TEF to Be Repositioned as Centre for Tourism Innovation

first_img The Minister, who was speaking at a meeting with TEF staff and board members at his New Kingston offices on Tuesday (April 10), said that entity will be responsible for strategic and targeted projects that support key activities aimed at realising growth targets. Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has announced plans to restructure the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to operate as a centre for innovation. “We have to reconfigure our Ministry to respond to change, to respond to innovations. TEF will now become the centre of innovation for tourism in Jamaica,” he said. Story Highlights Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has announced plans to restructure the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to operate as a centre for innovation.Mr. Bartlett explained that the objective is to reposition the agency to better enable the tourism industry to respond to the needs of the ever-changing global market, and drive the Ministry’s mission to foster significant growth and development in the sector.“We have to reconfigure our Ministry to respond to change, to respond to innovations. TEF will now become the centre of innovation for tourism in Jamaica,” he said.The Minister, who was speaking at a meeting with TEF staff and board members at his New Kingston offices on Tuesday (April 10), said that entity will be responsible for strategic and targeted projects that support key activities aimed at realising growth targets.“So while the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo) will be managing the destination assurance programmes by way of ensuring security and on-the-ground training, and the business of standards and quality, you (TEF) will be doing the physical infrastructure to see to it that the buildings that are needed and the physical institutions that are required are in place,” Mr. Bartlett outlined.He said the entity will also be charged with strengthening capacity in developing data and information to guide decision-making within the Ministry and the wider tourism industry.“So, the analytical work required to interpret data, the TEF will have responsibility for that, and you will work in conjunction with Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in driving this powerful and well-equipped website that we will announce in another month when it is launched,” he informed.In citing the need for innovation, the Minister noted that the global tourism industry has changed dramatically over the last decade.“Ten years ago, you had less than a billion people travelling across borders. Today, 1.4 billion people are involved in travelling across borders called tourists. In the same period, earnings from tourism indirectly were under US$1 trillion. Today, it is US$1.4 trillion in earnings and some US$8 trillion in terms of its overall value as part of global gross domestic product (GDP),” he noted.He said further that, “10 years ago, in our own instance, we had about 20,000 to 22,000 rooms. Today, we have 32,000. Ten years ago, I am positive that our contribution to revenue in the country was much, much less than 15 per cent. Today, it’s over 20 per cent, and if you should just look at straight value-added in that period, you would see that as an industry, tourism has grown with the highest level of value-added in the economy over the last 10 years.”The Minister argued that with the advent of Airbnb and UBER, for example, it is only fitting that TEF be transformed to focus on new initiatives that will revolutionise how the tourism industry operates.last_img read more

NDP will try again in Parliament to force Pope Francis to apologize

first_img(NDP MP Charlie Angus in Ottawa Monday)APTN NewsTwo federal NDP MPs will try one more time to get an apology from Pope Francis for Indian residential school survivors in Canada.Last week, the motion from Charlie Angus and Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou) was defeated during a free vote in the House of Commons.This Thursday, Angus says the motion will be debated and needs only a majority to pass.“The Catholic church must step up,” Angus (Timmins-James Bay) told a news conference in Ottawa Monday.“We’re asking the Pope to work with us.”Angus said top Catholic leaders in Canada showed last week they’re not on the same page.“We have to close this chapter. We believe that the Parliament of Canada has a role to play in reaching out,” he said.The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops held their own news conference in Ottawa to say that Pope Francis might apologize but they weren’t going to ask him to do so.Saskatchewan MDP-MP Georgina Jolibois said it was important to her – as an Indigenous woman and practicing Catholic – for the Pope to come.“It would be an honour for the Pope to come to Canada and visit the Indigenous people and issue an apology,” she told reporters.However, Angus said there was more to it.As the “single largest developer of residential schools in Canada,” he said the church had a moral obligation to say sorry.He said it’s clear politicians need to bypass the Bishops to ask Pope Francis to respond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.“If that’s the bishop’s position then it’s up to Parliament to reach out to the Pope directly,” Angus said.“We do have the power to invite the Pope to walk with us and to make the issue of reconciliation real.”news@aptn.calast_img read more

