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Hammer down

first_imgFor bakery owners, buying a new vehicle to transport perishable goods can be an expensive business, particularly when looking for specialist vehicles such as refrigerated vans. Many fledgling firms opt for used vehicles when attempting to build up a small business or start-up on a tight budget. Most will be aware of the used commercial van dealerships. But there is an alternative option that offers a wide variety of vehicles and potential to unearth a bargain – the auction.The main advantage is the fact the vehicles, having been supplied new to bakeries, are fully specified for the task in hand. The cost of specifying a vehicle to these standards can cost a large amount of money so the added value in the used vehicle also plays a part in the savings you make by sourcing second-hand through the auction.”Those in the bakery trade may be apprehensive about the auction process – thinking it’s just for dealers and expert vehicle buyers,” says British Car Auctions (BCA) business development manager Duncan Ward. “But it doesn’t have to be a daunting experience and, with a little knowledge, you can get a great deal. Buying at auction is a simple solution and can save a considerable amount of time, especially when compared with searching for what’s available elsewhere.”He argues that an auction is one of the best places for those in the baking industry to source a commercial vehicle, “which are all competitively priced and fit-for-purpose”.== Beyond the price ==Of course, price is not the only consideration when it comes to delivering chilled foods. Buying fridge or freezer vans introduces another set of parameters to be concerned about. “You’ve not only got to look at the van itself, but also the fridge or freezer box and the cooling systems,” says Ward. “Generally, it’s best to avoid the older, high-mileage examples – while these are likely to be the cheapest, it could be a false economy in the long run.”At BCA, all commercial vehicles are ’sold as seen’, he adds, and the vendor of the vehicle gives no warranty against the condition of the vehicle. So bakers should take every opportunity to examine them prior to entering the auction hall.But aren’t the vans at auctions likely to be clapped-out old bangers? No, says Matt Brookes, general manager for Commercial Vehicle Auctions, whose main source of vehicles is from Greggs the Bakers. He says: “Greggs’ vehicles are all well-maintained, one-owner vehicles, with full service history. They’re well spec’d for the job in hand, with good fridge units and tail-lifts.”Recent auctions have sold Greggs’ 1998-1999 DAF 7.5-tonne Box Trucks and 2000-2001 Mercedes Atego 7.5-tonne Box Trucks, but smaller vans come up from time to time, from Ford Transit 3.5-tonne vans up to 44-tonne DAF Drawbar rigs. In the main, these vehicles are around five to seven years old, but are claimed to be well maintained.On the other hand, in buying a vehicle from auctions you never really know what you are getting. Quite often, the fridge will not be working on an auction van and it’s not always possible to check the vehicles before you buy. “You can sometimes get a good deal,” says Mark Beaton at dealership CoolVan. “If you do buy at auction, make sure it’s a vehicle that is offloaded at the end of a contract by a lease/finance company; that way there should be a full history with the van, and it should be in good running order.”== Avoid the fish van ==Other things to check for is what the vehicle has been used for. “Fish vans smell – that’s not good if you then use the vehicle for bakery, as the smell can taint goods,” advises Beaton.If finances permit, a new vehicle is often the best option as you get fridge warranties, as well as breakdown cover. “We always check every used vehicle before it leaves our site,” he says. “Obviously, a used vehicle is cheaper and has already done its big depreciation, but it’s like anything: when you’re buying used, you can never guarantee you won’t get issues.”—-=== Where to go ===l BCA holds regular, dedicated commercial vehicle auctions in the following locations: Manchester Belle Vue, Glasgow, Bedford, Measham, Newport, Birmingham, Blackbushe, Bridgewater, Bridgehouse, Derby, Enfield, Nottingham, Paddock Wood, Peterborough, Preston and Tewkesbury. A typical BCA auction will offer up to 400 vans for sale on the day, a figure that may surprise some firms expecting a limited choice. For more information visit: [http://www.british-car-auctions.co.uk]l CVA Auctions regularly sell refrigerated vans, including the disposal of Greggs’ fleet through auction. This is primarily 7.5t-18t HGVs. However, they do get some vans through from their fleet. They also see a regular number of refrigerated vans from a variety of sources: contract hire fleets and rental fleets. These are normally around three to five-years old. [http://www.cva-auctions.co.uk]l If you’d rather avoid the stress of an auction, these dealerships specialise in refrigerated vans:Cool Move: [http://www.cool-move.com]Petit Forestier: [http://www.petitforestier.co.uk]CoolVan: [http://www.coolvan.co.uk]Jiffy Trucks: [http://www.jiffytrucks.co.uk]—-=== Top auction tips ===The primary advantage is the cost-saving through auction, compared to a dealer’s forecourt. There are some fantastic savings available, but potential bidders need to be aware of a few rules when buying at the auctionl Older, cheaper, high-mileage vehicles could be a false economy in the long run, especially with fridge or freezer vans, which may have faulty cooling systemsl Check for outstanding finance prior to the auction to be sure the vehicle is clear of any finance or lease agreementl Arrive in good time for the sale, especially if you’re looking for specialised vehicles, such as refrigerated vans, as this will give you a chance to have a look at what is available and to give the vehicles you are interested in a thorough visual appraisall Auctions generally operate on a ’sold as seen’ basis, so be absolutely certain you’ve checked the vehicle out thoroughly before you wink at the auctioneerl When checking the fridge, run the engine and ensure the fridge control in the cab is set to 0?C or 3?C, then watch it for 10 minutes or so and make sure the temperature dropsl Where the auction has an online preview facility, go prepared, by logging on before the auction. If there is a specific type of vehicle you are after, checking out the web facility can be an invaluable tool to locate what you want and where it is being sold. The BCA network can be viewed at [http://www.commercialauctionview.com]l As a buyer at auction, remember that you are there to get a good deal, so setting a limit on what to spend is sensiblel When the auction starts, vehicles are driven in lot order in front of the rostrum to be sold. Stand somewhere the auctioneer can clearly see you and bid by waving your catalogue to catch their eyel Then, once the auctioneer knows you are bidding, he will return to you if others outbid you, so don’t worry. Generally, bidding increases in £100 increments, although when bidding slows, the auctioneer will usually take a £50 or even a £25 bidl If bidding doesn’t reach the reserve value set by the seller, the vehicle will be sold provisionally to the top bidder. The auctioneer then contacts the seller to see if they will accept the bid. More often than not, sellers will approve the sale, which means you could be getting a good-value deall Don’t forget to budget for VAT, which is added on top following the closing bidlast_img read more

