11 February 2014 The Queen’s Baton Relay arrived in Johannesburg on Monday on the last leg of its African tour. It will spend five days in South Africa. Similar to the Olympic torch relay, the Queen’s Baton Relay travels around the world prior to the Commonwealth Games. This time round it will visit 70 nations over 288 days, covering about 190 000 kilometres on its way to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Message from the Queen The relay left Buckingham Palace in London on 9 October, after Queen Elizabeth had placed a message to the Commonwealth in the heart of the baton. The message forms the visual core of the baton design and is illuminated from within by LED lights, but is unreadable until the opening ceremony in Glasgow on 23 July. Within the baton is a granite “gemstone”, native to Scotland, which is gifted to each Commonwealth nation and territory. It can only be released by opening a clever puzzle mechanism. On Monday, the baton was taken around Johannesburg accompanied by South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president Gideon Sam, who was also acting in his capacity as the Commonwealth Games Federation’s vice-president.‘Enormous symbolism’ British High Commissioner Judith McGregor was also on hand after joining the relay for the Swaziland and Lesotho legs. “The baton passed through places of tremendous historical importance and it has enormous symbolism, especially for the younger people,” McGregor said. “I’m delighted and proud to be with you here on behalf of the British government.” At the Soweto Aquatics Centre, Sam and McGregor addressed school children from Orlando West High School. “Look at this baton very carefully,” Sam said. “When you watch this baton and its message being read out by the Queen on 23 July, you can say that you saw this baton when it came to South Africa.” Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy said in a statement: “We welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to South Africa and it is a reminder of the importance of participating in the Commonwealth Games. As Sascoc, we celebrate our achievements in our 20-year democracy and we hope this inspires the youth to be great achievers.” The 2014 Commonwealth Games take place in Glasgow Scotland from 23 July to 3 August. SAinfo reporter and South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committe
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A green home should be a healthy home. It shouldn’t grow mold, mildew, and dust mites. It shouldn’t introduce significant quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other hazardous chemicals into the indoor environment. It should have plenty of fresh air for its occupants.Beyond keeping homeowners healthy, a well-designed green home can go even further with measures to ease stress and enhance a sense of wellbeing.A few specific strategies for ensuring a healthy indoor environment are described below:Deal with moistureMoisture getting into homes—or not being able to get out—is probably the number-one cause of health problems in homes today. Standing water, dampness, and high humidity result in mold and mildew growth, dust mites, and other problems. Strategies for keeping water out include deep roof overhangs, surface grade sloping away from the house, and proper flashing around windows, doors, and other penetrations.Strategies to get rid of moisture include installation of quiet bath fans that will actually get used (automated controls for bath fans are even better), kitchen range-hood fans that exhaust to the outdoors, rainscreen detailing on walls to allow trapped moisture to escape, and soffit and ridge vents in the attic (unvented “hot” roofs can also work, as long as the roof system is extremely well-sealed).Various “operation and maintenance” measures are also very important in dealing with moisture: fixing roof leaks that are found, fixing plumbing leaks, never drying firewood in the basement, always operating fans when showering, and avoiding too many indoor plants (especially in the summer when relative humidity levels are high).Keep pollutants outOne of the easiest ways to cut down on pollutants and moisture being tracked into a building is to install track-off mats for entryways. In commercial buildings, track-off mats are often designed with grates and drainage outside, then a coarse mat to remove soil and particles, and finally a softer mat that dries shoes as you scuff across it. In homes, a place to remove shoes and a no-shoes policy is a great way to keep pollutants out and reduce cleaning needs.Avoid VOCsSpecify zero-VOC or low-VOC paints, sealants, and other materials with chemical constituents. With recent advances in finishes and adhesives, for most applications there is no longer a compromise in performance or durability when selecting low-VOC products.Avoid hazardous chemicals and componentsA wide range of chemicals are introduced into our homes through building materials, furnishings, and other products. Hazards we should try to avoid include brominated or chlorinated flame retardants, bisphenol-A or BPA (used in epoxies and polycarbonate plastics), phthalate plasticizers (used mostly in flexible vinyl or PVC), and formaldehyde. It’s a good idea to invest in learning about these hazards and working to select products that are free of them. Try to avoid insulation materials that include brominated flame retardants, for example, and cabinets made with