Why ESPN’s Rex Ryan thinks 49ers are the best team in the NFL

first_imgThe 49ers’ 7-0 record certainly suggests they could be, but ESPN analyst and former coach Rex Ryan is removing all doubt about who’s the elite team in the NFL.“To me, I think they are the best team right now in the NFL,” Ryan said on 95.7 The Game’s “Joe, Lo and Dibs” show Tuesday.And, right now, the ex-Jets and Bills head coach is the loudest voice on the 49ers bandwagon. On Monday, Ryan couldn’t say enough about San Francisco during ESPN’s “Get Up” show.”They’re the best team in the …last_img

Eating, earning from city farms

first_imgEarning cash from garden vegetables at Siyazama Community Garden at Macassar in Khayelitsha, the vast township outside Cape Town in the Western Cape. (Image: Harvest of Hope) At Abalimi Bezekhaya’s packing centre in Philippi township vegetables are packed in boxes for sale to more affluent families in Cape Town as part of the Harvest of Hope project. (Image: Irin Photo)Nestled among shacks set on the sea-sand soil of the Cape Flats, an impoverished region of informal settlements and townships near Cape Town in the Western Cape, there is a life-saving 5 000-square-metre patch of green.“This garden has changed my life,” said Phillipina Ndamane, 74, a member of the Fezeka Community Garden (FCG) in Gugulethu township. “We were suffering; we had no food to eat so we tried to make a garden.”The FCG, beneath towering electricity pylons, is one of 800 community and home gardens nurtured into existence by Abalimi Bezekhaya, an urban agriculture and environmental action association.Since its inception in 1982 as a Catholic Church project, from which it separated in 1994, Abalimi Bezekhaya, meaning “farmers of home” in isiXhosa, has helped individuals, groups and community-based organisations develop permanent organic food-growing and conservation projects as the basis for sustainable livelihoods, job creation and poverty alleviation.Abalimi provides training and low-cost, subsidised gardening resources like manure, seeds, tools, and organic pest control at its two gardens in Nyanga and Khayelitsha townships, which are staffed by fieldworkers from those communities.Some 3 000 micro-farmers use of the gardens, but the benefits spill over into the wider target of roughly 1-million people who live in the vast informal sprawl on the outskirts of metropolitan Cape Town, where unemployment is around 40%.Growing self-sufficiencyAbalimi helps farmers develop their own organic vegetable gardens to supplement their diet, improve household food and nutritional security, and provide sustainable additional income. The personal satisfaction, community building, and heightened self-esteem that come from growing food are added benefits.“We didn’t know a lot of things like spinach, which is a healthy thing; we didn’t even know the green pepper! Now I eat green beans, and the children, they also like all these vegetables,” said Phillipina, who helps care for at least a dozen grandchildren.For some, the gardens are a better alternative to conventional employment. “If this garden had been here before, I wouldn’t have gone to work outside as a domestic worker,” said Shaba Esitang, 78. “As a domestic worker, you’re working for the money to pay for the vegetables. But in the garden, you grow your own veggies to eat or sell. You own it.”The advantages manifest not only on the dinner table: those who grow more than they need sell the surplus.“They employ themselves – we’re there only to motivate and help,” said Abalimi operations manager Christina Kaba.A hopeful harvestAt Abalimi’s packing centre in Philippi township, half a dozen women and one young man wash and sort piles of brightly coloured vegetables and pack them into “weekly boxes” of produce that are pre-ordered by families in well-off suburbs of Cape Town.With the assistance of the South African Institute of Entrepreneurship, Harvest of Hope was created in early 2008 to provide a new market for excess produce. As a result, nearly 10% of the farming groups now earn a secure monthly income.A box of vegetables sells for R95 (US$9.50), half of which goes directly to the farmer. Current output is around 120 boxes a week, according to Abalimi’s director, Rob Small, who maintains that the project could create one full-time job earning up to R3 000 ($300) a month on just 500 square meters of land.“But it’s a farming job, not a nine-to-five, so that’s the tricky part: to inspire people to work that hard, and that’s where the limiting factor comes in – most people are waiting for something easier.”“The biggest limiting factor is poor people not gaining quickly enough the skills and tools with which to supply the market. We’ve got enough farmers, but most are uneducated or semi-educated – some don’t know what a square meter is,” Small commented.“If they had those skills and tools, and the ability to work consistently at a disciplined level, we could be supplying 600 boxes and more in the next month. The demand is definitely there.”Despite the lack of alternative jobs, the youth have not shown any great enthusiasm. “Young people don’t want to even see the garden – they think gardens are done by poor and uneducated people. When I started, people laughed at me; they said, ‘How can you come to Cape Town to work in the soil like a rural area?’” Kaba said.Small agreed. “Probably there wouldn’t be an urban agricultural movement in Cape Town if there wasn’t 40% unemployment, but it’s starting to be the case that bigger rewards are coming, and lately a lot of young faces are checking in,” he commented. “They’ve heard, and smelled the money, and once they get involved, who knows? They might even find they love farming.”Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.comSource: Irin NewsRelated articlesParprika farming boosts economy An infusion of innovation Sweet deal for cocoa farmers Natural fibre takes off Growing the organic business Useful linksAbalimi BezekhayaHarvest of Hopelast_img read more

