Pro-jallikattu group protests Soundarya Rajinikanth’s decision to join animal welfare board

first_imgA pro-Jallikattu group staged a protest today in Trichy against superstar Rajinikanth’s daughter Soundarya Rajinikanth becoming a member of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).Soundarya Rajinikanth was recently appointed an AWBI ambassador. AWBI is one of the primary organizations responsible for the ban on Jallikattu, a traditional sport of bull fighting in Tamil Nadu.Upset over Soundarya’s decision, protesters burnt her pictures and caused commotion near the Trichy bus stand.Soundarya retreated an explanation clearing the doubts about her post in AWBI.SAUNDARYA TO MONITOR USE OF ANIMALS IN FILMSSoundarya Rajinikanth,who is well versed in animation and computer graphics is honoured as the brand ambassador of animal welfare board of India and also as a part of performing animals sub committee.She is receiving praises for this credit and her job is to monitor and survey the use of animals in the films.She will ensure the safety of animals used in the films. She will also monitor the use of graphics in the film and will say whether the makers have used graphics or shot with real life animals.This is completely apt for her as she has in-depth knowledge in animation and she has also directed “Kochadaiyaan” which is an animation film. ALSO READCentre allows Jallikattu despite massive protests Jallikattu duel not over yet: The culture vs cruelty debatelast_img read more

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Kyrie-markable: Irving’s 42 Carries Cavaliers Past Celtics

first_imgTOM WITHERS, AP Sports WriterCLEVELAND (AP) — Kyrie Irving gritted his teeth, tightened up his left sneaker and hopped to his feet.The pain couldn’t stop him. The Celtics couldn’t either.Irving took over in the second half and finished with 42 points despite playing on a tender ankle, LeBron James added 34 and the Cleveland Cavaliers moved within one win of an almost inevitable third date in the NBA Finals with Golden State by rallying to beat Boston 112-99 on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.With James in foul trouble, Irving was forced to do more than ever and he delivered, scoring 19 in less than five minutes and 33 in a 19-minute stretch.“The kid is special,” James said. “I was happy to sit back and watch him. He was born for these moments.”The defending NBA champions, who shot 71 percent in the second half, opened a 3-1 lead in the series and can wrap up their third straight conference title — and a “three-match” against the Warriors — with a win in Game 5 on Thursday night in Boston.But if Games 3 and 4 are any indication, it won’t be easy.Fighting to keep their season alive, the Celtics aren’t giving an inch despite playing without All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, who may need surgery on a hip injury.The Cavs, meanwhile, wouldn’t be on the cusp of the Finals without Irving.Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) goes up for a shot against Boston Celtics’ Al Horford (42), from Dominican Republic, during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)With Cleveland in jeopardy of dropping its second game in a row after James followed an 11-point Game 3 debacle by picking up four first-half fouls, Irving put on a breathtaking one-man show.Freezing Boston defenders with his dribble and driving to the basket whenever he wanted, Irving made six layups, two 3-pointers and a free throw in a dizzying span of 4:48. He capped his blistering 19-point outburst with a 3 in the final second of the quarter and celebrated at mid-court by pretending to put two pistols back in his holster.“He saw Bron went out and he wanted to put the team on his shoulders,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “He did that.”Irving said he was driven by the thought of the Cavs seeing their series lead vanish.“In the back of my mind, I thought, ‘They can’t tie up the series,’” he said. “We can’t go back to Boston tied 2-2. We needed everything tonight.”Irving put a scare into the Cavs and their fans when he stepped on Terry Rozier’s foot and rolled his ankle. He stayed on the floor for a few moments before sitting up and re-tying his sneaker. Nothing was keeping him out.“It was one of those games we had to fight through and we had to earn it,” he said.Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (23) celebrates with J.R. Smith after defeating the Boston Celtics 112-99 in Game 4 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)Celtics coach Brad Stevens was disappointed with his team’s defense on Irving, who was able to spread the floor while surrounded by shooters.“There’s choices,” Stevens said. “I’m not sure there are good choices. When he gets going like that, he’s tough to stop. The ones we gotta look at are the ones he got at the rim.”Kevin Love added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Cavs, now 11-1 in the postseason.Avery Bradley scored 19 and Jae Crowder 18 for Boston.ANKLE GRABIrving did not show any noticeable limp following the game as he walked down the hallway, stopping to hug and kiss friends and family following his performance.Irving, who has had a history of injuries, said he’s rolled his ankle enough times to know when it’s serious.“My adrenaline is still going,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’ll be sore when I get home.”BOSTON BOUNDCrowder and the Celtics are looking forward to going home and redeeming themselves after the blowout losses in Games 1 and 2.“I feel like we’re humble enough to know we haven’t played well at home,” he said. “We want to give our home crowd a better outing than we put out the past two games.”FOUL TROUBLELue paused for several seconds before responding to a question about the third and fourth fouls called on James, who was whistled for barely touching Marcus Smart on a jumper and then was called for a charge.“They called them,” he said of the officials. “We had to do what we had to do.”TIP-INSCeltics: Thomas spoke to coach Brad Stevens and told him that he has visited one hip specialist and plans to see more before it’s decided if he needs surgery. Thomas initially injured his hip in March and played the final two months of the regular season before aggravating it during the playoffs. … Stevens started Kelly Olynyk, who had 15 points. … Before the playoffs began, the Celtics were 22-5 at home since Jan. 1. They’re 5-4 in the postseason so far.Cavaliers: The 42 points were a career playoff-high for Irving, who scored 41 in Game 5 of last year’s Finals. … Cleveland improved to 35-5 against Eastern teams in the playoffs since 2015. … J.R. Smith and his wife, Jewel, brought their daughter home after more than five months in the hospital following her premature birth. Smith posted photos on his Instagram account of the couple leaving Hillcrest Hospital with their baby in a stroller. “We Walked In Together We Walked Out Together!!” Smith wrote. … Deron Williams played 18 minutes after sustaining a shoulder “stinger” in Game 3.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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NCAA Adopts Sexual Violence Policy, Emphasizing Education

first_imgNEW YORK (AP) – NCAA member schools will be required to provide yearly sexual violence education for all college athletes, coaches and athletics administrators under a policy announced Thursday by the organization’s board of governors.Campus leaders such as athletic directors, school presidents and Title IX coordinators will be required to attest that athletes, coaches and administrators have been educated on sexual violence.The policy was adopted from a recommendation made by the Commission to Combat Campus Sexual Violence, which was created by the board last year in response to several high-profile cases involving sexual assaults and athletic departments, including the scandal at Baylor.The policy also requires campus leaders to declare that athletic departments are knowledgeable and compliant with school policies on sexual violence prevention, adjudication and resolution.Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and activist who speaks to college teams across the country about sexual violence , is a member of the commission. She has called for the NCAA to ban athletes with a history of sexual violence. While this policy falls far short of that, Tracy said she was encouraged.“It’s not banning violent athletes, but it’s a positive policy that’s going to have a big impact on our campuses,” Tracy said in a phone interview from Amherst, Massachusetts, where she was spending the day speaking to the UMass football and basketball teams.The announcement from the NCAA came just one day after Youngstown State decided a football player who served jail time for a rape committed while he was in high school will not be allowed to play in games this season. Ma’Lik Richmond , who served about 10 months in a juvenile lockup after being convicted with another Steubenville High School football player of raping a 16-year-old girl in 2012, walked on at Youngstown State earlier this year. He will be allowed to practice and participate in other team activities.Tracy has promoted a petition urging Youngstown State to not allow Richmond to play.“I think that playing sports and playing NCAA sports is a privilege. It is not a right,” Tracy said. “If we’re going to be placing student-athletes in that position of power and influence — to drive narrative, to drive conversation, to affect culture — then behavior matters. Right now, I feel like Youngstown is sending the message that violence against women, rape all of these things are OK. It doesn’t affect your ability to play sports.”A move toward an NCAA policy on sexual violence was given momentum by numerous issues involving athletes and athletic departments in recent years. Perhaps the most high-profile example is Baylor, where an investigation found that allegations of sexual assault, some against football players, were mishandled by school leaders.Two years ago, the Southeastern Conference barred schools from accepting transfers who had been dismissed from another school for serious misconduct, defined as sexual assault, domestic violence or other forms of sexual violence.Indiana announced in April that it would no longer accept any prospective student-athlete who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence. In July, the athletic director at the University of Illinois said the school was working on a similar policy.Tracy said the NCAA has not ruled out implementing a policy like Indiana’s.“The fact that’s still on the table, we’re still having discussions about that, we’re still going to keep working moving forward, gives me a lot of hope,” she said.In a statement, the NCAA said: “Any discussion of individual accountability beyond the criminal justice system must address the complexities and nuances of different federal and state laws so that it can be consistently applied across the NCAA.”The new NCAA policy defers to schools to set their own sexual violence education practices, though in 2014 the association set expectations for its members with a resolution and made recommendations in a handbook on sexual assault.“Schools do different things,” Tracy said. “The NCAA is now saying this isn’t just an option. This is now a policy and a requirement. And not only that but you need to attest to us every year what it is that you’re doing … Some schools are doing a great job. Some schools are not doing a great job.”___By RALPH D. RUSSOTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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The only sounds I hear are Set! Bang!

