Royal Navy Takes Centre Stage in Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

first_img View post tag: Tattoo View post tag: Edinburgh View post tag: Centre Training & Education Royal Navy Takes Centre Stage in Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo View post tag: military Back to overview,Home naval-today Royal Navy Takes Centre Stage in Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo View post tag: Royal Share this articlecenter_img August 9, 2011 The Royal Navy will be taking centre stage in the international spectacular – the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – from Friday (5th August) to 27th August.A worldwide audience of millions (218,425 watching the live show in Edinburgh and a TV audience judged at over 100 million) for the spectacular event will see the Royal Navy in the limelight as the lead military service.Major attractions will be a Royal Navy warship counter-piracy boarding team from HMS Montrose, field-gun race and HM Bands of the Royal Marines, along with other navies, reflecting this year’s Tattoo theme – ‘Of the Sea’.A field gun crew from HMS Raleigh, the Royal Navy’s premier training establishment in the South West, will be in action daily competing against a crew from Faslane at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo between 15 and 20 August.The HMS Montrose boarding team, which earned its stripes on patrol with notable successes against Somali pirates, will give a dynamic display – re-enacting operational action on the Edinburgh Castle arena transformed into a kidnapped cargo ship.Commander Jonathan Lett, the commanding officer of HMS Montrose said:“Although the base-port of HMS Montrose is in Plymouth, Devon, the ship has incredibly close links with Scotland.”“As a Duke Class Type 23 Frigate HMS Montrose is named after the Duke of Montrose. But Montrose itself is a small port on the east coast of Scotland in Angus.”“The Tattoo provides an excellent medium to strengthen those links and the Lord Lieutenant of Angus, the Duke of Montrose and the ship’s sponsor Lady Rifkind have all been invited to attend the Tattoo.”“They will be joined by many thousands of spectators from around the world and indeed the Tattoo will be broadcast worldwide.” “This year’s theme ‘Of the Sea’ provides a fantastic opportunity to highlight the broad range of work the Royal Navy undertakes on a daily basis.”“Having returned from operations in the Indian Ocean at the very end of last year a team of 16 sailors from HMS Montrose will be re-creating a counter-piracy boarding on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.”“Working in conjunction with the Tattoo producers, the team will use a combination of sound, light and live action to show how teams from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines deal with incidents of piracy off the coast of Somalia.” “Based on a real boarding which HMS Montrose undertook whilst on patrol in the Indian Ocean last year the Tattoo provides a fantastic opportunity not only to highlight the work of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in deterring and disrupting acts of piracy but also the high quality training and versatility of our men and women.”HMS Montrose deterred many potential pirate acts in the Gulf of Aden last year, including a major success when its boarding party and helicopter combined to scare off pirates who boarded a German merchant ship Beluga Fortune. The merchant ship crew locked themselves in and before the pirates could take further action the Royal Navy arrived. The German government sent a message of gratitude to Foreign Secretary William Hague for the Royal Navy’s actions.Petty Officer Adam Cowling, boarding team second-in-command was involved in the Beluga Fortune operation. He said:“We are honoured to be playing such an important role in the Edinburgh Tattoo. We promise audiences an action-packed demonstration of what we have done for real on counter-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden last year.” “The boarding parties are highly trained.” “They work in potentially hostile environments and are trained to be lowered by helicopter into vessels and using small arms and are physically fit. They also have to interact with people of varying nationalities and cultures which often be a sensitive issue and diplomacy is essential.”Brigadier David Allfrey, Tattoo chief executive, said:“I am thrilled to have the Royal Navy at the centre of this year’s Tattoo. We aim to create a tremendous atmosphere around the theme ‘Of the Sea’ and while delivering a wonderful show, gently remind everyone of Britain’s pedigree as a maritime trading nation our diverse and accessible coastline and our continuing reliance on trade by sea.” “It is a particular pleasure to welcome the team from HMS Montrose whose links with Scotland offer proper resonance and the opportunity to present the Royal Navy’s story with elegance and a light touch.”“The strong naval presence continues with the Massed Bands of the Royal Marines from Plymouth, Portsmouth and Faslane and – in a first for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – field-gun teams drawn from across the Royal Navy for the demanding field-gun competition, set in a context of naval gunnery across the centuries’’In its 62nd season, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo includes the world-renowned Massed Pipes and Drums and a cast of nearly a thousand top-flight performers drawn from across the globe – military bands, soloists, dancers, singers and the action items make for a wonderful multi-national and multi-cultural event.Against the backdrop of a series of nautical images projected onto the Half Moon Battery, a dance sequence will illustrate the trials and tribulations of fishermen working both on land, mending nets and preparing their boats, and at sea, facing the full force of the elements. Accompanying the Tattoo Dance Company is the all-girl West Ulster Total Dance Company.The colourful diversity of this year’s programme is both enthralling and eclectic, with the Royal Netherlands Army Mounted Regimental Fanfare Band mounted on bicycles and wearing uniforms from World War One. From Berlin there is The Crossed Swords, a group of forty-five pipers, Germany’s first pipe band.Also taking part in the spectacle is the Brazilian Marine Corps Military Band from South America; from the Middle East come the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Army of Oman, and, from South Australia, the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Caledonian Society.When the Lone Piper appears high up on the castle’s battlements for the finale, the audience will be able to look back on a matchless shared experience that will have felt the light airs of the estuary, the building winds of the channel, the power of the trade winds, the howl of the gale and the calm beyond.[mappress]Source: royalnavy, August 9, 2011; View post tag: News by topic View post tag: stage View post tag: Naval View post tag: takes View post tag: Navylast_img read more

