Exclusive! Ariana Grande Cheers on Her Brother Frankie in Rock of Ages

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 18, 2015 Related Shows View Comments Rock of Ages The cast of Rock of Ages had a very special guest join the ’80s party on November 15—pop superstar Ariana Grande! The Broadway vet, who made her debut on the Great White Way in 13 when she was 15 years old, headed back to Times Square to cheer on her half-brother Frankie J. Grande, who is currently playing Franz in the hit rock musical. Check out this adorable shot of Frankie, Ariana and the cast hanging out backstage, then see Rock of Ages at the Helen Hayes Theatre!last_img read more

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Dominican Republic seized record amount of cocaine in 2013

first_img SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Dominican authorities incinerated more than 11 metric tons of narcotics in 2013, including a record amount of cocaine, in what the attorney general said was the result of better coordination among agencies fighting an increase in drug smuggling through the Caribbean nation. In confiscating nearly 10 metric tons of cocaine, the country topped the record it set for seizures in 2012, when it nabbed around nine metric tons. Dominican Attorney General Francisco Domínguez Brito said 2013 was marked by work from the nation’s various law enforcement and counter-narcotics agencies. “We have managed to strengthen coordination in all matters, in investigations and in prosecutions, and this has allowed us to strike blows against drug trafficking and drug dealing, as well as money laundering,” he said in a prepared statement. On Dec. 30, Brito’s office announced the final of 52 controlled incinerations of illicit drugs seized during the year. The National Forensic Science Institute (INACIF) said it registered 11.2 metric tons of illicit drugs confiscated and destroyed. Of that total, 88% – or 9.875 metric tons – was cocaine. Marijuana, crack and heroin represented the balance. The weekly incinerations concluded for the year on Dec. 28, according to INACIF. The 2013 seizures marked another record year of confiscations for Dominican law enforcement agencies. In 2012, agents confiscated just over 10 metric tons of illicit drugs, with nearly nine tons being cocaine. In 2011, officials seized 6.7 metric tons of cocaine, up from 4.85 metric tons in 2010. The steady rise in seizures in recent years is a sign that drug traffickers are increasingly targeting Dominican shorelines to ship South American cocaine to markets in the United States and Europe. Authorities have warned that the ongoing conflicts between criminal organizations and authorities in Central America and Mexico are pushing more smuggling to the Caribbean, a once popular transit route that was largely abandoned years ago. The Dominican Republic remains the largest transshipment point in the Caribbean, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, which provides assistance to Dominican counter-narcotics agencies. While Dominican authorities nearly have eliminated the use of small drug flights – which once bombarded the shorelines and fields with regular cocaine drops – drug traffickers increasingly have turned to maritime channels. Speedboats and small fishing vessels have been found carrying major shipments of drugs from South America. In October, authorities carried out a raid in Punta Salina, near the southeastern city of Baní, seizing 1,110 kilograms of cocaine. In the same area months earlier in March, agents busted a smuggling operation and caught 1,860 kilograms of the drug in the Ocoa Bay that had been shipped from Colombia through Venezuela by go-fast boat. In the same bay in May, agents took down a 1,500-kilogram shipment and arrested a Dominican allegedly involved in the operation. What’s more, Dominican authorities have found evidence that Mexican drug cartels are using the country as a type of regional logistics hub, or warehouse, for storing and moving cocaine. In September, authorities discovered and dismantled for the first time a cocaine-processing laboratory on a ranch west of the capital, Santo Domingo. Along with equipment for processing drugs, authorities seized 230 kilograms of cocaine, police said. Analysts saw that evidence as another worrisome sign that international criminal elements were establishing themselves in the country. Brito said for that reason it remains important that the National Drug Control Office, Defense Ministry, police and prosecutors coordinate activities. “We will continue working together under a joint strategy. We already have said that under no circumstances will we allow drug lords and organized criminal groups to operate with impunity in our territory,” he said. “We will be consistent in this regard.” By Dialogo January 08, 2014last_img read more

