UN expert urges Panama to strengthen rights of indigenous people

“Indigenous peoples have repeatedly expressed their concern to me of the presence of third parties in their territories, both in and out of the regions,” said the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya. “These parties include private settlers and agricultural, livestock and tourism, as well as miners and illegal loggers.” Mr. Anaya stressed that one of the major concerns of the seven indigenous groups in Panama is the recognition and protection of their territories and natural resources. “In Panama, the preservation and development of indigenous cultures is due in large part to the Government’s acknowledgement that they are autonomous and have their own territory in the region,” he said, adding that the Government’s official recognition of indigenous counties is an affirmation of indigenous peoples worldwide. “These developments represent a significant foundation on which to continue building and strengthening the rights of the indigenous peoples of Panama,” Mr. Anaya said. “However, during the last week I have noticed that this foundation is in many ways fragile and precarious, and there are several threats to the rights of indigenous peoples threatening the progress made in previous years.” Mr. Anaya urged the Government to cooperate with indigenous authorities to control and stop these invasions and privatization of land, including indigenous territories that are still waiting to be officially demarcated and recognized by the State. “The development of large investment projects in indigenous territories of Panama has been the subject of numerous allegations of violations of the rights of indigenous peoples, especially in recent years,” he said. “This has resulted in the loss of large areas of indigenous lands and natural resources, as well as the fragmentation of control and decision making that indigenous authorities exert on their land.” Mr. Anaya, who just finished a seven-day visit to the country, also emphasized the need to reinforce and implement policies in favour of the rights of indigenous peoples according to international standards. In particular, he stated that the creation of a national development plan for indigenous peoples could be a major advance if it is based on the aspirations of indigenous groups and if it has the necessary resources and budget to be implemented. During his visit, Mr. Anaya met in Panama City with Government officials, as well as representatives of indigenous groups and civil society. Special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. Mr. Anaya will present his findings and recommendations to the Council in 2014. read more

In fight against hunger UN launches initiative targeting threat of desertification

The programme, named Action Against Desertification and launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP), will devote some €41million to bolstering sustainable land management across the world’s most vulnerable areas in an effort to fight hunger and poverty. “Desertification and land degradation are very serious challenges. They lead to hunger and poverty, themselves at the root of many conflicts,” FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said in a press release marking the programme’s launch. “But recent successes show that these problems are not insurmountable. We can boost food security, improve livelihoods and help people adapt to climate change.”The FAO reports that more than 70 per cent of people living in drylands and other fragile ecosystems across Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific derive their livelihoods from natural resources. At the same time, an uptick in population growth and climate change has placed increasing pressure on these ecosystems, intensifying degradation and desertification and putting millions of lives at risk. In an effort to thwart the costly effects of desertification in Africa, the Action Against Desertification will build on an already existing “flagship programme” – the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative – which supports local communities, Government and civil society in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal with the sustainable management and restoration of their dryland forests and rangelands. Two-thirds of the African continent is classified as desert or drylands and climate change has led to prolonged periods of drought; over-intensive farming and over-grazing have caused land degradation; and deforestation has turned once fertile land into desert in many areas. On that note, the FAO-backed programme it will support agro-forestry while also incentivizing the creation of farmer field schools where farmers can learn about the causes of desertification and the best ways to combat and prevent it. Meanwhile, in both the Caribbean and the Pacific, the new initiative will target the problems of soil loss and degraded natural habitats by helping local communities adopt improved sustainable land and forest management practices. read more

Yemen UN official calls for scaling up efforts to meet staggering humanitarian

“The success of our humanitarian effort depends on having sufficient resources to provide assistance,” Johannes Van Der Klaauw said in a statement issued yesterday, following his visit last week to Sa’ada.He noted that the $1.6 billion humanitarian appeal for Yemen is only 18 per cent funded. “Significant donor contributions are needed immediately to alleviate the suffering of the girls, boys, women and men of Yemen,” he stressed. The ongoing conflict in Yemen has taken a heavy toll on civilians, more than 1,895 of whom have been killed by fighting since March. More than 15 million people have no access to basic healthcare, while half the population does not have enough food to feed their families, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “The escalation of the conflict in Yemen has a devastating impact on civilian populations, as I witnessed in Sa’ada earlier this week,” said Mr. Van Der Klaauw, who reported that the violence has forced a large number of people to flee their homes, while civilian infrastructure has been destroyed by airstrikes and fighting.“Violence that directly impacts civilians and attacks on civilian infrastructure must stop,” he stressed. “I cannot overemphasize the importance of all parties protecting civilian lives and livelihoods. Civilian infrastructure must be spared from airstrikes and shelling; at the same time these facilities must not be used for military purposes.”It will be vital for the humanitarian community scale up its response to the “staggering” humanitarian needs across Yemen, he continued, citing the need for live-saving assistance in areas such as emergency shelter, food security, water and sanitation, medical care, nutrition and psycho-social support. Also critical is bringing children back to school and restoring livelihoods. read more

