Parrikar makes birthday resolution

first_imgPanaji – Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on his 62nd birthday on Wednesday said in the coming year he would work towards extending the duration the State Legislative Assembly meets to more than 45 days a year. He was speaking to reporters at the State Legislative Assembly complex after cutting a cake in the presence of legislators and Speaker Pramod Sawant during a break in the winter session of the Assembly, which began on Wednesday. Mr. Parrikar said, “My resolution is that the House should run for a longer period. From the coming budget session, the House should run for a minimum of 40-45 days a year. So, next year, I will cross 40 days because if a House functions for a longer time, then those who asks several questions can then spread their questions over more days. If the House does not run for a longer time, there are no pointed questions. If there are no sharp questions, there are no solutions.”last_img read more

Don’t think about the outcome, concentrate on the game: Pankaj Advani’s secret to 18 world titles

first_imgIt has been a sensational 2017 for ace cueist Pankaj Advani. In November, Advani became the first-ever cueist to win both the World Billiards and World Snooker titles at the same time.Not only that, he followed it with his 30th National title recently.The 32-year-old has 18 World titles to his name. which is the most world titles for any Indian athlete across sporting disciplines. Undoubtedly, Advani is an icon for the young sportsmen of our country. India Today caught up with him for an exclusive chat on his record breaking year, how he handles pressure and his advice to parents whose children want a career as professional athletes.Shobhit Mittal: You became the first cueist to jointly hold both the World Billiards and World Snooker titles. Have you settled down from your sporting high?Advani: I cannot tell you how difficult it is to juggle between both Billiards and snooker and specially excel in both. Normally, people specialise only in one sport, they either play billiards or they play snooker and even then, when they specialise in one sport they do not win a world title. So, I consider myself blessed and fortunate that I have been given a gift in both games and I am making the most of it. More the merrier and I am still hungry for more titles and to bring more glory to India.Shobhit: You have 18 World titles, which means a lot of big games and finals, by now you must have mastered the art of holding your nerves. What is your secret?advertisementAdvani: Every big match really brings out a lot of nervousness, there are a lot of nerves and there is a lot of tension, it is never easy to perform on the big stage. But every time I play a big final, I convince myself and I tell myself that this is what I have worked hard for and if this is where I want to be then I may as well enjoy it instead of resisting it and saying ‘oh my God what is going to happen, am I going to make a fool of myself, am I going to win or am I going to lose.’ The best thing that I have done over the years is to detach from the outcome and just concentrate on the game and try and play my best irrespective of the result. In fact, I would like to mention my brother Shree, because he is a sports psychologist and his contribution towards my mental strength and toughness has actually paid a lot of dividends and has made me stronger as a player mentally. So, whenever I play a final specially against someone of Mike Russell’s caliber and class, for me it is all about going out there and enjoying myself and playing the best that I can. I know there is only one style that I play, I have an individual style that only I can be comfortable with. A lot of people say my technique is unconventional but it works for me, so I just go out there and enjoy myself and do my best and when the outcome is favourable then I know I have done my job.Shobhit: But there is a lot at stake. Isn’t it? We have seen nerves get the better of a lot of athletes. Do you still get excited with the prospect of winning another world title for the country?Advani: It is a mixture of nervousness and excitement really when I am on the big stage specially if it is the semi-final or the final of a big championship. Yes, there is a lot of stake but I have stopped worrying about numbers and records because the more you think about them the more focus is going away from the game. It is a wonderful feeling to actually represent India and to be a part of  such a wonderful event. Every time I make it to the later stages of a tournament then I am just glad that I have been able to last for that long and actually take it forward and bring back trophies and titles for India. So there is obviously a sense of patriotism and a realisation that this is where I want to be and this is where I want to excel and shine as an artist.Shobhit: What is your advice to parents whose children want to follow sports professionally and by when can we make India into a sporting nation?advertisementAdvani: It is a long way that we have to go in terms of truly making India a sporting nation. Yes we do have a lot of talent and a lot of youngsters who want to take up different sports. Parents ask me a lot about how do you manage between academics and sports and how do you manage your time but there is a way out. I feel that if a child picks up a sport even if it is not at a very serious level then their grasping power improves and their concentration improves and hence they become better students also. So when you take up a sport automatically you become more focused as an individual and you become more disciplined. Opportunities have improved over the years and now people are looking at sports as a career option now thanks to all the support we have received and the awareness is growing although we still have a long way to go because we need to understand each sport separately and each sport needs to have an identity and it should not be ‘one sport’ (cricket) vs the ‘other sports’ that we keep talking about. I feel that with Mr. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore at the helm of affairs being the sports minister I really think that it augurs well for Indian sports.Shobhit: When did you take up cue sports and what was the role of your family during your younger days?Advani: I started at the age of 10 when I used to follow my elder brother Shree to a small snooker club near my house in Bengaluru. I used to just observe the game and one fine day I said that let me try it and the first ball that I actually tried to strike it went into the pocket so that is how my journey began in the world of cue sports.  After that I came to the Karnataka State Billiards Association where the game was played more seriously and things fell into place one after the other as I found my coach Mr Arvind Savur who I am forever indebted to. I found a great school & college and my family has been very supportive. Things fell into place but I promised my mom that I would not let my studies be effected although my grades went down a bit obviously because I was concentrating on the game but I always found time to pay attention in class and try and finish off as much as I can in school to free up my day after classes finished.Shobhit: You are a youth icon but who has been your inspiration? Any athlete Indian or foreign that you have looked up to?Advani: There have been a lot of sportspersons who have done phenomenally well for our country and for me it is Dhyan Chand. For me he is the greatest sportsman we have had but I have never seen him play live because obviously he was way before my time but I have heard stories about him and he is an absolute legend. So the Indian sportsperson has got to be Dhyan Chand. Internationally I would have to say it is Roger Federer because he is a complete champion on and off the court. There is so much to learn from him not only on the court but also how he carries himself off the court as well.advertisementALSO WATCH:last_img read more


