Apple Express to pick up steam

first_imgPulled by its steam locomotive, the AppleExpress chugs through the EasternCape countryside..(Image: Skyscrapercity) The Apple Express is seen here behindthe Class 91-000 diesel engine,number 91-007.(Image: Wikimedia Commons)MEDIA CONTACTS • Chuma MyoliCommunications and marketing,Mandela Bay Development Agency+27 78 518 5702Emily van RijswijckThe inimitable Apple Express, the little green train which used to take passengers from Humewood Station near the Port Elizabeth harbour all the way to Loerie on an unforgettably scenic day trip, may soon chug back into the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality once more.The line used by the Apple Express is the longest 610mm narrow-gauge route in the world, measuring up at 285km from its start in Port Elizabeth to its final point in Avontuur. The Express’s destination of Loerie lies 72km out of the city.Weather permitting, the train was pulled by a steam locomotive, usually a Class NG G16 Garratt, and was one of the few remaining narrow-gauge lines still in operation in the world at that time.The steam engine was only replaced by a diesel engine if the risk of fires was high.The narrow-gauge Class 91-000 GE UM6B diesel locomotives, designed and built especially for the then South African Railways by US-based General Electric, are the largest 610mm diesel engines in the world.Train buffs take noteThe Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA), which is tasked with rejuvenation of parts of the municipality, is about to embark on a financial feasibility study to see if the train, which rolled out for the last time in January 2011, can be viably re-introduced into the economic and tourism mix of the city.The study will look at different economic scenarios with the aim of showing Transnet, the owner of the railway line, that the train can be financially sustainable, says Pierre Voges, CEO of the MBDA.“Basically we would like to take the line from Transnet on a concession basis, and in turn we will appoint a concessionaire to operate the services on our behalf,” he says.The MBDA is confident that the line can work again successfully and viably, while according to Voges there is some interest from outside companies which points to private funders with the same view.Freight, passengers, touristsThe MBDA has already received funding to initiate a new feasibility study to look into three possible economic scenarios.They involve the reuse of the line between Humewood and Avontuur for hauling all kinds of freight, including citrus, apples and wood by-products; using the line for commuter purposes; and the viability of the line for tourism and leisure.The potential for real estate development along certain corridors, among them Chelsea and Assegaaibos, will also be investigated as a source of income but will not be considered in the initial stages of any kind of development, Voges adds.A study conducted in 2007 on behalf of the MBDA concluded that there is potential for the line to become profitable and to provide services and benefits to all the stakeholders along the railway line.Based on the same three revenue streams, the study found that freight would account for the largest portion of revenue within the first few years of operations, with the tourism and leisure sectors also able to make a profit.It also found that over time, tourism and leisure revenue will equal that of freight, showing the increasing potential of this revenue source for the area.Choo-choo no moreThe tourism train service was stopped in January 2011 by state-owned Transnet for economic reasons, as the historic narrow gauge line was not considered to be part of the organisation’s core business.At the time the move was bemoaned by local communities dependent on the line as well as the tourism industry, which saw the Apple Express as a product which added considerable value to Port Elizabeth’s other tourism attractions, among them the city’s many beautiful beaches.Mike Callaghan, who operates tours in the area, says the Apple Express used to be a highlight for his overseas customers who regularly booked a trip on the quaint little train.“Besides the fact that it was a day out in spectacular country for overseas visitors, the line crosses over the highest narrow-gauge railway bridge in the world, at 77.4m, when it traverses the Van Stadens River gorge,” he says.Passengers with a head for heights could cross the bridge on foot and board the train on the other side, adding that extra thrill and adventure to an already historic experience, he recalls.Although the initial urban scenery is unspectacular, the countryside eventually opens up and is dominated by the beautiful Kouga and Baviaanskloof Mountains, the latter a protected area. Baviaanskloof in Dutch refers to baboons, as these rugged mountains are home to large baboon troops and visitors are sure to see or hear their familiar calls.Another unique feature was the annual Great Train Race, an event in which runners pitted their speed against that of the little train to see who could arrive first in Loerie.In time, the relay race of 70km became a favourite on the running calendar with company relay teams also using the event as a team builder opportunity.The last Great Train Race was held in Port Elizabeth in 2004.History of the Apple ExpressOriginally called the Pear train (from PE-Avontuur route), sections of the Apple Express started operating in 1903 with the full line opening for traffic by 1907.Throughout its history, the mainstay of the line was its haulage of freight, with passenger services always taking a secondary role.The Apple Express was so christened with the establishment of the deciduous fruit industry was established in the Langkloof and apple farmers sent their produce for export to the PE harbour.Farmers in the rich Gamtoos Valley also made use of the line.From 1927 the line was used to bring limestone from the Gamtoos quarries to a cement factory in Port Elizabeth with this service continuing until 2000.The improvement in road infrastructure was the death knell for the Apple train, not only for passengers who started using buses, but also for freight which was increasingly being transported by big trucks.The last formal passenger service was terminated in 1948 with just limited services provided on freight trains until 1970.Fortunately for tourists and train enthusiasts, most of the coaching stock survived and from 1965 was used for what became the popular Apple Express tourist train. The train continued operation under the auspices of the PE Apple Express Company until 2011, when it was formally closed as a result of financial constraints.These same green coaches and the original locomotive could now possibly await a new future, something which many local Eastern Cape inhabitants hope will be sooner rather than later.last_img read more

