Migrant workers key to Russia’s smooth-running World Cup

first_imgTwo municipal workers stand ready to clean an area ahead of the Denmark-France World Cup match at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia on Tuesday, June 26. AP MOSCOW – Behind the veneer of Russia’s smooth-running World Cup are legions of migrant workers from Central Asia, who built the stadiums and keep them running, staff concession stands, and clean up after fans who revel through city streets.They are among millions of migrants who perform menial jobs across Russia, and face routine police harassment and ethnic profiling. They are accused of depressing wages and plotting terrorism, yet unlike in Europe or the US, no one talks of building a border wall to keep them out. That’s because they form a pillar of the economy and aid Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical strategy – and without them, Russia might not have managed to host a World Cup at all.As world-class soccer unfolds in their midst, orange-vested migrant workers take selfies with fans and steal glimpses of a match on a coworker’s cellphone, or watch replays on a dormitory TV after a 12-hour shift. You won’t hear them complain.“This country took us in, and gives us work,” said Bobur Ulashov, who left his village in southern Uzbekistan five years ago in search of a job. Today, the 37-year-old sweeps rubbish into his dented mental dustpan and plucks beer cups out of bushes at Moscow’s official World Cup fan zone. He has little interaction with the visiting crowds – “they see the orange vest and keep walking,” he shrugs. He doesn’t hesitate when asked who he’s rooting for. “Russia. Who else?”Russia provides work to people like Ulashov, who sends $100-200 home every month to his 6-year-old son, wife, parents and siblings. And people like Ulashov provided Russia cheap labor to prepare for the World Cup.“Migrants made up the main workforce” in the construction of stadiums and transport infrastructure for the tournament, said Valery Solovei, a professor at Moscow’s MGIMO foreign policy institute and an expert on immigration and nationalism. “Without migrant workers, Russia couldn’t have built all these things so quickly.”Despite promises by soccer’s governing body FIFA, the work wasn’t always safe, or humane.Building Workers International says 21 people died on World Cup construction sites. Human Rights Watch documented hundreds of complaints from World Cup workers, finding that many had no written contract of any kind, and some were working in temperatures of minus 25 degrees Celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit) with one indoor break in a nine-hour shift.“Abuses included non-payment of wages, significant delays in paying wages, very unsafe working conditions in some sites, and also retaliation against workers who complained,” said Yulia Gorbunova of the group’s Moscow office.Russia’s World Cup organizing committee says it worked with FIFA on an inspection system to root out alleged labor violations, and FIFA said last year that it had seen a sharp fall in the “number of issues” at Russian construction sites after its inspections. Neither the Russian organizers nor FIFA provided figures or details on what they found, or said whether anyone was prosecuted.That’s a concern for Russia’s workers and for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where migrant workers perform nearly all menial labor and have few legal rights.Migrants staffing Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow’s 81,000-seat primary venue, insist their conditions are good – 30,000 rubles ($470) a month during the tournament, with one or two days off per week. But most didn’t want their full names published for fear their employers would punish them.Gafirjon Kurbonov isn’t afraid to talk. He helped lay asphalt in St. Petersburg as Russian cities cleaned up ahead of the World Cup, and now works as a registered taxi driver in Moscow. His wife and two small children have joined him, and he wants to settle here.“Business is good. There are so many foreign (fans),” he said in rapid-fire, Tajik-accented Russian. And after the World Cup is over? “There will always be work.”Even harder than obtaining working papers and a fair salary is battling discrimination. Security officers guarding the metro system systematically single out Central Asians to check their bags and documents, ignoring those with more Slavic features.Russian authorities have said identity and bag checks are part of overall security necessary to protect the country.When Russia sank into recession because of Western sanctions over the annexation of Crimea, Central Asians took blame for pushing down wages, inciting terrorism and petty crime.After a Kyrgyz taxi driver plowed into pedestrians near Red Square early in the World Cup, social networks buzzed with abusive comments about “guest workers” who turn to terrorism – even though Russian authorities insisted it was just an accident by a sleep-deprived driver.Central Asian migrant workers have been linked in the past to Islamic extremism, however. “Since they are feeling social pressure, they radicalize,” Solovei said. Discrimination “spawns a feeling of protest.”Yet when nationalist politicians campaign to impose visas on Central Asians, government officials balk, fearing that would cost Russia its influence in the strategic region. And the debate quickly dies down.Russia has proportionately more migrant workers than any country in Europe, Solovei said – some 6 million according to official statistics, 10 or 11 million according to unofficial estimates. Most come from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia – ancient Silk Road towns of Uzbekistan, impoverished valleys of Tajikistan on the Afghan border.Some settle in Russia and become a part of the fabric of multi-ethnic cities like Moscow. Others remain guest workers for the long term, returning home every year for weeks or months at a time – and supplying remittances that make up a substantial chunk of Central Asia’s national budgets.A Kyrgyz street sweeper named Gulnara showed off cell phone pictures of her young adult children back home, whom she hopes to see this summer. That helps her face the challenge of cleaning the mess left by soccer fans on historical streets near Red Square.At the St. Petersburg stadium, a maintenance worker waited shyly in a corridor as fans poured out of the first-round match between Russia and Egypt. Seeing the jubilant Russian faces, he guessed that the home team had won, but had to ask a passerby the score.Fixing tiles just about 10 meters from the stands, he had no idea what had transpired inside. (AP)last_img read more

