Gabe Bowling to Step Into My Big Gay Italian Wedding Off-Broadway

first_img My Big Gay Italian Wedding Now in its eleventh year, My Big Gay Italian Wedding is loosely based on Wilkinson’s own wacky Italian family. The show tells the story of Anthony Pinnunziato (Wilkinson), a gay Italian-American who wants to marry his boyfriend Andrew in a traditional wedding ceremony. Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 22, 2015 There’s a new (hot) villain of the bridal party. Gabe Bowling will step into My Big Gay Italian Wedding at off-Broadway’s St. Luke’s Theatre beginning July 5. He will assume the role of Gregorio, the misunderstood villain, replacing Jonathan Wiener. The show is written by and stars Anthony K. Wilkinson. Bowling appeared in the Chicago cast of Million Dollar Quartet, in addition to Because of Winn Dixie and SPANK! The 50 Shades Parody.center_img View Comments Related Shows In addition to Wilkinson and Wiener, My Big Gay Italian Wedding features Hugh Hysell, Donna Castellano, Marissa Rosen, Debra Toscano, Liz Gerecitano, Meagan Robar, Erik Ransom, Chad Kessler, Brandon Goins, Joe Scanio, Brant Michaels, Josh Drake, Marie Fontaine and Fred Ross.last_img read more

Warner shatters 28-year-old Australian record

first_imgIT may go slightly unnoticed in the wake of Australia’s unprecedented batting blitz in Mumbai, but David Warner smashed a 28-year-old Australian record during his breathtaking century yesterday.On his way to his 18th ODI hundred, Warner became the fourth-fastest man in history to score 5 000 one-day international runs, reaching the mark in just his 115th ODI innings.That puts him behind only Hashim Amla (101 innings), West Indian legend Sir Vivian Richards and Indian skipper Virat Kohli (both 114 innings) among males in one-day international cricket.Among Australians, Warner is streets ahead of the pack, reaching the milestone well ahead of Dean Jones, who broke through 5 000 runs in his 128th innings way back in 1992.Matthew Hayden (133 innings), Michael Bevan (135) and Ricky Ponting (137) are the only other Australians to reach the mark in less than 140 innings.Warner pushed on and finished unbeaten on 128 last night as he and Aaron Finch (110 n.o.) shared a record-breaking 258-run stand in a crushing 10-wicket win.Warner has spoken at length in the past about his early struggles in the 50-over format, despite making an instant impact in both Test and T20 cricket at international level.Up to and including Australia’s 2015 World Cup triumph, the left-hander averaged less than 35 with the bat in 62 matches, scoring just four hundreds in that time.But since that World Cup final, he has averaged almost 60 in 56 games, adding 13 more hundreds and striking at better than a run a ball.“I think first and foremost it’s probably been the format I reckon I struggled at early in my career,” he said in 2016.“The last 18-24 months I’ve really worked hard on trying to construct my innings and build an innings and not play too many big shots early on.“And just relay that Test match attitude into the one-dayers because you do get a few more balls in your area in one day stuff where you can actually play through that line.”Underlining his improvement in the past five years, Warner was the equal-56th fastest man to reach 1 000 career runs, equal-42nd fastest to 2 000 and the 20th fastest to 3 000.But having raced from 3 000 to 4 000 runs in just 12 innings during a golden period in 2016-17, he’s added another 1 000 runs in just 22 innings. ( innings to 5000 ODI runs101 – Hashim Amla (South Africa)114 – Viv Richards (West Indies)114 – Virat Kohli (India)115 – David Warner (Australia)116 – Joe Root (England)118 – Brian Lara (West Indies)118 – Shikhar Dhawan (India)119 – Kane Williamson (New Zealand)last_img read more

Lacey Fire Santamobile 2017 is Coming to Town

first_imgFacebook89Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Lacey Fire DistrictThe Lacey Fire District Santamobile is almost on the road!  Watch us again in real time with the Glympse App and join us at a Santa Stops; Santa Stops are expected to occur between 7:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. each night. Read below for more details and our schedule.This year we will again hold “Santa Stops” – an opportunity to see Santa in a specific location in case he doesn’t get to your street. Santa will stay at each location for 30 minutes.To follow Santa more closely, or predict his arrival at a Santa Stop, watch our social media sites to get the link for real time GPS tracking.The Santamobile will be traveling to the following neighborhoods this year:12/5 — McAllister Community Park12/6 — Meridian Neighborhood Park12/7 — Thornbury Park12/8 — Lacey Post Office12/11 — Edgewater Park12/12 — Rainier Vista Community Park12/13 — Meadows Elementary12/14 — Olympic View Elementary12/15 — Horizon Point Park12/18 — Avonlea Park12/19 — Woodland Elementary12/20 — Nisqually Middle Schoollast_img read more

