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Woody Harrelson Speaks At Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts

first_imgLast week students at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from one of Hollywood’s leading actors.Mark Featherstone-Witty and Woddy HarrelsonWoody Harrelson visited LIPA to take part in a one-hour question and answer session with students during which he talked about some of his most famous and celebrated roles.Speaking to a packed and excited audience in LIPA’s Paul McCartney Auditorium, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actor reflected on his work over the last three decades. The conversation was chaired by the Founding Principal/CEO of LIPA, Mark Featherstone-Witty, who introduced clips throughout the session from Harrelson’s roles in films such as ‘Natural Born Killers’ and ‘The Messenger’ (for which he received one of his two Oscar-nominations), last year’s acclaimed detective drama ‘True Detective’ and the sitcom ‘Cheers’, the show which first brought him to the public’s attention.Asked by one of LIPA’s BA (Hons) Acting students how he approaches creating characters for film, Harrelson replied: “As you’re reading a script, you get a feel for your character, and how they fit in to the piece. You need to look for the thing that opens the door to that character.”One of his main pieces of advice was for students not to hold back when bringing their characters to life: “I want to encourage you guys to be bold with your choices, and not go with what’s safe. I would rather go for it and get pulled back by a director, than play it safe and not do something special.”Harrelson talked about how he felt about working with film icons such as Robert Redford, with whom he worked on ‘Indecent Proposal’. He said: “It was daunting, but pretty exciting to be working with Robert Redford. It was a great experience, but definitely nervous doing scenes with him.”Featherstone-Witty asked him about how he chooses what projects to go for and whether he looked at money or the quality of the material. Making a direct reference to Featherstone-Witty’s own advice, Harrelson said: “A man I’ve recently come to admire told me ‘Find out what you love doing and how to get paid for it’.”He added: “I don’t do projects just for money. If you do that, your career isn’t going to last. Someone once told me, careers aren’t made by how many times you say yes, but how many times you say no. If money is the prevailing thing, then you’re lost.”Harrelson was also asked whether he would be returning to the stage, or if he felt his future was in television and film. He disclosed that he has been writing a comedy and that he might try and put it on in London and said: “I prefer theatre. I think it’s the best way to get psyched as an actor. Getting up on stage is so exciting.”Speaking after the event, Harrelson commented on his visit to LIPA, saying: “I love it here. It’s learning at its best. The students are so enthusiastic and love what they are doing. What better environment could they have? There’s a great vibe.”Woody Harrelson’s appearance was the latest of LIPA’s regular masterclasses and question and answer sessions, which give its students the opportunity to learn from successful figures across different areas of the performing arts industry. In the past, LIPA has hosted sessions with Sir Ian McKellan, Alan Rickman, Dionne Warwick, Dawn French, and Will Young alongside luminaries in senior roles that are about making performance possible (such as award-winning producers and lighting designers).LIPA is located in Paul McCartney’s old school, the Liverpool Institute for Boys, which underwent a multi-million-pound renovation to turn it into a state-of-the-art performing arts higher education institution. It was founded by Paul and Mark Featherstone-Witty and opened in 1995 with the aim of providing the best teaching and learning for people who want to pursue a lasting career in the arts and entertainment industry, whether as performers or those who make performance possible.For further information about LIPA please click here.Source:Liverpool Institute For Performing Artslast_img read more

Number of patent applications is growing worldwide says UN agency

In its latest report, based on the most recent available figures from 2006, WIPO said today that the number of patents granted worldwide had grown by 18 per cent in one year to 727,000. The UN agency added that the total number of patents in force was some 6.1 million. “A major increase in innovative activity in China, the Republic of Korea and the United States has driven the overall growth of patent filings in 2006. This reflects a consolidation of earlier trends which demonstrate a marked shift in innovation hubs around the world,” the Director General of WIPO, Kamil Idris, said.“While use of the patent system remains highly concentrated among a group of countries, statistics show an increasing level of patent activity in emerging countries. This is an encouraging trend,” Dr. Idris added. The statistics also indicate a growing tendency for applicants to file in multiple countries, through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), an agreement administered by WIPO which provides a simplified method for international patent filing. More than 158,000 patent filings were made through the PCT in 2006, an increase of about 6 per cent over the previous year.Applicants from Japan (514,047 applications), the USA (390,815), the Republic of Korea (172,709), Germany (130,806) and China (128,850) accounted for 76 per cent of the total number of patent applications filed worldwide in 2006.WIPO said that patenting activity in emerging countries also increased in 2006, with India receiving 24,505 filings, Brazil 24,505 and Mexico 15,505. The UN agency said that the volume of patent filings was highly correlated with a country’s level of investment in research and development.Citing figures from 2005, WIPO said that the most intense patenting activity was evident in the following sectors: computer technology (144,594), telecommunications (116,770), and electrical machinery (121,350). Between 2001 and 2005, patent filings in computer technology, optics, and semiconductors all grew by about 5 per cent. There was a modest increase in pharmaceuticals filings and a decrease in biotechnology filings.Recent pressures on energy resources have boosted patenting activity in the energy sector, in particular in relation to solar energy, fuel cells and wind energy. Applicants from Japan accounted for the largest number of applications in the fields of solar energy and fuel cells, while Germany joined Japan as one of the top two countries of origin for wind energy technologies. 31 July 2008Increased patent applications in China and the Republic of Korea, as well as in the United States, have pushed the total number of filings to 1.76 million, according to a new report from the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). read more