CounterPath Continues Journey to Full Collaboration

The primary new feature added with Bria Teams Pro is the ability to assign a dedicated virtual meeting room to each user account, Carothers said. This capability is indicative of a trend the company has seen among small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) — and is manifest in other industry moves, such as cloud video provider Zoom’s decision to beef up its video conferencing service with enterprise voice and other collaboration functions. “SMEs want collaboration, but they don’t want to switch from outbound calling straightaway because they have contracts in place. … They have this quest for a single solution, but still have this third-party issue,” he explained. See All in UCaaS » CounterPath’s Bria Teams Pro.png Bria Teams Pro will be generally available later this month, and SMEs can start with a 30-day free trial if they’d like. Those companies that want to jump right in can select between an annual billing plan at $9.95 per user, per month or monthly billing at $14.95 per user, per month, Carothers said. Bria Teams Pro also supports HD audio conferencing for up to 200 participants, integrated screen sharing and messaging within meeting rooms, Web browser viewing and audio for users without Bria Teams, and server-based secure conference recording with cloud storage. Meeting hosting and presenter capabilities are available on any device running Bria Teams Pro. In addition to the virtual meeting rooms, Bria Teams Pro supports HD video conferencing — 1080p for desktop and 720p for mobile — for up to 200 internal or external participants, Carothers said. Video settings are adjustable, allowing use of a grid view for team meetings, a focused view for customer calls, and townhall presentation for all-hands events, for example. And hosts have a range of management functions at their disposals, including the ability to view and manage participant capabilities, assign presenter control, trigger muting for participants, and assign PIN access to a session. If you haven’t registered for Enterprise Connect, it’s not too late — and as a No Jitter reader you can even still get $200 off your pass by using the code NJPOSTS at checkout. Tags:News & ViewsSoftphoneVirtual Meeting Roomteam collaborationEnterprise VoiceCloud PBXCounterPathBria Teams ProUCaaSCloud CommunicationsEnterprise ConnectMeetingsProduct NewsReal-Time Communications Articles You Might Like Can Mitel and TDS Telecom Own the UCaaS Market? John Malone July 31, 2019 New promotions, rebates, and prices are influencing UCaaS purchases, according to the Eastern Management Group. CounterPath, a 2019 Overall Best of Enterprise Connect Award finalist for its Bria Teams cloud UC and collaboration service, this week introduced a Pro version as well updates for the standard package.With Bria Teams Pro, CounterPath continues its repositioning from softphone to UC as-a-service (UCaaS) provider, Todd Carothers, the company’s EVP of sales, marketing and product, told me during a No Jitter briefing. It follows on the Bria Teams debut of late last year, which introduced secure team messaging, integrated file sharing, screen sharing, team voice and video calls, and presence on desktops and mobile devices. Hosted VoIP Is About More Than Cost-Savings Robert Oscanyan June 24, 2019 Look beyond the bottom line when evaluating whether to migrate from legacy systems to the cloud. Selling UCaaS: Never Been Easier, or Harder Jon Arnold October 01, 2019 As UCaaS demand increases, providers are split on how best to deliver their service, either by channel partners or directly selling to end users. 5 UCaaS MQ Mysteries Examined Marty Parker August 22, 2019 Gartner estimates that 40% of new enterprise telephone purchases will be based on a cloud office suite – either Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite – by 2023 — but what does that mean? Taking a People-First Approach to Unified Communications Brian Mahoney July 01, 2019 Successful adoption requires understanding user personas and use cases, on top of formal change management processes. And that’s OK by CounterPath, since the Bria Teams solutions integrate with SIP services and corporate PBXs. The Bria Teams solutions overlay virtual and cloud PBX services, for example, meaning customers can use collaboration features within Bria Teams and their existing telephony for outbound calling, Carothers said. (While internal team calls rely on the Bria Teams functionality.) If you’re attending Enterprise Connect, which takes place next week in Orlando, Fla., be sure to attend our Tuesday morning Best of Enterprise Connect Award presentation to see if Bria Teams wins, and check out the solutions for yourself at CounterPath’s booth, 1205. Log in or register to post comments read more

Top UN information official says world body still has compelling story to

Under-Secretary-General for Communication and Public Information Shashi Tharoor told the Assembly’s Fourth Committee (Special Political & Decolonization) yesterday that the public still wants the UN to preserve world peace, promote human rights and ensure economic justice.Addressing the committee as it took up questions relating to information, Mr. Tharoor cited a study last year of Americans that showed that an increasing number considered the UN to be central to solving global conflicts.“The UN has a compelling story to tell,” he said, adding that that story must be told better and more widely to build public support for the world body and explain what it can achieve.To reach that goal Mr. Tharoor said the UN Department of Public Information was trying to create stronger partnerships with the various departments, agencies, offices and field missions within the UN system to help identify key messages and then re-cast them so they can be understood by target audiences around the world.He cited the placement of opinion columns by senior staff in newspapers, including an article by Secretary-General Kofi Annan – which was published by some 70 newspapers in at least 40 countries – that used the World Cup soccer championships to draw attention to UN activities.Mr. Tharoor also stressed the value of the UN speaking with one public voice, noting that the UN Communications Group was formed to better coordinate the world body’s media messages.“From the recent humanitarian crisis in South-East Asia to the crisis in Darfur to the looming threat of avian flu, there is clear proof that the world is paying more attention when we speak in concert,” he said. read more

