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FDA Honors Karnwea as ‘Forest Hero in Liberia’

first_imgMr. Karnwea receives certificate of appreciation from theFDA Acting managing directorMr. Harrison S. Karnwea, former managing director of Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority (FDA), and four other people were yesterday honored by the entity’s acting management team as “Forest Heroes in Liberia,” for which they were awarded certificates of appreciation.Mr. Karnwea recently resigned his post as managing director of the FDA, which he served from September 1, 2012 to March 12, 2017.He was subsequently picked by the opposition Liberty Party (LP) as vice standard bearer to Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, the party’s political leader.Karnwea had earlier crossed over from the governing Unity Party to the LP.His honor yesterday coincided with a program marking this year’s International Day of Forests (IDF), which brought together several stakeholders, among them representatives from the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia and the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) offices in Liberia, led by the energy and environmental program manager, Moses Massah.Karnwea’s certificate of appreciation presented by the FDA’s acting managing director, Kederick Johnson, reads: “Having satisfactorily observed your enormous contributions in the past years to the enhancement of sustainable management of forests and forest resources through your leadership ability and ensuring the involvement of all forest sector stakeholders including Liberians and global communities in policy decision-making, we the members of the 2017 International Day of Forests (IDF) celebration committee, with the support from the FDA and partners, hereby recognize you as one of our ‘Forest Heroes in Liberia,’ and therefore award you this certificate of appreciation.”The certificate was signed by the chairperson of the 2017 IDF celebration committee, and approved by Mr. Johnson.Yesterday’s ceremony was held on the theme, “Forests and Energy,” with the national theme, “Forests: Nature’s Powerhouse.”This year’s global IDF theme highlights wood energy from the forest as a major source of the world’s renewable energy. Wood fuel, according to UNFAO’s (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) research, provides 40 percent of today’s global renewable energy supply, as much as solar, hydroelectric and wind power combined.Accordingly, about 50 percent of global wood production (around 1.86 billion cubic meters) is used as energy for cooking, heating, and the generation of electricity. For 2.4 billion people, wood fuel means a cooked and more nutritious meal, boiled water and a warm dwelling.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Light Int’l School Hosts Media to Build Peace, Friendship

first_imgThe principal of the Light Int’l School, Mr. Erkan, promises to provide quality education to Liberian students – Advertisement – The principal of the Light International School System, Alper Erkan, has said the institution is committed to providing quality education to Liberian students and the world at large, adding that education empowers individuals and builds society.The Ramadan dinner with media owners and editors held at the school’s campus in Monrovia was an expression of friendship as an instrument to build peace and harmony in the Liberian society, an official of the school said.“We are making serious progress on the level of attention given to our students , with a special focus on graduating seniors. Providing quality education for Liberian students remains a priority to authorities of the Light School,” he said.He said about 99 percent of the teaching staff have a minimum of a university degree and are also Liberians, adding that, “We want to also use this opportunity to appreciate these hardworking staff who continue to demonstrate or ensure that our students get a quality education.”Mr. Erkan said last year’s West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations administered in Liberia testified to the level of quality education being given to students of the Light International School, adding that “We had 100 percent passing grades again and hope to achieve such a success story in the upcoming exams administered this year.”According to him, due to the Ebola crisis in the country, some of their students who were from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Ghana, and other nations departed the country and are yet to return.Before the Ebola crisis, he said “We had over 500 students, but currently we have a little over 400. We are offering quality education in computers as well, which is also attracting students to Light International School. We also want to assure our students and parents of our commitment to empowering our students educationally.”The Light International School was established in 2006 and has graduated hundreds from the senior high level. The school has a well-functioning, air-conditioned computer lab that is also attracting students, among other facilities, he said.The publisher and managing editor of The Inquirer newspaper, Philip Wesseh, lauded the Light International School System for organizing the dinner with media heads. He called on the school’s authority to collaborate with other schools, especially in the sciences, to ensure that kids build an interest in the sciences, a subject many Liberian students tend to avoid.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Red Thread calls for Police to be “properly trained” to handle DV cases

