Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#UnitedStates, November 1, 2017 – Plantation, FL – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) Plantation’s office recently hosted several travel agents from West Palm Beach, Broward and Miami Dade Counties, to Grand Bahama Island, October 27-28, 2017 via Balearia Caribbean. The visit, which was part of the MOTA ongoing campaign, “The Bahamas is Open For Business, Come See For Yourself,” gave the agents an opportunity to experience first hand, the island’s major hotels, marinas and tourist attractions.“Feedback from the agents have been very positive and encouraging; the agents left the destination confident, knowledgeable and ready to sell our second city, Grand Bahama Island,” said Donna Mackey, Sr. Sales Manager, MOTA.According to Jennifer Gardiner-Bannister, Area Manager at the MOTA, “we have worked assiduously with our travel agents and tour operators communities over the past few years. As we continue to strengthen our partnership alliance, we want to also build on our ‘on-line, off-line, on-island’ strategy with them. This three step strategy, ‘on-line’, which through our website and other social media marketing platforms, provides awareness to these agents of our destination programs, new development, etc.; ‘off-line’ gives us an opportunity to engage and connect with them one-on-one, during sales missions product launches, training seminars and; on-island, where we invite agents to The Bahamas to better understand, promote and personally experience our diverse and unique multiple destination chain. We want to ensure that we have and are providing them with the resources and all the information necessary, for them to do business with us and their clients to visit our shores, again and again,” she said.“Many persons seem to think that The Bahamas was devastated by the recent hurricanes. While two of our Southern islands, in particular, Ragged Island and Acklins, did sustain some property and infrastructural damages from Hurricane Irma, the rest of The Bahamas did not, including the hotels and marinas in our major islands: Nassau, Paradise Island, Grand Bahama, Exuma, Abaco, Bimini, Andros and Eleuthera. Tourism is our number one industry and the economic engine for the country, so it is imperative that we let the world know, through these agents, that The Bahamas feared well and is “open for business, come see for yourself,” she said.The trip is one of several on-going trips planned for the islands of Grand Bahama, Nassau and Bimini. In addition to the familiarization trips, the MOTA sales departments have since the summer season, conducted a series of lunch and learn seminars on land and at sea to top producing travel agents in Tampa, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.Press Release: Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp
Previously, the four groups were managed individually by group publishers, or “community heads” as they were called internally. Also as part of the reorganization, SourceMedia appointed a pair of editorial directors to manage the edit operations of the two new groups, reporting to Morris and Elken. The company also decentralized its marketing operation. As a result, the executive vice president of marketing and strategic planning role was eliminated, with Manoni absorbing the strategic planning responsibilities. Two marketing directors will report to Morris and Elken. Four junior-level positions were eliminated from central service and operations.“We’ve restructured the organization in a modest way that reflects the vision for the business moving forward,” Manoni, who replaced Jim Malkin as CEO earlier this year, tells FOLIO:. “That vision is built around the expansion of new lines of business.”Manoni says the company is launching a training education business for which it has hired a team of three, with expectations to expand that team in the coming weeks depending on performance. He also says the company in July will reinstate 50 percent of salary reductions that were instituted last year. “The good news for SourceMedia is that we’re seeing stability in revenue across the portfolio and growth in some sectors for the first time in more than two years. We’re beginning to change the culture of our organization and become more innovative as we unlock investment for the development of the company, says Manoni. “When I look at SourceMedia today, and I think about the direction I want to take with the business, the game changer for us will be introducing new competencies and new information services.” As part of what CEO Doug Manoni calls a “modest” reorganization, SourceMedia has consolidated its publishing operation from four units to two. One unit will consist of banking and capital markets while the second will be made up of the professional services and technology groups. Leading the banking and capital markets unit is newly-appointed executive vice president and managing director Karl Elken, former senior vice president of sales at The Taunton Press. Elken will oversee SourceMedia’s commercial banking, payments, mortgage and capital markets portfolios, including American Banker, The Bond Buyer, National Mortgage News and Investment Dealers’ Digest. Elken also will serve as a member of SourceMedia’s executive committee.Bruce Morris, who rejoined SourceMedia last August as executive vice president and managing director (Morris previously served as president of the company’s banking and corporate groups), will oversee the company’s professional services and technology groups.
