Posted on

Kristof Milak Might Add New Events To His Lineup At Next Year’s Hungarian Nats

Kristof Milak Might Add New Events To His Lineup At Next Year's Hungarian Nats

In an interview with Hungarian magazine Magyar Nemzet, Kristof Milak discussed his performances at the 2022 European Championships and his outlook for the future of his career. One thing that he hinted at was adding more events to his lineup at next year’s Hungarian National Championships meet.

“There are a couple of things in the pipeline that haven’t been very visible because we haven’t shown them,” Milak said. “Let’s just say that I think there will be a few surprises at the national championships at the beginning of next year.”

At major international meets in the past, Milak has stuck with his two best events, the 100 fly and 200 fly. However, he’s expanded to freestyle events at the last two European Championships, racing the 100, 200, and 400 free in 2021 and the 100 and 200 free in 2022.

This year, Milak has shown incredible range, breaking the 200 fly world record at World Championships and then going on to set a Hungarian record time of 47.47 to finish second in the 100 free at Euros. He didn’t have the strongest performance in the 200 free at Euros, missing finals of the event, but that can be explained by the fact that he had to deal with a grueling 100 fly/200 free/4×100 free relay triple that day and had to swim the 100 fly final right before 200 free semis. Plus, his 1:44.42 anchor leg on Hungary’s 4×200 free relay shows that he still has strong potential in the 200 free.

So what could Milak experiment with next? He swam both the 400 and 50 free at 2021 Nationals, clocking best times of 3:48.92 and 22.19 in the two events respectively, so he could return to those events again. Or what about the 50 back, an event that he raced and made the finals in at the 2021 European Short Course Championships? Is he going to dabble with the 50 fly, which he entered at 2022 Worlds but then ended up scratching? What if he completely surprises us and enters in an IM event? We won’t know for now, but it’s going to be something to look forward to for Hungarian Nationals next year.

Also in the interview, Milak said that he felt his starts and underwater speed improved due to increase in natural strength from growing old, but he was still unhappy with his turns. Because of this, he was asked about whether he would swim short course later in the fall, but he said that he had no plans of racing October and November’s FINA World Cup stops in Berlin, Toronto, and Indianapolis.

“I have to be honest, I’m not really in the mood for that,” Milak said of the World Cups. “We have to decide whether I should have another season where I don’t compete so much, but train quietly and then we can come up with another outstanding result.”

Last year, Milak competed at the Budapest stop of the FINA World Cup, and then went on to go to the European Short Course Championships.

After Euros, Milak’s coach, Balasz Virth, suggested that Milak take a month-long break from swimming. However, Milak thought that was “too much”—although he is going to take time off to pursue other plans, such as going to Spielburg, Austria to drive on the Red Bull track as a part of a sponsorship with car company Audi in September.

Posted on

Indian Consulate in New York, IAAC host specially-curated cultural, artistic events to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence

india's independence day in new york

Specially-curated cultural and artistic events, including a concert headlined by Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and a photo exhibition by celebrated photographer Steve McCurry will commemorate India’s 75th independence Day celebrations here, showcasing to the Americans and the diaspora the nation’s “progress as a vibrant democracy.” The Consulate General of India in New York along with the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) is organising the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav – Festival of Freedom’.

The two-week long specially-curated events at some of the most iconic cultural venues in New York City feature photography, dance, music and India’s classical culture in the run-up to 75 years of India’s independence on August 15 this year. The Consul General of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal, said as India marks 75 years of independence, “it will truly be a historic day in our nation’s onward march.” He added that the ‘Festival of India@75′ will celebrate India’s landmark year in the city of New York and is featuring the finest exponents of Indian performing arts.

Also read| Week-long activities to celebrate India@75 launched in US

“It is only fitting that the best of Indian thought and culture is brought to New York – the cultural capital of America,” he noted.The celebration aims to bring the “best of Indian thought and culture to our friends in America and through them showcase the progress of our nation as a vibrant democracy,” the Indian Consulate said in a statement issued on Monday.

IAAC Chairman Dr. Nirmal Mattoo said the organisation is proud and honoured to mark the occasion of 75 years of Indian Independence with the remarkable series of events celebrating Indian art and culture.“Curated with care, this line-up boosts an ambitious goal: to truly immerse audiences into a vibrant and diverse culture with limitless potential to inspire all citizens of the world,” he said in a statement issued by the IAAC. The grand finale of the ‘Festival of India@75′ on August 15 will feature Khan along with Sarod virtuosos Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash and tabla players Amit Kavthekar and Ojas Adhiya for a ‘Samaagam’, an ensemble that will present the essence of both Indian and Western traditions seamlessly flowing into each other without artistic compromise.