first_img– Crime Chief encourages civilians to video officers’ inappropriate behavioursRed Thread on Friday revealed its findings from a two-year programme at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen campus, where a call was made for Police ranks to be trained to deal with domestic violence cases in a more professional manner.Assistant Commissioner of Police, Crime Chief Paul Williams, without hesitation encourage civilians to record the inappropriate behaviours of the officers who are not willing to take their reports.Williams admitted he is aware there are some issues plaguing the Force and did not waver to state, “It is important now, as it relates to our partnership, that we develop a moderate evaluation mechanism. I would like to see people video them; use your smart phones and video them when you go into the station to make your complaint and they behave unprofessionally. Bring the evidence, and we will deal with them,” he promised.The importance of the training was endorsed by the small gathering, which agreed that the country has seen numerous cases of domestic violence, which has been significantly increasing.It is against this backdrop that the need for capacity building was reiterated.Important to note is that persons who conducted research during Red Thread’s programme complained bitterly of officers’ attitude when it came to dealing with those matters.While presenting their report, the troubled monitors who were attached to the Lethem area reported that at least two officers in that area gave them a challenging time in conducting their research.One of the monitors assigned to that location even reported that she heard an officer shouting at a domestic violence victim, and she noted with much concern that they had a challenging time in encouraging those same persons to speak out.The Police, they argued, have been doing nothing but scaring those persons off, and inspiring them to be silent by their actions.In addition to the officers in that region, the ranks of Bartica were also bashed, as the monitors within that zone also reported issues with the Police.“We continue to work with whatever resources we have, and try as much as possible to make an impact and have those ranks equipped with the knowledge they need,” Williams fired back. He further explained that the commander and sub-division officers are responsible for locating persons who can aid in providing these kinds of training for officers.Williams was also keen to note that in cases where persons are mishandled by whoever officer is on duty, they can make calls to those officers’ superiors at the said moment to file a complaint, which can result in action being taken against those officers.The project, launched by Red Thread two years ago, was conceptualised with the intention of changing persons’ attitudes in relation to domestic violence cases, to examine the performance of the GPF and courts in dealing with these matters, and to draft recommendations to these entities with the hope of providing an avenue for them to develop their capacities.The areas which were targeted under the project include Better Hope/Plaisance, La Parfaite Harmonie, Anna Regina, Bartica and Lethem.Over the 24-month period of the exercise, close to 6000 persons were engaged during house to house visits and community meetings.As a result of the project, 743 victims of domestic and sexual violence were supported. In many cases, victims of domestic violence, especially men, have been reportedly mocked as they attempted to report the unlawful assault.last_img read more

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Fivestar boxers take top spots at Alberta Provincials

