It seems like yesterday; but 27 unbroken years have passed and, again, history, as it is always the case, has repeated itself. Cllr. Rosemarie Banks-James has stepped in the same shoes her mother — Mother Mary Jane Brisbane-Banks — stepped in those many years ago. And guess where? In the same church: Eliza Turner Memorial AME Church on Camp Johnson Road.Cllr. James, the sister of Associate Supreme Court Justice Phillip A. Z. Banks, III, was crowned Eliza Turner’s Mother of the Year on May 11, 2014, in observance of that Church’s annual Mothers’ Day program, held under the auspices of the Women Missionary Society (WMS).The Daily Observer’s Women Desk had an exclusive interview with Cllr. James, a well-seasoned and an astute lawyer:Daily Observer (DO): Mother Rosemarie Banks-James, congratulations and thanks for allowing the Daily Observer to interview you.Mother/Cllr. James: You are welcome and thanks for the compliments.DO: You were recently crowned Mother of the Year; tell us your feeling.Mother James: I was so happy. It was like history repeating itself. I said to the church on that day, I am very, very happy because my mother was made Mother of the Year in this same church.DO: How many years ago?Cllr. James: About 27, 28 years ago and now I am being made Mother of the Year. At that time, we were all happy because we were all around.DO: These days, churches just make people Mother of the Year, Father of the Year, Brother of the Year and so forth, because of what the person has, was that the same in your case?Mother James: No. I have worked in that church from baby. We grew up in that church. We attended Sunday School, we climbed the ladder gradually in the church and held different positions in different organizations in the church. So I have worked hard. Yeah, they love me because I know how to help the church make money and I do give cheerfully.DO: Mother James, growing up as a young woman in the church and looking at today’s young women in Liberia, what piece of advice can you give them?Cllr. James: I tell them like I tell my children. As soon as they tell me that they have a problem, I always tell them go to church… (laughs)DO: You think the solution is in the church?Mother James: It gives peace of mind and sometimes when you hear the sermon, you forget about your problems. It helps you to find solution to your problems. You are sitting there and worrying about your problems when you can take them to the Lord in prayer. That’s what we were taught. From small, we were taught to pray and about the church. A lot of the young women are not going to church, but I thank God that we can encourage few of them to go to church. They say, ‘I can’t find a good husband…’ I tell them you are not going to find a good husband on the streets. Go to church and you are going to find whatever you are looking for—peace of mind.DO: This question might be biased among your girls, which one of them you wish that that person continues the history by becoming the next Mother of the Year?Mother James: (Laughs) Let me tell you among my five children, my oldest girl, Fatuma, she’s a lover of church…DO: So you want her to continue the history?Mother James: Yes, she loves church; she sings in the choir in the church in the States. She has three boys and a girl, who along with she and her husband, go to church every Sunday. She doesn’t miss a Sunday. She is more than me.DO: Mother James, as a seasoned lawyer in the court, you should take a tough face there, do you take you motherly instinct there, too?Mother James: All the time…(laughs)DO: And does it play on your judgment?Mother James: A lot, because when I try to explain to people, I relate it to everyday life out there—as a woman, as a mother, sometimes when I see the young people misbehaving, I tell them the things I didn’t take from my children, I am not going to take them from you. You have to act this way. I go to the court and I say to the lawyers, and as a teacher in my profession, I tell some of the lawyers, hey I didn’t train you this way, they get back to themselves because they feel that they have missed the law in front of their professor.DO: By making you Mother of the Year, what does the church expect from you?Mother James: Let me tell you what I did this year for my church. I made them take two projects: They needed a projector, I donated that to the church. But we have been trying to finish the front part of the church. That part is the Pastor’s office. We have been dragging this work for a very long time. So, I told the Missionary that we have to do something about it. So if we raise some money, we can start by saying we will do the window or door and this will help the church. To get this done, I invited a lot of friends and relatives to come and help me raise some money for this project. The Missionaries are so happy from that day, they are still thanking me.DO: There have been many Mothers of the Year in the Church, your tenure is now, what legacy you wish to leave when you turn the crown over to another mother?Mother James: You know the song one of my adopted daughters—Grace Martins Yonway—who sang before I spoke says: If I can help somebody as I pass this way or as I go along, then my living won’t be vain. You don’t need to praise me now. I have told people when I