Press release: Foreign Secretary flies into Kabul to support signs of progress in Afghanistan

first_imgFor journalists On the back of the ceasefires over Eid, which saw government and Taliban forces talking rather than fighting in cities across the country, the Foreign Secretary held talks in Kabul with Afghanistan’s President, Chief Executive, and Deputy Foreign Minister.The Foreign Secretary underlined that Britain was fully committed to helping build a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Afghanistan. He welcomed the National Unity Government’s determination to achieve a peaceful political settlement to the conflict with the Taliban, including through holding timely and credible Parliamentary and Presidential elections.He also highlighted the UK’s strong support for girls’ education in Afghanistan by meeting Afghan girls who are getting access to sports education through UK funding.The Foreign Secretary also met General Nicholson, the Commander of Resolute Support, NATO’s training and assistance mission in Afghanistan, and had a chance to talk to and ride in an armoured vehicle with some of the Welsh Guards helping to mentor the Afghan National Security and Defence Forces.The Foreign Secretary said: During his visit the Foreign Secretary met President Dr Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah, and Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai.This is the Foreign Secretary’s second visit to Afghanistan, where the UK is currently investing more than £750 million in development assistance to support the Afghan people.Notes to editors The UK is contributing £750 million in development spend between 2016 and 2020. UK Aid is helping improve access to education, services and justice for the Afghan people, offering humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable and supporting good governance and anti-corruption efforts. The UK has also committed £70 million per year until 2020 in non-military support to help sustain the Afghan National Security and Defence Forces. Over 650 UK troops are currently serving in Afghanistan in non-combat roles as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission to help train, assist and advise the Afghan Security Forces. At this important moment when Afghan-led efforts towards peace and a political settlement have gained considerable impetus, I was proud and inspired to be in Kabul to see how the UK is working in support of the Afghan government to achieve this goal. In my meetings with President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah, I welcomed their historic offer of unconditional talks earlier this year, and their determined recent efforts towards a political process with the Taliban. I urge all countries with influence in Afghanistan, especially in the neighbourhood, to use it constructively at this crucial moment. My visit comes just as the UK is considering the request from the US and NATO to give additional assistance to Resolute Support. I was hugely impressed by the work done by British troops as a part of this NATO mission and I believe there is still a lot the UK could contribute to this vital operation. The government will be taking a decision very soon. I was also delighted to meet a talented group of Afghan girls to see how excited they were about their prospects, thanks to British funding and the Afghan government’s determination to do more in this area. A good education for them will help Afghanistan’s development and is a big part of the UK’s commitment towards a brighter future for Afghanistan. I am proud that UK Aid has helped 300,000 marginalised Afghan girls into education and trained over 10,000 teachers over the last six years. Follow the Foreign Secretary on Twitter @BorisJohnson and Facebookcenter_img Follow the Foreign Office on Twitter @foreignoffice and Facebook Media enquiries Further information Follow the Foreign Office on Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn Email [email protected]last_img read more

‘Sincerely, L. Cohen,’ A Live Tribute To The Late Leonard Cohen To Get Official Release

