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Government closely watching public opinion on asylum seekers documents show

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government has been closely monitoring public reaction to the influx of asylum seekers in Canada — regularly conducting national surveys and measuring discussions on social media.Documents released to The Canadian Press under access-to-information law show department officials receive weekly internal updates on media coverage and public response to issues related to asylum seekers coming irregularly into the country across the Canada-U.S. border.This monitoring includes internal polling conducted by the Immigration Department to track public opinion about asylum seekers.Two mid-year surveys of 2,000 Canadians, conducted by the department in March, suggested Canadians were not overly confident about Canada’s ability to manage the border at unguarded points-of-entry and had little sense of obligation about accepting asylum seekers from the United States.Fewer than half of respondents — 43 per cent in a telephone survey and 35 per cent in an online survey — agreed that Canada is taking appropriate steps to manage irregular border crossings.Forty-two per cent of telephone respondents and just 18 per cent of those online indicated they felt the number of people coming to Canada and claiming asylum was at an appropriate level.“Canadians are more receptive to refugees who have been selected by the government of Canada compared to those who come to Canada and claim asylum,” the internal document notes as one of its key takeaways from the public survey.The documents also show the Immigration Department closely measures public comment about asylum seekers on social media. This includes a weekly average of how many times the issue is mentioned every day.The government also measures the number of times media stories published about asylum seekers include “myths countering messaging.”It also uses social media as a tool to disseminate information as part of its outreach efforts to discourage irregular migrants from coming to Canada.A targeted advertising campaign using search engine marketing to reach key populations in the U.S. was launched on Dec. 18, 2017 and continued until March 17, 2018, which included “targeted messaging based on users’ search terms to users in select U.S. cities where larger temporary protected status populations are found,” the internal document states.Canada first began experiencing an influx of “irregular” border crossers in early 2017, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would end a program that offered temporary protected status to immigrants from several countries in the United States.Over 36,000 asylum seekers have since arrived in Canada from the U.S., avoiding official border checkpoints where they would have been turned back to the U.S. under the Safe Third Country agreement between the two countries. Instead, they have been crossing the border along forest paths and fields, declaring their intent to seek refugee status once on Canadian soil.The issue has sparked calls for Canada to suspend or amend the Safe Third Country Agreement as a way to stop the flow of irregular migrants.Border Security Minister Bill Blair points to the fact that there was not a major surge in the number of irregular border crossers apprehended by RCMP this summer compared to last summer.“Our senior officials are working hard, they are working hard and they are managing the situation quite ably,” Blair said Thursday.However, year-over-year numbers show that overall, more people have crossed irregularly into Canada so far this year compared to the number of individuals who crossed from January to September of 2017.—Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitter.last_img read more

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12 days of festivities from August 8 to 19 – ComediHa FestQuébec

