Why Suffolk’s Water Protection Program Ruling Is A Win For Voters

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Environmentalists cheered recently when the New York State Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy had illegally raided $30 million from Suffolk’s landmark Drinking Water Protection Program to plug a hole in the county’s budget. They called the decision a victory for the environment and for an important legal principle.“This is a huge win for taxpayers and for good government,” said Richard Amper, the Long Island Pine Barrens Society’s executive director.The problem is that Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, a Democrat, has to restore the money his Republican predecessor raided just as he’s introducing his 2016 budget, which so far calls for no hike in the general fund property tax, which has been frozen since he took office four years ago, but does raise police district taxes for the fourth time in a row.According to Bellone’s spokesman, Justin Meyers, the court decision “is not a budget buster in 2016,” because the county can pay the fund back over time, not in one fell swoop, at least that’s what the county executive is hoping to work out with the environmentalists once the details are ironed out in court.What Bellone can’t do is bend the rules the way Levy did because the highest Court in New York State has affirmed that once the people have voted their preference in a public referendum, its stipulation can’t be arbitrarily nullified on a whim when the coffers run dry—or the budget falls short.“The politicians can’t rewrite those laws or repeal them without going back to the public,” explained Paul Sabatino, one of the authors of more than two dozen public referenda in Suffolk County when he was the legislature’s counsel. The key legal principle, he explained, is the equivalency clause inserted in the referendum’s wording—a doctrine he introduced in 1983.“The public’s right to determine the outcome of a public referendum was carefully calibrated,” Sabatino said.In this case involving the water fund, Suffolk County voters agreed to tax themselves about $2.2 billion over 41 years and ensure that the money was allocated “according to a very specific formula,” he added. Explicitly part of the deal the public made by passing the referendum, Sabatino added, “was that nobody could come back and change that formula—or repeal it or modify it or whatever—without getting public approval.”Cynicism may have been part of his reasoning for making the equivalency clause binding.“I realized that you can’t trust the politicians,” Sabatino said. “They say one thing publicly and another thing privately.”Ironically, by the time Sabatino left Suffolk County government, he was chief deputy to County Executive Steve Levy with whom, it’s fair to say, he did not always see eye to eye. As soon as Levy became county executive in 2004, Sabatino recently told the Press, he “started to argue that the referendum was non-binding,” and he eventually persuaded the legislature that he could “change the drinking water protection program…and simply redirect the ways the money was going to be spent.”Apparently, Levy is still thinking that way, despite the Court of Appeals ruling on Aug. 27. In a letter he wrote to Newsday last week, the former county executive denied that the Suffolk water program was what Amper said it was: “Not true. It was a depository only for funds to stabilize sewer rates,” Levy wrote. “I discovered that the fund had been overtaxing the public for decades, leading to the point in which we had hundreds of millions of surplus dollars in the fund. So why not return at least part of that to the public as tax relief?”Not surprisingly, the Pine Barrens’ Amper disagrees with Levy’s interpretation.“Long Islanders are paying twice the national average in taxes but they always go to the polls to vote to give government more money if it’s for water protection,” said Amper. “The Levy administration raided $30 million from the Suffolk Drinking Water Protection Program, which was funded by a quarter of a penny sales tax that the public approved at referendum.”Responding to Levy’s action, the Pine Barrens Society and the Environmental Voters Forum sued in New York State Supreme Court, saying that the government could not take money earmarked by the public for water and use it for the general fund. A lower court dismissed the case but the environmentalists appealed, citing the equivalency cause, and the Appellate Court sided with them unanimously. The Bellone administration, which took office in 2012, fought that ruling, first in the Appellate Division, and, when that effort failed, before the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest judicial body, which just recently declined to consider Suffolk’s motion. So now the county has to put $30 million back into water protection as it faces a structural deficit and a decline in sales tax revenue.“Now it would be unfair to make Bellone responsible for Levy’s crime,” Amper told the Press, “so we need to sit down and agree upon the terms of the return of the money that Levy took with a more responsible Bellone administration.” The Pine Barrens Society will be joined by the Environmental Voters Forum in pressing for the fund’s full restitution before state Supreme Court Justice Joseph Farneti, who had sided against them in the first go-round.Speaking for the Bellone administration, Meyers told the Press that “we’re on the same page” with the environmentalists because water protection is one of the county executive’s most important priorities, and they hope to come to a restitution agreement soon.Sabatino, one of the three pro bono attorneys managing the litigation on behalf of the Pine Barrens—Jennifer Juengst and Regina Seltzer were the others—praised Amper for maintaining the integrity of the program created in 1987. It has been revised three times since then—all by public referendum.“He made a lot of compromises over the years,” said Sabatino, referring to Amper. “I give him a lot of credit.”The appreciation is mutual: The three attorneys will be honored for their public service work at the Pine Barrens Society’s 38th anniversary environmental awards gala in October.“This is a really important principle,” Sabatino reiterated. “On Long Island the voters have gradually lost their right to elect judges, to elect county-wide officials, to elect local officials, because there’s either cross endorsements or non-aggression pacts that increasingly take away the public’s right to decide. I think this is a huge victory for voter participation at a time of limited voter opportunities.”The Drinking Water Protection Program’s complicated details, for example, earmarking 11.75 percent for land, 25 percent for sewers, could boggle the layperson or the legislator perhaps, but Sabatino said the stipulations spelled out in the referendum had their purpose.“Why go to the trouble to write in all these specific percentages if politicians could then wipe them off the face of the Earth with just about a roll of toilet paper?” he exclaimed.As for the principle of using public referenda to resolve pressing issues facing New Yorkers, Sabatino acknowledged that Suffolk has “led the way” among the state’s counties.“Nassau doesn’t know how to do it,” he said, chuckling as he recounted the “totally illegal” referendum Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano put together in the summer of 2011 to see if the residents would approve a $400 million bond to renovate the Coliseum and thereby keep Charles Wang’s New York Islanders playing there. Though the county spent an estimated $2 million to hold the vote on Aug. 1st—not to mention how much time and money the Long Island Federation of Labor deployed to get the word out on behalf of the building trade unions—it was resoundingly rejected, 56-43, as roughly 17 percent of the county’s eligible voters trekked to the polls.But the effort was pointless, observed Sabatino, because the county executive’s administration had drafted an “advisory referendum” for the election, which, the Suffolk attorney said, “had absolutely no binding effect… Even if they [the voters] had adopted it, it would have been of no consequence.”So while the ice has melted in Nassau—at least for the Islanders and their hockey fans here—money may soon start flowing back into Suffolk’s water protection fund, at least until the next budget freezes over.last_img read more

