OTTAWA – China’s ambassador has firmly rejected a key pillar of the Trudeau government’s trade agenda, branding its attempts to entrench labour standards in a free trade pact as a non-starter for his country.Ambassador Lu Shaye said Tuesday that Canada’s “so-called” progressive trade agenda has no place in the free trade agreement the two countries have been pursuing in fits and starts for several years.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been unable to persuade China’s leaders to formally entrench labour, gender, environment and governance issues in the negotiating framework of the free trade talks.Trudeau spent four days in China in December but left without a formal commitment to moving the free trade talks past the exploratory phase into formal negotiations.Without elaborating, Lu said the two countries have reached “consensus on extensive issues, but (there) still remain some differences on the so-called progressive trade factors.”“For the Chinese side, we have stressed many times … we really want so-called, non-trade-related factors or issues to not be included in the negotiation of an FTA,” Lu said through an interpreter to a small gathering of journalists at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa.China is taking note of how Canada is pursuing the same agenda in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. But Lu said Canada’s insistence on pushing labour standards in the NAFTA talks with Mexico to raise wages would only lead to the shuttering of Mexican auto plants and lost jobs.“If the Mexico side accepts such kind of standards many of the factories have to close down and their workers have to be laid off,” he said.“So, for the negotiation of the FTA (between Canada and China), it is the national conditions that really matters.”There appears to be little forward momentum towards the start of formal negotiations between Beijing and Ottawa on a free trade pact.Joseph Pickerill, spokesman for International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, said Tuesday there was “nothing to report right now on trade talks,” but he noted there’s ongoing political engagement. He cited the recent visits to China by Champagne, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and this week’s trade mission of Heritage Minister Melanie Joly and representatives from 60 cultural industries.“This is one of the most complex but also potentially lucrative markets in the world and that requires a smarter, longer-term and more strategic approach to engagement with China,” said Pickerill.“As the minister often says, trade is over decades and this particular relationship, expanding economic engagement will take the time it takes to get it right for Canadians.”Despite the differences, Lu characterized relations between the two countries as warm and said China “definitely” had no deadline for starting formal negotiations. They have already gone through four rounds of exploratory talks.The envoy said starting a free trade negotiation with Canada would send a strong message to the world as it contends with the Trump administration’s “America First” protectionism.“If Canada and China start a negotiation of an FTA, it will send positive signals to the international community, that is: China and Canada all uphold the flag of supporting the free trade and economic globalization.”Lu also debunked any suggestion that Chinese President Xi Jinping was offering the U.S. concessions on Tuesday in their ongoing trade dispute.U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he was thankful for Xi’s “kind words on tariffs and automobile barriers … also, his enlightenment on intellectual property and technology transfers. We will make great progress together!”In a major economic policy speech, Xi said tariffs would be reduced on imported cars and said China would offer added measures towards intellectual property protection.But Lu said those measures had been previously announced in recent high-profile meetings, including the Communist party’s historic congress last fall where Xi laid the groundwork that led to him to recently being granted indefinite power, making him China’s most powerful leader in a generation.“China has reiterated on many occasions that we sincerely hope to resolve the China-U.S. trade frictions through dialogue and negotiation but at the current position now the U.S. takes an aggressive stance on this issue, I think it is not possible for us to have the negotiations,” said Lu.In the face of Trump’s protectionism, which has now escalated into the biggest trade dispute since the Second World War, Xi has sought to position China as the defender of the world’s rules-based global trading order — a view his envoy to Canada emphasized on Tuesday.“We can see that China has taken active measures to promote the economic globalization, to advance free trade and to uphold the authority of the multilateral trade regime,” Lu said.“These kinds of actions are fully different from that of the U.S. ‘America First’ initiatives and its measures.”
WASHINGTON – The U.S. trade deficit widened for the second straight month in July, reaching the highest level since February, as imports hit an all-time high. The deficit in goods with China and the European Union set records.The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the deficit in goods and services — the difference between what America sells and what it buys from other countries — rose to $50.1 billion in July from $45.7 billion in June. Exports slipped 1 per cent to $211.1 billion. Imports increased 0.9 per cent to a record $261.2 billion on increased purchases of trucks and computers.The deficit rose despite efforts by President Donald Trump to bring it down by renegotiating trade agreements and imposing taxes on imports.The United States has already slapped tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods in a dispute over Beijing’s aggressive efforts to challenge American technological dominance. It is taxing imported steel and aluminum and may target auto imports next, causing a rift with the EU. Trump also has threatened to exclude Canada from a revamped North American trade agreement.So far, the president’s aggressive policies have had little impact on the trade numbers. The goods deficit with China rose 10 per cent in July to a record $36.8 billion. The gap with the EU shot up 50 per cent to a record $17.6 billion and with Canada nearly 58 per cent to $3.1 billion. The July deficit with Mexico, though, plunged 25 per cent to $5.5 billion.So far this year, the trade deficit is up 7 per cent from January-July 2017.Trump views trade deficits as a sign of economic weakness, caused by bad trade deals and abusive behaviour by America’s trading partners.Mainstream economists blame persistent U.S. trade deficits on an economic reality that can’t be changed much by trade policy: Americans spend more than they produce, and imports fill the gap. The strong U.S. economy is also encouraging Americans to buy more foreign products.In July, the United States ran a deficit of $73.1 billion in goods such as cars and machinery, but recorded a surplus of more than $23 billon in services such as education and banking.
Rabat – Luis Van Gaal, Manchester United’s manager, said in a press conference on Tuesday that he aims to win the Premier League, as well as the Champions League titles with Manchester United by 2017 before he retires from management.The Dutch manager’s contract with the Red Devils is expected to end by June 2017.Van Gaal, who took over as Man United’s coach in 2014, said that his team has made progress this year in comparison to last year. “We have made progressions in maturity of the team and the balance of the team,” said Van Gaal.“We have improved when we have to compare with the team of last year and we need still time to improve because we have to improve to win the championship of the Premier League or a tournament like the Champions League.“We are still improving and I can see that every week,” he noted.Van Gaal said he hopes to win the Champions League by 2017, stressing that it is realistic goal for him.“I hope (to win the Champions League by 2017). That is realistic because I did it everywhere,” he added.Manchester United won the Champions League title three times. The first one was in 1968 when the title was called the European Cup. It was the first English club to win the most-coveted European trophy. It had to wait over three decades to win the second title against Bayern Munich in 1999 and almost another decade to snatch its third title in 2008.Ever since, Manchester United played two Champions League finals in 2009 and 2011, which it both lost to F.C. Barcelona.
