Arsene Wenger reiterates commitment to Arsenal despite Barcelona link

first_imgArsene Wenger has played down speculation linking him with a move to Spanish champions Barcelona at the end of the season, saying his first preference would be to extend his stay at Arsenal.Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has confirmed he will leave the club at the end of the current campaign and Wenger is among the bookmakers’ favourites to replace him.Sevilla’s Jorge Sampaoli, Athletic Bilbao’s Ernesto Valverde, Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino and Everton’s Ronald Koeman are the other leading contenders.”No, my preference is always the same, it will remain the same,” Wenger told reporters on Thursday when asked if he was interested in the Barcelona job.”I’ve been here 20 years and many times had the opportunity to leave. I don’t have to convince you my preference has always been Arsenal.”I am not looking for jobs of other clubs or jobs of other people. I am just focusing on getting to the next level and try to improve. Competent managers always try to get better, to reinvent themselves.”The annual outcry for Wenger’s head has grown louder than ever this season following Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat by Bayern Munich in the first leg of their last-16 clash in the Champions League last month.Wenger, who is out of contract at the end of the season, gave his strongest hint in years that he could leave Arsenal in the wake of that defeat, saying he would definitely manage next season, but did not know if it would be “somewhere else”.advertisementArsenal, who are fourth in the Premier League, visit fifth-placed Liverpool on Saturday after a break of almost two weeks, and Wenger said his players needed to find their rhythm fast to avoid losing at Anfield.”For us, after a little break, it’s important to switch on quickly,” he added. “After a break, it’s important you are ready from the start. For us, it’s vital to start strongly at Liverpool.”Midfielder Aaron Ramsey will be in the squad after recovering from a calf strain, along with defender Laurent Koscielny, who missed Arsenal’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Sutton United last month with a hamstring problem.Midfielder Mohamed Elneny is out for three weeks with an ankle injury.last_img read more

Government to Strengthen Relations with International Partners

first_imgDuring the 2013/14 fiscal year, the Government will continue to cement its relations with international partners, as it seeks to improve foreign policy and investment prospects.Delivering the Throne Speech at Gordon House, on Thursday, April 4, the Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, said the government will continue to strengthen the country’s cherished relations with traditional partners, such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Japan; and also with countries, such as the Gulf States and Russia, “particularly from the perspective of sources of investment, tourists and markets for some of our products.”“The place that Jamaica occupies in the global economic space obliges us to pursue several directions in regard to our Foreign Policy,” he added.The Governor-General noted that the Government’s strategic directions will also include: advancing Jamaica’s trade and investment interests at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels; and the promotion of technical, educational and economic co-operation with developing countries in Africa and Asia.He said the Government will be seeking to enhance the framework for free movement of Jamaican nationals within the Caribbean Community; to give effect to the decisions of Heads of Government; and concluding discussions on contingent rights to ensure the portability of social benefits across borders.The Governor-General pointed out that within the Latin American and the Caribbean region, the Government will continue to focus on the country’s relations within the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and to further strengthen ties with Venezuela and co-operation with Brazil. He said the Government will give steadfast attention to the pursuit of a range of other seminal goals, which include: the completion of negotiations on an Arms Trade Treaty; the review of the Millennium Development Goals, post 2015; and the 3rd United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States to be held in Samoa towards the end of this calendar year, in preparation for which Jamaica will host a regional meeting in July 2013.“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will complete the Diaspora Policy to be presented at the Diaspora Conference, scheduled to be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from June 16-19, 2013,” he added.In the meantime, he is encouraging Jamaicans to remain committed and not be daunted by the tasks before us.“These are indeed challenging times, not only for us as Jamaicans, but also for nations across the globe. Much larger countries with more resources are facing similar challenges. We all accept that the difficulties that our people face are real, but we resolve to re-double our efforts to meet their aspirations for a better today and a brighter tomorrow,” he said.He noted that Jamaicans are strong, creative and innovative.“We must apply our creative genius in our families, in our businesses and at our places of employment; and we must do so with honesty and integrity. In difficult times, we must work harder and we must work diligently,” he emphasized.The Governor-General’s speech was delivered under the theme: ‘Jamaica: Going for Growth and Development’.By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporterlast_img read more

NCDA Backs Smoking Ban

first_imgThe National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) has put its full support behind the Government’s ban on smoking in public places, which will take effect on Monday, July 15. Executive Director of the NCDA, Michael Tucker, said that the organisation “commends the Minister of Health for his decision and leadership in safeguarding the public’s health.” He said that the ban is necessary and should be embraced by all Jamaicans, as cigarette smoking is the second leading cause of death worldwide, and also leads to several health complications. In support of the ban, the NCDA is partnering with the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control (JCTC), and the Jamaica Cancer Society, to organise three road marches on Monday in Morant Bay, St. Thomas; Half-Way-Tree, St. Andrew; and Montego Bay, St. James. The marches, which will be held concurrently, will get underway at 7:00 am, and will include marching bands, entertainment as well as brief presentations. Director of Client Services at the NCDA, Sisilyn Malcolm, informed that the marches will be used to further sensitise the public about the ban, and highlight the various services offered by the agencies to assist persons to quit smoking. Dr. Ferguson announced the ban in his Sectoral presentation on June 25. The NCDA has been in operation since 1983, and has been charged with the mandate to implement programmes that would lead to a drug-free Jamaica. CONTACT: TONI-ANN RANKINE, JIS PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICERlast_img read more