On World Day UN urges international community to invest in recruiting empowering

“Today, as the global community comes together around the new 2030 Agenda, the role teachers play has never have been more important,” said the heads of key UN agencies in a joint statement on the Day.Quality teachers are increasingly recognized as the most important factor in children’s learning- and thus, in improving educational attainment levels, increasing the ability of young people to participate in society and today’s knowledge economies, boosting productivity and prosperity.The statement was issued by UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova; UN International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Director-General, Guy Ryder; UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director, Anthony Lake; UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Administrator, Helen Clark; and Fred van Leeuwen, the General Secretary of Education International, which represents teachers’ organizations across the globe.The statement underscored the mounting shortage of quality teachers, unequal distribution of trained teachers, and inadequate or non-existent national standards for the teaching profession.These are all key contributing factors to wide equity gaps in access and learning. According to estimates compiled by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, to achieve universal primary education by 2020, countries will need to recruit a total of 10.9 million primary teachers.“This is a global education crisis in the making – unless we act,” said the officials, noting that the looming crisis was recognized at the 2015 World Education Forum, in Incheon, South Korea, where leaders committed to “ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems.The new global education goal, Sustainable Development Goal 4, which is at the heart of the Education 2030 Agenda, call for “inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”“Realizing this goal is critical to achieving all our global development targets – for strong societies depend on well-educated citizens and a well-trained workforce. But we can only realize this agenda if we invest in recruiting, supporting, and empowering teachers,” explained the UN agency heads.In a separate statement on the Day, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) highlighted the key roles teachers play in empowering students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 21st century and better connect with people and experiences beyond their borders. “Being well-trained, dedicated, enthusiastic and interactive, our teachers are reshaping the future of our school children. The ways our teachers are working through the reform are being noted beyond UNRWA,” said Caroline Pontefract, Director of Education at UNRWA. This year’s celebrations give the Agency an important opportunity to recognize the important work of UNRWA teachers, who continue to deliver quality education despite the many difficulties the face, including the ongoing crisis in Syria and last year’s devastating conflict in Gaza, as well as an unprecedented funding shortfall in the Agency’s core programming budget had risked a delay in the school year in Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank, Syria and Lebanon. World Teachers’ Day, held annually since 1994, commemorates the anniversary of the signing in 1966 of the UNESCO/ILO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers, and celebrates the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. The Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers has, essentially, served as a charter of rights for teachers worldwide. read more

Firstever UN forum on albinism in Africa to focus on less talk

Persons with albinism in the region of Sub Saharan Africa are facing some of the most extreme forms of human rights violations. They face physical attacks fuelled by erroneous beliefs that their body parts can be used in potions and in other witchcraft practices. A majority of victims are women and children. They also face entrenched discrimination and stigma extending to their family members particularly mothers of children with albinism.Confronted by these challenges, many civil society organisations, persons with albinism, and states wish to design new ways of dealing with the issues while adopting those that have been tested and true.“There are a lot of specific, practical, simple and effective measures that some countries have successfully used to tackle the issues faced by persons with albinism including having a dedicated office and budget on the issue, creating a telephone hotline to report crimes and threats, regulating ‘witchcraft’ and traditional medicine practitioners among others,” said the United Nations independent expert on albinism, Ikponwosa Ero.“But these ideas have to be shared as best practices and developed into a continental roadmap to successfully tackle the issue,” she added.This is why on the heels of international albinism awareness day which just concluded on 13 June, over 150 people from 28 countries in the region will gather this week in Dar es Salaam to lay down a roadmap of specific measures aimed at dealing with the human rights issues faced by persons with albinism.Half of the participants are from civil society, about 20 percent from government, 10 percent from national human rights institutions and there will also be human rights specialists from within and outside the African Union and UN as well as academics.“As the continent of Africa celebrates the decade of human rights, and the UN launches the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which pledges to leave no one behind, we have a good context in which to plant this forum,” Ms. Ero said.“It is not going to be easy to come up with specific measures for all the issues arising out of the problems faced by persons with albinism, but the best practices of some States and civil society to date will represent a key step forward in promoting and protecting their human rights,” the expert stressed. read more

UN report urges Somalia to ensure freedom of expression as it is

“The trend of arrest and detention of journalists and other media workers seems to indicate an intention to intimidate or harass journalists and media owners which inevitably leads to self-censorship or to media workers eventually leaving the profession,” says the report produced jointly by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).Al-Shabaab has prohibited all media to operate in areas under its control but state actors are main perpetrators of violations against media workers and political activists, the report says“Somalia has made great progress in recent years, after decades of conflict and violence,” said Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia and head of UNSOM, Michael Keating, in an OHCHR news release. “But Somalis continue to suffer multiple human rights deficits. They need and deserve accountable institutions.”“Strong, independent and critical journalism is a vital element of any democratic State,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. “Attacks against individual journalists and media organizations have a deeply corrosive impact on democracy, with profoundly negative repercussions on freedom of expression and human rights in general.”The UN human rights chief urged the Somali authorities, both at the Federal and State levels, to take prompt action and ensure that all violations of the right to freedom of expression, including the various serious attacks perpetrated against media workers, are fully investigated, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrators.The report says that 2016 represents a “critical juncture in Somalia’s political transition,” and highlights the encouraging progress towards more inclusive elections and accountable government since 2012, including the rebuilding of State institutions and the adoption of important new laws, including one on political parties and one on the creation of an independent National Human Rights Commission.The report, however, states that freedom of expression, which plays a central role in the building of democratic States, especially in times of political transformation, remains significantly limited, documenting 120 cases of arbitrary arrest and detention of media workers between January 2014 and July 2016.Despite the “vibrant media culture” in Somalia – which hosts more than 90 media outlets and scores of websites and blogs – numerous violations aimed at journalists and political leaders are documented, including killings, attacks, arbitrary arrests and detention, intimidation, harassment, closure of media outlets, confiscation of equipment and blocking of websites.30 journalists killed between August 2012 and June 2016The dangers facing media workers and public figures are illustrated by the killing, between August 2012 and June 2016, of a total of 30 journalists and 18 parliamentarians in Somalia.Al-Shabaab has prohibited all media to operate in areas under its control and has been targeting media workers across the country, the report says. But federal and state-level security forces, including the National Army, the Police and the National Intelligence and Security Agency, are main perpetrators of violations against media workers and political activists. Radio Shabelle has been particularly targeted, with five serious incidents between 2013 and 2015. The report states that the authorities have made very limited efforts to investigate and prosecute such violations.The report stresses, among other things, the need to strengthen the justice system to better protect freedom of expression. Since January 2015, only ten of the 48 journalists and media workers who have been arrested have been brought before a court, it states. read more

