The countdown has begun. In exactly five months from now the curtain will go up on what is easily the most ambitious project India has undertaken in recent years – the IX Asiad. On November 19, which also conveniently happens to be Mrs Gandhi’s 65th birthday, 5,000 athletes from 32,The countdown has begun. In exactly five months from now the curtain will go up on what is easily the most ambitious project India has undertaken in recent years – the IX Asiad. On November 19, which also conveniently happens to be Mrs Gandhi’s 65th birthday, 5,000 athletes from 32 countries representing the cream of Asian sport will assemble in New Delhi to battle for a total of 580 medals over the next 15 days.For the athletes, it will be a culmination of four years of blood, sweat and tears. Their triumphs and tragedies will be part of sporting history, half-buried in the mass of dry statistics. But the statistics will fail to reveal the real triumph of Asiad ’82 – the incredible saga of how the New Delhi Games became a reality. The real heroes of the Games will not be the lithe, finely-honed athletes but the faceless men who made the Asiad dream come alive.Stripped of the controversies that have dogged the frenetic scramble to physically make the Asiad a possibility; the political snakes and ladders that has taken place; the strident outcry of the environmentalists and the inevitable allegations of rake-offs, the Asiad project is undeniably a triumph of India’s technical and professional ability.It has been an Olympian race against time: a mere 20 months to erect five brand new, complex and state-of-the-art stadia and renovate and expand 12 more existing ones, apart from the other accompanying arrangements that entail the hosting of an international sporting meet of the magnitude of the Asiad. “It is the largest and most complex management exercise the country has undertaken so far,” boasts S.S. Gill, the stern-visaged secretary-general of the Special Organising Committee (SOC) for the Asian Games and a senior IAS officer.advertisementIndian cycling hopes practising in the velodrome with the indoor stadium in the backgroundAwesome Task: Even viewed statistically, the totality of material that has gone into the making of Asiad ’82 indicates the awesomeness of the task. Just the stadia alone have accounted for over 8 crore bricks, 100.000 tonnes of cement, 90,000 tonnes of steel and over 300 kilometres of cables and wires. Put end to end, the number of bricks alone would girdle the globe. The amount of cement and steel would be enough to erect a new township or build a dozen bridges. And that is segregated from the other beaver-like building activity that has disrupted normal traffic flow in the capital for the last two years and is undoubtedly very much a part of the Asiad project. This includes no less than seven flyovers, widening of 30-odd roads and 10 new five-star hotel projects, in itself a mammoth undertaking which has in one stroke changed forever the face of Delhi.By last fortnight, the biggest question mark that loomed over the Asiad project – the question of it being ready in time for the Games – had almost been obliterated. A majority of the stadia have long since lost their skeletal shape and are rapidly nearing completion. Last fortnight, the first of the flyovers was commissioned and an official D-day for the last of the project has been slated for September 1. Apart from the hotels, of which only two or possibly three will beat the deadline. Asiad ’82 will be go by that date if the current momentum continues.That, of course, will be the triumph. The tragedy is that the frantic and unrelenting round the clock pace at which the project has been operating was totally unnecessary. The vote to give New Delhi the Games was decided in Montreal as far back as 1976. Yet actual work on the project started in earnest only in 1981.Woman worker at the indoor stadium: Racing against timeIn between was a succession of disasters, all of them man-made and politically motivated, that seriously threatened to jeopardise the Games even before the first brick had been laid. India’s hesitant bid to host the Games predictably ran into a strong political headwind. Initially, it was brushed under the carpet amid the urgency of the 1977 general elections.Then came its biggest hurdle in the form of the Janata government which dithered over the issue of whether to hold the Games or back out. Typically, no decision was taken except the formation of an inevitable steering commitee under Vijay Kumar Malhotra. By the time the Janata government had dug its own grave in 1979. Asiad ’82 consisted of a handful of dusty and dogeared files. But bigger threats loomed ahead. Charan Singh, heading a shaky caretaker government at the Centre, dismissed the Asiad as a “costly tamasha” and one the country could ill afford.advertisementControversy: Meanwhile, the Asiad was embroiled in an unprecedented controversy over whether it should be held in Delhi or in neighbouring Haryana, where Chief Minister Bhajan Lal was making a desperate bid for its staging for reasons that again had very little to do with sport. Fortuitously for Asiad, while the Cabinet was debating Charan Singh’s directive to renege on hosting the Games, his government collapsed. The suspense, however, was only over in mid-January 1980, when Mrs Gandhi gave the Games the go-ahead at the first Cabinet meeting held by the new Congress (I) Government.Political delays, however, continued to dog the Games with the unsavoury dismissal of Malhotra as chairman of the Organising Committee and his replacement by V.C. Shukla, the then civil supplies minister. But once Shukla fell out of favour and was dropped from the Cabinet, his ouster from the Asian Games was only a matter of time. By the time the axe actually fell and Buta Singh, the vice-chairman of the committee and, ironically, Shukla’s replacement in the Civil Supplies Ministry, was elevated to chairman, 1980 was well on its way.Chetal (left) and Dass: Unique projectBut with Mrs Gandhi’s official blessings and the fact that son Rajiv and his personal kitchen cabinet were later actively involved in the Games, the Asiad nightmare gradually faded and the uncertainty gave way to increasing optimism. In late December 1980, Gill was appointed secretary-general of the SOC and a hand-picked team was selected with the help of Raja Bhalindra Singh, president, Asian Games Federation and president, Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Though packed with politicians, the 28 committees set up under the SOC to handle various aspects of the Games contained enough talent in the form of technocrats, senior service officers and bureaucrats to ensure that once established, the pace could be maintained.Costly Blunders: The delays and the drastically shortened time-span had, however, taken their toll. The original estimate of Rs 61 crore as the price-lag for staging the Games was soon made a mockery of by escalation, deliberate delays by contractors, some costly blunders and unforeseen expenses as a result of sheer inexperience. In fact, it is the spiralling cost of holding the Games that has given its detractors the most ammunition and labelled it in many quarters as an unaffordable extravagance. Appu, the prancing elephant, the IX Asiad’s mascot, has also become a symbol of