Gruelling 1600 km Yukon Quest dog sled race starts in Whitehorse Saturday

first_imgWHITEHORSE — An event considered to be the toughest dog sled race on the planet begins Saturday in Whitehorse.Thirty teams from Canada, the United States and as far away as the Czech Republic and New Zealand will vie to win the 1,600-kilometre Yukon Quest, which begins this year in Whitehorse and ends in Fairbanks, Alaska.For the first time since 2003, mushers must truck their teams between Braeburn, the first checkpoint north of Whitehorse, and Carmacks, about 75 kilometres further along the route.Race Marshall Doug Harris says a lack of snow made the Braeburn to Carmacks stretch of the route too rough for the teams.In all, mushers must pass through nine checkpoints, four dog checks, and four mountain peaks, including the 1,200-metre King Solomon’s Dome.The gruelling race was won last year by Two Rivers, Alaska musher Allen Moore in nine days, 18 hours and 53 minutes.The route follows the Yukon River and the historic winter “highway” travelled by prospectors, mail and supply carriers between the gold fields of the Klondike and the Alaska interior.Mushers and race organizers are concerned about the lack of snow and warmer weather along the trail, but Sgt. John Mitchell with the Canadian Rangers says a 32-member squad has been working on the Yukon side of the trail and conditions have improved in the last week.“The low snow conditions allowed us to brush it out a lot better than has been done in the previous years,” Mitchell says.“When you get down to the low stuff on it, and then we got the snow dump … so it actually set up (well) and we’ve got a pretty darn good base.”This year’s prize purse is $115,000, down slightly from the $125,000 awarded last year, and the first 15 finishers will share a percentage of the pot.The first musher to reach the Dawson City checkpoint also receives two ounces of gold nuggets, worth about $3,400.Moore took home just over $23,000 as the 2018 winner and also kept the gold nuggets as he led almost from start to finish.Four past champions, including multiple winners Moore and Whitehorse resident Hans Gatt, as well as 12 rookies are among the 2019 field.Quebec’s Denis Tremblay, who finished 14th in the 2013 Yukon Quest, drew bib number one at the start banquet held in Whitehorse, Thursday night. (CKRW)The Canadian Presslast_img read more

BRAC Hiatus Wont Extend Indefinitely

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Washington, D.C. — With the Trump administration’s decision not to request additional base closures with this year’s budget submission, the Pentagon’s uphill battle to demonstrate the benefits of a new BRAC round to lawmakers has been placed on the back burner, but the discussion can be expected to return to Capitol Hill eventually. At some point, DOD will need to rebalance its infrastructure, Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the audience Wednesday at the 2018 Defense Communities National Summit. “[That] will have to occur through a BRAC,” Harrison said.That time likely could come when lawmakers realize the rising defense budget is not translating into a significantly larger force structure. The need to curb spending as the nation’s debt grows could provide a strong push in that direction as well. “Then BRAC will come back up,” Harrison said.An additional factor at play is the dispute between the Pentagon and Congress over DOD’s estimate of its excess capacity. Lawmakers, along with a recent Government Accountability Office report, have called for a more precise estimate of the military’s unused capacity. In response, defense officials point out that is only possible when Congress authorizes a new BRAC round. Both sides have a point in this standoff, but lawmakers will be hesitant to jump into a new round in the absence of better data, said Mackenzie Eaglen, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.“It certainly helps forestall the next BRAC round,” Eaglen said.last_img read more

RBI confident NBFC liquidity situation will improve

first_imgThe central bank’s decision not to conduct an asset quality review of non-banking financial companies (NBFC) is driven by market concerns though there are widespread worries about a possible meltdown because of the current liquidity situation and non-performing assets (NPA). The situation of the NBFCs came into public focus after IL&FC, a leading NBFC, defaulted on some of its repayment commitments triggering panic among investors.Worries persist despite Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das recently shrugging off liquidity concerns pertaining to NBFCs and ruling out an asset quality review. Das contended that such a review could ring alarm bells and might not be well-received by the market.Speaking to a group of foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) in Hong Kong earlier in the week, Das affirmed that the RBI was prepared to step in to meet the liquidity needs of NBFCs, according to a media report. The top banking regulator said the quantum of NPAs had dipped significantly in one year and that the worst seemed to be over for the banking sector, the Business Standard website said citing an unidentified source.FPIs attending the meeting included asset managers such as Templeton, Fidelity, and Blackrock, as well as some hedge funds and distressed asset investors. The IL&FS default led to panic among mutual funds and banks, resulting in a decline in the availability of debt capital and rise of cost of debt capital for NBFCs and housing finance companies (HFCs) and generally creating a liquidity crisis in an election year.The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is already under pressure over employment data and a farm crisis that saw three states slip out of the party’s hands in December 2018 elections. The liquidity crisis has hit the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) which are considered the mainstay of employment generation and semiurban and rural liquidity. The government has already announced steps to improve the liquidity of MSMEs and farmers through direct benefit transfers. But a crisis of NBFCs that immensely contribute to the rural and semi-urban economy could affect the government’s attempts for returning to power in the general election 2019.”The marginal funding cost for NBFCs/HFCs from various sources have gone up 25-100 basis points. The increase in the cost of borrowing is clearly visible in the 50 bps increase in credit spread for NBFC bonds over government securities since August 2018,” a recent research note by Ambit says.After years of low profitability because of weak asset quality and growth slowdown, analysts expect the Indian banking sector to turn around in FY20. Brokers JM Financial believes the stress from corporate bad debt is subsiding and will reflect in lower slippages.last_img read more

