Scientists from South Africa, Egypt, and Mexico to Receive Controversial UNESCO Award Tomorrow

first_img A tumultuous and divisive episode at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is set to come to a conclusion tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. in Paris, when the U.N. agency plans to give three researchers an award for the life sciences sponsored by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the dictator of Equatorial Guinea. A broad coalition of human rights advocates, scientists, and health experts have fought until last week to prevent the ceremony from occurring. They say the award is an attempt by Obiang to buy credibility for his regime, which stands accused of human rights violations. The winners of the prize are Maged Al-Sherbiny from Egypt, for his research on vaccines and diagnostics against hepatitis C and schistosomiasis; plant scientist Felix Dapare Dakora from Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, in South Africa for his work on legumes and soil bacteria; and Rossana Arroyo of the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies of Mexico’s National Polytechnic Institute, who studies trichomoniasis, a parasitic disease. Al-Sherbiny and Dakora plan to attend the award ceremony and are already in Paris, a UNESCO spokesperson says; Arroyo is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. Whether Obiang will be present was still uncertain today, the spokesperson says. Just last Friday, a French court issued an arrest warrant for Obiang’s son Teodorin, who’s suspected of money laundering and embezzlement. It’s also unclear whether UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, who opposed the award, will attend. “She will make the decision herself tomorrow,” says the spokesperson. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) The prize was adopted by UNESCO’s Executive Board, composed of delegates from 58 member states, in 2008 , but delayed several times after an international outcry. Bokova last year told the Executive Board that she thought the award would damage UNESCO’s credibility. In the March vote, however, 33 countries voted to go ahead with the award, after Obiang agreed to have it named after his country instead of himself. Among the supporters were all 14 African members and 19 other, mostly developing, countries. Opponents had hoped that the prize might yet be stopped after obtaining a letter in which UNESCO lawyers stated there were doubts about the provenance of the funds. But the March vote overruled such concerns, the spokesperson says, leaving Bokova no choice but to let the ceremony go ahead. The spokesperson says the prize will be awarded annually at least five times, as Obiang has donated a total of $3 million. “It is shameful and utterly irresponsible for UNESCO to award this prize, given the litany of serious legal and ethical problems surrounding it,” Tutu Alicante, director of the human rights group EG Justice, said in a statement released today. “Beyond letting itself be used to polish the sullied image of Obiang, UNESCO also risks ruining its own credibility.” Prize controversy. Human rights activists are protesting the award of a life science prize proposed by Equatorial Guinea strongman Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, shown here in 2008. Wikimedia last_img read more

‘Octobot’ is the world’s first soft-bodied robot

first_imgOctopuses are notorious escape artists, able to squeeze and squish themselves into and around nearly any obstacle they encounter. In an ode to these crafty cephalopods, researchers have created the first completely soft-bodied robot, dubbed the “octobot.” The palm-sized machine’s exterior is made of silicone. And whereas other soft robots have had at least a few hard parts, such as batteries or wires, the octobot uses a small reservoir of hydrogen peroxide as fuel. When the hydrogen peroxide washes over flecks of platinum embedded within the octobot, the resulting chemical reaction produces gas that inflates and flexes the robot’s arms. As described online today in Nature, the gas flows through a series of 3D-printed pneumatic chambers that link the octobot’s eight arms; their flexing propels it through water. Over the course of their project, the team created hundreds of trial octobots, meticulously tweaking the pneumatics until the timing was just right. Right now, the octobot’s fuel lasts between 4 and 8 minutes, and it can’t steer in any particular direction. The researchers are now working to add sensors to the robot, which would allow it to detect objects in its environment and navigate toward or away from them. The basic design can be scaled up or down, increasing or decreasing fuel capacity depending on the robot’s job. As the field of soft robotics advances, the scientists envision these robots being used for marine search and rescue, oceanic temperature sensing, and military surveillance.last_img read more

England’s shocking slip lets US equalise

first_imgEngland custodian Robert Green’s shocking slip let the unfancied United States draw their Group C game 1-1 here at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg. [See photos of the game].America’s Fulham striker Clint Dempsey’s weak shot at the goal in the 40th minute slipped out of Green’s grasp and rolled into the goal, much to England’s horror.Earlier, Steven Gerrard’s strike in the fourth minute had taken England 1-0 up.The game saw the two sides taking 30 shots at the goal, with England taking 18.But England’s strikeforce lead by Wayne Rooney failed to penetrate the tight defences of US custodian Tim Howard, who was deservedly man of the match for his efforts.   Earlier in the day, Argentina beat Nigeria 1-0 [see pics] after South Korea crushed Greece 2-0 [see pics] to register the first win of the tournament.The last time the two met in a World Cup was in 1950, when the US beat England 1-0 in what is ranked among the biggest upsets in football history.The win was dubbed “Miracle on Grass” since England were the strongest team back then while the US were given a 300-1 chance of winning.last_img read more