first_imgToday, Royal Potato Family records has announced the upcoming release of Sincerely, L. Cohen: A Live Celebration of Leonard Cohen, a new live album recorded at an emotional tribute show hosted at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg early this year. On January 24th, 2017, several weeks after Leonard Cohen‘s passing on November 7th, 2016, the people for New York honored the “Poet Prince of Montréal” with a special evening in Williamsburg featuring dozens of singers, songwriters and musicians, including Richard Thompson, Josh Ritter, Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Amy Helm, Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), Elvis Perkins, Holly Miranda, Joan As Police Woman, Delicate Steve, and many more. It was an evening the Village Voice called “a loving, thoughtful tribute to Cohen’s life in music and poetry.”***You can listen to the first track from the live tribute release, Delicate Steve’s rendition of Cohen’s seminal classic, “Hallelujah,” here.***The live album features highlight performances from this carefully constructed, expertly structured concert, which spanned over three hours in length. The concert and subsequent album was produced by Cohen fans Jesse Lauter (Tedeschi Trucks Band), Hannah Gold (City Winery Presents), and frequent Bob Weir collaborator Josh Kaufman. Kaufman led the evening’s house band, featuring first-rate New York-based musicians including Ray Rizzo (Drums – Yo Yo Ma), Walt Martin (Keys – The Walkmen), Annie Nero (Bass – Craig Finn), Stuart Bogie (Brass & Woodwinds – Arcade Fire), Nick Kinsey (Percussions – Kevin Morby), and Dave Harrington (Guitar – Darkside) and punctuated by a backing vocal trio that Cohen himself would have been proud of: Jocie Adams, Cassandra Jenkins and Leslie Mendelson.Listen To 12 Beautiful Covers Of Leonard Cohen’s MusicIn the album liner notes to this collection, music critic Justin Joffe writes, “Sincerely, L. Cohen: A Live Celebration of Leonard Cohen could have been a solemn affair. But all performers took the celebration part to heart, infusing Cohen’s most somber truths with equal parts reverence and reverie. The evening found a mix of New York icons, esteemed singer-songwriters, cult performers, and up-and-comers for a night of Cohen standards, stories and deep cuts.” Joffe continues, “Sentimental and scholarly, full of tearful singalongs and heartfelt remembrance, it was an evening Cohen would have appreciated.”Posthumous Music Video Of Leonard Cohen Is Released [Watch]The album will be made available on all digital streaming platforms on Thursday September 21–what would have been Leonard Cohen’s 83rd birthday. A limited-edition double-vinyl run of 500 units is available for preorder now and will hit stores in time for the holidays. All proceeds from album sales will go to the Preemptive Love Coalition, a non-profit organization that aids children and families affected by terrorism and other crises in the Middle East across the globe.Full Track Listing: Sincerely, L. Cohen: A Live Celebration of Leonard CohenHallelujah – Delicate SteveSisters of Mercy – Leslie MendelsonDiamonds In The Mine – Osei EssedI’m Your Man – Holly Miranda, Joan As Police Woman & Invisible FamiliarsChelsea Hotel #2 – Josh RitterHey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye – Amy HelmIs This What You Wanted – Elvis PerkinsBird On The Wire – Richard ThompsonStory Of Isaac – Richard ThompsonBeautiful Losers – Lenny KayeMemories – Ian O’Neil (Deer Tick)In My Secret Life – Cassandra JenkinsBallad of The Absent Mare – Teddy ThompsonSuzanne – Alana AmramFamous Blue Raincoat – Lee RanaldoSo Long, Marianne – Will Sheff & Friends[Cover Photo – Michael Putland – Getty Images]If you’re a fan of Leslie Mendelson, Dave Harrington, or all-star tributes to legendary artists in general, don’t miss next month’s Brooklyn Comes Alive! Inspired by the vibrant musical communities of Brooklyn and New Orleans, is set to take place across three venues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Brooklyn Bowl, Schimanski, Music Hall of Williamsburg) on September 23rd and 24th. The unique homegrown event puts the focus on the musicians, curating dream team collaborations, tributes, and artist passion projects for two full days of incredible music both new and old.The 2017 lineup is set to include hand-selected band lineups featuring all-star musicians like John Scofield, George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Vinnie Amico and Al Schnier (moe.), Bernard Purdie, Joel Cummins, Ryan Stasik, and Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee), Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits), Mike Greenfield and Jesse Miller (Lotus), Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident), Alan Evans (Soulive), Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Henry Butler, Jon Cleary, Reed Mathis (Electric Beethoven), Michael League, Nate Werth, Chris Bullock, Robert “Sput” Searight, and Bob Lanzetti (Snarky Puppy), Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band), and scores of others! ***Tickets Are On Sale Now!***Brooklyn Comes Alive is now offering single day tickets, as well as a ticket payment plan for as low as $30/month. When checking out, just select “Monthly payments with Affirm” as your payment method. To find out more about ticketing, VIP options, and lodging, head to the festival website.last_img read more