TORONTO — Shares of Cineplex Inc. (TSX:CGX) fell Wednesday after the company reported a drop in second-quarter profit compared with a year ago as fewer people filled its theatres.The stock fell as low as $41.50 before recovering some of the ground it lost. Cineplex was down $3.26 at $46.22 in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.The company said it earned $1.4 million or two cents per share in its latest quarter, down from a profit of $7.2 million or 12 cents per diluted share a year ago.Revenue improved to $364.1 million, up from $338.0 million in the same quarter last year.Cineplex chief executive Ellis Jacob says the overall growth in revenue was due primarily to higher amusement revenue from the company’s growth and diversification.Amusement revenue improved to $45.7 million compared with $24.6 million a year ago, boosted by the company’s acquisitions of Tricorp Amusements Inc. and SAW last year and Dandy Amusements International Inc. earlier this year.Meanwhile, box office revenue totalled $170.7 million, up from $166.7 million, while attendance slipped to 16.5 million compared with 16.9 million a year ago.Food service revenue grew to $101.4 million compared with $96.8 million, while media revenue fell to $36.6 million from $40.2 million in the same quarter last year.Box office revenue per patron improved to $10.36 compared with $9.89 a year ago, while concession revenue per patron grew to $6.03, up from $5.74.Cineplex has been working to diversify beyond movies.Last week, the company announced an exclusive partnership deal to open Topgolf entertainment complexes, which combine a driving range with other entertainment options across the country over the next several years.Cineplex is also looking to expand its Rec Room complexes, which include eateries, live entertainment and games, across Canada.
Sirisena succeeded Rajapaksa as leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party but has moved only belatedly to assert his control over the party and block his predecessor’s path back to power. Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Tuesday he was unlikely to lead Sri Lanka’s next government as initial results from the general election gave a slight edge to the coalition government.“I will support good policies and oppose bad things,” the two-term president, who crushed a 26-year Tamil insurgency in 2009, told Reuters by telephone from his southern home of Hambantota. Sirisena backed the formation of a minority government led by the United National Party (UNP) after January’s election and called the early election in a bid to form a more broadly based administration joined by his own supporters in the SLFP.Initial results indicated that the UNP was likely to make gains and emerge as the largest single party, but would need outside support to form a viable government to run the Indian Ocean island of 20 million people. The 69-year-old nationalist ruled out joining a unity government that President Maithripala Sirisena, the figurehead of a broad reform coalition that toppled him at a presidential vote in January, wants to form.
Possibility of Ontario election looms as politicians return from Christmas break by Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 17, 2014 11:08 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – The Ontario legislature resumes Tuesday with the prospect of a spring election looming and the minority Liberal government reeling after another two byelection losses last week.The main focus of the session will be the budget, expected in late March or early April, which will lead to the government’s defeat and automatically trigger an election if the Liberals can’t secure a third deal with the New Democrats to support it.NDP Leader Andrea Horwath talked tough after the party took Niagara Falls from the Liberals in a byelection last Thursday, saying voters sent a clear message that it was “time for a change.”Horwath was still complaining Friday about the Liberals not keeping promises in the last two budgets, accusing them of “spinning the numbers” instead of cutting car insurance rates and saying they still had not created a financial accountability office.But when pressed about the possibility of defeating the Liberals on the budget, Horwath said she doesn’t have “election fever” and will consult voters on whether they feel the Liberals have kept their word and can be trusted to do so again.“The other two leaders might talk about elections all the time and whether or not they want an election or they don’t, what I’m going to talk about is the priorities of Ontarians, making sure they are front and centre,” she said.“For me, the job is to get a sense of where Ontarians are, to listen to what they have to say, and spend this session making very clear what those priorities and goals are.”Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, breathing a big sigh of relief after the Tories held on to the suburban Toronto riding of Thornhill in Thursday’s other byelection, said voters had sent a “powerful message” that it’s time for a change.Hudak, who has been pushing for an election almost since the day the Progressive Conservatives lost the 2011 campaign, said his party captured the most votes in the seven byelections held since Wynne became Liberal leader a year ago, even though they won only two. The NDP won three and the Liberals won two.“People want change, and as we’ve seen in the byelections last Thursday and last summer, people want a change from the Liberals, who dropped to 20 per cent in Niagara Falls,” he said.“It’s the PC Party that got the most votes by far in those seven campaigns.”Premier Kathleen Wynne downplayed the importance of the Liberal losses _ calling the byelections “skirmishes” that allowed people to “vote with impunity” knowing it wouldn’t change anything in the legislature _ but said she knows voters want change.“There is an appetite among many people for change, and I understand that,” Wynne said Friday. “We’ve been in office for 10 years, but I’ve been the premier for a year, and I am the change that we are bringing to the province of Ontario, and that’s the conversation I’ll be having with the people in a general election.”However, Wynne made it clear she doesn’t intend to call an election, and will introduce a budget as planned.“We’re going to continue to do our work,” she said. “I don’t know when there will be an election. It is my job to make sure that we continue to implement our plan.”There are 20 government bills left over from the fall session of the legislature, many that the Liberals accuse the Opposition of blocking for partisan reasons, including one to give workers up to eight weeks unpaid leave to care for a sick family member.There is also legislation that would increase penalties for selling cigarettes to kids and broaden smoking bans in public places, and another bill to strengthen rules around unlicensed day cares that the Liberals are trying to get passed.The Tories are pushing Hudak’s private member’s bill that he says would create one million jobs over the next eight years, starting with a drop in the corporate tax rate, but it stands virtually no chance of getting passed into law.The return of MPPs from the two-month Christmas break also means a return of the committee hearings into the Liberals’ decisions to cancel two gas plants prior to the 2011 election at a cost of up to $1.1 billion.There is also an ongoing police investigation into deleted emails on the gas plant cancellations, and another police probe into irregular activities at the troubled Ornge air ambulance service. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne reacts as Lt.-Gov. David Onley delivers the throne speech at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Tuesday February 19, 2013. The Ontario legislature resumes Tuesday with the prospect of a spring election looming and the minority Liberal government reeling after another two byelection losses last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Incheon was chosen “on account of the quality of its programme and the impact it will have on improving good integration of all stakeholders in the promotion of books and reading, access to books and writing in all formats to the citizens of Incheon and the Korean Peninsula,” according to the selection committee, which met at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters on 16 July.UNESCO said in a news release that its Director-General, Irina Bokova, endorsed the committee’s decision and welcomed the number and quality of applications received for the title of World Book Capital 2015.Each year, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry – the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Booksellers Federation (IBF) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) – select the World Book Capital for a one-year period, effective 23 April. The committee attributes the title to a city which has committed itself to promote books and reading, and to highlight the vitality of literary creativity. The nomination does not imply any financial prize, but an exclusively symbolic acknowledgement of the best programme dedicated to books and reading.Incheon is the 15th city to be designated World Book Capital following Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010), Buenos Aires (2011), Yerevan (2012), Bangkok (2013), and Port Harcourt (2014).
