first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki Small holder farmers from 6,000 Malian households have restored 320 hectares of land through a combination of on-farm natural tree regeneration, water harvesting, moisture retention technologies, improved soil filtration, and enhanced soil humus.This is just one of many efforts currently underway to restore Africa’s dryland forests. There are many obstacles left to overcome, but as the Mali example clearly shows, there are successes to celebrate and build upon, as well.In sub-Saharan Africa, 80 percent of charcoal and firewood used by about 2.4 million people is harvested in woodlands found in the dryland areas. Experts say it’s time to start packaging these fragile yet rich and highly adaptive ecosystems into investment opportunities. About 10 years ago, the average millet farmer in Boromdougou village along the Niger River in Mali produced about 170 kilograms of cereals per hectare per season, according to Pierre Dembele, executive secretary of Malian NGO Sahel Eco.Lack of wind breakers, however, eventually led to heavy losses. A decade ago, the practice of slash and burn agriculture in the Sahel region had left the soil exposed. When farmers planted seeds, ferocious desert winds, unimpeded by trees, would sweep them away. There was no shade, so every time it rained the water quickly evaporated in the hot sun, even as the rainwater carried away the top layer of soil. Because the soil couldn’t hold water, many of the seeds not blown away simply died. This meant very low yields for farmers.But today efforts by small holder farmers from 6,000 households have brought about a turnaround, restoring 320 hectares of land through a combination of on-farm natural tree regeneration, water harvesting, moisture retention technologies, improved soil filtration, and enhanced soil humus.This is just one of many efforts currently underway to restore Africa’s dryland forests. There are many obstacles left to overcome, but as the Mali example clearly shows, there are successes to celebrate and build upon, as well.“Drylands are fragile ecosystems. You do not just go out and plant a tree without harvesting and retaining water. They will all die! Water is key to restoration,” said Dembele, who serves as executive secretary of Sahel Eco, which works with farmers to restore degraded landscapes in the Sahel.Farmers dig planting pits (called zai pits) with a diameter of 15-30 centimeter and a depth of 10-15 centimeters to harvest rainfall and water runoff. According to Dembele, this measure “helps more water infiltrate into the ground and hence enough to aid germination.” He adds that farmers also use organic manure from their livestock and practice mulching to reduce water evaporation. As a result, Sahel farmers can now harvest 1,500 kilograms of cereals from a single hectare of land.Due to water stress, Wahabou Benao, a small-scale farmer at Vrassan village in southern Burkina Faso, has had to use bottle drip irrigation to support his farming. Photo by Sophie Mbugua.Local communities depend on forest productsMali lies within a geographic formation called the Sahelian Acacia Savanna that stretches across the African continent from northern Senegal and Mauritania on the Atlantic coast to Sudan on the Red Sea. Apart from the wooded shrublands, the area is home to Lake Chad and the Niger River, which are critical ecosystems supporting agriculture, pastoralism, and wildlife.Typical woody species like the baobab, tamarind, and shea are intercropped with millet and sorghum and farmed for their fruits and vegetables. Winter thorn — a leguminous, nitrogen-fixing, acacia-like species — and sabara tree, which has medicinal value, together with African mesquite, are farmed for fodder.In the Sahel, these indigenous woody plants function as reserves, ensuring the continued existence of people and livestock throughout the long dry season, when stored crops and grazing pasture are lacking. Over 700 women in four regions of Mali — Bamako, Gao, Mopti, and Ségouorganized — have been organized into 33 groups by Sahel Eco for the processing and selling of tamarind juice, beauty products, cakes, and syrup processed from the tamarind and shea trees, chinese dates, and desert dates, among other species.“Community livelihood is dependent on the forest products, as trees are more resilient to droughts and less water. If they earn a living from the trees, they will cater for it,” Dembele told Mongabay. “The women earn about $6000 annually after harvesting fruits in the farm and in the forests, which they add value [to] and sell as syrup, soap, beauty products, and cake.”Having established a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA), the women save 20 cents of every dollar they make selling their products and, since this money belongs to them all, any one in need of money — say for school fees or buying a cow — can come to the group and ask for a loan, which they return with interest within an agreed timeframe.To ensure availability of fruits around the homesteads, 100 trees are left to naturally regenerate on every hectare of land. Leaves that fall to the ground are left to decompose, adding humus to the soil.Despite the challenges they face and their importance to local livelihoods, Africa’s