first_imgIt was an unheralded victory, but when Hima Das, a young girl from Dhing, Assam, powered to the finish line in the Women’s 400 metres at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland, India was transfixed. Das’s dominant form was startling, but so was the realisation that this was,It was an unheralded victory, but when Hima Das, a young girl from Dhing, Assam, powered to the finish line in the Women’s 400 metres at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland, India was transfixed. Das’s dominant form was startling, but so was the realisation that this was the first, the first!, outright victory by an Indian athlete in a major international track event. There were celebrations and moist eyes, followed by internet fame, and every form of desi nosiness, most notoriously about Das’s caste and regional ethnicity. But if we are like that only, the young runner displayed an unusual calm and level-headed confidence about her achievement and sudden fame. Excerpts from an interview with Kazu Ahmed.Q. What were your thoughts after you won the race?A. I don’t think about anything while running. The only things I look for, and hear, are the word set and the bang of the gun firing.We had prepared well. I was sure I would get a medal. I had even got the flag and the gamocha (Assamese towel) and given it to sir after the race. But to break a record, create history, it was beyond my wildest dreams. As an Indian athlete and an Assamese girl, I consider myself extremely fortunate. And the fact that I could, along with the national flag, introduce the gamocha to the world, fills me with pride.Q. Your story is so inspiring, a village girl from a farming family creating history. Its inspired a feeling in India that anyone can achieve anything…advertisementA. Its all true. But as far as my background is concerned, there are many aspects to it. Yes, we are a family of farmers. But my father is also a graduate and has been to the ITI (Indian Technical Institute). If he still had his documents and certificates, he could have been an engineer with the Indian Railways. Unfortunately, he lost his documents in a fire and then he lost interest in getting a job.We are a joint family. About 17 of us live and eat together in our house. We have about 60 bighas of land, and cultivate several crops through the year. We have fish ponds where we have fish. In that sense, I have never faced any hardship while growing up. We are quite comfortably off. What people know is only 40 per cent of what I am. I will tell my story, what I am and where I have come from, when the time is right and after I have achieved my goals. Now, its time to work.Q. Do you want to tell us a bit about it?A. (Laughs) You all know a bit. I have said that I was very mischievous, headstrong and a bit of a bodmash (hellraiser). If I set my eyes on something, I would do it, as long as I knew it wouldnt harm anyone.Q. Who called you first after you won?A. I made the first call, to my coaches in Assam, Nipon Das sir and Nabajit Malakar sir. After that, I called my parents.Q. What was your parent’s reaction?A. They were not really aware of what was happening. When I called them, they were going to bed. I had also not told them I had come for a world event. When they said they were going to bed, I said, OK! Go, sleep! I have taken on the world and you folks keep on sleeping! They asked what had happened. I told them they would know in the morning.The next morning, my father went to the market to sell the gourds from our farm. Then he saw the convoy of cars from TV channels speeding through our village. He was like, Xorbonax aji (Oh, dear!). When cars from the TV channels take that road, they usually go to our place. Finally, they got to know (laughs). I feel very proud and fortunate.Q. You have travelled to many countries now. Any interesting observations or thoughts so far?A. A major problem I face is food. Every country has its food culture which does not necessarily agree with me. So I have to find the right food sometimes. But I manage. It isn’t such a big deal. In Prague, where we are training, there is a cook. So we get what we want. There are no problems there. I did find rice here (in Tampere), though. And fish.Q. Your thoughts on the athletes from other countries?advertisementA. Nothing concerns me other than my time. That is my only concern. I don’t pay any attention to the rest. I run after time. If that improves, the gold, silver etc. will follow. I do not fear anything. My goal always is to give my best time. People ask me why I do not feel nervous. I don’t. I believe in time and in God. Nothing else bothers me. It is as simple as that.Q. And what plans for the future?A. The next big thing is the Asian Games a month from now. That is the priority now. Let us see what happens there. We will put in our best effort to score the best timing (waves at track legend P.T. Usha who is walking by).Q. And beyond the Asian Games?A. The ultimate dream of an athlete is to compete in the Olympics. For us athletes, that is the zenith. There is nothing beyond that. I hope I will get a chance to compete in the Olympics. I’ll try to get the best time scores to qualify. I have been in the global sporting arena for only two years now. I am not saying I will always get a medal. But my consistent effort is to give my best time, and if I can do that, it will certainly be possible to compete (in the Olympics). That is the dream.’We have a strict regime’ Coach Basant Singh with Hima.National 400 metres coach Basant Singh on what his star ward has to do going forward.”We had not really thought of coming here. We were training in Prague for the Asian Games. There were some games happening in other parts of the world and I had told my colleagues we shouldn’t take part as it takes a lot of time off our training. Since this event was in Europe and we were in the region, I thought we would come here.””Hima is still very naive. She wants to play everything. I have to be very strict with her. Even with her vacations. We were in Assam recently and I told Hima she could go home for one night. It’s all about maintaining a strict regimen. We cannot take any risks now. I have told her, it’s just for one more month. After the Asian Games are over, she can go home for longer. The good thing is she understands. She is also still naive about her earnings. With what she has achieved, she will earn a lot. Apart from the mandatory government allocations for sports achievers, big corporations like the Tatas will come calling when we are back in India. She has no idea about all of this.””She has been training very hard for a year. Earlier, she was a 100 and 200 metres runner. It has only been a year since she moved to 400 metres. In fact, her performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April (where she came in sixth) impressed me more than her performance here. Here (in Tampere), we were quite sure of the gold. And she showed her mettle.”advertisementlast_img read more

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Injury-ravaged Vermaelen suffers fresh setback

first_imgBarcelona Injury-ravaged Vermaelen suffers fresh setback at Barcelona Jack Davies 21:12 1/22/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) vermaelen - CROPPED Getty Images Barcelona Real Betis v Barcelona Real Betis Primera División The Belgium international defender has been ruled out for a fortnight by the La Liga leaders with a hamstring problem Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen has been ruled out for two weeks with a left hamstring injury sustained during Sunday’s 5-0 win at Real Betis.The centre-back pulled up in discomfort in the 38th minute at the Benito Villamarin after chasing down Sergio Leon near the halfway line.Vermaelen was replaced by Samuel Umtiti, who came on for his first La Liga appearance since December 2 after recovering from a hamstring problem of his own. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Barca later tweeted to say Vermaelen would undergo further tests on Monday to determine the severity of the problem.And the club have now confirmed the results of those checks indicate the Belgium international will be out of action for a fortnight.The former Arsenal defender, who has struggled with repeated injury problems in recent seasons, has been involved in all of Barca’s last 13 matches after working his way back to full fitness.He spent last season on loan at Roma but managed only nine Serie A appearances.last_img read more

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Road Weight Restrictions Temporarily Removed

first_imgRoad weight restrictions on Nova Scotia roads have been removed in all counties starting today, Feb. 20. Restrictions will be put back in effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25. Updated information on future road openings and closures is available on the Department of Transportation and Public Works website at www.gov.ns.ca/tran . Transportation and Public Works staff are monitoring the roads daily to determine if and when weight restrictions are needed. Weight restrictions protect roads that are weakened by mild, wet weather. -30-last_img

