India Bangladesh differ on illegal immigration issue

first_imgNew Delhi: While the bonhomie between New Delhi and Dhaka remains intact, both neighbours hold divergent views on the contentious issue of ‘illegal immigration’ from Bangladesh.For the first time, Home Minister Amit Shah categorically raised the ‘India’s concern regarding the illegal movement of undocumented persons across the border’ in the recently held bilateral meeting with visiting Home Minister of Bangladesh Asaduzzaman Khan. Without mentioning the ongoing process of the National Register of Citizen (NRC) in Assam, Shah did propose a mechanism ‘ to find a solution to this problem, especially in North-East India. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsThe Bangladesh minister with his delegation met PM Modi before leaving for Dhaka on August 8, and went satisfied with the assurance given by the PM on cooperation with Bangladesh. Bangladesh issued a statement saying PM Modi expressed a desire to participate in the centenary birthday celebration of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. After a marathon meeting held in North Block, both countries could not arrive at a consensus because Bangladesh is of the view that no such migration is taking place to India after 1971. Finally, the idea of issuing a joint statement was dropped, instead, both countries decided to come out with their individual statements. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayAfter that Amit Shah had a one-to-one restricted meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart and later secretary-level meetings went on till late night. Later Bangladesh High Commission issued a statement where the issue of illegal immigration was not mentioned. However, the statement issued by the Union Home Ministry did mention the issue of illegal immigration and the proposals made in the 7th joint meeting between India and Bangladesh. The statement issued by Bangladesh High Commission spoke of Home Minister Amit Shah being invited to Dhaka. It also claimed that both the ministers expressed satisfaction about ongoing cooperation between two countries on the border and they wanted to keep up that momentum. The home ministry statement said that both neighbours agreed on the need for greater cooperation to achieve the aim of a secure border. Despite the different views on illegal immigration Shah reiterated India’s full support for PM S K Hasina’s development agenda. Both the ministers reiterated the significance attached to the bilateral relationship.last_img read more

Michael J Fox Joins Stars In GE Food Labeling Video

first_imgEmmy Award winners Michael J. Fox and Julie Bowen, and singer Ziggy Marley are featured in a new Just Label It video calling for the FDA to require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.Fox, Bowen and Marley are joined in the video by 24 other entertainers and advocates and Just Label It (JLI) Chairman, Gary Hirshberg.His comments sum up the argument JLI has been making throughout the country: every American deserves the right to know about their food and whether they are eating or serving their families food that has been genetically engineered. JLI is petitioning the FDA to update its 20-year-old voluntary guidelines and require labeling for GE foods. Today, more than 1.2 million Americans have joined the petition, and a national poll has shown that nine out of every 10 Americans support GE food labeling.“These artists have joined this fight because we are pursuing a basic right, and a right enjoyed by citizens of 60 other countries, including China, Russia and every nation in the European Union,” Hirshberg said. “This video will help us remind the FDA that Washington is supposed to be of, by and for the people — not just a handful of chemical companies.”As the FDA considers whether to grant approval to GE salmon, 2, 4-D corn and a never-browning apple, the video raises concerns about the transparency surrounding GE foods and the lack of long-term testing on the health and environmental effects of the food. After chemical companies claimed the insecticide used in the first GE corn approved for human consumption would not be digestible, a study later revealed the insecticide was detected in the umbilical cords of pregnant women.Bowen, a mother of three sons, shows her support for labeling by revealing a sign in the video with the message: “Every modern family has the right to know what’s in their food!”Marley appears in the video and his song Personal Revolution provides the soundtrack for the three-minute production.Also in the video are Kristin Bauer, Josh Bowman, Mehcad Brooks, Chevy Chase, Tom Colicchio, Daryl Hannah, Anne Heche, Jack Johnson, Ali Carter, Amy Smart, Ian Somerhalder, James Taylor, Wilmer Valderrama and more.JLI will be using the video in the coming weeks to encourage supporters to sign its petition at The site also asks supporters to encourage their members of Congress to support labeling GE foods, oppose any federal or state efforts to restrict the push to label GE foods, and to defeat language in the Farm Bill that would limit the USDA or other federal agencies in regulating GE crops.last_img read more

MMIWG Inquiry head says RCMP interview video is typical of what they

first_imgIn the video, the officer asks the woman about her past sexual history and asked if she had a physical reaction to the assault.“Were you at all turned on during this at all? Even a little bit?” the officer asked. “You understand that when a guy tries to have sex with a female and the female is completely unwilling it is very difficult.”Buller also expressed concern with the young woman’s lack of adult support. Two MCFD social workers were present with her for a very short period of time during the two and half hour long interview.“What concerns me is here is a young person, a minor in law who’s being questioned without an adult present,” she said. “My recollection is that if a young person is being questioned by the police as a suspect then their Youth Criminal Justice Act requires that there be an adult present.”“To me it just seems like common sense that there would be an adult present to act support for the young person.“Read more: ‘Were you turned on by this all?’: RCMP officer asks Indigenous youth during sexual assault reportShe said the video — though just one example — re-victimizes the victim and she understands why complainants may be reluctant to report.“This can be devastating for an individual who has already experienced a traumatic event to have to go through a process of reporting, seeking justice for what had happened to them not being believed, being demeaned being asked embarrassing questions,” said Buller. “In the case of this young one being punished for reporting the incident to the police and then in the end nothing happens.“There is no meaningful investigation. So I certainly understand why people who make complaints about sexual assaults to the police don’t bother doing it or decide in the end not to do it after all because of how they proceed. Nothing’s going to happen anyway.”The national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women is fighting its own battle with the RCMP in court for access to two files the national police force is refusing to hand over.The inquiry is set to issue its long-awaited report in June, but says it wants the contested Mountie files to complete its work on one of the saddest chapters in Canada’s recent history.Little is publicly known about the two disputed files other than their titles: “Missing Person: Missing Indigenous Woman” and “Homicide: Murdered Indigenous Woman.”Both sides have agreed to an expedited process and hope to have hearing dates on the dispute before mid-May in the Federal Court of Canada, said Catherine Kloczkowski, a spokeswoman for the inquiry.Federal lawyers acting on behalf of the RCMP have yet to make submissions to the court.For the Indigenous teenager, APTN News has reached out to the Minister of Children and Family Development (MCFD), the RCMP and the individual social workers.MCFD sent an email saying they are preparing a response but nothing had been received when this article was Marion Buller, commissioner of the MMIWG inquiry, says police handling of the Indigenous teenager who filed a sexual assault complaint is typical of what she heard during the inquiry’s hearings. Photo: APTN fileHolly MooreAPTN NewsMissing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls inquiry Chief Commissioner Marion Buller says a video of an Indigenous teen being aggressively interviewed by Kelowna RCMP after she reported an alleged sexual assault is typical of what they heard from families and survivors across Canada.“We also heard about some extraordinarily good police investigations regarding sexual assaults,” she said. “So the sad part is this of one police officer who conducted that interview really doesn’t live up to the standards that other officers set for these types of investigations.”Buller, who was the first female First Nations person appointed as a judge in British Columbia in 1994, said that though she hasn’t seen the entire interview, she did have some criticisms of the video.“Back in March of 2012, it was inappropriate to ask – in my view anyway -inappropriate to ask the young woman whether she was sexually aroused even in the slightest degree by the assault,” she said.“It was inappropriate to ask her to compare this experience with other sexual experiences she might have had. That’s just the beginning of where I could be critical of the interview.”last_img read more

