Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Celia Franca passes from this world.

OTTAWA -- Celia Franca, the founder and former artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada, died Monday at the age of 85, the dance company said.

The veteran dancer had been admitted to the Ottawa Hospital last week and died there Monday morning, said a National Ballet spokeswoman.

Born in London, England, Franca began dancing at the age of four and was a scholarship student at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Royal Academy of Dance.

She performed with several ballet companies and created the first two ballets ever commissioned by the BBC ("Eve of St. Agnes'' and "Dance of Salome'') before moving to Canada in 1951 on the insistence of a group of ballet enthusiasts who wanted her to found a classical ballet company.

Working as a file clerk at Eaton's in Toronto, Franca was able to come up with the funding and a group of dancers to form the National Ballet of Canada. Their first performance took place on Nov. 12, 1951, at Toronto's Eaton's Auditorium.

"Celia was more than the National Ballet's founder. She was its presiding spirit, its most stalwart supporter and the embodiment of its ideals and values,'' Karen Kain, the National Ballet of Canada's current artistic director, said in a release.

"She inspired generations of dancers by her example and her devotion to the art of ballet. And most importantly, she made us believe in ourselves and that no goal was ever out of reach.''

Franca worked as a teacher and dancer at the dance company before retiring from the stage in 1959, the same year she founded Canada's National Ballet School.

She brought more than 30 Canadian ballets into the company repertoire and choreographed ballets including "Cinderella'' and "The Nutcracker.''

Franca served as artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada for 24 years and was invested as an officer of the Order of Canada and in 1967.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Governor-General issues statement on US Internment of Citizens of Japanese Descent in 1942

-- Virtual Pensacola, Governor-General's Press Release:

Today marks the Sixty-Fifth anniversary of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt's executive order 9066.

The president of the United States, with the support of the Congress ordered the forced internment of US Citizens of Japanese descent for no other crime than having been born of Japanese Descent. This action was upheld by the US Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States.

It is appropriate that this action be remembered at this time. The free world currently faces an enemy as determined as Imperial Japan, and some are again calling for restrictions of the freedoms of Citizens.

The Dominion of British West Florida holds such actions, even in a time of War, to be counter to the ideals of Liberty and Equality before the Law enshrined in our Constitution and the Constitution of other free countries, including the United States.

With the treat of terrorism, and mutual mistrust rising in the world we are compelled to examine the past, and to extract from it the lessons available to us. In hindsight all parties involved acknowledge the internment was a mistake. At the time, it was held to be a reasonable reaction to the perceived threat. We are again in a time of war against imperialism. Calls are sounding to again restrict the Freedoms of the People to “Protect the Homeland”.

We can never again let fear cloud our thinking, nor prejudice guide our actions. The Free World must not repeat the mistakes of the 1940s. In this War of Cultures, we in the West must uphold our ideals, and maintain a culture of Freedom. We must fight according to the Rules we have established for ourselves, and not allow the enemy to set the parameters of this battle.

May God grant us the wisdom to fight the good fight and the strength to win it.

Robert, Duke of Florida, Lord of St. George, GSB
Her Majesty's Governor-General in and for the
Dominion of British West Florida.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hero of Justice Recognized

The Most Honourable Deputy Sheriff Harold Michael (Mike) Altman, Hero of Justice was recognized by the Governor-General on 6 February 2007, with the issuance of a Hero's Certificate.

Deputy Altman was shot and killed while responding to investigate suspicious activity at the home of the Barony Fayette (Jackson County) Sheriff.

The wife of the sheriff, who was also a civilian employee of the Sheriff's Department, was arriving home from the grocery store and talking on a radio phone with her husband when she noticed a man following her into her driveway. She notified the sheriff, who immediately alerted field units to respond to his home.

Deputy Altman was the first unit to arrive at the home. He found that the sheriff's wife had been shot and killed. The two killers, armed with three handguns, then opened fire on Deputy Altman, killing him.

The sheriff and two deputies arrived at the scene moments later and engaged the killers in a gun battle. Both assailants were shot and killed.

One of the killers was also a suspect in the 2001 murder of his wife, a case that the Sheriff's Department is investigating. It is believed that the suspect targeted the sheriff and his wife because civil litigation involving the life insurance of the murdered wife was recently dismissed by a judge. Deputies found ammunition, latex gloves, bleach, vinegar, handcuffs, duct tape, and trash bags inside the killer's vehicle. In addition, both killers wore disguises which included a wig and a glued-on mustache.

Deputy Altman joined the Sheriff's Department on January 3, 2006. He is survived by his wife, parents, stepdaughter, and stepson.

Agency Contact Information
Jackson County Sheriff's Department
4012 Lafayette Street
Marianna, FL 32447

Phone: (850) 482-9624

Monday, February 05, 2007

Grenada welcomes Communists Chinese with Free China (ROC) Anthem

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada - A diplomatic gaffe marred Saturday’s inauguration of the China-financed cricket stadium on this Caribbean island when a band performed the national anthem of Chinese rival Taiwan.