left from here during the war and found myself along with my family in the States, I got a teaching job. I was in America with my children and didn’t need to help anybody but I took so many young people there and put them in the college. Most of them have graduated and are back, some of them are still there in the States. So, I feel good about it. If I can help somebody as I pass this way, my living won’t be vain, that is my legacy.DO: Looking at Liberia, what can you tell young people today in Liberia?Mother James: Be focused, learn, get an education. Never think work is too hard because we work until we get old. Young people these days don’t want to work. They always say government should create jobs for them but the jobs that government creates they are not interested in them. So, they need the education to get the jobs that they want. This is what the young people need to do. Don’t jump from the bottom to the top because when you fall, there would be nothing to hold you. So, let the young people get an education first before asking for jobs.About Mother Rosemarie Banks-JamesShe is the seventh child of Philip A. Z. Banks, I, and Mary Jane Brisbane. She is a strong advocate for the rights of women and children. She has held several positions not only in Eliza Turner but at the Liberia Annual Conference level of the 14th Episcopal District. Mother James served as a Steward, YPD Director of the WMS, Chairman, Finance Committee, Trustee of the Liberian Annual Conference and Legal Counsel for the 14th Episcopal District AME Church among others. She holds a BA degree in Political Science and History, LL.B and LL.M degrees in Law from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, UL and McGill University respectively. She is a former Professor of Law at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, former Professor of Law/Legal Studies and Criminal Justice, Morris Brown College and American Intercontinental University, USA. Mother James has for over 30 years advocated for the rights of women and children and is a founding member of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL), Women Initiative and Women Development Association of Liberia and is presently the founder/President of Women Care International, an organization she established while in the US. She is on the Editorial Board of Liberia Law Experts and has contributed to the compilation, editing and publishing of Volumes 1-4 of 1LCLR and Volumes 1-41 of LLR. Mother James is married to Cllr. Emmanuel B. James and they have five children and eight grandchildren. She also has several adopted children.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
It occurred in Edmonton, where he decided to form an informal group willing to discuss the concept with others, including health care providers, who believe patients facing the same challenge can benefit from the practical information of those who have successfully dealt with it.The initiative has already been welcomed by Northern Health CEO Cathy Ulrich.“You are absolutely right that this sort of peer support is very helpful to people going through this kind of major medical experience,” Ulrich said.- Advertisement -Lantz, whose surgery was done on July 16th, notes that most people needing heart surgery from this area go to either Edmonton or Vancouver for the procedure, and it raises many questions about such things as preparation, travel, and recovery times.He says he was lucky, because he was able to talk with 2 people who had the same operation and “their experiences removed much of the fear and provided solid, practical information beyond what I’d received from the surgeon’s office.”He will now be seeking approval from his home medical community on a plan to organize meetings and collect contact information for those willing to share their experiences.Advertisement Those contacts would then go to local doctors who can pass them onto patients who are scheduled to face open heart surgery. For more information you can reach Bruce at 250-264-8888, or email him at email@example.com
Mark Hughes has heaped praise on Stoke forward Bojan Krkic after the Spaniard inspired the Potters to a 3-2 victory over Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium.The former Barcelona star has been a revelation since coming back into the first-team, and scored his second Premier League goal on Saturday to help his side to a deserved win over the Gunners.Hughes claimed Stoke’s bright start set the tone against Arsene Wenger’s side, having gone into the break with a remarkable 3-0 lead, while he also hailed goal scorer Bojan, claiming he has been man-of-the-match every week since his return.“We were encouraged by the early goal, obviously. You don’t expect to score after 20 seconds,” the manager said.“From that point onwards I thought our play was good, and it was an outstanding second goal by Bojan, who once again has put in a really impressive performance.“Since he’s come back into the side, he’s arguably been our man-of-the-match in every game.“Three-nil at half-time doesn’t happen very often, certainly not to me anyway, so I was delighted with that. But we had the scars of the West Ham game, where we raced to a 2-0 lead and let it slip, so we used that as a reminder at half-time,” Hughes added.
