February 3, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Islamic Republic urged to heed UN rapporteur’s findings Follow the news on Iran News News Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 News Reporters Without Borders today hailed the report issued on 12 January by the UN special rapporteur for freedom of expression and opinion, Ambeyi Ligabo, following his 4-10 November visit to Iran, and it urged the Iranian authorities to implement the report’s recommendations.”The observations and conclusions of this official UN document confirm the dramatic situation for press freedom in Iran, which Reporters Without Borders has been condemning for years,” the organisation’s secretary-general, Robert Ménard, said.”The Iranian authorities accepted the principle of this visit, so we call on them now to implement the conclusions and proposals made by the special rapporteur for a rapid reform of the press code and criminal code and an improvement in the judicial practices which currently allow widespread abuses in the trials of prisoners of opinion,” Ménard said.”Like the special rapporteur, we expect the release of all the journalists who have been imprisoned just for doing their job. We also hope that Zahra Kazemi’s murderers will not benefit from any impunity and that her body will be repatriated at once to Canada, as her son wishes,” Ménard added.Ligabo found a decline in respect for freedom of expression in Iran, with increasing numbers of newspapers being closed and journalists being imprisoned, often beyond what is legally allowed for provisional detention. The systematic repression of all critical opinion as regards political and religious institutions has ushered in a climate of fear and encouraged self-censorship.The special rapporteur also noted the arbitrary procedures being followed by judicial institutions, in violation of the most elementary rights of defendants, who are tried behind closed doors without a lawyer present. He saw very harsh prison conditions, with long periods of solitary confinement that are tantamount to torture.Ligabo urged the Islamic Republic to revise its judicial procedures and make them conform to international standards, and to adopt a human rights charter. He said the revolutionary courts should no longer have authority over crimes of opinion and he called on the authorities to end prison sentences for crimes of opinion and press offences.Ligabo was the second rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights to make an official visit to Iran. Louis Joinet, the chairman of the working group on arbitrary detention visited Iran from 15 to 27 February 2003, but his recommendations had no effect.Both rapporteurs expressed the same expectations as regard press freedom and respect for human rights in Iran.Reporters Without Borders hopes that the changes recommended by Joinet and Ligabo will be implemented with monitoring by international bodies, in particular, by human rights organisations and the European Union, which has been conducting a constructive dialogue with the Iranian regime on human rights issues since 1998. News June 9, 2021 Find out more IranMiddle East – North Africa RSF_en to go further IranMiddle East – North Africa June 11, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists Reporters Without Borders today hailed the report issued on 12 January by the UN special rapporteur for freedom of expression and opinion, Ambeyi Ligabo, following his 4-10 November visit to Iran, and it urged the Iranian authorities to implement the report’s recommendations. Iran is stepping up pressure on journalists, including foreign journalists, in run-up to election Receive email alerts Organisation March 18, 2021 Find out more
Elizabeth Corley is to step down as chief executive at Allianz Global Investors (AGI) after four years in the role.Corley, who led AGI’s European business prior to taking over as head, will become a non-executive vice-chair – a new role for the company – in April 2016.AGI co-chief executive and global CIO Andreas Utermann will succeed her.Utermann joined the company in 2002 as global equities CIO. He was subsequently promoted to global CIO and given responsibility for managing RCM Capital Management.George McKay, the current global COO, who joined in 2006 from Mellon Bank, has been promoted to co-chief executive alongside Utermann.Corley said it had been a “privilege” to work at AGI.“This is a wonderful company with fantastic employees, and I am most grateful to them making my time here such a pleasure.”Commenting on the changes, Jay Ralph, a member of the Allianz board in charge of asset management, praised Corley’s work.“Elizabeth has deftly steered Allianz GI to become a successful, globally integrated asset manager,” he said. He added that he looked forward to working with Corley in the future as she developed her career as a non-executive.Utermann also praised Corley’s time as chief executive.“Elizabeth’s inspirational leadership, passion for investment and boundless positive energy have contributed immeasurably to the success and standing of Allianz GI today,” he said. “Naturally, I am delighted she will continue to act as an ambassador for the firm into the future. Equally, I look forward to cementing a similarly productive partnership with George, who has demonstrated his leadership and agility in many roles since joining the firm in 2006.”Utermann will retain responsibilities for investment matters, while McKay will be responsible for global distribution, global solutions, corporate marketing and COO functions.Read Elizabeth Corley’s piece in IPE’s November 2013 issue on financial repression
