Students continue peace tradition

first_imgThere is nothing “structurally special” about senior Bridget Flores’ off-campus house, but she knew she wanted to live there since her freshman year. It wasn’t the house itself, but all it represented — community, social justice, intellectual discussion — that attracted Flores to the house located just a few blocks from campus. Flores and three other students live in what is traditionally known as the “Peace House,” which is passed down each year to students who are interested in social justice and international issues, and usually have a supplementary major or minor in peace studies. “Traditionally the house is not like any other college house — at least not any other traditional college house,” Flores said. Flores and her roommates try to bridge the gap between the classroom and students’ social lives, as well as the gap between the Notre Dame and South Bend communities. The most notable way they do this is by inviting professors into their home for Friday dinners and discussion with students. “Everybody that is able to bring something to share to eat [will] and we’ll just eat and talk and hang out,” Flores said. “The professor will give a talk and then students can ask questions.” The dinners are open to anyone who is interested and about 20 to 50 students typically attend, Flores said. Allert Brown-Gort, associate director for the Institute for Latino Studies, gave a talk on immigration issues at the Peace House earlier this year. Brown-Gort had not heard of the Peace House before attending, but said it was nothing like he expected. “I thought it was kind of going to be like a co-op. [I thought,] if that’s the case, it will really be five or six people, we’re going to sit down and eat something and we’ll talk for a little while and someone will take out the guitar … That sort of thing,” he said. “But no, it was packed. There were a lot of people. And it really was a good conversation.” Brown-Gort said the atmosphere was very casual during dinner, with everyone in attendance contributing an item. “They had a couple big pots of stuff, of rice and kind of a curry. And then just about everybody brought stuff,” Brown-Gort, who brought cookies to the dinner, said. While Brown-Gort said it was similar to the classroom in that he facilitated discussion, he said people were more open to sharing opinions and comments regarding immigration. “It’s more of a discussion because no body feels like they’re going to be graded on it,” he said. Since Brown-Gort spoke at the Peace House in September, he has kept in touch with students he met there and had productive discussions. “We’ve been able to get together a few times and I’ve loaned them some books and had some discussions. Just sort of kicked around ideas for papers,” he said. “It’s nice because that relationship can go on.” Not only does the Peace House bring together intellectual and social lives of Notre Dame students, those who live there are also united by a common purpose. Senior David Rivera, another resident of the Peace House, said he and his housemates are involved in different activities, but share a common goal of social justice. “It’s someone with a labor issue, Core Council, Progressive Student Alliance and the more service side of the Center for Social Concerns,” he said. “It’s really bringing together people who are working on these social justice causes under one roof.” The Peace House also tries to give back in simpler ways, such as using as little energy as possible, Flores said. “We do compost. We waited as long as possible to turn on our heat. We bike and walk whenever we can instead of drive,” she said. Rivera said he and his housemates often get pointed out as being an unusual example of off-campus living, but said the Peace House’s initiatives would not be difficult for other students to do as well. “It’s things people can do within their own home,” he said. “It’s very much opening your home to the community and what your passion is about.”last_img read more