“This isn’t abstract for us—we have had members of our family affected,” says Taliaferro. “These people aren’t just our readers, they are our neighbors and friends.”He also notes that because the team considers itself the national magazine of Texas, in addition to Harvey being a national emergency, they felt it was imperative to help raise money for relief efforts. Thus, they looked to their main product, which is their magazine subscription, as the place to get started.In addition to helping raise money for relief efforts through subscription proceeds, the Texas Monthly team has been actively reporting on Harvey and how it’s affecting Texans.“We have the whole team deployed. We sent reporters to the coast, to Beaumont, to shelters in Dallas and Austin,” he says. “They’ve been on boats and in jacked up trucks. We have reporters and editors in Houston filing stories while trying to keep their homes dry.”Taliaferro says the team is committed to telling people’s stories, going across the state at “a moment when the world needs to see and understand the scale of the devastation.”“It’s also perhaps worth noting that what has been the most read work has been our guide to helping people,” he adds. “It’s been one of the most read stories we’ve ever done.”The Texas Monthly team plans to donate money to organizations working in Texas that will have the greatest impact. Taliaferro says that the decision on where to donate the money will also arise after they calculate how much money they’ve raised.“We are in discussions with several groups right now working in Houston and around the gulf coast region,” says Taliaferro. “Our priority is that the dollars go to real people to help with real problems, and there will almost surely be issues that pop up where dollars are urgently needed. We are watching that closely and hope to have a decision made once we have a firmer idea of how much money we are talking about.”As a result of Harvey’s massive impact, the Texas Monthly team has decided to forgo its ideas for its former October issue, which goes to press next week. They plan to focus the issue primarily on Harvey and its effects.In addition, Texas Monthly is going to match up to $20,000 in donations, and the proceeds will go to @FeedingTexas.— Texas Monthly (@TexasMonthly) August 31, 2017 In the face of the catastrophic devastation that faces Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey, Texas Monthly announced last night that it plans to donate 100 percent of its new subscription proceeds (for the 24-hour period following the announcement) to relief efforts, closing at midnight Thursday night.But now, after raising $7,500 (about 370 subscriptions), Taliaferro, editor-in-chief, tells Folio: they’re opening the time window for another week, and matching up to $20,000 in donations.The monthly magazine, headquartered in downtown Austin, initially made the announcement on its website and social media accounts.Taliaferro, who began his role late last year, says that the Texas Monthly team wanted to do something beyond covering the storm and its effects, so they made the decision to donate subscription proceeds to relief efforts.
The administration hasn’t forgotten about Space Force, first proposed by Trump in a March speech. Pence also announced Trump will soon sign a new space policy directive that will lay out plans and a timeline for the creation of the Space Force as a sixth branch of the armed forces. Pence addressed members of the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing. He was attending a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for Tuesday, but the launch was postponed due to a flight computer error. The rocket is set to carry an Air Force GPS satellite into orbit. Space Command will be headed up by a four-star officer. Trump’s memorandum for the Secretary of Defense asks James Mattis to recommend officers for nomination as commander and deputy commander.”A new era of American national security in space begins today,” Pence said. Sci-Tech 23 Photos CNET’s Holiday Gift Guide: The place to find the best tech gifts for 2018.NASA turns 60: The space agency has taken humanity farther than anyone else, and it has plans to go further. Military Space 1 Share your voice Tags Space Force awakens Comment Vice President Mike Pence announces the revival of the US Space Command in Florida. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET It’s not just NASA that has interests in orbit. The US military has long been involved in space activities ranging from satellite communications to intelligence gathering. That work will be unified under one umbrella with the revival of the US Space Command. Vice President Mike Pence announced the return of Space Command during a speech at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday. “President Trump will direct the Department of Defense to establish a combatant command that will oversee all our military activities in space,” he said.Space Command will become the military’s 11th combatant command, each of which oversees a geographic or functional mission. It joins existing entities including Cyber Command and Transportation Command. Space Command was originally created in 1985, but later merged into Strategic Command in 2002. Donald Trump’s directive will once again make Space Command its own entity. “It will develop the space doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures that will enable our warfighters to defend our nation in this new era,” Pence said. Trump’s Space Force is moving forward. Here’s what you need to know Trump announces Space Force, America’s military presence in space NASA’s wildest rides: Extreme vehicles for Earth and beyond
