Displaced foreigners successfully reintegrated into KwaZulu-Natal communities

first_imgThe people of Durban march to protest xenophobia and express solidarity with their fellow Africans, in the city centre on Thursday 16 April. (Image: KZN Online)The KwaZulu-Natal government and eThekwini Metro are satisfied that great progress is being made in reintegrating displaced foreign nationals in a number of areas affected in greater Durban and greater Pietermaritzburg.Chairperson of the joint KwaZulu-Natal government and eThekwini Metro task team charged with addressing issues around the reintegration, Willies Mchunu, today received positive reports indicating that some displaced foreign nations are being welcomed back in their communities.A task team, charged with mobilising affected communities to receive back the displaced, is working flat out to ensure that those displaced were accepted into communities where they were previously. This process is followed by intensive dialogues involving the leadership and the communities on the need for peaceful co-existence with their foreign counterparts.This morning the task team, made out to Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, eThekwini Mayor Cllr James Nxumalo, Social Development MEC Weziwe Thusi and eThekwini Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala, attended a meeting at the eThekwini Disaster Management Centre to assess the progress report on the overall issue of reintegration and efforts to stop attacks on foreign nationals.Reports tabled to the chairperson of the task team, who is also the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, indicated that some previously displaced nationals spent Friday night at their homes and locals were on hand to ensure that their safety was guaranteed.A total of 1100 Malawian nationals were successfully reintegrated in ward 13 in Mariannhill and they spent the night at home without any incident.Also in ward 91 in Mpumalanga a number of previously displaced foreign nationals were successfully reintegrated. Further on, locals in Mpumalanga held a prayer meeting against the attacks on foreign nationals at the local Magaba Community Hall.This prayer meeting, was among others attended by local Councillors, KwaZulu-Natal Legislator Deputy Speaker, Dr Meshack Radebe, religious leaders, Nigerian and Pakistan national representatives from Pietermaritzburg.More meetings are taking place to facilitate the reintegration of displaced foreign nationals.Consultations to facilitate the peaceful return of displaced nationals with communities in all affected areas are currently underway.Reports received from Zululand District Municipality (Ophongolo, Abaqulusi in Vryheid, Ulundi and Nongoma) indicate that there were no attacks. Similar reports of no violence were received from Ugu District (Greater Port Shepstone) were received.“We are satisfied that great progress is being made to stabilise the province and for communities to welcome back previously displaced foreign nationals. These are indeed good news and we therefore urge all communities and their leaders to shift the focus to the peaceful reintegration of those that were previously displaced. We wish to thank and encourage those communities that have already welcomed back those who were displaced and ensure that there is peaceful co-existence with foreign nationals,” said Mchunu.Nxumalo echoed Mchunu’s sentiments, saying all efforts were now being directed to ensuring that displaced communities were being successfully reintegrated.“Our first priority now is the return of peace and stability in eThekwini metro and in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. We are working flat out towards ensuring a peaceful reintegration and co-existence of our communities with their brothers and sisters from other African countries. In this regard we appeal for calm, tolerance and harmony in our interactions with foreign nationals,” said Nxumalo.We appeal to residents to refrain from posting unverified images on social media as these are perpetuating the false perception that foreign nationals are still being attacked and that the country is in turmoil.Government also thanks the community, non-government organisations, religious leaders and civic society groups who have donated food and clothes to the displaced.The government has expressed concerns at the role of criminal elements in the attacks and looting of the property belonging to foreign nationals.“We see these as pure acts of criminality. We warn those behind these that police will deal with them accordingly,” said Mchunu.Media contactsTozi Mthethwa 083 307 9067Thami Ngwenya 060 752 9881Gugu Mbonambi 079 751 4986Sipho Khumalo 082 682 6437last_img read more