Finn Harps U19s will be hoping to secure the title in the Northern Section of the U19 league this Sunday as they take on Longford at 2PM in Finn Park.Although Longford are bottom of the table and Harps have beaten them previously this season, it won’t be an easy game as evidenced by Harps exit from the Enda McGuill cup at the hands of the midlanders. The young Harps have a formidable defensive record having only conceded 7 goals in the 16 games of the campaign to date. Regardless of the outcome of this game, Harps will have another chance to secure top spot against Derry City in the final match of the campaign.A title win will be hugely satisfying for the Donegal men considering the league included u19 teams from four premier sides, Sligo, Dundalk, Derry and Monaghan.Ryan Curran returns from suspension while Gary Merritt is unavailable for selection but will return for final match v Derry City.U19 team Manager Sean Wizard McGowan said “The players have done very well to get this far but we still have two very tough games to play. We will be talking to the players at training and making sure that no-one is getting carried away” he said. McGowan said he is very happy with the dedication his squad have put into the u19 league campaign “Our players come from the all over the County so its particularly pleasing that we have had a consistently high turnout at training. That’s where the hard work gets done, the game on Sunday won’t be easy as Longford are a well organised side. However we will work with the lads this week and make sure the players are prepared and in the right frame of mind” he added.The team includes Jordy Duffy, Ryan Shields, Hugh McFadden, Shaun Patton, Calvin Bradley, Stephen Rodden, Peter Doherty, Ryan Lonergan, Shane McGinty, Gary Merritt and Cathal McDaid.HARPS UNDER 19s HOPING TO SECURE TITLE THIS WEEKEND was last modified: April 12th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:FINN HARPS UNDER 19
Thierry Henry was apparently not impressed by his old team-mate’s celebrations 2 “I went absolutely mental!”@TheDavidSeaman says he couldn’t help but celebrate when his Man City side scored against former team #Arsenal… and Thierry Henry did NOT like it! 😂Do you have a problem with players celebrating goals against former sides? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/WiwpDWQmHz— The Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast (@SportsBreakfast) October 31, 2018 “I was like, ‘sorry, sorry!’ I got carried away!“But that was because I felt that I could still play and the offer I received from Arsenal wasn’t brilliant, so I felt I had something to prove.” Frank Lampard has said he will not celebrate if his Derby side score against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night – but David Seaman showed no such restraint against Arsenal.The former goalkeeper has told talkSPORT about the time he stunned ex-team-mate Thierry Henry by celebrating madly when Manchester City scored a goal against the Gunners shortly after he moved between the clubs. 2 Lampard will return to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday for the first time since turning from player to manager, and after knocking out Manchester United in the previous round many are tipping the Rams to cause another upset.But the Blues legend has said he will take no joy from winning or even scoring against his former club, where he spent 13 glittering years and entered the record books as the club’s top scorer in history.Seaman, though, admitted on talkSPORT that – although he didn’t go full-on Adebayor – he was the opposite when he came up against Arsenal for the first time in a City shirt.Asked if it’s OK to celebrate against a former club, Seaman said on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “It depends on how you’ve left.“I remember when I want to Man City, we played Arsenal quite early on in the season and we scored first and I went absolutely crazy.“I was running around, giving it loads, and I just noticed Thierry Henry looking at me and he was like, ‘David, what are you doing?!’ David Seaman felt like he had a point to prove against Arsenal
