The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) is urging Government to help bring an end to the ongoing tug-of-war between the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).Headquarters of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL)During the Union’s end-of-year press conference, it was stated that there seems to be no clarity regarding the confusion that has surrounded the sugar industry, pointing out that this manifested through the Administration stripping GuySuCo of its assets relating to the closed estates and transferring them without liability to NICIL as well as shares of the Corporation.“At this time, the GAWU reiterates that situation cannot be allowed to continue the way it is, as it is not in the interest of anyone, especially the workers. GAWU calls on the Government to apprehend the sad situation that is prevailing. It is time to end the tug-of-war!” it stated.GAWU President Komal Chand recalled that a new GuySuCo Board was apparently appointed by NICIL, the Corporation’s new shareholder. That Board, which was announced with several full-colour newspaper advertisements, was quickly disowned by the Government.The Administration explained it had not approved the new Board though the media subsequently published a Cabinet memorandum, which confirmed that the Government had indeed approved a new Board. Chand said the Administration, which was caught with its pants down, reversed gears and said that the Clive Thomas-headed Board remained in charge.That Board’s life came to an end in April this year and after several missed deadlines, a new Board headed by John Dow was finally appointed in the latter part of 2018.GuySuCo’s assets linked to the closed estates were transferred without liability to NICIL“The clear confusion regarding sugar was also manifested when we saw musical chairs being played by the Ministers of Agriculture and Finance, with both gentlemen denying they had ministerial responsibility for the industry. Then suddenly and without any forewarning, the Agriculture Minister announced he was in charge of GuySuCo though no explanation, as far as we recall, was ever provided as to how the contradictions were resolved,” he added.Chand said at that time, it seemed that relations between GuySuCo and the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) of NICIL had reached its lowest ebb. Media reports later highlighted what seems to be an almost virtual standoff between the two bodies.Most recently, press reports point to wrangling regarding the refurbished La Bonne Intention (LBI) Club, which from the looks of it, appears to have benefited from tens of millions of dollars in work. “The relations between the two bodies charged with managing the sugar industry seems to be characterised by acrimony and discord, and has now, seemingly, reached a sad point, where – from all appearances – salvos are being traded in the media,” Chand stated.The airing of these disagreements in the public, GAWU believes, cannot be helpful to the industry’s cause at this time. Chand said at this point in time, when the livelihoods of thousands of workers stand in the balance, and the Guyanese people’s assets have been essentially mortgaged to secure the $30 billion financing, the confusion that reigns cannot be encouraging.“The apparent infighting between the two sugar management bodies, in our view, has to be laid squarely at the doorstep of the Government. The Administration, through its own indecision, has, in effect, allowed the situation to reach this sad point,” he added.The Union said it also recognised that there seemed to be some degree of confusion within the Administration regarding the sugar industry. That has now spilled over into the industry’s management, which, it said, will not help in confidence-building, essential for success.
Klay Thompson subscribes. You can too for just 11 cents a day for 11 months + receive a free Warriors Championship book. Sign me up!OAKLAND – As he stood in an arena hallway, Kevin Durant appeared at peace as he talked with Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown. That did not mean that Durant was happy.Durant indicated he wanted to speak about his ejection during the Warriors’ eventual 116-102 win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday at Oracle Arena. But Durant admitted feeling fearful …
When you’re talking about building and remodeling three words should be part of the conversation: Green, smart, and quality.Some parts are up to consumers, some are up to us. We guide the discovery process and use a disciplined construction process to boost value whatever shade of green our clients aim for.Despite the economic upheavals in the housing market, about 8 million new homes were built last year. And we’re building them greener than ever. That’s a good thing, but improving the existing housing stock will have a much greater affect on greening America than even gargantuan efforts taken on the new construction side.Smart remodeling (and building) is ongoing, and the notions of green are simply the next step in construction evolution. As a production manager for a remodeling company, my primary task is doing my job efficiently, in smarter ways, with value added. I don’t care how you define green, as long as you let me build smart.Green remodeling involves a balance of products and processes; there are two areas of opportunity to influence our client’s