Harmon clears air on media attacks

first_imgBy Devina SamarooFollowing days of anticipation, Minister of State Joseph Harmon finally delivered on his promise and issued three statements, providing detailed explanations on the recent controversies he has been involved in.Minister of State Joseph HarmonHarmon explained that he refrained from making a public response to those earlier media reports since actions were linked to Guyana’s diplomatic relations and its pursuit of foreign investment that would ultimately be beneficial to Guyanese.He said now that Cabinet has been fully briefed on the matter, it is now fitting to address the public on the recent developments.GRA interventionHarmon has been widely criticised for his intervention in an on-going Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) investigation when he ordered a halt to the seizure of vehicles from Chinese logging company BaiShanLin.In light of his actions, Harmon was accused of having corrupt dealings with the company.But in defending his actions, Minister Harmon explained that on March 17, representation was made to him by an official of the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Guyana on an “urgent matter” affecting one of their national’s company operations in Guyana – BaiShanLin.The GRA had visited the premises of BaiShanLin in furtherance of a tax demand of G$1.5 billion and the personnel were intent on seizing the movable assets of the company.Harmon explained that the Chinese official stated that the principals of the company were not in Guyana and in consequence, requested a stay of execution of the GRA’s action for 14 days pending the return of those principals, at which time they would go into the GRA to settle their indebtedness.Harmon said the Chinese official also gave the assurance that none of the assets of the company would be removed during that grace period.The Minister said upon considering the importance of the Guyana/Chine relations as well as the urgency of the matter, he contacted the GRA and requested the facility.The request was granted and at the expiration of the 14 days, the GRA proceeded with its work, Harmon said.Travel to China,photo with BaiShanLinMoving on to the issue of his “real” reason to travel to China and the controversial photograph of himself and BaiShanLin officials on a private jet, Harmon maintained that his visit to China was strictly on official Government business.Government had insisted that the State Minister’s trip to China was in relation to the outstanding payment of US$5 million by a Chinese company for the sale of Guyana’s 20 per cent stake in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company.In his statement, Harmon explained that the Ambassador of China to Guyana – who was in country at that time – made arrangements for him to meet officials of four companies that had expressed interest in making significant investments in Guyana.According to Harmon, the companies were located in Beijing, Shanghai, Hebei and Heilong Jiang Provinces; distances far part from each other.As a result, Harmon posited that the Ambassador made arrangements for these companies to provide transportation, both air and land, for him to travel to the respective head offices.On March 27, an arrangement was made to visit one of the companies called Long Jiang Forest Industries Group located in Heilong Jiang Province.Long Jiang Forest Industries Group is a State-owned company that had acquired 55 per cent of the shares in BaiShanLin and is intended to fully take over the company in 2016, Harmon stated.Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, Harmon pointed out that two officials from the State-owned company, along with two officials from BaiShanLin, accompanied him on the aircraft to attend the meeting.Harmon also provided details of that meeting, noting that the company’s Vice Director Wong Dong Xu gave the assurance that officials will be in Guyana in May to complete due diligence for the takeover and to satisfy and expand on obligations of BaiShanLin to Guyana.Harmon also disclosed that he used the opportunity to convey the concerns and expectations of the Guyana Government with respect to foreign investment generally and with respect to BaiShanLin in particular.Moreover, Harmon said he wishes to make no comment on the motivations of the publication of a lone photograph without seeking to investigate or report on its context.Tiwari’s appointmentLastly, Harmon explained that following the 2015 General and Regional Elections, many individuals indicated their interest in assisting the Government in fulfilling its campaign promises without having any interest in formal employment or remuneration.He explained that it was agreed among senior party members that such persons would be appointed as “Honorary Ministerial Advisors” and that a certificate entitled “Instruments of Appointment…Ministerial Advisor” would be issued, as with the case of businessman Brian Tiwari.Harmon disclosed that during the period October 6, 2015 to February 8, 2016, 34 persons were identified on the recommendation of the Alliance For Change (AFC) Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, the People’s National Congress (PNC) General Secretary Oscar Clarke and the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) General Secretary Joseph Harmon, and the instruments were accordingly issued.However, the other 33 who are supporters of APNU/AFC are yet to be named.Harmon said he was subsequently advised by President David Granger, who was not aware of all the appointees, that he was not in agreement with having Tiwari as an “Honorary Advisor” and the appointment was therefore rescinded. The Minister of State said he agreed with the President’s decision and his rationale for rescinding the appointment.It is unclear whether or not the President will rescind the appointments of the other 33. …says 34 political advisers appointed by APNU/AFC – jet was organised by State-owned Chinese company – GRA intervention was to preserve Guyana/China relationslast_img read more

