Debtridden Wasaya Airways in danger of collapsing forced to sell assets

first_imgBy Kenneth Jackson and Cullen CrozierAPTN InvestigatesJust before Christmas the principal owners of Wasaya Airways received a letter.They were warned Wasaya was about to be grounded by a mountain of debt, according to a letter obtained by APTN Investigates in an on-going investigation into the First Nation-owned airway.The letter was written by the chair of Wasaya’s board of directors to the chiefs of the 11 other First Nations that share ownership of Wasaya.“Unless we are able to substantially reduce the amount owed to (Wasaya) Airways by our ownership First Nations, as represented by you, within the next month, (Wasaya) Airways is in danger of collapsing,” wrote Chief Bart Meekis on Dec. 16.Meekis confronted the ownership First Nations, telling the chiefs they had racked up more than $2.6 million in debt to Wasaya as of Dec. 13. Meekis is also an ownership chief, representing Sandy Lake First Nation.Together, they were more than $1 million over their credit limit.A closure wouldn’t just affect them but the many other First Nations that depend on them, Meekis said.“The impact of this would be catastrophic, not only for you and for your community, but also for the other First Nations and businesses within each community, as no other airway will be willing and able to offer the level of service that we currently provide,” he said, adding that he appreciated that government funds were slow coming in to each First Nation, possibly affecting their ability to pay on time.It was just a couple months ago when Meekis raised the alarm in the letter.Wasaya hasn’t gone under and continues to operate.APTN has learned that to do this, Wasaya had to either sell assets or is in the process of selling assets.When questioned by APTN, Meekis said the company had to make changes.“We’re restructuring,” he said during an interview. “There are some businesses that Wasaya had that were eating away at the financials, so right now what’s happening is we’re letting go of some of those side businesses that Wasaya had that’s not making money. It’s just drawing money out from the business.”He didn’t say what those businesses were but according to their website Wasaya owns Wasaya Prop Shop that claims to be a worldwide leader in aircraft repair. The website also lists a fueling company.Wasaya flew over 100,000 passengers in 2012.Wasaya President Tom Morris at first offered this week to speak to APTN face-to-face, but later declined via a letter.In his letter, Morris wrote: “Wasaya Airways LP is a private company and is accountable to the First Nations who are its owners. Wasaya Airways will not comment publicly on any internal matters. ”It’s not clear if the mounting debt has been cleared but it was beginning to interfere with day-to-day business as creditors refused to loan anymore money to Wasaya until they paid up, according to Meekis’ letter.“We have already been refused further credit by some suppliers, pending clearing our outstanding accounts payable,” said Meekis in the Dec. 16 letter. “That is in itself a warning sign that we are in financial trouble.”When asked why the ownership communities ran up the debt to the point of near collapse Meekis said it wasn’t just the owners but other communities that Wasaya provides services to.“It’s not only the ownership communities it’s the other communities that run up the bill,” he said to APTN during a telephone interview.But in his letter to the chiefs, Meekis said the other communities’ debt was considerably low in comparison to what he said ownership First Nations owed.He mentioned, but didn’t name, 10 other First Nations owing just over $200,000.Wasaya staff and chiefs have flown into the communities to try and get First Nations to pay up, Meekis told APTN. Chiefs were warned that Wasaya wouldn’t carry their debt any longer.“So what’s happened is that the staff, and some of the chiefs, have visited the communities to try to, because it’s not a bank. Wasaya’s not a bank. To try to pay their bills because when you owe a bill you got to pay your bill,” he said.According to further documents obtained by APTN and interviews with confidential sources, since Wayaya became 100 per cent First Nation owned in 1998, it’s unclear if ever only turned a profit besides one year and that was in 2009.Meekis partially addressed that in his letter to the chiefs.“We also know that the decisions not to pay your Wasaya account directly relates to your ownership shares in the company. In those communities where the First Nations’ accounts with Wasaya are way beyond their authorized limits, local stores are also way behind with their payments,” Meekis wrote.When asked why Wasaya has rarely provided a yearly return to the communities Meekis said he didn’t know.“I don’t know if I can give you that information right now because I don’t know,” he said.Meekis called a different APTN reporter later the same night of his interview, demanding to know who provided us with a copy of his Dec. 16 letter to the chiefs.The identity of the source was not disclosed.During the phone interview, when Meekis was asked if Wasaya is going bankrupt, he replied that it wasn’t.But in his letter, Meekis warned the chiefs that financial collapse was a very real possibility. He wrote that six First Nations in the ownership group were in “serious arrears.”“Please be prepared to work with us, as we all stand to lose if Wasaya Airways fails,” he wrote.kjackson@aptn.caccrozier@aptn.calast_img read more