Energie Fitness in Letterkenny – Across from the new Dunnes Stores – are delighted to launch their all new and improved Autumn class schedule.Energie proudly boast to be the only club in the North West that is licenced for Spin™ and the ever popular Les Mills™ having the licensing rights to these classes means their classes are always changing, keeping the music, moves and motivation fresh.In addition to this these already popular and a first for Donegal the all new concept that is “Fitness Yoga” is a fitness program that incorporates deep stretch and Yoga postures without the dogma, chanting or philosophy normally associated with traditional yoga. It is not a spiritual experience but it does mimic Yoga in its breathing and style, offering postures that endorse strength and stability Due to demand, they have added in more Core, Zumba and Glider classes, as well as introducing classes at 7.15am and 7.45amThere really is something to suit everyone.The time tables are available for download at http://www.energiefitnessclubs.com/letterkenny/page.asp?Id=16Or you can contact the club on 074 91 77949 for further information ENERGIE FITNESS LAUNCH THEIR NEW AUTUMN SCHEDULE was last modified: September 10th, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ENERGIE FITNESS LAUNCH THEIR NEW AUTUMN SCHEDULE
Story Links Scouting Texas A&MThe Aggies are making their 13th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. This marks the fifth time in seven years that Texas A&M, which is ranked No. 14 in the latest Associated Press Top-25 Poll, has hosted First and Second Round games, and the 10th time in the past 12 seasons that Texas A&M has earned a top 4-seed. The Aggies are led by the 2018 espnW and USA Today Sports Freshman of the Year, Chennedy Carter, who leads Division I freshmen in scoring at 21.9 points per game.Series HistoryThis will be the first-ever meeting between the Aggies and the Bulldogs. It will be the first contest against Southeastern Conference opponent for Drake since Auburn rallied for an 85-80 win at the Tulane Classic in New Orleans, Dec. 21, 2016. Friday’s game versus the Aggies is the 21st all-time for the Bulldogs against an SEC opponent. The last time Drake faced an SEC team in the NCAA Tournament was in the 2007 first round against eventual national champion, Tennessee. Rookies Sports Bar & Grill2180 NW 156th St. | Clive, IA*Once Drake has completed play in the tournament, subsequent parties will not be held.Print Friendly Version Drake Game Notes Drake is 42-0 in the past two seasons in MVC regular season play and tournament action. Before last season, no MVC team had ever gone undefeated in one regular season and now Drake has accomplished the impressive feat twice. The 42-straight conference wins is the third-longest active conference winning streak in the nation behind UConn (116) and Belmont (46). Texas A&M Game Notes Live Stats Bulldog Party Headquarters in College StationDrake Athletics and Drake Alumni Office will host a pregame fan rally at The Corner Bar & Rooftop Grill (401 University Dr., College Station) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Friday before the Bulldogs take on Texas A&M! With its tremendous success during the regular season and tournament, the team nearly swept the MVC Specialty awards as sophomore Becca Hittner (Urbandale, Iowa) was named the 2018 Jackie Stiles MVC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year while junior Sammie Bachrodt (Wichita, Kan.) was tabbed the MVC Defensive Player of the Year and redshirt sophomore Sara Rhine (Eldon, Mo.) was selected the MVC Sixth Player of the Year for the second time in her career. Head coach Jennie Baranczyk was chosen the MVC Coach of the Year for the second-straight season. Those three along with redshirt junior Maddy Dean (Jordan, Minn.) earned MVC All-Conference honors. Dean was tabbed the MVC Tournament Most Outstanding Player after averaging 17.0 points per game and shooting 10-of-21 from three-point range in the Bulldogs’ three wins in Moline, Ill. Hittner and Rhine joined Dean on the MVC All-Tournament team. Des Moines Watch PartyRookies Sports Bar & Grill in Clive is the home of all Bulldog postseason watch parties! Grab your friends and family and head to Rookies to cheer the team on as they play in the NCAA Tournament! Drake’s bench has been great this season by outscoring opponents’ benches, 1262-544, including in MVC play by an impressive margin of 782-283. An opponent’s reserves outscored Drake’s just three times this season with it happening just once in the MVC regular season and tournament. Drake’s bench averaged 38.2 ppg overall and 43.2 ppg in the MVC regular season and tournament. Drake won its seventh Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and secured its 12th NCAA Tournament berth with a 75-63 victory over UNI in the MVC Tournament championship game last Sunday. Stay up to date on the latest news and information about the Bulldogs by visiting the Tournament Central page at http://godrakebulldogs.com/gameday/women-s-basketball-vs-texas-a-m/wbball/90/ No. 5 DePaul and No. 12 Oklahoma are the other two teams in the Spokane Region and will play Friday at 11 a.m. CST. The winners of the two Friday games will play Sunday with game time to be announced. The Bulldogs’ second-straight MVC Tournament title capped a second-consecutive