Electricity supply to be disrupted in parts of Colombo tomorrow

The affected areas will be Colombo 03 including Galle road, Edward road, Glen Aber Place, 8th Lane, School Lane, Alfred House Gardens and Lower Bagatalle road, Colombo 04 including Galle road, Indra Road, Daisy Villa road, De Vos Avenue, Vajira road, R.A. de Mel Road, Milagiriya Avenue, Bambalapitiya Terrace, Retreat road, Shruberry Gardens, Upatissa road, Lauries road, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Station road, Arthur’s Place, Majestic avenue, Trelawney Place and Jawatta road, Colombo 05, including Thimbirigasyaya road, Aintree Street, Kirula road, Chithra Lane, Siripa road and Keppetipola road, Colombo 07 including Torrinton Avenue, Mitland Place, Wijerama Mawatha, Vidya Mawatha, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Nidahas Mawatha, Stanley Wijesundara Mawatha and Malalasekara Mawatha and Colombo 08 including Elvitigala Mawatha, Kithulwatta road, Narahenpita road, Model Farm road, Mangala Path, Gajaba road, Baseline road, D.S. Senanayake road and Dudley Senanayake road. The Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy said that following the upgrade there will be more disruptions to the power supply from July 25 to July 31 in the same areas. (Colombo Gazette) The electricity supply will be disrupted in parts of Colombo tomorrow (Friday) due the upgrading of 132KW cable network system in Colombo.The Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy said that the electricity supply will be disrupted from time to time between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m in parts of Colombo tomorrow. read more

Health Minister orders probe into Galaha Hospital incident

It was reported that the 3 ½ year old child had died following a delay to administer treatment at the hospital. (Colombo Gazette) The Police had to be deployed after a tense situation arose outside the Hospital.The situation arose following the death of an infant who had been admitted to the hospital for treatment. Health Minister, Dr Rajitha Senaratne has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the death of a child at the Galaha Hospital.The Police had to fire tear gas yesterday to disperse an angry mob outside the Galaha Hospital. read more

Words of Wisdom from 3 Women in Communications

WomensLuncheonPanel_774.png In an ideal world, we would not be here, in 2019, still talking about the lack of gender diversity in technology and the challenges that women enterprise IT professionals regularly face working in a male-dominated field. But gender disparity is still very much an IT reality. See All in Women in Communications » 1. Take a Chance on YourselfJeanne Spinosa, telecommunications manager at Brown University, shared that a defining moment for her was in the beginning of her career, almost 40 years ago. “The cliff notes version is I was a grad school dropout. I had no income, and no future in sight,” Jeanne said. Then at a softball game, she ran into an old college friend working at Rolm and teaching people how to use their computerized telephones. “And I said, what the heck does that mean? And she told me, and I thought, well that’s kind of cool.” Gauri Bhalerao, senior manager of collaboration, networking strategy and engineering at Yum! Brands, pointed out the difference between mentoring and sponsoring. Sponsorship, she said, goes beyond the type of advising that comes with mentorship to propelling a person forward — as a sponsor you’d say, “OK, this is a person that will be great for this job, and I’m ready to vouch that [she or he] will be great,” Gauri said. In her experience, every time Gauri has received a promotion was due to sponsorship. But on a positive note, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of attention brought to the issue over the last couple of years. The need for gender equality is much discussed these days, which means there are more opportunities to enact change and drive progress. Shining a Light on Women in Communications Michelle Burbick March 11, 2019 Three Enterprise Connect keynoters speak out on their experiences being women executives in a male-dominated field. Continue on next page; click belowTags:News & ViewsEnterprise ConnectwomenJeanne SpinosaErin LearyGauri Bhaleraoenterprise ITWomen in CommunicationsCareersEnterprise Insider12nextlast Articles You Might Like 3. Be the “Woman in the Restroom”It’s great to have women supporting other women, but as an attendee pointed out in a question to the panel, women aren’t always supportive of other women, and too often we hear stories about women working against one another. Panelists attributed competitiveness as the likely culprit — as Erin said, “It exists. It’s a fact.” With that, she added, “we shouldn’t either shy away from it or overreact to it. It’s just part of getting through a corporate experience.” “I didn’t know anything. I figured I could learn it, and I wasn’t afraid to say I don’t know. … Never be afraid to say I don’t know and take a chance on yourself, Jeanne said. And don’t stop there! “Take a chance on someone else as well.” (For Jeanne’s full story, read the No Jitter post, “From Brown Back to Brown: A Telecom Career Unfolds.”) Two years later, Jeanne was hired on the spot for that same job when her friend took a promotion. “She said, you’re smart, you’ll learn this, you’re hired.” And that’s how she began her career in communications. She shared an experience where she was asked to move out of software development and lead infrastructure at Yum! Brands. “I’m like, ‘Are you kidding me? I had never done this before,’” Gauri said. Her sponsored assured her that she had the technical prowess for the role, and that she’d be great at it because she brought something unique to the table. “So sponsorship is the key for me more than mentorship, because that’s what really takes you to the next level,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to ask for sponsors.” 2. Ask for, and Give, AssistanceWhen it comes to taking a chance on others, being a mentor to younger women is important to all three panelists. Erin Leary, end user services agile transformation leader at Boeing, said mentoring is the best part of her day. “I love being able to talk to people about what makes them excited about work, how they see their future going, and how to empower them to take the right steps,” she said. These conversations, especially with younger women, often come down to discussing roadblocks and how to get around them, Erin said. Log in or register to post comments As part of this effort, we asked three women in enterprise IT to share their experiences and career advice with attendees at our first-annual Women in Communications luncheon. I took away countless pieces of advice from the panel, and here I’ll share the top six that resonated with me (click here to listen in on the full panel discussion, and watch this video to learn more about our women’s initiatives at EC19). Women in the workforce need to raise each other up. You might say that’s her personal mission, in fact. “Supporting women is a huge part of what I want to be able to leave as a legacy, and to look back and say, in that zone, I did more good than harm.” In providing advice on how to combat or mitigate stereotypes of women in the workforce, Erin used the “women in the bathroom” meme – “It’s like, women in the bathroom will help you with anything, right?” So, she continued, “You need to be the women in the restroom, not the ones out on the dance floor.” Gauri agreed, saying, “A lot of times, I think women are harder on women — and that shouldn’t be the case.” Women in Tech: Seeing Is Believing Michelle Burbick March 01, 2019 New initiatives at Enterprise Connect put a spotlight on women working in communications and collaboration technology. At the recent Enterprise Connect Orlando 2019 event, we made this one of our missions, taking on initiatives to help engage people in this discussion and promote the advancement of women in IT and throughout the industry. read more

Commentary Ebola and what the media missed

For more information on these events, contact Tamari Kitossa at tkitossa@brocku.ca, or Richard Ndayizigamiye at rndayizigamiye@brocku.ca.For more information on African Heritage Month, see the story in The Brock News As part of African Heritage Month, there will be a “Healing through Communication Symposium” that will discuss international health-care responses to Ebola in West Africa and Canada’s domestic response to HIV/AIDS in Black communities. In the lead-up to the Feb. 25 event, research communications intern Holly Mohr writes this commentary on one aspect of the Ebola outbreakBy Holly MohrAs the dust settles following months of media coverage of the Ebola outbreak, another dimension of the story is emerging that may shine a different light on the situation.At the height of the outbreak, media coverage focusing on the uncontainable and deadly Ebola virus generated a lot of fear. Details outlining the gruesome deaths, hazmat suits and border control policies appeared to be broadcast on every station, in every newspaper and all over social media, leading many to believe that the virus results in inevitable death.In fact, according to global statistics contained in a Feb. 18 report from the World Health Organization, more than half of those who contracted the virus survived.What’s more, it has been known for some time that Ebola survivors are immune to the virus (http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/qas.html), and thus are able to help relief efforts with their unique position.During an international press conference this month, the National Publicity and Outreach Coordinator of Sierra Leone, Abdulai Bayraytay, spoke about the growing number of people who have overcome the disease.“We have turned out many survivors … (and) we have named them heroes and heroines,” Bayraytay said during a Feb. 10 conference call with journalists. He explained that, far from spreading the contagion of the virus, discharged Ebola survivors in fact spread important information with local communities.“When the word got out that Ebola is not necessarily a deadly virus if it’s reported early, a lot of people reported cases.”There is no doubt that Ebola has been devastating, especially in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, but why has the international news media portrayed the disease as impossible to survive?“For something to be news, it has to be news worthy,” says Derek Foster, an associate professor in Communications, Popular Culture and Film at Brock University. “Something that is worthy of our attention breaks through the ordinary and is remarkable and dramatic. What’s dramatic? Usually violence, death or disease, something that we should be scared of.”Today, the media gives little coverage to the spectacle of Ebola survivors returning to help infected patients. Along with knowing the needs of the patients better than most, the survivors are also familiar with the cultural context.“We recruit them from their local communities,” said Bayraytay. “They know the terrain, they know the people and they speak the language.”According to Bayraytay, the declining number of confirmed cases is largely attributed to social mobilization and education of local people. For many in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, education on the disease comes from more traditional means such as town hall meetings and radio programs in local languages.Survivors are key in this initiative, as they can communicate effectively to communities. Their defeat of the disease provides hope for the sick and, most importantly, encourages people to seek treatment.Perhaps more important than speaking the language, these immune survivors can help the infected without wearing all the protective gear, which allows them to touch patients.“There is hardly a family in Sierra Leone that has not been affected by the Ebola virus,” said Bayraytay, adding that many of the survivors who choose to help have lost their family and friends to the disease, making their actions even more heroic.Foster says the politics and power of fear “plays a large part in focusing the public’s attention on things that break through the monotony of the everyday.” Perhaps this explains why the incredible work many survivors have done has been under-represented in the media.This Wednesday, Feb. 25, the Brock African Heritage Recognition Committee will explore news media coverage and other aspects of the Ebola outbreak during the symposium Healing Through Communication Symposium: HIV/AIDS, Sexualities and Anti-African Racism.The symposium will take place in the Mills Room at the St. Catharines Public Library from 5-7 p.m. The free event is open to all, with light refreshments served.Then on Friday Feb. 27, the group will host the third annual Dr. Wilma Morrison African Heritage Lecture. The free lecture will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Thistle 243 at Brock University. All are welcome to attend. Holly Mohr is a research communications intern with the Office of Research Services under the Match of Minds Program at Brock University. She is a fourth-year media communications student at Brock. read more

Arson suspected in Six Nations fire

Six Nations firefighters say they suspect a fire at an abandoned building in Ohswekenan was arson.It happened on 1073 Seneca Road at around midnight last night. Officials say the blaze started in a SUV at the back of the building and spread to the west end of the structure. Last year, there were more than 20 structure fires in Six Nations. Many of those fires were in abandon buildings, and many were considered suspicious. The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal has been called to consult on the investigation. read more

Woman shot during St Catharines break in

Niagara police are investigating after a woman was shot during an alleged robbery in St. Catharines.Police say four men entered an apartment on Lake St. on Monday evening and made “threatening demands” of someone inside the home.One of the men was armed with a gun and shot a female victim. Police say the men fled the area before officers arrived and no firearm was found.The victim was treated at the scene by Niagara Emergency Medical Services and was transferred to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.The four suspects were all dressed in black or dark clothing, wearing hooded sweaters or jackets and had their faces covered. Two of the men were described as white and the other two as black. Investigators do not believe this was a random attack. Anyone with information is asked by Niagara police to contact Detective Constable Jeremy DiFranco at 905-688-4111 ext. 9476. read more

Man survives after going over the Horseshoe Falls

Police say a man has survived after being swept over the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara.Niagara Regional Police received a call around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning for a person in crisis. Officers saw the man climb a retaining wall, jump into the Niagara River and get swept over the Falls. He was later found sitting on the rocks at the water’s edge, below the Journey Behind the Falls observation platform.The man was rescued from the lower Niagara River basin and taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.Police described the man as a person who was in crisis and said no further details on the incident would be released. read more

Canadas main stock index edges higher Canadian dollar down

Index and currency in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)The Canadian Press TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index was up marginally Tuesday morning, with gains coming from a number of sectors.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 40.37 points at 16,559.25 in late morning trading.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 92.19 points at 27,264.09. The S&P 500 index was up 8.44 points at 2,993.47, while the Nasdaq composite was up 12.8 points at 8,216.94.The Canadian dollar traded at 76.11 cents US, down from an average of 76.32 cents US on Monday.The September crude contract was down 32 cents at US$55.90 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was down 1.6 cents at US$2.28 per mmBTU.The August gold contract was down $1.70 at US$1,425.20 an ounce and the September copper contract was down 2.3 cents at US$2.70 a pound. read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX

TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (16,492.17, down 38.87 points).Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Up eight cents, or 3.62 per cent, to $2.29 on 10.2 million shares.Vermilion Energy Inc. (TSX:VET). Energy. Down $1.78, or 7.33 per cent, to $22.51 on 8.2 million shares.Hexo Corp. (TSX:HEXO). Health care. Up 48 cents, or 9.16 per cent, to $5.72 on 6.5 million shares.Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB). Energy. Down 31 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $43.93 on 6.1 million shares.Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA). Energy. Down 12 cents, or 2.17 per cent, to $5.42 on 5.9 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Down 24 cents, or 2.84 per cent, to $8.20 on 5.6 million shares.Companies in the news:WestJet Airlines. (TSX:WJA). Up three cents at $30.73. WestJet chief executive Ed Sims says the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max is having a “substantial negative impact” on the airline, even as the company reported robust earnings in its first full quarter without the fuel-efficient jetliner and on the cusp of its acquisition by Onex Corp. In a phone interview, Sims said the grounding — now expected to continue at least through November — has forced WestJet to increase spending on fuel and cut its routes. Sims declined to quantify the financial hit, saying he is in discussions with Boeing about the “substantial loss” of WestJet’s 13 Max 8s, which comprise about 10 per cent of the carrier’s seat capacity.Vermilion Energy Inc. (TSX:VET) — Vermilion Energy Inc. says a refinery outage in France led to a second-quarter oil and gas production decline from the prior quarter, offset by gains in its operations in the United States and Australia. CEO Tony Marino says the Calgary-based company averaged 103,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, down about 400 boe/d from the prior quarter, as output in France slipped by about 1,300 boe/d or 15 per cent to 9,800 boe/d.Thomson Reuters Inc. (TSX:TRI). Down $2.85 or 3.1 per cent to $89.89. Shares of Thomson Reuters Inc. are down slightly from last week’s highs amid news that it may sell its stake in Refinitiv to the company that owns the London Stock Exchange. The Toronto-headquartered multinational currently owns 45 per cent of Refinitiv, which was formerly a wholly owned division of Thomson Reuters that collects company information for the investment industry. Thomson Reuters said during the weekend that it would own 15 per cent of the LSE Group PLC under the proposed transaction, which values Refinitiv at US$27 billion including debt. The Canadian Press read more

