UN refugee agency steps up activities along ColombianVenezuelan border

29 June 2007To meet the needs of a growing number of Colombian refugees arriving in Venezuela after fleeing violence and threats, United Nations refugee agency is stepping up its intervention along the border. The United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) is as of this month extending activities along Venezuela’s side of the border with Colombia, with new projects in the Amazonas region to the south, and the “Sur del Lago” region further to the north. In a press briefing in Geneva today, Ron Redmond, UNHCR spokesman explained that intervention will begin with the training of armed forces and civilian authorities in refugee law and human rights. The aim in both regions will at first be “conflict-prevention, to reduce the risk of tension that large influxes of people can cause,” he added.Testimonies by the civilian population, reported by UNHCR, detail threats, targeted killings, and widespread intimidation that affect especially the rural areas in Colombia, They also voiced general concern that violence would flare before the upcoming elections in October.The humanitarian situation in Colombia is increasingly cause for concern; the rates of forced displacement registered last year in the region of Catatumbo to the north and Arauca further to the south were some of the highest in the whole of Colombia. These regions see also some of the worst indices of targeted killings, landmine accidents and armed fighting, explained Mr. Redmond. In the Arauca region alone, UNHCR found evidence during a fact-finding mission earlier this month that the number of new cases recorded in the national system for registration of displaced people tripled last year: from 1,000 in the first six months to 3,000 in the second half of 2006. This number does not include the displaced people who do not come forward for registration. Figures for the first six months of 2007 are not yet consolidated, but local authorities say the numbers keep rising. In the town of Tame, the authorities dealt with 2,500 new cases of displacement between January and May of this year, compared with 1,250 in the whole of 2006. The situation is similar in the rest of Arauca, where the country’s two guerrilla group, the FARC and the ELN, having been fighting for territory since March of last year.Some 2 million people are on the national registry for displaced people in Colombia with official estimates that another million have been victims of forced displacement but are not registered. UNHCR and the Venezuelan government calculate that some 200,000 Colombians may be in need of international protection in Venezuela. UNHCR has three field offices on the Venezuelan side of the border. read more

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Tired of the stoner stereotype marijuana industry launches ad campaigns promoting moderation

by Kristen Wyatt, The Associated Press Posted Sep 17, 2014 12:51 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Tired of the stoner stereotype, marijuana industry launches ad campaigns promoting moderation DENVER – Tired of Cheech & Chong pot jokes and ominous anti-drug campaigns, the marijuana industry and activists are starting an ad blitz in Colorado aimed at promoting moderation and the safe consumption of pot.To get their message across, they are skewering some of the old Drug War-era ads that focused on the fears of marijuana, including the famous “This is your brain on drugs” fried-egg ad from the 1980s.They are planning posters, brochures, billboards and magazine ads to caution consumers to use the drug responsibly and warn tourists and first-timers about the potential to get sick from accidentally eating too much medical-grade pot.“So far, every campaign designed to educate the public about marijuana has relied on fear-mongering and insulting marijuana users,” said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s biggest pot-policy advocacy group.The MPP plans to unveil a billboard on Wednesday on a west Denver street where many pot shops are located that shows a woman slumped in a hotel room with the tagline: “Don’t let a candy bar ruin your vacation.”It’s an allusion to Maureen Dowd, a New York Times columnist who got sick from eating one on a visit to write about pot.The campaign is a direct response to the state’s post-legalization marijuana-education efforts.One of them is intended to prevent stoned driving and shows men zoning out while trying to play basketball, light a grill or hang a television. Many in the industry said the ads showed stereotypical stoners instead of average adults.Even more concerning to activists is a youth-education campaign that relies on a human-sized cage and the message, “Don’t Be a Lab Rat,” along with warnings about pot and developing brains.The cage in Denver has been repeatedly vandalized. At least one school district rejected the travelling exhibit, saying it was well-intentioned but inappropriate.“To me, that’s not really any different than Nancy Reagan saying ‘Just Say No,’” said Tim Cullen, co-owner of four marijuana dispensaries and a critic of the “lab rat” campaign, referring to the former first lady’s effort to combat drug use.A spokesman for the state Health Department welcomed the industry’s ads, and defended the “lab rat” campaign. “It’s been effective in starting a conversation about potential risks to youth from marijuana,” Mark Salley said.The dueling campaigns come at a time when the industry is concerned about inexperienced consumers using edible pot. The popularity of edibles surprised some in the industry when legal-marijuana retail sales began in January.Edible pot products have been blamed for at least one death, of a college student who jumped to his death in Denver in March after consuming six times the recommended dose of edible marijuana.The headlines, including Dowd’s experience, have been enough for the industry to promote moderation with edible pot.“I think the word has gotten out that you need to be careful with edibles,” said Steve Fox, head of the Denver-based Council for Responsible Cannabis Regulation.The group organized the “First Time 5” campaign, which cautions that new users shouldn’t eat more than 5 milligrams of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, or half a suggested serving.The campaign warns users that edible pot can be much more potent than the marijuana they’re smoking — and that the pot-infused treats on store shelves are much stronger than homemade brownies they may recall eating.The advocacy ads tackle anti-drug messaging from year past.Inside pictures of old TV sets are images from historic ads. Along with the fried-egg one is an image from one ad of a father finding his son’s drug stash and demanding to know who taught him to use it.The kid answers: “You, all right! I learned it by watching you!”The print ad concludes, “Decades of fear-mongering and condescending anti-marijuana ads have not taught us anything about the substance or made anyone safer.”It then directs viewers to consumeresposibly.org, which is patterned after the alcohol industry’s “Drink Responsibly” campaign.Marijuana activists plan to spend $75,000 by year’s end and eventually expand it to Washington state, where pot is also legal.___Kristen Wyatt can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/APkristenwyatt___Online:http://www.consumeresponsibly.orghttp://www.firsttime5.com read more

