and show our solidarity and support to our athletes.(The writer is a 1962 Asian Games gold medallist and an Arjuna awardee)last_img read more

Venus Williams accuses Wimbledon of sex discrimination over court schedule

first_imgVenus Williams accused Wimbledon officials of discriminating against its women champions and wants “equality” when it comes to scheduling matches on its two biggest showcourts.After two days of rain created a backlog of matches, the five-times Wimbledon champion was sent to the 782-seater Court 18 on Thursday, an arena once labelled “a parking lot” by former world number one Jelena Jankovic. (Also read: Andy Murray storms into third round of Wimbledon) While in 2008 Jankovic had fumed she “needed a helicopter” to reach the smallest of Wimbledon’s six showcourts, Williams kept smiling as she delivered her message to the most famous of tennis tournaments.’SHOULDN’T BE EXCEPTIONS’ “I’m not so much into disrespect. I’m willing to play anywhere, any time,” the oldest player in the women’s draw said after her second-round win over Greek qualifier Maria Sakkari.”All players should have to play outside. There shouldn’t be exceptions or any inequality to it.”It’s not the ideal schedule for the women. We’d like to see equal amount of matches (on the main showcourts). We don’t want more, just the same amount, that’s all.”Williams and her sister Serena own 11 Wimbledon singles titles between them but over the years the duo have found themselves playing away from the two main showcourts.’IT STINKS’ In contrast, the men’s Big Four of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray will have to think back a number of years to remember the last time they were exiled from the two main arenas.Martina Navratilova, winner of 18 grand slam singles titles, tweeted “it stinks” after she spotted Thursday’s order of play.advertisement”To make it crystal clear… I just want equality for men’s and women’s matches. That’s what I’m unhappy about,” added eighth seed Venus.”The All England Club has to have a culture where they want to have equality. They need to want to pursue that.”Except for Tuesday, when defending women’s champion Serena opened Centre Court proceedings on what is traditionally known as Ladies’ Day, Wimbledon has scheduled two men’s and one women’s match on the main 15,000 capacity arena.Over on Court One, there has been an even split of men’s and women’s matches over the first four days this year.Home favourite Andy Murray, the 2013 champion, admitted he was “a little bit” surprised to see Venus on Court 18 but defended the scheduling.”It’s not like that’s a bad court… 18 is a good court,” Murray said after easily beating Lu Yen-hsun on Centre Court.”They do a pretty good job of trying to put the best matches for the fans… rather than it just being the big names that play on the big courts.”Asked if she could imagine a five-times male champion being on an outside court, Venus added: “I haven’t seen that in the scheduling yet.”last_img read more

Indian Super League: Chennaiyin FC back in reckoning after 2-0 win over FC Pune City

first_imgDefending champions Chennaiyin FC snapped their five-match winless streak as Jeje Lalpekhlua and Davide Succi scored once in each half to beat FC Pune City 2-0 in their Indian Super League football match here on Tuesday. (Latest Football stories)A headed goal by Jeje in the 44th minute and another strike from Succi in the 51st minute were enough for Chennaiyin to collect three points from their first win after beating NorthEast United in Guwahati on October 20.Since that away win in Guwahati, Chennaiyin have drawn three matches while losing two.From seventh at the league table, Chennaiyin are now in fifth spot with 13 points from 10 matches and they are back in the reckoning for a place in the semi-finals. They are only outside the top four due to an inferior goal difference.Pune will be concerned about their chances of qualification for semi-finals. The team coached by former ISL champion Antonio Habas is now placed sixth, although they are only a point behind the defending champions.Needing to win to keep their chances alive, Chennaiyin coach Marco Materazzi made five changes to his starting line-up as he introduced players like Eder Monteiro, Hans Mulder, Davide Succi and Manuele Blasi to the starting line-up while Karanjit Singh was preferred as goalkeeper.Habas did not change much, making just one, opting for Raju Yumnam in place of Rahul Bheke.Pune started well and had decent chances before they fell by the wayside. Anibal Zurdo was the first to try his luck with a free-kick that missed the target by a whisker and Lenny Rodrigues made a fine run on the right but his final attempt lacked power and direction, despite being in a good position.advertisementRaphael Augusto was the most impressive player for Chennaiyin. The Brazilian made his intention clear in the 21st minute when he intercepted a pass from Jonatan Lucca, ran down the flank but ended with a disappointing right-footer when passing to Succi would have been a better option.Succi also had a shot on goal in the 24th minute but his effort was wayward.Chennaiyin drew first blood just before half-time through Jeje. Bernard Mendy started the move by playing the ball for Raphael in the middle. The Brazilian found Mulder whose cross for Succi got a touch before reaching Jeje and the highest Indian goal-scorer in the ISL did the rest by beating Pune goalkeeper Edel Bete with a smart header from close.Bete and Pune were down again early in the second session. In the 51st minute, Succi rose high to head a brilliant cross from Raphael and beat both his marker, Eduardo Ferreira and a leaping goalkeeper.Pune tried to fight their way back but Chennaiyin were just too solid in defence, not giving any chance whatsoever to their rivals.last_img read more

DU releases 8th cut-off list for reserved category students

first_imgNew Delhi, 2 Aug (PTI) The Delhi University today announced its eighth cut-off list exclusively for admitting reserved category students.In the 8th cut-off list, the highest percentage is 95 for BSc Physics (Hons) at the Hindu College for the OBC students.In the special drive, only such students will be admitted who have registered for the Delhi University and have not been admitted in any college irrespective of any reserved category under previous cut-off lists, a statement issued by the varsity said.The admissions for this cut-off list will take place between August 3 and August 4.”No fresh registrations will be allowed in the drive,” the statement said.The DU will also issue 9th cut-off list to admit students belonging to reserved categories – SC, ST, OBC, Persons With Disabilities (PWD), Children/Widows (CW) of Armed Forces, Kashmiri Migrants (KM) and students in Sports/Extra Curricular Activities (ECA). PTI CPB AQSlast_img read more

