Category: pdqacc

Celebrating 30 days to World Cup

first_imgMEDIA CONTACTSMargaret DingaloDirector: Stakeholder RelationsBrand South Africa+27 11 483 0122The Bree Street Taxi Rank, Noord Street Taxi Rank, Gandhi Square, Jabulani Mall and Maponya Mall in Johannesburg are the places to be on 11 May to join Brand South Africa’s celebrations of 30 days to kickoff of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.Download the press releaseA day-long procession through the city will be led by the People’s Bus and will include a Joburg Tourism rig, Harley Davidson bikers and the Metro Police. Starting at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, the procession will make its way to Maponya Mall in Soweto, joined by South African celebrities Arthur, Chomee, Slikour and Sugarmaxx.The people of Johannesburg will be able to join the procession along the way, with prizes to be won.“We encourage South Africans to be great hosts,” says Brand South Africa chief executive Miller Matola. “Let’s show the world our warmth, friendliness and love of the game. We should all fly the flag, sing the national anthem with pride, learn the Diski Dance and celebrate Football Fridays.“Bring along your Diski Dance moves, as well as your knowledge about all things football. Most of all though, bring all your uniquely South African passion and energy.”The People’s Bus will provide an interactive 10-minute tour including Fifa World Cup team facts and trivia, foosball table fun and a mini cinema showing unforgettable moments from previous tournaments. On exiting the bus, good luck messages that will be posted on the Brand South Africa and Bafana Bafana websites can be added to the bus message board.Catch the procession at the following times and places:08h30-09h00: Bree Street Taxi Rank, Newtown09h30-10h00: Noord Street Taxi Rank, Newtown11h00-12h00: Gandhi Square, Newtown13h00-14h00: Community drive through Zola and Jabulani Mall surrounding areas in Soweto14h30-15h30: Jabulani Mall, Soweto17h00-18h00: Maponya Mall, SowetoAbout the International Marketing Council of South Africa (Brand South Africa)The International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC) was established in August 2002 to help create a positive and compelling brand image for South Africa. At that time, the world was unsure about what to think of South Africa, with many different messages being sent out by various sources. These did very little to build the country’s brand and it was evident that to attract tourism and investment there was a need to co-ordinate marketing initiatives to make them more effective. This led to the creation of the IMC, whose main objective is the marketing of South Africa through the Brand South Africa campaign. There are many benefits to having a consolidated brand image, with the most important being that a consistent Brand South Africa message creates strategic advantages in terms of trade and tourism for the country in an increasingly competitive marketplace.last_img read more

The right time for fertilizer application pays (because the wrong time is so costly)

