ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A Newfoundland woman was banking on the third time being the charm in her seemingly cursed bid to see Adele.Lori Shortall and two girlfriends jetted off to London, England, last Friday, thrilled by the prospect of finally getting to see Adele in concert as the British songstress wrapped up a tour that had been plagued by health issues.But, when Shortall checked her email hours after settling into their hotel and just days before the scheduled concert, she was stunned to see one from the concert promoter announcing that the performance at Wembley Stadium had been cancelled.For Shortall — a 48-year-old music teacher from St. John’s — the news was a frustrating three-peat coming after she had bought tickets to Adele concerts in 2011 and in 2016 only to have them cancelled at the last minute.“I could not believe it when I saw that email — it didn’t even enter my head that it would be cancelled!” she said from a shop in London, where she and her pals were wrapping up their vacation. “I was so disappointed I couldn’t even tell the girls — I couldn’t even deal with it — it was almost like it was a dream. So yeah, that’s bad juju, bad karma!”Soon after she heard that the London concert was being cancelled because of the singer’s recurring vocal cord issues, Shortall took to social media to appeal to her for a private audience.On her Facebook page, Shortall posted a photoshopped picture of her and Adele arm-in-arm, along with a direct appeal to the singer.“I still haven’t seen you in concert and I estimate I have forked out almost $10,000 now. Help a girl out!!!! All I want is five minutes of your time and a cup of tea!!!,” Shortall said in her post.Some people commenting on the site used lines from one of the singer’s biggest hits, saying, “Hello, it’s me. I’ve been travelling around the world in hopes that I could see. You performing, for all your fans. But still no sight of you and now I’m down about 10 grand.”Shortall also reached out to TV talk show hosts Ellen DeGeneres and James Corden in a bid to have them arrange a tea date with Adele, but has so far not heard back from either.Shortall’s history with the singer, known for her devastating ballads and overpowering vocals, goes back to 2011 when she bought tickets to see her in Houston, where her sister was living at the time. She took a few days off work at her school and flew down. As she was heading to the concert, a friend told her it had been cancelled because the singer had a vocal hemorrhage.Five years later, she and her husband decided to go to Phoenix, Arizona, for a vacation so he could mountain bike and she could take in an Adele concert.“So, he got to do lots of biking and I didn’t get to see my show!” she said with a chuckle.Her tale of woe has captured the attention of British media, with the Sun newspaper interviewing her by phone on a bus to Windsor Castle and Stonehenge. She says everyone on the bus could hear her story, and that at least two couples had travelled from the United States and Israel to see the concert.“So the whole bus heard my interview and were looking at me like, ‘Oh my God woman, nobody has that kind of luck,’” she said through laughter.Still, Shortall, who sings herself, says she and her friends are not upset with the singer and if given the opportunity would wish her a good recovery.“The first thing I would do is to absolutely wish her well and then I’d say, ‘Hey girl, you need to cut a girl a break. Let’s hang out!’” she said. “I’m sure we would enjoy each other’s company.”– By Alison Auld in Halifax
OTTAWA – It would not make any sense for the Liberal government to divulge what they hope to get out of a new North American Free Trade Agreement, said Andrew Leslie, the parliamentary secretary for Canada-U.S. relations.“It’s illogical to unmask and to lay down detailed objectives when we don’t have to,” Leslie said Friday.“What we’d rather do is analyze what they’ve laid down — no real surprises there — figure out where we can negotiate, what we can probably push ahead or hold the line on and take it from there,” he said.The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump released an 18-page summary of its objectives for the new NAFTA on Monday, as required by U.S. law.There are no such rules forcing the Canadian government to do the same, but Conservatives and New Democrats teamed up to ask that several cabinet ministers appear before an emergency summer meeting of the House of Commons trade committee to do just that.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has agreed to attend, alongside officials, on Aug. 14 — two days before the first round of negotiations between the U.S., Canada and Mexico begin in Washington, D.C.Leslie said Freeland can be expected to outline approaches, rather than share detailed objectives, to avoid “giving up a negotiating advantage.”When it comes to the overall approach Canada will take, Leslie said it is akin to what U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence said in a speech when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Rhode Island last week: a “win-win-win” for all three of the trading partners.The American NAFTA objectives do not always appear to take that approach.They say the U.S. government will insist on maintaining “Buy American” rules that limit opportunities to foreigners, while at the same time demanding more opportunities for American suppliers to bid on government procurement contracts in Canada and Mexico.“That’s one reason why we should not start negotiating in public,” Leslie said when asked about how this squares with the message from Pence.“That will have to be part of the give-and-take of the negotiating teams,” Leslie said.If the president wants “Buy American,” then what about access to projects like the billions the Liberals intend to spend on infrastructure?, Leslie said.“I think our friends and allies would do well to watch what we are about to build in Canada and they may want to take part in that,” he said.The Conservatives and New Democrats had asked for International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and Finance Minister Bill Morneau to attend the committee as well, but the Liberals said Freeland has the lead on the file and is best placed to answer questions.They had also wanted to hear from Canada’s chief NAFTA negotiator, which remains a possibility if Freeland decides to bring him.The opposition said they are not asking the Liberals to share their strategy, but want greater transparency.“We want to make sure that they’ve dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s and lay out the list of priorities so Canadians can understand exactly what’s going to be in these negotiations,” said Conservative MP Randy Hoback.“We were promised by the Liberal government that they would have a progressive trade agenda,” said NDP MP Tracey Ramsey.“It’s time for them to show Canadians what they mean by that.”Ramsey had asked the committee to invite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to appear as a witness, but no one supported the motion.Trudeau said his government wants to work with all political parties on the issue, even though he will not come to committee.— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter
NANAIMO, B.C. — Voters in Nanaimo cast ballots today in a byelection that could leave British Columbia’s legislature deadlocked and Premier John Horgan’s minority New Democrat government on shaky ground.A Liberal win would give the party 43 seats, tying it with the 43 seats held by the NDP and Green party, which signed an agreement after the 2017 provincial election allowing the New Democrats to form a minority government.Nanaimo traditionally votes NDP, but Liberal candidate Tony Harris has deep family roots in the Vancouver Island city and has been campaigning to bring economic development and infrastructure to the often neglected community.Former New Democrat MP Sheila Malcolmson resigned her federal seat last year to run in the provincial byelection, saying she wants to ensure the policies of the former B.C. Liberal government do not return because they increased homelessness and the cost of housing in the city.Green candidate Michelle Ney, the daughter of longtime Nanaimo mayor Frank Ney, says she wants to help the city become a clean economy powerhouse.The byelection was called when New Democrat Leonard Krog resigned last year after he was elected the city’s mayor. The Canadian Press
Twitter Advertisement Advertisement What’s the deal?So, this one time, at band camp . . . no . . . no. Let’s not go there. Let’s start again upon the high road.So, yeah, Lexie Jay and Jon Fedorsen met four summers ago while they were both moulding young musical minds at the same Toronto music camp and, after discovering some common creative ground in the pop-ish songs classically trained vocalist Jay had been quietly tucking away in her back pocket since high school, decided they had a future together as an acoustic folk duo. At least until they realized they’d actually make a pretty crappy acoustic folk duo and that the nascent merger of Jay’s operatically inclined pipes and former Crash Parallel drummer Fedorsen’s command of rhythm might be better collectively suited to the dramatic potentialities afforded by a more electronic musical environment. Login/Register With: Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook
Advertisement Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment “Me and @justinbieber have got a new song out. It’s called I Don’t Care hope you like it,” Sheeran wrote on his Instagram page.Bieber offered a similar, but even shorter, Instagram post:: “Me and @teddysphotos. It’s out now. I don’t care.”In March, 25-year-old Bieber, a teenage heartthrob who shot to fame aged 15, told fans he was “focused on repairing some…deep rooted issues” and was putting new music on hold.A month later, he surprised revelers at the Coachella music festival by joining singer Ariana Grande onstage for an unplanned performance of his hit single Sorry, after which he said a new album would come “soon.”Bieber’s last album came out in 2015. Last year he collaborated with DJ Khaled and others on single No Brainer.Sheeran’s last album Divide, released in 2017 and featuring hit singles Shape of You and Perfect, topped charts around the world. Less than two months after telling fans he was stepping back from new music to deal with personal issues, Canadian pop star Justin Bieber gave them something to cheer about on Friday, releasing a new song with British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran.Sheeran has co-written a song for Bieber before, but their new single I Don’t Care was the first the two chart-toppers have released as a duet.Both singers, who each made news in the past year by getting married at secret weddings, had teased fans on social media this week about the track, in which they sing about feeling out of place at a party but finding support in someone close. Advertisement Ed Sheeran, left, and Justin Bieber have released a duet called I Don’t Care. (Getty Images) Facebook Advertisement Twitter
Pimm also made a presentation to City Council on June 11th and got the City to proclaim the week of June 18th – 24th and Pollinator Awareness Week in Fort St. John. As part of the awareness week, she said that several local businesses including Baked Pastry and Bakeshop, Whole Wheat & Honey Café, and the Fort St. John Library will also be offering bee-related products and educating their clientele about the importance of the fuzzy winged creatures.As for which bee is her favourite, Pimm said it’s a tie between the honeybee and the bumblebee.“I like the honeybee because it’s most well-known for making honey, and I like the bumblebee because it’s so fluffy and big. It’s not supposed to fly, but its wings are just so strong that they can hold them up.” FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A student at the Energetic Learning Campus in Fort St. John is looking to do good for the community by helping to raise the public’s awareness about the importance of pollinators in our lives.Grade 10 student Meghan Pimm said she decided to do something that would involve bees for her ELC Community Project this year. ShePimm said that as part of her project, she went to Robert Ogilvie Elementary and spoke to some of the school’s students in Grades 1 and 3 about the important role that bees play in where our food comes from, before helping the students plant fruits and vegetables. She also approached local stores selling pesticides and got permission to put up signs informing customers of the detrimental effects pesticides have on bee colonies.
