This Friday is the day we find out if two million people are really going to storm one of the world’s most famous military bases to try and get a glimpse of aliens and UFOs. Even if just one per cent of the people who signed up for the joke event show up at Area 51, that would be 20,000 people. The U.S. Air Force has said it’s “ready to protect America and its assets,” while the Facebook event post boasts that “we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens.” No one really knows what’s going to happen. In the meantime, the National Post’s Bobby Hristova has taken a look at the history of man’s interest in the search for alien life. Watch the video above or read the transcript below. A joke Facebook event named “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” was created in June 2019. As of September 13, more than 2 million people had signed up for the event and a 1.5 million more had marked themselves as “interested.” Multiple alien related events are now set to take place over the weekend of September 20, 2019 along state Route 375 also known as the “Extraterrestrial Highway.” Bridget Bennett / AFP / Getty Images Green bald heads, long slim fingers and huge black eyes. You already know what I’m talking about — and yet we’ve never ever seen one.Still, so many of us think aliens are out there, floating in space, and plenty of people think the government is hiding what it knows from us.That’s why two million people put on their tinfoil hats and proclaimed on Facebook that they would storm Area 51 to try and uncover humanity’s biggest secret.So how did we get here? To understand, we need to take a look at the history of earth’s search for aliens.Around 270 BC Greek mythology came up with stories for every little thing in space, while some of history’s earliest storytellers told fables of earthlings reaching the moon and finding ungodly creatures.Of course, now we’ve reached the moon and we know that no one’s living up there … and, sadly, that it isn’t made of cheese.But in West Virginia’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory, there was hope. Project Ozma was what many recognize as the first real attempt to try and find a trace of aliens.Astronomer Frank Drake led the charge in 1960, pointing a radio telescope into the sky to try and eavesdrop on whatever might be out there.There was no answer. But he did not waver, and he came up with a mathematical equation to estimate the number of other worldly beings in space.Drake’s equation says the number of transmitting civilizations in a galaxy is a product of seven things: The rate that stars form each year; the percentage of stars that have planets; the number of planets per solar system that can support life; the percentage of those planets that have life; the percentage of those planets where intelligence develops; the percentage of species that have space technology; and the average lifetime of those communicating civilizations.Got all that? Anyway, he predicts there are 10,000 alien civilizations out there.Drake wasn’t the only member of the scientific community taking the hunt for aliens seriously. In 1972, NASA launched Pioneer 10, which became the first spacecraft to leave our solar system.Drake joined forces with American astronomer Carl Sagan to add a message from mankind to the unmanned spacecraft in case it was ever intercepted by intelligent extraterrestrial life.Two years later, the duo led a team in Puerto Rico behind the most powerful broadcast ever deliberately beamed into space — the Arecibo Message.Their team used the radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory to broadcast a binary message that includes our solar system, a drawing of DNA, a stick figure of a human and some of the biochemicals that make up life on earth.That message was aimed at globular star cluster M13, which is about 25,000 light years away — so don’t expect a response any time soon.In 1984, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) was established. The non-profit group is composed of scientists trying to find out if we really are alone in the universe.Since then, the challenge became not only finding aliens, but trying to overcome pop culture’s tendency to poke fun at the idea — with characters like Marvin the Martian, E.T., the film Men in Black and all of our favourite space sagas.But scientists may have won that battle, with about four out of five Canadians in a 2016 Angus Reid poll saying they believe in aliens.While some scientists focus their search for life on far-off stars and planets, the CIA and the Pentagon focus on events closer to home.They’ve studied what they call unexplained aerial phenomenon for decades, leading some conspiracy theorists to suspect that the U.S. is hiding UFOs and alien technology from the public in the Area 51 base in Nevada.The theories about Area 51 started in 1989 when a guy named Bob Lazar claimed he was a physicist who worked in the top secret base and saw alien technology. His claims have been disproven, but that hasn’t done much to stop conspiracy theorists and there’s even a Netflix documentary about his life.NASA’s latest find is exoplanet K2-18b, which orbits a red dwarf star in the constellation Leo, about 110 light years from Earth. Researchers say it is “the best candidate for habitability that we know right now.” It has water and the right temperature to support earth-like life — although the researchers stress it is not a second earth by any means.But, hey, if life is out there, somewhere, I’ve got two theories – aliens are either not evolved enough to find us or smart enough to know they’re better off staying that way.