WITH very cool conditions prevailing for most of the morning due to persistent showers just before the race, defending champion Kirk Brown and last year’s third-place finisher Britnie Dixon of Vere Technical made the most of the chill at yesterday’s staging of the Burger King Portmore ‘Run Di Road’ 10K road race.The pair captured the male and female titles in convincing style, with Brown, who was winning the event for a fifth time and four years in a row, clocking 31 minutes 55 seconds for the win.Like he did a year ago, the in-form Oshane Archibald of G.C. Foster College had to settle for second place in 32 minutes 14 seconds, while former Mavis Bank High School athlete Garfield Gordon took third place in 32 minutes 17 seconds.Brown, who less than 12 hours earlier had captured the Guardian Life Night 5K event in New Kingston, showed no form of tiredness as once again he proved that he is the best in the island on the road taking control of the race from the early stages.”It was not hard for me today (yesterday) because, in the first part of the race, the other runners ran to my advantage as they went out very fast. But that suited me because I know that I have strong endurance and good top-end speed. After taking over at the 6K mark, I just pulled away from the field. Running the night before didn’t affected me as I have done this before and I am used to this, ” said Brown.Dixon, one of the favourites to dominate in the middle distance at Champs next year, was in a no-nonsense mood, dominating her rivals to be the first female to cross the line in 40 minutes 59 seconds, ahead of Church Teachers’ College’s Melissa Tyme, 41:04 seconds, and Edwin Allen’s Kara Grant, who competed for Spalding High last year, finishing third in 41 minutes 14 seconds.”It was a very competitive race, but I was confident in winning as my strategy was to just get out very fast on my rivals, knowing that they would have difficulty in catching me back; and I just increased my speed after every 1K,” said Dixon.MUCH IMPROVEDWith their powerful middle-distance team, Edwin Allen’s girls topped the female team event finishing first with an average of 42 minutes 32 seconds. Vere Technical was second in 43:28, with Holmwood Technical taking third in 44:52.The much-improved Mavis Bank High took the male team award with an average time of 36 minutes 17 seconds, ahead of Bellefield High, 36 minutes 19 and St. Jago High third with 37 minutes 13 seconds.As usual, it was very exciting among teams in the 4×1500 metres relays, where Hydel High, led by Monifa Green, and Kingston College, led by Shane Buchanan captured the female and male titles, while GC Foster College was first in the Institutions and Clubs section.Subrina McDonald-Radcliffe, regional sales and Marketing Manager of Burger King, was very pleased with the event despite a lower turnout from previous years and the absence of a walk race.”We are very pleased of what happened today (yesterday) and despite not doing our usual 5K in Mandeville this year leading up to the event today, due to the weather, and although the turnout is not what we wanted, we are grateful. The interest is still in the product and next year we are hoping to make it much bigger and better, as we are going back to the table to do some serious panning,” said McDonald-Radcliffe.
LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is laying an election “elephant trap” for the opposition Labour Party that it should avoid, former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair warned on Monday. “Boris Johnson knows that if no-deal Brexit stands on its own as a proposition it might well fail but if he mixes it up with the Corbyn question in a general election he could succeed despite a majority being against a no-deal Brexit because some may fear a Corbyn premiership more,” Blair said. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USLabour leader Jeremy Corbyn “should see an election before Brexit is decided for the elephant trap it is,” he said. Johnson has pledged to deliver Brexit on October 31 whether he agrees a new deal with the European Union or not. Opposition lawmakers – and a contingent from Johnson’s Conservatives from Tuesday – will try to legislate this week to stop the possibility of no-deal. Johnson has threatened to expel rebel Conservative lawmakers if they thwart his Brexit plans by voting with the opposition, a move that would eradicate his already slim majority and make his ability to govern very difficult. He could then seek an election to break the deadlock. House of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has said rebel legislation would be considered a matter of confidence in the government.
