Other News In Brief

Robinson And McGuinness Meet With Education Minister Yuan Guiran

The First Minister the Rt. Hon. Peter D Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA met Education Minister, Yuan Guiran, in Beijing.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss future support for university partnerships and education exchanges.

Speaking after the meeting the First Minister said: "We are committed to developing Northern Ireland’s international links in the higher education sector. China is rightly considered a priority target country for Queen's University, Belfast and the University of Ulster.

"Our universities have established strong research and educational links in China and have set challenging targets for increasing their links in the country. We welcome the opportunity to discuss existing and potential links with Minister Yuan Guiran and how we can develop our greatest asset our people."

The deputy First Minister said: "Growing the economy is our key target in the Programme for Government. Research capability is vital for economic growth, competitiveness and well being of the community."

Alliance Hails SS Nomadic Opening

Alliance Cllr Sean Neeson has hailed the opening of the SS Nomadic to the public.

From Saturday, members of the public will be able to view the tender ship to the Titanic. Sean has a keen interest in maritime heritage and represented Northern Ireland on the UK National Historic Ships Committee for a number of years.

Cllr Sean Neeson said: "The Nomadic will undoubtedly become another jewel in Northern Ireland's maritime heritage crown.

"After the successful first year of the Titanic project, where we had a record level of visitors, I am sure that with the addition of the Nomadic that even more people will want to come and learn about our maritime heritage.

"I would like to pay tribute to the work of those involved in the restoration project. They have done a magnificent job and the public will now be able to see what it would have been like for the passengers she took to the Titanic over 100 years ago. The Nomadic is one of our few remaining links to the Titanic, so it is great to see her in the city where she was built and taking pride of place in the Titanic Quarter."

Minister Offers Support For Farmers Cutting Grass

Roads Minister Danny Kennedy has asked his officials to adopt a flexible approach in relation to the issue of farmers cutting grass on Roads Service property to use the cut grass as animal fodder.

The Minister took the decision following requests from the Farmers for Action NI group. The group requested permission to allow farmers to cut grass at locations that are well off-road and in areas where harvesting machinery could operate safely and are not normally cut by Roads Service.

Mr Kennedy said: "I fully understand the economic difficulties being faced by many farmers following last winter, one of the most severe in decades.

"While my Department has no specific powers under the Roads Order to grant anyone permission to cut grass on road verges there are areas belonging to Roads Service where grass could be safely harvested and put to good use.

"I have today asked my officials to be sympathetic to requests from the farming community in relation to this matter. Not only would it benefit the overall farming community, but would also provide a much needed stop-gap during these difficult times."

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