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Barbados making moves to bolster infrastructure

The Government of Barbados is determined to boost the island’s natural disaster readiness as well as its ‘woeful’ infrastructure.

In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Kirk, which dumped heavy waters over the island from Thursday evening well into Friday, leaving many parts of the island inaccessible due to heavy flooding, Prime Minister Mia Mottley, is set to implement strategies aimed towards national preparation.

The Prime Minster, who cut her attendance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York short, and arrived in the country early Sunday morning, took to the streets with several of her Cabinet Ministers to assess firsthand, the damage Kirk had inflicted to several flood-affected communities around the island, including Bayland and Chapman Lane, St Michael; Wotton, Christ Church; and Ruby Tenantry, St Philip.

During the tour, she revealed that Barbados would soon be engaged in a national preparation exercise, once the current hurricane season was over in November and that a simulation exercise would be launched in early 2019 for affected communities.

“We are not waiting until next June because these things are affecting too many people and in ways that are substantive,” she said.

Barbadians she noted, needed to be better prepared and educated on how to cope and respond after being impacted, as well as how protecting the environment also enhanced their safety.

Suggesting that the  recently launched national clean-up Many Hands be conducted every quarter to improve the situation of garbage negatively affecting the island’s drainage she called for Barbadians to join in the clean-up efforts to further protect the environment thereby enhancing their own safety.

Water, sewage, drainage and roads were the biggest claims to the country’s infrastructure and the Prime Minster explains that while Government did not have the finances available to deal with all the issues following the passage of Kirk, they would be prioritizing critical needs.

“Our country’s infrastructure is in a woeful state and we need to be able to deal with it. We don’t have the money to deal with all at once but we have to prioritize what we need to and between the various ministries we are going to go after it systematically” she said.

She further added, “When we say sometimes to people that we are focusing on needs, and not wants, it’s because we understand that the needs of the country in terms of public spaces is able to avert drainage problems . . . able to avert flooding . . . able to avert problems with the roads . . . . All of these things are as a result of a lack of attention to detail and not prioritizing how we spend public money,” Mottley added.

Mottley noted that the problems facing the country in terms of its infrastructure were not ‘insurmountable’ and in some cases, there were fixes that could be immediately resolved by the Ministry of Public Works and the Drainage Division; however other challenges she noted would need to have more ‘medium to long term solutions’.

“If we don’t take care of each other in preparing for this, then what happened in other jurisdictions will cause too many people regrettably to die. Most people don’t die from the water itself, they die from the consequences of it,” Mottley said.

The Prime Minster also revealed that she would like to meet with Cabinet to discuss how to have a better ‘decentralised system’ where all residents worked to keep Barbados clean and safe.

Vegan meat is the future to a greener Earth

There was a time in my life when I tried to go vegan.  I gave up meat and turned to tofu and a lot of soybean based products in the hope to replace the meats with a more plant based and healthier option.

I failed.

The tofu taste was disgusting to my sensitive palate and even now, the thought of its scent makes me very, very sad.

So imagine my amazement when I found out about Beyond Meat, the 2009 founded company that just won the 2018 Champions of the Earth Award, which is the UN’s highest accolade for the environment along with, Impossible Foods. Both are producers of revolutionary plant-based meats which are alternatives to beef.

What is even more interesting is that these plant-based meat alternatives are outperforming grass fed beef in the fast food arena around the world, including the USA and Canada.

This is great news for anyone who understands the need to preserve and nurture the Earth as livestock cultivation is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

This is a distressing fact in and of itself as greenhouse gases are basically responsible for and the hole in the ozone layer and thus climate change.

With the advent of these plant based meat alternatives having proven to be sustainable choices, it means that being ecologically conscious no longer translates into  giving up on taste and enjoyment.

“This proves that positive climate action can taste even better!” Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment said. “Saving the planet requires something of a gastronomical rethink in some parts of the world, and Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods prove that this doesn’t mean our taste buds are making the sacrifice.”

Founder  and Chief Executive Officer of Impossible Foods Dr. Patrick O. Brown, explains that he knows that the big global problems are not the responsibility of someone else and agreed that in order to save the planet, it would be important to pleasantly appeal to the world’s tastebuds.

