Trial of teenager accused of rape in Donegal, continued today

first_imgHomepage BannerNews Google+ WhatsApp Trial of teenager accused of rape in Donegal, continued today Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic Pinterest By News Highland – July 4, 2018 Facebook Facebook Google+ News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th center_img WhatsApp RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Previous articleIrish Open Pro Am Reaction – Shane O’Donoghue & Andy RobertsonNext articleMichael Murphy says Donegal players focused fully on pitch matters News Highland The trial of a teenager accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in Co Donegal has continued in legal argument today in the absence of the jury.The accused, now aged 19, has denied one charge of rape and one of sexually assaulting the girl on March 18, 2016 after they met in a takeaway in a town in County Donegal.The court heard previously that the girl met the accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, sometime around midnight following St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the town.She told counsel for the State that she knew him from school and they had kissed three months earlier.She said she had been out with her friends that evening and had drunk up to five vodka and lemonades, two Green Diesel drinks and a shot of sambuca.She said the accused suggested they go for a walk and that when they went behind a nearby building in the town he sexually assaulted and raped her.The court heard that she sent a number of texts to her friend during a break in the alleged incident, including messages saying “help help please” and “there’s blood all over my hands.”Evidence before the jury is expected to resume at the Central Criminal Court tomorrow afternoon. DL Debate – 24/05/21 Pinterest Twitter Loganair’s new Derry – Liverpool air service takes off from CODA Twitter Nine til Noon Show – Listen back to Monday’s Programmelast_img read more

