Wishing everyone a safe and happy new year.The end of the year is the perfect time for reflection, gratitude, and resolution.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
Coffee Republic has signed a franchise deal that will see it launch in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.The company has reached an agreement with CR Coffee Houses to develop its coffee and deli bar concept in the two countries.The group said a first site was set to open in the Abbeycentre, Belfast, in the coming weeks.Steven Bartlett, Coffee Republic’s chief executive, said: “Ireland is a crucial market for Coffee Republic and we look forward to introducing the brand in this dynamic economy.”The company has also signed a regional development franchise with East Coast Traders, covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.
Google+ WhatsApp Pinterest Gov. Holcomb: Indiana doesn’t need to expand absentee voting WhatsApp Twitter By Network Indiana – August 17, 2020 2 316 Previous articleAG Hill says Holcomb’s recent Executive Orders go too farNext articleSt. Joseph County takes part in Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign Network Indiana Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google+ (“Voting” by Call4Beach, C.C. by 2.0) Governor Holcomb has said Indiana doesn’t need to expand absentee voting for the November election, and a divided Indiana Election Commission is backing him up.The commission’s Republican members voted down a Democratic proposal to let any registered voter cast a ballot by mail. Indiana did that for the June primary, but commission members are echoing Governor Holcomb’s argument that with the state out of lockdown, there’s no need for changes. Chairman Paul Okeson says the commission isn’t meant to be a policymaking body — he says it’s legislators’ job to decide whether there should be looser criteria for absentee voting.Democratic commission member Anthony Long maintains voters still have legitimate concerns about the coronavirus. He says the state has already received 37-thousand absentee ballot applications — at this point four years ago, there were barely 100.Okeson says the panel should wait on a ruling on a federal lawsuit seeking to force an expansion of absentee voting. Long argues the state is running out of time to prepare. The state must print and deliver ballots to some counties by September 14, and Long says to meet that deadline, the preparation has to begin sooner.34 states already either run elections exclusively by mail or allow any registered voter to vote absentee. Nine more states have eliminated limits on absentee voting this year because of the pandemic.Okeson says the state will send masks, sanitizer, and social-distancing markers to all polling places so voters can feel safe. And Holcomb has said with four weeks of early voting, people have options to avoid long lines to vote. Long says there’s no way to ensure mask orders at polling places will be enforced — he says pollworkers can’t deny people their right to vote if they refuse to mask up.The Election Commission is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. At least three of the four members must agree to any changes. IndianaLocalNews Facebook
Independent cake and dessert manufacturer Ministry of Cake has opened its second site, Ministry of Pudding, following a £1m investment.The new site in Torquay, Devon will manufacture a mix of products, including some existing and some new. Around 35% to 40% of the range is redeveloped every year, with products currently in development including treacle, toffee and chocolate creations.Chris Ormrod, managing director, told British Baker: “So far, so good. The site opened on time and on budget. With Ministry of Pudding starting to trade, we are in the process of taking customers around to show our new baby off.” The company said it has won “a major new contract” that will launch next year, but cannot be named.“We plan to run Ministry of Pudding as part of the Ministry family – but, as its name suggests, focusing clearly on puddings and maybe some of the smaller-run experimental lines that we wouldn’t be able to make at Ministry of Cake.“Our overall aim is to continue to grow our desserts business. We’re currently up 24% year-on-year on sales, focusing purely on the foodservice market.”To mark the new opening, the team baked a pudding called Puddesley and its birth certificate read: “Chris and the Ministry team are delighted to announce the early arrival of their first pudding Puddesley, baked at 2.51pm on Tuesday 19 August, weighing a healthy 150g. With thanks to all staff for a safe delivery.”The business was sold to convenience food producer Greencore in 2008 and was bought back in May for an upfront cash consideration of £8m and deferred consideration of up to £3m.Ormrod is joined by three directors on the team and the company is backed by private equity provider LDC, part of Lloyds banking.