Sci-Tech Share your voice 35 remarkable new animal and insect species that will freak you out (pictures) Venomous toads hitch ride on a massive snake to escape storm Cussing parrot, dolphins that love TV: The wildest animal news of 2018 Apple squid emoji error has Monterey aquarium up in tentacles More animal news Post a comment Culture: Your hub for everything from film and television to music, comics, toys and sports.Technically Literate: Original works of short fiction with unique perspectives on tech, exclusively on CNET. Enlarge ImageRomeo might finally have a new mate thanks to discoveries from a successful expedition. Global Wildlife Conservation When looking for the perfect mate, one has to kiss a lot of frogs. But what happens when an actual frog needs to find its soulmate?A rare Sehuencas water frog nicknamed Romeo has being living alone inside an aquarium at Cochabamba Natural History Museum in Bolivia for 10 years. It was thought Romeo might be the last Sehuencas water frog in existence, so last year Global Wildlife Conservation created an amusing dating profile for the frog hoping to raise awareness about his plight.Luckily, Romeo’s Juliet may have been found. During an expedition in a Bolivian cloud forest, scientists located and captured five Sehuencas water frogs, a mix of male and female, in a stream hoping to breed them and reintroduce the frogs back into their natural habitat. Tags 35 Photos Teresa Camacho Badani — chief of herpetology at the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny in Cochabamba City — headed up the expedition and seems optimistic for an opposites-attract kind of match between Romeo and one of the newly discovered water frogs. Her nickname? Juliet, naturally. Enlarge ImageThe lovely Juliet awaits her Romeo. Robin Moore/Global Wildlife Conservation “While Romeo is very shy, Juliet is not at all,” Badani said in a Q&A on the Global Wildlife Conservation site. “So we think she will make an excellent match for Romeo. She’s “very strong, and swims very fast. She looks great and is healthy.” Luckily, there’s a backup plan if the pair doesn’t make a love connection. “If the two don’t click, we have some additional pairs who can breed and help save their species from extinction,” Badani said. 0 But before any matchmaking can begin, the recently captured frogs are in quarantine at the museum’s conservation center to be treated preventatively against a deadly infectious disease called chytridiomycosis that’s threatening the lives of amphibians around the world.Then finally, Romeo and Juliet will meet in hopes they will bond and produce offspring that can be placed in the wild.
7 32 Photos Now playing: Watch this: Rotten Tomatoes president: We didn’t change site to protect Captain Marvel Captain Marvel merchandise isn’t kitten around with Goose and Carol Captain Marvel zooming toward $1 billion at the global box office Flip through 32 Marvel-ous images from this super exhibit Captain Marvel Marvel The Avengers How to watch every Marvel movie in the perfect order Related stories Originally published March 23.Update March 24: Notes that Captain Marvel has now passed $900 million in earnings. Share your voice Captain Marvel now stands as the No. 10 superhero release of all time internationally, and No. 21 in the US. Internationally, the movie’s earnings have jetted it past 2007’s Spider-Man 3, which earned $891 million internationally; 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, which earned $880 million internationally; and 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which earned $874 million internationally. As of Friday, the earnings had already sent Captain Marvel soaring past another superhero film starring a female hero, 2017’s Wonder Woman, which earned $822 million globally. The film topped the box office for its first two weeks in theaters, but shed that title this week to Jordan Peele’s new horror movie, Us. Us scared up the third-largest box office opening for a horror film ever, earning $70.3 million at the domestic box office, The Hollywood Reporter notes. The only two horror films to top Us are 2017’s It, with $123.4 million, and 2018’s Halloween, which earned $76.2 million. Captain Marvel hasn’t even been open a month and is on its way to earning one billion dollars globally. Marvel Captain Marvel continues to soar at the box office, and just crossed the $900 million mark in global earnings. The superhero film, starring Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, has earned more than $910 million globally in 19 days in theaters, Disney reported Sunday. That breaks down to more than $322 million domestically and $589 million outside the US. Comments TV and Movies Tags 3:41
What is going on between Huawei and the US? 23 Photos Facebook is apparently taking action against Huawei. / Getty Images Facebook has slapped Huawei with yet another ban by no longer letting the embattled Chinese phone marker preinstall its apps.Huawei phone owners will still be able to download and update Facebook’s apps, but fresh Huawei devices can’t come with Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram apps preinstalled, as previously reported by Reuters.”We are reviewing the Commerce Department’s final rule and the more recently issued temporary general license and taking steps to ensure compliance,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement confirming the move. 1 iPhone XS Max vs. Huawei P30 Pro sample photos Now playing: Watch this: In May, President Donald Trump signed an executive order effectively banning Huawei from US communications networks, because of national security concerns about Huawei’s close relationship with the Chinese government. Soon afterward, Google cut Huawei off from future Android updates, before temporarily resuming work.The US is also urging its allies not to do business with Huawei. The company has consistently denied that its products are used for spying, and its chairman said this week that Huawei is willing to sign a “no-spy agreement” with the US.Huawei didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.First published at 1:44 a.m. PT.Updated at 3:10 a.m. PT: Adds Facebook statement. Phones Internet Services Comment Share your voice 4:59 Tags Facebook Huawei
