Stars Line Up For Fusion Festival In Birmingham

first_imgJessie J, Ne-Yo, JLS, The Wanted, McFly, The Saturdays and James Arthur are among the first names to be confirmed for this summer’s brand new Fusion Festival, in support of The Prince’s Trust and in association with Capital FM.The event will take place on August 31 and September 1.Joining them are Union J, Wiley, Amelia Lily, Wretch 32, Conor Maynard with many more to be announced. Birmingham’s iconic Cofton Park will play host to the ultimate summer pop party with 60,000 people and some of the biggest acts from both sides of the pond coming together for a huge weekend of pop at its very best.Chart topper Jessie J will headline Saturday night’s poptastic proceedings alongside platinum-selling boy band JLS and It’s All About You crooners McFly. British rapper Wiley, Union J and songstress Amelia Lily will also be taking to the stage as part of an incredible mix of artists to play the festival.Sunday will see American R&B star Ne-Yo bring the noise to Cofton Park, where he’ll be joined by chart heartthrobs The Wanted and uber glam The Saturdays, fresh from gaining their first UK Number One with What About Us. Wretch 32, Conor Maynard and this year’s X Factor winner James Arthur are also on the bill, with many more acts to be announced across the weekend.Expect spectacular live performances, massive chart smash hits plus all the fun of the festival fair with a full fairground and many other interactive events.Fusion Festival is proud to support The Prince’s Trust, with £5 from each ticket sale donated to the charity to help change young lives across the UK.The current line-up for the Fusion Festival was announced on the Capital Breakfast Show with Dan and Katy at 8.15am on Monday 8th April. More acts will be announced in the coming weeks.Programme Controller at Capital FM Paul Gerrard said: “This is going to be the biggest event Birmingham has seen in years. The whole team here at Capital can’t wait to see some of the world’s biggest stars rock up to Brum, it’s going to be an incredible summer and Capital will be right there for every moment.”Festival spokesman, Mike Owen of Go Big said:“We felt the time was right for a brand new music festival for the UK’s 2nd city and we are so excited to be working with such a fantastic organisation as The Prince’s Trust and with Birmingham’s Number One hit music station, Capital FM. We’ve got a brilliant line-up this year and this is only the beginning for Fusion Festival.”Paul Brown, Marketing and Communications Director The Prince’s Trust said: “We’re delighted that this stellar line-up of acts will be helping to support the work of The Prince’s Trust.“Every year we work with thousands of disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track. Thanks to Fusion Festival, we will be able to ensure that more young people look forward to a brighter future.”The Prince’s Trust has helped more than 700,000 young people since 1976 and supports 100 more each day.TicketsTickets are on sale at 9.00am, on Friday 12th April and are priced at: • £35 per day – general admission • £60 weekend – general admission ticket • £50 – per day Golden Circle Ticket • £95 weekend Golden Circle TicketTickets are available online at and also from ticket partners Ticketmaster, The Ticket Factory and Seetickets.last_img read more

Swanson Clock Collection

first_img“They hang because of their beauty.”–Jim Swanson, inherited clock collector When FBI agent John W. Swanson retired from the agency after 25 years of service, he delved more deeply into his passion for clocks: he ultimately collected 600 of them. Today, half of Swanson’s collection hangs in the Raleigh home of his son, Jim Swanson.John Swanson was born and raised in Southern California. He interrupted his college education to enlist in the Navy during World War II, rising to naval officer rank. After the war, he finished his college degree in California and was recruited by the FBI as a special agent. He moved to Fairfax, Virginia, where he raised his family during his assignment with the Washington field office. Since then, son Jim Swanson and his wife, Lynn, have made their home in Raleigh.Jim Swanson says his grandparents told him that his father was adept at fixing things, at “just being good with his hands,” from the time he was 14. Today, if you stroll through the Swansons’ home, you can see and hear the results of those “good hands.” John Swanson left to each of his two children an astonishing collection of 300 clocks.Jim Swanson remembers the day his father brought home his first clock. “I was in junior high at the time and saw from his enthusiasm how hooked he was on those devices.”   John Swanson came by his clocks in many ways. He bought some, he was given others, and some he “rescued” from the junk heap and restored their beauty. Many of his father’s timekeepers are on display in Jim Swanson’s home, but especially rare or delicate ones “are hidden away for safekeeping.”The hidden ones come out sometimes: “Each year, we display on special holidays – Christmas and the Fourth of July – commemorative clocks that add to our celebration.” For Jim and Lynn, every tick-tock, every chime, keeps alive the love of a father. They provide timeless memories. –James Danielslast_img read more

