Obama, Congress air cautious optimism over Zika funds

first_imgAfter an Oval Office meeting with top Senate and House leaders yesterday, President Barack Obama said he was hopeful that Zika funding would be part of an agreement to continue funding the government, a step Congress needs to take before it adjourns again at the end of the month.In other developments, Florida reported 14 more local Zika illnesses yesterday and today and new details were published about the investigation into an unusual Zika case that surfaced in Utah in July, when an elderly man apparently passed the virus to his son, who was one of his caregivers.Funding progress citedThe meeting included House and Senate leaders from both parties, and afterward, Obama told reporters that he was encouraged by work that’s being done, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.Ahead of the White House meeting, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement that members on both sides have been working on an agreement to responsibly fund the government and have already made a lot of progress. “I expect to move forward this week on a continuing resolution through December 9 at last year’s enacted levels and include funds for Zika control and our veterans,” he said.Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was cautiously optimistic that the Senate would complete its work on Zika and the continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government. “But it can happen only if Republicans are resolved to not play politics with these important issues,” he said in a statement.At a press briefing before the White House meeting, Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, addressed a question about talk that Republican lawmakers might include a Zika bill without Planned Parenthood riders that would pay for funding with cuts to other programs. He said Obama forwarded the original funding proposal, based on input from public health experts, 7 months ago and said the legislation has been bogged down in Planned Parenthood and other controversial riders.”So the President is, once again, going to make the case that that’s exactly what Republicans in Congress should do,” Earnest said. “And again, I think it’s an open question about whether or not they’ll fulfill their responsibilities. Hopefully they will.”Health officials, professional groups urge fundingAt a media telebriefing today, meanwhile, federal health officials and leaders from two doctor’s groups pushed again for Congress to approve Zika funding, with money running out amid local illnesses and affected pregnancies increasing in the continental United States and its territories.Beth Bell, MD, MPH, director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Zika funding that had been earmarked from repurposed Ebola response money is essentially all spent. She warned that critical public health may not be able to move forward, such as mosquito surveillance and multiyear studies on Zika-related birth defects. She said the funding lapse could cancel vaccine work and slow the developments of new Zika tests.”We hope they will do the right thing,” Bell said of lawmakers.Thomas Gellhaus, MD, president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said developing better and faster tests for Zika virus is an urgent need, because the method for confirming infections is often complex, with pregnant women often having to wait several weeks for results, depending on where they live.He also said women of childbearing age need options for preventing pregnancy, in light of the Zika threat. “We don’t know how to prevent Zika, but we do know how to prevent unplanned pregnancy. We need to act now and act together.”Karen Remley, MD, executive director and chief executive officer of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said babies born with congenital Zika virus infections need extensive screening and access to care in the short term, and she urged Congress to keep in mind that affected children and their families will need comprehensive support in the years ahead, given that the estimated healthcare cost per Zika-affected child is about $10 million over his or her lifetime.”This is a major public health issue, and adequate funding is very important,” she said.Local Florida cases hit 70In related news, the number of local Zika cases in Florida continues to climb, with the Florida Department of Health (Florida Health) reporting 14 more yesterday and today. Three patients are from the Wynwood transmission area, including two who were sick in late July, but officials were waiting on antibody tests to rule out other mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue and chikungunya. Another six infections are linked to the active transmission area in Miami Beach.Four new patients are Miami-Dade County residents, and health officials are still investigating where they were exposed to the virus. One of the patients is a Palm Beach County resident, apparently representing the fourth local case from that area, and efforts are under way to pinpoint where he or she was infected.The new cases lift Florida’s local case total to 70. Yesterday the agency reported seven more travel-related cases, including the first in Nassau County. The state now has 621 imported Zika cases.In related developments and as if to underscore the concerns health officials voiced today, pregnant women in Miami-Dade County are facing major delays in learning the results of Zika tests, which the state is offering for free, with a large number of women taking them up on the offer, the New York Times reported yesterday.Florida announced the testing offer on Aug 3, and according to the Times, many women are waiting at least 4 or 5 weeks for their test results. Sources linked the delays to a variety of reasons: complicated testing protocols, bureaucratic problems, and lack of resources.Doctors worry that the delays are adding to the stress of pregnancies and complicating decisions on carrying or terminating pregnancies, according to the Times.Florida is monitoring 86 pregnant women who are infected with Zika virus.Utah case hints at body fluid risks in severe infectionsThe Utah case involved an elderly man with underlying health conditions who contracted a Zika infection during travel abroad. The illness in the man’s son was unusual, because it didn’t involve sexual transmission, triggering an intense investigation by Utah health officials and the CDC into how the younger man was exposed and if any others were infected or if the virus was circulating in local mosquito populations.The team published the preliminary results of their investigation today in an early online edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).According to the report, the son had cared for his father for several days, and a blood sample from the elderly man obtained 2 days before he died from septic shock revealed Zika viral load that was 100,000 times higher than normal for infected patients.Nineteen family contacts who lived in the same household or had contact with the man’s body fluids were interviewed and tested, including 13 who—like the son—had hugged the man and kissed his face. The son had assisted hospital staff with the man’s care on one occasion, but didn’t have direct contact with his stool. No other Zika infections were detected in any of the other family contacts.Healthcare workers (86) and residents of 238 households within a 200-meter radius of the two homes the older man stayed in before he died were interviewed and offered Zika testing. Antibody testing is under way for all who submitted blood samples, and urine samples were collected for anyone reporting Zika-like symptoms in the 14 days before their interviews. As of Aug 22, no other Zika infections have been detected.Mosquito surveillance near the two homes is under way, and adult mosquitoes are being analyzed and tested for Zika virus. So far no Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes—the two types known to carry the virus—have been identified.The investigators said though it’s not clear how the younger man was infected, he had close contact with his father while the elder man’s viral load was very high.The researchers warned that family contacts should be aware that blood and other body fluids of severely ill Zika infections might be infectious. They also said the case underscores the importance of contact precautions for health providers working with all patients, including those who have possible Zika virus infection.See also:Sep 12 AP storySep 12 Mitch McConnell statementSep 12 Harry Reid statementSep 12 White House briefing transcriptSep 12 Florida Health daily Zika updateSep 13 Florida Health daily Zika updateSep 12 New York Times storySep 13 MMWR reportlast_img read more

