Arnautovic plays down Man Utd links

first_imgTransfers ‘You’ll never get an answer’ – Arnautovic plays down Man Utd links Goal 23:18 6/3/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Marko Arnautovic West Ham Getty Images Transfers Manchester United West Ham United The 29-year-old would not be drawn on speculation involving his future, despite being watched by Jose Mourinho recently Marko Arnautovic has played down rumours of Manchester United interest.The Austria international attacker played a major role as he helped David Moyes’ West Ham side avoid relegation from the Premier League last seasonThe Red Devils were said to be watching him against Russia, a match his side won 1-0 , and after they stunned Germany 2-1 on Saturday, he refused to be drawn on the reports. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now “It’s nice to hear,” the 29-year-old told Vivaro News when asked about the interest of the Premier League runners up. “I’ve not heard anything from my brother, my agent. You can keep asking this question, you’ll never hear the answer from me.”Even though Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho was spotted in the stands, he would not be drawn on the Portuguese’s presence.“He was on holiday, he told you,” he protested. “I haven’t spoken to him, he was on holidays.”Arnautovic scored 11 times and created six more goals for the Hammers in the Premier League last term, despite a difficult start to the season under Slaven Bilic. Once form Man Utd boss Moyes took charge, though, he found his form, notably bagging a winner against Chelsea.last_img read more

Video: ESPN Aired An Incredibly Emotional Tribute To Chris Fowler

first_imgThe College GameDay crew in Columbus Ohio.ESPN College GameDayAfter serving as the host of ESPN’s College GameDay for 25 years, Chris Fowler has moved on to focus on his duties as play-by-play announcer for ABC/ESPN’s prime time Saturday night games. While Rece Davis should fill in admirably, GameDay definitely won’t be the same. To pay tribute to Fowler, GameDay put together an amazing feature piece, narrated by Tom Rinaldi. After the piece, Fowler joined his old GameDay crew, and Davis, on stage. Things got pretty emotional when Fowler discussed his relationship with Lee Corso, who he spent all 25 years with on the show. He even gave Corso a kiss on the cheek.It is getting a bit dusty in here this morning. We’ll miss you, Chris.last_img read more