Trade Union desk

first_imgJohn O’Farrell argues that the masses have much to lose from Brexit and must find their voice quickly to ensure the UK remains in the EU. Praise must go to the Minister for Small Business Anna Soubry MP who last month asked a spokesperson for Brexit to actually name the regulations and ‘red tape’ strangling small businesses and farmers. After several attempts, the best answer the spokesperson could conjure was that his competitors in France and Italy were not following the EU regulations he obeys. The flaw in this answer is that he could not name any regulation that was damaging his business and could not explain how ‘independence’ from the EU would help him sell more cauliflowers.Despite the level of bluster and bluff, the polls show that the referendum on 23 June will be a close run thing. All it may take to tip the scales is a terrorist attack closer to home than Paris or Brussels, or an incident involving refugees along the Balkan route. The squabbling ‘leave’ campaign and tremendous egos involved may bicker like seagulls, but they can unite remarkably quickly when it comes to condemning migrants for their supposed transgressions.The other unifying factor among those who support Brexit is their ability to dismiss every criticism by plugging their ears. That technique has to run out of steam eventually and in any case which of these regulatory nooses would they like to free us from:minimum paid annual leave; additional rights for agency, temporary and part-time workers;current pregnancy and maternity leave rights;parental leave;working time (which includes a maximum of a 48-hour week unless you agree otherwise, and minimum rest breaks each day);equal pay;anti-discrimination rules on race, sex, disability, age and sexual orientation;data protection rights.Plus, more on TUPE, collective redundancies, works councils, holiday pay, political discrimination, freedom of religious expression and so on. Writing in The Guardian, Will Hutton notes that, regulations fall roughly into two clusters. There are the common standards required to make trade areas operate fairly, and there are workers’ rights, such as those listed.Then there are the tabloids. Privacy laws and the commercial imperative of giving their readers what they want make Brexit appealing to many of them. According to analysis of ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ voters carried out by YouGov in February the overwhelming majority of readers of tabloids such as the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Sun support Brexit.The same poll found that readers of Murdoch owned paper The Times are more likely to vote to stay in the EU than readers of the pro-EU Daily Mirror. This is no surprise as Murdoch’s Sky empire has major interests in EU countries. Indeed in 1998 Murdoch called on then Prime Minister Tony Blair to intercede in a dispute over Sky Italia with Sylvio Berlusconi. Which brings us to an often neglected point about the EU and what is has achieved for citizens.Regardless of whether the UK exits the EU, the people running and funding the ‘leave’ campaign will not be affected at all. Free movement of all EU citizens for work, travel or retirement is really at stake here. These are rights for all that would become a privilege when border patrols are enforced. That freedom of human movement is the trade-off for freedoms for goods, services and capital. The debate so far has been dominated by Eton accents and Westminster interests. To win this campaign those who wish to remain in the EU need to make their own voices and interests heard, starting now.last_img read more

Around Town with… Ana Maria Muñoz of Port of Raleigh

first_imgIn this series, we poll our in-the-know friends on what they love to see, do, eat and more in the Triangle. Emily Lyons-WoodAna Maria Muñoz is the owner of Port of Raleigh, a modern home and design store in the heart of downtown Raleigh that features contemporary home goods from well-known, independent and emerging designers. She lets us in on places that she enjoys with her family as well as where to find the best cocktails for date night. What’s your favorite spot downtown? The roof terrace at The Dillon. Every good downtown should have vantage points like it.Jillian ClarkWhere do you go when you’re feeling a ‘treat yourself’ day?Three places: Treat Ice Cream, Amorino for gelato and now Two Roosters ice cream in their new location off Person Street (can you tell I have a four-year-old?).What’s your hidden gem in Raleigh?The Hunt Library at N.C. State. What a treasure trove of modern design!Tough decision, Char-Grill or Snoopy’s?Char-Grill. Particularly the Hillsborough Street location with its original mid-century building. It reminds me of burger joints in L.A. where I grew up.Geoff WoodWhat’s your go-to coffee shop and usual order?Heirloom: caramel latte (a.m.), Sake (p.m.).Smith HardyWhere is your favorite place to grab lunch?Whiskey Kitchen. They have an incredible $10 lunch menu.What’s your favorite place for a weekday happy hour?I wish I did happy hour! I do love a good patio-side margarita from Humble Pie when the stars align between work and family.Is there anything else in town that you love and want to share?I always share the NCMA with visitors. It’s an impressive, immersive place that we’re lucky to have.last_img read more

Dolly Parton Talks Equality Ahead Of MusiCares Person Of The Year Concert

first_imgPrior to the upcoming 2019 MusiCares Person Of The Year concert this week honouring Dolly Parton, the music legend has spoken out about equality.“I really think it should not matter who you are whether it’s based on race, religion, color or gender,” Parton told “You should be allowed to do a job and do your job. If you do it well, you should be appreciated, respected, and admired. I’m proud that I’ve done well in this business. I try to live that as a woman. I try to let it stand in the songs I’ve written through the years long before there was ever a movement I was moving in it and talking about it even my first album was called Just Because I’m A Woman. It was based on that and my mistakes are no worse than yours and just because I’m a woman. I should get the same chance.“And we did the ‘9 to 5’ song, so I was trying to be an example,” Paton continues. “I try to live it and be it rather than just preaching it, but everybody needs to do it their own way. So just get out there and not let anybody hold you down.”Parton is the first artist from the Nashville community to be named MusiCares Person of the Year. She is being honored for her incredible creative achievements and contributions to the music world as well as her long-term support of many charitable organizations and causes, including the Imagination Library, which she founded in 1995 to support childhood literacy.The concert in her honour will take place February 8 in LA, and will feature Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Vince Gill, Don Henley, Norah Jones, P!nk, Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, Mark Ronson, Mavis Staples, and Chris Stapleton, GRAMMY nominees Leon Bridges, Lauren Daigle and Linda Perry and multi-platinum singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes.last_img read more