On the occasion of the presidential and legislative elections which will mark the end of the transition period in Burkina Faso, Mr. Ban, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, called on all national stakeholders to ensure that the polls are conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner that respects the will of the people of Burkina Faso.“He further calls on them to resolve disputes that may arise from the electoral process through established legal channels,” the statement continued, reiterating the commitment of the United Nations to support the efforts of the democratically-elected authorities of Burkina Faso to consolidate peace and stability and to advance democratic governance.This past October, on the margins of the UN General Assembly’s annual high-level segment, the Secretary-General met with Michel Kafando, the Transitional President of Burkina Faso, and expressed his sympathy for the lives lost and the many injured during the coup d’état that took place on 16 September 2015.According to a readout issued at the time, the Secretary-General also reiterated his call on all national stakeholders to act responsibly, exercise restraint and work in the best interests of the country, while reaffirming the UN’s commitment to supporting national efforts, including for the organization of the elections. Mr. Ban stressed that it would be essential to ensure the early holding of peaceful and credible presidential and legislative elections to allow for the swift return of constitutional order in Burkina Faso.
“We have the tools to answer the questions posed by climate change, environmental pressure, poverty and inequality”, said UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. “They lie in the great agreements of 2015 – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.”“But tools are no use if you don’t use them. So, today, and every day, my appeal is clear and simple. We need action, ambition and political will. More action, more ambition and more political will,” said the UN chief. The six new Advocates are:His Royal Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II, Emir of Kano (Federal Republic of Nigeria).Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Activist, Environment and Indigenous Rights (Republic of Chad).Dia Mirza, Actress and Film Producer, UN Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador for India (Republic of India).Edward Ndopu, Founder, Global Strategies on Inclusive Education (Republic of South Africa).Nadia Murad, Nobel Laureate, Chair and President, Nadia’s Initiative, UN Office on Drugs and Crime Goodwill Ambassador (Republic of Iraq).Marta Vieira da Silva, Footballer, Orlando Pride, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador (Federative Republic of Brazil). They are joining and overall group of 17, who are all committed to raising awareness, inspiring greater ambition, and pushing for faster action on the SDGs, which include the end of extreme hunger, poverty, and quality healthcare for all.The Advocates represent the universal character of the SDGs themselves, hailing from Governments, entertainment, academia, sport, business and activist organizations around the world.“By joining forces to achieve our goals, we can turn hope into reality – leaving no one behind,” said Co-Chair of the SDG Advocates group, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway.“This is a time of great hope for the world. If we work smartly together and stay on course, we can raise millions out of poverty and significantly expand basic social services for many more by the 2030 end date of the SDGs,” added Co-Chair of the SDG Advocates and President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Mr. Guterres has appointed some members of the previous group of SDG Advocates as SDG Advocate Alumni and said on Thursday he was looking forward to their ongoing support and engagement. 2019 @SDGAdvocates announced Thurs to advance #SDGs. @almmura tells us why she’s a @UN Advocate: “I believe in gender equality, reducing inequalities, I fundamentally believe in inclusive security, and that the only way we can get ahead, is if we go together”. pic.twitter.com/9uAdXnJJQ5— UN News (@UN_News_Centre) May 9, 2019
The BBC increased its salary bill for presenters by £11 million last year, as Theresa May demanded to know how the corporation can justify such a rise while cutting off free television licences for the over-75s.The total wage bill for on-air roles was up by more than seven per cent to £158.6 million, and the BBC’s overall headcount increased by nearly 1,000.The number of presenters earning £150,000 or more increased from 64 to 75 in the last financial year, with the combined bill up from £19.8 milion to £21.8 million.Those elevated to the ’rich list’ included Zoe Ball and Sara Cox, the Radio 2 DJs, and Jermaine Jenas, the Match of the Day pundit and former footballer, as the BBC responded to previous criticism about the lack of women and BAME presenters among its high earners.Gary Lineker resisted calls to take a pay cut and maintained his salary of £1.75 million per year, making him the BBC’s highest-paid star for the second year running. His Match of the Day colleague, Alan Shearer, saw his pay rise. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the BBC “needs to explain why they increased on-air pay and total staffing costs whilst saying they can’t fund free TV licences for over-75s.“As the PM has made clear, taxpayers expect the BBC to use its substantial licence fee income in an appropriate way to ensure it delivers for UK audiences, which includes showing restraint on senior staff.”Asked whether the BBC should close the gender pay gap by docking the salaries of its male stars, the spokesman said: “The BBC does have a responsibility to lead the way in promoting workplace equality. There are several ways to progress towards equal pay and it is for the BBC to explain their course of action.”The figures were published in the BBC’s annual report, in which the director-general, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, devoted only one paragraph of a six-page essay to the decision to end the over-75s concession.At a press conference to launch the report, Lord Hall said: “Do I sympathise and empathise with those who are being asked to pay for this from next June? Of course we all do.” But he said the decision was necessary and would preserve BBC services.The BBC chairman, Sir David Clementi, dismissed the idea that the corporation should cut its wage bill and put the money towards licences for the over-75s.“The sums don’t add up,” he said. “The suggestion is a nonsense. It is clear from this report that even if we employed no stars paid more than £150,000 per annum that would save around £20m, a fraction of the £745m and rising we would need if we extended the concession to all.”The total bill for all BBC staff is £1,078 milllion, up from £1,019 million the previous year.The report also showed that 35 executives are paid £200,000 or more, up from 24 in the previous financial year. But Sir David insisted that the BBC does not overpay senior staff. “On management, there is absolutely no evidence we are paying our excellent people above the market [rate]. All the evidence is the reverse,” he said.The list of BBC management includes around a dozen people from the HR department, some of whom have received significant salary rises. Gillian Taylor, who as “director of reward” is responsible for strategy on pay and benefits, saw her own pay rise from £160,000-169,999 in 2017/18 to £200,000-£204,999 last year.Three women appear in the top 10 earners this year – Claudia Winkleman, Zoe Ball and Vanessa Feltz – but Jane Garvey, the Radio 4 Woman’s Hour presenter, suggested that the public might prefer to see male salaries cut.She told the Today programme: “These salaries are really eye-catching and