NAFTA checklist A handy guide to key issues as formal process set

first_imgWASHINGTON – The formal process in renegotiating the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement has begun. The U.S. administration served notice Thursday that it will enter discussions with Canada and Mexico, following a 90-day consultation period.Here’s a sneak preview of key issues at stake:—Dairy: A prime sensitive spot when Canada negotiates trade deals. In Canada’s sheltered dairy industry, imports get slapped with a 270 per cent duty beyond a fixed quota. Canada faced intense pressure to pry open the system in recent negotiations. Canada accepted more European dairy on its grocery shelves, in a deal with the EU. It would have allowed another 3.25 per cent under the ill-fated Trans-Pacific Partnership. Dairy farmers were upset. The Harper government softened the blow with a multibillion-dollar compensation package. This time, with TPP dead, the U.S. could seek a more dramatic opening. U.S. policy-makers have two concerns: First, with Canada’s supply management controls, in general; and more specifically with rules related to milk-protein products.—Auto parts: Among the top U.S. priorities. It involves rules of origin — and how much local content is required to avoid tariffs. It’s clear the White House wants more car parts sourced at home, and fewer from Asia. What’s not clear is the details: will it insist on a specific quota for American parts, or be content with more production in North America, generally? How will it tinker with the rules — by simply raising the threshold for avoiding a tariff, currently 62.5 per cent, or by also insisting on a stricter formula for calculating that percentage? Will the policy lead to higher car prices? Will changes really shift production from Asia, or will companies simply pay more in duties and add it to the sticker price? The details matter here.—Consumer rights: The U.S. government wants to help Canadian shoppers — specifically, to help them buy more things from the U.S., through lower duties. It’s a standard priority of American administrations, and could wind up on the negotiating table. Canada has one of the most punitive duty systems in the world, taxing imported online purchases above $20, a pittance compared to the $800 limit Americans enjoy. But Canadian retailers say a change in this system would be of one-sided benefit to American retailers, resulting in shuttered bricks-and-mortar stores in Canada.—Buy American: Canada wants freer trade in public projects, specifically infrastructure. Some American lawmakers want to go the other way: they want more barriers to foreign bids, and would do away with the exemptions currently enjoyed by Canada and Mexico in NAFTA. Trump is a big booster of Buy American rules, generally, but hasn’t revealed his intended direction here. The U.S. has its own complaints about Canada. The U.S. bemoans the fact that some provincial entities have regulations that undermine U.S. suppliers, like Hydro-Quebec with wind energy. It also complains that U.S. software companies get shut out of public contracts, because of concerns about Canadians’ privacy.—Labour mobility: Canada wants changes here. So does industry. Businesses hate the current professional visa section in NAFTA. It allows easy visas for a list of jobs — but that list reflects the economy of 1993. It barely references digital jobs. Companies complain about unnecessary paperwork and hassles in sending employees to a branch across the border. Another problem involves spouses — one spouse gets a visa but the other can’t work across the border. One potential challenge in addressing this issue: it could quickly get dragged into the broader, heated and very political U.S. debate on immigration.—Softwood: Will there be peace in our time on softwood lumber? Perhaps. This was the first thing mentioned the day after Trump’s election, when the ambassador to the U.S. was asked what he’d like to see in a new NAFTA. Lumber has been the source of recurring spats: Once a decade, the U.S. imposes tariffs over what it views as illegal product-dumping from wood off public land; it winds up in tribunals; Canada tends to win most cases, and that leads to a temporary deal, with restrictions on Canadian wood, before the deal expires and the skirmishes resume. Canada isn’t the only party that wants a softwood deal in NAFTA; Trump’s point man on the negotiation, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, has also alluded to it as an ideal addition to the agreement.—Liquor: Canada’s liquor boards are a repeated source of complaint in the U.S. government’s annual report on trade barriers. It laments the high taxes and tight controls on what gets sold in Canadian stores. The U.S. is especially miffed at B.C. and Ontario for keeping imported wines off grocery shelves. It’s even launched a trade action over the issue.—Digital services: TPP allowed freer movement of data between countries. It would have restricted the right of any country to insist upon local storage facilities for digital information. Critics called this worrisome, for reasons of protecting personal information. Supporters called the change liberating — meaning it would become easier for someone to start a business from anywhere in the world.—Pharmaceuticals: The U.S. has tougher patent rules on drugs — which can delay the introduction of generics, increasing prices. One U.S. drug company, Eli Lilly, recently sued Canada at a NAFTA panel over court decisions that struck down patents. It lost. But many U.S. lawmakers, funded by big pharma, want changes in Canada. Another potential issue involves cutting-edge biologics drugs. It was a heated issue in TPP. Canada wasn’t involved in that tussle, but would be this time if the U.S. pushes a harder line: the U.S. allows 12 years of patent-like protections for data on these products, while Canada is closer to the international norm at eight years.—Telecommunications and broadcasting: Canada fought for cultural industries to be exempted from its U.S. trade deals — meaning books, recordings, broadcasts are not subject to free trade. Culture was a significant irritant in original negotiations; it hasn’t come up in recent complaints from the U.S. administration. One thing the U.S. could seek is greater access to telecommunications, like cell-phone services, according to a draft list of priorities recently sent to Congress.—Snapbacks: A controversial item on the draft document sent to U.S. Congress, a tariff snapback means a country could reinstate duties on a certain product if increased imports hurt its producers. Other countries will resist fiercely if U.S. negotiators seek this addition.—Dispute settlement mechanism: This was a make-or-break issue for Canada in the original Canada-U.S. trade deal. Rather than allowing American judges to preside over cases involving trade actions by American companies, Canada insisted upon a third-party mechanism. That demand almost sank the original trade agreement in 1987. The Mulroney government threatened to cut off negotiations over this issue. In the end, the mechanism was created. It was later incorporated into NAFTA. Many Americans still resent it. A key reason: Softwood lumber, and U.S. losses in Chapter 19 cases. The commerce secretary, Ross, says it’s unfair that an international panel, which might include one American and two Canadians, should interpret America’s domestic trade-remedy laws. Numerous members of Congress agree. Eliminating Chapter 19 is listed as a priority in the administration’s draft notice to Congress.last_img read more