first_imgSioux City’s Younkers is among seven stores in the state that the company has given notice that they are expecting to layoff employees and then close.Iowa State University Economist Dave Swenson says the closings indicate a basic issue of supply and demand in retail:Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………..number of stores. :14Swenson says online shopping has impacted all types of retail stores and it has had an impact on Younkers as well.But, he says it’s the type of store that Younkers is that is one of the biggest factors.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………have closed” :15Reports indicate Bon-Ton, the parent company of the Younkers stores, will be sold to a liquidation company that will shut the stores down.Younkers began in Iowa 162 years ago and has been in Sioux City for over 70 years.Eighty-four people are employed locally.The Sioux City store at the Southern Hills Mall is expected to close June 5th.last_img read more

Pakistan decides to do away with toss in first-class matches

first_imgPakistan decides to do away with toss in first-class matchesFor the first time in Pakistan history, Pakistan has decided to do away with the tradition of toss in first-class matches from this season.advertisement Next Press Trust of India KarachiAugust 25, 2019UPDATED: August 25, 2019 21:04 IST Pakistan cricket team (AP Photo)HIGHLIGHTSPCB CEO Wasim Khan had floated the idea and the board’s other officials responded positivelyPCB intends to launch the new season from September 12 with its premier Quaid-e-Azam TrophyThe one-day and T20 tournaments will be played with the traditional toss formatPakistan has decided to do away with the practice of toss in first-class matches from this season.For the first time in Pakistan cricket history, first-class matches in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy will be played with visiting teams having the option of opting for a “no-toss start” to the game.”The visiting side will get a chance to decide,” a source in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said.”But in the scenario where both teams want to bat first then the match referee will have the toss,” the source said.”The one-day and T20 tournaments will be played with the traditional toss format,” he added.He said PCB CEO Wasim Khan had floated the idea and the board’s other officials responded positively.The PCB intends to launch the new season from September 12 with its premier Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.Also Read | Watch: David Warner’s kind gesture towards Josh Hazlewood is winning heartsAlso see:For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byNitin Kumar Tags :Follow PakistanFollow Pakistan cricketFollow TossFollow PCBFollow Quaid-e-Azamlast_img read more

