Maken blames NDA for Kalmadi’s appointment as CWG OC chief

first_imgWith the UPA government facing the heat over the Commonwealth Games fiasco, Union sports minister Ajay Maken on Tuesday chose to deflect the blame by claiming the NDA was responsible for appointing Suresh Kalmadi as the Organising Committee (OC) chairman.”The Host City agreement was signed in 2003 by the then NDA government and it clearly laid down the principle that the IOA (Indian Olympic Association) president would be the OC chairman. So where was the room to change that bid document?” Maken asked in his bid to absolve the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) which has drawn flak over Kalmadi’s appointment in the latest CAG report.Maken went to the extent of blaming the NDA government of “hijacking” the opportunity to sign the Host City agreement from the Delhi government, which he said gave rise to “the mother of all problems”. But this does not absolve his own UPA government of putting the seal of approval on Kalmadi’s appointment as OC chairman and also charting his responsibilities and core duties, which had later come into conflict with the then sports ministers – late Sunil Dutt and Mani Shankar Aiyar.A communiqu from the PMO (under the UPA government) dated December 6, 2004 and coming from the desk of the then officer on special duty, Rohit Khera, clearly said: “An Organising Committee and Executive Board responsible for the conduct of the Games and formulation of sub-committees will be chaired by Suresh Kalmadi, President IOA.” The direction issued by the Manmohan Singh government further made it clear that the OC had to deal with the Government of India through the sports ministry and the Delhi administration.”The composition of the OC will be decided by the GoM (group of ministers) or by the PM taking into account the suggestions of its chairman (Kalmadi),” the PMO communiqu had stated then.This had subsequently triggered a turf war between Kalmadi and three successive sports ministers – Dutt, Aiyar and M. S. Gill. The three sports ministers had repeatedly warned the Prime Minister against the structure and working of the CWG Organising Committee headed by Kalmadi. The same has been cited by the CAG report as having been “overlooked” by the then government, resulting in the CWG “mess.” While Dutt had said the OC should be headed by a “government nominee” like the sports minister, his successor Aiyar had criticised it for “squandering” money.Gill had even alleged that the Executive Committee of the OC “rarely” met and endorsed “post facto decisions taken in a highly centralised manner”. The CAG noted that Kalmadi continued to “rule OC at will with his cohorts”, most of whom are with him in Tihar jail now. Asked to comment on Kalmadi’s appointment as OC chief despite Dutt’s opposition, a senior PMO official said: “We had gone by the rule and had kept the sports ministry and the government informed.advertisementThe general assembly of IOA had unanimously elected Kalmadi and the decision was communicated to the Commonwealth Games Federation and the government.” On November 14, 2004, Dutt, in a letter to the PM, had protested against Kalmadi’s election. He had claimed the IOA resolution appointing Kalmadi as OC chairman was “at variance” with the decision of the GoM. “The IOA was ‘aware’ that the GoM had agreed to appoint the sports minister as OC chairman for preparation and conduct of the Games,” Dutt had written.last_img read more

NFL looking for next generation of stars ages 9-12

first_imgMOST READ Duterte officials’ paranoia is ‘singularly myopic’ Sanders said he was especially thrilled the league is looking for both boys and girls: “My daughter, she played for my youth football team all the way up to 12 years old and she played tackle, not just flag, and she loved every minute of it.”A Hall of Fame defensive back who also starred in Major League Baseball, Sanders said some of today’s rising NFL stars such as Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson aren’t just great football players but “bona fide athletes. They played dual sports coming up. These guys did it all. And that’s the kind of love and excitement and passion that we want” to find in this national casting call.Ellis said the NFL is expecting “tens of thousands of videos” to be submitted and the league’s teams will help narrow down the finalists.“At the end of this commercial, we will say, ‘Here’s to the next 100,’” Ellis said. “So, we thought it was appropriate for us to use this unique opportunity as a passing of the torch.” FILE – In this March 25, 2019 file photo, Tim Ellis, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the NFL, speaks during the annual NFL football owners meetings, in Phoenix. The NFL launched a casting call Sunday, Nov. 17 asking parents and youth coaches of boys and girls ages 9-12 to submit videos of the kids’ best moves on the football field for a chance to attend Super Bowl 54 in Miami and to appear in a follow-up commercial to last year’s epic star-studded banquet spot that kicked off the league’s 100th season. “We kicked off the 100th season in a big way. Now we want to create an even bigger juggernaut commercial, even more ambitious than before, that serves as the passing of the torch to this next generation of superstars,” Ellis said. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)The NFL is looking for the next generation of youth football stars to help usher in its second century.The league launched a casting call Sunday asking parents and youth coaches of boys and girls ages 9-12 to submit videos of the kids’ best moves on the football field for a chance to attend Super Bowl 54 in Miami and to appear in a follow-up commercial to last year’s epic star-studded banquet spot that kicked off the league’s 100th season.ADVERTISEMENT Priority legislation in the 18th Congress Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:54Latest auto creations on display at Tokyo Motor Show02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue LATEST STORIES Ronaldo stuck on 99 goals but Portugal through to Euro 2020 Rice industry paralysis In that spot, some of the game’s greats from past and present fought over a golden football that toppled from atop a giant cake when Marshawn Lynch’s attempt to sneak a dollop of frosting went horribly — or was it wonderfully? — wrong.“We kicked off the 100th season in a big way. Now we want to create an even bigger juggernaut commercial, even more ambitious than before, that serves as the passing of the torch to this next generation of superstars,” NFL chief marketing officer Tim Ellis said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40SPORTSSan Miguel suspends Santos, Nabong, Tubid indefinitely after ‘tussle’ in practiceIn a spot launching “The Next 100 Super Bowl Contest,” Deion Sanders calls for parents and youth coaches to send in videos showcasing their kids’ best moves and highlighting their passion for America’s most popular sport.Thirty-two kids will be selected to attend the Super Bowl and appear in the new spot along with retired and current superstars. Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? “We started looking at a lot of the videos that kids are putting online of themselves playing and we were just blown away at how amazing some of their moves were and how good they were at that age,” Ellis told The Associated Press. “I mean, some of these kids were doing these one-handed catches like Odell Beckham Jr. We were just all like clapping and yelling and celebrating like, how can these kids be this good at this age? It’s incredible.”Ellis said “the reason we wanted to get someone like Deion, who is a revered player by our generation, is that we knew he could help us get that level of awareness and get people really talking about this. And ultimately, our goal is to get this talked about on the school grounds, right? We want all the kids talking about it at school, together with their parents, among the community and really drive that level of passion and excitement to encourage kids to think about football in a different way and to actually participate.”Sanders said he’s honored to be involved in the new project that caps the league’s yearlong celebration of its centennial season.“I didn’t just become ‘Prime Time’ when I reached the NFL,” Sanders said. “It started on a youth football field in Fort Myers, Florida. That’s when I was doing the Billy ‘White Shoes’ Johnson, emulating some of the stars that were prevalent and current in the NFL. That’s where that started; I just took it to the next level, the next stage. And that’s what some of these youngsters are having an opportunity to do.”Parents and coaches, with parental permission, can submit their kids’ video showcasing their skills at tackle or flag football at PlayFootball.com/Next100.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Drilon apologizes to BCDA’s Dizon over false claim on designer of P50-M ‘kaldero’ What’s behind the display of Chinese flag in Boracay? Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’last_img read more