choices during the sales process, but we are limited by their level of understanding, desire, and commitment.During the sales process we can influence product choicesWe’ve been including a free duct blaster test as a part of high end remodels and this year we started offering energy audits. We look for opportunities to tie in envelope upgrades within the scope of the current and future remodel plans. For big energy wasters, we suggest fixing them regardless of the scope of work and clients never balk (would you balk at a mechanic who ignored severely worn tires because you hired him to change the oil?).When gauging a client’s level of green, we start by showing them low-maintenance no-brainers like durable PEX plumbing systems and healthier paints. Making sure they see the obvious benefits is easy, and once they understand, then they become curious. We ask questions, exploring their living habits, and talking about water and energy conservation, we can find out if their wishes include better hot water delivery—if so, we steer them towards tankless water heaters—or super-efficient ceiling fans, in which case we point towards one rated as Energy Star. [Some follow up about desire]. Bath fans are another easy upgrade: they are bigger, badder, quieter, and more expensive than they used to be — and worth every penny. Sucking moist or stale air out is as important as circulating air for interior air quality.To take it up a notch we’ll talk HVAC upgrades or spray-in insulation, both of which offer big benefits, but an additional level of up-front financial commitment (we are talking thousands of dollars here). For our clients committed to maximum efficiency we go beyond conservation and look towards contribution — think photovoltaic panels, solar water heaters, rain water collection, etc.The main point is that by following their lead on budget items we can dial in on where to lead the conversation next. We look for opportunities to sell green building, and we want to be ready to take it as far as they want.To go deep green, we need trade partners who are up to the task: suppliers who want to help install their products, engineers and designers who will specify them and fellow contractors who will take the ball and run with it. These specialists must know the products, or be willing to learn about them. We lean on them pretty heavily because we can’t be their technical expert, and we can’t spend all our time talking people in to a different (smarter) way of doing things.During production (and demo) we are in control of the details**Levels of commitment to the products vary wildly among clients, but our commitment to the process varies little. The tactics may change but strategies don’t. We keep consistent quality with durability and ‘best practices’ checklists learned from 17 years of remodeling. These standards and checklists help us stay focused on whatever we can do to tighten and refine the building envelope. Things like cladding, flashing, and drainage which are conditions begging for improvement. Advanced framing techniques that increase opportunity to add insulation and cut thermal transfer. Air flow management that controls temperature and humidity, and therefore, comfort.Our systems and practices attempt to squeeze value from every square foot, no matter how many square feet there are. We do this by examining every inch of floor, wall and ceiling space for maximum benefit. Some value choices aren’t necessarily green per se, but they’re good design. For example: it often makes sense to thicken a bathroom or kitchen wall — plumbers and electricians like the extra room to work with utilities and fixtures; designers and architects like the extra room to play with things like built-ins and pocket doors. It costs a little more but the square foot of floor space is used well.Our demolition approach is less like tear-out and more like surgery, with instruments and masks. The attitude is remove, re-cycle, and ReStore. Old aluminum window frames and copper supply lines don’t go to the dumpster; they go to the salvage yard. And many items we take out of a particular home can find another home somewhere else. Hardware, doors and windows, even commodes are in enough demand that the Habitat for Humanities of the world will come pick them up. And it means fewer trips to the dump for us.Surgical demolition should be mapped out with a solid 3-point plan: Isolate—reduce the impact of major renovations on the rest of the home by controlling security, traffic, and of course, dirt.Protect —go the extra mile, even if means 1/8 in. at a time: I’ve pulled 300’ of shoe molding so we could better protect a hardwood floor all the way to the baseboard.Remove — pay attention to negative air pressure and reduce dust for the people living there and the people working there.The next big thing in the marketplace—no matter which marketplace—is always right around the corner. Despite the fog of economic uncertainty we know some things: gas, oil, and kilowatts won’t get cheaper. Quality construction is a concept that continues to evolve and we continue to roll with it. During a green remodeling project we elevate the quality and number of products whenever we can through education and options; through our processes, we maximize value no matter what selections are made. As we do, we make the best buildings we can, those that stand the test of time–the most valuable commodity we have.