first_imgSims went into his first sanctioned fight on Sunday as the clear underdog. His opponent had won the championship on Saturday, and had also been a member of the Canadian National taekwondo team for the past few years. Sims on the other has only been back training with the gym for roughly four months, after taking an 18 month hiatus. Despite the difference in experience, Sims made it a close match, but ultimately lost by unanimous decision.“We were super proud of him, and he was really proud of himself for hanging in there with that high a level kid and being able to put on a show,” said Fivestar coach Justin Donally. “In the third round he made it real close, he was gaining traction in the end. But just going in there to compete with him was a moral victory.”“It was a tough fight. The kid had way more experience, but it was a close fight,”said Sims, adding that it was a big learning experience. “I’ve got some things to work on. Better cardio, more footwork, and keeping my hands up more.”Though its going to be a quiet February, things will pick back up for the Fivestar athletes in the early Spring. Between five and eight boxers will be headed to the B.C. Golden Gloves tournament in Abbotsford on March 4th. The gym will be hosting an in-house kickboxing tournament on March 11th, before Rouble heads to train with the B.C. Provincial team in late March. The team will also be headed to Quesnel for another boxing event on March 25th, before Donally hosts his next event in Fort St. John on April 14th at the Pomeroy Sports Centre.Advertisement Nick Young fighting Sam Labicane at Alberta Provincials in Grande Prairie. Photo by supplied Nick Young winning his fight in Grande Prairie. Photo by Justin Donally GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – Three athletes from Fivestar MMA were in Grande Prairie a week and a half ago, competing at the Alberta Boxing Provincial Championships.17 year-old Ashley Rouble, 16 year-old Nick Young, and 15 year-old Brayden Sims all fought in sanctioned matches, with two of the three walking away with big wins. – Advertisement – On Saturday, Nick Young took on a tough opponent that was much bigger than he was. Despite that, Young dominated the fight, including knocking his opponent to a standing eight in the second round. Though his opponent got back up, Young won the tilt by unanimous decision to improve to a 3-0 boxing record.“I was a little bit nervous going into this one, he was a couple inches taller than me and a couple pounds heavier,” said Young. “It was a good experience, my cardio wasn;t all there so it was actually a pretty tough fight for me,” adding that a lack of training over the Christmas holidays meant that he wasn’t as in shape as before previous fights. Moving forward, Young says that he’ll be trying to drop a weight class in order to face off against more even-matched opponents. Ashley Rouble pictured after her fight with Fivestar coaches Justin Donally and Tosha Mytron. Photo by supplied Ashley Rouble gets a jab in against Maddie Swanson in Grande Prairie. Photo by supplied. Ashley Rouble is declared the winner of her fight against Edmonton’s Maddie Swanson in Grande Prairie. Photo by supplied. Ashley Rouble also fought on Saturday. Rouble, who already made the B.C. provincial team headed to Nationals in April was finally able to fight someone her own age. Rouble fought 17 year-old Maddie Swanson, who was 6-1 before the fight, and entered the ring as the #1 girl in Alberta. Swanson is also the daughter of former pro boxer Benny “The Jet” Swanson. According to Fivestar coach Justin Donally, Rouble kept to her gameplan and ended up winning all three rounds. Rouble also won the Best Novice Boxer award at the entire tournament. “This was the first opponent my age and size, and she hit the hardest too,” said Rouble. “I was more nervous going into this one than anything else before. Her style kind-of surprised me, it wasn’t anything that I’ve seen before. It took me a little bit to figure everything out, and then by the second round I was back in my groove and I won every round after that.”Brayden Sims in action at Alberta Boxing Provincials in Grande Prairie. Photo by suppliedAdvertisementlast_img read more

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Young Nigeria head home with high hopes for next W Cup