In picture: People walk past a branch of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank. [Representational image]TwitterThe investigation into the money laundering and fake appointment scam at J&K Bank is not over yet. The Income Tax Department on Tuesday raided the offices of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation’s Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran, who is also a businessman and owns many commercial properties in Srinagar. The IT department officials raided Shiekh Imran’s office at a shopping complex, Sangarmall, and another one in downtown Srinagar.The officials have also seized some documents from the Deputy Mayor’s office. Sheikh Imran, who recently joined Sajad Lone’s People Conference Party, is also believed to be one of the biggest defaulters of J&K Bank.Incidentally, he lauded the J&K government’s decision to remove J&K Bank chairman Parvez Ahmad from his post and took a dig at the functioning of the financial institution. The Reserve Bank of India and Home Ministry had permitted the J&K Governor to immediately sack Parvez after allegations of nepotism and corruption against him surfaced.The case of fake appointments of relationship executives in the bank is particularly being probed which may lead to a crackdown on several ex-ministers who served in former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s cabinet.Mehbooba had criticised the manner in which Parvez Ahmad was removed from his post and had demanded a bias-free investigation into the matter.Meanwhile, the central government may rope in Enforcement Directorate as well Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the J&K Bank fraud case reportedly not only for money laundering but also for terror funding.”The scale of fraud and corruption in the present case is of high volume and will require a forensic audit by a specialised agency like CBI. The state’s ACB has unearthed names of some politicians who enjoyed the patronage of the bank. Properties were bought using bank money within and outside J&K and will require probe by central agencies,” sources told the Economic Times. J&K Bank Chairman, Pervez Ahmad has been removed by the government with immediate effectTwitterThe National Investigation agency has already been entrusted with the role to trace avenues for funding of various militant organisations in the valley and bringing in ED as well as CBI may help overhaul the system, the senior official stated.Besides, the home ministry is also looking at dividing the control of the bank among its board members and not just restricting it to the chairman. The Centre is planning to separately appoint Chairman and Managing director of the bank that will ensure safety standards in terms of financial control and risk management.
Bangladesh may face challenges and risks in attaining the UN’s sustainable development goal-16 (SDG-16) despite having legal and institutional preparations, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) observed on Sunday, reports UNB.The SDG-16 has stressed promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, ensuring access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.A new TIB study reveals that corruption, bribery, money-laundering and violation of human rights continue in Bangladesh despite taking various steps to prevent those.TIB senior programme manager (policy and research) Shahzada M Akram presented the findings of the study titled ‘Sustainable Development Goal 16: Bangladesh’s preparation, reality and challenges in achieving the goal related to corruption prevention and good governance’ at a press conference at TIB office in the capital.TIB trustee board chairperson Sultana Kamal, its executive director Iftekharuzzaman and TIB advisor Sumaiya Khair were present at the press conference.About the institutional weakness, the study says the institutions responsible for implementing the National Integrity Strategy are not functioning properly here due to political influence, centralisation of power, and supremacy of the executive branch.There is no structure of being accountable to people in most of these institutions and their internal accountability system is also poor, the TIB study says these institutions never disclose information proactively.It says the government has a tendency of denying the allegations of violation of people’s fundamental rights.Iftekharuzzaman said the government has already taken enough preparation at legal and policy levels to achieve the SDG-16, but challenges and risks remain in attaining the goal.Although money is being siphoned off the country, he said, no effective step is taken to detect the people involved in big scams and money-laundering incidents and bring them to justice.”We talk about ensuring justice to all, but efforts are there to snatch independence of judiciary,” the TIB chief said.To achieve the SDG- 16, the TIB study put forward a set of recommendations, including ensuring a fair system for appointing the chiefs and the members of the constitutional and statutory institutions like the Election Commission and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), removing article 70 from the country’s Constitution allowing parliament members to give votes against their own party, empowering the National Human Rights Commission and removing section 57 of the ICT Act, 2013.
