The Senate has passed H 446, An Act Relating to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. H 446 creates standard offer rates to encourage the rapid development of renewable energy technologies. Rates are based on today s costs and as the technology progresses, rates will be decreased. The Vermont Public Service Board will review and reset the rates every two years. A controversial piece of the bill is that the Legislature is de facto setting electric rates, which has been the responsibility of the Public Service Board through the rate review process the PSB goes through with each utility.The bill sets the rates as:For a plant using methane derived from a landfill or an agricultural operation, $0.12 per kWh.For a plant using wind power that has a plant capacity of 15kW or less, $0.20 per kWh.For a plant using solar power, $0.30 per kWh.Currently, new plants are limited in size to no larger than 2.2 megawatts and the total program is capped at 50 megawatts. The legislation requires the utilities to accept these contracts. It also contains provisions mandating the state’s Public Service Board to set prices for these contracts based on generation costs for “rapid development,” and not rate payer costs or least cost principles. Implementing standard rates for renewable energy sources will jumpstart the development of renewable energy projects across Vermont, said Senator Peter Shumlin. This bill will expand the renewable energy industry in Vermont and create good paying jobs for Vermonters. The bill also encourages the development of wind energy on state lands. Despite the fact that a number of state owned sites appropriate for wind energy have been identified, the Douglas Administration prohibits any wind energy from being developed on state lands. H 446 allows for the exploration, in conjunction with the Agency of Natural Resources, of wind energy on these state lands. The legislation directs the Agency of Natural Resources to review various proposals for wind on state lands and report their findings to the legislature in January, 2010. As Vermont moves toward cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy, it is critical that wind be a part of the mix, said Senator Lyons, Chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. This bill calls for the Agency of Natural Resources to consider the development of wind on state owned land.The comprehensive energy bill also includes provisions to reduce businesses energy efficiency costs. The legislation allows companies that have contributed at least $75,000 into the state s efficiency fund to institute self managed efficiency programs. It is imperative during these tough economic times that we help Vermont businesses in every way we can, said Senator Shumlin. This bill will save many Vermont businesses money by allowing them to craft their own efficiency programs.Sources: State Senate, Vermont Chamber of Commerce. May 5, 2008
By Marcos Ommati/Diálogo November 06, 2017 Diálogo spoke with Brazilian Navy Admiral Ademir Sobrinho about the main challenges he faces as chief of the Brazilian Armed Forces, such as cyberdefense, combating transregional crime, and other relevant issues.Diálogo: What are your priorities as chief of Defense of the Brazilian Armed Forces?Brazilian Navy Admiral Ademir Sobrinho, chief of Defense of the Brazilian Armed Forces: Without a doubt, it’s to achieve full interoperability in the [Brazilian] Armed Forces’ joint operations. The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the [Brazilian] Armed Forces was created seven years ago . In a few short years, we’ve made substantial progress in our pursuit of such interoperability, moving forward slowly but steadily. We still have a long way to go to achieve and adopt full interoperability. It’s a path that depends not only on winning the hearts and minds of our personnel—in each branch of service as well as in the Joint Chiefs of Staff—but also on developing the tools, doctrine, and procedures to allow us to fully address this priority.Diálogo: What is needed for that to happen?Adm. Sobrinho: We need to do the following:Understand our traditions, our idiosyncrasies, and the customs of each branch of the service. They have their own characteristics, steeped in nearly two centuries of tradition for the Army and Navy, and more than 70 years for the Air Force;Let Armed Forces personnel understand that, although we’re a new body that seeks to improve or at least modify our age-old habits and procedures, we’re doing so with the ideal of an evolution in the use of the Armed Forces. The joint use of the Armed Forces is a reality in today’s world, and one of our most important daily struggles;Integrate macroprocesses of logistics, while respecting the intrinsic processes of the Armed Forces;Finish our studies on “Capacity-Based Planning” and the “Reformulation of Military Defense Policy, Strategy, and Doctrine,” which are essential documents to review and update the “Armed Forces Structure and Equipment Plan” as we seek to meet our defense needs within our budgetary constraints in a changing domestic and international setting;Finish developing the tools and systems that will truly allow us to have full interoperability, such as software-defined radio, data link, identification systems, and an image fusion and sensor operating system that