Facing dire days of flooding Lake St Martin seeks higher ground

first_imgAPTN National NewsAmong the communities in crisis is a Manitoba First Nation facing record flood levels.Rising overland floodwaters from Lake Manitoba is destroying homes on Lake St. Martin First Nation.The community is located 300 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.And as APTN National News reporter Tiar Wilson tells us now, the struggle with the high water isn’t the only battle residents are facing.last_img

Yellowknife looking to draw drinking water from bay near toxic mine

first_imgAPTN National NewsWhen you turn on the taps in Yellowknife, you get clean, fresh water.Now the city has come up with a plan to change that.City politicians are looking at drawing Yellowknife’s drinking water downstream from a highly toxic mine site.APTN National News reporter Curtis Mandeville explains.last_img

Atlantic housing Overcrowding poor construction and long waiting lists

first_imgAPTN National NewsOn-reserve housing issues are wide ranging.From overcrowding to poor construction.From long waiting lists to nepotism.We begin our three part series to bring you perspectives on housing.In the Atlantic region, those involved in solving the housing equation say the answer is more money.With the story, here’s APTN’s Trina Roache.last_img

Face To Face Widia Lariviere discusses Canada 150 and Idle No Mores

first_imgFace To Face with Dennis WardWidia Lariviere is one of the co-founders of the Quebec chapter of Idle No More and was recently named as one of this year’s recipients of the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award.Lariviere joins Dennis Ward on Face to Face to discuss Canada 150 and Idle No More’s call to action planned for July 1st.last_img

Cree man describes false arrest and charges at Quebec inquiry

first_imgDanielle RochetteAPTN NewsNigel Bosum says he was camping in June 2016 when it started raining so he decided to head back home.Bosum hitched a ride from a man on an ATV driving by.“I asked him for a ride. I had my machete in my hand pulling my blanket over my shoulders holding the machete in my hand,” he testified Tuesday at the Quebec inquiry into the province’s relationship with Indigenous people.“And the police will describe me as I was holding a machete in a threatening manner.”He was arrested and jailed four days and charged.The charges were dropped two years later in December 2017.“After two years in the court system it was finally determined that the primary witness has been coerced by the local police force who pressed charges against me and when that came out the charges were just all dropped,” said Bosum.The 37-year-old father of two young boys served in the Canadian army for 10 years.His father, John-Phillip Bosum, testified as well.“I just do not understand the police harassment just because he was in the army he was considered dangerous,” he said. “To me I feel safer with my son having a gun than I would with a policeman in the community.”drochette@aptn.calast_img read more

Cree exhibit at Museum of History looks at the cultural importance of

first_imgAnnette FrancisAPTN NewsA unique Cree exhibition is on display at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., across the river from Ottawa.Visitors to the exhibit Footprints – A Walk Through Generations, are given a first hand look at the cultural importance of walking.“The reason why it’s called footprints is because it talks about how important walking is not only a physical thing, but its also a spiritual thing,” said Jean-Marc Blais, director general of the Canadian Museum of History.“And so this is a great discovery for most people coming to the museum here.”It’s the first travelling exhibition developed by the Cree Cultural Institute located in Ojebougoumou, Quebec, a Cree community about 750 kilometres north of Ottawa.The exhibit was done in collaboration with Elders from all ten Cree communities in northern Quebec.There are over 150 artifacts ranging from hunting and trapping tools, to mocassins, parkas and gloves.It’s an exhibition developed  by the Indigenous community, totally and this is something that we feel as a national museum that is so important for Canada now,” said Blais.“You cannot understand Canada without having exhibitions like this one, that tells the story from the people that actually live it.”The exhibition runs until November.afrancis@aptn.calast_img read more

