zoom The shipping industry’s total employment contribution has increased to 2.1 million people while the total GDP contribution is estimated to have been EUR 140 billion in 2015.The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) update on the economic value of the EU shipping industry, commissioned from Oxford Economics, shows that the sector directly employed 640,000 people and supported an EUR 57 billion contribution to GDP in 2015.ECSA’s report further indicates that, at EUR 89,000 per worker in 2015, productivity in the EU shipping industry remains above the EU average.“The latest Oxford Economics figures underline that shipping remains a solid contributor to the European agenda of jobs and growth,” Patrick Verhoeven, ECSA Secretary General, said.“Compared to 2013 figures, we see a modest increase in both employment and value-added figures.”The Oxford Economics report finds that around four-fifths of direct employment occurs at sea. Officers account for an estimated 42% of positions at sea, and ratings 58%. 40% of the 516,000 seafarers employed in the EU shipping industry are estimated to be EU/EEA nationals.“Although it is an estimated figure, the percentage of EU/EEA seafarers appears to remain fairly stable,” Verhoeven said, adding that this is a positive sign, given the challenging market circumstances most European shipping companies still operate in.
Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsFirst Nation councils may soon be able to impose a $250 entry fee for candidates seeking to run for chief and council positions, according to regulations proposed by the federal government.The regulations are part of the recently passed First Nations Elections Act. First Nations can’t hold elections under the opt-in legislation until the regulations get approved by the federal cabinet.The proposed regulations were published in the Canada Gazette on Friday.Under those regulations, band councils, through a resolution, may impose an up to $250 fee for anyone seeking to run in a band election. The electoral officer would then hold the candidacy fees in trust until after the election.“The requirements will result in committed candidates, some of whom will become dedicated leaders. Committed and dedicated leadership making sound decisions in a First Nation can have significant impacts on the overall well-being of the First Nations and their members,” states an analysis on the proposed regulations written by the Aboriginal Affairs department.Candidates who get more than five per cent of the vote would get their money back. The band gets the candidacy fees of all candidates who get less than five per cent of the vote. Any candidate who withdraws before the election would also lose their money.Proposed regulationsDownload (PDF, Unknown)Other proposed regulations would tighten control of mail-in ballots, which will now only be sent to individuals who write in requesting them. The proposed regulations also provide bands the ability to hold advance polls.The regulations also give band councils the power to appoint electoral officers, which is currently a ministerial power under the Indian Act. The minister will still be able to appoint electoral officers if the band council fails to form a quorum to decide on the issue.The proposed regulations were developed in consultation with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs and the Chiefs of Ontario.Aboriginal Affairs also created an “online consultation process” on the regulations, but, as of November 2014, received “fewer than 10 comments” and most of them “did not pertain” to the regulations. The department’s analysis said one comment “was very supportive” and the other “acknowledged that the proposed regulations would address some of the issues with First Nations elections.”The Atlantic Policy Congress received any input through their “online consultation process.”The First Nations Elections Act gives cabinet the power to set the regulations. The law received royal assent on April 11, 2014.Under the law, First Nations can set four-year terms for their band councils. The law also sets out and defines electoral offences and creates penalties that can range from fines to jail terms. The law also takes the department out of the equation when it comes to appealing electoral results and makes the courts the final arbiter.Of the 617 First Nations in Canada, 238 hold their elections under the Indian Act rules, 343 have their own custom codes and 36 are governed by self-government agreements.The public now has 30 days to respond to the proposed regulations. Aboriginal Affairs senior policy analyst Marc Boivin is the point person for receiving the public [email protected]@JorgeBarrera
GUELPH, Ont. – Manufacturer Linamar Corp. (TSX:LNR) says it has reached an agreement to buy Winnipeg-based agriculture equipment maker MacDon Industries Ltd. for $1.2 billion.Guelph, Ont.-based Linamar says MacDon and its group of companies will complement its existing agricultural harvesting business in Hungary and allow the company to serve more markets globally.Linamar, which makes precision metallic parts for a range of sectors including automobiles, says the MacDon deal will allow it to further diversity its operations and end markets.Company CEO Linda Hasenfratz says the increased exposure to agriculture comes as the sector is in the early stages of a cyclical recovery, and with strong growth to be driven by a growing and developing global population.MacDon sells its specialized agricultural harvesting equipment in over 40 countries and has about 1,400 dealers and distributors in its global network.Linamar, with 59 manufacturing facilities globally and about 24,500 employees, had sales of $6 billion in 2016.
Mytopher explained that the big increase in donations this year was due to the event being in its second year, and from other items that were donated to the silent auction. She also said that residents who have been diagnosed with MS are more open to talking about it.“People are more aware that its happening. More people are wanting to talk about being diagnosed with it, that’s one thing that came across this year at the walk. People are ready to talk about it and come out and have a peer support group. They want to have that happen.”Mytopher said that she’s already begun to plan next year’s MS Walk, which includes other fundraisers leading up to the event including a burger and beer night. She said that next year’s walk is tentatively scheduled to happen in Centennial Park during the last weekend in May.Donations are still being accepted at the MS Walk website: http://mssoc.convio.net/site/TR/Walk/BCandYukonDivision?pg=entry&fr_id=6159 FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — After raising nearly $16,000 at the inaugural event last year, the second annual MS Walk in Fort St. John nearly doubled last year’s tally on Sunday.MS Walk organizer Sherri Mytopher said that 91 walkers and 15 teams registered for Sunday’s three kilometre walk, which took place at Centennial Park. She said however that on the day of the walk, there were 130 that checked in, with another 20 who didn’t, bringing the estimated total number of walkers to 150. Mytopher said that both online and cash donations, which are still being accepted, currently total over $34,000. She explained that the total that has been brought in so far is even than events in other communities that are led by MS Society staff.
Chennai: The DMK on Tuesday promised to do away with the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical admissions and ushering in quota in the private sector in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha election. “The NEET for medical admissions will be scrapped,” DMK chief M K Stalin said while unveiling the salient features of his party’s manifesto. Opposition to NEET in Tamil Nadu from major political parties and students had taken emotive overtones in the past. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Stalin said steps would be taken for implementing reservation in the private sector. The party also assured steps for waiver of all educational loans taken by students. Against the background of agitations by state government employees seeking reversion to the old pension scheme in place of the newly-introduced contributory scheme, the DMK chief said: “We will bring back the old pension scheme for both the central and state government employees.” Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The DMK president said the party would revert to the administered-price mechanism to regulate the prices of petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Another key feature of the manifesto is doing away with the direct cash transfer of subsidy for the LPG and bringing down the prices of cylinders. The DMK is contesting 20 seats in the state, allotting the remaining 19 to its allies. The state goes to polls in a single phase on April 18.
Washington DC: President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is “100 per cent” prepared to close down the US-Mexico border, warning Congress and Central American governments to take action to stem the flow of migrants into the country. Delays were already rising at several key border crossings as Trump ratcheted up pressure on Democrats in Congress to toughen US laws against illegal immigrants, threatening to hurt the US economy in the name of border security. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”It is a national emergency on the border,” Trump said. If Mexico does not stop migrants from transiting across its territory, and if Congress does not act, he said, “the border’s going to be closed, 100 per cent.” “Sure it’s going to have a negative impact on the economy,” he said. “Security is more important to me than trade.” Trump said Democrats were blocking reforms for political reasons but could fix the problem “in 45 minutes.” He was not specific, but Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has asked Congress to give border officials the power to forcibly repatriate Central American illegal immigrants, including children who arrived alone, back to their countries. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe threat to close the border, which handled some USD612 billion worth of trade in 2018, sent shivers through the economy, and drew warnings from allies of the president. “Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that sort of thing,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. His call was backed by the Chamber of Commerce, which said in a statement that while it backed immigration reform, closing the border “would inflict severe economic harm on American families, workers, farmers and manufacturers across the United States.” Homeland Security officials said they were preparing for the possibility of a shutdown of at least some border entry points as they divert staff to deal with the flood of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, expected to hit nearly 100,000 a month. Nielsen cut short an official trip to Europe to return for meetings early Tuesday on the border crisis, and on Monday Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he would be meeting Nielsen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the crisis. Officials said facilities for handling the migrants — who for the moment cannot be sent back after they cross the border and request asylum — are overtaxed and understaffed, creating hazardous conditions.
Kolkata: An NGO and district administration joined hands to make it possible for persons with mental illness to cast their votes in Murshidabad on Monday. Sixty-four inmates of Berhampore Mental Hospital exercised their franchise at the polling station in Krishnanath School in Berhampore.The NGO sought help from local administration to make the initiative a reality. It claimed that this is for the first time inmates of a mental hospital were casting their votes. A section of administrative officials were not sure how persons with mental illness would cast their vote. The NGO members told the officials that these inmates should not be denied their basic rights. The NGO sought the intervention of the Election Commission for necessary permissions for the initiative, which was granted by the Commission. The district administration took all necessary arrangements to help the inmates of the mental hospital take part in the electoral process. The NGO conducted an awareness programme at the hospital so that inmates get acquainted with the electoral process. They stood in queue since the morning braving the hot and humid weather to cast their votes. A social worker was allowed by the commission to enter the polling booth to provide assistance to these inmates. A member of the NGO said all the inmates of the mental hospital were not undergoing treatment and many of them had recovered but they failed to join the mainstream as their families had denied to accept them. The inmates were happy after casting their votes. The inmates of the Pavlov Hospital, which provides medical care to people with mental illness in the city, may also cast their votes for the Lok Sabha elections this time.
