Young India shooter Anish Bhanwala targets gold at Asian Games

first_imgThe Indian women went close to a medal at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast but lost to Australia in the semifinals and were edged by England in the bronze playoff.“Since the time I made it to the Indian team, I wanted to replicate the 2002 Commonwealth Games performance,” Rani has said recently. “I know winning gold in the Asian Games will not be an easy task … top podium finish in Indonesia will give us a direct entry to 2020 Tokyo Olympics and it will be a help for us to prepare better for the Olympics.”Compound archery is the other event in Jakarta where India is likely to dominate, having won all four events in the compound section when the category was introduced in Incheon four years ago.“They have some experienced archers like Abhishek Verma and Rajat Chauhan but at the same time the youngsters also shot consistently. The level we reached was very high,” star Italian star archer Sergio Pagni, who has been working with the Indian archers since January, has been quoted as saying. “I’m really proud of this group, they are all world class. I am sure that they will come out with flying colors from the Games.”Sushil Kumar has been waiting a long time for an Asian Games gold medal. He won bronze in 2006 but nothing at the regional meet since, despite winning a world title and picking up two Olympic medals. He won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in April in a promising return to competition and believes he can replicate his performance at Jakarta.“I am in form now,” said Sushil, who is took silver in the 66-kilogram category at the London Olympics and will be competing in the 74-kilogram division in Indonesia. “I always think my competitor is neither big nor small, neither junior nor senior. Whoever is opposite me must always be good enough (to compete).”Rio Olympics freestyle bronze medalist Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, a silver medal winner in the Asian Games four years ago, are also contending for wrestling medals for India.Badminton made its debut at the Asian Games when Jakarta last hosted the event in 1962. It is one of the sports in which India is expected to compete for medals against the regional heavyweights.P. V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth are in the squad, and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini are India’s best bet in mixed doubles. They played the quarterfinals at the Worlds before being beaten by the top-seeded Chinese pair Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong.While India is anticipating a rich haul of medals, neighboring Pakistan may struggle for medals at Jakarta. LATEST STORIES In this April 13, 2018, file photo, Anish Bhanwala of India shoots during the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol final at the Belmont Shooting Centre during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia. At 15 and still at high school, Anish was India’s youngest gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast in April when he won the 25-meter rapid fire pistol shooting event in a meet record. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard, File)Anish Bhanwalais already considered something of a golden boy in the Indian contingent for the Asian Games.ADVERTISEMENT Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Pakistan had to reduce its Asian Games contingent to 245 because of financial constraints of its government. The Pakistan Olympic Association also said that several athletes will be funded by their respective sports federations.Wrestler Inam Butt, who won gold at the Commonwealth Games in April, was considered the country’s brightest prospect for gold but he pulled out because of a knee injury.Sri Lanka last time won two medals at last Asian Games, both in cricket. But cricket isn’t on the competition program this time and the 185-member Sri Lankan contingent’s best hopes of medals are in boxing, weightlifting and golf.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil MOST READ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taalcenter_img View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. While Anish and another rising star, Manu Bhaker made the squad in pistol events, there were contentious selections with former World No. 1 Heena Sidhu missing some events, and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Gagan Narang missing out on the squad entirely.India expects to pick up medals in the shooting, and is hoping for gold in field hockey, one of its traditionally powerful sports.Skipper Rani Rampal is hoping her women’s hockey team can pick its first major games gold medal since the 2002 Commonwealth Games.Rani, who became the youngest to play for a senior India team when she made her debut at 13 in 2008, was inspired to play the game after watching the Bollywood movie Chak de India — made in 2007 and based on India’s gold medal in Manchester.Since then, she has played an important role in India’s team, including its run to qualifying for Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, ending a 36-year absence.ADVERTISEMENT Peza offers relief to ecozone firms DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Transfer flurry in EPL for every team apart from Tottenham In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs At 15 and still at high school, he was India’s youngest gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast in April when he won the 25-meter rapid fire pistol shooting event in a meet record.He had to tone down the celebrations to study for exams, but he’s back on target in competition now as part of India’s 524-strong delegation for the Aug. 18-Sept. 2 Asiad in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Anish already has won a number of other international titles, including the ISSF Junior World Championship and the Commonwealth Shooting Championship last year and the ISSF Junior World Cup this year.Anish comes from a middle-class family which didn’t have any background in the sport, but took an interest in shooting after starting to train for the multi-discipline modern pentathlon. His father bought him a second-hand pistol and his career took off from there. The youngster moved in 2014 from Haryana to settle in Delhi, where he has the best facilities for practice.last_img read more