Help! I Don’t Exist Online

first_imgDear Liz,I am an employed and pretty well-connected Marketing Manager in the consumer packaged goods field, but I haven’t delved into social media at all. I know I need to get up to speed to stay competitive in my field. At this late date, how do I start to build an online persona and do whatever else one is supposed to do online? I am afraid that I’m at the tail end of ‘late adopters’ and hopelessly out of date.Thanks,Gayl___________________Dear Gayl,Relax! It’s not difficult to begin building your online soapbox. Here are eight tips to get you is your first stop. This massive profile-and-connection site is the 800-lb. gorilla for business-oriented online networking. LinkedIn has over 50 million users, and it’s easy to see why – the site is a free billboard for every working person, a fantastic research tool and a powerful ‘introduction engine’ that makes it easy for you to connect your friends to your other friends. It’ll take you 45 minutes to an hour to get your LinkedIn profile up and running, and another hour or so to download your contacts (from Outlook, Gmail, etc.), pick which folks you’d like to invite to join your LinkedIn network, and create customized invitations (a must!) to send to them.It takes almost no time to set up a Twitter account, and read other folks’ tweets if you don’t want to send out your own. A ‘tweet’ is a quick, 140-character post that a Twitter member uses to let his or her friends and other followers know what s/he’s reading, or doing, or thinking about at any given time. A good start-up process for Twitter is to create an account, follow a few friends and opinion leaders in your industry, and then eventually, if you feel like it, to start tweeting yourself. Like LinkedIn, a Twitter membership is free.If you don’t already have one, craft a compelling email signature and attach it to each of your outgoing email messages. Since you’re working for someone else, your employer name and title will be in your signature, but your signature can also include the link to your LinkedIn profile (you can create a customized url with your name in it, a la and your Twitter account name as well, if you like.Join an online discussion community, or more than one, to grow your online soapbox and get used to sharing your ideas in an online-community setting. Yahoo!Groups hosts ten million online communities, so you’re sure to find at least one Yahoo!Group populated by people who share your interests. (My online community, Ask Liz Ryan, is a great source for business and career advice, at If that one isn’t your cup of tea, there are nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand others to choose from!)Leave comments on sites like (you could leave a comment below this story, in fact) in order to begin getting comfortable putting your thoughts concisely in writing. The ability to say what you want quickly and in a conversational way is a huge asset online! If you’d like to be reachable to other commenters or visitors to the site, leave your LinkedIn profile url (not your email address!) beneath your comment.Remember that your employer’s brand is attached to your own, so be careful of what you put in writing online. “I think the Cheesy-Oh’s Twitter campaign was provocative but missed its mark” is one thing; “The Marketing people at Cheesy-Oh’s must have rocks in their head” is something else entirely. As the Marketing Manager for your company, you’re speaking for yourself AND for the company, so keep in mind that discretion is the better part of valor.Back on LinkedIn, use LinkedIn Answers to ask and answer questions that’ll not only clue you in to what’s happening in your industry and function, but also put you in touch with smart people you should know. LinkedIn Groups is another great way to meet thought leaders and connect with them either on LinkedIn itself or in the three-D world, or both.What about starting a blog, and what about Facebook? Blogs are terrific for people who love to write and who can keep a blog updated with twice-or-thrice-weekly new posts. The rest of us may find a blog more trouble than it’s worth. Facebook is a fun and engaging social-networking tool, and becoming more of a business tool every day, especially for marketers looking to build community among users and fans of their products and services. For a beginner, our suggestion is to create a Facebook profile and make some connections, to get used to the site’s functions before launching a FB marketing campaign.Don’t be afraid to put a toe in the water — but don’t feel obligated to make a splash in every social networking pond, either! Take our steps in order, one or two at a time, until you feel comfortable taking your social networking to the next level (by starting your own LinkedIn group or launching a Facebook fan page, for instance). You can exist online by dinnertime tonight, Gayl. There’s no time like now to get started!Cheers,Lizlast_img read more

What motivates people? The same old things, even online.

first_imgWhen it comes to persuasion, there really is nothing new under the sun.I was reminded of this by a wonderful piece in yesterday’s Harvard Business Review blog called “Secrets of Social Media Revealed 50 Years Ago.” It cites the work of Ernest Dichter, the father of motivational research, on word of mouth and brands. Dichter’s findings about how recommendations spread in human networks is extremely applicable to the online world of today.According to the blog post by David Aaker, Dichter said several things make brand word of mouth spread. Here is my summary of these points – and how I think they relate to nonprofits.1. People are motivated to talk about brands when a) they have personal experience with a product that is so delightful it inspires sharing; b) they want to appear in the know by sharing advice; c) they want to show caring and connect with others; or d) the message is so interesting or funny they just have to pass it on. I’d sum up these points this way: To get people to talk, you have to give them something to talk about. You either need to be incredibly creative in your messages — or give people a fantastic firsthand experience with your cause. You can do this with something as simple as an amazing thank-you. Those are rare in our sector!2. People who listen need to believe the speaker has credible experience and isn’t trying to sell them something. Hence the strength of peer reviews. What third parties can speak for you? They are more compelling and persuasive than you. How can you frame your interactions with your supporters as a conversation? That also builds trust.3. Purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by personal recommendations – 80% for some products. The Internet has made this even more persuasive a phenomenon. I believe much of this applies beyond products and is why friends-to-friends fundraising has such power. It is worth your attention.Yup, everything old is new again – so remember these truisms. They, not shiny bells and whistles, are what drive behavior online.last_img read more