Barclays bank 2Q earns down 19 as income stagnates

London-based Barclays bank says second-quarter earnings fell 19% as income stagnated and it set aside more money to cover bad loans.Net income dropped to 1.03 billion pounds ($1.25 billion) from 1.28 billion in the same period last year. Income was largely flat at 5.54 billion pounds. Credit impairment charges and other provisions rose 70% to 480 million pounds.The trans-Atlantic bank also warned about continuing uncertainties related to Britain’s departure from the European Union.Barclays described Brexit as “one of the most significant economic events for the UK,” adding that “its effects are subject to unprecedented levels of uncertainty of outcomes, with the full range of possible effects unknown.”The bank declined to predict the “unknowable factors or all possible future implications” of Brexit.The Associated Press read more

Mint menthol Vape industry has dug heels in on flavour bans

AUGUSTA, Maine — Efforts to ban flavoured e-cigarettes and reduce their appeal to youngsters have sputtered under industry pressure in over a half-dozen states this year.That has come even as one state, Michigan, moves ahead with its own restrictions and President Donald Trump promises federal ones.The industry and its lobbyists urged lawmakers, at least, to leave the popular mint and menthol flavours alone.But public health experts say that all flavours should be banned.The proposal Trump outlined Wednesday would supersede any state inaction and includes a ban on mint and menthol.Industry giant Juul Labs Inc. now says “we will fully comply with the final FDA policy when effective.”Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press read more

Trumps aggression against the G7 and Canada Five questions about whats at

— Trudeau’s reputation:The prime minister has made no secret of the need to maintain a cordial relationship of respect with Trump, because no country matters more to Canada’s security, prosperity and freedom. Since the day Trump threatened to tear up NAFTA, Trudeau has tip-toed around that possibility with unfailing hope that a renegotiation will eventually benefit everyone. Now the gloves are off. The likes of Republican Senator John McCain and Alberta’s conservative leader Jason Kenney both spoke out in defence of Trudeau yesterday. But will Canadians punish him at the polls next year if they feel the pinch of Trump’s wrath? Will they think the $800 million and the considerable sweat and effort required for the summit was a waste of their money? Leon Neal/Getty Images — Canada-U.S. trade: The United States is, by far, Canada’s biggest customer. Much of Canada’s export sector is tightly linked to having an open border with the United States. That makes the renegotiation of the North America Free Trade Agreement that Trump has instigated crucial to the future of Canadian investment and prosperity. The U.S. has recently thrown up or reinforced several barriers to that open border — in aerospace, lumber, and most recently steel and aluminum. With Trump and Trudeau exchanging increasingly personal and public insults, what happens to those NAFTA negotiations? Are Canada’s supply chains at risk? Are there enough reasonable conversations taking place with thoughtful American powerbrokers behind the scenes to help Canada escape a full-blown trade war that would devastate a wide range of sectors?Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks as the seat of U.S. President Donald Trump sits empty during the Gender Equality Advisory Council working breakfast on the second day of the G7 Summit on June 9, 2018 in Quebec City, Canada. Canada are hosting the leaders of the UK, Italy, the US, France, Germany and Japan for the two day summit, in the town of La Malbaie. — Dairy: Trump has lashed out at Canada’s dairy exports repeatedly in the past few days, complaining that the U.S. pays prices that are 270 per cent higher than they should be because of unfair trade practices. Canada does not export much dairy. In 2016, sales outside Canada were worth $235 million. Half of those exports were to the United States. Does Trump mean to target those exports, or is he actually trying to undermine Canada’s supply management system? Is he after concessions for a renewed NAFTA?— Autos: Auto production in North America has been under intense scrutiny throughout the NAFTA talks of the past year. Trump has made clear he wants more auto production to take place within the U.S., pressuring Mexico for wage increases, and insisting on a higher percentage of North Ameican content in every car. Last month, he spooked Canada and Mexico by introducing the idea of slapping tariffs on auto exports to the U.S. He doubled down on that threat in his tweets Sunday after the G7. How real is this threat, and can Canada do anything to prevent Trump from making good on it?The likes of Republican Senator John McCain and Alberta’s conservative leader Jason Kenney both spoke out in defence of Trudeau yesterday QUEBEC — When Donald Trump boarded Air Force in Quebec and whisked his way to Singapore on Saturday, he left behind a stormy wake of mixed signals that bordered on rage. Hours after indicating he would sign on to a carefully drafted G7 communique, he rescinded his support, accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of being meek and dishonest, and threatened Canada with more trade action.Here are five questions about what’s at stake:— The future of the G7: The leaders huddled late into the night on Friday and again on Saturday morning to find compromises palatable to all, especially on maintaining free trade and carefully managing trade disputes. With Trump rejecting those compromises and turning his back on an agreement, can the G7 remain intact? They also affirmed the importance of the “international rules-based order” and that the G7 is based on a set of “shared values.” What is lost if the G7 becomes the G6, or simply falls apart?Are Canada’s supply chains at risk? read more

WatchThe cost of owning a home in Vancouver 88 of income has

Housing affordability in Greater Vancouver reached a “crisis level” in the first quarter, with additional interest rate hikes expected to take another bite out of Canadian housing affordability in the months to come, says an RBC report.The share of household income required to cover mortgage payments, property taxes and utilities in the Greater Vancouver Area reached a record high of 87.8 per cent in the first quarter, rising 1.5 percentage points from the fourth quarter and up 9.5 per cent from the prior year.“And things could get worse if — or when — interest rates rise further,” said the report by RBC chief economist Craig Wright and senior economist Robert Hogue.A cooling in the market may take pressure off prices but it’s unlikely to ease affordability tensions, they wrote.The cost of home ownership in Victoria was also high at 62.7 per cent, up from 48 per cent in mid-2015.The Bank of Canada is expected to increase its overnight rate by one percentage point to 2.25 per cent by the first half of 2019.Growing household income and cooler housing markets in some areas should provide some limited offset.Nationally, the proportion of income required to pay home ownership costs rose 0.4 percentage points from the fourth quarter to 48.4 per cent.The move reversed a 0.3 percentage point drop in the fourth quarter.“Well, the winning streak for housing affordability in Canada ended … at just one quarter!” said the report.Mortgage rates increased in the previous two quarters, but a drop in home prices — mainly in the Greater Toronto Area — trimmed ownership costs modestly.The Greater Toronto Area saw affordability improve slightly to 74.2 per cent as a dip in home prices counteracted higher interest rates.The mortgage stress test that came into effect in January added downward pressure on property values that were still adjusting to new measures in Ontario including a 15 per cent foreign buyer tax and the expansion of rent controls to all private rental units.RBC said home prices in and around the country’s largest city should move slightly higher in the near term after declining modestly in the past two quarters.Saskatoon, Ottawa, Halifax and St. John’s, N.L., saw the largest declines in affordability in more than a year, but housing costs remained low at between 27 and 36.6 per cent.“This shouldn’t raise too many concerns at this stage because the level of the measure for each of these markets remains close to its historical average — indicating that any affordability-related stress isn’t abnormally high,” said the report.However, stress may be building in the Greater Montreal Area, which saw costs reach their highest point since 2011 at 43.7 per cent.“Montreal’s housing market continues to show all-round, solid momentum and steadily rising prices in the early part of 2018,” RBC said. “The flipside, though, is that it’s becoming less and less affordable to own a home in the area.”Ownership costs rose slightly in Saint John in the first quarter, but the New Brunswick city was the most affordable of those tracked by RBC at 25.9 per cent.Halifax affordability was resilient at 32.7 per cent, with a 1.2 per cent decrease in resales in the first quarter, compared to 13 per cent drop nationally.Housing remains inexpensive outside Canada’s three hottest housing markets — Vancouver, Toronto and Victoria, said a separate report from the Bank of Montreal. In most cities, property costs are less than four-times family income while mortgage payments consume less than 20 per cent of salaries, which is little changed from the mid-2000s.“Borrowing five-year money costs little more today than five years ago and remains well below historic norms,” said BMO senior economist Sal Guatieri.“Government intensification policies that restrict the supply of ground-related units, low joblessness and well-paying, high-tech jobs are also cushioning prices.” read more

WatchUS Tim Hortons franchisee group sues RBI over alleged price gouging equity

Brent Lewin/Bloomberg files It also claims the company requires franchisees who want to sell their stores to first offer it to the company for the five-year declining depreciated value of the furniture, fixtures and equipment.The GWNFA wants the court to declare the practices a breach of contract.RBI spokeswoman Devinder Lamsar said in an emailed statement that the lawsuit “does not at all reflect the facts.”She said the company “will respond in due course with the facts to this U.S.-based claim” and that RBI works closely with its Canadian and U.S. advisory boards made up of franchisees committed to its plan to grow the business and franchisee profitability.“These franchisees have been unfairly squeezed by Tim Hortons/RBI to the point where they are, in many cases, no longer viable businesses,” said Jerry Marks, one of the lawyers representing the GWNFA in this case, in a statement.“We expect to stop this type of abusive franchisor behaviour.”RBI is also facing two lawsuits from the Canadian GWNFA chapter, including one alleging the company improperly used money from a national advertising fund. A group of U.S. Tim Hortons franchisees filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging their parent company engaged in price gouging and equity theft.Restaurant Brands International “established a very aggressive and improper investment strategy in the Tim Hortons franchisee system, which resulted in the economic squeezing of Tim Hortons franchisees by RBI,” reads the suit filed in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida court on behalf of the American chapter of the Great White North Franchisee Association.None of the allegations have been proven in court and RBI disputes the allegations.Tim Hortons launches all-day breakfast across CanadaTim Hortons plots Chinese invasion as Asian giant’s favourite drink — tea — gives way to roasty rivalTim Hortons to upgrade distribution system, open new warehouses after franchisee complaintsThe U.S. GWNFA group, which says it represents about half of all American Tim Hortons franchisees, claims RBI and Tim Hortons USA strip them of income and profit through increased and improper franchisee fees.RBI raised the prices of necessary products and services — like food supplies, paper cups, containers and cleaning supplies — that franchisees must purchase from approved vendors, according to the suit. These prices are “significantly above” open market prices, the suit alleges.Tim Hortons franchisees pay $104.08 more per case of Applewood bacon than Wendy’s franchisees do, according to the court documents, and $23.85 more for boxes of diet and regular Coke.The American chapter of the Great White North Franchisee Association has filed a lawsuit in a Florida county court against Restaurant Brands International and Tim Hortons USA. read more

CoucheTard signs asset swap deal in US with Cross America Partners

MONTREAL — Alimentation Couche-Tard and CrossAmerica Partners LP have signed a deal to swap convenience and gas station assets in the U.S.Under the agreement, Couche-Tard has agreed to sell 192 U.S convenience and fuel retail stores to CrossAmerica, with an aggregate value of about US$184.5 million.Meanwhile, CrossAmerica has agreed to sell Couche-Tard assets valued at US$184.5 million, including the real estate property for 56 U.S. company-operated convenience and fuel retail stores leased and operated by Couche-Tard and 17 stores owned and operated by CrossAmerica in the U.S. Upper Midwest.Couche-Tard says the deal is expected to take place through a series of transactions over a period of up to 24 months.The closing of each transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.Couche-Tard’s wholly owned subsidiary CrossAmerica GP is the general partner for CrossAmerica Partners LP.“We believe this transaction will be beneficial to both parties,” Couche-Tard chief executive Brian Hannasch said in a statement.“The transfer of Couche-Tard’s retail stores to CrossAmerica will help optimize the long-term value of these assets, further strengthens Couche-Tard’s core retail business and is a win-win for both sets of stakeholders.” read more

Police blotter Driver flees after crash

A driver fled the scene after crashing a pickup truck into a parked vehicle in downtown Simcoe on Saturday.Norfolk OPP responded to a collision on Argyle Street at about 8 a.m.Police say a woman was driving a pickup truck when it collided with a parked vehicle. Police say the driver immediately got out of the truck and fled on foot from the area.On Sunday officers located the suspected driver of the truck and took her into custody.As a result, a 30-year-old Norfolk County woman was charged with careless driving, failure to report an accident, failure to remain, failure to report damage to property on highway, and driving a motor vehicle with no licence.Prescription medicine stolenAt some point between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Friday, someone entered a residence on James Street in Delhi and removed a bottle of prescription medication containing oxycocet.Police say the residence was left unlocked.Excavator tires and rims stolenOn Friday someone gained access to a steel sea container located at a Highway 59, Norwich Township address.Once inside, they removed four bobcat tires and rims. They entered the container between 10:20 and 10:38 a.m.Police are continuing to investigate.Don’t use 911 to report power outagesFollowing the power outage on Friday, April 12, police are reminding the public that 911 is not to be used to report outages.Around 7:12 p.m. an emergency 911 call was received after the power in the community was disrupted as a result of a transformer that caught on fire.“The OPP is once again reminding everyone about the proper use of 911. The use of 911 is for police, fire or medical emergencies when someone’s health, safety or property is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress,” said Norfolk Inspector Joseph Varga in a media release. read more

UN envoys for Afghanistan arrive in New York for consultations

“The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, has arrived at UN headquarters and has begun consultations,” spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters. “He will meet with the Secretary-General this afternoon.””The Secretary-General’s Personal Representative for Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, is also here for meetings,” the spokesman added. Mr. Brahimi, who previously served as a UN envoy in the country during the late 1990s, was reappointed to the post earlier this month to take charge of the UN’s overall humanitarian and political work in the country. Among other tasks, Mr. Brahimi will manage peacemaking activities involving the warring parties and others concerned, with a view to facilitating a fully representative, multiethnic and broad-based government. Mr. Vendrell was appointed Personal Representative and Head of the UN Special Mission to Afghanistan in January 2000. Since that time, he has maintained frequent contact with the warring sides, non-belligerent groups outside of Afghanistan and other interested parties. read more

Despite more media attention civilians in armed conflict face grim realities UN

In a briefing to an open meeting of the Security Council on the issue of civilians in armed conflict, Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Kenzo Oshima said that while the primary responsibility for the protection of civilians in armed conflict rested with governments, it was important to reach beyond traditional lines, create synergies among a wide range of actors and require the commitment and cooperation of Member States, regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, the media, the private sector and academia. The situation in Afghanistan highlighted many of the issues addressed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Mr. Oshima said. He went on to outline several initiatives underway to implement UN recommendations on the issue, including a “road map” that would identify institutions for their implementation.ist in the preparation of the road map, Mr. Oshima said his Office had organized a series of workshops for interested Member States, UN staff, agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), non-governmental organizations and experts. The Under-Secretary-General also described an aide-memoire process that would serve as a checklist to ensure that the protection of civilians was systematically taken into consideration in establishing, changing or closing peacekeeping mandates. A third initiative involved steps to ensure closer coordination between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Following Mr. Oshima’s briefing, the Council engaged in an exchange of questions and answers, with the participation of representatives from Ukraine, Singapore, Norway, Colombia, Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Bangladesh, Mali, Mauritius and Tunisia.Follo read more

