Focus on ‘impactful’ Smart City projects: Centre

first_imgIn an obvious measure to grab eyeballs, the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has asked the State governments to push up implementation of “impactful” projects which will get people talking about the Smart City Mission. The Centre and the State governments together have identified 261 projects worth ₹32,600 crore under this category. Majority of these projects are in the first lot of 20 smart cities announced in January 2016. Projects have been shortlisted without any clear definition of what “impactful” means. “261 impactful projects have been identified in consultation with the States and circulated earlier vide letter dated August 16, 2017. These projects are expected to have visible and transformative impact on the various aspects of the lives of the citizens,” Secretary Durga Shankar Mishra writes in a letter addressed to all Chief Secretaries. All these projects have to be commenced by November 2017. The idea is to complete the projects in time for the next Lok Sabha polls in May 2019. The list of “impactful” projects varies from Museum of Urban History in Bhubaneswar, to Adventure Park in Udaipur, to rejuvenation of water bodies in Coimbatore, to 5 km-long heritage walk in Warangal, to conservation of built heritage in Thanjavur, to redevelopment of world-famous Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi. PPP projectsMr. Mishra, in his letter, has also urged the States to prioritise 370 projects to be completed at a cost of ₹30,000 crore, which are developed under public-private partnership. The Ministry has sent out this missive after the review of Smart Cities by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 30. He directed the Chief Secretaries to review the progress of projects on weekly basis. Since the list of first 20 smart cities came out on January 1, 2016, questions have been raised on the mission. For one, the Smart City is a misnomer, because only small pockets of the city are to be developed. The latest review of Smart City projects reveals that only 79 projects with total budget of ₹ 841 crore have been completed. Another 204 projects, with a budget of ₹ 7963 crore are under implementation. Projects worth ₹1.14 lakh crore are still on the drawing board stage. To accelerate work, the Ministry has now decided to award World Bank and AFD (Agence Francaise De Développement) funds on competitive basis. “The detailed guidelines with competition framework in this regard are under finalisation and would be circulated separately,” Mr. Mishra said in his letter.last_img read more

Tevez speaks of ‘beautiful’ World Cup dream

first_imgCarlos Tevez Tevez hoping for Argentina World Cup spot after Boca return Jamie Smith Last updated 1 year ago 04:04 1/10/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Argentina Getty Images Boca Juniors Shanghai Shenhua Superliga CSL A place in Argentina’s World Cup squad for the 2018 World Cup is a top target for the Boca Juniors star Carlos Tevez has targeted a World Cup place with Argentina after completing his protracted return to boyhood club Boca Juniors.Tevez was released from his Shanghai Shenhua contract on Saturday, even though his deal with the Chinese Super League (CSL) side had a year to run.The 33-year-old struggled to settle in Asia after ending his second Boca spell in December 2016 and reportedly becoming the world’s best-paid player, scoring only four goals in the 2017 CSL and being left out of the squad for the Chinese FA Cup final amid complaints over his work ethic. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player A delighted Tevez is back at La Bombonera and has set his sights on earning an Argentina recall, having not played for the national team since 2015, although Jorge Sampaoli can call upon a raft of high-class forwards including Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Mauro Icardi.”I haven’t got many years left of football and to be in a World Cup, for a player of my age it would something beautiful and it would be a sign of recognition too,” Tevez said of his Russia hopes when he was presented to the media on Tuesday. El presidente Daniel Angelici junto a Carlos Tevez y @emmamasok . pic.twitter.com/epw7VlcGoy — Boca Jrs. Oficial (@BocaJrsOficial) January 9, 2018 Tevez won the Copa Libertadores with Boca in 2003 at the start of his career, but the club – who also presented Argentina international Emmanuel Mas on Tuesday – have not claimed the title since 2007.”We all know the responsibility of playing in the Copa Libertadores,” added Tevez.”As the years go by it’s getting more difficult for us. Now is the moment to try and take this weight off our shoulders and win it, which is what all of us want.”I am here for this too, to give my best in order to reach the dream of the seventh Copa Libertadores for Boca Juniors.”I missed the adrenaline before playing. The feeling of this tickle when you are about to go in the pitch, the people… When you’re in the tunnel of La Bombonera the emotion and adrenaline goes over your all body. That is what I missed the most.”last_img read more

