Legislation to improve accessibility for those with disabilities planned for spring

first_imgTORONTO – The federal minister responsible for crafting Canada’s first national accessibility legislation says the law should be ready by next spring and should benefit not only people with disabilities, but their caregivers.Kent Hehr says the timeline for the new law has shifted slightly since he took over the portfolio for sport and persons with disabilities in a recent cabinet shuffle.The legislation, which is highly anticipated by Canada’s disabled community, was originally set to be unveiled either late this year or early 2018.Hehr says he is up-to-speed on past consultation efforts and is moving ahead with future ones. He hopes to table the legislation before the House of Commons by next spring.Hehr says he intends to focus on the issues disabled Canadians identified as priorities during an eight-month consultation process, including high unemployment levels and accessibility of federally run buildings and services.But Hehr says his own experience as a quadriplegic has made him particularly aware of how the new bill could also benefit caregivers.Hehr, who has used a wheelchair since being struck by a bullet while witnessing a drive-by shooting 27 years ago, said he has personally witnessed the essential role caregivers play and wants to be certain their contributions are never overlooked.“I rely a tremendous amount on my mom, my girlfriend, my sister, as well as my caregiver … without their help, their assistance, their contributions to my life, I simply could not do the job I’ve been entrusted to do,” Hehr said in an interview with the Canadian Press. “I understand, first-hand, that they have to be part of this mix.”Hehr did not disclose details of what caregiver benefits might entail, but said the legislation was part of a government-wide approach to removing barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in society. He said he hoped the legislation would improve the lives of people with disabilities, thereby easing the load on those who provide support to them.Hehr’s reflections on caregivers came as good news to at least one advocacy group representing their interests.Disabled groups from coast to coast have made it clear that Canadians have lofty expectations of the federal legislation, which they maintain is long overdue to bring Canada in line with countries such as the United States.In a report released to Carla Qualtrough, Hehr’s predecessor on the file, Canadians laid out six areas of focus for the new bill.Those who took part in consultations wanted to see laws that would help lower unemployment rates that hover around 50 per cent for those with disabilities, reduce the number of buildings inaccessible to those with physical and intellectual disabilities, and remove accessibility barriers for the country’s air, rail, ferry and bus transportation systems.Those consulted also named government program and service delivery as another key area of focus.There was also a desire for an independent body to make sure the new law has teeth.Hehr, who served as Veterans Affairs minister before taking over from Qualtrough in August, said the new law will address these priorities but declined to offer concrete details at this point.Joanne Bertrand of the Ontario Caregiver Coalition said the group’s voice had not been included in consultation efforts to date, adding there are myriad ways in which federal legislation could make life easier for those providing support to disabled people.New laws, she suggested, could make it easier and less expensive to travel with a disabled person.The legislation could also put measures in place at banks, which would fall under the purview of the new laws.Bertrand suggested caregivers often act as substitute decision-makers for disabled loved ones, saying existing systems make it very difficult to carry out those duties effectively.“I think it’s very important that there be an awareness by employees in various businesses and organizations that substitute decision-makers are not only representing, but expressing the wishes of the people that they are the decision-maker for,” she said.Bertrand said the health care sector as a whole is moving towards treating patients and caregivers as a unit and addressing the needs of each, adding she hopes the federal government will follow suit.Disability rights advocates, too, welcomed news that caregivers’ needs were on Hehr’s radar.“It’s something that’s been missing for awhile,” said Marcia Yale,a visually impaired activist who has been involved in soliciting input on the legislation. “No one gets compensated for human work or for doing the right thing.”The proposed legislation would govern areas that fall under federal jurisdiction, such as banks, telecommunications, and interprovincial transportation.last_img read more

United Arab Emirates and Egypt Involved in Libyas Capital Tripoli bombardments

Rabat – Four senior American officials reportedly said that United Arab Emirates was behind the unidentified war plane that bombarded the Libyan capital Tripoli on August 18, leaving five militants killed and several others injured.Egypt and United Arab Emirates allegedly teamed up to carry out an air attack against Islamist-allied militias that were on the verge of victory over anti-Islamist forces based in eastern Libya under a renegade former general, Khalifa Heftir, According to N.Y. Times.New York Times quoted a US official as saying that Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners “have secretly launched airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, without informing Washington.” On Sunday, Egypt’s president denied any military involvement in Libya. However, US officials confirmed that “U.A.E. provided the pilots, warplanes and aerial refueling planes necessary for the fighters to bomb Tripoli out of bases in Egypt.Mahmud Turkia/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

Italy Adopts New Law Against Building Mosques

Taroudant – Right-wing politicians in the northern Lombardy region approved a bill on January 22 that will make it almost impossible to build new mosques in the region and that will austerely monitor the existing Muslim places of worship.Considered an “anti-mosques bill,” the bill, which was submitted by Governor Roberto Maroni, the secretary of the ‘anti-immigrant’ Northern League party, will tighten the procedures for building new mosques and also implement security cameras in existing Islamic places of worship in the region.The new law makes potential construction subject to a regional referendum. To make administrative procedures more complicated, the law requires that the new mosques be constructed in line with the architecture of the “landscape of Lombardy.” Any new religious building should have a parking place “at least twice the size of the structure itself.”Another condition that will annoy most worshippers is that the new law requires any new places of worship to be open publically to everyone – including nonbelievers.The bill has sparked an outrage among the Italian Muslim community – the second largest religion in Italy after Catholicism – and controversy among Italian civil liberties advocates.“The new rules are discriminatory and inopportune,” Milan’s socio-political city councilor Pierfrancesco Majorino told the Daily Beast.“They are a slap in the face to any attempt at dialogue between cultures,” he added.Roberto Bruni, a center-left politician from northern Italy, said that, “this measure is the result of Islamophobia.”However, Roberto Anelli of the Northern League has a very radical view regarding those opposing the new law –  “I say to anyone who doesn’t like this law: go home.” read more

UN through the lens Looking back on a year in Haiti

The re-appointment followed more than a year spent in Haiti as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) – his second time in those roles. Mr. Mulet was re-deployed to Haiti in the aftermath of the tragic earthquake which struck the Caribbean nation on 12 January 2010, devastating parts of the country and killing many Haitians as well as UN staff. His service there also coincided with the region’s hurricane season, crucial elections in Haiti and a cholera outbreak. Mr. Mulet spoke with the UN News Centre, sharing some of his thoughts and memories on his time in Haiti in the accompanying audio/photo montage and a “Newsmaker” interview. 11 July 2011UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon re-appointed Edmond Mulet to his former post of Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations in March 2011. read more