particleboard or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) that contains urea-formaldehyde binders.Provide fresh airMechanical ventilation is needed to deliver fresh air throughout a house. The old argument that we shouldn’t tighten up our homes too much, because we won’t get enough fresh air doesn’t make sense. When we depend on air leakage for fresh air, we only get fresh air when there’s a pressure difference driving air exchange in a house: that could be wind or very cold temperatures that create a stack effect. In the swing seasons (spring and fall) and in milder climates air leakage doesn’t cut it. With mechanical ventilation, we can control how much air we introduce, where it comes from, where it is delivered, and from where we exhaust the stale indoor air.The best ventilation system is a “balanced” system with separate fans for exhaust and supply with ducting. In cold climates, it makes sense to run these air streams past each other using a air-to-air heat exchanger or heat-recovery ventilator, so that most of the heat from the outgoing indoor air is transferred to the incoming fresh air.Provide for psychological healthDelivering daylighting and connections to the outdoors can help to maintain psychological health. A growing body of research is showing that in offices, these features boost worker productivity, in hospitals they speed recovery from illness or operations, and in schools they improve learning. The idea of design features that connect us with nature is referred to as “biophilic design” (biophilia is the innate affinity humans have for nature). This is a way to make an ordinary home a great home.My top-10 list of green building priorities so far:#3. Ensure a healthy indoor environment#4. Reduce the need for driving#5. Build smaller and optimize materials use#6. Ensure durability and reuse existing buildings#7. Protect and restore the site#8. Use green materials#9. Create resilient, climate-adapted buildings#10. Make it easy for homeowners to be green In addition to this Energy Solutions blog, Alex writes the weekly blog Alex’s Cool Product of the Week on BuildingGreen.com, which profiles an interesting new green building product each week. You can sign up to receive notices of these blogs by e-mail—enter your e-mail address in the upper right corner of any blog page.Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, LLC and executive editor of Environmental Building News. To keep up with his latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed.
A private pathological laboratory in eastern Assam’s Golaghat town had given a pregnancy report to a man who had gone for urine test.Doctors had advised Jogeswar Bora, a barely literate 42-year-old farmer on the outskirts of the town, to get his urine tested for a certain health complication. He did the test under the Chief Minister’s Free Diagnostic Services that was launched in 16 of Assam’s 33 districts in May 2017.Under the scheme, for people on either side of the poverty line, the State government paid private hospitals or laboratories for conducting medical tests such as CT scan, X-ray, blood and urine tests in government-run facilities.The Golaghat lab handed Mr. Bora the report after getting his urine tested at the civil hospital. “I had no idea what the report contained until a drug store owner I showed it to, said I had no chance of bearing a child,” Mr. Bora said.He then went to a private medical practitioner who told him that it was a negative report of pregnancy, and “something somewhere must have gone wrong”.The laboratory said Mr. Bora’s case could have been caused by a mix-up.
Concert for America: Stand Up, Sing Out! brought together artists from Broadway, TV and beyond to spread a message of unity and hope during the weekend at Town Hall.The first concert in the monthly series raised more than $100,000 to benefit the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Immigration Law Center, and the Sierra Club Foundation.The audience took to their feet several times throughout the concert. Featured moments included Tony Award winner Chita Rivera performing “America” from West Side Story with some of the original Broadway production choreography; dance legend Ben Vereen breaking down into tears singing Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”; and Tony Award nominee Judy Kuhn inciting gasps throughout the audience when it was announced she would sing “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas, for which she originated the vocals.Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the NAACP, also attended and introduced Brian Stokes Mitchell singing “America the Beautiful,” followed by “Wheels of a Dream” from Ragtime. The entire cast of artists joined together on stage to sing an arrangement of “What the World Needs Now is Love,” which Concert for America co-producers Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley produced in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016, and “Let the Sunshine In” from Hair.Rudetsky and Wesley announced on stage last night that the next dates for the Concert for America series will be back at Town Hall on February 25, 2017, followed by a performance in Chicago on March 19, 2017.The sold-out show featured performances and appearances by Betty Buckley, Michelle Collins, Lilla Crawford, Brian d’Arcy James, Sharon Gless, Judy Gold, Richard Kind, Judy Kuhn, Anika Larsen, Liz Larsen, Caissie Levy, Beth Malone, Carrie Manolakos, Stephanie Mills, Jessie Mueller, Kate Mulgrew, Julia Murney, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelli O’Hara, Piper Perabo, Rosie Perez, Billy Porter, Randy Rainbow, Caroline Rhea, Alice Ripley, Chita Rivera, Shayna Steele, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ben Vereen, Lillias White, Betsy Wolfe and more