will also address the needs of other government agencies, etc.;Create a mentality, by developing a doctrine and acquiring a capacity for field medicine that will offer a greater sense of security and assistance for our service members on the front lines and which may also help in civil defense operations;Increase the use of classification systems for equipment of the Armed Forces—especially new ones—and the defense industry; and adopt NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] methods to manage systems’ life cycles.Diálogo: The theme of the 2017 South American Defense Conference (SOUTHDEC) held in Lima, Peru, was “Facing Global Challenges.” Speaking more specifically about South America, what challenges are these?Adm. Sobrinho: At SOUTHDEC 2017, there was unanimity about the need to strengthen our bonds in the fight against transregional and cross-border crimes. This is a big challenge that was outlined at the conference, and it was the topic of the first three panel discussions of the delegations. Some examples of transregional threats were extremist groups’ actions, narcotrafficking activities, transnational crime, and criminal networks. Another challenge addressed was the role of the armed forces in cyberdefense of strategic infrastructure. We need to develop ways to increase our situational awareness and mechanisms to decrease threats to critical infrastructure. The solutions were to adapt, find means for cooperation and information networks. The third and final challenge addressed the participation of armed forces in disaster management and in response to partner nations, which consists of establishing a regional protocol to coordinate requests from affected countries and optimize humanitarian aid. Each country must have its own risk and disaster management center to allow for communication with regional coordination centers and focus on priorities. The importance of regional synergy for armed forces to face new challenges was a constant theme of the discussions.Diálogo: Speaking of challenges, how do frequent contingency budgets and limits forecasted on spending for the federal government impact the Brazilian Armed Forces’ operations?Adm. Sobrinho: Without question, controlling the federal expansion in public spending will impact the Armed Forces’ activities. The Armed Forces are already developing and even adopting actions to mitigate budget impacts, such as downsizing personnel through troop reduction and increasing the number of temporary-duty service members; concentrating administrative and bureaucratic functions of military organizations located in the same area; and dissolving military units.Diálogo: Could the financial crisis that Brazil is going through have an effect on joint military exercises with partner nations in the region and with the United States?Adm. Sobrinho: The Armed Forces are paying close attention to the nation’s financial crisis, and they have pulled out all the stops to maximize the use of resources to adjust to the economic reality. As such, the budget forecast, which the contingency budget impacts, provides for Brazil’s participation—although not at the desired level—in missions with our various partner nations, including the United States, in military exercises like PANAMAX and other operations conducted jointly with the armed forces of this region.Diálogo: Why is it important to work with other armed forces in the region and with the United States?Adm. Sobrinho: International relations are the basis of mutual trust and increase partnerships, knowledge, and experience exchanges, among other things. For national development and regional stability, it’s essential that the Brazilian Armed Forces, as an instrument to support diplomacy and cooperation, work with the nations of South America, to seek harmony and face common threats. The United States is a longstanding strategic partner. We’ve been working together since the beginning of the last century. The United States was the first nation to recognize our independence. It also provides substantial help in the area of cooperation, strengthens the bonds of friendship, and makes it possible to achieve regional interests in terms of development and security.Diálogo: Why is it important for Brazil to participate in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions?Adm. Sobrinho: Brazil’s participation in peacekeeping missions under the auspices of the United Nations offers unparalleled opportunities to the Brazilian government, notable among them:Project Brazil on the international scene, from its cooperation with the UN, in the pursuit of international peace and security;Help mitigate the suffering of people in disaster-stricken areas due to earthquakes or hurricanes, through humanitarian assistance;Have Brazilian troops conduct training exercises and develop interoperability with other nations’ forces in real-world situations;Improve operational systems—logistics particularly;Develop a doctrine of employment and update procedures and practices in the work with international organizations and in interagency operations; andIncrease professional training and motivation of military personnel by participating in real-world operations within the context of peacekeeping missions.Diálogo: What are the main takeaways from the Brazilian Armed Forces’ participation in