A US$10 increase in the fee for American citizens applying for their American passport will soon be implemented.The fee will now be US$35 and will go into effect all over the world next month.The new fee is applicable to all first-time passport applicants and certain other applicants who must apply in person, such as minors under the age of 16.However, American citizens who apply for a passport renewal by mail will not see an increase.No other charges for consular services were instituted.To make an appointment to renew their passport in Georgetown, American citizens should contact the Consular Section via the Embassy’s website.
Following what some are calling the unravelling of a web of deception regarding the Government’s secrecy in collecting millions from oil giant ExxonMobil, calls have risen for an inquiry to be held into all deals negotiated by the Natural Resources Ministry, and for criminal charges to be instituted against ministers at the centre of the controversy.The latest individual to make this call is Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram, the man who first revealed to the nation that Government had collected a US$20-million-dollar signing bonus from the oil company.Government’s receipt of this bonus was initially denied by Finance Minister Winston Jordan; Minister of State, Joseph Harmon; and Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, who had all pleaded ignorance of this bonus when asked by the media.On Saturday, Ram lashed out at the Government, saying that, in an ironic twist, “the dam of eighteen months of denial and obfuscation concerning the payment of a signing bonus by ExxonMobil to the Government broke apart one day before the UN declared International Anti-Corruption Day”.Ram said, “The forced admission by the Government is a shocking revelation of a conspiracy to deceive the people of Guyana about billions of dollars involving a galaxy of ministers, including four of five of Granger’s famous ‘Quintet plus one’, and involving two key ministries and their ministers.”Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, Ram noted, there are immediate and longer-term implications of this saga from which Guyana may forever suffer. One of these implications, he pointed out, is that high-level officials of the Finance Ministry, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, and the Bank of Guyana — inclusive of the Audit Committee — have been ensnared in this conspiracy.Ram added it means that Article 216 of the Constitution of Guyana has been knowingly violated; “that critical information contained in the Estimates of Expenditure now being considered by the National Assembly is inaccurate, incorrect and meaningless; that the 2016 financial statements of the Government and of the Consolidated Fund are for 2016 similarly deficient.”Since the transaction occurred in the fiscal year of the Audit Office of Guyana’s last report, Ram noted, the AG’s report on the Consolidated Fund is inapplicable. He said that, as such, the auditing standards applied by the Office require Auditor General Deodat Sharma to withdraw his report.“The financial statements and the auditor’s report of the Bank of Guyana for the year 2016 face the same jeopardy; and this web of deception has ensnared high level officers of the Ministry of Finance, the Geology and Mines Commission, and the Bank of Guyana, including the Chairman of its Audit Committee, Mr Anand Goolsarran,” Ram declared.He pointedly stated that, when in Opposition, this Government — and very specifically the AFC, of which Raphael Trotman is now leader — had repeatedly claimed that (then Finance Minister) Dr Ashni Singh should be taken before the courts on a criminal charge under the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.“It is as clear as day to me that offences (were) committed under Section 85 of that Act by more than one person. This is now a criminal matter, and the Guyana Police Force should be called in,” Ram said on Saturday.Article 216 of the Constitution of Guyana is very clear on how public monies should be treated. According to the section, “All revenues or other moneys raised or received by Guyana (not being revenues or other moneys that are payable by or under an Act of Parliament, into some other fund established for any specific purpose or that may, by or under such an Act, be retained by the authority that received them for the purpose of defraying the expenses of that authority) shall be paid into and from one Consolidated Fund.”Section 85 of Guyana’s Fiscal Management and Accountability Act says that public officials who falsify accounts, statements or records under the Act, or those guilty of conspiring to defraud the state, are committing an indictable offence. The punishment for this offence, on summary conviction, is a fine of $2 million and a three-year jail sentence.UntrustworthyRam noted that after such a blow to the coalition administration’s credibility, President David Granger must take decisive action to ensure the public can regain trust in his Government.According to Ram, this includes the president apologising for his ministers’ “diabolical” act, remedying the violations of the law, and the calling in the Police.But where does this leave the future of transparency and accountability of Guyana’s developing oil sector? According to Ram, it should be clear that such a large source of the national revenues of Guyana should not be left in the control of ministers.