Press Release Passenger Experience Week prepares for lift off

first_imgThe global travel and tourism industry is one of the most dynamic economic powerhouses on the planet. It not only creates jobs, but connects businesses to markets, drives exports, is a catalyst for prosperity and generally helps people enjoy better lives worldwide. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that the sector accounts for 10.4% of global GDP and 313 million jobs, making it one of the largest contributors economically in the world. The connectivity provided by international air and rail transport is one of the key factors in facilitating its growth.It is estimated that over half of international tourists travel by air, meaning aviation plays a crucial role in supporting one of the globe’s most important economic sectors. And according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), it contributes an enormous €2.3 trillion with more than 120,000 flights taking off daily – transporting more than 10 million passengers worldwide.It’s clear that the aviation sector is thriving, and the global rail market is also in a period of growth according to the 2018 Worldwide Market for Railway Industries Study. Since 2016, its value has grown from €169 billion to €183 billion, with the rate outstripping forecasted growth of 2.3% two years ago, to 2.8%.This strong growth has resulted in changes across the air and rail sectors with a greater focus on improving customer satisfaction levels through innovations in onboard service and environments. For example, a new raft of commercial aircraft models from leading manufacturers Airbus and Boeing has forced airlines to refine the offering they provide to passengers, while developments in onboard catering and cutting-edge technology are attracting passengers to travel operators that have a modern and unique approach to travel. The key to sustaining this success lies in being aware of – and acting on – key trends without being outmaneuvered by competitors.The spotlight is on passenger experienceThis year’s Passenger Experience Week, taking place in Hamburg from 1-4 April 2019, brings together four leading events that aim to provide ideas, inspiration and solutions for air, rail and cruise buyers looking to improve the experience they offer to their passengers. Comprising Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE); Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS); and the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC), the series of events will showcase the latest cabin interiors, in-flight entertainment and connectivity, passenger comfort, catering, retail offerings and technology software that will ultimately transform the experience passengers receive on a plane, train, coach or cruise ship.Over 950 exhibitors will be on hand throughout the week to showcase their innovations to 18,000 attending industry professionals. Of these, more than 2,000 will be VIP guests – leading decision makers representing the world’s major air and rail operators – looking to find those unique, new-to-market products that will set their business apart from the rest. Face-to-face buying, selling and networking will dominate proceedings across the Hamburg Messe throughout the week.Learning from industry visionariesMarking the start of Passenger Experience Week 2019, the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) will bring together thought leaders from across the global aviation, rail and cruise sectors, who will share new ideas and discuss the next steps in the evolution of the passenger experience from onboard environments to services.Delegates joining this year’s conference on 1 April will be able to hear speakers from Airbus; Seymourpowell; Diehl Aviation; Panasonic Avionics Corporation; Collins Aerospace; and Passenger Experience Week supporting organisation, International Air Transport Association (IATA).Opening the conference, Joe Leader, Chief Executive Officer of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and International Flight Services Association (IFSA), will provide the inside track on the strategies that will deliver more competitive cabins. He will offer insight on how to deliver greater value for passengers and improve revenue for airlines; the transformative approaches to making the journey better; and how to integrate new technologies and tools every step of the way.Following the day’s keynote sessions, three breakout streams will focus the discussion on key trends shaping the future of the industry – The Competitive Cabin, Digital: The New Reality, and Revitalising the Journey.The Competitive Cabin stream will help delegates understand how suppliers are innovating products and services to deliver a better passenger experience and increase revenue. The session will explain the importance of technology collaborations in creating innovative interiors solutions that enhance the journey of all travellers – including those with mobility, visual or hearing impairments.With a digital revolution underway in the travel sectors, Digital: The New Reality will explore the importance of integrating technology across the entire journey to create a seamless and connected environment. Speakers will explore the role of automated and digital/mobile self-service; how biometric technologies are opening up opportunities through airports and on aircraft; and how the food and retail experience onboard can be digitalised to improve engagement and passenger enjoyment.In the final stream, Revitalising the Journey, speakers will address how new sensory technologies can help passengers navigate their journeys. From sensory touchpoints – sonic branding, voice technologies, haptic feedback – to augmented and virtual reality, delegates will learn more about the opportunities to improve experiences, while tackling new challenges in cabin design. Sessions will encourage delegates to rethink both the physical and onboard experience, from understanding how biometric technologies, such as facial recognition, are transforming passenger experiences in a world of self-service; to the opportunities to deliver outstanding personalisation, helping passengers to arrive at their destinations feeling relaxed and refreshed.20 years of cabin innovationWith the global aviation industry going from strength to strength, it’s no surprise that the airline interiors industry is also booming. The market for aircraft interiors is predicted to hit €13.9 billion by 2020 according to market research by Industry Arc, thanks to a dramatic surge in air travel and the accompanying upturn in passenger expectations as a result.For two decades, AIX has played a pivotal role in helping the world’s premier airlines source the latest cabin innovations, technologies, inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions that have transformed their offerings and helped turn them into the leading global players they are today. The 2019 instalment sees the exhibition reach its 20th anniversary with a celebration of the cutting-edge innovation that is continually propelling the industry forward.More than 500 businesses – including industry players both, large and small – will showcase their latest products and services aimed at enhancing the cabin, in-flight entertainment and connectivity onboard. These include materials suppliers such as Zotefoams, a world leader in cellular materials technology, which is confirmed to showcase its ZOTEK F foam. The material is manufactured from specialist PVDF engineering polymers to meet the exacting standards of aviation manufacturers. Helping to improve inflight hygiene, Mankiewicz will present its second-generation interior paint featuring antimicrobial effective additives. Its ALEXIT PureGuard paint contains special chemicals that hinder the spread of mould and unpleasant odours, helping to reduce the microbes and bacteria which accumulate over the course of a flight.And, with the industry’s leading seat manufacturers present, attendees will be able to discover the latest seat configurations from Safran SA; Recaro Aircraft Seating GmbH & Co. KG; STELIA Aerospace; and Adient Aerospace, which will showcase its Ascent Business Class at the show. Molon Labe Seating will also join the line-up, revealing the launch customer for its S1 staggered short-range economy class seat.Visitors can also explore mock-ups of the new Boeing 777X – the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world. The cabin interior, which will be on display at AIX 2019, is inspired by the comforts and conveniences of the 787 Dreamliner, with larger windows, a wider cabin, new lighting and enhanced architecture – all of which will be custom-tailored for a unique in-flight passenger experience.  The 777X is one of many topics explored by Boeing’s Blake Emery and PJ Wilcynski on the newly launched PAX Week Views podcast. The podcast brings together a host of leading industry experts from across the aviation, rail and cruise sectors to share their thoughts on the future of the passenger experience industry. It is now available to download or stream via iTunes or Spotify here: buyers looking for suppliers to support Maintenance, Retail and Overhaul (MRO) operations, will find a host of businesses that will be demonstrating the importance of cabin refurbishment services. Exhibitors, including Delta TechOps, Etihad Airways Engineering and Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance, will explain how they deliver the highest quality interior maintenance and refurbishment of seating, monuments – comprising galley, lavatory, closets, overhead bins and sidewall panels – IFEC solutions and unit load devices (ULDs).What’s on at AIXIn addition to the smorgasbord of innovations on display on the show floor, there will be a whole area dedicated to the very latest developments in inflight entertainment technology. According to IATA’s 2018 Global Passenger Survey, people now prefer to watch digital content on a seatback device (54%) rather than a personal device (36%).This technology and more will be presented in The IFEC Zone, which aims to keep visitors abreast of the latest developments in inflight technology solutions. It will feature everything from servers and OTT systems to 5G and VR, with more than 100 leading providers of state-of-the-art entertainment and communications solutions on display, including AirFi BV, Astronics, Panasonic, SITA OnAir, Thales and Kontron.Demonstrating how cinematic Virtual Reality (VR) can transport premium passengers to their own private movie theatres, SkyLights will reveal how operators can set themselves apart from the competition and enable passengers