dryland forests don’t receive much conservation attention. At the Global Landscape Forum (GLF) Africa Conference, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya earlier this month, Phosiso Sola, East Africa program coordinator for the World Agroforestry Drylands Development Programme (DryDev), noted that drylands within sub-Saharan Africa are essential and yet neglected. Despite the fact that more than 50 percent of the local population is located in and dependent on drylands, these ecosystems are not attracting anywhere near the level of conservation funds as do, say, tropical forests, she said.As a result, Sola added, dryland forests and woodlands have been rapidly declining due to harvesting of wood for commercial and domestic purposes.Repackaging dryland forestsHome to an estimated 2 billion people and supporting 25 percent of the world’s endangered species, more than a quarter (about 25-35 percent) of global drylands are degraded, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).In sub-Saharan Africa, 80 percent of charcoal and firewood used by about 2.4 million people is harvested in woodlands found in the dryland areas. Sola believes it’s about time researchers started packaging these fragile yet rich and highly adaptive ecosystems into investment opportunities.“The few trees found in many drylands have high economic value, but such studies translating the tones of wood and charcoal harvested from the dry land forests and consumed by households and industries into megawatts of energy saved from generated electricity or the amount of money that baobab trees can generate are not there,” Sola explains. “Dry lands are seen as empty places, where only a few communities live with very little economic benefits. If we are to capture the mind of the investors and government, we need to translate drylands into investment opportunities.”Tafera Mengitsu, an adviser to Ethiopia’s state minister of forests at the country’s Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, told Mongabay that Ethiopia has successfully commercialized restoration of drylands degraded by over-harvesting of gums and resins, excessive wood harvesting for charcoal, overgrazing by livestock, agricultural expansion, recurrent fires, and settlements.Africa’s dryland forests and woodlands have been rapidly declining due to harvesting of wood for commercial and domestic purposes. Photo by Sophie Mbugua.“We must balance between the biodiversity conservation needs of the country and economic needs of the communities. Therefore, we are mixing between 30 percent indigenous species for biodiversity conservation, 35 percent fruit trees for nutritious benefits, and 35 percent exotic species to meet the economic demand,” Mengitsu explains.Mengitsu acknowledges that, despite Ethiopia’s biodiversity being tremendous, it’s not well studied or documented. “We know we have close to 7,000 tree species in Ethiopia, 4 million hectares of tropical forest, and 24 million hectares of drylands forests scattered everywhere in the country,” he said, “but we need to understand the key biodiversity hotspots before it is all converted into farming areas.”Nonetheless, over the last 15 years Ethiopia has rehabilitated 12 to 15 million hectares at $350-600 per hectare. Mengitsu says the goal is to restore an additional 20 million hectares of forests and degraded landscapes by 2030.In 2016, Ethiopia committed to restore 15 million hectares as its contribution to the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) — an effort led by African countries to restore 100 million hectares of land by 2030.A win for the climatePhosiso Sola of DryDev maintains that restoring the drylands would not only ensure resilience for the communities dependent on those ecosystems but would also be a win for the climate, though there is a lack of knowledge of the carbon density of the woodlands.“Dryland trees invest in underground growth before it starts investing in upper ground growth, it must have long roots to reach for the water farther down,” Sola said. “Drylands are relevant for climate change: the trees might be slow growing but they invest in a lot of underground carbon.”A report published in Nature this past August indicates that carbon losses from degradation and deforestation in African savannas are between three and six times higher than previously thought. Data from all southern African countries with savanna woodlands – Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Angola, and the southern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo – indicate high degradation rates along the transport corridors and areas close to developing urban towns as trees are harvested for charcoal and timber.The researchers also found that Tanzania’s Miombo woodland soils contain considerable amounts of organic matter, forming a large below-ground pool of carbon. The Miombo is seasonally dry, deciduous woodland and the largest vegetation formation in central, eastern, and southern Africa. The destruction of these woodlands therefore has dire implications for both the global carbon cycle and local livelihoods, as over 150 million people depend on the ecosystem services provided by the woodlands and forests.An IUCN report finds that dryland soils represent roughly one-third of global soil organic carbon and that the global stocks of soil biodiversity contribute strongly to global food production and climate change mitigation.