Waterhouse in crucial clash

first_imgWaterhouse FC’s survival in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) could hinge on the result of today’s match against Tivoli Gardens FC at Waterhouse Stadium, starting at 6 p.m.Having struggled in the nation’s top flight league for more than two-thirds of the preliminary stage this season, Waterhouse face a crucial encounter in Match Day 25. With nine sets of games remaining before the top four battle for the title, Waterhouse are in last place on 21 points in the 12-team league.Waterhouse’s top forward, 23 year-old Kenroy Howell, is confident that the club will survive.”Well, every game is like a final for us. We are aware of the situation and the goal is to stay in the league and take it from there next season. We are not used to this, but we will stay up,” Howell said.easy taskThe Drewsland club is a point behind Rivoli (22) and five points behind 10th-place Tivoli Gardens (26) as the relegation battle gets intense.It means that today’s game is a must-win for Waterhouse in order to move up the points standings. Although playing at home, it won’t be an easy task for the home side.Since the return of Glendon ‘Admiral’ Bailey as technical director/coach, Tivoli Gardens have been unbeaten in their last three games, with two wins and a draw. On the other hand, Waterhouse have only one win in their past five games.Waterhouse, under the guidance of coach Paul Young, will rely on their leading marksman Kenroy Howell, with eight goals, as well as veterans such as Kevin Lamey, Devon Hodges, and Nicholy Finlayson for a victory at home.Tivoli Gardens’ leading scorer is Junior Flemmings on nine goals, and he is expected to get support from former Reggae Boy Jermaine ‘Teddy’ Anderson and captain Andre Morgan.In the other games, RSPL leaders Montego Bay United hope to maintain their good form against Boys’ Town at the Barbican field.Portmore, coming off three straight defeats, could get back to winning ways against the lowly Rivoli United. Humble Lion face UWI FC in another interesting clash. Humble Lion are currently in fourth position on 35 points, while new boys UWI FC are only two points off the Clarendon outfit.Defending champions Arnett Gardens are expected to get the better of Reno at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.Today’s games• 3 p.m: Boys’ Town vs Montego Bay United at Barbican Complex• 3 p.m: Rivoli United vs Portmore United at Prison Oval• 5 p.m: Humble Lion vs UWI FC at Effortville Community Centre in Clarendon• 6 p.m: Arnett Gardens vs FC Reno at the Anthony Spaulding Complex• 6 p.m: Waterhouse vs Tivoli Gardens at Waterhouse StadiumTomorrow night’s game 8:40 p.m: Harbour View vs Cavalier SC at Harbour View Stadiumlast_img read more

