Four for Assembly

first_imgFORTUNATELY, even though gerrymandering and incumbency have made several of the region’s legislative primary races meaningless, term limits have given us four truly open Assembly seats in our readership area this year. These are campaigns that offer a real choice – at least for members of each district’s majority party – on June 6. The following are our endorsements: 38th District, Republican primary: In the race to succeed Keith Richman, Santa Clarita City Councilman Cameron Smyth is far more qualified, knowledgeable and in touch with the needs of the district than his rival, governmental consultant Mary Barrientos. 41st District, Democratic primary: In a crowded field of earnest and decent candidates looking to replace the term-limited Fran Pavley, Calabasas City Councilman Barry Groveman – the only candidate not from Santa Monica – stands out. Nonpartisan and nonideological, Groveman brings a healthy, business-friendly approach to the campaign, as well as innovative positions on traffic relief and education reform. 42nd District, Democratic primary: AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2The two most prominent candidates in this race, former L.A. City Councilman Mike Feuer and West Hollywood City Councilwoman Abbe Land, are politically similar, reflecting the liberal values of their district and its outgoing assemblyman, Paul Koretz. But Feuer is the better choice. When he served part of the San Fernando Valley on the City Council, Feuer proved himself to be a hardworking, intelligent advocate for his community. And if elected, he would bring a reformer’s passion – noticeably lacking in Land – to Sacramento. 43rd District, Democratic primary: Glendale City Councilman Frank Quintero and Burbank school board member Paul Krekorian are both likeable, hardworking champions of their community. What separates them, though, is Quintero’s more independent, cooperative and reform-minded spirit, as well as his detachment from some of the most powerful and pernicious forces in the educational bureaucracy. Quintero would make a solid replacement for the district’s outgoing assemblyman, Darrio Frommer. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

49ers Richard Sherman fully expects NFL labor lockout

first_img“I’m going to go out there and cover the guy I’m on and keep … Get 49ers news in your inbox. Sign up now for the free 49ers HQ newsletter.SANTA CLARA — Richard Sherman spoke up Thursday as the 49ers’ newly elected player rep and matter-of-factly predicted a 2021 NFL labor lockout.That buzzkill can wait.The 49ers open their season Sunday in Minnesota, and it can’t be understated what it means to also hear Sherman talk about his impending comeback from last year’s Achilles tear.last_img read more

China-Australia travel boom: bonanza for AirAsia X

first_imgFrom its Malaysian hub, AirAsia X – the long-haul version of the short-haul carrier of the same name – has quietly developed a big so-called “transfer market” in the past three years to carry travel-hungry Chinese to Australia and New Zealand via Kuala Lumpur.Hub-and-spoke national carriers like Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines have been doing that for decades and now AirAsia X, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2017, is starting to cash in on the unmet demand for travel from China to the south-west Pacific.That’s one of the major reasons AAX is asking for more capacity entitlements in the next Air Services Agreement between the Australian and Malaysian governments, which determines the number of weekly seats carriers from both countries may operate.Australia has been a gold mine for airlines from the USA to the Middle East cashing in on unmet demand for outbound travel from Down Under to the rest of the world.That’s working in reverse for AAX, which is tapping into the foreign travel boom emanating from China.In the past five years, AAX’s total number of seats to and from Australia has grown from around 30 per cent to 45 per cent of its total operations.At the same time, servicing the China boom now accounts for around 25 per cent of its seats in and out of Kuala Lumpur.Together those two markets are nearly three quarters of AirAsia X’s flying, presenting new travel possibilities for customers at both ends of the network.Importantly for Australia, China is about to overtake New Zealand as the country’s biggest source of foreign visitors. Already more than a million Chinese are heading to Australia each year.After cutting back on Australian services about two years ago, AAX is now pressing the Australian government for new capacity entitlements so it can increase services to its Australian destinations Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast.It also wants to use the Gold Coast, currently served 11 times week from Kuala Lumpur, to expand its services to New Zealand, following the introduction of Kuala Lumpur-Gold Coast-Auckland services in March this year.And it is looking to take advantage of an incentive scheme the Australian government introduced about 20 years ago, under which capacity restrictions are removed for any foreign airline flying to regional destinations outside of the four major cities, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.The airline’s chief commercial (marketing) officer, Arik De, told a recent aviation industry conference AAX was actively considering Canberra, Townsville and Cairns as new destinations and may return to Adelaide, which it abandoned in 2014.Singapore Airlines recently became the first foreign carrier to launch flights to the Australian and New Zealand national capitals, with four services a week from Singapore to Canberra and Wellington, beginning on September 20. Canberra has revamped its terminal facilities to encourage more foreign carriers to begin services.As well, AAX is keen to begin flights to the Queensland capital, Brisbane, which it has so far shunned in favour of the Gold Coast, 80 kilometres to the south-east.And the airline is examining the viability of a non-stop service between Kuala Lumpur and Auckland, after axing its first New Zealand destination, Christchurch, in 2012.”Just recently we did announce Melbourne back to double daily flights, Sydney back to double daily, Perth back to double daily, AirAsia X chief executive Ben Ismail told AirlineRatings.com.”And the biggest thing was the Gold Coast moving from daily to 11 times a week. “We may look at some routes where we will go to three a day. We’re not sure yet. That’s something that we’re analysing.”One of the problems outlined by Arik Do is that AAX can’t increase Melbourne, Sydney and Perth to triple-daily flights from Kuala Lumpur without exceeding the current government capacity limit.Ismail says Chinese demand for Australian holidays is one of the key considerations behind the need for more flights. “China is our second-biggest market in capacity and revenue to Australia and if we can connect those two it would be great,” he says. “And that’s what we’re doing. We fly to 18 Chinese destinations and that’s something we want to build on to connect. “We’ve seen a lot of (Chinese ) connections coming through. Predominantly, a lot of that traffic is going to Sydney, Gold Coast and Perth and there’s a lot of connections to Melbourne from the Chinese.” Even though flying via an intermediate stop increases the fare, Chinese heading Down Under are lapping up the cheaper prices a low-cost carrier can offer compared with full-service carriers. “I think the good thing is the price,” Ismail says. “There’s a lot of price sensitivity of what we offer in the market. It gives (Chinese heading for Australia) a lot of encouragement to go on us even with the one stop in Kuala Lumpur.”last_img read more

