Budget Highlights for Fiscal Year 201516

first_img New Department of Business will help create one of the most competitive and business-friendly environments in Canada, allowing the private sector to drive economic growth in Nova Scotia. Provide strategic planning and policy direction, foster entrepreneurship and innovation, and ensure business development is co-ordinated across government and beyond Department will house the Office of Regulatory and Service Effectiveness to implement regulatory recommendations in the Nova Scotia Tax and Regulatory Review and work with New Brunswick to create a modern, consistent and fair regulatory environment $2 million this year to Invest Nova Scotia for initiatives that provide broad economic benefits across the province $400,000 for Brilliant Labs in all eight school boards, to help teachers incorporate technology, creativity and entrepreneurship in the classroom $1.6 million this year for the Graduate to Opportunity program Begin to right-size the civil service by reducing 320 full-time equivalent jobs as government restructures programs and services Program Review to date will save taxpayers $119 million. Program Review has become a permanent initiative with future savings contributing to sustainable finances Department of Health and Wellness spending will rise 0.8 per cent, the smallest increase in more than a decade. Five other departments have smaller budgets than last year Invest an additional $20.4 million this year to renew, refocus and rebuild our education system Protect our vulnerable citizens by increasing funding to a number of programs HEALTH AND WELLNESSNova Scotians invest greatly in their health system, yet the province faces significant economic, fiscal and demographic challenges that put exceptional pressure on that investment. Budget 2015-16 will ensure the more than four billion health dollars are spent wisely to address the health needs of the population today, and the future. TAX MEASURESGovernment will take a long-term, measured and thoughtful approach to implementing changes to Nova Scotia’s tax system. Fairness, simplicity, competitiveness and sustainability will guide government decision-making, as it makes every effort to ensure that changes to the taxation mix do not harm vulnerable Nova Scotians. Program Review to date will save taxpayers $119 million. Savings come primarily from: program changes ($10.2 million) that include converting seven underutilized camping parks to self-registration, closing two underutilized visitor information centres, and ending the Environmental Home Assessment Program and a duplicated flood-mitigation program grant and tax changes ($56.8 million) that include rebalancing support to the creative sector by revising the Film Industry Tax Credit and phasing out equity investments in film projects. The changes also include refreshing the Sustainable Transportation Strategy and eliminating the out-of-province university student bursary structural changes ($42.7 million) that include eliminating the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, phasing out the Nova Scotia Gateway Office, merging Nova Scotia Lands and Waterfront Development Corporation Ltd. to eliminate duplication, eliminating Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia and consolidating Land Registry Offices to five locations to reflect declining office visits and increased online use other changes ($9.4 million) that include various revenue adjustments and administrative efficiencies Program Review is now a permanent part of government that will deliver more savings and efficiencies as government moves to sustainable finances $3.6-million increase for grades Primary to 2 class-size caps, $3.45 million for grades 3 and 4 class-size caps $3-million increase for the math strategy; $4.4 million for early literacy (a $973,000 increase) $6.5 million towards Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for Education Offer early intervention in math for grades Primary to 3 students $1.3-million increase to reduce the wait lists for community-based Early Intervention $700,000 increase for Early Learning Initiatives; $500,000 increase for four new SchoolsPlus sites $3.2 million to increase university operating grants by one per cent Allow universities to make one-time market adjustments to tuition, to charge similar amounts for similar programs. Maintain the three per cent cap on tuition increases for Nova Scotia undergrads once market adjustments are applied; remove cap for out-of-province and graduate students $1.6 million in up-front grants to help more Nova Scotia students pay for school Forgive up to $15,000 in provincial student loans for Nova Scotia students at Nova Scotia universities through the Nova Scotia Loan Forgiveness Program $24.8 million to maintain the Nova Scotia Bursary, which automatically takes $1,283 off tuition for Nova Scotia students studying here at home $3.8 million for the 0 Per Cent Interest Program, to pay the interest on provincial student loans for Nova Scotia graduates PROGRAM AND SERVICE REVIEW AND STRUCTURAL CHANGEOver the decades, government has introduced a complex web of often overlapping programs that need rigorous examination and review to respect and maximize taxpayer dollars and ensure value. Maintain the volunteer firefighter and ground search and rescue tax credit, as well as HST rebates on children’s clothing, footwear and diapers, feminine hygiene products and printed books, and maintain the Affordable Living Tax Credit Increase tobacco taxes by two cents per cigarette, two cents per gram of fine-cut tobacco and two cents per pre-proportioned tobacco stick Lower the non-eligible dividend tax credit, which has not kept pace with changing conditions, from 5.87 per cent to 3.5 per cent The Film Industry Tax Credit will give companies the first 25 per cent as refundable, but the remaining 75 per cent of the credit will be applied to any taxes owing These changes take effect July 1, 2015 to ensure projects currently in progress can continue Eliminate the Healthy Living Tax Credit which is not helping low-income Nova Scotians STUDENT SUCCESSBudget 2015-16 directly supports Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for Education. Funding will help to ensure children have the support they need for a positive start to school, and that students benefit from a quality Primary-to-12 education, doing better in core areas like math and literacy. Budget 2015-16 also provides the funding universities need to protect quality over the long term. Budget decisions are also focused on keeping education accessible for Nova Scotia students studying at Nova Scotia universities.center_img The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) came into place April 1, 2015, with a new, streamlined leadership team and volunteer board Work with the NSHA and IWK Health Centre to develop the province’s first, multi-year provincial health plan that will ensure the most effective and efficient use of resources $2.6 million to develop the One Person One Record plan, which if fully implemented, will become a single, secure electronic record that connects all of a person’s health information $700,000 to expand the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program to two more areas $2 million more to help address orthopaedic surgery wait times, providing 450 more surgeries Increase age of eligibility from 19 to 25 years for insulin-pump funding Expand vaccinations for meningococcal meningitis, including introducing the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine in the school program Add the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV) for Grade 7 males through the school program Provide Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention to meet the needs of pre-schoolers with autism preparing to enter school $1.8 million to provide the Caregiver Benefit to support 385 more families (additional funding) $3.8 million for home-care services (additional funding) BUSINESS AND INNOVATIONGovernment has an important role to play in clearing the way for the private sector to pursue growth by maintaining a policy and regulatory environment that creates a climate to enable business and social enterprise growth. Budget 2015-16, will take a bold new approach to economic development and innovation, supported by major structural change. WAGE CHALLENGEThe inflated wage pattern of the past several years has prevented a return to balance. The fact that economic growth stalled in tandem with this wage pattern made the situation even more difficult. The generosity of two, 2.5 and three per cent wage increases has left a major burden for all Nova Scotians Real economic growth in this period was only 1.6 per cent Over $700 million in total was added to government’s labour costs over the last three years – these costs are now embedded permanently 58 per cent of our departmental spending is spent on wages – about $5.2 billion of the province’s total budget of $8.9 billion If labour settlements had matched the real growth in the economy, our wage bill would be $300 million lower and we would have a $200-million surplus Government has announced a three-year wage freeze for excluded employees and froze their public service awards CREATIVE ECONOMYThe contributions made by all businesses in the creative sector help to drive our economy. Budget 2015-16 will align the creative sector with Nova Scotia Business Inc. to provide business development support and promotion for creative industries. Government will provide almost $70 million this year in support of the cultural sector, including: Budget 2015-2016 holds the line on spending, restructures and reduces the size of government, and continues to clear the way for private-sector growth. BUDGET OVERVIEWThe budget focuses on the core responsibilities of government and makes the changes needed to protect key government priorities like health care, education and support for seniors and low-income Nova Scotians. Revenues for 2015-16, including net income from government business enterprises, are an estimated $9.9 billion, a 3.7 per cent increase from 2014-15. Expenses are an estimated $10 billion, an increase of 0.9 per cent from 2014-15. The projected deficit is $97.6 million. DEPARTMENTAL SPENDINGBudget 2015-16 holds the line on spending by focusing on the core responsibilities of government and making structural change that will make it work better and cost less. By making thoughtful, strategic spending decisions and reductions, overall departmental spending is up 0.7 per cent over 2014-15, when taking into account wage increases that were some of the highest in Canada for the sectors. $12.5 million in direct culture and heritage development programming, including $2.6 million for Arts Nova Scotia $14 million for libraries $10 million in operational funding and programming, including museums and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia $24 million for the Film Industry Tax Credit $7.5 million for the Digital Media Tax Credit Government will rebalance industry funding, creating a climate that supports entrepreneurship, innovation and growth in business and social enterprise The $6-million Creative Economy Fund will begin April 1, 2016, and NSBI will work with the sectors in establishing the criteria for the fundlast_img read more