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Germany will fail 2020 climate goals now eyes 2030 target

first_imgBERLIN – Germany will likely miss its goal of cutting emissions by 40 per cent by 2020, the country’s environment minister said Monday, an embarrassing admission for a government that wants to lead the charge on limiting climate change.Official estimates project that Europe’s biggest economy will trim its greenhouse gas emissions by 32 per cent or less by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. The next target, a decade later, calls for a 55 per cent drop in emissions from 1990.“It’s painful for me to have to tell you that we will miss the targets we’ve set for ourselves for 2020,” Svenja Schulze told delegates from more than 30 governments who had gathered in Berlin to prepare for an annual global climate summit in December.Setting her country’s sights on 2030, Schulze said all sectors of the German economy would have to contribute cuts, but singled out transportation in particular, where emissions remain at 1990 levels.“The least has happened there,” she told reporters.Schulze also called for greater efforts to generate renewable energy and for an end to burning coal to produce electricity. The German government created an expert commission this month to study the politically sensitive issue of coal-fired power plants.The December summit in Katowice, Poland, will provide the first true test of the world’s ability to implement the 2015 Paris climate accord. The treaty set a political target of keeping global warming significantly below 2 degrees Celsius (3.7 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, but left open how that would be achieved.Scientists say the time to achieve the most ambitious goal — limiting a rise in average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 — has almost passed.Germany has pushed for international unity on upholding the Paris accord, particularly since U.S. President Donald Trump said he was pulling out of the deal his predecessor negotiated. But Berlin’s inability to take drastic steps has led environmental groups to question Germany’s credibility on the issue.German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki are scheduled to speak at the Berlin climate meeting Tuesday.last_img read more

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Steelhead LNG awards FEED contract for floating LNG terminal hulls to Hyundai

first_imgEach hull is expected to measure 340 metres in length, 60 metres in width, and feature five individual tanks that provide approximately 280,000 cubic metres of liquified natural gas storage.“This agreement with Hyundai Heavy Industries for two At-Shore LNGTM hulls again demonstrates the technological innovation and creative solutions that we are developing as part of the Kwispaa LNG Project to offer Asia-Pacific buyers with cleaner and competitively priced LNG from Canada,” said Steelhead LNG CEO Nigel Kuzemko. “Our goal is to help meet the world’s rising demand for LNG and reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, with our co-management partners, Huu-ay-aht First Nations, we are committed to working with all levels of government to realize the tremendous potential benefits the Kwispaa LNG Project can provide to local communities, British Columbia, and Canada.”The awarding of the contract is the start of the process leading to the construction of two At-Shore LNG™ hulls at a total price of US$500 million.“As a global leader in the shipbuilding industry, we are tremendously pleased to be partnering with Steelhead LNG for the design of the At-Shore LNGTM hulls for the Kwispaa LNG Project,” stated Hyundai Heavy Industries. “This agreement is a reflection of our world-leading technical and manufacturing capabilities, and we look forward to proceeding into FEED for this important project.” BARCELONA, SPAIN – Steelhead LNG announced today that it has signed a contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries for the Front-End Engineering and Design of two At-Shore LNG™ hulls for its proposed Kwispaa LNG Project.Kwispaa LNG is a proposed LNG export facility located at Sarita Bay on the west coast of Vancouver Island. With a Final Investment Decision anticipated in 2020, the first phase of the project is expected to be operational in 2024.On Wednesday, representatives from Steelhead LNG, the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, and Hyundai Heavy Industries’ Shipbuilding Division formalized the contract for the design of the two At-Shore LNG™ hulls at the Gastech Conference in Barcelona.last_img read more

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Griezmann whistled as Atletico come back to draw with Levante