DAKAR – In his first trip to West Africa, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi chose Senegal as to reaffirm Egypt’s growing interest in Sub-Saharan Africa.On Wednesday night, Fahmi met with President Macky Sall in Senegalese capital Dakar.In a brief press statement, the presidency said the top diplomat had brought a message from Egypt’s interim administration praising Sall’s “efforts to promote peace and stability in Africa.” In a press statement, the Egyptian embassy said that Senegalese Foreign Affairs Minister Mankeur Ndiaye had commended the two countries’ relationship and had called for bolstering trade exchanges.According to the statement, Ndiaye stressed his country’s “commitment to help Egypt complete its political transition.”Observers believe the assertions signal a change in Senegal’s official position regarding recent events in Egypt.In mid-August, Senegal publicly condemned political violence in Egypt and called for the release of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.At the time, Ndiaye had called on the Egyptian army “to stop violence, release president Morsi and let the country return to its constitutional order.”A group of activists calling themselves “the Islamic Gathering in Senegal,” meanwhile, delivered a letter of protest to the Egyptian ambassador in Senegal.Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, was ousted by the powerful military establishment on July 3 following mass protests against his presidency.Following Morsi’s ouster, the African Union suspended Egypt’s membership in the pan-African body.-Rebuild cloutFahmi told reporters that, after Egypt’s “corrective revolution” on June 30, his government wanted to reestablish the country’s leading regional and international role.“We’re aware that Egypt needs Africa, as Africa needs Egypt,” he said.“We can’t ignore Africa,” Fahmi added. “I’m happy that the Senegalese authorities have been receptive to our message.”“The Egyptian people’s message after the June 30 revolution has been well received by the governments and peoples of our African brothers,” the minister said.He also underlined the importance of promoting bilateral cooperation in all fields, including education and infrastructure.The foreign minister went on to call on Egyptian companies to support development projects in Senegal.Fahmi also stressed that Egypt’s transitional roadmap was on track, adding that a popular referendum would soon be held on a new Egyptian constitution, which is currently being drafted.Following Morsi’s ouster, the military unveiled a roadmap calling for the amendment of Egypt’s 2012 constitution to eventually be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections.
That cohort has a similar number of great games but also a large bump around QBR 20, which are bad games by any measure — a bump that the Luck group avoids. Not surprisingly, the Luck group has a career win percentage of 59 percent, while the former cohort is only 53 percent. In the NFL, interceptions (a key component of a low QBR score) can drag a team, and a QBR, down.Now compare both of those groupings to the one with Ben Roethlisberger, Nick Foles, Philip Rivers and Russell Wilson.They, too, have a bump around QBR 25, but their peak checks in somewhere around a QBR of 85 — a score that gives a team a very good chance to win. That elevated number would explain why the group’s 64 percent win percentage is the highest of the three groups previously mentioned. The occasional bad game won’t break a quarterback as long as his good performances are strong enough.Other quarterbacks might not like their company. Alex Smith chafes at the idea that he’s a “game manager,” and talent scout Russ Lande thinks he might not be. “Smith is often referred to as [a game manager], but physically, he doesn’t limit you,” he says. “You don’t have to make him a game manager. I think it’s just that some quarterbacks have that philosophy, ‘I’m never going to throw it where it’s a risk.’ It’s more based on their mentality than their physical skill set.” And yet the stats group Smith with E.J. Manuel, Jason Campbell, Josh Freeman, Josh McCown, Matt Hasselbeck and Mark Sanchez. Among that company, perhaps game manager is a generous term.One of the most interesting groups involves a player who is no longer in the league. Favre’s games after 2006 landed in the same cohort as post-2006 Michael Vick and Vince Young, two quarterbacks known for making plays with their feet and not much else. We can explain this by breaking down Favre against Dalton. Although their average QBR is nearly identical, the vast majority of Dalton’s games fall between a QBR of 25 and 75. Favre, the ultimate freelancer, has a big bump around 15 QBR and another between 80 and 85. Dalton won’t win a team the game, but he probably won’t lose it. Favre, however, is likely to do either.That difference results from playing style, according to John Westenhaver, president of Football Evaluations and a long-time quarterback talent evaluator. An average quarterback makes about half of his throws using nontraditional mechanics because he’s forced out of the pocket or rushed, but the former Green Bay Packers star made many more than that, often to his detriment. “Favre, to me, put that to the extreme. Although he’s passed for a gazillion yards, I think he leads the league in interceptions.7Favre threw 336 career interceptions, well ahead of second-place George Blanda’s 277. Sometimes you have to make a decision: Am I going to throw from this alternative platform, or is it best to select some other alternative, which may be to take the sack, throw the ball out of bounds, run the ball?”Rivers and Luck offer similar stories. Their career QBRs — 61.5 and 60.8, respectively — aren’t quite Manning’s 76.1 or Brady’s 70.1, but they are good enough