TORONTO – Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives vowed to address the province’s ballooning debt and deficit without slashing jobs after a review of government finances revealed spending had grown dramatically under the previous Liberal regime.The government insisted the findings were not a precursor to cuts but critics said the review released Tuesday presented spending figures out of context and marked the third announcement on the province’s finances in less than a week.Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy said the review, combined with an independent commission that recently found the province was facing a $15-billion deficit, will help the government chart a course back to balanced budgets.“Faced with this challenge it would be irresponsible not to act,” he said. “With each passing day the shadow of these Liberal deficits will only grow.”The review looking at 15 years of Liberal spending was commissioned this summer and conducted by accounting firm EY Canada. It had previously been called a line-by-line “audit” but Bethlenfalvy said that type of exercise would have taken far longer.It found Ontario’s operating expenses grew by 55 per cent over 15 years and highlighted that the province’s debt stands at $331 billion — a jump from the $158 billion in 2003. The province now spends $12.6 billion a year on interest payments.The report suggested finding savings through moves that included monetizing some assets and creating a “digital first” approach to government.“In light of the evidence around expenditures and their disconnect from results and outcomes, it is clear that taking decisive action is the only way forward to put Ontario on a sustainable fiscal footing,” it said.Bethlenfalvy said the government will find savings by modernizing services and re-training some civil servants to avoid job loss.“This is not a blueprint for cuts,” he said of the review. “We will return Ontario to balance on a timetable that is modest, reasonable, responsible and pragmatic.”Sheila Block, senior economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said the review presents spending and debt figures out of context and doesn’t take into account events like the global recession that occurred during the Liberals’ time in office.“This was an ideological document and it set the stage for reducing the role and scope of government,” she said. “It left a big option to deal with Ontario government debt and deficits off the table, which is to increase tax revenues.”Block said the review buries the fact that Ontario’s debt-to-gross domestic product ratio has remained relatively stable in recent years, a key measure when it comes to the province’s ability to carry and potentially repay the balance.“A debt number on its own doesn’t mean anything,” she said. “If it was PEI that had Ontario’s debt level, that would be a lot more serious than if it’s Ontario.”Block said she will be watching the government’s upcoming Fall Economic Statement to see what it does with the report recommendations.“To claim you can cut taxes, that you can maintain services and maintain employment while at the same time cutting government expenditures, that arithmetic doesn’t work,” she said.NDP deputy leader Sara Singh said the review suggests the government is preparing to cut and privatize public assets.“What the report is telling us … is this government is committed to making deep cuts,” she said. “We’re not sure where those cuts are going to be, whether they’re going to be to health care or education but I think they’re really setting the stage to make those cuts.”The Liberal caucus said in a statement Tuesday that the report confirms their government kept public sector costs down while increasing transfer payments to hospitals, schools and municipalities.“Doug Ford should be focused on governing, not campaigning,” it said. “Doug Ford inherited a government that kept internal spending to effectively zero.”Ontario Public Service Employee Union President Warren “Smokey” Thomas said the review is a sign of a “political tsunami” ahead for the 155,000 workers his group represents.“At OPSEU we don’t pick fights, but when it comes to protecting our vital public services, the communities that rely on them, and those on the frontlines, we’ll never back down from one either,” he said.The results of the review were announced a day after Ford revealed plans for a special committee to dig further into the province’s fiscal situation, while slamming his predecessor’s handling of Ontario’s books.
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The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has sent medicines and 1,000 blankets to one of the major congregation points, many of which are in churches. The agency said it is also working with Egyptian banks on a shelter assistance programme for homeless refugees which would allow them to receive a one-time monetary grant for housing. Immediately after last week’s violence that caused about twenty deaths,Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the UNHCR both expressed deep shock and sadness over the confrontation. Both also voiced regret that the situation was not resolved peacefully and through dialogue, as UNHCR had strongly urged. Up to 2,500 Sudanese migrants had been demonstrating in Cairo’s Mostafa Mahmoud Park since 29 September, demanding resettlement to third countries and better living conditions, according to UNHCR.
