Virgin Media switches on gigabit broadband across London

first_imgWednesday 4 November 2020 10:30 pm “It has never been clearer that our services play a vital role in supporting people’s everyday lives and powering the economy,” said Lutz Schuler, chief executive of Virgin Media. “The nation needs next-generation connectivity and we’re delivering.” Roughly 2.6m homes in London will now be able to access gigabit broadband through Virgin Media Also Read: Virgin Media switches on gigabit broadband across London Show Comments ▼ Sky, which uses Openreach’s network, earlier this week officially launched its full-fibre broadband services, giving its customers access to superfast speeds. But ministers have come under increased pressure over the pledge, with a major report last month warning the government was likely to miss its target. Roughly 2.6m homes across the capital will be able to benefit from gigabit broadband, which is more than 17 times faster than the national average, with speeds of 1,104Mbps. Virgin’s broadband coverage reaches every London borough, with roughly two-thirds of premises in the capital connected to the network. “Our ambitious target will see us roll-out gigabit speeds across our entire network of more than 15m homes by the end of next year. We’re on track to deliver that promise with homes in London and Northern Ireland the latest to gain access to blisteringly-fast Gig1 services.” The rollout comes as a boost to the UK’s broadband provisions as more than half of the population continue to work remotely as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. It takes the company’s total gigabit broadband reach to 6.8m homes across the UK, representing 45 per cent of its network. Virgin Media switches on gigabit broadband across London center_img Share James Warrington Virgin tonight also launched gigabit broadband in Northern Ireland as part of a huge UK rollout that reached nearly 3m homes. Roughly 2.6m homes in London will now be able to access gigabit broadband through Virgin Media Full-fibre broadband provision formed a key part of the government’s election manifesto, and it has pumped £5bn into its plan to bring next-generation coverage to all premises across the UK by 2025. whatsapp whatsapp Roughly 2.6m homes in London will now be able to access gigabit broadband through Virgin Media Also Read: Virgin Media switches on gigabit broadband across London More Londoners can now enjoy access to next-generation broadband after Virgin Media carried out the UK’s largest ever network switch-on. The switch-on will also benefit some surrounding areas that do not have London postcodes, including Twickenham and Kingston. More From Our Partners Police Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgFlorida woman allegedly crashes children’s birthday party, rapes teennypost.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.comA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.org980-foot skyscraper sways in China, prompting panic and evacuationsnypost.comlast_img read more

Third rail firm up for sale as Angel scouts for buyers

first_img whatsapp RAIL company Angel Trains could follow the path of rivals Eversholt and Porterbrook to become the third British train firm to be sold in a year.Angel is currently owned by a consortium of investors from Australia, Canada, Luxembourg and the UK, which bought the company from the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2008.The firm is reported to have appointed Citigroup to lead a sale of the company. It said in a recent statement that the decision “to investigate the possible sale” would have no impact on operations. “For us, it is business as usual,” the firm said.Angel added that all contracts currently in place with train operators, and those in the pipeline, will be honoured.Eversholt was sold to Hong Kong-based billionaire Li Ka-Shing in January, while Porterbrook was bought by a consortium including Allianz Capital Partners in October last year.Angel Trains declined to comment yesterday. Show Comments ▼ Monday 9 March 2015 12:24 am Third rail firm up for sale as Angel scouts for buyers Express KCS whatsapp Share More From Our Partners Russell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years‘Neighbor from hell’ faces new charges after scaring off home buyersnypost.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.comA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comKamala Harris keeps list of reporters who don’t ‘understand’ her: reportnypost.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Tags: NULLlast_img read more

News / LNG may be the key to reducing carriers’ massive fuel bills for ultra-large boxships