Eskom secures R1.6bn in loans

first_imgKusile still on track Eskom financial director Paul O’Flaherty pointed out that the company was a key contributor to the growth of the South African economy. “Funding is a critical enabler for the successful execution of the capacity expansion programme and export credit agency backed funding compliments our other sources of funding in the Eskom funding plan.” On Wednesday, Eskom said it had concluded a loan worth approximately R1-billion with Deutsche Bank which will be used to fund 85% of the turbine pump contract for the 1 352 MW Ingula pump storage scheme, which is situated on the boundary of KwaZulu-Natal and Free Sate. The second loan agreement, of approximately R600-million, arranged by Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, will be used to fund the 4 800 MW Medupi power station construction in Lephalale, Limpopo. “We are working hard to resolve the funding issue because there is no viable option to replace Kusile,” O’Flaherty said. “Without the additional power from Kusile from 2014, there could be constraints on South Africa’s economic growth.” 26 August 2010 In April, the World Bank announced that it would grant the utility a US$3.75-billion loan to co-finance the 4 800 MW Medupi coal-fired power plant in Limpopo as well as the country’s first large wind and concentrated power projects. Eskom said that it was still committed to building Kusile and that it had been in discussions with the government to explore various funding options for the project. “Eskom is on record saying that in order to plug the gap in electricity supply over the next few years, South Africa needs new base-load power stations like Medupi and Kusile. Funding to complete the Medupi station has recently been approved by the World Bank,” Eskom said. There are no plans to cancel the Kusile Power Station project, Eskom said, following media reports that the station, which is being built in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga, was going to be cancelled. South African state power company Eskom has signed two loans with Deutsche Bank and Credit Agricole, worth approximately R1.6-billion, to fund construction at its Ingula pump storage scheme and Medupi power station. Securing funding Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Why Yahoo! + RSS = Good Thing

