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Lois Robbins to Offer Lessons from Lois at 54 Below on February 26

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Feb. 26, 2014 In the act, directed by Mark Waldrop, Robbins passes along some hard won—and often hilarious—wisdom through personal stories and a eclectic set of songs by Stephen Sondheim, Sammy Cahn, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Amanda McBroom and more. Musical direction is by John Oddo. Robbins was seen off-Broadway in My History of Marriage, A Time for Love and Cactus Flower. Soap opera fans might recognize her from One Life to Live, Loving, Ryan’s Hope and All My Children. This summer, Robbins will film a role in the new film Ithaca, directed by Meg Ryan, alongside Sam Shepherd, Melanie Griffith and Ryan. View Comments TV and stage star Lois Robbins returns to 54 Below on February 26 at 9:30PM for a special encore performance of her acclaimed cabaret act, Lessons from Lois. Lois Robbins: Lessons From Lois Related Showslast_img read more

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Abrams: Conditions for December Elections in Venezuela Worse than in 2018

first_imgBy Alejandra Arredondo/Voice of America (VOA)Edited by Diálogo Staff August 31, 2020 Venezuela is now less prepared for free and fair elections than it was in 2018, when the results of the presidential elections were rejected by more than two dozen countries, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliot Abrams said on July 28.“The conditions for free and fair elections are actually much worse today than they were in May 2018, when [Nicolás] Maduro held the presidential elections,” Abrams said in a phone press conference.The Nicolás Maduro regime has called for new parliamentary elections for December 6, 2020, a measure that the opposition has criticized as another attempt to squelch their political representation.Civil rights groups have denounced the elections, which seek to renew the opposition-controlled National Assembly, as designed to favor the ruling party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV, in Spanish).“The parliamentary elections in December are already rigged,” Abrams said, as he pointed to the National Electoral Council (CNE, in Spanish), an institution under government control designed to regulate elections and whose members were appointed by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ, in Spanish).“The CNE […] is supposed to be an independent body […], however, the TSJ stopped negotiations to elect the members and appointed them itself,” Abrams said.U.S. in contact with Norway about VenezuelaThe diplomat also spoke about the visit of Norwegian government representatives, who have attempted to mediate a solution to Venezuela’s crisis. Abrams said that the United States is in contact with Norway and that he has spoken with some Norwegian diplomats.“As for the Norwegians, we are, of course, in contact with Norway, and I’ve spoken to Norwegian diplomats since the return of the group that was in Caracas — a difficult trip for them if you think about it, from Oslo to Caracas in a time of COVID,” he said.“I can’t say that I feel particularly optimistic about this trip, because it seems that the regime has already made up its mind […]; it seems to want to go forward with this phony election,” the U.S. official said.Venezuela and North KoreaThe United Nations (U.N.) warned Maduro that the military agreement with North Korea would violate Security Council regulations. U.N. investigators discovered that Diosdado Cabello himself signed that agreement.In this respect, Abrams said that a violation of U.N. sanctions is potentially serious for the Maduro regime, because many countries would be willing to impose sanctions, although they have not yet done so individually.“It also shows, again, the nature of this regime. We’ve seen recently the regime begin to build its relationship with Iran. Iran, Venezuela, a pair of pariah states. Iran and North Korea now — North Korea and Venezuela. And I think one of the other impacts, besides the potential sanctions themselves, is reminding countries worldwide about the nature of this regime and the partners that it seeks worldwide,” Abrams said.last_img read more

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Defending champs dominate the Dusi

