UnIndian movie review: Brett Lee’s debut is so full of cheese you might as well order pizza

first_imgBrett Lee is quite the ‘sport’ in his (almost) Bollywood debut, however, let-down by this uninspired cross-over romantic comedy. Apart from Lee, the film stars Tannishtha Chatterjee, Supriya Pathak, Gulshan Grover and Akash Khurrana in pivotal roles. The film hit the screens today. Here’s the UnIndian movie review.Cast: Brett Lee, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Supriya Pathak, Gulshan Grover, Akash KhurranaDirection: Anupam SharmaRatings:    (1.5/5)Brett Lee first became known to the Indians when he made his debut against the touring Indian cricket team in 1999. The fiery young fast bowler from Australia, with the ‘chainsaw celebration’ when he got a wicket, Lee was an instant hit with Indian cricket lovers. In a generation full of hard-talking Aussies, here was one sweet guy, who bowled like a sniper, played tough and then followed it up with a smile. His band with brother Shane Lee and side gig as its guitarist only made him more affable to his fans. He always mentioned how he loved Indian culture, food and he even came down to record a song with stalwart Asha Bhosle.ALSO READ: Diana Penty, Abhay Deol’s Happy Bhag Jaayegi is an inoffensive entertainerALSO READ: Brett Lee speaks on his big Bollywood debutAnd now he’s gone on to make this cross-over film UnIndian, where East meets West, and they fall in love. Both the leads are effortless, including a reliable Tannishtha Chatterjee. Lee looks like a natural as he goes around his Aussie ways ordering pizza, drinking beer, coaching students to pronounce ‘mayte’ (‘mate’). However, it’s all pretty empty as it is accompanied by a banal story which we’ve already seen a million times. Remember Bend It Like Beckham from 2002? Mississipi Masala from 1991?advertisementUnIndian begins with Meera (Tannishtha), a young divorcee settled in Sydney waking up from a nightmare involving a flashback to her bad marriage. She’s a single mother, who loves her daughter Smitha more than anything else in the world. She’s an ambitious Indian woman in 2016, who doesn’t need anyone to ‘provide for her’. And that point is driven home rather subtly, as her mother (Supriya Pathak) doesn’t stop showing her the grooms’ menu of Doctors and CPAs who ‘will take care of her’ after the parents have passed away. Meera rejects all husband talk with ‘I need to fall in love’.Enter Mr Lee, who teaches ‘Aussie’ to foreign students whose first language is not English, and might be finding it difficult to cope with the Australian culture. And the chance-meeting happens at a Holi party, with the subtlety of a sledge-hammer. She ‘accidentally’ throws some colour on his white suit (which he wore to a Holi function) ’cause how will a ‘gora’ know about an Indian festival. Google much bro?All that’s still fine as the stakes are built for a culture conflict, where Indians and Aussies don’t understand each other’s sensibilities. UnIndian is badly let down by supporting players, as Supriya Pathak hams it with her patriotic Indian mother act. You wonder if it’s her or just bad writing. Gulshan Grover acts out his Bollywood image of a creepy father. Debutante director Anupam Sharma uses all the silly tropes of a bad romantic comedy to steer UnIndian forward. So just ahead of the climax, there’s a sad song where we see both the leads, including Brett Lee, cry to Rabba Mainu Ishq Rulaya.There are so many tracks in UnIndian which do nothing to lift it, as they’re left mid-air. So there’s an Indian half-brother who is trying to make it with an online cooking web-series. A Tamilian university student who can’t get a job because of her accented English, despite her good grades. The ex-husband track does nothing to lift the meandering plot from the troughs of hell.In the end, the Aussie fast bowler’s almost-Bollywood debut UnIndian just doesn’t fly, because there are a lot of elements missing in the movie, to even make it a decent watch. And that’s a shame, ’cause the lead actors whole-heartedly invest themselves in this drivel. Brett Lee deserved a better first film.last_img read more

6 days agoSouthampton striker Danny Ings praises character for Wolves draw

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Southampton striker Danny Ings praises character for Wolves drawby Paul Vegas6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton striker Danny Ings praised their character after they ended a run of three straight Premier League defeats with a 1-1 draw against Wolves at Molineux.Ings, who opened the scoring on 53 minutes, now has three goals in his last three league outings, taking his overall tally to six for the season.Despite Raúl Jiménez levelling from the penalty spot just past the hour-mark, Saints held on to pick up an important point on the road to leave Ings in buoyant mood.“I felt we could’ve won it,” he said. “But the way that we hung in there at the end showed real character from us after three defeats.“Obviously they scored from the spot which was unlucky for us, but to hang in there at the end was great.” last_img read more

Escape Outdoors this Summer with Camelbak’s Pursuit Series

first_img Editors’ Recommendations All 21 Six Flags Parks in the U.S., Ranked 7 Mountain Bike Destinations to Put On Your Bucket List The Best Campgrounds Near Major U.S. Cities There’s Never a Bad Time to Visit Whistler, the Four-Season Outdoor Playground center_img Summer is finally upon us, so that can mean only one thing: it’s time to find your next great adventure or outdoors hobby. If you’re a traditionalist, you can do what generations of outdoorsmen have done when picking up oars, bikes, or hiking boots for the first time – flounder and learn by trial by error. Of course, there are better options out there. If you’re looking for a fun environment to start SUPing, cooking like a backcountry gourmet, or learn how to ride a mountain bike like a pro, Camelbak’s new Pursuit Series is the perfect summer getaway.In partnership with The Outbound, Camelbak’s Pursuit Series launches later this summer with two events near Salt lake City on August 11th-13th and San Fransisc0 on September 8th-10th. Think of them like summer camp for aspiring adventurers. Instead of arts and crafts and afternoons swimming in a lake, there will be courses on mountain bike handling, intro to backpacking, fly fishing basics, rock climbing, and more.Whether you’re a seasoned camping expert who is looking for their next adrenaline fix, or a relative outdoors newbie looking for advice on your first backpacking tent, the Pursuit Series is a perfect summer vacation. The long weekend format for both events lends itself to a personalized schedule, allowing you to take classes in different sports and skills based on your comfort level. Ready to hop on a SUP and do your best sun salutation (be prepared for a cold dip in a mountain lake)? The SUP classes are ready for you. Looking for a more mellow day spent learning campfire cooking tips? The Pursuit Series has you covered there as well.Scott Kranz 14 Best Outdoor Stores in the United States With sponsors like Camelbak, Snowbasin Ski Resort, Camp Chef, Lagunitas, and Backcountry.com, you can bet that a sense of community (dare we say, Outdoors Tribe?) will be a big part of each weekend. Plan on group dinners and happy hours under the stars each night, and a chance to make new friends who share your passion for hiking, camping, and enjoying the mountains. Make your plans now though, as tickets to both events will be limited, and this is one wilderness adventure you won’t want to miss.last_img read more

