Update on the latest sports NEW YORK (AP) — Simona Halep says she will skip the U.S. Open. The Wimbledon champion says she wants to put her health first amid the coronavirus pandemic. Halep writes on Twitter that she “always said I would put my health at the heart of my decision and I therefore prefer to stay and train in Europe.” Halep is a former top-ranked player who is currently No. 2. She won the title in Prague on Sunday. Six of the top eight women in the WTA rankings won’t play in New York. No. 1 Ash Barty and defending champion Bianca Andreescu have also withdrawn from the tournament. August 17, 2020 Associated Press Nikola Jokic finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds for Denver. Murray took over in the extra period, sealing the game on a 3-pointer with 46.8 seconds remaining. Mitchell was the star of the show in the absence of Mike Conley, who left the NBA bubble to return to Ohio for the birth of his son. Mitchell was 19 of 33 from the floor and 13 of 13 from the free-throw line. He also had seven assists.It was no surprise this game went down to the wire. Denver went 3-0 against Utah this season but won by a combined margin of 11 points, including a 134-132 double-overtime thriller on Aug 8. Game 2 is Wednesday.NHL PLAYOFFSLightning win 2-1, put Blue Jackets on brink of eliminationTORONTO (AP) — Andrei Vasilevskiy had 28 saves and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on Monday to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series. In other college football news:Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn says his players have had 33 positive tests for COVID-19 this summer. Malzahn says one staff member also tested positive earlier this summer. The Tigers and other Southeastern Conference teams opened preseason camp Monday ahead of a season scheduled to start on Sept. 26. Malzahn says Auburn had no positive tests last week, but four players are still going through the testing protocols. He expects results back by the end of the week. He says the school has administered 863 tests among players, an average of more than seven times each. Mississippi starting center Eli Johnson says he won’t play football this season. Johnson announced on Twitter that he’ll sit out the season and focus on completing his master’s degree in criminal justice in December. The Southeastern Conference allows players to opt out of the season because of COVID-19 and remain on scholarship. Johnson started all 12 games last season, allowing only one sack. His father, David, was hospitalized this summer because of the virus.VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSNo fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium through Sept. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNBA-PLAYOFFSDenver takes Utah in overtime 135-125LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Jamal Murray scored 10 of his 36 points in overtime on a day Donovan Mitchell erupted for a Jazz playoff-record 57 points and the Denver Nuggets beat Utah 135-125 on Monday in Game 1 of their first-round series. Barclay Goodrow and Yanni Gourde each had a goal and an assist as the Lightning pushed the Blue Jackets to the verge of elimination after being swept by Columbus in the first round of the 2019 playoffs. Cam Atkinson scored for Columbus, and Joonas Korpisalo had 20 saves.The Blue Jackets seemed to have recharged after running out of gas in the Game 3 loss. They got the first goal early in the first period, but it was waved off because Alexandre Texier was offside entering the zone.Then the Lightning scored twice in the first five minutes of the second period. Game 5 is Wednesday.NHL NEWS Penguins star Malkin undergoes elbow surgeryPITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has undergone surgery to repair a left elbow injury. The team did not provide specifics on the nature of Malkin’s injury or when it occurred. The 34-year-old Malkin led the Penguins with 74 points during the regular season but was ineffective during a four-game loss to Montreal in the qualifying round of the playoffs. Malkin recorded just one assist during the series and had a minus-3 rating. The expected recovery time for Malkin is about a month, meaning he should be available whenever training camp for the 2020-21 season opens.NFL NEWSCowboys newcomer Gerald McCoy out for season with leg injuryFRISCO, Texas (AP) — Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is out for the season after tearing the quadriceps tendon in his right leg in the first padded practice of training camp. The Cowboys added plenty of depth on the defensive line in the offseason. But the loss of a potential starting tackle is a setback. McCoy will have surgery soon. He signed a three-year contract in March. There will be no fans at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium for NFL and MLS games played in September. The Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United say the coronavirus pandemic forced the decision. The teams say they will continue to collaborate with local and national health officials before deciding on the possibility for fans in games after September. In other virus-related sports news:The Canadian Football League has canceled its 2020 season because of the pandemic. The decision marks the first year since 1919 the Grey Cup won’t be awarded. The nine-team league announced the move Monday, dashing hopes of a shortened season in the hub city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the cancellation was in the “best long-term interests” of the league and the CFL is “absolutely committed” to 2021. TENNIS – US OPENWimbledon champion Halep opts out of playing at U.S. Open In other NFL news:The New York Giants have released placekicker