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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Government document calls Unistoten leader aboriginal extremist

first_imgA government report says the hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en Nation in B.C. are led by “aboriginal extremist.” Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTNJustin BrakeAPTN NewsHereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation say their territory and sovereignty are under attack by a pipeline company that’s turning to the courts for help in building a pipeline through unceded Wet’suwet’en lands.But federal government documents obtained by APTN News reveal the odds may already be stacked against the Wet’suwet’en, and in particular the Unist’ot’en House of the Gilseyhu Clan, which the government regards as a risk to Canada’s “national interest” and one of its leaders an “aboriginal extremist”.The documents, dated April 1, 2015 and marked “SECRET”, also reveal the government’s concern that ending the years-long Unist’ot’en resistance to pipeline development through their territory could trigger nationwide Indigenous-led protests.Last week Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd., a subsidiary of Calgary-based energy company TransCanada, filed for an injunction with the Supreme Court of B.C. against the Unist’ot’en, whose members reoccupied parts of their traditional territory eight years ago.The Unist’ot’en, who say they have the full support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, have until Dec. 10 to respond to the application.The documents obtained by APTN come from the Government Operations Centre (GOC), an office of the Department of Public Safety that compiles information from other departments and police and intelligence agencies to identify potential threats to what the government regards as Canada’s national interest.The 12-page report assesses the Unist’ot’en’s risk to the national interest as “Medium-Low”. A section titled “Impact on the National Interest” appears to offer details on this conclusion but is entirely redacted.The report contains no expressed concern for the Unist’ot’en or discussion around whether the potential resource development on their territory poses a risk to their Indigenous rights.The Unist’ot’en say the person referred to in the government document is not an extremist, but a hereditary chief.They suspect Canada and the RCMP will try to portray them as potentially violent and as criminals if police are compelled by the provincial supreme court to remove the Unist’ot’en from their land.Returning to the landIn 2010, after learning of various companies’ interest in transporting oil and gas through their territories to the B.C. coast, Wet’suwet’en citizens Freda Huson of the Unist’ot’en House and Smogelgem, Hereditary Chief of the Laksamshu Clan— who is also known as Warner Naziel—moved out on to their lands to build a camp, in part as a way to resist what they see as unauthorized encroachment on their territory.Huson and Naziel are the two individuals named on Coastal GasLink’s injunction application, along with “Jane Doe” and “John Doe” and “persons unknown”.What’s now widely known as the “Unist’ot’en Camp” has since become a home and a place of healing for Wet’suwet’en people, Smogelgem told APTN in a phone interview from Smithers, where he and other hereditary chiefs gathered last week to discuss the injunction, he said.“That’s our permanent home and we’re planning on living out the rest of our lives there,” he said.Smogelgem said moving from a nearby community and back onto their traditional lands has “become a way of life” for he and Huson and others who stay with them.Watch Rob Smith’s 2016 APTN Investigates episode about the Unist’ot’en camp.“We live off the land. We do a lot of trapping and hunting and fishing up there. We collect our medicines. We pick all the berries. We sustain ourselves primarily off of our territory, and that’s the way our ancestors were.”In addition to it being their home, Huson and Smogelgem have overseen the construction, with the help of volunteers, of a three-storey healing centre where they house citizens of their Nation in need of support with addiction and other health issues.Huson said the centre, which utilizes traditional Wet’suwet’en healing methods, has already provided shelter and healing for a family with five children, and currently has others staying there.The Unist’ot’en Healing Centre prior to its completion. Unist’ot’en Camp/Facebook.