Max Holloway’s health scare underlines MMA’s inherent risks

first_imgMOST READ FILE – In this Thursday, April 5, 2018, file photo, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway gestures while responding to reporters’ questions during Media Day for UFC 223 at the Barclays Center in New York, ahead of his lightweight title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)LAS VEGAS — Max Griffin isn’t proud of his reaction after he heard UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway dropped out of his fight against Brian Ortega with apparent symptoms of a concussion.“To me, we’re fighters,” said Griffin, a UFC welterweight. “We always have a concussion, you know?”ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Perry — who has his nickname, “Platinum,” tattooed above his right eye in a cursive green script — is a wild man even by MMA’s heightened standards, and he shares Griffin’s raised-eyebrow curiousness about the seriousness of Holloway’s injury. Perry also reaped a benefit from Holloway’s absence in this merciless sport: His bout against Paul Felder was elevated to the pay-per-view portion of the UFC 226 card.Yet Perry expressed support for Holloway’s decision, and he fully realizes he’ll eventually pay for his own reckless mentality in the cage.“I’m waiting to see what happens to me, because I get hit, but I kind of like it,” Perry said. “I can take a shot. I’ve got that platinum cranium.”Perry epitomized many MMA brawlers’ mindset when he acknowledged that he sometimes “got bored” in training camp before he moved to a new gym this year.“So I started getting punched in the face, because it made me feel like I was having more fun or something,” Perry said with a grin. “It made me feel alive.”As with many brain injuries in the cloistered world of combat sports training camps, it’s unclear when Holloway’s symptoms began or what caused them. UFC President Dana White said Holloway is still being examined to determine the root of his problem.“Some people think it’s concussion-related, and some people think it’s weight cut-related,” White said. “According to him, he feels fine. But he doesn’t feel fine. There’s no way he’s going to fight anytime soon.”Ortega won’t fight a replacement opponent at UFC 226, his manager confirmed Thursday. The UFC attempted to book several replacement bouts, possibly for an interim title, but Ortega elected to preserve his health and his title shot.Many fighters also wondered aloud whether Holloway’s problems were related to his weight cut — the torturous process of dropping pounds in the last few days before a bout. Holloway attempted a severe cut in March to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title on six days’ notice, but was pulled out by his doctors when his health declined.Holloway’s representatives said he hadn’t even started the serious deprivation necessary for the final cut, but veteran fighters still know all about the disruption caused by each step in the process, which has led to deaths in MMA and boxing. “If I’ve got a fight, I’m fighting,” said Griffin (14-4), who takes on Curtis Millender at UFC 226 on Saturday. “If you’re going to wheel me out there, put me in a wheelchair and drop me in there, I’m going to fight, dude.”The fighters on the UFC 226 undercard reacted to Holloway’s absence Thursday with a mix of concern, disappointment and calculated obliviousness. He made two trips to the emergency room this week after his coaches and management noticed he was acting unusually, speaking strangely and struggling to awake from a nap.“It’s extremely scary,” said Anthony Pettis, the former UFC champion who lost a title fight to Holloway in December 2016. “That’s life-changing. I love fighting, but I love my life more. You get concussion syndrome, and you literally can’t look at your phone or drive at night. I want to do be a fighter, but that changes your life forever.”Indeed, developing the mindset of a successful MMA fighter is literally about believing you can avoid getting hurt, since that would mean your opponent is succeeding.“Yes, I am a risk-taker,” welterweight Mike Perry said. “I believe there’s a lot of money in risk. Risk equals reward. Let’s go get paid.”ADVERTISEMENT Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Critical stretch Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water recedingcenter_img Weight cut dangers are an urgent topic throughout combat sports, and the UFC has tried safety measures, including early weigh-ins. Nothing has stopped fighters from stretching their bodies to the limit, preferring to take another risk in a profession that demands the acceptance of daunting odds.“It’s only a matter of time until something really bad happens in the UFC to one of us,” lightweight Michael Chiesa said. “(Holloway) is a guy like myself that has to put himself through the wringer to make weight. I just can’t imagine what would have happened if he had thrown himself in a hot bath and really depleted himself.“I’m sure he didn’t willingly take himself out of the fight. I’m sure they had to make the decision for him.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Putin’s, Xi’s ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West LATEST STORIES Trump assembles a made-for-TV impeachment defense team Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Report: Disney dropping the ‘Fox’ from movie studio names In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Griffin knows his instinctive skepticism about Holloway’s injury isn’t healthy. He also isn’t afraid to acknowledge the fundamental illogic behind all mixed martial arts fighters’ decision to pursue a career in a sport that is designed to hurt them.“We always have concussion-like symptoms, (but) I’ve been in fights where I couldn’t see, and I didn’t say, ‘I can’t see,’” Griffin said Thursday. “We have concussions all the time. Like all the time. We have mild ones from getting hit, even not getting hit. You’ll be just kind of woozy today, or whatever. You just fight.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Griffin knows people who have suffered or died from brain injuries, and he missed a fight last year after a training drill against a heavyweight led to a broken rib that nearly punctured his lung. He also quit his steady corporate job at Blue Shield of California in January to pursue MMA as a full-time occupation.For any pro fighter, the financial and competitive rewards are simply stronger than the risks.last_img read more