Premier League wrap: Chelsea hammer Stoke to go 2nd in league, Mohamed Salah rescues Liverpool

first_imgEden Hazard’s absence was not felt as Willian ran the show for the current Premier League champions Chelsea in their 5-0 hammering of Stoke City on Saturday.With the win and Manchester United’s loss later in the night, Chelsea are now second in the league. The Londoners now have 45 points from 21 games, one more than third-placed United, who have played the same number of games. However, Chelsea are 13 points behind runaway leaders City, who are currently on 56 from 20 games. They will have the chance to extend the lead by 16 points from when they travel to Crystal Palace on New Year’s Eve.ALSO WATCHThe Blues dominated from the very beginning despite being without their star player Hazard, who was rested ahead of next week’s away clash against Arsenal. Antonio Rudiger heading home Willian’s free kick in the third minute to give his team an early lead. Danny Drinkwater further dampened Stoke’s spirits six minutes later as he rifled a half-volley home from nearly 25 metres to score his first-ever goal for the club. Willian then set up Pedro for the third in the 23rd minute.The Brazilian capped a superb display by slotting home the fourth from the penalty spot near the end after being fouled by Geoff Cameron, with Davide Zappacosta slamming home a fifth goal late on to complete a hefty rout.LIVERPOOL 2 – 1 LEICESTERGOAL! Another cool and composed finish by @22mosalah who slots the ball away into the bottom corner.[2-1] pic.twitter.com/xp9aCbVhWa- Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 30, 2017Two second half goals from Mohamed Salah helped Liverpool secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Leicester City at Anfield on Saturday.advertisementThe visitors got off to the perfect start when a mix up at the back saw Riyad Mahrez square for Jamie Vardy to tap into an open goal in front of the Kop in the third minute. Liverpool looked for an immediate riposte, but Salah missed two gilt-edged opportunities before Sadio Mane saw an effort disallowed for offside as Juergen Klopp’s men grew frustrated.Salah’s persistence paid off just after the restart when he fired in from close range to level and struck his second, and 17th in the Premier League this season, in the 76th after shrugging off Harry Maguire and producing a composed finish. BOURNEMOUTH 2 – 1 EVERTON�??? That winning feeling! �???#afcb �?�? pic.twitter.com/yL40ibVIXq- AFC Bournemouth �?�? (@afcbournemouth) December 30, 2017Sam Allardyce tasted defeat for the first time as Everton manager in a 2-1 loss at Bournemouth on Saturday.Ryan Fraser deservedly gave Bournemouth the lead when he steered a volley into the net after being picked out by Josh King in the 33rd minute.Everton struggled to get going in the second half but a substitution by Allardyce immediately paid dividends as Oumar Niasse stepped off the bench to set up Idrissa Gueye for the equaliser in the 57th minute, with Everton’s first shot on target.Bournemouth remained on the front foot and earned victory thanks to Fraser’s 89th-minute winner, with the aid of a deflection, as Bournemouth climbed out of the relegation zone and up to 13th, while Everton remain in ninth despite the defeat.WATFORD 1 – 2 SWANSEAAn unbelievable turnaround. 3️�?� points in the bag! �??��??� GALLERY �?�️ https://t.co/ehy4hEOM3D pic.twitter.com/nbWp7i3pGR- Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) December 30, 2017Swansea City’s new coach Carlos Carvalhal celebrated a memorable debut after his team scored two late goals in a thrilling 2-1 win at Watford on Saturday to move off the foot of the table.Jordan Ayew and Luciano Narsingh struck in the closing stages to cancel out Andre Carrillo’s opener for the home side, who dominated the match but were punished after substitute Andre Gray missed a sitter. HUDDERSFIELD 0 – 0 BURNLEY�?�️ REPORT: #htafc shared the spoils with @BurnleyOfficial in a goalless draw in its final game of 2017 at the @johnsmithstadia.�??? https://t.co/bcf6rgTZQ1 (CL) pic.twitter.com/5QHiizunFK- Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) December 30, 2017Seventh-placed Burnley were left frustrated, after failing to convert their chances and having a strong penalty appeal turned down, in a goalless draw at Huddersfield Town on SaturdayHuddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl admitted that he had made contact with Burnley’s Jeff Hendrick in the 61st minute as the Irishman rounded him inside the area before going to ground.part from an early effort when Huddersfield midfielder Collin Quaner tested Burnley keeper Nick Pope, the visitors had the better chances.Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Steven Defour both went close for the Clarets while Hendrick had the ball in the net but his effort was ruled out for offside.advertisementScott Arfield should have done better for Burnley in the 53rd minute and Lossl saved well near the end to foil Burnley substitute Nahki Wells, playing against his former club.(With inputs from Reuters)Happy with where your team is heading into 2018?#PL pic.twitter.com/NVDPMvHM44- Premier League (@premierleague) December 30, 2017last_img read more

