Period of stability key to region’s recovery

first_imgNewsLocal NewsPeriod of stability key to region’s recoveryBy admin – November 25, 2010 487 Twitter Linkedin LIMERICK people are afraid to part with their money ahead of Budget 2011 as they don’t know how much will be left in their pockets, but with a general election on the horizon, hopes have been expressed by the local business community that such an eventuality could spark increased growth and stability in the region. Maria Kelly, CEO Limerick Chamber, insists it is “most important that the Government gets its budget and four-year plan through to meet the conditions of the IMF and the EU”.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Her comments came after Taoiseach, Brian Cowen declared on Monday he will call a general election early in the new year, “as soon as the budget process has been seen through”. Noting that the within the next two years, a declining Limerick city centre and indeed, the economic picture as a whole, could see a return to growth, Ms Kelly told the Limerick Post that the reaction to the IMF has been somewhat peculiar.“We have been in free-fall for some time and we have never hit the bottom, but maybe now we have hit the bottom, and I hope that the political parties recognise the importance of seeing this process through and then let the people have their say in the new year”.However, Ms Kelly, adopting a positive stance, revealed she had spoken to many business owners who had acknowledged a substantial increase in their turnover, and she expressed confidence that 2011 could see a return for the majority of those that suffered at the front-line of the economy.This sentiment is echoed by Graham Byrnes, regional director at CPL, who says that he would welcome the announcement of the general election as he feels that Limerick is in need of representation at the Cabinet table. “We need stability here, and potential investors crave certainty if multinationals are to set up in the region, while allowing exporters to avail of opportunity.“Companies are hiring and we have seen an increase in demand to fill jobs, but this needs to grow once the size of this financial bail out is identified. Ireland and indeed, Limerick, has seen an increase in competitiveness as salaries and costs have fallen.“Now is the time for direct foreign investment to pick up an educated workforce. It is two years now since the Dell closure and with the support of grants and training stimulus packages, Limerick is getting back on its feet”.Commentators and the business community are embracing the announcement of a general election on the whole, citing a period of stability as the key to recovery. Facebook Advertisementcenter_img Print WhatsApp Email Previous articleCar reg gives sneak offender awayNext articleCouncil denounces ‘scurrilous’ local newspaper report adminlast_img read more

COVID-19 outbreak at Virginia jail infects 124 inmates, 20 staffers: Officials

first_imgHanover County, Va.BY: BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A COVID-19 outbreak has rapidly spread through a Virginia jail, infecting at least 120 inmates and 20 staff members despite emergency protocols officials say have been in place since March to prevent the contagion from infiltrating the facility.The Pamunkey Regional Jail in Hanover, Virginia, is the latest U.S. correctional institution to report an outbreak of coronavirus which has plagued thousands of jail and prison inmates across the country since the global pandemic started earlier this year.On Wednesday, officials at the Pamunkey jail announced that 120 of the 380 inmates incarcerated at the lockup have tested positive for the virus in the six days since the first inmate case was detected on Sept. 3.“It’s virtually impossible to stop outbreaks from occurring within facilities of these types,” Dr. Tom Franck, director of the Chickahominy Health District in Virginia, said during a news conference at the jail. “When you have a congregated setting like this and you’ve got people sharing bathrooms and sharing space together, it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to get outbreaks.”Franck said officials have narrowed the outbreak to a specific pod at the jail, saying about 70% of the 178 inmates in that section have tested positive for the virus and that test results are pending for another dozen inmates.While it remains unclear how the virus invaded the 127,000-square-foot facility that has 15 different housing units, James Willett, the jail’s superintendent, said two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 20 and a jail contractor tested positive on Aug. 28.He said the two jail employees and a third staff member who tested positive on Aug. 31 were immediately instructed to self-isolate. Since then, another 17 staff members have tested positive and have gone into self-isolation.Willett said the first inmate to test positive had exhibited cold-like symptoms, but most of the other inmates were asymptomatic. He said the inmates who contracted the virus have been isolated from the jail’s general population.Roughly 200 other inmates at the jail will be tested in the coming days and that the facility has been placed on lockdown, Willett said. He added that any inmate who refuses to be tested will be placed in isolation for 10 to 14 days.Willett said that none of the inmates who have tested positive have needed to be hospitalized and no deaths have occurred as the result of coronavirus.The outbreak at the jail came despite