US: Bringing shipbuilding funding to Reagan era levels

first_img The Seapower Subcommittee, an arm of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, wants the U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding budget to be increased to $20,6 billion which, if authorized, would be the highest level of shipbuilding funding, accounting for inflation, since President Reagan was in office.The subcommittee mark, released by the body’s chairman, Congressman J. Randy Forbes April 19, also called for Navy to build aircraft carriers 20% faster.Aircraft carriers should be built every four years instead of five, a change in tempo that would increase the size of the carrier fleet and create more jobs at Newport News, the mark argued. A “block buy” of components for multiple carriers which would reduce costs for the taxpayers was also authorized.Forbes’ legislation also looks to prohibit the Navy from simultaneously inactivating 11 of 22 cruisers under its “phased modernization plan” and holds the administration accountable for cruiser modernization by withholding funding from the Office of the Secretary of Defense until modernization contracts have been signed.Additional $385 million would be authorized for another littoral combat ship, previously struck from the budget. Funding would also be provided to accelerate procurement of the next-generation LX(R) amphibious ship or a 13th San Antonio-class amphibious ship (LPD-29), which would enable the Navy and Marine Corps to close the amphibious capability shortfall.The markup which calls for an accelerated construction of the majority of programs – from carriers to submarines, missiles to landing craft – will, however, first have to be approved by the House Armed Services Committee before going to the U.S Senate. April 20, 2016 View post tag: US Navy Authorities U.S. committee calls for bringing shipbuilding funding to Reagan era levels Back to overview,Home naval-today U.S. committee calls for bringing shipbuilding funding to Reagan era levels Share this articlelast_img read more


first_imgEARLY VOTING FOR UPCOMING PRIMARY CITY ELECTIONEarly Voting at Libraries and on Saturdays : Early Voting for the Primary Election will expand to Saturdays beginning April 27, 2019.Early Voting at Libraries will be held for 1 week starting Monday, April 29, 2019.All Early Vote Locations and dates are:  * Election Office :April 9, 2019 – May 3, 2019 (Mon – Fri) from 8:00 am to 4:00 pmMay 6 (Mon) – 8:00 am to NOON * Saturday Voting at Election Office: April 27, 2019 (Sat.) 8:00 am – 4:00 pmMay 4, 2019  (Sat.) 8:00 am – 4:00 pm * Saturday Voting at Northeast Park Baptist & Cedar Hall School: April 27, 2019 (Sat.) 8:00 am – 3:00 pmMay 4, 2019  (Sat.) 8:00 am – 3:00 pm *Early Voting Weekdays at Libraries:    (Central, McCollough, Northpark, Oaklyn, and Red Bank Libraries)April 29, 2019 – May 2, 2019 (Mon- Thurs) noon to 6:00 pmMay 3, 2019 –  (Fri) noon-5:00 pmFOOTNOTE: For a list of Early Voting times and locations refer to County Clerk Early Voting page.  Contact the Election Office at 812-435-5122 if you have questions.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Ocean City Edges Mainland in Soccer Rivalry

