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  • No travel restrictions for defaulters – President

    first_imgUG student loanssays Jordan’s remarks not supported by lawThere will be no travel restrictions on graduates and students of the University of Guyana (UG) who have defaulted on their loans since such an action would be in violation of the Constitution, President David Granger said on Thursday. Immense public outcry erupted after Finance Minister Winston Jordan indicated that steps were being taken to prevent UG students with outstanding debts from leaving the country.Prompted to comment on the situation, President Granger emphasised that he would never stand in agreement with a move that went against the law.“I do not believe that the Minister of Finance’s remarks are supported by the law and I am obliged to take the side of the law. If it is not lawful, it cannot be enforced,” he said during an interview on “The Public Interest”.Granger said he understood why the Minister would make such statements, given the significant number of recalcitrant borrowers, but he explained that other measures would have to be pursued to encourage UG students to repay the State’s money.“I can understand his frustration because we need the money because it’s meant to be a revolving fund. But there needs to be other measures and we must move away from banning and use other more persuasive and less coercive measures,” he stated.State Minister Joseph Harmon also weighed in on the issue, noting that while Cabinet did discuss the option, no definitive decision was taken.“There is no decision that has been made at Cabinet that anybody will be prevented from leaving the country at this point in time,” Harmon told media operatives at a post-Cabinet press briefing.He explained that while Government wants students to repay their loans, it would not use a “sledgehammer approach” to achieve this.“It’s not like we are going to lock up people and all those kinds of things, but it is about encouraging you to honour your obligations and to recognise that if you do not repay, you are preventing young people coming into the system from benefiting from those things from which you benefited,” Harmon stated.These clarifications on the “travel ban” controversy were being made some six days after reports began circulating on the issue.Jordan had declared that “all information on recalcitrant borrowers will eventually be put at all immigration points and we will set up a desk at the same time for those who would be stopped from travelling to make the necessary arrangement for payment of the loan or debt prior to departure.”He had explained that the decision was taken by Cabinet after the forensic audit, conducted by accounting firm HLB, R Seebarran and Co, into the UG Student Loan Agency revealed that from 1994 to May 2015, some 17,567 or 69.4 per cent of 25,335 student loans were deemed delinquent after students did not honour their debts.Over the weekend, former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall had also reacted to the announcement by Minister Jordan, calling it unconstitutional.Nandlall had told Guyana Times that instituting a travel restriction for UG students with outstanding loan debts was a decision made on the premise of overwhelming incompetence and a blatant violation of constitutional rights.He argued that the travel ban went against all existing laws and pointed out that one wrong could not be corrected by another.“Any first-year law student would know that the Constitution is the supreme law of Guyana; that the Constitution confers upon every citizen certain fundamental rights and freedoms, including the freedom of movement, which includes the right to leave and enter Guyana. Every first-year law student would also know that a person cannot lose these fundamental rights and freedoms if they breach a contract, even a contract with the State,” the Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) asserted.He contended that the principle applied even if the contract provided as a penalty for non-payment, a travel restriction.“That contractual term would be unenforceable because one cannot “contract away” one’s constitutional rights. In any event, these loan agreements contain no provision in relation to prohibiting the borrower from leaving the country…. Different pieces of legislation specifically provide how and in what circumstances a person can be prohibited from leaving the jurisdiction,” he explained.Reports of the “travel ban” had even captured the international media’s attention.last_img read more