Security Council votes to end UN mission in Chad and Central African

In a unanimous resolution, the Council ordered that the military component of the UN mission in the CAR and Chad (known as MINURCAT) be reduced from its current 3,300 troops to 2,200 military personnel – 1,900 in Chad and 300 in the CAR – by 15 July. Withdrawal of the remaining troops will begin on 15 October, and all military and civilian personnel are to be withdrawn by 31 December.The resolution was in line with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s recommendations in his latest report, and he welcomed today’s vote, stressing that under the new mandate, Chad assumes full responsibility for protecting civilians as MINURCAT starts withdrawing its military on Friday. The mission was set up over two years ago amid increasing unrest in eastern Chad, which hosts at least 250,000 refugees from neighbouring Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region and 180,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) driven from their homes by inter-communal unrest. The CAR, particularly in the northeast, has also been troubled by violent unrest.But with new agreements on border security between Chad and Sudan, and with the Chadian Government stating that MINURCAT was not strong enough to provide complete security, the Government said in February that it felt it was better for Chadian forces to take over. Earlier this month Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said he was “extremely worried” about the potential impact of a withdrawal on the civilians that the UN has been trying to help in eastern Chad.Today, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said the new mandate will allow MINURCAT’s civilian component to work with the Government to consolidate gains achieved so far and help it to develop plans for their sustainability after 31 December.In its resolution, the Council stressed that the Government has committed to ensure the security and protection of all refugees and IDPs, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, and work towards the voluntary return and secure resettlement of IDPs and the demilitarization of refugee and IDP camps.During its remaining months, MINURCAT will help support Chadian police forces, primarily the UN-trained Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS), in taking over security responsibilities, assist in relocating refugee camps that are close to the Chadian-Sudanese border, and liaise with national and regional authorities on banditry and emerging threats to humanitarian activities.The mission will also assist in resolving local tensions and protecting human rights, with particular attention to sexual and gender-based violence. Moreover, it is authorized, in consultations with the Chadian Government where possible, to respond to imminent threats of violence to civilians in its immediate vicinity.In CAR, MINURCAT is to contribute to the creation of a more secure environment in the north-eastern region of Birao and to aid UN personnel and humanitarian workers in danger. 25 May 2010The Security Council today voted to end the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Chad and the Central African Republic by the end of the year, with a military withdrawal starting this week, after the Government requested the move despite concerns that it could impair aid to some 430,000 people. read more

West African States back UN resolution promoting role of women in peace

Representatives of 16 countries across the region adopted the Dakar Declaration after a three-day forum in the Senegalese capital that considered how West Africa can better implement resolution 1325.That resolution, adopted by the Council 10 years ago this month, is considered historic for its recognition of the vital role that women can play in preventing, diminishing and ending conflicts.The Dakar Declaration stresses the need for the effective participation of women in peace processes, the protection of women and girls from conflict-related sexual violence and a reduction in conflicts through the greater involvement of women in preventive diplomacy.It also emphasizes the importance of adequate care and humanitarian services during the relief and recovery periods after conflicts, disasters or other crises.Gender ministers in West Africa have made commitments under the declaration to draw up national action plans outlining what steps they will take to implement resolution 1325 in their countries, while monitoring and evaluation mechanisms will also be set up to check what progress is being made.This process will be shepherded by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in collaboration with the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and United Nations Women (UN Women), the new UN entity dedicated to gender issues.Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa, attended the forum and told the UN News Centre that this week’s forum represented the first time that such issues were being discussed at the regional level.UNOWA, which Mr. Djinnit heads, organized the forum in cooperation with several other UN agencies, including the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Dakar. 17 September 2010West African countries today moved towards ensuring the equal participation and full involvement in all peace and security issues in compliance with a landmark Security Council resolution. read more

Why the oilpatchs pain could be CGI Groups gain

MONTREAL — CGI Group said Wednesday the recent drop in energy prices presents an opportunity for the IT services company to win new business from customers in the oilpatch who are looking for ways reduce costs.“There is a lot of interest in how costs can be managed or brought down rapidly against a dropping commodity price,” CGI chief executive Michael Roach said Wednesday during a conference call ahead of the company’s annual meeting.There is a lot of interest in how costs can be managed or brought down rapidlyIt’s an approach that Montreal-based CGI used several years ago to attract business from U.S. states that were undergoing fiscal challenges.Meanwhile, Roach said the lower Canadian dollar — which has tumbled along with the price of oil — improves CGI’s competitive advantage in the global market for IT services.Armed with lots of cash and access to credit, Roach said the company is on the hunt for acquisitions again. Areas of focus for acquisitions are the United States and Britain.CGI Group Inc poised to deploy capital, upgraded at ScotiaHere are 30 stocks to own in 2015CGI said earlier that cash generated from operating activities in the September-December quarter increased more than five-fold from a year earlier to $339.2 million. CGI also said its net debt at the end of December was $1.9 billion, down $965.9 million from a year earlier.Net income in the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31 increased 24.5% from a year earlier to $236.3 million. That equalled 74 cents per diluted share, one penny below analyst forecasts but up from 60 cents per share or $189.8 million a year earlier.CGI’s revenue was down $100 million from a year ago to $2.54 billion. Revenues declined 12% in the United States and 9% in Canada. However, excluding extra work a year earlier from federal Obamacare and state health care exchanges, the sales were flat according to Roach.The results propelled CGI’s shares to hit an all-time high of $50.65 in intraday trading on Wednesday. They were up $3 or 6.39% at $49.92 later in the session.The IT services company announced separately that it will renew a stock buyback program that expires Feb. 10, but it hadn’t repurchased any of the publicly traded A shares between February 2014 and Jan. 23, 2015.Maher Yaghi of Desjardins Capital Markets said the results were in line with expectations, although revenues and contract bookings were below expectation and an area of ongoing concern.“That may raise questions about the sustainability of the revenue base or potential for organic growth,” he wrote in a report. read more

