Posts tagged with "danger"

Treatment of Afghan Interpreters

Approximately one month, the Director of Faith Matters, Fiyaz Mughal, highlighted the plight of Afghan Interpreter, Mohammed Nabi, and how he was sleeping rough on the streets of Athens. Nabi’s case was initially documented and he was assisted by Jess Webster, who works with refugees in Greece.

Having heard of the case, the petition by the Director of Faith Matters, has now reached over 116,000 signatories within 5 weeks. It is now being backed by the Sun on Sunday and has also been highlighted by the Daily Mail and the Metro. Yet, the Government have made no headway in addressing this issue. There is therefore a groundswell of public opinion backing Nabi’s case, yet the politicians refuse to even acknowledge this case.

Mohammed Nabi worked for ISAF and British forces in Afghanistan between 2008-2011. He has received numerous commendations for his work with British Forces such as from the 1st Battalion of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. He was instrumental in interpreting Taliban commands in real time when in the field with British soldiers and thereby he was key to tracking Taliban troop movements and attack points against British soldiers.

Speaking to Mughal in Athens he said that:
“My role was to work with commanding officers and I was the bridge between Afghan forces and British commanding officers. When officers from the British army went to speak to village elders, I was with them. There was an unwritten command that Taliban leaders gave to their forces to kill Afghan Interpreters first so that British and ISAF forces would be blind in the field. I was at risk of suicide bombers in such situations in villages as they tried to target British commanding officers and their interpreters”.

Nabi left working with the British armed forces after 1 year, (in 2009), because of threats from senior Afghan commanders made against his family and against him. He rejoined ISAF and British forces within 3 months of leaving since his skills were suited to armed forces work and he could not find other work and served again as an Afghan interpreter until 2011.

In 2016, an attempted kidnap against him failed and ‘night knocks’ against his front door raised threat levels against him and he fled on foot through Iran and into Turkey where he lounged for 18 months with no assistance from aid agencies who were assisting families. They were therefore not focused on assisting young single men.

Repeated attempts to highlight his case and the threat to his four children and wife failed in Turkey and he was left destitute and penniless, where he took up shepherding for basic subsistence. Each month though, saw the Taliban makes gains and come closer to his village and Nabi said that the policy of the Taliban to the children of people who assisted ISAF forces was to call them ‘sons of snakes, who were snakes themselves’. In other words, the children of Afghan interpreters were at serious of attack.

In 2016, to highlight his case he left Turkey and ended up being arrested in Greece and jailed. He was eventually released and claimed asylum though ended up penniless sleeping on a park bench in Athens where the Director of Faith Matters met up with him.

Speaking about the plight of Afghan Interpreters and in particular Nabi’s case, Fiyaz Mughal OBE, who developed the petition and who worked with the Sun on Sunday to highlight his case, said:

“Nabi has been denied entry into the UK and given no assistance when he approached UK Government agencies. How can this be right when he saw Afghan colleagues die in battle and Nabi was there saving British lives by interpreting Taliban commands whilst rounds went over his head. The only possessions he has are the plastic-coated commendations from officers because of his work in the field. It is disgusting the way that this man has been treated.

“The treatment of Afghan interpreters is a national disgrace and what the petition and the support from national newspapers shows is that the public care, whilst politicians have shown little courage in addressing this matter. I believe that anyone who has served more than a year in Afghanistan supporting our armed forces and who can show that their lives are in danger because of their work, must be let in. We relied on them to keep our armed forces safe, and now they need our help. This national disgrace must end and I will keep speaking out”.

Mir Fontane “Bodega” MV

Camden rapper, Mir Fontane kicks off the fall with his new “Bodega” music video, which premiered exclusively with Hypebeast. The Sage English directed visuals were dedicated to Bronx teen, Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, who tragically lost his life outside of a bodega this past June and sparked a national outcry for legislation to require small businesses to protect children in danger on their property.

Fontane told Hypebeast, “To me, the bodega always represented a hub for the community… but it also embodies the spirit of the hustle and grind. The owner of the bodega is one of the first true businessmen you meet growing up in the hood.” “Bodega” is the second video off of Mir’s latest EP release, Macaroni Tony, after the release of his “New Friends Ft. Kodi Shane” visuals. Be sure to look out for new music from Mir Fontane this winter.

