Olympic Day, celebrated on June 23, gives everyone a chance to take part in various sporting activities, and this year, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) will mark the occasion with a 5K run on June 25. Speaking at the launch at the JOA office in Kingston yesterday, president Michael Fennell said that Olympic Day is important to the 205 member countries. “We are trying to promote certain values in sports. It is important to hang on to and preserve the value of sports,” Fennell told the gathering. “Olympic values are promoted by the IOC (International Olympic Committee). The run is not about records, but values that we need in the society and not only in sports,” the long-serving JOA boss outlined. June 23 is the day on which the Olympic Movement was founded at the initiative of Pierre de Coubertin, at Sorbonne University in Paris in 1894. The 5K will begin at the National Stadium at 6:30 a.m. EVENT OVERVIEW Alan Beckford, a JOA director, gave an overview of the event. “Last year, we had 100 runners, so this year, the aim is to improve on the number of competitors. There is no cost or entry fee to compete, and we thank Puma for coming on board again,” Beckford said. “We will start with a lap at the National Stadium track then on to the road, ending at the JOA office on Cunningham Avenue,” he explained. “We have 37 member associations in the JOA and are asking the associations to wear attire representing their sport,” he encouraged. He also said that parking would be available at the National Stadium parking lots. There would be free hydration stations along the route and Suretime Ambulance would provide service. Jerry Benzwick, Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU) chairman, said that “these are exciting times for sports”. “JRFU is the newest sport in the JOA, and we are encouraged by the association opening the way for lesser sports. We are looking forward to the Olympic Day,” Benzwick said in giving greetings.
Dear Editor,The People’s United and General Workers Union (PU&GWU) sees the move by the APNU/AFC Government to review the 1999 ExxonMobil contract as an excellent and clever one, and the Government should be applauded and fully complimented for such a move, since the Government will have an opportunity to make new proposals that can modify, improve and remove any deficiency that the contract may contained. The contract was made between ExxonMobil and the former PPP/C Government since 1999 (over 17 years ago), we are now in the year 2016 and we have a new government which have the full right to review and make changes to any contract that was signed by the previous Administration and also from the time the contract was made to this year 2016, the price and other conditions surrounding the oil market have changed globally; for example, Venezuela has proven oil reserves in 2013 (297.6 billion barrels), total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 2489.2.Venezuela surpassed Saudi Arabia last year to become the holder of the largest oil reserves in the world but yet still Venezuela is facing serious economic crisis, so having oil is one thing but managing it productively in a sustainable manner is another thing and the APNU/AFC Government needs to take these realities surrounding the oil market, including the Venezuela situation, into deep consideration during the review process of the1999 ExxonMobil contract, etc.Editor, the PU&GWU without the shadow of a doubt is confident that the 1999 ExxonMobil contract needs to be reviewed and modified; hence, the Government needs to make a new draft and enter into negotiation with ExxonMobil so that the contract can be amended to accommodate and include: (a)the Government drafted proposal should provide for ExxonMobil to finance and establish a school in Guyana that will teach, train and equip Guyanese with certificates that will qualify them to be employed with ExxonMobil when the company goes into full operations, etc; (b)the Government draft should include the percentage of Guyanese that will be employed with the company as against how many expatriates will be employed, eg Guyanese should at all times be the higher percentage of employees to be employed with the company; (c) the Government draft should include a clause that provides for Guyanese to enjoy international payment rates, benefits, working conditions and safety standards, etc; and (d) the Government draft should include all international requirements that an oil rig company have to meet to conduct its operations in the oil industry, etc.Editor, when ExxonMobil goes into full operation and production, most of the oil produced by the company may have to be shipped to overseas markets; as such, the APNU/AFC Government without any hesitation should swiftly move in the direction to establish a deepwater harbour at Berbice River, which is an essential point of transit for incoming people and goods. Primarily, deepwater harbours are fundamental to the movement of exports and imports from and to a country.In the Caribbean, the Port of Bridgetown in Barbados has immensely increased trade activities on the island and drastically boosted the tourism sector.Barbados’ deepwater harbour now acts as a homeport for many of the Britainbased cruise ship lines operating in the Caribbean Region, directly impacting the tourism sector and ultimately the economy, owing to the revenue generated from tourists who are almost always willing to spend.The deepwater harbour will not just benefit the ExxonMobil Company to transship its oil, but it will also improve the maritime sector in Guyana and boost business in the shipping sector, generate revenue for the country’s economy, create jobs for Guyanese and strengthen, improve and qualify Guyana’s port to meet international safety and security standards, etc.The Social Protection Ministry’s Labour Department and Guyana’s maritime sector needs to be equipped with safety officers who are exports that have the full knowledge and qualifications as it relates to safety on oil rigs so they can highlight breaches of any safety rules or laws which can endanger the life of workers, etc.In closing, the People’s United and General Workers Union wishes to state that if the APNU/AFC Government does not manage Guyana’s resources properly and also if it does not sign good contracts with foreign companies operating in Guyana, such as ExxonMobil, Guyana can end up in a crisis and Guyana will continue to remain a Third World country, etc.Yours truly,Micah WilliamsGeneral SecretaryThe People’s Unitedand General WorkersUnion