the white elephant that many people believe the Games will be as far as the country is concerned.In fact, the myriad related controversies that have accompanied the preparations for Asiad have largely paled before the main controversy regarding its actual cost. There are alarming variations between the figures that have been given out in Parliament, the figures given by the SOC and the costs computed by people actually working on the Asiad sites. Parliament, for instance, has been repeatedly informed that the cost of staging the Games will work out to a mere Rs 61 crore.advertisementThe main stadium on Lodhi Road: Producing its own heroesThat, however, is the original estimate and bears not the slightest relation to the final total, which, if one includes the related activities – seven flyovers, widening of 30-odd roads, construction of 10 hotels, electrification of the ring railway – works out to over Rs 470 crore which is considerably less than the Rs 700 crore that is being bandied about but also infinitely higher than the official figures being handed out.Officials of the SOC conveniently delink their expenses to that incurred on the flyovers and hotels with the excuse that “these are all part of the metro’s normal requirements”. But there is no question that it is only because of the Asiad that they are being built now. The controversial School Lane flyover, for instance, was mooted as far back as 1962 – 20 years ago. But even accepting the SOC’S argument, their figures are definitely being underplayed.Their claim is that they have spent Rs 49 crore as capital cost on construction of the stadia with a 15-20 per cent escalation cost. Yet, according to engineers on site, the cost of the village alone will work out to over Rs 35 crore while the Indoor Stadium, the largest in Asia and the third largest in the world, will cost close to Rs 40 crore.The SOC’s total figure, which includes administrative expenses such as equipment, transport and furnishings estimated at Rs 18 crore, works out to Rs 77 crore. Again, according to official estimates, the revised cost of the stadia alone totals slightly over Rs 100 crore and with the cost of the expensive equipment imported for the Games, the actual total is nearer to Rs 150 crore. Seven flyovers and road widening activities have cost around Rs 35 crore while the 10 hotel projects together come to around Rs 280 crore. A fairly conservative estimate of the cost of the Games then is close to Rs 465 crore.(Clockwise from top left) Jayaraman, Sarma, Chawla and Rishi: Working under pressureThe irony, however, lies in the fact that even that figure is hardly an over-indulgence for something as mammoth and prestigious as the Asiad. Just one modern fertiliser project would cost more, and the Asiad is certainly destined to boost India’s international stature considerably alter the Games. Says SOC Chairman Buta Singh: “The Asian Games will put us firmly on the world sporting map. Once we have staged the Asiad successfully, India will have a much larger say in international decisions concerning sports. Many people don’t realise that with this, the number of votes India has in international federations are almost doubled. Apart from that, India is a major Asian power in everything except sport. We wanted to catch up and this was the best time. The very fact that we are staging the Games increases our status considerably.”Advantages: IOA President Raja Bhalindra Singh, a keen sportsman and the guiding spirit behind the Games, takes a longer and broader view. “I see it as a tremendous incentive for the youth of the country. For the first time, they have equipment and facilities that are the best available. Above all, it will channelise their energies into something worthwhile.” To illustrate this, he quotes the example of Thailand which was racked with serious student violence in the early ’60s.But once Bangkok established itself as an international sports centre (it has staged three Asiads since then), Thailand’s students have had more productive channels for their energies. On another plane, Japan is a classic example of the advantages that accrue from becoming an international sports centre. Before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Japan was at the bottom of the sporting ladder. Since then, Japanese athletes have challenged the best in the world and have increased their medal tally, quite literally, by leaps and bounds.Indian grapplers at practiceBut even if the Games turn out to be an unqualified success, the question of whether they were necessary or not will continue to simmer. Arguably, the Rs 470 crore which the Games will cost, and that is a highly conservative estimate, is Rs 200 crore more than the total investment in village and small industries for the 1981-82 Plan allocations.If invested in small industries, it could have provided employment for over two million people. But that is largely an academic exercise, which always comes back to the crucial point – if India wants to play in the Big League and wants the facilities to do so, the cost factor is justified. If, however, the facilities are left to rot after the Games and the staging of Asiad ’82 is only an ego trip for a handful of people , the cost would be far too heavy a price to pay. But only the future will really tell. In that context, the New Delhi Asiad is clearly a major investment for the future.Till now, India’s decline in the sporting arena and the monotonous string of failures has been conveniently disguised under the all-embracing heading of “lack of proper equipment” whether it was astroturf for the hockey players, synthetic tracks for athletes, fibreglass poles for pole-vaulters, et al. With the Asiad having ushered in the modern sporting age in India, that catch-all no longer applies and if Indian sportsmen continue to lag, it will be for other reasons.Pride: Nobody can doubt that Asiad ’82 is a sports-lovers’ dream come true. The stadia and the equipment are undeniably world-class. The fact that they have been completed in record time is a matter of statistical record. What is clearly a matter of national pride is the fact that the stadia are state-of-the-art affairs designed and built by men who had no experience in the field at all.A diver framed in the upraised arms of anotherThe piece de resistance of the Games is the Indoor Stadium inside the Indraprastha sports complex which sprawls over 110 acres of land on the banks of the Yamuna. Viewed from the air, the Indoor Stadium looks like something out of Star Wars, a futuristic space station that overshadows everything else for miles around. Assigned to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) which so far has confined itself to battalions of box-like houses, the Indoor Stadium is an architectural marvel. The stadium has a diameter of 150 metres and is a bowllike structure supported on eight pylons. The complexity of the design required the import of an international expert on stress analysis of space structures – Professor Z.S. Makowski. Makowski admitted that the Indoor Stadium was “one of the most interesting structures” he had been associated with. The stadium, which is centrally air-conditioned, will be the venue of the gymnastics, badminton and volleyball events during the Asiad and has a capacity of 25,000. It will also have a