US Court Imposes 45-Day Deadline for El Faro Legal Claims

first_imgzoom Florida-based district court has determined December 21st as the final deadline for the filing of legal claims on behalf of the family members of the 33 crew members of the ill-fated cargo ship El Faro, Reuters reports.The ruling comes on the back of last week’s request for court protection lodged by Tote Services, owner of the sunken cargo ship, seeking exoneration from or limitation of liability for the deaths of the ship’s crew.Aside to giving a 45-day deadline, the court also said that the legal claims must be filed in Jacksonville.In line with the court order, Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association will, acting on behalf of Tote, deposit USD 15 million within 10 days, an amount proposed by the company as the liability cap.Judge Harvey Schlesinger, signatory of the court order, suspended further lawsuits against Tote and placed stays on those suits that have already been filed, adds Reuters.The request for indemnity was triggered by piling up of damage claims from the crew’s family members, the latest ones being filed by lawyers representing the families of the five Polish crew members, followed by Patrick Smith, the son of mariner Howard John Schoenly.Tote claims that it had “exercised due diligence” to ensure the 40-year-old vessel was seaworthy, properly manned and well-equipped for its September 29 trip from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and should therefore be “exonerated from liability for any and all losses or damages sustained during the voyage … and from any and all claims for damages that have been or may hereafter be made.”According to the lawsuits against the company, the ship, built in 1970, was too old and unable to withstand the strength of the Hurricane Joaquin that proved fatal for the ship’s crew on October 1st. Therefore, the ship owners and operators, who were in contact with the captain before the sinking, should have ordered the ship to “pull back, or change route to a safer route.”World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Diana Extends Charter Deal with Cargill

first_imgzoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Greece-based bulker owner Diana Shipping has agreed to extend the present time charter contract with Cargill International for one of its Post-Panamax dry bulk vessels, the m/v Polymnia.As informed, the gross charter rate is USD 16,000 per day for a period of minimum fourteen to maximum seventeen months.The new charter period for the 98,704 dwt ship is expected to commence on July 8, 2018.The Post-Panamax vessel is currently chartered to Cargill at a gross charter rate of USD 10,100 per day.The employment extension of the 2012-built Polymnia is anticipated to generate approximately USD 6.72 million of gross revenue for the minimum scheduled period of the time charter extension, Diana Shipping said.Diana Shipping’s fleet currently consists of 50 dry bulk vessels. As of today, the combined carrying capacity of the company’s fleet is approximately 5.8 million dwt with a weighted average age of 8.86 years.last_img read more

Housekeeping Amendments Formalize New Government Structure

first_img Municipal Affairs becoming its own department, including the Emergency Management Office and the Office of the Fire Marshal establishing Service Nova Scotia as an Office combining the Department of Finance and Treasury Board Office into a new department forming the Department of Internal Services, bringing together divisions and services from various departments Amendments introduced today, Sept. 30, will update legislation to reflect the government realignment earlier this year. Several acts were revised to update the names of departments and formalize the new responsibilities for ministers. The realignment, announced in March to provide better service to Nova Scotians, included: Housekeeping amendments were required to several pieces of legislation, including: the Collection Agencies Act the Community Interest Companies Act the Consumer Creditors’ Conduct Act the Co-operative Associations Act the Emergency Management Act the Executive Council Act the Finance Act the Fire Safety Act the Gaming Control Act the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission Act the Income Tax Act the Liquor Control Act the Members’ Retiring Allowances Act the Petroleum Products Pricing Act the Public Procurement Act the Public Service Act the Public Service Superannuation Act the Real Estate Trading Act the Residential Tenancies Act the Revenue Act the Securities Act the Sydney Steel Corporation Sale Act the Teachers’ Pension Act the Theatres and Amusements Act The new structure has been in place since April 1.last_img read more