Last year when we launched “the dollar for peace campaign” to strengthen and expand the peace clubs in schools and communities initiative, no one thought of the Ebola epidemic that stunned the people and economy of the country.The news of the Ebola outbreak, as we were rounding up our fundraising campaign, did not resonate with most Liberians and again, no one within Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia knew we were actually raising funds for Ebola prevention and control activities.The MOP takes a rear view look at our 2014 report card, the challenges, achievements and impact of our programs. As you have noticed from our weekly column, we have worked hard with the Liberian public and communities to enhance the contents of our programs.We didn’t commemorate the International Day of Peace, as we wanted to because of the Ebola crisis. The focus of so many of our efforts, during 2014, continued to center on the epidemic. While we did not get to expand our peace clubs into other counties and schools due to the closure of schools, we were able to engage many young persons in the fight against Ebola.MOP-Liberia mobilized over 100 young volunteers in and around Montserrado for community education outreach program. We produced several information and educational materials on Ebola. We helped in the distribution of Ebola awareness materials, raising promotional items and training hundreds of children in the techniques of basic hand washing.In post-Ebola recovery, MOP-Liberia’s priority for this year would focus on the campaign “Ebola Educates,” to deal with EVD myths, issues of false information, stigma and discrimination and conspiracy theory of source of infection.There is an urgent need to improve the coordination of efforts and the sharing of information. We need to prepare the next generation of young people for future outbreak and finance, according to Joachim von Amsberg, a Vice President at the World Bank, “…can be a strong driver of preparedness”. We can no longer be seen to be tardy and sluggish in our approach to disease outbreaks. We must learn from our past mistakes, document our success stories and educate generations on how our resilience and tenacity paid off.Building on last year’s debut and as the fight to burn out the EVD continues, amid hopeful signs of the disease receding, MOP-Liberia hopes to raise additional funds to tell the stories of how it all began; how we managed to cope with the deadliest disease of our generation and how survivors were re-integrated into the society.The purpose of the MOP-Liberia is to build and strengthen the support we need to sustain our peace advocacy efforts. Thanks to you for your support during the year 2014. Even though we lost a significant few of our partnership during 2014, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our strategic partners, Daily Observer, Liberia Peacebuilding Office (PBO), The Carter Center Liberia, Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), Shirley Ann Sullivan Educational Foundation (SASEF), UNMIL, board-members, volunteer peace messengers and Friends of MOP-Liberia that stood with us through our very difficult and happy moments. We owe our growth to you.We hope that as we launch our next fund raising campaign, it will stimulate us all to better collaboration in 2015.Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Educates”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Much has been said before in this space regarding the minibus code of conduct and the expectations for a much-desired improvement in the service provided. From all appearances, this well-intended initiative has made little or no positive impact on the overall operations. If the intention was just for a focus group then it’s possible some gains may have been made. That said, commuters would guage impact based upon visible improvements, which sad to say, are still to be forthcoming.The implementation of the code of conduct is never going to be easy, given what has unfortunately become an engrained culture of disrespect for traffic laws and scant regard for passengers’ welfare by many operators. Numerous complaints have been made in the past about harassment of passengers by touts and a few weeks ago, the Police took action and effected many arrests.While that is welcomed and commendable, it has been long overdue prompting the obvious question; why wasn’t it done earlier and sustained? Not only have commuters pleaded for such Police intervention over time, but there are reports of some operators, who refused to engage the “services” of the touts, being abused and left to languish in their wait for passengers.Touts, who have no investments in the minibuses, demand a sum that they fix from operators to solicit passengers. In the ensuing competition among them, many passengers, including senior citizens, are tugged back and forth at the various parks. It becomes a nightmare for commuters as all helplessly watch the ill-mannered touts continue their daily reprehensible routine.It therefore becomes imperative that the Police sustain their crackdown to curb the menace of the touts. Similarly, they must also provide adequate and constant support to those who are working assiduously to implement the code of conduct. The goal is for commuters to be free from harassment in their travel which can possible see the implementation of a monitored turn-system of loading, as in the speedboat operation. Passengers with a personal choice of bus, wait at their own convenience.This goal is not without challenges. In almost every bus park, there are drivers who adhere to what may exist as a line/turn