Opportunities for women

first_imgAccording to the United Nations, investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. Women make enormous contributions to economies, whether in businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs, or employees, or by doing unpaid care work at home. But, according to the UN, women also remain disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination and exploitation. Gender discrimination means women often end up in insecure, low-wage jobs, and constitute a small minority of those in senior positions. It curtails access to economic assets such as land and loans. It also limits participation in shaping economic and social policies.Here in Guyana, there has always been much talk by policy makers and political parties about creating opportunities for women’s empowerment. There have indeed been some steps taken to ensure that women are better off, but by and large, most would agree that there is still a far way to go— both in terms of policy-making and actual implementation of programmes to ensure that women have full access to resources and opportunities that would enable them to develop themselves. For example, our single-parent mothers have over the years found it very difficult to make ends meet. Many of them have found themselves in a position where they work from month to month and there seems to be no end to the financial hardships they experience. In some cases, they lack the necessary skills and qualifications required to get suitable, well-paid jobs so that they can earn enough to provide for themselves and their children.For some who would like to venture out into establishing their own small business, etc, the strict criteria set by banks and other lending institutions makes it difficult to access the necessary loans. There are a few institutions which give grants and other forms of support, but they are on a limited scale and most of them are Georgetown-based, making it a bit difficult for rural women to have easy access.The previous administration had recognised that single-parent women are a vulnerable group and had created several mechanisms for them to be lifted out of poverty and elevate themselves so that they would be better off. For example, the then PPP Government had collaborated with the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) to introduce the Women of Worth (WOW) project. Under this programme, single-parent women could have access to as much as $250,000 to start up a business or expand an already established business. This facility was of tremendous help to women as they were able to establish their own small business and, hence, some of them were able to improve their financial situations. In addition, they were able to build their self-esteem and learn new business skills.The WOW programme was in addition to other initiatives which were implemented towards improving the living conditions of women across the country. For example, in 2008, a national exercise was carried out in order to finalise a Single Parent Register, which the authorities had used to provide financial and other forms of support to single parents, most of them being women. Hundreds of single parents were registered and benefitted from different forms of assistance— including technical and vocational training.There is need for more similar programmes to be replicated in communities across Guyana. Such initiatives cannot be one-off, they must be year-round and carried out with the support of the private sector and other community and civil society groups.Regarding the upcoming elections, voters – especially females— should closely examine the policies and programmes of the various political parties to see which one of them offers the most attractive ‘package’ in terms of women’s economic empowerment; meaning better paid jobs, better access to and control over resources, and greater security, including protection from domestic and other forms of violence.Many international commitments support women’s economic empowerment, including the Beijing Platform for Action, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and a series of International Labour Organisation conventions on gender equality. Whichever government is in power, therefore, has an obligation to ensure that policies are designed and implemented geared towards ensuring the economic and social advancement of women all across Guyana.last_img read more