“The land itself contributes to speeding up the process of the healing — because they’re actually being reconnected to their homelands, and that actually helps in their healing.”In recent years, as workers associated with Coastal GasLink, and previously the Northern Gateway pipeline—before that project was killed by the Trudeau government in 2016—attempted to access the Unisto’ot’en lands, Huson and others have repeatedly turned them away. Huson said the Unist’ot’en have filmed the encounters for evidence of their people’s intentions and behaviour.“We’ve always been peaceful and we’ve always been respectful,” she said. “It was their workers who haven’t been respectful…who go back and claim we threatened them.”Indigenous rights and title Vs. Canada’s largest ever private sector investmentIf built, the almost 700-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline would carry fracked natural gas produced by LNG Canada from just outside Dawson Creek in northeastern B.C. to a processing facility in Kitimat, where the gas would be liquefied and shipped to Asian markets.The processing facility, pipeline and associated infrastructure are said to be worth a combined $40 billion, making the project the largest private sector investment in Canadian history.In October, at an announcement that the pipeline would go ahead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the LNG project, including the Coastal GasLink pipeline, “shows what’s possible when you collaboration and consult with Indigenous and local communities, when you coordinate all orders of government, and when people insist on economic, environmental and socially responsible development of our natural resources.”In its court application Coastal GasLink says it has “entered into project agreements with all 20 elected Indigenous bands along the Project route, including five Wet’suwet’en Bands.”The company says the Unist’ot’en “blockade is causing damage and irreparable harm.”“It is not my problem that they didn’t follow proper business practice to ensure that the land you’re going to try to utilize, that you got permission from the title holders,” said Huson.Smogelgem, hereditary chief of the Laksamshu Clan, and Unist’ot’en spokesperson Freda Huson say the Wet’suwet’en have never ceded their territories. Unist’ot’en Camp/Facebook.“When you hear they have 100 per cent support from First Nations along this proposed pipeline route, those are elected bands and not one pipeline goes through those reserves where elected officials have jurisdiction,” Chief Na’Moks, hereditary chief of the Wet’suwet’en Tsayu Clan, told APTN in a phone interview.“The territory itself—the jurisdiction there—belongs to the people and the hereditary chiefs and the names that we carry.”The hereditary chiefs may have a strong case if they end up in court, according to Métis lawyer Bruce McIvor, who runs First Peoples Law in Vancouver.“This is one of the huge outstanding issues now in Aboriginal law: who gets to speak for the Indigenous people? It’s one of the most difficult, thorny things to unravel as part of decolonization,” McIvor said.“We have hundreds of Indian Act bands across the country and a lot of the time those bands may not align with the traditional governance [systems].”The Wet’suwet’en, he explained, “have a very complicated governance system” compared to other Indigenous peoples.“They have their various clans and houses and they’re quite numerous. And they don’t necessarily align with the Indian Act governance system.”McIvor said the Unist’ot’en’s case is strengthened by the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1997 Delgamuukw decision.“They’re not operating in a vacuum when it comes to Canadian law,” he says. “The Gitxsan and the Wet’suwet’en led extensive evidence about their governance systems as part of the Delgamuukw trial. It’s there, it’s on the record — how it works. And then of course how it’s very different than the Indian Act chief and council system.”McIvor said if the provincial or federal governments want to “override” the Office of the Wet’suwet’en decision not to let the pipeline through their territory, “then they’re held to a very high [legal] standard in order to try and justify the entrenchment of title.”TransCanada applied for an injunction and a civil lawsuit against Unist’ot’en Camp. They’re seeking an injunction & damages for “occupying, obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or delaying access” to our own unceded territory. Statement: https://t.co/S8FXB2SaiM #nopipelines pic.twitter.com/LnR8TwRjqg— Unist’ot’en Camp (@UnistotenCamp) November 29, 2018In its application the company said the project “is at a point where unimepeded access is now required to complete the work necessary to finalize execution plans and permitting, and continue with construction of the project.”Without unimpeded access to the site, they say, “the project cannot proceed”.