Wagenborg takes Ulstein vessel for walk-to-work ops in North Sea

first_imgOffshore logistic solutions provider Wagenborg Offshore has been awarded a six-year contract by Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) and Shell UK for the provision of a second walk-to-work vessel for operations in the North Sea.NAM and Shell UK work together in combined business unit on the gas production on the Southern North Sea and the vessel will support their offshore operations, Wagenborg said on Monday.The so-called ‘Walk-to-Work Emergency Response and Rescue Vessel’ (W2W ERRV) will operate as a standby and support vessel for inspection and maintenance of the unmanned platforms in both Dutch and British waters.For the provision of the W2W ERRV vessel to NAM and Shell UK, Wagenborg has signed an agreement with Ulstein for the delivery of a standard ‘PX121 Platform Supply Vessel’ (PSV). The PX121 is particularly suited for a conversion to other types of services, such as walk-to-work or Emergency Response and Rescue, without comprising the vessel’s Dynamic Positioning performance.The Ulstein-owned vessel, ‘Blue Queen’, has been chosen by Wagenborg for this contract. In the Dutch shipyard Royal Niestern Sander in Delfzijl, approximately 80 employees will be working on the conversion of the PX121 from a PSV into a W2W ERRV vessel. The PX121 will be equipped a.o. with an additional accommodation module, motion compensated gangway and motion compensated crane to comply the requirements of NAM-Shell.The vessel will be converted in 16 weeks and is expected to be delivered to Wagenborg Offshore March 2018. The vessel will start operations in 1Q 2018. It has been repainted in the Wagenborg colors.last_img read more