MH370 lost in Southern Indian Ocean

first_imgThe Malaysian Prime Minster Najib Razak announced at 2pm (GMT) that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 with 239 and passengers and crew aboard ended its flight in the Southern Indian Ocean southwest of Perth, Western Australia.In a sombre and emotion charged announcement Mr Razak said that Immarsat the British based satellite company working with the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch had used new analysis techniques and determined “beyond doubt” that MH370 had been lost and no-one had survived.“Therefore it is with deep sadness and regret that according to new data that MH370 ended its flight in the Southern Indian Ocean,” said Mr Razak.Searches yesterday found more debris thousands of kilometres southwest of Perth which is expected to be confirmed as coming from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which disappeared 18 days ago.In a day of high drama, two new debris fields were spotted by Australian and Chinese search planes between 2100km and 2500km south-west of Perth in a zone identified by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority based on US and British intelligence.Earlier Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament last night that HMAS Success was in the process of recovering two objects spotted by an RAAF Orion at 11.45am. The crew aboard the Orion reported seeing “grey or green circular object” and an “orange rectangular object”, Mr Abbott said after emerging from a Cabinet meeting.He said the objects identified by the RAAF Orion were separate to the objects reported by the Chinese Ilyushin IL-76.A US Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft attempted to relocate the objects reported by the Chinese plane but were unable to do so.The P-8A, a second RAAF P3 Orion and a Japanese P3 Orion were expected to search their designated search areas until about 8pm last night.The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long is racing to the area where spotters aboard the Chinese IL-76 sighted what they termed “significant suspicious objects”.MH370, with 239 passengers and crew aboard, vanished 16 days ago on a flight from Kula Lumpur to Beijing.A Xinhua correspondent aboard the Ilyushin aircraft reported that searchers saw “two relatively big floating objects with many white smaller ones scattered within a radius of several kilometres”.The Ilyushin was returning to Perth and was at an altitude of 36,000 feet when the debris was spotted. It did not have enough fuel to descend for a closer look.Two Chinese IL-76s joined the search yesterday and departed Perth Airport at 8.45am and 9.20am as Rescue 801 and 802. They returned mid-afternoon.The sighting is 2174km south-west of Perth and in the general area of the Chinese satellite% image taken four days ago.AMSA yesterday launched 10 aircraft to search for MH370.As well as the two Chinese IL-76s, there were two RAAF P3 Orions, three ultra-long range civil jets, the US Navy P-8A Poseidon and two Japanese P3 Orions.MH370 Tribute Pagelast_img read more