Endangering ecology livelihoods

first_imgA group of farmers in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar, who have long been opposing limestone mining in the district, recently wrote to a court-appointed panel highlighting how the proposed project would undermine the ecology apart from endangering livelihoods. Farmers sought that the committee, appointed by the Gujarat High Court, recommend that all mining on agricultural lands of Mahuva and Talaja talukas of the district be stopped with immediate effect. They also sought that the panel advises the court to cancel the mining permission and lease. Also Read – A special kind of bond”The issue is not of livelihoods alone but of the loss of the entire ecosystem, water bodies, biodiversity and the endangered and protected lion population in the area,” said Sagar Rabari, president of Khedut Ekta Manch Gujarat, a farmers’ platform. The farmers wanted the committee to advise concerned departments to ensure that before sanctioning of any land for non-agriculture use, prior informed consent of affected people be made mandatory—not only from Gram Panchayat but Gram Sabhas as well. They called for a mandatory livelihood loss survey too. Also Read – Insider threat managementRabari submitted a letter to committee members in late June on behalf of several organisations opposed to leasing out of land to a cement company for mining limestone for 50 years. Farmers of around 13 villages have kept the company out of the land in question. After some violence on January 2, 2019, farmers approached the high court seeking action against the police for alleged custodial torture of agitators including women and children. The court in May reportedly transferred the case to the state Criminal Investigation Department after preliminary judicial inquiry findings pointed to police atrocity. It then formed a three-member committee to find out the repercussions of a mining lease in agricultural lands. It also has to report on police atrocities in three months to the court in Bhavnagar. The farmers listed several reasons for their stand: Pointing towards the specific impacts of limestone mining in 1,300 hectares over the 13 villages of Talaja (Jhanjmer, Talli, Methala, Madhuvan, Reliya, Gadhula, Bambhor, Nava Rajpara, Juna Rajpara) and Mahuva (Nicha Kotda, Uncha Kotda, Dayal, Kalsaar) talukas, they claim 98 per cent of the acquisition was of private agricultural land. Limestone, they said, was responsible for the availability of sweet water. Referring to Mahuva—referred to as Kashmir of Saurashtra—they said its coconut plantations and Jamadar mangoes would face extinction. They also requested the committee to refer to scientific data and studies on salinity ingress in the area in the last four decades and also probable impact on fertility. They sought an invitation to the forest department officers to gauge the number of lions, vulture and migratory birds in the region and the potential impact of mining on biodiversity. They pointed out that mining would entail excavation, blasting, drilling and manual shattering of rocks, loading, and transportation, etc. This would lead to disbursement of dust on fields, water bodies and standing crops, which could eventually lead to desertification and stunting of crops like cotton, onion, garlic, jowar, millet, and vegetables. Water sources would also be polluted. A check dam built on Bagad river by the people of Methala and Kotada to check salinity ingress would also be endangered. The letter underscored that the local population was dependent mainly on agriculture. Villagers were earlier compelled to migrate in search of work post-Diwali in the absence of permanent irrigation. The children suffered academically and the migrants had to live in precarious conditions in the Ankleshwar-Vapi industrial area. “The check dam assured a regular source of irrigation, greatly raised the water table and improved the quality of water only in one monsoon,” the letter pointed out. Bhavnagar district, particularly the two talukas, are known for their onion and garlic. Based on them, around 1,102 dehydration plants function there, each employing 200-250 people, for around 100 days every year. Dehydrated onions and garlic are exported to Russia, the Middle East, Germany, France, and the USA. There are also around 30 cotton ginning mills in the talukas, providing seasonal employment to 2,500-3,000 people. “If the fertile agriculture land in the area is mined and polluted, not only the entire agro-industry but the farmers, the farm workers, the cattle-rearers and the workers working in agro-industries would lose their employment and will be forced to migrate elsewhere thus falling into poverty and vulnerability,” the letter claimed. The letter inferred to the Report on Development of Coastal Areas Affected by Salinity (November 1981) by the Planning Commission. The report dwelt on the problem of salinity ingress in coastal Saurashtra right from the 1950s. It also emphasised on findings and recommendations of a 1976 high-level committee. “We are awaiting what the committee submits to the court. Thereafter, we will chalk out our agitational programme. We will not give up the fight,” Rabari told DTE. Gujarat might just see another battle around ecology and livelihood. (The views expressed are those of DTE)last_img read more

Exconvict trying to help those walking in his old shoes

first_imgAPTN National NewsA former convict, drug addict and lost to the streets Andy Nieman can hold a captive audience.Now armed with a degree in social work Nieman is trying to help First Nation inmates at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.“I’ve been in that system so they want to connect with me. I have an automatic connection with them. I know how they feel and what they think,” says Nieman.APTN’s Shirley McLean has his story.last_img

King Mohammed VI in Good Shape After Heart Surgery in Paris

Rabat – King Mohammed VI appears to be back to full health after experiencing a heart rate disorder two weeks ago, as he appeared in several pictures taking with Moroccans of the Diaspora during a stroll in Paris. The pictures of the King, who appeared outside of the traditional protocol, were published by an unofficial Facebook page of King Mohammed VI with more than 3.5 million fans.King Mohammed VI has been staying in Paris since late February, after he successfully underwent surgery on February 26 for his heart rate disorder, according to a communique from the royal palace. “The doctors of the King indicated that medical investigations confirm that he experienced an atrial flutter on an otherwise healthy heart,” said the communique. “The radiofrequency ablation of this arrhythmia, performed today at the Ambroise Paré clinic in Paris has normalized the heart rate,” it added. The surgery will not affect the monarch’s ability to resume his daily activities. read more