Affected students open up about benefits of DACA status, fears for future

first_imgChris Collins | The Observer Notre Dame community members gathered to show their support for DACA students at a sit-in last fall.Among these 800,000 people are members of both the University and College communities. The Observer spoke with four such students about living in America as undocumented immigrants, their fears about DACA being rescinded without a replacement and the responses from both campus communities.Would if I couldSaint Mary’s sophomore Guadalupe Gonzalez, a DACA student from Mexico, said her status and the uncertainty surrounding her future have shaped her college experience.“Because I’m undocumented, there are certain things I can’t do,” she said. “I have to have at least two jobs to pay for my tuition. I don’t have any scholarships or funding from the government because I don’t qualify for it.”The impact, she said, does not stop there.“I know there are some people who aren’t in the party scene, but specifically for me, I know if I go out and party, police might come,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t want to be in any sort of position where, as an undocumented student, I’m going to be arrested for some reason or another — even if it’s false accusations — because it can go into my file, and it can hurt me from receiving DACA. I just avoid any sort of situations that might get me there. So that means I don’t go out. I don’t have your regular college life where I party or do anything like that.”Though she has encountered supportive peers, Gonzalez said she has also been exposed to tensions and judgment.“When you read the comments on social media about people who support him, people who are against DACA, it does take a toll on you,” she said. “It does hurt you. You just learn to live around that fear, around that hatred. You try not to let it affect you as much as you can.”She said this coping mechanism is not just helpful, but necessary — particularly in light of recent threats to the DACA program.“I’m the first person in my family going to college, so I really have to learn the ropes myself,” Gonzalez said. “Once I heard that the odds were probably not looking good for DACA and especially that there’s going to be a six-month wait, I was mostly mad. I wasn’t emotional to the fact that I was crying because I’m worried or frustrated. I was crying because I was mad.”Hasty generalizations and misinformed assumptions wrongfully denigrate the character of worthy DACA recipients, she said. “A lot of the misconceptions are things that if you go on Google and just type DACA, you could find out, which is why it’s so ridiculous to me, and it makes me mad,” Gonzalez said. “One of the most common is that we don’t pay taxes, which we do. Even if you don’t have DACA, if you’re just an undocumented immigrant, we obviously pay taxes. And if you work, there are taxes being taken out of your paycheck without you even having a say. So yes, we pay taxes whether we want to or not.”Another false belief she said she sees propagated involves DACA’s lack of a pathway to citizenship.“You always hear people say ‘Why don’t you just become a citizen? You’ve been here for what, 20 years, and you can’t become a citizen? That’s your fault,’” she said. “No, sir, that’s not my fault. That’s the government’s fault. Because you’re not pushing an immigration reform, there’s really no way.”She said the only way she can currently obtain citizenship is to marry.“My status is tied to a man,” she said. “The only possible way that I can get any sort of citizenship right now is if I marry a U.S. citizen. Can you think of that? I’m 20, and if I get married right now, that’s the only way I can make my life easier. It just pisses me off that I have to depend on marriage, especially since that’s something I don’t want to think about at this age. I want to be independent. I want to go work.”Gonzalez said she does not understand the move to terminate a program from which the nation benefits.“All of the comments on Facebook that I see are like, ‘You’re just taking our money. I’m paying taxes, and you’re just taking them away,’” she said. “I would say, though, that we do get public education, which is why I don’t understand why you would want to kick somebody out from the country when they’ve already gone through the education system and used that money. … If you think about business concepts, that’s really bad.”DACA students deserve the opportunity to bring their skills and talents to fruition, she said.“You’ve already invested in us, and you just want to kick us out before we’re able to actually give back to the government in taxes and all the work that we do in labor,” she said. “That’s just really stupid to me, honestly.”Gonzalez said DACA has given her a peace of mind that she fears letting go of.“ … If it’s taken away … you don’t want us to break the law, but if we don’t have DACA, how are we going to be able to find a job legally?,” she said. “We can’t. We’re going to have to resort to what some other undocumented immigrants are doing, which is getting fake papers. We don’t want to do that. We want to do things right. But if you’re going to take the only thing that has given us some type of power here, a person has to live. A person has to put food on the table and support people, himself and [his] family.”The idea of DACA students moving to a nation about which they know nothing startles her, Gonzalez said.“Yes, I was Mexican, and I was born in Mexico, but I don’t know anything of Mexico,” she said. “If I were to decide where my allegiance is, I don’t know what Mexico is going to do with me. At least I know sort of what America is. America doesn’t really like me right now, but I know it. It’s all I know. If I could, I would become a citizen. It’s not that I don’t want to.”Gonzalez said she hopes all Americans recognize the importance of staying informed about the issue and consider the implications this repeal could have on DACA recipients.“If there were a way to become a citizen, there would be no undocumented immigrants,” she said. “I don’t really get why people don’t get that. Nobody wants to be called illegal. Nobody wants to be made fun of or dehumanized or work jobs that nobody wants to have because they can’t work higher paying jobs or because they can’t go to college to get that degree. Nobody wants that.”Dispelling misconceptions surrounding the DACA program can help establish a more knowledgeable and inclusive society, Gonzalez said.