Womenonly spas no male genitals rule ignites transgender debate

first_imgTORONTO – Controversy over a female-only spa’s “no male genitals” policy has reignited debate over the rights of transgender people to access traditionally gender-exclusive spaces, even as the federal government pushes stronger protections prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.The uproar over Toronto’s Body Blitz Spa prompted a flurry of complaints on social media, with longtime regular Shelley Marshall among those vowing to boycott the luxurious retreat.Marshall says she tried to bring her transgender friend to the spa last year but was told she would only be welcome at the bathing suit-optional facility if she had undergone sex reassignment surgery.“I didn’t want to embarrass my friend, I didn’t want to humiliate my friend, I didn’t want all this to happen,” Marshall says of not speaking out at the time. “I’m embarrassed I never stuck up for my friend.”Toronto-based LGBTQ author Jia Qing Wilson-Yang tweeted last week that she was told not to visit the spa because they “won’t allow male genitalia.”That followed a Facebook post by Weronika Jane who says the spa’s manager called a friend one hour before their booking “to say that they couldn’t come because they had a ‘no male genital rule.’”On Wednesday, “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany added her voice to the protest, tweeting that until the spa “changes its policies and is an inclusive space for all women, I’ll no longer be going.” The Regina-born actress plays a slew of characters on her Space series, including lesbian and transgender characters.Body Blitz refused to comment on the issue, but released a statement insisting it supports the LGBTQ community.“However, because Body Blitz Spa is a single-sex facility with full nudity, we are not like other facilities. We recognize that this is an important discussion for single-sex facilities to have and we will seek to find a satisfactory resolution,” reads the statement.Some people found the position comforting.“Thank you for standing up for women. Private spaces for naked female bodies. Identity irrelevant,” said one social media supporter, signed Rachel Ralison.But the whole flap has been disappointing to client and York University Prof. Sheila Cavanagh, who specializes in gender and sexuality studies.She says that aside from violating provincial laws governing gender discrimination, such incidents highlight the difficulty in adhering to strictly binary definitions of gender.“There are many ways of being trans and there are many ways of being a woman,” says Cavanagh, noting that trans rights are enshrined in the Ontario Human Rights Code.“And certainly surgery or hormones, per se, do not make a woman…. I think it’s gender identity that matters and what is between our legs is our own business.”She notes that not all trans people transition with surgeries and not all trans people use or take hormones.Transgender is also a very broad term. Some transgender people identify as bi-gender or non-gender or agender, which means they don’t strictly identify as a man or a woman. Still others are intersex, which the National Health Service in the United Kingdom defines as a genetic “mix of male and female sexual characteristics.”Cavanagh says the rules around gender-exclusive places are typically based on fears that men will enter a space in which they are not welcome or “that non-trans women will somehow be triggered or made afraid by the presence of a penis.”But Cavanagh says her research on violence in gendered bathrooms found no evidence of a trans woman assaulting a non-trans woman in a public space.“The fear of violence against women is unfortunately used to justify trans-exclusion policies,” she says, noting that many women shelters have trans-positive policies.“It’s not just violence against cis-gendered women, it’s also violence against trans women that matters.”Marshall says she can’t see how a trans-positive policy could be abused.“I don’t think a man is going to try and sneak in as a woman and pay $75 to go sit (in a pool). For what purpose?”But she sees all sorts of ways a trans-phobic policy can hurt a trans person.“A trans person has to live as a woman before they can get surgery,” says Marshall. “This is just another way of telling them: you have no place in our society.”Cavanagh takes heart in believing Bill C-16 is likely to pass. The federal legislation would bolster existing provincial laws to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. Currently, trans rights are interpreted in various ways by each province.Adding weight to this movement are the increasing number of businesses and public bodies making their trans-positive policies more explicit.Many school boards welcome transgender students and staff to use the washroom or change room of the gender they identify with.At the national fitness chain GoodLife, members are able to use the change room of the gender they identify with, while various YMCAs across the continent have opened gender-neutral change rooms.Despite this, harassment continues, says Cavanagh.“In addition to developing a policy, members need to be educated so that transphobia isn’t allowed under the auspices of women’s safety.”last_img read more