UNICEF urges greater opportunities for forgotten minority as study reveals bleak prospects

In a new report released to coincide with World Children’s Day, UNICEF revealed that in 37 countries, some 180 million youth are more likely to exist in extreme poverty, be out of school or be killed by violence, than children in those same countries 20 years ago. “While the last generation has seen vast, unprecedented gains in living standards for most of the world’s children, the fact that a forgotten minority of children have been excluded from this – through no fault of their own or those of their families – is a travesty,” said Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy. In honour of World Children’s Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF has coordinated a range of activities in over 130 countries that aim to give youth their own platform, helping to save their lives, fight for their rights and fulfil their potential – including children’s global ‘take-overs’ and high-profile events. Among a host of events and activities worldwide, at UN Headquarters in New York, UNICEF will bring together high-profile supporters, influencers and special guests alongside children who represent some of the world’s most vulnerable children to speak out to the international community on issues that matter to them. Many are expected to join Secretary General António Guterres and 150 children in a ‘take-over’ of the UN complex.“It is the hope of every parent, everywhere, to provide greater opportunities for their children than they themselves enjoyed when they were young. This World Children’s Day, we have to take stock of how many children are instead seeing opportunities narrow and their prospects diminish,” Mr. Chandy said. In assessing the prospect of children in escaping extreme poverty, getting a basic education and avoiding violent deaths, among other things, the UNICEF analysis shows that the share of people living on less than $1.90 a day has increased in 14 countries mostly due to unrest, conflicts or poor governance.It also revealed that due to financial crises, rapid population growth and the impact of conflicts, primary school enrolment has declined in 21 countries; violent deaths among children below the age of 19 have increased in seven conflict-ridden countries; and that four countries witnessed a decline across more than one of the three areas measured. “In a time of rapid technological change leading to huge gains in living standards, it is perverse that hundreds of millions are seeing living standards actually decline, creating a sense of injustice among them and failure among those entrusted with their care,” said Chandy. “No wonder they feel their voices are unheard and their futures uncertain.” read more

UN mission will leave Liberia with great potential for lasting stability democracy

“Liberia has made enormous progress in the past 15 years,” said Ms. Mohammed at an event in the capital, Monrovia, commemorating the completion of the work of the UN peacekeeping mission, known as UNMIL, acknowledging its support for Liberians in restoring their country and building sustainable peace. “In 2003, when UNMIL was created, Liberia was torn apart by conflict, with a traumatized population and no hope for its young people, especially our women and girls,” she continued.She noted that 14 years of civil war left more than a quarter of a million Liberians dead, nearly one-third of the population displaced, and an estimated 80 per cent of women and girls injured by sexual violence. Highlighting the important role of Liberian women, Ms. Mohammed commend their “leadership, courage and integrity” in pursuing peace.She thanked the Special Representatives, civilian and military personnel and troop-contributing countries and paid special tribute to the 200 peacekeepers who lost their lives in pursuit of peace in Liberia.”“Today, we remember their sacrifice, we remember their families,” she stressed. At an “important turning point,” she noted Liberia’s progress and acknowledged that challenges lie ahead. “Peace will not last without sustainable development; and development gains will be at risk without sustained peace and respect for human rights,” she warned.“We need to give Liberians back their dignity, dreams and faith in a better future,” Ms. Mohammed cited the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 as the best roadmaps to achieve this. She noted that a generation ago, Liberia and Sierra Leone were in freefall, and Cote d’Ivoire was embroiled in crisis. Yet, 20 years later, “the closure of UNMIL marks the transition of all three countries to peace and democracy.”“This sub-region has a bright future,” she stated.Speaking to the press afterwards, she referred to UNMIL as another successful peacekeeping mission in West Africa.It was deployed in 2003 when State institutions in ruins, a non-existent economy and a disintegrated national police and army. Today, the State has been rebuilt and more than 100,000 former combatants disarmed, demobilized and reintegrated. Justice and security institutions were restored.Ms. Mohammed said that today Liberians enjoy peace and UNMIL leaves behind a country that has great potential to achieve lasting stability, democracy and prosperity.To President George Manneh Weah, she underlined the UN’s support to him in sustaining peace and advancing sustainable development – assuring him that the UN would remain committed beyond UNMIL’s 30 March mandate.Although the mission is leaving, 17 UN funds and agencies will remain in Liberia to focus on development and improving the lives of Liberian people.Meanwhile, yesterday, at the National Peace and Reconciliation Conference, she recognized that while the country had suffered so much, for so long, the people persevered with great determination.She noted that UNMIL had supported the country “every step of the way,” explaining that long-lasting peace requires wide-ranging confidence-building measures for solid foundations.“This will only be possible if we ensure full and true reconciliation,” she asserted. read more