Marrakech – The railway line linking Casablanca and Marrakech has been strengthened thanks to several projects launched by King Mohammed VI, and which aim to provide this major route with modern infrastructure to help it accommodate substantial traffic flow in safety and comfort.The Sovereign launched on Friday several projects aimed at upgrading the Settat -Marrakech route (2nd phase) and developing the railway station of Marrakech, as part of the (2010 -2015) contract program signed between the State and the National Railways Office (ONCF).The 5 billion-dirham projects illustrate, once more, the high interest of the King in developing the transport sector, considered key for local development, economic activity, and the well-being of the population. The second phase of the development project of the Settat-Marrakesh line includes track doubling of the entire existing railway (140 km), the construction of the platform and two 350-long viaducts, laying equipment (track and catenary), and enhancing electrical sub-stations.This project, which cost a sum of MAD 1.8 billion, will help meet the growing demand for passenger and freight transport, ensure better and regular railway traffic flow.Travel time is expected to decrease by 45 minutes between Marrakech and Casablanca, and daily offer will be gradually expanded to 60 trains in the medium term against 18 currently.The project will also serve the future logistics platforms of Sidi Ghanem and Sidi Bouathmane.This project whose first phase (600 million dirhams) was launched in November 2012 by the King, was completed in December 2013, and will contribute to the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs during the construction period, and hundreds of permanent jobs by 2017.As for the urban development project of the railway station of Marrakech, it is part of the stations revamping master plan implemented in various cities in the Kingdom.Spanning over 39 hectares, this project provides for the construction of a new multi-purpose urban center, including a residential area, commercial compounds, hotels, offices and parks.Worth some MAD 3 billion, this project will be carried out through the relocation of industrial activities (freight and maintenance) to the sites of Sidi Ghanem and Bouathmane. The project will be ready by 2022.
Rabat – Since their early childhood, Kétlyne and Karen Ghebbari, two French-Moroccan sisters, have been amazed by figure skating, the magnificent ice sport.At seven and four years old, respectively, Kétlyne and Karen spent their time figure skating, performing moves and tricks; toe jumps, edge jumps, rotations in the air, loops, and axels.Originally from Morocco, the two champion sisters have already performed across their home country (Morocco), where they won the Moroccan Novice Championship of Figure Skating, organized last May by the Moroccan Association for Ice Sports. In 2011, Kétlyne won the World Figure Skating Champions League and the 2011 International Competition of Figure Skating “Rooster Cup.” Every day after school, Kétlyne and Karen go to their club to practice. The two sisters exercise fifteen hours a week, except for the weekend, which is devoted to their homework. The two sisters say that they do not have time to do other things; they devote all their time to figure skating.Further, the two champions said that for the sake of enhancing their skills, they moved from Valence (France) to Colmar, constantly seeking better coaches.Proud of their Moroccan origins, the two sisters are now aiming to participate in the 2016 Figure Skating World Championship in Austria and win the title for Morocco. Kétlyne and Karen also hope to participate in the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea.“I want develop this sport in Morocco, and I would like one day to participate in the Olympic Games and in the World’s Champions under the colors of my country of origin,” Karen told France 3 Channel.“I am very proud to be Moroccan, and to be French also,” she added.