Also read| 75th Independence Day: What freedom small businesses seek from GST-related challenges

In ‘Samaagam’, 12 different ragas are presented, creating a unique opportunity to experience joyous music and shared traditions.The concert, featuring renowned Conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya and the Refugee Orchestra, will be held at the Carnegie Hall and would “present a synthesis of musical traditions motivated by Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of truth, non-violence and peace.” The festival began on August 5 with a photo exhibition at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery here by McCurry, who has captured India in all its beauty and mystique for over four decades.

McCurry, among whose most famous work is the portrait of the ‘Afghan Girl’, has visited India over 80 times, but in his own words, he has “barely managed to scratch the surface”.On August 6 and 7, breathtaking performances in Indian dances enthralled audiences at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre as talented exponents of various Indian dance forms such as Sanjib Bhattacharya and Jagannath Lairenjam (Sapta, Manipuri-Pung Cholom), Kavya Ganesh (Contemporary Bharatanatyam), Bhavana Reddy (Solo Kuchipudi), Jin Won (Kathak) and Mythili Prakash (Contemporary Bharatanatyam) brought together the richness of Indian dance forms to the audience in New York.

On August 8, the Erasing Borders Dance Festival, a virtual programme of Indian classical as well as contemporary dances was broadcast online. A two-night jazz music event headlined by Sachal Vasandani and Friends featuring Grammy-nominated singer Priya Darshini performing music from a spellbinding collection of arts from East and West will be held on August 11 and 12.

IAAC said Vasandani honours Nat King Cole’s centennial in 2019, while borrowing from his Indian heritage along with Darshini, a captivating singer whose work takes cues from her Indian Classical music roots.Joined by a stellar cast that includes bassist Harish Raghavan (Charles Lloyd), Grammy-nominated pianist Orrin Evans, saxophonist Dayna Stephens and drummer Kush Abadey, the special event will also feature jazz singer Vanisha Gould. Renowned vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty, the star from Patiala Gharana, and her all-female Sakhi ensemble will present a concert at Carnegie Hall on August 13.

“The Sakhi ensemble is an exemplary group of talented Indian artists that brings together voice, instruments, percussion, and dance representing the Indian woman of the 21st century, who is modern yet rooted,” the Consulate said.The penultimate night of the celebration will belong to ‘Saath Saath’ on August 14, an ensemble featuring flute maestro Rakesh Chaurasia, Sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee, master percussionist Taufiq Qureshi and Tabla player Ojas Adhiya.

The Consulate said that the ‘Saath-Saath’ ensemble brings the “spontaneity and improvisation within the discipline of Indian classical music that only they can produce.” The fortnight-long festival is part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations that began on March 12, 2021 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a march from Sabarmati to Dandi in remembrance of Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March on the same day in 1930.Since then, the Consulate General of India has organised over 200 events under the aegis of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav within its jurisdiction with the valuable support and participation the vibrant diaspora community.

Posted on

Thailand organises series of events to mark 75 years of diplomatic ties with India

Thailand organises series of events to mark 75 years of diplomatic ties with India

India and Thailand Monday celebrated the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and in tune with the same a series of events and activities have been planned throughout this year to reflect the multi-faceted cooperation between both sides.

To celebrate the 75th year of relations between both sides, the Royal Thai Embassy has organized a series of celebratory events all throughout the year.

These include the textile seminar and exhibition in Varanasi, Kolkata and Delhi last month, and the painting exhibition at the Lalit Kala Academy in August, which have been supported by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

The Embassy also plans to bring young entrepreneurs from the North Eastern Region of India to visit Thailand in September. The Thai Consulate-Generals in Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, as well as Team Thailand offices, have also initiated various activities to celebrate this special occasion.

India and Thailand have historical and cultural roots dating back more than thousand years before the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The relations on the political side are closer and friendly at all levels. There have been regular visits from the Royal Thai family, exchanges of visits between head of governments, ministers and high-level officers from various agencies paving the opportunities for a closer cooperation in all areas such as military, security, trade and investment, culture, education, etc.

The ties between the two sides also extended to sub-regional, regional and multilateral levels, including Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, BIMSTEC and ASEAN-India.

The military and security relations are also constructive with regular high-level meetings and joint training and exercises between Army, Navy and Air Forces from both sides.