to enjoy the latest releases in 3D, 2D and 180° VR with its AlloSky VR Headset. Bluebox Aviation Systems will highlight the latest innovations in tablet-based and wireless IFE solutions including its Bluebox aIFE – an accessible IFE solution for passengers with sight loss that Virgin Atlantic launched in December 2017; while Gogo, the in-flight internet company, will demonstrate its next-generation satellite technology for global in-flight connectivity: Gogo 2Ku.Meanwhile IFEC technology will, for the second year, be recognised in the Crystal Cabin Awards, enabling visitors to quickly identify the most innovative new launches. Eight categories in total will be awarded, all of which celebrate innovation in the aircraft cabin. Innovations across the eight categories will be on display, with winners announced in the CabinSpace LIVE Seminar Theatre.Held within the theatre, the CabinSpace LIVE Seminar programme, offers a place for attendees to listen and learn from industry leaders, and discover the latest challenges and trends impacting the industry. Curated to help airlines grasp the opportunities and navigate the challenges posed by the ever-evolving air travel industry, this year will feature free-to-attend forecast sessions exploring a wide range of hot topics. The rapid evolution of connectivity, IFEC and tools for engagement; the outlook for the aircraft interiors industry; and IFC trends in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will all be covered.Airbus BizLab, a global aerospace accelerator, will also lead a panel discussion on the future of flight, questioning how factors such as demographic and economic growth, tourism trends, oil prices and the development of new and existing routes help shape air transport mobility. With a particular focus on innovation in aircraft interiors, a panel will discuss how global macro trends can change the future of aircraft-based mobility, moderated by Reymound Buckman, Airbus BizLab Campus Leader in Hamburg.As ever, there will be plentiful networking opportunities at AIX, focused particularly on helping to develop strong working business relationships between airlines and suppliers. The Airline Club Lounge, exclusively reserved for members of airlines, bizjets and lessors, is designed to provide a space to escape, relax, work or network away from the show floor.Serving up innovation at WTCEFor the past two decades, AIX has become the global meeting place for airlines to source innovative technologies and solutions to improve the passenger experience. In more recent years, it has been joined by sister exhibition, the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE), which has also grown significantly in its own right to become the leading global event for travel catering, onboard retail and passenger comfort.This year’s instalment, which sits alongside AIX at the Hamburg Messe in halls A1-A3, is set to be one of the biggest to date, thanks to continued demand for the very best onboard experience the world’s leading airlines, rail companies and cruise liners can provide.Indeed, according to Global Industry Analysts Inc., the worldwide market for in-flight catering services is projected to reach €15.5 billion by 2020, driven by ever increasing – and demanding – passenger traffic and an abundance of service innovations by airline operators. And with more than five million meals served onboard flights each day, it’s no surprise that businesses are looking for new and innovative ways to improve their onboard offerings and attract new customers.Many airlines are already switching things up when it comes to their catering. Take Emirates for example, which has announced it is building a vertical farm to grow food for its meals with less impact on the environment. Meanwhile, Delta Airlines is trialling a new three-course meal plan served with sparkling wine; Air France has added a new ‘healthy’ meal option to it’s a la carte menu, while conversely, Swiss Air has added new hot cheese fondue to its menu. Whatever the innovation, its clear there is a place in the market for new ideas when it comes to onboard catering, and this year’s WTCE is the place to find them.What’s on at WTCEThe free-to-attend exhibition houses over 350 suppliers of onboard products and services, including more than 180 dedicated to food and drink. These include The Barilla Group, which will showcase its dedicated line of Italian food solutions for foodservice professionals under its most famous and well-loved brands, Barilla and Mulino Bianco. Cuisine Solutions, an industry leader in the expert development and manufacturing of premium, fully cooked foods using the sous-vide method, will also be present, demonstrating its slow-cooking technique that was pioneered and perfected by its Chief Scientist Dr. Bruno Goussault.WTCE will once again present visitors with a host of new products for complimentary in-flight and buy onboard menus from cheeses to chocolates. Companies such as Brazzale Spa, the oldest Italian family business in the dairy and cheese-making industry; Butlers Chocolates, Ireland’s premier family-owned firm dedicated to the craft of exceptional chocolate-making; and Dr. Schär Group, the European leader in gluten-free products, will all present the latest food and beverages suitable for onboard consumption.Visitors can also see products from a broader range of categories including hygiene, transport and logistics, packaging, travel retail, passenger comfort and toys and games, with many launching products that have never been seen before. This year, visitors will have the opportunity to view products from the full spectrum of airline and rail suppliers – large and small – including LSG Group, Matrix, Bayart Innovations, dnata and gategroup, as well as those from more than 100 new exhibitors that have not previously launched into the industry.The New Exhibitor Village gives companies that are new to the industry the opportunity to reveal their services or products to more than 200 international airlines and rail operators. With a dedicated, stand-out area on the show floor, participants will benefit from a unique platform to market their innovations.Companies already signed up to showcase their products in the Village include Belberry Preserves, Belgian-based purveyors of fruit preserves; Chum Fruit Snacks, 100% healthy fruit snacks featuring the simplest purest ingredients; Farmhouse Biscuits, biscuits baked from traditional, old-family recipes; Nature Frais, an agri-food company which specialises in the cutting of fresh vegetables and fruits; and frozen bread producers Novepan.Elsewhere, there will be a selection of designated areas to enable visitors to easily identify products and services that are of interest to them. Giving airtime to brand new products will be the What’s New Onboard showcase that will feature products and innovations launched to the market in the past 12 months or less.The growing Focus on World Travel Retail will return to Hall A4 to showcase products that can help drive revenue opportunities onboard. In the cut-throat travel retail industry, operators need that all-important competitive edge to set their business apart from the rest and win customers. Exhibitors taking part this year include Schäfer Travel Retail GmbH, a supplier with more than 10 years’ experience supplying a wide selection of brands and products to over 60 airlines and 40 airports worldwide; Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel, a leading producer of a renowned range of Côtes de Provence rosés; Lemonaid Beverages, fairtrade lemonade made from fresh, organically grown ingredients; MeMento, a blend of distilled aromatic waters filled with the scents of the Mediterranean; and Gebr. Heinemann, one of the top players on the international travel retail market. Visitors will also have an opportunity to sample new products and engage with other attendees at the Gebr. Heinemann networking bar.The Spotlight on Travel Apparel feature, sponsored by Egret Aviation and MODUS, will return to the exhibition’s central entrance to showcase the latest onboard clothing. Operators looking to update their brand or source new uniforms will find plenty of inspiration and ideas in this area. Further examples of the latest uniforms, crew luggage and travel accessories can be found on the show floor, with new companies CREATION & IMAGE Paris, GATE8 Luggage, OX’BRIDGE and Sky Soles joining the exhibition.Also providing visitors with unrivalled inspiration for their air, rail and cruise operations will be this year’s Taste of Travel Theatre. Run in association with Onboard Hospitality magazine, presentations and live demonstrations – delivered by leading consultants, industry experts and award-winning chefs will aim to educate the audience about the future of the sector, encourage them to think about current and upcoming trends and urge them to understand how they can best enhance the passenger experience. Taking place across all three days of the show, the sessions will focus on a diverse range of trends including sustainability, packaging, food waste, pre-ordering and wellbeing.Sustainability in the air is one of the current industry hot topics and will feature prominently in this year’s Taste of Travel programme. Matt Rance of MNH Sustainable Cabin Services will lead this important debate in a session entitled Sustainable Thinking as he examines how suppliers and airlines can work together to provide cradle-to-grave thinking for onboard products.Phil Chadwick, editor of Packaging News magazine, will also chair a debate around the challenges of plastic and sustainability onboard, in a session entitled Less Plastic in the Air. Taking a look at current hot packaging innovations, a further session entitled Best Sustainable Packaging will invite five exhibitors to give a quick-fire pitch to three expert judges on how their solutions are the most environmentally friendly.Wellbeing is another hot topic that is sure to provoke lots of lively debate in the Taste of Travel Theatre. Tied to this is the theme of gut health, which will be addressed by Marc Warde, culinary consultant to the airline rail and cruise industries, as he explores the new generation of meat-free, gluten-free and allergy-friendly meals suitable for health-conscious passengers. Ariane Van Mancius of Now/New/Next will also examine the habits and hang ups of passenger eating habits in her session entitled ‘How Generations Y and Z eat’. She will look at the influences of these ‘new kids on the block’, and in particular how the rules are being re-written through social media and Instagram.Other themes that will be covered include ‘Dine on Demand’ by Werner Kimmeringer and Craig Devoy of Yates+Partners; how consumers are using technology to personalise their food, health, travel and lifestyle by Mariette Abrahams of Mariette Abrahams Consulting; ‘Pre-ordering’ by Delta Airlines Executive Chef Christian Hallowell; and a session on ‘Best Rail Dining in Europe’ by two members of the Junior National Team of AKC (Czech Chefs Culinary Association) who will also demonstrate the latest dining concepts on Czech Railways. In celebration of its centenary year, representatives from British Airways will also present some of the airline’s new menus along with samples.Returning to facilitate meetings on site, WTCE’s Business Meeting Hub provides the perfect place to do business at the show. Private meeting rooms will be available, enabling VIP airline and rail attendees to arrange meetings with existing or new suppliers. Also aiding relationship building is the improved My Event tool that allows visitors and exhibitors to pre-arrange meetings, so they can maximise time spent at the show.Embracing the digital revolutionLaunched last year to great acclaim, the Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS) event will provide a new way for the aviation and rail sectors to improve passenger experience by bringing together some of the world’s most exciting and technologically advanced solutions. This year, the show is back, bigger and better, and ready to provide the perfect platform to showcase game-changing technologies to the world’s leading airlines, airports and rail operators.What’s on at PTS?Trends in technology impact all industries and travel is no exception. To stay competitive, the industry is turning towards the latest solutions to offer customers a better travel experience.Artificial Intelligence (AI), biometrics, blockchain, machine learning and Virtual Reality (VR) are all transforming the way people travel and developments in these areas are showing no sign of slowing down. And with airlines preparing to increase investment in IT by 3.6% as a percentage of their revenue, now couldn’t be a better time for the second edition of PTS, where it will move from the A Halls to Hall B4 Upper of the Hamburg Messe.The move positions the show closer to the popular In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) Zone in the co-located Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) and demonstrates the growing importance of big data analytics, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) solutions in personalising the passenger experience and delivering innovative in-flight entertainment services.Exhibitors at this year’s event will be showcasing a whole range of products, from ancillary revenue optimisation systems, CRM and Ecommerce Systems to IT solutions and mobile apps. These include Aviget Ltd, a technology start-up developing multi-platform chatbots, that helps airlines improve customer engagement. It enables passengers to get an instant answer to any question, book a flight, check-in online, get flight status alerts and even rebook cancelled flights without the need for human interaction. Also exhibiting at PTS, ECR Retail Systems, one of the oldest mobile EPoS providers in the UK, will demonstrate its in-flight mobile point of sale (MPoS) systems; TouchStar OnBoard Retail will introduce attendees to NovoStar, a software solution that facilitates the sale of in-flight duty free, catering and ancillary products; while Black Swan, will return to highlight the importance of data-driven passenger experience software solutions.In addition to the revolutionary technology on show at this year’s PTS, there will be a new feature taking centre stage with the aim of generating further cutting-edge innovation at the event. The Pax Tech Hack – Passenger Experience Week’s first ever Hackathon – will see teams of international developers, designers and marketers battle it out to create revolutionary new solutions that will improve the end-to-end passenger journey.With backing from the official supporting organisation, International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Pax Tech Hack will kick off with a selection of challenges that are currently facing the travel industry. Participating teams will be given just 48 hours to develop a functional concept, with a strong practical application, that will utilise new technologies to tackle issues and help shape the future of the global passenger experience industry.With the first two days of the hackathon devoted to non-stop development, the teams will then be given an opportunity to present their working concepts to judges on the show floor on the final day of PTS. With an audience of passenger experience professionals from airline and rail operators watching on, the winning team in each challenge will receive €5,000.This year’s event will include an exciting free-to-attend educational programme – the PTS Seminar Theatre. A host of industry experts will introduce and explore the latest smart solutions and innovative technologies, data tools and digital solutions that will transform the travel experience. The focus will be on how to enable more seamless and connected experiences, create new business models and increase engagements.Luke Miles, Co-founder and Creative Director of New Territory, will run a workshop on ‘Using emerging technologies to provide truly bespoke passenger experiences.’ The session will explore how airlines can offer more bespoke onboard services at both ends of the plane and achieve continuity between classes. He will present a suite of emerging technologies and examples that are shaping the future of the passenger experience and encourage discussion on the next steps for integration by operators across the air, rail and cruise industries.Speaking about the session, Luke commented: “I’m absolutely delighted to be taking part in this year’s PTS Seminar Theatre. The industry is fast approaching a turning point, which will see the passenger experience undergo a technologically-driven period of advancement. The topics covered in the programme – biometrics, bespoke onboard services and blockchain technology amongst others – will be central to this shift and I’m looking forward to hearing the ground-breaking ideas presented.”A further session titled ‘Flying in 2025 – a holistic approach to passenger engagement’ will be led by Dr. Stathis Kefallonitis, Founder and President of and Noesis Analysis labs. This interactive panel discussion will highlight the perspectives of aircraft manufacturers, technology providers, catering and culinary experts, behavioural scientists and passengers, providing a unique viewpoint on future passenger trends.It will also explore the deployment of the latest technological capabilities, focusing on the role of new aircraft and cabin designs; data analytics, augmented reality, co-branding, collaborations and new product development; passenger-journey customisation and passenger engagement via behavioural and biometric analyses.In another session, Anne De Hauw and Anne-Celine Donkersloot, from IN Air Travel Experience, will take part in a discussion on ‘Transforming the travel ecosystem: Why today’s digital travelers need you to be there’ beyond the flight’, while a session on blockchain technology will evaluate the potential opportunities and challenges that the burgeoning technology can offer the travel sector.Also under the spotlight, sessions will explore the power of biometrics and how it can remove stress and bottlenecks from the travel journey, for passengers and operators alike. Here, Pierre Charbonneau, Director, Passenger Experience & Facilitation from International Air Transport Association (IATA) – Passenger Experience Week’s supporting organisation – will join a panel to discuss One ID, IATA’s visionary concept that introduces a collaborative identity management solution, meaning passengers need to confirm their identity just once, eliminating repetitive ID checks at security, border control and the gate. And finally, during ‘Digital Visionaries’, industry-leading chief digital and passenger experience officers will present exclusive insights on how they are transforming passenger/traveller engagement within their organisations.Katie Murphy, Portfolio Director at Reed Exhibitions, said: “We’re delighted to return to Hamburg this April to mark the 20th anniversary of AIX and the continued growth of co-located events, World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo, Passenger Technology Solutions and the Passenger Experience Conference.“More than ever, we’re seeing a clear need for collaboration and cross industry pollination as operators look to transform the passenger experience and learn from best practice across the industry. And, with digital technologies connecting services on the ground and in the air, our four events will help the aviation, rail and cruise sectors transform the passenger experience by sourcing the most innovative products and services and learn from the brightest minds from across the travel industry.”Passenger Experience Week 2019 returns to Hamburg from 1-4 April comprising Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE), Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS) and the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC). The four leading events in one location – the Hamburg Messe – share one goal: to shine a light on the latest innovations and services available to enhance the travel experience and improve the onboard comfort and wellbeing of passengers.About Passenger Experience WeekFour leading events – the Passenger Experience Conference, Aircraft Interiors Expo, World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo and Passenger Technology Solutions – one week, one destination. Delivering content, driving innovation and developing connections to transform your business. Showcasing the latest in cabin interiors, in-flight entertainment and connectivity, onboard technology, passenger comfort, catering and travel retail to create the ultimate passenger experience. Taking place 1-4 April 2019 in Hamburg, the events attract more than 18,000 visitors including 2,000 buyers and decision makers from major full service, regional and charter airlines and rail operators and offers the opportunity to meet face to face with suppliers and manufacturers covering the full spectrum of the industry.About Reed ExhibitionsReed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in over 30 countries. In 2016 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 38 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customer across industries.last_img read more