first_img“We are a young team and perhaps this World Cup comes a little bit early for them… I think they will be ready for 2022,” the German said before Nigeria’s first Group D match, a disappointing 2-0 loss to Croatia.Nigeria were poor first up in Kaliningrad, ponderous in possession and failing to unlock the obvious potential in a team containing several Premier League regulars.Rohr said after that match that his side had been “naive” in conceding twice from set pieces in a 2-0 loss.Next up, against Iceland in Volgograd, the Super Eagles looked lost once again as they failed to get a single shot away in the first half.Whatever Rohr said during the interval appeared to have the desired effect, however, and Leicester City striker Ahmed Musa scored twice as Nigeria cruised to a 2-0 win.Musa, who has struggled to nail down a place in Claude Puel’s Foxes side, is a popular figure in Russia due to stints at CSKA Moscow and his brace made him Nigeria’s top scorer at World Cups.They even had their chances against Argentina, and stretched the South Americans with their pace and physicality.Gernot Rohr says this World Cup has come “too early” for the youngest side at Russia 2018 © AFP / GABRIEL BOUYSBut they were profligate up front and paid the price when Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo volleyed home Argentina’s winner minutes before full time.For Nigeria, a football-mad nation of 186 million people, the result condemned the national side to yet another World Cup group stage exit and continued a poor run of just two wins in their last 14 games on football’s biggest stage.Yet Rohr insists that Nigerians have every reason to be optimistic, with young stars such as Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and Leicester trio Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Musa set to learn and improve ahead of Qatar in 2022.“Nigerians understand that,” he said. “But we want to make them happy and it’s not only the results, it’s also attitude and fair play.“Football must stay a sport that’s bringing values in this big country.”– ‘Humility, solidarity’ –As well as glimpses on the pitch, Nigeria’s fans have lit up Russia, with their three million of their team’s lurid green home jerseys selling worldwide before the tournament.Viral footage of a Nigerian family chanting “Over de bar! Over de bar” ahead of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s subsequent missed spot kick during the Iceland game has also proved one of this World Cup’s lighter moments.But Rohr said he is enjoying seeing his young players grow as individuals, and is confident they will be ready for the next major tournament.“What I like in my young team is humility, solidarity and fighting spirit. I thought before this World Cup we were here to learn.”burs-pg/0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Ahmed Musa became the first Nigerian to score at two World Cups © AFP / Mark RALSTONKALINIGRAD, Russian Federation, Jun 27 – Beaten late on in Saint Petersburg Tuesday night by Lionel Messi’s Argentina, Nigeria head home from Russia disappointed to exit at the group stage but full of optimism for future tournaments.Coach Gernot Rohr brought the youngest squad to Russia, and there is a sense with this Super Eagles team that their time is yet to come.last_img read more

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Donegal recruits sought for Garda Reserve Force

first_imgDonegal Joint Policing Committee is supporting calls by Gardaí for Donegal people to consider signing up to the Garda Reserve Force.The Garda Reserve Force plays a vital role in local communities, completing patrols and taking part in crime reduction initiatives. The Reserve Force also enhance partnership between An Garda Síochána and the community, and are involved in policing major incidents and events.Chairperson of Donegal Joint Policing Committee Councillor Gerry Mc Monagle is echoing the calls made by Inspector Denis Joyce at January’s Joint Policing Committee in Lifford. Inspector Joyce made the appeal for more recruits to join the Garda Reserve at the end of his Policing Report to the Joint Policing Committee and received the support of the Joint Policing CommitteeCllr Mc Monagle said: “As Chairperson of the Joint Policing Committee I am asking citizens to consider joining the Garda Reserves in the county.“Application to the Garda Reserves is open to anyone aged between 18 and 60 years of age and they should be of good character and sound health.”Garda Reserves come from many diverse backgrounds and various professional backgrounds, such as; bank officials, teachers, accountants, nurses, lecturers, electricians and plumbers. Cllr Mc Monagle concluded by saying that successful applicants would be playing a vital role within their own communities and also helping the already thinly stretched Garda Siochana in the county.“It could also be used by the new reservist to see if he or she would like a career as a full-time member of An Garda Siochana,” he said.Applications for the position of Garda Reserve are made by way of an online application process which is managed by the Public Appointments Service.To receive notifications of Garda Reserve recruitment campaigns as they arise you must register as a member of http://www.publicjobs.ie and create the relevant job alert.Donegal recruits sought for Garda Reserve Force was last modified: February 7th, 2018 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalGardagarda reservesgerry mc monaglelast_img read more

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The Wall Has Fallen: 3 Augmented Reality Apps Now Live in iPhone App Store