For the last few years, IT has become good at deploying cloud infrastructures. We are successfully standing up clouds on premises, off premises and even creating hybrid models. Congratulations – we now have clouds.The problem is once something exists, expectations shift. Our businesses and our customers assume that the infrastructure is in place, so the emphasis is now on using clouds to add value.Our businesses are looking to IT to deliver business outcomes: predictively spot new business opportunities, deliver hyper personalized experiences to customers, and innovate at a pace that we’ve never done before. It is expected that IT service deployments will be completed in minutes, hours, or days as opposed to months or years. We are expected to have tools operating in real time while remaining trustworthy, secure, transparent, and in compliance. There is another key reason why IT has to shift from simply building clouds to actually exploiting them. Every one of our businesses is threatened by companies who are more adept at using modern IT technologies. Companies like Uber, Tesla, and Amazon are good examples of aggressively adopting a business model where new technologies are used to disrupt an industry.In every industry today, there is an equivalent to one of these companies. Some of you may be that equivalent.The way to compete in an environment where these disruptors are present is to use cloud technology and the new overall IT stack to deliver more complex, intelligent services.We’re starting to see this materialize in an entirely different IT stack often running on the same clouds as the existing mission-critical apps that support existing business processes. However, this new stack is built in the image of the new disruptive web scale companies.This new IT stack based on data lakes uses new data fabrics that fundamentally allow aggregation of all structured and unstructured data from both internal and external sources.On top of these data fabrics, we are seeing new application frameworks materialize. Cloud Foundry is a good example of a modern framework that is designed to efficiently compose a new set of apps with microservices supported by modern agile software development practices.Programming languages are also changing. If you are going to develop a new app to serve your business and you’ve decided to run it in a microservices model with a containerized architecture, the odds are incredibly high that you will be developing it in Go or Node.JS or another new open source language.And most importantly in this stack, the operating model is radically different. Traditional “test/dev” has been replaced by “dev/ops” where developers continuously create, instantiate, deploy, and even scale applications as a self-service operation.To thrive in this new IT environment, we all need to be using clouds in two ways:To keep improving our IT environments as they exist today – eliminating time and cost, andAs a place where we build a new parallel IT stack that enables us to create new software apps, delivering new products and services to disrupt our industry.The exciting news for IT professionals is this transformation is happening. IT will be more important than ever. The bad news? We’re not going to get much sleep for the next 10 years.This post is based on John’s CiscoLive! keynote, “The Evolution of the IT Career.” A recording of the presentation is available here (registration required).
View Comments The hills were alive with the sound of merriment when five-time Tony-winning director Jack O’Brien cast Pace University junior Kerstin Anderson as Maria Rainer in the new national tour of The Sound of Music. It’s no easy task inhabiting a role previously played by legends like Julie Andrews and Mary Martin, but Anderson is more than ready to put an original spin on the classic Rodgers + Hammerstein songs.Anderson told Broadway.com that being cast as Maria was “the most incredible thing that has ever happened” to her. “I was out to dinner with my manager and I couldn’t eat a single thing,” she said. “I packed up my entire dinner for another day. So many things were going through my head, like getting to work with Jack O’Brien and starring in this show, which is one of my favorite things!”O’Brien’s fresh take on the musical has helped Anderson not feel pressured to recreate Andrews and Martin’s performances. “I’m 20, so that makes me younger than they were when they played this role and that’s where all the change starts,” she said. “She’s from the mountains and playful and a little bit of a tomboy, which is different from the elegance of Julie Andrews and Mary Martin.”Anderson also loves what O’Brien has done with, arguably, The Sound of Music’s most famous song, “My Favorite Things.” “It’s so much fun and so exuberant, and doing it with Ashley Brown (Mother Abbess) is a dream,” she said. “It’s completely surreal. It’s amazing because it’s what I’ve been working for and it’s cool to know that I can totally do it. It’s a gift.” Kerstin Anderson
On the Blogs: The Economy of the ‘Lucky Country’ Is at Risk From Its Lack of Diversification FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Satyajit Das for Bloomberg View:If Australia is an economic miracle—the so-called Lucky Country, beneficiary of more than a quarter century of uninterrupted growth—then its banks are its most visible sign of strength. In fact, though, this ruddy good health masks some deeply worrying trends. The balance sheets of Australia’s biggest banks are far more vulnerable than they may seem on the surface—and that means Australia is, too.Australian financial institutions have made the same fundamental mistake the rest of the country has, assuming that growth based on “houses and holes”—rising property prices and resources buried underground—can continue indefinitely. In fact, despite a recent rebound in Chinese demand, commodities prices look set to remain weak for the foreseeable future. Banks’ exposure to the slowing natural resources sector has reached nearly $50 billion in loans outstanding—worryingly large relative to their capital resources.Pundits have been saying for years that Australia needs to diversify its economy, boosting services exports—primarily tourism, education and health—rather than continuing to depend on resources and debt-fueled property growth. Banks need to do the same, reducing their exposure to the housing market and the mining industry. At the same time, they should move swiftly to shore up their balance sheets, aggressively increasing bad-debt reserves, raising capital and gradually trimming dividends. Even their otherwise enviable luck can’t last forever.In Australia, All That Glitters Isn’t Gold