On February 25, 2018, Women Like Us Foundation will present the documentary Women Like Us, Three Journeys. One Mission. To Change the World.Women Like Us, Three Journeys. One Mission. To Change the WorldThe film, executive produced by Women Like Us co-founder Linda Rendleman, and co-produced by Women Like Us Global Ambassador Catt Sadler, is a rallying cry for women to continue the fight for equality for all.Women Like Us is a film that lifts and motivates the spirit. This story follows three women on a moving journey of exploration, adversity and evolution, in addition to witnessing the unimaginable social injustices women face around the globe. Award winning journalist Catt Sadler and her mother, Linda Rendleman, activist/author and cofounder of Women Like Us Foundation, along with Sally Colon, film director, travel the US and Kenya to engage in conversations with astounding women tackling unimaginable social injustices such as female genital mutilation, human trafficking, teen suicide, homelessness and more.“I’m thrilled to be coming back to Indy to connect with all the wonderful women who are making change for the community. It was the first place I wanted to come to and share our film. Indy means so much to me and my mom, Linda,” commented Catt Sadler.The Women Like Us Foundation promotes gender equality and social justice through funding women’s nonprofits fighting sexual abuse, mitigating homelessness, and supporting women’s leadership through education. Rendleman formed Women Like Us in Indianapolis ten years ago.Included in the film are local resident and international artist Nancy Noel who supports the NA Noel school in Kenya and Fishers resident Deb Myers, founder of the One Girl at a Time Foundation.“Our work of 10 years has created awareness and funded initiatives led by women with an emphasis on gender equality and social justice,” emphasizes Linda Rendleman, the CEO and President of Women Like Us Foundation. “This film allows us to take their stories across the country with a call to action for women to find their passion and speak their voices for change.”Event sponsors include KAR Auctions, Faegre, Baker, Daniels , LLP, Raymond James Network for Women Advisors, Baritone Sales Group, One Girl at a Time Foundation, Sharonweb Autism Foundation, Network of Women in Business and You Can Free Us.The documentary will screen on February 25th at 6:30pm at the Indianapolis IMAX Theatre (650 W. Washington St. Indianapolis, Indiana 46204), preceded by a 5:00pm VIP/Media Red Carpet reception. Catt Sadler and Linda Rendleman will co-host a Q&A at 8:00pm, following the film.Tickets are available at IMAX.
CALGARY – The CEO of healthy fast-food chain Freshii says bottlenecks in new markets, delays from major franchise operators and the setback at outlets in Target stores combined to force the company’s revised growth outlook late last month.Speaking at a small business conference in Calgary Thursday, Matthew Corrin said the combination meant fewer outlets could open this year, but that the stores are still going ahead.“As a fast-growing company, we learned things that we didn’t have the benefit of a year ago that caused additional bottlenecks in opening those stores,” Corrin said.On Sept. 26, Freshii revised down expected store openings for the year to between 90 and 95 from 150 to 160, and total expected stores open by the end of 2019 from at least 810 to 730 stores.But Corrin says the stores are still on their way.“It wasn’t a matter of if those stores opened, but when,” he said. “For all intents and purposes, nothing at all changed in the business.”Permitting and construction delays, along with slower than expected timelines for major franchise operators, pushed store opening timelines from the expected nine months to twelve, he said.“Every city we go into has a different permitting timeline, different landlords for the most part, different general contractors.”Corrin said the company has made numerous new hires this year, and changed some policies to help store roll-outs and that the timing is now back to nine months — but not in time to recover the store opening numbers for this year.He said the company’s decision to end an 18-outlet pilot with Target, because a lack of foot traffic at the retailer, also cut into net growth numbers.The revised growth outlook sent the company’s stock, which only listed in an IPO in January, down by a third.“I’m the biggest shareholder by a long shot. My family and I own 30 per cent of the company. And so, as you can imagine, I am personally disappointed in the share price,” Corrin said.But he said he no longer looks at the daily stock price, and is focused on continuing to adapt to changing markets and pressures.Corrin said companies that scale fast, that grow ahead of inflation and that cultivate a culture where employees are more productive and passionate can better adapt to changes like the minimum wage increases rolling out in several provinces.“When you bring all that together, your minimum wage issue becomes way more defendable than your competition,” he said. “So that’s why we sleep well at night.”
