No real progress says HRW

In April 2011, a panel of experts authorized by the UN secretary-general issued a comprehensive report on violations of international law by both sides during the final months of the armed conflict. It called on the Sri Lankan government to carry out genuine investigations and recommended that the UN create an independent international mechanism to monitor the government’s implementation of the panel recommendations, conduct an independent investigation, and collect and safeguard evidence.The UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka in late August. Human Rights Watch repeated its call for the UN secretary-general or other UN body to create an independent international investigation into violations by government forces and the LTTE. This investigation should make recommendations for the prosecution of those responsible for serious abuses during the armed conflict, including the ACF case.Participating countries at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka in November should publicly express concern about the government’s minimal response to these and other serious abuses, Human Rights Watch said. On May 23, 2009, shortly after the LTTE’s defeat, Rajapaksa and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a joint statement in Sri Lanka in which the government said it “will take measures to address” the need for an accountability process for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. “The Rajapaksa government is good at throwing bones to the international community, but not at taking serious measures to find and punish those responsible for serious abuses,” said James Ross, legal and policy director at Human Rights Watch. “If the families of 17 aid workers can’t get justice for their loss, it’s hard to be hopeful for anyone else.” “Governments seeking justice for the victims of atrocities during Sri Lanka’s long armed conflict should publicly demand an international inquiry,” Ross said. “Sri Lanka’s history of inaction on even prominent cases with strong evidence demonstrates the need for concerted international action.” In July 2013, the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in apparent response to increasing international pressure, took long overdue steps by directing state lawyers and investigators to review the case and prepare a comprehensive list of witnesses. This was one of several recent moves by the government to adopt previously disregarded recommendations of its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in 2011, created following the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009.The University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) has published detailed findings on the Mutur killings based on accounts from witnesses and weapons analysis that implicate government security forces in the area at the time. The group reported that two police constables and naval special forces commandos were alleged to be directly responsible, and that senior police and justice officials were linked to an alleged cover-up. The killings occurred after a several-day battle between government forces and the LTTE for control of the town. The ACF team had been providing assistance to survivors of the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The New York based human rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the Sri Lankan government has made no real progress in holding accountable those responsible for the execution style slaying of 17 aid workers seven years ago despite renewed international calls for action.On August 4, 2006, gunmen executed 17 Sri Lankan aid workers – 16 ethnic Tamils, four of them women, and a Muslim – with the Paris-based international humanitarian agency Action Contre La Faim (Action Against Hunger, ACF) in their office compound in the town of Mutur in eastern Trincomalee district. In July 2007, the Presidential Commission of Inquiry, established after the Mutur killings to investigate 16 major human rights cases, exonerated the army and navy in the massacre and instead blamed LTTE forces or Muslim militia. Families of ACF workers who wished to testify to the commission reported security forces personnel. The commission’s full report to President Rajapaksa has never been made public.In March 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Sri Lanka, reiterating the concerns of a 2012 council resolution, which focused on the lack of accountability for human rights violations. The council called upon the Sri Lankan government to “conduct an independent and credible investigation” into alleged rights abuses and “take all necessary additional steps” to meet its legal obligations to ensure justice and accountability for all Sri Lankans.The Sri Lankan government has long had a poor record of investigating serious human rights abuses, and impunity has been a persistent problem. Despite a backlog of cases of unlawful killings and enforced disappearance going back two decades that run into the tens of thousands, there have been only a small number of prosecutions. Past efforts to address violations through the creation of ad hoc mechanisms in Sri Lanka have produced very few prosecutions. On July 26, the government announced yet another commission to look into cases of enforced disappearances. read more

UN envoy to Liberia says runoff election was conducted peacefully

In a statement made after visiting polling places in Buchanan and Gbarnga and across Monrovia, Alan Doss said the process was free of disruption or violence.”Today’s run-off election offers the people of Liberia the opportunity to leave behind the war that has wrecked this country for so long and to enter into a future of peace and stability,” said Mr. Doss, who is the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Liberia. All of Liberia’s 3,070 polling places were open, with polling staff standing by, and voting took place without obstruction to the Liberians who chose to vote.Mr. Doss refrained from commenting on turnout, pending a count, and from assessing yet whether the voting was free and fair. He also appealed to the candidates “to urge their supporters to be patient in waiting for the results and to accept the results peacefully.”Civilian police and troops from the UN peacekeeping operation in Liberia (UNMIL) were deployed at key locations and patrolled very visibly across the country to ensure a secure voting environment. Five arrests, including three for assault, were reported, according to Mr. Doss, who noted that hundreds of international observers and thousands of domestic observers were on hand to witness and report on any challenges to the proper administration of this run-off election.”While we do not know this evening which of the two candidates will be chosen as the newly elected leader of Liberia, we do know that today, Liberian voters have taken a major step towards rebuilding their nation,” the envoy said. read more