GM getting ready to market its fuel-cell cars

first_imgWARREN, MICH. – General Motors Corp., in a heated race with virtually all of the world’s major automakers to develop a hydrogen-powered vehicle, plans to start getting its fuel-cell cars ready for sale to the mass market. GM is expected to announce today that it will reassign more than 500 engineers who have been working on fuel cells and fuel-cell vehicle development from the automaker’s research operation to its powertrain and global engineering divisions. Hydrogen, while still controversial as a means for solving the nation’s energy crisis, is widely seen as the auto industry’s best chance to replace petroleum as a chief means of powering vehicles. GM says reassigning the engineers signals production of commercially viable hydrogen vehicles may be only a few years away – a reality still doubted by many scientists and others in the industry. Automakers are battling one another for bragging rights over the newest, greenest technologies, dispatching high-tech test vehicles to celebrities, lawmakers and the media and in big cities. Hydrogen vehicles are attractive because they offer dramatically lower net carbon dioxide emissions while helping end U.S. dependence on foreign oil. But the main problems are still the expense of building hydrogen fuel cells and the lack of hydrogen fueling stations around the country. “They can come out with these vehicles tomorrow, but can they come out with ones that will meet the demands of 99percent of the public?” said Spencer Quong, a senior vehicle analysts for the Union of Concerned Scientists, which lobbies for higher fuel economy standards. “Infrastructure is going to be a much bigger issue than people are being led to believe.” Undeterred by the still-significant challenges, GM and others are forging ahead. GM recently hosted reporters on a 300-mile road trip in a pair of fuel-cell powered Chevrolet Equinox sport utility vehicle crossovers to prove they could be driven that far without refueling and would be practical for daily driving. DaimlerChrysler AG touts its $1billion-plus investment in fuel-cell technology and the fact that it has more hydrogen vehicles on the road than any other automaker. Honda Motor Co. last month unveiled its next-generation hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the Honda FCX, saying it would begin producing a small number next year for use in Japan and the United States. Critics of the auto industry’s focus on hydrogen say it is diverting attention and resources away from more immediate solutions to making internal combustion engines cleaner and more efficient. And even those who are working on hydrogen cars realize it will be a while before many average Americans are driving them. Hydrogen cars for the everyday driver remain years, if not decades, away, said Bill Reinert, Toyota’s U.S. advanced technology chief. Toyota is developing a hydrogen vehicle and has about 20 test cars on the road at any given time. Reinert said he thinks the hurdles are too great for anything beyond a few thousands car and trucks by the end of the decade. Only a major event such as a fundamental change in U.S. energy policy or a failure of the nation’s gasoline system would speed up hydrogen’s entry into the mass market, he said. “Hydrogen is probably the gold standard that we’d like to achieve,” Reinert said. “The fact of the matter is that the market won’t be ready nor will the infrastructure be ready.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “This says, `Not only have we done it in a lab, we’re ready to do it for real,”‘ said Larry Burns, GM’s vice president for research and development. “We have worked on this fuel-cell technology long enough and hard enough to be able to start to move this into production.” The employees, located mostly at GM facilities in Rochester, N.Y., and Mainz-Kastel, Germany, won’t physically move but will now report to leaders on the manufacturing side of the business. The workers learned of the change Thursday through a teleconference. An additional 150 workers will continue working on the research side to develop a next-generation fuel cell. GM will now focus on getting fuel cells into vehicles and making sure they meet safety and durability requirements, from being able to withstand a high-speed crash to lasting for 150,000 miles. The fuel cells would be used in GM’s plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt. The Volt, still years away, is being designed to run on a lithium ion battery that would be mated with a hydrogen fuel-cell system as well as other power sources. “It’s a real vote of confidence to see how much progress we’ve made,” said Britta Gross, GM’s manager of fuel-cell commercialization at GM’s Tech Center in Warren. “More of the top leadership is getting engaged. This is exactly what makes a program real.” last_img

