Reforming Indian education

first_imgThe new National Education Policy has very laudable objectives. It has visions of transforming education, including higher education in India into the most preferred for the quality of teaching and research. It presumes that there is no shortage of resources and all that is required is to create a new vision. Unfortunately, it ignores the current reality and ignores the problems that the State has encountered until now, and the manner in which we are approaching the future, we will have to continue to struggle even harder. Problem-solving typically requires identification of the problem and understanding of the corrective action within known or enforceable constraints. It is not about changing the goalpost and creating a new vision, no matter how grandiose. The locus standi of the new education policy is that India can be a superpower in education because we had the world’s first universities in Takshashila and Nalanda. What it forgets is that these universities existed around 600 BCE and that much has changed since then, not just in the world but in India as well. We need to focus on our current problems and find solutions rather than tom-tom what we were in the past. Civilisations have evolved with education and progressive thinking, and we need to keep pace. The document ends up reading like a euphoric dream. Also Read – A special kind of bondIt is not as if higher education in India today is bereft of a vision. The reality is, and this is fairly well accepted, that education is in flux, largely because of the lack of resources and the problems of implementation. Most of the initiatives that are highlighted in the new document as important initiatives have been in the implementation stage for a long time and academic institutions are struggling, with various degrees of success, to implement them. On the other hand, the new educational approach is certain to create bigger concerns because it wants to separate teaching from practising. This is inconsistent and illogical since robust learning at the higher education level requires a very strong interface between academics and practitioners. There are, of course, other aspects as well that indicate that no real SWOT analysis has been carried out to identify strengths in the existing system and whether it is possible to leverage them efficiently for the national good. To give it due credit, the policy draft talks about accelerating research. However, at this stage, instead of mobilising the already scarce resources for setting up new institutions for the purpose, it should have been suggesting ways to leverage the extensive system that has already been created by the government’s own NKN [National Knowledge network]. This network has already connected over 1500 educational institutions across India through dedicated high-speed data carrying network for facilitating research with global institutions. Also Read – Insider threat managementIn fact, higher education in India is a bit of grey area and needs a better understanding before formulating a new transformational policy. Let us peep into the management education sector. The MBA degree continues to be a dream and an aspiration for thousands of students across the country. India is ranked 26th amongst countries as a destination for international students mobility. Management Institutes are mushrooming. There are some exceptional institutions and many who are working hard to get to the benchmark. Unfortunately, there are also a large number of institutions that are at best mediocre but couldn’t be bothered. A large number are unable to engage the students, lag in the use of technology, hesitate to innovate and turn out management graduates who are unsure of themselves. Even the industry is unsure of them. Many management institutes are, in reality, conveyor belts for MBA degrees, and are not centres of management learning that they are expected to be. Their objective, primarily, is post-MBA placement and the focus is on short term skill sets. One of the main reasons is that many of these institutes work on business models that demand short term profitability. They teach courses required but are unable or unwilling to invest in helping the students ‘learn how to learn’. Our undergraduate education system does not prepare the students sufficiently in the learning process. The truth is that a very large number of students who get admissions in these management schools actually need to be hand-held and prepared before they are immersed in management theories. The dynamics of the system and oversupply forces the institutes to lower cut-offs for admission which in turn lowers the average academic profile of thestudents entering the MBA courses. The process gets even more complicated when, under stress, personal insecurities begin to surface amongst students and personal inhibitions make learning more difficult. Lack of familiarity with industry results in a misplaced understanding of how they need to study and how they need to prepare themselves to be future managers. This is not a new insight. The concern is that we do not give this issue sufficient weight. Even the new education policy falters on this. Good management education is about creating a passion for finding solutions, helping in understanding the science of management, developing a holistic mindset, and equipping students with conceptual learnings. It requires a lot of rigour, both from the students as well as the faculty. Just like we do not build structures on weak foundations, we should not attempt to create super managers without strengthening their ability to learn. A good management school is expected to not only teach the basics of management but must also focus on empowering students in the real sense, by helping them ‘learn how to learn’. This is not easy but then there is no option if you want to be a serious learning centre for management education. The acknowledgement in the draft education policy, of the need for ‘Learning how to learn’ could have been a strong pillar for higher education but it glosses over on this crucial reality and falls short. The institutes need to take students’ learning capabilities and exposure into account and provide sufficient remedial support through workshops, through training and through personal mentoring. The objective of management education must be to prepare young managers who are confident and conceptually clear and to encourage and develop an inquisitive mindset that can help them grapple the rapidly changing environment. If the higher education sector in India is to become world-class then we need to meet the issue head-on. The issue is about scarce and inadequate resources and poor implementation. The issue is also about the regulatory approach where we deny accreditation for failing to meet standards. We need to review our approach to the problem, rather than change the policy approach itself. We need to set up working teams of experts in education management who can group the existing institutions into standardised quality classification and then handhold these institutions to help them upgrade to the next quality level. The way forward is for the regulatory bodies to adopt a positive and project management approach. They need to accept accountability if existing institutions are not achieving the next level. It does not require a new refurbished education policy but it certainly demands a totally innovative and committed mindset. Until then, irrespective of reformulated visions, the gap between what we teach, what the student learns and what is required will continue to increase. This becomes painfully evident when we evaluate many of the ‘industry-ready’ MBAs that are entering the job market today. Many of them are ‘Managers By Accident’ and not ‘Masters of Business Administration’. The new education policy says all the right things. Yet, I am still asking myself whether it knows how to tackle the problem. (Himanshu Manglik is founder and mentor of WALNUT CAP Consulting LLP. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Anupam pens love note to Kirron on wedding anniversary

first_imgMumbai: Veteran actor Anupam Kher showed his mushy side on his 34th wedding anniversary on Monday by writing a brief letter to his wife and actor-politician Kirron Kher. Sharing a black and white photo from their wedding ceremony, Anupam tweeted: “Dearest Kirron! Happy 34th wedding anniversary. Bahut lamba waqt zindagi ka saath mei tay kiya hai humne. 34 saal guzar gaye lekin lagta hai Jaise kal ki he baat hai. I have loved the lived quality of our lives together. @KirronKherBJP.” Kirron also posted a black and white photo of the couple and captioned it: “Looking forward to many more years of togetherness dearest @AnupamPKher. Happy wedding anniversary. Love and god bless always.” Anupam has often shown his support to Kirron’s political career on social media. On the film front, the two have also featured together in movies like Veer-Zaara and Rang De Basanti.last_img read more