Association approves new council constitutions

first_imgSaint Mary’s College Student Government Association (SGA) has moved one step closer toward finalizing its new structure by passing four new council constitutions, Emma Brink, executive secretary, said. “As part of SGA’s new structure, each individual council has created a constitution,” Brink said. This week SGA passed constitutions for the Student Academic Council (SAC), Council of Committee Chairs (CCC), Council of Activities (COA) and Council of Class Boards (CCB). “We are really excited that the four constitutions passed,” Brink said. “The groundwork for SGA’s structure has been established and is almost complete.” Silvia Cuevas, mission commissioner, said passing the constitutions is significant for underclassmen, especially juniors. “Passing the constitutions is significant for the SGA juniors because we have the opportunity to implement these changes as seniors,” Cuevas said. “We look forward to working with the new structure and new council and committee members.” According to the SAC constitution, the purpose of the Council is “to foster the academics at Saint Mary’s College through collaboration of academic departments.” Brink said SAC will fulfill its purpose by raising awareness of each major of study among Saint Mary’s students. SAC will also be a liaison between faculty and students, she said.   According to the CCC constitution, the purpose of the Council is “to identify concerns and issues of all Saint Mary’s students through the implementation of various committees.” The CCC will also address important areas of student life and act in the interest of the student body, Brink said.   The purpose of the COA is “to coordinate the programming for the campus community to meet the needs of the entire student body,” according to the Council’s constitution. The COA will ensure that every board properly fulfills its role and duty to the College, Brink said. The CCB’s constitution’s purpose is “to promote class activities and create any class conscious legislation or proposals.” Brink said the CCB will maintain communication between the four class boards and encourage those members and executives to fulfill its goals. SGA concluded the weekly meeting by announcing that the “Proud Past, Promising Future” leadership series will occur Feb. 27 in Carroll Auditorium. The series will feature a motivational speaker, Chad Gaines, who will discuss how to develop and transform young leaders.last_img read more

19 Gardeners and mosquitoes

first_imgBy Elmer GrayUniversity of Georgia Volume XXXIIINumber 1Page 19 One of the few good things that happened as a result of the recent drought was the suppression of many mosquito populations. Unfortunately, when the rains return, so will many of these pests. Mosquitoes transmit several serious diseases in Georgia, including Eastern equine encephalitis, LaCrosse encephalitis and West Nile virus. All of these diseases can produce encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain, and are extremely serious when a full-blown case occurs. At last count, there were 47 cases of West Nile Virus in Georgia in 2007.Because there are 62 species of mosquitoes in Georgia, different areas of the state may be infected by different species. Gardeners working in rural or coastal areas are often bothered by a wide variety of native mosquito species. The daytime black-and-white-striped Asian Tiger mosquito often bites gardeners in suburban and inland areas. This mosquito prefers to develop in containers or any manmade item that holds water. It doesn’t typically fly more than 300 feet. The number of mosquitoes in Georgia isn’t the only problem. Peak gardening time – dawn and dusk – is also when mosquito activity is the heaviest. As a result, gardeners often have to deal with mosquitoes while enjoying their hobby after work or before it gets too hot in the morning. One of the most common recommendations is to avoid periods of peak activity, but this can be hard to follow. The most effective technique for preventing mosquito bites is the proper use of insect repellents. Products containing DEET, the longtime standard, are still an excellent choice. Typically, concentrations from 10 percent to 30 percent will protect gardeners for the few hours they are active. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Academy of Pediatrics also approved these strengths for children over two months old.Other repellents approved by the USDA for prevention of mosquito bites are oil of lemon eucalyptus and picaridin. Neither of these products are approved for use on children under the age of three. Products containing DEET are still the best choice for young children. When treating children, an adult should apply the repellent to his or her hands first and then rub the repellent onto the child’s exposed skin. It is extremely important to cover all exposed skin with repellent. Mosquitoes are very adept at locating untreated areas.last_img read more

Daily Dirt: Outdoor News for March 26, 2013

first_imgDelaware Finally Does ItIt’s hard not to feel bad for Delaware, especially with all the activity at the Supreme Court of equality this week. Poor little Delaware, the redheaded stepchild of America; the forgotten first state of this great nation, the disenfranchised native son, the only state in the union without a National Park Service presence…until now. On Monday, President Obama designated 1,100 acres of land between Wilmington and Philadelphia the First State National Monument, finally welcoming all 50 states into the National Park family. This will provide additional funding along with guaranteeing the land for future generations. During the same ceremony, President Obama also declared the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument on Maryland’s eastern shore, giving the mid-Atlantic a double whammy of national monuments to celebrate. So go ahead, celebrate Delaware. You deserve it.Slow news day around here so we’ll let Delaware soak up some glory.Here are some links to interesting, albiet slightly off topic, stories: The future of battery technology, and energy in general, could sprout from a lab accident. Typical. via slate.comProfile of the Man Who Changed Fly Fishing Forever, Tibor “Ted” Juracsik. via Garden and GunGeorge Lowe, final member of the first Everest Expedition dies. Not on summit team, but vital member. via OutsideStanding up for skiing, and ski bums. via SAMHurricane Sandy, rebuilding, and why we yearn to live where nature doesn’t want us. via Daily Beastlast_img read more