• Email: email@example.com | Twitter: The man behind ‘Storm Area 51’ reveals his identity, says viral Facebook page was just a joke ‘Storm Area 51’ creator pulls out of his own event, calling it Fyre Festival 2.0 Area 51 jokesters to direct thousands of followers to alien-themed event on Thursday to avoid mass arrests Janet, the mysterious airline that serves Area 51, is hiring. Applicants with top-secret clearance are preferred
Kenesha Antoine is mourning the loss of her boyfriend, who drowned while proposing to her in Tanzania.The American couple were vacationing in a submerged cabin, anchored in water more than 30 feet deep. On the third day, Steven Weber dived into the sea to ask Antoine to marry him.A heartbreaking video posted by Antoine on Facebook showed Weber, in goggles and flippers, swimming up to the window of their underwater room at the Manta Resort on Pemba Island, off Tanzania. He held a handwritten note against the cabin’s glass window.“I can’t hold my breath long enough to tell you everything I love about you. But … everything I love about you, I love more every day!” the sheet of paper, sealed in a zip-lock bag, read.Antoine watched him from inside, giggling and filming.Weber flipped over the page to show a new message, “Will you marry me?” Then he removed an engagement ring from his bathing-suit pocket.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Antoine squealed with glee as her boyfriend swam away from the window and out of view. Antoine was overwhelmed with joy. But Weber was soon in danger.According to the BBC, the hotel was notified of a “problem in the water.” By the time staff responded, hotel CEO Matthew Saus said “absolutely nothing could be done.”The Mantra Resort confirmed Weber’s death, which is under investigation by the Zanzibar police.In a Facebook post, Antoine wrote that Weber “never emerged from those depths.”“You never got to hear my answer, ‘Yes! Yes! A million times, yes’. We never got to embrace and celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives together, as the best day of our lives turned into the worst, in the cruelest twist of fate imaginable,” she said.“I will try to take solace in the fact that we enjoyed the most amazing bucket list experiences these past few days, and that we both were so happy and absolutely giddy with excitement in our final moments together.”
“Under the agreement, [Ugandan troops] are supposed to withdraw from the Congo,” the Secretary-General told reporters at UN Headquarters. “If indeed Uganda does withdraw and ends this engagement in the Congo and respects the spirit of the agreement, I think it will be fine.”Mr. Annan, who heard Uganda’s statement through the media, said he would need more specific details directly from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. The Lusaka accord was signed in July 1999 by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe and three rebel movements. It includes provisions on the normalization of the situation along the DRC’s border, the control of illicit trafficking of arms and the infiltration of armed groups; the holding of a national dialogue; the need to address security concerns; and the establishment of a mechanism for disarming militias and armed groups.
Ambassador William Lacy Swing will succeed William Eagleton as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) effective 1 December.”The Secretary-General expresses his deep appreciation for Mr. Eagleton’s contribution to the efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement in Western Sahara and wishes him well in his future endeavours,” spokesman Manoel Almeida said.Ambassador Swing has served in various posts in several African countries for the United States Government, most recently as the US representative to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Erick de Mul, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Angola, called for $46 million from donors to fund 11 priority projects. According to a statement issued by the UN office in the Angolan capital of Luanda, the death of UNITA rebel leader Jonas Savimbi has not meant the end of military operations in Angola. “Millions of vulnerable people are living in life-threatening conditions and more will be at serious risk if action is not taken immediately,” said Mr. de Mul. “Urgent funding is needed to ensure that life-saving assistance gets to people who need it without delay.”Unless the situation on the ground changes, humanitarian agencies in Angola estimate that approximately 300,000 more Angolans will become displaced over the next six months, bringing the total number of displaced people in the country to 4.6 million.This would increase the current emergency caseload by nearly 25 per cent, further taxing relief operations that Mr. de Mul’s office described as already “stretched to the limit.”
