SIMU LIUS RISE FROM BAY STREET ACCOUNTANT TO MARVELS KUNG FU SUPER

first_imgAdvertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment In the big-screen Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Mandarin leads a global terrorist organization known as the Ten Rings, and its members have appeared in the Iron Man films as well as “Ant-Man.”Marvel said that character will be played by Leung, who is a veteran star in China but also new to Hollywood.WHERE HAVE I SEEN LIU BEFORE?Liu plays the athletic and charismatic son Jung in CBC-TV’s hit sitcom “Kim’s Convenience,” which is also available on Netflix in the United States.His Korean-Canadian character works at a car-rental company but harbours a rebellious past, and because of that he doesn’t get along with his father, Appa.Liu’s first major role was in the half-hour OMNI drama “Blood and Water,” a unique noir that featured an all-Chinese ensemble with dialogue in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.Back when the show premiered in November 2015, he touted the project for putting Asian talent in the spotlight.“As an Asian Canadian I find it’s really hard to find content in the media that is relatable,” said Liu, whose role included lines in both Mandarin and English.Before that, Liu logged bit parts in several TV series including “Nikita,” “Warehouse 13,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Taken.”LIU DIDN’T START OUT ACTINGLike all the big superheroes, Liu forged a secret identity, of sorts — Liu says he pursued acting for months without telling his parents.“My parents were very, very, not OK with me pursuing the arts and I feel like that’s a very common mindset for parents who are immigrants themselves and who value that kind of stability above everything else,” he said in 2015.“To throw away a career, a perfectly good career to pursue the arts seems so counter-intuitive to them, which is understandable.”Liu’s entry into show business came amid an industry-wide push for more racial diversity on the big and small screens, with successes including “Master of None” and “Fresh Off the Boat” offering exciting possibilities for marginalized performers.Still, Liu pointed to family pressures that made it difficult for him to even consider acting.“When I booked my first national commercial, the day before it was about to come out I was like, ‘Listen, you’re going to start seeing my face on television, I don’t want you to freak out but this is what I decided to do with my life.”‘LIU HAS CHAMPIONED ASIAN ROLESLiu has also produced and directed a short film, and worked as a writer on the second season of “Blood and Water.”“In order for this whole diversity thing to fly, we not only need diverse performers but we do need those writers as well,” he said back in 2015.And when the Singapore-set feature “Crazy Rich Asians” came out last summer, Liu urged his Twitter followers to join him at a weekend screening to support the romantic comedy.“It’s the first movie with an all-Asian cast in 25 years and that means something,” said Liu, who did not appear in the film but believed a strong box-office would push Hollywood to make more films with Asian talent.“I can’t overstate the importance of us showing up as a community, as a crowd.”Just as Marvel’s “Black Panther” furthered conversations about diversity in big-budget filmmaking, Liu said he believed “Crazy Rich Asians” could highlight the demand and power of Asian audiences.“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is set to hit theatres Feb. 12, 2021.By Cassandra Szklarski ~ The Canadian Press with files from Victoria Ahearn Advertisement TORONTO — Once upon a time, Simu Liu was a Toronto accountant.But he secretly dreamt of being an actor, and just a few years after leaving Bay Street, Liu is on the brink of movie stardom thanks to being cast as the first Asian superhero to lead a Marvel film.Marvel Studios announced the news to thousands of fans at San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend, when Liu took the stage to introduce himself as the kung-fu master in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Facebook “This is just the craziest, craziest dream,” Liu says in video taken at the event, which also revealed roles for Hong Kong actor Tony Leung and “Crazy Rich Asians” star Awkwafina.Chatter around the cast has exploded online, with much of the focus on the relatively unknown Canadian. Marvel promises that Liu will soon become a household name, but until then, here’s a primer on Canada’s rising star.WHO IS SIMU LIU?Liu was born in northern China where he was raised by his grandparents while his parents attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., he told The Canadian Press back in 2015.His father returned to China to bring him to Canada when he was five years old: “I remember meeting my father for the first time, and then my mother after I landed at Toronto.”From there, the family bounced around the Greater Toronto Area, spending time in communities including Etobicoke and Mississauga, Ont.When he grew older, Liu says his parents pushed him to attend the Ivey School of Business at Western University, even though he really wanted to pursue the arts.After graduating, Liu got a job on Bay Street but was laid off in 2012 at age 23. He took that as an opportunity to switch gears: “That kind of spiralled into a bunch of happy accidents that allowed me to have opportunities to be an actor.”WHO IS SHANG-CHI AND WHAT ARE THE TEN RINGS?Marvel.com describes Shang-Chi as “the undisputed Master of Kung Fu.”He’s a martial arts expert and the son of a criminal mastermind but grew up unaware of his own father’s villainy, according to the comics.Shang-Chi was raised in a hidden, ancient fortress in China, where he was trained in several martial arts and became proficient in all forms of fighting — but especially kung fu and bare-handed battle.He also mastered philosophical disciplines, and could manifest a sense of calm so pronounced that he was able to dodge bullets, adds the site, an exhaustive summary of the comics source material.The Ten Rings, meanwhile, is a reference to 10 magical rings that were discovered in the wreckage of an alien spaceship by the Mandarin, a power-hungry villain who becomes an archrival to Iron Man. Images via Instagram @simuliu & Wikipedia Commons Twitterlast_img read more

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Ban Kimoon calls for restraint from Israel and Lebanon after exchange of

