Posts tagged with "Canada"

Last chance: Join a trip aboard a submersible to the Titanic wreckage and debris field

January 2, 2018

Are you adventurous? You may want to consider the opportunity to visit the most famous shipwreck ever—the RMS Titanic, which sank  on its maiden voyage in the wee hours of April 14, 1912—if you have the funds ($105,129) and the fortitude to sign up with OceanGate Expeditions for one of six, weeklong tours next summer.

After all of these years, deep-sea bacteria have begun to consume the Titanic. Ocean Gate is offering tickets to visit the stately ship one last time and to help measure its deterioration.

Those who sign up will be among a select few who ever have visited the site: Fewer than 200 people have seen the wreck in person—representing just a fraction of the number who have flown in space or climbed Mt. Everest.

Each weeklong mission will start with a helicopter ride to the support ship, Island Pride, located about 380 nautical miles south of Newfoundland off the coast of Canada. Aboard the support vessel, accommodations and meals will be provided.

After comprehensive orientation sessions to learn how to assist the crew planning the dive, four days are allotted for the dives (subject to weather conditions) aboard the appropriately-named Titan submersible.

The submersible will take a pilot and four passengers down about 12,800 feet under the surface of the icy ocean to the site of the ship’s wreckage and the debris field. Average dive time will be six to eight hours. Dive time may vary, depending on specific mission objections; and environmental, logistical, or personnel considerations.

“Citizen explorers” will need to qualify for participation before being accepted to the program. According to the Titanic Survey Expedition website, those who sign on for the trip must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age when the mission begins,
  • Have a valid passport,
  • Be able to live aboard a dive support ship at sea for up to one week,
  • Be able to board small boats (Zodiacs) in rough seas;
  • Be comfortable in dynamic environments where plans and timetables may change,
  • Be able to demonstrate basic balance and flexibility (e.g., climb a six-foot ladder, carry 20 pounds), and
  • Be able to complete the required one-day Helicopter Underwater Egress Training

Helicopter Underwater Egress Training is a one-day (8-hour) course that provides an understanding of the hazards of helicopter over-water transportation. Whether landing on the helideck of a ship or offshore platform,  this course will provide participants with knowledge of personal and helicopter safety and survival equipment;  and introduce them to emergency response procedures designed to prepare for water impact with a subsequent abandonment on the surface or egress underwater. This training includes a classroom session of about  two hours, and practical training of about two hours in a pool environment where students will don a survival suit and practice egress from a simulator in multiple landing scenarios.

If you are interested, don’t lose any time: The first four missions already are booked, with only a few spots left available in the final two expeditions.

Research contact: @OceanGateExped

Six Flags will pay you to spend 30 hours in a ‘slightly used’ coffin

October 1, 2018

An “out-of-the-box idea” is gaining traction at the Six Flags theme parks. After more than 25,000 people registered for the chance to spend 30 hours in a box—a coffin, to be specific—at Six Flags St. Louis, the company decided to roll out the challenge at 15 of its parks in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The 30-Hour Coffin Challenge— scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 13 through 7 p.m. on October 14—is being used to take “the fear factor to the extreme” at the parks’ Halloween-themed Fright Fest, management announced in a September 27 statement. All participants who last the full 30 hours will receive a cash prize of $300, as well as Gold Season Passes for 2019, and Express Haunted House Passes.

“No one does Halloween like Six Flags and this year is the biggest and scariest ever. We have added more zombies, more ghouls, and more haunted mazes to make this the most talked-about Halloween event in the industry,” said Chief Marketing Officer Brett Petit. “And this year, the 30-Hour Coffin Challenge has taken the country by storm. Everybody wants in.”

To participate, you have to be 18 years of age or older and have a valid photo ID. In addition, competitors:

  • Cannot have medical conditions that would make lying in a coffin for 30 hours a risk to health or well-being;
  • Must sign a waiver at check-in;
  • Must be able to lie completely flat and still; and
  • Must provide their own pillow and sleeping bag or blankets.

Six Flags will provide the coffins and meals. Participants will receive one six-minute bathroom break every hour and will have access to phone charging stations. Friends can join participants while the park is open but won’t be allowed after the park closes.

Participants who leave their coffin for any reason except scheduled bathroom breaks will be disqualified.

Research contact: @Six Flags

Putin challenges Trump’s tariffs

July 5, 2018

Russia has requested talks with the United States on President Donald Trump’s decision to impose new duties on steel and aluminum—the first step in formally challenging the action at the World Trade Organization. Indeed, the subject may come up at the July 16 summit  in Helsinki, Finland, already scheduled by Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

The complaint filed Monday is the seventh initiated by a WTO member against Trump’s new tariffs, following cases brought by China, India, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and Norway, Politico reported on July 2.

Moscow’s move comes just as the Trump administration is mulling 25% tariffs on auto imports in the name of national security.

The U.S. imported $192 billion in new passenger vehicles in 2017, according to Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Russia claims the U.S. duties of 25% and 10% on imports of steel and aluminum products, respectively, are inconsistent with provisions of the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards, Politico said.

The Trump administration imposed the duties under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which allows a president to restrict imports to protect national security.

However, rather than accept the U.S. national security rationale for the steel and aluminum duties, other WTO members are treating the restrictions as emergency “safeguard” restrictions, Politico reported. Such restrictions are allowed under WTO rules but must meet certain criteria to pass muster. Steel safeguard restrictions imposed by former President George W. Bush in 2002 were struck down by the WTO.

The EU, Canada, Mexico, China and others also have retaliated against the U.S. steel and aluminum duties, arguing that they are entitled to take such steps because the United States did not compensate them for imposing safeguard restrictions.

On tariffs, 48%  of Americans disagree with President Trump’s imposition of new levies on steel and aluminum imports, while 36% agree, according to findings of a recent CBS News poll. When asked specifically about tariffs on Canadian imports, the number of Americans who disagree rises to 62%. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans approve of the Canadian tariffs.

Research contact: @CBSNews

Canadian legislators vote to ‘go to pot” nationwide in September

June 21, 2018

Following a 52-29 vote in Canada’s Senate in favor of The Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) on June 19, America’s neighbor to the north will become the second country in the world—and the first G7 nation—to legalize marijuana this coming September. The first nation to do so was Uruguay, which decriminalized marijuana production, sales and consumption in December 2014, according to a report by CNN.

The move—promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the run-up to his election—was supported by nearly 70% of the Canadian population, based on findings of a CTV poll conducted back in 2016. A more recent Nanos survey established that 43% of Canadians fully supported legalization, while 26% “somewhat’ supported the idea; and only 26% opposed decriminalization.

On Twitter, Trudeau said he was happy with the legislative vote, noting, “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana—and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept

Indeed, the bill set a floor on the minimum age of the consumer at 18 years—and makes the production, distribution, or sale of cannabis products an offense for minors. Canadian adults will be able to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public, the bill specifies. They also will be allowed to cultivate up to four plants at home and prepare products such as edibles for personal use.

However, stringent rules will still govern the purchase and use of marijuana, CNN reports. Consumers are expected to purchase marijuana from retailers regulated by provinces, territories or—when neither of those options are available—federally licensed producers. Marijuana also will not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco.

The Canadian government also has implemented changes to its impaired driving laws, to address repercussions is estimated to surge as high as 58%, especially as users are expected to be willing to pay a premium for legal access to the drug

In the United States, BDS Analytics  has estimated that the marijuana industry took in nearly $9 billion in sales in 2017.

Research contact: @bani_sapra

Trump imposes steel, aluminum tariffs on EU, Canada and Mexico

June 1, 2018

The Trump administration will levy onerous steel and aluminum tariffs on its close allies—the European Union, Canada and Mexico—starting today, in a move likely to lead to retaliation and risk the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), The Hill reported.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a conference call with the media on May 31 that—following months of entreaties from the three trading partners—the president had decided to end temporary exemptions.

This is not a step that the American public support, based on results of a recent Quinnipiac Poll. U.S. voters oppose (50% to 31%) tariffs on steel and aluminum, and disagree (64% to 28%) with President Donald Trump’s claim that a trade war would be good for the U.S. and easily won, the researchers found.

Every listed party, gender, education, age and racial group opposes steel and aluminum tariffs, except for the Republicans, who support tariffs by a lackluster 58% to 20%; and white voters with no college degree, who are divided (42% to 40%).

American voters oppose these tariffs (59 % to 29%), Quinnipiac found, if these tariffs raise the cost of the goods they buy. Indeed,American voters disapprove (54% to 34%) of the way in which the POTUS is handling trade.

