Dear Editor,On Monday, Federal Elections were held in Canada without any fuss and fear. Except for schools being closed to facilitate the polls, it was just another workday. Canada has approximately 27 million voters and straddles 6 different time zones spanning four and a half hours. By 23:15h Eastern Time on polling day, mere minutes after the last polls closed in outlying provinces, the media was already announcing the results and naming the eventual winner: Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party.In all of this, the role of Elections Canada— their GECOM equivalent— cannot be overstated. Long before the elections, the list of voters would have been ratified and voter ID cards mailed, yes mailed, to all registered and eligible voters. There was no attempt to manipulate lists, no doubt about the integrity of staff or deletion of registered voters who would have failed to uplift voter ID cards because these were mailed as mentioned above. Voter ID cards are printed on light cardboard and sized to fit a standard sized envelope for ease of postage. Change of address and such matters are all done online. Canadians are required to walk with their cardboard voter ID and a picture ID such as a driver’s licence or passport to cast their ballot which can be done in a matter of minutes. The holding of elections is not rocket science as the Canadians have just demonstrated.Contrast that with what we have in Guyana, where GECOM, our elections machinery, is being accused of the following:1. Placing itself outside and above of the Constitution by creating and implementing work programmes that ignore the constitutional mandate to have election within 90 days of the NCM.2. By virtue of the above, GECOM has appropriated the role for determining when elections will be held in Guyana.3. Delaying the elections – The combined delay is nearly one year from the constitutionally mandated date of March 21, 2019.4. Persisting with prejudiced recruitment of senior executives.5. Retaining the services of senior staff who are partisan even after footage of covert meeting were shown on social media with Govt officials.6. Undertaking actions such as the unnecessary H2H to create more confusion, further delay elections, possibly disenfranchise legitimate voters and waste billions of taxpayers’ dollars.7. Siding with the Government at every opportunity.8. Refusing help from external sources that would expedite election preparation and lend to public trust in GECOM and the elections processes.9. Threatening to delete the names of registered voters who have not uplifted their ID cards even when this is illegal.As if the above is not egregious enough, GECOM is contemplating a complicated merger of the old PLE and the data gleaned from the last H2H, which is unverified at best, since the Opposition representatives were not present at the time of obtaining this data, when the most logical and practical approach would be to update the old PLE which was last used in November 2017 to add people attaining voting age and to delete deceased persons evidenced by a death certificate. Some believe that this is merely another attempt to appease the Govt and to delete and disenfranchise Opposition supporters. In fact, the situation is so bad that people are openly commenting that the next General Elections will be rigged and that GECOM will facilitate it. While that is a bit extreme, GECOM must be concerned about its image. However, there is absolutely no effort on the part of that agency to change the narrative and to build trust. The Chairman of GECOM is yet to hold a press conference and so the public has been left to speculate.The bottom line is that there cannot be free and fair elections in Guyana if GECOM does not operate in an open and transparent manner. At this stage, nothing short of the Carter Center is needed to get this embarrassment, which we all know as GECOM, back on track if we are to have free and fair elections in Guyana. The intervention of the Canadian Official is welcome but a competent and powerful observer mission has to be situated within the heart of GECOM Secretariat where critical decisions are being taken to have any chance of being effective. Giving advice, as the Canadian proposes to GECOM Chair, whose actions thus far are all in favour of the Government, will be like whistling in the wind.The example of Elections Canada is relevant as here in Guyana there is strong evidence to suggest that the agency responsible for holding free and fair elections might be pursuing an agenda to do the exact opposite. After all, it is an irrefutable fact that PNC, the main party in Govt today, rigged the elections from 1968 to 1985.By the way, if there is another rigged elections, America and Canada will bear the brunt of the consequential mass exodus as many citizens already have visas particularly for the US.Sincerely,Ravi Ram
The Guyana International Kyokushinkai Martial Arts Academy (GIKMAA) left Guyana with a team of 12 on August 17, to compete in the Shuirken Martial Arts School Tournament which began on August 19 in Suriname.Led by Grandmaster Soke and Dr Nazim Yassim, they were able to cop nine medals. They took with them seven students who were eager to participate in the tournament. They were: Christian Freeman (13), Joshua Bascombe (17), Govindanauth Persaud (17), Vikash Somwaru (17), Bhudesh Shilchand (18), Shakeel Rahat (23) and Maranda Bennett (23).Being a confident unit, the team fought with everything they had, and thus secured three gold medals, five silver medals and a bronze medal. This feat was no easy task, as it required hard work and dedication.Enmore resident Govindanauth Persaud fought extremely well, but lost the bout in the quarter finals.Instructor Vikash Somwaru claimed all three gold medals: in the Kata, weapons Kata, and Kumite 16-19 divisions.Christian Freeman secured silver in the 13- 15 Kumite; Joshua Bascombe struck silver in the 16-19 Kumite; Bhudesh Shilchand won two silver medals in the 16-19 Kata & Kumite Division; while Shakeel Rahat, who fought for the first time, landed bronze in the Kumite.Lone female on the team, Instructor Maranda Bennett, claimed silver in the 20- 25 Kata.Even though that leg of the competition is completed, Grandmaster Soke stated that he is not going to let the medal count get to his head, as the team is already being prepared for the Open International Championship on September 23. His team (kyo-Kushin-Kai Guyana) will be doing battle against Suriname, Trinidad, and local teams at the National Gymnasium.Dr Nazim Yassim also expressed heartfelt thanks to the National Sports Commission, Gafsons Industries Ltd, and all the parents that supported the Kyokushinkai Guyana Team.