Foreign journalists get the inside story

first_imgChinese journalist Wang Yu was one of six foreign reporters invited by Brand South Africa on a tour of the country’s most ingenious scientific and engineering projects. (Image: Shamin Chibba)• Sandisiwe GugushePublic RelationsBrand South Africa+ 27 11 712 5007sandisiweg@brandsouthafrica.com Shamin ChibbaWhen Ngozi Onuoha, a journalist from New York city, first landed in Johannesburg this week, she was amazed to find it resembled her hometown. “I’m really shocked at how urban Johannesburg is. It’s just amazing how similar it is to New York.”And for Washington DC journalist Peter Mellgard, the city was like a tropical London. “It’s not because of the weather but it just didn’t feel like the rest of Africa. It’s more developed.”Onuhoa and Mellberg are part of a group of foreign journalists and bloggers invited by Brand South Africa for what is known as an innovation tour. Since landing in Johannesburg on 22 March, the group has travelled across four provinces, visiting some of the country’s most innovative projects, including a robotics centre at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Gauteng, the Greenside Colliery in Mpumalanga, and the World Design Capital and the Square Kilometre Array SA office in the in the Western Cape. First impressionsOnuhoa writes for Africa.com, a New York-based online magazine that publishes news and features about the continent. After attending the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg last week, she said she was astounded by how much bigger the venue was compared to the Lincoln Centre, where New York Fashion Week takes place. “Fashion Week at Lincoln Centre is a really big thing there. But I went to the [Mercedes Benz] Fashion Week in Johannesburg and it was massive.”Onuhoa was born and raised in New York City to Nigerian parents who had settled in the US. Because of this she considers herself as much African as she is American. She added that her background played a role in the way she viewed South Africa. “What people are doing, how people are doing things and the way of thinking seems so different to anywhere else in the world. South Africa is so unique in that you have development and poverty. America has poverty but people sort of brush it under the table. But here it is something that is talked about and people ask, ‘How do we answer those problems?’”She is looking to relocate to Johannesburg at the end of this year but her fiancé, an Ivorian, is looking to settle in East Africa. “We’re still trying to figure that out. But I’m also here to observe how people are living every day. It forms a large part of my reporting.”British reporter Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo arrived in South Africa dispelling all perceptions she had of the country so that she could see it for what it really was. “I come from a very multicultural background so I know not to believe what I hear about foreign countries. I came with an open mind and I’m glad I did.”The group visited Mandela House – the home in which Nelson Mandela lived with his family before he was sent to prison – in Soweto, prompting Bilen-Onabanjo to say she believed South Africa had made peace with its past. “It’s taken it for what it is, and it’s just an amazing thing to witness for me instead of reading it in the media or seeing it on the news.”Chinese journalist Wang Yu, who writes for the liberal Beijing publication Caijing Magazine, said South Africa was far more advanced than other African countries she had visited in terms of its economy and infrastructure. She also pointed out that Johannesburg’s busy traffic was a key measurement of the country’s economy.Wu Ning Ning, a Beijing journalist for Global Times, said the South Africa she had seen on the tour was very different from the reports of social upheaval normally depicted in Chinese media. “The few Chinese who know of Soweto think it’s full of violence. But when I went there, I found that it was famous for having two Nobel Peace Prize winners in Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.” Youth at peace yet disconnected with the pastBilen-Onabanjo said South African youth’s seemingly peaceful existence was, to a certain extent, a sign of their disengagement from the past. And Mellgard thought their disconnection from history and politics may not bode well for the future of the country. “It’s surprising how everybody says the youth is just not concerned; they hear the stories but they are just disengaged in a big way from the legacy of apartheid and the politics.”With a large part of the vote coming from the born-free generation, it was startling to see that many of them did not care about the upcoming elections, he said. “I was struck by how it seemed many young people cared about other things much more than politics, such as entertainment. But in that way they are like young people everywhere.”Wu also observed this trend among the born-free generation, saying they were similar to Chinese youth. She would aim to write a comparison between the two groups. “They have a lot of issues that are similar and they have their own special problems.” Telling our own storiesBilen-Onabanjo writes for FAB Magazine, a lifestyle and fashion publication focused on Africa. Originally known as Fabulous African Black, FAB, she said, strived to do away with the negative stereotypes mainstream media had created about Africa by telling positive stories. “We don’t need Condé Nast to come and tell our stories. We can tell them ourselves.”To her, South Africa was more than just a tourist destination and the stories she aimed to write would reflect this. “When people look at South Africa the first thing they think of is Cape Town, tourism and the beaches. I think it’s good to see the scientific and innovative side.”Since she also writes for the business magazine New African Woman, she said her next story would examine how women in South Africa had progressed in business and science since the end of apartheid. She was particularly taken with Natasha Govender, a young computer scientist specialising in robotics research at the CSIR. “She has perhaps left a better-paying job to work in an academy and it’s one of her passions to engage with women and encourage more women to go into sciences. So I think women in the economy and their role is definitely coming across as a strong story.”Mellgard hoped his articles for The American Interest magazine would get Americans curious about South Africa. “I came here knowing Americans in general, and people who read my magazine in particular, don’t care very much about Africa and South Africa. When you tell Americans about South Africa, they’ll say diamonds, Mandela and race, but there’s obviously more to the country than that. So hopefully I will be able to get my readers to care about other things.”For Chinese readers, Wang said the transformation of South African society following apartheid was intriguing. “Most Chinese are not familiar with the policies such as black economic empowerment. We hardly write about South African economics. In Chinese media we normally discuss things related to us or near us.”Wu would take a similar angle to her stories for the Global Times, with a greater focus on development. “I want to write a comparison between South Africa’s development model and the Chinese model, which will get Chinese readers to think more [about] our own problems from South Africa’s perspective.”She also wanted to look at the strength of South African unions and the mining strikes that had distracted operations in recent years. “In China the unions are weak. So I will give the readers the whole picture and provide deeper insights into the strikes.”last_img read more