An electoral official demonstrates the vote casting process to members of the public during Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP), as part of regional outreach in Bangalore on 12 April 2019, for the ongoing general election in the country. Photo: AFPIndia’s Supreme Court on Friday ordered parties to name anonymous donors behind tens of millions of dollars in funding as hostilities intensified in the country’s mega-election.The order came ahead of the second round of voting and after the election watchdog called for a clampdown on prime minister Narendra Modi’s personal television channel, saying it breached campaign rules.While Modi and his opposition rival Rahul Gandhi returned to the campaign trail, the country’s top court gave parties seven weeks to name people who have bought “electoral bonds” in recent months.Rival parties are said to be spending up to $7 billion on the election, which started Thursday and runs through to 19 May, and funding sources have come under the spotlight.The bonds—bought for between $15 and $140,000 and then given to a designated party—are controversial because they are anonymous.India’s election commission and watchdog groups which took the case to the Supreme Court said the bonds should be ended because of the risk of businesses making secret contributions to influence decisions.Modi’s government, which introduced the bonds in 2017, opposed naming donors. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the biggest beneficiary of the bonds, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), one of the groups behind the case.More than $150 million in bonds were bought in 2018, according to the Factly Indian data journalism portal.Experts estimate that at least the same amount was bought in the months ahead of the election.NaMo blowAccording to the ADR, the BJP—the world’s biggest political party—received about $150 million in total donations in 2018, of which more than half came from anonymous sources. Congress brought in about $30 million and about 60 percent was anonymous.The prime minister, who won a landslide in 2014 and is considered frontrunner in this race, faced increased pressure after the election commission said his NaMo TV breached campaign rules.The commission ordered NaMo TV, which is sponsored by the BJP, to submit all of its content for approval.Under Indian election rules, any content deemed campaign material—including adverts, films and even social media—needs permission from the independent watchdog.NaMo TV shows 24-hour programmes on Modi rallies, speeches, and even rap songs and dance routines devoted to the normally austere leader. It was being broadcast as normal on Friday.The order was the commission’s second blow to the Modi campaign in 48 hours, after it postponed the release of a flattering movie about the 68-year-old prime minister until after voting finishes.Producers of the film insisted they had no links to the BJP. But the commission said the film “PM Narendra Modi”, which tells of the Hindu nationalist leader’s ascent from selling tea at a train station to prime minister, could not be released during the election.Modi and Gandhi kept up their punishing schedule of rallies ahead of the next vote on 18 April.Modi has sought to portray himself as tough on national security, particularly against Pakistan, which India accuses of fuelling an insurgency in Kashmir. The two countries came close to a new war in February after a suicide attack in the disputed territory.“To kill terrorists in their dens is a policy of a new India,” Modi thundered at an election rally Thursday referring to an airstrike inside Pakistan.Gandhi and Congress have sought to focus on the economy and the fate of India’s many minorities who say they feel more threatened under the Hindu nationalist government.“This is the ‘New India’ they want, one completely devoid of unity and brotherhood,” said Congress.In Thursday’s first day, voter turnout averaged 66 per cent, according to the Hindustan Times daily, compared to 70 per cent in the 2014 polls.The first day of polling saw two supporters of rival parties die in Andhra Pradesh state and a teenager killed in clashes with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
By KEN MILLER and GEOFF MULVIHILL Associated PressOKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The maker of OxyContin and the family that owns the company have reached a $270 million settlement with the state of Oklahoma over the prescription painkiller’s role in the nation’s deadly opioid crisis, a person familiar with the agreement said Tuesday.The person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Oklahoma’s attorney general scheduled an afternoon news conference to announce the settlement with Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma and its controlling Sackler family.This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Oklahoma’s attorney general will announce a settlement Tuesday, March 26, 2019, with Purdue Pharma, one of the drug manufacturers named in a state lawsuit that accuses them of fueling the opioid epidemic. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)Nearly $200 million will go toward establishing the National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa, while local governments will get $12.5 million, the person said.The deal comes two months before Oklahoma’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and other drug companies was set to become the first one in the current coast-to-coast wave of litigation against the industry to go to trial. This is the first settlement to come out of the barrage of lawsuits.Plaintiffs’ attorney Paul Hanly, who is not involved in the Oklahoma case but is representing scores of other governments, welcomed the deal, saying: “That suggests that Purdue is serious about trying to deal with the problem. Hopefully, this is the first of many.”But some activists were furious, saying they were denied the chance to hold Purdue Pharma fully accountable in public, in front of a jury.