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Wenger keen on Walcott extension

first_img Press Association With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set for a spell on the sidelines because of a hamstring injury, Walcott could come into contention against West Ham on Saturday. “It is an opportunity. Theo is ready now to play games, but when a player has been out for a year, when he comes back he always thinks he is ready,” said Wenger. “When you speak to him three weeks later and ask him if he thinks he really was ready three weeks earlier, he says, ‘now I realise, no’. “I have been holding him back because he has been out for a long time and for the fact there is intense competition (in the side).” Asked if players had to accept now that they cannot always start, Wenger said: “They know that, we all know that. You know it, I know it.” Captain Mikel Arteta is another player Arsenal intend to hold onto, but will not offer the 32-year-old Spaniard more than a one-season extension as line with club policy. “Nothing is done yet,” said Wenger. “I don’t know what he wants more than one year – ideally he wants 10 years, but no, he will not get more than one year anyway.” Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to be sidelined for around a month, which rules him out of the contention England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley on March 27 and the friendly with Italy in Turin four days later, along with Jack Wilshere who is recovering from minor ankle surgery. The 21-year-old had just returned to the side from a groin injury, and impressed against United, helping to set up Arsenal’s opening goal at Manchester United as they reached the FA Cup semi-finals. Wenger, though, feels Oxlade-Chamberlain can recover. “We are always tempted to play him because he even if he is not completely fit, he has that surge of power, naturally, that even if you think he will not last 90 minutes he can still make a difference,” the Arsenal boss added. Walcott, 25, has spent the last few games watching from the bench as he is eased back from a year out after a serious knee injury. Wenger still has every faith in the former Southampton starlet, who joined Arsenal in January 2006 and is the club’s longest-serving player, but insists everyone has to earn their spot in the starting XI. “The first contacts have been established with the embassy. We will see how that (negotiations) progresses politically,” said Wenger. “Walcott was difficult to convince (in 2013) and that is why it took us much time. “We have started very early with him, but it was slow progress – he is very quick on the pitch, but off the pitch not always.” Wenger continued: “I always wanted to keep him and I still want to keep him now. “I want him to stay and be a regular player and fight for his place, but no matter where you go if it is a big club you have to compete for your place. “We went to Manchester United on Monday night – look at what they had on the bench, look at what was sitting on the bench at Chelsea versus Paris St Germain on Wednesday night, that is part of the job.” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants Theo Walcott to stay at Arsenal for the long-term – but warned there can be no guarantees of a first-team place for anyone. Negotiations have started, albeit moving slowly, over the prospect of a new contract extension, with the England forward’s current £90,000-a-week deal not set to expire until the summer of 2016. The landscape now, however, is much different to the last time the club were looking to secure Walcott’s future in what turned out to be a protracted saga before he eventually signed in January 2013, with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and fellow England colleague Danny Welbeck also now on board. last_img read more