stringent precautionary measures instituted at the jail in March that include medical screenings of all newly arriving inmates, who are placed in quarantine for 14 days before being moved to the general population, according to Willett. He said the jail has also canceled all non-essential visits, instituted enhanced cleaning measures of the facility and trained staff and inmates on hand-washing and proper social distancing.Nathan Webel, deputy superintendent of the jail, told ABC affiliate station WRIC-TV in Richmond, Virginia, that all employees and inmates have been issued N95 masks and are required to wear them at all times, adding that inmates must wear masks any time they leave their bunks.The outbreak came after Southern California officials announced they are dealing with a rapidly-spreading COVID-19 outbreak at the Santa Barbara County Jail. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that 41 inmates have the virus and are currently isolated.Since the pandemic started, a total of 81 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, including a 38-year-old man who died from the virus on Aug. 11, jail spokesperson Raquel Zick told ABC News on Thursday. The jail has a total of about 450 inmates.U.S. jails and prisons have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, prompting the early release or home confinement of thousands of inmates in an attempt to reduce the population of incarcerated individuals.A research letter published in July in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that between March 31 and June 6, 42,107 inmates at U.S. prisons had contracted COVID-19 and 510 had died. The research, conducted by the UCLA Law COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project, found that the COVID-19 case rate for U.S. prisoners was 5.5 times higher than the U.S. population case rate of 587 per 100 000 people.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Chinese botanists hit trail with Arboretum

first_imgWhen botanist Asa Gray hiked his way through Tennessee in 1843 searching for seeds of the rare piratebush to plant in the Harvard Botanic Garden, he could not have known that nearly 180 years later plant scientists from the other side of the world would retrace his steps.But this fall, in a historic collaboration, The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University welcomed Chinese botanists from the North America-China Plant Exploration Consortium (NACPEC) on a joint expedition to the Appalachian Mountains to collect seed from North American plants to grow in scientific plant collections in China.Since NACPEC was founded in 1991, plant explorers from the Arboretum and other member institutions have traveled to China 18 times to collect seed, herbarium specimens, and plant DNA samples for study and conservation in North American collections. The Appalachian expedition in September, coordinated by Andrew Gapinski, head of horticulture at the Arboretum and chair of NACPEC, and Kang Wang, research horticulturist and director of education at the Beijing Botanical Garden, furthered the group’s mission of building international partnerships in support of the study and conversation of the world’s temperate flora.Focusing on Appalachian flora, Wang and his colleagues Tao Deng of the Kunming Institute of Botany and Xinfen Gao of the Chengdu Institute of Biology created a list of target species to collect for their research and collections in China, including magnolias, ashes, and maples.,Gapinski and expedition colleagues Sean Halloran, Arboretum plant propagator; Jared Rubinstein, Arboretum Living Collections Fellow; and Angela Magnan from the U.S. National Arboretum compiled an additional list of 41 target taxa for the Arboretum, including piratebush — the oldest wild-collected plant at the Arboretum. Originated as seed collected by Gray in his 1843 expedition, piratebush was brought to the Arboretum from the Harvard Botanic Garden in 1946. Along with 400 other rare or endangered plants, it is part of the Arboretum’s Campaign for the Living Collections, a 10-year initiative to document, collect, and preserve plants, particularly those of critical conservation value.Piratebush, a rare, endangered plant species, is the oldest wild-collected plant at the Arboretum. Kang Wang/Beijing Botanical GardenThe three-week expedition covered 3,500 miles through five states — Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. Each day, the plant collectors carried supplies and gear including eight-foot pole pruners, herbarium field presses, plant identification keys, and plenty of bug spray into field, and hiked through the thick forests of Appalachia. Along with local guides, the team forded the Red River in Daniel Boone National Forest to find seeds of an American sycamore, descended to the base of a waterfall in Georgia to collect buttonbush seeds, and climbed Roan Mountain — one of the highest points of the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee — for seeds of the rare green alder. Each collection involved recording information about the geology and plant communities of the site, harvesting and bagging fruits, and collecting branch samples to dry for herbarium vouchers.,The expedition offered both adventure and challenges for the collectors, including a steep, 10-mile hike in humid, 100-degree heat through the Walls of Jericho natural area in Tennessee, only to find that birds had eaten all but three fruits of their target, limerock arrowwood. But, in an echo of Gray’s 1843 