Deadlier than Lukaku: Gabriel Jesus’ superb stats

first_imgManchester City Deadlier than Lukaku: The stats behind Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus’ Premier League form Goal Last updated 2 years ago 15:00 10/20/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(8) Gabriel Jesus Manchester City Getty Images Manchester City Premier League The Brazil international has been in exceptional form under Pep Guardiola this season, averaging a league goal every 80 minutes of play With seven wins from eight games and 29 goals scored, Manchester City top the Premier League table by two points going into the next round of fixtures. And while Kevin De Bruyne has been the focal point of conversation in recent weeks, Gabriel Jesus’ exceptional form for the Etihad club has not gone unnoticed. Jesus 6/1 to be PL top scorer Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player The Brazil international has a return of six Premier League goals so far this season, joint-second in the rankings with Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata, Tottenham’s Harry Kane, and City team-mates Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling. Manchester United record-signing Romelu Lukaku leads the way in regards to goals scored in the English top flight with seven, though Jesus has proved deadlier than the Belgium international in front of goal.Jesus has so far averaged a goal every 80 minutes in the league, with Lukaku’s average on 102.9, while converting 31.6 per cent of his attempts compared to the United forward’s 21.9%.Only Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy (35.7%) currently has a higher conversion rate from those in the top 10 scorers, while only team-mates Aguero (77.8) and Sterling (79.5) have a better goals-to-minute ratio.Jesus has had 19 shots at goal in 480 minutes of Premier League action this term, hitting the target 62.5% of the time – Vardy’s shot accuracy is the highest from the top 10 scorers with 72.7% of his efforts testing opposition goalkeepers, with Lukaku, Alexandre Lacazette and Tammy Abraham second with 66.7% of their shots on target.In all, Jesus has been directly involved in 21 goals in 20 starts in all competitions for City (15 goals, 6 assists) and has scored 13 goals in his 15 starts in the Premier League – only Mick Quinn (14) and Andrew Cole (15) have scored more goals in their first 15 starts in English top-tier history.The 20-year-old also struck seven times in his 10 international appearances for Brazil in their World Cup qualification campaign.Jesus is also yet to taste defeat in the league with City, going 17 games without losing (W13 D4 L0), a run which stretches to 26 when taking his Palmeiras playing days into consideration.Gabriel Jesus PSAnd he is only going to get better, if you are to believe City manager Pep Guardiola.“Even with the top striker that he is – he’s the No 9 for Brazil – and I promise you that is not easy, I think he has a lot of gap to improve,” he previously said of Jesus. “There are a lot of things he can be better at in the future because he is young enough. I am excited to try to help him to do that. Especially the simple things that he can improve to become a better player.”Guardiola may opt to rest Jesus on Saturday when his City side take on Burnley with Aguero back in the fold after a rib injury, though the Catalan coach will almost certainly rely on the Brazilian to lead his attack for the remainder of the season as he chases the Premier League Golden Boot.THE PREMIER LEAGUE’S BEST STRIKERS PL 17/18 Games Played   Minutes Played    Goals   Mins/Goal  Shots, Total (inc. Blocks)   Shooting Accuracy  % Shot Conversion Rate (inc. Blocks)  % Romelu Lukaku 8 720 7 102.9 32 66.7 21.9 Sergio Aguero 6 467 6 77.8 23 50 26.1 Gabriel Jesus 7 480 6 80 19 62.5 31.6 Alvaro Morata 7 492 6 82 21 61.5 28.6 Harry Kane 8 706 6 117.7 50 55.9 12 Raheem Sterling 7 477 6 79.5 22 44.4 27.3 Jamie Vardy 7 607 5 121.4 14 72.7 35.7 Mohamed Salah 8 592 4 148 28 60 14.3 Alexandre Lacazette 8 559 4 139.8 16 66.7 25 Leroy Sane 8 408 4 102 14 60 28.6 Tammy Abraham 8 628 4 157 13 66.7 30.8last_img read more