IPL 2018 Auction: Yuvraj Singh, R Ashwin in marquee players’ list

first_imgRavichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan are the top Indian stars among the 16 marquee players for the upcoming Indian Premier League Players’ Auction in Bengaluru.The auction, which is set to take place on January 27 and 28, will also have big foreign names in Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Mitchell Starc ready to go under the hammer.Roots entry in the marquee list is an indication that England and Wales Cricket Board has finally understood what their players want.ALSO WATCHStokes was cleared to play for England again on Wednesday despite being charged with affray. He was earlier suspended by the ECB from international duty for his involvement in an incident outside a nightclub in September that reportedly left a man with a fractured eye socket.While more than 1000 players had registered for the IPL auction, the BCCI has pruned the list to 578 players.The players have been bracketed into eight distinct slabs as per their profiles.The slabs for internationals (Indian and foreign) are Rs 2 crore, Rs 1.5 crore, Rs 1 crore, Rs 75 lakh and Rs 50 lakh respectively while uncapped players are base-priced at Rs 40, 30 and 20 lakh respectively.”A lot of strategizing and number-crunching is involved before a cricketer is picked at the IPL Player Auction. The dynamic nature of the auction makes it unpredictable and exciting,” IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla said in a release.”The eight franchises have given us an indication of what their core would be with their Player Retentions and IPL 2018 Player Auction will be an important step towards the creation of a successful team. The marquee list is full of star players, but I am also looking forward to the uncapped Indian players who have proved their mettle in the earlier editions of the VIVO IPL and are sure to attract high bids.”advertisementAmong the 16 marquee players bracketed into M1 and M2 categories, current India players Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane are in the top marquee list along with Stokes, who is again expected to trigger a bidding war.Currently the worlds premier fast bowler Mitchell Starc and T20 match-winner Chris Gayle are also in the M1 category.Some of the veteran internationals in the second tier of the marquee list (M2) are Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh.With 13 Indian players in the Rs 2 crore bracket, after a long time franchises will get to choose from current India players.Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, KL Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal, Dinesh Karthik are in the top wishlist of the franchises along with Afghan sensation Rashid Khan.South African pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada is in the Rs 1.5 crore bracket while Brandon McCullum and Faf du Plessis are priced at Rs 2 crore and Chennai Super Kings have their Right to Match Cards (RTM).Australian dasher Chris Lynn is also in the Rs 2 crore bracket.As per the list provided, 36 players are in all in Rs 2 crore bracket while 32 have priced themselves in the Rs 1.5 crore zone.There are 31 in the Rs 1 crore category followed by 23 in the Rs 75 lakh and a whopping 122 in the Rs 50 lakh base price bracket respectively.There are 62 capped Indian players in the auction while the number of uncapped local players is 288.Compared to Indians, the number of capped foreign internationals is 92 while 36 uncapped overseas talent have thrown their hat in the ring.Some of the big uncapped names include Krunal Pandya, Prithvi Shaw and Kamlesh Nagarkoti.(Courtesy: PTI)last_img read more


first_imgThe second defendant in the slaying of Sydney Loofe of Lincoln, Nebraska wants her trial moved to another county.The attorney for 25-year-old Bailey Boswell stated in a filed motion that the “deep and bitter prejudice” against Boswell in Saline County made a fair trial impossible.Boswell and her boyfriend, Aubrey Trail, were charged with first-degree murder in the 2017 slaying of the 24-year-old Loofe.Trail was convicted July 10th.Boswell’s attorney also wants testimony about witchcraft or the occult excluded from her trial.A woman testified at Trail’s trial that he bragged to her about killing several people and told her how she could gain powers as one of his “witches” if she tortured her victim before death.A judge has yet to rule on the motions.last_img

Iowa Lands 2020 DE Recruit

first_imgA group of Iowa Hawkeyes football helmets.WEST LAFAYETTE, IN – NOVEMBER 03: General view of Iowa Hawkeyes helmets are seen during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on November 3, 2018 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)Iowa is building an impressive 2020 recruiting class. Kirk Ferentz and his staff currently have 12 players committed, all of whom are ranked in the top 900 in the country by 247Sports.On late Friday night, the Hawkeyes added No. 12. Minnesota native Yahya Black, a three-star defensive end, made his commitment.Black joined Twitter last August, but rarely uses it. His announcement was his first original tweet ever, and he certainly made it count.Committed to IowaMany great experiences ahead— Yahya Black (@Yblack74) June 15, 2019 With Yahya Black’s commitment, the Iowa Hawkeyes are up to No. 21 in the class of 2020 team recruiting rankings.That is good enough for fourth in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State (No. 8), Northwestern (No. 19), and Michigan (No. 20).Penn State has fallen to No. 5 in the Big Ten and No. 23 overall with some recent decommitments.247 ranks Black No. 765 overall, and No. 40 among strong-side defensive ends. He’s the No. 6 player in the state of Minnesota.He has seven reported scholarship offers, including Iowa and his home state Big Ten program Minnesota. Buffalo and Kansas State are among the other programs to extend scholarships offers to him.He is the third defensive end and fourth defensive lineman to join the Hawkeyes class. The top player in the group, four-star Logan Jones, is the No. 13 player at the position in the class of 2020.last_img read more

Shakib Al Hasan 1st Bangladesh batsman to score 1000 World Cup runs

first_imgShakib Al Hasan 1st Bangladesh batsman to score 1000 World Cup runsBangladesh vs Afghanistan World Cup 2019: Shakib Al Hasan became the leading run-scorer in World Cup 2019 and is now the only Bangladesh batsman with 1000 runs in World Cup history.advertisement Rajarshi Gupta SouthamptonJune 24, 2019UPDATED: June 24, 2019 17:05 IST Shakib Al Hasan has been in the form of his life in the ongoing World Cup 2019 (Reuters Photo)HIGHLIGHTSShakib Al Hasan is the 1st Bangladesh batsman to score 1000 World Cup runsShakib, playing in his 4th World Cup, reached the milestone in his 27th WC matchOverall, Shakib is the 19th batsman to score 1000 World Cup runsShakib Al Hasan became the 1st Bangladesh batsman to score 1000 World Cup runs. During Bangladesh’s 7th match of World Cup 2019 against Afghanistan, Shakib also overtook David Warner to become the leading scorer in the tournament.Shakib Al Hasan is already Bangladesh’s greatest ever cricketer. Overall, he is the 19th batsman to go past the 1000-run mark in World Cup history. While Shakib is the only Bangladeshi batsman in the elite list, 5 Sri Lankans, 3 Australians, 3 South Africans, 3 West Indians, 2 Indians, 1 Pakistani and 1 New Zealand batsman make up the rest of the 18 in the list. BAN v AFG Live ScoreShakib, who has played 4 World Cups from 2007 to 2019, reached the milestone in his 27th World Cup match.Shakib Al Hasan becomes the first Banglaldeshi batsman to pass 1,000 career World Cup runs and just the 19th man to reach the landmark overall #CWC19 | #BANvAFG World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 24, 2019Shakib has batted at No.3 for Bangladesh and has been in fine form. He began his 2019 World Cup campaign with a fine 75 against South Africa before hitting 64 against New Zealand. He followed that up with successive hundreds against England and West Indies.Shakib hit 41 agaist Australia and then led the batting charge for Bangladesh in a crucial match against Afghanistan in Southampton.Shakib is 2nd in the list of most run-scorers for Bangladesh in one-day internationals behind Tamim Iqbal. No Bangladeshi other than Tamim and Shakib have gone past the 6000-run mark in ODIs.For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byrohan sen Tags :Follow shakib al hasanFollow Bangladesh vs AfghanistanFollow World Cup 2019Follow CWC 19 Nextlast_img read more