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We the Peoples exhibit of iconic artwork by Norman Rockwell set to

The exhibition, We The Peoples: Norman Rockwell’s United Nations, opening Monday 29 June, runs through 15 September, and is being presented by the Norman Rockwell Museum, located in in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and the UN Department of Public Information.It features 33 original artworks by the iconic American painter and illustrator, including United Nations, a massive, complex charcoal drawing made in 1953 that portrays members of the Security Council and 65 people representing the nations of the world, and Golden Rule, a painting Rockwell made in 1961 where he celebrated the peoples of the world.While a mosaic based on Golden Rule has been on display at the UN since 1985 – offered as a 40th anniversary gift on behalf of the United States by then First Lady Nancy Reagan – the drawing and the painting were never exhibited before outside their home at the Norman Rockwell Museum. They will be on display along with sketches, colour studies and notes for both artworks. In an interview ahead of the opening of the exhibition, Mr. Eliasson spoke with the UN News Centre, and praised United Nations as “one of the most unique pieces that you can see.” He said the beauty of the painting is the closeness of the people “listening to the discussion, and you can see in their faces their worries, their concerns, their aspirations, their dreams – each face expresses what you hope this Organization can produce: peace, development, human rights.”Also included in the exhibition are a colourful series of travel paintings and some iconic images of the civil rights area that reflect Rockwell’s idealism and hopeful outlook for the future.During the opening ceremony Monday night, remarks will be made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson; Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation; and Laurie Norton Moffatt, Director and CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum. read more

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UN chief to highlight important work that lays ahead for world leaders

Member States will gather at the highest level to adopt the landmark 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development during a special summit to be held at the UN from 25 to 27 September. This is one of several milestones in what the UN has dubbed a year of global action and which is expected to culminate with a universal agreement on climate change in December.This year’s gathering of world leaders also takes place amid several crises, such as the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen, the challenges posed by the recent massive influx of refugees and migrants into Europe, the threat of violent extremism, and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in various parts of the globe. read more

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Positive results from Coeurs Rochester PEA with HPGR

first_imgCoeur Mining has released a re-scoped mine plan and PEA for its Rochester silver-gold mine in Nevada. The PEA, which will be included in a NI 43-101 Technical Report expected to be filed on March 5, 2018, incorporates the positive economic impact expected from the potential addition of a high pressure grinding roll (HPGR) to Rochester’s crushing circuit in early 2019 at an estimated cost of approximately $20 million. In addition, the PEA reflects lower projected capital expenditures related to the planned construction of a larger scale, more efficient crusher expected to include a second HPGR unit, beginning in 2020.The introduction of HPGR technology has the potential to increase Rochester’s silver recoveries from 61% over 20 years to 70% in just over two years, significantly improving the mine’s economics. The re-scoped mine plan incorporates inferred material in the open pit, thereby reducing Rochester’s strip ratio by more than half from 0.8:1 to less than 0.4:1. Coeur plans to finalize engineering of the potential HPGR addition in the coming months and complete infill drilling over the next three years with the goal of upgrading this inferred material to reserves.The PEA reflects the following improvements compared to Rochester’s current NI 43-101 Technical Report filed in early 2017:• More than doubling Rochester’s NAV5% from $280 million to $609 million• 122% increase in total pre-tax life of mine cash flows from $431 million to $955 million• Marked increase in anticipated pre-tax cash flow margin from 19% to 31%• Further extension of Rochester’s mine life out to 2038“The implementation of this technology should be a game-changer for Rochester’s costs, margins, cash flows, mine life and net asset value,” said Mitchell J. Krebs, Coeur’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “In 2017, Rochester’s costs per silver equivalent ounce were $13.08. During the initial ten years after adding this HPGR technology, costs are expected to decline by over 20% to less than $10.00 per silver equivalent ounce, and average annual pre-tax cash flow is expected to be $48 million. As a result, we believe this investment and this technology can generate high returns and unlock significant value for our stockholders.”last_img read more

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ISME propose tax and social welfare amnesty for black market operators

first_imgTHE ISME IS calling for government to introduce a tax and social welfare amnesty for those who are employed in Ireland’s black market.The Irish Small Firm and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) made their call when they met with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, believing that the amnesty would allow individuals to legitimise their “hidden economy” tax/earnings status.Following this, the ISME want government to adopt a  zero tolerance approach, along with tougher sanctions and harsher penalties for those who avoid taxes on goods and services.ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said that the group believe that the amount of taxes lost to the black economy is “conservatively estimated at €5bn, which would go a long way to reversing the current exchequer revenue shortfall.”“The ‘nixer’ culture, in particular, is very much alive and well and there has been a definite shift towards a ‘cash only’ shadow economy,” he said. This is particularly evident in the construction and maintenance sectors, where there are increased incidences of ‘jobs for cash’, completely undercutting legitimate companies, who in many instances report that potential clients are demanding that they pay ‘off the books’ to save VAT.The concerns of the ISME echo those of the Small Firms Association, who also believe that Ireland’s black market continues to pose “a very serious threat to the survival of many registered tax compliant businesses.”Twelve point planThe ISME yesterday presented its twelve point plan to the joint committee, which they hope will help end Ireland’d black market economy. In addition to the amnesty, it also includes:The development of an awareness/advertising campaign.A radical review of the current taxation and social welfare system to reduce the “tax wedge” that those in legitimate employment are subject to.The provision of tax incentives to home owners who use tax compliant, verifiable trades people.The introduction of container scanners at Irish ports where the volume of traffic justifies the required investment.The introduction of harsher judicial penalties for those caught operating in the black economy.A simplification of the often “onerous and complex” paperwork required to start a business.“The main challenge still is to bring shadow economy activities into the official economy, so that goods and services are still produced and provided at an economic cost while the government gets additional taxes and social security contributions,” said Fielding.Read: SFA warn of €6 billion cost of black economy, urge government action >last_img read more

