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The Network for New Mutualism: The infrastructure of the new economy

first_imgI founded Freelancers Union on one simple premise: We’re stronger together than we are alone.It was based on what I saw happening in the economy. Yes, American workers were leaving the 9-5 for more independent lives, but they weren’t isolating themselves.Instead, they were coming together, forming strong networks, and building a new economy. I called it New Mutualism.It’s not just about individuals coming together. Today, there are hundreds of organizations, unions, and businesses working to build a better future for the new workforce.This is the infrastructure for a new economy — one that isn’t just about making money, but about allowing people to live lives that work for them.Welcome to the Network for New Mutualism.The network is strong, diverse, and broad — environmental groups and cooperatives; sharing economy platforms and coworking spaces; non-profits, for-profits, and B-corps.They are united by a single premise: By coming together, we can help people build more meaningfully independent lives.This is just the beginning. If you know of an organization interested in joining The Network for New Mutualism, please let me know!Freelancers are the infrastructure of the new economy, and The Network for New Mutualism is here to help. Let’s see what else we can build together.last_img read more

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Clients judge your website in a split-second. Here’s what they look for.

first_imgPaul Jarvis is a best selling author, designer and gentleman of adventure.When you’re a freelancer, your website is one of your best sales tools. But just because it’s online 24/7 (hopefully) doesn’t mean it’s acting in your best interests.In a fraction of a second, a visitor is going to judge your website, and decide if it’s worth it for them to stay and keep going. All this happens before they even consider buying what you’re offering.I’ve experimented for years with how I pitch both my services (web design & consulting) as well as my products (books and courses). I’ve found that even if what I’m selling doesn’t change, if I tweak the way I pitch it, it can make all the difference.Here a few things to consider when creating any sales page:A solid first impression is keyYour website visitors’ immediate impression of your site is going to make them want to keep going or just close their browser. What are you doing to lead them farther down the page? If they know nothing about you or your site, does it make sense to them the second they arrive?Make it clear where to start. This means that one brief block of text needs to be larger than anything else on the screen. Larger than the logo, larger than any pretty graphics, larger than the navigation.Is the first thing someone reads on any page on your website enough to draw them in deeper? Are you using language that speaks to them and their motivations, or are you just talking about yourself and your product/services? If they come to your sales page without even hitting the homepage first, does everything still make sense?Orientation follows the first reactionNow that you’ve got your website visitor started, the next few seconds will be when they figure out if they’re the right person for the page they’re on. After reading the headline, is it obvious what they should do or read next?In a sub-heading, graphic, or short paragraph (sized much smaller than the headline of course), can you speak to what your visitor might already be thinking after they read the headline? Can you imply a promise that would make them continue?Use simple and precise words—not confusing, creative, or non-concrete bragging. Write in everyday language, as if you were actually talking out loud to them. Honest words in the right tone go much further than outrageous claims or sales-y copywriting.How will you know what’s important to your audience? Do research first. Poll people already in your audience (or even existing customers) on what they value, what they value about the work you do, and what motivates them to pay you for it. Then, use that language on the page—your audience is already comfortable with it.Make it clear that they’re in the right place. Speak directly to your audience and no one else. That will keep them there longer.Desirability comes nextThis requires a quick sub-discussion on “features vs. benefits” because too many websites get this wrong. You want to talk about the benefits of what you’re selling, not just the features. What does this mean? Jason Fried sums this up nicely: a feature is what your product/service does, and a benefit is what a visitor can do with what you’re selling. Speak to the latter, to the actual results, it’s always more powerful.Theodore Levitt, a Harvard marketing professor and editor of the Harvard Business Review once said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”What are you really selling? What would this visitor gain if they invest? Investment isn’t always just money either, sometimes what prevents someone from investing is the time they’d have to invest. Books take a while to read, courses can take even longer. The learning curve of a complicated product can take even longer still.Emotion investment is also important to consider. Feeling obligated or pressured to invest doesn’t always work, whereas speaking directly to their passion, or desire for knowledge or results can work quite well.Matching goalsNow that you’ve got your visitor intrigued and they desire what you’re selling, you’ve got to match your goals with theirs. After they read/watch/consume your sales page, what’s the next obvious step? What if they only skimmed the headline and sub-headings (which most people do)?A lot of websites get the goals wrong.Your audience doesn’t want to be told what to do, especially if they aren’t “sold” on moving forward yet. Instead of calling them to an action they may not want to take, make the action a reward or payoff. How can you help them decide if what you’re selling is right for them, before they give you money? Maybe it’s with a common questions + answers section. Or testimonials/social proof? Is it a way to get in touch first, if what you’re selling is a bigger ticket item?Giving one alternative to “buy now” makes the action an “either/or” instead of a “yes/no” decision.—Whether you’re selling custom services like design or content strategy, or products like books or courses, the sales page for your website is either going to be the best thing for revenue, or the biggest detractor.Experimenting is the only way to find out what will work or not. Even with research in hand and the best content money can buy, a lot of times it takes testing your ideas out to see if they work. Thankfully this is the beauty of the web. Unlike a print book, you can try several ideas (using split tests) at once or even change things over time and watch their effects (or lack thereof).There’s such a small window of time that you’ve got when a visitor first reaches your page. How you cater to them and talk to them makes all the difference.**For more ideas and systems on researching and landing the right clients for your freelancing business, check out my new course, The Creative Class. You get $100 off as a Freelancers Union member by using the code “FUNIONWOO”. **last_img read more

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What to do when you’re out of ideas

first_imgIs there any angst so particularly irritating, so absolutely maddening, as the angst you feel when your own brain betrays you?Many freelancers have to formulate and implement brave new ideas while operating on tight deadlines. Most of the time, one’s creativity hums along pleasantly, cooperating with project specifications.But then, sometimes, you’re left staring at a blank page… and your mind is equally as blank.What do you do when your brain won’t work – when you are absolutely out of ideas?Step AwayImmediately trying to muscle through these frustrating brain-blanks rarely works. Instead, step away from the task at hand for a few minutes. Read a few blog post articles, go to the bathroom, wash dishes. Sometimes changing your environment can help; make your bed or re-organize your workspace. It’s productive procrastination, and with any luck, it’ll also reduce the pressure you’re putting on yourself.Return to your work after a couple of minutes. If you’re lucky, this mini-break may have triggered your creativity.List AnythingSo you’ve reorganized your sock drawer, and still nothing is coming. Despair not! Sit yourself back down and start a list of potential ideas – but not just any list.Join the nation’s largest group representing the new workforce (it’s free!)Become a memberOdds are your brain is not actually blank, it just feels that way because your inner editor is in charge and is not letting any creativity flow. Let’s circumvent that by embracing absurdity.Write down every idea you have, even the most stupid and unfeasible solutions imaginable. At the worst, you’ll re-access your sense of humor (which you desperately need in times of frustration). At best, another idea will pop up.Some of my best creative ideas have their roots in stupid non-solutions like “run away to desert island, avoid client’s calls on coconut phone forever.”Phone a FriendSpeaking of phones, this is another good way to move through a creative block.Calling a colleague to spark inspiration is a great tactic, although I’ve had just as much luck asking friends who work outside of my field if I could “think out loud” to them. There’s something nice about having to explain your problem in simple terms, and getting an outsider’s perspective.Have a ten or fifteen minute chat with a buddy. Your brain may kick into gear.Try Something Else / MoveStill no luck? I’ve been there, my friend.Move onto another task for an hour or two, or even a day if your deadline isn’t too tight. If you have an unstructured work schedule, it might also be a great time to slip in some exercise. Nothing unclogs the mind like moving the body.Whenever you return to your work, change your circumstances. Do something as simple as moving your chair, working from a coffee shop, or changing the music you listen to. Signal to your brain that this is a new project; it may just play along.Take a Nap (Yes, Seriously)This is completely unscientific, but I’ve found that when all hope is seemingly lost, it helps to take a nap.Something about relaxing my body in this way and letting my subconscious take over is really effective. I can’t tell you how often I’ve drifted back to alertness, immediately rolled over to a notebook, and written down a new idea. If you want to try this, make sure to have a writing implement handy!All of our brains sometimes malfunction. Know that you’re not alone in your despair. Run through these steps next time you go blank – somewhere along the way, you’ll catch a spark!Freelancers, what do you do when you’re plain out of ideas?Kate Hamill lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @katerone.last_img read more