BPO Earnings Could Reach US$750 Million by 2020

first_img “Employment figures have more than doubled when compared to 2007. The BPO sector is now employing over 26, 000 persons island-wide. Within the sector, we have approximately 60 firms operating, including several industry heavyweights such as Xerox, Teleperformance, Sutherland Global Services, Alorica, HGS and Startek,” he noted further. Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says the local business process outsourcing sector (BPO), which is valued at more than US$400 million, continues to grow exponentially, and could reach US$750 million by 2020. Story Highlights The Minister said he is also heartened by a recent study conducted with companies involved in outsourcing, which revealed that the sector is expected to see growth across all functions surveyed particularly IT, finance, and HR. Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says the local business process outsourcing sector (BPO), which is valued at more than US$400 million, continues to grow exponentially, and could reach US$750 million by 2020.“Over the years, we have seen tremendous growth in the local sector, boasting a compound annual growth rate of 20 per cent per annum,” he said.“Employment figures have more than doubled when compared to 2007. The BPO sector is now employing over 26, 000 persons island-wide. Within the sector, we have approximately 60 firms operating, including several industry heavyweights such as Xerox, Teleperformance, Sutherland Global Services, Alorica, HGS and Startek,” he noted further.Minister Wheatley was delivering the keynote address on the final day of the Outsource2Jamaica Symposium and Expo at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St. James on April 13.He noted however, that there are still too many persons who are in the dark about the opportunities that the sector presents, pointing out that BPO is more than call centre operations.“BPO is much more than that and its value, both locally and internationally, exceeds what most persons know or expect from the sector,” he said.He pointed out that locally, the sector provides a wide range of services spanning medical, legal, financial, information communication technology (ICT), human resources, among others.Dr. Wheatley said he is very pleased that Jamaica has become an integral part of “a global movement” in outsourcing, an area, which he said, has been steadily becoming the preferred choice for many firms.“At a global level, the sector is projected to reach US$262.2 billion by 2022 driven by cost benefits achieved by outsourcing back-office administration, the development of new generation technologies such as process automation, big data analytics, Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) and embedded analytics-based BPO,” he pointed out.“Growing competitiveness of global markets and the ensuing pressure on businesses to run efficiently and ensure cost effectiveness is providing opportunities for accelerated growth in BPO services,” he said.The Minister said he is also heartened by a recent study conducted with companies involved in outsourcing, which revealed that the sector is expected to see growth across all functions surveyed particularly IT, finance, and HR.Jamaica, he contended, is in a good position to benefit from expansion in these services.The Outsource2Jamaica Symposium and Expo was put on by the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) and its members and partners, including JAMPRO.It ran from April 12-13 and was designed to provide a platform to raise the profile of Jamaica as a BPO destination.JIS REGIONAL OFFICElast_img read more

In the news today July 17

first_imgFour stories in the news for Tuesday, July 17———MPs AGREE TO SUMMER STUDY OF ASYLUM SEEKERSThe House of Commons immigration committee has agreed to meet at least twice before early August to study the issue of asylum seekers crossing the border from the U.S. Members agreed during a rare summer session Monday to review the federal response to the irregular border crossers, inviting testimony from Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and other cabinet ministers. Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel and her NDP counterpart, Jenny Kwan, have been pushing the Liberals to reveal more about their plan to deal with the influx of border crossers.———PIPELINE DIVIDES TRUDEAU YOUTH COUNCILFissures have appeared inside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s youth council after a group of current and former members publicly urged the Liberal government to reverse its decision to buy Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. The request was made in a letter to the prime minister signed by 16 past and present members of the council who express “immense disappointment” with the planned $4.5-billion pipeline purchase. Other members say they do not agree with this position.———FEDS URGED TO PAY $21B FOR SENIORS CAREPhysicians are calling on the federal government to shell out another $21 billion over the next decade to help provinces and territories pay for soaring health-care costs that will be propelled by the unavoidable growth of Canada’s seniors population. An analysis to be released today by the Canadian Medical Association urges Ottawa to provide bigger and bigger annual top-ups to the existing federal health-care transfer program.———CANADA SHOULD AID HOLOCAUST DENIER ON TRIAL: OCLAThe Ontario Civil Liberties Association is urging the federal government to end what it says is the “unjust and immoral” imprisonment of a Canadian on trial in Germany for denying the Holocaust. The Munich public prosecutor’s office says Monika Schaefer is on trial for allegedly publishing multiple videos denying the Holocaust. Schaefer ran for the Green party three times in Alberta before she appeared in a YouTube video denying the Holocaust in 2016, prompting the party condemn her views.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit Antigonish and Sutherlands River in Nova Scotia.— Byelection in the Winnipeg riding of St. Boniface to replace former Manitoba premier Greg Selinger.— Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef will make funding announcement in Winnipeg regarding women’s economic security.— Statistics Canada will release its monthly survey of manufacturing.— ICBC will share the latest crash statistics for British Columbia.— A Canadian Red Cross Rescuer Award will be presented posthumously in St. John’s, N.L., to the family of Leo Bullen, who gave up his life-jacket to one of six survivors in a 1972 marine disaster that claimed nine lives.last_img read more

