first_imgThe Rajasthan Assembly on Thursday passed a Bill that has increased reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in educational institutions and government employment in the State from 21% to 26%. The Bill created a new ‘most backward’ category within the OBCs for providing quota benefits to Gujjars and four other nomadic communities.The Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointment and Posts in Services under the State) Bill, 2017, provides 5% reservation to the Gujjar, Banjara, Gadia-Lohar, Raika and Gadariya communities. With the Bill’s passage, reservation in Rajasthan now stands at 54%, exceeding the 50% ceiling mandated by the Supreme Court.The ninth session of the Assembly that started on Monday, also witnessed a major controversy over the introduction of a Bill giving immunity to public servants from investigation without prior sanction.last_img read more

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first_imgAt some point today you will disengage from the rest of the world and just think. It could happen any number of ways: if your mind wanders from work, while you’re sitting in traffic, or if you just take a quiet moment to reflect. But as frequently as we drift into our own thoughts, a new study suggests that many of us don’t like it. In fact, some people even prefer an electric shock to being left alone with their minds.“I’m really excited to see this paper,” says Matthew Killingsworth, a psychologist at the University of California (UC), San Francisco, who says his own work has turned up a similar result. “When people are spending time inside their heads, they’re markedly less happy.”To conduct the study, Timothy Wilson, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and colleagues recruited hundreds of undergraduate student volunteers and community members to take part in “thinking periods.” Individuals were placed in sparsely furnished rooms and asked to put away their belongings, such as cellphones and pens. They then were given one of two tests that lasted between 6 and 15 minutes. While some were told to think about whatever they wanted, others chose from several prompts, such as going out to eat or playing a sport, and planned out how they would think about it during the period.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Afterward, the team asked the volunteers to rate their experience on a nine-point scale, where the higher the number, the more enjoyable their time was. In both the free-thinking and planned-prompt scenarios, about 50% of people did not like the experience, reporting an enjoyment level at or below the midpoint of the scale. Participants generally gave high ratings of boredom, too, according to Wilson.To see if a change of scenery would help, the team let participants do the studies in their own homes, but still found similar results. Overall, the subjects said they enjoyed activities like reading and listening to music about twice as much as just thinking.The researchers then decided to take the experiment a step further. For 15 minutes, the team left participants alone in a lab room in which they could push a button and shock themselves if they wanted to. The results were startling: Even though all participants had previously stated that they would pay money to avoid being shocked with electricity, 67% of men and 25% of women chose to inflict it on themselves rather than just sit there quietly and think, the team reports online today in Science.“We went into this thinking it wouldn’t be that hard for people to entertain themselves,” Wilson says. “We have this huge brain and it’s stuffed full of pleasant memories, and we have the ability to construct fantasies and stories. We really thought this [thinking time] was something people would like.”He suggests that the results may be mixed signs of boredom and the trouble that we have controlling our thoughts. “I think [our] mind is built to engage in the world,” he says. “So when we don’t give it anything to focus on, it’s kind of hard to know what to do.”Although daydreaming is spontaneous and can be enjoyable, Wilson says the pressure to think on command—whether it’s being demanded by researchers, or while you’re waiting in line with nothing else to do—may be what’s difficult and unpleasant for so many.“I found it quite surprising and a bit disheartening that people seem to be so uncomfortable when left to their own devices; that they can be so bored that even being shocked seemed more entertaining,” says Jonathan Schooler, a psychology professor at UC Santa Barbara who studies consciousness. “But I can’t help but feel that there has to be more to the story. I’m confident that there are conditions in which at least a subsample of the population enjoys this quiet opportunity for self-reflection.”Some people seem to enjoy thinking more than others. For instance, the study found that people who are more agreeable or cooperative were more likely to enjoy themselves when they were told to think about anything. Individuals who admitted that their daydreams normally leave them happy fared better, too.Because people so often find themselves intentionally or unintentionally wrapped up in their thoughts, the research team suggests that meditation or other techniques to relax and learn how to gain control of the mind could be helpful. If we knew how to steer our thoughts in a pleasant direction and enjoy the experience, maybe we wouldn’t hate to be alone with ourselves.last_img read more