News Scan for Aug 27, 2018

first_imgUSDA issues alert over raw chicken tied to Salmonella illnessesThe US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Empire Kosher Poultry, Inc. late last week issued a public health alert over Salmonella illnesses in several states that might be tied to raw chicken products.FSIS was notified of multiple Salmonella I 4,[5],12:i:- illnesses in northeastern  and mid-Atlantic states on Jun 18. “Working in conjunction with public health partners, FSIS determined that there is a potential link between Empire Kosher brand raw chicken products and this illness cluster,” the agency said in a news release. “Based on available epidemiological information, multiple case-patients have been identified in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic United States, many of whom reported consumption of Empire Kosher brand chicken products.”The Empire Kosher brand raw chicken items include whole chicken and chicken parts that were produced and sold from September 2017 to June 2018. Officials issued the alert “out of an abundance of caution.” FSIS did not specify the number of cases, and Empire, of Mifflintown, Pa., has not recalled its products at this point.About half of affected patients have been hospitalized, and illness-onset dates range from September 2017 to June 2018. “FSIS continues to work with the company and public health partners and will provide updated information should it become available,” the agency said.The FSIS recommends cooking raw poultry to 165°F before eating it.Aug 24 FSIS news release Senate passes big spending bill with increased public health fundingLate last week the US Senate passed an $857-billion “minibus” package for the fiscal year beginning on Oct 1 that increases National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding by 5.4% ($2 billion) to $39.1 billion and includes historic amounts for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other departments.The bill, which also funds the departments of education, defense, and ;abor, is considered a bipartisan success, passing on a vote of 85-7, according to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology (GEN) News. The House has until Sep 30 to pass the bill.The bill includes $550 million dedicated to the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB), up $37 million from last year’s budget.The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) would get $562 million, up $25 million from last year, and $120 million would go toward funding research on a universal flu vaccine. That’s $20 million more than was designated in last year’s budget.According to a story published by Medpage Today, NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, said at a Senate hearing on the bill that the funds will allow for 1,100 new grants to first-time investigators through the Next Generation Researchers Initiative.Other proposals include $425 million for Alzheimer’s research and $190 million for cancer research. An additional $3.7 billion will go toward targeting the opioid abuse crisis, including increasing spending on mental health services, and funding research for the development of non-opioid painkillers. Aug 24 GEN News storyAug 24 Medpage Today story PAHO urges measles vaccination ramp-up in South AmericaWith an ongoing measles outbreak in Venezuela, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) urged member states to aggressively vaccinate against the disease.”It is vital that we continue vaccinating in order to reach more than 95% of our children everywhere,” said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne, MD, in a press release. “We must also strengthen national epidemiological surveillance and establish rapid response teams to expeditiously manage suspected cases, prevent new cases and halt outbreaks. These measures to sustain elimination were agreed to by Ministers of Health in 2017. These commitments must be renewed.”Endemic transmission of measles was reestablished in Venezuela in 2017. As of Aug 20 of this year, Venezuela confirmed 3,545 cases of measles, including 62 deaths.Although measles remains eliminated from all other PAHO countries, 10 countries in South America besides Venezuela have reported 1,459 confirmed cases of measles and 6 deaths since the outbreak in Venezuela began: Antigua and Barbuda (1 case), Argentina (8), Brazil (1,237, including 6 deaths), Canada (19), Colombia (60), Ecuador (17), Guatemala (1), Mexico (5), Peru (4), and the United States (107).In Brazil, most cases have been connected to the Venezuelan outbreak.The current outbreak in South America occurred just 1 year after World Health Organization Americas Region became the first in the world to obtain the measles elimination certification. Most countries in the region reported their last endemic cases more than 18 years ago, PAHO said. Aug 24 PAHO press release Aug 20 PAHO epidemiologic updatelast_img read more

