Defra’s latest food sector review may be Gove’s last chance to deliver

first_imgSource: Rex The launch of the review could prove to be Michael Gove’s swansong at DefraToday’s news that Henry Dimbleby will lead a government review of the food sector will be music to the ears of those who have criticised Michael Gove for ‘taking the F out of Defra’.Gove has been taken to task on a regular basis during the past two years over his department’s perceived lack of interest in the food bit of his department.And while Defra under his watch has admirably led the way in reducing plastic use – banning microbeads, launching a 25-year environment plan and pushing forward with a new clean air strategy – there have been fewer policy successes on the food side. But in what could be his swansong ahead of a cabinet reshuffle by a new prime minister next month, there appeared to be universal praise for today’s announcement of a review into England’s food system to make it “fit for the 21st century”. Even arch critics such as City University’s Professor Tim Lang welcomed the “good news”.Dimbleby will investigate the entire food system, from field to fork, as part of work to formulate a “trailblazing” national food strategy for England.“There are urgent challenges with which we must grapple,” he said. “Populations are growing, diet-related conditions are harming the lives of millions, and climate change is altering what our land will yield.”Dimbleby has been busily working behind the scenes on this plan for several months in a bid to bring around some outspoken critics of Defra’s previous stance on the future of the food sector.The restaurateur’s (and Gove’s) aim was to deliver “safe, healthy, affordable food, regardless of where people live or how much they earn”, Defra said today.But after a series of false starts during the past 20 years, can Defra really deliver on a new food strategy this time?Despite the department’s grandiose claim this was the “first major review of the UK food system in 75 years”, the food industry has witnessed a litany of policy failures ranging all the way from the Curry Commission in 2002, Food Matters in 2008, Food 2030 in 2010 and the 25-year Food & Farming Plan last year.’Forgive me if I sound a note of caution – because we have been here before,’ Coca-Cola European Partners’ communications VP (and former editor of The Grocer) Julian Hunt wrote on LinkedIn this morning.All of these initiatives were “excellent attempts to create a vision of success”, he wrote. But they either ran out of steam or were abandoned by ministers.With Brexit still mired in uncertainty and British politics showing no sign of returning to normality, the food sector will be praying any change in leadership at Defra does not hinder this latest attempt at reform.As NFU president Minette Batters said: “It’s crucial this strategy delivers for everyone.” As a starting point, it’s crucial this review actually delivers its findings, full-stop. Because the enormous challenges facing the industry, from Brexit to obesity to climate change and much more, are not going away any time soon.last_img read more


Shoah Foundation partners with genocide museum

first_imgStephen Smith, director of USC Shoah Foundation, and Hayk Demoyan, director of the Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute, signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday that marks the beginning of a new collaborative partnership between the two groups.Sixty testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the Armenian genocide will begin to be integrated into the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive by April 24, when both the USC Shoah Foundation and Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute will mark the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian genocide, which took place from 1915 until 1922 at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish government. These testimonies are a part of the Armenian Film Foundation’s collection, recorded by filmmaker J. Michael Hagopian.The memorandum of understanding will bring the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive containing video testimonies of genocide survivors to the museum in Armenia. The agreement will create opportunities for education and research collaboration between the two organizations on initiatives related to the Armenian genocide.This new collaboration comes at an appropriate time, as April is International Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. The Visual History Archive is an online portal that currently gives users access to over 52,000 audio-visual testimonies of international genocide survivors, in 39 different languages. In the past year, the Visual History Archive added testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide and from the 1937 Nanjing Massacre.“It opens up a whole new geography for access and collaboration, given that we’re bringing in the Armenian genocide testimonies into the archives and working with the museum to have the archives accessible,” said Karen Jungblut, the Shoah Foundation’s director of research and documentation. “It seemed like a logical extension for the museum to learn more about what we were doing here … it was an easily aligned mission to bring these materials and testimonies of survivors to an audience in Armenia as well as in the U.S.”Located in Yerevan, Armenia, the Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute, part of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, serves as a research and humanitarian body, documenting all materials related to the Armenian genocide and making them accessible to the general public. The museum includes maps, eyewitness accounts, artifacts and other documentation of the genocide during which 1.5 million Armenians were killed.“We are deeply dedicated to ensuring that those testimonies collected by J. Michael Hagopian over those many decades find their voice[s] in the world. There is no better or more appropriate place to do that than in Yerevan itself,” Smith said. “It’s a place of memory, a place where history emanates from, and, through your leadership, ensures that research and education, which are the fundamentals of our institute too, really ground these testimonies in the world.”Demoyan said that the collaboration between the two groups marks an important push to pay tribute to those affected by the Armenian genocide.“This will not stay on the paper … our signatures are triggering something important, triggering the process of research, preservation, study and cooperation,” Demoyan said.Demoyan also serves as executive secretary of the state commission and is coordinating international efforts to commemorate the Armenian genocide this year.Jungblut hopes that the two organizations will continue to engage in an exchange of materials and research that will create opportunities for USC students and faculty.“In the future, we want to really explore all the possible pathways that we can work together and create exchanges on all fronts with dealing with the genocide and dealing with awareness and education about it,” Jungblut said.last_img read more


Kyler Murray criticism ‘garbage,’ says Oklahoma teammate Ben Powers

first_imgA Heisman Trophy winner in his sole season as Oklahoma’s starter, Murray has his fair share of doubters, and he received some stinging criticism after the NFL combine three weeks ago.NFL Network’s Charley Casserly claimed he received feedback from Murray’s interviews at the combine that he described as “the worst report I’ve ever heard on a top-ranked quarterback,” criticizing Murray’s leadership, study habits and ability to draw up plays on a white board.Casserly was swiftly rebuked by Murray’s agent Erik Burkhardt while Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley also came out in defense of his quarterback.And former Sooners guard Powers also takes a dim view of Murray’s critics, telling Omnisport: “I see so many different articles about Kyler and I’m tired of it because I talk to him on a daily basis, I know the guy.”All these articles, they’re just there to get people to click on them. It’s just complete garbage.”pic.twitter.com/kGePeWhrId— Kyler Murray (@TheKylerMurray) February 11, 2019The debate over whether Murray made the right move in quitting baseball has come back into focus in the wake of Mike Trout’s reported $430 million extension with the Angels. And Powers has already broached the topic of Trout’s deal with Murray.He added: “I was actually talking to Kyler yesterday [Tuesday] when I scrolled across Twitter and it’s like ‘does Kyler Murray’s decision change now that Mike Trout got this giant contract? And there’s a whole article about it’.”I’m like ‘Kyler do you believe this?’ and he’s like ‘man they’ll write anything.'” Despite being the favorite to be the first overall pick in next month’s NFL Draft, Kyler Murray has come in for plenty of recent criticism, which has been labeled as “garbage” by his former Oklahoma teammate Ben Powers.Diminutive quarterback Murray, a two-sport star at Oklahoma who chose to pursue football over a career in MLB with the Athletics after being drafted ninth overall last year, is now seen by many as a lock to be taken number one overall by the Cardinals.last_img read more