ExIvorian leader Gbagbo arrives at ICC to face charges of crimes against

30 November 2011Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Côte d’Ivoire, arrived at the International Criminal Court (ICC) today to face charges of crimes against humanity committed during the country’s recent post-election violence. Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Côte d’Ivoire, arrived at the International Criminal Court (ICC) today to face charges of crimes against humanity committed during the post-election violence that began in the West African nation nearly a year ago.The 66-year-old was yesterday surrendered to the ICC, which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands, by Ivorian national authorities. His initial appearance before the pre-trial chamber will be held promptly, the court said in a news release.Mr. Gbagbo allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts, committed in Côte d’Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011.“Mr. Gbagbo is brought to account for his individual responsibility in the attacks against civilians committed by forces acting on his behalf. He is presumed innocent until proven guilty and will be given full rights and the opportunity to defend himself,” ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in a statement.“Ivorian victims will see justice for massive crimes. Mr. Gbagbo is the first to be brought to account, there is more to come,” he added.In early October the ICC authorized the Prosecutor to probe alleged abuses committed during the bloody unrest in Côte d’Ivoire, which erupted when Mr. Gbagbo refused to step down after he lost the United Nations-certified election to Alassane Ouattara, who was eventually sworn in after Mr. Gbagbo surrendered in April.According to sources quoted by the prosecution in its application, at least 3,000 people were killed, 72 disappeared and 520 others were subject to arbitrary arrest and detentions during the post-election violence.It was “one of the worst episodes of violence Côte d’Ivoire has ever known, with ordinary Ivorians suffering immensely and crimes allegedly committed by both parties,” said Mr. Moreno-Ocampo.“We have evidence that the violence did not happen by chance: widespread and systematic attacks against civilians perceived as supporting the other candidate were the result of a deliberate policy.”The Prosecutor added that investigations are continuing. “Leaders must understand that violence is no longer an option to retain or gain power,” he stated.“The time of impunity for these crimes is over.”Cote read more

Aaron Judge Was Amazing Aaron Judge Was A Bum Now Hes Amazing

Benny Kauff191424IND0.98188.82 Ted Williams193920BOS1.045316.91 Albert Pujols200121STL1.013376.89 Tony Oliva196425MIN0.916326.50 Al Rosen195026CLE0.948376.39 Corey Seager201622LAD0.877266.77 Donie Bush190921DET0.69406.43 PLAYERYEARAGETEAMOPSHRWAR Ichiro Suzuki200127SEA0.83886.85 Mike Piazza199324LAD0.931357.21 WAR is an average of Baseball-Reference.com’s and FanGraphs’ versions. Rookie status is determined using current eligibility rules.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs Kenny Lofton199225CLE0.72756.20 Billy Grabarkewitz197024LAD0.853176.30 Tommie Agee196623CHW0.773226.40 Kris Bryant201523CHC0.857266.21 Remember when New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was mired in the slump to end all slumps? Or before that, when it appeared no park could contain his titanic blasts? The larger-than-life Judge has a tendency to take us to the extremes, for good and for bad — and sometimes both at once.1Even in kinda-sorta breaking out of his skid earlier this month, the guy had a .939 on-base plus slugging … while hitting just .200.So it was against the backdrop of all that on Monday when Judge reminded us just how insane his rookie season has been, through all the peaks and valleys. Facing the Kansas City Royals, Judge teed off for home runs No. 49 and 50 on the year, breaking Mark McGwire’s 3-decade-old MLB record for the most homers by a rookie. The record is symbolic — a nice, round number to cap off a historically great campaign — but also functional, since few players have hit half as many home runs as rookies and not gone on to turn in pretty good careers. As far as anyone can tell, Judge’s future still looks very bright, weird as this season was.Back when we wrote about Judge’s rookie performance at midseason, he’d easily compiled the best first half to a first season of any player in recent memory. Of course, that was before the month-and-a-half stretch immediately following the All-Star Game, during which Judge hit .179, struck out in 37 consecutive games and generally saw his once-amazing numbers reduced to mere indicators of just how strange things can get in today’s era of Three True Outcomes baseball. (Despite the ridiculously low average, Judge still walked enough for a decent OBP, making it difficult to say quite how poorly he was playing.)But by the time of Monday’s record-breaking outburst, Judge had long since dug himself out of that slump. In September, he has a 1.338 OPS — better than any of his early-season months, even — and has poured it on especially in the last two weeks and change, with four multi-homer games since Sept. 10. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, Judge’s turnaround has coincided with a significant reduction in chased pitches (18 percent since Sept. 3 versus 28 percent between the All-Star break and Sept. 2) and a big hike in hard-hit balls (27 percent of at-bats versus 16 percent).The result has been to recover one of the greatest rookie seasons by a position player in major-league history. According to Wins Above Replacement,2Averaging together the versions found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com. Judge’s recent heroics have helped him edge out Mike Piazza’s 1993 and Fred Lynn’s 1975 campaigns for fifth place on the all-time list of rookie performances. Although he probably won’t catch Dick Allen’s stunning debut from 1964, which ranks fourth, Judge has still cemented his place among the top rookies ever. (As always, Mike Trout is No. 1, because of course he is.) N. Garciaparra199723BOS0.876306.50 Dick Allen196422PHI0.939298.50 Judge’s place in the rookie pantheonThe best rookie seasons since 1901, according to wins above replacement Fred Lynn197523BOS0.967217.25 Aaron Judge201725NYY1.038507.61 Joe Jackson191123CLE1.05879.23 Carlton Fisk197224BOS0.908226.95 Mike Trout201220LAA0.9633010.53 But forget the fancy stats. Just taken by themselves, 50 homers for a rookie is absurd; even 30 is relatively unheard of, having been done just 28 times in MLB history (including twice this season — more on that later). And the rookie 30-plus homer club makes for pretty good company. Among members who’ve had at least 10 years to bash more homers after their rookie seasons, the average career total is 286 home runs, ranging from Albert Pujols’s 614 on the high side to Jimmie Hall’s 121 on the low. Most didn’t approach Pujols territory, but they did tend to settle in around 200 to 300 career homers: Some names on the list, such as Ron Kittle, Matt Nokes and even current Red Sox left fielder Chris Young, are a little odd. If Judge follows their trajectories, he’ll finish with a career on the journeyman side, far from the halls of Cooperstown. But many more in this cohort ended up being very good ballplayers, including a handful of Hall of Fame-caliber legends — such as Pujols, Ted Williams, Frank Robinson, Piazza and our good friend Mike Trout — sprinkled in. Plus there’s Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers, the likely National League rookie of the year, who also joined the club this season with 39 homers as a rookie, his final story as unwritten as Judge’s.Judge is such a fascinating player partly because of all the highs and lows: How can one hitter be capable of so wide a range of performance? Despite his struggles after the All-Star break, though, Judge’s entire 2017 season was historic. Nobody knows exactly what’s next for the towering slugger — particularly with the ahead-of-schedule Yankees bound for the playoffs — but we’ve already seen enough to know Judge is worth geeking out over for seasons to come. read more