The back-to-back NBA champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP is averaging 26.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 2018-19.The Warriors have posted a 51-23 record, which is the best mark in the Western Conference. Golden State is expected to challenge for a third consecutive NBA championship in 2019, but it seems uncertain about Durant’s future. Related News Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina to miss rest of season as team ponders his future It’s hardly groundbreaking at this point, but throughout this season I’ve asked several NBA executives, agents, scouts, assistant coaches about Kevin Durant. Most believe he’s headed to the Knicks.— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) March 29, 2019Durant has been involved in free agency rumors since the beginning of the season. He signed his second consecutive two-year deal with Golden State last summer, but could exercise a player option feature to become a free agent after this year. Kevin Durant could very well be headed to New York.After “several” NBA sources were asked where they thought Durant would sign next season, multiple individuals said the Knicks were likely to land the Warriors star, according to the New York Daily News. The survey indicated “most” NBA executives, agents, scouts and assistant coaches think the move will happen.
Advertisement 7NBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs1sql4Wingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Ebxa9h( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) z60zWould you ever consider trying this?😱zCan your students do this? 🌚nmRoller skating! Powered by Firework The highest governing body of world cricket, ICC, has recently introduced the World Test Championship and according to Indian skipper Virat Kohli, the tournament has added a lot of context to the longest format of the game. He also added that the championship demands a lot from the players and that the only change he would want to make to the existing format is double the points for away wins.Advertisement Concerns are being raised by cricket fans all around the globe over the lack of extra points for away wins, as most of the teams have been able to dominate at home conditions in the recent years. And now, Kohli has joined the debate saying,Advertisement “If you had asked me to make the points table. I would have doubled the points for an away Test win. That is something that I would have definitely liked to see but maybe after the first edition,” he said at the press conference prior to the 2nd Test between India and South Africa in Pune.“The importance of every game has become that much more. In situations like a 3-match series where teams would have played for a draw, teams are now go for a win and get those extra points. I think it’s great for Tests.”Advertisement “The matches are going to more exciting. We have to be absolutely professional in every session. It’s much more demanding on players now… which is a good thing because it will keep the standard of cricket high. These are the only things we have experienced so far when it comes to the changes in Tests after WTC,” Kohli added.India meanwhile, sit on top of the World Test Championships table with 160 points after thrashing West Indies away from home with a 2-0 margin and the 203-run win over South Africa in the 1st Test of the ongoing 3-match series. Advertisement
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 21, 2015)–Saturday’s Opening Day Grade I La Brea Stakes, which has attracted a field of ten 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, looms a wide open affair as it’s comprised of five locally-based runners and as many well-accomplished Eastern shippers. First run at Santa Anita in 1974, this year’s lineup includes no less than five graded stakes winners.Idle since winning the Grade III LA Woman Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs, trainer John Sadler’s Ben’s Duchess, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Munnings, is at the top of her game, having earned a career-high 100 Beyer Speed figure. Owned by Doubledown Stables, Inc., she’ll again be handled by Joe Talamo.Trainer Phil D’Amato’s Rattataptap cuts back in distance off a smashing 4 ½ length allowance score on Nov. 21 at Del Mar and will be bidding for her first graded stakes victory. A grey daughter of Tapit, she’s owned by Mark DeDomenico, Jerry Durant, LLC, and Michael House.A winner of the prestigious Grade I Test Stakes going seven furlongs on Aug. 8 at Saratoga, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s Cavorting has three graded stakes wins to her credit and looms the horse to beat in the La Brea. A winner of five of eight starts, the Kentucky-bred filly by Bernardini is by far the leading money earner in the field with $902,000 on deposit.Idle since running fourth, beaten 4 ¾ lengths