the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics?Adm. Sobrinho: The first big lesson concerns the need to keep our command and control assets up to date and operational, as their importance for decision-making and implementation was made evident during operations at both large events. The Armed Forces’ participation in the large events also allowed for the acquisition of knowledge and experience applicable in various situations involving troops, with substantial operational benefits. So, we have seen improvements in all our operational systems, especially in command and control, intelligence, and logistics. Nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological defense operations, as well as cyber defense and the prevention and response to terrorist attacks, represent areas where Defense has made significant advancements. Another great legacy was the knowledge acquired through interaction and cooperation between military and government agencies, which was decisive for our success at those large events, and served as a reference for future intelligence operations.Diálogo: How do you see the Brazilian Armed Forces’ participation in the current operations in the favelas [slums] and other critical areas in Rio de Janeiro?Adm. Sobrinho: Article 142 of the Brazilian Constitution sets forth the Armed Forces’ mission, specifying that they are to defend the nation, uphold constitutional powers, and, through the initiative of any of those branches, maintain law and order. The support of the Armed Forces to the state of Rio de Janeiro was at the request of the state government with the president’s [of Brazil] approval, and in compliance with legal requirements. The Armed Forces’ actions are included in the National Public Safety Plan and are sporadic operations of occasional and episodic nature that take place in restricted areas over limited periods, where public safety agencies’ assets in the state are insufficient.Diálogo: Are the Brazilian Armed Forces using these operations to foster more human rights awareness among service members?Adm. Sobrinho: The Brazilian Armed Forces are and have been for a long time this nation’s most credible institution. Brazilian society understands that the Armed Forces’ actions are based on legal precepts guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution. All the rights and responsibilities provided in the Magna Carta are and will always be respected by every member of the military. Service members are aware of their duty to the Constitution regardless of the operation carried out. Human rights are part of the curriculum at Armed Forces academies, and service members, at different levels, understand early on the importance of this issue. Our GLO [Law and Order Assurance] operations are established rules of engagement that guide each service member and also address proper use of force, applied only as a last resort, proportional to the hostile act and in accordance with the principles established by law. All service members sent on GLO missions are trained to treat the public with courtesy and respect and to protect human dignity, including that of people who disturb the peace.
30 Oct 2012 COBRA PUMA gift supports get into golf activities Sporting goods company COBRA PUMA GOLF has given hundreds of golf clubs to support England’s County Golf Partnerships (CGPs) as they work to encourage more people to get into golf. The company has donated over 200 packs, each of four seven-irons, to be used by beginners at tasters and follow-on coaching sessions with PGA professionals. The clubs are going to 23 of the country’s CGPs, which work to grow the game at grass roots level. The CGP network is an integral part of the England Golf Partnership’s (EGP) Whole Sport Plan for golf and part of its vision to make England the world’s leading golf nation. COBRA PUMA GOLF already supports England Golf’s GolfMark Club of the Year Award, which recognises clubs which make an outstanding and innovative contribution to junior and beginner golf. Ian Barrett, EMEA Marketing Manager for COBRA PUMA GOLF said: “We are delighted to further our support for England Golf, and particularly the County Golf Partnerships as they work very hard to get more people of all ages into the game. “Our philosophy at COBRA PUMA GOLF is very much about getting people to enjoy golf. By supporting important programmes like this, which are influential in the development of grass roots golf, we look forward to working in partnership to help grow the game and provide opportunities for the bright stars of the future.” Richard Flint, England Golf’s Development Manager, commented: “This is a wonderful gesture by COBRA PUMA GOLF and their gift will be of great benefit to our County Golf Partnerships and to the growing number of people who are having a go at golf.” All CGPs offer activities, such as taster sessions and coaching programmes, to attract beginners and returners to the game, particularly those aged 16 and over. Each partnership has a development officer and they build strong relationships with local golf clubs, ranges and PGA professionals. A number of partnerships are starting to work with their local universities, colleges and businesses to create even more interest in golf. This year their activities have been highlighted by the promotional Get into golf campaign.