soundproofed, collapsible partition which can divide the stadium into two halves for simultaneous events.In the office of the chief project engineer for the stadium, V.P. Chetal, is a board giving the day’s work. Above that is a sign which says “Countdown 65”, an ever-constant reminder that there are 65 days left to get the complex ready for handing over to the Asiad. “It is the biggest project I have ever worked on,” says Chetal, “there are 49 separate agencies involved in one way or another; 7,000 labourers working in two shifts round the clock and over 50 engineers and architects.” The main architect, Sharat Dass, who designed Mrs Gandhi’s farmhouse, admits that he will probably wind up losing money on the project but the reputation will more than compensate for the loss. For DDA Vice-Chairman, V.S. Ailawadi, there is a similar benefit. “It has redeemed our reputation,” he says.Real Heroes: It is Ailawadi and a handful of others who are the real heroes of the Asiad and not the fat cats who are cornering all the glory. Chetal, the chief engineer of the Indoor Stadium, is a modest, self-effacing man who insists that the credit should be jointly shared. But obviously, it is his dynamism and 18-hour-a day-seven-day-a-week efforts and his rapport with the main architect, Sharat Dass, a short, earnest, bespectacled individual, which have made the stadium into a top-of-the-line product.Bhalindra Singh (left) and Buta SinghChetal’s office is an island of quiet efficiency within the helter-skelter of the pounding of pile-drivers and the hammering of nails. Maps; charts and progress reports are plastered all over the walls and walkie-talkie sets keep him in constant touch with his key men on the project site. “I think our main achievement is the constant minute by minute monitoring which has enabled us to stay on top of the work,” he says. Chetal also concedes that his bosses in the DDA have backed him all the way.DDA Vice-Chairman Ailawadi, for instance, gave Chetal the go-ahead to start the pile-driving work even before the project budget had been officially sanctioned, thus giving them at least two months of lead time. Says Dass: “It is a unique project and that is why I think everybody pitched in and worked like madmen. The sense of satisfaction in seeing something like this take shape before your eyes is something incredible.”Wonders: Ironically enough, the Asiad has been an inadvertent advertisement for the DDA with its engineers having surpassed themselves like never before. R.S. Jindal, the chief project engineer of the Village project, is another overly-modest individual but one who has achieved wonders. A short, plump, clean-shaven man with no airs about him, Jindal has, however, been responsible for a Village that is as good as anything thatBangkok or Tokyo can provide. Though it is likely that some of the 853 houses may not be ready in time, the ones that will are tastefully designed and well-constructed with the interior designing in traditional Indian motifs. DDA will, of course, get three times the amount they have spent when the houses are sold after the Games but for once the scramble for the houses will be justified. “I think we have proved that a combination of determination and hard work is all that is required,” says Jindal.A bird’s-eye view of the sprawling village complex for the 5,000 athletes expected for the AsiadThe main stadium has its own heroes in the form of the four-man team that, sans experience, drew up the design and plans in the record time of one month. Originally, the main stadium was meant to be sited in the National Stadium at the end of Delhi’s central vista that stretches from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate. Only after work had started did it dawn on the organisers that the stadium with its lighting towers would ruin the central vista concept laid down by Lutyens. “By the time the new Lodhi Road site was located and approved, it was June 1980. By July, the conceptual drawings were handed over and on August 2, we submitted our estimates,” says N.C. Jayaraman, the balding, affable chief engineer of the project.Actual work started on October 26, 1980 which gave them less than two years in which to construct an international Olympic standard stadium. “It is entirely our own design and concept and the best part is none of us had ever seen an international stadium before,” says S. Gupta Sarma, the thin, earnest man in charge of the complex lighting system.Sarma, Jayaraman, S.K. Chawla, the superintending engineer and M.K. Rishi, the architect who designed the actual stadium, all feel that it has been a joint effort. “It has been a period of considerable tension and trauma,” they chorus, “the short time span has limited our work but it is still a matter of great pride and satisfaction.”The Asiad limelight will fall squarely on the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, a sprawling, saucer-like structure spread over a 100-acre plot in the heart of the city with a seating capacity of 75,000, which will stage the Games’ glamour events – the opening and closing ceremonies, athletics and football. Scheduled to be completed in the incredible time span of 20 months, this stadium is of Olympic standards with an eight-lane synthetic track girding a green football field. Towering above the stadium like giant insects are four steel towers, each 57.5 metres high, which will provide the lighting for the stadium to facilitate colour TV transmission and floodlit events.Each headframe perched at the end of the towers is the size of a tennis court and consists of 172 metal Halide lamps of 2 kw each and 84 Halogen lamps of 1 kw each. A giant scoreboard, 9 metres high, of the matrix type will flash out instant results in English and Hindi as well as black and white pictures. It will be connected to a computer-controlled micro-processor. The scoreboard will also be connected to a computer terminal which will enable it to display almost instant results of events taking place at other venues. It will be supplied and operated by Seiko.Other, no less ambitious projects include the Games Village which is virtually a township and will accommodate about 5,000 athletes and officials. The houses themselves are easily the best design that the DDA has evolved so far, with a theatre for the performing arts, a giant reception centre, a dining area capable of feeding 2,000 people at a time, a discotheque, and a 60-foot water tower with a restaurant and viewing gallery.Test: Though the Asiad infrastructure is almost complete except for the cosmetic applications, the real test will lie in the running of the Games, which will be handicapped by India’s relative inexperience. Organising, and monitoring an event as gigantic as the Asiad is an unenviable exercise that will entail the use of 2,600 technical officials, 2,000 general officials, 1,000 ushers, 2,000 men from the Indian army and the BSF for security and 600 people as liaison officers and receptionists. “We are not claiming that it will be an easy task but we have identified all the possible problem areas and I think we will be able to pull it off,” says Bhalindra Singh.The actual cost of running the 15-day Games has been optimistically estimated at around Rs 15 crore but the SOC, if it plays its cards right, should earn more than that from various