McHUGH WELCOMES RETENTION OF 9% VAT RATE FOR TOURISM INDUSTRY

first_imgDONEGAL North East TD Joe McHugh has welcomed the retention of the 9% VAT rate for Ireland’s tourism sector – as the weakening euro could help increase visitors to the county from the North and Britain.There’s a hope the double boost could help the industry in the coming months.Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar confirmed the move in the Dáil today claiming that the reduction has been successful in increasing employment and it has mostly been passed on to consumers. Fine Gael TD Joe McHugh welcomed the decision and said it was “positive news for the tourism industry”.He added: “This extension of the lower rate will enable the industry to plan and to market for next year in the knowledge that Ireland will be able to offer lower-cost tourism options to tourists.”Retail Ireland has welcomed the retention of the 9% VAT rate, but called for similar relief to be shown to the retail sector.Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime, its director Stephen Lynam said Ireland had the joint fifth highest VAT rate in Europe. He said the increase to 23% in the last budget has had a negative impact on retail sales.“Retail sales have fallen in the first quarter of this year. The fall in February was the sharpest since 2009 at the pit of the recession.”So we would like to see the Minister reverse his decision – decrease the VAT rate and hopefully see an increase in the VAT take,” said Mr Lynam.Irish Hotels Federation President Michael Vaughan welcomed the retention rate for the tourism industry.“We’re seeing real jobs created. I think 11,000 jobs have been created since the VAT was reduced. So it is giving great certainty for 2013, and The Gathering is underpinned by this as well,” he told RTE. McHUGH WELCOMES RETENTION OF 9% VAT RATE FOR TOURISM INDUSTRY was last modified: May 9th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:McHUGH WELCOMES RETENTION OF 9% VAT RATE FOR TOURISM INDUSTRYlast_img read more

BUNCRANA MAN ADMITS ARSON ATTACK IN BUNDORAN

first_imgAN Inishowen man has admitted his role in an arson attack on apartments in Bundoran.John Fullerton, 33, of Park Lane Apartments in Buncrana appeared at Donegal Circuit Criminal Court.Fullerton pleaded guilty to arson at Williamson’s Flats at West End in Bundoran on September 12, 2011. He also pleaded guilty to damaging a car at Magheracar in Bundoran on the same date.Judge John O’Hagan adjourned sentencing until March 25 and ordered a probation report.He also asked the prosecution to allow the victims of the incidents to be allowed to make impact statements on that date.BUNCRANA MAN ADMITS ARSON ATTACK IN BUNDORAN was last modified: December 10th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:BUNCRANA MAN ADMITS ARSON ATTACK IN BUNDORANFullertonlast_img read more

HEE HAW, HEE HAW TO HAVE COME TO COURT!

first_imgA Judge has ordered the arrest of a farmer whose donkeys almost caused a crash with a Garda car.Garda Harvey Maughan told Letterkenny District Court that he rounded a sharp bend at Thorn Road in Letterkenny on March 11th last and almost collided with two donkeys and a pony.He revealed the animals belonged to local farmer Leslie Stewart, 66, who was charged with allow beasts to wander. However, when he called to Stewart’s home, he refused to answer the door.“I rounded the bend and had to brake sharply to avoid the animals.“The fencing had completed deteriorated and the animals could just walk through it,” revealed Garda Maughan.Garda Maughan told Judge Paul Kelly that Stewart is under the observation of both the ISPCA and the Gardai in respect to looking after his animals.“I don’t know if you’d call him a farmer but he keeps animals. His land has been rented to other people but he continues to keep animals.“He lacks the capability or ant to look after his animals. He is being monitored by the ISPCA and the Gardai,” said Garda Maughan.The court heard that Stewart has previous convictions for cruelty to animals and also having no tax.Garda Maughan added that he had spotted Stewart, who was not in court, traveling in the opposite direction of the courthouse earlier today.Judge Paul Kelly issued a bench warrant for Stewart’s arrest.HEE HAW, HEE HAW TO HAVE COME TO COURT! was last modified: October 20th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegaldonkeyLeslie StewartLetterkenny District Courtponylast_img read more