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IMA campaign to inculcate good health practices in students

first_imgNew Delhi, Sep 4 (PTI) The Indian Medical Association (IMA) will conduct a special campaign to inculcate good health practices in students for prevention of lifestyle diseases, on the occasion of Teachers Day tomorrow.As part of the Aao School Chalen campaign, all IMA members have been asked to visit their old school or any nearby school during the school assembly and interact with students and teachers to sensitise them on issues of public health importance.”It need not be a long-drawn talk, but a short talk of 10 to 15 minutes,” IMA national president K K Aggarwal said.IMA branches have been asked to adopt schools and deliver lectures on matters of public health in their morning assemblies. The topic for this month is fighting obesity at a young age to prevent common lifestyle diseases in the future.Childhood obesity is increasing worldwide at an alarming pace. Factors contributing to this are the consumption of an unhealthy diet — eating foods high in fats, sugar and salt (junk food, processed food) and a sedentary lifestyle.”Today, TV, Internet, computer and mobile games have taken precedence over outdoor sports making children at a much higher risk of obesity,” Aggarwal said.IMA general secretary R N Tandon said, “Prevention of lifestyle diseases must start in childhood itself. Schools shape the lives of their students and have a very important role to play in this battle against childhood obesity in creating health awareness among children.”School health education programmes can help reduce health risk behaviours such as tobacco use, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, drug and alcohol use, he added. PTI PLB SMN SMNadvertisementlast_img read more

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10 years ago today, India defeated Pakistan 3-0. And it was a cricket match!

first_imgIndia and Pakistan clashes in world cricket are always high-octane. The two sides have played some memorable matches and one such tie was played out on September 14, 2007 at the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa.Playing their first-ever T20 match against each other, Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik won the toss and put India in to bat at Kingsmead, Durban. It seemed a right decision as Pakistan bowlers struck in regular intervals to keep India’s scoring under control.Robin Uthappa top scored to help India post 141 for nine in their 20 overs, with Mohammad Asif finishing with 4/18 from his overs.India regrouped and left-arm pacer RP Singh removed Imran Nazir in the third over. However, Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal showed some resistance but 31 balls later Ajit Agarkar removed Butt before Akmal and Younis Khan followed suit.Even though wickets kept falling at the other end, Misbah-ul-Haq kept the scoreboard ticking and kept alive Pakistan’s hopes of a victory.Twelve runs were required off the last over of the match. Yasir Arafat took a single to put Misbah back on strike. Misbah hit 4, 2, 4 off the next three deliveries to take Pakistan to 141/6 in 19.4 overs.One run was required and two balls remained. Pakistan were sensing victory, all eyes were on the two men who mattered the most at that particular moment. Sreesanth bowled a short ball outside off and Misbah missed it completely.1 ball, 1 run. Misbah played it towards cover where Yuvraj Singh was placed. He grabbed the ball and threw it to Sreesanth who quickly whipped the bails off to run out the Pakistani batsman. Misbah’s valiant 53 off 46 was not enough to take Pakistan through. Pakistan ended on 141/7 and the match was tied.advertisementBOWL OUTAfter a thrilling contest, what followed was even more exciting — the Bowl Out, which was like a penalty shootout in football. Both teams were to make five attempts to decide the winner of the match.Both captains nominated five bowlers for the bowl out. Malik again won the toss and asked India captain MS Dhoni to go first.India named Virender Sehwag, Uthappa, Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh while Pakistan chose Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Arafat, Shahid Afridi and Asif.Attempt 1Sehwag bowled and hit the stumps with his short run up.Arafat bowled a full toss only to miss the stumps.Score — India 1, Pakistan 0Attempt 2Harbhajan was next and like Sehwag, even he was on target.Gul cut down on his usual run up but that didn’t help Pakistan.Score — India 2, Pakistan 0Attempt 2Uthappa knocked the stumps over and acknowledged the crowd.Afridi was Pakistan’s last hope. But he bowled it down the leg side and India were overjoyed.India won the contest 3-0. However, both India and Pakistan progressed to the next stage.#OnThisDay in 2007, India v Pakistan at #WT20 ended with scores level, and India won a bowl-out 3-0 in a thrilling tie in Durban! pic.twitter.com/dXf27ruAm8- ICC (@ICC) 14 September 2017last_img read more

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Bundesliga: VfL Wolfsburg sack coach Andries Jonker who saved them from relegation

first_imgBundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg parted company with coach Andries Jonker on Monday, less than four months after he helped save them from relegation.The Dutchman, appointed at the end of February, took charge of 19 competitive games including the two-legged relegation playoff against Eintracht Brauschweig in May which Wolfsburg won 2-0 on aggregate to secure their top-flight status.Jonker’s overall record was eight wins, four draws and seven defeats.The Wolves, beaten 1-0 by promoted VfB Stuttgart on Saturday, have made an indifferent start to the new season, lying 14th in the table with four points from as many games.The club said in a statement that the two parties had gone “separate ways” and that Jonker was “no longer head coach.””The decision to change coach so early in the season was not taken lightly,” said general manager Tim Schumacher. “We were finally convinced by our internal advisers that we must undertake this task with a new coaching staff.”Wolfgang Hotze, spokesman for the board of directors, said the decision was not just based on the Stuttgart match but “on the noticeable stagnation in the development of our… team in recent weeks.”There was no immediate comment from the 54-year-old himself.Jonker, the first coaching casualty of the Bundesliga season, had said after Saturday’s game that his team played well in the first half but the forwards lost possession too often.Jonker’s contract was due to run until the end of the season and became the third coach to part company with Wolfsburg in less than one year following the sacking of Dieter Hecking last October and Valerien Israel in February.advertisementlast_img read more

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Roger Federer sweeps ATP World Tour Awards

first_imgWorld number two Roger Federer has been rewarded for his stellar performance this season as he walked away with three honours, including the Stefan Edberg sportsmanship award, at the ATP World Tour Awards ceremony at the London Tower.In addition to being named the winner of the Stefan Edberg sportsmanship award, the Swiss tennis maestro also scooped ATP fans’ favourite for a 15th straight year as well as voted by fellow players as the Comeback Player of the Year.Though Kevin Anderson, Filip Krajinovic, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Janko Tipsarevic made the shortlist for the Comeback Player of the Year gong, along with Federer and world number one Rafael Nadal, it was the latter who took the honours.It should be noted that this is the 13th time and seventh year in a row that Federer has been recognised with the Sportsmanship Award, while it is the first time he has won the Comeback Award, the ATP website reported.Federer, who chose to sit out the second half of 2016 in order to recover fully from his knee surgery as well as a back problem, made a stunning return to rise to No. 2 in the ATP Rankings.He went on to clinch seven titles during his comeback campaign, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon.The nineteen-time Grand Slam Champion will now play in the next week’s ATP Tour Finals in London.Federer has been named in the Boris Becker group, alongside world number three Alexander Zverev, Croatian player Marin Cilic and Jack Sock of United States.advertisementThe season-ending tournament will begin on Sunday and concludes on November 19 at London’s O2 Arena.last_img read more

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Ashok Khemka ready for work after 51st transfer, says he’s prepared for everything

first_imgSenior Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka, in an exclusive interview with India Today on Monday, hinted that Haryana’s BJP government was hesitating to take action against Robert Vadra and others for violating the CLUs. Without naming Robert Vadra, Khemka has demanded an action against the violates.”There was a document which the present Law Minister had published in April 2014 during the Lok Sabha elections. The answers are there in the record. There should be an action,” Khemka said while declining to answer a question on the CLU controversy.Reacting to the rumours that he was keen to join the Prime Minister, Khemka said joining Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s team is still a dream and and an honour.”Who would not like to join PMP? It is an honour for me,” Khemka said. Reacting whether his uprightness cost him dear as he was transferred a record 50 times, Khemka said it was his choice to be upright and he will continue to live like that.”It is very difficult to remain upright in public service. It is a question of choice whether you want to remain upright. The difficulty comes when you are isolated, various types of victimisation comes along with it and transfers’ an instance of it. But, I am prepared to deal with any situation,” Ashok Khemka said.Expressing pleasure, Khemka said he was initially upset with his transfer as he had planned many things but he is happy that he has been transferred to the Youth Services and Sports department, headed by Anil Vij. Meanwhile, Anil Vij has also sent feelers to Ashok Khemka and said that he will welcome him as the Principal Secretary of his department and both will work as a team.advertisementlast_img read more