UCLA basketball notes: Shipp struggling from perimeter

first_imgUCLA’s perimeter-oriented offense flows much better when three players are scoring consistently. Guards Arron Afflalo and Darren Collison are doing their part, but Shipp has gone from having a few sub-par performances to being in a colossal slump shooting the ball. Heading into today’s contest between No. 5 UCLA and No.19 Arizona at the McKale Center, Shipp said his confidence remains high despite his shooting percentage being so low. TUCSON, Ariz. – Sophomore wing Josh Shipp grabbed the ball on the left side, rapidly tried to set his feet and launched a 3-pointer. Clink. Or clank. “I feel comfortable,” Shipp said. “They’re all right there. A lot of in-and-outs. I just have to go in the gym and work on that.” Shipp is shooting a horrid 15.8 percent (6 for 38) from 3-point range in Pac-10 play, and has made 2 of his last 19 shots from beyond the arc. Since sitting out Jan. 13 at USC with a hamstring injury, he is 3 for 24 (12.5 percent) on 3-pointers, has not reached his season scoring average in any of the nine games, and saw his scoring average drop from 14.7 to 12.8 points. Also, in UCLA’s last three games, he did not score in the first half. “Josh is tantamount to our success,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “Having him out there has been key to our success all year long. Even though he may not be shooting as well as he’d like right now, we’re not winning if he’s not playing.” No rest for Afflalo: Arron Afflalo had five first-half points at West Virginia but finished with 27. He scored 15 points in the first half against Arizona State, but was scoreless for the first 15 minutes of the second half. center_img Such swings of scoring rushes and droughts have been part of Afflalo’s season, and Howland said part of the reason may be the number of minutes Afflalo is playing. In addition to carrying a scoring burden, Afflalo is UCLA’s best defender and often draws the opposition’s top scorer, like he will today in Arizona’s Marcus Williams (who is averaging 16.7 points per game). Afflalo is averaging a team-high 32.4 minutes per game, including 33.8 per game in Pac-10 play. “It’s a lot of minutes for anybody, especially somebody who plays so hard on the defensive end of the floor,” Howland said. “And he’s incredible in that respect. He’s not ever trying to pace himself. Sometimes that may affect his offense a little bit because I’m asking him to do so much, but that’s just the way it is. I’m much more comfortable with him on the floor.” So will Howland cut down Afflalo’s minutes? “Probably not,” Howland said. Injury update: Power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (eye), point guard Darren Collison (shoulder) and center Lorenzo Mata (hip) all came out of the ASU game fine and should play today. Controlling Alfred: Within moments of entering a game, UCLA backup enter Alfred Aboya is an odds-on-favorite to commit a foul … or four. The 6-foot-8 Aboya has been productive when on the floor lately, averaging 7.3 points and seven rebounds in the past three games. However, keeping him on the floor is an issue, and was again against Arizona State. Aboya is averaging a foul every 6.4 minutes of action, which is why he is playing 16.5 minutes per game. At ASU, Aboya fouled out in 19 minutes. One foul came 90 feet from the basket and another was on a hold during an inbounds play, which was set up by another Aboya foul. So what did Howland tell Aboya? ” `It’s not smart. We need you in the game,”‘ Howland said. “It’s hard for him because he’s so aggressive. He plays so hard. It’s not like he’s not trying to do what I want him to do. He just errs on the side of aggression, which, if you’re going to err on one side of the other, is where you want him to err on.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Man rushed to hospital after being struck by car

first_imgA man in his 60s has been taken to Sligo Hospital following an accident this afternoon in south Donegal.The man was walking on the N15 road between Ballintra and Rossnowlagh when he was struck by a car.He was rushed to hospital but his injuries are not understood to be life-threatening. Man rushed to hospital after being struck by car was last modified: October 9th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Warriors seeing ‘playoff Andre Iguodala’ in the regular season

first_img* * *Subscribe to the Mercury News and East Bay Times for $40 a year and receive a free Warriors championship coffee table book* * *LOS ANGELES – The Warriors’ trusted veteran has made 3-point shots with dependable accuracy. He has covered the opposing team’s best scorer. He also attacks the basket as if he were in the prime of his career.The Warriors have become accustomed toward Andre Iguodala fulfilling that familiar role in April, May and June. This season, though, Iguodala has done the …last_img read more

Misreading Evidence for Early Man

first_imgPaleoanthropology has a long history of misinterpreting evidence and committing spectacular blunders. Are we seeing more examples right now?How leading experts can be fooled.In his latest book, Evolution’s Blunders, Frauds and Forgeries (CMI, 2017), Dr Jerry Bergman documents the long history of ‘fake science’ that fooled the world’s experts, sometimes for decades. The episodes are almost comical if they had not been so misleading to the public. Piltdown Man and Nebraska Man are just two of the more famous frauds he details, but there were many others. If the experts of the past could be so wrong, shouldn’t we expect today’s experts can also be wrong? We should expect exactly that, since they share the same worldview assumptions that led earlier anthropologists astray. As Bergman demonstrates, the strong desire to confirm evolution often led scientists down the primrose path into error. All the while, they lambasted creationists who doubted their so-called evidence. But the creationists were right. And tragically, generations of students grew up accepting evolution based on fraudulent “evidence” presented by self-proclaimed experts.Bergman quotes experts bluffing with an air of certainty about what turned out to be outright frauds. Such statements were made by world experts like Henry Fairfield Osborne (head of the American Museum of Natural History) and Sir Arthur Smith Woodward (head of the London Natural History Museum, who built his career on Piltdown Man). Their statements are laughable in hindsight, but it wasn’t just a few who goofed. Someone estimated that 500 scientific papers were published about Piltdown Man before it was exposed as a shoddy forgery!—and that is beside other statements in textbooks and popular articles not only in America but around the world (Bergman, p 140). Visitors to natural histories were treated to displays of Piltdown Man for years before its exposure in 1952. It was touted as evidence for evolution at the Scopes Trial, as was Nebraska Man, the fictional ape-man built out of a pig’s tooth.Let’s look at some recent examples that show today’s experts might have not fully recovered from the tendency to make evolutionary mountains out of evidential molehills. As usual, we will be quoting only pro-evolutionist sources.Sporadic sampling, not climatic forcing, drives observed early hominin diversity (PNAS). This surprising open-access paper by Maxwell, Hopley, Upchurch and Soligo in America’s leading science journal pulls the rug out from under a story long told by paleoanthropologists. The story is that climate change drove human evolution. For instance, a warming climate in Africa, they say, drove apes out of the trees onto the ground, where they learned to walk and evolved upright posture. That’s just one example of interpretations about ‘hominins’ based on climate change. Climate had little (if anything) to do with human evolution, these four warn. From their mathematical analysis, they find that paleoanthropologists made unwarranted inferences due to sampling bias. The diversity they found, that they have assumed was due to climate change, is more a matter of (1) how easy it was to reach the fossils and (2) how hard teams worked to collect them. Notice that this paper is by believers in human evolution and millions of years.Paleoanthropologists have long been intrigued by the observed patterns of human evolution, including species diversity, and often invoked climatic change as the principal driver of evolutionary change. Here, we investigate whether the early hominin fossil record is of suitable quality to test these climate-forcing hypotheses. Specifically, we compare early hominin diversity to sampling metrics that quantify changes in fossil preservation and sampling intensity between 7 and 1 million years ago. We find that observed diversity patterns are governed by sporadic sampling and do not yield a genuine evolutionary signal. Many more fossil discoveries are required before existing hypotheses linking climate and evolution can be meaningfully tested….We find that apparent relationships between early