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Senate Fails to Summon GSA Over US$1.75m Controversial Car Wash Budget

first_imgA request by Lofa County Senator for the Senate plenary to invite the General Services Agency, (GSA) to make a comprehensive report on the controversial US$1,750,320.00 of the 2011/2012 national budget said to have been given for car wash under the Fleet Management Policy, Tuesday, January 21, failed to materialize.Contained in a communiqué to his colleagues on their 3rd day sitting, Tuesday, that request is a follow-up to one sent that body last week.In that communication, Senator Tengbeh requested his colleagues to launch a full investigation into allegations of misappropriation of US$1,750,320.00 of the 2011/2012 budget that was said to have been given for car wash under a ‘Fleet Management Policy’; an investigation revealed that no car wash in the country received such an amount, he reported.In his rephrased communication, the Lofa County Senator asked the honorable Senate to have the General Services Agency (GSA) appear before the Senate plenary to make a comprehensive report on the use of the amount by car washers. The amount for car washers could not be accounted for as the beneficiaries were not identified in the report. The Fleet Management falls under the GSA authority.”“We believe that accountability, transparency and value for money in the use of public funds are essential elements for good governance,” he continued.Senator Tengbeh, who won the Senate seat on the ticket of the ruling Unity Party, argued that the Executive Branch of Government should account for its stewardship of tax payers’ money to the members of the legislature as well as the public in general.Meanwhile, the Senate voted on Tuesday and sent the communication to the committee on Ways, Means and Finance.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Taking the Franschhoek Wine Tram

first_img30 January 2013Visitors to the South Africa’s Western Cape province can now experience the picturesque Franschhoek Wine Valley, the country’s premier culinary destination and one of its leading wine producing regions, in a unique way with the launch of the Franschhoek Wine Tram.The hop-on hop-off tour offers its passengers a leisurely way to see the Franschhoek Valley as they journey through rolling vineyards in a combination of open-side tram and open-air tram-bus, stopping in at some of South Africa’s oldest and most distinguished wine estates.The combination allows passengers to experience the activities on offer at each stop – wine tasting, cellar tours, lunches, or simply a stroll through the vineyards – and to continue the tour when they are ready.The tour takes passengers into the heart of the Franschhoek Valley, with guided commentary and unparalleled views of the valley and vineyards.Wine tourism is one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative sectors of the global tourism market, and contributes in excess of R5-billion to South Africa’s tourism revenue.Benefits for the local community“This project is a success story,” Franschhoek Wine Tram general manager Duncan Gordon said in a statement on Monday. “The benefits to the local community are already being felt with the creation of 13 full-time jobs, with the expectation to further increase that number in the near future.“We believe the Franschhoek Wine Tram will give local tourism the boost it needs and create further opportunities in our own community.”According to Gordon, it took the developers several years to realise the goal of creating a world-class wine tourism experience.The newly constructed tram is modelled after the open-sided Brill Trams of circa 1890 and was built by Prof Engineering, a South African specialist engineering firm.Environmentally friendlyAs a green initiative, it uses the latest in bio-diesel engine technology to reduce greenhouse gases and other environmentally hazardous emissions. It seats 32 passengers on eight benches, with six of the benches having flip-over, tram-style seat-backs that allow passengers to enjoy the breathtaking view in both directions.The tram-bus design is based on the open-sided road trams commonly seen in the US which are used to transport tourists on sightseeing excursions.“Tourists are continually looking for new ways of experiencing a location, whether by foot, road or rail, and no other wine growing area in the world can boast its own rail and road based tram system giving tourists direct access to wine estates,” said Duncan.Tickets and pricesThe hop-on, hop-off tour departs from the Franschhoek Wine Tram ticket office, located in the centre of Franschhoek Village, and includes six stops: Grande Provence, Rickety Bridge, Dieu Donne, Haute Cabriere, Chamonix and the Huguenot Museum.A commentary guided tour, focusing on the history of Franschhoek and wine cultivation in the valley, and a complimentary wine tasting, are included.The Franschhoek Wine Tram operates daily from 10:00am to 3:20pm, with departures every 40 minutes.Tickets can be purchased at the Franschhoek Wine Tram ticket office at Bijoux Square, 60 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek (on the Franschhoek main road), or at www.winetram.co.za.Ticket prices are R130 for adults, R65 for children 5 to 17 years of age, and no charge for children four years of age and under.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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The Thursday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