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest When it comes to understanding the right time to apply nutrients, it is important to know when it is the wrong time.Several years ago it had been a wet and frustrating fall for getting any field work done in the Lost Creek Watershed in northwest Ohio. It was followed by a fairly cold winter and there was an extended period of frozen conditions in February that provided a great opportunity to catch up for lost time.“We got a nice window and pretty much every dealer in the area was working on spreading fertilizer on frozen ground. There was about four inches of snow cover. Less than a week later we received a three-plus-inch rain event that melted the snow and allowed for major surface runoff on the frozen ground. There was rain/snow in the forecast, but no one was forecasting a three-inch rain. So the farmers and dealers that were spreading weren’t really in the wrong. However, those conditions create a high risk for nutrients to leave the field and in this case that happened. It warmed up and we got a big rain and the toilet flushed,” said Clint Nester, with Nester Ag, LLC in Williams County. “It was the one of the biggest phosphorus levels Heidelberg University has ever recorded in the water monitoring of the watershed. Those applications were made at the wrong time — everything else was right — and we lost nutrients big time.”In many ways, the right time is the easiest of the 4Rs to understand, but one of the hardest to actually do. Hindsight can make the wrong times to apply fertilizer seem very obvious, but the process of determining the right time can be quickly convoluted by weather uncertainties, changing soil conditions, farm work logistics, and just plain old bad luck.“If you are a really good weatherman you can avoid a lot of those spikes you see with phosphorus loss from fields, but we know how well that works. That big rain event in the Lost Creek Watershed really opened some eyes in the area, including for our business,” Nester said. “Until that time we still had customers that took that opportunity to spread on frozen ground because it worked well for the logistics of getting things done. After that, guys backed off of doing that. Farmers don’t want their money floating down the river. And when that happens you never know what you really lost and don’t know how much to re-apply. In many cases, you have to assume you lost it all and you end up re-applying the whole rate. That gets expensive.”Senate Bill 1 sets some fairly clear, common sense guidelines for applying nutrients at the right time in the Western Lake Erie Basin watershed. Specifically, for applications of granular fertilizer (defined as nitrogen or phosphorous) in the Western Lake Erie Basin, a person may not apply:1. On snow-covered or frozen soil;2. When the top two inches of soil are saturated from precipitation;3. When the local weather forecast prediction for the application area contains greater than a 50% chance of precipitation exceeding: one inch in a 12-hour period for granular fertilizer or one-half inch in a 24-hour period for manure.These requirements can be exempted if the fertilizer/nutrient is injected into the ground, incorporated within 24 hours of surface application or applied to a growing crop. This is the law for all or part of 24 counties in northwest Ohio.For businesses certified through Ohio’s 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program, these SB 1 rules are a good common-sense start to avoiding costly nutrient loss by applying at the right time, said Chris Horning, the North Data Operational Lead for Sunrise Cooperative. Sunrise was among the first 4R Certified businesses.Chris Horning“We have a yearly applicator training that covers the 4Rs and usually the auditors will be out talking to the nutrient applicators when they are doing the audit. They incorporate a lot of the 4Rs into the two-day training session,” Horning said. “The applicators know that if they are in the field, 95% of the time the weather forecast is not going to tell you about a three- or four-inch gully washer. If they are sitting there and the sky is black, they know they need to check back with the office and make sure they are still on track with the operation manager and the grower as far as the timing goes. If there are any questions on field conditions or the way the weather looks, they need to check back in. We do a lot of things ahead of time to try and not get in that position sitting in the fields in the spring waiting to putting fertilizer on, but rainfall is one of the biggest issues that creates challenges. Most guys don’t want you out there in saturated soils anyway and the frozen ground we know to avoid.”Sunrise has seen a big shift to spring application away from putting on nutrients in the fall. The cooperative also works on more applications of smaller amounts of nutrients.“We are geared up with equipment to split those applications up with in-crop dry applications and we are working with farmers with Y-Drops, using different nitrogen models to determine the right rate for the growing season. And for the fall applications, we are putting down just a one-year supply of nutrients and not two or three,” Horning said. “We have been working closely with the 4R guidelines and if we are spreading in the fall, it is incorporated within 24 hours and that takes a lot of pressure off.”Horning said another very useful tool for nutrient applicators is the Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper (ONMRK) app. The app was developed with input from Ohio State University Extension in Knox County, Ohio Farm Bureau, and Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District to meet the new state recordkeeping requirements for both SB 1 and Senate Bill 150. ONMRK helps farmers comply with state laws by recording their fertilizer or manure application as well as the current weather conditions and forecast for the next 24 hours.