frankly they are really eye-watering, I’m sure, to the majority of your listeners right now.”Despite the BBC’s stated commitment to ending the gender pay gap, only five women appear in the top 20 highest earners: Claudia Winkleman, Zoe Ball, Vanessa Feltz, Lauren Laverne and Gabby Logan.Lord Hall will be asked to explain the BBC’s approach to stars’ pay when he appears before the DCMS committee later this month.Damian Collins, the committee’s chairman, said: “I would have liked to have seen the overall talent bill frozen and it is up to the BBC how they distribute that money, but I don’t think there was a case for talent pay going up. “In trying to correct the imbalance in men and women’s pay they should have been looking to reduce the pay in top male earners and compensate women who have been underpaid.”A BBC spokesperson said: “Staff numbers are up not least because the Government gave us more money to expand the World Service – and we can’t do that without extra people. Beyond that, we have also spent more on our programmes – which is good for audiences – but we’ve still managed to reduce the proportion of our content budget that we spend on talent.”The average pay of those on the talent list is actually falling, and the cost of our top 10 highest earners is down by nearly 10% since last year.“Above all, it’s well known that the BBC pays less than people can earn at commercial broadcasters. The National Audit Office report said this recently. And when we ask audiences, 4 out of 5 people tell us they want the biggest and best names on the BBC.”A BBC spokesman said that the £11 million increase in on-air salaries actually represented a reduction, as it equates to 10 per cent of the programme budget – down from 11 per cent the previous year.As in previous years, the BBC is able to hide many of its highest salaries because they are paid via BBC Studios, which is exempt from the disclosures. The millions paid to actors in EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City are now secret, along with the salaries on Strictly Come Dancing and Antiques Roadshow.Top 10 earners (financial year 2018/19)1) Gary Lineker: £1,750,000 – £1,754,9992) Chris Evans: £1,250,000 – £1,254,9993) Graham Norton: £610,000 – £614,9994) Huw Edwards: £490,000 – £494,9995) Steve Wright: £465,000 – £469,9996) Alan Shearer: £440,000 – £444,9997) Andrew Marr: £390,000 – £394,9998) Claudia Winkleman | Zoe Ball: £370,000 – £374,99910) Vanessa Feltz | Jason Mohammad: £355,000 – £359,999New entriesAnnie Mac: £180,000 – £184,999Clara Amfo: £150,000 – £154,999 Jane Hill: £155,000 – £159,999Joanna Gosling: £150,000 – £159,999Louise Minchin: £205,000 – £209,999 Naga Munchetty: £190,000 – £194,999 Orla Guerin: £160,000 – £164,999Reeta Chakrabarti: £170,000 – £174,999Sara Cox: £235,000 – £239,999Zoe Ball: £370,000 – £374,999Adrian Chiles: £180,000 – £184,999Charlie Stayt: £190,000 – 194,999Clive Myrie: £200,000 – £204,999Dotun Adebayo: £150,000 – £154,999Jermaine Jenas: £210,000 – £214,999Nihal Arthanayake: £175,000 – £179,999Biggest risersJo Whiley: +£97,500Jason Mohammad: +£92,500Justin Webb: +£82,500Sarah Montague: +£77,500Fiona Bruce: +£72,999Lauren Laverne: +£72,500Sophie Raworth: +£62,500Gabby Logan: +£57,500Dan Walker: +£57,500Greg James: +£52,500
Source: TheJournal Politics/Twitter Matt Barrett, the partner of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, listens to speeches during a St Patrick’s Day Celebration reception and Shamrock presentation ceremony at the White House in Washington D.C. Source: PA Wire/PA ImagesIn the crowd, that peculiarly Irish-American phrase “top of the mornin’ to ya” could be heard. But aside from that and Trump’s awkward pronunciation of Varadkar’s title (‘Tea-SHOCK’ … it had been spelt phonetically on the autocue) there weren’t too many cringeworthy moments this year, compared to the last few visits. Nothing close to, for instance, Paul Ryan and the Worst Pint of Guinness Imaginable.TheJournal.ie’s Political Correspondent Christina Finn will be bringing you all the latest updates from Leo Varadkar’s visit to Washington DC this week.Stay up-to-date by following @christinafinn8, @TJ_Politics and TheJournal.ie’s Facebook page. 42 Comments Image: Brian Lawless Taoiseach with Donald Trump outside Capitol Hill today. Stay with us for Shamrock ceremony which will take place in the White House shortly pic.twitter.com/PnNLmqU6dZ— TheJournal Politics (@TJ_Politics) March 14, 2019 Friday 15 Mar 2019, 2:24 PM https://jrnl.ie/4542885 Image: Brian Lawless Leo’s meeting with Pence makes global headlines as Taoiseach avoids gaffes in Washington The Taoiseach’s visit to Pence’s house, alongside his long-term partner, dominated coverage yesterday. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Christina Finn reports from Washington DC:SLICK, POLISHED AND for everything to go off without a hitch – that’s what Varadkar was hoping for in Washington after things didn’t exactly work out that way last year.You may recall the tenor of the domestic headlines exactly 12 months ago today after the Taoiseach joked at a Capitol Hill lunch about intervening on behalf of Donald Trump in order to stop a wind farm being built near Doonbeg.This time around, the traditional schedule of Washington events went more smoothly.Notably, headlines in the international press were dominated by the Taoiseach’s breakfast meeting with Vice President Mike Pence. Pence, who has been criticised for his views and his legislative record on LGBT rights, told Varadkar last year that his partner, Matt Barrett, would be welcome at his official residence at this year’s St Patrick’s breakfast. And speaking at the event – which was open to press, in a departure from last year – the Taoiseach gave remarks noting that in modern day Ireland politicians were judged not by their sexual orientation, “skin tone, gender or religious beliefs” but by their actions. The Washington Post noted in its piece: “This is the first time that Pence has hosted the partner of an openly gay world leader at his residence, though that may simply be a reflection of their low numbers.”The headline in The Guardian observed that Varadkar had delivered “pointed remarks on sexuality”. The Daily Beast stated: ‘Mike Pence Meets With Ireland’s First Openly Gay Prime Minister’. Business Insider was a little more direct with it’s headline: ‘The Irish Prime Minister brought his boyfriend to meet Vice President Pence’ Source: daragh Source: PA Wire/PA ImagesPence, and his sister Anne (Pence’s wife is away at the Special Olympics) welcomed the couple, making small talk in front of the cameras. There was some speculation over whether Varadkar would mention the issue of gay rights – but his comments on the issue, delivered from a podium as the vice president looked on, were to the point. Pence is deeply religious, so it’s notable that Varadkar rolled out the expression ‘all God’s children’. He told the guests he had always been fascinated by US politics “in many ways it helped to inspire me to believe in the power of politics to do good because ultimately that is what politics is all about”.“It helped inspire me to run for office. I also knew at the time that I lived in a country where if I tried to be myself, at the time I would have ended up breaking laws.“But today that has all changed. I stand here as leader of my country, flawed and human, where I am judged by my political actions and not my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender or religious beliefs.