“The prestige and legitimacy of the Transitional Administration will depend on its ability to address effectively the most pressing security and recovery needs,” said Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “Should it fail, fragmentation will become more entrenched, extremism will rise, and then foreign countries, groups or individuals may be drawn once again into the fray, and the resumption of widespread violence will most likely ensue,” he warned. The envoy reported widespread dissatisfaction that it had not been possible to expand the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which currently operates only in and around the capital Kabul. At the same time, he cited “a growing realization that the efforts of the Afghans in the field of security need to be supported more directly.” Mr. Brahimi drew attention to the proliferation of violence in the country over the past few months, noting that the UN had itself been the direct target of three separate terrorist attacks. Tensions had been calming in recent days, he added, with the two main rival factions in the north – Jamiat and Jumbesh – agreeing to establish a joint force to tackle violence. The situation in the southeast has also stabilized, and the UN had resumed its operations there. On the subject of allegations of a mass grave near Dasht-e-Leily, he noted that following a mission to the area by UN human rights experts, the Transitional Administration and the Afghan Human Rights Commission had agreed that an investigation should now take place. Mr. Brahimi cautioned that “it will probably be possible to do the forensic part of the investigation [but] whether and when it will be possible to actually conclude the investigation is another matter.” Security, which was of paramount importance, could not be guaranteed at present. At the same time, Mr. Brahimi pointed to signs of progress in Afghanistan, where President Hamid Karzai sought to modernize the country, build on its rich Islamic heritage, and promote justice, human rights and prosperity. “These are noble and worthwhile objectives, but President Karzai knows better than anyone else that Afghanistan will not achieve these goals without committed, sustained and generous support from the international community.” Mr. Brahimi voiced hope that “donors have heard President Karzai’s urgent appeal,” calling attention to the need to fund job creation programmes, infrastructure development projects, education initiatives, and the creation of a new Afghan currency. “I hope that the international community will turn its undoubted commitment to Afghanistan into more forceful action,” he said.
The UN’s Geneva-based Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DRC, Iulia Motoc, welcomed the arrival of the first members of the multinational peace force that will be deployed in Bunia over the coming days in a bid to restore order after weeks of conflict among rival militias has claimed more than 400 lives.At the same time, she remained concerned about the fate of the civilian population – especially women and children – and the dramatic humanitarian situation which the civilians found themselves in throughout the whole district of Ituri as well as in volatile neighbouring areas in the north and south of Kivu. In a statement today, Ms. Motoc said that a lot of information concerning massive violations of human rights, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and even acts of genocide had been brought to her attention. And while she hoped to visit Ituri herself to follow-up on those reports, she vowed in the meantime that investigations would be undertaken to “determine the authors of these serious crimes and to bring them to justice.” The Special Rapporteur reiterated her call to the warring Hema and Lendu groups and their allies to end the conflict and to stop instigating ethnic hatred. She urged them to cooperate with the UN and the multinational force. “The only viable solution for this problem could not be reached by crimes or fighting, but by a political dialogue and respect for human rights,” she said.
Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the situation in Myanmar, has been invited by the Government to visit from 3 to 8 November.Mr. Pinheiro will present preliminary observations from his visit, as well as an interim report from July, to the General Assembly on 12 November.
“With team work, we can pull together and ensure the mission given to us by the international community is accomplished,” Ambassador Daudi Ngelautwa Mwakawago of Tanzania, who was appointed to the position last month, told reporters yesterday.He added that UN still has an important role to play in consolidating and sustaining peace in Sierra Leone, and pledged to address the sub-regional aspects of West Africa’s conflicts.The new envoy replaces Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji of Nigeria, who was named his country’s Foreign Minister in July 2003.