Brand South Africa statement on the passing of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan

first_imgJohannesburg, Sunday 19 August 2018 – This weekend, the world woke up to the sad news on the passing of the first African Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Kofi Annan. News headlines report that the 80-year-old advocate for the African continent, and seventh Secretary-General who rose through the ranks of the UN, suffered with a short illness before he died. The Ghanaian diplomat, and one of the United Nations’ most high-profile and well-respected former Secretary-Generals was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with the UN “for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world”. Annan served as the UN Secretary-General from January 1997 to December 2006 – and put development, human rights, the rule of law, good governance and peace at the top of the UNs agenda.Commenting on the passing of Kofi Annan, Brand South Africa’s Chief Marketing Officer Mrs Linda Magapatona-Sangaret said: “2018 marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela – it is a year which has provided an opportunity for people around the world to reflect on his exceptional leadership. Kofi Annan too was such a great leader, and leaves behind a similar legacy as he dedicated his years in service of human development and peace. The world has lost yet another magnanimous and selfless model leader.” Annan who delivered the 5thh Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 22 July 2007 which focused on the progress of Africa, also served as the Chair of the The Elders – an international non-governmental organisation of public figures noted as elder statesmen, peace activists, and human rights advocates, who were brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007. The goal Nelson Mandela set for the Elders was to use their “almost 1,000 years of joint experience” to work on solutions for seemingly insurmountable problems such as climate change, HIV/AIDS, and poverty, as well as to “use their political independence to help resolve some of the world’s most intractable conflicts. Kofi Annan was a member of The Elders since its founding in 2007, succeeding Desmond Tutu as Chair in May 2013. Between February and August 2012 Kofi Annan temporarily recused himself as a member of The Elders during his UN and Arab League assignment as Joint Special Envoy on the Syrian crisis. Kofi Annan’s first engagement with The Elders came in November 2008 when, together with Jimmy Carter and Graça Machel, he drew the world’s attention on the humanitarian crisis affecting Zimbabwe.last_img read more