GLSEN To Honor Panic At The Disco

first_imgGLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth, announced today that it will honor Brendon Urie, front man of the band Panic! at the Disco, with the Inspiration Award for his ongoing commitment to LGBTQ youth and for investing in the power of students to create more inclusive schools.Urie will be presented with the Inspiration Award at the upcoming 2019 GLSEN Respect Awards – New York, on Monday, May 20, 2019, at Cipriani 42nd Street.Brendon Urie has been a long-time LGBTQ advocate, draping himself in Pride flags during performances and cultivating a fan base that lights up home-made rainbow hearts at sold out shows. In June of 2018, Urie pledged a one million dollar gift to GLSEN to provide resources, training, and support to students creating student-led GSA clubs in K-12 schools. The donation was the inaugural gift of his newly established Highest Hopes Foundation founded to support the efforts of non-profit organizations that lead, develop, and advocate support for human rights for all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity.“Brendon has created a unique, powerful, and gloriously safe space for his fans at every concert. How many other stadium shows have vendors outside wrapped in rainbow flags?” said Eliza Byard …. “With the creation of the Highest Hopes Foundation and his incredible pledge to GLSEN, Brendon is extending that power out into the world and putting it into action. By partnering with GLSEN to set the stage for GSA formation and student action in all fifty states, Brendon is galvanizing a new wave of youth advocacy at just the moment that the world needs it most. We cannot thank him enough.”“Partnering with GLSEN to support student leaders gives me hope that one day all young people will be free to be fully themselves. I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t belong, and that’s why GSA clubs are so important to me – they give LGBTQ students a place to belong. And GLSEN gives them the tools and resources to make a difference in their classrooms, communities, and ultimately much further,” said Urie. “I’m thrilled to work with GLSEN and am honored to be part of this event.”As previously announced, Urie joins the Golden Globe® nominated cast of Pose as the evenings esteemed honorees. GLSEN will also be presenting awards to GSA of the Year and the Educator of the Year, and nominations are currently open for both categories.The GLSEN Respect Awards, introduced in 2004 and held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of students, educators, community leaders, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Past honorees include Kerry Washington; Yara Shahidi; Max Mutchnick and David Kohan; Ellen Pompeo; Rosario Dawson; Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake; Julia Roberts and Danny Moder; Zendaya; Shonda Rhimes, and Carla Gugino.The GLSEN Respect Awards – New York will welcome approximately 500 guests, including VIPs as well as outstanding youth leaders and educators from around the country, raising more than $1 million in support of GLSEN’s work.For nearly three decades, GLSEN has led the way on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education through groundbreaking original research, innovative program development, educator training, student organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy. With the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and national programs like Day of Silence, No Name-Calling Week, and Ally Week, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work.Tickets for the Respect Awards are available now. For additional information, please visit read more

Almost one in four young Afghan children forced to work says UNICEF

Poverty, lack of educational opportunities and the demand for cheap labour are helping to fuel the prevalence of child labour across Afghanistan, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today.Nearly one quarter of Afghan children between the ages of seven and 14 are working, with more girls working than boys and the problem worst in rural areas, Noriko Izumi, head of child protection for UNICEF in Afghanistan, said at a press conference in Kabul. “Poverty and low family income levels force children to work to support their family,” said Ms. Izumi. While some types of work serve to teach children new skills that can help them become responsible and productive adults, she said work that interferes with the education of children and affects their mental, physical and social well-being is considered child labour.“It is those jobs which are detrimental to children’s development that we are talking about.”Lack of educational opportunities also pushes a child to work, as did the demand for cheaper labour, she stated, adding “children are cheaper to employ than adults and easier to manipulate. It is easier to hire and fire children.”The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 218 million children worldwide, from 5 to 17 years old, are engaged in some kind of labour, with 126 million children engaged in the worst forms of child labour. UNICEF is working on several fronts to tackle child labour in Afghanistan, which already has a number of legal and policy instruments to protect children, including a national strategy for children at risk and a child labour law defining the legal age of employment. At the same time, it urged the Afghan Government to sign and ratify two important ILO conventions – one concerning the minimum age of employment and the other one regarding hazardous work. Among the challenges for UNICEF is difficulty verifying a child’s age because of the low birth registration rate in the country, which has emerged from decades of conflict. “It is also difficult to regulate informal sectors like agriculture where we know many children are employed in Afghanistan,” Ms. Izumi added.UNICEF’s interventions in the country include non-formal education, which it hopes will help transit the child to formal schooling, and vocational skills training for older children. It is also supporting children “associated with armed forces and other war-affected children.” Since 2003, over 12,600 children have been supported in 29 provinces with literacy classes and vocational training. Ms. Izumi noted that while there are fewer children now involved in child labour globally, that does not seem to be the case in the Asia-Pacific region. “So we still have lots of work to do in this region.” 18 June 2007Poverty, lack of educational opportunities and the demand for cheap labour are helping to fuel the prevalence of child labour across Afghanistan, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today. read more

