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Ten things you didn’t know about Andries Pretorius

first_imgNOT FOR FEATURED 9. He enjoys taking trips around Wales when he gets the chance and has been to Snowdonia and North Wales, although he is braver than many tourists. “If I’m driving along and see a lake, I jump in.”10. While he’s keen to jump into lakes, he’s not so keen to give surfing a go in the northern hemisphere. He’d get on his board a lot in Durban, but the water’s too cold for him here! LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Forward momentum: Andries Pretorius, who qualifies to play for Wales in June, pictured on the charge for the BluesCARDIFF BLUES’ South Africa-born back-rower Andries Pretorius qualifies for Wales on residency this summer, but here are a few facts about him you probably don’t know…1. He’s currently reading Jonny Wilkinson’s autobiography and says: “It sounds like he’s got a little bit of OCD.” He’s also a big fan of Bear Grylls’s “phenomenal book” Mud, Sweat and Tears.2. He can play at blindside or No 8, but says: “I prefer eight because of the freedom it gives you. I like the responsibility that comes from playing eight and the opportunity to hang back and pick lines better.”Good mate: Wales captain Sam Warburton with the Triple Crown3. He’s good friends with Wales captain Sam Warburton and the pair’s work ethic is very similar. “I set really high standards for myself and even when it’s raining and miserable I want to do extras after training. I also like to watch games and see what other teams are doing well. Sam’s like that too; we’re constantly trying to improve and that’s why we get on.”4. Born in Nelspruit, South Africa, Pretorius spent a lot of his youth in the local mountains camping and fishing with friends – and had some interesting adventures. They once came across a mountain lion and he says: “That was a tricky situation but I think it was more scared of us than we were of it.” The group also found a human jaw bone once and had to take the police to it.5. His most embarrassing moment came when he left his MacBook outside for four days when he went on his stag do to Edinburgh only to come home and find that it had rained while he’d been away so the laptop was broken. “The boys thought that was funny,” he says.center_img 6. His toughest opponent to date has been Harlequins openside flanker Maurie Fa’asavalu, who is “such a good ball-carrier and works really hard”, but next season he thinks he’ll have trouble with a more familiar face as Casey Laulala is leaving the Blues for Munster.Surfing: A warm-weather hobby!7. Pretorius is a qualified electrician in South Africa but can’t yet work in that field in the UK. He needs learn the different protocols in Britain and gain some work experience, which is something he’s looking into doing with the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association.8. When asked about the funniest thing he’s every heard on the pitch, he recalls a story told to him by Allan Lewis, his coach at Hartpury College. “A ref once said to a prop, ‘You’re boring in at the scrum’ and the prop looked at him and said, ‘You’re not that entertaining yourself’! TAGS: Cardiff Blues last_img read more

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Colombian House of Representatives Passes “Victims Act”

first_imgBy Dialogo June 18, 2009 Bogotá, June 16 (EFE). – Today the Colombian House of Representatives passed the “Victims Act” (Ley de Víctimas), which seeks to economically compensate the thousands of people affected by violence in that country. The Minister of Internal Affairs and Justice, Fabio Valencia Cossio, said that by approving this act “the balance between the respect for international standards and the Colombian Constitution and laws will be achieved regarding fiscal feasibility and political responsibility.” According to the Press Service from Casa de Nariño, the headquarters of the Executive power, Valencia Cossio emphasized that “the Act takes responsibility for the thousands of families that have been affected by more that 50 years of violence in Colombia.” According to Valencia, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe has made the country a pioneer in the enforcement of transitional justice “despite how, throughout the world, it is normally enforced at the end of a confrontation or a peace process.” He also said, regarding this project of parliamentary origin, that “fundamental elements have been added to allow not only the current decree in force for the compensation by administrative proceedings in Colombia, but also an act to compensate the people both economically and integrally.” Now the project will pass to the Conciliatory Commission, since there are discrepancies with the Senate’s approval. Uribe praised the project’s approval, and said that “in the past (the victims) did not make claims because they were afraid or they thought it would be useless. Today we have more that 220 thousand victims registered in the waiting list for compensation.” He explained that these economic compensations presuppose “a high-cost measure for the Treasury in years to come, but it is necessary to eliminate the seeds of revenge.” Meanwhile, the deponent of the Act, Congressman Guillermo Rivera, told the press that by passing this law “the government and the Uribist coalition committed an atrocity toward the victims of this country.” He explained that the way this Act had been laid out, only after a judiciary sentence is passed would the victims of state agents be compensated and receive benefits. He added that the government did not consider the multiple observations that the opposing party made. He remarked that “what is worse is that, according to the Act’s layout, victims such as the mothers of the Soacha youngsters missing and murdered by the military will not receive any benefits. This conveys a terrible image to the international community.” He announced that, jointly with Senator Juan Fernando Cristo of the Liberal Party, he will present a lawsuit against the approved Act based on several unconstitutionality errors. On the other hand, the National Bureau of Victims, which gathers human rights defenders, reported in a press release that the approval of the “Victims Act does not meet the minimum international and constitutional standards regarding the rights of victims of human rights violations and infractions of international human rights.” Furthermore, they state that “the observations made by Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Colombian government and Congress were disregarded.” They also state that the initiative considered neither the suggestions expressed by more than 4,000 victims in 9 regional hearings nor the requests expressed in more than 12,000 letters sent to the House of Representatives.last_img read more

