Monday, February 17, 2020

February 2, 2020 Philipsburg -- The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) is the proud owner of a bulldozer, purchased through the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. The bulldozer is deemed vital in the continued improvement of the management of the landfill being spearheaded by the VROMI Ministry.

The bulldozer, with a value of 555 thousand US dollars, along with a preventative maintenance plan, follows the purchase of Alternative Daily Cover materials and silo and applicator equipment. At the handing over of the keys on January 27th, Minister of VROMI Christopher Wever expressed that he “think[s] this is a good step forward. The Department of Infrastructure Management will definitely make use of this machine for all its possible capabilities. This is the beginning of more positive news to come as we continue to make strides in overseeing and improving our waste management techniques.”

Additional heavy equipment, such as a front loader and waste compactor, are also being purchased under the Trust Fund to further improve the St Maarten landfill operations. National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB) Director Claret Connor expressed his pleasure of the delivery: “I am happy we were able to procure this heavy equipment for the country.  As the project implementing unit (PIU) of the St Maarten Trust Fund, we feel equally as proud as the Ministry of VROMI. With the support of the various World Bank teams, the NRPB will continue to diligently address the needs identified by the Government of Sint Maarten in our ongoing recovery process.” 

The Emergency Debris Management Project, under the Trust Fund, seeks to improve the waste disposal activities at the Landfill, decommission the Irma-dump and improve the environmental conditions around Pond Island and its adjacent communities.  An additional component of the Project is the clean-up of shipwrecks in the Simpson Bay Lagoon and Mullet Pond, and removal of debris on the Simpson Bay shoreline. 

The Sint Maarten Trust Fund is financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank and implemented by the National Recovery Program Bureau.

February 16, 2020  AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — An emotional Elton John had to cut short a performance in New Zealand on Sunday after he lost his voice due to walking pneumonia and had to be assisted off stage. John reached out to his fans on Instagram on Sunday, apologizing for ending his show at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium early. “I want to thank everyone who attended tonight’s gig in Auckland. I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia earlier today, but I was determined to give you the best show humanly possible,” he wrote. “I played and sang my heart out, until my voice could sing no more. I’m disappointed, deeply upset and sorry. I gave it all I had. Thank-you so much for your extraordinary support and all the love you showed me during tonight’s performance. I am eternally grateful. Love, Elton xx”

February 2, 20202  MIAMI (AP) — Descending from the air, Lady Gaga kicked off a pre-Super Bowl concert by mimicking her entrance to her Super Bowl halftime performance three years ago, which earned her rave reviews. Headlining the big sports stage was a recurring theme of her Miami concert Saturday night, and the pop star sent a message to Sunday’s featured performers: “I better hear no lip-syncing tomorrow!” Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will join forces to perform at Super Bowl 54 at the Hard Rock Stadium, when the San Francisco 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

MIAMI (AP) — Fat Joe brought New York hip-hop to Miami for an energetic pre-Super Bowl concert a day ahead of the big game. The Bronx rapper was joined by fellow New Yorkers 50 Cent and Remy Ma for the Pepsi Super Splash Pool Party on Saturday at Clevelander South Beach. Joe performed a number of hits, including the Grammy-nominated smashes “What’s Luv?,” “Lean Back” and “All the Way Up.” Ma surprised the audience, rapping on the latter two songs, while her rapper-husband, Papoose, freestyled onstage, earning cheers from the crowd. 50 Cent, who is from Queens, got the loudest applause from the hyped crowd when he performed “What Up Gangsta” and his debut hit, “In Da Club.”

MIAMI (AP) — Vin Diesel says it’s the spirit of Paul Walker that motivates him to continue starring in the “Fast and Furious” saga. Diesel and the cast spoke of the memory of their late screen partner at a special event surrounding the upcoming release of the franchise’s ninth chapter, “F9: Fast and Furious 9.” The recent death of Kobe Bryant reminded Diesel of the loss of his friend. “I can’t make a ‘Fast’ without Pablo in my thoughts, in my everyday activity, in my approach to every scene,” Diesel said, invoking his affectionate nickname for Walker. “His spirit must live in this saga, because his spirit, in so many ways, is what drives me to continue the saga.”