The sky is not the limit for African astronaut Mandla Maseko

first_imgAstronaut Mandla Maseko will feature in the next instalment of Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part TV series, to be aired on Sunday 20 July at 9pm on SABC2. Maseko won the global Axe Apollo Space Academy competition for an hour long sub-orbital trip of 62 miles, or about 100 kilometres. Handpicked for the trip on the Lynx Mark II Spaceship, Maseko is one of only 23 civilians from around the world to win a seat on the space mission. He saw off a million other entrants to emerge victorious. (Image: Sthe Shabangu)• Brand South Africa+27 11 483 0122info@brandsouthafrica.com• South Africa takes to space • Ubuntu coming to phones• Blast-off for space weather centre • Ubuntu beats Windows and Mac • From township to space, the world’s first black African astronautMelissa Jane CookIt is an extraordinary dream come true. Like music to Mandla Maseko’s ears, this part-time DJ will blast off into space, literally. No-one in Maseko’s family has ever stepped outside South Africa, but now the 25-year-old is preparing to rocket into space in 2015.Maseko won the global Axe Apollo Space Academy competition for an hour long sub-orbital trip of 62 miles, or about 100 kilometres. Handpicked for the trip on the Lynx Mark II Spaceship, Maseko is one of only 23 civilians from around the world to win a seat on the space mission. He saw off a million other entrants to emerge victorious.The son of a toolmaker and a cleaning supervisor, he hails from the dusty Mabopane Township near Pretoria. He will be the first black African, and the only other South African besides billionaire Mark Shuttleworth to have gone into space. Shuttleworth is a white entrepreneur and philanthropist who bought a seat on a Russian Soyuz capsule for £12-million and spent eight days on board the International Space Station in 2002.“Excitement does not begin to describe how I feel right now,” Maseko told the Pretoria News daily. “If there was a better word than ‘excitement’ I would use it.” He was forced to put his civil engineering studies on hold because he could not pay the fees; now will get to experience zero gravity and a journey that normally comes with a $100 000 price tag.He heard the news of his achievement on 5 December 2013, only a few hours after the death of Nelson Mandela. “I have run the race and completed the course, now here is the torch,” Maseko imagined Mandela would have said to him. “Continue running the race and here’s the title to go with it.”Watch Mandla Maseko discussing his once in a lifetime opportunity:Entering the competitionIn August 2013, Maseko was lying on the couch when he heard an advertisement for the competition on the radio and decided to enter, along with thousands of other South Africans. “I needed to send in a picture of myself jumping off something. I jumped off the wall in the backyard. I had to do it three times before I was happy with the picture.” His motivation for entering, he said was because he wanted “to defy the laws of gravity”.Hopefuls from more than 105 countries competed for a spot on the shuttle. Only 30 entrants from South Africa were selected from a field of 85 000 determined individuals for the first set of challenges in Free State; they were cut down to three, who went to the US for further gruelling preparations. Maseko was among them – one black, one white, one of Indian origin. “We wanted to show South Africa is way past the colour of our skin. We are the human race.”From December 1 to 8, Maseko and fellow South Africans Dean Roddan and Haroon Osman faced arduous challenges at the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida. This would test their resolve, strength and courage.While at the Axe Apollo Space Academy, Maseko engaged in a series of missions that gave all recruits a taste of the thrills and trials faced by real astronauts. Among training missions, he learned to pilot an Air Combat USA aircraft and braced himself for the strength of blast off in a G-Force Simulator at the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex.Other challenges included skydiving, building and launching a rocket and conquering obstacle courses. “Unfortunately we could not get our rocket to launch, but we made up points because we were judged on bravery, enthusiasm and teamwork,” Maseko said. “We face things head on. I knew I had to learn, master and excel at the challenges, so I did.”Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, was one of the competition’s judges, and Maseko got the opportunity to meet Aldrin when he was announced a winner. “I got to shake his hand three times. I was like, ‘Oh, is this you?’ He said, ‘Yes, it is me!’” For Maseko, the encounter was magical. “This is how it feels to be out in space,” he thought.Aldrin is among 12 people – all American, all men and all white – to have walked on the moon. But Africa has growing space ambitions: the majority of the Square Kilometre Array, the world’s biggest and most powerful radio telescope, will be spread across South Africa and eight other countries on the continent.Watch Mandla Maseko discussing Space Jump Suits:Destined for greatnessHe was a “typical ekasi township boy” who still lived at home with his parents and four siblings, said Maseko. His father, who grew up in such poverty that he got his first pair of shoes when he was 16, was determined that his children would never go hungry. “I don’t remember going to bed without having eaten,” he said. “My dad provided for us. He is my hero, and then Nelson Mandela comes after.“I’m not trying to make this a race thing but us blacks grew up dreaming to a certain stage. You dreamed of being a policeman or a lawyer, but you knew you wouldn’t get as far as pilot or astronaut. Then I went to space camp and I thought, ‘I can actually be an astronaut.’”But he had known since he was a boy that he was destined for greatness. “We were not brought up to believe we can be bigger than big, but I always knew I would be.” His mom, Ouma Maseko, agreed: “When I was pregnant with him in 1988, I knew I would give birth to a star,” she said.The young Maseko’s imagination was fired by the science fiction series Star Trek and films such as Armageddon and Apollo 13. “I thought, that looks fun. No matter what life throws at you, you can use it and come out on top. If you get lemons, you must make lemon juice… My life has taken a total turn and this is my big break. People will be telling their children and grandchildren that I was the first black South African youth in space.”Plans for the futureDuring the long wait before his trip, Maseko hopes to complete his civil engineering qualification. One day when he had money, he said, he wanted to pay for the education of a child from his area. This humble boy has been offered a gigantic launch pad and the ability to defy the laws of physical and political gravity. His long-term plans are to study aeronautical engineering and qualify as a space mission specialist with the ultimate dream of planting the South African flag on the moon.“South Africa has come a long way. We have reached a stage where we are equal and we are one. This year is the 20th anniversary of democracy and what better way to celebrate than sending the first black South African into space?”The idea of making history when South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy, appeals to him. “The vision of all youths here in Mabopane is to drive a taxi, do drugs or work on houses. It’s good to be a solution to your township rather than a problem. I want to break that system and this is a nice way to go down in history. I believe that will motivate me. The sky is not the limit.”Derek Hanekom, the minister of science and technology at the time – he became tourism minister in May this year – saw Maseko as a role model for “the future generation of space professionals and enthusiasts”. His experience could not have come at a better time than “when Africa is gearing up its space ambitions” as host to the world’s biggest and most powerful radio astronomy telescope, said Hanekom.The director of that project, Bernie Fanaroff, also hailed Maseko as an ambassador for science. “Anything that raises the profile of science up there must be good because it brings to the attention of young people what they can achieve in science and engineering.”It is a big responsibility, but the last word must go to the spaceman himself: “I have had to learn so much about astronomy and space to teach others. It’s been a dream, a lifetime dream come true, and I don’t want to stop here. When I come back, I want to become an astronaut and I will work hard to get there,” he said.last_img read more

IPL created harmony among foreign players: Jayawardene

first_imgInternational cricketers share much better relations due to the Indian Premier League as the Twenty20 event has given them an opportunity to know each other, feels Sri Lankan vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene.”It has opened doors for harmony among the players. In the IPL, you get to know other foreign players better. we have created better relations as a result of that,” he said.Jayawardene said the concept of the IPL and the various Twenty20 leagues across the globe has a lot of potential.”We have seen that in the IPL, we have seen that in the English counties, we have seen that in the Big Bash, that’s the way forward for Twenty20 cricket,” he said in a function to announce an Indian sponsor for the Sri Lankan team ‘Wayamba XI’, which will participate in the Champions League Twenty20 next month.”I think that will evolve quite a bit, just having the Twenty20 World Cup for the national teams, and then the 50-over cricket and Test matches will take a different path.”When the IPL came for the first time, everyone was surprised. But n the second and third year you saw how it became such a big thing,” Jayawardene said.Jayawardene, who will play for the Wayamba team in the Champions league, said the tournament will grow in stature with time.”People now understand what the concept is all about, we need to give it some more time and it will improve,” he said.Wayamba is captained by Jehan Mubarak and includes Mahela Jayawardene, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath, Thisara Perera, Farveez Maharoof and Mahela Udawatte.advertisementSpeaking on the occasion, Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said the Twenty20 version of the game can co-exist alongside Test cricket.”From the board’s point and personal point of view, I see Twenty20 as another product, We have Test cricket, one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket,” Ranatunga said on Tuesday.”From the players’ point of view they have to prove themselves in all three formats. From the board’s point of view, I don’t see any harm as far as the players get the right breaks.”So far, we have been happy and lucky that the players have had the right breaks and participated in the country’s tournaments. It is good to have more competitive cricket, people like it, why not give it,” Ranatunga said.last_img read more

Connecting Environmental Protection and the Rule of Law

first_imgOn the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, 35 human rights groups and WRI call on the presidential candidates to reaffirm the fundamental legal framework that makes environmental protection possible.Constitution Day is Wednesday, September 17th. 221 years after the document’s ratification, the Constitution continues to provide the framework for one of the world’s most stable and robust republic and democracy.In honor of this day, an ideologically diverse coalition calls upon all presidential candidates to demonstrate their commitment and ability to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (Read the | text = full media advisory.)Presidents and the Executive Branch exercise a great deal of discretion and flexibility in interpreting the Constitution. It is therefore essential that the presidential candidates, with the media’s help, hold a national dialogue on the Constitution. This would allow the American people to cast an informed vote by understanding where they stand on constitutional issues.Why would an environmental think tank like WRI be so concerned about where candidates stand on constitutional issues?The Constitutional framework is essential to environmental protection, because it establishes the legal principles, check and balances, and enforcement mechanisms that make regulations work. The next administration must therefore respect the Constitution and the legal foundation it provides.In recent years, presidents of both parties have aimed to expand the scope of their authority through abuses of executive power. These practices not only weaken essential environmental laws and regulations, they are unconstitutional.For example:Our scientists’ recommendations for ozone standards were overridden by an Executive Branch supporting laxer regulations. The President made a last minute intervention in the regulatory process to overturn recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency’s expert advisory panel which had been approved by the Administrator. Later, when asked by Congress to justify this action in the course of a subpoena, the Executive Branch withheld about 25 percent of the inter-agency communications which could have shed light on this intervention.The legal protections given to us by Congress over nuclear waste management were disregarded by the President through signing statements. In the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress established whistleblower protections for members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Department of Energy and federal contractors who would report safety violations in nuclear waste management. Yet President Bush declared in a signing statement that “the president or his appointees will determine whether employees of the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can give information to Congress.”The people were left out of the design of their own national health or energy plan. The Clinton Health Care task force and the Cheney Energy Task force conducted their operations behind closed doors, resisting both participation from a wide base of informed stakeholders and judicial proceedings to retrieve the information kept secret about the content and participants of the meetings.When the rule of law fades, our environment deteriorates along with the American people’s health and security. The Bush administration’s abuses of executive power in particular are unprecedented in number and scope and have been exposed and denounced by groups and individuals across the political spectrum. Do they now constitute a precedent for the next President to follow? This question must be answered by the presidential candidates. We need to find out how the candidates would exert their executive authority as President before the election rather than learning it the hard way.We want all campaigns to let the American people know where they stand on such core principles as checks and balances in government, government oversight by Congress, and transparency of information. WRI supports this call, along with the following organizations:America SpeaksAmerican Booksellers Foundation for Free ExpressionAmerican Conservative Defense AllianceAmerican Freedom AgendaAmerican Freedom CampaignBill of Rights Defense CommitteeCalifornians AwareCenter for American Progress Action FundCenter for Constitutional RightsCommon CauseDefending Dissent FoundationElectronic Frontier FoundationEqual Justice SocietyGet FISA RightGovernment Accountability ProjectHuman Rights WatchInternational Association of Whistleblowers (IAW)Liberty CoalitionMinnesota Coalition on Government InformationMuslim AdvocatesNational Campaign to Restore Civil RightsNational Coalition of Organized WomenNational Lawyers GuildNo FEAR CoalitionOMB WatchOpen The Government CoalitionOSC WatchPrivacy LivesProject on Government OversightPublic CitizenRepublican Liberty CaucusScientific Integrity Program of the Union of Concerned ScientistsThe Brennan Center for JusticeThe Rutherford InstituteTranspartisan CenterWhistleblowers USAWorld Resources Institutelast_img read more