sources. In fact, one prime example of the SOC’s inexperience is that they were convinced that the major source of revenue would be from the sale of tickets. It was only much later that it dawned on them that the Asiad is big business. The biggest money-spinner is the sale of television advertising rights and arena advertising inside the various stadia. A Dubai firm, Metco, has agreed to pay $6 million (Rs 5.4 crore) for arena advertising rights while a Los Angeles-based company, Vipin Sehgal and Associates, have guaranteed a like sum. Together, the revenue from that and sponsorship of various TV programmes by multinational companies will net the SOC over Rs 10 crore.Revenues: Foreign television rights have already been sold to the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union and the Arab States Broadcasting Union for around Rs 21 lakh. In addition, the franchising of the logo and the emblem of the Games will bring in another Rs 50 lakh. The sale of tickets is expected to bring in another Rs 1.5 crore since five Indian banks will pay the SOC five lakh each to get their names printed on the back of the tickets.Mikasa of Japan, the famous ball manufacturers, will also pay Rs 7 lakh for the privilege of having their names printed on the rear of the tickets in addition to supplying $60,000 (Rs 5.4 lakh) for royalty fees as “official ball suppliers to the Games”. Mikasa will also supply 500 balls each for football, volleyball, handball, water polo and basketball.Similarly, a total of $110,000 (Rs 9.9 lakh) in cash and sporting goods will be supplied by top sports manufacturers like Asics, Dunlop, Yonex, Garuda and Canon. Gill estimates that the eventual revenue from the Games should wind up around the Rs 17 crore mark. Little wonder then, that India has already made a bid for staging the 1983 Afro-Asian Games and is also hopeful of staking a powerful claim for the 1992 Olympics as well. But that is really putting the cart before the horse.One major area where the SOC has been slack is in the pre-publicity of the Games. Very few people outside Delhi have an idea of what the Games are all about or what the achievements have been so far. Tarlochan Singh, the public relations head of the SOC, admits that they have been lax in publicising the Games, or exploiting the souvenirs and mascots for commercial purposes.Publicity: The SOC, however, has an answer to that accusation. Buta Singh and Gill say that the publicity has been deliberately low-keyed because of accommodation restrictions. “We can easily get 50,000 visitors for the Games but if there is no accommodation for them they will go back with a bad image of us,” says Gill, SOC estimates that the maximum accommodation available for the Games will be 6,500 rooms.So far, travel agencies and hotels report a negligible amount of bookings for the Asiad but it is certain to pick up in the months ahead, particularly from Japan which is expected to walk away with a major share of the medals. Current indications are that there will be at least 10,000 spectators from outside Delhi who will be here for the Games but many of those from inside the country will probably make their own arrangements with relatives and friends. The delay in producing the tickets means that they will go on sale only next month, barely four months before the start of the Games.As it is, the pre-Asiad preparations have produced some bitter lessons, apart from the laxity in the publicity campaign. Even inside the maze-like offices in Pragati Maidan that house the SOC headquarters, the organisation is derisively referred to as “Sikh Organising Committee”, a none too subtle dig at the number of turbaned heads that occupy the jerry-built offices.Many of the occupants have found their way there because of political connections rather than any specific merit. Gill, the operational head, has antagonised a number of SOC employees because of his autocratic behaviour and his bureaucratic approach to problems. Last fortnight, Lt-General Harbuksh Singh, a distinguished army officer, quit the SOC because of differences with Gill and at least three others have preceded him for the same reason.Indian sports history is littered with disaster stories all involving the excessive concentration of members of a particular community and it might be advisable to avoid such concentrations if only to keep events like the Asiad free from further controversies. It is also questionable whether a full-time politician like Buta Singh, despite his status as head of the Amateur Athletic Federation, should be put in charge of similar projects. Buta Singh may have contributed much to the success of Asiad but his political duties bar him from giving off his best.Slogan: The SOC has also been taken to task for the “junkets” its officials have been on. Originally, Air-India had agreed to provide 200 free tickets for Asiad officials but by last month, according to SOC figures, 225 tickets had already been utilised, all under the catch-all heading of learning from the experiences of previous major sporting events held elsewhere. The favourite destinations have been Los Angeles, Montreal, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Moscow. In fact, a popular slogan doing the rounds goes: “Join Asiad and see the world.”The question of whether India is capable of getting ready for the Games on time has disappeared but it has been replaced by one that is equally vital and looms as large – whether India can stage a successful Asiad. Politics rendered the Olympics in Munich and Moscow a disaster and though the Asiad should be free of political handicaps barring the tension between two participants, Iran and Iraq, anything could happen. Shankaran Nair, the man in charge of Asiad security, insists that all possible precautions have been taken and all visitors will be thoroughly screened, apart from the stadia being searched one hour before opening each day to avert possible bomb threat hoaxes.But security alone is not the only headache that Asiad ’82 will face. The Lok Dal and George Fernandes & Co have threatened to launch protests against the Games though most people are hoping that better sense will prevail. After all, Asiad ’82 is India’s big bid for international stardom. For 15 days, New Delhi will be making international headlines, for an event that, in terms of prestige, is the biggest stakes India has played for in a long time. November will be the moment of truth.
TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Arsenal set to change policy for January transfersby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal will look for short-term cover in the January transfer window, football.london reports.The Gunners had originally planned to remain inactive during the midseason window.But long-term injuries have forced them to re-think their plans.Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding are likely to miss the majority of the season, meaning Arsenal will try and find stop-gaps on the wing and centre-back.The club are still working on a deal for Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez, who will fill Welbeck’s position.It remains unclear who Arsenal will target for their defensive hole, however, a veteran is likely to be chosen so as not to disrupt the development of their current crop of centre-backs.
Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) Governor, Brian Wynter, is reporting a US$113 million increase in the country’s Net International Reserves (NIR).The figure is US$997.3 million as at May 10, compared to US$884.3 million at the end of March.Mr. Wynter attributed the improvement to “substantial” purchases of foreign exchange from the market by the BoJ, as well as the initial disbursement of US$207.2 million to Jamaica by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), under the recently concluded four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF).The BoJ Governor, who was addressing the Central Bank’s quarterly briefing at its downtown Kingston offices on Wednesday, May 15, informed that the NIR declined by US$241.3 million at the end of the January to March quarter, consequent on several factors.These, he explained, included growing uncertainty about the timing and content of the pending EFF and anxieties about the administration’s ability to finance debt payments that were due in February.“These concerns were reflected in a sharp decline in net private capital flows to the economy for the quarter…(and)..increased…depreciation in the (value of the Jamaica dollar against the US dollar),” the Governor pointed out.At the same time, there was continued decline in foreign exchange net demand for external trade in goods and services.“This decline was largely related to estimated reductions in payments for consumer goods and raw materials,” Mr. Wynter said.The Governor said consequent on the IMF disbursement and the BoJ’s purchases, the uncertainties in the foreign exchange market during the January to March quarter “have now waned”.He contended that these, along with market expectations of increased foreign currency inflows and the projected dividends on longer tenure instruments introduced in the market in April by the BoJ, have also resulted in an appreciation of the dollar since the middle of that month.The one-year US dollar-indexed note and three variable rate instruments together, absorbed some $12 billion.“The NIR is expected to continue to increase gradually over the (2013/14) fiscal year due to growth in multilateral inflows as well as incremental improvements in net private capital flows. The Bank of Jamaica remains committed to providing an orderly market for foreign exchange and will take the necessary actions to maintain order,” the Governor assured.Mr. Wynter contended that “orderly” movements in the exchange rate, which enhance price competitiveness, will help to create an environment, which facilitates “strong and sustained” growth in exports and import substitution. These, he said, are “key objectives” of the Government’s medium-term macro-economic programme.Contact: Douglas McIntosh
zoom Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has teamed up with Fujitsu Laboratories, and Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology to verify the accuracy of technology to estimate vessel performance at sea by applying Fujitsu’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology, FUJITSU Human Centric AI Zinrai.This project is a part of MOL’s initiative to assess the effectiveness of AI technology and aims to reduce fuel consumption and vessels’ environmental impact.The actual voyage data provided by MOL included information such as speed, fuel consumption, main engine rpm, wind direction, wind speed, recorded from October 12, 2015 to December 13, 2015.Results of verificationCould estimate vessel speed with about a 1.4% allowance, and fuel consumption with an allowance of about 0.8%, based on the above-mentioned method.The following graphs show time-series results of actual measured values of vessel speed and estimated values. Verification confirmed that actual measured values and estimated values are almost the same.
APTN National NewsIt’s day 10 out of a 78 day stretch on the Federal election campaign.There are major efforts underway to get Indigenous people to the polls in the upcoming Federal election.There are also a record number of Indigenous candidates running this time around.But as Dennis Ward reports – some advocates want voters to think twice before heading to the ballot email@example.com
VANCOUVER – Home sales and average prices rose in B.C. in September, according to the latest figures from the British Columbia Real Estate Association.It says a total of 8,340 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service during the month, an increase of 9.9 per cent from the same period last year.Total sales amounted to $5.8 billion, up 30.2 per cent from September 2016, and the average MLS residential price was $693,774, up 18.5 per cent.Year-to-date, the dollar value of B.C. residential sales was down 12.8 per cent to $57.6 billion, when compared to this time last year.The BCREA also says residential unit sales declined 13 per cent year-to-date to 81,608 units while the average price was down 0.2 per cent to $705,501.Cameron Muir, the association’s chief economist, says B.C. home sales rose nearly five per cent from August on a seasonally adjusted basis.“Total active listings on the market continue to trend at 10-year lows in most B.C. regions, limiting unit sales and pushing home prices higher,: he said.“While the economic fundamentals support elevated housing demand, rising home prices are eroding affordability, particularly for first-time buyers.”
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Weinstein Co., mired in a sex scandal, may be putting itself up for sale.The company said Monday that it is getting an immediate cash infusion from Colony Capital and is in negotiations for the potential sale of all or a significant portion of the movie studio responsible for films like “Shakespeare in Love,” and “Gangs of New York.”Co-founder Harvey Weinstein was fired by the company last week following allegations of sexual harassment and assault. The allegations span decades.The fallout has been swift, with Weinstein issuing a lengthy and seemingly tone-deaf apology while losing various honours. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has revoked his membership.