system of loading. However, there are others operating “special buses”, with no regard for such order and blatantly use selected space to load which generally conflicts with traffic laws. Indivertibly, it leads to an extension in the waiting time by those in the line.This concern has been raised over time with very sporadic intervention seemingly just to appease for a particular moment. Aggrieved operators have alleged that a high number of the “special buses” are owned by influential persons of which many are from the Police Force. If true, it would probably explain the glaring lack of interest for meaningful intervention as allegations have been levelled against the Police of turning a blind eye; not just to that, but to overloading, loud music, breach of road licence to name a few.This is where a more holistic approach for improvement in the service becomes difficult unless all operators are treated equally. Some operators indicated that all can benefit and achieve their daily targets without the harassment and frustration if a systematic approach to loading is implemented and to which all must abide. However, abiding seems extremely difficult for some operators who fragrantly refuse to respect traffic laws and their road service licences.From all understanding, the road service demarks the various routes through specific streets as in the City and roadways for other areas. The reality is that unauthorised streets, even through some villages, are used daily and recklessly by some operators in an effort to avoid traffic lights and to race ahead of others.The official routes have been designed and agreed for a particular purpose which took safety into consideration. A lack of adherence poses tremendous dangers to residents, including children. It also adds to congestion and heightens risk for other users. In addition, undertaking and cutting abruptly into traffic now appears a legal aspect of driving.Adding to frustration is that many of these incidents occur in the presence of the Police who cannot claim to be oblivious of this daily practice. If they were to crack down on the use of unauthorised streets and roadways and ensure defaulters feel the brunt of the law, there is a good chance this menace will be curbed. The same for undertaking especially at the approaches of traffic lights. Not too long ago, a minibus toppled and passengers injured as it reportedly tried to undertake, hitting in the process a concrete curb at Diamond.While the Police can cite challenges in their human resources, there can be no excuse for turning a blind eye when a violation occurs in their presence. Such action, or lack thereof, will only serve to give credence to special and vested interest on their part in the context of the ownership of buses, if not directly; for a colleague. Such scenarios would likely spell doom for the code of conduct. Given the reality, self-interest seems to be taking priority.
Dear Editor,I had to smile at the lean coverage of the so-called independent media on the leaked Auditor-General Report for 2018— the AG Report used to trigger many months of PPP/C bashing. Names used to be named, ministers used to be called out, and reporters used to give their very best in investigative reporting. Imagine the report, which is traditionally released around September, if it was not leaked, taxpayers would not have gotten a glimpse of what our Government cooked up more than a year ago.The APNU/AFC cabal has not only nullified the Constitution with the help of the Courts, obviously but all checks and balances with it as well.I have identified the following more egregious headlines because APNU/AFC came to power promising to tackle these exact issues and of course to eradicate corruption and deliver good governance:1. In excess of G$800M unaccounted for2. Unauthorised spending from the Consolidated Fund3. Tax concessions nearly doubled in 20184. Rampant corruption in drug purchases in the Regions – Page 417 of the AG Report5. Contracts being awarded outside public tender6. Complete disregard for the AG recommendationsWe are now seeing the award of nearly a billion-dollar contract for a capital project to a known Government supporter just before the elections in a new fiscal year by a Government that is without legal footing and without a budget. This is a contract, just like the oil and parking meter which the people of Guyana will be saddled with.We are also seeing the gifting of tens of thousands of acres of land to APNU/AFC cronies which were seized from legitimate farmers. In 2019, we learned of excessive Government spending and racking up of significant debt at the central bank. Again, these are debts on the backs of all Guyanese taxpayers, current and future.Readers will note that the Auditor-General Report for the fiscal year 2019 will not be ready for some time yet, so the full extent of the corruption and thievery will not be known if it ever will be known. It is a rank shame that the AG findings for 2019, which is key to judging an administration’s performance, is not available to enlighten the campaign trail.However, if the above is anything to go by, 2019 was most certainly a blockbuster year for corruption at all levels in this APNU/AFC caretaker administration. I have to further conclude that over the last 4.5 years, there was an inverse relationship between corruption and the reporting and interest in it. This indicates how desensitised we have become.In these times, I have to ask whither Messrs Ram and Goolsarran, our foremost anti-corruption, transparency and good governance gurus.Sincerely,Ravi Ram
