Team Eagles, Owned by BLS International, Participates in the First World Tennis League

BLS International’s owned Team Eagles participates in The First World Tennis League

BLS International’s owned Team Eagles participates in The First World Tennis League

DUBAI, Arab Emirates, Dec. 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Team Eagles, owned by BLS International Services Ltd., is participating in this season of the World Tennis League taking place from the 19th to the 24th of December 2022 in the Coca-Cola Arena, Dubai. World Tennis League is an exemplary blend of sports and entertainment, making for a unique experience, featuring world-renowned tennis players along with some preeminent artists from around the globe. The players’ lineup includes the legendary player Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek who has been currently ranked world No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), Dominic Thiem who has been ranked as high as world No. 3 in singles by the Association of Tennis Professionals, and Anett Kontaveit who is the highest-ranked Estonian player in history, among several others. The league will follow a never seen format by dividing these players into four different teams: Eagles, Kites, Hawks, and Falcons. These matches will be followed by some compelling concerts by DJs and performers like Tiesto, NE-YO, WIZKID, Mohammad Ramadan, Deadmaus, and Armin Van Buuren.

Mr. Shikhar Aggarwal, the Joint Managing Director of BLS International, has been quoted saying, “BLS International is a trusted global, tech-enabled service provider for visa consular and digital services, and we rank amongst the top three players in the said domain. At BLS International, we have always believed in continuously expanding our horizons and developing a one-world network between different countries, cultures, and communities. With that vision, we embark on this exciting journey of becoming a part of the premier World Tennis League with our team, the Eagles! As we kick off this electrifying competition, to my team Nick, Rohan, Caroline, Bianca, and Andreas, I’d just like to say, may you all soar victoriously high, just like an eagle, as you keep your eye on the championship. To all the teams, here’s wishing you all the very best!”

About BLS International

BLS International Services Limited (“BLS International”), member of the exclusive club of Indian unicorns and a trusted global tech-enabled services partner for governments and citizens, has an impeccable reputation for setting benchmarks in the domain of visa, passport, consular, citizen, e-governance, attestation, biometric, e-visa, and retail services since 2005. The company is recognized as “India’s Most Valuable Companies” by Business Today Magazine, “Best under a Billion” company by Forbes Asia, and ranked amongst “Fortune India’s Next 500 companies”. BLS International has recently reached the market cap milestone of one billion dollars.

Contact Information:
Ekta Bhaskar
Global Head- Corporate Communications
media@blsinternational.net

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The players’ lineup includes the legendary player Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek, Dominic Thiem, and Anett Kontaveit.

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Extreme Cold Weather Stretches US Homeless Shelters’ Capacity

City officials and outreach workers across the United States were rushing to get people off the streets this week, turning sites such as libraries and arenas into shelters to mitigate a humanitarian crisis caused by freezing weather and an influx of migrants.
Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services opened libraries and police stations as warming stations, while shelters in cities as far south as Baton Rouge, Louisiana, expanded hours and bed capacity as temperatures were expected to sink to the teens in Fahrenheit (below -10 degrees Celsius) Friday night.

Officials in Denver, Colorado, where the temperature of minus 24 degrees Fahrenheit (-31 degrees Celsius) Thursday became the second coldest in the city’s history, opened the Coliseum as a shelter this week. Officials prepared the indoor arena to house 225 people but increased its capacity to 359 Wednesday night.
“I feel good about being here because I don’t have to worry about sleeping out in the cold, I don’t have to worry about going from place to place,” said Laphonse McMillan, one of the people seeking shelter at the Coliseum this week.
Denver officials also opened the municipal Wellington Webb Building on Thursday night. The building is a workplace for more than 1,000 city employees and, according to the city’s emergency operations center, it is the first time it has been used as a shelter.
Cities across the United States have been struggling to address homelessness. A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report this week showed nearly 600,000 people were homeless as of January 2022. The report found that homelessness among people in shelters declined by 1.6%, while unsheltered homelessness increased by 3.4%, compared to 2020.
“Severe weather exacerbates the cruel reality of homelessness in America,” said Donald Whitehead, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless.
Compounding factors
In Hennepin County, Minnesota, where the National Weather Service said blizzard conditions and extreme cold through Saturday could be “life-threatening,” the director of housing stability, David Hewitt, said shelters or facilities such as hotel rooms were accommodating 242 families, compared to a typical capacity of 119 families.
Hewitt said there has been a surge in county shelter stays since a COVID-era eviction moratorium and federal emergency rental assistance programs ended in June.
“We literally have 300 more children in shelter today than we did this time last year,” he said.
Thousands of people trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border daily have placed additional strain on cities in their path. Nearly 1,000 migrants were staying in Denver city shelters or partner shelters as of Thursday, according to a city statement.
In the Texas border city of El Paso, where temperatures were in the teens Fahrenheit Friday morning, shelters were also feeling the combined strain of mass migration and a weather-induced need for housing.
“We have cold temperatures in conjunction with a large number of refugees,” John Martin, head of the Opportunity Center for the Homeless in El Paso, told CBS News, adding that local shelters expected a 50% to 60% uptick in need this week. “It just seems like everything’s hitting at once.”
Making room
Meanwhile, a blizzard was moving eastward across the Great Lakes region Friday.
Central Iowa Shelter in Des Moines, where blizzard conditions were expected through Saturday, housed 250 people overnight in its 150-person capacity shelter this week, and would not turn anyone away, said director of marketing and business development Melissa Alto-Kintigh. Volunteers were still going into the community and urging people to seek shelter from the bitter cold.
“There’s enough space, although this does mean that some people sleep on the floors,” she said.