“The petroleum resources of Guyana do not belong to a cabal ensconced in the Administration, but to all Guyanese, present and future. Each such Guyanese expects and deserves that its government – whether APNU, PNC or PPP – owes to them honesty, decency and integrity demonstrated in accurate accounting, proper accountability, and good governance, not only on World Anti-Corruption Day, but each and every day of the year”, Ram declared.After months of denial, the Natural Resources Minister on Friday told the National Assembly that Government did receive a large sum of money from oil giant ExxonMobil following the signing of the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA). Trotman informed that the money is being used to defend Guyana’s territorial integrity in the border controversy with Venezuela.The Government has been consistently denying receiving the money, but a document from Finance Secretary Hector Butts was leaked to <
The decision to suddenly shelve plans to build 22 new social housing units – after questions over the name of who the proposed vendor was, has raised more questions than answers according to one Donegal County Councillor. The council had initially advertised for landowners interested in selling their land for the construction of new social housing units to contact them.Eight proposals were submitted, six didn’t meet the criteria – two remained, one was subsequently withdrawn – and the last remaining one which looked like it was set to be given the green light, was also subsequently withdrawn. However, at a meeting of the Municipal District of Letterkenny, councillor Dessie Shiels asked for the reasons why the proposal to purchase land in the Mountain Top area of Letterkenny for social housing was now suddenly not proceeding?At a meeting earlier in the year, Mr Shiels and fellow councillor Liam Blaney asked what they deemed where legitimate questions as to the whole process of the proposed development.They had requested to know who the proposed vendor was, what was the details of the proposed price for the land – and a detailed report on the precise reasons for acceptance of this proposed land.Cllr Shiels told the meeting “This is a very serious situation, we were told at the last meeting that pending ministerial approval that this site was appropriate for the proposed construction of 22 social housing units. “Now we’re told the land has now been withdrawn by the seller. At the last meeting we asked legitimate questions regarding this entire project.“Now a few weeks after this, the land has now been withdrawn. You have to be careful what you say here, but one would ask is everything above board here?“Again we had eight applications, why did the first six not fit the criteria? Why were they dismissed.“Now we’re left in a situation where the one vendor who was left is now withdrawing, so that leaves us with no options – at least if we still had three or four other options we could explore them.“The lack of social housing is a serious issue. I had a single mother contact me recently, and what do you say, it feels like you’re just saying the same thing to them all the time. “We’re elected members of the public, they raised questions as to what’s going on? We asked the questions, but this latest development simply raises more questions than answers.”“The public are going to ask why it was withdrawn?”The council representatives present said the vendor informed them in writing that the land had been withdrawn.They said they didn’t know why it was withdrawn, and said that was the decision taken by the vendor. Cllr Shiels requested that clarification be made on the issue, and accepted that while the council representatives present may not have the answers, to go to those that do.He added, “We’re entitled to ask the questions, we were elected to ask questions, there’s no point being a public representative if we can’t get these answers.“Why is it so secretive that we don’t even know who assessed these applications? We were told it was a ‘team’ – a team of who?“We haven’t been furnished with the answers requested and I don’t accept this has been an ‘open’ and ‘transparent’ process.”An agreement was eventually reached that the questions posed would be addressed at the next meeting if it’s possible.COUNCILLOR ASKS WHY WERE PLANS SUDDENLY SHELVED TO BUILD 22 NEW SOCIAL HOUSING UNITS? was last modified: July 14th, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Dessie ShielshousingnewsplansPoliticsShelvedsocial housing