Mike Moustakas, Stays Red Hot, Lift Brewers Past Padres 3-1 (Video)

first_imgMILWAUKEE — Mike Moustakas used one swing of the bat to give the Milwaukee Brewers’ playoff push a big boost.Moustakas hit his 35th home run of the season, Lorenzo Cain also went deep and the Brewers beat the San Diego Padres 3-1 on Tuesday night with their 11th win in 12 games.“Moustakas, he’s always coming up with big homers,” Cain said. “I’ve been seeing it for a long time now, especially back in our KC days. He has the power. He always hits 20, 30 homers every single year. So, I don’t expect anything less. He’s definitely been huge for us all year long.”Milwaukee Brewers’ Mike Moustakas hits a home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)The Brewers pulled even with the Chicago Cubs for the NL’s second wild card and both trailed first-place St. Louis by two games in the NL Central.Manager Craig Counsell likes how everybody is contributing during this late-season charge.“We’re doing our jobs,” he said. “You feel like if we post a good record, a good game every day for these last 11-12, we’ll find ourselves in a pretty good spot.”Moustakas teed off on a 1-2 pitch from reliever Matt Strahm (5-9) in the bottom of the seventh after Hunter Renfroe’s 32nd home run in the top of the inning tied the score at 1-1.“It’s a big moment because we kind of lose the momentum a little bit with the game tied and everybody pitching so well,” Counsell said. “But, he took it right back, I thought, and it’s a huge spot.”In a race to the Postseason, the home runs get bigger, both literally and figuratively. #RiseAsOne pic.twitter.com/f0o95Zi6yG— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 18, 2019Renfroe, who had missed nine games with a sprained left ankle, connected off Matt Albers (8-5) and spoiled the six scoreless innings crafted by three Milwaukee pitchers.Brandon Woodruff started, struck out four and walked one in the first two innings. Gio Gonzalez allowed two hits and struck out four over the third, fourth and fifth. Brent Suter retired the side in order in the sixth, striking out two.Drew Pomeranz struck out the side in the eighth and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save in as many chances.Ben Gamel scored on Trent Grisham’s sacrifice fly in the eighth.Padres rookie right-hander Chris Paddack made his 26th start of the season and first against the Brewers. He allowed one hit, Cain’s solo shot in the third, walked one and struck out nine in five innings.Paddack knew he made a mistake on the pitch to Cain.“One pitch I’d take back was the Cain at-bat,” Paddack said. “I just kind of got away from myself. We were trying to stay stubborn, and I just made a mistake. I left that fastball right over the middle. He already saw six before that and it’s hard to blow 94 (mph) by a veteran hitter like that.”The Padres matched a season-high with their sixth straight loss.Manny Machado had an infield single and Paddack added a base hit.TRAINER’S ROOMPadres: LF Wil Myers was scratched and replaced by Nick Martini in left. No reason was given for the change, but Myers struck out pinch-hitting in the eighth. … C Francisco Mejia (right oblique strain) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. He was available to pinch hit or catch.Brewers: Woodruff was reinstated from the 10-day injured list (left oblique strain) prior to the game. … C Manny Piña (mild concussion) was cleared to play by the doctors from MLB. He’s been out since taking a foul tip off his mask Sept. 5th. … 2B Keston Hiura (strained left hamstring) was back in the starting lineup. He had only pinch hit twice since being reinstated from the 10-day injured list Sept. 11th.MYERS UPDATEManager Andy Green said that Myers was scratched from the starting lineup because of an arm issue.“He was fine to hit, but his arm was hanging a little bit,” Green said. “He’s played through it the last three or four days and it was bothering him a quite a bit today. He thought he was gonna be able to go, but he wasn’t really able to throw the baseball. So, we used him as a pinch-hitter today. Hopefully, he’s back in there tomorrow.”POMERANZ FOR TWO“I didn’t think I was going to go back out there a second inning,” he said. “I gave it all I had the first inning (the 8th) and came back in. He (Counsell) said, ‘Keep going.’ My focus is getting outs. So, it was three more outs.”STAT FACTSIt was Renfroe’s first home run since August 10 against Colorado and his first on the road since Aug. 1st at the Los Angeles Dodgers.Paddack allowed his first earned run since Aug. 29th, a solo home run by the San Francisco Giants Brandon Belt.The Padres are 13-19 against the NL Central and 18-52 when scoring three or fewer runs.UP NEXTPadres: RHP Dinelson Lamet (2-5, 4.06) makes his second career start against the Brewers. He’s allowed no more than three earned runs in 10 of his 12 previous starts this season.Brewers: RHP Adrian Houser (6-6, 3.84 ERA) makes his second appearance and first start against the Padres this season. He tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief on June 19th at Petco Park.By: Joe Totoraitis, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Team India reaches Vizag for 2nd ODI, Virat Kohli on cusp of another world record

first_imgThe Indian cricket team touched down at Visakhapatnam airport on Monday morning, just hours after wrapping up a comfortable victory against the Windies on Sunday night.The Virat Kohli-led team got a rousing reception at the airport where a large crowd had gathered to catch a glimpse of the players as they boarded the team bus.India and West Indies will play the second ODI at Vizag cricket stadium on Wednesday (October 24).India hammered the Windies by 8 wickets in the first ODI of the five-match series in Guwahati on Sunday with Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma slamming daddy hundreds.Also Read – Virat Kohli scores 36th ODI hundred, breaks Sachin Tendulkar’s recordChasing 323 for victory, the duo was involved in a massive 246-run partnership for the second wicket as Kohli hit a masterful 140 off 107 deliveries while Rohit remained unbeaten on a 117-ball 152. India reached the target with 47 balls to spare.Rohit Sharma becomes 4th Indian batsman to smash 20 ODI hundredsIt was India’s biggest ever partnership in ODIs while batting second. The pair also went on to break numerous records en route their superlative knocks. Kohli notched up his 36th hundred while Rohit’s 20th century puts him fourth on the list of centuries by Indians.Always a pleasure to bat with Rohit Sharma: Virat Kohli after record partnershipThe century helped Kohli become the fastest batsman to 60 international tons and took him within touching distance of the 10000-run mark in ODIs as well.The 29-year-old now needs just 81 runs more to breach the 10,000-run mark in one-day internationals. He currently has 9919 runs from 212 ODIs at an average of 58.69 with 36 hundreds and 48 fifties.advertisementKohli is in line to beat Sachin Tendulkar’s record of being the fastest to the landmark in the 50-over format. Tendulkar took 259 innings to reach 10000 runs followed by former India captain Sourav Ganguly (263 innings) and Ricky Ponting (266 innings).Kohli has played 204 innings so far and has a lot of time in hand to get to the milestone and add another feather in his already illustrious cap.Incidentally, he beat Tendulkar’s record of reaching 60 international hundreds in his 386th innings, which is 40 fewer than Tendulkar. The hundred was also Kohli’s fourth in ODIs this year. He had earlier smashed three centuries against South Africa in January.last_img read more