“They always say, ‘Why don’t you just get in line?’ and I’m like, ‘Sir, point it to me, and I’ll be right there,’” she said. “It’s lives. It’s actual human lives, not illegal lives that you don’t care about or somebody that you don’t consider American. We’ve been here for so long. We’ve worked here. We’ve contributed. We’ve created homes, families, communities. We are American. We just don’t have any papers.”Hoping things work outKevin Perez, a junior DACA student at Notre Dame who was born in Mexico and emigrated to the United States when he was five years old, said his DACA status alleviates some of the worry associated with being undocumented.“It was a huge relief, not having to worry about it day-to-day and being able to do things I couldn’t before — like get my driver’s license, get a job,” he said. “It was just a sense of relief for us.”While Perez is concerned about the Trump administration living up to its word to protect those with DACA, he said he still has hope that Congress will create a feasible replacement for DACA.“I’m just hoping things work out,” he said. “Up to this point they have with DACA and allowing us to get jobs, to get driver’s licenses, come to a college. So a lot of good came out of that, but we always knew that it was a temporary thing. And hopefully something permanent comes out of this, but this administration has a track record of not really living up to their promises.”If the administration repeals DACA without any alternative in place, Perez said, Americans can expect a rise in the amount of discrimination and number of deportations.“I think we’d see a lot of negative things,” he said. “Probably a lot of increased deportation and separation of families, because if DACA is not there then I feel like immigration services will be very empowered to do all that they can to work against undocumented people and be more active in trying to deport them and passing more laws — or trying to, at least. Like in Arizona where there was that law where you could be asked for your citizenship status based off nothing. I think you’d see a lot of increase in that.”A common misconception about DACA recipients Perez said he hears often is that they are a “drain on the economy.”“I know for a fact that I paid more taxes than some citizens last year through my internship, and then they taxed my scholarship and that kind of stuff,” he said. “So there’s a lot of misconceptions around that of people that say undocumented people and DACA people get all these free benefits and that could be going to citizens. I hear that a lot, which is not true because if you’re undocumented you’re not eligible for any benefits. So how could you be receiving them?”While some commenters on news articles and Facebook have expressed desires to deport all DACA recipients, Perez said the reaction he has experienced at Notre Dame has been largely positive.“Here on campus we’ve seen a lot of support — like with the call-in event,” he said. “That surpassed our expectations of attendance, and the people that came were very supportive. Also, generally, just from going on social media and new articles and stuff, there’s a lot of optimism [and] a lot of support for people in my situation. But there’s definitely that negativity, as well.”The University administration, Perez said, has been particularly helpful to him and other DACA students throughout the process of renewing their DACA status.“They’ve just been very supportive about it,” he said. “Which gives me confidence that if something were to happen in the six months where we have nothing like we do now — at least now we have social security, driver’s licenses, that kind of stuff. But if it came to the point where we don’t have any of that, I still feel confident that they’d do their best to help us finish our education here.”Stand in solidarityA senior undocumented student born in Mexico and enrolled at Saint Mary’s, who spoke to The Observer under the condition of anonymity out of concern for her safety, said she was overwhelmed by the supportive messages community members sent her in the days following the announcement. “I really appreciate the faculty members who have posters outside of their doors that have the signs saying, ‘I support DACA’ because I know I’m welcome there,” she said. “These professors support me and students like me, and I know that if I need someone to talk to, I can walk into their office.”The College’s welcoming atmosphere, she said, attracted her to the College.“One of the reasons I decided to come to Saint Mary’s is because they accept undocumented students,” she said. “It’s a private school, so they don’t have those strict guidelines like state schools, where you have to have a social security number. I feel like they’re definitely more inclusive of foreign students, undocumented students, students from all over.”Though she does not belong to the DACA program, she said the presidential administration’s decision to terminate it affects her on a personal level.“Students like me have been here our whole lives in this country, so I think we deserve to have a career,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to obtain that, so I think we deserve to keep living without fear of being deported.”Everyone has a responsibility to inform himself or herself of the realities surrounding DACA, which are often misrepresented or painted in an unfavorable light, she said.“I see a lot of people saying, ‘These people are taking resources away from us,’ and they think that we can apply for social security benefits, Medicaid — all this that we really can’t because we’re not full citizens,” she said. “That’s something that really needs to be addressed. We’re really not stealing benefits. We’re paying taxes, and we’re contributing to these benefits that citizens can have, so we’re actually helping them, but we can’t receive the benefits ourselves. That’s something that a lot people don’t know.”Only after learning about the program, she said, can individuals share their knowledge with others and enact change.“I really think it’s important for our allies to educate people,” she said. “If their families don’t know what DACA is, maybe they should sit down with them and explain what it is and why they support it. There are disagreements that being informed can fix.”She said concerned members of the community should also voice their disapprobation to policy-makers, which can not only influence legislation but can also foster an increasingly united society.