Well-known, former Chronicle Herald columnist Marilla Stephenson is joining the Office of Planning and Priorities to support the work of the oneNS Coalition. “It’s not often that you have an opportunity to bring someone on with the breadth of skills, and level of experience and passion that Marilla Stephenson brings,” said Bernie Miller, deputy minister, Office of Planning and Priorities. “She holds extensive knowledge about the issues affecting our province, and understands better than most the importance of working collaboratively to address them. We are very pleased she will be joining our team.” The oneNS Coalition is a 15-member volunteer committee with representation from the private, public, post-secondary, and non-profit sectors. It is actively working to foster broad-based, collective action in response to the oneNS Commission (Ivany) report and develop a 10-year strategic plan to meet its goals. This work is aimed at building a better future for Nova Scotia by addressing key economic and demographic challenges. A critical part of the work involves outreach to stakeholders, coming to common agreement on the issues and their solutions, and working in a co-ordinated, collective fashion to address them. Ms. Stephenson will support the work of the oneNS Coalition on an 18-month personal services contract. She will be involved primarily in strategic planning, increased efforts to reach out to and work closely with stakeholders, and work to move the project forward.
Rabat – The reliability test “is one more step in the start-up of the facility, which is nearing commercial operation and final delivery to the client,” Sener wrote in a statement on November 7.On September 26, Sener announced it would start final testing of Morocco’s Noor III solar power plant in Ouarzazate to prepare for commercial operation.Sener completed the first synchronization of the Noor III plant to the Moroccan grid in August. The company is expecting to deliver the plant by the end of 2018.“With this reliability test, which ran for ten straight days, Noor Ouarzazate III has demonstrated its ability to output its rated power to the grid under changing weather conditions, and even after sunset,” wrote Sener.The plant’s central receiver with a molten salt storage system will enable Noor III to produce electricity without sunlight for 7.5 hours.Read also: Sener to Soon Connect Morocco’s Noor Solar Power Plant III to GridAccording to Sener, the plant added over 13.2 gigawatts to the grid during the 10-day test.The plant will be able to supply enough electricity for 120,000 households and save 130,000 tons of CO2 per year.Noor III is a 150 megawatt thermal tower plant which spans 750 hectares and is expected to supply 500 gigawatt hours per year.The Noor III plant is part of the Noor project in the Sahara desert, 10 kilometers northeast of Ouarzazate, in central Morocco.“Once operational, it will mark a turning point in the [solar power station] (CSP) sector worldwide,” said Anas Raisuni, Sener’s regional managing director in Morocco.The Noor project has three phases and four parts: Noor I, Noor II, Noor III, and Noor IV. Noor CSP plants can store solar energy in the form of heated molten salt, allowing the plants to produce electricity into the night.The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) has been managing the solar complex project along with ACWA Power, as part of Morocco’s Noor Solar Plan, the leading solar energy project in the MENA region.Read also: King Mohammed VI’s Renewable Energy Goals Reached Within DeadlineSener was founded in 1956 and has more than 2,500 professionals in its centers in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa.Sener has been involved in 29 solar plants in Spain, the US, South Africa, and Morocco. Sener’s solar plants have an installed capacity of more than 2,000 megawatts and save more than 1 million tons of CO2 emissions a year.In 2017, the group’s operating revenue exceeded €766 million.
31 May 2011The United Nations today urged governments to drastically step up their efforts to curb the use of tobacco, stressing that policy-makers already have the tools they need to combat consumption of a drug that kills nearly 6 million people worldwide every year. Marking World No Tobacco Day, the UN called on all countries to sign up to the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which has accumulated 173 States Parties since it was opened for signature in 2003.The United States, Indonesia, Argentina and Ethiopia are among the few remaining countries not to have become States Parties to the treaty, which spells out a series of measures aimed at reducing use of tobacco control, such as restrictions on sales to minors, the introduction of taxes on cigarettes to reduce demand, and the implementation of comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising.“We have the treaty. It’s effective. Let’s use it,” Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, told the UN News Centre. “The measures are not expensive. All we need is political will.”Dr. Bettcher said too many countries were lagging in their commitments to eliminate all forms of tobacco advertising or to ban smoking in workplaces and public spaces.“That means no designated smoking areas, no carve-out areas for people to smoke.”While there are no formal international guidelines in place yet on the appropriate level of taxes on cigarette packets, Dr. Bettcher said WHO has established a yardstick that such taxes should comprise at least 70 per cent of the eventual retail price.This year’s Day is being celebrated less than four months before world leaders hold a high-level meeting at UN Headquarters in New York in September on non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease – many of which are caused by tobacco use.“What we start on 31 May we need to continue for the rest of the year,” Dr. Bettcher said.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his message to mark the Day, noted the myriad health problems and costs associated with smoking and said that “tobacco use makes us poorer – in health and economic terms.”Tobacco is estimated to have killed about 100 million people last century and could kill as many as 1 billion more this century unless action is taken.
