High-flying France still a threat to their own success

first_imgLATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS All-round success: France came together as a team to record the best results out of all the North hemisphere teamsBy Gavin Mortimer“MISSION ACCOMPLISHED,” declared Philippe Saint Andre in the wake of France’s dogged 22-14 defeat of Samoa on Saturday evening. “Today is the victory of courage, restraint, solidarity. We did not panic when we conceded the second try. We were disciplined.”It was indeed an impressive display from France, reminiscent, dare one say it, of England in the Clive Woodward era, in particular the 2003 World Cup pool match when a misfiring England found themselves trailing the free-flowing Samoans 10-0. But England didn’t panic, muscling their way back into the match and relying on the boot of Jonny Wilkinson to punish the indiscipline of the Pacific Islanders.Is this finally his time to shine?Nine years later and while England are now chicken-like in their headlessness, France are cool, clinical and calculating. And for Wilkinson read Michalak, his Toulon teammate, who has been in the form of his life this November.The 30-year-old Michalak has in the last year or two matured into the player we all knew he could be. Still capable of sparking something from nothing – as he showed in creating Wesley Fofana’s try against Australia a fortnight ago – he’s now brushed off his flakiness and sharpened up his goal-kicking. Against Samoa he was deadly, landing four second-half penalties as France clawed their way back from a 14-10 half-time deficit. In all Michalak scored 19 of his side’s points and fully deserved the man of the match award.But where now for France? Their three victories (Australia 33-6 and Argentina 39-22 were their other scalps this November) have consolidated their fourth place in the IRB rankings ahead of next month’s 2015 World Cup draw. That will ensure they avoid playing one of the big three from Down South, and as things stand right now they’ll have no reason to fear finding themselves draw in the same pool as any of the Home Nations, whose performances this autumn (save for Ireland’s win against an albeit exhausted Argentina) have been lamentable. Can anyone remember the last time British rugby was collectively so bad? In fact, the biggest obstacle standing in the way of France and a Grand Slam might lie within in France, as Saint-Andre explained after the Samoan game. “These three victories don’t solve the problems that exist in French rugby in terms of the calendar and the preparation time,” he said, before thanking the clubs for allowing him access to the players for longer than usual this month. “But it won’t be the same during the Six Nations when the players will return to their clubs [between matches].”A small gripe, perhaps, especially if you’re English, Welsh or Scottish. Now there you have a lot to worry about ahead of the fast-approaching Six Nations. But despite the feel-good factor so evident in French rugby as a result of their three consecutive victories (make that four, bearing in mind they hammered Argentina 42-14 in June), Saint-Andre is keeping his feet firmly on the ground. “Three matches at such a high level, it’s hard,” he said. “We missed a little bit of technical precision, notably on the turnover ball against Samoa…but we won intelligently by forcing them into mistakes in their own half.”There’s no doubt France will start the 2013 Six Nations as firm favourites, despite the fact three of their five matches are away. Italy shouldn’t be a problem (particularly as the French are vowing revenge for their shock defeat in Rome two years ago), while Twickenham is no longer the fortress the French feared. Ireland in Dublin will be the toughest Test, but the French are Ireland’s bogey team, with the men in green triumphant in only one of their last twelve encounters. France’s rugby union national team’s fly half Frederic Michalak gestures during a training session on November 23, 2012, at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on the eve of the rugby union last test match against Samoa. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images) last_img read more

Green Buildings Aren’t Truly Green Without Location Efficiency

first_imgI was one of the lucky ones. I spent only two hours in my car when the big snowstorm of 2014 hit Atlanta on Tuesday. We got only about 2 inches of snow in my part of the city, but I made the mistake of going out for lunch at a restaurant right next to Emory University and the CDC compound. It took Jeffrey and me an hour and 45 minutes to drive the 2 miles back to the office. In the first photo below, you can see that the roads themselves were still in good shape at 2 o’clock, at least where we were.While I was sitting there in the passenger seat, I decided to take a look at the rest of Atlanta traffic. The map below, with all the red showing bad traffic, shows what it looked like at 1:45 p.m., near the beginning of our sojourn. Then it got worse.The good news, though, was that the grocery store near our condo was still fully stocked with milk (photo below). I can’t believe our neighbors allowed this to happen and hope they show the appropriate level of panic next time. What happened?If you paid any attention to the news, you heard plenty of horror stories about the tremendous pain caused by a meager 2 inches of snow. One woman couldn’t get to the hospital so she gave birth to her new baby in her car, stuck on I-285 (the Perimeter). Kids were stuck in school buses until late at night, or even overnight. There were 1,254 traffic accidents in a 24-hour period. And on and on… Look for the helpersOne of the great things that comes out of a nightmare like this is hearing about the people who went out of their way to help others. I saw a photo of a man passing out snacks to people stuck in traffic. Many people helped push cars and try to get them unstuck. Businesses and organizations opened their doors to stranded commuters. Teachers calmed their students by treating the event as an adventure.I grew up in the ’60s and loved to watch Mr. Rogers on TV. The stories of the helpers remind me of something he said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ “ RELATED ARTICLES Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. Will we learn our lesson?It remains to be seen if this will be a tipping point for us. I’m a bit skeptical because our state government prefers funding highways over public transportation. I’m sure we’ll hear some calls for more lanes and more roads as a solution, but I doubt the results would have seen different even if we’d had double the amount of roads.But there is hope! The Atlanta Beltline, shown in the map below, is ramping up and offers some relief, at least in some areas of the city. The Beltline includes transit-oriented development, light rail, trails, and parks. It’s a really cool project, dreamed up by a Georgia Tech student in 1999. We need more of this kind of planning!center_img Why we melted down in the big freezePlenty has been written about it, and you can read some good analyses in this article in The Atlantic as well as this article in Politico Magazine. Yes, the school districts could have helped to avert the nightmare by canceling school in advance. The governments could have pretreated the roads. People could have stayed home from work. The problem is actually deeper than that, but why didn’t anyone do those simple things anyway?Some people have blamed the meteorologists, saying weather reports were calling only for flurries in Atlanta with most of the snow going to the south of us. That’s not what I saw. I get my weather news from the Weather Channel app on my phone, and it had been calling for snow two days in advance. What they were forecasting 24 hours ahead is exactly how it played out.The National Weather Service did get it right. The American Geophysical Union published an article showing that we were under a Winter Storm Watch starting at about 5:00 a.m. on Monday. They upgraded the Winter Storm Watch to a Winter Storm Warning at 3:39 a.m. on Tuesday, about 8 hours before the snow started falling, with a prediction of 1 to 2 inches of snow. The problem wasn’t a lack of warning from the weather forecasters.Despite our governor blaming bad weather reports, however, the problems go still deeper. Where You Build May Matter More Than What You BuildLocation EfficiencyLocation Efficiency Trumps Home Energy EfficiencyGetting Around Without Fossil FuelsReduce the Need for DrivingDriving Our SUVs to the BP ProtestsTo Save Transportation Energy, Change BehaviorHouses Versus Cars When suburbia goes sprawlingYeah, it definitely could have been handled better to mitigate the trauma we experienced this week. The root cause, however, is suburban sprawl with few alternatives to getting around by automobile. We have MARTA, with its sparse heavy rail and its buses. I use the train when I go to the airport, but it’s difficult to live here without relying pretty heavily on your car.When the MARTA rail lines were built, some of the suburban counties rejected having them extend out to their areas. In 2012, we had a statewide referendum on approving new tax money to fund transit projects that could provide alternatives to cars. Sadly, voters rejected it by a large margin.Yes, weather forecasts and bad decision-making affected the results. Better long-term planning could have had millions of people safely at home instead of sleeping on grocery store floors, in churches, or in their cars. The drive-till-you-qualify housing market lets people have bigger houses, but at a cost. The basic facts are that everyone went about their lives as usual on Tuesday. Adults went to work and kids went to school. The snow started coming down around noon. All the schools and many workplaces released everyone to go home at about the same time. The roads gridlocked quickly. The snow hit the roads, melted, and then froze into ice.The government bodies in charge — and there are many, with over 60 mayors of cities and towns in the metro area — didn’t pretreat the roads. People here don’t have snow tires or chains, for the most part. The result was abysmal driving conditions, leading to all the accidents and even more gridlock.last_img read more

Rendezvous hopes to resolve IPL Kochi ownership issue

first_imgEven as the extended one-month deadline set by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to resolve its infighting over the ownership issue related to India Premier League’s (IPL) Kochi franchise inches closer, one of its key constituent — Rendezvous Sports World — has been hopeful of an early solution. The CEO of Rendezvous Sports World, Satyajit Gaekwad, on Monday came out to rubbish suggestions that the Kochi IPL team was on its way out. The under fire owners of the team were on October 27 given a month to resolve the differences within the franchise. With just a few more days remaining, Gaekwad — a part owner of the team — said he was confident of the owners resolving their differences. The Gaekwads have proposed a formula where they offer to pay for 12.5 per cent free equity at Rs 1.2 crore per share. They believe that it would satisfy the other parties. “My brother Shailendra Gaekwad is meeting the investor faction led by Mehul Shah daily in Mumbai for the last four days. We have evolved a formula to resolve the issue,” Gaekwad told Headlines Today. He also claimed there were some outside parties trying to instigate trouble within the group. “There is a section of interested parties which is not part of the consortium which is busy playing spoiler. This section is instigating the Mehul Shah faction to junk the franchise,” he alleged. Gaekwad however went on to say that the co-owners were confident that the IPL Kochi team would survive. He said a better picture of the scenario was possible on Wednesday adding there was time till November 27 to resolve the issue. BCCI says Kochi not on agenda for Nov 17 meetMeanwhile, BCCI president Shashank Manohar told Headlines Today that the IPL governing council would meet again on November 17, however Kochi franchise issue would not be on the agenda. “We will examine all operational and organisational matters pertaining to IPL season 4. Kochi franchise has time till November 27 to revert to show cause notice issued to it by the BCCI,” the BCCI chief said. In the forthcoming meeting, Manohar said, the IPL governing council would look at all players’ contracts, venue agreements and players’ auction for the season four.  “In the eventuality that Kochi doesn’t make the cut, we will cross the bridge when we come to it,” Manohar said adding, “We haven’t confabulated on this matter (auction for a fresh team) yet.”advertisementlast_img read more

BJP acknowledges having empowered a criminal Priyanka on MLA Kuldeep Sengars expulsion

first_imgNew Delhi: Hours after Unnao rape case accused MLA Kuldeep Sengar was expelled from the BJP, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday said the BJP has finally acknowledged having empowered a criminal and taken some action to correct itself. “Grateful to the SC for taking cognisance of the ‘Jungle Raj’ being unleashed in UP,” she said in a tweet. “Meanwhile, the BJP finally acknowledges having empowered a criminal and takes some action to correct itself and move in the direction of justice for a young woman who has suffered immeasurably,” she said. The action by the BJP against the four-time MLA came days after the rape survivor and her lawyer were critically injured and two of her aunts killed when their car was hit by a speeding truck in Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.The family alleges the accident on Sunday was an attempt to eliminate her and the family.last_img read more

Indigenous rights taking back seat to trade investment at COP21

first_imgBrandi Morin APTN National NewsIndigenous delegates at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) conference are left waiting outside negotiating rooms in Paris to learn the fate of their rights currently on the cutting board.Those rights related to climate change are in the hands of delegates and trade experts whose main interests lie in economic initiatives expected to be birthed following the signing of an international treaty to prevent dangerous levels of global warming.Negotiations are heading into the final stages at COP21 with the aim of creating a Paris Agreement to replace the failed Kyoto Accord.The agreement, expected to be completed by Friday, will come into force in 2020. World leaders continue to work out details of the deal that focuses on curbing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while keeping global warming below an increase of 2 degrees Celsius.On Monday, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples warned that the outcome of the debates at the COP21 and including reference to Indigenous rights will determine whether the world succeeds in slowing the earths heating.“Should human rights for Indigenous Peoples be struck from the final agreement, negotiators will have destroyed any pretense of their intention to mitigate climate change,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz in a statement.“Failure to protect Indigenous Peoples rights in a final agreement will fuel destruction of the forests and other ecosystems managed since time immemorial by Indigenous Peoples.”The dispute arose last Friday following the first week of negotiations when the text at issue was removed from the draft document of the proposed worldwide legally binding treaty on climate change.Although there is mention of adapting Indigenous knowledge in the preamble of the text, concerns are centered on references in Article 2.2 of the main document that included the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The section, which is the legally binding aspect, was bracketed and placed on the chopping block.Jurisdictions opposing the inclusion of the text are the European Union, Denmark, Norway and the United States, said Alberto Saldamando, legal counsel for the Indigenous Environmental Network who is in Paris lobbying states to reinsert the mention of Indigenous rights in the agreement.He said he’s puzzled as to the exact reasoning behind the resistance because countries like Denmark and Norway have historically given support to Indigenous causes.“Even Denmark, Norway and all these countries that used to be our friends- they’re stone cold against the mention of Indigenous rights and language. I can’t figure out why…it doesn’t make sense,” said Saldamando.He believes it might be connected to the fact that many countries sent delegates who are experts in trade negotiations and not well informed on matters related to human rights.Human rights and gender equality listed in the same section of the agreement have also been removed.“They (delegates) don’t understand (human rights) because they understand trade language. I do believe that a lot of these guys do not know what they’re doing- it’s shocking really,” he said.With big money to be made in investments to green energy initiatives, COP21 has been steered by the influence of wealthy nations, the corporate sector and other interest groups.According to Saldamando, they lack an understanding of the correlation between Indigenous rights and the commodification of the earth. “It’s colonization all over again, it’s a taking. That’s what we’re afraid of,” said Saldamando.Mitigation methods agreed upon at COP21 have the potential to violate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP.)Initiatives such as carbon trading involving Indigenous lands pose threats by leaving vulnerable Indigenous groups to corporate interests and development without free, prior and informed consent.“Those countries are over there talking about reducing green house gases, but we’ve already been violated by activities that cause climate change,” said International Indian Treaty Council Executive Director, Andrea Carmen.“Now as the states plan to put programs in for litigation, for adaptation solutions- we have some of the last pristine forest, water and biodiversity in the world and we see our resources as kind of being on the table again and up for grabs in the solution stage,” said Carmen.“It’s kind of ironic for Indigenous Peoples whose treaties are being violated, along with land rights, health and subsistence by these energy developments and projects- then they’re (states) over there talking about reducing, mitigating and adapting without our rights secured- we’ll be on the menu again.”Saldamando referenced Indigenous Peoples living in countries such as Brazil who don’t technically own title to lands who are losing control over their forest homelands. Industries investing in carbon credits in efforts to reduce emissions via way of buying carbon stored in trees places Indigenous livelihoods at stake, he said.It leaves open opportunities for corporate interest in and access to traditional territory, loss of food security and ceremonial and spiritual practices.“Essentially the investor has an ownership interest in those trees. That means the community can’t log or cut down trees for housing, can’t clear a field to grow crops. And it really doesn’t protect the forest from development- as long as there’s a net increase in carbon sequestration they can mine and do whatever they want. Those are violations of UNDRIP done without free, prior and informed consent,” said Saldamando.Having returned from Paris as part of the Global Indigenous Caucus, Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit in British Columbia said the Paris agreement needs to go beyond talks of trade, and alleviating climate change.“They also need to include how to deal with the impacts on vulnerable people,” said John.“Such as the Inuit in the far north or First Nations who are impacted by the mountain pine beetle in British Columbia; or First Nations in BC who are impacted by warming waters in the Fraser river where 19 degrees becomes lethal to salmon in the summer time. These are the issues that we are dealing with – the first and the lasting impacts are on Indigenous Peoples,” he said.However, John remains optimistic because of the help of countries like Canada advocating on the behalf of Indigenous Peoples rights in Paris. A stark shift in the political landscape in comparison to past adversarial relationships between First Nations and the Canadian government.Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna is part of a 14 member facilitating panel from around the world directing negotiations.“Canada’s position remains that we strongly advocate for the inclusion in the Paris Agreement of language that reflects the importance of respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” according to a statement from McKenna’s office.Other countries going to bat for the inclusion of human and Indigenous rights language include the Philippines, Mexico, the Independent Alliance of Latin America and the Caribbean.With final negotiations underway and the world readying to sign the Paris Agreement Friday, Tauli-Corpuz appealed for opposing countries to follow suit in supporting Indigenous and human rights.“We call on the US, the UK and Norway, all of which have extended their hand to indigenous peoples in the past, to stand up for human rights and principles of democracy and inclusion,” she said.“The social conflict that will erupt in the forests, should our peoples have no rights to defend themselves, will exact tremendous economic harm, as our forests are our homes, our lives, our culture, and the heart of our spirituality. We will not go quietly, and neither should you.”[email protected]last_img read more