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first_imgShooting in the dark: Hopeful contestants at the auditionA Dilli ki kudi uses her cell phone to cue her pitch before launching into a song. A Chandigarh mom brings along a homemade cake for the Channel V crew that will record her starry-eyed daughter’s rendering of Asha Bhosle hits.A girl,Shooting in the dark: Hopeful contestants at the auditionA Dilli ki kudi uses her cell phone to cue her pitch before launching into a song. A Chandigarh mom brings along a homemade cake for the Channel V crew that will record her starry-eyed daughter’s rendering of Asha Bhosle hits.A girl sobs when told she need not return even as another whoops with joy at having taken a step closer to becoming that wonderful, glitzy person – a pop star.These were some of the muchpromised “highs” and “lows” from the latest reality show to hit the idiot box: Channel V’s Popstars. Made memorable by the catch line Kiska Band Bajega, its USP was the creation of India’s own Spice Girls, a made-toorder girl band.Though Popstars’ TRPs will only arrive later, the idea that any Sita, Salma or Sandra with a workable voice could make it to an Indi/Hindi pop-band has captured the collective imagination of the nation’s fameaddled females.This was more than a talent hunt: the auditioning across six cities, the voice and persona training of the shortlisted 24, the selection of the final five, the makeover of the chosen ones, the making of their first album and music video are being telecast as a 14-episode reality drama on Channel V.Unlike BBC World’s Indian reality shows Hospital and Commando, Star TV’s new venture combines glamour and reality without the saccharine predictability of beauty pageants or the alien ambience of Temptation Island.sweat ‘n’ sparkle: If it isn’t easy for the contestants to audition before cameras neither is it for the TV crew to capture the right emotionsThe show comes at a time when the Indi-pop industry is sagging and a successful band could add the much craved-for spice. As Bhosle continues to rule in India and boy and girl bands proliferate all over the globe, the Indian music industry is positive about manufactured pop-bands.They believe there is a large youth market, plenty of potential for live shows and that such boy/girl bands rake in big bucks, remaining impossibly popular with the gum-chewing brigade.”One of the major problems faced by Indian pop singers is the lack of media exposure,” says Atul Churamani, director, Artists & Repertoire, Virgin Records. “But the biggest advantage for Popstars is that the concept is built around media,” he adds. “If the girls make for a good act, they have tremendous scope.” For now, the “scope” depends on hype.The build-a-band concept has worked before and not just with the UK’s famous Spice Girls: Popstars is another in Star TV’s line of licensed contest style programmes that have previously included Kaun Banega Crorepati and Kamzor Kadii Kaun.advertisementPopstars has been licensed from the UK-based Zeal International, a subsidiary of Sportsworld whose original popstar hunts shaped fairly successful groups like Bardot in Australia and Sugar Jones in Canada.Apart from the nubile things who treated the Popstars audition as their passport to a shamglam world, salwar-kurta clad, middleaged ladies also sneaked away from unsuspecting households and humdrum offices to take a shot at big time.So more than 2,000 girls braved winter queues in Delhi and Chandigarh, the terrorist scare in Kolkata, vicious rigging rumours in Mumbai, a mela of wannabes in Bangalore and Goa’s typical susegaad (laidback) attitude to register for the auditioning.FACE-OFF: Star quality hits you between the eyes, says De, one of the final round judgesAll for the fame that is being offered on a made-toorder platter with plenty of safety nets. Helping the five-member band record their first ever album will be the “dream team”: music by composer Sandeep Chowta, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Jatin-Lalit, lyrics by Javed Akhtar, grooming and styling by designer Manish Malhotra.There is also a massive behind-the-scenes support of India’s top publicists and stylists, and the signing of a deal with Star TV lasting six months after the first album’s release.Then there is an array of suitably glitzy judges – Chowta, singer Shubha Mudgal, Malhotra and model-veejay Sushma Reddy. They selected seven to 10 girls from each of the six cities after a series of auditions that saw the girls belting out numbers selected by the judges, songs of their own choice and finally, group performances.From the 53 shortlisted girls, 24 were selected for the final round of auditions that included over a week of dance and voice training as well as personality grooming at Hotel Renaissance in Mumbai.Then things got serious: “Madonna discoverer” Seymour Stein, owner of Sire Records, and writer Shobhaa De stepped in to meet the finalists.This selection process was liberally peppered with off-key renditions of Chura liya and Jaane jaan. “We needed some uniformity, especially at the beginning of the auditions, in order to be fair,” explains Mudgal. Reddy screened the candidates for “personality and attitude” but confesses that if she hears one more rendition of Chura liya she will punch the warbler.advertisementAudition Gurus For judges (from left) Manish Malhotra, Sandeep Chowta, Sushma Reddy and Shubha Mudgal, personality and attitude are as crucial criteria as voice while selecting the popstarsStar voices, say audition gurus Chowta and Mudgal, need to communicate emotion, have a “smile” and a zingy uniqueness. Equally important was finding a TV friendly group with an ability to jell with each other and, of course, sporting an “attitude”.Chowta says, “Some girls protested when they were not selected. That’s exactly the kind of attitude we wanted. Girls who could talk back, who think they are worth it.”De, who talked to the final 20 girls, says, “While this is not about beautiful faces, stage presence and a certain amount of cuteness are a must. In fact, there is nothing ambiguous about looking for star quality. It hits you between the eyes.”If singing without instruments in front of TV crews and celebrities didn’t make it easy for the aspirants, the crew had to scramble to capture a variety of viewer-friendly shots. “It’s difficult to capture variety in emotion,” says Deepak Dhar, 28, producer-director of the show.So when a girl who made it to Mumbai insisted on visiting a temple, the crew woke up at 5 a.m. to catch her pouring milk over the Shivling.Another aspirant was nicknamed “Chuck Chuck” because she couldn’t emphasise enough how ready she was to “chuck” it all, including college and family, to become a pop star.Roshan, voice trainer for the qualifying 20, believes most possessed good voices but is not so sure about their future commitment. “There is a strong sense of wanting to make it quick.”Sameer Nair, vice-president, Content & Communication, Star TV, isn’t concerned about the girls’ future: the six-month contract could be renewed or the band bought by a music company or may even disband. All that Nair is presently looking forward to is a sequel to Popstars: “Ladies first, boys next.”last_img read more