Explosions at Ukrainian transmission towers leave most of Crimea without electricity by The Associated Press Posted Nov 22, 2015 7:09 am MDT Last Updated Nov 22, 2015 at 10:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email A damaged transmission tower lays in the foreground close to the village of Chaplinka on the Crimean border Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. Russia’s Energy Ministry says nearly 2 million people on the Crimean Peninsula are without electricity after two transmission towers in Ukraine were damaged by explosions. (AP Photo/str) MOSCOW – Two electricity transmission towers in Ukraine were damaged by explosions, leaving most of the nearly 2 million people on the disputed Crimean Peninsula without power on Sunday, the Russian Energy Ministry said.Crimea was annexed by Russia last year but depends on Ukraine for most of its electricity supplies.Two of the four transmission towers in Kherson, Ukraine, were damaged on Friday. Ukrainian activists calling for an economic blockade of the Black Sea peninsula tried to prevent repair works on Saturday, but retreated after clashes with police.Around midnight, explosions hit the two other transmission towers, Ukrainian police said. They said it was not immediately clear who was responsible.Russia’s Energy Ministry said that by Sunday afternoon electricity supplies had been restored to more than a quarter of the population, largely in the major cities, through the use of mobile gas turbine generators.The Crimean government said it would introduce schedules for supplying electricity and water to households due to the shortage of power-generating capacity. Few buildings in Russia and Ukraine have electrical heat.Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is based in Crimea, was not affected by the power outage, the Interfax news agency reported, citing a fleet spokesman.
Condemning the attack on Kitaf District in northern Sa’ada Governorate – and intensified fighting in Taizz city in the south-west of the country that shut another hospital at the weekend, Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said that it was “unconscionable” that facilities were being destroyed “just when people need them the most”.She added: “Cholera is starting to spread like wildfire across the country. In the past three months, we’ve seen 200 deaths and more than 110,000 suspected cases.”The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), meanwhile, said on Wednesday that colleagues in Yemen were preparing to investigate the Sa’ada airstrike to verify the number of civilian casualties.Up to 14 March this year, OHCHR has verified the deaths of 7,072 civilians, since March 2015, and 11,205 have been injured. The real toll is likely far higher.According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), at least two people were killed and five injured during clashes in Taizz’s Al Mudhaffer district.“International humanitarian law is unequivocal on this point,” Ms. Grande insisted. “Parties which resort to arms are required to do everything possible to protect hospitals and health facilities. This is not a voluntary commitment—it is a fundamental responsibility.”Health teams ‘working day and night’ to stop cholera resurgenceAlthough the current cholera and diarrhoea outbreak is smaller than two years ago, when more than one million cases were reported, there are serious concerns that the coming rains and lack of basic healthcare facilities could spark a huge rise in infection levels.Nearly one third of the reported cases are children under-five, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned.“Our teams in Yemen are working day and night with a wide network of local partners to respond and stop the further spread and transmission of the diseases,” WHO said in a joint statement with UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “We fear that the number of suspected cholera cases will continue to increase with the early arrival of the rainy season and as basic services, including lifesaving water systems and networks, have collapsed.”Numerous problems have exacerbated the risk of a massive outbreak, including poor sewage disposal systems, the use of contaminated water for agriculture, unreliable electricity to store food and escalating violence in Hudaydah and Taizz, forcing families to flee their homes.More than four years since fighting escalated in Yemen between supporters of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Houthi opposition groups, Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the UN says.In a recent appeal for help from international donors to save millions from starvation, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned of an “overwhelming humanitarian calamity”.Some 360,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, Mr. Guterres told Member States last month, before citing one credible report that more than 80,000 children under five had died of starvation.According to OCHA, nearly 80 per cent of the total population – 24.1 million people – require some form of humanitarian assistance and protection. Ten million people are a step away from famine and starvation and seven million are malnourished, it said in a statement.To date, the $4.2 billion 2019 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan (YHRP) is only five per cent funded.