“And I don’t think my country is the only one in the world where this story is possible. It is found in every country where liberty is cherished.We are, after all, all God’s children and that is true of the United States. While there were tributes to the Irish diaspora, their hard-work and inspiration to America, the focus, just as it had in the Oval Office earlier, turned to Brexit.Trump said Brexit is “turning out to be a little more complex than they thought it will be, but it’s all going to work out. It always does.” He thanked Varadkar for briefing him on Ireland’s position, and said he respected the country’s position.Earlier, sitting alongside Varadkar at the White House, Trump told reporters that he was surprised at just how badly Brexit negotiations had gone.He also claimed to have offered his advice to Theresa May, but said she didn’t listen to it (he didn’t expand on the nature of the advice). There was notable tension in the air in the White House when Trump let rip into the EU for treating the US “badly”.“They are willing to talk to us and if they don’t talk to us we are going to do something that is going to be pretty severe economically… they have treated us very badly,” said Trump, who then threatened to tariff European products.At the lunch, Trump said Brexit had turned out to be a little more complex than expected, but he thanked the Taoiseach for bringing him up to speed.While the UK’s exit from the EU dominated, Varadkar managed to get one other Irish issue into his speech: the E3 Visa.The visa is currently only offered by the US to Australian citizens. Because Australians only use about half of their allotment, Ireland is seeking access to the remainder of the unused visas.“I believe the new E3 visa programme is true to our shared history and offers a chance for a new generation of talented, hard-working dreamers to give something to this great country. I hope that will come to pass,” said Varadkar. Later it emerged that Trump had personally spoken to the sole senator holding up progress on the issue. Varadkar with House speaker Nancy Pelosi. Source: PA Wire/PA ImagesThere were some slightly odd, freewheeling comments from Trump later at the traditional shamrock ceremony, when the President observed of the Irish: “They’re smart. They’re sharp. They’re great. And they’re brutal enemies!”Varadkar, in his own speech, congratulated Trump on the “booming” American economy.“Your ambition is to make America great again, and we can see the results today,” Varadkar said.The American economy is booming. More jobs. Rising incomes. Exactly what you said you’d do. American military power is unrivalled. Source: Brian LawlessOf course, the breakfast was dotted with the usual talk of Irish ancestry, with Pence stating that he yearned to return to his homestead in Ireland, adding that plans are underway for his mother and him to return this year.The Taoiseach said he was delighted that the vice president had decided to take him up on his invite, and that he would happy if they could visit Ireland. Varadkar also commended Pence’s mother, who still has a cúpla focal. Gaffe free The Taoiseach managed to avoid the gaffes of last year, limiting the jokes and anecdotes and keeping the mood rather serious in his speech on Capitol Hill.The lunch is one of only two official occasions each year that the US president visits the Hill.Taking to the podium, Trump said he had gotten to know his “friend” Varadkar “very well” in recent years, telling the crowd that he could barely believe this was his third St Patrick’s Day as president. Share577 Tweet Email5 By Christina Finn Mar 14th 2019, 7:33 PM Short URL As the clock ticks down, get all the best Brexit news and analysis in your inbox: 75,166 Views
Post a comment Now playing: Watch this: See the first Nvidia RTX gaming laptops in action The always-interesting tests by Puget Systems show no significant speed improvements, however, with an RTX 2080 in Premiere Pro CC and Photoshop CC, though the site didn’t really run a full set of tests. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the relevant software developers took the new drivers into account and performance differences will change over time. A girl can dream, anyway.The driver doesn’t add support for 10-bit color for applications (not just games), one of Nvidia’s most annoying mainstays for distinguishing workstation from consumer GPUs. The game and creator drivers are essentially the same, at least for the moment, just on different release cycles.Of course, if there’s no notable performance increase, you could just not autoupdate the existing drivers, which is always a good policy anyway; when possible, I wait and see if they break anything important before updating. 0 Nvidia’s new Creator Ready driver track finally acknowledges the hordes of GeForce owners who use its less expensive gaming-optimized consumer cards with professional applications. It’s mostly about “cadence”: Creator Ready is a slower, more stable driver update track than its Game Ready drivers, which update every time a popular new game comes out. It also sounds like Nvidia is placing more weight on testing them with the applications than it does with the Game Ready drivers.Nvidia also claims speed improvements with Adobe Photoshop CC, Premiere Pro CC, Blender Cycles and Cinema 4D. Plus, there’s specific acceleration support with RTX cards for Unreal Engine 4.22, Photoshop Lightroom CC (hopefully Nvidia really means Lightroom Classic CC), Substance Designer and Redcine-X Pro 51.Nvidia has long maintained a firm distinction between workstation-certified Quadro graphics cards and its gaming-optimized — and much cheaper — GeForce cards, despite the fact that the actual line between the two is a lot fuzzier in practice. But 2019 is The Year of the Buzzword “Creative,” so it looks like the company is unclenching a bit on its drivers for Turing- and Pascal-based GeForce cards and as far back as the Volta-based Titan V. The driver applies to Quadro cards, as well.This move was likely intended to pacify game streamers (real game streaming, like on Twitch, not cloud gaming) and game designers, both quickly growing segments for discrete GPUs. A more cynical person might even think the move is to help bolster sales of the ray-tracing-accelerating GeForce RTX cards — if you think they’re expensive, try looking at the prices of the Quadro RTX cards. Laptops Applications Desktops 19 Photos Share your voice Tags 2:12 Originally published March 26.Update, March 27: Adds confirmation from Nvidia that 10-bit support has not been added. (It’s still available only through DirectX, not OpenGL, for applications.) Get ready for the first wave of Nvidia RTX gaming laptops Adobe Nvidia
China’s Premier Li Keqiang gestures as he leaves the room after a news conference following the closing ceremony of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: ReutersChinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday expressed confidence in the European Union, calling for a united, prosperous and stable Europe amid widespread concerns about the impact of Brexit and the rise of nationalism.Speaking at his annual news conference at the end of the annual meeting of China’s parliament, Li said that China backed European integration.“I am optimistic about the prospects of the European Union, and we are optimistic about the development prospects for China-EU relations,” he said.European Council President Donald Tusk in February warned that, in the wake of Brexit and with growing nationalism, the EU faced the biggest challenges in its 60-year history, compounded by an assertive China, an aggressive Russia and worrying declarations from US President Donald Trump.The Trump administration has stirred concern in Europe due to doubts about NATO and countering Russia in Ukraine, as well as over free trade.Trump has similarly worried China by criticising the country’s trade practices and threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports, as part of his pledge to put “America first”.Li said China did not want to see a trade war with the US.While acknowledging that trade ties between China and the EU have been strained in recent years over steel, Li said that China and the EU had experience at “appropriately resolving” disputes.