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Raise awareness about Hinduism to prevent conversion: RSS chief to cadres

first_imgVaranasi (UP), Feb 17 (PTI) RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat today called on the organisations volunteers to raise awareness about Hindu religion and culture in order to stop “groups and agencies” working for the “conversion of Hindus”.The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief during his address at the Trade Facilitation Centre at Badlapur here, also asked them to strongly protest against the people involved in such “anti-national activities”, according to an RSS functionary.�??Cautioning that there are various organisations and agencies that are involved in conversion of Hindus to other religions, the RSS chief asked volunteers to spread awareness about their own religion and culture and strongly protest those involved in such anti-national activities (of conversion of Hindus),” said RSS functionary Ambrish.Stressing on development of villages which are the base of the economy and culture, Bhagwat said that focus should be to develop villages across the country. He also emphasised on the importance of cows, calling for a “cow-centred” village economy.Ambrish said the Sarsanghchalak has stressed on promoting as well as utilising cow-related products in the field of medicine.Bhagwat will address the Sangh Samagam tomorrow at the sports ground of the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University here, in which nearly 25,000 RSS volunteers along with representatives of various wings affiliated to the organisation will be present.The RSS functionary also said that office-bearers from the BJP, the VHP, the Bajrang Dal, among others, will also attend the programme. PTI CORR KISlast_img read more

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India bowlers skilful, not easy to score at run-a-ball against them: Heinrich Klaasen

first_imgSouth Africa batting sensation Heinrich Klaasen has praised India’s bowlers and said it is tough to score quick runs against them.Klaasen on Wednesday smashed a swashbuckling 69 off 30 to fire South Africa to a 6-wicket win against India at the SuperSport Park in Centurion in the second Twenty20 International. The result has kept South Africa alive in the three-match series against India, who had won the first match on Sunday.Klaasen also credited stand-in skipper JP Duminy as his presence made the difference for the hosts in a must-win game.The big-hitting batsman said that Duminy, who put on a match-winning partnership of 93 runs for the third wicket with Klaasen, told him to go big.”Duminy was the key factor to my whole innings. Second over or the first over I faced, he told me this over needs to go for 10. He told me to just play my normal game and take the bowlers on. Luckily it worked out,” said Klaasen.”The way JP told me to go, this over needs to go for 20, it takes all the fear out of your game. Then it is very important to keep a calm head. There was a stage when I was swinging quite hard,” he added.”They (the Indians) are very skilful bowlers. So it is not easy to get a run-a-ball,” he added.It was the fastest half-century in T20I cricket by a South African batsman, not only against India but also at Centurion. The knock was made more special for Klaasen by the fact that he got it on his home ground.advertisementKlaasen said his innings was better than the Wanderers cameo wherein rain and a truncated game also provided a T20-like situation for him to chase the total down.”This one definitely wins – my home ground. It’s something you dream about as a young kid, to play for your country on your home ground, and to win a game for your country. This one takes the cherry on the cake,” said Klaasen.”In the first five or six overs, we actually tried to keep up with Duckworth-Lewis. Luckily on the fifth or the sixth over, the drizzle stopped. I said to JP, we can now actually stay one boundary under the DL target, and it worked out,” he added. Heinrich Klaasen struck his maiden fifty in T20Is (BCCI Photo)The constant drizzle helped ease out conditions as the pitch had proven slow earlier on. Even so, it is a nature of day-night games at Supersport Park that the side batting second has an advantage, as Klaasen pointed out.”I think it is massively due to the dew that falls at night that changes the wicket completely,” he said.”I think the way we actually batted tonight, it’s a good way to chase a total. Keep up with the rate and keep up with Duckworth-Lewis. That just gave us small targets. When to go, when not to go, it is about setting small targets and it is maybe something to think about going forward,” he added.Talking about soaking the pressure, the keeper-batsman said, “That’s great fun. But in that moment you don’t usually think how fun it is. Next ball you think where it is going, so need to figure couple of plans and areas where to hit, try to figure out where he is going to bowl to.”Klaasen has progressed quickly in international cricket after he was called up to the ODI squad in Quinton de Kock’s absence owing to injury. It has been down to two match-winning knocks from him that South Africa have beaten India twice in eight matches during this limited-overs’ leg of the tour.However, Klaasen opined that de Kock doesn’t have to look over his shoulder just yet.No, not at all,” he said, about replacing de Kock. “I think he is a world-class player. And our change room definitely misses him, especially top of the order. I don’t think he has anything to worry about yet.”If you look at Quinny, AB (de Villiers) and Faf (du Plessis) and with Temba (Bavuma) coming back as well, they are world class players. So, in some sort, to put my name in that list as well, it is definitely a very important stage of my career to put myself on the map or in this setup,” he added.The finale will be played at Newlands on Saturday, with the series pegged at 1-1.”There is a massive gap between international cricket and our domestic cricket. I know on Saturday, India will come up with new plans and the education will be good as well. On Saturday, I need to see what their plans are and see if I can counter it,” Klaasen signed off.advertisement(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

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Mohammad Kaif talks of MS Dhoni on TV. And MS Dhoni appears

first_imgMS Dhoni’s resurgence and form in this year’s Indian Premier League has taken everyone by surprise but the man himself has been pretty cool about it as he normally is.Stopping Dhoni from scoring runs has been the number one priority for all the teams this season but none have succeeded so far.Even the experts commentating on the matches for the official broadcasters have been raving about Dhoni’s campaign this year.Before every game the pundits give their views on how and what the teams can do to prevent Dhoni from unleashing his wrath with the bat.Mohammed Kaif, who is one of the hindi commentators, was doing the same during a pre-match show which incidentally, was being watched by Thala himself on TV.Kaif posted a video regarding the same although it remains unclear on who shot it in the first place.Just as Kaif starts to talk about how to stop Dhoni, Captain Cool makes a brief appearance in the video.”When you are speaking about a legend and the legend appears 🙂 Watch till the end Thala fans @ChennaiIPL #Cricketopathy,” Kaif wrote on his post.When you are speaking about a legend and the legend appears 🙂 Watch till the end Thala fans @ChennaiIPL #Cricketopathy pic.twitter.com/ifH2YGh3dcMohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) May 8, 2018Dhoni is in the middle of his best IPL season so far. In 10 matches, he has scored 360 runs at a strike-rate of 165.89. Nobody has hit more sixes than him this season and two of his three half-centuries have come in winning causes.advertisementSince 2008, Dhoni has not scored at a higher strike rate than his 165.89 this year. He averages 90 in 2018, significantly higher than his IPL career average of 40.01.In this year’s IPL, Dhoni started slowly but picked up momentum during the chase against Kings XI Punjab – he could not get his team home but finished with his best ever IPL score; a sublime 79 not out.Against RCB in Bangalore, Dhoni unleashed his brute force right from the time he walked in to the crease – this time, he did not wait to accelerate later, a marked change from a practiced approach.This summer, he has shown the urgency and the determination to finish games off earlier instead of taking it deep. Undoubtedly India’s best finisher in ODIs, Dhoni’s methods have often been a little costly in the T20 format.Besides, Dhoni has mostly batted up the order at No. 4 or 5. That gives him time and a bit of luxury to soak in a few balls if the need be – as he did against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. He started rock solid before exploding towards the end to give his bowlers something to bowl at.last_img read more

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JK govt launches Mufti Mohammad Sayeed fellowship

first_imgSrinagar, May 12 (PTI) The Jammu and Kashmir government today launched a fellowship named after former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, under which up to 20 youths will be sent abroad to study in leading universities with an aim to develop into global leaders.The Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Global Leaders Fellowship is aimed at reaching out to the educated youth in the state, an official spokesman said.The State Knowledge Initiative Platform (SKIP), constituted under the chairmanship of the Advisor to Chief Minister, Amitabh Mattoo, has launched the fellowship in collaboration with J&K State Sports Council, the spokesman said.”The fellowship seeks potential leaders who have the acumen to make a difference and aims to provide a select group of outstanding young men and women from Jammu and Kashmir the opportunity to study at some of the worlds finest institutions for up to 12 months beginning in the academic session in 2019,” the spokesman said.He said a maximum of 20 fellows would be sent abroad in 2019.The fellowship is inspired by the vision of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and is modelled after the well-known Rhodes Scholarships at the University of Oxford, he said.”The selection to this prestigious fellowship shall be without prejudice to gender, marital status, religion, social background or disability,” he added.SKIP has identified six universities for the fellowship in 2019: Oxford and Cambridge (UK); Harvard, Yale and Princeton (US); and Melbourne (Australia), the spokesman said.Mattoo said all applications received by SKIP will be vetted by a committee and eligible candidates will be invited for an interview.advertisementThe short-listed candidates will be finally screened by a jury chaired by a Nobel-laureate.However, a candidate has to apply separately at the individual level for admission to a university, Mattoo said.All selected fellows will have commit to serve Jammu and Kashmir for at least 12 months, he added. PTI MIJ ABH ABHlast_img read more