How Cambridge Analytica billionaire got his big break from Canadian bilingualism

first_imgWASHINGTON, United States of America – The controversy over Facebook data gathering has a Canadian backstory far older than the adventures of the young whistleblower from British Columbia who worked for the contentious firm Cambridge Analytica.This story involves the firm’s billionaire bankroller.Robert Mercer is the 71-year-old funder of an assortment of right-wing causes, ranging from Cambridge Analytica to Breitbart News to Republican campaigns. The story of his wealth includes a breakthrough in the 1980s and Canadian bilingualism.Back then, Mercer was a talented mid-career computer programmer at IBM. He’d grown up in New Mexico with an interest in computers, and as there were no courses in the field in the 1960s at his college, he sought experience writing programs for a mainframe in the weapons lab at the Kirtland Air Force Base.There, he said in a 2013 lecture, he learned he loved everything about computers. But he also learned he did not love big government. He described that summer as a formative experience on his political path. Frustrated with a clunky program that calculated the effect of fusion bombs, he recalled rewriting the program to make it 100 times faster.“Then a strange thing happened,” Mercer said in a 2014 speech.“Instead of running the old computations in one-100th of the time, the powers that be at the lab ran computations that were 100 times bigger. I took this as an indication: that one of the most important goals of government-financed research is not so much to get answers as it is to consume the computer budget.“Which has left me ever since with a jaundiced view of government-financed research.”He graduated college in 1972 and took a job at IBM. There, he helped develop the field of computer-generated translation. He explained in a paper co-written with colleagues that computer-translation efforts are almost as old as the modern computer itself.In the 1940s, fellow-travellers had sought to have machines translate language. But they stumbled into two main obstacles: the weak processing power of older computers, and the shortage of translated text in digital format for programmers to study.Advances in computing gradually solved the first problem.The second problem was solved by a tip in the 1980s about where to score massive amounts of translated text, which would allow the programmers to detect patterns in data and develop algorithms based on that.That news came from older IBM colleague John Cocke.“John was on a plane and … he struck up a conversation with the guy next to him and then suggested they have a drink together,” Mercer’s colleague Peter Brown recalled at the 2013 Conference on Empirical Methods on Natural Language Processing.“Before he knew it the guy was telling John about the proceedings of the Canadian House of Parliament which were — and probably still are — kept in computer-readable form in French and in English.”Canadian government employees had already done the work.They had translated millions of words spoken in Canada’s Parliament from English to French, and vice-versa, at a reliable quality, with literal and figurative meanings of phrases swapped between languages, all of it was in the public domain, available for use by researchers.“That’s what I liked about the Canadian Hansards data,” Mercer told the 2013 conference.“I think that’s what appealed to John about it as well.”Mercer and his colleagues scooped up about 100 million words’ worth of data. That’s how one of the landmark research papers in the field of computer translation wound up including the words, “Bobby Orr,” and “fuddle-duddle,” the insult phrase made famous by former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.One of their papers said the algorithm reduced the work flow of a translator by 60 per cent, requiring 776 keyboard strokes to repair mistakes within a certain sample, versus 1,916 keystrokes to start from scratch.When it granted Mercer its lifetime achievement award decades later, the Association for Computational Linguistics noted the thousands of research papers that cite his work, and credited him with technologies we now use every day.“(Their approaches) now dominate the field of machine translation,” the ACL said, “and provide the underpinning of many of the tools that people now regularly use, such as speech recognizers on mobile phones, context-sensitive spelling correction, and web-based machine translation systems.”His research led to tremendous wealth.It turns out that his ability to detect patterns in linguistic translation was useful in stock trading. In 1993, Mercer and Brown got recruitment letters from the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies.They initially tossed the letters, but later had a change of heart, as Mercer struggled with college tuition bills for his daughters. They accepted a 50-per-cent pay raise, changed jobs, and eventually recruited other members of their old IBM team.The finance work is a little more hush-hush but Brown described it as based on their previous research: “From building speech-recognition systems and translation systems … we definitely used that skill set.”Mercer and Brown wound up running the fund after its founder retired.In recent years he’s become famous for his political investments: the research group that looked into Hillary Clinton’s alleged conflicts of interest and bankrolled the book “Clinton Cash,” the Government Accountability Institute; Breitbart; and the campaign of Donald Trump.He founded Cambridge Analytica; teamed up with young researcher Christopher Wylie, a Canadian Liberal and spent millions to amass voter data, including from Facebook users.last_img read more