season in which the program went undefeated against conference foes and the victory over UNI was the Bulldogs 21st-straight win this season. It is the fifth-time in program history, Drake has swept the MVC regular season and tournament titles (1997, 1998, 2000, 2017, 2018). TicketsTicket sales through the Drake Athletics Ticket Office have now ended. Those needing ONLY Friday’s First Round tickets, must purchase their tickets when arriving at the game at the Reed Arena Box Office. Currently only all-session tickets are available for sale through the Texas A&M Ticket Office. Single-game tickets will be available at walk-up on Friday. The Reed Arena Box Office opens at 8:30 AM. For more information, please contact the Texas A&M Ticket Office 888-992-4443 or visit www.12thman.com. Photo Gallery COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Drake University women’s basketball team (26-7) is a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will play at No. 4 Texas A&M (24-9) Friday, March 16 at Reed Arena. The NCAA First Round game will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Lowell Galindo and Andraya Carter on the call. The game will be broadcast on the radio 1350 ESPN Des Moines, but there will be no live audio via www. espndesmoines.com or the TunedIn app. Watch ESPN
The pilot at the controls of Asiana Flight 214 says he was “very concerned” about landing a Boeing 777 visually at San Francisco International Airport, without the aid of a glide-slope indicator (ILS). The ILS helps pilots monitor descent to the runway. The revelation comes in a 139-page Operations Group Factual Report released by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board in conjunction with a hearing in Washington, DC. While the ILS was not operative guide lights called PAPIs (precision approach path indicators ) were working. These give a visual que with four reds too low and four whites too high.Thirty five of Trainee Captain Lee Kang Kuk’s 9,700 flight hours had been spent flying the 777. The aircraft he was piloting late morning July 6, 2013 struck a seawall just short of Runway 28L at San Francisco International Airport. Three of the 291 passengers died, while 199 were taken to hospital. All told 11 crewmembers were hurt.While the official cause of the accident won’t be known until NTSB publishes its report, investigators are honing in on human factors. overreliance on technology, culture and communication as pivotal in this accident.So might be the operation, and crew understanding of, the 777’s auto-throttle feature.Incredibly; – Lee knew the glide-slope indicator was inoperative. But because other pilots were doing visual approaches, the report says “he could not say he could not do” one.– Lee told investigators he was blinded for a brief moment while on approach. Why no sunglasses? It would have been impolite to don them when flying with his PM, the pilot monitoring his actions.– Lee didn’t break off the approach and initiate a “go-around” maneuver on his own because “normally only in our Korean culture the one step higher level the final decision people he did he decide the going around thing. It’s very important thing. As a first officer (co-pilot) or the low level people they dare to think about the going around thing. It’s very hard…The instructor pilot got the authority. Even [if] I am [in] the left [command] seat, this is very hard to explain, that is our culture.”Information from Flight 214’s cockpit voice recorder shows that 16.7 second before the 777’s tail slams into the tarmac an unidentified voice in the cockpit says, “It’s [the aircraft] low.” Only 3.9 seconds before impact the cockpit is filled with the rattling sound of a “stick-shaker,” signaling the onset of an aerodynamic stall.Precisely 2.5 seconds before ground and aircraft meet Captain Lee Jungmin, the man monitoring Captain Lee Kang Kuk airmanship, says, “Oh # go around.” It is too late.Life-saving CRM, or Cockpit Resource Management training, stresses communication, collaboration and individual initiative. Captain Lee Kang Kuk told investigators he had taken CRM training “frequently.” In a post-crash interview, they asked Captain Lee Kang Kuk if his airline encouraged junior pilots to “speak up if they felt uncomfortable about something.” He responded “yes.”The statements made by the pilots demolish the widely held belief that cockpit cultural problems and the loss of face that plagued many Asian based airlines in the 1980s and 1990s had been swept aside.The investigation is continuing. In response to the revalations AirlineRatings has removed its safety rating of Asiana pending a more detailed investigation of the airline’s procedures.The NTSB has released the video below of the crash.