May Wes recognizes 45 years of manufacturing

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest May Wes Manufacturing was founded in 1972 by Wesley Bruns and wife Mavis on their farm site near Gibbon Minnesota. Wesley was a farmer and an innovator. The initial farm products he developed were made of aluminum and galvanized steel and were the “Crop De-Viders” to guide grain into headers and the “Gravity Flow Hoppers” that folded out for unloading. The age of plasticsSeveral years passed when Wesley discovered poly material and used it in his product solutions. His employees recalled him making trips with the pickup truck to the Twin Cities to purchase four-foot by 10-foot sheets of Ultra High Molecular Weight (UHMW) poly. On one occasion, his load of poly sheets took to the air on a busy interstate freeway, creating traffic havoc.Wesley used shearing, cutting and bending processes with the poly material to produce poly skid shoes for grain headers. To this day, the poly skid shoes remain May Wes’s cornerstone product line.In the mid 1980’s a new automated YAM CNC Mill was added. Longtime employee, Bill Templin, loaded the programs on the YAM. That year the YAM enabled meeting the demand for 1,800 sets of John Deere skid shoes for the 200 series head. This machine is still in use today. Bill eventually moved from production to a technical support role until he retired at the age of 70 in 2015.May Wes became recognized as the innovator for applying poly material to the Ag after-market industry.The original Stalk StomperIn 1987, May Wes brought to market a solution to knock down tough corn stalks ahead of the combine tires called The STALK STOMPER. This, too, is one of the company’s cornerstone product lines and continues to be the leader in the industry.Product Lines Developed Over the first 25 years, May Wes developed and sold many ag-related product lines. Among them include:• Poly Tractor Fender Guards, 1985• Wesley Walker, 3-wheeled riding units for weeding crops, 1987• Poly 5th Wheel Covers Slide-N-Drive, 1989 (still available)• Moldboard Covers (still available)• Power Stack, a hydraulic outlet, 1992• Header Height Control, 1992• Poly Blades, 1993 (still available)• Poly Retractable Fingers, 1994 (still available)• Grain Header Carts, 1994• Cutting Boards, 1994 (still available)• Poly Disc Scrapers, 1995• Poly Row Crop Rolling Shields, 1995• Sliding Planter Lids, 1995• Poly Closing Wheels, 1996 (still available)• Cash Catcher Corn Saver Shield, 1996• Mega Shoes, 1996 (still available) May Wes back thenJason Templin started working at May Wes in 1990, after school, to earn money for a snowmobile. Troy Martin was 18 years old when he joined May Wes in 1994. Both Jason and Troy are still with the company. They fondly speak of the days working in the Bruns farm buildings that facilitated the May Wes operations. In the 90s there were about a dozen production staff and eight in the office. Wesley was a progressive boss and always wanted to take care of his employees, valuing their importance to the company. The 8-5 o’clock workplace had buzzers to manage breaks closely, however, when the work was done on Friday afternoons, the employees would wind-down and could be found enjoying some beer together under an over-trimmed lawn tree called the “May Wes Palm Tree.” The company’s “family atmosphere” of the early days has withstood the test of time and is felt yet today.With the passing of Wesley in 1995, his sons, Mark and Steve Bruns, took over the business. In 1997 the business out grew the farm building and a new facility was built in Hutchinson Minnesota and operations moved there by October. This facility is still where May Wes operates. Compression molding presses were added, enabling more product development opportunities. Turn of the Century, ownership changeIn the summer of 2002, Tom Daggett was approached to be a contracted manager through a four-month duration (July – October) after which time he could decide to purchase the business. Tom was able to pull the former staff together and fulfill the orders through those peak demand months. He recalls it was the strength of the staff that kept things going.Daggett decided to acquire May Wes and formed Pride Solutions LLC with May Wes as one of several business divisions. Tom’s experience in manufacturing brought about some changes, including inventory management, process and capacity improvements, including the addition of a Komo CNC router in 2003, and organizational/strategic changes.In the years that followed, many product lines were added and May Wes grew its sales and marketing presence. The company was an early adopter of the Internet and ecommerce website. The May Wes brand was becoming well known and sought out by Ag equipment/repair dealers and crop farmers alike.The Quick Disconnect Stalk Stomper design was made available in 2011 and the stalk leveling concept was leveraged with Tractor Stalk Stompers. The popularity of these stalk leveling devices brought about the next design improvement and in three short years, the Quick Disconnect 2 Stalk Stomper was released.May Wes’s products, customer base and market share steadily grew such that the volume of orders required implementation of an efficient business infrastructure and consistent practices. More space was provided with the addition of a large cold-storage facility and optimizing the production floor layout. The next generation of a family businessTom Daggett’s son, Jack, at the age of 13, worked production during the summers through his college years. He acquired first-hand working knowledge of many production processes. It was a natural transition for Jack to take on the Operations Manager role in 2013 with guidance from his father, Tom. Jack helped bring about heightened planning process/Material Requirements Planning, engineered approach to specs/purchasing, controlled documentations and raised the standards for customer service.Jack Daggett became Pride Solutions President in 2016 and has aspiration for May Wes’s continued growth in the Ag market through product extensions, team approach to new development, and strategic partnering.Pride Solutions fosters the small company soul culture and appreciates employee dependability and longevity. The company encourages community involvement and well-being. Routine assembly work has been successfully outsourced to the West Central Industries, a local program that employs and develops disabled persons.last_img read more

Ohio Ag Weather and Forecast — June 14, 2018

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Ryan Martin, Ohio Ag Net Chief MeteorologistSome tweaks to the forecast this morning, as we trend a little drier. Warm air is starting to build over the state today, and we will see our temps climb steadily each day now through the weekend. By Sunday we should be looking at 90-degree temps possible over a large chunk of Ohio. The flow into the region looks drier overall this morning, but, an offshoot of warm/hot air is instability that allows for some pop-up thunderstorms or even showers. We do not think these will be as big of a deal now as we had concern about earlier in the week, but we are not going to completely remove them either. The best threats of some isolated pop up action will be Saturday night and Sunday, as the heat reaches its zenith. Otherwise, we are basically rain free through the period. The map above shows temps for Sunday. Next Monday looks dry too, but we start to see the heat back off a bit, as high pressure diminishes. Clouds will be on the increase as our next front gets closer. That front impacts us from Tuesday afternoon/ through Wednesday and Thursday at the very least. On Tuesday as things start up, we see the best threat in NE Ohio, as the system comes out of the Thumb of Michigan down across Lake Erie. We are also leaning toward keeping moisture in for Friday as well but will need to watch that. This front will bring milder air back into the state but will be a slow-moving event. Action Tuesday may be limited to far north central and northeast Ohio, then through Wednesday and Thursday showers move south. All told, for the 3-day period combined, we look for rain totals to be from .5”-1.5” across 90% of the state. Rains may not get into south and southeast Ohio until later Wednesday night and Thursday. This slow-moving front will be what allows for the good rain totals and the good coverage. The action will not be in a hurry to get through.  As we said, we are wanting to keep some rain in the forecast for Friday, but it will be diminishing in scope.  In the extended period, we start with some scattered showers for Sunday the 24th, with rain totals up to half an inch. Then after several dry days, we end up with significant rains from a slow-moving system bringing half to 2” totals to the state from the 27th through the 30th. Coverage will be nearly 90% of the state from that late June system.last_img read more