Mohammed Hassad Promises Major Primary School Reforms for 20172018

Rabat – Weighing in on the lag in education development in Morocco, Minister of Education Mohammad Hassad has said that the ministry must direct all of its efforts to reform primary education policies.During a presentation at the opening of the 12th session of the Supreme Council for Education and Training on July 26, Hassad stressed that the ministry should focus on primary education. “If we do not work on this basis, education will never develop.”“In terms of primary education reform, changes will begin starting the next academic year 2017-2018, in the sense that we will determine the curricula to be taught and determine the age of children who will study these curricula,” he told the council, before listing a number of policy changes. The minister said that, starting the next academic year, children aged five and five-and-a-half will be able to enroll in primary education.Hassad informed the council that the number of students in primary classes will be reduced. “Beginning next year the number of students in classes will not exceed 30 students per class.”Changes in language pedagogy will also be made, said Hassad. “The French language will be adopted in the first year of primary education, with an average of two hours. Language teaching for the fifth and sixth level of primary school will be compatible with higher education level.”He pointed out that the ministry will work on including English in primary, secondary and high schools, adding that it will continue to include the international route, and will be licensed to private institutions to include it starting in the 2018 season.“In 2018-2019, school year, the teaching of mathematics will be accompanied by French in primary education, with the addition of texts in French or English, as selected, in the teaching of science and mathematics in preparatory education in order to accommodate students in both languages,” said the minister. read more

Report Women Headed 1 in 5 Households in Morocco in 2017

Rabat – Women headed 18 percent of Moroccan households in 2017 compared to 15 percent in 2012, reported the National Observatory for Human Development (ONDH).A higher percentage of households in urban areas are headed by women than in rural areas, ONDH said in a report titled “Human Development Indicators,” which reviewed data from 2012 to 2017 and was issued Thursday.  Urban female-headed households rose from 19 percent in 2012 to 21 percent in 2017, compared to a rise to 10 percent from 11 percent in rural areas.The observatory also noted that declining fertility rates and significant aging will shape the demographic transition of Morocco in the coming years. Mothers aged 15 to 49 who had given birth in a supervised setting jumped from 82 percent to 88 percent between 2012 and 2017. The average number of years of education attained by adults aged 25 years and over was 4.8 years in 2017, or 5.8 years for men and 3.8 years for women. read more

UN diplomatic efforts in Central Asia deserve strong support – Security Council

5 August 2010The Security Council today voiced appreciation for the work of the United Nations office that is helping Central Asian nations address regional concerns, while reaffirming the need to provide the office with the support it needs. Set up in 2007, the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) works to help the five governments in the region to increase their capacities to peacefully prevent conflict, facilitate dialogue and respond to cross-border threats and challenges such as terrorism, drug trafficking and environmental degradation. The Centre, which is located in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, is headed by Miroslav Jenca, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, who briefed the Council today in a closed-door meeting on its work over the past six months.Council members appreciated the work of the Regional Centre to assist Central Asian countries in responding to challenges in the region, particularly in the context of the recent developments in Kyrgyzstan, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month, said in a statement to the press after the meeting.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had asked Mr. Jenca to continue UN efforts to assist Kyrgyz authorities in ensuring conditions for the peaceful and democratic development of the country in the wake of the violent uprising in April that ousted former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev.In addition to Kyrgyzstan, the Centre is also tasked with assisting Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in building capacities to peacefully prevent conflict, in facilitating dialogue, and in catalyzing international support behind projects and initiatives.“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need to provide appropriate support to the efforts of the Regional Centre to facilitate dialogue and assist the governments of Central Asia on regional issues of common concern,” Mr. Churkin added. read more

MR and Manmohan hold talks

This was the first meeting between the President and the Indian Prime Minister since India supported a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in March this year. President Rajapaksa had reportedly told the Indian Prime Minister that only a few Tamils remained in refugee camps and that 300,000 had been rehabilitated. Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President, Mahinda Rajapaksa had discussions in Brazil on the sidelines of the Rio conference, Presidential spokesman Bandula Jayasekera said.The President’s office did not give any immediate details of the discussion but according to the Hindustan Times both sides discussed the condition of Tamils in the north and east.

Talks held on independent commissions

Discussions have begun on appointing independent commissions after the Constitutional Council is fully established, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said.He said that the Constitutional Council will begin meeting with the existing members while the remaining members will be appointed later. The Speaker said that the Constitutional Council will look to speed up the process of appointing independent commissions. He also said that talks have already begun to create a new constitution and also a new electoral system. Jayasuriya said that several important bills which could not be presented to the last Parliament, including the Right to Information Act, will be presented to Parliament soon. (Colombo Gazette)