“Drylands are particularly valuable for carbon storage due to their high degree of permanence — the duration that carbon is stored in the soil — compared to humid areas,” the IUCN report notes. “Most biodiversity in the Sahel, the Middle East, and Australia is found beneath the soil’s surface and conserving it is crucial for water and food security.”The constraint and cost of restorationDembele believes that restoration requires investing time, energy, resources, and skills — from both the communities and the government. For the communities to invest their time and energy to restoration, there needs to be some assurance that they can benefit from the years of nurturing the natural environment. But lack of land tenure has been a major setback, he said.Trees in Africa’s drylands, especially acacias, are heavily exploited for wood and charcoal that is used in nearby towns. Photo by Sophie Mbugua.What’s more, Dembele notes that conflict, drought, and land degradation sometimes cause communities to migrate in search of arable land, not only in Mali but within the greater Sahel region, as well. In some cases, this creates new sources of tension. “Restoration takes a long time. After the land starts yielding better, the owners who had initially leased the land to the migrants, demand it back.”In Ethiopia, where Sola and DryDev have been implementing a restoration program, younger generation are finding it hard to fit into the traditional systems of livelihoods.“They would like to adopt new farming technologies or new way of rearing animals, but they do not own land as the older generation is yet to release land ownership to the younger generations,” she said. “The youth are pushed out overseas in search of jobs and alternative livelihoods because the system that supported them as children can no longer accommodate them.”Tim Christorpheren, chair of the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration — a partnership network initiated in 2003 by the IUCN to unite governments, organizations, communities, and individuals working towards the restoration of degraded and deforested lands — insists that clear land tenure and land rights is the precondition for achieving landscape restoration in Africa.“The small holder farmers are the constituency that will make the difference,” Christorpheren told Mongabay. “Many of the trees we need for forest and landscape restoration will be the trees on farms — the fruit trees, fertilizer trees, shade trees, nitrogen-fixing trees, trees to curb erosion, and small woodlots. Governments must create an enabling environment for investors and hence land rights must be clear.”Christorpheren added that it’s essential for African governments to help better organize small holder farmers as cooperatives and associations. He says knowledge flows easily when farmers are organized, and their access to finance technologies and good quality seeds is improved. Additionally, they can negotiate better offtake agreements and systematically invest in value chains for forest-based commodities for community economic benefits, since land restoration must make economic sense.“I do not think there is a shortage of money in terms of investment, once these enabling conditions are there, we are clear about the restoration opportunities, where are they, who can do it,” Christorpheren said. “Money will flow once we can make a good business case.”While Sahel Eco is pushing the Mali government to come up with a policy to address land tenure problems, Ethiopia’s government designed a Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy that aims to achieve carbon-neutral status before 2025.Forestry and rehabilitation of degraded lands are two of the main pillars of Ethiopia’s strategy. As a result, communities involved in landscape restoration are awarded certificates of land ownership and given free seedlings. Mengitsu says this allows them to manage rehabilitation sites, harvest tree products (such as poles, which are exported to Sudan), and keep the benefits. Communities rehabilitating communally owned land share benefits after harvesting and selling the forest products with the government through clearly outlined benefit-sharing mechanisms.Sola says that there is growing evidence that dry forest ecosystem services help increase adaptive capacity of the poorest households and communities and insulate more carbon if left intact. Governments must be prepared to address land tenure and land rights, she says, since a high perception of land tenure among communities is likely to reduce land degradation.For Dembele, involving women is key: “They are the ones who interact with the land and trees every day. Once they see benefits, they will care for the trees.”Through Village Saving & Loan Associations, women can take a loan and buy livestock or educate children. Photo by Sophie Mbugua.CITATION• McNicol, I. M., Ryan, C. M., & Mitchard, E. T. (2018). Carbon losses from deforestation and widespread degradation offset by extensive growth in African woodlands. Nature communications, 9(1), 3045. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05386-z Agriculture, Carbon Conservation, Carbon Emissions, Climate Change Policy, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Dry Forests, Ecological Restoration, Ecosystem Restoration, Environment, Farming, Forest Carbon, Forests, Restoration, Soil Carbon center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