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first_imgTeam India under Virat Kohli is well-placed to do what other sides in the past could not do, said newly appointed coach Ravi Shastri, two days before the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.India crushed the hosts by 304 runs at Galle last week to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. And the world number one Test side are firm favourites to wrap up the series in a country where Test wins have been rare for touring teams.It was, however, in Sri Lanka back in 2015 that India began their resurgence under the Kohli-Shastri combine. MS Dhoni had retired from Test cricket a few months ago and Kohli stepped into his shoes perfectly, leading India to their first Test series win in Sri Lanka since 1993.Shastri, who was the team director two years ago, had to make way for Anil Kumble, who was named coach by the cricket advisory committee (CAC) last year. However, the latter resigned following differences with Kohli.After much deliberation, Shastri was given charge of a the Indian team. The former captain looked back at the tour of 2015 and reminded everyone that some of the biggest names in Indian cricket had never won a series in Sri Lanka, something Kohli’s team has done.”This team has been there with each other for two years and they are much more experienced now,” Shastri said.”They have already done things a lot of Indian teams and a lot of big names could not do in their careers. Like for example, win a series here (in Sri Lanka) for the first time in over 20 years.advertisement”There have been a lot of big names who have played for 20 years, they have come to Sri Lanka many times and never won a series. This team is used to doing things a lot of other teams have not done,” he said.I’m positive about the fact that the current Indian team can do things that probably no other Indian team has done before – @RaviShastriOfc pic.twitter.com/LUek9yJYav- BCCI (@BCCI) August 1, 2017Sourav Ganguly had led India to Sri Lanka in 2001 and lost 2-1. Kumble’s team met with a similar fate seven years later. MS Dhoni oversaw a 1-1 draw in the three-Test series in 2010 before Kohli’s team finally turned the tide five years after.Shastri feels the current team can extend its domination when it starts touring out of the sub-continent later this year. India are scheduled to tour South Africa from December and England after.  “A lot of tough cricket is coming up in South Africa, England. I see it as an opportunity and I am very positive that this team can do things a lot of other Indian teams have not been able to do.”last_img read more

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first_imgA new deal has been agreed in principle to keep the Chinese Grand Prix in the Formula 1 calendar.A senior F1 official has confirmed that the deal is likely to be signed within a period of few weeks.”We’ve been working hard with Juss Event, the promoter, and we’ve got an agreement in principle,” Sport24 quoted Sean Bratches, F1 managing director of commercial operations, as saying in Shanghai.”My suspicion is that it will be executed by the end of next month, fully executed,” he added.In the 2018 race schedule released in June by the sports’ new US-based owners, Shanghai, along with Singapore, was only listed as provisional.The move had increased speculation that the races might be axed from the roster.Bratches further said that next year’s race schedule was released by the F1 chiefs earlier than previously as part of efforts to make the sport more fan and sponsor-friendly.”Next year the schedule will be released and there will be nothing provisional about Shanghai because we will have a long-term deal,” he said.The current deal for the Chinese Grand Prix is due to finish by the end of this year.last_img read more

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first_imgFormer India captain Sourav Ganguly said getting dropped from the Indian team made him a “better person”. Ganguly was India’s captain when he was dropped from the team and the captaincy was handed over to Rahul Dravid.He was dropped in September 2005 and did not make it back to the squad for the entire year in 2006. He missed 11 limited-overs home and away series for India.WATCH VIDEOGanguly, however, returned for a home series against West Indies in January 2007 and retained his place in the squad until his retirement in 2008.”With high-profile jobs, comes pressure and competition. If you think that will weigh you down, you will not survive in this job. As that period went through, it was a bit more than scoring runs – ‘I was told I was not fit’. You just have no option but do it. Everything in life is about standing up and making the most of your opportunities. As captain of India, the world was at my feet and then I did not find myself in the team. Not many captains would find themselves in that position. MS Dhoni has stepped down as captain but look at how well Virat Kohli looks after him.  But it made me a better person,” Ganguly said at the India Today Conclave East, 2017 in Kolkata on Friday.Ganguly said Pakistan’s World Cup-winning skipper Imran Khan’s words motivated him during one of the toughest phases in his life.”Imran Khan and I have a fantastic relationship — he said when you fly and you see dark clouds, you find a way to fly higher. I remembered those words during that period. I trained hard. One day I got so angry because I wasn’t getting picked and I did not know the reason. I was scoring runs everywhere around the world and in those 10 years I scored more runs that Sachin Tendulkar in one day cricket. One day in 2006, I got so angry that I ran 21 laps at Eden Gardens,” Ganguly said. (Wife Dona reveals how Ganguly is like at home)advertisementHowever, things took a turn for the better and Ganguly retired on a high during the home series against Australia in 2008. His teammates even wondered why Dada decided to call it quits when he was batting so well.”When I announced my decision to retire, Sachin came up to me and asked me ‘Why have you taken such a decision?’ I said I’ve had enough, I don’t want to play anymore. He told me ‘This was the best I have seen you play in the last three years’. In life when you get tested, when you get rejected by everyone and when you get pushed aside, you actually get the best out of it. That has been a learning curve for me,” he added. (Kohli more proactive than Tendulkar: Ganguly)Here is the full coverage of India Today Conclave East 2017.last_img read more

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first_imgPakistan went past England to get to the fourth spot in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 points table after trumping Afghanistan by three wickets in a last-over thriller at Headingley on Saturday.Pakistan have 9 points from 8 matches and if India manages to defeat England in their high-voltage clash on Sunday, the chances for Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men to qualify for the semi-finals will receive a huge boost.Delighted with the turnaround that has seen Pakistan jump from the 9th spot to the top-four in a span of 3 matches, skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed thanked Pakistani fans for their unconditional support throughout the match.”Thanks to almighty. Thanks to all the supporters, they have been cheering us from ball one and I think this is a great win for us,” Sarfaraz said after the win.When asked about the India-England match, Sarfaraz said that Pakistan is not thinking about the game and he hopes that the better team comes out victorious.”Obviously we all are watching (India v England game) but we are not thinking about it and hopefully the better team wins.”Sarfaraz Ahmed was full of praise of Shaheen Afridi and Babar Azam for their continuous good run with the ball and bat. Sarfaraz also lauded Imad Wasim for his heroic performance under immense pressure.Imad Wasim’s unbeaten 49 guided Pakistan to a much -needed win. The left-handed all-rounder held his nerves even as he was losing partners in their chase of 228 runs. Imad stitched an unbeaten 24-run stand with Wahab Riaz as Pakistan sealed the thriller.advertisement”It was not an easy pitch to bat on but, credit should go to Imad for the way he batted till the end. We all know he (Shaheen Afridi) is a good bowler and he is improving day by day and I think he is working hard and he bowled really well today,” added Sarfaraz in the post-match ceremony.Meanwhile, losing captain Gulbadin Naib credited Pakistan for playing well under pressure.”We fought really well, the boys gave their 100%. We missed opportunities to win. Credit to Pakistan, they controlled their nerves. Imad played really well,” Naib said.Also Seelast_img read more