OTTAWA – A decades-old sore spot in the Canadian federation is days away from another flare-up as the country’s finance ministers prepare to discuss potential tweaks to the formula behind equalization payments.British Columbia Finance Minister Carole James said in an interview that the federal government is proposing a change to include non-residential property values as part of the complex calculation.The adjustment would likely make it more difficult for provinces with property values well above the national average — such as B.C. and Ontario — to qualify as recipients of equalization payments from Ottawa.Equalization is designed to help poorer provincial governments provide public services that are reasonably comparable to those in other provinces. The program is coming due for its twice-a-decade update before the 2019-20 fiscal year — and since it’s a federal program, Ottawa can make unilateral changes.Historically, equalization has been a source of conflict between governments within the federation.Under the current formula, the provinces that received shares of this year’s $18-billion equalization envelope — the so-called “have-not” provinces — included Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Prince Edward Island and Ontario. Quebec easily took in the largest share in 2017-18 at $11 billion.The other provinces — B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador — did not receive anything through the constitutionally guaranteed equalization program.The B.C. government warns that going forward the inclusion of non-residential property values in the formula would make it more difficult for the province to qualify for payments in the event of an economic downturn.The issue is a top concern for James ahead of meetings Sunday and Monday in Ottawa with her federal, provincial and territorial counterparts.“We certainly don’t agree with that direction — we’ve seen no research that has shown that it makes sense to change the weighting in the equalization payments,” James told The Canadian Press.“I’ll certainly be standing up for our province … and telling the federal minister of finance that these aren’t acceptable changes.”James said the update would mean the formula would deem B.C. to have untapped capacity to generate additional property tax revenue. She argued it’s based on the assumption B.C. municipalities could raise tax rates on properties, which have seen their values soar in recent years.To determine whether a province qualifies for an equalization payment, and for how much, the formula measures each province’s ability to raise revenues, or their fiscal capacity.James wants Ottawa to make sure the short- and long-term impacts for all provinces have been explored before it moves forward.With the renewal of the equalization formula scheduled for 2019, this weekend’s meeting will likely be the first of many federal-provincial discussions on the matter.B.C. isn’t the only province with concerns about the proposal.“When it comes to the potential of generating more revenue from the high prices of real estate, which is what British Columbia is arguing, we don’t have the capacity to squeeze out more money from the system,” Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said in an interview.Sousa said his province has lowered its revenue expectations for the real estate sector after the introduction of measures to cool red-hot markets, such as the Toronto region.“So, I agree with British Columbia that we can’t basically assess certain real estate valuations as a means to assess equalization payments,” he said.Ontario has been receiving equalization payments since 2009 as a have-not province. But after improvements to its economy in recent years, the province is expected to return to “have” status some time in the next couple of years.A senior Ontario government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the proposed change could be the difference between whether it collects equalization or not.“Our concern is that if the last years taught us anything, it’s that property values are volatile in both British Columbia and in Ontario,” said the official, who would prefer a phased-in approach.“We would rather have it dealt with in a more tempered way, rather than just jumping right off the cliff on it.”Chloe Luciani-Girouard, a spokeswoman for federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, wrote in an email Thursday that Ottawa will always listen to the concerns of provinces and territories — and will take them “very seriously.”The future of the equalization formula will also be a priority for Newfoundland and Labrador at the meetings.The province’s economy, hit hard in recent years by the commodity slump, still failed to qualify for equalization payments this year and Finance Minister Tom Osborne doesn’t expect it to next year, either.Osborne said in an interview that the current formula only addresses revenue and doesn’t account for the different costs of services between provinces.He says his province, with its small, dispersed population, faces the highest costs of services in Canada — and they’re growing at an “unsustainable” clip.Osborne plans to push his counterparts on the issue in hope of changing the formula so that it reflects both revenue and expenditures.“If anybody can explain to me how we’re a have-province, I’d like to hear it, because we’re certainly not a have-province,” he said.The formula is also based on a three-year moving average of economic growth, so a province’s have- or have-not status can lag economy-altering events.The country’s finance ministers will discuss a range of issues during the meetings — from cannabis taxation, to the three-year review of the Canada Pension Plan, to the state of the global economy. The ministers are also scheduled to meet Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz.Ahead of the meetings, Morneau will distribute updated figures outlining how much the neediest provinces can expect to receive from Ottawa in the next fiscal year, 2018-19.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society is going to be bringing the Vagina Monologues back to the Energetic City this weekend for its biggest fundraiser of the year.Organizer Jennifer Pimm with the Society says that this year’s iteration of the event, which is celebrating its 13th straight year, will feature some changes to past years. Pimm explained that this year’s performance will feature male performers to recognize the fact that while women are often thought of as the victims of sexual harassment and abuse, men can and are also victims as well.“With height of the #MeToo campaign and ‘Time’s Up’ movement, we thought, “We have to do something” because this is happening in Fort St. John all the time,” said Pimm. “We wanted to bring awareness to it. That’s another reason that we really wanted to bring men to the show is because men are our allies. We need men to stand up and say ‘enough is enough.’”The production features 25 performers, and will also feature local music and other spoken word performances. The production is being put on at the North Peace Cultural Centre this Friday. Reserved tickets are $25, while admission at the door is by donation. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., with the show starting at 7:00. For tickets, call the North Peace Cultural Centre at (250) 785-1992.