first_imgAdvertisement Twitter “The Government of Quebec and the Quebec City Tourism Board are providing $65,000 through the Tourism Industry Support Program—Regional Partnership Agreement for Tourism. This sum will allow the improvement of the festival-goers experience and a free offering of activities and urban animation for the population and tourists passing through the region. ComediHa! Fest-Québec is working to promote the destination,” added Québec City Tourism director, André Roy.AN INTERACTIVE HUMORISTIC CIRCUITA new experience awaits the public of ComediHa! Fest-Québec: one and all can design their own humorous circuit by attending one, two, three or even four shows per night, while enjoying the fun outdoor facilities all around and in the temporary villages.In addition to presenting shows in the two venues of the Palais Montcalm and at the Imperial Bell, the ComediHa! Fest-Québec will set up near Grande Allée Street on Place George V and Parc de la Francophonie to offer numerous shows as well as comedic performances of all kinds in unusual venues such as big tops, a giant cube, tents, outdoor scenes, a “Ha!ngar” of containers, a school bus, animated terraces, a beer garden, etc.NEW: A FESTIVE POLE—THE “VILLAGE GEORGE V” AND THE “VILLAGE PIGEONNIER”A true attraction in itself, the festive pole of ComediHa! Fest-Québec will highlight two new sites in the Grande Allée area: the “Village George V” located on the square of the same name and the “Village Pigeonnier” at Parc de la Francophonie. These two villages make up hundreds of shows and activities of all kinds presented in many places and in animation stations. Take the opportunity to bring your girlfriend to see a comedy show, a magic show if you want, we can even find someone to get you married the next day.NEW: A Free Experiential Component—Thanks to its partners, ComediHa! Fest-Québec improves its programming and sets up an experiential component with several free shows at “Village Pigeonnier”. Everyone will appreciate the various animation stations where many free shows will be front and centre, including “La remise de Diogène” by Théâtre Rude Ingénierie, “Curiosités mystiques” by Cabinet de curiosités, the “Living Jukebox” and the play “ComediHa! Dell’Arte”. Also, several interactive activities such as a rock-climbing wall, a zip line, an enchanted forest and an escape game will enhance the festival-goers’ experience.NEW AND SPECTACULAR: At a height of 40 feet and a distance of more than 150 feet, “LAUTREVU” tightrope walker and circus artist will offer a spectacular performance combining technical and aesthetic prowess that borrows from circus traditions. He will pass through the “Village Pigeonnier” on a daily basis to amaze the crowds that will gather around.NEW: “MiHa!M Québec”—August is corn season in Quebec! Since we like to combine fun and festive experiences, there will be a new take on the traditional corn roast: 5 à 7 and new themes and activities daily! The MiHa!M-Québec will be organized in collaboration with restauratants and chefs from Quebec City. They will also cook unique appetizers every night in the beer garden, which has been specially designed at the “Village George V” during the festival. Do not forget to keep leftovers for our starving comedians!The Big 45—The anglophone part of the ComediHa Fest-QuébecThe anglophone part of the ComediHa! Fest-Québec 2018 offers a lot of talented Canadian comedians! They will get on stage for 45 or 60 minutes of show! You will see Jess Salomon, James Mullinger, Martha Chaves, Julien Dionne, Andrew Albert, Sandra Battaglini, David Merheje and Cory Mack!BIG NAMES, EMERGING ACTS AND DISCOVERIES SERIESThe ComediHa! Galas, presented by TELUS, will unfold at Palais Montcalm, featuring Patrick Huard, Phil Roy, Jean-Michel Anctil, Véronique Cloutier, the Véronique Claveau and Mario Tessier duo and Fabien Cloutier. Each host will invite a series of distinguished guests on stage.Headliners and emerging acts will make up the majority of the festival’s programming. The “ComediHa! Club Best Of” and “L’heure de pointe” shows will feature, among others, comedians such as Jean-Thomas Jobin, Denis Drolet, Maxim Martin, Cathy Gauthier, Billy Tellier, Olivier Martineau and Rosalie Vaillancourt. Several headliners are also expected on the “Shows mystère” and “Comédie dans le noir” stages, where show line-ups will be unveiled once they have started.Festival-goers will also have the opportunity to see top performers at themed shows, such as “Piment Fort”, hosted by Normand Brathwaite, as well as in “Les Soirées Gladius” starring Alex Perron and Jean-François Baril who will invite us to play “Ticheur” and the “Guerre des clans”. Emerging artists such as Cathleen Rouleau, Maude Landry, Franky, Alex Bisaillon, Simon Delisle, Gabrielle Caron, Matthieu Pepper, Neev, Yannick de Martino, Mike Beaudoin and Alex Roof will also participate in the festival at various shows, including “60 minutes de stand-up”, the “Show XXX” and “Les p’tites vites”.The Discoveries Series are numerous this year and it is with the objective of showcasing all aspects of humour that the festival will present this year a line-up of hypnosis and magic shows starring Stéphane Dumais, the Somnifrères and Vincent C. as well as an improv series with “Impro Punch Club” and the exclusive creation “Impro texto” featuring Luc Senayand Réal Bossé. Podcast fans will be happy with “On jase là…”, a series of different podcasts recorded in front of a live audience. On the international scene, the “Humour du monde” program will feature acclaimed comedians from several countries of the French-speaking world.For all details: ComediHaFest.com.BUY YOUR PASS NOW!Regular Pass—The Regular Pass, giving access to more than 300 shows in 12 days, is on presale until June 30 for $35 plus tax on ComediHaFest.com and in participating Couche-Tard stores. Starting July 1st, the Regular Pass will be $50 plus tax. It is the perfect time to ask for a week off, but if you plan to see 300 shows in 12 days, ask for the other week off to get some rest.An additional 15% discount will be offered to ComediHa! members from Tuesday, May 15 to Monday, May 21—You are not already a member? Sign up at ComediHaFest.com, it’s free!Reserved seating—ComediHa! Fest-Québec are general admission shows, first come first served. Festival-goers who want to make sure they have access to a specific show without being a victim of the infamous waiting line, the biggest fear of all impatient people, can book tickets online for $10 plus tax. This is accessible only to pass holders.The “Accès Gala” Pass—The “Accès Gala” Pass gives access to everything, meaning access to many of the festival’s shows and a reserved seat for a Gala of your choice. The “Accès Gala” Passes are on sale starting at $64 plus tax. They are only available online at ComediHaFest.comTHANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERSComediHa! Fest-Québec is always grateful for the invaluable help of collaborating partners, TELUS and Loto-Québec, as well as partners Discount, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Couche-Tard, St-Hubert Rotisseries, National Bank, Radio-Canada, Canal D, Unis TV, the Canada Media Fund, Réseau de transport de la Capitale, Journal de Québec, Énergie, Rouge, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Canada, the City of Quebec, the Quebec City Tourism Board, the National Capital Commission, Marrakech du Rire, Voo Rire de Liège, Morges Sous Rire in Switzerland, Cannes’ Performance d’Acteur and the ComediHa! Agency.ABOUT COMEDIHA!ComediHa! is a leading creator of humorous content on multiple broadcasting platforms, including live shows and television. ComediHa! is an international leader in the comedy world among artists and the general public. The passion of our 60 permanent full-time employees and 1,400 full-time temporary employees contributes to “Making people laugh world wild. ComediHa! is more than 20 artists in management, 3 offices (Quebec, Montreal and Los Angeles), more than 25 million dollars in revenue, more than 1 million fans on our social media networks, more than 50 million viewers in Canada and 100 million worldwide, more than 3,000 shows, over 500 TV shows and broadcasts in over 100 countries, a major festival in August in Quebec and 5 associated festivals in the world. We might even set up a stage on Mars before it gets colonized. Login/Register With: QUEBEC CITY, May 16, 2018 – For its 19th edition, the largest francophone comedy festival in the world, the “ComediHa! Fest-Québec“, in collaboration with TELUS and Loto-Québec, will bring together more than 450 artists and artisans, stars and up-and-coming talents, with a vivacious offering of all things funny. At this laugh and humor’s global hub, it’s through a humorous journey that combines over 20 unusual venues, two temporary festive and interactive villages inspired by the Edinburgh Fringe, and many attractions, activities, fun urban furniture, animation, a new gourmet zone “MiHa!M-Québec” and over 300 shows and hands on activities that festival-goers will be able to “See the funny side of life”, indoors and outdoors. There will be so much to see, try and discover! After this festival, you will have calves of steel!“A few days ago, TELUS proudly announced a five-year commitment to ComediHa! Fest-Québec. We are privileged to be able to contribute to the success and renown of this important summer event in Quebec City. This year, we will be onsite to enhance the festival-goers experience by offering fun activities under the theme of ‘Mystery’. You will certainly understand that I am going to keep from revealing more details on this for the time being,” says Nadia Paquet, Director, Communications at TELUS. “TELUS is also committed to giving back to the communities where our teams live and work. Funds will be collected in stores for the Véro & Louis Foundation and the Antoine Fund, both charities supported by ComediHa! Fest-Québec.”“Thanks to its long-standing partnership with ComediHa! Fest-Québec, Loto-Québec is proud to contribute to the acclaim of comedians throughout the province. By making an ever-increasing audience laugh year after year, ComediHa! Fest-Québec has established itself as a must-see comedy event. This festival perfectly illustrates the mandate of Loto-Québec’s sponsorship program, which allows our clients and festival-goers to experience a whole world of entertainment,” says Simon Robert, Societal Responsibility Director at Loto-Québec. 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Canadian Tire reports sales up from year ago raises quarterly dividend

first_imgTORONTO – Canadian Tire Corp. raised its quarterly dividend by 38 per cent as it reported its third-quarter profit edged higher.The retailer says it will begin paying a quarterly dividend of 90 cents per share next year, up from 65 cents per share.The company made the move as it reported a profit attributable to shareholders of $176.6 million or $2.59 per diluted share in its latest quarter.That compared with a profit attributable to shareholders of $176.4 million or $2.44 per diluted share a year ago when it had more shares outstanding.Revenue increased to $3.30 billion, up from $3.13 billion a year ago.In addition to its namesake stores, Canadian Tire (TSX:CTC) also owns Mark’s and FGL Sports, which operates Sport Chek, Hockey Experts, Sports Experts, among other stores.last_img read more

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Ont premier disappointed with New Yorks Buy American agreement on steel

TORONTO — The premier of Ontario says she’s disappointed that New York lawmakers have reached an agreement on legislation that would require state construction projects to use American iron and steel.Kathleen Wynne says a Buy American deal announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday will impact Ontario businesses.Her government lobbied against more sweeping Buy American provisions that had been introduced as part of New York’s budget this spring and Wynne credited Ontario’s advocacy for defeating that proposal.She says New York’s new Buy American plan is narrower and less punitive than the original, which would have required all state entities to buy from American companies on new purchases worth more than US$100,000.The new proposal would require state agencies to buy American-made iron and steel for projects like bridges, subways and new state buildings.Wynne says she will advocate for Ontario to receive an exemption from the policy before it comes into effect, which is set to occur next April.In the meantime, Wynne says she is ready to respond to New York, or any state that restricts Ontario companies from bidding on government projects. Her cabinet has prepared legislation that would allow the government to restrict non-Ontario firms from bidding on public projects.“I will continue to stand up for the people of Ontario, any time and every time Buy American policies are being considered or implemented in states that do business with our province,” she said.Wynne commented on New York’s Buy American deal Wednesday after meeting with Governor of Georgia Nathan Deal in Atlanta.She lauded Ontario’s trade relationship with that state, particularly in the auto and film industries.Wynne has been increasingly vocal about her concerns over signs of growing protectionism in the U.S. and has met with more than a dozen state governors to encourage trade with Ontario.– with files from The Associated Press read more

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Western Provincial Council postpones decision on 20A

The Western Provincial Council today postponed the decision on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution for a second time.The decision to postpone was taken following a 77-5 vote.

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Facebook CEO visits Washington amid push for tech oversight

WASHINGTON — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is visiting Washington to discuss potential regulation of the tech industry with lawmakers, particularly when it comes to the collection of users’ personal data on their platforms.Congress has been debating a privacy law that could curtail the ability of companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple to collect and make money off users’ personal data. A national law, which would be the first of its kind in the U.S., could allow people to see or prohibit use of their data.Zuckerberg last spring called for tighter regulations to protect consumers’ data, control harmful online content, and ensure election integrity and data portability.Facebook, a social media giant with nearly 2.5 billion users, is under heavy scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators for its business practices.Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press read more

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ADDIS strong partnerships needed to turn billions into trillions for sustainable development

“Now is the time to translate the best ideas and expertise of all our institutions into action. To go from billions in official assistance to trillions in investments, we’ll have to push even further our willingness to collaborate through creative partnerships,” said Jim Yong Kim.Mr. Kim noted that official development assistance, which stands at about $135 billion a year, is the cornerstone of financing for development, especially in the poorest and most fragile countries. “But now we have a responsibility to find new ways to leverage the generosity of donors and crowd in especially private sector financing. We must also stop illicit financial flows and increase domestic resource mobilization,” he told the audience. “Only by doing all of these things together will allow us to leverage the billions of dollars in official development assistance to the trillions that we need. Tackling this challenge requires us to think creatively and collaboratively.”The event, part of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development that opened today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, follows the announcement last week by the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to extend more than $400 billion in financing over the next three years. They also vowed to work more closely with private and public sector partners to help mobilize the resources needed to meet the challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that countries will adopt in September at the UN.“All the world is watching us in Addis to see if our aspirations and courage will match those of the nearly billion people who continue to live in extreme poverty today,” said Mr. Kim. “Only by doing so can we be the first generation in human history to end extreme poverty in our lifetime.”Also addressing the event, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the joint efforts of the World Bank Group and the regional development banks, working along with the UN system, will be “critical” to transforming the commitments in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda – the expected outcome of this week’s conference – into a vigorous global partnership for sustainable development.Mr. Ban cited three areas where the efforts to turn billions into trillions will be most crucial, beginning with bridging infrastructure financing gaps, particularly in Africa. He also noted the clear call in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for the financial institutions to promote regional integration, and cited the need to increase investments in addressing hunger and malnutrition, including in sustainable agriculture. “The Millennium Development Goals have significantly advanced poverty reduction and social development,” he stated. “Now we must tackle the unfinished business of the MDGs, consolidate achievements and put our world on a more sustainable and equitable trajectory.” read more

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Whos paying for Terrelle Pryors lawyer

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s lawyer would not disclose who is paying the quarterback’s legal bills, but he did tell The Lantern on Thursday that he does not anticipate any further sanctions for his client regarding the cars he has driven while at OSU. Larry James, a Columbus attorney who represents Pryor, explained the quarterback’s vehicle history and said his client did not commit any infractions. “In order to have infractions, he would have to receive something of a benefit that other students or the public would not normally receive,” James said. James said Pryor’s mother, Thomasina Pryor, purchased a Hyundai Sonata in 2008 for her son, then a high school senior in Jeanette, Pa. James said the car died sometime during the first year and a half, and was traded in for a Dodge Charger, for which Thomasina also paid. When the Charger began having problems, Pryor traded it in for about $7,800, and purchased a Nissan 350Z for about $11,000 after trade-in. “The monthly payments are $289,” James said. “That is about a nickel difference between the Charger and the 350Z.” Pryor drove three or four loaner cars while the Charger was being serviced, James said. “The idea of getting a loaner when your car is being serviced is pretty standard,” he said. James would not identify who is paying for his client’s legal bills. “I can’t tell you and wouldn’t tell you, and it’s inappropriate to tell you,” James said. “The public does not get to know that.” OSU spokesman Jim Lynch, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, would not say whether the university is funding Pryor’s legal counsel. “Student-athletes can get their own counsel when their eligibility is at issue,” Lynch said, “but NCAA rules also allow us to provide legal representation.” James said Pryor had his license reinstated since receiving a ticket for running a stop sign Feb. 17. “He has his license as we speak,” James said. “He went down (Thursday) to show proof of insurance.” James said he doesn’t understand the current media scrutiny. “Particularly for a young student-athlete, I think it’s been awful,” James said. “If you look at allegations about the cars, they have been anything but factual. It has been punitive and I don’t get that.” Multiple reports have indicated that Pryor, who is facing a five-game suspension, is the subject of an independent NCAA investigation for receiving deals on cars and other improper benefits. Lynch, citing FERPA, could not specifically comment on Pryor’s involvement. “We have an active investigation with the NCAA,” Lynch said, “and we will be working cooperatively with them until the investigation is resolved.” The NCAA and OSU’s compliance department are conducting a separate investigation into allegations that Pryor received discounts on cars, and are questioning his relationship with Ted Sarniak, a 67-year-old business man from Pryor’s hometown of Jeanette, who has been described as Pryor’s mentor. Pryor has been connected with the purchase of as many as eight vehicles since he arrived at OSU in 2008. He has been stopped three times while driving cars owned by car salesman Aaron Kniffin, or a Columbus dealership where Kniffin worked. In a sworn affidavit released by OSU on Tuesday, Kniffin said there were no special deals. “The deals that I did for Ohio State student-athletes were no different than any of the other 10,000-plus deals that I’ve done for all my other customers,” Kniffin said in the affidavit. Pryor, along with teammates Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Solomon Thomas and Mike Adams, was suspended for the first five games of the 2011–12 regular season for receiving improper benefits, but was allowed to participate in OSU’s 31-26 victory against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. It later was revealed that Tressel knew about the infractions and failed to report them. Tressel resigned Monday. A Sports Illustrated report published Monday night said Pryor personally took more than 20 items, including helmets, Nike cleats and game pants to Fine Line Ink tattoo parlor. In 2008, Pryor was investigated for the ownership of a vehicle before he arrived on campus for his freshman year. He later won the starting quarterback job from then-senior quarterback Todd Boeckman, becoming the first true freshman quarterback to start at OSU since Art Schlichter in 1978. In 2009, Pryor raised eyebrows for his defense of Michael Vick after the NFL quarterback was accused of participating in illegal dog-fighting rings. “I mean, everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever,” Pryor said at the time. “I think that people need a second chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick, and I always will.” Pryor won the Rose Bowl MVP in 2010 and passed for 266 yards and two touchdowns as the Buckeyes defeated Oregon, 26-17. read more

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Scottish Government accused of ignoring shortage of doctors in NHS

first_imgThe Scottish Government has been accused of ignoring a “critical” shortage of doctors as the British Medical Association called for urgent action in several areas to tackle problems in the NHS.The intervention came on a day when new figures revealed 12 out of the country’s 14 health boards had missed the cancer treatment time of 62 days, and an official report raised concerns over staff shortages in a report on the “unnecessary” deaths of six babies at one hospital.Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of BMA Scotland, said urgent action was needed on areas including the underfunding of the service, a shortage of doctors and a lack of resources to deliver an “integrated health and social care service”.He also highlighted the lack of time available to doctors to “keep themselves up to date, to teach others, and to make joint decisions with patients”. He said doctors felt increasingly stressed and overburdened and patient care was suffering as a result. Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour health spokesman, said the figures were an “absolute disgrace”.Elsewhere, a review was released after six babies died died in so-called unnecessary deaths at Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, since 2008. The report called for improvements in training and better family engagement.The Scottish Government ordered Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) to carry out the review last year after families whose babies died during childbirth at Ayrshire Maternity Unit spoke out about their experiences.The most recent review into “adverse events” from December 2013 onwards found staff were unsure how to respond to such an event once it was initially reported.NHS Ayrshire and Arran apologised to the families involved and said it is committed to continuous improvement. Shona Robison, the Health Minister,  has promised bereaved families that improvements will be made following the review.She told Holyrood the “substandard” practices uncovered within NHS Ayrshire and Arran were “unacceptable” as she gave a personal commitment that action would be taken.On the cancer figures, she said average waits were still “longer than we would expect and I want to see further improvement”, adding: “We will continue to ensure timely access to diagnostics and treatment for the remaining patients who did not receive their treatment within 62 days. He said: “Good health services cost money and health spending is a political choice. The UK spends a smaller proportion of its national wealth than the average levels spent by comparable leading European nations, and the BMA is calling for that to change, in all four nations.”We want the Scottish public to be consulted on what they need from the health service, and they must be told honestly how much it will cost.”Politicians must then decide if this is affordable, and if not, how they are going to bridge the gap – through additional funding, or by being honest with the public about what they are prepared to fund.”Meanwhile, cancer charities called for urgent progress on waiting-times as new figures reveal only two health boards – NHS Dumfries and Galloway and NHS Lanarkshire – had met the 62-day target for cancer treatment.Only 88.1 per cent of patients with an urgent referral for a suspicion of cancer started treatment within the time period between January and March, falling short of the Scottish Government’s target of 95 per cent.Cancer Research UK said the figures painted an “all too familiar picture”. Gregor McNie, the charity’s senior public affairs manager in Scotland, said: “It’s clear some patients in Scotland are still waiting far too long for diagnosis and treatment.” “To fund this work, yesterday I announced an additional £2.85 million investment for NHS boards.”Ms Robison responded to the BMA’s warnings by claiming the government had delivered an all-time record number of NHS staff, with “an increase of more than 12,0000 since taking office, as well as record high funding for Scotland’s health service”.She added: “We are increasing the NHS revenue budget by £2 billion by the end of this parliament, by which point more than half of frontline spending will be in community health services.” He also used his speech to the BMA’s annual meeting in Bournemouth to say that a report by Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer called Realistic Medicine in Scotland had embodied “the way we have all been taught to practise, and that we all try to practise”. It was about sitting with a patient, giving them information about their own responsibilities for their health, discussing all the options, and helping them to decide what is best for them.But he added that it would only work if doctors and patients had enough time together to make joint decisions. Dr Bennie added: “The Scottish Government repeatedly says that there are more doctors than ever before, but this is simply ignoring a major risk to the health service, and it is demoralising and frustrating for doctors to hear time and time again. shona robisoncenter_img doctors “We need a realistic approach to workforce planning in Scotland which is based on an honest and shared understanding of the current medical workforce numbers, and an evidence based view of what future healthcare demand will mean for the number of doctors required. We need a clear and agreed approach to delivering and retaining this future workforce.”We need to be able to fill vacancies so that we can look after our patients properly and take care of our own health, reducing the risk of burnout.”Government and employers need to work with us, to listen to the opportunities we have identified for improving the working lives of doctors, and to take urgent action now.” Shon Robison is under pressure over NHS problemsCredit:PA Doctors do ‘not have enough time’ to do their jobs properlyCredit:PA 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.last_img read more

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5 things we learned from this weekends Premier League action

first_img1. Ferguson not counting his chickensWhile many commentators have been quick to claim the Premier League title race is effectively over, Alex Ferguson has done little to indicate he is overly confident of a positive outcome for his side come the season’s end.While he may have been tempted to rest some of his stars ahead of their vital Champions League clash against Real Madrid this week, Ferguson opted to pick a strong team for Saturday’s game with Norwich.In contrast with their upcoming Spanish opponents, who rested players such as Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso for their encounter with Barcelona over the weekend, the likes of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and David de Gea all featured from the start at Old Trafford.The veteran manager risked putting himself in a difficult position if one of these players were to get badly injured during the game, but Fergie had the conviction to start them anyway, and he was duly rewarded as his men comfortably defeated Norwich.2. Chelsea fans need to get behind BenitezDespite Chelsea securing a valuable 1-0 win over West Brom, Rafael Benitez’s position as manager remained the prevailing topic at Stamford Bridge yesterday. The fans’ booing could conceivably have an impact on not just Benitez, but the whole team’s morale, reducing their chances of Champions League qualification and harming the long-term health of the club in the process.3. McClean cannot afford to keep shooting himself in the footJames McClean’s stunning first season in the Premier League (or half-season to be exact) seemed like a long time ago yesterday.The player was introduced as a 76th minute substitute, amid Sunderland’s 2-2 draw with Fulham, and his belated appearance was met with widespread booing from his own supporters.The fans’ unhappiness stems from provocative remarks the star made on Twitter recently, expressing his love of an IRA-glorifying Wolf Tones song – not a wise move, especially as the winger has already made a series of controversial comments relating to this subject matter.Moreover, unlike similarly controversial players in the league, McClean is not playing well enough for his manager to overlook such problems.Consequently, he needs to stay away from social media from now on, or risk blowing his undoubted talent and being shown the exit door at the Stadium of Light.4. Coutinho looking like money well spentYouTube credit: TheChannelshotaMuch of the post-match talk following Liverpool’s convincing win against Wigan yesterday surrounded Luis Suarez.However, the Uruguayan’s vintage performance somewhat overshadowed the substantial contribution from another impressive performer – Philippe Coutinho.The Brazilian playmaker showed good skill and fine crossing ability for their first goal, and an eye for a defence-splitting pass during their second.If he continues in this vein until the end of the season, his £8.5m transfer fee, paid by Liverpool to Inter in January, will be considered a significant bargain.5. Champions League race not over yetThe more hyperbole-prone Tottenham fans would be forgiven for thinking today’s crucial win over Arsenal means they have effectively sealed their place in the top four.Yet Tottenham still have teams of the calibre of Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea to play, while Arsenal have a number of eminently winnable games coming up.And though Andre Villas-Boas’ men looked relatively solid as goals from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon helped them overcome their North London neighbours, they were in a similar position last year before a dramatic end-of-season collapse enabled the Gunners to leapfrog them in the table.Arsenal, however, minus Van Persie, and with a defence that always looks prone to shipping goals, appear a weaker outfit this time around, and the prospect of them missing out on Champions League football for the first time since the 1997-98 season is looking more likely by the day.POLL: Who is your Premier League Player of the Season so far?>Arsenal: We have had no contact over a potential takeover> Fans brought banners to the stadium deriding the embattled manager, and his midweek outburst suggested these persistent taunts are affecting him on a personal level.And although some of the remarks that the Spaniard made about Chelsea while Liverpool manager – saying he would never manage them and appearing to suggest that the London club’s fans needed flags to support their team – may have been unwise, surely it’s in the interest of all parties to move on for the ultimate benefit of the team.last_img read more

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Storm Emma may hit this weekends GAA fixtures with decision due on

first_img Whoops! We couldn’t find this Tweet Follow us: the42.ie Wednesday 28 Feb 2018, 12:06 PM Wednesday’s sporting fixtures disrupted by heavy snowfall and adverse weatherThe man behind Johnstownbridge’s bid for three All-Ireland club titles in-a-row 11 Comments 12,795 Views http://the42.ie/3876360 Semple Stadium is set to host the clash of Tipperary and Cork on Sunday. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHOThe pressure is eased on the football league as there is a free weekend on 10-11 March when potential re-fixtures of Round 5 games could be held.Feargal McGill, the GAA director of games administration and player welfare, revealed that midweek games will not be a runner if there are postponements and that if the hurling league games are rescheduled it will not impact on plans to keep the month of April free for club matches.“We have a contingency plan in place for every fixture between now and the end of the leagues,” McGill told The42.“That will allow us to finish the leagues and not impact on the club window in April.“The plan doesn’t involve any midweek games. The big issue is our players are still amateurs and midweek games would involve people taking time off work.“So even if there’s a second weather event, we won’t be looking at midweek fixtures. We’ll make the call for this weekend’s matches on Friday.”The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us! By Fintan O’Toolecenter_img Storm Emma may hit this weekend’s GAA fixtures with decision due on Friday There’s 33 games across the football and hurling leagues scheduled for this weekend. The game between Kerry and Monaghan earlier this month in Inniskeen was postponed. Source: John McVitty/INPHOTHE GAA WILL make a decision on Friday whether this weekend’s league games will go ahead as adverse weather conditions hit the country and the hurling league knockout stages will have to be deferred if postponements take place.There are six games scheduled for the football league on Saturday with ten pencilled in for Sunday. In hurling there are 17 matches fixed for this Sunday afternoon with the final round-robin games due to be played.With Storm Emma set to cause chaos around the country, a call will be made on Friday if matches are to get the green light to be held. The Kildare hurlers and Leitrim footballers are set to fly to London for matches in McGovern Park in Ruislip on Sunday. A decision on those games could be made tomorrow night to accommodate the travelling teams. Share15 Tweet Email1 The key issue for the GAA will be when the concluding stages of the hurling league take place if matches are called off. There are no free weekends between now and the planned final date of 24 March. The quarter-finals are fixed for 11 March and the semi-final ties for 18 March. Feb 28th 2018, 12:06 PM Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

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South Melbourne cements place at Lakeside

first_imgBehind the scenes, South Melbourne hasn’t been having the best time at Lakeside Stadium.Relinquishing their exclusive rights to the then Bob Jane Stadium in 2010, a deal was signed for the club to share its premises with Athletics Australia. For relinquishing their rights, the club secured for a pretty impressive sum of $950,000 to “build a social club within its exclusive space at the redeveloped Lakeside Oval”.The Memorandum of Understanding which they signed with the State government (which is now being administered by the States Sports Centre Trust) was to have the club paid in instalments, but after one payment of $200,000, the money stopped, leaving the club scratching their heads over how to pay their builders. From the start of 2013, the club has had to cease all renovations, leaving both members and fans without a solid time frame on when they’ll be able to make use of the proposed Futsal centre, social club and football museum.Now, after a year of legal battles, the club has secured the next instalment of funding after it cemented its name at Lakeside Stadium with a 40 year lease. “It’s been a long time coming,” president Leo Athanasakis tells Neos Kosmos. “The trust was waiting for a signed lease to give us the rest of the funds, so now we can start building again.”Mr Athanasakis says the club will now have the ability to talk long term on plans at the stadium, and look to extending their presence even more.Right now the club has committed to building its initial plans from 2010, but Mr Athanaskis calls it the “first phase”.The second phase is still only in development, but will certainly look to make fans more comfortable and give more options to the club in the future. Mr Athanasakis says the club is assessing their finances before committing to anything.Spearheading negotiations was lawyer and president of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, Bill Papstergiadis.“We have been working tirelessly in pursuing a transformation of the club,” he said. “Negotiating a resolution with the government on the stadium lease was one of the last remaining pieces in the puzzle. The legal issues involved were very complicated, however the Napthine government demonstrated a sincere approach to dealing with and resolving these issues with us.”With the first $200,000 spent on getting plans drawn up and the demolition, the club will be happy to see builders entering the site again. Mr Athanasakis estimates the project will be completed at the start of next season.Sitting on top of the NPL ladder with a considerable lead, the club might have brand new silverware to place in the museum very soon. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Eleonore memorial tourney in high gear

first_imgBy Sulayman BahEleonore memorial trophy is in progress at the Serrekunda Primary School.Saturday’s fixture was to feature Latrikunda up against Jeshwang in a 3pm kick-off but the tie failed to hold after one of the teams failed to show up. The late kick-off between Leeds and World Eleven produced blanks.The tournament which was first being hosted in Kanifing and now shifted to Serrekunda is aimed at bringing youths together, according to Nicol Joof husband to the deceased.The championship featuring most over-30 player has attracted ten teams grouped into two categories. The tourney is expected to run till October with D3,000 for winner and D2,000 for the runners-up.The tournament was formed in 1998 one year after Eleonores Anastasia Joof passed away. The kick-off was done by former national team player Zone King. ]]>last_img read more

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151 plaints received during Prajavani

first_imgVikarabad: Prajavani was organised here at meeting hall in collectorate on Monday. As many as 151 complaints were received from the people across the district. District Collector Ayesha Masrat Khanam directed the officials to address the grievances immediately.last_img

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Abzu and Superbrothers on Nintendo Switch Are Like Art Man

first_imgStay on target I thought I had already played through all the interesting Nintendo Switch games I wanted to check out this year before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate took over my life. I even put a bow on this hefty ongoing feature on cool Switch games before the Ultimate fight. But just days before Smash arrives, two last Switch games snuck into my radar: Abzu and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. And along with both being promising ports, it turns out these two games offer appealing artistic appetizers before Smash’s bursting #brand buffet bonanza.Abzu, the more recent of the two, first launched in 2016. The plot is intentionally vague and esoteric, but you play as a diver exploring colorful abstract oceans teaming with life, ancient structures, and mysterious menacing technology. Swimming sections are usually some of the most polarizing experiences in any video game, and you do spend the vast majority of your time in Abzu underwater. But the forgiving controls and lack of air management make movement easier to swallow. And the whole game is about moody and methodical exploration, so you’re never in a rush. It’s so much more rewarding to just chill.And when you do chill Abzu totally becomes the tranquil transcendent undersea journey you want it to be. The easy comparison is Journey, which also used Austin Wintory’s dynamic music (music that unfortunately sounds a little crushed while playing in handheld mode) to give its wordless trek even more emotional resonance. But it also reminded me of Fe from earlier in this year, in that you’re communing with this digital neon nature. It’s not very long or deep. I felt like I should’ve used my robot scanning buddy more often. But this is a game you’re supposed to just flow through. Plus you can ride a shark!AdChoices广告Meanwhile, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP from 2011 I remember not just as an early example of modern games as art but also as an example of the iPhone being a serious gaming platform. How long ago was that? This Switch port opens with an joke explanation saying that because Twitter has now become so toxic the game’s integration with the social media has since been removed. This is from a whole past era of cool iPhone gaming, before it was destroyed by free-to-play mechanics.But that sense of time passed only adds to the sense of mythic weight the game is going for. A kind of surreal adventure game, the narrative splits between metatextual modern day psychologist framing devices and grand fantasy quest drawing from “Scythian” Eurasian folklore. The holy relics reference old video games but the pixel art has a purposefully drab and realistic look. Even the dialogue regularly mixes up classical language with internet slang. The gameplay is almost besides the point. You’ll need some timing to fight enemies and some smarts to solve puzzles. But really this is about grooving out to the artsy atmosphere including the Jim Guthrie score. The “EP” in Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is because the game is considered a “playable album” which really says it all.We’re really down to the wire here for Nintendo Switch games to play before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Poor Katamari Damacy Reroll barely stands a chance. But Abzu and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP are both fascinating sensory experiences that are absolutely worth your time. You can probably get through them while waiting in line for the midnight launch. Trade In Your Nintendo Switch For a Better Battery (With a Catch)Controller Patent Teases SNES Games on Switch last_img read more

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AMResorts new promo includes slashed prices resort coupons

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: AMResorts, Promotions AMResorts’ new promo includes slashed prices & resort coupons << Previous PostNext Post >> Sharecenter_img Posted by TORONTO — AMResorts is heading to paradise with a new promotion that includes savings and resort coupons for clients.The ‘Greetings From Paradise’ promotion can be booked until July 16 for travel by Dec. 22, 2018. Clients will receive $200 in resort coupons per room plus up to 40% off at any of AMResorts’ Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, Now, or Sunscape Resorts & Spas.AMResorts’ destinations offers a host of amenities, including Endless Privileges, Unlimited-Luxury, Defined Delights or Unlimited-Fun, with access to beaches, upscale lodgings, gourmet dining, unlimited premium drinks and more.For more information go to amresorts.com. Wednesday, July 4, 2018 last_img read more

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PHOTOS Hurricane Otto leaves behind devastation in northern town

first_img (Gustavo Nuñez/Facebook Casitas Tenorio) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) Facebook Comments Hurricane Otto’s path across northern Costa Rica took a disastrous toll on communities there, as 10 deaths have been confirmed and thousands of people were affected. In Bijagua, Alajuela, the rising waters led to five deaths and widespread losses of infrastructure that will be a major focus of the government’s impending multi-million dollar repair job required in the coming days and weeks.Casitas Tenorio, a family-run hotel in Bijagua, chronicled the devastation left behind with photos of a community that lost nearly everything to the storm. Because of the massive scale of destruction there, the local business created a fundraiser page for anyone looking to donate money or goods that go in to repairing the northern town.According to the hotel web site: “A month’s worth of rain was dumped in a few short hours. A head of water turned a small stream into a raging river and swept though the town taking everything in its path. Houses, roads and bridges were completely destroyed.  Five community members lost their lives and we are all in mourning.”The photos below collected by the hotel show exactly what kind of impact Otto had on the village located between the Tenorio and Miravalles Volcanoes. We thank Casitas Tenorio co-owners Donald Varela Soto and Pip Kelly Varela for sharing these images with us. (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) (Moisese Watson/Facebook Casitas Tenorio) (Courtesy of Casitas Tenorio/Facebook) Related posts:Solís promises rapid rebuilding in Hurricane Otto’s wake; donation drives continue PHOTOS: Hurricane Otto begins path of destruction through Central America Here’s how you can donate to Hurricane Otto relief in Costa Rica What to do as Costa Rica braces for Hurricane Ottolast_img read more

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How a refugee family opened their home to me