Body found on Corentyne road…

first_imgDead: Rajeshwar RampadaratThe spot where the body was foundPolice investigation has been launched after the body of a man was discovered on the Corentyne Highway in the vicinity of Belvedere on Tuesday morning around 05:20h. The body bore marks of violence similar to those obtained during a vehicular accident.The dead man has been identified as 26-year old Rajeshwar Rampadarat of lot 523 Block X Belvedere, Berbice. Police are investigating the matter as a hit-and-run but have not ruled out foul play.According to reports, the man might have been placed at the scene and then run over by a lorry.Residents in the community told Guyana Times that they heard nothing unusual, which prompted the belief that the body might have been dumped there.When this publication visited the scene, Police had marked the road indicating the position the body was found in. There were blood stains running from the markings at the centre of the road to the corner.According to his mother, Vilma Mootooveeren, she last spoke to her son at about 21:00h on Monday at their Belvedere home.“I don’t know if he went out after that or he had left to go to work this morning,” the grieving mother said.Mootooveeren said her son would leave home at varying times for work. “He would leave early in the morning before I get up some mornings and pack his bag and go. He don’t ride bicycle, he dose catch thing and go to work,” she said.Another family member said Rampadarat was discovered without his hat and slippers. “We aint see his slippers nowhere and he does always wear a hat and we aint see it nowhere.Meanwhile, persons in the community described Rampadarat as a ‘junkie’ who would prowl the community in the wee hours of the morning in search of friends who are up consuming alcohol.Surveillance video shown to Police did not capture the area where the body was found but revealed that two lorries passed moments before an alarm was raised. The first lorry stopped several feet away and the driver stepped out and went to the front of the vehicle and inspected it.When taken into custody, the driver of that lorry claimed another vehicle had passed shortly before him. Rampadarat leaves to mourn his parents and three siblings. Investigations are continuing.last_img read more

‘Power Is Nothing Without Control’

