UDC Moves to Restore Financial Viability

first_imgThe management of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is moving to contain operating expenses, as part of measures to improve the agency’s financial viability.General Manager of the Corporation, Desmond Malcolm, says coming out of an Auditor General’s report, which found several operational efficiencies and “huge losses”, an operational programme has been set in motion.“The UDC Board and Management decided to come up with a number of initiatives which, in effect, would stop the bleeding of the company … reducing the loss and ensuring that, as quickly as possible, the UDC can move from a loss position to a break-even position,” he stated.He was addressing a press conference held recently at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James, to indicate the way forward for the organisation.As part of the improvement measures, Mr. Malcolm informed that the UDC will be taking “a serious inventory” of energy management and stationery use throughout its entire operation with a view to cutting costs.“We will also be monitoring salaries, allowances, travel, and so on, to reduce or at least contain those expenses,” he pointed out.Turning to the operations of the Montego Bay Convention Centre, the General Manager told JIS News that focus will be placed on reducing energy costs and marketing the facility.“One of the areas of high expenses is energy and we do have plans to make the Convention Centre more energy efficient … it was discovered that there are issues of massive underground water leaks and high water bills. We were able to effectively deal with that, so much so, that our water bill has dropped by as much as 400 per cent. We are also going to focus a lot on marketing because that is where the heart of this operation is. We need to get conventions and other activities going on in this centre so we can, at least, reach a break-even position,” Mr. Malcolm said.He informed that several proposals have been put forward for the use of the facility, including casino gaming and accommodation, and there is a suggestion to develop the property across from the centre through a partnership arrangement.The UDC General Manager said another option being “seriously looked at” is leasing the facility to an operator.“I don’t think that operating a convention centre, necessarily, is the best thing for the UDC. So that is another option for us, to lease the assets to an operator, and developing the land across the street for a hotel or any other such business that would bring economic activity to this area,” he stated.Contact: Glenis A. Roselast_img read more

NWA Says Too Much Money Spent to Clear Drains Blocked by Garbage

first_img Communication and Customer Services Manager at the National Works Agency (NWA), Stephen Shaw, says at least 25 per cent of the annual expenditure on mitigation activities could be otherwise utilised, if the country’s drains are not blocked with garbage and debris.Addressing the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Disaster Preparedness Month press conference in Kingston recently, Mr. Shaw said much work has been undertaken by the NWA to improve roadways and drainage systems under the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), but this is being undermined by a lack of social responsibility among users of the roadways.“In some instances, our own actions have already compromised the performance of some of these brand-new drainage features. Recently, along the Mandela Highway, for example, a section of the eastbound carriageway was inundated following the heavy rainfall. While there are existing troughs which run for a couple of kilometres designed to drain the roadway, their capacity was greatly reduced due to impediments, including a large number of PET bottles deposited in the drains,” he said.“Our gutters, gullies, drains and culverts will only function as well as we keep them clean. I implore all Jamaicans to take the time to ensure that you assist in keeping our waterways clear of garbage and debris,” Mr. Shaw added. Story Highlights Communication and Customer Services Manager at the National Works Agency (NWA), Stephen Shaw, says at least 25 per cent of the annual expenditure on mitigation activities could be otherwise utilised, if the country’s drains are not blocked with garbage and debris. “In some instances, our own actions have already compromised the performance of some of these brand-new drainage features. Recently, along the Mandela Highway, for example, a section of the eastbound carriageway was inundated following the heavy rainfall. While there are existing troughs which run for a couple of kilometres designed to drain the roadway, their capacity was greatly reduced due to impediments, including a large number of PET bottles deposited in the drains,” he said. Addressing the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Disaster Preparedness Month press conference in Kingston recently, Mr. Shaw said much work has been undertaken by the NWA to improve roadways and drainage systems under the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), but this is being undermined by a lack of social responsibility among users of the roadways.last_img read more