Become an audio master with these 8 great Adobe Audition tutorials!It’s often said that a film is 50% video and 50% audio. Unfortunately, for most indie filmmakers and video editors, not much time is spent trying to get great audio in post or on-set. While it’s not always the sexiest part of the post-production process, getting great audio can add immediate legitimacy to your film and to you as a filmmaker. So if you’re in the mood to take your film audio to the next level, check out these quick Adobe Audition tutorials designed to help you sharpen your audio editing skills.1. The BasicsCreated By: Adobe Community HelpWhile Audition isn’t as complex as other video editing softwares like After Effects and Premiere, it’s still a professional software with a learning curve. This tutorial created by the good people at Adobe shows us how to navigate the Audition interface. If you’re new to Audition, this is a must-watch.2. Importing Audio FilesCreated By: Video2BrainImporting in Audition is a lot like importing in Premiere Pro or After Effects. In this short video tutorial, we’ll take a look at how it’s done.3. How to Make a Voiceover Sound BetterCreated By: Mike RussellThere are a lot of voice actors out there and each one has their own special way of making their audio sound better. In this awesome tutorial, professional voice actor Mike Russell shows us his method for creating beautiful audio in Audition.4. Removing HumCreated By: Larry JordanIf you’ve ever had to record audio in less-than-ideal circumstances, then you probably know how terrible hum can be for your audio. Annoying devices like refrigerators, fluorescent lights, and air conditioners can ruin your audio if you’re not careful. It’s always best to simply turn off these annoyances while on set, but if you’re in the editing bay it’s a little late.But don’t worry, post-production master Larry Jordan is here to show us how to remove machine generated hum in Audition. It’s easier than you think and in some circumstances you can remove hum entirely.5. Removing SoundsCreated By: O’Reilly – Video TrainingLet’s say you’re shooting in an office complex and after countless takes your corporate subject finally nails their line — but there’s a problem. A car honked right at the end. Do you reshoot it? Of course you do! However, once you’re in the editing bay, you might be able to salvage the previous take by using some of the built-in tools in Audition. This quick tutorial shows you how it’s done.6. Removing Background NoiseCreated By: John LynnWe’re not always blessed with the opportunity to shoot on a sound stage, especially if you’re a indie filmmaker. So, chances are the shooting environment you’re in has ambient noise that needs to be controlled. While it’s always better to be able to control your environment, if you’re in the editing bay and your audio has environmental problems, you can take out at least some of the background noise using the steps outlined in this tutorial by John Lynn.7. Removing Pops and ClicksCreated By: Jason HugginsIf you sit down to edit your audio and find it’s full of pops and clicks, don’t panic. It’s probably not the end of the world. There are a few built-in tools in Audition that can help you get rid of pops and clicks. This tutorial by Jason Huggins shows us how it’s done.8. Round-tripping Between Premiere Pro to AuditionCreated By: Video2BrainOne of the big perks about working in the Creative Cloud is the fact that most of the software integrates with each other using the dynamic link. Users of Premiere Pro can seamlessly edit their audio in Audition without having to export it out as a different track. In this video tutorial created by Video2Brain, we’ll take a look at how this round-tripping process works.Want to learn more about audio for film? Check out a few of these posts here on PremiumBeat:How to Capture High Quality Audio for Low Budget Films10 Crucial Pieces of Audio Gear Under $500Audio Editing: Mixing Speech and Music in Premiere ProKnow of any other helpful tutorials for Adobe Audition? Share in the comments below.
T he first Indian to welcome US President Barack Obama at Mumbai airport on November 6 was then Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan. He was sacked minutes after Obama left India because of his direct involvement in the Adarsh Housing Society scam in which flats meant for Kargil heroes and,T he first Indian to welcome US President Barack Obama at Mumbai airport on November 6 was then Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan. He was sacked minutes after Obama left India because of his direct involvement in the Adarsh Housing Society scam in which flats meant for Kargil heroes and widows were virtually stolen by powerful politicians, bureaucrats and defence officers who abetted construction on disputed army land. Chavan’s relatives owned three flats in Adarsh. He was confident that his mentors-a guru, Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, and Rahul Gandhi-would save him. Chavan was self-delusional. It was the judiciary that forced the political class to move. On December 22, a division bench of Justice B.H. Marlapalle and Justice U.D. Salvi hearing the case noted, “Everybody who