“That is really handy. It gives you the 12-hour and 24-hour forecast for the spot you are sitting and really helps you meet the guidelines. It also helps with documenting it as well. You can get that app for free on your phone. It will even tell you if an application is recommended or not,” Horning said. “It really helps us to be compliant.”The requirements of SB1 create a base to further refine nutrient application recommendations from Nester Ag that has also been certified through 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program.“Guys are paying big dollars to put those nutrients out on the land and when we make recommendations we don’t put a fudge factor on there for what is going to the ditch. We want the nutrients they apply to the field to stay in the field. Those laws are in place but it also makes sense with economics to keep those nutrients in the field,” Nester said. “Those laws are only for nitrogen and phosphorus, so if you wanted to spread potash when a rain is coming there is no law to say you can’t do that, but we tell guys it is a high risk time to apply those and that they need to avoid any potential for the nutrients to leave the field. That just makes sense economically and environmentally.”Beyond those basics outlined in SB 1, there are still many right (and wrong) times to apply nutrients to fields. There are clear advantages to minimizing nutrient loss by applying the right rates of nutrients as close to the time when the plants need them as possible during the growing season.“If a guy can apply in the spring I would say that probably reduces the risk of losing those nutrients because you don’t have them out there during the winter months when you can get those two- or three-inch rains on frozen ground and soil is moving,” Nester said. “But, on the acres that some guys cover, they just can’t do it all in the spring. In some cases, they will do some of their acres in the fall and leave their leakier fields — the fields that are more prone to leaching — to get to in the spring. With nitrogen we still tell our guys to break that total nitrogen up if possible so maybe they’ll be putting a little on with their broadcast fertilizer, maybe some ammonium sulfate. Then they could come in with some starter on the planter and then come back with some weed and feed either before or after the planter, based on their program. Then we can come back with sidedress and some guys are now coming back with the Y-Drops for a fifth trip.”But even with the extensive effort to put nitrogen on at the right time for the plant, loss is still possible.“Nitrogen loss is very weather dependent. This year there was not much loss in this area. In 2015, though, we saw an example of too much rain and definite nitrogen loss in the corn crop,” Nester said. “We have seen instances when you get early spring rains and if you have put everything out up front, you get problems. Having it split up reduces the risk of losing huge amounts of nitrogen. If you lose 10% of 10% it is a big difference compared to losing 10% of your total nitrogen.”The right time for phosphorous applications involves considering an entirely different set of factors. There are plenty of wrong times to apply phosphorous, but there are some things that can be done to expand the windows of “right time” opportunities.“Phosphorus is a whole different animal and it is hard to pinpoint because we have such a large pool of phosphorus available in the soil that is not available to the plant. It is always cycling. We have tried to put out phosphorus plots to learn more. You can not spread phosphorus one year and you won’t see a yield decrease unless you have critically low P levels. We can’t show much data about timing of phosphorus applications making a difference one way or another,” Nester said. “We do know if we can avoid putting it on the surface in the fall it reduces the chance to lose that dissolved reactive phosphorus over the surface or though the tile.  Incorporating it can be a viable solution to try and keep it in the field.“No-till situations can lead to bigger pores and more pathways for it to get to the tile. Strip-tilling phosphorus in the fall can work too as a pretty safe way to apply. You put it right in the soil at the root zone where the crop will need it. We work with guys who strip-till and we have been able to reduce rates by about 20% and we checked it with strips in the field and we are not taking any yield hit with that 20% reduction. Strip-tilling it in in the fall is very efficient. You are getting it incorporated in the soil and we can apply less fertilizer and keep yields up. It saves money and doesn’t allow for much runoff to the streams.”Cover crops are also a great tool for making more opportunities to apply at the right time.“We preach cover crops to our customers for a multitude of reasons. Hopefully they get a yield gain, they reduce erosion and they help keep nutrients in the field,” he said. “The ideal situation in the fall is to apply to a cover crop — something that is going to overwinter. Some guys plant radishes or oats and as soon as we get the first freeze they are done. There was some research that showed radishes alone as a cover crop were bringing nutrients to the surface and really concentrating them there to the point that it was more of a detriment to planting radishes only than getting a benefit. If you are going to run one cover crop it should be something that will stay green all winter. And, if you are going to apply when conditions are a little iffy, a cover crop definitely reduces that risk factor.”Ultimately, the right rate of the right product at the right place does little good if applied at the wrong time.“You can do three things right with the 4Rs and still be wrong,” Nester said. “You have to do them all and follow those four key principles. You can’t just do one.”For more, visit read more