expedition, they discovered dozens of piratebush plants laden with fruits along the Appalachian Trail in Cherokee National Forest, providing an opportunity for ex situ conservation of both of these endangered plant species.It was victories like these that most excited Wang, Gao, and Deng.,“Alongside our NACPEC partners from the Arnold Arboretum we journeyed through one of the most biodiverse regions of the temperate world collecting plants that will soon be growing in the Beijing Botanical Garden, where millions of visitors will get to enjoy them,” Wang said. “Not only that, but generations of scientists will be able to study these collections in China, as they have been doing at the Arnold Arboretum since its founding.”Gapinski said the partnerships represented by the expedition began a new chapter in the history of international plant collection.“For nearly three decades NACPEC has worked to foster partnerships and undertake plant exploration to study and conserve the flora of China — possible only through the support of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing Botanical Garden, and the dedicated individuals involved,” he said. “Today, we seek to further cement this one-of-a-kind, reciprocal collaboration and to ensure that these relationships continue long into the future, with a new generation of participants and partnerships.”,In addition to seed collection, the expedition team collected and dried plant samples to deposit at the Chinese and North American herbaria, where they can be used to study evolution, physiology, and taxonomy. Collections from the trip will also be shared with the U.S. National Arboretum for the Woody Landscape Plant Germplasm Repository, as well as other NACPEC member gardens.Arboretum Director William “Ned” Friedman joined the expedition in northern Georgia, returning to the state where he began his career as a professor at the University of Georgia.“To be in the field with Kang, Xinfen, and Tao — literally an all-star botanical team from China — along with the Arboretum explorers was fantastic,” he said. “After all of the times that we have been so generously hosted in China, this felt like perfect way to deepen our sense of reciprocity and share some of the evolutionary bounty of North America with botanical garden visitors and researchers in China.”Jared Rubinstein, Arnold Arboretum Living Collections Fellow, contributed to this article.last_img read more

Intelligent use of rail grinding

first_imgINTRO: Profiling can prolong rail life, improve ride dynamics and cut maintenance costs if is done carefully; incorrect use of grinding can all too easily have the opposite effects to those intendedBYLINE: Dr Allan M Zarembski PEPresidentZeta-Tech Associates IncMODERN RAIL grinding techniques use carefully applied grinding patterns to profile the rail head, and thus determine where and how wheel/rail contact will occur. Computer control has made possible this fine tuning of wheel/rail contact geometry, which reduces damage to the rail head and thus extends in-service life.Concurrent with the development of rail profile grinding techniques has been a move away from traditional defect elimination grinding – often referred to as ’rail rectification’ – towards rail ’maintenance’ or ’preventive’ grinding. This more recent approach does not wait for surface defects to develop, but rather attempts to eliminate their development before they emerge on the rail head1.This move from defect elimination to maintenance and profile control grinding has resulted in an expansion of the use of rail maintenance grinding techniques, increasing the service life of the rail and therefore reducing its life cycle cost per million gross tonne-km carried.It has also led to improvements in wheel/rail dynamic interaction in both the vertical and horizontal plane, not only extending rail life still further but also improving ride quality, with consequent benefit to the track structure, rolling stock and freight or passengers it is carrying. In addition, lineside residents suffer less noise from passing trains.Grinding has been used to address a range of problems experienced by railways carrying heavy axleload freight and high speed passengers, as well as light rail vehicles. A corresponding range of grinding applications has evolved to deal with problems peculiar to these disparate functions.It must be emphasised that any solutions – in particular profile grinding – are problem specific. The proper grinding profile approach must be used to address each specific class of rail problems, and these are considered in turn.Surface defectsGrinding was introduced originally in the 1930s to control defects such as corrugation on the top of the head. Such defects initiate vertical wheel/rail dynamic activity; correcting them reduces noise, vibration and vertical impact forces.Although this type of grinding has traditionally been remedial, taking place after the defects appear, the subsequent use of preventive maintenance grinding led to better control of these defects and the consequent reduction of their adverse impact on operations and costs. Planned grinding catches these surface defects early in their formation cycle while they are still shallow, thus reducing the dynamic loading damage caused to the rail and track structure.In some cases, the development of surface defects such as the low-rail corrugations often found on freight railroads has been significantly retarded, or even completely forestalled by the use of profile grinding.In