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Brock University is reminding its students to be smart and responsible over the coming days as they celebrate Halloween.To help ensure safe behaviour during a busy week of festivities, the University is taking the proactive measure of hiring 14 extra Niagara Regional Police officers between Oct. 26-31 to patrol on-campus residences as well as off-campus student neighbourhoods. Brock’s Campus Security Services will also have 10 extra special constables working over the weekend and on Halloween, in addition to its regular staffing.Anna Lathrop, Vice-Provost, Teaching, Learning and Student Success, said it is the responsibility of all students, on and off campus, to abide by municipal bylaws and the University’s Student Code of Conduct.“Brock University, the Brock University Students’ Union, our local municipal community partners and the Niagara Regional Police are united in their efforts to ensure the message of safe drinking, consent, bylaw adherence and responsible partying is promoted and enforced,” said LathropPresident Gervan Fearon said students are expected to be good neighbours who respect the rights and safety of others. He said the University will be mindful of student activities on and off campus, and serious misconduct violating the Code of Conduct could lead to action under the Code.Niagara Regional Police Chief Bryan MacCulloch said officers will keep a close eye on student behaviour.“Officers will be vigilant in ensuring students are not participating in underage drinking, unlawful possession or consumption of alcohol and that any noise complaints are addressed,” MacCulloch said. “We have been working in co-operation with Brock University, the City of St. Catharines and the City of Thorold to ensure the safety and lawful enjoyment of property of both students and the community.”Isaac’s Bar and Grill, the pub run by the Brock University Students’ Union, will have its Halloween party on Thursday, Oct. 26, and staff will be on hand making sure students comply with the Halloween Costume Protocol. Launched in 2016, the BUSU Student Justice Centre’s “Appreciate Don’t Appropriate” campaign is committed to support people of marginalized, racial, gender, sexual and differently abled identities. The protocol bans students from wearing costumes that, among other things, “reduce cultural differences to jokes, stereotypes or historical and cultural inaccuracies.”President of BUSU Faisal Hejazi said there’s nothing wrong with Halloween parties and celebrations, as long as they don’t cross the line.“While taking part in these events please enjoy responsibly and respectfully, ensuring that you are looking out for yourselves and friends,” he said. “Keep in mind that many children will also be out trick or treating on Halloween and to be mindful of our community members while on the road.”This week, the Brock Student Life and Community Experience office is launching its Don’t Put the Bad in Badger campaign, which includes posters and information booths on campus, as well as visiting neighbourhoods in Thorold and St. Catharines known to have a high number of students living in them. Joining Student Life staff on the visits will be bylaw enforcement staff from the two cities.“We want to ensure that students are safe,” said Bradley Clarke, Director, Student Life and Community Experience. “By providing resources and key messages throughout the Don’t Put the Bad in Badger campaign, we are educating students about their responsibilities when partying off campus and providing reminders related to being a good neighbour in our community.”The Student Life and Community Experience team is also running its Trick or Eat campaign, where staff and city bylaw officers will deliver empty bags to neighbourhoods around Brock this week, and then Brock students — dressed in costume — will pick the bags up filled with food for Community Care on Halloween Day.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedRussell anti-doping hearing pushed to September 28September 20, 2016In “latest news”Anti-doping tribunal’s verdict on Russell expected on January 31January 24, 2017In “latest news”Russell’s disciplinary hearing resumesOctober 6, 2016In “latest news” West Indies allrounder Andre Russell has been banned for one year from cricket for a whereabouts clause violation by an independent anti-doping panel in Kingston. The ban is effective from January 31, 2017 and will last until January 30, 2018.A three-member tribunal comprising Hugh Faulkner, Dr Marjorie Vassell and Dixeth Palmer, a former Jamaica cricketer, found Russell guilty of being negligent in filing his whereabouts on three separate occasions within a 12-month period in 2015. That – under the World Anti-Doping Agency rules – amounted to a failed dope test.Patrick Foster, Russell’s lawyer, confirmed the verdict and said he would discuss all options with his client including appealing the ban.In March 2016, the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission pressed charges of negligence against Russell for not filing his