New Brunswick to Contribute to Regional Venture Capital Fund

first_imgRegional co-operation in Atlantic Canada took another step forward today, June 5, as New Brunswick joined Nova Scotia in a regional venture capital fund to support emerging companies in the region. New Brunswick will contribute $15 million to fund, created by Nova Scotia and announced in April. Companies involved in clean technology, life sciences, information technology and other high-growth sectors will be able to access the fund. “Knowledge-based companies create good jobs, help grow the economy, and are vital to the future prosperity of all of Atlantic Canada,” said Premier Darrell Dexter. “Premier David Alward recognizes this, and I look forward to working with him to expand the fund and bring on other partners.” Nova Scotia committed $15 million in the 2011-12 budget to create a new, privately operated, regional venture capital fund, targeting opportunities throughout Atlantic Canada. New Brunswick is the first province to add to Nova Scotia’s contribution to the fund. “Regional co-operation is a leading priority for our government, and it is vital to addressing the lack of venture capital available to our entrepreneurs today,” said Premier Alward. “By working with Nova Scotia and other partners we can provide the strategic support needed to create new success stories here in Atlantic Canada.” Premier Dexter discussed expanding the fund with federal colleagues in Ottawa last week, and with Atlantic premiers last month. Early stage venture capital funding is essential to successfully commercialize innovative products and services. Emerging Nova Scotia companies have suffered from limited access to venture capital in the past. The fund will invest in high potential companies that do not yet have the cash flow to secure financing from traditional lenders. There are several provincial and federal programs to help these types of companies, but most do not provide enough capital for them to compete globally. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will continue to work with private-sector partners, institutional investors and the federal government to ensure the companies with the most potential can compete.last_img read more

Telangana is marching ahead says KCR

first_imgHyderabad: Telangana celebrated its fifth Formation Day on Sunday with Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao stating that it was marching ahead and progressing as a fruitful state. Addressing the main official function held at the Public Gardens her, the Chief Minister said Telangana could overcome several hurdles and obstacles during last five years and with incredible resolve moving forward in its journey towards growth. KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, paid tributes at the Telangana Martyrs’ Memorial in Gun Park before proceeding to the Public Gardens where he unfurled the national flag and deliver his address. The Formation Day celebrations were a low-key affair due to the extended spell of election code in the state up to June 8 on account of elections to rural local bodies. There were no parades by the police contingents at the main official function and the celebrations held at the headquarters of 32 other districts. The Formation Day celebration was also made a simple affair due to continuing heat wave forcing postponement of reopening of schools to June 12. KCR said though five years was a small period in a state’s history, the period was an invaluable one considering the results it achieved. Recalling that the state was formed amidst many a doubts and misconceptions, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief said and a very short time it proved all of them as baseless. “Tremendous maturity and expertise were exhibited in governance and administration without giving any scope for discordant and flurry. Without any undesirable consequences and maintaining perfect law and order the state is marching ahead on progressive path,” he said. He claimed the results of the Assembly elections reflect the government’s performance and to what extent people were impressed by it. “In every election from Panchayat to Parliament, every time, the victory was on our side and people gave us an unprecedented mandate,” he said. KCR said Telangana emerged as a powerful force registering on an average 16.5 per cent revenue growth rate during the past five years. He pointed out how Telangana overcame electricity shortage and became only state in the country to provide round the clock 24-hour power supply to all sectors including agriculture. The Chief Minister said Mission Bhagiratha addressed the drinking water problem and claimed that despite scorching summer people are not facing water scarcity. He said by July the programme, aimed at providing piped drinking water to every house, will be completed. KCR said as announced earlier the social security pensions for various categories of poor and needy will be enhanced from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,016 and for differently abled from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,016 with effect from July. The Chief Minister also listed out welfare schemes launched and implemented during last five years for various sections of the society. He claimed the government was successful in improving standards in education and health sectors. He said the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project which was under construction on the Godavari river would change the face of Telangana. Kaleshwaram is going to create history in the world, as the largest lift irrigation project built in the fastest mode. Listing out the steps taken for the welfare of farmers, he said as promised earlier the government would waive agriculture loans of up to one lakh rupees. Under ‘Rythu Bandhu’, the investment support scheme for agriculture, the annual financial assistance for each farmer will be enhanced from Rs 8,000 per acre to Rs 10,000 per acre from this year.last_img read more

Born Free USA And Ian Somerhalder Foundation Partner To Support Fur For

first_imgThis week, Born Free USA and the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) announced a partnership to support both organizations’ efforts to educate youth on wildlife conservation and animal welfare.The collaboration will begin with a youth program called Give it Back, which is a project involving Born Free USA’s Fur for the Animals campaign and the ISF Youth Program. ISF youth volunteers will be collecting fur for Born Free USA’s donation drive: a successful initiative launched in 2014 to collect unwanted fur coats and accessories, which are repurposed and sent to wildlife rehabilitation centers around the country to help comfort orphaned and injured wildlife. Give it Back will take place throughout 2017, with events focused on getting fur back where it belongs—with the animals.“We are excited to work with Born Free USA on anti-fur trapping campaigns and in engaging youth to take action through their Fur for the Animals project,” said Ian Somerhalder. “What better way to teach youth compassion and responsible actions than by having them encourage people to Give it Back?”According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “We are tremendously excited to partner with Ian’s well-respected Foundation and grateful to the passionate ISF youth volunteers. It is so important for us to get kids involved in the compassionate anti-fur message and have them do hands-on work to promote the fact that cruelty is not fashion. The success of Fur for the Animals not only shows that the public is increasingly turning away from fur, but it also serves as a powerful reminder that fur comes from the intense suffering and painful deaths of millions of animals. We are looking forward to a strong partnership and thank the Foundation for its important work to save animals.”Fur for the Animals has received more than 1,700 fur donations since it launched in 2014, worth an estimated $3.5M, from more than 54,000 animals.“The Born Free USA Fur for the Animals campaign will give young people a hands-on chance to get involved and learn about cruelty-free consumerism, upcycling, wildlife conservation, and sanctuary animals, while looking at an ugly issue of trapping and finding a feel-good way to create action and outreach,” added Kate Harms, ISF Creatures Division Manager.last_img read more