VANCOUVER ANIMATION SECTOR PLANS FIRST ANIMATION FAM TOUR AND EXPANDS ANNUAL DIGITAL

first_img8th Annual Vancouver Digital Entertainment Career FairWhen: April 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.Where: Vancouver Convention Centre East, Ballrooms A, B and C, 999 Canada Pl. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Tickets and info: Free at Vancouvereconomic.comSpider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film means even more global focus is turned toward Vancouver’s digital entertainment sector. The oft-reported pace of growth in film, TV, animation, VFX and gaming business in B.C. is indeed exceptional. Oscar love for locally based Sony Pictures Imageworks means even more business.The global entertainment industry backs winners. B.C. has them. And there are a lot of plans in motion to keep the machine well-oiled.According to the Vancouver Economic Commission, from 2012-2018 the VFX and animation sector nearly tripled from around $342 million to $960 million annually. The VEC projects that by the end of 2019 that figure will exceed 1 billion. These figures are preliminary as the final audits aren’t in, but little variation is expected. Setting right rumours that the B.C. film industry spending only recently surpassed Ontario’s, the VEC reports that it was 2012 when that happened (Ontario spent $1.28 billion versus $1.6 billion for B.C.).VEC film commissioner David Shepheard and animation and VFX expert Nancy Basi discussed some of the plans in place to keep growing the industry.First up is the first Animation FAM (familiarization) Tour. Titled the Vancouver-London Animation Business Exchange, it’s the first of its kind in the city’s history March 13-17, which sees representatives from such U.K. studios as Axis Animation (League of Legends, The Elder Scrolls); Lupus Films (The Hive Series, Ethel and Ernest); and Jellyfish Pictures (Star Wars) coming to Vancouver for a look around. This is the first outbound trip Film London has taken in five years. Shepheard previously was involved in the inbound versions of these FAM events. Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse. Miles gets his Spider-sense. ~ SONY PICTURES ANIMATION / PNG Facebookcenter_img Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