Scaloni: Messi is still essential

first_imgArgentina coach Lionel Scaloni defended Lionel Messi, saying the star was still key to his team despite a quieter Copa America campaign.Messi has scored just once, from the penalty spot against Paraguay, in four games at the tournament, where Argentina reached the semi-finals courtesy of a 2-0 win over Venezuela on Friday.Amid criticism of the Barcelona star, Scaloni defended Messi, saying there were no doubts over the 32-year-old. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare “I think, along with many other people, that he [Messi] is an essential addition on the pitch,” he told a news conference.”If you were here to see how much he contributes in the dressing room, how much he contributes on the pitch for his team-mates, maybe you would think differently.”I can assure you he is a big part of the team, we have no doubts about that.”Scaloni added: “Messi is Messi. He’s the best, above everyone else.”@CopaAmerica @Argentina  1 (Lautaro Martínez) – #Venezuela  0¡Comenzó el segundo tiempo en el Maracaná! #VamosArgentina ! pic.twitter.com/sjVbwM2CKL — Selección Argentina  (@Argentina) June 28, 2019 Argentina’s win sent them through to a blockbuster semi-final against Brazil in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.Scaloni is excited by the meeting between the rivals, with hosts Brazil having edged past Paraguay on penalties.”This match will be something beautiful to experience for all of you, for all football fans out there,” he said.”For us on the bench, it will be harder. But it will be a beautiful game, very nice, and we will try to complicate things for them and try to win it.”Messi not firing on all cylinders at the tournament has allowed others to shine.Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring for the Albiceleste against Venezuela, his second goal in as many games, having scored against Qatar.Scaloni has changed tactics in those games, playing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner behind a front two of the Inter man and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.Those are the only two games Argentina have won at this tournament, losing to Colombia 2-0 in their opening group game and then drawing with Paraguay in the other.They now have a chance to make their third straight final, and avenge their defeat in the previous title games.Their nemesis from those games, Chile, are in the other semi-final after defeating Colombia in a penalty shoot-out later on Friday.last_img read more

DFDS Splashes New RoRo Giant at Jinling Shipyard

first_imgImage Courtesy: Jeppe Halkjær Pedersen/DFDSDanish shipping and logistics company DFDS has launched its first new mega-ship being built at China’s Jinling shipyard.The first of five units ordered from the shipbuilder was splashed into the Yangtze River on July 16, according to the company.Prior to the launching, the shipbuilder dressed the newbuilding in a DFDS coat.The vessel, which is designed to carry 6,700 lane metres of freight equivalent to around 450 trailers, was ordered as part of a batch of two units in September 2016. At the time, the company said that the ships would be delivered at the beginning of 2019.Later in mid-2017, DFDS decided to add two more ships to its orderbook at Jinling, while in June 2018, the company grew the orderbook by one additional RoRo. These are expected to join their owner in early 2020.The orders are a part of DFDS’ ongoing fleet renewal plan launched in an effort to accommodate freight growth, increase operational efficiency and reduce the environmental impact.The large size of the ships is expected to decrease unit costs as well as environmental impact per transported unit, the company earlier said.As disclosed, the ships represent a new generation of environmentally friendly RoRo ships as they comply with the latest environmental rules of the new IMO-standard EEDI (Energy Efficency Design Index). Also included are scrubbers for the removal of sulphur, ballast water treatment systems and a number of energy efficiency initiatives.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Maroc Telecom Awarded the IIA Certification for Internal Audits Activities

Rabat – Maroc Telecom received the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) certification for its internal auditing activities, awarded by the French Institute of Internal Audit and Control (IFACI), in accordance with the Professional Internal Audit Framework (RPAI) based on International Standards on Internal Auditing.Maroc Telecom is thus the first company listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange to obtain this certification, which attests that its internal audit activities meet strict criteria of independence and competence and contribute strongly to the continuous improvement of business processes.The IFACI certification ensures the telecommunications giant’s enforcement and compliance of the 25 requirements of the 2015 Internal Audit Professional Repository classified according to three levels: the resources available to Maroc Telecom’s Internal Audit (independence, objectivity, charter, ethics), the services it implements (risk-based audit plan, corporate governance, methodology and audit work) and the supervision and control of the audit (supervision, insurance program ND quality improvement). “This international recognition is a further guarantee of the professionalism of Maroc Telecom and reflects its stated willingness to align its audit and control activities with international standards,” the company said in a statement. read more

Global interest in Western Potashowned Milestone

first_imgIn an article published on BNWnews.ca focussing on potash industry developments in the wake of continuing high prices and record food demand, Western Potash, with arguably the world’s most advanced ‘independent’ potash project, is highlighted as a company getting a lot of attention from potential state-funded buyers. The company has just published a better-than-expected pre-feasibility study for its Milestone project in Saskatchewan, which some analysts believe make it very attractive to the world’s potash-hungry emerging super-powers. China, India and Brazil were cited as countries being very anxious to lock-in ownership of long-term overseas potash supplies.Weighing in Western Potash’s favour is the fact that Milestone boasts a projected annual production of up to 2.8 Mt of potash and it has an anticipated minimum 40-year mine life. Another big plus is that the pricing of this future output isn’t going to be set by Canpotex, the cartel that controls all of Saskatchewan’s existing potash sales. The project’s “independent” status is of significant strategic value to any end-user, such as a foreign fertiliser company, that buys into the 945 Mt resource, according to analysts. China would prefer not to have to buy much of its potash from Canpotex due to high pricing and Max Vichniakov, a Toronto-based analyst for the investment bank Octagon Capital, believes that India would also likely find it far more cost effective to deal with Western Potash. The Milestone property is adjacent to other potash projects owned by the mining giants BHP Billiton, Vale and Rio Tinto/JSC Acron and is the last junior-owned project that has not been bought out. However, John Costigan, a spokesperson for Western Potash, was quoted in the article and played down any suggestions that either a takeover or a joint venture deal is imminent. “Building further value into the Milestone Project is our focus right now, rather than completing any kind of industry transaction. At the same time, we want to continue to significantly de-risk the project by undertaking a full feasibility study,” he said.last_img read more