UN World Court to rule next week on Georgian claim against Russia

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, will deliver a ruling next week on Georgia’s claim against Russia that it has breached a global pact against racial discrimination. The ICJ, also known as the World Court, said it would give its order on the Georgian request for interim provisional measures against Russia on 15 October, according to a press release issued by The Hague-based institution yesterday. In August, following fighting between Georgian, Russian and South Ossetian forces, Georgia filed an applicationThe Georgian Government asked the ICJ to impose provisional measures to preserve its right under the Convention to “protect its citizens against violent discriminatory acts by Russian armed forces, acting in concert with separatist militia and foreign mercenaries” on and around its territory. In that application, Georgia said that since the early 1990s, Russia has “engaged in a systematic policy of ethnic discrimination directed against the ethnic Georgian population and other groups in those regions.” Further, Georgia contends that despite the withdrawal of its troops and its declaration of a ceasefire, Russian military operations continued in territories in Georgia’s control. Oral pleadings by both sides were held last month regarding the provisional measures, and the decision reached by the Court will be binding on the parties. Georgia has sought the interim measures pending the ICJ’s final decision on the merits of the case. 7 October 2008The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, will deliver a ruling next week on Georgia’s claim against Russia that it has breached a global pact against racial discrimination. read more

Millions more children will have access to 5in1 vaccine through UNICEF supply

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, a young girl receives the HVP cervical cancer vaccine, given at public and private schools throughout the county and in the 36,000 vaccination centers of the national health system (March 2014). Photo: PAHO/WHO The vaccine, pentavalent, protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B, all of which are potentially deadly infections. The doses will be distributed to transitioning countries and those supported by Gavi, the international organization that works with public and private sectors to bring vaccinations to children living in the world’s poorest countries. Since 2001, a strong collaboration between the Gavi Alliance Partners, which includes UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Health Organization (WHO), has generated great success. Pentavalent will now be available for about $0.84 a dosage, a price that is also available to governments that self-finance the procurement. The new pricing is expected to generate more than $366 million in savings for donors and governments. According to Shanelle Hall, Director of UNICEF’s supply and procurement headquarters, as many as 90 per cent of children under the age of five who die from vaccine-preventable diseases are currently living in countries where donors are no longer fully funding vaccination supplies. “For the most vulnerable children in the world, pricing can make a difference between life and death,” she stated in a news release.Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, says that the organization estimates about 5.7 million deaths will be avoided between 2011 and 2020, thanks to the pentavalent vaccine. “The market for five-in-one vaccines is now a lot healthier than it was just a few years ago thanks to our collective efforts to grow a base of vaccine supplies,” he said. He reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to improving vaccine markets in order to “ensure immunization investments and efforts are sustainable for all.” According to UNICEF, milestones such as these demonstrate the power of collaborative engagement to make vast improvements to children’s health. Between 2001 and 2015, UNICEF’s supply of pentavalent increased from 14.5 million to more than 235 million doses, due to an increase in demand from Gavi-supported countries. By carefully monitoring supply and demand in vaccine markets and engaging in consultations with vaccine manufacturers, experts have been able to determine how to maintain sufficient production levels and efficiencies of scale. The statement issued by UNICEF also acknowledged that broadening the supplier bases reduces a risk of supply shortages and other market constraints. The collaboration between UNICEF, Gavi, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation led to higher levels of donor funding, multi-year supplier contracts, better demand forecasts, and special contract terms that grew the pentavalent supplier base from one to six over the past 15 years. Prices have dropped as a result.Competition continues to grow as additional manufacturers become interested in supplying vaccinations to UNICEF. Since 2011, the organization has made available the prices of all of its vaccines, allowing manufacturers to see what their competitors charge; this in turn has brought about better offers. As of 2016, the price for donor-funded and government self-funding pentavalent vaccines was an average of $1.65 a dose. This year, UNICEF launched a phased approach to tendering, thanks to the competitive market and excess supply. First, the organization invited suppliers to submit a price proposal. After accepting the most competitive bids, it then launched a second request, which brought about improvements to the initial offers. This process allowed UNICEF to secure the current price of $0.84 a dose, the lowest ever pricing, while at the same time maintaining a healthy market supply over the long-term.Ms. Hall lauded today’s announcement, saying that it demonstrated “that partnerships can bring affordability and price sustainability to the table in supplier discussing, and this is transforming health outcomes for children.” read more