The logo for Major Drilling is shown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Major Drilling Q3 loss triples as revenue falls 42 per cent from year before by The Canadian Press Posted Mar 3, 2014 5:28 am MDT MONCTON, N.B. – Major Drilling Group International Inc. (TSX:MDI) says its third-quarter revenue dropped 42 per cent and its loss tripled as major customers delayed decisions on their 2014 exploration programs.The Moncton, N.B.,-based company reported a net loss of $12.8 million or 16 cents per share, up from $4.2 million or five cents per share a year earlier.Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 fell to $71.8 million, down from $123.2 million a year earlier.Despite the weak quarter, Major Drilling says it’s in good financial position, with $33.6 million of cash after debt expenses.Its semi-annual dividend remains 10 cents per share, payable May 1.Major Drilling provides contract services to mining and minerals companies around the world.Demand for many commodities has been reduced by slowing growth in Asia, a weak European economy and slow growth in the United States — pushing down prices and increasing uncertainty.Major Drilling president and CEO Francis McGuire said the company had anticipated that its customers would be slow in deciding on their 2014 calendar year drilling plans.“This has led to reduced activity levels as compared to the third quarter last year, and produced a seasonal loss as anticipated,” McGuire said in a statement.He added that the devaluation of the Argentine peso also created a foreign exchange loss of $3.3 million as Major Drilling converted some of its pesos to American dollars.McGuire said the uncertainty continued into Major Drilling’s fourth quarter and pricing for its services is under pressure.“On the other hand, in many regions we are seeing encouraging signs of increased inquiries, especially from gold customers, which if they result in successful bids, would generate higher activity levels in the second half of this calendar year,” McGuire said.“We feel we are in a strong position to react quickly when the industry begins to recover as the company’s financial strength has allowed it to invest in safety, to maintain its equipment in excellent condition and to retain many of its skilled employees.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly identified Major Drilling president and chief executive Francis McGuire.
May 4, 1944 – April 24, 2019To view the entire obituary, please click here.
← Previous Story Tim Hornke to replace Robert Weber at SC Magdeburg Next Story → INJURIES, 1,2,3 – Atman, Abutovic and Vujin are out! Former line-player of Meshkov Brest and PGE Vive Kielce, Rastko Stojkovic, will play as domestic player in Israeli Championship, announced his new team Maccabi Rishon Le Zion.The 37-years old Serbian line player got a citizenship of Israel.Stojkovic won silver medal with his national team at Men’s EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia. He also played at German Fullingen, HSG Nordhorn, RK Crvena Zvezda and URK Studentski Grad. Israeli handballMaccabi Rishon Le ZionRastko Stojkovic
LILY-MAE MORRISON – the four-year-old girl who suffers from the cancer Neuroblastoma – is to head to London tomorrow ahead of ground-breaking treatment next month as she continues her flight against the disease.Speaking to TheJournal.ie, her mother Judith Sibley said that Lily-Mae was looking forward to the trip.“She woke up this morning and she was really excited,” she said.Lily-Mae is set to undergo Intensely Moderated Arc Radiotherapy, a treatment that is available in only a few hospitals throughout the world.The three day trip – which kicks off tomorrow – will allow the family to meet the team, while also allowing for the creation of a body mould to fit the child before treatment begins on 1 April.Healthy tissue“It gives a higher dose to the affected area and less to the healthy tissue,” Sibley explained. “Crumlin [Hospital] has allowed this to happen because the primary tumour was so large.”Having already undergone nine doses of chemotherapy over just 45 days, the 14 sessions of radiotherapy at the UK hospital had to start before 5 April in order for Lily-Mae to be able to undergo further treatment.“I’m absolutely so delighted,” Sibley said, adding:Crumlin Hospital and St Luke’s Hospital have been amazing. I have nothing but good things to say about them. Everyone has been phenomenal in making this happen, including the HSE [who are funding the treatment].The April treatment will be followed by antibody treatment. “It’s only existed in Europe for the last 18 months, and its aim is to try to prevent Neuroblastoma from coming back,” said Lily-Mae’s mother.Describing the years ahead, Sibley is both hopeful and worried.Fundraising“I am crossing everything that the monster doesn’t return. If it does we’re in a lot of trouble,” she saidA return of the cancer will not only cause further heartbreak, but also financial stress.While upwards of €250,000 has been raised to date, the family will need in the region of €500,000 to cover their costs, should the cancer return.“Unless we have to use it for treatment, every single penny will go to The Neuroblastoma Society,” Sibley said.We hope against hope that we don’t need it.Read: Tiny Dancer: HMV to honour Lily-Mae funds >