JOHN B Keane’s poignant and funny ‘Many Young Men of Twenty’ will be staged at the Balor Theatre, Ballybofey, for three nights next week – Tuesday 25th to Thursday, October 27th.Set in the 1950s, the play is an exploration of the many sad and tragic aspects of enforced emigration, a scourge of Irish life for much of the 20th century.It is set in the back room of a public house, the natural home of impromptu song – and there are many songs and great moments of theatre in the production. Colourful characters, language and humour also abound in what many consider as one of Keane’s finest. Directed by Susan Doherty of the Butt Drama Circle, this play is as topical now as it was when it was written. For almost half a century, the Butt Drama Circle has been one of the finest and long standing groups in the county and have been performing plays to the highest standard, winning many awards along the way. There is no doubt that their latest production will also be a triumph.Tickets are priced at €12/€10, and the show starts at 8pm each night. For more information and bookings, contact the Balor Arts Centre on 07491 31840 or log on to www.balorartscentre.comThe full cast is: Mickey McMahon (Tom Hannigan); Mary Laverty (Seelie Hannigan); Daireen Laverty (Peg Finnerty); Seamus McCrudden (Danger Mulally); Eddie Mulligan (Daheen Timineen Din); Rosaleen McGonagle (Maynan); Niall McGonagle (Kevin); Anthony Redmond (Dinny); Marc McCloskey (Maurice Brown); Bernie Thompson (Dot) and Tracey Faulkner (Kitty Curley).Musicians are Bernard Kelly, Brian Duffy, Troy Devaney and Billy Patton. Get your tickets for John B Keane’s ‘Many Young Men of Twenty’ was last modified: October 17th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
In the early stages of starting a business, most owners are focused on growth — growing a customer base, increasing revenue, and bringing on more employees to perform various functions. Growth is certainly important, and it can get a business off the ground. But there comes a time when a business will outgrow its processes and things will start to slip through the cracks.Growth can take a business from one customer to 100, but to get from 100 to 100,000, you’ll need to scale. Growth depends on individual decisions made in the moment, but scaling is built on predictable, repeatable processes designed with efficiency in mind. If you have strong processes, you can hire a new employee, provide instructions on how to perform a task, and get consistent results within days instead of months.Processes built with the intention to scale have efficiency at their core, and they eliminate bottlenecks whenever possible. Consider how easy it is to manually enter shipping information for your first 12 customers. That process will quickly spiral out of control when you have hundreds of orders coming in. The time and energy wasted on performing this manual process will prevent you from working on other parts of your business; before you know it, a seemingly innocuous procedure has dire consequences.Even the biggest corporations in existence today began as startups, and they didn’t grow to their current size by working proportionally harder. Instead, their founders created smart processes with scaling in mind. For today’s business owners, that frequently means turning to tech.1. Build a strong foundation for hiring new help.In a business’s early stages, hiring is an exciting prospect. You’ve grown to the point where you can afford to bring on full-time employees, and you can’t wait to pick from all the talented individuals who can help your business reach the next level. Then, you realize that hiring means wading through a sea of underqualified applicants to find the right person, only to realize that you can’t afford him or her.As you grow further and the pace of hiring increases, the situation only gets worse. You start hiring less qualified employees, and without the time to train them thoroughly, their output doesn’t reach important benchmarks.To prevent these issues, rely on tools like eSkill, which allows you to create customizable tests that can assess job requirements in a slew of fields such as IT, HR, and sales. Or use Applied, a blind recruitment platform that times candidate assessments and anonymizes applications to help you avoid bias. It also allows you to batch applications to better compare potential hires.These tools and others will improve your ability to assess candidates before they ever interview. By only spending time talking to the most promising candidates, you can make the hiring process more efficient, no matter how big your company gets.2. Capitalize on clean data with strong organizational processes.AI techniques can allow organizations around the globe to tap into $3.5 trillion to $5.8 trillion of additional value, according to research from McKinsey. Data informs decision-making in almost every industry, but the effectiveness of solutions like AI or analytics are entirely dependent on the availability and quality of data.