Snider attends annual agriculture educator conference

Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Carley Snider, from Felicity, attended the 2016 National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.Selected from a pool of nationwide candidates, Snider was one of 24 pre-service agricultural education students who participated in the Future Agriscience Teacher (FAST) symposium, five day professional development and networking event that was part of the annual NAAE convention.The symposium consisted of professional development training, including instruction on inquiry-based teaching methods by National Agriscience Teacher Ambassadors, classroom management, and developing engaging lessons. In addition to professional development, attendees also participated in organizational business, committee and regional meetings.The FAST symposium provided essential training and support to equip future agriscience teachers with 21st century science, technology, engineering and math skills through practice application in the context of agriculture. Snider attended various workshops geared towards increasing her content knowledge, classroom management skills and abilities to successfully advise an FFA chapter. Information about inquiry-based learning and how to incorporate it into the classroom, as well as learning about curriculum to increase learning opportunities for future students and, were presented to the attendees.“One session I attended focused on activities to use when teaching welding in the classroom and another on successfully teaching mig welding,” said Snider. “These were really helpful workshops, as I’ll be teaching welding next semester during my student teaching.” read more

Top 5 Industries Providing Massive Returns Over the Next 5 Years

first_imgArtificial Intelligence (AI). Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com. There is a revolution happening in transportation, and it isn’t Lyft ridesharing or the Hyperloop. This revolution is based on micro-mobility, and is being led by the scooter movement. McKinsey estimates that the United States market could be worth over $200 Billion by 2030.Micromobility is the term that describes a wave of new technologies and solutions that help people travel short distances.These technologies are efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly ways to get from one venue to another.The scooter boom has already started with startups like Bird, Lime, Skip, Grin, and Spin — placing scooters on the sidewalks of dozens of cities in the United States. Bird has a valuation of over $2 Billion, and Ford purchased Spin for around $100 Million. Bird and Lime have both raised above $400M in less than three years.At the time of this writing, micromobility startups with profitable business models are clashing with cities and municipal regulations.However, once regulatory hurdles clear, expect more scale from these startups. The obvious opportunity is to own the brand recognition and drive adoption as Uber and Lyft did with ridesharing.There are also ample opportunities to help cities and governments with their own solutions by providing mapping, data, and fleet management solutions. Startups and tech companies will clammer to market with infinite, valuable solutions — releasing practical and relevant bits of help and assistance to the public and their customers.ConclusionSuccess goes to the individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses who can identify markets before they reach saturation levels. These five industries are positioned well to grow significantly in the next five years.No doubt we are seeing the creation of new opportunities for consumers and entrepreneurs alike. Taking notice now will leave future founders and leaders poised for gain and growth in these — and many other invaluable industries. When Eileen Lee is a founder of Cowboy Ventures and one of the best investors in Silicon Valley, published an article on unicorns (privately-held companies with a valuation exceeding $1 Billion), she estimated there were around 39 unicorns at the time. That article was over five years ago, and as of today, there are over 300 unicorns.Markets move fast, and we can turn our focus on these massive consumer and technological needs and trends that are presenting themselves.If the unicorn movement changed that drastically in the last five years — imagine where we will be in the next five years. As the leaders of Web 2.0 have gone public and the leaders of the sharing economy have reached unicorn status; big questions about the future hang in the balance.What industries will continue to grow at significant rates? Which new markets or technologies will burst onto the scene? Where will be value created, captured and capitalized upon?Massive market opportunities for businesses and benefits for consumers are coming into play at an unprecedented rate.There are plenty of significant markets that provide ample opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs. This list highlights five industries that will see a massive boom in the next five years. Related Posts Blockchain and Digital Currencies. CBD (Cannabidiol Oil). Internet of Things (IoT). Smart home products and IoT technology have already made considerable progress in terms of adoption. Consumer products like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Nest Cam have achieved significant commercial success.Platforms like Works with Xfinity (Comcast) and