hominin diversity and indicators of climatic instability are, in fact, driven largely by variation in suitable rock exposure and collection effort.Human-like walking mechanics evolved before the genus Homo (Science Daily). Behold a just-so story in the making: “Ancient footprints help researchers date the switch from a crouched to more straight-legged gait.” Yep; the old Laetoli footprints are back. Those are the famous prints supposedly made by relatives of Lucy that look just like modern human footprints (22 March 2010). This should not be. Because of the mismatch between expectations and reality, evolutionists are forced to explain how an ape evolved modern feet. Here we go, Tontology and all: “A close examination of 3.6-million-year-old hominin footprints discovered in Laetoli, Tanzania, suggests our ancestors evolved the hallmark trait of extended leg, human-like bipedalism substantially earlier than previously thought.” Who thought that? Certainly not creationists, who deny that the prints are 3.6 million years old.Well, if scientists could write scientific papers about Piltdown Man in the 1920s, they can write scientific papers about fictional apes with human feet today. Why? They need those millions of years for apes to become people. If the feet are jumping the selectionist gun, they must somehow be forced into the timeline. Notice how the authors draw the public into their own deception, implicating innocent bystanders in errors committed by evolutionists:Ever since scientists realized that humans evolved from a succession of primate ancestors, the public imagination has been focused on the inflection point when those ancestors switched from ape-like shuffling to walking upright as we do today. Scientists have long been focused on the question, too, because the answer is important to understanding how our ancestors lived, hunted and evolved.Were you focused on that? Don’t let fallible experts blame you for their faults. The shameful quotes in the article, sounding so certain (see Bluffing in the Baloney Detector), could have been written by Henry Fairfield Osborne. Today’s paleoanthropologists cannot bring themselves to admit that they were wrong. No way can they bring themselves to believe that actual modern humans walked across that plain, when their dating system requires that the layer is millions of  years old!Genomics study in Africa—demographic history and deleterious mutations (Pasteur Institute via Raw data are getting in the way of a good Darwin story again. Evolutionists know that mutations should accumulate in small groups. They predicted that the pygmies and Bantu peoples of Africa would show differences in accumulation of mutations based on the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of the former, and the agricultural lifestyle of the latter. Well, they were wrong. Notice the phrase, “Against all expectations”—but it was not against creationist expectations! Notice also the assumption of natural selection, and the Darwinists’ favorite phrase, “shed light” on evolution:The scientists focused their research on a comparison of populations that lived through one of the most significant socio-cultural transitions in human history: the transition to agriculture. By comparing the genome diversity of more than 300 individuals from groups of forest hunter-gatherers (pygmies) and farmers (Bantu-speaking peoples) in western and eastern Central Africa, the study aimed to shed light on the way in which demographic changes associated with the Neolithic transition also influenced the efficacy of natural selection. “We therefore characterized the genetic structure of these populations using exome sequencing data [editor’s note: the exome is a fraction of the genome that contains protein-coding regions] and used computer modeling techniques to reconstruct changes in population size over the past 200,000 years,” continues Lluis Quintana.Against all expectations, his team observed that the current groups of forest hunter-gatherers are descendants of prosperous ancestral populations with a genetic size comparable to that of the farmers’ ancestors. Simulations also indicate the existence of genetic admixture between the groups more than 20,000 years ago.This cannot be. In a desperate theory-rescue operation, the authors invoked “purifying selection” to explain why “the current burden of mutations is similar in the two groups, despite their different demographic histories and lifestyles.” Purifying selection is to natural selection what an eraser is to a pencil: it erases mutations, which are supposed to be the raw material for monkey-and-typewriter Shakespearean plays. And lo and behold, what do you know, but that there had been “a strong and constant admixture with farmers” by the pygmies! I.e., they intermarried. So that, dear public, is why “No differences were detected in the number and severity of mutations carried by forest hunter-gatherers and farmers.” But never forget: evolution is a fact!Bergman’s book is excellent. Get it. Read it. Learn how wrong evolutionists have been, can be, and still are. (Visited 543 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

