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  • Odds & Ends: ‘Let It Go’ With Idina Menzel & More

    first_img Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today and over the weekend. ‘Let It Go’ With Idina MenzelGot Frozen fever? Can’t wait for the stage adaptation of the hit Disney movie to land on Broadway or for the sequel to make its way to movie theaters? Then Idina Menzel and Oscar-winning Frozen songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez can help. They will be teaming up at Stage 48 on April 17 for a sing-along to your favorite Frozen songs, a dance party, crafts and more…all in aid of the Broadway supernova’s A BroaderWay Foundation, which empowers inner city girls through arts education. Incidentally, flanked by President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and the Easter Bunny, Menzel performed the Star Spangled Banner at the White House Easter Egg Roll on March 28. Pay close attention to what the Bunny gets up to, below. Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Tread the BoardsSupreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will swap the courtroom for the stage this July in Venice, Italy! The renowned theater lover is set to make a cameo as a judge presiding over Shylock’s trial in a production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. According to the Washington Post, the event is part of a commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Venice’s Jewish ghetto.Harriet Harris & More Tapped for New Joe DiPietro PlayTony winner Harriet Harris, Patrick Kerr, Jeff Marlow, Lee Sellars and more will star in the previously announced world premiere of Hollywood. Penned by Tony winner Joe DiPietro and directed by Christopher Ashley, the production will play May 10 through June 12 at La Jolla Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Theatre. Opening night is scheduled for May 18 and we’re keeping a close eye on this noir thriller…Next stop New York?Hugh Jackman Channels BaywatchHugh Jackman was a real-life superhero over the weekend at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. As you can see from the below video, several swimmers, including his 15-year-old son Oscar, got caught in a riptide. Cue the Tony winner and lifeguards going to the rescue—what a relief that nobody was seriously hurt. Idina Menzel(Photo: Bruce Glikas) Star Filescenter_img View Comments Idina Menzellast_img read more

  • FairPoint files motion seeking US Bankruptcy Court approval of Paul H Sunu as new CEO

    first_imgConsolidated Communications,In a motion filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the southern district of New York, FairPoint Communications, Inc. (the Company) is seeking approval of the appointment of Paul H. Sunu as Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Sunu will replace David L. Hauser as CEO. Hauser will remain a consultant to the Company until its emergence from Chapter 11. Provided the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approves both Hauser’s consulting agreement and Sunu’s proposed employment agreement, Hauser will resign and Sunu will commence his duties as CEO.Provided the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approves the various agreements, J. Bonnie Newman, lead director of the Company’s board of directors, will become chairperson of the board of directors. Newman, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has served as lead director since October 2007. Sunu will also be appointed to the Company’s board of directors.”As we begin to plan for emergence from Chapter 11, Paul’s extensive telecommunications experience will be a great benefit to FairPoint. David has done an excellent job over the past year guiding the Company through the restructuring process. Now Paul’s telecommunications skill set will drive excellence in performance and profitability as we emerge from Chapter 11,” stated Newman. “Building on the positive momentum over the past several months, the Company looks forward to better serving its customers and providing increased services and new products throughout its markets,” Newman added.The Company is awaiting certain approvals from the Federal Communications Commission and from the Public Service Board of Vermont before it can emerge from Chapter 11. Approvals from the appropriate regulatory bodies in New Hampshire, Illinois,Maine, New York and Virginia have already been received.Paul H. Sunu, 54, most recently served as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Hargray Communications Group, a provider of voice, high-speed data and video services, since 2008. He previously was CFO of Hawaiian Telcom (2007-2008) and before that he was managing director and CFO of Madison River Communications (1996-2007), where he was also one of the company’s founders. Sunu began his career with Arthur Young & Company in Chicago, and then spent the better part of two decades at tax, investment and management consulting firms. He serves on the board of directors of Integra Telcom. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Illinois and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois- College of Law.About FairPointFairPoint Communications, Inc. is an industry leading provider of communications services to communities across the country. Today, FairPoint owns and operates local exchange companies in 18 states offering advanced communications with a personal touch, including local and long distance voice, data, Internet, television and broadband services. Learn more atwww.FairPoint.com(link is external).SOURCE: FairPoint Communications, Inc. 8.16.2010. CHARLOTTE, N.C., /PRNewswirelast_img read more