Return of Donald Marshall Jrs eel nets recall days of historic fishing

first_imgHALIFAX — The recovery of eel nets that helped recast Aboriginal rights to earn a living from fishing is bringing back powerful memories for those touched by their story.Donald Marshall Jr. was charged with three counts of violating federal fisheries laws when he and his former partner Jane McMillan set the nets near Pomquet Harbour, N.S., in 1993.The seizure — and the storage of the gear in an Antigonish fisheries office — took Marshall all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, where a ruling upheld treaties from 1760 and 1761 that said Mi’kmaq can earn a moderate living from hunting and fishing.However, Marshall died in 2009, at the age of 55, unaware the nets were still locked away.They were first noticed by Sana Kavanagh, a fisheries scientist at the Confederation of Mainland Mi’kmaq while she was doing a tour of a federal office earlier this year — which led to Fisheries and Oceans Canada sending the nets back to Marshall’s family.McMillan says when she attended the recent 20th anniversary of landmark legal decision, it was deeply moving to see and touch the nets that had once had been at the centre of a “happy and challenging” time of her life alongside Marshall.Jeff Ward, the director of the Heritage Park, says when he saw the photos of the nets on Sept. 14 and received notice they would be returned, he felt like he’d “discovered the Holy Grail.”Marshall, well-known for having been wrongfully convicted of murder in the early 1970s and himself the son of a Mi’kmaq grand chief, had become an eel fisherman in hopes of living a quiet life.He and McMillan had bought the nets in 1993 after a year of saving their money, she recalled.According to McMillan’s recently published book “Truth and Conviction: Donald Marshall Jr. and the Mi’kmaq Quest for Justice,” when a fisheries officer asked Marshall for his licence on a clear morning in August 1993, he replied, “I don’t need a licence. I have the 1752 treaty.”In addition, Marshall later informed fisheries officials that the chief of the Paq’tnkek Mi’kmaq had granted him permission to fish for eels in the waters near Antigonish.However, after Aug. 24, 1993, when Marshall sold about 463 pounds of eels for $1.70 per pound to a New Brunswick buyer, the fisheries officers swooped in and took all of his gear, and laid the charges.McMillan, now a professor of anthropology at St. Francis Xavier University, said it devastated their ability to earn a living, and set off the “public, expensive and lengthy” court battle that started on Oct. 17, 1994 in a provincial court.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2019.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Prince Harry Sleeps In A Freezer For Charity

first_imgPrince Harry spent a night this week in a giant freezer in Warwickshire to simulate the gruelling conditions he will face when he treks to the South Pole this winter.Prince Harry warms his hands after a cold chamber training exercise with the Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge 2013 British teamCredit/Copyright: www.princehenryofwales.org/The 29-year-old, who will race with a team of injured British servicemen and women against United States and Commonwealth groups, was subjected to ambient temperatures of minus 35C, with wind speeds of 45mph.Prince Harry, Patron of the Walking With The Wounded charity, joked that it was a cold night’s sleep. When asked what was the worst part, he said: “Going in.”He spent around 20 hours in the cold chamber at Mira in Nuneaton where cars and military vehicles are put through their paces.Alongside his four teammates – all of whom have amputated limbs after sustaining injuries in Afghanistan – Prince Harry practised with the clothing he will wear on the 200-mile expedition and learned how to avoid frost-nip and frost-bite in the inhospitable climate in Antarctica.After emerging from the huge testing facility, in which temperatures dropped to as low as minus 55C with wind-chill, The Prince blew into his hands and rubbed them together to warm up as he chatted with his teammates over tea and biscuits.The Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge will begin in late November and last around 15 days and the teams will trek between nine miles and 12 miles each day.Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård, star of True Blood, will head the US team, while English actor Dominic West, star of hit series The Wire, will race alongside the Commonwealth team.Prince Harry, who took part in the Walking With The Wounded trek to the North Pole in 2011 for five days, is Patron of the Antarctica expedition.He missed out on an attempt to conquer Mount Everest with the group last year because of his military commitments and he withdrew early from the successful North Pole expedition to attend his brother’s wedding.Prince Harry shared a tent with Captain Ibrar Ali, 36, who lost his right arm in a roadside bomb blast in 2007, and Major Kate Philp, who chose to have her left leg amputated after her Warrior armoured vehicle struck an IED (improvised explosive device) in Musa Qala in Helmand Province in 2008.Maj Philp, from Knightwick in Worcestershire, said Harry was a “good extra pair of hands” during the training exercise.The 35-year-old Royal Artillery officer said having the prince with the team was “great”.Source:PrinceHenryOfWales.orglast_img read more

CANADAS ANSWER TO LADY GAGA CELINE DION TAKES PARIS FASHION WEEK BY

first_img Facebook Login/Register With: Paris Fashion Week is underway and Celine Dion has been basking in the limelight with her bold, colourful and unconventional outfits.Harper’s Bazaar called one of her outfits “legendary;” USA Today described some of her looks as “wacky couture;” and CNN’s Marianna Cerini dubbing Dion as the “queen of couture week.”One of those ensembles even nearly caused a wardrobe malfunction and a nasty fall. Advertisement Advertisement As Dion hastily tried make her way through a crowd, the 51-year-old musical legend stumbled while wearing a revealing Iris van Herpen mesh gown on Monday.The outfit was arguably one of the most jaw-dropping ones during the past several days. But since last week, the Grammy-award-winning singer has been turning heads and fashion reporter Jeanne Beker said that’s just the way Dion likes it.“It’s certainly been entertaining. She knows how to get the paparazzi’s attention and get tongues wagging,” she told CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview. “She’s giving us something to talk about – so that’s fun.”Last Thursday, the “Ashes” singer dressed up in a US$6,000 Chanel unitard with a silver belt emblazoned with the brand’s name.center_img @celinedion (Instagram) LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