Gov’t Committed to Working with Voluntary Sector – PM

first_imgStory Highlights He said that Jamaica is at a critical juncture in its history where “all hands are needed” to take the country to “where we know we can go”. Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is committed to working with the voluntary sector in shaping the future of the country. “We need these kinds of partnerships to leverage the incredible talents and skills… and resources. We need this to make Jamaica a better place,” he said. “Volunteerism is an important part of national development,” the Prime Minister added. Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is committed to working with the voluntary sector in shaping the future of the country.He said that Jamaica is at a critical juncture in its history where “all hands are needed” to take the country to “where we know we can go”.He noted that strong partnerships involving Governments, private sector and the voluntary sector are the things that are needed right across the region.“We need these kinds of partnerships to leverage the incredible talents and skills… and resources. We need this to make Jamaica a better place,” he said. “Volunteerism is an important part of national development,” the Prime Minister added.He was addressing the opening of the Kiwanis Eastern Canada and the Caribbean’s three-day Convention at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James, on May 17.Emphasising the role of the voluntary sector, Mr. Holness said that hardly anything of significance can be accomplished without its support.“Not because it is a philanthropic endeavour; not because it is voluntary… that doesn’t mean that it is free. What it means is that someone chooses to absorb the cost so that those who are in need can benefit. It is the ultimate expression of selflessness,” he pointed out.The Prime Minister noted that the Kiwanis Club has mastered the art of volunteerism, leaving an indelible mark on societies across the world.He said the organisation’s commitment to service is being felt throughout the length and breadth of Jamaica, especially in social and community-related programmes.Mr. Holness said it would be impossible to put a value on what the Kiwanis Club has managed to do over the years in Jamaica, noting that “the millions of lives that you have touched has not gone unnoticed”.“I would have seen basic schools… infant schools being repaired. I would have seen the health fairs and the number of students being assisted with scholarships,” he noted.The Prime Minister further cited the valuable leadership training provided from as early as primary school through the Kiwanis Builders Club, and in high school through the Key Club.“You have given opportunities to our people in both social and human capital development,” he said.last_img read more