African writing on the rise

first_imgWe Need New Names, Noviolet Bulawayo’s debut novel.(Image: Man Booker Prize website)Noviolet’s name cames from “with” in Ndebele, and Violet was her mother’s name, so she’ll always be with her mother.(Image: creativewriting.stanford.edu)MEDIA CONTACTS • Fungai JamesWeaver Press+263 430 8330.Melissa Jane CookNoviolet Bulawayo, a Zimbabwean author and Stegner Fellow at the United States’s of America’s (USA) elite Stanford University, was shortlisted for the highly acclaimed Man Booker prize. She is also in line for the Guardian First Book Award.Currently on a two-year writing programme at Stanford, Bulawayo is the first black African woman and the first Zimbabwean to be nominated for the Man Booker prize, which promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The most important literary award in the world, it has the power to transform the fortunes and futures of authors and publishers.Born Elizabeth Zandile Tshele in Tsholotsho, Bulawayo, in Zimbabwe, Bulawayo earned her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at the USA’s Cornell University, where she was also awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship.She adopted her pen name from her mother, Violet, who died when she was 18 months’ old. In the Ndebele group of languages, her first name means ‘with Violet’, while Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, is her childhood home.She is the author of the 2011 Caine Prize-winning short story, Hitting Budapest (2010), about a gang of street children in a Zimbabwean shanty town, while her story Snapshot (2009) was shortlisted for the South Africa PEN Studzinski Award.Her latest novel, We Need New Names, has won rave reviews from heavyweight critics around the world. The debut novel explores the toll President Robert Mugabe’s 33 years in power have taken on the country, through the eyes of ten-year-old Darling and her friends Stina, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Bastard. The children used to live in proper houses, with real rooms and furniture, but now they live in the ironically named shantytown of Paradise. They spend their days playing, stealing guavas from the wealthy Budapest suburb and wondering how to get the baby out of Chipo’s tummy. They dream of escaping to America, Dubai, and Europe.We Need New Names was launched in September at the National Gallery in Bulawayo.The author told Jill Coates, director of the British Council Zimbabwe: “We Need New Names is coming from a place of colourful names, and I think it’s generally known that Zimbabwe has that kind of culture, where parents give us these names that speak, that say something. They do sound normal in our native languages, but it’s only when you translate them to English that they have an interesting spin to them.”“Africa is the centre of my writing; in America, you walk out the door and nobody notices you. At home you know you’re alive, part of a community, people are in your business.”“During the holidays, we went to the rural areas where we would meet my grandmother and storytelling was the daily form of entertainment. I grew up thinking that it was just normal, that the world was told through stories and my father was also a storyteller.”“I grew up surrounded by people who told stories. It planted the seed.”“At school, I’d always be telling stories to my friends. I started reading books and found a connection: they were also stories, just like the ones I had heard. It really gives a lot to my voice in that when I write, I think of a listener, not necessarily a reader. I think the connection with told stories is more urgent; more true. You get one to two minutes to engage them, which taught me about voice and urgency. Which is why, when I write, my challenge is to write something that the reader can’t put down.”Going homeThe Africa Report states that in April, Bulawayo returned home for the first time in 13 years.“One of the most heart-breaking things,” she says, “was to walk into what used to be the biggest bookstore in the country, Kingston Books, and finding they do not sell novels anymore, only stationery.”She adds, “Books have been our way of engaging with the system, with what’s going on around, so I feel like things are being lost.”However, despite the challenges facing the publishing industry, Bulawayo is very grateful to have found a local publisher, Weaver Press, which has published her novel.On being the first black Zimbabwean woman nominated for the Booker prize, Bulawayo says, “It’s simply amazing, you know, you don’t write to be recognised. You write firstly to tell your story. Then you hope that a reader is going to find it worthwhile so for me to get this kind of recognition at this stage, I’m just starting out. We Need New Names is my first novel and I’m also the first Zimbabwean to ever make it this far and the first black African woman. It’s a very humbling experience and I’m very encouraged to keep working.”Previous African Man Booker Prize winners are South Africa’s Nadine Gordimer and Nigeria’s Ben Okri.*The Man Booker Prize 2013 was won by Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, on 15 October at London’s Guildhall.last_img read more