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Anglican church launches campaign against abuse

first_img“Faith gives South Africa a foundation to build a violence-free country,” says South Africa’s Anglican archbishop, Thabo Makgoba.(Image: Anglican Church of Southern Africa)Veena O’Sullivan of global Christian relief and development agency Tearfund says faith-based organisations have an obligation to work to end sexual violence against women and children.(Image: Sulaiman Philip)MEDIA CONTACT• Veena O’Sullivan Team LeaderTearfund+27 31 266 8469Sulaiman PhilipThe rape and murder of cousins Yonelisa (2) and Zandile (3) Mali in the poor settlement of Diepsloot north of Johannesburg in October enflamed the crime-ridden community, and led to violent reprisals. The community burnt the suspects’ homes to the ground.Every day, South Africans face reports of dreadful violence against women and children: the rape of a 90-year-old grandmother, or of a three-week-old child. Each new horror rouses people’s anger. But, until now, that anger has had no outlet. The rape and murder of the Mali toddlers was just one of 64 000 reported cases of sexual violence that take place in South Africa in a single year. It’s a shockingly high number. And according to to Breaking The Silence, a report released by global Christian relief and development agency Tearfund, those reported cases make up a mere 5% of all sexual assaults committed in a year.Tearfund’s report spurred the agency to set up We Will Speak Out, with the support of Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town. Launched at St Albans the Martyr Church in Pretoria on Monday 25 November, the intention of the campaign is to help combat sexual violence through the more active involvement of the church.Some 35-million South Africans identify themselves as Christian, out of a population of 51-million. Christian South Africans, Makgoba said, have a history of fighting injustice. Desmond Tutu, South Africa’s only archbishop emeritus, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaign to end apartheid using economic sanctions.“We have done mighty things before, and we can do it again,” Makgoba said. “Together, we can draw a line and move forward towards a different future.”Veena O’Sullivan, Tearfund team leader, said the involvement of the worldwide Anglican Communion would help stop the stigma against rape survivors, and break the silence that allows sexual violence to continue. “We needed a champion, a strong voice that will be heard and listened to,” she said. “Reverend Makgoba is that man who can bring together leaders of all religions.”Multi-denominationalFor now, the campaign involves only the Christian community. But Tearfund hopes that within a year all faiths will be join it. The NGO’s research found that survivors believed it was time people of faith proved themselves. A common assertion among survivors interviewed for the study was the belief that the church was far too concerned with theology and did not see tackling sexual violence as part of its biblical mandate.Tearfund’s research involved interviews with survivors of sexual assault, many of whom were clear in their feeling that the church had failed them as women and then again as victims. Researchers in Bredasdorp, where teenager Anene Booysen was brutally raped and murdered, found a negative perception regarding the role of the church when it came to victims of sexual assault.“The church is the anchor of the community but they run from victims. They sweep it under the rug. Or they stigmatise victims, isolating them,” an anonymous survivor told the researchers.O’Sullivan has worked with survivors in Democratic Republic of Congo, where rape is used as a weapon of war, but is shocked by the cyclical nature of sexual violence in South Africa. “The culture of rape is so cyclical in this country. We found families where the grandmother and mother had been raped; now the child as well.”Sexual violence has become normalised in some communities, the report suggests, and O’Sullivan argues that there is a real danger that these perceptions will become ingrained and intractable. “There is a culture of silence that comes from that; an acceptance that it is inevitable. That is what we must bring an end to.”Four-point planWith this as a guiding principle, Tearfund and the Anglican Church formulated a four-point plan that forms the basis of We Will Speak Out:● Faith communities will speak out and act: despite the negative perception that some survivors have of the church, they still feel that religious communities are a refuge. The church has a unique role to offer lifelong support to survivors. A church in Bredasdorp is showing the way by setting up a neighbourhood watch scheme. It spreads safety messages and offers counselling and home visits to survivors.● Churches will become safe spaces for survivors: beyond praying for an end to sexual violence and offering a safe space for healing, congregations are encouraged to become non-judgemental sanctuaries for survivors. Male church leaders need to highlight and spread the message that women in their congregation share the same rights as men and that the blame for sexual violence cannot be laid at the door of the victim.● Survivors’ movement will influence policy and practice: the church’s response to the epidemic of sexual violence will be shaped by survivors. The church has undertaken to work with the authorities to understand the procedures involved in reporting rape and to offer assistance to any victim who asks for it.● Men will be involved in preventing sexual violence: the faith community has access to a pool of dedicated volunteers who can mentor men and boys about their role in relationships and society. They are often also the only source of positive role models in a community and these should be tapped to spread the message that sexual violence must end.O’Sullivan admits that the findings did not come as a surprise, but she says that it is a reflection of the inherent good of South Africans that they are embracing a programme hoping to make a change. “South Africa is an amazing country but on the ground there is so much pain and suffering. Communities are willing to join hands, to collaborate. There is hope.”last_img read more