Rachel Mayanja, currently the Director of the Human Resources Management Division at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is slated to become Mr. Annan’s Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, moving back to the UN from the Rome job that she had held since July 2000. She succeeds Assistant-Secretary-General Angela King, who retired earlier this year.Ms. Mayanja, a national of Uganda, joined the UN shortly after the 1975 UN World Conference for Women. She holds law degrees from Makerere University in Uganda and Harvard Law School in the United States.The new Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator will be Margareta Wahlstrom. She most recently served as the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in charge of relief, reconstruction and development. From 2000 to 2002 Ms. Wahlstrom was a consultant on emergency response issues and strategic and organizational development.Ms. Wahlstrom, from Sweden, succeeds Carolyn McAskie, who is now Mr. Annan’s Special Representative for Burundi and chief of the UN Operation (ONUB) in the Central African nation. She holds a degree in Economic History, Social Anthropology and Political Science.
Co-authored by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in partnership with the private firms SustainAbility and Standard & Poor, the survey points out that despite an increasing demand by investors, analysts, lenders and insurers, only three of the “Top 50″ companies revealed their assessment of the key environmental and social risks in their reports this year.”Corporate governance is the hottest topic,” SustainAbility Chairman John Elkington said in a statement, “but recent scandals have meant most boards are focused on financial integrity issues – to the detriment of the bigger picture of non-financial risks and opportunities.”Describing efforts to ensure that leading companies integrate their reporting in ways that help investors and analysts as “a challenge,” he said he was hopeful that the next year “will see leadership companies setting new standards.”Despite minimal reporting by corporations, Monique Barbut, director of UNEP’s technology, industry and economics division, sounded optimistic, as well. “It’s striking that 47 out of 50 top reporters are using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines,” she said in a statement. “Without doubt, sustainability reporting is going mainstream.”
Reiterating its strong condemnation of recent terrorist incidents, from the deadly attacks which rocked London’s transport system to assassination of Egypt’s ambassador-designate in Iraq, the United Nations Security Council today urged all States to work together to bring to justice, extradite or prosecute, the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of acts of terrorism.“The Security Council reaffirms that terrorism…constitutes one of the most serious threats to global peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whomsoever committed,” said Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece, which holds the Council’s Presidency for the month of July, following an open briefing by the Chairmen of its three anti-terrorism committees.Reading out a statement at the close of the meeting, Ambassador Vassilakis said recent incidents highlighted the urgency and necessity of redoubling efforts to combat the scourge and reiterated the 15-nation body’s condemnation of the Al-Qaida network and other terrorist groups for ongoing and multiple criminal terrorist acts, aimed at causing death, destruction of property and undermining stability.The Council also expressed its “grave concern” at the risks posed by non-State actors who attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery.Ambassador Vassilakis also stressed the three different mandates of the Committees – dealing with, respectively, sanctions against Al-Qaida and the Taliban, counter-terrorism and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) – and reaffirmed the Council’s call for enhanced cooperation between the bodies and their respective experts in monitoring implementation of relevant Council resolutions.Ambassador César Mayoral of Argentina, Chairman of the Al-Qaida/Taliban sanctions committee said that, sadly, it seemed that whenever he briefed the Council, he had to start by mourning the losses caused by new heinous acts of terrorism. The attacks on London on 7 July had brought new evidence of the threat to peace and security caused by terrorist acts. He added that the world was faced with a threat from Al-Qaida that was radically different from the threat posed when the sanctions regime had first been imposed.It was believed that Al-Qaida terrorism now comprised three distinct but interlinked groups, namely, the old leadership whose names were well known, the fighters who had attended the camps in Afghanistan and had graduated as experienced terrorists, and a new and growing generation of supporters who might never have left their countries of residence but had embraced the core elements of the Al-Qaida message.The Committee was increasing its focus on the third group, and he encouraged the Council to make clear to Member States that the term “associate with” must cover such groups also to ensure that the sanctions regime adapted to new threats. The Council was currently considering a new resolution to further enhance the sanctions measures, providing the Council with an opportunity to strengthen a number of elements.Ellen Margrethe Løj of Denmark, Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), said the fact that the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) was not fully staffed had continued to have an impact on the Committee’s capacity to deliver an ambitious work programme. She expected the Directorate to be at full capacity before the end of the upcoming 90-day period.She said the CTC, through CTED, had conducted three visits to States, with their consent – Kenya, Albania and Thailand. The visits had provided the Committee with a more thorough understanding of the situation in those countries, as well as further insight into what difficulties States might face while seeking to ensure full implementation. Proper follow-up to those visits was important, and the CTC was committed to ensuring that technical assistance needs identified during the visits were met.Ambassador Mihnea Ioan Motoc of Romania, Chairman of the Committee dealing with weapons of mass destruction, said the panel had already examined more than 50 national reports and was confident that the goal of completing the examination of first-round country reports could be attained by October 2005.As of today, 118 States had submitted reports to the Committee. The majority of Member States had presented information about their domestic non-proliferation provisions, including their contributions to international cooperation in the field. However, 74 Member States had yet to report, and he called on those who had not yet done so to submit reports without delay.