A real sense of belonging

first_imgFor Martin J. “Marty” Grasso Jr. ’78, what truly sets Harvard apart are the exceptional people. Speaking to graduating seniors at Class Day a year ago as the incoming president of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA), Grasso reflected on the vibrant and long-lasting relationships he has enjoyed during his more than 40-year association with the University. “I have come to realize that the greatest thing that Harvard gives us,” he said, “is us.”His experiences as HAA president over the past year have only reinforced this idea. Meeting his fellow alumni across the country and around the world, Grasso has been struck by their enduring enthusiasm for Harvard, no matter how many years or miles removed they are from Cambridge.“Alumni are our ambassadors, and I’ve never seen that more than I have this year,” he said. “They’ve maintained this extraordinary thirst for knowledge of their alma mater, and they exhibit a keen interest in continuing the process of collaborative learning that they experienced while they were at Harvard.”As he approaches the end of his term, Grasso says he is amazed at how quickly it flew, but also excited to turn the presidency over to his successor, Susan Morris Novick ’85. “I’m really looking forward to her year of service and our continued collaboration,” he said.Novick, in turn, praised Grasso for his infectious energy and joyful leadership. “Marty’s passion for Harvard and for the alumni is so palpable that when you’re with him, you’re having a great time no matter what you’re doing,” she said.Novick first got involved in alumni service as a volunteer interviewer for applicants to Harvard College, which led her to join the Harvard Club of Long Island and eventually become its president. After spending time with HAA staff on a Harvard Alumni Travels trip, Novick was invited to serve on the HAA Board of Directors. She is now in her 10th year on the board, including the last three on the executive committee. “I’ve enjoyed it all along the way,” she said. “It’s really been a gift.”There are more than 330,000 Harvard alumni in more than 200 countries. Making sure they feel welcome in the HAA will be a point of emphasis for Novick during her presidency. “We’ll be working to engage the alumni community in all of its diversity,” she said, noting the HAA will enhance programming to provide even greater opportunities for alumni to connect to the University and to one another, wherever they are in the world. “We want all alumni to feel a real sense of belonging to the HAA.”In keeping with the theme of globalism, Novick also plans to promote discussion about Harvard’s role in the world. “Harvard’s ideas and ideals have great social impact,” she said. “We’ll be focusing on some examples of the many ways faculty, students, and alumni are addressing global challenges.”Like Grasso, Novick draws inspiration from the people she has met through Harvard, and she looks forward to striking up many new conversations and friendships in the year ahead. “Harvard alumni are some of the most interesting people in the world. Everyone has a story,” she said. “This is an extraordinary community.”last_img read more