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Some 1,100 ELN guerrillas are in Venezuela, according to Colombian Military Armed Forces

first_imgBy AFP May 17, 2019 Some 1,100 members of the ELN, 45 percent of the fighters of the Guevarista guerrilla group, are taking refuge in Venezuela, said the commander of the Colombian Armed Forces, on May 8. “We are talking about 45 percent of ELN troops, about 1,100 men,” General Luis Fernando Navarro told reporters in the city of Cartagena. The National Liberation Army (ELN), recognized as Colombia’s last guerrilla group after the disarming of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2017, has some 2,300 combatants and an extensive support network, a source from the Armed Forces told AFP. Navarro said that among the rebels who take refuge in the oil nation, with which Colombia shares a porous border of 2,200 kilometers, there are members of the Central Command (COCE), the ELN’s governing body and its general staff. The official said that the guerrilla commander, Gustavo Anibal Giraldo, known as Pablito, “remains” in the Venezuelan state of Apure. Pablito, for whom the Colombian government is offering a reward of $1.3 million, is their strongest hard-liner with the greatest amount of firepower in the Guevarista group, according to experts. “We have always said that there remain those structures and their leaders,” said the general. Since the government of former President Álvaro Uribe (2002-10), Colombia has claimed that Venezuela gives refuge to the ELN and to unarmed FARC members, accusations that Caracas denies. The countries of the Lima Group — of which Colombia is a member — rejected in a communiqué on Friday “the protection” by the regime of Nicolás Maduro “to terrorist groups operating in the territory of Colombia.”last_img read more

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Victims of Sibolga terror attack to receive Rp 1.7b in compensation

first_imgAn East Jakarta court ordered the government on Wednesday to grant financial compensation to victims of a bomb attack that occurred in a residential area of Sibolga, North Sumatra, in March 2019, a victim-protection agency has announced.The compensation totaled Rp 1.7 billion (US$124,156) for the 152 victims.  The Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK) said it appreciated the verdict. LPSK deputy chair Susilaningtias said the compensation was awarded differently from other terror attack cases. Traditionally, compensation went towards repairing destroyed buildings, houses and electronics, she said.In the Sibolga case, the compensation will also cover living expenses for the victims, who have lost jobs and have suffered lasting effects from severe wounds sustained in the attacks.“Initially, it was difficult for us to list and count the victims’ financial losses. However, we eventually found a way, hence the compensation,” Susi said in a statement that was made available to The Jakarta Post on Friday.The Sibolga attack was the first case for the agency’s newly formed compensation assessment team, she added. The agency formed the team to measure and assess financial losses for victims of crime, including terrorism.“Especially in this case, the LPSK also received help from the Sibolga public works agency and the spatial agency,” said Susi.The court also handed down guilty verdicts to Rinto Sugiarto, Asmar Husin, Azmil Khiar Simanjuntak, Heryanto Chaniago, Zulkarnaen Panggabean and Rosliana for their involvement in the attack. They received various sentences, from six years to life imprisonment.Topics :last_img read more

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Discourse: Indonesia must become new force in Asia by 2045: Moeldoko

