This assurance against the background of what she notes are concerns from some stakeholders, who describe the conference as a “talk shop”. Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, says the upcoming Eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference is expected to generate tangible outcomes that are implementable.This assurance is against the background of what she notes are concerns from some stakeholders, who describe the conference as a “talk shop”.“It [has been] my intention, [since] I became Minister with responsibility for the diaspora, that we would change that and ensure that our conferences have direct outcomes which are implementable and specific” the Minister added.Senator Johnson Smith further indicated that “we will be reporting on results of the last [conference in 2017, in terms of] where we would have slipped and succeeded, and also looking at how we take these conference outcomes forward, in an actionable way”.She was speaking with JIS News following the 2019 conference’s launch at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, last week.The event is slated for June 16 to 20 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, under the theme – ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development’.Meanwhile, Senator Johnson Smith advised that the Ministry and its legacy partners are working to ensure that this year’s conference is “one of the best ever”.“The Ministry’s team is ready and the legacy partners are ready. We have more sponsors coming on board and everybody is very energised,” she further indicated.Senator Johnson Smith also informed that there will be a Conference launch in New York on Tuesday, April 9, at the office of the Consulate General of Jamaica, beginning at 6:00 p.m.Additionally, she said a focus group meeting on the draft National Diaspora Policy, will be held with a broad cross-section of Jamaicans living in New York.“We do intend that one of the significant outcomes of the conference is to finalise the consultations, so that we have a Policy that’s ready for presentation to Cabinet and tabling in Parliament,” she said.The Minister further advised that similar launches are slated for Miami and Toronto. “It [has been] my intention, [since] I became Minister with responsibility for the Diaspora, that we would change that and ensure that our conferences have direct outcomes which are implementable and specific” the Minister added. Story Highlights Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, says the upcoming Eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference is expected to generate tangible outcomes which are implementable.
zoom Bermuda-based shipping company Teekay Tankers has announced a share repurchase program for the buyback of up to USD 45 million of the company’s shares. “During this period of weaker tanker rates, one of our key priorities remains strengthening our balance sheet by further reducing financial leverage and increasing liquidity,” Kevin Mackay, Teekay Tankers’ President and CEO, explained.“This program is being put in place as another lever to create shareholder value, allowing us to opportunistically take advantage of dislocations in the capital markets when we have excess capital,” Mackay added.As explained, shares may be repurchased in the open market at times and prices considered appropriate by the company. The timing of any purchases and the exact number of shares to be purchased under the program will be dependent on market conditions and other factors.What is more, Teekay Tankers has entered into a voting and support agreement with the company’s second largest shareholder after Teekay Corporation, Huber Capital Management. Under the deal, Huber Capital will vote its shares in favor of increasing the authorized number of Teekay Tankers’ Class A common shares at an upcoming special meeting of shareholders. This will permit the issuance of Class A common shares as consideration to complete the company’s proposed merger with Tanker Investments Ltd.Teekay Tankers currently owns a fleet of 39 double-hull tankers, including 20 Suezmax tankers, 12 Aframax tankers, and seven Long Range 2 (LR2) product tankers, and has three contracted time charter-in vessels. The company also owns a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) through a 50 percent-owned joint venture.In addition, Teekay Tankers owns a ship-to-ship transfer business and a minority interest of over 11 percent in Tanker Investments, which currently owns a fleet of 18 modern tankers and in which Teekay Tankers has agreed to acquire the remaining ownership interest. read more