My Top 10 Festival Essentials

first_imgFestival season has finally arrived.In June I saw The Wood Brothers at Mountain Music Festival in the New River Gorge. This month so far I was able to see Pokey LaFarge, Trampled By Turtles, The Devil Makes Three, and a host of other amazing artists at this past weekend’s Red Wing Roots Festival. While I don’t necessarily consider myself a diehard festival-goer like a Deadhead or anything, I’m not above waiting a couple hours before a show to make sure I’m front and center for my favorite artists’ performance.That’s why it’s important to me to be prepared.I know. It sounds silly. Prepare for what? Awesome music blasting my face off? What am I, a Boy Scout?But seriously, a little preparation can go a long way when you’ve found yourself stranded at a festival for 5 days with a slimming wallet, a wet sleeping bag, dirty feet, and a classic case of dehydration.With Floyd Fest right around the corner, I’m already in fan-girl-plan mode, strategically considering the weather, my tolerance for dirt, and which days I’m going to need to stay up late to catch the headliner. The following 10 items I’ve determined are my festival-must-haves, the essentials that keep the vibe groovy, help me stay sane, and don’t drain my bank account.festival_essentials1) Deuter Futura 20At 20L, this do-anything pack is perfect for festivals. Say the weather looks questionable and I’m getting ready to post up in front of the stage for the next two hours to be an arm’s-length away from Ray Lamontagne during his Floyd Fest set (which, will likely be happening). I need enough space in a pack to cram a rain shell, a hydration reservoir, my camera, and some snacks. What’s more, I need that space without the pack being stuffed-to-the-brim or too-bulky-to-rage.I like to dance my hiney off at concerts. We all know what it’s like to be behind “that guy/girl” who gets too wasted too early in the day and needs a buffer zone for their flailing limbs. Now imagine how much more obnoxious that scenario would be with a giant pack waving around too. While live music, and not so much the alcohol, is what typically sets me a-scootin’, I’m what you might call an “expressive dancer.” Picture Elaine from Seinfeld with just a touch more grace. A pack with a streamlined design and a roomy interior isn’t just convenient for me: it’s a necessity.2) Freewaters SierraGood, durable, comfortable flops are a must. If you’re not used to standing all day at your job, then 3-5 days of non-stop standing, dancing, walking…it’s bound to get exhausting and probably painful for either your feet or your lower back. Check out these flip flops from Freewaters, which feature a footbed designed by Therm-a-Rest. These babies not only look good; they feel good, support your arches, and keep your feet cool.3) IceMule Pro Cooler 20LLet’s face it – eating every meal from the festival food vendors not only gets boring but gets freakin’ PRICEY. I don’t have $9 to spend on a burrito I can inhale and still feel hungry. Sorry. My solution? Pack everything I normally eat – eggs, veggies, almond milk, etc. – and throw it in my IceMule. A friend of mine started putting a small chunk of dry ice (available at many grocery stores) in his cooler which is a genius idea that I’d wish I’d thought of. It almost works too well and generally keeps things pretty solidly frozen for at least three days, but a 10lb bag of ice works just as well for keeping perishables cold.This soft-shell cooler is better than its hard-top cousin because a) it has backpack straps, b) it fits into packed cars better, and c) it doesn’t have crappy plastic handles that break right when you need them most.4) Eddie Bauer Adventurer Convertible ShirtSunburn puts a wrap on anybody’s