first_imgThe 75th anniversary of independence is a good reminder of Indonesia’s vision to become a developed country with a per capita income of Rp 320 million (US$21,813) by 2045, when the country will turn 100. Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko spoke recently with The Jakarta Post’s editor-in-chief Nezar Patria during a Jakpost Up Close webinar about the human capital development plans President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government has laid out to achieve this vision.Question: What are some of the things that we need to address in the next 25 years?Answer: The basic thing that we need to focus on in the future, in my opinion, is that Indonesia must become a new force, a new sphere in Asia. We believe that Indonesia, with a projected population of roughly 318 million by 2045, is a tremendous force. We have our own large domestic market. Another program being run by the government is the Family Hope Program [PKH], which is aimed at improving nutrition. Initially, there were 9.4 million beneficiaries who received Rp 120,000 per month each, now there are 10 million who receive Rp 200,000 per month.After six months of struggling to reduce the COVID-19 infection rate, can you tell us some of the noteworthy lessons we have learned and achievements we have made?There has been an increase in social awareness, which can be used as social capital for the nation’s development in the future. The first one is gotong royong [mutual cooperation]. Next, there is the struggle not to give in, which makes us independent. Then, the feeling of solidarity has also built up very well, which is an asset in uniting us around a common vision.Post-COVID-19, there needs to be recovery, reform and transformation efforts. For the restoration of our economy, we need to recover quickly. Then, in the future, we must immediately carry out reforms in the health sector, as well as bureaucratic reform.Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has required a transformation in education, from face-to-face to online learning. The transformation of the economic sector must also be pushed forward.What critical points must we address to improve our national resilience, given current global political developments?Strengthening the Pancasila ideology is a must amid today’s global situation, in which there are no longer boundaries that prevent people from discussing certain things. The way I see it, a great nation cannot exist without a strong ideology.Furthermore, from the political side, we are currently going through an extraordinary growth in democracy. However, in my opinion, the understanding of democracy needs to be put within the right context. You can’t act arbitrarily in the name of democracy, or claim that you are the most righteous.From a sociocultural perspective, we must not let ourselves be a culturally colonized nation.Could you explain the government’s contingency plan for handling the pandemic in the long-term? What do we need to salvage to keep us on track for the 2045 roadmap?I think for the continuity of development in the future, the first of the five things Pak Jokowi has identified is human resources development. Everything is managed so that the human development index will increase properly.Next, infrastructure development will continue. If we build highways now, then infrastructure development in the future will be more focused on developing new areas, including tourism areas, industrial areas and housing areas. Furthermore, infrastructure development not only includes land-based infrastructure but also seaports and airports.We also need infrastructure development in agriculture, education and health. Cutting bureaucratic red tape is also a must as [regulatory certainty] is one of the prerequisites for attracting investment. Lastly, we must head toward economic transformation, as it’s imperative that we “catch up”.Topics : We are also now preparing a grand design for national talent management. I believe that this generation will become a core mover in Indonesia.We face a number of issues regarding the development of our human resources, such as stunting and a lack of skills. How will we prepare for the next five years so that we can take full advantage of the upcoming demographic bonus?When we talk about the human development index, the first thing we talk about is health. We are still experiencing high maternal mortality and child mortality rates. But we forecast that by 2024, we will move toward a lower child mortality rate of 21 per 1,000 [live births].Next, if we look at the stunting rate, right now we are still at 24 percent, but President Jokowi said we have to push ahead to get to 17 percent. For this reason, stunting [prevention] has now become a national movement. Our approach is to find ways to increase protein consumption to help eliminate stunting.last_img read more

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De Eendragt’s Menco cites increasing reporting demands for departure

first_imgPhilip Menco has left as chief executive of De Eendragt Pensioen, the not-for-profit life insurer and provider of collective pensions. Menco – an investment strategist – said he would like to focus on his “passion” of investing again.“Although the ever-increasing reporting demands from the supervisors are justified, they require a disproportionate amount of time and energy from a small organisation such as De Eendragt,” he said.“This comes at the expense of client contacts and product innovation – and of the unique selling points of De Eendragt as a consequence.” During Menco’s 10-year tenure, the number of De Eendragt’s clients increased from 15 to more than 50, including the pension plans of amusement park De Efteling and the Dutch branch of pharmaceutical company Pfizer.During this period, De Eendragt’s assets under management grew from €630m to more than €1.6bn, while the total number of participants increased from 10,000 to 22,000.In early 2006, Menco oversaw De Eendragt’s transformation from a pension fund with 15 separate pension plans – more or less a predecessor of the current pensions vehicle multi-opf – to life insurer.The change was forced by supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), which concluded that De Eendragt’s initial construction – resulting from the collapse of paper mill Koninklijke Van Gelder Papier in 1981 – was not legal under the new Pensions Act.In Menco’s opinion, De Eendragt combines the pensions guarantee of an insurer with the social aspects of a pension fund.“Until 2011, we have always been able to grant the deferred members and pensioners a full indexation,” he said. “Since then, the liabilities became too high due to rising life expectancy.”Menco said he was now weighing his options, adding that he would aim to “revitalise” his consultancy Fortunis.At De Eendragt, he has been succeeded by Albert Bakker, a former interim manager and senior programme manager at insurer Achmea.At the same time, André van Vliet has taken over the job of CFO at De Eendragt from Tom Nieuwenhuizen, who is to focus again on the company’s clients.last_img read more