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Budget Address

first_img Mr. Speaker, here at home we saw evidence of the economic downturn in the last months of 2008. While employment did grow, it was in the first nine months of the year … with no growth in the last quarter. The same trend was evident in retail sales, Mr. Speaker, where we saw negative growth for the last three months of the year. While exports grew by 1.4 per cent, due mainly to natural gas, shipments of lumber, shell fish and gypsum fell. The slower economy is evident when we look at projections for the coming year, Mr. Speaker. RESILIENCE We expect a 0.2 per cent growth rate in our real Gross Domestic Product for 2009 and a growth rate of 1.8 per cent next year. We are fortunate since Nova Scotia is only one of two provinces expecting a positive growth rate, according to the Bank of Canada. One of the things that will contribute to this growth is our economic stimulus package, Mr. Speaker. Without it, the GDP could be expected to drop, again reinforcing just how important this spending is to our economy. Some of this growth will also be spurred by activity in our petroleum sector. Through our offshore strategic energy agreement, the new supply vessel being built at Halifax Shipyards is expected to create 200 jobs with a payroll of about $20 million. We also expect the Sable and Deep Panuke projects to generate about $700 million in capital and operational expenditures this year. Exxon Mobil also intends to drill a new production well in the Alma field this year. Our onshore resources also continue to attract interest, with a drilling and seismic program expected this year, which are encouraging signs in these challenging times. Mr. Speaker, some critics have suggested we went shopping for the best economic forecast when we put our numbers together. I would like to address that. The methods we use for calculating our forecasts are consistent year over year. Our numbers include the impact of both the provincial and federal stimulus package, while many private forecasts have not. We have faith in our forecasts. Employment is expected to grow by 0.8 per cent while personal income is expected to rise by 1.7 per cent. The Consumer Price Index will remain stable at 0.2 per cent while retail sales will grow by 3.2 per cent. Corporate profits will decrease by 21 per cent and the export of goods and services will drop by 13 per cent. Understandably, the sluggish economy is also affecting our revenue sources, Mr. Speaker. In 2009-10, Nova Scotia’s total revenues are estimated to be $8.537 billion, up $71 million or 0.8 per cent from our budget estimate last year, Mr. Speaker. But, we expect a 23 per cent drop in Corporate Income tax, and a one per cent drop in personal income tax. Provincial source revenues are expected to decline by $318 million, mainly due to the decrease in prices for natural gas, and slowing production, both of which affect our royalty revenues. Equalization revenues are estimated to be $1.465 billion for 2009-10, the same level as last year, Mr. Speaker. The change the federal government made to the equalization formula last fall has proven to be extremely challenging for all receiving provinces, Mr. Speaker. Nova Scotia is no exception.] The fact is, equalization provides 20 per cent of our revenues and this change, which reflects the demands on the federal purse, also puts us under a great deal of financial pressure. This challenge will continue in the coming years, Mr. Speaker, as transfer payments are expected to remain flat. In 2008-09 we estimated revenues of $8.466 billion, expenses of $8.276 billion and a surplus of $189.7 million. We are now forecasting revenues of $8.513 billion, due mainly to the crown share adjustment payment, with expenses $8.491 billion and a surplus of $22.3 million. For 2009-10, we are estimating revenues to be $8.537 billion, which is a very slight increase over last year, Mr. Speaker. A decline in provincial revenues is being offset by planned cost-shared capital projects, and funds that will be transferred from the federal government relating to labour programs. Our total expenses are estimated to be $8.533 billion with a surplus of $4 million for 2009-10. While program spending is up by just over four per cent, the increase in actual program spending is quite modest. Part of the increase can be attributed to the transfer of some federal programs to the province and federal dollars which must be directly transferred to others, such as municipalities. TAX MEASURES Tax Relief We know it’s important to put money in the hands of Nova Scotians, particularly in this economic climate. That’s why we are providing a significant amount in tax relief. Basic Personal Amount and Credits The basic personal amount exempted from personal income tax and other associated credits continue to increase, Mr. Speaker. This year the exemption rises to $7,981 from $7,731 and on Jan. 1, 2010, it will rise to $8,231, an increase of $1,000 over 2006 amounts. Since that time, Mr. Speaker, this measure has returned $51 million to Nova Scotian taxpayers and we expect this year it will return another $19.1 million more than last year to taxpayers. Graduate Tax Credit The time limit on using the graduate tax credit has been extended from three to five years. This credit was first introduced in 2006, Mr. Speaker and provides savings up to $2,000 on provincial income tax payable for those who stay and work here at home. To ensure every eligible student can use this credit, Mr. Speaker, students can now carry unused credits forward to reduce their taxes even further. This means graduates can claim tax credits in the year of graduation as well as the four subsequent years. Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit As planned, we are increasing the tax credit amount from $375 to $500 for both volunteer firefighters and members of ground search and rescue teams. Seniors Property Rebate The Seniors Property Rebate tax will see a rise in the cap from $400 to $600 this year, Mr. Speaker. Large Corporations Tax Mr. Speaker, we continue to reduce the large corporations capital tax. Effective July 1, the rate will fall to 0.15 per cent, saving business $9.1 million this year. This tax will be completely eliminated by 2012. Small Business Tax To assist the 12,000 small and medium sized businesses in Nova Scotia, we intend to cut the small business tax rate in half. Beginning Jan. 1, 2011, and over a three year period, the small business tax rate will fall from five per cent to 2.5 per cent. When fully implemented, the cut will return $25 million annually to business. Tobacco Tax Effective midnight tonight, the tax on tobacco will increase by five cents per cigarette, per pre-proportioned tobacco stick and per gram of fine-cut tobacco. This will provide an additional $29.5 million in revenue. Mr. Speaker, while we do expect to see an increase in revenue we also know that price increases negatively affect consumption, particularly among young people. Given the health risks associated with smoking, and the success we have seen through our tobacco strategy, we hope to continue to reduce the number of smokers in the province Mr. Speaker. Healthy Living Tax Credit Last year, we unveiled our intention to extend the healthy living tax credit to all Nova Scotians by January of 2009. Mr. Speaker, we are deferring the extension of this tax measure. The tax credit for children’s sport and recreation fees continues however, with up to $500 available for eligible expenses. Transit Tax Credit The tax credit on public transit planned for implementation in 2009 has also been deferred. Equity Tax Credit and Labour-Sponsored Venture Capital Tax Credit The Equity tax credit and the Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Tax Credit were both scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2009. These credits will be extended by one year and will be reviewed as part of our ongoing tax review, Mr. Speaker. Comprehensive Tax Review And, our examination of the tax system is well underway, Mr. Speaker. Our intention is to examine the system from top to bottom … to ensure it is fair, balanced and competitive. We have completed a good deal of research to date, Mr. Speaker.This will help to inform our long term strategy. As will the input we will seek from business, from other jurisdictions and taxpayers in general … because we believe those who are most touched by the system should have input into how it is shaped over the long term. RECOVERY Mr. Speaker, with every challenge, comes opportunity. Like every other jurisdiction in the world, we recognized that an economic stimulus package is vital to the health of the economy. That’s why we are investing an additional $800 million over three years, along with the $1.1 billion we would normally spend on capital projects, under our Building for Growth Plan. Our spending is strategic, designed to position us well on the road to recovery and on our path to 2020. Better Roads and Infrastructure These investments mean jobs in the short term, and vital infrastructure which is key to our future prosperity over the long term … like the $354 million we’ll be investing to improve our highways, including highways 105, 101 and 103, Mr. Speaker. For several years now, we have increased budgets for highway construction and improvements. This year is no exception. In fact, Mr. Speaker, the entire capital budget will increase 95 per cent over last year, creating or maintaining about 11,000 jobs.We will also exceed our goal of paving 2,000 kilometres of roads over four years. We are also ensuring that municipalities are able to take advantage of stimulus funding, and will provide them with $28 million over two years so they can match federal funds for capital grants. As a result, the three levels of government will provide new capital grants of $84 million for much needed infrastructure projects and jobs … in municipalities around the province. We realize that our ability to compete in an increasingly competitive convention marketplace requires a new, larger, state-of-the-art facility. Today, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Halifax Regional Municipality to work together to have a new convention centre up and running by Jan. 1, 2013. We know this sends a strong signal that Nova Scotia is open for business, Mr. Speaker. We also know that infrastructure for our tourism sector is vital, Mr. Speaker. We must modernize and upgrade our facilities in order to be successful in this very competitive sector. We will be investing $14.4 million over two years to upgrade Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador, the Bluenose II, in partnership with the federal government. We are also making additional investments through our operating budget. Again this year, local provincial museums will receive an additional $2.3 million, because we know these heritage resources provide lasting social and economic benefits, Mr. Speaker. We are also adding close to $1 million to funding for culture. While this does slow the pace of our intention to double the budget over three years, the fact that we are adding funds in these challenging economic times demonstrates our ongoing support and commitment to this important sector. Through the national Community Development Trust Fund, we will invest more than $1 million in our tourism sector to develop niche products and marketing. Under our Building for Growth plan, we estimate that $40 million will be spent on tourism related projects through our provincial stimulus plan. We’re also investing in our traditional industries, Mr. Speaker. Through the federal Community Development Trust, we will spend $500,000 for agriculture industry revitalization. Over three years, $3.7 million will go to the revitalization of the seafood processing sector, and $2.5 million will go to aquaculture development. We also know the importance of our local producers, and will provide $2.3 million over three years to support farmers markets, and direct marketing for local trade and food system development. Our Strategic Infrastructure Investment Fund will double to $1.5 million. This program will see $6 million invested over four years to enhance and diversify our agricultural infrastructure.And, the clean up of the Sydney tar ponds site is now moving to implementation, Mr. Speaker. Spending from the provincial and federal governments will triple, going from about $20.5 million last year, to $64.9 million this year. This project is bringing hundreds of jobs, as well as significant economic benefits to the area. GROWTH Mr. Speaker, despite the challenges we face in the economy, we have seen positive growth in our job numbers. More Nova Scotians are working today when compared with the same period last year. There are a number of reasons for that. One is the climate our government has created for business. Earlier this year, we doubled our commitment to economic development through the Industrial Expansion Fund … increasing the fund by $175 million. The fund is an important economic development tool, Mr. Speaker.Simply put, it’s a proven success story. It returns $1.89 to the taxpayer for every dollar invested.Some might suggest this fund is new. Let me set the record straight, Mr. Speaker. The Industrial Expansion Fund has been in existence for over 50 years, and has been effectively used by successive governments since its inception. And, like others before us, we have used the fund very wisely indeed, Mr. Speaker. We’ve invested in companies like Apple Valley Foods, Nova Scotian Crystal and Michelin, to name a few, Mr. Speaker. The companies we have assisted are well established, with long records of investment, and profitability. They have been good employers and many are located in rural Nova Scotia. Many are coming to us for loans, Mr. Speaker, because the current economic climate has dried up other sources of funding. Government will not turn its back on these companies, Mr. Speaker. In fact, we will look for even more innovative ways to assist business … as we have with our Community Economic Development Investment Funds, or CEDIF’s. In the past year, $6.5 million was invested or re-invested by 5,000 Nova Scotians … with about $32 million raised since the fund began in 1999. These funds provide much needed capital for new business and a down home solution for those wishing to support local business. We’re also providing loans for commercial fishermen, to help young people get their first licence or help current holders who may wish to fish a new species. Our productivity and innovation voucher program will see an investment of $500,000. The program is designed to help small and medium sized business build capacity. We are also seeing some major success with our Credit Union Small Business Loan Program, Mr. Speaker. The program has approved over 400 loans, created over 800 jobs and maintained another 1,775. We are also proud of the efforts of Nova Scotia Business Inc., Mr. Speaker. In the past year, NSBI generated more than $22 million of investment in communities around the province with forecasted new job creation and retention of about 1,400. NSBI’s trade team helped business with 24 trade missions, ensuring Nova Scotia takes maximum advantage of the changing global marketplace, proving that we’re a small province with big opportunities … perhaps none bigger than in the financial services sector, Mr. Speaker. As more companies make Halifax their home, the demand for office space increases, that’s why downtown development will continue to be a key priority for us. Mr. Speaker, we intend to continue to use every tool available to create and maintain jobs. Broadband access is just one way we’re helping business compete on the global stage. This $75-million project is on