Praise for South Africa’s hosting of Chan

first_img6 February 2014 The Confederation of African Football has commended South Africa for its hosting of the third edition of the African Nations Championship (Chan), the CEO of the local organising committee, Mvuzo Mbebe, said on Wednesday. “We could not have asked for a better outcome than what this third edition of Chan has delivered for the continent and the world at large,” Mbebe said in a statement. “We are also quite pleased to have been the country to present the platform for Chan to leave a lasting legacy, with Fifa granting it A-status, as well as the tournament setting a new benchmark for highest stadium attendance.” Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Polokwane hosted Chan matches, with Libya emerging as the champions on 1 February after defeating Ghana 4-3 on penalties at Cape Town Stadium. “When we took on the responsibility to host Chan, after the success of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), we knew that we had a daunting task ahead of us, compounded by the fact that this is a young tournament,” Mbebe said. “We spent more time educating and creating awareness through the country about what Chan was really about and how different it was from Afcon before we could even drive football lovers to go buy tickets for the tournament.” The tournament, which featured African national teams made up of players plying their trade in their home countries, drew 227 258 spectators, with 1 117 volunteers and 1 138 security and disaster management personnel deployed to ensure its success. For the opening and closing ceremonies alone, Mbebe said, Chan created jobs for 185 technicians, stage hands, runners, costume designers, props producers, make-up artists and creatives. About 300 performers from local communities, including Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Mitchells Plain, were employed, while local resources and infrastructure were also used. Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

Mike Lutmer, Nov. 7

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We will hopefully finish beans by the end of the week. They have been averaging right around 50, maybe a little better. I’ve had a few fields where I was pleasantly surprised with the beans. They were a little spotty when they came up last spring but as a whole I can’t complain.We ran into a little bit of green stem last week. We had a light frost two weeks ago and they are calling for a solid frost next Friday or Saturday, which should help.I haven’t gotten a lot of corn yet. It has been all over the board. My uncle has been shelling and it has been OK. It is coming out dry and the yields are average at best at 130 to 160 bushels or something like that. Most of it has been near the bottom of that range.We had some tops starting to break out. Hopefully we don’t get any big windstorms or we’ll probably have some corn going down. Right now everything is still standing OK, but I am concerned. If everything cooperates, we’ll have beans finished this week and in the following week we can have the corn pretty well wrapped up.I ran a field of double-crops last night and they were around 30 bushels. Some guys in the county were pushing 50 bushels with their double-crops.We have been fortunate as far as weather goes for harvest so far. I hope I am not jinxing myself with harvest by saying that.We have most of our wheat in and the wheat that is in is up and looking good.last_img read more

J&K women welcome stamp duty exemption for buying property

first_imgWomen in Jammu and Kashmir have welcomed the decision by the State government to approve zero percent stamp duty on the purchase of property by them.“It’s a welcome step. The move will help women scale up the social ladder in J&K,” said Nazia Ashraf, a businesswoman.The Cabinet on Friday approved to levy a stamp duty of 5% for buyers in urban areas and 3% in rural areas. “However, it is zero percent if the property in both urban as well as rural areas is registered in the name of a female member of the family,” reads the Cabinet decision, approved by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday evening.Earlier, the stamp duty was at seven percent.Ms. Mufti claimed women in J&K, as of now, owned bare minimum immovable assets even after contributing the maximum to the society. “This incentive will encourage families to register their properties in the name of their sisters, daughters, wives and mothers,” said Ms. Mufti.Former finance minister and MLA Rajpora Hasseb Drabu described the government move as a creative way of empowerment by market incentives. “It will help gender balancing of social power relations,” said Mr. Drabu.According to the 2011 census, there are 859 females per 1000 males in J&K and female literacy rate stands at 58.01 percent.last_img read more

Campaigning ends for Pithoragarh bypoll

first_imgCampaigning for the by-election to Pithoragarh Assembly seat came to an end on Saturday with both the BJP and the Congress trying to woo the voters. While the BJP sought a mandate describing itself as a party that believes in serving people quietly, the Congress raked up the issues of “growing unemployment, rising prices and stalled development schemes” initiated during its government’s tenure. Addressing a meeting for party nominee Chandra Pant at the Ramlila ground in Pithoragarh, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said his government released ₹350 crore for the development of the constituency in the last two years — the highest by any government for the district.Highlighting various steps taken by his government to boost the road and air connectivity, Mr. Rawat said the Tanakpur-Pithoragarh stretch, which is the part of an ambitious all-weather road project, is nearing completion. He said his government is in talks with several aviation companies to streamline air services from Pithoragarh to Hindon and Dehradun. The bypoll was necessitated due to the death of Prakash Pant, whose wife Ms. Chandra is contesting from the seat.last_img read more