Chandler Catanzaro. Coach Joe Judge announced the move Monday, just 16 days after the team hired the veteran following the release of incumbent Aldrick Rosas. New York is in talks with former Carolina Panthers veteran Graham Gano. He hit a career-long 63-yard field goal with :01 to play to help the Panthers beat the Giants 33-31 in 2018. Bengals cornerback Trae Waynes had surgery for a torn pectoral muscle, a significant setback to a defense in transition. The Bengals signed Waynes to a three-year deal as a free agent from Minnesota. He was expected to start along with William Jackson III, but now has a long recovery ahead. The Detroit Lions have signed running back Jonathan Williams, adding depth in the backfield behind Kerryon Johnson and rookie D’Andre Swift. Detroit released running back Wes Hills on Monday to clear a spot on the roster. Williams has 329 yards rushing on 79 carries with two touchdowns over parts of three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills. The Washington Football Team has hired Jason Wright as team president. He’s the first Black person to hold that position in NFL history and at 38 becomes the league’s youngest team president. Wright spent seven years as an NFL running back, was an Arizona Cardinals captain and their Players Association representative. After retiring as a player, Wright earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and joins the organization after working at a strategy and management consulting firm in Washington, D.C. He will run the business side of the organization and join coach Ron Rivera in reporting directly to owner Dan Snyder. Cleveland Browns star running back Nick Chubb is being evaluated for a concussion after being tackled on the first day players were in pads. Chubb, who rushed for 1,494 yards last season, was taken down after catching a short pass by linebacker Mack Wilson during Monday’s workout. A team spokesman said Chubb is being examined for a possible head injury. COLLEGE FOOTBALLK-State OK’d for 25% capacity for football gamesKansas State will allow 25% capacity at its football stadium for games this season after getting approval Monday from the county commission. That means a maximum crowd of just under 15,000 fans. The Big 12 Conference is allowing schools to set their own attendance policies based on local jurisdictions. The Riley County Commission reviewed the rest of Kansas State’s return-to-play protocols, too. Fans will be required to wear face coverings where 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. Tailgating will not be permitted in parking lots controlled by the school. There will be no reentry. There also will be hand sanitizing stations and other protective measures.
QPR are assessing a groin problem Fitz Hall picked up prior to their derby defeat at Arsenal.The injury-plagued defender did not feel fit enough to play at the Emirates Stadium and is a doubt for Monday’s home match against Norwich.But goalkeeper Paddy Kenny could be passed fit for the Bank Holiday clash at Loftus Road despite missing the 1-0 loss against the Gunners with a slight recurrence of a recent injury.AdChoices广告 Warnock was pleased with QPR’s battling display at Arsenal.Rangers badly need to beat Norwich after a run of seven games without a win that will see them enter 2012 only one place above the relegation zone.But manager Neil Warnock is set for another big spending spree when the transfer window reopens – and will also take heart from his team’s battling display against one of the Premier League’s heavyweights.“I am obviously pleased with how we played,” he said.“We came with four forwards and tried to have a go at Arsenal. We didn’t just want to come and shut up shop and hope for a 0-0 draw.“We wanted to win the game and I thought we had some good chances throughout.”Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
When asked by reporters if he was happy in Paris after the game, a frustrated Neymar said “yeah, why?”, and left the mixed zone.Edinson Cavani stole the headlines on Saturday by breaking Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s all-time PSG goalscoring record with his 157th for the club.It was Neymar’s first outing since scoring four goals but being booed in an 8-0 thrashing of Dijon 10 days ago, when home fans at the Parc des Princes were angered after he took a penalty that could have given Cavani the record. Spanish media reports earlier this week said 25-year-old Neymar was unhappy in Paris and set to join Real Madrid at the end of the campaign, but Al-Khelaifi rubbished the claims.“It’s a rumour and of course it’s not true,” said the Qatari.“He’s happy here, he wants to stay here. He only came here five months ago and he still has four and a half years left on his contract.“The Spaniards want to start a little (game), but we don’t want to get into this game. He won’t 100 percent be with us next season, but 2,000 percent.” “The two really have a very good relationship,” insisted Al-Khelaifi.“But you (the French media), you criticise, you try to make problems between our players when there are none. I really ask you to stop doing it because it’s not good for you or the club.“We need to focus on our big game (against Real Madrid), which is coming soon.”PSG take on Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16, first leg at the Bernabeu on February 14, with the return leg in Paris on March 6, as they look to reach a maiden European Cup final.Share on: WhatsApp Paris, France | AFP | Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said on Saturday he was “2,000 percent sure” that Neymar will stay at the club for next season.The world’s most expensive player scored twice in a 4-0 rout of Montpellier on his return from a two-match absence through injury.