“If you call your representatives, they will definitely take into account what their constituents think is right, and that can have a push on their opinion,” she said. “It’s nice to not feel like you’re fighting this battle alone.”Something to contributeA junior DACA student born in India, who spoke to The Observer under the condition of anonymity out of concern for his safety, said he and his family came to the country legally on an “employment-based” visa.“My dad had a job offer here,” he said. “He worked there for a while, but then his employer changed ownership. So another guy took over the company, and the new guy said that he wouldn’t continue my dad’s work visa. So we fell out of status that way.”While his DACA status added “an extra level of reassurance,” the student believes he is safer than most undocumented people in the United States because it would be “bad optics” for the government to deport him.“I don’t think anyone here is a priority for deportation. A lot of people in my status will tell you that they’re scared about that, but I don’t think that will ever happen,” he said. “That said, what it did give me was a sense of freedom to at least kind of maintain some sense of normality with my peers.”This sense of freedom was strongest, the student said, in terms of his ability to work with DACA status.“Without DACA I couldn’t work, and that’s the biggest thing for me,” he said. “ … I was able to intern last year. I would not have been able to find an internship if I didn’t have DACA. The company really liked me, I’m following up, I’m going to go back next year — it gave me a lot of freedoms that a normal citizen would have that I wouldn’t have regardless.”This ability to work is particularly important to him, he said, because he views employment as “a means to survival.”“I think without being able to use what I’ve learned here, and without even having the means to continue that, I won’t really have any purpose,” he said. “I would literally just be doing nothing or doing things that I think I can do a lot more than. I’d probably be doing manual labor or something, whereas I am confident — and I think a lot of other people would say this, too — that I can do a lot more than that.”The student said the fact that he is at Notre Dame is emblematic of what he has to offer the country.“I know that I have not worked or anything, but I think anyone would say, regardless of status or anything, that if you can get into a school like this you have something to contribute to society — whether that be economic, social, etc,” he said. “So I think, just out of the virtue of the fact that I am here and that I consider myself an intelligent person that has contributed and hopes to contribute, I have value and I should be given the right to share that value.”Protecting DACA students, he said, is something that falls under the administration’s definition of a pro-life initiative, but that not all members of the Notre Dame community see it that way.“I think this is an issue that’s very pro-life, and the University as a whole is very pro-life, and the definition of pro-life varies a lot among alumni and students,” he said. “I think you’ll find students that are very anti-abortion but will also say these people should get out. And that’s an interesting dichotomy.”The student said there would be no reason for him to return to India, and he shouldn’t be held responsible for being in the country illegally as he simply “followed [his] mom” when he was five years old.“I literally have all of my roots here. All of my friends are here, most of my family is here,” he said. “ … I want to stay here because everything I’ve known is here. And I had no control over that. I guess I grew up thinking that I was the same as everybody else, and I can’t help that. I don’t think that’s something a kid should have to worry about.”Right now, the student said, becoming a legal U.S. citizen seems impossible for him.“There’s no easy path to legalization in America,” he said. “I won’t say that I know everything about immigration here, but there are very few exceptions that would let someone of my status become a citizen easily. The most tangible way, I think — and most likely way if DACA doesn’t pass — is me marrying out. And that’s probably what’s going to be similar for most other DACA or undocumented people, too. So you can’t just get a green card. There’s no line, there’s nothing like that. It’s a very specialized and intensive process that requires a lot of time and a lot of money that a lot of people don’t have.”One silver lining the student said he sees in the Trump administration’s deadline is that it forces Congress to seriously consider the DREAM Act — a more permanent alternative to Obama’s executive order.“The DREAM Act has been around for a while,” he said. “I think the first iteration was back in 2000 or 2001 and Congress has attempted to pass that thing for a long time. And as ironic as it might sound, Donald Trump is the person that will probably bring it closest to being passed.”The student urged those who want to stand by and help DACA recipients to call their representatives throughout the six months before Trump’s deadline.“You need to maintain activism to make sure this thing passes,” he said. “That’s the best thing you can do right now. Keep up the pressure, make sure that during these six months, people don’t forget about it.”Tags: DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Diversity, Immigration, inclusive, undocumented students Editor’s note: This is the fourth story in a four-part series examining the effects of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and its potential repeal at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. Today’s story features reflections from three DACA students and one undocumented student at the University and the College.Since Sept. 5, when President Donald Trump and his administration announced plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a group of students at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s has been unsure of its future in the United States.Trump gave the House and Senate a six-month deadline to pass legislation to replace DACA — a program that allows children of undocumented migrants in the United States to work and study. If the March deadline arrives and there is no plan in place to provide for those protected under former President Obama’s executive order, however, the over 800,000 DACA recipients in the United States will lose their legal status.last_img read more