“I’m satisfied with the way the young team is developing under the tutelage of Friday, but I must make it clear to Kenyans that the team is not there yet, we still have a lot to do.“Our biggest priority in the next World Series season is for the country to remain in the series as a core team,” Muthee said on Wednesday.On the Safaricom 7s, the chairman assured the audit report of the tournament proceeds will be released to the public next month once the organising committee is through with its work in an effort to avoid the controversy over the event’s finances that arose last year. “The committee will sit and we will have the audited accounts presented to the union, we are transparent and once they are done we will publish them.“We have an audit firm of repute which works with us and we must sure that we conform to the international code of accountability,” he assured.Muthee was speaking after the launch of the 31st edition of the Impala Rugby floodlight tournament that will kick off on October 6 to run for the three weekends until October 20.The annual tournament which began in 1982 has attracted 24 teams from local clubs, universities and secondary schools in the event played under floodlights with a Sh200,000 top prize for the winners.The tournament draw will be released on Friday for the event Mean Machine are the defending champions. “The event has strived to have a legacy and reinforce the belief that success can only be built by applying the highest professional standards in how it operates,” said Odour Gangla, the hosting club chairman.Service provider Airtel Kenya presented a Sh4m sponsorship that will go into logistics of that includes installation of an improved lighting system and enhancement of security.The organisers expect to attract about 15,000 rugby enthusiasts over its three weekends duration that will also be streamed live through the club’s website. 0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000NAIROBI, Kenya, September 26- Kenya have set themselves the modest target of retaining core status in the IRB World Sevens Series during the 2012/2013 season that kicks-off with the Gold Coast 7s in Australia.The country was at risk of losing the cream billing last season as they slumped to 12th with 40 points but with new coach Mike Friday at the helm, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) boss, Mwangi Muthee, believes the core status will be sustained.Muthee added he was impressed with the progress the former England national team tactician had achieved with the local side particularly after he led the Morans and Shujaa national sides into second and third place at the weekend Safaricom 7s tournament.
It was a remarkable triumph because the South Africans were eliminated in the final qualifying round in April only to be reinstated when their Democratic Republic of Congo opponents were disqualified.Success for Sundowns made them Sh150mn ($1.5 mn) richer and secured a place at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan during December.“It was an amazing journey of ups and downs and now we are the champions of Africa,” said Sundowns’ Zimbabwe striker Khama Billiat.“We look forward to Japan and facing the best clubs in the game. It is going to be an absolute pleasure.”Winger Keagan Dolly said: “We knew it was going to be difficult because Zamalek are a great team with some outstanding individuals.“Some people will say we were lucky to get a second chance after being eliminated, but I believe we deserve to be African champions.”Goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawy and captain and midfielder “Shikabala” were among those dropped as Zamalek coach Moamen Soliman made four changes from the side that started the first leg.Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane had to make one enforced alteration with huge Ivorian centre-back Bangaly Soumahoro coming in for suspended Wayne Arendse.Although facing a mammoth task, history offered a hope to Zamalek with two of three previous Champions League finalists in a similar predicament emerging as overall winners.An estimated 60,000 predominantly Zamalek supporters were inside the 86,000-capacity Borg El Arab Stadium on the outskirts of Alexandria as the match kicked off.There are few more nerve-inducing factors in African football than a large Egyptian crowd roaring on their team, but Sundowns calmly survived early pressure.The first scoring chance for the hosts came after 12 minutes when Nigerian Ohawuchi burst through and beat goalkeeper Dennis Onyango, but the ball trickled wide.Ugandan Onyango, a 2016 Africa-based Footballer of the Year finalist, needed medical attention three times before being replaced by Wayne Sandilands on 28 minutes.Striker Basem Morsy had been headlined as the Zamalek dangerman, but recent signing Ohawuchi was posing a bigger threat.A wild but crucial clearance from Soumahoro foiled another attempt by the Nigerian to break the deadlock before Sundowns began to threaten going forward.The first serious chance for the South Africans came on 35 minutes when awarded a free-kick just outside the box, but captain Hlompho Kekana struck the ball into the wall.Zamalek goalkeeper Mahmoud Abdel Rahim did well to push away a goal-bound shot from Percy Tau and a looping Billiat shot struck the top of the crossbar before flying wide.The injuries to Onyango meant eight minutes of first-half stoppage time during which Liberian Anthony Laffor troubled Zamalek twice with a shot and a header.Half-time arrived with the second leg goalless and Sundowns retaining the three-goal advantage they established in Pretoria last weekend.Zamalek started the second half as they did the first, controlling possession and territory but rarely looking like cracking open Sundowns’ defence.After 64 minutes the Egyptian outfit scored and it was no surprise that the goal came from livewire Ohawuchi.Receiving possession well outside the box, he beat one man and unleashed a low, long-range drive that flew into the corner of the net off the left hand of Sandilands.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Zamalek’s defenders Ahmed Mohamed Abdalla El-Sayed Nouh (L) and Ali Mossad defend against Sundown’s Zimbabwean forward Khama Billiat. PHOTO/GuardianALEXANDRIA, Egypt, Oct 24- Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa won a fairytale first CAF Champions League title on Sunday despite a 1-0 second-leg loss to Zamalek of Egypt in Alexandria. A Stanley Ohawuchi goal on 64 minutes was not enough for the home team as they trailed by three goals from the first leg in Pretoria last weekend and lost 3-1 on aggregate.
