By DANIELLE GALVIN PAKENHAM father and son duo Vjarn Du Preiz and Kanjae-Bishop Kemp will battle it out for national…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.
The Leafs get another shot at defending KIJHL Champion Kimberley when the Nitros visit the NDCC Arena Friday. Kimberley, leading the Kootenay Conference with 59 points with a 29-4-1-0 record, trails Kelowna Chiefs for the overall lead in the league by six points. The Dynamiters have won both games against the Kootenay Conference Division leaders this season .Nelson, entering the weekend as one of the hottest teams in the KIJHL riding a five-game winning streak, completes its two-game home stand Saturday against Grand Forks Border Bruins. During the recent hot streak Nelson has outscored its opponents 28-11.No word from the Leafs camp which goalie — Caiden Kreitz or Hunter Young — will start. Both have been stellar between the pipes for Nelson, dropping only four games between the pair.Moves bring roster to 23 playersTo make room for Gates and Grobowsky, Nelson sent defenceman Tyson Soobotin to Castlegar Rebels.Morey said the Leafs wantedto find Soobotin a place to play and be in a good organization.Nelson did not request compensation in the deal.Injury listNelson is getting healthy after a troubling December when management had difficulty dressing a full lineup without the assistance of affiliate players.Morey reports Scott Lancaster is out for the remainder of the season with an upper body injury while forward Logan Wullum is nursing an upper body injury and could be out of the lineup for another week or two. The Nelson Leafs are hoping a few tweaks to the lineup at the BC Hockey January 10 roster deadline will make all the difference in the Green and White’s attempt at a long run in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.Leaf General Manager Lance Morey said Nelson added, speed, size and toughness with the acquisition of defenceman Andrew Gates and forward Shawn Grobowsky to the roster prior to the deadline.Gates, 6’2”, 205-pounds, came to Nelson from Chicago Cougars of the U.S. Premier Hockey League while the 5’9”, 170-pound Grobowsky was acquired from the Golden Rockets of the Eddie Mountain Division.Morey said Gates has been in Nelson training with the team. Leaf management hope to have the Illinois native carded and in the lineup Friday when Nelson hosts defending KIJHL Champion Kimberley Dynamiters at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena.Meanwhile, Grobowsky has been on the Leafs radar for some time as Morey said Nelson attempted to land the speedy forward during the offseason.However, Grobowsky, with four goals and six assists in 30 games this season with the Rockets, decided to sign with the Kootenay Conference rival to play with his brother.Bring on the Nitros
A bid by a Saudi Arabian state fund to secure ownership of Newcastle United is drawing scrutiny, but even if it succeeds it is unlikely that the petrodollars will transform the Premier League club into a powerhouse in the near future.The prospect of the Saudi bid fuelling a rapid rise to the top, in the manner of Manchester City’s four title successes under owners from the United Arab Emirates, has thrilled many Newcastle fans, but several analysts believe that the investment impact may not be on such a scale.A group fronted by British financier Amanda Staveley, with an expected 80% investment from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF and 10 percent involvement from billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, have made a reported 300 million pound ($375 million) bid to buy the club from British businessman Mike Ashley.The proposal faces some early obstacles and the prospect of Saudi ownership of a top English club has been condemned by human rights groups.Saudi Arabia was internationally criticised after the 2018 murder of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, the Yemen war and the detention of several women’s rights activists.Added to that there is the long-running dispute with Qatari company BeInSport regarding allegations of Saudi tolerance of ‘pirate’ broadcasts in the kingdom — an issue which has been raised by some parliamentarians in the UK.The proposed takeover is now being reviewed as part of the Premier League’s “owners’ and directors’ test”, which was previously known as the ‘fit and proper person’s test’.Investors wanting to become owners of English professional clubs have to show they have no unspent criminal conviction for fraud, are not bankrupt, and have not been banned from serving as a company director.Newcastle supporters, however, are mostly excited at the prospect of major investment in their team, which has not featured in the Champions League since 2004 and has not won the English title since 1927 or FA Cup since 1955, despite claiming one of the country’s largest fan bases.The timing of the bid, though, is far from ideal — the Premier League is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, Moody’s Investors Service cut Saudi Arabia’s outlook to “negative” from “stable”, saying the oil price crash has raised fiscal risks for the Gulf nation.“It is a relatively risky undertaking at a time when it looks like the kingdom will need a lot of liquid assets to finance deficits and maintain its currency peg,” says Steffen Hertog, Associate Professor in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics.IMPROVING INFLUENCEHertog, like a number of observers, believes the Saudi involvement is aimed at improving the country’s influence and image outside of its borders but says economic realities may limit PIF’s ambitions.“It definitely is part of an Abu Dhabi style soft power strategy, but I am not sure how much extra money they will pour into the club. Given current fiscal developments and the travails of some of the PIF’s other assets, there are likely to be constraints to Saudi generosity,” he said.Manchester City’s UAE owners have been closely involved in the major decision-making at the club with Khaldoon Al Mubarak chairman since September 2008 but that path may not be followed by the Saudis.