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump turned the firing of NBC’s Matt Lauer into a fresh opportunity to attack the press Wednesday, unleashing a series of cryptic and personal tweets aimed at prominent media figures.As many Americans were eating breakfast, the president swiftly responded to the abrupt dismissal of the longtime “Today” show host by condemning NBC News and its Philadelphia-based parent company, Comcast Corp. Trump said on Twitter: “Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for ‘inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace.’ But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News.”Trump then referenced the NBC News chairman, adding: “Check out Andy Lack’s past!” It was not immediately clear what that comment referred to. In another tweet, the president used Lauer’s firing to lash out at “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough and MSNBC President Phil Griffin.NBC declined to comment on Trump’s tweets. It announced Wednesday that it had terminated Lauer after receiving a “detailed complaint” from a colleague about sexual misconduct.Trump’s comment on “Fake News” was a reiteration of his long-standing complaints about mainstream news outlets that he contends have covered his presidency unfairly and inaccurately. Trump, who often deems stories that he doesn’t like to be fake news, has maintained an ongoing battle with the media.His latest tweets follow a spate of posts in recent days denigrating the press, including one in which he suggested a contest to determine “the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted” news organization. He added: “Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”As a presidential candidate, Trump often criticized individual reporters by name at his massive, free-wheeling rallies. Wednesday’s tweets carried a sharply personal tone against a network that made Trump one of its biggest stars on “The Apprentice.”Speaking of Griffin, Trump tweeted that in light of Lauer’s departure, “when will the Fake News practitioners at NBC be terminating the contract of Phil Griffin?”Turning to Scarborough, Trump wrote: “And will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the “unsolved mystery” that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!”The president may have been referring to the 2001 death of an employee for Scarborough when he was serving as a Republican congressman from Florida. The 28-year-old woman was found dead in the congressman’s district office. A doctor who performed her autopsy said she suffered an abnormal heart rhythm, and police said at the time there were no signs of foul play.Scarborough responded with his own tweet: “Looks like I picked a good day to stop responding to Trump’s bizarre tweets. He is not well.”Trump has had a running feud with Scarborough and his “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski. After the two questioned Trump’s mental stability on their show, Trump last summer issued a crude tweet questioning Brzezinski’s intelligence, looks and temperament.The president’s tweets seeking to undermine the media have been a mainstay of Trump’s first year in office. The latest examples come amid tension over an upcoming White House holiday party.CNN, which is among Trump’s favourite targets, announced Tuesday that the network’s reporters would not be attending Friday’s White House Christmas party, an annual tradition in which reporters and administration officials interact in a more relaxed setting.“In light of the president’s continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN, we do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate with him as his invited guests,” the network said in a statement, adding that it intended to send “a White House reporting team to the event” to cover any news.White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the CNN announcement with a celebratory tweet, writing, “Christmas comes early! Finally, good news from @CNN.”Trump piled on, tweeting: “Great, and we should boycott Fake News CNN. Dealing with them is a total waste of time!”Journalists with The Associated Press also have been invited to the White House party. The news organization leaves it up to individual reporters to attend at their discretion.Over the weekend, Trump went after CNN International on Twitter, saying the network was “a major source of (Fake) news” outside the U.S. and complained that they “represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.”“The outside world does not see the truth from them!” he wrote.It was an especially pointed attack on a news organization that prides itself on its international coverage.CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer noted during Monday’s broadcast that the network’s reporters risk their lives across the globe on a daily basis. “No matter how many insults or blatant assaults on the press and its freedoms, this pursuit is something for which we will never bend or break and even the loudest critics can’t silence the facts,” he said.___On Twitter, follow Ken Thomas at @KThomasDC. read more