whereabouts on January 1, July 1 and July 25 in 2015 despite several reminders through calls, e-mails and written letters.In his defense, Russell had told the tribunal that he had not been negligent. Considering his cricketing commitments around the world, and his own lack of training in filing the required paperwork, he said he had authorised his agent Will Quinn and Tajae Smith, one of the JADCO officials, to take care of the process.However, JADCO legal counsel Lackston Robinson disagreed saying the players had been offered education programmes on anti-doping which also involved filing procedure. Robinson accused Russell of “gross negligence” during the hearings.On November 17 last year, while summing up his arguments during the final hearing before the tribunal retired to decide on the verdict, Foster told the tribunal that if firm evidence of negligence was indeed established and Russell was found guilty then, keeping in mind his history of complying with testing protocols in the past, he ought to be banned for not more than one year.At the moment, it is unclear whether Russell will appeal against the verdict, but even if he were to do so, a quick solution to his problem does not seem possible. Depending on where he files his claim and how long it takes to examine the evidence, he might have to deal with another long and difficult legal battle.That means it is highly likely that Russell will miss his next assignment, the Pakistan Super League which starts on February 9. In any case, his team, Islamabad United, have already named England fast bowler Steven Finn as a replacement. Kolkata Knight Riders, the franchise Russell plays for in the IPL, might also think of investing in a replacement at the player auction in February.Later in 2017, if the ban stays, Russell will miss out on playing for Nottinghamshire in the NatWest T20 Blast and for defending champions Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League. (ESPNCricinfo) Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
NORCAT, a global leader in the development and provision of skilled labour training and innovation services, is pleased to announce it has entered into an agreement with Santiago-based mining technology and innovation centre Centro Nacional de Pilotaje Chile (CNP), to work together to enhance and accelerate innovation and technology adoption in the global mining industry.As defined in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the primary objective is to establish and build a long-term relationship and work together on a variety of initiatives related to developing and delivering mine worker education and training programs, enhancing innovation and technology adoption, and improving the commercialisation of academic applied research serving the mining industry.“We are very excited to collaborate with CNP as it allows both organisations to engage a broader network of mining companies, mine workers, tech ventures, capital markets, and academic research to creatively address both the opportunities and challenges facing the global mining industry,” cites Don Duval, NORCAT CEO. “Ultimately, this partnership demonstrates the importance and value of collaborating across borders to make a meaningful and sustainable impact in the mining industry.”In the near-term, CNP and NORCAT will work together to offer mine worker training and development programs to Chilean mining companies and contractors and develop an operating model to enable mining tech companies to develop, test, and demonstrate emerging technologies both in Chile and in Sudbury at NORCAT’s Underground Centre.On January 23rd, 2019 CNP will host industry leaders to present the Primer Encuentro de ValidaciÓn TecnolÓgica para la MinerÍa and NORCAT will discuss its role as the global “one-stop shop” for all that is the future of mining technology and how it has created a vibrant tech ecosystem at the NORCAT Underground Centre.
CONMEBOL decided today that it will emulate what they do in the UEFA competitions; the organism already decided the 2019 hostsTrying to emulate the success of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, CONMEBOL announced today changes in its competitions.Just like in Europe, the next champions of the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana will be decided in only one match, and not two like it currently is.In a report by Argentinean newspaper Clarin, the two host cities have been chosen for the 2019 season.Top 10 legendary football clubs in the history of the game Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – August 19, 2019 Let’s talk about the Top 10 legendary football clubs in the history of the game, the squads that left a massive mark in this…The 2019 Copa Libertadores final will be played in Santiago de Chile, while the 2019 Copa Sudamericana final will be played in Lima, Peru.Three cities wanted to host the finals, with both winners and Montevideo, Uruguay, taking part in the bid process.“These finals will inspire all South Americans to believe in big things,” CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez said.