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Trump’s budget includes ag spending cuts

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest President Trump submitted his FY 2020 budget proposal to Congress drawing the praise ad the ire of many with regard to agricultural spending that cuts $2.2 billion from federal food and farm programs.“Our economy is booming, and unemployment is the lowest it’s been in decades. While the agriculture community still faces challenges, the Trump economy is creating new opportunities for all Americans to thrive,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “President Trump’s budget is fiscally conservative and lays out a vision for an accountable federal government that cuts spending. With our national debt soaring to over $22 trillion, we can no longer kick the can down the road. The time to act is now and USDA will actively do its part in reducing federal spending. We are stewards of other people’s money and must be diligent in spending it more carefully than we would our own when it comes to delivering our programs. At the same time, we will maintain a safety net for farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, and people who need assistance in feeding their families.”U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said President Trump’s budget makes significant, unacceptable cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Brown said the 90% — $270 million — cut would negatively affect Ohioans, as the GLRI is a highly successful program that has jumpstarted restoration efforts to protect, maintain, and restore the chemical, biological, and physical integrity of the Great Lakes like Lake Erie.“Ohioans rely on Lake Erie for jobs, clean drinking water, and a place to enjoy with their families. Instead of investing in Ohio communities so they can grow and create jobs, President Trump is asking Ohioans to pay for tax cuts for millionaires by gutting Great Lakes programs and eliminating economic development efforts,” Brown said. “Senator Portman and I have always fought to ensure the GLRI is at full strength as communities work to keep Lake Erie clean. I will continue fighting for Ohio priorities throughout this budget process.”Trump’s budget also:Cuts funding for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, USDA’s only farmer-driven agriculture research program, in half.Cuts funding for the Food Safety Outreach Program in half, just as the first wave of Food Safety Modernization Act inspections are beginning for the nation’s produce farmers.Eliminates the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.Cuts funding for Conservation Technical Assistance by $71 million (10%).Recommends a $75 million increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) compared to FY 2019, and an additional $100 million to address aging research infrastructure.Proposes $25 million will be needed to relocate the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture; a plan widely opposed by food and farm groups, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC).Reintroduces the Harvest Box proposal, which was widely criticized by anti-hunger and food access organizations when it was first floated in the President’s FY 2019 budget.The proposal also makes several recommendations that would require policy changes and/or affect farm bill mandatory spending, including:Eliminates the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).Cuts $17 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).Reforms to federal crop insurance and commodity programs, including: reduction of the average premium subsidy for crop insurance from 62% to 48%; limiting commodity, conservation, and crop insurance subsidies to those producers that have an Adjusted Gross Income of $500,000 or less; capping underwriting gains at 12%; tightening commodity payment limits, including eliminating the separate payment limit for peanut producers and limiting eligibility for commodity subsidies to one manager per farm.“While the budget released today doesn’t give us all the details on the President’s priorities for FY 2020, the $2.2 billion in cuts targeted to agriculture and food programs sends a clear message that America’s farmers and rural communities don’t make the list” said Wes King, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition senior policy specialist. “The 2018 Farm Bill made historic investments in key initiatives like support for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, organic research, and local/regional food systems, and that is the path on which we need to keep moving in FY 2020. Implementation of the farm bill’s programs – including new programs like the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) and long-standing programs like SARE and CSP — need adequate funding to do the work mandated by Congress. We ask that Congress not turn their backs on the promises of the 2018 Farm Bill, and that they instead build upon the bill’s pledged investments.”last_img read more