Chinese Ambassador Qian Hongshan and scores of blue-uniformed Chinese laborers who built the $40 million Queen’s Park stadium as a gift were visibly uncomfortable as Taiwan’s anthem echoed inside the 20,000-seat venue.

Describing it as a blunder, Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell pledged an investigation into how the Royal Grenada Police Band could have prepared the anthem of Taiwan instead of China.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Leader of Fiji Coup bans visits by Australia, New Zealand PMs

-- One News

Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Australian counterpart John Howard have been banned from entering Fiji by the country's military regime on Friday.

The move against the two vocal critics of coup leader Frank Bainimarama, follows decisions in Wellington and Canberra to ban the military leader and his supporters from their countries.

Australia and New Zealand have also imposed sanctions on the military regime after it overthrew the elected government on December 5.

Fiji TV reports Clark and Howard's names appear on a Fiji Immigration Department list that bans some people from entering and others from leaving.

Bainimarama's ban on Clark and Howard has been met with derision.

The self-imposed Fijian leader says if he is not allowed to travel to their countries, they are not allowed to travel to his.

Despite Clark and Howard's ban, the Fijian team has been welcomed at Wellington's rugby Sevens.

The tournament kicked off at lunchtime on Friday to the delight of fans.

Around 35,000 people will show up at Wellington's stadium for the tournament, half of them will be from out of town, to watch the 16 international teams take part.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

His Highness the Prince of Wales gets "OK" on new eco-friendly "Palace"

By Nick Britten of the Telegraph

The Prince of Wales has been given the green light to build an eco-friendly house, rumoured to be a "starter home" for Prince William once he gets married.

Planning permission has been granted for the six-bedroom property in the grounds of the Duchy of Cornwall's Harewood Park Estate.

The home, built to stringent environmental parameters, contains a chapel, a rainwater reservoir and stables, and draws heavily from Greek and Roman classical references.

A spokesman for the Prince said that it was designed to be rented out, but would not comment as to who it might be offered to.

Many Royal watchers believe Prince William will make the estate his country residence after he gets married, although he is likely to have company as other redeveloped buildings there are already let out and plans for the future include offering "five-star holiday accommodation".

The estate affords all the privacy a young royal couple like Prince William and his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton would require, sitting on an isolated stretch of road near Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, close to the Welsh border.

It is less than an hour's drive from Highgrove House, the Prince of Wales's home in Gloucestershire. Work on the two-storey house will start later this year, with the emphasis on it being environmentally sustainable.

In a more functional than palatial move, a 200-litre rainwater reservoir will collect and recycle rainwater to the house. The house will even have an eco-friendly reed bed sewage system.

Forty per cent of the lighting will be energy efficient, solar panels will heat the water in the summer, whilst a wood chip boiler using wood from the estate will heat it in the winter.

The roof, made of salvaged Welsh slate, will be insulated using wool, whilst volcanic ash components in the 610mm-thick external walls, some of which will be built from recycled bricks and stone taken from the estate's quarry, will keep the heat in.

The house has been scaled down from its original 14,885 sq ft to 8,500 sq ft to make it more energy efficient but the occupants will still live in splendour. There are six reception rooms downstairs and six bedrooms upstairs – five of which are en suite.

On the ground floor there is also a 25ft dining room and 18ft sitting room, as well as a kitchen, drawing room, library and orangery.

Low energy and water saving appliances will be fitted everywhere, whilst three large recycling bins will make the best use of waste and, according to a sustainability report, make "recycling and composting easy for the occupants".

The report, by Dr Gail Kenton, of the BP Institute in Cambridge, gives the house a "very good" rating according to the Eco Homes 2006 criteria. It misses out on an "excellent" rating predominantly because of its remote location.

The most eye-catching aspect will be the entrance hall containing eight columns inspired by the Telesterion, built in 480BC at Eleusis, north of Athens. According to the plans, it will provide a "mysterious experience akin to being in a forest of columns, which provide a contrast to the large open spaces".

Outside, arches, some of which were inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, will dominate the facade, whilst the walls will contain sculptures of winged lions.

The design of a four-bay garage has been based on one of the smaller monuments on the Acropolis in Athens.

Designed by the architect Craig Hamilton, the house is part of a redevelopment of the 900-acre estate, which was bought by the Duchy in 2000 and will be built on the site of a demolished 17th Century bungalow.

It offers stunning uninterrupted views across the border valleys.

Mike Wilmont, who dealt with the planning application at Herefordshire Council, said it was approved last Wednesday without objection.

He said: "When the initial application was made, it had Crown Exemption, which meant they could pretty much do what they wanted without the need for permission, but the rules changed last year so they needed planning permission from the council."

A spokesman for Prince Charles said: "Work will begin in due course. The house was scaled down in size because the Duchy felt a smaller property would have a greater commercial return. It has always been the intention to build it for the rental market."