Macaroni Toni EP: Soundcloud | Spotify | Apple Music | Tidal

“Bodega” Music Video: https://youtu.be/cWcorKQefng

Man to Swim around Great Britain

Strongman on the challenges he faces in his 3,220-kilometre, 100-day voyage.

Strongman Ross Edgley is bidding to become the first man to swim around the whole of mainland Great Britain.

Renowned for such feats as a rope climb to the height of Everest and swimming 100 kilometres in the Caribbean with a tree strapped to his back, his 3,220km swimming marathon (2,000 miles) is his latest venture.

He set off on June 1 and is swimming on average six hours at a time in a clockwise direction, and will not touch shore until arriving at London’s Tower Bridge in an estimated 100 days.

Here’s what the epic voyage takes in his own words…

‘Swimming the Channel on a daily basis’

“It’s the equivalent of swimming the English Channel every day. But I know my body can take it. I know I can be the first person in history to achieve it.”

‘Unfinished business from the Caribbean’

“Earlier this year, I attempted to swim from Martinique to St Lucia while tied to a tree. I’d aimed to swim 40km point to point but the current was totally against me and kept dragging me back. Even though I didn’t reach the shore, I actually swam over 100km in the end. While the athlete in me was happy with that, the adventurer in me had unfinished business. So, I phoned up the Royal Marines when I returned to the UK and asked if I could swim for 48 hours straight, just to see what I’ve got in the locker. The swim went really well and I hit 126km. One of the Marines mentioned the idea of swimming around the entirety of Britain – something that’s never been done before – and I thought, ‘why not?’”

‘Around Great Britain in 100 days’

“By looking at my swim metrics and comparing them to people who’d rowed around the entirety of Great Britain, I was able to estimate 100 days as a target. Oddly enough, in very bad conditions, my open water swimming times are the same as those of the rowers. A friend of mine named Sean Conway once swam the length of Great Britain in 135 days. I’m looking to do more than double that distance in less time.”

‘Turning into a prune’

“A lot of experienced open water swimmers have told me that my skin will eventually reject being in salt water for such a long time. I got a taste of this during my 48-hour swim with the Marines, where my hands and feet pruned – essentially I got trench foot. What’s more, being in a wetsuit for months on end will probably mean I develop sores. Hopefully these turn to calluses, otherwise the pain could be unbearable under my armpits and parts where the wetsuit rubs. My body’s going to break down at sea, I know that but I must be mentally ready.”

Chess with Mother Nature’

“To do this sort of challenge I need the ability to swim 50km day and night, powering through 3m waves. But if the currents are against me I have no chance. The GB rowing challenge, which follows the same route, is labelled the world’s toughest rowing race on account of the tides, unpredictability and weather. When I told its organisers I’d be swimming it they told me I was crazy. “If you get it wrong around The Highlands you’ve eight knots coming against you,” they said. “So even if you are swimming two to three knots, an Olympic level, you’ll still be going back four knots.” It’s basically going to be a game of chess with Mother Nature – you can swim hard, but you need to swim smart.”

‘A wardrobe of wetsuits’

“We’re doing it in the spirit of open water swimming – no buoyancy aids, gloves only needed during cold periods. The only advantage I’ll have is a collection of swimsuits tailored for estimated weight loss, ranging from full Ross, to emaciated Ross 60 or so days in, when I’ll have shifted a few stones. My legs will probably atrophy first. I won’t be using them, they’ll probably shrivel – kicking your legs account for only 10 per cent overall propulsion, even with Olympic swimmers. We’ll also be taking a picture of me each day, so people can see my body’s transformation as I go.”

‘Turning into a five-year-old’

“It’s not a solo mission at all, it’s a team event, and the captain of my boat is going to be my hero. He will plot everything – he has all the tidal maps, all the electronic versions, all over the boat. I’ll also be plotting where I am on a map every day to boost morale. When you’re out at sea and all you can see is the bottom of the sea bed, it’s very easy to lose track of where you are. So it’ll be nice to clamber back on the boat and see that I’ve made progress. Ultimately, when you’re fatigued you have the cognitive function of a 5-year-old, so I’ll be like ‘point me in the right direction and let me know when I’ve got to change’.”