Giving a balance sheet of operations in the first month since the 8 October disaster, OCHA cited on the health front the prevention of epidemic outbreaks of major communicable diseases as a big achievement, with 300,000 children vaccinated against measles so far.Among other recent achievements, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has helped fix the Muzaffarabad water supply system, which serves more than 200,000 people and is now 90 per cent restored. UNICEF has also provided more than 1 million packets of chlorine to rural populations, while the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has donated more than 8,300 tons of high-energy biscuits.On education, UNICEF has delivered 300 ‘school-in-a-box’ kits and worked with partners to establish 36 tent schools.Bearing in mind the lack of funding for the flash appeal – with only $133 million of the $550 million sought so far contributed or pledged – the UN and its partners have decided to target up to 200,000 people living in high altitude valleys above the snowline who may become inaccessible within the next four weeks, as well as an estimated 150,000 people who may choose to move down to the lower valleys.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today that it would be providing half a million blankets and over 20,000 family tents from its global stocks, but the Pakistani Government says more than 241,000 tents are needed together with 3.8 million blankets – or two per head.”We are continuing to look for additional sources of supplies, but our efforts are still hobbled by a lack of funds,” agency spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva.Meanwhile, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) warned that with some 17,000 quake-affected women expected to give birth in the next two months, 1,200 will face major complications and about 400 require surgical assistance.To help local authorities address this situation, UNFPA is providing clean delivery kits, caesarean section kits, emergency supplies and much-needed surgical equipment to health centres and referral facilities.
Milan Babic, who had testified in former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic’s case in 2002, was found dead in his cell yesterday afternoon in the UN Detention Unit in Scheveningen, the Netherlands, where he was preparing to testify in the trial of another Serb leader, Milan Martic, a UN spokesperson said today.In June 2004, three justices of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), sitting in The Hague, sentenced Mr. Babic to even more time than the 11 years prosecutors requested following a plea bargain because of what they called the gravity of the crimes that had occurred in the Krajina region of Croatia from 1991 to 1992.As part of a the bargain, Mr. Babic, then 48, had pleaded guilty to being a co-perpetrator in a joint criminal enterprise to forcibly and permanently remove Croats and other non-Serbs during his stint as president of the self-declared Republic of Serbian Krajina (RSK).Presiding Judge Alphons Orie of the Netherlands said Mr. Babic participated in a campaign of persecution that “involved the murder of more than 200 civilians, including women and elderly persons, the confinement and imprisonment of several hundred civilians in inhumane conditions, the forcible transfer or deportation of thousands of civilians, and the destruction of homes and public or private property.”He added: “The crime, which was characterized by ruthlessness and savagery and was committed with the intent to discriminate against non-Serb civilians, strongly impacted on victims and their relatives. Their suffering is still significant.”The Tribunal President, Judge Fausto Pocar, has ordered an internal inquiry into Mr. Babic’s death.