track, and will provide broadband access to every corner of the province by the end of the year. We also intend to advance Nova Scotia as a gateway to commerce through the strategic use of our transportation infrastructure. Under the Building Canada Fund, and in partnership with the federal government, $86 million will be invested in gateway projects to ensure we take maximum advantage of this emerging trade opportunity. We also know that red tape can strangle business. Our Better Regulation Initiative is giving business room to grow. Since 2006, the paperwork burden for business has been reduced by 8.3 per cent, saving business $1.2 million … with more cuts coming this fall. Put another way Mr. Speaker, the paperwork burden is down 51,000 hours in just two years. We are also turning around most licences and permits in 10 days, Mr. Speaker. We have more work to do. We want to make it even easier to do business in Nova Scotia. One of our biggest selling features in attracting investment is our skilled and educated workforce. That’s why education remains such an important priority for us, Mr. Speaker. EDUCATING FOR GOOD JOBS Mr. Speaker, we’re investing over $307 million to build eight new schools and upgrade another 41 as part of our Building For Growth plan. While we improve the physical infrastructure our students enjoy, we’re also concentrating on making the changes that matter in the classroom. Mr. Speaker, we plan to invest close to $1.3 billion in public education this year. In a time of declining enrolment, our funding to school boards has increased, so even more resources can be put in the classroom. We continue to raise the bar with our Learning for Life program. To date, we have invested over $48.1 million to help students realize their potential. Our Options and Opportunities program continues to focus on career development and hands on experience for students.The program is offered in 44 schools, and will see an expansion to additional grades in sixteen schools with a $759,000 investment. We continue to build on the initiatives of the Black Learners Advisory Committee with an investment of $4.1 million this year.We are putting in place a modern, provincewide information system that will help track student data. Our $14 million Student Information System will focus on measuring student achievement and school performance, with tangible benefits for the classroom. We will invest $2.4 million this year to begin putting the system in place. Our math and literacy mentors will remain an important part of the education system, as will our International Baccalaureate or IB program, Mr. Speaker with an additional $700,000 investment. More than 800 students are registered in our IB program, Mr. Speaker. This program is widely recognized by the world’s leading universities. Nova Scotia will be among the pioneers when it pilots online IB courses, beginning in September. Regional Library Boards will receive an additional $1million in grants. STRENGTHENING SKILLS Mr. Speaker, this economic climate means that it is more important than ever to ensure we have a skill-ready workforce to meet the demands of a changing marketplace. Through the Labour Market Agreement, we will receive approximately $85 million from the federal government over six years to design and deliver training and skills development programs. Through this fund, Mr. Speaker, we have been able to form a number of important partnerships. We’re working with industry associations to address skills and training needs and we’re focused on providing programs and services for youth, for aboriginal communities and for immigrants. Similarly, the Labour Market Development Agreement will transfer $81 million this year in federal funds to the province for training and skills development … for individuals eligible for Employment Insurance. ACCESSIBLE EDUCATION Along with skills development, we want to make post secondary education more accessible. I am pleased to advise that our commitment to bring university tuition levels to the national average by 2010 is on track. Our $180 million investment over three years freezes tuition rates, and provides stable funding for universities, because access to education remains our priority. Nova Scotian students continue to benefit from our $66 million Nova Scotia University Student Bursary Trust, Mr. Speaker. Students will receive a maximum benefit of $1,022 in 2009-10 and $1,283 for 2010-11. Additionally, out-of-province students will benefit from a $261 bursary in 2010-11 as well as the freeze in tuition rates. Our students still enjoy one of the lowest loan rates in the country, thanks to our direct lend initiative, Mr. Speaker. In partnership with the federal government, we will invest an additional $114 million for maintenance and upgrades to university and community college campuses. We also continue to expand seats at the Nova Scotia Community College through our growth plan. And, we are doing so strategically, keeping in mind the needs of tomorrow’s labour market. We will invest $22.6 million to add 2,000 more seats by 2013, for a total of 12,400 seats across the province. This is in addition to our earlier investment of $123 million, which has provided upgrades to existing facilities and constructed the new campus on the Dartmouth waterfront. The first building is very, very impressive, friendly to both the environment and students. Phase two of this expansion is now underway with The Centre for the Built Environment under construction, Mr. Speaker. We expect this facility, which again will provide a world-class learning environment, to be complete by next year. SAFER HOMES, SAFER STREETS State-of-the-art learning facilities are adding to our quality of life, Mr. Speaker, which is the envy of many around the world. So are our safe communities. Decreasing crime rates are a result of our increasing police presence. We are above the national average in the number of police officers we have on the street, Mr. Speaker. And, they’re having an impact. Increased enforcement has taken more than $200 million in drugs off our streets in the past year. Mr. Speaker, we intend to invest another $3.5 million this year to bring the number of additional officers to 183, well on our way to reaching our target of 250 additional officers on the street by 2010. We are also moving ahead with the construction of a new forensic science facility. We’re investing $6 million over the next three years to design and construct the new facility. Mr. Speaker, I am particularly proud of the strides we have made in enhancing the Medical Examiner’s Office. Since 2000, we have seen the budget increase from $1.1 million to $3.2 million today.In a time when forensic pathologists are scarce and in very high demand, we have three of these highly qualified people on staff. It’s a major accomplishment, Mr. Speaker and certainly enhances our ability to enforce the law. We are also providing funds to get at the root causes of crime, and will invest $500,000 for crime prevention in communities around the province. Our increased law enforcement efforts are impacting our correctional facilities, Mr. Speaker. That’s why we intend to have the most modern infrastructure in corrections in the country, Mr. Speaker. Last week, we announced our intention to invest $18 million to construct a new correctional facility in Springhill. We will also spend an additional $4.4 million in corrections for training, additional staff and for equipment to improve safety and security. We are moving forward on implementing the Deloitte report on corrections. GENERATIONS OF NOVA SCOTIANS LIVING WELL Mr. Speaker, we are investing more than $3.4 billion in our health-care system this year. These funds will improve access, help to reduce wait times and will help us to realize our vision of a patient-centred health system that supports the well being of Nova Scotians. We are making progress in reducing wait times, Mr. Speaker. We are adding new technology, streamlining processes, purchasing new equipment, and recruiting and retaining more health care providers. In fact, this year, we have allocated an additional $22 million for equipment and $10 million for emergency repair and renewal to our physical structures. Our Scotia Surgery Demonstration project is one example. This project is helping us to better manage some of the longest wait times in the province, Mr. Speaker. We are doing more hip and knee replacements across the province, and wait times for these surgeries in Capital have dropped by two months. We are also freeing space for more complex surgeries, Mr. Speaker. And, patients are very satisfied with their care. In fact, they are showing satisfaction rates in excess of 99 per cent. It doesn’t get much better than that, Mr. Speaker. Given this success, we intend to continue our partnership with Scotia Surgery. This year, we will invest an additional $1.7 million for orthopaedic services at Capital Health, which includes support for the Orthopaedic Assessment Clinic, which has reduced assessment wait times from 18 months to as low as four. To date, we have accessed more than $33.2 million in federal funding to help reduce wait times. Compared to just two years ago, twice as many patients are having bone density scans, MRIs and mammography screening. To help meet our wait-time guarantee for radiation therapy for cancer patients, we now have one CT simulator operating in Cape Breton and another will soon become operational here in Halifax. We’re also investing $27 million in IT projects that will reduce wait times and will improve the delivery of health care, Mr Speaker. Our Electronic Health Record system will allow quick access to patient information, leading to better decisions about diagnosis and treatment. As well, the Health Administrative Systems project will streamline administrative and financial systems within district health authorities. We’re also improving our physical infrastructure, with an additional $87 million this year to upgrade our hospitals. And, we’re changing the way we deliver health care, Mr. Speaker. This summer, our new Telecare system will be operational. We are investing $5.9 million to make health information and advice more accessible, giving Nova Scotians access to a registered nurse 24-hours a day, seven days a week, just by calling 8-1-1. The service will help them make informed decisions about their health … and whether they should seek additional medical attention–potentially saving unnecessary visits to the ER. When patients in metro do go to the ER, Mr. Speaker … they will soon enjoy the new $20 million emergency department at the QEII.This new facility will offer upgraded equipment, more beds and staff and will be better designed to meet the anticipated 70,000 annual visits. CONTINUING CARE In 2006, we outlined our Continuing Care Strategy, Mr. Speaker. When our strategy is fully implemented, it will represent an annual investment of $310 million that will provide 1,320 long-term care beds by 2015. We’re well on our way, Mr. Speaker. We expect that 240 beds will be ready by the end of this year, with another 564 to follow in the fall of 2010. We’re also helping seniors by helping their caregivers. We’re investing an additional $900,000 to provide a monthly allowance of $400 to caregivers of low income seniors because we understand and appreciate their very important role, bringing our total commitment to $2.7 million. HEALTH TRANSFORMATION Mr. Speaker, increasing demands and rising costs are placing huge pressures on our health-care system. In order to sustain the system, we must find new ways to deliver the service. That’s what health transformation is all about, Mr. Speaker. In a province where every month 700 Nova Scotians turn 65, we must prepare for the future, and we must do it now, Mr. Speaker. Our operational review produced 103 recommendations, which have all been accepted, Mr. Speaker. These recommendations have been clustered into 25 initiatives. Work is already underway on six, and another six will begin next year. To monitor progress, we now have a health transformation office in place that will provide support, evaluate and report on all aspects of health transformation. INTEGRATED LEARNING CENTRE Mr. Speaker we know that the recruitment and retention of health care professionals is vital to the system. That’s why we have continued to add seats to our medical and nursing schools. This year, we’re investing $1.2 million for additional seats for physicians. These additional seats have put pressure on our physical structures. We are now in need of a new facility. We intend to invest $700,000 annually over the next 20 years to create a new Integrated Learning Centre for health professionals in partnership with Dalhousie University. This centre will allow team-based learning for doctors and nurses, which is in keeping with our health transformation agenda. GENERATIONS OF HEALTHY NOVA SCOTIANS One of the most effective ways to decrease demands on our health care system is to increase the health of Nova Scotians. We are targeting all age groups, Mr. Speaker. And, it has meant a number of firsts for Nova Scotia. We were the first province to put in place a department dedicated to Health Promotion and Protection. This has proven to be invaluable, as we have seen most recently in dealing with the H1N1 human swine influenza, and the outbreak of the mumps last year, Mr. Speaker. Our very effective public health system has ensured we have the dedicated resources and the proper network to deal effectively with these public health issues. To further augment these efforts, Mr. Speaker, we are investing $2.5 million in the Panorama IT system, a health information system being developed nationally. We have also been very effective in putting the first Healthy Eating strategy in Canada in place and one of the first school food and nutrition policies. And, we have just celebrated the first year of mandatory physical education. These “firsts” are having lasting results. And, we expect to see some very positive results from our $500,000 social marketing campaign to promote breastfeeding, which is set to begin this spring, Mr. Speaker. We know that healthier babies means healthier adults, and we want to help Moms find community support services and help others understand the realities of breastfeeding. Our Enhanced Home Visiting Program helps parents build skills and confidence and strengthens the relationship between parents and children. More than 700 families are benefitting from the program, Mr. Speaker. Our school food and nutrition policy remains one of the strongest in the country. Since the policy was first released in 2006, it is now the norm for schools to provide fresh fruit and vegetables, water and healthier snacks. Along with healthy eating, we’re addressing physical activity, youth sexual health, tobacco reduction, addiction and injury prevention to promote a happy and healthy future. An additional $1.6 million in federal funding will provide the HPV vaccine to even more young women. BE FIT! To help Nova Scotians stay fit and active, we’re investing $60 million over five years in 35 projects under our Building Facilities and Infrastructure Together or B-FIT program.It’s the largest commitment to sport and recreation infrastructure in the history of the province, Mr. Speaker. And, it will continue to help restore and construct sport and recreational facilities that will become centrepieces in their communities, Mr. Speaker. We’re also looking forward to hosting some of the biggest sporting events in the world. We have committed $11 million to the 2011 Canada Winter Games, which will bring some of Canada’s best athletes to our province and will leave a legacy of sport infrastructure that will benefit generations of Nova Scotians. We will also welcome