Melodious Mavericks Jatin Lalit

first_imgThe decade of 1990s truly belonged to music director duos. They dominated film music and were responsible for bringing back melody to Bollywood. They were Anand Miland, Nadeem Shravan and Jatin Lalit. Jatin Lalit were the fourth music duo after Husanlal Bhagat Ram, Kalyanji Anandji and Anand Miland – and like them, they were real brothers. Anand Miland were the sons of film composer Chitragupt. Nadeem Shravan had no connection in the industry while Jatin Lalit belonged to a famous music Gharana. They were born to Pandit Tej Narayan of Mewati Gharana in the village Pili Mandori in Hisar, Haryana. The doyen of Mewati Gharana is legendary Pt. Jasraj – he is the brother of Tej Narayan and uncle of Jatin Lalit. Also Read – Torpedoing BengalPandit Tej Narayan had a large family of four sons and three daughters. He would train his children, except his youngest son Lalit. He wanted him to study and do something else, rather than making a career in singing. Lalit’s elder brothers Mandhir and Jatin were trained by their father as were his two daughters Sulakshna and Vijeta Pandit, who became actor-singers and acted in several Jubilee films. Vijeta Pandit was the poster girl of 1980s along with Kumar Gaurav (son of Rajendra ‘Jubilee’ Kumar). Vijeta Pandit later got married to music composer Adesh Srivastava, who gave several hit numbers like Haathon mein aa gaya jo kal rummal apka (Kumar Sanu) in the film Aao Pyaar Karen (1994), Kya ada kya jalwa tere paro (Udit Narayan) in Shastra (1996), the eponymous title song of Salma Pe Dil Aa Gaya (Asha Bhonsle, Amit Kumar and Udit Narayan, 1997) to mention a few. Sadly, his career ended with his sudden demise after a cardiac attack. Also Read – Educational model of coexistenceLalit Pandit had finished his board exams from Panchgani and came back to Bombay. After seeing the successful career of his brothers and sisters, Lalit decided to opt for music. He learned music from Pyaralal of Laxmikant Pyarelal fame. Jatin had already given music in some films with his elder brother Mandhir. When he saw his brother’s growing interest in music they formed a team and started working as Jatin Lalit.Jatin Lalit made their debut with film Yaara Dildara in 1991, starring Aasif Seikh and Ruchika Pandey. It was a low budget film with one dulcet number Bin tere sanam (Udit Narayan/Kavita Krishnamurthy). With their debut film, the duo went on to become melody composers with Anand Miland and Nadeem Shravan. Jatin Lalit were greatly inspired by composer R D Burman and started attending all rehearsals and recordings of Panchamda. They were so enamoured by Panchamda that often, they would go attend the shooting where Pancham songs were being picturised. They got to face the camera in Yaadon ki Baaraat of producer-director Nasir Hussain. They were seen with Aamir Khan as child artist in the song sequence of Yaadon ki Baaraat nikli hai aaj (Lata Mangeshkar/Padmini Kolhapure/Sushma Shrestha) in 1973. The duo was also seen in Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikander in the song sequence Hum se hai sara jahan (Sadhna Sargam/Jatin Pandit) in 1992. In the scene, Jatin was seen singing a song with a girl while Lalit was playing the bass guitar! Jatin Lalit came on the scene with film Khiladi in 1992 starring Akshay Kumar, Deepak Tijori and Ayesha Julkha. The hit numbers of Khiladi were Wada raha sanam (Abhijeet/ Alka Yagnik). Mansoor Khan of Qamayat Se Qamayat fame was fascinated by the background score so much that he signed Jatin Lalit for his next film Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander in (1992) starring Aamir Khan and Ayesha Julkha. The music was immensely liked by younger generations and its most iconic number was Pehla nasha (Udit Narayan/ Sadhna Sargam). With this song, Jatin Lalit started getting offers from big banners. In the same year, they scored music for Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman. The film was produced by G P Sippy and Vivek Waswani (co-producer) and directed by Aziz Mirza. The film was a romantic comedy starring Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Nana Patekar and Amrita Singh. It earned great commercial success in the box office. The numbers which became popular were title track Raju ban gaya gentleman (Kumar Sanu, Jolly Mukherjee, Sudesh Bhonsle and Sadhna Sargam), Kya hua….dekho isko laveria hua (Kumar Sanu, Jolly Mukharjee and Alka Yagnik) and Tu mere saath saath (Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik). The film was released in Japan in 1997 giving a great boost to the Hindi film industry. After hits like Khiladi, Jo Jeeta Wahi Shikandar and Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Jatn Lalit never looked back. Witnessing the popularity of this duo, Yash Raj Banner invited them to score music for their film Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1996) starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. It was the debut film of Yash Chopra’s elder son Aditya Chopra as director. The film broke all records and ran for six years in a single theatre in Bombay. Yash Chopra also gave a break to music duo Shiv Hari (Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, the santoor maestro and Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, the greatest flutist in our time). Shiv Hari made best use of the pahari style of music in Yash Raj’s films. Jatin Lalit gave another twist to the Pahari style in numbers like Tujhe dekha to ye jana sanam (Kumar Sanu, Lata), Ho gaya hai tujhko to pyaar sajna (Lata, Udit Narayan) which became the most iconic romantic numbers of the film. Zara sa jhoom lun main (Asha, Abhijeet) and Mere khwabon mein jo aayein had the rhythmic pattern of their role model R D Burman. Jatin Lalit also composed hit wedding songs in Mehndi laga ke rakhna (Lata, Udit Narayan) and Ghar aa jaa pardesi (Pamela Chopra, Manjeet Kaur and Chorus). Melodious numbers of Jatin Lalit were most popular in that decade. They never compromised with the quality of music. In the 1990s they became the most sought after composers for melodies. They gave music in nearly 70 films with some celebrating jubilees with their unforgettable melodies. Some of these were Fareb (1996) starring Faraaz Khan, Suman Rangnathan and Milind Gunagi and its number Ye teri aankhen jhuki jhuki (Abhijeet), Aankhon se dil mein utarke and Pyaar ka pehla pehla (Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik). There was also Khamoshi: The Musical (1996) starring Salman Khan, Nana Patekar and Manisha Koirala which had iconic numbers, Bahon ke darmiyan (Alka, Hariharan) and Aaj mein uper asman neeche (Kavita Krishnamurthy, Kumar Sanu). Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya (1998) starring Salman Khan, Arbaaz Khan and Kajol was another hit, particularly its song O o jane jana (Kamaal Khan) and Deewana mein chala (Udit Narayan). Their next musical Ghulam (1998) starring Aamir Khan and Rani Mukherjee had the carefree peppy number Aati kya khandala (Aamir Khan, Alka Yagnik), Aankhon se tune ye kya keh diya (Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik). Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) Karan Johar’s debut film as director starring Kajol, Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee is remembered as an icon. Its songs Kuch kuch hota hai (Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik), Koi mil gaya (Kavita Krishnamurthy, Alka Yagnuk, Udit Narayan), Sajanji ghar aaye (Kavita Krishnamurthy, Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu) and Ladki badi anjani hai(Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik) became very popular but sadly they couldn’t create the same magic touch. Their next hit was Sarfarosh (1999) starring Aamir Khan and Sonali Bendre. It had a qawwali style number Zindagi maut na ban jaye (Roop Kumar Rathore, Sonu Nigam) and the heartfelt ghazal, Hoshwalon ko khabar kya (Jagjit Singh); it also had Is deewane ladke ko (Alka Yagnik, Aamir Khan) and Jo haal dil ka (Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik). Jatin Lalit went on giving musical hits in the new millennium also. Their hits were Yash Chopra’s Mohabbatein (2000), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Hum Tum (2004) and Fanaa (2006). Mohabbatein starring Amitabh Bachahan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had haunting melodies Humko humise se chura lo and Zinda rahti hai unki mohabbatein (Lata Mangeshkar, Udit Narayan). Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham was a multistarrer directed by Karan Johar. Its star cast included Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Kajol, Kareena Kapoor and Jaya Bachchan. They gave number of hits such as title track Kabhi khushi kabhie gham (Lata Mangeshkar), Bole chudiyan (Kavita Karishnamurthy, Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam, Udit Narayan, Amit Kumar) and Ye ladka hai allah (Alka, Udit Narayan). Hum Tum starring Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherjee witnessed a new style of singing in Ladki kyun… (Shaan, Alka Yagnik) composed by this maverick duo but its soft notes number Sanson ko sanson me (Babul Supriyo, Alka Yagnik) became extremely popular. Fanaa had seven numbers composed by Jatin Lalit but the songs Chand Sifarish (Shaan/Kailash Kher) and Mere haath mein (Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Sulaiman Merchant, Kajol, Aamir Khan) were the most popular. Fanaa was the last film which carried the credits of Jatin Lalit. Their partnership came apart after this movie and they decided to work separately. Jatin Lalit were nominated 11 times for the Filmfare. Although their films got several awards in various categories they were unlucky to never win a single trophy for their music. Lalit Pandit was asked by Arbaaz Khan to compose an item number for his film Dabangg starring Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha. This iconic song Munni badnaam hui was sung by Mamta Sharma and Aishwarya, both of who were discovered by Lalit Pandit. This number became a smashing hit in 2010. The song was also written by Lalit himself and won him several awards as a lyricist-composer.last_img read more