Alarm.com bring a fine-tuned cohesive user experiences to customers. This success is impressive, and yet the market has much room to grow with a capacity for other players to make their mark in this space.The first primary reason there is room in the sandbox is because the Internet of Things is versatile.In addition to new products and advancing technology in the smart home, the most significant opportunities for the next five years will be in enterprise IoT, industrial IoT and smart cities.The second primary reason for IoT’s exponential growth is because it falls at the convergence of many significant trends.When are you beginning your smart life?Artificial intelligence and machine learning will make smart home and IoT technologies even better. The convergence of smart cars, smart homes, smart offices, smart cities, smart apartments, smartphones, and wearables will result in a “smart life” that will continue to grow and evolve over the next five years. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in hemp the cannabis plant. This safe, non-addictive compound is extracted and distributed as oils, candy, tinctures, and topical creams. The compound is added to many more palatable and easily digestible forms for consumption. The market is exploding and stands to be the next multi-billion dollar wellness and health trend.Why is CBD so popular? The list of purported health benefits from the full-spectrum CBD is astounding.The health list includes insomnia, anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, brain injuries, arthritis, diabetes, neurological disorders, cancer, acne, and other significant health issues.Walgreens and CVS are two of the major companies set to bring CBD products to consumers. While the multi-nationals are positioning for distribution, small businesses are fighting to establish themselves as the top brands in CBD.Vitalibis, a wellness company is offering full-spectrum CBD oil and soothing creams.This company has differentiated themselves by pioneering an advanced extraction process that safely extracts the CBD benefits with steam. They have worked tirelessly preserving the CBD compounds, additional cannabinoids and essential phytonutrients. The result is a full-spectrum CBD oil, which research suggests provides greater effectiveness than isolated CBD.Other cannabis companies and startups are moving quickly to own their slice of the market.Expect to see massive growth in all areas of the industry — from seed to customer. Also, the recent declassification of CBD from the Schedule 1 drug list will provide research experts and testing authorities a significant source of opportunities to contribute to the wellbeing of individuals. Contributions will continue in medical fieldstudies, and ample business community committments will grow. Two years ago, digital currencies experienced a massive bubble that drove prices and hysteria through the roof. In 2018, investor sentiment cooled off significantly as prices plummeted back to earth.While some people have entirely written off blockchain and digital currencies, the story will more likely turn out similarly to the tech boom and bust of the dot com era.Now in 2019, blockchain has been leveled by the bubble bursting.As the dust settles, the best projects will survive and benefit from consolidated talent and investment, while also benefitting from the infrastructure and consumer awareness built during the bubble.In the next few years, don’t be surprised to see blockchain technologies and digital currencies enter new markets and find real adoption amongst businesses and consumers. Many projects are aligned with real market leaders, and several projects are ready to become the first widely-adopted blockchain platforms.The potential for blockchain is as limitless as the internet itself. Entrepreneurs, companies, and investors watching and staying on top of the blockchain market will be the winners at the forefront of trends.The market moves quickly, so it’s important to subscribe to a cryptocurrency news service, listen to podcasts and educate yourself as much as possible. Micromobility. Blockchain – Impending Revolution in Glob… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… AI’s compounded annual growth rate is projected by UBS to be 20 percent from 2015 to 2020 already. The potential benefits extend well beyond 2020 as this industry is just getting started.Artificial Intelligence has the potential to permeate nearly every facet of our lives, including CBD.We have seen AI infuse almost every industry, from Tesla’s autonomous-driving vehicles to Google’s smart-home assistants. We have witnessed AI in surgery-performing robots and mental health chatbots. AI is already demonstrating its potential, and it seems there are indeed no limits when combining other technologies with the possibility of AI.The demand for AI professional is exploding.Indeed reported that the percent of searches using “AI” or “machine learning” increased by over 180 percent. There’s no question that workforce demand is an excellent indicator of what’s to come in the future. As AI continues to evolve and find adoption, opportunities will increase for employees, entrepreneurs and businesses. AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Follow the Puck Brad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWrite Tags:#Cannabis#CBD#digital currency#Medical Cannabis#micromobility#Tech Trends#Walgreens and CVS CBD last_img read more