Deal on ‘miracle’ cystic fibrosis drug expected in a matter of weeks Health Minister Simon Harris said that he wants a good deal for the taxpayer and, most importantly, for patients. By Aoife Barry A DEAL TO make the expensive cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi available in Ireland is expected within a few weeks, according to Health Minister Simon Harris.“We are going to try to bring certainty to this issue within weeks,” Harris said today when speaking about the process of trying to get a good deal on the drug for taxpayers and patients.On the same show, Harris ruled himself out of the Fine Gael leadership race.With about 50 new cases of cystic fibrosis diagnosed in Ireland every year, campaigners are extremely eager for Orkambi – which has been heralded by them as a life-saving, ‘miracle’ drug – to be made available.Cystic fibrosis greatly impacts the lifespan of those with the debilitating condition.CF campaigner Jillian McNulty, who is on a trial of the drug, recently told TheJournal.ie that it has transformed her life.CostlyBut the huge cost of Orkambi – €158,000 per year per patient, at a cost to the State of €390 million over the course of five years – has led to protracted negotiations.The National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE), which is the country’s medicines watchdog, has said that Orkambi was not cost-effective, and advised against buying it.As Health Minister, Simon Harris has been heavily involved in the negotiations with Vertex, the maker of the drug, in an attempt to bring down the price of Orkambi. Vertex also makes the drug Kalydeco.Speaking to Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One today, Harris said that he believes a deal is imminent. He also pointed to the need to be careful around such negotiations, saying that he did ask people to call off a protest over Orkambi recently, and “thought long and hard about it”.“I didn’t do it out of any sort of disrespect for the people that I’ve gotten to know really well, like Gillian McNulty and CF Ireland, and people that I’ve really been working with,” he said.Harris said he has had a lot of private conversations with these people and he thinks they know his bona fides in relation to the issue.He said that he made clear to campaigners at a meeting “that we are very close to a deal about Orkambi”.“I have to get the best deal possible,” said Harris. Mar 6th 2017, 1:24 PM 9,805 Views Gillian McNulty, who is on a trial of Orkambi. Image: Sam Boal Image: Sam Boal Short URL 15 Comments Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Monday 6 Mar 2017, 1:24 PM Share1918 Tweet Email Your crash course in… Ireland’s battle with Big Pharma for a ‘miracle’ cystic fibrosis drugHe said that, though he wasn’t specially referring to the protest, he didn’t want anything to happen that would in any way undermine the State’s position in the negotiations.He said that sometimes when people stand up in the Dáil to talk about a drug, sometimes that emboldens the drug company in their stance. But Harris went on to underline that he needs to get the best deal for taxpayers and most importantly, for CF patients.“I believe we are very close to doing that and I expect this process to conclude within a matter of weeks,” he said.“We are going to try to bring certainty to this issue within weeks.”Read: Taoiseach told ‘several children have died’ waiting for Orkambi drug decision> This will probably be the most expensive drug we’ve ever purchased. And what I don’t want to happen is whoever the next Minister for Health is in five, six, or whenever years’ time – I don’t want them to have to be back, sitting at a table with CF patients stressed and worried again having to negotiate for the next iteration. I want to provide a programme of drugs for cystic fibrosis patients out for the next decade. Gillian McNulty, who is on a trial of Orkambi. http://jrnl.ie/3273040
Stay on target Like most major games released these days, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will have its fair share of post-launch content. This includes a Season Pass containing two major story chapters and remastered versions of Assassin’s Creed 3 and Assassin’s Creed Liberation. Outside of the Season Pass, players will get treated to free post-launch story episodes as well as daily and weekly in-game events. Like Assassin’s Creed Origins, Odyssey will also have its own Discovery Tour where players can freely explore the in-game world outside of the main story.As detailed by Ubisoft in a blog post, the first story-based post-launch DLC, Legacy of the First Blade, focuses on the first person to ever wield the series’ signature Hidden Blade (which raises some questions about Origins). Launching in December, the DLC will also show how the Assassin Order formed. Spring sees the launch of The Fate of Atlantis. As you can deduce from its title, this DLC will have players uncovering the secrets of the legendary city. Both stories are comprised of separate episodes which will release every six weeks.Then we have Assassin’s Creed III Remastered, which contains all of the previously released DLC content, as well as Assassin’s Creed Liberation Remastered. Each game has 4K support, HDR on PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, and PC, higher-resolution textures, an improved lighting rendering system, and additional graphical touch ups.If you just get the game and forgo the season pass, you’ll still get treated to free post-launch content. This comes in the form of The Lost Tales of Greece, which are free episodic stories launching between the aforementioned post-launch episodes. The episodes will “feature new and familiar characters,” continuous in-game events, and introduce new “epic” ships, mercenaries, and “mythical creatures” for players to battle every week. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will also get a New Game Plus mode that will have new challenges and give players the chance to see how different choices affect the narrative.Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will release on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on October 5. Those who pre-order the Gold or special editions will get the game on October 2. For more on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey check out our original preview as well as our interview with Game Director Scott Phillips.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Get ‘Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey’ Free With Google Project StreamWhat’s Right and What’s Wrong About The 2018 Game Awards Nominees
The donation of $103,000 is intended to cover the costs of the construction project involved in this donation, including the funding for construction of the cabin, preparation of the site, and moving and setting up the cabin and antique medical equipment at the site. A fund has been established with the Kenai Community Foundation to allow for future contributions for capital improvements and maintenance of the project. In 1967, Dr. Hansen moved to Kenai, which at the time had no hospital in the area. He began practicing medicine, bringing with him used medical equipment he had acquired in Juneau. The antique medical equipment has been saved and most recently stored by the City of Kenai. The cabin is being constructed in Nikiski, and is expected to be moved into the City in late May or early June this year near the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center. Councilmember Jim Glendenning: “Thank you Dr. Hansen. I recall a time around 1970, at the old Pickle Hill in Soldotna, some motorcycles were going up the hill and somebody piled it all up. Someone came by with a pick-up truck and we scraped them all up and brought them to you. You fixed him up, and I guess he’s living happily ever after, I get a Christmas care every year. Probably some of those utensils you will have there might look familiar to me, I remember handing you one or two.” Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai City Council approved an ordinance at their meeting on Wednesday to allow the City Manager to accept a donation in order to establish a Bush Doctor’s Historic Cabin/Museum from Dr. Peter Hansen and the Kenai Community Foundation. Some of the councilmembers took the opportunity prior to the vote to share stories of Dr. Hansen. Councilmember Henry Knackstedt: “I want to thank you for all of your contributions through time here, they are visible, and used. This particular building is being constructed right now, and you are funding it.”
Share Julia Reihs/KUTThis file photo shows Texas State Senator Sylvia Garcia speaking at the 2018 Texas Democratic Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. The dispute over her intent to resign continues.The dispute over State Senator Sylvia Garcia’s intent to resign continues.Weeks ago, Garcia, who is a Democrat, sent a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott announcing her intent to resign effective January 2. She wanted Abbott to call a special election to fill her Senate seat and have it coincide with the regular November election.Abbott’s office said her letter didn’t meet the legal standards of an official resignation. His office asked Garcia to submit a new letter and remove the word “intent.”However, instead of writing a new letter, Garcia’s camp asked Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart to call the special election, and threatened to sue him if he didn’t do it.Stanart, who is a Republican, responded Tuesday through a statement. He said that, after consulting with the Texas Secretary of State and Harris County’s legal department, everyone is in agreement that he doesn’t have the authority to call elections.Stanart alleged Garcia is intentionally wording her resignation letter so it won’t go into effect until January 2, when she’d qualify for a bigger state pension. Garcia’s attorney has previously stated that her pension has nothing to do with it.Responding to an inquiry from News 88.7, Garcia said in a statement that “the Governor won’t do his job, and apparently, neither will members of his Party with the responsibility to enforce the State Constitution.”“I have no intention of stooping to their game of personal attacks,” said the Senator, while adding that she will “continue fighting to make sure the 850,000 Texans of SD 6 have a Senator on the floor Day 1 of the legislative session.”