17737: Your hotline to the President

first_img15 September 2009South Africans can now dial 17737 (toll-free from a landline) to get through to a call centre at the President’s office with questions or gripes about government service delivery. Some callers may even find themselves speaking to Jacob Zuma himself!Callers will have the option of being helped in a variety of languages, and calls will be recorded and logged for quality, tracking and monitoring purposes. A call log will help the Presidency monitor turnaround times and gather information – to tell them, for example, which government department receives the most complaints.The R4-million service is operational between 7.30am and 10pm, and has 21 well-informed hotline agents, backed up by 43 public liaison officers, dedicated to answering inquiries.Each government department and each province has assigned a public liaison officer to help handle inquiries that cannot be solved by the Presidency alone.Speaking to ZumaAnd some callers may be lucky enough to speak to the President himself. Zuma will have a direct link to an online platform where he can take calls directly, depending on his schedule and when he is in his office at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.Zuma announced in his State of the Nation Address earlier this year that he intended setting up a public liaison unit, which would include a toll-free hotline to handle public inquiries, as part of the efforts to move towards a “more interactive government”.Deputy director-general in the Presidency Vusi Mona said Zuma had attached a lot of importance to handling each inquiry like it was the only one, and following it through all channels until it received the attention it deserved. “This project is very close to the heart of the President. It’s one of his pet projects,” he said.Mona said the hotline would become a key service delivery improvement instrument and monitoring and evaluation tool, which was of importance to the new administration.“The President has indicated that this is not a public relations exercise, but forms part of the government’s attempts to change the way it operates.”Zuma’s word of adviceZuma visited the centre on its first day of operation, 14 September, to offer a word of advice to the call centre agents.“You may receive calls from very angry people, who would have been provoked by your colleagues from other departments,” Zuma said. “Remain calm, patient and be humane and human. You will solve a lot of problems if you remain human and avoid being technical.”Zuma added that part of the call centre agent’s job was to improve the government’s image. “We want people to be able to tell us what their problems are with service delivery, so that we can assist directly.”He urged the staff to work together to eradicate the stigma that makes people think anything from the government is bad or is of inferior quality.“You are the frontline of government communications and citizen care and support,” Zuma said. “Smile when you take those calls, as people can feel your mood wherever they are.”Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Chandu Chavan hasn’t been court-martialled: minister

first_imgPune: Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre on Sunday denied that Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan, who strayed over the LoC during the surgical strikes last year, had been court-martialled, saying instead that “disciplinary action” had been initiated against the soldier.“One must understand that there has been no court martial in the first place … There is nothing wrong with him (Mr. Chavan) as a soldier … he is a good lad. But he committed three mistakes. I will not reveal in what condition he crossed the LoC as it would not be fair to the Army or to Chavan,” the Minister said, speaking in Dhule district.Mr. Chavan’s first mistake, said Dr. Bhamre, was that he left camp without informing superiors. “His second mistake was that he took his weapons with him, and his third was to cross the LoC.”Mr. Bhamre said the punishment following a court-martial cannot be a mere two-three months in jail, but is much more severe than that. He said media reports had distorted events of the proceedings against Mr. Chavan.“Furthermore, his job in the Army is secure and he has not been thrown in any jail,” the minister said, stressing again that the Indian Armed Forces had merely taken disciplinary action against him.Mr. Chavan, who hails from Dhule district’s Borvihir village, was handed over by Pakistan in January as a ‘goodwill gesture’. The Pakistan armed forces’ media wing had claimed that Mr. Chavan had wilfully crossed the LoC on September 29, 2016, and surrendered himself to the Pakistan army.Last week, the Indian Army court sentenced Mr. Chavan, serving with the 37 Rashtriya Rifles, to two months’ imprisonment and forfeiture of two years’ pension as penalty, after the soldier pleaded guilty of deserting his post without permission.Mr. Chavan’s grandmother had suffered cardiac arrest and had passed away after hearing that he was in the captivity of Pakistan’s armed forces. His family has said that he has already suffered enough during his time in Pakistan.last_img read more