Earth Day and My Career Path to Sustainable Energy

first_imgWith Earth Day this past Sunday, I’m inspired to reflect on what motivated me — some 45 years ago(!) — to focus on a career of environmental protection and improvement, a career that has led me to a significant focus on more sustainable energy solutions. Back in the late 1960s at age 12 or 13, I became immersed in “conservation” and decided that this would be my life career. This was before the modern “environmental” movement really began, and “conservation” was the term used to describe environmental protection.Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring had come out in 1962 (50 years ago this year) and awakened the public to environmental concerns with pesticides like DDT; I consider Carson to have really ushered in the modern environmental movement. I read the book in my early teens and became a activist fighting for the banning of persistent chlorinated pesticides. The first Earth DayThose were the activist days of the ’60s, and I became the Earth Day organizer in my junior high school in Wayne, Pennsylvania. I remember putting up mimeographed flyers (yeah, there was paper waste!) in the hallways of our school promoting the huge Earth Day celebration that was to happen in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, then spending the day there absorbing the energy and listening to the speakers. That was in 1970. A lot has happened since.In high school and college I assumed that a career dedicated to protecting the environment meant studying biology and ecology, and I imagined myself becoming an aquatic biologist or field ecologist, spending my days outside researching ecological succession or how to deduce water quality from the algae species found growing lakes and rivers.Indeed, in a biology class in high school, I spent half the year on an independent-study project investigating how an aquarium full of pond water changed in chemical and biological composition over a several-month period as algae blooms occurred and the populations of some aquatic organisms soared and then collapsed. In that aquarium, I had created an ecosystem in which some organisms were altering their environment in ways that fundamentally changed their living conditions; some species disappeared entirely.That microcosm of the far-more-complex ecosystems of Earth left deep impressions on me — and helped to fuel my lifelong interest in the environment. Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. Watch for a forthcoming BuildingGreen special report on windows coming out later this week. To keep up with Alex’s latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed. A move to VermontWhile I had initially thought of my New Mexico work as a sort-of interlude to my pursuit to a career in environmental biology or ecology, somewhere during that period I came to realize that I could probably accomplish more to help the environment by focusing on reducing the environmental impacts of buildings.In 1980, at the age of just 25 and with almost no background in organizational management, I moved to Brattleboro to take a position as executive director of what was then called the New England Solar Energy Association. NESEA had been founded five or six years earlier as a spin-off of the pioneering Grassybrook Village solar development in Brookline, Vermont, which failed when bank financing was pulled at just the wrong time. The organization is still going strong, but is now located in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and known as the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association.A month after I arrived in Brattleboro and took the helm at NESEA, Ronald Reagan was elected president. When he took office a few months later, one of his first priorities was to undo the energy conservation and renewable-energy policies of his predecessor, Jimmy Carter. That shift in policy was tragic in terms of our nation’s continuing dependence on fossil fuels, our path toward mushrooming carbon emissions, and our exit from the world leadership role with renewable energy technology. But for NESEA, in an odd way, it turned out to be a good thing.With Reagan in office, our organization lost its federal support, which had accounted for about half of our budget. We struggled initially and had to tighten our belts, and I was forced to lay off a couple of employees, but the change forced us to diversify as an organization away from just solar energy toward sustainability — thus the name change we made. We started a series of highly successful regional conferences that continue (check out the Building Energy Conference), and NESEA remains one of the nation’s strongest regional energy organizations to this day.In 1985, after five years, I left NESEA to go out on my own. Next week I’ll cover the next chapter in my career and the formation of BuildingGreen, which is based in Brattleboro and has a staff of 20.center_img A shift to renewable energyThroughout my environmental activist days in high school and college I was engaged in fighting air-pollution-spewing power plants, pushing for bans of toxic chemicals, and pushing back against all sorts of development. In short, I was against stuff.But then in the summer after my junior year of college, I got involved in a joint project of Ithaca College and Cornell University, examining energy self-sufficiency. Our group of idealistic students had secured a National Science Foundation grant to spend a summer studying whether a farm in Danby, New York could achieve energy self-sufficiency.While my original focus on that project was to study the forest ecosystem and determine what a sustainable biomass yield would be, I got very involved in studying solar and wind resources and helping build various home-grown systems to harness those renewable resources. This was really at the dawn of the solar age, and it was very exciting to be building solar greenhouses, simple batch solar water heaters, Savonious-rotor wind turbines made out of 55-gallon drums, and other odd-ball contraptions designed to reduce our use of fossil fuels.I don’t think we achieved energy self-sufficiency on that farm — but we were all inspired by the opportunities afforded by renewable energy. Promoting solar energy, windpower, small-scale hydropower, and sustainable biomass combustion was a way to be for something instead of against things. Promoting passive solar solutions in New MexicoAfter college I acted on that interest by applying for and getting a job in Santa Fe working for the New Mexico Solar Energy Association, which was at the forefront of the passive solar energy movement. I was initially a Vista Volunteer, then leader of the NMSEA Workshop Crew that traveled around the state leading hands-on construction workshops teaching mostly low-income people about such solar energy systems as attached solar greenhouses and Trombe walls.Those workshops took me to some incredible places, including Navajo and Apache reservations, the remote Catholic Christ in the Desert Monastery miles down a dirt road with no access to the electric grid, the poor yet picturesque subsistence-farming community of Chama, and the odd-ball town of Truth or Consequences (which really has that name). These workshops also taught me a lot about how to communicate with people as well as how to build.last_img read more