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Is Net-Zero in McDonald’s Future?

first_imgBig improvements in efficiency would be requiredMost of the focus of the report covers improved efficiencies for two of the biggest energy users in a typical McDonald’s restaurant: the kitchen and HVAC equipment. Hitting net-zero performance would require, for starters, a 60 percent improvement in energy efficiency compared to an “already efficient” U.S. prototype restaurant design from 2013.Other conclusions:After efficiency upgrades, the restaurants would be able to provide all of their power on-site with a 300 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system installed over the building and the parking area.A combination of more efficient equipment and PV would reduce energy costs to between 5 percent and 15 percent of current average use.Most of the capital costs needed for the switch would go to PV.One of the biggest challenges would be reducing or eliminating standby energy use, the energy used by appliances when they are not actually cooking anything, according to Don Fisher of Fisher Nickel, a technology research company in the commercial food service industry.McDonald’s says there are a number of steps ahead, including more study and the possibility of designing and building a pilot net-zero restaurant to test new technologies.The company didn’t announce any particular timetable. Walgreens has a net-zero energy drugstore, and now McDonald’s Corporation is wondering whether it, too, might reap the energy and PR rewards of a similar effort.The world’s largest restaurant chain brought in the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) to help it study the possibility of net-zero outlets in three U.S. cities. Although the company isn’t promising anything immediate, it said that net-zero operation was feasible even without changes to its menu or service, an announcement prepared by the institute said. Of course, each restaurant would require a huge PV array — one rated at 300 kilowatts — to make it happen.Although the study is intended to help restaurants globally, researchers studied three specific cities — Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C; and Orlando, Florida — specifically to see how net-zero performance could be coaxed out of restaurants with big, busy kitchens and serious HVAC systems.“The study demonstrates that for high-energy-intensity building types, such as restaurants, every single piece of energy-using equipment must be examined as part of the system,” said RMI’s Stephen Doig. “There’s plentiful opportunity to optimize and reduce energy use without compromising the consistency and quality of the end products.”last_img read more

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Militant killed in encounter in J&K’s Kupwara

first_imgAn unidentified militant was killed in a gunbattle with security forces in Langet area of Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir. An encounter broke out between militant and security forces on Sunday morning after the latter launched a search operation in Langet, 100 kms from here, an Army official said.He said one militant has been killed and the encounter is still underway.last_img

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CBI drag players to court in match-fixing scandal, to prove charges against them to be difficult