JKTech forms Peruvian consulting partnership

first_imgJKTech, a technology transfer company based in Australia, has formed a partnership with Peru based Transmin Metallurgical Consultants. Transmin has been a leader in metallurgical consulting expertise in Peru and neighbouring countries and will now provide JKTech consulting services to the region. The partnership will provide comminution consulting, flotation consulting, training, and JKTech software and hardware products to the region.Adam Johnston, Transmin’s Chief Metallurgist says: “Many of our clients typically have crushing, grinding or flotation problems. JKTech’s suite of tools, services and experience at solving these problems are second to none. This is a fantastic opportunity for South American operations to use these cutting edge techniques with the additional benefits of local engineers offering fast bilingual support. The team at Transmin is ecstatic with the dynamic and cooperative integration that JKTech and Transmin are undertaking.”JKTech currently has strong relationships with many of the major mining companies in the region including BHP Billiton, Barrick Gold, Freeport McMoran International, Xstrata and Anglo American among others.Transmin Metallurgical Consultants has years of both operational and consulting experience in Peru. They carry out new project studies, audits, optimisation or plant expansion projects, whilst offering international contacts and experience; bilingual in Spanish and English; with a knowledge of current best practices.JKTech is the technology transfer company for the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre and other centres of the Sustainable Minerals Institute at The University of Queensland. Its role is to take viable research outcomes and transfer them to the international minerals industry. JKTech offers a range of innovative solutions for the minerals industry aimed at improving operating efficiency. These specialist products and services include consulting, automated quantitative mineralogy, specialist software, specialist equipment, laboratory services and training courses.last_img read more

Anglo Coal South Africa wins award for workplace program on HIV and

first_imgAnglo Coal South Africa, a wholly owned subsidiary of mining company Anglo American, has been awarded the Business Excellence Award for Best Workplace Program by the Global Business Coalition (GBC) on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This award is for the company’s workplace program focused on tackling HIV and AIDS in South Africa and will be presented to Ben Magara, CEO of Anglo Coal South Africa tonight at an awards dinner in Washington D.C. The event will be attended by global health leaders including senior Obama administration officials and representatives from UNAIDS, The World Health Organisation and The Global Fund.HIV and AIDS is having a major impact on millions of lives in Southern Africa and Anglo Coal estimates that some 1,300 of its 9,300 employees in the region are currently infected with HIV. Anglo American says that “this award has been given in recognition of the ground-breaking work the company does in South Africa with its comprehensive HIV/AIDS response for both employees and their families.”All Anglo Coal employees are actively encouraged to test annually, with senior members of the management team taking HIV tests in public to lead by example. Employees who test positive can enrol in a free HIV management program offering care, support and treatment. As a result of this response, the company has seen mass employee engagement on this issue and 94% of permanent workers have been HIV tested since the program began. Anglo Coal is now hoping to have reduced the number of new infections to half what they were in 2005 by the end of 2009.“These awards are given to an elite group of companies who set the standard for excellence in business action to defeat disease,” said GBC President and CEO John Tedstrom. “They show what a business can do, and how to do it exceedingly effectively.  We need more businesses to take this kind of action. The fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria cannot be won without the corporate sector stepping up and playing an active role – and Anglo American and, specifically, its Anglo Coal division is doing exactly the kind of thing that all companies can and should do. Anglo American doesn’t just talk, they take action. And their action saves lives.”Magara commented, “We have been dedicated to the issue of HIV and AIDS since the 1990s and thanks to great leadership, a simple, clear system with world class medical support and a passion amongst all our employees to tackle HIV and AIDS, we are making headway against this disease.  We are incredibly proud of this recognition from the GBC and Anglo Coal continues to increase its efforts in this area, having recently extended our policy commitment to include the families of all our employees.”To ensure broader community awareness of the issues around HIV and AIDS, Anglo Coal has recruited and trained over 250 ‘peer educators.’ In addition, Anglo American will this year commit over $1.2 million to health and AIDS related services in disadvantaged areas of South Africa.The GBC awards recognise companies which have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, action and results, and have achieved exceptional success in putting their assets to work in the fight against what it terms ‘three of the greatest threats of our time.’Anglo American is South Africa’s leading private sector employer, with over 100,000 people employed at its operations. It was the first large company in South Africa to offer free anti-retroviral treatment to all employees back in 2002. There are currently 7,300 employees enrolled in the HIV disease management program across all group companies in South Africa.last_img read more

Exxaro breaks ground on first of its kind digital mine

first_imgSouth Africa’s largest coal producer and black empowered mining group, Exxaro, has broken ground on a ZAR3.3 billion, first-of-its-kind digital mine.The Belfast Implementation Project (BIP) – the last good-quality A-grade, high-yield coal deposit in Mpumalanga – will start producing thermal coal in 2020.It will create close on 6,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction and the life of the mine, with almost 20,000 people benefiting. It is expected to contribute ZAR39 billion to local GDP over the life of the mine, with Nkangala District Municipality’s GDP estimated to gain as much as R2.1 billion per annum, including ZAR966 million – a full 1% increase – of direct impact on the district municipality.Overall, the BIP is anticipated to reduce unemployment in the municipal district by 2%, supporting Exxaro’s strategic vision of powering better lives in Africa and beyond.The new mine – which is located about 10 km south-west of Belfast, on the southern side of the N4 highway – is also the first of its kind in South Africa to have a “digital twin”.The “digital twin” is a complete digital replica of the mine which will allow management and the contracted company to connect to and manage it from anywhere and the maintenance teams will be connected to certain machinery to analyse and pick up problems early – resulting in increased safety and reduced downtime.The sod-turning was attended by Exxaro CEO of Exxaro Mxolisi Mgojo; Exxaro board members Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Likhapha Mbatha, Petrus Snyders and Mark Moffet; Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni and the Mpumalanga MEC for Human Settlements, Norah Mahlangu.Construction, which began seven months ago, is expected to last 24 months in total. Current life of mine is expected to be 17 years once operational. It will produce 2.7 Mt/y A-grade thermal coal for export.In his address, Exxaro CEO Mxolisi Mgojo said, “Exxaro acknowledges that it is our responsibility to create a future that our children and grandchildren can be proud of. Exxaro takes that responsibility very seriously.”We are very excited at this opportunity. But we must acknowledge that we operate in an environment of vast inequality, poverty and unemployment. Therefore we are mindful of the possibility that comes with the Belfast Implementation Forum. This is not just about creating a new mine. As we create, we need to consider how we start leveraging opportunities to create new economies.”“Exxaro’s purpose is rooted in our belief that unless we power better lives for people, not only in his country but beyond our borders, then we have not lived our purpose,” Mgojo added.Said Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni: “Exxaro Resources as a proudly South African company has been exemplary and at the forefront of reshaping how the mining sector contributes to nation building for the past 12 years. Today is a testament to that.”Mtshweni noted that it had taken Exxaro 20 years to develop BIP, which would cost ZAR3.3 billion.“This investment is in line with the call by the President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, who has challenged local companies to take the lead in investing in our country as part of his drive to raise $100 billion investment over the next five years,” she said. “This investment will induce much needed economic activity in Belfast and in the Emakhazeni municipality whose economy is mostly boosted by its vibrant agricultural sector.”“As President Cyril Ramaphosa has said, the biggest challenge facing our country and our economies at national and local level is to get investments that will induce economic activity. Exxaro’s belief in revitalising small towns and upskilling its workforce will ensure that this objective is achieved and that our people do not become economic migrants of bigger provinces like Gauteng.”last_img read more