Stop Betting Against Gregg Popovich

The San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich won his third NBA Coach of the Year Award on Tuesday. To an extent, these awards are about which coach most exceeds expectations: They’re the opposite of coach firings, which are better predicted by a coach’s performance relative to preseason Las Vegas over-under lines than by his win-loss record. Popovich’s Spurs won 62 games in the regular season — more than the 55.5 wins Vegas predicted. That’s reasonably impressive, but nothing as compared to the Phoenix Suns’ Jeff Hornacek, who finished second in the balloting after winning 27 more games than Vegas anticipated.What’s more amazing is how Popovich and the Spurs keep beating even consistently high expectations. From the 2006-07 through the 2013-14 seasons, the Spurs have outperformed their preseason over-under lines by a cumulative 35.5 games. That is the second-best total in the NBA, after the Suns, who were boosted by their extraordinary performance this year. It comes despite the fact that the Spurs have been projected to win an average of 53.2 games during this period, the highest figure in the league over this stretch. (These figures include the labor-shortened 2011-12 season, for which I’ve prorated totals to 82 games.)Popovich took over as coach of the Spurs early in the 1996-97 season. I wanted to evaluate his performance against the preseason over-under line further back, but I couldn’t find reliable numbers. However, there are records of how the Spurs performed against the point spread for individual games dating to the beginning of Popovich’s tenure. Popovich has done just as impressively by this benchmark.The table below lists the Spurs’ win-loss record against the point spread since Popovich took over as coach. It includes regular-season and playoff games, although a handful of regular-season games from his earliest seasons are missing. In total, in the games for which we have data, Popovich has 843 wins, 728 losses and 32 pushes against the point spread. That’s a 53.7 percent winning percentage, ignoring pushes, a win rate that all but the best sports bettors in the world would have trouble sustaining.How plausible is it that Popovich has just gotten lucky? We can check this by means of a binomial distribution. If Popovich were just a .500 coach against the point spread, the probability that he’d achieve a 843-728 record or better against it is just 0.17 percent. In other words, this is an awful lot of games, and Pop has done awfully well. It’s likely that there’s something going on — something the betting public has been missing. (And it’s something that it has been missing continually; Popovich’s edge has not abated recently. The Spurs’ record against the point spread over the past five seasons is 54.5 percent.)I looked at a few theories. For instance, could the Spurs’ excellent record against the point spread reflect a bias against small-market teams, rather than anything about Popovich? This may represent a tiny part of it; there’s a modest inverse correlation between teams’ performance against the point spread and their market size (meaning that teams in smaller markets tend to do a bit better against the spread). But the effect is small; it’s enough to account for the Spurs winning 50.4 percent of their games against the point spread, but nothing like 53.7 percent.Another theory: Perhaps the Spurs tend to perform poorly early in the season — lowering bettors’ expectations — and then improve as Popovich determines the strengths of his roster and adjusts? That doesn’t quite pan out. Since the 1997-98 season, the Spurs are 53.5 percent against the point spread in the first 20 games of the regular season, about the same as their performance overall. (They have done somewhat better against the point spread — a 55.9 percent winning percentage — during the playoffs.)Maybe there’s something odd about the Spurs’ point distribution? If they took an unusual number of blowout losses for a good team — say, games when Popovich was resting his starters — that could artificially lower their average margin of victory and lead bettors to underrate them in other matchups.However, the Spurs’ point distribution appears to be relatively normal (both in the common-language and mathematical senses of the term) and relatively symmetrical about their average margin of victory. The Spurs have been somewhat less likely to win or lose games by exactly one point than the normal distribution would predict, but this is true of all NBA teams, largely as a result of late fouling. I don’t want to completely dismiss these explanations: How NBA teams manage endgame situations is something that can affect their scoring distribution and performance against the point spread quite a bit. But there’s nothing obvious that jumps out about the Spurs. Nor have they won more games than would be expected based on their overall scoring margin.Another tempting explanation is that the Spurs, under Popovich, have great “intangibles” that bettors underrate. Undoubtedly, Popovich (like Tim Duncan) is a great leader. But eventually those intangibles should manifest themselves in the form of the Spurs winning more games than they otherwise would, and bettors should see the results and adjust accordingly. Furthermore, Popovich and the Spurs have a reputation for strong coaching and veteran leadership that could be recognized by the betting market. For many years, Popovich has ranked at or near the top when NBA general managers were asked to rank the top coaches.In the absence of an explanation, I was curious about another data point. The coach I think of as being most Pop-like is Bill Belichick of the NFL’s New England Patriots. Like Popovich, Belichick seems to have a preternatural ability to make the most of his circumstances — he got 11 wins out of Matt Cassel! Like Popovich, Belichick has a reputation as a great and ruthless tactician.Also like Popovich, Belichick has done quite well against the point spread. He’s 179-144-9 against it lifetime (a 55.4 percent winning percentage, ignoring pushes), counting his time as coach of the Cleveland Browns. (He’s 138-106-6 against the point spread, a 56.6 percent winning percentage, as coach of the Patriots.)I’m aware of the risk of confirmation bias here. If you seek out coaches who have a reputation for exceeding expectations, you’re likely to find expectations exceeded in all sorts of data, including their performance against the point spread. Nevertheless, it’s worth asking whether there is something about coaches like Popovich and Belichick that leads them to outperform bettors’ expectations.I don’t have a sexy answer. Nor am I sure that there is a sexy answer. It may be that Popovich’s strong performance against the point spread reflects a little bit of luck, a little bit of small-market bias, a little bit of something funny about how the Spurs manage endgame situations — along with a healthy dose of selection bias in our decision to examine his record (and not that of other coaches) after the fact.But I have a romantic notion of what could be going on.What you might say about Popovich is that he’s been uniquely able to stave off regression to the mean. He adopts tactics and strategies to suit his situation; he stays one step ahead of his opponents. Under Popovich, the Spurs have succeed as an old team and as a young team, and as a fast-paced team and a slow-paced team. There isn’t much gimmicky about Popovich.Perhaps in staying one step ahead of his opponents, he has stayed one step ahead of Las Vegas. The reason it’s hard to succeed in sports betting, or in any other market-based activity, is not just that markets are reasonably efficient to begin with. It’s also that when you’ve identified a historical tendency worth exploiting, other participants in the market may have found it as well. You may have an advantage for a while, but it will evaporate soon. Or, like in the game rock-paper-scissors, your opponents will exploit you for trying to exploit them.But what if your advantage is not in finding one particular loophole in the market, but in having the aptitude to continually come up with new advantages? Before your opponent has identified a counter to your tactic, you’re on to the next tactic. Great poker players have this skill: They have a sense for when a particular tactic in a particular situation has gone from being underutilized to overutilized in the poker “market.” They’ve adjusted a moment before everyone else.My romantic notion — my intuition — is that the way coaches like Popovich and Belichick exploit edges in their games is pretty similar to how sports bettors exploit edges in theirs. So the fact that opponents have never caught up with Popovich and Belichick may have something to do with why betting markets haven’t either. I do know that I wouldn’t bet against Popovich or Belichick. And I wouldn’t want to play poker against them. read more