the world senior canoe championships in August of this year. Our $650,000 contribution is expected to generate $10.2 million in economic benefits and nearly $5.7 million in wages for Nova Scotians. As well, Mr. Speaker, the largest sailing event in Canadian history will take place this summer. We’re investing $300,000 in the 2009 Laser World Championship … which is expected to bring $1.9 million in economic benefits to the province, and support $1.6 million in wages. This July, we will also welcome up to 50 ships from 30 counties and over 2,000 seafaring visitors for Tall Ships 2009, and will continue to welcome the world to world-class events like Celtic Colours, the Canadian International Military Tattoo and the Yarmouth Air Show. PREVENTING POVERTY, PROMOTING PROSPERITY Mr. Speaker, in early April, we marked another milestone for Nova Scotia with the release of our poverty reduction strategy. We’re investing $155 million this year to improve the standard of living for low income Nova Scotians. This builds on the initiatives we have put in place over the past three years, totaling almost $200 million. Mr. Speaker, our Family Pharmacare program, Low Income Pharmacare program for Children, increases in the minimum wage and child care investments have all been designed to help those who need us most. Some of our initiatives are targeted to our youngest citizens. We’re investing $2.5 million to expand the Nova Scotia Child Benefit so more families can qualify and take advantage of our children’s low-income pharmacare program. We’re also investing heavily in affordable and social housing, the scale of which has not been seen in decades, Mr. Speaker.We will invest $133 million over two years to create homes for seniors and persons with disabilities and to renovate and retrofit our social housing portfolio. For the sixth year in a row, we will increase the employment support and income assistance rates for the personal allowance, Mr. Speaker. This represents an additional investment of almost $1.6 million this year, and $19 million over the past five years, Mr. Speaker. We’re also helping Nova Scotians stay warm this winter. More than 280,000 Nova Scotians will continue to benefit from the Your Energy Rebate Program. Through our Heating Assistance Rebate Program, individuals with an income of $27,000 or below, and families with an income of $42,000 or below, will qualify for the rebate of up to $200.We are changing the threshold for those who heat with electricity. Those using electric heat will qualify for the rebate if they consume more than 27.4 kilowatt hours per day on average in any given 60-day billing period, Mr. Speaker. We will once again donate to the Salvation Army’s Good Neighbour Program, with a $400,000 donation. GREENER FUTURE During the past year, we released our climate change action plan. This plan will help us to have one of the cleanest, most sustainable environments in the world by 2020, Mr. Speaker.Renewable energy is a big part of that. We are investing significant resources in our tidal demonstration project as part of our energy strategy. We expect to see the first device in the water this fall, built in partnership by Nova Scotia Power Incorporated and OpenHydro of Ireland, harnessing the power of the Fundy tides. Through the EcoNova Scotia fund, $17 million will be spent on clean air and climate change projects through the province in the coming year. An additional $500,000 will help to create the climate change adaptation fund. And $200,000 will be invested in our coastal management strategy, to promote a healthy environment and a sustainable coast. We are also investing $50 million over two years under our Building for Growth program to make our schools, hospitals and provincial buildings greener. We have just announced the designation of two more wilderness areas, adding more than 3,500 hectares to our overall total, and putting us well on our way to reaching our target to protect 12 per cent of our total land mass by 2020. Recently, we announced our decision to offer to purchase 21,000 acres of lands in western Nova Scotia for protection and recreational use, because we know this land is important to Nova Scotians. We are proud of the fact that we are world leaders in solid waste management, Mr. Speaker. We will invest $200,000 to encourage the redevelopment of contaminated land, and to further reduce our disposal rates.We are also taking steps to ensure our natural resources are managed wisely, Mr. Speaker. A distinguished panel, under the able leadership of retired chief justice Constance Glube, will oversee the development of a new strategy that will govern our natural resources. We are also pleased that Joe Marshall, executive director of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians and senior Mi’kmaq advisor and Allan Shaw, a director with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs, round out the panel. We are also investing $1 million for the forestry joint task force, Mr. Speaker. INCLUSIVE, WELCOMING COMMUNITIES Mr. Speaker, we are truly blessed to live in this province. And, we have been fortunate in welcoming a number of new Nova Scotians to our shores. In 2008, 2,653 immigrants came to Nova Scotia, compared to 1,474 in 2003. Not only are we seeing an increase in the number of people coming to the province, Mr. Speaker, but our retention rates have improved dramatically, with over 60 per cent of immigrants staying. Mr. Speaker, this is a marked improvement from just 10 years ago when only 40 per cent remained here. One of the objectives for the coming year is to continue to make our province even more welcoming. We also want to make our communities more age friendly, Mr. Speaker. Our Strategy for Positive Aging helps us to prepare for our changing demographics, and the fact that our seniors population will nearly double by 2026. Our Positive Aging Fund, Age-Friendly Communities Program and Senior Safety grants all help to make our communities safer, healthier places in which to live. Mr. Speaker, our province is rich in history, culture and diversity. This past year, for the first time in the province’s history, members of Cabinet and the 13 Mi’kmaq Chiefs of Nova Scotia sat together to discuss matters of mutual concern. We intend to make this an annual event. Mr. Speaker, we are also very proud of our Framework Agreement, which sets out the process for negotiations regarding Mi’kmaq rights and title. This year, we marked the 25th anniversary of black history month, which promotes pride in self and community. And, we do have much to be proud of in this province. One of the things I am proud of, Mr. Speaker, is our record, and this budget. I have been involved in government for 10 years, Mr. Speaker. I can honestly say that this budget process has been one of the most challenging. We have made our decisions carefully. We are spending strategically. We know that the uncertainty we are facing today will not disappear over night. I’m confident we will weather these economic challenges in the short term … and we want to ensure we plan well for the long term. To that end, we will undertake a thorough review of government services. We will look for ways to streamline, for new ways to deliver programs and to become even more efficient to ensure we are providing the very best service and value for the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. We believe the taxpayers of Nova Scotia are served well by this budget, Mr. Speaker. We have protected programs. We have protected jobs. We have invested prudently through our Building for Growth Program. With these steps, with this budget, we know that we will be resilient. We will recover. We will grow. We will continue to be the best province, in the best country in which to live, work, raise a family and grow a business. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Resilience. Recovery. Growth Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today to present the budget for 2009–10 … and Nova Scotia’s eighth consecutive balanced budget. I present my first budget with pride … but with a sense of loss as well, Mr. Speaker. Today, we very much feel the presence of the former finance minister, our friend and colleague, Michael Baker. Last year, he stood in this House for over an hour, delivering the budget address, despite a good deal of physical discomfort. Though he was encouraged to sit to deliver the address, he refused. He said “if Roosevelt could stand to deliver the State of the Union address, then I can stand to deliver the budget.” That was Michael Baker, Mr. Speaker. A lesson in courage, integrity and determination. There is no question his enduring spirit will long influence those who had the privilege to know him and to call him friend.And so, in the House he loved, I ask that you honour and remember him. Mr. Speaker, this budget is about leadership. It’s about good government. It’s about resilience. It’s about recovery. It’s about growth.It’s about making the choices to best meet the challenges presented by these uncertain economic times, Mr. Speaker.We have had to make some tough decisions. We have not done so lightly. Every action, every decision was taken in the best interest of the people of Nova Scotia and our economy. Mr. Speaker, our belief in this province — and its people is unwavering. That’s at the heart of our vision for 2020, and a strong, prosperous and sustainable economy. At this time however, like every jurisdiction around the globe, we are feeling the effects of the economic downturn. A recent report of the International Monetary Fund projected world economic growth in 2009 to be the lowest in 60 years. But, Mr. Speaker, we are also looking ahead … to an era of success, growth and prosperity. It will take time. But we have a solid foundation on which to build, and we have many advantages.We have a diverse economic base. Our strong education and health service sectors are much less exposed to the global ups and downs experienced in more cyclical industries. And we have put in place one of the largest infrastructure programs in the history of the province, Mr. Speaker. Under Building for Growth, in partnership with the federal government, we will invest $1.9 billion in provincially owned infrastructure projects over the next three years. This investment will keep about 20,000 Nova Scotians working. Let me be clear, Mr. Speaker, we can only keep people working if we can get these dollars out the door. I hope my colleagues on the other side of the House understand the urgency … and what is at risk. This budget will help to get our economy moving. It allows us to leverage almost $200 million in federal funding this year alone.This budget allows us to make critical improvements to our roads, schools and hospitals. And, Mr. Speaker, it gives us the chance to keep our skilled workers here at home. Simply put, Mr. Speaker, this budget puts us in a position to better weather the storm. It provides the cushion our economy, and the people, of this province need. TIMELY. TEMPORARY. AFFORDABLE Mr. Speaker, this government prides itself on its responsible approach to fiscal management. That’s why we have brought forward our eighth consecutive balanced budget. It takes strong leadership to do that. That’s why Premier Rodney MacDonald was able to ensure that Nova Scotians remain the principal beneficiaries of our offshore resources, following the success of John Hamm in signing the Atlantic Accord. It is also why Premier MacDonald was able to work with Nova Scotia’s Conservative MPs to settle the long-standing dispute on the crown share … which returned $234 million to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia as a first payment and another $95 million last year. It’s that same leadership that ensures we manage our finances wisely. We’re keeping our operating costs in line. We are keeping our debt affordable. We are not laying off public servants. And, we are leading by example. Mr. Speaker, government will be asking all MLAs to agree to a wage freeze. We will also immediately freeze the wages of deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers, and, as well those of all political staff. We know other Nova Scotians are tightening their belts and making sacrifices during these challenging times. It is only right that we do the same. We will bargain in good faith with our public sector unions, however the realities of these economic times must be considered. The same principle must also apply to all public sector employees. You know, Mr Speaker, in these challenging times, there are those who urged us to run a deficit. We will not. Deficit financing will simply add to our challenges, Mr. Speaker.As history has taught us, it’s far too easy to spend today … without thinking of the costs we will bear tomorrow. We must proceed with caution. And we will. Our debt must remain affordable, and it will. We are revising our debt management plan, Mr. Speaker. We are able to do this because of the impressive gains we have made in managing our debt in the last number of years. Mr. Speaker, since 2001 our net direct debt, as a percentage of our gross domestic product, has declined from 46.8 per cent in 2001 to 36.7 in 2008. This is indeed an impressive drop, as is recognized by the bond rating agencies. But, Mr. Speaker, because a stimulus package is now so vital to our economic health, we will allow our net direct debt to grow over the next three years. After the stimulus package is complete, we will no longer add to the total debt. That means, Mr. Speaker, that our debt will be as affordable in 2012 as it is today. In other words, our direct debt compared to our gross domestic product will be no more than 36.7 per cent on March 31, 2012.We also intend to use the surplus funds from our offshore differently, Mr. Speaker. These funds, known as our offshore offset, will not be put towards the debt, but will be used to help finance the programs and services important to Nova Scotians. While debt repayment remains a priority for us, we believe that suspending our repayment plan is the most prudent approach … and the one that makes most sense in these uncertain economic times. The only alternative to using the offshore money would be to significantly raise taxes or cut programs. We will not. The legislative changes needed to support this plan have already been introduced, Mr. Speaker. As promised, this approach will be temporary. We fully intend to see our debt decrease once again in 2012–13. ECONOMIC REVIEW AND OUTLOOK Economic activity in Canada slowed significantly in the latter part of 2008, the lowest since 1991. The scope of the global economic downturn has been dramatic, Mr. Speaker. It’s also been unpredictable. It is safe to say, Mr. Speaker, that no jurisdiction predicted the scale of the decline, defined as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. It means that we are facing some extraordinary challenges. And they may be further exacerbated by the H1N1 human swine influenza. Rising unemployment rates and plunging stock markets pushed consumer confidence to record lows. Commodity prices also dropped significantly. We saw that demonstrated most dramatically as oil prices fell from a high last summer of $147US to around $50 today. Declining exports, weakening consumer spending and slower labour income growth all contributed to the slowing national economy. Nationally, we expect this decline to continue in 2009 … with a gradual recovery for 2010, Mr. Speaker. Despite the deepening global economic recession, Nova Scotia did see some growth last year. Our nominal gross domestic product grew by 3.7 per cent. Retail sales increased by 4.5 per cent. Employment grew by 1.3 per cent. Personal income grew by 4.1 per cent, and Corporate profits were up 1.6 per cent.last_img read more