Now We Can Read Alone, Together: Instapaper Adds Social Features

first_imgLet’s say you’re about to get on an airplane. That means it’s time for some pleasure reading, if you’re lucky enough to be free from work obligations on a wifi-free flight. What you need to do is fire up Instapaper, the offline mobile reading application made for good times like this.Instapaper announced its 3.0 version tonight and has added a long list of features that will please and delight you. It was already a great way to read good articles without internet connectivity. Now it includes: an in-line browser that will make grabbing things to read offline really easy, qued social sharing so you can post links to share great articles automatically when you come back online, social discovery of articles your Twitter and Facebook friends have Liked on Instapaper and much more. It’s a big update to a great app. Additional new features include a new Editors’ Picks section for great reading right away, a full-text archive search to bring up that thing you remembered reading but can’t remember where and quote-posting to curation platform Tumblr.The net effect is that this app that’s great for taking valuable content from the online world with you offline will no longer leave you feeling stranded and alone once you’ve made the time to get excited about what you found. Instapaper just feels good to use, but now that it’s got so much more connectivity – it’s probably only going to be better.Competitor ReadItLater includes a number of the same features already. It also supports video viewing and offers an automated categorization system on its iPad app. It may be a case of different strokes for different folks, but there’s something especially joyful to me about reading long articles on a plane on Instapaper. Tags:#Product Reviews#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market marshall kirkpatrick Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

My role in Azhar challenging: Lara Dutta

first_imgMumbai, Mar 29 (PTI) Bollywood actress Lara Dutta will be seen playing a no-nonsense lawyer in the upcoming sports -biopic “Azhar” and says her role in the film is challenging.Last seen in “Fitoor”, Lara portrays the role of public prosecutor Meera, in the biopic based on the life of the former Indian international cricketer, Mohammad Azharuddin.”Its a challenging role and I had fun playing it because its a totally fictional character but integral to the narrative,” Lara said in a statement.She will be seen as the nemesis of Azharuddin in the film as she fights the former Indian cricketer trying to prove that hes guilty of match fixing.As part of her preparation, the 37-year-old “Singh is Bling” star spoke to a lawyer friend and observed her at work to understand the body language and the finer nuances of playing the part.Director Tony DSouza, who earlier worked with her in “Blue”, thought Lara was perfect for the role which demanded a strong, stern look and someone who could act well.”She went through all the legal documents pertaining to the case. We also had regular reading sessions. She really worked very hard for the role.”Produced by Ekta Kapoor, the movie stars Emraan Hashmi in the titular role besides Prachi Desai and Nargis Fakhri. “Azhar” is slated to hit the theatres on May 13. PTI JUR DK BK SDMlast_img read more

I will definitely avenge my Asian Championship final defeat: Sakshi Malik

first_imgSakshi Malik may have been thrashed by Rio Olympics gold medallist Risako Kawai in Asian Championships final bout here recently, but the Indian star has vowed to comeback stronger. Returning to international competition after the Rio Olympics, Sakshi managed to win a silver medal in 60kg weight category in the Capital.In an exclusive interview to Mail Today, Sakshi admitted that the Japanese was outstanding but added that she will avenge her defeat.”There is no doubt that the Japanese wrestlers are extraordinary. We (Indian wrestlers) were joking that what do they eat and how can we beat them. They move very fast on the mat. They are really tough but I am no less. I am working hard and will definitely avenge my defeat. We are working on increasing our speed,” Sakshi said.”I also want to clear one thing. I was misquoted in a media report that I said that it is not possible to beat the Japanese wrestler in this lifetime. Well, I never said this to anybody. I know such quotes will have negative impact on the juniors.”Asian championship #silver #happiness #manymoretocome #feelingproud #LikeAGirl #wrestling ?? Sakshi Malik (@SakshiMalik) May 19, 2017She further clarified on another controversy that erupted when she participated in the 60kg category at Asian Championships. It was alleged that Sakshi had asked Sarita to switch the weight category with her.”This is not the first time that I participated in 60kg. If you check the records, in 2015 Asian Championships and 2013 Commonwealth Championship, I participated in 60kg only. But in Games like Olympics, Commonwealth Games, I play in 58kg. My federation (Wrestling Federation of India) also knew about it and I never asked anybody to leave her place for me.advertisement”When I got to know about the news that I am being targeted by my fellow wrestler (Sarita) on the issue, I spoke to her and she said that she never said so,” she said.In the 2013 Commonwealth Championships in Johannesburg, Sakshi won bronze in 63kg category. In Doha Asian Championship, she clinched bronze in 60kg.With World Wrestling Championship, scheduled to begin in August in Paris, Sakshi is hopeful of winning a medal in the event. “We have a camp in Lucknow and I am preparing really hard for the Worlds. We are getting all the support from the federation and the government,” she emphasised.Following the lack of response from the people during the Asian Championships in New Delhi, Sakshi urged fans to support other sports too. The turnout at the Asian meet was low and it speaks a lot about the interest of Indians in the sport. When so many wrestlers were competing to do their country proud, the topic of discussion among most sports lovers was the IPL. Wrestling, a sport that has brought Olympic medals, continues to be neglected.While so many are willing to pay thousands on tickets for an IPL game, the wrestling championship, where entry was free, took place in front of empty stands. Among the few who turned up, the ones making more noise were foreigners. Countries like Iran and Kyrgyzstan had more support, with their fans waving flags throughout, than the home wrestlers.”We feel great when our people come and cheer for us. It gives us motivation. It was Asian Championship and we were fighting for the country. I request people to support us as well,” the wrestler said.last_img read more

