War on football? Chinese players get army drills, ‘thought education’

first_img0Shares0000Shanghai Shenhua footballers are among the players who have undergone military-style training in China. © Shanghai Shenhua/AFP / HANDOUTSHANGHAI, China, Nov 30 – Chinese national squads and a top league team have packed young footballers off to military camps for drills and Marxist-style “thought education” as a campaign to promote Communist Party values spreads even into the sporting world.Chinese fans have watched the militarisation of football with a mixture of anger and bemusement after pictures emerged of players getting their hair shaved and throwing themselves bare-chested into the snow. The Chinese Football Association (CFA) spirited away more than 50 under-25 national squad players in October for several weeks of intensive army drills, swapping their football boots for combat boots and military fatigues.The move, underlining desperation to improve the perennially underachieving Chinese national side, was particularly controversial because it meant some of China’s finest young players were not involved in the final games of the league season.A second batch of players was packed off in early November, and this week a national squad of under-19s was set to don camouflage and head to the barracks, suggesting that the boot camps may become a fixture.Footballers have been military drills and “thought education” as part of a wider Chinese campaign to promote Communist Party values. © Shanghai Shenhua/AFP / HANDOUTChinese Super League (CSL) side Shanghai Shenhua — home last year to Argentine striker Carlos Tevez — followed suit with its under-19 players, combining football training with marching and other aspects of an austere military life.Under the watchful eye of the drillmasters of airforce unit 94778, the young players were subjected on Monday to “thought-education”, the club said on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.They “examined propaganda materials, visited the unit’s hall of history, soldiers’ barracks and took part in basic military formation drills”, it said.The players were also plonked down to watch the evening news on state television — a nightly hymn to the Communist Party — before hitting their bunks.– ‘Strengthen ideology’ –The CFA has been characteristically coy on the thinking behind the boot camps, but the Beijing Evening News said: “In several previous warm-up matches, some of the national team were criticised for not working hard and having no sense of honour.”Reports of the military camps have drawn a mixed reaction from fans. © Shanghai Shenhua/AFP / HANDOUTThe Beijing Youth Daily, citing the CFA, said that the camps will “strengthen young players’ ideology”.President Xi Jinping has conducted a broad campaign to bolster the ruling Communist Party that has drawn comparisons to past mass political campaigns under former leader Mao Zedong.Government departments, businesses and organisations across the country have signed up to the drive by conducting indoctrination sessions focusing on Marxist values and “Xi Jinping Thought”.Earlier this year, players for the national team began appearing in matches with bandages covering their tattoos, which the Xi government frowns upon in its purity campaign.But frustrated Chinese football fans accused the CFA of putting politics before football as it took dozens of domestic players out of action for the critical last few games of the season.Pictures subsequently emerged online of the under-25 players with buzz cuts and wearing military garb as they sat in a whitewashed room watching the senior national team’s 0-0 with India on television.Shanghai Shenhua players were shown propaganda materials and historical exhibits during their military training. © Shanghai Shenhua/AFP / HANDOUTA red banner at the front of the room exhorted them to be upstanding members of the public.Soccer News reposted pictures on Weibo said to be of the players baring their teeth and leaping half-naked into the snow.China’s World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, whose final assignment with the team will be the Asian Cup in January, has not commented on the army-style initiative.As part of Xi’s efforts to make the country a footballing powerhouse, China made the 70-year-old Italian one of the best-paid coaches in the world when they hired him in October 2016.But after an initial bounce, the team have won just once in their last five games and are stewing in 76th in the FIFA rankings, two spots below war-torn Syria.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Gearing up to do without oil