Whats in a name 5G wireless claims but no real network

first_imgNEW YORK — 5G E? 5G Plus? 5G Ultrawideband? Will the real 5G please stand up?AT&T has drawn ridicule by relabeling the network used by some of its phones as “5G E” to signal that the next-generation wireless network is here. Problem is, phones capable of connecting to 5G aren’t coming for another few months, and a national 5G network won’t be deployed until 2020 or 2021.But Verizon, which complained Tuesday about AT&T’s move, did something similar when it launched a residential wireless service with the 5G moniker using its own proprietary technology. Although there are now industry standards specifying exactly what 5G networks must meet, dubbed “5G NR,” there are still some grey areas, particularly when it comes to marketing. Carriers are using all tools at their disposal as they race to try to convince consumers they’ll be “first” with 5G.A new generation of wireless network comes along every several years, so the stakes are high for carriers to establish their dominance. When it’s fully deployed, the “5G” network is expected to give mobile users faster speeds for video, self-driving cars and connected devices at home as demand for these ramps up.IDC analyst Jason Leigh said labeling 5G is a “battle between marketers and engineers,” as they try to balance hype and reality.There’s a history of carriers being murky about network claims. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint started calling an enhanced 3G network 4G in the early 2010s. There’s more pushback this time because people are now more aware of what a next-generation network can do.AT&T said in December that it would offer a “5G Evolution” service to some of its newest Android phones in 400 markets. The “5G Evolution” service is essentially the existing 4G network with some added features that can boost speeds, technology similar to what Verizon and T-Mobile have also rolled out under different names. That’s separate from the standards-based 5G network that AT&T and others are building.Bob O’Donnell from Technalysis Research said AT&T’s “5G E” network may be slightly faster than the current 4G service but it is more like “4.5G” than “5G.”“It’s not really 5G, and it’s very confusing to people,” he said. “I’m not very sure what the logic was to be honest.”On Tuesday, Verizon launched a marketing offensive pushing back on the “5G E” label with full-page ads in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere.“The potential to over-hype and under-deliver on the 5G promise is a temptation that the wireless industry must resist,” Verizon chief technology officer Kyle Malady wrote in the ad. Malady also said Verizon wouldn’t “call our 4G network a 5G network if customers don’t experience a performance or capability upgrade that only 5G can deliver.”Still, Verizon itself rolled out a 5G wireless broadband service in four cities in October using its own proprietary technology rather than industry-based standards. This residential service is meant to compete with cable rather than offer cellular connectivity outside the home. Verizon plans to update the equipment once standards-based devices are available, but there’s no timeline for that.Verizon spokesman Kevin King said comparing Verizon’s 5G service to AT&T’s move is a mistake because Verizon has been clear that it wasn’t using standards-compliant equipment right away.T-Mobile CEO John Legere, meanwhile, tweeted a tongue-in-cheek video showing T-Mobile’s LTE network symbol on a phone replaced with a piece of tape reading “9G.”AT&T declined to comment about the pushback.While there aren’t any legal ramifications in calling AT&T’s latest network 5G E, there’s a risk in alienating customers, said Leigh, the IDC analyst.“They’re entitled to call their product whatever they want,” Leigh said. “Ultimately they’ll have to deal with any confusion from a customer perspective.”Mae Anderson, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Grand Opening of Campaign Offices for Bob Zimmer

first_imgFort St. John Campaign Office Grand OpeningMonday, September 16, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m at 10230 100 StreetPrince George Campaign Office Grand OpeningTuesday, September 17, 2019, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m at 1905 Victoria StreetDawson Creek Campaign Office Grand OpeningWednesday, September 18, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m at 1201 Alaska Avenue FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The public have been invited to join in the grand opening of the re-elect for Bob Zimmer, Conservative Candidate, offices.This is a chance to meet with Zimmer, Conservative Candidate for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies and his campaign team. Zimmer was elected to represent the Conservative party in 2011, 2015 and is now running for re-election in 2019.last_img read more

SC orders Gujarat govt to act against erring cops in 2 weeks

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Gujarat government to take disciplinary action in two weeks against the erring police officials, including an IPS officer, convicted by the Bombay High Court in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case during the 2002 riots in the state. Besides, Bano in a plea before the top court sought exemplary compensation from the state government, refusing to accept its offer of Rs 5 lakh.A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna asked the Gujarat government to complete the disciplinary action within two weeks initiated against the erring officials indicted by the Bombay High Court. “On the statement made by the Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of Gujarat, that the proceedings for disciplinary action against the erring officers will be completed within two weeks, we adjourn the matter for two weeks. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details”On the next date, the orders passed in the disciplinary proceedings be placed before the Court,” the bench said. The top court, terming the Rs 5 lakh compensation offered by the Gujarat government ‘interim’, said the plea for exemplary compensation will be heard on April 23. “Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General appearing for the State has offered an interim compensation of Rs 5 lakh, which counsel for the petitioner is reluctant to accept and instead prays for final disposal of the special leave petition. Let the special leave petition be listed on April 23, 2019,” it said.last_img read more