  • Mexico, Arizona tunnel discovered with marijuana

    first_imgBy Dialogo March 05, 2012 MEXICO CITY – Mexican and U.S. authorities discovered on March 1 a tunnel leading into the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona that contained 240 kilograms (529 pounds) of marijuana. While conducting an investigation in a residential area of Nogales, Arizona police found a tunnel of some 60 meters (197 feet) long running under the international border, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. Mexican Federal police and U.S. agents simultaneously entered the tunnel, which connects Nogales, Sonora, Mexico to Nogales, Arizona. The tunnel was allegedly “used to transport illegal drugs to the United States,” as evidenced by “22 bundles of marijuana, with a combined weight” of 240 kilograms discovered inside, Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Security said. Since 1999, authorities have found at least 155 illegal tunnels under different parts of the lengthy U.S.-Mexico border. Officials say smugglers use the tunnels to bring people and drugs into the United States. [AFP, 03/02/2012; Univision.com, 03/02/2012]last_img read more

  • Ecuadorean Police Seizes 1.5 Tons of Cocaine Hidden in Tuna Cans

    first_imgBy Guillermo Saavedra/Diálogo November 19, 2020 The Ecuadorean National Police dealt a major blow to narcotrafficking on October 2 by finding 1.5 tons of cocaine hidden in a shipment of tuna cans in the province of Manabí. According to the Anti-narcotics Investigative Unit of the Ecuadorean Police, the cocaine was bound for a port in Guayaquil, to continue toward Belgium, the institution reported in a press release.A police commander in the Manabí area told the Ecuadorean newspaper El Universo that the suspicious maneuvers of a truck prompted its inspection, where agents found that the security seals on the boxes it transported had been tampered with. “When checking some boxes, agents suspected that they were contaminated, because the packaging was different, just like the tuna cans and also the label of the packaging company,” the officer told the newspaper.In addition, U.S. State Department-donated and trained dogs from the Police’s Anti-narcotics Unit alerted agents to the presence of drugs in the boxes. The vehicle was transported to Manta’s Anti-narcotics Police Headquarters for a thorough inspection, where authorities determined that 181 boxes contained 8,670 cans of cocaine, totaling 1,523 kilograms of the drug.According to Ecuador’s Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries, the country is the world’s second largest tuna exporter after Thailand. Ecuadorean industries process 500,000 tons of tuna per year, exporting 80 percent, a December 2019 report by the Spanish Embassy in Ecuador indicated.As such, smuggling drugs hidden in Ecuadorean tuna is not a novelty. In 2019, the Ecuadorean Police seized 298 kg of cocaine that was hidden in a tuna container bound for Europe, the Ecuadorean newspaper El Telégrafo reported. In 2016, according to Ecuador’s National Chamber of Fisheries, authorities found 392 kg of the drug in the port of Bilbao, Spain, hidden in a container with tuna cans from Ecuador. And in 2011, agents found 33 kg of the drug among tuna steaks also from Ecuador in a port in Galicia, Spain, the Spanish newspaper Faro de Vigo reported.According to data provided to El Universo, Ecuadorean security forces have seized about 90 tons of drugs, including marijuana and cocaine, from January to early October 2020. In 2019, authorities seized 82 tons of drugs, the newspaper reported.last_img read more

  • The Amazon effect: Can credit unions survive their big threat?

