45 Russian athletes have appeals against Olympic bans rejected

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45 Russian athletes have appeals against Olympic bans rejected

first_imgPYEONGCHANG, South Korea >> Russia’s desperate attempt to get 45 banned athletes — including several medal favorites — into the Pyeongchang Olympics failed just hours before Friday’s opening ceremony.The International Olympic Committee had banned Russia because of a massive doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games, but gave individual athletes the chance to apply for admission to compete as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” There were 168 Russians who passed the vetting process. Dozens more filed …last_img read more

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Botswana revives ostrich farming

first_imgAn ostrich farm in the Oudtshoorn district.Ostrich meat is an increasingly popular low-fat alternative to red meat. (Image: RodgerBosch, MediaClub South Africa. For morefree photos, visit the image library.) The six-colour South African flag madeentirely of ostrich feathers.(Image: Ostrich Business Chamber) Africa-shaped keyrings made from high-quality ostrich leather.(Image: Ostrich Business Chamber)Janine ErasmusSouth Africa is known internationally as the leader in ostrich farming. Now the country’s neighbour, Botswana, is to boost ostrich farming through the new Ostrich Out-grower programme. The scheme is driven by the Department of Animal Health and Production, which is responsible for improving sustainable livestock production and management practices.The world’s biggest bird has been a major source of income for South Africa – after gold, diamonds and wool, it was the country’s fourth largest export as early as the 19th century. The South African Ostrich Business Chamber says that the industry contributes R1.2-billion (US$98-million) to South Africa’s economy every year.Now Botswana is hoping to cash in, with the establishment of a scheme that will revive the neglected ostrich industry in that country. The out-grower scheme is to be implemented and managed by Talana Farms, a subsidiary of the Botswana Development Corporation.Feathers flew in 2006 when frustrated farmers in Botswana blamed the government for the failure of the ostrich industry. In response, the government established an ostrich multiplication unit at Dibete, located north-east of the capital Gaborone, later that year, to help with the supply of birds. That, and now the out-grower scheme are indications of the authorities’ willingness to improve the situation.The government is ploughing BWP13-million ($1.6-million) into the multiplication unit up to 2009 to help it reach sustainability. Botswana has the largest number of ostriches in Africa, most of them wild, and the industry holds huge economic potential but has laboured to fulfil expectations.An out-grower partnership generally involves an arrangement between landholders and a processing company for the production of certain products. The new programme involves the outsourcing of chick rearing to farmers on a contract basis, along with supervision and technical and veterinary support.Talana Farms identifies suitable farmers and provides them with all the training and resources necessary to raise chicks. The farmers build paddocks with the materials supplied and buy day-old chicks from the Dibete unit. Once the chicks weigh about 60kg, Talana buys them back, rears them to an established size and then sells them.There are five farmers in the scheme at the moment but Talana hopes that they will eventually have up to 50 participants.Once ostrich production is again rolling along, the government will designate a company to run the country’s sole ostrich abattoir, which is owned by the Ministry of Agriculture but is leased to the Botswana Ostrich Company. The facility closed down temporarily after the slump in the ostrich industry but re-opened in October 2007. For reasons such as limited infrastructure, unreliable feed supply and scarcity of chicks, farmers have struggled to meet the multi-species abattoir’s capacity. It is currently slaughtering cattle as well.Ostrich capital of the worldSouth Africa’s ostrich farming hub lies in Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo region of the Western Cape. The town is known as the ostrich capital of the world and is widely recognised as a source of top quality ostrich feathers, leather products and ostrich meat. Although there have been some significant slumps along the way, South Africa has managed to maintain the industry’s momentum.The industry was initially built on the feather trade but today leather is the main reason for the country’s dominance in the global ostrich market. Ostrich meat is also a popular export and is recognised as the healthiest red meat available, with lower cholesterol and saturated fat content, and fewer kilojoules. The meat is sought after in South Africa and abroad, in line with the general trend towards healthier eating.The South African ostrich feather duster is a profitable spin-off of ostrich farming. The item was invented in Johannesburg by a missionary and broom factory manager named Harry S. Beckner in 1903, although a patent had been filed in 1876. Beckner later took the technique to the US and started a feather duster company in Massachusetts. The Beckner Feather Duster Company, now the oldest US-based feather duster company, is still operational.According to the local Ostrich Business Chamber, more than 65% of the world’s domesticated ostriches are found in South Africa, and the country is also responsible for 90% of all ostrich-related products globally.The Ostrich Business Chamber has also embarked on a number of black empowerment initiatives to help emerging farmers in the ostrich industry. High start-up costs, inexperience, and risk of disease are factors that retard the growth of the industry, but the chamber has pledged to do its utmost to remove obstacles. The West Coast Ostrich Empowerment Project, the Klein Karoo Leather Goods Project, and the Southern Cape Ostrich Tanning in Mossel Bay are among the successful community-run projects already implemented.Unlike the uncertainty of