Krystle nightclub and its private army of bouncers responsible for assault on

first_imgKrystle nightclub and its “private army” of bouncers responsible for assault on woman A judge found that the club and the security firm were jointly liable for damages. 31 Comments 44,602 Views Oct 26th 2016, 3:54 PM Short URL By Saurya Cherfi Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlecenter_img A DUBLIN NIGHTCLUB has been held to be as responsible for a “heinous” assault on a student as the “private army” it employed to mount security on its premises, a judge has decided.Circuit Court President Justice Raymond Groarke said Triglen Holdings, trading as Krystle Nightclub, had “engaged and let loose a private army,” a member of which had assaulted the 28-year-old student.Judge Groarke had already awarded student Elaine Bennett €15,000 damages for personal injuries she received at the club on New Year’s night 2014 but had been asked to decide if P&B Security Services Ltd (now in liquidation) or Krystle Nightclub should pay.Bennett claimed she was punched and kicked by female bouncer Dawn Cleary whose evidence, the judge said, he could not believe.Judge Groarke today ruled that both defendants were jointly and severally liable to pay Bennett’s damages and legal costs bill. He said the nightclub had a responsibility to supervise the security company staff.He said CCTV footage showed that Bennett, who was intoxicated, had pushed Cleary down the entrance stairs of the nightclub at Harcourt Street, Dublin, but the bouncer’s “heinous” assault had been out-of-order.Bennet, from Cork, had earlier told the court she had been celebrating the new year with friends when they decided to go to Krystle Nightclub. She had stayed outside for a smoke and when she had wanted to get in, she was refused by the bouncers on grounds she was too drunk.AloneShe told her barrister Mark O’Connell that she left the area but came back half an hour later as her friends were still inside and she was alone on the street. She was again refused entry.When she had asked again to be let in Cleary had suddenly attacked her, pulling her to the ground by her hair. She had been punched and kicked on her body and face before another security guard separated them.She had gone to her GP a few days later, complaining of bruising on her face and body. Her wounds had left a permanent scar under her right eye. The woman was kicked and punched after being refused entrance to the club. Source: Mark StedmanBennett, of Glenary, Glencoo Park, Boreenmana Road in Cork, sued Triglen Holdings Ltd and P&B Security Services Ltd (now in liquidation), with a registered address at Newhall, Naas, Co Kildare, for negligence.The defendants had denied liability and claimed Bennett had been racially abusive towards security staff, pushing Cleary down the stairs and calling her a bitch and a Polish lesbian. She had called another bouncer a “Polish bastard.”Judge Groarke said that although the bouncers had an obligation to refuse Bennett entry because she was intoxicated, he was satisfied she had been viciously assaulted. She can now seek to recover damages and costs from either of the two defendants.Read: Woman wins €15,000 damages after ‘vicious assault’ by nightclub bouncer > The nightclub is located on Dublin’s Harcourt Street. Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland http://jrnl.ie/3047203 The nightclub is located on Dublin’s Harcourt Street. Share226 Tweet Email1 Wednesday 26 Oct 2016, 3:54 PMlast_img read more

Opinion What does it take to raise your children through Irish

first_img Short URL There was silence for a couple of seconds, and then she said: “Amhrán Crogaill, a Dhaidí, le do thoil?” How could you say “níl” to that? https://jrnl.ie/4526671 By Caoimhín De Barra Assistant professor of history, Gonzaga University, Washington Caoimhín De Barra IT IS FUNNY how the smallest thing can change the course of your life.Like a lot of people, I was terrible at Irish in school. However, I always wanted to speak the language fluently. Even after I finished the Leaving Certificate, I kept studying it, hoping one day that I could speak Irish as comfortably as English.One day, near the end of my time in college, I told a friend about trying to learn Irish. She said she knew someone who was raised in an Irish-speaking home.She said her friend’s father was an Englishman who had gotten a job at an Irish university.He had decided that as he was moving to Ireland, he should learn Irish, and not only did he master the language, he insisted on making it the language of his home.This story blew my mind. To think that someone who wasn’t even Irish could come to Ireland and learn the language so successfully that he spoke it as his daily language was humbling but heartening at the same time.Before, my goal had been to be a fluent Irish speaker, but that had changed. Now, nothing would do other than to master Irish and then raise my children through the language.Fast forward to ten years. I finally speak Irish reasonably fluently. I am also married, and our first child is on the way.While I still want to raise my children through Irish, things have turned out differently from what I originally envisioned. My wife is American, and I am living and working in New Jersey.Could I raise my children through Irish in the United States? I had heard of at least one other family in New Jersey that spoke Irish as their home language.In fact, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, over 22,000 people spoke Irish at home in 2008, making it the 76th most widely spoken language in the country.But what did raising children bilingually involve?All the articles I read said that the only effective way to do it was for one parent to speak the target language at all times with their children. That meant I would have to speak nothing but Irish to our daughter.My wife and I were both nervous about the idea, for different reasons. I really wanted to do it, but I also knew that there were some gaps in my own Irish. In some cases, I would have to learn as I went.My wife had learned little bits of Irish over the years but was only a beginner. She was worried that she wouldn’t understand what was being said in her own home by her family members half the time.But, as an American, she also didn’t have any of the baggage that some people at home have about Irish. She was willing to give it a go, and when our daughter was born, I committed to speaking only Irish with her.The first thing I noticed about my daughter was that she had long eyelashes. I didn’t know what the Irish for eyelashes was (fabhraí), so I had to look it up!Although I had a good standard of Irish by the time she was born, I have improved greatly since, as I have had to figure out the Irish word for every little thing around the house, and everything that a three-year-old might want to talk about.My wife mostly speaks in English to our daughter, but she includes some Irish as well. My wife understands a lot of Irish now, of course, because she hears it every day. When I speak to her, I use Irish when I know it is something she will understand, and English otherwise.It has been fascinating to watch my daughter’s language development. She mostly speaks English but understands everything in Irish. There are also lots of words that she only knows the Irish for, so she mixes them in with English.For example, I took her to my office one day, and when she saw my computer she yelled: “Wow, what a beautiful ríomhaire!”But she can speak a decent amount of Irish as well. She knows that if she wants, say, ice cream, she is wasting her time asking me in English. She also (worryingly) already understands that she can use Irish to manipulate me.I was flicking through our TV one day when she saw something she recognised. Mar 15th 2019, 7:01 AM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlecenter_img Opinion: What does it take to raise your children through Irish? My daughter speaks mostly in English but there are also lots of words that she only knows the Irish for – so she mixes them in, writes Caoimhín De Barra. Share472 Tweet Email She shouted “Crocodile Song”  but I ignored her because I was looking for something else. 50 Comments Friday 15 Mar 2019, 7:00 AM Odd as it is to say, but in some ways, I feel it is easier to raise a child through Irish in the United States than Ireland.Here, when we go out in public, we are just another family speaking a foreign language.But I didn’t feel as comfortable speaking Irish around other people when we visited back home last summer. Even though I know most Irish people would probably be impressed to hear you speaking Irish, I did worry that some might think I was being “elitist” or had some ulterior motive using Irish with my daughter in public.No-one said anything, but I never fully shook that uneasy feeling during our stay.The downside of not living in Ireland, of course, is that my daughter won’t have the chance to attend a Gaelscoil or avail of many other opportunities to develop as an Irish speaker outside of her immediate family.Some might wonder why I should speak Irish with my daughter at all, since (especially if she lives her life in the United States) she may never use the language outside of the home.But I remember my youth, and how I badly wanted to be able to speak Irish, a feeling a lot of Irish people, unfortunately, know too well.This the greatest gift I can give her, and I am willing to make every sacrifice to ensure she has it. If she decides as an adult not to use it, that is fine.I will be content knowing that she, unlike many Irish people, actually had a chance to choose to speak it if she wished.Meanwhile, my wife and I had our second daughter in November, so our little American Gaeltacht is growing.Caoimhín De Barra is an assistant professor of history at Gonzaga University, Washington. His new book Gaeilge: A Radical Revolution is published by Currach Press and will be launched at An Siopa Leabhar at 6 Harcourt Street pm, today, Friday, March 15. The launch includes a bilingual panel discussion on the question of reviving Irish.Dr De Barra will also hold a public lecture on the topic of Galeophobia at 36 Parnell Square West, in Dublin on March 15 at 6.30pm. Both events are free to attend and open to the public.   20,492 Views last_img read more