Cover crops, satellites and regulation in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Steve Groff is a noted cover crop proponent from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who farms in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that also includes parts of New York, Virginia, West Virginia and most of Maryland. What happens in his watershed matters to Ohio’s farmers, whether they know it or not.“Cover crops are a part of the strategy to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the Bay. In southeastern Pennsylvania in 2005, cover crops were used on 5% of farm acres in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” Groff said. “Now there are cover crops on 18% of Chesapeake Bay region and 75% of fields in Lancaster County, Penn. are planted to cover crops.”Groff has spent many years refining his use of cover crops to maximize their benefits and profitability on his farm. In more recent years, regulations in the watershed have encouraged his neighbors to follow his example.“We do have a pollutant problem and these water quality problems are things the public can see. This shapes the public perception of agriculture. They sometimes go over the top to make things scary sounding — that is what the media does — but you have to admit there is a kernel of truth there. If we do not do something about this, we are going to be regulated out the wazoo,” he said. “Now they are using satellite imagery to monitor cover crop usage in Chesapeake Bay that is being used as a pilot program to test ground truth. They are doing this in Maryland to see if guys are really planting cover crops.”With continuing discussion about making the requirements for the Chesapeake Bay a national template, every farmer in the country needs to be carefully watching as the regulatory environment continues to evolve in the watershed.“Should we use the carrot or stick to get more cover crops? In this watershed you cannot spread manure over winter unless you have at least 25% ground cover so livestock producers have to plant cover crops,” Groff said. “We are 15 years down the road with these regulations and now there is a lot of voluntary adoption with this. We don’t want more regulations but they are probably coming. You may as well start tinkering around with this stuff now because you will probably have to be doing it some day anyway.”Josh McGrath, associate professor and soil and fertility and nutrient management specialist at the University of Maryland, said the Chesapeake Bay nutrient management strategies are far from ideal in some cases because they too often favor the politics over the reality of the situation.“Maryland is probably the most highly regulated state in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which is probably the most highly regulated watershed for agriculture in the country,” McGrath said. “The Maryland Water Quality Improvement Act was passed in 1998 and the first thing that it did was mandate that farmers could not exceed the fertility recommendations of University of Maryland Extension. That was not something that we supported in Extension. All farmers in Maryland now have to have nutrient management plans that cover N and P.”The emphasis on mandates is a real concern for McGrath and others, because, while these mandated practices may be the right fit for some agricultural situations, they may be the wrong fit for others. The net result is that mandates can actually hurt water quality improvement efforts.“What we have done is turn the clock back in some situations. Agriculture has been progressively moving forward with technology that allows us to be more site specific,” McGrath said. “Some of the regulations, like mandating the incorporation of manure, may be fine on the coastal plain where it is flat, but in western Maryland with steep slopes and highly erodible soil, no–till was dominant. We’ve just turned back the clock to the 1970s by having these incorporation regulations across the board. Blanket regulations are moving us backwards with regard to site specificity.”In his paper from early 2015,“Implementation of agricultural phosphorus management policy in Maryland” Frank J. Coale, a professor at the University of Maryland, outlined the evolution of the growing regulatory environment faced by farmers in Maryland.“Beginning in the late 1980s, the State of Maryland adopted various policies and developed voluntary agricultural nutrient management programs aimed at reducing P loading of surface waters. In swift response to a popularized Chesapeake Bay fish kill during the summer of 1997…the State of Maryland passed the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1998, which phased in mandatory N and P-based nutrient management planning regulations for Maryland farmers. The P management provisions of these aggressive regulations were fully implemented by 2005,” Coale said in the paper. “In an effort to further alleviate water quality impairments and accelerate reductions of P inputs to the Chesapeake Bay from agricultural sources, President Obama issued Executive Order 13508 in May 2009 that declared the Chesapeake Bay a ‘national treasure’ and ushered in a new era of federal oversight and accountability. In 2010, under the existing provisions of the Federal Clean Water Act of 1992, the U.S. EPA developed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits for P entering the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay TMDL prescribed the amount of P input that can be tolerated by the Bay ecosystem and not result in impaired water quality. A 2025 deadline was established by which time each of the Chesapeake Bay watershed states will be legally obligated to achieve the TMDL P load reductions necessary to alleviate water quality impairments. By 2025, total P loading to the Chesapeake Bay must be less than 14.5 million pounds P per year and P loading from Maryland’s tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay must be no greater than 2.8 million pounds P per year. The TMDL implementation plan allows for half of Maryland’s total load, or 1.4 million pounds P per year, to originate from agricultural sources. In order to achieve the 2025 TMDL mandate, overall P loading from Maryland tributaries will need to be reduced by 15% and P loading from agricultural sources will need to be reduced by 12%, relative to today’s estimated loading rates.”As this model for addressing water quality inches closer to being implemented nationwide, the American Farm Bureau Federation and many others filed friend-of-the-court briefs last month urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments on the EPA’s plans for the Chesapeake Bay water quality “blueprint.”Filers included 92 members of Congress, 22 states, forestry groups represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, and a broad cross-section of the U.S. economy represented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business.“The fact that so many voices are being raised in support of Supreme Court review shows the broad and severe threat that EPA’s action here poses nationwide,” said Bob Stallman, AFBF president. “EPA has asserted powers that do not appear in any law written by Congress, and it has done so in the context of an iconic national treasure, hoping that will inoculate its power grab in the courts. We have faith that the nation’s highest court will see this for what it is and hold EPA accountable to stay within its statutory authority.”Despite aggressive new commitments and water quality achievements by the six states in the Bay watershed in the mid-2000s, the EPA asserted federal control over the Chesapeake Bay recovery in its 2010 “blueprint.” The new federal plan effectively gives EPA the ability to function as a super-zoning authority over local and state governments — dictating where homes can be built, where land can be farmed, and where commercial development can occur, AFBF said.If carried out, the plan could impose tens of billions of dollars in direct costs — with unknown economic impacts on local communities and economies. AFBF contends that it also denies state and local governments and businesses the flexibility to adapt to new circumstances, instead locking in limits that can quickly become outdated but can only be revised by EPA.To date, lower courts upheld EPA’s blueprint on the theory that it furthers the water quality goals of the Clean Water Act — despite the absence of words in the statute authorizing such federal action. A significant issue presented for the Supreme Court is the degree to which courts should defer to broad agency interpretations of their statutory power.“The broad support for the Farm Bureau petition shows that deep concerns about the Bay blueprint go far beyond agriculture and far beyond the Bay region,” said Ellen Steen, AFBF General Counsel. “Members of Congress, states and business groups recognize that this illegal framework will be imposed throughout the country unless the Court intervenes. Given the enormous social and economic consequences, not to mention the grave questions about federalism and deference to agency overreaching, this is a case that cries out for Supreme Court review.”Maybe it is time to schedule a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This is the second in a series of stories taking a look at the some of the nation’s water quality issues.last_img read more