first_imgFormer Justice Minister, Cllr. Frederick Cherue The newly appointed Minister of Justice, Cllr. Frederick Cherue, said that power is nothing without control. In other words, if one is given power and cannot control himself or herself in the exercise of that power, he or she will surely lose it. The statement was in reference to the misuse of power, in which so many Liberian Attorneys General have engaged while they held office, getting into trouble not only with the public, but eventually with their boss, the Presidents of Liberia, who appointed them. Being one of the most powerful and most prestigious positions in government, the position of Justice Minister and Attorney General of Liberia has been abused in the past by some officials who engaged in the excessive use of power against certain people and the masses, causing them great pain and suffering. One of them was Justice Minister Chea Cheapoo, who as Justice Minister appointed immediately following the April 12, 1980 coup d’etat, sent many innocent people to jail and kept them there for months until Head of State Samuel K. Doe fired him inAugust 1981. Another was Jenkins Scott, who also committed many innocents to prison and closed down the Daily Observer several times. He also presided over two arson attacks against the newspaper, in March 1986 and March 1990.But just as the newly appointed Justice Minister and Attorney General, Cllr. Frederick Cherue told the Daily Observer yesterday, if one has power and cannot control it, that power is nothing, and it will soon be gone. The identical thing happened to both Cheapoo and Jenkins Scott. As for the latter, Jenkins Scott died a disgraceful death, while trying to fetch food from a dumpsite in Monrovia.Counsellor Cherue, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s newly appointed Justice Minister and Attorney General, on the other hand, has vowed not to tread the path of the reckless and uncontrollable use of power. “I do not intend to leave this office tomorrow as a friendless, isolated individual, leaving many enemies behind,” he declared in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer yesterday. “I intend to serve my time in this office knowing that there is a tomorrow when I will no longer be Attorney General; and when that time comes, I intend to return to the community where I can live in friendship and peace with all those I knew before, and even among more friends.” “Power is nothing without control,” Cllr. Cherue reemphasized, and pledged “to keep a level head, just as I have done throughout my public and private lives in the positions I have been fortunate to hold.” He further pledged his commitment “to help President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf reach the finishing line (of her administration) peacefully.” The MOJ is the prosecuting arm of the government, and Minister Cherue said his tenure at the Ministry will be very consultative in order to ensure “that the right things are done.” Many of Cherue’s predecessors, though not all the immediate ones, were “intoxicated” with the power and prestige that come with that position, preferring to use excessive power or an iron fist to execute the mandates of their office. They, however, ended up creating many enemies for themselves.Some of these past officials in the country’s recent history, specifically Chea Cheapo and Jenkins Scott, gained notoriety for the manner in which they governed the Ministry. They often went beyond their bounds to terrorize and dehumanized their compatriots. However, Attorney General Cherue, who officially took over the position yesterday, said that power becomes useless when it is used beyond control.Speaking to the Daily Observer at his 9th Street Justice Ministry office yesterday, Minister Cherue spoke of his very humble beginnings in River Gee County. Both his parents were humble and hardworking people.Asked as to how he intends to interpret and use the power that comes with his new position, the former River Gee Senator replied, “I will do my best. I will read the laws and consult with my colleagues, especially those here at the Justice Ministry, to make the best decisions possible in the interest of the Liberian people. I will advise my boss, President Sirleaf, strictly on be basis of the law. If there is anything she wants done that may not be in keeping with the law, I will advise her by saying, ‘Madam President, this is what the law says.’”The Minister also senses that the inability of past officials to tell their bosses the truth stems from the fact that many of them were not too familiar with the country’s laws, and the absence of the truth creates some of the unnecessary situations in the country’s past.“I will obey, respect and be committed to the President’s national development agenda, but I will muster the courage whenever I’m opportune to sit with her to advise her appropriately in order for us to make the right decisions. I know the President will always be willing to listen to me because she has confidence in me. That’s why she appointed me,” he added.Upon officially taking over as Justice Minister yesterday, the first thing that Minister Cherue did was to visit the Monrovia Central Prison, which he described as being “very overcrowded.” Providing an update on the prison facility, the Minister indicated that the facility currently hosts 1,001 detainees, when it was built for only 300. And many of the prisoners there are pre-trial detainees—a situation he described as “very disturbing.” “Out of this huge number only a hundred have been sentenced, while over eight hundred are pre-trial detainees,” Minister Cherue noted. Their prolonged detention is not helping the system. Because of this, he said, he is working with Chief Justice Francis Korkpor to see how the problem might be resolved. The Attorney General revealed that the Chief Justice, who is seriously concerned about the prison’s over-crowdedness, has set up a “fast track court,” to fast track some of the minor cases and see how some of these prisoners can be released on bail.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

GFF’s TD and Men’s Head Coach to attend FIFA conference

first_imgHead coach of the national senior men’s football team, Michael Johnson, and Technical Director of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Ian Greenwood, will be among head coaches and technical directors of FIFA member associations and technical experts of all six confederations who will participate in a FIFA conference aimed at reviewing the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.GFF Technical Director Ian GreenwoodScheduled for September 23 in London, England, the conference “aims to analyse the FIFA World Cup from a technical and tactical point of view, identify trends, and compare the main findings to previous editions of the FIFA World Cup based on the report by FIFA’s Technical Study Group (TSG), and assess the impact of VAR on the game.”The GFF staff will engage the FIFA technical experts to garner the information from the conference, so as to share with coaches locally and regionally. During the interaction, special attention will be paid to goals scored, where they came from, and the role of key players throughout the tournament.Besides the conference, specific meetings are planned with national teams’ head coaches and technical directors of the member associations. The purpose of these meetings is to go deeper into the analysis of the teams from the different confederations and to discuss the influence that this World Cup might have on the development of football in the various regions.Golden Jags Head Coach Michael JohnsonAccording to FIFA, the World Cup winning-coach Didier Deschamps will share his view on France’s path to glory at the conference in London. Besides Deschamps and Southgate, the other FIFA World Cup semi-finalist coaches: Croatia’s Zlatko Dalic and Belgium’s Roberto Martinez, as well as Russia’s Stanislav Cherchesov and 2014 FIFA World Cup champion manager Joachim Low, have registered for the conference.Participants in the special panel would include Gareth Southgate (Coach of England), Tite (Coach of Brazil), Aliou Cisse (Coach of Senegal), and Juan Antonio Pizzi (Coach of Saudi Arabia).The discussions will be moderated by ex- players Clarence Seedorf (Netherlands) and Alex Scott (England). The conference will take place in conjunction with The Best FIFA Football Awards 2018™, and all delegates will be invited to attend the show on the evening of the 24th September 2018.last_img read more