Coordinated response key as region’s flooding fears deepen: Expert

first_imgAll levels of government will need to work with conservation officials across Southwestern Ontario to address the region’s deepening flooding fears, a much-anticipated provincial report states.Doug McNeil, appointed a government adviser on the issue in July, completed an independent review of flood management and flooding events this year in Ontario. His 66-recommendation report was made public Thursday.Among the recommendations is McNeil’s call for the Essex Region and Lower Thames Valley conservation authorities to work with federal and municipal officials “to address the existing and expected impacts” of flooding in Chatham-Kent, Windsor-Essex and Pelee Island due in large part to the toll of “erosion hazards and climate change on Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.”Richard Wyma is the general manager of the Essex Region conservation authority. He participated in a feedback session when McNeil came to London earlier this year for information about the challenges specific to flooding in Southwestern Ontario.“Our issues are different from everywhere else. Our issues are dealing with record-high water levels” in Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, Wyma said.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.All three experienced water levels 10 to 15 centimetres higher than previous all-time record highs. “There’s basically no room for water to go,” he said. “Our water levels are likely going to continue to be high next year.”At the same time, Wyma says he’s pleased with the “comprehensive” nature of the report. And the fact the Doug Ford Tories touted McNeil’s findings.Localized flooding in a few front yards, but as of now the road still remains open to traffic. #ckont pic.twitter.com/ApXISyTnBP— Trevor Terfloth (@DailyNewsTT) November 27, 2019“They released the report in full. That’s a good indication right there that (the government wants) to address flooding. That’s an indication that they want to make sure there’s an openness and transparency,” he said.Wyma also applauded McNeil for not shying away from the contentious topic of the day: “Importantly, the report talks about the impacts associated with climate change.”In a section on Southwestern Ontario shoreline erosion in the 156-page document, McNeil writes that “Landowners who thought they were 100 years away from erosion hazards might now only be 50 years away, and significant lengths of municipal infrastructure (roads and utilities) are at risk of failure.”“The safety of the public and the protection of our communities is our No. 1 priority,” John Yakabuski, Ontario’s minister of natural resources and forestry, said in a statement that accompanied McNeil’s findings.“After last spring’s flooding, we recognized that we needed an external perspective on the current roles and responsibilities of the governments, agencies and organizations involved in flood management, someone who could provide independent advice on improvements we can make.”In his review, McNeil said this year’s record flooding in many parts of the province was caused by a combination of weather conditions, including a colder-than-average winter and spring, deeper-than-average snowpack, lack of significant winter thaw, rapid snow melt and significant spring rain.He found nothing pointed to human error or the negligent operation of water-control structures as the cause of the flooding, and the government and its partners were effective at reducing and mitigating flood risks.The government’s statements connected to the report repeated the word “resiliency.” “To me, it’s about a region or a landscape or a watershed dealing with impacts,” and specifically with the impacts of climate change, Wyma said.He said there was no dollar amount for flood-prevention measures attached to the report. Nothing in the report was surprising, Wyma says, but “it did reaffirm things that we’ve been seeing.”Other recommendations call on the province to:Review the funding formula for the eligibility of municipalities under the Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance program Continue the dialogue with the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the federal government on the steps needed to make flood insurance available to more Ontario residents. Update the flood forecasting and warning guidelines and provide clarity on roles and responsibilities of different organizations Consider adopting legislation that will require flood-risk properties to be identified in some way that is publicly accessible, at the very least on the property title, so prospective buyers are aware.last_img read more