Washington Redskins’ DeAngelo Hall is helped off the field after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)Nothing is worse than being hit by a slew of injuries in a Sunday game. Except, of course, having to then play on Thursday. Just ask the Washington Redskins.Washington listed nearly a dozen players on its injury report heading into the prime-time NFC East matchup with the Giants. Still, Washington, tied for No. 23 in the AP Pro32 with Cleveland, is a 3 1-2 point favorite over the No. 25 Giants.On defense alone, cornerback DeAngelo Hall went out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in the loss to Philadelphia. While nickel cornerback Tracy Porter (hamstring) could be back after missing the first three games, safety Duke Ihenacho broke his left foot and is done for the year.End Jason Hatcher has a hamstring injury, and linebacker Brian Orakpo will wear a large cast to protect a torn ligament in his left middle finger.The offense, of course, is without quarterback Robert Griffin III (dislocated ankle), although Kirk Cousins has stepped in and performed well. Top running back Alfred Morris missed a portion of the Eagles game with a knee issue, but returned and seems OK. Tight end Jordan Reed (hamstring) missed the Philly game, and guard Shawn Lauvao probably will sit out Thursday night, too.And now, a short week.“Now it’s a matter of getting plays installed Monday morning and getting players out there and practicing them,” coach Jay Gruden said. “We’re going through the same process, we just have got to do it a lot faster. You have got to watch film a little bit faster, you have got to go through the plays a little bit faster, you have got to write down the plays faster. Yeah, it’s tough. I’m a little jittery right now. I’ve had 17 cups of coffee.”The caffeine will keep Gruden alert, but the injuries will keep the Redskins from winning.UPSET SPECIAL: GIANTS, 30-27No. 26 Miami (minus 4 1-2) vs. No. 30 Oakland at LondonAt least Raiders collected thousands of frequent flyer miles to get beaten in Foxborough, and now at Wembley.BEST BET, DOLPHINS 20-10No. 17 Green Bay (minus 1) at No. 8 ChicagoPackers on brink of becoming irrelevant. Desperation pays off.PACKERS, 24-21No. 16 New Orleans (minus 3) at No. 19 DallasSaints, a mediocre road team, nearly won twice away from New Orleans. Third time is a charm …SAINTS, 32-31No. 13 Atlanta (minus 3) at No. 28 MinnesotaFalcons, a mediocre road team, are favorites, showing how far Vikings have tumbled.FALCONS, 28-20No. 18 Buffalo (plus 3) at No. 20 HoustonHard to believe winner of this will be 3-1.TEXANS, 21-20No. 27 Tennessee (plus 7 1-2) at No. 14 IndianapolisTime for Colts to reassert they are AFC South’s best team.COLTS, 31-13No. 32 Jacksonville (plus 13) at No. 6 San DiegoTime to start noticing what’s going on with Bolts.CHARGERS, 31-13No. 4 Philadelphia (plus 5 1-2) at No. 15 San FranciscoTwo teams headed in opposite directions. That trend ends here.49ERS, 23-21No. 7 New England (minus 3 1-2) at No. 22 Kansas City, Monday nightPatriots burned us as Best Bet last week. So avoiding such an emphatic pick now.PATRIOTS, 20-17No. 12 Carolina (plus 3) at No. 9 BaltimoreSteelers exposed Panthers’ run defense, and Ravens also can ground it out when needed.RAVENS, 20-16No. 10 Detroit (minus 1 1-2) at No. 22 New York JetsUnless Jets find a pass rush, Megatron will destroy them.LIONS, 27-22No. 31 Tampa Bay (plus 7 1-2) at No. 11 PittsburghNo way Tampa coach Lovie Smith allows another poor performance like debacle at Atlanta.STEELERS, 23-17___2014 RECORD: Against spread: This week (5-11); Season (18-26-3). Straight up: This week (10-6); Season (28-20)Best Bet: 1-2 against spread, 2-1 straight up.Upset special: 3-0 against spread, 2-1 straight up.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Williams said organizations are also trying to tackle the stigma that only out-of-state swimmers get caught in rip currents. With the high volume of beach replenishments since Sandy, beaches that locals are historically familiar with may have drastically changed.“It takes these beaches a while to get to equilibrium,” said Williams. “Some areas are faster and some take a longer time. Always be vigilant, even if it’s not a place that you’ve ever seen rip currents at.” THE ‘FOUR’EASTER’ By Jay Cook |ASBURY PARK – New Jersey’s beaches may be in the best shape since Super Storm Sandy ravaged the coast in 2012, but a virtually invisible threat continues to kill unsuspecting and inexperienced swimmers.Last summer, a record eight people across New Jersey drowned after being swept up in rip currents – the powerful water currents pulling away from the shorelines and out into the oceans – since the National Weather Service began tracking the related deaths in 1998. About 20 more fatalities last summer were also attributed to people swimming at beaches either after hours or when lifeguards weren’t present.It’s a menacing trend one local Sandy Hook-based organization is looking to halt.“It’s a shame,” said Claire Antonucci, executive director of New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC). “The water quality is great, the beaches are in great shape and then you have something like that happen, and it’s tough.” Remember that stretch of March where the Shore was seemingly beaten weekly with storms one after another?That weather event has since been titled the March 2018 “Four’easter,” said Jon K. Miller, Ph.D., a NJSGC processes specialist and research associate professor at Stevens Institute of Technology. The biggest of those storms was rated as the 27th biggest storm in the last 35 years, but the cumulative four storms ranked as the fifth-highest storm in that same time frame, Miller said.