Ranil briefs Japan Parliament seeks support

Twenty-two days later, he was dead.   A month after his death, Sri Lanka fulfilled his policies byestablishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.  D S Senanayake was of the view that the post-war world should not be dominated by Western powers and the USSR. Therefore he did not waver in the belief that it was necessary to encourage Japan to re-start its economic development.  His thinking was similar to that of Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida and because of this conviction and foresight he waived war reparations from Japan to Sri Lanka. As a part of this strategy,D S sent J R Jayewardene, the Minister of Finance to lead our delegation to the San Francisco Peace Conference.  When I entered politics, I remember J R Jayewardene telling us of the conditions of the war ravaged Japan when he stayed at the Imperial Hotel on his way to San Francisco.  On this occasion he also had the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Yoshida.  This is why he took a strong stand on the Peace Treaty when others in Asia were undecided or hesitant.Commending J R Jayewardene in Parliament for this speech, D S Senanayake described him as “our representative with a backbone, who made it clear that we were not going to yield to the  game played by the Soviet Union”.During this phase Japan-Sri Lanka relations were both emerging from World War II as we re-established our independence.  Twenty-five years later, in 1977, J R Jayewardene himself became the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the following year he became the first Executive President of the country.   By then Japan had become Asia’s economic miracle.  During his tenure of office, relations between our countries became closer and stronger.I was his first Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1977. One of the first foreign envoys sent to meet us wasyour Vice Minister representing the Prime Minister at the time, Mr. Fukuda.  At that time, Mr. Jayewardene,beinghighly taken with the Fukuda Doctrine, sought the support of the Japanese Government to establish a market economy and to implementa massive development programme in Sri Lanka.  Friendship between the two countries led to this much needed support. And we must remember with gratitude the gift of a hospital with 1001 beds by the Japanese Government to the new capital Sri Jayewardenapura. One of the members of the Japanese Government who was involved at the initial stagein developing of economic relations between the two countries was the Minister of International Trade and Industries – Mr. Shinatro Abe, the father of the present Prime Minister.  I must also mention the support given by the Prime Minister Nakasone and Foreign Minister Abe when Sri Lanka faced with communal unrest, terrorism and the ethnic conflict from1983 onwards.  I myself had the opportunity of coming here as the representative of President Premadasa to seek the assistance of your Government when we werethe unfortunate, indirect victims of the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and the resultant economic crisis.  Prime Minister Kaifu was generous in his response.When I became the Minister of Industries, Science and Technology, I sought the advice of Mr SaburoOkita. Then, when I became the Prime Minister in 2001, I was given the mandate by our people to engage in Peace Talks with the Tamil Tigers.  And I must mention again, with appreciation, the help given by Prime Minister Koizumi in hosting the donor conference for Sri Lanka in Tokyo and for being a Co-Chairman of the Peace Process.Today, the world order has seenfar reaching transformations -politically, economically and technologically, especiallysince the time of President J R Jayewardene and Prime Minister Nakasone.  Therefore it is imperative that these changes are reflected in the future direction of the relationship between our two countries – in particular, the new Japanese ODA Charter 2015.My visit to Japan is primarily to discuss the Declaration of the Comprehensive Partnership between our two countries.  I believe this will be a framework for collaboration in the following spheres:The political,The economic,The technological,The cultural, andSecurity.The Comprehensive Partnership willdelineate our cooperation in these important areas.Sri Lanka elected a new President in January and a new Government in August of this year -I wish to take this opportunity to place this on record. Today, democratic norms including that of good governance, transparency, the rule of law and the rule of justice are being entrenched in the country.  On 1st October 2015, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Resolution on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka commended the new Government for the initiatives already taken.This Governmentconsists of the United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party – the two largest political parties in Sri Lanka. Traditionally rivals,they entered into a Grand Coalition similar to what prevails in Germany … beginning a new era in political collaboration.This has given us the mandate to restore peace, inclusivity, transparency and stability. As Abraham Lincoln stated “Ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors to bullets”.Our political goals include a new Constitution,the consolidation of human rights and the strengthening of democratic institutions.But what is most important to us is to incorporate a political settlement to the outstanding issues relating to national unity, ethnicity and religion.We have already started informal discussions with the Tamil National Alliance and other parties on a political solution. The language and ethnicity issues, which dominated the country over five decades, and religious discord that were stirredup during the last decade, must be resolved if a strong Sri Lankan identity – based on equality – is to be established.  Only this will bring about an inclusivesettlement acceptable to all communities.We also look forward to Japan contributing to National Reconciliation and Peace Building in Sri Lanka. Once again we are seeking Japanese assistance to summon a meeting of donors to assist in the reconstruction and in revitalizing thesocio economy of the conflict-affected areas.With women being a majority in our population, the Women’s Rights law will incorporate the UN principles on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women.  Currently, all elected women representatives in the country are less than 5% of the total number of political representatives.  Therefore another law will provide reservations for 25% women representatives in Municipalities and Provincial Councils. The Parliament will give affect to recommendations of the Task Force on Sexual and Gender based Violence. We are also in the process ofestablishing a national centre for women headed households – with its headquarters in the North of the country.The Government gives priority to protecting the environment since we are all in agreement tosafeguard the rich bio-diversity in Sri Lanka. Tackling climate change will receive priority under this policy.  The Parliament will alsoestablish, by law,a Sustainable Development Council to enact the Sustainable Development Goals.The 19thAmendment to the Constitution limited the powers of the Executive Presidency.  We are now discussing measures to strengthen Parliament.  This will include the introduction of oversight committees, similar to the National Diet, the US Congress and the EU Parliament.   There will also be a Parliamentary Budget Office.  The Mandate of the J R Jayewardene Centre will be expanded to include research and training for Parliamentarians thereby forming a back up office to Parliament and core political training on the enactment of legislation, parliamentary conventions and procedures, ethics and good practice for new legislators.The Tamil National Alliance, nowthe third largest party holds the leadership of the Opposition, while the JVP the Peoples Liberation Front has the office of Chief Opposition Whip.    Therefore the main parties hold Office in either the Government or in Parliament, resulting in the Parliament becoming the national forum.  We will also televise Parliamentary proceedings. We will, thereby, attempt to build on Lord Buddha’s advice to the Lichchavi Republican Assemblies in the Ganges, “to meet in harmony, to discuss in harmony and depart in harmony”.Let me now say a few words on the recent developments in regard to a nationalmachinery for reconciliation and accountability.  In this, we will be guided by the same words  of Lord Buddha that J R Jayewardene quoted in San Francisco.  “Hatred ceases only by love”.  Therefore, we are discussing with South Africa, the architecture of a new structure for a truthmachinery. This will include,first, a Truth Commissionto record the instances of violence and violations. Second, we will establish an innovativenew mechanism – a Compassionate Council – headed by the leading clergy of all the religions – Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim.  They will give us advise on the measures to be taken on individual cases. Finally, we will be devising a new judicial structure to inquire into the violation of human rights.The Government is planning to carry out the next generation of economic reforms to make Sri Lanka a highly competitiveeconomy – we are aiming to be the most competitive in South Asia – on par with South East Asia. The Ministry of Development Strategy and International Trade will coordinate all investments and economic relations.  The barriers to Direct Foreign Investments including the bottleneck and delays to doing business will be removed.There will also be reforms in the Financial and Monetary sectors and a more stringent control of the Budgets.   We have created a new Ministry for Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure.Sri Lanka will also strengthen its social sector programme especially Universal access to Education and Health by increasing the budgetary allocations to both these sectors.Finally, a new set of laws will be put in place to combat corruption and financial crimes.Since time immemorial Sri Lanka has been at the heart of Indian Ocean trade, and more preciselyin the Bay of Bengal.  We will continue this tradition by entering into an Indo-Lanka Economic and Technology Collaboration partnership, Free Trade Agreementswith Pakistan, Bangladesh and the ASEAN nationsbordering the Bay of Bengal – Myanmar Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.We are preparing ourselves for an Asia Pacific based on the Trans Pacific Partnership.   Sri Lanka will also negotiate with the EU for GSP+ concessions and with China for a Free Trade Agreement.Today the global economy is still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis. I believe that two major economic developments will determine the fate of medium term global growth.First – the normalization of the US monetary policy.The second is China’s slow transformation to an economy relying on consumption, which will lead to slower and sustainable growth in China.In this background, the Managing Director of IMF, Christine Lagarde has described the medium term growth prospects as “the new mediocre”.I am advocating that we, in South Asia, respond to this predicted low growth scenario – by creating a High Growth South Asia Region.The economies of UK and US are performing well while the EU and Japan are on the way to full recovery.  India is expected to sustain its growth.The new national Government in Sri Lanka is providing stability for economic restructuring which is expected to lead to a high rate of growth. However Japanese participation in South Asian Economic Development will add momentum to enable higher growth rates in South Asia. This requires multiple options to be pursued – including Japanese Connectivity to India through Sri Lanka.Speaking at the STS Forum in Kyoto, I proposed a partnership between Japan and the South Asian countries to enable the application of Japanese Science and Technology to transform the regional economy.  I am convinced that we have to make this happen – not only will it profit South Asia but it will benefit Japan too, giving her a lead role in shaping the South Asian economy.Today South Asia has a population of 1.6 billion people and a GDP of US$ US$ 2.6 trillion.  By 2050 the region’s population is projected to increase to about 2 billion, which will make it larger than East Asia. Let us ponder on that.Let me reiterate, we will look to Japan to take the lead in the economic transformation of Sri Lanka and South East Asia. To create a South Asian High Growth Area enabling the region to fulfill its economic potential and bring higher living standards to its people.  This will also have a positive impact on the medium term Global Economic growth.  It is in this context that we are discussing a new collaboration partnership with Japan.  Sri Lanka is willing to make the start on this new journey, which will also offer many new opportunities for Japanese investors.The proposed collaboration, as I stated before,also aims to utilize Japanese science and technology, to overcomethe economic challenges to development.  This requires multiple approaches to utilize Japan’s experience, namely,Collaboration between existing institutionsBuilding Centres of Excellence in Science and Technology InnovationStrengthening of Science and Technology education and the establishment of an Institute of Technology with a Japanese ethos.Assistance to strengthen human security and to counter climate change.Finally, I would like to invite Direct Japanese Private Investments in all sectors and we will put in place the appropriate environment for this. We also hope to improve bilateral trading and enhance inter-personal relations by attracting Japanese tourists.The proposed collaborations will be parallel to the existing infrastructure development programmes and the financial assistance programmes aiming to create synergies and a strategic platform for Japan’s activities in Sri Lanka and the South Asian region.I further propose that this economic collaboration be buttressed by political collaboration, which will further strengthen the ties between our two countries.I believe that we have a common interest in Maritime Security and Oceanic issues especially in regard to the Indian Ocean:The reduction of tension in Asia,The maintenance of free, open and stable seas- based on the Rule of Law,Improved maritime connectivity, andReforms to the UN Security Council.In conclusion, I wish to take this opportunity to recordthe gratitude and appreciation of the Government, the peoples of Sri Lanka and of myself to the Government and the peoples of Japan – for the cooperation and assistance extended to Sri Lanka, in a myriad of ways, over the past decades.Further, being afforded the opportunity to address the members of the National Diet of Japan is deeply valued and appreciated by my delegation and by myself. I will be failing in my duty if I do not mention the role played by Mr Koji Omi who ensured that this visit was a success.May I also add that over the last several decades the Government and the peoples of Japan have been exceptionally and remarkably generous in extending assistance and cooperation towards the advancement of the developing and less developed nations in the world (including Sri Lanka). By being so benevolent, the happiness, comfort and the well-being of the peoples of Japan will surely never decrease.And I wish to quote, the judicious words of Lord Buddha:“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Sri Lanka – Japan Relations: Future Direction It is with great pleasure and privilege and respect that I address this august audience.We have been in your country for three days and we leaving back to Sri Lanka tomorrow.  My Delegation, including my wife and of course myself, were made to feel more than at home by your unique, sincere and warm hospitality andthe courtesies integral and inherent to the peoples of Japan. We were extremely touched by the most cordial and congenial reception extended by the Government of Japan as well. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe briefed the Japanese Parliament (Diet) today and sought support to rebuild the war affected areas.Wickremesinghe is the third leader to speak at the Japanese Parliament after US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On this momentous occasion, I wish to take this opportunity to conveyour good wishes and sincere appreciation on behalf of President Maithripala Sirisena, the Parliament and the peoples of Sri Lanka, to His Imperial Majesty the Emperor, the Prime Minister, the Government, the National Diet and the peoples of Japan.The last speech made by the First Prime Minister of independent Sri Lanka, D S Senanayake was on the Japanese Peace Treaty.  Speaking on 29th February 1952, he said,“We can congratulate ourselves on being a party to this Peace Treaty. This is the first opportunity that Japan is getting to establish herself.  We should not harbour anger and try to keep the Japanese people down.” He told the Japanese Parliament that he hopes Japanese investors look to invest in Sri Lanka at a time when Sri Lanka’s economy is stable and when Sri Lanka is looking at rapid economic growth in the future. Full speech:  read more