Ask It: Best Special Event at Epcot

first_imgShare This!Last week, we presented this #AskIt —My favorite special event at Epcot is…Without a doubt, people are passionate about special events at Epcot. For many, it was difficult to choose just one. For others, there was one that drew large amounts of vitriol. With more than 800 votes in, here’s the results (in order from least to greatest).Festival of the Arts (6%)Holidays Around the World (19%)Flower and Garden (32%)Food and Wine (43%)Festival of the ArtsI’m going to go out on a limb and say that, in the likely event that Festival of the Arts returns for many more years, Festival of the Arts will be giving Flower and Garden a run for its money, if not nipping at the heels of Food and Wine. It has the best of so many festivals–spectacular food booths, engaging entertainment, informative workshops, unique displays, and then adds Broadway musical performances, interactive art experiences (like the paint-by-number mural), and artists throughout the park making works of art as you watch and willing to answer questions about their technique. I truly believe that the only reason this didn’t score higher in the poll is that the festival is so new that many people haven’t had a chance to experience it. When they do, however, it will quickly become a favorite festival.Holidays Around the WorldAnyone else think that the main reason for Holidays Around the World to score near the bottom is because they got rid of Lights of Winter? Anyone? Just me? Okay then. Moving on.There’s a lot to love about Holidays Around the World. Although the food offerings don’t wow people much, especially coming right after Food and Wine, there are special holiday foods available. The Holiday Tag at the end of Illuminations is a glorious way to make sure that any dental fillings you have are securely affixed in your mouth (or provide easy removal for loose ones) as the show celebrates Peace on Earth with a massive amount of peace-disrupting fireworks. The Holiday Storytellers are always favorites, and the overall décor throughout the park really helps build the holiday spirit. The big down side–the event ends with the highest crowd levels of the year.Flower and GardenFlower and Garden is known in my house as Epcot’s Celebration of Plenty of Pollen (sponsored by Claritin). Everything is in bloom all around Epcot. Beautiful, yes. Even seen through the misty glaze of itchy eyes.In all seriousness, however, Epcot never looks finer than it does during Flower and Garden. The color everywhere brings oohs and aahs around every turn. Kids love the outdoor playgrounds, people of all ages love the Garden Rocks concert series, photographers love the pops of color throughout the park, and I personally think many of the food offerings at Flower and Garden are better than comparable foods at Food and Wine. From the educational side, there are a variety of presentations on everything you can think of relating to plants, farming, and backyard gardening. It was also noted by several people that there are fewer drunks at Flower and Garden than at Food and Wine–a huge plus in many people’s books.Food and WineBut the winner is Food and Wine, which has two very popular aspects–food and wine (and beer and other potent potables). Certainly, there’s more to Food and Wine, like the Party for the Senses evenings, many food and beverage seminars, the Hide and Squeak scavenger hunt, and the popular Eat to the Beat concert series. Overall, the food and drinks are the major draws. Over the years, Food and Wine has become a victim of its own success. Saturday nights especially have become slammed, and it is very common to see groups of people wearing shirts extolling the joys of drinking to excess. If you frequent Food and Wine in the evenings, you are likely at some point to witness someone falling down drunk, urinating in public, or vomiting. And although people do rightly point out that things like that do happen at other times, among many parent groups, the whispered word is don’t take your kids to Epcot on Saturday nights in the fall. Food and Wine was the only event that people specifically mentioned that they now loathe because of the actions of a few out-of-control guests. Nevertheless, it is an event worth attending and still ranks as the most popular one in Epcot’s festival calendar. No surprise it won the poll here, too.And now it is time for a change of pace. I just got off my first trip on the Disney Wonder (which I’ll be sharing details about in tomorrow’s Best Week Ever). Because my mind is still thinking back to my cruise, this week’s #AskIt is:Which Disney Cruise Line ship is your favorite?Disney MagicDisney WonderDisney DreamDisney FantasyThe poll is open on Twitter, or you can leave your comments here or on Facebook. For me, I think I need more personal experience on each ship to truly be able to decide. Off to peruse for an upcoming cruise I go…did someone say 2018 summer itineraries are out?last_img read more

New Thai eVisa service means faster entry for 21 countries

first_imgPhoto: Thai Airways International. Thai Airways International expects to benefit from a new visa service that allows visitors from 21 countries, including China and India, to get a faster and more convenient entry to  Thailand.The collaboration between Thailand’s immigration Bureau and outsourcing specialist VFS Global will allow visitors using a new a new eVisa on arrival (eVOA) service to get a faster immigration service at dedicated major airports in Thailand from February 14.Those eligible to use the service will receive their travel authorization prior to departure.They go to the eVOA visa website, pay the fee using debit or credit card, wechat or Alipay and receive an eVOA code that can be printed or kept on mobile phones.They receive their pre-travel authorization within 24 to 72 hours or can pay extra use an express service for more urgent travel.READ: Thai receives its first 787-9 DreamlinereVOA applicants benefit from dedicated Immigration counters at major airports such as  Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in Bangkok, as well as at Phuket and Chiang Mai.No documents need to be filled out; travelers only need to present a passport.VFS Global says travellers who undertake the eVOA application process don’t need to carry physical copies of information such as hotel booking confirmations or air-tickets no local currency is needed at the immigration counter.The company has also worked with the Immigration Bureau to provide a fast track service at Suvarnabhumi.In addition to India and China, other countries covered by the scheme’s launch include Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kazakhstan,  Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.“With the eVOA service, we are proud to offer a new age digital solution which enhances the overall experience for the modern day traveller who seeks to visit Thailand from 21 countries across the globe. Immigration Bureau commissioner  Surachate Hakparn said in a statement.Thai Airways International president Sumeth Damrongchaitham, said customers would be able to request an eVOA any time when using the thaiairways.com or thaismileair.com websites or when making mobile transactions on Thai Airways and Thai Smile applications.He predicted Thai would be able to reach even more customers through the service.last_img read more

GDPR: Will the US Respond with Similar Federal Regulations?