“We will protect our lands as we see fit”In its risk assessment report of the Unist’ot’en “blockade” the GOC regards the Unisto’ot’en camp as “the ideological and physical focal point of Aboriginal resistance to resource extraction projects.”It also reveals government was aware TransCanada would pursue legal avenues to deal with the Unist’ot’en.“TransCanada has signaled that it will seek a British Columbia Provincial Court injunction presumably to have the protesters and blockade removed,” the document reads, and that the injunction “is expected to be sought in April 2015.”TransCanada, through Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd., finally applied for that injunction on Nov. 26.In a statement posted on its website last Thursday, Coastal GasLink says its decision to seek the injunction against the Unist’ot’en “was not taken lightly,” and that “after years of attempting to engage the blockade to work through a solution, this step has become a last resort and a necessary action in our efforts to safely gain access to the area.“As we have done in the past, we will continue to keep the lines of communications open to work towards a mutually beneficial outcome.”The GOC document says if an injunction is enforced, “there is concern that violence could result.”The government believes that “other groups may use this violence as a trigger to protest against other federal initiatives,” adding the protests could centre around other issues important to Indigenous people, including missing and murdered Indigenous women, the environment, and Bill C-51, the Harper government’s controversial 2015 anti-terrorism legislation.Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation in B.C. say LNG pipeline doesn’t have unanimous consentCommunity on edge as LNG plans ‘man camps’ to start building gas pipelineThe feds believed at the time that the response to police enforcing the injunction could amount to “efforts to obstruct site access to pipeline companies, coupled with aggressive and threatening language, and potentially property damage to equipment.”That prediction was “based on historical precedence, with confrontations occurring during 2014 between pipeline companies and protesters that resulted in the RCMP attending in order to keep the peace.”Ultimately though, the GOC rated the “severity of those events…as LOW,” the document reads.“Past assessments…suggest that these types of events are not highly functional due to a lack of the organization’s ability to garner the support of large groups. There is no indication that ongoing protests and blockades have been endorsed by local band councils or First Nation chiefs.”Injunction coincides with government’s commitment to Indigenous rights frameworkHuson believes the “aboriginal extremist” referred to in the report is Hereditary Chief Smogelgem, since Huson and Smogelgem are widely regarded as the camp’s leaders, and since the GOC reveals the gender of the individual it’s referencing.In a written statement to APTN Public Safety Canada said it “cannot comment on matters before the courts,” but that “our government vigorously defends the rights of all Canadians to peaceful assembly and demonstration.”The department says is “does not collect information about groups or individuals [and] relies on partner departments and agencies to provide analysis on threat assessments to the GOC.The GOC in turn “compiles this information to identify potential impacts and to plan for whole of government consequence management response. Its job is simply to be aware of significant public events in case the Government is called upon to help.”(The Unist’ot’en and Wet’suwet’en heredtiary chiefs say they will fulfill their duty to protect their territory from unwanted development. Kathleen Martens/APTN) “Fulfilling these obligations should be a priority, as the United Nations has repeatedly urged,” he said.After generations of colonization the Wet’suwet’en have finally “realized what we’ve lost,” said Huson.“We’ve got only like 10 per cent of our traditional territory left,” she explained, citing municipalities, farming, mining, logging and other resource development that has encroached on her people’s lands.“That’s why we’re grasping on to that 10 per cent so tightly right now, because our lives depend on it. We’re grasping on to it so we can practice our traditional ways of medicine, berry-picking, hunting, fishing.“All these natural resources that are valuable to us you cannot replace.”Chief Na’Moks said the hereditary chiefs “have banned pipelines in our territories in our house of parliament, and our people have supported that.“We will stand to protect our territory.”jbrake@aptn.ca@JustinBrakeNewslast_img read more