Consider yourself warned City begins issuing tickets to Uber drivers

by News Staff Posted Oct 30, 2015 6:26 pm MDT Consider yourself warned: City begins issuing tickets to Uber drivers UBER AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email There’s a new undercover operation going on in Calgary: ticketing Uber drivers.The City of Calgary’s Manager of Compliance Service and Animal and Bylaw Services Marc Halat announced Friday that Uber drivers are now being ticketed through covert means, until a bylaw can be put in place regulating the operation of the service in the city.The City is not releasing numbers on how many tickets have been issued through the day or how many will be.“Violations on individuals are being processed as we speak, so critical that we address the real crux of why we’re here is the safety,” he said.Next month, Halat will be presenting options on how to accomodate services like Uber to the Taxi and Limousine Advisory Committee, as well as City Council.“Those options are to provide for new market entrants to be able to participate in the vehicle-for-hire industry as we know it,” he said. “In a collaborative and again safe network of opportunity to exist.”As for enforcement, they are being handed out through covert operations, but Halat will not divulge how it works.“The operation is undercover, that’s why you haven’t seen a uniform, that’s why you haven’t heard, because when you’re dealing with this type of enforcement and the technology we’re up against, it’s extremely complex and extremely difficult,” he said. “I want to do this right and I want to have meaningful outcome.”Halat reiterated that the City welcomes new market entrants and it’s a good thing that Uber is here, but there has to be regulation regarding safety.Since Uber’s launch, Halat acknowledged they haven’t gotten direct complaints of users concerned for their safety, but there have been discussions over uncertainty regarding safety.“You shouldn’t have that uncertainty, you should have a confidence level whether it’s a Uber car or a Legacy taxi that I’m going to get the same service, the same scrutiny,” he said.Following those presentations in November, the hope is to have a bylaw in place relatively soon.“I’m hoping that we can get a two to three-month deliverable to have a bylaw in place that allows for new-market entrants to participate in this industry,” he said. “It’s happened in 361 jurisdictions throughout the world, let’s get on this, let’s be a front-runner and find a solution to just get on with getting this service in place and safe.”Uber released the following statement:“As we saw from recent court rulings in Alberta and Ontario, Uber is a unique business that is distinct from taxi. We believe that a regulatory solution is the best path forward. A recent poll indicated 85% of Calgarians support having the opportunity to experience Uber while regulations are being considered. We remain committed to working with City Council and staff to establish a permanent regulatory framework for ridesharing in Calgary.” read more

UN chief strongly condemns terrorist attacks in southwest Syria

According to news reports, the attacks were claimed by the terrorist group ISIL, or Da’esh, which has been defending territory in the region from a major government offensive.“He is appalled by the utter disregard for human life displayed by ISIL,” said UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, stressing that “those responsible for the attacks must be held accountable”.The Secretary-General extended his condolences to the families of the deceased and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the region, Ali al-Za’tari called for better “protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure and sparing them the brunt of violence and conflict wherever they are” in the war-torn country.Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria who is attempting to bring the warring parties to the negotiation table, briefed the Security Council on Wednesday behind closed doors from Geneva, on the latest political and humanitarian situation. read more