Ohio State has wealth of running backs to fill void left by

Freshman H-back Curtis Samuel (4) attempts to avoid a defender during the 2014 Spring Game April 12 at Ohio Stadium. Gray beat Scarlet, 17-7.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorSome things in sports never change.March Madness will have upsets, Cleveland fans will always have something to complain about and the Ohio State football program will have a talented stable of running backs.Of the program’s seven Heisman trophies, five were won by running backs, including the only two-time winner in Archie Griffin from 1974-75.Even in this modern age where plenty of focus is placed on the passing game — especially under the high-tempo offense run by coach Urban Meyer — the Buckeyes have found a way to succeed in the running game.Last season it was Carlos Hyde, who ran for 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns, becoming the first running back under Meyer to break the 1,000-yard barrier. Now, with Hyde and Jordan Hall out of eligibility and sophomore Dontre Wilson working with the wide receivers, the Buckeyes head into the 2014 season with no established No. 1 running back — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.Between sophomores Ezekiel Elliott, redshirt-sophomores Bri’onte Dunn and Warren Ball and freshman and early enrollee Curtis Samuel, Meyer has his hands full selecting the starter for next season.“We wanted to give Ezekiel a handful of reps and then get him out,” Meyer said of balancing the running backs’ snaps during the 2014 Spring Game Saturday. “The guy that really, really excites me is No. 4, Curtis Samuel. We just gotta figure out if he’s got enough size and strength to take the pounding running back’s take … Bri’onte Dunn looked pretty good and then you have Warren Ball, he looked pretty good. So we have some depth there, but right now 15 (Elliott) and 4 (Samuel) are the two.”Elliott is the top statistical running back returning for OSU, after finishing fifth on the team with 262 yards and two touchdowns. He used his explosive ability to finish second overall on the team in terms of average yards per carry with 8.7.During spring practice, Elliott was treated as the top running back, but had the rest of the group breathing down his neck.“Ezekiel’s still a bit inconsistent,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said March 25. “Still plays like a freshman, unfortunately, at times. But of the group before today, I might say he was ahead … (The) other two guys, Bri’onte and Warren, are pushing. They’re getting better and it’s noticeable that they haven’t lost the drive. They can still see that there (is) a battle there and if they keep busting their tails, they can work their way into that rotation.”Another back potentially in the mix is redshirt-senior Rod Smith, who tallied 117 yards and a touchdown last season. But Smith was forced to sit out of the Spring Game because of poor academics and missed the opportunity to prove himself worthy of that starting role.“Rod Smith was here, but he’s focusing on academics … We gotta see where Rod goes, because Rod was having a very good spring before we had to set him down a little bit,” Meyer said.Meyer added despite the performances in spring practice, he is “not ready to name a starter yet.”In a defense-driven game, the teams combined for less total yards (447) than OSU averaged per game in 2013 (511.9), but the running backs managed to produce.Ball finished with the highest total of any player with 55 yards and a touchdown, while Dunn added 35 yards and also visited the end zone.Dunn said after the game the battle for the starting position is tight, but whoever wins, he will be happy for him.“Every day I’m just going to work hard. I’m going to work hard,” Dunn said. “Everybody in my unit, in the running back unit, is like my brother. Whoever gets the (top) spot is going to deserve that spot. As for me, I’m going to work my hardest.”The battle to be starting running back has actually helped bring the players closer together, Dunn said.“It really, really, got us real close,” Dunn said. “(Running backs) coach (Stan) Drayton did a good job of getting us close.”Dunn was redshirted in 2013 despite finishing fifth on the team in rushing yards in 2012, with 133, to go along with two touchdowns.Redshirting was not an easy experience, Dunn said, but it helped him grow as a player and be able to fight for a starting role.“Redshirting, at first, was very difficult,” Dunn said. “But I realized why I was redshirted and I think that helped me because I went against the first team (defense) every day, worked on my fundamentals and that really got me better as a player. Last year was just a year for me to get better.”Dunn added he was redshirted because he “got off to a slow start” in 2013 and needed time to develop.Now with spring practice over, the Buckeyes must wait until fall camp to make a decision on who takes the snaps with the first team offense during the season opener against Navy Aug. 30.Kickoff for the game is scheduled for noon at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. read more

Defensive tackle adds intensity for Buckeyes in 2010

Johnathan Hankins, a 6-foot-3-inch, 300-pound defensive tackle from Southeastern High School in Detroit, Mich., brings size and technique to the 2010 Ohio State recruiting class.The Buckeyes had to fill holes left by last year’s departing senior class. Without Todd Denlinger and Doug Worthington, the Buckeyes needed another large, strong prospect to add to the rotation at defensive tackle. The defensive line has some leadership with seniors Cameron Heyward and Dexter Larimore returning for their senior seasons. Junior Nathan Williams will likely fill the hole left when Thaddeus Gibson went to the NFL. Hankins, rated a three-star recruit by, played both offensive and defensive tackle at Southeastern High School. He had scholarship offers from Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin, among others. “Several things he brings is his nose for the ball, and the way he gets after it every play,” Southeastern coach Vincent Session said. “He brings tenacity when they blow the first whistle that we haven’t seen at our high school in some time for a big fellow.”Hankins was a two-time all-state selection in high school. He recorded 85 tackles and 12 sacks in 2009. He also earned all-Detroit and all-metro awards his senior season. Kevin Noon, managing editor of, likes what Hankins brings to the table as a bull-rushing type of defensive tackle. “He’s a player that’s come a long way in trying to reshape his body,” Noon said. “A lot of times defensive tackles at that level are big but not necessarily strong, and this is a player that came on really strong his senior year. He apparently made a good effort to cut the weight and focus on being a better player, and because of that, his results on the field have improved.”Playing high school football in Detroit led to some pressure for Hankins to play at the University of Michigan. However, the Wolverines were late in offering Hankins a scholarship, so he stuck with Ohio State.“I got a good vibe from all of the coaches at Ohio State,” Hankins said. “My family felt comfortable with Coach Tressel and the defensive coordinator when they came to my house. When I went on my visit, the campus and the facilities were so nice. It felt good, like home, so I decided on Ohio State.”Steve Helwagen, managing editor of, described the need for a big defensive tackle on Ohio State’s depth chart. Larimore is a senior, John Simon and Garrett Goebel are sophomores, Adam Bellamy is a redshirt freshman and Solomon Thomas is returning, but that is where the depth drops off.“This year, Cameron Heyward is going to have to move down there and play a little bit probably,” Helwagen said. “And when Hankins comes in the fall, he will have a shot to contribute very quickly. He probably saw a tremendous opportunity to be a backup player this year and maybe move into the starting lineup in 2011.”Southeastern High School coach Vincent Session elaborated about the winning attitude that Hankins will bring to Ohio State. Session described Hankins as a “silent giant” that doesn’t do a lot of cheering, but is an emotional player on the field and at practice and has an excellent work ethic in the weight room. “Besides all of his athletic ability and his ability to produce on the field, I think they are going to be pleased with him off the field, as a young man,” Session said. “He’s a beautiful kid. I think he’s going to develop into a great man in the three or four years that he will be playing for Ohio State.”Hankins will be enrolling in the fall at Ohio State, and is working out with former teammate William Gholston in preparation for the season. Gholston, a 6-foot-7-inch, 250-pound defensive end from Southeastern High School is the fourth-ranked defensive end prospect in 2010, according to “I’m working on getting quicker off the ball, keeping my wind, staying in shape and getting a little stronger,” Hankins said. “I feel that my technique is already there, but I just need to get my stamina up.” read more