in the Grade I, seven furlong Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland Oct. 31, Cavorting will retain the services of Irad Ortiz Jr., who has ridden her in all of her eight previous races.An 8 ¼ length winner of the seven furlong Safely Kept Stakes on Nov. 14 at Laurel, trainer Linda Rice’s Hot City Girl was a handy 2 ½ length winner of the Grade III Charles Town Oaks going seven furlongs on Sept. 19 and enters the La Brea on the heels of a three-game winning streak for Lady Sheila Stable. A New York-bred daughter of City Zip, she has two wins and a second from four starts at seven furlongs.Trainer Dale Romans’ Birdatthewire, who is winless in three starts since taking the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles Gulfstream Park Oaks on March 28, is undefeated in her lone try at the La Brea distance, as she annexed Gulfstream’s Grade II Forward Gal Stakes on Jan. 24. A Kentucky-bred filly by Summer Bird, she’s owned by Forum Racing IV.Third, beaten three quarters of a length in the Grade I Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos a year ago, Bob Baffert’s Maybellene has been idle since running second, beaten a neck (and subsequently placed first via DQ) in the 1 1/16 miles Sunland Park Oaks March 22. Owned by his wife, Natalie, Maybellene is well-seasoned, with an overall mark of 10-3-1-2.The complete field for the Grade I La Brea, to be run as the seventh race on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Birdatthewire, Mike Smith, 120; Hot City Girl, Jose Ortiz, 118; Cavorting, Irad Ortiz, Jr., 123; Maybellene, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Lily Pod, Mario Gutierrez, 118; Ben’s Duchess, Joe Talamo, 118; Rattataptap, Tyler Baze, 118; Pleasant Tales, James Graham, 118; Moyo Honey, Drayden Van Dyke, 118, and Finest City, Gary Stevens, 118. First post time on Opening Day is at 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. –30–
SAN JOSE — Joe Pavelski is probably the best shot-tipper in the NHL. He’s pretty good at deflecting questions about his toughness, as well.After the Sharks captain received his third question Friday regarding his physical health in the aftermath of a taking a puck to the chin in Game 1, he blushed and downplayed the severity of the damage to his teeth.“Geez, you guys talk a lot,” Pavelski said after he was asked to confirm the injury report that head coach Pete DeBoer relayed to NHL Network …
The season for industry-sponsored home tours is hardly over, but a lot of tours aimed at fair-weather homebuyers have already concluded.One such tour targeted home shoppers in central North Carolina’s Piedmont region with a lineup of homes touted for their energy efficiency and sustainable construction. The Green Homes Tour, an annual marketing event presented by the Green Home Builders of the Triangle, included 36 entries in six counties that were open to the public April 25 and 26 and May 2 and 3. At least one entry, however, stayed open to visitors through June 14 – the Go Green Cottage, billed as a 1,206-sq.-ft. two-bedroom, one-bath cozy with a tight building envelope.Plenty of foot trafficBecause the stick-built cottage can be constructed and deconstructed relatively quickly – build time is a week, according to general contractor Sun River Builders, which prices the house at $89,900 and up, plus land costs – Sun River was able to install a display version of the home at the Streets at SouthPoint shopping area in Durham and, through a lease extension, leave it in place for 50 days.The display home included upgrades that would bring the price to $100,000, plus land costs; Sun River also offers a larger version of the home, the 1668 GoGreenCottage, for $125,000.Built to Energy Star standards, the Go Green Cottage features 2×6 Tyvek-wrapped exterior walls insulated to R-19 and 2×12 rafters insulated to R-30. It also includes a high-efficiency Energy Star electric heat pump, sealed ductwork, low-VOC paint, and a sealed crawlspace. Options include a tankless hot water heater, spray foam insulation, solar thermal hot water, and a PV system.Overall, the home is designed to be 15% more energy efficient than a comparably sized house built to standard code. The Energy Star rating also qualifies Go Green Cottage owners to a 5% reduction in their Duke Energy or CP&L Retail Energy utility bills.According to one industry-based blog following the Triangle area, the display attracted lots of visitors, and, for the time being, demand for the cottages has compelled Sun River to limit Go Green builds to North Carolina.Anecdotal information does indeed suggest green and small (and inexpensive) are, as presented by some builders and by not-so-big-house advocates such as Sarah Susanka, catching on.Challenges to thinking smallNot that it’s always easy to scale down new construction and extensions. For those who have lived in relatively large homes – properties with, say, 3,000 sq. ft. or more of conditioned space – reckoning with 1,500 to 2,200 sq. ft. can sometimes lead to unexpected exertions when planning their project. In a March 20 post, for example, GBA advisor Carl Seville ruminated on the homes he has built for himself – one bigger than the next – and how his experiences living in big houses informed his approach to the home he is building and expects to live in for a long time.Carl initially considered building a 1 1/2-story house in the 1,600 sq. ft. range. But in an early June post, he was contemplating plans for a two-story home with 2,000 to 2,200 sq. ft. of conditioned space.“Damn, I am behaving just like my old clients right about the time I tell them to just make a decision and go with it,” Carl writes. “Well, I’m not ready to make all those decisions yet, and, lucky for me, I have plenty of things to do before I have to. A friend of mine, sick of listening to me whine about the project, volunteered to be my client for my own house to help me make up my mind. I might have to take him up on that.”