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Clare woman secures legal rights over twins that were born through surrogate

first_imgClare woman secures legal rights over twins that were born through surrogate in India The judge wished the couple and their two children ‘all the best and happiness’. Earlier inside court, solicitor for the two, Shíofra Hassett said that the two have been in a happy relationship for 10 years and have been co-parenting the twins since they have returned to Ireland.Judge Durcan said that he would make the order appointing the Co Clare woman as guardian. Addressing the two, he said:I wish you all the best and I wish your two children all the best and happiness.A spokeswoman at the Dept of Health said yesterday: “Officials in the Department of Health are currently drafting the General Scheme of legislative provisions on assisted human reproduction (AHR) and associated research, which will include provisions relating to surrogacy.”She said, “It is envisaged that the General Scheme will be completed by the end of June 2017. Once the General Scheme has been approved for publication by Government it will be submitted to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health for pre-legislative scrutiny.”She said, “The proposed legislation will take cognisance of the 2014 Supreme Court judgment in the MR & Anor v An tArd Chláraitheoir & Ors (surrogacy) case, which found that the birth mother, rather than the genetic mother, is the legal mother. It is envisaged that the legislation will establish a mechanism for transfer of parentage from the surrogate (and her husband, if she has one) to the intending parents.”She said, “The intention of the legislation in this area is to protect, promote and ensure the health and safety of parents, others involved in the process (such as donors and surrogate mothers) and, most importantly, the children who will be born as a result of AHR.”Read: One of Drogheda’s fanciest hotels has been sold and is getting a facelift> Share42 Tweet Email2 25,141 Views Monday 20 Feb 2017, 5:13 PM A CO CLARE woman has expressed her delight after finally securing legal rights over her two toddler twins that were born through a surrogate in India.Outside the Family Law Court in Ennis, the woman in her fifties said “today is a very good day” after Judge Patrick Durcan made her a legal guardian of her three and a half year old twins.The woman also called on Government to act now and introduce laws to regulate surrogacy in Ireland.She said, “Being appointed a legal guardian is an interim measure until the Government deals with the legislation around surrogacy and that can’t be lost in all of this.Today is a very good day for us but the Government still has to deal with the situation so people like us don’t have to keep going back into court to ratify our position.The woman said that the planned legislation in the area “has been dropped on a number of occasions and there is still no sign of it . They need to bring in legislation and there are many families in the same situation as ourselves.”The twin boy and girl were brought back to Co Clare three and a half years ago by the woman and her partner within a few weeks of them being born to the surrogate.The twins were born through sperm donated by the woman’s partner while the eggs were donated by another Indian woman – not the surrogate – aged in her twenties.The couple turned to having children through a surrogate after a number of failed attempts at having children through IVF.There is no genetic connection between the woman and the children but her long term partner – who is also in his fifties – is the biological father of the children.In obtaining guardianship, the woman will legally have a duty to maintain and properly care for the children and she will also have the right to make decisions about the childrens’ religious and secular education, health requirements and general welfare.Speaking outside court, the woman said, “I am their mother. Today doesn’t take away from that but legally it does give me legal status to act for them if anything did happen to their father or if we were caught in a situation where consent had to be given quite quickly. I can do that now. It does mean a lot to us. It was a worry and a concern up until now.”She said, “Today has alleviated our immediate concerns and worries.”The children’s father echoed those concerns when he said it “was a terrible situation for everyone to be in if either of the children were faced with a life threatening situation and my partner couldn’t act for them”.We are absolutely over the moon and the two are doing great. I was getting emotional inside in the court listening to the judge reading out the court order. Short URL No Comments center_img Image: Shutterstock/Anthony Cottrell Image: Shutterstock/Anthony Cottrell http://jrnl.ie/3249512 Feb 20th 2017, 5:13 PM By Gordon Deegan Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

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Apogevmatini attacked

first_imgDEMONSTRATORS caused serious damage to the central offices of newspaper Apogevmatini and torched several parked cars last week after breaking off from a rally protesting a hand grenade attack on a left-wing human rights group and immigrant support network in Exarchia. Demonstrators used sledgehammers, iron bars, sticks and stones to smash up the facade and torch several parked cars. Police fired tear gas and threw stun grenades to disperse the vandals. Although they returned later, using sticks and rocks to attack riot police. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Deadpools Second Trailer a New Animated Movie More Marvel Movie News