Climate change An existential threat to humanity UN chief warns global summit

“We must build on this,” the UN chief emphasized, calling renewable energy – which already produces a fifth of the world’s electricity – power that also delivers significant health benefits.The World Health Organization reports that more than 80 per cent of people living in urban areas are exposed to poor-quality air that is damaging human health. Financing to accelerate climate action is necessary if we are to bend the emissions curve Secretary-General António Guterres“Investments in clean, green infrastructure need to be scaled up globally,” he explained. “For that, we need leadership from the finance and investment community and by local, regional and national governments who will decide on major infrastructure plans over the coming years.”Mr. Guterres encouraged private sector leaders attending the UN General Assembly-backed summit in the Austrian capital, to announce new financing for clean energy projects. While the 30-member independent International Energy Agency estimates that 2017 investments in renewable electricity amounted to $242 billion, said the UN chief, that was still far less than the funds invested in new fossil fuel development. Billions of dollars more needs to be invested in renewables if we are to see a “full-scale transition to clean energy” by 2020, said Mr. Guterres.Moreover, some 75 per cent of the infrastructure needed by 2050 has still not been built. “Mobilizing and equipping local governments with the capacity and financing to accelerate climate action is necessary if we are to bend the emissions curve,” he maintained. Noting that climate change continues to move faster than climate action, Mr. Guterres quoted the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change saying: “The more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.” “But,” he added, “it does not have to be that way,” pointing to solar, wind and cutting-edge technologies, such as electric vehicles or energy from algae in the ocean, which promises a new era of clean air. “Let’s join a race to the top, a race where there are only winners,” concluded the Secretary-General. Both leadership and innovation are essential for climate action, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his keynote address to the global gathering, known as the R20 Austrian World Summit – a long-term initiative to help regions, States and cities implement the Sustainable Development Goals and meet the Paris Agreement targets. Mr. Guterres spelled out: “We must use all our resources to build a sense of urgency”, to raise ambition, while keeping temperature rises in the years ahead, as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible.He said there was reason to hope, declaring that “the world is seeing a groundswell of climate action”,  citing examples, including Morocco’s building of a solar farm “the size of Paris, that will power over a million homes by 2020” and China’s achievement in already passing it’s 2020 goal of producing 105 gigawatts of solar power capacity. read more

Dissecting us versus them

The complex relationship between animals and humans will be the subject of a March 22 talk by acclaimed writer and broadcaster Erika Ritter.Ritter will visit Brock to discuss her latest book, The Dog By the Cradle, The Serpent Beneath: Some Paradoxes of Human-Animal Relationships. The title refers to the story of a devoted greyhound executed by his master for apparently attacking the man’s sleeping child. Only after he’s killed the dog does he find the dead body of a serpent beneath the infant’s overturned cradle.The book describes humanity’s love/hate relationship with animals, and how our treatment of them veers between empathy and cruelty. It was shortlisted for the Writers Trust Non-Fiction book prize in 2009.Ritter’s Brock appearance is sponsored by the Departments of Sociology and Political Science and the Social Justice and Equity Studies MA program.The book highlights striking contradictions, such as the fact that while we as a society spend millions of dollars on certain animals who we define as pets, we inflict hideous suffering on other animals who we define as food, said John Sorensen, Brock Sociology chair and author of the recently released book Ape. It also touches on the portrayal of animals in literature, views of animal activists, the inadequacies of Canada’s anti-cruelty laws and controversial breed-specific bans on dogs.“Critical Animal Studies is a new and rapidly growing academic field and Brock University is at the forefront of this field,” he said. “Anyone who’s interested in learning a bit more about some of these issues will find Erika Ritter’s talk very informative.”Ritter is a novelist, playwright, essayist and radio broadcaster. Her work includes the Chalmers-Award-winning play Automatic Pilot, the novel The Hidden Life of Humans and the essay collections Urban Sprawl, Ritter in Residence and The Great Big Book of Guys: Alphabetical Encounters with Men.The event is from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Sankey Chamber. Everyone is welcome.Quick link:• Erika Ritter• chapters.indigo.ca — The Dog By the Cradle, The Serpent Beneath read more