first_imgDoug Merritt, CEO of Splunk, said that “I think it’s imperative that human beings understand that there is economic opportunity in your data. But for government to tax corporations and try to give it back to people, I think that would actually darken the clouds and not open up the sky. What the government can do is set up regulatory frameworks and consequences for non-adherence. What I’d like to see within those frameworks is something in there about how I can broker my data. I think we all should expect that.” Cindy Provin, SVP Entrust Datacard and General Manager nCipher Security, said that “what’s clear is that businesses are facing increased pressure to understand exactly how data is protected at every point during its lifecycle, in order to assess the vulnerabilities in their systems and processes. While it’s often challenging for businesses to take a holistic view of data protection, especially when multiple sources and technologies are involved, it’s necessary from a legal, financial, and frankly reputational, standpoint.” The GDPR has influenced the thinking of many states in the US to implement regulations around data privacy protections. California signed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act, a GDPR-like privacy law. Alabama passed a law that imposes penalties on businesses that collect personal information without authorization. Other states like Vermont, Virginia, Oregon and Louisiana have put into law privacy laws. Rob Perry, vice president at ASG Technologies, said that “the most impressive accomplishment of GDPR has been its role in kick-starting the data privacy awareness revolution. From the introduction of the California Consumer Privacy Act to the reconsideration of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, the first year of the GDPR put the wheels in motion to create a globally safe, secure data landscape.” GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation, the EU data protection and privacy law has been in effect for more than one year. What is the likelihood that a similar law would be enacted in the United States? Some are encouraging the federal government to take a bigger role. State-by-state regulations makes it very difficult for businesses to stay abreast of privacy requirements. Julie Brill, Microsoft’s corporate VP and deputy general counsel, said that “laws currently on the books are simply not strong enough to enable the FTC to protect privacy effectively in today’s complex digital economy. Now it is time for Congress to take inspiration from the rest of the world and enact federal legislation that extends the privacy protections in GDPR to citizens in the United States last_img read more

Inside IT: Cloud Aware Applications “Code-a-Thon”

first_imgEarlier this year, Intel IT started conducting a series of  Cloud Aware “Code-a-Thon’s”. These were created in response to a skills gap around applications that were being written in a traditional way and ones that needed to be developed to take advantage of the cloud. This event is an inventive way to bring application developers together, introduce them to concepts of programming applications for the cloud and think in new ways. The intent is to have developers experiment with the cloud and be immersed for an entire day. In this podcast we talk to Cathy Spence, an Enterprise Architect in Intel IT. Spence tells us how the Code-a-Thon came about and what it takes to create an app for cloud. We’ll also hear from participants in a recently held Code-a-Thon at Intel’s Santa Clara headquarters.last_img read more

Italy revamp with Armenia

first_img Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Italy can complete a perfect qualifying record for Euro 2020 when hosting Armenia tomorrow, but Roberto Mancini plans changes. It kicks off at the Stadio Barbera in Palermo on Monday at 19.45 GMT. The Azzurri already set a new all-time record of 10 consecutive victories and can end Group J with 10 wins out of 10. Following Friday’s 3-0 victory in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mancini is expected to ring the changes, resting the likes of Alessandro Florenzi, Emerson Palmieri, Sandro Tonali, Nicolò Barella, Federico Bernardeschi and Andrea Belotti. Salvatore Sirigu is more likely than Alex Meret, who would be a debutant, to start in goal rather than Gianluigi Donnarumma. Napoli’s Giovanni Di Lorenzo can receive his second cap, after starting against Liechtenstein last month, with Alessio Romagnoli and Cristiano Biraghi stepping in. Fiorentina midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli made his debut as a substitute in Bosnia and could get his first start, with Nicolò Zaniolo flanking the ever-present Jorginho. Federico Chiesa and Ciro Immobile can step into the trident attack, with Stephan El Shaarawy probably coming in for Lorenzo Insigne. Italy (probable): Sirigu; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Biraghi; Castrovilli, Jorginho, Zaniolo; Chiesa, Immobile, El Shaarawylast_img read more