modern practice, grinding to control surface defects is frequently combined with profile grinding. Additional benefits have also been obtained by combining profile grinding with the use of improved rail steels (cleaner, higher strength) and/or improved lubrication.Fatigue defectsControlling and maintaining the cross-sectional shape of the rail head, a process known as profile grinding, has been used to limit surface fatigue defects. These include spalling on the gauge corner of the high rail, centre cracking of the low rail in curves, and sub-surface fatigue defects such as gauge corner shelling of the high rail. These classes of defects are commonly associated with heavy axleloads and represent the area of benefit most frequently reported by North American freight railroads2,3.A major objective of profile grinding is relieving high contact stresses at the gauge corner of the high rail associated with discrete single point contact in a severe flanging condition, such as occurs on sharp curves. Fig 1 shows the zone of high contact stress on the gauge corner of the high rail, and associated metal removal during gauge corner grinding. These high stresses can induce fatigue problems including cracking and spalling. Grinding shifts wheel/rail contact away from this corner to a more central location on the rail head.In sharp curves, a second contact point between the flange of the wheel and the gauge face of the rail can occur, generating two-point contact between wheel and rail. Dividing the wheel/rail contact site reduces contact stresses and can result in a decrease in both surface fatigue spalling and sub-surface shelling.This gauge corner grinding approach removes the surface fatigue-damaged rail steel, relocating the (interior) point of maximum rail stress, before fatigue damage can initiate a failure defect. This is particularly important for well lubricated track or premium (high hardness) rail steels where the rate of wear is substantially reduced.However, recent research suggests that changing from one-point to two-point contact can result in a deterioration in bogie curving performance4, with a corresponding increase in the wheel/rail flanging forces. This can increase gauge face wear if no other action is taken. Therefore, this type of gauge corner profile grinding should be used primarily in areas where fatigue, and not wear, is the dominant rail failure mode.Controlling rail wearProfile grinding is also used to improve the steering of conventional three-piece freight bogies, and thus reduce gauge face wear5. This application – initially introduced by the heavy-haul mining railways in Western Australia during the late 1970s – resulted in the development of a set of asymmetric rail head profiles. Separate profiles are used for high and low rails, and for straight track – especially where hunting wear occurs.By making use of the difference between wheel radii due to tread conicity, the bogie can be induced to steer itself around the curve, ideally without flange contact. Fig 2 shows how, after grinding the gauge side of the low rail and the field side of the high rail, the outer wheel is forced to ride on the larger radius portion of its tread while the inner wheel rides on a smaller radius.This has the potential for eliminating flanging on curves of less than 600 m radius, based on 1:20 wheel conicity. This has been the experience in Australia, where increased wear life of the order of 70% to 80% has been reported1.Recent research by the AAR suggests that improved curving can likewise be achieved through the use of a conformal, single-point contact between the wheel and the gauge corner of the rail4. This likewise supports the notion that no single grinding profile can address all of the major rail problem areas. It is necessary to define the specific problem, or class of problems, to be addressed prior to the selection of a grinding profile and initiation of profile grinding.Grinding versus lubricationGrinding is best applied as part of an overall rail maintenance programme which includes effective lubrication, the use of premium rail and defect testing. This is particularly true for the severe rail degradation environment found on moderate and heavy curvature track under heavy freight loading. The objective is to obtain the maximum life from rail in its first position before being downgraded to secondary track.On poorly lubricated track, maximum rail degradation generally takes the form of severe wear on the high rail of the curve, with head wear being the primary factor driving rail replacement. In well lubricated track, rail wear is dramatically reduced. This allows fatigue damage to accumulate because the fatigued steel is not worn away, so surface and sub-surface defects have time to develop, notably at the gauge corner of the high rail6.This relationship between rail life and lubrication is illustrated in Fig 3 which represents the results of controlled testing at the FAST test track at Pueblo, Colorado. In an unlubricated environment, the rail in this curve required replacement after 70 to 90 million gross tonnes (MGT) of heavy axleload traffic. When the rail was fully lubricated the wear rate was reduced by a factor of 10 such that the projected wear life of the rail, under the same traffic conditions, became 900MGT.However, before this extended wear life could be realised, the rail began to experience significant fatigue defects, with the 5% defect level (which corresponds to the point where many railroads replace rails due to