ICO looks into private detective report obtained by Djanogly

first_imgThe Information Commissioner’s Office has confirmed that it is looking into a complaint concerning information obtained by private detectives instructed by justice minister Jonathan Djanogly. However, a spokeswoman for the ICO said press reports that the minister had been reported to the commission, or that he is being investigated, were not correct. Last year it was revealed that Djanogly had paid private detectives to investigate aides and colleagues in his Huntingdon constituency, to find out the source of media reports about his parliamentary expenses. Labour MP John Mann made a complaint to the ICO in relation to the information obtained by the private detectives. The ICO spokeswoman said: ‘We are looking into a complaint that we have received. We need to establish whether the information that was obtained was information of a personal nature.’ She said that if no personal information was obtained by the private detectives, there will have been no breach of the Data Protection Act and nothing further for the ICO to look into. Djanogly said: ‘It is not true to state that the Information Commissioner’s Office have started an official investigation into this matter.’ He said it was not clear what the relevance of the ICO could be in this case. Djanogly said: ‘As I said when the issue first arose last year, I would never have condoned anything unlawful and dishonest in the investigations, and the investigators have assured me that all of their inquiries were carried out in an entirely lawful manner.’ When the fact that he had hired private investigators was reported in the press, Djanogly said: ‘Following malicious allegations made against me in newspapers last year, I felt I had to find out who was spreading these untrue stories about me. ‘I instructed a firm of private investigators to try to find out the source of these stories because I was extremely upset that my private family life had been invaded.’ He added: ‘I am sorry if some people judge that I made a mistake. With hindsight I can see that I may have overreacted, but I was being subjected to very malicious, anonymous attacks on my family.’last_img read more

Take a deep breath

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGINlast_img read more

Surveys suggest house price inflation is accelerating – that’s not good

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our communitylast_img read more

Reprimand for barrister convicted of assault

first_imgA barrister who was convicted of assault has been reprimanded following a disciplinary tribunal hearing. According to a finding published by the Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service (BTAS) Amiot Vollenweider has escaped fine or suspension. The barrister however, will have to receive ’advice as to his future conduct’ from the leader of the south-eastern circuit.The BTAS finding states that the incident occurred on 14 May last year, involving behaviour likely to diminish the trust and confidence the public places in the barristers’ profession.Vollenweider, called to the bar by Gray’s Inn in October 2000, was convicted on 31 May 2018. He admitted assault by beating and was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay a surcharge of £150 and prosecution costs of £85. A barrister of the same name appears on the website of Thomas More Chambers. He is described as a ‘leading junior counsel’ who acts in complex financial remedy cases.The chambers has been contacted for comment. The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.last_img read more

Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 interview: Luke Kaile opens up about taking Criminal Audition from stage to screen