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2019 Ram Heavy Duty contorts pavement with 1000 lbft of torque

first_img Share your voice 1 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value See All Now playing: Watch this: 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better A good lookin’ body, inside and outI have to give credit to Ram for building a heavy-duty truck that doesn’t look all that different from the Ram 1500. The Ram HD is properly handsome, and these days that seems like a weird thing to say, considering how “meh” the Ford Super Duty is, and how “oh heavens no” the Chevy Silverado HD is. The body is literally slick, too, with a decent drag coefficient of 0.409, which Ram claims is the best in the segment.If you want to look properly beefy, opt for the Power Wagon, which is the Ram HD’s most off-road-friendly variant. It’s taller than the standard Ram, with a special suspension for off-roading, locking differentials, a disconnecting sway bar and a 12,000-pound Warn winch. It also has a 360-degree camera to help navigate around obstacles. Despite the new kit, the truck is 28 pounds lighter than before.Under the body is a brand new frame made of 98.5 percent high-strength steel. It has six crossmembers, fully boxed rear rails and it’s ready for both fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitches. Despite all the beefiness, a good deal of which is necessary when your truck makes one thousand torques, use of lightweight materials results in a truck that’s up to 143 pounds lighter than before.The interior of the Ram HD borrows the same updates from its light-duty sibling. There’s a nice amount of layering on the dashboard, with plenty of storage space obvious as the eye moves downward. There’s still a healthy amount of physical switchgear, even when the infotainment screen expands to epic proportions.Enlarge ImageApparently, it is possible to make a heavy-duty truck that doesn’t look bad. Ram Good tech for a truckSpeaking of screens, the Ram 1500’s monster 12-inch Uconnect infotainment screen is available, but as with the 1500 before it, it’s not standard on every trim. The big boy can display either one page across the height of the screen, or it can run two applications simultaneously. Uconnect is one of our favorite systems across the industry, so this is definitely a good thing. A second, 7-inch screen in the gauge cluster is also available.The tech doesn’t end there. The interior rocks active noise cancellation and special acoustic glass designed to minimize unwanted noises — Ram claims this updated HD model reduces interior noise by 10 decibels. Even the HVAC system has been tweaked to deliver more air with less noise. Electric heating elements are tucked into the vents to deliver warm air faster in the winter.USB ports are all over the darn place, including Type-C ports. You can also kit out the interior with up to three 115-volt plugs, all of which can handle up to 400 watts for charging or powering various items.  On the safety front, the Ram HD can be optioned with automatic emergency braking, a 360-degree camera and a second rearview camera that looks into the bed. The truck can also monitor up to six tire pressures on the truck and an additional 12 tires for a trailer. The Ram 3500 has unique parking sensors designed to work with dually rear ends. The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty is manufactured in Mexico. Given the 2019 model year, it shouldn’t be too long before it goes on sale. Detroit Auto Show 2019 Ram 1:44 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous Feb 4 • 2020 Kia Telluride: Detroit Auto Show debut turns Super Bowl ad star Jan 22 • Our highlights of the 2019 Detroit Auto Show 2019 Ram Heavy Duty has all the torque Detroit Auto Show 2019 Detroit Auto Show: See all the latest coverage.Trucks: Like truck stuff? This is for you. Feb 7 • Chevy’s full-scale Lego Silverado is plastic fantastic in Chicago More From Roadshow Ram just took the Torque Wars to a whole new level, one that finally stretches into four digits.A mind-blowing powertrainThe 2019 Ram Heavy Duty (2500 and 3500) is officially the first heavy-duty truck from the US’ Big Three to reach 1,000 pound-feet of torque. That monster output comes as part of an optional 6.7-liter Cummins diesel I6, which also makes 400 horsepower. Yet, the engine weighs some 60 pounds less than its previous iteration, thanks to a new cast-iron cylinder head, lighter pistons, new connecting rods and bearings, in addition to an all-new exhaust manifold and tweaked variable-geometry turbocharger.Of course, there are other engines on offer for the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty. The base engine is a 6.4-liter V8 putting out 410 hp and 429 lb-ft. If you’re after diesel, but not the full-bore kit, there’s another Cummins on offer with 370 hp and 850 lb-ft.In terms of transmissions, the big-boy Cummins mates to a six-speed Aisin automatic that’s built specifically to handle all that torque. The other, less powerful Cummins variant uses a different six-speed automatic, while the gas V8 hooks up to an eight-speed automatic. So what does that translate to in terms of capability? To put it brusquely, it has a crapload of capability. The Ram HD will haul up to 7,680 pounds in the bed, and it will tow up to 35,100 pounds. reading • 2019 Ram Heavy Duty contorts pavement with 1,000 lb-ft of torque Trucks May 14 • History of the Toyota Supra, a Japanese sports car legend 2019 Ram HD brings a handsome face, 1,000 lb-ft of torque… Comment • Tags 99 Photos Ramlast_img read more