Achieving any real growth impossible without inclusiveness Baghel

first_imgThere is a reason Chhattisgarh’s third Chief Minister, Bhupesh Baghel wants to include his state’s tribal population in the growth plan he has put together. The 57-year-old Congress politician believes that without recognising the state’s tribal population’s immense potential to boost Chhattisgarh’s growth, it is impossible for the state to achieve any real success. Baghel speaks to Abhay Singh and Abhinay Lakshman of the Millennium Post, in an exclusive interview, outlining his plan of inclusiveness and growth for his state. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ With respect to your 100-day-plan, what have you managed to achieve so far and what remains to be done? Here in Chhattisgarh, we are very quickly fulfilling the promises made to the electorate during the polls with the utmost commitment. Our biggest first step has been in the way of forgiving farmer loans. Secondly, we have made it a point to buy paddy, directly from the farmers who grow it, at an astounding rate of Rs 2,500/quintal. Thirdly, we have decided to make it a priority to give tribals their land back. The indigenous population of the area that had their land taken over in the supposed interest of building industry, have now started getting their land back. Now, we have returned 4,200 acres of land to almost 1,700 tribal farmers and this remains to be one of our top priorities. Fourthly, we are promoting tribal families who collect tendu patta (leaves), by buying it from them at a rate of Rs 4,000 per sack, which is currently the highest rate in the country. Fifthly, we have managed to find a way to halve electricity bills of houses using less than 400 units. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K What is your vision to promote education in your state? Where my government is coming from is that education should not be bolstered just for the sake of education, but with the purpose of providing opportunities and most importantly jobs and employment. Our mission here is to provide quality education in a wholesome manner and we are constantly striving towards that goal. We have also stressed the importance of vernacular languages in enhancing learning capabilities of students, which in turn, also works as a way to preserve such local languages. For example, we have started this concept of “Niji Duniya”, where children are being taught in their local vernacular languages and teachers also use animation to impart lessons. However, there were systemic problems in the way education was looked at before, which had resulted in a large number of vacancies for the posts of teachers and professors in government schools and colleges. Around 1,300 to 1,350 assistant professor posts were lying vacant in government colleges before and now we are trying our level best to fill those vacancies so that the students are afforded the best our government can provide. How do you plan to bring the tribal population in Chhattisgarh into the mainstream of society? As I’ve said before, bringing the tribal population into the mainstream of society, while still preserving their culture is extremely important to our government and to the development of the state. One of the core problems tribals have consistently faced has been the violence and disturbance that comes with living in Naxal-infested regions, as a result of which even basic amenities like a warm meal and healthcare are denied to them. We are first, looking to provide these basics to the tribals in the area so that eventually they can be fully part of our social fabric. Increasingly, wildlife and humans in the state have had avoidable encounters. How do you plan to minimise such incidents? See, the most recent example of what we are doing to address this problem is the Lemru Elephant Reserve, which has been established with the intention of minimising human-elephant conflict, that has become common in the state over the last few years. Spanning over 450 sqkm, the reserve will provide a huge protective area for the conservation of wild elephants. While we plan to increase the area of the reserve to almost 2,000 sqkm, we still need to work with all state agencies and other resources at hand to make sure we create an environment where these animals feel safe and drawn towards the reserve. How do you plan to put the youth in the state to work? We have now finally been able to make farming in our state profitable. So many people are now choosing to produce crops in the state because of our efforts to make it feasible. In fact, people who had left the villages to go to the cities are now returning to farm their lands and make profits out of it. More than 3 lakh people have come back to farming because of this. We are also trying to set up small industries for people who are working on minor forest produce, boosting jobs and allowing farmers to make more out of what they sell. Are you planning to grow industry in the state in a bid to boost employment? Look, maximum employment is created by medium and small enterprises and we will have more of an advantage if these industries somehow transform to include agriculture-based products and services. We can use food processing units to incorporate and make farmers in the state a participating stakeholder of Chhattisgarh’s economic progress. This will help farmers increase their revenue and in turn, will also increase the state’s revenue. So, a start would be to simply set up such food processing units in each block and then take it from there. What about Chhattisgarh’s Public Distribution Scheme? What was the driving force behind the scheme? Our vision under this scheme was a simple idea that no one should fall short of food. So, we came up with this scheme where everybody gets “anaj” and no family is left behind in this attempt. We are also giving out specific ration cards for people Above Poverty Line and Below Poverty Line in addition to specifically providing essentials like grams, salt, and jaggery so that citizens can at least have access to the basics. How are you looking to deal with corruption? Previously, people used to decide their commissions before even deciding to work on a file. But the way we are looking at it is from a people-based view. We want to transform the governance system into one that can benefit every single person, be it in the sphere of health, education or socio-economic progress. What is your masterplan for healthcare policy in Chhattisgarh? As far as cities are concerned, it is usually easy for people to get to a hospital and get the treatment they need. But in tribal areas, people often second-guess the need to visit a doctor and it becomes difficult to get the proper treatment to them. The recently announced Chief Minister’s Haat Bazaar Clinics are solving this problem creatively. This is the first time we have done something like this and it works because tribal people always find a way to visit these haat bazaars, be it for social or practical purposes. So we have these mobile medical clinics at these locations which give tribals access to basic healthcare. The vans have a doctor, nurse, staff, and basic medical equipment. And the numbers do look very promising, with the number of tribals visiting the clinics having increased by up to 4 to 10 times. People are getting treated now and getting the required medication. How do you plan to address urban development issues in the state? I agree that certain areas in the urban parts of the state need to be looked at. A large problem was that the urban population was not being able to get their small plots registered. As a result, plot-related formalities and paperwork used to be put on hold. But, we have decided to address this. After we took up the matter, we got around 60,000 such small plots registered by eliminating the massive red tape that existed. Under the new system, we have provided for plot owners to declare their land use and accordingly visit the Sub-Divisional Magistrate to get their diversion paperwork cleared and proceed as they please. You have often spoken about the need to curb the vice of “fake news”. How do you see your government go about this? On the one hand, we are making laws to protect journalists, but on the other hand, we also need to take action against fake news because of its detrimental effects on society. If someone is disseminating wrong information, then action must be taken against them. But we are also making sure that there is legislation to protect journalists from misuse of prosecution under fake news charges. The way we want to go ahead is to use the cyber cell of our police force. Every police district has a cyber cell and it will be responsible for collecting the data on fake news and we will prosecute cases accordingly.last_img read more