first_imgWhen you come from a small country like Guyana, you should always be outward looking. You have to! This was the modality adopted by great successes like Singapore and Ireland. Right here in the Caribbean – Jamaica is doing fantastic on the export of foods. When you are a small country and you are always aware of the world around you and you must know that you have to be better than the rest of the world at a specific niche to get ahead or you shall be left behind.So for a small country like Guyana, exports must become second nature. According to the Bureau of Statistics, in 2017 Guyana exported US$1.438 billion. In 2016 Guyana exported US$1.441 billion. In reality, that means a reduction in exports by US$3 million or G$615 million.How did the Guyanese economy get trapped in this vicious cycle after a sustained period of growth in exports from 1991 to 2012? We must not forget that in 1991 after the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) under Hoyte was implemented, Guyana was able to see its first growth in exports since 1980, stemming a decade of export declines under the then PNC Government. In 1991, the export value was US$0.356 billion. By 2012, Guyana exports had peaked at US$1.666 billion, computing as an export growth of 368 per cent under a People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government. Since then exports have been all over the place like a cork in the sea.First and foremost, Guyana thinks it is a Caribbean country and I think this is where the geo-economic problem really lies. If one is to observe our export profile, our top three export destinations are Canada, the United States, and the UK, which take off some 56 per cent of our exports. Significant potential markets that surround us (Brazil, Suriname or Venezuela) are not even in our top 10 destinations. This is a fundamental problem that has to be fixed.The second fundamental trade problem Guyana faces is 85 per cent of our exports in 2017 are raw products? Total insanity. Three years after President Granger stood on the Berbice River and commented on all the raw bauxite and raw lumber floating down the river and his commitment to changing that reality within 100 days, he has done absolutely nothing to deliver on his promise to the people on the trade front. The table below as published by the Bureau of Statistics is telling. But what was even more glaring was sugar exports dropped to US$48.5 million, compared to an average of around US$120 million during the period 1993 to 2014 under the PPP. Was this adventure led by Clive Thomas/Errol Hanoman/Noel Holder on a “highway to do where” worth it? These three men collectively led to the destruction of some US$70 million in annual value for a nation with no replacement and that is nothing short of criminal. They should all be banished to Timbuktu for such anti-national and anti-patriotic actions. But yet they continue to hold senior roles in the Granger Government save and except for Hanoman who cut and run right back to his handlers when he was properly exposed. Clearly, Thomas and Holder have no professional integrity since the best option for them is to at least bag their faces and run for the hills after harming the nation this much.The third fundamental problem on the trade front is that we must fix the mismatch in our trade balance (exports vs imports). When the Granger Government slaughtered any chance of the Amaila Falls Hydro Project being built, I became convinced that Guyana was going to retrogress economically until it changes course. That single act has condemned the nation to economic backwardness with no second chance.As a country, our principle aim should have been to become a beacon of private enterprise and innovation with a clear focus on South America. We must increase our exports to Brazil, Suriname and Venezuela and such a strategy must become a priority because Caricom has very little to offer Guyana. That means we must find out what these South American countries want, find our niche and produce it at the right quality in the right amounts for them at the right time. But if we do not have adequate low cost and reliable electricity, the process is like pushing a rock up a hill but it is not a lost cause. We still have the six sisters (gold, bauxite, sugar, rice, seafoods, and forestry) and we should seriously consider a jewellery manufacturing industry as the first jump into South America.The time is now to seize the opportunities. Not next year but now!last_img read more