8 February 2007Expressing deep concern after Lebanon’s armed forces and Israeli troops exchanged fire across the Blue Line that separates the two countries, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for maximum restraint, warning that such actions violate last year’s Security Council resolution that ended the month of fighting in the region. Later in the day the Council itself echoed this concern in a press statement on Wednesday’s incident, which occurred in the area of Yaroun. The 15-member body looked forward to a tripartite meeting called for by the commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the peacekeeping operation in the area which was greatly enhanced last year by Council resolution 1701 that ended the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah in Lebanon.“The exchange of fire, which was initiated by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) after an IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) bulldozer crossed the technical fence in an apparent attempt to clear the area between the technical fence and the Blue Line of mines, constitutes a breach of the cessation of hostilities as laid out in Security Council resolution 1701,” a spokesperson for Mr. Ban told reporters in New York.“All such violations of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) endanger the fragile calm that prevails in southern Lebanon. The Secretary-General calls on all parties to exercise maximum restraint, avoid provocative actions and display responsibility in implementing resolution 1701 (2006).” UNIFIL had deployed to the area immediately after hostilities began and was in contact with both sides urging them to cease, said spokesperson Michele Montas, adding that Mr. Ban is also calling on them to make use of the tripartite mechanism to avoid similar incidents in the future.Speaking to reporters after the Security Council heard a briefing on the incident, Ambassador Peter Burian of Slovakia, which this month holds the revolving presidency, said Council members reaffirmed their support for UNIFIL and also reiterated their call for the full implementation of resolution 1701.“The members of the Council expressed deep concern about this incident. They look forward to the ascertaining of all the facts by UNIFIL and to the forthcoming tripartite meeting asked for by UNIFIL Force Commander,” he said.“The members of the Council appealed to all parties to respect the Blue Line in its entirety, to exercise utmost restraint and to refrain from any action that could further escalate the situation.”The enhanced UNIFIL, which is monitoring the end of hostilities after last year’s conflict, as well as carrying out de-mining and other humanitarian work, now numbers over 12,000 although resolution 1701 allows its strength to reach a maximum of 15,000 troops, while also mandating a complete Israeli withdrawal, together with Lebanese army deployment in southern Lebanon. It is commanded by Major-General Claudio Graziano. read more

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Democracy not static but an ongoing process Bangladeshi leader tells UN

Elections were scheduled in Bangladesh in late January, but following political violence, a state of emergency was declared that month. Since then, the country has been run by a non-party caretaker Government.“We have learned that democracy is not an event, it is an ongoing process,” Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed said at the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate. “It is not just about casting votes and changing governments; it is about social justice, accountability and empowerment of the people.”Bangladesh has long been plagued by corruption which has severely undermined democracy. Corruption spawned a “winner-takes-all electoral system where the spoils of electoral victory were so great and the stakes of winning so high that the political process became hopelessly polarized, leading to a paralysis in even ordinary governance,” he noted.To allow the nation’s democratic spirit to flourish, “we must first free our politics from the clutches of corruption and violence,” he added.The challenges – political violence, poor governance and corruption – Bangladesh faces are not unique to developing countries, Mr. Ahmed pointed out, since in such nations, especially post-conflict ones, “democracy does not necessarily ensure good governance.”Therefore, the international community needs to deepen its understanding of both the problems and the efforts of the developing world to rebuild their political and social institutions. 27 September 2007The leader of Bangladesh told the General Assembly today that democracy is a “dynamic and continual” process and that the international community can learn from the South Asian nation’s efforts at consolidating stability. read more

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BC hints may use carbon offsets to counter LNG emissions