Salvadoran asylum seeker mounts legal challenge of Safe Third Country agreement

first_imgOTTAWA – A Salvadoran woman and her two daughters who fled their home country after allegedly suffering extortion and rape at the hands of members of the notorious MS-13 gang are among several parties challenging the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country agreement in court.The case has been snaking its way through Federal Court for the last year, but this week saw a flurry of new filings by three additional applicants in the case: Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Canadian Council of Churches, all of them longtime critics of the agreement.Recent changes in U.S. refugee policy, including a ruling by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying domestic and gang violence are no longer grounds for asylum, make the argument for challenging the agreement even stronger, said Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees.“Legally, our case has become much more compelling with many of the things that are being introduced under the Trump administration,” Dench said.“When you have the U.S. government taking measures such as ‘zero tolerance’ and such as the Sessions/presidential decision, something that legally constrains asylum, that’s something the court will have to look very carefully at.”While the case itself is based on the plight of a Salvadoran woman and her daughters, it encompasses a broader challenge of the Safe Third Country agreement, or STCA, arguing it violates certain provisions of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.“By returning refugee claimants to the U.S. and exposing them there to a serious risk of arbitrary, lengthy detention and refoulment (deportation), Canada violates their charter rights,” the applicants argue in court documents.“(The woman) and her daughters faced the risks described when they sought entry to Canada as refugee claimants and were refused under the STCA. This same situation is also faced by a great number of other refugee claimants prevented from entering Canada by the STCA.”Hundreds of pages of documents have been filed in Federal Court, including affidavits from refugee law experts, studies, reports and news clippings that detail the escalating risks faced by asylum seekers in the U.S.In her affidavit, the woman — identified only as ABC — says her family became a target of MS-13 after her husband helped El Salvador police identify a gang member who killed his brother in 1993.He fled to Canada in 2005, but was denied refugee protection because, as a teenager, he had been associated with a national liberation movement deemed by Canada to be a terrorist organization. He is appealing that decision.Meanwhile, left alone with her daughters in El Salvador, ABC claims she faced constant threats from gang members demanding to know where her husband was. She alleges they followed her girls home from school on a regular basis and murdered her landlord.In April 2013, she alleges gang members forced their way into her home, raped and then robbed her, threatening to kill her daughters if she went to police. She claims her youngest daughter was born as a result of the rape.She finally decided to flee in November 2016 after she alleges gang members pointed a gun at her head and told her she had 24 hours to pay them a sum of money she didn’t have.She took her two youngest daughters, leaving two adult children behind, and embarked on a perilous journey through Mexico to Texas. After staying with family in Mississippi for a few weeks, she eventually tried to enter Canada at an official border crossing between New York and Ontario, hoping to be reunited with her husband, who remains in Canada pending the outcome of his refugee claim appeal.The woman was told she would be deemed inadmissible, as a result of the Safe Third Country agreement. She returned to the U.S. for a few months to seek legal advice and in July 2015 once again tried to cross the Canada-U.S. border, was deemed inadmissible and filed her legal challenge.The woman, who along with her daughters has been granted leave to remain in Canada pending the outcome of her challenge, says she has received legal advice saying she would not have a strong refugee claim in the U.S. and is fearful of being deported back to El Salvador.She is being represented by a public interest clinic for low-income clients operated by the University of Toronto’s faculty of law. The federal government sought to contest the participation of the other three applicants, but their role was ultimately upheld by a judge in December 2017 on national public interest grounds. They are relying on volunteer time and donations to cover their costs.In its response, the government is asking the Federal Court to dismiss the case, arguing the woman did not try to seek refugee protection in the U.S., where she would have had multiple legal avenues for appeal. The government also refutes the assertion the agreement violates the charter.A three-day hearing has been scheduled to take place in Toronto beginning next Jan. 21.— Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitter.last_img read more