The sixth Thailand-India Foreign Office Consultations was convened in New Delhi earlier in April. This will be followed by the ninth Joint Commission meeting to be held in Bangkok later this month. Both high-level meetings will help to lay down ways forward to further enhance the dynamic cooperation and joint mechanisms in all areas.

Despite the great challenge posted by Covid-19 pandemic during the past two years, the friendship and cooperation between the two countries remain strong and resilient.

Thailand stood by India during the second Covid wave in April last year with the delivery of medical supplies, including oxygen cylinders and concentrators, from Their Majesties the King and the Queen of Thailand.

Likewise, India also supported Thailand with the same in times of crisis.

On the economic front, India is Thailand’s largest trading partner in South Asia and the 11th worldwide. The trade volume in 2021 reached almost 15 billion USD, recorded as an all-time high.

Currently, there are around 38 Thai companies investing in India in the fields of infrastructure, housing, agro-processing and automotive.

People-to-people connectivity between Thailand and India is also much stronger. Both countries, through their Tourism Authorities, have put efforts into utilizing their full potentials of “Amazing Thailand” and “Incredible India”.

Thailand remains India’s favorite travel destination as it only took five years, from 2015 to 2019, for the number of Indian tourists heading to Thailand to be doubled, from 1.03 million to nearly two million.

India ranks first among international air travelers to Thailand during the first of half this year.


Posted on

CNE returning after two years with new events, attractions

CNE returning after two years with new events, attractions




After a two-year hiatus, the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) will mark its highly anticipated return Aug. 19 to Sept. 5 for 18 fun-filled days of all-new features and returning events expected to attract more than 1.4 million visitors through the iconic Princes’ Gates.

This year, the CNE has raised the bar sky-high (literally) with a dazzling nightly Drone Show, created for the EX, featuring 100 drones that will light up the night with precise formations and colourful images. Drones also play a role in the CNE’s new multimedia show, NEVAEH and the NorthStar, presented by VinFast, that merges the most cutting-edge theatrical technology, pyrotechnics, and augmented reality to take audiences on an immersive odyssey through time, land, sea and galaxies.

Festival season culminates at the CNE with special events including a Mardi Gras Food Truck Festival (Aug. 20 to 23, evenings), Food Truck Frenzy and Craft Beer Fest (Aug. 25 to 28), and new Celtic Food Truck Festival (Sept. 1 to 5) celebrating Celtic heritage, music and food.

Fan favourites return with new twists such as a new SuperDogs show, Pawvengers, the 2022 Canadian International Air Show featuring the Canadian Armed Forces Parachute Team and Canadian Forces Snowbirds, and Gaming Garage Powered by AMD is back for all 18 days of the fair in a new, expanded location inside Hall B of the Enercare Centre with more tournaments, prizes, and free-play games. The Celebrity Kitchen Stage is also back for the first time since 2017, to dish up some inspiring meal ideas from chefs Claudio Aprile (MasterChef Canada), Corbin Tomaszeski (Dinner Party Wars), Bob Blumer (The Surreal Gourmet), and Matt Dean Pettit (Rock Lobster Food Co.) to name a few.

There has never been a shortage of photo opportunities at the EX, whether it’s in front of the illuminated CNE sign, or overlooking the fair on the Sky Ride (celebrating its 10th anniversary) — and new this year on the midway, it will be hard to miss the 34-foot-tall double-decker merry-go-round, a picturesque menagerie of lights and colours offering a new Instagram-worthy POV of the CNE. Whether capturing the views, creating new memories, or enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes of the CNE, there are plenty of reasons to say, “Let’s go (back) to the EX.”

2022 highlights at a glance

New: Nightly drone show — Cap off a fun-filled day at the fair with a colourfully dynamic drone show featuring 100 drones that will illuminate the night with an array of stunning images. The show is designed by Canadian company and leading drone formation specialists North Star Entertainment, who have wowed audiences at major events for the NFL, NBA and NASCAR. (Aug. 19 to Sept. 4, at 10:45 p.m. above the Food Building.)

New: NEVAEH and the NorthStar presented by VinFast — Making its stunning debut at this year’s CNE, NEVAEH and her trusty drone, NorthStar, embark on a never-before-seen odyssey through time and space featuring groundbreaking projection mapping, augmented reality, laser, pyrotechnics and indoor drones. Cutting-edge theatrical technology takes audiences on an epic journey in this spectacular new multimedia show. (three shows daily, at Coca-Cola Coliseum.) 