She is among 30 Democratic women in Monmouth running for local, county or state office in 2019, a fact celebrated at the county’s Democratic Women’s Caucus during its seventh annual fundraiser Sept. 19 at Branches Catering in West Long Branch. The guest list included state Assemblywoman Joann Downey, freeholder candidate Moira Nelson, Atlantic Highlands Mayor Rhonda LeGrice and many others. The event, raising campaign funds to support female candidates from Monmouth who attended the fundraiser, was expected to bring in around $15,000. “I’ve known for quite some time that I wanted to run for office,” said Nelson, who wore a shirt with the message “the future is female” on the front. “And this felt like the right time. My roots are here in Monmouth County.” The night’s celebration marked the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote. Many in the crowd wore white in honor of the suffragettes. “There should be more women,” Lo Sapio said. “That’s why I’m glad that our lieutenant governor (Sheila Oliver) is a woman and a woman of color. Change takes time. Just because people are Democrats doesn’t mean they’re always right.” “I remember looking for the Democratic people…when I moved here because I was always a Democrat since I was in high school,” she said. “Isn’t that wonderful?” she said of all the women running in Monmouth this year. “Oh, I think it’s fabulous.” In retrospect, she said, her time in public office was “a learning experience.” Rosenbloom grew up in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn and then later the Bronx, in a neighborhood that was a short walk to Yankee Stadium, before meeting her husband and moving to New Jersey in 1946. Four Democratic women – Downey, Malini Guha, Allison Friedman and Barbara Singer – are running for seats in the state Assembly. Nelson is the only candidate for countywide office, while the rest are running for municipal office around Monmouth. “We’re raising funds because women need to have resources,” said the Rev. Veverly Wyche, chair woman of the caucus. “And so our mission is education, empowerment and economic resources.” Aimee Humphreys, the co-chair woman of the caucus, recalled running for Fair Haven Council in 2014, when she was in her mid-60s. She said she never expected to run for office, but her victory that year made her the first Democrat in a quarter of a century to a win a seat on the governing body of Fair Haven. Among those candidates is Nelson, who grew up in Monmouth County, moved away and then returned. Now a resident of Asbury Park, she is running for one of the two freeholder seats up for grabs. Over her 93 years, she raised a family, practiced law and continued to stay active in politics, even serving as a delegate to the 1976 Democratic national convention, where Jimmy Carter was nominated for president. Rosenbloom, honored at the fundraiser with the women’s suffrage award, said she is a Democrat “because I believe in their policies.” “Women have kind of been left out of the whole process a lot,” said Lucille Lo Sapio, a candidate for Hazlet Township Committee. “And maybe things would be better right now if we had more women” in office, she said. “We believe that we are strong leaders and that we are mothers, we are teachers, we’re educators, we are those who organize in the community,” she said. “And so we believe that it’s our time to rise and be leaders.” Norma Rosenbloom was active in Democratic politics in Monmouth County for decades, until she finally decided she would run for political office this year in Shrewsbury. “We need more female representation,” Nelson said when asked about the state of women in politics in New Jersey. “We need more women at all levels of government.” The Monmouth County Democratic Women’s Caucus gathered to show support for candidates with local roots. The event also celebrated the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Among the attendees were Veverly Wyche, left, caucus chair, former Fair Haven councilwoman Aimee Humphreys; honoree Norma Rosenbloom and Assemblywoman JoAnn Downey (D-11).Photo by Philip Sean Curran In 2018, a record number of women, more than 100, were elected to Congress, including two from New Jersey, incumbent Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12) and newcomer Mikie Sherill (D- 12). Yet in a deep blue part of the country where Democrats control all the levers of state government, political power in New Jersey is squarely in the hands of men, namely the governor, the state Senate president and the speaker of the Assembly. Rosenbloom said she is not expecting to win her race in a Republican stronghold. But her message, she said, is to encourage fellow women to run for office and run again if they lose the first time. By Philip Sean Curran “It’s time for women to have their place and their voice,” she said. At 93 years old. She said the caucus has been growing ever since its founding in 2012. She attributed that to “women having a desire to get up and be leaders.”