Strong tournament for generation 1996 The third Handball is my future in

bugojno handball tournamentqatar handball federation The IHF Youth World Championship will be held in Russia in August. One of the best friendly tournaments in Europe this year will be played in Bosnia and Herzegovina city of Bugojno. It is called “Handball is my future” and it is financially helped by Qatar Handball Federation and localy organized by home team – MRK Iskra Bugojno. The third edition of the tournament will be played from 2 April – 5 April with eight national teams in generation 1996, among them four which will play in Russia next summer.They are Qatar, Poland, Slovenia and Croatia, alongside home team Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Slovakia.Qatar Handball Federation covering all the costs of organization, travel and accommodation of the teams in Bugojno. The most important person who brought the tournament in this part of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Asim Šahman, the Bosnian coach who is working in Doha for more than 10 years.Šahman has been a MRK Iskra Bugojno coach for a long time, and in close cooperation with the handball people from Qatar, he found the way to help local community through sport.“Handball is my future” will last for four days for the first time in tournament history, with some of the biggest handball talents on the court from Balkan, Middle Europe and Persian Gulf.photo: www.bug.ba ← Previous Story Celje PL extend deal with Branko Tamse until 2018! Next Story → Fifth goalies’ Camp in Makarska&Tucepi: Sterbik, Lavrov, Saric, Basic, Sego among TOP stars! read more

Mobile operators fail to implement directive on VAT charges for charity texts

first_imgTHE CEO OF children’s charity, the Jack and Jill Foundation, Jonathan Irwin, has urged the government take action to address the VAT charges on charity related text messages as mobile operators have failed to implement the change in law two years ago.In 2011, Revenue announced that all charity related texts would not longer be liable for VAT. Last year, O’Cúiv raised the issue in the Dáil proposing that a special exchequer grant be paid to compensate impacted charities, as it had still not been implemented by mobile operators and charities were not receiving the money they were owed.One year on, the situation remains the same and Irwin said mobile phone operators have told the charity that they “can’t make special VAT allowances” as they would have to change their system.“The bottom line is that, as a result of this apathy, laziness, unwillingness to upgrade their system whatever you want to call it, we’re losing valuable income, as are some other well deserving Irish charities, with no mechanism to claim back the over-charged VAT,” he said.Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Fianna Fáil’s Eamon O’Cúiv said the onus is on “both Revenue and the government to sort this out”.“The law is the law and it’s up to the phone operators to do something abut it as well, if there was a new PRSI system they’d have to make it work so why should this be any different?” he said.“In the meantime, all we have to do is have the charities get their auditors to say how much money they recieved by text and make a submission to Revenue to get a refund – it’s not rocket science.”“What’s happening is illegal because the VAT man is getting money that should be going to charities,” he added. “It’s an absolute disgrace and nothing much is being done about it.”Irwin said it would be a “lovely Easter present for the charity sector” if the mobile operators would “sort their internal systems” so that VAT is no longer charged on text donations.Three mobile phone operators and The Department of Finance had not returned requests for comment on the issue at the time of publication.Read: €300k owed to Jack & Jill Foundation after fundraising company liquidated>last_img read more

Wrap up warm Heavy rain and gusts of up to 100kmh to

first_img Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie Wrap up warm… Heavy rain and gusts of up to 100km/h to hit the country A Status Yellow wind warning has been issued for the whole country. 46,255 Views https://jrnl.ie/3850408 Tuesday 13 Feb 2018, 10:40 PM Feb 13th 2018, 5:57 PM Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie 34 Comments Short URL By Hayley Halpin Share76 Tweet Email5 Updated at 10.40pmA STATUS YELLOW wind warning has been issued for the whole of Ireland tomorrow.Met Éireann has warned that southerly winds will reach mean speeds of 50 to 60km/h with gusts of up to 100km/h.The warning will be valid between midnight tonight and 8am tomorrow morning.The strongest winds are expected in coastal areas, according to Met Éireann.Temperatures will drop to between -1 and 1 degree Celsius early tonight, causing frost in places. However, temperatures are set to rise later in the night as rain extends eastwards across the country along with the freshening southerly winds.The strong southerly winds will continue into tomorrow, with heavy rain forecast too.The rain will turn to showers in the late morning and afternoon, as the skies brighten up. Highest temperatures during the morning will range between 8 and 11 degrees, however, it will become colder in the afternoon as the winds become westerly in direction.Met Éireann says windy conditions will continue into tomorrow night, as scattered showers continue to affect the west and north.Temperatures will fall again to between -1 and 3 degrees, with some frost.Wintry showers will push into Thursday morning and night, and conditions will become cloudier throughout the day as showers merge into longer spells of rain.Met Éireann has warned of a risk of some sleet on higher ground in northern areas.Sun glare warningAs is usual in Ireland, the weather tends to change drastically in the blink of an eye. Despite the fact that heavy rain and wind is forecast for the coming days, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has issued a warning to drivers to be aware of the danger posed by sun glare.Sun glare can result in drivers being temporarily dazzled or blinded by the intensity and brightness of a low sun on the horizon.The RSA is advising drivers to:Wear sunglasses to reduce the risk of being dazzledEnsure your windscreen is clear of grease or grime inside and out. Add windshield washer fluid to the water in the reservoir and check that the wipers are not worn away or damaged.Reduce your speed. Slowing down on the approach of junctions, corners and bends is critical.Watch out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and allow extra space.Be particularly aware of the dangers of sun glare when travelling east in the mornings and west later in the day.Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are being advised to beware of the dangers that sun glare can cause to drivers, to make sure that the driver can see them at all times, and to be aware of the drivers’ blind spots.Read: Eight-month-old awarded €27.5k after pulling boiling water on herself at Chinese restaurantMore: It should be ‘frowned upon’ for parents to give young children a smartphone, politicians told Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Hundreds march across I5 Bridge in Jobs for Justice demonstration