Nazmul Huda. Prothom Alo File PhotoThe Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to former minister Nazmul Huda in a graft case, reports UNB.A four-member bench led by chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order accepting his leave-to-appeal petition.On 8 November last year, the High Court commuted former communications minister Nazmul Huda’s seven years’ imprisonment to four years in the graft case and ordered him to surrender before the court.He surrendered before the court on 6 January and the court sent him to jail.Later, he filed a leave-to appeal petition and another petition seeking bail.Lawyers AF Hasan Arif, Monsurul Haque Chowdhury and Sigma Huda stood for Nazmul Huda and Khushid Alam Khan for the Anti-Corruption Commission.On 27 August, 2007, a Special Judge’s Court sentenced the former BNP minister to seven years’ imprisonment while his wife to three years’ imprisonment in the case filed by the ACC.However, the High Court on 20 March, 2011 acquitted them from the charge and later the Appellate Division on 1 December, 2014 scrapped the HC verdict and asked for hearing the petition again.ACC deputy director Shariful Islam filed the case against Nazmul Huda and his wife Sigma Huda on 21 March, 2007 on charge of taking Tk 24 million as bribe from a person named Mir Jaher Hossain.
Madrasa girl is undergoing at the hospital. Photo: Ahmed ZayeefA case was filed on Monday over setting on fire a female madrasa student, reports UNB.Her elder brother Mahmudul Hasan filed the case with Sonagazi police station around 3:30pm accusing four persons and their accomplices, said officer-in-charge Moazzem Hossain.Police have arrested seven people – Mostafa Kamal, Nurul Amin, Ashraf, Saiful, Arif, Jasim and Alauddin – so far.The madrasa student was set afire allegedly by students loyal to principal Sirajuddoula. She suffered 80 per cent burns.The student, currently being treated at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, was put on life support on Monday.The principal was arrested on 17 March and subsequently suspended after she accused him of sexually harassing her.The madrasa has been shut down until 17 April, after the incident grabbed the headlines and sparked outrage across Bangladesh.
To preserve India’s rich heritage and culture and the performing arts, a Delhi-based NGO ‘Routes 2 Roots’ in association with the ministry of culture launched India’s largest interactive digital learning of performing arts, titled ‘VIRSA’ at Indian Habitat Centre in the national Capital. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of state for culture and tourism, inaugurated the program in the presence of Alok Kumar Verma, Commissioner of Police, Delhi and eminent Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj and Famous Sitarist Pandit Debu Chaudhury, KK Sharma, DG-BDG. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’VIRSA is a digital platform which aims to give free digital learning classes of Indian culture and music to children across India. It will be done in collaboration with renowned artists and legends like Birju Maharaj, Violinist Dr L. Subramanium, Singer Kavita Krishnamurthy, Danseuse Shovna Narayan, Singer Shafqat Amanat Ali, Actor Juhi Chawla apart from many other famous personalities.Though launched for the entire country it will initially cover states like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Maharashtra and Gujarat while work for rest of the states is under process, thus aiming to cover all parts of India. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixDerived from ‘Virasat’ which means Heritage, ‘VIRSA’ focuses on two major art forms, i,e, dance and hindustani music. It has 10 different genres of Indian classical music and dance, which includes hindustani vocal instruments like tabla, harmonium, carnatic vocal and carnatic violin, guitar, keyboard and dance forms like Kathak, Bharatnatyam and Theatre. In a five- day schedule, two cultural activities will be taken up. The classes will begin from August 8 where students will be given direct opportunity to interact with the board of advisors and teachers alike. ‘Routes2Roots’ has constantly strived to bridge the socio-cultural gap between India and the world through music, art, culture and heritage. The General Secretary of R2R, Tina Vachani is extremely hopeful about their new project and believes that it will definitely succeed in reaching out to the people who are talented as the inaccessibility was barring them from learning the things they want to but now with VIRSA there would not be any such issues and the students will easily be able to learn directly from the eminent personalities.