Canada US authorities combine to probe alleged Alberta Ponzi scheme

first_imgRED DEER, Alta. – A central Alberta man has been charged in an alleged $10-million Ponzi scheme involving the purchase, sale and rental of mobile light towers to customers in Canada and the United States.RCMP say a 20-month investigation looked into allegations that the owner of Red Deer-based Silvertip Energy Inc., sold or rented towers with the same serial number to multiple investors and had also sold or rented units that were never manufactured.The alleged victims included five individual investors and four or more corporations in Canada and the U.S.Police seized documents related to investments and electronics from a home north of Red Deer on Dec. 19.Mounties say their Red Deer financial crimes unit worked closely with the United States Secret Service and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or FINTRAC, throughout the investigation.Joshua James Tenhove, who is 45, is to appear in a Red Deer courtroom on Jan. 15 on charges that include fraud over $5,000, one count of laundering the proceeds of crime and one of possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.Police said the five individual investors lost an estimated $4 million, while the corporations lost more than $6 million.“I believe this may be the largest fraud file we’ve seen in central Alberta,” financial crime unit member Const. William Lewadniuk said in a release.“The Red Deer RCMP’s cross-border collaboration with the U.S. Secret Service and our ongoing partnership with FINTRAC were vital to its successful conclusion.”The website for Red Deer-based Silvertip Energy lists Tenhove as president and displays solar-powered mobile lighting systems.FINTRAC is Canada’s financial intelligence unit. Its mandate is to facilitate the detection, prevention and deterrence of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities, while ensuring the protection of personal information under its control.last_img read more

UN reviews 206 firms over their links to Israeli settlements

first_imgGENEVA – The U.N. human rights office said Wednesday that 206 companies — mostly Israeli and American — are facing a review of their business practices involving Israeli settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.In a long-awaited report, the office said more resources were needed to handle the complex and unprecedented task of compiling what some critics call an unfair “blacklist” and a sign of anti-Israel bias at the U.N.Proponents insist that companies must be held accountable for their activities in the settlements, arguing that those actions can contribute to injustices against Palestinians.The governments of both Israel and the United States criticized the U.N. effort.The 16-page report, which does not cite companies by name, said the rights office still has work to do.The office said it had contacted 64 companies, but it would not identify any until all 206 companies had been contacted — and possibly not at all. Of those companies, 143 are based in Israel or the settlements and 22 in the United States. Of the 19 other countries linked to such companies, Germany is home to seven and the Netherlands to five.Ultimately, the rights office’s review could lead to a public naming and shaming of companies for their activities linked to the settlements and give an U.N. imprimatur to efforts championed by the “BDS” movement (boycott, divest and sanction), which has been primarily a grassroots campaign to pressure Israel through action against companies.“The violations of human rights associated with the settlements are pervasive and devastating, reaching every facet of Palestinian life,” the report said, citing restrictions on movement, freedom of religion, education and land ownership faced by Palestinians in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. “Businesses play a central role in furthering the establishment, maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements.”“Business enterprises may need to consider whether it is possible to engage in such an environment in a manner that respects human rights,” it said.Some 115 other companies were eliminated after an initial review.Israel and the United States have been sharply critical of a resolution passed by the 47-member Human Rights Council in March 2016 that paved the way for the review — the first of its kind. The resolution called on the rights office to create “database” of companies found to engage in any of 10 activities, either explicitly linked to the settlements or supportive of them.“I urge all sides to avoid misrepresenting the contents of this report, which has been produced in good faith on the basis of the mandate laid down by the Human Rights Council,” said Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. He said he hopes the database “will assist states and businesses in complying with their obligations and responsibilities under international law.”Israeli officials vowed to fight what they called a “blacklist,” with Israel’s ambassador saying the whole review process pointed to the council’s “moral bankruptcy” and alleged slant against the Jewish state.“We view the report, and the initiative as a whole, as fundamentally illegitimate,” said Aviva Raz Shechter, the Israeli ambassador in Geneva. “It is, in our view, outside the competence and the authority of the Human Rights Council … This is kind of another instrument to pursue a discriminatory and politically motivated agenda.”In Washington, the State Department lashed out at “such biased and politicized actions taken against Israel.”“We have not provided, and will not provide, any information or support to the Office of the High Commissioner in this process,” the U.S. statement said. “We strongly urge other countries to do the same.”Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said an Israeli and U.S. pressure campaign to block publication of the company names violates international law.“We call upon the secretary-general of the U.N. to publish the names of the companies that are doing business with the settlements,” he said. “Settlements are illegal according to international law and thus companies doing business with it should be known because what they are doing is illegal.”Advocacy group Human Rights Watch urged more resources for the rights office to continue its work.“Today’s report shows progress in identifying and communicating with companies that contribute to serious abuses in Israeli settlements in the West Bank,” said Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.Eugene Kontorovich, head of International Law at the Kohelet Policy Forum, a conservative think-tank in Jerusalem, said no international law was being violated by countries who do business in occupied lands, including in the settlements, and said Israel was being singled out unfairly.“The U.N. Human Rights Council is supposed to be about human rights, not Israeli wrongs, so to create a report just about Israel seems to go against its own mission,” he said.___Associated Press writers Josef Federman in Jerusalem and Tia Goldenberg in Tel Aviv contributed to this report.last_img read more