first_img9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Related Posts First Paris Metro, then Yelp, now London Buses. The newest is even selling database layers through in-app purchases.It has been widely reported that the API required to display Augmented Reality (AR) layers of data on top of the camera view of a non-jailbroken iPhone 3Gs would not be publicly exposed until the launch of the next version of the iPhone Operating System, expected this Fall. Many developers are patiently waiting, but some have now found a way around the restriction. We just received word of the 3rd AR-enabled app hitting the iTunes store.Earlier this week we reported on Paris Metro Subway as being apparently the first AR-enabled app to be accepted into iTunes. Then, this afternoon Robert Scoble discovered that the new Yelp app includes an AR easter egg that any 3Gs owner can turn on by shaking their phone. Now we’ve received an email from Presselite, the same company that made Paris Metro Subway, letting us know that its London Bus app has been updated to include AR overlays and is also live in the App Store.The London Bus app is even selling data sets through in-app purchases. From its iTunes description:It is now possible to add new Point of Interest (POI) databases to London Bus application via in-app purchase. These options allow you to activate Food & Drink POI, Leisure POI, Attractions POI and Accommodation POI all over the UK.This AR economy is moving faster than we expected.All three of these were existing established apps that received AR capabilities in an update, not dedicated AR apps seeking admission for the first time. We’ve been unable to determine how this was achieved technically (Presselite of course won’t say), but rumor has it that the apps may be leveraging a third-party code base called ARToolkit (or iPhoneARToolkit). Others point to software called ChromelessImagePickerController.Can Apple now fairly deny other apps that seek to bring AR to the iPhone? We can’t imagine that they would shut down Yelp’s wildly successful app.Presumably many developers will continue to wait, hoping that the software they’ve already built will be enabled as soon as next month. Others will probably try to get their apps in ahead of the official announcement of AR support from Apple. That’s got to take some wind out of the sails of those companies that have been waiting patiently.They may only be the beginning and they may not be high-profile or officially supported by Apple yet, but it couldn’t be clearer: Augmented Reality apps have come to the iPhone.center_img marshall kirkpatrick Tags:#Augmented Reality#Features#news#NYT#web 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

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Satya Pal Malik takes oath as Goa Governor

first_imgSatya Pal Malik was on Sunday sworn in as the Governor of Goa.Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court Justice Pradeep Nandrajog administered the oath of office to Mr. Malik at the Raj Bhavan.Mr. Malik had earlier served as the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been bifurcated into two Union Territories.Mr. Malik, 73, replaced Mridula Sinha who was has held the Goa Governor’s post since August 2014.Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was among the prominent dignitaries who attended the swearing-in ceremony.“I have come from Kashmir which is known to be a very problematic place. I have dealt there successfully and handled all issues. J&K is a peaceful now and is on the path to progress. The leadership there is non-controversial. They are doing their work well, so I feel that I would be spending time here in much peaceful way,” Mr. Malik said on the occasion. Jammu and Kashmir ceased to be a State from October 31 after the Centre withdrew its special status under Article 370 on August 5 and bifurcated it into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. On Thursday, Radha Krishna Mathur and G.C. Murmu took oath as the first Lt. Governors of the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, respectively.last_img read more

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Odisha’s border disputes with four States remain unresolved

first_imgOdisha continues to have unresolved border disputes with four neighbouring States in its eight out of 30 districts even decades after Independence.Dialogues to resolve disputes with Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were in different stages and efforts were on to find permanent solutions, the Naveen Patnaik government told the Assembly recently.“Fourteen of the 30 districts share borders with Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Except disputes over Kotia villages in Koraput district bordering Andhra Pradesh, there is no major border conflict,” said Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Sudam Marndi.Odisha has a long history of disputes with Andhra Pradesh which shares border with the State in five districts — Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Gajapati and Ganjam.Joint inspectionsAlthough joint inspections have been conducted by both the States in 21 villages and one reserve forest in Ganjam district, its report has not been prepared yet and hence no progress has been made in resolving the dispute. Similar is the situation in Gajapati district where joint inspections have been completed in 16 villages.The State government, however, admitted to have unresolved disputes with Andhra Pradesh in regard to 21 villages under Kotia gram panchayat in Koraput district.Recently, an Assembly committee headed by Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro recommended the government to open a police station in Kotia gram panchayat. It also emphasised on non-shifting of schools despite low enrolment rate.Odisha is trying to settle border disputes with West Bengal on the basis of revenue maps drawn by then Balasore District Collector in 1938. Now, the Collectors of Balasore district of Odisha and Purba Medinipur of West Bengal have been advised to resolve the dispute amicable. The two States make claims over 27 plots.Joint inspections have been completed in eight villages of Mayurbhanj district and Director of Land Records and Surveys of West Bengal has been intimated to make necessary changes, Mr. Marndi said.The border dispute between Odisha and Jharkhand arises due to change in course of river Baitarani. A joint inspection by the two States is proposed while there is no other disputes, said the Minister.last_img read more