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Is Bellone’s Bid for a Drinking Water Tax Proposal a Ploy to Promote Development?

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York From the crowded podium at an outdoor press conference in Yaphank last month, backed by a supportive chorus of environmentalists, bureaucrats, civic leaders and elected officials, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced his method of corralling his public water enemy No. one: nitrogen.The answer? A small, modest fee on water usage, which according to Newsday, would require “state legislation to allow voters to decide whether they want to create a water quality protection fee of $1 per 1,000 gallons of water used.”With an estimated annual revenue of nearly $75 million, the new money stream would funnel into a “Water Quality Improvement Fund” with the sole purpose of paying for wastewater improvements, including hooking residences and other assorted areas to sewer plants as well as giving homeowners the opportunity to get septic system upgrades.Creating new taxes for the sake of water protection is a sound idea, and it has ample policy precedent, for such a model has been used before to help fund open space acquisitions for decades. Further, according to Bellone’s statement, it has been employed in Spokane, Wash., which similarly relies on a sole source aquifer for drinking water.Despite these positive factors, the motives of the administration behind these actions aren’t sincere. In the end, the proposed new water fee isn’t as much about protecting the environment as it is to create more development opportunities for the real estate industry. The solutions offered by the county’s water protection plan aren’t substantive enough. Essentially, the document’s main approach to water protection focuses on sewers, and their relative effectiveness in achieving nitrogen reduction—a faulty foundation on which to build environmental policy thanks to the limited effectiveness these facilities have had on Long Island.Regardless of the intentions behind imposing the fee, the call for a referendum on the issue is a brilliant political move. At the ballot box, time and time again Long Islanders have overwhelmingly supported environmental issues related to water protection, so the measure is likely to pass easily. What is most concerning, though, is that many voters who may give their approval won’t realize the ramifications.Newsday’s Editorial Board, typically gung-ho for such environmental actions, wrote a cautious April 29 editorial that called for additional analysis of the proposal, saying that “the plan lacks details.” They advocated for slowing down what they saw as a rushed process. The editorial board was right, but they didn’t go far enough. The reason why the process is being sped up is because the county executive is eager to put shovels in the ground. The paper should have dug deeper into the linkage between the supposed environmental actions of the administration, and Bellone’s strong desire to build, build, build.The true ideological roots of this new fee can be traced back to the latest iteration of Suffolk County’s Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan. Buried within that document in Section 8, the plan tellingly calls for ways to “stimulate development in order to promote economic growth and stability.”This bureaucratic code translates into the creation of sewers, which, in turn, allows for more developmental density. Advocates for downtown Smithtown and Kings Park are already chomping at the bit for wastewater treatment, having wanted sewer linkages for decades to jumpstart their lagging economic development efforts.Curbing the nitrogen issue is one thing, but looking to ramp up developmental efforts at the same time is disingenuous. Simply put, jumpstarting LI’s anemic economy shouldn’t be the burden of environmental policy. They should be mutually exclusive efforts with interconnected goals. Economic development can be achieved without adversely impacting the environment, but the Island’s elected officials just haven’t achieved the right balance to achieve it yet.The bigger issue, however, is can we trust the county with this additional $75 million flowing into its coffers every year? The notion of taxing the water we drink is like taxing the air we breathe in the view of veteran policymakers like Paul Sabatino, a former deputy county executive who previously sued the county over misappropriation of the existing quarter-cent sales tax that already funds Suffolks’s Drinking Water Protection Program. Given recent legal happenings with the county’s clean water fund, residents have the right to be suspicious about Suffolk using the fee for the purpose it is intended. For all intents and purposes, Bellone has not earned that trust back just yet.Karl Grossman, a veteran award-winning investigative reporter, is also concerned about how much of the water fee is tied to the county’s push for sewers.