‘An anti-jellyfish beard’

“Wildlife is always a danger when you’re isolated in the sea. Giant jellyfish are a particular worry. I won’t shave. Because you’re leading with the head and the face will be most exposed, any protection, like a big beard, will help. I’ll try and grow it so by the time I get up to Scotland it’s fairly rugged. I’ll also encounter sea otters, dolphins and killer whales along the way, which I’m actually looking forward to. It’ll help break things up for me and be an incredible privilege to see.”

Credits: https://www.redbullcontentpool.com/international/AP-1VVDW3RA91W11

IGTOA

The International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) has called upon the government of Ecuador to limit land-based tourism growth in the Galapagos Islands and to regulate more carefully this rapidly growing sector of the islands’ tourism industry.

In a letter sent to Ecuador’s Tourism Minister, Enrique Ponce de León on Feb. 5, IGTOA expressed its concern that the rate of growth in land-based tourism over the last decade is unsustainable and may result in irreversible harm to the islands’ famed ecosystems and extraordinary wildlife.

Between 2007 to 2016, according to Galapagos National Park statistics, overall visitor arrivals in the Galapagos Islands increased by 39 percent (from about 161,000 to over 225,000). During that same period, the number of visitors participating in land-based tours increased from around 79,000 to 152,000 (a 92 percent increase), while ship-based tourism actually decreased, from approximately 82,000 visitors to just over 73,000 (an 11 percent percent drop).

“Many of our member companies sell land-based tours to the Galapagos.  We are not opposed to land-based tourism per se, and, properly regulated, we support it,” said Jim Lutz, IGTOA’s Board President and the President of Vaya Adventures.  “But the reality is that 100 percent of the growth in Galapagos tourism in the last 10 years is due to growth in land-based tourism. And unlike ship-based tourism, where there is a de facto limit on the total number of passengers, there is no limit whatsoever on the number of people who can engage in land-based trips.  It is simply not sustainable to have never-ending growth in land-based tourism in this fragile environment.”

From the 1970s to the early 2000s, the vast majority of Galapagos tourists participated in ship-based tourism, which has long been recognized internationally as a model for limited, well-regulated tourism. Ecuador’s government has placed stringent quotas on the total number of berths (beds) allowed on the Galapagos cruise ship fleet and has placed a cap of 100 as the maximum number of passengers any ship can carry. There are no similar restrictions or regulations governing land-based tourism. If the current rate of growth continues unabated, there will be more than one million visitors per year in the Galapagos Islands in less than 35 years.

The international media is beginning to take note of the potential implications of this uncontrolled tourism growth. Both CNN and guidebook publisher Fodor’s recently placed the islands on their lists of destinations not to visit in 2018, citing concerns about the increasingly negative impacts of tourism there.

In 2007, UNESCO took the extraordinary step of placing the islands on its List of World Heritage Sites in Danger in response to a variety of threats, including unrestrained tourism and population growth. The islands were removed from the list in 2010, but in July 2016 UNESCO once again rang the alarm bells by releasing a report that cited Ecuador’s lack of a clear strategy to discourage rapid tourism growth as a source of grave concern.

“There’s no other place on Earth like Galapagos, a place where you can really get up close and personal with the wildlife,” says IGTOA board member Marc Patry, of IGTOA member company CNH Tours. “I’ve always been impressed by the work the government of Ecuador has done to strictly manage ship-based tourism there.  But frankly, I’m not seeing any evidence that it’s dealing with land-based tourism with a similar degree of concern.  We’re seeing a tsunami of growth in that sector. Unless something is done soon, it risks undermining all the good work that has been done to date,” said Patry, who was with the Charles Darwin Research Station for four years, followed by 11 years working at UNESCO’s World Heritage Center.

According to scientists, uncontrolled tourism growth poses several serious threats to the Galapagos Islands. Chief among them is the potential for devastating new invasive species to arrive as cargo shipments and passenger plane arrivals increase. Highly invasive Wild Blackberry, for example, has led to the loss of 99 percent of endemic Scalesia forests on the two largest islands, Isabela and Santa Cruz.  With any increase in land-based tourism comes more shipments of cargo, more infrastructure, more roads, and more pressure for continued growth, something that will only become harder to stop the longer it continues.