Most Followed Growth Hacker Rohan Chaubey Is Redefining Startup Marketing

first_imgAngelList CEO Naval Ravikant famously said, “It’s never been easier to start a company. It’s never been harder to build one.”There’s more opportunity out there than ever before, which helps to offset the competition. History shows us that as competition increases, so does available opportunity. There’s plenty of space for new innovation especially for the new age digital companies.The startup growth marketing is always innovating. What helped unicorns like UBER get initial traction won’t help other early stage startups grow. That’s why growth hacking is catching popularity in the startup ecosystem.When asked what is Growth Hacking, Rohan Chaubey, the international bestselling author of ‘The Growth Hacking Book’ replied, “Growth Hacking is conducting growth experiments across various growth channels to discover measurable + scalable + repeatable processes that deliver predictable results to grow an important metric (North Star Metric) for a business. Growth Hackers are technical marketers which may or may not know how to code”.IBM and Twitter’s partner product Audiense.com ranks Rohan as India’s most-followed Growth Hacker. He has grown his social media community to about 250000 followers organically in record time.Rohan has a proven track record of making content go viral on social media. One of his SlideShares attracted 100000+ views within 12 hours, which shows his virality.IBT does not endorse any of the above content.last_img read more

Final tally shows over 10000 Rohingyas killed

first_imgThe ruins of a market which was set on fire are seen at a Rohingya village outside Maugndaw in Rakhine state. Photo: ReutersMohib Bullah is not your typical human rights investigator. He chews betel and he lives in a rickety hut made of plastic and bamboo. Sometimes, he can be found standing in a line for rations at the Rohingya refugee camp where he lives in Bangladesh.Yet Mohib Bullah is among a group of refugees who have achieved something that aid groups, foreign governments and journalists have not. They have painstakingly pieced together, name-by-name, the only record of Rohingya Muslims who were allegedly killed in a brutal crackdown by Myanmar’s military.The bloody assault in the western state of Rakhine drove more than 700,000 of the minority Rohingya people across the border into Bangladesh, and left thousands of dead behind.Aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières, working in Cox’s Bazar at the southern tip of Bangladesh, estimated in the first month of violence, beginning at the end of August 2017, that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed. But the survey, in what is now the largest refugee camp in the world, was limited to the one month and didn’t identify individuals.The Rohingya list makers pressed on and their final tally put the number killed at more than 10,000. Their lists, which include the toll from a previous bout of violence in October 2016, catalogue victims by name, age, father’s name, address in Myanmar, and how they were killed.“When I became a refugee I felt I had to do something,” says Mohib Bullah, 43, who believes that the lists will be historical evidence of atrocities that could otherwise be forgotten.Myanmar government officials did not answer phone calls seeking comment on the Rohingya lists. Late last year, Myanmar’s military said that 13 members of the security forces had been killed. It also said it recovered the bodies of 376 Rohingya militants between 25 August and 5 September, which is the day the army says its offensive against the militants officially ended.Rohingya regard themselves as native to Rakhine State. But a 1982 law restricts citizenship for the Rohingya and other minorities not considered members of one of Myanmar’s “national races”. Rohingya were excluded from Myanmar’s last nationwide census in 2014, and many have had their identity documents stripped from them or nullified, blocking them from voting in the landmark 2015 elections. The government refuses even to use the word “Rohingya,” instead calling them “Bengali” or “Muslim.”Now in Bangladesh and able to organise without being closely monitored by Myanmar’s security forces, the Rohingya have armed themselves with lists of the dead and pictures and video of atrocities recorded on their mobile phones, in a struggle against attempts to erase their history in Myanmar.The Rohingya accuse the Myanmar army of rapes and killings across northern Rakhine, where scores of villages were burnt to the ground and bulldozed after attacks on security forces by Rohingya insurgents. The United Nations has said Myanmar’s military may have committed genocide.Myanmar says what it calls a “clearance operation” in the state was a legitimate response to terrorist attacks.Rohingya Muslim men with their hands bound kneel as members of the Myanmar security forces stand guard in Inn Din village. Photo: ReutersName by nameClad in longyis, traditional Burmese wrap-arounds tied at the waist, and calling themselves the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace & Human Rights, the list makers say they are all too aware of accusations by the Myanmar authorities and some foreigners that Rohingya refugees invent stories of tragedy to win global support.But they insist that when listing the dead they err on the side of under-estimation.Mohib Bullah, who was previously an aid worker, gives as an example the riverside village of Tula Toli in Maungdaw district, where – according to Rohingya who fled – more than 1,000 were killed. “We could only get 750 names, so we went with 750,” he said.