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first_imgOhio State football players carrying Big Ten signs.INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 02: The Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate after their 27-21 win over the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)The Big Ten Conference may not have been represented in the College Football Playoff, or with a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but there can be little doubt that the conference is continuing to dominate. The latest financial figures from the Power Five giants shows that it is surpassing even the SEC.According to USA Today reporter Steve Berkowitz, the Big Ten recorded around $759 million in revenue for the fiscal year 2018. Perhaps even more impressive, the $759 million in revenue was nearly a quarter-billion higher than the fiscal year 2017.The mark is a cool $100 million more than the SEC reported for the year. Meanwhile, the Big 12 reported $374 million in revenue.The Big Ten’s big gains have also led to huge rewards for conference commissioner Jim Delaney. The Big Ten boss reportedly made $5.5 million in 2018. Big Ten had nearly $759 million in revenue in FY18, new federal tax return shows. That’s up from nearly $513 million last year. It’s also $100 million more than amount SEC reported for FY18: https://t.co/Xs4icAPcAG— Steve Berkowitz (@ByBerkowitz) May 15, 2019Last year, the Michigan Wolverines made it to the NCAA Tournament national title game, losing to Villanova.In football this past season, nine Big Ten teams were awarded bowl berths, with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Iowa winning their games. In the New Year’s Six, Ohio State beat Washington in the Rose Bowl while Michigan was beaten in the Peach Bowl.All things considered, the Big Ten is as strong as its ever been.Will the conference be able to make the jump back to winning national titles in football and basketball next season?last_img read more

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first_img Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is committed to partnering with civil society in the delivery of high-quality services to citizens.He noted that persons are demanding greater accountability and transparency in how Government conducts the affairs of the country, and such collaboration will help in improving governance at all levels.“As Jamaican citizens and firms demand easier, better and more seamless access to government services with higher levels of quality and performance in service delivery, so governments must act to respond to those demands in a positive way,” he said.“The Government, therefore, recognises the strengths of civil society… (and) is committed to a model of partnership, so utilising all our strengths and capabilities for greater impact, as we position Jamaica as the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business,” he added.The Prime Minister’s remarks were delivered by Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group’s seventh annual Civil Society Caribbean Meeting at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston on Thursday, June 8.The meeting facilitated the exchange of experiences and sharing perspectives on partnerships between governments and civil society groups across the region, for delivering results.Topics addressed were related to major development challenges in the region, human capital, social innovation, productivity, climate change, and the importance of open data to inform policymaking.The Prime Minister said the Government is grateful for the IDB’s assistance as “it focuses on changing the way Government works and recognises that it must change in order to facilitate growth and innovation”.He noted that, among other things, the institution is providing support for the implementation of the proposed National Identification System (NIDS) to simplify identity-verification procedures, thereby increasing efficiency in service delivery.The Prime Minister pointed out that the uniqueness and reliability of the system would reduce the need to request multiple documents for identity purposes, resulting in reduced costs and enhanced timeliness.For her part, the IDB’s Representative for Jamaica and Caribbean Country Department General Manager, Therese Turner-Jones, welcomed the fact that the Bank’s vision and those of the governments and civil society stakeholders across the region “are built on the same fundamental principle… to ultimately improve lives and achieve great things”.“We are confident that the IDB’s Vision to improve lives in the Caribbean by creating vibrant economies where people are safe, productive and happy, is in perfect harmony with your values and goals,” she said.More than 50 representatives from government and civil society groups across the Caribbean attended the one-day meeting, which was held under the theme ‘Delivery Revolution: Governments – Civil Society: A Partnership for Delivering’. “As Jamaican citizens and firms demand easier, better and more seamless access to government services with higher levels of quality and performance in service delivery, so governments must act to respond to those demands in a positive way,” he said. The Prime Minister’s remarks were delivered by Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group’s seventh annual Civil Society Caribbean Meeting at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston on Thursday, June 8. Story Highlights Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is committed to partnering with civil society in the delivery of high-quality services to citizens. last_img read more