first_imgSTOCKHOLM, Sweden – U.S. President George W. Bush may have surprised international observers by pledging in his State of the Union address to break his country’s addiction to foreign oil – but Sweden was already one step ahead of him. The environmentally progressive Scandinavian nation has announced one of its most ambitious goals yet: to completely end its dependency on petroleum – and do it in the next 15 years. “Our dependency on oil should be broken by 2020,” said Mona Sahlin, the minister of Sustainable Development. The target – announced in September by Prime Minister Goran Persson – has been met with applause from environmental organizations, but also with great skepticism from some experts who think the target is unrealistic. Some tax breaks have already been introduced, while Persson has formed a special commission tasked with finding other ways to create a society independent of oil. The commission will present its first proposals this summer. As with Bush’s plan, no one is debating Sweden’s good intentions. “I don’t think this is realistic, but it is a good ambition,” said Kenneth Werling, chief executive of Agroetanol, which runs Sweden’s largest ethanol factory. “Maybe we can build a society that is less dependent on oil, and that is good in itself.” Sahlin, however, is confident Sweden can succeed. “Honestly, what is the alternative?” she said. “Wait and see when oil gets even more expensive?” Sahlin and other experts point to several factors that give Sweden better chances than most countries to phase out oil. The country of 9 million people has coastlines stretching hundreds of kilometers, which have given rise to a number of wind-power and water-power plants. A large new wind farm is being built off Sweden’s southern coast, expected to be online by 2009. Sweden also has more forest per capita than any other EU country, allowing it to burn tons of biomass, which has helped make it one of the world leaders in renewable energy. In 2003, 26 percent of the energy consumed in Sweden came from renewable sources – more than four times as much as the European Union average of 6 percent, according to EU statistics. Only 32 percent of its energy came from oil – down from 77 percent in 1970, according to Sweden’s own statistics. About one-third of Sweden’s energy is nuclear power, with the rest coming mainly from coal and natural gas. So while the EU is striving to double its average use of renewable energy to 12 percent by 2010, Sweden is correct in setting the bar much higher, said Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark. “Many countries are setting renewable energy targets. The difference with Sweden is that the targets are achievable rather than aspirational,” McGlade said. “This is because government departments across sectors in Sweden have built renewable energy into their long-term policies.” That is evident in Sweden’s system for heating houses and apartment buildings – a key function in a country where the harsh winter usually lasts up to five months. Many Swedish counties use district heating that distributes steam heat, often produced by burning garbage or wood. Today only 8 percent of Swedish houses are heated by oil, said Stefan Edman, an environmental adviser to the government. As of Jan. 1, those households get tax rebates if they switch to renewable sources. “I’m an optimist in that area,” Edman said. “I think we can completely get rid of oil there.” A much bigger challenge will be the transportation sector. Only 1 percent of the about 4 million vehicles on Swedish roads run on alternative fuels. But sales of so-called “environmental cars” that run on alternative fuel have almost doubled over the last year, and the parliament passed a law in December making it mandatory for all major gas stations to offer at least one alternative fuel at its pumps. Sweden already uses more ethanol per capita than any other EU country, because of a pilot project where about 5 percent ethanol is mixed into the gasoline sold at gas stations to reduce pollution, said Werling, the Agroetanol CEO. Regardless of whether Sweden or the United States succeed in their ambitions, they are likely to pave the way for more ambitious renewable energy targets elsewhere in the world, said George Sterzinger, executive director of the Renewable Energy Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization working to boost the use of alternative fuels in the United States. “Society sets a goal, and in moving toward that goal, technology improves and you can set a better goal,” Sterzinger said. “Taking on that goal, it sets a sort of (example of) ‘If Sweden can do it, why can’t we?”‘ 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Officials here acknowledge that getting rid of oil completely in such a short time is close to impossible, but the aim is to ensure that Swedes will never be forced to use fossil fuels because a renewable energy source is not available. “There shall always be better alternatives to oil, which means no house should need oil for heating, and no driver should need to turn solely to gasoline,” Sahlin told The Associated Press in an interview. The ambitious plan is a response to global climate change, rising petroleum prices and warnings by some experts that the world may soon be running out of oil. “We want to be both mentally and technically prepared” for a world without oil, said Martin Larsson, a senior administrative officer in the Ministry of Sustainable Development. “A lot of people think that in five to six years, a liter of gasoline may cost 20 kronor ($2.50). That would be a dramatic change, and a hard hit to a lot of households.” Today, the price is around $1.43 per liter. Persson has said the target will be reached by boosting research on alternative fuels, giving financial incentives for people switching to “green alternatives,” and increasing the annual electricity production from renewable sources by 15 terawatt hours by 2016. That figure equals nearly one-third of all the electricity used by Swedish industries in 2004. last_img read more

Video: How to do the diski dance

first_imgStart learning the soccer-based moves of South Africa’s diski dance and you’ll start feeling the rhythm of African football – and the energy and passion that’s in store for the world at the 2010 Fifa World Cup.last_img