Top general says military started dealing with suspected neoNazi in the spring

first_imgOTTAWA — Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance says the military first became aware of a Manitoba reservist’s alleged links to a neo-Nazi group in the spring and were investigating him in earnest weeks before media reported on the matter.The comments mark the first time Canada’s top general has spoken about MCpl. Patrik Mathews.Vance says the military’s counter-intelligence unit was first alerted to Mathews in April, at which point the combat engineer with the 38 Canadian Brigade Group in Winnipeg met with local commanders.The defence chief says Mathews subsequently applied to leave the Forces even as military officials launched an investigation into his activities — a probe Vance says was underway by July, weeks before the Winnipeg Free Press published a story about the reservist.Mathews has not been arrested or charged with any crime, and Vance isn’t providing further details, citing privacy laws and the ongoing investigation.Vance says the Forces will not tolerate anyone who wants to use the military as a training ground or avenue to spread hate and discrimination.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Spin Master misses as it swings to US209million loss in first quarter

TORONTO — Spin Master Corp. missed expectations as it swung to a large loss in the first quarter without Toys R Us sales in the United States and a later Easter this year.The Toronto-based company, which reports in U.S. dollars, says it lost US$20.9 million during the three months ended March 31, compared with a profit of $8.7 million a year earlier.Excluding one-time items, the adjusted loss was $12.5 million or 12.5 cents per share, down from a profit of $22 million or 22 cents per share in the first quarter of 2018.Revenues fell 16 per cent to $239 million, from $285.7 million.Spin Master was expected to earn 10 cents per share in adjusted profits on $252 million of revenues, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters Eikon.Despite the quarterly loss, the company maintained its outlook for the year on expectations that the rest of 2019 will be more reflective of the underlying strength of the business, said Spin Master chairman and co-CEO Ronnen Harary.“We manage Spin Master for the long-term and as we execute through the tail-end of a very disruptive retail environment, we are confident that we are well-positioned to drive profitable long-term growth.” Companies in this story: (TSX:TOY)The Canadian Press read more

UN official notes promising steps on implementation of Darfur peace document

11 January 2012The head of the United Nations department of peacekeeping told the Security Council today that initial steps by the Sudanese Government and one of the rebel movements in Darfur to implement the peace document signed in Qatar last year have been promising, and urged the international community to support their efforts. The Sudanese Government and the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed the so-called the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) in July last year in the Qatari capital, Doha, that forms the basis for a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive peace agreement to end the fighting that began more than eight years ago.Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the Council in a briefing that the Government and armed groups that did not sign the Doha Document needed to return to the negotiating table.“The parties should be supported in this regard by the Council and by the international community more broadly, particularly with the implementation of the provisions that bring about tangible improvements to the lives” of the people of Darfur, Mr. Ladsous said.“In addition, there remains a need to bring the Government and non-signatory movements to the negotiating table. Their long-standing grievances can only be effectively dealt with through peace talks that result in agreement to cease hostilities and work k together towards peace,” he added.The UN will continue to work with the African Union (AU) for to find a lasting settlement solution to the Darfur crisis, he said.Mr. Ladsous also told the Council that increased military activity in Darfur and clashes between Government forces and rebel fighters in recent weeks have led to increased movement restrictions for the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), impeding its ability to implement its mandate.As noted in the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNAMID, Mr. Ladsous pointed out that while a number of areas in Darfur remain relatively free of military hostilities, clashes between Government troops and rebel forces in areas along the North Darfur-North Kordofan state border and South Darfur-South Kordofan border, as well as the in the West Jabel Marra area took place during the second half of last month.On the humanitarian situation in Darfur, the Mr. Ladsous said there has been a trend of internally displaced persons and refugees voluntarily returning to their home areas at a rate of approximately 1,500 people per month, a development he described as “encouraging.”The total number of verified returns between the beginning of January last year and the end of October was 85,172 people, compared to the 70,000 people who were newly displaced, he said.“While most parts of Darfur were accessible to humanitarian organizations, with UNAMID security escort needed outside the main town centres, access to West Jebel Marra was repeatedly denied and intermittently restricted to the greater Jebel Marra, Shangil Tobaya and Um Barru areas, as welss as to Zam Zam camp,” he said. read more