Last weekend, the UConn women’s basketball team punched its ticket to a 26th straight Sweet 16 with an 82-74 win over Buffalo. It was business as usual except for one small detail: the Huskies are a No. 2 seed, making this the first year since 2006 that the Huskies are not a No. 1 seed. The selection committee’s decision was controversial, but UConn Coach Geno Auriemma shrugged it off, saying, “We’re not going to practice differently because we’re a 2 instead of a 1.”Auriemma surely hopes his team doesn’t play any differently, either, as the Huskies have advanced to the Final Four in each of the past 11 seasons. In that span, they have won six national championships.But seeding aside, are this year’s Huskies any different? After all, this team only lost two games and none in the American Athletic Conference. Are UConn fans right to be upset about the No. 2 seed, or is the seed a real reflection of the fact that this year’s Huskies aren’t quite as elite as their title-winning predecessors?2018-19 UConn versus 2015-16 UConnUConn most recently won an NCAA title in 2015-16, led by the dominant trio of Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck. That team went 38-0 and won by almost 40 points per game, including a 31-point victory over Syracuse in the national championship game. According to Her Hoop Stats, UConn led the nation in most traditional and advanced statistics, including points per game, points allowed per game, field goal percentage, points per scoring attempt, assists per game and block rate.As an exercise, I selected 23 statistical categories from Her Hoop Stats on which to compare the 2015-16 and the 2018-19 teams. These included statistics on offense and defense—and on shooting, rebounding, assists, steals, blocks and fouls — in an attempt to represent the full range of each team’s abilities. Eight of the statistics happened to be categories in which UConn led the nation in 2015-16. This year’s UConn team leads the nation in just one of these statistics — foul rate — and bettered the 2015-16 team’s numbers in only three. This year’s team holds opponents to a lower shooting percentage on three-pointers, records assists on a higher percentage of its baskets, and has a slightly lower turnover rate than the 2015-16 team. This year’s Huskies lag behind the 2015-16 champ teamBased on 23 selected offense and defense statistics comparing the 2015-16 and 2018-19 University of Connecticut women’s basketball team 2018-19 UConn forward Napheesa Collier vs. 2015-16 forward Breanna Stewart in 17 statistics where Stewart leads Collier 2015-162018-19Is 2018-19 better? Minutes per game32.529.1 Block rate4.7%11.9% Foul rate2.7%2.6% Field goal share7215634 Block rate16.1%10.5% Opponent points per scoring attempt0.790.82 Collier is averaging 21.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game for the Huskies. She ranks in the top 10 percent of players nationally in usage rate (27.0 percent), meaning that more than one in four Huskies possessions while she’s on the court ends with her shooting the ball or turning it over. (She registers an assist on another 21.5 percent of UConn possessions while she’s on the court.) Despite such a heavy workload, she is among the most efficient players in the nation, ranking 19th in field goal percentage (61.9%) and 22nd in points per scoring attempt (1.30).In March, anything can happen. Sometimes a player puts a team on his or her back and carries it to a championship. Basketball fans in Storrs know something about this: Kemba Walker did it for the UConn men in 2011 and Shabazz Napier followed suit three years later. In other years, the best team does win, as shown by UConn’s four undefeated seasons from 2008-09 to 2015-16. In other years, it’s a little of both — such as in 2002-03, a dominant season for the Huskies that Auriemma famously summarized as, “We have Diana [Taurasi] and you don’t.” This year, whether the title goes to an excellent team or to a transcendent individual talent, the UConn women have a good chance of taking home the trophy. The Huskies may not be quite as intimidating as they once were, but the 2-seed is still among the nation’s best. And, of course, they have Napheesa, and other teams don’t. Turnover rate11.0%10.0% Field goals attempted per game13.912.8 Steals per game7134256 Opponent 3-point share29.9%28.3%✓ Steals per game1.51.8 Opponent 3-point rate30.2%32.2% And here are the categories in which Stewart comes out on top: Source: Her Hoop Stats Rebounds per game6723414 Field goals made per game8.67.4 Total rebounding rate17.3%17.0% Assist-to-turnover ratio1.821.70 Source: Her Hoop Stats Season ranking 3-point share6215374 Foul rate15.6%16.9% Source: her hoop stats However, the 2015-16 team set an incredibly