Gather around a hot stage this holiday season

Leahy hits the stage at the Centre for the Arts for two shows in December. When Leahy takes to the Centre for the Arts stage in December, it will be much like coming home.The perennial favourite performing siblings will host their Family Christmas, an homage to the holidays with some of the group’s folk hits thrown into the mix, during a sold out evening performance on Thursday, Dec. 20 and a matinee on Friday, Dec. 21.Coming back to Niagara was an easy sell for Leahy – something that just felt like being at home, where, as children, the band often sang and performed for guests, pianist Erin Leahy said.“The theatre is itself unique in the way it’s designed. No. 1, it feels as though we are all in one living room so it’s a very natural setting for us because we’re one family and grew up playing music right beside each other,” she said.This year’s shows will have a distinctly family feel for another reason. Children will be part of the program that, in addition to festive tunes and the band’s own standards, will include new music from a CD currently in the works.“We like to show what a true Christmas is to us and that involves children, and the scene will be very much like it is at home,” Leahy said.John McDermott is another performer who feels at home on the Centre for the Arts stage. This gold-and-platinum-selling artist said for over twenty years, Niagara has always offered him a warm welcome.“You don’t take loyalty lightly,” McDermott said. In return, he promises a performance different than previous years’ offerings when he takes the stage on Dec. 9. Soulful Messiah comes to Brock in time for the holidays. He’ll be bringing his band comprised of Jason Fowler (Guitar), George Koller (Bass) and Gary Craig (Drums) plus special guest and “wonderful storyteller” Michael Peter Smith, who penned one of McDermott’s favourite songs to sing “The Dutchman.”“It won’t necessarily be all Christmas. It’ll be stories… stories that relate to songs themselves,” McDermott promised.Fans will also be treated to McDermott performing selections from a new Christmas album, with pieces written between 1550 and 1800. These Polish and Welsh classics feature the piano, cello, harp and clarinet. “Some are familiar and some aren’t,” he said. That goes for some of the performers on this year’s holiday roster, too.Toronto’s Ballet Creole brings its moves and mix of Caribbean, African, blues, jazz and soul sounds in Soulful Messiah.on Friday, Dec. 7.It’s a modern and moving take on the Handel classic that has been transformed into a dynamic 70-minute performance to the R&B sounds of a Qunicy Jones-produced soundtrack, featuring the voices of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight.“It’s based on a language of music taken from Handel’s Messiah in a really funky way. We’ve changed Handel’s Messiah into a pop, soulful expression,” said Patrick Parson, Ballet Creole’s artistic director and choreographer. “It’s kind of a curry expression of Handel’s Messiah.”It’s also one that will feature a Niagara connection. Niagara native David Cox, formerly of STOMP, will be a guest tap dancer in Soulful Messiah.Sex and the City fans may want to don their Manolo Blahniks to tap their toes when New York City’s The Klezmatics come to town Thursday, Dec. 13.The Klezmatics are sure to get your toes tapping with their Klezmer music. Famous for their lively and colourful Eastern European Jewish tunes that have earned them a Grammy Award and a spot on the popular TV series about the quartet of New York singles, The Klezmatics promise a thrilling, worldly and harmonious start to the holiday season.If you’re not familiar with the rhythms and harmonies of klezmer music, it resembles jazz in its inventiveness, folk in its deep roots and dance music in its celebratory tone.The Klezmatics are the klezmer band. The Wall Street Journal asserts that “The Klezmatics have owned klezmer and Yiddish music for the past 25 years.”Their music is timeless. So no need to worry if those designer pumps are last season.All tickets are on sale now from the Centre for the Arts Box Office or online. read more

Brock researchers company develop technology for mineral analysis

Brock University researchers are working with a Mississauga company to develop technology that dramatically speeds up mineral and ore analysis while reducing its impact on the environment.Brock University researchers are working with a Mississauga company to develop technology that dramatically speeds up mineral and ore analysis while reducing its impact on the environment.When Brock alumnus Ravi Kanipayor, together with the technology company Chemquant, invented ColdBlock, they began working with a research group at Brock University to analyze environmental samples, such as contaminated soils, biosolids and sludges.The analysis process involves dissolving samples – called “digestion” – to measure the contaminant metals in the samples.The group found that it took 15 minutes or less to digest the samples when using ColdBlock.Current conventional methods take up to four hours to digest samples using a technology often called hot block, which is basically a hot plate.“Pretty soon after we started to get these excellent results for environmental samples, we realized that this technique could have broader applications,” says chemistry Prof. Ian Brindle.Brindle and his research team have partnered with Chemquant to take the new technology one step further.“That’s when we started looking at the potential for ColdBlock to be used for mining samples,” he says.With current technology, it can take more than 16 hours to dissolve some of these mining samples, with methods that use toxic acids and acids that form explosive compounds.ColdBlock uses focused infrared energy to heat the sample in an acid mixture. “And this is the major difference: conventional methods heat the acid in which the sample sits,” says Brindle. “Together with the invention of new chemistry for sample preparation, this has given us a real boost in efficiency.”He explains that ColdBlock technology is also “green” in a number of important aspects.Sample treatment eliminates the need for perchloric acid, an acid that can form explosive metal salts, and, in some cases, eliminates the need for hydrofluoric acid, which is easily absorbed through the skin and is very toxic.In addition, because the temperature is well controlled, there is little need to replace acids that, in the case of conventional digestions, are boiled off into the environment.From a productivity perspective, the ColdBlock can save huge amounts of time, says Brindle.“Preparation of the difficult samples that normally take 16 hours, such as chromite, can be prepared in less than 15 minutes using ColdBlock technology.”Chromite is the ore of the important metal chromium, an essential ingredient in stainless and tool steels, and is a topic of great interest in Canada following the discovery of an enormous deposit of chromite in northwestern Ontario.Brindle’s group has just received a grant in cash and in-kind totaling $580,000 from a group of funders that includes the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Ontario Centres for Excellence, the Centre of Excellence for Mining Innovation, Barrick Gold, and Chemquant Technologies (now operating as ColdBlock Technologies).Preliminary results on mining samples have been very encouraging, says Brindle.“The ColdBlock technology, combined with innovative chemistry, has been able to deliver accurate results for a number of samples, including chromite, sulfide ores, such as those from the nickel belt, and iron ore,” says Brindle.“But the technology needs to be upgraded to enable the sample preparation to be performed using automation, which should enable large number of samples to be processed as the service laboratories perform thousands of samples a week.“So that’s what this grant is about,” Brindle explains. “It’s about automating the technology and upgrading the ‘recipe’ book of sample types that can be prepared by this system.”Brindle says that samples could be analyzed at the mine site. “It is safer and uses smaller amounts of acids,” he says. “And if the instruments that measure the metals in these samples can operate in remote locations, almost real-time results could be obtained, which would improve efficiency.”Shantanu Mittal, Business Development Manager with Ontario Centres of Excellence, calls ColdBlock a technology with the potential to have a serious impact on the mining and environmental sector.“OCE first supported this technology through our Technical Problem Solving (TPS) program where we helped validate the technology through a collaboration with Dr. Brindle’s group at Brock University,” he recalls.“We are very happy with the progress the industry and academic partners have made in making this technology ready for commercialization.”“We have seen some promising preliminary results with ColdBlock technology,” says Yeonuk Choi, a senior manager with Barrick Gold’s Strategic Technology Solutions. “We look forward to exploring with Brock improvements in delivering fast and accurate results for gold and other metals in the ores from our mines.”Chemquant Chief Executive Officer Don Saunders explains that the technology has wide applications.“ColdBlock Technologies believes the high energy acid digestion process by ColdBlock will deliver not only rapid digestions with superior performance characteristics but, through automation, will be beneficial for small and large laboratories alike, in mining, agriculture, forestry, food, environmental, and pharmaceutical applications,” he says.Brock University innovation and commercialization director John Wilson lauds the partnership between Brock and Chemquant.“We’re particularly pleased with this agreement as it is the first of our ‘seed’ research partnerships to grow to a project with a value in excess of half-a-million dollars,” he says. “We hope that this is the first of many.” read more