Ross said on Thursday, “We look forward to continued negotiations with Canada and Mexico on one hand; and with the European Commission on the other hand, as there are other issues we need to get resolved.”

The Commerce Secretary noted that the Trump administration would need to see the reactions of Canada, Mexico and the 28-nation EU bloc before determining what to do next.

But, The Hill reported, he said that U.S. officials are “quite willing and eager” to have further discussions with all of the parties.

The trading partners all had warned America that they intended to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, if President Trump made this move.

According to The Hill, the EU is expected to quickly retaliate with promised tariffs of about $3.3 billion on iconic American products such as bourbon, jeans and motorcycles.

Last year, nearly 50% of U.S. steel and aluminum imports came from the EU, Canada and Mexico. Trump first announced tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum for national security reasons in March.

Canada and Mexico also have said that tariffs are unacceptable, don’t affect U.S. national security and that their implementation could put the fate of NAFTA at stake.

Research contact: peter.brown@quinnipiac.edu

Trump’s tariffs on steel, aluminum raise ‘external risks’ for U.S. companies

March 27, 2018

U.S. trade policy has risen to the top of the list of “biggest external risks” facing the members of the CNBC Global CFO Council., an elite group of chief financial officers representing public and private companies from various major sectors.

Indeed, based on a quarterly poll of the council members released on March 23, more than one-quarter (27.3%) say U.S. trade policy is now the biggest risk their companies face. That’s up from 11.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017, outranking other threats that have recently ranked high among business concerns, including “threat of cyber attack” and “consumer demand.”

The CNBC Global CFO Council represents some of the largest public and private companies in the world, collectively managing more than $4.5 trillion in market capitalization across a wide variety of sectors.

The survey was conducted after President Donald Trump signed a pair of proclamations that impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, but before the announcement on March 18 that the United States will seek trade penalties of up to $60 billion against China for intellectual property theft.

The chief financial officers voiced strong opposition to metals tariffs, especially in the broader context: potential retaliatory moves taken by other countries. “The impact direct from steel/aluminum tariffs would be negligible,” said one CFO respondent. “The indirect impact from retaliation could be significant.”

Almost two-thirds of respondents (65.8%) say the tariffs will have a negative impact on their companies, and even more (86.9%) say they will have a negative impact on both the U.S. and Chinese economies.

The CFO Council’s outlook for GDP has been downgraded amid the increased tariff fears, including in three key global economies. Canada, China and Japan were downgraded from “improving” to “stable” by CFOs.

Still, the United States was rated as “improving” for the seventh straight quarter, while the Euro zone was seen as “improving” for the fourth straight quarter. No region was seen as worse than “stable,” a trend that has now held for five quarters.

Research contact: @DavidSpiegel

73% of Americans want NAFTA to add protections for intellectual property

January 24, 2018

Nearly three out of four U.S. voters  (73%) believe that the North Amertican Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) should be revised and updated to better protect and value U.S. inventions and creativity; based on findings of a poll released on January 23 by ACTION for Trade, a coalition of trade associations, technology companies and creative houses

The NAFTA agreement established a free-trade zone in North America. It was signed in 1992 by Canada, Mexico, and the United States and took effect on January 1, 1994.

The new poll of 1,986 U.S. adults comes as a round of NAFTA talks began yesterday in Montréal, scheduled to run through January 29.

Among the other key findings: Nearly 90% of Americans say that continued innovation is important to ensuring U.S. competitiveness; as well as job creation (91%), economic growth (91%) and the development of new medicines and treatments (89%).

Research contact: 189182@email4pr.com

Should U.S. citizens have a third gender choice on official documents?

November 1, 2017

Canada announced late in August that it would become the first nation in the Americas to allow citizens to choose “X” instead of male or female as a third gender on their passports and other government documents; and now California is poised to be the first state to do the same when it comes to drivers’ licenses. However, according to poll results just released by Rasmussen Reports, Americans overall aren’t quite ready to go that far.

A national telephone and online survey conducted  on behalf of Rasmussen by Pulse Opinion Research researchers determined that fewer than one-third (32%) of U.S. adults favor allowing a third gender option on passports, drivers’ licenses and other official forms of identification. Fifty-one percent (51%) are opposed to this gender neutral option, while a sizable 17% are undecided.

The survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted August 29-30. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

To date, eight countries — Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, and Pakistan —have offered third options for gender identification on their government documents.

Research contact: info@rasmussenreports.com