VICTORIA — Like the underground shale gas that Premier Christy Clark says will pave the way to a debt-free future, British Columbia appears caught between a rock and a hard place in balancing its hunger for a burgeoning liquefied natural gas industry and meeting its ambitious 2007 greenhouse gas pollution-reduction targets.[np_storybar title=”B.C., Alberta deal on Northern Gateway pipeline marks ‘huge breakthrough’” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2013/11/05/b-c-alberta-deal-on-northern-gateway-pipeline-marks-huge-breakthrough/”%5DThe framework agreement marks a big change for the two provinces. Barely six months ago, B.C. officially opposed the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline proposed by Enbridge Inc. and being considered by regulators, worried it didn’t address its environmental concerns. Keep reading. [/np_storybar]If there is a definitive plan in place, the government isn’t laying it out yet: Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman says the Liberals’ LNG economic plan, which includes a tax structure developed with industry consultation, should be complete within the next 30 days. It won’t be introduced to the legislature until next year.Environment Minister Mary Polak says similar LNG environmental negotiations are underway, of which she indicates the options are limited and is refusing to fully elaborate.But a process of elimination indicates B.C. will rely heavily on carbon offsets to meet its environmental goals.That means even if the actual pollution dumped into the atmosphere increases, rather than declines, B.C. will still be able to say the targets have been met because of the discounts offered by requiring industry to financially support environmentally-friendly initiatives to fight global warming.Still, even if the offsets enable B.C. to claim it has met its pollution targets — targets trumpeted at the time as being among the most stringent in North America — the emissions levels Canada must report to the United Nations will tell a different story.Those numbers are reported without the discounts of offsets and they are numbers environmentalists predict will rival the emissions of neighbouring Alberta’s oil sands industry. Even without the introduction of LNG plants, environmentalists argue, B.C. is already on its way to missing its legislated targets.“There are only two ways to reduce emissions, you either actually reduce them or you find means of mitigation and many times that’s through offsets,” said Polak.“We know many B.C. companies are carbon neutral — Harbour Air for example — but it’s not because they have no emissions. It’s because they purchase offsets.”Besides offsets, the government could reach the targets by taking its foot off the pedal on its ambitious LNG development goals.That’s clearly not going to happen: Clark’s Liberal government says it wants to build the cleanest LNG industry in the world and continues to repeat election-campaign statements that B.C.’s natural gas will scrub clean China’s coal-darkened skies.In the beginning, the Liberals pledged three LNG plants: Now, the proposal is for five to seven.The government could back away from the targets committing it to cut greenhouse gas emissions 33% by 2020 — targets created under a different Liberal government, before Clark’s aggressive push towards a liquefied natural gas industry and all the extra emissions it is bound to create.The government has refused to say it will do that, but it has left the door open.A government official, on background, says the targets are just that: targets. If they aren’t met, government will simply try harder to meet them next time. Much like balanced budget legislation, the official says, there are no penalties for not meeting the goal.Environmentalists and noted climate scientists, including Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver and Simon Fraser University’s Mark Jaccard, who both consulted for the Liberals on the climate targets law in 2007, have already repeatedly said the province isn’t going to meet its pollution reduction targets.”It’s certainly our goal,“ says Coleman without committing to actually doing it.“There may be some challenges around that,” he says in an interview shortly after returning from Asia where he toured an LNG plant in Malaysia and met with executives from Petronas, the Malaysian energy company planning a $36 billion LNG investment near Prince Rupert.“We’re going to have the highest environmental standards that there are and we’re going to have the cleanest industry that there is in the world as well.”A third option to require the industry to explore other emission reduction techniques that could involve storing carbon emissions underground is appealing, but the technology is in its infancy and no one expects B.C. can rely on it in the short-term.“You could potentially require certain technologies be employed,” says Polak. “You could require certain purchase of offsets, but all of that is subject to negotiations, discussions, in much the same way as having the discussions now with taxation policy.”So that leaves offsets as the most likely way to allow British Columbia to meet or at least reach for its emission goals.The challenge is not small.A recent report by Clean Energy Canada, an affiliate of Tides Canada, warned that without B.C. government policy leadership, LNG produced in B.C. could emit more than three-times the carbon produced at other plants around the world.The B.C. government has not stated publicly what it expects its greenhouse gas emissions to be from the proposed LNG plants. But Clean Energy Canada examined a similar LNG plant under construction in Australia and concluded that B.C. LNG facilities can expect to emit about one tonne of carbon pollution for every tonne of LNG produced.People don’t like offsets in general, but it’s really the only way to say those millions of tonnes of extra emissions from running the LNG facilities can be addressedClean Energy Canada estimates that will work out to 36 million tonnes of carbon pollution for the initially-proposed three LNG plants in the Kitimat area.Prof. James Tansey is a business professor at the University of B.C. who is also the chief executive officer and founder of Vancouver-based Offsetters, a global carbon-management company that helps organizations and individuals understand, reduce and offset their climate impact.Tansey says the carbon pollution debate in B.C. is focused on legitimate concerns about increased provincial emissions.But like the government, he notes a global move towards natural gas ultimately reduces GHG emissions worldwide.Tansey says natural gas is a cleaner energy than oil and coal and has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 27%.He says he expects the government to introduce regulations that will require the natural gas companies to purchase the offsets as a cost of doing business in B.C.“The companies will have to do it,” said Tansey. “People don’t like offsets in general, but it’s really the only way to say those millions of tonnes of extra emissions from running the LNG facilities can be addressed. If you don’t do that, then they’re going to appear as a black mark on the carbon accounts of the province.”Offsets may allow B.C. to meet its targets or at least approach them while still reaping the economic benefits of LNG development.But the actual pollution numbers — without adjustments due to offsets — must be reported to provincial, federal and international climate-change monitoring agencies.Environment Canada’s national inventory submission last April to the United Nations Framework convention on climate change measured a decline of almost 6% in B.C.’s GHG emissions since 2007, when the province passed its targets law.The inventory measured B.C.’s carbon dioxide emissions at 59.1 million tonnes in 2011 — the most recent numbers — down from 62.6 million tonnes in 2007. The target for 2020 is about 20.6 million tonnes.The Environment Canada report stated Canada’s total GHG emissions for 2011 were measured at 702 million tonnes, while Alberta’s GHG emissions were 242 million tonnes.Matt Horne, a climate change expert with the Pembina Institute, said he’s certain B.C.’s LNG dreams will increase the province’s GHG emissions well beyond Environment Canada’s most current totals.“I don’t know where they are going to go with the targets,” he said.“I haven’t seen any credible projections of how the province is going to meet those targets in particular around the idea of three to five LNG plants being developed. You can’t square that circle.” read more

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North American markets close lower over worrisome news from overseas

TORONTO — North American stock markets closed lower Friday as traders reacted to worrisome economic news from overseas.The S&P/TSX composite lost 26.22 points to 15,360.55, adding to a 64-point decline Thursday.The loonie also pulled back after a six-day run-up, down 0.32 of a U.S. cent at 81.78 cents.South of the border, anxieties over possible Greek insolvency and regulatory changes in China pushed markets lower.The Dow was down 279.47 points at 17,826.30, the Nasdaq fell 75.98 points to 4,931.81 and the S&P 500 lost 23.81 points to 2,081.18.On the commodity markets, the May crude contract lost $0.97 to US$55.74 a barrel, while June gold advanced $5.10 to US$1,203.10 an ounce.The Canadian Press read more

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Coomaraswamy joins world women leaders calling for change