Ronald Koeman’s Everton story exposes shortcomings of the post-Cruyffians

first_imgAs a player Koeman came through at Groningen but joined Ajax when he was 20. It was a move that had long seemed inevitable. He looked like an Ajax player, talked like an Ajax player and played like an Ajax player. He was a defender who was far better at passing the ball than at winning it back. Ajax was his finishing school; his ideas on the game were confirmed and reinforced when, after a hugely successful stint at PSV, he joined up with Johan Cruyff again at Barcelona. There was always a streak of pragmatism about Koeman but there was no doubt about his philosophical inclinations. “He was very much of the Ajax model,” said Ryan Babel who made his debut under Koeman at Ajax in 2004. “4-3-3, wingers, a playing style on the ground, a lot of movement, a lot of changing of position.”It has come to dominate European football over the past decade – albeit emanating more from Barcelona than Ajax. It is easy to see why Koeman’s ambition was directed towards the Camp Nou. He had, after all, taken his first steps in club coaching at Barcelona, when he was assistant to Louis van Gaal. Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique were in the team and José Mourinho was on the coaching staff. Mourinho, it is true, has turned radically away from the Barcelona approach but it is against that that he is rebelling and in that sense he is more of a post-Cruyffian than the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Jürgen Klopp or Diego Simeone, who approach football from very different backgrounds.The problem for post-Cruyffians is what happens when they arrive at a club that has not been schooled in the Ajax method. Van Gaal had the strength of personality to turn Bayern to his will, preparing the ground for Guardiola, but even there he was working with a club that could remember the variant of Total Football it had practised in the 1970s. Others have been far less successful.Frank de Boer, perhaps, is the most striking example: he won four league titles at Ajax but his reigns at Internazionale and Crystal Palace totalled 19 games. Barcelona Read more Frank Rijkaard’s record is extraordinary. After his Holland side, playing at home, lost on penalties in the semi-final of Euro 2000, he led Sparta Rotterdam to the first relegation in their history and was on his way to manage the Dutch Antilles when he got the call from Barcelona. There, amid a style of football with which he was familiar, he won two league titles and a Champions League. Subsequent spells with Galatasaray and Saudi Arabia have gone less well. Luis Enrique, similarly, had only a disappointing year with Roma and a moderate year with Celta Vigo on his CV before taking Barcelona to two league titles and a Champions League.Post-Cruyffians work best at post-Cruyffian clubs. Different managers have different attributes that flourish in different situations. Just because a manager has failed at one club does not mean he cannot succeed at another more attuned to his outlook and, similarly, just because a manager has been a success in one place does not mean those skills are automatically transferable. A great racing driver may not be the best fit for the school bus. It’s telling that in the whole history of English football, only four managers have ever won the league with two different sides. Read more Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Twitter features In a sense Koeman’s failure at Everton says little about how he would fare at Barcelona, but scar tissue tends to accumulate and it will, understandably, count against him. It’s not a coincidence that he has never looked better as a manager than he did at Ajax when they won the league in 2004. In that regard, his career has never fully recovered from a tackle by Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his Ajax team-mate Rafael van der Vaart in a friendly between Sweden and Holland in August 2004. Van der Vaart was injured and blamed Ibrahimovic, exposing fault-lines in the dressing room and placing pressure on the already fraught relationship between Koeman and his sporting director, Van Gaal. Ibrahimovic was sold to Juventus in the ensuing mess and, without a striker, Ajax collapsed.Koeman resigned the following February and, although he won the league with PSV two years later, it feels as though he has been seeking another Ajax ever since. Facebook Jonathan Wilson Frank Rijkaard, right, with Maxi López and Samuel Eto’o during happier times at Barcelona in 2006. He has been rather less successful elsewhere. Photograph: Guido Manuilo/AP Ronald Koemancenter_img Reuse this content Everton Long before he was sacked, a criticism of Ronald Koeman at Everton was that he seemed to regard the club as a stepping stone. “He called us Everton, he never called us ‘us’,” as the former Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe put it on Monday. Koeman’s ultimate ambition, as he has made clear since he took his first steps in management with Vitesse in 2000, is to manage Barcelona.That seems ridiculous as he slinks away from Goodison Park after an unprecedented summer spree with Everton in the relegation zone. Perhaps now there have been too many failures for him ever to be taken seriously as a candidate at the Camp Nou. But he was once a contender and may be again: he has the right heritage – which may be part of the problem. Ronald Koeman pays the price for Everton’s swift and steep decline Share via Email Share on Pinterest Share on Messenger Ajax Pinterest Share on Facebook Tottenham show José Mourinho how counter-attacking game should work Topics Sportbloglast_img read more

Salaam Cricket 2019: Pakistan do not have the talent to beat India in World Cup 2019, says Harbhajan

first_img India Today Web Desk New DelhiJune 2, 2019UPDATED: June 2, 2019 17:31 IST Harbhajan Singh at Salaam Cricket 2019 (India Today Photo).Harbhajan Singh said the India vs Pakistan World Cup 2019 match on June 16 would not be as big as the one between tournament favourites India and England.Most experts believe India and hosts England are overwhelming favourites to win the 2019 Cricket World Cup. There is a lot of anticipation for the India-Pakistan game at Manchester on June 16 but in a blunt assessment at Salaam Cricket 2019, Harbhajan Singh said Pakistan do not have the wherewithals to beat India.”India vs Pakistan is not as big as India vs England. Maybe from the media perspective, India vs Pakistan is more hyped up. But from a cricketing aspect, India vs England is more important. India can beat this Pakistan team 9 and a half times out of 10 times,” Harbhajan Singh said.However, former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who has been part of some riveting India-Pakistan contests in the past, said anything can happen in India-Pakistan clashes in the World Cup.”Logically, Bhajji is right but Pakistan is a dangerous team. In cricket, you cannot say anything. This Pakistan team is capable. There was a collapse in the last match. India have a better chance. As he said, India and England are the two favourites.”Given the rivalry, intensity… You never know what can happen in World Cups. Pakistan were strong in the 1990s yet India would win every time in World Cups,” Misbah said at Salaam Cricket 2019.Harbhajan Singh said he agreed with Misbah but felt India were far too strong for Pakistan: “I agree with Misbah, anything can happen. Pakistan do not have the kind of players. Favourites tags are with India and England.”advertisement”India have 11 match-winners and I don’t think Pakistan have the ability to beat this Indian team. We are more experienced and we have a lot of big players,” Harbhajan Singh said.ALSO READ | Salaam Cricket 2019: Sunil Gavaskar would have smashed it all over the park in T20s, says Shane WarneALSO READ | Salaam Cricket 2019: Kapil Dev greatest Indian cricketer ever, says Sunil GavaskarALSO WATCH | Salaam Cricket 2019: Opening AddressFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. 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 byNayanika Sengupta Tags :Follow Salaam Cricket 2019Follow Cricket World Cup 2019 Salaam Cricket 2019: Pakistan do not have the talent to beat India in World Cup 2019, says HarbhajanSalaam Cricket 2019: Harbhajan Singh said he did not think Pakistan would pose a serious challenge to India when they play each other on June 16 at Old Trafford.advertisementlast_img read more

