Tuesday, December 07, 2021

ferry at Sabau2019s Fort Bay harbourApril 27, 2020  THE HAGUE–The Dutch government had approved a compensation package to alleviate the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus crisis for residents of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The prices of ferry services, electricity and Internet will go down through subsidies.

State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops announced the economic support measures during a press briefing after Friday’s Council of Ministers meeting as well as in a letter that he sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on the same day.

The joint initiative of the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba seems to have been effective. In a letter dated March 29, the public entities urged the various ministries in The Hague to take a number of measures that would alleviate the socio-economic burden in these hard times where many residents and companies are seeing their income decline.

The public entities proposed to reduce the fixed tariff of all utility facilities to zero. In his letter to the Second Chamber, Knops noted that this proposal fits the ambition of the Dutch government to reduce the cost of living in the islands.

“Considering the immense socio-economic effects due to the COVID-19, the government has decided to grant a reduction on the water and electricity bill that matches the fixed tariff.” In other words, the fixed tariff will be reduced to zero. Because Saba does not have a fixed tariff for water, – because people have cisterns – the funding will go towards increasing the capacity of the public cisterns.

The fixed tariffs reduction will apply from May 1 until the end of 2020. In the same period, the price of Internet in all three islands will go down by US $25 per connection. Internet is deemed essential in this period where people have to work from home and students do their schoolwork online.

This measure to reduce the electricity, water and Internet prices will cost the Dutch government 7.8 million euros. Another one million euros will be made available annually for the next two years to subsidise ferry transport between St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba.

The Dutch government adopted the proposal of the public entities to start a pilot to improve the ferry service between the Windward Islands and to lower the tariffs. The ferry price will be reduced and the frequency will be increased for two years.

“A solid and affordable ferry will also contribute to a larger number of tourists after the lock-down. Residents will also be able to travel more often and at a better price. This will aid Saba and St. Eustatius in a quicker recovery,” stated Knops.

The ferry concession will be executed locally and will involve multiple parties. The Dutch government pledged to look at the options – together with the islands – to secure affordable connections by air in the longer term.

The state secretary in his letter acknowledged the hardships for the islands. In their joint plea, the public entities sought attention for the increase of poverty. The letter sent to the various ministries mentioned the large economic impact as a result of the cessation of tourism, the lock-down and the turnover loss of companies. Saba is facing an additional challenge because the Saba University School of Medicine (SUSOM) students have left.

To ensure that nobody goes hungry, the Dutch government will support the purchase and distribution of food and hygiene packages for the most vulnerable in the community. Allocated will be 150,000 euros each for St. Eustatius and Saba, and 200,000 euros for Bonaire. For Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, 16 million euros will be made available in humanitarian aid.

Daily Herald

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September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

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