“We tell organizations time and time again, your analytics are only as good as your data,” says Vince Dawkins, president and CEO of Enertia Software. “Applying data implementation processes that help maintain data integrity and ensure optimal reporting capabilities may appear minimal upon inception, but once a business has grown, minimal can quickly change to thousands upon thousands of lines of data.”Clean data changes everything. Move integral datasets to the forefront so they’re highly visible. Hint: You can train your software to use metadata to sort all of your data, ensuring the most frequently used and most important datasets remain top of mind. Also, store the most important data in the cloud so it’s easily accessible from anywhere. Automate data management by using smart software to observe data usage patterns over time.3. Implement production processes that can keep up.Consider Apple’s iPhone 8. In 2017, the company experienced production glitches that threatened to delay shipping of its latest version, and the company’s stock price fell as a result. This setback doesn’t seem to have had much of an effect on the largest company in the world, but similar shipping delays could be far more detrimental to a small- or medium-sized company that doesn’t have Apple’s brand power or reputation to back it up. Before attempting to scale, you must have production processes in place that can easily handle significant increases in demand. That means getting rid of manual processes across the board and replacing them with automated systems that reduce the amount of human work required.Tesla took this approach with its Model 3, which had experienced production delays of its own. The company had automated 95 percent of production as of June 2018. The company had even automated quality control during production, using 47 robots to scan vehicle bodies along the production line. By allowing the same number of employees to accomplish more work, automated production processes increase profitability.Scaling isn’t easy, but once you implement scalable processes, you can focus on increasing demand for your product or service without wondering whether your startup can handle it. Focus on simplicity, and keep customer needs at the core. If you can check both of those boxes for each scalable process, you’re on the right track. Tags:#automation#business scaling#company growth#company scaling#data processing#Entrepreneur#operations#processes#Production#scaling#startup How to Get Started in China and Have Success Brad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWrite Related Posts China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com. What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture
The Goa Police on Thursday arrested French national Stephane Humbert (58) for alleged possession of narcotic substances and foreign currency worth ₹6.5 lakh.He was arrested during a raid at Chapora village, considered a popular narco-tourism destination. Officers from Anjuna police station seized LSD strips, cocaine and charas worth about ₹4.5 lakh from Mr. Humbert. “We have also seized around ₹2 lakh in foreign currency from the accused. He has been booked under relevant sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. He will also be booked for possession of foreign currency,” a police spokesperson said.
It is highly improper on the Centre’s part to try and amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare said on Tuesday. The government’s introduction of the regressive RTI Amendment Bill was akin to deceiving the people of the country, he said.Speaking at his residence in Ralegan Siddhi in Ahmednagar district, the octogenarian said the RTI Act was a solid piece of legislation empowering citizens of the country.He said that while the Narendra Modi government was otherwise doing good work, he failed to understand why the Centre was suddenly bent upon introducing changes to the RTI Act that would only weaken democratic institutions and people’s rights. “Introducing amendments like controlling the appointment of information commissioners will only lead to a dictatorship. I am at a loss to fathom why the RTI amendments were introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha,” Mr. Hazare said. The standing committee, which was constituted at the time of the drafting of the Act, had already taken into consideration all factors pertaining to the status of information commissioners, and no further change was necessary, he said.He recalled that he had staged a massive ‘Jan Andolan’ (people’s protest rally) on August 9, 2006, in Alandi near Pune to protest against proposed amendments to the RTI Act being considered by the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government.“Eleven days after I sat on a hunger strike, Dr. Singh, through Prithviraj Chavan, who was then Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office, had sent me a written assurance that he would not effect any changes in the RTI Act. So why is the Modi government now taking such a step without taking the people of the country into confidence?” Mr. Hazare said asked. He said he would write to the Prime Minister on the issue and urge him not to bring about any amendments to the RTI Act.Asked whether he would lead a new agitation against the RTI Amendment Bill, he said he had sat on 19 hunger strikes in the past. “At 82, I am getting on in age and do not have the strength to lead new agitations. However, if the youth and citizens take the lead, I will participate in such a demonstration against the weakening of the RTI Act,” he said.Activists and former information commissioners across the country have strongly condemned the Modi government’s move to amend the RTI Act, stating it would severely undermine the independence of the Chief Information Commissioner and other information officers.