February 22, 2011 11 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global This story appears in the March 2011 issue of . Subscribe » You know the clunky, unsightly cash register occupying all that real estate in your place of business? Say goodbye. It’s now a paperweight–a fossil, a relic of a bygone era where cash and plastic reigned supreme. The future of point-of-sale transaction processing lies in the mobile phone, the one thing your customers carry with them wherever they go–the one thing they absolutely never leave home without.Merchants have heard this prognostication before, of course. Pundits have forecasted the emergence of mobile wallets for roughly a decade. The tech sector has promised–but failed to deliver–a secure, alternative payment system that would accelerate the transaction process, increase customer spending and streamline operations. The kind of system that would be a godsend for verticals like quick-service restaurants and convenience stores. But mobile commerce always failed to take off.This time, though, things look different. (Really.) For starters, consumers are showing far more interest in making purchases using their mobile devices. Close to half of U.S. smartphone owners have either used their devices for mobile shopping or plan to do so in the imminent future, according to a survey conducted by ABI Research. Americans spent more than $3.4 billion on mobile shopping in 2010, up from $1.9 billion the previous year, the report says–and it predicts that online shopping will yield $163 billion in worldwide sales by 2015, representing 12 percent of total global e-commerce turnover.Credit the growth in part to exploding smartphone penetration. More subscribers than ever now carry the kind of cutting-edge devices necessary to make payments on the go.Sales of smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and handsets running Google’s Android mobile operating system represented 45 percent of all new U.S. mobile device purchases in November 2010, according to The Nielsen Company. Smartphone users now make up 31 percent of the total American wireless subscriber segment.The companies that provide mobile service are going all in on mobile commerce, too. Three of the four largest U.S. mobile operators are joining forces to launch Isis, a nationwide mobile transaction network rolling out with support from the likes of Discover Financial Services and Barclaycard US that promises to dramatically streamline the way businesses accept mobile payments. And a wave of other mobile payment options is emerging that will further simplify and secure shopping across the digital sphere.But consumer demand for mobile commerce and investment by the mobile industry mean nothing if retailers, restaurateurs and other small business owners don’t also commit to a mobile payment environment. And those businesses are poised to reap the greatest rewards. Beyond boosting transaction speed, security and convenience, mobile commerce also can create new opportunities for customer interaction–like coupons, promotional offers, appointment reminders and other incentives.Read on to learn about the innovation that will usher your business into the m-commerce era.The formation of Isis heralds a new age of payment options for merchants and consumersBuy and CellThe formation of Isis heralds a new age of payment options for merchants and consumersIn a sense, Isis is itself a startup that is helping make mobile commerce a reality for small businesses everywhere. It happens to have some heavyweight help behind it–which is why Isis has such a tremendous chance at succeeding.Isis is a nationwide mobile commerce network spawned in late 2010 that has the potential to connect 200 million wireless subscribers across the country with merchants equipped to accept mobile payments from their customers. It can do that because Isis is backed by Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA–three of the four largest U.S. mobile operators in the U.S.Isis CEO Michael Abbott”There have been a lot of science experiments in this space, but you need scale and commitment to truly ignite innovation,” says Isis CEO Michael Abbott, a financial services veteran who was chief marketing officer of GE Capital before he signed on to helm Isis. Abbott calls his company “kind of a startup, but with three huge partners.””Merchants need to know that mobile payments are here,” he says. “We’re giving them the scale and commitment necessary to move forward.”The service Isis offers is simple: It will allow consumers to make purchases by swiping their microchip-equipped smartphones at corresponding reader units located at participating retailers. The process relies on something called near field communications, or NFC, which enables secure communications between two electronic devices in close proximity (about 4 inches apart).Isis also is building out its contactless payment platform in collaboration with Discover Financial Services, whose payment network is accepted at more than 7 million merchant locations nationwide. Few startups get a better start than that.The future of Isis hinges on building out NFC’s retail footprint and mindshare. Abbott welcomes the challenge.”I like to take raw materials to mold and create new things,” says the one-time electrical engineering student at Columbia University, who dedicates his free time to woodworking. “The idea is to bring [Isis] to every phone, and to give something to consumers that simplifies their lives. For that to happen, we have to be open to all merchants, all wireless carriers and all banks. That means we need a standard everyone can use. NFC technology is nothing new–there’s nothing that needs to be reinvented. [Point-of-sale] terminals and readers are already in stores.”Isis isn’t the only entity backing near field communications to connect merchants and customers. Handset maker Nokia has pledged to support NFC in all new smartphone models introduced this year. And Google announced late last year that NFC integration is included in the updated version of its Android