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first_img Executive Director of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Stephen Wedderburn, is calling on suppliers of pesticides to comply with the regulations governing proper labelling, to prevent poisoning from improper use and handling of these chemicals.Mr. Wedderburn, who was speaking at the recent Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) annual awards dinner at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston, said there is a growing trend, among some suppliers, of repackaging small quantities of the product in unlabelled containers.“We can understand why it is done. Many small operators only want a small amount of a pesticide and don’t want to purchase a large container to get the small amount they need. And, it is convenient for some sellers to repackage this into smaller containers. However, this is not in any way a safe practice, or a practice associated with quality,” he noted.Mr. Wedderburn condemned the practice as being a quality failure within the industry and a threat to public health and safety, which can result in very serious health consequences.“No amount of pesticide, no matter how small, should be sold without proper labelling and appropriate instruction for handling and use. I am urging industry players to stop the practice of repacking and selling in unlabelled packages,” he warned.Mr. Wedderburn said the BSJ stands ready to work with the PCA in finding ways to address the issue.“The labelling standard is one of the most powerful within the Bureau’s arsenal in terms of specifying labelling conditions of what can be sold. We do not traditionally get involved in the area of health, but in this particular instance, we would be happy to work with the PCA to address the labelling issue,” he said.Meanwhile, Registrar of the PCA, Tamara Morrison, said the PCA continues to conduct public education activities on the issue.“There are many persons who use pesticides on a daily basis who do not know the label is the law. They do not read what they are buying, because even some of the household pesticides, there are persons who are not using them in the correct manner,” the Registrar said.“Training is also conducted by our inspectors in pesticide safety, and they train pest control applicators as well as farmers,” Ms. Morrison added.Nearly all pesticides are toxic and can be potentially dangerous to humans if exposure is excessive. Pesticides, however, can be used safely.By law, certain kinds of information must appear on a pesticide label. This includes product name, type of pesticide, active ingredients, pesticide formulation, directions for use, precautionary statements, first aid information, protective equipment, storage and disposal of product.Applicators have the legal responsibility to read, understand and follow the label directions. “We can understand why it is done. Many small operators only want a small amount of a pesticide and don’t want to purchase a large container to get the small amount they need. And, it is convenient for some sellers to repackage this into smaller containers. However, this is not in any way a safe practice, or a practice associated with quality,” he noted. Executive Director of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Stephen Wedderburn, is calling on suppliers of pesticides to comply with the regulations governing proper labelling, to prevent poisoning from improper use and handling of these chemicals. Story Highlights Mr. Wedderburn, who was speaking at the recent Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) annual awards dinner at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston, said there is a growing trend, among some suppliers, of repackaging small quantities of the product in unlabelled containers.last_img read more

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first_imgNew Delhi: Senior journalist Vineet Narain in a tweet has claimed that the damage from the failure of Jet Airways could have been averted if the authorities acted on his complains on time. Narain said that he and his colleagues “persistently investigated several scams of Jet and Ministry of Civil Aviation and filed PIL in the Delhi High Court”. “If CBI and CVC would have acted on our complaints in time, then so much damage to Indian banks, passengers in terms of high fares, loss of job to 22,000 employees and major disruption in aviation sector would have been averted. Will PMO also look into these lapses on their part?” Narain tweeted on Wednesday. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in Haryana He, however, said that the investigating agencies have started moving in the right direction now. “Naresh Goyal had for two decades taken the Civil Aviation Ministry, DGCA and Air India for a ride to pamper his own airlines, ” Narain said. Narain is a veteran journalist and a anti-corruption activist. His exposure of the 1990s Jain Hawala scandal led him to use a public interest petition to apply pressure on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The CBI was widely criticised when its prosecutions collapsed. As a fallout of the PIL by Narain, the apex court ruled that the Director of the CBI should be appointed on the recommendations of a committee headed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner.last_img read more

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first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The provincial government announced today that twenty new conservation officers were sworn in today in Victoria before beginning their postings this fall throughout B.C., three of whom will be coming to Northeast B.C.Upon successful completion of training, conservation officers will be based in various locations throughout the province, including several in newly-created positions in Chetwynd and Mackenzie. The remaining officers will be filling vacancies in Fort St. John, Prince George, Quesnel, Terrace, Creston, and the Lower Mainland.The hiring of additional conservation officers will bring the total number of conservation officers around the province to 160. Environment Minister George Heyman also announced that resources are also being added to locations with the highest need. “We recognize the need for additional conservation officers to help protect our natural resources and lessen human-wildlife conflicts. For too long, there has been a lack of frontline conservation officers, and communities have suffered the consequences,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We are taking action to put more boots on the ground, so all British Columbians can benefit from the important work conservation officers do every day.”Conservation officers work on a zone-coverage basis, where officers respond to complaints and concerns anywhere in the zone. The COS considers several factors when determining where any new conservation officers were posted, including officer safety, call volume, zone coverage and geographic location.These new faces will fill existing vacancies, new positions and areas where retirements are imminent. The recruits will start training at the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy in May.“More conservation officers on the ground mean more eyes and ears to respond to complaints, and to educate the public, prevent human-wildlife conflicts and protect our natural resources,” said Doug Forsdick, chief conservation officer with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS). “I am proud of the hard work our conservation officers do across the province, and look forward to the latest contingent of new officers serving their communities.”last_img read more

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first_imgBaharampur/Bongaon(WB): Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who had been reprimanded by Election Commission for referring Indian Army as ‘Modiji ki Sena’, Monday called on it(army) to depict a strong India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He claimed that during the Congress rule China used to enter Indian territory at will and play with the country’s security. “But you have seen how strongly the government has acted under Modiji’s leadership ? Dokalam is an example before you. China had tried to enter Dokalam, which is in Bhutan, an Indian protectorate. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ “Indian soldiers did not allow China to enter and after a two-month stand off, was forced to move back,” he said while speaking at election rallies here. Adityanath said that after the Pulwama attack, all terrorists involved were killed within 72 hours and the Indian Air Force entered Pakistan territory and destroyed terror camps at Balakot. “This is the first time that a government has acted with such strong resolve,” he said. The UP chief minister claimed that Congress wants to play with the security of 130 crore people of the country. The party in its election manifesto for the 2019 parliamentary elections, has promised to review the provisions of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and sedition law. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Asserting that there should not be any differentiation among the people of the country on the basis of creed, language or religion, Adityanath said that when Modi became the prime minister he had given the slogan of “Sabka sath sabka vikas”. “He (Modi) had said development of all will be done with the participation of everybody, but will not indulge in appeasement of anyone. But Congress, Trinamool Congress and the Communists are doing this in Bengal,” the UP chief minister said. Bengal is the seat of nationalism and must not be allowed to be used as the base of extremism and Naxalite movement. These parties played with the security of Bengal along with that of the country, he added.last_img read more