Borrowing in a Time of Credit Crisis

first_imgPublishers with multiple adjustments to their financial statements won’t have much wiggle room with loan terms. “Lenders are looking for clean financial statements—free of adjustments and/or add-backs, particularly for acquisition targets—and consistent, solid financial performance from the existing company,” says Tom Flynn, chief financial officer at Summit Business Media (which completed its last major refinance last July right before the credit market soured). “There is not as much flexibility in the market place on terms and conditions as there was in prior years.”Publishers with existing loan agreements shouldn’t feel that their terms are locked in. “I have noticed that, for existing credit agreements, especially those that were negotiated prior to the credit markets becoming much more challenged, the lenders are holding you ‘to the letter,’” says Flynn. “There is a general feeling that banks are much more inclined to charge not just fees for changes and amendments but will also implement a re-pricing for what, in the past, may have been a rather minor change to an existing agreement. This can be frustrating to a business even with an existing agreement.”What Lenders Look ForStill publishers that have positioned themselves with multiple revenue streams and emerging new media models are more likely to receive favorable terms which have always been differentiated depending on business model, scale of the company, competitive positioning, etc. An established publisher with a category-leading product offerings and scale is generally going to receive more favorable financing terms and conditions than a smaller, less-seasoned publisher with developing product offerings. In the current environment, lenders and investors are placing more value on publishing companies with successful e-media and event businesses as part of their total company mix and as such are more willing to provide more favorable financing terms. Subscription-based and usage-driven revenue sources in particular are considered a valuable component, especially in the weaker advertising environment, according to Shu.“Generally, in the b-to-b space, we look for companies with either the #1 or #2 position in their category that can deliver their content to audiences in a variety of ways, from print to online to in-person events such as trade shows or conferences,” says Shu. “The #1 or #2 position is important since in a slower economic environment, advertisers or sponsors with a smaller budget will typically gravitate toward the market leaders. A seasoned management team that has operated through various economic cycles is critical as well.”Mangan says the most important consideration is diversity of cash flow. “Properties with single titles are the toughest to finance,” he adds. “Diversity of flagship titles and a complement of events and trade shows demonstrate that diversity of collateral, for a lack of better phrase. With the loss of eyeballs on the print side, you want to see the Web at least bridging that gap.” But being a proven performer can go a long way toward a favorable relationship with your lenders. “You must continue to deliver the financial results as agreed to in your financing agreements,” says Flynn. “You have to focus on having your existing assets perform and continue to invest in assets with upside potential and take advantage of areas for consolidation to mitigate risk in sluggish economy. Remember, this is a challenging market for everyone right now. Once the market settles a bit, you want to be a proven performer whom the lending partners want to continue to do business with and help grow your business.” The credit crunch, which began in July 2007 as result of the subprime fallout and subsequent fall-out in liquidity, is pinching the magazine industry well beyond just magazine M&A. “You’ve got to spend money to make money” or so the old saying goes, and at a time when publishers are trying to reinvent themselves and investing in both online staff and technology (as well as buying new media companies), loans are necessary to fund the growth. But getting those loans at a favorable rate is much harder than it was two years ago. “Lending levels and terms are much less liberal,” says Ray Shu, media team leader for GE Media, Communication and Entertainment Group, part of GE Capital Markets Inc. “Funded leverage (on both a senior and total basis) has dropped meaningfully.”Previously, financing was available at up to 5.5x senior debt and up to 7.5x with a second lien for many publishing deals of scale ($15MM+ EBITDA companies), according to Shu. Average equity-to-total capital levels were typically in the 25 percent to 30 percent range. In today’s market, senior debt leverage levels are in the 3.5x to 4x range with total debt levels topping out at 5x to 5.5x. Average equity-to-total capital requirements are typically in the 45 to 55 percent range, says Shu.“Gone are the days when the senior first lien piece was up in the fives and maybe a little bit more with the second lien or mezzanine,” says Chris Mangan, managing director and head of U.S. media finance with Stamford, Connecticut-based Bank of Ireland. “If you consider we’re a year into this credit crunch, leverage multiples are off at least a full turn at the senior and mezzanine levels.” last_img read more