first_imgHighlights from the news file for Thursday, Oct. 26———POTENTIAL CYBER ATTACKS WORRY CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR: Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz says the threat of a cyberattack is perhaps the scenario that troubles him the most. Poloz told The Canadian Press on Thursday that the financial system will get through economic turbulence. But he said he is unsure what the fallout would be if there was a cyberattack against the financial system. The central bank warned Canadians in June that the country’s banks are vulnerable to a cascading series of cyberattacks.———FEW SEX ASSAULTS RESULT IN CONVICTION: Statistics Canada says only about 12 per cent of sexual assaults reported to police led to a conviction. The agency looked at sexual assault figures between 2009 and 2014. StatsCan says the figures only cover the complaints that police validated and don’t include complaints deemed unfounded.———PARENTS ASKING DOCTORS ABOUT MEDICALLY ASSISTED DEATH FOR TERMINALLY ILL CHILDREN: A survey by the Canadian Paediatric Society says parents are increasingly asking their doctors about the option of seeking medically assisted death for children who have progressive terminal illness or intractable pain. Federal legislation brought in last year allowed eligible adults the right to seek out assisted death in cases of incurable illness or intolerable suffering, but the situation regarding minors is still being reviewed. Dr. Dawn Davies of the pediatric society says the findings show the medical community should start thinking about issues involving assisted death for minors.———MILLIONS OF COMPENSATION GIVEN TO TORTURE VICTIMS: Over $31 million in federal compensation has been paid to three Canadians who were tortured in Syria. The Trudeau government announced this spring that it had settled long-standing lawsuits filed by Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin over the federal role in their ordeals. Recently released federal documents note a $31.25-million payment to three unidentified individuals and The Canadian Press has confirmed it refers to the settlement. An inquiry concluded that Canadian officials contributed to the torture of Almalki, El Maati and Nureddin by sharing information with foreign agencies.———MORNEAU TO DONATE SOME SHARE EARNINGS TO CHARITY: Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he won’t keep any money he makes as a result of any increase in the value of shares in his family business since he was elected two years ago. Morneau said on Thursday that he’ll give the money to charity. Morneau plans to sell all of his roughly one million shares in Morneau Shepell, which are worth an estimated $21 million, and put all his other considerable assets into a blind trust. Morneau has been under fire in Parliament for failing to divest his shares earlier because the opposition contends he is in a conflict of interest.———NEW SCREENING IN EFFECT FOR CANADIANS TRAVELLING INTO THE U.S.: New security guidelines are in effect for Canadian travellers flying into the U.S., but the airlines are saying little about what the procedures involve. The U.S. government said earlier this year that there would be increased screening of passengers and their cellphones and other electronic devices. There would also be more security around planes and in passenger areas. Air Canada says all of its flights to the U.S. go through preclearance in Canadian airports so passengers will encounter the new screening before leaving Canada.———IRVING ORDERED TO PAY IN LAC MEGANTIC DISASTER: Irving Oil has been ordered to pay $4 million after pleading guilty to 34 counts stemming from the 2013 rail disaster in Lac Megantic, Que., that killed 47 people. Irving pleaded guilty to a number of charges under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. Transport Canada and the RCMP said Irving had not complied with all applicable safety requirements by not classifying the crude oil being carried by trains as a dangerous good. A government statement said Irving did not adequately train its employees in the transportation of dangerous goods.———U.S. DECLARES OPIOID CRISIS A NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY: The acting American health and human services secretary has officially declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency, as requested by President Donald Trump. Eric D. Hargan says in a statement that Trump “has made this national crisis a top priority since he took office in January.”———HALIFAX POLITICIAN SAYS THE WORD MARIJUANA IS RACIST: A Halifax city councillor says he won’t use the word marijuana because it’s racist. Shawn Cleary says in the early 1900s during the criminalization of cannabis in the U.S., “marijuana” was used to demonize marginalized communities, namely Mexicans. Cleary says he’s decided to stop using the word. His tweets prompted intense debate on social media with some people thanking Cleary for informing them and others questioning the validity of his comments.———GREY CUP SOLD OUT: It might be hard to come by a ticket to the Grey Cup. The CFL championship is sold out despite the fact the game is a month away. Capacity at Ottawa’s TD Place will be increased from 24,000 to 36,000, with the addition of temporary stands in both end zones, to meet the increased demand.———last_img read more