“This problem wasn’t going to be solved by pleading with consumers to eat beans and tofu instead of meat and fish. And it wouldn’t be enough just to find a better way to make meat; to succeed we would need to make the best meat in the world.”

The vegan meats by these companies have already outperformed grass-fed beef burgers by at least 40% at Luna Grill, and were sold out at Taco Bell in the USA, as well as at  A&W locations in Canada and was recently added to a burger chain in Italy, called ‘WellDone’.

So how can a vegan meat switch really make any difference? Is it just because it tastes better?

Well not only has many reported that the vegan burgers actually still taste like burgers, but this seemingly simple food choice equates to a greener world.

Here’s how.

Americans switching from beef to plant-based patties would be the equivalent of taking 12 million cars off the road for an entire year–or saving enough electricity to power 2.3 million homes.

A study coming out of the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, which conducted a ‘cradle- to- distribution’ life cycle assessment of the popular vegan burger, discovered that the Beyond Burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, has 99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land use than a quarter pound of U.S. beef. That means a 41-square-foot plot of land can produce just one beef burger for every 15 Beyond Burgers.

 

 

 

FIN Atlantic International Film Festival wrapped for 2018

Attending a film festival has an integral social impact  and offers the opportunity to experience more than just sitting in a theatre and watching a presentation, which is what the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival offers its patrons.

Having just wrapped up its 38th year, the film festival has been well established as a premier event in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They do more than highlight the best in film, by presenting unique ways for people to enjoy the screen presentations and exciting special events.

You may be surprised to learn that ‘FIN’ is not an acronym.

Wayne Carter, Executive Director of the festival, explains, “Although ‘FIN’ does not represent three words, ‘FIN’ itself has meaning. Halifax is on the Atlantic Ocean, which is full of fins and it is the word that appears at the end of French films.”

FIN is also a stroke of branding genius, since it comes up at the top of search engine results.

 

 

For the second year in a row, FIN partnered with Autism Nova Scotia to offer relaxed screenings and the films presented at these specialized venues were, ‘designed to be attended by anyone on the spectrum.”

Autism Nova Scotia provided free tickets which encouraged people with varying abilities to see films in more comforting environments, as the theatres offered soft lighting, subdued sound and a safe and calming atmosphere.

People seem to want more from theatres, which has led to the emergence of 4DX films that incorporate effects such as motion, rain, wind and even scents into a movie. Carter suggests that this type of film will appeal, ‘to a certain type of audience looking for a specific experience.”

He continues, “Virtual reality could also be an interesting sensory adventure.”  However, it is unlikely that the majority of those going to the theatre would want to be tossed around in their seats and sprinkled with water among other things for a full 90 minutes, making the probability of complete immersive films becoming mainstream nn unlikely expenditure for most film makers.

An exciting feature for film lovers to look forward to is the prospect of a digital pass. Carter explains that, “We are going to adopt a digital aspect to the festival as a way for us to bring FIN to people who cannot attend in person.” As the planning for next year’s festival has already begun, you can be sure adding digital attendance will be on the agenda.

One other way FIN is garnering attention is that women are getting the opportunity to demonstrate their talented filmmaking skills. At this year’s awards ceremony, women were the predominate recipients.

Deanne Foley won The Gordon Parsons Award for Best Atlantic Feature for ‘An Audience of Chairs’, Shelly Thompson won the Best Atlantic Short award for ‘Duck Duck Goose’ and Reneé Blanchar won the Best Atlantic Documentary award for ‘Dans L’Ouest’ (Shadow Men).

Within the film culture, women are definitely forging their own path and being recognized for their efforts.

“I am proud that 59% of our gala performances were directed by women. They are showing their strength and women will continue to be elevated in this profession”.  Carter said during an interview.

There were 194 films on the roster at this year’s FIN and they strive to include a mixture of all genres in order to guarantee there is something for everyone. As quoted on their home page, FIN is “Atlantic Canada’s curator of epic and unforgettable stories” and they have certainly demonstrated their commitment as this year’s Atlantic International Film Festival was a resounding success.

The ugly sneaker trend is celeb gold!

If you’re like me and are prone to scrolling through your instagram and twitter feeds, then you would have seen one of the strangest, yet hottest trends for footwear in 2018 and its ‘ugly’!