GE 1Q profit declines 12 per cent although industrial businesses boost earnings

by News Staff Posted Apr 20, 2012 9:28 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email GE 1Q profit declines 12 per cent, although industrial businesses boost earnings NEW YORK, N.Y. – General Electric’s first-quarter net income topped Wall Street expectations on a strong performance from the conglomerate’s industrial businesses.GE said Friday that net income fell 12 per cent to $3.03 billion, or 29 cents per share. Excluding charges, GE earned 34 cents in the quarter, a penny better than Wall Street estimates.The industrial and financial giant said its primary manufacturing operation has rebounded after posting weak results following the global recession. Operating profit at its industrial businesses, which include transportation, health care and energy infrastructure, rose by 10 per cent on a 14 per cent gain in revenue.That’s an improvement from 2011, when GE was able to grow revenue in the industrial segment but operating profit remained flat.The Fairfield, Connecticut, company has a stake in almost every sector of the economy, from light bulbs and credit cards to windmills.Altogether, GE reported earnings of $3.03 billion for the first quarter. That compares with $3.4 million, or 31 cents per share, for the same part of 2011.Revenue slipped by 8 per cent to $35.2 billion. That topped Wall Street’s forecast of $34.8 billion. Stripping out revenue from NBC Universal from last year’s quarter, revenue rose 4 per cent. GE sold its stake in NBC last year.GE said profit increased 10 per cent in energy infrastructure, its largest industrial business by revenue. Profit also rose 48 per cent in its transportation segment, 10 per cent in health care, and 2 per cent in aviation. The only decline came in the home and business solutions segment.On top of the strong operating profit, orders for locomotives, aircraft engines and other industrial equipment grew by double-digit rates for the quarter.“I’m encouraged by the industrial side of GE,” said Nicholas Heymann, an analyst with William Blair & Co. “It performed very well. Orders are up.”The company’s GE Capital lending reported a profit increase of 6 per cent.Shares of GE rose 25 cents to $19.39 in premarket trading. Citi analyst Deane Dray expects GE shares to increase by “a low single digit percentage” on the results. She has a $24 price target for the shares. read more

Role of real estate agents evolving to keep pace with changes in

TORONTO – The internet and social media have made it easier than ever to shop for and sell a home, forcing real estate agents to offer more services in order to stay relevant.Realtors once served as gatekeepers of data, providing customers with access to exclusive information that helped them price their homes or determine the true value of the properties they were eyeing.But with reams of data now online and virtual tours available at the click of a mouse, the role of real estate agents has started to evolve, with more agents expanding their repertoires to include services like staging and professional photography.Pauline Aunger, president of the Canadian Real Estate Association, defends agents, saying they possess detailed knowledge of local markets.“The realtor’s value is interpreting the data,” says Aunger, who’s also a realtor based in Smiths Falls, Ont. “Though you can look at a snapshot of what the house next door sold for, you may not know what’s in that house.”Agents can also ensure that all of the necessary inspections have been conducted and regulations have been met.“You can almost equate it to doing your taxes on your own versus doing them with a professional,” says Toronto real estate agent Derek Ladouceur. “Yes, you save money doing it on your own, but there’s a good chance you might be audited because you skipped something.”Ladouceur says clients can also benefit from agents’ expansive networks of contacts — from stagers and contractors who can help you polish up your home before it hits the market to other agents who will bring their clients in to have a look.Nonetheless, some homeowners are finding the costs of using an agent are simply too high as house prices in several Canadian cities soar higher — and so too do the commissions earned by realtors.Sellers typically pay six per cent of the sale price, with half going to their agent and the other half to the buyer’s agent. For a $1 million home — now the average price for a detached house in Toronto and Vancouver — that translates to $60,000 in fees.“I don’t think people need to pay that kind of money,” says Paul Rouillard, a realtor and the owner of discount brokerage homeowners can’t list their properties themselves on the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, a slew of discount brokerages can prepare the listing for a fraction of the cost charged by a full-service agent. At, realtors help home sellers list their properties on MLS for only $99.But others still prefer the convenience of using an agent.Pam Campbell and her husband recently sold their home and bought a new one, both in Acton, Ont., with the help of an agent. Between working full-time as an accountant, taking courses to upgrade her credentials and raising a six-year-old boy, Campbell says there’s “no way” she could have found the time to sell her home.“We would have had too much on our plate to try to do it,” she said. “I think it’s worth the commission that you pay.”Follow @alexposadzki on Twitter by Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 2, 2015 2:00 am MDT Last Updated Jun 2, 2015 at 9:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Role of real estate agents evolving to keep pace with changes in technology read more