Her life mattered High court orders new trial in death of Cindy

first_imgAmber BernardAPTN NewsThe Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that an Ontario truck driver should be retried for manslaughter, but not murder, in the case of Cindy Gladue, a Metis mother of three who bled to death in a motel room’s bathroom.In a 4-3 decision Friday, the high court said evidence about Gladue’s sexual history was mishandled at Bradley Barton’s trial in Edmonton that ended in an acquittal on a first-degree murder charge.Barton acknowledged that he hired Gladue for sex in 2011 and said the severe injury to her vaginal wall that caused her death was an accident during rough but consensual activity.The Crown argued that Barton intentionally wounded Gladue and was guilty of first-degree murder or, at the very least, manslaughter, because the 36-year-old woman had not consented.Barton was found not guilty by a jury that repeatedly heard references to Gladue as a “prostitute” and a “native.”The Alberta Court of Appeal set aside the acquittal and ordered a new first-degree murder trial.A majority of the Supreme Court said Barton’s new trial should be restricted to manslaughter, because procedural errors at the trial did not taint the jury’s finding. The minority said he should be retried with both manslaughter and murder as possible verdicts.Writing on behalf of the majority, Justice Michael Moldaver said the criminal justice system did not deliver on its promise to provide Gladue with the law’s full protection and “as a result, it let her down _ indeed, it let us all down.”“Her life mattered. She was valued. She was important. She was loved. Her status as an Indigenous woman who performed sex work did not change any of that in the slightest.”The 2015 trial sparked widespread public concern about how alleged victims of sexual assault, particularly Indigenous women, are portrayed in a courtroom.“They’re often perceived almost like they’re the criminal and that they have to defend themselves, and Cindy, in her death, couldn’t defend herself,” said Melanie Omeniho, president of Women of the Metis Nation, who was at the Supreme Court for the decision.It’s not uncommon for cases involving the deaths of Indigenous women to go through multiple appeals and retrials, Omeniho said, as difficult as that is for victims’ families.Also there for the ruling was Qajaq Robinson, a commissioner for the national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women, which is due to report early next month.“It’s a step forward that the court has recognized that in cases of sexual assaults involving Indigenous women and girls, that there’s an obligation on courts, on judges, to be gatekeepers _ to ensure that bias, prejudice, racism and sexism do not form part of the evidence,” she said.Julie Kaye, a research adviser with the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, said the ruling needed to go further.“The level of dehumanization that was experienced and the level of humiliation that Indigenous women throughout the country felt as a result of the way the court treated Cindy Gladue,” she said in an interview from Saskatoon. “I don’t think the decision accounts for that in the way that it needed to.”Two experts who testified at the trial for the Crown said an 11-centimetre cut in Gladue’s vaginal wall was caused by a sharp instrument. A defence expert said the injury was a laceration that resulted from blunt-force trauma.The Crown showed the jury Gladue’s preserved vaginal tissue as an exhibit in an effort to explain her injury. The extraordinary move raised complaints that it contributed to dehumanizing her.Barton, who hired Gladue for two nights of sex, testified that he put his fist in her vagina on both occasions, but on the second night she started bleeding.Barton said he woke up the next morning to find Gladue dead in the bathtub.The Supreme Court said the trial judge failed to apply provisions in the law that limit the extent to which alleged victims’ sexual histories can be discussed. The intention is to avoid an inference that, due to their history, they are more likely to have consented to the sexual activity in question or are less worthy of belief.The court said those provisions should have been followed before introducing evidence about Gladue’s sexual activity with Barton.If any of that evidence had been deemed admissible, careful instruction by the trial judge was needed to ensure the jury understood that evidence, the Supreme Court added.Barton’s lawyer, Dino Bottos, said it’s disappointing his client must return to court on a manslaughter charge, “but it’s a far, far better result than having to go back to trial on first-degree murder.”He said the retrial is set for next February.“I intend to simply have Mr. Barton tell his story once again,” Bottos said. “The jury believed him the first time. There should be no reason why a jury wouldn’t believe him a second time.”abernard@aptn.ca@amberbernard-with files from the Canadian Presslast_img read more

Yes Bank cleanup to continue as Gill shifts focus to get onto

first_imgMumbai: Ravneet Gill, the new chief executive at Yes Bank wants to increase focus on compliance and governance two critical areas in which his predecessor Rana Kapoor was found wantingto ensure that the bank is on the side of regulator. This indicates that Gill is not only cleaning up the balancesheet which saw the fifth largest private sector lender announcing the first-ever loss of a whopping Rs 1,506 crore over the weekend, but also the governance practices, which led to the ouster of Kapoor by the regulator earlier this year. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra Among other deficiencies, the RBI had reportedly found serious lapses in governance and poor compliance culture at Yes Bank under Kapoor who was a co-promoter and chief executive, whom Gill succeeded in March after RBI asked to leave by end January due to a regulatory discomfort. Addressing analysts hours after shocking with a Rs 1,506-crore loss in the March quarter, Gill cited a recent meeting with a large MNC to cite perception issues. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 daysThe multinational, which banks with a foreign lender, wanted to undertake a large remittance transaction and came to Yes Bank to check if it can get the job done without the hassle of going through the RBI, something which the foreign lender insisted on. This is the perception that exists but we want to get away from that. We want to send out a very clear messaging to the market that we want to be very closely aligned with the regulator, by being on the side of the regulator and the regulator should be able to validate that, Gill said. Similarly, on governance too, he said the new leadership is very serious about confirming to the highest standards of governance and also set new industry benchmarks. Over a period of time, weve attracted lots of regulatory scrutiny which were not exactly in our best interest, he admitted reasoning the need for a cultural change at the lender. Conceding that there may be a perception issue where the market even may stop trusting the numbers put out by the bank, Gill said he wants to set in greatest transparency by moving to conservative and prudent accounting. The move to take a Rs 2,100 crore contingency provision for the March quarter, the prime reason for the maiden loss shown by the bank, is the same and not kitchen sinking, Gill said. We thought lets go and put it out there that we are setting a new course for ourselves in terms of transparency, Gill, who previously worked as the country head of German lender Deutsche Bank, said. In its communications before curtailing Kapoors term, RBI had reportedly said there is a persistent governance and compliance failure reflected by yes Bank’s highly irregular credit management practices, serious deficiencies in governance and a poor compliance culture. On the operational front, Gill rued that there is a lot of centralisation on the market approach, especially on the retail side, and said this is something he will work on to deliver better returns. The bank was very centralised from a decision- making perspective, which actually flies into the face of the logic that liabilities business has to be driven by bottom-up, he said. Gill admitted that only 30 percent of its 1,100 branches are profitable and it has initiated a branch-wise review that entails detailing key performance indicators and the business to be targeted. The aim is to make 80 percent of branches profitable by 2023 and make it 100 percent by 2025, he added. In what sounds like a departure from the extreme focus on retail under Kapoor, Gill said corporate lending will now become the calling card for the lender and the attempt is to only diversify the loan book. He also admitted that the bank lacks the needed focus on cross-selling and transaction banking, which will now be a key focus area. Explaining the same, Gill said the banks revenue at present is limited to interest income and some fees as it focuses merely on loan underwriting, but a cross-sell strategy can deliver better credit commissions, forex fees, guarantee commissions etc and can help the bank bridge the gap with its peers from a fund-cost perspective, which is adrift at high 125-150 bps now. It can be noted that many lenders, especially those focused on corporates and wanting to grow their retail play, have lately adopted a cross-selling strategy, making it seem almost like a trend. Gill said while Yes Banks retail book may be small, it has grown impressively and is one of the best in industry.last_img read more