Column Domestic violence is an issue were encouraged not to think about

first_imgIN THE AFTERMATH of the Magdalene report last week there followed an outcry of questions – how could this have happened? Who let this happen? What’s wrong with society, the state, that people could be abused and yet nothing was done to help? Is it the fault of institutions that allow abuse to happen or do we all have a part to play? One commentator wondered what other abuses are going on right now that we are pretending to ourselves isn’t happening.The reality is that male violence is the primary cause of death of women aged 15-44. Women worldwide are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined. Of the female murders in Ireland since 1996, half of the resolved cases were committed by a husband, ex-husband, partner or ex-partner.Social systemsThe issue of domestic violence is virtually invisible in Ireland and we lag far behind other western countries in how we deal with it in our social systems. It’s not even enough to say that it is hidden here – it is an issue we are actively encouraged not to think about. In Ireland domestic violence is not listed as a cause of homelessness, which means that women struggle to get housing places even if their lives are severely at risk. Domestic violence is not recorded within gardaí/HSE protocols as a form of abuse which means it can get hidden under an anti-social issue or similar. Both of these factors means it can be difficult to record its prevalence and helps to keep the issue under wraps.All domestic violence related court cases are held in camera so we don’t hear what happens at court and consequently there is little accountability. And when a woman is murdered by her partner, domestic violence is rarely named in the reporting of a case even when there is a long history of violence. It is not linked to the wider issue of domestic abuse and the case is reported as a singular event.It is worth noting for example that 30 per cent of women who experience domestic violence are physically assaulted for the first time during pregnancy. In any event asking for domestic violence to come out of the shadows helps all victims, male and female.Minimal debateAll of these factors do help to cloak the issue in a veil of secrecy or silences what minimal debate there is. In effect, victims are doubly victimised – by an abuser and by a system that does not want to acknowledge their experience.We haven’t, as a society, yet learned to maturely name domestic abuse and adequately deal with it.Last week I heard from a woman who went to her local garda station on advice of her doctor. She has been abused by her partner for some time with the abuse steadily getting worse and more violent. Her doctor is fearful for her life. At the garda station she was told that they didn’t have the resources to deal with her and to wait until there was a more serious incident to come to talk to them. She asked them were they saying she had to go home and wait to be beaten up again for something to happen. She was effectively told yes, but they said they were sorry there was nothing they could do and that her case wouldn’t go anywhere in court without more evidence so she would be wasting her time.I spoke to a local authority official about another case he had come into contact with at the housing placement desk. He said that he knew that sometimes women wanted to leave home because of domestic violence, but he couldn’t ask the question because it wasn’t on the forms.Turned awayHe said that there was one woman in particular he had dealt with that seemed edgy, upset and had bruises all over her. There was a suspicion something was amiss but no questions outside protocol were asked. Ultimately her application for housing was not successful because she didn’t have serious enough reason for housing – she already had a local authority house in her name with her partner. So she went home – possibly to a dangerous abuser.The really awful thing is there is really nothing awful about the officials in question – they are doing their job in highly pressurised environment within the confining bureaucracy of their organisations.But it is a flawed bureaucracy that is at best deeply ambivalent to women and children escaping domestic violence and at worst deeply obstructive.Our societal structures are also not the only problem. We are all complicit and responsible in the hiding of the issue. When I tell people where I work I am now accustomed to the pregnant pause of awkwardness that ensues. ‘Oh, er, domestic violence?’ Eyes shift, heads bow, fingers fumble. ‘That must be… tough’.There is nothing wrong with people’s discomfort either, however the unwillingness of people to ‘go there’ is part of the problem. The silence and unwillingness to tackle the issue allows abuse to continue with impunity along the lines of that that oft misquoted phrase – all it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.Not my businessDomestic abuse is a crime –  that’s one thing many people seem to forget in the ‘oh I don’t want to get involved’ and ‘there’s probably two of them in it’ kind of logic. The fact it takes place in the home doesn’t make it any less a crime, but it does make it harder to prove. The fact there are emotions, sometimes children, and family entanglements involved can also cloud and hamper the whole legal process – which can be a cold, mechanical place to find yourself at a time when your whole world is turning upside down.Our silence and our own inability to talk about this issue fosters a culture that says domestic violence is not an issue at all. And so if it happens to a woman or becomes part of her experience, our societal norms tell her that she is the one with the problem and there is nowhere for her to go. Or worse – she tries to get help and her feeling of isolation is compounded by being actually told there is nothing that can be done and there is really nowhere for her to go.Is this really the legacy we want for our generation? That we carried on with the same shameful silent tacit tolerance of abuse in the home in the same way previous generations accepted the Magdalene laundries and clerical abuse?Michael Palin has a fantastic quote that is so apt for this country and how we deal – or don’t deal – with our shadows: ‘Torture is a dark area of human experience but if we are afraid to look into it we condone it.’Paula McGovern is policy and communications officer with Sonas Housing. Sonas provides support housing and refuge to women and children homeless because of domestic violence. To read more articles by Paula for click here. An international campaign called V-day One Billion Rising was launched this week on Valentine’s Day, demanding an end to violence against women. Events took place all over Ireland with a public flash mob dance happening in Dublin City Centre. Check out the Facebook page for more details.Read: Women’s Aid calls for review of laws around domestic abuse>Column: ‘Do the crime, do the time’ – serious crimes need serious sentencing>last_img read more