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Putin demands more from Russia ahead of World Cup

first_img\R Moscow, Jun 6 (AFP) President Vladimir Putin has called on Russia’s reeling national team to pull themselves together as they head into their first home World Cup. Russia have picked a terrible time to go on their worst run in the post-Soviet era. A 1-1 draw in Moscow with Turkey yesterday made Stanislav Cherchesov the first Russian manager to go winless in seven consecutive games. The team were whistled off the pitch and fan expectations heading into next Thursday’s opening match are low. Putin said in an interview posted on the Kremlin website today that he expected the national squad to play with courage and flair. “As far as the team are concerned, I must acknowledge the fact that, unfortunately, our team have not achieved big results in recent times,” Putin said. “But we very much expect — all fans and lovers of football in Russia — expect the team to play with dignity, for them to show modern, interesting football, and to fight until the end.” The hosts are expected to vie with outsiders Saudi Arabia and Egypt for the runner-up spot in a group that includes two-time World Cup winner Uruguay and earn a place in the last 16. Russia have never made the knockout stage of a World Cup as an independent nations and are desperate to make amends at home. But Cherchesov’s men have been decimated by injuries and forced to change lineups and formations from game to game. Putin said Russia’s biggest achievement may simply be pulling off a successful World Cup.advertisement “Our main goal as tournament organiser is to conduct the World Cup with dignity, to make it into a celebration for millions of football lovers all over the world,” he said. “This will be our biggest achievement.” Putin also tried to play it coy when pressed on whom he thought would win the showpiece when the final is played in Moscow on July 15. “This is a difficult question. There are many contenders,” said Putin. “There are the Latin American countries — Argentina and Brazil. We know that Germany played brilliantly in previous World Cups. “The Spanish team showed some high-quality, beautiful football. I am sure there will be other contenders. But the strongest will win.” Putin was not asked what would happen if the hosts failed to make it out of one of the easier groups in the draw. But Russian Sport Minister Pavel Kolobkov said in late May that qualification for the knockout stage was a must. “The first thing we have to do is make it out of the group,” Kolobkov told Russian state television. “That is not even up for discussion.” (AFP) AHAHlast_img read more

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Ajinkya Rahane on standby as Rohit Sharma prepares to take yo-yo test

first_imgIndia’s Test captain Ajinkya Rahane has been put on standby for England tour as Rohit Sharma prepares to take the all-important yo-yo test on June 19.Yo-yo test is the fitness test that is compulsory for all players to pass in order to get a place in the Indian national team.Considering the developing intensity of the game of cricket and the culture of fitness coming in the dressing room, with captain Virat Kohli leading from the front, Ravi Shastri and the Indian team management have set their yo-yo parameter on 16.1.A player must clock at least 16.1 in the test to be eligible to play for Team India.With the long overseas tour of England coming up, all the players selected for the tour are undergoing the Yo-Yo test. Rohit is preparing to take the test at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru amidst clouds of his fitness. He had taken prior permission from BCCI for it to be done on 19th. Rohit Sharma will undergo the fitness test ahead of India’s gruelling overseas tour of England. (Reuters file Photo)Reports suggest that Rohit failed the yo-yo test twice during the Indian Premier League last month and that is why Rahane has been asked to stay ready in case Rohit needs to be replaced.Recently, Suresh Raina was called in as replacement for Ambati Rayudu for the ODI series against England after the latter failed to clear the fitness test.Rayudu had forced his way back into the Indian team after a spectacular IPL season where he scored where he scored 602 runs. But it was the fitness test that pushed him back into obscurity.advertisementHowever, Rayudu was not the first big name to have failed the yo-yo test. Before Rayudu, Mohammed Shami failed the test and was dropped from India’s squad for the one-off Test versus Afghanistan. Navdeep Saini had replaced him in the squad.Even Sanju Samson was dropped from India A’s squad for the England A tour and was replaced by Ishan Kishan in the touring squad.At a CoA (Committee of Administrators) meeting, General Manager Saba Karim was asked why the yo-yo tests were being conducted after the selections, given how big names have failed the test.It was then explained that the situation had risen because tests could not be conducted in middle of IPL and the selections had to go ahead in that time itself.However, CoA has now decided that yo-yo tests will be conducted before the selection meeting in future so as to avoid the situation where players have to be dropped on the basis of their fitness.(With inputs from Rasesh Mandani)last_img read more

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World Cup 2018: Germany eye last-16 berth, Mexico face Sweden test

first_imgGermany look set to rely on players who did not win the 2014 World Cup to carry them past South Korea in their final Group F match on Wednesday and into the knockout stage.A shock 1-0 opening loss to Mexico was followed by a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Sweden, with players like Marco Reus, Sebastian Rudy and Julian Brandt providing much of their spark in the latter.The world champions now need to beat South Korea by two goals or more to guarantee they qualify, or they must better Sweden’s result in the other group game against Mexico to secure a top two finish.The South Koreans, after two defeats, would have to beat Germany by more than two goals while hoping Sweden lose to Mexico to have any chance of advancing.”We have a lot of alternatives, that is the structure of our squad,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGELoew had already benched World Cup winners Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira after their first game and will add even more players who were absent in 2014 to his next line-up against South Korea on Wednesday.The Germans have so far failed to live up to their expectations as title favourites and were it not for those players hungry for World Cup success, they might already have been booking their return flights to Frankfurt.Reus, who missed the 2014 tournament after being injured in their final warmup game, should start once more after his fine performance against Sweden.advertisementFIXTURES | POINTS TABLEHe has quickly ousted Ozil, who had faced a barrage of criticism for his opening match performance.Instead Reus, time and again, sliced past the Swedish defence with his speed and was a constant threat while also scoring the equaliser in their win.Central defender Niklas Suele, who four years ago had just won promotion from the third division, is also likely to start in the place of the suspended Jerome Boateng, another World Cup winner who was sent off against Sweden.Holding midfielder Rudy, who started against the Swedes, broke his nose in that game, but should he be fit to play he would probably be picked ahead of Khedira, who admitted his own performance in their opener against Mexico was bad.Thomas Mueller, a winner in 2014 with 10 World Cup goals overall to his name, has yet to score in Russia.He is also feeling the pressure from 22-year-old Brandt, who has only had two brief substitute appearances so far but made an impression and hit the post against Sweden while also looking far more dangerous than Mueller.Loew sounds like he is keeping his options open.”It is about using all possibilities. Those players who did not play will definitely still be needed,” he said.That may not sound like a vote of confidence in his 2014 champions, but it’s not 2014 any more.MEXICO LOOK TO STAY UNBEATENMexico will look to add gloss to their World Cup campaign when they face Sweden in their final Group F match on Wednesday, with a win likely to boost the image of their embattled coach Juan Carlos Osorio back home. Mexico vs Sweden: Mexico are currently on top of Group F (Reuters Photo)Osorio’s relationship with the Mexican media has been prickly due to his frequent experimentation with the squad since taking charge in 2015. The Mexican public too have seemed unconvinced by his methods.But that appears to have changed somewhat after a shock victory over defending champions Germany in their first game and a 2-1 win over South Korea, which has put the team top of their group and on the brink of qualification to the last 16.Supporters who had been calling for the 56-year-old to be axed following a 1-0 friendly win over Scotland earlier this month appear to have made their peace with the Colombian.Osorio could ensure everyone involved with Mexican soccer will have more reason to celebrate after Wednesday’s match at the Ekaterinburg Arena.”El Tri” will advance to the knockout stages with a win or a draw against Sweden. A loss too will not halt their progress provided Germany lose to or draw with South Korea, who are yet to open their account. Sweden would move on in that scenario.However, goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said Mexico have what it takes to beat the Scandinavians.”We knew it was going to go down to the last match, and that is what happened,” said Ochoa, who has made more saves (14) after two games than any other keeper in the tournament. “We are prepared to win all three matches… That’s what we want to do.”advertisementMexico could then look to break a frustrating run of six successive last-16 eliminations but face the prospect of meeting Brazil in the next round.Sweden, who beat South Korea 1-0 in their first match, have three points and were unlucky not to collect another from their game with Germany, who they had been holding to a draw until Toni Kroos’ last-minute winner.Sweden’s forward Marcus Berg admitted the team had “broken down” after that defeat.”But there’s a saying, ‘Breaking down to rise again’… We have it in our own hands, and that’s something we’re happy about.”We’ll do everything against Mexico and we have an incredible spirit in the team. It’s going to be extremely difficult to stop us from advancing out of the group,” he said.last_img read more