SA post-production of US TV series ‘first-rate’

first_img18 March 2014 Johannesburg post-production company Refinery provided “first rate post-production and delivery items” in its work on American TV series SAF3, according to supervising producer Michael Murphey. Made by Baywatch creator Gregory J Bonann, SAF3 is currently screening in the United States after shooting wrapped in Cape Town in December last year. The TV series stars action star Dolph Lundgren, Dancing With The Stars winner JR Martinez and The Bold and The Beautiful’s Texas Battle. South African channel e.tv will screen the series later this year, says the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). “I’m very proud of the fact that we were the first major international TV series to post entirely in South Africa and to make our international deliveries from here as well,” Murphey, the founder of Cape Town-based production company Kalahari Pictures, told the NFVF last week. “Our international delivery items [formatting copies for broadcast on TV, DVDs or film] were first-rate and saved the production a great deal over what it would have cost us in the US or Europe.” Refinery set up a satellite post facility at Cotton Mill Studios in Epping, Cape Town to manage all post-production on SAF3, which they delivered to 23 countries around the world. The company handled the dailies (footage from the day’s shoot), editorial, visual effects and sound editing at the studios, with sound studio Area 5.1 handling the sound and Refinery the deliveries from Johannesburg. This was a first for an international television series of this scale. The post-production and visual effects company is no stranger to working on international series, having handled the dailies transfers on the Emmy-winning Generation Kill; the additional dialogue required for the Emmy-nominated No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency; the visual effects on two seasons of the Kidscreen winner Leonardo; the dailies on three seasons of the Emmy-nominated Strike Back; and the audio post-production on the award-winning animated South African/Canadian co-production Magic Cellar. Murphey praised the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI’s) foreign film and television production scheme and post-production incentive, which now offers productions shot in South Africa an additional 2.5% rebate if they spend over R1.5-million on post-production locally and an additional 5% if they spend over R3-million. SAF3 is the largest project to benefit from the post-production incentive so far. “The DTI post-production rebate of an extra 5% helped seal the deal to bring SAF3 to South Africa,” Murphey told the NFVF. “Australia, New Zealand and the US just couldn’t compete.” “The rebate was the tipping point,” Refinery managing director Tracey Williams said. “It always comes down to economics, and when you add the weak rand, it just makes financial sense to keep your post-production in South Africa now.” Williams said the tight timeline also counted in Refinery’s favour. “We had two weeks to ship everything in, get the equipment installed, and be ready to start. Then we had three weeks to our first transmission date. It would have been very difficult to turn the show around this quickly with an international facility.” She said setting up a temporary facility was “the way of the future; I’d do that again tomorrow.” From a time and cost-efficiency perspective, Williams said they particularly benefited from having the automated dialogue replacement facilities (for re-recording dialogue affected by sound problems) right where the cast was filming, “as well as from having Cyril Schumann as a dedicated visual effects artist on Flame” (a 3D visual effects software programme). “Flame’s not a typical TV tool, but we knew Cyril would turn around the effects really quickly on it,” Williams said. “The visual effects turned out to be one of the big savings on the series.” According to the NFVF, South Africa has been hosting a steady stream of international TV series, with Black Sails and Dominion currently filming in Cape Town. Williams said this presented an opportunity for the South African post-production industry. “On SAF3, we had 14 people employed full-time for six months,” she said. “Features come and go, but a successful TV series like Black Sails will keep coming back every year. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be keeping the post-production in South Africa for TV series like that, so it’s a major growth opportunity for the sector.” SAinfo reporter and National Film and Video Foundationlast_img read more