the early days, today’s blood lines are strong and the various products are increasingly sought after. Ostriches have been classified as farming stock in South Africa and are no longer subject to the regulations of the various conservation bodies.World’s largest birdThe ostrich (Struthio camelus) is the only living species of the family Struthionidae and genus Struthio. However it shares the order Struthioniformes with other flightless birds such as the emu, rhea and kiwi. In South Africa the predominant species is S. c. australis, or the southern ostrich.The ostrich is flightless because of its selfishness, according to the ancient San legend. The story tells of Mantis, the Bushman demi-god, who became aware that Ostrich was keeping a secret to himself. Ostrich’s food always smelt delicious but he never shared his method, and this prompted Mantis to stealthily observe him. He noticed Ostrich taking fire from under his wing and using it to cook his food, then tucking it back under his wing after the meal.Mantis wanted the fire but he knew Ostrich would not give it to him, so he planned to trick the bird. Mantis called Ostrich to the site of a huge plum tree and encouraged him to eat the fruit, adding that the best ones were at the top. As Ostrich stretched further and further he eventually opened his wings to balance himself, giving Mantis the opportunity to snatch the fire. Ostrich was very ashamed and from that moment on has walked with his wings pressed close to his side, refusing to fly. Mantis subsequently gave the fire to the San.Ostrich countryThe Karoo’s hot, dry summers and mild, sunny winters are the ideal climate for ostrich breeding. The dryness also helps prevent the outbreak of disease.The first South African ostrich farm was established in 1864. However, ostriches, which are native to north, south and east Africa, had already lived in the area for hundreds of years. The indigenous San people used their meat and eggs, retaining the strong shell to use as water containers, and storing water in buried egg caches for emergencies.By the 19th century there was increasing demand for ostrich feathers from other parts of the British Empire, and canny farmers in the Oudtshoorn area seized the opportunity to begin an ostrich domestication process. The ostriches, placed in vast fenced-off areas, did not take long to begin breeding and by 1865 the annual feather harvest weighed in at a hefty 8 600kg.During these early days farmers faced challenges such as high mortality amongst chicks due to predators and disease, but the invention in 1869 of the ostrich incubator changed the face of ostrich farming. Arthur Douglass, the Scottish inventor of the device, was a resident of Albany, Eastern Cape, at the time, and his invention was one of two major developments in the industry. The other was the introduction of lucerne as a feeding crop around the same time.The birds thrived and in the decade from 1865 to 1875 their number rose from a paltry 80 to over 22 000. Breeding pairs sold for up to £1 000 ($1 500).Overcoming setbacksDuring the early part of the 20th century, the ostrich industry in other countries began to take off. South African farmers realised they may be facing stiff competition, but resolved to fight back by producing the best feathers in the world. Meanwhile, RW Thornton of the Grootfontein Agricultural College had conducted research into feathers from all parts of the world and identified the Evans-Lovemore strain of the Barbary ostrich as the source of the best, and cheapest, feathers.An expedition to find this Barbary ostrich, an almost-mythical creature with superior “double floss” feathers, red skin and a bald head, was launched. The members of the expedition were Thornton and two other colleagues. After many trials the team returned with 141 magnificent specimens, which were cross-bred with home-grown birds to form the new nucleus of the local ostrich farming industry.The new arrivals adjusted well to the Karoo, bringing with them a bumper crop of the finest quality feathers. Wealthy farmers, or feather barons, built lavish and opulent mansions known as feather palaces, constructed mostly from sandstone and influenced by contemporary art nouveau. The homestead on the farm Safari, known as Welgeluk, is a national monument.Oudtshoorn earned the nickname of Little Jerusalem, not only because of the large Jewish population but in reference to the many sandstone buildings found in the Israeli capital.In 1914 a huge surplus in feather stock and the outbreak of World War I caused a temporary plunge in the ostrich industry and farmers who one day had been millionaires were penniless the next. By the end of the war in 1918 there were still 314 000 domesticated ostriches in South Africa but by 1930 there were only 32 000, and by 1940 there were only 2 000 ostriches left in Oudtshoorn.Tourist attractionAfter World War II the industry began to recover and besides feathers and skins, it took a new direction – into tourism. The nearby Cango Caves brought many visitors to the region and they naturally took an interest in the flocks of odd-looking birds. Today, show farms such as Highgate in Oudtshoorn offer participation in routine activities such as feather clipping and ostrich feeding, provide information on every aspect of ostrich farming, and allow chick cuddling and ostrich rides.Visitors may also get the chance to literally walk on eggshells, except that these are the immensely strong ostrich eggs, which on average measure 15cm in length and 13cm in width and weigh 1.5kg. The eggs must be this strong in order to withstand the weight of the adult bird during incubation.Tourism, and a growing demand for leather, caused ostrich numbers to rise from the 1930 low of 32 000 to over 100 000 by the 1980s. Most of these were found in Oudtshoorn. Today the national ostrich population is stable at around that number.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Related storiesOstrich eggs hatch art fadSouth Africa’s tourist highlightsUseful linksOstrich Business ChamberDepartment of Trade and IndustryOudtshoornHighgate ostrich farmBotswana Development CorporationOstriches onlineThe Heart Foundation – ostrich recipelast_img read more