FactCheck Are motor insurance claims and legal fees going up or down

first_imgLegal costs have in fact gone down.According to the Insurance Ireland data, the average combined cost of legal fees (for claimants and insurance companies) was:€9,107 in 2013€7,413 in 2014€8,153 in 2015So while legal costs for claimants were higher in 2015 than they were in 2013, combined legal costs were lower in 2015 than they were in 2013.However, combined legal fees were higher in 2015 than they were in 2014. As the most recent year-on-year change, this carries most weight in determining what the current trend is.This may change when we have data for 2016, but based on the best evidence currently available, we rate this claim Mostly FALSE.As our Reader’s Guide explains, this means: “There is an element of truth in the claim, but it is missing critical details or context. Or, the best available evidence weighs against the claim”.Claim 3: Compensation awards have not increased FactCheck: Are motor insurance claims and legal fees going up or down? Using previously unpublished data, FactCheck steps in to referee a heated dispute between the Law Society and the insurance industry. Therefore, compensation awards in the Circuit Court have, in fact, proportionately decreased when the jurisdiction change is taken into account.There are a number of problems with this.Firstly, the Law Society is referring to a 20% increase (in fact, 20.53%) in the total amount of awards paid out at the Circuit Court in 2015, as compared to 2014 – not the average amount, which is the salient measure.Secondly, the increase in the Circuit Court’s jurisdiction did not translate into an increase in the number of personal injury cases where compensation was awarded. In fact, the Circuit Court granted awards in six fewer cases last year, than in 2014.Ultimately, the most relevant measure here is the average award given. And last year, it went up by 21.2% in the Circuit Court, and 17.8% in the High Court.Between 2013 and 2015, average awards went up by a cumulative 57.7% in the High Court, and 37.6% in the Circuit Court.Remember though, we’re talking here about personal injury claims as a whole, and not specifically motor liability.In summarising, the Law Society told FactCheck: Nov 27th 2016, 10:00 PM I think there is no evidence whatsoever that the legal profession have a role in this [the increase in motor insurance premiums]. Claims costs have not gone up. Legal costs have in fact gone down. Damages have not gone up.THE FACTS Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ieThe Law SocietyIn response to our request for evidence, a spokesperson for the Law Society wrote, on legal costs: Find more FactChecks here The Courts Service figures also show a relatively small increase in Circuit Court awards (20%). This increase was inevitable given the 58% increase in the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court since 2014. 41 Comments Short URL The Institute of Legal Costs Accountants has confirmed to the Law Society that in their experience since the appointment of the current taxing masters, costs have consistently decreased in the High Court (emphasis added). Sunday 27 Nov 2016, 10:00 PM Follow TJ_FactCheck on Twittercenter_img Claims costs have not gone up.As the Insurance Ireland data shows, the overall average costs associated with a motor liability claim have, in fact, increased, between 2013 and 2015 (albeit only by 1.4%), and they did fall in 2014.However, the overall average cost also increased between 2014 and 2015, by 10%.We rate this claim FALSE.As our Reader’s Guide explains, this means: “The claim is inaccurate”.Claim 2: Legal fees have decreased As neither legal costs nor compensation awards have increased, as outlined above, it follows that motor insurance claims costs haven’t increased either. Share96 Tweet Email4’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here.For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here.  By Dan MacGuill While this evidence is expert, authoritative and reliable, unfortunately, this is an area for which there are no published statistics.This is unfortunate, since FactCheck cannot use alleged private communications or correspondence as evidence, although we can certainly note them.The spokesperson also cited the 2015 annual report of the Courts Service, saying it shows that:“Awards in the High Court…show a marginal decrease when awards of over €5 million are disregarded (cases involving awards of greater than €5 million are all medical negligence cases and not relevant to discussions on motor insurance).There are a few problems with this.Firstly, the Courts Service annual reports do not refer specifically to motor liability cases, just personal injury cases as a whole.Secondly, the Law Society did not specify over what time period there had been a “marginal decrease”.Thirdly, the annual reports do not specify the amount of compensation paid out in cases where the award was greater than €5 million, so it’s unclear how we could “disregard” such cases (remove them from our calculations), as the Law Society suggested.We went back through Courts Service annual reports since 2009, and here’s what we found: Source: For a full-size version of this chart, click hereAs you can see, there have been one or two years when the average award dropped (2011 and 2013), but overall the trend is clearly upwards over the past seven years, with the year-on-year rate of increase accelerating in 2014 (up 33.9%) and 2015 (up 17.8%). Source: For a full-size version of this chart, click hereThe trend in the Circuit Court has been a bit different, with three successive year-on-year decreases in average compensation between 2010 and 2012.However, this was followed by significant year-on-year increases in 2013 (4.3%), 2014 (13.5%) and 2015 (21.2%).Remember, though, these figures relate to personal injury cases as a whole, not specifically motor liability.You can download a spreadsheet containing all this data, here.The Law Society told FactCheck: Updated: 11.10pmAN ONGOING DISPUTE took a bit of a turn this week, when the new president of the Law Society accused the insurance industry of “lying” about what’s causing motor insurance premiums to go up.In an interview on Monday, Stuart Gilhooly told the Irish Independent claims costs and damages have not gone up, and that legal costs have gone down.In response, Insurance Ireland published figures appearing to contradict him.Who’s right here? We’re going to first look at the evidence presented by both sides, including a new analysis of previously unpublished insurance industry data.Then we’ll give separate verdicts for each of Gilhooly’s claims in three parts: the cost of claims; damages; and legal fees.