‘The destiny of Africa is in your hands’ – Brand South Africa CEO Kingsley Makhubela addresses the Junior Chamber International

first_imgRead the full text of the address by the CEO of Brand South Africa, Mr Kingsley Makhubela, at the Africa and Middle East Conference of the Junior Chamber International on Thursday 5 May 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.• Download the speech in PDF formatProgramme DirectorPresident of the Junior Chamber International, Mr Paschal DikeAfrica and the Middle East Executive Vice President and Chairman of the 2016 JCI Africa and the Middle East Area Conference, Mr Tshepo ThlakuSecretary General, Mr Arrey ObensionJunior Chamber International Vice PresidentsAfrica and the Middle East Senate Chair, Ms Angel KgokoloAfrica & Middle East Development Council South (AMDEC) President, Mr Hymmeldat Rudolphe DibakalaAll delegatesMembers of the mediaIt is a pleasure to be amongst such vibrant and motivated young people today. I trust your deliberations since yesterday have been fruitful. As I stand before you, what stands out mostly for me is that despite the decades in between us, young people generations over have similar challenges to overcome. When I was a young man, my peers and I talked about and envisaged bequeathing to future generations a world that was better than the one in which we lived. We have achieved this to some extent but sadly, we have not managed to eradicate all the challenges we ourselves fought against.Today, young people continue to grapple with the pervasive, and sometimes stubborn, challenges of poverty, underdevelopment, job creation, and others. The resistance of these challenges to a durable and holistic solution, directly impacts on our own lives and indeed, on the competitiveness of the nations from which we hail. I say this before national competitiveness – and our nation brands – is ultimately a composite of all that a country has to offer. All citizens, sectors, industries together create a picture of the national competitive identity. This cannot be over-emphasized.The demographic dividendCurrent leaders have the responsibility to leverage the power of young people to become motive agents for change. Young people in both Africa and the Middle East contribute to the demographic dividend that could be a very positive force for growth and development. The World Economic Forum has described Africa’s demographic dividend as the largest in the world saying within 20 years, the number of sub-Saharan citizens reaching working age (15-64) will exceed that of the rest of the world combined. And by 2040, half of the world’s youth will be African.The Middle East has a similar demographic dividend. Michael Hoffman and Amaney Jamal in a paper entitled, “The Youth and the Arab Spring: Cohort Differences and Similarities” observe that “30% of the population is between the ages of 14 and 24.5 and more than half of the people in the Arab world today are under the age of 25.6. Not only is the youth bulge high in the Middle East, it is the second highest in the world – second only to sub-Saharan Africa.”You young leaders must therefore be nurtured and encouraged to use your unlimited drive, passion and potential for the greater good, and to build strong countries and continents.How can we do this?Charles Duhigg, in a book entitled The Power of Habit, talks about turning excellence into a habit. Personal excellence can translate into corporate, social and national excellence. And young people are in an excellent position to develop this habit – your families, communities and indeed, your countries, need this! Excellence must be cultivated and this will increasingly impact positively on national psyche and the reputation of our countries.This also leads me the emerging theory in leadership described as disruptive leadership. Disruptive leadership is about fostering a culture of game-changing innovation that provides the framework and motivation to generate those ideas and execute those solutions that enhance corporate, social and ultimately national competitiveness. It is built around the question, “Why hadn’t we ever thought about our business and culture this way before?”Building this culture of excellence whilst preparing leaders able to conceive of and implement innovative solutions, to national and sometimes international challenges, will require a fair amount of disruption to commonly accepted ways of doing things. There is no sector of society more well placed to do this, than you who are sitting in this room.As the future leaders of the continent in a range of areas, it is this spirit which will move Africa’s Agenda 2063 from the pages of the document on which it is written to a reality. It is this spirit which will drive the global agenda for socio-economic growth and development.That you are no longer defined by race, religion, gender or ethnicity makes it even easier for you to be disruptive leaders. The lack of boundaries enables agility which is important for disruption and innovation.Role of Youth in building nation brandsIn recent times, young citizens in both Africa and the Middle East have risen up against social issues to call on governments and society at large to create the conditions for inclusivity, growth, development and increasingly, sustainability and environmental awareness. Young people are courageously rising to take their places at the forefront of the struggle for equity, development and ultimately democracy and equal opportunities for all.