day, especially when it’s a bad one. A sunburn early on in your festival experience will only get worse and will likely cause you to, dare I say it, LEAVE BEFORE THE SHOW’S OVER. For shame. Don’t pretend you’re tanner than you are, or that you “just need to get that base burn.” There’s no such thing. Trust me. I’m a ginger. Own your pasty skin and invest in some sun coverage (these days, sunscreen is just as likely to give you cancer as sun rays are, right?). This lightweight shirt from Eddie Bauer (I have the silver color) is great for long days out in the sun. I wear it equally as much on the river paddling as I do in town grabbing a drink with friends. It dries quickly and saves your skin with built-in FreeShade™ UPF 50+ sun protection. Whether it’s blazing hot or kinda stormy, this shirt will keep you cool and comfortable all day.5) Road ShowerThe days of baby wipes are over! I never thought a product like Road Shower existed but now, it’s hard to imagine what my life was like without it. Perfect for posting up at festivals for a few days of car camping, this 5-gallon, hard-shell reservoir is painted matte black which lets the water inside get warm from the sun’s rays. A bike pump attachment at the end lets you pressurize your shower, so at the end of the day you can rinse the sweaty grime off and give your muddy feet some love.6) CamelBak Chute 1LSometimes, I don’t want to lug around an entire hydration reservoir filled to max-capacity. That’s a lot of weight, and what if I drink all that water and then have to pee in the middle of the Carolina Chocolate Drops set? That doesn’t sound very fun. Instead, I try to drink one of these at a time. The small mouth opening also helps me get more water where it belongs and not down the front of my shirt.7) Little Sugar Naturals Lemony CricketI stopped using DEET products years ago, but I’ve gotta admit, it’s been hard to find an effective all-natural alternative. That’s why when I stumbled across Little Sugar Naturals’ products at the Charlottesville City Market a few weeks ago, I was a little suspicious at first. Coconut, citronella, lavender, lemongrass…this sounds more like my mom’s perfume. I bought it anyway and at $15, it’s probably been my best investment yet. Even at the buggiest of campgrounds, I always walk away unscathed. What’s more? It smells way better than traditional bug sprays, and I’ve actually replaced it as my lotion for the summertime because of its coconut oil base.8) ENO TwilightsGreat for when you’re hanging around camp and you don’t want to waste your headlamp’s batteries (or continually annoy people by blinding them every time you look their way). These lights look cool, hang anywhere, pack down small, and run an unbelievably long time off only three AAA batteries (I’ve put well over 30 hours on the current set and they’re still going strong).9) Alite Mantis ChairFor when you need to give your dogs a rest, check out this super compact and portable chair option. The frame, made from lightweight aluminum, breaks down much like a tent pole does and is easy to set up. The entire chair can fit easily into your pack, making it awesome for when you want to take a break in between sets.10) Threshold Provisions BarA Blue Ridge-made alternative to other energy bars, Threshold Provisions makes some seriously tasty bars out of their base in Asheville, N.C. A non-GMO bar that has no added sugar and is gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free, these things are only made with a handful of ingredients but pack upwards of 230 calories per bar. At festivals, it’s especially hard for me to get motivated to eat breakfast in the morning, but a cup of coffee and the Mango Mate bar is enough to get me amped for the day ahead.last_img read more