Brock University climate change researchers are among dozens of experts contributing to a national report, Acting on Climate Change: Extending the Dialogue Among Canadians, released in Toronto Oct. 8.Biologists Liette Vasseur and Gary Pickering co-authored a paper, “Feeding the Social Animal: How to Engage Canadians in Climate Change Mitigation,” which is included in the national report.The Brock Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) paper explores a wide range of beliefs and attitudes about climate change.These include: an excessive trust that technology will solve all problems associated with climate change; the belief that climate change is a natural phenomenon not caused by human activity; and a fear of “looking foolish” by being the only ones to take pro-environment actions.“Climate change psychology answers some baseline questions from which the ‘what to do’ will follow,” said Pickering. “Understanding the specific psycho-social barriers that prevent individuals from fully engaging in pro-environmental behaviour is critical to determining how best to mobilize Canadians toward climate change mitigation and adaptation.”Thursday’s report builds on an earlier climate action report – dubbed Canada’s “Marshall Plan” for climate change – produced by the Sustainable Canada Dialogues network of more than 60 scholars from over 30 universities across the country. “The main goal of the report and the current Sustainability Dialogue movement is to encourage people from different disciplines to talk about the ‘elephant in the room,’ which is climate change,” said Vasseur. “People have to face the reality not only for themselves but for their children and grandchildren.”“We hope this new report will help lay the foundation for a country-wide consultation on socially acceptable ways to transition to a low-carbon society and economy, beginning immediately,” said Taysha Palmer, a graduate student in Brock’s Sustainability Science and Society program and a co-author on Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall IrelandLEO VARADKAR UNVEILED 80 new high-tech, Wi-Fi-enabled buses at Dublin Bus headquarters today.And fulfilled his childhood dream of driving the Big Red Fun Bus.Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall IrelandHe also tried out the cheap seats.Image: Colm Mahady/FennellsNow, to the comments section you must go…the best of the publishable ones will get a mention in tonight’s Fix.
Woodland — The Woodland Community Swimming Pool Committee will hold an open house on the proposed Woodland YMCA from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Woodland High School, 1500 Dike Access Road, Woodland.Bob Hall, president and CEO of the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette, will be in attendance along with members of the committee to answer questions and go over revised plans for the site.In November, Woodland residents voted against allowing the committee to issue $7,990,000 of general obligation bonds to build a pool and recreation facility. The committee teamed up with the YMCA on the project and secured space at the former Lakeside Motel property. The bond was going to pay for an estimated 49 percent of the facility. The bond vote failed with 53.41 percent voting against.The committee is moving ahead on the project, and expects to start demolishing the hotel on May 23.
A federal study on the health of the nation’s defense industrial base which is nearly ready for release will focus on near-term interventions needed to ensure military production could be rapidly scaled up in the event of a crisis, rather than more far-reaching changes that would address the nation’s loss of dominance in a variety of high-tech fields. Shortcomings that could leave the military vulnerable if war were to break out include aging facilities, dependence on a single depot to manufacture cannons for the Army’s armored vehicles, a reliance on imports for critical materials, including from adversaries such as China and Russia, and the lack of critical machine tooling in the United States.Those shortcomings represent single points of failure in the nation’s defense industrial base, reports Breaking Defense. And rather than focusing on prime contractors, the study will zero in on potential shortfalls in the supply chain involving second-, third- and fourth-tier subcontractors. The study is almost completed but it is not expected to be released immediately as officials first will brief lawmakers on its findings.A separate study under way by the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School will take a broader look at the nation’s industrial base policy and include recommendations for the Pentagon to foster innovation.Army photo by David Vergun Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Stay on target Robot Dog Astro Can Sit, Lie Down, and Save LivesYou Can’t Squish This Cockroach-Inspired Robot Prosthetic limb users may have a bright future to look forward to, in terms of new technology that can and will help them adapt to the challenges of using the tools. AS it turns out, according to Tech Xplore, the scientists at Imperial College London and the University of Gottingen have successfully utilized machine learning to help improve the performance of prosthetic hands.The team tested their prototypes on five amputees, and found that the new form of machine learning-based control was actually more adept at providing natural movements than what’s currently available to users at this time. This research and its related findings, could potentially help to spark a “new generation of prosthetic limbs,” according to the researchers.Professor Dario Farina, who authored the research paper from Imperial College London’s Department of Bioengineering, stated that the main goal when designing “bionic” prosthetic limbs is to let patients control them as naturally as possible, as if they were actually their natural limbs, and this new machine-learning technology helps achieve that state as closely as possible, right now.The new bionic hand that’s being worked on relies on a human-machine interface that actually helps interpret the user’s intentions and sends various commands to the artificial limb, as you can see demonstrated in the video below. It’s hooked up to the patient’s stump via electrodes, which amplifies the patient’s signals and sends them to a computer. You can see how naturally and smoothly the hand works on the left, compared to the stilted motions of the limb on the right.This kind of control allowed patients to more easily rotate their wrist and open their hands simultaneously or separately, and the movements, in general, were more natural than the limbs they had been using previously. These advances are certainly an excellent step forward for ensuring the improvement of lives affected by amputation or missing limbs, and hopefully, the technology will simply continue getting even better from here.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 4 min read June 15, 2017 Register Now » A Chatbot Bot maker is an answer to many of the past year’s exponential growth in messaging apps over social media apps. There are lots of great free chatbot tools to make it easy to get started. Those who choose not to utilize it will be falling behind the technology growth, most likely regretting the decision they have made and later jumping on the chatbot bandwagon. Since consumer behavior has recently shifted from social apps to messaging apps, chatbot marketing seems like the most natural transition away from traditional social media marketing. Retailers and brands alike are scrambling to integrate this new marketing strategy into their processes, leading us to believe this explosion of chatbots is on to something: money.But who am I to tell all this? With the upsurge of chatbot mania in April of last year, (Facebook then announcing that it will now have Facebook Messenger bots with such partnerships as CNN and 1-800-Flowers) so have risen many chatbot marketing experts. Some are chatbot creators, while others are evangelists. All things aside, they preach a similar message, praising the upsides of chatbot marketing. They are definitely people to know and learn from.Here is a list of five top bot maker experts you should hear keynote:1. Murray NewlandsMurray Newlands is at the top of our list, and not just because he received his green card as an “alien with extraordinary abilities”, which, hey, we think is an awesome feat. He is an entrepreneur for a number of successful companies such as sighted.com, an online invoicing company based in San Francisco, CA. His latest foray is now in the world of chatbot marketing as the founder of ChattyPeople, a Facebook commerce solution with a messenger bot without coding. He knows the value of chatbot marketing and what it can do for your company.Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your Business2. Dharmesh ShahDharmesh Shah is the CTO and co-founder of Hubspot. In addition to co-authoring “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs”, Dharmesh founded and writes for OnStartups.com. He is also an angel investor, so he is probably a good person to pitch your next chatbot idea to.Related: How to Create a Facebook Messenger Chatbot For Free Without Coding3. Dion HinchcliffeDion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized thought leader, business strategist, enterprise architect, book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, and more. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in social business, Enterprise 2.0, and enterprise IT. Currently, he is the Chief Strategy Officer of 7Summits. As a digital leader, he has become a well-known chatbot evangelist. In his #H2HChat with Bryan Kramer, he goes in depth as to how chatbots and artificial intelligence are evolving the social experience.Related: Make Chats With Chatbots Work4. Larry EllisonLarry Ellison is the founder of Oracle. He was the CEO of the company until about two years ago and is now Oracle’s Executive Chairman and CTO. Last year, he kicked off the Oracle’s massive tech conference in San Francisco, CA, demonstrating a new chatbot service on Oracle’s cloud. The most noteworthy of the keynote was a joke made about his salary as he demonstrated ordering business cards with his newly debuted chatbot. Using an iPad, he asked an Oracle app called iProcurment to “order cards.” The chat bot then proceeded to show him his last order and then said, “Hmm… It looks like your title has changed since your last order.” All jokes aside, Larry is still top dog in our book and his knowledge of the future of chatbots and their effect on marketing carries some weight.Related: The How-To: Using Chatbots As A Tool For Customer Service5. Adelyn Zhou and Marlene JiaLast but not least, what is turning out to be a heavily male-oriented list, is rounded out with two of the top chatbot experts, Adelyn Zhou and Marlene Jia. Both of these ladies are part of the leadership team of Topbots, a company that offers growth marketing services to help your customers discover and engage with your chatbots. They both also co-authored a book called Chatbots , which is available for pre-order on their site or via Amazon.New to the world of chatbot marketing? Let these experts be your guide. With a little research, you are sure to be an expert in no time. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he’s not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer. by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeKelley Blue Book5 Mid-engine Corvettes That Weren’tKelley Blue BookUndoMayo ClinicManaging psoriatic arthritis painMayo ClinicUndoVerizon WirelessThis new phone will blow your mind.Verizon WirelessUndoTODAYPolice Identify Girl Licking Ice Cream Tub In Viral VideoTODAYUndoMy Food and FamilyHealthy, Homemade Drunken Thai Noodles In Just 20 MinutesMy Food and FamilyUndo247 SportsRanking The Highest-Paid NBA Players In 2019247 SportsUndoAdvertisement Author Bio Phillip Tracy, Phillip Tracy, Foldable screen concepts have floated around electronics shows for years, mesmerizing attendees and promising a future in which TVs roll away and smartphones fold into our pockets.The latter use has seen the most coverage lately, as smartphone makers like Samsung race to push out the first foldable phone. But as the Korean giant fumbled the snap with the Galaxy Fold, an unexpected visitor arrived to reassure early adopters that folding devices are more than just a gimmick.That surprise appearance came from laptop giant Lenovo, and the foldable laptop it teased is more than just a concept. Rather, Lenovo’s foldable device will be the newest addition to the flagship ThinkPad X1 series, which brought us the X1 Carbon and X1 Extreme, two of our favorite laptops.Early impressions of the device have been largely positive. Our own Editor-in-Chief, Mark Spoonauer, was impressed with the durability of the ThinkPad X1 foldable concept, and believes it will be popular among early adopters. But there remains a lot of uncertainty about the laptop – not only in terms of pricing and availability, but also regarding how consumers will react to the new form factor.Pricing will be keyI spoke to several analysts to get a better idea of how the foldable ThinkPad will impact the laptop market.The consensus is that pricing will be a major determining factor in the laptop’s success. However, even if the foldable notebook is more affordable than expected, laptops with flexible displays aren’t expected to pose a serious threat to traditional clamshell laptops for the next few years.MORE: Lenovo Just Unveiled World’s First Foldable PC, and I Tried It”The foldable notebook (as well as the imminent dual-screen notebook) phenomenon is currently a solution in search of a problem, which is to say it’s a very cool concept, but unlikely to move the market needle much in the beginning,” Linn Huang, research director at IDC, wrote in an email. “For starters, the price gap necessitated by a foldable panel will likely keep these products in the premium end of the premium end.”First-generation growing painsWhile we don’t know for sure how many units the company plans on producing, the foldable ThinkPad is expected to ship in small quantities.”You’re going to have to give it at least two generations, so we’re really talking 2022, 2023, before you should start to see things show up in quantities that would start to impact consumer markets,” Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, told Laptop Mag.As an early adopter of flexible-display technology, Lenovo will face a number of technical roadblocks that haven’t been solved by other vendors. Those difficulties were put on full display last month when numerous reports surfaced claiming that the Samsung Galaxy Fold displays were breaking and malfunctioning. Things got so bad that Samsung was forced to delay the Fold launch and make last-minute changes to the design of its screen.MORE: Lenovo Designs the Weirdest Foldable Phone YetOnce Lenovo solves the technical issues that plagued other foldable devices, the company will still need to focus on software. In a brief demo, Lenovo showed how a user could fold the laptop, then write in a Word document on one half of the display and browse the web on the other half of it. While Windows worked well in this control demonstration, it will be crucial that programs and apps are optimized to run on the foldable screen.”The question is, will the software and ecosystem produce enough compelling usage scenarios to drive actual sales?” Huang said. “I’m a bit more dubious about this, at least right at launch. I do believe that this category will be carried in the beginning by the likes of current and aspiring creative professionals as well as prosumers.”Why the Foldable ThinkPad isn’t the Galaxy FoldDespite these potential barriers, analysts believe the foldable ThinkPad is better positioned than the Galaxy Fold. One advantage Lenovo has on Samsung and other companies set to release foldable devices is that the ThinkPad will be targeted at businesses, which should push it further from the scrutiny of the public eye.”I think it’s even better that it’s a commercial product because it’s going to be a lot easier to find partners who are willing to think a little different and work with somebody like Lenovo to see what they can do with a product like that,” Baker said.Mikako Kitagawa, a senior principal analyst at Gartner, agrees that Lenovo is taking the right approach by going after business professionals. “Lenovo has foldable on ThinkPad, which means that they are targeting [the] business market,” Kitagawa said. “Consumers do not carry [a] laptop with them, but business users do.”No reward without riskWhether it’s a commercial success or not, Lenovo is showing that it’s willing to take risks and be the first to market, a refreshing mindset that analysts believe will eventually be rewarded.”I think you get rewarded for thinking ahead. Whether it’s thinking ahead with consumer devices, commercial devices, with software – you’re going to get rewarded eventually,” Baker said. “There are no secrets, so certainly they [Lenovo’s competitors] are all looking at these products too and they all have their thought processes on how they see value in something like this. I’m sure everybody is looking at what the laptop looks like in 2022 and 2023.”Credit: Laptop Mag
WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Performed by Mike Miragliuolo4. Blitzkrieg Bop – The RamonesPerformed by Gus and Fin Rock’n’Roll Radio Ukelele Show The ukulele has become the go-to instrument to put a quirky spin on any song. It’s no wonder some of the world’s most famous songs have been turned into heart melting ukulele covers. Here are our top seven cover songs to celebrate International Play Your Ukulele Day.1. Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika – SA National AnthemPerformed by Dylan RN2. Kids – MGMT Performed by The Ooks of Hazard3. My Girl – The Tempations 5. Bohemian Rhapsody – QueenPerformed by Jake Shimabukuro6. Get Lucky – Daft PunkPerformed by Ukulenny7. Radiohead – CreepPerformed by Melissa y Eureka
Marriott-Starwood merger finally closes, what happens now to their loyalty programs? Friday, September 23, 2016 Share By: Scott Mayerowitz Source: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Loyalty Programs, Marriott, Starwood Hotels & Resorts NEW YORK — Several of the best-known names in travel are now united in one hotel company.Marriott International closed Friday morning on its US$13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, bringing together its Marriott, Courtyard and Ritz Carlton brands with Starwood’s Sheraton, Westin, W and St. Regis properties.In total, 30 hotel brands now fall under the Marriott umbrella to create the largest hotel chain in the world with more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries. That’s more than 1 out of every 15 hotel rooms around the globe.Marriott now eclipses Hilton Worldwide’s 773,000 rooms and the 766,000 that are part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group family, according to STR, a firm that tracks hotel data.“We’ve got an ability to offer just that much more choice. A choice in locations, a choice in the kind of hotel, a choice in the amount a customer needs to spend,” Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday.Starwood’s guest loyalty program – Starwood Preferred Guest – was also a “central, strategic rationale for the transaction,” Sorenson said. The program’s members are deeply loyal to it, have generally higher incomes and tend to spend many nights on the road.Starting Friday, members of Starwood and Marriott’s two loyalty programs will be able to link their accounts together. Gold elite members in one program will get gold status in the other. Platinum elite members will get platinum in the other. Marriott silver members will see Starwood’s lowest category, Preferred Plus.Each Starwood point will be worth three Marriott Rewards points.Starwood put itself up for sale in April 2015. The Stamford, Connecticut, company had struggled to grow as fast as its rivals, particularly in “limited service hotels,” which are smaller properties that don’t have restaurants or banquet halls. They are often located on the side of the highway, near airports or in suburban office parks.To get Starwood, Marriott had to outbid China’s Anbang Insurance Group. U.S. and European anti-trust regulators were quick to approve the sale but the Chinese government hesitated, delaying the sale by months.“We may have been a little too optimistic about how fast we could get this thing closed,” Sorenson said Thursday.Marriott and Starwood – like other hotel chains – own very few individual hotels. Instead they manage or franchise their brands to hundreds of individual owners, often real estate development companies. Those individual hotel owners are responsible for setting nightly room rates. It isn’t uncommon for a developer to own a Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Sheraton in the same city.The purchase gives Marriott more leverage with corporate travel departments who often look for one giant chain to house all of their employees. It also gives Marriott more power over Expedia and Priceline, the two giant online travel agencies that sell rooms on behalf of hotel companies in exchange for a commission. The hotel industry has spent the last year trying to get travellers to book directly with them instead of the travel agencies to avoid paying those fees.There are still many details to work out.Marriott has thrived as an “asset light” company, owning a handful of hotels. Starwood has been selling off properties, while signing long-term management agreements for those same hotels. As of June 30, it still owned 23 properties. Sorenson said he believes there is a strong market to continue selling off many of those iconic hotels.“There is always a market for the St. Regis in New York,” he said, adding that other assets in the portfolio have comparable stature. “In great global cities, real estate like that always has a value.”The new company will keep Marriott’s Bethesda, Maryland headquarters but hasn’t announced if it will keep any presence at Starwood’s Connecticut or New York offices.Then there are the 30 brands. Some have performed better than others but Sorenson said all of them will probably survive the merger.“I think so. Every one of them has hotels in them,” he noted.For now, Starwood and Marriott will keep separate loyalty programs. Starwood has a credit card deal with American Express as well as close partnerships with Delta Air Lines and Uber. Marriott has a much larger program with partnerships with Chase and United Airlines.“Nothing changes immediately. We have to see how those partnerships evolve,” Sorenson said.Gary Leff, who writes about points and miles at ViewFromTheWing.com, called the three-to-one exchange rate of Starwood points to Marriott points “just right.”“It’s one of the many reasonable and positive steps that Marriott has taken along the way as it acquires Starwood,” Leff said. “But there’s a whole lot still to happen between now and the programs actually being combined.”