first_imgBy Mike Wackett 17/04/2014 Bigger and bigger ships operating at slower and slower speeds across the tradelanes of the world are testament to the single-minded desire of ocean carriers to continually reduce their unit costs below those of their competitors.However, the size of these giant containerships has reached a limit, in terms of the capacity of ports which can service them, and given that the vessels are unable to go much slower without possibly inflicting long-term damage to their engines, ocean carriers are going back to basics to get operating costs down.As a result, schedule optimisation is constantly tweaked and the mega-alliances will help improve the cost base. But the biggest single voyage cost element will always be bunker fuel.Even with super-slow-steaming, a 13,000teu ship can burn over 125 tonnes a day of IFO380, which is currently on offer on Rotterdam markets at about $585 per tonne.So, for a new 13,000teu workhorse on an Asia–Europe round trip, the cost of fuel is staggering. Multiply that figure by the number of ships a carrier deploys on an Asia–Europe service and the amount is mind-boggling.While big ship leader Maersk Line has managed to reduce the cost of fuel to 21% of its per 40ft cost base – but still racked up a $5.2bn fuel bill for almost 600 owned and chartered ships – for many other carriers, without the Danish line’s economy of scale advantage, the percentage spent on fuel is much higher.And there are indications that the temporarily stable cost of oil is ready to head north again – and the market would spike if there were an escalation of warfare anywhere in the world that could impact supply.Then there are the tougher new January 1, 2015 ECA-zone regulations that reduce the permitted sulphur content in bunker fuel from 1% to 0.1%. This will force operators transiting the sectors to switch to marine gas oil (MGO), which currently trades at around $895 per tonne (having gained $45 in the past month on tight supplies).United Arab Shipping Company’s (UASC) order of seven 18,000teu “LNG-ready” containerships is the first move by a major carrier to recognise a logical economy-driven step towards the low-emission fuel – LNG is currently 20% cheaper than heavy fuel oil and 50% less than MGO.The stumbling block to deepsea carriers specifying LNG retro-fitting in their newbuild orders has been concerns over the lack of necessary bunkering infrastructure. However, in a recent survey of 22 major ports by Lloyd’s Register (LR), there were encouraging signs that the demand for LNG is beginning to be addressed.One key finding was that 59% of those ports now have specific plans for LNG bunkering infrastructure, with 76% of the respondents believing that LNG bunkering operations will commence at their port within five years.On the basis of this, LR estimates that by 2020, all key European ports will be able to support deepsea bunkering operations for LNG, in recognition that by the same year approximately 13% of bunkers supplied will be for the gas.LR’s conclusion is that the survey indicates “social concerns about LNG as a future fuel are falling”. Its senior market analyst, Latifat Ajala, said: “Global ports are gearing up for a gas-fuelled future for shipping…traditional bunkering ports will need to be able to offer gas just as they offer the choice of fuel oil or distillates today.”Luis Benito, LR’s global marketing manager added: “Ports want to be gas-capable – and they are planning for a gas-fuelled future.”LR’s report is required reading for ocean carriers struggling to find the next cost reduction options to improve their bottom line.last_img read more

Hijacking a virus to deliver genes to the brain

first_img @meggophone [email protected] Tags blood-brain barrierdrug deliverygene therapy Biologists have hijacked a virus to nix its harmful properties and harness its ability to enter the brain through the bloodstream. At least in mice, the virus can deliver genes to certain cells in the nervous system by bypassing the blood-brain barrier that often trips therapies up. Here’s what lead researchers Ben Deverman and Viviana Gradinaru of Caltech said about the findings, published in Nature Biotechnology. Medical first: Brain tumor breached with ultrasound By Megan Thielking Feb. 2, 2016 Reprints What’s the problem with current gene delivery into the brain?Usually gene delivery is done by invasive local injections. You take a needle, make a hole in the skull, and inject a few milliliters of a vesicle that delivers the gene. So you have a lot of copies of your delivery target locally at that injection site, but it dies down as the gene moves further from the injection site. If you want to deliver genes for research or therapy purposes, you want uniformity.What did you do to push for that uniformity?Our method is delivering it to the [network of blood vessels] since the vasculature touches nearly every cell in the brain. We took a virus that was known to cross the blood-brain barrier very efficiently and we evolved a variant of that. What makes these viruses attractive as gene delivery vehicles…is that we can strip them of all the viral genes.advertisement News Editorcenter_img A method using viruses may be able to deliver therapeutic genes to the brain. Above, green fluorescent protein (GFP) is shown in the mouse cerebellum after the GFP gene is delivered using the method. Ben Deverman and the Gradinaru laboratory/Caltech Megan Thielking Lab ChatHijacking a virus to deliver genes to the brain Related: About the Author Reprints What are the limitations of that finding?Although these viruses have been used in research, they’re not very well characterized. We don’t understand the mechanism for how it crosses the blood-brain barrier. This method also takes very high doses of viruses, so we’re trying to make it more efficient.For more Lab Chats, subscribe to the free Morning Rounds newsletter.last_img read more

