Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust and Festival Speech Synthesis SystemThe Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust (NPRT) was a sovereign wealth fund developed by the government of the Republic of Nauru in which the government invested money from the state owned mining company, Nauru Phosphate Corporation. This money was then re-invested in a real estate portfolio, among other things, to provide the government with a reliable national income following the depletion of minable phosphates on the island. Although at one time successful, mismanagement and corruption later essentially bankrupted the fund, thus virtually bankrupting the entire Republic.Responsibility for the Trust rests with the Ministry for the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust, a Cabinet position. At present, the office is exercised by the Nauruan Minister of Telecommunications Shadlog Bernicke.Contents 1 Beginnings 2 The prime years 3 Mismanagement 4 Downfall 5 "The paradox" 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External linksBeginningsIn 1970, the newly independent government of Nauru purchased the mining rights to the islands lucrative phosphate mines from their previous colonial ruler, Australia, for A$21 million.The mines brought considerable wealth to the tiny island of Nauru, with the industry bringing in around A$100–120 million annually. Annual government expenditures amounted to around A$30 million, thus giving the republic around A$80 million per annum. This surplus was then added to the trust. The prime yearsAt the peak of the trust's wealth, the NPRT had investments totaling A$1 billion. These investments included properties in Australia, the Philippines, Guam, and the USA. A partial list of international investments includes: Fiji: The Grand Pacific Hotel India: Paradeep Phosphate New Zealand: Auckland Sheraton Hotel, Roturua Sheraton Hotel Philippines: Manila Pacific Star Hotel, Philippines Phosphate & Fertilisers United States: Pacific House (Washington), Singer Building Development (665 acres - Houston), Hillside Property (600 acres - Oregon) Hawaii: Nauru Hotel Guam: Pacific Star Hotel United Kingdom: 3 Chesham Street (London) Samoa: Properties at Vaitele and Sogi Australia: Nauru House (Melbourne) -- (this development was known as the "jewel in the crown" of Nauru's overseas properties) MismanagementThe great wealth of the tiny pacific island led it to be nicknamed the "Kuwait of the Pacific". With this great wealth, citizens and government officials flaunted it, believing it to be an endless supply. This led to high external representation and excessive official overseas travel (that included golf in the Bahamas) which blew out budgets year after year so that the government began to borrow money to supplement its huge spending. The public service had over 1,500 employees (in a country with a population less than 10,000) and the government ran deficits of A$10 million in the 1990s.Eventually, more than A$200 million was borrowed. In order to consolidate this debt and pay interest, the government took out an A$240 million loan from General Electrics Capital Division, which was levied against the nation's international real estate portfolio. DownfallThe virtual end of mining on Nauru paired with running budget deficits made it very difficult for Nauru to pay its debts. International creditors were not receiving payments, then seizing rights to Nauru's entire real estate portfolio, and even seizing the sole aircraft of Air Nauru. "The paradox"In 1962, well before Nauru took over the phosphate industry and achieved independence, the United Nations offered a cautious note:The problem of Nauru presents a paradox. The striking contrast is between a superficially happy state of affairs and an uncertain and indeed alarming future... But this picture of peace and well-being and security is deceptive. Indeed it is a false paradise. For these gentle people are dominated by the knowledge that the present happy state of affairs cannot continue. See also Phosphate mining in Nauru Economy of Nauru Nauru Phosphate Corporation Republic of Nauru Tuvalu Trust Fund
Festival Speech Synthesis System and Nauru Phosphate Royalties TrustThe Festival Speech Synthesis System is a general multi-lingual speech synthesis system originally developed by Alan W. Black at Centre for Speech Technology Research (CSTR) at the University of Edinburgh. Substantial contributions have also been provided by Carnegie Mellon University and other sites. It is distributed under a free software license similar to the BSD License.It offers a full text to speech system with various APIs, as well as an environment for development and research of speech synthesis techniques. It is written in C++ with a Scheme-like command interpreter for general customization and extension.Festival is designed to support multiple languages, and comes with support for English (British and American pronunciation), Welsh, and Spanish. Voice packages exist for several other languages, such as Castilian Spanish, Czech, Finnish, Hindi, Italian, Marathi, Polish, Russian and Telugu.Contents 1 Festvox 2 Flite 3 Linux compatibility 4 References 5 External linksFestvoxThe Festvox project aims to make the building of new synthetic voices more systematic and better documented, making it possible for anyone to build a new voice. It is distributed under a free software license similar to the MIT License.Festvox is a suite of tools by Alan W. Black and Kevin Lenzo for building synthetic voices for Festival. It includes a step-by-step tutorial with examples in document called "Building Synthetic Voices". FliteFlite is a small run-time speech synthesis engine developed at Carnegie Mellon University. It is derived from Festival, originally from the University of Edinburgh, and the Festvox project from Carnegie Mellon University. Linux compatibilityThere is a Festival plug-in for GStreamer. Festival is pre-packaged for several Linux distributions.
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