Central African Republic UN chief says security fragile calls for vote by

Mr. Ban expressed appreciation for the announcement, with the support of the international community, to convene the Bangui Forum as early as possible next year, and to complete the election process before August 2015. He urged Ms Samba-Panza to continue showing leadership to ensure a successful, inclusive, transparent transition was completed in a timely manner.Meanwhile, the UN Senior Humanitarian Coordinator for the Central African Republic (CAR), Claire Bourgeois, recalled that one year ago, a cycle of violence reached Bangui triggering the displacement of half a million people, accompanied by the massacre of innocent civilians, leaving deep wounds in the communities that still have difficulties in living side by side today. “More attention needs to be given to CAR in order to find appropriate and immediate solutions to the complexity of the current humanitarian crisis which stemmed from a persisting political, developmental and humanitarian crisis spanning over many years,” she said, underscoring that despite the progress achieved so far, she strongly condemned the upsurge in violence that occurred yesterday, causing more bereavement to the population in Bambari.In addition, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) warned that the CAR faced one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises, with more than 187,000 refugees having fled to neighbouring countries over the last year, bringing the total number of refugees and internally displaced people over 850,000, about a fifth of the country’s entire population.“Some 430,000 people remain displaced, half a million less than at the end of December 2013,” UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler, briefing reporters in Geneva earlier today. He stressed that the improvement did not mean an end to the crisis.“The security situation in the country remains volatile, with sporadic incidents of violence as witnessed in October, when clashes broke out between militias and international forces,” he said, warning: “It is at risk of becoming overshadowed by other pressing crises if more support is not provided.”UNHCR and its partners presented a Regional Refugee Response Plan in 2014 that included financial requirements of $209 million. The response is currently funded at only 51 per cent and Mr. Spindler urged donors and the international community “to provide continued support and hope to the beleaguered citizens of the Central African Republic.”“The one-year anniversary of the conflict marks one year that children have been out of school, a year of learning lost, and a year of their lives scarred and shattered,” said Sarah Crowe of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “Nearly two years of violence in the Central African Republic has affected more than two million children and plunged the country’s formal education system into a state of crisis. Many school buildings had been damaged, looted or taken over for other purposes.”UNICEF launched a campaign in November that aimed to help return hundreds of thousands of children to school after the deterioration in the security situation forced many teachers and students to flee.The “Back to School” initiative aimed to help a total of 662,000 children to resume their studies, and UNICEF is delivering “school in a box” kits that contain essential equipment, such as exercise books and pencils, and school backpacks, to enable children to resume their educations. Currently, 300,000 children were reported back in school, a significant step that has had “a ripple effect throughout the whole community and lent a sense of momentum and optimism.” read more