Moroccan All Female Terrorist Cell Planned Suicide Attacks on Election Day

Rabat – Morocco’s anti-terrorist squad dismantled a group of ten female terrorists in a preventive operation. The group of women planned to use explosive devices for their suicide attacks on Election Day, October 7, and were active in seven different cities throughout Morocco.“ISIS terrorist organization is changing its tactics, and is bent on attacking the kingdom of Morocco through its weakest component, female minors. They use social media sites to recruit and brainwash minors,” said Head of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) Abdelhak El Khiyame in a press conference held today at the Bureau’s headquarters in Sale. During the press conference, El Khiyame revealed the major elements of the ongoing investigation following the dismantlement of the all-female terrorist cell, some of whom were as young as 13-years-old.El Khiyame expressed his dismay over the exploitation of Moroccan women for ISIS’s terrorist agenda, adding that ISIS has changed its tactics and is now recruiting female minor to commit acts of terror.“This operation may seem to be simple, but it is not,” El Khiyame said. “We are working on the fight against terrorism through a preemptive approach. But this cell in particular is different. For the first time, we are faced with female terrorists, most of whom are minors.”The BCIJ Director stated that ISIS is trying to sneak a new virus into Morocco’s social fabric by recruiting minors, adding that the organization is taking advantage of those who condone the same extremist ideology. “ISIS try to take advantage of silent cells who share the same hostile agenda to carry out suicide operations against sensitive facilities in Morocco in a Boko Haram style,” he said.This new “worrying” tactic will need a national multi-disciplinary approach to defeat it. El Khiyame urged all components of society to fight against the spread of the Jihadist ideology.ISIS was successful in recruiting these young girls, in part, because of the non-existent role of parents, education institution, and civil society, the Moroccan official said.El Khiyame did not rule out the possibility of other ISIS minor-recruitments in the future. He urged stakeholders to collaborate through a comprehensive approach based on social, religious and educational awareness.This group of terrorists will be brought before justice after the investigations conducted under the competent public prosecutor’s office are complete. read more

Egyptian Authorities Arrest more than 1,000 Anti-Corruption Protesters

Rabat – Egyptian authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people, on Wednesday, September 25, amid protests calling for an end to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s presidency.The Egyptian Centre for Freedoms and Rights said that authorities have arrested 1,003 protesters, while the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights reported the arrest of 1,298 protesters.On Tuesday, September 24, authorities arrested two prominent academics, Hazem Hosny and Hassan Nafaa. Police arrested Hosny, a political science professor at Cairo University, in front of his home. The arrest was reported by his lawyer Tarek al-Awadi on Facebook. In recent days, the professor has been critical to Sissi on social media.The professor was a spokesman for former Egyptian military chief of staff Sami Anan, who was arrested after attempting to run against Sisi in last year’s presidential elections.Hassan Nafaa, another professor of political science at the same university, was detained at his home late on Tuesday, family sources told AFP.Read also: Fake Facebook News Campaigns from Saudi, UAE, and Egypt Target MoroccoIn a statement to AFP earlier this week, Nafaa said that “Sisi’s desired image as “Egypt’s saviour from Muslim Brotherhood rule… has been completely dismantled.”Protests broke out after Mohamed Aly, an exiled Egyptian businessman living in Spain, posted videos accusing Sissi of corruption and the military of wasting public money on building luxurious properties.Sissi has dismissed the allegations as “lies and slander.”Just last week, authorities arrested more than 600 Egyptian protesters. read more