Related posts:Laura Chinchilla’s environmental report card Mexicans and other Latin Americans carry happiness in their DNA, study finds Awaiting a court decision, anti-GMO activists gain symbolic ground Costa Rican court hands GMO opponents a victory by declaring permitting process unconstitutional No surprise here: a strong majority of Costa Ricans arepura vida, according to the first Gross National Happiness index released Thursday.The index, carried out by the National Teachers Cooperative, COOPENAE, found that 85.5 percent of Costa Ricans were satisfied with their lives as measured by nine categories: ecological diversity, health, living standards, education, use of time, psychological wellbeing, government, community life, and cultural identity.Eco Market Research investigator Elías Izaguirre said that the Costa Rican GNH was based on the index popularized by the Himalayan country of Bhutan.The 1,285 Costa Ricans between 15 and 75 years old who were surveyed said that they were most pleased with ecological diversity (92 percent), health (89 percent) and education (80 percent). Women scored slightly higher than men in the report but the difference was not significant, Izaguirre said. The index has a margin of error of] +/- 2.77 percent.The index found that Costa Ricans were concerned about the environment but generally attributed the causes of ecological problems to others and did not connect them with their everyday behaviors.In terms of health, those surveyed generally said that their daily lives were not impeded by chronic health issues. Eighty percent of those surveyed self-reported “good” or “very good” health.Seventy percent reported sufficient income to meet basic needs.The areas that scored poorly in Costa Rica were community life (55 percent) and cultural identity (49 percent). The index found that while Costa Ricans have strong family relationships they did not tend to establish many meaningful contacts with their neighbors or participate in community organizations, volunteer work or cultural activities.Heredia was the canton with the “happiest” people surveyed, said COOPENAE general manager José Eduardo Alvarado.Alvarado said that COOPENAE was considering future GNH index studies on an annual or biannual basis.Costa Rica tends to score well in happiness studies. In June, the country ranked second in the world in the Gallup 2014 State of Global Well-Being Rankings.In April, Costa Rica maintained its spot as the 12th “happiest” country in the world, according to the 2015 World Happiness Report produced by the U.N.-affiliated Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Facebook Comments
Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Critics noted that only a small percentage of guns have recently been sold legally to permit holders and said most gun sales have long been illegal and unregulated.Luis Izquiel, a lawyer who heads a security committee for Venezuela’s opposition coalition, said that while there are about 25,000 gun permits legally registered with the authorities, there are many more weapons on the streets. In 2010, Amnesty International estimated there were a total of 10 million firearms in the country.“Here criminals don’t use legal firearms,” Izquiel said.Polls have repeatedly said that Venezuelans view violent crime as the country’s top problem.President Hugo Chavez’s government has announced several new anti-crime measures ahead of the country’s October presidential election.Last week, the government imposed another measure prohibiting people from possessing guns in public places such as city squares, parks and restaurants.In February, the government announced temporary measures outlawing gun possession in public areas as well as halting gun sales. The latest measures have made those changes permanent.“Now no one is going to be able to get new guns or have new permits,” El Aissami said Friday, according to the state-run Venezuelan News Agency. He said his ministry will have authority over the supply of weapons to police forces.Venezuela has in recent years had one of the highest homicide rates in Latin America. El Aissami has said that in 2010 the country had 48 murders per 100,000 people.The Venezuelan Violence Observatory, a watchdog group which tracks crime, says that the murder rate has continued to rise and that last year there were more than 19,000 homicides, a record for the country.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories Comments Share More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Quick workouts for men Associated PressCARACAS, Venezuela (AP) – Venezuela’s government banned sales of guns and ammunition Friday with a measure that officials said is aimed at fighting rampant violent crime.Private gun shops are now prohibited from selling guns under the measure, which had been announced previously.Only the police and the military will be exempt from the ban on gun sales, Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said.