What Has — And Hasnt — Surprised Us This NBA Season

As we cross the one-quarter mark of the NBA season — with the Clippers in first place out West, the Kings playing .500 ball, and the Jazz and Rockets near the bottom looking up — things are starting to come into clearer focus. That clarity is more than welcome, given how topsy-turvy the league has been for the first month and a half of play.We know a lot will change between now and April, but for the time being, here are the five things we’ve been most and least surprised by so far this year.Surprising: The Celtics haven’t been good, and the Jazz have been even worse.Boston, finally healthy after losing two of its best players last year, has been one of the bigger mysteries of the season. The Celtics have been elite defensively again this year,1At least from a statistical standpoint. They haven’t been very good at limiting individual scoring outbursts at all. but the offense — which almost never gets to the line — can’t get out of its own way much of the time.Before the season began, Jaylen Brown expressed a belief that the starting wings (him, Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum) have nearly identical skill sets, which was affecting chemistry. And after watching them for a month and a half, we can’t say that he was wrong. With that in mind, Brad Stevens’s recent lineup shift to bring the struggling Hayward off the bench could help matters.Hayward and Brown, in particular, have both shot far better from the floor when playing apart from each other. Hayward sports a solid 53.9 percent effective field-goal rate without Brown but just 39.7 percent with him. And Brown’s 50.5 percent effective field-goal rate without Hayward is well above the 38.5 percent mark he posts while sharing the court with Hayward.Their net ratings also improve when playing apart. The Celtics outscore opponents by 9 points per 100 possessions with Hayward but without Brown, and Boston wins by a margin of 1.5 points per 100 when Brown is on the court but Hayward is on the sideline. But the Celtics hemorrhage 2.2 points per 100 possessions with the two playing together.Using floor-spacing forward Marcus Morris as a starter may work better because of his rugged screen-setting ability. His off-ball screens, useful for a lineup with so many scoring options on the wing, produce the best scoring efficiency of any player on the team2Minimum 15 screens. at 1.12 points per possession when both Tatum and Hayward are on the floor and a whopping 1.53 points per possession when Tatum and Brown are playing together, according to Second Spectrum.It’s also worth keeping an eye on Terry Rozier, who, to this point, has regressed badly on the offensive end after a highly encouraging postseason run, in which he filled in admirably for the injured Kyrie Irving.As for the Jazz, this — 10-12, and third-to-last in the West — is what happens when your league-best defense from last season is merely a middle-of-the-road one, and your offense not only fails to improve but actually morphs into one of the NBA’s five worst in that same window.What’s behind Utah’s slide? A handful of theories have been discussed. But two things stand out to me: 1) The team’s schedule — the toughest in the league3Similar to last season, when their December schedule was the toughest individual month played by any NBA team. So perhaps this is reason for optimism. — has been front-loaded, and 2) a number of players aren’t playing to their capabilities.Outside of a one-week stretch at the end of October, Donovan Mitchell has been terribly inconsistent, struggling badly from outside. Dante Exum’s offense still isn’t catching up to his defense. And perhaps the biggest issue: Ricky Rubio has been awful on both sides of the ball thus far — even more than he was to start last season, when he had just joined the club and was learning the ropes.Rubio has generally been able to hang his hat on his defense and his passing whenever he’s struggling to shoot. But this season, he has sometimes looked a half-step slower laterally on D, allowing nearly a 10th of a point more per drive he defends, at 0.98 points per play, than he did last season, according to Second Spectrum. And while opponents have long sagged off Rubio, daring him to shoot, that experiment has paid far greater dividends this season, as he’s logged just a 46.6 percent effective field goal rate on jumpers when given 6 or more feet of open space4Shots from at least 10 feet away. — down from 53.5 percent just last year, and the worst percentage he’s connected on since the 2013-14 campaign, according to NBA Advanced Stats.It’s still a little early to consider changing the lineup — especially after Rubio played so well at times last postseason. But if he doesn’t turn it around in the next month or so, it might be worth trying a new starting five and letting Mitchell handle the ball more. (Utah, realizing it needs more punch on offense, traded guard Alec Burks and two future second-rounders Wednesday for sharpshooter Kyle Korver.)We wrote this summer that we believed the Jazz could be true contenders this season — which looks incredibly wrong at the moment. But we said then that much of Utah’s hopes would hinge on Rubio’s play. For better or — to this point — perhaps for worse, that seems to be the case.Not surprising: The Grizzlies got back to Grit ’N’ Grind.A lot of people either wrote off or simply forgot about the Grizzlies after a dismal 2017-18 campaign in which they finished with 22 wins and the second-worst record in the league. But the case for believing in Memphis this season was relatively straightforward: This group, finally healthy with the return of Mike Conley and a more motivated Marc Gasol, had its best players back and added considerable two-way talent over the summer through a handful of deals.Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. looks like a potential star at times and is already the real deal defensively. The Memphis defense can be overly aggressive at times in helping from the weak side, which leaves corner shooters open more often than most teams. But the Grizzlies’ D is a top-5 unit, and it gets downright nasty when Jackson and Gasol play together, surrendering just 96.8 points per 100 possessions in 287 minutes. (Oklahoma City, which leads the NBA in defensive efficiency, allows 102.6 points per 100 possessions.)In case you need a sign of how smart the Grizzlies’ offseason pickups were, consider this: The team’s three most-efficient rotation players5By effective field goal percentage, counting only those who have played at least 100 minutes. to this point — Omri Casspi, Shelvin Mack and Jackson — were all acquisitions from this summer. Gasol is fourth on that list, but right behind him is Garrett Temple, for whom the Grizzlies traded.So don’t be too surprised if Memphis continues to hang around in the playoff race. There were indications all along that the Grizzlies would find themselves in the midst of this conversation.Surprising: Derrick Rose’s offense came back to life.Rose’s first career 50-point game earlier this year got considerable attention, but that game was no fluke: This whole season in Minnesota has been a consistent one for the former MVP. From an efficiency standpoint, he’s actually never played this well before.He’s shooting a career-best 49.8 percent from the field, and his 60 percent mark from a true shooting standpoint is 5 points better than he’s had in any other season. Rose used to be among the NBA’s worst 3-point shooters — enough of a liability that he essentially stopped taking triples altogether in New York — but he’s been good from that range, too. The 30-year-old, who’s long been a surprisingly good midrange shooter despite having the flattest shot in the game, is better than 48 percent from 3-point distance on almost four attempts per game to this point. His hot start even has him ranking as one of the NBA’s 15 most efficient offensive players, according to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus metric.It’s still early, but this shooting display — even if his numbers fall off some — figures to lengthen his career, a meaningful development based on how things were going 10 months ago. We knew his otherworldly athleticism wouldn’t be the same after all his injuries, but a steady jumper has changed his outlook.Not surprising: The Rockets-Melo marriage failed.We, like many others, fully recognized the potential pitfalls with Houston’s Carmelo Anthony acquisition this summer. He seemed a less-than-ideal fit, particularly as a sort of replacement for the switchy wing defenders the Rockets lost in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. So it’s not necessarily shocking that the experiment didn’t work.But never did we imagine that the team would pull the plug as quickly as it did. Houston cut bait on the fallen star just 10 games in — even though other clear problems seemed to exist (like the lack of depth behind Clint Capela, or Eric Gordon shooting far worse than he ever has). Still, it’s somewhat difficult to knock the haste with which the Rockets made the decision: They couldn’t afford to fall too far behind in the loaded Western Conference, where the playoff race figures to be a bloodbath, and they began playing far better after making the pragmatic choice to hold Melo out of the rotation. But even after winning five straight at one point earlier in the month, Houston now finds itself mired in a four-game skid, meaning that there’s more for this club to figure out.Surprising: California’s other NBA teams have been legitimately good.It was totally fair to wonder whether Los Angeles might be a factor in the Western Conference playoffs this season, but who would’ve thought that the Clippers would be the team making that kind of noise at this point in the year? (In fairness, LeBron James and the Lakers have played well lately, too, and may very well find themselves in the same conversation as we move forward.)A number of things illustrate how and why Doc Rivers’s team finds itself atop the West for the time being. The guard rotation of Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has done a fantastic job of defending; the Clippers have held opposing starting guards to 40.9 percent shooting, the NBA’s fourth-lowest figure through Tuesday’s games, per the ESPN Stats & Information Group. Danilo Gallinari, who hasn’t played more than 65 games in a campaign in six seasons, has missed only one game thus far and is shooting better than he ever has from outside.But above all else, the Clips have thrived because Tobias Harris — tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo for the league’s best effective field-goal percentage among wing players with at least 300 shot attempts — has quietly pieced together the offensive profile of a superstar this season. Between the huge leap he’s made and the gains of Victor Oladipo, the Orlando Magic front office has to be beside itself after trading away both players.And while Golden State has been Golden State so far, another Northern California team has been making a move. The Kings own a 10-10 mark and have been one of the more entertaining clubs so far. Just about everything begins and ends with their blistering pace. It seems possible that their ability to maintain that 106-possessions-per-48-minutes tempo for entire games may work to their advantage in the clutch, when Sacramento’s opponents simply don’t have anything left.Sacramento ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency in the first quarter, 25th in the second period and tied for 16th in the third, yet it sits sixth in fourth-quarter defense, right behind the defending champ Warriors. And get this: Despite the pace at which they play, the De’Aaron Fox-led Kings have yet to commit a clutch-time turnover this season — they’re the only team that can still make such a claim this late in the season. It’s part of the reason they are 8-3 — best in the Western Conference — in contests separated by 5 points or fewer with five minutes or less remaining, per NBA.com.Not bad for the NBA’s third-youngest team, one whose young players all seem to have taken a step forward this season.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