New: Celtic Food Truck Festival — To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses, a new festival takes over Princes’ Boulevard for a rousing weekend that celebrates Celtic culture with music, entertainment and food. (Sept. 1 to 5, Princes’ Boulevard.)

Fourth annual Gaming Garage powered by AMD — Back by popular demand, the CNE’s Gaming Garage powered by AMD and Innovation Garage are bigger and better than ever. New this year, the gaming extravaganza will run throughout all 18 days of the fair featuring everything from e-sports and pinball tournaments to Dungeons and Dragons, board games, VR, Video Game Dance Floor, and more. As well, the Emerging Innovators Pitch Competition takes place Aug. 28, convening Canada’s brightest innovators to pitch their inventions and compete for cash prizes; and a robotics competition takes place Sept. 2 to 4, where contestants and their creators will spar head-to-head to determine which bot will take the crown. (Daily, 2 and 5 p.m., Enercare Centre Hall B.)

Celebrity Kitchen Stage — Celebrity chefs are back for the first time since 2017. The CNE’s Celebrity Kitchen Stage will feature a roster of renowned chefs, Canadian culinarians, and mixologists such as MasterChef Canada’s Claudio Aprile, Corbin Tomaszeski of Dinner Party Wars, and Food Network star Bob Blumer. Get inspiring meal ideas with Caribbean-inspired flavours from La-Toya Fagon or learn how to properly cook with seafood from Rock Lobster’s Matt Dean Pettit. (Daily, Enercare Centre Hall A.)

Food Truck Frenzy and Craft Beer Fest — Everyone’s favourite food truck festival is back. Food Truck Frenzy and Craft Beer Fest will feature more than 20 vendors offering global fare from perogies to Egyptian street food, Caribbean roti to pho dumplings. Wash it all down with a selection of icy cold craft brews. (Aug. 25 to 28, Princes’ Boulevard.) 

SuperDogs — Get ready for a paw-some good time with the SuperDogs. Celebrating their 40th anniversary, these incredible canines will unleash their super powers in a high-energy, high-flying adventure show, Pawvengers. (Daily, Enercare Centre Hall D.)

Celebrating CNE heritage — Step into Doorways to the Past displayed throughout the grounds for an interactive journey of the EX through the eras; travel back in time and walk through the iconic history of the CNE and its storied grounds with the CNE Heritage Immersive Experience (Enercare Centre Heritage Court Gallery) or join the CNE Ghost Walks to learn about the fair’s haunted history and legendary spirits.

CNE Bandshell — Enjoy summer nights outdoors while rocking out with Tom Cochrane or Marianas Trench; jammin’ to the reggae tunes of Jay Douglas; singing along to Gordon Lightfoot’s greatest hits — or discover new music from Juno-winning artists including Indigenous singer-songwriter iskwē and 2022 Breakthrough Group of the Year MONOWHALES, and more. All concerts and performances are free with CNE admission. New this year, the bandshell is shining the spotlight on some of Canada’s funniest acts, headlined by America’s Got Talent judge and one of the most successful comedians in the world, Howie Mandel, on Aug. 19.

Kids’ World — Families can enjoy the mini-midway for kids, interactive programs such as the Pizza Nova pizza-making shop, and plenty of entertainment on the Kids’ World stage from characters such as Bob the Builder, Dorothy and Wags from The Wiggles, and more. New this year in Kids’ World is a topsy-turvy cirque-tacular show, Cirque Wonderland, a Dino Dig, where aspiring paleontologists can dig for prehistoric artifacts, and Chalkmaster Dave, who will be creating amazing chalk art in Kids’ World.

Art at the CNE

National Geographic’s The Greatest Wildlife Photos Exhibit — The world’s most striking wildlife images will be on display at the CNE. For 115 years, National Geographic has pioneered and championed the art of wildlife photography, and captivated generations of audiences with a steady stream of extraordinary images of animals in nature. (Daily, Arts, Crafts and Hobbies Pavilion and Enercare Centre, Hall A.)

Charles Pachter (a.k.a. Johnnie at the Fair) Exhibit: A Romance with Canada — The CNE is honouring the work of esteemed Canadian painter Charles Pachter and his unique connection to the fair. Pachter starred in the National Film Board of Canada’s Johnnie at the Fair, which celebrated a five-year-old child’s experience at the 1947 CNE after the fair had been closed from 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War. Some of his most renowned works and favourite subject matter will be on display including the Queen and Moose series. (Daily, Withrow Common Gallery.)