China approves 13 new Ivanka Trump trademarks in 3 months

first_imgSHANGHAI – Ivanka Trump’s brand continues to win foreign trademarks in China and the Philippines, adding to questions about conflicts of interest at the White House, The Associated Press has found.On Sunday, China granted the first daughter’s company final approval for its 13th trademark in the last three months, trademark office records show. Over the same period, the Chinese government has granted Ivanka Trump’s company provisional approval for another eight trademarks, which can be finalized if no objections are raised during a three-month comment period.Taken together, the trademarks could allow her brand to market a lifetime’s worth of products in China, from baby blankets to coffins, and a host of things in between, including perfume, makeup, bowls, mirrors, furniture, books, coffee, chocolate and honey. Ivanka Trump stepped back from management of her brand and placed its assets in a family-run trust, but she continues to profit from the business.“Ivanka Trump’s refusal to divest from her business is especially troubling as the Ivanka brand continues to expand its business in foreign countries,” Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in an email Monday. “It raises significant questions about corruption, as it invites the possibility that she could be benefiting financially from her position and her father’s presidency or that she could be influenced in her policy work by countries’ treatment of her business.”As Ivanka Trump and her father have built their global brands, largely through licensing deals, they have pursued trademarks in dozens of countries. Those global trademarks have drawn the attention of ethics lawyers because they are granted by foreign governments and can confer enormous value. Concerns about political influence have been especially sharp in China, where the courts and bureaucracy are designed to reflect the will of the ruling Communist Party.Chinese officials have emphasized that all trademark applications are handled in accordance with the law.“The brand has filed, updated, and rigorously protected its international trademarks over the past several years in the normal course of business, especially in regions where trademark infringement is rampant,” Abigail Klem, president of Ivanka Trump’s brand, said in an email. “We have recently seen a surge in trademark filings by unrelated third parties trying to capitalize on the name and it is our responsibility to diligently protect our trademark.”More approvals are likely to come. Online records from China’s trademark office indicate that Ivanka Trump’s company last applied for trademarks — 17 of them — on March 28, 2017, the day before she took on a formal role at the White House. Those records on Monday showed at least 25 Ivanka Trump trademarks pending review, 36 active marks and eight with provisional approval.The World Intellectual Property Organization’s brand database also shows that her company, Ivanka Trump Marks LLC, won three trademarks in the Philippines after her father took office. Two of them that cover clothing, including lingerie and baby clothes, were filed on Feb. 8, 2017, and registered in June and November. The third, filed on March 1, 2017, covers clothing and footwear and was registered in July.Companies register for trademarks for a variety of reasons. They can be a sign of corporate ambition, but in many countries, like China, where trademark squatting is rampant, companies also file defensively, to block copycats from grabbing legal rights to a brand’s name. Trademarks are classified by category and may include items that a company does not intend to market. Some trademark lawyers also advise clients to register trademarks for merchandise that is manufactured in China, even if it’s not sold there.Ivanka Trump does not have a large retail presence in China, but customs records show that the bulk of her company’s U.S. imports are shipped from China.The brand’s secretive Chinese supply chains have been the subject of some controversy. A year ago Monday, three men working for China Labor Watch, a New York-based non-profit group, were arrested while investigating labour abuses at Ivanka Trump suppliers in China. After thirty days in detention, they were released on bail, but continue to live under police surveillance.Li Qiang, the group’s founder, said Monday that he hopes bail will be lifted soon and that the case will not go to trial.Police in Ganzhou, the southeastern Chinese city where the men were detained, could not be reached for comment. The Chinese law firm that handles Ivanka Trump’s intellectual property in China also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.___Associated Press researcher Fu Ting contributed to this story from Shanghai.Follow Kinetz on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ekinetzlast_img read more