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How Ingress Could Be Google’s Template For The Future Of Android Apps

first_imgRelated Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology dan rowinski Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Template For The Future Of AndroidIngress is a bit of a curiosity. Only a handful of people have had access to the game to this point as Google has used its classic invitation-only method for rolling out the game. Ingress also has its own kind of underground, conspiracy theory marketing plan where the people from Niantic Labs come up with crazy storylines about fictional characters and their nefarious dealings. The plot line of Ingress is shrouded in mystery and heavily invested in the real world, but it is definitely an “alternate” version of reality.By rolling out Ingress to developers at I/O, Google hopes to show how mobile, location, multi-player and augmented reality functions can be integrated into developer application offerings. In that way, Ingress becomes a kind of “how-to” template to developers looking to create vibrant new offerings for Android games and apps, something that could benefit Google in a variety of ways.Google’s two most high profile projects could directly benefit from the features and functions found in Ingress. Google Now is Google’s future of search feature and provides semantic information to users by aggregating their data from search queries, Android location data and interests. Users are sent “cards” as notifications on their smartphones such as the scores of their favorite sports teams, weather or how long it will take them to get home from their current location. Google could easily add Ingress updates to Now while also using the location and activity data to better target ads to people. Ingress also seems like a game tailor-made for Google Glass, the company’s new augmented reality goggles. An application layer could be added to Glass that shows players where portals and other players are, allowing them to interact with the Ingress world from their field of vision. It behooves Google to show off the capabilities of Ingress to developers. Ingress is much more than a game, it is a map for developers and points to the future of Android. The way in which Ingress players interact with the real world could be a boon a variety of Google services and app developers. With Ingress, Google is showing people the way.  There is a secret digital war happening all around us. The Enlightened and the Resistance battle for control of hidden portals scattered throughout our cities and neighborhoods. At times, the fighting can be fierce with rhetoric from both sides heated as hackers vie for control.This is not a battle between secret nationalist hacker armies and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. This is Ingress, the augmented/alternate reality game from Google’s clandestine Niantic Labs. And, if you are going to Google I/O later this month, you will soon be able to play, too.Ingress has been in closed beta since it rolled out to its first wave of users in late 2012. Google is now extending invites to the game to all registered attendees of its developers’ conference later this month in San Francisco and encouraging participants to sign in and test the game out before the conference. What Is Ingress?If you are not familiar with Ingress, the rules are pretty simple. When you sign up you are asked to pick the Enlightenment or Resistance. From a practical purpose, it does not really matter what side you pick except for the color of your side in the game (green for Enlightenment, blue for Resistance). Which side you choose depends on your stance on the dangers or potential of the game’s primary currency – Exotic Matter (XM). XM can be collected by moving around the physical world with your smartphone and spent to “hack” portals for your side.For instance, if I am in my neighborhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I can find a portal (which are usually landmarks, public buildings or other significant areas) and hack it with my smartphone using XM (and other various tools found in the game) and take control of it for my side. In my neighborhood, the closest portal is a post office. The game is kind of like an alternate reality massive-multiplayer online game played through your smartphone using the real world as your map. When ReadWrite reviewed Ingress in November 2012, we thought that the game (from a conceptual level) had a chance to reinvent what mobile gaming could look like in the coming years. Google probably thinks so too as it rolls out invites to all the developers attending I/O.Battle San FranciscoGoogle will be hosting two Ingress games during I/O. On Tuesday, May 14th the first floor of the Moscone West will be the stage for an Ingress battle from 4 to 6 p.m (all times PDT). The next day an Ingress battle is scheduled to break out at the I/O After Hours Party at Moscone West on the third floor between 7 and 10 p.m.A “major Ingress-wide game event” will take place in San Francisco on Thursday, May 16th from 7 to 9 p.m. This event will be open to non-Google I/O conference attendees. Google will also have a developer session during the conference at 3:30 p.m. on May 15th.  Tags:#Android#Google#Google IO13 last_img read more