Signed by:Karen AbuZayd; Shamshad Akhtar; Amat Alsoswa; Valerie Amos; Zainab Bangura; Carol Bellamy; Catherine Bertini; Irina Bokova; Gina Casar; Margaret Chan; Judy Cheng-Hopkins; Helen Clark; Radhika Coomaraswamy; Ertharin Cousin; Christiana Figueres; Louise Frechette; Cristina Gallach; Rebeca Grynspan; Ameerah Haq; Noeleen Heyzer; Angela Kane; Elisabeth Lindenmayer; Susana Malcorra; Purnima Mane; Aïchatou Mindaoudou; Flavia Pansieri; Navi Pillay; Mary Robinson; Josette Sheeran; Mari Simonen; Fatiah Serour; Ann Veneman; Sahle-Work Zewde.” Our shared sense of purpose and responsibility to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment derives from our experiences. Despite decades of notable advances, a reality in which opportunities, freedoms, and rights are not defined by gender has not been universally attained. Even more concerning, we are seeing in some places that the basic rights of women are interpreted as direct and destabilizing challenges to existing power structures. That can lead to efforts to roll back hard-won rights and frameworks agreed on in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment, not least those encapsulated in the historic Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995 and Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.As women increasingly occupy meaningful spaces in local, national, and international political structures and in socio-economic, scientific and sustainable development debates, and as we engage through civil society in many campaigns, we see now, close to a quarter of a century after Beijing, more movements gaining traction which seek to halt the gains made and erode the rights won by women. The letter noted that “As women leaders in our respective fields, we have struggled locally and globally to respond to challenges ranging from the elimination of hunger to achieving peace and security, and from the provision of emergency humanitarian aid in the aftermath of natural and human-induced disasters to the promotion of human rights, including those of women, children, marginalized populations, and those living with disabilities. Our work at its best was based on the principles of sustainable development and the need to build long term resilience. It has also been underpinned by our determination to have a positive impact on the lives of those with and for whom we work, particularly the most vulnerable. We are deeply convinced that for peace to be achieved and sustained, the full participation and potential of women must be unleashed. “We join our voices as women colleagues who have worked in governments and in multilateral organizations in support of promoting humanitarian relief, advocating for human rights principles and normative policies, advancing sustainable development, and resolving some of the world’s most complex conflicts. We ourselves have leveraged multilateralism in order to drive positive change for peoples and our planet. Now we collectively call attention to the need to achieve full gender equality and empowerment of women across all ambits of society and the critical importance of multilateralism as a vehicle in support of that,” the open letter said. This regression is what fuels our collective effort now under the banner of “Women Leaders – voices for change and inclusion”. As women leaders, we call on leaders in governments, the private sector, and civil society to reinvest in policies and in legal and social frameworks that will achieve gender equality and inclusion. Ours is a call for a redoubling of current efforts which are insufficient in many places. Above all, we seek to underscore that the risk posed by politics that seek to halt and erode gender equality is a risk not only to women, but also to all of humanity because half the population is prevented from contributing to its full potential.The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, the Convention on the Eradication of Discrimination Against Women, and many other global agreements, treaties, and conventions have been achieved through multilateralism and demand our collective effort in order to realize their ambitious vision. They represent the hopes and aspirations of current and future generations. Yet, these transformative agendas and agreements are increasingly and disconcertingly called into question.We attach our names to this open letter in the belief that, by bringing together our voices and leveraging our experiences, as women leaders from diverse backgrounds, we will amplify the reach and impact of our message. In the coming weeks and months, we will speak through different means and publish a series of opinion pieces and essays in publications around the world that draw on our diverse – and yet shared – experiences and perspectives as women leaders in our respective fields. It is our hope that this compilation of work will serve not only to impart insights on the importance of women as multilateral actors, but also to be a call to action to the women leaders and advocates of tomorrow. The space that we collectively occupy as women leaders in our fields across the public, private, and civil society spheres was not opened up easily and can never be taken for granted. It is the result of the sacrifices and struggles, of generations of women. Political forces today threaten to erode the progress that we have made at both the national level and through landmark global agendas. Whether those forces succeed will depend on whether the women leaders and advocates of today and tomorrow and all who stand with them recognize the urgency and peril but also the opportunity of this current moment and act accordingly. Former Chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and former UN Under Secretary General and Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, has joined several top women leaders calling for change and inclusion.In a joint open letter, the women leaders noted that political forces today threaten to erode the progress that they have made at both the national level and through landmark global agendas. read more

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Security Council debates proposed measures to monitor sanctions against Taliban

The proposal is contained in the report of a group of experts set up by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the request of the Security Council. The five-member expert group recommended creating a UN office that would employ teams to work with various border control and counter-terrorism services in the six States neighbouring Afghanistan. The office would also employ specialists in illegal arms trafficking, drugs, money laundering and counter-terrorism. Participants at today’s Council’s meeting voiced widespread agreement on the need to enforce the Council’s sanctions, which were originally imposed in October 1999 to prompt the hand-over of indicted terrorist Usama bin Laden and the closure of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. The measures, tightened last December, include an arms embargo, diplomatic sanctions and a flight ban which exempts humanitarian goods. Introducing the experts’ report, the Chairman of the Council’s sanctions committee on Afghanistan, Ambassador Alfonso Vladivieso of Colombia, stressed the importance of a quick Council response to the panel’s proposals. “We must act as soon as possible,” he stated. Noting that the experts had worked expeditiously to produce their recommendations, he said, “now it is up to us to work in a more streamlined manner” to decide on the future course of action. At the close of today’s debate, which saw the participation of some 20 speakers, the current President of the Security Council, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury of Bangladesh, said the 15-member body would “consider the recommendations contained in the report by the committee of experts for action.” read more

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CoucheTard says it is victim of tobacco war in the United States