Press Release LS includes partners in expanded BoardConnect portfolio

first_imgLufthansa Systems today announced that it is presenting an expanded BoardConnect portfolio at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. The airline IT specialist is responding to changing demand in the market and the different needs of airlines and partners.“BoardConnect is the perfect open platform for combining all of the features desired in the field of inflight entertainment & connectivity (IFEC) to further improve the passenger experience. We work with various partners to offer airlines exactly what they are looking for,” said Jan-Peter Gänse, Head of Passenger Experience Solutions at Lufthansa Systems. “In order to meet customer requirements even more precisely, our portfolio will now distinguish between solutions for airlines and partners.”BoardConnect DockWith its new BoardConnect Dock solution, Lufthansa Systems is providing technology, content and financing partners with a BoardConnect framework for creating their own onboard program. Depending on the partner, this might include a connectivity portal, classic IFE content or a platform with booking options and targeted advertising to generate additional revenue. This approach is reflected in successful projects carried out with Epteca at AirEuropa and Mahata Aero Teknologi for Citilink, and Garuda Indonesia.For its refinancing models, Lufthansa Systems is additionally working with providers such as WhileFly and In terms of content providers, its partner network includes Touch, Lasker, IMM and PXCOM, and is supplemented on a technical level by IMD, optile, INADVIA, RIM and Lufthansa Technik.BoardConnectBoardConnect is Lufthansa Systems’ complete solution for the digital passenger experience that continues to address airlines of all sizes with different business models. In addition to traditional IFE features such as moving maps, movies, music, games and destination information, customers can choose the content they want from a wide range of services available through Lufthansa Systems’ strong partner network. This content can also be provided simply and easily from the cloud if desired.Visit Lufthansa Systems from April 2 to 4 at AIX at stand #4B11.Caption (Copyright: Lufthansa Systems): For an even better passenger experience – Lufthansa Systems presents new BoardConnect portfolioAbout Lufthansa SystemsLufthansa Systems GmbH & Co. KG is a leading airline IT provider. Based on long-term project experience, a deep understanding of complex business processes and strong technological know-how, the company provides consulting and IT services for the global aviation industry. More than 350 customers worldwide rely on the know-how of IT specialists at Lufthansa Systems. Its portfolio covers innovative IT products and services which provide added value for its customers in terms of enhanced efficiency, reduced costs or increased profits. Headquartered in Raunheim near Frankfurt/Main, Germany, Lufthansa Systems has offices in 16 other countries.last_img read more

Clay Lacy Aviation scholarships ease the ride for student pilots

first_imgBut learning to fly is expensive. “The scholarship helped me get through my solo and first-stage check. It can be difficult staying motivated if you’re stressing about money; the scholarship allowed me to forget about that and fully focus.” Nonetheless, she’s still “working two jobs and picking up random side jobs here and there”.Wilson, a modern young woman has, on occasion, been asked: “Can women be pilots?” She finds it bizarre. But generally, she says, “I think society no longer puts boundaries on women’s careers; most people are excited to hear about my training.”Kirby agrees. “Times are changing. When I discovered ten years ago that my client was a corporate pilot it was like, ‘Wow!’ But now there are so many more women pilots.”Katie Kirby (left) with her G550-qualified friend. She says several of her female friends are pilots, providing a ready source of inspiration and encouragement. Image: Katie KirbyRelated Articles:Aero Space adventure lifts off for students in rural ScotlandEmbry-Riddle racers rev up for the 2018 Air Race ClassicEasyJet leads charge to boost female pilot numbersMelissa Myers: Why I’ve set my sights on becoming a pilotNever too late to follow your dreams, says AA chief pilot Kathi DurstFemale fighter pilot breaks barriersPilot Kristen Arambula on building a career with Goodyear blimpsPilots Fly It Forward to inspire new generation of women aviatorsMiddle Eastern women pilots keep their eyes on the skies Pioneering business aviation company Clay Lacy Aviation offers a range of services, including private air charter, aircraft maintenance and FBO services. But the Santa Ana-headquartered firm also provides piloting and engineering scholarships to students at several institutions, including nearby Orange Coast College (OCC), California.“We’re growing quickly in Orange County. Located just five minutes from John Wayne Orange County airport, OCC is a natural fit. Now in its third year, the OCC scholarship program continues the example [founder] Clay Lacy set during his career, exposing more young people to the wonderful world of aviation,” says Clay Lacy vice president of marketing Scott Cutshall.He tells Runway Girl Network that Clay Lacy is delighted to see more women choosing aviation careers, some with the help of scholarships. Recipients of the company’s latest OCC pilot scholarships, Katie Kirby and Taylor Wilson, spoke to RGN about what inspired them to pursue aviation careers, and how scholarships are helping them to achieve their goals.Kirby is typical of a new generation of highly motivated, determined, talented women coming to aviation, although her route was unusual. She joined OCC’s Aviation Science program – through which students earn their Associate of Science degree in addition to their private, instrument and commercial pilot licenses – after a 17-year career in hairdressing. Previously head of education at Toni & Guy, she naturally enjoys nurturing and encouraging people.The Clay Lacy Aviation sponsorship is helping Kirby complete the 50 hours of cross-country flying she needs for her commercial license, but she also uses the time to take younger students flying. She is co-captain of the OCC Flight Team, which competes against other college flight teams.OCC student and Clay Lacy scholarship recipient Katie Kirby discovered flying after a long career in hairdressing. Image: Katie KirbyKirby’s inspiration came from a retired corporate woman pilot, who was among her hairdressing clients. “I knew I wanted to move into a career requiring math or science. A friend encouraged me to become a flight attendant, but Southwest turned me down. My client said: ‘Katie, you need to fly the plane!’She continues, “I’d always been excited about planes but didn’t think it was possible for me. Then I did some research and realized it was attainable. I hadn’t planned to do the OCC course, but went to their summer ground school and realized these were my people. Now it’s like I don’t ever want to leave! After I’ve got my commercial license, I’d like to work at FlightSafety, sitting in the right seat in the simulator. Do that for long enough and you get a type rating. One of my friends got three type ratings that way and her first Citation job with just 500 hours on her license.”Taylor Wilson, among previous scholarship recipients, meanwhile is working toward her private pilot license checkride. “This isn’t something you can do on the side and casually study. I’ve learned to be more disciplined, to study and be on top of everything. But I’ve always known what I want, and I’ll do what it takes to get there,” she says.Taylor Wilson in the ‘classroom’. She says: “I remember going into this, having to navigate everything myself and feeling so lost. Now, I would love to help lead the way for another person interested in flying.” Image: Taylor WilsonWilson’s aviation introduction came through a high school mentorship. Knowing she wanted to work in ‘travel’, Wilson contacted a pilot. “He gave me insight into his career and exposed me to general aviation; that’s when I fell in love with it. He took my mom and I up in his Bonanza and I didn’t want to stop after that!”last_img read more

Cathay passengers have IFC bias RFP issued for consistent portal

first_imgCathay Pacific’s hallmark is consistency but its passengers have a bias when it comes to inflight connectivity. The carrier is retrofitting Gogo’s 2Ku connectivity solution to its Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s, while its Airbus A350s are delivered with Panasonic’s eXConnect Ku-band system.“A lot of our customers are quite happy more with one platform – I won’t say who, but the good thing is both sides are continuing to improve,” says Cathay general manager customer experience & design Vivian Lo.The insight comes as approximately half of Cathay’s 777-300ERs have been retrofitted with connectivity, and all -300ERs should be completed by the end of 2019, Lo says.Cathay is resuming plans to retrofit Gogo 2Ku onto A330s after an FAA delay, likely because of the US government shutdown earlier this year. “There was a while when they stopped approving new certifications,” Lo says. Cathay still intends to complete all widebody retrofits by the end of 2020.Gogo and Panasonic are taking the initiative to improve, but Cathay is also delivering technical directives to increase performance and stability. Lo also wants improvements on design and ease of use. To achieve this leap in consistency, Lo’s team last week set a RFP timeline to design a single portal for its Gogo and Panasonic platforms, making good on a plan first revealed to RGN several months ago.The Cathay executive cannot divulge specifics, but says she does not want the process to take long.Lo is still open to Gogo, Panasonic or a third-party providing the portal. Lo notes that back-end portal support is important, although the front-end passenger experience drives the project.“It shouldn’t matter to the customer which aircraft they fly, which systems they are on,” Lo says. She wants passengers to be able to log on with their frequent flyer credentials. “It should always be a Cathay experience – so that’s the aim, that’s one of the requirements of the RFP.”The single portal is key to Cathay’s ability to vary price and offer passes on transfer itineraries across one or two connectivity platforms. Lo is still interested in offering usage plans for passengers taking connected flights on multiple oneworld airlines.Increasingly on Lo’s horizon is the delivery of 32 Airbus A321neos from 2020 for regional arm Cathay Dragon. Lo is not announcing a decision on A321neo inflight connectivity, but hints: “We believe connectivity is a very core part of our overall proposition.”There is similarly no announcement on connectivity for the Boeing 777-9, of which Cathay has ordered 21. When asked if its current 777-300/300ER provider Gogo will be linefit on the 777X, Lo says: “They are trying to be.”Related Articles:Why airlines are speaking directly to IFC hardware suppliersCathay aims for IFC critical mass, narrowbodies and new portalPanasonic vows vast IFC improvements with third gen networkCathay Pacific’s Vivian Lo exemplifies benefits of curious generalistAirlines try IFC service harmonization and subfleet differentiationWith Cathay Pacific in the bag, Gogo’s double-down on Ku clearNear-term IFC opportunities in China prove head-scratcherDelta and other Gogo 2Ku customers see system reliability improveThe devil, or rather the dragon, is in the details for Cathay DragonCathay Pacific says A350 connectivity trial will determine rolloutlast_img read more