Security Council members voice hope that political efforts will foster positive change

“Members of the Council noted various political efforts aimed at achieving the goals set out in Security Council resolutions,” said the current President of the Council, Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation, in a statement to the press.”They expressed hope that all these efforts would bring about positive changes on the ground, including a non-violent resolution of the situation around Chairman [Yasser] Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah and the arrival the fact-finding team by the end of the week,” he added, referring to the mission initiated by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and welcomed by the Council to develop accurate information regarding recent events at the Jenin refugee camp.Council members were informed that the Secretary-General expected the fact-finding team to arrive in the region by the end of the week as originally planned, Ambassador Lavrov said. He added that the members would continue to follow the situation in order to ensure the implementation of the Council’s latest resolutions on the Middle East.Consultations on the situation in the Middle East are scheduled for tomorrow, according to the President, who said the members would be briefed by UN officials before holding another round of discussions on the Secretary-General’s initiative concerning a multinational force for the Palestinian territories.Meanwhile, talks in New York on the fact-finding mission between UN and Israeli officials suspended this afternoon. A UN spokesman announced that they will resume tomorrow morning. read more

Humanitarian aid effort faces major funding shortfall UN official warns

“This year, there is concern that there is a major shortfall in the amount of money that is being given overall to meet humanitarian needs,” said Mark Bowden, Chief of the Policy Development and Studies Branch of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The present shortfall was estimated at approximately $2.2 billion, which meant that only 38.5 per cent of the $3.67 billion required had been forthcoming. Currently, 19 countries had consolidated appeal programmes, covering approximately 33 million people, he said, adding that there were “winners and losers” in the process. The appeal for Afghanistan, for example, had received 48 per cent of required funds. The results were more worrying in other countries. “The reason that we’re concerned,” he stressed, “is that in many countries, where there are opportunities to make considerable progress in meeting humanitarian needs, such as Angola and Sudan, were not able to make those humanitarian gains because the money just isn’t there.” Overall, the UN was concerned not only that the appeals were not being adequately met, but that there was an imbalance in funding across countries “because we can’t take advantage of the opportunities to make a real difference at a stage where peace processes are moving forward,” Mr. Bowden said. read more

UN envoy on hand as Afghanistan swears in new cabinet

Yesterday, Lakhdar Brahimi, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, held his first formal meeting with members of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.The envoy told participants that their success would be measured by how much help they would provide to those who would needed it, and by how much respect they would earn from their countrymen. He also reiterated the UN’s support for the Commission’s work.The Commission was created by a decree signed into law on 6 June by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was then Chairman of the Interim Administration, and is charged with developing a national plan of action for human rights in the country.The 11-member body is comprised of persons who were appointed based on their individual human rights expertise, personal and professional integrity as well as their competence, demonstrated independence and commitment to human rights and public credibility. read more

UN rights expert calls on Thai authorities to investigate killings during recent

In a statement from Geneva today, Asma Jahangir, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, cited allegations of excessive use of force resulting in extrajudicial executions in the course of the ongoing law enforcement operations by Thai authorities.Her call for strict compliance with international human rights law by Thai law enforcement and security officials also stressed the need to rigorously follow “the strict limits on the use of lethal force, as stipulated under the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law-enforcement Officials.”Ms. Jahangir also called on the Thai authorities to quickly carry out transparent and independent investigations into each individual death, in order to assess the accountability of law enforcement and security officials. “The perpetrators of human rights violations are brought to justice in accordance with national and international standards,” she said. read more

UN environment chief says green plan central to African development

Klaus Töepfer, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), hailed the gathering, officially called the Partners’ Conference on the Implementation of the Action Plan for the Environment Initiative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). “Today’s meeting shows that [the international community] remains determined to help Africans place their countries on a path of development and prosperity,” he said.He stressed that the NEPAD environment plan would “help African countries address the continent’s environmental challenges, while encouraging sustainable development in one of the poorest regions in the world.”This effort, he added, will also contribute to the success of the Millennium Development Goals, a set of time-specific, measurable targets – including the halving of extreme poverty by 2015 and stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS – agreed to by the world’s countries in 2000. read more

Dollarama again increasing pace of new store openings on real estate competition

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Dollarama again increasing pace of new store openings on real estate competition MONTREAL – Dollarama is continuing to increase the pace of new store openings as competition for good locations prompts the discount retailer to act quickly.The Montreal-based chain expects to open 75 new stores next year, after accelerating its forecasted openings to between 75 and 85 stores this fiscal year.At the higher level, Dollarama will have boosted its store count by nearly 64 per cent from last year, when it added 52 new locations.“We’re all aware of the competitive environment for real estate in Canada and if you fall asleep for a couple of years you’re going to be shut out,” CEO Larry Rossy said Thursday during a conference call.Dollarama is mindful that some store additions will cannibalize sales from existing locations as up to half the new stores are in Ontario, where most of its outlets are located.“But we do feel comfortable in spite of that, it’s well worth the investments in those locations,” he told analysts.In urban centres, 10 to 15 per cent of new stores are smaller, sometime basement locations rather than the 10,000 square foot traditional suburban format.Dollarama (TSX:DOL) said its net profits in the three months ended Oct. 28 jumped 23 per cent to $51.5 million, or 68 cents per diluted share.That was up from $41.8 million or 55 cents in the comparable year-earlier period.Revenues soared 14.4 per cent to just under $458 million from $400.3 million and included a 6.6 per cent increase in same-store sales at locations open at least a year. Average transaction sized increased by 4.9 per cent and it had a 1.6 per cent increase in average transactions.The number of stores in operation rose to 761 from 690 in the year-earlier period, with 26 new stores added in the quarter.Normalized net earnings, or those adjusted for non-recurring charges net of tax impacts, were $53.7 million or 71 cents per diluted share, up 29.1 per cent from $41.8 million or 55 cents a year ago.Dollarama had been expected to earn 70 cents per share in adjusted net earnings on $458 million in revenues in the third quarter, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.The discount retailer originally sold products for a dollar but has since added more expensive items priced at up to $3 to help boost the bottom line.Those items above $1 represented 57 per cent of sales, up from 49 per cent last year.“We continue to generate strong gross profits while delivering great value to our customers,” he said.While the chain has added higher price items, Rossy said very few Christmas items are at the top prices and the company’s objective is not to load the stores with these more expensive products.“We’re not aggressively trying to convert our stores into $3 stores here …The objective remains giving value and if I had an alternative I’d give more value at $1 and $1.25 than I would at $2.50 and $3.”The strong results prompted Derek Dley of Canaccord Genuity to increase his target price for Dollarama shares nearly three per cent to $72 as he estimates that 2.5 cents per share is added for each 10 new stores.“We continue to believe Dollarama deserves a premium valuation given its position in an underpenetrated market, industry-leading profitability metrics, robust free cash flow generation and commitment to return cash to shareholders,” he wrote in a report.Dollarama recently appointed the chief executive officer of auto parts distributor Uni-Select Inc. (TSX:UNS) as an independent director of the company, replacing Matthew Levin.On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Dollarama shares lost $1.31, or two per cent, to $61.29 in afternoon trading. by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Dec 6, 2012 3:48 pm MDT read more

Hopes high for new leader to pressure Bank of Japan supereasy monetary

TOKYO – Hopes are high in Japan Inc. for the new prime minister. Stocks are recovering. The central bank is set to supercharge an already loose monetary policy. The soaring yen, a big minus for exporters, is reversing course.The bullish mood in the air is all about “Abenomics” — a reference, as dubbed by experts and market players, to Shinzo Abe, the shoo-in comeback prime minister when Parliament votes next week.But experts are already wondering how long that celebration is going to last.“This is just the honeymoon,” said Masaaki Kanno, chief economist at J.P. Morgan in Tokyo.Abe has made reviving the economy a priority, and is pushing for a 2 per cent inflation “target,” double the central bank’s “goal” now.That’s designed to fight a problem that was until recently relatively unique in the world — deflation, or continually dropping prices, which deadens economic activity. The Japanese economy has been stuck in deflation for two decades.The Bank of Japan, ending a two-day policy board meeting Thursday, further loosened its super-easy monetary policy, pumping more money into the financial system by expanding its asset purchase program by about 10 trillion yen ($119 billion) for a total of 101 trillion yen ($1.2 billion).The bank has now eased monetary policy five times this year. Japan’s benchmark interest rates are already at zero.The central bank also paid respect to Abe. It said it will consider pricing goals and report back at the next meeting in January. Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa made clear in his news conference after the meeting the bank was responding to Abe’s requests.“One by one, my election promises are becoming realized,” Abe told reporters, noting Shirakawa had telephoned him to assure him that monetary easing will be enhanced.Abe’s pro-business, conservative Liberal Democratic Party was voted back into power in a landslide in Sunday’s elections.Before a change of power in 2009, the party ruled virtually without interruption for a half-century, engineering Japan’s stellar growth into the world’s third-largest economy.Besides generous promises to boost public-works spending — by as much as 10 trillion yen ($119 billion), according to party officials — Abe is pressuring the central bank to work more closely with the government.Such pressures are a departure from the past. But they are also growing in other parts of the world, including in the U.S. and parts of Europe.What remains unclear is exactly how the 2 per cent inflation target will be achieved. A weakening yen, though favourable for Japanese businesses, is likely not enough to get a lagging economy back on course.In the long run, Japan needs widespread economic reforms, opening up of markets and freeing up of tight protective regulations, to get new life back into the economy, analysts say.Job growth in recent years has been limited, often in low-pay part-time sectors. Hopelessness among the young generation is intensified by the prospect of having to foot the bill for one of the world’s most rapidly aging societies.“Getting out of deflation can’t be done by monetary easing alone. It’s not a fix-it-all. It’s not a magic wand,” said Katsuyuki Hasegawa, chief market economic at Mizuho Research Institute. “You need a whole package of measures.”A new business mentality is also needed, one that nurtures young entrepreneurs like Reina Otsuka, 32, who runs her own online business called “eco+waza” selling Japanese ecological products, like cast-iron rice cookers and charcoal deodorizers, for the global market.The government hasn’t been much help to Otsuka’s efforts in the past, but she had hopes for Abe, at 58, a young leader by Japanese standards, and prime minister in 2006-2007.“It is nice that he is still young. I hope he can show leadership,” she said, expressing hopes the government will let the private sector alone and get on with business.So far, Abenomics is on a roll.The benchmark Nikkei soared earlier this week, although it lost some of the gains Thursday. The dollar has recovered to mid-84 yen levels from below 80 yen levels in recent months.Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda welcomed Abe’s pledge to work with the Bank of Japan, and expressed hopes the yen would keep sinking.Still, Abenomics is not without risks.So much of its best scenario relies on the confidence people have in Japan’s ability to sustain ballooning public debt, estimated at more than 200 per cent of its economy, or gross domestic product. That debt will rise if Abe executes his plan for more spending.Government bonds have remained stable so far. But if that confidence is lost, bonds could lose their perceived safety and that would endanger the country’s ability to borrow, Kanno warned.Setting an inflation target is a tricky idea, Kanno said. If a C student has been failing at trying to get a B, is targeting an A going to make a difference?And the idea that people will go shopping, expecting prices to go up later, is just ridiculous, he said. People will jump to start consuming — only when they see prices shooting up.“It takes a long time to get out of deflation,” Kanno said. “One needs to proceed with caution.”___Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at www.twitter.com/yurikageyama Hopes high for new leader to pressure Bank of Japan, super-easy monetary policy loosened by Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press Posted Dec 20, 2012 4:13 am MDT read more

Loonie closes below parity on signal that rates wont rise this year

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar closed below parity with the greenback for the first time in more than two months Thursday in the wake of the Bank of Canada’s signal that interest rate hikes are likely further off than previously thought.The loonie declined 0.39 of a cent to 99.71 cents US on top of a drop of almost two-thirds of a cent Wednesday as the central bank kept its key rate at one per cent and lowered its economic estimates.The bank has shaved three-tenths of a point off its projections for growth for both 2012 and 2013, to 1.9 per cent and 2.0 per cent respectively.The change in the guidance likely means the Bank of Canada won’t move to tighten borrowing costs until some time in 2014.However, it’s not expected that this latest move below parity is anything but temporary.Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital, called the losses of the past couple of days a temporary repricing.“The market has made some adjustments to their expectation in terms of the timing of the first rate hike in Canada,” she said.However, she noted that the Bank of Canada is still far more hawkish or more likely to hike rates than the U.S. Federal Reserve “and that’s supportive of the Canadian dollar.”She also said that the loonie will be supported by improving global growth and the favourable investor view of Canada.“The flow should remain favourable into Canada this year and combined all together should create an environment where the dollar doesn’t rally to new highs but still rallies through parity and tests the highs we saw last year.”The loonie peaked last year close to 104 cents US.There was good news from the world’s second-biggest economy as China’s manufacturing crept higher in January to the fastest pace in two years. A preliminary version of HSBC’s monthly purchasing managers’ index rose for the fifth month in a row to 51.9 in January from 51.5 in December. Readings above 50 on the 100-point scale indicate an expansion.The report is further evidence that China’s economy is undergoing a modest recovery from a downturn sparked by the 2008 world financial crisis.Its economy expanded 7.9 per cent in the final quarter of last year, up from 7.4 per cent in the previous quarter. For all of 2012, the economy expanded 7.8 per cent, the slowest annual performance since the 1990s.The Chinese data helped push oil prices higher.The March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 72 cents to US$95.95 a barrel after falling $1.45 on Wednesday. The decline came after crude shipments through the Seaway pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, to refineries on the Gulf Coast had to be cut to less than half because of limited endpoint capacity.Copper slipped one cent to US$3.68 a pound.Gold bullion declined, with the February contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange down $16.80 to US$1,669.90 an ounce. by Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press Posted Jan 24, 2013 4:29 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Loonie closes below parity on signal that rates won’t rise this year read more

APGfK Poll Republicans get most blame for shutdown tea party is a

AP-GfK Poll: Republicans get most blame for shutdown, tea party is a big and divisive factor by Calvin Woodward And Jennifer Agiesta, The Associated Press Posted Oct 8, 2013 11:13 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – A new poll says Americans are holding Republicans primarily responsible for the partial government shutdown.The Associated Press-GfK survey finds plenty of disdain to go around as people size up the federal impasse. Most now disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling his job. And Congress’ approval rating is a perilous 5 per cent.Overall, Republicans are taking the bigger hit in public opinion. In the poll, 63 per cent say Republicans deserve a lot of the blame. About half say Obama or the Democrats in Congress are largely responsible.The poll finds that the tea party is a significant influence among Republicans as well as a source of division. Forty-one per cent of Republicans identified themselves as tea party supporters and they want Republican leaders in Congress to stand firm. read more