was supposed to clear a file has been gifted (a flat in Adarsh).” Adarsh was not the only scandal in the Year of the Treasure Hunter. The total loot of the public exchequer in 2010 is estimated to exceed Rs 4 lakh crore. An analysisreveals that real estate is corruption’s biggest cash cow. According to realtors, 60 to 70 per cent of the price of property transactions in all major Indian cities is in cash. A finance ministry report of December 2009 states: “Of the Rs 4,500 crore seized in income tax raids, around Rs 2,000 crore involves land. Politicians are earning money per sq ft of the floor space index awarded to construct buildings. This is a result of commercialisation of politics,” says former Mumbai High Court Judge B.G. Kolse-Patil. The cbi discovered that it was Chavan, who as state revenue minister in 2000 cleared the society’s ownership conditions to admit civilians along with defence personnel, thereby opening up a real estate gold-mine. “The Congress is the fountainhead of corruption in the country,” says bjp leader Rajnath Singh.advertisementIn 2010, allegations of corruption-referred to by Wharton academic Jitendra Singh as “a kind of shadowy market”-were made against the spectrum of the national establishment. Politicians like Chavan, B.S. Yeddyurappa, Suresh Kalmadi and Mulayam Singh Yadav; senior army officers like former army chief General Deepak Kapoor and Major General R.K. Hooda stole the headlines of the year with a glittering cast of friends, mentors and hangers-on from the media and bureaucracy.Chavan’s personal assets run into hundreds of crores of rupees. In his hometown Nanded, Chavan Inc owns dealerships, real estate worth crores, sugar mills and educational institutions. He insists that his commercial ventures are legal and he has done nothing wrong. For a politician who declared his net worth as Rs 24.61 crore in 2009, india today investigations revealed that the estimated worth of assets held by Chavan and his family amount to much more. “The politicians in the entire country are corrupt. Why talk only about Maharashtra?” says Kolse-Patil. Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray says, “We are facing a challenge to cure the disease of corruption.” Chavan, however, is defiant. “The investigations will prove my innocence,” he says. The country has got used to the idea of corrupt politicians. It was shocked to learn that officers of the rank of general and admiral were involved in Adarsh. “Here is a man whom we trusted, here is a person on whose orders we were ready to go to battle,â€? said Chief of Staff General V.K. Singh about his predecessor General Kapoor. In his application for a Rs 80-lakh apartment, General Kapoor lied that his annual income was Rs 2.8 lakh while when it was actually around Rs 7.2 lakh. When this application was turned down, the then Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh used his arbitrary powers to clear it. Adarsh is not the only example of Kapoor’s real estate adventures. The Haryana Government gave him a Gurgaon plot for Rs 36 lakh with a lock-in payment period of five years-a knockdown price for land valued at Rs 7.5 crore. In Sukna, West Bengal, army land was allegedly given to builders at throwaway prices. The military court indicted two army officers for this deal-one of them was Kapoor’s staff advisor Lt. General Avdesh Prakash. Kapoor reportedly used his clout to save Prakash from a court martial. The armed forces have earned the unsavoury nickname, the “Harmed Forces”.Real estate besmirched the reputation of Karnataka’s Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa as well. In June 2010, Yeddyurappa was preparing for a spotlight moment, ordering a bespoke Italian suit from Bangalore fashion designer Prakash Lamba as a change from his usual white safari suit to preside over the two-day Global Investors Meet in Bangalore from which he expected to raise at least $66.3 billion as investments for Karnataka. In private, Yeddyurappa was taking decisions that would blow up in his face. On November 17, 2010, Karnataka Lok Ayukta Santosh Hegde announced there was enough evidence to establish a prima facie case against Yeddyurappa. The Opposition released documents-around 2,000 of them-alleging that Yeddyurappa flouted rules to get prime land worth Rs 500 crore allotted to family members; his sons bjp MP B.Y. Raghavendra and Vijayendra became beneficiaries of state largesse after their father became the Karnataka deputy chief minister in 2006. Raghavendra was allotted a government plot in Bangalore under the MP’s quota and paid Rs 10 lakh for the land whose market value was over Rs 2 crore. Yeddyurappa also denotified the Bangalore Development Authority (bda) land which his sons and son-in-law Sohan Kumar allegedly grabbed at throwaway prices. Yeddyurappa’s daughter Umadevi was allotted two acres of government land to set up a bpo. Some of his family members were allegedly allotted five acres in Shimoga to build a hospital, and two acres for a factory in Bangalore. In March 2010, 11 more acres in Bangalore worth crores were denotified in Vijayendra and Raghavendra’s favour against the advice of the bda and the Urban Development Department. Later, his