McCain also said the United States must reduce its dependence on foreign oil and pointed to nuclear power plants as one option. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By The Associated Press GOP presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain sharply criticized Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Friday during a California campaign stop in Dana Point. The senator also visited a VFW Post 1622 in Lomita. McCain called the Iraqi leader’s government a disappointment during a wide-ranging speech before the California Chamber of Commerce board of directors at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Dana Point. The Arizona senator said he was committed to keeping U.S. troops in Iraq as long as necessary and criticized Democrats for pushing for a deadline to bring soldiers home. He added, however, that any military success must be accompanied by strong leadership from elected Iraqi officials. He said the al-Maliki government has “not been functioning effectively” to suppress sectarian divisions and violence.
SIMI VALLEY – The Simi Valley Town Center is welcoming shoppers who bring along their pooches, but cigarette-puffing patrons are finding themselves in the doghouse. Mall officials recently introduced two new policies: One bans smoking at the open-air center. The other allows folks to bring their dog for a day of shopping. “I think it sucks,” said Raul Cervantes, 19, a smoker. “If it was indoors, it would be different. It’s outdoors. People shouldn’t be told where they can or cannot smoke. We should be able to smoke here.” The new regulations are the result of a survey using a sampling of 350 people, which indicated customers want a smoke-free, pet-friendly mall. “I don’t like it,” the 20-year-old Simi Valley man said, smoking a cigarette outside one of the stores last week. “It’s ridiculous. People are always telling other people what to do.” In comment cards since the mall’s opening last October, shoppers repeatedly complained about smokers lighting up, while others hated the idea of being asked to leave because of their pets, Lenners said. Kim Perez of Simi Valley said she takes her soft-coated wheaten terrier, Kenna, everywhere she goes, and that she was removed from the mall before the recent rule change. “I respect people,” she said. “The dog is not hurting anybody. I don’t take her to the (food court). If she was aggressive, I would not have her here.” The news also was well-received by Barbara McLaren and her 5-month old puppy, Rozella. “I want her to come out with me (to) places and meet people, … socialize,” she said. “This is great.” City Councilman Glen Becerra said the mall appears to be responsive to what its customers want. While he applauds the smoking ban, he has concerns with the change in pet policy. “Would I feel comfortable walking with my children when someone is coming down the pathway with an 80-pound dog at their side?” Becerra said. “If they are toy dogs people carry in purses, I’d have less concern.” Lenners said mall officials plan to enforce the rules by posting no-smoking signs throughout the shopping center. The issue of pets will be addressed in the code-of-conduct guidelines displayed at each of the mall’s entrances. Smokers now will only be allowed to smoke in the mall’s parking lot and in restaurants that allow it in their outdoor seating areas. Pets must be on a leash and cannot be left unattended. If the animal is overly aggressive or is believed to be a threat to the public, its owner will be asked to leave. Mall officials are also considering installing stations with bags for waste cleanup. For owners who don’t pick up after their pets, “housekeeping staff is ready and prepared to handle anything that might be missed,” Lenners said. Jamie Santos, a Simi Valley mother of three, said while she is not surprised at the decision to snuff out smoking at the mall, she dislikes the idea of dogs strolling the trellised and covered walkways. “Not all dog owners clean up after their pets,” she said. “I can see how you can clean the poo, but how can they get rid of the pee odor?” Angie Valencia-Martinez, (805) 583-7604 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “We’re simply responding to what the community is telling us,” said Greg Lenners, the mall’s general manager. “It’s a positive thing.” The Mediterranean-style shopping center, with the slogan “A Breath of Fresh Air,” is the first regional mall to be built in Ventura County in a quarter-century and features more than 120 specialty stores, sit-down restaurants and a food court. The no-smoking rule comes on the heels of an ordinance passed by the Calabasas City Council strictly regulating smoking in public places. The change also was spurred by new research designating secondhand smoke a toxic contaminant, Lenners said. “That helped in making the decision,” he said. But Eddie Corner feels differently.