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DOD Officials to Talk Budget on the Hill

first_img ADC AUTHOR More details of the President’s budget request will start to emerge in coming days as Pentagon leaders testify on the President’s budget request. Here are upcoming hearings to follow, some of which will stream online:Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein will testify Wednesday morning in the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.Cyber Command leaders appear before the House Armed Services Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee Wednesday afternoon.Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford and Principal Deputy Under Secretary Elaine McCusker will be before the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday morning.Air Force acquisitions officials testify before the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Thursday morning.DOD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineirolast_img read more

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China plans bullet train to Kolkata via Bangladesh

first_imgChinese consul general in Kolkata of West Bengal in India Ma Zhanwu on Wednesday said that Myanmar and Bangladesh would benefit from the bullet train project. Photo: flickrChinese consul general in Kolkata Ma Zhanwu has said his country was mooting a bullet train service between Kunming and Kolkata, traversing through Myanmar and Bangladesh, reports NDTV.With joint efforts of India and China, a high-speed rail link could be established between the two cities, Zhanwu said at a conference in Kolkata on Wednesday.“It will only take a few hours to reach Kolkata from Kunming if the rail link becomes a reality,” he asserted.The envoy also said that Myanmar and Bangladesh would benefit from the project, the report added.“We may have a cluster of industries along the route. That increases the possibility of economic development of countries involved in the 2,800 km-long project,” he maintained.The project had also found mention at the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) meet in Kunming in 2015, he said.The rail route was aimed at boosting trade flow in the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor, Zhanwu said, adding that his country has been striving for the revival of Silk Route to increase connectivity from Kunming to Kolkata, the report further said.Asserting that the much-vaunted Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is not a scheme designed by China to conquer the world or its neighbourhood, the consul general said the project is all about “shared benefits and development” through consultations and discussions.last_img read more

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A banana a day may keep blindness away

first_imgIf you love apples, so also love the humble banana. Eating a banana daily is likely to boost eye health and prevent vision-related diseases, a study has found.Researchers have found that bananas have carotenoid – a compound that turns fruits and vegetables red, orange or yellow and are converted into vitamin A, important precursors for eye health — in the liver.According to previous research, foods containing high levels of carotenoids also protect against chronic diseases, including certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The study showed that banana rich in provitamin A carotenoids may offer a potential food source for alleviating vitamin A deficiency — important for sight.To combat vitamin A deficiency, researchers have been investigating methods to boost carotenoids in bananas. Cara L Mortimer and other researchers from Queensland University of Technology in Australia studied two banana varieties to find out why they make very different amounts of carotenoids. They found that the pale yellow, low-carotenoid cavendish variety produces more of an enzyme that breaks down carotenoids. In addition, another variety stashes its carotenoids in microscopic sacs during ripening, shifting the chemical equilibrium in the fruit so it can make even higher levels of these substances. The findings, published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, can someday help in the development of banana varieties with enhanced health benefits.Bananas are ideal food for young children and families for many regions of the world, because of their sweetness, texture, portion size, familiarity, availability, convenience, versatility and cost.last_img read more

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Restore normalcy in Bhatpara within 72 hours CM to cops