Trail Mix – February 2017

first_img Better Than New Kyle Alden 2:25 Another Season Again The Sadies Write Your Name Down Beth Snapp 3:30 3:49 3:58 4:27 Everything James Raftery 3:42 I Got Your Medicine Shinyribs 1:20 5:29 Beast Caroline Reese & the Drifting Fifth 3:37 3:03 3:11 3:49 3:33 Red Lights The Travling Ones 2:36 Soft Picasso Vic Chesnutt Audio PlayerThe SadiesAnother Season AgainUse Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.00:000:00 / 2:25 Jump Cricket Jump April Verch D To E Blues Otis Taylor 4:47 Jackpot Nikki Lane In The Shadow of The Tower of Babel Kory Quinn Be Here Now Annabelle’s Curse 3:20 Ghost Story Joseph King and the Mad Crush 4:10 Long Old Time Scott H. Biram 5:40 The title of Nicki Lane’s new record, Highway Queen, is apropos. From an early age, Lane learned the meaning of hard work and grit, watching her dad lay blacktop while perched on the seat of the asphalt roller. Her dad, who had a penchant for singing country songs, arguably sent her down the sonic highway she now travels. Lane, a South Carolina native now living in Nashville, has earned the reputation of being one of the strongest outlaw country songwriters – male or female – in Music City.Trail Mix is excited to feature “Jackpot,” a brand new track from Highway Queen, this month.Returning to Trail Mix is Otis Taylor, a banjo playing blues master whose music is rich with social commentary. To listen to Taylor is to delve deep into American history, particularly into the nooks and crannies that many folks would rather remain out of sight and mind. Fantasizing About Being Black, Taylor’s new record, continues his legacy of powerful insight into contemporary America.Three tracks that are particularly exciting on this month’s mix are the offerings from Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge, Annabelle’s Curse, and The Sadies. Completely disparate, the tracks represent guitar duo mastery, acoustic driven indie folk, and electrified alt-country. Each track is incredible, and Trail Mix is happy to share all with you.Rounding out the mix are new cuts from The Traveling Ones, Bell The Band, Southern Avenue, Caroline Reese & The Drifting Fifth, Kory Quinn, Shinyribs, Curtis McMurtry, Scott Biram, James Raftery, Kyle Alden, and Joseph King & The Mad Crush.Great stuff is going to be happening on the Trail Mix blog this month, too. Keep your eyes peeled for chats with Lowland Hum, April Verch, Beth Snapp, and Charles Fontaine, longtime friend, fan, collector, and archivist for Vic Chesnutt, who will be discussing the year long venture at New West Records to release all of Chesnutt’s recordings on vinyl.So much great music this month. So many great artists. Please get out there and support these good folks who are sharing their music with you via Trail Mix. Buy a concert ticket. Grab an album. Simply spread the good word. The music is too good not to.You can grab the February edition of Trail Mix  by clicking here!!Photo by Jessica Lehrman. Embed Bone Collector Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge My Little Town Bell The Band 6:22 Thin Places Lowland Hum 3:27 Peace Will Come Southern Avenue Copy and paste this code to your site to embed. Hard Blue Stones Curtis Mcmurtrylast_img read more

As Fraudulent Election Nears, Maduro Cracks Down On Journalists

first_imgBy Noelani Kirschner/ShareAmerica December 02, 2020 Ahead of the unconstitutional and fraudulent December 6 parliamentary elections in Venezuela, the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro is cracking down on journalists.The Venezuelan constitution protects freedom of expression, forbids censorship, and guarantees access to information.However, Venezuela has fallen 31 places since 2014 in the World Press Freedom Index — ranking 147 out of 180 countries — thanks to Maduro’s attacks on journalists and their publications.“Elections cannot be free/fair under such a regime,” said the U.S. Department of State’s Michael Kozak. “The world must hold Maduro accountable.”The illegitimate Maduro regime forcibly disappeared Roland Carreño, a journalist and opposition party activist. According to media reports, neighbors were the last to see Carreño in person on the morning of October 26. They watched as unmarked vehicles approached the journalist and forced him inside a car.Carreño was detained for 48 hours before the regime announced he was imprisoned.Tarek Saab, the regime’s chief prosecutor, said that Carreño was detained for “participation in conspirative plans against the democratic peace,” according to media reports. Saab has been sanctioned by many governments, including the United States and members of the European Union, for undermining democracy.Legitimate Interim President Juan Guaidó denounced the forced disappearance of Carreño and others like him. “We alert the world to their forced disappearance and hold the dictatorship responsible for their physical and mental integrity,” he said.Six days before Carreño’s disappearance, Maduro’s intelligence service, SEBIN, raided the headquarters of independent newspaper Correo del Caroní in Puerto Ordaz. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), SEBIN confiscated a computer and documents and barred the newspaper’s lawyer from entering the premises.The judge’s order authorizing the raid did not allege any crimes on the part of the newspaper.After the raid, SEBIN took journalist María Ramírez Cabello and administrative employee Susana Reyes into custody, reports the CPJ. SEBIN detained and questioned them for six hours without a lawyer present before releasing them.SEBIN later returned the confiscated documents but not the computer.On October 12, SEBIN raided the home of David Natera Febres, the founder and director of Correo del Caroní. SEBIN took Natera Febres, who is 80 and suffers from health problems, and detained and interrogated him for over four hours about the newspaper’s alleged connection to his son, a member of Guaidó’s interim government. Natera Febres was also not allowed to have a lawyer present.Natera Febres was released later that night without charges.National Assembly member María Concepción Mulino says these illegal actions are part of over 700 documented cases of attacks against journalists and their publications since the start of the year. As of November 18, there were 365 political prisoners who remained jailed.“With less than two months to go until the fraudulent parliamentary elections rejected by the international community, the usurper is not satisfied with the [lack] of legitimate electoral conditions,” Concepción Mulino said, “but also intensifies the attack on the media … [to hide] the chaos [and] the corruption in which this tyranny has plunged Venezuela.”last_img read more