first_imgEach I Love the 90’s Tour ticket purchase includes a commemorative collectable item redeemable at the merchandise booth.For updates on upcoming I Love the 90’s Tour dates, please visit DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – After a massive 2016 with over 110 shows across North America, the I LOVE THE 90’s TOUR will continue its momentum in 2017 with 40+ new stops in the United States and its first-ever international leg in Australia and New Zealand.  The top-selling tour, which originally announced only 29 dates, quickly became the year’s most sought-after show, eventually racking up 110+ stops and selling out a number of arenas across the country.  The New Year promises fans the same unbelievable live experience, with a rotating lineup of the 90’s’ most iconic acts, including Vanilla Ice, Salt N Pepa, Rob Base, All 4 One, Color Me Badd, Coolio, Tone Loc and Young MC.Salt N Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Rob Base, Young MC and C+C Music Factory will make up the lineup for the Dawson Creek stop at the Encana Events Centre on Monday, September 18, 2017.Tickets will be available for purchase on Thursday, April 13 at 10 a.m. PST.  Tickets are priced at $91.00 and $71.00 plus applicable fees.  Tickets may be purchased online at by phone at 1-877-339-8499, and in person at the Tiger Box Office Plus locations at the Encana Events Centre.- Advertisement -Hailed by Entertainment Weekly as an, “arena-sized dance party,” and described by The Arizona Republic as, “a hit-filled trip down memory lane,” the I Love the 90’s Tour is 2016’s most successful concert touring package with over 110 shows in 110 cities and more than 600,000 tickets sold with a gross box office revenue of over $36 million dollars.  Returning in 2017 is headliner Vanilla Ice, star of the DIY Network’s Vanilla Ice Project and fresh off of his Dancing with the Stars appearance.  Also returning in 2017 are co-headliners and fan favorites Salt N Pepa, with special guests Rob Base, All 4 One, Color Me Badd, Coolio, Tone Loc and Young MC. The I Love the 90’s Tour is represented by Universal Attractions Agency (UAA).  Universal Attractions Agency’s Jeff Allen and Jeff Epstein, co-creators of the I Love the 90’s Tour, are more than excited at the breakout success of the tour and are confident that audiences are ready for their next dose of 90’s nostalgia.  As both say, “Our object was to capture the imagination of a generation and the I Love the 90’s Tour is a phenomenon that has done just that”.Limited number of I Love the 90’s Tour VIP packages are available, including exclusive Vanilla Ice and Salt N Pepa VIP meet & greet packages, for details please visit www.tigerboxofficeplus.caAdvertisementlast_img read more

first_imgWASHINGTON – Congress is moving to postpone until June 2009 requiring passports for land and sea travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean after complaints about vacation-ruining delays by the State Department in issuing them. The House passed the 17-month delay Friday after a key Senate committee approved it a day earlier. The State Department has been flooded with applications since new rules went into effect in January requiring passports for air travelers returning from the same destinations. The resulting backlog has caused delays of up to three months for passports and ruined or delayed the travel plans of thousands of people. In response, the government last week temporarily waived a passport requirement for air travel, provided people can demonstrate they’ve applied. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_imgJust hours after the end of the January transfer window, Harry Redknapp resigned as manager of Queens Park Rangers.The 67-year-old’s announcement came the day after he was left frustrated by a lack of transfer activity at Loftus Road, with the club missing out on the signature of Emmanuel Adebayor.Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey have been placed in temporary charge for Saturday’s game with Southampton, while former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood is the early favourite for the full-time role.Redknapp leaves QPR in the relegation zone, one point from safety, and The Rs have lost all 11 of their away games this season – the worst record in the history of the Premier League.QPR fans have often been divided on Redknapp’s tenure, but what do they think now that he’s gone? See some reaction here…QPR fans, who would you like to see replace Harry Redknapp at Loftus Road? Comment below… Redknapp resigns as QPR boss: Rangers fan react 1last_img read more

first_img But union-backed Wal-Mart Watch and Wake Up Wal-Mart groups said Scott talked of success and avoided what they call real problems facing Wal-Mart. They accuse Wal-Mart of substandard pay, poor health coverage and poor treatment of its workers. “Wal-Mart’s future in 2006 will not look any brighter unless Lee Scott realizes that Wal-Mart must change into a more responsible employer,” Wake Up Wal-Mart spokesman Chris Kofinis said. Wal-Mart’s profits topped $10 billion for the first time last fiscal year as overall revenue rose 11 percent to $285 billion. But the share price has remained stagnant in a mix of factors. Analysts cite lingering lawsuits, headed by a pending class-action case in San Francisco charging discrimination against female employees, and problems in executing a new strategy to attract more higher-income shoppers. “They are masters of the science of retailing. But they are at the steep end of the learning curve, when it comes to the art of retailing, (on) how you merchandise and market to this new higher-income demographic they are trying to convince to not just buy groceries but also fashion, electronics and toys,” said fund