Ginebra rips Kia for back-to-back wins

first_imgFEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Reden Celda had a team-high 21 points for the Picanto, who slid to 0-4.RELATED VIDEO Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PSC partners with USANA Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES MOST READ Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Photo by Tristan Tamayo/Inquirer.netBarangay Ginebra didn’t even need its import Justin Brownlee to play in the fourth quarter on Wednesday.Brownlee had already done his work through three quarters and the Gin Kings outclassed an overmatched Kia Picanto side, 120-99, in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Ginebra flaunted its depth and had eight players scoring at least eight points led by Brownlee and Slaughter, who finished with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists in just his third game back since being sidelined for 10 months due to an ACL injury.Even the 37-year-old Mark Caguioa, who is in his 15th season in the league, got into the scoring act and came away with a season-high 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field in less than 14 minutes off the bench.The Gin Kings, who climbed to 2-1, never trailed and led by as much as 34, 98-64. They went on a 16-2 run in the first three and a half minutes of the third quarter to take a 74-45 lead and put the game away for food.Ginebra clicked on both ends of the floor, assisting on 39 out of its 44 made field goals and limiting Kia import Markeith Cummings to just 14 points on 6-of-20 shooting from the field with five turnovers in 35 minutes.The Gin Kings’ assist total was the most in 14 years, according the league head statistician Fidel Mangonon. Ginebra guard Scottie Thompson dished out a game-high 10 assists.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ The versatile forward had his fingerprints all over the game, nearly having a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists with two blocks to boot in close to 32 minutes of action.The Gin Kings, who are even deadlier than before with the 7-foot Greg Slaughter getting back into top form, just had too much firepower for the Picanto.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“We kind of displayed all of our weapons tonight, all of our weapons came in play,” Ginebra head coach Tim Cone told reporters.“I just thought we had too many weapons for Kia, too many people they had to account for,” said Cone. “But I’m really happy with the focus of our guys, coming out and sustaining it for 48 minutes.” View commentslast_img read more

a month agoValencia coach Celades: Beating Chelsea proof players accept me

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Valencia coach Celades: Beating Chelsea proof players accept meby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveValencia coach Albert Celades feels the players have accepted him after their Champions League triumph at Chelsea.Celades had stepped in last week after the sacking of popular coach Marcelino – a decision which angered the players.He said after the 1-0 win, “It was not the idyllic situation, but it is what it is, we have faced it in the most professional way, we have closed ranks and we have always looked forward.”One thing is the external noise and another what happens inside, we know that the players have a very great professionalism, things are not simple and it is not easy to change the mood overnight, but we have given normality and I have to highlight everyone’s effort, this is a reinforcement for everyone, but we have to keep working and improving things.”Captain Dani Parejo insisted the players were behind the coach at the final whistle and Celades added: “We talk to them every day, we know the real situation of the squad, Dani has made it public, but we know it was like that, I want to thank the players for the welcome and their professionalism and hopefully this is a turning point.”Hopefully from now it’ll only be football talk and move on.” last_img read more

SEC Unveils New Conference Tag Line At Media Days

first_imgThe SEC's logo with a grey background.SEC Media Days kicked off this afternoon, and while most of the news is geared towards the individual members teams, coaches, and players in attendance, the league made an announcement as well. The SEC unveiled a new conference tag line at the event: “It Just Means More.”New tag line for the SEC: pic.twitter.com/GjkD1oS4hz— Chuck Dunlap (@SEC_Chuck) July 11, 2016 For football fans in SEC country, the slogan definitely rings true. People say that college football is a religion in the Southeast. It’s not too far off.MORE FROM COLLEGE SPUN:The 10 Most Aggressive Fan Bases In CFBIn Photos: Golfer Paige SpiranacESPN Makes Decision On Dick Vitalelast_img read more