American dairy divided Some want Canadas supply management left alone in NAFTA

by Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press Posted Aug 18, 2017 2:00 am MDT Last Updated Aug 18, 2017 at 6:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – The American dairy industry is split on the question of Canada’s supply-management system as national negotiators get set to hold their first session on agriculture Saturday in North American free trade talks.A vocal contingent of American farmers actually supports the Canadian system of price-and-import controls and wants their national negotiators to leave the Canadian system alone instead of fighting it as expected.They don’t want to eliminate Canada’s system. They want to emulate it.At least five organizations have expressed support for creating such a system in the U.S. Some have written letters to the official leading the U.S. trade team, urging Robert Lighthizer to leave the Canadian system alone.That puts them at odds with the main national milk lobby, which is tied to export-based producers.It’s also at odds with the U.S. government position, which opposes Canadian supply management and has worked for years to weaken it.“I would hate to go after a program that’s protecting farmers, when that’s really what farmers in the U.S. are asking,” said Darin Von Ruden, who has a 50-cattle, multi-generational farm and heads the Wisconsin Farmers Union.“Canada’s supply-management program might not be perfect. But it certainly is doing a good enough job to make sure that those farmers, especially on the dairy side in Canada, can continue to stay in business and hand that farm on to the next generation.”Canada’s system is highly controlled. It limits imports, and sets fixed prices. The system protects dairy operations from bankruptcy, but it draws deep criticism for a series of other alleged shortcomings: higher milk prices, fewer options at the grocery store, a less innovative industry, and the isolation of Canada from the international market, preventing it from becoming a global player.But the Canadian government counters that every country supports its agriculture sector in some way. In the U.S., that includes federal income-assistance programs when farms face economic catastrophe.In addition, the U.S. has its own supply-management system for sugar. That’s why the Canadian sugar lobby is in Washington, pushing for more liberalized trade that would allow additional access to the U.S. market for Alberta beet-sugar and sugar-related products.Even in Wisconsin, when dozens of farms nearly collapsed this spring in an incident given national attention by President Donald Trump, a decades-old state office that helps struggling farmers worked around the clock to find new buyers.Von Ruden said dairy will always need some kind of help.He said it’s different from other industries because it’s uniquely vulnerable to market shifts and when there’s over-supply, and customers disappear, excess stock can’t be left on the shelf while searching for new customers: “If you’re talking hammers and screwdrivers, those are not products that (spoil). Soybeans and corn and even beef products — they have a shelf life. If you don’t do something with milk in a couple of days, it spoils.”His group isn’t the only one calling for supply management in the U.S. Three organizations even wrote letters to Lighthizer in their public submissions for the NAFTA negotiations, backing the Canadian position.In one letter, the National Family Farm Coalition and Institute for Agricultural & Trade Policy told Lighthizer: “Do not pressure Canada to weaken its dairy supply management program. Undermining Canadian supply management will not bring a large increase in U.S. dairy exports. Supply management helps ensure that dairy prices are high enough to cover the cost of milk production and keep Canadian family dairy farmers in business.”The National Farmers Union wrote another letter that said: “Canada’s pricing system on dairy has received substantial criticism from national dairy organizations and the Administration … The U.S. should support other nations’ sovereignty. In other words, the U.S. should not work to undermine a system that benefits family farmers on either side of the border.”The U.S. is expected to ultimately seek a slight opening of the Canadian dairy sector. In the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it achieved a 3.25 per cent opening of the Canadian market.Trump withdrew the U.S. from the TPP and the Canadian position entering NAFTA talks is that the TPP offer, much like old milk, is expired. The 3.25 per cent was offered as a concession in exchange for a massive trade deal that offered access to the markets of Japan, Australia and several rising economies.The main U.S. milk lobby says it can’t see why its industry is shielded from free trade.“We’d love to see an outcome that moves dairy to where all the rest of agriculture is. We’re the oddballs here, us and poultry I suppose,” said Shawna Morris of the National Milk Producers Federation.“We’re very, very keen to finish up undone business (from the original NAFTA) in terms of market access. Dairy is one of the few sectors that was not liberalized under that pretty old agreement.”Loosening supply management isn’t the only U.S. priority on dairy. Another involves the way Canadian milk products are classified, to allow certain skimmed-off products to be sold at cheaper prices, for use in cheese-making. American dairy divided: Some want Canada’s supply management left alone in NAFTA read more

Urban Meyer talks program culture backup quarterback battle following 3rd Ohio State

OSU coach Urban Meyer watches over his players during Spring Practice March 4 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorIn college football, coaches and rosters change every offseason, regardless of the success a team had the year before.Incoming recruiting classes and departures of staff members cause an overhaul for any team, but in the case of Ohio State, there is one thing coach Urban Meyer wants to keep at the forefront of his program.“I gotta make sure that we’re clarity of purpose, of culture, here at Ohio State,” Meyer said after practice Tuesday, his team’s first of the season in pads. “Not scared to make a mistake … it’s the very aggressive approach to what we’re going to do.“I want to make sure the culture’s clear. And to say that, I put that on myself. I want to make sure there’s clarity of purpose at Ohio State.”Meyer addressed the media Tuesday after his team’s third practice of the spring, and the first since the university was on spring break last week.The battle for senior quarterback Braxton Miller’s backup is heating up, but Meyer said redshirt-sophomore Cardale Jones is “running with the ones right now” because of how he has matured from last season to spring ball.“Cardale, you talk about a changed guy. He was a guy that couldn’t get out of his own way a couple years ago,” Meyer said. “You remember the famous tweet or whatever. It’s a different guy. Which it had to be a different guy or he wouldn’t be here.”The tweet Meyer referred to was one Jones posted from his personal account, @Cordale10, Oct. 5 on having to go to class.“Why should we have to go class if we came here to play FOOTBALL,” the tweet read. “We ain’t come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS.”Another position of interest is running back, where Meyer said neither sophomore Ezekiel Elliott, redshirt-sophomore Bri’onte Dunn or redshirt-senior Rod Smith have separated themselves yet in the fight to replace Carlos Hyde.Meyer brought up the culture again by mentioning junior offensive lineman Taylor Decker, who returns as the Buckeyes’ lone starter from a unit that finished second in the country in total yards on the ground with 4,321 yards.“Well Taylor Decker’s really, he’s a product of culture,” Meyer said, then comparing him to former offensive lineman Reid Fragel, who was a third string tight end when Meyer arrived before molding himself into a starter on the line.“To say Taylor Decker, and this is not to be disrespectful, was the toughest guy in the world when he came here? No. But you sit in the meeting room with his line coach and with those four guys that just left … Same with Reid Fragel. Reid Fragel was a third string tight end that didn’t play at all. Now all of a sudden he’s playing pro football. How’d that happen? It’s because there’s a culture developed in the offensive line room. So Taylor Decker so far has been, he’s really growing into a very good player,” Meyer said.Another player who has caught his coach’s eye is sophomore linebacker Darron Lee, who Meyer said is inexperienced, but is going hard. And that’s all that matters.“I have no idea what he’s doing and he has no idea probably either. But I don’t care,” Meyer said, then alluding again to the culture he wants developed within the program.“You’re not being graded on what a kid’s doing right now. You’re being graded on being a leader, and as a coach — will a kid play as hard as he possibly can? There’s never been a team in 27 years of coaching that a team that didn’t play the hardest didn’t win that game,” Meyer said.Meyer also mentioned that he and the rest of the staff did research on other teams that run the spread offense, particularly Clemson and Texas A&M. The Tigers shredded OSU’s defense for 576 yards in their 40-35 win in the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl Jan. 3.“We’ve done a lot, and this is a great time of the year to really study the game,” Meyer said. “I think we’ve done a good job and now we gotta see an improvement on the field.”Meyer and the Buckeyes are set to open their 2014 campaign Aug. 30 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore against Navy. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. read more