Lottery for Ontario retail cannabis licences to take place next week

first_imgTORONTO — The Ontario government will accept entries next week from those looking to enter a lottery to apply for the first 25 retail cannabis licences in the province.The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says expressions of interest can be submitted online Monday through noon Wednesday, with the draw to take place on Friday and results to be posted within 24 hours.There is a $75 fee to submit an expression of interest and those selected through the lottery will have five business days to turn in their application along with a $6,000 non-refundable fee and a $50,000 letter of credit.The commission says the rules have been established to encourage the opening of retail cannabis stores by April 1 — the first day they will be allowed in Ontario — and those who are not committed to meeting that deadline should not sign up for the lottery.Recreational cannabis can currently only be purchased legally through a government-run website.The province had initially said it would not put a cap on retail stores but later announced it would only hand out 25 retail licences this winter, with no date set for additional licences to be granted. The Progressive Conservative government said the move was in response to a national cannabis supply shortage, which it said can only be tackled by the federal government.Though the retail licence lottery is set for next week, Ontario municipalities have until Jan. 22 to opt out of hosting cannabis shops.The commission says the retail licences will be divided regionally, with five going to the east of the province, seven in the west, two in the north, six in the Greater Toronto Area and five in Toronto itself.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Environment Canada issues winter storm warning for Fort Nelson

first_imgThe band of snow is expected to shift to the southwest towards Sikanni Chief tonight, where 10 to 15 cm is forecast.Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations.Drivers are being reminded to prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions.For up-to-date road conditions, you can visit DriveBC.ca. FORT NELSON, B.C. – Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for Fort Nelson.According to Environment Canada, Hazardous winter conditions are expected.Snow at times mixed with freezing rain will continue this afternoon through tonight before easing Thursday morning. Approximately 10 cm of snow has already fallen this morning around Fort Nelson with a further 5 cm this afternoon.last_img

Religious leaders at forefront of fight against intolerance says UN chief

“You can do so by fostering dialogue; by using spiritual authority to encourage individuals to act humanely; and by promoting shared values – as enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – and as reflected in the teachings of all world religions,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks to the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, held in Astana.In his opening remarks to a dialogue to promote peace and prosperity in turbulent times – which echoed the UN General Assembly thematic debate on “Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation” held in April – the Secretary-General reminded religious leaders, both traditional and non-traditional, of their obligation to speak out when “so-called adherents of their faith” commit crimes in its name. “[They] must teach their followers the true meaning of reconciliation, understanding and mutual respect,” Mr. Ban emphasized. “All…crimes committed in the name of religion are crimes against religion,” he stressed, condemning the atrocities committed by Da’esh, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda and “other sectarian and terrorist groups.” Convinced that the scourge of violence in the name of religion calls for concerted action by governments, religious communities, civil society and the media, Mr. Ban highlighted the upcoming launch, during the 70th session of the General Assembly, of a plan of action on the prevention of violent extremism.Often bearing “the brunt of violent ideologies,” women and young girls must be provided with a stronger, more equal platform, as a “means of advancing respect, changing mindsets and shifting global consciousness,” he said.Youth must also be a priority, as the age profile of some countries is sometimes cited as a reason to issue warnings that a “surging” population of young men inevitably drives increased violence and insecurity. Noting that many countries with a high proportion of young people have not suffered violence though, the UN chief pointed to factors such as long-term economic decline, limited educational and employment opportunities, as well as exclusion from social, cultural and political participation.But in all the international community does against radicalization, the respect of international law always must prevail and leaders and policy-makers must recognize a powerful truth –“the larger the spaces for democracy and fundamental freedoms, the smaller the chances for extremism and violence.”There is no greater cause today than building bridges of understanding and cooperation among communities, Mr. Ban stated. “Our challenge is to go beyond the notion of tolerance or simply acknowledging or abiding the existence of the other. No one wants to be merely tolerated, as if there is something wrong with them. Tolerance must be more active and dynamic.”The importance of human rights in fostering development and peace remained a constant theme during the Secretary-General’s visit to Kazakhstan and reverberated widely during his remarks to the press with the country’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov later in the day. Once again drawing from the Universal Declaration on Human Rights’ entreaty for the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion across the world, Mr. Ban explained that in Kazakhstan, as anywhere else, “all religious and minority groups should be guaranteed this right on an equal footing.” “Governments around the world should recognize the decisive role of this and other fundamental freedoms in fostering pluralism, understanding and democracy,” he told reporters, adding that Kazakhstan should also continue to make progress on human rights, including the development of “a comprehensive National Human Rights Action Plan.”“Let us work together to help people everywhere around the world so that they can achieve their dreams,” Mr. Ban concluded. “Dreams – everybody should be able to live in peace, harmony and friendship and well-being and dignity.” read more

Without tackling gross inequalities major issues will go unsolved warns UN rights