More Governments now online but greater effort needed to boost access to

With all United Nations Member States now online, more Governments are expanding electronic participation and using more mobile and social media tools to reach people, the world body reported today as part of an e-government survey that also highlighted a lack of resources and a continued digital divide.“E-government holds tremendous potential to improve the way that governments deliver public services and enhance broad stakeholder involvement in public service,” said Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.His office today released the latest ‘UN E-Government Survey’ which scores Governments every two years on their overall electronic efforts, as well as progress in online public service delivery, e-participation, use of social media, and open government data, among others.This year’s survey found that e-government is “entering a new episode” with all 193 UN Member countries using national websites for the first time, and with Government officials using their online presence to add public value to people’s lives in an inclusive manner. Governments’ use of social media rose 50 per cent between 2012 and 2014, with 118 countries using some form of social media, including Twitter.The report also notes wide disparities among regions and countries in e-government with more developed countries continue to outpace developing neighbours. The level of a country’s economic, social and political development was one of the main factors contributing to e-government development, which is also influenced by investment in telecommunication, human capital and provision of online services.The Republic of Korea ranked first in global e-government due to its continued leadership and focus on e-government innovation, followed by Australia and Singapore, which recently established robust telecommunications infrastructure, invested in developing their human resources, expanded usage of e-government facilities and extended service delivery.At the regional level, Europe continued to lead followed by the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa. France topped the list in Europe, and ranked fourth globally. The United States led countries in the Americas, and ranked seventh overall. Tunisia was the top performer in Africa, and ranked 75th worldwide, according to the report’s E-Government Development Index. To improve e-government, the Survey suggests countries establish a clear national vision, supported by committed leadership, appropriate policies and collaborative governance frameworks, and greater investment in telecommunication infrastructure, human capital and provision of online services. read more

Brock alumna in healthtechnology spotlight

Michelle Mujoomdar (BSc ’99) is being recognized as a rising star in the health-care field.The Brock alumna was honoured at an awards luncheon at the 2018 Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) Symposium, a premier forum to discuss health care in Canada.The Biological Sciences graduate (BSc ’99) was honoured with the Dr. Maurice McGregor Award in Halifax, N.S., on April 17. Named in honour of the retired Chair of the Health Technology Assessment Unit of the McGill University Health Centre, the award recognizes rising stars in the field of health technology assessment early in their careers.Mujoomdar is no stranger to successful early starts. At 17, the Riverview, N.B., native moved far from home to attend school at Brock. The venture paid off and she thrived in her new environment.Thinking back to her time at the University, she recalls many fond memories.“It sounds cliché, but there are too many great memories to count. I lived in what we called ‘New Rez’ and made friends for life through residence as well as within Biological Sciences. I’m still in contact with many people to this day.”After graduating with Honours from Brock, Mujoomdar studied at Dalhousie University before joining CADTH in 2008. Her work ethic, leadership qualities and talent helped her quickly advance. In her current role as Director, Scientific Affairs, she is responsible for ensuring the work produced is of the highest quality.“I oversee a program where CADTH provides advice to pharmaceutical companies on how the clinical trials they conduct can be designed to better meet the needs of health-system payers.”Mujoomdar’s professional path comes as no surprise. With her entire family in the delivery side of health care, her interest in pursuing a health-related career felt like a natural fit.“I was interested in transitioning to a field more closely related to health policy,” she said. “The concept of promoting evidence-informed decision and policy-making was appealing.”As a female in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field, Mujoomdar is thankful for the many remarkable role models she had to look up to and emulate.  “I feel fortunate that there have been so many great women who have carved a path for me. I know I’ve benefited tremendously from their perseverance.”Mentorship is an important part of any career, particularly for women in STEM, she said. While at Brock, she counted Biological Sciences Professors Alan Castle and Joffre Mercier as her mentors. They co-supervised her fourth-year honours project and she credits them with her decision to pursue graduate school.“Find a mentor or sponsor to provide support, guidance and sometimes to challenge you. I can only hope that in some small way, I’ve done the same for others.”Ejaz Ahmed, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science, also emphasized the importance Brock places on mentorship.“The Faculty of Mathematics and Science takes pride in mentoring undergraduate students in their research projects. Our courses and research opportunities are groundbreaking and position our students for success during their studies and after they graduate. Michelle and her mentors are excellent examples of this.”CADTH is an independent, not-for-profit organization responsible for providing Canada’s health-care decision-makers with objective evidence to help make informed decisions about the optimal use of drugs and medical devices in the health-care system. CADTH receives funding from Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments, with the exception of Quebec. read more