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NEST’s Fawcett snubs Investment Association fee report

first_img“We are committed to genuine transparency in investment cost disclosure and wish to make clear we were neither consulted on nor endorse the Investment Association’s recent report on investment costs and performance.“However like many in the industry,” Fawcett concluded, “we are reviewing its contents and will be feeding back detailed comments to the Investment Association in due course, as part of our advice on cost disclosure.”Responding to Fawcett’s letter, a spokeswoman for the IA told IPE it welcomed the advisory board’s input as work on the new disclosure framework progressed. ”More than ever,” she said, “it is vital that savers and those who make investment decisions on their behalf have full confidence in the pensions and investment management industries.”‘Loch Ness’ feesThe IA’s research, conducted by Fitz Partners, was released earlier this month, weeks after the industry body announced Fawcett as the chair of the 12-strong independent board meant to offer advice on a new cost disclosure framework for the sector.The research examined a universe of equity funds, and concluded that average fund transaction costs stood at 0.17% across the sample of funds, which captured cost data from a three-year period starting in 2012.In its accompanying commentary, the IA claimed the findings cast doubt on “hidden-fees hysteria”, and likened the existence of such hidden costs to the Loch Ness monster.Reaction from fee campaigners was swift, with Con Keating, head of research at BrightonRock Group, attacking the IA’s findings.“I have read many hundreds of empirical financial studies and reports, perhaps even thousands,” Keating wrote in a riposte for IPE.com. “This report is by far the worst – so bad that it is offensive, insulting both our common-sense and intelligence.”The founding chairman of the Transparency Task Force was equally scornful, questioning the “churlish” invocation of the mythical beast, and saying hidden fees were a “festering sore on the face of financial services”.The UK’s local government pension schemes are separately drawing up a new framework for fee disclosures, which is hoped will be in place by the autumn. Mark Fawcett, chair of the Investment Association’s (IA) independent advisory board on cost disclosure, has declined to endorse the findings of widely criticised IA report on fees, noting the board was not consulted on its contents prior to publication.In a letter sent to editors of a number of publications, including IPE, Fawcett stressed that, in the board’s view, investment costs mattered to all those managing assets on behalf of long-term savers in the UK.Acting as chair of the board rather than in his capacity as CIO at the £1bn (€1.1bn) National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), Fawcett said that he and other members of the independent review board believed the industry could improve on its current level of fee disclosure.“Members of the Investment Association’s Independent Advisory Board on Cost and Charge Disclosure believe there is scope for improvement in the way the asset management industry discloses transaction costs and in how they talk about the issue with their customers,” the letter said.last_img read more

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Home loan process worse than a trip to the dentist, peak hour traffic: survey

first_imgEven 14 hours on a long haul flight with no entertainment is more appealing.A NEW survey has revealed that wannabe Queensland homeowners would rather visit the dentist or spend hours on a long haul flight with no entertainment than apply for a home loan. The 2018 St George Home Buying Survey has revealed that 25 per cent of the Queensland respondents would rather suffer through a root canal than put pen to paper on a traditional home loan application. Even being stuck on the Bruce Carpark (oops Highway) ranks higher. Pic: Adam HeadMore from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours agoSt.George’s general manager Ross Miller said their research suggested that buyers, particularly first home buyers, were optimistic about getting on to the property ladder but were put off by the actual application process.According to the research, 25 per cent of the total number respondents felt there was too much red tape and paperwork, while 20 per cent felt frustrated by the length of the process. Did someone say happy gas?Even having dinner with the in-laws (21 per cent), sitting in peak hour traffic (18 per cent) and sitting through a 14 hour flight with no entertainment (14 per cent) ranked higher on their bucket list.center_img Generic couple: “Honey, let’s just go have dinner with your parents”. Source: iStockOf the Queensland respondents, 38 per cent admitted to putting off buying a home because the application process was “too hard”, with 44 per cent wanting more transparency around pricing and interest rates, 38 per cent wanting less paperwork and 35 per cent calling for faster approval times.To coincide with the survey results being released, St George has launched a new online home loan application tool which will allow house hunters to get a personalised home loan snapshot showing how much they could borrow, any upfront costs and monthly repayments, and the best interest rate for each buyer’s circumstances.Jasmin Young, 23, from the Gold Coast, bought her first home in 2016. “The process was really daunting,” she said. “Going through all of the paperworka nd navigating the system.“It was a lot of guessing, really. It took months, probably six to 12 months.“I went to three banks before going to mortgage broker and that took away some of that stress. “It is a really complicated process and anything that can be done to make it simpler is a good thing.”Property Pursuit partner and buyers agent Nathan Wunsch agreed that first time buyers were often overwhelmed by the process.“Even second or third time buyers who bought 15 to 20 years ago often forget what they have to do as there are a lot of puzzle pieces that have to be addressed,” he said.Mr Wunsch recently assisted Priscilla and Warren Crawford, a young couple who were new to Brisbane and first time buyers.“We were new to Brisbane and didn’t know the places to look or even what pricing was like,” Mrs Crawford said. “Everyone had warned us about how hard the whole process would be but it took about four to six weeks from the moment we engaged them to us buying a house.“Planning our wedding and honeymoon was a nightmare. Buying our new home was one of the most chilled out things we have ever done.”last_img read more