first_img Facebook Comments When I traveled from Costa Rica to Belgium and began my exchange program there, a refugee camp near the high school where I studied caught my attention. For some reason that I didn’t understand at the moment, we went to visit the camp to provide social aid. There, I met the Al-Aid family.The first person I saw was Kiffah, the mother, 34, who was sitting in a wheelchair. She spoke only Arabic and almost no English. My two other classmates spoke only French, and I had a basic level of French at the time. Kiffah looked at me with joy and recognition: she thought that because of my brunette complexion and Latina features, I was from Pakistan. She immediately tried to communicate with me.As I explained to her with my basic English that I was a Latina, she understood that we were both foreigners. With the help of Google Translate, we began speaking.She explained to me that she had fled Iraq and showed me an old photo of her home, shattered by a bomb, but I couldn’t understand much more. Luckily, her kids were there. I began visiting them frequently. While my French improved, theirs also improved.The children, Azra, Mariam and Ali, who were five, seven and nine years old, helped their mother and me to communicate with each other. I spoke French and they’d translate it to Arabic. In this way, we communicated with each other for my entire exchange year.Azra is a very talkative and loving girl. Ali, the middle child, was the one with whom I had more difficulty communicating, because he was very shy and sweet. Mariam complied with her role as the older sister by controlling her siblings with an impressive maturity.The three children and I came to have a relationship in which I was a sort of babysitter by default; they didn’t have the slightest idea of who I was, just that I appeared at their home to say hi and bring them candies, home appliances and shoes. There was one time when my tutor and I had to buy groceries for the family, and the children came with us with their parents’ permission. I had never seen a group of children as happy as they were at the supermarket, playing in between the goods and sliding over the waxed floors as if they were in an amusement park.That day, Mariam, the oldest child, told me something I’ll remember forever. She stared at me, smiled and pointed out: “We have the same eyes.”Read also: Half a century of statelessnessThat was the way – in between children who exaggerated phrases and got distracted every now and then, and a cell phone with Google Translate – I communicated with this family.It was not until the middle of my exchange that I got to meet the husband, Mohammed. He spent much of his time outside of his home. I could not speak too much with him, but he did receive me with hospitality in his home every time he saw me.With Kiffah I developed a meaningful relationship. Even though we couldn’t communicate directly, she once took her phone, spoke in Arabic to it and then showed me the screen. I wanted to cry when I saw the words: You are my best friend.During my time at Belgium I never discovered the reason that Kiffah was in a wheelchair. I wanted to communicate with her, so I found an Arabic translator who was the children’s religion teacher at school. He was the one who told me that the children paid regular visits to a psychologist because they had night terrors and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. With all the kindness possible, he agreed to translate my questions for Kiffah from French to Arabic, and then translate her answers back to French for me.Two days before I had to return to Costa Rica, I went to visit her, but she wasn’t home. Her husband, through signs and gestures, managed to communicate to me that she had been taken to Saint-Luc Hospital in Brussels to have surgery. He also told me that she would have to spend a month there in recovery.The possibility of not being able to say goodbye before leaving made me cry when I received the news. My Belgian tutor, who had also developed an emotional attachment with the family, decided to drive to Brussels with me the day before my return to Costa Rica. I immediately placed a video call to Kiffah and asked her to show me the door of her hospital room. That way I was able to write down the room number; given that the hospital is enormous, I would have never found her without that reference.She was not expecting my visit. When she saw me, she shouted in excitement.She explained to me that her surgery had been a success and she proudly stood up next to the hospitas bed. She took a cane and showed how she was given back the ability to walk. She had one more surgery to go, but she was really excited.Our happiness didn’t last long. I had to tell her that I would return to my country the next day. She didn’t want to accept it. She cried and told me that she wouldn’t be able to be happy. I tried to tell her that I had to return, to go back with my mother in order to feel protected, and that she had to be strong for her children so that they would also feel protected. She cried and talked to her phone.She showed me the message through the translator and it said: You are my sister. I love you.We both cried together and she gave me a bracelet and hijab as a gift. I asked for the interview questions; she did not realize until that moment that the questions had come from me. She asked me if I could help her to gain residence in Belgium. I explained to her that I was simply an exchange student, with no power. At least I could do one thing for her: I could take her voice, her cry for help in Arabic, and translate it so that we can all listen to it. We don’t all need to speak the same language in order to understand laughter and pain.When you have the privilege to get to know a family like this one, full of compassion and love, it’s impossible for me to understand how people would close their nation’s doors to them. Upon my return to Costa Rica, I got the interview back with my friend’s answers. I had to translate them from French to English and Spanish and it broke my heart to read the same answers in different languages: “I escaped because I feared for my life and my family’s life.” “They had no compassion.” “They beat us voluntarily.” “My daughter was in a deplorable state.”I can’t do much more than just love them from afar, but the multilingual shout is there for all of us to respond to.After all, we all have the same eyes: some more privileged, some lighter and other more worn out, but in the end, the same.This piece, translated from Spanish to English by Elizabeth Lang, is published through The Tico Times’ partnership with Contexto, a new Costa Rican digital media community. You can find selected Tico Times content in Spanish at contexto.cr, and The Tico Times will share translated selections from Contexto’s talented community of writers, photographers and artists.Our sincere thanks go to the author of this piece, writer Lari Quesada, from this story from her time abroad. Are you a Costa Rican who is living outside the country, with a story to share for our series “A Letter Home”? Please write to us at kstanley@ticotimes.net.  Related posts:NATO ships to combat migrant-smuggling networks in Aegean Mud-soaked migrants fight for food as Greek border blockade drags on Cynthia Castro: the Costa Rican psychologist fighting for global gender equality Authorities detain Cuban migrants, boat captain in the Southern Zonelast_img read more

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Derrick Hall satisfied with Dbacks buying and se

first_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo On facing the Cardinals defense on a daily basis…“It’s a challenge. The personnel is very well built. But more than anything, it’s the scheme. Coach (Todd) Bowles puts in a new defense every day, a new blitz every day. You can’t get a beat on what you think is coming. He’ll show you a look where they’re bringing one free safety one day and then they’ll have the exact same look four periods later in practice and it’s a blitz from the other side of the field that looks exactly the same. They do a ton, and it’s very well built and very well orchestrated. I have a ton of respect for the way he coaches those guys and the way he prepares them and changes things up consistently.”On the goals for the preseason opener“Just being efficient. I don’t know how many reps we’ll get, but whether it’s one drive or two drives, you want to go down the field and score and not settle for a field goal; and just see us be efficient, see the mental errors disappear and just see guys controlling what they can control and doing their jobs.” And getting hit; have you shared that with your offensive line? “No, I don’t want those guys knowing that. It’s just kind of something I’ve learned over the years and experienced year in, year out going through preseason and getting into the regular season. If we miss a block here or there, that’s OK.”It really does help get ready for the regular season…“You can’t replicate standing up and just getting slammed into and knocked a couple of feet in the air, then hitting the ground and rolling. Your body is not used to it. You can lift weights—there’s a million things you can do—but unless you do that, your body is not used to it. It just gets your muscles used to that soreness, that type of soreness.” – / 13 GLENDALE, Ariz. – Quarterback Carson Palmer, now in his second year with the Arizona Cardinals, meets with the media several times during training camp.Here, in this space, we’ll highlight many of the key topics and personnel conversations he has with reporters following the morning walk-through:On looking forward to the first preseason game against the Houston Texans…“I actually always hope to get knocked down a bunch of times during the preseason just because if you don’t, you get to Week 1 of the regular season, Week 1, 2, 3 and if your body is not used to being that kind of sore because it’s so rare — it only happens five months a year — that soreness kind of lingers on through the week for a little bit longer, so I like to get that soreness out of the way before the regular season starts.” Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