Inclusion projects launched during Niagara Pride Week

As the Transgender Pride flag was raised for the first time at Brock, two new programs meant to increase inclusivity on campus were set in motion.Jasper Fisher, Trans-Inclusion Project Student Assistant (foreground) is pictured with, from left, Markus Tawfik, Brock Pride, Anna Lathrop, Brock Vice-Provost, Teaching, Learning and Student Success, Bryan Giordano, Brock University Biotechnology graduate student, Manchari Paranthahan, Queer Trans People of Colour, OPIRG Brock, All-Genders Washroom Project Student Assistant, Karl Thorp, Campus Security Senior Platoon Supervisor and Tim Kenyon, Vice-President, Research, Brock University.Representatives from Brock Pride, Positive Living Niagara, Pride Niagara and OPIRG Brock’s Queer Trans People of Colour group were among several speakers who addressed the importance of inclusion during a ceremonial flag raising Monday, June 4.The Pride and Transgender Pride flags marked the beginning of Niagara Pride Week and the launch of two new programs that will focus on making Brock more inclusive and accessible for transgender students.Michelle Poirier, Advisor with Brock’s Office of Human Rights and Equity, announced that thanks in part to funding from the Canada Summer Grant Program, second-year Neuroscience student Jasper Fisher and fourth-year Dramatic Arts student Max Hunter will respectively lead the Trans-Inclusion and All-Genders Washroom projects.A large component of the Trans-Inclusion Project will be educating current and future members of the Brock community. In addition to creating a guide on how to navigate campus as a transgender student, Fisher will be leading seminars for departments, faculty members and leadership on how to be more trans-inclusive.Fisher will also work to improve the administrative policies and procedures that involve collection of gender-based data or differentiation of gender-based identities, like registration.“Brock’s registration forms need to be more accessible for trans students like me,” said Fisher. “For example, I haven’t legally changed my name yet, so the school still uses my birth name that I don’t go by. It can be incredibly dysphoria triggering to have your birth name referenced to you.”Fisher will work closely with Hunter, who will be evaluating the University’s washrooms for gender inclusivity. Part of the All-Genders Washroom Project involves identifying gender-neutral washrooms on campus, assessing washroom signage and recommending improvements.“There’s definitely a need for more gender-neutral washrooms,” Hunter said. “There aren’t enough. Some of them are gender-neutral but aren’t identified as so, and some have gendered signage or are combined with accessible washrooms.”From left, Raven Klawe, Douglas Borg and Michael Pore, of Pride Niagara, Brock President Gervan Fearon, Greg Finn, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic, Michelle Poirier, Advisor, Human Rights and Equity, Brock University, and (kneeling) James Mandigo, Vice-Provost, Enrolment Management and International, Brock University.The washroom review will include all publicly accessible buildings on Brock’s main campus, including change rooms within Walker Sports Complex and washrooms in residence buildings.“Residences with shared gendered washrooms create a significant barrier for students who don’t feel comfortable using either a male or female washroom,” said Hunter. “Transgender students often miss class time, experience harassment or suffer from medical issues related to not being able to access or comfortably use washrooms on campus.”Poirier said the washroom project will involve community consultation that will benefit more than transgender students.“The washrooms will be truly inclusive to a diverse population, including people who prepare for prayers, people with small children and people who use mobility devices,” she said.For more information on either of these projects, email humanrights@brocku.ca read more

No 7 Maryland squeezes past Georgia 5851 in Puerto Rico

TRUJILLO ALTO, Puerto Rico — Stephanie Jones scored 21 points, and No. 7 Maryland held off Georgia for a 58-51 victory Saturday in the Puerto Rico Clasico tournament.The Terrapins (6-0) led 53-51 in the final minute before Brianna Fraser hit a jumper and Taylor Mikesell added a free throw with 20 seconds left to quell the comeback bid.Maryland made more field goals in the first quarter (10) than over the final three periods (nine).Jones scored 17 in the first half, and the Terps held a 15-point lead early in the second quarter. But Georgia (3-3) went ahead 40-38 shortly after halftime, and the game remained close during a fourth quarter in which the Terrapins missed nine of 11 shots from the field and the Bulldogs went 3 for 20.Jones was the only Maryland player to score in double figures. Mikesell and Fraser had eight points apiece and Shakira Austin contributed 14 rebounds.Gabby Connally scored 16 on 5-for-21 shooting for Georgia, which was outscored 16-6 at the foul line.BIG PICTUREGeorgia: The Bulldogs are a .500 team, but that likely won’t last for long if their defence against the seventh-ranked team in the country is any indication.Maryland: The Terrapins got off to a fast start for a change and showed their mettle from playing in a close game following a series of blowouts. This victory, albeit by a narrow margin, should not impact their perch in the top 10.UP NEXTGeorgia: Faces Mercer on Wednesday night, the first of three straight nonconference home games.Maryland: Hosts Georgia Tech on Wednesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.___More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25The Associated Press read more