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… I’ve been readingup on Yahoo!’s decision to add RSS feeds to the mix of content they provide on the My Yahoo! portal. The decision for them is all about enhancing their strategy for users to put all their Web content “in one place” – their place. It’s the same old Portal strategy that was so popular on the Web in the mid-90’s, but which very few companies actually got right. Yahoo! was one of those that did get it right – in fact they were the standard-bearer.The portal strategy still drives Yahoo!’s business model, even though they were leapfrogged a few years ago by Google’s minimalist interface centered around search. But while Google has been reaping all the goodwill (and now money), Yahoo! has stuck to their guns, trying to be the One Place where mainstream Web users go for all their content needs. And Yahoo! has continued to be successful with that strategy – they have a very large user base and incredibly high brand recognition.So the main reason why Yahoo!’s addition of RSS features is big news? Simply put, it’s that Yahoo! is now pushing RSS as a key source of content for them and their many mainstream users.From a user (and content creator) perspective, Yahoo!’s embrace of RSS is a leap forward in acceptance of RSS as a mainstream source of content. Jeremy Zawodny, a Yahoo! developer, pointed out that RSS feeds on Yahoo! will “Just Work”. Put another way, Yahoo! will make RSS “almost completely invisible”. It will be easy-peasy lemon-squeezy for users to subscribe to RSS feeds on their My Yahoo! homepages.Story From The TrenchesTo underline the importance of making RSS user-friendly to mainstream people, I’d like to share with you a little story from the trenches. I’m a Web Producer at a medium-sized company and recently I tried to pursuade some of my business colleagues to add an RSS feed to our corporate website, for press releases. This was in response to their initial request for email notifications. Some other people in my IT team also know about RSS, so I decided it was time for me to try and sell the business folks on it. The conversation went along these lines (note: I’ve edited it so that no personalities except for me can be identified):Me: [long email stating my case for adding an RSS feed to our corporate website. I include a link to the NY Times RSS webpage, as an example.]Business User: I tried to click through on the RSS feed buttons on the NY Times link and got a page of web code – should these links work?Me: Ah, unfortunately you’ve hit on the reason why RSS feeds aren’t yet mainstream. When you click on an RSS feed, you do get a page of XML code. The way to subscribe is to copy the link into what’s called an RSS Reader (or News Reader or RSS Aggregator).[I then proceed to explain about Bloglines and other RSS Aggregators. I get a bit carried away and probably overstate my case.]Business User: I’d be inclined not to use software that requires a would-be recipient of this service to download additional software. It’s too much for normal web users. However, if it becomes simpler, we should definitely move to use it.Me: [mildly panicing now – have I blown it?] I’d still like to include an RSS feed. Heh, I admit RSS is a passion of mine. Can we still have the RSS link along with a short explanation, but push email notifications as the number 1 option?Business: As long as there is a simple option. The primary option must have a direct signup with no additional downloads.Me: Whew! [a small victory for RSS]Of course the moral here is that the business user is 100% correct – it’s not up to me (a technologist) to push my geeky hobbies onto users. It’s up to me to provide the “direct signup” that the business requires. For me to sell RSS to the business, I have to provide a solution that will hide the XML code – and the terminology associated with it – from the users. It has to be Easy As Email™ (to coin a trademark).And that is precisely where Yahoo! comes in (not necessarily for my company’s website users, but generally speaking…).Yahoo!’s core service is to provide a homepage in a browser, where users can sign up to receive content. Simple. And now RSS is Content too, according to Yahoo! Great! It means users don’t need to go elsewhere on the Web or know about XML to sign up to these “RSS feeds” (whatever they are).It bears repeating: what RSS is to Yahoo! users is a new source of CONTENT. Yahoo! hides all the geekery behind the content.SummaryBecause a huge number of normal folks already use Yahoo!, there’s an equally huge customer base just waiting to join the RSS revolution. Yahoo! users will experience the revolution on their same old My Yahoo! homepage – and does that matter? Not a jot. Content Creators will be pleased, because they’ll have a whole new audience. And users will be pleased, because they’ll have a whole new range of content to read.Of course, once even bigger woolly mammoths join the party (e.g. Microsoft) – things will get even more interesting in the RSS space. Hmmm, well what’s your take on that? Has Yahoo! gained a jump on Microsoft and even Google when it comes to Content? richard macmanus Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#web#Web 2.0 center_img Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

New Zealand hold world champs Italy to 1-1 draw

first_imgDefending champions Italy’s Cup hopes took a dent today with qualifiers New Zealand holding them to a 1-1 draw. [Follow live matchcast]Shane Smeltz provided New Zealand the lead with a strike in the seventh minute.Vincenzo Iaquinta equalised for Italy with a penalty strike in the 32nd minute.Italy had earlier drawn 1-1 with Paraguay, who are best placed in Group F to make the pre-quarters after beating Slovakia today.Later in the day, five-time winners Brazil will play Ivory Coast in a Group G game.last_img

10 months ago​Chelsea midfielder Scott in talks with Ascoli

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say ​Chelsea midfielder Scott in talks with Ascoliby Ansser Sadiq10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea midfielder Kyle Scott is being linked with a move to Ascoli.The 21-year-old is on loan with Telstar in Holland.But the American could be set for a move to Serie B when his contract with the Blues runs out at the end of the season.Sky Sports reports that it is unlikely he would get a renewal from Chelsea.Scott has scored twice in 14 games for Telstar this season. last_img

a month agoREVEALED: Solskjaer blasted Man Utd players after West Ham flop

first_imgREVEALED: Solskjaer blasted Man Utd players after West Ham flopby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was furious with his players after defeat to West Ham.The Sun says he told his flops that they were ’embarrassing’ him after United’s loss.The under-pressure Red Devils boss also tore into them at half-time, saying their performance bored him. Solskjaer, yesterday given a vote of confidence by United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, regularly defends players in the media.Yet privately, he has been constantly losing his temper as his reign unravels.On Sunday in the capital he also accused them of showing no energy and panicking in the final third.Morale is understood to be extremely low, with the mood having changed dramatically from pre-season when Solskjaer lifted the squad. About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Video: Memphis Meteorologist Tees Off On John Calipari, Calls Him A Snake Oil Salesman