manger Patricia L. Edwards at Wentworth, Hauser & Violich in Seattle, which manages $6.4 billion in assets and holds about 64,000 Wal-Mart shares. Scott said in the coming fiscal year that will start Feb. 1, Wal-Mart will remain focused on growing overall sales and profitability as well as on return on investment, including better management of its huge inventory. Improvement efforts include two experimental “green” stores in Texas and Colorado that use less fuel and resources and a new line of organic-cotton baby clothes coming this year, as well as calls on Wal-Mart’s foreign suppliers in China and elsewhere to raise their standards. Diversity efforts involve seven new groups of minority, female and gay employees who have started meeting at Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville to advise the company on marketing and internal promotion. In the seven groups are women, gays and lesbians, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians and people with disabilities. Scott said targets include increasing the share of imports bought directly from overseas producers, instead of U.S.-based middlemen, which allows the price to be cut to consumers at the same time Wal-Mart’s profit margin is improved. A key initiative is improving the shopping experience at Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores – about 3,200 of them – by making sure shopping carts and entryways are clean and check-out lines move faster. Store managers also will be accountable to more powerful regional managers to make sure individuals do not make mistakes that can generate bad headlines for the whole company. Wal-Mart last month fired a Tampa, Fla., store manager for poor judgment after he called sheriff’s deputies about a black businessman mistakenly suspected of trying to pass a bad check. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Wal-Mart Chief Executive Lee Scott, questioning Wall Street’s judgment of the company’s holiday sales performance, said Wednesday he is pleased with 2005 results and counting on changes in merchandise, management and public relations to bolster growth in 2006. The world’s largest retailer estimates that December sales growth at stores open at least one year came in at about 2.2 percent – the low end of its original forecast – despite heavy marketing efforts. But in an Associated Press interview, Scott said he views that as being less important than an increase of more than $2 billion in total sales last month at new and older stores. Scott said Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s stock, which fell 11 percent in 2005, is undervalued – especially since he expects the company to report record sales and profits for the current fiscal year that will end on Jan. 31. “Is it more important to grow total sales and total profitability, or would you be better off if you did not impact your stores with new stores and ran higher (same-store) comps, which is what Wall Street is focused on?” he asked. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson “Overall, if you look at the business results themselves, we came through those challenges and produced those results that people expect of us, which are record sales and record earnings,” Scott said. Scott said some changes, such as sales of trendier clothing, were already helping. Other moves, including management regrouping, will kick in around mid-2006. “What we look at is, when you end the year, did you produce the record results you wanted and are you positioned to do that again in the next year? And we are positioned to do that again in the next year – increasing sales, increasing (earnings per share), increasing real profit dollars,” he said. Scott said he was spending more time speaking out about Wal-Mart in the face of an organized campaign against it by two union-backed groups. He said he is trying to get his message across that Wal-Mart is good for Americans because it bolsters competition and cuts prices for working families. A poll released Wednesday by Wal-Mart supporters said 71 percent of American adults believe Wal-Mart is good for consumers and 63 percent of union households hold the same opinion. The poll of 1,000 adults, with a sample of 330 union homes, had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. It was conducted in the two weekends before Christmas. last_img read more

first_img Check out the incredible footage below! They say to be a goalkeeper; you have to have a unique mind-set (to put it politely).Think David James making saves without a ball, or former Crystal Palace Gabor Kiraly wearing those weird pyjama bottoms.But we have may just found the most bizarre of the lot.Check out the footage of this goalkeeper racing from his own penalty area in an attempt to head the ball.However, not only does he mistime the header quite spectacularly, he ends up slipping and letting the ball trickle into the back of the net.Check out the video below! 1center_img