Millionaire businessman told intruders I dont deal weed I work for an

first_imgMr Mardon said there was a safe in his room but it was empty and he feared the intruders would kill him if they found it. The man with the gun stood over him and started counting down from 10, the court heard.”I was panicking to offer him something that would placate him, just to stop him from shooting me frankly,” said Mr Mardon. “I pointed out that my wallet was on the side of my bed which had several hundred pounds in to pay a taxi driver and there was a valuable watch by my bed.”He seemed disappointed I only had £300. He seemed to want more than that.” A jury at Chelmsford Crown Court was played Mr Mardon’s 999 phone call, which he made shortly before he was shot in the leg with a shotgun. The call captured the 51-year-old begging for help and also being asked for “weed money” by the raiders. Mr Mardon told the court the intruders had become “extremely aggressive” when they discovered his bedroom door was locked. They tried to kicked the door in before he was shot and someone entered the room, he said. “The person who had entered the room [then] started screaming at me, started pointing the gun at my head and threatening me,” said Mr Mardon. He said the first thing the intruder yelled was “where is the weed money?” “I had no idea what he was asking about,” said Mr Mardon. “I think I said ‘I don’t deal weed, I work for an insurance company’.”He basically said he would kill me if I didn’t tell him where the weed money was.” I had no idea what he was asking about… He basically said he would kill me if I didn’t tell him where the weed money wasTimothy Mardon I was panicking to offer him something that would placate him, just to stop him from shooting me franklyTimothy Mardon A millionaire businessman told armed robbers “I don’t deal weed, I work for an insurance company” after they demanded drug money and shot him, a court has heard.Intruders are said to have believed Timothy Mardon, who works for a Bermuda-based insurance company, was a drug dealer when they allegedly broke into his Grade II-listed mansion in Sible Hedingham, Essex, in February this year.  The intruder told Mr Mardon that if he was lying, he would return to kill his family, the court heard.Mr Mardon, who had just returned from Tokyo and was due to fly out to join his wife in Florida later that morning, said he told the intruders where keys were to cars in his garage worth up to £70,000.When an intruder threatened for a second time to kill him, he said “I’m dying already”, the court heard.Mr Mardon had fallen on his mobile phone and the line to the 999 operator remained open as it lay beneath his bloodsoaked dressing gown, the jury heard.Charlie Simms, 23, Kalebh Shreeve, 24, and Christopher Bergin, 27, all deny offences including aggravated burglary and possession of a firearm. Simms also denies attempted murder.The trial continues. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Fake farm branding misleads customers Farm organisations criticise insulting Asda value range

first_img@TheFarmingForum @asda So Smart Price (value/cheap) equates to ‘Farm Stores’? Just what British farming needs! *ironic laughter*— Home Farm Magpie (@HomeFarmMagpie) April 12, 2017 Last year, Tesco came under fire for a rebrand which saw food being labelled as being from farms which didn’t exist.The supermarket chain invented seven farms, including Woodside Farms and Boswell Farms. Many of the items were imported from overseas. “The use of fake farm names or branding is misleading for consumers and insulting to farmers,” he said.“Many hard-pressed customers, trying to do their shopping in a hurry, are likely to be misled into thinking they’re buying a product from a specific British farm when they are not.”National Farmers’ Union advisor Ruth Mason said: “Although such rebrands can drive an uplift in sales, in our view it is important that product names and descriptions are clear, accurate and do not mislead consumers”. The Telegraph contacted an Asda spokesperson who said they do not feel it is misleading customers into thinking they are buying from a farm when the packaging says “Farm Stores”.They commented: “We know how important quality produce at a great price is to our customers. We’re reconnecting with our heritage by bringing back the farm stores brand to Asda – a name that our customers remember and trust for great value, quality produce.” Tesco’s cutesy fake farm names are an insult to the British countryside via @telegraphnews— Dr Hannah M Chiswell (@RuralResearcher) February 22, 2017 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Asda has come under fire from farmers and been accused of misleading the public with labelling after the relaunch of its Farm Stores range.The supermarket chain recently brought back the Farm Stores label for both meat and fresh produce after dropping it in 2001.This move has angered UK farming organisations who feel the labelling doesn’t reflect the truth of the product, which may not be from a British farm.Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association, told the Guardian that the rebrand is “disgraceful” and that retailers should instead focus on increasing the amount of British food they stocked.last_img read more

Organ donation education project scoops Young Social Innovators award

first_imgSTUDENTS FROM THE aptly named Eureka Secondary School have been named as the Young Social Innovators (YSI) of the Year for 2013.Pupils from the Kells, Co Meath school wanted to raise awareness of organ donation and the options available among their fellow students.Their project, entitled Bring Organ Donation Into Education, won first prize, and resulted in them being given €1,500 to help develop their project.Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn was in attendance at today’s event, as was Minister of State Joe Costello. The Minister for Education in Northern Ireland, John O’Dowd MLA, was also present.Congratulating participants in this year’s YSI awards was chairperson Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, who called for young people to become more involved in social innovation.“Young people bring fresh thinking and new perspectives to social issues that many adults grapple with,” she said.Over 5,500 people participated in this year’s innovation programme, and undertook some 350 projects. Topics included youth literacy, cyber-bullying, youth facilities, farm safety and continuing education for teenage parents.Read: Calls for organ donor registry in Ireland >last_img read more