Kiersten Ware What: Volunteer training for ElderFriends. Registration required.When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. May 7 and 17 and June 6.Where: CDM Services, 2409 Broadway.Cost: Free.Info: 360-816-0927 or CDM Services.A program to relieve isolation and loneliness among seniors who live alone will kick off in May in Clark County.ElderFriends Inc., based out of the CDM Services office at 2409 Broadway, matches volunteers with isolated seniors 65 and older for weekly visits.“These are seniors who are living alone and not in an institution,” said Kiersten Ware, the program’s founder. “They’re shut in or frail. The volunteer is paired with them much like a Big Brothers Big Sisters program. It’s just socialization. There are no chores or errands. It’s playing games or sewing together, cooking, maybe going for a walk.”Ware worked with Vancouver’s CDM Services last summer to try to bring the program to Clark County but hadn’t been able to secure money to pay for an executive director to coordinate the program until now.Instead of hiring an executive director, the program qualified for an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer who will serve as coordinator of the program.AmeriCorps volunteer Paige Costigan was placed in the position April 23. Costigan, who worked as a home care worker before earning a bachelor’s degree in community health from New Mexico State University, will serve as coordinator for at least a year. AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service organization that serves Americans in poverty.Operating costs for the program will be paid forwith grants from the Harvest Foundation ($10,000), Vancouver Rotary Foundation ($3,000), and Northwest Healthcare Inc. ($700), as well as other smaller contributions, Ware said.The program matches people 65 and older who live alone with a volunteer who commits to visit the senior for an hour or two every week for at least a year. Volunteers also are required to participate in a two- to three-hour training and have a background check.There are no income limitations for seniors to participate in the program. The only requirement for eligibility is to be 65 and living alone. Nearly 9 percent of Washington households are occupied by a senior who lives alone, according to the Census Bureau.
MIAMI SHORES, FLA. (WSVN) – Police are searching for one of three men who, they said, robbed three victims at gunpoint in a parking lot at Barry University.According to Miami Shores Police, the victims were outside their vehicles at the parking lot when a driver in an Acura SUV parked a few spaces away from them.Investigators said the subject pulled out a handgun from his waist and pointed it at the victims while a second subject grabbed a necklace, wallet and cellphone from two of the victims, Feb. 25.About 15 minutes after the robbery, police said, the armed subject was later captured on surveillance video at a Shell gas station.Police are searching for a 2017 or 2018 silver Acura MDX.If you have any information about this robbery or the armed subject’s whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Desktop LCD Minimum gamut DisplayHDR 400 Maximum black (nits) 10/8 20,000:1 The most interesting PCs, laptops and tablets of CES 2018 8/8 Peak brightness, 10% window (nits) 600 133 ms (8 frames) 500 90% P3 D65 600 133 ms (8 frames) 300 90% P3 D65 1000 1000 0.1 500 1 Full screen flash brightness (nits) 1,000,000:1 CES 2019: See all of CNET’s coverage of the year’s biggest tech show. CES schedule: It’s six days of jam-packed events. Here’s what to expect. Display tech CES 2019 DisplayHDR True Black 400 250 Monitors Tech Industry Sustained brightness full screen (nits) DisplayHDR 600 250 6,000:1 10/8 33ms (2 frames) Implied maximum static contrast ratio (peak brightness/max black) 350 800,000:1 12 Photos 0.0005 600 320 DisplayHDR 1000 Desktop LCD 0.1 90% P3 D65 Laptop LCD Desktop, laptop LCD 90% P3 D65 OLED Minimum processing bit depth/panel bit depth 0.05 DisplayHDR 500 10/8 1,000:1 OLED DisplayHDR True Black 500 0.4 320 VESA Since its inception, VESA’s (the Video Electronic Standards Association) DisplayHDR logo-certification program for monitors has been a clear-cut mix of competence requirements (DisplayHDR 600 and 1000) and marketing desperation (DisplayHDR 400). But with the CES 2019 announcement of DisplayHDR 500, DisplayHDR True Black 400 and DisplayHDR True Black 500, somehow they’ve managed to make things more confusing than necessary. There are just too many now.DisplayHDR 500 essentially certifies that a display is almost