Justin Bieber Grants 200 Wishes To Children

first_imgJustin Bieber, over the weekend, became the first recording artist in Make-A-Wish history to grant 200 wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.He joins only 4 other celebrities to have reached that milestone since Make-A-Wish was founded in 1980.Bieber’s 200th wish occurred during his last stop on the Believe Tour this past Saturday at Atlanta’s Philips Arena when he met 8-year-old Annalysha. Bieber spent time backstage with Annalysha where she received VIP treatment during the concert as part of her wish to meet him.Bieber’s involvement with Make-A-Wish started in 2009 in Los Angeles when he granted his first wish. Since then, he has granted a wish at nearly every tour stop where he visits with wish kids and their families, takes photographs and signs autographs before they attend his concert. The tickets, which provide the wish kids and their families prime seating, are generously purchased by Bieber.In addition to Bieber’s wish granting efforts, he has made significant contributions to the organization. In 2012, he earmarked Make-A-Wish as a charity of choice for his Believe Campaign and donated a portion of proceeds from sales of his Christmas album as well as perfume sales during the holiday season.“Despite his relentless schedule, Justin has been genuinely committed to granting wishes since the very beginning and a strong supporter of Make-A-Wish,” said David Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “Justin understands the impact on a child of a wish-come-true and how it can create positive changes in their outlook, help them feel better, and even influence their health.”In 2011, Make-A-Wish presented Bieber with the Chris Greicius Celebrity Award, one of the most prestigious awards the organization gives out each year. As his popularity continues, Bieber and his team will continue to create smiles and life-changing memories in the months and years to come as there are many more wish kids scheduled to meet him in the future.last_img read more

Oil industry to return to profitability this year after three years of

first_imgCALGARY, A.B. – Canada’s oil industry is expected to be back in the black this year thanks to higher oil prices and more production after registering three years of losses.But the Conference Board of Canada says the recovery will be modest and ongoing pipeline capacity problems will likely continue to result in Western Canada’s oil production selling for discount prices.Michael Burt, director of industrial economic trends, says the oil industry will register pre-tax profits of about $1.4 billion this year after a string of losses since prices crashed in 2014. He says the profits are partly the result of efficiencies in the use of labour that are expected to continue to limit hiring. The industry is expected to create just 2,150 new jobs over the next five years.Total crude production in Canada is forecast to rise by an average annual rate of 3.4 percent between 2018 and 2022, with most of it coming from the Alberta oilsands.Industry revenues are forecast to increase by about eight percent in 2018.“We’re talking about a shift back to being in the black for industry but margins are still quite thin,” Burt said.“So it’s obviously good news but for the industry it’s not a level of profitability that they would like to see to earn a sufficient return on their capital.”(THE CANADIAN PRESS)last_img read more

Cold Shot Bus Lines is extending services to Fort St John

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – In less than six months after stepping into the breach created by Greyhound’s departure on October 31, Cold Shot Bus Lines is expanding services to Fort St. John.According to Cold Shot President, Sunny Balwaria, the Company will offer a cross-border route to Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, servicing the Peace Country.“We’ve added several new features for Peace Country customers. We have a new cross-border route to Dawson Creek and Fort St. John via Grande Prairie that will take passengers and freight to those points.” Balwaria also says that Cold Shot will be offering shuttle services to important points of interest, such as airports and hospitals.“In addition, we’ve added a stop for Fort St. John passengers at Grande Prairie’s QueenElizabeth II hospital, as well as a shuttle connection to the Edmonton InternationalAirport that enables airline passengers from Fort St. John to go directly to that airport.”Cold Shot is an Alberta-owned transportation company operating since 2005.For more information, you can visit Coldshot.ca.last_img read more