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Google welcomes spring and fall with dual Doodles for the equinox

first_img Share your voice Tags Google Doodle Google One of Google’s equinox Doodles welcomes the new life that spring portends. Google Even if the weather doesn’t exactly feel like spring, the calendar — and Google’s Doodle — indicate that the changing of the seasons promises to bring warmer weather north of the equator.For those living north of globe’s belly line, Wednesday marks the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. If you live south of the equator, it marks the first day of fall.It is, of course, the planet’s equinox (not to be confused with the solstice, which couldn’t be more different). The word “equinox” comes from the Latin for “equal” and “night.” Essentially, it’s the biannual event when the sun is directly over the equator.Regardless of which side of the planet you live, Google has got you covered with a Doodle that reflects the mood of the season ahead of you. Those welcoming spring in the north see the sprouting of new life from an anthropomorphic globe, perhaps astonished and optimistic about the warmer days and new life ahead.google-doodle-fall2019Meanwhile, those south of the Equator ready for colder, shorter days. Google Meanwhile, those witnessing the end of summer in the south see a Doodle featuring a brightly colored leaf resting on our now-tired globe, seemingly reminded of the fleeting warm days as it girds itself for shorter, colder days ahead.If you aren’t too keen on this situation, remember that you can count on things moving in the opposite direction in six months. Originally published March 19.Update, March 20: Adds links to Google’s spring and fall Doodles. 0 Online Post a commentlast_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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Indias restaurant business gathers steam after 2 years

Close India: After effects of demonetisation of high value currency notes [Representational Image]ReutersThe restaurant business in India is seen picking up pace in August, driven by outlets in new markets and a rise in demand at malls for giving heavy discounts to customers. The industry gained momentum after two years of sluggish growth.Stocks of three listed restaurant companies in India touched 52-week highs in August and the market value of Jubilant FoodWorks jumped 44 percent over the past three months to about 8,880 crore on Thursday, Economic Times reported.Earlier this month, Indian based Jubilant FoodWorks Ltd which operates Domino’s and Dunkin Donuts said it will pump in Rs 100 crore to revive the food products and packaging for Domino’s in India. The company also said it will expand about 50 stores this year.The focus on delivering “better value for money and innovation” contributed to a growth uptick, along with reduction of losses, controlling costs and driving efficiencies, which led to higher operating margins, said Pratik Pota, chief executive, Jubilant, while announcing the June quarter earnings last month.The upgraded strategies pushed Jubilant to grow 6.5 percent in same store sales in the quarter that ended on 30 June 2017 which was the highest in two years.Westlife Developments sales also surged almost 14 percent in the quarter ended in June 2017, compared to last year, and same-store sales surged 9 percent, which was the fastest in four years. The company runs McDonald’s outlet in the west and south India regions.Restaurant Business recovers on RemonetisationPrime Minister Narendra Modi in a surprise move last year wiped out 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in a bid to fight corruption which drove Indian households to struggle for daily needs as the economy was heavily depended on cash at the time.The move as also dented business confidence in India.After demonetisation, the consumers have also cut on their spending because of rising economic uncertainty. Manufacturing and services activity had also dipped after the surprise move.Scroll down for video A notice is pasted at a shop stating the refusal of the acceptance of the old 500 and 1000 Indian rupee banknotes and acceptance of the new 500 and 2000 Indian rupee banknotes, in Allahabad, India, November 10, 2016.ReutersHowever, restaurant sales are now picking up after more than two years of sluggish growth suggesting that the businesses in India are now recovering from the currency shock.”The effect of demonetisation on consumer sentiment is wearing off,” said Anjan Chatterjee, founder of Speciality Restaurants.”There was a lag in recent months but in the long run, our outlook remains robust. There will always be some quarters of slow growth and others will be high-growth ones,” he added.The overall Indian food industry is expected to grow at a rate of 11 percent to $65.4 billion by 2018. IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPlayMute0:00/0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE0:00?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window.The media could not be loaded, either because the server or network failed or because the format is not supported.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … read more