by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Nov 27, 2012 5:19 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Couche-Tard says it is victim of tobacco war in the United States MONTREAL – Convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard says it is caught in the middle of a war among U.S. cigarette manufacturers that is hurting its merchandise sales.Tobacco manufacturer Phillip Morris, the maker of the Marlboro brand, instituted a policy that forced retailers to reduce markups on its cigarettes in order to lower consumer prices and now its rivals have adopted similar action.“There is a domino effect. They are at war, everybody trying to gain market share and we as retailers are in the middle of the war zone, so that’s quite difficult to react to things we don’t control,” Couche-Tard CEO Alain Bouchard said Tuesday during a conference call.Couche-Tard introduced its private label Crown brand to offset some of the financial pain, but it said other items sold in its stores are the unintended casualties of the conflict.“When you lose a cigarette buyer you lose other parts of the basket. Tobacco is certainly the one we need to resolve.”Still, Bouchard said the impact on its results should dissipate in the coming months as it the one-year anniversary of the introduction of these cigarette measures approaches.The Quebec-based retail and fuel station operator missed expectations in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, even though acquisitions helped its revenues and profits to soar.It earned US$175.2 million, or 94 cents per diluted share for the period ended Oct. 14.That compared with US$113.5 million or 61 cents per share in the same quarter a year earlier, prior to a major acquisition that gave Couche-Tard its first presence in Europe. The company is already one of North America’s biggest operators of convenience stores and gas bars.Couche-Tard, which reports in U.S. dollars, said Tuesday that revenues surged to US$9.31 billion from $5.15 billion in the prior year, mainly due to acquisitions and higher fuel prices.Bouchard said recent acquisitions “contributed nicely” to its results despite the challenge of uncertain economic conditions, the competitive tobacco category in the United States and relatively high fuel prices.Adjusting for one-time items, including foreign exchange gains and acquisition costs, it earned $167.6 million or 90 cents per share, up $53.3 million from the year-ago period.However, Couche-Tard (TSX:ATD.B) was expected to have 94 cents per share of adjusted earnings on $8.9 billion of revenues in the second quarter of its fiscal year, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.The company continued to be helped by a double-digit growth in its high-margin fresh food offering, which Bouchard said continues to be “a bright spot for us.”Merchandise sales grew by $344.6 million, with sales for stores open at least a year increasing by 0.4 per cent in both the U.S. and Canada, the lowest level in four years. Excluding tobacco sales, same-store sales in the U.S. increased by 2.7 per cent. Merchandise profits increased by 0.5 per cent in the U.S. and fell by 0.2 per cent in Canada.Martin Landry of GMP Securities said the overall results were “slightly below” expectations due in part to higher amortization and financial expenses.He said same-store sales in the U.S. were weaker than the historical average of four per cent, mainly due to the tobacco war. But even excluding tobacco, these sales were below the approximate six per cent range of recent quarters.In Europe, Couche-Tard said progress is going as planned with opportunities being identified to realize $150 million to $200 million in synergies over three years and growth following the $2.9-billion acquisition of Statoil Fuel & Retail.Couche-Tard wouldn’t provide numbers on how same-store sales changed in Europe but Bouchard said the company wants to take its time to make sure it makes the right changes to deliver improved results.“We need to take the appropriate time to create real value and not destroy anything. Patience is a virtue. We are very optimistic about the near future,” he told analysts.Fuel revenues increased by $2.9 billion or 81.5 per cent, due to $2.8 billion from acquisitions but high pump prices put pressure on volumes sold but generated $154 million in additional revenues.Landry said investors should be attracted by Couche-Tard’s growth prospects and geographic exposures “which are better than most of the Canadian large-cap consumer universe on the S&P/TSX, and thus could lead to a multiple expansion for the company’s valuation,” he wrote in a report.“While the Statoil Fuel & Retail acquisition adds a level of risk to an investment in Couche-Tard given the increased debt levels, in our view, the quality of the asset targeted (market leader) and the significant accretion potential could outweigh added risks. Couche-Tard’s management has had an excellent track record of creating shareholder value through acquisitions, which should reassure investors.”Canada’s largest convenience store chain is the second largest in North America. Its network is comprised of 6,172 convenience stores, 4,590 of which include motor fuel dispensing in 43 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and all Canadian provinces. It also operates 2,301 stores in Europe.The company employs 78,500 people, including more than 60,000 in North America.On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Couche-Tard’s shares closed down 73 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to C$46.54 in trading Tuesday. read more

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Huge explosion at Spanish fireworks factory kills 5 people and seriously injures

Huge explosion at Spanish fireworks factory kills 5 people and seriously injures 3 by Ciaran Giles And Alan Clendenning, The Associated Press Posted Aug 31, 2015 7:37 am MDT Last Updated Aug 31, 2015 at 12:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Police officers and firefighters stand by the destroyed fireworks factory Pirotecnia Zaragozana’s building after a huge explosion in Pinseque, Spain, Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. The blast at a fireworks factory in northeastern Spain killed a number of people and seriously injured tothers, police and firefighters didn’t know the cause of the blast. (AP Photo/Aranzazu Navarro) MADRID – A huge explosion Monday at a fireworks factory in northeastern Spain killed five people and seriously injured three others, police said.The blast occurred around 2 p.m. (1200 GMT) at the Pirotecnia Zaragozana factory in the small town of Pinseque, a police spokeswoman said.The blast sent a dense plume of white smoke into the sky that could be seen for kilometres (miles).The injured were taken to a hospital in the nearby regional capital of Zaragoza, she said on condition of anonymity because of police regulations preventing her from being named.Police and firefighters didn’t know the cause of the blast and were hindered trying to investigate it because fires were still raging at the site hours after the explosion and a series of smaller blasts.Spanish national television said the blasts in the aftermath of the main explosion initially hindered a search operation for missing people.By late afternoon, no more people were reported as missing, the spokeswoman said. read more

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Big deficit mounting debt but no tax hikes in Newfoundland and Labrador

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Taxpayers who helped pull Newfoundland and Labrador from a fiscal cliff got a slight break in the latest provincial budget, but debt will soar even as costs are slightly cut.The $8.1-billion spending plan released Thursday has no tax or fee hikes and trims expenses by $283 million. It forecasts a $778-million deficit, down from $1.1 billion last year.Higher-than-expected offshore oil royalties helped brighten a bleak financial picture and there were no deep public-sector job cuts as widely feared. But critics were quick to say the governing Liberals could have done more.“We still have a massive spending problem,” said Richard Alexander, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council. “We still have a fiscal crisis.“Taxpayers … have bailed out this government basically from bankruptcy.”Finance Minister Cathy Bennett said the province will be in the red for several more years before returning to surplus in 2022-23. Her budget last April — the first for the Liberals after they took office in late 2015 — was rife with tax and fee hikes on everything from books to ferry rides.It became a lightning rod for public fury as government approval ratings tanked. Bennett has acknowledged tax fatigue but said Thursday there will be more belt-tightening.“We continue to have a spending problem,” she told a news conference. “We are grateful that oil revenues continue to help us but it simply highlights the fact that we cannot afford the government services we have now with general revenue alone. We must continue to reduce spending in the years ahead.”Still, the budget includes cutting an unpopular tax on gasoline by 8.5 cents per litre as of June 1 and another four cents on Dec. 1.It also says there will be new legislation to freeze wages for public-sector managers and non-union workers. The province recently announced almost 400 management jobs will be eliminated.Bennett said she anticipates no “massive layoffs” among other public-sector staff but bargaining is underway with several union groups.Alexander said there will have to be sacrifice.“Wages in the public sector are 27 per cent higher than the rest of Atlantic Canada. There’s room for unions to make concessions on those things. If they do that, it will mean fewer job layoffs in the future.”The budget forecasts net debt will rise by almost $1 billion to $15.2 billion this fiscal year for a population of just 527,000 people.About 13 cents of every tax dollar now goes to debt servicing, Alexander said. “We’re spending more on interest for the province’s credit card than we are on education.”Bennett concedes it’s a staggering amount that, on a per capita basis, far exceeds other provinces.“We need to continue to work on lowering the cost of delivering services and lowering the cost of borrowing,” she said.Bennett spoke with the province’s main credit rating agencies prior to the budget and said she does not expect a repeat of recent downgrades that rack up interest.The governing Liberals have trimmed almost $500 million in spending since taking office, she added. Bennett said those results have come from efficiencies and not diminished government services — a claim opposition critics have challenged.The province has been financially hammered since oil prices collapsed from US$115 a barrel starting in mid-2014. Bennett had counted on an average oil price of about US$45 for the last fiscal year but prices were slightly higher.Brent crude was trading early Thursday at about US$54 a barrel.Higher prices and production put just over $962 million into provincial coffers last year, almost double what was forecast. Almost $882 million in offshore oil royalties are expected this year.Bennett has anchored this year’s budget on an average oil price of US$56 a barrel, drawing on 30 forecast reports.She has also asked Crown corporation Nalcor Energy to find savings to help lower electricity rates starting in 2020-21.It’s a measure to offset another major drain on provincial finances: the delayed $12-billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador. It’s almost double the cost forecast when the former Progressive Conservative government approved it in 2012. It’s also expected to add as much as $150 a month to an average heating bill when it comes online in about three years.The province has borrowed $4.9 billion since 2016 to get through a funding crunch caused by over-reliance on once-lucrative offshore oil earnings, Bennett said. Borrowing will be down to $400 million this year, she added.“I’m confident that the work we’re doing is getting us on the right track.”Outside the legislature, demonstrators who gathered for a tail-gate style barbecue and protest said more tax relief can’t come soon enough.“This government is putting the people in the hole,” said Andrew Young, a 66-year-old retiree. “The poor people can’t survive anymore. It’s too high, the taxes. It’s ridiculous.”Follow @suebailey on Twitter. Big deficit, mounting debt but no tax hikes in Newfoundland and Labrador budget by Sue Bailey, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 6, 2017 2:05 am MDT Last Updated Apr 7, 2017 at 7:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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On International Day Ban honours victims of gross human rights violations