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Premier Highlights New Directions in State of Province Address

first_img “We are making the changes that will ensure families in this province have a better future and we are building a stronger, more sustainable, more prosperous Nova Scotia,” said Premier Dexter. In his State of the Province address today, Nov. 24, Premier Darrell Dexter outlined new directions taken by the province in energy, job creation and managing the deficit as examples of the changes needed to ensure the province lives within its means and grows the economy. Speaking to the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Premier Dexter made it clear that Nova Scotia must continue to change in order to address the serious challenges confronting the province and continue to protect important public services. “A turning point calls for a decision. To go on as we are or to change direction for the better,” said Premier Dexter. The premier highlighted last week’s Lower Churchill River agreement with Newfoundland and Labrador as an example of a fundamental new direction for a province once 90 per cent reliant on fossil fuel and its price instability. “This truly is Atlantic Canada’s CPR. It will change the economic landscape by letting Atlantic Canadians tap deeply into the power and potential of this region,” said Premier Dexter. “Thousands of new jobs will be created. Nova Scotia gains a steady supply of clean, green hydro-electricity at a stable price. It will make life more affordable for Nova Scotia families and Nova Scotia businesses.” By 2020, at least 40 per cent of the province’s power will be from renewable sources. Premier Dexter said public sector wage restraint, halting March madness spending sprees as well as asking government departments to reduce spending is setting the province back on course to live within its means. “Fundamental change in how the province spends your money, today, tomorrow and in the future — that is the new road we are on,” said Premier Dexter. The premier also spoke about the new direction the province’s jobsHere plan sets for growing the economy. “Instead of trying to be and do all things, this government has set three key priorities — Learning, Innovation and Competitiveness. “In the past, governments have reacted to events,” said Premier Dexter. “Nova Scotia now has a blueprint that allows us to seize control of our economic future. jobsHere positions Nova Scotia to compete and succeed in the global marketplace. It will help companies be more innovative. It will prepare workers of today and tomorrow to land high-paying jobs, in leading-edge companies so they can stay here and build a life.” Citing the province’s proposed convention centre as a perfect example of what is needed to move forward, Premier Dexter said that it symbolizes a positive turning point in our growth and ambition. Premier Dexter also spoke about some of Nova Scotia’s other significant accomplishments over the past 19 months. They include: the province’s partnership with DSME to build wind turbines at Trenton Works plant, which will create 500 jobs. hiring Dr. John Ross as the provincial emergency room advisor. Dr. Ross has made several innovative recommendations to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia. organizing Back to Balance, the largest financial consultation in the province’s history. providing support for keystone industries such as the Halifax Shipyard, and NewPage. establishing poverty reduction and affordable living tax credits that have put millions of dollars into the pockets of Nova Scotians who need it most. implementing a graduate retention rebate. last_img read more