first_imgStay on target James Gunn Once Again Directing ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’Dark Phoenix Trailer Released & More Marvel Movie News While most of our attention is focused on Avengers: Infinity War, don’t forget there’s another Marvel Superhero movie releasing within a month of the big crossover. One that, even with a massive deal to buy the studio, Disney doesn’t own just yet. Deadpool 2 just put out its second trailer, and this thing is looking pretty good. We get a lot more details about the story from this one. We learn why Cable and Deadpool run up against each other. It involves a kid with mutant powers that Cable is trying to capture. To protect the kid, Deadpool assembles a team that, as he says, can carry their own franchise for the next ten years: The X-Force.The trailer is full of the self-aware, fourth-wall-breaking jokes that we loved so much from the first Deadpool, and also a ton of violence. Yeah, this is a red band trailer. They won’t be showing this one on TV. Everything we’ve seen from this movie so far makes it look just as fun as the first one. Ryan Reynolds continues to be perfect for the role, and there’s a ton of humor potential in forcing him to work with other superheroes.I’m also really happy that this is the tone they’re starting the X-Force with, rather than the ’90s dark-and-gritty Rob Liefeld creation it originally started as. From the looks of things, this’ll be just as violent as those earlier comics, but this one, with its focus on younger mutants, looks to be more in line with the more comedic, satirical Peter Milligan and Mike Allred run from the early 2000s. The one that turned the series into X-Statix. It also had a self-aware sensibility, parodying superhero comics tropes and making fun of X-Force fans’ reaction to the change. I don’t know that this series will go quite that far, nor will it make the X-Force/X-Statix into corporate media celebrity superheroes. By making their debut in Deadpool 2 though, they’re starting from a place of parody. Maybe whatever X-Force movie series that comes out of this will take some comedic cues from that era of the comics.That’s not the only non-Avengers Marvel movie coming our way either. Marvel is making an animated film called Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors that features Ghost Spider, Quake, Inferno, Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, America Chavez, Patriot and Captain Marvel. And yes, some of the characters who feature in the live action adaptations will also be voiced by the same actors. Chloe Bennet will play Quake in this movie, and the four animated shorts that come with it, just as she does on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Likewise, Milana Vayntrub will play Squirrel Girl in Marvel Rising and the upcoming New Warriors TV show. Brie Larson will not be reprising her role as Captain Marvel for the animated, though. Instead, she’ll be played by Kim Raver.Marvel put out a press release announcing the four Marvel Rising shorts and the animated movie that also included a lineup of each character’s final designs. This is looking pretty cool so far.And yes, Lockjaw, the best Marvel character will be in Marvel Rising. Look at him. Look at the giant teleporting puppy. He’s such a good boy. He deserved so much better than Inhumans. Yes, he did!Honestly, all these characters together in an animated movie is really exciting. We’ll get to see Quake do more cool superhero stuff, Gwen Stacy will get into the action as Ghost-Spider, and I’m always here for some Squirrel Girl. Most exciting is Ms. Marvel, the star of one of Marvel’s best comics series currently being published. I can’t wait to see her in fully-animated action.Chris Evans in Avengers: Age Of Ultron as Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) (Photo: Jay Maidment., Marvel)Finally, we have some Infinity War news we all knew was coming. While it’s still a complete mystery who lives and who dies, it’s becoming more clear that Chris Evans will be done after these next two Avengers movies. In a New York Times profile, Evans started to sound like he’s saying goodbye to the Marvel Cinematic Universe pretty soon. He says he has no plans to make any more appearances as Captain America after Avengers 4. The planned reshoots for the movie, which take place this fall, will be the last time he plays the role.“You want to get off the train before they push you off,” he says.At least that confirms that he will be in Avengers 4. Whatever happens in Infinity War, Captain America survives the initial battle with Thanos. That should give Cap fans some small comfort. He does make a good point though, and it’s similar to one Robert Downey Jr. has made in the past. They want to get out while these movies are still good. Before anyone can even think of getting tired of them. None of the original Avengers want to be accused of hanging around too long, or making the movie that kills the franchise. Better to get out now, and leave us forever wanting more.Not that the MCU shows any sign of getting boring or slowing down anytime soon. Marvel continues to make really good superhero movies. Even the ones that aren’t so good at least provide a base level of fun. That’s more than you can say for most studios. Maybe the original heroes getting out is Marvel’s best chance to prevent the MCU from getting stale. As we build toward Phase 4, which will feature a ton of new heroes and a new overarching story, it’ll be exciting to see where they go without the original six.center_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

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Joe Hart wants permanent move away from Manchester City

first_imgJoe Hart spent the last two seasons as a loaned player in Torino and West Ham United and is ready for a permanent move away from Manchester City.Knowing he was not in Pep Guardiola’s plans, Joe Hart agreed to go out on loan, mainly because he hoped to earn a spot in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup roster. However, that didn’t happen.“I did what I did in the previous two seasons because I needed to play to be involved in the World Cup,” “And look where that got me.” The mission wasn’t accomplished, but that doesn’t mean Hart wants to stop playing the game he loves. All he wants is for Manchester City to find a place where he will be able to fit in permanently (BBC).“I’m experienced, I’ve played at the highest level for a long time, and done a lot of things in the game.Premier LeaguePremier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“I need to be an important player at that club and I think that can only happen with a permanent move.”“There’s no league that I’d say no to. I’m open, but I want to do what’s right for me at this point of my career and I want to give all of myself to the right cause.”Joe Hart has 75 international caps under his name and was England’s No.1 goalie during two European Championships and the 2014 World Cup. Guardiola took him for Manchester City’s pre-season tour in America, perhaps wanting to give the 31-year-old a shot at impressing someone.last_img read more

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DPMs Communication to the House on BAMSI