Halifax oil leak much larger than originally disclosed Nova Scotia Power says

first_imgHALIFAX – Nova Scotia Power says an oil leak at its Tufts Cove generating station involved 19,300 more litres of oil than originally disclosed.The utility had previously said that an oil leak was discovered Aug. 2 at the plant, with about 5,000 litres entering Halifax harbour.On Tuesday, it said another 9,400 litres of oil also entered the cooling water system of one of the generators, while 9,900 litres were captured in a containment trench at the 500-megawatt facility.“It was all contained within our property,” said Mark Sidebottom, the utility’s chief operating officer.He said they had previously told the provincial and federal environment departments that there were other, unspecified amounts of oil spilled.“We were very transparent about this. The most sensitive area is the harbour and that amount still stands,” he said in an interview.He said Nova Scotia Power wanted to confirm the amounts of oil spilled on its own property before sharing that information.“We wanted to make sure we could reconcile the volumes with the amount we had in the tanks.”He said the company told neighbours via telephone and other means Tuesday. There was no risk to neighbours’ properties from the other amounts spilled, he said.The utility, a subsidiary of Halifax-based Emera Inc., says about 50 per cent of the spill into the generator had been recovered, while 95 per cent of the other two amounts had been cleaned up.The cleanup will continue through to mid-September, “particularly as the efforts move into the more meticulous shoreline work,” the company said in a release.“In addition to the clean-up itself personnel are on-site actively monitoring for birds and mammals to shoo them away. They are using noisemakers as a deterrent to keep wildlife from the area — ensuring birds and mammals don’t become fouled with oil is a key priority,” the release said.It said containment booms will remain in the water near the plant as a precaution, and workers will monitor for any oil sheen.Officials have said the leak came from a thumb-sized hole in an exterior pipe that runs from “storage tanks along the harbour-side of the facility into the plant,” which is tucked in a small cove on the Dartmouth side of the busy harbour.The company said the three oil-fired units at Tufts Cove were commissioned in the 1960s and 1970s, and were converted to also burn natural gas in 1999-2000. Its two natural gas-fired combustion turbines were commissioned in 2003 and 2004.last_img read more

The Latest Landmark change to kilogram approved

first_imgVERSAILLES, France — The Latest on a scientific meeting on how to define weights and measures (all times local):1:35 p.m.The international system of measurements has been overhauled with new definitions for the kilogram and other key units.At a meeting in Versailles, France, countries have voted to approve the wide-ranging changes that underpin vital human activities like global trade and scientific innovation.The most closely watched change was the revision to the kilo, the measurement of mass.Until now, it has been defined as the mass of a platinum-iridium lump, the so-called Grand K, that is kept in a secured vault on the outskirts of Paris. It has been the world’s one true kilo, against which all others were measured, since 1889.It is now being retired and replaced by a new definition based on a scientific formula. In their vote, countries also unanimously approved updates to three other key units: the kelvin for temperature, the ampere for electrical current and the mole for the amount of a substance.The vote was greeted by sustained applause and cheers, after the 50-plus countries in attendance said yes or oui when asked one by one for their decision.___9:05 a.m.Humankind is about to sever one of the links between its present and its past.The so-called “Grand K” kilogram, a cylinder of polished platinum-iridium alloy that has been the world’s sole true kilo since 1889, is to be retired.Nations gathered in Versailles, west of Paris, are expected on Friday to instead approve the use of a scientific formula to define the exact weight of a kilogram.The change will have no discernable impact for most people. Their bathroom scales won’t get kinder and kilos and grams won’t change in supermarkets.But scientists are hailing the vote as a mini-revolution in the field of weights and measures, which underpins vital human activities like international trade.And it will mean redundancy for the Grand K and its six official copies.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Zimmer reprimands Facebook after CEO Zuckerberg declines to testify to committee