New Pakistan, old gameplan

first_imgThe street smart tactics of the Pakistan army – played out by Prime Minister Imran Khan at its behest – to somehow diffuse the overwhelming pressure of international opinion blaming it for collusion with Islamic militants, are not doing much for it this time. It was an unprecedented setback for Pakistan’s deep state when India got instant support – open or implicit – from the international community for its “preemptive and non-military” strike on the training facility of Jaish-e-Mohammed far inside Pakistan’s territory. Also Read – A special kind of bondWhat has followed is a series of inconsistent responses from Pakistan’s policymakers. The Indian Air Force (IAF) bombing at Balakot – as a declared reprisal by India against the terror attack on CRPF troopers in Pulwama – was viewed with a sense of “understanding” by the entire democratic world, led by the US, as a legitimate operation since it was carried out in the backdrop of calls being made by the world community to Pakistan – over a long period – to stop providing safe havens to terrorists on its soil. Also Read – Insider threat managementSince Pakistan army was trying to pull wool over every body’s eyes by pretending that the Islamic outfits instigating terror across Indo-Pak border in Kashmir and elsewhere were “non-state” actors not in its control, India’s stand that Balakot was not an attack on Pakistan made sense to all, much to the frustration of Pakistan. Pakistan’s references to “escalation” did not cut much ice and even its desperate attempt to use F-16 bombers on a military target on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) on the day following Balakot received a cold snub from all the countries as an unjustified bravado. The focal point of accountability on Pakistan’s ruling dispensation remains on the lack of effective action against the militant outfits operating from within that country. The world opinion has hardened on this issue as the developments in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) with regard to naming Maulana Masood Azhar, the chief of JeM, as an international terrorist amply demonstrated, notwithstanding the fact that China has once again blocked the decision with its veto. Imran Khan in a statement earlier had reiterated that “he pledged not to allow Pakistani soil to be used for terror directed at other countries” which seemed to be a part of the wishy-washy announcements of his government about “restrictions” placed on Jaish and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) front Jamaat-ud-Dawah. Meanwhile, US National Security Advisor John Bolton has called upon Pakistan Foreign Minister once again to ensure “meaningful” action against terrorists who had attacked India. India has to critically assess the impact of US intervention. Imran Khan has – unsurprisingly – used the current situation to encroach on India’s domestic politics by alleging that the Narendra Modi government was engaging in “the politics of hatred” with an eye on the upcoming general elections in India. He openly accused Prime Minister Modi of “dividing people for votes” and went on to state that after Pulwama, hatred was being spread against a community because of which Kashmiris were targeted in many parts of India. Pakistan has been trying to fish in the troubled waters of Indian electoral politics in a manner that creates a convergence between what its leaders propagate and the anti-Modi tirade that the Opposition in India made on the issue of “protection of minorities” here. Pakistan is consciously indulging in the dangerous game of suggesting that there was a sense of identification between Muslims of India and Pakistan and that the minority community here should help to pull down the Modi regime. Imran Khan had stated sometime back that he looked forward to dealing with a new dispensation in India in 2019. Fomenting terrorist violence by exploiting faith-based motivation should be condemned by one and all and the question of who should be given credit for the military operation against the Jaish establishment at Balakot should be debated with political finesse and not political bias. Balakot underscores a strategic response to the serious threat of cross-border terrorism facing India and any critique of the same should be kept free of communal overtones. We should not fail the world community that is seized of this threat at the global level by throwing up internal political divisions on matters of national security. Indian diplomacy is going to run into the challenge – sooner than later – of Pulwama and Balakot events being flagged by other countries as the ground for the resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan. China has expectedly taken the lead in recommending talks between the two countries for “long term improvement in bilateral ties.” China, unlike the US and many other major countries, is keen to bail out Pakistan which faced isolation on the issue of Islamic extremism and terror. India has rightly demanded “credible, verifiable and sustained actions” against terror outfits in Pakistan. However, we must be specific about calling for effective punitive action against both Hafiz Sayeed and Masood Azhar for their involvement in the 26/11 and Pulwama attacks, respectively, and make it a condition for a possible resumption of dialogue with Pakistan. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has done well to dare Imran Khan to hand over Masood Azhar to India if he was serious about taking action against terrorists. India has to keep up its alignment with the US, the UK, France, Japan, Australia, Russia, and the Gulf countries on the issue of putting down terrorism. Securing convergence between India, the US and Russia on the future of Afghanistan should also be an important aim of our diplomatic endeavours. The Pakistan army-ISI duo have realised that the line “you give me evidence we will proceed” had this time failed to impress anybody and they are therefore trying to hoodwink the international community by pretending to put curbs – administrative and financial – on the terrorist outfits. They plan to brave through the world pressure and apparently feel convinced that they could continue with their efforts to create political destabilisation in Jammu and Kashmir and keep the pot boiling there. Pakistan knows it cannot take on India in a conventional war but has reasons to believe that it could indulge in its covert offensive on LoC to keep the limelight on the Kashmir issue. India has stronger justification after the Balakot strike to follow an “offence is the best defence” approach in dealing with any ceasefire violations. With the onset of summer, Pakistan would be tempted to step up infiltration of terrorists into the valley – notwithstanding the fact that strong action against separatists and pro-Pak elements would have shrunk the circle of support that Pakistan had enjoyed there so far. For India, there is no looking back on the mission of eliminating the last terrorist gun in Kashmir, neutralising the Pakistan agents there and developing J&K as a democratically governed state that is economically self-sufficient, socio-politically harmonious and viable as a multi-religious entity. (The author is a former Director, Intelligence Bureau. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Naomi Osakas US Open Win ReOpens Identity Discussion in