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AL leader abducted in capital

first_imgPervez SarkerA mid-ranking leader of ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party was abducted in broad daylight from capital’s Lalmatia area Friday afternoon when he was returning home after performing Jumma prayer, witnesses said.Unidentified abductors whisked away former chairman of Cumilla’s Titas upazila (sub-district) Pervez Sarker into a pajero jeep just after he came out of the mosque after performing Jumma prayer.Pervez, a member of AL’s Cumilla-North organisational district unit, is expecting nomination from the ruling party Awami League for Cumilla-2 constituency.According to witnesses, Pervez was on his way to his home at Lalmatia after performing his Jumma prayer around 1:45pm. Meanwhile, a person wearing pant and t-shirt shakes hand with him. Another person having long hair holds his mouth tight from behind. A pajero jeep came to the scene just the time immediately and forcibly took Pervez to the car and left the scene in no time.Pervez’s cousin Fahad Bhuiyan told Prothom Alo that four persons are involved in his brother’s abduction and all of them had pistol and walkie-talkie with them.According to Fahad, two abductors were in the car while two others were outside. Fahad also said that abductors have long been following Pervez.He also said that a video footage of the incident was also collected and it was found that the car which took Pervez has a number plate on it and the number is Gha-14-2577.When contacted, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Mohammadpur zone senior assistant police commissioner Mrityunjoy Dey Sajal told Prothom Alo that the video footage is not clear.“We are trying to collect more video footages of the scene from near-by houses,” he said.last_img read more

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WATCH Hope in Faith – A Response to Sutherland Springs

first_imgAs faith communities across the country prepare for services this weekend, the shadow of the horrible tragedy of Sutherland Springs is fresh on everyone’s mind. One local Reverend, Fr. Bob Goolsby takes a measured view of how we all can move forward in the spirit of faith and hope. Sharelast_img

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First Lady Shows Baltimore Why So Many Dems Want Her on the

first_imgGet-out-the-vote rally for gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown with Elijah Cummings.First lady Michelle Obama was the show at a get-out-the-vote rally for gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown on Election Day eve in Baltimore.  Brown promised to be a partner to the city, then let Obama take over the stage to what was, hands down, the evening’s most deafening roar.U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings opened the event, describing Obama as someone who “speaks truth to power.” He then described what he felt this election was about, making an implicit contrast between Democrats and Republicans.“Today, I’m not so much concentrating on who to fight against, I’m concentrating on what we’re fighting for,” said the Baltimore representative, who included education, affordable health care, and seeing children do better in life than their parents among those issues.Every one of the event’s 10 speakers emphasized the importance of getting to the polls.Get-out-the-vote rally for gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown with Baltimore City Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.“No one can speak for you,” said Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.  “You have to stand up and have your voices heard.  I can’t tell you how many people in the Republican Party are counting on us to forget that tomorrow’s election day.”Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown would later set the table for Obama, feigning no pretense that the rally might actually be about him, but briefly speaking about the sort of governor he would be for the city hosting the rally.“I’m running for governor because I know that Baltimore City needs a partner in Annapolis, and I’m going to be that partner,” said Brown.Stump necessities out of the way, Brown introduced Obama, who was greeted by the evening’s loudest cheers, sustained for 23 seconds (if that does not sound like much, try screaming for that long). The first lady cited a number of issues at stake in this election such as schools, wages, equal pay for equal work—stock democratic talking points broadly applicable to just about any locality in the country.Get-out-the-vote rally for gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown with First Lady Michelle Obama.But Obama would make the most substantive point of the evening—and the one most relevant to Maryland’s current gubernatorial contest—when she asked the crowd to think back to Brown’s first race for Lt. Gov. in 2006.“Take this in,” said Obama, “because this is important.  The outcome of that election was decided by about 60,000 votes. . . . And while that may sound like a lot, when you break that number down, that’s just 30 votes per precinct. . . . So if there is anyone in the state who thinks their vote doesn’t matter, if anyone is thinking of sitting this election out, I just want you to think of those margins.”The first lady then told the sort of story that is hardly uncommon in a place like Baltimore City, of a young woman whose father was murdered when she was still an infant, and whose family struggled with homelessness, yet who managed to graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA and received a full scholarship to Georgetown.“These kids have every reason to give up,” said Obama, “but they don’t because they are so hungry to succeed, they are so desperate to lift themselves up.  See and that’s why, me and Barack, we do what we do every day, because those kids never give up and neither can we.  So let me tell you something Maryland, Baltimore we need to be energized for them.”ralejandro@afro.comlast_img read more