Explosion fire at natural gas pipeline hub forces evacuation of small southwest

This image provided by Rachel Anderson shows officials at the site of an explosion and fire at a natural gas processing facility and major national pipeline hub, Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in Opal, Wyo. Officials said there are no reports of injuries and the residents of Opal have been evacuated to an area about 3 miles outside the town as a precaution. Opal has about 95 residents and is about 100 miles northeast of Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rachel Anderson) OPAL, Wyo. – A small town in southwest Wyoming was evacuated Wednesday after an explosion and fire at a natural gas processing facility and major national pipeline hub. There were no reports of injuries.The gas has been shut off, but people who were in Opal, about 100 miles northeast of Salt Lake City, went to an area about 3 miles outside of town as a precaution, said Lincoln County spokesman Stephen Malik. The town has about 95 residents.“They were downwind from the plant,” said Lincoln County Sheriff Shane Johnson. “The fire was still very active, and because of the nature of the processing that goes on there, that was the call that was made for safety reasons.”Johnson said he didn’t know when people would be allowed back into Opal.No structures in the town were affected, and the fire was confined to the facility operated by pipeline operator Williams Partners LP, county officials said.The explosion occurred in the plant’s cryogenic processing tower, a structure that chills unrefined natural gas to separate out impurities, but officials didn’t yet know what caused the blast.All employees at the gas processing plant were accounted for, Williams spokesman Tom Droege said.The explosion was reported at about 2 p.m., and the fire continued to burn into the evening. Williams spokeswoman Michele Swaner said it was being allowed to burn itself out.The gas processing plant in Opal removes carbon dioxide and other impurities from natural gas that comes from gas fields in the region. It can gather up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day, and it sends it into pipelines that go to urban centres to the east, west and south.Williams Partners, based in Tulsa, Okla., said in a statement it has suspended collecting gas from surrounding areas and is looking for ways to resume production.The Opal hub, where regional pipelines converge, is the principal spot where prices are set for natural gas produced from the large gas fields in western Wyoming and the San Juan Basin in Utah. The plant makes Opal perhaps best known as a regional gas-pricing hub. Government officials and industry insiders closely watch Opal hub prices to monitor trends with regional gas supply and demand.Williams operates the Northwest Pipeline, which runs through Opal on its way to the Pacific Northwest. An explosion in March at a liquefied natural gas facility operated by Williams on the Washington-Oregon border injured five employees.Gas from the Williams plant at Opal serves a huge number of customers from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California, the Southwest and even as far east as Ohio, said Brian Jeffries, executive director of the Wyoming Pipeline Authority.How long the plant would be out of commission was unknown, but Jeffries said the effect won’t be as bad as if the explosion occurred during winter, when demand for natural gas increases for heating, or summer, when demand increases to generate electricity for air conditioners.“It really is that time of year when it’s sort of least likely to impact customers,” he said.Williams was paying to lodge Opal residents at the Little America resort in Little America, about 25 miles east of Opal, and at a Best Western in Kemmerer, about 15 miles to the west.“We want to make sure everybody’s taken care of and they’re put up for the night if they’re not able to go back to their houses,” Swaner said.“Since nobody’s on site, it’s going to take some time before we can begin our investigation,” Swaner said.Renny MacKay, spokesman for Gov. Matt Mead, said investigators would look into the cause of the explosion once the site was secured. by The Associated Press Posted Apr 23, 2014 5:56 pm MDT Explosion, fire at natural gas pipeline hub forces evacuation of small southwest Wyoming town AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Enbridge exploring lowcost expansions to get around pipeline delays

Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) says it’s exploring a number of low-cost expansions to its pipeline infrastructure to keep crude oil moving while various larger-scale pipeline proposals remain mired in legal and regulatory delays.“All of these involve relatively small, low cost, bolt-on projects that can be staged in increments as required to meet shipper needs,” Guy Jarvis, the company’s president of liquids pipelines, said during a conference call Friday.“For that reason, we think that they will be attractive in a lower (oil) price, lower supply scenario, or even just in the face of greater uncertainty about oil prices.”The company is considering is an expansion to the refining area on the eastern Gulf Coast. One of its options would be to revive a project that was first announced in 2013 and expected to be in service this year. the Trunkline project would involve reversing an existing stretch of pipeline that runs between Patoka, Ill., and St. James, La. that is owned by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP.“The project didn’t succeed because we were unable to secure customer support for it at that time, in the face of other options that customers had available for them to get to new and different markets,” Jarvis said.He said the company is now revisiting the project and exploring several other small expansions in light of the decline in crude prices and the delays facing larger pipeline projects.Many oil producers in Western Canada have been relying on railways to transport crude while waiting on the start of pipeline projects, such as TransCanada’s (TSX:TRP) Keystone XL, which would connect Canada’s tar sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. TransCanada has been trying for six years to get U.S. approval for the 1,179-mile (1,897-kilometre) project that President Barack Obama has threatened to veto.Jarvis says that transporting crude by rail is costlier than sending it through a pipeline and, given the recent drop in the commodity’s value, lower-cost alternatives have become more attractive.Jarvis’s comments follow the Calgary-based company’s announcement Thursday of a fourth-quarter profit of $88 million, or 10 cents per diluted share.That’s a significant change from a year ago, when Enbridge reported a net loss of $267 million or 33 cents per share as it took a hedging loss in its energy services division.Revenue grew to almost $8.8 billion from $8.29 billion, the company said after markets closed Thursday.Adjusted quarterly earnings were $409 million or 49 cent a share, compared with $362 million or 44 cents per share in the prior-year period.Follow @alexposadzki on Twitter Enbridge exploring low-cost expansions to get around pipeline delays AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 20, 2015 10:51 am MDT read more

Investors need to understand the fees they pay their financial adviser experts

by Craig Wong, The Canadian Press Posted May 12, 2015 1:26 pm MDT Last Updated May 12, 2015 at 4:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Investors need to understand the fees they pay their financial adviser: experts OTTAWA – Investors may be more focused on the gains they’ve made in recent years than the fees they pay their financial adviser, but experts say they shouldn’t be neglected.David Larrabee, a director at the CFA Institute, said the stock market has had a good run since bottoming out during the financial crisis.“When your portfolio is growing at 15, 20 per cent a year, one to two per cent in advisory fees may seem like a small price to pay,” Larrabee said.“But if instead your portfolio is only growing by four per cent, which could be our future, then all of a sudden those fees look pretty big.”Financial advisers generally fall into two broad groups: fee-based, which charge a set fee or sometimes percentage of the assets under management, and commission-based.Fee-based advisers have gained in popularity in recent years with new low-cost online alternatives, while commission-based advisers have been criticized for their potential conflict of interest.Larrabee said the choice depends on what you need from your planner and the services they offer.“In both cases you can find good advice at a reasonable price, but also the flip side is in both cases you can be paying too much for that advice,” Larrabee said.He said the fee structure is as important as the adviser putting their client’s interests ahead of their own.“This is a higher standard of care than an adviser who simply commits to a standard of suitability,” he said.The disclosure rules for investment advisers are changing.By the middle of next year, new requirements for annual performance reports and fee disclosure will take effect.Starting July 15, 2016, advisers will be required to provide an annual report on charges and other compensation that shows, in dollars, what an adviser was paid for their services.Cary List, president and chief executive of the Financial Planning Standards Council, said the key for investors is transparency on the part of the adviser about what they charge and whether they are fee-based or work on commission.“Is the individual going to be able to demonstrate to you that they are going to put your interest ahead of their own and any other interest?” List said.“Are they going to be able to demonstrate to you that they are going to mitigate any potential conflict of interest they have, not only from their compensation structure, but any other conflicts that may arise?” read more

USDA to buy wild blueberries amid price drop

USDA to buy wild blueberries amid price drop PORTLAND, Maine – The U.S. Department of Agriculture will buy up to 30 million pounds of wild blueberries to help stabilize prices and supply in one of Maine’s signatures industries.The members of Maine’s congressional delegation told The Associated Press on Thursday that the agency will pay up to $13 million for the wild blueberries.The bailout could help spell the end of low prices to consumers on wild blueberries, which are harvested commercially in Maine and Canada.They differ from the fatter cultivated blueberries in that they are smaller, have a more intense taste and are richer in antioxidants. Maine is by far the biggest wild blueberry producing state in the country, and it also produces about a quarter of North America’s total blueberries, according to the University of Illinois’s website.The USDA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.The purchase comes after the state’s legislative delegation asked for it in a letter to the federal agency in which they said prices of frozen wild blueberries have fallen by as much as half in the last five years. The legislators asked the agency to buy the berries for its domestic food-assistance programs.Frozen wild blueberries slid from 90 cents per pound in 2011 to 60 cents per pound in 2014 and continue to drop, the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine has said. The commission has also said two back-to-back years of big crops have created a backlog of wild blueberries.Nancy McBrady, executive director of the blueberry commission, said the low value of the Canadian dollar also has hurt Maine’s growers. She said Canadian growers, which are centred in the Maritime Provinces, are at a “tremendous competitive advantage” when selling in the U.S. and internationally because of the stronger U.S. dollar.“And the competition from cultivated blueberries is omnipresent,” she said. “The prices of wild blueberries have dropped, so our farmers are earning less for our blueberries.”In Maine, wild blueberries are mostly harvested in the blueberry barrens of the state’s rural Downeast region. The state has some 44,000 acres of wild blueberries and it relies on the berries for about $250 million per year in economic value, officials have said.Rep. Chellie Pingree said the purchase will help the blueberry industry as well as food assistance programs in need of a healthy fruit product.“It makes a lot of sense for the federal government to make this purchase to help ease the surplus of frozen blueberries and at the same time supply food assistance programs with a very healthy, high quality food,” she said. by Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press Posted Apr 14, 2016 1:09 pm MDT Last Updated Apr 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Encana expects 2017 profit margin will be 25 higher than projected in

Encana expects 2017 profit margin will be 25% higher than projected in October Image via encana.com CALGARY – Encana Corp. says it’s even more optimistic about its prospects in 2017 than it was a few months ago.The Calgary-based oil and gas company (TSX:ECA) now expects its corporate profit margin to be above US$10 per barrel of oil equivalent.That’s 25 per cent higher than the $8 per barrel margin anticipated at Encana’s investor day in October.Encana says its new projection is based on anticipated cost reductions and higher total volumes in the second half of 2017.The company expects to provide more detail on Feb. 16, when it issues its fourth-quarter and year-end results. by The Canadian Press Posted Jan 4, 2017 4:44 am MDT Last Updated Jan 4, 2017 at 5:51 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Shareholders increasingly concerned about impact of climate change Teck exec

by Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press Posted Mar 7, 2017 1:15 pm MDT Last Updated Mar 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – Teck Resources has received a growing number of inquiries from shareholders and other stakeholders about how climate change and carbon pricing will affect its operations, an official with the Canadian mining giant said Tuesday.“We are receiving very detailed inquiries,” Chris Adachi said during a presentation at the world’s largest annual gathering for the mining industry, currently underway in Toronto.“I’ve seen them ramp up over the last couple of years. People want to know all these different types of questions around, ‘how are you thinking about carbon pricing, how are you thinking about different climate change scenarios when you are thinking about project design?’”Adachi, who helps manage Teck’s (TSX:TECK.B) carbon strategy, told attendees at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention that climate-related financial disclosures have become a hot topic in the mining industry as of late.“This isn’t something where people are just saying, ‘We need to talk about this,’” Adachi said. “We are receiving these questions directly, so this is very real for us.”Teck is a mining and mineral development company headquartered in Vancouver that focuses on copper, coal, zinc and energy. It owns or has interests in mines in Canada, the U.S., Peru and Chile.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has announced plans to introduce a national “floor price” on carbon by 2018, which would require all provinces to have some form of carbon pricing in place.A number of provinces — including Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and B.C. — have already introduced measures intended to combat climate change through either cap-and-trade programs or a carbon tax.Linden Edgell, the global sustainability director at ERM, says the environmental consulting firm has been fielding more phone calls about the issue lately, particularly from companies in the extractive sector, such as mining or oil and gas.“We’re getting more phone calls from the boards saying, ‘We’ve got a shareholder resolution, we need to respond to this.’ Or ‘We’re expecting one at our AGM, help us think through the response we’re going to make to the shareholders,’” Edgell said.Follow @alexposadzki on Twitter. Shareholders increasingly concerned about impact of climate change: Teck exec read more

Global foreign direct investment rises to precrisis levels UN reports

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) rose to levels not seen since the start of the global economic crisis in 2008, increasing by 11 per cent in 2013 to an estimated $1.46 trillion, with the lion’s share going to developing countries, according to a United Nations report released today.FDI flows to developing economies reached a new high of $759 billion, accounting for 52 per cent, and transition economies also recorded a new high of $126 billion, 45 per cent up from the previous year and accounting for 9 per cent of the global total, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) figures showed.But developed countries remained at an historical low (39 per cent) for the second consecutive year. They increased by12 per cent to $576 billion, but only to 44 per cent of their peak value in 2007, with FDI to the European Union (EU) increasing, while flows to the United States continued their decline.Although inflows to developed countries appear to be recovering over 2012, the picture is mixed: despite positive signs of recovery in some developed country regions such as parts of the EU, flows to the United States failed to reverse their decline, contrary to other signs of economic recovery over the past year. Inflows to Japan rose by 61 per cent to $2.8 billion, but Australia and New Zealand saw sharp declines of 28 per cent to $40 billion and 75 per cent to $0.5 billion, respectively.The increase for developing economies was mainly driven by Latin American and the Caribbean, and Africa while developing Asia, the world’s largest recipient region for FDI, saw flows at a level similar to 2012. Total inflows to developing Asia, comprising East Asia, South Asia, South-East Asia and West Asia, amounted to an estimated $406 billion in 2013, a level similar to 2012. The performance of sub-regions continues to diverge, with FDI growth rates ranging between 3 per cent in South Asia ($33 billion), 2 per cent in South-East Asia (116 billion), 1 per cent in East Asia ($219 billion) and a drop of 20 per cent in West Asia (down to $38 billion).With inflows to China at an estimated $127 billion, including both financial and non-financialSectors, the country again ranked second in the world, closing the gap with the US to some $32 billion. India experienced a 17 per cent growth to $28 billion, despite unexpected capital outflows in the middle of the year. FDI growth slowed in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as inflows to Singapore, the largest recipient in South-East Asia, stagnated at $56 billion. But prospects for the group continue to be promising, as more FDI arrives from China and Japan in a wide range of sectors, including infrastructure, finance and manufacturing. West Asia’s two main recipients, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, registered significant declines of 19 per cent (to $9.9 billion) and 15 per cent (to $11 billion) respectively. Turkey witnessed virtually no large FDI deals. In addition, the worsening political instability in many parts of the region have caused uncertainty and negatively affected investment.Flows to Latin America and the Caribbean increased by 18 per cent, the fourth consecutive year of growth, to an estimated $294 billion. While in previous years growth was largely driven by South America, in 2013 Central America and the Caribbean were the main recipients, with increases of 93 per cent and 38 per cent respectively. Flows to South America declined by 7 per cent. The $18 billion acquisition of Grupo Modelo in Mexico explains most of Central America’s increase, while the strong rise in the Caribbean was mainly driven by the British Virgin Islands.The decline of flows to South America came after three years of strong growth bolstered by the strength of commodity prices that fuelled rising profits on investment, as well as reinvested earnings in mining. Decreasing commodity prices seem to have brought a stop to this boom, especially in countries such as Chile, with a drop of 33 per cent to $20.4 billion and Peru, with a drop of 2 per cent to $12 billion.In addition, FDI to Brazil, the largest recipient in the sub-region, with 47 per cent of South America’s total in 2013, declined by a slight 3.9 per cent, but remained significant at $63 billion. Nevertheless, this decline should be seen in the context of strong growth in previous years that boosted FDI in Brazil to historical highs.Inflows to Africa rose by 6.8 per cent to an estimated $56.3 billion, due to the strong performance of Southern Africa, including South Africa and Mozambique which experienced record levels of more than $10 billion and $7 billion respectively, as well as lower levels of divestment in Angola compared to previous years. Persistent political and social tensions continued to subdue flows to North Africa, where only Morocco registered solid growth of 24 per cent to $3.5 billion. Nonetheless, there are signs that investors are ready to return to the region, with many big cross-border deals targeting Egypt. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria’s lacklustre performance ($5.5 billion) is the result of a retreat from the oil industry.Transition economies experienced a significant 45 per cent rise, reaching a record level of an estimated $126 billion, with Russia jumping by 83 per cent to $94 billion, making it the world’s third largest recipient for the first time ever. The rise was predominantly ascribed to the large acquisition by BP (United Kingdom) of 18.5 per cent of Rosneft (Russia Federation) as part of Rosneft’s $57 billion acquisition of TNK-BP, which is owned by a company registered in the British Virgin Islands. read more