French media Thierry Henry agrees to become Bordeaux manager

first_imgThierry Henry has reportedly agreed to become the new manager of Bordeaux, according to reports in FranceThe former Arsenal and Barcelona forward is looking for his first managerial role after working as an assistant coach to Roberto Martinez at Belgium for the past two years.Now French news outlet RMC claim Henry has said “yes” to taking charge of Bordeaux, who recently fired Gus Poyet following his comments over the board’s handling of the sale of Gaetan Laborde to rival club Montpellier.While nothing is official yet, a final agreement is close to being finalised for Henry to replace the Uruguayan.PSG, Neymar, Ligue 1PSG ultras sent a warning letter to Neymar Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Brazilian superstar Neymar might play today his first game of the season for Paris Saint-Germain and the team’s ultras have warned him.The Frenchman’s former Arsenal teammate Gilles Grimandi could also be joining him at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux as an assistant coach.Henry had been previously linked with Aston Villa, before they announced that they will be sticking with current manager Steve Bruce.Bordeaux have lost both of their opening games of the new Ligue 1 season.last_img read more

Wrangell Doctor Indicted On Child Porn Charges

first_imgA federal grand jury indicted a Wrangell doctor Wednesday on child porn charges.The grand jury charged Wrangell doctor Greg Salard with two felonies for distribution and possession of child pornography.Download AudioFederal law enforcement officers arrested him last week after executing a search warrant at his residence.The indictment alleges Salard was in possession of child pornography on the day of his arrest.A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent alleges in an affidavit that Salard was also making child pornography available to others through a file-sharing network.A conviction for distribution of child pornography carries a penalty of five to 20 years in prison, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska. Possession of child pornography has a maximum 10-year sentence. Both counts carry fines up to $250,000 and the possibility of lifetime supervised release after imprisonment.According to the press release, the arrest and indictment are part of the Department of Justice’s efforts to increase federal prosecutions of sexual predators and to reduce Internet crimes against children.Salard is one of four medical providers in Wrangell. He is employed as a family doctor by Alaska Island Community Services and serves under a contract with Wrangell Medical Center, the community’s hospital.AICS Executive Director Mark Walker said both organizations suspended Salard’s medical privileges after the arrest.“We know that he’s been charged, but we know nothing more,” Walker said. “We don’t know what his pleading is going to be and the outcome of the case. But at this point he’s not practicing for us or the hospital.”Walker said he found no reason in the workplace to suspect Salard would be arrested for child pornography.“There were never any complaints that relate to anything like this,” Walker said. “So we’re completely taken by surprise by all of this and dismayed about the impact on the community and want to do whatever we can to help anybody that is concerned about it, answer any questions, provide counseling for them.”Salard started practicing in Wrangell in 2009. Walker stressed that job applicants go through a rigorous hiring process that includes a background check.The hospital suspended Salard’s medical privileges in 2011 and restored them in 2013 after court action and controversy in the community.The State Medical Board is reviewing the case and may take action on Salard’s medical license in the next few weeks.Salard is at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau awaiting his arraignment in U.S. District Court Oct. 28. At his last court appearance, he requested a public defender and said he had been fired from his job.last_img read more

Southeast Alaska priest dies following heart attack

first_imgThe Rev. Thomas Weise, who serves Catholic churches in Petersburg and Wrangell, celebrates communion during an Easter Vigil. (Photo courtesy Diocese of Juneau)A Catholic priest who served parishes in Wrangell and Petersburg died Sunday night, 10 days after suffering a heart attack.The Rev. Thomas Weise, also known as Father Thomas, was pastor of St. Rose of Lima parish in Wrangell and St. Catherine of Siena parish in Petersburg. He also served at Juneau’s Cathedral of the Nativity.The 46-year-old was hospitalized Nov. 25 while visiting family in California. He died in San Luis Obispo.According to the Catholic Diocese of Juneau website, funeral arrangements are pending.last_img

Amazon is our share tip of the week 5 reasons to invest

first_img With both Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season on the horizon, Edmund Shing explains why now is the perfect time to invest in online retail giant Amazon.1) Biggest online retailerAmazon is the worlds biggest online retailer. Its listed on NASDAQ (NASDAQ:AMZN) with a market capitalisation of $301bn (£197bn, €282bn). It has huge sales figures of more than $100bn a year, and it has more than 154,000 employees.2) Cloud computingAmazon is not just the biggest online retailer in the world, its also the biggest cloud computing company in the world – well ahead of rivals such as Microsoft and Google.3) Rapid growthThe company is also growing very fast. In the third quarter to September 30, it grew sales by 23%. And it expects sales over the Christmas period, the last three months of the year, to be up by 15-20%. This is the most important period of the year for any retailer, and Amazon in particular.4) Black FridayIts not just the Christmas sales that Amazon looks to capitalise on. Amazon is the world leader in Black Friday, the manic day of shopping discounts that this year falls on 27 November. The American consumer trend has made waves over in the UK in recent years, with British consumers expected to spend £1bn in the 24 hours of Black Friday.5) Tech giantThe fact that Amazon is a world leader in both retail and cloud computing, coupled with its rapid growth, mean that Amazon is now a quintessential tech stock that you really must own.Edmund Shing is Global Head of Equity Derivative Strategy at BNP Paribas in London. He holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence. Closelast_img read more