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Diamond Offshore scoops new rig deals

first_imgOcean Valor; Photo by: Andy Grzymala ATGphotos.comHouston-based offshore driller Diamond Offshore has won several new contracts for its drilling rigs.In the company’s fleet status announced on Monday, February 12 Diamond Offshore said that the Ocean Guardian semi-submersible drilling rig scored a contract with Chevron in the UK.Namely, the 1985-built rig has been awarded a two-well contract with Chevron, starting in late May and ending late September 2018. The report further states that the start date for the rig’s preceding contract with Decipher, also in the UK, has been changed from mid-February to late-February and the end date from mid-May to late May. The rates for these two contracts have not been disclosed.The 2008-built Ocean Monarch semi-submersible rig has won a well-based contract with Cooper and Exxon in Australia from mid-March to mid-September 2018 while the 2009-built Ocean Valor got a two-year extension.Ocean Valor has been working for Petrobras since its delivery and it was supposed to work for the Brazilian oil giant until October 2018. However, in August 2016 Petrobras terminated the contract two years earlier than planned prompting Diamond to file a lawsuit against Petrobras for unlawful termination.A presiding panel of appellate judges ruled on March 15, 2017, that the Ocean Valor contract would remain in effect.The rig is now in an extended standby mode until late September 2018. Following the expiry of this period, the rig will in early October 2018 start a two-year contract with Petrobras until late September 2020. The rig’s dayrate under this two-year extension will be $289,000.Further according to the report, the Ocean Valiant rig has been awarded a well-based contract from Maersk in the UK with end date set for mid-December 2019. The rig has been working for Maersk since early November 2016 until early February 2018 under 13 wells plus priced options contract.A rig that got its deal shortened was the Ocean Apex. The rig is working on a one-well contract with Woodside off Australia. The initial contract was from mid-February until early April. Diamond said that the deal was shortened by a month and would end in early March.The 2008-built jack-up rig Ocean Scepter has been stacked in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and classified as held for sale.Also on Monday, Diamond posted a loss of $31.94 million for the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to a profit of $116.1 million in the same period of 2016.Offshore Energy Today Stafflast_img read more

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Siem puts subsea construction vessel to renewable work

first_imgSiem Barracuda; Source: Flickr; Author: Timo Noko – under the CC BY-SA 2.0 licenseNorwegian  offshore and subsea shipping company Siem Offshore has been awarded a contract for its offshore subsea construction vessel (SCV), Siem Barracuda. Siem Offshore said on Tuesday it has agreed a 15-month contract with 6 x 1 month options for the Siem Barracuda for operation within the renewable energy market.The vessel will start operation during November 2018.Built in 2013. the Siem Barracuda was designed for subsea operation duties such as construction and installation work, inspection and maintenance. The vessel is classed according to SPS 2008 and Clean Design.last_img read more

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