A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Tags:#Google#news#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… We have been hearing rumors about the Google Drive online storage service for years now. This mythical GDrive would give users the ability to easily store and access all of their files in the cloud. Lots of other services already offer this, of course, but few of them are at the center of our online lives as much as Google is. Yesterday, Google Sites, a service that lets users build their own websites without ever having to touch the HTML or CSS code, just launched an update to its unified ‘insert’ dialog. This dialog brings together all of your files from almost all of Google’s services and looks a lot like we would imagine the GDrive to look like.Even more interesting, as Alex Chitu at the Google Operating System blog point out, is that you can use this link to access the ‘document picker’ used in Google Sites directly – though most of the items in it are meant to be inserted somewhere else and don’t open in the standalone dialog (yet?). Internally, according to Chitu, Google calls this service OnePick, though we weren’t able to find any other references to this so far. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting frederic lardinois What makes this dialog interesting is that this is likely the first time Google has brought all of these services together and also made it easy to search for documents across all of these services. Of course, in the context of Google Sites, it makes perfect sense to see all of these assets in one dialog, but until now you couldn’t directly access Picasa’s albums from Google Sites, for example.We can’t be sure if this is really a harbinger of the Google Drive, but hopefully Google will bring this interface to other services like Gmail or even Google Wave.
Land strip in Saifai where construction of the airport is in full swingChief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav wants an airstrip in his birthplace, the Saifai village in Uttar Pradesh’s Etawah district. All is well with his “flight plan” except that it has taken a bird-hit- from the endangered saras cranes.,Land strip in Saifai where construction of the airport is in full swingChief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav wants an airstrip in his birthplace, the Saifai village in Uttar Pradesh’s Etawah district. All is well with his “flight plan” except that it has taken a bird-hit- from the endangered saras cranes. The airstrip is bang in the middle of the habitat of the cranes and is ruining the already depleting wetlands and water bodies of the state.The chief minister, wanting to create his ‘ideal village’, has sanctioned over Rs 500 crore for the Saifai development project which, along with the airport, includes colleges, guest houses, hospitals and a sports stadium. Once constructed, the airfield will be able to land even large aircraft like the Boeing. But the question is, why would anyone want to land Boeings in an ecologically-fragile zone? And even though wildlife conservationists and activists are up in arms, an adamant Mulayam refuses to budge.RUN WAY OF TROUBLEThe airstrip being planned falls smack in the middle of one of the prime habitats of the saras crane in Uttar Pradesh.Already 114 hectares of the 134 hectares of the habitat have been acquired and construction has begun scaring the birds away.While the state harbours the largest population of saras in the world, severe habitat depletion has seen numbers drop drastically.There are about 10,000 cranes in the world, out of which 60 per cent are found in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah, Etawah, Mainpuri and Kannauj districts. Uttar Pradesh-with an area of 24,092,800 sq km accounting for 7.3 per cent of the country’s total land area has very little forest cover left.advertisementForests have been cut to make way for residential and industrial construction to cater to the rapid multiplication of the population. Whatever forests are left are found in the north and south of the state while the Gangetic plains have practically become bald.Official figures reveal that 35,000 hectare of agricultural SARAS CRANES environment land is being converted for non-agricultural use every year, mostly to accommodate expanding housing requirements of the the fast-multiplying population. Adding fuel to fire is the state Government’s whimsical decision to develop industrial zones and estates on rural land.The airstrip on the outskirts of Saifai village will turn hundreds of hectares of agricultural land into concrete. Subsequent air traffic will turn away the saras and 500 species of migratory birds that flock here in winter. The state Government has acquired 132 hectares of land in Saifai, out of which 114 hectares is pure agricultural land.The estimated cost of the airstrip, likely to be completed soon, would not be less