Yemen UN humanitarian chief urges civilian protection access to all parts of

“All parties in this conflict have an obligation under international humanitarian law to take every measure to ensure civilians and civilian objects are protected,” UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told the 15-member body by teleconference this morning.He called it “unacceptable” that health facilities were being hit, referring to an attack on 24 February when Coalition air strikes reportedly destroyed a health centre in Bidbadah district of Marib Governorate, and 1 March airstrikes that reportedly landed within 20 meters of a hospital in Sa’ada.“It is critical that the parties make guarantees that these locations will be protected,” Mr. O’Brien added, including as “protected places” sites such as hospitals, schools and homes, which he said continue to be hit by all parties.Since the start of the conflict, more than 2,000 children have been killed or injured in the fighting, Mr. O’Brien said.In the past week, for example, six children were among the 30 or so people killed in an apparent air strike on a busy market in Nahem district of Sana’a Governorate. An additional 40 people were injured. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is among those who have called for a prompt and impartial investigation into the incident on 27 February. Challenges to aid deliverySuch attacks have contributed to a security situation across much of the country which is “rapidly deteriorating,” said Mr. O’Brien, citing an absence of political negotiations to end the conflict. He cited “regular” attacks by parties including Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the so-called Aden and Abyan branch of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levans (ISIL) and local militants, against segments of the Yemeni Government.Intense fighting in parts of the country is restricting the UN’s ability to deliver assistance, the senior UN official warned, highlighting also the impediments caused by a proliferation of checkpoints and communication gaps in command and control lines within armed groups. “Agreements and guarantees reached at the national level [are] not necessarily communicated downstream to the individuals at checkpoints,” he said. “Despite permission to move trucks are often held up and sometimes delayed for days or even weeks,” he added. Bureaucratic requirements imposed by Houthi authorities also delay and impede the delivery of aid, he noted. Of particular concern is a delay since October 2015 for a UN agency Emergency Food Security and Nutrition Assessment that is due to be done over three months by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).Despite the challenges, UN agencies and partners remain committed to expanding its overall response to 13.4 million people throughout Yemen. To achieve this, the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan for this year has appealed for $1.8 billion. Protecting civilian infrastructureIn his briefing today, Mr. O’Brien also called on all parties to ensure protection of civilian infrastructure, including shipping ports and associated equipment.In recent months, there has been a significant increase in fuel and other life-saving imports through Yemeni ports: “It is critical that every effort be made by all Member States directly concerned to encourage, and not hinder, that trend.” The Coalition and the United Nations are due to finalize this week the nominations for the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM), instituted at the request of the Government of Yemen. The Mechanism is intended to expedite legitimate commercial imports of fuel, and other critical commodities, such as food and medicines.Mr. O’Brien’s briefing comes just weeks after UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed urged the Council and the wider international community to support the effort to secure a cessation of hostilities and open a new round of talks that could open the way to ending the year-long conflict between various factions. Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed also briefed the Council today. He spoke by teleconference in the closed consultation session that followed the open meeting. read more

Stage gradually being set for Somalia to move to a new phase

“They do not like everything they have seen, least of all the levels of corruption, and the absence of institutions that can ensure legal and financial accountability,” said Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia.Mr. Keating’s briefing follows an extended parliamentary electoral process and comes less than two weeks ahead of presidential polls. It also comes against the backdrop of increased Al-Shabaab militancy aiming to disrupt the elections, as evidenced by a series of recent attacks.Stressing the importance that the last stage of the electoral process is conducted transparently and according to the agreed rules, designed to ensure free and fair elections, he noted: “The election of a President accepted as legitimate by the population and by the international community will set the stage for Somalia to tackle the serious challenges ahead.”However, he added: “If voting […] is seen as compromised by corruption, coercion or external interference, then the country could face a protracted period of uncertainty.”Despite problems, progress thus far ‘very encouraging’ – UN envoyIn his briefing, Mr. Keating, who also heads up the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), told Council members that despite the problems seen in the recently concluded elections, the process also had “very encouraging” outcomes, marking an important milestone in the country’s evolution and post-conflict transformation. For instance, the number of voters had increased significantly and the electorate was expanded from 2012’s 135 male elders to over 13,000 individuals (30 per cent of them female). It was also particularly notable that almost a quarter of the members of parliament are now female.“A truly remarkable achievement, the result of effective political mobilization of women, supported by the UN and the international community and some Somali leaders,” noted the Special Representative.“The new Parliament is younger, more diverse and is likely to be more responsive to the electorate than the previous one. In short, this Parliament is more legitimate and representative than any since the last elections were held in 1969,” he noted.Humanitarian plight adding to human sufferingTurning to the humanitarian challenges facing the Horn of Africa country, he reported that about five million people are estimated to be in need around the country and an estimated 320,000 under-five-year-olds are acutely malnourished.“Coping capacities have been eroded to the point of collapse,” he noted.The week before last, the humanitarian community in Somalia had launched an $864 million to reach 3.9 million people with urgent life-saving assistance in 2017, $300 million of this amount is required in the first quarter of this year.Further, noting the political and security implications of the drought, Mr. Keating said that a perceived inability of the federal and local governments to respond will damage their legitimacy – something that will be exploited by Al-Shabaab. “In a nutshell, failure to support the drought response could halt and even undermine the pursuit of key state-building and peace-building objectives,” he cautioned. VIDEO: Michael Keating has lauded the recent election process in the country. Credit: UN News‘It is the Somalis who will determine their own fate’Reiterating that progress is fragile and reversible, and fraught with complexity, he said the stage is nevertheless gradually being set for Somalia to move to a new phase in sustaining peace, preventing and resolving violent conflict, and in building a functional, federal State. “Ultimately, it is the Somalis who will determine their own fate – but your support is central to their chances of success,” he concluded. Also briefing the Council, Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, Special Representative and Head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), stated: “The political environment is that of hope and confidence.” National priorities are focused on completing the constitutional review, forming political parties, establishing local governments, continuing dialogue with Somaliland, strengthening revenue collection and building State institutions, among other things. AMISOM had been called upon to support Parliament’s pursuit of those goals and the enhancement of its role as the forum for political debate. Noting that 15 per cent of new parliamentarians are aged between 25 and 35 years, he said 24 per cent of them are women — two social categories representing the majority of Somalia’s people.The past four months also saw sustained international engagement in a political process aimed at ending the Federal Government’s four-year mandate in 2016, he noted, cautioning that such gains could be compromised if the current political unease in regional states was not tackled, since such tensions could activate armed groups wishing to exploit such convoluted environments.‘Substantial and unprecedented achievement for Somali women’In her remarks, to the Council, Asha Gelle Dirie, Founder and Executive Director of the Asha Gelle Foundation and Chairperson of the Committee of Goodwill Ambassadors, said that, as the Committee Chair tasked by the President with helping women secure 30 per cent of the seats in Parliament, she had found the advancement of women’s political empowerment challenging. Working towards that goal entailed mapping the distribution of seats per clan and launching “an advocacy campaign involving civil society actors, political lobbyists, as well as Federal and state Women’s Affairs Ministries, to secure the buy-in of political leaders and clan elders,” she explained, thanking the UN and the international community for their support.“This is a substantial and unprecedented achievement for Somali women, and for Somali society as a whole,” she said, noting at the same time the numerous serious challenges they had faced, and that despite real progress “a massive structural transformation is required to advance women’s representation in politics and the democratization process.”Ms. Dirie said the absence of a legally binding provision had made it extremely difficult to enforce the political decision to reserve 30 per cent of parliamentary seats, which made it critically important to secure such a provision in order to further advance political equality for women. While women had presented a unified position during the electoral process, a lack of funding and logistical support posed a significant challenge during the campaign period, she said, stressing that provisions for adequate support and the creation of a level playing field would be critical for the future success of women candidates. Special Representative and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) Michael Keating briefs the Security Council. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas read more

INTERVIEW Preventing conflict key to relieving suffering stresses outgoing UN humanitarian chief