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World Cup 2018: ‘Exempt South Korea footballers from military service’

first_imgSouth Korea’s shock victory against Germany in their 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F fixture on Wednesday has left fans back home in Seoul and other parts of the country excited, impressed and thrilled.The Asian side failed to qualify for the round of 16 in Russia but their ‘honourable’ exit has given the fans enough reasons to celebrate and feel good about a young and vibrant side.Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min scored two goals in three minutes in injury time to end the match 2-0 and send Germany packing from Russia. The defeat to S. Korea handed the Germans their worst result in a World Cup in 80 years. As the XI on the pitch and fans at the Kazan Area still couldn’t believe what they had achieved together, South Korean fans back home took to Twitter to show their excitement and joy.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGE South Korea scored two goals in three minutes against Germany on Wednesday (Reuters Photo)The newspapers and media also went into overdrive as they soaked in what just happened 3251 kilometers away in Kazan.Son Heung-min: South Korean star’s shades of tears at World Cup 2018″We didn’t make it to the round of 16…but we sent the world number one packing,” said a headline in Seoul’s major Dong-A daily.”We are so proud of you,” the newspaper said on its front page, adding the game “shook South Korea upside down”. South Korea knocked out Germany from this year’s World Cup (AP Photo)South Korea prime minister Lee Nak-yeon also joined in the celebrations and tweeted: “Reality beat our imagination today.”WORLD CUP 2018 – FIXTURES | POINTS TABLEadvertisementThe Korean fans also took the opportunity to launch a petition and save their ‘talented’ players some time and asked for exemption of the mandatory two-year military service. The petition launched on the presidential website, urged President Moon Jae-in to relieve players like Son Heung-min and goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo of their military service.”They gave us so much hope. Their talent should not be wasted in the military,” said one petitioner.A law in South Korea has existed since 1957 where male citizens between the ages of 18 and 35 have to perform compulsory military service. The Constitution of the Republic of Korea states in Article 39, “All citizens shall have the duty of national defense under the conditions as prescribed by Act.” The Military Service Act of 1949 which specified that compulsory military service is required for men ages 18 or older.However, with performance that made the nation proud on Wednesday, some players might just be lucky enough to get an exemption from it and peruse football without hampering their professional playing career at the peak of it.last_img read more

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Photo Advisory First, Photos released upto 4 p.m.

first_imgNew Delhi: July 6, 2018 (PTI) EDITORS: Photos withCaptions released today. To view thumbnails of thesePhotographs, visit PTI website at..http.//www.ptinews.comNATINONALJammu/Pahalgam:Amarnath Yatra registration(B)New Delhi:PM Modi pays tribute to Syama Prasad Mookerjee(B+A)Bodh Gaya:83rd Birthday of14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso(A)New Delhi:One Year Journey Of GST(A+B)New Delhi:PM Modi meets his Bhutan’s counterpart(A+B)New Delhi:Satpal Maharaj during a press conference(A)Mumbai: Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar(A)Patna:Lok Janshakti Party Chief Ram Vilas Paswan(B)NewDelhi:117th birth anniversary Syama Prasad Mookerjee(A)Mumbai:Navy, Coast Guard deploy choppers to trace fourfeared drowned(A+B)Mumbai:Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar(A+B)McLeod Ganj:83rd Birthday of14th Dalai Lama TenzinGyatso(A)Chandigarh:CM Amarinder Singh and Israels ambassadorto India Daniel Carmon(B)Bengaluru:Heavy metal band ‘Immolation(A+B)Amritsar:Mass campaign against drug menace(B)Srinagar:Restrictions imposed in Srinagar(A+B)INTERNATIONALNew York:Members of the NYPD Emergency Service Unit work to safely remove Therese Okoumou(B)Nantes: protesters clashed with riot police(A)Duchesne :Flames of a wildfire rise near Duchesne(B)London:Your Commonwealth’ Youth Challenge reception(B)Great Falls:A rally at the Four Seasons Arena at MontanaExpoPark(B)Tokyo:Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun distributes their extra edition(B)Buenos Aires :Members of the media wear gags and blindfolds to protest(A)East Rutherford:State Fair Meadowlands carnivaladvertisement(B)Berlin :HUGO fashion show as part of the Fashion Week in Berlin(B)Frankfurt: An aircraft passes the setting moon overFrankfur(B)SPORTSLondon/Buenos Aires:Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London(B+A)Silverstone:The British Formula One Grand Prix(B)PTI PHOTO GCS OSOSlast_img read more

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Lead in Our Water-A Washington, DC Mystery

first_imgThe Public OrganizesExpressions of public frustration grew in response to the mixed messages emerging from WASA and other public agencies. The public organized to share information and circulate petitions by launching internet sites like PureWaterDC.com and WaterForDCKids.org. Neighborhood meetings also were held to discuss the issue. Community organizations and elected leaders concluded that WASA had actively covered up the problem. Adding to the public mistrust was disclosure that a WASA employee, Seema Bhat, who had repeatedly warned WASA and EPA officials of the lead contamination, lost her job in 2003. She had won a legal claim of improper termination, which the city had appealed.On March 18, nearly 100 people took part in a protest at City Hall led by a CSO coalition (Public Citizen). Also in March, a class action lawsuit was launched against WASA by a young lawyer, Chris Cole, and a neighborhood activist, Jim Meyers, who called on the government to give clear notification to affected residents, pay the full cost of lead pipe replacement, and compensate the plaintiffs for damages. To clarify the situation for the public, the government needs to “knock on doors, no more letters,” said Cole.A Technical SolutionMeanwhile, the Technical Experts Working Group convened by WASA and the EPA had identified the cause of the elevated lead levels. They concluded that a new water treatment process introduced in 2001 had caused lead to leach from municipal water pipes into the water supply. Their hypothesis was confirmed in May 2004 when a return to the old treatment process caused lead levels to decrease immediately. They also recommended accelerating plans to further revise the water treatment system to include an anti-corrosion additive called orthophosphate.By July 2006, lead in Washington D.C.’s water had remained within nationally mandated limits for a year and a half. Moreover, blood screenings found no identifiable public health impact from the period of lead contamination. With this finding, part of the mystery was solved.photo credit: blandm/flickr.com As part of World Water Day, The Access Initiative (TAI) is releasing a case study of how in 2004, poor data dissemination put the citizens of the capital of the world’s richest country at risk from lead in their drinking water.The following is an excerpt of a TAI publication on the role of public participation in government decision-making about the environment. The full publication will be published and posted online later this year.Read this case study with the following question in mind: how did leaders of the capital of a country with robust scientific and technical expertise, as well as strong environmental information systems, show such poor information transparency and inflexibility that people rose up in protest?Note that the problem was not an absence of technical data, but a lack of face-to-face communication. People need environmental information to be communicated to them in such a way that they understand and can act upon it.Photo credit: maebmij/flickr.com New Laws, New Pipes, New InstitutionsThe question of how the government had failed to effectively notify residents of the problem was more complex to answer. The public outcry about the government’s initial response to the lead contamination led to independent investigations commissioned by government and civil society organizations, as well as EPA administrative orders censuring WASA, and a Congressional inquiry into EPA’s own oversight failures. Significant outcomes from these investigations include a multi-million dollar investment by WASA in the replacement of lead water pipes and an EPA proposal to revise national lead and copper regulations.The investigations also identified serious problems with the institutional arrangements for water quality management and oversight in Washington DC. What with WASA, EPA, the City Council, the Army Corps of Engineers, Congress, and the Department of Health all involved, lines of authority, accountability and communications among agencies rarely were clear. To coordinate these players and centralize responsibility, a Department of Environment within the D.C. government was created.This case study was written by Dave Turnbull and Heather McGray of the World Resources Institute, and is an excerpt of a forthcoming publication of The Access Initiative (TAI) on the role of public participation in government decisionmaking about the environment. Full citations can be found in the final version of the book, to be printed in hardcopy and posted online, later this year.Related LinksWashington Post story in October 2004 reveals misleading lead reporting in water across the United StatesWashington Post story in May 2004: Lead in D.C. Water Slashed: Decline Comes After WASA Resumes Using Chlorine as Disinfectantcenter_img A January 31, 2004 Washington Post article created a stir with a story about a strange environmental mystery: Tap water in thousands of District houses has recently tested above the federal limit for lead contamination.Danger: Lead in City Drinking WaterLead exposure can lead, over time, to serious health effects-brain damage, kidney damage, and other illnesses. Those at highest risk—young children and pregnant women—can be affected by even short exposures to high lead levels. But the Post article went on to say that authorities were “baffled” by the problem and had no idea how such a serious contaminant had become so widespread in the city’s water.Subsequent Post articles—and the public hearings, administrative reviews, independent investigations, and a class action law suit that followed them—documented that the problem actually had not been discovered “recently.”The Washington DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) had been detecting unhealthy levels of lead in city drinking water for over two years. However, the public often was not informed of the problem, and in other cases was told too late to take appropriate action, or with too little urgency to convey the seriousness of the health risk.Thus, residents of Washington, D.C. faced not one, but two mysteries. How did so much lead get into the drinking water? And how could the government have known about it for so long without addressing the problem?In fact, problems began in 2001, when water samples in 53 homes showed levels of lead that exceeded the national standard of 15 parts per billion. Based on these findings, WASA sped up existing plans and replaced lead service pipes in key areas of the municipal water system. But the problem persisted. National water regulations then required WASA to conduct a larger water quality survey, which found a serious, widespread problem throughout the city in June 2003. Lead levels in over 4000 homes exceeded acceptable levels.Failure to NotifyAlthough WASA’s survey found high lead contamination during the summer, WASA failed to notify residents of their risk until November. Water regulations required WASA to place a very specific notice on each affected customer’s water bill stating: SOME HOMES IN THIS COMMUNITY HAVE ELEVATED LEAD LEVELS IN THEIR DRINKING WATER. LEAD CAN POSE A SIGNIFICANT RISK TO YOUR HEALTH.However, the notice that WASA sent out in November downplayed the seriousness of the problem. It left out key required phrases, including “in their drinking water” and “significant.”Similarly, national law required WASA to conduct public meetings to inform people of the health risk and the actions they could take to avoid lead exposure. However, their advertisements for the meeting did not reveal the lead problem. Instead, they simply stated that the meeting would “discuss and solicit public comments on WASA’s Safe Drinking Water Act projects.”As a result of the lack of urgency in WASA’s public communications, residents were slow to take action. Some residents who received the notices began buying bottled water, and discussed the issue with their neighbors, or shared information about it via email. Many had neglected the mailings, however, or didn’t understand them. One resident later told a reporter she had received a letter informing her that the lead in her water tested as “higher than the federal action level,” but she wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad result.Front Page NewsMonths later, when the issue became front page news, the situation changed rapidly. Residents inundated WASA’s water hotline with calls and overwhelmed water testing laboratories with requests for their tap water to be tested for lead contamination. District elected officials immediately called for an emergency public meeting, and established an inter-agency task force to investigate and manage the problem. The task force included WASA, the Department of Health, the Washington Aqueduct, and representatives of eight other government bodies. It became the primary government vehicle for responding to the crisis.Within four days of the initial news report, WASA itself worked with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to establish a Technical Experts Working Group, bringing together national experts to study the problem and identify a solution. Meanwhile, the inter-agency task force swiftly implemented programs to provide free water filters, water testing, and blood testing for residents at risk of lead contamination. It wrote letters to residents, established a hotline, conducted 23 community meetings, met with leading local organizations, and produced a range of outreach materials.Conflicting MessagesHowever, over the six weeks following the initial Post exposé, successive public communications from WASA and other agencies contradicted each other and created confusion about who was at risk and what steps residents should take to protect their health. For example, WASA sent a letter in February to all residents suggesting they flush water through their taps for a minute and a half to reduce lead levels before drinking or cooking. But during the same week, the Environmental Protection Agency demanded that the recommendation be changed to 10 minutes.Similarly, early WASA communications limited the health advisory to pregnant women and small children in residences with lead service lines. However, subsequent water testing found high levels of lead in the water of a significant number of residences with copper service lines, as well.PureWaterForKids.org (screen shot May/2004)last_img read more