3 Filmmaking Tips for Small Productions Teams

first_imgAre you watching the Vimeo Video School training series?  Check out a recent video tutorial where they share 3 must-know filmmaking tricks for tiny production teams.The Vimeo Video School continues to be a great resource of free video production and video editing tutorials for filmmakers and video production newbies.  Although the majority of the videos focus on fairly beginneer techniques, occassionally they’ll share gems that are useful for seasoned video production veterans, as well.  To top it off, most of the Vimeo Video School tutorial videos are quite entertaining…so there’s always that to keep your interest as well.The following video shares 3 tips for filmmaking with a really tiny cast and crew. We’re talking REALLY small, 2 or 3 people.  Although that’s the focus here the tips are of course applicable to larger scale productions.  The 3 topics highlighted include:Creating a swipe cut for smooth on-screen actionUtilizing a split screen to “fake” the number of actors avaliableRecording audio with a smart phone, as a wireless alternative to pro mic kitsOverall, like most of the videos in the series, this one is an entertaining, quick and worthwhile watch.  More info and written tutorial can be found here.last_img read more

India, Vietnam for peaceful South China Sea, $15 bn trade

first_imgVietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.Firming up their relationship at a higher level, India and Vietnam on Monday called for a peaceful, unfettered South China Sea, inked seven agreements including for direct Delhi-Hanoi flights and an extended line of credit for purchase of military equipment, as they set a target of $15 billion bilateral trade by 2020 with a focus on tourism, garments and textiles, pharmaceuticals and agriculture.Capping a day of intense engagement, President Pranab Mukherjee told his Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang at a banquet in his honour that India holds Vietnam in high esteem, admires its determination to succeed and the tenacity against even the most powerful adversaries and will always remain its “reliable and all-weather friend”.Earlier, inaugurating the India Study Centre at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy for Politics and Public Administration here, he said India and Vietnam have prioritised enhanced physical, institutional and people-to-people linkages, and both would now like to see intensified exchanges between their universities and institutions.He said he was delighted that the academy has already evolved a cooperation framework with the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore and with the Indian Institute of Public Administration in Delhi.The seven agreements were signed in the presence of Mukherjee and his Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang.Carrying on the momentum, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is set to visit India in October at the head of a large business delegation to explore further opportunities for economic cooperation.”The value of the visit can be gauged by the fact that the (Indian) president met the entire gamut of Vietnamese leadership – the president, the prime minister, the chairman of the national assembly and the general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party,” said Secretary (East) in the external affairs ministry Anil Wadhwa at a briefing here.advertisement”In fact, the Vietnamese president gave quite some time. He was present for the one-on-one talks, the delegation-level talks, attended the inauguration of the India Study Centre at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy, and then the banquet,” he said.On the ambitious trade target, Wadhwa said $7 million level was expected by 2015 but has already been achieved this year itself, and it was expected that the new figure would be surpassed too.The joint communique following the talks said the two leaders agreed to strengthen and deepen bilateral cooperation on the basis of the strategic partnership.The focus would be on political, defence and security cooperation, economic cooperation, science and technology, culture and people-to-people links, technical cooperation and multilateral and regional cooperation.The leaders agreed that military and security cooperation was an important pillar of the strategic partnership between the two countries, and expressed satisfaction with the ongoing cooperation in this field.They noted that the signing of the MoU for a Line of Credit of $100 million for defence procurement extended by India to Vietnam would open new avenues for cooperation.Wadhwa said it would primarily be used by Hanoi for offshore patrol vessels while other equipment was yet to be identified and would be decided in talks.India and Vietnam, in the communique, also reiterated their “desire and determination to work together to maintain peace, stability, growth and prosperity in Asia”.They agreed that freedom of navigation in the East Sea/South China Sea should not be impeded, and called the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid threat or use of force and resolve disputes through peaceful means in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law.The seven agreements included an air services agreement between Jet Airways and Air Vietnam while OVL, the overseas arm of oil major ONGC, and Petro Vietnam inked an agreement on exploring two additional blocks off Vietnam.Asked if these blocks were in the contested South China Sea, Wadhwa expressed ignorance.”This was only a letter of intent. We will only come to know when they offer us the blocks… in a more concrete proposal,” he said.The other agreements were on agriculture cooperation, animal health, customs cooperation, and on youth affairs and skill development.After the inking of the agreement, Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal said the air services were going “to be very feasible, it is going to be very profitable”.He said the direct flights would start Nov 5, and “booking has already started”.Lauding Goyal’s venture, the Vietnamese president termed him a “giant bridge” between the two countries.Mukherjee who began his four-day state visit to Vietnam Sunday will leave for Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday afternoon and return to India on Wednesday.advertisementlast_img read more