Twitter Operating Chief Anthony Noto resigns

first_imgTwitter’s chief operating officer is leaving the social media giant to lead another company.Anthony Noto joined Twitter in July 2014 after a stint at Goldman Sachs. He has also served as chief financial officer at Twitter.Noto is considered a key part of the company’s leadership team. Shares of Twitter Inc. slid almost 3 per cent at the opening bell Tuesday.The San Francisco company said other Twitter executives will take over Noto’s duties overseeing business operations and advertising sales.Noto is joining Social Finance Inc., an online lender, as chief executive and a director.last_img read more

Over 160 Bodies Recovered after Migrant Boat Capsizes off Egypt

Cairo – The death toll from a refugee boat sinking off Egypt’s coast has risen to 162, as rescuers recovered more bodies from the Mediterranean Sea.Survivors said up to 450 people were on board the overcrowded fishing vessel that was heading to Italy from Egypt when it capsized off the port city of Rosetta on Wednesday.The bodies of 162 people had been pulled from the waters off the Egyptian coast, Mohammed Sultan, the governor of Beheira province, where Rosetta is located, said. An earlier official toll on Friday had put the number of dead at 148. read more


Advertisement UNIVERSAL OPENS SUBMISSIONS FOR 2020 WRITERS PROGRAMUniversal has opened applications for the studio’s Writers Program, a new initiative that seeks to identify up-and-coming screenwriters with unique points of view.The paid program lasts one year and gives aspiring scribes the opportunity to develop two feature scripts under the guidance of Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation production executives in addition to support from the studio’s first-look producers. After its redesign in 2017, the program has also expanded its submissions criteria to include live-action and animation hybrid scripts with an emphasis on live-action content. READ MOREUNIVERSAL OPENS SUBMISSIONS FOR 2020 WRITERS PROGRAMUniversal Filmed Entertainment Group announced on Wednesday that it is now open for submissions to its 2020 writer’s program, which allows aspiring screenwriters to develop feature film scripts alongside producers at Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation.Run by Universal’s Global Talent Development & Inclusion department and sanctioned by WGA West, the writers program was created by the studio to bring more diverse and multicultural perspectives into their film development slate. The one-year, paid program gives writers the opportunity to develop two feature scripts under the guidance of Universal production executives, as well as the studio’s first-look production partners like Blumhouse and Will Packer Productions. READ MOREUNIVERSAL OPENS 2020 WRITERS PROGRAM SUBMISSIONSUniversal Filmed Entertainment Group’s Global Talent Development and Inclusion department has opened applications for its 2020 Writers Program.The program, which was redesigned in 2017 and is sanctioned by the WGA, is meant to identify experienced and up-and-coming screenwriters with unique points of view that build upon Universal’s commitment to telling stories and creating films that reflect the vast diversity of its audiences. READ MORE Advertisement Submissions will be accepted through the Universal talent development site until Oct 1.’S GLOBAL TALENT DEVELOPMENT & INCLUSION OPENS SUBMISSIONS FOR 2020 UNIVERSAL WRITERS PROGRAMUniversal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG)’s Global Talent Development & Inclusion (GTDI) department is opening submissions to the 2020 Universal Writers Program. The application period opened today and will remain open until October 1.The Universal Writers Program identifies experienced and up-and-coming screenwriters with unique points of view that build upon the Studio’s commitment to telling stories and creating films that reflect the vast diversity of its audiences. It is the only feature film program sanctioned by the Writers Guild of America West and puts the spotlight on storytellers to develop their talent with the intent to incorporate multicultural and global perspectives in screenwriting. READ MORE Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Login/Register With: read more


LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement Matt Damon (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) Jennifer Lopez (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) Kristen Stewart (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) Sarah Paulson (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) Jamie Dronan Jamie Dronan Jamie Dronan Ansel Elgort Ansel Elgort Christian Bale (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) The Bosses of Hugo Boss Keke Palmer (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) Luke Wilson (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) The Cast of Hustlers Jennifer Lopez Scarlett Johansson Jennifer Lopez on stage at the screening of Hustlers Ashleigh Cummings (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) Eddie Murphy (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) Nicole Kidman Nicole Kidman Nicole Kidman Nicole Kidman Nicole Kidman Nicole Kidman Nicole Kidman (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) Nicole Kidman Nicole Kidman Nicole Kidman Imogen Poots (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) Neve Campbell (Photo by Matt Small – @mattsmallphotography) Nicole Kidman Twitter Advertisement read more


Séan McCann has pursued a solo career since leaving Great Big Sea. (Submitted) LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Facebook For years, I provided the soundtrack to a million brain-numbing buzzes.For two decades, I was gainfully employed as one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most popular exports: the excellent folk pop party boy band Great Big Sea.That success came at a cost, though. It’s a story that involves addiction — and overcoming sexual abuse. I’m now 52, and I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, but I have to wonder how I now fit in with the “Newfoundland brand” I once worked so hard to sell.First, let me tell you about where I came from.I was born in Carbonear and my people come from Gull Island and Northern Bay.When I was two years old, my dad got a job in the “city state” of St. John’s so I was raised a townie but we always kept our hearts close to where we came from. Login/Register With: Twitter read more


Writer and director Anthony Shim on the set of his first feature film Daughter. The film has earned the B.C. Spotlight position in this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. (GREG MASSIE / PNG) Advertisement One of the biggest influences for a young Shim was one of the most famous names in Korean cinema — Bong Joon-Ho. Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter Anthony Shim says if it weren’t for the Vancouver International Film Festival he wouldn’t have seen himself reflected in movies when he was young.Born in Seoul, the 33-year-old actor, director and writer, who moved to Coquitlam with his parents when he was eight years old, says VIFF gave him access to Korean films.Now in its 38th year, the film festival continues to be a bright light in terms international fare (70 countries are represented), including a strong Asian line up in The Gateway program, which includes the Dragons & Tigers section — the largest selection of Pacific Asian films outside of Asia. read more

Donald Trumps Hollywood star vandalized

U.S. President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been vandalized once again.Not much is left of the star after police say a man took a pickaxe to it Wednesday morning.According to U.S. reports, the man carried the axe in a guitar case and then called police to report what he’d done.Police in Beverly Hills say the man turned himself in.Trump’s star has repeatedly been targeted.It was vandalized in 2016 and more recently, someone put a mock border wall around it.

Von der Leyen proEU fixture in Merkels Cabinets

BRUSSELS — For Ursula von der Leyen, becoming European Commission president and perhaps the most important official in the European Union felt like coming home.After she was confirmed by the European Parliament in a cliffhanger ballot that saw her scrape through with nine votes beyond a necessary absolute majority of 374, the sigh of relief was there for all to see.“I always wanted to come back to my roots,” she said, geographically because she was born in Brussels, and politically since she came from a pro-European family where her father already held a high-level EU position.“I come from a family that has a European history,” she said Tuesday.Still, little more than two weeks ago, her name was a near-total surprise when EU leaders proposed her to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker.She is a strong supporter of closer European co-operation who has been Germany’s defence minister since 2013 and a fixture in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet over the longtime leader’s nearly 14 years in power.Von der Leyen, 60, spent her early years in the Belgian capital and speaks fluent English and French, having studied at the London School of Economics in the 1970s. She also lived in Stanford, California, from 1992 to 1996, where two of her seven children were born.She was long viewed as a potential successor to Merkel, but has had a tough tenure at the head of the notoriously difficult defence ministry and had long since faded out of contention by the time Merkel stepped down last year as leader of her centre-right Christian Democratic Union, or CDU, party.Still, von der Leyen, a medical doctor, played a significant role in modernizing the image of her party during the Merkel years. As minister for families in Merkel’s first Cabinet from 2005 to 2009, she introduced benefits encouraging fathers to look after their young children.Von der Leyen then served as labour minister until 2013, when she became Germany’s first female defence minister.Pushing for gender equality will mark her next five years too, she said. She only got the job, she said, “thanks to all the men and women who have broken down barriers and defied convention.”Shortly after Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016, she said as defence minister that Brexit offered the bloc an opportunity to press ahead with greater military co-operation.“Britain consistently blocked everything that had Europe written on it,” von der Leyen said. She argued that closer military ties between member states could help ease the frustration many voters feel about the EU’s inability to tackle major issues.Her views on Europe are anathema to the spirit of Brexit sweeping the United Kingdom.In an interview with news magazine Der Spiegel in 2011, as the eurozone debt crisis rumbled, von der Leyen declared a loftier goal for Europe.“My aim is the United States of Europe — on the model of federal states such as Switzerland, Germany or the U.S.” She said that Europe could use its “size advantage” on financial, taxation and economic questions.Her views, if anything, are even stronger now.Von der Leyen comes from a political family and is the daughter of a former governor of her home state of Lower Saxony, Ernst Albrecht, who before that was a senior European civil servant. She has been a deputy leader of Merkel’s CDU since 2010. Despite being mentioned over the years as a potential successor to Merkel, she herself publicly dismissed such talk.“In every generation, there is one chancellor,” she said in 2013. “In my generation, that is Angela Merkel.”In her generation, von der Leyen is now the first female European Commission president.___Geir Moulson reported from Berlin.Geir Moulson And Raf Casert, The Associated Press read more