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNassau, 11 Mar 2015 – COMMUNICATIONBYHON. PHILIP E. DAVISMEMBER OF PARLIAMENT(CAT ISLAND, RUM CAY, AND SAN SALVADOR)DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ANDMINISTER OF WORKS & URBAN DEVELOPMENTCONCERNINGTHE BAHAMAS AGRICULTURAL & MARINE SCIENCE INSTITUTE (BAMSI)WEDNESDAY, 11th MARCH 2015HOUSE OF ASSEMBLYCOMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMASNASSAU, NEW PROVIDENCEAs DeliveredMr. SpeakerWhen I stood in this place to give my contribution to the Mid-Year Budget Debate, I determined and said that I would bring an update to the House on the project to construct the Bahamas Agricultural & Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) at North Andros. This communication meets that commitment.Mr. SpeakerThe Bahamas, not unlike the rest of the Caribbean, is faced with an exorbitant food import bill because we have traditionally neglected to work towards maximising our potential when it comes to feeding ourselves. The fact that we also have the added burden of literally feeding our tourism product worsens the whole issue of food imports as the challenge here is to feed others as well.As a Government, we can sing our praises forever, but when it comes to validation, the eye of an objective outsider rings truth. Most recently, the Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr. Guy Ryder, in referring to the creation of the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) said that The Bahamas has ‘gotten the message’ and is on the ‘right track’ for sustainability.Mr. SpeakerThe message was also echoed several days earlier by the Director-General of the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) José Graziano da Silva, when he urged Heads of Government at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Summit to strengthen support to agriculture, to contribute to job creation and tourism revenues, and to protect our economy from external price shocks.Mr. SpeakerAs it stands, The Bahamas imports 85% of the food products it consumes taking our food import bill to nearing US$1 billion. This is a consequence of failure of successive governments to address the circumstance which negatively impacts our economy. When you consider what we have and will potentially lose in terms of jobs and foreign exchange; when you consider that the profits derived from tourism are substantially expended on food imports, there can be no more innovative mechanism to turning our circumstance around than BAMSI.While we cannot get away from the vulnerabilities which stem from our national composition of many islands, we cannot sit idly by and not make significant strides toward reducing our dependence on food imports.Mr. SpeakerWhen this Progressive Liberal Party campaigned for office, our bold statement in our Charter for Governance was: “Now is the time to lay the ground work for a more healthy and secure nation.” Prior to this Government coming to office, two decades saw virtually no public sector investment in infrastructural upgrade, manpower development and public/private sector partnership of food production. Agriculture was on the decline in terms of interest, acreage, and farmers.BAMSI represents tangible and meaningful steps toward realising a long-held dream of food production, independence, and security for our country. It is mobilising the core ideal of the Progressive Liberal Party that agriculture is an integral part of our sustainable economic development. BAMSI was and remains this Government’s step in the right direction to maximise our national potential and to materialise this goal.That is the bigger picture, Mr. SpeakerBut, if we refine the focus to North Andros alone, Mr. Speaker, we are able to see the awakening of the proverbial sleeping giant. Local Government Administrator Ivan Ferguson reports that his office is bustling since the BAMSI project came to town. Government revenues have increased as more residents are applying for business licences and building permits. Applications for building permits have in fact quadrupled! Residents are busy clearing land! They are building! Indeed, Androsians are positioning themselves to take advantage of the economic benefits that BAMSI will bring.I am advised that one is hard-pressed to find accommodations because everywhere is occupied – small hotels and apartments. Apartments that have been sitting unused for years have tenants – mostly contractors and their employees. Car rentals have outpaced anything that the area has ever seen. In fact, entrepreneurs have had to secure more rental franchises to meet the demand for transportation.Mr. SpeakerI am also advised that the shipping industry is reaping major benefits – transporting goods and services directly and indirectly related to BAMSI. Airlift, particularly the air charter business, is equally as profitable with the movement of people attached to BAMSI. I am told that the Ministry of Tourism held a reception for winter residents of that area and that the attendance was greatest ever – and invariably, they all were excited about BAMSI.Mr. SpeakerThe excitement about BAMSI is even more tangible among the locals. Store owners are having good sales. More restaurants are opening. Those that exist are taking in the largest sales ever. Farmers that had just about given up on the industry have gone back to cultivating their farms.This, Mr. Speaker, is the Big Picture!The Opposition went on a fishing expedition to BAMSI the other day. What a production they made about their experience there. What they didn’t talk about was the excellent workmanship that the contractors have displayed in their construction. They have not said that these men and women – all Androsians or rooted in Andros – are creating what will be the wonder of the Caribbean. When you go into those buildings, you see the work of ace contractors – men like Solomon Roberts, Bennett Knowles, Prince Mackey, Hugh Fowler, Cecil Marshall, Sidney Cargill, McGregor Russell, and Brudienell Kelly, among others.Not one word did they utter about BAMSI having already established 68 acres of banana, papaya, plantain, peanut, coconut, and lime crop in the ground and moving the economy. They are not interested in the fact that harvesting has started with banana yielding over 5,000 pounds per week and papaya yielding 6,000 pounds per week. These two products alone have generated revenue in the amount of approximately $7,500 weekly. When these crops have expanded in acreage and the additional crops introduced, the projected weekly revenue is expected to be $52,000. But they are not interested in that!They have not told us about the land that is being cleared to accelerate the crop production programme, where 150 new acres of crop including banana, papaya, pineapple, and lime. They have not talked about the additional acreages for navel oranges, mangoes, avocado, and sour sop.I know they have not been listening for any good that this Government can bring, so they missed the fact that an aggressive intercropping programme is on the way to produce acres and acres of watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew melons.In total, Mr. SpeakerThe area under crop cultivation by the end of June will be 450 acres of crop with 200 acres for the rotation cycles and 90 acres in inter and companion cropping. 