“We were fortunate that the wave heights during these nor’easters were not terribly large,” added Miller. “It had to do with the nature of the storms coming more over the land than over the sea.” Other than that month of blustery winds and constant rain, New Jersey beaches fared rather well, Miller said. The Four’easter caused some late beach erosion, meaning the sandbars which typically form off the shore will stay intact until July when that sand is pushed back to the beaches. Testing the water quality at New Jersey beaches has been a common practice since 1974, and if last year’s results are any indicator, the Garden State has been a standout student, said Catherine R. McCabe, acting commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).At the 16th annual State of the Shore event last week in Asbury Park, executive director of New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium Claire Antonucci, left, and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection acting commissioner Catherine R. McCabe answered questions about the state of the beaches. Photo by Jay CookOf the 221 beaches tested last year from mid-May through mid-September, 97 percent of the results came back within the acceptable threshold of 104 colonies of Enterococci bacteria per 100 milliliters. That’s the same bacteria found in fecal matter.“I am proud to say and very happy to say once again, one more time, that the quality of our coastal waters is excellent,” said McCabe. “You can all feel safe going to the beach.”Locally, beaches in Highlands – Miller Street and Robert D. Wilson Community Center – and Middletown – Ideal Beach – experienced a handful of shutdowns last year. At one point, Highlands officials voluntarily closed the beaches as they investigated, and found, sources of pollution.“We don’t expect right now nor are aware of any situations of any infrastructure issues, but that’s why we do the testing every Monday,” Bruce Friedman, director of water monitoring and standards with the DEP, said of Highlands’ situation.This article was first published in the May 31-June 7, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times. “I think a lot of it is common sense,” said Williams, who works with NJSGC. “Be aware that rip currents exist, be aware that they’re out there. Swim with the lifeguard because they’re going to save you.” WATER QUALITY GETS AN ‘A’ After last summer’s high number of beach-related deaths, Antonucci and her team decided to broaden their awareness and education campaigns. For the past 20 years, NJSGC has used grants to supply every municipality along the coast from Sandy Hook to Cape May with rip current awareness signs, posted at all open beaches. This year, for the first time, those signs have been translated to Spanish, said Amy Williams, a post-doctoral associate and coastal ecologist at Davidson Laboratory at Stevens Institute of Technology.Williams has also traveled the state, visiting classrooms and libraries to educate elementary aged beachgoers about the dangers associated with rip currents.
The Storm have enjoyed success internationally beyond Grand Forks. In 2009 they travelled to the Dominican Republic to play their professional teams in Winter-League competition and won three out of four games. They also travelled to Cuba in 2003 and became the first international team to beat Cuba at home in 17 years. The team has a remarkable winning percentage of .797 and at least 100 professional players have been part of the organization.In 2007 Leiderman launched another highly effective venture, the Junior Storm Travel Baseball Program. It has quickly developed into one of the most successful youth baseball organizations in the Long Island/New York Metro area with over 16 teams ranging in ages from 8 to 18. He says, “The Storm organization is all about the kids and our goal is to make every individual the best player and person he/she can be.”Beyond baseball, Mike Leiderman runs the Atlantic Group in Manhattan, a commercial furniture distributor which he owns and founded. He is regarded as one of the most influential and respected business furniture experts in America. Jim Rose, the president of the Long Island Stan Musial Baseball League in describing the Storm said, “They are the New York Yankees of amateur baseball.” The GFI organizing committee is excited to announce that this outstanding baseball team from the Big Apple, on the occasion of their 25th anniversary year, have accepted an invitation to compete in the 2012 tournament.So “start spreading the news and plan to be part of it”, the Storm will be back to once again play ball at beautiful James Donaldson Park in Grand Forks. To slightly paraphrase the lyrics of that popular song from the late 1970s, New York, New York, “Start spreading the news, they are leaving soon, I want to be part of it, New York, New York.”The New York Storm will be making their first appearance at the Grand Forks International (GFI) since 2005. This organization was founded in 1987 by Mike Leiderman, and he continues to be the owner and manager of one of the most successful semi-professional baseball programs in the United States.His teams have won 43 national tournaments and 11 national championships in addition to capturing the 2005 title at the GFI. A year after their win in Grand Forks they added the coveted Stan Musial World Series crown to their long list of achievements on the baseball diamond.
Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… David Recordon, an outspoken young advocate for Open Source and Open Web technologies, is leaving blog software company SixApart to join Facebook. He confirmed to us that he’ll be starting on Monday with the title Senior Open Programs Manager. The move was first reported by Spencer E. Ante this afternoon in BusinessWeek.Additional Facebook hires reported by BusinessWeek today include top Yahoo Engineer Arturo Bejar, former Genentech Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman, and senior Google engineer Greg Badros. As close observers of the movement to develop open technology standards for the social web, we find the hiring of Recordon to be of greatest interest.David Recordon traveled all over the world advocating open standards apparently in the belief that an open web would ultimately benefit SixApart. By the same logic that more web use and thus more search is good for Google, so too is more blogging and more online activity good for an activity stream-savvy SixApart. But the company’s activity stream products don’t appear to have flowered as much as its blogging software, and Recordon’s international advocacy must have been expensive.Facebook, on the other hand, may have a clearer interest in fostering increased activity and syndication of that activity data. While some critics, including this site, have noted Facebook’s tendency to both horde user data and push definitions of privacy in directions most users are unlikely to approve of, the company has also been an active participant in standards discussions concerning both data syndication and privacy. (We worry that users are being pushed to open up data that developers will only be able to access in aggregate for a high price.)Recordon has been a key leader in the movement to advance standards-based technology concerning identity and activity. We hope that he will help usher in future developments at Facebook that will both make user data available to as many developers as possible to build on and help users stay in control of their privacy in ways they are comfortable with. That’s not going to be an easy job.Just like when open source advocates take jobs at Microsoft, it’s hard to know to what degree they are changing the nature of the company and to what degree they are being co-opted.Meanwhile back at SixApart, long-time team member Anil Dash has greatly increased his public profile in recent weeks with big posts about what he calls the Push-button Web.Key questions then seem to be these: can Dash and others at SixApart keep pushing the Open Web agenda by bringing new technologies to market effectively? Can Recordon help the part of Facebook that favors open innovation and not just put a happy face on what departed Forrester marketing analyst Jeremiah Owyang recently predicted would be a future of big social networks “colonizing the rest of the web.”Facebook recently announced that it will be expanding its staff by as much as 50% this year, and blogger Robert Scoble notes that he was told by Google employees today while visiting that they are being recruited hard by Facebook as well.Photo by Joi Ito. marshall kirkpatrick Tags:#Analysis#news#web Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
A street scene in Hanoi: Under the new dispensation bicycles outnumber carsThe austere city of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, was host to a veteran Indian journalist last month, Pran Chopra, 61, visiting professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, was in Hanoi for eight days, as one,A street scene in Hanoi: Under the new dispensation bicycles outnumber carsThe austere city of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, was host to a veteran Indian journalist last month, Pran Chopra, 61, visiting professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, was in Hanoi for eight days, as one of Foreign Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao’s party. This was the second time that Chopra has been in Vietnam; in 1945 he had spent over a year in the region as a war correspondent for All India Radio (AIR), covering China, Indo-China, Thailand, Burma and the Indian north-east. During that time Chopra often had long conversations with Ho Chi Minh, the legendary father of Vietnamese nationalism.Between 1945 and 1982, Chopra has had an illustrious innings in journalism spanning four decades. He was chief news editor at AIR, editorial director of the Press Foundation of Asia and Editor of The Statesman. In this report, he documents the changes and the present character of Hanoi and the Vietnamese.In basic outward appearance, Hanoi still looks like the city it was when I first saw it in 1945, at the time of the Viet Minh revolution. Revisiting it now, with Foreign Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, I rejoiced to see that at least outwardly all the landmarks I remembered had been left untouched by the war or had recovered from it. Hotel Metropole still stand, under the new name of Hotel Reunification which it acquired in 1976; I had spent several memorable weeks in it 37 years ago.Around it still stand all the main buildings which had then constituted the heart of French colonial Hanoi as distinct from the older, native city a short distance away. To the right and rear of the hotel, the Opera House still overlooks the large public square in which I had witnessed some thunderous rallies of the Viet Minh Front a few days before Vietnam proclaimed itself independent.advertisementCheerful chiidren playing cards: Simple amusementsIn front of the hotel is the historic building, seat of the French administration in Hanoi till 1945, which Ho Chi Minh took over as the seat of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Vietnam. In it I had spent hours in conversation with him, his