first_imgZimmer challenged Facebook to do more to protect Canadians’ privacy after hearing that of the 23 million Canadians who use Facebook, over 600,000 had their data compromised.“As chair of the committee, I think we’ve all appreciated the good parts of Facebook in connecting with loved ones and connecting with voters on a daily basis. I check Facebook regularly for my news,” added Zimmer. “Yet we task you with a deep responsibility of keeping Canadians’ data safe. I think this is one thing that is unique about this committee is that all parties are committed to do what we need to do to ensure that you keep Canadians’ data safe.” OTTAWA, O.N. – Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer reprimanded Facebook on Thursday after the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg declined to testify to parliamentary committee after 600,000 of the company’s users in Canada had their personal information compromised in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.Zimmer, who serves as Chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, spoke out criticizing Facebook executives for Zuckerberg’s decision not to testify before the committee.“I as chair and we as a committee don’t take lightly the fact that Mr. Zuckerberg declined to appear,” said Zimmer. Kevin Chan, Head of Public Policy for Facebook Canada, and Robert Sherman, Deputy Chief Privacy Officer for Facebook Inc., testified as part of the committee’s study on a breach of personal information involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.last_img read more

LNG Canada CEO says FID not affected by Trans Mountain debacle or

first_imgCalitz also cautioned that an FID isn’t a foregone conclusion, as each of the LNG Canada joint venture partners has at least four or five competing projects where they could spend money instead.The five joint venture partners are set to decide whether to build the complex by the end of this year.Story courtesy Bloomberg News: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-21/mega-lng-project-unaffected-by-pipeline-debacle-its-ceo-says VANCOUVER, B.C. – The CEO of LNG Canada says that a final investment decision for the joint venture’s proposed $40 billion liquified natural gas export terminal won’t be affected by either the nationalization of the Trans Mountain pipeline or trade tensions with the U.S.LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz spoke with Bloomberg News from Vancouver last week, saying that the overall conditions for Royal Dutch Shell to make a positive final investment decision are good.“That is, and feels, so very different to 2016 when the project was delayed,” said Calitz. LNG Canada, which is a joint venture led by Shell and includes Mitsubishi, Petronas, PetroChina Co., and Korea Gas Corp. as partners, delayed making an FID twice that year.Calitz said that since then, the project has become more competitive, reducing the price at which a unit of gas can be delivered to Asia by 6 percent.In the meantime, Shell released a report last winter which shows that global LNG demand is increasing, particularly from China and other Asian nations.“The Trans Mountain decision, impactful as it has been in Canada on the regulatory scene, has not in any way stopped the LNG Canada project, which is ongoing,” Calitz said.LNG Canada has sought an exemption from import tariffs on the approximately 140 steel modules for the project that need to be built in China.The Federal Court of Appeal – which is the same court that quashed Trans Mountain’s approval – is expected to issue a decision by the end of the month.last_img read more

BC Oil Gas Commission to launch Mediation Service Pilot Project

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The B.C. Oil & Gas Commission will be launching a new Mediation Service.According to OGC, the Mediation Service will provide an additional level of support for landowners in cases where landowners and companies are not able to agree on remedies for complaints and site restoration post permit.The Commission says they have identified a need when it comes to managing differences throughout the energy activity lifecycle. However, if external parties are unsure of whether they qualify for this service or not they can email mediation@bcogc.ca with additional questions. “Due to a broadening of the Commission’s role in engagement, the Commission has identified a need for support and processes to bridge existing services for stakeholders during the permitting process and managing differences throughout the full lifecycle of energy activities.”The Mediation Service will be:A confidential process with an experienced Commission mediatorIndependent of any Commission decision making.A no-cost service with no opportunity for funding.Available for landowners and industry who have issues within the Commission’s regulatory jurisdiction.According to OGC, this service contributes to the Commission’s values of transparency and responsiveness and respects those affected by energy resource development.The Commission will be launching the Mediation Service as a pilot project for one year and will then evaluate its effectiveness and demand.At this time the pilot project is restricted to landowners with activity on their property.In most cases, landowners and external parties will be referred by Commission employees, such as inspectors, who are familiar with the differences between the two parties and recognize mediation may be beneficial.last_img read more

Rahul most courageous man I know Wayanad take care of him Priyanka

first_imgNew Delhi: Asserting that her brother Rahul Gandhi is the “most courageous” man she knows, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday urged the people of Wayanad to “take care” of him. Her appeal to the people of Wayanad came after AICC president Rahul Gandhi filed nomination from the parliamentary constituency in Kerala. “My brother, my truest friend, and by far the most courageous man I know. Take care of him Wayanad, he won’t let you down,” Priyanka Gandhi tweeted. Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by his sister Priyanka Gandhi and senior Congress leaders including K C Venugopal and Mukul Wasnik, submitted the nomination papers before the District Collector A R Ajayakumar at the district headquarters in Kalpetta.last_img read more