FBI stepping up efforts to root out international corruption

WASHINGTON — Aiming to crack down on money laundering and bribes to overseas governments, the FBI is stepping up its efforts to root out foreign corruption with a new squad of agents based in Miami.The squad will focus its efforts not only on Miami but also in South America, a continent that has been home to some of the Justice Department’s most significant international corruption prosecutions of the last several years. The Miami squad joins three others based in the FBI’s largest field offices — Washington, New York and Los Angeles.“We’re protecting the rule of law,” Leslie Backschies, the chief of the FBI’s international corruption unit, said in an interview Monday. “If there’s no rule of law, you’ll have certain societies where they feel like their governments are so corrupt, they’ll go to other elements that are considered fundamental, that they see as clean or something against the corrupt regime, and that becomes a threat to national security.”The unit aims to identify violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a U.S. law that makes it illegal to bribe foreign officials. The FBI has also been doing outreach to companies in a variety of industries, from oil to pharmaceuticals, to teach them about red flags that could indicate corruption and encourage the companies to “self-report” potentially improper conduct to the bureau.“One thing when I talk to companies, I’m like, ‘When you pay a bribe, do you know where your bribe goes? Is your bribe going to fund terrorism?’” Backschies said.And so far, the cases the unit has brought have resulted in billions of dollars in settlements.Last September, for instance, the Brazilian-owned energy company, Petrobras, agreed to pay more than $853 million to resolve investigations into allegations that executives paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to Brazilian politicians and political parties. And in December 2016, the Brazil-based construction conglomerate Odebrecht and another petrochemical company agreed to pay more than $3.5 billion to settle charges they bribed politicians around the world through a web of shell companies and off-the-books transactions.“We’ve seen a lot of activity in South America — Odebrecht, Petrobras. South America is a place where … we’ve seen corruption. We’ve had a lot of work there,” Backshies said.“But not just South America. Miami itself, it’s an economic centre,” she added. “It’s a big flow of money in and out of Miami. It’s a city where we see individuals hiding their money, through shell companies, through real estate, through boating.”More broadly, special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has shone a spotlight on international corruption. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is being sentenced Thursday in federal court in Virginia on charges that he evaded taxes on millions of dollars in income received through political consulting on behalf of a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party, and that he concealed his money in undisclosed foreign bank accounts.Prosecutors have scored 34 convictions in cases brought by the international corruption unit from 2016 until 2018. The cases are often longer-running and more financially complex than other crimes the FBI investigates.Agents also have to be conscious of any potential political ramifications because international corruption cases can have widespread effects that influence elections and economies, Backschies said. In addition to regular conversations about cases, FBI supervisors meet with lawyers at the Justice Department in Washington each quarter to review potential prosecutions and the possible consequences.“These cases are very politically sensitive, not just in the U.S. but overseas,” she said. “When you’re looking at foreign officials in other governments — I mean, look, in Malaysia, the president wasn’t re-elected. We saw presidents toppled in Brazil. These are the results of cases like this. When you’re looking at high-level government officials, there’s a lot of sensitivities.”The agents are working to ensure there’s “a place where business can compete fairly,” and in most cases other governments are glad to accept the FBI’s help in rooting out corruption, Backschies said.“You can’t just have one agent or two agents in a field office addressing it. …You can’t be working this two hours a week. It’s just not going to work. You need full-time dedicated resources,” she said.The unit had been splitting cases involving South American countries between the three other offices before Backschies decided they should refocus their resources and add agents in Miami. The new squad will be comprised of six agents, who will start in their roles later this month, plus a supervisor and a forensic accountant. Unlike other FBI field office squads that focus on violent crime and public corruption and report to local leadership, this one will answer to officials at headquarters in Washington.“Beverly Hills, New York, Miami — these are cities where we find people hiding their money” in real estate and boating, Backshies said. “They’re attractive cities for that.”___Follow Balsamo and Tucker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 and www.twitter.com/etuckerAP .Michael Balsamo And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press read more

Achieving quality education will take more money and teachers says UN forum

In the final declaration adopted at the close of the three-day forum, organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Norwegian Government, delegates called on national governments to devote at least four to six per cent of gross national product (GNP) and 15 to 20 per cent of public expenditure to education.The High-Level Group on Education for All (EFA) also urged development partners to increase official development assistance (ODA) and give priority to investment in basic education. The Oslo Declaration stressed that education “is one of the most effective tools” for achieving “economic growth and recovery, reducing poverty, hunger and child labour” and “improving health, incomes and livelihoods.” That is why strong support for achieving internationally agreed development goals, including “education for all (EFA)” – the pledge made by world leaders in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, in 1999 – and the anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), are even more important now that it was before the onset of the current global financial crisis. Delegates also endorsed the creation of an international task force on “Teachers for EFA,” a voluntary alliance of EFA partners working together to address the global, and growing, shortage of teachers. “Without adequate numbers of professionally qualified teachers, including female teachers, who are deployed in the right places, well-remunerated and motivated, adequately supported and proficient in local languages, we cannot offer the world’s children quality education” said the Group, which brings together top-level representatives from government, development agencies, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector.An estimated 18 million new primary teachers will be needed in the next seven years to achieve universal primary education by the target date of 2015. The Group highlighted the importance of equity in education, noting that at least 29 million children will still not have access to primary school in 2015. Reaching these children will require policies to reduce disparities, expanding early childhood care and basic education, ensuring affordable learning opportunities at post-primary levels and addressing adult literacy needs. 18 December 2008Achieving the goal of quality education for all by 2015 will require countries to devote greater funds to this critical sector and to address the growing shortage of qualified teachers, according to a United Nations meeting that concluded today in Oslo. read more