REITs: a poisoned chalice?

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Ranchero Frittata

first_imgFood & DiningLifestyle Ranchero Frittata by: – May 10, 2012 68 Views   no discussions Eating breakfast is essential for a balanced metabolism, and this nutrient-packed egg dish contains a wealth of healthy ingredients. Omega-3-rich eggs, parsley, and olive oil help reduce inflammation. Black beans contain antioxidants and are a great source of fiber, which helps to balance your blood sugar and detoxify your body.Ingredients 6 large omega-3 eggs 2 large omega-3 egg whites Coarse salt and ground pepper 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup medium onion, finely chopped 1 cup grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved 2 jalapeno peppers, halved, seeded, and finely chopped 1/4 cup crumbled soft goat cheese 15 ounces black beans (1 can), drained and rinsedDirections1. Heat the broiler with the rack 4 inches from the heat source. In a large bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg whites, and parsley; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.2. In a medium (10-inch) nonstick ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion and tomatoes and cook until the onion has softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the jalapeno peppers and egg mixture. Sprinkle cheese over top. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until eggs are almost set, 5 to 7 minutes.3. Place frittata under broiler and cook until the top is set and starts to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook beans until heated through (add water if too dry); season with salt and pepper.4. Run a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen the frittata. Carefully slip the frittata out of the pan onto a large serving platter. Serve wedges of frittata with black beans on the side.Recipe: Whole Living Share Sharing is caring!center_img Share Share Tweetlast_img read more


first_imgBY EMMET RUSGE: If there is one thing that I have learned from training hundreds of people over the last few years, it is this:The scale is a great tool for measuring clients, but it is not the only tool when measuring for body composition.  It shouldn’t be taken at face value. No movement on the scale does not mean that there have not been changes.Usually my articles can apply to both men and women, but today, I’m speaking mostly to the ladies. I have the weight and measurements of every client and every member of my “Better Bodies” classes over the last few years and one thing stands out from the weigh ins.The scale weight of the clients didn’t always match the inches lost by them.That is not to say that they didn’t lose any weight on the scale, but it didn’t always match into the amount of inches lost from their waists, hips or thighs, but for most clients, especially the female ones, the scale will always be the ultimate factor to whether their plan was successful or not.I have had clients lose 10cm from their waist and drop a dress size over a 6 week period, but because the scale weight ‘only’ dropped 2kg, they deemed this as a failure. When asked if their clothes fitted better and if they were happy with the changes in their bodies, the answer is always ‘yes’, but this is nearly always followed with a ‘but’ and this ‘but’ is usually in reference to the scale weight.One can’t really blame them.Females especially, have been hardwired to think that the scales are the be-all and end-all of weight loss, and anything except rapid drops in scale weight is seen as a complete failure.This couldn’t be further from the truth.You have to first understand the variations in weight: There are a few things that go into the “weight variance,” namely the following three things.Glycogen stores.This amount depends on your current consumption of carbohydrates. For every gram of carbohydrate that your body stores via glycogen, it also stores 3 grams of water. If you are carbohydrate-depleted, you will be at the lower end of your variance. Conversely, if you consume a ton of carbohydrates, you will be at the upper end of your variance.Water retention/depletion from sodium.If you suddenly consume more sodium than you are used to, you will likely retain water. Conversely, if you suddenly consume much less sodium, you will release water. Your body adjusts to the new levels accordingly via the hormone aldosterone, so don’t think that you can keep this value low just by cutting sodium out from your diet.Cycle bloat.Women will retain water during their cycle. For this reason, it’s best for women to only compare weight from month-to-month. Example;So let’s say that you are doing well on a diet plan, you have been sticking to it for a few weeks and then you end up out at the weekend and have a ‘bad night’ nutritionally and go on a binge.You get up the next morning, and feeling guilty, you step on the scales.Bam! Your weight is up and you look visibly ‘fatter’ in the mirror.Congratulations, you have just messed up the last few weeks of your diet.You may give up now and just go back to your old habits and get fat again.Woah, woah, woah….. hold on there Missy.Let’s look at what we said about glycogen and sodium up above.Firstly; you were on a low carb diet and eating pretty ‘clean’, so we are going to assume that your glycogens and sodium levels are slightly low.Your binge was all the foods that you haven’t been eating over the last few weeks, possibly a take away.What you are more than likely experiencing, along with the guilt, is what happens when people go on a bingeTypically, they will retain a lot more glycogen afterwards and see a massive increase in the scale.This is only water weight.Remember that for every gram of glycogen (carbs) that you ate, your body also stored 3 grams of water.Too often, I’ll see people defeated because they “gained all of the weight back.”When the reality is, it is fluid retention and if they get back on track, this will dissipate over a few days and the ‘weight’ they have put on will be gone.The scale is a tool that can be used for measuring weight loss.  Just remember that there are many different ways to measure body composition.  Scale weight is only one of these and shouldn’t be exclusively used as the be all and end all of your goals.#TrainSmartIf you have any question on this article or for getting a tailored program based on your starting point, please contact me through the link below. RUSHE’S FITNESS COLUMN: SHOULD YOU TRUST YOUR SCALES? was last modified: April 20th, 2015 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:emmet rushefitness columnmeasuremeasurementscalesweightlast_img read more

Twitter reaction: Fernandes pleased after QPR’s draw

first_imgTony Fernandes told fans on Twitter he was hugely encouraged by QPR’s performance at Newcastle.It has been a troubled season for Rangers but they showed plenty of fighting spirit at St James’ Park, where they went behind in the opening minute.A last-minute equaliser gave them a deserved point – and co-chairman Fernandes believes things are heading in the right direction.Well that was a game and a half. What a performance. Very proud to be chairman today. Well done lads— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) February 1, 2017What was great was our players playing for the new badge. Never gave up when we were behind twice. Long way to go but some light.— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) February 1, 2017   Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch) x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Virgin long-haul flyers get their wish with cheap seat upgradeÂ

first_imgVirgin has become the first Australian airline to launch a local version of America’s popular “economy comfort” class, which allows travellers to trade up to a seat with more room without the premium economy price tag.It’s part of the overhaul of Virgin Australia’s daily trans-Pacific services from Brisbane and Sydney to Los Angeles on its Boeing 777-300ERs, which was announced on Monday.The revamp also affects VA’s three weekly services from Sydney to Abu Dhabi which it runs in conjunction with its part-owner Etihad Airways.At the front of the plane, VA business class has been totally redesigned into a “reverse herringbone” 1-2-1 seating arrangement that offers greater privacy, more legroom and aisle access for every seat, replacing the old seven-abreast forward-facing business class layout.Virgin says each seat now converts into a bed 80 inches (203 centimetres) long, compared with the old flat-bed seats of 77 inches (195 cms) per seat row.And the total number of business class seats has been increased from 33 to 37.Further down the cabin, the Virgin revamp reveals major changes in  consumer preferences. Premium economy changes its name to simply Premium, pitching itself as a budget business class rather than a trade-up from cattle class.That reflects the steep price premium over economy, typically $A1600 one-way from Sydney to Los Angeles compared with the best economy discount of $A600 or less. Business class is usually around $A2500 one-way.It turns out what Virgin’s economy passengers were clamouring for – like those in America – was not a business class experience, but a relatively inexpensive upgrade to a seat with a little extra legroom.So, while Premium gets an upgrade from 38 inches (96 cms) to 41 inches (104 cms) per seat row, the number of seats has been slashed from 40 to 24.The big news is that the airline has created a whole new class called Economy Space+ with a total of 67 seats – 47 of them in the one cabin, the rest further down the main cabin. The “pitch” per seat row is 34 inches (86 cms) compared with 32 inches (81 cms) in economy.Instead of paying double or triple the economy rate, the upgrade costs between $A135 and $165 per seat one-way between Australia and the USA, with perks thrown in such as check-in via a dedicated Premium check-in counter; pre-boarding; preferred overhead locker; dedicated crew members throughout the flight; guaranteed first meal choice; and Premium noise-cancelling headset. It’s similar to Virgin code-share partner Delta Airlines’ Comfort+, although Virgin insists that it developed its product independently in Australia.“We  felt – and certainly the conversations we’d had with customers were indicating – this was something that people would really want and value,” Australia Chief Customer Officer Mark Hassell told “It’s for people who don’t want to spend the money on premium economy, but are prepared to spend a little more money on greater exclusiveness and it’s a quieter cabin of just five rows. The reaction is very, very positive.”Meanwhile, the way the airline is pitching premium economy has changed. “It’s smaller, it’s more exclusive, it’s taken seat comfort to a new level and really the positioning is around business light rather than economy plus,” Hassell said.“That’s why we’ve flicked the ‘economy’ word from it – it’s ‘Premium’.”The Virgin Australia revamp means that there’ll be fewer seats on its 777-300ERs – until now one of the industry’s densest configurations with 361 seats. The new total number of seats per flights is 339.The new Virgin Australia 777-300ER seat maps are available here.last_img read more