Read more Harmon clears air on media attacks

Premier accelerates tax cuts

first_img– Advertisement -The province will also create a pension plan for private sector workers in the province who don’t have access to a pension and will increase funding for ferries to deal with high fuel costs.The B.C. government has downgraded its economic growth forecast from 2.4 per cent to 1.7 per cent but has increased the budget surplus estimate to $1 billion from about $30 million.While some provinces and even Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper admit they’re facing the prospect of short-term deficits, Campbell has already ruled out a deficit for B.C.Click Here to read his entire 10 point plan Premier Gordon Campbell says he will recall the provincial legislature for an unplanned sitting this fall to implement accelerated tax cuts and other measures in response to the world economic crisis.Campbell delivered a live, provincewide television address Wednesday evening to lay out his government’s 10-point economic plan.The Liberal government will accelerate planned personal and corporate tax cuts and strengthen protection for B.C. credit union users.Advertisementlast_img read more

Read more Premier accelerates tax cuts

BC the leading province in November 1st gas prices, according to GasBuddy

first_imgAs they enter a new month, local area motorists should not be surprised if the recent 4¢ a litre drop in the common posted price for gasoline in Fort St. John disappears in the next few days.The mid-morning November 1st average price in BC was up to $115.3 a litre – still the highest among the ten provinces, six of which were below a $1.00 a litre.When he spoke to us last Friday Dan McTeague, the senior analyst with GasBuddy, predicted things could get worse before they get better for consumers in the first part of this month, especially those in Western Canada.- Advertisement -The November 1st GasBuddy survey had the provincial average differential at nearly 20¢ a litre with New Brunswick posting the low end price at 96.5¢.In fact, all three Maritime Provinces were below 99¢ a litre, and the only other one in that category was Manitoba – and Mr. McTeague says the three most western provinces are still being victimized by refinery shutdowns in the US.The GasBuddy monitor also showed, that even with the aforementioned 4¢ drop, the local common price at a $123.9 was still more than 20¢ a litre higher than the national average $103.3.Advertisement Perhaps even more perplexing for local area motorists is the fact, it was still 10¢ a litre more than the common price in Dawson Creek, and if you went a little further east to the Alberta border it was down another 6¢ a litre to $107.9 at the Fas Gas in Demmitt.last_img read more

Read more BC the leading province in November 1st gas prices, according to GasBuddy

Norwich defender joins Sheffield Wednesday on loan

first_img Norwich defender Michael Turner 1 Sheffield Wednesday have announced the signing of Norwich defender Michael Turner on a season-long loan.Turner has struggled to tie down a first-team spot recently at Carrow Road with Sebastien Bassong and Russell Martin forming a partnership at the back and spent time out on loan at Fulham last season.The centre-half began his career at Charlton but did not make a first-team appearance for the Addicks and spent two seasons at Brentford before moving to Hull in 2006.The 31-year-old came to prominence in East Yorkshire, helping City gain promotion to the top flight and spending a season in the Premier League with the Tigers before sealing a move to Sunderland.Turner spent three years on Wearside and joined the Canaries for an undisclosed fee in 2012.He will now add to the central defensive corps at Hillsborough alongside Owls captain Glenn Loovens, Tom Lees, Vincent Sasso and Darryl Lachman.last_img read more