NASA Is Tracking 3 Giant Asteroids That Flew By Earth on July 24

first_imgStay on target Our planet has company: On July 24, three giant asteroids zoomed by Earth, however, none of them were considered to be threatening objects, according to NASA.NASA tracked the three asteroids that flew by our planet on Wednesday: asteroid 2019 OD, asteroid 2019 OE, and asteroid 2015 HM10, CNN reported. The asteroids, which safely passed Earth, had some interesting characteristics—two were the roughly the same size as one of the famous Giza pyramids in Egypt, while the other was less than 175 feet in diameter, Newsweek noted.The first asteroid, 2015 HM10, made its closest approach when it was within roughly 2.9 million miles of Earth at 2:00 a.m. EDT early this morning. This space rock, which is estimated to be up to 360 feet in diameter, flew by our planet at speeds of roughly 21,000 mph.According to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), 2019 OD is estimated to be around the same size as 2015 HM10. The asteroid made its closest approach to our planet at 9:31 a.m. EDT on Wednesday at an estimated speed of more than 42,900 mph. Even though it has a much tinier distance of 221,234 miles, the space rock traveled within 238,855 miles, which is the average distance between the moon and Earth.Asteroid 2019 OE was the final space rock to zoom by Earth at 10:36 a.m. EDT, traveling within 598,635 miles of our planet at its closet approach.Get a behind-the-scenes look at how #NationalLab scientists are protecting the planet from asteroids. pic.twitter.com/z35e9CxwwI— Energy Department (@ENERGY) July 23, 2019All members of this asteroid trio are considered to be Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), which are any asteroids or comets that have orbits that enable them to enter our planet’s neighborhood, according to NASA’s CNEOS website. NASA’s CNEOS computes high-precision orbits for NEOs in order to support NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office and help predict NEO close approaches to Earth. By taking precautions with potentially hazardous NEOs, the world can better prepare for future asteroid impacts.More on Geek.com:Don’t Worry: An Asteroid Won’t Collide With Earth This YearJapan’s Hayabusa-2 Grabs Second Sample From Asteroid RyuguQueen’s Brian May Explains ESA’s Hera Asteroid Deflection Mission NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendJapan’s Hayabusa-2 Probe Packs Up Space Rock Cargo From Asteroid Ryugu last_img read more

This Day In History General Motors Roger Clarke of Jamaica

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppOn September 16, 1908 General Motors was founded in General Motors was founded by William C. Durant. And we also reflect on the weekend’s funeral service held for champion politician, Roger Clarke of Jamaica. Hundreds turned out on Saturday September 13, 2014 to pay their final respects to late Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke at the Official Funeral Service held at St. George’s Anglican Church, in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland. Former Jamaican Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson said: “The Cabinet has lost the wisdom of one who fully understood the psyche of the common man. He is a fine example of the coherent, integrated life in which personal attributes, life history, skills, opportunity, and a decision to give political service have all come together to uplift the Jamaican people.” Internationally Clarke was described as a leader whose affable personality often managed to bridge the Caribbean island’s deep political divide. Roger Clarke was still the Agriculture Minister when he died on August 28 in Florida from a suspected heart attack, he was 74 years old. Bahamas DPM Turnquest, as IDB Governor, Talks Technology and Climate Change Resilience at IDB Conclave Related Items:general motors, jamaica, roger clarke Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Two boys die, bicycle and van collide in St. Catherine, Jamaica Jamaica’s Senate Begins debate on National Identification and Registration Billlast_img read more

MA Players Prediction Recession Will End by June

first_imgWhen contacted by FOLIO:, Alcamo said his prediction of economic recovery has major implications for magazine publishers. Trade publishers serving sectors linked to President Obama’s stimulus package—including civil engineering, roads and bridges, home-building/ lumber, hydroelectric, electrical grid, etc.—are “likely to do well,” he said. Also, he predicts an increase in the allocation of advertising dollars by the fourth quarter. “I would see shelter books doing better, and trade publishing that focuses on retail, including giftware, gourmet food, foodservice, and city and regional publishing, which depends on major regional retail advertisers.”But isn’t it a bit risky to publicly predict the end of a recession? What if he’s way off?“We feel that it is important and valuable to maintain a sense of the cyclical nature of history,” he said. “The depth of a recession can be a result of psychology … I think there now is a natural inclination to be optimistic and confident in Washington, and this will work to our advantage.” Get your proverbial crystal ball—and your pocketbook—ready.In a press release issued today, Michael Alcamo, president of a New York City-based investment banking firm, boldly predicted that there is a “95 percent chance” the economic recession will end on or before June 1. Alcamo based the prediction on evaluations he conducted of empirical data collected by the National Bureau of Economic Research.“The NBER data show that we have had 11 recessions since World War II, and that the average post-war recession lasted 10.3 months,” Alcamo said in the release. “This recession may be different in character and causes than prior recessions, but we do not believe that this cycle will not be fundamentally atypical.”last_img read more