first_imgA closeup of Coach Cal.LEXINGTON, KY – JANUARY 09: John Calipari the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats gives instructions to his team against the Texas A&M Aggies during the game at Rupp Arena on January 9, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)John Calipari coached at Memphis for nine seasons, and almost led the Tigers to a national title in 2008. But given the way he left the program, and the fact that the school had to vacate all 38 victories from that year, he isn’t the most well-liked man in town. After Sunday’s Hall of Fame interview debacle, that fact likely won’t change for some time.Calipari, during an interview after his induction, told reporters that while he loved coaching at both UMass and Memphis, he was at the “little table” in comparison with some of his colleagues. He also said that before Kentucky, he never got to “carve the turkey”, and he had to use “plastic forks and plates.”FOX 13 Memphis aired the clip this week, and meteorologist Joey Sulipeck went off on the Kentucky head coach. Sulipeck called him a snake oil salesman, and jokingly threatened Calipari to come near him when he had a plastic utensil. Here’s full video – we’ve also included a Vine, via Lost Lettermen.FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13 It’s a strong take – especially for a meteorologist. We’ll assume that Sulipeck was happy with last Saturday’s Final Four result.last_img read more

Irrigation Areas Established in St. Elizabeth and Manchester to Increase Crop Production

first_img Pedro Plains (Beacon/Little Park) in St. Elizabeth, and New Forest/Duff House, in Manchester have been chosen as irrigation areas. Farmers operating in St. Elizabeth and Manchester are expected to see greater levels of crop production and productivity, following the designation of irrigation areas in those parishes.Pedro Plains (Beacon/Little Park) in St. Elizabeth, and New Forest/Duff House, in Manchester have been chosen as irrigation areas, as contained in two Resolutions, which were approved in the Senate on November 15.Moved by Justice Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, the Resolutions – Pedro Plains (Beacon/Little Park) (Irrigation Area) Order; and the New Forest/Duff House (Irrigation Area) Order – fall under the Irrigation Act, which makes provision for the best utilisation of water available for the irrigation of special areas in Jamaica and for the conservation and use of subterranean water for those purposes.Supporting the Resolutions, Government Senator, Norman Grant, said this is in keeping with the Ministry of Agriculture’s continued thrust to increase production and productivity in the sector.“The initiatives are very strategic and one of the critical areas is to look at how we can get a number of irrigation schemes going, in order to provide our farmers across Jamaica with irrigation water, so that we can increase our production and our productivity,” he said.“It is schemes like these and the provision of a framework that is going to allow small farmers to get on with production, and to ensure that there is a sustained economic path of growth and development in the economy,” added Senator Grant, who is also President of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS).In his contribution to the debate, Government Senator, Lambert Brown, argued that irrigation is critical to production and production is critical to growth.He noted that by providing more water to farmers, “like the 800 farmers in Duff House and Pedro Plains and the 800 hectares of farm land to benefit from this irrigation,” this will contribute to further economic growth.Also voicing his support for the Resolutions, Government Senator, K.D. Knight, said he is pleased that farmers will now “be in a better position to improve their productivity and increase production.”“I think this is a good day for the nation…for the producers in our society, as we move to a fuller understanding of the importance of the agricultural sector to the survival of countries like ours,” he said.In the meantime, Opposition Senator, Kavan Gayle, also expressed his support of the Resolutions, which he said come at a critical time when farmers need the assistance required for growth.“I hope that this move will be extended to other farmers throughout this country at a time when they badly need it,” he said.Senator Gayle implored the Government to ensure that the programme is sustainable, “because once it is sustained, then it is clear it should be a vehicle to create further employment.”Opposition Senator, Robert Montague, who also supported the Resolutions, further called on the Government to consider lowering the cost of irrigated water, thereby lessening production costs for farmers.The Senate also approved the Financial Services Commission (Amendment of Fourth Schedule) Order, which speaks to certain fees regarding the insurance industry. This is in keeping with the Ministry of Agriculture’s continued thrust to increase production and productivity in the sector. Story Highlights Government Senator, Lambert Brown, argued that irrigation is critical to production and production is critical to growth.last_img read more