Life-Saving Data

first_imgThe University of Georgia’s 86 weather stations record data 24 hours a day, seven days a week across Georgia. Farmers use this data to help them determine when to plant and treat their crops. During Hurricane Michael, the system helped the National Weather Service to track the storm and save lives.“Many of the National Weather Service’s sites stopped working as the storm moved through the area,” said Pam Knox, an agricultural climatologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and interim director of the university’s weather network. “Afterwards, the National Weather Service specifically mentioned to me how much they appreciated being able to use our network data to monitor the storm conditions when their own stations went down.”Formally named the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network, the UGA system records air temperature, rainfall, relative humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, soil temperature at depths of 2, 4 and 8 inches, atmospheric pressure and soil moisture. Data from the stations are summarized at 15-minute intervals, and at midnight, a computer on the UGA Griffin campus calculates a daily summary of that information.The National Weather Service has a weather tracking system, but according to Knox, severe weather is often “localized,” which makes UGA’s data especially valuable. In the case of the recent hurricane, the National Weather service relied on the wind speed and pressure data from UGA. The service has also used the stations’ precipitation data during flash flooding events.“During Hurricane Michael, the National Weather Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Hurricane Center all wanted our data, and they wanted it yesterday,” Knox said. “We were getting bombed with requests and our weather network was the only one reliably operating in the area being hit by the hurricane.”For meteorologists and climatologists, the more data you can get, the better, Knox said. During Hurricane Michael, the UGA stations were some of the only sources of data in more remote parts of the state. One of the automated stations in Donalsville in Seminole County recorded the strongest gust of wind measured in Georgia during the storm. The 115 mph gust will be included in the final storm report put out by the National Hurricane Center, and it may not have been recorded except for the UGA station.The morning of Oct. 11, after Hurricane Michael had traveled across southeast Georgia, all but two of the stations were online and operating normally.“The stations themselves were fine, but cell service in the area was disrupted and we could not communicate with the stations until it came back online,” Knox said. “Fortunately, we were able to recover the full datasets from those stations once communication was restored.”The weather station in Sasser lost its wind vane and a power outage on the UGA campus in Griffin, Georgia, where the weather data is stored and analyzed, slowed down the ability to share data for a few hours, Knox said. Each weather station has a battery-operated backup system that can store up to four months of data.Knox attributes the weather stations’ success to equipment and personnel. The stations use solar panels which limited disruptions due to power outages, a widespread problem along Hurricane Michael’s path.“The UGA support staff who keep the network running did an outstanding job taking care of problems as soon as they happened,” she said.UGA contracts with Earth Networks, the world’s largest weather observation and detection network, to share the network’s data. Bill Callahan, vice president of federal programs for Earth Networks, says data from the UGA weather network is critical daily and during large impact weather events. “Weather impacts every segment of our nation’s economy and is key to promoting safety, efficiency, continuity and productivity,” he said. “The University of Georgia has been a strong partner in the National Mesonet Program since its inception a decade ago, and we look forward to continuing to extend that relationship going forward.”The National Mesonet Program is an observational weather network funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.UGA weather data is in high demand, but Knox says the system runs “on a shoestring budget” with the largest expense being personnel. Each weather station costs $12,000 to establish and about $2,000 a year to maintain. Knox and five UGA employees make up the weather station staff. Several commodity groups contribute to the cost of running the network, she said.For more information on the weather network, visit www.weather.uga.edu.last_img read more