Naomi Osaka, the champion of U.S. Open women’s singles, smiles during a press conference in Yokohama, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Osaka defeated Serena Williams of the U.S. on Saturday, Sept. 8, to become the first Grand Slam singles champion from Japan. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Naomi Osaka’s victory in the U.S. Open has added her to a growing list of athletes, Nobel Prize winners, and beauty pageant contestants who have raised the issue of what it means to be Japanese.The daughter of a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, Osaka was born in Japan but raised in the United States. But she is being lauded in Japan as the first from the country to win a Grand Slam singles tennis title, which has upstaged most questions about her mixed background.Some children from mixed race families in Japan often get bullied and demeaned, called “hafu” — from the English word “half” — and are chided that they aren’t fully Japanese.Japan has embraced the 20-year-old Osaka, and she — despite barely speaking Japanese — talks fondly of her affection for her adopted country. But her victory also challenges public attitudes about identity in a homogeneous culture that is being pushed to change.“It is hard to say for sure if the extremely narrow conception, unconsciously or consciously, held by many Japanese of being Japanese, is being loosened,” Naoko Hashimoto, who researches national identify at the University of Sussex in England, wrote in an email to Associated Press.“In my opinion, it still appears that Japanese are generally defined as those who are born from a Japanese father and a Japanese mother, who speak perfect Japanese and ‘act like Japanese’.”Athletes and celebrities seem to fall into a different category. Osaka has lots of company in this realm with an increasing number of sports stars claiming mixed backgrounds.For instance:— Yu Darvish, the Chicago Cubs pitcher: son on a Japanese mother and Iranian father. Born in Osaka.— Mashu Baker, an Olympic gold-medal winner in judo: son of a Japanese mother and American father. Born in Tokyo.— Asuka Cambridge, Olympic silver-medal winner in the 4×100 track relay: born in Jamaica to a Japanese mother and Jamaican father, but grew up in Japan.— Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, track and field sprinter: son of a Japanese mother and Ghanaian father. Born in Tokyo.— Koji Murofushi, Olympic gold- and silver-medal winner in the hammer throw: son of a Romanian mother and Japanese father. Born and raised in Japan.Murofushi said he’s always felt Japanese.“I know that I have a mixed heritage,” he told AP. “But I always feel Japanese.” He added it’s “not something that really concerned me or anything.”The visibility of mixed-race athletes in Japan is sure to increase as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics approach and the country hunts for competitors in sports where it has little history.The reverse happened two years ago in the Rio de Janeiro Games, where Brazil found athletes with Japanese roots — more than 2 million Brazilians claim Japanese ancestry — to compete in non-Brazilian specialties.One thing is clear, Osaka is cashing in.The U.S. Open victory was worth $3.8 million in prize money. And on Thursday, Osaka was introduced in Japan as a “brand ambassador” for the Japanese car maker Nissan. It’s a three-year deal, though financial terms were not disclosed.Osaka defeated Williams in Saturday’s chaotic final . Forbes magazine reports that Williams is the highest earning female athlete with income of $18.1 million, almost all from endorsements and sponsorship deals. She’s topped the list for several years.But Osaka’s mixed-race profile, her appeal in the huge Asian market, and her links to Japan’s world-wide brands should drive her long-term earning potential.Osaka was asked if she’s a “new type of Japanese” — mixed race and representing three cultures.“For me, it’s just who I am,” she said. “When someone asks me a question like that, it really throws me off because then I really have to think about it. I don’t know. I don’t really think that I’m three separate — like mixes or whatever. I just think that I’m me.”Osaka said people tell her that she acts “kind of Japanese.” But she added: “I think my tennis is not very Japanese.”Jonathan Jensen, who researches sports marketing at the University of North Carolina, told AP by email that the size of the Nissan contact would depend on how much of her time the company uses. And how many tournaments — and what tournaments — she wins.“She seems very shy and it’s not for everyone,” Jensen wrote. “But the potential is there if that’s the route she wants to take, particularly with brands based in Asia, like Nissan. Tech firms and consumer electronics would also be a natural fit.”Osaka has charmed Japanese audiences with her grace and gentleness off the court, and her ferocity on it. She’s talked about her fondness for Japanese food — curried rice topped with a pork cutlet is a favorite.She’s also been a spokeswoman for two years for the Japanese cup noodle brand Nissin, which is launching a new noodle cup to commemorate her victory.Kazuyoshi Minowa, a spokesman for Windsor Corp, which operates tennis shops in Tokyo, said customers are asking to buy the same racket that Osaka uses. He said he met her two years ago when she visited a store.“My impression was that she was very quiet, unlike her powerful image playing the game,” he told Japanese broadcaster NHK.Questions about race also surfaced in 2016 when Priyanka Yoshikawa was crowned Miss World Japan. Her mother is Japanese and her father is Indian and she was born in Tokyo.This came a year after Ariana Miyamoto won the Miss Universe Japan title. She was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and African-American father.Hashimoto, the researcher at the University of Sussex, pointed out that under Japanese law, Osaka will have to decide on her nationality before she turns 22. She’s 20 now and cannot legally hold two passports.Hashimoto referenced three Nobel Prize winners born in Japan who eventually took other nationalities. The writer Kazuo Ishiguro holds a British passport, and scientists Yoichiro Nanbu and Shuji Nakamura both now hold American passports.She said the strict one-passport rule “could risk leading to brain drain of great talents out of Japan.”“While Naomi Osaka’s victory should be celebrated on its own,” Hashimoto said. “Her case provides those Japanese with a narrow conception of Japanese-ness with an excellent opportunity to rethink what it means to be Japanese.” read more