  • Skeldon Energy Inc unable to obtain loan

    first_img… as Govt unwilling to release GuySuCo’s assetsSkeldon Energy Inc (SEI), is unable to secure any finances—finance it critically needs to fix the US$30M co-generation plant if is to continue to supply any significant electricity to the national grid and the people of Berbice.The company requires US$17M to remedy the defects to the US$30M plant acquired two years ago from Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).Minister within the Finance Ministry this past week was facilitated on a tour of the facility, and SEI Chairman Lloyd Rose confirmed the state of affairs.The current state of the Skeldon factoryHowever, during the tour the media were informed that Government has never legally vested the assets owned to SEI, meaning the company has no collateral to approach any financial institutions to secure a loan or raise capital despite having an ambitious plan to raise the US$17M capital needed.Government is looking to attach the co-generation plant to any deal it enters with an investor for sale of the Skeldon Sugar Factory.This was confirmed by Minister Sharma, who told media operatives this past Friday that Government continues to hold onto the assets since it could possibly be bundled with any deal in a sale of the sugar factory, since no investor would want to purchase one without the other.SEI Chairman this past week told media operatives that the company at present requires an immediate US$2.5M expenditure simply as a ‘stop gap’ measure in order to restart the plant.The assets however have never been officially turned over to SEI, which means the company, despite its lofty plans, is dependent on the possible sale of the Skeldon Sugar Factory, since the co-generation plant could very well be part of the deal.In fact, Minister Sharma hinted that there have been several unsolicited proposals which has since indicated that the ‘sharks are circling’.He told media operatives the negative reports emanating from the plant have led to persons—the sharks—wanting the plant for next to nothing.Sharma indicated that Government will soon be looking to incorporate a special purpose company in order to facilitate the sale within a few months.But the financial situation at SEI is not as previously reported.SEI is a Government owned company—owned by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and the Guyana Power and Light.NICIL is the company responsible for looking after the affairs of GPL for Government.The transaction saw GPL putting US$4M as equity to purchase the plant, while NICL fronted US$5M. US$21M was announced to be loaned in the debt and equity project. This was however never obtained. It was reported that GuySuCo owed GPL a significant amount of money for heavy fuel oil used for the plant.The media learnt this week that only $11M was turned over as a loan, and the remaining US$10M announced was simply cancelled debt.This means GuySuCo never actually received US$30M for the co-generation plant, but rather $20M; and to compound the situation, the assets have never been turned over officially to SEI.The company on paper has an installed capacity of 30MW—40MW from the baggasse component, and 10MW from the Wartsila gensets.It has been supplying on average 8MW to the grid.The Skeldon co-generation plant was described by Minister Sharma as a ticking time bomb that currently requires US$2.5M in immediate expenditure as a stop-gap measure in order to restart the 30MW bagasse-fuelled component of the facility, and an additional US$17M in order to fix the deficiencies identified—identified a few months after the generators were turned on.The co-generation plant was purchased from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) for an announced price of US$30M by SEI—a special purpose company owned by the government’s holding company, NICIL and GPL.The damning state of affairs was laid bare this past week by SEI Chairman Rose, who had moments earlier wrapped up a guided tour of the facility in Berbice for subject Minister Jaipaul Sharma.It was explained that apart from the badly deteriorated state of the facility—six years into its 25-year life span—the boilers being used at the facility are simply not for use in Guyana’s conditions.During the guided tour of the boilers, it was observed that the piping used to circulate the pressurized steam has eroded to a point where it now poses a safety hazard and risks an explosion.Other visible deficiencies on the boiler were evident at the furnace doors, where the insulation was almost completely burnt out as a result of the heat.last_img read more