Exuma Swimming pigs die mysteriously

first_img Related Items: Photo Credit: Bahamas Government Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppExuma, Bahamas, February 21, 2017 – Residents are outraged that the famous swimming pigs of Exuma, a major tourist attraction are left exposed and now some of them are dead.   The Bahamas Human Society is on island and on the case, but cannot say how many of the celebrity pigs were killed or how or even if this was intentional or natural.DCIM355GOPROOne comment expressed that the Swimming Pigs of Exuma are getting the short end of the prosperity stick.   The pigs are world famous, having last year been featured on the popular Today show on NBC.   Whatever killed the pigs, it was cruel to hear that the bodies of the dead animals were thrown into the sea after being discovered that way… the Humane Society denied that it is as many as 15 pigs dead and told media that there are some 7 or 8 pigs still alive.Magnetic media is told by an Exuma resident that it is believed that some sickness is affecting animals in Exuma as there are even dogs being mysteriously found dead.   Everyone is awaiting that official report from the Vet.#MagneticMediaNewscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

Manuel Neuer confident over form despite critics

first_imgBayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has no concerns over his form this season, despite the criticismThe 32-year-old missed the majority of last season with a broken foot and struggled to regain his best form at the World Cup.Neuer struggles from Russia have continued at Bayern this season with the captain only managing to keep two clean sheets in 11 Bundesliga games.14 goals have been conceded in the process with Bayern only fifth in the league table and seven points adrift of leaders Borussia Dortmund.But Neuer remains unconcerned after last Saturday’s 3-2 Der Klassiker defeat to Dortmund.“I’m in good shape; I had a good match against Dortmund. I’m confident,” Neuer told reporters on the DFB website.rb leipzig, bayern munichReport: Bayern are held by Leipzig George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Bayern Munich was held to another draw, this time by RB Leipzig.Bayern Munich finds themselves in the unfamiliar position of sitting third in the…Joachim Low’s side will face Russia in a friendly on Thursday before facing the Netherlands on Monday in a must-win UEFA Nations League game.“We want to bring a rather negative year to an end,” added Neuer.“We want to win both games. We are optimistic that we can put in two good performances.”Meanwhile, Dortmund captain Marco Reus sat out of Tuesday’s training session for Germany with a bruised foot.Julian Draxler will not feature against Russia after Low allowed him to leave the team camp on a compassionate basis.last_img read more

The life of Mr Bongo Jack Costanzo

first_img Posted: October 1, 2018 Dave Scott Categories: Dave’s World Of Wonder, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter October 1, 2018 RELATED: Dave’s World of Wonder- Legacy of Jack Costanzo KUSI’s Dave Scott was live from the Music Box in Little Italy Monday afternoon. The life of “Mr. Bongo,” Jack Costanzo Dave Scott, 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Today, San Diego celebrates the life of a great musician, Jack “Mr. Bongo” Costanzo.Costanzo was greatly known for introducing the bongos to American jazz music.He sadly passed away in August, but today his loved ones celebrate his life.last_img read more