Greek crisis affecting gender equality

first_imgHarsh conditions in Greece due to the economic crisis have done nothing to help bridge the gender gap, and in fact have erased much of the progress made, Greece’s Ambassador to Australia, Haris Dafaranos says. Speaking at an event hosted by the Greek Australian Women’s Network on International Women’s Day, Mr Dafaranos painted a bleak picture of the state of women in Greece.“The increasing number of women being laid off in turn have reinforced gender roles,” he says.“It is evident that this trend has had an impact on women’s ability to earn a disposable income and their chances of getting out of poverty,” he says.Women’s participation in the workforce has plummeted, with many taking on part-time work or being forced to give up work altogether to look after the children as childcare costs skyrocket. Greece is seeing a stark gap between men and women employed, with the male unemployment rate at 27.6 per cent, and the female unemployment rate much higher at 32 per cent.Mr Dafaranos says disparity with the unemployment rate is reinforcing antiquated gender roles.“[The crisis has] enforced men’s position as the breadwinners of the household and women’s position as the caretakers,” he says.Since the beginning of the crisis, women have been at a higher risk of falling into poverty than men. Public sector cuts have severely hurt their employment options, and there are few jobs in Greece that offer maximum maternity cover.Those that are employed aren’t much better off, as many women of child bearing age are forced to promise they won’t fall pregnant. Those without work must make due with minuscule unemployment benefits of 360 euro a month.Experts have also seen a rise in domestic violence, spurred on by tough economic conditions at home.Mr Dafaranos says he’s hopeful that the new Greek government will help address the growing gender gap and implement long lasting laws that will help women back into the workforce.“It is very encouraging that the new government in Greece has the resolve to tackle as a priority the humanitarian dimension of the crisis,” he says. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

OUAT The Mirror Has Two Faces

first_imgStay on target Once Upon a Time’s Finale Was Everything We Loved About an Imperfect ShowHenry Screws Everything Up Again on Once Upon a Time This week’s Once Upon a Time shows us that in the wake of the sleeping curse, Snow White, and Charming, much like the show right now, are in a holding pattern. Blaming herself for the curse, Regina is about to go off and hurt the Queen, thereby hurting herself. Emma convinces her to find another way for Henry’s sake. Snow is about to kiss Charming and switch places but stops when she realizes that the Evil Queen is watching through the mirror and destroys it.We see what their new routine becomes over the next few days. Charming stays up all night, cooks breakfast for Snow White and wakes her up for the day shift. They communicate with each other through cheesy notes and recorded messages while they try to figure out how to beat the curse.Regina has come up with a different plan to get back at the Queen. Instead of hurting her, she and Emma will trap her in a mirror. They use Henry to lure the Queen to the beach, but it turns out the Queen is one step ahead of them yet again. She stole the enchanted mirror, exchanging it with a regular one, and traps Regina and Emma inside it. From inside the mirror dimension, they’re able to see into Storybrooke through peoples’ mirrors, but nobody can see or hear them. Regina says that Henry is their only hope of getting out.Emma (Jennifer Morrison) wakes up in the mirror dimension. (Photo: Screenshot via ABC)That’s going to be a bit harder than it sounds. The Evil Queen has dressed up as Regina and seems to have everybody fooled. She convinces Hook that Emma has gone out of town for a few days to look for the dragon and starts helping Henry prepare for his school’s homecoming dance. She then goes to Rumplestiltskin’s shop, who is not fooled by her disguise. She asks for a magic hammer that she plans to give to Henry.Hook starts to get suspicious when Emma doesn’t answer her phone. He investigates the beach where Emma and Regina tried to trap the Evil Queen and finds Emma’s phone on the ground. The Queen appears and throws him against a log, knocking him unconscious. She then goes to Granny’s diner to meet Henry and try to convince him to act more like a prince. She distracts him from Regina and Emma trying to make contact through a mirror and gives him a long talk about how Violet, the girl he likes, should be honored to date a prince like him.Henry finally figures out that he’s not talking to his mom and escapes to the crypt to try and contact his real moms. The Evil Queen appears and shows lets Henry see into the mirror dimension. It turns out the Dragon has been trapped in there the whole time. He tells Regina and Emma that he can’t break the sleeping curse, but he can help them find a way out. Unfortunately, it turns out the Evil Queen has taken the Dragon’s heart and is controlling him. She turns him into a real dragon and has him attack them both.The Dragon is probably the coolest part of the episode. (Photo: Screenshot via ABC)Now that Henry sees his moms in danger, the Evil Queen places the dragon’s heart in front of Henry and gives him the hammer. He doesn’t have magic, but the hammer will allow him to destroy the dragon’s heart, killing him to save his mom’s. He begs the Evil Queen not to make him kill, but she is unmoved. Henry sees another option, though. He uses the hammer to crack the mirror. On the other side, Regina and Emma lure the dragon into blowing fire on the crack, breaking open the portal and freeing them. With the Evil Queen defeated, Henry resumes his date and dances with Violet in Granny’s diner.While all this was going on, Belle visits Zelena. She wants to get out of Storybrooke and knows Zelena can help her escape. Zelena says that she can only do it with the Sorcerer’s Wand, which is locked up in Gold’s shop. They get Aladdin to break into the store, and being the best thief in any town, he steals the wand, along with something else. After his heist, he returns to Jasmine carrying a magic lamp. He says the Genie isn’t inside; he’s been free for a long time. Aladdin thinks whoever is inside the lamp could help them find Agrabah.Belle and Zelena don’t have the wand in hand for long. Rumplestiltskin appears and takes it from them. He also places a cuff on Belle so she can never leave town and take the baby away from him. He’s just following the abusive spouse playbook step by step, isn’t he? He returns to his shop where the Evil Queen shows up, another one of her plans having failed. The two decide to work together as a team, but Rumple has one request first. He wants the Queen to kill her sister.Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) takes the wand. So much for that plan. (Photo: Screenshot via ABC)This far into the season, it’s nice when the show goes a week without trying to shoehorn in a classic story or fairy tale into things. This episode had a self-contained story with some cute moments between Henry and Violet, and a pretty great fight scene with the dragon toward the end. It still feels like we’re in a holding pattern, though. After the Evil Queen’s victory last week, Snow and Charming spent this episode just kind of dealing with it. It starts to wear on them toward the end, but they’re no closer or further away from finding a cure.Nothing’s really changed by the end of this episode. The overarching plot didn’t advance, no characters grew or changed. The Queen introduced a problem, Henry, and his moms solved it. That’s it. Hopefully, the conflict added by Gold asking the Queen to kill Zelena will start moving the story along more quickly next week.last_img read more