Is This Just A Publicity Stunt?Unlikely. Driverless cars seemed like a publicity stunt, as did Glass. Google has a way of surprising people with both the scope of their vision and its willingness to push it into reality. From the Project Loon announcement: We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below. It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters.That said, Google also states that “this is still highly experimental technology and we have a long way to go.” What Will Project Loon Be Used For?According to Google, for 2 out of every 3 people on Earth, “a fast, affordable Internet connection is still out of reach.” Project Loon is an early, inspiring attempt to deliver reliable connectivity to those areas where it does not exist or is prohibitively expensive – the Southern Hempishere, in particular.The view from a Project Loon balloonGoogle also mentions the ability to deliver communications using its balloons following natural disasters. Disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, which devastated Haiti last year before striking the U.S. East Coast, can cripple a region’s communications infrastructure for an extended period. Loon could potentially serve as a helpful backup grid.Is This Just A Plot To Sell More Ads?Maybe. But does it matter?Of course, nearly all Google’s revenues come from advertisements posted onto connected screens large and small. The more people connected, the more advertisements. Google wins. This is its bold project, after all. The Tech Considering the uniqueness of the idea, its use of old technology, and the potential impact it will have should Google succeed, you no doubt have questions. Here is a handy Q&A guide to help you understand Project Loon.Balloons? Really?Yes, really. The balloons are made of polyethylene plastic. They are approximately 15 meters in diameter and the entire apparatus is about 12 meters tall. Each balloon is powered via solar panels. The balloons will float along the winds in the stratosphere, approximately 20km above the surface. At such a distance, they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Each balloon is equipped with transceivers to communicate with nearby balloons and with a regional ground station and the specialized antenna Google developed to receive the signal. While only 30 test balloons were used at launch, Google expects far more floating in the sky should this project prove viable. Google says the balloons will provide mobile data connectivity equivalent to today’s 3G speeds, or possibly greater. How Does It Work?Each balloon is networked to one another with a radio transceiver as in a mesh, designed to ensure signal reliability. A second transceiver keeps the balloon in contact with a network station on the ground and beams an Internet signal to specialized antennas that can be placed on homes, much like a very small satellite TV receiver.There is also a back-up transceiver and a GPS on each balloon, so Google can monitor a balloon’s location. And each balloon will carry weather instruments, too. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts Has This Been Tried in the Real World?Yes. Google ran its first public test last weekend, in New Zealand, sending 30 balloons into the sky and offering 60 lucky volunteers 15 minutes of balloon-based Internet access. Smaller, private tests were conducted in California and possibly elsewhere.The company says that “over time” it intends to set up similar pilots in countries with the same latitude as New Zealand (40th parallel south). It hasn’t provided any timeline for these pilots.How Much Does All This Cost?Launching a Project Loon balloonYou won’t be surprised to learn that Google hasn’t specified what spent on this project, nor how much it intends to spend. Neither has the company offered any cost data for any of the equipment used or any indication of how many of its own employees are Loonies. All this is par for the course for Google.As for (eventual) end users, it seems reasonable to assume that Google plans to deliver Internet connectivity expects its solution to ultimately cost less than satellite-delivered Internet, or be scrapped.Ultimately, the costs may prove worth it. As my ReadWrite colleague Matt Asay noted in April:Google is giving away hugely expensive fiber-based Internet access (in the U.S.), but not because it’s a charity. Google knows that the more people that spend time online, the more likely they will spend money with Google.Will The Balloons Crash?Each balloon is made of rugged polyethylene plastic. They use solar power to help remain aloft. The balloons float in the stratosphere, above rain and commercial aircraft, for example, and far below satellites.Of course they will crash. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Google says each balloon includes a parachute to ensure a more controlled landing – not a crash, per se. The company adds that the balloons are designed to stay aloft for “100+ days.”When a balloon is known to have reached its end of life or needs repair, controllers can arrange an orderly descent. Google has plans for designated Loon balloon collection points. Google has also suggested that the balloons and equipment on board can be re-used and recycled.Google will notify the appropriate authorities, such as air traffic controllers, during both launch and descent. Where Can I Get Updates?Project Loon has its own Google+ page. Wait. Are the Skies Open? Not, especially. There are many rules regarding airspace and who controls it, and also disagreements as to how far (up) such control extends.Floating in the stratosphere means that almost certainly, Google will always be required to seek permission from any government whose airspace the balloons float into. In addition, while this project uses unlicensed spectrum, there’s no guarantee that will always be the case.Luckily for Google, approximately 70,000 weather balloons are launched every year, which may mitigate some, though not all, of the legal and regulatory issues.Can I Get Balloon Powered Internet?If you are reading this, then probably not. This solution is not intended for you. As Google states:There are many terrestrial challenges to Internet connectivity—jungles, archipelagos, mountains. There are also major cost challenges. Right now, for example, in most of the countries in the southern hemisphere, the cost of an Internet connection is more than a month’s income.Given that Google can control the positioning of the balloons, it could – in theory – bring Loon to areas that have suffered connectivity outages following a disaster or conflict, for example.Will This Be Another Failed Last Mile Solution?We’ll see. As Google notes, most people don’t have affordable and reliable 3G-like access. This is obviously a difficult problem to solve.Google has been working on delivering wireless connectivity using “white spaces” – publicly available radio spectrum – since at least 2010. Microsoft has just announced it’s joining a multi-organization effort to bring white spaces connectivity to underserved areas (such as rural communities) in Europe. Typically, such efforts function similar to today’s cellular networks – and most certainly do not use balloons. Many efforts to bring WiMax, a high-speed wireless service for more densely populated areas, were clear failures, despite early hype. Similarly, satellite-delivered Internet, which has succeeded for many, continues to remain relatively expensive and fraught with issues such as line-of-sight, visibility, and cost.Google has said that, at minimum, balloons offer the potential for widespread, affordable Internet access. And that’s clearly a big part of the company’s mission when you consider Project Loon, the company’s other white spaces efforts and its Google FIber business in the U.S. True, it’s also a self-interested mission. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good thing.Images via Google Project Loon Tags:#Google#Internet#wireless brian s hall Google has been tight-lipped regarding exactly how this will all work. Project Loon technology includes, at minimum, the balloons, transceivers, terrestrial control equipment, on-board battery, solar panels and GPS, network monitoring equipment and terrestrial antennas that connect to Project Loon balloons. (These earthbound antennas resemble – you guessed it – red balloons; one is pictured at left – or above if you’re on a mobile device.)The company has suggested that at this early stage, humans will be needed to monitor the system and individual balloons. This is a problem Google hopes to eventually resolve using “complex algorithms and lots of computing power.” Won’t The Balloons Float Away?Yes! Only not much as you might suspect. Google claims to have “figured out” how to control the balloons by moving them up or down into the desired band of wind in the stratosphere, though it didn’t specify how, exactly.The stratospheric winds and temperatures should presumably not present a hazard problem for the balloons or equipment. Should Google really ramp up this project to the point where it involves hundreds or even thousands of balloons, controlling the entire system will pose some pretty complex challenges. Do not be surprised to one day read a story about a Loon balloon landing on some farm in South America, for example.Is This A Google X Project?Yes, and it certainly seems like Google X is about the coolest place to work for in all of tech. The company states that Project Loon is just its latest “moonshot” effort. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces No one can accuse Google of not thinking big. Project Loon, Google’s audacious “moonshot” vision to bring mobile Internet connectivity to the billions without – via balloons – is one of the company’s biggest ideas ever. It’s madness, but it just might work.