100 anniversary of the Iron Scow

Today marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most daring and dramatic rescues in the history of the Niagara River. The remnants of a now rusted boat intrigue visitors from around the world.Known as the ‘Iron Scow’, the boat has been trapped 600 metres from the brink of the Horseshoe Falls since August 6th, 1918. Thats the day the Scow broke loose from its tugboat during a dredging operation, leaving 2 American workers stranded and surrounded by the raging Niagara River.And so began a 17-hour rescue mission, involving first responders from both sides of the border..“This was before anybody had invented a helicopter. They had to figure out how to get these guys off it, and no one was going out there in a boat of any kind.” says Jim Hill, Superintendent of Heritage, Niagara Parks.So the U.S. Coast Guard supplied a cannon that shot a rope from the roof of a nearby power plant to the stranded men.Hill Continued, “At this point there’s probably 100 people involved trying to rescue these guys, but the sun is going down and the problem is the lines get tangled.”Enter Legendary Niagara Daredevil William ‘Red’ Hill Sr.Kipp Fin the Great-Grandson of William “Red” Hill Sr. says, “He volunteers. I believe his exact words were, yeah i’ll do it, its certainly isn’t impossible.”After a second trip into the water hill is able to untangle the lines, and the two men are brought safely ashore.Tonight Niagara Parks hosted a ceremony at Toronto Power Park to commemorate the occasion. And in honour of not only Hill, but all the first responders who risk their lives every day for our safety, read more

Rayonier ups offer for Tembec wins support from shareholders who opposed deal

MONTREAL – Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. has raised its takeover offer for Tembec Inc. to win the support of two of the forestry company’s largest shareholders who had threatened to block the friendly deal.Rayonier and Tembec (TSX:TMB) said Oaktree Capital Management LP and Restructuring Capital Associates LP have now agreed to support the takeover.The deal requires support from a two-third majority vote at a shareholder meeting Thursday.Oaktree and Restructuring Capital, who had raised concerns the offer was too low, together hold a 37 per cent stake in Tembec, enough to kill the deal.U.S.-based Rayonier increased its offer to $4.75 or 0.2542 of a Rayonier share per Tembec share late Sunday night, subject to a cap that limits the amount of cash to be paid to two-thirds of the deal.Tembec shares had been trading for more than Rayonier’s earlier bid of $4.05 in cash or 0.2302 of a Rayonier share, subject to a limit of 63 per cent on the cash portion of the offer. by The Canadian Press Posted Jul 24, 2017 5:08 am MDT Last Updated Jul 24, 2017 at 5:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Rayonier ups offer for Tembec, wins support from shareholders who opposed deal read more

UN refugee chief special envoy Angelina Jolie warn of mounting crisis in

“We all need to wake up to the scale of this crisis,” stressed Ms. Jolie, a UNHCR Special Envoy, during a visit on Sunday to the naval rescue headquarters in Malta.“There is a direct link between the conflicts in Syria and elsewhere and the rise in deaths at sea in the Mediterranean. We have to understand what drives people to take the fearful step of risking their children’s lives on crowded, unsafe vessels; it is the overwhelming desire to find refuge.”A UNHCR press release said Ms. Jolie and UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres met three survivors of one of the tragedies, who had been rescued by a commercial vessel and brought to Malta by the Maltese authorities.Just this weekend, new boat sinkings were being reported off Egypt and Libya claiming more innocent lives. In all, more than 2,500 people have drowned or gone missing attempting the Mediterranean crossing this year, including over 2,200 since the start of June.In the Maltese capital of Valletta, Jolie also visited Syrian refugee families who survived a similar devastating boat tragedy last October. They included a couple from Damascus whose three small children perished during the crossing, and a doctor from Aleppo whose wife and three-year-old daughter drowned. Upon meeting with the survivors, Ms. Jolie said that the situation in the Mediterranean was part of a bigger problem of soaring numbers of people displaced by conflicts around the world. “Unless we address the root causes of these conflicts the numbers of refugees dying or unable to find protection will continue to rise,” she stressed.Some 130,000 people have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year, more than double the 60,000 recorded in 2013. Italy has received over 118,000 arrivals, most of them rescued at sea. Warning that “we don’t have many chances to get this right,” Mr. Guterres said Europe’s response needs to be a truly collective effort. It must offer safer ways to find protection while maintaining a strong capacity to rescue people. “If it fails, many more lives will be lost at Europe’s doorstep,” he warned.To that end, UNHCR is calling for legal, safe alternatives for those fleeing conflict and persecution, so that they are not forced to attempt the crossing into Europe by sea. Such alternatives can include resettlement, admission based on humanitarian needs, private sponsorship schemes, access to family reunification and student or employment visas. read more