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One out of four plays sports

first_img.Only one out of every four respondents plays sports in their leisure time. They not only play in the field, but enjoy sports on television as well. They spend about one and a half hours every day in this purposes, finds the survey.The study also revealed that those who have internet facilities take part and watch sports programmes more than those who do not have access to this.Of the respondents, around half of the students said they pass time playing games in their leisure time.It also said that youth from the village areas take part in sports more than their city counterparts.Female students’ participation in sports is very little (2.1 percent) compared to male students (46.8 per cent).The division wise results said that more than one third of young people from Mymensingh take part in sports whereas the number is 18 per cent in Chittagong and 16.6 per cent in Barisal. Youths from Rajshahi and Rangpur enjoy sports on television but most of the youth from Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet and Barisal do not enjoy watching sports that much, the survey report said.Read book, newspapers, but a littleThe youth of the country give only 45 minutes to reading newspapers and half an hour to books every day, the youth survey indicates.Allocation of such small amount of time is due to some other tasks including watching television, gathering with friends and online chatting.The study also found that female students read books more whereas male students read newspapers.The respondents, however, said they want to increase their boundary of knowledge.According to the study findings, access to internet facilities affects the respondents significantly. Those who have access to it read more books and newspapers than those who do not have the facility.A little more than one third youth (31.3 per cent) read newspapers in leisure time.The Youth Survey-2017 also suggested that the bachelors read more than the married persons.Almost half of the youth living at towns read newspapers. The rate of regular newspaper readers in villages is 38.9 per cent.Division wise, youth of Rajshahi read newspapers the most (40.7 per cent) and the rate is least in Barisal (16.3 per cent).About half of the students read newspapers. Among them, nearly three fourth are graduate and postgraduate students, the survey said.The survey findings also said that the government job holders read newspapers most (64.4 per cent) whereas housewives read least.It also revealed that the habit of reading decreases with the age.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Shameen Rezalast_img read more

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Schoolboys throatslit body recovered

first_imgMap of JashorePolice recovered the body of a schoolboy with his throat slashed from a field at Sarkati village in Monirampur, Jashore on Tuesday morning, reports UNB.The deceased was Shimul Hossain, 16, an SSC candidate from Kashimpur High School and son of Rafiqul Islam from Sarkati.Deceased’s mother Poly Begum said Shimul and some of his friends enjoyed a picnic party at Kashimpur High School ground on Monday and returned home in the evening.He was watching television when someone called him over mobile phone around 9:00pm and he went out again, this time never to return.Locals, however, found his body in the crop field in morning around 10:00am and informed the police, she added.On information police recovered the throat-slit body from the field and sent it to Jessore General Hospital for autopsy, said Md Saidul Islam, officer-in-charge of Monirampur police station.last_img read more

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Britain not to compromise with EU on Brexit

first_imgBritain`s prime minister Theresa May speaks at the University of Edinburgh before signing the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal in Edinburgh, Scotland, 7 August 2018. Photo: ReutersBritish prime minister Theresa May said she would not compromise with Brussels over her plans for Brexit as a media report said rivals in her party were set to publish their own proposal calling for a cleaner break with the European Union.With under two months before Britain and the EU want to agree a deal to end over 40 years of union, May is struggling to sell what she calls her business-friendly Brexit to her own party and across a divided country.The EU has tentatively welcomed what has become known as the Chequers plan which is designed to protect cross-border trade, but difficult negotiations lie ahead.”I will not be pushed into accepting compromises on the Chequers proposals that are not in our national interest,” May wrote in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.”The coming months will be critical in shaping the future of our country and I am clear about my mission.”The plan would keep Britain in a free trade zone with the EU for manufactured and agricultural goods. But some Brexit supporters have said that would mean parts of the British economy would still be subject to rules set in Brussels.Two of May’s most senior lawmakers – Boris Johnson and David Davis – quit as foreign secretary and Brexit secretary respectively in July in protest at May’s plan, saying it did not go far enough and would let down the millions of people who voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.According to a report in the Sunday Times newspaper, leading Brexiteer lawmakers in May’s party are ready to publish their own plan for Brexit ahead of the party’s annual conference which begins at the end of September.That would be designed to heap pressure on May who needs to get any deal with Brussels through parliamentary votes in Westminster before Britain is due to leave the EU on 29 March next year.May reiterated that Britain would be ready to leave the EU without a deal if the two sides cannot agree on the divorce terms.last_img

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