“We are deeply concerned about the widespread violence that has continued to spiral for the last six months in the Thandaung and Papun townships of Karen state as well as Kyaukgyi and Shwegyin townships of Pegu Division,” the six experts said in a joint statement issued in Geneva.“The military allegedly acted with excessive use of force and fire arms. Homes were demolished and according to reports, residents have been offered neither alternative housing nor any form of compensation. Other reports from various sources corroborate very serious allegations of unlawful killings, torture, rape and forced labour,” they added.They voiced alarm over the state of destitution in which many displaced persons were forced to live, citing obstructed access to food, education, housing and health services. “We deplore the violence against unarmed civilians by the Myanmar military and call for action to ensure no further excessive use of force is employed against persons belonging to any community in Myanmar,” they said.“We remind the Government and non-State armed groups of their obligation to protect civilians from the effects of armed conflict and that the current government strategy of targeting civilians in the course of its military operations represents a wilful abrogation of its responsibility under international humanitarian and human rights law.”The experts are the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro; the Independent Expert on minority issues, Gay McDougall; the Special Rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak; the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Miloon Kothari; the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler; and the Special Rapporteur on the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Paul Hunt.Special Rapporteurs are unpaid experts serving in an independent personal capacity who received their mandate from the now defunct UN Commission on Human Rights and will report to the newly established and enhanced Human Rights Council.
Citing “factors of instability” that remain in Burundi despite democratization and ongoing negotiations with the last major rebel group outside the country’s peace process, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission there for six months until 31 December 2006.Through a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body also welcomed the stated intention of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to establish a UN office to replace the mission by the end of the six-month period.By the same action, the Council also extended until 30 September Mr. Annan’s authority to temporarily redeploy a maximum of one infantry battalion, a military hospital and 50 military observers from ONUB to the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).In a December resolution extending ONUB’s mandate, the Council had first authorized redeployment of personnel between the two missions to bolster MONUC during the DRC election process and as a step toward draw-down of the Burundi force after last year’s successful elections, as the small African country emerges from its 12-year civil war.
A Jordanian who has championed intercultural dialogue and a Bulgarian who has contributed to a better understanding of today’s Arab thought and culture, will both be awarded the Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture this year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said today.University of Sofia professor Yordan Peev’s life-long dedication to understanding the contemporary Muslim world has contributed to a better understanding of today’s Arab thought and culture through teachings and lectures in Europe and several Arab states, UNESCO said. From his comparative analysis of Muslim and Christian religious systems to his studies ranging from Bulgarian Muslims to the medieval Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun, Dr. Peev has treated with discernment current principal problems of intercultural communication.Jordan’s Jamal Al-Shalabi, a professor at Hashemite University, has been strongly committed to promoting intercultural dialogue through his academic work, which focuses on the evolution of policies of the Arab states in relation to Europe, UNESCO said. Dr. Al-Shalabi has also contributed to a greater mutual understanding between Arab and Christian worlds in his books, articles and meetings, raising issues pertaining to Muslim-Christian relations.A monetary prize of $25,000 each and the awards will be given on 9 November by UNESCO’s Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura in a ceremony in Paris.The Sharjah award was created by the Executive Board of UNESCO with funds provided by the Sharjah Government in the United Arab Emirates in 1998 to honour individuals or groups that have contributed in a significant way to the development, dissemination and promotion of Arab culture in the world, as well as to the preservation of Arab cultural heritage.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email NEW YORK, N.Y. – Standard & Poor’s says the United Kingdom will keep its top “AAA” credit grade.The rating agency late Friday affirmed its “AAA” long-term rating for the country, the same day as the Olympics got under way in London.The U.K. economy slipped into a recession earlier this year, putting pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron and his government’s efforts to cut spending and balance budgets. S&P said it expects the economy to recover in the second half of this year and that the government will keep budgets tight.Last week, the International Monetary Fund said Cameron’s government may have to ease up on budget cutting if the economy continues to struggle.S&P said it expects the Bank of England to keep interest rates low to help the economy. by News Staff Posted Jul 27, 2012 6:57 pm MDT Rating agency Standard & Poor’s says the UK remains ‘AAA;’ economy should recover in 2012