Laurentian Bank Securities fined $140,000 in leveraged ETF case

The company admitted that it failed to offer training to give its supervisors sufficient knowledge to adequately supervise the trading of leveraged ETFs in retail client accounts. Specifically, Laurentian Bank Securities admitted that between October 2008 and April 2010, it failed to ensure that its supervisors fully understood the features and risks inherent in the leveraged ETFs in the accounts of two retail clients. In this capacity, the company failed to exercise adequate and effective supervision, IIROC said. During the same period, Laurentian Bank Securities failed to use due diligence by neglecting to offer training to ensure that its supervisors had full knowledge to adequately supervise the trading of leveraged ETFs in its retail client accounts. Under the settlement agreement, Laurentian Bank Securities has agreed pay a fine of $140,000 and costs of $10,000. Tremblay, who was manager of the Montreal branch of Laurentian Bank Securities when the infractions occurred, also faces penalties. In a separate settlement agreement released on Thursday, IIROC said Tremblay admitted that he neglected to take reasonable means to inform himself of the features and risks inherent in leveraged ETFs. He also neglected to ensure adequate supervision of the accounts of retail clients of a registered representative under his supervision, and neglected to ensure that the rep’s recommendations made to two clients, concerning leveraged ETFs, were appropriate for these clients. Tremblay has agreed to pay a fine of $22,000 and costs of $3,000. He’s also banned for 12 months from applying for approval with IIROC in any capacity, and is required to pass the branch managers course before applying for approval as a supervisor of approved persons with IIROC. Tremblay is no longer a registrant with an IIROC-regulated firm. Megan Harman Amid rule overhaul, SEC to review protections for complex products IIROC warns about risky ETFs in choppy markets Laurentian Bank Securities Inc. has been fined $140,000 by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) for failing ensure its supervisors were adequately trained on leveraged exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Following hearings on July 11, 2012, IIROC hearing panels have accepted settlement agreements with Laurentian Bank Securities and François Tremblay, former manager of the Montreal branch of Laurentian Bank Securities. SEC proposes fund reporting overhaul Related news Keywords ETFsCompanies Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Facebook LinkedIn Twitter read more

JUTC to Get 50 New Buses Next Year

first_imgRelatedJUTC to Get 50 New Buses Next Year Advertisements RelatedJUTC to Get 50 New Buses Next Year RelatedJUTC to Get 50 New Buses Next Yearcenter_img FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) will be acquiring 50 new buses early next year, while at the same time, overhauling number of seven-year old units in its fleet, to meet public transport needs in the corporate area.JUTC Marketing and Communications Manager, Gwyneth Davidson, told JIS News that the bus company has “provided specifications for 50 buses that will adequately supplement the JUTC fleet, while overhauls are done on existing units. These 50 buses will provide an additional 2,200 seats at any one time”.The units to be acquired, she said, include a number of “mistral Volvo buses, similar to those that are currently being used for the JUTC premium service; Volvo articulated air-conditioned buses; and MAN single operator air-conditioned buses”.She noted that while the investment would enhance regular service within the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR), “it would also allow the company to fulfill the requirement to move upwards of 15,000 spectators between Sabina Park and five designated car parks” during the staging of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.According to Mrs. Davidson, “the JUTC will be the ground transportation provider for spectators between Sabina Park and the designated ‘park and ride’ facilities in Kingston”, adding that the company also plans to transport persons from the corporate area to the cricket ground in Trelawny.Meanwhile, the JUTC Marketing and Communications Manager told JIS News that the bus company would be encouraging drivers to commute with the JUTC, as part of a special energy saving thrust.She said that, “improving the fleet with more comfortable buses will be an additional attraction for commuters to use the JUTC service. This includes car owners, whom the JUTC is targeting to be commuters.” JUTC to Get 50 New Buses Next Year UncategorizedAugust 24, 2006last_img read more