  • West Brom stave off drop, Stoke relegated

    first_imgWith Darren Moore’s side just minutes away from dropping into the Championship, Livermore sparked wild celebrations when the midfielder prodded home after a goal-mouth scramble two minutes into stoppage time.Incredibly, Albion were on the brink of relegation again just hours later when fellow strugglers Southampton took a second-half lead through Nathan Redmond at Everton.But, with just seconds left in stoppage time, Tom Davies’s deflected strike rescued a 1-1 draw for Everton and saved West Brom from being relegated for now.West Brom, owned by Chinese entrepreneur are two points from safety with one game left as they fight to extend their eight-season stay in the Premier League.Albion’s last game of the season is at Palace next Sunday, but they will go down if there is a winner between third-bottom Swansea and fourth-bottom Southampton at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday.A draw would take the relegation battle down to the last weekend.“We have been on this road for four, nearly five weeks. We wanted to get some pride and commitment back,” Moore said.“Through hard work and commitment results are coming.”Since replacing the sacked Alan Pardew in early April, Moore has masterminded a significant improvement in Albion’s form.Wins over Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham, as well as a draw against Champions League finalists Liverpool, have kept them dreaming of an epic escape act.Nathan Redmond looked to have secured a crucial win for Southampton before they conceded a crushing late equaliser © AFP / Paul ELLISSouthampton, who had Japanese defender Maya Yoshida sent off in the 86th minute, were crushed by Davies’s late intervention.But Mark Hughes’ side do climb out of the relegation zone, sitting above Swansea on goal difference heading into that crunch clash in midweek.“We have a massive game coming up and that will probably determine who goes up and who goes down,” Hughes said.“We will be ready. Swansea will know they are in a game.” Huddersfield, two points above the bottom three, are also in trouble as they prepare to face champions Manchester City on Sunday.Fourth-placed Tottenham’s defeat leaves them five points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea, who can close the gap in the race to qualify for the Champions League if they beat Liverpool on Sunday.At the bet365 Stadium, Stoke had hope of staying up when Xherdan Shaqiri scored with a 43rd-minute free-kick.But James McArthur equalised in the 68th minute and Patrick van Aanholt slotted in Palace’s winner with four minutes left.Paul Lambert’s side are bottom, three points from safety, with only one game remaining.Stoke have spent 10 seasons in the Premier League, but a run of 13 games without a victory ensured that streak will come to an end.Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland was in tears at the final whistle and City fans were just as emotional as the realisation of their team’s relegation sank in.– ‘Tough afternoon’ –An emotional Jack Butland comes to terms with Stoke’s relegation from the Premier League © AFP / Oli SCARFFHundreds left in the closing minutes before those that remained sang “City til I die” in a defiant rallying cry.The blame for Stoke’s predicament lies jointly with Lambert and Mark Hughes, who was sacked in January after a wretched run culminated with an embarrassing FA Cup third round defeat against fourth-tier Coventry.Hughes could suffer the indignity of having a role in two relegations in one season as his Southampton side are in trouble themselves.“My emotions are up and down. It is a tough afternoon. I am feeling for everyone connected with the club,” Lambert said.“When teams don’t get results you can be sleep-walking into positions you don’t want to be in.”Swansea missed a chance to boost their survival bid as Bournemouth won 1-0 at Dean Court.Ryan Fraser blasted home with a quick free-kick from the edge of the area in the 37th minute.Carlos Carvalhal’s side have gone seven games without a win.West Ham won 2-0 at Leicester, while Watford beat Newcastle 2-1.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Jake Livermore’s stoppage-time goal gives West Brom faint hope of another remarkable Premier League escape act © AFP / Geoff CADDICKLondon, United Kingdom, May 5 – Jake Livermore kept alive West Bromwich Albion’s slender hopes of avoiding relegation as his last-gasp strike clinched a dramatic 1-0 win over Tottenham, while Stoke were relegated after a 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace on Saturday.Albion knew only three points at the Hawthorns would be enough to stave off relegation for a few hours at least.last_img read more

  • Gates uses tact with NATO on beefing up Afghan force

    first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champGates has been pressing for months – without success so far – to get 16 more helicopters into southern Afghanistan to relieve a U.S. helicopter unit that will be leaving soon. He also has pressed to fill other needs, including 3,500 NATO trainers for the Afghan police as well as a minimum of three battalions of ground troops. EDINBURGH, Scotland – The Bush administration has decided to tone down its appeals to NATO allies for more troops and other aid in the fight against the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday. After two days of talks here with his counterparts from Britain, Canada and five other NATO countries whose troops are doing the bulk of the fighting in Afghanistan’s violent south, Gates said he would continue making the case for greater allied military assistance. But he said he would be doing it differently, keeping in mind the “political realities” faced by some European governments whose people may see less reason to intervene in Afghanistan. “We’re going to try to look at this more creatively than perhaps we have done in the past when we basically have just been hammering on (allied governments) to provide more,” Gates said in a post-meeting interview. last_img read more