first_img20 February 2012Defending champions Andy Birkett and Jason Graham won The Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon title in emphatic fashion on Saturday after turning in a superlative performance of running and paddling on the 36-kilometre final stage from Inanda Dam to Blue Lagoon in Durban.Hank McGregor and Len Jenkins had to settle for second place, with the ‘Dream Team” of Thulani Mbanjwa and Sbonelo Zondi in third.The three-day event covers 120 kilometres and is raced between Pietermaritzburg and Durban on the Umsindusi and Umgeni rivers. It is one of the largest canoe marathons in the world, and regarded as one of the toughest.After a meticulously constructed preparation campaign and a flawless three days of racing by the pair affectionately known as “Team Fun”, Birkett and Graham extended their overnight four-minute lead to a final margin of victory of nine minutes, giving Birkett his third Dusi title in a row.DiveThe duo celebrated their win in trademark fashion by standing up in their kayak as they crossed the line and diving into the waters of Blue Lagoon.During the three days of the race, the pair clinically mastered the full rivers, taking some brave lines down dangerous rapids such as Tops Needle, before a Herculean run over the notorious Burma Road portage put the result beyond question.“Graham has shown such incredible commitment the whole way through training and especially over the past three days and I cannot thank him enough for everything he has put in to getting us to where we are today,” said Birkett. “We are thrilled with the win and to have shared it with Jas has been so awesome!“Also, a huge thanks must go to the rest of the guys who gave us such a tough time throughout the race. Day one was one of the toughest days of racing I have ever experienced with the lead changing hands seven times, which just goes to show how tough it really was out there.‘Sweeter’“It was awesome to be able to race against guys like this and it definitely makes the win that much sweeter.“There are lots of things which can go wrong in Dusi and Jason and I were very lucky the entire way this year and didn’t have any issues,” Birkett added. “We took a couple of risks today, which we probably didn’t have to, but I’m glad we did because it was loads of fun.“I am definitely glad it’s all over now, though, and that I don’t have to get up at three o’clock tomorrow morning to go train, but it has been a fantastic journey with Jason.”Having tried to convince his younger partner to opt for a younger talent after their 2010 victory, Graham was flattered that Birkett insisted he wanted to paddle with “Gramps” again and it once more proved to be a rewarding decision for both paddlers.“I like to think it was a mature decision by Andy, but I said to him shortly after the finish that this is now most definitely the last time!” insisted Graham.‘Incredible’“It’s been an incredible experience and to have beaten the reigning marathon world champ, the freakish talents on Len (Jenkins) and the phenomenal running abilities of Thulani (Mbanjwa) and Sbonelo (Zondi), it was just such a great race and I’m just so chuffed with how everything worked out for us.”Despite giving it their all, Birkett’s Team Best 4 Kayak Centre team-mates Hank McGregor and Len Jenkins simply had no answers to the leader’s relentless onslaught and instead had to turn their attention to maintaining their second place as Thulani Mbanjwa and Sbonelo Zondi launched a remarkable charge through the middle section of the final day.“I thought we had a really good Burma portage. We managed to run almost the entire way to the top, but by the time we got to the bottom I could not believe it when I turned around and saw Bungee (Thulani Mbanjwa) and Sbonelo right there!” said Jenkins.“We had a great race, though, and well done to Birkie and Jason on their fantastic race,” he added.AstonishedMcGregor was just as astonished by the effort of Mbanjwa and Zondi, who ran like men possessed up the notorious Burma Road portage.“With Len dragging the boat, I was running behind, and when you’re out there your senses become very alert, and suddenly I heard the sound of a rudder blade coming up behind us, and I simply could not believe it!” said McGregor. “Bungee and Sbonelo were running with the boat like they’d stolen it! It was absolutely incredible!“We got a massive fright when they put in right behind us and from then we knew we had to go flat out. Luckily we managed to get away from Bungee and Sbonelo again and come home second, but well done to them!“We tried our hardest and had a really good race, but at the end of the day we were just out-paced, out-raced and out-run! Andy and Jason deserve their win through and through and it’s an honour to have come second to two great champs,” he concluded.SpecialA special effort on the final day may not have been enough to put Mbanjwa and Zondi back in the hunt for title they would have so dearly loved to win, but their closing stage performance will leave a far sweeter taste in taste in their mouths after a disappointing and frustrating first two days.“It has been a really disappointing Dusi this year for us. We had really hoped to do a lot better, so it was unfortunate we had so many issues on the first two days, but we had a great day today and we are really happy with how we finished,” said Mbanjwa.“Third is not ideal, but it is definitely a lot better than fourth, which is where we started the day, so I guess we can at least take that out of it,” he added.PromisingHaving combined for the first time in last year’s The Unlimited Non-Stop Dusi, the Mbanjwa and Zondi pairing is still relatively new to the paddling world. However, all the signs indicate a promising future for the duo.“I’m so grateful that Thulani agreed to paddle with me this year. He is such a great guy and knows so much, and I have learnt so much from him over the past few months,” said Zondi.After their valiant day two effort the under-23 crew of Lance Kime and Kwanda Mhlope couldn’t hold off the challenge of Mbanjwa and Zondi on the final day but came home in a deserved fourth place and in the process sounded a warning of what may lie ahead for the two talented youngsters.LadiesIn the ladies’ race Team Best 4 Kayak Centre’s Robyn Kime and Abbey Ulansky smashed the overall race record to go with their new stage records on each of the two preceding days as they cruised to a second victory in a row. Their team mates, Abby and Alex Abby finished second, ahead of the experienced crew of Debbie Germiquet and Carmen Blakeney.“It’s been a great three days for us and it’s really great to have won. It’s been such a privilege to have paddled with Abbey again,” said Kime. “She knows the river so well and I have learnt a lot from her tactics, especially with her having been mentored by Graeme Pope-Ellis.“We started off with some faster guys today and so fell off the wave quite early on, but we felt really good, so we decided to run Burma,” said Ulansky.“Robyn then drove beautifully yet again, but we decided not to risk it too much, and so we portaged Pumphouse Weir – it just wasn’t worth the risk – and then got together with a couple of other boats over the last little stretch home.”ReturnDespite having achieved a convincing victory on only two months of training, it is unlikely Ulansky will be back in the boat again for next year’s K1 race. However, a return at some stage is almost a certainty for the Dusi Queen.“It’s been great to have come out here (from Canada). I’ve had a great time with Robs (Kime) and it’s been fantastic to have stayed with Wendy Pope-Ellis on her farm again,” said Ulansky.“I’m really pleased I came and, who knows, maybe one day I can come back with my husband and take on Robs in the mixed doubles race, but for now I think I’ll hand over my crown,” she chuckled.JuniorsMurray Haw and James Speed put in a remarkable performance on the final day as they moved up a further place to finish eleventh overall and deservedly claimed the under-18 boys’ title ahead of schoolmates Donavan Wewege and Murray Starr.In the junior girls’ section, Bianca Haw and Jordan Peek led from start to finish and finished fourth in the women’s race as well.RESULTSMENAndy Birkett/Jason Graham 7:43.02Hank McGregor/Len Jenkins 7:51.58Thulani Mbanjwa/Sbonelo Zondi 7:54.24Lance Kime/Kwanda Mhlope (u23) 7:59.23Craig Turton/Jasper Mocke 8:01.47Shaun Rubenstein/Steve Farrell 8:12.27Shaun Biggs/Ben Biggs 8:15.12Piers Cruickshanks/Mike Stewart 8:17.28Lucas Mthalane/Mmeli Cele 8:19.06Mark Mulder/Dave Chaplin 8:21.57WOMENRobyn Kime/Abbey Ulansky 8:41.59Abby Adie/Alex Adie (U23) 8:59.25Debbie Germiquet/Carmen Blakeney 9:31.16Bianca Haw/Jordan Peek (U18) 9:48.17Tamika Haw/Jen Hodson 9:52.13Brittany Petersen/Kerry Shuter 10:16.29Jenna Ward/Kerry Segal 10:20.41Mandy Rawlins/Debbie Lewis 10:42.58Lorna Oliver/Angela Scruby 11:00.09Diana Rietz/Nicky Taylor 11:54.11UNDER-23 MENLance Kime/Kwanda Mhlope 7:59.23Brandon van der Walt/Clinton Cook 8:29.46Skhumbuso Ngidi/Nkosikayise Cele 8:38.04UNDER-23 WOMENAbby Adie/Alex Adie 8:59.25Jenna Ward/Kerry Segal 10:20.41UNDER-18 BOYSMurray Haw/James Speed 8:24.19Murray Starr/Donovan Wewege 9:08.44Nqobile Makhanya/ Sboniso Shozi 9:11.27UNDER-18 GIRLSBianca Haw/Jordan Peek 9:48.17Brittany Petersen/Kerry Shuter 10:16.29SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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Look how far we’ve come: Two decades of freedom