President to unilaterally appoint Basil Williams advisor as new GECOM Chair

-Opposition Leader says Party will challenge ‘undemocratic’ decision in courtOutside of the three lists and 18 nominees provided by the Opposition Leader, the President of Guyana, David Granger, on Thursday evening unilaterally selected the new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).Retired High Court Judge, Justice James PattersonJames Patterson, 84, a retired High Court Judge who holds the position of the legal advisor to the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams will be sworn in as the new GECOM Chairman later tonight (Thursday) at the State House.Information has revealed that this decision was made following a meeting between the President and the Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo earlier this evening to discuss the third list of nominees who were submitted by Jagdeo for the post.The Opposition Leader is a press briefing after the meeting was held said that this was their plan from the inception, highlighting that it was a plan to frustrate him into folding by rejecting his nominees, but after he consistently provided names, lists after list, the “charade” was ended and the President will now appoint someone of his own choosing.According to Jagdeo, President Granger has acted undemocratically and in defiance of the Court ruling by the Chief Justice. He posited that he will be engaging the international community on this matter, while calling on the his party’s entire support base not to cooperate with the move by the incumbent Administration.Moreover, Jagdeo said he hopes civil society will see “this for what it is… an attempt to rig the next elections ” and will also raise their voice in relation to this matter.Additionally, he said his party “we will be challenging the decision in court.”Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat JagdeoAccording to the Opposition Leader, “Government will not have our cooperation on any issue in this country until they start complying with the Constitution.”The first list of nominees submitted to the President for the position of the new GECOM Chairman and rejected consisted of Former Army Chief, Norman Mc Lean, Attorney and Political Analyst, Christopher Ram, Former Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Ramesh Dookhoo, Peace and Governance Consultant, Lawrence Lachmansingh, Businesswoman, Rhyaan Shah and Professor Dr James Rose.The second list – which was also rejected- consisted of Justice of Appeal B.S Roy (ret’d),   Justice William Ramlall (ret’d), Ms. Oneidge Walrond-Allicock, Attorney-at-law and a former Magistrate,  Kashir Khan, Attorney-at-law,  Ms Nadia Sagar, and Captain Gerald Gouveia.The most recent list of names- which was also rejected-included Major General Joseph Singh, Teni Housty, Sanjeev Datadin, Mrs Annette Arjoon-Martins, Onesi La Fleur and Krishnadatt Persaud.According to an advisory from the Ministry of the Presidency, the swearing in will occur at 20:30hrs at the State House. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedGECOM Chair: President’s unilateral act a “clear threat to democracy”- PSCOctober 20, 2017In “Business”Patterson new GECOM Chair: Says he was approached hours before swearing inOctober 19, 2017In “latest news”GECOM Chair: President says Constitution does not require him to give reasons for rejecting nomineesOctober 23, 2017In “latest news” read more

Ministry mediates to restart 64 billion Cobre Panamá project

first_imgBNamericas reports that Panama’s labour ministry is mediating between management and union leaders to resume works at First Quantum Minerals’ $6.4 billion Cobre Panamá copper-gold project. First Quantum halted construction at the project on June 27 after some construction workers went on strike in response to planned changes to work rosters.Clive Newall, First Quantum’s President stated “The illegal stoppage is related to the implementation of a work roster applicable under the individual employment contracts and within the legal framework for labour in the construction industry in Panama. The new work roster is a change to 21 days of work with seven days off from a roster of 12 days of work with two days off.”Labour minister Luis Ernesto Carles acted as mediator in a five-hour meeting with workers and management at First Quantum subsidiary and project operator Minera Panamá on Thursday last weeek, with further talks planned for Friday, local news website Crítica reported.The parties managed to find some common ground at Thursday’s meeting, union leader Miguel Ángel Edwards was quoted as saying, raising hopes that construction will restart soon.Cobre Panamá is expected to produce 320,000t/y copper over a 34-year mine life, with commercial production starting in 2H17. It is a large open-pit copper development project located 120 km west of Panama City and 20 km from the Caribbean Sea coast, in the district of Donoso, Colon province, in the Republic of Panama. The concession consists of four zones totalling 13,600 ha.last_img read more

Conference a key test of whether things really are improving for Labour

first_imgHAD LABOUR GATHERED for its annual conference two months ago, or when its former chairperson wanted it to, the mood in Killarney would have been a lot different.At the beginning of October, the party was at six per cent, divided over the fate of the Seanad and faced into another harsh budget with much talk of the divide between party leader Eamon Gilmore and his deputy Joan Burton.Even as recently as the end of October, the party had a string of councillors resign on an almost daily basis.But as Christmas and the bailout exit approach, their is a hint of positivity. A poll this week showed it at 12 per cent which is just two per cent off its best ever result in the local and Europeans elections four years ago.Add to that a Budget which – depending on whether you believe the spin – wasn’t as harsh as it threatened to be and with the bailout exit in just over two weeks, Labour can justifiably say the worst is over.But it’s the bailout exit that really sums-up the big issue facing the party: We’ve left the Troika programme but what tangible benefit will that have for ordinary people?And in Labour’s case, how can it convince voters that things are actually starting to get better for them and their families and that they’re getting better because Labour is in government?Social progressOne indicator is jobs and the creation of 58,000 over the past year, according to CSO figures published this week, is a real and solid sign of economic recovery.Labour can point to huge progress on social issues that are important to many of its members and supporters, with abortion legislation and a commitment to a same-sex marriage referendum in 2015.But there are still a lot of people hurting and a lot of Labour people who feel the party has, as one TD put it, ceded too much ground to the right wing point of view.One key test of rank-and-file members’ feelings towards the leadership this weekend will be the election of the party chairperson.Gilmore and other senior figures are said to prefer the incumbent Loraine Mulligan. But she faces competition from the party’s former general secretary Ray Kavanagh, who has support among the likes of TD Robert Dowds.Last year the party faithful opted to vote against the leadership’s preferred candidate in selecting Colm Keaveney whose chairmanship became hugely problematic after he voted against the Budget in December 2012 and was kicked out of the parliamentary party, eventually quitting altogether.Seanad tensionBut it’s not just those of who have left. There is a degree of internal displeasure in Labour, with the often perceived disconnect between Labour ministers and ordinary rank-and-file.Senator John Whelan told TheJournal.ie earlier this month he had lost confidence in Pat Rabbitte. The Communications Minister brushed off the criticism, as one would expect, but Whelan is not one to shy away from expressing his views and will continue to do so.But despite this Whelan and other senators who’ve been critical have not withdrawn their support from the government, backing all of the Budget measures.On the leadership issue, Gilmore looks secure. Burton may have lost her opportunity some time ago and there is also a sense that were she to actually make a move on the Tánaiste it would only serve to split the party and do more harm than good.Despite all this, there are plenty of pitfalls that lie ahead, not least this conference.Will anger at what’s happened over the last two-and-half-years spill over among some members and delegates? Will some of the more contentious motions – of the ones that have been allowed – be passed?After this weekend we should have a better idea of how things are shaping-up for Labour heading into next year’s local and European elections. Read: 18 interesting motions to be considered at the Labour conference this weekendRead: The Labour Party is livestreaming its entire conference on YouTubelast_img read more