No personalized licence plate for Saskatchewan driver named Assman

first_imgREGINA — It may be his last name, but it doesn’t mean he can have it on his licence plate.Saskatchewan Government Insurance recently rejected David Assman’s request to get his last name on a personalized licence plate because people may find it offensive.Assman pronounces his name differently than it’s spelled. But a Crown insurance spokesman says it doesn’t matter because that’s not what people see.Tyler McMurchy says some people have names that when seen out of context could be considered offensive.McMurchy says the government insurer tends to err on the side of caution.Assman shares a last name with the late Regina gas jockey Dick Assman, who rose to fame after appearing on David Letterman’s late-night show in the 1995.McMurchy noted licence plates are the property of the government agency.“There is a need for some standards.”Racial slurs, political connotations or words that hint at sex, drugs, crime or impaired driving are all banned.(CJME)The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Yearend deadline for new NAFTA looking impossible trade experts say

first_imgOTTAWA – NAFTA negotiators appear to have adopted the lament of the White Rabbit: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”Battalions of negotiators for Canada, Mexico and the United States have been working at a breakneck pace trying to reach agreement on a revamped North American free trade pact by the end of the year but so far they have little to show for it.U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer seemed to concede as much earlier this week when he offered an assessment of the progress thus far that could have come straight out of “Alice in Wonderland”:“Yeah, well, we’re moving at warp speed but we don’t know whether we’re going to get to a conclusion, that’s the problem,” he told the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.“We’re running very quickly somewhere.”Canadian government officials insist the talks are going well and it’s premature to conclude they’re running off the rails.But trade experts and stakeholders who’ve been following the negotiations closely say they’ve seen no progress on any of the thorny issues and no discernable headway, even on the simple things where all three countries should be in agreement.If there’s no significant progress during the third round of negotiations, starting Saturday in Ottawa, they say there’s no chance a deal can be struck by year’s end.And if there is no deal early in the new year, some experts predict U.S. President Donald Trump will follow through on his threat to pull the plug on NAFTA rather than go empty-handed into primaries for mid-term congressional elections.Ohio-based trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he’s been surprised that all the supposedly “low-hanging fruit” — issues that weren’t considered controversial, like bringing the pre-internet NAFTA into the digital age — is still hanging.“If we don’t see something like the digital chapter … some very strong, completed text on that emerge by the end of this third round, I’d say that’s a very strong signal that we’re not going to get this done.”Ujczo noted that the U.S. political calendar will become “extraordinarily tricky” early next year, with primaries for the mid-term elections starting in earnest in March. Trump was elected on a promise to rewrite or rip up NAFTA and Ujczo said he has to deliver on that, one way or the other.“We have a president who has not demonstrated a great deal of patience on other issues so I think a process that continues to drag on into 2018 will increase the likelihood that the president issues a withdrawal from the NAFTA.”“I think it is important that we begin to see real engagement on some of the difficult issues,” agreed Ted Alden, senior fellow at the Washington-based Centre on Foreign Relations.“I think the sooner that happens, the better likelihood of a positive outcome. All that seems to have happened so far is they’re sort of (saying), ‘Here are the areas where we can check off the boxes’ and they haven’t even done that many of those.”Ottawa-based international trade strategist Peter Clark, who was involved in the original NAFTA and Canada-U.S. free trade negotiations, said he expects to see “some visible progress” out of the Ottawa round.“I think there has to be because you can’t keep on going and not doing anything. You have to have enough progress to keep Trump from pulling the trigger,” said Clark.Those expectations are certain to be dashed, however.Canadian government officials, speaking on background, bluntly say there’ll be no breakthroughs on the big, outstanding issues during the five days negotiators are in Ottawa. Rather, they’ll continue what they started at the first two rounds: exchanging draft texts on different issues and assessing areas where quick agreement can be found.Indeed, they don’t expect progress on the controversial issues — such as the dispute settlement mechanism, investor state dispute settlement, rules of origin, labour standards and labour mobility, supply management — until the very end of the negotiating process in December. They contend it’s in no country’s interests to start making concessions at this early stage of the game.Canadian officials also say progress has in fact been made on the non-controversial issues, including the digital chapter, although they concede the tough files have yet to be broached in a serious way. Indeed, the U.S. has not even provided text spelling out its position in at least two contentious areas: rules of origin and agriculture.The Americans are expected to clarify their demand for more stringent rules of origin in the auto industry during the Ottawa round — which explains why Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is meeting with a roundtable of auto parts manufacturers on Friday, as well as having lunch with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his team who negotiated the original Canada-U.S. free trade agreement.Currently, NAFTA stipulates that vehicles must have at least 62.5 per cent North American content to qualify for tariff-free passage across the three countries’ borders. It’s not clear so far whether the U.S. is looking to require a minimum amount of American content or whether it will insist on more stringent tracing of the origin of raw materials, particularly steel, that go into automobiles.Such questions are among the “fundamental issues of principle” that have to be confronted “sooner rather than later,” said Alden.In order to meet the deadline, both Alden and Clark said negotiators will likely have to settle for agreement in broad principle on some of the contentious areas, with details to be worked out later.last_img read more