to rank the pair in the top 10 of quarterbacks whom we examined. Both can make all the throws and post huge numbers, but there’s a general perception that Luck — a Stanford graduate who has the reputation of being a football savant — makes fewer mistakes. We see this in their game curves. Luck has fewer bad games but fewer truly exceptional ones as well, while Rivers has more bad games and great ones, with less middle ground.This season’s playoff picture provides a look at one possible future. Whereas Rivers watched from home, Luck led the Indianapolis Colts to a win over Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals, then an upset over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. He didn’t win the games with his play, but more importantly, he didn’t lose them. In other words, a team might not need a quarterback with a huge bump on the right side of the graph to prevail in the NFL, but one with a peak on the left probably dooms it to failure.We made an interactive tool with all the quarterback curves. Click here to graph density curves of your choosing, and look at the splits for home and away games. There’s a larger sample size of QBs in the interactive, which means players like JaMarcus Russell are involved. Because who doesn’t want to find out which QBs are most similar to JaMarcus Russell?CORRECTION (Jan. 16, 1:46 p.m.): A previous version of this article misstated Rivers’ and Luck’s career QBRs. Each quarterback is given his own density curve, which represents the distribution of game-by-game QBR. The dark black curve in each figure represents the average density for all quarterbacks in that group. The groups are designed such that quarterbacks within the same group are similar, but from one group to the next, there are differences in the centers, shapes and/or spreads of each quarterback’s density curves.Some groupings weren’t a surprise. Brady, Rodgers and Peyton Manning — widely considered the three best quarterbacks in the NFL and the trio ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in average QBR — make up one group with a curve that spikes dramatically as QBR rises.Other groupings, however, offered some counterintuitive results. One cohort consists of five players: Luck, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Schaub, Teddy Bridgewater and Tony Romo. Each quarterback in this group had more bad games and fewer exceptional ones than the Brady/Manning/Rodgers set, but he posted more strong games than poor ones over his career.This would suggest that if you’re going to call one of these quarterbacks “elite,” you need to at least consider that all of them are or were. Even though the narrative around Kaepernick, Schaub and Romo is that they’re inconsistent, their curves suggest otherwise.Compare that with a larger group that includes Cam Newton, David Garrard, Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco and Robert Griffin III.6Given that company, would you want to pay Flacco’s $120.6 million contract? This weekend, two perennial MVP candidates and two up-and-coming stars will be under center in NFL conference championship games. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are the establishment; Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson are the hopeful usurpers. They’ve all reached the conference title game, in part, because they’re among the highest-performing quarterbacks in football — all falling within a career average Total Quarterback Rating of 59.6 and 70.1.1ESPN’s QBR, measured on a scale from 0 to 100, debuted in 2006. It’s not retrofitted to quarterback performances before 2006.But that’s just an average, and sometimes averages can deceive. Turning several observations into a single metric like a Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) obscures some information. For example, post-2006 Brett Favre2His final five seasons. (average QBR: 52.1) and Andy Dalton (52.0) have roughly identical numbers, but would anyone think of Favre when thinking of Dalton?A more thorough analysis makes use of the complete set of observations. The distribution of each quarterback’s QBR can offer a more thorough understanding of performance. When we look at quarterbacks this way, we find some players who consistently minimize bad games and others who can be brilliant one week and horrible the next, regularly handicapping their teams.3Quarterbacks who post a single-game QBR above 90 in a game win 90 percent of the time, whereas a score of less than 10 corresponds with a loss more than nine times out of 10.Comparing each quarterback’s distribution of game-by-game QBR can be done using a density curve, which is used to estimate the fraction of a player’s performances that occurred in a given interval — in this case, the probability that a quarterback had a QBR of a specific number in any individual game.4For a description of density curves and its application to hockey players, see this post on the blog WAR on Ice. We looked at the 45 quarterbacks with at least 10 starts in the past two years or 50 career starts since 2006, and found that the quarterbacks stratified into 10 categories.5We used k-means clustering on different percentiles of each quarterback’s distribution. Although there is no correct value for k in implementing k-means, we found the best performance with between k=8 and k=10. As the curves looked much easier to interpret with k=10, we went with that. Once we had fixed 10 clusters, we ran the algorithm about a dozen times and used the clustering with the highest within-cluster similarity of those iterations. This helps justify the choice of player groups but doesn’t exactly imply that the QB groups are perfectly stable from one iteration to the next. That is because the k-means algorithm is non-deterministic — it doesn’t give the same answer with each run.