Lemnos painting donated to NSW parliament

first_imgOne hundred years to the day after the landing of Australian soldiers on Lemnos on 4 March 1915, the Greek community in Sydney marked the occasion with the donation of a unique work of art to the collection of the New South Wales parliament.An initiative of Greece’s Consul General to NSW Dr Stavros Kyrimis, the donation took the form of a commissioned painting inspired by a photograph of the arrival of Australian nurses on Lemnos in August 1915.The painting was presented to the parliament at a special ceremony attend by state parliamentarians and Greek community leaders. Those present included representatives of AHEPA, the Pan-Arcadian Association, the Joint Committee for the Commemoration of the Battle of Crete and Greek Campaign, the Australian Hellenic Educators’ Association and the Pan-Macedonian Association.Andrew Fraser MP, secretary of the Parliamentary Friends of Hellas, congratulated the artist, Nikolaos Foteinos, on his achievement, as well as the Consul General on nurturing the initiative.In his speech Mr Fraser said he had been unaware of Lemnos’ relationship to the Gallipoli campaign until he was made aware of it by the Consul General. “This is a most important contribution to the parliamentary art collection, which will be displayed in a prominent position for the duration of the Centenary of Anzac,” he said.Mrs Liz Kaydos, a member of the Lemnos 1915 Commemorative Committee, stressed the important legacy of Corporal Albert William Savage, the photographer of the Anzacs on Lemnos whose work ensured the island’s role in WWI was recorded for posterity.Consul General Dr Stavros Kyrimis described Lemnos today as a place “where someone can literally walk in the footsteps of heroes, where the terrain is so little changed”, adding that the painting’s donation to the NSW parliament, “the birthplace of Australian democracy”, was highly appropriate. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Crooks steal spare tires from company vans in Davie

first_imgDAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) – Surveillance video captured two men stealing spare tires off of vans outside a Davie business, last week.The two men were seen taking five spare tires from the vans outside Over The Top, a party supply store, Nov. 4. They then loaded them into a truck and drove off.The burglary cost the business $1,500. The duo also caused $750 in damage to the tire mounts.If you have any information on this burglary, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Video shows robber aiming gun at gas station manager before shooting

first_imgDEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – Surveillance video captured a robber pointing a gun at the manager of a Deerfield Beach gas station, Monday, before shooting him.The robber shot the 70-year-old manager in the ear, then took off from the Mobil along Hillsboro Boulevard and Southwest 12th Avenue.The victim was rushed to the hospital and is expected to recover.If you have any information on this shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY Town Seeking Volunteers For Open Space Committee

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Starting this fall, the Town of Wilmington will be updating its Open Space & Recreation Plan.The Open Space & Recreation Plan provides an inventory of the Town’s open space and outlines open space goals and action items for the next five years.If you are interested in serving on the Open Space Committee to help update the Plan, please submit an application to the Town by July 31, 2019.If you have any questions about the upcoming Open Space & Recreation Plan update, please contact the Department of Planning & Conservation at 978‐658‐8238.(NOTE: The above announcement is from the Town of Wilmington.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Wednesday, July 31, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”SELECTMEN NOTEBOOK: 6 Things That Happened At This Month’s Selectmen’s MeetingIn “Government”SELECTMEN NEWS: Analog Devices Expansion, Ristuccia Arena, Open Space, Flood Insurance On Agenda For MeetingIn “Government”last_img read more

Yunus gets honorary citizenship of Paris

first_imgParis mayor Anne Hidalgo on Monday formally handed over the honorary citizenship of the French capital to Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus.Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo on Monday formally handed over the honorary citizenship of the French capital to Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus at the inaugural session of the 8th edition of the annual Global Social Business Summit (GSBS).The summit was kicked off in French capital, Paris.Mayor of Paris formally handed over the honorary citizenship of the French capital to professor Yunus at the inaugural session of the summit.The summit has brought together more than 700 delegates from around the world, said a press release of Yunus Centre Monday.The summit is being held with the theme ‘New Wave of Hope!’Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, during the inauguration, acknowledged and thanked Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus’ contribution for the entire world through his work for poverty alleviation, gender equality and environment, the press statement added.She also appreciated Nobel laureate’s initiative to bring sports and social business together by supporting Paris to host the Summer Olympic 2024 as the first ever social business centric Olympic.The Mayor reaffirmed her commitment for making Paris world’s social business city during her speech.HM Queen Sofia of Spain, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg HM Maria Theresa, mayor of Paris Anna Hidalgo, deputy mayor of Paris Antoinette Guhl, Thomas Gass, UN asstant secretary general for SDGs and Perer Bakker , president of World Business Council were also present at the inauguration programme.last_img read more

EC appoints returning officers for national polls

first_imgElection CommissionThe election commission has appointed deputy commissioners of all the districts and two divisional commissioners as Returning Officers (ROs) to conduct the 11th national elections to be held on 23 December, reports UNB.Besides, upazila nirbahi officers (UNOs) have been appointed as assistant returning officers. In some constituencies, assistant commissioners (land) have been made assistant returning officers.The EC issued a notification signed by EC secretary Helaluddin Ahmed appointing the returning officers and assistant returning officers, said EC joint secretary SM Asaduzzaman on Friday.The deputy commissioners have been made returning officers for all the constituencies of the district concerned except Dhaka and Chattogram.In Dhaka, the divisional commissioner has been made the returning officer for 15 constituencies while the deputy commissioner for the rest five constituencies of the district.In Chattogram, the divisional commissioner has been made the RO for six constituencies while the deputy commissioner for the rest 10 constituencies of the district.On Thursday, chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda announced the schedule for the next general election.According to the schedule, the last date for submitting nomination papers is 19 November while the date for scrutinising nomination papers is 22 November and the last date for the withdrawal of nomination papers is 29 November.last_img read more