Resolute outgoing CEO urges government not to capitulate on softwood lumber

first_imgMONTREAL – A Canadian industry leader in the fight against U.S. softwood lumber duties who is retiring imminently is urging the government not to “capitulate” during what he expects will be a lengthy battle with the United States.“We believe in free trade,” Resolute Forest Products Inc. chief executive Richard Garneau said in an interview before he steps down Thursday afternoon.“We believe in having strong principles and never capitulate, even though you believe that (if) there is someone a lot bigger and stronger you have to defend your principles.”Garneau, 70, has been the strong voice of eastern Canadian lumber, pulp and paper producers.“I was certainly not happy when in 2006 we had to pay a ransom,” he said of the last softwood lumber deal.Garneau’s comments came as weak fourth-quarter results sent the Montreal-based company’s shares tumbling.They closed down nearly 29 per cent to $10.01 in Thursday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.“The government has made all the changes on stumpage, I think now we have to fight for free trade.”Garneau said he is encouraged by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s tough stand defending the industry by challenging U.S. trade actions.Despite threats of doom and gloom from import duties, the industry has thrived by passing on them on to consumers through higher lumber prices.Garneau expects that once U.S. housing starts slow, lumber demand will come down and cause some pain to Canadian producers.“We have to wait and see the impact, but I think history always repeats itself. It seems that the people forget what happened when you take the wrong decision.”During his seven years at the helm of AbitibiBowater, renamed Resolute Forest Products, Garneau has overseen restructuring that he said has made the company stronger.He has been accused of being heavy-handed by filing lawsuits against environmentalists such as Greenpeace who launched campaigns to discredit the company to customers.Despite the battles, Garneau said he’s been able to improve relations with First Nations, small communities, mayors and unions that depend on the forest sector.Industry analysts praised Garneau’s leadership.“I will miss your honesty and more importantly your passion,” Paul Quinn of RBC Capital Markets said in a conference call.“We’re certainly going to miss your strong voice in the industry,” added Hamir Patel of CIBC World Markets.Yves Laflamme — currently Resolute’s senior vice-president of wood products, global procurement and information technology — has been appointed as a replacement effective Friday.A 37-year-old Resolute veteran, Laflamme, 61, said he doesn’t foresee conducting any major changes, including sticking with all four divisions, even though three face U.S. trade sanctions.“I’m going to look at all opportunities but of course it’s going to be more continuity,” he said in an interview.The leadership change was announced as Resolute disappointed despite swinging to a profit of $13 million or 14 cents per diluted share. That compared with a loss of $45 million or 50 cents per share a year ago. Sales for the three months ended Dec. 31 totalled $898 million, up from $889 million a year ago.Excluding special items, the company said it earned $14 million or 15 cents per share for the quarter, compared with a loss, excluding special items of $7 million or eight cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2016.Patel said analysts expected 62 cents per share in adjusted profits.For the full year, Resolute reported a loss of $84 million or 93 cents per diluted share, compared with a loss of $81 million or 90 cents per diluted share in 2016. Sales totalled $3.51 billion, down from $3.55 billion.Excluding special items, Resolute said it earned $12 million or 13 cents per share last year compared with a loss of $12 million or 13 cents per share in 2016.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.Companies in this story: (TSX:RFP)last_img read more

Erosion at Site C Dam said to be stable

first_imgConway goes on to share, localized erosion is typical during excavation activities of that size and nature, and it’s something they have been monitoring since the start of construction.With work continuing on the drainage channels that will manage future water runoff on the north bank slope. Conway said, “We anticipate this work will be completed in the coming months.”Photo by Laila Yuile FB photo FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Recent images posted to FB show surface erosion and a crack line down the north bank.Photo by Laila Yuile FB ImageDavid Conway, Community Relations Manager of the Site C Project shares with the recent rain in the region some surface erosion has occurred on the north bank of the dam site. There are no stability or safety concerns as a result of this surface erosion.last_img read more