diminutive frame hidden behind a table too large for him, only his face peeping over it – the face of a philosopher who enjoys his reputation as an uncle with a puckish sense of humour. The total modesty of his style – a coat frayed at the collar, a pair of trousers often washed but never pressed, a sola pith hat which was once white, and bare feet in flip-flop rubber chappals – made a mockery of the aloof style of the colonial architecture around him.Simplicity: This time I saw him embalmed and still, in an imposing black mausoleum built by the Russians, and I wondered what he would say if he ever saw himself there, because when I met him in New Delhi after he had been to see Rajghat, he said with feeling: “This memorial to Gandhi is as beautiful in its simplicity as Gandhi himself.” Much more in character with Ho Chi Minh is the nearby house in which he lived; very simple, and made beautiful by its proportions and regard for orderliness.Behind the mausoleum is a large tree – once a sapling he brought from India – and all around is Ba Dinh, an enormous empty space once, but now paved with stone and landscaped, where in September 1945 Ho Chi Minh read the Proclamation Of Independence at the largest public meeting I have seen outside India.The writing of the proclamation was itself an act typical of Ho Chi Minh. He wrote it by hand and then typed it himself, squatting on the floor in the backyard of an inconspicuous house in the Vietnamese part of Hanoi, taking forty winks in between on a wooden bench. At that time he was still underground. A day or so later he surfaced, and this had an electrifying effect on the Vietnamese population, although the effect weakened as one moved from the native city to the graceful, shady, broad, well-proportioned boulevards and avenues of the French quarter.These roads are still as beautiful as they were earlier. Perhaps more so, because the trees are forty years older, taller and more stately. Most buildings on either side are still very elegant in an unpretentious kind of way, and it was delightful recalling how chic it all was despite the three years or so of Japanese occupation.advertisementBut the place which was once famous for its beauty, and later for the deathless heroism of its people, has now been forgotten by the world. Everything betrays this fact. A country which was so much on the front pages in every capital is rarely heard of now. Fewer airlines fly to it in a week than fly in a day to each of the three cities which surround Vietnam in a triangle – Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong.The airport of Hanoi is like an abandoned barracks. The arrival hall would be too humble for an ordinary school. The departure lounge is of framed mats and cracking plywood. Access to the town is over a 2 km-long bridge which miraculously hangs together but cannot do much more. The few lorries and buses which pass over it are rusty hulks with spluttering engines which often fail and block the narrow bridge.Emptiness: The commercial quarter of the city is drab in any season, but more so in Hanoi’s very cold and grey winter. Nothing remains of the styles of France it sported once. There are fewer cars on the roads than in any suburb of New Delhi. Most of them are either diplomatic or governmental; and if the latter, they are invariably of Russian make.The buildings are run down, because though care is taken the money required for their proper upkeep is hard to spare. Some have been occupied, in an empty sort of way, by the form-filling bureaucracy of a socialist state. Some have been equipped with the modest amenities provided by a socialist state which has yet to make a go of it.Privately run establishments are not much more lively. Restaurants wait emptily for customers, drapers wait for both customers and cloth. Consumer goods stores have more consumers than goods, and such goods as they have – are tawdry. Things give the impression that time passes but nothing ever changes.There is a greater bustle of people in the older and more Vietnamese part of Hanoi: long bazaars of small shops, lines of pavement vendors in their conical hats of ‘nons’ and an unending stream of bicycle traffic. There are probably more bicycles here per hundred of population than anywhere else in the world.Most of them are of an older vintage than anywhere except in an Indian village, because even a middle-ranking civil servant would need his full salary for two years to be able to buy a new cycle. But the bicycle carries all manner of things, and it claims and gets the right of the way over everything – pedestrians, cars, crowded buses and trams. Only acrobatic children get the better of it!But in the Vietnamese part of the city too, commercial life is of the most elementary kind. In few shops are there goods worth more than a couple of thousand rupees. Most vendors carry only small head or hand baskets with things worth no more than a score of rupees or so. What would any of these people think if they saw the burgeoning supermarkets of other South-east Asian capitals? This is further evidence that the tide of commerce which has swept through the rest of that region has only pushed Hanoi further to the sidelines of the region’s economy.advertisementEgalitarian Society: But there is a third aspect of life in Hanoi which takes longer to come into focus than either the state of its commerce or the still surviving beauty of the old French administrative quarter. And, this aspect displays the better face of socialism. There is almost total absence of any great disparities – and this does not mean that everyone has been levelled down; there is a great deal of levelling up as well.My own attention was drawn sharply to this aspect, unintentionally, by a man who seemed to be complaining that Vietnam was sliding away from socialism. Trying to substantiate this charge he