BJP Modi speaking about religion which is not Hinduism

first_imgIslampur: Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said Hindusthan will be set up through the Lok Sabha election and not Modisthan or BJPsthan. She was addressing a rally here on Tuesday afternoon.Banerjee said Modi and BJP are talking about a religion which is not Hinduism. “Hinduism talks about tolerance and acceptance and they are talking about hatred. In the name of preservation of cows, many people have been lynched. They are spreading hatred everywhere. This Hindusthan is Modisthan and BJPsthan. We do not want this. We want a Hindusthan where people will live peacefully and there will be communal harmony and peace,” she said, adding: “BJP is inciting one religion against the other and in the name of religion, they have unleashed a reign of terror. We want to come out of this,” she maintained. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaReferring to Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah as Duryodhan and Dushshashan, she said: “The duo has come to destroy the social fabric in our country. Never in the past have I seen so much hatred and disrespect for others. This is not Indian tradition. Indians are respected for their tolerant views.” Banerjee said the SC, ST, minorities and dalits will vote against Modi. “The SCs, STs and Dalits have been tortured in different areas. In Jharkhand, they have been thrown out from their land. In Uttar Pradesh and Assam, Muslims have been tortured by BJP workers and the state governments do not take any action against them,” she said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”They should first see the law and order situation in their own states before commenting on the situation in Bengal. They come to Bengal to disturb the areas. They incite the people living in the hills against those living in the plains to win elections,” Banerjee added. The Trinamool supremo said demonetisation has affected poor people and farmers badly. “Over two crore people have lost their jobs and 12,000 farmers have committed suicide after failing to pay loans. People have stood in long queues to withdraw their own money from the banks. Modi had said note ban will stop circulation of money among terrorists, but in reality terrorist attacks have been the highest during Modi’s time,” she said. Banerjee questioned why no action was taken to save the lives of the jawans in Pulwama despite prior information, adding: “It’s a matter of shame for BJP that its leaders are talking about the achievements of the Army in its election speeches.” “Just as Ma Durga had killed Asura, the women of the country will vote against BJP to oust Modi and set up a secular pro-development government,” she said.last_img read more

