The Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) said Barbudans will be allowed to cast their ballots in the March 21 general election on Antigua after the High Court ruled it was premature to challenge the electoral process regarding where constituents of Barbuda should vote.The leader of the Barbuda People’s Movement, Trevor Walker, had asked the High Court to prevent the ABEC from having the people of Barbuda cast their ballots on the island of Antigua.Barbuda was severely affected when Hurricane Irma passed through the Lesser Antilles last September, forcing the government to order a total evacuation of the island. But since then many of the 1,600 Barbudans have returned to their homes.But Walker, who filed the application, said, “We are asking the court for an interim injunction to prevent the Electoral Commission [from] allowing Barbudans to vote in Antigua.”But Justice Clare Henry ruled that the matter can only proceed by way of an election petition.In her ruling the judge said, “There was no claim properly before the court to grant an injunction, therefore the request has failed”. She added that the claim displays no cause of action.ABEC chairman Nathaniel “Paddy” James said the Commission “has the best interest of Barbudans at heart.”He said that discussions will continue with officials from the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) to discuss the transportation to Barbudans to Antigua.Tabor said that a petition will be filed after the election for the constituency of Barbuda, but only on one condition.“The plan is, if Mr. Trevor Walker loses on election day, then, of course, we will file an election petition to challenge the results because our position is, an election cannot be conducted outside of a constituency and that is a fundamental issue that the court will eventually have to pronounce on,” he said.In the last general election in 2014, the Antigua and Barbuda Labor Party (ALP) won 14 of the 17 seats with the remainder going to the United Progressive Party (UPP).
The arrival of The Conversation Africa website allows journalists in newsrooms and researchers and academics in universities to join forces for ground-breaking work. Articles on the site are also allowed to be republished elsewhere, so the information reaches more readers. The editorial team cheer as The Conversation Africa website goes live after months of planning and hard work. (Image: Supplied)• Oxford and UCT: oldest universities working together for new solutions • The South African who dresses the walkers • Spelling Bee aims to improve literacy• Social enterprises set up to change lives• Shuttleworth’s Ubuntu smartphone is a leap ahead Priya Pitamber Journalists and academics are combining their forces to produce magic, said editor Caroline Southey after the introduction of The Conversation Africa news site in South Africa in early May. Content on the site comes from the “deep knowledge of academics and researchers” which is mixed “with the journalistic skills of editing and having a nose for a story”.Co-founder and editor-in-chief Andrew Jaspan explained that there was a huge difference between journalists and academics. “Journalists tend to want to tell you the bad news so bad weather outcomes – there is another flood, another hurricane – whereas the academic will try [to] understand those and give you some real context for changes in climate and also offer potential solutions.”Jaspan wanted to find a new way for the two to work together, and to be able to mend the relationship of mistrust that had brewed between those in the newsroom and those in the university. “My quest was to find a new way for academics and journalists to work together where we still try to understand complexity but try to offer something more,” he said.“And by offering something more, what we wanted to do was put better integrity of information out there so that all of you can have better public conversations.”The Conversation was set up in Australia in 2011, followed by the United Kingdom in 2013, and the US in 2014. The Africa version is its latest offering.Africa’s turnSouthey first heard of the site in late 2013 and thought it would be a good idea to have it on the continent because she felt academics were doing game-changing research. The site would be a perfect vehicle to share that knowledge with a wider audience. She approached two vice-chancellors, Saleem Badat, who was at Rhodes University at the time, and Adam Habib at the University of the Witwatersrand. Both men showed a lot of support and Southey began looking for a way to fund the project.“The National Research Foundation came on board and then others started to show interest,” she explained. “Alexandra Storey, the general manager of The Conversation Africa, and I worked on the project from June last year and by December we had raised enough money to put a team of editors together.”We’re live! Please come for a visit! Join The Conversation, Africa. https://t.co/5HibdVaoC0 pic.twitter.com/lxtgShz0lR— TC Africa (@TC_Africa) May 7, 2015More of the same, with a twistThe difference between the Africa site and the others was that “we are commissioning our own stories from academics about issues affecting Africa”, Southey said. The Conversation Africa will still maintain the high quality of copy on the other versions of the site, and has also learned much from them. “The biggest lesson we have learned from the other sites is that it is possible to produce fantastic explanatory journalism.