(Send your FactCheck requests to, tweet @TJ_FactCheck, or send us a DM).What was said:Gilhooly told the Irish Independent: Damages have not gone up.The Insurance Ireland data shows that average compensation for motor liability claims did in fact increase, year-on-year, in 2015, and was also higher in 2015 than it was in 2013.The Injuries Board data shows that average compensation for motor liability claims was slightly lower in 2015 than in 2013, but the most recent year-on-year change was a slight increase between 2014 and 2015.The Injuries Board also accounts for about half as many claims as the Insurance Ireland market.And the courts service data, cited by the Law Society, shows that average compensation in both the High Court and Circuit Court is also increasing, when it comes to personal injury claims more generally.We rate this claim FALSE.To download a spreadsheet containing all the relevant data, click here.Correction: Previously, this article in one instance named the President of the Law Society as Shane Gilhooly. The President of the Law Society is Stuart Gilhooly, as was correctly stated in another instance, elsewhere in the article.Originally published: 10pm The Law Society of Ireland at Blackhall Place in Dublin Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ieThis is frankly quite poor reasoning. Firstly, it has not been established that legal costs have not increased. Secondly, it has in fact been established that average compensation awards have increased.So the two premises are fundamentally flawed.Thirdly, it does not follow that the cost of motor insurance claims has not increased. We cannot deduce with certainty anything about motor insurance claims, specifically, from data about personal injury compensation, in general.Although we can say we know that average personal injury claims, included in which are motor liability claims, have been increasing in the courts.Finally, the Law Society questioned the evidence presented by Insurance Ireland in a response it published to Stuart Gilhooly’s comments on Monday, which showed an increase in the overall cost of legal fees and compensation.In essence, the Law Society’s criticism was that Insurance Ireland hadn’t provided the number of cases involved, which would be crucial in calculating average legal and compensation costs.However, FactCheck asked Insurance Ireland for those additional figures, and we got them. The following is a new analysis of that crucial data, which has never been published before.Insurance IrelandOn its website, and in response to our queries, Insurance Ireland provided data relating to the motor insurance market of its members, for 2013-2015.In response to FactCheck, it also provided the number of claims involved.Here’s what our analysis reveals: Source: For a full-size version of this chart, click hereYou can download a spreadsheet containing all this data, here.The trend is clear across all four categories: costs of every kind dropped in 2014, before increasing again in 2015.Costs in every category – legal fees, compensation, the cost of medical reports, etc – were higher in 2015 than they were in 2014.And in every category – except legal fees for insurance companies – costs were higher in 2015 than in 2013.Interestingly, this means that combined average legal fees (claimant’s and insurance company’s) were lower in 2015 than they were in 2013, but higher than they were in 2014.In addition, the overall average cost of motor liability claims was higher in 2015 than it was in 2014 and 2013, having dropped in 2014.A couple of disclaimers:Firstly, we only have data for 2013-2015, unfortunately. FactCheck asked Insurance Ireland for figures dating before 2013, but they said they were not available, as this year was the first time such figures had been collected at an industry level.This was done at the request of Minister of State Eoghan Murphy’s Oireachtas working group on the cost of motor insurance, a spokesperson told FactCheck.So while this data does reveal a clear trend, it’s not a long one.Secondly, the data we have represents 78% of the Insurance Ireland motor market, not all of it.According to Insurance Ireland, this was due to the time constraints of providing these figures to the working group.There is no evidence to suggest that the remaining 22% of data skews disproportionately in one direction or another, or that this 78% is not representative of the overall picture, but we should bear in mind that we are missing some data.Personal Injuries Assessment BoardThe Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), also known as, is less relevant to the wider debate about the causes of motor insurance premium increases, because it serves as a mediator between claimants and the insurance companies, without the typical legal fees and other costs.It also handles fewer claims that Insurance Ireland members. In 2015, for example, Insurance Ireland members made awards in 16,029 cases. The Injuries Board awarded compensation in 8,815 cases.However, it’s worth having a look at the average compensation award reached via the Injuries Board, who provided the relevant data in response to our request.As you can see, there has been a lot less annual change here in the past eight years. The average award was slightly lower last year than in 2013, but has increased slightly since 2014.The average award over the past three years (€21,472) has also been slightly lower than the average award via the insurance industry (€22,383) – a 4% difference.Conclusion Source: Shutterstock/Robert CrumClaim 1: The cost of motor liability claims has not gone up 22,274 Views Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Parliament elects Pavlopoulos for president