Jamaica Not Pleased with Draft Agreement on Tariff Reduction for Bananas

first_imgRelatedJamaica Not Pleased with Draft Agreement on Tariff Reduction for Bananas Jamaica Not Pleased with Draft Agreement on Tariff Reduction for Bananas UncategorizedJuly 22, 2008 FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Action is being taken, in alliance with CARICOM and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, to convey Jamaica’s position to the European Commission, Latin America and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in regard to the draft agreement, which proposes a severe reduction to the current tariff for bananas entering the European market.This was noted by State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Ronald Robinson, in his contribution to the 2008/09 State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on July 18.The proposed reduction in tariff rates, the State Minister said, would “seriously compromise the competitiveness of bananas from Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean in the EU market.”He said the agreement is unacceptable, and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture have met with stakeholders in the banana industry to discuss the matter.Senator Robinson explained that the draft agreement presented by the WTO Secretary General to the European Commission (EC) and the Non-ACP banana producing countries, mainly in Latin America, proposes a severe reduction to the current tariff of €176 per tonne for bananas entering the EU market.He pointed out that the proposals call for an initial reduction to €150 by 2009 with a further reduction during the course of six years to €116 per tonne. “It should be noted that the members of the WTO having interest in tropical products have counter-proposed with the initial tariff cut to €109 per tonne by 2015, which is even more drastic than the proposal posited by the WTO Director-General,” he said.“We have been embroiled in this banana dispute for over 15 years and it continues to provide serious challenges to the banana industry in the Caribbean region. We need to intensify our efforts to make this industry competitive and to continue the process of diversification. These efforts are critical when juxtaposed against an aggressive campaign to whittle away the margins of preferences from which Jamaica and the Caribbean previously benefited,” the State Minister said.He assured that the Ministry would continue to do all that is possible to secure the interest of Jamaica’s productive sectors in the WTO and all other trade arenas.Senator Robinson is now in Geneva attending a mini-ministerial conference at the WTO, heading the Jamaican delegation. The meeting, which is being held from July 21-23, has been convened in light of the new thrust to reach a consensus in the agriculture and non-agriculture market access negotiations in the Doha Development Round of multilateral trade negotiations, which have been ongoing for almost seven years. Advertisementscenter_img RelatedJamaica Not Pleased with Draft Agreement on Tariff Reduction for Bananas RelatedJamaica Not Pleased with Draft Agreement on Tariff Reduction for Bananaslast_img read more

CU-Boulder Adds Five New Programs For Study Abroad In 2000

first_imgThe University of Colorado at Boulder is adding five new programs to the existing choices undergraduate students have for studying abroad next year. The new semester study abroad programs will include a field study seminar, which introduces the concept of learning about cultures through field experience, in addition to an independent study project conducted during the last four weeks of the semester. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5, and additional language prerequisites may apply. The deadline to apply for the new spring semester programs is Wednesday, Sept. 15. The Study Abroad Office also is accepting applications for the fall semester programs. The deadline for the fall programs is March 1, 2000. The five programs recently added include the following: o Ecology and Conservation in Cote d’Ivoire, spring semester, 2000. Students live with a host family while taking intensive French language courses at intermediate and advanced levels and studying Cote d’Ivoire’s strategies for developing critical and viable ecology and conservation policies. o Economic Development and Regional Integration in the Southern Cone, spring semester, 2000. This program, based in Santiago, Chile, allows students to visit Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Iguacu Falls on the border of Brazil. Courses include intermediate and advanced language study and analysis of economic rationale and the social consequences of regional economic integration in the Southern Cone. o Natural Resource Management in Lismore, Australia, spring semester, 2000. Students will live in Lismore, home of the largest indigenous Australian population in the country, taking courses in environmental philosophy and ethics, aboriginal land management and environmental decision making. o Culture and Development in Mongolia, fall semester, 2000. Students will study beginning level intensive Mongolian and analyze Mongolian life, culture and development issues. Students will live with Mongolian host families and participate in several field trips, including a two- or three-week rural field study in central Mongolia. o Arts and Culture in Senegal, fall semester, 2000. The Senegal program includes intensive intermediate and advanced French language study, an introduction to the native Wolof language and a host family stay. Students will study Senegalese culture, history and modern and traditional art forms. Students can choose from more than 130 study abroad programs in 63 countries. Participants will receive in-residence credit for courses taken on a CU-Boulder sponsored program. Pre-departure orientation sessions are offered on campus for all programs. Financial aid and scholarships also are available. The Study Abroad Program of the Office of International Education is located in the basement of the Environmental Design Building. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on study abroad programs, contact the Study Abroad Program Office at (303) 492-7741 or visit their web site at Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Published: Sept. 12, 1999 last_img read more