Sarfraz Ahmed will be Pakistan’s captain at World Cup despite racism row: PCB

first_imgPakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Eshan Mani rubbished rumours of a change in captaincy for Pakistan in the lead up to the Cricket World Cup and said Sarfraz Ahmed will be leading the team at the quadrennial cricket tournament in England later this year.Sarfraz Ahmed was handed a four-match ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) over his racist jibe against Andile Phehlukwayo during an ODI series against South Africa last month. Sarfraz was asked to return home by the PCB midway during the ongoing tour and Shoaib Malik was appointed as the interim captain of the Pakistan cricket team.Sarfraz has served the four-match ban and will return to lead Pakistan for the limited-over series vs Australia in the United Arab Emirates in late March and early April, Mani confirmed.”There should be no doubt that Sarfraz is the Pakistan cricket team’s captain. He will lead the team in the series against Australia and also in the World Cup,” Mani told the media on Tuesday.The PCB chairman added: “I was always clear in my mind that Sarfaraz would be the captain. Sarfraz has been an integral part of Pakistan’s World Cup preparations. He has proved to be a good strategist, leader and performer.”He led Pakistan to Champions Trophy 2017 title as well as to top of the International Cricket Council’s Twenty20 International rankings.”Sarfraz has reiterated his commitment to the Pakistan cricket team as well as his availability and enthusiasm to captain the team at the World Cup. There is only one captain of the Pakistan cricket team and it will remain so.”advertisementWe will prove ourselves at the World Cup: SarfrazMeanwhile, Sarfraz expressed confidence that Pakistan will be able to perform to the best of their abilities at the World Cup, starting May 30.”I feel proud to be joining the list of cricketers that led the Pakistan cricket team into world cups in the past. We will try our best to perform well there,” Sarfraz, who accompanied Mani to the media interaction, said.Responding to the rumours of a change in captaincy, Sarfraz added: “Since I started captaining the team, I did not think so far ahead into the future and worry about if I would be the team’s captain in a year’s time or not. I focused on my responsibilities on a series-to-series basis and will continue to do so.”I feel humbled and honoured to be placed in the same bracket as some of the most iconic and legendary cricketers who have previously captained Pakistan at @cricketworldcup.” says, @SarfarazA_54PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) February 5, 2019I am convinced we are in a good shape for the World Cup. We have top quality talent and match-winners with committed support staff in the dressing room,” he said when asked about how he felt going into the upcoming international showdown.In the lead up to the World Cup, Pakistan will play five ODIs each against Australia and England, which will also allow us the opportunity to further fine-tune our preparations. I am sure we’ll prove ourselves at the World Cup.Shoaib Malik, meanwhile, will lead Pakistan in the final T20I of the ongoing three-match series against South Africa in Centurion on Wednesday. The hosts have already sealed an unbeatable 2-0 lead after winning the first two matches.Also Read | Shoaib Akhtar not criticising but personally attacking me: Sarfraz AhmedAlso Read | Have learnt my lesson: Sarfraz Ahmed after 4-match suspension for racist tauntAlso See:last_img read more