The Nelson Leafs scored three times in the first eight minutes of the game to edge the Grand Forks Border Bruins 3-2 in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action Tuesday at the NDCC Arena.The win improves Nelson’s season record to 3-0-1-1 and leapfrogs the Green and White past Spokane into top spot in the Neil Murdoch Division.The Leafs got all the scoring in the first 7:56 of the game.Patrick Croome backhanded a Nolan Percival centering pass past Jake Mullen less than two minutes into the game to give Nelson a 1-0 lead. Jay Sidhu scored his second goal of the season seconds later on the power play before Michael Crawford knotched his first as a Leafs a short time later, also on the power play.Mitchell Pearson, in the first frame, and Graham Watkins, in the middle period, replied for the Bruins who were out shot 28-21 by Nelson.Brett Soles registered the win in goal for Nelson while Mullen took the loss for the Bruins.Nelson continues its home stand with a pair games at the NDCC Arena Friday against Kimberley Dynamiters and Sunday with Sicamous Eagles as the visitors.Meanwhile Grand Forks, 2-5, hosts Spokane Friday in the Boundary City. Game time is 7 p.m.GAME NOTES: Leafs rookie defenceman Cody Paivarinta did not play against Grand Forks due to an upper body injury. . . .Max Newton, the KIJHL scoring leader with 12 points, was held off the scoresheet Tuesday. . . . Leaf goalie Brett Soles won his third straight game of the season and sits second overall in league netminder standings.
Click HERE if you’re unable to view the gallery on your mobile device.SAN DIEGO–With a tie game and the go-ahead run at third base, Giants manager Bruce Bochy called for an intentional walk so his pitcher could face a slugger who became the first free agent to sign a $300 million contract in major league history.Seriously.Bochy’s seventh inning gamble set up a bases-loaded matchup between Giants reliever Sam Dyson and Padres third baseman Manny Machado, who led all of baseball in batted …
Women’s college basketball: Humboldt 72 Cal State LA 70Alexia Thrower made a layup with 15 seconds remaining to break a 70-70 tie and lift the Humboldt State women’s basketball team to a 72-70 win over Cal State LA, Saturday night at Lumberjack Arena.Thrower led Humboldt (4-1, 2-0) with a monster stat line — 23 points and 15 rebounds — and played every minute of Saturday’s CCAA conference game.Tyra Turner, in her second game back from injury, played all 40 minutes as well and scored a …
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Don “Doc” SandersThere’s an exciting world out there when it comes to vaccines and their ability to protect us and our animals from disease.Most of you likely are aware that a vaccine, when given at the appropriate time and by the correct route, stimulates the immune systems of people and animals. We have vaccines for tetanus, whooping cough, polio, classical swine fever (hog cholera), many strains of salmonella (in animals), Rota virus, some Corona viruses in pigs and calves, distemper, rabies, Herpes I virus in cattle and horses…the list goes on and on.However, there isn’t a vaccine for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer. This disease causes a gradual wasting away of body reserves, drooling, stumbling and incoordination, swallowing difficulty and eventually death. CWD is not caused by a virus or bacteria, but rather what might appear to be a harmless protein, called a prion. Prions settle in the brain, where they multiply. This causes some of the normal prion proteins to refold into an abnormal shape, leading to CWD.The immune system doesn’t recognize prions as dangerous, so there is no immune response mounted against them. As a result, CWD is becoming epidemic in deer in many states. While CWD has been minimal in Ohio, other states such as Wisconsin and Michigan have major concerns because of high numbers of cases diagnosed in deer bagged during hunting season. Deer diagnosed with the disease are destroyed. They should never be consumed.Prions cause a similar disease in cows that you may know as mad cow disease. Prions also cause a brain-destroying disease in people, called Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD). CJD was first described infecting humans in about 1920 in Europe. In 1996, a variant CJD strain