Lightning Thought to Cause Cooper Landing Fires

first_imgDownload AudioUpdate: Wednesday, June 17. 5:45 pm.Lightning strikes are thought to be the cause of two new fires that started Tuesday near the Kenai Peninsula community of Cooper Landing. Both fires are at zero percent containment and power lines have been shut off near the larger fire.The first, called the Stetson Creek Fire, was first reported to Alaska State Troopers just after 6:00 pm Tuesday night. It was burning on very steep terrain and erratic winds overnight caused it to grow quickly.Mona Spargo is a public affairs specialist with the US Forest Service.“The good news is, it was originally estimated at 750-1000 acres and they’ve been able to look at it a little closer and it’s now 250-300,” she said.An initial attack crew and Volunteer fire department from Cooper Landing and Moose Pass worked through the night.“It is south of the Sterling Highway between the Russian River and Cooper Creek,” Spargo said. “Right now, there is no imminent threat to structures. However, it is close to the Cooper Creek campground which has been closed. It has been evacuated. That’s not because of fire danger right there, that’s just because we need it for logistics and for doing fire line and some of that.”The second fire, called the Juneau Lake fire, was noticed by state troopers and reported in just after 7:00 pm.It was burning up by treeline, but expanded overnight toward a wetter area and hasn’t grown much above the 60 acres it had reached by Wednesday morning.“It’s east of Juneau Lake, north of Cooper Landing,” she said. “It’s in between the Romig and Juneau cabins on Resurrection Pass Trail.”State resources first responded with a helitack crew and scooper firefighting aircraft. Then, US Forest Service crews took over.“We have crews doing a trap line up and down, telling people what’s going on. We’ve posted the trail. We’ve evacuated the trails from the south trailhead to the Devil’s Creek junction.”Although they still share state resources, both fires were turned over from the state to the US Forest Service after initial assessment as their boundaries are within the Chugach National Forest.The forest, and the nearby community of Cooper Landing have a lot of tourism activity in the summer months, as a prime recreational spot near the Kenai River.Update: Tuesday, June 16. 9:15 pm.Two fires are currently burning near Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula.Andy Alexandrou with the Division of Forestry says the Russian Lake Fire is “gobbling” – it’s moving fast up steep terrain near power lines, the Sterling Highway, and some residences. The fire was 20 acres when the first crew arrived earlier this evening, but they didn’t have enough resources to respond initially. Crews from the nearby Juneau Lake Fire were diverted to Russian Lake to try to protect structures.The Juneau Lake Fire was only half an acre when crews started dumping 200 gallon buckets on the area. Alexandrou says they emptied nine loads before refueling then diverting.Both fires are on Forest Service lands near the Resurrection Pass trail system. It is unknown if they are human caused or the result of lightening from this evening’s storms.The Montana Creek Fires are “under control” according to Mat-Su Borough PIO Celeste Prescott.Original Post: Tuesday, June 16. 8:30 pm.On Tuesday evening, lightning strikes started two fires in the area of Goose Creek near Mile 95 of the Parks Highway. Sockeye Fire Incident Command spokesperson Celeste Prescott said that the Division of Forestry dispatched two tankers and a helicopter to combat the fires. She says a total of at least nine new starts due to lightning had been reported by 8:00 pm on Tuesday.As of that time, Prescott said the aircraft reported that they were returning from the area, which could indicate that the fires have been significantly slowed.Prescott said a hotshot crew on loan from the Sockeye Fire efforts is on the way to the fires to attempt to contain and secure the area. They are officially being referred to as the Montana Creek fires.The Division of Forestry has also confirmed an addition fire in Cooper Landing, not far from Sterling on the Kenai Peninsula. However, details are not yet available.last_img read more

Coal Auction GMR and Reliance Cement Emerge Winners on Day One

first_imgThe first-ever auction of mineral resources saw GMR Group and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Cement pick up two coal blocks, piping other majors. The auction began on Saturday with the Sial Ghogri in Madhya Pradesh and Talabira I in Odisha coming under the gavel on Saturday.The first coal block – Madhya Pradesh’s Sial Ghogri mine — was claimed by the highest bidder, Reliance Cement, at ₹1,402 per tonne. A worker carries a container filled with drinking water at a railway coal yard on the outskirts of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad November 25, 2013.ReutersGMR Chhatisgarh Energy, a subsidiary of the GMR Group won the Talabira I block, with the lowest bidder winning the block. GMR’s 478 per tonne bid was declared the winning bid.Sial Ghogri”Bidding for Sial Ghogri has just finished and the winning bid is for ₹1,402 per tonne. The winning bidder will have to pay that amount for extracting each tonne of coal to the Madhya Pradesh State Government,” Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Minister, Piyush Goyal said.Sial Ghogri is rated at 5.61 million tonnes of reserves.The mine has an annual peak rated capacity of 0.3 million tonnes. The bid offers a premium of ₹37.56 crore per annum. The Madhya Pradesh State Government is expected to receive ₹797.74 as revenue, a premium of ₹712.39 crore ove the floor price of the block.Sial Ghogri, reserved for the non-regulated sector, saw participation from Hindustan Zinc, Anil Ambani Group’s Reliance Cement and OCL Iron and Steel.The earlier allottee of the block was Prism Cement.Talabria IReserved for the power sector, Talabria I has 33.84 million tonne of mineable reserves and saw interest from Adani Power, GMR Chhattisgarh Energy, Sesa Sterlite, Essar Power and OPG Power Generation, said BusinessLine.Post the technical stage, a total of 134 bidders were declared eligible to participate in the financial round of the auction.last_img read more

MSU Softball Wins First MEAC North Division Title in School History

first_imgBy Perry Green, AFRO Sports Editor, pgreen@afro.comThe Morgan State Lady Bears softball team is headed to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship Tournament and they’re favorites to win it all after finishing the regular season with easily the best record in the MEAC.Morgan State edged out crosstown rival, Coppin State, 1-0, in the regular season finale on April 29, giving the Lady Bears a 27-15 overall record, 15-3 against MEAC. It marked the best softball team record in school history, breaking a 20-year record; Morgan State had won 25 games back in  1998. They also clinched their first ever MEAC North Division title.The Morgan State Lady Bears are ranked number one heading into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship Tournament. (Courtesy photo)Senior pitcher Amy Begg has been one of the catalysts behind Morgan State’s historical success this season. Begg started in 21 games for the Lady Bears and earned an impressive 15-6 record along the way. Begg was named MEAC Pitcher of the Year in 2017 and could end up winning it again after breaking her own school record this year with eight shutouts recorded in a single season; the six-foot-two-inches tall pitcher tossed seven shutouts last year. Begg also owns five other Morgan State pitching records, including most career strikeouts with 501.Morgan State will take the No. 1 seed into the MEAC Tournament, scheduled for May 9-11, in Ormond Beach, Fla. They’ll face  No. 4 seed North Carolina Central in the opening round.last_img read more