SA children taught the game of life

first_imgA chance top to learn is the excitement of the upcoming Fifa World Cup to children in disadvantage areas of South Africa (Image: “A chance to play”) MEDIA CONTACTS • Claudia Berker “A chance to play” +27 11 403 7311 +27 82 221 2184 [email protected] RELATED ARTICLES • Transforming lives through sport • Reviving sport in SA schools • Street Child Cup kicks off in SA • Boost for school football Nosimilo Ramela“A chance to play” programme – spearheaded by Volkswagen Group Works Council and child aid organisation terre des hommes Germany – is bringing the joy of sport, important life lessons and 2010 Fifa World Cup fever to thousands of disadvantaged youngsters in South Africa.The initiative was launched here in April 2008 after employees of the vehicle manufacturer and aid group identified the need to improve the lives of young South Africans by linking play and sports with learning and training schemes, said coordinator Claudia Berker.“We looked at what was lacking in children’s lives and we found that sports and playing were missing,” she said. “Sports and playing were seen as a luxury in many of the communities – it shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be part of growing up.”The programme is linked with nine non-governmental organisations working with children in three provinces around South Africa: Limpopo, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.“We provide funding for these organisations and they come up with concepts that are adapted to those specific communities’ sports, playing and learning interests and needs,” Berker said.So far the programme has reached 30 000 children between the ages of four and 20 across the three provinces. In addition, eight community sport fields have been revamped, six recreational centres and playgrounds have been upgraded, and several community crèches have been extended to include play centres with toy libraries and jungle gyms.“We also organise regular coaching clinics for soccer, netball, rugby and basketball, and hold soccer tournaments and leagues for girls and boys,” said Berker.At sporting events hosted by “A chance to play”, youngsters receive life skills training, learn about HIV/Aids and how to deal with peer pressure, as well as gain a better understanding of gender relations. Personal development, career guidance and children’s rights are also part of the training.“We use their experiences when playing to teach them valuable lessons they can use to deal with challenges of everyday lives,” she said.“Through sport children learn key skills such as team spirit, playing fair, and gain self-confidence. They can work out their frustrations and fears, become more courageous, and feel integrated and accepted as part of a team.”Bringing the World Cup closerAll children involved in the programme will play in a mini Football World Cup in the June-July school holidays to celebrate the long-awaited Fifa spectacular.Participants have been split into different groups to mimic the 32 teams in the World Cup, and are being encouraged to learn more about the country and the people they will represent. During the mini tournament they will display their chosen country’s culture and spirit through singing, celebrations and football skills.“This has really instilled patriotism in the children – not only are they learning about other countries, they are getting to know their own land better as they compare different cultures. They are learning about the significance of this big event being in Africa, and in their country,” said Berker.Parents of children involved in the programme are thrilled with its results. Before joining some youngsters would roam the streets after school or during school holidays, but now they have engaging sports activities to keep them busy.Berker said many parents have reported that their relationships with their children have improved, as the programme gives participants a sense of purpose and teaches discipline.She said parents are relieved that their youngsters are out learning and playing in a safe environment, rather than running the risk of falling into the wrong crowd, getting caught up in crime or being promiscuous.“This is not just building and giving hope to young people, but also to the communities they live in,” said Berker.last_img read more

Ohio Soybean Council celebrates 2016, honors Stimpert

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It was fitting that for its 25th anniversary, the Ohio Soybean Council’s 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to Keith Stimpert, the former OSC executive director, who helped guide the organization through it’s inception. On this milestone anniversary, there is plenty to celebrate.At the OSC banquet earlier this week, Stimpert recalled numerous stories from the early days of the organization, including some early work with bio-based fuels and products. Those early efforts created the foundation for amazing success through the years. Since the early 1990s, OSC has engaged in public and private collaborations that encourage rapid commercialization of new commercial and industrial uses of soybeans. In one example of this success over the last 25 years, this year marked the sixth and seventh prestigious R&D 100 Awards that OSC has received since 2007.“With the checkoff, who would have guessed that soybeans would be in the things they are in now? Biodiesel, foam in car seats and now the chemicals that line pop cans all come from soybeans that make these products more environmentally friendly and better for your health,” said Kirk Merritt, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Council. “We certainly want to celebrate what we have done so far, but I think the focus will be more on the future than on the past. Our real focus will be what is coming next for these organizations and the great things that are going to happen down the road.”last_img read more