Macau Legend returns to profit in 2018 on Landmark sale Legend Palace

first_img Strong VIP growth sees Okada Manila GGR climb 72% in August Lack of premium mass strategy begs questions of SJM’s Grand Lisboa Palace launch: analysts Macau gaming operator Macau Legend Development Ltd moved back into the black in 2018, booking a profit of HK$1.97 billion (US$251 million) compared with a loss of HK$507.3 million 12 months earlier.The reversal was due primarily to the company’s April 2018 sale of The Landmark Macau to four buyers for HK$4.6 billion (US$586 million), although Legend Palace, the peninsula IR located at the northern end of Macau Fisherman’s Wharf (MFW), also enjoyed stronger gaming revenue in its first full year of operations. RelatedPosts Load More Group-wide gaming revenue in 2018 grew 12.2% to HK$1.36 billion with Legend Palace Casino contributing HK$682.5 million – an increase of 123.6% over 2017 revenue when the property operated for just 10 months and suffered a temporary closure due to damage from Typhoon Hato.Legend Palace’s improved results were largely due to mass market operations, which grew 106.6% to HK$560.9, although VIP enjoyed the greatest percentage increase, up 296.6% to HK$115.5 million.However, gaming revenue declined slightly at both Babylon Casino (HK$110.2 million) and Laos casino Savan Legend (HK$231.2 million), with Landmark Casino – which is still managed by Macau Legend – seeing its contribution fall 38.8% to HK$334.1 million.Group-wide revenue for FY18, including non-gaming segments, ultimately grew by 1.6% to HK$1.87 billion while Adjusted EBITDA rose 29.6% to HK$359.8 million.In a management discussion of the company’s 2018 results, Macau Legend said it would continue to focus on improvements to its current offerings, particularly in Macau as work continues on its Macau Fisherman’s Wharf precinct.“The group … is working towards the introduction of a virtual reality experience center, a wax museum and new dining facilities in the second half of 2019,” it said.“The convention and exhibition center will also be upgraded with completion targeted for 2020. Together with the continued improvement of existing offers, the new additions will further reposition MFW as a prime tourist attraction on the Macau Peninsula.” New Chief Executive vows to protect Macau’s gaming and tourism industry from harmlast_img read more