Two arrest warrants issued against Khaleda Zia

first_img.Two separate Dhaka courts issued arrest warrants against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in two separate cases on Thursday.Dhaka Special Court-5 judge Akhtaruzzaman handed down the arrest warrant in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case in response to a petition filed by the state seeking an arrest warrant against her for failing to show up in court.Khaleda Zia’s lawyer Sanaullah Mia told Prothom Alo that Akhtaruzzaman’s court issued the arrest warrant against BNP chairperson for her absence in court.Dhaka Metropolitan magistrate Nur Nabi issued another arrest warrant against the BNP chief in a case filed in 2016 over undermining Bangladesh’s map, its national flag and liberation war.The plaintiff of the case, AB Siddique, said the court on 17 September asked Khaleda Zia to appear before the court on 5 October this year, but she failed to show up.Following her absence, the court has issued the arrest warrant against her, he added.On 3 November 2016, AB Siddique filed the case against former president Ziaur Rahman, and his wife of Khaleda Zia accusing them of defamation.last_img read more

Commonwealth secy gen due in Dhaka 8 Aug

first_imgCommonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland. Photo: UNBCommonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland is set to arrive in Dhaka on a two-day visit on 8 August to have discussions with the head of the government, ministers and other public figures on priorities and commitments.She will also visit Sri Lanka and Brunei as part of her first official visits to three Commonwealth member countries in South and South East Asia, reports UNB.“Sri Lanka, Brunei and Bangladesh are greatly valued members of the Commonwealth family,” said the Secretary-General ahead of her travel.“I look forward to acquainting myself more closely with the many encouraging and positive developments taking place in the region – and with challenges which the convening power of the Commonwealth can help to tackle.”Scotland, during her stay in Bangladesh, will address a programme at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) on ‘The Commonwealth Advantage – progress and potential’.Next year, Scotland said, Sri Lanka will host the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting, according to Commonwealth Secretariat.“This will again be an opportunity to share the best legal practice from throughout the commonality and yet rich diversity of our Commonwealth family in order to improve access to justice for all our citizens,” she said.In all three countries the Secretary-General will have discussions with the heads of government, ministers and other public figures on priorities and commitments agreed by leaders at the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April, and will update them on the strategic implementation of the work to be undertaken.In Sri Lanka, Patricia Scotland will discuss ways in which the country can work even more closely within a Commonwealth context on issues related to trade, connectivity and other national priorities.During her time in Brunei, among other engagements, the Secretary-General will deliver a public lecture at the University of Brunei Darussalam.She will also acknowledge the very significant contribution Brunei makes towards partnership by offering the Commonwealth Third-Country Training Programme which assists in building the capacity of Pacific island member states of the Commonwealth.last_img read more