Big Companies Offer Employees a Solar Bargain

first_imgMore than 100,000 employees of several large corporations will get the chance to buy or lease photovoltaic (PV) systems for their homes at discount prices, thanks to a group-buying plan hatched by the World Wildlife Fund. The New York Times reports that Cisco Systems, 3M, Kimberly-Clark, and National Geographic are taking part in the program called the Solar Community Initiative.Employees will be able to get solar systems installed for no money down and then pay 30% less for electricity than they would from their utility, according to an announcement from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Geostellar, a solar company that manages the program. According to The Times, the average cost of a PV system would be $3 per watt, about 34% less than the average cost in the U.S.Keya Chatterjee, senior director for renewable energy at WWF, told The New York Times that after getting discounts for a group program for its own employees last year, WWF officials decided to take the idea to some of the organization’s corporate sponsors.“Our objective was to make this as simple and cheap as possible,” she said. Helping business embrace clean technologiesWWF’s practice of trying to influence corporate behavior in non-confrontational ways has sometimes prompted criticism that the group was too close to business, the article says.But Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University, told the newspaper that other environmental advocates are pursuing similar partnerships with business as a way of influencing energy policy and energy markets in a positive way.There are benefits to Geostellar, too, because the alliance with WWF is a means of attracting new customers, the article says.Plans like this also help companies retain employees while satisfying their increasing sensitivity toward environmental and energy-efficiency issues, such as recycling and reducing carbon emissions. Interest among employees of Cisco and 3M was said to be high.last_img read more

15 FREE Lower Thirds for Your Next Project in Premiere Pro

first_imgWe’re giving away 15 free lower thirds templates for Premiere. Download them now and easily customize them to fit any video project.Image via ShutterstockLower thirds are a perfect way to inform the audience, up the production value, and give your work a signature look. However, once you’ve made it to the post-production process, or you’re already half-way through your edit, creating lower thirds can be a frustrating roadblock on your path to exporting.Now you can download these free lower thirds to speed up your workflow and make editing a breeze. These animated templates are customizable, so you can change the colors and sizes in the Essential Graphics panel of Premiere Pro. In this video, we guide you through the steps of installing and using the lower thirds in Premiere Pro.Download the pack here:Get FREE LOWER THIRDSNow that you’ve downloaded the pack, check out our full tutorial on how to add these elements to Premiere’s Essential Graphics panel and get started!As you can see, the customization process is super simple. All you need to do is open up the Essential Graphics panel, then hit Install Motion Graphics Template for each lower third. Once you’ve done this, Premiere will allow you to customize each element to fit your current theme or branding. By simply changing the color and size, you can give these elements the right look and appeal to fit your project. The styles of these elements range from sleek and minimalist, to reliably corporate, to fun and artsy.If you like these elements and plan to use them, make sure to send us your work! We want to see the elements in action.last_img read more