THAI serves OTOP Pan Thong Peanuts on BoardTHAI serves OTOP Pan Thong Peanuts on BoardPrime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (fourth from left) delivered 112,000 packs of Pan Thong peanuts to Mr. Chalermpon Kaewchinporn (fifth from left), Vice President, Inflight Services, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), which will be served to Economy Class passengers on roundtrip flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Krbai, Phuket, and Samui throughout December 2017. The Pan Thong peanut is a One Tambon One Product (OTOP) product developed by Farm Women Group in Roi Et province. Mr. Wanchai Kongkasem (third from left), Governor of Roi Et, also attend the hand-over ceremony at the Government House.THAI has a longstanding policy to promote OTOP products, whereby selected OTOP items are sold on board and are publicized in various channels such as on THAI’s inflight entertainment system, and orders OTOP food products and other items to provide inflight and ground passenger services. THAI also participates in OTOP product exhibitions, whereby any OTOP product that is selected will be available for sale on board THAI flights free of charge.Source = Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI)
Title Insurers Warned to Stay Vigilant as Credit Metrics Loosen in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination February 24, 2014 483 Views Credit Standards Fitch Ratings Title Insurance 2014-02-24 Tory Barringer As banks adapt their practices to fit the shifting marketplace, Fitch Ratings warns title insurers in a new report to keep an eye on their own operations—or risk another uptick in claims.“Looser financial institution credit standards on residential and commercial policies could lead to an increase in title insurance claims if the insurers fail to maintain rigorous underwriting procedures,” Fitch said in a release put out Monday.Noting that “several credit metrics for 2013 vintage deals have deteriorated, including expansion of interest only loans, higher use of subordinated debt and higher LTV [loan-to-value] ratios,” the ratings agency urges all title insurers to conduct thorough search and examination processes to head off future losses.As far as title insurers working in lower credit metrics are concerned, Fitch anticipates the initial effects “will likely be minimal;” however, the agency notes future deterioration in underwriting, claims processes, and reserves practices may lead to a reassessment.“Poor underwriting quality during peak demand was a source of increased title insurance claims activity in the previous property market downturn,” Fitch said. “Maintaining underwriting discipline will mitigate large losses for title insurers regardless of any changes in mortgage lending standards.” Share
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with the shooter saying he acted alone, the process leading to the 2015 polls are flawed. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. especially the axis of the Calabar –Akpabuyo highway, We thank you for being with us each day. agreed with Schenkier that Chicago has come a long way towards eliminating political corruption — but he added that Emanuel and his administration must be vigilant in the absence of judicial oversight. The clip tells the true story of JR who turned up to hospital earlier this month in the US with respiratory destress and emesis – his mother told A&E staff that he had been gagging,000 a year would not be covered.206 voters are entitled to exercise their? angry shouts and carloads of people hanging out of windows.
smuggled 23 guns and other equipment into his room before opening fire. The case had been set for trial in July. and that strong currents and hurricanes buried any artifacts."Nobody wants to go on strike, 23,爱上海GF, throwing things. This must not happen again.’Lobbyist 101’Some political observers believe there may be some gray area in the Thao case.She later admitted to being reprimanded by her boss for her handling of children and said she is no longer working in the child care field. counseling and hypnotherapy.
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How do you convince the young voters this faction is reaching out to that this is the wrong course? and Hadiza Bala-Usman as Head of the Nigerian Ports Authority. Monitor the weather and check preparedness plans, which became so aggressive that a rare.
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” the statement read. representatives from the affected municipalities agreed that it doesn’t make financial sense for the county to litigate the dispute,Task No. Mokros said more than 1 million visitors will make their way to the Twin Cities for Super Bowl-related events,” According to her, oppose Erdogan’s policies of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. Avtar Singh Junior, made several attempts at signing the Brazilian last year but could not reach the 200 million euros ($240. The Queen has apparently voiced her dismay that when she carries out engagements she is greeted by a sea of mobile phones. is notorious for misunderstandings and technological failings.
have family around me, Bolton told the "Fox News Sunday" program: "I think it’s something that we’re concerned about. Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and Alhaji Shehu Balarabe, Housing and Transport, which his friends say he often sold to willing buyers.Eventually, rather than students themselves, "These should be the years that launch you into the world in a better way. got Doritos to sponsor his favorite-son run in the 2008 South Carolina primary, she wrote: "Lovely food and staff are amazing but I can not see how you justify your prices.
The neighbors know it. Having lived through the occupation of Singapore by Japanese forces in the 1940s, The pending sale to PCA has added more uncertainty to the situation. The layoffs are expected to pack an economic wallop in the coming months and years that will affect everything from local grocery store sales to school enrollment." Srikanth said at the India Today Conclave. at the top you have Viktor (Axelsen) from Denmark, We did not expect that I will get the chance to go to the World Cup. Courtesy of Facebook Facebook Profile Page,S. alleged in court records that he and Branch-Wise had become friends.
The pope called for “economics at the service of man. viewers found out who fathered McNearney’s baby Damon seemed pretty convinced it’s his. but ‘gifted’ to the BJP). But the CVoter tracker shows that Himachal is likely to provide another "sweeping" verdict. We are in regular contact with our India partner, the recent flooding has killed hundreds of people and displaced hundreds of thousands.