“This decision is a kick in the gut to our community,” said Ryan Hampton, who is recovering from opioid addiction. “We deserve to have our day in court with Purdue. The parents, the families, the survivors deserve at least that. And Oklahoma stripped that from us today.”He added: “We cannot allow Purdue to cut backroom deals with state attorneys general.”An attorney for Purdue Pharma did not immediately return a call seeking comment.Opioids, including heroin and prescription drugs like OxyContin, were a factor in a record 48,000 deaths across the U.S. in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oklahoma recorded about 400 opioid deaths that year. State officials have said that since 2009, more Oklahomans have died from opioids than in vehicle crashes.Purdue Pharma introduced OxyContin in the 1990s and marketed it aggressively to doctors. It has made tens of billions of dollars from the drug but has been hit with close to 2,000 lawsuits from state and local governments trying to hold the company responsible for the scourge of addiction. Those lawsuits now threaten to push Purdue Pharma into bankruptcy.The lawsuits accuse the company of downplaying the addiction risks and pushing doctors to increase dosages even as the dangers became known. According to a court filing, Richard Sackler, then senior vice president responsible for sales, proudly told the audience at a launch party for OxyContin in 1996 that it would create a “blizzard of prescriptions that will bury the competition.”Purdue Pharma has settled other lawsuits over the years, and three executives pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2007. But this is the first settlement to come out of the surge of litigation that focuses largely on the company’s more recent conduct.The agreement was announced after the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from drugmakers to postpone the start of the state’s trial in May. The remaining defendants in Oklahoma’s 2017 lawsuit still face trial.Lance Lang, a 36-year-old recovering user from Oklahoma City, said he is glad some of the settlement will go toward helping those still suffering from addiction.“My heart breaks for those that we’ve already lost. I’ve buried several myself,” said Lang, who now helps recovering users find housing. “But I also know we have waiting lists of dozens and dozens for our facilities, and the state has waiting lists of hundreds and hundreds of people who need help right now.”But Cheryl Juaire, whose 23-year-old son Corey died of an overdose in 2011, said she was devastated to hear about the settlement. She had been organizing a group of hundreds of mothers to go to the first day of the trial and stand outside with photos of their dead children.Jauire, who lives in Marlborough, Massachusetts, said a complete airing of the facts is the only way to fully hold Purdue to account.“They can’t settle,” she said. “That would be a huge disservice to the tens of thousands of families here in the United States who buried a child. That’s blood money from our children.”The Sackler family is responsible for $75 million of the $270 million settlement, according to the person familiar with the agreement.As the accusations have mounted, the Sacklers have faced personal lawsuits and growing public pressure. A Massachusetts court filing made public earlier this year found that family members were paid at least $4 billion from 2007 until last year.The Sacklers are major philanthropists, and the family name is emblazoned on the walls at many of the world’s great museums and universities. But in the past few weeks, the Tate museums in London and the Guggenheim Museum in New York have cut ties with the family, and other institutions have come under pressure to turn down donations or remove the Sackler name.This month, Purdue Pharma officials acknowledged that are considering filing for bankruptcy because of the crush of lawsuits.More than 1,400 federal lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies have been consolidated in front of a single judge in Cleveland who is pushing the drugmakers and distributors to reach a nationwide settlement with state and local governments.___Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Associated Press reporter Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas, contributed to this report.
Kolkata: Three persons were killed and one injured in two separate road accidents in the city on late Tuesday night.Two youth were killed while another sustained critical injuries when the scooter they were riding skidded near Park Clinic nursing home on AJC Bose on late Tuesday night.The deceased have been identified as Ubed Hasan and Afroz Khan. According to police, Hasan was riding the scooter with Khan as pillion. They scooter was at a top speed when Hasan lost control over the scooter near Park Clinic nursing home. According to the preliminary investigation, police said the accident happened when the scooter skidded. The victims, who were not wearing helmets, fell from the scooter and hit the divider. Police suspect that there was accumulated water which might have led to the accident. The biker could not control the scooter as it was at a high speed. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsLocals rushed the victims to a nearby hospital where the duo was declared brought dead. They had critical injuries in their head. While another youth, whose identity is yet to be confirmed by the police, has been undergoing treatment in a hospital with serious injuries. Police said the victims were going to Camac Street area from Narkeldanga on late Tuesday night when the incident occurred.Another incident took place near Muchibazar area of Ultadanag when a youth was knocked down by a speeding vehicle. The victim was trying to cross the road at around 12 am on Tuesday night. The driver of the vehicle fled the spot along with the vehicle after the accident. Police are trying to ascertain the identity of the victim. The incident triggered tension in the area with locals staging a demonstration at the site of the accident.Locals alleged that the victim was lying on the road for quite sometime before he was taken to the hospital by the police. The youth aged between 30-35 was declared brought dead after being taken to a hospital. The incident caused traffic jam in the area for a few minutes. The situation was later brought under control by the senior police officers. Police are yet to identify the vehicle and examining the CCTV footages.