excessive fatigue defects) being reached after approximately 160MGT, well before the rail’s potential wear life of 900MGT.If the rail is to approach more closely its wear life potential, cumulative rail fatigue must be controlled. Profile grinding can extend fatigue life by reducing maximum wheel/rail contact stresses and removing fatigue-damaged metal prior to the development of defects. In fact, test data suggests that profile grinding has the potential to extend the fatigue life of curve rail into the 300 to 400MGT range7. This would represent a further doubling of rail life, with major economic benefits. Profile grinding benefitsMaintenance grinding has been shown to increase rail life. This life extension – often observed in conjunction with improvements in metallurgy, steel cleanliness and lubrication – is difficult to isolate. There is no doubt, however, that grinding has been shown to generate measurable extensions of rail life and improvements in rail performance, as well as secondary benefits associated with reduced dynamic wheel/rail loading.While the effect of rail grinding is often masked by concurrent improvements, several railroads have been able to document significant increases in rail life which they have attributed, in very large part, to rail profile grinding. Such was the case on Burlington Northern, where improvements in average rail life of 50% to over 300% were reported; grinding was credited as a key factor3.Canadian National also reported significant life increases, in some cases in the order of 500%, due to a combination of increased lubrication, improved rail steels, and rail profile grinding. CN further reported that if proper grinding was not performed on an ongoing basis, rail could lose 95% of its potential service life2.In the case of CP Rail, the effect of grinding is clearly illustrated in Fig 4. This shows a dramatic reduction in new rail laid during the decade to 1995 which correlates well with the increase in grinding. While other factors such as improved lubrication and metallurgy have contributed, CP also credits rail grinding as a key factor in this dramatic extension of rail service life8.Profile grinding issuesWhile producing demonstrable benefits in terms of extended rail life and reduced damage to track structure and rolling stock, profile grinding does change the wheel/rail contact environment with the potential for undesirable behaviour if not properly addressed.As already noted, moving from one-point to two-point contact can adversely affect curving performance and increase flanging forces4. This in turn increases gauge face wear as well as the potential for rail overturning on curves – of particular concern in an environment where lubrication is absent, or the high rail is lubricated and the low rail is dry which generates high lateral loads.But two-point grinding is most effective in controlling rail fatigue, and the latter may be more important than increased wear. This condition, illustrated in Fig 5, correlates fatigue defects (detail fractures) and rail grinding (pass miles) on BN during 1984-95. Between 1983 and 1988, BN performed profile grinding using a basic two-point contact configuration and thus kept the number of detail fractures low. In 1988-90 BN changed to a lighter conformal grinding pattern with a resulting surge in detail fracture defects as well as a rash of broken rail derailments which cost in excess of $6·5m 9. In 1990-91 BN switched back to more aggressive two-point grinding and again was rewarded by a reduction in detail fracture type fatigue defects.Lessons learnedRail grinding must be used carefully and intelligently. Properly used, it can result in substantial extension of rail life, reduction in track maintenance costs, and improvement in the dynamics of wheel/rail interaction. Improperly used, it has the potential for increasing lateral wheel/rail forces, increasing rail wear, and even causing the low rail on curves to overturn.Grinding must therefore be used with a proper understanding of its benefits and limitations. When used effectively, it is a valuable tool for the control of rail degradation, and for the reduction of overall track maintenance costs. oCAPTION: The Pandrol Jackson RMS-3 belongs to the latest generation of North American high-speed rail grinding machinesCAPTION: Left: Fig 1. Profile grinding of the high rail in a curve to avoid gauge-corner spallingCAPTION: Fig 2. Asymmetric profile grinding increases the rolling radius on the high rail and reduces the radius on the low rail, improving bogie curving performanceCAPTION: Centre: A simple hand-held gauge is used to check the profile of the rail head after grindingCAPTION: Fig 3. Rail failure distribution relative to tonnage carried on AAR’s FAST test trackCAPTION: Fig 4. Correlation between rail replacement and grinding recorded by CP RailCAPTION: Fig 5. BN recorded a surge in detail fractures caused by fatigue when conformal grinding was introducedReferences:1 Zarembski AM. ’The Evolution and Application of Rail Profile Grinding’, Bulletin of the American Railway Engineering Association No 718, December 1988.2 Worth AW, Hornaday JR Jr, and Richards PR. ’Prolonging Rail Life Through Grinding’, Proceedings of the Third International Heavy Haul Railways Conference, Vancouver, October 1986.3 Glavin W. ’Rail Grinding The BN Experience’, Bulletin of the American Railway Engineering Association No 722, October 1989. 