In a more than half-hour address to the Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet highlighted concerns around the world, while also welcoming several firsts, such as the record number of women now serving in the United States Congress, where they make up nearly a quarter of the representation.The new wave of women representatives taking up their seats in January, indicated several “important steps for diversity,” she said. “They included the first Muslim American Congresswoman, the first Native American Congresswoman, and the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. I hail all powerful women around the world and the model they present to the next generation.” Moving on to the wider state of social justice around the world, the rights chief said that overcoming “gross inequalities” was key to achieving the 2030 Agenda, referring to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which Member States signed up to in 2015.Hailing reforms in Ethiopia – where gender parity has been achieved in government; and Tunisia – where a woman was elected Mayor of the capital Tunis last year, the High Commissioner nonetheless warned that women human rights defenders globally faced a rising number of attacks.These include “physical and sexual violence, public shaming – including on the internet – and attacks on their families and children”, she said.‘Precarious’ migration proves development gains aren’t universalTurning to the issue of “involuntary and precarious” migration that affected young people in particular, Ms. Bachelet explained that it too was driven by inequality in the form of poverty, discrimination, oppression, violence, poor governance, climate change – and violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.“The continuing movement of people from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to the United States is a result of failure to ensure that development reaches everyone, with persistent violations of rights leading to profound inequalities,” she said.The High Commissioner also welcomed efforts in Mexico to move from detaining and deporting migrants to a new rights-based approach that focused on “opportunities for regularization and alternatives to detention”.‘Thousands’ more migrant children separated from families in USStaying with US-bound migration, Ms. Bachelet cautioned against new restrictions that simply “push migrants back across the border”, while also expressing concern that “thousands more migrant children have been separated from their families than had been previously reported”.In Europe, the issue of migration was no less dramatic, Ms. Bachelet explained, before welcoming efforts by Germany, Finland, Portugal and Spain to help those fleeing war and persecution.Continuing reports of migrants leaving the North African coast on unsuitable vessels – and regularly drowning in the Mediterranean Sea – were evidence of the need to extend the scope of regular migration channels, as the European Union had indicated, the High Commissioner said.“Another 226 deaths were recorded in the first two months of this year,” she said. “With several NGO vessels forced to suspend operations by measures that essentially criminalise solidarity, the ancient responsibility of rescue at sea is increasingly falling on merchant vessels – which are often ill-suited to such a task.”Philippines war on drugs ‘no model’ for other StatesTurning to the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on narcotics, Ms. Bachelet insisted that State policy “should not be more of a threat to their lives than the drugs they are abusing”.Up to 27,000 people may have been killed in the context of the campaign against illegal drugs since mid-2016, the High Commissioner said. Despite “serious allegations of extra-judicial killings, only one case – the widely reported killing of a teenage boy – has been subject to investigation and prosecution,” she added.The country’s drug policies were not a model for any country, the High Commissioner maintained, before adding that she was also extremely concerned that Philippino lawmakers were considering “measures to reintroduce the death penalty for drug related crimes and reduce the age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12 – or even nine-years old.”Saudi Arabian female activists ‘must be freed’In a speech covering more than 30 countries, the High Commissioner also appealed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to set free “several” female activists allegedly subject to ill-treatment or torture in jail. “The persecution of peaceful activists would clearly contradict the spirit of the country’s proclaimed new reforms,” she said. “So we urge that these women be released.”Yemen conflict will ‘scar’ generations to comeOn the huge scale of suffering in Yemen, where fighting between forces loyal to the Government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Houthi militia has claimed thousands of lives since 2015, Ms. Bachelet said that it would “scar the country’s future for generations”.The conflict has not killed and injured thousands of civilians, bringing famine, “debilitating” airstrikes, shelling, landmines and acute malnutrition – especially for children.Syrians fleeing ISIL must be given assistanceOn Syria, the High Commissioner called on all warring parties to provide information about all those who have gone missing during the conflict, which began in 2011.“I remain particularly concerned about the rising toll of civilian deaths in Idlib Governorate,” Ms. Bachelet said. “All parties must ensure that the thousands of civilians fleeing formerly ISIL-held territory receive adequate protection and assistance. And I join the Special Envoy’s call for a comprehensive political solution.”Returning to the need to tackle “gross inequalities”, the High Commissioner insisted that it was possible for all countries – “not always the richest, in income or resources” – to adopt principled and more effective policies, grounded in the full range of human rights.“By taking steps to advance civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights as mutually reinforcing, they can count on building a strong basis for sustainable development and social harmony,” she said. read more

Inserting feminist ideology into films means viewers can guess the end screenwriter

first_img Gwendoline Christie, Elisabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman attend the "Top Of The Lake: China Girl" photocall during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival Elisabeth Moss in character as Robin Griffin Jane Campion said she was noticing more work from the “sisterhood” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Top of the Lake, the second series of the BBC Two crime drama, is particularly focused on women and motherhood, starring Elisabeth Moss as a detective searching for the daughter she had adopted at birth.Gwendoline Christie, the Game of Thrones actress, stars as her police sidekick, while Nicole Kidman takes the role of her daughter’s “radical lesbian feminist” adoptive mother.The storyline explores the exploitation of Asian sex workers in Sydney, Australia, and the “intense relationship” between children and mothers of all kinds.Campion said she had built the show around a topic that is “particularly female”, joking she hoped it felt “not just feminist but fallopian” in its dedication to the woman’s perspective. Asked whether she felt the issue of the lack of women in film was dropping off the agenda, she said: “It’s not off my agenda. I’m fricking fed up.“What I feel I want to do is keep doing good work. I’m noticing there is a lot of really interesting female-oriented work.“I’m actually seeing a bit of a change, I’m seeing more sisterhood coming at me you know?“I do feel like it’s been a cultural problem [but] I think we’ll be cracking it pretty soon.” The Top of the Lake team in Cannes, with Gerard Lee second from the rightCredit:AFP Director Ariel Kleiman, Nicole Kidman, Gerard Lee, Alice Englert, Jane Campion, Elisabeth Moss, Gwendoline Christie, David Dencik, Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Libby Sharp and Philippa Campbell in Cannes Nicole Kidman stars as a “radical feminist lesbian” and adoptive mother Risking the wrath of his female colleagues, Lee added: “I think it’s a complicated problem because if you sort of force feminist ideology into a story or a film funding bodies policy, the danger is you’re going to get a story where you can predict the end.“‘The woman’s going to succeed again’.”Campion replied: “That’s not true. That’s complete rubbish.“You could change this overnight, you just have to give 50 per cent of public funding to women.” The Top of the Lake team in Cannes, with Gerard Lee second from the right The team behind Top of the Lake: China Girl – including Jane Campion and Elisabeth Moss – joined us following last night’s TV Preview pic.twitter.com/rSfQezFMoE— BFI (@BFI) May 31, 2017 It has been the cause célèbre of the film and television world for years now, as any Hollywood star worth her salt protests the need for more women in front of and behind the camera.But forcing a “feminist ideology” into films and television shows could have an unintended consequence, the co-writer of a BBC drama has said, as he warns it could make the endings too predictable.Gerard Lee, who wrote Top of the Lake with the award-winning Jane Campion, suggested an insistence on proving feminist credentials to get films funded would leave viewers shortchanged, being able to guess the ending when women end up on top.Speaking at a screening of Top of the Lake at the BFI, Campion called his view “complete rubbish”. Nicole Kidman stars as a "radical feminist lesbian" and adoptive mother Lee also poked fun at his own co-written script, telling Moss and Christie in jest of their on-screen investigation: “When we were writing those parts, you were actually supposed to be out finding out who killed that girl.“[instead] You spent a lot of time talking about your personal issues.“I was just comparing our show to something like NCIS.“Why don’t these women actually sort of look for clues? It’s all baby talk!” Director Ariel Kleiman, Nicole Kidman, Gerard Lee, Alice Englert, Jane Campion, Elisabeth Moss, Gwendoline Christie, David Dencik, Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Libby Sharp and Philippa Campbell in Cannes Campion, the only female director to win the Palme d’Or in Cannes, said the industry could change for the better overnight if 50 per cent of all public funding for film was given to women film-makers.In 2014, the BFI introduced a “three tick” diversity scheme, requiring filmmakers asking for funding to prove they paid enough attention to women, black and minority ethnic people, the disabled and LGBT staff.Directors UK has called for half of all public funding to go to female-led projects by 2020, backed by Creative England. Elisabeth Moss in character as Robin Griffin Campion reiterated her call for an all-female jury for one year of the Cannes Film Festival, saying it would force producers to finally consider what women enjoyed and admired on screen.Top of the Lake, she said, was intended to be about the “very fraught”, “intense relationship” of motherhood, comparing the bonds formed between women over the grief of miscarriage to the bonds men form in war.Top of the Lake: China Girl will be on BBC Two later in the year.last_img read more