“Following recent media speculation surrounding my future, I can confirm my retirement from playing professional football,” Gerrard said in a statement.“I have had an incredible career and am thankful for each and every moment of my time at Liverpool, England and LA Galaxy.”Although the Premier League title famously eluded him, Gerrard did win two FA Cups, three League Cups, the UEFA Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the Community Shield.His finest hour came in Istanbul in May 2005, when he inspired Liverpool to come from 3-0 down against AC Milan at half-time of the Champions League final to win the club’s fifth European Cup in a penalty shootout.Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard holds up the UEFA Champions League trophy surrounded by teammates at the end of the final against AC Milan at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul on May 25, 2005 © AFP/File / Filippo MonteforteIn total he made 710 appearances for Liverpool, the third-highest total behind Ian Callaghan and former team-mate Jamie Carragher, scoring 186 goals.Gerrard made 114 appearances for England, a tally bettered only by Peter Shilton, Wayne Rooney and David Beckham, and scored 21 international goals.He appeared at six major tournaments, captaining England at the 2010 World Cup, Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup.“I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career,” Gerrard said.“I am proud to have played over 700 games for Liverpool, many of which as captain, and to have played my part in helping the club to bring major honours back to Anfield, none more so than that famous night in Istanbul.“At an international level, I feel privileged to have won 114 England caps and to have had the honour of captaining my country.”– ‘Door is always open’ –Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, pictured in May 2015, said he could no longer ignore the physical signs that his best days were behind him after announcing his retirement on November 24, 2016 © AFP/File / Oli SCARFFGerrard has been linked with a coaching role at Liverpool and the club’s manager, Jurgen Klopp, said he would be welcomed back with open arms.“The door is always open for him,” Klopp told a press conference.“If he wants to make a different career to his former career then we want to help him.”Gerrard, who has confirmed he turned down an approach from English third-tier side Milton Keynes Dons, said he would take his time before announcing his next move.“I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game, in whatever capacity that may be,” he said.“I am currently taking my time to consider a number of options and will make an announcement with regards to the next stage of my career very soon.”Gerrard said he could no longer ignore the physical signs that his best days were behind him.“The body starts talking to you, the pains and the aches get more regular, the way you feel out there on the pitch changes,” he told BT Sport.“Important people in the game who I trust and have a lot of respect for have said to me: ‘Always go with a tiny bit left. Never overstay your welcome and play on too long where it becomes embarrassing.’“I can feel that’s not too far away, so now’s the right time.”Asked if he would like to pursue a career in coaching or punditry, he said: “I think I’d like to do a bit of both.”– Thunderbolt –Born in Whiston, Merseyside, Gerrard joined Liverpool’s academy at the age of nine and made his first-team debut aged 18 as a substitute against Blackburn Rovers in November 1998.After quickly establishing himself as a dominant force in Liverpool’s midfield, he made his England debut against Ukraine in May 2000.He got his first taste of silverware under Gerard Houllier in the 2000-01 season, when Liverpool won a treble of FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup honours.He launched Liverpool’s fightback against Istanbul with a glancing header and scored a 35-yard thunderbolt the following season to inspire his side to victory over West Ham United in the FA Cup final.Twice strongly linked with moves to Chelsea, he elected to stay with Liverpool, but apart from a third League Cup crown in 2012, the rest of his career proved fallow in terms of silverware.Liverpool looked to be on course for the Premier League title under Brendan Rodgers in 2014, only for a calamitous slip by Gerrard in a match against Chelsea to clear Manchester City’s path to the title.He followed in Beckham’s footsteps with a late-career stint in Major League Soccer with LA Galaxy.“Ability-wise, he was the best midfielder I’ve ever seen,” said former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy.Liverpool tweeted simply: “Legend.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Steven Gerrard spent 17 years at his home-town club Liverpool before finishing his career at LA Galaxy © Getty/AFP/File / Kevork DjansezianLONDON, United Kingdom, Nov 24 – Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday at the age of 36, calling time on an emblematic career.Gerrard spent 17 years at his home-town club Liverpool, 12 as captain, and won nine honours including the 2005 Champions League before finishing his career with an 18-month stint at LA Galaxy.
