President emphasises on importance of right to information

He said that by ensuring right to information, all government sectors will be able to carry out their operations more effectively. The President was speaking at the opening of Sri Lanka’s first ever international conference on ‘Right to Information’ which began in Colombo with the participation of nearly 300 foreign and local participants. The two day international conference is organized parallel to the International Right to Information Day, by the Department of Government Information in Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media.The conference is focusing its attention on the right to information, media regulation, and the current situation of mass media. President Maithripala Sirisena today emphasised on the importance of right to information to ensure transparency in the work being carried out by the Government.President Maithripala Sirisena said that the public will feel empowered only if the right to access information is assured. In June this year Parliament unanimously passed the Right To Information (RTI) Bill.The Government said the RTI bill is expected to make changes in a moderate way to uphold good governance and state functions.The Government also affirmed the bill will allow the public to get information on public officials and will be an important feature for the Government to be responsible at a higher level. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Loblaw cuts 700 head office administrative jobs as part of downsizing

TORONTO – Loblaw Co. Ltd. (TSX:L) is cutting hundreds of mostly head office jobs as Canada’s largest supermarket chain continues a makeover aimed at making it more competitive in the increasingly crowded grocery segment.“We’re managing costs where it makes sense by reducing administrative expense,” Loblaw president Vicente Trius said in announcing some 700 management and administrative jobs were being trimmed.The company, which operates under several banners including Loblaws, Zehrs, and Real Canadian Super Store, has about 135,000 full-time and part-time employees across the country.The cuts will affect about 10 per cent of its management and administrative staff.Loblaw said the layoff notices would begin going out Tuesday and the cuts should be complete within three weeks.The move will result in a one-time expense of $60 million, to be recorded in the fourth quarter of its financial year.RBC Capital Markets analyst Irene Nattel called the move a step toward making the company more productive.“Loblaw is generally not the leanest of organizations and today’s announcement is a move toward streamlining functions,” Nattel wrote in a report, adding that she expects the company to realize annual savings in the neighbourhood of $60 million, starting in 2013.“But we would not assume that the cost savings will necessarily flow to the bottom line, but rather be reinvested in pricing (and) in-store service to drive top-line performance,” Nattel said.Loblaw spokeswoman Julija Hunter said the move its part of the company’s long-term strategic plan and to make good on its commitment to become more efficient and increase investment value.“Were are streamlining the organization and reducing costs to strengthen our competitive position,” Hunter, vice-president for public relations, said in an interview.“We feel confident in this direction — that the changes will help eliminate duplication, help us prioritize better and focus on our customer experience in our stores more effectively.”The supermarket chain operates in an intensely competitive market against other Canadian grocery chains, such as Sobeys and Metro, as well as other retailers that offer food as part of their lineup — including WalmartMinneapolis-based Target Corp (NYSE:TGT) is set to enter the fray next year as the U.S. discount retail gain begins opening the first of 124 stores across Canada starting in March and April.Those stores also plan to sell frozen, dairy and dry grocery products being supplied by Sobeys under a deal announced last fall.Loblaw has been going through a series of restructurings for several years, as it has introduced more non-grocery merchandise items, adopted new store formats and reworked its distribution and information technology systems.George Condon, consulting editor for industry publication Canadian Grocer, said he wasn’t surprised by the cuts.“With the increasing competition in square footage of grocery space from Walmart, and next year from Target, everybody is concerned about their profit margins and Loblaws would clearly like to make sure that they have some manoeuvring room,” Condon said.Asked if he thought Loblaws was a bit top heavy on the management and administrative side, Condon replied that “there seems to be an awful lot of people out there at their head office in Brampton.”“I have no idea what a top heavy retailer would look like, but it seems to me they had more than enough people to do the work that they’re doing.”Meanwhile, he noted that the grocery chain had been “a little bit slow to recover from the problems it had four or five years ago” involving supply chain issues and other problems and “had to do something” to shore up its competitive position.“They’ve been trying to fix it for the last five years and the last two years they’ve made some progress,” he said.Condon said the company’s new president appears to be optimistic going forward “but I’m not too sure they’ve fixed everything just yet.”Among other things, he said very few Loblaws stores offer a “really exciting consumer experience.”“That’s one of the things that I think shoppers are looking for these days. They’re looking for something really unique and fun.”And while there are a number of exceptions, including the company’s Maple Leaf Gardens store in downtown Toronto, “a lot of their other stores are . . . kind of looking and feeling a bit dated.”“There (also) seems to be a current trend in Canada and in the United States for smaller, neighbourhood stores and I think Loblaws is kind of stuck with a few too many superstores,” he added.On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Loblaw shares were up 78 cents, or 2.3 per cent, at $34.66 in early afternoon trading Tuesday. Loblaw cuts 700 head office, administrative jobs as part of downsizing AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Hugh McKenna, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 16, 2012 2:38 pm MDT read more

