The India-Pakistan connection made them a global talking point at the US Open but Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi do not even consider themselves from two different nations.They were the first India-Pakistan combination to reach a Grand Slam final and their coming together and doing well at a tennis major, generated a huge interest.Even the Ambassadors from the two countries to the United Nations came together to cheer them and it was enough for media to add some political colour to the coverage, considering the two countries have fought three wars since becoming independent.Media coined terms like ‘Indo-Pak Express, Indo-Pak peace pair’ to describe their pairing but Bopanna today said he and Qureshi have never thought about the countries they belong to and their compatibility as individuals was the sole reason behind their partnership.”Qureshi and I got together because we felt that we would make a good doubles team. We know each other for so long and have a great understanding so it only made sense to play together.”We never intended on making any political statement. It is the media who gives us these tags, we never look at each other as being from different countries,” Bopanna told PTI in an interview.Asked that playing with a strong slogan such as “Stop War, Start Tennis” itself was a political statement, Bopanna said them being ambassadors for peace was the sole reason for having that message on their on-court attire.”We are just here to play tennis. We are great friends off the court and are looking to take our careers forward together. Since we are ambassadors for peace we try to spread that message through sports. We are not here to make any political statements,” he insisted. .advertisementThey brought together the two hostile nations to clap, scream and enjoy together and Bopanna said he and Qureshi would love to do more with their partnership.”Well, we want people to trust and respect each other.Sports should never be subject to religion or politics,” he said.Talking about the biggest match of their career, the Indian Davis Cupper said he and Qureshi now have the belief that they are Grand Slam material and could soon even win one.”Earlier we used to win the first set but fall of on the second set and then take the third. But now we want to win big. We focus even harder on the second set, and the entire US Open, the only sets we dropped were in the finals.”Also that we can compete at this level and we know we belong here. We just need to stay focused, work hard and we can win a Grand Slam final.”The runners-up trophy has already earned them a huge bonanza as they are now ranked world number six.”Hopefully, it will lead to many great performances and eventually take us to the No.1 spot in doubles. I am noted as a confidence player, and I am sure that this final, will help me be a more confident player and doing better.”Bopanna could have been only the fourth Indian and Qureshi first Pakistani to win a Grand Slam had they beaten the Bryan brothers — Mike and Bob — in the US Open final.They are little disappointed to miss out on history but still very much satisfied.”We are still working our way towards winning a Grand Slam. Despite the result it was a great achievement to make it to the finals. We were a bit disappointed, but looking back I think that is definitely something to be proud of,” he said.
More Jamaicans should receive employment opportunities in Canada and the United States. The move comes as the demand for skilled Jamaicans continue to grow in Canada and the United States. The Minister pointed out that Canada, in particular, has a huge labour market that needs to be filled. Story Highlights More Jamaicans should receive employment opportunities in Canada and the United States, as the Government seeks to expand the overseas employment programme.Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the move comes as the demand for skilled Jamaicans continue to grow in Canada and the United States. He informed that the Canadian farm work programme should see a 10 to 15 per cent growth this year.“The same goes for the United States where we were down a couple years ago, but the numbers are creeping up again and we expect to see, based on new legislations that President Obama is trying to get through the Congress and the Senate, additional opportunities for us here in Jamaica, if those legislations are approved . So, there is going to be growth,” the Minister said.Mr. Kellier was speaking at a meeting with representatives of Caribbean Airlines to formalize agreements for flying Jamaican workers to the United States and Canada.The Minister pointed out that Canada, in particular, has a huge labour market that needs to be filled. He noted that Jamaica is currently doing well in filling some of that demand, but “we can double the numbers in another three years.”He emphasized that the programme is of mutual benefit to the countries involved, as it provides work for Jamaicans, so that they can take care of their families as well as help to generate economic activity within the US and Canada.“So, it is a cross border win, win situation for both of us and hence we in Jamaica have something to protect and to uphold, to ensure that this programme runs smoothly and that it develops and expands for the benefit of all our citizens who have the ability to participate in it; and that the employers in North America can be satisfied that they get good quality workers to expand their business in a productive way,” the Minister said.Mr. Kellier noted that the Government has put in “a lot of effort to grow the programme,” and warned against any illegal activity that might compromise the programme.“We have put in a lot of resources to ensure the integrity of the programme at all levels. We want to ensure that we stand up to the highest level at scrutiny… We cannot afford to have persons travelling on the aircraft with illegal substances,” he said.The Minister pointed out that the overseas employment programme benefits the country immensely, with the foreign exchange that is remitted.
APTN National NewsA northern Ontario First Nation continues to push for the reopening of a bridge that’s been closed for over two years.CN Rail has not fixed the bridge since it caught fire. That’s left Fort William First Nation with only one other access point.APTN’s Dennis Ward has this story.