Vatican official nabbed in plot to bring 20M euro into Italy new

Vatican official nabbed in plot to bring 20M euro into Italy, new twist in Vatican bank probe VATICAN CITY – The plot involved an armed police escort, a wealthy shipping family and a plan to secretly transport $26 million (20 million euros) from a Swiss bank account into Italy aboard a private jet. At the heart of the story of greed: a silver-haired Vatican monsignor.The latest corruption scandal to hit the Holy See unraveled in public on Friday as Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a Vatican accountant, was arrested in the customs-dodging Swiss bank case. He is also under investigation in a separate case of alleged money-laundering involving his Vatican bank account.The developments came two days after Pope Francis created a commission of inquiry into the Vatican bank to get to the bottom of the problems that have plagued it for decades and contributed to its reputation as an unregulated, offshore tax haven.Francis has made it clear that he has no tolerance for corruption or for Vatican officials who use their jobs for personal ambition or gain. He has said he wants a “poor” church that ministers to those most in need. He has also noted, tongue in cheek, that “St. Peter didn’t have a bank account.”With Francis’ reform-minded hand now running the show, the Vatican said it was prepared to fully co-operate with Italian investigators, who described a remarkably detailed scheme allegedly spearheaded by Scarano to benefit some very wealthy friends. Prosecutor Nello Rossi identified them as the d’Amicos, one of Italy’s most important shipping families from Scarano’s hometown of Salerno in southern Italy.Rossi declined to say if any of the d’Amicos were under investigation, but said developments were expected in the coming days.Three people were arrested on Friday: Scarano, a onetime banker who was recently suspended from his job in the Vatican’s main finance office, Italian financier Giovanni Carenzio and Giovanni Zito, who until recently was a member of the Italian military police’s agency for security and information.According to wiretapped conversations, the three allegedly plotted to smuggle in some 20 million euros in cash that Carenzio held in a Swiss bank account without declaring it to authorities at the airport.Scarano’s lawyer described him as something of a middleman: The 20 million euros belonged to the d’Amicos, who had given the money to Carenzio to invest but wanted it back. Scarano was tasked with persuading Carenzio to hand it over.Rossi said the d’Amico money was presumably being held in Switzerland to avoid paying Italian taxes. An email seeking comment from the family’s Rome-based company, the d’Amico Societa di Navigazione SpA, wasn’t immediately returned.According to prosecutors, Zito, the Carabinieri agent, called in sick to his job one day in July 2012, rented a private plane and flew with Carenzio to Locarno, Switzerland, to pick up the money. The plan was for Carenzio to withdraw the cash from his bank account and hand it over to Zito to bring back to Italy. The arrangements were so detailed there was even to be an armed police escort waiting at the airport to bring the money to Scarano’s home in Rome, Rossi said.“This operation was meticulously planned in all its details,” the prosecutor said, noting that Zito was chosen to be the mule because his high-ranking position in the Italian police agency would have enabled him to pass through the airport customs area without being stopped.The money could have been transported relatively easily because euros are issued in high denominations. If the cash had been withdrawn in the largest denomination — 500 euro notes — it would have weighed 97 pounds (44 kilos) and fit into a suitcase.But at a certain point in Locarno, the deal fell through. Carenzio, who had been increasingly balking at handing the money over, made excuses that the Swiss bank couldn’t come up with the money, Rossi said.He declined to identify the bank and it’s not clear where the money is. But this isn’t the only investigation looking into Carenzio’s financial dealings: Rossi noted news reports in the Canary Islands that authorities there are investigating Carenzio for alleged fraud, misappropriation of funds and concealment of assets. He is alleged to have operated a Ponzi scheme, the reports say.After the aborted transport flight, Zito returned to Rome empty-handed. But he still demanded from Scarano his fee of 600,000 euros for the operation. Scarano cut him one check for 400,000 euros which he deposited. He gave him a second check for 200,000 euros, but in a bid to prevent the check from being deposited, reported it as missing, the prosecutor said.That put a block on the check and resulted in Scarano being accused of slander for filing a false report knowing that the check was in Zito’s hands, Rossi said.Scarano, as well as the other two, are also accused of corruption. If they are indicted and convicted, they could face up to five to six years in prison, prosecutors said. Rossi said investigators were also looking into the source of Scarano’s wealth and his real estate holdings.Asked how his client responded to the accusations, Scarano’s attorney, Silverio Sica, said the monsignor would respond to prosecutors’ questions.“As far as I know, Father Nunzio was only trying to help some friends and then entered a mechanism that later revealed to be dangerous for him too,” he said in an interview. “I believe he did it with naivety”.The Vatican bank, known as the Institute for Religious Works, is co-operating with Italian authorities and its lay board has launched an internal investigation, spokesman Max Hohenberg said. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Scarano was suspended more than a month ago and that the Vatican was taking the appropriate measures to deal with his case.He said the Vatican hadn’t yet received any request for information from Italian authorities, but said it was prepared to offer its “full co-operation.”Rossi, the Italian prosecutor, described the operation as one branch in a “mosaic” of investigations targeting the Vatican bank, which has long been a source of scandal for the Holy See.Rossi’s team of prosecutors in 2010 placed the top two Vatican bank officials under investigation for allegedly violating anti-money laundering norms during a routine transaction involving an Institute for Religious Works account at an Italian bank. They ordered the 23 million euros in the transaction seized. The money was eventually unfrozen but the two men remain under investigation.The Swiss investigation didn’t immediately appear to directly involve the Vatican Bank, but both Rossi and Vatican officials said there could be further developments.Rossi noted that the d’Amicos were frequent contributors to Scarano’s charitable account at the Vatican Bank, known as the “Fondo Anziani,” a fund purportedly aimed at helping out the elderly.Rossi’s team is also working with prosecutors in Salerno on a separate money-laundering investigation involving Scarano and his Vatican bank accounts.According to Sica, Scarano took $729,000 (560,000 euros) in cash out of his Vatican bank account in 2009 and carried it out of the Vatican and into Italy to help pay off a mortgage on his Salerno home.The money had come into Scarano’s Vatican bank account from donors who gave it to the prelate thinking they were funding a home for the terminally ill in Salerno, Sica said.To deposit the money into an Italian bank account — and to prevent family members from finding out he had such a large chunk of cash — he asked 56 close friends to accept 10,000 euros apiece in cash in exchange for a check or money transfer in the same amount. Scarano was then able to deposit the amounts in his Italian account.The lawyer said Scarano had given the names of the donors to prosecutors and insisted the origin of the money was clean, that the transactions didn’t constitute money-laundering, and that he only took the money “temporarily” for his personal use.The home for the terminally ill was never built, though the property has been identified, Sica said.On Wednesday, Francis named five people to head a commission of inquiry into the Vatican bank’s activities and legal status “to allow for a better harmonization with the universal mission of the Apostolic See.”___Follow Nicole Winfield at AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press Posted Jun 28, 2013 4:05 am MDT read more