Read more Norwich defender joins Sheffield Wednesday on loan

Datebook 1/8

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson Executive Board of the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley will meet from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. at the Van Nuys State Auditorium, 6150 Van Nuys Blvd. Mail Datebook entries – including time, date, location and a phone number – to Daily News City Desk, P.O. Box 4200, Woodland Hills, CA 91365; fax (818) 713-0058; e-mail dnmetro@dailynews.com. TODAY Christmas tree recycling, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at 16 drop-off sites, including: Chatsworth Park South, 22360 Devonshire St.; Balboa Sports Center, 17015 Burbank Blvd., Encino; Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park; Sunland Park, 8651 Foothill Blvd.; and Sylmar Park, 13109 Borden Ave. Call (800) 773-2489. A tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., 4 p.m., Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive. Call (800) 204-3131 or see www.forestlawn.com. A memorial celebrating the life and artistry of actor/writer Jack Colvin will be held at 4 p.m. at Barnsdall Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd. In lieu of flowers friends are asked to send a tax deductible donation to the Michael Chekhov Studio, 6110 Saint Clair Ave., North Hollywood, 91606-4632. MONDAY The Los Angeles County Public Library’s San Fernando branch will hold a Pajama Storytime session at 6 p.m., 217 North Maclay Ave. The session is free. Call (818) 365-6928 for information. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Read more Datebook 1/8

CLAIRE (16) WINS SOAPBOX REGIONAL FINAL

first_imgPictured at the EU Direct Centre NW Soapbox event in Letterkenny is (l-r) 2012 Soapbox winner Claire McCormick from Letterkenny, a student at the Margot Keegan School of Speech and Drama; EU Direct Information Centre NW Manager, Helen McNutt and Soapbox runner-up Emma Rose Callaghan from Burt, a student of the Karen Murphy School of Speech, Drama and Communications.SIXTEEN-year old Claire McCormick from Letterkenny, a student at the Margot Keegan School of Speech and Drama, impressed judges and won the EU Direct Information Centre’s 2012 Soapbox regional final at Central Library, Letterkenny.Delivering a refined, tightly scripted three-minute soapbox address on the motion ‘youth is wasted on the young’, Claire agreed with the motion, declaring, “Since the millennium 10-year olds go to restaurants looking for wifi not colouring books.”The 5th year Loreto Letterkenny student beat off stiff competition from 15 competitors of all ages and professions from across counties Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim. Chairman of the judging committee Cllr. Patrick McGowan and head of the Irish Delegation to The EU Committee of the Regions, described Claire’s soapbox as “articulate, inspiring and delivered with complete composure and passion.”Claire delivered an impassioned speech declaring, “Today, many young people are in a race to grow up. They see youth as a burden not a prize. Ten year olds want to be twelve, thirteen year olds want to be fifteen, sixteen year olds want to be twenty-one. And ladies and gentlemen it all stops at twenty-nine. Nobody wants to be thirty. Youth has passed them by without them even noticing and they will now spend the rest of their adult lives buying the latest anti-aging products trying desperately to look and feel younger.”Fifteen-year old Emma Rose Callaghan from Burt and a 3rd year student at Scoil Mhuire Buncrana, was runner-up with a dynamic, interactive and solid soapbox address. Emma Rose who is a student of the Karen Murphy School of Speech, Drama and Communications disagreed with the motion declaring that, “youth have the will to discover the world and we will live while we’re young.”EU Direct Information Centre NW Manager, Helen McNutt thanked all participants “for making the 2012 EU Direct Centre soapbox event one that challenged, entertained and enthused the large audience of up to 80 people who came along. I also want to thank our judges Katie Molloy, Donegal Youth Council; Marie Duffy, spunout.ie; Dearbhla Kelly, Donegal VEC and Toastmasters and Cllr. Patrick McGowan. A stalwart job was done by Highland Radio’s Donal Kavanagh who kept the evening moving and who did a superb job as MC. We were also delighted to have in our audience a visiting delegation from Lough Allen College in Co. Leitrim who are current title holders of the All Ireland Mental Health Public Speaking Award.” Claire was presented with an Apple iPAD sponsored by the EU Commission’s representation in Ireland and a trip for two to the European Parliament in Brussels sponsored by MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher. She will also represent the North West in the national Soapbox final in Farmleigh on 20th November with a chance to scoop a €1,000 prize.Emma Rose was presented with €100 Shop LK Vouchers which were partly sponsored by Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce. CLAIRE (16) WINS SOAPBOX REGIONAL FINAL was last modified: November 12th, 2012 by BrendaShare 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:CLAIRE (16) WINS SOAPBOX REGIONAL FINALletterkennylast_img read more