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possible More Americans are active in religious groups than previously thought, and many others without ties to congregations still believe in God or a higher power, researchers found in a broad survey whose results were released Monday. They also found that many Christians whom others call “evangelical” reject that label and prefer to describe themselves as “Bible-believing” or “born again.” The survey was conducted by the Baylor University Sociology Department and the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion as the first in a series on the spiritual life of Americans. Researchers found that only 10.8 percent of Americans have no ties to a congregation, denomination or faith group. Previous surveys had put that figure at 14 percent, overlooking about 10 million people involved in some form of organized religion, the Baylor report said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_img160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – A trade group representing the nation’s manufacturers on Tuesday predicted a soft landing for the U.S. economy in 2007, despite expectations that residential real estate will act as a drag on growth. In its annual forecast, the National Association of Manufacturers forecast that industrial output would decelerate to a growth rate of 2.8 percent, or slightly below the 2.9 percent rate of expansion it expects for the overall economy. The manufacturing sector grew by 4.5 percent, on average, in 2006, while the U.S. economy expanded by 3.1 percent, according to the association. In looking back over the past year, the association said the country’s manufacturing expansion was “likely a cyclical peak in the pace of growth.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d seeThe association’s chief economist, David Heuther, said manufacturers in general would benefit from rising exports and increased business investment, though he cautioned that producers of wood and textile products, among others, would suffer from the slowdown in the housing sector. “After slowing to a below-potential pace in recent quarters, the economy will continue decelerating toward a soft landing in the coming year,” Heuther said. Heuther predicted that the nation’s slower economic growth would prompt the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates half a percentage point by the middle of next year. Declining housing prices, rising interest rates and high energy prices will dampen consumer spending, hurting motor vehicle manufacturers particularly hard, the report said. The Institute for Supply Management releases its December report on the nation’s manufacturing sector Jan. 2. The ISM’s manufacturing index for November showed that the sector had its first month of contraction since April 2003. last_img read more

first_imgESPN have announced the top 20 most famous athletes of 2019.The sports television outlet have come up with a formula that combines endorsements with social media following and the amount of internet searches on the athletes. Neymar is a star in Paris A serial winner in his prime, Federer is still going strong at the age of 37. He won his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last year.5. Conor McGregorEndorsements: $15millionSearch score: 100Social media following: 29.7million 21 LeBron James is commonly regarded as the best basketball player on the planet Novak Djokovic is the world’s No.1 male tennis player 21 21 Cricket legend Singh is still playing the sport at the age of 37. The all-rounder was a key performer in one-day internationals for India during the 2000s. In 2011, Singh helped India win the 2011 Cricket World Cup and was named the player of the tournament, but was diagnosed with cancer later that year. After making a full recovery, he made his playing return in March 2012.17. Serena WilliamsEndorsements: $18.11millionSearch score: 37Social media following: 10.8million McGregor was banned for six months and fined $50,000 for his part in the Nurmagomedov brawl. He is a former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion.4. NeymarEndorsements: $19millionSearch score: 55Social media following: 107.2million Stephen Curry is the only unanimous MVP in the history of basketball 21 21 Khabib Nurmagomedov is serving a lengthy ban The Spaniard is ranked as the world’s No.2 tennis player, behind Djokovic. He has had great battles with Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray in the past. Nadal has won the French Open an impressive 11 times.7. Virat KohliEndorsements: $20millionSearch score: 25Social media following: 37.1million Neymar became the world’s most expensive player after joining Paris Saint-Germain for £200million from Barcelona in 2017. He has won domestic trophies in France and Barcelona.3. Lionel MessiEndorsements: $28millionSearch score: 54Social media following: 103.1million He has been the captain of the India cricket team since 2013. He will be hoping to lead his country to success at this summer’s Cricket World Cup in England.6. Roger FedererEndorsements: $41.5millionSearch score: 23Social media following: 14.5million Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his hat-trick against Atletico on Tuesday Rafael Nadal’s career has been hampered with injury 21 21 Djokovic is regarded as one of the best tennis players of all time. He is currently the world’s No.1 men’s singles tennis player. The Serb has won 15 Grand Slam titles.19. Mesut OzilEndorsements: $6.5millionSearch score: 15Social media following: 30.9million 21 21 James is considered one as the world’s best basketball