“PIF does not have the experience or capacity to be ‘hands on’ so would likely take a back seat,” says Neil Quilliam, CEO of Gulf-focused consultancy Castlereagh Associates.Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan addressed, in a television interview on Saturday, the issue of investments abroad, without directly mentioning PIF’s potential bid for Newcastle.“The investments are highly important because they have returns we can use in case of a crisis to curb the deficit. If we use the reserves, we consume the assets and won’t have any returns.“Also, these types of crises create investment opportunities. Many companies reduce their investments, which creates opportunities to invest in them,” he told Al Arabiya news channel.PIF manages over $300 billion in assets. It has been in existence since 1971, but became a more active investor since 2015 when it started reporting to a high-level economic body headed by the kingdom’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.PIF has been tasked with delivering on Prince Mohammed’s ambitious economic transformation drive to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil revenues.The fund is headed by former Saudi banker Yasir al-Rumayyan, whose title is governor and is seen as close to Prince Mohammed.Financial sources have told Reuters that the crown prince had a say on many strategic PIF decisions, such as Softbank’s Vision fund investment.
AFF Suzuki Cup match between Philippines and Singapore at Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan. Photo by Sherwin Vardeleon/INQUIRERBocaue, Bulacan— Faced with the difficult task of taking points from the two teams that have impressed in the tournament so far, the Philippines remains upbeat it can still survive the AFF Suzuki Cup’s Group of Death here.The scoreless draw against 10-man Singapore before a sparse crowd at Philippine Sports Stadium Saturday night just cranked up the pressure on the Azkals, who face a mountain to climb in their last two matches in Group A starting with Indonesia Tuesday.ADVERTISEMENT We are young Mainland China virus cases exceed 40,000; deaths rise to 908 MOST READ Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND EDITORS’ PICK Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports As fate of VFA hangs, PH and US forces take to the skies for exercise The Azkals were left frustrated by a combination of some stout Singapore defending, stellar goalkeeping and incessant time-wasting by the Lions, who played with a man disadvantage for almost an hour after Hafiz Sujad was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Younghusband.Lacking cutting edge in the final third, the Azkals found it difficult to break down the Lions, who were content to soak up the pressure to salvage the point.Azkals coach Thomas Dooley did tinker his lineup in the second half in a bid to maximize the advantage, but Pika Minegishi and Stephan Schrock wasted good chances.The lack of goals once again put Dooley’s decision to place Younghusband in a defensive midfield role under the microscope. Misagh Bahadoran started but he was also starved of service. The Azkals’ top scorer the past two years was largely invisible in the match before he was subbed off early in the second half.The German-American mentor defended his ploy, stressing that the team is able to maximize Younghusband’s quality on the ball and playmaking in his current position.ADVERTISEMENT All Stars play for a cause The Merah Putih showed their pedigree even in the 2-4 loss to Thailand on opening day, and the Azkals could see their hopes of qualifying to a fourth straight semifinals vanish if they misfire once more.The Azkals have never won against the Thais, whom they face Friday.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSCone plans to speak with Slaughter, agent“We always said we want to be at six points when we face Thailand,” said Azkals captain Phil Younghusband, whose team is level with Singapore with one point.“It’s not happening now, but we’re still confident we can advance. We have the quality in the team, but we have to play better, work harder and convert our chances.” “It’s his best position right now and he stood out against Singapore,” said Dooley.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next 30 Filipinos from Wuhan quarantined in Capas Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Illegal logging continues inside an orangutan habitat in Borneo that the Indonesian government had decreed off-limits last year, an investigation by Greenpeace has found.The group reported at least six logging camps in the concession held by a timber company, but noted that it was unclear whether the company itself, PT Mohairson Pawan Khatulistiwa (MPK), was engaged in the illegal logging.This is the second time Greenpeace has found indications of commercial exploitation in the area since the government ordered PT MPK to halt its operations last year. JAKARTA — At least six illegal logging camps have sprung up in a peat forest in Indonesian Borneo that the government had declared off-limits last year, a Greenpeace investigation has revealed.The environmental group’s probe in March this year found the camps inside a concession held by timber company PT Mohairson Pawan Khatulistiwa (MPK), in the Ketapang district of West Kalimantan province.The concession itself covers 484 square kilometers (187 square miles) of land, or 85 percent of the Sungai Putri landscape, home to an estimated 950 to 1,200 critically endangered Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) and one of the last pristine coastal peat swamp forests remaining on the island of Borneo.A pooling area for processed wood, which also serves as one of at least six camps for illegal loggers inside PT MPK’s concession in Sungai Putri, Ketapang, West Kalimantan. Image courtesy of Greenpeace.Sawn timber piled up inside the PT MPK concession in Sungai Putri, Ketapang, West Kalimantan. Image courtesy of Greenpeace.Greenpeace said logging was taking place at night, including in locations where orangutan nests were found, and ending just before dawn as trucks arrived to transport the woodpiles to nearby sawmills and furniture shops.