At a time when human rights violations persist around the world, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of the individual and collective right to the truth for the promotion of humanitarian law and justice, and called on the international community to recommit to helping victims and protecting those who fight to uncover facts. The International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims was created to pay tribute to human rights defender Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero, a prominent Roman Catholic priest in El Salvador who was murdered on 24 March 1980 for speaking up against poverty, social injustice, repression, assassinations and torture. “Our commemorations defy the attempt by his murderers to silence his cries for justice and reinforce the importance of standing firm for fundamental freedoms,” stated Mr. Ban, adding that “this day is also dedicated to honouring the memory of all victims of gross human rights violations, and to supporting all those who promote and protect human rights.”Highlighting that informing societies on the fundamental freedoms and their potential violations is a vital safeguard against abuses recurring, the Secretary-General insisted that “every victim has the right to know the truth and how violations affect them.”The UN supports a range of efforts to uncover the facts about gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and to promote justice, propose reparations and recommend reforms of abusive institutions. Over the past year, the UN has supported Commissions of Inquiry on, respectively, the Central African Republic, Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as the establishment of a Truth and Dignity Commission in Tunisia.Mr. Ban noted that a Special Rapporteur, Pablo de Greiff, was appointed by the Human Rights Council in 2012 to analyze challenges faced by truth commissions around the world and propose responses to strengthen the effectiveness of those mechanisms. “On this International Day, I call for the vigorous implementation of all recommendations of commissions of inquiry and truth commissions in addressing gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law,” said the Secretary-General, urging renewed commitment from the international community “to working to help victims, their relatives and society as a whole to realize the right to truth – and to protecting those who fight to see the truth prevail.” read more

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Young Canadian women looking to reach final at FIFA U17 World Cup

Follow @NeilMDavidson on TwitterNeil Davidson, The Canadian Press Coach Rhian Wilkinson dismisses any suggestion that Canada, just one win away from the championship game, is a team of destiny at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.Hard work and talent have powered this squad.“Not destiny because they’ve worked very hard at it,” the former Canadian international said from Montevideo. “I’ve played a long time and the teams that are successful in tournaments are the ones that grow through them.“We had some wonderful moments where we showed our real resilience and we took some knocks on the way to get here. Every one of those moments (was) important to where the team is now.” Canada plays Mexico at Montevideo’s Estadio Charrua on Wednesday after New Zealand plays Spain in the other semifinal. The winners meet Saturday, hoping to join France, Japan, South Korea and North Korea (twice) as under-17 world champions.Four of those finals (2008, 2010, 2012 and 2016) went to extra time or penalty shootouts.Canada, Mexico and New Zealand are all first-time semifinalists at this level. Spain, which beat Canada 5-0 in round-robin play, reached the semifinals in 2010, 2014 (when it reached the final) and 2016.Wilkinson’s team is already in rare territory. Canada’s previous best finish at the U-17 tournament was seventh in 2008 and 2012.The only Canadian team to do better — male or female — at a FIFA world championship is the 2002 squad, featuring a 19-year-old Christine Sinclair, that finished runner-up to the U.S. on home soil at the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship.Wilkinson’s crew has already at the least matched the fourth-place finish by the Canadian senior team at the 2003 Women’s World Cup.Canada reached the semifinal by beating Germany 1-0 Sunday on the strength of captain Jordyn Huitema’s 83rd-minute goal. It started with a lung-busting run from Caitlin Shaw, who found Kaila Novak on the left flank.Huitema, showing her predatory skills, glided into space between two defenders to knock in Novak’s cross for Canada’s first win in a FIFA women’s youth tournament knockout match since 2002.“I thought they played with a maturity that they’ve been building throughout the tournament. In terms of just living on the ball and feeling what they are capable of,” said Wilkinson, her voice still hoarse from the quarterfinal.“I think maybe it’s surprising people back home but this is a whole new generation of Canadian player coming through.”  For Wilkinson, the team is showing confidence and creativity on the ball.“The structure is coming alive, which is the next generation,” she said.The other three quarterfinals went to penalty shootouts. Mexico dispatched Ghana 4-2 on penalty kicks after the game finished 2-2.Like Mexico, the Canadian women had a long hard road to Uruguay.CONCACAF pulled the plug on its regional qualifier in April after just six games in Nicaragua because of unrest in the capital, Managua. The tournament was rescheduled to June in Florida.Mexico beat Canada 2-1 in the semifinals, only to lose 3-2 to the U.S. in the championship game. Canada secured the final qualifying berth for Uruguay by edging Haiti 2-1 in the third-place game on an 89th-minute goal by Andersen Williams.Wilkinson says Canada did not play well to start against Mexico back in June.“The first half I don’t know who that Canadian team was because it wasn’t the one I’m used to seeing. They’ve learned a ton since then.” Canada was forced to change coaches in August after Bev Priestman quit to join the English women’s coaching staff. The 36-year-old Wilkinson, a veteran of 181 senior internationals and seen as a future senior women’s coach, was elevated from assistant coach.Wilkinson put her own stamp on the roster, bringing in six new faces from the qualifying tournament roster.Huitema, who has scored three of Canada’s six goals at the tournament, is just the third Canadian player to score in four different FIFA women’s youth matches, joining Sinclair and Brittany Timko.It’s been a remarkable year for Huitema. She has played for the senior team eight times (with four goals), represented Canada at the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship and is now captaining the under-17 team.The five-foot-10 striker has also endured some drama as she was sent off in a group game in Uruguay for an errant elbow in an aerial challenge against South Korea. It was an accident, Huitema said after the first red card of her career.While leading her team through the tournament, Huitema is still pondering her future. She says she has narrowed her college choice to Stanford or UCLA.Canada, Germany, Ghana, Japan, New Zealand and North Korea are the only countries to have qualified for every edition of the U-17 champion since its inception in 2008. read more