first_imgHundreds marched across the Interstate 5 Bridge on Saturday morning to protest labor practices in Portland and Vancouver.Portland Jobs With Justice, a 90-member nonprofit organization, organized the rally, which started in Portland near Jantzen Beach, included a two-mile walk across I-5 North to Vancouver and finished at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver.The march and subsequent rally drew between 150 to 200 participants, the Vancouver Police Department said. There were no incidents involved with the march, according to police.The march, themed “Good Jobs for All! No Cuts!” highlighted concerns over labor struggles involving the Hilton Vancouver Washington, Georgia-Pacific in Portland and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in Longview, among others, said organizer Chris Ferlazzo.“I thought it was exciting to connect the communities and their struggles,” Ferlazzo said, estimating that around 500 people participated, including people involved in Occupy Vancouver and Occupy Portland.Saturday’s march and rally was the third in a series of events organized as part of Portland Rising. The other two were an April march in Portland and a June bus tour of seven locations, including the Hilton Vancouver Washington.last_img read more

NASA SpaceX and Boeings ISS program is as American as moon pie

first_img Sci-Tech Now playing: Watch this: Comment Tags NASA turns 60: The space agency has taken humanity farther than anyone else, and it has plans to go further.Taking It to Extremes: Mix insane situations — erupting volcanoes, nuclear meltdowns, 30-foot waves — with everyday tech. Here’s what happens. 1 What life is like on the International Space Station (pictures) Share your voicecenter_img It almost sounds like the start of a joke: NASA walks into a bar with one of the oldest aerospace companies and a guy who smoked pot with Joe Rogan…But while they may sound like unlikely bedfellows,  NASA has formed partnerships with Boeing and SpaceX in a bid to get into space faster and to once again launch astronauts from US soil. It’s known as the Commercial Crew Program, and it’s been set up to help NASA get astronauts to the International Space Station (without spending too many taxpayer dollars).In this week’s episode of Watch This Space, we take a look at what these two giants of American industry bring to the table and what NASA has to gain from outsourcing its space program. Let’s break it down. NASA taps SpaceX, Boeing to bring space travel back under… What is the Commercial Crew Program?The CCP is what’s known as a public-private partnership — it’s a common way for government agencies to use expertise in private industry to get their projects completed on time and on budget. In 2014, NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX, two of the biggest names in the American aerospace industry, to help it get astronauts into space and onto the International Space Station.The idea is that Boeing and SpaceX will help NASA develop and operate the launch systems and spacecraft to get humans into low-Earth orbit and help it fulfill its obligations to help staff the ISS. Since NASA’s shuttle program wrapped in 2011, the US has been relying on other countries to get its astronauts into space, launching in the Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft as far away as in Kazakhstan. NASA wants to bring those launches back home.   NASA’s Commercial Crew Astronauts with the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Dragon mockups in 2018. Robert Markowitz/NASA/Johnson Space Center Why Boeing and SpaceX?While they both focus on the sky, these companies couldn’t be more different. Boeing has been around for more than 100 years and has worked with NASA pretty since its formation in the ’60s, including working on the Apollo program. SpaceX, by contrast, has been around for less than two decades, with ambitious goals to get humans to Mars, make spaceflight more affordable and even take tourists to the moon. But both companies are at the cutting edge of aerospace technology and have in-house expertise in developing, manufacturing and launching spacecraft. It’s this skillset that NASA wants to use to help it get into space faster without having the kind of cost blowouts that caused problems in the past.spacexcrewThe SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule ahead of a test flight that was later delayed.  SpaceX How will they get there?To get astronauts into space, Boeing has developed the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner. According to Boeing, the Starliner can fit up to seven passengers, or up to four crew for missions to the ISS, alongside research cargo. It’s a reusable aircraft that can be used up to 10 times. It can land on solid ground rather than landing in the ocean (which is a first for an American-made spacecraft). And there are backup controls inside for the pilot. SpaceX, on the other hand, is using its Dragon spacecraft. SpaceX has been using the Dragon to run cargo to the ISS since 2012. (It made history as the first commercial spacecraft to visit the space station.) But the Dragon is also configurable to carry crew in its capsule section, with onboard controls, an Environmental Control and Life Support System and an emergency escape system that carries astronauts to safety with “about the same G-forces as a ride at Disneyland.” Because this is SpaceX of course. What’s the timeline? boeing-starliner-gallery-4Enlarge ImageOne of Boeing’s Starliner team members works on the spacecraft. Boeing We can expect NASA astronauts to be heading to the ISS this year, but the CCP hasn’t been without its problems. NASA has named its two crews for the Boeing and SpaceX spacecraft, though there were last-minute changes for the Boeing craft due to medical issues. SpaceX has also been forced to delay its test flights a number of times. But according to the most recently updated schedule and if all goes as planned, both SpaceX and Boeing should complete test flights by March and abort tests (to ensure systems are safe if the launch needs to be aborted on the pad or mid-ascent) before running crewed flights mid-year. The estimate is June for SpaceX and August for Boeing. After that, both companies will be certified to launch humans into low-Earth orbit and send crew members to the International Space Station. To learn more about NASA’s partnerships, check out the latest episode of Watch This Space.  23 Photos 6:19 Elon Musk Boeing NASA Space SpaceXlast_img read more