Preventing conflicts from breaking out in the first place, and holding perpetrators accountable for their actions once they do, is vital to relieving the suffering seen in many parts of the world, according to the top United Nations humanitarian official, Stephen O’Brien. “That’s the issue about conflict, it’s man-made, and, therefore, it’s capable of being unmade by man and the humanitarian suffering that is brought about by it can be reduced and eliminated over time,” Mr. O’Brien, who has served for over two years as Under-Secretary-General and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, said in an interview with UN News. For the past two years, the British national has witnessed some of that suffering first hand, meeting some of the millions affected by conflict and crises in, among others, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. As he prepares to wrap up his assignment with the UN, Mr. O’Brien discussed what he will remember most about being the UN humanitarian chief, some of his frustrations, UN reform efforts and how to avoid a sense of hopelessness from setting in given the numerous crises around the world and the ever increasing needs. UN News: When you look back at the past two years, what is the one encounter that will stay with you the most, that encapsulates what the job’s been about for you?Stephen O’Brien: In Yemen, when I visited a school that was occupied by internally displaced persons (IDPs) – there are millions in Yemen because of the terrible conflict – there was a girl called Marie, who was looking after eight of her siblings in the absence of any parents and they were struggling to get food. They had at last become registered so they were getting supplies from the very brave aid workers, from the UN and other NGO partners. But it was not possible as yet to give them schooling so they brought home to me more than anything else, that they should not be victims in other people’s wars, and also that the international community was doing an amazing job in giving them the lifesaving as well as the protection they needed.  UN News: Isn’t the problem for the UN that there’s little more that we can do than try to persuade perpetrators of violence and war, and power-hungry politicians, to change their ways? Stephen O’Brien: It’s all about persuasion, and we should never be deterred. Yes, there will be knock backs, more disputes, more terrible violence but we must be clear that it is worth the effort every day to save lives and protect the people, particularly in conflict. But, also remember that there is a real need to recognize that we have the capacity to make a difference. It requires political will and relationships with players [everywhere] to acquire access to reach the people in need. The UN is very well placed to make sure we do this at the scale that the world needs and to bring it all together with that sense of courage and conviction. We must make sure that the perpetrators of violence are held accountable for their actions. This is why it is important that we adhere to the international norms, laws and principles that we’ve all agreed to, and do our best to bring forward the evidence and to make sure that people are held to account. UN News: You said there is never enough funding. How do we stop a sense of hopelessness, even cynicism, from creeping in and overwhelming us on the humanitarian front? Stephen O’Brien: We can never cease to seek to persuade people that this is a fantastic investment. We know that if you leave humanitarian need or poverty unaddressed, it has the potential to be exploited by those of malign intent. If we do not address it today, the higher cost in the future will simply be borne by future generations. It is in all of our mutual interest in the cause of peace and community but also in the value of doing the right thing by our fellow human beings.  UN News: What will you miss most about being UN relief chief? Stephen O’Brien: I’m certainly not shy of putting in a hard day’s work, but what I will miss most is working with extraordinary people doing an extraordinary job. I mean that both within my own team in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs here and across about 40 countries. These are extraordinarily dedicated, skilled, committed and very brave people who are often serving in what we call non-family duty stations. I shall be extremely sorry to miss the inspiring context of being able to do something about the suffering through the people we have here at the UN and through our partners in the international NGOs or through the many local people we work with to get that last mile. I will also miss the relationships and the professional approach with Member States and their representatives here, in Geneva and across the world because it’s only by harnessing all these energies that we can make that difference and we can try and make the world a better place.The protection of aid workers is paramount. People put themselves at great risk to reach people in need in some of the most dangerous environments in protracted crises around the world. UN News: Is the problem that you can only do as much as the Security Council allows, in a way? Stephen O’Brien: I don’t think the Security Council is the complete constraint. I do think it is a very, very important part of the peace and security make-up, but the General Assembly, which includes all the 193 recognized Member States of the UN and some very important observers as well, engage in passing resolutions, which are intended to bind the world. It really matters to all of us here, and certainly has mattered to me, that we do our very best to live out the values that are encapsulated in the Charter of the United Nations and in the Universal of Declaration of Human Rights, which are our founding documents that have stood the test of time for 72 years. While yes, there are disputes around the world and there are things that are causing terrible humanitarian suffering that should be relieved, we are in a better place to meet the suffering of people when emergencies strike. Now we need to continue to commit to doing a better job to prevent conflict and relieve the suffering of people. UN News: Looking back, is there anything that you would have done differently, any crisis that you might have handled in a different way? Stephen O’Brien: We can always, with the benefit of hindsight, think of ways to improve. We can see by the massive and widening gap there is between the needs and the resources. The inefficiency of our response is something that hurts and is clearly part of our inability to be fully accountable to affected people. So in looking back, I wish I’d found a better way to raise more resources. In South Sudan, in July 2015, USG O’Brien saw first-hand the devastating humanitarian consequences of the conflict as well as efforts by aid organizations to respond to escalating needs. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine Under-Secretary-General Stephen O’Brien hails the extraordinary work of aid workers around the world and urges the international community to do a better job to prevent conflict and relieve the suffering of people. Credit: UN News UN News: Where do you think you have been most effective in the job, and what has been your biggest frustration?Stephen O’Brien: I look at the extraordinary work of all of these humanitarian workers around the world in these very tough spots in the two years that I’ve been in the post and I’ve been really inspired by the courage, persistence and determination of these people who want to make sure that the people affected by the crisis, through no fault of their own, are given the lifesaving and protection that they need.The frustration is that we are simply not able to raise our ability to respond at the same pace that the needs are arising.While that has been rewarding, the job itself is extraordinarily challenging because the rise in humanitarian needs around the world has been exponential, and notwithstanding that we have managed to secure record amounts of funding in that period, the gap has grown wider.The frustration is that we are simply not able to raise our ability to respond at the same pace that the needs are arising. And in that period, we haven’t had – thank goodness, but it’s not to say that we will not have in the future – a very large humanitarian need as a result of natural hazards, so our primary focus has been on the humanitarian needs out of conflict.UN News: Your time in office has been dominated by some of the worst conflicts and humanitarian crises of the modern era. Is there any more that the UN could be doing in Syria, or is it really all up to the Security Council to act, as you’ve often said in your briefings?Stephen O’Brien: One of the great privileges that the Emergency Relief Coordinator has is that here in New York you get to speak to the Security Council on a fairly regular basis about the challenges that are arising as a result of conflict and other disasters and emergencies. It has been very clear to me that it is a duty, an obligation and, indeed, expected by General Assembly resolution 46/182, that I raise very difficult issues and often speak truth to power. USG O’Brien during a visit to Homs, Syria, in August 2015. He has repeatedly called on the Security Council to do more to ensure humanitarian access, allowing aid agencies to reach those in need in the strife-torn nation. Photo: OCHA/Emmanuel Bargues  UN News: What advice do you have for your successor? Stephen O’Brien: Above all, go out and meet the people to whom we are ultimately accountable, the people who need us most. As I have sought to do, make sure all you do is rooted in the principles of international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law. Make sure that we call people to account so that there is a better deterrent to those causing humanitarian suffering today. UN News: The Secretary-General has made UN reform a priority. Do you have any constructive advice as to how that can be managed in the humanitarian field? Stephen O’Brien: The Secretary-General’s emphasis on prevention as core to policy and the ability for the UN in the world that we face today, and looking ahead and particularly to be relevant to the vast number of younger generations. We need to make sure it is reformed to reflect that world. If you leave humanitarian need or poverty unaddressed, it has the potential to be exploited by those of malign intent. That needs much better resolution of conflict, prevention in the first place, a greater participation of stakeholders, recognizing that so many of the world’s problems, particularly humanitarian, but also for enabling development and the equality of women’s rights, all need to come together in a way that is relevant to today’s generation. The reforms that the Secretary-General is pushing are all to be welcomed and supported. I am pleased that in OCHA, we have been doing this over the last two years. We have somewhat blazed a trail with our own reforms and put us in a fitter and better position to make sure that we are strategically aligned, nimble and adaptable. UN News: What is the key message you relayed for your last World Humanitarian Day? Stephen O’Brien: We should make sure to put a real focus on how humanitarian aid workers around the world are #NotATarget. This was articulated at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. The protection of aid workers is paramount. People put themselves at great risk to reach people in need in some of the most dangerous environments in protracted crises around the world. Humanitarian workers are operating across the world, often in countries for many years, despite insufferable difficulties. World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity for us to focus on protecting these humanitarian aid workers, particularly in the medical field. Mr. O’Brien (front centre left) and Secretary-General António Guterres (front centre) pose for a group photo with participants at a special event under the theme, “Staff Stand Together”, marking this year’s World Humanitarian Day. UN Photo/Evan Schneider It can be a little uncomfortable, it can be challenging, but it is very important that the facts are before all of the Member States, here at the United Nations, the highest body in the world, which has the capacity, diplomatically and politically, to find a resolution and to prevent conflicts that result in producing humanitarian needs, which could be avoided. That’s the issue about conflict, it’s man-made, and, therefore, it’s capable of being unmade by man and the humanitarian suffering that is brought about by it can be reduced and eliminated over time. UN News: As Syria and Yemen stand out, do you worry that some of these complex conflicts will prove to be unsolvable?Stephen O’Brien: I never accept that these are unsolvable because with a will, when people come together, when we put our fellow human beings around the planet first, rather than [focusing on] the dispute for power or competition for resources…the issues can be solved. As long as we put a huge premium on our ability to talk through our differences. At the same time, we must recognize that we have the highest possible public duty internationally to relieve the suffering of our fellow human beings, wherever that arises, be that for their protection in conflicts where innocent civilians are put at risk, or for their lifesaving in natural hazards and the terrible risks that happen because of that. Briefing the Security Council in May 2017, USG O’Brien said the people of Yemen are being subjected to deprivation, disease and death as the world watches. He added that this a direct consequence of actions of the parties, and is also “a result of inaction – whether due to inability or indifference – by the international community”. UN Photo/Evan Schneider read more

European ministers tell Assembly UN is proper place to tackle phenomenon of

Also addressing the UN General Assembly today was Ulla Tøernæs, Minister for Development Cooperation from Denmark, who highlighted the “ever more inter-connected” threats and challenges facing the international community, including displacement and irregular migration, as well as violations of human rights and armed conflict.Given the evolving global landscape, there is a need for leadership and common purpose to steer the UN in a new direction by breaking the status quote and reforming the UN development system, bridging immediate relief and long-term development objectives. “Staying on the current path is not an option if we want to maintain the legitimacy of the United Nations. Fundamental and ambitious reform is the only way forward,” Ms. Tøernæs said. Full statement available here Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Jean Asselborn of Luxembourg addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, said the UN was the appropriate place to tackle the phenomenon of mass migration. “The causes are manifold: demographic pressures, climate change, conflict, humanitarian catastrophes. Perfectly respectable economic motivation, both in the country of origin and that of destination are also often the cause of such movement,” he added. He also called on the five permanent Members of the UN Security Council to forgo the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities, such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Full statement available here .“Large displacements of people have reached unprecedented levels in recent years,” Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso María Dastis Quecedo told the Assembly’s 72nd general debate. “The two Global Compacts on Refugees and Migrants that we have undertaken to adopt in2018 should confirm the concerted, equitable and humane response to the phenomenonof refugees,” he added. In a wide-ranging speech that touched on all major world crises, as well as development and climate change, Mr. Dastis expressed “the sincere gratitude of the people of Spain for the multitude of heartfelt displays of support and affection we have received from around the world” following last month’s terrorist attack in Barcelona. “Terrorism will be vanquished through unity, perseverance and the full weight of the law,” he said. Full statement available here Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tøernæs of Denmark addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak read more

Made in Britain

UK motor industry? What’s that? Do you know which vehicles are manufactured here in the UK? Have a look at the link below to see a range of vehicle manufacturing in the UK. The map does not include the the whole array of niche vehicle manufacturers who also produce vehicles in the UK. DownloadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)

Transport News Brief – Monday 17 March 2008

Transport News Brief Week 12, Monday 17 March 2008 CV Show to break more records With less than a month to go, this year’s CV Show, from 15-17 April at Birmingham’s NEC is already set to be the biggest and best yet, according to the visitor pre-registration figures from show organiser, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. “We’ve well over 13,000 people registered online at www.cvshow.com,” said Tony Young, CV Show manager. “That’s well up on the comparative figure for last year and we’re confident that by the time the doors close on Thursday 17 April, we’ll have seen that number more than double.” The Show’s sales and marketing consultancy, Crystal Communications says it sold the last available area of exhibition space last week and it now has a waiting list of ‘hopefuls’. Outside exhibition space is full, too, with over 40 trucks on show. More from Robin Dickeson on +44 (0)2 073 449 222 or rdickeson@smmt.co.uk New spray suppression kit at the CV Show British firm Spraydown Limited will use stand 17-229 at the CV Show to launch its newly patented and type approved spray suppression kit. In tests at Britain’s Transport Research Laboratory, Spraydown’s new technology air-water separation flap cut drive-by obscuration by 43%, compared with existing systems. The firm says its system draws on leading edge vane design and technology, normally associated with high performance turbines in the aero engine and power generation industries. The system comprises a rigid panel, made up of a series of fixed, vertical, lightweight, extruded vanes. Each vane incorporates three shaped channels that form a progressive series of water trapping gullies. Spray water in the wing and mudguard cavity on a truck or trailer is drawn through the matrix of the Spraydown flap, where it is collected and drained down the gullies almost to surface level, before dropping freely back onto the road surface. More from Steve Nesbitt on +44 (0)1 786 445 255 or steve@spraydown.com Last chance for glory There is still just time to enter this year’s Motor Transport Awards, but you need to have your entries in by 28 March. “If you’re proud of your achievements, you should enter,” says Andrew Brown, group projects editor. And If you want to go to the Awards, the biggest event of its type in the industry, it is on the evening of Wednesday 2 July in London. You’ll need to book for that now, too. “There is strong demand for tables.” You’ll find the entry details and table booking information at www.mtawards.co.uk More from Sharon Webb on +44 (0)2 086 528 036 or sharon.webb@rbi.co.uk Good-To-Go bodywork from Nissan Nissan says it will have a range of vans, pickups and bodied vehicles on its stand at the CV Show. These will include three converted Cabstars, a refrigerated and Crew Van Interstar, a Primastar and a Navara from the firm’s recently-launched Good-To-Go range. The firm says it will also re-introduce its ‘workhorse’ pickup model, re-named NP300 at the event. The vehicle has a 1.1 tonne payload and some models can tow a three tonne un-braked trailer. It comes with a choice of single, king or double cab and with either 4×2 or 4×4 driveline. The single cab version three people, has a 2.2m load bed. The double cab model seats five. More from Gloria Maydew on +44 (0)1 923 899 937 or gloria.maydew@nissan.co.uk Tyre management from Bridgestone Tyre giant Bridgestone will show its Total Fleet Tyre Management scheme on its stand at this year’s CV Show. The firm will also show its new generation truck tyre range, its fleet services and its on-line fleet management service. This offers tailored reports, delivered electronically to fleet managers. And just for fun, Bridgestone will have a race winning F1 car and a MotoGP motorbike on show too. More from Roger Moulding on +44 (0)1 926 488 534 or roger.moulding@bridgestone-eu.com Oshkosh wins $321m US Army truck deal The Oshkosh Corporation says it just won a $321m deal to make 1,084 heavy expanded mobility tactical trucks, with production starting in July 2008. The trucks have a 13 ton payload and modifications to include a fully air-conditioned cab and the easier fitment of armour. More from Ann Stawski on +1 (0) 920.966.5959 or astawski@oshtruck.comSilent salesmen on show Rose of Colchester’s will use its stand, 9-848 at the CV Show to promote it’s range of transport related calendars. “We’ve been successfully supplying the haulage and associated industries with cost-effective advertising for the last 100 years,” said Gerry Brooke-Bennett. “We’ve an unrivalled choice of transport related titles, from beautifully detailed paintings of vintage vehicles to pictures of modern high performance cars, all able to work as a ‘silent salesman’ in your customer’s offices all year long.” The firm says many of these will be on show on its stand and says its calendars are totally recyclable, with no batteries, no plugs and no risk of data loss. More from Gerry Brooke-Bennett on +44 (0)1 206 844 500 or gerry@rosecalendars.co.uk World debut for new sweeper model Scarab, which says it is the world’s largest independent maker of heavy-duty road sweepers, will use its stand 18-102 at the CV Show for the world launch of the latest version of the compact Scarab Minor sweeper. The firm will also show the environmentally friendly single engine Merlin and Magnum range and its traditional dual-engined Mistral truck-mounted sweepers. “We expect lots of interest with the launch of new models at the CV Show,” said Vic Beckwith, business development manager. “We’ll have the latest sweeping technology on show, supported by our renowned hospitality.” More from Vic Beckwith on +44 (0)1 622 831 006 or vbeckwith@scarab-sales.com New products from Masternaut Three X Masternaut Three X says its new, Thatcham Category 5 anti-theft kit gets operators insurance discounts for its ablity to help in the quick retrieval of any stolen vehicle. The firm, which also says it is Europe’s main provider of web-based, real-time vehicle tracking and management systems will launch this and several other new products at next month’s CV Show. These include Mastercold, a live vehicle tracking and real-time temperature monitoring system, VisuLive®, a real-time performance management system and the fully mobile PDA-based version of Masternaut vehicle tracking called Rapide. Finally, the firm’s GreenerFleet system gets engine management data too. Iestyn Armstrong-Smith on +44 (0)1 352 720 749 or i.armstrongsmith@ukonline.co.uk Kögel’s record turnover Kögel Fahrzeugwerke GmbH, the German trailer maker says its turnover is up by 67% after its most successful financial year. Trailer production grew from 12,000 units in 2006 to 20,000 units in 2007, with turnover hitting a record €462m, up from €280m the year before. The firm also created 450 more jobs, taking its headcount to an average of 1352 people working in its factories in Burtenbach, Bavaria and Chocen in the Czech Republic. “2007 has far exceeded our expectations,” said Alexander Tietje, chairman of the Kögel board of management. Despite a near 70% production hike, the firm ‘could scarcely meet’ the demand for its products. “This year we shall increase our production by around 60% to 32,000 units.” By 2012, Kögel says it will produce 60,000 vehicles a year. More from Andreas Lubitz on +49 (0)828 588 312 or andreas.lubitz@koegel.com New double deckers for Dechra Dechra Pharmaceuticals just got two Euro 5 Mercedes Actros 2543 fitted with the Hatcher aerodynamic aids to work with double-deck trailers. These take tractor units’ height to 4.6m. “They are ideal for pulling double deck trailers, said Simon Hackney of National Veterinary Services, the Stoke on Trent based parent firm. “Both are plated at 44 tonnes and run on the newly-introduced Reduced Pollution Certificate, saving £700 a year each on road tax.” Hackney reckons the Hatcher deflector kits will save the operator even more money in lower fuel costs. Dechra will run its new trucks across the UK. Enza Motors of Stoke on Trent did the business. More from Simon Hackney on +44 (0)1 782 771 100 or simon.hackney@nvs-ltd.co.uk Citroën goes nuclear The Sellafield nuclear power station just got its first Citroën Relay Ready to Run Luton van, specified to work as an on-site laundry van. It has a full, hygienically washable interior and DEL 500kg tail lift with auto-erect safety gates. Buckstone Motor Bodies, which did the bodywork says that the advantage of its Citroën Ready to Run Luton vans is that they can be tailored for specialist use yet keep all the benefits of the standard product, such as the full warranty terms. More from Peter Dugdale on +44 (0)1706 842551 or sales@buckstonebody.co.uk Fuel cards compared at CV Show Fuel Supermarket Limited, on stand 11-200 at the CV Show, says it will use the event to launch a newest free one-stop fuelcard comparison service, www.fuelsupermarket.co.uk. Users enter brief details about their fuel use and get a recommendation giving ‘best’ and ‘second best’ fuelcards for their needs from the range available. They also get information about features, benefits and charges and an instant on-line application. More from Colin Appleby on +44 (0)1 483 546 915 or ca@creativemarketingdirect.co.uk Seko in Mexico Supply chain specialist Seko says it just opened new facilities in Mexico to give freight forwarding services throughout Mexico, the USA, Canada, Europe and Asia. The main office in Mexico City has a 50,000 ft2 warehouse near Mexico City’s international airport, with operations in Manzanillo, Veracruz, Nuevo Laredo, as well as an office in Laredo, Texas. More from Brian Bourke on +1 (0)630.919.4934 or brian.bourke@sekoworldwide.comExport success for Kögel The German trailer maker says it is now the second largest importer in many European markets and plays a leading role in Russia. Sales director Andreas Berndmeyer says the recent deal with Finnish bodybuilder Ekeri has given better access to Scandinavian markets and expects ‘significant growth’ in the next few years as a result. The deal complements its Danish operation, started in 2006. Elsewhere, Kögel is setting up a new factory near Stettin in north Poland. This will have a 5,000 unit capacity while investment in its main factory in Burtenbach, will hike production there by a further 25%. More from Andreas Lubitz on +49 (0)828 588 312 or andreas.lubitz@koegel.com Vredestein joins Tyresafe TyreSafe says Dutch tyre maker Vredestein has joined its growing ranks. There are now 19 firms supporting the tyre industry safety body. TyreSafe is an active supporter of the Department for Transport’s ‘Act On CO2‘ scheme, which aims to give help and advice to cut road transport’s carbon emissions. More from Chris Wakley on +44 (0) 2 074 948 050 or cwakley@automotivepr.com Cfc announces CV Show seminar schedule Software firm Cfc solutions says it will run eight 30 minute seminars a day in a special 12 seater room on its stand 18-140 at next month’s CV Show. The subjects covered include corporate manslaughter, risk management, fleet management basics, fleet management software, driver training for light commercial vehicles and cars and, finally, maintenance budget forecasting and management. The firm says the seminars tackle key issues for fleet operators and aim to give a relatively brief yet informative overview of each topic in around 30 minutes. Visitors to the CV Show can either register for the seminars in advance by e-mailing sales@cfcsolutions.co.uk or turn up on the day to see what places are available. More from Simon Wells on +44 (0)1 283 711 311or simon@paperchasepr.co.ukGSPK Multifuel goes to Oz GSPK Multifuel Technology, which says it is one of the UK’s leading dual fuel specialists, has appointed ClearSky Solutions of Australia to develop its diesel and liquid petroleum gas business in the area. Based in Sydney, the firm plans to cover every main haulage centre on the continent. The GSPK system aims to cut fuel costs by around 15% and cut C02 emissions by up to 9%, using LPG to replace a small amount of diesel. More from Dianne Murray on +44 (0)1 423 865 641 or di@gspk.com13 years support guaranteed for Mercedes Sprinter Mercedes Benz says the Sprinter 313CDI Long wheelbase Factory Dropside on its stand at the CV Show has a three-year unlimited mileage warranty covering the body and chassis. In addition the firm also committed to carry service and body parts for a further 10-years. “That’s a 13-year guarantee to supply support for your vehicle.” Other vans on the stand are a Vito 109CDI Compact Van, a Vito 111CDI Extra-long Van capable of carrying 8×4 sheets of ply and plaster board, either on their edges or lying flat. Also on display are a Vito 115CDI Sport Van. and a Vito 120CDI Sport-X Dualiner, a Sprinter 311CDI Medium Van, a Sprinter 313CDI Long Van. More from Simon Wood on +44(0)1 908 245 846 or simon.wood@daimler.com Express Logistics Group gets CargoWise Cargo Wise says that the Express Logistics Group, based in Auckland New Zealand, is to use CargoWise’s ediEnterprise software solution across its five offices in New Zealand. This will complement the existing installation of ediEnterprise in the five Express Logistics Group offices in Australia. The firm says the move will ‘vastly increase’ visibility of shipments across its clients’ supply chain. More from Jim Martin on +1 (0)847 570 9100 or jim@jdmandassociates.comNew Euro 5 trucks from Mercedes Mercedes-Benz UK says it will have seven new vans and five new trucks on its stand 8-411 at the CV Show next month. The new Actros will make its CV Show debut on the stand. Other vehicles are an Atego 816 chassis cab, an Axor 1824 sleeper chassis cab, an Econic 2629 6×4 chassis crew cab and an Axor tractor 2543LS. All these meet Euro 5 emissions and have clutchless automated transmissions. More from Ian Norwell on +44 (0)1 908 245 949 or ian.norwell@daimler.com 400 not out for Fowler Welch and Tiss Fowler Welch has fitted its latest batch of Trucks with Tiss “Impregnable” anti-siphons. The firm has now sold more than 400 systems to Fowler-Welch. “Having fitted Tiss anti-siphons for three years, we are very happy with their performance and now specify them on all new trucks,” said Andy Marchant, national fleet manager. “The ‘Impregnable’ also cuts fuel costs by stopping spillage and wasted fuel from drivers over-filling. No other anti-siphon offers all these benefits”. Tiss will show its award winning anti-siphons on stand 6-121at this year’s CV Show. More from Matthew Rose on +44 (0) 1253 400 401 or matthew.rose@tissltd.comUsed vans and trucks from Mercedes at CV Show Mercedes says it will show three used trucks and two used vans as part of its used commercial vehicles display on stand 8-411 at the CV Show. The trucks are an Axor 2543 high roof tractor, with Jost sliding fifth wheel, an Actros 2546 Megaspace, with factory-fitted aero aids and a Jost sliding fifth wheel, an Actros 2546 Megaspace, driver training truck with a six seat factory cab. The vans are a long wheelbase Vito Traveliner TL8 and a long wheelbase Sprinter 315CDI. The firm says demand for good used vans and trucks is brisk and expects to do very good business at the show. More from Simon Wood on +44(0)1 908 245 846 or simon.wood@daimler.com Temperature control from Krone On its stand 6-320 at the CV Show next month, Krone says it will feature it Cool Liner Duoplex GFK. The firm says this gives the best combination of insulation control and bodywork stability for temperature controlled transport. Krone will also show its solid, reliable, and meticulously designed standard curtainsider Profi Liner, with integral load securing equipment. The firm says it is Europe’s second biggest trailer maker, with a wide range of flatbed and box semi-trailers, skeletals, swap systems and bodywork. More from Sam Jennings on +44 (0)1 469 571 626 or sam.jennings@krone-trailers.co.ukTransport News Brief hits 50,000 mark Independent figures just confirmed that this issue of Transport News Brief, the SMMT’s electronic weekly news letter will go to 51,500 people “That’s the highest circulation since we started the news service for the commercial vehicle and road transport industry six years ago,” said Robin Dickeson, editor. “We offer a place on the circulation list to people who register for the CV Show, meaning our readers are clearly close to the business and for some time Transport News Brief has been one of the the most widely read news sources of its type in the UK.” Industry observers suggest that a pass-on ratio of three to one means there may be as many as 150,00O readers for the free service, which has a enviable record in gettingnew leads and business for firms whose stories are featured, free of charge. More from Robin Dickeson on +44 (0)2 073 449 222 or rdickeson@smmt.co.uk And finally New Scientist’s Feedback column reports that a notice in the garage where reader Dennis Millar gets his car serviced reads, apropos of nothing in particular: “Ladders must be used at all times.” More from www.newscientist.com Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