Gains made in Haiti cholera fight show additional resources can ensure cholera

In an interview with the UN News Service, Dr. David Nabarro, a UN Special Advisor, highlighted the recent massive recent vaccination campaign, backed by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/ UN World Health Organization (WHO), that reached 729,000 vulnerable Haitians and the increase in ‘rapid response’ teams, which has had a positive impact in stopping outbreaks of the disease in its tracks.“I want enough cash in the bank so that we can be sure of being able to have this response capacity right through into 2018. Then, we can really get this outbreak right down, numbers really small, and then if we combine it [efforts to improve] water supplies and sanitation for every Haitian, cholera will go,” he underscored. Dr. Nabarro noted that in August of this year, it became clear that the number of people with cholera in Haiti was actually larger than it had been last year. Because of shortages of funding, the number of teams that could respond rapidly when individuals were reported to have cholera-type symptoms had really dropped from about 70 to around 30.“With a situation like that, where you can’t respond quickly to a person who is sick, you get more people in the vicinity of the sick person also being ill with diarrhoeal disease and probably with cholera,” he said.The UN borrowed resources internally to increase the number of rapid response teams. As a result, the number increased from 32 in April to 88 today and the majority of people, who were reported as being sick with watery diarrhoea and suspected cholera, can now get treated within 48 hours of their illness being reported.Speaking to the UN News Service, UN Special Adviser David Nabarro stressed that an effective cholera response needs dependable cash, together with clean water supplies and sanitation for every Haitian.When Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti in early October, the UN became extremely concerned that there would be an upsurge in the number of people sick with cholera because the storm damaged sanitary facilities and sewage leaked into the places from which people obtained their drinking water. This prompted the urgent delivery to Haiti of 1 million doses of the cholera vaccine and the massive and efficiently executed vaccination campaign of vulnerable communities in the storm affected areas. Although the vaccine is not a 100 per cent effective, it can have a dramatic impact on cholera if combined with other interventions, such as chlorination of water supplies and intensive education, he said, adding that the UN is looking to vaccinate everyone in the country, ideally with two doses. The number of people with cholera is below the levels recorded during this period last year and the year before. “The way that’s done is through having finance,” he explained. “You can’t run an effective cholera response without dependable cash.” “You can then provide the five different inputs necessary for controlling an outbreak: rapid response, effective treatment, vaccination, chlorination of water supplies, and really strong public education and involvement,” he concluded. The Special Adviser’s call for scaled-up funding comes just days after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apologized to the people of Haiti, expressing deep regret for the loss of life and suffering caused by the country’s cholera epidemic, and drawing on his report A new approach to cholera in Haiti, outlined the way forward including immediate steps to stem the outbreak and long-term support for those affected – while also highlighting the need for adequate funding of the proposal.Haiti has been dealing with a cholera outbreak since October 2010, some nine months after it suffered a devastating earthquake. The outbreak has affected an estimated 788,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 9,000. Concerted national and international efforts, backed by the United Nations, have resulted in a 90 per cent reduction in the number of suspected cases. While the number of those affected remains high, and recent outbreaks – partly heightened by the impact of Hurricane Matthew – show the continued vulnerability of the population to the disease, UN officials have said the challenge is not insurmountable.The cholera vaccination campaign in Haiti reached people in difficult circumstances and isolated places, and played a big role in significantly reducing the cases of cholera, according to UN Special Adviser, David Nabarro. read more

Coalition Govt accepts caretaker role

One day after the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) handed down its consequential orders reaffirming that the Coalition Government should be in a caretaker mode – a position which the PPP Opposition has long been contending – the APNU+AFC has finally admitted to being an “interim” government.The following is a full statement from the Ministry of the Presidency’s Press Unit this (Saturday, July 13, 2019) evening: The Government of Guyana has welcomed the Consequential Orders issued by President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Adrian Saunders J. yesterday (Friday).The Government accepts that it is an ‘interim’ government but emphasises that Cabinet has not stopped functioning and government must continue to provide public services. The Constitution of Guyana at Article 106 (7) states that, notwithstanding its defeat in the National Assembly, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election.It agrees with the Court that it is of greatest importance that the President and the Leader of the Opposition conclude the process of appointing a new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).The Government and Opposition have met three times in the past week to “hammer out” the list of six nominees in accordance with the CCJ guidelines.That process has not yet been completed and the Government intends to continue to approach the matter in a consensual manner, as stipulated by the CCJ. The Government is confident that a GECOM Chairman could be appointed in a few days’ time.The Government contends that the appointment of a Chairman of the Elections Commission is an important step in continuing the elections process which has already begun.Government remains committed to holding credible elections in the shortest possible time.It is to be noted that the Elections Commission is responsible for holding elections and not the Executive. GECOM therefore has to advise the President of its readiness to conduct elections.The Government maintains that credible elections are the hallmark of a democratic state. Credible elections are dependent on, in part, the integrity of the Official List of Electors.The Government will comply with the orders issued by the CCJ that, during this ‘interim’ period, it will restrain the exercise of its legal authority.This means that, while the Government will continue its routine management of the country, it will also address urgent issues that are in the public interest. It is also prepared to consult with the Opposition on matters which require the agreement of both sides. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMinister’s husband calls for boycott of PSC registered businessesJuly 23, 2019In “latest news”Govt will have no legitimacy after Sept. 18 – JagdeoAugust 8, 2019In “Local News”IAC urges Govt to respect Constitution, call date for electionsSeptember 17, 2019In “latest news” read more