In This Issue   Pfennig problems   China is

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Pfennig problems. *  China is not a currency manipulator. *  India imports Gold! *  China’s reserves fall, no worries. And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. After A Down Day, The Dollar Rebounds. Good Day! And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! What an awful day, and I didn’t have to deal with most of it, poor Chris, who was in Miami for a conference did. So, front and center this morning, I apologize for the tardiness of the Pfennig delivery yesterday. Remember, in the letter yesterday, when I said, if I can get through the letter without breaking my laptop it would be a good thing? Well, I done broke it! And there I was in a remote location, and my backup was traveling to Missouri, and his back up is out this week, and I thought. OH NO!  So, it eventually got out, thanks to Chris, and the people in Jacksonville, that had to figure out what it is a I do every day. So, our IT Guru, Jeremy, met me this morning, yes, that early, and got me going with a new laptop, and now he’s attempting to salvage what he can from my old one. So, all my funny words that I use, will have to be told to accept them with the new laptop, and so on. The Temptations are singing: The way you do the things you do, on the IPod, which is always a happy song, and a good one to get me going this morning, as I bumming from the Cardinals loss last night. Now that you’re all up to date with the goings on in my life, we can get to business. At the top of the agenda this morning, is the performance of the dollar VS the currencies. For the most part, the dollar has the conn this morning, pretty much like most mornings lately, eh?  The dollar doesn’t have the conn over the Chinese renminbi, or Gold, but the rally in Gold is not much and could be turned around in a heartbeat. It’s not like we haven’t seen that happen even in the face of huge rallies. right?  But yesterday was a different story, as the currencies, led by the euro once again like in the “old days”, pushed the dollar down. U.S. stocks got whacked, and the Treasury market rallied. Get this. 10-year Treasury yields are now below 2%!!!! BELOW 2%!!!!  Let me tell you something about this HUGE rally we’ve seen in Treasury yields this past month. The bond guys (& girls) have their fingers on the pulse of the U.S. economy. They always have, and didn’t like having the conn in bonds taken away from them by the Fed, during their 5 years of Quantitative Easing / QE. For instance, for more years than I care to mention, it was a given that an inverted yield curve for Treasuries, indicated that a recession in the U.S. was on the way. And when Bond traders rally bongs, which means bond prices go up, and yields go down, it simply means they don’t see good things for the economy. So, what are the bond traders telling us now? Well, unless there’s outside interference from the Fed, which I don’t believe there is, except for their remaining tid-bits of QE that will be wiped clean at the end of this month, according to the Fed, what we have here in the U.S. is an economy that’s going nowhere, despite what the Fed members, the economists, and flag wavers for the Gov’t, tell us, the bond traders are not buying it. Of course I never did buy it. The bond guys could have just checked with me and I could have saved them the losses they incurred when Treasury yields rose from 1.80% to 3%… Because look at them now? They’re back below 2%… And that all plays nicely in the sandbox with my call last year that the Fed will not be away from the QE table very long, before they come back to administer more QE to this going nowhere economy. And when they do that, I feel that the markets will come unglued. They will feel as though the Fed mislead them, and will take away credibility the Fed had built up. That won’t be a good thing for the dollar in my eye. But for now, we deal with the Clingons. You know those clinging on to the idea that this is going to be a multi-year rally for the dollar. That’s OK, we’ve had to deal with these Clingons in 2005, 2008, 2011, and again now. And they pack a powerful punch when they have the conn, like they do now. And will continue to have until the rest of the markets catch up with what the bond guys are telling us. And what Chuck has told you for some time now. Well, the price of Oil is another indicator to me that the economy is in dire need of a blood transfusion. The price of Oil has dropped $10 in the past week and now appears to be ready to slide below $80.  This drop has been swift and deep, and has my head spinning. Yesterday, I told you about my old Navigator, and how much I love driving that car, well, if the price of Oil keeps falling, thus the price of gas keeps falling, I’ll have to seriously consider getting rid of what I have, and going back to a Navigator!  Go Big or Go Home! HA! And please don’t send me nasty emails about me wanting to drive a gas guzzling SUV. I don’t put 7,000 miles on a car in a year! So, I didn’t see it, because I was in airplanes and airports yesterday, but the currencies and metals rallied, with the euro about 3/4’s of a cent, but that’s all be wiped out this morning. strange happenings, eh? The U.S. Retail Sales data for September, was, as I told you to expect it would be, disappointing.  With the headline Sales falling -.3%…  And when you back out car sales, Sales fell-.2%, and when you back out car sales and gas Sales fell -.1%… And when you back out. no, I’m just kidding, but you get the picture I’m painting here, right? The data collectors just keep making adjustments until they get a number they like. Pretty soon, we’ll see something like this: Retail Sales, minus cars, gas, TV’s, stereos, cell phones, and fast food restaurants, were..  And no one will complain, and point out the ridiculousness of this. no one but me! Well, I told you above that the Chinese renminbi / yuan is the only folding currency with a gain VS the dollar this morning. I guess the Chinese breathed a sigh of relief, when the U.S. Treasury announced that China was a “currency manipulator”, and therefore allowed the renminbi / yuan to appreciate.  The U.S. Treasury folks were feeling their oats a bit when making this announcement, and decided to go further and say that “China has shown renewed willingness to let their currency strengthen.” They also decided to say that they “believe the currency remains significantly undervalued.”     Well, I have to say that I agree with the second part of the comment, but the first part. Hmmm. Well, if the Chinese told the U.S. Treasury that they are willing to let the currency strengthen then so be it. But I doubt the Chinese told them that. The Chinese are in no mood to share their thoughts on what the renminbi / yuan will do, as they have no idea what the global economy is going to do. If the Global economy is going great guns, then the Chinese will have no problem allowing the renminbi to appreciate along with the global growth. And vice versa, should the global economy slowdown, which, by the way, I believe is going to be the case for 2015. Why did I say that? Well. you know how I explained the bond markets above and its relationship with the economy?  Well, the Aussie dollar (A$), to me, has always been the proxy for global growth. As the A$ goes, so goes global growth. And I’ve been very disappointed in the A$’s downward move in the past few months. And we can blame the Central Bank influence around the world. I talked at end about this Central Bank influence yesterday, so won’t spend a lot of time going through it again, but the CFA just printed their latest survey, which asked, “Over the next few years, will Central Banks succeed in reducing their involvement in markets while enabling economies to flourish on their own?” And 64% of the respondents said “NO”, while 18% said “yes” and 18% weren’t sure. These CFA guys are smart cookies folks. Our Chris Gaffney is a CFA, and that’s how I get to see these notes from the CFA.  I tell you about the CFA guys just so you get the picture that these guys think like me, that this Central Bank influence is not going away. Speaking of Central Bank influence, I would have to think that the risk of intervention to sell the N.Z. dollar/ kiwi by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ), is still high. and that’s why kiwi just can’t seem to catch a bid these days, even though we all know, well, at least I think we all know, that the RBNZ is still looking at 2 to 3 more rate hikes next years. Usually knowing that would get market participants all lathered up, and buying on any dips. But having this RBNZ threat of intervention hanging over kiwi like the Sword of Damocles is too much for the currency buyers to handle right now. And the Queens of Central Bank influence (The U.S. Fed is King) the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and its Gov., Kuroda, was out last night letting the markets know that he’s not happy with yen strength. Of course he camouflaged that by saying that “volatility in either direction is FX markets is not welcome.”  