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Nova Scotia Archives Virtual Exhibit Honours Viola Desmond

first_imgThe Nova Scotia Archives has launched a new virtual exhibit presenting material associated with Viola Desmond’s historic court case. The first Nova Scotia Heritage Day, Feb. 16, will honour Viola Irene Desmond, the African Nova Scotian businesswoman who was arrested when she resisted segregation in a New Glasgow movie theatre in 1946. She was wrongfully jailed and fined. In 2010, the province granted an official apology and free pardon to the late Ms. Desmond. “It is fitting that Nova Scotians have the opportunity to learn Ms. Desmond’s incredible story both as a civil rights figure and a pioneering entrepreneur,” said Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince. “I understand that some of the court documents have only been viewed by about half a dozen researchers, so this is the first time they are available for the public to take a closer look.” An online magnifying tool allows users to examine items in detail. The exhibit includes copies of the surviving legal documents from the Magistrate’s Court and the Supreme Court, as well as the provincial newspaper coverage. “Viola Desmond’s story is a thought-provoking saga for all individuals to explore,” said Lois Yorke, provincial archivist. “Through the creation of this virtual exhibit, the Nova Scotia Archives is helping to ensure that her legacy lives on.” The exhibit also features a background article written by Henry Bishop, a well-known Nova Scotian multi-disciplinary artist and the descendant of Black Loyalists and migrant workers from Barbados. To view the online exhibit visit novascotia.ca/archives/virtual/desmond/default.asp . For information on Heritage Day celebrations, Viola Desmond, and other upcoming honourees, visit heritageday.novascotia.ca . For events commemorating Viola Desmond and African Heritage month, visit ansa.novascotia.ca/events-calendar . For information about the February Holiday’s legislation and application, please visit novascotia.ca/lae/employmentrights/NovaScotiaHeritageDay.asp .last_img read more

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Investing in Community Transportation Along the South Shore

first_imgA new bus service will better link Lunenburg County and Halifax and help more Nova Scotians connect to jobs, services, medical appointments, schools and opportunities. It is part of a multi-year plan to strengthen community transportation links across the province, especially in rural areas. Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Leo Glavine announced the new service today, Sept. 10 in Bridgewater. “Making community transportation more affordable, accessible, convenient and reliable will better support Nova Scotians in all aspects of their lives and strengthen our communities and our economy,” said Mr. Glavine. The Nova Scotia Community Transportation Network is receiving more than $385,000 to work with Maritime Bus on a demonstration project to provide passenger and parcel bus service to Lunenburg County from September 2018 to Feb. 29, 2020. “This is a great day for community transportation in Nova Scotia,” said Nova Scotia Community Transportation Network chair Reg Johnson. “We are thrilled to be part of this significant pilot project to provide Maritime Bus service from Bridgewater to Halifax. Hopefully, this project will serve as a template to develop similar options in other communities where a need exists.” The Nova Scotia Community Transportation Network is helping to better support the growth and expansion of current service providers and work on a five-year plan to develop sustainable community transportation across the province. The pilot service will connect Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, and Bridgewater to Halifax and points beyond through three round trips daily. “Over the past year, we have witnessed here in Bridgewater that a transit service is a great enabler for cultural and social inclusion, accessibility, and community and economic development,” said Bridgewater Mayor David Mitchell. “We have heard incredibly moving stories about how Bridgewater’s transit system has fundamentally changed lives, and we look forward to hearing more and more of those kinds of stories as a result of today’s funding announcement and the Maritime Bus project.” As part of the Culture Action Plan’s mandate to strengthen communities, the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage has earmarked more than $2.3 million for community transportation this year.last_img read more

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Work to Begin to Replace Hantsport Aboiteau

first_imgWork will begin next week to replace the failed Hantsport aboiteau. “We recognized the urgency of the situation and acted on the concerns brought forward by the community,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines. “By providing a permanent solution, we are ensuring the protection of agricultural lands and public infrastructure while also enabling appropriate fish passage.” The aboiteau and its wooden box culverts will be replaced by two permanent concrete box culverts. An earth berm will be rebuilt on top of the culverts. The new culverts will be the diameter of the culverts which operated successfully in the past. The flow of water is expected to be the same as it was before the aboiteau failed. The province engaged in consultation with the Mi’kmaw community and received environmental approvals from the Department of Environment. The project is a $4 million investment and is expected to take five weeks to complete, with construction wrapping up before spring high tide and runoff occur. The province hopes to recover the cost of the work from the Windsor and Hantsport Railway Company.last_img read more

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We were lucky massive cyberextortion attack could have affected Canada

first_imgCanada is not immune to online extortion, despite apparently sidestepping a massive attack that temporarily crippled networks around the world, a cybersecurity expert said.Atty Mashatan, a professor at Ryerson University’s School of Information Technology Management, said it was nothing more than a fluke that Canada appears to have been spared from Friday’s ransomware attack that disrupted services in Russia, the U.S., Ukraine, Spain and India.Attacks like this one, dubbed “WannaCry” for the “WannaCrypt” technology used to execute it, happen when a type of software seizes control of a computer, encrypting its contents and rendering them inaccessible.“The vehicle that the malware [is using to go] from one device to the other is spam. The most common way that they do that is via a link in an email,” Mashatan said. “It looks as if it’s from someone you know, in your contacts. You click on it, and bingo. The actual malware, the file, is downloaded.”The perpetrators then demand hundreds or thousands of dollars to unlock the victims’ computers — essentially holding the documents, photos and other items on the computer for ransom.“This one wasn’t really a targeted attack at all,” Mashatan said. “They usually run this campaign and hope to infect as many devices as they can.”“This time around we were lucky,” she said. “There’s so many people who are emailing one another within the U.K., whereas the traffic between the U.K. and Canada is not as much.”But if the wrong person had clicked on an infected link, they could have spread the ransomware to Canada.Related stories:Huge cyberattack forces Microsoft to offer free tech fixLakeridge Health reports tech problems amid global cyberattackComputer users worldwide — and everyone else who depends on them — should assume that the next big “ransomware” attack has already been launched, and just hasn’t manifested itself yet, Ori Eisen, who founded the Trusona cybersecurity firm, told The Associated Press.The attack appears to be “low-level” stuff, given the amounts of ransom demanded, Eisen said Saturday.He said the same thing could be done to crucial infrastructure, like nuclear power plants, dams or railway systems.A representative from Public Safety Canada said the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre is aware of the reported attacks, but made no mention on whether any Canadian users were affected.In the meantime, Mashatan said it’s important for everyday people to remain vigilant to prevent these attacks from spreading.She said people should keep their computers’ operating systems up-to-date, because the latest updates often patch up security holes. People should also avoid clicking on suspicious links.With files from The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Alzheimers Association Congratulates Julianne Moore On Best Actress Academy Award