Read more CLAIRE (16) WINS SOAPBOX REGIONAL FINAL

L.A. Children’s Museum breaks ground

first_imgDark rain clouds and cool weather couldn’t dampen spirits Tuesday as politicians and community leaders celebrated the long- awaited groundbreaking of the new Los Angeles Children’s Museum at Hansen Dam. After fund-raising difficulties and lengthy delays, supporters launched work on the $43 million museum, touted as the first major cultural facility in the San Fernando Valley and an architecturally significant building on par with Walt Disney Concert Hall or the Getty Center. “I don’t know about you, but I’m borderline giddy today,’ Council President and museum advocate Alex Padilla told the crowd. Despite the weather, the groundbreaking drew scores of neighbors, literati, local schools and well- known political figures such as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Caroline Kennedy, whose husband, Edwin Schlossberg, designed the museum exhibits. “What Walt Disney Hall is to music and the Getty Center is to art, the new Children’s Museum will be to Los Angeles’ kids and families,’ Villaraigosa said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week When it opens in 2007, the 57,000-square-foot museum is expected to entertain visitors with its unique design as well as interactive exhibits. Attendees at the groundbreaking Tuesday got a sneak peek with a virtual video tour showing sketches of the interior and exterior. “It’s going to be so cool. The art and exhibits will be really, really awesome,’ said Christopher Cruz, a 10- year-old student at Angeles Mesa Elementary School. Classmate Oscar Rodriguez agreed: “It’ll be cool when I’m really old; I can bring my children to the museum and then their children can come to the museum and then their children can come.’ Organizers expect to draw 360,000 visitors to the Hansen Dam site, which overlooks the park’s recreational lake and willow forest and marks a dramatic departure from the museum’s previous cramped facility downtown. “No more parking tickets downtown,’ joked Jennifer Lettelleir, the museum’s performing arts director. Indeed, she and Reading Edge literacy arts program director Kymberly Evans said they are eager to move into a state-of-the-art facility after five years on the road. “It’s going to be great. I’ve been traveling and seeing children’s museums around the country, and this is going to be an amazing facility,’ Evans said. The original museum closed its doors in 2000 with plans to build two new facilities: one in Little Tokyo and one at Hansen Dam. After a slow start in fund-raising, the museum board dropped plans for the Little Toyko site to focus on the Hansen Dam site. The land is owned by the city and leased to the museum for $1 a year. Organizers are still raising $16.5 million for the museum’s exhibits and staffing, plus an additional $10 million for an endowment. San Fernando resident Robert Villafana said he was pleased the museum chose to move to the northeast Valley, an area too often known for landfills and junkyards. “People say that the kids are the future, but you have to give them some positive images. This will give the kids something positive, something they can look forward to.’ @tagline columnist:Kerry Cavanaugh can be reached at (818) 713-3746 or by e- mail at kerry.cavanaugh@dailynews.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Read more L.A. Children’s Museum breaks ground

Passenger killed as car rolls off road

first_imgNORTH HOLLYWOOD – A 24-year-old woman died early Wednesday when she was thrown from a 1990 black Mercedes as it tumbled down an embankment off the Hollywood Freeway, then was crushed by the car, officials said. Coroner’s officials identified the victim as Monica Days of Mission Hills, who had been a passenger. Officials did not immediately disclose the identity of the driver, a 22-year-old man from North Hollywood. They said he told them that he and Days were arguing when she grabbed the steering wheel and jerked it to the right, forcing the car over a 90-foot embankment south of the Sherman Way exit. California Highway Patrol Sgt. John Mueller did not know if Days was wearing a seat belt or if alcohol was involved in the crash. He warned motorists to be especially careful in Thanksgiving holiday traffic. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals “It’s imperative that (they) are conscious of getting a designated driver, should they consume alcohol, and obey all traffic laws,” Mueller said. “There’s going to be a lot of traffic because of the holiday. Leave early, take your time and get there safely.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Read more Passenger killed as car rolls off road