first_imgKolkata: Expressing her displeasure over violence at Kankinara and Bhatpara in North 24-Parganas where two persons were killed, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday instructed the police top brass to restore normalcy in the areas within 72 hours. Tanmay Ray Chaudhuri, Commissioner of Police in Barrackpore Police Commissionerate was removed on Thursday evening with Manoj Kumar Verma replacing him. Verma was posted as IGP, Darjeeling.A senior official in the state Secretariat, on condition of anonymity, said that Banerjee has instructed the police to arrest all those involved in the violence irrespective of their party affiliations. “There are a number of miscreants in the area who are moving scot-free even though their names figure in the wanted list of the police. The Chief Minister raised questions regarding the police’s role in bringing them to book,” the official said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe Chief Minister has also questioned the involvement of outsiders in the incident and asked why the police have been unable to prevent their entry. She had instructed police to conduct naka checking both on land and waterways as well. She expressed her displeasure over the police’s failure in the recovery of arms and ammunition as per intelligence inputs. In recent times, there has been more than one occasion when bombs have been hurled and gunshots fired resulting in unprecedented violence in these areas. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateBanerjee chaired a meeting to take stock of the situation and it was under her instruction that DG Virendra went to Bhatpara late on Thursday afternoon. The DG, who was supposed to inaugurate a new police station in Bhatpara in the morning, was compelled to return earlier in the day from the area which was at a stone’s throw distance from the building. Two persons were killed in Bhatpara after a major clash took place between two unidentified groups on Thursday morning. Six police personnel have also been reportedly injured in the incident while the cops had to fire tear gas shells and few rounds of bullet in the air. Authorities have imposed Section 144 in Bhatpara and Jagatdal areas of the North 24-Parganas district following the clashes. Route march has also been carried out in the area. According to sources, hours before the inauguration of the new Bhatpara police station, one Ram Babu Shaw was shot dead within a few hundred metres of the building which triggered massive violence in the area with crude bombs being hurled by miscreants. During the clash, another youth, identified as Dharambir Shaw, and several others were also injured. Later, Dharambir was declared brought dead at the hospital.last_img read more

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Google Rolls Out Inbox a New Email Service

first_img 2 min read Google Inc launched an email service called “Inbox” on Wednesday that will better organize emails and display information such as appointments, flight bookings and package deliveries in a more user-friendly way.Google said it was sending out invitations to selected Gmail users to try out the new service. Users can also email the company at inbox@google.com to get an invitation.For now the new service is being provided alongside Gmail, which was launched in 2004. It will be available on the Web as well as on Android smartphones and iPhones.”Inbox is by the same people who brought you Gmail, but it’s not Gmail: it’s a completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what really matters,” the company said in a blog post.Google said Inbox displays real-time updates to emails – for example, showing the delivery status of items bought online.It also shows reminders in a more accessible way that allows users to more easily keep track of chores and appointments.The company said the new application also enhances features that are already available in Gmail that allow users to view purchases and bank account statements grouped together.Google’s shares were up 1.7 percent at $547.33 in early afternoon trading Nasdaq.(Reporting by Soham Chatterjee in Bangalore; Editing by Ted Kerr) This story originally appeared on Reuters October 23, 2014 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Globallast_img read more

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Watch Apples Three New Smartwatch Ads

first_img This story originally appeared on Business Insider Hear from business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side bigger and stronger. April 27, 2015 After months of waiting, Apple’s debut smartwatch is finally here. The Cupertino company has eschewed its usual bombastic launches in favour of a pre-order system that has produced excellent sales, but also widespread confusion among customers about the availability of the device.Retail chief Angela Ahrendts acknowledged in a leaked video that staff have been “bombarded with questions” by customers as to when and where the device is actually on sale. The answer? Right now — but only online, with no official Apple Stores keeping the Watch in stock for the foreseeable future.To mark today’s launch, Apple has released three new adverts, highlighting the various ways the Apple Watch can be used by ordinary people. The ads, which we first saw on The Verge, are called “Rise,” “Up,” and “Us.”Rise looks at people starting their day aided by the Apple smartwatch — using it as an alarm, talking to one another, checking in to their flights, taking directions and phone calls, and of course, using it as a watch. It highlights little functionality that a customer wouldn’t get on their iPhone, but presents it in a more accessible fashion.”Up” puts the focus on its health features. We see people using timers for exercise, listening to music, and the device’s health-tracking and target-setting functionality.Also included is its “time to stand” feature that encourages the user to stand up after a period inactivity. Apple CEO Tim Cook has described sitting as the “new cancer,” and according to Wired, it is now common to see Apple employees randomly standing up in meetings because their Watch told them to.The last advert, “Us,” looks closely at the human aspect of the Apple Watch and how it can help people keep in touch. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch as its “most personal device ever,” and the ad explores this angle — showing off its ability to share doodles, 3D emojis and your heartbeat, as well as its uses for messaging, payments and unlocking hotel rooms. 2 min read Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer Listen Nowlast_img read more

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