Yesterday, Reddit raised $300 million in new Series D funding from investors led by China’s Tencent. The company now values at $3 billion, in the lines of tech giants like Google and Facebook. Until now, Reddit has received $550 million in total funding. Other investors include Sequoia, Fidelity, Andreessen Horowitz, Quiet Capital, VY and Snoop Dogg. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, in an interview with CNBC said, “One of the things that’s been very important to us is that we can now assure advertisers that you are going to have a positive experience on Reddit and potentially even a new experience, a new way of connecting with customers.” The investment makes sense because video game is one of the more popular categories at Reddit, and Tencent invests a lot in video game makers. Currently, Tencent owns 40 percent of “Fortnite” creator Epic Games. “They are investors in lots of video games companies,” Huffman said. “And video games are one category that’s really popular on Reddit.” With this investment round, Huffman said he hopes to compete in online advertising with Facebook and Google. “When we are talking about competing for ad dollars, of course, we are talking about Facebook and Google, who take up the vast majority of ad spend.” Not all is good however, as some Redditors are already protesting the funding by Tencent, considering it is Chinese, and Reddit is blocked in China, for allowing users to have a free, unedited speech. People are also speculating how China might have a chance to take over the US in the cold war. A comment on Hacker news reads, “Tencent, a Chinese firm has meaningful ownership of American youth. 12% Snap 7.5% Spotify 40% Epic Games 100% Riot Games 100% Supercell 5% Reddit. Hollywood has also been moving in this direction, with a lot of Chinese investment in the studios, and blockbusters adding special scenes with Chinese actors and locations. What does it mean for America when it’s no longer the owner or creator of culture? It’s historically one of our largest (and most important) exports. I’m not sure if that claim to fame is a net positive for the world, but the changing of this guard will certainly have a local impact.” Some other users expressed concerns, if this move may slowly start to repress anti-China content on Reddit. “The only issue I can see from ownership is if they start to censor the platform. I doubt they’ll do any overt censoring (eg. “no talking about what happened at Tiananmen Square in 1989), but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do subtle manipulation like silently deemphasizing anti-China content, or emphasizing anti-western content (eg. infighting, failure of western democracy). The latter probably would even be good for the site (in terms of engagement) as outrage drive clicks.”, reads a comment on Hacker News. Read Next Reddit posts an update to the FireEye’s report on suspected Iranian influence operation Reddit takes stands against the EU copyright directives; greets EU redditors with ‘warning box’ What the US-China tech and AI arms race means for the world – Frederick Kempe at Davos 2019.
Travelweek Group Posted by Tags: Holiday, Vacation Where’s the space? Time is running out for late December bookings This story originally ran in the Dec 6, 2018 issue of Travelweek magazine. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here.TORONTO — A quick check with several of the major ITC tour operators confirms that space is getting tight for the ever-popular Christmas break, but there are still good pockets of availability in several top sun destinations.Agents making all of these bookings might be ready for a break themselves, especially if they’re in Atlantic Canada, where a recent winter storm left 300,000 without electricity. Add to that the extended cold snap in the western Prairies and an early taste of winter weather in Ontario and Quebec complete with grey skies, wind chill and snow, and most Canadians are already weary of winter, and it hasn’t even officially started it.The long-range outlook for the 2018-2019 winter season across Canada divides the country into thirds: above-average temperatures for Alberta and B.C., normal temps for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, and – sorry – below-average temps for southwestern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.Meanwhile the short-range outlook, for last-minute late December winter Sun bookings at least, is hot and getting hotter. “The availability for popular dates and hotels is starting to be limited,” says Air Canada Vacations spokesperson Barbara Mengue Mbo. “In destinations like Saint Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Jamaica, Cancun, Punta Cana, Puerto Vallarta, inventories are getting tight. We recommend not to wait and book now before it is gone.”There are still good rates and availability for Cuba destinations in late December, she adds, for any clients looking for deep pockets of inventory where they can expect a good choice of room categories.Clients planning the ‘perfect’ holiday season getaway often have high expectations but as agents know, the later they book, the