U.S. tested for radiation at domestic Muslim sites

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake The revelation of the surveillance program came just days after The New York Times disclosed that the Bush administration spied on suspected terrorist targets in the United States without court orders. President George Bush has said he approved the program to protect Americans from attack. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based civil rights group, said Friday the program “comes as a complete shock to us and everyone in the Muslim community.” “This creates the appearance that Muslims are targeted simply for being Muslims,” he said. “I don’t think this is the message the government wants to send at this time.” Hooper said his organization has serious concerns about the constitutionality of monitoring on private property without a court order. Brian Roehrkasse, a Justice Department spokesman, said Friday that the administration “is very concerned with a growing body of sensitive reporting that continues to show al-Qaida has a clear intention to obtain and ultimately use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear” weapons or high energy explosives. WASHINGTON – A classified radiation monitoring program, conducted without warrants, has targeted private U.S. property in an effort to prevent an al-Qaida attack, federal law enforcement officials confirmed Friday. While declining to provide details including the number of cities and sites monitored, the officials said the air monitoring took place since the Sept. 11 attacks and from publicly accessible areas – which they said made warrants and court orders unnecessary. U.S. News and World Report first reported the program on Friday. The magazine said the monitoring was conducted at more than 100 Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area – including Maryland and Virginia suburbs – and at least five other cities when threat levels had risen: Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York and Seattle. The magazine said that, at the program’s peak, three vehicles in Washington monitored 120 sites a day, nearly all of them Muslim targets identified by the FBI. Targets included mosques, homes and businesses, the magazine said. To meet that threat, the government “monitors the air for imminent threats to health and safety,” but acts only on specific information about a potential attack without targeting any individual or group, he said. “FBI agents do not intrude across any constitutionally protected areas without the proper legal authority,” the spokesman said. In a 2001 decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that police must get warrants before using devices that search through walls for criminal activity. That decision struck down the use without a warrant of a heat-sensing device that led to marijuana charges against an Oregon man. Roehrkasse said the Justice Department believes that case does not apply to air monitoring in publicly accessible areas. Two federal law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the program is classified, said the monitoring did not occur only at Muslim-related sites. Douglas Kmiec, a professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University, said the location of the surveillance matters when determining if a court order is needed. “The greatest expectation of privacy is in the home,” said Kmiec, a Justice Department official under former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. “As you move away from the home to a parking lot or a place of public accommodation or an office, there are a set of factors that are a balancing test for the court,” he said. Despite federal promises to inform state and local officials of security concerns, that never formally happened with the radiation monitoring program, said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information. The official said that, after discussions with attorneys, some state and local authorities decided the surveillance was legal, equating it to air quality monitors set up around Washington that regularly sniff for suspicious materials. “They weren’t targeting specific people; they were just doing it by random, driving around (commercial) storage sheds and parking lots,” the official said. Asked about the program’s status, the official said, “I’d understood it had been stopped or significantly rolled back” as early as eight months ago. Such information-sharing with state and local officials is the responsibility of the Homeland Security Department, which spokesman Brian Doyle said was not involved in the program.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Read more U.S. tested for radiation at domestic Muslim sites

Half-time: Hull 2 Chelsea 2 – Nervy Blues squander lead

first_imgEden Hazard and Diego Costa scored stunning early goals but Chelsea were fortunate to be level at the interval.Hazard smashed home the opener after a fine run, and Costa made it 2-0 when he curled the ball in at the far post from a tight angle.But Ahmed Elmohamady side-footed Hull’s first from close range and Abel Hernandez slotted number two after a rare Thibaut Courtois mistake.Hazard had run on to Costa’s excellent lay-off to seemingly put the Blues in control inside two minutes.And, after a fine Courtois block denied Hernandez, Costa’s strike following some fine work by Ramires doubled the away advantage.But Chelsea, who could re-establish a six-point lead at the top of the Premier League with victory, were fortunate to be leading and were second best for the rest of the half.Andrew Robertson teed up Elmohamady to slot home for 2-1 after 26 minutes and the equaliser came 74 seconds later when Branislav Ivanovic’s backpass left Courtois in difficulty, and the Belgian presented a simple chance to Hernandez.Hull remained on top thereafter but Chelsea held on for 2-2 at the interval. Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Filipe Luis; Fabregas, Matic; Ramires, Willian, Hazard; Costa.Subs: Cech, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Loftus-Cheek, Oscar, Cuadrado, Remy.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Read more Half-time: Hull 2 Chelsea 2 – Nervy Blues squander lead

Older posts