Voitek Pendrak Immersive Projections — Toronto-based photographer and multimedia artist Voitek Pendrak presents an all-new 360-degree, immersive experience, titled A Trip Through 103: Therapy for the Soul, that combines his vibrant kaleidoscope-like imagery and cinematography with an original soundtrack to create a truly mind-bending show. (Daily, 1 to 7 p.m., Enercare Centre Salon 103.)

The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Exhibit — The CNE invites fair goers to learn more about the land on which we gather, that is part of the Treaty 13 lands and the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat. This important exhibit showcases the history and culture of the Mississaugas of the Credit through art, storytelling, and a variety of interactive experiences. (Daily, Enercare Centre.)

General admission (plus HST and applicable fees)

$20: Advance tickets (purchased before Aug. 18)

$25: General admission (14 to 64 years)

$20: Adults 65 and better

$20: Children (ages 5 to 13)

Free: Children four and under

$75: CNE Family Pass (two adults and two children or one adult and three children)

To purchase tickets, ride passes, and for more information on discounts and promotions, go to

The Canadian National Exhibition is Canada’s largest community event and one of the top 10 agricultural exhibitions in North America. Founded in 1879, the CNE generates an economic impact of approximately $93.1. million for the Greater Toronto Area and $128.3 million for the Province of Ontario each year (when in operation). It is celebrated as one of the “greenest” fairs in North America and attracted 1.4 million visitors over 18 days in 2019.


Posted on

Virtual and in-person events at this year’s Bollywood Monster Mashup Festival

Virtual and in-person events at this year’s Bollywood Monster Mashup Festival

Business owner and community advocate

City: Ottawa

Country of origin: Pakistan

 Sadaf Ebrahim is a proud Pakistani Canadian and currently serving the community as president of the Canada-Pakistan Association (National Capital Region). Her elevating to the present status speaks volumes of her diligent efforts and commitment to the community. Initially, after immigrating, she did odd jobs and struggled with her husband for an honourable living, but now she is a successful business owner. She has been a strong supporter for local and small businesses and has promoted hundreds of small businesses in Ontario over past few years.

To help protect the environment from the disastrous effects of plastic, Ebrahim has started a movement by the name of Green Help not only to address climate change but also to empower newly immigrant women by providing them part-time jobs for making cloth shopping bags.

 During the difficult times of the pandemic, Ebrahim supported and promoted local small businesses through social media and her televised shows. She also made possible to deliver groceries to senior/elderly individuals in her community during the early days of the pandemic.

Ebrahim strives to utilize every available platform to raise awareness about various community issues and to organize fundraising campaigns via Canadian People’s Channel TV. She has raised mental health awareness in an annual Mother’s Day campaign for the last three years. She has also successfully raised funds organizations, such as Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, Cure Women & Children in Bangladesh and CHEO Foundation.

As an active member of the community, Ebrahim attends as many events and functions as possible to remain close to the community. In recognition to her efforts, Ebrahim was the first Pakistani to receive the Order of Ottawa (2021). She has also been honoured with the following awards and recognitions:

  • Ambassador of PAGE (Pakistan Alliance for Girls Education)
  • Ambassador in Ontario for Shaukat Khanam Cancer Hospital
  • Appreciation Awards for raising funds for Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health
  • Immigrant Entrepreneur Award by City of Ottawa in 2017
  • Canada 150 Award in 2017
  • CBET Appreciation Award by Canada-Bangladesh Education Trust in 2019

Posted on

HP to celebrate 75 years of existence with grand events

HP to celebrate 75 years of existence with grand events

Himachal chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said these events would be presided over by him and various Union ministers

Himachal chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Saturday presided over a meeting of high-powered committee to celebrate the 75 years of existence of the state by organising as many events.

Thakur said these events would be presided over by him and various Union ministers. He said the message must be clear that everyone in the state has made their contribution in development and progress in the last 75 years.

“Events should not be a ceremonial ones, but should create a sense of contact with each and every person of the state,” he said, adding that a special event would also be held to honour the achievers of HP in different fields.

The CM said the main focus would be on highlighting the achievements, policies and programmes of the state government, for which various departments must provide their promotional IEC material and brochures.

Thakur said that efforts should also be made to rope in the local and national-level artists along with cultural troupes to entertain the people and highlight the glorious journey of the state through music.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Three trucks and four poclain machines have been recovered from the suspects. (Representative image)

    Ludhiana: 4 held for illegal mining on Sutlej riverbed

    The Ludhiana police arrested four men for illegal mining on the Sutlej riverbed near Ladhowal, late on Friday night. The accused have been identified as Jatinder Verma, Davinder Singh, Ramanpreet Singh and Lovepeet Singh. Three trucks and four poclain machines have been recovered from them. Their two accomplices, Harpreet and Laddi, are yet to be arrested. A case under Mining Act has been registered at Ladhowal police station.