Best year in a decade for British car manufacturing as exports reach

UK car manufacturing reaches 10-year high, growing 3.9% to 1,587,677 vehicles.More cars exported than ever before, up 2.7% on previous year at 1,227,881.Domestic production surges 8.1% to 359,796 to meet increasing demand for British-built cars.EU demand grows 11.3%, with 57.5% of exports destined for the continent.US overtakes China as UK’s largest export destination, with demand up by a quarter.21 January 2016 British manufacturers made more cars in 2015 than any year since 2005 when 1,595,697 vehicles were produced, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Production increased 3.9% on 2014, with output at 1,587,677 overtaking pre-recession levels for the first time.1A record number of cars – representing 77.3% of total production – was for export, with 1,227,881 units leaving the UK, up 2.7% on 2014 levels. Challenges were experienced in some global markets such as China, where demand fell by 37.5%, and Russia, where export volumes declined 69.4%. However, the economic recovery in Europe, the UK’s biggest trading partner, boosted demand for UK-built cars considerably by 11.3% in 2015. The region now accounts for 57.5% of all UK car exports.IN 2015, 77.3% OF CARS BUILT IN THE UK WERE EXPORTEDTHE UK EXPORTS TO MORE THAN 100 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDEAppetite for British-built cars grew significantly in other key and emerging regions, demonstrating the strength and diversity of UK manufacturing and product. In the US, demand rose by more than a quarter (26.5%), making it the UK’s biggest trading destination outside the EU, ahead of China. Meanwhile, notable growth was also seen in Australia, South Korea, Turkey and Japan with volumes up 53.7%, 55.2%, 41.1% and 35.4% respectively.British consumer and business demand for British-made cars also contributed to last year’s success, with the home car market rising 8.1% on the previous year. One in seven new cars registered in the UK in 2015 was made in Britain.Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Despite export challenges in some key markets such as Russia and China, foreign demand for British-built cars has been strong, reaching record export levels in the past year. Achieving these hard fought for results is down to vital investment in the sector, world class engineering and a committed and skilled UK workforce – one of the most productive in the world.“Continued growth in an intensely competitive global marketplace is far from guaranteed, however, and depends heavily on global economic conditions and political stability. Europe is our biggest trading partner and the UK’s membership of the European Union is vital for the automotive sector in order to secure future growth and jobs.”UK CAR MANUFACTURING (millions)Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said, “Backing Britain’s car industry has been a priority for this government and today we see the industry going from strength to strength.“I am hugely encouraged that manufacturing is at a 10-year high and exports ‎are at a record level. All this means jobs and the security of a pay packet for workers and their families.“Our plans to rebalance the economy mean we have to continue to build on our great manufacturing strengths in the Midlands and the North of England, and work together to ensure that Britain continues to prosper as a global leader in car production.”The performance of UK automotive is very different compared with UK manufacturing as a whole, according to Office for National Statistics figures, which show  the average manufacturing output to have slowed in recent months.2 Eight brand new car models3 were produced in UK plants in 2015, and with £2.5 billion of fresh investment committed to the sector in 2015, more are set to follow in the coming months.Download the full release as a Word document.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more

New copyright licence for University

Brock has signed the Access Copyright licence, which means changes to how printed material is copied and distributed on campus.Brock University is one of the latest to sign the much-contested Access Copyright licence developed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.“A review of Brock’s copying practices and resources suggested that the licence was necessary to give the university time to develop the structures, processes and supports needed to operate effectively without a licence in the future,” Murray Knuttila, Provost and Vice-President Academic, said in a university-wide statement.“In the interim, the license will protect faculty and students from copyright infringement claims,” he said.Professors and students at universities that sign onto the licence are able to reproduce works that are in Access Copyright’s repertoire subject to certain limits.Instructors can copy and distribute:· * up to 20 percent of a work· * an entire newspaper or journal article· * an entire book chapter, as long as it is not more than 20 percent of the book· * a single short story, play, poem, or essay from a larger work· * an entire entry from a reference work such as an encyclopedia· * an entire reproduction of an artistic work such as a drawing or painting from a larger work; and· * an entire newspaper or journal page.All Canadian universities that have signed the licence are charged a flat rate per full-time student for this licence, usually passed down to students in mandatory fees.What has proved to be unpopular with many institutions is a jump in this fee to $26 per student in 2011, up from $3.38 – plus an additional 10 cents per page for course packs – per student in 2010.Also, there are some stipulations that prohibit instructors and students from keeping copies of journal articles in personal libraries, computers or e-mail accounts. The licence also defines copying as providing Internet links to works.Universities that have decided not to sign the voluntary licence include University of British Columbia, University of Saskatchewan, Carlton University, York University, Queen’s University and the University of New Brunswick.Brock joins the University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario, the University of Ottawa, and McMaster University, among others, in signing the licence.“Although the licence has some flaws, it does offer Brock some real benefits, including the right to share materials with students in a variety of ways,” said Chabriol Colebatch, Brock University’s copyright co-ordinator and legal adviser.She says that, assuming the materials to be copied fall within the scope of the licence, “instructors will now be able to scan book chapters and post them on Isaak/Sakai.“They’ll also be able to post journal articles from journals for which we don’t have a licence,” she said. “And they continue to have the right to create print course packs, and print reserves and classroom handouts.”Access Copyright is a not-for-profit group set up to collect revenues from licenced Canadian universities, businesses, libraries and other institutions for the photocopying of print works. The organization distributes these revenues to publishers, authors, and other rights holders. read more

Annual Qualitative Analysis Conference happening at Brock

For the first time in its 33-year history, Canada’s Annual Qualitative Analysis Conference is being hosted at Brock University.The location isn’t the only new aspect of this year’s conference, affectionately known as “The Qualitatives.” The conference’s theme, Visual Research Methods and Visual Ethnographies, is also a first.“This is the first major Canadian research conference that merges qualitative methodologies, visual research methods and visual ethnographies while also continuing the Qualitatives’ long-standing tradition of showcasing excellent Canadian and international research from emergent and established researchers,” notes Andrea Doucet, a Professor in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies who holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Gender, Work and Care, and one of the conference’s organizers.“Qualitative researchers and ethnographers usually use interviews, participant observation, and narrative approaches that rely on told and written stories,” Doucet explains. “Visual researchers complement these approaches by thinking about how the visual can enhance knowledge making and its outcomes—for example, in documentary films, photographic exhibits and digital storytelling.”The innovative conference theme has resonated with researchers from around the world. Brock will welcome nearly 150 presenters from across Canada and the US, as well as international visitors from India, Australia, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Ecuador, Russia, South Africa, Spain and Japan.Some fifteen presenters from Brock’s transdisciplinary hub, the Social Justice Research Institute (SJRI), will participate in the conference, including featured speakers David Butz (Geography) and Nancy Cook (Sociology), who will give a talk on their decades of research in Pakistan. Additional featured speaker sessions will run daily. Kirsten Emiko McAllister of Simon Fraser University was to deliver a keynote address Wednesday evening entitled Photography and Visual Methodology: Questions of Witnessing and Memory.Other key events include panels on Publishing in the Digital Age and Filmmaking and Social Justice. The latter panel will be followed by screenings of films made by the panelists, including Paul J.A. Chaput (Planting Stories, Feeding Communities: Knowledge, Indigenous Peoples and Film), Karol Orzechowski (Maximum Tolerated Dose), and Joanne Green (Outside the Ring: The Shape Your Life Program).After the conference, key proceedings will be published in special issues of the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, the Canadian Review of Sociology, and Studies in Social Justice.The conference, funded in part by a SSHRC Connection grant, runs at the Four Points Sheraton from May 11-13. Day passes are available for people who are interested in attending select sessions or talks, and students can attend for free. Please visit www.qualitatives.ca for program details. read more