Rainey honours former teammate The Citadel wins finale

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Quarterback Brandon Rainey, wearing a special jersey to honour a former high school teammate who died earlier in the day, ran for a touchdown and passed for another as The Citadel beat Charleston Southern 43-14 in the teams’ season finale on Thursday night.Rainey wore No. 82 in remembrance of Vanderbilt tight end Turner Cockrell, who was a high school teammate of Rainey’s at Allatoona High School in Acworth, Georgia. Cockrell died at home after battling cancer for more than a year.Thursday’s game was a makeup for a Sept. 15 contest that was postponed because of Hurricane Florence. The makeup was dependent on neither team making the FCS post-season.Rainey ran 8 yards for the game’s first score and Joe Douglas blocked a punt that Dante Smith returned 24 yards for a 14-0 first-quarter lead.Theo Goodwin blocked a Citadel punt that Darin Smalls returned for a score but the Keydets responded with a safety, a 77-yard kickoff return by Raleigh Webb, a Grant Drakeford 21-yard TD run and Rainey’s 18-yard scoring pass to Ryan McCarthy to lead 37-14 at halftime.The Citadel (5-6) outgained the Buccaneers 328-75, holding Charleston Southern (5-6) to minus-1 yards rushing. There were 231 yards of penalties..The Associated Press read more

Tavares enjoying getting to know funloving Matthews and Marner with Maple Leafs

TORONTO — John Tavares has reaped the rewards of playing alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in his first season with the Maple Leafs.Getting to know Toronto’s talented 21 year olds off the ice hasn’t hurt, either.“They’re both very different, but very driven,” Tavares said earlier this week. “Great people and fun to be around. They bring a lot of energy to the group.“For a guy like me who’s a little bit too serious sometimes, it helps me out,” the 28-year-old added with a slight grin. “They’re extremely talented hockey players, and you can see how bad they want to be great.”That desire to be great is something Tavares knows a lot about. In the hockey spotlight since the age of 14, he’s now in his 10th NHL season and first with Toronto after signing a big-money deal on the opening day of free agency on July 1.Excellent in his own right so far with the Leafs, Tavares has benefited from Marner’s setups as the slick winger’s centre at 5 on 5. He’s also been on the receiving end of both players’ passes on Toronto’s potent power play, including from Matthews for a tap-in goal to open the scoring in Wednesday’s 5-3 home victory over the San Jose Sharks.Tavares knew Matthews and Marner were good. He just didn’t know how good.“You can just see their skill sets on a daily basis, just how great they are at playing the game and their understanding of their capabilities, and bringing it consistently night in and night out,” said Tavares, who has a team-high 17 goals to go along with 13 assists. “You see the drive and determination they have in practice or in games to be successful and be the players they want to be.”Marner is third in NHL scoring with 36 points and second in assists with 30, while Matthews has 12 goals and seven assists despite missing 14 of Toronto’s 26 games with a left shoulder injury.While Tavares may not have initially understood everything the pair brought to the table, the two youngsters didn’t know the true value of their veteran teammate either.“He’s exceeded them,” Matthews said of his expectations for Tavares. “Playing against him, you know how hard he competes. Being around him, it’s been good for us just like it’s been good for him. We all bring different things.“Me, Mitch, a lot of the younger guys on the team joke around and have fun. He’s a pretty serious guy. It’s kind of nice to see that side of him opening up.”Jokes aside, though, Marner said the leadership of Tavares, 39-year-old winger Patrick Marleau and 37-year-old defenceman Ron Hainsey can’t be understated for a team that sits 18-8-0, good for second in the NHL’s overall standings heading into the weekend.“They calmed us down in those late minutes of games,” Marner said. “Before when we were young, we threw the puck away too much. We had a lot of speed throughout the whole game, but at the end we got too nervous when we had a lead.“These three guys coming to our group just added calmness.”Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said having that veteran presence in the locker-room isn’t an accident.“They set a standard here of excellence,” he said. “It’s a good group to follow. We’ve got a lot of determined guys on our team. That’s what we’ve tried to do over the last four years … get quality people that want to be great.“When you have that in your group it makes it easier.”Tavares, meanwhile, is hoping to get a much longer look at restricted free agent William Nylander after skating with him a few times in the summer. The 22-year-old winger and the Leafs have until 5 p.m. ET on Saturday to get a deal done on a new contract so that Nylander is eligible to play in the NHL this season.“We want Willy here,” Tavares said. “He’s a great teammate and a hell of a player. Hopefully we get him back in the fold.“We know what a difference-maker he can be.”Tavares himself has been a difference-maker in Toronto by mostly employing his usual all-business approach, but he’s also appreciated the opportunity to get to know and play with free spirits like Matthews and Marner.“That just brings it out of everyone in the locker-room, not just myself,” he said. “It’s great to be around guys with that type of energy, hunger to play, and ability to just enjoy what they’re doing everyday.“Especially in a spotlight like this.”—Follow @JClipperton_CP on TwitterJoshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press read more