Four charged in India over arrest of boat people in Sri Lanka

Further investigations revealed that the 30 Rohingya refugees had come from Myanmar in 2013 and were registered as refugees in India. Meanwhile, Adirampattinam Marine police had on May 2 registered a case under various sections of Foreigners Act, Passport Act, and IPC against the 30 foreigners and the four Indians including Abdul and Habeeb.Subsequently, the case was transferred to Adirampattinam police for further investigations, they said.Abdul Rasheed, Habeeb Rahman and some others were detained for interrogation, they added. (Colombo Gazette) In an effort to migrate to Australia, they had allegedly contacted one Abdul Rasheed and Habeeb Rahman of Adiramapattinam.On April 28, they left for Australia in a fibre boat arranged by the duo, but were detained by Sri Lankan Coast Guard at Kangesanthurai Port. They came to Tamil Nadu last year and have been residing in Adirampattinam since January last, police said. Four Indians and 30 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have been booked in India for allegedly undertaking an illegal voyage to Australia in a boat via Sri Lanka from Thanjavu, the Press Trust of India reported.Following information on arrest of the refugees in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu police had launched a probe and found that the boat used for the illegal transportation was from Adirampattinam, they said. read more

Oil price slips to near US95 a barrel trading muted due to

by Pablo Gorondi, The Associated Press Posted Jan 21, 2013 6:46 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Oil price slips to near US$95 a barrel; trading muted due to US public holiday The price of crude oil slipped closer to US$95 a barrel on Monday, with energy investors keeping to the sidelines as U.S. markets were closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery fell nine cents to settle at US$95.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract had risen seven cents to finish at US$95.56 on the Nymex on Friday.“Due to the lack of major economic indicators, investors will be looking for some direction to the global equity markets and the U.S. dollar movements,” said a report from Sucden Financial Research in London.A stronger dollar tends to put pressure on oil prices by making crude more expensive for traders using other currencies. On Monday, the euro was down against the dollar, to $1.3314 from $1.3375 on Friday.A rise in stock markets did help limit losses in commodity markets, but sentiment remained fragile.Concerns linger about the U.S. economy, with lawmakers wrangling over spending cuts and the U.S. debt ceiling, which limits the amount of debt that U.S. government can take on. Though Republican lawmakers were expected to accept a temporary increase, a final deal is still not in sight.Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, fell nine cents to US$111.84 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.In other energy futures trading on the Nymex, natural gas added six cents to US$3.63 per 1,000 cubic feet, wholesale gasoline rose a fraction of a cent to US$2.798 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres) and heating oil rose two cents to US$3.072 a gallon.(TSX:ECA), (TSX:IMO), (TSX:SU), (TSX:HSE), (NYSE:BP), (NYSE:COP), (NYSE:XOM), (NYSE:CVX), (TSX:CNQ), (TSX:TLM), (TSX:COS.UN), (TSX:CVE) read more

Roberto Cavalli announces job cuts closures removes Dundas

Roberto Cavalli announces job cuts, closures, removes Dundas by The Associated Press Posted Oct 12, 2016 9:33 am MDT Last Updated Oct 12, 2016 at 10:39 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email FILE – In this Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016 file photo, Roberto Cavalli fashion house creative director Peter Dundas acknowledges the applause of the audience after presenting the Roberto Cavalli women’s Spring-Summer 2017 collection, in Milan, Italy. Roberto Cavalli CEO Giacomo Ferraris said Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, that Dundas, who took over in March 2015, is leaving the house, as it’s going through a period of transformation and that a new creative director will be named. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno) MILAN – Roberto Cavalli’s new owners are cutting 200 jobs, closing stores and replacing the fashion house’s creative director in a reorganization aimed at making a profit by 2018.Chief Executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris said the reorganization is necessary given the fashion industry is one where “only iconic brands with a coherent business model and an efficient organization can survive.”The company unveiled the plans Wednesday after announcing creative director Peter Dundas was leaving after only three seasons.The Norwegian-born Dundas had worked at Cavalli during its heyday from 2002-2005 and returned in March 2015 after completing a seven-year run as Pucci’s creative director. He had the delicate task of reviving a brand viewed as past its prime while retaining its most iconic elements after the house founder, Roberto Cavalli, sold a majority stake to private equity firm Clessidra.Cavalli retains a 10 per cent stake and remains a consultant.The reorganization calls for closing Roberto Cavalli’s Milan corporate and design offices and relocating them to Florence, closing some stores and reducing the global headcount of 672 by 200, a statement said.Several other fashion houses have been undergoing similar reorganizations on both creative and administrative sides. read more

At refugee camp UN envoy witnesses daily struggles for Palestinians in Lebanon

“The United Nations is committed to continue working to help improve the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon in full coordination with the Lebanese authorities,” said the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly.Mr. Plumbly toured the Burj Barajneh camp in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, with representatives of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to examine the humanitarian and living conditions in the camp. It was the first visit to the camp for Mr. Plumbly, who toured several facilities and was briefed on the living conditions of over 17,000 registered refugees in the camp. Representatives of the camp also raised a number of concerns of the Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon, in relation to the right to work and other areas. Lebanon’s parliament passed legislative measures two years ago to expand the right to work for Palestinian refugees, but they have yet to be implemented. UNRWA has repeatedly called for the measures to be acted on, stressing that they will help to ensure the socio-economic rights of a population that numbers almost half a million people.Funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States, UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for nearly five million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory. read more

