Tony Becca | Land of my birth, I pledge to thee

first_img The good players always came back, however, and they came back through players like Michael Holding, Jeffrey Dujon, Courtney Walsh, Patrick Patterson, James Adams, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Fidel Edwards, Carl Hooper, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Brian Lara, Ian Bishop, Richie Richardson and Curtley Ambrose, and many more before them. The West Indian islands have always produced good players, and the players always, or most times, won titles. When Jamaica take to the field in March in their bid for the regional title, they will do so without some of their top players, without Gayle, Samuels, and Russell, and they will do so definitely without Nkrumah Bonner and Sheldon Cottrell. Win or lose, it will not be the same to me. I am a West Indian, and I love West Indies cricket. But I am a Jamaican-West Indian. Jamaica is the land of my birth. As Chris Gayle said recently, however, and apparently quite easily and with a smile on his face, “This is franchise cricket,” the four words that cover up everything else, some quite understandable (family), some understandable (money), and some not so understandable (money, and more money). In today’s world, in the mad rush for money, and more money, the four words, “this is franchise cricket”, trump loyalty, and sacrifice (even for those who would not any longer have to make the sacrifice). The cricketers go wherever they want to go, so, too, do the nurses, the teachers, and whoever wants to do so, and thank God, they are free so to do. To Carlos Brathwaite, however, for his commitment to Barbados and West Indies cricket, for leaving the Sydney Thunder and the Australian Big Bash and for deciding to play, after his brilliant last-minute blast of four consecutive sixes, carried the West Indies to victory in last year’s ICC World T20 Championship and pushed him to the top of the world’s “most wanted” list, for Barbados and the West Indies in the region’s Super50 tournament, well done and good luck. That’s a good example, a perfect example, and one that brings new hope for West Indies cricket. Some may say that sport today is business, and that it is just a part of modern-day business. That may be so. In the West Indies, however, in West Indies cricket, the franchise system must be different, and it must be different if only for reason. The franchise is used for club-to-club transactions and not for country-to-country transactions. In other words, it is used at the level below international representation, thus making it a good system for countries like England, Australia, India, and South Africa, for countries like the USA, Jamaica, and Barbados, and places like that. The West Indies, however, and West Indies cricket, therefore, are unique. The West Indies is made up of 12 sovereign countries, 12 independent countries, and of countries with their own governments, their own constitutions, their own money, their own national anthems, and their own flags, etcetera. And not one of these governments, at least not to my knowledge, has given anyone the authority to fiddle with the constitution of their country by making a citizen of another country a citizen of their country for the purposes of cricket. Neither have they given them the authority to sell off one of their players to another country, and only for cricket at that. Once upon a time, when the West Indies were the best in the world at cricket, their cricketers all played for their respective countries, and they played well. The competition was good, and those countries which were not so good tried to develop themselves until they themselves became good. Those days, the players were good, and the countries won and lost matches and tournaments. When they won tournaments, the countries celebrated, and when they lost, the countries looked around, built again, and tried to come again. Those who proposed and passed the franchise system, West Indian-style, probably have never heard the song, “Land of my birth, I pledge to thee, loyal and faithful, strong and free”. If they had, they probably would not have suggested it, much less forced it on the people of the West Indies. As good as the franchise system sometimes can be, it is not good for the West Indies, and especially not for those Jamaicans who are touched by the words, “This is my Jamaica, my Jamaica”, or for those, even though they are West Indians also, who are influenced by the words of another song, “I vow to thee my country”. The franchise system is a system used in sports, along with the name of a club or a community, to make money, and as much money as possible. It is hardly ever used to lift the standard of sport. Its main intention is not to improve sport by switching players around, from club to club, or from community to community, but rather to haul in money through the sale of players in an effort to win trophies, or simply to field a good, competitive team for the satisfaction of winning and to make more money. It is a simple matter. If I cannot produce a good player, I can go and buy one, and if I am not satisfied, I can go out and buy another. It is much easier than attempting to produce a good player. It is easier, and much cheaper, to find a good scout, or a not so good scout, to find a player. The franchise system is a money system, even though it has left many a club, even the biggest of them, deep in debt and living close to the bank despite the appearance of affluence. The clubs, particularly the European football clubs, are becoming more and more, and day by day, properties of American, Chinese, and Russian billionaires. GOOD PLAYERS COME BACK MODERN-DAY BUSINESSlast_img read more

Clubs eye young American keeper Caldwell

first_imgBrentford are giving a trial to United States Under-17 goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell, who is also expected to train with Fulham and Arsenal during his time in London.Caldwell, 17, watched from the stands as Brentford were beaten 2-1 at home by Celtic in a pre-season friendly at Griffin Park on Saturday.Currently with North Carolina Fusion, he is hoping to secure a move to England and a number of clubs have expressed an interest in him.Brentford have had another goalkeeper from the USA on trial, Winstone Boldt, who was among their substitutes for the Celtic game.See also:Celtic win friendly but Brentford 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

New Fugard play takes to stage

first_imgMembers of Isango Portobello theatre company at work in the rehearsal room of the Fugard Theatre. The building’s former incarnations are still in evidence, giving its various spaces a creative “industrial” feel. Eric Abraham MEDIA CONTACTS • Gilly Hemphill +27 21 886 4900 +27 82 820 8584 gilly@thefamousidea.co.za • Georgina Rae +27 83 442 7000 +27 21 696 3646 georgina@portobelloproductions.com RELATED ARTICLES • Opera for and from Africa• South African theatre• SA songbird wins top opera prize• SA-set sci-fi satire huge hit in USChris ThurmanIt’s true that the arts can flourish in poverty. The stereotype of the starving artist in a tiny garret is, however, a notion cherished only by the privileged, and perpetuated by films such as Moulin Rouge.The reality is that few artists – actors, musicians, visual artists, even writers – could survive, let alone create, without patronage. But sponsorship of the arts is not always a priority in developing countries such as South Africa, where government funding is limited and big companies tend to regard spending on the arts as charity, not investment.Nonetheless, usually with a little bit of start-up capital and a lot of imagination, South Africa’s artists manage to produce world-class material. Imagine the possibilities, then, when substantial sums are spent on new arts projects.One such possibility recently became realised in February 2010, when the R18-million (US$2.5-million) Fugard Theatre in Cape Town’s District Six area opened its doors to audiences.The theatre is named for South Africa’s legendary Athol Fugard, the playwright, actor, director and academic who was a pillar of the anti-apartheid theatre movement from the late 1950s to the 1980s.Now a professor of drama at the University of California San Diego, Fugard’s novel Tsotsi was adapted into an Oscar-winning movie. His new play, The Train Driver, had its world premiere at the Fugard Theatre on 24 March.Demolition and District SixThe story starts back in the early 1900s, with the demolition of a Congregational Church building that stood a few hundred metres from the Castle of Good Hope, near what was then Cape Town’s foreshore. The location’s proximity to the harbour made it convenient for storage, and for the next hundred years or so the church hall – which had not been destroyed – was incorporated into the Sacks Futeran Building as a textile warehouse.During that time, a history that is all too familiar to Capetonians was played out in the surrounding area. Land was reclaimed from the sea to the north and the foreshore extended to its present limit. The suburb of District Six, climbing the lower mountain slopes to the south, grew into a vibrant multiracial area. In 1966 the apartheid government declared it to be a whites-only area, and thousands of people were forcibly removed to the bleak Cape Flats 25 kilometres from the city. Since then, District Six was more or less neglected, even into the democratic era.But fast forward to the present and you’ll see a process of urban regeneration underway. A fine example can be found on the block where the old church once stood: from the gabled stone façade of the church hall, between the Gothic arch forms of its windows, hangs a sign bearing a name that demands attention: The Fugard Theatre.Inside, you’ll find a remarkable feat of architectural renovation. The lower level of the former church hall has been converted into a theatre foyer and bar area. Upstairs, there’s a bright and airy – but soundproof – rehearsal room that can also be used for functions.The building’s former incarnations are still in evidence – the walls have been left as they were found, materials such as floorboards and fire-doors have been recycled, and stained-glass windows have been restored – all lending the various spaces a creative “industrial” feel. Climb another storey and you’re on the roof, with an exquisite 360° view of Cape Town’s City Bowl and Table Mountain.And the actual theatre? This extends at a right angle to the old church hall, in what used to be a separate building that backs onto a different street (often enough, if you stand on the pavement below an open window, you can hear deep baritones harmonising with crystal-clear sopranos as performers warm up in the dressing rooms). A quick tour backstage reveals impressive facilities. But, of course, it is inside the narrow, three-tiered, 270-seater auditorium itself that the magic happens.Impressive as it may be, a performance space is no good without performers. The Fugard will have no problems here: it was designed specifically to be the permanent home of theatre company Isango Portobello, which was formed three years ago through an unusual fusion of South African and British creativity and capital.Apartheid exileThe Isango Portobello story also starts some time ago, but only as far back as the 1970s, when a young student named Eric Abraham fell foul of the apartheid authorities for his work as a journalist and anti-apartheid activist. He was placed under house arrest but escaped to England, where he became involved in theatre, film and television, founding the successful production company Portobello Pictures in 1985.More recently he and his wife, well-known philanthropist Sigrid Rausing, expanded into the world of publishing with the establishment of Portobello Books and the acquisition of Granta in 2005.In 2007, Abraham joined forces with Mark Dornford-May, Pauline Malefane and colleagues from the company Dimpho di Kopane (DDK) – Sesotho for “combined talents” – to form Isango Portobello.DDK already had an international reputation through the award-winning film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha and the West End stage hit The Mysteries: Yiimimangaliso. Isango Portobello follows the same recipe that made DDK a social, commercial and artistic success: it draws performers predominantly from underprivileged backgrounds to create innovative fusions of Western and African cultural forms.U-Carmen was an adaptation of Bizet’s opera to a South African township setting; The Mysteries revised and Africanised the medieval mystery plays once used to tell Bible stories to wider, illiterate audiences. The year 2007 saw the launch of The Magic Flute: Impempe Yomlingo and iKrismas Kherol, new versions of Mozart’s opera and Dickens’s novel respectively.Of the two, The Magic Flute was the better received, and the achievement of Isango Portobello’s musical director Mandisi Dyantyi (along with Malefane, Nolufefe Mtshabe and Mbali Kgosodintsi) in reformulating the grand operatic score has been widely lauded. The orchestra consists of marimbas, drums and makeshift instruments such as glass bottles, and the magic flute becomes a trumpet. The production has toured internationally, garnering awards in the UK and France.The Fugard opened in February with The Mysteries and The Magic Flute as a double-billing, to such success the run was extended into March. After this, the hydrolic stage, custom-built to accommodate Dornford-May’s signature style of directing his performers on a steeply raked stage, was lowered to prepare for the much-anticipated world premiere of the latest theatre offering from the eponym himself: Athol Fugard’s The Train Driver, starring Sean Taylor and Owen Sejake.In the post-apartheid era, Fugard’s new plays – such as Victory and Coming Home – have been less well received than the clutch of iconic theatre pieces he produced from the 1950s to the 1980s. Local audiences are no doubt eager to see that trend reversed, and enthusiastic responses to the preview performances suggest that it will be. Yet Fugard doesn’t owe anything to South African theatre; if anything, the debt is the other way around.The R18-million investment that is The Fugard Theatre goes some way towards paying an appropriate tribute.last_img read more

Large algae bloom in Lake Erie predicted for 2019

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest NOAA and its research partners are forecasting that western Lake Erie will experience a significant harmful algal bloom (HAB) this summer.This year’s bloom is expected to measure 7.5 on the severity index, but could possibly range between 6 and 9. An index above 5 indicates blooms having greater impact. The severity index is based on bloom’s biomass — the amount of algae — over a sustained period. The largest blooms occurred in 2011, with a severity index of 10, and 2015, at 10.5. Last year’s bloom had a severity index of 3.6, while 2017‘s was 8.0.Lake Erie blooms consist of cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, that are capable of producing the liver toxin microcystin that poses a risk to human and wildlife health. Such blooms may result in higher costs for cities and local governments that need to treat drinking water, prevent people from enjoying fishing, swimming, boating and visiting the shoreline, and harm the region’s vital summer tourism economy. These effects will vary in location and severity due to winds that may concentrate or dissipate the bloom.“Communities along Lake Erie rely upon clean, healthy water to support their community’s well-being and economic livelihoods,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “This forecast provides timely and trusted science-based information to water managers and public health officials so they can better anticipate blooms, mitigate impacts and reduce future outbreaks.”The size of a bloom isn’t necessarily an indication of how toxic it is. For example, the toxins in a large bloom may not be as concentrated as in a smaller bloom. Each algal bloom is unique in terms of size, toxicity, and ultimately its impact to local communities. NOAA is actively developing tools to detect and predict how toxic blooms will be.This year, the lake temperature has remained relatively cool due to the higher-than-average rainfall in the region, so the bloom is not expected to start until late July when the water temperature reaches 65 to 70 degrees F. This contrasts with 2018, when exceptionally warm weather at the beginning of June caused an early start. Calm winds in July, especially in western Lake Erie, tend to allow the algal toxins to concentrate, making blooms more harmful. The bloom typically peaks in the western part of the lake in September. Most of the rest of the lake will not be affected.“This extremely wet spring has shed light on the movement of nutrients from the land into Lake Erie,” said Christopher Winslow, Ph.D., director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory. “Despite the predicted size of this year’s bloom, portions of the lake will be algae free during the bloom season and the lake will remain a key asset for the state. Ongoing research continues to help us understand bloom movement and toxin production, and remains vital to providing our water treatment facilities with the tools, technology and training they need to keep our drinking water safe.”The Lake Erie forecast is part of a NOAA ecological forecasting initiative that aims to deliver accurate, relevant, timely and reliable ecological forecasts directly to coastal resource managers and the public. In addition to the early season projections from NOAA and its partners, NOAA also issues HAB bulletins twice a week during the bloom season.NOAA continues to expand the use of satellite data into its Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast System, which is helping improve the accuracy of bloom forecast products. The data comes from the European Union’s Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellite, which has instruments that measure coastal water color, and have proven to be especially useful for detecting and tracking algal blooms. NOAA is also continuing to work with its research labs and academic partners to refine and improve the models used to develop the forecasts.“This spring brought regular, heavy rainfall to the Maumee River watershed which would normally carry a lot of nutrients into the lake,” said Richard Stumpf, Ph.D., NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science’s lead scientist for the seasonal Lake Erie bloom forecast. “However, due to the amount of rain this year, farmers were unable to plant their fields which reduced the nutrient concentration. That combined with higher than normal lake levels, presents an opportunity to test the accuracy of our models.”Nutrient load data for the forecasts came from Heidelberg University. The various forecast models are run by NOAA’s NCCOS, the University of Michigan, North Carolina State University, LimnoTech, Stanford University, and the Carnegie Institution for Science. Field observations used for monitoring and modeling are done in partnership with NOAA’s Ohio River Forecast Center, NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory at The Ohio State University, University of Toledo and Ohio EPA.last_img read more

Govt. soft on the Sanstha: Damodar Mauzo

first_imgSahitya Akademi Award-winning writer Damodar Mauzo, who has been provided police security recently following threats to his life, said on Wednesday that the Goa government had gone soft on Sanatan Sanstha, a right-wing Hindu outfit.“Why has this happened today? When in 2009 the bomb blast happened, the State government went soft on the accused. If the government had remained firm, this would not have come to pass,” he said at a solidarity meeting convened in the city to condemn the death threat to the writer. The meeting — called by the Goa unit of Dakshinayan Abhiyan, a national-level movement of progressive writers and rationalists, and prominent Goan writers like Datta Naik, Vishram Gupte, Pundalik Naik, and N. Shivadas, among others — demanded that the State government should ban Sanatan Sanstha.Two sadhaks of Sanatan Sanstha died while ferrying an improvised explosive device (IED) bomb towards a crowded Diwali function in 2009. The Sanstha has, however, maintained that it did not have any role in the bomb blast. Eight of their members were accused, but six were subsequently acquitted. A Congress-led coalition government was in power at the time. Meanwhile, Sanatan Sanstha, in a press release said that the campaign of the ‘Dakshinayan’ meeting was a clear-cut show of anti-Hindu attitude.In a press release, Mr. Chetan Rajhans, spokesman of Sanatan Sanstha said, “Those who are putting allegations of Madgaon bomb explosion on Sanatan Sanstha seem to have no trust in the judiciary or the constitution. During Congress rule, six seekers of Sanatan Sanstha were proved innocent and were acquitted by the court from the case.” Mr. Rajhans further said that there was not a single case registered against Sanstha and it has not been proved guilty in any of the cases.At the meeting, Mr. Mauzo also said that in the name of evicting Rohingyas from Assam, the national register of citizens was being used to de-list native Indians. “Do you know what is happening in Assam? In the name of evicting Rohingyas they have prepared a National Register of Citizens. Please go and see whose names have come on it. Please understand the agenda behind it and the thought behind it is betrayal of society,” Mr. Mauzo said, calling the controversial national register of citizens an “unconstitutional move.”last_img read more

Govt school teacher booked for rape in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur

first_imgA government school teacher has been booked for rape after a 20-year-old pregnant woman lodged a complaint against him in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district, police said on Tuesday.Subash Singh, posted at a middle school in Brari, is on the run and efforts are on to nab him, an official said.He said the woman, who was reportedly six-months pregnant, approached Ramnagar Police Station on Monday, alleging that Singh outraged her modesty a few months ago and impregnated her. The woman, who is a class 10 drop out, was admitted in a hospital for medical examination, the official said. He said a rape case was registered against the accused and further investigation is on. The incident came to light after the woman’s parents took her to a doctor for some some medical complications and was told that their daughter is pregnant, the official added.last_img read more