#FeesMustFallIn a few weeks, South Africa will commemorate the 40th anniversary since the 16 June 1976 student uprisings in Soweto. I hope you will have time to visit this dynamic heartland of the South African struggle for democracy.It is a matter of history that these protests, during which many young people lost their lives, changed the course of the South African struggle for liberation. These protests brought international attention to what was happening in our country particularly the just struggle for equal opportunities and rights as well as access to amongst others, education. Many of those who were young activists during this time are now in positions of leadership in many sectors in South Africa.However, the cause for which they fought almost four decades ago, again rose to the forefront when millions of South African youth united across colour and class divides to call for free education in the #FeesMustFall movement. So powerful was this movement that the students were listed amongst the list of the 100 Most Influential Africans released late last year. These brave young people created the conditions for government to declare that there would be no fee increases in the 2016 academic year and commit billions of rands to alleviating the financial pressures on students and their families.In addition, these young people brought business and academia together and students at the University of Johannesburg were able to raise R31 million to support their fellow students while the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), SABC and Vodacom last month launched a fundraising campaign at Fort Hare University’s Alice campus in the Eastern Cape to support students.South African youth demonstrated how they could come together and collectively fight for a cause that would change the conditions for millions of young people in our country. Education is a critical enabler for development and equally for national competitiveness. The youth of South Africa did more than just fight for no increases and additional funds, they are fighting for the country’s very development!In a few years, these young people will be in positions of leadership throughout the country. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to positively respond to the need for socio-economic change so that we will not find the same conditions come to the fore forty years from now?The Arab SpringGlobally we are seeing trends towards the need for greater democratisation and reduction of inequality levels. Young people are playing a critical role in raising levels of awareness about the unsustainability of current frameworks and paradigms.A few years ago, we will remember that young people of North Africa propelled the wave of civil society protests which ushered democracy to Northern Africa, in what is now described as the Arab Spring. Young people became political actors who were able to raise awareness for the need for change in North Africa. The youth led protests have been responsible for bringing political and social revolution to North Africa and these inspired their counterparts in the broader Middle East to also fight for democratic reforms in their own countries.This wave of protests have, unfortunately not created sustainable change or stable democracies. We are instead seeing greater instances of insecurity, terror and militarianism in both Africa and the Middle East. Sadly, no area of the world is immune from such attacks.Young people prove to be very susceptible to such militant activities. As the global community, we need to ask why? What are we doing, or not doing, that forces young people down such a path, risking their lives and their future?Young people can be a powerful force for positive change. It is up to us, as the older generations to ensure we do enough work to change conditions so that they can be encouraged to support positive programmes.Young people help President Obama reach the White HouseAn analysis by the Pew Research Centre shows that 66% of eligible voters under the age of 30 voted for President Obama in 2008. They were an important stakeholder in propelling America’s first black President to the White House because President Obama and his team prioritised communicating to the youth of America in a way that was important to them and on issues that they cared about. There is a lesson to be drawn from his campaign for the 2008 Presidency – understand the power of young people, talk to and engage with them in a way that is meaningful to them and you will gain their support.This is the best way to ensure that the power wielded by young people is harnessed and mobilised for nation building.These examples illustrate the impatience of young people and why leaders must acknowledge the urgency to transform their countries to ensure that there is greater equity, growth and development. Leadership does not refer only to heads of state and government, it is leadership at every level. If leaders do not rise to the occasion and respond to the needs of citizens, then young people have shown their ability to assume this role, and when they do, governments and business will be faced with their anger and impatience.Rights and ResponsibilitiesBefore I conclude, I would like to raise the issue of rights and responsibilities.Many generations of the past could only dream of some of the rights young people have today. You are no longer constrained by the burden of gender, race, class, ethnic or even geographical boundaries. With hard work, the right environment and the right opportunities, each of you really can change the world. However, I would caution that in attempting to build the world you want, do not destroy the world you do not want. Understanding that with every right comes a responsibility is a big part of being an adult.In conclusion, I would like to draw on Africa’s Agenda 2063 – continent’s first long term plan for the growth and development of the continent – which says, “present generations are confident that the destiny of Africa is in their hands, and that we must act now to shape the future we want.Are you ready? How will you play your part to build your country and ultimately your continents? How will history remember this generation of young people?I wish you good deliberations in the next few days. I hope you will have some time to experience and enjoy some of what our country has to offer.I thank you.last_img read more