DisplayHDR 600 capable, but since it’s in a laptop it gets a pass on hitting the same peak or sustained brightness levels to conserve power. However there’s nothing preventing a desktop monitor manufacturer for opting for this lower level — dare we say “cheaper to implement” — level either. But the naming underemphasizes the huge disparity between DisplayHDR 400 and DisplayHDR 500: the latter requires the wide color gamut, local dimming and higher contrast the 400 spec lacks, all of which are essential for HDR video rendering. The two DisplayHDR True Black logofications similarly downplay the benefits of OLED. Since OLED generally can’t hit or sustain peak brightness for the full screen, only for the 10 percent window required by the spec, it gets its own category which dramatizes the fact that OLED achieves near perfect black levels compared to LCDs. But what the nomenclature utterly fails to conveys is the huge jump in contrast that results in, despite the lower brightness levels.If you’re not familiar with DisplayHDR, the number indicates the peak brightness of a 10 percent window in the middle of the screen displayed for short intervals as measured in nits (candelas per square meter). The names actually conveyed information when there were only three options — 400, 600 or 1,000. It meant you’d know not to expect actual HDR-quality video from a DisplayHDR 400 monitor; they barely squeak by the letter of the definition, as defined by the ability to decode an HDR signal, much less the spirit. (In fact, it’s not even a given that a DisplayHDR 400 monitor will be better than one that’s not certified given the increase in the number of 400-nit panels we’re seeing in monitors.) But it also it meant that you’d be able to tell that DisplayHDR 600 and DisplayHDR 1000 offered reasonable and differentiable display qualities, because they had different contrast levels. But what are the real visual differences between 500 and 600?HDR quality is primarily determined by contrast and color accuracy, not absolute brightness. If you look at the table below, the OLED-focused specs offer much better contrast and rise time (which affects lag) than the more impressive-sounding 600 and 1000 versions. Maximum rise time (at 60Hz) 133 ms (8 frames) 133 ms (8 frames) DisplayHDR logo requirements Share your voice 90% P3 D65 300 400 Comment 400 500 5,000:1 95% Rec 709 10/8 33ms (2 frames) Unfortunately, DisplayHDR still has no color-accuracy and limited gamut requirements — so you’ve got to take it all with a grain of salt, anyway. Tags 10/8 320 0.0005
Supreme CourtAmid tensions surrounding the chief justice, Surendra Kumar Sinha, the government has transferred 10 officials of the Supreme Court registrar office.A law ministry official said the officials were transferred through an office order following a request from the apex court. The office order was issued Sunday afternoon.The officials transferred include the chief justice’s private secretary Anisur Rahman and registrar general Syed Aminul Islam who issued Saturday’s statement, as directed, highlighting allegations of corruption against SK Sinha.Eight other officials are additional registrar of SC’s Appellate Division Arunabh Chakrabarty, High Court division registrar Abu Syed Dilzar Hossain, additional registrars Jabid Hossain and Sabbir Foyez, special officer Ismail Hossain, and deputy registrars Kamal Hossain Shikder, Azizul Haque and Farjana Yasmin.Chief justice SK Sinha flew for Australia on Friday night after he was granted by the president a one-month leave. The law minister earlier said the chief justice applied for the leave on health grounds while SK Sinha himself later said he was completely well.On Saturday, a SC press release said the president handed over documents containing 11 charges of corruption against SK Sinha to other judges of the SC Appellate Division. Five other SC judges declined to sit with CJ Sinha until the matters of corruption are settled, the press release claimed.Read more : Idiots call me a liar, Anisul about talk-show speakers
Logo of arrestMembers of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) have arrested an alleged arms trader along with a foreign pistol and 12 bullets from Lautara village in Ashashuni upazila of Satkhira, reports news agency UNB.A RAB team conducted a drive at the village on Sunday evening and arrested Kuddus Fakir, 50, son of Elahi Fakir of the village under Khajra union, said, Ashashuni police station officer-in-charge Mostafizur Rahman.The OC claimed that Kuddus had long been involved in arms trading and terrorism activities.