UK new car demand warms up in May with modest 34 rise

Notes to editors1. to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) UK new car demand grows 3.4% in May, as market continues to rebalance following large declines in 2017.Hybrids and plug-ins up more than a third to take record 5.8% share, while superminis, SUVs and soft tops also rise.Year-to-date market down -6.8% as uncertainty continues to impact business and fleet buyers.SEE CAR REGISTRATIONS BY BRANDDOWNLOAD THE PRESS RELEASE AND DATAThe UK new car market grew by a modest 3.4% in May with 192,649 new units registered, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The growth follows a substantial -8.5% decline in the previous May when demand was impacted by the dual effects of VED pull forward and buyer hesitancy ahead of June 2017’s general election.Private demand in the month grew by 10.1%, with more than 83,000 consumers driving home in a new car, and offsetting ongoing declines in the business and fleet sectors, down -9.6% and -0.7% respectively. The most popular segments were supermini (up 6.0%), small family (up 1.6%) and dual purpose (up 19.2%), while demand for specialist sports cars also rose, by 12.7%. In addition, the hottest May on record saw a surge in demand for convertibles as drop tops rose 11.7% year on year.1Meanwhile, there was good news for the alternatively fuelled vehicle segment, as demand for hybrid and plug-in cars grew by 36.1% to 11,240 units, accounting for a record 5.8% of the market. Plug-in hybrid cars were the biggest driver of growth, up 72.7%, while hybrids rose 22.6% and zero emission battery electrics grew 18.7%. Registrations of petrol cars also increased, by 23.5%, while diesels fell for the 14th consecutive month, down -23.6%.In the year to date, the overall market remains down, with new registrations having fallen -6.8%, as economic and political uncertainty continues to impact demand. Business and fleet confidence, in particular, continues to lag, down -16.2% and -7.1% respectively, while demand from private buyers in the first five months is -5.7% behind 2017 levels.Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,May’s growth, albeit on the back of large declines last year, is encouraging and suggests the market is now starting to return to a more natural running rate. To ensure long-term stability, we need to avoid any further disruption to the market, and this will require sustainable policies that give consumers and businesses the confidence to invest in the new cars that best suit their needs. Fleet renewal is the fastest way to improve air quality and reduce CO2, and this applies to hybrid and plug-in technologies as well as the latest low emission petrol and diesels which, for many drivers, remain the right choice economically and environmentally. read more

57magnitude quake hits Japan

first_imgA 5.7-MAGNITUDE quake hit off the coast of northeast Japan today, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage.The earthquake struck at 7:42 am (22.42 GMT Friday) eight kilometreseast-northeast of the city of Miyako at a depth of 44 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.The Japan Meteorological Agency measured it at 5.8 and said there was no risk of a tsunami.Japan is situated at the conjuncture of several tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year.But thanks to strict building codes, even powerful quakes that might wreak havoc in other countries frequently pass without causing much damage.In May a strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake shook buildings in the capital Tokyo, injuring 17 people.- © AFP, 2014Read: Swarm of earthquakes in Alaska leaves scientists puzzled>last_img read more

No manifesto no programme no debates but Putin is cruising towards another

first_img By AFP Feb 17th 2018, 5:31 PM RUNNING WITH A lacklustre slogan, no programme and refusing to debate his opponents, it sometimes seems like Russian President Vladimir Putin is not campaigning for re-election at all.But it is unlikely to matter for the 65-year-old strongman who is cruising towards victory and a historic fourth Kremlin term in next month’s election, with a result that seems so inevitable analysts are calling it a return to the Soviet era.“Putin is the only candidate without a programme. That is extremely alarming,” said Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Moscow Center, describing it as “a demonstration of disregard for his people.”As always, Putin has bowed out of debates and has symbolically refused his free television airtime as a candidate.But he already benefits from wall-to-wall news coverage, and Channel One state television has been rebroadcasting Oliver Stone’s four-part documentary about him although it won’t show the last episode until after the vote following a slap on the wrist from the electoral commission.The most visible sign of his campaign are the images of him plastered on billboards along highways outside Moscow under the slogan: “A strong president makes for a strong country.”Generic posters from the Central Electoral Commission urging people to vote are everywhere.Putin’s main task is to ensure a respectable turnout, with state pollsters VTsIOM predicting 80.4% although last time, participation was just over 65%.‘The most meaningless poll’“We have returned to what we had hoped to leave behind after the collapse of Soviet power: ritualistic elections where… the result is pre-programmed,” wrote columnist Fyodor Krasheninnikov in the independent weekly, The New Times.And others agree.“This is the most meaningless of all the presidential polls in Russia, the most lacking in substance,” said Kolesnikov.So far, the most striking moment of Putin’s “campaign” was when he joined millions of Orthodox Christians in plunging into an ice hole wearing swimming trunks for the January’s Epiphany holiday.He has since skipped several events this week after coming down with a rare cold.Functions he has attended have been highly choreographed such as a recent meeting with local mayors, when Putin was choppered in, met with a star-struck few as journalists watched on a screen from another room.Although the numbers planning to vote for him have dipped from last year’s high of 76.9%, Putin still commands 71.5% of support, VTsIOM figures show.For pro-Kremlin observers, Putin’s campaign is laying the ground for his future term and eschewing stunts that would only gain him a few points in the election.“We see real hands-on work that has significantly greater results than populist fussing around for the sake of an extra one to two percent in elections,” said Nikolai Kalmykov of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.Colourful castWith opposition leader Alexei Navalny barred from standing due to a fraud conviction, he is urging his supporters – many of them young – to boycott the polls.The latest VTsIOM polls suggest the lowest turnout is likely to be among 18 to 24-year-olds.Among those running against Putin are two new colourful characters who may have a political future ahead of them.Ksenia Sobchak, a former reality show host turned liberal journalist, is standing on a “none of the above” ticket and has called for Navalny to be allowed on the ballot.While she is forecast to come a distant fourth, this outspoken daughter of Saint Petersburg’s former mayor – Putin’s political mentor – is one of the few people who doesn’t fear him, and sparks could fly if they were to meet.Another is debonair businessman Pavel Grudinin, the little-known director of an agribusiness who was chosen as the Communist candidate in December after veteran leader Gennady Zyuganov chose not to stand.The moustachioed 57-year-old businessman, who has praised Stalin, scored well in early polls, prompting a wave of negative coverage from state and pro-Kremlin media over fears he could do better than planned, observers said.If the vote were held today, he would win 7.3%, polls show.“There is a campaign and it does have an element of intrigue… Sobchak and Grudinin,” said Kolesnikov, who said the polls would test Sobchak’s potential for leading a liberal party and Grudinin’s to take over from Zyuganov.© – AFP, 2018Read: ‘Stunningly brazen’: Trump criticised for refusing to release Democrat memo on Russia probeRead: CIA chief: Russia will target 2018 elections No manifesto, no programme, no debates – but Putin is cruising towards another election victory It is highly unlikely that Putin will be unseated this time round. Image: Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP Saturday 17 Feb 2018, 5:30 PM 90 Comments center_img Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking during a meeting of the Russia’s Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. Image: Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP 11,071 Views Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking during a meeting of the Russia’s Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. Share158 Tweet Email Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Jim Ross talks new book with Colin Cowherd 10201026 WWE schedule