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Both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Ian Martin, who also heads the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), and Maoist Chairman Prachanda were accompanied by political and military colleagues at their meeting in the Himalayan country.Military representatives will commence meetings to confer on lessons learned from the verification at the Ilam cantonment site and will also talk about possibility reviewing disputed cases, UNMIN said in a press statement.The mission stressed that the review of a handful of cases could be based solely on criteria in the Agreement on Monitoring the Management of Arms and Armies.The mission said it expects the discharge of those found to be ineligible, and anticipated that the Special Committee established by the Interim Government will give the process priority.UNMIN teams completed the first phase of registering weapons and personnel in mid-February, when more than 30,850 Maoist personnel were registered and 2,855 weapons were stored under 24-hour UN monitoring. An equivalent number of weapons of the Nepal Army was also stored under UN-monitoring as part of this process.In a related development, the first-ever report of the UN Electoral Expert Monitoring Team (EEMT), which cited the security situation as posing the largest threat to the Constituent Assembly elections slated to take place later this year, was submitted this week to the Nepalese Government.The report of the EEMT – which operates independently of UNMIN – recommended that political leaders reach agreement, including signing codes of conduct which will be distributed widely among party activists, on security long before the elections take place.EEMT was established by a Security Council resolution and comprises five members appointed by the Secretary-General.It is tasked with regularly assessing the electoral process to determine whether it will lead to a result accurately reflecting the Nepalese people’s will. The team visited the country from 11 to 23 June.Its report sets benchmarks, based on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to assess the election’s preparations. They include periodic elections, universal and equal suffrage, the right to stand for public office and the right to vote.EEMT noted that the upcoming election’s representation formula meets democratic standards and ensures both universal suffrage and the right to contest elections.At the same time, the report expressed concern that the control of the political elites could be bolstered and the free choice of voters thwarted by Article 7 of the Constituency Assembly Members Election Act, which stipulates that once results are issues, the central party committee will allocate winning seats from the proportional representation ballot to individual candidates. 20 July 2007The senior United Nations envoy to Nepal and the leader of the Maoists today agreed on the resumption of the second phase of registration and verification of Maoist army personnel – to ensure that no minors are serving – as soon as possible. read more

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27 March 2009The Asia-Pacific arm of the United Nations has launched an initiative aimed at cutting through the red tape that is adding as much as 15 per cent to the cost of goods traded in the region. The scheme will pool expertise and experience of countries in the region to remove hidden trade barriers, such as delays at border crossings, harbours and docks caused by cumbersome procedures and excessive paperwork.The UN Network of Experts for Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (UN NExT) initiative was launched at a high-level meeting this week in Bangkok, which was organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE).Ravi Ratnayake, Director of the Trade and Investment Division of ESCAP, said hidden trade barriers have resulted in the “higher cost of exports and lost opportunities in trade, which the countries in the Asia-Pacific region cannot afford at a time of great economic turmoil.”While commending the fiscal stimulus packages of the region in response to the on-going global economic turmoil and the emphasis they place on physical infrastructure, Mr. Ratnayake said, “we at ESCAP believe that the region should also take this opportunity to address its ‘soft infrastructure’ challenges – the many forms of institutional barriers to trade.”Capacity building, training, sharing experience on successful trade facilitation measures, and sensitizing policy makers on the importance of trade facilitation were among the elements of a work programme presented by UN NeXT at the end of the meeting. read more

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first_imgGreg Evans, Executive Director – Coal, Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) explains that his group together with Australian Coal Association Low Emission Technology (ACALET) has launched a new national campaign to provide information about the iconic Australian coal industry and the importance of coal in underpinning our energy future. The Little Black Rock campaign covers TV, radio, press and online advertising. The campaign explains the many economic and social benefits that coal delivers but also the investment the industry is making to deliver significant efficiencies and much lower emissions.Evans says “Australia has the fourth-largest share of coal reserves in the world and all Australians benefit from coal through its contribution to exports, wages, investment and Federal and State government revenues. The campaign will have three key messages.“First, it will highlight the indispensable role played by Australia’s coal industry in providing low cost energy and resource security to all Australians as well as billions of people in East and South Asia. Coal delivered more than 850 million people out of energy poverty in the last 25 years, many times more than any other energy source. As the world’s largest exporter of metallurgical coal used in steel-making, Australia is playing an essential role in supporting the urbanisation and industrialisation underway to improve living standards and opportunities for people in the developing world.“Second, new technologies are dramatically reducing CO2 and particulate emissions from coal-fired power generation. New high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal-fired generators emits 20-25% less CO2 than the average of existing power stations and up to 40% less than the oldest technology in place. There are now more than 670 of these new generation power units in Asia alone helping to sharply reduce the region’s carbon footprint. Hundreds more are under construction or planned. Moreover, commercial scale carbon capture and storage with coal-fired generation is now a reality. Canada’s Saskpower plant is delivering affordable energy with a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions.Third, the campaign will highlight the contribution of the coal industry in providing 150,000 direct and related jobs, generating A$40 billion in export income and paying more than A$6 billion in wages. Strong forecasts of demand will ensure that this contribution will continue for decades. Global coal trade is projected to expand by 40% by 2040, with Australia forecast to regain its ranking as the world’s biggest coal exporter as early as 2017.“The coal industry is committed to an informative and rational discussion on the contribution coal is making to jobs, economic growth and low cost energy in Australia, with the campaign to continue indefinitely to advance these important issues.”The campaign has already suffered significant mocking on social media.To see the new campaign website and TV ad, go to www.littleblackrock.com.aulast_img read more