4 Hannafious J. ’Rail Grinding at FAST’, Proceeding of the First Annual AAR Research Review, Vol I: FAST/HAL Test Summaries, Pueblo, November 1995.5 Lamson ST and Longson BH. ’Development of Rail Profile Grinding at Hamersley Iron’, Proceedings of the Second International Heavy Haul Railways Conference, Colorado Springs, 1982.6 Steele RK. ’Rail Lubrication: The Relationship of Wear and Fatigue’, Transportation Research Board, Railroad Maintenance Workshop, Amherst, June 1985. 7 Zarembski AM. ’The Relationship Between Rail Grinding and Rail Lubrication’, Second International Symposium on Wheel/Rail Lubrication, Memphis, June 1987.8 Wilson A. ’Developing and Managing Rail Maintenance Programs’, ARM Rail Maintenance Seminar, Chicago April 1996.9 Tornga G. ’Conformal and Non-conformal Grinding Experiences’, ARM Rail Maintenance Seminar, Chicago April 1996.L’utilisation intelligente du meulage des railsCombiner la maintenance du profil avec le meulage pour éviter la dégradation de la surface de roulement, peut prolonger la vie des rails, réduire la maintenance des voies et améliorer la qualité de roulement. Mais il faut utiliser la bonne technique dans chaque cas. Un meulage mal appliqué risque de réduire la vie des rails et d’augmenter les forces latérales entre les roues et les rails au point olast_img read more

Sharks get centerman back for game vs. Los Angeles Kings

first_imgSAN JOSE — Tomas Hertl returned to the lineup Friday afternoon for the Sharks’ game with the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center.Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said Friday morning that it looked promising that Hertl, who has missed the last four games with lower body injury, would rejoin the lineup. Before his injury, Hertl had 21 points in 22 games.Hertl was back as the Sharks’ second line centerman for the game, playing on a line with Timo Meier and Patrick Marleau.The Sharks also went back to using …last_img read more

South Africa is the continent’s top leisure spot

first_imgCape Town was voted as Africa’s leading travel destination.(Images: Cape Town Tourism) The Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town was nominated in the World’s Leading Hotel category.  MEDIA CONTACTS • Tammy White  Account manager: Cape Town Tourism  +27 21 671 2640 RELATED ARTICLES • SA improves tourism competitiveness • Grooming the future of tourism • SA’s wine tourism best in the world •SA becomes business tourism hubAneshree NaidooSouth Africa’s three major cities – Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg – shone at the World Travel Awards – Africa held on 16 October at the Safari Park Hotel & Casino in Nairobi, Kenya.Hailed as “The Oscars of the travel industry” the World Travel Awards celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is acknowledged globally as the ultimate travel accolade, rewarding world-leading hospitality brands.Voting for the competition is online and encourages travel and tourism executives and business and leisure tourists to vote for their favourite destinations, resorts and game reserves, among others.The World Travel – Africa Awards turns the global spotlight on the continent’s leading leisure and commercial destinations, and sees some African nominees, like South Africa, breaking into international categories.South Africa ranked high in international category nominations, but stood out in the Africa heats, winning 32 awards out of 57 categories, including leading African airport, beach destination, family resort, city hotel, conference venue, safari lodge and spa resort.The awards also saw East African state Kenya score honours. Up in the air In the air travel category, South African Airways was Africa’s Leading Airline, while OR Tambo International Airport edged out Cape Town International, King Shaka International and Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta to be named the top airport in Africa. Destinations South African tourist attractions dominated in the Africa’s Leading Tourist Destination category with South African ports also racking up nomination honours in the Leading Cruise Port category.Breezy Cape Town was named Africa’s Leading Destination as well as the top destination for Meetings and Conferences. In a nominee coup, Durban and Johannesburg also garnered runner-up honours. The Durban International Convention Centre was named Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre. Durban city was hailed as the Leading Cruise Port in Africa. Other notable awards included Africa’s Leading Luxury Train for The Blue Train and Africa’s Leading Conservation Company for Shamwari Game Reserve. HotelsIn the hotels category, South Africa was strongly represented, winning 12 awards out of 25. Winners included Sandton, Johannesburg’s The Regent (Africa’s Leading Apartment Hotel); the Johannesburg Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas and Spa (Africa’s Leading Boutique Hotel); Johannesburg’s Sandton Sun (Africa’s Leading Business Hotel); Johannesburg’s The Palazzo at Montecasino (Africa’s Leading Casino Resort); Cape Town’s Pepperclub Hotel & Spa (Africa’s Leading City Hotel); The Westin Cape Town (Africa’s Leading Conference Hotel); the North West province’s Sun City Resort (Africa’s Leading Family Resort); and the Limpopo province’s Legend Golf & Safari Resort (Africa’s Leading Golf Resort).The Taj in Cape Town was named Africa’s Leading Hotel Residencep; Thanda Private Game Reserve was named Africa’s Leading Luxury Lodge and Ellerman House Villa One, Africa’s Leading Luxury Villa.CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy, comments: “This is another feather in the cap of Cape Town and the Mother City’s tourism offering – right off the back of another accolade in the Condé Nast Readers Choice Awards for 2013.