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Saving the mountain resorts

first_imgBy Annette Chrysostomou The cabinet’s approval last week of the interior minister’s strategic plan for the mountain resorts is yet another attempt to halt and reverse the decades-long depopulation of the Troodos area.The main objectives are to attract more people to live in the area, to promote tourism, to balance the protection and exploitation of natural resources and to improve infrastructure and transport.Though the details remain vague, it is clearly an ambitious plan which is long overdue. The mountain resorts may have been the birthplace of tourism on the island, but they have struggled for years even though tourists reached an all-time high of over three million visitors in 2017.Every August for around two weeks from the 14th of the month, mountain hotels reach around 60 per cent capacity which falls to 50 per cent by the end of the month and then plummets. From February to May those establishments which operate at all do so at a loss.To implement and monitor the project, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides has suggested establishing an inter-ministerial committee on a grand scale, involving himself as chairman and including the ministers of finance, transport, communications and works, and agriculture and rural development.The polytechnic school of the University of Thessalia has been assigned the task of developing the comprehensive development model.The president has appointed Yiannakis Papadouris, community leader of the mountain village of Kalopanayiotis who also runs a successful business in Dubai, as the adviser.Papadouris is an astute choice. Kalopanayiotis is a mountain success story. Since 2002, when he was voted community leader Papadouris has been at the forefront of the village’s transformation, adding roads, and renovating old buildings into hotels, a library, self-catering apartments, a popular spa resort and restaurants. The spa is now connected by a lift to the part of the village located higher up.He has also secured EU funding for many of the projects.Papadouris intends to be much more than just an advisor in the mountain project and says he is prepared to invest his own money.“I didn’t want tenders, and then they say this and that is not included,” he told the Sunday Mail this week. “I don’t want another study so I told the president I will go deep, as deep as I have to.”The strategic plan, he explained, is going to explore every aspect, as millions have already been spent on the region without any improvement.“I want to know everything, every aspect on how to retain the population. I want to make every person who works in agriculture and tourism say ‘I would love to go and live and work there. I will choose it because there is life there.’ We need to find out why are the medical services not as good as in the cities because they are not, why are the educational services not as good?”The wide scope of the study will involve just about every ministry, Papadouris said.“The only ones with whom we won’t work are the foreign and the defence ministry.”The detailed plan will be submitted to the cabinet in June, after it has been finalised by the Greek university in consultation with the relevant governmental departments.So far, the plans are sketchy at best. There is no indication of how many villages are included, what the budget is or if European funding will be made available.Even when this is resolved, progress is bound to be slow, as technical committees will have to be formed after the plan is discussed and approved by the legislature, and all involved will need to agree on the details.Slow progress is the last thing the mountain villages need, and nowhere more so than Platres.Platres’ rise and fall as a tourist resort is well known. During the pre-air-conditioning days of the early 20th century and through the 1930s, 40s and 50s it was a green, tree-filled summer magnet for British colonial staff, rich Nicosians, Limassolians, the odd foreign royal and a writer or two.Its decline as the beach resorts took over has lasted decades. Over the years most of its impressive hotels have closed. Just last year the Forest Park hotel, once the jewel of Platres with its 150 rooms and 85 years of history, finally closed its doors. The restaurants that are still open are pricey and mediocre at best, and the few shops have little to offer. Empty hotels and shops are now sprawled with graffiti.The mayor of Pano Platres, Panayiotis Papadopoulos, is not sure what this strategic plan will mean for Platres but has plans of his own, some of which are being implemented already.The mayor of Pano Platres, Panayiotis Papadopoulos“The biggest problem is the closure of the hotels. In 1960 there were 16 hotels, but there has been no continuation,” he explained. “A property was divided when an owner died and the children wouldn’t decide who was going to run the place. Some of them were rich and they lost interest in the place and just left it. Some rented the hotels but those to whom they rented them didn’t invest in them, just looking to make profit so the buildings fell into disrepair.”This, he said, spilled over. There were fewer guests to visit restaurants so these closed down, forcing employees to move away. Of the 500 permanent residents in 1950, there are now just 200.The British government’s decision to move their soldiers away from the area in 1990 was another blow. Before that, around 120 soldiers and their families stayed in apartments, most of them young couples.“They were accommodated in two-bedroom flats, so they had rooms for visitors and when you have guests you go out to restaurants and spend money in the village,” the mayor said.Most recently, of course, has been the financial crisis and efforts to revive the village came to a halt.Papadopoulos does not only blame external factors. He admits that the previous municipality also made serious mistakes, mainly in the form of a large loan for a huge sports centre which has saddled the village with a €3 million debt.This super modern centre was meant to target professional athletes with its state of the art facilities, including a football pitch, basketball, tennis, volleyball and handball courts. Rarely used, it has become a financial burden.Attempts to attract investors have failed so far, but the municipality now believes it has a plan which may work.The ambitious idea is to play on Platres’ well-heeled history and turn it into ‘a resort for aristocracy’.Much will be made of the visits by King Farouk of Egypt, the novelist Daphne du Maurier who wrote some of Rebecca there, and of course the poet George Severis who was famously kept awake by Platres’ noisy nightingales. There’s even a nod to Queen Victoria who is said to have been aware of Platres’ lavender, a herb she was so fond off that she had it embossed on her crown.It is this past that the mayor and his team are banking on. A cultural centre and gift shop with various themes linked to the famous visitors already exists.An open museum, where the whole village is a museum around which visitors will be guided around the old grand brick houses and their architecture is on the cards.The mayor plans to turn the village into an open museum (Christos Theodorides)As regards the closed hotels, the municipality is now planning to try to sell four of the oldest hotels in the centre to one investor, as opening just one will not do the trick.“What we have learnt is that the investors need a ready plan, they will give money but are not interested in seeing the place as it is,” the community council leader said after presenting the ideas to investors in Qatar and Lebanon.This is no surprise. When you look at the tragic state some of the chosen hotels are in, the Pafsylipon for example, it is hard to imagine the change the mayor envisions.The idea is to turn four central hotels into boutique hotels, each of them with a different focus. The Pafsilipon is earmarked to be ‘the heart of culture’, with a ball room for dancing. The Pendeli hotel, as it already has a swimming pool, is designated as a spa hotel, the Splendid will be for family holidays, and the Petit Palais for ‘romantic soulmates’.Meanwhile, the future of the Forest Park hotel remains uncertain with investors showing some interest but no definite plans on the horizon. The mayor believes it would be best to keep the old part of the building, which still retains many of its attractive original features, as a hotel while selling the new wing in the form of apartment units to help finance the hotel.The mayor is not without his critics. Some residents believe the mayor should address other issues, such as the cutting down of trees and the building of sprawling modern houses which detract from the village’s special character. And indeed, one new huge house under construction at the entrance of the village fits uncomfortably with the mayor’s plans for an open museum.They also complain that the restaurants and the solitary supermarket are too expensive and the taxes too high.Above all, they complain that the residents should have a greater say in the future of the village.Papadopoulos counters that it is the Limassol town planning department, not he, that gives permission for new buildings while the forestry department has to give its consent before a single tree is cut.Platres’ challenges might seem overwhelming, but there is at least one woman who has made a successful return home.Chara Michaelidou, the manager of Semiramis, one of the few fully booked hotelsChara Michaelidou, 28, manages one of the very few successful hotels in the region, the Semiramis, and stresses the importance of the simple life in the mountains. “We grow our own tomatoes, vegetables, we have eggs, cherries and apples which we use and sell,” she said.It was risky to move up from Limassol, which she did last year. But her family comes from Platres and she felt it was important that young people help the older ones, who get little money or any other support from the government.The small 118-year-old hotel with its view of Platres’ famous trees was renovated in 2006. Its ten rooms are booked all year round.The hotel garden is just about the most peaceful spot a visitor could hope for. She enjoys it herself so much that she can say with a calm confidence that she hasn’t regretted the move from the busy coastal town.[smart-photo][/smart-photo]You May LikeThelatestnewsdailyBecause Of This Simple Trick Your Gas Burner Is Clean Within 2 MinutesThelatestnewsdailyUndoWorldemandCatch Up With These 70’s Stars Years LaterWorldemandUndoMy Insure OnlineTop Female Tennis Stars Net WorthMy Insure OnlineUndo Film review: Child’s Play ***UndoCypriot ambassadors gather in Nicosia for annual briefingUndoBale’s China move called off by Real MadridUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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