World Cup 2019: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma set flurry of records vs Australia

first_imgShikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma became the most successful opening pair against Australia in ODIs on Sunday, during the 14th match of World Cup 2019 between India and Australia.Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma went past West Indies pair of Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes. Indian openers took seven fewer innings to cross the tally of 1152 runs set by the West Indies stalwarts.Rohit and Dhawan duo have also recorded the highest opening stand for India against Australia in World Cup history in the same match when they surpassed 76, which was made by the same pair at the Sydney Cricket World Cup during the last edition of World Cup in 2015.Rohit and Dhawan added record 127 runs for the first wicket before Coulter-Nile removed the former at 57. India won the toss and elected to bat first against Australia at The Oval.Rohit – Shikhar pair is now the most successful opening pair against Australia in the ODIs, going past West Indies pair of Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes’ tally of 1152 runs – in seven fewer innings!#INDvAUS #AUSvIND #CWC19Rajneesh Gupta (@rgcricket) June 9, 2019At The Oval on Sunday, Dhawan and Rohit completed their 16th opening century partnership to equal the duo of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden for second most 100+ opening partnerships in ODIs. The legendary duo of Tendulkar and Ganguly lead the chart with 21 century partnership.Rohit and Dhawan came together as India openers during the 2013 Champions Trophy in England and have not looked back since. Rohit went on score three double hundreds while Dhawan has been the epitome of consistency. They have stitched up many match winning partnerships over the last five years.advertisementIn ODIs, the Dhawan-Rohit pair is the highest run-scoring opening pair in the world since 2013.Rohit and Dhawan are also the second most successful Indian opening pair after Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. The opening pair trails the highest ranked duo of Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly by a significant margin. Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly had put together 8227 runs between them.Overall, Dhawan and Rohit are the seventh highest scoring pairing in ODI cricket. Tendulkar and Ganguly are top of the pile followed by Mahela Jayawardene-Kumar Sangakkara (5992 runs), Tillakaratne Dilshan-Sangakkara (5475 runs), Marvan Atapattu-Sanath Jayasuriya (5462 runs), Adam Gilchrist-Matthew Hayden (5409 runs) and Gordon Greenidge-Desmond Haynes (5206 runs).Also Read | World Cup 2019: Indian fan flaunts Balidaan Badge at The Oval after ICC says no to MS DhoniAlso Read | World Cup 2019: Rohit Sharma breaks a Sachin Tendulkar record in ODIsAlso Watch:last_img read more