said: “Look at it even now. Some people cannot afford even bicycles while others ride about on motorcycles.” His scale of disparities was wholly unrelated to what happens elsewhere, and he gave more evidence of this.He is a middle-level government employee and has a basic salary of just under 300’dongs’, which is roughly equal to Rs 300. That puts him at just about the middle of the salary spread in government service, where the lowest salary (and this is the minimum wage everywhere and it is enforced) is about 160 dongs and the highest is just over twice as much. Beyond the salary come certain perks at very senior levels, such as an office car.But his grouse was that some people paid 5 per cent of their salaries as house rent while others had to pay only 2 or 3 per cent! Then we talked about entertainment, such as taking a friend out for dinner. “A modestly good meal would cost us 10 dongs per head, but a really good one such as a successful merchant may buy would cost 60 or 70 dongs.” How rich would this rich merchant be? “A good one can make 5,000 dongs a month.”This absence of excessive riches at the upper level, plus the government’s pricing policies for essentials explains why a dong goes much further in Hanoi than a rupee does in New Delhi. There are some aberrations at both the lowest and highest ends of the pricing range, like a house for less than five rupees a month! These are unhealthy, and the Government is now grappling with them. But a durable aspect of Vietnamese socialism is that Hanoi shows none of the glaring contrasts between extreme riches and extreme poverty which mar the glamour – so popular with tourists – of almost every other Asian capital.Wholesome Life-styles: There is some begging, but very little, being entirely limited to the very aged or disabled, and there also the begging bowl is concealed as a basket containing odds and ends for sale. Hardly any ill health is seen on the street, and when it is, it goes more with age than poverty. Totally absent are two scourges of city life in most places: delinquent youth and vagrant children.Hanoi has more than its measure of the two ‘opposites’, mostly seen in socialist societies: clean and good behaviour among young people and good health and bursting cheerfulness among children. Their amusements are simple, inexpensive and clean and comprise very full sources of fun for them without becoming causes of urban problems, as they certainly are in most South-east Asian cities, the more so in the nearest one, Bangkok.Hardly ever is a very well dressesd woman seen in Hanoi, and fewer still are attired expensively. In that respect too, life on the boulevards of Hanoi has certainly been toned down from what it was.The human condition seems to be good in the countryside as well. Visibly, life in the villages along the roads is almost uniformly healthy, perhaps more than in Hanoi. Signs of prosperity are even fewer than in Hanoi, but the welfare average seems higher, and probably higher than in the villages of some of the richer countries of this region.Be it in the capital or in the villages: the dominant impression which even a brief visit provides is that Vietnam – can and intends to – build its future upon an ample supply of good manpower, positive in its outlook, of healthy physique, of orderly behaviour and discipline and uncorrupted as yet by the social symptoms which are sweeping through the rest of South-east Asia in the wake of brilliantly successful commercialism.It is true that there are some weaknesses creeping in here and there. Problems of staying power may arise if food shortages are not remedied soon. There are signs of lethargy and unconcern at lower levels of administration. But these are as yet only pimples on the smooth surface of Vietnam’s largest asset: its manpower, which has a capacity to suffer without losing resolve.INDO-VIETNAMESE RELATIONS: TIES ACROSS THE OCEAN Vietnam has made it as plain as it can that it desires a very close relationship with India, both economic and political. Closer than it has with any country outside the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, (Comecon).This was explicitly said during the Indian Foreign Minister Narasimha Rao’s recent visit to Vietnam, and was made even plainer by the unreserved warmth of the reception accorded him. On his part, Rao also became more forthcoming than India has been of late. He announced some economic assistance on the spot and promised some more.In a far-reaching move, the two sides also agreed that instead of ad hoc steps, as hitherto, a long-term plan of across-the-board assistance should be drawn up on the basis of a report on Vietnam’s needs. The report is being prepared by a team India sent there under the very competent leadership of G.V.K. Rao, a former secretary to the Indian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Reconstruction.The economic reasons for Vietnam desiring such closeness with India are evident. The simplest and most compelling is that a country which has suffered such utter devastation for so long needs help from all the sources it can tap-and Vietnam can tap only a few. The US, which broke all records in raining destruction upon Vietnam, has not only refused the assistance it (in Hanoi’s eyes) had promised; it has also applied every diplomatic pressure it can to prevent its friends, allies and international aid agencies from helping Vietnam.China has used not only diplomatic pressure but military onslaughts, too, for disrupting Vietnam’s economic recovery. Vietnam’s neighbours in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) have also suspended economic relations – either, as Hanoi sees it, because of these pressures or, as they claim, because of their opposition to the “invasion” of Kampuchea.That leaves Vietnam with only the Comecon as a major source of aid which in