first_imgLaw professor and New Democracy member Prokopis Pavlopoulos was elected as Greece’s seventh president after receiving support from 233 of the 300 lawmakers in Parliament.Pavlopoulos’s candidacy, which needed a minimum of 180 votes in favour, was supported by SYRIZA, Independent Greeks and New Democracy. However, two MPs from SYRIZA and ND abstained from the vote in disagreement over the choice of candidate.From the conservatives, former Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis failed to back Pavlopoulos, while SYRIZA’s Thessaloniki MP Ioanna Gaitani also voiced her opposition to the ex-Interior Minister becoming president.“I respect Prokopis Pavlopoulos as a professor and teacher,” said Mitsotakis. “He is an excellent legal expert with deep academic knowledge. But I have not been convinced… that he is the most appropriate president of the republic.”“For reasons of conscience and political tradition, I could not support SYRIZA’s choice,” said Gaitani.However, the negative reaction in SYRIZA went a bit deeper. Another two MPs, Alexis Mitropoulos and Dimitris Kodelas, voted for Pavlopoulos but expressed their disagreement with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s choice publicly. Leftist MEP Manolis Glezos also voiced his disagreement.To Potami put forward another constitutional expert, Nikos Alivizatos, as the party’s candidate. He was also backed by PASOK and picked up a total of 30 votes. All 32 MPs from Golden Dawn and the Greek Communist Party (KKE) voted present.Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Cold wet spring means far fewer yellow jackets wasps

first_imgAfter a long, harsh winter, spring brought little comfort to man or beast in the Pacific Northwest. For proof, look no further than the regional wasp population.Wasps are a common sight during backyard barbecues and among gardens and trash cans in July and August. But across Washington, yellow jacket and paper wasp populations are down far below normal for this time of year, Washington State University entomologist Richard Zack said. The soggy, cold spring is largely to blame — or maybe thank.In a queen wasp’s life cycle, she will hibernate through the winter then emerge in the spring to build a new colony. At first she does the hunting to feed her few larvae until they’re old enough to do the work and she can stay behind to lay more eggs. For that to work well, the weather needs to be at least fairly dry.“When the spring occurs, they’re very vulnerable to the conditions,” Zack said. “If they find a place to start a nest but the weather is rainy and cold and they can’t go find prey, then they can’t survive. So the nest never really gets started, and for every nest that doesn’t get started, that’s a nest that won’t be there when it is nice.”With mid-summer upon us, outdoors lovers and picnic planners can relax a bit more knowing that there are fewer of the nuisance insects flying around. Because the predator’s population is down this year, there will likely be more insects of other varieties flying around.last_img read more


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Running to the Edge A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who

first_img 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A new book features an elite running team from Jamul and highlights a local coach.The author, Matthew Futterman, of Running to the Edge: A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed stopped by Good Morning San Diego to discuss the book. Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Posted: June 14, 2019 Running to the Edge: A Band of Misfits and the Guru Who Unlocked the Secrets of Speed KUSI Newsroom KUSI Newsroom, June 14, 2019last_img read more

Nill Named Deputy Director ASA International Marketing

first_imgASA Executive Director for International Marketing Jim Guinn announced today that Kimball Nill has joined the American Soybean Association as Deputy Director for the International Marketing Department, a position previously held by Guinn. “Kimball brings to the ASA skills and experience that will strengthen the Association’s ability to successfully market U.S. soybeans and soybean products in a highly competitive global arena,” Guinn said.ASA has a 12-member International Marketing staff located at its Saint Louis, Missouri, headquarters, and more than 90 foreign-based staff and consultants located in 14 overseas offices who work in 80 countries worldwide. ASA manages a $22 million market development program designed to increase demand for US soybeans and soybean products which last year totaled nearly $8 billion in exports. ASA’s activities to expand international markets for US soybeans and products are made possible by producer checkoff dollars invested by the United Soybean Board and by various state soybean councils. ASA also receives cost-share funding provided by the US Department of Agriculture.As Deputy Director for International Marketing, Nill will assist with development of strategic marketing plans to protect, maintain and expand foreign markets through the implementation of export programs and strategies to improve the quality and competitiveness of U.S. soybeans and products. Nill will also assist with evaluations, fiscal budget controls, coordinate activities among ASA’s various regions and divisions to ensure uniformity and effectiveness, and communicate international issues to the media, state soybean associations and soybean producers.Prior to joining ASA, Nill was International Sales Manager for Moorman’s, Inc., of Quincy, Illinois, a marketer of soymeal-based livestock nutrition products. In that capacity, Nill developed and managed the company’s marketing efforts on three continents, including compound feed product exports to South Korea, and products to Russia, Kazakhstan, and other Eastern European countries. Nill has worked to eliminate trade barriers under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and he accomplished registration of regulated products in four Mercosur countries in South America. Nill, originally from North Dakota, received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry from North Dakota State University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from The Wharton School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvanialast_img read more