Dragan Gajić says Goodbye Slovenia

The TOP scorer of the last World Championship 2015 in Qatar, Dragan Gajić (33), decided to finish his career in the Slovenian national team. After 11 years of playing in NT jersey, eight big events, 642 goals in 151 match, HC Montpellier ritght wing decided to give the space for some younger guys.Dragan Gajić lost the status of the first star when Veselin Vujović overtook the position of the head-coach from Boris Denić last summer. Gajić missed first action of the new coach due birth of his child afterwards he was critized by Vujović.The real punishment came a few months later, when Vujović decided not to put Gajić on the list for the Men’s EHF EURO 2016. However, only day after decision, Jure Dolenec got injured, so Gajić joined team in the last moment as support to Gašper Marguč on right wing position.Slovenia suffered two defeats and drew with Spain, what wasn’t enough to avoid elimination at the end of Preliminary Round in Wroclaw.Gajić announced decision after team arrived home. ← Previous Story Danish wall too strong for Spaniards – Germany beat Russia! Next Story → Major controversies over Asian Championship read more

VIDEO This is why you shouldnt shout at cows

first_imgYouTube/nathan bverbeezVIDEO: The best wedding flower girl of all time, ever>Weatherman falls for name prank live on air… and loses it> SO THESE TWO guys were out filming one day, when they came across a herd of cows.They decided to shout and laugh at one of them.He/she did not like it. Not at all.(Update: we’ve been told the animal in question is a bull.) (Warning: contains footage of a dead cow, unrelated to the shouting. NSFW language.)last_img

Alphington Grammar farewelled Class of 2018

first_imgWith Alphington Grammar heading into its 30th anniversary, Year 12 students were farewelled at a special dinner dance held in Ivanhoe last Friday.The event was deemed a success by all attendees, including members of the School Council and the Greek Community of Melbourne who joined the celebration to wish graduates all the best as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.“They have proven themselves to be a diligent, responsible group who are ready to take their place in the world with qualities that younger students in the school we trust will be able to emulate”, said Chairman of School Council, professor Marinos Pirpiris.Stills from the event. Photos: Costas DevesStills from the event. Photos: Costas DevesReflecting on how supportive his teachers have been through the years, Daniel Nervosa who started at the school when he was just 4-years-old, said:“At Alphington I have been able to get the best out of my mixed heritage. I have a deeper understanding of my Greek roots, studied the language and culture and then been able to travel as part of the school’s program to China, Turkey, Gallipoli, Crete and Greece for five weeks with all of my class mates.”Meanwhile, the event served as an occasion to celebrate the school’s record of achievements over the last few years.“Our school has seen many exciting new projects and new learning facilities under the current principal, Dr Vivianne Nikou,” said Dr Pirpiris.Alphington Grammar recently took possession of the first of three projects – including a new entrance to the school, new student facilities, lifts connecting all the levels in the school, a brand new reception and offices for the staff – while a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Centre is now under construction followed by the soon to be completed State of the Art Library and Research Centre.For Dr Nikou, the Valedictory dinner was also special due to the fact that the Year 12 Class of 2018 began their secondary education in her first year as principal.“This night of celebrations is a highlight in the school calendar for many students, their parents and their families ” said Dr Nikou.” I am indeed privileged to be able to help shape the experiences that will mould these young men and women into mature, responsible young adults. I have watched them grow over the last six years and seen them seize every opportunity and made it their own.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Sida en Afrique les nouvelles infections en baisse de 25 depuis 8

first_imgSida en Afrique : les nouvelles infections en baisse de 25% depuis 8 ansAfrique sub-saharienne – L’Onusida a fait savoir dernièrement qu’entre 2001 et 2009, dans vingt-deux pays d’Afrique, le nombre de nouvelles infections par le virus du sida a baissé de 25%. Ce résultat constitue une très bonne nouvelle alors que l’AFP précise que les vingt-deux pays concernés sont souvent ceux où l’épidémie est la plus importante. De plus, ce sont dans les pays même où l’épidémie sévit au plus fort que la baisse du nombre d’infections est la plus conséquente, comme en Côte d’Ivoire ou en Éthiopie. Pour l’Onusida, ce résultat a notamment été rendu possible par les efforts de prévention qui ont été déployés. Le nombre de nouvelles infestions est stable ou en baisse dans la plupart des pays du monde, sauf en Asie centrale et en Europe de l’Est. Pour autant, le nombre de personnes séropositives qui reçoivent un traitement a été multiplié par 12 depuis six ans et le directeur du Fonds mondial de lutte contre le Sida, Michel Kazatchkine, est confiant en expliquant à l’AFP : “Si les efforts se poursuivent au rythme actuel, en 2015 nous devrions être capable d’éliminer la transmission du VIH de la mère à l’enfant et nous aurons sauvé des millions de vies”.Le 20 septembre 2010 à 14:39 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Une scientifique a goûté la plus vieille eau du monde