  • Reclamation plant work finished

    first_img The state gave Burbank and Los Angeles 3 years to meet new ammonia limits because of high levels being discharged into the Los Angeles River. Under the rules, Burbank had to meet a 2.1 parts per million level. Los Angeles had to meet a 2.2 parts per million level for its L.A.-Glendale Plant. L.A.’s Tillman plant in Van Nuys had to reduce its levels to 1.4 parts per million. Before the new process, Burbank was discharging 15 to 20 parts per million of ammonia into the river. Under the new process, Burbank is discharging only .5 parts per million. Jason Kandel, (818) 546-3306 jason.kandel@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Burbank Councilman Todd Campbell said the project is a boon for the city. “It takes wastewater and turns it into usable water for our watering grounds and for cooling off the new Magnolia Power Plant,” he said. “We’re living in a desert. Anything we can do to conserve water is great.” More than 9 million gallons of sewage is treated by the plant every day. After being filtered for scum and junk, sludge is sent through pipes to L.A.’s Hyperion Plant in El Segundo. The treated water is not drinkable, but is used in Burbank’s power plant and to irrigate parks and golf courses. The new process at the Reclamation Plant, which runs on a $2.2 million annual budget, is an effort to comply with a July 2003 mandate set by the state’s Water Resources Control Board. BURBANK – The city has completed an $11 million retrofit of its water reclamation plant, changing the treatment process to meet state mandates to control ammonia released into the Los Angeles River. The nitrification/denitrification system uses bacteria to convert toxic ammonia to less-harmful nitrate, then to nitrogen gas. “All these bugs are eating up all the nasty stuff in the water,” said Rodney Andersen, the principal engineer for the Burbank Public Works Department. “It’s just an impressive upgrade.” The plant has also stopped using chlorine gas and is now using liquid chlorine – or bleach – for a final disinfection process. last_img read more

  • 49ers defense sparks scuffle in final practice with Broncos

    first_imgENGLEWOOD, Colo. – John Lynch could sense the 49ers defense was on the verge of fighting the Denver Broncos offense. Everyone could sense it, not just the 49ers general manager who once played here with similar, white-hot intensity.Two days of joint practices revealed how intense and vocal this 49ers defense is, and how dominant it can be with a fierce pass rush aiding a suspect secondary.The only fight of these … Click here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.last_img read more

  • Six SA firms named ‘global growth companies’

    first_img9 May 2014 Six South African businesses were among 16 dynamic, high-growth African firms named as “Global Growth Companies” by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday. Making the announcement on the eve of the WEF on Africa summit in Abuja, Nigeria, the Switzerland-based organisation described the 16 companies as “trailblazers, shapers and innovators that are committed to improving the state of the world”. Global Growth Companies “are fast-growing companies with the clear potential to become global economic leaders,” the WEF said in a statement. “The 16 nominated African Global Growth Companies … share in common a track record in exceeding industry standards in revenue growth, promotion of innovative business practices, and demonstration of leadership in corporate citizenship.” The six South African companies on the list are property investment holding company Growthpoint Properties, low-cost retail bank Capitec, law firm Webber Wentzel, black-owned fuel reseller KZN Oils, technology firm Net1 UEPS Technologies, and shoe retailer Tekkie Town. Nigeria also has six firms on the list, namely Nagode Group, UAC of Nigeria, Computer Warehouse Group, Interswitch Limited, Notore Chemical Industries, and Seplat Petroleum Development Company. Kenya’s Nation Media Group and Bidco Oil Refineries, along with Uganda’s Simba Group and Mauritian company GML, complete the list. David Aikman, managing director at the World Economic Forum, said the WEF was “proud to recognize these 16 champions that are at the forefront of driving responsible economic growth, job creation and entrepreneurism in Africa”. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

