Lift-off for Marketing Federation

first_img12 March 2003The Marketing Federation of Southern Africa (MFSA) was officially launched on Wednesday, with some 250 government dignitaries, marketing opinion leaders and journalists attending a breakfast event in Johannesburg.The Federation was established in October 2002 following the amalgamation of the Institute of Marketing Management, the Direct Marketing Association and the Association of Marketers, making it the most powerful marketing body in the country.The MFSA represents some 600 corporate members, 3 000 individuals and over 7 500 students, and according to general manager John Arnesen, enjoys “a rapidly growing support base among members who comprise a diverse array of marketers, ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to powerful multinationals”.The MFSA has strong representation on industry bodies such as the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Advertising Standards Authority, the National Postal Forum, SGB Marketing, the Marketing Industries Trust, and the South African Advertising and Research Foundation.For the advertising and marketing industry, the MFSA is home to the prestigious Loeries, Raptors, Assegais and Tusk Awards, which respectively recognise advertising creativity, sponsorship marketing, direct and interactive marketing, and individual and corporate excellence.A catalyst for changeThe Federation aims to become the chief driver for change and transformation within South Africa’s marketing industry.“While striving to become the home and voice of marketers in southern Africa, the Federation must also hold the torch for transformation within the marketing sector in the country”, says Jabu Mabuza, MFSA board chairman and CEO of Tsogo Sun.Davy Ivins, acting CEO of the MFSA, points out that the pace of change in the industry has been slow. “Transformation, is not merely the obligation of government. Industry must become active participants and supporters of transformation initiatives.”Ivins says the MFSA will be implementing an internal corporate transformation charter, and that it fully supports a transformation blueprint for the marketing industry.Ivins has also committed the MFSA to making resources available for encouraging and monitoring transformational progress, to supporting the formation of a multi-disciplinary industry forum to ensure focus and change, and to provide more information and better research.Although a large amount of work still needs to be done, Ivins takes encouragement from statistics provided by the MFSA’s education and training subsidiary, the IMM Graduate School of Marketing, which indicate that 57% of students are black and 49% female. He also states that of the 214 qualified chartered marketers – the highest professional qualification for marketers – in South Africa, 40% are black.“This indicates that the face of marketing is changing, but there is still a need to sustain and add momentum to this process. The MFSA is well positioned to do this”, says Ivins.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Google takes world on a tour of Robben Island

first_img24 April 2015As South Africa prepares to celebrate Freedom Day this year, the 21st anniversary of its first democratic elections, the Robben Island Museum and Google have announced the release of the first-­ever Street View imagery of Robben Island, as well as an audio-­visual tour hosted on Google Cultural Institute.A collaboration between Google and the Robben Island Museum to make the Unesco World Heritage site accessible to the world via the internet represented an effort to marry history with the future, the museum said in a statement. Mandela’s 2×2 prison cell. He rolled and unrolled his bedding each night as the majority of space in the tiny cell was taken up by his desk and book shelves. (Image: Google Cultural Institute) Sibongiseni Mkhize, chief executive of the Robben Island Museum, said at the launch that the museum was embracing technology to avoid becoming “irrelevant”. “We are using technology to enhance the story of the island.” He said the educational element of the island would be highlighted with this new partnership.“The reason Robben Island is now a museum is to educate people about the part of South Africa’s heritage that is embodied in the island’s multilayered history. Together with Google we are making this heritage accessible to people all over the world,” he said.Luke McKend, country director for Google South Africa, said that they had launched the project just days ahead of Freedom Day because “Robben Island is a symbol of South Africa’s fight for freedom”.“Once a symbol of the oppressive apartheid regime, Robben Island is now a memorial and a reminder of the human spirit’s irrepressible search for freedom. We hope you’ll take a moment to step back in time to explore and be inspired by the island’s story of hope and humanity,” McKend writes on the official Google blog.It is hoped that the tour will help educate people around the world about the prison colony, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned by the apartheid regime for nearly two decades. WATCH: Former Robben Island prisoner Vusumsi Mcongo recalls the incident that led to the closure of the lime quarry on the island. The newly launched guided tour of Robben Island includes a virtual visit to Mandela’s prison cell as well as to activist Robert Sobukwe’s house. It uses a combination of Google’s Street View technology, videos of a tour guide (former political prisoner Vusumsi Mcongo) as well as original still images.As part of this project, Google Maps will also develop teaching notes on Robben Island for educators who will be using this interactive tour as an educational tool.Ahmed Kathrada, a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, a former inmate and close friend of the late Mandela, welcomed the initiative at the launch on Wednesday.“Not being able to see or interact with children for 20 years was possibly the most difficult thing to endure during my time on the island,” he said. “There’s a poetic justice that children in classrooms all over the world will now be able to visit Robben Island using this technology.” The house on Robert Island where Robert Sobukwe was sentenced to solitary confinement during the 1970s. (Image: Google Cultural Institute) Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said, “The internet is the world’s most powerful source of information and thanks to Google’s partnership with the Robben Island Museum, more people than ever before have access to this World Heritage Site.“We hope that this initiative not only allows for the world to reflect on South Africa’s struggle for freedom, but also showcase its beauty,” Hanekom said.The Robben Island Museum announced in April that they would be overhauling the ailing user experience on the island. The app and partnership with Google was a step in the overall improvement of the island, the museum said.The Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory also confirmed it would update their Cultural Institute exhibits with new layouts and add Street View panoramas of Robben Island.The Robben Island interactive tour can be accessed on mobile phones, from desktops and from Google’s Cultural Institute, where Robben Island Museum will host five exhibits depicting the history of the island.Download the app from the Google Store SAinfo reporter and news24.comlast_img read more