“This is a major embarrassment for the Indonesian government, which has consistently promised to protect Sungai Putri,” Greenpeace campaigner Ratri Kusumohartono said in a statement.In March 2017, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry ordered PT MPK to cease its operations in the area because they violated a moratorium on peatland development. Photos emerged of a huge canal the company had dug to drain the forest in preparation for what it called a trial plantation as well as for transporting felled logs to a sawmill.Large-scale drainage of Indonesia’s vast peat swamps, in particular by palm oil and pulpwood companies, has left the land highly combustible, exacerbating annual fires that are usually sparked for slash-and-burn clearing activities.The Greenpeace exposé is the second investigation that has revealed continued commercial exploitation of the Sungai Putri forest in defiance of the government order for a halt to such activities. In November last year, the NGO published photos that showed an extensive canal full of water, alongside excavators and pulpwood tree seedlings being planted.“The government cannot let this stand — it must uphold the law and ensure the full and permanent protection of this beautiful and important forest,” Ratri said.Greenpeace noted it was unclear whether PT MPK was carrying out the logging or if other parties were taking advantage of roads built by the company to further encroach on the forest and orangutan habitat.PT MPK, linked to a Chinese investment firm, obtained permits in 2008 from the government to log the area. Logging activities are strongly supported by the provincial government as a means of boosting investment in the region. PT MPK did not immediately respond to Mongabay’s requests for comment on Greenpeace’s latest findings.The canal through the peat swamp forest in Sungai Putri allegedly dug by PT Mohairson Pawan Khatulistiwa. Image courtesy of International Animal Rescue.Global Forest Watch Commodities map showing PT Mohairson Pawan Khatulistiwa’s concession in Sungai Putri, including the concession area and peat depth. Image courtesy of World Resources Institute.“Habitat destruction forces orangutans to enter neighboring plantations and farms looking for food and this frequently leads to conflict with humans,” Karmele Llano Sanchez, program director of International Animal Rescue in Indonesia, said in the statement.“Sungai Putri is home to one of the largest populations in the world and we are at a critical point for the Bornean orangutan, without forests like this they can’t survive,” she added.Sungai Putri hosts “one of the largest unprotected [orangutan] populations in the whole of Indonesia,” according to a 2016 joint report by the Borneo Nature Foundation and International Animal Rescue. Ratri said the survival of the species “relies on creating wildlife havens and protecting the existing ones” like Sungai Putri.“It is time for the Indonesian government to ensure the full protection of Sungai Putri, its environment and wildlife,” she said.Pooling area for processed wood and a camp for illegal loggers inside the PT MPK concession in Sungai Putri, Ketapang, West Kalimantan. Image courtesy of Greenpeace.Wood ready to be collected by illegal loggers inside PT MPK’s concession in Sungai Putri, Ketapang, West Kalimantan. Image courtesy of Greenpeace.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Animals, Borneo Orangutan, Community Forests, Deforestation, Environment, Forest Destruction, Forest Loss, Forestry, Forests, Habitat, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Habitat Loss, Illegal Logging, Logging, Orangutans, Peatlands, Rainforest Animals, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Deforestation, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Article published by Basten Gokkon
ENJOY THE WIN “I think we should enjoy it (the win) in the moment, probably not forget about it, but we should, most importantly, learn from it, but I don’t think we should sit down and toil on it too much.” Several players enter the series with big reputations. Shai Hope stroked hundreds in both innings at Headingley, Roston Chase scored heavily in the series against Pakistan earlier in the year, while seamer Kemar Roach made an impressive return to international cricket following an extended break with 11 wickets against England. West Indies face Zimbabwe A in a three-day tour match starting Sunday, their only warm-up game before the first Test bowls off October 21. BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC): As phenomenal an achievement as the recent Test victory at Headingley was, West Indies captain Jason Holder says the regional side will not be dwelling on it, as they seek to make even bigger strides in coming series. Last August, West Indies arrived in Leeds following an innings defeat inside three days in Nottingham and produced a magnificent performance to thrash England by five wickets, after chasing down 322 on an epic final day. However, with West Indies about to engage Zimbabwe in a two-Test series in Bulawayo, Holder said it was more important to learn from the Headingley experience than dwell on it. “Personally, I have the mentality to keep moving forward. What’s gone in the past is gone,” he told CMC Sports on Monday just before the squad’s departure. “We’ve had bad games before and we have tried to put them behind us, so I don’t see why when we have good games we should really hold on to them too long.