69 believe eyecare benefits can look after and save eyesight for staff

first_imgMore than two-thirds (69%) of employer respondents believe providing an eyecare benefit for staff aged over 40 is relevant for helping to look after and save eyesight, according to research by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare.Its survey of 1,007 employees and 502 employers also found that 52% of employer respondents believe that female employees over 40-years-old are most likely to take up eyecare benefits.The research also found:63% of employer respondents feel that a relevant benefit of eyecare for employees under the age of 40 is that it can help to reduce minor ailments, such as headaches and eyestrain, and 55% believe this to be the case for staff aged over 40.69% of employer respondents think that eyecare is a relevant benefit for employees aged over 40 because it helps to detect and monitor more serious conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, compared to 40% that believe this is also a relevant benefit for staff under 40-years-old.60% of employer respondents think that a benefit of providing eyecare for staff under 40 is that is helps to look after and save eyesight.25% of employer respondents feel that women are more likely to take up eyecare benefits than men.48% of employer respondents think employees over 40-years-old are the most likely to take up eyecare benefits, compared to 4% that believe employees under the age of 25 are the most likely to take up eyecare benefits.Jim Lythgow (pictured), director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: “It is interesting that employers recognise the much wider benefits of eyecare but relate these more to older employees than to those aged under 40. It is true that some eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, are more common in those over 40, but there are still many eye conditions that can create problems and even sight loss in people of all ages. Equally, the wider systemic health conditions that can be detected through eye examinations, like diabetes, cancers, multiple sclerosis and thyroid problems, can affect young and old alike.“It is really important that employers continue to communicate the worth of eyecare to employees of all ages and both genders. A full eye examination does so much more than just check the ability to see clearly. Eyecare can often help with minor ailments like headaches and eyestrain, which may in turn help to improve the productivity of employees. It can also help to detect and monitor much more serious conditions of the eyes and the health in general, and may be a factor in an employee seeking treatment before a condition becomes more acute or even sight- or life-threatening.”last_img read more

High court sides with state in challenge to education funding formula

first_imgPhoto: KRBD-Ketchikan.The Alaska Supreme Court announced Friday morning that it has ruled in favor of the state of Alaska in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s lawsuit challenging the state’s required local contribution for education.Download AudioThe long-awaited Supreme Court ruling partially reverses a lower-court decision that had agreed with the borough’s argument that the state’s required local contribution violates the Constitution’s prohibition against dedicated funds – or earmarks.The Supreme Court ruling also allows the Legislature to continue with the status-quo for education funding in the state.Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst and all Borough Assembly members were in a day-long strategic planning meeting on the day of the ruling and unavailable for interviews. However, Bockhorst talked about the ruling and its financial implications during that meeting.Bockhorst said he’s disappointed, and predicts the ruling will result in additional costs to municipalities.“There is very little doubt that we are going to suffer very significantly increased property taxes or other taxes as a result of this decision,” he said.Bockhorst told the Assembly that in 2014, when the price of oil was about $108 a barrel, a House task force concluded that the state’s level of education funding wasn’t sustainable.“The task force advised that sustainability would require a number of measures, among which are increased contributions,” he said. “Oil is now selling at $35 a barrel and production is declining.”Bockhorst predicts that the required local contribution will jump by at least 50 percent within the next couple of years. That increase in local contributions would in turn reduce the state’s share of education funding.There was no dissent offered to Friday’s Supreme Court opinion, which was written by Justice Joel Bolger. He writes that the court agrees with the state that the required local contribution is a longstanding cooperative program between the state and local governments.Bolger writes that “the minutes of the constitutional convention and the historical context of those proceedings suggest that the delegates intended that local communities and the State would share responsibility for their local schools.”Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Vogel argued the state’s position throughout the lawsuit’s proceedings. She said she’s pleased with the court’s decision. Local governments throughout Alaska contribute about $225 million a year to public education.“Requiring the local contribution and having that as part of our school funding formula has also maintained our eligibility to offset state formula aid with federal impact aid to the tune of approximately $70 million each year, so there are some significant funding implications to today’s decision,” she said.While concurring with the opinion, Chief Justice Craig Stowers and Justice Daniel Winfree write that the decision might not have favored the state if the borough had instead challenged the constitutionality of the required local contribution under the public schools clause, rather than the dedicated funds clause.The schools clause requires the state to establish and maintain a public school system open to all children in Alaska.Vogel said it was the borough’s choice to not challenge the contribution under that clause.“The state invited in the superior court briefing a discussion of what the education clause means,” she said. “At the time, the borough demurred and said that it was not part of this lawsuit, and as a result it wasn’t litigated.”In a concurrence that reads somewhat like a dissent, Justice Winfree was critical of the required local contribution, and writes that he has “considerable doubt about the constitutionality of the statutorily required local contribution.”But, when challenging a statute, the plaintiff has the burden of persuasion, and Winfree writes that the borough did not overcome that burden.last_img read more