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first_imgJust before the start, the thought was: at last, the ball will roll. Germany, the host, and Costa Rica, the central American country drawn out of luck, will put flesh and blood and humanity onto the pitch and onto the screens of a global audience which we are told will,Just before the start, the thought was: at last, the ball will roll. Germany, the host, and Costa Rica, the central American country drawn out of luck, will put flesh and blood and humanity onto the pitch and onto the screens of a global audience which we are told will exceed a billion people for this match alone. Do not expect a classic. Do not think that Germany’s players, afraid of their own shadows under the burden of expectancy, or Costa Rica who rely on the enigmatic, erratic Paolo Wanchope for goals, will provide a contest as riveting as the Antigua Test.When a host nation of 82 million plays a visiting country of four million, you expect some imbalance. But World Cup openers are fraught with nerves. There have been shocks, such as Cameroon beating Argentina in 1990 and Senegal beating France in 2002, but fear of failure generally rules.Even so, the relief should be something you can taste, like the spice in food. Unless age deceives me, there has never been a build-up as long or as intrusive as this, never more politicking, more pompous over-statement, more marketing, more analysts climbing aboard the bandwagon.There will be a brief but poignant opening ceremony involving 160 for-mer World Cup winners-aging legends playing a walk on role that -reminds today’s players what went before. Sepp Blatter, the president of football’s world governing body FIFA, and Kofi Annan, the United Nations general secretary, will jointly call for us all “to harness the magic of football to make the world a better place of peace and harmony.” The sport, I agree, can cross every boundary known to man. But don’t preach before the ball is kicked. Don’t trot out the phrases while the fighter planes patrol the skies and the police mass around the grounds. Don’t pretend that the World Cup is the greatest show on earth and the purest.advertisementFootball is the epicentre of global spending on sport that will gross $34 billion this year alone. India may be off the World Cup map, in terms of participation, but be assured that FIFA and its marketing partners are counting on you to fulfil the 100-million viewing figure forecast by R.V. Venkateish, whose TV outlet ESPN Star Sports is one of the 213 around our planet.On The BallBehind every game, beyond all statistics, are remarkable numbers. Keep them in mind on match days. In 1976, a British university calculated the distance covered by footballers in a match, concluding that midfielders worked the hardest. The 1970s midfielder covered 9.8 km in a match; followed by strikers (8.4 km), full backs (8.2 km) and central defenders (7.8 km).Today, these distances are estimated to have gone up by 30 per cent. The World Cup midfielder would run on an average 12.7 km during a game, the strikers 10.9 km, the full back 10.6 km and the centre back 10.1 km.Only two per cent of the distance players run in a match involves contact with the ball. Players rest on an average for three seconds every two minutes.The vital statistics of the perfect free kick, as sometimes produced by England’s David Beckham (right) when struck accurately: the boot makes contact with the ball for 15 milliseconds, the ball moves at a speed of 60-70mph, with between 5-10 revolutions per second. It takes 900 milliseconds (nine tenths of a second) to go from boot to net.The first that the goalkeeper sees of the ball is as it pops up above the head of his team’s defensive “wall” after 400 milliseconds. It takes 200 milliseconds for his brain to process the information and he is left with 300 milliseconds in which to move and stop the ball.If the goalkeeper does get to catch the ball, his hands recoil six inches and the ball transfers 160 pounds of force-approximately equal to his own weight. The World Cup crosses all cultures, all time zones. But now that we have movement, now that the game should become the thing, it is what it means to Germany that is the centre of attention. The opening match is in Munich, in a stadium built purposely to help us forget the 1972 Munich Olympics where the Black September terrorists had used the stage to kill 11 Israeli athletes.Personally, my eye will be drawn to the Brazilians, because they put style and feeling and movement into the game. They win, too. So do the