Important to obtain breast cancer screening

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Cancer Services Program (CSP) of Fulton, Montgomery and Schenectady counties would like to take this opportunity to remind your readers about the importance of getting screened for breast cancer. With regular screening, breast cancer is more likely to be detected at an earlier stage when treatment may be most successful. Simply stated, early detection can save lives, and regular screening is the key to early detection.The United States Preventive Task Force Services recommends women ages 50 to 74 years who are at average risk for breast cancer be screened with a mammogram every two years. However, according to data from the New York State Department of Health, there are populations of women who are less likely to have received a mammogram as recommended. These women are the uninsured and those without a regular health care provider.The CSP provides life-saving mammograms to eligible women without health insurance and can help them find a health care provider that they can see regularly. Since our program began, we have helped 2,500 women get screened for cancer in this region. Our program can also help enroll eligible women in the New York State Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program to receive treatment if cancer is found.About one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifeThat means that one out of every eight of The Gazette’s female readers could be at risk for breast cancer. These women are wives, mothers, sisters and friends who are loved, needed, and whose lives matter.We help eligible, uninsured women get free mammograms, and we are here to encourage every woman to get their mammogram.If any woman needs help, call the CSP of Fulton, Montgomery and Schenectady Counties at 518-841-3726.Suzanne HagadornAmsterdamMore from The Daily Gazette:Three seniors who started as seventh-graders providing veteran experience for Amsterdam golfEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Residents left out of sewer system

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionTwenty years ago, I was the Democratic chairman of the town of Rotterdam. I asked the supervisor to look into the sewer problems within the town. The percolation tests in Coldbook Estates were getting poor results for water quality.Now the state Department of Transportation is redoing Hamburg Street. Along with this, they are putting in sewer lines. The sewer main from Curry Road is being hooked up to Hamburg Street to the NY Central Railroad tracks, then turning left to be hooked up with the Altamont Avenue line. They are drilling a small line under the tracks to hook up at the city line.However, someone has made a decision to form a sewer district only on the town side of the Hamburg Street bridge. They have discriminated against the owners of about 15 to 20 private homes and businesses on the city side of the bridge by not allowing them to hook up to the sewer system. I have waited years for this system, but I am not allowed to hook up.Did the town or the state discriminate against these residents?John WardRotterdamMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationRotterdam convenience store operator feels results of having Stewart’s as new neighborCar hits garage in Rotterdam Sunday morning; Garage, car burnEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