Retrode 2 lets you legally play SNES and Genesis games on a

first_imgBack in April 2010 we reported on a new gadget called the Retrode. It allowed you to plug in either SNES or Genesis cartridges and play them on your PC over USB using one of the freely available emulators for either system.The Retrode solved the issue of playing your old games without need of the original hardware and without having to download an (illegal) ROM version. Now the Retrode 2 has gone up for pre-order and looks to improve upon the original.The original Retrode design was a boxy aluminum case with just a USB connection on the side. It would play your games, but there wasn’t an easy way to use an original controller, and some plug-in adaptors (for running cartridges from other systems) required a voltage that wasn’t supported.The Retrode 2 aims to fix these issues. The aluminum case has been replaced with plastic and now includes a cover to protect the cartridge slots from dust. The slots now have more mechanical guidance, meaning less stress on your cartridges, and two buttons allow for the firmware to be easily updated for either system slot. Voltage options have also been included so you can select between 3.3v and 5v.The best part of the Retrode 2 has to be the integration of controller ports for both the SNES and Genesis. There’s two of each, with the Sega ports supporting both 3 and 6 button controllers. The Retrode 2 is available to pre-order now for $84.99 with the first shipments expected to go out January 23. And don’t forget there’s an active community around the device with adaptors being developed for playing games from other systems, for example, GBA cartridge support. Read more at Retrode, via Engadgetlast_img read more

Deux importants gisements gaziers découverts au large dIsraël

first_imgDeux importants gisements gaziers découverts au large d’IsraëlDeux gisements de gaz ont été mis au jour en Méditerranée, au large d’Israël. D’après la compagnie Hacharat Energia, qui a annoncé cette découverte, les réserves de ces deux sites offshore pourraient atteindre plus de 180 milliards de mètres cubes.Jeudi, la compagnie israélienne Hacharat Energia a annoncé la découverte de deux gisements de gaz naturel en Méditerranée, rapporte le site 20 minutes. La société estime qu’il “y a plus de 50% de chances” pour que ces deux gisements contiennent des réserves s’élevant à quelque 184 milliards de mètres cubes. Baptisés Sarah et Mira, les sites sont situés à 70 kilomètres au large de la ville de Hadera, au nord de Tel-Aviv.À lire aussiPourquoi l’hélium change-t-il la voix ?Ces nouveaux gisements devrait permettre à Israël de réduire sensiblement sa dépendance en gaz naturel auprès de l’Egypte. Celle-ci fournit actuellement 43% du gaz consommé dans le pays. Récemment, après un attentat à la bombe contre le gazoduc, les livraisons égyptiennes de gaz vers Israël ont été suspendues.  Après un mois et demi d’interruption, elles ont pu reprendre le 10 juin. Les gisements Sarah et Mira viennent s’ajouter aux réserves de Tamar et Léviathan récemment découvertes à 130 kilomètres du port de Haïfa, au large d’Israël. Les premières sont estimées à 238 milliards de mètres cubes de gaz tandis que celles de Léviathan pourraient d’après le ministère des Infrastructures nationales “atteindre le double et assurer la consommation d’Israël pour 25 ans”. Toutefois, ces réserves se situent dans des zones maritimes contestées, contrairement aux gisements de Sarah et Mira.Le 30 juin 2011 à 18:59 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

City Councilwoman Barbara Bry announces 2020 candidacy for mayor

first_img KUSI Newsroom, City Councilwoman Barbara Bry announces 2020 candidacy for mayor Updated: 9:41 AM KUSI Newsroom 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – City Councilwoman Barbara Bry Wednesday announced her candidacy in San Diego’s 2020 mayoral race.Bry, a Democrat who represents Council District 1, is the first major candidate to formally announce a mayoral run.Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, is in the midst of his second and final term and Democrats are eyeing a chance to take the mayorship — technically a non-partisan position — in a city that is trending further to the left.“I want our city to be a model for cities around the country and all over the world,” Bry said in a campaign announcement video. “I want us to be a model in how we treat everyone with equity and respect.”Bry is a former journalist and high-tech entrepreneur who ran for City Council in 2016. Her quiet filing of candidacy paperwork last month flew mostly under the radar. She has served as the council’s president pro tem since 2017 and was one of the first elected officials in the city to endorse the SDSU West plan to redevelop SDCCU Stadium in Mission Valley.After leaving journalism, Bry founded companies such as ProFlowers.com and Athena San Diego, which helps women in STEM industries, as well as Run Women Run, which supports and encourages pro-choice women to run for elected office.“I love this city,” Bry said. “I believe a large part of my business success is because I was fortunate enough to end up in San Diego. I was a white woman with a Harvard MBA, so I had a lot of doors that were open to me that are not open to a lot of people in San Diego and I want to make sure they get the same opportunities that I had.”Bry’s potential competition in the June primary could include Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, and, among Republicans, City Councilman Mark Kersey and former San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. Categories: Local San Diego News, Politics FacebookTwitter January 2, 2019 Posted: January 2, 2019 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settingslast_img read more