Can US border guards search your phone Yes and here are some

first_imgWASHINGTON – In one of several testy exchanges during a U.S. Senate hearing this week, the country’s secretary of homeland security was pressed to explain a new policy that allows customs agents to examine the cellphones of travellers at the border.“I want to make sure I understand this. I live an hour’s drive from the Canadian border,” said Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy.“If I go to Canada and visit some of my wife’s relatives, and I come back … they (can) say, ‘We want your laptop and your phone and your pass code.’ And I say, ‘Well, do you have any reason?’ They say, ‘We don’t need one.’ Is that correct? They can do that?”“Welcome to America,” Leahy added sarcastically.Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen explained some of what the new policy does and doesn’t do. Some key details:—Background: Searches of phones were skyrocketing. Border agents inspected 30,200 phones and other devices last year — an increase of nearly 60 per cent from 2016. U.S. officials say it remains a minuscule percentage of overall travellers — 0.007 per cent, or roughly one per 13,000. The Department of Homeland Security says it’s necessary to combat crimes like terrorism and child pornography.—Customs agents have broad power: Immigration lawyer Henry Chang notes that one of his own colleagues once complained about a search, fearing a breach of attorney-client privilege: “The officer said, ‘I don’t care,’” Chang said. He said border guards can easily refuse someone entry: “There’s ways they can mess with you,” he said. “They can just declare you an immigration risk… detain you, turn you away until you co-operate… That’s enough to scare people into co-operating.”—The new directive: On Jan. 4, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a new directive titled, “Border Search of Electronic Devices.” It actually set new limits on agents, establishing criteria for when they can conduct extensive searches — like downloading documents stored in the cloud, or uploading files into a storage drive for analysis.—Your passcode: Agents can demand a passcode to open your phone without probable cause, Nielsen confirmed during the hearing.—The cloud: Here, there are new limits. Agents can’t just start downloading old files from the cloud: “They can search the data that is apparent on the phone,” Nielsen said. “They can’t use the phone to access anything that might be stored remotely.”—Airplane mode: Officers are supposed to ask travellers to shut off their signal. That’s to ensure remote files don’t get downloaded accidentally. If warranted by security concerns, the Jan. 4 directive says officers can themselves perform the task of shutting off connectivity.—Advanced search: An officer may judge it necessary for national security purposes, such as cases where the traveller is on a watch list, to connect a phone to a hard drive, to copy its contents for analysis. The directive says this requires the approval of a certain rank of supervisor.—Detention: If they can’t access a device, officers can detain it for a multi-day period. Detentions beyond five days must be approved by management. To detain a device, officers must fill out a form.—Sensitive info: Lawyers can claim attorney-client privilege, citing which specific files are sensitive, and the officer must consult with customs legal counsel and the U.S. attorney’s office to determine which files should be isolated from the regular search. Medical records, proprietary business information, and journalists’ notes must be handled in accordance with U.S. law, like privacy and trade-secrets legislation.—Accountability: Travellers can be present during a search, though they can’t ask to see the screen. Travellers must be notified of the purpose for a search. There are national-security exceptions on those rights. But travellers must be given information on where they can complain. Searches must be documented, with statistics kept and regularly published. Regular audits must keep track of whether agents are following rules.—Destruction of records: Any copies of information held by U.S. customs must be destroyed, and any electronic device returned — unless there’s a security threat and probable cause for an exception.—So what to do: Chang offers three pieces of advice — before crossing the border, delete private material or transfer it to the cloud; at the border, turn on airplane mode yourself; and, finally, be prepared, unless you have some really compelling privacy reason, to just turn over your phone.“You’ve got to choose your battles,” he said.last_img read more