Corus aims for fewer better TV channels new tech to counter internet

first_imgTORONTO – Consumers will see “fewer, better” specialty TV channels and more targeted advertising from Corus Entertainment, company executives said Wednesday as they explained their plan for rebuilding a media business that is struggling to adapt to intense competition, new viewing habits and changing technology.“We anticipate a bumpy road over the short-term as our industry evolves,” chief executive Doug Murphy said on a conference call after the company announced a $935.9-million loss and a dividend cut that helped push Corus stock to historic lows.The stock closed down 18 per cent at $5.13 per class B share. It had earlier fallen as low as $4.96 per share on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the lowest on record since Corus went public in 1999.Murphy told analysts that Corus is working with its regulated distribution partners — Canada’s cable, phone and satellite services — to optimize revenue received from its top television channels.Besides the Global Television network and conventional TV stations acquired from Shaw Communications in April 2016, the company has a number of specialty TV channels — some long-standing Corus properties and some acquired when it bought Shaw Media for $2.65 billion in cash and stock.Murphy said Corus uses a number of new technologies that employ some of the techniques that have given the internet giants such as Facebook and Google an advantage. The two companies capture about 80 cents of every advertising dollar collected by the media industry, he added.“We now can build clear profiles of viewers as discrete, defined audience segments, such as SUV-ers or fashionistas, empty-nesters, deep pockets and many, many more,” Murphy told analysts on a conference call.“By profiling audience segments and the shows they love, TV can offer more targeted campaigns to our advertisers. This is fundamental to the future of television.”He added that Corus is using artificial intelligence “to process billions of amounts of data coming to set-top boxes to figure out what sort of cross-promotional strategies drive the most reengagement or viewership results.”Corus is also rolling out a system, called Cynch, that automates the advertising buying process.Instead of selling ad space person-to-person by phone, Cynch enables computer-to-computer sales of ads associated with an inventory of programming on various media platforms.“That is beginning to emulate our digital competitors in terms of selling our advertising solutions,” Murphy said.To the company’s advantage, Murphy added, it has the ability to generate free cash flow (after dividends and debt payments), create content through its own studios, and top relationship in local television and radio markets.“Local market relationships with our customers are time-tested, relationship-based and less prone to disruption by the duopoly of Facebook and Google.”However, analysts noted that revenue from the Corus television division in the third quarter declined more than expected despite a positive impact on local advertising from Ontario election advertising ahead of the June 7 vote.Corus attributed the decline in TV revenue to national advertising, due to competition with Facebook and Google as well as “the realities of audience viewing levels.”Earlier, Corus announced its fiscal third-quarter net loss was equal to $4.49 per share for the quarter ended May 31 compared with a profit of $66.7 million or 33 cents per share a year ago.The company’s net loss included $1.01-billion in non-cash impairment charges. It attributed a $1 billion reduction in goodwill assets to its television division and $13.7 million to its radio licences.On an adjusted basis, which excludes the impairment charge and other one-time items, Corus earned a profit of $78.1 million or 37 cents per share for the quarter compared with an adjusted profit of $70.1 million or 35 cents per share a year ago. Analysts on average had expected a profit of 36 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Revenue was $441.4 million, down from $461.6 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue from the television division fell 4.6 per cent to just under $403 million from $422.4 million, while radio revenue slipped 2.2 per cent to $38.4 million from $39.3 million.In a separate move that will have a direct impact on Corus shareholders, the company said it will slash it dividends rate as of the 2019 financial year that begins Sept. 1 and direct savings of about $150 million per year towards debt reduction.On a full-year basis, the dividend will drop to 24 cents per class B non-voting shares from $1.14 per share, where it had been since fiscal 2016. The dividend for class A voting shares, primarily held by the Shaw family, will drop to 23.5 per share from $1.135.Companies in this story: (TSX:CJR.B TSX:RCI.B TSX:SJR.B)last_img read more