Kalyan Singh Rajiv Kumar must resign after EC indictment Chidambaram

first_imgNew Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram Saturday said Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh and Niti Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar have no right to remain in office after their indictment by the Election Commission for poll code violation. The former finance minister’s tweet demanding the resignations of Singh and Kumar came after the EC pointed to model code of conduct violations by the two. On Friday, the EC expressed “displeasure” over the NITI Aayog vice chairman’s remarks against the Congress’ proposed minimum income scheme ‘NYAY’. Before that, the poll panel had on Monday concluded that Singh’s remarks supporting the return of Narendra Modi as prime minister were violative of the model code. “Governor Kalyan Singh and Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar must resign immediately. After the indictment by the Election Commission, they have no right to remain in office,” Chidambaram said on Twitter.last_img read more

Traders protest in Srinagar against suspension of crossLoC trade

first_imgSrinagar: Traders affected by the suspension of cross-LoC trade by the Centre held a protest march here in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir Monday.Scores of traders engaged in cross-LoC trade on the Uri-Muzaffarabad route took part in the march, demanding revocation of the suspension order, and sought a fool-proof mechanism for smooth operations. “Our demand from the very first day of the trade has been that a fool-proof mechanism be put in place. We have made huge investments and are suffering losses of crores of rupees. We appeal to the Ministry of Home Affairs to review the suspension order,” Hilal Ahmad, Cross-LoC Traders Association chairman, told reporters. Ahmad said the government should have held discussions with the traders before taking such a decision. “Our livelihood depends on this trade. Thousands of people are associated with it. They earn their livelihood and feed their families. This ban has rendered them unemployed,” he said. The Centre last week suspended cross-LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the routes were being misused by Pakistan-based elements. “The government of India has received reports that cross-LoC trade routes in Jammu and Kashmir are being misused by Pakistan based elements. This misuse involves illegal inflows of weapons, narcotics and currency,” an order issued by the Department of Jammu and Kashmir Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, said.last_img read more