Bihar Board class 10 results 2017: 49.86% fail to pass

first_imgThe much-awaited Bihar class 10 Board exam results were declared on Thursday with 49.68% students failing to pass the exam.The pass percentage of the students was 50.12%.A total of 17,40,000 students had appeared in the class 10 board exam conduced by Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB). About 8,63,000 students were declared passed.Also readWhat ails education in Bihar?Amarnath Tewary  This year the pass percentage of students increased by 3.1% from the last year. Last year a total of 15,77,936 students had appeared in the exam in which 47.1% had passed.This year the BSEB, under its new regulations, had introduced the provision of grace marks to students but the BSEB chairman Anand Kishor refused to share more information on how many students were provided grace marking to cross the pass percentage.“Under the new regulations of BSEB the secrecy of grace marking cannot be shared with media”, said Mr Kishor.Prem Kumar of Lakhisarai district topped the exams with 93% marks while Bhavya Kumari of Simultala Residential government school, Jamui bagged second position with 92.8%.Most of the top ten students are from Simultala Residential School government, Jamui.This time, said the BSEB chairman Anand Kishor, physical verification of all top ten students were done before the publication of the results.“Besides, strict measures were taken, including bar coding on answer sheets to avoid any chance of unfairness in the conduct of the exam or the results”, added Mr Kishor.The Intermediate results published last month hit headlines as the pass percentage was just 35%. The topper in humanities stream failed to answer basic questions of his subjects music and Hindi. He was also hound fudging with his age and later sent to jail.Similarly, in 2015, the humanities topper Ruby Rai had pronounced her subject “Political Science” as “Prodikal Science which teaches about cooking” and had hogged headlines.Later, she too was arrested along with other topper students.last_img read more

‘Sacrilege culprits won’t be spared’

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Monday that culprits of the Bargari sacrilege case and the subsequent incidents of police firing at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura in 2015 will not be spared.“The special investigation team is on its job of investigating Bargari and other incidents but under the law, I cannot interfere in its functioning. The SIT is fully cognisant of the sensitivity and urgency of the matter and would not delay its investigations,” said Capt. Amarinder here at a press conference.Asked if he was supporting the radicals to get control of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the Chief Minister said that he had never had any links with such groups. He said that he would support any moderate group of Sikhs to get control of the SGPC as he wanted “the Badals” (former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal) out of it. “They have ruined the gurdwaras,” he alleged.In response to another question, the Chief Minister said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence had been active in Punjab for long, possibly through Kashmiri students. However, he clarified that every student from Kashmir was not a militant and the police had so far not established any links of the recently arrested students with locals.On the issue of stubble burning, the Chief Minister said the situation could aggravate once harvesting is complete. “While my sympathies are with the farmers, the government is bound by law to take action against those indulging in burning of paddy straw,”’ he added.Capt. Amarinder said his government would wait till the end of the month before taking any decision on fuel prices, as international prices of oil were fluctuating.last_img read more