South Africa pilots National Health

first_img23 March 2012 Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has identified 10 districts in the country for the much-awaited pilot of South Africa’s National Health Insurance (NHI), which will be phased in from 1 April. Making the announcement in Pretoria on Thursday, Motsoaledi said the NHI pilots would focus on the most vulnerable sections of society across the country, reduce high maternal and child mortality through district-based health interventions, and strengthen the performance of the public health system in readiness for the full roll-out of NHI.Assessing the effectiveness of the NHI package The pilots will further assess whether the NHI’s health service package, primary health care teams and strengthened referral system will improve access to quality health services, particularly in rural and previously disadvantaged areas of the country. The objectives of the pilots include testing the ability of the districts to assume greater responsibilities under the NHI, and to assess usage patterns, costs and affordability of implementing a PHC service package.10 districts, one extra in KwaZulu-Natal The districts are: OR Tambo (Eastern Cape), Gert Sibande (Mpumalanga province), Vhembe (Limpopo province), Pixley ka Seme (Northern Cape), Eden (Western Cape), Dr K Kaunda (North West), Thabo Mofutsanyane (Free State) and Tshwane (Gauteng). Due to high population numbers and a high disease burden, two districts have been identified in KwaZulu-Natal – uMzinyathi and uMgungundlovu. However, the province has added a third district, Amajuba, and will be using its own funds to carry out the pilot. The selection of the districts was based on a range of indicators, including socio-economic indicators, health service performance, and financial and resource management.Department ‘ready for the roll-out’ On financing the pilots, Motsoaledi said this was part of an ongoing engagement between the Department of Health and the National Treasury, which has allocated R1-billion for the project. An optimistic Motsoaledi said the department was ready for the roll-out of the pilot and would be visiting all the identified districts, where he would be interacting with traditional leaders, church leaders, nurses and doctors to explain the projects ahead of the April launch. He will also be meeting with medical practitioners from each district, to ask them to assist in the NHI clinics for a few hours each week, for which they would be paid. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Deciding What Not to Do

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now Because we live in an age where the digital tools provide infinite distractions, it is easy to get drawn away from your work by visual, audio, and written content designed to amuse and entertain you. Even though the social channels can be used for work, more and more they are less and less business-oriented in the content they provide.These entertaining distractions are not primarily to blame for pulling people away from their work. Instead, there are two other primary causes to blame. The first is things that look like real work but that don’t contribute to the result in a meaningful way. The second is work that belongs to someone else in some other department.Something Isn’t Being DoneThere is always something that needs to be done that isn’t being done. This idea, as simple as it is, is surprising to some. Because you are doing something, you tend not to think too much about what isn’t being done. It might also strike you as novel to think about choosing what isn’t getting done.There are emails from people inside your company, from your clients, and from other business associates that require your attention, even if only to provide you with some small bit of information you need. Your inbox has an endless stream of requests for your time and attention to certain business-related matters. Not many are cat videos, although you no doubt have friends and family that send you things that you’ll enjoyWhile you live in your inbox, something isn’t being done that has a greater impact on your results, and you are the one choosing to leave it undone. If you are in sales, putting email before prospecting is to trade opportunity creation for time spent on activities that have a low probability of resulting in you creating or winning a new opportunity. If you are in leadership, the inbox is no better, doing very little to move you and those in your charge toward the future you are building.This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t answer your email, but to make the point that what is most important should be done before things that are necessary but in no way enough when it comes to producing the results you need.If You Are Doing This, Who Is Doing ThatA lot of tasks find their way to people who don’t – and shouldn’t – own those tasks. Salespeople do not belong to operations, customer service, or accounting, yet they take orders from clients, solve customer service challenges (like chasing down shipments) and retyping invoices and generating reports their clients request. While you are doing work for other people and other departments, there is no one doing your work (unless you can ask the accounting department to make your cold calls while you retype invoices).Is what you are doing the most important thing you could be doing now, and is it going to do more than anything else to produce the result for which you are responsible?Are you intentional about what you are doing—and equally intentional about what you are not doing?If you feel like there is never enough time to do everything you need to do, it might serve you to first decide whether you should be doing something at all.last_img read more

Councillor arrested for thrashing SI

first_imgA BJP councillor was arrested for allegedly thrashing a police sub-inspector in the Kankar Khera area of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, the police said on Saturday.The incident occurred on Friday evening when Mohiuddinpur police outpost in-charge Sukhpal Singh and his female friend, an advocate, visited a restaurant owned by councillor Manish Chaudhary.Circle Officer at Daurala Pankaj Kumar Singh said the trigger for the incident was the woman expressing displeasure over not getting their order on time. She allegedly threw away the food when it was finally served. Mr. Chaudhary protested against her action, which led to an altercation among the three. Mr. Chaudhary allegedly thrashed Mr. Singh and pushed the woman advocate, the Circle Officer said.The woman alleged that she was harassed and beaten up by the BJP councillor, following which he was booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, the police said.Ruckus outside stationIn another complaint, the sub-inspector alleged that Mr. Chaudhary attacked him while he was on duty. Superintendent of Police (city) Ranvijay Singh said that after the arrest, Mr. Chaudhary’s supporters tried to free him and gherao the van carrying him. They created a ruckus outside the police station and raised slogans, hindering traffic, Mr. Singh said.A medical test on the sub-inspector and his friend showed alcohol in their blood.last_img read more