YouTube stars KSI and Logan Paul draw in fight dubbed the biggest

The time 16-24 year-olds spend watching television each week plummeted by 12 per cent in 2017, while 16-34-year-olds now spend just under an hour a day watching YouTube, according to Ofcom.Nine out of 10 people aged between 12 and 15 also now use the platform.But critics have blasted the “grudge match” for setting a poor example to young people.On Saturday afternoon, as a blacked-out car approached the back entrance of the arena, teenagers were seen encouraging each other to shout “she’s a ho” if Mr Paul’s girlfriend Chloe Bennet, stepped out. Big hitters: Youtube stars KSI (left) and Logan Paul go face-to-face at the weigh-in for their boxing match at the Manchester ArenaCredit:YOUTUBE “If the only check is a button that can be clicked on by anyone whatever their age then we don’t consider this to be adequate protection,” the chief executive of children’s charity Kidscape Lauren Seager-Smith told the Telegraph.“What we are urging them to do is to find a balance between commercialism and child protection.”Additional reporting by Charles Hymas Youtube stars KSI (left) and Logan Paul Coral took more bets than in 90 per cent of yearly boxing bouts, following months of build-up, during which the pair traded blows like “your head is the size of a watermelon” and rapped insults at each other in “diss tracks”. Hardly anyone over the age of 30 was watching, but millions logged-in for the biggest amateur boxing match of all time at the Manchester Arena on Saturday evening. In a sign of how cultural power is shifting online, the battle was shown on YouTube rather than a major television channel.Young people holed themselves up in their bedrooms to watch the drama unfold on their phones and laptops, as televisions gathered dust and parents went about their business, oblivious.In what is being billed as “the biggest internet event in history”, YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI – who have 37 million subscribers between them but no professional boxing experience and don’t work for traditional entertainment outlets – fought it out in the live-streamed event.The fight, to the immediate disappointment of some fans online, was declared a majority draw, after both men failed to land heavy blows over six rounds. KSI has also been heavily criticised in the past for making misogynistic comments about women in some of his videos.The platform has come under equal scrutiny for its failure to tighten its flimsy age-restriction measures for the 18+ event, despite the YouTube pair’s legion of young fans. Logan Paul in action against KSI Credit:TOM JACOBS/Reuters YouTube stars KSI and Logan Paul drew Show more Speaking after the fight, KSI, said: “There’s only one thing to do, a re-match”.The showdown was expected to make at least £115m thanks to a £7.50 pay-per-view charge.Some fans splurged hundreds on a ticket to see KSI (real name Olajide Olatunji), a 25-year-old Londoner who has rocketed to social media fame by recording himself playing video games tussle with the 23-year-old American “goof comedy” vlogger Paul. Earlier this year, half-a-million people signed a petition to get Paul banned from YouTube after he posted a video featuring footage of a dead body, while exploring Aokigahara forest, a notorious suicide spot in Japan.YouTube temporarily suspended Paul’s sponsored ads, and the star later posted a video apology and pledged $1m (£750,000) to suicide prevention charities.He has since posted videos in which he tasers dead rats and parachutes naked out of an aeroplane.“The companies making money out of this event are showing a complete lack of integrity and should cut all connections with him. YouTube’s association with Logan Paul is is hugely problematic,” said Chris McGovern, chairman of the pressure group, Campaign for Real Education. YouTube declined to comment on how much money it will generate from streaming the event.Paul and KSI, who already have a combined net worth of more than £15 million, will also take an undisclosed cut.It is not clear whether fans recording and streaming the match for free various on platforms and online channels – including on YouTube itself – will dent the number of paying viewers.A rematch in the United States is already slated for 2019.The fight reflects a dramatic shift in viewing habits, as young people move away from broadcast television and towards internet streaming, and Youtubers become household names to rival Hollywood stars amongst the young. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. In a press conference attended by the two fighters in July, KSI made lewd comments about Ms Bennet, and also called Mr Paul’s father “disgusting”.   “Some of the abuse and gutter level chat in the build-up was disgraceful,” said James Mildred from the charity CARE.“It’s no exaggeration to say this event could well incite violence and poor behaviour as those watching copy what they see.”Questions have also been raised about YouTube’s decision to broadcast an event featuring the platform’s most controversial star. YouTube stars KSI and Logan Paul drewCredit:Tom Jacobs/Reuters Logan Paul in action against KSI  read more