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Willy, a wild member of the pig family, and 16-year-old Nicole were placed in the same exhibit area more than a year ago. Willy and his mate, Ruby, were comfortable with Nicole, but kept mostly to themselves, said Jeff Holland, exhibit curator. Then last summer Ruby died of cancer. Within a week, keepers noticed the hog turning to his only remaining pen-mate for companionship. “I think he was probably lonely. He definitely was aware that his mate was gone,” Holland said. Nicole didn’t take to Willy immediately. The first time he tried to approach her, she thrust her horns at him – a clear sign she wasn’t interested in a relationship. “She bowled him right over,” Holland said. Willy didn’t grieve long after his mate went to hog heaven. The 10-year-old, 187-pound Red River hog wasted little time in taking up with his pen-mate Nicole, a much taller and heavier bongo – the largest member of the forest antelope family. The two share a muddy exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo, where they have been spotted grooming, napping and cuddling together. On occasion, they’ve been seen snout to nose. “It’s adorable,” said zoo spokesman Jason Jacobs. “Wherever that bongo is, the hog is usually nearby.” But the persistent pig wouldn’t give up, and eventually Nicole stopped pushing him away. Now, they share a routine, which begins with breakfast at 10 a.m., often eaten out of the same feeder. Then they take a slow walk around their pen. Nicole leads, and Willy trails closely behind. “I think he definitely likes her more than she likes him,” Holland said. But the relationship isn’t one-sided. After they finish pacing the grounds, Willy settles in for grooming, and Nicole picks at his shaggy red coat. She then lets Willy reciprocate. Grooming is significant in the animal kingdom, Holland said – a way for animals to make contact with each other. Finally, they settle in, side by side, for an afternoon nap. Zookeepers were surprised by the budding relationship. While placing different species in the same space is not uncommon in zoos, having them form lasting attachments is. “I’ve never seen anything quite like this to this degree,” Holland said. Nicole and Willy are primarily vegetarians whose ancestors are from West and Central Africa, where they reside in forests and thickets. They have common characteristics. Both have red coats and ridges of white fur running down their backs. While there are other Red River hogs living in the zoo, Nicole is the only bongo, and she is among the last of her kind. Bongos are extinct in the wild – their numbers lost to agriculture and hunting. There are fewer than 500 living in zoos and other facilities around the world. It’s unknown how long Willy and Nicole will stay together. Curators said they hope to bring another bongo to the zoo for Nicole, probably another female, and Willy could be moved to another part of the zoo with other hogs. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Arsenal have offered contract rebels Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil 20 per cent pay rises if they help the Gunners secure Champions League football next season.The club have been left frustrated by the duo’s refusal to sign new deals, with both wanting deals worth £300,000-a-weekThe 20 per cent payrise would be triggered if Arsenal finish in the top next season, after missing out on Champions Leagu football for the first time in 20 years last term, according to the Daily Mail.The Gunners are desperate to lock the pair into new deals are they both heading into the final 12 months of their deals.They’ll be allowed to speak to overseas club in January and worst-case scenario is that they run down their deals and are allowed to leave for free.Manchester City have been linked with a move for Sanchez, while Ozil is wanted by Turkish giants Fenerbahce. 1 Sanchez and Ozil are about to head into the final 12 months of their contracts at Arsenal
Donegal boxer Jason Quigley has revealed his ambition would be to have a big fight, possibly a World title fight back in Ireland. Quigley, is quickly making a name for himself Stateside and has won all of eleven professional fights to date.His next fight is on the undercard of the super-fight between Saul Alvarez Canelo and Liam Smith which takes places at the 110,000 capacity Cowboys Stadium on September 17th. Quigley’s last win over James De La Rosa was his finest to date, and there’s no doubting the quality and class of the former Finn Valley AC fighter.In an exclusive interview with Balls.ie, Quigley spoke about fighting on big undercards, his dream of bringing a massive fight to Ireland, and his relationship with music giants Coldplay.Quigley said, ” It’s absolutely amazing to be honest. These are the kind of things that most young fighters and young professionals dream of – fighting on these big shows, fighting on these big cards, and this is the reason why I’ve moved to LA and signed with Golden Boy Promotions: To get these opportunities. When my time comes to fight for a world title I won’t be overawed by these big stadiums or these big crowds. “I’ll be there for full fight week – doing all the media stuff, interviews, grand arrivals and everything like that. It’s all becoming second nature to me now. I belong on these stages because this is where I perform at my best – this is what brings the best out of me as a fighter, and I’m really, really excited.LA is the city of superstars, and when you’re an upcoming boxing star, you start to rub shoulders with some of the world’s most famous celebrities – as a result Coldplay are now a fan of Quigley.