I’m talking about the ‘ugly’ sneaker trend that has taken the world by storm with its decisive departure from the sleek, sexy and elegant styles, to that of the bold and un-streamlined look usually reserved for men.

With such powerful female influencers  as Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Hailey Baldwin and even  Bella Hadid rocking  these bulky, 90’s era shoes, it was really only a matter of time before the whole world accepted that this revamped look was all the rage.

The ‘ugly’ sneaker or ‘dad sneaker’ usually features a double or triple sole, adding favourable height to the wearer while offering extra support and minimizing strain on the legs for a more comfortable feel.

The shoes usually come in either all white or all black styles, themed with curvy lines in bright hues or neon colours .

In short the ‘ugly sneaker’ has become the canvas on which many of the well known footwear companies, including Adidas, Reebok, Sketchers , Nike and Puma have all used to lure the female consumer to embracing the sneaker culture for a revolutionalised fashion look.

The sneakers, which honestly have zero seductive appeal on their own, have however a certain curious  charm that creates a fearless fashionable statement, with sneaker wearers mixing the shoes with high end layering and daring styles, including cut off shorts, elegant dresses and some sporty themed clothes, resulting in a fresh, funky and feminine fashion statement.

In an interview with Forbes, Alegra O’Hare, vice president of global communications at Adidas, said their version of the ugly sneaker the ‘Falcon’ has come to represent a new generation of female consumers.

“Its bold and unapologetic DNA is at the core of today’s Falcon and reflects the confident mindset of a new generation of female creative consumers,” she said.

Recently, Adidas also announced its partnership with style royalty Kylie Jenner,  who has over 150 million followers over her social media platforms and is still set to becoming one of the youngest ‘self made’ billionaires, for the launch of the Falcon shoe which was inspired by Falcon Dorf, an iconic model from the 90’s.

By doing this, Adidas has cemented its shoe as a metaphor for fun and fearless feminine confidence. In its marketing for the shoe, the innovative footwear company said “Falcon is for those who do what they want regardless of what anyone thinks. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but for those who know that living unapologetically is the only way to live.”

As the colder seasonal months approach, it is a very safe bet that the ‘ugly’ sneakers are here to stay, especially with the styles already being featured in a plethora of Fashion Week shows, being sold out in Australia and holding pride of place with the millennial fashion icons on their social media feeds.

Canada to discuss rift with Saudi Arabia

Ministers from Canada and Saudi Arabia are hoping to meet this week to discuss the rift between the two countries.

This headline making announcement came from Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who on Tuesday announced her plans to meet and discuss the diplomatic dispute with her Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York.

The goal of this meeting is to begin mending fences between the two powerhouse countries following Canadian criticism of the kingdom’s arrests of human activists, which lead to an explosive dispute over the summer.

The global headline making rift between the two countries began when Ottawa called for the release of activists who were detained for urging more rights for women in the kingdom, including women’s rights campaigner Samar Badawi on August 2nd.

Samar Badawi is the sister of well known detainee Raif Badawi who is serving a 10 year prison sentence. His wife and children however are Canadian, thus making Samar the sister-in-law of a Canadian citizen.

“We feel a particular obligation to women who are fighting for their rights around the world, women’s rights are human rights,” said Freeland.

“And we feel a particular obligation to people who have a personal connection to Canada. A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”

To this Saudi Arabia responded by freezing new trade with Canada; blocked grain imports; ordered thousands of Saudi students on government scholarships to leave Canadian universities and relocate to other countries or return home; placed a ban on Saudi flights to Canada, along with orders to brokers and bankers to suspend transactions with Canadian entities and finally, expelled Canada’s ambassador from the kingdom.

At the height of the dispute, it was al-Jubeir who appeared to lecture Canada on its responsibility to defuse tensions, saying at a news conference, “Canada knows what it needs to do. Canada started this, and it’s up to Canada to find a way out of it.”

However, Canada has not back down and Freeland has made it clear, prior to the hoped for meeting that the country would not be changing its fundamental position of standing up for human rights.

The Saudi side has relented to some extent, and has quietly dropped at least one of their more extreme measures, where the medical students and interns who were ordered to leave Canada by August 31st, were allowed to continue at their posts for the time being.