Trafficked to Dublin at 15yearsold for sex You would do like 15

first_imgA WOMAN WHO was trafficked to Dublin for sex when she was just 15-years-old has told the horrific story of her sexual exploitation in this country.Hannah, whose real name has not been given, was sold by her brother-in-law in Moldova for €3,000 to a man who lived in Dublin. She started working at 15 at a brothel in Temple Bar. This continued for seven years.“There was a guy, I remember a guy who used to come in and say “I want the youngest girl you have here” and he was really old, so to them it was fun,” she said. “You’d have a day where you would do like 15 guys a day.”They used to get all that anger and everything they had and the way they were seeing it was ‘they’re whores, no one is going to listen to them, whatever we do is going to be in here’ (Video: TheImmigrantCouncil/YouTube)“I had a guy once he was on top of me holding by [the] throat in bed, I had his fingerprints on my throat for weeks,” the woman explains. “I was lucky that his friend walked in and his friend just pushed him off the bed. I couldn’t breathe for half an hour I was sitting there, like I was in shock for weeks and weeks after that.”She also tells a story of a time she was called to an old folk’s home, to have sex with a man who was about 80-years-old, who could “barely stand”.Hannah did eventually escape from her pimp and now lives in Ireland with her daughter.“She’s the only person that really loved me for who me, not for me because I’m giving them stuff,” she said. “I actually feel like I’m somebody now.”The video was released by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, ahead of a day of action tomorrow to lobby politicians from all parties for laws targeting those who pay for sex.“This recording makes for uncomfortable and disturbing listening,” said Denise Chartlon, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland. “Yet, it is a reality which is happening in our communities which we cannot ignore. For the first time ever the public and our policy makers will hear the truth about sex-trafficking, and not the ‘Pretty Woman’ fiction being peddled by vested interests in a €250 million trade.”Read: Judge rules couple accused of sex slavery can be named>Read: Authorities recorded 48 cases of human trafficking in 2012>last_img read more

iOS 7 may have caused massive internet outages on college campuses

first_imgNow that we’re further away from when Apple initially dropped iOS 7 earlier today at 1PM ET, eager iPhone users are finally able to update their devices without much hassle. However, the iOS 7 launch woes weren’t only limited to individual users attempting to get their hands on the mobile operating system as soon as possible — it also likely affected college campuses.The reports aren’t completely confirmed, but they do claim that students and faculty clogged up the network so much when trying to update to iOS 7, that it caused intermittent outages. Among the claims, Ohio University’s student newspaper — The Post — said that a letter was emailed to students asking them to hold off on attempting to download Apple’s mobile OS update for a little while. New York University also experienced outages around the time iOS 7 was released to the masses. Meanwhile, a report  claimed that West Connecticut University experienced outages around that time, but that was simply a tweet without an accompanying error message.Now, tweets from around the web don’t officially confirm that iOS 7 was solely responsible for internet outages on large-scale networks. However, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise, as iOS 7 is the first significant visual overhaul iOS has ever received — which is a believable cause for a massive rush to update.If you’re one of the students on a flailing network, you haven’t missed too much with iOS 7 just yet — not because it’s not a fine overhaul, but mainly because attempting to update has thus far been an enormous pain. From timeouts, to server errors, to the rare crash, updating to iOS 7 hasn’t yet been a pleasant experience. It’ll settle back down soon enough, so if you don’t mind waiting a little bit to avoid frustration, occupy yourself with something else for the next few hours. Perhaps some hard-hitting iOS 7 coverage?last_img read more

Sailors held hostage for nearly five years ate rats to survive

first_img 13 Comments By AFP Short URL Sailors who had been held hostage by pirates for more than four years, smile as they arrive at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya. Source: STR AP/Press Association ImagesPirates initially took 29 crew hostage, but one person died during the hijacking, and two more “succumbed to illness” during their captivity, a statement from Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) said.“We have achieved what we achieved today by getting elders, religious community and local leaders and regional government all involved to put pressure on these guys to release the hostages,” said Steed.Malnourished The crew members are from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Taiwan and they were the last remaining seafarers taken hostage at the height of Somali piracy.Only a crew of Thai fishermen, released in February last year after nearly five years in captivity, spent longer in the hands of Somali pirates.Steed said the crew was malnourished and one of the hostages had a bullet wound in his foot, another had suffered a stroke and another had diabetes.At the peak of the piracy epidemic in January 2011, Somali pirates held 736 hostages and 32 boats.According to the OBP, while overall numbers are down in the Western Indian Ocean, pirates in the region attacked at least 306 seafarers in 2015 .While there has not been a successful attack on a commercial vessel since 2012, there have been several on fishing boats. There are still 10 Iranian hostages taken in 2015 and three Kenyan kidnap victims — one a seriously ill, paralysed woman — in the hands of pirates, Steed said.- © AFP 2016Read: Five dead after small plane crashes at Malta airportRead: French police on standby as migrants start evacuating Calais ‘Jungle’ camp Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 26,949 Views Sailors who had been held hostage by pirates for more than four years, smile as they arrive at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya. Image: STR AP/Press Association Images Sailors held hostage for nearly five years ‘ate rats’ to survive The men – from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Taiwan – were captured by Somali pirates in 2012. Oct 24th 2016, 1:01 PM Sailors who had been held hostage by pirates for more than four years, smile as they arrive at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya. Image: STR AP/Press Association Images Share101 Tweet Email2 Monday 24 Oct 2016, 1:01 PM A GROUP OF 26 hostages freed from nearly five years in the hands of Somali pirates touched down in Kenya yesterday, with both tears and smiles marking the end of their ordeal.“I am so, so happy … For UN, for Mr John (negotiator), for all the world. Thanks to you all,” one of the hostages, Sudi Ahman, said.The relief of the men was palpable, with some unable to hold back tears while others hugged each other and smiled broadly.One of the survivors told BBC News they survived in part by eating rats.John Steed, coordinator of the Hostage Support Partners (HSP) who helped negotiate their release, had gone to the Somali city of Galkayo to collect the crew of the Naham 3, who had been held hostage for longer than any other crew except one.“We have been working on this for four-and-a-half years … It’s great to bring them home and hand them over to their embassies and their families,” Steed said.A retired British colonel, Steed has made it his mission to rescue “forgotten hostages”: poor fishermen with no insurance who are often left languishing the longest in the hands of pirates.The crew were taken captive when their Omani-flagged vessel was seized in March 2012 south of the Seychelles.last_img read more