650 acres will be fully occupied. That is the big picture!I have not even gone into the livestock, poultry and fisheries aspect of BAMSI, Mr. Speaker, and the excitement generated by this revolutionary project is already immeasurable.We have only just begun with BAMSI and five farmers have already been granted licenses to produce under the BAMSI label. These farmers are producing vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage, onion, sweet pepper and hot pepper. This is the big picture!We have only just begun and there are 39 students enrolled at the Institute in various programmes and skills training. There are also 50 Androsians fully employed at BAMSI.That is the big picture!!But, Mr. SpeakerChuck Palahniuk once said that “the trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up.” So it is with BAMSI and the consequential position of the male dormitory that was gutted by fire, the work of an arsonist. The political pundits and supporters now offer the distraction of chatter concerning the fire. Notwithstanding, we are not distracted and we are not deterred. We will rebuild; and from the ashes of that fire, BAMSI is rising to continue our push forward to feed ourselves.Mr. SpeakerI know that it is of paramount importance that I should give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. When I last spoke, my advice was that “at the contract’s signing, the contractor [for the male student dormitory at BAMSI] had everything that was required to contract work with my Ministry, including Contractor’s All-Risk Insurance.”Mr. SpeakerThe files in relation to this contract was provided to me on Monday, 2nd March 2015. I have reviewed them and the following details are now presented as verifiable facts.On 30th January 2014, Government approved construction for the BAMSI project and noted that the construction of the student dormitories, among other buildings, was critical to the Institute’s opening for September of that year.Consequently, on 6th February 2014, my Ministry issued a Letter of Intent to contract Mr. Audley Hanna, trading as Paradigm Construction, to build the male student dormitory for the base amount of B$2.6Million. The contractor was notified that formal contract documents would be prepared; and that mobilisation payment would be processed as soon as the Ministry was in receipt of the contractor’s Business Licence, All Risk Insurance and National Insurance Compliance Letter.On 10th February 2014, the contractor requested 20% mobilisation payment. The normal course of action provides that at mobilisation, that is the first payment toward satisfaction of a contract, the following must be available:A Contract or Letter of Intent duly signed by the Permanent Secretary;The original claim letter from the contractor, requesting payment. The letter shall be duly signed by the contractor;A copy of the Bill of Quantities/Scope of Works/Schedule of Works, which is part of the contract document;The original “Contractors All Risk Insurance”, including Public Liability of not less than $1,000,000.00;Copy of current business license;Current “National Insurance Board” (NIB) compliance letter; andThe original Contractor’s Performance Bond, if applicable.The contract was duly executed on 21st February 2014 at North Andros.Mr. SpeakerThere were several indicators that led me personally examining the relevant file concerning the insurance of the male dormitory. I am now in a position to say that the contractor provided all that he was required, save a certificate for All Risk Insurance. What the contractor did provide was only a quotation of cost from RoyalStar Assurance for All Risk Insurance for a six-month period from commencement of the project. It is noted that mobilisation was issued thereafter. What the file does not tell me is who took the decision to advance the mobilisation without the requisite insurance, what intervention, if any, was made to ensure that this requirement was met once identified, and why the contract, which has been substantially delayed, was allowed to continue without this critical requirement.Mr. SpeakerIn the Construction Industry, large-project contractors generally maintain some type of all risk insurance – even when not engaged in any projects – so as to ensure that when an opportunity arises, he is ready for competition. Smaller contractors, on the other hand, are usually not able to afford continual insurance as many of them live from project to project and those projects may be few and far between. They, therefore, tend to engage insurance on a project-by-project basis, lasting the projected length of a contract.Mr. SpeakerThis Government has historically been about giving those in need a hand up. However, there can be no plausible explanation for an administrative error such as that which has occurred in this case. I should not speculate that any agreement existed, but if there was an agreement for the Ministry to advance the premium to the insurance company from the contractor’s mobilisation payment, this should have been done. I mention this because I am advised that this has been done in the past to assist contractors’ qualification for contractual works. In this case, however, it was incumbent on the contractor, having been paid full mobilisation, to ensure that the insurance premium, which was a mere $23,746.65, was paid immediately. If he had done so, a certificate of insurance would have been included on our file. From the outset, therefore, the contractor was in breach.So, Mr. SpeakerThis is where we are. Given the fact that the dormitory was not complete and has not been turned over to the Government, by contract, the contractor stands fully liable for the construction outlay to date, which totals $2,550.864.15. My Ministry is now making a determination as to how we will recover this loss from the contractor.Since the fire, two options have been determined. The first is to gut the building to its foundation and rebuild, given the fact that the fire tested the entrails of the building. The second is total demolition to rebuild a new structure. Estimates in hand target the reconstruction cost at around $5.5Million. The increase in cost takes into consideration the cost to reconfigure the units from single to double occupancy, ordinary inflation, and VAT.Consequently, the net cost to Government will be the cost of reconstruction, less the expenditure for the structure destroyed by fire. That is to say, just under $3Million.Mr. SpeakerI am constrained to call out the actions of technical officers whose duty it is to be good stewards of the people’s money and to lessen Governments’ exposure to potentially embarrassing situations.Given the experience of my technical team and the checks and balances of our bureaucracy, there was no reason to suppose that such an administrative error would be missed for so long. Beyond that, the public fully and rightly expects all Government officials to be above reproach in protecting the public’s interests. These citizens, our constituents, depend on officials to act in the public good, to know their roles well, to do their jobs efficiently, and to be honest in their handling of public resources, avoiding even the opportunity for, or the appearance of, impropriety. The Public Service provides the remedies that should ordinarily flow from matters such as this, particularly how best to manage them and how best to learn from them.For my Ministry, notwithstanding its difficulty, I should hope that this matter is taken as a learning tool. Bringing BAMSI to the point of service as initially envisioned by Government remains our top priority. Taking in the holistic challenge presented by the BAMSI project, my Ministry has engaged the service of a Project Management firm and is in the process of engaging an Employer’s Representative to guide this process to completion expeditiously.Mr. SpeakerWhile what has transpired is an avoidable error on the part of the Ministry, I do not think that any reasonable person would find malicious intent. On the other hand, that cannot be said with respect to the arson, which, if proved, was criminally intended to deprive the Bahamian people of the full benefit and impact of a vision that is becoming reality.But try as they may, Mr. Speaker This Government’s visions and dreams and hard work toward realising them will not be destroyed. BAMSI’s dawn has been unveiled. We look forward to it reaching its full potential, contributing to the change that we envision for The Bahamas and the Bahamian people.Mr. SpeakerAs I conclude, for the sake of transparency, I table copies of the following documents:The Contract for the Construction of the Male Student Dormitory for the Bahamas Agriculture & Marine Science Institute with Paradigm Construction CompanyMobilisation Payment Certificate Routing Sheet with its annexes to include:Letter of Intent to Contract WorksLetter of Acceptance from ContractorLetter from Contractor Requesting MobilisationBusiness Licence for Paradigm Construction Company LtdNational Insurance Board Letter of Good StandingContractors’ All Risk Insurance Quotation from RoyalStar AssuranceArchitectural Unit Request for Mobilisation; and finallyBalance Sheet for Male Student Dormitory at BAMSI (Paradigm Construction) from commencement to the date of the fire.Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Former PM And Deputy PM Christie and Davis Deep in Water Debt Government Ministers talk water in Nassau, Bahamas at CWWA conference Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you Storm flooding influences Premier presentation at KPMG Summit in Miami Related Items:BAHAMAS AGRICULTURAL & MARINE SCIENCE INSTITUTE, deputy prime minister, phillip davislast_img read more