New Brunswick premier promises to deliver shale gas blueprint in this session FREDERICTON – New Brunswick Premier David Alward is promising to deliver a blueprint this fall that will lay out how his government plans to proceed with shale gas development, an issue that has triggered roars of protests for months.Alward made the commitment in his throne speech Thursday to kick off the fall legislative session, just as supporters and opponents of the shale gas industry rallied outside the provincial legislature.He said the oil and natural gas blueprint will ensure a regulatory system is in place that includes adequate monitoring and enforcement before the province allows the industry to grow.“Those are all things that we need to address to ensure that if we are able to develop natural gas in the future that we are going to have as big a benefit as we possibly can for New Brunswickers,” Alward told a news conference before Lt.-Gov. Graydon Nicholas delivered the speech.The possibility of shale gas development brings the promise of jobs and could be an economic boon at a time when the Progressive Conservative government grapples with a $10 billion debt, a $356 million deficit and an unemployment rate of 11.6 per cent — the province’s highest in nearly a decade.As the speech was delivered, outside a large crowd of people — both for and against shale gas development — marched on the front lawn of the legislature.“New Brunswickers have not given consent to moving forward with a shale gas industry,” said Mark Darcy.“More than 20,000 New Brunswickers signed a petition a year ago, and we’re still waiting for government to have public consultation before moving ahead with the industry.”But Lynn Farmakoulis said the province needs the shale gas industry if it is to get out of its financial mess.“I think it’s time we develop our resources and use them,” Farmakoulis said.“We have people who are working in oil and gas out west and I think we have a responsibility to look at this very seriously.”Following the speech, Liberal Leader Brian Gallant repeated his party’s call for a moratorium on shale gas development until more research is done to protect the environment.“New Brunswickers have a lot of questions that have yet to be answered and they are good questions,” Gallant said.“Developing our economy is a priority, but so is our drinking water.”Alward also used the throne speech to encourage NB Power to seek all avenues — including a possible lawsuit — in efforts to recoup the $1 billion in cost overruns for the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant.“If a lawsuit is something that makes sense, then that should be one of the options that is evaluated,” he said.The idea has been floated before by Alward and the previous Liberal government under Shawn Graham, but it has so far gone nowhere.Point Lepreau returned to commercial service on Friday, more than three years after the project was supposed to be complete.Alward also promised in the throne speech to strike a ministerial committee on jobs and the economy.NDP Leader Dominic Cardy was critical of that announcement, saying the cabinet should be setting the agenda for job creation, not creating a committee to do it.“It’s as though this government is a spectator at a NASCAR race rather than realizing it’s their job to be in the driver’s seat and take the province in a different direction,” Cardy said.Gallant also called on the government to stop consulting and start making decisions on job creation.“It’s great to talk about plans, committees and studies, but at the end of the day we have to start creating jobs for New Brunswickers,” he said.Alward said he also wants to introduce efforts aimed at boosting the number of people moving into New Brunswick, as well as increasing the value of commercial exports leaving the province.The throne speech made no mention of a catastrophic drug plan and the government’s plans to balance the books by 2014, both of which were key promises the Tories made during the 2010 election.Alward said his priority is dealing with the fiscal realities of today.