players at the moment. He is the fourth all-time scorer in NBA with 32,377 points.1. Cristiano RonaldoEndorsements: $37millionSearch score: 100Social media following: 148million 21 The list is based on three factors; 1) Endorsement dollars – sources range from ESPN and Forbes contributes, 2) Search score – measuring how often a name is searched on Google and taking a weighted average of an athlete’s Google Trends peak score and 3) Social media followers – using the number from their most popular lists the sportsmen who made ESPN’S top 20 most famous athletes of 2019.20. Novak DjokovicEndorsements: $22millionSearch score: 21Social media following: 8.5million MS Dhoni is a safe pair of hands behind the wicket Another basketball player, Curry is a three-time NBA champion with the Warriors. He is a lethal shooter and has been called one of the game’s best by fellow players.8. Rafael NadalEndorsements: $29.3millionSearch score: 40Social media following: 15.6million Legendary golfer Woods won his 80th PGA Tour title in September, which was his first since August 2013. He is considered one of the best golfers of all time.9. Stephen CurryEndorsements: $42millionSearch score: 12Social media following: 23million Ozil became Arsenal’s most expensive signing after joining in a £42.4million deal from Real Madrid in 2013. Now, he is Arsenal’s third-most expensive player in history, behind Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He won the 2014 World Cup with Germany and has three FA Cup winners’ medals, plus a La Liga title with Real Madrid.18. Yuvraj SinghEndorsements: $31millionSearch score: 1Social media following: 14.5million Pogba is very active on social media so it’s easy to see why he has such a huge following. He’s won titles with Juventus and domestic cups at Manchester United. Along with Griezmann and Mbappe, he was part of France’s World Cup-winning squad last summer.11. Kevin DurantEndorsements: $32millionSearch score: 9Social media following: 17.4million Yuvraj Singh is a legend in cricket Antoine Griezmann won the Europa League with Atletico Madrid last season Durant is one of the highest-earning basketball players in the world. He is a two-time NBA champion and represented the USA in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.10. Tiger WoodsEndorsements: $42millionSearch score: 20Social media following: 6.4million Paul Pogba is one of the Premier League’s best players 21 Serena Williams is passionate on the court Mesut Ozil has struggled for form under Arsenal boss Unai Emery this season 21 21 21 The prolific forward was France’s top scorer with six goals at Euro 2016 as his country lost to Portugal in the final. But Griezmann and France managed to bounce back two years later by winning the 2018 World Cup. He was the tournament’s second-highest scorer with four goals, two behind Golden Boot winner Harry Kane.15. Khabib NurmagomedovEndorsements: $3.9millionSearch score: 100Social media following: 13.4million Tiger Woods does not want to retire yet Andy Murray and Roger Federer have had some memorable games at Wimbledon The debate will never end between who is the world’s best footballer – Ronaldo or Messi? The former Manchester United and Real Madrid proved he’s still got it after scoring a hat-trick in Juventus’ 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League earlier this week. Is Lionel Messi the greatest player of all time? 21 Dhoni captained India between 2007 and 2016, including their 2011 Cricket World Cup victory. He is regarded as one of the world’s best wicket-keepers.12. Paul PogbaEndorsements: $32millionSearch score: 15Social media following: 30.7million Manchester United midfielder is on ESPN’s list 21 21 Kevin Durant fell out with the media earlier this year 21 Messi is viewed as one of the greatest footballers of all time. Since making his Barcelona debut in 2004, he has won nine La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies. Argentina’s failed attempts to win the World Cup have been Messi’s only blip on a hugely successful career.2. LeBron JamesEndorsements: $52millionSearch score: 47Social media following: 45.3million Conor McGregor is looking for his next major fight MMA fighter Nurmagomedov was handed a nine-month suspension and fined £500,000 after jumping the octagon fence and attacking Conor McGregor’s team in October. His fight with McGregor at UFC 229 had a record 2.4million pay-per-view buys.14. Kylian MbappeEndorsements: $18.87millionSearch score: 32Social media following: 23.5million Mbappe is tipped to be a future Ballon d’Or winner. At just 19 years of age, he played a crucial role in France’s World Cup win and scored in the final against Croatia.13. MS DhoniEndorsements: $28millionSearch score: 5Social media following: 20.5million Getty Images 21 Kylian Mbappe kisses the World Cup 21 21 The 37-year-old is a 23-time Grand Slam winner and is currently ranked at No.10 in the world. After her 2018 US Open defeat to Naomi Osaka, Williams was fined $17,000 by the Tennis Association after receiving three code violations, one which included verbal abuse towards the umpire.16. Antoine GriezmannEndorsements: $23millionSearch score: 20Social media following: 22.6million Virat Kohli might already be the greatest ODI batsman of all time last_img read more