  • Health officials say Covid patients infected with the BA.5 sub-variant of Omicron in Ludhiana are stable and under home isolation. (Representative image)

    Ludhiana: 7 Covid patients found infected with BA.5 sub-variant

    Seven patients from Ludhiana district with Coronoavirus infection have been diagnosed with the BA.5 sub-variant of Omicron, which according to experts is highly transmissible. As per health department officials, samples of 54 patients had been sent for genome sequencing. While reports of four patients found infected with the sub-variant were received a few days back, the department got three of them on Friday.

  • Police officers at the emergency ward of the Ludhiana civil hospital on Saturday. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

  • The robbers also assaulted the victim with weapons and sticks. (Getty Images)

    Ludhiana: Duo in security guard uniform robs newspaper vendor of 7.5k

    Two miscreants, wearing uniforms of private security guards, robbed a newspaper vendor of ₹7,500 on Saturday after assaulting hSharmawith sharp weapons and sticks. The victim, Rajesh Sharma of Durgapuri, said the incident took place at around 4.30 am, when he was heading towards Clock Tower from his house on his scooter. Even though there was a sweeper standing nearby, the two robbers threatened him. The two suspects were captured assaulting Sharma on CCTV.

  • BJP Punjab president and Pathankot MLA Ashwani Sharma (centre)with local leaders in Ludhiana on Saturday. (Harvinder Singh/HT)

    SAD Ludhiana president’s brother joins BJP

    Leaders of various parties, including Shiromani Akali Dal district president Harbhajan Singh Dang’s brother Gurdeep Dang, joined Bhartiya Janata Party on Saturday in the presence of the saffron party’s state president and Pathankot MLA Ashwani Sharma SAD leader Satnam Singh Shunty, former Congress leader Gurwinder Singh Prinkle and Aam Aadmi Party’s Hardeep Singh Bittu, Pritpal Singh and Jagdeep Singh Jaggi were also inducted into the party by Sharma.

Posted on

Coal Dust Days Festival in Cape Breton returns after two years of pandemic cancellations | SaltWire

Coal Dust Days Festival in Cape Breton returns after two years of pandemic cancellations | SaltWire

A sense of community. 

It’s one way to describe the importance of the annual New Waterford Coal Dust Days Festival each year. From seeing old friends at events to having a reason to come home, the festival has a purpose for current and former residents. 

However, there hasn’t been much to celebrate over the past two years in the community. Like all festivals, the Coal Dust Days committee was forced to cancel their festival in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and provincial restrictions.

With restrictions lifted and the province now fully reopened, the Coal Dust Days Festival is set to make its return next week with weeklong events kicking off on Monday in the community. 

Joey Lever, board member for Coal Dust Days, said the committee is excited to be back and ready to move past the pandemic-related cancellations. 

“We think the community needs this back,” said Lever. “It’s a chance to be together again after two years of being stuck at home and it’s a chance to gather and celebrate.”

This year will mark the 37th edition of the Coal Dust Days Festival. After being off the past two summers, Lever admits there’s been a bit of an adjustment period preparing for the festival. 

“It’s more about getting our heads around it again,” said Lever, noting the committee began planning for this year’s festival in February. 

“You roll it out the same way every year. There’s a blueprint for Plummer Avenue Day and the car show and we have great partners with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and volunteers who also help us along the way.”

The festival will feature both committee-organized and community-hosted events, running until July 24.

One of the larger events organized by the committee is Plummer Avenue Day, which will feature local vendors, entertainment and games on the town’s main street on Thursday. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will finish with a concert from 7-10:30 p.m. featuring Hearts of Kin and Cherrybomb. 

Lever confirmed vendor spots are almost sold out. He anticipates this year’s Plummer Avenue Day to be a record year. 

“If we have the weather, we’re expecting great crowds and everyone to be out,” said Lever. “It’s a great event for people to bump into each other and see people that they haven’t seen in a while and just get out on the main street where they may not have had that chance in a little while.” 

‘It ran its course’

Among the events not returning this year is the Coal Dust Days Tavern Tour, which was one of the more popular attractions when the festival first began for both participants and local establishments. 