Forest Whitaker Opens Education Center For Refugees

first_imgFilm star Forest Whitaker is putting refugee education and peacekeeping training in the spotlight.The Western Union Foundation has joined the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative in funding and opening an education center to empower refugees in Uganda. The mission is simple: education is a life-changing tool for the world’s refugees.The Western Union Foundation’s contributions will total US $1.24M over three years to support refugee education through Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative. Here’s why this initiative is so important:- According to the United Nations, wars, conflict and persecution have forced an unprecedented 65.3 million people to flee their homes.- Refugees make up one in every 113 people on Earth.- Uganda in particular hosts the eighth largest refugee population in the worldSince its inception in 2001, the Western Union Foundation has committed more than US $111 million in grants to more than 2,900 nongovernmental organizations in more than 135 countries and territories.last_img read more

Live Delays on major roads as snow and ice hit region

first_imgIn 1990 we had PROPER snow This is how to drive in ice & snow How to stay safe in snow on commute Why do schools close when it snows? A snowy Stoke-on-Trent in 1981 A weather warning remains in force across Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire and South Cheshire this morning. Tuesday saw snow and ice across a large part of the region, with further snow this morning. Congestion is reported on major roads across the area. A number of schools have announced they will be shut – check our live list here. Staffordshire Police have this morning said they have already received reports of a number of accidents in the county. A spokesman said:  “It’s very cold this morning with lots of frost. Please drive to the conditions; there is lots of hidden black ice. We have already received a few reports of car crashes this morning. “West Midlands Ambulance Service and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are also in attendance. Drive to arrive. ” A Met Office Yellow Weather Warning for snow and ice remains in force across the region until 11am this morning (Wednesday January 30). The latest Met Office weather forecast for the West Midlands region, which includes Staffordshire, states:  “A cold and icy start for many, with sunny spells and isolated wintry showers, which may leave a dusting of snow in places. “The showers will gradually ease later this afternoon. Frost quickly returning in the evening.” Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service say they have already had to free one motorist following an accident on the A518 between Stafford and the Shropshire  border. A spokeswoman added:  “Please take care whilst driving on the roads this morning. It is cold and icy.” A number of events are cancelled including Leek Market and the Wednesday Club in Smallthorne. Manchester Airport and Liverpool Airport are also dealing with disruption, with Manchester Airport closing its runway. Firefighters at the scene of the accident on the A518 this morning (Image: Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service)center_img Read MoreSnow in Stoke-on-Trent & North Staffordshire 7 fun ways to enjoy snow with kids 8 local places to go sledging! Your rights if you can’t make it to work   Derbyshire County Council are also continuing to report the A53 (Buxton-Leek), A54 (Buxton to Bosley/Congleton) and A537 Cat and Fiddle (Buxton to Macclesfield) remain closed after snow in the region – which may cause issues for traffic heading that way. A second weather warning is also due to come into force on Thursday afternoon into Friday morning. We’ll be bringing you live updates as we get them on the feed below.19:28Our gritting team started gritting again at 6pm this evening to cover for the risk of ice damp roadsPlease still take care on untreated roads #snow #uksnow #gritting #GritterTwitter #EatSleepGritRepeat #EatSleepShiftChangeRepeat pic.twitter.com/TaH3MkCHNx— Stoke Highways (@stokehighways) January 30, 201919:27A5272 High Lane partially blocked, heavy traffic due to accident at Greenbank Road.Police confirm an accident has occurred on the junction. 18:28One lane closed and slow traffic due to broken down car on M6 Northbound between M6 (Stafford Services) and J15 A500 D Road (Stoke-On-Trent). In the roadworks area.Lane one (of three) is closed. There was also a separate broken down van with a trailer in close proximity, however this cleared just prior to 18:20. Stafford Services is located between J14 and J15. 18:27A530 Nantwich Road Southbound partially blocked, queueing traffic due to accident, two cars involved near Rising Sun Inn.Affecting traffic between Crewe and Nantwich18:02Please take extra care if you’re out and about this evening – temperatures are set to drop below freezing once again and we’re expecting fog and ice in places across the county. ⛄ ❄️ pic.twitter.com/Tebiy5j9nT— Cheshire Police (@cheshirepolice) January 30, 201916:46Please take care when out in the snow and iceA concerned reader is warning youngsters not to walk on iced-over ponds. One child fell through some ice in Burslem Grange but was able to climb to safety.16:30YELLOW WARNING for ice and fogThe Met Office have issued a warning for ice fog, in force tonight and tomorrow morning.Areas of freezing fog will form across England on Wednesday night and be slow to clear on Thursday morning.What to expect…Slower journey times with delays to bus and train services possibleThere is a chance of delays or cancellations to flightsProbably some ice on some untreated roads, pavements and cycle pathsSome injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces16:27One lane closed and slow traffic due to broken down vehicle on M6 Northbound from J12 A5 (Gailey) to J13 A449 (Stafford South).Lane one (of four) is closed to assist.16:27Report from a reader: A512 is partially blocked road by Beacon business park. There is a dropped load, police there and quite a build up of traffic.15:38All services are now running on their normal routes.