Source: Voice Of America

Canada’s Hudson Bay Polar Bear Population Plummets

Canada’s Western Hudson Bay polar bear population has fallen 27% in just five years, according to a government report released this week, suggesting climate change is affecting the animals.
Every autumn, the bears living along the western edge of the Bay pass through the sub-Arctic tourist town of Churchill, Manitoba, as they return to the sea ice. This has made the population not only the best-studied group in the world, but also the most famous, with the local bear-viewing economy valued at $5.30 million annually.
However, Nunavut’s government assessment finds that just 618 bears remained in 2021 — a roughly 50% drop from the 1980s.
“In some ways, it’s totally shocking,” said John Whiteman, chief research scientist at conservation nonprofit Polar Bears International. “What’s really sobering is that these kinds of declines are the kind that unless sea ice loss is halted, are predicted to eventually cause … extinction.”
Polar bears depend on the sea ice to hunt, staking out over seal breathing holes. But the Arctic is now warming about four times faster than the rest of the world. Around Hudson Bay, seasonal sea ice is melting out earlier in the spring, and forming later in the fall, forcing bears to go for longer without food.
Scientists cautioned that a direct link between the population decline and sea ice loss in Hudson Bay wasn’t yet clear, as four of the past five years have seen moderately good ice conditions. Instead, they said, climate-caused changes in the local seal population might be driving bear numbers down.
And while it’s possible some bears may have moved, “the number of adult male bears has remained more or less the same. What’s driven the decline is a reduced number of juvenile bears and adult females,” said Stephen Atkinson, an independent wildlife biologist who led the research on behalf of the government.
This change in demographics doesn’t fit with the idea that bears are moving out of western Hudson Bay, he added.
“There was a very low number of cubs being produced in 2021,” said Andrew Derocher, who leads the Polar Bear Science Lab at the University of Alberta. “We’re looking at a slowly aging population, and when you do get bad [ice] years, older bears are much more vulnerable to increased mortality.”
Also of concern to scientists, the report suggests declines have sped up. Between 2011 and 2016, the population dropped only 11%.
There are 19 populations of polar bears spread out among Russia, Alaska, Norway, Greenland and Canada. But Western Hudson Bay is among the southernmost locales, and scientists project the bears here are likely to be among the first to disappear.
A 2021 study in the journal Nature Climate Change found most of the world’s polar bear populations are on track to collapse by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t heavily curbed.

Source: Voice Of America

Over 400 government projects listed for scrutiny

Over the past months, the State Audit Organisation has conducted a scrutiny targeting 416 mismanaged government projects, each costing more than 10 billion kip, according to the president of the organisation.
These state investment projects have a total cost of 58.8 trillion kip (around US$3.3 billion).
Thursday’s morning witnessed President of the State Audit Organisation Viengthavisone Thepphachanh reporting to the ongoing 4th Ordinary Session of the National Assembly about SAO’s examination of state investment projects which was based on the National Assembly’s 24th resolution.
Of the projects subject to the scrutiny of the State Audit Organisation, 280 projects have been completely audited and 136 projects, worth over 41.6 trillion kip, are yet to be inspected.
The organisation also audited 616 projects, worth 1.8 trillion kip, out of 2,850 projects (each costing less than 10 billion kip) listed for scrutiny by the National Assembly.
“As of today, we have audited 89% of the listed projects and these have a total investment cost of over 19 trillion kip. Some 2,370 projects with a total value of 47.7 trillion kip are yet to be audited,” said Mr Viengthavisone Thepphachanh.
SAO’s latest report suggests that 37 state investment projects with a cost of over 310 billion kip have been implemented without detailed designs.
“When these projects were being implemented, their designs were revised with the addition of more project activities, and finally they turned out to be more costly than when approved by the National Assembly,” Mr Viengthavisone Thepphachanh told the ongoing 4th Ordinary Session of the National Assembly.
“Some irrigation projects have improper designs, are costly but ineffective. As a result they have been suspended,” said SAO’s president.