kin returned the land following a judicial inquiry. Five previous chief ministers gave similar deals to their relatives including Dharam Singh and H.D. Deve Gowda’s son H.D. Kumaraswamy who is yet to return the land allotted to him.advertisement”The names of my family members are being dragged into imagined corruption cases to cover up their (Opposition’s) own misdeeds,” says Yeddyurappa, responding to the Opposition’s charges of corruption.The Opposition also alleges that the chief minister took a bribe of Rs 20 crore from the Bellary-based South West Mining Ltd; supporting documents claim that the money was allegedly deposited into the bank accounts of Raghavendra, Vijayendra and Sohan Kumar.If land was exploited by the corrupt, the skies were open to political plunder as well. On November 14, the dmk, unable to withstand the heat from a belligerent Opposition, a hostile Congress and an angry media, ordered Andimuthu Raja to resign as telecom minister. Raja was accused of favouring select telecom companies-Swan Telecom, Unitech, S-Tel, Datacom Solutions, Idea, Spice, Systema, Tata and Loop-in acquiring 2G spectrum licences in a valuation game which is estimated to have cost the country a notional Rs 1.76 lakh crore. “As a lawyer, I will abide by the law, not evade it,” Raja said. His slogan during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls was “Oru kilo arisi oru rupa, oru hello 50 paisa” (One kg rice at one rupee, a hello on the phone at 50 paise). The Niira Radia tapes exposed how much his hellos cost the country. Veteran Congress leader of Tamil Nadu EVKS Elangovan says “Karunanidhi must’ve been aware of things.”In power, there is no free lunch. So what did the telecom companies give Raja and Radia in return of the favours? The CBI and the ed are investigating a money trail that leads to the Cayman Islands, the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and Mauritius. “Raja represents a front for a number of undesirable organisations. He is a front for anti-national agents,” says Subramanian Swamy, Janata Party president. There may be political exaggeration in the accusation.advertisementRaja stuck to his chair for 400 days after the scam surfaced. A CBI official claims that the minister used this time to manipulate or destroy evidence. No incriminating documents were found when the agency raided his house on December 8. According to one source, documents were also destroyed at Radia-owned Vaishnavi Communic- ations’s office in Delhi. Employees had burned thousands of documents to prevent them from falling into the hands of the CBI. “The Government should constitute an Integrity and Ethics Commission urgently to check corruption and initiate stringent action against corrupt practices,” says assocham President Dilip Modi.The climate of venality spawned a variety of hunters who sought to seize what they could. Public anger began to mount. When Suresh Kalmadi, the most visibly tainted face of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, walked into a Delhi restaurant on a late October weekend, he was surrounded and heckled by diners who called him a thief. The CBI and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) estimate that the 66-year-old Congress Rajya Sabha MP caused a loss of Rs 5,000-8,000 crore of public money through financial and administrative malfeasance. In 2003, the Indian Olympic Association estimated the Games would cost the country Rs 1,620 crore. By 2010, the bill had risen to Rs 11,500 crore. With other additional expenditure, the Games expenditure was estimated to be around Rs 30,000 crore, making the 2010 Commonwealth Games the most expensive sporting event ever. CBI sources says that of the Rs 665 crore spent on overlays, around Rs 200 crore was stolen. Following the CVC report on financial misdemeanors, the CBI raided the ioa offices and arrested close Kalmadi aides T.S. Darbari, Sanjay Mahindroo and treasurer Jayachandran.Some of the statistics are stunning. The infrastructure cost for the cwg was Rs 2,904 crore but Rs 5,503 crore was released. Where did the extra money go? The CVC investigated 16 Games-related projects totalling Rs 2,477 crore and found that corrupt officials and contractors tampered with initially discounted tenders. The organising committee inflated bills by at least 30 per cent. The CBI raided Kalmadi’s residences in Delhi and Pune. “I am innocent till proven guilty. I have not taken any decision alone,” Kalmadi says.Many more careers and reputations tumbled as other skeletons of corruption fell out of hidden closets. In Mumbai, private financier Rajesh Sharma, chief of Money Matters (India), and senior bank officials were arrested in a bribes-for-loans affair. The arrests have made corporate India uneasy. Though the licence raj has ostensibly ended, lobbyists are still needed for project clearances. “We need to be clear about what is defined as corruption. In an economy where competition and enterprise are driven by individual endeavours, and there is no strong government hand, these things flourish,” says P. Shankar Raman, executive v-p (finance), L&T. Following these arrests, the market value of lic Housing Finance shares plummeted from