PASSCAR opens 20th season Saturday at Perris Auto Speedway

first_imgPERRIS, Calif. – After a successful 20th anniversary season opener for sprint cars at Perris Auto Speedway last Saturday night, the Riverside County clay oval will kick off the 20th anniversary PASSCAR season this Saturday, March 14. Saturday’s show will feature Super Stocks, Street Stocks, American Factory Stocks and the highly anticipated return of the IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modifieds.Saturday’s race will be the first IMCA sanctioned Modified race at The PAS since 2005. Since 2007, the track started sanctioning the class under the PASSCAR banner. At the urging of racers, sanctioning for the division is reverting back to IMCA in 2015. The track has had an increase in the size of the fields for the Modifieds the past few years and going back to IMCA should draw even more cars. Drivers competing in the division will earn points not only for the PAS IMCA Modified track championship, but also toward IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing national, regional and Allstar Performance State point standings.The eight races at The PAS will all be part of the Larry Shaw Western Region. “We are really excited to welcome IMCA back to The PAS,” promoter Don Kazarian said, “especially in its centennial season. A lot of drivers asked us to go back to IMCA. This will allow cars from other tracks to come race with our regulars as they try to earn state, regional and national points. It will also allow our drivers to venture to other tracks as the rules are now the same. For the past few years our street stock class has usually been the largest on race nights. The modified class has been getting bigger the past couple seasons and it may end up being the largest this year. It is going to be very exciting.” 2014 champions Blaine Whitson (super stocks), Eddie Gurwell (street stocks) and Dalton Everhart (Modifieds) are all expected to be in action on Saturday. Spectator gates will open at 5 p.m. Saturday and racing will begin at 7 p.m. Adult tickets are $15. For active military members with proper ID, teens 13-18 with their school ID and kids ages 6-12, admission is $5. Children five and under will be admitted free.Advance tickets for all events at The PAS, with the exception of the World of Outlaws, are available 24 hours a day by calling 1 800-595-4849 or online.For more information on The PAS call 951 940-0134.Camping is available for $25 per night for all PAS events. The campground opens at noon the day before each event. Tailgating in the spectator parking lot will begin at 1 p.m. for all PAS events as well. Perris Auto Speedway is located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds.last_img read more