Magic Leap announces selections for the Magic Leap Independent Creator Program

first_imgLast year in November, Magic Leap introduced an Independent Creator Program. Yesterday, they named their selections for this program. The Magic Leap team reviewed over 6,500 entries, and selected projects in a wide range of categories, including education, entertainment, gaming, enterprise and more. Magic Leap Independent Creator Program is a development fund to help individual developers and teams to kick-start their Magic Leap One projects. They are offering grants between $20,000 and $500,000 per project along with the developer, hardware, and marketing support. The teams selected include: Source: MagicLeap The selected teams will now be paired with Magic Leap’s Developer Relations team for guidance and support. Once the teams have built, submitted, and launched their projects, the best experiences will be showcased at L.E.A.P. Conference in 2019. Teams will receive dedicated marketing support, including planning, promotion, and social media amplification. The Developer Relations team consisting of Magic Leap’s subject matter experts and QA testers will give developers one on one guidance. Read Next Magic Leap acquires Computes Inc to enhance spatial computing Magic Leap unveils Mica, a human-like AI in augmented reality Magic Leap teams with Andy Serkis’ Imaginarium Studios to enhance Augmented Realitylast_img read more

Mexico stays on gun probe despite US report

first_img Comments   Share   U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been accused of knowing about the bungled operation, but the report cleared him and faulted mid-level and senior officials for not briefing him.Fast and Furious allowed low-level “straw” buyers in gun-trafficking networks to leave with loads to track the guns to major traffickers. But some guns wound up at crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexican prosecutors say they will continue investigating the botched-gun smuggling probe known as Operation Fast and Furious even after a U.S. Justice Department internal watchdog report concluded that more than a dozen officials should be disciplined.In a Friday statement, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office says it’s looking at the document released this week to see what it could add to its own probe. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenixcenter_img Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Quick workouts for men Four benefits of having a wireless security systemlast_img read more

Volcano erupts Iceland tourism

first_imgIceland became an overnight tourism hotspot after Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted on the 14 April 2010, the country’s tourism officials said. Despite creating chaos for the aviation industry, the European country reported the volcanic activity increased tourism from North America by 16 percent in the first 11 months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. Based in New York, Iceland tourism director Einar Gustavsson said the volcano was all the advertising the country needed. “There wasn’t a daily newspaper on Earth that didn’t cover the story,” he said. “Google reported 16,000 stories in a single day, and even a Saturday Night Live skit imagined Bjork singing to Eyjafjallajökull to calm it down.” Mr Gustavsson said as the volcano cooled tourism heated up. “Travel in 2011 from North America is expected to be up 20 percent over 2010, helped in part by Delta, which launches a new service in spring 2011,” he added.“The US carrier becomes the third airline to serve the country, adding seats to those already provided by Icelandair and Iceland Express.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Australia ag robotics startup Agerris raises US4