Saudi Arabia to host world’s richest horse race

first_imgSaudi Dana al-Gosaibi trains a horse on March 1, 2017, in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. – The 35-year-old Saudi horse trainer dreams of opening her own stables to focus on “a more gentle” way of training horses than the standard approach in the male-dominated kingdom. (AFP/Amer HILABI)Reputation revamp Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s sports push is designed to lure international tourists and boost domestic spending as the OPEC kingpin seeks to diversify its oil-reliant economy.The kingdom also hosted the Dakar Rally, one of motor racing’s most grueling adventure rallies, earlier this year as well as the Italian and Spanish super cup finals last year — with the added attraction of football superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.Activists accuse Saudi rulers of “sportswashing” — using such events as a tool to soften their international image.And in a country where two-thirds of the population is under 30, critics say the sporting drive is aimed at blunting public frustration over an economic downturn and soaring youth unemployment.While Saudi women now have the right to drive, campaigners say jailed activists who spearheaded the push for a ban on the long-standing restriction have faced sexual harassment and torture in detention. The brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018, the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen and a sweeping crackdown on dissent have also dented the kingdom’s reputation.”The amount of money spent on those events is… an investment in Saudi Arabia’s PR campaign to improve its image that was tarnished by a number of policy missteps,” said Yasmine Farouk, a Middle East expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  Saudi Arabia this week hosts the world’s richest horse race, with $20 million in cash prizes on offer in the latest international sports extravaganza designed to boost its battered global image.The ultra-conservative kingdom has in recent years invested heavily in sporting events, in a soft power push designed to project a more moderate image and jettison a reputation for rights abuses and the export of hardline ideology.The Saudi Cup, expected to attract about 10,000 spectators, takes place at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack on February 29 with the main race run over 1,800m on a dirt track with a maximum field of 14.  Jockeys compete at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in the capital Riyadh on November 11, 2016. – The modern facility surrounded by greenery on the edge of Riyadh offers respite from the highways and urban sprawl of a city carved out of the desert. Horse racing is one of the few diversions in Saudi Arabia, where alcohol, public cinemas and theatres are banned. (AFP/FAYEZ NURELDINE)Glitzy rivalsThe Saudi Cup is set to take place in between its two predecessors as the world’s richest race — the Pegasus World Cup in the United States and the Dubai World Cup which are scheduled one month either side.The Pegasus World Cup was the richest in the world in 2018 worth $16 million surpassing the $12 million Dubai World Cup, but it was only worth $9 million this year.The big name jockeys at the Saudi Cup include Italian legend Frankie Dettori and Britain’s Ryan Moore.The Racing Post said that Nicola Currie is one of seven international female jockeys who will make history by becoming the first women to ride in a competitive race in Saudi Arabia.Currie and her fellow female riders are to compete on Friday in a  four race points-based challenge with seven male riders led by Dettori.”We’re delighted to welcome some of the best jockeys in the business to compete,” the Post quoted Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal, chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, as saying.”Racing routinely sees male and female riders compete on a level playing field and we are proud to continue this great tradition at King Abdulaziz Racecourse during Saudi Cup weekend.”The Saudi Cup field is weighed more towards the United States entrants, who race on dirt more often than European racehorses.A top contender is McKinzie, which was runner-up in the prestigious Breeder’s Cup Classic last year, and trained by Bob Baffert who has an excellent record in the Dubai World Cup with three victories in total.Another American runner Maximum Security won the Kentucky Derby last year but was then disqualified and has not shown much since. The winner will walk away with $10 million, second place with $3.5 million and even the 10th place finisher will go away with something. The Saudi Cup includes another seven races on dirt and turf with prizes worth $9.2 million up for grabs.”We are taking the first steps on a journey to bring the domestic racing product on a par with our international counterparts,” said Tom Ryan, director of strategy and international racing at the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia.The event will “increase the sport’s following inside Saudi Arabia, as well as opening up the industry to international horses and connections to make our mark on global racing,” he said.center_img Saudi journalist Mugbel al-Zabni, who writes for Arriyadiyah sports daily, said the event plays to Saudi culture, in a kingdom where the horse is considered a symbol of its heritage.  Topics :last_img read more