first_imgMadrid: Antoine Griezmann was jeered during his last game for Atletico Madrid and Rodrigo might have scored his final goal for the club as they came from behind to draw 2-2 against Levante in La Liga on Saturday. Griezmann received whistles at the City of Valencia Stadium from the visiting fans, who were also heard chanting “out, out, out” before goals from Sergio Camello and Rodrigo ensured Atletico at least ended the season with a draw. Diego Simeone has dismissed fears of a mass exodus, despite both Diego Godin and Griezmann already announcing their departures, with the likes of Rodrigo, Juanfran and Filipe Luis all expected to follow. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuIf this was to be their farewell outing for Atletico, it was an underwhelming finale as Levante, who only secured safety from relegation last weekend, claimed a deserved point. They might have been disappointed not to take all three after leading 2-0 at half-time thanks to goals from Erick Cabaco and Roger Marti before then playing against 10 men for the best part of 40 minutes after Angel Correa was sent off. But Atletico fought back, Rodrigo firing into the top corner before 18-year-old substitute Camello scored his first goal for the club, finishing at the back post. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersGriezmann was unable to add to his tally of 133 goals in 257 games across all competitions in what became a bitter end to his five successful seasons for the club. Godin was given a rousing goodbye ceremony at the Wanda Metropolitano last weekend but the timing of Griezmann’s announcement, perhaps deliberately, meant he avoided a last meeting with the Atleti fans. But those that made the trip to Valencia were determined to make their displeasure known and it was noticeable that Griezmann made a swift exit after the final whistle. Camello, born in Madrid and a product of Atletico’s academy, delivered a more positive message for the future and a timely reminder of Atletico’s ability to endure in recent years, despite the departures of their biggest stars. Levante took the lead through a brilliant opener from Cabaco, who flicked in with the back of his heel after a header back from Ruben Vezo. Roger doubled the advantage shortly before half-time, intercepting a loose pass from Thomas Partey before skipping over Rodrigo and firing past Antonio Adan, who was standing in for the injured Jan Oblak. Atletico’s task became more difficult when Correa was sent off for a petulant kick on Chema but Rodrigo gave them hope with a stunning strike into the top corner, before Koke’s shot fell kindly for Camello at the back post.last_img read more

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Facebook is working on a rival to Amazons Alexa

first_img Share your voice Smart Speakers & Displays Tech Industry Now playing: Watch this: 0 Facebook Portal aims to take Messenger video chat up… Facebook is working on its own voice assistant. CNET Facebook is working on a voice assistant that could be used in its Portal video chat device.”We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday. The social network would face stiff competition from tech giants that already have voice assistants, like Amazon, Google and Apple. CNBC, citing several people familiar with the matter, said Facebook has been working on the new voice assistant since early 2018 but it’s “unclear how exactly Facebook envisions people using the assistant.” Facebook’s Portal currently taps into Amazon’s Alexa. Facebook employees in Redmond, Washington, led by Ira Snyder, director of AR/VR and Facebook Assistant, are reportedly leading the effort to build a new AI assistant.This isn’t the first time Facebook has tried to build a virtual assistant. Last year, the company shut down a chat assistant called M that was used in Facebook’s messaging app.  2:54 Post a comment Tags Facebook Originally published April 17, 11:54 a.m. PT.Update, 12:49 p.m. PT: Adds Facebook comment. last_img read more

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Amazon updates 50 Fire 7 tablet with faster processor more storage

first_img 24 Photos 8 Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Tags Share your voice Amazon Fire 7 photos Enlarge ImageThe Fire 7. Sarah Tew/CNET We always thought Amazon’s entry-level tablet, the Fire 7 ($50, £50), was a good value, particularly when it was discounted by $10 or even $15 during flash sales. Now Amazon is updating it with a faster processor and bumping the base storage from 8GB to 16GB. The “all-new” Fire 7 is available for preorder now and will ship June 7.The other addition Amazon is highlighting is support for hands-free Alexa. That means that instead hitting a virtual button on the screen to activate Alexa, you simply say “Alexa” like you would with an Echo device — so long as you’re on Wi-Fi. The feature can be toggled off in the settings menu. It was already added to the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10.Like other Amazon tablets, the Fire 7 gives you access to the company’s exclusive features, which include Alexa, ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen, Amazon FreeTime, Family Library, Blue Shade, On Deck and Prime Video downloads. Prime members also have access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps and games with free, unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content.The tablet will be available in 16GB ($50, £50) or 32GB ($70, £60) configurations.Amazon has also announced a new Fire 7 Kids Edition ($100, £100) that comes with 16GB of storage, one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a “kid-proof” case with a new adjustable stand and a two-year free replacement policy. Like the previous model, the new Fire 7 features a 1.3 GHz processor — but presumably it’s a new processor that indeed is faster. As soon as I get a review sample, I’ll let you know how much of a difference the new processor makes. See it at AmazonNote that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.Key Features1,024×600-pixel display10.4 oz (295 grams) 7.6×4.5×0.4 inches (192x115x9.6 mm) Quad-core 1.3GHz processor Front- and rear-facing camerasFree, unlimited cloud storage for all photos taken on Fire devices Up to 512GB of expandable storage via microSD card (up from 256GB on previous model) Dual-band Wi-Fi support Battery life: Up to 7 hours of reading, listening to music, streaming video and web browsingScreen sharing: Let an Amazon expert guide you remotely through any feature on your screen for freeAccess to exclusive Amazon features, services and media librariesNew color options: Black, Sage, Plum, and Twilight Blue Comments Tabletslast_img read more