first_img WALTER and Kassius Ohno set to compete at EVOLVE 135 and 136 Live Events Jason Namako RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR 9/13 NXT Live Results: Cocoa, FL (Dain vs. Kushida, NXT North American Title Match) Jim Ross talks new book with Colin CowherdWWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross appeared on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on Fox Sports 1 on Thursday to talk his new book “Slobberknocker” and other WWE talk. Video of JR’s appearance can be seen below.10/20-10/26 WWE scheduleUpcoming WWE schedule from October 20 to October 26, 2017.* 10/20 live event in Buenos Aires, Argentina* 10/20 live event in St. Louis, Missouri* 10/20 NXT live event in North Charleston, South Carolina* 10/20 NXT live event in Venice, Florida* 10/21 NXT live event in Graniteville, South Carolina* 10/21 NXT live event in Citrus Springs, Florida* 10/21 live event in Mankato, Minnesota* 10/22 live event in Santiago, Chile* 10/22 NXT live event in Johnson City, Tennessee* 10/22 TLC PPV in Minneapolis, Minnesota* 10/23 RAW TV tapings in Green Bay, Wisconsin* 10/24 Smackdown/205 Live TV tapings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin* 10/26 NXT live event in Tampa, FloridaAttending any of these events over the next weeK? E-mail us a live report to or Twitter Google+center_img WhatsApp Pinterest Facebook NXT Highlights: Johnny Gargano addresses NXT future, Baszler vs. Ripley, Pete Dunne in actionlast_img read more

US News tells Washington state Youre No 1

first_imgWashingtonians who listen closely may hear a few chants of “We’re Number One! We’re Number One!”It won’t be coming from sports fans, but from civic boosters and chamber of commerce types trying to attract new residents or businesses to the Evergreen State. At some point, Gov. Jay Inslee is apt to mention it. Other government officials may follow suit.The national news magazine U.S. News and World Report, in a story being released Tuesday, put Washington at the top of its annual “Best States” list.This is not a result of a playoff like the NCAA Basketball tournament, with Washington beating No. 16 Idaho, No. 19 California, No. 27 Oregon and No. 29 Montana in regional competition to advance to the finals, then knocking off New Hampshire, which finished in second place in the U.S. News rankings.Nothing quite so exciting, or so clear cut. The magazine used data from a wide range of government and private organizations in eight broad categories: Crime, Economy, Education, Fiscal Stability, Health Care, Infrastructure, Opportunity and Environment. Those were split into two or three subcategories, and the relative value of each category was weighted by a survey of more than 50,000 people who were asked to prioritize those eight categories in their state.When all of those numbers were crunched, Washington didn’t finish first in any individual category. Its highest score was second in infrastructure, which may surprise people bouncing through potholes or stuck in traffic, until one factors in the energy subcategory, which is relatively cheap in Washington compared to most parts of the country, and internet access, which is also good, at least for the majority of the population in urban areas.last_img read more