“We went family by family, name by name,” he added. “Most information came from the affected family, a few dozen cases came from a neighbour, and a few came from people from other villages when we couldn’t find the relatives.”In their former lives, the Rohingya list makers were aid workers, teachers and religious scholars. Now after escaping to become refugees, they say they are best placed to chronicle the events that took place in northern Rakhine, which is out-of-bounds for foreign media, except on government-organised trips.“Our people are uneducated and some people may be confused during the interviews and investigations,” said Mohammed Rafee, a former administrator in the village of Kyauk Pan Du who has worked on the lists. But taken as a whole, he said, the information collected was “very reliable and credible.”Sprawling projectGetting the full picture is difficult in the teeming dirt lanes of the refugee camps. Crowds of people gather to listen – and add their comments – amid booming calls to prayer from makeshift mosques and deafening downpours of rain. Even something as simple as a date can prompt an argument.What began tentatively in the courtyard of a mosque after Friday prayers one day last November became a sprawling project that drew in dozens of people and lasted months.The project has its flaws. The handwritten lists were compiled by volunteers, photocopied, and passed from person to person. The list makers asked questions in Rohingya about villages whose official names were Burmese, and then recorded the information in English. The result was a jumble of names: for example, there were about 30 different spellings for the village of Tula Toli.Wrapped in newspaper pages and stored on a shelf in the backroom of a clinic, the lists that Reuters reviewed were labeled as beginning in October 2016, the date of a previous exodus of Rohingya from Rakhine. There were also a handful of entries dated 2015 and 2012. And while most of the dates were European-style, with the day first and then the month, some were American-style, the other way around. So it wasn’t possible to be sure if an entry was, say, 9 May or 5 September.Aerial view of a burnt Rohingya village near Maungdaw. Photo: ReutersIt is also unclear how many versions of the lists there are. During interviews with Reuters, Rohingya refugees sometimes produced crumpled, handwritten or photocopied papers from shirt pockets or folds of their longyis.The list makers say they have given summaries of their findings, along with repatriation demands, to most foreign delegations, including those from the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission, who have visited the refugee camps. A legacy for survivorsThe list makers became more organised as weeks of labour rolled into months. They took over three huts and held meetings, bringing in a table, plastic chairs, a laptop and a large banner carrying the group’s name.The MSF survey was carried out to determine how many people might need medical care, so the number of people killed and injured mattered, and the identity of those killed was not the focus. It is nothing like the mini-genealogy with many individual details that was produced by the Rohingya.Mohib Bullah and some of his friends say they drew up the lists as evidence of crimes against humanity they hope will eventually be used by the International Criminal Court, but others simply hope that the endeavour will return them to the homes they lost in Myanmar.“If I stay here a long time my children will wear jeans. I want them to wear longyi. I do not want to lose my traditions. I do not want to lose my culture,” said Mohammed Zubair, one of the list makers. “We made the documents to give to the UN We want justice so we can go back to Myanmar.”Matt Wells, a senior crisis advisor for Amnesty International, said he has seen refugees in some conflict-ridden African countries make similar lists of the dead and arrested but the Rohingya undertaking was more systematic. “I think that’s explained by the fact that basically the entire displaced population is in one confined location,” he said.Wells said he believes the lists will have value for investigators into possible crimes against humanity.“In villages where we’ve documented military attacks in detail, the lists we’ve seen line up with witness testimonies and other information,” he said.Spokespeople at the ICC’s registry and prosecutors’ offices, which are closed for summer recess, did not immediately provide comment in response to phone calls and emails from Reuters.The US State Department also documented alleged atrocities against Rohingya in an investigation that could be used to prosecute Myanmar’s military for crimes against humanity, US officials have told Reuters. For that and the MSF survey only a small number of the refugees were interviewed, according to a person who worked on the State Department survey and based on published MSF methodology.MSF did not respond to requests for comment on the Rohingya lists. The US State Department declined to share details of its survey and said it wouldn’t speculate on how findings from any organization might be used.For Mohammed Suleman, a shopkeeper from Tula Toli, the Rohingya lists are a legacy for his five-year-old daughter. He collapsed, sobbing, as he described how she cries every day for her mother, who was killed along with four other daughters.“One day she will grow up. She may be educated and want to know what happened and when. At that time I may also have died,” he said. “If it is written in a document, and kept safely, she will know what happened to her family.”last_img read more