Google recreates Apollo 11 cockpit in AR for 50th anniversary

first_imgWe’ve all seen this image of Buzz Aldrin on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, but have you taken a tour of the command module? NASA Apollo 11 moon landing: Neil Armstrong’s defining moment Share your voice Many people are familiar with the highlights and major players in the Apollo program, and Google’s collaboration with the Smithsonian aims to expand that knowledge with 20 new visual Stories in Search that use photos and videos to highlight lesser-known people and details of the missions. Among the unsung Apollo heroes profiled are Rita Rapp, who developed the lunar journey’s meal plan, and Margaret Hamilton, who led development of the on-board flight software for the missions and is credited with coining the term “software engineering.”Google has also added 40 new exhibits on Apollo 11 to its Arts & Culture section, including CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite’s reflections on humankind’s first steps on the moon, as well as a lesson on how to put on a space suit. (Disclosure: CBS News is owned by CNET parent CBS.)On July 15, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s launch to the moon, Google plans to add several new tours and quizzes to Google Earth. This story is part of To the Moon, a series exploring humanity’s first journey to the lunar surface and our future living and working on the moon. “Using augmented reality, you can then bring the command module into your space — your bedroom, kitchen or wherever you are — to get a better sense of its size,” Google said. Another AR experience planned for later this month will offer a close-up look at Armstrong’s spacesuit.Along with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Google aims to use augmented reality, video, photos and stories to create an immersive experience that gives users a feeling of what the journey to the moon was like. Related stories Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race NASA’s Apollo missions took humans to the moon — and my dad played a part One Giant Leap shows Apollo’s missions were a giant tech leap for all of us Google has a slew of things planned for July to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and on Wednesday the search giant kicks off the party with the first of two AR experiences that’ll put you in the astronauts’ boots. A new augmented reality feature lets you explore a 3D rendering of the cockpit that took the spacemen to the moon in July 1969.”Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins inspired us to learn more about space and life here on Earth,” Google said in a blog post Wednesday. “To mark this milestone of human achievement, we’re bringing you new ways to learn about this moment in history, including new perspectives and stories that celebrate the lesser-known figures who made it happen.”Click here for To The Moon, a CNET multipart series examining our relationship with the moon from the first landing of Apollo 11 to future human settlement on its surface. Robert Rodriguez/CNET The AR experience launching Wednesday promises to place users in a 3D re-creation of the Apollo 11 command module, the spacecraft that carried the first humans to step on the moon. For Google it represents another first, as it’ll be the initial opportunity for users to experience cultural artifacts through AR in Google Search.The new feature, announced in May, displays 3D object links in Search, which brings up three-dimensional models that can then be dropped into the real world at proper scale in AR. To get your command module ready, search for “Apollo 11” on any AR-compatible Android or iOS device, and you’ll get the option to see the module in 3D, allowing you to zoom in and out and explore it from all angles.center_img Post a comment 35 Photos To the Moon 0 Tags Sci-Tech Culture NASA Space Googlelast_img read more

NASA astronaut accused of space crime rebuts allegations

first_img Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice Sci-Tech 5 McClain was scheduled to perform the first all-female spacewalk in March with fellow astronaut Christina Koch, but the walk was scrubbed days before the historic EVA, due to a spacesuit sizing issue. NASA clarified at the time that McClain felt comfortable in a medium-size suit, but only one could be made available by the time of the planned walk. NASA said it would be faster and safer to change the walker, rather than the suit.A spokeswoman for NASA told the Times the last-minute change was not influenced by the allegations made against McClain.NASA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Our future on the moon: What will the moon look like… Anne McClain during a spacesuit check prior to launching to the ISS. Sergei Savostyanov/Getty NASA astronaut Anne McClain, who spent 203 days in space aboard the International Space Station earlier this year, has been accused of identity theft and improperly accessing the private financial records of her estranged spouse, according to a report by The New York Times. McClain, a lieutenant colonel in the US Army, served as the flight engineer for Expedition 58/59 to the ISS and was set to be part of the first all-female spacewalk. It was during her time aboard the station that she allegedly accessed the bank account of Summer Worden.McClain and Worden had been married since 2014. Worden filed for divorce in 2018, months before McClain was set to launch on a six-month mission to the space station. McClain, through her lawyer, acknowledged she did access the bank account from the space station using a password that she had used previously.Her lawyer told the Times that “she strenuously denies that she did anything improper.” The access was used to ensure care for Worden’s son, who the couple had been raising together. Worden filed a complaint alleging identity theft with both the Federal Trade Commission and NASA’s Office of Inspector General. NASA’s wildest rides: Extreme vehicles for Earth and beyond Comments The Space Station Agreement, signed by the US and 14 other governments involved in the ISS, outlines the legal framework governing activities on the station. Each nation is legally responsible for their elements, equipment and personnel and for applying their own national laws in criminal matters.The accusations are being investigated by the inspector general’s office. McClain took to Twitter on Aug. 24 to rebut the claims, stating there’s “unequivocally no truth” to them and that she has “total confidence” in the inspector general’s investigation. There’s unequivocally no truth to these claims. We’ve been going through a painful, personal separation that’s now unfortunately in the media. I appreciate the outpouring of support and will reserve comment until after the investigation. I have total confidence in the IG process.— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) August 24, 2019 23 Photos Tags NASA 8:35last_img read more

19yearold allegedly lured sexual assault victims by asking for directions

first_imgA 19-year-old Nunapichuk man has been charged with seven counts of kidnapping, burglary, rape and attempted sexual assault. His was arraigned Thursday afternoon at the Bethel courthouse.Nicholas Brink repeatedly denied his involvement throughout the hearing. Witness stand in Bethel courthouse courtroom. (Photo by Lakeidra Chavis/KYUK)Alaska State Troopers arrested Brink on Tuesday. Brink was reportedly riding his snowmachine around the villages of Kasigluk and Nunapitchuk, asking women for directions. When a woman agreed to help him and got on his snowmachine, Brink allegedly took the victim to the tundra and attempt to sexually assault her, according to Alaska State Trooper Nicholas Hayes, with the Violent Offenders Unit.“There was a lot of people that I spoke to, but everybody I spoke to said that they thought that he was lying and using some kind of ruse to get them on the snowmachine,” Hayes said.Hayes traveled the villages earlier this month to investigate. While there, two women from the villages reported they were victims.“Just as of yesterday, another survivor came forward and said she was assaulted by Nicholas,” Hays said. “As of right now, we have five people that have come forward detailing some kind of misconduct that was involved with Nicholas.”Hayes says the assaults reportedly happened as far as back as this past summer.Authorities believe there may be more victims out there and encourage any survivors to contact authorities.last_img read more