BAD NEWS.It appears reports of an injury for @AaronMooy are on the mark.He posted this on Instagram overnight. A big blow for the @Socceroos.📸: Aaron Mooy/ Instagram pic.twitter.com/nNZwH2lVJV— FOX Sports Football (@FOXFOOTBALL) December 11, 2018After the match, the Australian midfielder posted a picture on Instagram of his knee in a support brace with three thumbs down emojis.After meeting with a consultant on Tuesday they confirmed he will be out until at least the new year – meaning he will miss the 2019 Asian Cup with Australia.Mooy, who could miss up to 10 games for the Terriers, said: “I’m gutted to be missing an important time for club and country.“We’ve got a lot of fixtures over the Christmas period at Huddersfield Town, but I back the team to continue our good performances and get the results that we’re targeting. Sky Sports presenter apologises for remarks made during Neville’s racism discussion Huddersfield Town have confirmed midfielder Aaron Mooy will be out of action until at least February with a knee injury.Mooy, 28, suffered a tear to his medial collateral ligament in his right knee during the 1-0 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday. gameday cracker Aaron Mooy is out until February with a knee injury BEST OF Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 2 scrap latest Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update SORRY revealed 2 Gerrard launches furious touchline outburst as horror tackle on Barisic sparks chaos “I’m also sad that this injury will rule me out of the Asian Cup. I’d like to wish the Socceroos all the best as they head to the UAE.“I’ll be supporting them from afar.“The hard work on my recovery has already started and I’m looking forward to being back out on the pitch.” Mooy, 28, will be missing from the Australia squad which takes part in the Asian Cup next month Most Read In Football Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT
While we got a glimpse of some dishes, the tours did not enter the actual dining locations, the Satu’li Canteen and Pongu Pongu. Also, Disney hasn’t shown the Windtraders gift shop or its merchandise beyond an illustration.We’re anxiously awaiting Pandora’s previews and will be have more information as it comes in.Stay tuned.Robert Blaszkiewicz is on Twitter @RobertBlaszk and Facebook. Share This!Pandora – Everything You Need To KnowDisney’s collaboration with James Cameron, Pandora – World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom park is the biggest expansion we’ve seen at Walt Disney World since New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. It was first announced in 2011 (yeah, it blew our minds that it’s been nearly 6 years too).Want more Pandora, and then some? Listen to The Disney Dish Podcast with Jim Hill, produced by TouringPlans. Find episode 123 on iTunes or on all fine podcast apps.We also recommend this video from Brian McNichols on Pandora touring strategies. It was made before we knew details about how FastPass+ will work with the new attractions, but the advice is still sound.Check out our Pandora page for the latest news on Animal Kingdom’s newest land and attractions.When will Pandora open?The official opening date is May 27, 2017. However, media is invited on the 22nd, and the land should be in soft open. When an attraction is in soft open, it’s accessible to guests, but can be closed at any time for testing. This lets Disney work out the kinks of something new before its grand opening. Disney Vacation Club owners, Annual Passholders, and Cast Members can expect their own previews of Pandora, possible as early as the last week of April. We will post more information to the blog when we hear it.What attractions does Pandora have?Pandora will open with two major attractions AVATAR – Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Flight of Passage is similar to Soarin’ except you’re on a “banshee” not a hang glider, and you’re “soarin’” over Pandora, not Around the World. There is a 44″ height requirement to experience this attraction, which is higher than the 40″ required for Soarin’ indicating a slightly more intense ride. Unlike Soarin’, this attraction will use 3D goggles to enhance the visual effects.Na’vi River Journey is a boat ride attraction (“it’s a small pandora?”). Previews on ABC feature shows that this is the most technically sophisticated attraction of this type at Disney World. Both attractions are housed a single show building.Then what’s the “Valley of Mo’ara” I’m hearing about?This is the non-attraction part of Pandora with bioluminescent plants, water features, and general atmosphere. If you’re familiar with Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, Flight of Passage and River Journey are to the Valley of Mo’ara as Escape from Gringott’s is to the rest of Diagon Alley. You’ll definitely want to allow time to experience this.Valley of Mo’ara ©Disney (David Roark, photographer)What About FastPass+ at Pandora?Both Flight of Passage and River Journey will offer FastPass+. These are not currently available to reserve in MyDisneyExperience. Look for FastPass to come up 30 days before the opening of Pandora.Smart money says Animal Kingdom will move to a tiered FastPass+ system.Wait, what’s a tiered FastPass+ system?Basically it means when you’re initially picking