Renzi challenges Italys Democrats over support for 5Stars

first_imgROME – Former Italian Premier Matteo Renzi on Tuesday challenged members of his defeated Democrats to publicly declare if they’ll support the populist 5-Star Movement, throwing down the gauntlet as he tries to prevent his party from fracturing and backing its political nemesis.Analysts say he has reason to worry. Given both the numbers and ideologies, a 5-Star government supported by elements of the Democratic Party may be the most stable and logical solution to Italy’s inconclusive elections.Renzi has said he would resign as party chair given the Democratic Party’s disastrous showing of less than 23 per cent of the vote — the worst result ever for the left.And he pledged the Democrats wouldn’t align with either the 5-Stars, which emerged from the election as the single-biggest party with 32 per cent of the vote, or the centre-right coalition, led by the anti-immigrant League, with 37 per cent.In a Facebook message Tuesday that suggested defections were a real threat, Renzi reminded his supporters that both the 5-Stars and the League “represent the opposite of our values.”“They’re anti-European, anti-political and have used a language of hatred,” Renzi wrote. “They said we were corrupt, mafiosi, and that we have blood on our hands because of immigration. I don’t think they’ve changed their mind overnight.”“For me, the Democratic Party has to be where the people put us: in the opposition,” Renzi wrote. “If anyone from our party thinks otherwise, let him or her say so,” either in an upcoming party meeting or in Parliament.The success of the 5-Stars, a grassroots internet-based movement that only was launched nine years ago, came in great part at the expense of the Democrats, including in their onetime stronghold of Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy.Researchers at the Bologna-based Cattaneo Institute, analyzing data from a select number of cities, concluded that of the 2.6 million voters the Democrats lost since the 2013 general election, “relevant numbers” went to the 5-Stars, as well as to a lesser degree the League and a new left-wing party.“All this indicates that the 5-Stars are the Democrats’ competitors, offering electors a ‘truer’ left than that embodied by a leader like Renzi,” the researchers said.As a result, analysts say, Renzi has reason to be concerned about the rank-and-file’s intentions.“I always start from the numbers. And the numbers tell me there are not many coalitions available,” said Roberto D’Alimonte, a political scientist at Rome’s LUISS University. “Today it looks very strange. But after a few weeks of useless searching, I think … it won’t look so strange.”Paolo Magri, director of the ISPI think-tank in Milan, said precisely because many of the 5-Stars’ new voters hailed previously from the Democratic Party, “a tie-up with the (Democrats) is more acceptable than with the League.”“The 5-Star program is so malleable that it allows different readings,” he told The Associated Press. “The legitimate choice of the 5-Stars was to water down themes more crucial to the program so they would be appealing to both ends of the spectrum.”The 5-Stars call themselves a grassroots “direct democracy” movement, with members voting for candidates and platforms via its online platform. The 5-Stars defy typical left-right ideology, espousing a platform that is green and anti-bank, and for the campaign, included a proposed monthly payment to Italians just for being citizens.The 5-Stars have evolved since the last parliamentary election when they refused to deal with any party, and want to become “the new establishment,” D’Alimonte said.“From anti-establishment to new establishment, and they want to gain credibility,” which they can do more effectively with the Democrats than with the extremists of the League, D’Alimonte said.Indeed, while both the League and the 5-Stars often share the euroskeptic and populist monikers, such labels paper over their differences.“The League is ideologically euroskeptical. The 5-Stars are tactically euroskeptical,” Magri said.Silvio Berlusconi, the three-time premier who dominated Italian politics for the past quarter century, was left in the dust of the election aftermath. In a major upset, his Forza Italia party came in second to the League within the centre-right.In his first comments since the election outcome, the 81-year-old Berlusconi said the results would have been different if he hadn’t been prevented from running as a candidate because of a tax fraud conviction. But he insisted he was still the head of Forza Italia, the “director of the centre-right and the guarantor of the cohesiveness of the coalition.”___Colleen Barry contributed from Milan.last_img read more