A decade of Dominance

first_imgShining in the glory of ‘Eight in 11′, as was also inscribed on their jersey made specifically for the occasion, Camp Nou erupted into a frenzy as this season’s heroes completed their ornamental lap of honour – Barcelona had yet again made the extraordinary appear exceedingly ordinary. With the defeat of Levante at home, FC Barcelona wrapped up yet another league title with three games in hand. Cherishing one of the most comfortable positions in the long season, Barca now has to prepare for two finals with an eye on another milestone: A treble of trebles. Though this season seemed to be comfortably in its kitty, Barcelona had its nerves tested. Hammered by Betis, somehow snatching a point against Villareal with two injury-time strikes, Barca has pushed its way out of impending troubles through sheer commitment to brilliance. Eight stalemates and defeats to Betis and Leganes sure gave Barcelona a few hiccups in dominance; but thrashing potential title-contenders – Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid – along with other challenging teams of the league – Sevilla, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao – has emboldened the Catalans this season. Despite just two defeats this term and one in the last, Barca’s dominance has been underappreciated. Valverde’s men have only lost one important fixture – the UCL quarter-final second leg in Rome last year – that cost them a trophy and eclipsed all other achievements. Eight La Liga titles and seven Copa del Rey cups – with another final against Valencia due on May 25 – draw a perfect picture of Barca’s domestic reign reflecting the Catalans’ era of dominance. But, the recent drought in Europe seems to have eroded some glitter. Nevertheless, in the past decade, Barca has registered three Champions League triumphs, with two of those being trebles and one being converted into a historic Sextuple (2009) – six trophies in a calendar year. Unlike Juventus, Bayern, PSG, who have portrayed a similar dominance in their respective leagues – in Spain, Barcelona has always been challenged by a tremendous competitor in Real Madrid, with Atlético Madrid often being a party spoiler, especially after having snatched the title from Barca on the last matchday in 2013-14. Real Madrid has scripted their own supremacy, winning an unprecedented three consecutive UCL trophies under their enigmatic coach Zinedine Zidane. Obviously, Real did not meet Barca in any of the UCL seasons in a decade, technically implying that Barca did not lose out on the UCL-conquering Madrid directly but failed to win it due to its own shortcomings. Having set the standard so high – two trebles and a Sextuple – Barca’s domestic double is often dubbed as a consolation prize to many who view the Catalan side as a potentially all-conquering club. Game-changer Back in 2008, when Barca appointed ex-captain Pep Guardiola as manager, it didn’t appear that he would bring about a phenomenal change, enforcing Barca’s metamorphosis into a massive powerhouse capable of unlocking defences just by precise passing and possession. Pep changed football in this context and is solely responsible for influencing Barca in a way that has defined much of its illustrious decade. Pep’s philosophy drew comparisons to his coach and legendary player Johan Cryuff’s Total Football tactic that had sealed Cryuff as the most successful Barca manager, winning 11 trophies in his eight-year spell at the helm with his famous Dream Team. But while Cryuff is credited with incorporating pressing and possession in the game, Pep deserves credit for redefining the modern game by reinterpreting his coach’s philosophy. Tiki-taka – a sophisticated combination of possession and pressing that are synchronised through elaborate positional play had deprived the opponents of a counter just as Barca began scripting history. The ball-playing technique and pressing which Guardiola’s footballers championed are dominant features of the modern game today with teams actively shifting to offensive pressing while utilising open spaces in the field. UEFA’s own technical reports even describe this gameplay as “the Guardiola effect”. Guardiola’s approach would have scaled his mentor’s success graph but it pierced through the threshold and scripted a new record only due to one additional alteration that he made in that all-conquering Barca side – the decision to play a young Lionel Messi as False-9. With pass masters Xavi and Iniesta by his side, the trio did not need wingers for an advanced attack. The masterplan Pep crafted with these three was enough to make Barca formidable if not unbeatable. And, as they say, the rest is history. Barca has a haul of 14 trophies with the Sextuple to its name under him. The glittering decade All three ex-Barca captains later appointed as coach in this decade have one thing in common. All of them won the La Liga at least twice and all stuck to Barca’s grassroots gameplay of possession. Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde had different teams than Pep but the ideology has remained similar. Tiki-taka gradually diminished with Xavi and Iniesta exiting the fray but Pep’s evolution of Messi is the greatest gift Barca may ever have. It gave Barca a decade of unprecedented success, spreading palpable fear among opponents. Pep set a precedent that Barca has carried for over a decade. Winning 34 trophies in the past 15 seasons points to the recent success in footballing history cherished by Barca, and a big acknowledgement of that sits deservingly on their talisman – Lionel Messi. His tenth league title, with a sixth UCL trophy almost in sight, takes us back to the talisman’s speech at the curtain-raiser Joan Gamper match where he addressed Camp Nou and promised to bring back European success after Barca had been humiliated and kicked out of last year’s UCL by Roma in a disastrous ending. Netting 48 goals and setting up 22 more in 46 matches (so far this season), Messi has been as instrumental in Barca’s success as he has been in every season of this glittering decade. Though quality players of the club have departed one after another and the team has changed drastically since 2008, Barca’s philosophy and Lionel Messi have not dimmed the fire sparked by Pep. Likes of Busquets and Pique have also stepped up their game since last season to provide a comprehensive effect and traverse the road to a potential treble. New summer signings in Arthur, Vidal, Coutinho, Dembélé and Lenglet has given Barca the edge it lacked since the departure of Neymar two seasons ago. Suarez and Messi have been at their attacking best while Ter Stegen has been sharp with deadly instincts to provide match-winning saves. Barcelona has been striving to achieve the UCL trophy and their domestic dominance just reflects the willingness to go all the way.last_img read more

Seven French fighter jets make emergency landing in Indonesia

first_imgBanda Aceh (Indonesia): Poor weather has forced seven French navy fighter jets taking part in a training exercise to make emergency landings in northern Indonesia. Local air force base commander Col. Hendro Arief says the crews of seven Dassault Rafale combat planes landed safely at Sultan Iskandar Muda air force base in Aceh province on Saturday, 90 minutes after taking off from their aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Indian Ocean. Arief says the jets were holding a training exercise outside of Indonesian territory when bad weather forced them to land while returning to their carrier, which was about 100 nautical miles west of Sumatra island.last_img read more