You Can Help Make This Lego BB8 Bobblehead A Reality

first_imgStay on target Hands-On: Lego Hidden Side Packs Plenty of Spooky AR FunThe New Lego UCS Imperial Star Destroyer Is Nearly Four Feet Long Remember in The Force Awakens when Han turns to BB-8 and says “move, ball”? Well, this new Lego Ideas submission is happy to oblige. At least his head is.We’ve already seen one incredibly awesome BB-8 design hit the Lego Ideas site. It was actually capable of rolling, albeit with a little help from a special base and a hand crank. This new one doesn’t try to replicate BB-8’s unique way of getting around, however.boBBle-8 is — you guessed it — a bobblehead version of our favorite little rolling droid. Creator Chris Brown did a terrific job building a MOC that’s faithful to the big-screen BB-8. It’s a studless build, and it’s also completely modular… which makes assembling the finished model a snap (literally)!And, yes, it really does bobble! More than you might think a bobblehead made out of Lego would, too. Check out the action in Chris’s video around the 20-second mark:The total brick count is under 500 pieces. Given Lego’s typical pricing for Star Wars sets with 400-or-so pieces, boBBle-8 would probably sell for somewhere in the area of $40.Would Lego actually greenlight a set like this? If there’s enough interest, sure! They did just start churning out Brick Headz, so it’s pretty clear that they’re willing to see how their products fare against, say, Funko.Chris will need your help getting boBBle-8 to the review stage before that’s possible. Remember, he’s got to hit the 10,000 vote mark before Lego will even consider putting a BB-8 bobblehead in a retail box… So head on over to the Lego Ideas site and pledge your support!last_img read more

Woodland schools teachers reach salary agreement

first_imgWith the start of the school year looming, teachers in Woodland could be the first in the county to agree to a new salary schedule with their district.Woodland Public Schools and the Woodland Education Association came to an agreement during a bargaining session Sunday night that would give the teachers a 22.82 percent increase on their base salary. In the upcoming school year, first-year teachers in the district with no professional experience can make $46,600 and a teacher with a master’s degree and 90 credits teaching for 16 years or more can make $87,832. For the 2019-2020 school year, those salaries jump to $48,676 and $91,746, respectively.On top of their base salary, teachers earn extra pay for employee optional days and district directed days.The union will hold a ratification vote on the agreement Friday, according to Shari Conditt, president of the association.“Both sides were on the same page in recognizing that there had to be increased compensation,” Conditt said.District officials didn’t want to speak about the agreement before it is ratified, saying “we are honoring the negotiation process by not releasing any details to the press.”It has, and continues to be, a tense summer of negotiations throughout the state between school districts and teacher unions. The McCleary decision, a Supreme Court case that determined Washington was failing to fully fund basic education, allocated $7.3 billion to the state school system last year. The Legislature added nearly another $1 billion for teacher salaries this year. The Washington Education Association is pushing its membership to ask for 15 percent raises for certified teachers, and 37 percent raises for the classified support staff represented by some teachers unions.Districts and unions have spent the summer negotiating for new deals, and most Clark County school districts still appear to have some distance between them with just a few weeks until the start of school.last_img read more

Dogs relieve test stress for PLU students

first_imgTACOMA — The number of smiling students on the Pacific Lutheran University campus Tuesday may have tricked visitors into thinking finals were over.But the tests are in full swing, and the smiles of overwhelmed college students aren’t due to the typical finals-week coffee binges or power naps.Rather, they’re caused by furry friends trained to relieve stress.With the help of a national volunteer organization, Therapy Dogs International, several owners are bringing their certified therapy animals — mostly dogs — to PLU’s Red Square this week to spread cheer to students between tests and study sessions.“I’m so stressed out right now,” said 21-year-old senior Marta Neumann. “This was such a happy thing to come upon.”Ashley Connors and Emma Southard, both 18-year-old freshmen from Steilacoom, got the idea after residents of one dormitory organized a similar event during finals last semester.The Associated Students of PLU senators started planning the animal visits in early fall.The event has been a hit. On Monday alone, more than 100 students spent time with the dogs; some stuck around for 20 to 40 minutes.Connors said even if people don’t have much time to hold or pet the animals, just walking by offers a distraction from studies.“They just like seeing the dogs,” she said.On Tuesday, several dogs and one cat offered affection.Tucker, a four-year-old shih tzu-maltese mix, waddled around flaunting his shaggy hair and performing tricks in exchange for treats from owner Jan West.West said Tucker usually comforts hospice patients, so spending time with energetic college students was an exciting change of pace.Teddy, a year-old ragdoll therapy cat, was in good company.“He thinks he’s a dog,” said owner Denise Paquette.Sophomore Katie Williams, who had one more final to take before heading home to her own dog in Olympia, was in Red Square Tuesday for her second pet visit of the week.last_img read more