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Trumps Immigration Policies Stress Baltimore Students

first_imgFor many immigrant students in Baltimore the Trump administration’s focus on deporting illegal immigrants has lead to constant praying that they or their family will not get picked up and deported by police.Franca Mueller Paz (right) outside with activist Yesenia (left) protesting recent deportations with their dance group Naciones Unidos (United Nations). (Photo credit: Casey McKeel)This fear has infiltrated the school system, from students and parents alike, leading to a spike in absences among immigrant students. This fear has also caused more distractions in the classroom, such as more texting in class so students can keep abreast of their family’s whereabouts. A delayed response has caused panic for more than one student this year, according to Franca Muller Paz, the adviser for Latinx Rising, a Latino/an organization at Digital Harbor High School in Baltimore.According to a memo distributed by Baltimore City Public Schools, school police and personnel are not allowed to ask a student’s status. The memo also states that Baltimore City Police are not supposed to ask for anyone’s legal status while patrolling the streets.However, due to an increased focus by the Trump administration on any immigrant in America illegally, almost any trip out of this house is a cause for alarm.Muller Paz said that an immigrant parent confided in her that she was uncertain where to purchase her child’s poster board for a class project. Undocumented immigrants, she said, are afraid that ICE raids may occur at stores such Walmart and Walgreens. In addition, absence rates among children of immigrants are rising.During a recent parent-teacher conference, one of the undocumented parents confided in her, teary-eyed, that she did not know how much longer she could continue to live in such conditions.Muller Paz said in an email to the AFRO, “The fear cannot be alleviated as long as systematic deportations of innocent people continues.”According to CNN, ICE removed 54,564 individuals, including 30,667 convicted criminals and 23,897 non-criminals, during the first three months of the Trump presidency. This is slightly lower than the number removed during the Obama administration during the same time period in 2016.While the number of deportations are currently lower under Trump, the president has vowed to increase them substantially. In an effort to fight back, the Latino students within the Baltimore City Public School system have formed Organized Youth in Education (OYE) to rally for students’ rights and to promote policies that supports immigrant families and students.last_img read more

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Autumn magic with ethereal whites

first_imgDesigner Aneeth Arora’s collection Pero Spring 2014 is on display at Moon River in the Capital. The collection consists of an exclusive array of ethereal whites with vintage beading. Arora’s particular brand of anti-fit, frumpy chic clothing is a hardsell in India, where the average person won’t understand the concept of paying four figures for a mulmul shirt. However, her understanding of delicate textiles and persistent effort in elevating their status has earned her fans among international buyers and won her Vogue India’s first-ever Fashion Fund Award. All of which combined has turned her into a hot ticket on the Indian fashion circuit.Alhough Arora is not one to experiment with silhouettes or colours, this collection offered far more variety than her usual efforts. Her dainty slip dresses are ephemeral, but her collection also includes androgynous pant suits, decked out in hot pink gingham checks. Even saris made it to the final cut, polka dotted and worn with soft jackets instead of the traditional choli blouse.last_img read more