Cypriot leaders renew pledge to reach settlement as latest UNled talks wrap

22 December 2008The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders reaffirmed their commitment today to United Nations-sponsored talks aimed at reunifying the Mediterranean island and pledged to reach a settlement as soon as possible. “Looking back to our efforts since March 2008, we recognize that we still need to consider a long list of chapters. We also assess that although some progress has been made, it has been insufficient,” Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said in a joint statement from Nicosia, following today’s meeting. In May, the two leaders committed to a partnership that will comprise a Federal Government with a single international identity, as well as a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State which will be of equal status. They met on 16 December to examine issues concerning state and federal laws. Speaking to the press after today’s meeting at the UN Protected Area in Nicosia, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Cyprus, Alexander Downer, described the joint statement as “a very encouraging and a very positive development.” The two leaders, Mr. Downer said, focused their discussion on external affairs and the powers of a federal government. They will meet again on 5 January to hash out the “hierarchy of norms” – the relationship between laws passed by the Federal Government and legislation created by the country’s constituent States – as well as other remaining constitutional concerns. Two more meetings are planned for the following week. Mr. Downer dismissed reporters’ claims that the UN would end the talks and that Cyprus would be permanently divided if a solution is not reached next year. He said the negotiations are gaining momentum and that he looks forward to productive discussions in 2009.The full-fledged power-sharing talks, central to the reunification process in Cyprus, began in September. UN peacekeepers have been deployed there since 1964 to prevent fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. read more

Pesticide poisoning affects children at higher rate UN agencies

An estimated 1 million to 5 million cases of pesticide poisonings occur each year, resulting in several thousand fatalities, including children, according to Childhood Pesticide Poisoning: Information for Advocacy and Action, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Health Organization (WHO).Children face higher risks from pesticides than adults because they may be more susceptible or are exposed more to such chemicals over the course of their lifetime, the report says. Most of the poisonings take place in rural areas of developing countries, where safeguards typically are inadequate or lacking altogether. Although developing nations use just a quarter of the world’s production of pesticides, they experience 99 per cent of the deaths due to pesticide poisoning.Diet and poverty are two of the major sources of exposure for children, the report says. Food and water containing pesticide residues may be a source of chronic, low-level pesticide exposure; growing food on or near contaminated soils puts children at risk; and even pesticides stored incorrectly in the field or the household may contaminate food or water.In poor families, meanwhile, children often help on family farms where pesticides are used; pesticide users, including teenagers, may lack access to protective equipment or receive no training; and in many developing countries, the marking and advertising of pesticides is often uncontrolled or illicit.To minimize risk, the UN agencies urge reducing and eliminating possible sources of pesticide exposure to children and home and at work, keeping such chemicals out their reach, and cutting the use of agricultural pesticides through Integrated Pest Management (IPM).Other steps to reduce the harmful effects include training health workers to recognize and manage pesticide poisoning, providing training to people on how to use pesticides safely, running educational and information campaigns in the media, and addressing all aspects of pesticide management from manufacturing until use or disposal. read more

UN agency urges media to encourage tourists return to tsunamihit countries

“The media is also requested to use restraint when showing pictures of last year’s disaster, so that tourists will not be scared off for a second time,” the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said in a statement noting that hotel room capacity and air seat capacity to Thailand’s Andaman coast, Sri Lanka and the Maldives is still substantially lower than before the tragedy.“The return of tourists to the tsunami-affected countries is the best way to help local communities recover from the tragedy,” it added.In an appeal to the media in March, UNWTO sought to avoid what it called a new “infodemic,” a repeat of the slump in Asian tourism from the SARS health crisis two years earlier when travel dropped sharply during the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed 774 people and infected more than 8,000 worldwide, the vast majority of them in China.In its latest statement, issued ahead of the anniversary of the 26 December tsunami, the agency noted that recovery of tourist arrivals to affected beach resorts has been sluggish. Official statistics show arrivals to Phuket, Thailand, down by 50 per cent in August, October arrivals to the Maldives down by 23 per cent and foreign guest nights along Sri Lanka’s south coast down by 53 per cent in August.But beach resorts in all three countries are reporting forward bookings for December and January between 80 and 90 per cent. Diminished capacity is most evident in Thailand; on Phi Phi Island only 400 rooms are available compared to 2,000 before the tsunami and in hard-hit Khao Lak fewer than 500 of the 6,000 rooms have been reopened.Indonesia presents a different recovery curve. As tourism facilities were not damaged in the tsunami that destroyed Banda Aceh, arrivals to Bali actually increased from March through September. Terrorist attacks on 1 October drove tourism down once again by an estimated 37 per cent that month. But officials are hopeful that the recovery will be quicker than after the 2002 Bali bombings, due to stepped-up security and improved communications. read more