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the

first_imgTORONTO – Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week:What’s next for NAFTA?Negotiators for Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are under the gun to make headway on a new NAFTA deal after passing the unofficial deadline of May 17, put in place to give Congress enough time to vote on it by the end of the year. Canadian officials say a deal is “close” but issues such as auto-sector content rules and a U.S.-proposed five-year sunset clause remain sticking points.Wholesale tradeStatistics Canada releases the wholesale trade figures for March on Tuesday. The agency said wholesale sales fell 0.8 per cent to $62.8 billion in February, the largest downward move and the second monthly drop since September 2017.Bank earnings kickoffCIBC will report second-quarter results on Wednesday, the first of the big banks to do so. The bank recently raised its posted five-year fixed-rate mortgage rate by 15 basis points, from 4.99 per cent to 5.14 per cent. The move followed similar announcements from Royal Bank and TD Bank, and are a result of rising bond yields.Royal updateRoyal Bank releases second-quarter results on Thursday. RBC CEO David McKay recently said that large tech companies pose a threat to banks, as their command of data allows them to not only deduce what customers’ needs are and direct them to preferred financial institutions, but also get into banking themselves.Latest from TDTD Bank reports its second-quarter results on Thursday. The bank recently followed Bank of Montreal by lowering its five-year variable closed rate to 2.45 per cent until the end of May. The moves come amid slowing mortgage growth and falling home sales, which hit a five-year low in April.last_img read more

Lowes closing 31 Canadian properties 20 stores in US amid restructuring

first_imgBOUCHERVILLE, Que. – Lowe’s Companies Inc. is reducing its Canadian footprint by closing 31 properties across the country in a bid to streamline its business.The home improvement company said Monday in addition to closing 27 stores, it will also shutter two regional support centres in Mississauga, Ont. and St. John’s, N.L., a truss plant in St. John’s, N.L. and a block plant in Kamloops, B.C. as part of a plan to focus instead on the most profitable parts of its business.Among the 27 stores set to close by the end of January are nine in Ontario, nine in Quebec, six in Newfoundland and Labrador, two in Alberta and one in British Columbia.Sylvain Prud’homme, chief executive of Lowe’s Canada, did not say how many employees would be affected by the closures, but said the changes will allow the company to improve collaboration between its banners to better serve customers.“Everything will be done to ensure a smooth transition until the stores are closed, and Lowe’s Canada will support impacted employees, including by transferring eligible employees to other locations within our network whenever possible,” Prud’homme said in a statement.In addition to the 31 locations the brand is closing in Canada, it will also axe 20 stores in the U.S.The Canadian closures amount to a reduction of about three per cent of the brand’s total retail network square footage.The company currently has 68 Lowe’s and 430 Rona stores in the country — part of its network of 2,390 home improvement locations across North America, including Reno-Depot, Dick’s Lumber, Contractor First and Ace locations it also owns.Lowe’s Canadian business is based in Boucherville, Que. and has more than 630 corporate and independent affiliate dealer stores.David Soberman, a University of Toronto professor specializing in marketing and retail, said Lowe’s 2016 acquisition of Rona Inc. in a deal valued at $3.2 billion. has likely fuelled some of the Canadian cuts.“They probably had too many locations,” he said. “Now, this will mean people will have to drive a bit further to find a Lowe’s or a Rona store.”He said the company has also been facing fierce competition from fellow home improvement businesses Home Depot Inc. and Canadian Tire Inc. and to some extent, Costco Wholesale Corp. and Walmart Inc., which are “extremely powerful” and stock some home and garden products.E-commerce giants including Amazon Inc. have also posed a threat because of their efficiency, but Soberman said their impact on Lowe’s is limited because many construction and do-it-yourself products are bulky, heavy and cost more to ship — “not things that are suited to online retail.”Companies in this story: (TSX:CTC)last_img read more

US industrial production climbs 06 per cent in November

first_imgWASHINGTON — U.S. industrial production climbed 0.6 per cent on surging output at mines and utilities. But manufacturing production was flat.The Federal Reserve says that utility output rose 3.3 per cent as power companies were busier because of unusually cold weather. Mining output rose 1.7 per cent on higher production at coal mines and oil and gas drillers.But manufacturing was flat in November after falling 0.1 per cent in October. Factories are contending with a stronger dollar that makes their products more expensive in foreign markets, slowing global growth and import taxes that raise their costs.Paul Wiseman, The Associated Presslast_img read more