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Accused held from Chandigarh involved in Kolkata ATM fraud case

first_imgKolkata: One of the three Romanians, who was arrested in Chandigarh, is found to be involved in the ATM fraud case that took place in Kolkata.It may be recalled that Chandigarh police had arrested three persons including one 37-year-old Miclea Lecian Lonut a few days ago in connection with a separate ATM fraud case.Officers of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was formed to probe into the incident received information about the arrest of the three persons. Later, they found that one of them is also involved in the ATM fraud cases that took place in Kolkata. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeA team comprising police officers of the SIT has left for Chandigarh in this connection. It may be recalled that details of several bank account holders were collected by installing skimming machines at different ATM counters across the city.They used to prepare cloned cards using the collected details, which were later used to withdraw cash from ATMs in Delhi.Sources said the investigating officers found his photographs while going through footages of the CCTVs installed at the ATMs in Delhi. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedHe was found withdrawing cash from an ATM in Delhi and the investigating officers suspect that he had withdrawn money using a cloned card.The police are now going to record his statement in this connection. They would try to know about his connection with those arrested in Kolkata in connection with the ATM fraud. It is suspected that they are from the same gang and operate in small groups in different parts of the country. Cops are trying to find out about the counterparts in other parts of the country. Meanwhile, four persons have been arrested in connection with a case in which they used to replace new expensive mobile phones with cheaper ones before delivering them to actual owners.A 25-year-old youth, Subho Acharya, who is a resident of Shyampukur, and Mahesh Kumar Hela (23), a resident of Gariahat, were arrested with two others in this connection.They used work in a goods delivery company. Investigation revealed that they used to replace the original expensive mobile phones from sealed packets with cheaper ones.A few days ago, a complaint was lodged with Kasba police station in this connection by the company where the duo worked. It was alleged that their activity led to a loss of Rs 2,76,080 for the company.last_img read more

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Synamedia set out its vision and investment focus

first_imgSynamedia set out its vision and investment focus as a newly independent company at IBC, stressing that innovation will be at the heart of its strategy.The company, formed from the sale of Cisco’s video processing and video solutions business to private equity firm Permira funds, said it will help customers to develop new offerings and optimise their current infrastructure while adopting IP distribution.Securing revenues and tackling illegal streaming will be another priority, with Synamedia planning to bring to market products and services that “go beyond watermarking” to help customers with piracy prevention.The company will also be investing in research and development around targeted advertising technology – across both live and on-demand services such as cloud DVRs. Synamedia said this will be particularly attractive to free-to-air TV broadcasters and channels aiming to increase their revenue via OTT services including live streaming, catch-up TV and cloud DVR.“We are looking forward to helping our DTH and cable customers embrace IP distribution to complement and expand consumer choice and convenience, as well as helping telco customers and new entrants to pay TV take advantage of our end-to-end platform offering,” said Yves Padrines, the incoming CEO for Synamedia and Cisco’s current vice president of global service provider for Europe, Middle East, Africa.“At this pivotal time in the industry when the market faces a number of challenges, we will work with our customers and partners to reinvent the way people are entertained and informed.”Synamedia set out plans to work with data analytics firms, network equipment providers and application developers supporting the Synamedia Infinite Video Platform. It also plans to expand its professional services offerings with the aim of becoming “the richest and most flexible hybrid broadcast OTT platform in the market.”The company plans to support Android TV and RDK as well as devices like games consoles and connected TVs with its Infinite Video Platform. It will also improve the quality of experience with multicast ABR streaming and broadcast-equivalent streaming latency.On the Cloud DVR front, Synamedia said it will expand its solution with support for hybrid and multi-cloud environments and will work on developing a fully-managed service.“I’m particularly excited about our plans to help customers secure their revenues and enhance the consumer experience by taking advantage of the convenience of OTT technologies,” said Synamedia chairman Abe Peled.“We will be starting with a robust and secure platform and will further develop our security offerings to tackle illegal streaming. In addition, we will leverage our expertise in targeted advertising to enable our clients to create new revenue streams.”last_img read more

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