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French handballOlympic handball momentsomeyerRivera ValeroTunisaVeselin Vukovic After fantastic handball event in London durign Olympic Games, Handball-Planet.com wants to save some memories and try to find the best conclusions of the days in „Copper Box“ and „Basketball Arena“.1 „UNBEATABLE FRANCE“ – „EXPERTS“ WIN FIFTH GOLD IN FOUR YEARS…The best handball generation ever were over-excited after winning second gold medal at the Olympics, what they showed with a „classy celebration“. What to say more about work of Claude Onesta and his players than –  five golds at the last six big handball Tournaments since Beijing 2008. They were the best in the crucial moments, which means that they are real CHAMPIONS.2. „FOURTH SWEDISH DEFEAT IN THE FINAL, BUT WITH A SMILE“Despite they lost the fourth Olympic final, Sweden has to be happy with the performance which nobody expected from them. Before London, Swedish handball team was considered as the group of solid players with just a few stars, which doesn’t have atmosphere and motivation to be here.  As Sweden didn’t even qualified for the World Championship 2013 in Spain, because many of the players didn’t want to play against Montenegro, nobody expected that Olympic Final will be reachable for them, but „Benga Boys“, Lindgren and Olsson was again on the edge of the dream of their teacher – Bengt Johansson.3. DANISH PROBLEM WITH „HANDBALL RULE“„Handball Rule“ is „Handball Rule“. In the year of Olympic Games, European champion isn’t able to repeat the same results – gold medal. Despite his huge experience, legendary Ulrik Wilbek was unable to make „winning atmosphere“ for the second time in last six months after Serbia. After Danes lost easily in the Preliminary Round match against Croatia with 11 goals, it’s became obvious that they aren’t on „golden level“, but still, majority of handball fans across the Globe expected to see Hansen and Co. in the semi-final.  Beijing is repeated…4. RIVERA’S THE „THOUGHEST DEFEAT OF CAREER“Spain was really close to the medals battles, but „Prince William“ (Accambray) has found a „key“ for Arpad Sterbik in the quarter-finals match.  Spaniards made everything to take medal in London and save our sport under big financial problems in this country.  Now, they have one more chance – World Championship on home soil next  January. Spain needs „big success“ to avoid handball from going down year by year. Rivera had everything in his own hands, but the „Experts“ had luck and knowledge…5. CROATIAN FEAR  OF OMEYER – AN „OLD STORY“They were perfect in the Preliminary Round. Attack, counter-attack, tall defense, good goalkeepers, everything what Croatian team made in the first five matches in London was from „fairytales“. And then came France with Thierry Omeyer. Unbelievable lack of self-confidence and an old „complex“ from French goalkeeper has been seen on that match. Čupić, Duvnjak and other best scorers of Croatia was totally out of the match. Perfect as always in the crucial moments“, Titi Omeyer broke Croatian dreams about gold medal.6. „TWO WINS – ONE DRAW – FOUR DEFEATS“ – FOURTH PLACE FOR HUNGARYHungarians were the fourth team of Group B with three defeats (two of them were easy) and two wins, but Lajos Mocsai knew that the most important match on this kind of tournament is quarter-finals clash. They beat Iceland after 80 minutes, but there were no more strength and quality for the medal battles. Hungary repeated success from Athens 2004. Big success for them as they lost matches against Denmark and Spain, teams who stayed out of the TOP 4 and beat only Korea, Serbia and Iceland (after extra-time).7. „SERBS ARE BACK IN 2010“„Why are you doing this, why you are going back two years? asked Serbian head-coach, Veselin Vukovic his players of one of the time-outs.  Despite huge expectations of spoiled sports fans in Belgrade, Serbia is back to reality, after silver medal at the EHF EURO 2012, finished 9th in London, something simliar as at World Championship 2011, where they were 10th.  Serbs showed lack of concentration in the decisive moments of the matches with Spain and Hungary, what was „enough“ that „Eagles“ missed quarter-finals. Someof the  key players (Ilic, Vujin, Nikcevic) had problem to find form during the event in the „Copper Box“ and broke ilusions of their compatriots…8. TUNISIAN FIRST ¼ FINALTunisia has played in the first Olympic quarter-finals in the history, but team coached by Frenchmen Porteau will stay remembered more because of the „ugliest“ handball in London. In the match against Croatia in the quarter-finals, we couldn’t see too much handball from Tunisians, just rugby, box or some other discipline. Shameful for the team, who knows to play handball…9. SOLD OUT HALLS – GREAT START FOR HANDBALL IN GREAT BRITAINIt’s sounds funny for us, people who have handball „in the blood“ that a lot of people in London discovered handball as an fantastic sport for the first time in their lives, but better late than never. Many nice words and good articles were written about handballi from U.S  and English journalists. Hopefully, handball will make some progress from that in these two countries…10. GOLUZA’S “STORM“…One of the NT coaches, Slavko Goluza (Croatia) used the opportunity of the fantastic Olympic scene to get out of the sports and talk about the war after Balkan derby with Serbia. Obviously this orientation on some things which have nothing about with handball, costed him a lack of concentration in the semi-final match against France… ← Previous Story KIF Kolding to try to create Dream Team with former AGK players Next Story → Women’s Olympic Handball TOP 10 moments: Norway, Popovic, Bonaventura, Brasil’s tears… read more