Maharashtra tops in justice delivery

first_imgMaharashtra has topped the list of 18 large-medium States in the overall first-ever ranking of Indian States on justice delivery, followed by Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Haryana. In this category, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are at the bottom, while among the list of seven smaller States, Goa leads the group.This is according to the India Justice Report 2019, released on Thursday by the Tata Trusts in collaboration with Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, among others.Public dataThe report has been prepared based on publicly available data of different government entities on the four pillars of justice delivery — police, judiciary, prisons and legal aid.Releasing the report, Justice (Retd.) Madan B. Lokur called it a pioneering study and said: “The findings establish beyond doubt very serious lacunae in our justice delivery system. It is an excellent effort to mainstream the issues concerning our justice system, which in fact affect every aspect of society, governance and the economy.” He added that judiciary and the government should take note of the significant findings, and the States too should act to urgently plug the gaps in the management of the police, prisons, forensics, justice delivery, provision of legal aid, and the filling up of vacancies.The report highlights the fact that even the best performing States scored less than 60% in their performance on capacity across the police, judiciary, prisons and legal aid.The country has about 18,200 judges with about 23% sanctioned posts vacant, notes the report, adding that women are poorly represented in these pillars, constituting just 7% of the police.“Prisons are over-occupied at 114%, where 68% are undertrials awaiting investigation, inquiry or trial. Regarding budgets, most States are not able to fully utilise the funds given to them by the Centre, while the increase in spending on the police, prisons and judiciary does not keep pace with the overall increase in State expenditure,” the report said.Budget constraintsIt added that some pillars also remain affected by low budgets. For instance, India’s per capita spend on free legal aid is 75 paise per annum, the report said.The report looked at data indicators from the four pillars, covering themes like infrastructure, human resources, diversity (gender, Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe/Other Backward Class), budgets, workload and trends over the last five years.‘Grim picture’“Collectively, the data paints a grim picture. It highlights that each individual sub-system is starved for budgets, manpower and infrastructure; no State is fully compliant with the standards it has set for itself. Governments are content to create ad hoc and patchwork remedies to cure deeply embedded systemic failures. Inevitably, the burden of all this falls on the public,’’ noted Maja Daruwala, chief editor, India Justice Report.last_img read more

Match fixing is life-threatening, says Rice

first_imgThe menace of match-fixing is life threatening and it’s time the ICC steps in and take stringent action to wipe out the menace for once and all, feels former South Africa captain Clive Rice.Match-fixing is so rife in international cricket these days that it’s only a matter of time before a player, coach or an umpire paid with their life, Rice said today.”These mafia betting syndicates do not stop at anything and they do not care who gets in their way,” Rice was quoted as saying in the “Courier Mail”.”People have been murdered because of it in the past and it could happen again unless the ICC do something about it.”To permanently eradicate the menace, Rice felt, the ICC should bring in reforms and enforce strict policing on players.”Players have to be told there will now be undercover officials trying to trap them,” Rice said from his Johannesburg home.”They won’t know whether they are dealing with a bookmaker or an undercover official.”Rice, 61, suspects the role of mafia betting syndicates in the mysterious deaths of Hansie Cronje and Bob Woolmer — both close friends of Rice.Cronje died in a plane crash in 2002, two years after being banned for his role in a match-fixing scandal, while late Pakistan coach Woolmer was found dead in a Jamaican hotel room, following his team’s shocking defeat to Ireland in the 2007 World Cup.Rice said the latest allegations of Pakistani players’ involvement in spot-fixing before the Lord’s Test did not surprise him.advertisement”My first response was: ‘What’s new?’ Once a player becomes involved with these bookmakers and the match-fixing, they can never escape. You’re in it for life. The ICC needs to take a stronger stand and let players know if you do this you’re out.”Rice also felt that if corruption in international cricket is not tackled, the sport will suffer in terms of credibility, sponsors and television coverage.last_img read more

JabaleNoor bus owner on 7day remand

first_imgRAB detains Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan owner Shahadat HossainA Dhaka court on Thursday placed owner of ‘Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan’ bus, Shahadat Hossain, on a seven-day remand for interrogation over killing two college students in a recent road accident on Airport Road, reports UNB.Dhaka metropolitan magistrate Noor Nahar Yasmin passed the order when DB police inspector Kazi Shariful Islam, the investigation officer of the case, produced him before the court seeking a 10-day remand for him.Members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Shahadat Hossain, the owner of the killer bus (DM-Ba-11-9297), from the city on Wednesday noon.Asked by the court whether he has anything to say, Shahadat said, “I bought the bus with my life’s savings. It was my mistake to buy the vehicle. If I knew that such a situation would occur, I wouldn’t have bought the vehicle. I also have no idea about such matters of drivers.”Diya Khanam Mim and Abdul Karim Rajib, students of the college section of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin School and College, were killed as the bus of ‘Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan ploughed through some students on the Airport Road on Sunday last.A case was filed over the accident with Cantonment Police Station on Sunday night.last_img read more