— The Potteries buses (@potteriesbuses) January 30, 201914:36Trains blocked due to cable damage between Stoke-on-Trent and MacclesfieldServices at a stand on Northern between Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield due to overhead power cable problems.14:21Gritting continues in Cheshire East.A Cheshire East spokesman said:All gritting routes throughout Cheshire East are currently being treated and the higher routes of the borough will be treated again from 02:00��️ Please drive to the conditions with extra care .”14:19Overhead power cable problemsDelays of up to 25 minutes on Virgin Trains West Coast between Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield due to overhead power cable problems.14:13A54 and Cat and Fiddle openThe A54 and the Cat and Fiddle are both open.12:25Issues on A53 continue – we have reports of an accident. Hazardous driving conditions and slow traffic due to snow on A53 Leek Road in both directions between Flash (Knights Table Travellers Rest, Flash) and A54 Macclesfield Main Road (Buxton).The road was fully closed due to the snow conditions. Conditions have improved however the sensors show that traffic is still taking it easy along this stretch. Extra caution still needed. 11:41A53 reopensThe A53 is now fully open between Leek and Buxton.11:30One runway at Manchester Airport has reopened for departure flights11:07Something a bit differentGareth Collier sent us this photo of a fox in his garden in Leek (Image: Gareth Collier)10:22Traffic clearing on most routesTraffic has now cleared on most routes.10:18Statement from ambulance serviceNorth West Ambulance Service, Director Operations Ged Blezard comments: “As with all road users, in the current snowy conditions, our ambulances are not able to travel as quickly as usual and so we would ask the public to please be patient if calling 999 – we will reach you as quickly and safely as we can. Our phone lines are very busy and we must prioritise those who are seriously ill or have life-threatening conditions. For non-urgent conditions, please use 111 online or call 111 for advice. “Thankfully, we are not having any major problems in terms of staff reaching stations to start their shifts, however, we have asked mountain rescue teams across the region to be on standby and non frontline clinical staff will also be responding to emergency calls. “Driving conditions are treacherous so please do take care, keep speeds low and a good distance between you and the vehicle in front. Pavements and pathways are also very slippery so unless your journey is absolutely necessary, we would advise people, particularly the elderly, to stay indoors and keep warm.”09:46Queuing traffic on A534Queueing traffic due to snow on A534 Sandbach Road from Sandy Lane (Brownlow) to A34 West Road (Congleton).Pronounce SANDBACH as SAND-BATCHCreated at 9:39Updated at 9:3909:24″300 tonnes of salt” used on city roadsA Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesman said:Since Sunday we have used over 300 tonnes of salt on our network, this works out at around 64 runs for our gritting team in x4 days.” 09:20Latest on accident in KeeleSlow traffic due to accident on A525 Keele Road in both directions near Gallowstree Lane.09:17Latest from Manchester AirportStatement from Manchester Airport (Image: Manchester Airport)09:15Severe delays on A53Severe delays and queueing traffic due to snow on A53 Cobridge Road from B5051 Clay Lake (Endon) to A50 Waterloo Road (Cobridge Traffic Lights, Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent). Travel time is 50 mins minutes.Snow and ice on the road as well as reports of several pedestrian lights through Holden Bridge being stuck on red due to frozen buttons.09:11Waterloo Road busy Waterloo Road busy but moving from Cobridge Traffic Lights towards Hanley Town centre (Vale Place). 09:07Accident reported at Keele RoundaboutA two vehicle accident is reported at Keele roundabout09:06Delays reported on Clay Lake between Endon and Brown Edge Delays are reported on Clay Lake between Endon and Brown Edge 08:54Latest from Manchester AirportA Manchester Airport spokesman said:The runway is temporarily closed whilst our airfield team works to clear the snow. Please check the status of your flight with your airline before travelling to the airport. The Runway Visitor Park will be closed today whilst we focus our efforts on our core operations.” 08:51Latest from Cheshire EastA Cheshire East Council spokesman said:All gritting routes were treated during the day, evening & overnight, with ploughing continuing today on the higher routes. The A54 & A537 remain closed to traffic although access remains to Wincle and Wildboarclough. The B5470 to Whaley Bridge is open & passable with care.”last_img read more