“Coldplay are wearing one of my jackets on their world tour right now. They invited me and a few of my friends to their gig at the Rose Bowl, I think it’s in two weeks’ time. They’ll be giving us the special treatment, all the behind-the-scenes stuff!“I’m good friends with the security guy who works with Coldplay – that’s how it all came about. So now the guys are always asking him, ‘when’s he fighting next?’ and they got me and my mates a few tickets for their gig. We’re invited to the after-party too but it won’t be much of an after-party for me with the fight coming up! Maybe I can invite them to my own after-party in September.Since the days of Bernard Dunne, and the non-event which was the Willie Casey fight, Ireland hasn’t hosted a world title fight – Quigley is hoping his career trajectory continues to ascend and that he can have a big fight, or maybe even a world title fight in Ireland.“I would love to get a big fight back in Ireland very shortly – world title fight or not. I’d love to get back there and wet the lips of some of the supporters, and to build up a bit of a hype. And for them to be able to come and watch me build towards that shot at the world title. “My dream is to win or defend the world title in my own country, and Golden Boy are aware of that. They’re fully behind me – 100%. But at the end of the day it’s one step at a time, one fight at a time, and I’ve to take care of business on September 17th before any of that.Quigley talks big cards, Coldplay and a World Title fight in Ireland was last modified: August 16th, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:AmbitionColdplayDallasDreamFightJason QuigleynewsSport
A special reception has been held in Dublin to celebrate the visit of St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay and a top level Business Delegation from that city.The reception was hosted by Mr Kevin F. O’Malley, Ambassador of the United States of America to Ireland. Mr O’Malley, himself a St Louis native, also welcomed guests from Dublin, Galway and Donegal to celebrate the strong links between St Louis and Ireland.The reception was held in the Ambassador’s residence in the Phoenix Park. Photographed at the reception from left to right: Micheál Ó Giobuin, Príomhoide Choláiste Ailigh, Leitir Ceanainn, Francis G. Slay, Mayor of St Louis, Mrs Dena O’Malley, Mr Kevin F. O’Malley, American Ambassador, Mrs Helen Mc Glynn, Mr Joseph Mc Glynn, Honory Irish Consul, St Louis. COLÁISTE AILIGH PRINCIPAL AT ‘IRELAND-ST LOUIS’ CELEBRATION was last modified: May 17th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Colaiste AilighSt Louis
A Donegal county councillor has again slammed the delay for driving tests in the county.Councillor Nicholas Crossan said he has consistently raised the issues of delays.He says there are now just two testers in the entire county compared to six in 2006. And he cited the example of Buncrana where there is a 22-week delay for driving tests.He said “For example, if you applied on Jan 1st it would be mid-May before you sit your test, and if you failed (up to 45%do) it could be late October before you can a resit.“In 2006 we had 6 testers in Donegal but we now have 2, with enough applications for 4. So far this year only 7 new testers nationwide, the North West received none.“I’ve campaigned that we in rural areas need our young people to get their driving licences to help them get to college, work, etc,” he said. Cllr Crossan said he has raised the matter with his colleague Independent Senator Victor Boyhan.The Inishowen county councillor added “Senator Boyhan has assured me that he has, and will continue to bring this important issue to the Minister’s attention at every opportunity.At our recent meeting of Independent Cllrs I have informed our group of the the delays in Donegal and the rest of rural Ireland, and it is something that should be brought up at each county level.”Councillor slams 22 week delay for driving tests in Donegal was last modified: October 3rd, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Cllr Nicholas Crossandelaydonegaldriving tests