“We are also emulating the way they have made sure their stories are read by a diverse set of readers,” Southey explained. “We are doing this through active engagement with media houses and an intensive social media strategy, which is being run by Tanya Pampalone.”Content on The Conversation Africa can be republished, within guidelines, on other websites and in print media. Southey called it an incredible feature because it helped to reach a wide reader base. “Republishing of material on other sites has meant that The Conversation is reaching 22 million readers a month.”Media outlets: steal our articles! No. Really. Steal them. Here’s how: https://t.co/bMinymbtlT— TC Africa (@TC_Africa) May 7, 2015Interest in stories it had published had been overwhelming, she added. “We have been going for only a week and already our stories are being republished by online sites and by newspapers.” But the biggest challenge is creating and growing the countrywide network of academics, and having a regular flow of information and articles.The groundwork“Our job as journalists is to use our skills to make the stories from academics interesting and appealing.” This was done by trying to find the most interesting angle from university research and editing it so that it was easy for the user to read.“I am confident we can do this because we have a fantastic team of editors – Jabulani Sikhakhane, Thabo Leshilo, Natasha Joseph, Candice Bailey, Ozayr Patel and Edwin Naidu.”In the next five years, she would like to see editorial teams in East and West Africa to get readers from across the continent. “And I hope that we have succeeded in putting game-changing research and ideas and knowledge into the public domain.”Thumbs upReaders, academics, editors and journalists have welcomed The Conversation Africa into the fold.“Well done Caroline and team on getting The Conversation Africa off the ground,” Craig Blewett, the senior lecturer in education and technology at University of KwaZulu-Natal, wrote on the website. “This is going to be an amazing channel for academics to finally have a voice where it counts, outside of the ‘dusty’, unread journals where they normally share ideas (with each other). I’m looking forward to many well-reasoned, well-written, topical articles – let Africa’s conversation begin!”@TC_Africa @carolinesouthey wonderful to see the site live, and fizzing— Nicholas Dawes (@NicDawes) May 8, 2015@TC_AfricaGreat new entrant into SA’s intelligent content arena, The Conversation. http://t.co/zdEBLaas2c @TC_Africa (feat. @tanyapampalone)— Chris Roper (@ChrisRoper) May 7, 2015“Congratulations on the successful launch,” wrote Peter Ellerton, a lecturer in critical thinking at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. “This is a wonderful way for academics to become engaged in real time on topical issues with serious traction. Well done Caroline and the team.”
The Tourism Ministry has approached the Union Home Ministry to ease travel restrictions in some States in the Northeast to promote tourism. States such as Sikkim, which do not have such restrictions, have been witnessing a steady flow of foreign and domestic travellers.“Yes, we are in talks with the Home Ministry and suggesting that restrictions in some States of the Northeast be eased. We are spending a lot to develop tourism prospects in the region,” Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma said in Agartala on Friday.Ms. Verma was here to attend the three-day-long 7th International Tourism Mart which got under way in Agartala on Thursday with over a hundred domestic and international delegates and tour operators participating. Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons, Tripura Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb graced the inaugural session.The Tripura government is the co-sponsor of the seventh edition of the tourism mart, an annual event held in one of the State capitals of the region to highlight and promote the tourism potential of the Northeast in domestic and international markets, officials said. Tripura’s capital has been chosen as the venue for the mega event for the first time.Promotion schemesMs. Verma said the Tourism Ministry is spending more than 10% of the funds earmarked for the region on tourism infrastructure and comprehensive promotion schemes.She cited the case of Sikkim as a case in point. Free from regulations such as the Restricted Area Permit, the Himalayan State notched up 13 lakh domestic and international tourists last year alone, said Ms. Verma.
File photo of CGF CEO Mike Hooper talking on the phone at the Games Village in New Delhi. PTI Photo Commonwealth Games Federation boss Mike Fennell might talk about sharing the blame for poor preparations of the Delhi mega-event but its CEO Mike Hooper says the CGF cannot be held responsible for the Organising Committee’s failure to meet deadlines.”I take responsibility for my areas of responsibility, and that has been working very hard with the organising committee to get things done. Now, at the end of the day, I’m not a construction engineer. I’m not a builder,” Hooper told ‘TVNZ’.Hooper said the developers of the venues did not hand them over to the OC on time and this has led to the current crisis.CLICK HERE FOR MOREHow showpiece turned shocker CWG: Army to bridge the gap Village filth that raised a global stinkFrom Village to Nehru stadium in 7 min flat”We’re at the hands and the mercy of, effectively, the government of India, the Delhi government, the agencies responsible for delivery of the venues. They consistently failed to meet deadlines,” he said.”Now, we were very active, very strong in pushing for this to be done. The actual venues were not handed over effectively – and I say handed over from the point of view of getting venue-completion certificates and occupancy certificates,” he added.Hooper said the organisers did not act despite repeated reminders by the CGF.”