However, at least 7,000 non medical Saudi students were forced to interrupt their studies and some have chosen to file asylum claims in Canada instead of returning home.

Leading up to the hoped for meeting, Freeland disclosed that she was in regular touch with al Jubeir who she disclosed was working very hard to also soothe the rift between the countries.

“He is very engaged on the issue … we are hoping to meet in New York this week and I think that’s a good thing,” she told an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Both Canada and Saudi Arabia have chosen to allow their foreign ministers, rather than heads of state or heads of government, to deliver their country’s addresses to the General Assembly.

That means under UN protocol they must wait until later in the week to speak as Freeland will speak on Saturday morning, and  Jubeir will be the final speaker to give his presentation on Saturday afternoon.

The french airport passport challenge (Pt 1)

I’m about to be very dramatic. It can’t be helped really, as I found out the hard way that having a Caribbean passport in some countries, doesn’t give you a leg up at customs.

This stage-play unfolded as I made my way from Barbados to England. New country, new life, new terrifying experiences.

Okay, let me back up and bring you up to speed. In late March I decided to quit procrastinating about moving to jolly old England, and just do it. What resulted was a flurry of activity, saving and absolute madness – but sure enough I was on a plane to Martinique by August. I can almost hear you ask – Martinique? Thought you said England? That brings me to part two of this backstory.

I’m a lover of deals and in this case, all I had to do for a cheaper fare was find my butt in two other airports before ever setting eyes on balls of fluff – sheep – from above the British countryside. Caught up? Okay, moving on.

After nearly missing my connecting flight in Martinique, as Air Antilles was late, I enjoyed a welcome respite on my XL Airways flight to France. So innocent then, I believed transitioning from flight to customs would be a breeze.

Wrong.

In the past while I’ve travelled on my British passport, I’ve never had any problems and gave no thought that it could be different on the Barbadian blue.

After heading into the security check line for what would be my first challenge, I took my passport out and shuffled on until it was my turn.

The officer took a long, puzzled look at my Barbadian passport, then me, before inquiring about my business in France. I chirpily explained I wasn’t staying and would be leaving in a few hours. He continued to stare at the passport, before asking me where Barbados was, and wondering aloud if I would need a visa to continue. Nonetheless, I managed to pass the inquisition and was promptly off to baggage claim.

Note, I had one piece of carryon luggage and my handbag . . . that’s it. As I approached baggage, I saw people flashing passports and rolling on through. From the looks of it most were British or European (EU) and I figured it’d be the same for me, so I flashed mine like I was on a cop show.

Denied.

This massive officer stopped me in my tracks and carted me over for a more intense check. To be fair, the guy who unpacked everything was pretty nice, even with the added difficulty of the language barrier, since I did not speak French nor did he speak English.

He did a thorough check and all was well, until he came to my makeup brushes. The moment he took them out I knew I’d have another problem. Following a discussion – in French – with his colleague, he went over to the X-ray machine to check my brushes one by one. So I’m standing there, praying to the makeup gods that the manufacturers didn’t have any suspicious-looking substances in the handles for better balance or whatever. I look serene as ever, while in my head I’m like – it’s okay, YOU’RE OKAY!  and explosions of fear are detonating within my stomach.

He didn’t find anything, and after making a bad joke that he didn’t understand, I hurriedly repacked and trotted off – finally -into the main airport area where I almost ended up being lost in translation.

Part 2: Nosey sniffer dogs, men with guns, and you just might have to stay in France.

 

 

 

Please use a real pregnancy test — not an Ikea ad

I can’t believe this needs to be said: Don’t rely on an Ikea advertisement to determine if you are pregnant. Use a legitimate pregnancy test from a pharmacy, or see your doctor.

Ikea released a new magazine advertisement that encouraged women to pee on a page within the publication to determine if they were pregnant. If the results are positive — those women get a discount on a crib.

The Swedish magazine reads: “Peeing on this ad may change your life.” Watch the instructions here:

IKEA – Pee Ad from Ourwork on Vimeo.

The advertisement was created by Swedish agency Åkestam Holst in collaboration with Mercene Labs, and uses the same technology found in a pregnancy test. They told media customers don’t actually have to bring in a urine-covered magazine to receive the discount (members of the Ikea Family program are all elligible), which means the advertisement is essentially a very weird and glorified pregnancy test. In this case – it is literally no different than taking a legitimate, trustworthy test provided by a doctor. So, why is it that people are freaking out about this Ikea ad?