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Deal to set up toilets at 100 railway stations

first_imgKolkata: Eastern Railway signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Eastern Coal Fields and RITES Ltd for setting up toilets with all the modern facilities at 100 railway stations in the state.The toilets will come up at various stations under the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway. The deal was signed at the Fairlie Place on Tuesday between the senior officials of the Eastern Railways and their counterparts in the Eastern Coal Fields and RITES. One of the main purposes of the initiative is to provide an easier access to toilets at the station and adjoining areas. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataApart from the passengers travelling in trains, the other people who put up stalls at various railway stations and adjacent areas can also use the toilets. The Eastern Coal Fields Ltd will provide financial support as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) while the RITES will play its part as an implementing agency. The Eastern Railways will provide land and other logistic support. Initially the passengers and others need not to pay any charge for using the toilets. After six months the Eastern Railway will take over the maintenance works of the toilets. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateSuch projects have already taken up in various parts of the country as a part of the Swachh Bharat campaign. Eastern Railway has been trying to involve every stakeholder of railways in the cleanliness drive. The setting up toilets in and around the stations will check the tendency of open defecation by some people. The total cost of the project will be around Rs 26 crore. Other than the modern facilities, all the toilets will have a sanitary napkin vending machine and a condom vending machine. People will be able to get napkins and condoms at these toilets but they have to pay the charge. These toilets will have different chambers for males, females and for those who are physically-challenged. “This is a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission initiated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Eastern Railways have given a great stress on the cleanliness of stations and adjoining areas. “These toilets will have all the modern facilities apart from a napkin and condom vending machine,” additional general manager, Eastern Railway, SS Gehlot said.last_img read more

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The November 2018 release of Visual Studio code v130 is now available

first_imgThe November 2018 release of Visual Studio code (version 1.30) is now available. This version has multiline search improvements, custom tile bars for Linux, a simplified debug configuration and other changes. We take a look at the major updates in the November 2018 of Visual studio code. Multiline search input In the October release, support for multiline search was added. Now, the search UX has been improved for easier usage. Users can search with multiline text without writing a regular expression. Press Shift+Enter in the search box to insert a newline. The search box will grow to show the full multiline query. Users can also copy paste multiple lines from the editor into the search box. Custom title and menu bar on Linux by default The accessibility and themability of menus has been improving over the past releases on Windows through the custom title and menu bar. This was optionally available on Linux, it will now be enabled by default. You can use the native title bar by setting the window.titleBarStyle to native. References view The References view has moved out of preview and is now available generally. There are two commands: Find All References: Opens the References view. Peek References: Opens references in a Peek view. Hidden on startup, the References view will remain visible once it has been used. When all search results are cleared, a history of previous searches is shown. Snippet comment variables New snippet variables are available that insert line or block comments to honor the current language. BLOCK_COMMENT_START and BLOCK_COMMENT_END for using block comments and LINE_COMMENT for lines. JavaScript and TypeScript callbacks look better Any JavaScript and TypeScript anonymous callbacks were previously labeled as . This was in the Outline view, breadcrumbs view, and document symbol list. Due to this, it was impossible to tell which function a developer was really after. TypeScript 3.2+ allows VS Code to display more context for callback functions, so now they can be differentiated from one another. Markdown elements in JSDoc comments are highlighted Fenced code blocks and other Markdown elements within JSDoc blocks are now syntax-highlighted. Initial debug configuration is simplified In this release, an area of improvement was to simplify the generated launch.json file for the most popular debug extensions. The goal was to encourage users to start and configure debugging. Unnecessary launch configuration attributes were hidden. Using the Quick Pick UI for better user interaction while generating the initial launch.json was also a part of this. Run on folder open A task that users always run on opening a folder can now be configured to run automatically. This can be done by configuring its “runOn” property when that folder is opened. This was done to make sure no one breaks the new strict null checks in the VS Code repository. On adding “runOn”: “folderOpen”, everyone who allows tasks to be run automatically will get markers the strict null check is violated. Install previous versions A previous version of an extension can be used if the current version has problems. An Install Another Version action is provided on an installed extension, on clicking it, a dropdown of available versions is shown. Preview Features HTML custom tags / attributes support is added which allows developers to specify a list of tags and attributes that VS Code loads during startup. Network proxy support for extensions for enabling network proxy support for all extensions by using Http: Proxy Support. Read next Code completion suggestions via IntelliCode comes to C++ in Visual Studio 2019 Microsoft Connect(); 2018 Azure updates: Azure Pipelines extension for Visual Studio Code, GitHub releases and much more! Neuron: An all-inclusive data science extension for Visual Studiolast_img read more

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