UN nuclear agency to send team of experts to Japan to help

“I continue to think that Chernobyl and these Fukushima reactors are different,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano told a news briefing at its Vienna headquarters, after another explosion and fire dramatically shook the Fukushima power plant that was crippled by last week’s earthquake and tsunami, increasing the release of radiation.He cited the fact that Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant reactors were shut down, a chain reaction is not talking place, the cause of the accident was a natural disaster, not a power output surge, and the Japanese reactors do not have a huge amount of graphite that can catch fire. “In all elements there are differences, and I continue to think the cases are different,” he stressed.Just last week in a report to the Board of Governors of the 151-Member State agency, Mr. Amano noted that global nuclear safety has improved significantly since Chernobyl, when an estimated 8 million people in what is now Ukraine, Belarus and Russia were exposed to radiation, and thousands contracted thyroid cancer and other diseases.Mr. Amano, who came to the news conference after briefing Member States, said he was setting up an agency coordinating team under his own leadership – “I felt I needed to raise the level of response on the part of the IAEA.” He also said he would soon send a small team of staff who have expertise in environmental monitoring at the request of the Japanese Government, which has said this is the area where the agency can be most helpful.“This is the start, this is not the end,” he stressed, noting that the IAEA has already intensified its cooperation with other international organizations, including the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which can help coordinate global information on wind directions, showing where any radioactive clouds might be bound. The IAEA will discuss with the Japanese Government what other services it can provide. Meanwhile, UN disaster assessment officials will tomorrow tour parts of Japan that received the brunt of Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami as they continue their efforts to help the country in what Prime Minister Naoto Kan has called its worst disaster since World War II.The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team, based in Tokyo to help with information management and international offers of aid, plans to send a reconnaissance mission to the prefectures of Fukushima and Miyagi, where more than 10,000 people, at least, are estimated to have died.Upon request from a disaster-stricken country, an UNDAC team can be deployed within hours to carry out rapid assessment of priority needs and support national authorities and the UN resident coordinator to coordinate international relief on-site.The General Assembly today observed a minute’s silence at the start of its session today in memory of those who had died and in a show of solidarity with the Japanese people.For its part, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) pledged to help protect the youngsters affected by the catastrophe and provide critical services in the days ahead.“As in all emergencies of such devastating magnitude, children are the most vulnerable,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in a statement. “This double catastrophe has left the country and its friends stunned and bereaved, and new threats caused by the quake and its aftermath continue to be of utmost concern to us all.” 15 March 2011The United Nations agency that coordinates global nuclear safety is sending an environmental monitoring team to Japan after the partial meltdown at reactors there, as its chief said today the situation differed from the world’s worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl 25 years ago. read more

Mangala briefs Hussein on progress made on accountability

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and briefed him on the progress made so far on accountability over incidents related to the war.The meeting took place on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, the Foreign Ministry said.

Business leaders to meet at UN summit on good corporate citizenship

“The impact of the Global Compact has not only been through the community of multinational corporations but also in the developing countries, both in the private sector and also in the public sector, and this is a very unusual feature,” John Ruggie, Mr. Annan’s Special Adviser on the Global Compact, said at a press briefing today on the launch of a report that assesses the initiative’s effect. The study, carried out by the international management consultancy McKinsey & Company, concludes that the Compact has helped put “corporate responsibility” on the agenda of the developing world. The survey shows that 67 per cent of respondents changed their corporate policies in relation to human rights, labour and environment principles since joining the Compact, with 40 per cent reporting that the Compact was a significant driver of those changes. The report notes, however, that “inconsistent participation and divergent and unmet expectations limit the impact on companies” and hinders the Compact’s credibility. Also speaking at today’s briefing, Georg Kell, Executive Head of the Global Compact, noted that corporations have so far lagged behind in the area of human rights relative to environmental and workplace issues. The “big thing,” he said, is to convince chief executives and companies that they can no longer afford to say that human rights are not their business but the job of governments. Since the Compact was launched in 2000 it has grown rapidly from 50 companies to the nearly 1,500 that participate today, making it the largest voluntary “corporate responsibility” initiative in the world. The one-day Leaders Summit on 24 June is expected to draw chief executive officers and other senior executives of major international corporations, and is scheduled to hear a keynote address from President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil. Participants will assess the progress of the Global Compact, share experiences and chart its future course. Video of press briefing [31mins] read more