About the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA)

IGTOA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association of travel providers dedicated to the complete and lasting protection of the Galapagos Islands. Through its Galapagos Traveler Conservation Fund, IGTOA raises money to support critical Galapagos conservation initiatives and educates travelers about the challenges facing the islands. Since 1997, IGTOA has donated over $1 million in support of Galapagos conservation initiatives, including efforts to improve the biosecurity of the islands and combat invasive species. See: http://www.igtoa.org/.

PENCE AT OLYMPICS

Olympics, Two-Thirds of US to VP Pence: Not Appropriate to Stay Seated During Opening Ceremonies

Viewing of Games on Streaming Devices Makes a ‘Breakthrough’ Impact;
Americans Disapprove of  ‘Shut Up and Dribble by Wide Margin,’ also say Athletes should be Able to Comment on Social Issues;
Approval of Subsidies to U.S. Olympic Athletes by More than 2 to 1;
Absence of Matt Lauer and Bob Costas gauged; Ban on tackle football until freshman year in high school?

Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to remain seated as the combined North and South Korean teams entered the stadium during Olympic Opening Ceremonies received a harsh rebuke from the American public – by 3-to-1, according to a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this week,

A strong 66% said the gesture was not appropriate, with only 18% supporting the decision.  People in the 18-44 age bracket disapproved by 72%-14%, while older people, by 60% to 22% –  were somewhat more supportive — but still strongly opposed.

“It’s a departure from the reaction to most actions taken by the current administration during this era of polarization,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by the Sharkey Institute.   “Eighteen percent is less than half of the usual approval found from polling on other administration actions.”

The poll was conducted this week with random calls to 775 adults on landlines and cellphones across the country, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.6%.

Olympic Games: Streaming Garners ‘Breakthrough’ Numbers; General Interest Levels Gauged; Impact of Absence of Bob Costas and Matt Lauer; Subsidies for U.S. Olympic Athletes Favored

As for the Olympic Games themselves, 17% named “streaming” as the manner in which they mostly watched the Games, and while 54% named NBC’s primetime coverage, the 17% is significant for the communications industry as a breakthrough number.  (12% named “other TV networks” as their most preferred option).

“It’s eye-popping,” said Gentile.  “It marks yet another breakthrough in the so-called ‘cord-cutting’ era.  That little more than half of the audience primarily watches on NBC primetime would have been considered remarkable just four years ago. And as a sign of things to come, 44% of those 18-29 chose streaming, about the same as chose NBC prime time.”

Meanwhile, as far as general interest in the Winter Olympics,  only 9% say their interest in greater, while 18% say it is less than previously.  But among those 18-29, coveted by advertisers, interest was greater among 20%, with only single digits in older age groups (7% in the 30-44 category, 6% among 45-59 and 7% among 60+).

“This could be due to the X-Games influence and the increased snow-boarding coverage,” added Gentile.

66% said it didn’t matter whether they were viewing an event live or delayed.  And 66% also said that NBC has done a good job of generating interest in the Games.

This is the first Olympics in many years without Matt Lauer’s presence in the morning, and Bob Costas serving as host in prime time.  16% said the evening coverage was “not as good” without Costas, and 11% said morning coverage was “not as good” without Lauer.

Asked whether the US Olympic Committee should subsidize American athletes who cannot earn a living participating in sports like luge, cross-country skiing, and other sports, 59% said they should offer subsidies with only 22% saying no.

Athletes Voicing Opinions on Social Positions Supported; A Rebuff to Fox’s Ingraham.

The Poll asked whether professional athletes should use their fame to comment on social issues.  47% said yes, and 42% said no, with 11% having no opinion.  But asked about Fox News’ host Laura Ingraham’s comment that the players (notably LeBron James and Kevin Durant) should “shut up and dribble,” only 25% approved while 46% disapproved.  (30% had no opinion).  Among those who identified themselves as African-American, only 12% expressed approval of her comment, with 69% disapproving.

Ban on Tackle Football until Freshman Year in High School?

Finally, the Poll asked for opinions on the bill in the California State Legislature to ban organized tackle football until freshman year in high school in response to the danger of brain injury to younger players.  The bill received support from 46% (nationally), with 24% disapproval.  30% had no opinion or did not know.

This release can also be found here.

The Official Seton Hall Sports Poll podcast discussing this topic with Seth Everett and Rick Gentile can be found at here.

About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone February 19-21 among 775 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.8 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

The results:

1. Which ongoing sports event or season are you most interested in, the Winter Olympics, college basketball, the NBA, the NHL or the opening of baseball’s spring training camps?