first_imgUne scientifique a goûté la plus vieille eau du monde Une chercheuse canadienne a eu le privilège de goûter la plus vieille eau du monde. Une eau retrouvée à plus de 2,5 km sous la surface de la Terre, au Canada, et datant d’il y a 2,6 milliards d’année. Bilan : très salée et un peu visqueuse, cette eau n’est vraiment pas terrible !C’est en mai dernier que des chercheurs canadiens avaient annoncé leur découverte : une eau  dénichée à plus de 2,5 km sous terre, dans la mine de Timmins, dans l’Ontario et qui aurait plusieurs millions d’années. Cette eau remontait à la surface par petites bulles, depuis une mine de zinc et de cuivre, et ce n’est que très récemment que des scientifiques ont découvert son âge : quelque 2,6 milliards d’années. “Les roches à la mine de Timmins se sont formées il y a 2,6 milliards d’années sur ce qui était un ancien océan. Une partie de l’eau qui est restée peut provenir de l’océan, une autre partie s’est peut-être faufilée à travers les fissures des roches au fur et à mesure puis s’est retrouvée piégée”, explique ainsi Barbara Sherwood Lollar, professeure à l’Université de Toronto. Cette datation enterre le précédent record qui établissait la doyenne des eaux à “seulement” plusieurs dizaines de millions d’années.Mais au cours de l’analyse de cette plus vieille eau du monde, la scientifique n’a pas pu résister : elle en a tout simplement bu quelques gorgées ! Une expérience qu’elle relate dans un rapport publié par la revue Nature et qui lui a vraisemblablement laissé un souvenir peu agréable. Citée par Slate, Sherwood Lollar raconte : “A cause des réactions entre l’eau et la roche, elle est extrêmement salée. Elle est aussi plus visqueuse que l’eau du robinet, un peu comme la consistance d’un sirop d’érable light”. Une eau chargée de microbes ? À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Concernant son aspect, elle poursuit : “Elle n’a aucune couleur lorsqu’elle jailli. Mais dès le contact avec l’air, elle devient orange. Parce que les minéraux à l’intérieur commencent à se former, surtout le fer”. L’intérêt de cette eau ne serait donc pas tellement son goût, on l’aura compris, mais bien davantage les formes de vie très ancienne qu’elle est susceptible de véhiculer. “Nous faisons des cultures, mais il est difficile de recréer en laboratoire, le même environnement dans lequel les microbes se sont développés. Ils ne se développent pas bien en captivité. Nous avons également extrait des cellules de l’eau et menons des recherches génétiques dessus”, explique la scientifique. Selon elle, les premiers résultats devraient être disponibles dans un an et ils pourraient venir compléter ceux liés à l’étude de la vie sur Mars.”Puisque les scientifiques ont la preuve qu’il y a eu de l’eau sur Mars, nous pouvons supposer qu’il y a toujours de l’eau coincée dans la roche, bien en dessus du niveau de la planète. Exactement comme c’est le cas pour l’eau de Timmins”, estime Barbara Sherwood Lollar.Le 21 juin 2013 à 09:48 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

45 would welcome wearable technology in the workplace

first_imgJust under half (45%) of respondents would welcome the introduction of wearable technology in the workplace, according to research by PMI Health Group.The research, which surveyed 1,197 UK adults aged between 18 and 64 years old, also found that 40% of respondents would object to sharing personal, health-related data generated by wearables with their employers.Around one in 10 (9%) of respondents are already offered wearables by their employer. This figure rises among employees in London, where more than a quarter (26%) of respondents are offered wearables by their employer.Mike Blake (pictured), director at PMI Health Group, part of Willis Towers Watson, said: “Wearables have become commonplace in recent years and their popularity provides employers with a golden opportunity to collect valuable data that can be used to improve health and wellbeing.“Already, we have seen several examples of businesses operating [employer-funded] wearable schemes, where employees accept devices in the understanding that the data generated will be shared with their employers.“Such initiatives can form part of wider health and wellbeing programmes, helping businesses to identify areas of risk and empower staff to take positive action. Not only could this enable a more proactive approach to absence management, tackling worrying trends before they become problematic, but it could also help to reduce claims and health insurance costs in the long term.”last_img read more

DHL pilots strike for stalled contracts

first_imgFORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – Several South Florida cargo pilots are participating in a strike.DHL pilots gathered outside of a Kalitta Air bargaining meeting in Fort Lauderdale to voice their anger.They are upset by stalled contract negotiations and the protesters said they’re ready to walk off the job.“We’re out here doing the informational picketing to let DHL know that as a worldwide company, they need to treat the North American Network and the pilots that fly in the North American Network fairly,” said one protester.More than 2,000 pilots voted on the issue and 99 percent were in support of striking if necessary.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img

The Latest Capital budget falters again in Alaska House

first_imgMajority lawmakers needed support from minority Republicans to reach the 30-vote threshold required to access the constitutional budget reserve fund, which the capital budget would use. A similar vote Sunday failed by five votes. Monday’s vote was 29-7 vote, with five minority Republicans voting in favor and four with excused absences. House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt, a “no” on that provision Sunday, voted “yes” Monday. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Alaska Legislature (all times local):11:55 a.m.The Alaska House has failed by one vote to approve funding for a state infrastructure package. GOP Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, who is without a caucus, also voted in favor. House Majority Leader Steve Thompson says lawmakers could later move to rescind their action and take another vote. The measure previously passed the Senate.last_img read more