Albert Einstein’s brain had quite the surreal journey after the famed physicist left this mortal coil. When Einstein died in 1955, Dr. Thomas Stoltz Harvey performed the autopsy at Princeton Hospital where he removed the brain, possibly illegally, and took it to the University of Pennsylvania. He divided it up into pieces; some for himself and others for several pathologists. Harvey photographed the brain from every possible angle then stored the pieces in a formaldehyde solution. When Harvey died in 2007, his family cleared out his possessions. The photographs and the parts of the brain he had stored were donated to the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Springs, Maryland. Harvey had promised to collaborate with other scientists to publish a paper on their findings, but no such paper ever emerged.In 1978, reporter Steven Levy was assigned to find Albert Einstein’s brain which up until then had been mostly forgotten. After tracking down Dr. Harvey, he asked to see the photographs but Harvey, instead, pulled several mason jars from a box containing the famous brain.Pathologist Thomas Harvey (1912 – 2007) holds the brain of theoretical physicist Albert Einstein in a jar, Kansas, 1994. Harvey performed the autopsy on Einstein in 1955, and retained parts of the brain for scientific study. Photo by Michael Brennan/Getty ImagesAccording to Carolyn Abraham, author of Possessing Genius: The Bizarre Odyssey of Einstein’s Brain, it is believed that Harvey wanted to make a name for himself. Unfortunately, because of his theft of the brain, he lost his job, his wife and his standing as a Yale-educated, respected pathologist at Princeton.He spent the rest of his working life in a plastics factory. Abraham acknowledges Harvey’s wish to have the brain studied but remarked that if he had turned the brain over to qualified scientists things may not have turned out so badly.The lateral sulcus (Sylvian fissure) in a normal brain. In Einstein’s brain, this was truncated. Photo by Jimhutchins CC BY-SA 3.0Several scientists who studied the samples given out have written papers, including neuro-anatomist Marian Diamond from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1978, she claimed the brain had more glial cells than the other brains used for comparison in the study. Glial cells hold neurons in place and supply them with oxygen and nutrients.In 1996, Britt Anderson from the University of Alabama at Birmingham published a paper on Einstein’s prefrontal cortex which revealed the neurons in the brain were more tightly packed than the control group of brains, which may have provided for faster information processing.Albert EinsteinSandra Witelson from McMaster University in Canada published her findings from Harvey’s photographs in 1999, claiming Albert Einstein’s inferior parietal of his brain was wider than normal and was more cohesive. The inferior parietal lobule is the part of the brain responsible for spatial cognition and mathematical thought, obviously one of Einstein’s key advantages.Einstein’s Riddle- Can you solve it?In 2012, anthropologist Dean Falk, using Harvey’s personal photographs, found some uncommon differences from the control brains. She found a lump on Einstein’s right motor strip that is often found in left-handed musicians such as Einstein, who played the violin.She also discovered an additional ridge on the mid-frontal lobe which controls working memory and the ability to plan ahead. She found the corpus callosum, the connecting tissues between the two brain lobes, was much thicker than normal — leading her to believe he had more cooperation between the two lobes than most people.A blackboard used by Albert Einstein in a 1931 lecture in Oxford. The last three lines give numerical values for the density (ρ), radius (P), and age of the universe. The blackboard is on permanent display in the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. Photo by decltype CC BY-SA 3.0The press had a field day when these papers were made available, claiming the scientists had found Einstein’s special ability to create E=mc2 as well as other groundbreaking mathematical formulas. However, some people argue that nothing could be further from the truth.Read another story from us: White House Poisoning? President Zachary Taylor’s Body was Exhumed and Tested for ArsenicTerence Hines, a psychologist at Pace University in New York, has been critical of the studies claiming they are flawed. He believes that everyone’s brains may have oddities, but that doesn’t make one a genius. He believes that scanning the brains of noted scientists would provide a better comparison with the control brains rather than just using brains of geniuses.The question remains, however, was Einstein a genius because of the differences in his brain or were the differences caused by his genius?
Because a C-section entails major abdominal surgery, risks for the mother include infections, complications from anesthesia, hemorrhage and dangerous clots, and a longer recovery. For the baby, the procedure is linked to increases in premature births, breathing problems, and generally lower health scores related to depriving babies of the stimulation they normally experience as they travel through the birth canal.The reasons behind Brazil’s high rates are many. Experts say a longstanding interventionist approach to vaginal births made them more painful and stressful than necessary. All this gave C-sections a reputation as being a more predictable, safe, painless and modern way to deliver.Brazil’s statistics worry Maria do Carmo Leal, a researcher at the National Public Health School at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation. She is analyzing a survey of 24,000 birthing mothers across the country and said the high C-Section rate reflects an extreme manifestation of a medical culture that treats delivery as a health problem and not as a natural process.“Here, when a woman is going to give birth, even natural birth, the first thing many hospitals do is tie her to the bed by putting an IV in her arm, so she can’t walk, can’t take a bath, can’t hug her husband. The use of drugs to accelerate contractions is very common, as are episiotomies,” she said. “What you get is a lot of pain, and a horror of childbirth. This makes a cesarean a dream for many women.” “We’re making a big effort now, offering good prenatal care, a place women trust, information that’s pertinent, so women can make their decision,” said National Health Care Secretary Helvecio Magalhaes. “We’re creating incentives for natural birth.”The program’s broad approach creates maternity hospitals focused only on pregnancy, delivery and post-partum care, reaches out to private health care plans to discuss birth options, proposes curriculum revisions in medical schools, and launches educational campaigns aimed at informing mothers of the pros and cons of surgery versus natural childbirth, Magalhaes said.In the city of Rio, a similar program invites all mothers delivering through the public health system to visit the hospital where they’ll give birth. The question _ C-sections or natural birth? _ came up in a group of 10 pregnant women during a recent tour of a brand new public maternity hospital.“I never wanted a natural child birth, no way!” said Zelia Leite Alves, who was accompanying her pregnant daughter on the visit. “I wasn’t born to feel that kind of pain.”She did her best to talk her daughter, Claudia Larissa, into following in her footsteps. To her surprise, the 20-year-old was determined to have a natural birth, as long as it was safe. 5 ways to recognize low testosterone In response, women organized marches in 13 cities. In Sao Paulo, they bared their breasts and carried posters reading “Our Children, Our Decision” while chanting “Brazil, don’t follow Rio’s example.” They enacted natural births using dolls covered with Portuguese words reading “Born Free.”After the resolution was reversed by court order July 30, about 200 people gathered in Rio to celebrate, with yet more banners and painted bellies defending women’s freedom to choose how their babies are born. Similar marches took place in 28 other Brazilian cities, where women also defended their right to reject episiotomies _ cutting the vaginal opening to prevent tearing _ and to have company during the birth. A 2005 law says women should have a companion of their choice during labor, but it’s frequently not respected.The World Health Organization warns against unnecessary surgeries, saying that while there is no ideal C-section rate, the percentage should hover between 10 and 15 percent. In China, which also has a very high cesarean rate, 46 percent of babies were delivered via the surgery in 2008, the latest year for which data is available. In the US, more than a third of births are by C-section. Private clinics are often happy to make that dream come true by turning delivery into something akin to a weekend retreat in a birth-themed five-star hotel.At the Perinatal Clinic in Rio de Janeiro, mothers can get free hairstyling, manicures and makeup sessions, and for a fee, can have their rooms decorated in a safari or teddy bear motif. Once the new mom is ready for visitors, a catering service complete with waiters can also be arranged.