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Old Roads to a New Destination

first_imgThis article originally appeared in the May/June 2011 edition of The Environmental Forum (www.eli.org), and is reposted with permission.Download article as a PDFGiven the dim prospects for climate changelegislation in the 112th Congress, all eyeshave turned to federal agencies and thestates as the primary drivers of climateand energy policy in the United States. Ina July 2010 report for the World Resources Institutetitled “Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in theUnited States Using Existing Federal Authorities andState Action,” we examined the emissions reductionpotential of federal authorities on the books and announcedstate actions to determine whether the UnitedStates could reduce its emissions of heat-trappinggases that cause global warming, even as Congress refusesto tackle the problem. We concluded that federalagencies and states could indeed put the United Statesfar along on a path to meet its international commitmentto reduce emissions by 17 percent from 2005levels by 2020 if the Obama administration pursues ago-getter approach.Since issuance of the report, we have been trackingactions by federal agencies to reduce global warmingpollution. While it is too early to know whether theadministration’s actions will be enough to substantiallyreduce U.S. emissions of heat-trapping gases, ithas made significant steps in the right direction. Additionalsteps can and should be taken, using a varietyof laws and regulations under the aegis of several agencies.This article identifies additional steps to drive significantshort-term abatement.As the administration takes action to reduce greenhousegas emissions, some in Congress have mountedefforts to stop them. A number of bills and amendments have been advanced that, if enacted, woulddelay or stop EPA and other agencies from drivingreductions in greenhouse gas emissions. At the timethis article was finalized for publication, no significantanti-regulatory measure had made it to the president’sdesk. Should such a measure be passed, the administrationhas signaled that President Obama wouldveto the bill. To overcome that veto, anti-regulatorylegislators would need to muster a two-thirds vote inboth the Senate and House of Representatives — afeat that appears unlikely. Congressional pressure onthe administration can nevertheless have a dampeningeffect on its policy decisions even if Congress failsto strip federal agencies of their authority to regulategreenhouse gases. Political pressure could result in lessambitious regulations and fewer reductions.As we watch the administration, hope for meaningfulreductions also comes from the states. In the past,states have demonstrated capacity to effect changewhen the federal government has not acted. Whilethe outlook has shifted with last fall’s elections, recentactions by EPA, which require state participation underthe federal Clean Air Act, will provide impetus forstates to resume some work in this space.Federal agencies currently possess regulatory authorityover a wide range of greenhouse gas emittersin the United States. The most significant of these authoritiesare contained in the Clean Air Act. In 2007,the Supreme Court decided that greenhouse gases fitwithin the expansive definition of a pollutant underthe act. That decision made a range of regulatory toolsto reduce emissions available to EPA. The CAA does prescribe limits on EPA action, however, as the major statutory authorities likely to be employed under theact — Title II vehicle emissions standards, Section 111performance standards for power plants and industry,and Title VI regulation of hydrofluorocarbons, requirethat EPA base emissions standards not solely on scientificdeterminations of what is required to stave off theworst effects of global warming, but also on carefulconsiderations of cost and other impacts.Fortunately, EPA is not alone in its endeavor to reduceemissions of the heat-trapping gases that causeglobal warming. The National Highway Traffic SafetyAdministration shares with EPA the authority to establishCorporate Average Fuel Economy standardsfor light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles, whichtogether account for nearly one-quarter of all U.S.GHG emissions. The Department of Energy has theability to drive reductions in emissions through efficiencystandards for appliances and equipment, andthe Federal Aviation Administration is empowered toregulate the aviation industry. Meanwhile, the Departmentof the Interior, through its Bureau of Land Management,and the Department of Agriculture, throughits Forest Service and farm programs, have the abilityto improve the way that public and private lands aremanaged.Predicting what EPA and other federal agencieswill be able to accomplish when theyuse the regulatory tools afforded them undercurrent federal law is not an exact science.Because we cannot forecast what eachfederal agency will do, we developed three scenariosmeant to capture the range of reductions we mightsee. The scenarios are based on a careful reading ofthe statutory language and published technical studies.The range of reductions projected under these scenariosis depicted in Figure 1. Our analysisfinds the United States falling short of the its internationalcommitment to reduce emissions to 17 percentbelow 2005 levels by 2020 even if federal agencies areaggressive about achieving reductions. If federal agenciesfully take advantage of the regulatory authoritiesand pursue reductions like go-getters, they could reduceU.S. emissions to 12 percent below 2005 levelsby 2020, five percentage points shy of realizing theU.S. commitment. If federal agencies fail to capitalizeon available reduction opportunities, however,middle-of-the-road or lackluster reductions will result,and the U.S. will fall far short of the 2020 goal. Emissionsreductions continue past 2020 as standards are made more stringent and as old, inefficient sourcesare replaced. Thus, a go-getter approach would net22 percent reduction from 2005 levels in 2030 due tofederal action alone. We depict the president’s internationalcommitment, to reduce greenhouse gas emissionsby 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and by83 percent in 2050, with the straight line labeled 17%and 83% reduction pathway. For comparison purposeswe have indicated the reductions necessary to preventgreenhouse gases from rising above 450 parts per millionof carbon dioxide equivalent, to prevent globalaverage temperatures from rising more than 2 degreesCelsius.Figure 1: Projected U.S. Emissions under Different Federal Regulatory Scenarios Figure 2: Projected U.S. Emissions under Different Federal Regulatory Scenarios and State Scenarios It might be possible to close all or part of the gapthrough discrete legislative enactments that fill holesin federal agency authorities. For example, the Departmentof Energy could be granted the authorityto establish national energy efficiency codes for buildings.Congress could improve the way that transportationfunding is allocated to encourage smart planningthat leads to reductions in the growth of vehicle milestraveled. In the long-term, our study suggests that wewill need more significant legislative measures as thegap between the go-getter line and the reduction targetsgrows, and certainly if we are to achieve the muchdeeper reductions warranted by the science.States can also help close the emissions gap. Traditionallystates have exercised broad authority to regulateenergy production and delivery within their borders.States have also been first movers when it comesto enacting environmental laws to reduce pollution.States are demonstrated innovators in the energy space,with over half adopting renewable portfolio standards,which require a stated percentage of renewable generation,and another half adopting energy efficiency promotingpolicies such as systems benefits charges andenergy efficiency portfolio standards.States have more recently begun to take advantageof their authority to regulate GHG emissions. NewHampshire was the first to pass a law to cap greenhousegas emissions from power plants in January2002, and Massachusetts sought to reduce GHGsfrom its dirtiest power plants through regulationsshortly thereafter. In 2009, the Regional GreenhouseGas Initiative began to regulate carbon dioxide emissionsfrom large power plants in 10 northeastern andmid-Atlantic states. California and New Mexico subsequentlypassed regulations that would lead to theimplementation of multi-sector cap-and-trade programsfor GHGs. In addition, a number of states havebegun developing low carbon fuel standards. Giventhis history, it is not a question of whether states will take action, but instead how many will act and how. Inan effort to help understand their contribution, we developedstate scenarios based on previously expressedambition. The cumulative reductions that could resultfrom various levels of combined state and federalambition are depicted in Figure 2. Reductions in the2020 time frame for a go-getter approach amount to14 percent reductions from 2005 levels by 2020 ifstate action is factored in as well, still short of the 17percent commitment.Having briefly examined the available federalauthorities and assessed the potentialemissions reductions from federal andstate action, and suggesting ways thatadditional reductions could be accomplishedto close the emissions reduction gap, we turnfirst to the status of federal action. Federal agencies areat various stages of setting regulations that would affectapproximately two-thirds of U.S. GHG emissions. Inthe space that follows we lay out the progress made todate across each major sector of the U.S. economy andidentify the areas where significant potential remains.Just over one quarter of U.S. emissions come fromthe transportation sector. The bulk of these emissions(16 percent of total U.S. emissions) come from lightdutyvehicles, a category that includes cars and smalltrucks. The next largest sources of transportation emissionsare medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, categoriesthat account for eight percent of total U.S. emissionsand include tractor-trailers, refuse haulers, urban deliverytrucks, and very large pickup trucks. Congresshas vested authority in both the National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration and EPA to drive improvementsin these sources. The Energy Policy andConservation Act of 1975, as amended by the EnergyIndependence and Security Act of 2007, providesNHTSA with the authority to establish Corporate AverageFuel Economy standards for light, medium, andheavy-duty vehicles. Meanwhile, Title II of the CleanAir Act provides EPA with the authority to establishGHG emissions standards for these sources. NHTSAand EPA have already finalized standards for lightdutyvehicles of model years 2012 through 2016, andare currently working to develop standards for modelyears 2017 through 2025. That proposal is due to bereleased on September 1, 2011. In addition, NHTSAand EPA proposed the first ever standards for medium-and heavy-duty vehicles in October 2010. Theserules will affect medium- and heavy-duty vehicles soldfrom 2014 through 2018.The electric power sector represents approximatelyone-third of U.S. emissions of heat-trapping gases.Industry, chiefly manufacturing plants and refineriesand the like, make up another 15 percent of U.S.GHG emissions. When EPA’s regulations for lightdutyvehicles went into effect on January 2, 2011,CAA requirements for pre-construction permittingof certain large power plants and industrial facilitieswere triggered. Under the act, new and modified majorstationary sources that emit more than 250 tons ofGHGs must apply for pre-construction permits underthe Prevention of Significant Deterioration/BestAchievable Control Technology permitting