Search for remains of Tuluksak resident halted as Kuskokwim ice continues to

first_imgAs the Kuskokwim river ice continues to shift and rot, Search and Rescue volunteers have suspended recovery efforts for the remains of 26-year-old Tuluksak resident Dillon Lamont.Download AudioRiver clear in Kwethluk River. (Photo courtesy of Earl Samuelson)Bethel Search and Rescue Chief Mike Riley says recovery efforts for Lamont just below Tuluksak have been suspended sue to deteriorating river conditions at the search site.“They have kinda suspended their search for Mr. Lamont maybe a week or so until conditions get better. They have pulled their equipment from there because of safety reasons, getting there. The biggest factor there, the safety part for the searchers,” Riley said.Alaska State Troopers say three people had broken through the Kuskokwim River ice near Tuluksak on the 10th. A witness assisted two of the passengers, but Lamont did not make it out. Responders presumed he had drowned and searchers have continued recovery attempts since April 11th. BSAR sent an underwater camera and other equipment for the recovery efforts. Alaska State Troopers did not assist in the recovery efforts for safety reasons.Search and Rescue Vice President Fritz Charles conducted an aerial survey of the Kuskokwim and says the ice shifted in some parts of the river.“There should be no traveling whatsoever at this point. There’s a lot of open holes in the upper and lower end of Straight Slough and the ice did shift within the half hour that we were flying at the upper end of Straight Slough. So there should not be any snowmachine or any kind of vehicle traffic on the river,” Charles said.Fritz says he expects a ‘thermal’ or ‘mush out’ for this years breakup where the lower river ice washed out first, saying the water upriver is lower than it used to be. In a story by Alaska Dispatch, Alaska River Forecast Center Senior hydrologist Crane Johnson says a similar breakup is expected this year for the Kuskokwim.Alaska State Trooper pilot Arthur Abalama says even if the ice clears up quickly people downriver should expect more ice to come from upriver.“Looks like it’s going to open up down here before it does upriver, and if the ice clears enough to where anybody can boat, just be aware there is still a lot of ice to come down from upriver,” Abalama said.Meteorologists expect the area temperatures over the weekend to stay above freezing.last_img read more

40inch 4K smart TV for just Rs 20999 launched Things you must

first_imgDisruption through intense competition has not only transformed the Indian mobile industry, but the television market has also seen a fair share of evolution. Televisions are no longer a luxury and brands have made it easier for buyers to own feature-packed smart TVs in India. Accelerating those efforts further, Thomson has launched a new affordable smartphone TV touted as “India’s first 40-inch 4K smart TV.”Brands like Xiaomi, Kodak, VU and others bring affordable TV choices to consumers and France-based Thomson is in the same league as them. The premium TV category is still led by Samsung, LG and Sony. What Thomson has in store for all the consumers out there is quite interesting, especially at a price range that is highly affordable for the masses.Thomson launched its fourth smart TV in India, the UD9 Smart TV, at an unbelievable cost of Rs 20,999. The 40-inch 4K smart TV is available exclusively on Flipkart, where buyers can use Axis Bank Buzz Credit Card to get an additional 5 percent off and also fetch up to Rs 8,000 off on exchange of old TV. For those who cannot afford the TV at its full price can opt for no cost EMI as well. Thomson new TV launched in IndiaFlipkart product listingEven though the Thomson UD9 40-inch 4K Smart TV’s affordable price is a compelling reason to buy the television, let’s take a look at the specifications that are equally important.Thomson UD9 40-inch 4K TV has a Samsung display panel with 3840×2160 pixels resolution, 550 nits of brightness, active HDR10 and 20W audio output. The television has three HDMI ports, two USB ports, and a 60Hz standard refresh rate. Since it is a smart TV, there are built-in apps such as YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video for seamless entertainment. Thomson new TV launched in IndiaFlipkart product listingThomson’s new smart TV runs on the ageing Android 7.1 OS, but also supports screencasting via Miracast. There is support for more than 18 local languages including Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, and more, the company said.Thomson UD9 40-inch 4K smart TV is an extension to the existing line-up of UD9 TVs. The latest model is the cheapest of the lot and other models come with 43-inch, 50-inch and 55-inch screen sizes. The 43-inch model is priced at Rs 24,999, the 50-inch 4K TV costs Rs 32,999 and the high-end 55-inch variant costs Rs 37,999.last_img read more

AL govt win tempered by challenges in banking income inequity

first_img.A number of economic zones, with necessary land and infrastructure, are in the pipeline this year, addressing the recent stagnation in private investment.The new government of the Awami League expects economic growth to reach a magical 8 per cent mark if doing business could be made easier.It faces the challenge of completing two big infrastructure projects – the Padma Bridge and Metro Rail – by this year to record a big score.However, analysts say, the most difficult challenge for the government this year could be implementing of new VAT law from 1 July after withholding the process in 2017 for two years.Also burdened with more than Tk 1 trillion default loans, the banking sector is yet to overcome the hangover of a number of major scams that took place over the past decade. The sector is plagued with nepotism and corruption and the government needs to imbibe it with discipline and regain public confidence in it.Aother key challenge is the necessity to generate employment for millions of youth who are entering the job market every year and who have offered Bangladesh the demographic dividend.Lead economist of the World Bank Dhaka office Zahid Hussain foresees a ‘transformational economy,’ provided investment increases, business climate improves and discipline is restored in the banking sector.“Completion of economic zones may not be enough. One-stop services for the investment must be ensured and laws relating to customs, operation of companies, and skills development are amended and issues affecting the overall environment for doing business are addressed,” he said.The economist insisted that the culprits – both lending authorities and loan recipients – should be brought to book to restore discipline in the banking sector.The rate of private investment has been hovering around 21-22 per cent for quite a number of years, according to official statistics.Of the 100 economic zones the government has planned to set up by 2030, only four may be completed this year. It is expected that plots will be ready for allotment during the period.Despite economic growth which, planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal forecasts, may exceed 8 per cent this year, there are concerns over widening disparity.One in four persons in the country is still extremely poor and one in every eight lives below the lower threshold of poverty. Economists believe Bangladesh is close to the countries of high income inequality.President of apex trade body Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Shafiul Islam Mahiuddin said the new government would be facing the burden of high expectations.“Ensuring the ease of doing business, timely completion of projects with proper accountability, freeing the tax regime from harrassment, and bringing down the rate of interest to 9 per cent will be appreciated,” he added.* This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Khawaza Main Uddinlast_img read more