University a good fit for Lent

first_imgThe program is the brainchild of the Rev. Dave Heney from St. Paschal Baylon. The informal classes first began in 2001 and were held at just two Ventura County parishes. Ten parishes are participating this year, offering the 90-minute classes, teen programs and Saturday concerts. “Lent is a time of preparing to meet Christ at Easter. Traditionally, people think about giving something up – like coffee, alcohol or chocolate. What I’ve been doing is thinking about what area of my life can I improve,” said Wendy Gigliotti, associate director of The University. “The University is open to everyone. I think it can help people develop a better relationship with God,” Gigliotti said. “It’s designed to help people connect with their faith.” One of the classes that Gigliotti has enjoyed taking in the past, and which is offered again this year by Maggie Rickelmann, is “The Human Face of Mary.” THOUSAND OAKS – Despite its name, there’s no need to worry about grades at The University, a Lenten adult education series starting Thursday at Roman Catholic parishes in Ventura County. Knowledge and spiritual growth are the basic goals of the six-week program, which will feature more than 100 classes – some in Spanish – covering 13 topics including church history; marriage and family; current events and faith; morality and ethics; and spirituality and prayer. “The appeal to me is the ability to get a broad education in a short period of time,” said Bob Jordan, a member at St. Paschal Baylon Roman Catholic Church in Thousand Oaks, and the program’s publicity chairman. “Lent is the traditional time of renewal, so The University is a natural fit.” “The course shows how each of us is called by God. God gives us choices and when Mary was called by God, she said yes,” Gigliotti said. “We can think, how are we called to serve God and will we accept?” The faculty for The University is eclectic, featuring local clergy and lay guest speakers, including Bishop Thomas Curry of the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region and Rabbi Michael Lotker from Temple Ner Ami in Camarillo. Laughter and one’s soul and strategies for parents bring authors, respectively, Sister Anne Bryan Smollin and Char Wenc, to make guest-speaker appearances. Daniel Smith-Christopher, a professor at Loyola Marymount University and a frequent commentator for programs on the Discovery and History channels, will speak in March on “War and Peace in the Bible” and “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Revelation.” Church history has been, surprisingly, one of the most popular offerings over the past years. Keith Lewis, professor of church history at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, gets glowing reports from Jordan, Gigliotti and Mary Lou McGee, the director of The University. “He’s an excellent presenter. He really knows his material,” McGee said. McGee is particularly excited about attending a new addition to the “Jesus in the News” category, “Hollywood and Faith: Enemies or Partners?” This will be a panel discussion led by Steve McEveety, the producer of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ,” scheduled for March 14. McGee lauds Sister Edith Prendergast – “She is just top-notch, excellent” – who will speak on “The Conscious Conscience.” Jordan won’t miss any class that has the Rev. Jim Clark (“Love One Another, Even if it Hurts”) as the teacher. “I’m a note taker and when I leave a class I usually say, wow, I’ve got a lot of stuff!” Jordan said. “I get practical advice from many of the classes and I feel uplifted. There’s always one thing I’m thinking about on the drive home.” The University courses will run from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on various weekdays except Fridays, from Feb. 22 to March 31. Admission: $7, includes a guest. This week: “Bible Archaeology: Excavating Jesus, Part I,” the Rev. Dave Heney, Thursday, Our Lady of the Assumption, 3175 Telegraph Road, Ventura; and “Love One Another, Even if it Hurts,” the Rev. Jim Clarke, Thursday, St. Jude the Apostle, 32032 Lindero Canyon Road, Westlake Village. For a catalog of classes or parishes where one can be picked up, call St. Paschal Baylon (805) 496-0222 or www.stpaschal.org. holly.andres@dailynews.com (818) 713-3708160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Miller, U.S. draw blank