Rs 10,159 crore to Rs 2,365 crore. Investors lost Rs 2,300 crore in a day. “There are enough regulatory bodies in the country but they don’t have the teeth to enforce regulations,” says Richard Rekhy, ceo, KPMG, one of the largest of audit, tax and advisory services firms in the world There was one unusual instance of corruption. While Adarsh, the cwg and other scams largely involved powerful cabals, Ketan Desai, president of the Medical Council of India, was the lone ranger of graft. His modus operandi was to ask for bribes in return of government recognition for private medical colleges. After the CBI arrested him for accepting Rs 2 crore as payola for one such deal, raids conducted in Delhi, Punjab, Mumbai and Ahmedabad revealed that Desai and his family owned 10 houses, two commercial properties in Mumbai and gold worth Rs 39 lakh.During the Adarsh hearing, Justices Marlapalle and Salvi asked, “Why has no fir been registered except the one on the missing files in the case? Don’t tell us committees will be formed to conduct inquiries. Committees are formed and dissolved, nothing happens.” Nothing happens because a corrupt system closes its ranks to protect its own. India remains stuck in the purgatory of corruption.with Nivedita Mukherjee, Kiran Tare and Nirmala Ravindran
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is encouraging greater use of geographic information system (GIS) technology across all sectors in order to spur higher levels of economic growth and development. Story Highlights Mr. Holness said the Government has been making significant investments in using GIS technology to spur Jamaica’s growth and development while seeking to reposition the country as a knowledge-based economy. Another key area of investment, the Prime Minister highlighted, was the National Identification System (NIDS), which will provide a comprehensive and secure structure to capture and store the personal identity information of all citizens. Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is encouraging greater use of geographic information system (GIS) technology across all sectors in order to spur higher levels of economic growth and development.He contends that despite Jamaica’s use of the technology over the past 25 years, its full potential remains untapped.“It is certainly accepted by the Government… definitely at the administrative and executive levels. But we have still not yet moved to the point of utilising the technology where we leverage (its) predictive powers… which is to use it in a way to either prevent things from happening or facilitating things we want to happen,” the Prime Minister noted.He called for its utilisation at the decision-making level “as a management and planning tool”.He was delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony for the inaugural two-day Jamaica GIS User Conference held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (October 10).Mr. Holness said the Government has been making significant investments in using GIS technology to spur Jamaica’s growth and development while seeking to reposition the country as a knowledge-based economy.These, he said, have been in the notable areas of job creation, with the establishment of the GIS Corps of National Service targeting unattached youth under the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) initiative, and the installation of key infrastructure designed to enhance public safety and security.Mr. Holness said that under the GIS Corps, youngsters have been employed by several State entities to undertake a number of key engagements.These, he said, include at the National Water Commission (NWC) to carry out asset mapping of all meters islandwide, the collating of data for an asset map capturing street lights, with another corps being established to assist in generating rainfall data for the National Meteorological Service.The Prime Minister said that there were numerous other opportunities for youth employment utilising GIS technology to document Jamaica’s critical assets.He noted that significant investments have also been made to install surveillance cameras and closed-circuit television (CCTV) to capture illicit criminal activities and traffic breaches, as part of the Government’s undertaking to engender a safe and secure society.Another key area of investment, the Prime Minister highlighted, was the National Identification System (NIDS), which will provide a comprehensive and secure structure to capture and store the personal identity information of all citizens.Mr. Holness contended that a system to accurately identify persons will go a far way in generating information that facilitates analyses of the society’s challenges, and potentially yield solutions and predict outcomes.“We truly understand the deep power of the technology, and that it can be leveraged for the economic and social development of the country,” he added.The GIS User Conference is being jointly staged by the National Spatial Data Management Division (NSDMD) and Land Information Council of Jamaica (LICJ) under the theme ‘GeospatialTechnologies: Mapping Our Way to Secure Communities’.It forms part of activities commemorating the LICJ’s 25th anniversary.