first_imgEarly in cricket’s never-ending and completely tiresome match-fixing scandal, sports writers with a sense of history turned their gaze to the infamous 1919 baseball rigging scandal in the US. That year the Chicago White Sox had lost the World Series to the underrated Cincinnati Reds and eight of its players,Early in cricket’s never-ending and completely tiresome match-fixing scandal, sports writers with a sense of history turned their gaze to the infamous 1919 baseball rigging scandal in the US. That year the Chicago White Sox had lost the World Series to the underrated Cincinnati Reds and eight of its players were disgraced and banned for life.The star batsman of the team, Joe Jackson-nicknamed “Shoeless” in a literal indication of the near-poverty that led him to temptation-is still seen in baseball annals as the great American fallen angel, the sort of anti-hero Kapil Dev or Mohammed Azharuddin would be if convicted.MD AZHARUDDINThe IT raid found * Evidence of three flats in Mumbai, undisclosed property in Hyderabad, lavish personal effects. The legal upshot The IT team has to go through Azhar’s returns for a decade to decide if he possesses black money. Only if so can the CBI ask if it’s a slush fund.Tortuous.KAPIL DEVThe IT raid found Five properties in Delhi, probable irregularities in coal business, “gifted” cars. Rs 5 lakh jewels in only one locker. The legal upshot Most Indian businessmen have a tax problem. So to try and link his wealth to fixing will require a process similar to Azhar’s. Section 420 looks some distance away.AJAY JADEJAThe IT raid foundThree properties in Delhi, suspicions of more. Name appeared in abookie-business partner’s records. The legal upshot That his nameappears in Hiren Hathi’s diary is not enough.The hawala case precedentis there. Besides knowing shady characters is per se not a crime.NAVJOT SIDHUThe IT raid found Unexplained property. A VDIS declaration of Rs 81 lakh.Plus “gifts” from admirers amounting to Rs 65 lakh. The legal upshotPrima facie the IT-CBI team may be able to ask some sticky questions tothis man. Nevertheless, it has to be proven that his donors were bookies bribing him.NIKHIL CHOPRAThe IT raid found Some inexplicable property papers and foreign exchange. His biggest”crime” seems being Mukesh Gupta’s neighbour. The legal upshot Like anumber of Delhi cricketers, seems to have, unwittingly or not, met a lot of bookies. But there is no direct link of “gift” leading tounderperformance. Can’t be held responsible for neighbours.  That final point is crucial for the parallels between baseball’s year of darkness-it was the culmination of betting syndicates’ insidious influence on the game and actually led to a purge-and cricket’s moment of infamy are striking. The most marked similarity relates to the legality of the match-fixing case. When the baseball commissioner punished the guilty players, he did so “regardless of the verdict of juries” and on the day after they were acquitted by the court.advertisementThe reasons for their acquittal sound suspiciously familiar. Some players initially confessed and then retracted their confession. Important documents “disappeared” mid-trial. Nobody was sure precisely which law was infringed in fixing a baseball game. Defendants such as Jackson kept changing their minds, stating they had heard rumours of fixing, had refused offers, had accepted money without meaning to throw matches.Eight decades later Hansie Cronje read from an identical script. Eight decades later the CBI-despite the great drama of the Income-Tax (IT) Department’s “Operation Gentleman”-is on as sticky a legal wicket as the Ohio judicial system was in 1919. In sum, India’s premier investigators admit that nailing the cricketers on the charge of match fixing is well nigh impossible.That is why they are hoping that the trauma of an IT raid and interrogation and sheer public opprobrium will lead to some Indian cricketer cracking up and spilling the beans. After all, it was psychological pressure and that wily being called conscience that did in Cronje and his teammates.Yet, as a cynical Delhi lawyer who represents a senior cricket official snorts, “South Africa ke cricketer bewakoof hain. Hamare cricketer bewakoof nahin (The South African cricketers are fools. Our cricketers are not).” So expect nothing close to the truth-with oath, without oath, in spite of oath. The CBI’s last hope, then, is a slender one.That, however, is getting ahead of the story. For a start, top lawyers can’t even agree if a plain case of cheating under Section 420 can be registered against the cricketers for match-fixing and if so who the complainant should be.Mumbai lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani says, “Any paying spectator can complain that he was made to part with property (ticket fees) to see an unfair match.” While Section 420 is applicable and the matter could even go to court, Jethmalani, Azharuddin’s lawyer, says, “it will be virtually impossible to prove” and obtain a conviction.R.K. Anand, one of Delhi’s leading criminal lawyers, is simple in his verdict: “There is no case.” His logic is that under Section 420 “Whoever cheats and thereby dishonestly induces the person deceived to deliver any property to any person … shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to seven years”spectators cannot file a complaint because the cricketers have not “induced” them to pay to see the match. The only possible aggrieved party is the BCCI, which is committed to paying cricketers a set fee for an optimum performance. Even here, argues Anand, “building a case under section 420 is very far-fetched”.Ashok Arora, another lawyer in the capital, is far more optimistic. “A case under Section 420,” he says, “is absolutely on.” The spectator has paid to see a fair fixture and can be the complainant. “It is a cognisable offence and the police will be forced to investigate.” When it comes to securing a “guilty” verdict, however, Arora is less certain. While “tapes of conversations and the like are evidence on record and admissible if not doctored and so authenticated”, they need to be corroborated.advertisementArora should understand the importance of “corroborative evidence”, a phrase much used in the hawala case, in which he was a defending lawyer and which came back as a whipping memory when, after the IT raids, there was talk of “incriminating diaries”. Apparently, at the homes of certain bookies diaries and books were found with amounts marked against names of cricketers. Hiren Hathi of Ahmedabad, for instance, had-to quote a tax offi-ciala diary seized “with the names of Ajay Jadeja and Kapil Dev written against sums of money”.The chargesheet in the hawala case was filed in 1996 on exactly such a flimsy basis-entries in the diaries of the Jain brothers, showing sums of money against the names of politicians to whom they had allegedly been paid. The case was thrown out of court and the hawala accused walked out unblemished. Now legal circles are wondering if the cricket swindle will be hawala II.Anyhow, with hope in its heart and prayer on its lips, CBI is looking at three stages to a denouement-or mirage.Step I: First the agency has to establish that there are bookies who run a gambling grey market in India and accept bets on cricket. This is relatively simple. Some 100 bookies have been questioned by the CBI since the beginning of May-25-odd are still absconding.Most of the bookies questioned have admitted accepting cricket-related bets-the menu of betting options actually ranges from horse racing to speculation on who will read the evening news on television. Less than 20 bookies have admitted to “links” with cricketers. Eight Indian players figure prominently on this list, six are Delhi-based-including a former Indian captain who is a compulsive punter and even bets while teeing of f at the Delhi Golf Club-and the other two are from Mumbai and Hyderabad.Step II: This involves proving that cricketers were in touch with bookies on match days and kept tabs on odds. The CBI is tentatively optimistic here, particularly due to the mobile phone records of cricketers and big bookies. These indicate regular conversations between the Indian dressing room and the betting nodal rooms as it were.advertisementHowever, all this will lead to is a rough conclusion that Indian cricketers were perhaps punters and could be prosecuted under the Gambling Act (maximum punishment: Rs 500 fine). It will not establish rigging.Step III: The CBI could register a case against a bookie or a player under Section 420 after establishing a direct link between underperformance in a match and monetary consideration. This is where the danger gong is sounded. How do you make clear the channel by which bookies paid corrupt cricketers? Bank deposits? Hawala? Lifetime achievement awards from rich NRIs?Plaintiff’s PointDefendant’s CounterThe CBI’s possible case And the cricketers’ likely answerThey’re cheats: Register cases under Section 420, accusing fixers of cheating spectators of a fair game.Diary items: Names of cricketers have been found against sums of money in bookies’ diaries.Take a gamble: Charge cricketers under the Gambling Act by accusing them of links with bookies.Liar, liar: Invoke sections such as 191 and 193, charge cricketers with hiding or fabricating evidence.Tax evasion trick: The IT raids reveal huge assets, perhaps the result of ill-gotten, fixing-time gains.The King route: Set up a South Africa-type commission, appeal to cricketers to come clean.Who’ve we cheated?: Section 420 requires “inducement” of property (money) from victim. Sticky point.Remember hawala: The hawala case collapsed because diary entries alone were insufficient evidence.Damp squib: It still doesn’t prove match-fixing. Besides the Gambling Act entails only a Rs 500 fine.Truth or dare: Will only work if you prove they’ve lied under oath. Besides real fixers may still get away.Penalty corner: Charge the usual tax penalty and leave us alone. Every second Indian evades taxes anyway.Royal salute: Indian player-fixers are too shrewd to let a minor being like a conscience prick them.  In Delhi, one cricketer was gifted a house worth Rs 50 lakh by a noted bookie. The many expensive gifts cricketers receive from overseas “fans” are sometimes used as a conduit to “pay cricketers for services rendered”. The point is: can you link these with the tanking of a specific match? Nishit Dhruva, senior advocate, Bombay High Court, says, “For the prosecution to prove the linkage will be very difficult.”The CBI certainly isn’t confident. As an officer says, even the IT raids haven’t really helped because a particular cricketer’s wealth will have to be correlated with a chosen bookie’s allegation of payment at a given time. Since bribes are rarely paid by crossed cheques that are instantly deposited, this logic has a snowball’s chance in hell of working.It is for reasons such as these that the CBI privately admits it is likely to end its investigations in a couple of months without filing a chargesheet and submit a report explaining its limitations to the Government-and cricket will presumably go back into its complacent slumber. No wonder Adhik Shirodkar, a top Mumbai lawyer, says, “This is no way to go about fixing the fixers. Even if you begin a criminal trial, it will take 10 years.”Shirodkar recommends a BCCI-imposed ban on grounds of “reasonable suspicion”. Arora has a slightly different strategy. If you analyse the secretly recorded Manoj Prabhakar tapes, he says, the testimony offered by some cricketers and officials before the Justice Y.V. Chandrachud Commission and then before the CBI and, should trial begin, before the court, you are likely to find “huge contradictions”.Obviously some people are saying one thing in private and another in public, to protect their friends in a conspiracy of silence, even if they themselves are not guilty. Arora proposes that they be charged under Sections 191 and 193 for giving false evidence and “sent to jail to put the fear of God into others”. Like a crafty bowler, cricket’s cleansing agents may have to resort to a legal googly. Bowling a tidy length doesn’t seem to be getting them anywhere.-with V. Shankar Aiyar in Mumbailast_img read more

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A Simple Strategy for Running an Email Marketing Test

first_imgAs a busy organization, it’s rare that you have time to even think about testing your nonprofit email marketing. You’re focused on getting your newsletter or announcement out the door so you can get back to what you do best.But what if running an email marketing test didn’t need to take a ton of time? What if, instead, it could fit in with the work you’re already doing and still provide the insight you need to improve your results?It starts with understanding what you want to test.Focus on testing one thing at a time. If you test more than one element in the same email, it is challenging (and sometimes impossible) to determine exactly what influenced the response.Here are some easy and telling tests to start with:Subject lines: Create two different subject lines for the same email communication. For example, if you’re planning a fundraising event, you may want to test if adding the event date or name to the subject line influences open rates.Long versus short copy: Create a shorter version of your newsletter with teasers and links to your website or blog and another that includes more content within the design of your email.Experiment with CTAs: The call to action (CTA), is one of the most important parts of any email. To help perfect your CTAs and see what’s working, you can test different copy and even experiment with different buttons within your email.Other tests could include the time of day or day of the week you send, with an image or without, and the placement of a CTA button or link.Now, decide how you’ll measure your results. For subject lines, your most effective metric will be open rates. This will tell you how many people saw your email in their inbox and took the next step to open it.For tests within the copy of your email, focus on clicks. This will tell you how many people not only opened it, but who also viewed your content and took some action within the email.Think about what you’re trying to learn. If your goal is to find out how the length of your email or the type of content you include influences donations or registrations, you’ll want to track donations and compare them with previous results. If you’re driving traffic to your website or blog, you can use a tool like Google Analytics to track referral traffic to your site.Once you know what you want to test and how you’ll measure your results, now you can put the test in motion. When it comes to who you’ll send your test to, you have two options: You can either split your entire nonprofit email list in half and send one version to each, or take a random sample and do a pre-test.A pre-test is an excellent way to find out what works before sending an email to your entire list. This knowledge can greatly improve your overall response rate. It also protects you from sending a poor performing email test to a large portion of your list and wasting your efforts. To pre-test, choose a random sampling of 100 people from your master nonprofit email list, then split that group in half and send each half one of the two test campaigns.Once you have everything ready, send your test emails. The great thing about email is that you get your results quickly. Within a 24- to 48-hour period, you’ll know which email communication got a better result. (It takes weeks when testing with direct mail!)Declare your winner, send that email to the remaining members of your list, and watch the results come in.It’s really that simple.Testing your nonprofit email marketing is about listening to your audience—something nonprofits know better than anyone! Let their actions tell you what’s working, what’s not, and what you could be doing differently. This will not only help improve your email marketing but will let you better connect with the people who matter most to your organization and attract more donors, supporters, and volunteers.As Constant Contact’s Content Developer, Ryan Pinkham helps small businesses and nonprofits recognize their full potential through marketing and social media.last_img read more