Cooler Weather and Thunderstorms Are the Latest Additions to Sonoma County’s…

first_imgLinkedin Facebook AdvertisementIntense Heat Wave Gives Way to Wet and Cooler ConditionsSANTA ROSA, Calif. (September 27, 2017) – When the book is closed on the 2017 Sonoma County winegrape harvest, “weather” will need to dominate the conversation as Mother Nature continues to impact the efforts of local farmers as they harvest this year’s crop.  The year began with record winter rainfall, followed by a mild spring, a scorching summer and finally cooler weather in mid-September. That respite helped bring order to the harvest, though it did not last long as rain sprinkles turned to thunderstorms in late September creating new concerns for farmers.Reports from the vineyards indicate that this year’s extreme weather, particularly the sustained heat waves, will likely impact the size of the harvest.  Early estimates were for an average size crop of excellent quality. However, in the past few weeks, farmers are reporting some significant weight loss in grape numbers due to the heat, which caused some growers and vintners to pick grapes earlier than they had planned.  Around the middle of the month, rain arrived forcing farmers to check their grapes, open up the canopy, and in some instances, use larges blowers in the vineyards to dry out certain varieties prior to harvesting. Currently, about 70% of the Sonoma County grapes have been harvested.The other ongoing challenge facing Sonoma County winegrape growers is the availability of labor and the logistics of moving crews and equipment around the county. While there is not a critical shortage this season, the labor supply remains very tight to the point that some growers are not harvesting on the day they want because workers are not available. Despite all the weather fluctuations and current labor supply, most growers still anticipate harvest being completed by mid-October.Russian River ValleyWith the Pinot Noir harvest almost complete and Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Merlot and other varieties winding down, growers in the Russian River AVA have experienced two different harvests.  For early ripening varieties that matured and were picked, nearly every grower cited excellent quality and better than average yields. For varieties ripening during or after the extreme heat wave in the beginning of September, growers experienced a noticeable drop in yields but were impressed by the outstanding quality.Dry Creek ValleyZinfandel, Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are currently being picked or will soon begin being harvested. The growing season had it all – perfect growing conditions, a number of searing heat waves and late summer rains, while cooler weather in September helped return schedules back to normal.Alexander ValleyHarvest has been completed for Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Other varieties in the AVA, including Cabernet, Zinfandel, Merlot and Malbec, should be completed in the next two to three weeks.  Like elsewhere in Sonoma County, the 2017 harvest has been intense with conditions changing every few days while the struggle to find enough labor remains constant.Pine Mountain-Cloverdale PeakHarvest should be completed in the next two weeks.  Tonnage is down slightly while quality is average to excellent depending on the variety and the vineyard.  Much of the Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon is being harvested this week.  Labor is tight, optimism is high.Sonoma CoastGrowers are taking advantage of the cooler weather to prolong the time on the vine.  Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Riesling are or will soon be harvested.  A common refrain has been that brix levels are steady but not quite ready for harvest.  Along with labor concerns, weather has been the greatest challenge facing growers, especially over the past two months of the season.   Sonoma ValleyGrowers throughout the AVA are racing to complete harvest within the next week to ten days.  Varieties were impacted differently by the heat throughout the AVA. One grower reported his Chardonnay was picked 30% light while his Malbec and Merlot were the same yield levels as last year.  Other growers reported both exceptional quality and yields. Growers are hoping that hand labor will be freed up to enable Sonoma Valley growers to access crews when they need it since the harvest is winding down in other parts of Sonoma County. Sonoma MountainHarvest is winding down for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with most harvested around the heat wave over Labor Day weekend at exceptional quality. Harvest is currently beginning for Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel on Sonoma Mountain with completion likely around the end of October. Sugar levels and flavors are close.  The summer’s heat waves did burn leaves and desiccated some fruit particularly among Merlot. With that said, quality looks good with overall yields slightly below normal.  Follow the HarvestIf you want up-to-the-minute updates on Sonoma County’s harvest activities directly from our grape growers and wineries, the Sonoma County Winegrowers have created an online Harvest Tracker to help everyone stay informed on what’s happening in our vineyards and cellars. Visit for the latest news and use the hashtag #SCHarvest on social media.Advertisement Previous articleWineAmerica Study Shows $219.9 Billion Economic Impact of U.S. Wine Industry in 2017Next articleIntroducing Pop Culture: A Compelling New Club for Exclusive Champagne and Sparkling Wine Press Release TAGSfeaturedHarvest 2017Sonoma CountySonoma County Winegrowers Email Twitter Home Industry News Releases Cooler Weather and Thunderstorms Are the Latest Additions to Sonoma County’s 2017…Industry News ReleasesWine BusinessCooler Weather and Thunderstorms Are the Latest Additions to Sonoma County’s 2017 Wine Harvest SagaBy Press Release – September 27, 2017 67 0 Pinterest ReddIt Sharelast_img read more