Climate change looks different in Southeast Alaska Heres how tribes are planning

first_imgThis monitoring program — started by the Sitka Tribe of Alaska six years ago — is addressing a huge need. Tlingit & Haida is one of 16 tribes that contribute to the shellfish monitoring network. The new climate change adaptation plan is intended for tribes across the region to use as a template to add to. (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/Alaska’s Energy Desk) They tell him neither. They’re working with tribal governments. But Weitzel is doing a different task. Weitzel said as he started to the put the policy together, he noticed gaps. His coworkers at the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska are on the shore — dragging rakes across the sand to collect butter clams, muscles and cockles to be tested for paralytic shellfish poisoning. A man tending to a beach fire nearby asks the team if they’re testing on behalf of the state or the feds. Paddock said the region doesn’t necessarily fit the mold for the rest of state. But the concerns are still valid. “A lot of Southeast is the near-shore environment, where the state has more jurisdiction,” Holen said. “But right now, they don’t have the resources to do a lot of the monitoring that needs to be done.” About a month ago, the butter clams at this location in Juneau tested positive for paralytic shellfish poisoning. (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/Alaska’s Energy Desk) At a time when climate change information has disappeared from federal and state websites, Paddock said owning that research will give tribal governments some added assurance. But Weitzel says consuming this important subsistence resource can be a little like rolling the dice, as warming ocean temperatures become increasingly persistent. “All the data was focused on Northern Alaska, where the squeaky wheel is getting the oil,” he said. “I remember all the times as a kid in Hoonah crying because I wanted McDonald’s and not something out of the ocean,” Weitzel said. Davin Holen said he isn’t surprised there’s not more research that’s relevant to Southeast Alaska. Holen works with Alaska Sea Grant and helps coastal communities with climate change policies. He assisted Tlingit & Haida with the creation of their plan. But he admits it wasn’t always his favorite food. Back on the shoreline, a class of kindergartners randomly show up, as the Tlingit & Haida environmental team finish collecting the shellfish to be sent off to a lab in Sitka. In about a week, the lab results will be back, indicating whether or not the shellfish are safe to eat. And now, Southeast Alaska’s largest tribe has a plan. It wants the region to be included in the climate change discussion. Raymond Paddock, the environmental coordinator at Tlingit & Haida, described the changes that Southeast Alaska is experiencing as “more nuanced.” Aside from the rapidly-retreating glaciers, there’s a host of slow-moving disasters to consider, like depleting fish stocks and the decline of yellow cedar, a culturally valuable tree species. At a point near the Auk Village Recreation Area in Juneau, Kenneth Weitzel jokes that he’s drawn the short straw. Today, he’s going in the water.center_img The 53-page document begins with an acknowledgment: The region is at a disadvantage. There needs to be more scientific research and monitoring efforts to better prepare for the future. And he said, for the most part, federal agencies have focused their research efforts on offshore projects — in deep ocean waters. Like the shellfish testing, tribal governments are doing it themselves. In April, the tribal executive council approved it. He’ll be sampling the water for the two types of phytoplankton that can cause those shellfish to become unsafe for humans to eat. “The boss told me,” he says with a chuckle. “We really couldn’t model ourselves after what’s happening in the north,” Paddock said. “Granted, our brothers and sisters up there are having big problems and issues. But ecologically, it’s different up there.” Weitzel says it’s an example of what the region needs more of. He appreciates eating smoked cockles now. Alaska’s most recent plan to address climate change was removed from the state’s website back in December. Meanwhile, some municipalities and tribal governments are moving ahead with their own ideas about how to respond to the growing problem. Of course, in some parts of Alaska, the wheel has nearly fallen off the axle entirely. Sea ice was virtually nonexistent in the Bering Sea this winter. For the past three years, Weitzel has been working on Tlingit & Haida’s climate change adaptation plan — a kind of first attempt to lay out more of the tribal governments’ priorities. A big one is building a more robust network of scientific research. Weitzel says it’s kind of ironic this is part of his job now, as a natural resource specialist. He grew up in a community where he saw jars of smoked cockles stacked on his neighbor’s shelves. It was frequently on the menu at his home, too. “As administrations change, priorities change as well, and we see that on national level as well as here on the state level, though, too,” Paddock said. “So it always comes back to our communities being those leaders.” “Data is power,” Paddock said. “And that’s what we’re trying to build our tribes to have, is to have that power in their back pocket when needed.” Within the next year, Tlingit & Haida hopes to identify a couple of actionable items, like collecting more data on what’s happening to salmon. So Tlingit & Haida looked to its neighbors south — the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Washington state — for a framework to adapt their climate change adaptation plan. Paddock sees this as an opportunity.last_img read more

Heavy inflows increase output at Srisailam Power Station

first_imgHyderabad: The Telangana Power Generation Corporation (TS Genco) has stepped up the power generation in the Srisailam Hydel Power Station as it received 150 TMC of water and witnessing 3 lakh cusecs of inflow during the past few days. The Genco generated more power than the capacity of the hydel power station. Though the capacity of the station was 900 MW, about 915 MW of power has been generated here. The hydel power station commenced power generation at full capacity on Monday and it continued on Tuesday also. Also Read – Non-bailable warrant to Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury Advertise With Us The officials have been contemplating to produce more power as it has been predicted that the flood would continue for few more days in Krishna River. The Genco has begun power generation at Jurala and Sisailam Hydel Power Stations and is planning to take up the same at Nagarjuna Sagar and Pulichintala. Chairman and managing director of Genco D Prabhakar Rao examined the power generation on Wednesday. The officials informed him that due to heavy inflows power generation to the full capacity has been facing troubles at Jurala. Also Read – Hyderabad: Wall collapse in Kukatpally damages four cars Advertise With Us Prabhakar Rao told the officials to watch the flood at every hour and continue the power generation accordingly. The water used for power generation at Srisailam has been reaching the Nagarjuna Sagar. The storage at this project has reached to 134 TMC. The gates of Srisailam would be lifted in a day or two and flood would reach to Nagarjuna Sagar. Keeping this in view the officials of Genco are planning to produce 815 MW of power there. It is also possible to produce power at Pulichintala up to 120 MW afer water is released from Nagarjuna Sagar.last_img read more

Man stabbed dead in Habiganj

first_imgMap of HabiganjA man was stabbed to death allegedly by his rivals over the previous enmity in Putijuri Bazar area of Bahubal upazila, Habiganj on Saturday night, reports UNB.The deceased is Wahid Miah, 40, son of Abdullah Miah of Mirer Bazar village in the upazila.Masuk Helal, officer-in-charge of Babubal model police station, said Wahid Miah got a contract of repairing a road in Mirer Bazar village. A Shahnaj Miah of adjoining village wanted some shares of the contract from Wahid.There had been an enmity between two of them over the issue, said the OC. They locked into an altercation in Putijuri Bazar around 8:30pm.At one stage, Shahnaj stabbed Wahid indiscriminately, leaving him critically injured. Being rescued, the victim was rushed to Bahubal upazila health complex where the duty doctors declared him dead.Shahnaj also hit three others as they tried to obstruct him. The injured were admitted to MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital.last_img read more