300 Muslim students to get scholarships on PM’s birthday

first_imgA total of 300 economically backward Muslim students would be awarded the Narendra Modi Scholarship on the Prime Minister’s 67th birthday on September 17, the Forum for Muslim Studies and Analysis (FMSA) announced on Tuesday.The scholarship was constituted by the FMSA, an Aligarh-based group of Muslim intellectuals, in May last year.EmpowermentJasim Mohammad, the director of the FMSA, said: “The Prime Minister is concerned about the problems of the minority community. I constituted the scholarship in his name because it will empower the minority community educationally. Once empowered, these students will make our country proud.”Last year, a total of 100 students were awarded the scholarship of ₹5,000. But, given the enthusiastic response it received, the FMSA decided to increase the number of beneficiaries to 300.Forms available online“Last year, more than 22,000 Muslim students had applied for the scholarship, 16,000 of whom were girls. It only showed the extent of desire among Muslims to study. So, we decided to modify the scholarship amount to ₹3,000 and increase the number of beneficiaries to 300,” said Mr. Mohammad.He added that the aim of the scholarship was to “carry forward the commitment of the Prime Minister to Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas”.Last dateThe form for the scholarship has been uploaded on www.jasim.org. Students of classes XI, XII, graduation and post-graduation are eligible to apply. The last date for submitting the form is September 10.Mr. Mohammad shot to the limelight when he wrote the first-ever biography of the Prime Minister, titled Narendra Bhai Modi — Farsh Se Arsh Tak, in Urdu. The first volume of the proposed five-volume biography was launched by Mr. Modi on May 10 last year.last_img read more

Scientists raise red flag on overfishing of hilsa

first_imgScientists have raised alarm over the exploitation of hilsa, Tenualosa ilisha, undoubtedly the most sought after fish in West Bengal and suggested a cap on its maximum sustainable yield per year.A paper titled Present Status of the Sustainable Fishing Limits for Hilsa Shad in the northern Bay of Bengal, India, published earlier this year by scientists from the School of Oceanographic Studies (SOS), Jadavpur University, points out that the value of recorded fishing mortality has exceeded the sustainable fishing mortality over the past few years, putting the species in danger.“To conserve the hilsa population in its natural habitat, the hilsa fishery needs suitable fishing regulations, restricting the number of fishing boats within 3,987 and maximum allowable hilsa catch (Maximum Sustainable Yield) at 25,440 tonnes per year in the northern Bay of Bengal region,” the publication states.This is the first attempt to measure the maximum sustainable yield of the hilsa species, particularly in West Bengal and offshore, Sugata Hazra, director, SOS, who is the principal investigator of the research and one of the authors of the publication said. The paper published in the National Academy of Sciences has also been authored by Isha Das, Sourav Das, Sandip Giri and Sourav Maity.Penal provisionWest Bengal Fishing Minister Chandranath Sinha admitted that the over-exploitation of the species is something which concerns the State government. “We are considering a proposal of having penal provisions for those who catch hilsa less than 500 grams of weight. Even those who buy the fish will be penalised,” Mr Sinha told The Hindu.Based on the advice of experts, the State government had issued notification of declaring five areas of the river Ganga, including a five sq.km. area around sand bars located in the rivers Matla, Roymongal and Thakuran in Sunderbans, where the river meets the sea as a hilsa sanctuary. As per regulations, all fish catching activities in these hilsa sanctuaries are prohibited from June to August and October to December.But according to experts these restrictions are far from being implemented at the ground level. The paper documents hilsa yield across three major fish landing centres — Digha, Diamond Harbour and Fraserganj in West Bengal — from 2002 to 2015 whic dropped to 13, 405 tonnes from 32,100 tonnes. In 2010, the hilsa yield was abnormally high in the State at 60,460 tonnes, which scientist say was an exception and could have have been triggered by global climate events.According to Professor Hazra, the publication points out that the hilsa fishery in the northern Bay of Bengal is “being unsustainably exploited” and the over fishing about 38% over the past few years (2012-16) has been noticed after comparing the fishing mortality.The publication points out that the annual catch has decreased by 13 % over the past decade and that the hilsa fishery in the northern Bay of Bengal is targeting smaller fish, which is unsustainable in the long run. Hilsa or ilish, as it is called in West Bengal is intrinsically linked to the culture of the State and makes 11% of the total fish catch of the State.Professor Hazra said that if the catch is regulated for a period about five years, the population will stabilise.last_img read more

Lady Red Spikers up

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