Looking Back at 90s Nick The Secret World of Alex Mack

first_imgIn 1994, the world wasn’t completely saturated with superheroes like it is today. You had Batman: The Animated Series, X-Men and Spider-Man on Saturday mornings and not much else. Now, superheroes are where the money is, and every movie studio and television network is trying to get a piece of it. Back then, there wasn’t this constant need for genre shows to out-epic each other. You could have a smaller scale, more grounded sci-fi/superhero show. It didn’t even need to be based on an existing idea.The Secret World of Alex Mack sounds like a comic book origin story. Alex is a 12-year-old girl living in a corporate town owned by the chemical plant both her parents work at. Walking home from school one day, she’s nearly hit by a company truck, and is doused by a top secret chemical. It’s almost the exact origin story of Daredevil, only Alex keeps her eyesight. Instead of superhuman senses, Alex gains the ability to turn into a puddle of liquid, levitate objects with her mind, and shoot electricity from her hands. Not every power is useful, though. She also glows orange when she gets nervous. That’s a problem when the corporation that owns your town wants to experiment on and/or make you disappear.According to a 2012 retrospective from The Huffington Post, the show’s creator, Thomas W. Lynch was asked to write five pilot scripts for Nickelodeon. He only wrote one. It was so good, the other four weren’t needed. The only change the network asked for: change the main character, Alex, from a boy to a girl. Clarissa Explains it All was going off the air after Viacom decided that Clarissa was getting too old for Nickelodeon. The network needed another show starring a young girl to fill the massive Clarissa-shaped hole in their Saturday night SNICK lineup. Lynch says that was no problem at all. He hadn’t written any gender specifics into the pilot episode, Alex could be either a boy or a girl.Meredith Bishop and Larisa Oleynik (Photo via Nickelodeon)Then, Lynch made the most important decision in the show’s history: Casting Larisa Oleynik. Oleynik hadn’t done a ton of acting before she was cast, which was the point. In a Los Angeles Times profile of Oleynik from when the show premiered, Lynch says he wanted to cast someone who didn’t look like they’d worked in television too much.“Larisa had such a great natural instinct. It was stunning. She made the character richer and more shaded,” Lynch told the paper in 1994. “Larisa was just perfect.”Prior to Alex Mack, Oleynik had begun acting in a San Francisco production of Les Miserables. When she wanted to keep doing it, her family started spending summers in Los Angeles so Oleynik could audition. Her family only realized how talented she was when she was chosen to play Alex Mack over 300 other girls. Oleynik says the casting process was much easier than any other job she’s ever gotten. Lynch says after seeing Olyenik audition, he knew he could write for her. When Nickelodeon asked to have her send in an audition tape, he said there was no need. She was Alex Mack.She turned out to be the perfect choice. As we all know, Oleynik was terrific in the role, and behind the scenes, Lynch says she didn’t need a ton of direction. He said she basically directed herself, always knowing exactly what she wanted to do. Oleynik says that’s because she was essentially playing herself, only with superpowers. Alex, like a lot of young teenage girls in 1994, was a fan of grunge music and style. She had a crush on a boy that wasn’t entirely reciprocated. She had a best friend she hung out with all the time, and occasionally had a hard time navigating middle school life.Though Alex Mack had superpowers, the show wasn’t about fighting crime. There were antagonists, but they were often secondary concerns to whatever the episode’s main plot is. Most of the problems Alex dealt with, particularly in the first couple seasons, were normal teenager problems, usually heightened in some way by her powers. She puts off her science project until the last minute. She gets tricked into taking the blame for something a popular girl at school did. She messes up her mom’s files after a fight, nearly getting her fired. Most of the episodes had fairly mundane kids’ TV show plots, but the powers kept things interesting. Even the most basic kid problems were more fun to watch because Alex had this secret she couldn’t tell anybody. And hey, sometimes powers are cooler when they’re used to mess with snobby kids at school.Oleynik looks back at the powers on the show as a metaphor for all the changes you go through as a young teenager. Looking at it that way, it definitely makes sense. Her body morphs into a strange new form (in this case, a puddle), her skin reacts when she’s nervous (it glows orange), and she’s clumsy with her telekinesis in pretty much the same way most teenagers are clumsy with their suddenly longer limbs. Even some of the more overtly sci-fi episodes could be read as a metaphor for growing up. In the third season, Alex gets another chemical spilled on her that separates her evil self from her good self. The evil Alex traps her in a condemned building and takes her place. The audience knows what’s going on the whole time, but to the rest of the town, she’s a frustrated 14-year-old acting out.Alex grows a lot as a character over the show’s four seasons. She starts out a little whiny, and in constant rivalry with her sister. It’s not long before she grows out of both of those traits. Through working together Alex and Annie become friends and partners. They get annoyed with each other, as all siblings do, but Alex really appreciates that she has a genius for a sister. (Speaking of which, it was nice to have a smart character on TV that didn’t fall into the typical nerd stereotype.) It’s fitting that the show works so well as a metaphor for those confusing teenage years. It was partially born out of childhood experience and trauma. Lynch’s dad was a nuclear physicist who often worked with radioactive material in the family garage. That’s where he got the idea of a teenager gaining powers from being exposed to a radioactive chemical. The name of the chemical came from his parents’ divorce, which happened when he was eight. GC-161: The GC is a reference to DNA, and the numbers add up to eight.For many of us, The Secret World of Alex Mack was one of the first shows we watched that had a coherent throughline. Most episodes were standalone, and could be watched in any order, but any character development was permanent. While the show usually returned to some kind of status quo at the end (including a few frustrating just-a-dream dream episodes), there was always a moving story in the background that would eventually have to be addressed. The chemical plant was always growing closer to finding out who Alex was. In a couple episodes, they came dangerously close to catching her. Those were some of the most stressful moments in my young TV watching life. No one came quite as close as Vince, the main henchman of chemical plant boss Danielle Atron. Over the course of the show, he became more obsessed with finding the chemical spill kid, even continuing his efforts to capture her after he was fired.Atron herself was that great kids’ show bad guy who was always in the background. She controlled the entire town, though Alex mostly dealt with her spies and security officers. As a result, those rare occasions where the two did meet were tense and a little scary. For many of us, this was our first exposure to the concept of a company town. Atron was incredibly powerful, and we had no idea how Alex could possibly prevail. Of course, at the time, it hadn’t dawned on us how silly it was that she wanted to turn GC-161 into a weight loss pill, hiding the side effects from the general public. Those side effects being super powers, you’d think there would be plenty of other, less illegal options.You can’t talk about Alex Mack without mentioning her style. Like Clarissa before her, Alex had her own sense of who she was and what she wanted to wear, and that’s what made her cool. She wasn’t one of the popular kids, so it was important to the show that she had her own style. Heavily rooted in mid-’90s grunge, her wardrobe consisted of a lot of plaids, denim and hats. Other than her powers, no element of the show grew to define Alex Mack as much as her wide selection of amazing hats. No matter the occasion, she had the perfect hat. The costume designer was inspired to include hats by looking at 1960s fashion. When she threw the hat on Oleynik’s head, Lynch knew it was the perfect choice. At first Nickelodeon didn’t want Alex to wear hats, but Lynch insisted. They became an iconic staple of Alex’s character. Even Nickelodeon came around, and Alex’s hats featured heavily in the show’s marketing. Oleynik says she got to keep the hats and, as of 2012, still wore them regularly. (All except what the cast and crew referred to as “the condom cap.” That one was probably a mistake.)Jessica Alba was an early cast member. Also pictured: The “condom cap” (Via Nickelodeon)The Secret World of Alex Mack was so popular, it got its own book series. The first and last were simple novelizations of the first and last episodes, but the rest were all original stories. Since the show couldn’t guarantee you read the books, nothing too important could happen in them, but it was fun to see your favorite characters go on a more extended adventure. Like most children’s chapter books, they were short, but significantly more story could happen than in the half-hour TV episodes.The relationships between the characters really drove the show. They felt real and genuine, partially because the cast and crew acted like a family on set. Oleynik and Darris Love, who played her best friend Ray, were encouraged by Nickelodeon to have childhoods. Early Nick didn’t want to exploit their child talent, and would provide them with toys and games that encouraged them to get outside and be kids. Love and Oleynik would often rollerblade (it was the ’90s) around the set on their breaks, becoming almost as close friends as they were on the show. Likewise, Oleynik and Meredith Bishop, who played Alex’s older sister Annie, became instant best friends on the first day of shooting. They instantly bonded over the fact that they were both only children, as well as young actors. That chemistry immediately shows up on screen, creating an earnest world that we genuinely cared about.Darris Love and Larisa Oleynik (Via Nickelodeon)The show ended after four seasons, but not because it was canceled. Lynch and Nickelodeon both wanted it to continue for another year, offering Oleynik a new contract and a significant pay increase. She turned it down. After four years, she says, she was a little burnt out. She worked harder on Alex Mack than any job she’s had since. Plus, she felt like the character was aging too much, especially since she’d gotten a boyfriend in the final season. Oleynik wanted Alex to stay innocent.That decision allowed Alex Mack to have something most TV shows never get: A satisfying ending. The final two-part episode had everything come to a head. Alex’s secret was revealed, both to her parents and to Atron. She and her parents are kidnapped by the company, and Atron comes dangerously close to making them disappear forever. It had a happy ending, of course. This was a kids’ show. In an especially action-packed sequence for the show, Alex and her family made a harrowing escape and Atron was arrested for her crimes. The show left us on an ambiguous note, though. Alex’s father synthesized an antidote for the chemical, and Alex was given a choice of whether or not to take it. She made her decision, but the credits rolled before we could see what it was.Louan Gideon (Via Nickelodeon)It might have been my first experience with a story that didn’t have a definite ending. That left anything up to interpretation. I remember spending the entire rest of the evening after the finale aired in energetic debate with my younger sister over whether she’d taken the antidote or not. I thought she kept her powers. She thought it was time for Alex to give them up. It’s a special kind of show that can inspire such a debate between two young kids. All these years later, it’s safe to say I was probably right. Both Lynch and Oleynik agree that Alex kept her powers. Lynch envisions a Bewitched-style scenario where Alex is married, has two teenage twins and uses her powers to help get things done. Oleynik says there’s no way she has teenage kids yet. She envisions Alex as a high school art teacher, subtly using her powers to help kids who need it. I like Oleynik’s version better.The Secret World of Alex Mack was one of the first shows I had to catch every episode of. Nickelodeon had plenty of series I loved before it, but none had a story that hooked me like Alex Mack‘s. It was both perfect kid wish fulfillment, and genuinely fun sci-fi. It probably instilled a healthy distrust of corporations in its young audience too. It certainly made sure we were skeptical of anyone selling a magic chemical cure for any of life’s problems. More than that though, it was a cool, lighthearted kid superhero show. As corny as it can seem now, it’s still fun to go back and watch Alex outsmart bad guys. That’s all it ever had to be.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more