    first_img 78SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Holly Fearing Holly lives and breathes social media; if you can’t find her IRL, try reaching out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, and you’ll likely get her right away. … Web: www.filene.org Details One morning in mid-June, news broke that Amazon had struck a $13.4 billion deal to acquire Whole Foods Market, sending the $600 billion retail grocery industry into a tailspin.  As president of the board of directors of a grocery cooperative in Madison, and connected to a network of grocery retail consultants and professionals nation-wide, I saw the news and responses to it spread faster than an error-riddled Donald Trump tweet through political journalists’ feeds. How could we have not noticed that this digital superpower was planning to move into the space of brick-and-mortar grocery stores?Sound familiar credit unions? Have you been paying attention to the signal sounded by Square and their recent move to apply for an industrial loan company charter? Experts agree that this won’t be the last fintech to apply for a bank charter.The threats are symptoms; the disease is losing relevanceThe initial reaction in the grocery retail space was a bit of shock, then, like any sudden impact, taking a moment to assess the damage this would cause. The ripple of less obvious impacts rose to the surface quickly through online discussions, but no one quite knew what to do in those initial hours. There was immediate talk about what would become of United Natural Foods, Incorporated, or UNFI–the largest supplier of organic and natural foods in the United States and Canada. They get 30% of their business through Whole Foods. Grocery co-ops large and small rely on UNFI for supplying much of their natural and organic dry, refrigerated and frozen groceries at prices that allow them to compete. If Amazon were to restructure the way they receive and distribute food through Whole Foods storefronts, then the future of UNFI would be in doubt, potentially leaving co-ops without a supplier. Worse, Amazon could make a bid to purchase UNFI and charge loads more for product, over time squeezing out all their competition in the space.This is a threat to the grocery cooperative industry not unlike many looming threats that exist above the credit union industry. A lesson for credit unions to take in this example is that while this big shiny threat got a lot of attention, it contributed to leaders taking their eyes off of even bigger, potentially more damaging realities. It was a wake-up call for many.A bigger problem, for credit unions (and grocery cooperatives), is about losing relevance among consumers.It’s a marketing problem before it’s a leadership problemThis isn’t just a leadership-level issue. This is a marketing and communications issue, too. If you’re not involving your entire marketing team in the conversation about top threats it could be too late for you. Get them in the room right now. If a business loses marketplace relevance, it’s likely because of two things going wrong. 1) Either you’re not doing a good job delivering what people are asking for, or 2) You’re not doing a good job telling people you have what they want (or even better, they want what you have). It’s marketing’s job to do the latter. So, if your board and leadership teams aren’t working with marketing on threat scenario planning, you’re putting your entire organization at risk for when, inevitably, one of those threats comes to fruition. Proactive messaging through your marketing efforts can position you to survive likely threats. That’s why if you wait until it’s more than a communication problem, you’ve got a big problem. How credit unions can prepare for an ‘Amazon emergency’Make a list: Start with a SWOT analysis and focus on the T. Identify a list of all threats you can imagine likely for your credit union and the industryPrioritize it: Vet the list to make sure all functional areas (and outside resources) agree with what is on the list and align on what could potentially be the biggest 5 threats. To help prioritize, think about the severity of the risk of each threat—and remember that risk is likeness of the threat happening multiplied by the consequences of it happening.Identify your landscape: Set the stage for predicting and surviving threats by reading the context of what’s going on around us. Use PESTLE to identify the current Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental trends and drivers. Run a scenario exercise:  What would be your immediate, mid- and long-term plan if any of your top threats came to fruition? Take a quick look at your balance sheet. How would each of those threats impact your key financial metrics? Finally, answer the question, “In this situation, why does my credit union matter?”We can’t predict the future and we can’t prevent these things from happening even if we could. Change is inevitable but it can be good for you if you are ready to change with change. The grocery cooperative industry looks bleak right now, but the financially-strong, well-cashed and large will survive. It’s likely that grocery cooperatives smaller than $4 million will not make it through these competitive times unless they do something bold. But those who make it will have learned a lot about surviving the next big threat.last_img read more

  • Zadar presented an application for public city transport – CityBus

    first_imgThe City of Zadar within the project Innovative Zadar, and in cooperation with the company Impaddo, Liburnia, the Tourist Board of the city of Zadar presented a free Android application for public transport in the city of Zadar – CityBus Zadar.The application is designed as a guide through public transport in the city of Zadar, both for citizens and tourists. In addition to information on bus lines, it offers information on parking locations and taxi stands. “The aim is to encourage citizens to use public city transport more often in order to avoid greater traffic jams in the city. In less than two weeks, the application has been downloaded more than 500 times and the city carrier Liburnija receives only positive reactions to its introduction. ” points out Stipe Stagličić from the company Impaddo and adds that the application was created at the Google I / O Extended Hackathon held in mid-May this year in Zadar, at Arsenal.The CitxBus Zadar application includes various features that make it easier for users to use as well as plan time, and it is important to point out that the application is available in several languages: Croatian, English, Italian, German and Hungarian, so that tourists can use it.show all bus stops in the area of ​​Zadar (including Bibinje and Crno), show the nearest bus stops from the user’s location with information about the following lines coming to the same, show routes of all city bus lines, view the timetable of all city bus lines by date all passing stops with approximate arrival times, display of all Taxi stops in the city of Zadar, display of all parking zones in the city of Zadar with information on billing time and method of payment and direct possibility to send SMS from the application, display of additional information related to public transport on area of ​​the city of Zadar, real-time notification of planned works and changes in routes on city lines and possible delays of individual buses as well as navigation using public transport, from the user’s location to the desired location by entering the address or selecting a point on the map, display the time required for arrival k to the goal.The application is completely free and without advertisements, and in less than two weeks it has been downloaded more than 500 times and has received very positive reactions from citizens. Stagličić points out that a version of the application for iOS devices will soon be available, as well as an extension to the suburban lines of the bus carrier Liburnija, and through the presence of the application on the market, the observed errors will be constantly corrected. “A further plan related to the application is primarily to install locators in buses to make the tracking and navigation system work better. There are a few more ideas for future development, one of which is to connect to the NextBike system to integrate complete public transportation into one. The goal is to find strategic partners in order to be able to do all this by the beginning of the next tourist season. ” concludes Stipe Stagličić.You can download the CityBus Zadar application herelast_img read more