The Dubious Case for Appalachian Coal Subsidies FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Financial Times:As technologies for renewable energy and grid management advance, the special position that coal has held since Thomas Edison’s first power plants in the 1880s has become much harder to defend.The call to subsidize coal is a sign of how the economics of power generation have been transformed. Just five years ago, it was renewable sources that needed subsidies to compete, but their costs have been plummeting. Now the US is phasing out its federal tax breaks for renewable energy, and it is coal producers that are pleading for help.The plight of Appalachian coal owes a lot to a factor specific to the US: the flood of cheap gas unleashed by the shale revolution. Elsewhere, though, there are signs that demand for coal is crumbling.World coal production fell by 6 per cent last year, according to the International Energy Agency, as demand from power plants dropped in the US, Britain and other countries. Even China, long seen as the consumer of last resort, cut its coal use by 1.8 per cent. In Germany, which plunged early into renewable energy when costs were much higher, and sent its electricity prices soaring as a result, coal made a comeback during 2009-13, but here too it is in decline.With the cost argument slipping away, defenders of coal have been shifting to the issue of reliability. (West Virginia Gov. Jim) Justice talks about his hoped-for subsidy as a “national security” incentive, guaranteeing coal to keep grids working.The argument is that as “baseload” coal-fired plants, available to run 24/7, have had to close because of unfavorable economics, grids have become more reliant on variable wind and solar power, raising the risk of blackouts.So far, though, there is little evidence that the rise of renewables has had any impact on reliability. In the US, the share of generation coming from wind and large-scale solar plants has risen from 0.7 per cent in 2005-07 to about 6 per cent in 2014-16, but the number of people affected by an “electric emergency [or] disturbance” has dropped from about 13m a year to about 11m.Other countries with higher use of renewable energy report similar results. Over 2006-16, the proportion of wind and solar power in Britain’s electricity supply grew from 1.3 per cent to 14.2 per cent, but the total number of minutes when customers lost power — excluding “exceptional” events — dropped by 41 per cent.The IEA has argued that countries can source up to 45 per cent of their electricity from wind and solar “without significantly increasing power system costs in the long run”.To go beyond that “calls for a system-wide transformation,” but the technologies to make that possible already exist. In a recent article in the Electricity Journal, Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute lists options for balancing the grid that could cost less than coal-fired plants. These include greater efficiency and “demand response” — cutting use to avoid strain on the grid.The barriers to adopting those resources are mostly commercial and political. There is a strong incentive to overcome those obstacles. “Keeping the lights on” has been a rousing rallying cry in the defense of King Coal, but it increasingly looks like a rearguard action.More: ($) The lights are dimming on King Coal’s hold over energy markets
By Dialogo December 14, 2009 Right-wing billionaire Sebastian Pinera beat three leftists in Sunday’s presidential election but failed to obtain a majority, setting up a runoff against a veteran of the coalition that has ruled Chile for two decades of democracy. The Harvard-educated Pinera had 44 percent to 30 percent for the ruling center-left coalition’s candidate, former President Eduardo Frei. Breakaway Socialist Rep. Marco Enriquez-Ominami had 20 percent, and communist Jorge Arrate had 6 percent, with 98 percent of the votes counted. The key question in the Jan. 17 runoff between Pinera and Frei is whether leftists can unify to fend off the most moderate candidate Chile’s right has ever had. A win by Pinera, 60, would install a right-wing government in Chile for the first time since Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship — but only if Pinera persuades enough leftists to take a chance on him. “We have to understand that this win doesn’t belong to us,” Pinera said in a victory speech to his party members. “It belongs to all Chileans, to the humble people, to the poor and the middle class, the people who most need change from their government.” Frei appealed for leftists to come together, saying he would take on his rivals’ ideas as if they were his own, that women and young people would have a prominent place in his government, and that he would push for reforms to end the big alliances’ domination of the political process. “The people have told us that there are things they don’t like, that things must change, and I share this mission,” said Frei, 67. But even though he may be encouraging a right-wing victory, Enriquez-Ominami refused to endorse Frei in his concession speech, instead inviting his followers to vote their consciences. “Eduardo Frei and Sebastian Pinera are too much alike,” he complained. “They don’t represent hope, nor change, nor the future.” Stability and experience are selling points for Frei, who governed from 1994 to 2000. “We don’t want leaps into the unknown, nor do we want to return to the past. We want a government that worries