Dengue claims life of yet another student

first_imgDengue claims another life in ShariatpurA college student has died of dengue fever in Gosairhat, Shariatpur on Sunday.The deceased, Dadon Laskar, 25, from Machhuakhali of Idilpur union in Dadon upazila of the district worked as a hotel manager in Dhaka. He was a student of Gosairhat Government Shamsur Rahman University College.According to his family, Dadon got fever on 15 August while in Dhaka and later he went to his village on 22 August. After getting admitted to the local upazila health complex he was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne fever.Dadon was referred to Shariatpur Sadar Hospital as his condition deteriorated, said Ibrahim Khalil, upazila health complex resident physician. He died on the way to the hospital around 8:30pm.“We’re poor. My son had a job as a hotel manager,” said the grieving father Jamal Hossain Laskar, “We didn’t realise that he may die just from fever.” Laskar came to Shariatpur from Dhaka when he was already affected by dengue, Shariatpur civil surgeon Khalilur Rahman said adding, 381 people were affected by dengue in the district. He claimed that things have improved with the number of patients decreasing.With the latest death, the number of dead from dengue rose to four in the district.Earlier, Barsha Akther, 28, a school teacher from Jajira, Italy immigrant Hafsa Lipy from Bhedorganj and Suraiya Akhter from Damuda also died of the fever.last_img read more

JSW Cement inaugurates railway siding at Salboni for cargo

first_imgKolkata: JSW Cement has inaugurated a railway siding to cater to the incoming and outgoing cargo of its 2.4 MTPA cement manufacturing unit at Salboni in West Bengal. The 6.5 km-long railway siding will connect the manufacturing unit to the main railway line between Godapiasal and Salboni, the company said in a statement today. “In cement business, logistics accounts for 30-35 per cent of the cement cost and to be cost effective, we are continuously working on various levers to reduce this cost. “This railway siding is a step in this direction. Access to markets in the east would be economically feasible,” JSW Cement managing director Parth Jindal said in the statement. The state-of-the-art manufacturing unit produces eco-friendly PSC cement for the eastern markets including West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and northern Orissa.last_img read more

Obama Clinton created ISIS says Donald Trump

first_imgUS President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s policies “created ISIS”, leading Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump has alleged.Trump, while speaking at a campaign stop in Biloxi, Mississippi, offered no evidence for his claim in which he also said that escalating tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia were signs that the Islamic Republic wanted to take over the longtime US ally in the Middle East.“They’ve created ISIS. Hillary Clinton created ISIS with Obama,” Trump said on Saturday. Also Read – Nine hurt in accident at fireworks show in French resortHe couched his remark in a brief discussion of the Iranian protests outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which erupted after Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, including a dissident Shiite cleric.“In Tehran, they’re burning down the Saudi embassy, you see that?” Trump was quoted as saying by CNN. “Now, what that is…Iran wants to take over Saudi Arabia. They always have. They want the oil, OK? They’ve always wanted that.” Trump has blamed both Democrats and former President George W Bush when talking about unrest in the Middle East, particularly citing Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Also Read – Pakistan Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanIn the recent weeks, he has been particularly aggressive in going after Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, and her record leading the State Department.Two of Trump’s 2016 competitors, Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum, said in November that Clinton and Obama were to blame for the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Trump and Clinton have been involved in a war of words in recent weeks. Clinton had slammed Trump’s recent comments about banning Muslim immigrants, saying the Republican front-runner was “becoming ISIS’s best recruiter. He is becoming ISIS’s best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists,” she had said. Trump dismissed Clinton’s assertion that the Islamic State was using his videos as a recruitment tool saying she is “a liar” and “made up” the claim.last_img read more