UPDATE Schumer Saw Some Progress In Meeting With Trump

first_img2:45 p.m.Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer says he and President Donald Trump “made some progress” at a White House meeting, “but we still have a good number of disagreements.”The New York Democrat said “discussions will continue.”Trump asked Schumer to the White House for a meeting that lasted more than an hour.The Oval Office session came with hours to go before a partial government shutdown at midnight.Schumer’ss pressing for protections for younger immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, but the White House and Republicans say talks on that issue should be kept separate from legislation to prevent a shutdown.___2:30 p.m.Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has left the White House after a lengthy meeting with President Donald Trump.Trump invited the Senate’s top Democrat to try to reach a deal to avert a government shutdown.Schumer did not address reporters as he left the building.___Evan Vucci/APIn this image from September 2017, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., along with  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are shown at an Oval Office meeting with President Trump.12:45 a.m.President Donald Trump and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer met Friday afternoon in an eleventh-hour effort to avert a government shutdown, with a bitterly divided Washington locked in partisan stare-down over politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported.Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the White House traded blame for the possible shutdown just hours remaining before the midnight deadline. Trump phoned the New York lawmaker to invite him to the White House to try to reach some sort of accord.Democrats in the Senate have served notice they will filibuster a four-week, government-wide funding bill that cleared the House Thursday evening. That could expose them to charges that they are responsible for a shutdown, but they point the finger at Republicans instead.“They’re in charge,” Schumer said Friday as he entered his Capitol office. “They’re not talking to us. They’re totally paralyzed and inept. There’s no one to negotiate with.”__12:20 p.m.The House has voted to remain in session — for now at least — while a Senate vote to avert a government shutdown looms.Republican leaders planned to adjourn Friday after approving a four-week spending bill Thursday night that would avert a government shutdown. They changed course Friday after Democrats forced a formal vote on adjournment. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said lawmakers have not completed their work and should not leave Washington.House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans want to go to Davos, Switzerland “hobnobbing with their elitist friends instead of honoring their responsibilities to the American people.”A GOP aide said McCarthy won’t attend the World Economic Forum in Davos if the government shuts down.__12 p.m.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that Democrats will get the blame for a partial government shutdown that looks increasingly likely.The Kentucky Republican says Senate Democrats will “own” the shutdown because they oppose a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open for a month.McConnell says he looks forward to a vote soon, though Democrats and a handful of Republicans are expected to filibuster the measure.___11:45 a.m.The Trump administration is minimizing the looming budget crisis that could produce a government shutdown, saying former President Barack Obama “weaponized” hardcore negotiating tactics.Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters that any such shuttering of the government would “look very different” from the 16-day government closure in 2013 under Obama. He said the previous administration “weaponized” the government shutdown in budget negotiations and did not encourage agencies to lessen the impact with unobligated funds.He says, “they chose to make it worse.”Mulvaney and Marc Short, the White House legislative director, spoke as the Republican-controlled Congress battled through budget negotiations in the shadow of a midnight deadline. If no resolution is reached, the government would shut down most operations.___11:40 a.m.As a government shutdown loomed, the White House said Friday that President Donald Trump would not leave for a planned weekend in Florida unless a spending bill passes.Trump had been set to leave Friday afternoon to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration at his Palm Beach estate.Vice President Mike Pence still plans to travel to the Middle East on Friday night despite the potential for a shutdown of the federal government.___Twitter via @markknollerWhite House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney10:25 a.m.White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is putting the chances of a government shutdown at “between 50 and 60 percent.”Mulvaney spoke to reporters at the White House Friday as the prospect of a shutdown loomed. He said he was “handicapping it” between 50 and 60 percent. But, he added, “we’re planning for it as though it’s 100 percent.”After the House passed a four-week, government-wide spending bill, Senate Democrats vowed a filibuster unless there’s a deal to protect certain young immigrants.Asked about a Plan B, Mulvaney noted talks over a shorter term deal, but said the House may be leaving which could create a funding lapse.Still, he said that he’s open to that. He says: “we’d like to keep the government open.”___8:25 a.m.President Donald Trump will not leave for a weekend at his Palm Beach estate unless a government shutdown is averted.The White House said Friday that Trump will not head to Florida unless a funding bill passes.Trump was set to leave Friday afternoon and planned to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration at Mar-a-Lago.Trump tweeted Friday morning about the Friday night shutdown deadline, suggesting Democrats would be to blame.Carolyn Kaster/APPresident Trump waves as he walks along to colonnade to the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday.___7:40 a.m.President Donald Trump says Senate Democrats are focused on “illegal immigration and weak borders” as a government shutdown looms.Trump says on Twitter Friday: “Government Funding Bill past (sic) last night in the House of Representatives. Now Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate – but they want illegal immigration and weak borders.”He adds: “Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!”A divided Congress stared down a government shutdown Friday as Republicans and Democrats remain deadlocked on immigration.After the House passed a four-week, government-wide spending bill, Senate Democrats vowed a filibuster unless there’s a deal to protect around 700,000 immigrants from deportation who arrived in the U.S. as children and stayed illegally.___1:08 a.m.A bitterly-divided Congress is hurtling toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported.Democrats in the Senate have served notice they will filibuster a four-week, government-wide funding bill that passed the House Thursday evening, seeking to shape a subsequent measure but exposing themselves to charges they are responsible for a looming shutdown.Republicans controlling the narrowly-divided chamber took up the fight, arguing that Democrats were holding the entire government hostage over demands to protect “Dreamer” immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. THE LATEST on the budget battle in Congress (all times local): Sharelast_img read more