of prions was described in cattle. Ultimately mad cow disease was linked to feeding meat by-products from mad cow disease-infected cattle. Mad cow disease was very prevalent in Europe in the ‘90s and was considered an epidemic at the time. The original prion disease, CJD, was diagnosed in people a half century before a different but similar disease was recognized in cattle. The newly diagnosed strain infecting cows was a variant strain of CJD and was named mad cow disease. Mad cow disease has since been diagnosed in people a few times.The good news is that a vaccine is in early development to prevent CWD. This prion vaccine has been proven to delay the onset of prion infection in mice. Since mice have very short lives, the vaccine now needs to be tested on deer. The next challenge will be to develop an oral form of the vaccine that can be placed in deer bait stations.Can a prion vaccine also be developed for humans? It certainly looks like a strong possibility, based on the recent advances.Another major disease concern is African Swine Fever (ASF) in pigs. The U.S. has never had ASF, but the disease would have a very serious impact here if it ever reached us. You may have read about this deadly swine disease as it sweeps across China and other areas of Asia and Russia. Within three to four days on contracting ASF, 90% of infected hogs die. ASF does not infect humans or other animals — just swine.While primarily contagious by direct contact with infected pigs, the disease spread like wildfire as Chinese pig farmers shipped infected hogs for slaughter and processing. Tourists also play a role is the disease’s spread when they smuggle specialty pork products in their luggage as they’re returning home from infected countries. Recently, nearly a million pounds of infected Chinese pork and noodles were intercepted at the U.S. border with the help of import inspection dogs.The U.S. pork industry and the USDA are on edge because of the great risk of infected meat being brought into the country in luggage or food. When this happens (and it likely will), it will throw the U.S. into an unimaginable turmoil. Major quarantines will be set up around infected areas, and transportation will be restricted in and out of these areas. It won’t be just pig farmers who are inconvenienced. All of us will be.The good news is that Huvepharma, a pharmaceutical company in Bulgaria, has developed an ASF vaccine. The vaccine is proving effective in early trials. The USDA had granted a provisional license for its use while further validation is performed.In general, vaccines contribute positively to us and also our animals’ health. Yet, in the U.S. there is a group of people, the “anti-vaxxers,” who decline to get their children vaccinated against common childhood diseases.We need to understand that no vaccine is 100% effective. Nor is any vaccine without risk of allergic reactions. Yet, weighing the benefits of vaccination versus the slight possibility of a reaction is a no-brainer. Pseudo-medical activists, however, claim many sorts of ailments related to the ingredients used to make vaccines. Most of these claims originate out of the south end of a bull headed north.One claim of anti-vaxxers is that the measles vaccine causes autism in children. Science has disproven this. When autism occurs, vaccinations are the first thing blamed, rather than considering the possible effect of women having children later in life — which is known to be a contributing factor. Late-in-life pregnancies result from fertilization of mature, late-ovulating eggs, which have been shown related to autism and defects in the DNA code in the ovulated eggs. Genetics also appear to be involved.Contracting measles poses health risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms can include high fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes, and a rash. And for some people, complications can range from ear infections and diarrhea to more severe complications, such as pneumonia and encephalitis, a swelling of the brain, which may require hospitalization and can result in deafness, mental retardation and even death.So, anti-vaxxers, give us a break. Vaccinate your children and reduce the risk of a larger epidemic of measles sweeping our country — and protect your children from other preventable diseases.