The stage is set for the red carpet sashing ceremony of the 2018 “Miss Berbice I’m a Big deal, Beauty and Empowerment Pageant” delegates which will take place at State House Lawns, New Amsterdam, this Saturday, October 20.This will be the first public appearance for the nine Berbician beauties who will share their vision and focus on topical issues that are plaguing the ancient county.The organisers have been looking at ways in which they can raise the bar by adding new and unique experiences for Berbicians and this is one such way, since this will be the first event of its kind in the Ancient County.Royston Drakes, Director of RD Productions under which the pageant is being held, said the evening will be filled with live entertainment from some of the best talents in Berbice.Prizes will be given for the best dressed male and female and cancer survivors will be honoured. The delegates will do a three-part presentation which will begin with a sassy and confident dance number, followed by their presentation and conclude with their sponsors sashing them.Also on the programme is a boutique fashion show which will be hosted by Couture Closet, featuring models from Berbice.The focus remains heavily on social awareness which is being tackled by delegates who are educating and informing the masses on the issue of suicide, domestic violence, cyberbullying and women empowerment among others to help curb these social ills.This will be the second edition of the “Miss Berbice, I am a Big Deal Beauty and Empowerment Pageant” and the organisers have broken up the pageant into various segments which will continue in the month of November with a swimsuit competition, costume extravaganza, family fun day and conclude with the main event on Saturday, November 20, at the Albion Sports Complex Ground.Top Brandz Distributors who supply Corona, Budweiser, Budlight, as well as other non-alcoholic beverages remains the main sponsor of the event and other youth and women development projects in the region.
If you’re familiar with my articles, women’s rights and equal access to opportunities are something that I hold dearly to myself. I have written about women in Science, women in ICT, the dangers of catcalling, among others. So, of course, I had to write about International Women’s Day!International Women’s Day, celebrated last Thursday, was done under the theme “#pressforprogress”. Since the last International Women’s Day, the world, I believe, has undergone a sort of revolution. Movements such as #metoo, #timesup have been pushed to the forefront. Women all around the world used the hashtags to point out abuse of power, and more particularly sexual abuse in the workplace; as well as to call for change.Notably, last Thursday as well, former Bishop’s High School teacher Coen Jackson was charged, and remanded to prison for engaging in sexual activity with a child under the age of sixteen. When that story broke, I was both horrified and simultaneously encouraged. I was angry at the things that students said Jackson had done to them, how he had misused his position as their teacher, how he had sexually groomed students, and especially how many people claimed that his actions were common knowledge. Yet I was also inspired by the response of the public. The public refused to let this slip idly by, staging protests and truly calling for a change.This type of public responsibility gives me hope. It makes me feel as though we, as a society, are progressing. Yet — I am sure, sadly — there are many other teachers like Jackson; teachers who prey upon their students, teachers whose “behaviours” are excused, since they are so good at their jobs. I hope that Jackson serves as an example that no one is untouchable. I hope that how this case was handled gives other girls the courage to come forward. And I hope that we continue to believe our girls when they are brave enough to speak out.International Women’s Day is, I think, important, as it gives a chance to reflect upon the strides we have made in women’s rights, and serves as a reminder that we still have so much further to go. It is a chance to celebrate beautiful, border-pushing women.Personally, on this day, I like to think about the women who push forward in male- dominated fields such as Science and Engineering; in particular Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics. I think this is because I have seen first hand how negative stereotypes about girls can affect their performance and participation in those fields. It is not okay to tell a girl that she should be better at reading than she is at mathematics. It is not okay to be surprised when a girl is better at mathematics than her male classmates, and it is definitely not okay to doubt a girl’s abilities simply because she is female.I know that such responses may seem small and insignificant, but they add up. They say to her that it’s weird that she thinks she would be successful in those fields. They say to her that, because you are female, you should expect that this should be difficult for you.Breaking into a male-dominated field, even for an extremely determined girl, is hard. It isn’t hard because we can’t handle the work, but it’s hard because we can’t handle the culture. Women have first to break past their own negative views of themselves, then they have to convince everyone else around them, and keep them convinced every day. Female scientists tend to be doubted more, credited less, and ultimately valued less. Yet, we have to #pressonforprogress.Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, and may we raise them.