There stood once a Mandir. There stood once a Masjid. Today, neither is there a Mandir nor is there a Masjid. Now, tell what should be there, Mandir or Masjid? One set wants Mandir. The other set says Masjid. The question repeats itself, again and again. Without fail. In private. In public. In court. In Parliament. In cabinet meetings. In newspapers. In television studios. In tea stalls. In drawing rooms. Now, tell what should be there, Mandir or Masjid? Also Read – A special kind of bondLitigation. Strife. Death. Destruction. Still, the question is asked: Now, tell what should be there, Mandir or Masjid? The Supreme Court appointed panel’s brief is to mediate an answer to the question. Not that mediation hasn’t been tried before. Three or maybe four times. Every time a failure. The top court believes one more try will not hurt anybody. Not everybody’s convinced. But everybody’s going along because it’s the honourable Supreme Court’s decision and the honourable Supreme Court cannot be wrong, ever. The best thing is for the honourable Supreme Court itself to make the decision to the all-important question that repeats itself. But, then, it runs the risk of being reduced to dishonourable by a section. Unthinkable! Also Read – Insider threat managementThe problem is the honourable Supreme Court does not want to find itself in such a dishonourable situation. That being said, the issue has been hanging fire for so long, only a dishonourable (to one party to the dispute) decision can bust the Catch 22. It appears the honourable Supreme Court isn’t anywhere in that dishonourable class. So, the three-member panel to mediate a dishonourable compromise (dishonourable to one party) of sorts. Let’s call the spade a spade. Not beat around the bush. Stop being politically correct. Not act shy, coy! One of the parties to the dispute will have to back off and accept a dishonourable exit. Will it happen? Already, dishonourable voices are being raised. If somebody doesn’t like the presence of one particular individual in the panel, somebody else is insisting the mediators shouldn’t miss that there’s one irrefutable parameter paramount to the dispute. That a Mandir existed at the spot and ‘Mandir Wahin Banayenge’. The guy who’s talking of the irrefutable parameter is Hindu. The chap who doesn’t like one particular panel member is Muslim. This second gentleman is a barrister of law and the other one is a pretender in law, an economist never economical with words. Both have inserted themselves into the dispute and are capable of raising hell if one of them doesn’t fancy the final decision. Mediation is not their cup of joy. They share qualities: Intransigent. Stubborn. Obdurate. Unbending. Obstinate. Inveterate. Rigid. Unbending. The Mandir-Masjid issue is essentially a title dispute into which archaeologists dug deep and found more than dirt. But the intransigence and unyielding obduracy is so deep, even proof of existence did not make a difference. A high court took the bull by the horns to try and break the conundrum, but then there was the remedy – the honourable Supreme Court. Ha! The honourable Supreme Court is playing safe. It doesn’t want blood on its hands. It is refusing to do its duty. Lay it out in black & white. The chap with the irrefutable parameter and the guy who doesn’t like one of the mediators because he has a couple of Hindu prefixes to his name, both should be made to pipe down, forced to make dishonourable exits, put on their compromising hats. But then, there is the article Freedom of Expression. So, the top court’s hands are tied. How about posting a posse outside both these gentlemen’s pads? To keep an eye on them and, at the same time, provide them protection! They cannot raise Cain over that, can they? The point is, now that it’s been ruled that mediation will act icebreaker, perceived hell-raisers, like the two gentlemen, should be taken care of, gently reminded that they will be held to account for making irresponsible statements with the entitlement of Freedom of Expression. The top court cannot leave everything to the government and vice versa. A show of spines is in order. The icing on the cake is if the mediators succeed and both parties agree to one party making a dishonourable exit for the honourable apex court to make a decision that will be honoured, then this stubborn issue of incalculable obduracy, unpersuadable tenacity, will be settled once and for all and no political party will be able to use it for electoral advantage. The discomfort is already there for all to see on the faces of spokespersons of this and that party. It’s time nobody asks ever again the question: “Now, tell what should be there, Mandir or Masjid?” (The views are strictly personal)