Irving scores 29 points in 3 quarters Celtics rout Cavs

BOSTON — Kyrie Irving scored 29 points in the first three quarters and the Boston Celtics topped their season scoring high for the second straight game, routing the Cleveland Cavaliers 128-95 on Friday night.Marcus Morris added 15 points, Jayson Tatum had 13, and Aron Baynes finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. Boston took over in the third quarter, making 6 of 8 3-pointers and outscoring Cleveland 39-20.Tristan Thompson had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland.76ERS 123, WIZARDS 98PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid had 16 points and 15 rebounds, Ben Simmons added 13 points and 10 assists and both Philadelphia stars sat for the final quarter and a half.T.J. McConnell scored 15 points to help the 76ers win their third in a row and seventh in the last eight. They improved to 12-1 at home. Bradley Beal had 19 points for short-handed Washinton.PISTONS 107, BULLS 88DETROIT (AP) — Andre Drummond had 19 points and 19 rebounds and Blake Griffin added 20 points and 10 rebounds to help Detroit rout Chicago for its fourth straight victory.Reggie Jackson added 20 points for the Pistons. Wendall Carter scored a career-high 28 points for the Bulls. They have lost five in a row.JAZZ 119, HORNETS 111CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points, Robert Gobert had 20 points and 17 rebounds and the Utah Jazz scored 54 points off 3-pointers to hold off Charlotte.Kyle Korver made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in his first game in his second stint with the Jazz. He was acquired from Cleveland on Thursday. Jae Crowder, Korver’s former teammate in Cleveland, added 24 points off the bench for Utah. Jeremy Lamb had 24 points for the Hornets.___More AP NBA:https://apnews.com/tag/NBA andhttps://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press read more

Ohio State mens lacrosse finding its identity through defense

OSU redshirt junior goalie Tom Carey (3) tries to recover a ground ball during a game against Marquette on March 4 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Jenna Leinasars | Multimedia EditorIf there’s a word to describe what a lacrosse defense needs, it is unity.In almost any team-oriented sport, it is difficult to win if the team is not playing with unity on the defensive side of the ball. While one player might be able to carry the load offensively at times, an out-of-sync defense usually spells disaster.Unity is one thing that the Ohio State men’s lacrosse defense has prided itself on this year.After losing two of the top three goal scorers from last year in Jesse King and David Planning, OSU coach Nick Myers said the players on defense knew they would have to rely on each other in order to help an offense with a lot a fresh faces.“I think it’s big … anytime that you have relationships that you can lean on, that you have confidence in each other,” Myers said. “A lot of defense, and a lot of high-level defense, is trust and communication.”OSU’s scoring defense currently ranks in the top 20 in the nation, only allowing nine goals per game. Senior defensive midfielder and co-captain Kacy Kapinos said he and his teammates have a special relationship that allows them to find their best stuff.“We have that comfort level with each other where we play together, and we can also push each other,” Kapinos said.The starters that make up the defensive side of the ball — seniors Robby Haus and Chris Mahoney, sophomore Erik Evans and redshirt junior goalie Tom Carey — have had the opportunity to play together for more than a year now, helping to create that unity every defense needs.”It’s really beneficial for us. I think me and Chris have been there for the longest amount of time, so we have a really good relationship. Then Tommy came in and we hit it off immediately,” Haus said. “Erik is a young guy, but he acts a lot older than he is, and I think being around some of these seniors and redshirt juniors has helped him a lot.“Our chemistry is awesome.”Carey continued, elaborating on what experience playing with each other means as opposed to playing with freshmen on the team.“I think the relationships we have with one another — (Robby) and I, and Chris and Evans, too — (they) just allow us to hold each other to a little bit different standard than the first-year guys,” Carey said.Those first-year guys, like freshmen midfielders Logan Maccani and Noah Best, have had a great mentor in Kapinos, Haus said.“I know we’re trying to develop some young faces at the defensive midfield, and he’s done a really good job bringing them in and building chemistry with them,” Haus said.OSU senior defender Chris Mahoney (21) during a game against Notre Dame on March 26 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Cameron Carr | Lantern PhotographerCommunication has been essential in the OSU defense’s success this year. Lacrosse is a sport that involves a lot of switching, commonly referred to as sliding.If an on-ball defender lets his man get past him, the defender has to be ready to slide in order to double team the ball-carrier. Then the whole defense has to slide in order to cover the now-open man. It’s a complicated process, one that would result in allowing a goal without constant communication, Kapinos said.“It’s just keeping everybody on the same page so that we’re all organized and making sure that we’re all doing the same thing,” Kapinos said. “You can’t have one guy doing one thing and five guys doing the other.”A lot of what the defense does is communicated by the goalie, and Kapinos said Carey is excellent at his job.“It helps with Tommy in the goal,” Kapinos said. “Tommy gives us a lot of communication and kind of quarterbacks the defense.”The Buckeyes are set to commence Big Ten play on Sunday. They’re scheduled to face a No. 18 Penn State team that ranks 12th in the nation with 12.67 goals per game.The team will be trying to sever its four-game losing streak, including a 15-6 loss to No. 1 Denver in which OSU gave up eight fourth-quarter goals after only being down 7-5 heading into the final period.Carey said he blames himself for the fourth quarter meltdown but said the defense as a unit cannot be making so many mistakes.“I think a lot of that falls back on me, and at the same time we play as a unit,” Carey said. “So, I’ve got to be a lot better, but we have to be better as a whole unit in stopping shots, getting the ball up and out in transition and … getting back to the basics and getting better every single day.”With the chances of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament dwindling, the Scarlet and Gray will need to turn things around quickly in order to be invited to the Big Ten tournament. A Big Ten championship would give the Buckeyes an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.However, it will take the whole defense, and, really, the whole team, in order to make this happen.“You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” Haus said. read more