Chiefs stay in F4 hunt

first_imgView comments Kent Salado stood at the forefront of Arellano’s charge as the Chiefs continued their late assault at a Final Four berth with a 95-65 whipping of also-ran St. Benilde last Thursday in NCAA Season 93 at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Salado scattered 16 points and dished out 11 assists as the Chiefs rolled to their sixth win in 15 games, pulling level with Emilio Aguinaldo College at sixth spot.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutIt was the biggest win of the season yet for the Chiefs who, for most of the season, have been a shadow of the team that reached the Final Four the past three years.“It’s a very important (win) and I can’t exaggerate it because actually all our remaining games are important,” said Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera. “If we were able to do this in the first round, I think we would have a better chance. But nonetheless, this win gives us hope.” The Chiefs shot 50 percent from the field as five other players posted double digit outputs, including Zach Nicholls and Lervin Flores, who chipped in 13 points and 12 points, respectively.“We expected this performance from Kent (Salado) because he’s really matured,” said Codiñera, whose team took an early double-digit lead and never looked back. “We had a good start and the support group also responded.”The win gave the Chiefs a lifeline in the race for the two remaining Final Four spots. As it stands, Jose Rizal holds pole position with a 9-7 record with Letran (8-7) and San Sebastian (7-7) also in the running.While Codiñera knows their fate is no longer in their hands, the Arellano coach is hopeful the other teams slip.“We just have to win our remaining games and hope for the best,” he said. “If we end up with nine (wins), we might finish third especially with the win over the other rule. I think we have a good chance with the quotient system.”ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES Don’t count the Arellano Chiefs out just yet.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Import invasion: Top-notch reinforcements add spice to Grand Prix tournament LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president MOST READ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:58Trump blames media, Democrats for impeachment during Kentucky rally01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Later, Mapua notched its second straight win at the expense of Perpetual Help, 76-71.Andoy Estrella picked up 22 points including nine in the final period while Christian Buñag added 16 points as the Cardinals improved to 3-12. The Blazers dropped to last place with a 3-13 card.last_img read more

Sachin Tendulkar adds value to batting line-up, says Sanjay Manjrekar

first_imgSachin Tendulkar ‘s vulnerability against full-length deliveries in the New Zealand series may have raised a few eyebrows, but Sanjay Manjrekar, a former Test batsman and Tendulkar ‘s teammate, feels the days of batting maestro at the highest level are not yet over.”To me, the way Tendulkar got out in his three innings against New Zealand does not suggest by any stretch of the imagination that he is finished as an international batsman,” he said.”I will stand by what I’ve said all along about Tendulkar – that his run-making at the international level will stop only when he stops playing. Until then, he may not dominate as he used to but he will still be a good enough batsman to get runs at the highest level, and to add value to the Indian team, especially in Test cricket,” he told cricinfo.Sanjay Manjrekar felt that Sachin was aware of the difficulties an ageing batsman has to face and he will soon find an answer to it.Tendulkar, 39, was clean bowled three times out of three in the just-concluded two Test-series between India and New Zealand, triggering a spate of negative comments. Even Manjrekar and Sunil Gavaskar, who were doing television commentary when Tendulkar was bowled in the first innings of the second Test, questioned his lack of foot movement.Now, Manjrekar says Tendulkar still adds value to the batting line-up and must be part of the team in the four-Test series against England at home.Also a Mumbaikar like Tendukar, Manjrekar argued that the maestro was not first one to have struggled with full-length deliveries.”I have seen with great players as they age that it’s the full delivery that seems to bother them more than short ones. Short balls land on the pitch well before full-length ones do, so their mystery is revealed to the batsman earlier,” he pointed out.”Watching a ball from the point of release to almost right under your eyes is not easy to do. Great batsmen do it as a matter of habit, but with age they have to remind themselves to keep doing it right through their innings.”Manjrekar felt that Tendulkar was aware of the difficulties an ageing batsman has to face and he will soon find an answer to it.advertisementlast_img read more