Lever said there were several reasons for the committee discontinuing the event. 

“The crowds have been down the last couple of festivals, a lot of people weren’t attending and that was a big reason for it,” he said. “I think the committee and the bars have dealt with a lot of underage drinkers and stuff, so it was really hard to keep a handle on it and make it safe for everybody.”

While it’s too early to confirm, Lever doesn’t anticipate the committee running the event in future festivals, but it’s not to say a tavern tour won’t happen.

“I don’t foresee the committee planning that event anymore – I think it ran its course,” said Lever. “There’s community-organized events, so if a community group wanted to host such a thing they could put it in the brochure.” 

The festival will also not include a parade this year. Lever said the committee removed itself from parades in 2015, noting a community group had tried to organize those events in the past. 

Other events

Some of the highlighted events for the festival include the Kay MacSween Memorial Walk the Loop at 9 a.m. on Monday at Rose Schwartz Park as well as the Family Walk-In Drive-In at 7 p.m. at the New Waterford and District Community Centre.

The annual antique and custom car show will be held on Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. on Plummer Avenue, while the Susan Coombes Memorial Teddy Bear Picnic and Sobeys Children’s Festival will be held on Wednesday from 1-4 p.m. at Colliery Lands Park. 

The closing concert will take place on July 24 at Colliery Lands Park and will feature The Non Essentials Band, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks will take place at dusk. 

Some events to look out for are listed below. For a full list of festival events, visit the festival’s Facebook page by searching New Waterford Coal Dust Days.

Coal Dust Days highlights

Monday, July 18

• 9 a.m. – Kay MacSween Memorial Walk the Loop beginning at Rose Schwartz Park

• 7 p.m. – Family Walk-In Drive-In, New Waterford and District Community Centre

Tuesday, July 19

• 10 a.m. – Coal Dust Days Bicycle Rodeo, New Waterford Fire Department

• 6-9 p.m. – 13th annual Antique and Custom Car Show, Plummer Avenue

Wednesday, July 20

• 1-4 p.m. – Susan Coombes Memorial Teddy Bear Picnic and Sobeys Children’s Festival, Colliery Lands Park

Thursday, July 21

• 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Plummer Avenue Day

• 7-10:30 p.m. – Plummer Avenue Day Wrap-Up Party featuring Hearts of Kin and Cherrybomb

Saturday, July 23

• All Day – New Waterford Credit Union Minor Baseball Day

• 12 p.m. – Kids Fun Day, New Waterford Fire Hall

Sunday, July 24

• 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Coal Dust Days Closing Concert, Colliery Lands Park

• Dusk – Fireworks

Jeremy Fraser is a reporter for the Cape Breton Post. Follow him on Twitter @CBPost_Jeremy.

Posted on

Stepping Stones celebrates 20 years in business with author events

Stepping Stones celebrates 20 years in business with author events

T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW UBBEN — Author Laura Sohl-Cryer visits Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore in Marshalltown for a signing of her first book, “Remembering the Home Place: Sonnets and Stories From Our Family Farm.”

While Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore celebrated their 20th anniversary this past week at both the Grinnell and Marshalltown stores, author Laura Sohl-Cryer conducted a signing at the Marshalltown location on Friday to promote her debut, Remembering the Home Place: Sonnets and Stories From Our Family Farm.

Sohl-Cryer grew up in northwest Iowa on her family’s Century Farm established by her great grandfather between Boyden and Hull. For the past 24 years, she has lived in Cedar Falls, teaching at Hawkeye Community College and some online classes for DMACC. Sohl-Cryer has been writing intermittently since graduate school and is also a renowned member of the Iowa Poetry Association, from which she has won multiple awards of recognition.

The new book stems from a place of sadness as Sohl-Cryer’s mother passed away last October, leaving her to make the difficult decision to take the semester off from teaching and move back to the family farm to address estate matters and her grieving process. In the midst of handling paperwork regarding the estate, she had spare time to grieve, but given that she is a farm girl at heart, Sohl-Cryer did not want to just sit on her hands.

According to Sohl-Cryer, God started waking her up every morning around 4:45 a.m. when chores were typically started on the farm, reminding her of His presence growing up as a child. Recalling her childhood spent there, she wanted to be on the farm during this difficult time to ride the waves of grief and turn it into something productive and positive.

“Writing this, Remembering the Home Place, has helped me to just know that He has been present throughout my whole life,” Sohl-Cryer said. “It came out of grief and provided me with a lot of hope.”