“This is really good news for Cape Town and its tourism businesses – these awards are great marketing opportunities as they assist in promoting our destination globally and keep the Mother City top of mind among potential travellers.“I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the winners in the Africa category, particularly those from our home town, Cape Town.” International nominations Cape Town scooped a nomination for World’s Leading Travel Destination and a nomination for World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination. Durban saw a nomination for World’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination 2013.Johannesburg’s Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa was nominated for World’s Leading Boutique Hotel; The Westin in Cape Town garnered nominee honours as a world’s leading conference hotel; Johannesburg received a nod as a leading business travel destination and Cape Town’s Mount Nelson Hotel was a World’s Leading Hotel nominee. Limpopo province’s Legend Lodges, Entabeni Private Reserve, received a nomination as a leading private game reserve.Graham E. Cooke, president and founder, World Travel Awards said: “We are proud to have held these awards in Nairobi after recent events, to not only show support for the Kenya Tourism Board but Africa as a premier tourist destination that creates jobs and drives a significant part of each country’s GDP (gross domestic product).“Africa is a very competitive region for our World Travel Awards, and these winners continue to serve as an example of the most luxurious and innovative brands with unique hospitality products and services. Tonight’s recipients strive to set the highest possible bar to raise the standards of excellence in travel and tourism and it has been an honour to hold our ceremony here in Kenya, regarded as one of the most beautiful countries in the world.”last_img read more

Trade progress for U.S. agriculture with USMCA

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest In early December, U.S., Mexican and Canadian officials signed the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) after a year of intense negotiations on the trade pact.“[The] signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement continues the progress American farmers and ranchers have made since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in 1994,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico increased from $8.9 billion to $39 billion under NAFTA. That boost provided important markets for farmers and ranchers whose productivity has only grown since the agreement was signed. USMCA keeps all those gains and adds improvements in poultry, eggs, dairy and wine. In every way, this new agreement is just as good, if not better than, the one that came before. We thank the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for all the hard work that went into this accord.“As good as all this news is, farmers and ranchers still face retaliatory tariffs over steel and aluminum disputes with our North American neighbors and other trading partners. We urge the administration to redouble its efforts to come to an agreement on those outstanding issues so we can regain the markets we had not long ago.”The National Pork Producers Council is also pleased with USMCA. The agreement maintains zero-duty market access to Canada and Mexico for U.S. pork. However, the punitive 20% tariffs on U.S. pork exported to Mexico remain in effect and are inflicting significant financial harm on the U.S. pork industry. The United States and Mexico continue to intensely negotiate a resolution to the metal tariffs, and NPPC is hopeful that the matter will soon be resolved.National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said that while USMCA makes important improvements over NAFTA, the deal currently does not go far enough to institute a fair trade framework that benefits family farmers and ranchers and restores sovereignty to the U.S. In response to the signing, Johnson urged Congress to demand the administration make changes to the deal before ratifying it.“President Trump campaigned against the major flaws in international trade agreements that the original NAFTA created the framework for, and rightly so. It is this framework that has led to our annual $500 billion trade deficit, exported jobs, lowered wages, and lost sovereignty. NAFTA renegotiation is a key opportunity to create a trade framework for our future,” Johnson said. “The reworked agreement makes improvements to eradicate ISDS — the dispute settlement system that gives corporations an unwarranted advantage over citizens — yet the agreement maintains ISDS provisions for some oil and gas companies. And while this is the first U.S. trade pact to include rules on currency manipulation, these rules lack the teeth they need to be effective. As of right now, only the transparency requirements are binding.“Finally, the USMCA ignores the sovereignty Americans have lost as part of NAFTA, particularly with respect to food labeling. Canada, Mexico, and multinational meatpackers pressured Congress—using NAFTA provisions—to scrap the commonsense Country-of-Origin Labeling for beef and pork that American consumers and producers benefitted from. These labels should be allowed under a new USMCA.”last_img read more