TCI among nations challenged to improve accessibility in Tourism

first_img Related Items:tci needs to improve accessible tourism for all, wheelchair beach access needed Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, September 28, 2016 – Turks and Caicos should be able to welcome in any kind of traveler and destination marketing should promote that fact, but before we get to promoting, we have to get to actually ensuring that we are an accessible destination.  Tourism Minister, Hon Porsha Smith in a statement delivered on September 27, which was World Tourism Day said these islands should be able to provide a full experience for anyone visiting, including those who are wheelchair bound.It was a very serious theme for World Tourism Day this year – “Tourism for All. Promoting Universal Accessibility” – calling on destinations to make sure there is accessibility so that any traveler is able to enjoy their travel experience.TCI now has to step back and ask, ‘can a person in a wheelchair or an older person with a walking stick, for example, access our water sports, our beaches, our shops and shopping centers, can they easily maneuver in our restaurants and does our infrastructure support those who are physically hampered in any way?’  UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said ‘no,’ in his remarks of yesterday; that many nations have still not sufficiently addressed the issue of true accessibility.“…while almost 1.2 billion people are travelling aboard each year, close to one billion persons with disability, along with young children, older persons and persons with other access requirements, still face obstacles in accessing the most basic travel needs such as clear and reliable information, efficient transportation and public services, and a physical environment that is easy to navigate.”The Tourism Minister expressed that she believes the TCI can get there though, her comments in that national address expressed this:   “The Turks and Caicos Islands is a part of the global tourism move, as such, tourism should be attainable to all irrespective of a person’s physical limitation, disability or age, travel is for all to experience and embrace on an equal basis.  It is therefore incumbent upon the Turks and Caicos Islands as one of the top travel destinations in the region to build upon, and improve on accessible tourism products and services; which will only place our country in an even better position as it relates to marketing.  I am confident in the hospitality of our people, and as a country proud to welcome and engage visitors from all walks of life.”Secretary General of Tourism for the United Nations, Taleb Rifai explained that the nations which take the time to enhance accessibility will become the dominant destinations, “… travelling has become a major part in many lives and with the world’s population ageing, everyone sooner or later will benefit from universal accessibility in tourism.”last_img read more

US court proceeds with FedEx pension case

first_imgIn January 2016, a US District Court Judge allowed a pension benefits claim brought by the same-sex widow of a FedEx employee to proceed while dismissing two other claims by the plaintiff.In the case of Stacey Schuett v. FedEx Corporation et. al., the plaintiff, Stacey Schuett, was in a relationship with Lesly Taboada-Hall, who worked for FedEx for 26 years.The couple married in a civil ceremony on 19 June 2013, before licenses for marriages between same-sex couples were available in California.Taboada-Hall was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and took medical leave of absence in 2012. She passed away on 20 June 2013.Taboada-Hall was a member of the organisation’s pension plan, which defined spouse as a person of the opposite sex according to the Defense Against Marriage Act (DOMA). This act was declared unconstitutional on 26 June 2013.Schuett brought three claims against FedEx. Two of these were dismissed, including a claim that sought payment of surviving spouse benefits under the pension plan.A claim that sought equitable relief, including payment of surviving spouse benefits for breach of fiduciary duty, has been allowed to proceed.Meanwhile, in November 2015, the UK Court of Appeal upheld a ruling against a retired employee in his bid to see his civil partner, now husband, receive the same pension pay-out in the event of his death as a spouse of the opposite sex.In the case of Walker vs Innospec and others, John Walker is a member of Innospec’s pension scheme having worked at the organisation from 1980 until his retirement in 2003.The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into effect in December 2005. Walker entered into a civil partnership in 2006 and has since married his partner.Walker argued that if he were to die before his husband, his pension scheme would pay out a lesser sum than it would do if he were married to a partner of the opposite sex, and that this contravened EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights.Walker’s appeal failed on the basis that the claim related to a period before civil partnerships were recognised and the law could not be applied retroactively.Geoff Egerton, pensions associate at Linklaters, said: “The FedEx case is interesting because it shows that same-sex marriage issues are topical on both sides of the Atlantic. However, ultimately any US court decisions will not have any direct application here. They are useful as a potential point of comparison but the English courts are not bound by them.“Conversely, with the Walker v Innospec and others case, it is a clear statement of the law by a higher court and permission to appeal was refused by the Court of Appeal. We are not aware of this case being appealed to the Supreme Court. Assuming that it is not appealed, unless Parliament decides to change the law on same-sex marriage and does so with retrospective effect, this will be a barrier to similar cases being brought in the English courts.”Helena Davies, professional support lawyer at Hogan Lovells, added: “Concerning Walker v Innospec, the court clearly took the view that this is a policy issue. The government reviewed survivors’ benefits in the light of the same-sex marriages legislation in 2013 and concluded that no changes were necessary.“In practice, many schemes have decided to change their rules to equalise fully for civil partners/same-sex marriage. Because funding for survivors’ benefits depends on actuarial assumptions, it is hard to see how costs would increase significantly as a result. However, for those that have not done so, this decision confirms that employers and trustees can rely on the statutory exemption. This may be helpful if, in an individual case, paying out a benefit based on full service might not be a viable option.”last_img read more