…the very frustrating thing is we have consistently spoken out loudly and clearly, consistent in our reporting: ‘Get these things done. Get these venues delivered. Focus on the operational delivery of the Games.’advertisement”And unfortunately, we are where we are. Now, we can all do these post-mortems later, Paul. The reality is right now we need to focus on getting as much as we can done. It is unfortunate that we had to go as public as we did yet again,” he added.On Saturday, Fennell had stated that the CGF shared the blame for Delhi’s under-preparedness.Malaysian sprinter Siti Zubaidah pulls out of CWGThe growing list of athletes pulling out of the Commonwealth Games got longer on Sunday with Malaysian sprinter Siti Zubaidah Adabi withdrawing from the crisis-hit event citing poor form.The 24-year-old Siti became the first Malaysian athlete to pull out of the October 3-14 mega-event after failing to clock a good timing in the Armed Force meet in Ipoh last weekend.Siti was supposed to compete under Category B in the Games after she failed to beat the qualifying mark of 11.40 seconds, which is the sixth placing mark of the 2006 Melbourne Games.She, however, was selected to compete in the Delhi Games under Category B for clocking a personal best of 11.81 in the 100m at the Asian Grand Prix in Pune, India in June.”She could not not clock a good time in the Armed Force meet because she had just recovered from a right heel injury,” National chief coach Harun Rasheed was quoted as saying in the ‘Star Online’.Considering her poor form, Siti, who finished a disappointing fourth in the women’s 100m final in the Armed Forces meet, was advised to skip the Games to focus on the Asian Games in November by coach Harun.”Siti is the member of the 4x100m relay team who have qualified on merit for the Asian Games,” said Harun.Disappointed to miss the Games, Siti said she would look to put up a good performance in the Asian Games.”I was looking forward to my debut in the Games but it was just unlucky that I injured my heel and could not train for few weeks.”Despite recovering from the injury, I failed to impress coach Harun in the Armed Forces meet and he advise me to skip the Games in New Delhi,” said Siti in Kuala Lumpur, adding that she would continue her training to make her debut in the Asian Games.I am satisfied and excited about CWG, says Suresh KalmadiUnder attack from all quarters but defiant nonetheless, Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi on Sunday said his enthusiasm for the event remains intact and he can’t wait for it to get started come October 3.”I am a satisfied man. I am excited about the Games and can’t wait for it to start rolling,” Kalmadi told PTI in New Delhi as he took a tour of the Village to oversee the last-minute work going on in the campus spread over 63.5 hectares.advertisementAsked about the negative publicity that the Village got after foreign delegates complained about lack of hygiene and cleanliness, he said, “My job is to deliver the Games. The construction of venues was not done by me. I only wish if they were handed over to us much earlier and then we could have finished the overlaying works by now.””Look at the training area and great swimming pool. It took years to get all things done but I am satisfied with the way things have come about.”Showing off the eight-lane 400-metre synthetic running track in the Village, Kalmadi said, “I have aimed to give the best facilities to the athletes. The Games will be a great affair.”Asked about the last minute cleaning process that is going on at the residential towers in the Village, he said, “it will be completed soon. As far as water logging in some areas is concerned, it was because of the rains. Now that the sun has come out, water has receded and the rest has been pumped out.”Heli-borne assualt teams will protect athletes during CWGHeli-borne assault teams and commando hit teams will give protection to athletes while participating in marathon, walkathon and cycling events of Commonwealth Games.Elaborate security measures and traffic arrangements have been made for the road events which will take place on four days — October 9, 10, 13 and 14 — in and around Parliament Street and Noida.”All buildings on the routes where these events take place have been secured and sanitised. The telephone boxes and electric boxes have also been sanitised,” a senior police official said in New Delhi.Besides Quick Reaction Teams, the official said, Commando hit teams and heli-borne assault teams will also give security to those athletes participating in the road events.Many of the routes were the events take place has already been barricaded, he said. Police vehicles have also started taking rounds of these routes to ensure that no “mischief” is done.The trial event for cycling was held last month which provided a helping hand to security agencies in fine-tuning its strategy, the official said.The walkathon is scheduled on October nine while the Marathon is on October 14, the final day of the mega sporting event. Both these events will be held in and around Parliament Street.The cycling event is scheduled on October 10 and 13 and will be held also be here and Noida, the official said.All these events will start at 6:30 am.Traffic on the routes will be restricted during the event, the official said.”No traffic will be allowed to use the route of road events from the night before. Cross traffic on this route will not be allowed from 5.00 am on the day of the event till its completion,” the official said.With inputs from PTI
Miami Dolphins’ Running Back and Smile Train Ambassador, Kenyan Drake recently hosted an event in Long Island on June 2 at Caumsett State Park to raise awareness and funds for Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity.Kenyan Drake attends Smile Train’s Second Annual Family Fun DayDuring the event, Kenyan led the warm-up and stretch activity, followed by a 2.4 mile walk (on a paved loop) with Smile Train’s supporters.Donations from the event are still coming in, but so far, the event has raised more than $20,000, which is enough to help 80 children receive 100%-free cleft repair surgery. This surgery will drastically improve these children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, and speak over time. For more information about how Smile Train’s sustainable approach, please visit smiletrain.org.