For tailors and quilters in the NWT theres only one person to

first_imgRoger Fraser, known as the Stitchin’ Gwich’in”, is hard at work on one of his machines. Photo: Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs/APTNCharlotte Morritt-JacobsAPTN News SundayThe needle darts up and down with polished precision, but the reverse on the machine glitches.Luckily for these avid sewers and quilters of the Northwest Territories, the “Stitichin’ Gwich’in,” is but a phone call away.Roger Fraser of Yellowknife, better known as the “Stitchin’ Gwich’in” is the only one in the territory that repairs broken sewing machines.After spending years sending his wife Karen Fraser, a talented seamstress and traditional wear maker’s machine down south for service, they decided to get their certification as technicians.The two travelled down to Austin, Texas to take the course.The Stitchin’ Gwich’in is only a year-and-a-half into his repairs, but already business is booming.Fraser prides himself on being thorough when it comes to repairs, especially when he is without a manual for a machine.“To do a good jobs you have to do a good two hours. Other technicians could repair in an hour but I am still learning,” he said.When the winter roads are open, Fraser has serviced upwards of four machines in a day.His most valued tool of the trade – a cotton swab.“The most common problems are with the needle and the hook. If that’s out of whack you are going to skip stitches or it won’t sew at all.”For machines that are routinely used, Fraser recommends having them serviced once a year as most machines need to have a deep-clean from fabric particles and dust and a top-up on grease.For the next project, a 1930’s Swinger from Inuvik is placed on the workbench. It’s older machines such as this that give him some grief, but not because of the fix.“Waiting for parts and finding parts for the older hand crank machines is difficult,” he says. “I go on eBay and have a sewing supplier located in Toronto they give me parts but you have to order $150 worth of parts so I either have to wait until I need parts or guess what I will need in the future.”The parts are inexpensive, and before the business opened for northerners to ship their machines down south was greater than the cost to have the machines serviced.Stitchin’ Gwich’in says he has received nothing but positive feedback from customers.Like Marilyn McGurran, who co-owns a quilting company in Yellowknife.McGurran relies on her long-arm machine to sew up quilts from N.W.T. communities, saving clients a few hundred dollars by staying in the north.She stresses the importance of sewing in the territory.“You have six months of winter and sewing is big up here. There are a lot of talented people up here who like to create.”Marilyn McGurran works away on a quilt. Photo: Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs/APTNBut when a spring on her $10,000 machine broke she turned to the Stitchin’ Gwich’in.“He said I don’t know how to fix that machine. I have never touched one or worked on one. I said that’s okay I know you can fix it.”Fraser told APTN he hopes to work with local governments to set up public repair workshops in all five N.W.T. communities.Until then the Stitchin’ Gwich’in will keep the thread a’ twitchin’.cmorrittjacobs@aptn.ca@aptncharlottelast_img read more

Ottawa say Fairfax Financial Holdings interested in broken Churchill rail line

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government says a Toronto-based holding company is interested in becoming a new partner in a possible deal for a takeover of the broken rail line that runs to Churchill in northern Manitoba.Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says Fairfax Financial Holdings Inc. has expressed interest in the Hudson Bay Rail line, the Port of Churchill and other associated assets.Carr says Fairfax is considering partnering with Missinippi Rail and One North to acquire the line from Omnitrax.Severe flooding damaged the rail line last spring, cutting the only land link to Churchill, a town of 900 on the west coast of Hudson Bay.The situation is hurting the region’s tourism industry and raising the price of food and fuel.Carr, the MP for Winnipeg South Centre, says having Fairfax involved is an important step toward a positive solution for the people of Churchill.“This development has the potential to contribute to an arrangement supported by First Nations and communities in northern Manitoba,” he said Thursday in a release.“This would enable a sustainable business approach that results in a safe and reliable rail line.”Fairfax president Paul Rivett said the company is optimistic about the north. He said the Churchill rail corridor and the Port of Churchill are important pieces of infrastructure for northern communities and Canada’s economy.“Partnering with First Nations and communities is the right model for this investment,” he said in a release.“We have deep experience in infrastructure projects and have the necessary operational expertise to run shortline railways in partnership with our investee company AGT Foods. The key is that the plan has to be viable and profitable in the long term as a business.”Carr’s comments come only days after Ottawa filed a lawsuit against Denver-based Omnitrax.The lawsuit alleges Omnitrax has failed to repair and maintain the rail line in violation of a 2008 agreement that saw the company receive $18.8 million in federal aid for maintenance and upgrades. The lawsuit seeks repayment of the money.Omnitrax has said it plans to file a complaint against the federal government under the North American Free Trade Agreement.The company has said the federal government’s decision to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly on western grain in 2012 drastically cut grain shipments along the rail line and through the Port of Churchill.last_img read more