SBC Bookies’ Corner – Pricing the unpredictable Oscars 2018

first_img GVC absorbs retail shocks as business recalibrates for critical H2 trading August 13, 2020 StumbleUpon FSB selects Glenn Elliott as new COO August 12, 2020 Share Related Articles Share Submit Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020 Deemed as the most unpredictable ‘Oscars Race’ in Hollywood’s history, how confident are bookmakers of predicting the winners of this weekend’s 90th Academy Awards (4 March).Bookies Corner gets the lowdown on Hollywood’s eclectic field of movie contenders, and what factors are weighed up when pricing Oscar markets. Does box office success or critical opinion even matter, and do political or social factors influence movie judgement in what could well be betting’s most entertaining market!_____________________________Anthony Cousins, UnibetSBC: With upsets in 2016 and 2017, are the Academy Awards becoming harder to predict for bookmakers?Anthony Cousins ( ‎Head Of Sportsbook – Commercial Relations – Kindred Group): Gone are the days of “one horse races” in the Best Picture category, a big reason for this is the opening up of the Best Picture to more than just 5 nominations since 2009.This results in a greater chance of “splitting the vote” and votes cast across more contenders resulting in smaller majorities that can be overcome.The last few years have seen upsets of sorts but they were still films strongly in contention with both Spotlight and Moonlight firm second favourites.The reality is that it’s not so hard to predict which of the 9 will win, but who do you want to back in a two horse race?Spotlight beat The Revenant and Moonlight edged La La Land and when it comes to Three Billboards v The Shape Of Water with flip-flopping favourites it really is a coin toss what the voters will go for.In the last 14 years of the Best Picture Oscar the favourite won 8 times and the second favourite 6 times, ultimately what has not really changed is we don’t see a dark horse winning at big odds in the Best Picture category. Elsewhere it is actually even more predictable! In the last 14 years, every Best Actor favourite has won except once when Sean Penn won for Milk and even he was a close second favourite.It’s a similar story in the Best Actress category where only two favourites have failed to win in the same timeframe, again both to the second favourites.If you take the main six categories of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor it is actually 10 years since there was a winner that was not ranked either favourite or second favourite.That honour went to Tilda Swinton who won Best Supporting Actress for Michael Clayton back in 2008… so this year we expect our predictions to be correct once again.Joe Lee – Paddy PowerSBC: This awards season has been dominated by Social (#metoo movement) and political (Trump criticism) dynamics. How should bookmakers gauge these factors when pricing market… Are the Oscars still a movie awards ceremony?Joe Lee (Head of Trump Betting – Paddy Power):  In our humble opinion this doesn’t influence the pricing of the event that significantly, these extra-curricular activities won’t really cause us to look at a particular motion picture in any different light to how we would normally evaluate them (unless of course there were to be a theme relating to the presidency or #MeToo etc. included).I guess what does come from this, however, is an increased awareness and loftier profile for the awards themselves, which would never be bad for business. The more people are engaged with the subplot or what certain personalities may say about Donald Trump etc., certainly adds to a heightened awareness that they are actually taking place. Awards ceremonies are now being used as a platform to push political agendas in many circles – who knows, we may see a run for a presidency launched at the Oscars in time!Katie Bayliss – BetfairSBC: Does critical or public opinion have any influence on Oscar judging when only four times in the past twenty years has the best-reviewed film won Best Picture category? Katie Bayliss ‎(Media Relations Manager – ‎Betfair): Public opinion definitely seems to play a big part in who and what takes home the most coveted statues in film, although there are occasionally upsets where films which were not favourites come from nowhere to claim against-the-odds victories – or so it appears.From a betting perspective, the preceding awards such as the Golden Globes and the Baftas also influence who punters will back for the Oscars and give a good indication of what is likely to be handed out when it comes to Academy Awards night. Shrewd punters will also be aware of the fact that movies that celebrate Hollywood or the media or historical events tend to do well and films that get a lot of the airtime from the media in the build-up often come through in the end, regardless of reviews.Alex Apati – LadbrokesSBC: There is a high presence of British talent recognised for this year’s Academy Awards. How will the Britpack fair this Oscars 2018?  Alex Apati (PR Executive – Ladbrokes): There’s actually been quite a lot of interest in the Oscars betting so far this year – especially when it comes to backing all things British. 3 of the 5 nominated for Best Actor are British, including two of the favourites – one being Gary Oldman who looks a shoo-in for the gong at 1/16.Elsewhere, Christopher Nolan remains second-favourite for Best Director, while Three Billboards was a long-time favourite and has been well-backed since the market opened, although it has drifted to second-fav in the market at 2/1 now, with The Shape of Water (4/6) overtaking it.Roger Deakins has his 14th Oscars nomination, and despite never winning, is now 2/7 favourite for Best Cinematography for Blade Runner 2049.s So Plenty of nominations in Best Picture and various other categories for British films like Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, Dunkirk, Three Billboards, too!last_img read more

Farmer hospitalised, 1 in custody after boat collision

first_imgSupenaam village farmer Lesley Moses is currently a patient at the Suddie Public Hospital on the Essequibo Coast in Region Two, nursing injuries he sustained to his chest and right leg following a boat collision that occurred at about 15:30h on Friday at Karabarow, Essequibo River.The 51-year-old Moses was reportedly with four other farmers, travelling in his 12’ x 4’ boat which is propelled by a 15 hp engine, when another boat, captained by a female farmer of Wakenaam and proceeding at a fast rate, collided with his boat.The collision caused everyone to be thrown overboard.Following the collision, the female captain rescued the men, and Moses was rushed to the Suddie Hospital, where he was admitted. None of the other famers received any injury.The female captain has been taken into Police custody as investigations continue.last_img read more