Football Baron Browning becomes more confident in the middle

Ohio State then-freshman linebacker Baron Browning warms up prior to the Buckeyes’ season-opening 49-21 win over Indiana on Aug. 31 in Bloomington, Indiana. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Former Sports EditorOhio State sophomore Baron Browning is a different type of linebacker than redshirt sophomore and team captain Tuf Borland. While talking about Borland’s sense of on-ball defense during Monday’s press conference, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano praised Browning’s ability to cover ground, using his 6-foot-4, 238-pound frame to cover receivers and tight ends, an ability his coach calls “unbelievable.” Browning’s physical attributes, his ability to run and his ability to cover is not something that is hard for him. “You can’t give anybody credit except God,” Browning said. “I’m just using the abilities he blessed me with.” Browning has not been without his own set of challenges in his second season with Ohio State, though. After Borland went down with an Achilles injury in March, Browning, primarily an outside linebacker, moved to the middle, taking on the responsibilities of what many call the “quarterback” of the defense, a position that he had never been in before. “You have to get yourself lined up as well as everybody else,” Browning said. “You have to make all the checks, the calls, get the D-line set.” Browning said he watched and sought counsel from former teammates that have played the middle inside linebacker position, players like former Ohio State linebackers Chris Worley and Raekwon McMillan. He said he even talked to Borland after the captain returned from his injury, with both giving each other positive feedback and tips to make each other better. One of the main things he took away from these players was the amount of responsibility Browning now had on his shoulders at the middle linebacker position. To him, his new position carries a considerable weight in terms of leadership, more than he ever had on the outside. “It’s more of a responsibility versus just being outside, getting the call and worrying about your job,” Browning said. “You got to take care of everybody.”Browning described it as having a “different personality” when playing in the middle linebacker spot. This was something he had to get used to quick, starting each of the first two games for Ohio State this season. He said he was nervous prior to the season opener against Oregon State, but felt more confident with each snap he took, especially going into the second game against Rutgers. As Borland continues to rehab, getting closer and closer to consistent in-game action, Browning said linebackers coach Bill Davis and the rest of the Ohio State coaching staff has not given clarification about the rotation between him and Borland and if it would continue. Browning was not surprised about the linebacker rotation heading into the season. “Our room in general, we have a lot of talented linebackers,” Browning said. “It’s going to be a big rotation. From inside to outside we have a lot of guys that can play.”  Browning now knows, even despite growing pains in the middle linebacker spot, he has to become one of the leaders of the defense on the field. He said he has started to act like it. “Just being loud and knowing I got to get everybody set and make all the calls and I can’t be wrong,” Browning said. “Even if I am wrong, be loud with it.” read more