SRK awaits Big B’s TV show Yudh, Amitabh Bachchan thanks him for wishes

first_imgMegastar Amitabh Bachchan, who is gearing up for the launch of his debut fiction TV show Yudh, has thanked superstar Shah Rukh Khan for his wishes for the series.Shah Rukh, 48, had previously taken to Twitter to express his excitement for Yudh and said the show will be ‘path breaking’.He tweeted: “@SrBachchan waiting for Yudh. Am sure it will be path breaking as all your other endeavours have been.” The two actors, who have worked together in films like Mohabbatein, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Bhoothnath and Bhootnath Returns.In return, the 71-year-old actor, said, “Thank you SRK for your wishes for Yudh. Whether it will be path breaking or not is not known (sic).”The two stars also made plans of a football game as both are big fans of the sport.”Let’s do football one night sir,” Shah Rukh said, to which Bachchan replied, “What will be path breaking will be if I can beat you at the PS4 football game that you invite me for!”The two actors, who have worked together in films like Mohabbatein, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Bhoothnath and Bhootnath Returns.last_img read more

Anil Kumble got India coaching job after Rahul Dravid turned it down

first_imgThe Cricket Advisory Committee of the BCCI had shortlisted 21 candidates from the 57 applicants who had applied for the head coach’s post of the Indian cricket team and finally it was former captain Anil Kumble who bagged the job on Thursday.The news of Kumble’s appointment was met with loud cheers from the current Indian squad with the likes of Test captain Virat Kohli and opener Shikhar Dhawan welcoming the move. But the legendary leg-spinner was not the first choice for the post.BCCI president Anurag Thakur has revealed that the board had initially approached former India captain Rahul Dravid but he turned down the offer citing family reasons.”I requested Rahul Dravid to coach the Indian team. He didn’t say no, but said that he will work for the junior team,” Thakur told NDTV on Thursday.Dravid instead wanted to take care of the junior team. The legendary batsman was appointed coach of the the India A and Under-19 teams in June 2015. Under him, the Under-19 team reached the World Cup final in Bangladesh earlier this year.”That is the good thing about Dravid. He didn’t go for the senior team post, big money and all. He wanted to work for the junior cricketers and not the senior team,” Thakur added.FAMILY COMES FIRSTDravid had earlier made his intentions pretty clear and said that he is more comfortable doing short stints as a coach.”I can only do short-term assignments, I can’t stay away from home for long periods of time, short assignments suit me better.”advertisement”Any decision that I make at this stage of my life would depend on whether I have the bandwidth to do all of these things. It takes time. You can never really say that now you are ready and now you are not. That’s an experience, a learning. You have to do it to only know. Everyday you do it and you want to learn.”Kumble was ultimately picked for the job ahead of former Team Director Ravi Shastri, and has been given a one-year contract by the BCCI.last_img read more

Playing for India was more important than acting in films: Rahul Bose

first_imgPanaji, Nov 22 (IANS) Actor-filmmaker Rahul Bose says when he actively played rugby for India internationally, he chose films according to his sports calendar.Rahul, known for films like “English, August”, “Mr. and Mrs. Iyer”, “Chameli”, “Pyaar Ke Side Effects” and “15 Park Avenue”, was a part of a ‘Redefining Stories’ panel at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here on Thursday.Asked about his transition from being an actor to a director, Rahul, who first helmed “Everybody Says I’m Fine” and then directed the 2017 film “Poorna”, said: “It was not calculative.””I had a story about a hairdresser who reads mind, and everybody says I’m fine, but when he cuts their hair, he hears their real stories, and nobody’s fine.”I just wrote the story, loved the story, turned it into a scene breakdown and a screenplay and then I said I want make it. There was no proof that I would be a good director. Many actors are not good directors. So, that’s how. There was no calculation.”He said the 16-year-gap between both his directorials testify that they were not calculative moves.”I just do what I want to do when I want to do it,” he said.Rugby is the only calculation, moderator and popular cinematographer Aseem Bajaj prodded Rahul.He said: “When I was playing for India, I would look at the rugby calendar and see the two main tournaments, and took up films only if they didn’t clash with both tournaments, because playing for India was more important for me than acting in films.”His work was met with an applause from the audience.Rahul further said that as an artiste, who has primarily dabbled in independent cinema, he has never “struggled”.”I was doing theatre in Mumbai. I did 4-6 plays. Dev Benegal and Uma D’Cunha saw me in a play, and they cast me in ‘English, August’. And I got one film after another.”I have played the lead in 36 films, and cameo and supporting roles in 3 films. So I have never had a ‘I don’t have a Godfather in the industry’ story. I don’t have a struggle story,” he said.Rahul further said he neither had to change his acting nor did he have to change his choices.”I didn’t have to compromise right from ‘English, August’ right up to ‘Poorna’, barring one or two films,” he said, adding that he has worked in Bengali, English, Kannada, Tamil and Hindi films.–IANSrb/nv/sedadvertisementlast_img read more