Artist Room Geisha GoldfishIn the midst of Shidome, Tokyo’s media city, is a hidden gem of a hotel that sets itself apart by incorporating contemporary art and design throughout the entire property.After two successful art exhibits in the Atrium, Park Hotel Tokyo took its ART (Atrium, Restaurant, Travel) concept to another level with a new initiative: Artist in Hotel.Artist Room SumoOn level 31 of the hotel are 18 unique Artist Rooms, each designed and decorated by talented artists from all over the world.The Artist in Hotel project launched in 2013 and is a take on the popular ‘artist in residence’ concept.Park Hotel Tokyo invites an artist to stay in the hotel to absorb the atmosphere of a particular room before transforming it into a work of art.The artist paints directly onto the walls and ceiling with an incredible level of detail and artistic flair.Each art room portrays a particular Japanese theme, including ‘sumo’, ‘zen’, ‘bamboo’ and ‘dragon’, which is explained in a small plaque inside the room.The art continues into the bathroomOne of the most striking, colourful rooms is Geisha Goldfish, the 12th room in the series painted by Aki Narita.Over seven months, Ms Narita hand painted red goldfish on the walls and ceilings, creating the illusion that the guestroom is an aquarium.“When I looked out of the window, I felt like I was inside an aquarium,” Ms Narita said.The hotel’s fusion of art extends beyond level 31 to the Atrium, which spans from the 25th to the 34th floor and is flooded with natural light from a skylight above.Currently, during Japan’s autumn season, the Atrium is home to a unique exhibit titled ‘The world of Koji Nakano – kneading, molding, dusting and laying down’.Artist Room ZodiacPark Hotel Tokyo describes the exhibit as “somehow charming, somehow absurd, somehow crazy” and invites not only hotel guests but the public as well to enjoy lunch, tea, or a cocktail surrounded by Koji Nakano’s original artworks.After receiving very positive feedback from guests, Park Hotel Tokyo has decided to turn the entire 31st floor into an Artist Floor.By 2016, the floor’s 33 rooms will be uniquely designed Artists Rooms and two of these will be set aside to become an executive lounge; a special benefit to guests staying on the Artist Floor.Additionally, the hotel also plans to host private viewing sessions of the Artist Rooms and hotel art fairs to further embrace and showcase Japanese aesthetics to the world.It is no surprise Park Hotel Tokyo is affiliated with Design Hotels, a collection of 270 independent hotels that each incorporate genuine hospitality, cultural authenticity and though-provoking design.Artist Room Geisha Goldfish Book your stay at Park Hotel TokyoSource = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson
A former Al Jazeera executive has launched a new pan Arabian satellite channel Al-Mayadeen (The Squares).Ghassan bin Jiddo quit the Qatar-based news broadcaster last year to protest against its reporting of the uprising in Syria and has launched the new channel, which is based in Beirut, to counter the influence of Al Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.“We are not a channel that speaks in the name of Iran or the Syrian regime. We are a completely independent channel which reflects reality as it is,” bin Jiddo said at a news conference in Beirut.
Ukrainian cable operator Volia will launch its hybrid IP/cable Smart HD set-top box and catch-up services next month, with multiscreen content to be added by the end of the year, according to Andrzej Metelski, overall project manager for OTT, speaking at Informa’s Digital TV CEE conference in Krakow yesterday.Volia launched OTT to provide interactive services to its own subscriber base and also to extend its reach beyond its own footprint. The operator is already providing the service to partner operators. Next month it will launch a hybrid set top for its existing clients. Catch up TV will also arrive in July, with multiscreen distribution to be added by the end of this year, according to Metelski.He said that customers wanted to watch time-shifted content and the willingness of customers to pay for this convenience has been shown by the success of services such as Netflix and Hulu. Smart HD already provides a library of 20,000 content assets to customers and Volia is planning to deliver as much as possible to multiple screens.Smart HD subs will need a Volia Smart HD set top and an internet connection of 5Mbps. There are three packages, Start for the equivalent of €8 with 90 channels, Optimal for €11 with 120 channels and Optimal HD for €13 with 130-plus channels.Metelski said half of all TV households in the Ukraine currently access analogue over the air TV, with about a third using cable services. Analogue switch off is expected in 2015 and Volia wants to be prepared to win sub to pay TV at that point. To target this market, Volia may offer a hybrid box as well as its IP box, Metelski told attendees. He said Volia is also offering a large number of advertising-supported VOD titles that it can use to tempt free-to-air viewers.Metelski said other reasons for the launch of Smart HD included that high-speed mobile networks are on the way and OTT operators are expected to compete for business. He said an intensification of campaigns against piracy will also help drive those that currently use illegal services to legitimate pay TV services, and Volia could stand to benefit from that.