first_img Australia ag robotics startup Agerris raises US$4. … Chile opens for Australian almonds … September 21 , 2018 AUSVEG welcomes first female ag minister … “They want to get in at a ground level and understand everything.”He said these same factors are what have made it difficult for police to find the culprit.”It took them several days just to understand how the industry works, how the movement of a berry from the field, through the packhouse, into the distribution centres and then out to the customer; it’s actually quite complex,” he said.At the press conference at Piñata Farms’ property, Acting Chief Superintendent Terry Lawrence of the Queensland Police Service emphasized the need to speak to a large number of people, track CCTV footage and hone in on any particular issues raised during inquiries.He said the police had identified 16 or 17 steps in the supply chain where the crime could have occurred, depending on how farms or packing houses are set up.”We’re looking at every single aspect of the supply chain because we’ve got a large number of growers,” he said.After reports of more berry brands being dragged into the debacle, Lawrence clarified concerns about contamination were in line with the three outlined by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeanette Young.”There are other punnets but they aren’t part of a recall and at this point of time due to the investigation and the way we’re going with it, I’m not going to go any further with numbers,” he said.He also responded to questions about whether the initial crime could have been committed by a disgruntled worker.”We’re considering motives right across the whole board. That’s not come from the Queensland Police Service – we’re looking at many, many motives, and I’m sure there are some I haven’t even thought of yet.”One industry source close to Fresh Fruit Portal who asked not to be named was very unhappy with the premature claim from industry that a disgruntled worker was behind the act. “Someone said speculation becomes a fact in a minute and a half,” the source said.”The media coverage has been so alarmist. Apparently someone said it might be a disgruntled worker, and then later that became the headline,” he said. Government takes ‘nil tolerance’ approach to contaminants in exportsEarlier this week QSGA industry officer Jennifer Rowling claimed that as the issue had received attention as far afield as the U.K. and Russia, a number of trade partners had “either already blocked Australian strawberry imports or are talking about doing so”.However, in a statement given to Fresh Fruit Portal, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources refuted the claim, mentioning interim control measures in place for the export of fresh strawberries to provide assurances to trading partners and keep markets open.”These measures ensure that all strawberries exported from Australia will be checked to make sure they’re free from metal contaminants,” a spokesperson said.”As of today, more than 15 consignments have been approved for export after meeting these new requirements.”No markets have been closed to Australian strawberries by foreign authorities.”The Australian strawberry industry exported almost AUD$29.7 million (US$21.65 million) of fresh strawberries in 2017–18.For Australian strawberry exports to pass the government’s interim controls, visual inspection alone will not be an acceptable measure.”In order for strawberry export permits to be approved, exporters will be required to provide assurance to the department that their consignment is free from metal contaminants,” the department said in a release.”Interim control measures can include an assurance that the fruit will go through an effective metal screening process (metal detectors/X-ray) prior to export, or on-farm metal screening with measures to ensure product security has been maintained post screening.”Is there a need for metal detectors on farms or in the supermarket?While metal screening is one option for exporters, is it a practical solution for farmers focusing on the domestic market? There have been some calls for growers to emulate a system like Piñata Farms with the technology at packhouse level, but this would be out of reach for the average farm.”I’m very confident that the programs that are in place are very good. It doesn’t mean we can’t do it better,” said Schultz of BerryLuv and the QSGA.”But this demand about metal detectors, I think that’s something that’s going to need to be looked at,” he said.”We’re a small farm. It’s not going to be economically viable for me to put a $30,000 (US$21,876) metal detector on my one pack bench, whereas everything funnels down to either Coles, Woolies, their distribution centres.”It would make more sense to me to have these sorts of screening apparatus at that end where it’s coming into rather than being out here on the farms in particular.”A case of mistaken identitySome 1,000km (621mi) south of the crisis’ epicenter in a small town called Thirlmere outside Sydney, strawberry grower Assaf Ben Shalom has become inadvertently answerable to someone else’s problem. And it’s all in a name.His business is called Berrylicious Strawberries, which is very similar to the name of one of the brands embroiled in the issue in Queensland – Berry Licious.He says that since a 7:30 Report on his plight aired earlier this week on the ABC, he’s received a lot of support from the local community. “They are my main customer base. We don’t supply to big chains,” he said.”We haven’t really started [the season]. People are scared – I just had an email after all this after all these new reports, even though I tried to clarify on Facebook that I’m not related to this at all.”He added that Channel Seven had incorrectly used his label rather than that of Berry Licious in its reporting.”They took it from my Facebook. It was in the news report for a whole day all across Australia, which doesn’t concern all of Australia really. I’m only selling in the Sydney region, but my label has been shown on Channel Seven,” he said.”They have apologized to me but they haven’t gone public and said sorry about that. They just sent me an email and said sorry, and that’s it.”Ben Shalom runs a fairly modern operation as strawberry farms go, producing in substrate with coco-peat and elevated rows that make it easier for harvesters to do their jobs. The winter has delayed the crop, and despite the circumstances he intends to have it all picked.”I’ve been waiting all winter for this to start. I’ve got no other option anyway if I wanted to – I’m too much at risk just to shut down at the moment,” he said.And would the farmer consider changing the company’s name to avoid any similarity to a brand in question in this health scare?”No, I’ve got nothing to hide,” he said.center_img Aussie produce industry sets ambitious goals for s … You might also be interested in Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has echoed calls from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison urging people to eat more (carefully cut) strawberries, and some growers are already noticing a shift in consumer sentiment. Unlike health scares relating to foodborne diseases caused by bacteria, this sinister case of needles stuck in strawberries is unprecedented in Australia. Palaszczuk claims there are 100 police who have been working “day and night” in search of the source of the problem, which has been formally connected to three brands – Donnybrook, Berry Licious and Berry Obsession – and has led to a string of copycat cases across the country.These copycats have also used the idea in other fruits like bananas, apples and mangoes. But grower organisations want to keep low profiles on the issue and get on with business; for now such cases have been isolated and it appears any effects on sales have been negligible. The same cannot be said for strawberries though. Sales have been hammered and many growers have been forced to cease harvesting on certain blocks, but efforts from government and the community have not gone unnoticed by producers or the public. The Queensland Premier held a press conference today (Friday) on the property of grower Piñata Farms, which incidentally had already installed metal detectors prior to the crisis but for a very different motive; stray rocks, not sewing pins.”I’m asking all Queenslanders to do one thing this weekend – get out and support our strawberry farmers by buying a punnet of strawberries,” Palaszczuk said.”This is sabotage at its worst, and we want to catch who was responsible.”Earlier this week, the Premier made a AUD1 million (US$729,500) pledge to help a strawberry industry that has been the victim of an “ugly, calculated and despicable crime”.The relief funding has three facets: boosting demand through promotion; investigating ways to improve supply chain traceability and integrity; and helping growers for the remainder of the season and as the summer season ramps up in the Granite Belt area.”The Department of Agriculture is currently finalizing those arrangements in conjunction with the industry association and of course we’ve heard that the federal government is going to be matching that,” she said, clarifying more information on funding would likely be given to growers on Monday.”This is a $160 million industry [in Queensland; AUD288 million (US$210 million) nationwide]. It’s one that I’m incredibly proud of and one that I’m going to continue to support for many, many years to come,” she said.The Premier also highlighted the incentive of a AUD100,000 (US$72,894) for anyone who can come forward with information about the crime, while the Prime Minister has announced plans to increase jail time for food tampering to 15 years.Piñata Farms managing director Gavin Scurr thanked Premier Palaszczuk and the people of Australia for “having our back”.”The last eight or nine days or so have been one of the most difficult times that Queensland strawberry growers have ever had,” Scurr said.”The industry was literally on its knees earlier this week due to this ongoing crisis, however we’ve had our spirits uplifted in the last couple of days by the overwhelming support we’ve had from the Australian nation, from the people who are going in and buying strawberries despite this crisis.”We’re hearing of thousands of people buying six, eight, 10 punnets at a time. There’s people who are going and buying every punnet that’s literally on the shelf at the time, and that has certainly lifted our spirits.”Scurr said it had been a “harrowing experience” for strawberry farmers to have their integrity challenged. “It’s caused consumers to consider whether they would buy strawberries or not and that’s tragic for us as an industry,” he said.”However, we would like to go back to normal.”Piñata Farms is one of the great Queensland strawberry producers. Like many in the industry they’ve had a very tough week, but the support of everyone across Queensland eating more strawberries is helping them get through – cut them up, don’t cut them out. pic.twitter.com/USlPJbxPEt— AnnastaciaPalaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) 21 de septiembre de 2018Situation still bleak, but market has turned aroundThe Queensland Strawberry Growers Association (QSGA) carried out an “information blitz” this week including its “Find a Farm” initiative encouraging people to visit orchards in the Sunshine Coast area to either pick their own fruit or buy from farm shops. Customer notice from a Brisbane Coles supermarket that was stocking strawberries today, with two points of sale seen within the produce section.The response so far has been overwhelming for Amanda McMartin of McMartins Strawberry Farm, a family business that had fortunately already finished most of its harvesting when the crisis began.”It hasn’t affected us too much but we’ve had a lot of solidarity,” McMartin told Fresh Fruit Portal.”We’ve had a lot of people coming out and trying to help and support…we’ve been inundated with people coming and picking, and buying from our shop as well.”And is this something the farm has ever seen before?”No, it’s an extraordinary situation,” she said.”It’s a little bit harder at the markets because we had a bit of heckling, so we didn’t sell as much as we normally would do because of people being a bit silly and ridiculous with the whole thing.”But then the support came thick and fast after that once they realized it’s quite serious, that unless you support the farmer we’re going to go down.”She added there would be a “big rally for support” next weekend as well.QSGA vice president Adrian Schultz told Freshfruitportal.com his farm BerryLuv had also seen an exceptional turnout from people responding to the initiative with people picking fruit at a price that covers the cost of production.”It’s still looking very bleak but I am getting some positive news from the agents now because we did a fairly big information blitz two days ago. That seems to be having some response because we’ve outlined to people that if we’re going to recover, it’s going to have to be people-driven,” Schultz said.”At the beginning of this week we were thinking about shutting up shop for the season today, but the turnaround happened yesterday…it’s been overwhelming actually.”That morning I had agents telling me that no one was buying fruit, and by that evening we had agents ringing me up and saying ‘great, it’s happening, people are starting to buy fruit. When can you send?’ And it’s slowly built from there.”He said orders were looking “reasonably hopeful” for next week, and also believes Scott Morrison’s call for strawberry consumption and condemnation of “cowards” carrying out the needle contamination had a part to play.Sabotaging our strawberries is sabotaging our farmers. It’s not right. It’s not on. It’s a crime. pic.twitter.com/2B9TTg9JOf— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) 19 de septiembre de 2018For Schultz, much of the problem has been in the copycat acts rather than the initial cases of needles in punnets.”It’s escalated because of all this copycat business that’s been going on – that’s what’s scared people because of the speed at which it’s spread around the country,” he said.”As a result of all this I’ve had Biosecurity Queensland here today and Queensland Health are coming here next week. There’s a number of government bodies getting involved who want to find out about how a system works and how we can make it safer.last_img read more