How a call from President Trumps soninlaw started a scramble on NAFTA

first_imgWASHINGTON – A phone call from U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law set off a frantic scramble ending in sighs of relief across three national capitals that the North American Free Trade Agreement would survive.Jared Kushner called around supper time.It happened on an intrigue-filled day last month after different news reports said Trump was seriously thinking of invoking Article 2205 of NAFTA, which would be the first step in cancelling the quarter-century-old deal.There are contrasting accounts of what really happened April 26.One version suggests Trump was simply bluffing about blowing up NAFTA. Another describes it as a White House power-struggle that played out in public. For his part, Trump insists he really came close to withdrawing from the deal.What dissuaded him, Trump says, were evening phone calls from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Enrique Pena Nieto.”Two people that I like very much, the president of Mexico, prime minister of Canada, they called up, they said, can we negotiate? I said, yes, we can renegotiate,” Trump told a rally in Pennsylvania several days later.”So we’ll start a renegotiation.”He didn’t delve into the details. But here’s what happened.Washington was abuzz over those reports hinting at the possible demise of NAFTA. Some Trump administration members urged him not to proceed, warning of the economic bedlam such a move would cause. At the Canadian embassy in Washington, some were heartened by the intensity of the reaction.The business community and lawmakers had, for the most part, quietly abided Trump’s trade-skeptical campaign talk for over a year but were suddenly springing to action, flooding contacts with phone calls and pleas not to touch NAFTA.Then came the call from Kushner.A pair of sources described the chain of events. At about 6 p.m., the senior White House aide contacted a counterpart in Ottawa. The president’s son-in-law and adviser called PMO chief of staff Katie Telford, and said: Trump has a free moment, right now, to speak about NAFTA.He suggested Trudeau might want to call the White House.Telford veered to a stop. She happened to be in a carpool, commuting with her colleague Gerald Butts. The senior officials pulled over to the side of the road in Tunney’s Pasture, an industrial-park-like federal area in west-end Ottawa.They got in touch with Trudeau, and the prime minister contacted Trump. The prime minister stressed the economic disruption that would be caused in people’s lives, should the deal be suddenly jettisoned. Trump also spoke to Pena Nieto and, a few hours later, the White House issued a statement: NAFTA was saved, for now, and would be renegotiated — not terminated.The White House says the game of telephone actually began earlier in the day, on the Canadian side. An official there told the Associated Press on Monday that the initial call was placed by Trudeau aides, who were concerned about the media reports.Kushner said the leaders should speak, said he would set up a time, and called back to confirm it, according to that account.It’s still a little murky, what Trump really intended that day.”I’m not sure. I think they were genuinely close to pulling out,” one Canadian said.”(But) I think the story is a little messier than that.”The different parties involved, in both countries, might be spinning the details to their benefit, he said. That’s the opinion of some NAFTA experts — who believe the whole thing was theatre, orchestrated by the White House.”A negotiating ploy,” said Gary Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute in Washington. ”True to Trump’s style.”One Mexican official said an American colleague even admitted as much.Foreign minister Luis Videgaray told media that an American colleague told him who the intended target was — the U.S. Congress. Congress has been dragging its heels in starting the NAFTA negotiation process and, according to the Mexican minister, some described the sudden activity as a pressure-tactic intended to light a fire under Capitol Hill.The U.S.’s NAFTA point man offers a more blase explanation.The whole thing was neither a negotiating ploy, nor a near-death experience for NAFTA, but something else entirely, says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. It was a non-story that got way out of control, he says.He appears to be blaming whoever leaked news to the press about Trump considering an executive order. Ross suggests somebody prematurely pushed out a half-baked, never-decided draft policy, and that stirred up unnecessary excitement.”What people don’t understand is the president encourages lively discussion. In the course of those discussions all kinds of alternatives come up,” Ross told CNBC.”I think what’s unfortunate is that someone leaked one of the many potential papers that was floating around, and created a whole skirmish over something that had not been decided upon by the president.”This White House is notorious for its power struggles.One such fault line involves divisions over trade. Some advisers are more trade-skeptical, such as Peter Navarro and Steve Bannon, who were reportedly two forces behind the now-scrapped executive order.Other senior staff are believed to be pro-NAFTA — including Gary Cohn and, yes, the president’s son-in-law.last_img read more

BENS BLOG Top 10 Films

first_img[dropcap]I[/dropcap] watched ‘Juno’ tonight and it inspired me to compile the following list.My Top-Ten Favourite Films (with a little bit of cheating for number 10):1= Schindler’s List (Oscar = my life-hero)1= Goodfellas (grafters galore)3 Casablanca (Rik = Not-Staff)4 Jaws (love the old fisherman dude + watch most NY Eves)5 Harry Brown (naff adjective, but ‘real’)6 The Secret in their Eyes (Spanish. Deep and eerie)7 Wall Street (couldn’t live without GG)8 Juno (favourite cutting comedy)9 Match Point (clever and had to namecheck Woody Allen)10= Rain Man (intense)‎/ A Rather English Marriage ( Albert Finney = world-class)/ Seven (top thriller)What have I forgotten? Sleepers, Casino and Broken Embraces ‎all just missed the cut. But hang on a minute, HOW, have I left out Clint Eastwood? He rarely makes a bad film, but has he ever made an absolute cracker?? I think I just need to rip this list up and start again..! What do you think, Blog??In other news:Cau, 33 High Street, Wimbledon, SW19 5BY (WEB SITE). I rarely eat steak, but it is excellent here. The music was a bit too loud. Excellent chunky-chips, and don’t miss all the naughty sides. A v good shout for post Wimbledon Dogs. 7.5Over and out, B xlast_img read more