first_imgOcean City’s Kyle Harper boots the ball upfield from the Red Raiders’ defensive end. By LESLEY GRAHAMOcean City High School boys’ soccer team hosted rival Mainland on Saturday morning, defeating the visiting Mustangs, 3-2.The win brings the Red Raiders’ record to 3-0 early in the season, while Mainland drops to 2-1.Ori Levy-Smith led all scorers with a goal and assist, while teammates John Lindsay and Ben Steiger each recorded a goal for the Red Raiders. Kyle Harper also notched an assist for Ocean City.Joey Cino and Luca Bongiovanni scored for Mainland.Ocean City goalkeeper Kyle Plenn had four saves.The Red Raiders opened up the scoring early in the game with less than two minutes ticked off the clock, when Levy-Smith found the back of the net thanks to some fancy footwork.Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, they found themselves knotted at 1-1 when the Mustangs answered right back within a minute.Ocean City’s Ori Levy-Smith (12), the game’s leading scorer, crosses the ball to a teammate.The next 20 minutes was a back-and-forth effort between the two teams – both battling to gain an advantage on the scoreboard.Ultimately, the Red Raiders would be the next to score, as Steiger tipped in a pass from Levy-Smith to give Ocean City a 2-1 advantage at halftime.As the second half got underway, it was much of the same as the first half – both teams vying for control.  The Red Raiders dominated possession, keeping the ball in their offensive end for the majority of the second half.With under 10 minutes to play, Lindsay would net what was ultimately the game winner, putting Ocean City ahead 3-1.Mainland would continue to fight for a chance to get back in the game, scoring off a free kick when Ocean City was given a card.Red Raider John Lindsay dribbles through the Mainland defendersWith three minutes left to play, the Mustangs were battling back from a one-goal deficit, but Ocean City was not about to let the lead slip away. The defense stepped up and the team was able to eke out a victory.Ocean City Head Coach Aaron Bogushefsky said the Red Raiders did enough to get the job done.“I am happy with the result, but there is plenty of room for improvement,” Bogushefsky said after the game.As the season progresses, Bogushefsky said the ultimate goal is to win the last game of the season so this year, with its shortened preseason and change of schedule, the Red Raiders are working through all of those potential issues within a tighter timetable.“We have the ability. We just need to be more disciplined to be consistently great. Consistency is the key to being successful,” he said.Ocean City’s defense readies itself for Mainland’s free kick.last_img read more