  • Northern star Hancock quits McCabe’s Scarborough

    first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

  • Heineken beer sales slide amid lockdowns, worse to come

    first_imgTopics : Bonuses in 2020 for senior managers would be cancelled, it said.Heineken added it would pay its planned final dividend for 2019, but would not provide an interim dividend after its half-year results in August. Last year, it gave an interim payment of 0.64 euros per share.Its annual results would be hit by lower volumes and other effects, including increased credit losses from customers, issues of small suppliers and impairments and the devaluation of emerging market currencies versus the dollar and euro.Heineken’s major markets are Brazil, Mexico and Vietnam and is also the largest brewer in Europe.Heineken said it had reduced discretionary spending by suspending corporate events and hiring and pausing or scaling down projects and technology upgrades.With bars closed, Heineken said its business focus was on replenishing store shelves and aiding store deliveries. It was also pushing e-commerce beer sales.Danish rival Carlsberg said earlier this month it was expanding cost-cutting as consumers in Europe opted more for less pricy multi-packs of mainstream lagers than craft or specialty beers. Beer volumes fell 2.1% in the quarter while overall volumes, including cider and soft drinks, fell 3.9%, confirming guidance given two weeks ago.The second quarter would be worse, Heineken said, with an impact also in the second half of the year as lockdowns may be lifted but the impact on the economy endured.The company said the lack of clarity on the impact of COVID-19 meant the company has withdrawn all guidance for 2020.Bosses’bonuses canned center_img Heineken, the world’s second-largest brewer, reported a 14% slide in beer sales in March, with sharp declines in all regions as the COVID-19 pandemic closed pubs and restaurants across the globe.In some countries, such as South Africa, the Dutch brewer was forced to shut down production. In France, Italy and Spain, increased beer sales in stores failed to compensate for the collapse of bar trade.The maker of Heineken, Tiger and Sol beers, and Strongbow cider, said first-quarter net profit fell by 68% to 94 million euros ($102.1 million), the company said on Wednesday.last_img read more

  • How many properties does it take to retire comfortably?

    first_imgProperty investment expert and author, Margaret Lomas. Picture: Sam MooyWHEN it comes to real estate investors, those with multi-property portfolios aren’t that common, but it’s just as important to know when to stop as when to start. According to CoreLogic analysis of ATO and ABS data, just over two million Australians held an interest in an investment property in 2015.Of that two million, 71.6 per cent had just one property, while just 18 per cent held two.From there the numbers continued to drop dramatically to the point where investors with six or more totalled a minuscule 0.9 per cent of the investor population — or just over 19,000 people. Investing is a long-term strategy according to Ms LomasBut those 19,000 Australian are onto something according to Destiny founder, Margaret Lomas — as long as they know when to stop.According to Ms Lomas, a portfolio of seven properties is enough to provide a comfortable retirement.“It’s really a value more than a number, but because people like numbers, I always think seven is about it — but we’ve got to understand how that seven then rolls out over a lifetime,” Ms Lomas said.Ms Lomas said if you have the means to buy seven properties in one go, then good on you, but the vast majority of investors need long-term plans. Seven is the magic number.“If you’re like the normal, everyday person, you’re going to start with one and it’s going to take you a couple of years before you’re ready to buy a second,” Ms Lomas said.“They might reach the fourth year with three (properties) and then by the time they get to year five and six, they’re at that point where they probably can buy two at once, and they’ve got more of an appetite for risk,” she said.“To have a $100,000-a-year lifestyle, your need to have a clear (debt free) $2 million worth of property. If you’ve bought seven and you’ve given those 15 years (growth), there’s a chance you’re going to get there, but I don’t want people thinking they’re going to make millions and millions out of property very quickly, because it doesn’t happen that way,” she said.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investorless than 1 hour agoRisk management is important.Ms Lomas said investors are sold the mindset to own more than this by ‘advisers’ with vested interests.“I blame the spruikers for that because obviously it’s in a spruiker’s best interest to have a client come on board and buy as many properties as they possibly can, and we all know a spruiker will make their money out of a property sale,” Ms Lomas said.“For every sale that goes through, they’re probably in for (commissions of) anything between $20,000 to $40,000, and the more they can get a particular client to buy, the more that client is worth to them over their lifetime,” she said. GROWTH OR CASH FLOW? Find growth-driver locations and then look for the right propertyMs Lomas said forget about the capital growth vs. cash flow debate when selecting an investment, because you can have both.She said look for areas with price-growth drivers like infrastructure development, increasing numbers of families, diversity of industry for jobs and limited development to keep supply down.“Your aim as an investor is to spot growth drivers. Once you’ve done that, you’ve got to find the kind of property in that area that’s going to appeal to both buyers and renters,” she said.Ms Lomas said over the long-term, the right properties will see good growth and achieve a comfortable five per cent yield to help service the debt. GOT THEM! NOW WHAT? What next? is often the question. Picture: AAP/Ashley FederMs Lomas said once you’ve acquired the investments, hold off on action for as long as possible.She said smart investors will even use their superannuation first in retirement so the portfolio has more time to rise in both rent and value.“When you get to the point where your superannuation is starting to wear a little thin, then your property should be good to go,” she said.Ms Lomas said, depending on circumstances, you can either live off your portfolio’s positive rental income, or choose to sell down some holdings to reduce the debt on others which boosts your total returns.“The longer you can keep them past that retirement phase and use other sources of income, the better because if you can even add five years to the 15 years you’ve already waited, that five years will make a big difference,” she said.Follow Kieran Clair on Twitter at @kieranclair or Facebook at Kieran Clair — journolast_img read more