UN agencys AIDS clock ticks to represent pandemics toll

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has relaunched its AIDS Clock, an exhibit that has been counting the relentless toll of the epidemic since 1997. “The AIDS Clock reminds us of how pressing our work is,” said UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. “The clock ticks louder as the number of people living with HIV increases. Behind each number is a face, a family and a circle of loved ones who are also affected.”When UNFPA first unveiled the AIDS Clock just under a decade ago, it registered some 24 million people living with HIV. In the intervening period, most of those people have died, and millions more have become infected.In 1999, UNFPA launched the AIDS Clock as a web-based exhibit, and has recently revised and expanded its reach in a bid to symbolize the epidemic’s scale and the urgent response it demands. “Our goal is to slow down, and eventually turn back the AIDS Clock,” said the UNFPA chief. “Preventing HIV is the key.”More than 65 million people have been infected with HIV since AIDS was first detected 25 years ago. More than 25 million people have died, and an estimated 40.3 million people are now living with HIV. In addition to showing an estimate of the people living with HIV, the clock links to regional figures, fact sheets and epidemiology trends, based on information provided by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). It also provides links to some of the major campaigns that work to spread awareness of the issue and mobilize effective responses. read more

Vancouvers former chief constable joins high profile private sector firm

Vancouver’s former chief constable joins high profile private sector firm VANCOUVER – Former Vancouver police chief Jim Chu has moved from crime fighting to private enterprise.Chu has joined the Aquilini Investment Group (AIG) as vice president of special projects and partnerships.An announcement from the company says he will ensure safety standards are upheld and meaningful partnerships are developed with First Nations across B.C., in relation to various agricultural, energy and development projects.The 36-year police veteran retired this spring after just over seven years as Vancouver’s first non-white chief constable.President of Aquilini Development and Construction, David Negrin, says Chu’s proven leadership experience, prominence in the community, and business acumen make him an ideal candidate for the job.Vancouver-based AIG is best known as the owner of the NHL Vancouver Canucks, but the family-run business also includes everything from commercial, industrial and residential construction to sustainable agriculture, renewable energy projects and food, beverage and hospitality enterprises.— by The Canadian Press Posted Jul 31, 2015 8:38 am MDT Last Updated Jul 31, 2015 at 9:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Regions hit hard by plunge in commodity prices get sweetened EI pot

OTTAWA – The federal budget is changing the rules that govern employment insurance, measures aimed at helping resource-dependent provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and Saskatchewan.Workers there, many of them likely at or near the end of their unemployment benefits, will get a short-term boost.Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s budget adds five weeks to the regular 45 weeks of EI benefits those workers receive, effective in July but retroactive to January 2015.That measure will cost the treasury $405 million this year and $177 million next year.Long-tenured workers in the 12 regions identified in the budget as suffering the sharpest jumps in joblessness will be eligible for an extra 20 weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 70 weeks.That change, too, will be effective in July but retroactive to January of last year.“In the short-term, the collapse of the price of oil and other commodities has strained families and communities in many provinces,” Morneau said in his budget speech.The budget also cut the two-week waiting period for benefits to one week, starting next year, added $19 million to speed up processing of benefit applications and $73 million over two years to hire more people at overwhelmed call centres. Regions hit hard by plunge in commodity prices get sweetened EI pot in budget by The Canadian Press Posted Mar 22, 2016 2:58 pm MDT Last Updated Mar 22, 2016 at 4:09 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Finance Minister Bill Morneau holds a news conference before the release of his federal budget in Ottawa, Tuesday March 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand read more