Grief is not the only theme of the book, as there are humorous accounts of growing up on a farm and multiple stories of levity. The book also serves as a catalyst for people to share their own stories, and Sohl-Cryer encourages them to do so since, as she puts it, many of these small family farm stories are one or two generations from being long-forgotten unless they are shared.

In celebration of 20 years of business in Grinnell and 12 years in Marshalltown, Stepping Stones held a week-long sale giving customers 20% off of one regular price, in stock item of choice in Marshalltown along with daily door prizes and refreshments at both stores.

“It’s just our way of saying thank you to all of our loyal customers over the years. Especially thank you to all of our past and current team members and all the volunteers over the years,” said Mindy Uitermarkt, the owner of the bookstores. “We just want to say thank you to everyone.”

In addition to Sohl-Cryer, the bookstore also hosted book signings featuring Rosa Clark and Jocelyn Green throughout the week. Stepping Stones Christian Bookstore encourages everybody to check out the sidewalk sales this coming weekend for Ridiculous Day on Saturday, July 23 in Grinnell. For more information on Stepping Stones Christian Bookstores, follow them on Facebook at Stepping Stone Christain Bookstores or call store owner Mindy Uitermarkt at 641-990-1381.


Contact Andrew Ubben at 641-753-6611 or

Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox

Posted on

2006 Mumbai train bombings: 16 years on, here’s the timeline of events that followed the horrific incident

Profile image

On July 11, 2006, a string of powerful bombs ripped through Mumbai’s commuter trains system in the evening rush hour, killing nearly 200 people and bringing India’s financial capital to a standstill.

Seven blasts were triggered in the span of 11 minutes in the first-class suburban train compartments leaving 189 dead and several injured.

The first bomb went off shortly after 6.20 pm in the Western Railway suburban train running from Churchgate to Borivali. The bomb exploded when the train was between Khar and Santacruz stations. Another bomb exploded at the same time in a local between Bandra and Khar Road. Following this, five more explosions occurred in Jogeshwari, Mahim Junction, Mira Road-Bhayander, Matunga-Mahim Junction and Borivali.

Most of the commuters in these trains were executives, businessmen, employees of government and private establishments and college students.

Here’s a look at the timeline of events that took place since the 2006 Mumbai train bombings.

July 11, 2006:

 Between 6.20 pm and 6.35 pm, seven RDX bombs ripped the first-class compartments of Mumbai local trains.

July 14, 2006: Terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Qahhar, possibly linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), claimed responsibility for the bombings through an e-mail to an Indian TV channel.

July 17, 2006: The Mumbai forensic science laboratory said highly explosive RDX and Ammonium Nitrate were used for the bombings. The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) said the bombs were assembled in Chembur.

July 18, 2006: A week after the blast, a memorial service was held in Mumbai to pay tribute to the victims. Sirens were sounded across Mumbai in homage to those who lost their lives, while then President Abdul Kalam led people into observing a two-minute silence.

July 21, 2006: The police arrested three persons in connection with the bombings.

November, 2006: The ATS filed chargesheet in which 13 of those subsequently arrested and 15 absconding were named as the accused under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime (MCOCA).

June, 2007: Those who were accused in the 7/11 bombings moved the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutional validity of MCOCA. The following year, the SC ordered a stay on the trial.

September, 2008: Five Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives were arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch. Contradiction in the probe by the crime branch and the ATS started to show when the crime branch said IM carried out the bombings, while the ATS said Pakistani nationals planted the bombs.

February, 2009: Arrested leader of the Indian Mujahideen Sadiq Sheikh confessed to conducting the bombings in a news channel broadcast.

February, 2010: Lawyer Shahid Azmi, who defended some of the accused in the Mumbai blast case, was shot dead in his central Mumbai office.

August, 2013: Yasin Bhatkal, co-founder of IM, who was arrested from the Indo-Nepal border, claimed the 2006 bombings were done by IM in response to the 2002 Gujarat riots.

August 2014: The court concluded the 7/11 trial but reserved its judgment.

September 2015: The MCOCA court convicted 12 of the 13 arrested in the case. The court sentenced five convicts – Kamal Ansari, Faisal Shaikh, Estesham Siddiqui, Naveed Khan and Asif Bashir Khan – to death. Seven others – Mohammed Ali, Mohammed Sajid Ansari, Majid Shafi, Dr Tanveer Ansari, Muzzammil Shaikh, Zamir Shaikh and Sohail Shaikh – were sentenced to life imprisonment. The court acquitted one of the accused.

First Published:  IST