first_imgApartheid denied South Africans the right to vote, to work, to access education, to move freely, to love and marry who they wanted, and more. Freedom Day – 27 April 1994 – changed all that. We look at how far we’ve come.There are two entrances to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg − one for whites and another for non-whites. This was the reality during apartheid. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterApartheid legislation denied people the right to vote, to work, to access education, to move freely, to love and marry who they wanted, to be free of the fear of imprisonment without trial.Freedom Day – 27 April 1994 – changed all that. It ushered in a new constitutional democracy, underpinned by a groundbreaking Bill of Rights. We take a look at how far we’ve come over two decades of freedom.Compared to the apartheid era, where the majority had no political rights and parties opposed to apartheid were banned, all South Africans now have the right to freedom of association and are free to make political choices and campaign for any political party or cause.Whereas the majority of South Africans were denied the right to vote during the apartheid era, every adult citizen now has the right to take part in free, fair and regular elections, the right to vote and to stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office.All South Africans have the right to assemble, demonstrate, picket and present petitions, as long as this is done peacefully.Under apartheid, journalists critical of the government were often harrassed, detained and even assassinated. Anti-apartheid publications always risked being banned. By contrast, all South Africans now have the right to freedom of expression.The press and other media can express themselves freely and there is academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.The Bill of Rights also makes provision for the right to access any information that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights. The freedom of expression does not extend to propaganda of war, incitement of imminent violence or advocacy of hatred based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion.Compared to the apartheid era, all South Africans are now equal before the law and have the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.Whereas during apartheid people were detained without trial, mainly for their political beliefs, all citizens now have the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right not to be detained without trial and not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.Everyone who is detained has the right to be told the reason for their detention, and to legal representation. Everyone who is arrested for allegedly committing an offence has the right to remain silent and to a fair trial or hearing before a court.Watch US Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg extol the “great piece of work” that is South Africa’s Constitution:While the apartheid state sought to deprive the majority of South Africans of their citizenship and controlled their movement through oppressive pass laws and other means, no citizen may be deprived of citizenship and everyone has the right to freely move through the country, reside anywhere and hold a passport.Whereas the apartheid state reserved skilled jobs for white South Africans, all citizens now have the right to choose their trade, occupation or profession.All citizens have the right to fair labour practices, to form and join a trade union and participate in its activities and programmes and the right to engage in collective bargaining. No one may be subjected to slavery, servitude and forced labour.While access to education was racially determined during apartheid, all South Africans now have the right to basic education, including adult basic education, and to further education, which the state has sought to progressively make available and accessible.All South Africans now have the right to access health care, water and social security and appropriate social assistance if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants. No-one may be refused emergency medical treatment.Every child, regardless of race, has a right to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health services and social services. Every child also has the right to family care or parental care and to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation and exploitative labour practices.Compared to the apartheid era, all citizens have the right to freedom of sexual orientation, conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.During apartheid, not only was same-sex marriage unheard of, but homosexuality was illegal. In 2006 South Africa became only the fifth country in the world to pass legislation allowing gay and lesbian people to marry – way ahead of so-called developed democracies such as Norway, Sweden and the UK.Apartheid’s “immorality” legislation also outlawed sex and marriage between people of different races. Today, all marriages concluded under any tradition, or any system of religious, person or family law, are recognised.Compared to the further oppression and discrimination women experienced during the apartheid era, they now have equal rights before the law, including the right to make decisions regarding reproduction.Source: South African Government websiteWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