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Westmoreland farmers to plant 70 hectares of Irish Potato

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppMontego Bay, Jamaica, December 19, 2016 – Just over 70 hectares of Irish potato are expected to be planted by farmers in Westmoreland under the 2016/17 national Irish potato programme.  This is up from 31.2 hectares, which were planted by 101 farmers in the parish in 2015/16.Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, said that emphasis will be placed on the Irish potato belts of New Works, Content, Holly Hill, Dillion Big Woods and Darliston.  He was speaking at a seminar held on December 15 at the Assemblies of God Church in Darliston, where planting material was handed over to farmers and technical advice provided.He told the farmers that their participation is key to achieving the production target under the programme.  “You are considered to be among the top producers of quality agricultural produce in the island and for that reason, you are urged to play a major role in the national programme,” he said.The Ministry is targeting the planting of 1,200 hectares of the crop across all production areas of the country for 2016/17.   This is expected to yield 15 million kilograms of Irish potatoes to meet national demand.  Mr. Hutchinson noted that the national Irish potato programme is a key part of the Government’s overall strategy to reduce imports, enhance Jamaica’s food and nutrition system, achieve self-sufficiency in agricultural production and provide more income for farmers.Similar seminars have been held in St. Elizabeth, Portland, St. Andrew, St. James, St. Mary and Trelawny with some 670 stakeholders participating.   Minister Hutchinson urged the farmers to make good use of the information provided at the sessions.  The national Irish potato programme is being undertaken at a cost of $1.1 billion, with a direct cash injection of $48.3 million from the Ministry, and training and technical support valued at over $700 million.Through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), 2,000 farmers will benefit from training, field visits and the monitoring of production areas.  The training will include spray calibration, new planting techniques and appropriate use of fertilizer. The Luxury of Grace Bay in Down Town Provo Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:#magneticmedianews Electricity Cost of Service Study among the big agenda items at September 11 Cabinet meetingcenter_img #MagneticMediaNews ALERT # 2 ON POTENTIAL TROPICAL CYCLONE NINE ISSUED BY THE BAHAMAS DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY THURSDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER, 2019 AT 9 PM EDT Recommended for youlast_img read more

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First trading day of 2016 Sensex stays above psychological mark of 26000

first_imgThe stock markets opened on a positve note on 1 January, 2016, with the S&P BSE Sensex managing to stay above the psychological mark of 26,000 in the first three hours of trading, while the Nifty is trading flat after rising marginally.The day also marks the implementation of the odd even formula in Delhi by the AAP government led by Arvind Kejriwal in a bid to check rising pollution in the city. Many of the auto stocks were trading in the green on the NSE.Aviation stocks such as SpiceJet, InterGlobe Aviation (holding company of IndiGo) and Jet Airways spurted on ATF prices being cut by 10%.The Sensex ended the day with a gain of 43 points and closed at 26,160.90, while the Nifty gained 16 points to end the day at 7,963.20.Earlier, the Sensex was trading at 26,124, up 7 points, at 12.10 pm, after hitting a high of 26,140 at about 11.15 am, while the 50-scrip Nifty was trading flat 7,946, after having touched 7,951 in early trade.Srei Infrastructure, Reliance Infrastructure, Havells India, SpiceJet, Jet Airways and Petronet LNG touched a new 52-week high.Tata Motors, BHEL, Coal India, Adani Ports, Maruti Suzuki were trading with gains on the BSE, while losers included HDFC, HDFC Bank, Wipro, TCS, ONGC and ICICI Bank.The 30-scrip S&P BSE Sensex had closed at 26,117.54 on Thursday, 31 December, 2015, translating into a decline of 5.02% during calendar year 2015. The 50-scrip Nifty ended 2015 at 7,946.35, a fall of 4.05% over its 31 December, 2014, closing of 8,282.70.last_img read more

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Man stabbed dead

first_imgProthom Alo IllustrationAn unidentified man was stabbed to death by miscreants at Patkajor of Keraniganj, Dhaka early Wednesday, reports UNB.Sarwar Hossain, officer-in-charge (operation) of Keraniganj model polce station, said a group of miscreants entered into a 2nd floor flat of a house in the area and stabbed the victim indiscriminately around 1:30am, leaving him dead on the spot.On information, police went to the spot and recovered the body.The body was sent to Mitford Hospital morgue for an autopsy.There were several marks of injury in the victim’s body, said OC.last_img read more

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Growing US Oil Production Could Slow Price Rebound

first_imgListen X 00:00 /01:10 COURTESY OF GABRIEL C. PÉREZNationwide oil production is expected to grow again next month, and that’s not necessarily good news for oil prices.The Energy Information Administration says production could be up by 109,000 barrels a day in April, led by drilling in Texas.Rice University Energy Management Professor Bill Arnold says that’s because companies have simply gotten better at making money with lower oil prices. But that could soon create a problem.“The challenge in this is that production is going up – which puts pressure on markets – and may cause OPEC over the next several months to have some second thoughts about their commitment to reducing their own production,” he says.OPEC’s oil cuts helped stabilize prices, and until the past week or so, companies had started feeling good that prices wouldn’t dip below $50/barrel. But then, with more supply on hand, they did. Now the future’s a bit more uncertain.“What it suggests is that the more optimistic view of prices getting above 60 and heading beyond that is not looking very likely in the foreseeable future,” Arnold says.Last week in Houston, OPEC leaders signaled they’d take a “wait and see” approach to deciding whether to extend their cuts, a less appealing prospect if American companies continue pumping more, as it looks like they will. Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: last_img read more