  • Finnish roundup: Veritas merges with Pensions-Alandia

    first_imgRegulatory pressure has forced the small Finnish pension fund Pensions-Alandia to merge with larger player Veritas.Pensions-Alandia chief executive Åsa Ceder said it had become “virtually impossible” for his firm to develop its service since 2016.“Changes to the regulations made it virtually impossible for a small company like Pensions-Alandia with five employees to keep up with developments,” he said.The two pension providers have signed a letter of intent about their link-up plans. Veritas already has a 10% stake in Pensions-Alandia, which is mostly owned by Alandia Insurance and operates in the Swedish-speaking Ålandia islands, situated in the Gulf of Bothnia.The two pension companies have had a co-insurance agreement since 1961.Veritas said the merger would save just under €1m in annual administration costs.Carl Pettersson, Veritas chief executive, said the upcoming merger was good news for its customers and would strengthen its position as the fourth option on the market.“The improved cost-effectiveness will have a positive impact on our customer benefits,” he said. “At the same time, it gives us opportunities to further develop our service.”Veritas would still be the smallest pensions insurance company, but financially very strong, Pettersson added.“Small and medium-sized companies have needs that differ from the big ones, and they need a smaller pension company that can meet them,” he said.The joint business will continue under the Veritas brand, and be based in Turku.If the link-up is approved by both companies’ boards, general meetings and by the authorities, Pension-Alandia customers will become Veritas customers on 1 January 2019.At the end of 2016 – the latest annual report available on its website – Pensions-Alandia had €275.6m of total assets, while Veritas had €3.2bn of investment assets at the end of 2017.AI technology ‘can predict ill-health retirement’Machine learning tests carried out by the Finnish Centre for Pensions have shown that technology can predict (to some extent) which individuals will take early retirement on health grounds.The artificial intelligence (AI) application could be used identify groups of people at risk of ending their working lives early due to ill health and to plan preventative measures, according to the Finnish Centre for Pensions – the statutory central body of Finland’s earnings-related pension scheme.In tests, the technology managed to identify four out of five retirees taking a disability pension two years before they had actually done so, the centre said.Mikko Kautto, director at the organisation, said: “Once it gets easier to combine more extensive datasets, AI will offer improved tools to help identify risk groups and plan preventive methods.”Jarno Varis, mathematician at the the Finnish Centre for Pensions, said that four out of five was a very encouraging result.“It is very likely that the accuracy would be improved by adding more social and health data to the algorithm,” he said.The sample consisted of the centre’s anonymous register data for 500,000 people.By comparing the data for the people who had retired on a disability pension and those who had not, the algorithm learned to identify the variables that predicted a disability pension, it said.Factors such as repeated sickness benefits and rehabilitation allowances, as well as a reduced earned income were most successful indicators of a forthcoming disability, the centre said.“A low educational level, unemployment and being unmarried also contributed to the likelihood of retirement on a disability pension,” Varis said, adding that the factors identified by AI corresponded to the results of previous research.The research project was carried out in cooperation with Ilkka Huopaniemi of Siili Solutions, with all information processing done on the centre’s own platform.last_img read more