Update on search for ViceProvost and Associate VicePresident Academic

Members of the Brock community are invited to attend public presentations from the three short-listed candidates for the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic position.Kate Bezanson, Brock UniversityFriday, Jan. 1211:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.E-Classroom, TH 253Watch Bezanson’s presentation on Microsoft Stream or Video Centre.Brian Power, Brock UniversityTuesday, Jan. 1611:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.Plaza 600FWatch Power’s presentation on Microsoft Stream or Video Centre.Lise Gotell, University of AlbertaFriday, Jan. 1911:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.E-Classroom, TH 253Watch Gotell’s presentation on Microsoft Stream or Video Centre.Brock faculty and staff are invited to submit written feedback by Jan. 26 regarding the suitability of each candidate. Applicants’ curriculum vitae are available for review on SharePoint.Email submissions to Thomas Dunk, Chair of the Advisory Committee. Anonymous submissions will not be accepted. Submissions will be confidential to the Advisory Committee.For more information, please email Patricia Mosca. read more

Brock Media Clips for Monday Oct 8

Here’s a look at some of the media attention Brock University received recently.School district relaxes its ‘sexist’ dress code allowing ripped jeans, leggings: Associate Professor of Child and Youth Studies Shauna Pomerantz was featured in a Today.com article about the introduction of more relaxed school dress code policies in Alameda, Calif. and other parts of the United States. Pomerantz said the changes would have a positive impact on both male and female students.Brock research focuses on Niagara’s resilient industries: A St. Catharines Standard story featuring Brock graduate Sean Calcott and Professor of Political Science Charles Conteh examined findings from the University’s Niagara Community Observatory that showed an upswing in the region’s manufacturing sector.Hilary Brown: Canada’s First Iron Woman: The athletic career of Faculty of Education Associate Professor Hilary Brown was the subject of an article in Triathlon Magazine Canada. Brown became the first Canadian woman to complete the Ironman in 1982 and would go on to compete in the race six times.A case of mistaken identity, Florida animal hospital faces backlash for actions of St. Catharines veterinarian: Child and Youth Studies Professor Tony Volk was quoted in a Niagara This Week article examining negative reviews wrongfully aimed at a Florida veterinary clinic. Volk said writing targeted negative reviews online offered a way for people to express their dissatisfaction in the presence of their peers.Why these men are running 24 hours in complete sensory deprivation: Research from Brock Kinesiology PhD student Phillip Wallace and Professor Stephen Cheung was included in an inverse.com article about three runners who will attempt to complete a 24-hour running challenge in complete isolation.Province still committed to $1B and won’t intervene on LRT decision: Skelly: The participation of two members of provincial parliament in a telephone town hall with a Hamilton mayoral candidate was discussed by Political Science Professor David Siegel in a CBC article.If you know of an appearance or story about a Brock faculty member, student, athlete or alumni, please drop us a line with a link to the story at universitycom@brocku.ca read more

Northern Iowa edges Lamar 1613 in FCS playoffs

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Marcus Weymiller rushed for 128 yards, Trevor Allen ran for 112 and Austin Errthum kicked three field goals as Northern Iowa edged mistake-prone Lamar 16-13 in a first-round FCS playoff game on Saturday.The Panthers (7-5), making their 20th appearance in the FCS playoffs, will travel to play No. 6 seed UC Davis next Saturday.Errthum kicked field goals in the first, second and fourth quarters, the final one a 35-yarder with 13:09 left for the final three-point margin.Northern Iowa’s Eli Dunne threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Rima to tie the game at 13 with two minutes left in the first half.Lamar scored on a 73-yard pass play from Darrel Colbert to Kirkland Banks on the second play of the game but a botched conversion attempt left the score 6-0. Colbert connected with Case Robison on a 25-yard score later in the first quarter for a 13-3 lead.But the Cardinals (7-5), making their first FCS playoff appearance, lost two fumbles in the red zone and had two field-goal attempts go wide right, all in the second half. Elvin Martinez’s second miss, a 36-yarder, came with 2:50 left in the game and the Panthers were able to run all but 15 seconds off the clock.Colbert was 14-of-25 passing for 268 yards, two TDs and an interception. Dunn was 8 of 21 for 107 yards, a TD and a pick.Lamar outgained Northern Iowa 417-346.The Associated Press read more

Canadian women win all three matches on Day 1 of Dubai Rugby

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Bianca Farella scored four tries and Julia Greenshields added three more as Canada won all three of its games Thursday on Day 1 of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.Greenshields collected her three in Canada’s 38-7 opening win over Fiji. Farella, who scored one try against Fiji, recorded a hat trick in a 29-7 victory over Spain.Britt Benn and Kaili Lukan then scored their second tries of the day in a 21-14 win over France that gave the Canadians first place in Pool C. John Tait’s team will face Ireland in the Cup quarterfinals Friday. The Irish (2-1-0) finished runner-up in Pool A, giving New Zealand a good run for its money before going down 24-17. New Zealand and England went unbeaten in winning the other two groups.The other Cup quarterfinals are New Zealand versus Russia, U.S. versus France and England versus Australia.The Canada-Ireland winner will face the England-Australia victor in the semifinals.Canada is coming off a third-place finish in Glendale, Colo, the first stop of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. The Canadian women went 5-1 in Glendale, losing 28-19 New Zealand in the Cup semifinal before beating France 28-0.The Canadian men, whose pre-season preparations were interrupted by a labour dispute with Rugby Canada, open their season Friday in Dubai in a pool with Australia, England and Japan.The Canadian women finished fourth in the overall standings in a disappointing injury-plagued 2017-18 season. Tait’s team had placed third in four of the previous five campaigns. Canada was second in 2014-15.The Canadian men were ninth last year. Their previous best finish on the circuit was sixth.A top-four finish this season means automatic qualification for the 2020 Olympics. Failure to do that means having to go to a regional qualifier.The Canadian women won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The men failed to qualify.The Canadian Press read more

Consistent Ameryst Alston growing into leader for Ohio State womens basketball

Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston (14) dribbles the ball during a game against Michigan Jan. 5 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 64-49.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorAmeryst Alston is holding court in the women’s basketball program and she’s only in her second year.Coming in at 5 feet 9 inches, the sophomore guard has been on fire this season and has shown no signs of slowing down.Through 19 games this season, the Canton McKinley High School grad is averaging 16.9 points per game, which leads the team, and is also fifth in the Big Ten. She is the only Buckeye to average double-digits in points so far this season.Despite only being a sophomore, coach Kevin McGuff said he has plenty of confidence in his starting point guard.“We are at our best when she is playing very aggressively,” McGuff said. “She has made great strides since the first day we were here.”Alston earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors after tying a career-high 29 points in her performance against previously unbeaten and then-No. 22 Indiana.The news came as a surprise to Alston, who found out via social media. But how she got the news didn’t diminish its impact.“I actually didn’t even know,” Alston said. “I got on Instagram and got on Twitter and that’s how I found out and it always means a lot to me.”Alston is coming off a season where she was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. She was also fourth on the team in scoring with 6.5 points per game and tied for second with 30.3 minutes per contest.She also set a school record with 55 minutes played during an 82-75 triple overtime loss at Purdue Jan. 14, 2013.Indiana coach Curt Miller noted Alston’s success in one-on-one, a skill Alston said she sees as her strong point.“The one-on-one ability by Ameryst … was the big difference in the game tonight,” Miller said after the Buckeyes beat Indiana 70-51. “They created havoc with their penetration.”Alston said she has confidence in one-on-one situations.“I really like one-on-one,” Alston said. “I play with my brother one-on-one all the time and that’s my thing. I am pretty confident.”Along with leading the team in scoring Alston is second on the team in assists per game (2.5) and sixth in rebounds (3.5).With her increased presence on the court, Alston is being forced to step into the role of a leader, which is something she has been working toward improving.“I am still learning to be a leader,” Alston said. “I am working on it. It’s me trying to get outside myself because I am a quiet person and being a point guard, you have to talk.”While Alston might be quiet, that doesn’t stop her teammates from taking notice of her contributions.Junior guard Raven Ferguson noted that despite the team’s inconsistency throughout the season, Alston has remained consistent.“A lot of players have been up and down,” Ferguson said. “She’s one of the players who has been very consistent scoring wise and playing hard. We kind of feed off of her.”Alston looks to continue her successful play when the Buckeyes hit the road for State College, Pa., to take on Penn State Thursday at 7 p.m. read more

Opinion Why the US womens soccer team could and should win the

June 30, 2015 – Montreal, Canada – Players of the United States celebrate scoring during the semifinal between Germany and the United States at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The United States beat Germany 2-0 and moves on to the Final. Credit: Courtesy of TNS.Long gone are the days of Brandi Chastain ripping off her jersey to show the whole world what a woman’s sports bra really looks like during the ever-so-exciting 1999 Women’s World Cup final.As 11 players took the field on July 10, 1999 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., thousands of young girls, and boys, wore their favorite number nine jersey, representing none other than soccer legend Mia Hamm. Fans from across the country packed 90,000 strong into the large stadium to cheer on the USWNT as they faced off against China. Hamm and Chastain would both score in penalty kicks, with Chastain’s sealing the deal, and doing so would go down in soccer and sporting history and earn them the name “The 99ers.”While the 99ers are the last American team to have won the World Cup, that doesn’t mean they were a better team. In the mid to late 1990s, women’s soccer wasn’t an up-and-coming American pastime. However, in 1999, Americans — most for the first time — gathered to watch the U.S. team in the World Cup final. The biggest and most-watched moment came right as Chastain’s final penalty kick reached the back of the net, and dozens of cameras focused on her as she ripped off her jersey and exposed her black sports bra. What was known as the greatest female soccer match to date has silently faded into the past.Today the names Hamm and Chastain might not even register to the newer or younger fans and the once most popular number nine jersey features a new name on the back, along with nearly all the other numbers (excluding captain Christie Rampone, who is the only remaining 99er on the team).Today U.S. women’s soccer has a new face; or shall I say faces.If one were to attend a USWNT soccer match today, they would see a sea of the numbers: 20, 13 and 1. All-time international goal scoring forward Abby Wambach wears the powerful number 20 jersey. Superstar and young-faced Alex Morgan wears number 13. Fierce and controversial Hope Solo wears the top goalkeeper number 1 jersey. Although the vast majority of fans choose these three numbers, the beauty about this modern team is that every number on the field is echoed on the backs of dozens, if not hundreds, of fans in the stands.You see, this team isn’t just built on one or two stars. This team has the power of 23 behind it. 23 players make up this 2015 World Cup team and 23 players will go down in history if they can complete the job.All 11 players on the field and the 12 sitting on the bench are known by nearly every spectator, and every player has her own fan base cheering them on. One doesn’t just get fans because of her looks or social media posts, although it certainly does help. These women can really play the game of soccer. This 2015 team doesn’t have 11 starters, it has have 23 of them. While some players certainly get more time on the pitch than others, the success of this team has come from the ability of any individual player to be switched in and out and for the team to still succeed, and succeeded it has.This team has come a long way in just a few short weeks. After being placed in the tough Group D, otherwise known as the “group of death,” the U.S. team pulled in seven points after two wins and a draw to secure the top spot in its group and a high-placed seed in the elimination rounds. And after giving up only one goal in the first group round game against Australia, Solo and the outstanding U.S. defense has had a total of five straight shutout matches. Their latest came from Tuesday night’s matchup against top-ranked Germany, when the U.S. scored two goals in the second half to secure a spot in its fourth Women’s World Cup final.Hope Solo, goalkeeper of the United States, reacts during the World Cup Group D match against Sweden at Winnipeg Stadium in Winnipeg, Canada, on Friday, June 12, 2015. Credit: Courtesy of TNS.A common phrase said about this team is that “you don’t want to play the U.S. team after a loss,” and this team is still playing after a devastating loss.In 2011, the last World Cup, the U.S. team lost to Japan in the finals during penalty kicks. Irony? I think not. The devastating loss still echos in each game since then, and the players are not quick to forget it. Although they won the 2012 Olympics, the last four years have brought nothing but hardships for this team, despite a winning record. The departure of two coaches, injuries of key players and the neverending controversial struggle with Solo off the field.Despite all of that, though, this team is the stronger team. It has three of the top forwards with Wambach, Morgan and Sydney Leroux. It has veteran captain Rampone who already knows what it takes to win a World Cup. It has the best defense in the tournament led by newcomer and rising star defender Julie Johnston, who has played every minute of the six tournament games. It has power and speed in the midfield with Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Lauren Holliday. Not to mention it has Hope — Solo that is — who is widely regarded as the best female goalkeeper in the world to ever play.Could history repeat itself if Japan advances against England Wednesday night, or can the U.S. learn from its mistakes and make history as the only women’s team to wear three stars over its team crest representing three World Cup championships? While the 15ers may not be the new nickname, this team deserves to go down in history, despite a gold or not. It’s been 16 years since the American team has stood on top the podium with the golden trophy above their heads. Sixteen years without the title of “World Champions.”“World” or not, this team is about as champion as they get, and this team has given America something to cheer about again in women’s sports. read more

What Does A Winning Streak Mean In MLB

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s episode (Sept. 12, 2017), we discuss an American tennis champion finally not named Williams — Sloane Stephens, ranked 957th in the world earlier this summer, won the U.S. Open last weekend. We break down what her victory may mean for U.S. tennis and whether Serena Williams’s absence from the tournament played a role in Stephens’s win. Next, we discuss two remarkable streaks in the MLB — the 20 wins in a row by the Cleveland Indians and the recent stretch of 11 losses by the Los Angeles Dodgers — and whether we should take baseball more seriously just because it’s September. Plus, a significant digit on the MLB playoffs.If you have suggestions for what we should call our new NBA podcast, please drop us a note at podcasts@fivethirtyeight.com.Here are links to things we discussed this week:For quality John Starks content, be sure to follow Kate Fagan on Instagram.Kate’s Starky Bear.FiveThirtyEight’s MLB predictions.FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine writes that September baseball doesn’t matter more than any other month’s.Victor Mather in The New York Times tells a tale of two MLB streaks.Significant Digit: Zero, the number of teams supported by Chad, Kate and Neil — all devoted Mets fans — that will make the MLB playoffs this year. Is your favorite team out? We discuss strategies for how to choose the best bandwagon to join. Embed Code FiveThirtyEight read more