Retrial for Weston foot surgeon accused of preying on underage babysitter

first_imgWESTON, Fla. (WSVN) – A Weston foot surgeon is on trial for a second time for allegedly preying on his family’s 15-year-old babysitter in 2012.According to officials, on April 25, 2012, Dr. Augustine Bollo was at his Weston home with his family’s teenage babysitter while his children were in another room. At one moment, he allegedly forced her to touch him sexually around his genitals.The first case ended in a mistrial after prosecutors played a part of a recording to the jury that was inadmissible.Wednesday, the victim took the stand to testify at the Broward County Courthouse.“He was grabbing it, and I was trying to keep my hand stiff,” the alleged victim said.“Were you able to keep your hand stiff, or did your hand go around his penis?” the prosecutor asked.“No, he forced it around,” the alleged victim responded. When asked if she said anything to Bollo, after he forced her to touch him inappropriately, she said, “I didn’t know what was going on and I was in shock. I just didn’t know what to say. Like there was nobody home. There was only kids there, and all the kids were right there, and I didn’t want to scream.”The alleged victim then said he bribed her with several hundred dollars to not tell anyone. “Well, first he gave me two 20 dollar bills, and then I guess he like saw that it was twenties, and he was like, ‘Oh, wait,’ and he put them back and took out two hundred dollar bills,” she said.In court, prosecutors played a recorded phone call between the doctor and the alleged victim from their investigation. However, defense attorneys said Bollo never admitted anything in the phone call.“If you could tell me like why? What happened? You’re like family to me,” the alleged victim said on the phone call.“I know, [victim’s name]. The whole situation is umm… It’s a (inaudilble) for our relationships, I agree,” Bollo then responded.Bollo is charged with lewd and lascivious molestation and faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Superbikes bandwagon makes inroads as high top end bikemakers unveil madeforIndia bikes

first_imgGreater Noida, Feb 11 (ANI): International bikemakers such as Harley Davidson, Triumph Motorcycles Yamaha and Ducati showcased their trendiest models to awe-struck Indian bikers at the 12th Auto Expo held in Greater Noida recently. The top end bikemakers displayed some machismo cruiser style and chopper designs targeting the domestic market.last_img

Will Gujarat results force Modi govt to shelve controversial FRDI Bill for

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi speaking to media persons at the start of Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on July 17, 2017.PIBThe central government is unlikely to table the controversial Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) bill in Parliament during the Budget session, as the house gives the joint committee an extension for submitting its report.Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan stated that the upper house has extended time granted to the joint panel “up to the last day of Budget Session, 2018,” news agency PTI reported.This development comes when many have been raising concerns about some of the clauses of the bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August this year.Why economists and Indian middle class feared the FRDI bill in the current? The clause 52 of the draft legislation. The proposed law puts a “bail-in” provision under clause 52 which would give legal powers to a specially mandated authority called the ‘Resolution Corporation’ to invoke the bail-in clause, which can modify the deposit if the bank in question is on the threshold of becoming commercially unviable.The joint committee has sought an extension to submit its report before the parliament as it thinks the report won’t be ready for presentation by December 15.”As the House was adjourned after making obituary references. Hence, I have on behalf of the House, granted extension of time,” the Lok Sabha Speaker said during the zero hour of Lok Sabha.The bill aims to place a framework for overseeing financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, non-banking financial services (NBFC) companies and stock exchanges in case of insolvency, reported the agency.Recently, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called the bill “Draconian” and wrote to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley requesting the immediate withdrawal of the FRDI Bill. In a letter, she said people will lose faith in the banking system if the Bill is not withdrawn.”I will like to sincerely appeal to the Centre to desist from enacting this Draconian law and withdraw the bill to ensure that the common people in the country are saved from financial ruin,” Mamata wrote in her letter.Market experts also believe that the “bail-in” clause in the draft legislation could bring in potential harm to deposits of common people.Currently, all deposits up to Rs 1 lakh are protected under the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation Act, which is sought to be repealed by the proposed bill.However, union finance minister Aurn Jaitley, lask week said that the government would fully protect public deposits in financial institutions.last_img read more

Report Says EPA Is Being Less Aggressive In Enforcing Rules

first_imgDave FehlingThe Houston skyline is seen on a hazy day.Critics said the Environmental Protection Agency isn’t doing enough to go after polluters.A new report from the Environmental Integrity Project said the agency is being less aggressive in enforcing pollution rules than it was in previous years. The advocacy group said in the Trump Administration’s first year, the EPA dealt with 48 major pollution cases and issued $30 million in fines – a drop in enforcement compared to the first years of the Obama, Bush and Clinton Administrations. “Less enforcement doesn’t mean there aren’t a whole lot of violations out there,” said Eric Schaeffer, the environmental group’s executive director.In response, the EPA said the report ignores the fact that enforcement cases have been steadily dropping for at least the past decade. They were down from almost 4,000 in 2007 to about 2,000 by the time Trump took office.Still, Schaeffer’s group said it worries weaker enforcement will cause polluters to take the rules less seriously. Sharelast_img read more