program.Because the statutory threshold would have requiredEPA to go through permitting processes for hundredsof thousands of sources, EPA issued the so-called “TailoringRule” in May 2010 citing “administrative necessity.”This limited what facilities will be covered toonly very large greenhouse gas emitters such as newand modified power plants and industrial facilitiesand prevented regulation of small businesses, like theproverbial mom and pop grocery, under the pre-constructionpermitting program. The pre-constructionpermitting program only applies to new and modifiedunits. In addition, it is carried out in a case-specificmanner that provides little certainty about the environmentaloutcomes.A much more appealing program for the regulationof large sources such as power plants and industryis performance standards under CAA Section 111.Section 111 provides for the establishment of performancestandards for new and modified sources underSection 111(b) and mandatory emissions guidelinesthat require states to regulate existing sources underSection 111(d). In December 2010, EPA announcedthat it will propose the first GHG performance standardsand mandatory emissions guidelines under Section111 for power plants by July 26, 2011, and finalizethose standards and guidelines by May 26, 2012.The agency also announced that it will propose correspondingstandards and mandatory guidelines for refineriesby December 15, 2011, and finalize those byNovember 15, 2012. States must follow the guidelinesand propose performance standards to cover existingpower plants and refineries. Together these sourcesaccount for nearly 40 percent of the U.S. emissionsinventory.While EPA is working to reduce emissions by makingpower generation less carbon intensive, the Departmentof Energy is doing its part to reduce emissionsby driving down energy demand. Accordingto the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, DOE updated 10 different efficiency standards betweenJanuary 2009 and February 2011 and is scheduled toupdate another 13 standards by the end of 2011.While the transportation, electric power, and industrialsectors tend to get the most attention whenconsidering policies to reduce emissions, our studyfinds that some relatively small sectors such as landfills,coal mines, natural gas systems, and hydrofluorocarbonscan contribute in major ways at relatively lowcost. These sectors only account for 7 percent of U.S.emissions, but can account for 37 to 60 percent of thereductions in 2020.HFCs are a rapidly growing source of emissions.They are primarily used in refrigeration and air conditioning.Congress granted EPA the authority to regulatethese emissions through CAA Title VI. The firstindication that the administration intended to regulatethese sources was provided by its 2009 joint U.S., Canadian,and Mexican proposal to amend the MontrealProtocol submitted to the United Nations EnvironmentProgram Ozone Secretariat. Those amendmentswere resubmitted in 2010, but have not yet passed.EPA and the State Department have indicated thatthey intend to continue working with signatories overthe coming year in effort to pass those amendments.Once those amendments are adopted, the CAA automaticallyvests EPA with the authority to meet itscommitments under the Montreal Protocol. Independentof this pathway, EPA could also begin to pursuedelisting of approved substitutes under its SignificantNew Alternatives Policy program, which implementsCAA Section 612. Though the substitutes currentlyonly account for only two percent of the GHGemissions inventory, significant growth in emissionsis expected if action is not taken. If the ramp-downschedule put forth in the joint proposal is followed,then considerable reductions from business-as-usualprojections are possible.The case for reducing GHG emissions from largenon-agricultural methane sources such as landfills, coalmines, and natural gas systems is just as strong, thoughEPA has not yet indicated it intends to regulate thesesources. Even though such sources only represent acombined 5 percent of the U.S. GHG inventory, reductionsfrom these sources are available at a relativelylow cost. For example, EPA estimates that landfills canreduce their emissions by about 60 percent at $8 perton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (CO2e)and 74 percent at $20 per ton of CO2e, and that coalmines can reduce emissions by 86 percent at only $5per ton of CO2e.The contribution of these sources becomes even more significant when one considers the 20-year globalwarming potential. Global warming is a long-termproblem due to the inertia behind our existing energyinfrastructure and the fact that the leading greenhousegas, carbon dioxide, resides in the atmospherefor hundreds of years. Therefore, the most commonlyaccepted measure of a greenhouse gas’s impact is the100-year global warming potential. However, recentdata suggest that we are starting to see impacts of climatechange now, and so some have suggested that welook at short-duration gases as a way to buy ourselvestime to make the steep reductions necessary. If we dothat, and instead consider the impact that the gaseswill have over the next 20 years, we find that in 2020reductions from non-agricultural methane sourcescould mitigate climate change impacts as much asemissions reductions from power plants and severaltimes the reductions possible from manufacturing.EPA, however, has not yet signaled its intent to beginregulating these sources.Additional reductions may be possible through improvedmanagement of public and private lands. Forexample, the Forest Service could increase sequestrationon federal forest lands while the Bureau of LandManagement could increase sequestration on some ofthe 264 million acres of public lands that it administers.The Department of Agriculture could also encouragepractices that would reduce greenhouse gasemissions or increase sequestration on farmland. Inthe first iteration of the report we could not identifyany literature that would allow us to accurately quantifythe magnitude of sequestration possible using existingregulatory policies without expanding programbudgets. As a result, we did not include such policiesin our analysis. We hope to close this gap in subsequentupdates to the report. Following our approachin other sectors, once we can associate meaningfulgreenhouse gas abatement with specific policies, wewill track progress towards their implementation.Just as the outlook in Congress has changed,so too has the outlook at the state level. Thenortheastern and mid-Atlantic RegionalGreenhouse Gas Initiative, which coversCO2 emissions from large power plants, waslaunched in January 2009. RGGI was followed by theWestern Climate Initiative and the Midwestern Accord,both of which are designed for implementationin the 2012 timeframe. If fully implemented by allparticipants, these initiatives would have covered 23U.S. states. However, of the 13 states engaged in the WCI and Midwestern Accord, only New Mexico andCalifornia have taken steps to promulgate regulationsto implement the cap-and-trade program, suggestingthat these two initiatives will fall considerably short oftheir goals.Beginning in 2011, however, states will have newimpetus to regulate emissions from existing large stationarysources, such as power plants and industry.EPA sets performance standards for new and modifiedunits under CAA Section 111(b). EPA then establishesguidelines that require states to regulate existing unitsunder CAA Section 111(d). States have considerableflexibility in how they meet those guidelines so longas they can demonstrate that their program is no lessstringent than the guidelines established by EPA.States already moving forward with cap-and-tradeprograms are expected to ask EPA to allow thoseprograms to be used for compliance with emissionsguidelines established by EPA via New Source PerformanceStandards. In our joint WRI and ColumbiaLaw School Center for Climate Change Law workingpaper “What’s Ahead for Power Plants and Industry,Using the Clean Air Act to Reduce Greenhouse GasEmissions, Building on Existing Regional Programs,”we find that there is room for EPA to honor such arequest. In short the argument is that while Section111 does not expressively provide for the states’ establishmentof a cap-and-trade program for greenhousegases, it requires states to develop a plan thatestablishes a “standard of performance” for the airpollutant. EPA has previously interpreted “standardof performance” to allow for cap-and-trade. This wasdone in both the mercury and greenhouse gas context.While this interpretation was contested in a legal challengeto the Clean Air Mercury Rule, the D.C. CircuitCourt of Appeals never decided the legal challenge tothe CAMR cap-and-trade program, and instead vacatedCAMR on other grounds. The Bush EPA’s AdvanceNotice of Proposed Rulemaking on greenhousegas regulations issued in July 2008 recapitulated thisinterpretation of the CAA, concluding that cap andtrade is a permissible option for regulation under Section111(d).The Obama EPA, however, has neither endorsednor disavowed the previous administration’sinterpretation of the act to allow cap andtrade. Although the Supreme Court in 1978 held inASARCO v. EPA that trading is not permitted for newplant standards under Section 111(b), EPA has arguedthat this decision was later overturned by the Courtin Chevron v. NRDC and furthermore to the extentthat ASARCO is still good law, it applies only to standards of performance for new units under 111(b), andnot the more flexible process for existing units under111(d). Though we find that there is likely to be considerableflexibility afforded to states as they proposeplans to comply with EPA’s emissions guidelines, thereare likely to be some limitations around certain provisions,such as scope, offsets, and cost-containment.These issues are explored in more detail in the workingpaper.Moving forward it is likely that states will continueto develop and implement new programs that drivereductions in greenhouse gas emissions. For example,states may adopt programs that encourage investmentin renewable energy and energy efficiency, drive improvementsin building efficiency, improve land usemanagement, or reduce the greenhouse gas footprintof transportation fuels. Such policies could drivegreenhouse gas emissions reductions beyond what canbe achieved through federal action alone, helping usto reach the Obama administration’s 17 percent reductiontarget.In the absence of comprehensive climate and energylegislation, federal agencies and states can bemajor drivers of greenhouse gas emissions reductions.As our WRI report reveals, Congress hasprovided federal agencies with valuable tools thatcan help the nation achieve significant reductions inthe near term. EPA and other federal agencies have begunthe significant task of regulating emissions acrossa number of economic sectors, including transportation,electricity and some industry. Additional sectors,such as coal mines, natural gas distributionsystems, and landfills, present promising areas forlow-cost regulation that EPA should address inthe near term. While some members of the 112thCongress have expressed an interest in eliminatingthese authorities, no such legislation has passed,and the Obama administration retains the powerof the veto. So, the possibility for significant actionremains, and the 17 percent reduction targetis still within sight. Readers can track the administration’sprogress towards this goal using WRI’sweb-based regulations tracker at www.wri.org/federalclimateaction.Finally, it is worth keeping aneye on the states to see what role they will assumemoving forward in crafting creative solutions tothe climate problem as they comply with new EPAregulations, and also to see to what extent they willhelp drive deeper reductions than federal agenciescan achieve alone.last_img read more