Sorry not sorry

first_imgSEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte “I understand coach Tim’s frustration … But if we get into a situation where we’re tied, you know, who knows? I don’t want to miss the playoffs because I honored a tradition that nobody else in the league honors,” Compton said. “When teams score on us at the buzzer when we’re getting killed … I’m not offended. I would’ve been offended probably three or four years ago. But the league has set up the quotient system in a way that if we don’t make that play, [then] we [might not] make the playoffs again by one point.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy LATEST STORIES Simon Enciso of Alaska (left) rises to score over Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter. —PBA IMAGESAlex Compton remembers missing the playoffs by passing up on a last-second shot out of tradition. So as much as he hates doing something like this to a coach he respects, he’d rather take the cold shoulder than the anger of the guy that signs his paycheck.“[T]he way that we grew up, if you play college basketball in the United States, you don’t take that shot. You don’t ever take that shot,” Compton told reporters following the Aces’ 104-78 victory over Barangay Ginebra in Antipolo—the last three points came at the buzzer from guard Simon Enciso, who fired a bench-sanctioned triple.ADVERTISEMENT Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbedcenter_img Alab-PH back on track “There’s a quotient system and then we lost eight straight and we didn’t make the playoffs because we had a layup [that] I told [my players] not to take … And that was my fault. We literally lost because we didn’t make that play—and we didn’t make the playoffs,” said Compton.So it all boiled down to who Compton wanted to offend the least: Cone, the all-time leader in championships won among coaches, who Compton respects too much? Or Alaska team owner Fred Uytengsu?“I mean, I’d think Fred (Uytengsu, Alaska team owner) might’ve had more than strong words for me,” Compton said. “I might be covering a lot of games and looking for another job.”The PBA employs the quotient system to break ties, making every margin of victory precious. But Cone has never been a fan of scoring on a defeated opponent at the buzzer or close to it.Back in 2008, he took offense on a last-second slam dunk by Kelly Williams, who was then playing for Sta. Lucia. During the 2017 Philippine Cup Finals, the decorated tactician lashed out at San Miguel Beer guard Chris Ross for firing a trey in the final moments of Game 3.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem View comments Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crash Compton sounded apologetic over the shot, especially with Ginebra mentor Tim Cone— a staunch critic of such shots—walking off without going through the postgame handshake.“He hates the rule and he hates [the play],” Compton said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption charges“I think you saw how much I respect coach Tim, when he turned his back and walked away, I ran after him,” he added. “I was like ‘Coach, I missed the playoffs because I didn’t make that play.”And Compton doesn’t want that to happen again. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

3 get prison in college basketball recruiting scandal

first_imgTrump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem MOST READ Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end View comments PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christian Dawkins and Merl Code, a former Adidas consultant, were convicted in October of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for funneling illegal payments to families of recruits to Louisville, Kansas and North Carolina State.Gatto, 48, of Wilsonville, Oregon, got nine months in prison; Dawkins, 26, of Atlanta, and Code, 45, of Greer, South Carolina, got six months each. Code and Dawkins were each also ordered to pay $28,261 in restitution to the University of Louisville.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesThe judge said each can remain free until a federal appeals court decides whether to uphold their convictions.Prosecutors say coaches teamed with Gatto and others to trade hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence star athletes’ choice of schools, shoe sponsors, agents and even tailors. 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crash Warriors draft first woman player into NBA 2K esports league Kaplan recommended all three men serve their sentences at minimum security prisons.Tony Bland, a former Southern California assistant coach; ex-Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson; and former Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans are awaiting sentencing. Former Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person, who pleaded not guilty, is scheduled for trial in June.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting This combo of images shows, from left, amateur basketball league director Merl Code, Former Adidas executive James Gatto, and business manager Christian Dawkins. The three men were sentenced Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in the widespread college basketball recruiting scandal that has tainted two dozen schools. Gatto got nine months in prison. Dawkins and Code got six months each. (AP Photo/Bebeto Mathews, left, Seth Wenig, center and right)NEW YORK — A former Adidas executive and two others who paid families to persuade top college basketball recruits to play for schools sponsored by the shoe brand were sentenced to prison Tuesday by a judge who said he wanted to send a “great big warning light to the basketball world.”U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said he had to balance the need for a stern message with the realization that others who did similar crimes were not prosecuted in a widespread college basketball recruiting scandal that has tainted two dozen schools.ADVERTISEMENT NCAA President Mark Emmert has said an independent enforcement body to adjudicate major infractions cases could be in place by August.Kaplan said leniency for the defendants, who faced as much as three years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, could only go so far.“These defendants all knew what they were doing was wrong,” he said.The judge added that he wanted to send “a great big warning light to the basketball world.”“I deeply regret my actions,” Gatto said in a shaky voice.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Dawkins referenced “social dysfunction” in college basketball and said his actions were “clouded” by a “system that takes advantage of kids.”“I realize now more than ever none of this was worth it,” Dawkins said.Code, a former Amateur Athletic Union coach, said he also regretted his actions but added: “Some things really got to be changed about college basketball.”The judge acknowledged none of the defendants “took home a nickel” from the scheme, but said it was wrong to say there was no economic motive because each defendant’s career stood to benefit.Kaplan said all the harm could not be measured in dollars, citing testimony by the father of Brian Bowen Jr., once one of America’s bright high school basketball stars who seemed destined for the NBA until it was revealed that his father was to be paid $100,000 so his son would go to Louisville.The judge recalled that the father cried as he testified that he had wrecked his son’s life. The younger Bowen now plays basketball in Australia.Kaplan also cited the playing at trial of a recorded conversation between Code and Dawkins in which the men discussed giving Louisville basketball coaches “plausible deniability” about the scheme.“I’ll never forget that,” Kaplan said. “They were making sure Rick Pitino’s tracks were being covered.”Pitino was fired by Louisville after arrests were made in 2017 in the corruption investigation. He has denied wrongdoing.In a release, Deputy U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami said the sentences “only begin to reflect the magnitude of the harm these defendants caused through a scheme that not only defrauded multiple public universities but upended the lives of young student-athletes and corrupted a game cherished by so many.”last_img read more