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Duratray and Kuhn collaborate on battery haul truck

first_imgDuratray International has collaborated with energy group Kuhn for delivery of a fully environment-friendly lithium-ion powered truck, which is now beginning trials in Switzerland.Duratray’s European team are working with Kuhn offering a sustainable approach in both engine and dump body for the industry and after 18 months of planning, it is believed to be a gamechanger. Optimistically, following successful trials of the 60-t capacity truck, larger units are expected to eventuate in the future.The technology and innovation found in the Duratray SDB will provide an excellent complementary edge for the project’s ambitions to become a carbon-footprint reducing, low-noise, economically friendly industrial EV.last_img read more

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Column Christmas can be a hard time for people – we all

first_imgAcknowledge your feelings: If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realise that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s Christmas.Reach out: If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, or any other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.Be realistic: The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.Set aside differences: Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. Try to be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress too.Stick to a budget: Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives: Donate to a charity in someone’s name, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange.Plan ahead: Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. Also make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.Learn to say no: Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.Don’t abandon healthy habits: Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, or alcohol. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.Take a breather: Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and have a look at the stars. Listen to classical music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.Seek professional help if you need it: Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Also the Samaritans are always around to listen if you need an ear to talk to.These 10 points are not going to make your Christmas stress free but I do hope that they can be of assistance to you. I have noticed learning your triggers can stop things from blowing up and becoming a major problem and possibly ruining your festive season. A little planning can make a major difference for your mental health. I do hope that if by any chance that gentleman is reading this, that his luck has taking a turn for the better.Thanks for reading.Ciaran Behan writes a blog, The Inside Out Man, where this post originally appeared.We’re interested in your ideas and opinions – do you have a story you would like to see featured in Opinion & Insight? Email opinions@thejournal.ieRead: Sharp increase in suicidal farmers calling helpline over financial troublesRead: How exercise can help treat depression and anxiety Ciaran Behan was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder in 2011 and has written candidly about his personal experiences regarding his mental health on his blog and on this website. Recognising the stress and strain that so many people experience in the lead-up to Christmas, he has shared some tips on combating anxiety during the festive period…AT THE WEEKEND I was in Castlebar starting my Christmas shopping. The day was quite cold and I am not a huge Christmas shopping fan really, but to be honest I am on top of things lately – so I was quite looking forward to getting things together early and boxed off before the 24th December.I said to my partner that we’d get a quick bite to eat in McDonald’s and then go home. We drove over to the golden arch in the sky and parked up. Walking into McDonald’s can be a daunting experience at times. Screaming children, unhappy parents, tills closing and opening and staff screaming orders. The polar opposite of what it should be, I guess. I went about getting our order and my partner went about the military-executed task of finding us seating. Not long had passed while we were sitting down eating when I noticed a dad nearby with his three children, who I would guess were all under the age of nine.While we were eating away the kids were firing questions at their father of what Santa should bring them for Christmas… i-Pads, i-Phones the new Xbox, the new PlayStation and also clothes were mentioned. I could hear the Dad was not coping too well, he lost his temper a bit and the kids were quite taken aback. I sort of tuned out and went about finishing my meal.We finished up and I headed in to use the toilet before leaving, asking my partner to wait a minute. When I went into the toilet there were two urinals and one cubical, I could hear the father from earlier talking on his phone from inside the cubical and he was speaking to someone sounding quite upset – I could go as far as say crying – while speaking saying: “I can’t handle it any more, I have lost my job, Christmas is going to be ruined and the kids won’t understand”.This all happened within the matter of one minute and numerous things flashed through my head about what could I do. I did not know what to do but I felt uneasy and just walked out and explained what happened to my partner. I felt if I interrupted the man and tried to have a chat I might make things worse or anger him. So I said I would go home and write about it in the hope that it might help someone who might be in bother over this holiday season.I am no poster boy for mental health nor do I try to be – but I know that since 2011 I have learned a lot about myself and ways to deal with things. Christmas can be a hard time for people and support is what everyone needs. So I have ten tips that I have learned over the past two years with the help of my nurse and doctor to help me over the holidays and these might be of use to someone else.last_img read more