zoom Finnish shipping company Meriaura has taken delivery of M/S Eeva VG, the first of two VG EcoCoaster general cargo vessels ordered from Dutch shipbuilder Royal Bodewes.The 5,000-ton vessel arrived for the first time in Finland on October 4, 2016. It was baptized in the port of Rauma on October 5, where it loaded its first cargo, 4,000 tons of oats, for Rotterdam.Featuring a length of 103 meters and a width of 13.6 meters, the Eeva VG is a dry cargo ship with Ice Class 1A.VG EcoCoaster is designed to cause less environmental impact than dry cargo vessels of same type and size, according to the company. The hull and machinery are optimized to the speed of 10,5 knots in open water conditions. Additional power required for fulfilling Ice Class 1A requirements is achieved by a diesel electric-driven booster unit.The vessels are equipped with a dual fuel system, where the main engine is suitable for both biofuel and marine gas oil (MGO).“Although the vessels are traditional dry cargo bulkers, they represent a new generation because of their environmental friendliness and energy efficiency,” Jussi Mälkiä, Chairman of Meriaura Group, said.The contract for the two newbuildings was signed in Turku in December 2014 when Meriaura revealed its plans to regenerate its fleet with vessels that have lower fuel consumption and GHG emissions.The Eeva VG is a supplement to Meriaura’s fleet of 17 vessels. Its sister ship, the Mirva VG, is expected to be completed by the end of November this year.
VANCOUVER – Canada and the U.S. led calls Tuesday for the global community to step up its enforcement of sanctions against North Korea, even as they urged Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and embrace a more peaceful future.The demands followed a day of closed-door talks in which foreign ministers and senior diplomats from 20 countries strategized ways to end North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and force it back to the negotiating table.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the meeting’s co-hosts, were united during a closing news conference in emphasizing that a nuclear-armed North Korea would never be accepted.Diplomacy is the preferred option, they said, as Freeland promised that “a North Korea that commits to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear program will have a secure place in the international community.”But both also emphasized the need for continued pressure on Pyongyang through the rigorous enforcement of UN sanctions, especially by North Korea’s two most important allies and neighbours: China and Russia.“We agree that the need for UN member states, especially China and Russia, to fully implement agreed-upon sanctions is essential to their success,” Tillerson said.The U.S. last year sanctioned several Chinese companies and individuals for their alleged involvement in helping North Korea skirt sanctions, while both Russia and China have been accused of exporting oil to Pyongyang.The two countries, neither of which were invited to the Vancouver meeting, have previously denied the charges and criticized Tuesday’s gathering as potentially harmful to peace prospects on the Korean peninsula.To help close the gaps in enforcement, Freeland said the Canadian government had earmarked $3.2 million to help other countries with training and other technical assistance, and that it would raise the issue during the G7 summit.One of the questions heading into the meeting was whether participants would endorse a U.S. call for naval interdiction of North Korean shipping, following concerns about smuggling.While participating nations agreed to take a tougher line, Tillerson said, the results were not expected to result in military action but instead see illicit North Korean goods identified and seized when ships stop in ports of call.Canada and the U.S. called Tuesday’s meeting in response to Pyongyang’s recent nuclear and ballistic-missile tests, which have rattled the international community and thrust North Korea to the top of the list in terms of global crises.Asked how serious the threat of war with North Korea actually is, Tillerson replied: “We all need to be very sober and clear-eyed about the current situation.”The majority of the 20 countries were invited to the meeting because of their support for South Korea during the Korean War more than 50 years ago.Participants were largely united in their belief that efforts to isolate North Korea and stop its sources of income were starting to bite, which they argued is what prompted Pyongyang to reach out to Seoul earlier this month.But despite that thawing of relations and resumption of talks between North and South Korea, there was unanimity in the need for real progress on denuclearization before any easing of pressure.“Our message is clear,” Freeland said at the start of the meeting, speaking directly to the North Korean regime.“The pursuit of nuclearization will bring you neither security nor prosperity. Investing in nuclear weapons will lead only to more sanctions and to perpetual instability on the peninsula.”Freeland and others emphasized that they were not seeking regime change, and suggested that by abandoning its nuclear aspirations, Pyongyang would help bring a safer, more prosperous future to its people.Whether that message resonates with Kim Jong Un’s regime will have to be seen, but analysts have long asserted that it sees nuclear weapons as the ultimate guarantor of its survival in any conflict with the U.S.Freeland, meanwhile, dismissed suggestions that U.S. President Donald Trump has made the current standoff with North Korea worse through his public comments.“The source of the threat to the international community, the source of the illegal actions, the source of the nuclearization is North Korea,” she said during the closing news conference.“It is North Korea’s actions which are making us all less safe, and to which we all need to respond as allies and as an international community.”— By Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa, with files from Laura Kane and Geordon Ormand in Vancouver