Your 2015 Heisman favorite.It’s time to start marketing your best players for the Heisman, college football programs. The initial 2015 Heisman odds have been released by Bovada. The favorite? Ohio State junior-to-be running back Ezekiel Elliott, who ran through Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon while leading the Buckeyes to the 2014 national championship. Elliott isn’t the only Buckeye player listed. All three Ohio State quarterbacks are contenders for the award, too. Here’s the full list: Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott – 6/1Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott – 7/1LSU RB Leonard Fournette – 7/1TCU QB Trevone Boykin – 15/2USC QB Cody Kessler – 12/1Georgia RB Nick Chubb – 12/1UCLA RB Paul Perkins – 12/1Ohio State QB Cardale Jones – 14/1Alabama RB Derrick Henry – 14/1Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine – 14/1Ohio State QB J.T Barrett – 16/1Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson – 16/1Ohio State QB Braxton Miller – 18/1Michigan State QB Connor Cook – 20/1Wisconsin RB Corey Clement – 25/1Arizona State RB D.J. Foster – 25/1Oregon RB Royce Freeman – 25/1Miami QB Brad Kaaya – 33/1Florida State RB Dalvin Cook – 33/1Pittsburgh RB James Connor – 33/1Clemson QB Deshaun Watson – 33/1Georgia Tech RB Justin Thomas – 33/1Arizona RB Nick Wilson – 33/1Baylor QB Seth Russell – 33/1Oklahoma State RB Mason Rudolph – 40/1North Carolina State QB Jacoby Brissett – 50/1Tennessee RB Jalen Hurd – 50/1California QB Jared Goff – 50/1North Carolina QB Marquise Williams – 50/1Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell – 66/1Arizona LB Scooby Wright – 66/1Who will you be betting on? [Bovada]
“Mineral exploration and development provide real and significant socio-economic opportunities and benefits to communities and First Nations in all regions of B.C., and are essential to discovering the metals and minerals required for a low-carbon future. The mining flow-through share program, as extended for a one-year term in today’s budget is one component of reinforcing B.C.’s competitiveness on the world stage.” This incentive allows individuals who invest in flow-through shares to claim a non-refundable tax credit of 20% of their B.C. flow-through expenditures.”– Edie Thome, President & CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration.“The new BC budget’s focus on housing and universal childcare will benefit many of BC’s public school teachers. BC has several thousand young teachers who were hired following our Supreme Court of Canada win. They and many others will benefit from the start of a new affordable childcare program. This budget’s overall focus on affordability will help recruit qualified teachers from other provinces to BC to help address our province’s ongoing teacher shortage.”– Glen Hansman, President of the B.C. Teachers Federation.“This budget puts the economy on autopilot – it offers nothing for how to grow prosperity, how to get to yes on major projects, or how to attract investment to B.C. In fact, its tax hikes hinder that effort. With a razor-thin surplus dependent on a lot of things going right, B.C. taxpayers should be alarmed that the NDP Government has stopped paying attention to growing the economy. The only workforce and industry support mentioned by the Finance Minister were $18 million for arts grants and $29 million for agriculture. There’s another $144 million from the federal government for employment programs, but you can’t help but think Ottawa might be hesitant to cut that cheque right now.”– Jordan Bateman, Communications Director of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association.“We want to build B.C. better, and this budget will help us get there. The significant capital investment of $15.8 billion over three years and support for apprentices and women in trades will not only benefit our industry but the province as a whole through a legacy of skills training and employability. BCBT affiliates invest more than $18 million annually in apprenticeship and training to ensure our members do their best work, and do it safely. We expect these same high standards at every institution and welcome any measures that achieve that goal.”– Dave Holmes, President of the BC Building Trades Council. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Peace Region’s two BC Liberal MLAs say they’re concerned about the 2018 Budget tabled by the NDP government, which were also echoed by several organizations across the province.Peace River North MLA Dan Davies said that the large amount of tax increases that were contained in Tuesday’s budget was especially concerning, especially the increased tax burden on businesses in B.C. Davies specifically cited the NDP’s plan to eliminate MSP premiums by January 1st, 2020, and make up for the loss in revenue with a new plan to implement a payroll tax of 1.95 percent on all business payrolls over $1.5 million. The government said that new tax will bring in $1.9 billion, not quite making up for the $2.6 billion brought in by MSP premiums in 2017.Davies explained that the increased taxes on businesses will lower the competitiveness of B.C., and the province could see businesses decide to move to other jurisdictions because of the increase in taxes. His concerns were echoed by BC Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Val Litwin. Litwin said in a statement that “this new burden, shifted entirely onto the shoulders of business owners, flies in the face of an innovative economy – a phrase that featured prominently in every Ministers’ mandate letter in July, but very little in today’s speech. This new tax will have a negative effect on growth and investment.” Both Davies and Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier also expressed concerns about a lack of concrete spending that was announced for rural B.C., adding that the budget seemed to be focused on announcing spending in the Lower Mainland area.“They didn’t have anything highlighted for specific major four-landing projects around the area,” said Bernier. “There wasn’t a lot in this budget that I see is going to benefit people in this region. Mining and the resource sector wasn’t mentioned once. They hardly had any supports that I saw for agriculture or forestry.”Meanwhile, BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, whose party’s support is required to keep the minority NDP government in power, had positive things to say about the budget, though he also expressed a concern that climate change was not receiving adequate attention.“It is encouraging to see such a significant emphasis on child care,” said Weaver in a statement. “This is a core commitment to our Confidence and Supply Agreement and we have been working diligently to consult with the government on how we can best achieve our shared goals. However, we are still concerned that the challenges presented by the emerging economy, and the challenge of climate change in particular are not receiving adequate attention. Without a clear vision and decisive action we risk undermining all of the progress we could make on childcare and housing. Over the coming days and weeks our caucus will be seeking more information from the government about the specifics of their budget policies.”Other organizations had both positive and negative things to say about the budget.“This provincial budget shows it is possible to prioritize the wellbeing of our communities and families in tandem with addressing the climate challenge. Investments in wildfire preparedness, energy-efficient social housing, and carbon-tax rebates for lower income households are prime examples.”– Karen Tam Wu, acting B.C. director at the Pembina Institute.“This is robbing Peter to pay Paul, and we worry that employees will suffer for it. It was good that the government committed to axing the unfair MSP health tax, but they are now pinning it on employers who will have to find that money somewhere. Employers don’t have a magical pot of money to hand to government and they will do things like freezing wages, halting hiring and ceasing expansion. That punishes growth and innovation. If the BC government could take the ICBC anchor off its neck, this budget would be much more buoyant. It would be a relief to change ICBC into a co-op, putting it into the hands of drivers who choose it and opening it up to competition.”– Kris Sims, BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Our economy grows when businesses are supported, taxes remain competitive with global competitors such as the US, and businesses are optimistic about hiring and investing. Given this government’s emphasis on innovation and the ’emerging economy’, we expected to see a more holistic plan put in place for the reduction of red tape that has always proven to spur growth and, for example, more incentives to drive innovation and early adoption of new technologies.”– Val Litwin, President & CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce.