UN warns of sanctions against South Sudan


first_imgSecurity Council urges ‘effective, comprehensive’ steps to end tensions in South Sudan The United Nations security council has expressed its disappointment at the failure of South Sudan parties to reach an agreement that would bring a lasting solution to the ongoing conflictThe 15-member body underscored the seriousness and urgency of the situation on the ground in South Sudan and reiterated its strong condemnation of the repeated violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, accepted and signed by both the Government and opposition forces last year.Peace talks held in Ethiopia, brokered by the east African regional bloc IGAD, have resulted in a string of broken ceasefires, and the last round of talks collapsed on March 7.Since then, both sides have confirmed the outbreak of fresh fighting on several fronts in the oil-rich north of the country.The Security Council has repeatedly threatened both sides with sanctions since the peace talks failed, although none has yet been imposed.However it has reiterated its intent to impose sanctions on both parties  in order to push all parties to form a Transitional Government of National Unity and to take effective and comprehensive steps to end military operations and all acts of violence.The current situation in South Sudan has deteriorated steadily over the past year since political in-fighting between President Salva Kiir and his former Vice-President, Riek Machar, and their respective factions erupted in December 2013.The hostilities subsequently turned into a full-fledged conflict that sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to UN bases around the country.The crisis has dispalaced an estimated 1.9 million people and risked the lives of anbother 7 million who are faced with hunger and disease.Currently, UN bases are sheltering over 110,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) with an additional 1.5 million others displaced throughout the country and 500,000 outside the country.last_img read more

IOC’s Fredericks steps down as 2024 Games bid chief


first_img(REUTERS) – International Olympic Committee member Frank Fredericks stepped down yesterday as head of the team evaluating bids to host the 2024 Olympics, as an IOC ethics commission investigates alleged payments to him before the awarding of the 2016 Games to Rio.Namibian Fredericks, a four-time Olympic sprint silver medallist over 100m and 200m, denied any wrongdoing and said he was moving aside so as not to be a distraction in the investigation, announced last Friday.On Monday he had stepped down as head of a task force at the international athletics federation (IAAF).“I categorically deny any direct or indirect involvement in any untoward conduct and confirm that I have never breached any law, regulation or rule of ethics in respect of any IOC election process,” Fredericks said in a statement.As head of the IOC bid commission, he had been due to lead an inspection visit to 2024 candidate cities Los Angeles and Paris in April and May and draft a report.He said he would now not attend a July briefing for IOC members on the 2024 bids, and would not take part in voting for the host city, due to take place in Peru in September.The IOC ethics probe follows a report by French newspaper Le Monde that prosecutors were investigating payments made shortly before the vote in 2009 that awarded the 2016 Olympics to Rio.The paper said Papa Massata Diack, the Senegalese son of disgraced former IAAF President Lamine Diack, transferred about $300 000 to a company linked to Fredericks. Fredericks told Le Monde the money was paid for work he did to promote athletics in Africa at the time.“The articles do not only target me, they target the integrity of the International Olympic Committee bidding and elections process for host cities,” he said.The elder Diack is under investigation in France for corruption, while the son is the subject of an Interpol wanted notice, issued at the request of French authorities, for alleged corruption and money-laundering. Papa Diack has denied the allegations and said both he and his father are innocent.`“I believe in the integrity of the election processes of the IOC and never noticed anything untoward to make me doubt this. I reiterate that I was never involved with any vote manipulation or for that matter any other inappropriate or illegal practice,” Fredericks said.“Nonetheless I have personally decided … I step aside as chairperson of the 2024 evaluation commission, because it is essential that the important work my colleagues are doing is seen as being carried out in a truthful and fair manner.”last_img

Planning a training programme


first_imgA training programme is designed to improve fitness, sharpen skills and encourage team work. Many sports are seasonal, therefore the programme is divided into parts called periodisation. Some sports use three main periods: 1. Preseason – Focus on a high level of general fitness for the particular sport. – Concentrate on muscular endurance, power and speed work. – Development of techniques, skills and strategies for the particular sport. 2. Competitive/Peak season – Emphasise speed. – Practise skills at high speed and competitive situations (training circuits and practise matches). – Extra fitness sessions for strength and power for key muscles. – Adequate recovery and rest to avoid injury and fatigue. 3. Off Season – Aims for complete recovery from competition through rest, relaxation and other sports (active rest) to maintain a level of fitness. The training programme can be long-term or short and designed for a particular sport, specific level of ability, an individual sports person or group of sports people at a similar level of ability. The skill requirements, type of fitness needed, demographics (age, health, experience, etc) must be considered. The training principles, including the FITT principle and training methods, must be incorporated in planning training programmes. The components of a training session. Having decided on the programme of training, the actual training session should have three parts: 1. Warm-up The warm-up helps with mental preparation, increases heart rate and blood flow, warm muscles, loosen joints, increases flexibility and reduces the risk of injury to muscles and joints. The warm-ups must last at least 20-30 minutes and should include: – Gentle exercise for the whole body, such as jogging. – Gentle stretching to increase range of movement at the joints and prevent strains on muscles tendons and ligaments. Each stretch must be held for 10-30 seconds with no bouncing. – Specific warm-up for the activity, e.g., minor game passing the ball around. 2. Training activities This is the body of the training session and prepares the individual or team in different ways for fitness and skill development, depending on the demand of the particular sport. The training activity should include the following: – Physical preparation A fitness session, e.g., continuous, fartlek, interval or circuit training – Psychological preparation Players need a certain intensity of motivation called arousal, which aids performance. If the arousal level is not high enough, boredom sets in and performance declines. Anxiety, stress level and aggression must also be managed. The team psychiatrist will help the players to recognise and manage these problems. – Technical preparation These are the basic patterns of movement which have to be developed in every activity. Skilful performance is the product of using techniques correctly, e.g., a netball player may work through a series of practices designed to improve footwork skills. – Tactical preparation How the opponent is beaten will depend on a number of different factors. Therefore, in order to win, a tactical game plan is needed. The main tactic for most sport involves either attack or defence. The basic principles behind these should be done during the session. For example, corner or free kicks can be done by using drills and practices for each situation. 3. Cool down The cool down is where the body recovers after vigorous activity and is as important as the warm-up. It prevents soreness, keeps circulation up so that more oxygen reaches the muscles to clear away lactic acid, and loosens tight muscles to prevent stiffness later. The cool down must begin with a few minutes of jogging, then finishing with stretching exercises. Special attention must be given to the main joints used. Recovery rate is how quickly the body gets back to normal. Make sure enough time is given to recover between training sessions. If training is done every day, follow a heavy one-day session with a light session. During a heavy training period, at least one rest day must be taken per week.last_img read more

Big dreams emerge for big brain science projects


first_imgWhile the United Nations General Assembly prepared for its sometimes divisive annual general debate on Monday, a less official United Nations of Brain Projects met nearby in a display of international amity and unbounded enthusiasm for the idea that transnational cooperation can, must, and will, at last, explain the brain.The tribe of some 400 neuroscientists, computational biologists, physicists, physicians, ethicists, government science counselors, and private funders convened at The Rockefeller University on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in New York City. The Coordinating Global Brain Projects gathering was mandated by the U.S. Congress in a 2015 law funding the U.S. Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The meeting aimed to synchronize the explosion of big, ambitious neuroscience efforts being launched from Europe to China. Nearly 50 speakers from more than a dozen countries explained how their nations are plumbing brain science; all seemed eager to be part of the as-yet unmapped coordination that they hope will lead to a mellifluous symphony rather than a cacophony of competing chords.“We are really seeing international cooperation at a level that we have not seen before,” said Rockefeller’s Cori Bargmann, a neurobiologist who with Rafael Yuste of Columbia University convened the meeting with the backing of the universities, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Kavli Foundation, a private funder of neuroscience and nanoscience. Bargmann and Yuste have been integral to planning the BRAIN Initiative launched by President Barack Obama in the spring of 2013, which, along with the European Human Brain Project, started the new push for large-scale neuroscience initiatives. “This could be historic,” Yuste said. “I could imagine out of this meeting that groups of people could get together and start international collaborations the way the astronomers and the physicists have been doing for decades.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Email Many of the plans and aspirations presented at the meeting were familiar, not least from an April prequel that gathered some 60 neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins University and laid the groundwork for the current gathering. They included China’s ambitious 15-year plan aimed at understanding the neural basis of cognitive functions while developing the tools to diagnose and treat brain diseases early; it is likely to be funded with $1 billion over the first 10 years. There was also excitement about a digital, cloud-based storehouse of troves of neuroscience data that would be accessible to all. This international repository was later the subject of discussion at a meeting of scientific diplomats from several countries, convened at the United Nations itself, and attended by U.S. Department of State representatives as well as by France Córdova, the director of NSF. At the Rockefeller meeting, an important impetus behind the big ambitions—the quest to decipher the gamut of human brain diseases that are still incredibly poorly understood—was evident in the room. “It’s purely getting at the [brain] circuits that’s going to tell us about schizophrenia, autism, multiple psychiatric disorders,” Walter Koroshetz, the director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, told the assembled scientists. Yet our current neuroscience tools are so rudimentary, he noted, that watching the brain function in real time is like “trying to understand what Gone with the Wind is [about] by watching it one pixel at a time over and over again.” The quest to understand the brain is complicated, too, by the profound ethical questions that will inevitably arise as the science moves forward, from worries about the potential hacking of brain implants to the notion that technological advances will ultimately make mind control possible. These are questions that can’t be tackled too soon, one speaker urged. “We should not take an attitude of ‘Wake me up when it gets interesting,’” said Martha Farah, the director of the Center for Neuroscience & Society at the University of Pennsylvania. “Where we start, what we do at the beginning, affects the end.”The participants, from at least a score of mostly wealthy countries, were also reminded that the ambitious agenda they are forging needs to embrace developing countries. “How can these already well-established brain projects help colleagues in developing countries like my own?” asks Mohammad Mustafa Herzallah, a researcher based at Rutgers University, Newark, in New Jersey representing the Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative.The meeting’s attendees were treated at the outset to a round of inspiration from David Shoemaker, the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Cambridge, who walked them through the observatory’s history as an object lesson in how to succeed with large-scale science. But it is not clear that big neuroscience can duplicate LIGO’s success. The massive complexity of the problems it is tackling, from mapping the functioning brain to making petabytes of data meaningful and accessible to training a new generation of neuroscientists who are equipped to work across disciplines to make sense of it all, do not lend themselves to easily assembled and discretely defined teams and tasks—at least, not quickly. That became clear in the meeting’s closing moments, when both Yuste and Bargmann offered goals and suggestions—like the idea that national agencies fund worthy applicants from any country; and the convening of a committee that tackles the links between international projects—but no specific plan for moving forward. That did nothing to diminish the optimism and energy of the gathering. “What has happened here is magnificent,” declared Rodolfo Llinás, an 81-year-old Colombian-American neuroscientist who is a professor emeritus at New York University in New York City. “Never before in neuroscience have I seen so much unity in such a glorious purpose.”At which point the room burst into applause.last_img read more