Research shows that stories spark those parts of the brain concerned with imagination, emotion, sensation and movement. (Image: Mal’ibali)This September, the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign is launching a nationwide storytelling competition to find South Africa’s first “Story Bosso”.Aimed at reawakening a love of storytelling and reading among South Africans of all ages, the competition will connect the public to ideas on how to tell stories and read aloud to others, showcase a range of local stories (in all South African languages), and identify undiscovered storytellers in communities across the country.Director of PRAESA (the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), Carole Bloch, said storytelling does not only develop children’s curiosity and imagination, but also their sense of empathy and belonging. “Storytelling and reading aloud allow us to build connections with each other by passing on knowledge and providing a shared experience while at the same time being important building blocks of literacy learning.”Research shows that stories spark those parts of the brain concerned with imagination, emotion, sensation and movement; they create the neural circuits that ultimately enable sophisticated thinking and reasoning in young children.Children who read for pleasure also perform better in the classroom, not just in vocabulary and spelling, but in maths and science too. Stories get children interested in books and reading – right from birth.According to Nal’ibali campaign driver, Smangele Mathebula, South Africans have a deep and respected history of storytelling that instills morals and values. “Those most fortunate among us will remember being enchanted as young children by the stories told to us by our gogos, parents and other family members. Stories were told to teach us lessons, instill morals and values and often, simply to entertain us. These storytelling moments stay with us throughout our lives and become some of our most cherished memories.”During this year’s literacy month in September, people of all ages – children, parents, caregivers, teachers, librarians – are invited to enter the competition and showcase the age-old art of story-telling.COMPETITION CAN MAKE EVERYONE BETTER STORYTELLERSWhile we don’t all need to become professional storytellers, being a good storyteller or reader needs work. The ability to captivate and hold your audience while you weave a tale that will appeal to a varied audience and finish with flair takes practice.The Nal’ibali Story Bosso competition aims to not only seek out talented entertainers, but to highlight and share the tips and techniques that can help make everyone a better storyteller and get our children excited about books and reading.Running throughout September, which is Literacy Month, people of all ages – children, parents, caregivers, teachers, librarians – are invited to enter the competition.Participants must send in a video or audio clip of themselves reading or telling a story. Entries can be submitted in any South African language, and can be original stories made up by the participants, retellings of stories heard before, an extract from their favourite book or a sample story provided by Nal’ibali.For those unable to record clips, Nal’ibali Literacy mentors and partner organisations will be running a series of pop-up auditions and events to source stories directly from communities nationwide. Pop-ups will also be taking place as part of National Book Week, the Jozi Book Fair, the Open Book Festival and at select Bargain Books stores.In addition, Nal’ibali will be setting up pop-up libraries at these events where people can collect books to take home with them, as well as story cards in a range of South African languages that have been specially produced by the campaign for parents and caregivers to enjoy with their children long after the pop-up events. A full line up of events will be available from the Nal’ibali web- and mobisite from 1 September 2015.CELEBRITIES JUDGING THE ENTRIESA host of South African celebrities have signed up to help select the shortlisted clips. These include actress and writer, Lebogang Mashile; founder of the South African Reading Foundation and its division ReadabookSA, Tebogo Ditshego; author, Sindiwe Magona; social activist and writer, Shaka Sizulu; comedian, Nik Rabinowitz; actress and author Bonnie Henna; children’s author, Alan Glass; new-age performance poet and singer, Busiswa and radio personality, Elana Afrika.The winner will not only receive the title of South Africa’s first Story Bosso and a visit from a participating celebrity judge, they will also get a R5 000 cash prize, a R 1 000 Ackermans voucher and a home library courtesy of Bargain Books, Exclusive Books and local publishers. Two runners-up will each receive R2 500 in cash, a R500 Ackermans voucher and a home library.For more information about the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign and the ‘Story Bosso’ competition, visit www.nalibali.org, www.nalibali.mobi or search for nalibaliSA on Facebook and Twitter.Source: Nal’ibali