Jury convicts accomplice to lesser charges in 2009 murder

first_imgFacing a first-degree murder charge, Derik L. Maples was convicted Tuesday of lesser charges of second-degree felony murder and first-degree assault in a 2009 Rose Village slaying.After deliberating about six hours, the panel of seven men and five women unanimously rendered the verdict Tuesday afternoon in Clark County Superior Court Judge John Wulle’s courtroom. Sentencing is set for Nov. 9. Maples faces between nearly 40 years and 48 years in prison.The jury decided against stiffer charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder, which both require proof of premeditated intent.For felony murder, prosecutors need only prove that a felony was being committed at the time of a person’s death; in this case, it was delivery of a controlled substance.Charges related to a drug deal gone bad the evening of Dec. 1, 2009, at the S&S Mart. During the incident, Maples’ friend, Justin Tyler, fired his gun, killing Clement Adams of Vancouver. Tyler took a plea deal last spring and received 32 years in prison.After hearing the verdict, Maples didn’t show any emotion, but his family members seated behind him started weeping. After jurors were excused, he stood up to be handcuffed and turned around, saying: “I’m going to appeal. It’s all right.”last_img read more

Jupitermedia Reports 67M Loss

first_imgA previously unreported $40 million goodwill impairment charge, associated with the recent sale of its online images business, has lowered Jupitermedia’s year-to-date profits from a $27 million net loss to a loss of $67 million. The fee was absorbed during the third quarter, which attributed to a net loss of $62.6 million for the period.Jupitermedia reported the goodwill fee Tuesday as part of an amendment to its third quarter financial statement, which it originally released last week. Revenue through the first nine months was $100.5 million, down slightly from $104.2 million during the same period last year.”Our online media division continues to be impacted by the economy, which has put pressure on our advertising and job board sales,” chairman and CEO Alan Meckler said in the original earnings statement. “We have, however, made progress in reducing operating expenses, specifically with our costs of sales and general and administrative expenses.”Last month, Jupitermedia—which also owns online networks Internet.com, EarthWeb.com, DevX.com and Graphics.com—agreed to sell online images business Jupiterimages to digital photograph and online media powerhouse Getty Images for $96 million in cash. At the time, Jupitermedia said it expects to incur a non-cash loss of approximately $95 million upon the closing of the transaction. In July 2007, Jupitermedia acquired New York-based media community and creative job listing Web site Mediabistro.com for $23 million.last_img read more

GameStop To Hold Fundraising Campaign For Autism Speaks This May Increase Employment

first_img(NOTE: GameStop is located at 246 Main Street in Wilmington.)GRAPEVINE, TX — GameStop is once again partnering with Autism Speaks to help increase awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder. Throughout May, the video game retailer is focusing its annual in-store autism awareness campaign on raising funds for the newly launched NXT Gen Coders Program powered by GameStop and administered by Autism Speaks, aimed at increasing coding and programming skills for people with autism.From May 1 through May 31, GameStop will host its third annual in-store autism awareness campaign with 100 percent of donations going to Autism Speaks and helping fund the NXT Gen Coders Program. This program, powered by GameStop and administered by Autism Speaks, will focus on opportunities for coding and programing skill development for people with autism, so that they may be better equipped to take advantage of the one million jobs that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates will be open in the coding industry by 2020.With the vast majority of adults with autism unemployed or underemployed, GameStop and Autism Speaks are collaborating on the NXT Gen Coders Program to give talented young men and women a path to careers that match their training, abilities and interests.“We are proud to continue our commitment to raising awareness and providing support to the individuals and families impacted by autism,” says Jason Cochran, senior vice president of Store Operations for GameStop. “Through our ongoing partnership with Autism Speaks and the newly launched NXT Gen Coders Program, we are taking extra steps to provide individuals with autism the job and life skills they need to help them enjoy a more fulfilling life.”During this year’s campaign, GameStop is offering three ways guests can contribute to support people with autism:For the first-time, guests will have the option to donate up to 100 percent of their trade-in value to charity when they bring to GameStop their unused video game hardware, software, accessories, or consumer electronics.Donate $1 or more in-store or on GameStop.com and GameStop will provide triple PowerUp Rewards points on the donation amount.Donate PowerUp Rewards points to Autism Speaks in the PowerUp Rewards Center.GameStop’s continued support of Autism Speaks follows several successful campaigns since the partnership began in 2016, with more than $2.4 million in donations raised to enhance the quality of life for children, adults and families impacted by autism.“We appreciate GameStop’s generosity and commitment to the autism community,” said Autism Speaks President and CEO Angela Geiger. “Each year, 50,000 young people with autism enter adulthood, expanding a talent pool that is largely untapped. Creating employment opportunities requires innovative solutions, which is why we’re excited about the NXT Gen Coders Program.”(NOTE: The above press release is from GameStop.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedBUSINESS BRIEF: GameStop Awards $250,000 In Grants To Increase Employment Readiness For People With AutismIn “Business”GameStop Partners With Autism Speaks for Autism Awareness MonthIn “Business”GameStop Collects $1.2 Million in Donations During Autism Awareness MonthIn “Business”,Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.last_img read more