Pakistan cricket authorities had refused to accept ICC report and voiced concern over the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) proposal for overhauling the sport in the troubled country on Wednesday.Indo-Pak semi final match during World CupThe Pakistan Task Team (PTT), set up by the ICC, presented a report at an ICC meeting last month with 63 recommendations including changes to the style of governance and reviving matches with India.Ijaz Butt, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), said his organisation had identified discrepancies in the report. “A few discrepancies can be identified in the report, which PCB has rectified and sent to the ICC in a hope it’s taken in a positive spirit,” said a PCB release quoting Butt.The PCB statement said it considers the report to be a scholarly exercise that has not made substantial steps to restart international cricket in Pakistan and urged the ICC and PTT to work on the resumption of games with India.Whereas the Indian government issued favourable statements regarding the resumption of cricket, the Indian board is still waiting formal signal from its government. “We feel PTT and ICC can play a lead role in ensuring that all bilateral commitments are honoured by India,” the release said.With inputs from Agencies.
Good friends Anil and Tina Ambani will co-host Bollywood’s gala of the year along with Jaya Bachchan on October 11 when Amitabh Bachchan turns 70. Sources have revealed the party will be hosted at a leading Mumbai 5-star, and names doing the rounds right now suggest it will be either Grand Hyatt or JW Marriott.Last week, Mail Today broke the news that the grand celebration of Big B’s birthday this year will see a guest list of over 1,000 celebrities. Reports doing the rounds hint at the fact that there is already a rush among Mumbai’s swish set to be on the list of invitees. Details coming in reveal that the Bachchans’ favourite designer duo, Abu Jaani and Sandeep Khosla, has been assigned the styling responsibilities.An all-red velvet decor theme will be the order of the day, and guests too will reportedly be expected to follow the theme to the party. “The bash will have plenty of live performances. A mesmerising show by the Quebec-based group Cirque du Soleil will be one of the highlights of the evening, and a top international deejay is being lined up too. That apart, there will be several performances by some renowned international and Indian names,” a source said.The group Cirque du Soleil will perform at Amitabh Bachchan’s birthday partyCirque du Soleil is a Canadian entertainment company known for its unique presentations that are a dramatic mix of circus art, classical music and dances, and street performances. The group, known to employ 1,300 artists, fuses various dance forms including hip-hop, ballet and contemporary dance and gravity defying acts with jugglery, acrobatics, stage performances and surreal music.Jaya Bachchan is reportedly planning every minute detail- from the theme of the party to the designs to the entertainment quotient- in order to ensure it is a perfect bash. Although not much is known about the guest list yet, it has been known that the invitees will include Big B’s friends from Bollywood, the political fraternity and the socialite circles.Big B’s son Abhishek is shooting in Chicago for Dhoom 3 at the moment, and Abhishek’s wife Aishwarya and daughter Aaradhya are spending time with him there.Of course, they will all be back in India in due time to be part of the grand birthday gala.advertisement
Bhubaneswar, Sept 9 (PTI) The state government today decided to abolish the Odisha Administrative Tribunal after it felt that the very objective of the institution to give quick justice to employees could not be achieved. “Accordingly, the proposal for abolition of OAT was considered by the Cabinet and approved in principle,” chief secretary G C Pati told reporters while briefing on the decisions taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Pati said that as some states, including Madhya Pradesh, have already abolished the state administrative tribunals, the Odisha government would move the Centre seeking its nod for executing its decision. The state will also hold discussion with the High Court for creating more judges in the High Court if necessary and to discuss with High Court as to how the pending cases in the tribunal will be dealt. Pati said the aggrieved employees can go to high court to redress their grievances instead of approaching the Tribunal. “The state government will make required arrangement with consultation with the High Court to deal with cases of employees,” Pati said. Asked the reason behind the decision to abolish the tribunal which was established on July 14, 1986 under the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985, Pati said with the decision of the Supreme Court in L Chandra Kumar (1997) the provision of the Act that aggrieved parties could appeal to the Supreme Court against order of the Tribunal was held unconstitutional, as it was deemed to be inconsistent with the basic structure of the Constitution. Hence, the parties aggrieved with the orders by the Tribunal may approach the high court first, Pati said adding that therefore, the very objective of the establishment of the tribunal to give quick justice could not be achieved. As many as 31,820 cases are pending in the Odisha Administrative Tribunal for disposal by December, 2014, Pati said. PTI AAM MD RGadvertisement