Interactivity goes a long way in marketing. While urinating on an advertisement doesn’t seem like the most dignified form of interaction out there, it is quirky enough to entice people to try it, especially if they think a discount is waiting for them. It also has the media, Women’s Post included, intrigued enough to write about the campaign. That’s free advertising for Ikea (although the campaign is only available in Sweden, sorry Canada).

Typically, interactivity in advertisement is conducted through technology; a mobile app, a touchscreen, or a URL that allows a customer to insert a coupon name, play a game, or scan a barcode for a chance to win a discount at a store. Magazines have frequently used scent as a form of interactivity, but the use of bodily fluids is a new idea.

On a side note: is anyone else wondering how these ladies manage to do their business on a specific section of a magazine? The video shows the use of an eyedropper, but I foresee a number of accidents.

As much as I don’t like to admit it, this advertisement will most likely be successful for Ikea Sweden. Is it gross and really weird? Definitely! But, I imagine many women out there will be tempted to try it out, just to see if it works.

But please, don’t use it as an official pregnancy test! Don’t trust a company that can’t seem to make bookshelves with all the pieces. Take a real test — and then you can try this weird magazine advertisement.

Would you pee on a magazine for a discount? Let us know in the comments below!

Blake Shelton named People’s Sexiest Man Alive??

People Magazine revealed their cover choice for Sexiest Man Alive… and they chose Blake Shelton.

Not to sound disappointed— but I am. And it seems like I am not alone. The People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive edition is one that always makes the news, with the big reveal used to send women to the grocery stores just to pick up a copy. Anyone remember Johnny Depp’s 2009 cover or Channing Tatum’s heart stopping  2012 photo when all the women were going crazy for Magic Mike? Good times.

Blake Shelton is a relatively good looking guy (for someone with a dad-bod) and, from what I’ve seen on The Voice, he is very funny, talented and always in joking competition with his other co-star Adam Levine, who was named Sexiest Man Alive in 2013. When Shelton’s cover was revealed, it felt like a prank. I was waiting to hear, “Just kidding folks!”  Blake and Adam’s playful relationship was even highlighted in the promotion of this cover issue, as People TV revealed a short and funny video of Shelton displaying cue cards, similar to that famous romantic scene in Love Actually, that poked fun at Levine’s cover title.

https://twitter.com/people/status/930601811471486976

It makes me wonder, is this an extension of their funny-frenemy-relationship extended from outside of The Voice. Will Levine respond to this? I have so many questions. What I do know is that previous cover holders are normally Hollywood heartthrobs — stunning and attractive men that make you swoon. Shelton…well, he doesn’t exactly cut the bill. And I’m not the only one who thinks so

The 41-year old country music singer brushed off most of the negative chat and thanked people on his twitter for his ‘sexy’ cover. Sheldon tweeted “thank you @people!!! don’t hate me because i’m beautiful…” He then continued to make fun of his sexy title for the rest of the night. And maybe that’s just it. Shelton is fun. He’s charming, cute and humorous, but does that make him sexy? Most would say no.

There were a few fans who supported Shelton, who say that sexy doesn’t mean a good body and abs. While this may be true, most of the previous titles by People always featured hollywood steamers. It’s kind of what everyone expects.

Here are some of the previous cover holders and even some double winners.

  • 2016- Dwayne Johnson
  • 2015- David Beckham
  • 2014-Chris Hemsworth
  •  1995 and 2000-Brad Pitt
  • 1997 and 2006- George Clooney
  • 2003 and 2009- Johnny Depp
  • Youngest cover- 1988- The late John F. Kennedy Jr at 27
  • Oldest cover- 1989-  Sean Connery at 59
  • Unusual cover- sexiest couple edition 1993- Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford
  • ‘What is should have been’ cover – 2017- Idris Elba

Revealing Sheldon as the Sexiest Man Alive 2017 felt like an insult. Like, are you even real 2017 ? But this is all fun and games, because there is nothing we can do about it.

Photo provided by: Disney Channel/Image Group LA

So what determines the sexiest man alive? Comment below.