TORONTO — Royal Bank of Canada reported fourth-quarter net income of $3.25 billion up from $2.84 billion a year ago to mark a new record annual profit of $12.4 billion.The Toronto-based bank’s latest results were driven by strong performances in its personal and commercial banking, capital markets, wealth management and insurance.The bank’s profit for the three-month period ended Oct. 31 amounted to $2.20 per diluted share, up from $1.88 per share a year ago.On an adjusted cash basis, the bank says it earned $2.24 per share, up from $1.92 in the same period in 2017.Analysts on average had expected earnings per share of $2.12, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.For its full financial year, Canada’s biggest lender by market capitalization reported net income of $12.4 billion up roughly eight per cent from $11.5 billion in 2017.“Our diversified business and geographic mix delivered good revenue growth, while we prudently managed risk and delivered a premium return on equity,” Dave McKay, RBC president and CEO, said in a statement.“Looking ahead, we remain focused on investing in our people and technology, and offering more personalized insights and connectivity to deliver more value for both our clients and shareholders.” Companies in this story: (TSX:RY)The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada’s national annual inflation rate was 1.7 per cent in November, Statistics Canada says. Here’s what happened in the provinces (previous month in brackets):— Newfoundland and Labrador: 0.8 per cent (2.1)— Prince Edward Island: 1.0 (2.5)— Nova Scotia: 1.8 (2.9)— New Brunswick: 1.3 (2.8)— Quebec: 0.9 (1.7)— Ontario: 1.8 (2.5)— Manitoba: 1.7 (2.7)— Saskatchewan: 1.0 (2.4)— Alberta: 1.7 (2.8)— British Columbia: 2.4 (3.0)The Canadian Press
Residents of the building were evacuated to the Pomeroy Sport Centre, which was also set up to receive evacuated homeowners from the Tommy Lakes fire north of Prespatou.As we get more information about the fire, we will post updates here. If you have any pictures or video to share email firstname.lastname@example.org FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Fire Department responded to a fire at the Ridgeview Apartment building on 86 street at around 11 p.m. Saturday night.The fire caused the entire building to be evacuated and part of 86 street to be closed while officials fought the fire.The official cause is not known at this time, but eyewitnesses suggest it started on a balcony of one apartment building. 1 of 6 Firefighters battle a fire at the Ridgeview Village Apartment building last Saturday night. Submitted photo.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A member of the Fort St. John RCMP detachment is being called a hero after saving the life of a man who injured himself in the parking lot of an apartment building on the City’s east side over the weekend.Sgt. Dave Tyreman with the Fort St. John RCMP said that officers were called out to an apartment building in the 8500-block of 86th St. at around 2:00 a.m. Sunday. Upon arrival, officers discovered a man next to a vehicle who was unresponsive and appeared to have lost a large quantity of blood.Officers learned that the man had recently come home from an evening out and police suspect he may have been intoxicated. The man, who may have been involved in a previous dispute, punched his car’s passenger window after coming home, severing an artery in his arm and causing the significant blood loss. Sgt. Tyreman said that the man was extremely fortunate that Constable Tony Brooks, who has advanced medical training, was one of the officers who attended the scene. Cst. Brooks is currently involved in the RCMP’s Tactical Medical program.Sgt. Tyreman explained that Doctors advised the man would likely have bled to death were it not for the efforts of Cst. Brooks, who managed to pack the wound to close off the artery inside the man’s arm and stop the flow of blood.The man, whose identity has not been released, was airlifted to a Vancouver area hospital for treatment, after which doctors called the local detachment to find out how the injury had occurred. “The detachment received feedback from Vancouver Doctors who had inquired with the Doctor in charge of the Tactical Medical Program to applaud the incredible work done by Cst. Brooks, who literally saved this man’s life,’” said Sgt. Tyreman, who is currently acting as the Fort St John detachment’s commander.
Visual representations of steel and wood structures were presented. Wood was visually appealing, yet the concern for long-term maintenance of wood would be costly. As the location of the building is close to the road, the building will require regular washing due to road grime.A steel structure with wood cladding was requested by Council, as well as seeking more visual representations of what this combination would look like. Images of the steel building options were limited. It was expressed as necessary that the new building represents the region as it will be seen as people drive into the city.Council had other questions regarding items that were shown on the proposed plaza design such as fire pits and wanting them to be temporary and the options for closing the building with doors or walls which will be discussed once the building structure material is chosen.Council directed staff to proceed to a detailed design with Site Design – Option One with a steel building with wood cladding, and further consultation with the community regarding the design of the proposed building structure.The goal is to get a plan in place for tender in March 2019, with construction starting in April and completed by September. The site of the new festival plaza will be located on the site of the old visitor’s centre, $1.2 million was allocated from the Peace River Agreement signing bonus in 2015 for the development of this space.This new space in Centennial Park aligns with the City’s strategic plan to use downtown as a social, vibrant hub. As the plaza will be an addition to the Park, it is desirable for the new space to complement and be cohesive. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – John Buchko of EDS Group Inc. on behalf of the City of Fort St. John presented ‘Festival Plaza Conceptual Development’ to seek direction from Council to the general design concept, the type of material the plaza structure would be built from and would Council want continued public engagement.Two configurations of the space were presented to Council; option one included a one-way road lane and space for vending trucks. The second option included a two-way lane and a loading area, Council voted in favour for the first option.As this meeting was to ask for clarity to start creating more detailed design options, the other question for the Plaza site was what would the main structure be made of.
New Delhi: Resident doctors of North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run Hindu Rao hospital went on an indefinite strike Monday over “recurring problem” of non-payment of salaries, partially affecting health services at the facility.They said they tried to operate a parallel Out Patient Department (OPD) but the hospital authorities prevented them from doing so. The doctors wrote to the President of India seeking his permission for “suicide”. In the letter, the doctors said, “Our situation has turned pathetic and we are unable to take care of our families. We do not even have money for food… So we seek your permission for suicide.” Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarThe doctors say they have not been paid salaries for three months. They demanded that the hospital be handed over to the central government, if the local government and the municipal corporation are unable to run it. “Its not just a question of three months’ salaries, we are facing this recurring problem. The Delhi government and the NDMC should give up this hospital if they cannot ensure regular payment to the staff. “We need a permanent solution of the problem,” said Rahul Chaudhary, president of the hospital’s Resident Doctors Association. A senior NDMC official said the salaries of resident doctors were delayed because funds were not released on time by the Delhi government.