first_imgThe Alzheimer’s Association congratulates Julianne Moore on winning the Oscar for Best Actress at the 87th Annual Academy Awards.Playing the title character in the film “Still Alice,” Moore’s poignant portrayal of a woman diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease illustrates the impact of Alzheimer’s, the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, on individuals and their families.“On behalf of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and their 15 million caregivers, huge congratulations to Julianne Moore for winning an Academy Award,” said Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer, Alzheimer’s Association. “Her beautiful and thoughtful performance in ‘Still Alice’ resonated with filmgoers and helped to elevate awareness and foster much needed conversation about Alzheimer’s disease.”The Alzheimer’s Association has seen the power of Julianne’s performance in “Still Alice” through social media response. To enhance the conversation occurring around the movie and the disease, the Association asked constituents to celebrate friends and family members living with Alzheimer’s by sharing photos using #mybrain and #still[name]. Thousands responded, creating a meaningful online gallery.As The New York Times bestselling novel by Lisa Genova was adapted into film, the Alzheimer’s Association was proud to provide guidance to Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart and the wonderfully talented and thoughtful screenwriting and directing team of Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, who were meticulous in their pursuit of accuracy, speaking with Alzheimer’s Association scientists, care experts and volunteers, including people with the disease and their family members.“I was so impressed by Julianne Moore throughout the process of the film; she truly listened and wanted to know everything about how it feels to live with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Sandy Oltz, Alzheimer’s Association Early-Stage Advisor (diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 46). “I am so proud and impressed by how she brought the Alzheimer’s disease experience to life with ‘Alice.’ As someone who is on the same journey, all of the awards an accolades that have come to Julianne for her performance, including the Oscar, are so well deserved and so important to all of us with Alzheimer’s disease.”The facts about Alzheimer’s and women are illustrated in the film through the depiction of Alice and her daughter Lydia, who helps to care for her mom. Alzheimer’s disease affects women disproportionately: More than two-thirds of people living with Alzheimer’s are women, and 3 in 5 unpaid caregivers are women.An amazing group of women intent on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and changing these dramatic numbers played an integral role in the creation of the film. In addition to the artistry of Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart, the power of women helped propel this film forward, including award-winning journalist and “Still Alice” executive producer Maria Shriver, producers Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns and Pamela Koffler, bestselling author of “Still Alice” Lisa Genova, Alzheimer’s Association Early-Stage Advisor Sandy Oltz and Alzheimer’s Association Chief Science Officer, Maria Carrillo. These women were a force behind the production and development of “Still Alice,” and they are intent on galvanizing women behind the Alzheimer’s cause through the Alzheimer’s Association My Brain initiative, a movement harnessing the power of women to wipe out Alzheimer’s.“Julianne Moore and the women behind ‘Still Alice’ have helped ignite a national conversation with the film, and our hope is that their amazing work inspires others to join My Brain to truly change to course of Alzheimer’s disease for millions,” said Geiger.last_img read more

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Mobile apps to promote Urdu

first_imgNew Delhi: For the promotion of Urdu language, NCPUL (National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language) is planning to make the learning of Urdu language easier and pocket-friendly by developing mobile apps for the same. The mobile app would focus on teaching Urdu calligraphy along with the pronunciation of the Urdu words mostly used in day to day life. It also plans to rope in Bollywood personalities for the promotion of Urdu language and is in talks with several lyricists and actors. Also Read – Gurdwara Bangla Sahib bans single use plastic”Through mobile app, we intend to rope in the youngsters who do have a craving for the language but somehow couldn’t find time or space to learn it. Through the app, the Urdu language would be easy to learn and speak. We are designing it in a way so that it’s user-friendly,” said Dr Aqil Ahmed, Director, NCPUL. A three-day international World Urdu Conference is also being organised in Delhi from March 18 to 20 by the organisation for the upliftment of Urdu as a language. Interestingly, eminent Urdu scholars (whose mother tongue haven’t been Urdu) from abroad will be participating from Canada, Russia, France, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Denmark, Japan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Mauritius and would be delivering their papers at the conclave. Urdu research scholars from 35 universities too have been invited in the conference. The organisation has also sought list of all madrasas in country both registered and non-registered and plans to promote the language through effective participation at the ground level.last_img read more

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Pitbull At Mawazine Festival… Again

Rabat – The 15th Mawazine Festival will feature the return of one of the singers who stunned the Moroccan audience four years ago: Pitbull. The American celebrity from a Cuban origins will perform for the second time in OLM-Souissi on Friday May 27. (Legend of picture: Pitbull alias “Mr. Worldwide” performing in OLM Souissi, 2012).The multilinguist artist recently released a new album in 2016, titled “Climate Change,” a few months after his Spanish project Dale. Dale, which has become a symbol for Pitbull, which is repeated at the beginning of almost all of his songs, stands for: “Disfrutando, Armando, Locuras, Etc.”Pitbull has turned ecological, and is interested in preserving the environment, like fellow star Leonardo Dicaprio.He also acted in the series “Empire” in 2015, and recently announced his new project with the single “Free K.”  “Messin’ Around,” a duet with Enrique Iglesias, is another song that could be a summer hit this year.Edited by Timothy Filla read more

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Russian court orders US investor Calvey held for 2 months

MOSCOW — A Moscow court has ordered a U.S. investment fund manager to be jailed for two months while facing fraud charges.Michael Calvey, founder and senior partner at Baring Vostok equity firm, was detained Friday morning along with two other fund managers.Prosecutors say Calvey is suspected of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles ($37 million) from Vostochny Bank, where Baring Vostok has a controlling stake.But Calvey said during his court appearance Saturday that the charges against him are likely connected to an arbitration case that Baring Vostok initiated against some Vostochny Bank shareholders.Calvey has worked for years in Russia and invested heavily in the country’s technology sector, including in the web search company Yandex.The Associated Press

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Sport Management alumni help Games run smoothly

Stephanie (Garant) Jones (BSM ’05), venue operations manager Sarah R. Smith is one of several Brock alumni working at the London Olympics. Brock University’s connections to the 2012 Summer Games go beyond athletes going for gold.Several alumni from the Sport Management program are working behind the scenes in London to ensure the Olympics run smoothly.For many, this won’t be the only Games appearing on their resumes, explained Cheri Bradish, associate professor in the department. They got their proverbial foot in the door when they were tapped to work at the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver.“We were fortunate when we hosted in Canada because there were many students that were graduating that were hired,” Bradish said.Brock alumni on the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) are:Laura Grouchy (BSM ’08), lead venue planner, event services Greg Wamsley (BSM ’07), venue operations manager, Wembley Arena.Ashley Jakobi (BSM ’07) is the games services manager, BOA, on Team GB. Danielle D’Lima (BSM ’07) is the Olympic approvals co-ordinator for The Coca-Cola Company in the U.K.Three Brock alumni are working for the Canadian Olympic Committee:Erin Mathany (BSM ’05), account manager, commercial rights and marketing partnerships Dana Tomiczek (BSM ’10), co-ordinator, marketing partnerships Nicole Greco (BRLS ’98), volunteer.“We saw it in Vancouver and now we’re seeing it London,” Bradish said about Brock’s connection to the Games. “It’s exciting to see our students being part of this and working at this Olympics.”A networking event is planned for the group in London on Aug. 10 and will also include sports management alumni already in the U.K. in other capacities. Brooke Arthur (BSM ’07), ticketing operations executive Sarah R. Smith (BSM ’04), sport, event and venue management specialist – canoe sprint services manager Colin Freeman, client group sales executive (BSM ’07) read more

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The Canadian Press appoints veteran Andrea Baillie as editorinchief

TORONTO — The Canadian Press is promoting managing editor Andrea Baillie to editor-in-chief, the first woman to oversee editorial operations at the national news wire.The veteran wire news journalist will take the place of Stephen Meurice, who stepped down in April.In a memo to staff, CP president Malcolm Kirk says Baillie is “uniquely poised” to steer the newsroom because of her respect for the service’s core values and understanding of the need to adapt and evolve to remain relevant.Baillie started with CP more than 20 years ago as a statistics handler on the Sports desk and moved on to roles as a copy editor, general assignment reporter and Queen’s Park correspondent.She oversaw the Entertainment/Lifestyles department for eight years, supervising the Health report and quarterbacking coverage of the Grammy and Juno Awards.Baillie has been managing editor for the last 4 1/2 years, co-ordinating coverage of breaking news that most recently included the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan, the Danforth shooting in Toronto and the Boeing 737 Max plane crash in Ethiopia.Kirk says the company will seek a new managing editor from among existing staff. The Canadian Press read more

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