Hope to beat KKR at their own den, says Delhi Capitals’ Morris

first_imgNew Delhi: Their campaign back on track after the win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Capitals are ready to upset table toppers Kolkata Knight Riders in their own den, said the team’s all-rounder Chris Morris. By virtue of the four-wicket win over struggling RCB in Bengaluru on Sunday, Delhi Capitals have moved up to the fifth position in the eight-team standings with six points from as many games. KKR are currently leading the chart with eight points out of four wins from five matches. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhAsked Morris about their next match, the South African said playing at the iconic Eden Gardens against the hosts would be a tough challenge. “KKR are playing some amazing cricket at the moment. They have some great match winners in their team, players with X-factor. We’ve got a few days in between to rest and recover, and to get our bodies strong and fresh,” he said. “Eden Gardens is a tough place to play for the visiting side, but as a team and as a unit, we look forward to the challenge Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterand hopefully we can pull off a win on Friday.” But it would be easier said than done as in their last outing against KKR at the Feroze Shah Kotla here, Delhi huffed and puffed to register victory in the Super Over. “We will of course go back to the drawing board and see what went wrong in the last match against them in Delhi which went to the Super Over. We will look to improve on those areas and make sure we are ready,” Morris said. Morris was happy with Delhi Capitals’ performance against RCB and said the victory on Sunday instilled confidence among the players. “It was a very pleasing performance from the boys yesterday. To go out and win against RCB was something the boys were preparing well towards. The performance throughout the whole game was great, and even though there was a slight hiccup towards the end of the game in our batting, it was very pleasing to register the win. “I feel that our bowlers have been executing their plans pretty well and this win has surely brought back the confidence among the group.” Morris has taken six wickets with an economy rate of 7.93 in the four matches he played for Delhi Capitals so far in this tournament. Besides, he has also bowled a total of 36 dot balls, which has only been bettered by four other overseas players — Rashid Khan, Jofra Archer, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir. “I think all the bowlers have been doing their respective jobs very well. I know that I have the responsibility of delivering for the team, especially in the middle overs and towards the end,” Morris said. “You will always face tough times during a long tournament like this, but having confidence in your own abilities is something that helps you get through that phase and come out on top.”last_img read more

Bangladesh Delhi mission celebrates Poila Baishak

first_imgOn this Poila Baishak, the Bangla New Year’s Day 1426, Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi wore a festive look.Children in coulourful dress, women in red-bordered sari and men in pyjama-punjabi greeted each other with Shubho Naboborsho in celebration of Poila Baishak, the first day of Bangla Naboborsho. This has been an ancient tradition of the Bengalis since Mughal Emperor Akbar introduced it in 1556 to facilitate tax collection in the harvesting season. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainIt was a day of music, dance, Mangal Shobhajatra and enjoying the traditional Bangla food, as the Delhi mission joined the compatriots at home and all over the world to welcome the day with Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Esho heh Baishaikh Esho…’ (Come on Baishakh, Come.) With the beat of drums and dugdugi (a traditional musical instrument), children accompanied by women, went round the mission’s Maitree Hall in staging the Mangal Shobhajatra (the procession of good wishes) waving replicas of birds, animals, boats, palank and masks highlighting the spirit of secularism and cultural tradition of Bengalis. They were greeted with thunderous applause from the audience comprising the Bengali community of New Delhi and the members of the mission. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardThe Mangal Shobhajatra is a tribute to the secular feature of the festival that has evolved over the years and became an integral part of Bangladesh’s struggle for political and cultural freedom from the tyranny of Pakistan, of which Bangladesh was a part until its independence. It has been a part of the tradition since late 80s, organised by the teachers and students of Bangladesh Fine Arts Institute. The UNESCO has recently recognised the pageant as the intangible cultural heritage of the humanity. Syed Muazzem Ali, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India, wrote in one of his Poila Baishak article, how Chhayanaut, a premier cultural organisation, used the celebration of Pahela Baishakh as a tool to fight the religious oppression of Pakistan regime. It was Chhayanaut which first held a public music event at Ramna Batamul in 1967 in celebration of Poila Baishak. “That marked the beginning of the Bengali Nobobarsha in the capital city of Dhaka,” wrote the high commissioner. “The Pakistani authorities did not look at this development favourably and various attempts were made to kill this initiative. The more they tried to suppress the indomitable Bengali spirit, the more fiercely we resisted and the crowd kept getting bigger every year.” The programme rounded off with a musical soiree by a cultural troupe led by artist Samina Dey Urmi.last_img read more