your three FastPass reservations for the day, Disney asks you to choose 1 from the most popular and 2 from the less popular attractions. This could mean you’ll be asked to pick either Flight of Passage OR River Journey. As an example, here’s how it works at Epcot, where you need to choose between Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After.How do I get in and out of Pandora?Pandora will have two entrances – one close to Tiffin’s, Nomad Lounge, and Pizzafari as you leave Discovery Island and head toward Africa, and the other from Africa’s new Harambe section (where Festival of the Lion King now plays). If you haven’t been to Animal Kingdom in a while, Festival of the Lion King moved from Camp Minnie Mickey (current site of part of Pandora) to Africa in 2013.What’s the best plan for seeing Pandora?Because the two attractions in Pandora are inside show buildings, the time of day won’t impact your experience. The rest of Pandora, on the other hand, will be different before and after dark, and we definitely recommend experiencing both.Here are three plans – one for guests who want to see Pandora and experience the rest of Animal Kingdom, and one for those who ONLY want to see Pandora.I want to do all of Animal Kingdom including Pandora AND I have a FastPass+ for one of the Pandora attractions:In the morning when the crowds head to Pandora and Africa, head to Asia to ride Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids (bring a change of clothes if you plan to ride Kali, because you’ll get wet and there are few things more miserable than walking around a theme park with wet clothes and shoes).After Asia, head to Dino-land for DINOSAUR.Afternoon, go to Africa for Kilimanjaro SafarisAt your FastPass time, experience PandoraEvening, see Rivers of Light (arrive at least 30 minutes before showtime).Return to Pandora after Rivers of Light if it’s still open after the show.I want to do all of Animal Kingdom including Pandora and I DON’T have a FastPass+ for one of the Pandora attractions:Arrive at Animal Kingdom an hour before park open.Go straight to Pandora and do Flight of Passage, then River Journey if you’re among the very first to enter the land. Reverse this if you’re not. (Why? Because the line for Flight of Passage will grow more quickly and for River Journey)Then as crowds continue to fill Pandora, head to Asia to ride Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids (bring a change of clothes if you plan to ride Kali, because you’ll get wet and there are few things more miserable than walking around a theme park with wet clothes and shoes).After Asia, head to Dino-land for DINOSAUR.Afternoon, go to Africa for Kilimanjaro SafarisEvening, see Rivers of Light (arrive at least 30 minutes before showtime).Return to Pandora after Rivers of Light if it’s still open after the show.I only want to see Pandora:Arrive at Animal Kingdom an hour before park open.Go straight to Pandora and do Flight of Passage, then River Journey if you’re among the very first to enter the land. Reverse this if you’re not.Return to Pandora after dark to experience the rest of the Valley of Mo’ara.For adding moving parts to these plans – incorporating Extra Magic Hours, dining reservations, and adding your FastPass+reservations after they’re available – just check out our custom touring plans and plug in your info. This will come up with the best solution for you. Note – adding FastPass+ for the Pandora attractions won’t be available until Disney announces how they are handling these. Using the custom plans requires that you register an account with TouringPlans.With Rivers of Light, The Awakening, and the nighttime effects of Pandora, it’s going to be very difficult to experience all that Animal Kingdom has to offer in one day.How crowded will Pandora be?Very. May 27 is already a peak day for Disney tickets, which means they expect higher crowds. Before the official opening, when word of soft openings comes out, expect every blogger in Central Florida with a camera phone and a WordPress account to be out there to be #First (maybe even us). This is the biggest thing to happen at Disney in years. Get to the parks early.What’s there to eat and buy in Pandora?There will be a quick service dining location, Satu’li Canteen, and a lounge, Pongu Pongu, for your dining pleasure. Tiffins’s and Nomad Lounge are also nearby.Windtraders is Pandora’s main gift ship.What else do we know about Pandora?ABC/Disney has been advertising Pandora very heavily (though perhaps not the results they were looking for), and we’ve been scouring the press materials to see what else we can find out before Pandora’s soft open. ABC’s news division and shows “The View” and “The Chew” featured sneak previews the newest land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.Opening May 27, 2017 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Pandora – The World of Avatar will bring a variety of new experiences to the park. (Disney/Handout)Rikki Niblett covered many of the details in her comprehensive post on the various shows. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to go read her piece first. What I would like to do here is to drill down to some of what you may have missed if you weren’t watching closely. We’ll see what questions were answered and what questions remain.Grand entrance(s)Late last year, Disney released an image of the bridge that will take you from the Tiffins/Nomad Lounge area into Pandora. A recent ABC News video takes you along on a walk from the Tree of Life over to the bridge and into the very edge of the land. Here’s a screen grab of the area of Pandora closest to the bridge, dubbed the Valley of Mo’ara. In this image, you can see lush foliage, both real and man-made.Valley of Mo’ara sign, just over the bridge to Pandora (ABC News)Initially, the walkway looks fairly wide to accommodate crowds. You can see a large pod to the right, one of the many sculpted plants that will light up with bioluminescence at night. The area also includes a Na’vi drum circle with instruments to play and other cultural totems.From this entrance, the floating mountains are mostly hidden, but can be glimpsed in the distance to the right. I’m guessing that this setup holds back the full breadth of the structure until you get further into the land.The Valley of Mo’araThat brings us to an interesting preview shown on “The View” with “Avatar” director James Cameron taking Whoopi Goldberg on a tour of the land. The pair don’t enter from the bridge we’ve seen. Instead, they emerge from a small opening in a rock structure seen here in this screen grab.James Cameron gives the big reveal to Whoopi Goldberg. (“The View,” ABC)Here, Cameron makes a big deal of revealing the floating mountains, which could barely be seen from the end of the bridge. This indicates that, rather than being wide open, Pandora – The World of Avatar has structures to explore, which hide the floating mountains initially for a big reveal later. In a way, it’s reminiscent of what Universal did with the entrance to Diagon Alley in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.Chasing waterfallsNow, back to those floating mountains. If you’ve been to the park over the past couple years, you could see the structures being built with the framework holding those mountains skyward now camouflaged by “vines.” But what we had not yet seen is captured in these screen grabs: the waterfalls coming from the mountains.Waterfall feature in Pandora. (“The View,” ABC)Floating mountain waterfalls. (“The View,” ABC)It’s a pretty neat trick, managing to get water pumped upward and piped through the structure. The result is this majestic bit of Imagineering.From the clip, which also shows flowing brooks, it appears that water will play an important role in this area. The effects add a layer of realism and kinetic energy that can’t help but draw your eye. And, at the height of the summer, the waterfalls may also provide a cooling mist when you’re sweating down below.What about the rides?In segments on “Good Morning America” and “Nightline,” Paula Faris toured the land and experienced both attractions. She rode the Na’vi River Journey with Imagineer Joe Rohde and Avatar: Flight of Passage with “Avatar” producer Jon Landau.Viper wolves in the Na’vi River Journey. (“Nightline,” ABC)As you can see in this screen grab from the Na’vi River Journey, more than the traditional Disney audio-animatronics are at work here. The fluid-moving “viper wolves” seen here look like a projection effect. We do not see the Na’vi audio animatronic, whose face has been featured in other previews, in these clips.On the Avatar: Flight of Passage attraction, Landau guides Faris through a scanning process for the creation of an avatar, then a process where she is “decontaminated.” I’m not sure exactly what that involves.Jon Landau and Paula Faris seated for Avatar: Flight of Passage (“Nightline,” ABC)In this screen grab the pair sit in “link chairs,” individual seats with armrests and handles. They then put on their “riding goggles,” which I assume are 3-D glasses. That was as much as they would reveal, though. We’ll have to wait to find out what the visual look like and what kind of motion effects will be used to simulate riding on a banshee.And the food?ABC’s “The Chew” got in on the act, sampling one of the dishes to be served in Pandora. Here, you see Lumpia, pineapple cream cheese spring rolls to be served at the Pongu Pongu snack stand. The host described the dish as Chinese in origin, and popular street food in Indonesia and the Philippines.Lumpia from Pongu Pongu. (“The Chew,” ABC)On “Nightline,” Faris sampled a Na’vi blueberry cheesecake that will be served at the Satu’li Canteen. She also enjoyed a glowing specialty drink from Pongu Pongu. The chef described it as nectar of Pongu Pongu, topped with passion fruit boba balls.This post has more details on the dishes at Satu’li Canteen, which will have an option to order your meal using your mobile device.Na’vi blueberry cheesecake and Pongu Pongu nectar with passion fruit boba balls. (“Nightline,” ABC)Unanswered questionsThough we saw expansive daylight views, we didn’t see a wide shot of the bioluminescence at night. A few closeups, however, give us a hint of what we’ll see. Either Disney is saving the full effect for later, or they’re still putting the finishing touches on the landscape. We did get a glimpse of the bioluminescent effects in the pavement, which look like the fiber optics in Epcot’s pavement taken to a whole other level.Bioluminescent plants and pavement in the Valley of Mo’ara. (“The View,” ABC)