Kingdom Come Deliverance Delivers an Innovative RPG Experience

first_img High-profile games aren’t exactly innovative these days. Because of that, Warhorse Studios’ Kingdom Come: Deliverance comes as a revelation. Originally conceived as a crowd-funded project, Deliverance seeks to reinvent the RPG genre in a number of ways. Its adherence to historical accuracy and overall attention to detail is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Folks looking for something exceptional will find a lot to appreciate here.I checked out Kingdom Come: Deliverance for the first time during last year’s PlayStation Experience event. This hands-off demonstration gave me a good understanding of what it had to offer. In particular, I found the team’s recreation of the Middle Ages truly impressive. I love Assassin’s Creed for the way it presents history, so Deliverance was right up my alley. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy last week and finally played it myself. Despite being somewhat overwhelming, it offers one of the most unique gaming experiences I’ve had in a while.Kingdom Come: Deliverance takes place in 1403 in the Kingdom of Bohemia. You play as Henry, who is the son of a blacksmith in the town of Skalitz. Henry’s easy-going life is disrupted when the kingdom’s civil war arrives at his doorstep. After surviving the massacre, Henry joins the service of his Lord, Radzig Kobyla. The nobleman is building a resistance against King Sigismund and his army of foreign mercenaries. Henry has much to learn before he can exact vengeance on those responsible for destroying his world.AdChoices广告While Kingdom Come: Deliverance is unique, it features tropes familiar to RPG fans. These include a leveling system, dialogue trees, an explorable open world, items to equip, potions to brew, and more. Thanks to the focus on realism, these elements feel fresh. There are a ton of menus to sift through, and many gameplay systems to keep in mind. As players progress, the game’s deep mechanics start to click. This title demands a player’s full attention if they wish to get the most out of it. Rushing through things is not advised. In this case, patience truly is a virtue.An early mission perfectly demonstrates the game’s dynamic nature. I had to sneak out of a castle. In order to do that, I needed to disguise myself as a soldier. After finding the armory, I attempted to break into a locker containing armor. A guard discovered me because I made too much noise during my attempted robbery. Lacking money to bribe the guard, I accepted jail time. After my stint in the slammer ended, they threw me out of the castle. I didn’t exactly complete my quest in an eloquent fashion, but I succeeded regardless.If I was a better lock-picker, I could have walked out of the castle and ridden a horse to my objective. Instead, I had to walk and risk becoming victim to bandits. Not to mention the fact walking such a great distance took a toll on my stamina and overall energy. After every subsequent decision, I wondered how things would have transpired had I chosen a different path. This is true for titles with branching narratives, but it felt more pronounced here. The game makes you feel the weight of your actions in a meaningful way.This isn’t a simulation game, but it’s very close. You’ll need to eat and sleep regularly. When wounded, you must take medicine and bandage wounds. Stamina depletes when running or engaging in combat. If Henry isn’t in tip-top shape, it will adversely affect actions. Combat becomes more difficult, and it’ll be easier to fail during conversations. If you don’t clean Henry up, he’ll look (and smell) like an absolute mess. Micromanaging can be tedious at times. However, given the realistic nature of Deliverance, this aspect felt proper. This isn’t to say I was a big fan of such micromanaging, but it does add to the game’s immersion.Like most everything in Kingdom Come: Deliverance, one cannot simply master swordplay and archery. Considerable work must be put in before mastering the art of fighting. Players have to read an opponent’s movements carefully. This way, they’ll know when to strike, block, parry, or dodge. Movement is done with the left analog stick, while selecting a direction to strike is performed with the right analog. Slashing, stabbing, and blocking are done with the shoulder buttons. This is a bit much to understand at first, but it eventually makes sense. Once you get into the swing of things, combat becomes extremely enjoyable (and downright brutal).Though combat is important in Deliverance, it isn’t the only means to progress through the story. Using skill points, players can create a character who uses words as his weapon. While some characters cannot be swayed, most can be convinced to go along with whatever you’re proposing. In truth, I found persuading folks to aid me much more satisfying than running them through with a sword. Having a silver tongue also comes in helpful if you aren’t particularly adept at combat.Don’t let the game’s crowdfunded origins fool you into thinking it has low production values. Quite the contrary, actually. This is by far one of the most gorgeous looking titles available. I often stopped whatever I was doing to marvel at the photo-realistic environments before me. The environments, from thick woods, expansive grasslands, craggy mountains, and man-made structures, are simply stunning. Warhorse Studios proves you don’t need a massive budget to produce spectacular visuals. Whether you’re playing on PC or consoles, you’re getting a fantastic-looking game. I can see this title setting new standards for visual fidelity.History buffs will appreciate Kingdom Come: Deliverance‘s historical accuracy. Everything from clothing, armor, and castles are period-accurate. Everything is so authentic, you’d believe you were actually transported to the Middle Ages. Even the soundtrack was created using actual instruments from the time period. The game provides a great deal of codex entries detailing life in the Holy Roman Empire. This in-game “wikipedia” is insanely informative. Reading through everything in the codexes will leave players with a better understanding of the in-game world. I can see educators using Deliverance to teach students about European Medieval history. It truly is that history accurate.Kingdom Come: Deliverance has been in development for almost half a decade. Because of that, it is satisfying to see it finally released. Warhorse Studios will surely make a name for itself thanks to this game. The project truly is a grand accomplishment and I predict many folks will talk about it at length for months to come. I certainly see it having an influence on any and all upcoming history-based games. It isn’t for everyone, but those seeking a title with true depth will find it immensely satisfying. There’s not much more to say other than Kingdom Come: Deliverance delivers. PlayStation 4 Becomes Fastest Console to Sell 100 Million‘Death Stranding’ Is Your PlayStation 4 Holiday Exclusive Stay on targetcenter_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

Behind the Scenes With Facebooks New SolarPowered Internet Drone and Laser Technology