It should give the old codgers a coronary. Sourav Ganguly leads India in the Test series against New Zealand this month just one Test victory short of equalling Mohammed Azharuddin’s record as the most successful Indian captain. Ganguly took over in mid-2000 during a difficult period post-match fixing and has,It should give the old codgers a coronary. Sourav Ganguly leads India in the Test series against New Zealand this month just one Test victory short of equalling Mohammed Azharuddin’s record as the most successful Indian captain. Ganguly took over in mid-2000 during a difficult period post-match fixing and has led India in 30 Tests with 13 wins, 8 losses and 9 draws to Azhar’s 14 wins, 14 defeats and 19 draws from 47 Tests. In one-dayers, Ganguly has 43 wins from 82 matches, while Azhar had 89 from 173. The controversial and confrontational left hander from Bengal tells Associate Editor Sharda Ugra about the pains and pleasures of the toughest job in Indian sport.Sourav Ganguly’I get the feeling that every player in this team believes injustice won’t be done to him which is a huge thing in a dressing room.’Q. In four of their last five away series, the Indians have gone into the final Test with a chance to win but haven’t. Will New Zealand be different? A. It’s my one aim, my dream to win a series overseas. We have come close so many times now – the talk of 16 years and no away series wins goes on and it can be irritating, but cricket’s not about talk, not about ifs and buts.Until we do it, such talk will remain. New Zealand will be a tough side at home. But my team has a lot of talent. I haven’t been part of an Indian team that has so much talent and I’m being frank here.Q. You’re now one short of Mohammed Azharuddin’s record of most Test wins by an Indian captain. When did the possibility of breaking that record strike you? A. When I started I didn’t know whether I would survive as captain. You don’t start a career thinking about statistics, but now when you’re close to a record like this, you feel good. But every win is a team effort. You feel good because the players you have backed through thick and thin have delivered the goods. It’s a very satisfying feeling.Q. India may have had a good year. But where are we in relation to Australia? What would happen if we toured Australia for a Test and one-day series now? A. Australia are still the No. 1 Test team. In one-day cricket we are at par with the best team in the world, which is still Australia. Australia are formidable, but I think we have played well in all conditions recently, in England, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. Last year we had a lot of injuries that hampered our campaigns abroad.Q. But where is your team in the rankings at the moment? A. I don’t believe in rankings. Sometimes the rankings surprise me. I don’t think it’s fair to judge a team on the basis of rankings. This year we’ve lost one series in the West Indies and a one-day series at home, but other than that we’ve won everything and we drew the Test series in England.Q. How would you say your captaincy has changed? A. It is a job you grow into. Any captain will take some time to settle down. Nobody is an outstanding leader straightaway. When I became captain we had a very young team. It was a bit difficult to get them to combine but we managed to do that by retaining the same team for a certain span of time.advertisementI’m a much better captain now I think, more mature I hope. I analyse situations much better. Fatherhood has changed me, I’ve become more patient. When you get back home and see your daughter smile, you forget whether you had a good day or a bad day.Q. What’s been the trademark of your captaincy? A. More than winning Tests and winning overseas, I feel that every player in this team believes injustice won’t be done to him. Which I think is a huge thing in a dressing room.Q. Knowing Indian cricket from the inside, did you think you could change things when you took over? A. Definitely. I believed I could. At this level you have to feel you can make things happen. I got a lot of confidence when I led the team in the ICC Trophy in Kenya. The way we played made me feel I could turn things around with this side.When I led in Toronto in 1999 we didn’t have Sachin Tendulkar, Ajay Jadeja, Javagal Srinath, Azhar and Anil Kumble, yet we still beat a full-strength West Indies that had Courtney Walsh, Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.Q. You’re considered a seamer-friendly rather than a spinner-friendly captain, which is not common among Indians. A. No, not really. It depends on the surface. This year in England we played two spinners for the most part of the series. Except at Lord’s, where I thought I made a mistake by playing only one spinner. I didn’t expect the wicket to turn so much. It’s