AK Southeast researchers are keeping up with the humpbacks

first_imgVolunteer researchers from the Alaska Whale Foundation survey humpbacks in Frederick Sound for a region wide population study. Back: Christine Walder and Leonie Mahlke. Front: Madison Kosma. (Photo – Nora Saks)When animals are removed from the Endangered Species List, who keeps tabs on them? Often, the work of monitoring populations falls on volunteers.Listen nowThis is true of one of Southeast Alaska’s most iconic seasonal visitors – the humpback whale. Researchers have banded together to keep a close eye on these beloved marine mammals.28 year-old Madison Kosma is perched on the bow of an inflatable raft, aiming her camera at a humpback whale working its way through Frederick Sound, north of Petersburg.Kosma thinks of it like a game. It’s one that requires fierce concentration, and a surplus of patience, because whales are constantly moving targets.“It’s like playing 2D chess with someone who’s playing 3D chess,” Kosma said. “And they always know where we are but we have no idea where they are.”Madison Kosma carefully labels a tissue sample of skin and blubber taken from a humpback whale. (Photo – Nora Saks)Kosma needs crystal clear shots of its fins, body and especially the fluke, because each one has a unique pattern. When she gets them, she rattles off numbers to her colleague, who jots them down in a waterproof notebook.A pleasure craft motors over. Kosma yells across the deck, announcing that they’re researchers with the Alaska Whale Foundation and that they’re part of a big effort to photograph and document every humpback passing through this section of the Inside Passage.“We just wanted to let you know, so you know we’re not some ‘randos’ harassing the whales!” Kosma said.Afterwards, once the snapshots are taken, the crew zooms off. A few miles away, there’s a whale lounging cooperatively near the surface. The captain idles the boat parallel to it.Kosma sets her camera down, picks up a crossbow and loads it without a word. She chooses a moving mark on the charcoal-colored mass, takes careful aim, and squeezes the trigger.The arrow sails through the air and appears to glance off the whale’s side. It flicks its tail defiantly, and disappears with a splash. Kosma retrieves the arrow and removes the specialized tip, or bolt.“The bolt does that big core sampling like a tree. But this has a barb on it, so once it goes in, it can’t come out. Once it pulls out,” Kosma said.And, it worked. It’s filled with a crayon-sized amount of glossy black skin and blubber that is bubble gum pink. This is the way to get a biopsy, and Kosma knows that from the outside, it might not look like conservation.“But then if you look on the inside, the crossbow is actually a child’s crossbow,” Kosma said. “It’s not that powerful. It’s kind of like giving the whale a shot or a bee sting.”Three humpbacks treated volunteers to bubble net feeding at the end of a long day on the water. Permit 18529 issued to J. Straley. (Photo – Nora Saks)And, this one tissue sample contains powerful stuff. It will reveal the whale’s genetic fingerprint, and much about its biology and life history.It’s all for a project called the Survey of Population Level Indices for Southeast Alaska Humpbacks. That’s a mouthful, but everyone calls it SPLISH, which is a lot more fun to say.SPLISH involves teams from seven independent research groups, fanning out across the waters of northern Southeast Alaska during the same two-week period. Their goal is to find out how many humpbacks there are, where they are and how well they’re doing.It’s a mini version of a larger project called SPLASH that was done over a decade ago.That’s because, while most humpback populations were recently removed from the Endangered Species List – there’s very little federal money to keep monitoring them long term.Phil Clapham is a large whale expert with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.“The funding tends to go towards those species for which we know there’s a management problem, which are in some cases in the public eye. The thing about humpbacks is they’ve come back screamingly well,” Clapham said.But not everyone agrees. Professor Jan Straley isn’t as comfortable calling it an ecological success story just yet.“Not in Southeast. Not what I’ve seen in the last year. I’m not convinced the whales are doing that well,” Straley said.Straley is a veteran marine biologist at the University of Alaska, and one of the brains behind SPLISH. She and her colleagues have recently noticed humpbacks that look sickly, and have fewer calves.Straley wonders if the population is just reaching carrying capacity, or if the conditions in the ocean are changing so rapidly that they’re struggling to keep up.Either way, and it could be both, it’s too soon to tell.“If it shows that there is an issue with the health of these whales, we’ve got something big happening,” Straley said. “Or maybe not big, but at least something is happening that we don’t know yet.”For now, Straley and her collaborators in the science community are keeping close tabs on humpbacks in the region, on a shoestring budget, with a lot of help from volunteers.Volunteers like the ones on the inflatable raft. As the sun begins to set, the crew is still on the water, buzzing from GPS point — to whale — to GPS point.It’s been a wildly successful day in the field, their best one yet. They’ve documented almost 30 whales, snapped over 300 photos and gotten two biopsies. But spending 12 hours with the same four people on an inflatable raft the size of a kiddie pool, with no protection from the elements, can cause even the hardiest of spirits to sag.But then, the group gets a special surprise. Big bubbles appear on the sea’s surface and start swirling clockwise, forming a perfect circle that perks everyone up.“Sick, huh?” Kosma said. “It’s so cool. Oh there we go!”Three humpbacks emerge from the depths, right in the center of the ring, like the mighty cetaceans of the apocalypse. Their mouths are hinged open to gulp down massive quantities of fish. This is a cooperative feeding strategy called bubble netting. And it is a sight to behold.“I’ll be so bummed out, and then it’s like boom! There’s a huge group of bubble netters, and then I’m warm again, there’s blood in my fingers, blood in my toes. I’m pumped, I’m excited, I’m awake,” Kosma said. “It’s just incredible.”Even after a long day of repetitive wildlife spotting, for Madison Kosma, this still feels like something exceptional.last_img read more