than Rs 50 crore, apart from the compensation to farmers whose land is being acquired. “It’s an issue of civilisation versus conservation. If development is to take place, ecology will get affected.B.C. Chowdhary”The airport issue has drawn attention towards the endangered saras.”B.C. CHOWDHARY, WILDLIFE INSTITUTE OF INDIA, DEHRADUN One should try to maintain a balance between development and conservation,” says V.N. Garg, principal secretary, Forest Department. He says that the construction of the airstrip would cause the saras to migrate from just one pocket of Etawah, which is one of the 31 districts of the cranes’ habitat.B.C. Chowdhary, a senior scientist at the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, says, “The airport issue is a blessing in disguise for us and has drawn attention of the state Government towards the endangered saras.”When the Government’s plans of constructing the airport met with resistance from conservationists, Mulayam sanctioned Rs 10 crore for the cranes’ preservation to appease the protesters and to seemingly compensate for damage caused to the bird’s habitat. A strange case of giving with one hand and taking with the other, but with a hidden agenda.Chowdhary says that though the number of cranes had been depleting in Uttar Pradesh for a long time, no one was bothered about this for the past 25 years. He is also concerned about the money being misused. There are plastic boards at many places to educate people about the conservation programme.Water bodies in the state face the danger of drying upChowdhary says that these will not be able to bear the vagaries of weather, and metal boards should have been used instead. If the money is squandered away like this, the saras will soon be extinct. He says there were 111 crane-friendly wetlands in Uttar Pradesh about 40 years back, but in 1994-95, they had dropped to 29. Now, there are even fewer wetlands left.”The depletion of forest cover, shrinking of the wetlands and division of agricultural lands has severely affected avian life and their species in the state, but unfortunately nobody has taken up the matter in the right prospective,” laments Dr Asad Rehmani, director, Bombay Natural History Society.advertisementAt present, there are 2,518 small and medium water bodies-mainly ponds and lakes-in the state. Rehmani warns that the way marshlands are drying up, the avifauna may be affected severely, even in the Terai belt which had been so rich in biodiversity.CRYING FOULSARAS CRANE: There are 10,000 saras cranes in the world out of which 60 per cent are found in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah, Etawah, Mainpuri and Kannauj districts. It is a very large bird, averaging 156 cm in length. It is grey in colour with a bare red head and white crown and a long dark pointed beak. In flight, the long neck is kept straight, unlike herons.LAND CONVERSION: Agricultural land, where saras mostly conceals its eggs and breeds, is being converted into residential and industrial land. According to official estimates, more than 35,000 hectares of agricultural land is being converted for non-agricultural purposes.DWINDLING WETLANDS: Wetlands which are bird-friendly, are fast drying up. From 111 at least 40 years back, they came down to 29 in 1994-95 and the number has further dwindled now. Saras lives mostly in wetlands and around water bodies and agricultural farms. Tallest flying bird, it breeds on the smaller islands in the water bodies and conceals its eggs in bushes around agricultural fields.Farmers consider them auspicious, and they are worshipped by newly-married couples. The birds live in pairs and never split till their death; nor do they change their partners.Poaching and electrocution by rural electrification, along with pressure from fishing, overgrazing, cultivation, drainage and pollution, are major causes for the dwindling numbers of the saras.”The locals revere the saras but migratory labourers kill the birds for their meat and also eat their eggs,” says Rehmani. The same trend is visible in the Etah-Etawah-Mainpuri belt too, leading to a sharp decline in the saras population.On the basis of vegetation and forest, Uttar Pradesh has three ecozones- Terai, Vindhayan ranges and the Gangetic plains. Unfortunately, all the three zones are being systematically destroyed.And if the present speed of disturbing the eco zones continues in the name of population growth, industrialisation and land divisions, the day is not far when Uttar Pradesh might lose its unique status in the abundance of natural life.With the state polls in its sights, the Mulayam Singh Yadav Government seems to have turned a blind eye to the plight of the saras and their impending extinction.But vote banks and winning elections are a far cry from saving the ecology and the environment, and it may be too late for these birds if the state Government doesn’t fly to their rescue soon.