Berbice farmers predict major losses again from paddy bug infestation

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related$1.5B lost to paddy bug infestation in Region 6April 22, 2019In “Business”GRDB receives int’l help to fight paddy bug infestationAugust 13, 2019In “Business”Corentyne rice farmers suffering losses with crop infestationsMarch 9, 2018In “Business” The GRBD recently announced that it’s expanding its paddy bug campaigns with intent to completely eradicate the issue.Last crop, in the 52-72 area and Crabwood Creek, 17 farmers were forced to dump their paddy, after mills refused them because of the damage as a result of the paddy bug infestation.According to the GRDB, it has now adopted the strategy of using trained and experienced personnel to conduct spraying.The new approach will see the GRDB not only spraying the fields, but also the perimeter to avoid the bugs getting to the actual rice crop, GRDB’s Allison Peters had stated.However, Extension Officer Ramglan Singh explained that the GRDB has only contracted two motor blowers to the entire Region Six. The project commenced in the Number 52-74 rice cultivation area only.“It has approximately 300 miles access dams, irrigation dams and drainage dams and two motor blowers will take them several months to complete just 52-74,” the Extension Officer revealed.However, that does not include the Black Bush Polder, Crabwood Creek, Lower Corentyne, both East and West Canje and East Bank Berbice, where rice is also being cultivated.In two weeks of work, the GRDB motor blowers have treated about ten miles of the more than 300 miles of dams in the 52-74 area.Both the 52-74 and Crabwood Creek Water Users Associations are willing to step in, Singh said.“Unfortunately, one of the extension officers informed me that a chemical supplied by the GRDB is finished and with only two motor blowers being supplied to the entire region… several months to complete that kind of exercise. We are waiting on the GRDB to coordinate this activity from the level of the Water Users Association and the Farmers’ Organisation so that it can be expedited … this most important activity to eradicate the paddy bugs”.However, farmers are calling on Government to allow aerial spraying, noting that the paddy bugs are in the savannah and field, and dam spraying will not eradicate the insects.“We are urging the Head of the Extension Services of the GRDB to take a more serious step and to collaborate with the local authorities in order to move the exercise faster because in one week from now some of the rice will start flowering. In fact, some has already begun to flower but there are reports of massive paddy bug infestation in fields,” Singh said.Meanwhile, one farmer, Dhaniram Persaud, who cultivates 308 acres of rice at Crabwood Creek, told INews that 210 acres of rice are about to bare. Currently he is applying insecticides for the bugs.According to Persaud, it cost him about $75,000 in labour and a further $75,000 in chemicals for each application, which cost him about $200,000 in total. He has to apply the chemicals once every 3 days and estimates that an additional $2M will be spent in trying to eradicate the pest. According to Persaud, even with that, he might still not get the quality of rice expected because of the attack by bugs.The GRDB has been engaging in several seminars to better educate both farmers and rice mill employees in the areas of rice grading, checking for dockage, and moisture. She noted that they have already conducted three workshops in Region 5 and 6, and would soon move to Region 3 to continue in that direction. By: Andrew CarmichaelReeling from the devastating effects of the paddy bug infestation on their last crop, farmers were hoping for a fresh start with the new harvest, however, the situation is looking dire as the pests continue to wreck much havoc.Despite assurances from the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) that the paddy bug infestation is being adequately addressed on the ground, there is a different reality for these farmers.Some rice farmers who reached out to this publication are calling for aerial spraying to be allowed, claiming that if not, losses will be worse than last crop. read more

Glencore and Umicore sign up to cobalt hydroxide supply pact

first_imgAs part of a new agreement with Umicore, Glencore has agreed to supply cobalt hydroxide from its KCC and Mutanda operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Umicore’s battery materials value chain.Umicore has assessed each of these operations as fully compliant with its sustainable procurement framework for cobalt, which excludes artisanally-mined cobalt from its supply chain, as well as any form of child labour, the companies said.The cobalt units will be shipped to Umicore’s cobalt refineries globally, including the Kokkola refinery (Finland), which Umicore said last week it would acquire from Freeport Cobalt for a total consideration of $150 million. The Kokkola transaction is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.Glencore produced 42,200 t of cobalt in 2018, the majority of which came from its 65%-owned KCC operation and Mutanda.“The agreement guarantees Umicore’s security of supply for a substantial part of its longer-term cobalt needs for its expanding global battery materials value chain,” the companies said. “The agreement also provides Glencore long-term market access for its cobalt raw materials in line with Umicore’s growing cathode materials sales.”Marc Grynberg, CEO of Umicore, said: “Our partnership with Glencore and the acquisition of the Kokkola refinery which has just been announced demonstrate our ability to execute our growth strategy for cathode materials with consistency. The agreement also reconfirms our strong commitment to promote a sustainable battery materials value chain globally.“I am convinced that our battery cell and automotive customers will value our commitment to support their growth.”Nico Paraskevas, Head of Marketing, Copper & Cobalt, Glencore, said: “We are pleased to enter into this long-term partnership with Umicore in the fast growing electric vehicle market which further endorses Glencore’s important role in supplying the materials that enable the energy and mobility transition.”last_img read more

CO2 Solutions COAL21 see promise in enzymatic technology for carbon capture

first_imgCO2 Solutions and COAL21 Ltd say tests of CO2’s enzymatic technology have indicated that the process could be applied to coal-fired power plants for post-combustion carbon capture.CO2 is a company focused on enzyme-enabled carbon capture, while COAL21 operates the COAL21 Fund to support the pre-commercial demonstration of low emission coal technologies (such as carbon capture and geological storage).The technology developed by CO2, according to the company, lowers the cost barrier to carbon capture, utilisation and sequestration (CCUS), positioning it as a viable CO2 mitigation tool, as well as enabling industry to derive profitable new products from these emissions. The company has built an extensive patent portfolio covering the use of carbonic anhydrase, or analogues thereof, for the efficient post-combustion capture of carbon dioxide with low-energy aqueous solvents.A study, conducted over the past 18 months by PROCOM Consultants, examined the performance of CO2’s enzymatic technology when applied to coal-fired power plants for post-combustion carbon capture. The methodology applied by PROCOM in this study included the development of rate-based models for absorber/stripper, the validation of the enzymatic technology’s heat/mass balance and the key performance parameters and model integration of the enzymatic technology in coal-fired power plants.The simulation software used was Aspen Plus, with two reference cases modelled US DoE SC reference case (B12B) and a Supercritical (SC) power plant from Queensland, Australia.In both cases, the performance of the CO2’s enzymatic technology was compared to a known advanced amine technology (Cansolv). CO2 provided two unoptimised process books of its enzymatic technology at different scales based on its ProTreat® models to the PROCOM study.The main study conclusions reached by PROCOM Consultants, according to the companies, include:The enzymatic technology appears well suited to coal-based industrial plants (eg iron and steel, cement) in particular for its tolerance to the oxides in flue gas and appears to have significant environmental and operational advantages over alternative post-combustion capture technologies, such as advanced amine technology;By using low-grade, residual thermal energy in the form of hot water, the modelled unoptimised enzymatic solvent performance yields marginally more electricity in the context of an existing coal-fired power plant in Australia compared with the advanced amine process.The enzymatic technology’s tolerance to SOx and NOx contaminants in the flue gas of low-sulphur coal-fired plants provides it with an estimated 30% capital expenditure (capex) advantage relative to the advanced amine technology since there is no requirement to polish this flue gas down to single digit parts per million using Flue Gas Desulphurisation and Selective Catalytic Reduction;Modelling has confirmed that SC coal-fired power plants in Australia have sufficient residual low-grade heat to give the enzymatic technology a slight power efficiency advantage over the advanced amine technology. Moreover, the likely further optimisation of the enzymatic technology would extend this advantage.In addition to being able to use residual, low-grade heat in the form of hot water as its thermal energy, the enzymatic technology could also tap into renewable energy sources such as geothermal and solar thermal sources for its energy requirements, options which are more challenging to the advanced amine technology which requires steam, according to the companies. Tapping into these sources of external renewable heat would potentially significantly reduce the thermal parasitic load of carbon capture;The PROCOM study confirmed the enzymatic process minimises the environmental footprint through the use of an ionic (non-volatile) and environmentally benign solvent;The enzymatic technology converts a portion of the oxide contaminants in the flue gas (SOx and NOx) into high-value sulphates, sulphites, nitrates and nitrites, which accumulate over time in the solvent. As a result, the periodic bleed of this nontoxic solvent creates an opportunity to recover valuable materials, such as potassium nitrate fertiliser, which reduces the overall operating cost of the enzymatic technology. This approach is not available to the advanced amine technology, and;Through expected optimisation, the enzymatic technology could be more favourable than amine-based processes regarding capex and overall energy requirements, and very favourable to amine-based processes regarding aspects related to management of oxide flue gas contaminants.Richard Surprenant, CO2 Solutions’ Chief Technology Officer, said: “The detailed report prepared by Procom Consultants highlights the low-cost and environmentally friendly qualities of our process. It further confirms the major paradigm shift that the enzymatic technology represents for the carbon capture industry.“We strongly believe that the future of carbon capture rests on modern, innovative, low environmental footprint, and low-cost technologies. It’s time to face today’s carbon challenge with 21st-century technology.”Mark McCallum, CEO of COAL21, said the enzymatic technology developed by CO2 Solutions is an “exciting process that holds the promise of lower-cost and environmentally friendly carbon capture”.He added: “It has demonstrated that it is possible to reduce parasitic energy loads and the overall environmental footprint. It is through the broad application of technologies such as these that we can mitigate carbon emissions from any source, including coal.”last_img read more