UN temporarily relocates some staff out of Syria owing to insecurity

Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York that yesterday and today, a number of mortar shells fell in close proximity to, and on the grounds of, the hotel in Damascus housing UN staff. The mortar fire caused some damage to the building and some cars in the parking lot, including one UN vehicle. “The United Nations Security Management Team has assessed the situation and decided to temporarily reduce the presence of international staff in Damascus due to security conditions. We are also exploring safer premises,” he stated.“The United Nations attaches great importance to the safety of all its staff – national and international. With this in mind, we are temporarily relocating some of the UN international staff in Syria out of the country.”As part of that effort, Mr. Nesirky said that most of the Damascus-based staff of the Office of the Joint Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, are being temporarily relocated to Beirut, Lebanon, and to the Joint Special Representative’s main office in Cairo. All of the Office’s national staff have been asked to work from home, until further notice. “These measures are being undertaken solely for security reasons,” said the spokesperson. “The United Nations remains active and committed to helping the Syrian sides in their search for a political solution.”There are approximately 100 international and 800 national staff in Damascus working with the offices of the Joint Special Representative, the Resident Coordinator, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and various UN agencies and programmes. Mr. Nesirky added that UN agencies and their partners also remain committed to providing assistance to millions of people in need across Syria. Over 70,000 people have been killed and more than three million displaced since the uprising against President al-Assad began in March 2011. Some 1.1 million people have also been forced to flee Syria and take refuge in neighbouring countries.“The UN will maintain inside Syria the number of staff and capacity required to continue running its critical humanitarian programs and deliver assistance to civilians in need. This is a priority for the UN.”Last week Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced an independent investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. The initial focus of the probe will be an incident involving the alleged use of chemical weapons in the village of Khan al-Assal on the outskirts of Aleppo on 19 March. read more

Urgently address defining challenges of our time to empower youth worldwide top

“We need to urgently address the defining challenges of our time: access to quality education, unemployment, inequality, social exclusion and climate change”, Inga Rhonda King asserted in her opening remarks. “We cannot achieve this at the UN alone. We are all in this together”. Under the theme “Empowered, Included and Equal”, this year’s Forum aims to mobilize support for young people across the globe. While noting some encouraging signs concerning the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), she pointed to emerging evidence that suggests “the world is not yet on track to meeting many of the SDGs by 2030”. “I urge you to assess where we stand and mobilize together to move us forward” she stressed. The Youth Forum provides a platform for young leaders globally to engage in a dialogue among themselves and with UN Member States and to share ideas for advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Today is the big day! @UNECOSOC President & @UNYouthEnvoy welcome you to the Youth Forum, the largest gathering of young people and youth ministers at the @UN. Join the conversation by using #Youth2030 & #SDGLive!— Global Goals (@GlobalGoalsUN) April 8, 2019 It also gives youth the space to share their vision and contribute to upcoming UN meetings, including the 2019 ECOSOC Substantive Session in July, the 2019 High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) and the high-level events taking place on the margins of the General Assembly in September, including the Climate Summit, the High-level Meeting on Financing for Development and the SDG Summit. General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa called the Youth Forum “one of the most important mechanisms for young people to shape the 2030 Agenda”. Underscoring that the world needs inclusive inter-generational cooperation, she said the contribution of the 1.8 billion young people around the world was “crucial” for success in 2030. Ms. Espinosa spoke about the challenges of having 64 million young people unemployed along with the situation of youth in conflict-affected States — where one-third of all young people live. This year’s Forum is of particular importance, she explained, as it informs the annual political forum in July as well as feeds into the HLPF in September, which “will be the first comprehensive stock take”, pushing the agenda upwards to Heads of State level.  “There is no limit to what this generation, the largest, most educated, most globally-minded in history can deliver”, she spelled out. In her opening statement, UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake said that the outcomes of this year’s Youth Forum will help steer discussions to prioritize young people’s needs and rights ahead of the SDG and Climate Action Summits later this year. “The UN is pursuing action across many fronts to support Member States in meeting these [challenges] and it continues to pursue a path towards a fair globalization that works for all, while seeking to instill continued appreciation for multilateralism and dialogue, including among young people”, she stated. President of ECOSOC, Inga Rhonda King (centre), addresses the ECOSOC Youth Forum, 8 April 2019., by UN Photo/Evan Schneider read more