Since the day Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus to coach the Ohio State football team, fans have been preparing for this season as they would any other, despite the team’s bowl ban. I’m warning you now, Buckeye Nation is going to regret that in the end. OSU finished 2011 with seven losses, but the Meyer-led Buckeyes still earned placement in the Associated Press’ preseason top 25 poll. The No. 18 Buckeyes then made short work of Miami (Ohio) to begin the bowl-less, postseason-less campaign. The opening win against the RedHawks was throttling – Meyer showed no mercy and sent the Scarlet and Gray marching up and down the field on touchdown drives up until the final minute of the 56-10 pounding. Fans cheered louder still, increasingly hopeful that OSU can upset the rest of the Big Ten Conference and throw a scarlet-colored wrench into the postseason picture for the rest of college football. The ranking increased too – OSU jumped to No. 14 when the AP released its second poll of the young college football season Tuesday. Now, the Buckeyes are heavy favorites against Central Florida, a team most figure will put up far more fight than the RedHawks did before limping out of Ohio Stadium. Meyer’s squad could very well make good on the 17 1/2 pointline put to OSU, according to vegas.com. Should OSU beat a formidable UCF team, the cheers of the fans will grow louder. The hands bearing wrenches will cock back even farther in anticipation of the Buckeyes upsetting the rest of the Bowl Championship Series-eligible teams. How high can the Buckeyes climb in the rankings? Will they win the Leaders Division and therefore assign an asterisk to the team that advances to the championship game in their place? And, as I suspect many OSU fans would like, will Buckeye Nation forever be able to stamp a permanent “What if?” on this college football season? As in, “Sure, Team X won the national title, but what if the Buckeyes had been eligible?” The rhetorical debate about whether OSU would have beaten the eventual national champion would serve as the ultimate taunt to the NCAA and opposing fans that relished in this university’s bowl ban. The Buckeyes may well mount a case as the best team in the Big Ten by season’s end. Sure, OSU could also run the table. And with Meyer at the helm, the team is that much less likely to falter during one of those tricky night games on the road later this season, such as the contests in East Lansing, Mich., and Madison, Wis., this fall. Then Buckeyes fans can go to the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis and have their fun – taunt both the winner and the loser of the game because, hey, what if the Buckeyes had been around for it? No one can say OSU wouldn’t have won. Yes, I can hear it now: “What if we were eligible?” My caution to each Buckeyes fan is that this very mindset is the real taunt. It’s the Scarlet and Gray-clad fans of Columbus that will suffer, not the fans in Ann Arbor, Mich., or Baton Rouge, La., or Tuscaloosa, Ala., or even Los Angeles for that matter. If OSU has the best record in its division or goes undefeated or loses only a single game as so many Buckeyes fans hope and then ascends to the top of the AP poll, well, there will be misery in the end. Everyone will walk out of Ohio Stadium on Nov. 24 after the Buckeyes beat Michigan, high-fiving and “what if-ing” the whole damn nation. But after the Buckeyes fans go their separate ways after that game, they won’t be reconvening in a tropical location where the team will play for a new addition to the trophy case. That’s it. All that’s left, really, will be speculation. All the “what if’s” will be rebuked by the college football fans of the world, and rightfully so. After all, you won’t even be sitting on the sidelines during bowl season – you and I will be sitting at home in frigid Ohio on our couches. “What if?,” an Alabama fan might say to a Buckeyes fan prior to the national title game. “What if Jim Tressel ran a clean program? Then you could join me in the stadium and we could find out what OSU’s really made of.” Then, the Alabama fan, ticket in hand, would smirk and turn to begin the final walk into the stadium in the tropical locale where he or she will meet his postseason destiny. Not Buckeye Nation, though. Not this year. You can “what if” and taunt all you like – the fact is that the rest of the country will proceed to the bowl games with all the pageantry and sparkly souvenirs. By no means does the postseason ban mean we should root against the Buckeyes or pray for a loss or two just so we aren’t tortured by the thoughts – the what if’s – of how we might have fared in the national title game, or some other BCS game. I don’t know what the alternative is. For my friends and readers numbered among those that are hoping OSU upsets the national postseason picture, maybe I’m hoping there’s an opponent lurking on OSU’s schedule that undoes all the potential “what-if’s” and puts to bed the notion that this team has national title potential. At least this would help prevent the inevitable heartache that will accompany theorizing about what OSU could have done. Can’t say I’m not looking out for you. All I’m saying is that Columbus is going to be pretty quiet and pretty unhappy as bowl bids are handed out in late November. ESPN won’t be talking about the Buckeyes anymore; the focus will inevitably shift to those teams left standing. No all-access TV specials. No flights to Miami or Pasadena. You couldn’t even go back to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl if you wanted to, not that many of you went back in January when you had the chance. No new T-shirts. No pep rallies. It will all be over. But doesn’t this sound like an empty fate to be actively rooting for? Think hard – is a would-have-been-BCS-bowl-eligible OSU team really what you want from the 2012 season? If so, you could be regretting that while you’re sitting on your coach watching the bowls in December and January.
Defending champions Real Madrid will be facing Bayern Munich for the semi-finals of the Champions League, while Liverpool will be playing against AS RomaSky Sports have reported that Los Galaticos will travel to the Allianz Arena for the first leg of their semi-final clash against the recently crowned Bundesliga champions on April 25.Zinedine Zidane will be hoping for a better performance from his side after their near shock elimination against Juventus, despite having held a 3-0 aggregate heading into the second leg last Wednesday.During the second leg, Juventus had three goals unanswered at the Santiago Bernabeu and appeared to be on the verge of producing one of the greatest comebacks in European history. Yet, a late decision by referee Michael Oliver gave Cristiano Ronaldo the chance to save Real from a shock exit with the aggregate score ending with a 4-3 win in their favour.Top 5 Atletico Madrid players to watch in next week’s UCL Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 With the Champions League about to start, we need to start talking about the Top 5 Atletico Madrid players to watch in the competition.Atletico…Meanwhle Bayern overcame a tricky tie against Sevilla with a 2-1 aggregate. Although the Andalusian side did become the first team to have prevented Jupp Heynckes’ side from scoring in the competition at home in 22 matches.While Liverpool will host Roma for the first leg of their semi-final at Anfield on April 24 with Jurgen Klopp’s men likely to be wary of another stunning comeback from the Serie A side, that saw Barcelona being eliminated.Semi-Final Draw (April 24/25 – May 1/2)Liverpool v Roma Bayern Munich v Real Madrid
“We want to help unaffected growers get back into production and enable stores and consumers to re-stock. One goal we’re seeking is to make this type of labeling the new standard rather than a short-term fix; as a way to improve identification and traceability in the system.” Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The romaine lettuce responsible for an E. coli outbreak that sickened more than 30 people across multiple states likely originated in California, according to Food and Drug Administration. They are currently working with growers and distributors on labeling produce with a “post-purge” date to inform consumers that certain products are now safe to eat. States affected by the outbreak include California (which had the highest number of cases — 10), Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin. Two days before Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a food safety alert saying 32 people across 11 states had become sick because of contaminated romaine lettuce. The CDC is advising people avoid romaine lettuce completely. “New romaine from different growing regions, including Florida and Arizona, will soon be harvested,” the FDA tweeted. “We’re working with growers and distributors on labeling produce for location and harvest date and possibly other ways of informing consumers that the product is ‘post-purge’” The FDA is hoping to create a new labeling standard that would require companies to show where lettuce is from and when it is harvested.
Enoch has now scored double figures in 14 games. Boston College became the 52nd opponent that the Cardinals have held under 40 percent shooting in the last four years. The Cardinals have limited an opponent to under 40 percent accuracy for a half on 27 occasions this season, including holding Boston College to .258 in the first half. The Cardinals pulled down 17 offensive rebounds against the Eagles. Louisville has pulled down 10 or more rebounds off the offensive glass 17 times this season, including 13 of the last 19 games. Steven Enoch’s blocked shot extended Louisville’s streak of consecutive games with a block to 297. PLAYER NOTES Jordan Nwora reached double figures for the 27th time in 29 games, finishing with 13 points on Wednesday night against the Eagles. SERIES NOTES Story Links With the loss, Louisville dropped to 7-4 versus Boston College, including a 2-2 mark in Boston. Louisville has a 5-1 record against the Eagles since joining the ACC.TEAM NOTES With 10 rebounds against the Eagles, Dwayne Sutton pulled down double figure rebounds six times this season. Tonight marks his second consecutive game with double digit rebounds. With his 10 rebounds against Boston College, Malik Williams has pulled down double digit rebounds three times this season. Christen Cunningham dished out six assists against Boston College, marking the 13th time he has dished out five or more assists in the last 16 games. Print Friendly Version Steven Enoch’s 22 points sets a new career-high for the junior. He passes his previous high of 17 points against North Carolina on Jan. 12. With his 12 rebounds against BC, Nwora now has a team-high seven double-double on the year.
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Last year, the company announced about adopting an approach to anti-tracking considering user data privacy. The company listed a few key initiatives mitigating harmful practices like fingerprinting and cryptomining. Yesterday, Mozilla announced that it is adding a new feature to protect its users against threats and web annoyances in future releases of Firefox. This new feature is available in the beta version of Firefox 67, and the nightly version of Firefox 68. They will be available in the stable release of Firefox in a few weeks. Mozilla has also added a feature to block fingerprinting and cryptomining in Firefox Nightly as an option for users to turn on. The cryptomining and fingerprinting blocks work similar to anti-tracking blocks in current versions of Firefox. Fingerprinting and crypto mining scripts A variety of “fingerprinting” scripts are embedded invisibly on many web pages to harvest a snapshot of users’ computer configuration. These scripts further build a digital fingerprint that can be used for tracking users across the web, even if the user has cleared the cookies. Fingerprinting thus violates Firefox’s anti-tracking policy. Cryptominers is another category of scripts that run costly operations on users’ web browser without the knowledge or consent of the users. It further uses the power of the user’s CPU to generate cryptocurrency for someone else’s benefit. These scripts slow down the computer speed and the drain battery which affects the electric bill. Firefox’s move towards blocking these scripts To overcome these threats, Mozilla has announced new protections against fingerprinters and cryptominers. The company has collaborated with Disconnect and have compiled the list of domains that serve fingerprinting and cryptomining scripts. Cryptomining and fingerprinting blocks have been disabled by default for now but users can activate them in a couple of clicks in the browser settings under “Privacy & Security.” Mozilla has given an option to users option in the latest Firefox Nightly and Beta versions for blocking both kinds of scripts as part of their Content Blocking suite of protections. The team at Mozilla will be testing these protections in the coming months. To know more about this news, check out the official announcement by Mozilla. Read Next Mozilla is exploring ways to reduce notification permission prompt spam in Firefox Mozilla launches Firefox Lockbox, a password manager for Android Mozilla’s Firefox Send is now publicly available as an encrypted file sharing service
Travelweek Group Insight extends special pricing to select Europe 2018-19 AWS trips Wednesday, May 16, 2018 TORONTO — Insight Vacations is keeping up the momentum on its 40th anniversary celebration with special pricing on its 2018-19 European autumn, winter and spring premium journeys including Egypt, Jordan and Israel.Select trips qualifying for special anniversary pricing, plus clients can book early and save up to 7.5% on select departures with Insight’s extended Early Payment Discount.Insight Vacations Canada President Brad Ford says Insight created its European premium journeys in response to client demand, based on feedback from travellers. He added: “We are pleased to support our loyal Canadian travel advisors in ensuring a most successful booking year with the launch of our Seasons Collection and special anniversary pricing and our unforgettable Insight Vacations Experiences.”Three itineraries that are part of the deal are the eight-day ‘Scenic Iceland and the Northern Lights’, the 10-day ‘Amazing Spain & Portugal’ and the nine-day ‘Christmas Markets of Austria and Bavaria’.Agents can see the full collection of 30 itineraries at insightvacations.com/seasons. Posted by Tags: Insight Vacations Share << Previous PostNext Post >>