“Right now, we are focused on the work we need to do with this fiscal year and then to be able to build a budget for next year,” he said.The government also said it will deliver a three-year capital budget during this session and a five-year health plan next year. It also promised to consider recommendations of a committee that reviewed the Official Languages Act and introduce legislation next year. by Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press Posted Nov 27, 2012 4:56 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Getting online may be easy and cheap, but many small businesses still skip the website NEW YORK, N.Y. – It’s cheap. It’s easy to do. And it can take less than 20 minutes to set up. Yet more than half of all small businesses still don’t have a website.“It’s just ridiculous,” says Jim Blasingame, a small business author and radio show host. “Every small business needs a website. Period. Nonnegotiable.”Small businesses that don’t have one say they don’t have the time, think it will cost too much or don’t want the rush of orders that comes with being online. But entrepreneurs that have jumped to the digital side say their websites have boosted sales, cut down on time-consuming phone calls and brought more people into their stores.But not everyone wants that.Steve Love has never had a website for the handmade sausage and meat business he’s owned since 1988. He says a website for LoveLand Farms would boost sales and he doesn’t have any more farmland to raise hogs and Black Angus cattle.“I don’t want it to grow,” says Love, who sells his goods at a farmers’ market in Bloomington, Indiana, and a store in another town that’s open once a week. “I’m already maxed out. I’m scared it would blow up on me.”But customers expect one. When they ask him at the farmers’ market if he has a website, he hands them a card with his phone number and a map to his shop called the Sausage Shack in Nashville, Indiana. He has no plans to start a website anytime soon. But it could happen in the future if his kids want to take over and grow the business.“I wouldn’t say never,” says Love.Some owners simply say they have no time.Bill Peatman, who writes blog posts, emails and other content for websites for his corporate clients, doesn’t have one for his own business.“I’ve just been too busy,” says Peatman, who started his Napa, California, business over a year ago. “I haven’t come up with a plan with what I want to do.”He knows he needs one. “People don’t think you exist,” he says. “I want to grow. I want to build my own reputation and brand.”He recently bought a domain name. And he plans to hire someone to build the site, but he thinks it will take him a few more months to get to it.“At the way I move,” says Peatman, “about six months.”Fifty-five per cent of small businesses don’t have a website, according to a 2013 survey of more than 3,800 small businesses conducted by Internet search company Google and research company Ipsos. That’s a slight improvement from the year before, when 58 per cent said they didn’t have a website.Small business owners who want to start a website have lots of options that make it easier than in the past. Companies such as Wix.com, Google, SquareSpace.com and Weebly.com require no coding or technical skills. Users can choose a template, drag in photos and paste in words.And with more people searching for businesses online and on their smartphones, companies without a site may be missing out on extra business.“You might as well be a ghost,” says Blasingame, who hosts “The Small Business Advocate,” an online and nationally syndicated radio show. “The customers and opportunity pass right through you.”Sales at Bad Pickle Tees have doubled since Cyndi Grasman began selling her quirky food-related T-shirts online a year ago. She started the business in 2012, selling shirts with sayings like “Oh Kale Yeah!” and “I Heart Bacon” at food festivals. She launched the site using website publishing company Weebly, paying $250 a year.“I’m reaching a larger audience,” she says.Marilyn Caskey says her website has cut down on time-consuming phone calls with customers. The owner of The Garment Exchange launched a website for her San Antonio consignment shop two years ago using a Google program. The store, which she opened in 2008, used to get calls all the time asking which clothing designers the shop resells.“I’ll be trying to ring up a sale and someone would call,” says Caskey, who would read through a list to the caller of all the designers the store does and doesn’t buy. “Now we refer them to the website.”Amy Gilson hopes to be able to do that soon.She hired a company to build a website for her Oklahoma City snack food business Healthy Cravings. She is paying $4,500 for it, but she hasn’t been able to find the time to take photos and give them other information needed to finish. All customers see on EatHealthyCravings.com is a message that the site is coming soon.“Right now, I do everything,” says Gilson. “I am the accountant, the marketer, the salesman.”When she sells Healthy Cravings’ zucchini brownie bites or chia cookies at farmers’ markets, shoppers ask about a website. One customer, who was looking for the fat content of the snacks, took to Healthy Cravings’ Facebook page to ask if it had a website with more information.“I can’t wait for my website,” says Gilson, who also plans to sell treats from the site. “I can just send them there.”_____Follow Joseph Pisani on Twitter at https://twitter.com/josephpisani by Joseph Pisani, The Associated Press Posted Jun 4, 2014 12:44 pm MDT