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Nintendo basically promises either Mario or Link in new smartphone game

first_imgQuick, what was the Wii U game that you played a ton of last winter? It’s okay if you can’t think of one, chances are you didn’t buy a Wii U or any of the new games Nintendo and developers released for the system last year. Nintendo’s profits are down this year and the company is looking for multiple ways to rebound from the slump. They’re expected to announce something about a secret new console, the Nintendo NX, later this year, and the company has teamed with mobile games development firm DeNA to start making smartphone apps.First the bad news: Nintendo only sold 10.5 million games in the last three months, which includes the holiday shopping season. That may seem like a lot of games, but it’s actually less than one new game per existing Wii U system. Sure, some of those systems are sitting in the back rooms of electronics stores, but that’s an anemic market compared to other home video game consoles. Nintendo announced that its third quarter profits were only $241 million, a decline of a whopping 36% from the same period in the previous year.In March of 2015, rumors started to leak that Nintendo was developing a new hardware system after it was obvious the Wii U’s sales were not going to get anywhere close to the Xbox One or PS4. This month, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said the company was “looking into VR” during the company’s earnings call, but it’s unclear if his statement is connected the rumored new system. It could be that the new “Nintendo NX” is a virtual reality headset to compete in the Oculus Rift market or will simply be built with the specs to add one later as an accessory. It’s also possible that this new interest in revisiting VR (“revisiting” is the only acknowledgement of the Virtual Boy worth making) has nothing to do with the NX. Insiders are hoping for official news about the NX from Nintendo at this year’s E3 Expo in June.On the mobile game development front, the first foray into smartphone apps that DeNA and Nintendo announced was actually a game as much as a social networking app combined with the the Nintendo game Tomodachi Life. The app is called Miitomo and is supposed to launch in March. You will be able to create a Mii and asked a series of questions. Based on your answers to those questions, you’ll open up the ability to interact with other people’s Mii through a new service called My Nintendo. My Nintendo is a platform the company says it will use to communicate between consoles and their smartphone apps. Which all sounds interesting in theory, but not much like a social network or a game.Which means that all eyes are on Nintendo to announce an actual mobile game while their console sales are experiencing a lull. The Miitomo announcement came before the dismal third quarter of 2015, so now Nintendo is going to rush some recognizable intellectual property to the table. The original plan with DeNA was to slowly build to the popular Nintendo characters: your Marios, Links, Yoshis, and Samus’. Now it looks like a panic over earnings is going to push one of the core characters into the limelight of their own mobile game.Sadly, Nintendo has only said their first smartphone game will “feature one of the company’s best-known characters,” so it’s too early to know if you should break out your Super Mario Bros t-shirt or your Ocarina of Time. Even money on one of those two characters, though, because Nintendo wants to put its best foot forward into mobile gaming.last_img read more

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Mark Cuban Slams Y Combinator CoFounder for Dissing Shark Tank in Ugly

first_img Listen Now How Success Happens Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. January 28, 2016center_img Mark Cuban is a feisty one. He doesn’t take kindly to people bashing Shark Tank.Y Combinator co-founder and former president Paul Graham found out in a very public, ugly way yesterday. The billionaire (Cuban) and the millionaire (Graham) knocked horns on the little blue bird last night.Graham fired the first shot, warning startups not to waste their time appearing on Shark Tank.Startups: Instead of appearing on Shark Tank, spend that energy fixing whatever makes your product so unappealing you think you need to.— Paul Graham (@paulg) January 28, 2016Former Googler and Shark Tank guest star Chris Sacca, fought back first with a splash of sarcasm.@paulg Yeah, because a free 10-minute pitch to 7 million Americans is something every startup should turn down.— Chris Sacca (@sacca) January 28, 2016Sacca’s sneer didn’t sit well with Graham, who’s long written plenty about how hard founders like, for example, Google co-founder Larry Page, have it.@sacca Nothing is less free for a startup than something that costs the attention of the founders.— Paul Graham (@paulg) January 28, 2016Next Graham fired off a link to a Wall Street Journal story featuring fellow Y Combinator co-founder Jessica Livingston’s unorthodox advice to early-stage startups. Nutshell: Don’t spend an iota of energy marketing an “initially mediocre product.” Wait until it’s perfect.  Related: Billionaire Mark Cuban on Raising Kids: ‘I Don’t Want Them to Be Entitled Jerks’@sacca Building the best product is how most startups win, not by marketing. https://t.co/Q2B8CjfCDc— Paul Graham (@paulg) January 28, 2016Sacca weighed in with another snarky two cents.@paulg Agreed. Nothing is more distracting than traffic, users, installs, job applicants, and revenue.— Chris Sacca (@sacca) January 28, 2016Then Cuban stepped in the ring and the gloves really flew off. So what if he was a few hours late?@paulg you mean like the sense of entitlement and arrogance they get when they become part of a YC class ? It’s hard to wash it out— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 28, 2016Startups, accelerators and arrogance, naw, those never go together, especially not up in Mountain View, Calif., where Y Combinator is headquartered.  Cuban, known to be bit of a hothead at times, spit more fuel on the fire, implying that Y Combinator is a crusty has-been, that its heyday as a relevant accelerator is long gone. We’re surprised the razor-tongued Pittsburgh native didn’t use any of his usual salty language.@paulg the real question is why does a startup become part of YC any more ? The good old days of YC are just that— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 28, 2016 Ouch. Maybe Cuban’s bite was enough to shut Graham up about Shark Tank, at least for now. Apparently immune to shark bait, he still hasn’t yet responded to Cuban or Sacca. We’re guessing he’s saving his energy for one of his preachy trademark essays. Related: Mark Cuban: There’s No Playing Nice With Your Competition 3 min readlast_img read more

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Go back to the enewsletter Paris Hilton is to lau

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterParis Hilton is to launch her own chain of luxury beach-themed hotels, with three properties planned for Dubai, New York and Las Vegas.This latest career move comes after the opening of a series of beach-themed nightclubs in the Philippines and successes with her fashion and fragrance lines.Paris is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, who founded the Hilton Hotels group. However, the Paris-branded hotels will not form part of the wider Hilton group.A launch date for the hotels is yet to be announced.Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more

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