Six-year-old Rezale Singh went for his third surgery on Wednesday afternoon (August 29) after being mauled by a Pit Bull recently.In an exclusive interview with a family member, they recalled the traumatic ordeal. The child was playing outdoors with his soccer ball when it went into the neighbour’s yard. Rezale went to fetch the ball and that’s when the dog started growling and attacked him.His grandmother, as well as neighbours, heard the boy’s screams for help and immediately rushed out of their houses to see what was going on. They found Rezale lying on the ground, covered in blood, and the Pit Bull savaging the little boy’s arm.Read initial story: 6-year-old child attacked by Pit Bull dog in LadysmithAlso read: Update: 6-year-old undergoes more surgery after being attacked by Pit Bull in LadysmithIn a state of panic and shock, the grandmother and neighbours successfully managed to separate the dog and the boy. The six-year-old was rushed to hospital.He sustained head and back injuries, his arm was crushed, and he bruised his face.The boy initially underwent two operations; one to the head and the other to his arm. On Wednesday, he went for another operation on his arm.“As a mother, it is terrible to see your child in such pain. We are glad he is doing much better though, as he is a strong boy. We don’t blame the owner of the dog for what happened to our son. We also want to thank our family, friends and the community for all their help, love and support during this difficult time,” said mom Ashika Singh.His aunt Natasha told the Ladysmith Gazette that Rezale loves animals, especially dogs.“He is a humble and caring child who is friendly to everyone. He knows the Pit Bull well, and our family is still in shock at what happened. It’s just so sad seeing him lying on a hospital bed so helplessly,” added Natasha.Click to receive news links via WhatsApp. Or for the latest news, visit our webpage or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Join us there! WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite
“The road is gone. Destroyed. The landslide covers everything.”I stared intently at my neighbor in the passenger seat. I had picked him up after dropping off another neighbor at the spot where, as of Wednesday, Oct. 11, the road to Monteverde was almost – but not quite – open.My neighbor had just told me that the main road in Santa Elena, in front of the Banco Nacional, was wiped out. I tried to imagine how, six days after the storm, the main road in Santa Elena could be destroyed by a landslide when in fact there is only one small hill in that relatively flat spot.“Are you sure?”“Positive.”I could not let it go. “But I was just there a couple of hours ago and it was fine.”He nodded, understanding my reluctance. “Yes, but it just happened.”I dropped him off in front of his house, then headed out to investigate the massive landslide. If true, this was a huge hit to the community.A few minutes later, after walking a short distance because of road work beginning on a culvert, I stood in front of Banco Nacional. As I had suspected, the road was fine.As I made my way back to my car I thought through all of the other rumors I had heard in the past few days, after Tropical Storm Nate wreaked havoc in our mountain community. They were always sensational. They tended to the negative (the house fell off the cliff, catching fire as it went), but sometimes featured wildly optimistic statements as well (the bridge was fixed last night!). Courtesy of the Monteverde Friends School. An impromptu ‘vacation camp’ for public and private school kids alike helped families get through a tough time.In a way, this is akin to the fact that everyone here responds to a request for directions even if they have no idea what you are asking or where it is you want to go. Culturally, “I don’t know” is not considered an acceptable response.Now, in a time of crisis, people want to share information they have heard. They want to be helpful. Unfortunately, much of the time this information is just gossip they heard from someone else and has already been expanded upon a few times before it got to them.Our particular situation is not being helped by media reports such as one television segment that aired on Oct. 13. The segment used week-old footage and presented the area as a total loss with no recognition of the massive amount of work, and progress, that has taken place.I say all of this as a preface to my follow-up on my initial account of the storm. My goal is to provide people – here in Costa Rica, and abroad – with firm footing regarding the status of our community. The information that follows is not rumors, but is instead a verified list of progress and achievementsFirst, due to the work of many, many parties, including the National Emergency Commission (CNE) and its local committee, the Tourism Chamber, the Municipality, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) and many, many local volunteers, I can confirm that almost all of the roads leading in, and through, the