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Paying a Premium for Climate Resilience

first_imgWhat is the best way to protect vulnerable rural communities from the damaging impacts of climate change? Insurance could be an answer, but it raises a number of difficult questions.To illustrate, the New York Times recently ran a story, “Report Says a Crop Subsidy Cap Could Save Millions.” The piece discusses a new U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that investigated the costs and distributive effects of the federal insurance program that protects farmers against crop failure and low market prices. This is a costly program for the federal government – farmers pay only 38 percent of the premiums, and the rest is covered by federal subsidies. Payouts are skewed toward the largest farms, which may receive very large payments because there is no subsidy cap. The cost to U.S. taxpayers in 2011 was $7.3 billion.Would farmers have purchased insurance that was not subsidized? Do subsidies encourage reckless risk-taking and distort land markets? What are the economic impacts of limitless payouts to large farms?The same kinds of questions are now being raised in the very different context of the poorest and most vulnerable rural communities in Ethiopia, India, Mexico, and other countries. Climate policy experts are asking whether insurance would be a good way to protect poor farmers against the more frequent droughts and floods that climate change brings. If so, could the Green Climate Fund, now in its design phase, include an insurance component?To inform climate negotiators, policymakers, and development practitioners, the World Bank’s Social Resilience Cluster is embarking on a major evaluation of what is known about insurance in poor, rural communities. Their effort focuses on so-called index-based insurance initiatives, where payouts are made not on the basis of actual crop loss on individual plots of land – which is labor-intensive and time-consuming to assess – but on the objective measurement of rainfall deviations from the norm, which correlates closely with crop and livestock loss. Although design costs are higher, managing an index-based insurance scheme is cheaper, and payouts to farmers can be done much faster than when actual losses must be determined.The questions asked above about U.S. farmers become more profound for rural people who live near their margins. Can index insurance be scaled up and sustained to really cover the poor in the long term, so that it transforms livelihoods into a state of greater resilience? And if so, is insurance good value for money – for households, governments, and donors – compared with other means of managing risk, including social protection schemes or emergency relief after extreme weather events?As for answers, on many of them the jury still seems to be out. At a recent retreat sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation (in which WRI took part), a group of researchers, policymakers, and development practitioners reviewed what the World Bank’s analysis has produced so far. Through assessment of dozens of smaller-scale and pilot projects, as well as a few larger ones, a fundamental problem was identified: Insurance actuaries need long-time series and large samples in order to determine the probabilities of extreme events to set premium prices. Most of the project data now available do not allow those parameters to be determined, making projections about future costs very uncertain.Also, in almost all index insurance projects, premiums have been subsidized by government or donors. The same question being asked about U.S. farmers is therefore also relevant for their less fortunate colleagues in developing countries: Would they pick up the full premium costs without subsidies? Early indications are that they would not. Consequently, there is little evidence so far that index insurance by itself will have a transformative impact on poor households. It may even be the other way around: that the farmers who have access to financial services, agricultural inputs, technology, and markets—and who are already on safer ground—are the ones who will be able to use insurance as a way to lower the risk of investing in potentially more high-yield but also more demanding crops.But work on answering these questions continues. Available data is being further analyzed, and a number of field studies are underway that will complement what we know now. Index insurance may be judged to have an important place among the instruments that will underpin increased agricultural productivity and food security in a changing climate, albeit within limits. One thing is certain: Much more research and development is needed to find the most effective ways of protecting the poorest and most vulnerable from the impacts of a changing climate. One question leads to the next.last_img read more

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