“There are patients who absolutely refuse to have natural childbirth, well-informed patients who maintain this position out of fear,” said Paulo Marinho, the medical director at Perinatal. “It’s a cultural situation. I’ve seen it develop over generations.”From the doctors’ perspective, the issue comes down to familiarity and economics, said Moraes Filho, of the Brazilian Gynecologists and Obstetrics Association.Brazilian women expect the doctor who sees them throughout their pregnancy to be the one who delivers their baby, not whoever happens to be on call. Second, health care plans generally pay practitioners the same for a C-section taking 30-40 minutes as for a natural birth that can last an entire day. Associated PressRIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – From the day Mariana Migon discovered she was pregnant, she knew she wanted a natural birth. So just weeks before her due date, the first-time mother abandoned her obstetrician, her health plan and her private hospital room for the free public hospital in downtown Rio _ where she had a real chance at a vaginal birth.“If I’d stayed with my health care plan and my doctor, I would have had a C-section,” said Migon, as she sat beside the incubator holding her baby girl, who was premature. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Top holiday drink recipes Sponsored Stories Top Stories In Brazil, where natural childbirth fell out of favor years ago, more than half of all babies are born via cesarean section, a figure that rises to 82 percent for women with private health insurance.But that trend may be turning around in a country with one of the highest cesarean rates in the world.More women are pushing for more of a say in childbirth _ whether by C-section or naturally, at home or in a hospital, with a midwife or a medical doctor. As patients in doctors’ offices and street protesters reject the pressure to have surgical births, the federal government is investing billions of dollars into a natural childbirth campaign, including the building of hospitals devoted to maternal care.“We need to have a serious discussion in this country to see what can be done to change this culture,” said Olimpio Moraes Filho, one of the head doctors with the Brazilian Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Women are starting to rebel, and they should.”A tipping point came in July, when a medical regulating agency in Rio de Janeiro forbade doctors from doing home births and labor coaches known as doulas from helping out in hospitals, saying “there are many complications possible during labor that require immediate medical attention.” New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Comments Share “I have to admit, I’m not calm at all. It’s my first time and I’m anxious. I’m very afraid of the contractions. But this helps,” she said of the visit. “I can see this was made for us, this space is for mothers. I know the staff will be here for me.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) “We have to change this culture, and get women comfortable having their child with the doctor or nurse on duty,” Moraes Filho said.In public hospitals doctors are paid R$150 ($74) for a C-section, and R$175 ($86) for a natural birth. Three-quarters of Brazilians rely on free public health care. Private doctors receive between R$ 200 ($100) and R$400 ($200) per birth, depending on the health care plan and the procedure.“It’s not that doctors are mercenaries, but what they earn to be present for a very important moment is little more than what a television repairman gets who shows up on his schedule,” Moraes Filho said. “This doctor-patient connection where the woman wants her doctor present, the poor remuneration for doctors, their need to juggle several jobs _ all this makes it impossible for a practitioner to reconcile his work schedule with unpredictable vaginal births.”In an effort to reverse the trend, Brazil’s federal government has invested $1.3 billion over the last year and a half, with another $3.36 billion allocated in a program called “The Stork Network,” aimed at “humanizing” the birth experience and educating mothers and health care practitioners on the benefits of natural childbirth. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates
The 2016-2017 Dubai Cruise season officially concluded with the departure of the season’s final ship, the C.S. Sea Princess, from Port Rashid.This marked the end of a successful season for Dubai Cruise Tourism, which saw over 625,000 cruise tourists visit the city via a total of 157 ship calls, reflecting an increase of 15% and 18% respectively when compared to the 2015-2016 season. The season also saw Thomson Cruises, the first UK-based cruise line home porting in the region, in addition to inaugural visits from TUI’s Mein Schiff 1 Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Star and MSC’s MSC Fantasia among the eight other maiden ship calls.Commenting on the success of the 2016-2017 season, Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, Director of Dubai Cruise Tourism, said, “We are very pleased with the success of our 2016-2017 cruising season, and with the city’s sustained popularity as a winter cruise destination. We are grateful to DP World, Dubai Airports, Dubai Immigration, Dubai Customs, Emirates Airlines and our other key public and private sector stakeholders for their continued cooperation which has led to an ever-increasing number of cruise operators looking to anchor in the emirate. Bolstered by our recent success and our upcoming partnerships over the coming seasons, we are confident we will achieve our strategic goal of welcoming one million cruise tourists to Dubai by 2020-21 cruise season.”The Dubai Cruise 2017-2018 season is set to commence on October 25, with the arrival of cruise ship Seabourn Encore. More recently, Dubai Cruise also announced that P&O Cruises would be home porting in Dubai for the first time during the 2018-2019 season.
SWISS has earned first place in this year’s World Travel Awards in the ‘Europe’s Leading Airline – Economy Class’ category. The prestigious annual distinctions are based on polls of both travellers and travel industry specialists all over the globe.Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has earned first place in the 2019 World Travel Awards in the ‘Europe’s Leading Airline – Economy Class’ category, retaining the title which it won last year. The prestigious annual distinctions are based on polls of both travellers and travel industry specialists all over the globe.The World Travel Awards’ assessment criteria include comfort, service quality and the overall travel experience in all seating classes. “We are delighted to earn this distinction,” said Tamur Goudarzi Pour, SWISS’s Chief Commercial Officer. “It confirms to us that our recent product initiatives such as the new culinary concept for our flights from Geneva are truly appreciated by our customers.”SWISS Economy travellers on long-haul services have been able to design their in-flight food experience in line with their tastes and preferences for some time now. In addition to the regular on-board meal choice, guests can pre-order from a range of further exclusive dishes up to 24 hours before departure, for an additional fee.In the event of an irregularity, SWISS travellers can now also count on the assistance of Nelly, the new SWISS chatbot, via Facebook Messenger. As well as making rebookings, Nelly can help with various further inquiries such as whether a flight is still on time, what gate it is leaving from or what carry-on baggage provisions apply. Nelly is available to all SWISS customers 24/7 and provides a welcome further addition to SWISS’s existing customer services.