A question of format

first_imgThe history of establishing new republics is littered with grief, surrendered casualties, blood-letting and fraught backward steps. Just ask the French. Or, closer to home, Coffee Republic.At the beginning of 2009, the ambitious coffee chain was riding high on the back of the fastest store growth of anyone in British Baker’s Top 50 list, which tracks the big chains’ performance on store numbers. Having leapfrogged into the Top 10, with 104 new outlets in just one year, and more than doubling its previous total, it has cut 10 shops, having opted to go into administration. Industry insiders question its track record of over-bidding for prime rental sites against its competitors, and failing to distinguish itself clearly enough from major competitors, such as Starbucks.The future is hopeful for the ailing chain, however, after quickly finding a buyer through administrator KPMG last month. Despite tough trading conditions, Khalid Affara of Arab Investments was keen put the strut back into Coffee Republic’s faltered momentum, stating he would be “growing the business with immediate effect”.Taking the same opportunity – if administration can ever be described thus – to restructure the business and renegotiate on rents with obstinate landlords, bring in new investment and get things shipshape, has been sandwich chain O’Briens. Ranked just outside the Top 10 at 12th, chairman Brody Sweeney cited the refusal of landlords to negotiate on rent reductions as the key reason behind its collapse. Investors have been circling – nine at the last count – and a decision on the chain’s future is expected soon.Subway draws nearerSubway, which was predicted to overtake Greggs in mid-2009, continues to creep up on the high street bakery giant. If you count total stores across UK and Ireland (1,450), which the Top 50 list doesn’t, Subway is already ahead. But in an interesting development last month, Greggs unveiled plans to branch out into forecourts, with a 500sq ft unit opened in a BP petrol station in Bury – with more planned if successful.So is the future forecourts? Travel outlets could be ’the new high street’. BB’s Coffee & Muffins, which is just outside the Top 10, below Sayers, revealed in British Baker that forecourts were a “key focus area” for business development, following successful trials. Ten more could open by the end of 2010, it said.While the Sayers & Hampson estate stands at 150 outlets, a spokesman for the firm said : “Investment in exciting new shops is expected to increase the brands’ high street presence over the next 12 months.”Meanwhile, Starbucks opened two new formats in 2008 – a drive-thru in Cardiff and drive-tos near Wisley and in Hooley. A spokesperson confirmed that Starbucks is on the look-out for new sites.Bath-based Pasty Presto, previously missed out on our list, has popped its head up. Its 25-shop estate is predicted to swell to 30 by the close of 2010, after targeting the travel-retail sector such as motorway service stations. It is currently placed 38th.Looking ahead, East Lothian sandwich chain Baguette Express, with 55 outlets, plans to rival Subway and Greggs on UK high streets, building a 300-store franchise network over the next five years. And Galloways Bakers, with 21 shops around Wigan, said it was omitted from the last Top 50 list. Happy to put that right.last_img read more