only in the West Indies that I played one spinner – the wickets were not helpful and they had good players of spin bowling.Q. Indian captains aren’t known to be as emotional or demonstrative either. A. There have been many times when emotion has got the better of me … like after we won the NatWest Trophy final. But it is easier when your side plays well – it’s always the case with captaincy.advertisementLook at Steve Waugh. I’m not saying his job is easy but obviously he has a much easier time than other captains because he has such a fantastic side. This year all our batsmen have scored runs when the team was in trouble. It has made things easier for me and allowed me to be more settled.Q. What’s the worst part of the job? A. It’s a tough job. I’ve gone grey because of it – I think so anyway. It’s tension, hard work. Captaincy is extra pressure on top of what you have as a player. The best part is the honour of being the man who leads the Indian team. The worst is when you don’t do well, then you just have to cop it.Q. How do you cop it if you think the criticism is unfair? A. To people I know, I ask, ‘Why are you making things difficult?’ I do. A lot of times I’ve felt – and I may be wrong – that criticism is based on personal likes and dislikes, which is unfair. But that goes with the job and you have got to get used to it.I have always thought that when I walk out on the field leading India I will give my best. I don’t want to come off the field thinking I could have given a bit more. Obviously I make mistakes, everybody does, no captain is perfect. I think I’m mentally tough, otherwise I would have never survived seven years in Test cricket and I intend to survive a bit longer.Q. Knowing what you know now, what do you tell your players who are struggling? A. Last year when I was not getting runs, Rahul Dravid told me, ‘You’re one evening away from greatness’. That line has had a huge effect on my cricketing career. I now tell players who are struggling what Rahul told me – keep working hard and do the things you did when you played well and believe.Q. Weren’t you more fortunate than most captains to have fewer seniors and fewer egos to appease in the team? A. A team is like a family. In a family, a lot of things depend on how your elders are. The atmosphere in the dressing room depends on how the senior guys behave. Ours have done a fantastic job of passing on good habits, good practices. It’s up to the younger players to now pass that on. Even if some injustice was done to them they should ensure it isn’t repeated with their juniors.Q. Weren’t you lucky also to ask for and get a foreign coach? A. It wasn’t just me. All of us were involved. Sachin was equally important in the process, Anil, Rahul, all of us. We couldn’t let things be the way they were. People don’t remember personal glory. People won’t recall how many runs Mohammed Kaif scored in the NatWest final or what Rahul scored in Headingley. They only remember India won the NatWest final and at Leeds batting first on a seaming wicket.advertisementPeople remember India won. John Wright is a very good man. I trust him a lot. Many times I do things on my own. He may give me a suggestion but I may try something else. But the best thing he has done is to send the right vibes in the dressing room about hardwork and fitness. I honestly feel he is one man who can do a lot of good for Indian cricket.Some day somebody else will be captain and they will have another coach but I think John should still be involved with Indian cricket. He has a lot of ideas, he can help youngsters grow and become better players.Q. Captains are known to turn to books for inspiration and growth. You’re not a great reader, so where do you turn? A. I’m not fond of reading, no. I draw inspiration from people I see around me. I have a lot of regard for Steve Waugh as a character, as a cricketer. He got a hundred in Sharjah under pressure and I watched every ball of his innings. I get a lot of inspiration from his career, how he conducts his cricket.
Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has given the Premier League champions further encouragement that he will stay with them next season by saying he is happy at the club.Vardy, who has scored 24 Premier League goals this season and was named player of the year by the Football Writers’ Association, has played a pivotal role in taking his team from 5,000-1 outsiders at the start of the campaign to champions of England.”We’ve just won the league and will be playing in the Champions League next year. I am happy here,” the prolific striker told British media.England international Vardy, 29, signed a contract with Leicester in February running through to June 2019.Leicester visit their manager Claudio Ranieri’s former club Chelsea in their final game of the season on Sunday.