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Energy East pipeline is safe good for country TransCanada tells NEB hearings

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – TransCanada Corp. stressed its commitment to the safety of oil shipments as three days of hearings into the proposed $15.7 billion Energy East pipeline project opened in New Brunswick on Monday.“We are committed to delivering this oil safely, responsibly, and reliably, and our goal is to have zero incidents,” said John Van der Put, vice president of eastern oil pipeline projects for TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP).He told a three-member National Energy Board panel convening in Saint John that the project is “the safest and most environmentally responsible way” to transport crude oil from Western to Eastern Canada.He said more than 700 pipeline route changes have already been made as a result of a public consultation process with communities in the three years since the project was announced.“We submit that moving forward with the Energy East project is in the best interests of the country, of the province of New Brunswick, and the City of Saint John,” said Van der Put.A spokesman for manufacturers in the province emphasized the province is badly in need of jobs the project would bring, citing unemployment rates of up to 20 per cent in some counties.Joel Richardson of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters said as unemployed New Brunswickers return home from the West due to the downturn in the oil industry, there are growing numbers of skilled tradespeople in dire need of work.“We believe the approval of Energy East will help create new direct and indirect jobs for thousands of unemployed people in New Brunswick … and will generate tax revenue to help us cover health care, education and social services in New Brunswick,” he told the panel.However, groups including Nature Canada and the Sierra Club voiced their concerns about the potential environmental impact of the project.Emma Hebb, of the Sierra Club Foundation of Canada, said the project is simply the wrong one given the environmental challenges posed by global warming.“We do not believe that this is the best thing for the public interest because it entails an investment in fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when all good science tells us that we need to be switching away from these fossil fuel resources as soon as possible,” said Hebb.Both Hebb and representatives from Nature Canada quizzed the company on its plans in the event of an oil spill along the proposed 4,500 kilometre route.Van der Put said the key is to put in place a rapid response to any emergency anywhere along the pipeline.He said the company would be able to have field personnel on site within three hours of a spill and equipment on site within six hours.He also said TransCanada does site-specific planning to ensure those response targets are met.As part of the development, crude oil from Alberta would be shipped through the pipeline to Saint John, where it would be refined.Garry Prosser, whose Anthony’s Cove home is across from the proposed tank farm for the marine terminal where the oil will be stored, expressed frustration with a lack of answers from TransCanada about the effects on homeowners in the vicinity.Prosser said he hasn’t received answers to his concerns.“What price do I have to pay?” said Prosser. “My quality of life, enjoyment of property, health and safety, property values and sense of community will be dramatically affected by this project.”The executive director of the conservation group Nature NB testified that over 200 species and millions of individual birds migrate in the area where the pipeline is planned and over the waters where supertankers will steam with huge cargos of oil.Vanessa Roy-McDougall noted that species such as the eider ducks, Wilson’s storm petrels, Atlantic puffins, razorbills and terns have nesting grounds in the Bay of Fundy.Nearly 30 species of shorebirds migrate through the bay in late summer and early fall, and between 1.1 and 2.1 million semipalmated sandpipers — the bulk of the world’s population of the species — migrate along the coast each year, she testified.“Given the number of birds and species at risk, such as the northern right whale, that frequent the area, Nature NB is concerned about how the increased tanker traffic and the large amount of oil in storage will lead to an increased risk of oil spills in the area,” said Roy-McDougall.She said such a spill would be devastating to birds and marine species, “and in some cases devastating to a large percentage of the global population of the species.”Van der Put said there is a very low probability of such a spill.In all 337 interveners are scheduled to testify about the pipeline during hearings in cities across Canada.The hearings are scheduled to conclude in Kingston, Ont., in December and the energy board must make a recommendation to the federal government by March, 16, 2018. Energy East pipeline is safe, good for country, TransCanada tells NEB hearings by The Canadian Press Posted Aug 8, 2016 8:16 am MDT Last Updated Aug 8, 2016 at 2:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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