high bar; comparing any team to that team feels akin to saying, “These UCLA Bruins are OK, but they’ve got nothing on John Wooden’s 1972 squad.” Not only did the 2015-16 UConn team go undefeated, but it didn’t win a single game all season by fewer than 10 points. Seniors Stewart, Jefferson and Tuck became the first three picks in the 2016 WNBA draft — the only time three players from the same school have ever been the top three picks in the WNBA or NBA draft.2018-19 UConn versus UConn title teams since 2009Her Hoop Stats only offers advanced statistics on teams from the 2015-16 season to the present, but UConn makes plenty of traditional stats available in its women’s basketball archives. Here is how this year’s UConn team compares to the six most recent UConn champions in 16 categories: Offensive rebounds per game3.22.2 Opponent effective field goal share38.0%38.8% Assist rate21.5%22.7% Steal rate16.6%11.8% Blocks per game1.53.4 Assist-to-turnover ratio3131555 Opp. rebounds per game7126425 Opp. field goal share7523416 Points per game88.183.4 Opponent 3-point share4632517 Steal rate2.6%3.5% Opp. points per game7342516 3-point share28.0%42.6% Assists per game5132467 Turnovers per game1342675 Free throw share71.3%83.6% Assists per game3.64.0 Defensive rebounding rate72.6%69.9% Assist rate63.2%64.0%✓ Source: university of connecticut Opp. turnovers per game7146235 Free throw share4153267 Turnovers per game2.01.6 3-point rate28.5%30.5%✓ 3-point share38.1%36.3% Total rebounds per game10.78.7 Effective field goal percentage59.0%55.8% 3-point rate8.8%19.9% Points per game21.119.4 Opponent average win percentage59.5%56.2% Turnover rate14.2%14.1% Offensive rebounding rate11.6%9.4% 2018-19 UConn forward Napheesa Collier vs. 2015-16 forward Breanna Stewart in 11 statistics where Collier leads Stewart Defensive rebounding rate21.9%23.3% Assist-to-turnover ratio1.802.45 Collier (2018-19)Stewart (2015-16) Points per game4216573 Season Free throw share80.0%73.5% Record6th1st5th1st7th1st1st Possessions per 40 minutes70.970.8 Blocks per game7321456 Opponent turnover rate25.3%19.1% Usage rate27.0%26.8% Effective field goal share63.4%62.8% Points per scoring attempt1.301.32 2018-192015-162014-152013-142012-132009-102008-09 Fouls per game1.61.4 Collier (2018-19)Stewart (2015-16) Free throw rate15.9%16.0% Defensive rebounds per game7.56.6 This year’s UConn team ranks the best of the seven Huskies teams in just one category (fewest turnovers per game). It also trails the pack in several categories, most of which are on the defensive end. The 2018-19 Huskies generate the fewest steals and opponent turnovers of any UConn champion since 2009, allow the most points and the best shooting percentage, and give up the most rebounds. They are also shooting the worst percentage from the field, but they are still scoring more points per game than three of the previous six UConn champions.If you take the average in each statistical category, this year’s UConn team also ranks below average in all but two categories: turnovers per game and assist-to-turnover ratio. All together, these comparisons suggest there is some truth to the idea that this year’s UConn team isn’t as much of a juggernaut as it has been for most of the past 10 years.Where does that leave this year’s Huskies?Don’t panic, Huskies fans. None of this means the 2018-19 team cannot take home another championship. In fact, FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions give UConn a 70 percent chance of making its 12th straight Final Four and a 16 percent chance of winning the championship. The latter is the third-best odds of any team left in the tournament. And UConn may have an ace up its sleeve in the form of senior Napheesa Collier. The 6-foot-1 forward was inexplicably left off the list of four finalists for the 2019 Naismith Player of the Year Award, but many of her numbers actually compare favorably to what three-time Naismith Player of the Year Breanna Stewart did in her senior year in 2015-16. Here are the stats in which Collier tops Stewart: Total rebounding rate57.9%54.6% Opponent points per game48.355.3 Offensive rebounding rate39.8%35.6% Points per scoring attempt1.231.17 This year’s Huskies aren’t quite at previous levelsHow the six recent UConn championship teams and the 2018-19 rank in selected statistics read more