fact, means the Soviet Union. Cuba is too far away. Many East European allies have their own problems, and Hanoi is daily reminded of this by a huge railway workshop on the outskirts of the city which Poland started to build but has not been able to complete.Of the West Europeans, Sweden has been steadily generous and bold in resisting American pressure, and now France is stepping in to some extent. But the others are lukewarm. So is Japan. That only leaves India, and Vietnam turns to her in very obvious need.Test Case: In fact Vietnam wants India to be the foremost non-communist source, because it believes India’s help would be very apt. Vietnam’s foremost needs are in agriculture and rail transportation, and India’s experience and resources are the most relevant, apart from being nearest.Vietnam also thinks India’s help can be a test case of South-South cooperation, for two reasons: unlike many developing countries, Vietnam has consciously opted for less advanced technology for its industrialisation, partly because it lacks the money for the more advanced technology and partly because it realises it can absorb the less advanced kind more cost-effectively. Secondly, of all Third World countries opting for Third World help, Vietnam has the most highly motivated population, an important assest for the more labour intensive technologies that India can offer.There are also some political reasons for seeking an Indian connection. Vietnam hotly denies any differences with Moscow, but surely realises that if it were not seen as wholly dependent upon Russia its relations with Asean neighbours might become less difficult.More important, India is a good bridgehead with the Third World and the non-aligned – perhaps also with Asean on the Kampuchea question. Of all countries which have recognised Kampuchea, India is the least unpopular with Asean. Those which have not recognised it are, of course, not popular with Vietnam.But what is in the deal for India? Two fears are expressed by some. One is that for many years Vietnam will only receive, not give,and a poor country like India cannot afford that. Second, Asean’s displeasure will cost India more than Vietnam’s goodwill is worth. There is substance in both fears, but they are exaggerated.Potential Power: Anything can happen of course, but the greater likelihood is that Vietnam is going to be an important power factor in South-east Asia, and one fairly congenial to the overall pursuance of Indian foreign policy both in this region as well as globally. On the other hand, the collapse of Vietnam is not in India’s interests (nor in Asean’s, as some members of this group recognise).Therefore, India’s enlightened self-interest advocates some help for Vietnam as it struggles to get out of its present difficulties, especially economic ones. An important question for India is, of course, whether this would harm India’s economic interests within Asean, which are at least as important.The Asean countries have always had only those economic relations with India which make good economic sense to them. This has been so for two good reasons. One is that India has never had the kind of political closeness with the West which would persuade the Asean countries to give some political backing to economic relations with India, or which would persuade the West to use its leverage with Asean in India’s favour. The second is that India does not have such political clout with Asean that it may use it to promote its economic interests.On the other hand, with Indo-China states you can only have economic relations to the extent that they harmonise with the political. The best thing for India would be that relations between the Asean and Indo-China groups are such that India can safely have good relations with both.
zoom Some five months after the collapse of Korean shipping group Hanjin Shipping, more than two-thirds of all Hanjin-operated containerships remains inactive, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.Although a number of ships was auctioned for a total of USD 460 million so far, Drewry estimates that there remains up to as much as 150,000 TEU of Hanjin-owned ships still for sale.Hanjin’s demise exposed the frailty of container lines in an era of ultra-low freight rates and caused panic among cargo owners with assets aboard their ships. After the logistical chaos has been cleared up, what has happened to those vessels?An immediate impact could be seen on the containership idle fleet, which surged after 98 ships with an aggregate capacity of around 610,000 TEU were suddenly left without employ. The idle fleet went from 904,000 TEU in mid-August to 1.7 million TEU in mid-November.The declining stature of the idle fleet from December onwards is in large part due to some of those ex-Hanjin ships being re-chartered.Four vessels of 15,000 TEU in total have been scrapped, two of which were owned by Hanjin and none older than 20 years, while another 31 ships of 134,000 TEU have found new service elsewhere.Non-operating charterers have managed to find replacement lessors for 30 ships so far. Maersk Line has shown the biggest appetite for the former Hanjin fleet by chartering 11 vessels of 77,000 TEU, the largest being two 13,000 TEU units that were sold at auction to unnamed buyers in December for around USD 131 million apiece, according to unconfirmed media reports. Maersk is deploying the vessels in the 2M Alliance Asia-Europe network.There remain some 63 ex-Hanjin ships with close to 460,000 TEU worth of nominal capacity that are parked up. At least eight vessels should be back on the water fairly quickly.With such a glut of containerships already available and limited demand growth it is debatable just how big a market they can attract even at knock-down prices. The biggest and youngest ships are likely to have the biggest pull, according to Drewry.