Rebranded Agro Fest to feature new, exciting activities

first_imgRelatedRebranded Agro Fest to feature new, exciting activities RelatedRebranded Agro Fest to feature new, exciting activities RelatedRebranded Agro Fest to feature new, exciting activities Advertisements By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter Rebranded Agro Fest to feature new, exciting activities AgricultureMay 16, 2011 FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail KINGSTON — This year’s staging of the Kingston and St. Andrew Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show – ‘Agro Fest’, will feature a host of exciting new activities to entertain the entire family, including a Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) ‘Eat What We Grow’ cook off competition. A canine display by Guardsman security company, health fair, farmers’ domino competition, police mounted troupe exhibition, small ruminants display and a farm queen competition, are other new features of the show, which will be held on Saturday, May 21 at the grounds of Jamaica College on Old Hope Road in St. Andrew. Speaking at the launch at the JAS’ headquarters in Kingston last week, President of the Kingston and St. Andrew Association of Branch Societies, Senator Norman Grant, said that the annual show has been rebranded, with significant focus on food preparation and the consumption of local foods. This, he said, is in keeping with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on Monday May 9 between the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the JAS to restructure and refocus the shows on their core function, which is to promote and enhance the agriculture sector. Senator Grant said that under the MoU, the Agriculture Ministry has provided additional funding of $1 million, which will go towards the overall organisation of the event, to ensure that it is in keeping with “a general framework of quality and embracement of agriculture as the lifeblood of the Jamaican economy”. “Also, in keeping with this support (we) will be able to give the JAS branches and farmers that participate, a more substantial prize money and we will also be able to (present) those prizes on the day of the show,” he said. He further informed that the event will feature a more expansive farmers’ market, where fresh agricultural produce will be available for patrons. There will also be a presidential lounge, which on one side will accommodate the media. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry, stressed that the Government wants to move agricultural shows away from just being exhibitions to “events that people can relate to, that people can identify with a new thrust, a new move to feed ourselves”. “It speaks to food sovereignty, which is tantamount to national sovereignty…we want for these shows to be a rallying point where people can be proud of the achievement of the agricultural sector and see it as part and parcel of the entire effort to build food sufficiency and to improve rural life and rural development,” he stated. Mr. Stanberry presented Senator Grant with the $1 million cheque towards the staging of the event during the function. The 15th staging of ‘Agro Fest’ is being held under the theme: ‘Eat what we grow, grow what we eat’ and will feature more than 40 exhibitors ranging from agricultural to horticultural displays. In addition to the new features, patrons will be able to enjoy regular attractions such as the farm queen and the champion farmer competitions and best JAS branch displays.  There will also be gate prizes of weekend for two at Negril Tree Resort and day passes at any Sandals Resort in Jamaica. The day’s activities will get underway at 8:00 a.m. and will continue to 8:00 p.m. The official tour of the grounds starts at 1:00 p.m., and the opening ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m. Admission for adults is $400 and $100 for children under 12. Major sponsors of the show are: Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited, which is contributing $300,000; Jamaica National Building Society, $200,000; while Independent Radio Company (Power 106 FM) and Kool 99 FM are each providing $150,000.last_img read more