first_imgBode Miller and the U.S. men are left with a blank look at the World Championships. After straining his knee during the first run of Saturday’s slalom, Miller will leave this frigid resort without a medal. He also failed to crack the top three at last year’s Turin Olympics. Austria’s Mario Matt won the slalom in a combined time of 1minute, 57.33 seconds. Italy’s Manfred Moelgg took the silver, while Jean-Baptiste Grange of France won the bronze. While Lindsey Kildow collected a pair of silver medals in the speed events and Julia Mancuso another in the combined – the U.S. men have been shut out. The last time the U.S. men failed to bring home a medal from the worlds was 1999. They’ll have one last shot in today’s team event, which Miller will skip because of fatigue and injury. Kostelic ponders calling it a career: Janica Kostelic’s year off from skiing could very well turn into retirement. “Personally I think it’s very difficult that she will return,” Croatia team director Vedran Pavlek said Friday. “But you never know. The decision is up to her.” “It’s an alarming trend for a guy that should be having big results,” U.S. men’s head coach Phil McNichol said. “He came up short again at a big championship. But I don’t think Torino and this event are a good comparison. “Bode came in here much more prepared than at the Olympics. He worked hard and we trained hard.” center_img Kostelic opted to take this season off because of chronic back and knee pain. Rocca’s season over: Reigning World Cup slalom champion Giorgio Rocca is ending his season early and will undergo right knee surgery next week. The Italian announced his plans Saturday after skiing off course in the first run of the slalom at the World Championships. “I’m disappointed. It’s a bad season for me,” Rocca said. Rocca hasn’t won since he captured the opening five slaloms last season. He entered this season with plans to become an all-around skier, but chronic knee pain limited his performance. “I want to be No. 1 in slalom again,” Rocca said. “I was dreaming of a good result at world championships before dedicating myself to taking care of my knee. Now, I’m going to move my plans forward and go in for the operation.” Also: Armin Zoeggeler of Italy clinched his sixth men’s World Cup luge overall title by winning the season finale in Sigulda, Latvia. The two-time Olympic champion finished his two heats in a combined 1minute, 38.116 seconds. It was his sixth victory in nine events this season and the 36th World Cup singles win of his career. … Canada’s Drew Neilson and Maella Ricker won their World Cup snowboardcross races in Furano, Japan. Neilson won the men’s event ahead of American Nate Holland to earn 1,000 points in the World Cup standings. In the women’s race, Ricker crossed the finish line ahead of American Lindsay Jacobellis. … American Nathan Roberts won the men’s freestyle World Cup moguls and Canada’s Jennifer Heil topped the women’s event in Inawashiro, Japan. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Goalkeeping legend Buffon ready to play again for Italy

first_imgBut Italy interim national coach Luigi Di Biagio said on Monday he was ready to recall Buffon for friendlies against Argentina and England in Manchester and London on March 23 and 27.“I had thought about going on holiday for a few days with my family, but when the national team needs you, you must be present and not desert them,” Buffon told Italian programme Tiki Taka.The 40-year-old Juventus goalkeeper has represented the Azzurri for 20 years, winning the 2006 World Cup title, and earning a record 175 caps in a brilliant career. He had been bidding for a record sixth World Cup appearance.“There’s nothing to add to Di Biagio’s words other than I feel a sense of responsibility and loyalty which I must give to the national team in this transitional moment,” he continued.“I repeat, it’s a way of showing loyalty and a sense of responsibility towards Italy. A new national team is being born and the first games are not comfortable ones because we will face Argentina and England.“I think that any experienced player can be useful at the start, even if it’s just to give advice to the young ones.”Juventus captain Buffon, who has said he intends to retire as a player at the end of the season, said he will announce his final decision in due course.“The only thing I have to do right now is focus on the end of the season,” Buffon continued.“The thing I can tell you is that I’m sure and I’m very happy with what will be my choice, together with the club, but we’ll announce it when the time comes.“Right now it’s a point in the season where we have to be very focused.”Six-time Serie A holders Juventus are second in the league and are also in the running for the Italian Cup, and the Champions League where they play the last 16 second leg against Tottenham in Wembley on March 7.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Juventus’ goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon says he is ready to play for Italy in two up-coming friendlies © AFP/File / MARCO BERTORELLOMILAN, Italy, Feb 27 – Italy goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon confirmed on Tuesday he is ready to come out of international retirement if he is called up for friendlies against England and Argentina.Buffon called time on his international career after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, losing a two-legged play-off to Sweden to miss the tournament for the first time in 60 years.last_img read more

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR THE NORTH WEST BREAST CANCER BALL

first_imgIT’S the gala event of next month – and there are still some tickets left!The unique North West Breast Cancer Ball takes place at the Silver Tassie Hotel on Friday November 22.And all funds raised go to Breast Cancer Research Letterkenny General Hospital. The black tie formal event will be compered by Marty Friel and Miss Donegal Orlagh McGee – with music by the brilliant Kopy Kates and DJ Dermot Griffin.Tickets for this event are available at the Silver Tassie on 0749125619 or from Liberty Travel in Letterkenny on 0749188380.Please share this story if you are on Twitter or Facebook.And you can get more information on www.facebook.com/NorthWestBreastCancerCharityBall ORwww.twitter.com/NWBCBall TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR THE NORTH WEST BREAST CANCER BALL was last modified: October 23rd, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalLiberty TravelNorth West Breast Cancer Charity Ballsilver tassielast_img read more

Bus rapid transit: so far, so good

first_img12 October 2009Laden with shopping bags, a woman disembarks at the Ellis Park East Station to make her way to her little Bertrams home, just a stone’s throw away.In passing she greets an acquaintance and her child, leisurely strolling up the station ramp in the opposite direction, the hurry in their step reserved for when they disembark at their final destination in Thokoza Park, Soweto, which they call home – after all, there are enough buses to take them home should they miss this one.Volunteers are on hand to assist passengers with queries. And sure enough, another bus is already rounding the corner at the bottom of Bertrams Drive, ready to take this one’s place in the next minute or two.This is Johannesburg’s new Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system in action, and it looks and feels first-class, say commuters.The two red articulated buses – travelling in opposite directions – are docked at the station simultaneously, and people move with ease through the ticketing and boarding process, with volunteers on hand to assist passengers with queries.About 850 pairs of feet walk through Ellis Park East Station daily. It is not the busiest station on the Rea Vaya trunk route; this label is reserved for Thokoza Park, where commuters numbers top about 1 500 a day.First monthIt is barely 40 days into operations for Johannesburg’s BRT system, and numbers remain steady at about 12 000 passengers a day, says Rea Vaya project manager, Jacques van Zijl.“The demand on the trunk route is very good. All our buses are well utilised.”Rea Vaya is also offering services to and from Orlando and Ellis Park stadiums on an events basis, Van Zijl confirms.The road this far has not been without its speed bumps. The biggest challenge is for buses to stick to their timetables, he admits. Not all of the BRT lanes have been completed, and in some parts of the city Rea Vaya buses still have to make use of normal traffic lanes.“We are trying to mitigate this problem. Johannesburg metro police will be introducing contra-flow lanes [for the buses] in the Diepkloof area and in Noord Street towards Fashion Square and adding pointsmen.”Van Zijl says the problem with the stations doors will soon be a thing of the past, too. At the moment, station ambassadors open the doors as the door operating system interfered with the bus system. All buses are being fitted with new technology which will allow the driver to open the station doors from inside the bus, without any interference.Taxi drivers on boardThe 40 buses currently being used on the trunk and circular inner city routes are solely driven by 75 former taxi drivers, all hand-picked and trained over a one-month period by skilled Metrobus instructors. And judging by the ease and speed with which they are coming up to the stations, being a Rea Vaya bus driver is just another job in the driving seat.Not so, indicates a group of off-duty drivers catching up on some gossip between shifts. Driving the Rea Vaya buses is a pleasure compared to their past taxi-driving jobs. And they had no problem finding their bus-driving feet, although some still find station docking a bit of a challenge.On board, the drivers switch to the latest in technology, with access to a GPS system, panic buttons, route and destination screens, a public address system and CCTV cameras.An additional feature of this high-tech system is sure to thrill their old taxi driving hearts: referred to as the Automatic Passenger Management System (APMS), drivers will also be able to communicate and manipulate traffic signals, switching red lights to green, lengthening the period for green lights, even shortening the period for a red light – all so that they are able to run their buses exactly on schedule.The APMS has been fitted to all the vehicles and will be fully operational in about two months’ time when the back office and control centre becomes operational, to be run from the Joburg Roads Agency offices in Sauer Street, confirms Van Zijl.Not on boardUnfortunately, co-operation from Johannesburg’s motorists and taxis is not good, he says. They use the BRT lanes all the time and sneak back after they have been directed out by the metro police. And in the inner city, vehicles are parked at almost all the stations, forcing buses to load and off-load in the middle of the road, he says.Traffic signaling, lane painting and signage also still need attention. “We have a long way to go with law enforcement and the rest.”For now, the BRT project office will focus its energy on fine-tuning the first phase of Rea Vaya so that it runs smoothly come the 2010 Fifa World Cup. This includes introducing feeder buses and complementary modes of transport.“Going forward, the goal is to have phase 1A working properly by 2010.”Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

Global Effects of SOX and Compliance

first_imgWe’re currently working on a project with a customer who is a long-time user of Formtek | Orion RepositoryLink, Formtek’s certified integration of SAP R/3 and the Formtek content repository.  This customer has been using SAP’s ALViewer to view unstructured content stored in the repository.  The archived documents provide supplementary data that can be viewed alongside the more structured data that’s managed within SAP. Moving forward this company determined that it would be more cost-effective to convert the TIFF images and SAP proprietary file formats that are being archived, like OTF and EDI, into PDF file format.  ALViewer will be replaced with Formtek’s Product Interface and Connector for SAP, a plug-in for Adobe Reader.While working with our customer on this viewer migration project we determined that it would be necessary to make some changes in the SAP configuration.  We wanted to create a new SAP document class for the PDF file data.  But we learned to do that wasn’t a good idea because to get that kind of change approved internally by their SOX compliance group would take a long time.  I was a little surprised since this is a company that’s based in Europe.We’ve since come up with an alternative approach for configuring their system that wouldn’t require a review by their SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) team, but it got me thinking about the effects that SOX and compliance in general are having on companies.  The effects are global and they’re reaching beyond just public companies.Solutions for compliance regulations like SOX and HIPPA typically center around the combination of an audit tool with a document management repository that can securely manage the review, revision and approval of documents.  Beyond basic document library services, the repository can be further enhanced with capabilities like collaboration, records management, and workflow.SOX regulations were enacted in 2002 and since then the impact that it’s had on businesses probably exceeds what anyone had thought at the time.  Now nonprofit organizations are also under pressure from SOX with potential for additional regulation, especially in healthcare.  SOX is also becoming seen as ‘best-practice’, even for organizations where the adoption is not mandatory.Globally there are reports of many small to medium-size companies that are avoiding the listing on the US stock exchanges because of the high costs that SOX regulations would impose.  But the effect of SOX beyond the US borders is only likely to grow in the future.Japanese companies, for example, are beginning to brace for the Japanese version of SOX to go into effect.  It will only affect publicly traded companies and be in full operation in 2008.  IDC is predicting that by 2009 more than 7% of all IT money spent in Japan will be for compliance-related projects.For Records Management there are many global standards that already exist, like 5015.2 in the US, the UK Public Record Office Approved Electronic Records Management Solution, and Australia’s Victorian Electronic Record Strategy.  It seems inevitable that in this post-Enron environment that Compliance and Records Management requirements will spread worldwide.last_img read more