first_imgCriminal Audition is part of the First Blood strand at this year’s Arrow Video FrightFest.The film, which started off life as a play in 2009, has had a long journey to the big screen and it’s almost time for it to be unleashed. Luke Kaile stars in the film and co-wrote the screenplay with director Samuel Gridley, based on his original stage show.I spoke to Luke about the long journey from stage to screen, discussed the hurdles and lessons along the way, and the difficulty of juggling multiple roles during the making of the film…Hi Luke. How are you today and where does this Q&A find you?We’ve just finished doing a private screening with a Q&A through the Visual Effects Society and I’m now sat at home energised from it and wanting to get more films made!Your film Criminal Audition is receiving its World Premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest. What’s it all about?In Criminal Audition we have an underworld organisation that seeks out “down on their luck” individuals who are willing to frame themselves for other people’s crimes in exchange for wealth and a new life when they serve the time.The film takes place over the course of one night in a soon-to-be demolished theatre, where we have our auditionees being tested by the organisation. How will they stand up to a police interrogation? Are they the right fit for the crime?However, this audition is going to go slightly different than the previous ones, as the client has turned up and she’s decided to…shake things up a tad.Credit: Muzzle the PigCriminal Audition started out life as a play back in 2009. What was behind the decision to expand it into a film?Back in 2009 I had just left University and was having the standard panic of being released into the big, wide world without any idea of how I could make those steps into film. One of the ways I went about it was writing for competitions as forced me to produce work, to generate ideas – even if they were terrible! Criminal Audition was one that won a competition to be performed as a short play. We had it performed and I expanded it into a feature length play when I saw it had potential to grow. I think after each performance I would chat with audience members after the show who would say how interesting the idea would be in film. I think that’s when I knew this would be the right script to put the effort into. Until then I had a reluctance to dedicate any time to feature film development, because you don’t want to go in with the wrong project as it’s such a huge undertaking!What really fascinated me was the play version was a farcical comedy, it was full of goofy humour and elaborate setups. What was so fun was to take the idea and give it a grounding in a real world, make the concept feel like it could be happening in abandoned theatres and warehouses around the city!What challenges did you face adapting the show for the big screen?We could be here a while! To try to be more succinct, we had to conquer the financial hindrances, the logistical minefields and demands on cast and crew. But without going into too much depth on those aspects, I think the overarching thing was maintaining the push to completion. I think it’s very easy for independent films to live in a perpetual state in any part of the process. Some films don’t even get past pre-production, some films lose their way during the shoot and some linger in post-production, unable to make that last leap. I think having such a small crew, it was having that pressure that if we didn’t action something, or chase something up every day, then we would never reach the finish line. It’s quite a challenge to maintain that, especially when the odds are heavily stacked to stop you, whether that’s a finance, logistics or creative issue. And as we’re all learning on a first feature, you have to know you’ll fail and find a way to pick yourself up again.As well as having co-written the screenplay, you star in the film and produce it too. How difficult was it to juggle all of those different roles?I think if we tried to make this all those years ago, we would’ve ended up with a pretty bad product. Despite being frustrated about not being able to shoot it in 2013, 2014 etc, it was a necessity. Sam and I gained so much education through having to accept that we could only produce short films or sketches for now. We also learned a lot through the failure we had in trying to get Criminal Audition made sooner.With that education in mind, we made sure there was clear delineations in roles. It happened a few times on set where an actor would approach me with a question purely because they saw me as the default, they knew it was my project from years back – but I would then signpost them to Sam, as he’s the director. Any idea I had, whether it be for my character or a producer suggestion, I ran through him – it was his set, his vision. I think I knew of other productions that had not defined those roles and enforced them as we did, and I think it just convolutes the message you’re giving out.I think in order to juggle everything, the first thing I had to do was accept this wasn’t my film, it was our film. You must relinquish that control, people are hired in roles because they’re great at that role, and you can’t spend your time micromanaging everything, it will 100% end up being a detriment to the film you’re trying to create. We hired two other fantastic producers in Nathaniel Francis and Luke Mordue, and we split our roles up and made sure each other was trusted with those elements of the production.The writing was the same. It’s taking the ego out of the equation and remembering that when Sam gave notes on a scene, he was trying to dig into how we can make it better, not attack my writing! And we really enjoyed that process together, I think we’re good at appreciating and listening to one another, and before you know it, your thoughts are aligned.Credit: Muzzle the PigCriminal Audition really has been a labour of love for you. How are you feeling now it’s about to be released into the world?A relief! But I don’t feel it’s complete or ever will be. That’s the thing with this project is with every hurdle you say, “if we can just get through this then we’re about there!”, but there’s always something else. We’re quite a small team so moving into the sales and marketing side of things is yet another challenge we must navigate and learn.As far as people’s reactions though it’s been great. I think from industry feedback and advanced reviews we’ve had so far, we’re surprising people (in a good way). Creating a film, especially with a group of other first-time feature film makers you have that feeling of imposter syndrome always in the back of your mind. This may sound strange, but seeing people react to it as a real film is just so pleasing, because even when we exported the final version of the film you still wonder if you’ll be taken seriously. We’ve had a few private screenings over the last few months and hearing people debate character actions and plot points is just so thrilling for me, people can love it or hate it but knowing that they have engaged with it makes it feel worth it.You’ve done a variety of acting work before but this is your first feature film lead role. What was the biggest lesson you learned as an actor while making Criminal Audition?It kind of aligns with the idea of imposter syndrome again. In any creative platform where you are working quite free and with no one giving you a monthly appraisal is you get that doubt. You must push that doubt away and make definitive choices. Working as a producer on Criminal Audition has given me that greater understanding of the “machine” behind the camera. Having that knowledge meant I could track what was expected from my character in that moment, or for that shot angle and so forth.This also includes sitting on the other side of the audition room. I think having actors come in and go through our scripts has made me appreciate the conversations and what should be required from producers, directors and casting agents, but also what should be required from actors.Have you started thinking about your next project yet, and if so what is it?Yes. Creating Criminal Audition was such a film school for ourselves and further to that we found that we were great friends. Not just Samuel and I, but also the producing team and crew around us. Samuel and I have written treatments and have a slate of roughly four films that we want to make which feel like natural progressions on Criminal Audition. We very much see this film as our calling card.Credit: Muzzle the PigWhat’s the one horror film you wish you’d written and starred in, and why?It’s an obvious one, but it’s obvious for a reason – it’s superb! I’m going to go with the first film that genuinely scared me (probably watched it far too young as well) – Alien.The claustrophobic setting. The creation of the alien and how it is used. The dinner scene. The economy of the script. That genuine terror on our character’s faces.Why should people check out Criminal Audition at Arrow Video FrightFest?To be surprised. To see something a little bit leftfield. Being truly independent has allowed Samuel and I to have a lot of fun and break from expected moulds in genre, characters, or even the film’s score (wonderfully composed by Asa Bennett and Al Anderson).It’ll be darkly funny, it’ll be strange, it’ll be violent and then suddenly it’ll be poignant. Just when you think you know the world we’ve created; we flip it.Criminal Audition will have its World Premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 on Saturday 24th August at 3.30pm on the Prince Charles Discovery One screen. For more information and tickets please visit http://www.frightfest.co.uk. Watch the trailer for Criminal Audition below:Criminal Audition (trailer) 00:00/02:30 LIVE00:00undefinedNext VideoCriminal Audition (teaser clip)02:16×Next VideoCriminal Audition (teaser clip)CancelAutoplay is pausedlast_img read more