How well do you know The Commitments

first_imgTHINK YOU KNOW everything about Dublin’s hardest working band?Now’s your chance to shine… (Answers are in a link at the bottom)1. Who played Outspan Foster?2. What does one person in the audition queue think Jimmy is selling?3. Which Irish musician makes an appearance as Jimmy’s sister?4. Can you name every character in the band?6. How many members of The Corrs are in The Committments?7. Whose nipple does Dean imagine when he’s learning to play the saxophone?Bonus point: In Roddy Doyle’s book, whose nipple is it?Another bonus point: Whose nipple did Joey imagine on his trumpet?8. How many times does the word “fuck” appear in the film?9. What song is Stephen playing when Jimmy walks into the church?10. Where does Dean work?11. Who is ‘interviewing’ Jimmy in the bath at the end of the film?12. Who directed The Committments?13. What musical icon does Jimmy’s dad idolise?14. What are the little girls on the bus wearing when Deco is serenading them?15. Where does Ray want to put the exclamation mark on the And And And posters?16. What does the sign above the stage say at the band’s first gig?17. What song is Deco singing when Jimmy first hears him?18. What does Natalie ask Jimmy to share with her?19. What does Billy threaten to stick up Deco’s hole?20. What does Derek want to call the band?How did you do? Here are the answers>How well do you know… The Snapper?Get your Soundings out… it’s a secondary school English test>last_img read more

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TURKS CAICOS ISLANDS SET TO BENEFIT FROM MORE UK FUNDS

first_img Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS, DECEMBER 1, 2013- More funding for the Turks and Caicos Islands…An article published by the Governor’s Office divulged that the TCI will be benefitting from a £2 million fund from the UK made available through the Darwin fund which is expected to service environmental projects in all UK Overseas territories over the next two years. Almost £200 000 is set for the ‘Caicos Pine Forests’ project which is a mitigation for climate change and invasive species that runs jointly with the TCI government, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and other international partners. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

Strictly Business Corporate culture can nurture or discourage

first_imgIt’s common sport in our world to find someone to blame for whatever goes wrong. We have blogs, comment threats on news articles, and mind-numbing talk shows all focused on finding fault.So it’s no surprise that such a culture permeates many workplaces. But what’s disturbing is that corporate leaders too often embrace that culture, pitting employees against each other instead of turning them into collaborators who can help the company achieve its goals.The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Microsoft, based in Redmond, was eliminating a personnel system commonly called “stack” or “forced” ranking. Under that system, managers were required to grade employees against one another and rank them on a scale of one to five.The cutthroat practice was popularized by General Electric CEO Jack Welch in the 1980s, when it was dubbed “rank and yank” because low-ranking employees often ended up out the door. At Microsoft, the Wall Street Journal reported, employees complained about capricious rankings, power struggles among managers and unhealthy competition among colleagues.It’s true that some employees don’t have the skills or the drive to do their jobs well.But what’s often overlooked in our pass-the-buck culture is that the management gurus and corporate captains who embrace practices like forced ranking systems frequently fail to look at themselves. Perhaps its their own inadequate management skills, or the divisive nature of the organizational structures they have embraced, that contribute to the poor performance of employees.last_img read more

Cook Inlet companies defend oil and gas tax credits

first_imgDownload AudioAs Alaska continues to grapple with a major budget shortfall, one line item promises to be particularly controversial: tax credits for oil and gas producers.The state projects that credits will reach $700-million this year. That number has about tripled since 2010, with much of the increase going to producers outside the North Slope, especially in Cook Inlet.Now, a group of lawmakers is tackling the issue head-on.On Tuesday (Sept. 22), State Senator Cathy Giessel, Republican of Anchorage, opened the second session of her tax credit working group by posing the big question: “Our question really on the table today is, are the credits working, [and] are they still needed?”The answer, at least from the oil and gas companies themselves, was a resounding yes.Tuesday’s session focused on Cook Inlet producers, and company after company said the renaissance in drilling in the past half-decade was the direct result of tax credits.“Without the tax credits, Furie wouldn’t be here,” Bruce Webb, of Furie Operating Alaska, said. “If tax credits went away, we’re stubborn enough to stay and work through it, but it would decelerate the further development and exploration.”Webb told lawmakers that the credits are crucial for smaller operators to secure financing for projects. Companies like Furie borrow against the credits, using that funding to pay for exploration and infrastructure.And companies reminded lawmakers that just a few years ago, Southcentral was preparing for a natural gas shortage. They said new investment has led to a secure energy source, jobs for local communities and royalties for the state.At the end of the day, companies said, they’ve built credits into their business plans. Any changes should be gradual, said Benjamin Johnson of BlueCrest Energy, which hopes to tap the inlet’s Cosmopolitan gas field.“Bottom line is, we can’t commit to Cosmopolitan gas development unless we have either the existing tax credits or a reasonable alternative,” Johnson said. “We just need some stability. We need to know what it is we’re dealing with. We can’t have uncertainty on this.”But these days, uncertainty is the name of the game for everyone dependent on state funding – from the classroom to the gas field.Giessel said she hopes to convene one more hearing on Cook Inlet, before the working group turns its attention to the North Slope.The group hopes to draft a set of proposals by December 1.last_img read more