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5 Ways to Use Email to Drive Participation at Your Next Fundraiser

first_imgRunning a successful fundraising event is easier said than done.You put in weeks of planning with the ultimate goal of getting as many people as involved as possible, and you want to make sure your hard work pays off.One of the most important tools you have to promote your next fundraising event is email marketing.With email campaigns, you can reach your audience members directly and send targeted messages that build enthusiasm and provide the information they need to get involved.Here are 5 ways you can use email to drive participation at your next fundraiser:1. Save-the-dateA successful event relies on advanced planning. Once you have a date nailed down for your event, make sure you get the word out so your guests can add it to their calendars ahead of time.This initial email doesn’t have to include all the details — the point is to give some notice and get your audience excited early so you can build on that interest in the weeks ahead.If the event is open to the public, you can also post about the date on your social media accounts. Encourage your social media fans to join your mailing list so they won’t miss any future details.2. Send a formal invitationAs more of the specifics come together, you’re ready to let your contacts know all about the great things you have planned.The more personalized you can make your invitation the better. For example, if your fundraiser is an annual event, start by following up with last year’s attendees with a “Hope to see you again this year!” themed message.Or, if you’re sending the event to media contacts, consider sending them a press release rather than a general email invite. Think about how you can deliver the right message to the right people for best results.Make sure all the information is clear, concise, and easy to read from a mobile device. Your invitation should also link to a landing page for more extensive details. This landing page can be hosted on your website, or you can build one through your Constant Contact account.3. Make your emails socialEmail and social media marketing work best when they’re working together. Each email you send out should include social share buttons that make it easy for your contacts to share your email and invite others.You should also encourage your contacts to forward your email to anyone they think might be interested in attending.4. Send last-minute remindersEven if you feel like you’ve been building up your event for weeks, don’t underestimate the power of a last-minute reminder. Even an email 24-48 hours in advance can drive some last-minute registrants.Make sure you’re subject line reflects the timeliness of the message by adding the event date or a countdown.This is also a good time to remind people that there’s more than one way to support your event. You can add a line to your email like: Can’t make the event? We’ll miss you! Consider supporting our event goal by making an online donation.”Hopefully some of your audience members that have a scheduling conflict will take you up on your offer!5. Follow up after the eventDon’t let the momentum of a successful event end when the event is over. Sending a thank you email or a quick recap will extend the life of all your hard work.If you didn’t quite hit your fundraising goal, this is also a good time to encourage contacts to help you out.Try to include multimedia in this email where you can. If you took pictures during the event, link off to an album. You want your registrants to relive the good times, and motivate those who didn’t attend to make it a priority the next time around!Incorporating these 5 tips into your email marketing strategy will ensure your fundraising event generates real results.Add these ideas to your calendar when promoting your next fundraiser and see which emails receive the highest opens, clicks, and registrations for you.Have any advice we didn’t cover? Let us know how email boosts event involvement for your organization by Tweeting to us: @Network4Good and @ConstantContactlast_img read more

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Woman-Centered Maternity Care, Family Planning, and HIV: Principles for Rights-Based Integration

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on June 6, 2013March 6, 2017Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Our colleagues at the Wilson Center Global Health Initiative are hosting a discussion with experts on rights-based maternity care and the intersection with family planning and HIV. The event will take place on June 11th from 3-5pm at the Wilson Center in Washington DC.About the event:Increasingly, family planning and HIV programs are seeking to expand their services to include maternal health care. The movement to integrate health services provides an important opportunity to share lessons learned across the different communities on their experiences with rights-based care. Join us for a discussion with experts in rights-based maternity care and its intersection with family planning and HIV.Click here for the list of speakers for the event.Click here to RSVP.Click here for directions to the Wilson Center.Learn more about this topic by visiting the MHTF’s topic pages focused on maternal health, HIV, and AIDS and respectful maternity care.For a compilation of the latest news and publications on maternal health, HIV and AIDS, click here. For a compilation of the latest news and publications on respectful maternity care, click here.Explore the MHTF’s ongoing blog series on maternal health, HIV, and AIDS and respectful maternity care.Share this:last_img read more

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