Source: Lao News Agency

Gov’t Deepens Understanding of International Standards for Responsible Business Practices

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have completed a series of training on responsible business practices for central and provincial Government Agencies in the Lao PDR.
Some 100 officials representing 11 Ministries in Vientiane and eight Departments from six of the country’s northern provinces, learned about the benefits of upholding international standards for regulation of business activity.
Over the past decade, the Lao PDR has been one of the fastest-growing economies in ASEAN, recording average annual growth of up to 8 per cent. While business activity has underpinned much of this progress, it has often been at the expense of the environment and people’s well-being.
Water and air pollution, loss of biodiversity, community relocations, unsafe working conditions, and unequal pay by irresponsible businesses have had a negative impact on the Lao PDR’s sustainable development.
To ensure that business activity continues to progress and does not undermine development, it is critical that the Government embraces responsible business practices.
The UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights are the key international standard and practical roadmap to guide such progress.
“By strengthening the regulation of business activity in line with the UNGPs, we can ensure that each company, no matter the size or industry, is committed to a prosperous Lao PDR. Responsible business practices protect our natural resources and benefit communities and workers while enabling high-quality and sustainable investments – the key to the recovering from COVID-19 and the current economic challenges,” Dr. Khamphet Vongdala, Director General of the Department of Planning and Cooperation, MoIC, stressed.
It is estimated that high-quality and sustainable investments now account for 10% of global fund assets, increasing from USD285 billion in 2019 to USD650 billion in 2021 – meaning Governments around the world are aligning regulations with international standards to gain new investment opportunities.
“A National Action Plan with clear Government priorities to align laws, policies and practices with the UNGPs is a powerful tool to attract high-quality and sustainable investments. 30 economies have already adopted such plans, and the Lao PDR should not be left behind in this global trend,” said Mr. Seán O’Connell, UNDP Team Leader for Governance and Assistant Resident Representative.
“UNDP has supported development of National Action Plans in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Viet Nam, and we look forward to supporting the Government of the Lao PDR in its responsible business journey,” said Mr. Seán O’Connell.
Local authorities are at the frontline of strengthening responsible business practices and well-positioned to ensure that a National Action Plan is fit for purpose. Provincial and District Government Agencies are responsible for issuing business licenses, monitoring business operations, and enforcing regulations, while also having a direct connection to communities.
“While the central level can ensure that a National Action Plan meets the Lao PDR’s international responsibilities and UNGPs standards, local authorities are the key to aligning it with the real issues on the ground. We stand ready to contribute our experiences and support,” Mr. Aot Sisavath, Deputy Head of the Luang Namtha Provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, reflected.
The MoIC-UNDP series of training resulted in over 90 per cent of Government officials reporting an improved understanding of the UNGPs and the National Action Plan processes. It was organized under the “Improving Performance, Accountability, Conduct, and Transparency of Businesses in the Lao PDR” project, also known as IMPACT Biz, funded by the Government of Japan.

Source: Lao News Agency

India helps enhance coffee production, diversify people’s economy in Luang Namtha

On Thursday, Dec 22, Deputy Governor of Viengphoukha district, Luang Namtha Province, Phoumone Khounsiliheuang, and Ambassador of India to Laos Dinkar Asthana attended a groundbreaking ceremony of a project aiming to increase organic coffee production and diversify local economy.
Capacity building of villagers of Namvang, Viengphouka district, Luang Namtha Province is also part of the project.
Representatives of Luang Namtha provincial authorities were also present. The project is being undertaken under grant assistance from the Government of India under the Quick Impact Project (QIP) Scheme of Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC).
The project aims to create sustainable alternatives for shifting cultivation (slash & burn) and mono-cropping which are common agriculture practices of the communities in the uplands of Luang Namtha Province.
The project will enhance the quality of coffee production and also diversify the village economy through the planting of various fruits and nut trees to serve as shade trees for the coffee in the fields.
Speaking at the occasion, the Ambassador noted that this project will bring happiness and economic prosperity to the villagers.
He hoped that the project would be completed quickly and quick completion of the project will further strengthen the existing excellent bilateral cooperation between India and Laos.
India has taken up many Quick Impact Projects in Laos in the areas of health, education, drinking water facility, agriculture, etc. in remote far-flung areas across many provinces of the country.
Out of these, some projects have been completed and remaining projects are at an advanced stage of implementation. The projects reach out to and benefit the grassroots.
Deputy Governor of Viengphoukha District Phoumone Khounsiliheuang appreciated in his remarks the grant assistance from India for the implementation of the project in the agriculture sector which is an important sector for socioeconomic development of the Lao PDR and mentioned that about 35 families will benefit directly from the project.

Source: Lao News Agency