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USDA Announces Support for Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation and Trade Disruption

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest (Washington, D.C., May 23, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take several actions to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation and trade disruption. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy to support American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. Specifically, the President has authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs, which is in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. These programs will assist agricultural producers while President Trump works to address long-standing market access barriers.“China hasn’t played by the rules for a long time and President Trump is standing up to them, sending the clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate their unfair trade practices, which include non-tariff trade barriers and the theft of intellectual property. President Trump has great affection for America’s farmers and ranchers, and he knows they are bearing the brunt of these trade disputes. In fact, I’ve never known of a president that has been more concerned or interested in farmer wellbeing and long-term profitability than President Trump,” said Secretary Perdue. “The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners. Our team at USDA reflected on what worked well and gathered feedback on last year’s program to make this one even stronger and more effective for farmers. Our farmers work hard, are the most productive in the world, and we aim to match their enthusiasm and patriotism as we support them.”Listen to Secretary Perdue’s comments about the announcement:Background:American farmers have dealt with unjustified retaliatory tariffs and years of non-tariff trade disruptions, which have curtailed U.S. exports to China. Trade damages from such retaliation and market distortions have impacted a host of U.S. commodities, including crops like soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton, rice, and sorghum; livestock products like milk and pork; and many fruits, nuts, and other crops. High tariffs disrupt normal marketing patterns, raising costs by forcing commodities to find new markets. Additionally, American goods shipped to China have been slowed from reaching market by unusually strict or cumbersome entry procedures, which affect the quality and marketability of perishable crops. These boost marketing costs and unfairly affect our producers. USDA will use the following programs to assist farmers:Market Facilitation Program (MFP) for 2019, authorized under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will provide $14.5 billion in direct payments to producers.Producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, upland cotton, and wheat will receive a payment based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to those crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and therefore will not distort planting decisions. Moreover, total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings.Dairy producers will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history and hog producers will receive a payment based on hog and pig inventory for a later-specified time frame.Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers, and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production.These payments will help farmers to absorb some of the additional costs of managing disrupted markets, to deal with surplus commodities, and to expand and develop new markets at home and abroad.Payments will be made in up to three tranches, with the second and third tranches evaluated as market conditions and trade opportunities dictate. The first tranche will begin in late July/early August as soon as practical after Farm Service Agency crop reporting is completed by July 15th. If conditions warrant, the second and third tranches will be made in November and early January.Additionally, CCC Charter Act authority will be used to implement a $1.4 billion Food Purchase and Distribution Program (FPDP) through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to purchase surplus commodities affected by trade retaliation such as fruits, vegetables, some processed foods, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and milk for distribution by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to food banks, schools, and other outlets serving low-income individuals.Finally, the CCC will use its Charter Act authority for $100 million to be issued through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) administered by the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) to assist in developing new export markets on behalf of producers.Further details regarding eligibility and payment rates will be released at a later date.#USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.last_img read more