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PNP supporter noshow at Wheeland Claims Objections

first_img Opposition Leader responds to Throne Speech  11 days later; says PDM Govt plan puts TCI in ‘deep doo doo’ Olive branch extended by Opposition Leader, says it is time for Turks and Caicos leaders to unite Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 09 Mar 2016 – A mind bending matter again at the Claims and Objections hearings today; this time for Wheeland. Magnetic Media learned that the Progressive National Party again was not permitted to go ahead with its objections. We learned that because the PNP was unfamiliar with the rules of the process, the submission was made by a person who is not a Wheeland voter weeks ago. There was to be objection six names, but the person filing that challenge did not show up for the hearing at the Police Canteen and so the objections were dismissed by the Elections Office. The PDM items were heard; they won on 33 of the challenges earlier today. Related Items:claims & objections, election office, pnp, wheeland TCI Country Leaders condemn vicious memes Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for youlast_img read more

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Top Jaish commander killed in Anantnag

first_imgSrinagar: A top Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) commander, involved in the attack on June 12 attack that left 5 CRPF troopers dead, was killed on Tuesday in a gunfight with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag, police said. “In a major success in the ongoing anti-militancy operations, a top commander of JeM, Fayaz Panzoo was killed along with his associate in a gunfight with security forces in Wabzun village of Bijbehara area.last_img

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25 countries confirmed for Cancun sargasso conference

first_imgDaily cleaning efforts are made manually by volunteers, municipal agencies and hotels in a bid to keep beaches clean and free of sargasso. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window) La Secretaría estatal del Medio Ambiente (state secretary of environment) made the announcement in a public message, saying that some of the countries confirmed include the United States, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Honduras, Guatemala and Panama. Last weekend, navy ships reported collecting 10 tons of seaweed offshore in the areas of Punta Cancun, Punta Nizuc, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Puerto Aventuras and Tulum. The conference, which is scheduled in Cancun May 28, will see affected countries analyze and agree on actions to deal with the arrival of seaweed along the coasts of the Caribbean beaches. Other countries that will be attending include Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago as well as Haiti, Guadeloupe, Belize and Jamaica. According to the official preliminary program, the meeting will include addressing the Current situation of sargassum in the Greater Caribbean, The conditions for international cooperation in the Greater Caribbean and Steps for the construction of a common agenda. Cancun, Q.R. — The government of Quintana Roo has confirmed the attendance of 25 countries for an upcoming conference to address the ongoing sargasso issue that has plagued much of Latin America. last_img read more

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Pullman Cairns takes two at the TNQ Tourism Awards

first_imgThe Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns is celebrating not one, but two award wins following the 2011 Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) Tourism Awards held last weekend.Pullman Reef Hotel Casino accepted two prestigious awards in the Luxury Accommodation and Meetings & Business Tourism categories. Each year more than 500 operators from Cairns and the surrounding regions vie for honours in various categories at the event, which was established 13 years ago.Pullman Hotel General Manager Wayne Reynolds said, “We are extremely pleased with these awards not only for recognising the level of service and facilities we provide to our guests but also distinguishing us as the premium accommodation and entertainment venue here in Cairns.”  He added that the award for Meetings and Business Tourism truly highlights Pullman’s capacity and success in hosting large conference and events, made possible by its now refurbished and extensive on-site facilities which include a choice of 11 different venue spaces. Recently, the hotel completed a million dollar renovation of several conference spaces, including its Michaelmas Cay Ballroom and Reef Room. Pullman also added a new Chill Out Zone for guests to use during meeting breaks in order to catch up on the latest news, check emails and network with other conference delegates.The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is the most prestigious accommodation and entertainment complex in Cairns, located in the heart of the city and overlooking the majestic Trinity Inlet and esplanade boardwalk. Packed with great dining and entertainment options, the hotel is home to award winning restaurant Tamarind and the Cairns Wildlife Dome which offers a tropical zoo experience in the heart of the city. With its magnificent climate, relaxed lifestyle and world-class attractions and facilities, Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is ideally located for overseas travellers on holidays and inbound business clients seeking a venue for their next meetings, incentive or special events. Address: Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, 35-41 Wharf Street Cairns QLD 4870Web: For information on the hotel visit www.pullmanhotels.com Source = Pullman Reef Hotel Casinolast_img read more

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SwissBelhotel International launch Zest Hotel Legian

first_imgZest Hotel Legian BaliSwiss-Belhotel International launch Zest Hotel LegianTo celebrate the grand opening of the new Zest Hotel Legian in Bali, Swiss-Belhotel International hosted a rooftop Neon Party for 150 invited guests on Monday 8 August. The party was held at sunset, allowing revellers to enjoy spectacular views from what is one of Legian’s newest and most appealing downtown venues.The fun started with a cocktail gathering as guests enjoyed the soothing sunset views. As night drew in, neon LED lights created a glowing ambience across the sky and local celebrity ‘DJ Pamela’ provided entertainment with dance music adding a soundtrack to a striking audio-visual display.To mark the official launch of the hotel, a special pyrotechnics switch was set up. When pressed the word “ZEST” formed in letters of fire prompting applause and cheering from all the guests. Later in the evening, the hotel hosted a special dinner at Jaen Bar & Kitchen which is located on the ground floor of the property. The menu offers a flavourful modern yet authentic selection of Balinese fusion food.Attending the rooftop party were a number of senior representatives from Swiss-Belhotel International, including the group’s Chairman and President, Mr. Gavin M. Faull. Also in attendance were Zest Hotel International CEO, Mr. Emmanuel Guillard, as well as the owners of Zest Hotel Legian, Mr. Ichsan Hidajat, Mr. Budi Hidajat, and Mr. Suyoga Ayub from PT. Tri-Asih-Sejahtera.As the first ZEST branded hotel managed by Swiss-Belhotel International in Bali, the successful launch of the Zest Hotel Legian is a significant step in the continued development of the group, and also the growth of the ZEST brand,” said Mr. Faull.Zest Hotel Legian Bali will certainly appeal to travellers seeking a modern, budget hotel located in the heart of the island’s most vibrant district. It offers safe, clean rooms at attractive rates with the added appeal of complete comfort and convenience. The addition of a rooftop space will also inspire more private functions in the future, whether it is birthday parties, BBQ dinners, or networking events. Zest Hotel Legianbook your accommodation here Source = Swiss-Belhotel Internationallast_img read more

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