Breaking Ben Stokes guides England past 300

first_imgIn the opening encounter of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, hosts England managed to put up a score of 311/8 after South Africa won the toss and elected to field first. In an innings where the advantage fluctuated at different times between the two sides, the hosts relied on four half-centuries to post a highly-competitive total.The innings started on a strange note with South Africa choosing to open the bowling with Imran Tahir instead of their pacers Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada. But the move worked beautifully as the leggie dismissed Jonny Bairstow on the second ball of the innings for a duck. However, Joe Root and Jason Roy got over the early shock and started scoring freely. They took England’s score to beyond hundred but after getting to their respective fifties, both men were dismissed in a short space of time.Then the partnership of Eoin Morgan, the skipper, and Ben Stokes started rebuilding the innings. Batting with caution but also a bit of positivity, the two built up a key partnership of 106 runs before Morgan held out in the deep while attempting a big shot against Tahir.Stokes though, held the fort and kept pushing England forward. His innings of 89 proved to be an anchor around which the English lower order batted and pushed the total beyond 300.For South Africa, both their leading pacers staged a good recovery to restrict the vaunted English batting line-up while Tahir’s two key wickets were also very important. With the conditions not looking bad for batting, any side can win this contest.last_img read more

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Voting begins in 78 upazilas

first_imgThe Shah Mukhdum (R) Government Primary School voting centre in Hasta Basantapur of Akkelpur municipality in Joypurhat on Sunday morning. Photo: Rabiul IslamThe voting of the first phase elections to 78 upazila parishads in 12 districts began on Sunday morning, reports UNB.The voting began at 8:00am and will continue till 4:00pm without any break.The size of the electorate in the 78 upazilas is 1,42,48,850 under 5,847 polling stations in 12 districts — Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Jamalpur, Netrakona, Sunamganj, Habiganj, Sirajganj, Joypurhat, Natore and Rajshahi.Some 207 chairman candidates, 386 vice chairman candidates and 249 woman vice chairman candidates are contesting in the polls.Besides, 15 chairman candidates, six vice chairman contenders and seven woman vice chairman contestants have already been elected uncontested. They were elected without a vote being cast, in absence of any valid candidate to oppose them.The public administration announced a public holiday in the upazilas concerned for Sunday.Additional security including police, RAB, BGB, and Coast Guard remain deployed in the election areas since Friday. They are slated to remain until Tuesday.A judicial magistrate was deployed in each upazila, and an executive magistrate for every three union parishads for the five days to punish any violations of the polls code.A security team comprising 15 to 16 members drawn from police, Ansar and VDP will guard each polling station on the day.last_img read more

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Court Delays From Harvey Likely To Persist Into 2019

first_img X Share Listen Houston Public Media/ArchiveHarris County Criminal Justice CenterThe Harris County court system is still adjusting to the “new normal” four months after Harvey. The storm wrecked the Criminal Justice Center and the jury assembly building. Jury trials resumed in October, but with many of the courtrooms still out of commission, County Court Manager Ed Wells says judges have to double up.“So in a month’s time, each court has a week of availability basically,” says Wells, “whereas prior to the storm they had four weeks and sometimes five.”That’s likely to be the case for a while. Robert Shaffer, an administrative and district judge for Harris County, estimates it will take a minimum of 12 months to repair the justice center, once the county signs up a contractor. “I hate to be the one to say this, but I really don’t anticipate the Criminal Justice Center being back at full function until sometime in 2019,” says Judge Schaffer.And the downtown courthouses weren’t the only ones that flooded. “The Cypress Annex was hit really hard,” says Harris County Clerk Chris Daniel, “and so they too are operating out of temporary buildings and spaces.”Daniel says at least one major courthouse on the west side also remains out of commission. That’s delaying not only criminal cases but also civil disputes and marriages. 00:00 /01:06 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:last_img read more

This Japanese Popsicle Flavor Could Be Delicious If Unexpected

first_imgStay on target How AMC’s ‘The Terror’ Uses American History to Delive…33 Killed in Suspected Arson Attack on Kyoto Animation Studio in Japan If you’re a fan of Japanese snacks, you’ve no doubt tried some very, well, interesting flavors of normal items, like a corn puff that tastes like salami or octopus-flavored chips. This Gari Gari Kun popsicle isn’t any different, even though it has a pretty weird name for what it actually is: a “rare cheese” flavored popsicle. Now, hold up just one second. Cheese and a popsicle? That’s probably pretty disgusting, right?But wait, in Japan, it turns out that “rare cheese” is unbaked cream cheese, so this is a cream cheese popsicle, akin to cream cheese-flavored ice, or a frozen cheesecake, somewhat. This particular popsicle not only features a cheesecake flavored outside, but also lemon cheese sauce to complement it. It may not seem very appetizing or look as much, but apparently, it’s pretty delicious according to Rocket News 24.This is hardly the weirdest popsicle flavor in Japan, however. This very brand has released flavors like spaghetti, so cream cheese is super benign and sounds pretty appetizing. But when you consider most popsicles are flavored like grape, cherry, orange and things like that, a cream cheese flavor is a little concerning. It’s normal to feel kind of apprehensive about strange snacks, but when it comes to some of them, especially of the Japanese variety, there’s a lot you’re missing out on because you might be too scared to try new things. Would you try this “rare cheese” popsicle?If not, what flavors from Gari Gari Kun would you be willing to try out of what’s out there? You’ve got White Stew, Cream Puff, Corn Potage, Neapolitan Spaghetti, whatever Green is, Soda, Peach, Kiwi, Yuzu, Pineapple, and more. Do any of those flavors sound appetizing in the slightest?last_img read more