  • Google+ ‘Ghost Town’ Now Has Half A Billion Members

    first_imgNot A Ghost Town AnymoreThe bigger news, however, is that Google+ now has 500 million members, 135 million of whom are active users of Google+ itself, while 235 million are considered “active” by virtue of interacting with Google+ from other Google sites. That total number of 500 million is up from 400 million only three months ago.Sure, Google+ is still smaller than Facebook, which has more than 1 billion active members. But it is certainly not a “ghost town,” and it certainly is not dead. In the early days Google+ was mostly popular with Silicon Valley techies, but little by little, “normals” seem to be migrating onto Google+.Google+ has some advantages. For one thing, you have more control over your experience. And your feed isn’t cluttered with ads. In general, Google+ feels like a cleaner, nicer place than Facebook, which has never been very attractive and is starting to look old and tired.How Facebook Is Helping GoogleBut Facebook has a bigger problem, which is that even its most avid users tend to hate the company itself and to view Facebook as an outfit that is less interested in helping users than in wringing money out of them by finding new ways to trick and exploit them.Over the past few years there have been a string of scandals over Facebook’s ever-changing privacy policies. More recently, Facebook made a change in its algorithm that cut back on “reach” and left brands feeling betrayed and led to Mark Cuban saying he would start focusing his attention on other social networks.Then came the announcement (on the night before Thanksgiving) that Facebook wants to do away with a policy that allows users to vote about changes in Facebook’s service, and now users have been asked to vote on whether they should be able to vote.None of these things is, in isolation, a big deal. But over time an unflattering image of Facebook has begun to emerge.Google Plays A Patient GameThe official line from Google has always been that Google+ doesn’t really compete with Facebook.And for the most part the Googlers have refused to criticize Facebook, even when Facebook was busted trying to run a nasty smear campaign against Google.Instead, Google has stuck to building out its service. The new Communities feature isn’t an earth-shattering event, but it’s another important step forward.The people running Google+ have been mocked, laughed at, criticized and accused of exaggerating usage numbers. They’ve been told, repeatedly, that they have no hope of success and should just give up. But Google+ just keeps on growing. And getting better. Now it has 500 million members, up 25% from just three months ago. At some point the pundits may have to declare this a success. Related Posts Tags:#Facebook#Google#social Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Say this for the people running Google+ — they know how to take a punch and keep going. In the 18 months since Google launched its social service the engineers and marketers behind Google+ have suffered the slings and arrows of some pretty negative punditry.Farhad Manjoo of Slate waited five whole months to declare that “Google+ Is Dead.”Bloomberg Businessweek called Google+ a “ghost town.” The Wall Street Journal accused Google of exaggerating its usage statistics.Privately the Googlers were steamed, but in public they stayed quiet and just kept chugging along, adding new features and functionality.And today Google announced a pretty huge milestone – its service now has half a billion members. CommunitiesThe membership news was included in an announcement of a new feature called Communities, which lets people create spaces where they can connect with others who share their interest in any subject – cooking, skiing, travel, whatever.Google+ users have already been using the service to create communities around particular interests like music or photography, but now “we’re now making it dramatically easier” for people to do that, says Google Vice President Bradley Horowitz. “This is a significant leap forward for our users,” he says.Anyone can start a community. There are four different kinds. Two are public, two are private. A moderator can create multiple “topics” within a community. A community devoted to food might have a topic devoted to vegetarian cooking, another where people recommend restaurants and another where people can share recipes.Here’s how it works: Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… dan lyons The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videoslast_img read more

  • Curated Playlist: Winter Inspiration

    first_imgWinter is upon us. We’ve curated this playlist with our favorite royalty free music tracks that evoke the season.As the days shorten and we at PremiumBeat get ready to don our snow boots, nothing can get us feeling cozier in the biting wind than great music to accompany our travels.Our Winter Inspiration curated playlist treats the colder season as a muse: When paired with your project, these tracks may transform blinding snow into a drift poignant with Siberian poetry, or create a moment of true warmth before the crackling fire at dusk.Start listening below to embrace the cooling temperatures with a selection of lovingly crafted acoustic and atmospheric pieces from our artists. If you’re still looking for a soundtrack for your holiday themed project…look no further. We’ve got you covered there, as well.last_img read more

  • CRUISES 2 LAST

    first_imgSubhakar Rao Surapaneni, Chairman, Champions Group, spoke Subhakar Rao Surapaneni, Chairman, Champions Group, spoke on the occasion highlighting, “We are not only bringing cruises and world-class floating cottages, we are introducing an alternate mode of new age transportation and luxury waterfront living in an eco-friendly fashion. We are going to be introducing iconic projects like this across Andhra Pradesh which will create hundreds of jobs.” With the presence of these high-end cruises and floating cottages, Bhavani Island will soon become a sought-after tourist destination. The Champions Group plans to develop the area on the same lines as their successful Goa venture. The Champions Yacht Club comes with all the experience of setting up and running such locations, and will provide good entertainment and value for money. Yogesh Reddy, Champions Yacht club – Goa, commented, “This is our expansion from Goa to other states and we are eager to enable new age initiatives in Vijayawada in a fully-fledged fashion before end of this year.” About Champions Yacht Club: Champions Yacht Club (http://www.championsyachtclub.com) enables world-class luxury cruises, stay-on-board yachts and various water and adventure sports options along with corporate executive team bonding solutions across India with numerous projects in Goa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Media Contact: Yogesh Reddy sales@champions.club +91-7774062622 Sales and Marketing Manager Champions Yacht Club Source: Champions Yacht Club PRNewswire PS PSlast_img read more