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The Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival

first_imgJoin us for a summertime spectacle, as Hot Air Balloons light up the sky with a beautiful glow. It’s the first annual Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival on Saturday, August 19th, from 3-9pm.Come soar with us as the sky is filled with a spectrum of color like never before, against the breathtaking backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival will feature something for everyone — from family friendly activities, live entertainment, crafters demonstrating and selling their artwork; food truck court, local craft beers and a wine tasting.A colorful balloon inflating at night. Shot with a D300The balloons will begin to inflate at dusk and glow for around an hour. This means the balloons are usually up from about 8-9pm, conditional on the weather. Admission is Free. Parking for the event is $15.  Four-legged friends are not discouraged from attending the Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival, but we understand that the balloons can be frightening and noisy, in the same way that a fireworks show creates stress for our furry pets. All pets must be leashed and poop bags are required.Another Reason to Look Up — While you’re here, catch the Total Solar Eclipse on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies. On Monday, August 21st, experience a total solar eclipse — for the first time in 26 years! Only certain parts of the United States will experience this cosmic event, and the Peaceful Side of the Smokies is the perfect location for this cosmic phenomenon! Mark your calendar to spend a few days with us to enjoy these two great events in the sky! hot air balloons at nightThe event will be held at the Townsend Visitor Center — 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882. For more information, visit www.gsmballoonfest.comor email us at: [email protected]last_img read more

US pledges millions for Caribbean security initiative

first_img Share Share Sharing is caring! NewsRegional US pledges millions for Caribbean security initiative by: – October 14, 2011 Image via: usaid.govGEORGETOWN, Guyana — Come next year 2012, the Caribbean is to benefit from another injection of US$77 million, which the United States said it would be using to develop projects to fight crime and violence in the Caribbean region under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) launched last year. The CBSI is a shared regional security partnership between Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, the Dominican Republic and the United States. The partners identified three core objectives to deal with the development threats facing the Caribbean: reduce illicit trafficking through programs ranging from counter narcotics to reducing the flow of illegal arms/light weapons; advance public safety and security through programs ranging from reducing crime and violence to improving border security; and promote social justice through programs designed to promote justice sector reform, combat government corruption, and assist vulnerable populations at risk of recruitment into criminal organizations.The CBSI Commission is currently holding its second meeting in Guyana on Thursday and Friday. It is at that meeting that Julissa Reynoso, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central America and the Caribbean, Bureau of Western hemisphere Affairs, United States Department of State, announced to security officials and international development partners that the 2012 budget of US$77 million would be used to support greater coordination and control of border and maritime routes, training and capacity building for law enforcement and justice sector, even while continuing previous efforts in education and workforce development for vulnerable youth and at risk populations.Reynoso, who is co-chairing the meeting with St Kitts and Nevis, announced that in the next few months, her country would be delivering to the Eastern Caribbean high-speed interdiction boats and relevant equipment as part of the US Secure Seas Effort. Those boats would complement ones provided to The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica as part of a broader regional maritime security program. Guyana and Suriname will also receive riverine patrol boats and related equipment in 2012. “We are proud of the accomplishments of the past year under the CBSI, she said. “We have encountered many challenges but we believe that the CBSI provides a useful and necessary framework for coordination and collaboration with our partners in the region.” Reynoso was of the firm opinion that the partnership to date had spawned measurable results in the three priority areas. In the area of law enforcement information sharing, she reported that surveys of fingerprint processes, equipment, recordkeeping and training in six member states and that automated fingerprint identification system equipment were now being purchased for those six member states. In the area of justice reform, she explained that the CBSI had agreed to dedicate a regional legal advisor to develop a task force to address critical crime issues including homicides and to advise on legal reforms. In addition, the US and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) were working through the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) to screen passengers into Caribbean ports of entry. Training on integration of information into national databases, regional border interdiction exercises and border enforcement training for fifty CARICOM customs, immigration and police officers were also planned for the coming months. In the area of promoting social justice, Reynoso stated that the partnership was supporting education and youth workforce development including youth entrepreneurship. “We are expanding our youth workforce development projects in the six OECS countries and in Suriname,” she added. The US is also working with its CBSI partners to promote effective prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of financial crimes, including money laundering terrorism financing and public corruption. Preliminary assessments have been conducted in Trinidad and Guyana with technical financial crimes assistance and training would begin in November. Amidst concerns that the CBSI partnership had not made the impact that it should have, Reynoso noted that in its first year there might have been challenges but in the coming year, things would be better. Caribbean News Nowcenter_img 30 Views   no discussions Share Tweetlast_img read more

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