1.     Winter Olympics               31%

2.     College basketball            10

3.     NBA                                   17

4.     NHL                                     6

5.     Spring training                   12

6.     Don’t know/No opinion    24

2.     Would you say your interest in the Winter Olympics currently taking place in South Korea is greater than, less than or about the same as interest in previous Olympics?

1.     Greater than                       9

2.     Less than                          18

3.     About the same                52

4.     Not interested at all        15

5.     Don’t know                         5

(If “Not interested at all” skip to question 7)

 

3.     Where have you watched more Olympic coverage, NBC’s prime time, daily coverage on other TV networks or streaming coverage on handheld devices?

1.     NBC Prime Time               54

2.     Other TV networks          12

3.     Streaming                          17

4.     Don’t know                        17

4.     Are you more likely to watch an Olympic event if it’s presented live or does it not matter if the presentation is delayed?

1.     Live                                   30

2.     Doesn’t matter                   66

3.     Don’t know/No opinion        5

5.     For many years Matt Lauer hosted NBC’s morning Olympic coverage and Bob Costas hosted the evening presentation.  Do you think the morning Olympic coverage on the Today show is as good without Matt Lauer, not as good or about the same?

1.     As good                             16

2.     Not as good                      11

3.     About the same                 32

4.     Don’t know/No opinion      42

6.     How about the evening coverage without Bob Costas, as good, not as good or about the same?

1.     As good                             12

2.     Not as good                      16

3.     About the same                 40

4.     Don’t know/No opinion      32

7.     Do you think NBC, the presenting network in the U.S., has done a good job of generating interest in the Games?

1.     Yes                                    66

2.     No                                     17

3.     Don’t know/No opinion      17

8.     Should the US Olympic Committee subsidize American athletes who cannot earn a living participating in their sports like luge, cross country skiing, etc.?

1.     Yes                                    59

2.     No                                     22

3.     Don’t know/No opinion      19

9.     Vice President Mike Pence attended the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony in South Korea and was seated in the VIP box with various foreign dignitaries and heads of state.  He remained seated when the combined North and South Korean team entered the arena during the parade of nations.  Do you think it was appropriate for him to remain seated while all others stood?

1.     Yes                                    18

2.     No                                     66

3.     Don’t know/No opinion      16

10.  Do you think professional athletes should use their fame as a platform to make comments about social issues?

1.     Yes                                    47

2.     No                                     42

3.     Don’t know/No opinion      11

11.  Two weeks ago the California State Legislature introduced a bill to ban organized tackle football until freshman year in high school in response to the danger of brain injury to younger players. Do you approve of this bill, disapprove or have no opinion?

1.     Approve                            46

2.     Disapprove                       24

3.     No opinion                         23

4.     Don’t know                          7

12.  Fox News host Laura Ingraham, in response to comments by LeBron James and Kevin Durant criticizing President Trump, said the players should “shut up and dribble”.  Do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, strongly disapprove or have no opinion regarding Laura Ingraham’s statement?

1.     Strongly approve             16

2.     Somewhat approve            9

3.     Somewhat disapprove     11

4.     Strongly disapprove         35

5.     Don’t know/No Opinion    30

13.  How closely do you follow sports, very closely, closely, not closely or not at all?

1.     Very closely                      15

2.     Closely                               37

3.     Not closely                        30

4.     Not at all                           18

ABOUT SETON HALL UNIVERSITY

One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been developing students in mind, heart and spirits since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 rigorous academic programs, Seton Hal’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Business.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. In recent years, the University has achieved extraordinary success. Since 2009, the University has seen record-breaking undergraduate enrollment growth in addition to an impressive 95-point increase in the average SAT scores of incoming freshmen. In the past decade, Seton Hall students and alumni have been awarded nearly 20 Fulbright Scholarships as well as other prestigious academic honors including a Rhodes Scholar. In the past five years, the University has invested more than $134 million in new campus buildings and renovations. And in 2015, Seton Hall launched a new School of Medicine as well as a new College of Communication and the Arts.

A founding member of the new Big East Conference, the Seton Hall Pirates field 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports teams. The University’s beautiful main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles from New York City – offering its students a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The University’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark. For more information, visit www.shu.edu