“Bellone has been promoting sewering in Suffolk County largely for economic development reasons,” Grossman recently told me. “He feels sewers would be a huge incentive in encouraging development and financial stimulation that he sees coming as a result. Thus, questions have been raised over how much of the sewer push is being made under the guise of environmental protection and also about the impacts of widespread new sewering.”Grossman argued that existing limitations on growth will likely disappear with additional sewering, much to the delight of the development community. As Grossman put it to me, this is “something the bulldozer boys who have ravaged and paved over so much of western Long Island and now have their eyes on its east and areas of moderate growth in western Suffolk would love to see.”In fairness to the Bellone administration, LI does have a serious nitrogen problem in its ground and surface waters. As evidenced by the almost annual algae blooms and fish kills, it has gotten worse. At least the county executive is trying to take tangible action to reverse the decline. Run-off from Suffolk’s mostly outdated 360,000 cesspools and septic systems does pollute our water quality, but connecting these properties to sewage treatment should be separate from efforts to develop unsewered downtowns and parcels.“The good element about the plan,” observed Grossman, “is that it, in part, pays attention to advanced wastewater treatment systems—systems for single homes and communities that utilize new technology now used in areas all over the US in removing nitrogen from wastewater. With nitrogen being the key cause of brown tides, red tides and the deterioration of our waters, these new systems would be ideal for Suffolk County.”In the press release announcing the proposal, development-friendly groups offered their support alongside local environmental groups. In the developer cohort, Desmond Ryan of the Association for a Better Long Island, a pro-business lobbying group, said the fee is all about reconciling growth and water quality, saying that  “striking that balance between environmental protection and comprehensive economic development will only assist in making Suffolk County a great place to do business.”To Grossman, this sewer talk is déjà vu all over again.“As a reporter, I covered the Southwest Sewer District project of the 1970s—pushed by construction, engineering and development interests—and it also was claimed to be needed for environmental reasons,” he said. “It became a $1 billion scandal.”And, he pointed out, that staggering sum represented the value of the dollar back then. Tellingly, the federal government paid 80 percent of the cost, a totally unlikely prospect today.Bellone’s proposal would be a decent solution if his administration had pure intentions—and if the public could trust that the funding would be spent as promised. If the referendum is eventually approved, the fee would take effect in 2018.Ideally, the $75 million in annual revenue should only be allocated to help homeowners in decidedly residential, single-family subdivisions convert their existing systems to sewers. But if the water fee doesn’t win the public’s affection, perhaps with the cheap debt available in today’s market, the county should consider just bonding the expected $9 billion it would take to construct the needed sewers.But the current proposal is purposely vague about what limitations it might impose on the fee’s uses. What’s to prevent it from quickly becoming a slush fund for the politically connected, and in the long run, help contribute to the further decline of Long Island’s drinking and surface waters by overdevelopment? Nobody wants that, at least officially. But in Suffolk these days, it seems that the desire to conduct business is trumping doing what’s needed to protect our threatened aquifer.Rich Murdocco writes about Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco is a regular contributor to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.last_img read more

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Heart of Oak Board advertise for new C.E.O

first_imgThe Board of Directors of Accra Hearts of Oak have decided to formally declare vacant the post of Chief Executive Officer of the Club and invite applications from interested candidates.The decision was taken this evening(Thursday March 7th, 2013)at a marathon Board meeting held at the Club’s secretariat.The post of C.E.O became vacant after Fred Crentsil decided not to seek an extension to his two-year mandate which ended on 3rd October, 2012, four days to the start of the 2012/13 Glo Premier League.Shortly after the resignation of Administrative Manager, Ashford Tettey-Oku in November last year, the Board appointed its Chairman, Togbe Afede XIV as Executive Chairman in a three-month acting capacity spanning the months of December to February.The vacancy adverts are expected to hit the print and electronic media within a week.last_img read more

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