Backwoods Pondfest Scores A Perfect 10 In Tenth Anniversary Celebration

first_imgBackwoods Pondfest scored a perfect 10 this year with another treasured festival in the books. Twin Pond Campsite in Peru, NY had their fill of music, art and community on August 4th-6th.  Backwoods Pondfest has become more than just a festival since its start 10 years ago. It’s a safe haven for people of all dynamics to bask in the beauty of Upstate New York while enjoying a diverse, talented music lineup and continuous positive energy on an intimate level. It makes the festivalgoer feel important knowing that musicians travel just as far if not further to reignite the magic that returns each summer. The small festival gives the attendee a bigger responsibility to clean up and take care of each other, a role that is easily attained year after year.One of the best parts of Pondfest is the close proximity of everything. Twin Ponds offers woods camping, open field and family camping that is within earshot of the two stages. The lush green grass and relentless cleanup crew makes for a ‘once in a festival’ barefoot exception.  Full Circle Music Productions continues to be a key player in the festival as promoter Derek Haviland says, “To me it’s an opportunity to work with people who genuinely want to bring people together around really good music, first and foremost. It’s not that easy to find that everywhere you go in this business.”Arriving on Friday evening, guests were greeted by the eerie travelling circus music by Bella’s Bartok. Their old world bohemian punk melodies signaled to the crowd that it was officially time to get weird. Thunder Body were eager to rock the main stage after drummer/vocalist Matthew O’Brian said they took a few years off to relax and make babies.  The soul reggae tune of “Anger is Poison” laid out a wavy bass line as the crowd swirled in excitement with the promise of heavy touring to come.Nothing officially starts Backwoods Pondfest until Lucid plays their first set of the weekend on the woods stage. Lucid’s sound is a spicy maple syrup with jambalaya mixed in, a jazzy grass that is true to the backwoods of New York. The set brought Lucid family together as they were joined by Chris English on “Home” and founding drummer, Ryan “Rippy” Trumbull for wildly original rhythm.The necessary Grateful Dead tribute festival slot was phenomenally filled by Melvin Seals and the JGB. Led by Seals on the Hammond B-3 organ and keyboard, the gospel groove is thick with improvisational bluesy jams that loosen the crowd into psychedelic bliss. Syracuse natives and Pondfest veterans, Sophistafunk turned the woods stage into a hip hop dance club you’d find in New York City.Closing out the main stage was long time traditional Pondfest performers, Spiritual Rez. The entire set was a full velocity of reggae ska rock that energized the crowd for the rest of the festival. One of the highlights was having Hayley Jane jump in on vocals for a massive group sing-along of “Stand by Me” plus a standalone solo from Rob Cook aka the Washboard Tie Guy. The set was heighted by the lightening storm overhead that soon turned to torrential down pour forcing the music to end and everyone to seek shelter.After much regrouping and a clear sky, the music resumed with first timer Pondfester’s Tweed closing out the woods stage for a renewing set of electronica dance music. When interviewed about the storm, drummer Joe Vela and bassist Dan McDonald felt that spirits were high at their set as no one wanted to sit in their wet tents so you might as well get wet listening to good music. “We’re in good company with amazing musicians and bands. It has a super hometown vibe,” Vela said. Showcasing their original jump starters “Loup-Garou” and “RL WRLD” plus covering Ween’s “Monique The Freak” with guest keyboardist Scott Hannay was the ideal recipe to dance your shoes dry.The stormy night created a beautiful foggy sunrise that greeted day two of Backwoods Pondfest. There was a glorious breeze that helped the festival goers overcome the intense heat throughout the day with little to no rain. The music started with DoomF#@K, a raunchy punk band led by the badass Catherine Harrison-Wurster. The afternoon kept on rocking as Albany’s own four piece band, Formula 5, sent out waves of funky rock jams. The Honey Smugglers continued the chill vibes with a blended set of folk, jam grass and Americana with lyrics about drinking whiskey, dirt roads and simple smiles. Mister F turned up the heat at the woods stage as they supplied fast paced, progressive dance rock. Lucid’s saxophonist, Jaime Armstrong, provided a funky start to the set as Mike Candela later stepped in for a total shred fest.Backwoods Pondfest was crucial this summer in bringing together fans since Lucid had been on hiatus for most of the year. The uncertainty for the future of Lucid made their Saturday set so much more meaningful and memorable. The set had one of the biggest crowds of the weekend making it a family affair for everyone in attendance.  It was quite the hootenanny as strong life blew into harmonicas and metal washboards pulsated. Fireworks shot over the ponds in grand celebration for the love of Lucid and the 10 years of hosting the annual North Country festival.The Blind Owl Band continued the night with strung out, aggressive acoustic blue grass. No stranger to the festival, BOB carry on the tradition of fast string picking, mountainous harmonies and heavy foot stomping. Pink Talking Fish Does Bowie was a superfecta party playlist. Their improvisational segues feed the curious jamband fan and bring a new appreciation for classic influential songs. All we needed was a bigger disco ball. Once again, Hayley Jane joined in for a ground shaking cover of “Burning Down The House” by Talking Heads. Gang of Thieves has a distinctive stage presence from their wild outfits, unpredictable gestures and dirty funkified rock. The blaring horn section adds high kicking rhythm while vocals are smooth and steady. The Nth Power closed down the main stage with layers of deep south soul, big city jazz and a worldly grooves. Nikki Glaspie is a force of nature as she maintains a savage control on the drums while each musician shines a light through the madness.Festivals always seem to end too soon as Sunday morning suddenly gives way to reality. It’s no wonder that musicians and fans travel from all over the East Coast to the refuge of Backwoods Pondfest. The festival has worked hard these past 10 years to create a family friendly, fun seeking environment that continues to convey the importance of community and music. “The amount of time and stress that goes into throwing a weekend event like this, in a proper fashion, is mind blowing and sometimes, well sometimes it’s terrifying. To hear from people how special Pondfest is to them, year after year, is more than heartwarming, and that is absolutely the reason why we have continued this path. “– Lowell Wurster, Lucid[All photos courtesy of Laura Carbone]last_img read more