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Planning for your Child’s Special Needs –Transition through Retirement

first_imgWritten by: Lakshmi Mahadevan, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Extension Specialist – Special Populations, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.Why plan for transition?One day, very soon your child with disabilities will reach the age of 14 – this is when schools may consider transition planning. Transition planning helps prepare young people for their futures. It helps them to develop skills they need to go on to life after high school. It builds skills for activities of daily living, working, recreation, independence, adult decision-making and retirement (PACER Center, n.d.) .  By the age of 16, the individualized education program (IEP), developed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), must address transition services requirements and is updated thereafter.  The IEP must include:appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, independent living skills and retirement,the transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the student with a disability in reaching those goals).How can parents help plan for transition through 0 to 16 years?1. Consider responses to the following questions:What does your child want to do with his or her life?What are his or her dreams, aspirations, or goals?What long-term outcomes do we want to see from the transition process?2. Discuss with him or her their career profile and potential employment trajectory.3. Teach your child self-advocacy skills – (Tips for helping your high-schooler to learn to self-advocate) .4. Encourage your child to participate in their IEP meetings.5. Help your child state their needs and desires at the meetings.6. Consider what accommodations and modifications are appropriate for your child both at school and at the post-secondary level (employment or higher education).7. Find employment opportunities and help your child volunteer, intern or work study.8. Refer to ‘Empowering Parents to Become Effective Advocates,” to learn more about how to advocate for your child through the special education/transition journey.How can parents help plan for transition through 16 through high school graduation?1. Help your child complete graduation requirements (based on IEP goals).2. Work with school’s transition specialist and Career and Technical Education teachers to study the local labor market.3. Seek and apply for employment positions or higher education placements that match your child’s transition goals.How can parents help plan for transition their child’s adulthood through their retirement?1. Set a realistic budget that can help support your child as he or she transitions into adulthood. Consider setting aside money in bonds or checking accounts– which by the age of 18 years, can be transferred into either a tax-advantaged 529 ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act) account or a special needs trust. ABLE accounts are set up in a child’s name and allow contributions of up to $14,000 per year to cover expenses like education, housing, health care, prevention and wellness (Refer: Able Account or Special Needs Trust: How to Decide? ) Note: Adults with disabilities are only eligible for Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid if their total assets do not exceed $2,000.2. Be flexible in considering your future scenarios. While it is highly likely that your child will have the education, life skills and maturity to live independently or in a group setting, it is also possible that he or she may not. Take a long view of the future and consider when you or your partner may retire from the workforce, or if both parents stay in the workforce and hire someone to provide additional in-home support services for the adult son or daughter with disabilities.3. Plan smartly and as early as possible. Consider guardianship for your child under the age of 18, establish medical directives and power of attorney. Finally, prepare in conjunction with a special needs lawyer a will. Remember raising a child with a disability could add higher cost and stressors into financial planning – planning for contingencies can help offset these factors. Develop a lifetime care plan – one which details the specifics of long-term care that your child might need.4. Document your vision. Create a “Letter of Intent” and write down your instructions to communicate information about your child as well as your vision of the future.5. Share with family members or potential caregivers your lifetime care plan and letter of intent.6. Consider the following when planning for independent living skills (Refer to 6 Independent Living Skills Kids Need Before Moving Away from Home):Does he or she have any special employment, housing, social and recreational interests?What types of housing accommodations do you anticipate for your adult son or daughter?Will he or she require any special transportation accommodations?The journey of creating a lifetime of continuous care for your son or daughter with a disability is daunting. But it would be less overwhelming if you start early, plan smart and are well-organized. Use the above resources and the checklist provided to get started.Retirement Planning Checklistlast_img read more