Monte Verde District are open, including the road down to the San Luis Valley. This is a huge change as much of the area was cut off, isolated, due to damage from the storm. Marshall Cobb / The Tico Times. We’ve got road! The route to Monteverde is now open once more.Second most major attractions and reserves not already back in business were expected to reopen by Monday Oct. 16.Third, with credit also due to those parties mentioned above and, of course, water and electrical authorities, water and telecommunications services have been reestablished for the vast majority of the District. Related: gas stations have been open for over a week, and all grocery stores are fully stocked. Public buses are running, and the regular fleet of taxis is available.Fourth, recognizing that some portion of this group is typically closed in October because it is the low season for tourism, the vast majority of hotels and restaurants are now open. Courtesy of the Monteverde Institute. Community members gather at the Monteverde Institute for a daily update session in the wake of the storm.How did all of this happen so quickly? After many conversations with many different parties, I can say that the spirit of collaboration and the willingness to act were, and still are, operating at levels rarely seen here – or anywhere. In terms of problem solving, pura Vida is often more of a, “Relax, take a deep breath and know that this, like a bad shrimp, will eventually pass.” The version of pura vida reflected now is much more of a, “We’re all in this together—now let’s get out. Quickly!”There are too many groups and individuals contributing to this effort for me to attempt a full accounting, a worthy effort that should eventually take place. For now I can convey a small sampling of these success stories that focuses largely on those who were trapped within Monteverde proper:Per Sue Gabrielson, Head of School for the Monteverde Friends School: “We opened a ‘vacation camp’ so families — all families, not just students from our school — could drop off their kids for the morning and know that they were safe. More than 30 kids, ages three to fourteen, participated daily. The ‘counselors’ included teachers from both MFS and other schools in the zone, as well as teen volunteers.“MFS also used donated food from community members — particularly Hotel Fonde Vela, which butchered and prepared their chickens when they ran out of feed, to prepare snacks and lunches for community members,” she wrote.Debra Hamilton, Executiye Director of The Monteverde Institute, told The Tico Times, “We are pleased that the MVI was able to serve the community by opening our doors to act as the daily meeting center where all members of the community could receive updates on relief efforts, the progress of repairs to roads and utilities and the sharing of resources. MVI also provided an area for cooking, and provided water for residents in need.”Radio Zona Alta also played a prominent role by providing everyone in the community with first-hand accounts of relief and repair efforts throughout the District. This reporting took place via videos shared from their Facebook account. Coincidentally, Radio Zona Alta was visiting the Monteverde Friends School for an update when a mysterious helicopter made a couple of landings to distribute supplies that had been donated to the main relief center in San José.There is still work to be done. The road to Tilarán, to my knowledge, still requires a great deal of work. Similarly, depending on the day, the Coastal Highway/27 from San Jose has either partial or complete closure due to the problems with landslides that predate Nate. And, of course, the bridge in the community of Guacimal, which sits about forty minutes down the mountain, was completely destroyed — as were a large number of houses and buildings when the river came out of its banks. This landslide nearly swept a local family off of the mountain. All emerged bruised by otherwise unharmed. Jorge HincapieHow can you help? One local family, whose destroyed home is shown above, started a Kickstarter campaign. There are also families all across Costa Rica that have lost their homes, and all of their possessions. This story in the Tico Times lists a number of different options for donations around the country, including a link where U.S. tax-deductible donations can be made to the Monteverde Community Fund. You can also donate to the Monteverde Friends School (MFS) and the Monteverde Institute (MVI). MFS donations will largely go to cover the cost of tuition for many local parents who will no longer be able to afford it; MVI donations will be channeled to the local Emergency Commission for use in supporting the local recovery.Costa Rica’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism. The ripple effect of the direct costs of this storm, as well as the loss of jobs and income for many of the residents here, has the potential to carry on for months, likely years, to come.I give you my word that the information above is true, and