South Africa hosts seminar on Xi Jinping’s book

first_imgA recent book review seminar was held in South Africa, specifically on Chinese president Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.The seminar was held at the Chinese embassy in Pretoria, under the theme: People-Centered, and building a beautiful China, beautiful South Africa, and beautiful Africa.Chinese ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian delivered a keynote speech at the event.Lin said Xi’s book was the best way to understand his thoughts on governance.“The two books and the report delivered by his excellency Secretary General XI Jinping at the 19th China people National Congress provide the most systematic and authoritative reading  for Chinese and foreigners readers to understand the gist of XI jinpings…to find comprehensively understand China’s past, present and future,” he said.Nearly 300 people attended the book review seminar in Pretoria.It was meant to take a closer look at China’s recently concluded 19th CPC National Congress, and Xi Jinping’s vision for China and the world.last_img read more

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER COMMENDS COLLABORATIVE APPROACH TO REVITALISING THE WAY WE WORK, LIVE, STUDY…

first_imgIn welcoming the Deputy First Minister to The Crichton, Dame Barbara Kelly, CCLG Chairman, was delighted to engage CCLG Members in a discussion with the Minister around the importance of the partnership and the strategic priorities for The Crichton going forward and valued the opportunity to report on the achievements of the Group to date.  Dame Barbara Kelly, Chairman of the Crichton Campus Leadership Group said: “The Crichton partners strongly believe that The Crichton, Dumfries and Galloway and the wider South of Scotland has untapped potential to contribute to the Scottish economy and as a group we are committed to addressing the unique needs of the region, our learners and employers and in supporting inclusive growth through continued collaboration. We very much welcomed the visit from the Deputy First Minister to The Crichton this week and hope that he will add his support to our ambitious plans for The Crichton and the South of Scotland.” The Scottish Government backed the establishment of the Crichton Campus Leadership Group in 2013 and with co-operation from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) they launched the Group with representation from the five academic partners; Dumfries and Galloway College, The Open University in Scotland, Scotland’s Rural College, University of Glasgow and University of the West of Scotland.  The Crichton Trust, The Crichton Foundation, Crichton Carbon Centre, Dumfries and Galloway Council, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and the South of Scotland Economic Partnership are also active members of the Group.  The ambition to put The Crichton on the world map as a Centre for Business Innovation and Collaboration is exciting news for the South of Scotland and should significantly contribute to the economic prosperity and wellbeing of the region.”  In fitting with the theme of the visit, The Deputy First Minister also paid a visit to Criffel View, which is prominently located between the academic campus and The Crichton Business Park, to hear from The Crichton Trust about their plans for developing the building into Crichton Central to create new flexible ways to work and collaborate. It is hoped that Crichton Central will attract new businesses and further enhance the facilities and opportunities for exchanging ideas and knowledge between those in academia and those in business.  The Crichton partners are keen to harness the economic asset of an ageing population and to build an age-friendly, inter-generational, knowledge exchange community where people of all ages can work, innovate, invent, learn, live and contribute physically, economically, socially and culturally for as long as possible.  center_img Building on over 20 years’ experience, the partners discussed their Statement of Ambition and outlined the priorities relating to sustaining and growing equitable and accessible learning opportunities that are responsive to the needs of the rural area.  They clearly identified their plans to increase Higher Education provision in the region and to offer more choice to learners. As well as offering a high-quality educational experience, the Group stressed that in order to ensure the future sustainability and success of The Crichton Campus, all learners must also benefit from an enhanced and vibrant student experience.  Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP during his recent visit to The Crichton. Left to right: Gwilym Gibbons (CEO, The Crichton Trust), Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP, Dame Barbara Kelly (Chairman, CCLG), Dr Ian Macmillan (Chair, The Crichton Trust) and Professor Russel Griggs (Chair, SOSEP) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInCollaboration is key to the ongoing success of The Crichton in Dumfries and this week, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP met with members of the Crichton Campus Leadership Group (CCLG) to discuss the strategic priorities of the partnership.   It was very encouraging during this visit to see academic and business partners working more closely with local agencies and to hear their plans to tailor learning opportunities to meet the specific needs of regional employers. Partners are also committed to enhancing the student experience and increasing research and knowledge exchange activities.   Commenting on the strength of local partnerships, the Deputy First Minister said: “All partners recognise the importance of a collaborative approach to delivering Higher and Further Education across Dumfries and Galloway.  last_img read more

GSC Soccer Tournaments to Remain at Brosnaham Park in Pensacola

first_imgGSC Soccer Tournaments to Remain at Brosnaham Park in Pensacola Share BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Gulf South Conference (GSC) officially announced the contract renewal for its Men’s and Women’s Soccer Tournaments that will keep the events in Pensacola, Fla. on Thursday.The GSC and the Pensacola Sports Association (PSA) agreed to a four-year extension that runs until the end of the 2014 season.  The Conference has held both tournaments in conjunction at the same site since the sport’s addition in 1996 with the Ashton Brosnaham Soccer Complex serving as the host venue since 2005.For GSC Commissioner Nate Salant, agreeing to an extension was an easy decision.  “The PSA has done a wonderful job of hosting our soccer tournaments,” Salant explained.  “The coaches love the facility, the student-athletes love staying at the beach and visiting historic downtown Pensacola and the fans look forward to the event every year.”“The final agreement makes sense for all parties and the expectation is that we are here for a long, long time.  The University of West Florida has played a major role in helping with the administration of the tournaments and I would like to thank UWF President Dr. Judith Bense, Athletic Director Dave Scott and Associate Athletic Director Meghan Barter for their efforts.”The PSA has built a solid reputation by not only hosting GSC soccer, but also by bringing NCAA Division II events to the area.  Executive Director Ray Palmer expressed his excitement about retaining the GSC Tournaments.  “We are just thrilled to have the GSC returning to Escambia County by extending the agreement for another four years.  It has been a great relationship that combines the desired tourism with a high quality soccer event.”“The PSA is excited about the direction of the Conference and the additional members that are lined up to join the league in the next few years.  We also look forward to hosting the new teams, coaches and fans from current members who recently added soccer along with the new teams that will potentially make their first trips here.  It’s a win-win situation for everyone and we look forward to many more years of this relationship.”The 2011 GSC Men’s and Women’s Soccer Tournaments will take place on the first weekend in November.  The Semifinals kickoff on Friday, November 4th followed by the Championship Matches on Sunday, November 6th.  Fans can find out additional information regarding the tournaments by visiting www.gscsports.org.Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more