You had the Nobel Prize US President Donald Trump learns of

first_imgUS President Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared unfamiliar with the work and cause of Nobel laureate Nadia Murad as she pleaded with him to help the Yazidis of Iraq. Murad, one of the thousands of women and girls from the ancient faith abducted by the Islamic State group as they overran swathes of Iraq in 2014, joined a group of survivors of religious persecution who met Trump in the Oval Office on the sidelines of a major meeting at the State Department. Also Read – Prominent Hong Kong activists targeted in wave of arrests Advertise With Us After Murad explained how her mother and six brothers were killed and that 3,000 Yazidis remained missing, Trump said, “And you had the Nobel Prize? That’s incredible. They gave it to you for what reason?” With little pause, Murad, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year, repeated her story. “After all this happened to me, I didn’t give up. I make it clear to everyone that ISIS raped thousands of Yazidi women,” she said, referring to the Islamic State group. “Please do something. It’s not about one family,” she said. Also Read – Weak European inflation bolsters case for stimulus Advertise With Us Trump, who has boasted of crushing the self-styled caliphate of the Islamic State group that once stretched across Iraq and Syria, also appeared at a loss when Murad asked him to press the Iraqi and Kurdish governments to create safe conditions for the Yazidis to return. “But ISIS is gone and now it’s Kurdish and who?” Trump asked, before later telling her, “I know the area very well.” Advertise With Us Murad also explained how Yazidis took dangerous routes to find safety in Germany, whose welcome to refugees has been vocally criticized by Trump. The US leader also appeared unfamiliar when he met a representative from the Rohingya, a Muslim minority targeted in a brutal campaign two years ago in Myanmar. One day earlier, his administration banned travel to the United States by Myanmar’s army chief and three other senior officers, calling the violence “ethnic cleansing.” The Trump administration frequently speaks of promoting religious freedom, a key issue for much of his evangelical Christian base. Government ministers and representatives of persecuted groups are spending three days at the State Department for a meeting on religious freedom, which Vice President Mike Pence will address on Thursday.last_img read more

SpiceJet shares soar after airline records highest load factor in January

first_imgSpiceJet’s stock soared over 4 percent Friday after industry data showed that the budget carrier had recorded the highest load factor among Indian carriers in January.SpiceJet shares were trading Rs 68.60 at 2.15 p.m. on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), up 4.8 percent compared to the previous closing price of Rs 65.70.Ajay Singh-led SpiceJet recorded the highest passenger load factor of 92.1 percent in January, followed by GoAir and IndiGo, at 84.9 percent and 84.7 percent, respectively, according to data released Thursday by the Civil Aviation Ministry. Passenger load factor is a measure of capacity utilisation by an airline.SpiceJet posted a net profit of Rs 238.40 crore in the Oct-Dec quarter, as against a loss of Rs 275 crore in the corresponding quarter a year earlier.  The carrier plans to buy airplanes worth Rs 75,000 crore either from Boeing Co or Airbus Group, but wants the delivery of the aircraft to be on time.Overall, domestic air passenger traffic increased 22.58 percent to 76.55 lakh passengers in the month, compared to the 62.45 lakh registered in January 2015.IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, remained the largest carrier in the domestic air traffic market in January, followed by Jet Airways and state-owned Air India. IndiGo’s share stood at 35.6 percent, followed by Jet Airways and Air India with 18.7 percent and 16 percent, respectively.InterGlobe Aviation’s stock price was down 0.3 percent to trade at Rs 846, while Jet Airways shares rose 2.5 percent to trade at Rs 556.Jet Airways shares surged following the reports of stake sale in the airline to Eithad Airways. A report by the Financial Express said Eithad Airways has finalised a deal with Naresh Goyal-promoted Jet Airways to raise its stake in the airline by 25 percent to 49 percent.last_img read more