CARICOM has Successfully Kept Low COVID-19 Infection Rates

first_imgGEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat says the 15-member regional integration grouping has managed the challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to great effect, ensuring that its cases have been kept low relative to larger and more affluent parts of the international community. This work was guided by the CARICOM Secretariat and the Community Institutions and their international partners led by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and including the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), the Regional Security System (RSS) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), continues to be a major partner. The Community’s evidence-based response efforts to COVID-19 were heavily underpinned by daily surveillance and modelling from the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre at the University of the West Indies. It said the member states have been ranked among the best in the world in their response to the pandemic in many global assessments. There has been no complacency as they maintain their science-based approach to containing this virus. CARICOM is attributing this success to the coordinated regional approach across the 20-member grouping, the swift and deliberate actions taken by its leadership, and the expert guidance and support from its specialised Community Institutions. CARICOM IMPACS and the Regional Security System further teamed up to help Member States prevent and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 to prisons and correctional facilities, with air-lifted supplies of sanitary and other COVID-19 related supplies during May and June. CMC The donated items included infrared thermometers, and cleaning products including bleach and hand sanitisers. The region has to date avoided outbreaks of the disease among its prison populations. The Centre worked closely with CARPHA to provide critical scientific statistical analysis used to guide Member States understanding of the disease processes (cases, deaths, outbreak growth rates etc) and non-pharm interventions to determine management of measures to restrict or re-open. The daily monitoring also helped to guide changes to national responses including decisions by governments on easing the controls they put in place. As at July 10, the figures show that CARICOM member states and Associate Members with a combined population of about 19 million, had recorded just over 9,000 positive cases from which almost 5,000 had recovered, and there were only 220 deaths. The virtual training equipped the officers on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) particularly in the conduct of their daily duties at ports of entry and with investigations. The training, hosted in collaboration with the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative – Connect programme, reached more than 500 frontline workers from various security divisions – police, prisons, customs, immigration and military. The Secretariat noted that regional governments began their engagement from January this year when regional interest in the disease first began to develop and continued to collaborate on best approaches to combat the spread, as the first cases reached the region in March.center_img The IMPACS operated Joint Regional Communications Centre, which provides advanced passenger information, has been allowing for better management at the ports of entry across the region though collaboration with port health authorities,” the Secretariat added. As the Ministries of Health steadily built up their own testing capacity, the RSS facilitated the transportation of their samples to CARPHA’s Trinidad and Tobago-based testing facilities that uses World Health Organization (WHO) recommended procedures for testing, verification or validation. Direct presentations were made to special emergency meetings of CARICOM Heads of Government, and to CARICOM Health Ministers through the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD). In May, as the region began preparing to ease COVID-19 restrictions, CARPHA and CARICOM IMPACS teamed up to train front-line security officers across Member States on measures to protect themselves in the line of duty. CARPHA, through its Tourism/Travellers and Health Programme, has facilitated training sessions in the critical tourism sector while also using the programme to help restore visitor confidence in the Region’s tourism product. Going forward, the Secretariat said the Caribbean Community has been offered access to the African Union Medical Supplies Platform, a procurement system for additional supplies and equipment in the fight against COVID-19. The Platform provides immediate access to an African and global base of vetted manufacturers and procurement strategic partners at more competitive costs. Active cases in 13 CARICOM countries were in single figures, and in double figures for a further three, with only one member state above a thousand. It has also published other guidelines to assist with facilitating reopening of Member States, including Interim Guidance for Domestic Workers and an Interim Guidance document on Resuming Office Operations. CDEMA, through its long-standing Regional Response Mechanism, has been coordinating the logistical arrangements for critical COVID-19 related supplies. A specialised Core Coordination Cell (for Health), which also includes CARPHA, the CARICOM Secretariat and PAHO was established for this this purpose. Regional health ministers began a series of Special Emergency Meetings from 3 February from which a regional protocol establishing minimum standards for dealing with the COVID-19 virus emerged.last_img read more


Govt taps into Treasury for $6.4 billion

first_imgThe coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC), six months into its second financial year, has already tapped the treasury another .3 billion, in addition to the 0 billion Budget for 2017.Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Friday tabled the first financial paper for 2017Parliament sitting on Friday where legislators heard of monies being withdrawn from the Treasuryfor a period outlined between January 1 and December 31, 2017.The Financial Paper, No 1/2007, as presented by the Finance Minister, details the expenditure being divided into $143.6 million to be used on recurring expenditure to be used by the Ministry of the Presidency and the Finance Ministry.Of that allocation of $143.6 million, the document detailed, $130 million will be utilised by the Finance Ministry, not only for recurring expenditure, but the money also provides for the establishment of a Special Purpose Unit to manage the reform of the sugar industry.According to the Financial Paper, “this amount ($130 million) includes provision for employment costs, utilities, professional and legal fees, advertisements, office space, and operating supplies, furniture and equipment.”This money has been represented as subsidies and contributions to localFinance Minister Winston Jordanorganisations.Meanwhile, provisions have also been made for the Department of Innovation and Education Reform, housed in the Ministry of the Presidency.The Financial Paper outlines the additional spending on this department. One of the glaring increases for this department is the more-than 700 per cent increase in employment cost for its contracted employees – up from an originally voted provision of $899,000 to more than $6.3 million.This department is also slated to receive, under Capital Expenditure, in excess of $3 million for the provision of furniture and equipment.Another of the beneficiaries of the largesse supplementary provisions from the national coffers is the Public Infrastructure Ministry.While some of the provisions represent inflows from foreign-funded projects, in excess of $1.4 billion were taken from the national coffers in order to meet expenditure related to the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at $300 million, a final payment on the rehabilitation of the MV Lady Northcote, in addition to money “to meet the increased cost of vehicle.”Other projects for which Government has expended additional sums of money relate to the construction of highway overpasses to be constructed at Houston, Eccles, Peters’ Hall, Diamond, and Providence East Bank Demerara.According to the Financial Paper, “this supplemental request is premised on the fact that the government has successfully completed negotiations with the IDB to utilise uncommitted balances that would have been cancelled as at March 31, 2017…The final disbursement date has consequently been revised to December 31, 2017.Another $160 million have been allocated for repair to the sinkhole project in the vicinity of the Kitty Pump Station.Other projects to benefit from the allocations include several of the large road repairs and construction, and the upgrade of the power grid at almost $2 billion.It was explained in the Financial Paper that the provision represent an inflow from the IDB to facilitate the payment of mobilisation advance and other areas under the programme, including the supervision of civil works and management of the project.The bond and advances were supposed to have been paid in 2016, according to the Finance Minister, but this did not obtain.last_img read more