Senior offensive lineman Connor Smith never takes the feeling of running into the Horseshoe on game day for granted. “I think if you don’t feel something every time you go in front of 105,000 people, there is something wrong with you,” Smith said. Smith has been used to the big stage since his high school days at Colerain High School in Cincinnati. He was a highly touted recruit, tabbed with labels such as 2005 Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year and Greater Miami Conference 2005 Offensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot-4-inches, 313-pounder was named first team All-Ohio in 2004 and 2005 and was on the 2006 Parade All-America team. Smith was also invited to the U.S. Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, following his senior season at Colerain. Five years later, Smith is nearing the home stretch of his career as a Buckeye, but he would rather think about the tasks ahead. “I try not to think about it,” Smith said. “We have to get better because we can’t get to where we want to go if we are not progressing.” Smith redshirted his freshman year at OSU in 2006 and earned his first varsity letter the following season in 2007 playing some at the right guard position. Smith also won letters his sophomore and junior seasons, providing stability to a deep offensive line, mostly in a backup role. A seasoned veteran in his fifth year with the Buckeyes, Smith knows that this year’s team has to improve every day if it want to accomplish its goal to be national champion. “Every day we work on what we need to accomplish that day,” Smith said. “We need to improve efficiency when we are running the ball.” Smith also stresses the importance of winning games on the road, especially after scares like the team had at Illinois earlier in the season. “Being away from home is different; we have got to improve on the road definitely,” Smith said. Smith may always be thinking of ways the team needs to improve on offense, but is happy to be part of the offensive line where all the players seem to clique. “The O-line is a tight-knit group,” Smith said, “the tightest group out of everyone on the team.” Though Smith isn’t in the starting line-up, he takes every opportunity to be a leader for the younger players. “You just try to give them tid-bits about something you see in their game,” Smith said. Smith may be running out of time as a Buckeye, but makes the most out of every day for one last run at a championship. read more
The Ohio State men’s hockey team just keeps on rolling. OSU came into a Friday afternoon contest against No. 14-ranked Northern Michigan unbeaten in its last five games, but fell behind Wildcats, 1-0, in the first period. The Buckeyes responded with four unanswered goals over the final two periods, however, and upset Northern Michigan, 4-1. OSU Sophomore forward Alex Szczechura tied the game in the second period and a third-period tally by sophomore forward Chris Crane put OSU in front for good. Senior captain Cory Schneider scored two goals late in regulation to clinch the upset. “I thought we got better as the game went on,” OSU coach Mark Osiecki said after the game. “We’re all about competing and work and goals by committee… It’s fun to coach these kids.” The Wildcats struck first, scoring on a shot from sophomore center Stephan Vigier shot at 16:07 in the first period to take a 1-0 lead. Junior left winger Kory Kaunisto assisted on the tally, the only for either team in the first period. The Buckeyes came out firing in the second period. OSU took 12 second-period shots, and one found the back of the net early. Szczechura out-muscled a defender behind Northern Michigan senior goalie Reid Ellingson’s net. Szczechura then wrapped around the goal before firing a shot home from close range to tie the score at 1-1. “(We were) working hard down low and I just kind of got (the puck) and took it to the net,” Szczechura said of his goal. “Luckily for me, it just went in. Nothing special about it.” Two Wildcats penalties gave OSU a 5-on-3 advantage just minutes later, but Ellingson denied four Buckeyes’ shots and Northern Michigan held OSU off. OSU outshot Northern Michigan, 17-8, through two periods, but the 1-1 score held as the third period began. At 10:38 of the final period, Northern Michigan freshman defenseman Jake Baker received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for an open-ice hit on OSU senior Danny Dries. After having his head illegally contacted by Baker, Dries eventually returned to his feet. Moments later, the Buckeyes made the Wildcats pay on the resulting power play when Crane poked a goal passed Ellingson to put OSU up. “They took a five-minute major and we capitalized,” Crane said. “Going hard to the net — that’s our mentality as Ohio State and it worked out for us.” With just more than two minutes to play Schneider, a forward, jammed a goal passed Ellingson to clinch the upset. Schneider also added an empty-net goal in the final minute of play. Senior goalie Cal Heeter stopped 13-of-14 shots in the game to preserve the win, which improved OSU’s record to 7-3-1 overall and 4-2-1-1 in the CCHA. The Wildcats fall to 4-3-3 overall and 1-2-3-2 in the CCHA. The two teams will meet again at the Schottenstein Center Saturday with the opening face-off set for 7:05 p.m. read more