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Close Out Mexico Event With Bust Outs Galore

first_imgThough 2017 is an off year for the Dave Matthews Band, its two leading guitarists – Dave Matthews and Time Reynolds – will sure be keeping busy. The duo just wrapped up a three night destination event at the Riviera Maya in Mexico, where they’ve contributed acoustic sets with big bust outs, debuts, and more for each night.Night three was no exception, with Dave & Tim bringing out songs that hadn’t been in their duo repertoire since the 90’s! Through a twenty song set and a double encore, the duo kept the fans in awe with great performances all night long. The show included so many bust outs for a Dave & Tim show, including “The Song That Jane Likes” (first since 3/14/99), “Raven” (7/15/12), “Dive In” (11/18/11) and more! They also played “You Might Die Trying” for the first time as a duo, and welcomed South African guitarist Vusi Mahlasela for the debut performance of a song called “Mother of Africa” as well.There were also plenty of Dave classics to go around, including “Gravedigger,” “#41,” “Typical Situation,” and “Tripping Billies,” the latter of which ended a Dave & Tim set for the first time since 1999. They would return for two encores, including a grand finale of “Stay (Wasting Time),” which was also the song’s first encore appearance at a Dave & Tim show ever! After all these years, it’s certainly inspiring to see Dave Matthews trying new things, and completely rocking them in the process.Check out a video of “Gravedigger” below, courtesy of 2002chow.You can see the show’s full setlist below, as annotated by DMB Almanac.Setlist: Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds | Riviera Maya, Mexico | 2/25/17Set: Little Thing, Funny the Way It Is, The Song That Jane Likes, You Might Die Trying, Too Much, Where Are You Going, Raven, Dive In, Manfood, Gravedigger, Spaceman, Death on the High Seas, #41, Mother of Africa*, Everyday*, Squirm, Wing It, Help Myself, Typical Situation, Tripping BilliesEncore 1: Rye Whiskey, All Along The WatchtowerEncore 2: So Much to Say, Stay (Wasting Time)First time The Song That Jane Likes has been played by Dave & Tim since 3.14.99.First time Raven has been played by Dave & Tim since 7.15.12.First time Dive In has been played by Dave & Tim since 11.18.11.First time Help Myself has been played since 6.29.13 and first time by Dave & Tim since 12.9.10.First time Tripping Billies has been played as a closer at a Dave & Tim show since 1.20.99.First time Stay (Wasting Time) has been by Dave & Tim since 3.13.99 and first ever time in the encore at a Dave & Tim show.First time You Might Die Trying has been played by Dave & TimeFirst time Mother of Africa has been played ever* = with Vusi Mahlaselalast_img read more

Merkel says Germany past ‘crest of 2nd wave,’ urges patience

first_imgBERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany is over the peak of its latest surge in coronavirus cases but she wants to wait for data on the spread of new variants before deciding on lifting lockdown restrictions. In an interview with German broadcaster RTL on Thursday, Merkel said that “the crest of the second wave has been passed.” But the long-time leader urged Germans to “hold out a little longer.” Merkel said she wants to get new data on the prevalence of new variants of the virus before deciding whether to discuss easing restrictions at a meeting with state governors Wednesday. Germany is nearing a death toll of 60,000 in the pandemic,last_img read more