first_img How Success Happens This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine 5 min read July 31, 2015 Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. Facebook has made no bones about wanting to blanket the planet with Internet connectivity, and it’s developed a huge, solar-powered aircraft to help it do so.The unmanned aircraft, called Aquila, has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs “about the third of a [Toyota] Prius car,” said Facebook vice president of infrastructure engineering Jay Parikh Thursday during a media event at Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park.Aquila will be responsible for beaming Internet signals back to rural areas on Earth that lack the kind of communications infrastructure needed to maintain Internet connectivity. According to Parikh, 10% of the world’s population live in these rural areas—found in certain regions in Africa and India, among others—and are unable to access the web.A small team of Facebook engineers in the U.K. spent 14 months building the plane. Facebook wouldn’t say how many employees were involved in the project.Aquila’s wings are made of a type of material called carbon fiber. When the carbon fiber material undergoes a kind of heating process known as curing, it can become “stronger than steel for the same mass of material,” explained Facebook Connectivity Lab director Yael Maguire in a blog post. This material also accounts for why the drone is so light.Facebook Connectivity Lab director Yael Maguire shows reporters a very light carbon fiber pod that’s part of the drone. It will house the drone’s batteries and motors.Image Credit: VanianFacebook plans to launch the plane into the sky with the help of a big balloon that will carry the aircraft to the stratosphere. There it will hover between altitudes at around 60,000 to 90,000 feet. At these altitudes, the aircraft will be far above the airspace where commercial airliners fly and free from storms or other weather disturbances, Parikh explained.The Facebook team also covered Aquila with solar panels and fitted the craft with batteries and an electric motor so the plane can stay up in the sky for 3 months. Over that time the drone will beam the Internet down without interruptions or a need for refueling.And when the plane does come back to the planet, Maguire told reporters that it “will land like a glider” because of its aerodynamic design.While in the air, Aquila will be responsible for providing the Internet to people on Earth in a 50-kilometer radius. Small cellular towers and dishes will receive the signals sent by the aircraft and will convert those signals “into a Wi-Fi or LTE network that people can connect to with their cellphones and smartphones.” Maguire wrote in the post.Facebook said it also achieved a breakthrough for the way data and information can be transferred from drone to drone. If Facebook flies multiple planes it could be able to cover much larger swaths of land.Using laser communication technology, Facebook supposedly created a way to stream data between drones at a rate of ten gigabits per second, a speed that’s as fast as what fiber-optic services can provide to U.S. residents, such as those living in Minneapolis.The breakthrough in laser communications is a result of the software-based networking advancements Facebook has been rolling out in its data centers, Parikh explained. Communication signals sent through the sky are so accurate, they can apparently “hit a dime from 11 miles a way,” said Maguire.The accuracy is important if drones are to be able to send signals to and from each other, which would result in less Internet infrastructure needed to be built on the ground.“This starts to look like a backbone of the Internet using lasers in the sky,” said Maguire.Facebook’s Yael Maguire explains how multiple drones could create an Internet backbone in the sky.Image Credit: VanianOf course, it’s important to remember that Facebook is not close to launching these planes to power the Internet just yet. Facebook has only built one drone so far, with plans for more coming down the pipeline.Parikh wouldn’t estimate when Facebook might plant to fly multiple drones over the Earth. He only said: “This will be an effort that we will invest in for many years to come.”As of now, “the plan is to spend the second half of this year doing flight testing,” Parikh said.Parikh also pushed back on a question implying that Facebook might only allow the Facebook website or certain websites to be sent to rural areas through its ambitious project. He said Facebook has no plans to become an Internet service provider. Instead, the goal is for Facebook to set up the aerial Internet infrastructure, and then let major carriers operate and distribute the web in a similar manner to how they do so on Earth, Parikh said.The drone project was developed by Facebook’s Connectivity Lab, which contains former researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, among others. The lab is part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative to bring the Internet to places where there is a lack of connectivity.Major players involved in the telecommunications industry have signed on as partners of the Internet.org initiative, including Ericsson, Samsung, and Qualcomm. Listen Nowlast_img read more

Prime Day 2018 LIGHTNING DEAL 50 iTunes Gift Card for 40

first_img Share Tweet Submit Amazon has a Lightning Deal for the $50 iTunes Gift Card, bringing the price down to just $40. Grab it now before everyone buys it off!Get a $50 iTunes Gift Card for Just $40 Straight from Amazon – Hurry Up!In all the Prime Day noise, we have an awesome little deal where you can grab yourself a $50 iTunes Gift Card for a price of just $40 right now. It makes up for a great gift for someone who is well invested into the Apple ecosystem or is just going ahead to buy their first ever app or game.You can use this gift card towards apps, games, TV shows, movies and other stuff on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac or Apple TV. It’s entirely your call how you end up using it. But the important thing here is that you bag this one up real quick before it sells out.You’re not gonna let that happen, do you?Buy $50 iTunes Gift Card for $40 [Amazon link]You might also want to check out the following Amazon Prime Day 2018 deals:Check Out These PC Component Deals on Amazon Prime Day Sale – AMD Ryzen Threadripper for Just $299, Plus More DealsPrime Day 2018 Deal: $60 Spotify Gift Card for Just $47.40Get Savings of $429.97 and $330+ in Freebies When You Buy the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9 PlusPrime Day 2018 Deals on Apple MacBook Lineup – Starting at Just $989.99Get Chromebooks at Ultimate Low Prices on Prime Day 2018 – Here’s the Complete ListHot Prime Day Deal: Sonos One Smart Speaker + $50 Amazon Gift Card for $199Hot Deal for DJI Mavic Pro Owners: 2-Pack of LiPo Intelligent Flight Batteries for Just $116.99Prime Day 2018 Deal: Save Big on Star Trek Movies and TV Series [Deals Starting from $10.99]Best Prime Day Deals on Networking: Google Wifi for $99, Orbi Mesh System for $219 & MoreAmazon Prime Day 2018 Deals on Monitors: 27-inch FreeSync Panel for $114.99, Gaming Displays & MoreJibo Home Robot is 40% Off Today for Prime Day 2018 – That’s a $400 Discount!Prime Day 2018 LIGHTNING DEAL: $50 iTunes Gift Card for $40!iOttie Car Mounts with Built-in Qi Wireless Charger 30% Off [Prime Day 2018 Deal]Amazon Prime Day 2018 Early Access Deals: Echo Dot Just $29.99, Echo Show $100 Off & More!Hot Prime Day 2018 Deals: Moto X4 Unlocked 50% Off, Bose SoundLink Micro 30% OffDJI Prime Day 2018 Deals: Mavic Pro for $799, Spark Fly More Combo for $499Amazon Prime Day 2018 Deals on Unlocked Phones: Honor 7X, Mate 10 Pro, Galaxy Note 8 & MoreHOT Prime Day Deal: Essential Phone 128GB, Fully Unlocked for $249Hot Prime Day Deals: GoPro Hero for $179, Beats Studio3 for $212, Bose QC25 for $125, 1TB Samsung T5 SSD for $269Here Are the Best 4K TV Deals You Can Get on the Amazon Prime Day Sale 2018Amazon Prime Day Sale 2018 Brings You the Best Nintendo Switch Offer That You Can Ever FindGame of Thrones Box Set Seasons 1 – 7 Blu-ray / Digital for $74.99 [Original Price $229.99]ESR Prime Day Deals are Now Live with Lowest Ever Prices on Screen Protectors, Cases, Wireless Chargers & MorePrime Day Yi Technology Deals: 40% Off Action, Home, Dash Cameras & AccessoriesAmazon Prime Day 2018 Early Access Deals: Echo Dot Just $29.99, Echo Show $100 Off & More!Prime Day 2018 Deals from RAVPower: $71.99 Sound Bar, Qi Wireless Power Bank for $45.99 & MoreAnker Prime Day 2018 Deals: Massive Discount on Batteries, Cables, Appliances & MoreAmazon Prime Day Gaming Deals: Xbox One, SNES Edition 3DS, Graphics Cards, Morelast_img read more