has nothing to do with a purported landslide in front of Banco Nacional or a miraculous bridge that appeared overnight. I can also promise you that you were never going to like the roads here anyway, which is part of the fun, and the Pura Vida.Note: I have received queries from many abroad seeking to know about the condition of various towns and roads throughout Costa Rica. As I said above, there are unfortunately more rumors than facts floating about, and the situations in many communities is changing frequently. I recommend that those planning to visit Costa Rica in the coming weeks contact the appropriate hotel, tour operator or attraction directly for the most up-to-date information.Marshall Cobb and his family moved to the Monte Verde district in 2015. He takes breaks from working on his novel by posting blogs on his website and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook Comments Related posts:One community’s story of Tropical Storm Nate: landslides, fear and resilience Bike rides with Paul Smith – and other dangerous pursuits The day I rode my bicycle to see the president Government decrees state of mourning; donation, volunteer efforts increase
Looser Underwriting is the Name of the Game in 2016 Banks OCC Underwriting Standards 2016-12-20 Seth Welborn Share The vast number of poorly underwritten mortgage loans leading up to the crisis caused banks to tighten up their standards and generally make loans only to those borrowers with pristine credit.In the last few years, however, those tight post-crisis underwriting standards put in place by banks are beginning to relax a bit. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s 22nd Annual Survey of Credit Underwriting Practices, released Tuesday, found that underwriting standards had relaxed for banks and federal savings associations for the fourth consecutive year.Much like in 2015, residential real estate loans, conventional home equity, commercial real estate loans, and direct consumer loans were among the areas that experienced the greatest amount of change, according to the OCC.The survey covered the 12-month period ending June 30, 2016, and covers aggregate total assets of $10.2 trillion and $5.2 trillion in gross loans—approximately 90 percent of the loans in the federal banking system (across 93 national banks and federal savings associations), the OCC reported.“During the 12-month survey period, underwriting practices remained satisfactory. But an increasing tolerance for looser underwriting has resulted in a continued movement from more conservative to more moderate underwriting practices,” said Grace Dailey, Senior Deputy Comptroller and Chief National Bank Examiner. “While this movement is consistent with past credit cycles at a similar stage, credit risk is expected to increase if the trends we see today continue.”According to the OCC, the easing underwriting standards indicate that banks have a greater risk appetite and a greater desire for loan growth.“Examiners reported that the leading reasons for eased underwriting practices since the 2015 survey are increased competition, higher credit risk appetites, and perceived improvements in general economic conditions,” the report stated. “Banks generally tighten underwriting practices when the economy contracts and ease underwriting practices when the economy expands. Since 2012, examiners have cited these reasons, along with the existence of abundant market liquidity, for the eased underwriting practices.”Click here to view the OCC’s complete survey. December 20, 2016 623 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News
Former Director of Sales & Marketing for The Royal Scotsman luxury train, Les Maitland, has launched his luxury travel company, Exclusively Scotland. Coupled with a great desire to showcase his homeland and encouraged by the weak British pound making Scotland more affordable than ever before for many visitors, Maitland sees this as an ideal time to visit Scotland.Maitland is quoted as saying: “There are hundreds of events and celebrations in 2009 to celebrate the ‘Year of Homecoming’ to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, making this an even more exciting year to visit Scotland”.With experience of welcoming and looking after some of Scotland’s wealthiest tourists, Exclusively Scotland promises discretion where it is required.“It’s not just about seeing Edinburgh Castle or Loch Ness – it’s about offering those things you don’t know you can do in Scotland!” says Maitland. Exclusively Scotland offers bespoke itinerary suggestions include dining with a Clan Chief in his ancestral home, a journey around Scotland on a luxury cruise ship, make your own Scotch whisky, invite some close friends to share exclusive use of a Scottish castle, or a luxury golf tour around Scotland with golf professional. Perfect for family trips, reunions and anniversaries.Full details online at www.exclusively-scotland.com or ask your travel agent to get in touch.
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