Woah The cost of Tamannaah Bhatias new Mumbai flat will shock you

first_imgTamannaah Bhatia.PR HandoutIt is not uncommon for our Bollywood celebs to splurge on expensive bags, cars, outfits and properties. Several celebrities like Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma and Deepika Padukone have invested bombs on properties. And the latest to join the list is actress Tamannaah Bhatia.Tamannaah has apparently shelled out a humongous amount for buying a new home in Mumbai. As per a report in DNA, Ms Bhatia has bought a Rs 80,778 per sqft flat in Versova. And not just that, the actress has even paid Rs 99.60 lakh for the registration of the flat.While the entire nation has a huge crush on Tamannaah Bhatia, it’s Hrithik Roshan who makes Tamannah go weak in the knees. When Tamannaah recently appeared on Famously Filmfare, she spoke about her admiration towards Hrithik being a huge fan of him and why she doesn’t kiss any actor on-screen. “I don’t kiss on-screen basically. So that’s actually a part of my contract. But I keep joking with my friends, with Hrtihik Roshan, yay! I would,” Tamannaah said.She further said, “I am a huge Hrithik Roshan fan. I recently bumped into him and I was so stupid. I was like ‘Hi, I am a big fan and so nice to meet you’ and then I was like okay I didn’t know what else to say. And then he walked a little and looked back. He was like, ‘You want a picture?’ and I was like ‘Yes! I want a picture.” I felt like a 16-year-old when I met him for the first time.”Tamannaah would next be seen in Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy and if the reports are to be believed, she would be doning some of the most expensive costumes in the film. “Tamannaah was excited when the script was narrated to her and also that is it is a big film. Her role will be very intense as a patriot who goes very far for the sake of the country and its freedom,” said the source to International Business Times.last_img read more

Myanmar not safe for Rohingya returnees

first_imgICRC President Maurer interacts with Rohingya children during his visit to a refugee camp in Cox`s Bazar. Photo: ReutersThe head of the Red Cross on Sunday said it was not safe to return Rohingya refugees to their homes in Myanmar, where he described whole villages abandoned and destroyed.Peter Maurer toured strife-torn western Myanmar before visiting refugee camps over the border in neighbouring Bangladesh, where nearly one million Rohingya have sought refuge from violence.The bulk of the persecuted Muslims in Bangladesh have arrived since August, fleeing a huge Myanmar army crackdown in troubled Rakhine state that the UN has likened to ethnic cleansing.UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday will make his first visit to the camps since that influx of nearly 700,000 Rohingya sparked a humanitarian crisis in southeast Bangladesh.The UN says Guterres, who discussed the Rohingya with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka on Sunday, will use the trip to study prospects for “a safe, voluntary and dignified return” of refugees to Myanmar.But relief agencies warn that conditions in Rakhine, which is heavily restricted to international observers, remain too unsafe to consider repatriating the Rohingya to Buddhist-majority Myanmar.Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said a lot more was needed to improve the situation he witnessed in Rakhine during an official visit the past few days.“What I’ve seen in terms of destruction of villages, abandonment of situations, disruptions in markets, of livelihood, of communities, I don’t think the present moment is an ideal condition to return,” Maurer told AFP in an interview in Chakmarkul refugee camp.He said more was needed for those families eking out survival in gigantic tent cities in Bangladesh, where many would rather endure hardship than return to persecution.“We need to prepare the ground for returns for those who wish to return,” Maurer said.Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed in November to begin repatriating the Rohingya but the process has stalled, with both sides accusing the other of frustrating the effort.Fewer than 200 have been resettled, and the vast majority refuse to contemplate returning until their rights, citizenship and safety are assured.The Rohingya are loathed by many in Myanmar, where they were stripped of citizenship and branded illegal immigrants from Bangladesh despite calling Rakhine their homeland.The UN has says conditions in Rakhine are not ripe for a safe, voluntary and dignified repatriation, but signed an agreement with Myanmar to assess conditions on the ground to help refugees make an informed decision.The UN Security Council visited Myanmar and Rakhine state in early May, meeting with refugees who gave detailed accounts of killings, rape and torching of villages at the hands of Myanmar’s military.Myanmar has vehemently denied allegations by the US, United Nations and others of ethnic cleansing.last_img