Germans in not quite the same hypnotic style. This is not a great time for Germany on the pitch, their team lacks the charisma of a Franz Beckenbauer, though he is here. Kaiser Franz completes a unique journey in his sport, having listened to the World Cup of 1954 on radio when he was nine and West Germany won the event for the first time. “My mother sewed the No.10 onto the back of my shirt,” Beckenbauer recalls, “so I could play in the street and call myself Fritz Walter.”advertisementWalter was the captain of that 1954 team which created the “Miracle of Berne” by beating the hot favourites, Hungary. Beckenbauer was the captain the next time West Germany won the World Cup, in Munich in 1974. He was coach for the third German triumph in Rome in 1990. Today he is president of the organising committee. “I have had a wonderful life,” he enthuses, “only through football.”Over the last six months, Herr Beckenbauer travelled the world thrice over, extending personal invitations to the 31 nations coming to his tournament. A genuine football man, from his old boots to the snow white of his hair, he had the same message as he touched down in Angola, Iraq, Iran, and all the football capitals from Latin America to Europe: “A Time to Make Friends”.We joked, Franz and I, that Germany would rather be friendly winners than losers over the month of June into July 9. But there are several meanings written into that slogan.A time for Germany, united east and west, to heal its rifts. A time when Germany is trying to build a new, modern infrastructure and to show it off to the world watching in for the World Cup. You think I read too much into a sporting occasion?Maybe, from a player’s perspective I do. Wayne Rooney isn’t concerned about anything but his tiny metatarsal bone in his right foot. Ronaldo frets over blisters. Cafu, the Brazil right back who even surpassed Pele by playing in three World Cup finals, is hoping for a fourth. And Russell Latapy, the oldest outfield player in this tournament, has a very sporting, quite simple outlook on life. He was asked the other day to name his heroes: “Brian Lara is top man,” he said, “after him Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Pele and Diego Maradona.” Who is Latapy? He is a Caribbean, and at the age of 37 has reached his first World Cup, with Trinidad and Tobago. Catch him on your screen if you can, he may not play the full 90 minutes, but when he does he decorates the field with imagination and the sheer joy of being involved in this company.If it’s joy we want, if it’s the true essence of the World Cup in Germany, I suggest we wander into the streets of Berlin. There, in the city that once was split between communism and capitalism, and had a wall that was there at pain of death to keep Easterners from defecting, is going to be a mammoth coming together of people. The mayor of Berlin has arranged “the biggest viewing platform in Germany” every night of the event.advertisementSo the opening match is in Munich? No problem, come to the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of old Berlin, and you can watch it free of charge, in the open air on a gigantic screen. There could be 70,000 to 1,00,000 people around you. If not there, then in the Tiergarten, Berlin’s biggest open park, or down the boulevard to the Siegessaeule, the Victory Column, yet more 60-metre wide screens, and more people sharing the atmosphere transmitted through the summer night air.This, I believe, will be where Germany really opens up to the world. And this, I am also convinced, is what football above all things can generate. In South Korea at the last World Cup, the towns and cities were transformed to great seas of red, with people in their football shirts resembling millions of poppies in fields. Those people discovered the power of football, and injected into it a sense of pride that had their players running so hard they became the first Asian country to reach a World Cup semi-final.Germans, with three triumphs (to Brazil’s five), hardly need this power of the people, this sense of new identity, to propel them on. But though Italy and Argentina remain strong contenders, and England and France believe they can win it, do not be surprised if, in spite of everything the Germans fear, the final features Germany vs Brazil.It will be staged in the Berlin Olympic Stadium, once dear to Adolf Hitler and now, after a renovation that cost $370 million, a monument to the changing host nation for the World Cup 2006.last_img read more

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