As Hindus in Guyana and around the world, observe “Maha Shiva Ratri” today, Social Cohesion and Culture Youth and Sport Minister, Dr George Norton has extended greetings and best wishes to the community.He said this festival contributes to a peaceful and conducive environment in which all can dwell in harmony irrespective of system and beliefs.“It is my hope that every Guyanese, particularly my Hindu brothers and sisters will utilise this blessed occasion for spiritual growth and intellectual upliftment. In observance of Maha Shiv Ratri, Guyanese from all walks of life can be guided by the noble teachings of Lord Shiva – the God that promotes peace of mind,” Dr Norton stated. The Minister went on to say that the teachings of Lord Shiva revolve around empathy, humility and compassion.“He teaches us that anger should be channelled towards constructive acts that benefit mankind because in the end we all will eventually leave this material world behind. The practice of brotherhood and forgiveness, as taught by Lord Shiva, are the kind of qualities that all Guyanese should embrace as we forge ahead to build a more cohesive society where diversities are respected and embraced with pride,” the Culture Minister asserted.Meanwhile, the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) also joined thousands of Hindus across the country to celebrate “Maha Shiva Ratri” – the “Great Night of Shiva”; the annual auspicious occasion on the Hindu calendar is marked by fasting, prayers and paying homage to Lord Shiva, a central figure of the Hindu Trinity.ERC Commissioner Rajkumarie Singh, who is the representative of Hindus on the Commission, extends greetings to all Guyanese, especially the Hindu community on behalf of the ERC.“The Commissioners and staff of the ERC send warmest greetings to all our Hindu brothers and sisters on this occasion. As you surrender to the Divine Force of Lord Shiva and you seek to recognise Him inside of you, may each of us move away from conflict and move towards truth, beauty, peace and benevolence. A most peaceful and blessed ‘Maha Shiva Ratri’ to all,” Commissioner Singh said.In English, “Maha Shivaratri” translates to “The Night of Shiva”. Lord Shiva is regarded as one of the main deities in Hinduism.Hindus in and out of Guyana will observe Maha Shiva Ratri on Monday March 3, 2019. This is an annual feature which falls on the fourteenth day of the dark half of the month of Phagun, (Feb-March). It is a festival which demands complete abstinence since it results in purity of mind and strengthening of intellect.On this occasion Lord Shiva is worshipped as Nirgun Brahma. The formless and attribute-less Supreme Brahmana. The Lingam is the centre of all worship. The Lingam symbolises that which is auspicious and infinite. It is a mark of the generative power of the Lord. The Lingam also represents trinity which includes Creative, Sustaining and Regenerative forces of the universe.Devotees from all walks of life participate in the observance. This occasion subscribes to the transcendence of all barriers. It allows all aspirants to recognise that the infinite power of the supreme is manifested in all beings sentient and insentient.Maha Shiva Ratri, in essence, is a time for reflection and self-analysis. It is a time to embrace the inevitable reality of life. That reality is called Truth.Maha Shiva Ratri Customs & CelebrationsIn honour of Lord Shiva, many devotees on this day fast. While some of those who fast will do so on a diet of milk and fruit, there are others who won’t even drink a drop of water on this day.Many devotees also believe that worshipping Shiva on this day with a sincere heart will not only absolve them of their sins and liberate them from being reincarnated, but it will also bring them luck and happiness.Many devotees will also take a ritual bath in the Ganga River early in the morning on this day. They then put on brand-new clothes and visit the Shiva temple to ritually bathe the Lingam with water, milk and/or honey.Additionally, Hindu devotees hold overnight vigils, worship the Shivalingam, and make offerings of fruits, flowers and milk to the Hindu deity.There are several stories explaining the event; some say that it was on this day that Lord Shiva drank the poison that came out of the churning ocean in the epic ‘Samudra Manthan’ involving the Devas and Asuras, while some say that Maha Shiva Ratri marks the marital union of Lord Shiva and Parvati.Some ancient scriptures also say that Lord Shiva performed his ferocious dance or tandav on this particular day and his devotees remember him as the God who destroys evil and listens to his true devotees with an open heart.