View of the Vashan Char, previously known as Thengar Char island in the Bay of Bengal. Reuters file photoBangladesh is racing to turn an uninhabited and muddy Bay of Bengal island into home for 100,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled a military crackdown in Myanmar, amid conflicting signals from top Bangladeshi officials about whether the refugees would end up being stranded there.Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina said on Monday that putting Rohingya on the low-lying island would be a “temporary arrangement” to ease congestion at the camps in Cox’s Bazar, refuge for nearly 700,000 who have crossed from the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine state since the end of August last year.However, one of her advisers told Reuters that, once there, they would only be able to leave the island if they wanted to go back to Myanmar or were selected for asylum by a third country.“It’s not a concentration camp, but there may be some restrictions. We are not giving them a Bangladeshi passport or ID card,” said H.T. Imam, adding that the island would have a police encampment with 40-50 armed personnel.British and Chinese engineers are helping prepare the island to receive refugees before the onset of monsoon rains in April, which could bring disastrous flooding to ramshackle camps further south that now teem with about 1 million Rohingya.Hasina’s adviser, Imam, said the question of selecting Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar to move to the island was not finalised, but it could be decided by lottery or on a volunteer-basis.The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement: “We would emphasise that any relocation plan involving refugees would need to be based on and implemented through voluntary and informed decisions.”FRENETIC CONSTRUCTIONHumanitarian agencies criticised the plan to bring Rohingya to the island when it was first proposed in 2015. Aid workers who spoke to Reuters said they remain seriously concerned that the silt island is vulnerable to frequent cyclones and cannot sustain livelihoods for thousands of people.But work on the project has accelerated in recent months, according to architectural plans and two letters from the Bangladesh navy to local government officials and contractors seen by Reuters.A year ago, when Reuters journalists visited Bhasan Char – whose name means “floating island” – there were no roads, buildings or people.Returning on Feb. 14, they found hundreds of labourers carrying bricks and sand from ships on its muddy northwest shore. Satellite images now show roads and what appears to be a helipad.Floating Island, which emerged from the silt only about 20 years ago, is about 30 km (21 miles) from the mainland. Flat and shape-shifting, it regularly floods during June-September. Pirates roam the nearby waters to kidnap fishermen for ransom, residents of nearby islands say.The plans show metal-roofed, brick buildings raised on pylons and fitted with solar panels. There will be 1,440 blocks, each housing 16 families.CHINESE AND BRITISH COMPANIESChinese construction company Sinohydro – better known for building China’s Three Gorges Dam – has begun work on a 13-km (8-mile) flood-defence embankment for the $280-million project.A Sinohydro engineer on Bhasan Char, reached by telephone later, said the company had “confidentiality agreements” and that questions about construction on the island should be referred to the Bangladesh government.HR Wallingford, a British engineering and environmental hydraulics consultancy, is advising the project on “coastal stabilisation and flood protection measures”, the company told Reuters in a statement earlier this month.“The coastal infrastructure design is expected to include a flood defence embankment protecting the development area to international standards, set back from the shoreline,” it said. The company referred further inquiries to the Bangladesh Navy.Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director for rights group Amnesty International, said there was “no one in the humanitarian community we spoke to who thought this was a good idea”.“This is a silt island that only emerged into view recently,” he said.Residents of nearby Sandwip island, which is larger and less remote, say monsoon storms regularly kill people, destroy homes and cut contact with the mainland.However, a senior member of the prime minister’s staff, Director General Kabir Bin Anwar, said humanitarian organisations critical of the plan were “absolutely wrong because they don’t understand the topography” of Bangladesh.The government was building cyclone shelters on the island, he said, adding that there were salt-tolerant paddies and people living there could fish or graze cows and buffalo.Anwar also dismissed concerns about delivering basic aid to the island.“We don’t need help from any foreign NGOs or local NGOs. We can feed them,” he said.Bangladeshis living on nearby islands are critical of their government’s efforts for the Rohingya.Belal Beg, 80, who was born on Sandwip island, said there was resistance to settling Rohingya on Bhasan Char because huge numbers of Bangladeshis are displaced by coastal erosion each year with no measures taken to protect them.“We should first care for our own people but the government is deciding to give shelter to immigrants,” Beg said.Many Rohingya also reject the idea of moving to an island even further from Myanmar, which many of them have called home for generations.Jahid Hussain, a Rohingya refugee at Chakmakul refugee camp in Bangladesh, said he had fled Myanmar to save his life and would not risk it by living on Bhasan Char.“I would rather die right here,” he said.The latest unrest in Myanmar’s Rakhine state began on 25 Aug, when Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of police posts and an army base, prompting an army counter-offensive that forced entire villages to flee. They joined about 300,000 Rohingya already in Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest and most crowded nations, who had fled previous bouts of violence.Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel peace laureate and leader of Buddhist-majority Myanmar, has been heavily criticised by Western nations for not speaking out against what the United States and the United Nations have branded ethnic cleansing.Myanmar denies that ethnic cleansing has taken place and says it has been conducting legitimate operations against terrorists in northern Rakhine.Describing the island, Hasina told a news conference in Dhaka that “from a natural point of view it is very nice” and said although the initial plan was to put 100,000 people there, it had room for as many as 1 million.