about the people,” he said after voting. “We don’t believe that the power of the market and money should have priority over a society.” But many voters are fed up with having the same government throughout 19 years of democracy following Pinochet. Promising change, Pinera and Enriquez-Ominami challenged the ruling coalition like never before. Outgoing President Michelle Bachelet has 78 percent approval ratings and Chile seems on track to become a first-world nation. Chile’s economy, negligible inflation and stable democracy are the envy of Latin America. Booming copper revenues and prudent fiscal policies have helped the government reduce poverty from 45 percent in 1990 to 13 percent today, raising per capita annual income to $14,000 in the nation of 17 million. But a huge wealth gap between rich and poor and a chronically underfunded education system have many voters feeling more must be done to redistribute Chile’s copper wealth. A study by the World Bank several years ago showed that the poorest 10 percent of Chileans benefit from only 1.3 percent of government revenues, while the richest 10 percent benefit from 40 percent. Pinera ranked No. 701 with $1 billion on the Forbes magazine world’s richest list. He built his fortune bringing credit cards to Chile, and his investments include Chile’s main airline, most popular football team and a leading TV channel. Whether Pinera can apply the same entrepreneurial spirit to the presidency will depend on voters who backed Rep. Enriquez-Ominami, a renegade Socialist and documentary filmmaker whose Communist rebel father was killed by Pinochet’s military in 1973, the year he was born. Some analysts predict that as much as a third of Enriquez-Ominami’s supporters will defect to Pinera, even though his alliance of right-wing parties once helped sustain the dictatorship. “The second round is going to be similar to the last two presidential elections — very tight, with the only difference being that for the first time, the opposition candidate has the advantage,” said Ricardo Israel, a political scientist at the University of Chile. Chileans also elected 120 representatives and half of the 38 senators on Sunday. In exchange for Arrate’s support, Frei promised to help Communists into Congress for the first time since Pinochet’s 1973 coup. Socialist Rep. Isabel Allende, daughter of ousted President Salvador Allende, was voted into the Senate. But Pinochet’s grandson, Rodrigo Garcia Pinochet, lost his congressional race to represent an upscale Santiago suburb.
Sep 27, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed reports of two more human H5N1 avian influenza cases, one in Indonesia and one in Thailand, raising the official global tally to 251 cases with 147 deaths.The two cases involve a 20-year-old Indonesian man who is part of a suspected case cluster in Bandung, West Java, and a 59-year-old farmer from northeastern Thailand. Both cases were reported by news services yesterday.The Indonesian man became ill with a fever and cough on Sep 17 and has been hospitalized since Sep 24, the WHO said. The man’s 23-year-old brother fell ill on Sep 16 and died 2 hours after he was admitted to a hospital on the 24th. H5N1 infection is suspected in his case, but it can’t be confirmed because no samples were taken, the agency said. Both men had fed dead chickens to their dogs, and there was evidence of H5 infection in household birds.In addition, a 15-year-old sister of the two men was hospitalized Sep 25 with a fever and cough and remains hospitalized in stable condition, the WHO said. Initial tests were negative for H5 viruses and positive for H1 virus, indicating that she has normal seasonal flu rather than avian flu, the statement said.Dr. Hudi Yusuf, a physician involved in caring for the two siblings, said the girl would be tested twice more in the next 2 days, according to an Agence France-Presse report published today. He reported that the girl was doing well but described her brother’s condition as bad. Yusuf told the Jakarta Post that the brother has pneumonia in both lungs and is on a ventilator.The latest case raises Indonesia’s H5N1 toll to 68 cases with 51 deaths.In confirming the Thai farmer’s case, the WHO said he was ill for nearly a month and repeatedly tested negative for H5N1. The farmer, a 59-year-old from Nong Bua Lam Phu province, got sick with a fever Jul 14, was hospitalized Jul 21, and died Aug 10, the WHO said. Thailand has had 25 human H5N1 cases, 17 of them fatal.Repeated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on samples from the man’s upper respiratory tract were negative for influenza A viruses, including H5N1, the WHO said. The virus’s presence was not confirmed until after his death, when lung samples were tested. Several fighting cocks belonging to the farmer had died in the days before he fell ill, the agency said.A report today in the Thai newspaper The Nation filled in more details about the man’s case. Thawat Suntrajarn, director of the government’s disease control department, said doctors initially suspected the man had leptospirosis, the story said. It wasn’t until he had been sick for 2 weeks that his wife told doctors the patient had nursed sick chickens. Doctors then started treating him with oseltamivir.An autopsy showed that the farmer’s death was actually caused by drug-resistant Acinetobacter bacteria, rather than by the viral infection itself, the newspaper reported. News reports yesterday said the man had died of a bacterial infection.The story said nine PCR tests failed to detect the H5N1 virus in the man. One doctor, Tawee Chotpitayasundond of the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health, speculated that the oseltamivir treatment might have eliminated the virus from the part of the respiratory tract where swabs were taken for testing, according to the story.See also: WHO confirmation of H5N1 case in Indonesiahttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_09_27a/en/index.htmlWHO confirmation of case in Thailandhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_09_27/en/index.html