High demand has Gaviota aiming for 7000 new hotel rooms in Cuba

first_img Share TORONTO — Gaviota Tourism Group President Carlos Latuff and Vice President Frank Oltuski are in Toronto and Montreal this week to let their Canadian industry partners know all about Gaviota’s projects, investments and hotel grand openings across Cuba.Representing over 50% of hotel properties in the country, Gaviota continues to achieve a 12% annual growth rate in accommodation capacity.  The company plans to maintain this upward trend by continuing to honour its high standards in innovation, renovation, and guest services, and says it is deeply involved in the growth and expansion of Cuba’s booming hotel industry.Gaviota represents Meliá Hotels International, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, Blue Diamond Resorts, Valentin Hotels, Kempinski Hotels, Banyan Tree, Sercotel Hotels, MGM Muthu Hotels, AccorHotels and more, comprising approximately 90% of the company’s lodging capacities.By the end of 2018, Gaviota properties will incorporate a total of 3,000 new rooms and 33,200 redesigned rooms across 93 locations.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureTo provide better quality destinations for all guests, Gaviota is investing in its facilities to prepare for the upcoming vacation season.At a media lunch yesterday in Toronto Latuff and Oltuski took the opportunity to highlight several ventures and developments, including:The newly opened 321-room Iberostar Grand Hotel Packard, which Gaviota says will bring a new standard of luxury to HavanaThe debut of the 250-room Paseo del Prado Hotel, opening in 2019The ongoing launch of numerous modern-style hotels, through 2021Plans and projections for 7,000 new hotel rooms before 2025, to keep up with demandThe renovation statuses of the Grand Hotel, Hotel Regis, Palacio Cueto and the Marquis of Monte HermosoThe full list of 2020 openings, including two Cayo Santa Maria properties: La Salina Noreste with 633 rooms and La Salina Suroeste with 621 roomsThe continuing rollout of WiFi service in all areas of its Santa María hotels and the eventual extension of the service to all Gaviota properties Travelweek Group Posted by Tags: Cuba, tourismcenter_img High demand has Gaviota aiming for 7,000 new hotel rooms in Cuba by 2025 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Costa Rican lawmakers approve reduction in state contributions to political campaigns

first_imgIn an unanimous vote on Tuesday evening, 40 Costa Rican lawmakers approved a bill to reduce by ₡18 billion ($36 million) the state’s contribution to political parties for the upcoming presidential elections in 2014.The first-round vote came after almost three hours of discussion where some lawmakers broke quorum several times in an attempt to prevent the voting.The new bill would temporarily amend Article 96 of the Constitution, which requires the state to provide a financial contribution of 0.19 percent of gross domestic product – ₡43 billion ($86 million) – to fund election campaigns.If passed in a second round of voting, the state’s contribution would become 0.11 percent of GDP, or ₡25 billion ($50 million).The bill was proposed two years ago by Citizen Action Party lawmaker Jeannette Ruiz and will allow the government to comply with a request earlier this month by the Finance Ministry to reduce the 2014 National Budget.Finance Minister Edgar Ayales warned at the time that the government did not have sufficient funds to meet the constitutional obligation of providing 0.19 percent of GDP to political parties, and the executive branch only assigned 0.11 percent in next year’s national budget.The bill goes to a second round of voting on Thursday and then must be published in the official newspaper La Gaceta, likely next week. Facebook Comments No related posts.last_img read more

CrystalJeanMichel Cousteau

first_imgCrystalJean-Michel Cousteau Jean-Michel Cousteau, the renowned oceanographer and environmentalist, will join Crystal Cruises for the first time, and share his expertise about the world’s oceans through interactive experiences.Aboard three luxury Crystal voyages throughout the wildlife-rich waters of the world, Jean-Michel Cousteau – first son of ocean pioneer Jacques-Yves Cousteau – will join two luxury voyages aboard the award-winning Crystal Serenity this (northern) spring and autumn, as well as an expedition sailing on the boutique yacht, Crystal Esprit. While on board, Cousteau will enlighten guests with expertise gained from decades as a leading explorer and conservationist, working in defence of the planet’s oceans.The voyages set to feature Cousteau’s intriguing presentations are geographically diverse. Crystal Serenity’s 24 May ‘Hawaiian Havens’ sails the warmer regions of the Pacific Ocean; the 27 October ‘Amazon Escape’ explores the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and Old Bahama Channel; Crystal Esprit’s 19 November West Indies voyage sails round-trip from Marigot Bay through the deep Caribbean.“As a company, we call the waterways of this planet our home, and as such, are honoured to welcome Mr. Cousteau for the first time aboard our ships to offer a glimpse into his fascinating work,” said Crystal chairman, CEO and president Edie Rodriguez.“The sea is truly his heritage and he has dedicated his life to protecting it. It is an extraordinary opportunity for our inquisitive guests to learn from Mr. Cousteau as they travel the seas together.”In addition to lectures tailored to the region of each sailing, Cousteau will offer interactive and engaging presentations discussing his father’s legend and his own legacy, as well as insights into ocean life that most captivates him, including the delicate balance of the roles of orcas and sharks. Guests will learn from Cousteau the connection between the oceans and everything else on the planet, and enjoy a glimpse of his newest film, which features images captured by Cousteau for the first time in his 60+ years of diving. Cousteau, who is the founder of the Ocean Futures Society, will also enlighten travellers about his extensive environmental and conservation efforts.last_img read more