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first_imgENDA KENNY IS to take part in a “fireside discussion” with billionaire PayPal co-founder Elon Musk.The discussion, which will also feature entrepreneur and investor Shervin Pishevar, will take place at this year’s Dublin Web Summit.Musk is currently the CEO of SpaceX, the only private company in the world to have returned a space craft from low-orbit flight.He is also the CEO of Tesla Motors, an electric car company, and SolarCity, a residential solar power provider in the US.He was one of the co-founders of PayPal, which was sold to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion.The discussion, which will take place at 6pm this Thursday, will be moderated by Mark Little, the Irish journalist who founded digital news agency Storyful.A last batch of tickets for the summit have been released and are on sale here.Read: Twitter hikes IPO amount to $1.61 billionRead: Why don’t the new iPhones have 4G connections in Ireland?last_img read more

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first_imgVALENTINE’S DAY – an enjoyable occasion to celebrate love and romance or a marketer’s dream? There is no denying that 14 February continues to attract intense interest and responses from consumers eager to celebrate (or indeed, ignore!) this day of l’amour, whilst businesses and retailers enthusiastically embrace and seek to expand the accompanying commercial opportunities.In terms of the origins of St Valentine’s Day, there is as much colour and variation when it comes to its history as there is in the range and diversity of gift ideas offered to smitten purchasers. One Roman legend suggests that the original Valentine was a third century priest who incurred the wrath of Claudius II, Emperor of Rome. Claudius had apparently decreed that young men should not be allowed to marry, and instead should be encouraged to join his army.ValentineValentine railed against the perceived injustice of this ban and performed marriage ceremonies in secret until this came to the attention of an angry Claudius. Whilst Valentine was imprisoned, it is suggested that he befriended his jailer’s blind daughter and wrote her a farewell letter, signed “from your Valentine”, before being executed on the 14 February 269 AD.Today, Valentine’s Day is a key commercial event planned for by many retailers in the traditionally slow-moving months of January and February. Recent figures from Visa Europe relating to the occasion, suggest that in the Irish market, holders of their cards will spend approximately €10 million in florist shops this year, and that 40 per cent of Irish people will buy flowers especially to mark the day.So too, greeting cards, chocolates, jewellery and lingerie continue to be staple purchases whilst other gifts include champagne, dinner reservations, hotel breaks, spa treatments, flying lessons and hot air balloon flights. Not surprisingly, the most popular gift of all is the greeting card. Valentine’s Day is the second-most popular day of the year to exchange cards, the first being Christmas.For example, Hallmark, who first sold Valentine’s Day cards in 1913, offer a choice of over 1,400 cards, which cater for different price points, ranging from a value line of cards to a premium signature collection. For the more technologically-minded consumer seeking an alternative to the traditional card, there is a plethora of apps for iPhones and iPads – one such greeting app being the imaginatively named Luv Bytes for the iPad.HallmarkWhat is interesting is how the card and gift market has now grown to include and acknowledge all forms of relationships such as parents, siblings, school-teachers and children. For example, Hallmark offers a range of cards that can be given to children that feature small collectable characters such as Spider-Man and Minnie Mouse, as well as a specific line of cards for Justin Bieber fans. Remaining with the child market, Amazon offer a line of Valentine’s Day gifts especially for young consumers, ranging from arts and crafts including  stickers, beads and crayons, to teddy bears bearing messages such as “I wuff you”.But the market for Valentine’s Day gifts continues to grow as marketers cannily identify other recipients of the gift-giver’s fondness and affection. One such example is the dog and cat sector. For example, PetSmart, a major speciality pet retailer, operating over 1,290 stores in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico have developed a line of gifts for pets called Luv-A-Pet, featuring over 40 Valentine-themed products for ‘pet parents’ seeking to treat their dogs or cats. Seasonal products that can be bought in-store or online for one’s pet include a Paw Dress, Bow Tie and Cupid Socks.Marketing love and romanceWhilst the day is associated with love and romance, marketers are careful to target consumers in a positive way. For example, humour is a prevalent appeal used in Valentine’s Day cards whilst PetSmart appeals to one’s sense of altruism by allocating ten per cent of the purchase price of the Luv-A-Pet line, to chosen pet charities.So too, marketers use positive references in targeting consumers who may not be giving or receiving Valentine’s Day cards and gifts this year, but would like to be. For example, one approach used by advertisers is to use positive and affirmative phrases such as “new year, new love”, “celebrate you”, or encouraging single consumers to enjoy their independent status.Finally, in response to the economic situation, retailers are attuned to the value-seeking, Valentine’s Day consumer with Wal-Mart offering detailed advice on how to do “romance on a budget”. Tips on Wal-Mart’s website range from how to replicate a restaurant dining experience at home, with suitable décor and lighting, to organising an indoor picnic.On the other hand, for those consumers on a quest for more unique gift ideas this year, Harrods of London Valentine’s offerings include a platinum-plated pencil sharpener for £270 or a sterling silver money clip for £259. A seven piece set of copper cookware costs £1,499 while a 50 year old bottle of malt whiskey is retailing at just under £11,000.It would seem that as long as consumer interest in Valentine’s Day continues to blossom, so too do the commercial opportunities that come with it.Dr Margaret-Anne Lawlor is a lecturer in Marketing Communications at the Dublin Institute of Technology, College of Business, Aungier Street.Pictures: 5 alternative Valentine’s Day cards… Irish style>Read: 7 very Irish Valentine’s Day presents>last_img read more

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