NAT Fixes Newbuilding Suezmax with Equinor

first_imgzoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pexels under CC0 Creative Commons license Bermuda-based shipping company Nordic American Tankers (NAT) has secured a 3-year time charter (TC) plus options for one of its Suezmax newbuildings.The time charter contract, expected to commence in the autumn of 2018, was agreed with Norway’s company Equinor (formerly Statoil).The contract has a base rate of USD 21,000 per day, “producing positive cashflow and earnings,” NAT said. The deal includes two optional periods that could extend the TC contract into 2023.Scheduled for delivery in August 2018, the unit is one of the three vessels under construction at South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries.“Going forward, we sense an upward trend for the tanker industry as there is a clear expectation for improvement,” the company added.Over the last two weeks, the company disposed of five Suezmax tankers of 20 years or more. These transactions generate a total cashflow of about USD 50 million.last_img read more

Freeland steps up diplomatic pressure on Venezuela warns of refugee crisis

first_imgTORONTO – Canada is concerned that the political and economic turmoil in Venezuela will spark a refugee crisis for the South American country and its neighbours, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday.Freeland said that she and Peru’s foreign minister would take that message to the United Nations in New York City on Monday, following her appearance at a business conference in Toronto.Canada and Peru co-chaired a meeting of ministers from the Lima Group of countries last week in Toronto. Freeland and Peru’s foreign minister Ricardo Luna were delegated to meet with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.Apart from Canada, the group’s 12 members are in Latin America.But Freeland said Monday that Venezuela and Canada are in the same geographic “neighbourhood” and that Canada has a role to play in supporting the country’s democratic institutions and respect for human rights.“I do think. . . this is a humanitarian crisis as well as a political one. We are seeing real preventable suffering of the people of Venezuela,” Freeland said at the Toronto Global Forum before heading to New York for the U.N. meeting.“And I think . . . there are mounting signs of a regional refugee crisis as well. Colombia and Brazil are facing a lot of pressure. So I think it is an area where Canada needs to be very engaged.”Venezuela — an oil-rich country that was led by outspoken socialist Hugo Chavez from 1999 to 2013 — has suffered an economic meltdown since his death.The dramatic drop in global oil prices since late 2014 and the devaluation of the country’s currency have fuelled triple-digit inflation that has resulted in shortages of food, medicine and other basic necessities.The government of President Nicolas Maduro, who succeeded Chavez, has also been accused of grabbing power by creating a new constitutional assembly that claims supreme authority over other arms of the government, including the opposition-controlled congress.In September, Freeland announced that Canada had imposed sanctions against 40 key figures in the Venezuelan regime, including Maduro, who she said had helped undermine the country’s stability.Freeland said Monday that support from allies would help pressure Venezuela further.“So I think it is an area where Canada needs to be very engaged. . . . We’d be delighted to see the EU joining us in applying pressure on the government of Venezuela,” Freeland said.Earlier in an on-stage interview by Frank McKenna, a former Liberal premier of New Brunswick and a former Canadian ambassador to the United States, Freeland acknowledged that the NAFTA trade talks have included some “troubling” proposals from the United States.Freeland specified two issues: the U.S. insistence of removing dispute-resolution measures contained in Chapter 19 of the North American Free Trade Agreement as well as its proposal to review the trade pact every five years.But she said the Canada-U.S. relationship is “robust and very deep” — noting the two countries are partners in the NATO and NORAD military alliances and that Canada is a bigger market for the United States than China, Japan and the United Kingdom combined.Freeland also said that barriers to trade under World Trade Organization rules have been reduced since NAFTA was signed by the United States, Canada and Mexico.“We looked at the actual trade — not the just the agreement but the actual trade that is happening — we found that around 40 per cent of Canadian exporters to the United States don’t use the NAFTA preferences that are available to them,” Freeland said.That suggests the differences between WTO and NAFTA rules have decreased and that administrative red-tape involved is a bigger barrier to trade than preferential tariffs in the three-country agreement, she said.“It’s very technical. Things like electronic forms at the border, things like regulatory harmonization,” Freeland said.“It really matters to Canadian and U.S. businesses and in most chapters (of the agreement) we’re going gangbusters in a very positive way.”last_img read more