narrower the options get. Transat spokesperson Debbie Cabana says for last-minute getaways, clients “need to be flexible on mostly everything: arrival and departure dates, hotel and destination.”She adds: “What we always recommend for the peak periods of the year, like the Christmas break, is that clients who have a very specific idea of where they want to go should book quickly, because it’s a very popular period for South getaways, specifically around the New Year. And because of the great demand, hotel prices are usually at their highest during that time, so the whole idea of last-minute getaways can sometimes be tricky.”Transat’s daily flights to Punta Cana make for a lot of choice and flexibility in one of the D.R.’s most popular destinations. Cabana also notes that Cuba “is making a strong comeback after a more difficult season last year due to hurricanes”, and is always a great choice. “Finally, travellers shouldn’t forget about South and Central America, which are a favourite among our clients visiting friends and families. These destinations, which are getting more and more popular, are often great options to escape, because they’re a little further down South. This almost guarantees very warm weather during the Christmas break.”Bookings have been getting closer and closer in over the years, not just for the holidays but year-round, even with all the EBBs out there to incentive earlier bookings. The growing popularity of Black Friday promotions in Canada gave bookings for this winter and further out a much-needed kick start. Air Canada Vacations saw its highest-ever one-day sales volume on Nov. 23 – Black Friday – with a 300%+ increase over a typical day. Black Friday 2018 represented the highest single-day sales in the company’s 38-year history. Bookings came in for everything from beach destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico, to city breaks in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.Meanwhile Sunwing is expanding its flight network to keep up with demand from southwestern Ontario, with the launch of new service from Detroit, Michigan for the first time ever.Starting Jan. 20, 2019 and running until April 22, 2019 inclusive from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the new flights will operate on Sundays to Punta Cana, and twice-weekly on Mondays and Fridays to Montego Bay. Travellers can book select vacation packages to both Sun destinations.“We are excited to be offering Canadians more convenient ways to travel south this winter with the addition of the new departure airport in Detroit, Michigan. This route is a great addition to the current weekly flight service out of London and Windsor and offers travellers in Southwestern Ontario a wider selection of vacation options,” says Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing Travel Group. For agents looking for space for clients for late December getaways, Sunwing is recommending both Punta Cana and Cancun. Suggested resorts include Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa, Royalton Blue Waters in Jamaica, Royalton White Sands Montego Bay, Royalton Negril Resort and Spa and Grand Memories Splash in the D.R. Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Share << Previous PostNext Post >>
<< Previous PostNext Post >> Passengers will be refunded on 10 cancelled cruises, says Voyages to Antiquity Posted by Share TORONTO — Voyages to Antiquity has announced the cancellation of 10 cruises aboard the Aegean Odyssey this season to make time for repairs to the ship’s starboard engine.All guests affected by these cancellations are being contacted and will be provided with a full refund.Affected cruises are:May 2, 2019 – The Black Sea & Greek IslandsMay 13, 2019 – Classical Greece & Southern ItalyMay 23, 2019 – Renaissance Italy & Historic IslandsJune 4, 2019 – European ConnoisseurJune 18, 2019 – Land of the Midnight SunJuly 3, 2019 – Baltic Capitals & St PetersburgJuly 16, 2019 – The Norwegian FjordsJuly 30, 2019 – Iceland, Faroes & ShetlandsAugust 14, 2019 – The Three RiversAugust 26, 2019 – Mediterranean Odyssey(Grand Voyages containing any segment cruises listed are also affected)The company’s current Athens to Athens roundtrip Greek Island cruise, which departed Athens on April 26, has continued as planned.More news: Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksIn an official statement, the company said: “We are working closely with our trade partners and doing everything possible to minimize disruption. Voyages to Antiquity would like to apologize for the inconvenience these cancellations will cause to our guests. The mechanical issue experienced was unavoidable and unforeseeable.”The company went on to say that following its period in dry dock, Aegean Odyssey will be back in service in time to fulfill the remainder of its scheduled cruise timetable, starting with the Rome-Venice and associated future Grand Voyage itineraries departing Sept. 7, 2019.Voyages to Antiquity is sold in Canada through Exclusive Tours, part of Merit Travel Group. Travelweek Group Wednesday, May 8, 2019 Tags: Aegean Odyssey, Cancellations, Voyages to Antiquity