Minister Md Tajul IslamLocal government and rural development (LGRD) minister Md Tajul Islam on Sunday directed its officials to identify risky school buildings and ensure stern punishment of those responsible for irregularities during construction of PK Government Primary School in Barguna, reports UNB.The collapsed school building will be also reconstructed, said the minister while responding to reporters at the Secretariat.A third-grader was killed and five others injured as a portion of ceiling of PK Government Primary School in Betagi Upazila collapsed on them on Saturday.Tajul said the on-duty officials of Local Government Engineering Department have been assigned to identify the responsible people and also to bring them to books.Besides, direction has been given to take actions to identify risky school buildings and reconstruct those.
Share Twitter User @GMAChristmas is coming to Donald Trump’s White House a bit early this year.Melania Trump is set to accept the official White House Christmas tree on Monday. First ladies typically receive the tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but the Trumps are expected to spend the holiday at their home in Palm Beach, Florida.Jim and Diane Chapman, owners of a Wisconsin Christmas tree farm, won a contest run by the National Christmas Tree Association and will get to present the tree to the first lady.The 19 1/2-foot Balsam fir will go on display in the White House Blue Room.The Christmas Tree Association says the Chapmans also presented trees to the White House in 1998 and 2003.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. (Photo courtesy of Twitter)Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray talked about what his administration has done for the residents of the District over the last four years during his farewell address this week. The mayor delivered the parting speech at his high school alma mater, Dunbar Senior High School, on Dec. 17 before hundreds of people that consisted of residents and administration officials.Gray, who took office in January 2011, said he loved being the mayor of the nation’s capital.“Please know it has been the greatest honor of my life to serve for the last four years as your mayor,” he said. “We have come so far as a city during that time… made so much progress in so many areas, that it’s hard to say goodbye to what I think is, without a doubt, the best job in the world.”During his nearly two-hour speech, the mayor talked about his efforts to restore fiscal discipline to the management of the city’s finances, create jobs for District residents, expand economic development in neighborhoods outside of downtown, make sure that District children get a first-class education and make communities safer.Gray recalled the earlier years of his administration, when the District’s future didn’t look so rosy. “Given where we are today, it’s easy to forget the magnitude of the challenges we faced then,” he said, citing high unemployment, rapid depletion of the city’s rainy day fund, stalled economic development projects, a large budget deficit and structural problems in the District’s financial and human resources.“And so we quickly got to work,” he said. “Four years later, I’m proud to say that the District is stronger today than at any moment in our history.”The mayor painstakingly went through almost all of his successful initiatives dealing with early childhood education; economic development projects such as the upcoming Skyland Town Center, CityCenter and the Walter Reed campus; modernizing schools such as Dunbar and Ballou Senior High School and being one of the few state-level jurisdictions to execute the Affordable Care Act without serious glitches.On Jan. 2, Gray will hand over the city’s helm to Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser, who defeated him in the April 1 Democratic mayoral primary. He had recommended that Bowser and her team continue to be fiscally prudent; grow and diversify the city’s economy; keep the city diverse socially, economically and racially; continue school reform; make tough and sometimes unpopular decisions that are in the best interest of the city and practice openness and transparency.Gray, in his closing, said that he will remain active in the city. “In two weeks, I will step down as your mayor — but not as your friend, your neighbor, or your advocate,” he said. “This is not a farewell. I look forward to seeing each and every one of you around the city.”