He doesn’t fool me, and I know what he’s talking about. yen has rallied from 110 just 10 days ago to a 105 handle, that’s a cool 4.5% increase. And that’s not what the BOJ, or the Japanese Gov’t want to see the yen doing. Remember, they want a weak yen to introduce inflation into their economy. Same B.S. that most Central Banks are pulling so they can run away from deflation.  Japan remains a basket case to me folks, and therefore this rally to 105, is just window dressing, or curb appeal, or even better yet, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic! There was some other news out of China overnight. China’s currency reserves were reported to have fallen below $4 Trillion, to $3.89 Trillion This is the biggest QTR to QTR drop on record. But before you go acting like Chicken Little, let me tell you how this is all calculated.  You see, when you hold currencies in reserves or in your account, the value of the account will fluctuate with the value of the currencies you hold, you may or may not add or subtract any money but your value will go up or down, and that’s what probably is the bulk of the move down in Chinese currency reserves, that the currencies they hold have lost value. And so their balance slips downward. So, move along, these are not the droids you’re looking for. Germany’s Central Bank, The Bundesbank, and its President. Weidmann, will speak today on something that is quite up to date and of mind. “The Changing International Monetary System”.  Remember Weidmann has been European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi’s biggest nemesis. So, look for Weidmann to take this opportunity to take a shot at all-out QE, which Draghi wants to implement in the Eurozone.. The A$ has lost a full cent this morning. The move is huge and crazy.. It was reported overnight that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) sold 910 Million A$’s last month, but the RBA says it was a part of their normal Gov’t dealings to iron out trade flows. Hmmm. I think the markets don’t believe them and believe that this was nothing more than FX intervention, and therefore decided that if the RBA is selling A$’s then they should too!   There’s another story this morning on the A$’s weakness that is interesting. The Bloomberg has a story on how Japanese household investors are losing their appetite for A$ bonds. And looking elsewhere for yield differential, and guess where they have been going?  You’ll never guess, so I’ll just tell you. According to the Bloomberg story this morning, “investors are rotating out of A$ bond into the Turkish lira. That’s right. Turkey! I think that plays nicely in the sandbox with what I printed the other day from my good friend, Dennis Miller, as he talked about how seniors here in the U.S. have had to switch out of safe investments into risky stocks and bonds. Well, isn’t that the same thing the Japanese household investors are doing? Why, yes it is! The U.S. Data Cupboard is chock-full-o-data today, and has two of my fave prints, Capacity Utilization and Industrial Production. These two might recover a bit from the August print which was negative, but the risk here is that they don’t.  We’ll also see the TIC Flows, which is a pulse of how much foreigners are buying U.S. bonds. which the last time this printed it was a negative number!  And then there are a bunch of 2nd and 3rd tier reports that will print that the markets will shrug off. And Gold. Well, I’ve been on track getting you the import numbers of China and India this past week, and today, I received word that India’s Gold imports jumped 450% to $3.75 Billion in September. VS $682 Million a year ago. The thing to think about here is that India’s Trade Deficit which had been falling because of the lack of Gold Imports is on the rise again. And that’s not a good thing, for India, but that’s not what I wanted to highlight here, I wanted to highlight the that India still desires physical Gold. yes, the price has dropped tremendously in the past couple of years, but does that mean we should forget about all the risks in the markets and throw our Gold out?  I don’t think so, folks. For What It’s Worth. I hate to beat a story to death folks. but this is something I’ve been harping about for a year now, and if finally appears that others are catching on. Today’s it’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard over at the U.K. Telegraph. You can read the whole article here, I have a couple of snippets for you that touch on what I want. you can read it all here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11165982/World-economy-so-damaged-it-may-need-permanent-QE.html “Combined tightening by the United States and China has done its worst. Global liquidity is evaporating. What looked like a gentle tap on the brakes by the two monetary superpowers has proved too much for a fragile world economy, still locked in “secular stagnation”. The latest investor survey by Bank of America shows that fund managers no longer believe the European Central Bank will step into the breach with quantitative easing of its own, at least on a worthwhile scale. Markets are suddenly prey to the disturbing thought that the five-and-a-half year expansion since the Lehman crisis may already be over, before Europe has regained its prior level of output. That is the chief reason why the price of Brent crude has crashed by 25pc since June. It is why yields on 10-year US Treasuries have fallen to 1.96pc, and why German Bunds are pricing in perma-slump at historic lows of 0.81pc this week. We will find out soon whether or not this a replay of 1937 when the authorities drained stimulus too early, and set off the second leg of the Great Depression.” Chuck again. I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But I love to be the one to tell you there is going to be bad news before it hits, so you can take precautionary measures to heart. Or you can laugh at me, and call me the boy who cried wolf. But this lack of liquidity is coming folks. I can feel it in my bones. even the titanic one that acts as my femur! To recap. Chuck goes through a long explanation of why the Pfennig was so late yesterday, but thanks to Chris, and others it finally got out. And then the currency rally yesterday, has ended badly overnight and this morning with the dollar back in control. The dollar fell yesterday on the very disappointing U.S. Retail Sales report..  China was not named a currency manipulator, and Chuck thinks they breathed a sigh of relief (NOT!) but allowed the renminbi to appreciate overnight. And India is back to importing, at least for one month, large sums of Gold. The physical metal is still in demand, folks.. Currencies today 10/16/14. American Style: A$ .8705, kiwi .7905, C$ .8825, euro 1.2740, sterling 1.5990, Swiss $ 1.0565, . European Style: rand 11.1635, krone 6.6445, SEK 7.2185, forint 242.37, zloty 3.3175, koruna 21.6045, RUB 41.10, yen 105.85, sing 1.2750, HKD 7.7565, INR 61.83, China 6.1395, pesos 13.63, BRL 2.4865, Dollar Index 85.30, Oil $80.39, 10-year 1.98%, Silver $17.35, Platinum $1,241.50, Palladium $745.75, and Gold. $1,238.59 That’s it for today. Well, backs up against the wall for my Cardinals. 2 years ago, we had the Giants at 3 games to 1, and had Game 5 at home and allowed them back in, and they went on to win in 7. Time to reverse the tables, eh? Again I want to thank Chris for all his work getting the Pfennig out yesterday while he was in Miami (but I don’t want to go to Miami HA!) and the Jacksonville folks who also made it finally happen. We’ll see in a couple of minutes if I can get it out the door. I brought the sunshine from Florida back to St. Louis with me yesterday, a little warmer temps, as the St. Louis area has been weather fit for a duck, they tell me! Glad I missed that! I had a present waiting for me when I came in today. Thank you Jane for the wonderful gift and nice note to me! Always nice to return to gifts! A few of the people, Suzan and April Showers have stopped by to tell me Welcome Back. They didn’t say they missed me though, so I guess I wasn’t gone long enough! Next time, I’ll take care of that! HA!  So, let’s go out and make this a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday, eh? The sun is coming up, it’s going to be a glorious day! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Marketslast_img read more