Douglas Announces New Rx Drug Pool for Vermont

first_imgGovernor Douglas Announces New Rx Drug Pool for VermontMontpelier — Governor Jim Douglas has announced he will propose aprogram to help Vermont’s employers’ pool their purchasing power tonegotiate lower prescription drug prices for their employees.”This new pooling program will allow participating employers to affordprescription drug benefits for their employees by taking advantage of bulkpurchasing discounts,” the Governor said.Governor Douglas said this effort is modeled on the multi-state purchasingpool he formed with Michigan in 2003, the nation’s first successfulmulti-state buying pool for Medicaid drugs. This pool saved Vermont $2million in the last fiscal year and is expected to save $ 3 million thisyear.”This is exactly the kind of innovative thinking Vermont needs,” Douglassaid. “Just as we have done with the Multi-State Pool, this in-state poolis a creative way to enhance leverage with the nation’s largepharmaceutical companies, and use real pressure to drive down costs.”The formula for buying pools is simple; as participation in the pool growsso too does the savings. “I’m very excited about the potential of this new program. It is a goodway to put pressure on the drug industry and help drive down prescriptiondrug costs for employees,” Governor Douglas said.”This new bulk buying pool is a market-based solution to the increasingcost of pharmaceuticals, and as more states see that this is an effortthat works, just has it has in the multi-state pool, drug costs willdecline further.Governor Douglas stressed that pooling programs demonstrate that solutionsto the increasing cost of pharmaceuticals are not artificial price orgovernment-run health care. “These pooling programs prove that usingpurchasing power to lower costs can work, and there is no need forgovernment-run health care that empowers politicians rather thanpatients,” he said.Governor Douglas also reiterated his proposals to require health careplans to disclose drug prices to doctors and patients and offer valueprice alternatives for generic drugs.COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE REFORMThe Governor’s plan to help companies to pool together to negotiate forlower drug prices comes one week after Douglas presented his secondcomprehensive plan-A Prescription for a Healthy Vermont-for makingquality, affordable health care available to every Vermonter.By including the Fit and Healthy Kids and Chronic Care initiatives,long-term care reforms, a healthy aging initiative, prescription drugprice reduction efforts, and commitments to reducing substance abuse andencouraging healthy choices, Douglas has made comprehensive and long-termreform of Vermont’s health care delivery system and improving the overallhealth of Vermonters a central component of his plan to reduce health carecosts.”We need to do more than just change who pays the bill. If costs continueto increase at the current rate, it won’t matter what pocket the moneycomes from because they’ll all be empty,” the Governor has said. “That iswhy I have offered true reforms that tackle the root causes of risinghealth care costs, opens our system up to low cost options, encourageshealthy decisions and preventative care, and attacks health concerns attheir inception before they develop into more serious and costlyailments.”Douglas says Vermont needs to maintain a patient-centered system thatoffers more individual choice and keeps health care decisions in the handsof patients and doctors, not government bureaucrats.To lower the cost of health insurance, Governor Douglas proposed a planthat would immediately reduce premiums by 15 percent for every Vermonterwith an individual insurance plan; offer low and middle income Vermontersa premium discount of up to 60 percent; reduce, by up to 50 percent, thecost for a small business to start providing insurance to employees; anddecrease the number of uninsured Vermonters by 20 percent in the firstyear alone.”But we won’t stop there,” Douglas stressed. “I will work every year tomake progress toward our goal of affordable and accessible health care foreveryone.”last_img read more

Betancourt’s Jailer Pleads Not Guilty on Drug-Trafficking Charges in the U.S.

first_imgBy Dialogo July 20, 2009 Washington, July 17 (EFE).- Today FARC guerrilla Gerardo Antonio Aguilar Ramírez, alias “Cesar,” one of the “jailers” of Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans rescued in July 2008, pleaded “not guilty” to the drug-trafficking charges of which he is accused in the United States. “Cesar,” who was extradited from Bogotá yesterday, appeared before a federal judge in Washington in a hearing attended by Marc Gonsalves, one of the three Americans who were kidnapped in the Colombian jungle for five years. Through his lawyer, Carmen Hernández, the guerrilla pled “not guilty” to the drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges of which he is accused in the United States, while the lawyer recalled that in this case her client is being judged “in a drug-trafficking case, not a kidnapping case.” Nevertheless, prosecutor Eric Snyder pointed out that Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes, and Keith Stansell, the three Americans kidnapped by the FARC and freed in Operation Jaque together with Betancourt and eleven other hostages, were carrying out a mission in the fight against drug trafficking when they were kidnapped, thereby attempting to demonstrate that the FARC were impeding law-enforcement action against drug trafficking. Throughout the entire hearing, Gonsalves, who was present as a spectator, never took his eyes off the man on whom he fixed his gaze when he entered the courtroom dressed in the orange jumpsuit worn by prisoners in U.S. jails and with his hands cuffed. “He’s in handcuffs, but he has better conditions in jail than they gave us there,” he told a group of reporters after the hearing. Gonsalves said that he is not seeking “revenge,” but that he wants “Cesar” to go to jail because he thinks that he “does not believe in freedom, and he would go back to the jungle to do the same thing he did to me, or worse.” The Washington Federal District Court judge, Thomas F. Hogan, scheduled a follow-up hearing for July 30; in the meantime the defendant will remain in the D.C. jail, known for its harsh conditions.last_img read more