mobile operating system.Research firm iSuppli anticipates worldwide shipments of mobile devices with built-in NFC capabilities will increase to 220.1 million units in 2014, up from 52.6 million in 2010. Perhaps most significant, contactless readers are already deployed in more than 100,000 U.S. merchant locations across the U.S.”The consensus in all markets is that contactless payments are going to evolve over NFC,” says James Anderson, vice president of mobile for MasterCard. “People believe that’s the right technology.”Isis is slated to roll out consumer trials in key geographic markets this year and into 2012. Barclaycard US is expected to be the first issuer on the network, offering multiple mobile payment products.But Abbott is already thinking far past mobile payments. In his mind, Isis will not only render cash, credit and debit cards obsolete, but also allow merchants to replace loyalty cards, coupons, event tickets and transit passes.Big Moves For Small PaymentsDon’t be fooled. Just because they’re called micropayments doesn’t mean the revenue opportunity is insignificant.Perhaps no company has made more real money selling virtual goods than social gaming giant Zynga, which reports that in-game digital transactions–for example, crops and livestock purchased by FarmVille players–account for roughly 90 percent of its annual revenues, a windfall of about $450 million in 2010.Zynga’s breakout success is all the more remarkable given the struggles that have long faced traditional publishers and media providers looking to monetize their content on the web. It’s been a different story on mobile phones, however. The days when subscribers routinely forked over a few bucks for a 15-second monophonic ringtone are over. In the current smartphone era, half of all iPhone owners download a premium application to their device each month. Mobile subscribers consistently exhibit their willingness to make small, impulse purchases on the go–a trend buoyed by the simplicity and efficiency of charging the transaction to their monthly wireless bill.New payment options that create viable alternatives to traditional cash and credit transactions will make mobile micropayments even easier. In late October, AT&T launched a mobile payment trial enabling its 93 million U.S. subscribers to charge music, movies and virtual goods directly to their monthly bill by entering their mobile number instead of their credit card or PayPal account information. AT&T rolled out the program in partnership with no fewer than three rival mobile payment solutions startups: BilltoMobile, Boku and Zong.”Isis is not just about putting mobile payment services on your phone, but delivering one simple, integrated solution that brings all your paper and plastic together,” he says. “We can create value in a lot of ways. For example, when you leave a store, a merchant can send a promotional offer to your phone, and it’s sitting there the next time you come back. It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but we have the scale and the support to finally catalyze the market.””Mobile payments enable you to reach a segment you can’t reach with credit cards and PayPal,” says Ron Hirson, Boku co-founder and senior vice president of marketing and business development. “Customers don’t always know their credit card information, but with Boku, you only have to enter your 10-digit mobile number. Mobile also allows you to reach people who can’t pay any other way, especially in emerging markets. Now merchants can sell to people they couldn’t before.”How many more people? Consider that there are roughly 177 million credit card holders in the U.S., compared with about 293 million wireless subscribers nationwide, or roughly 93 percent of the total American population. With international wireless subscribers surpassing the 5 billion milestone in late 2010, it’s no surprise that the global mobile payments market–including purchases of digital and physical goods as well as money transfers and point-of-sale transactions–is expected to explode from $170 billion in 2010 to almost $630 billion in 2014, according to Juniper Research.That growth depends on a solution that makes sense for consumers, mobile providers and merchants alike. Although the AT&T trial will go far in separating the contenders from the pretenders, on paper BilltoMobile, Boku and Zong offer similar solutions.BilltoMobile inked a deal with Verizon Wireless last March (between that and the AT&T partnership, the startup now has access to 65 percent of U.S. wireless subscribers). BilltoMobile’s Direct Mobile Billing service offers a secure two-step payment process requiring only seconds to complete: To make an online buy, consumers select BilltoMobile as their payment option, choose their wireless carrier and enter their mobile number and ZIP code. BilltoMobile transmits a pass code via text message, and once the code is successfully entered in the transaction window, the purchase is complete.”We provide a financial-grade system to the carrier, leveraging their existing billing model,” says Jim Greenwell, BilltoMobile president and CEO. “We’re not going to displace credit cards. Our model is about offering digital merchants greater incremental revenue.”Zong’s international operator partners include T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and O2. The firm is also the mobile payments provider for Facebook Credits and other social gaming and digital platforms. Like BilltoMobile, its solution incorporates a PIN code to authenticate a transaction.”The most important thing to a consumer is convenience,” says David Marcus, Zong founder and CEO. “That’s why we’re focused on mobile–there’s an enormous opportunity to increase convenience.”Boku–which boasts partnerships with 220 mobile providers in more than 60 countries–tweaks the formula: Instead of a code, consumers reply with a “Y” for “Yes” in response to its text-based purchase authorization. “What we’re doing doesn’t require consumers to upgrade their phone,” Hirson says. “We reach everyone on the web.”AT&T’s commitment to nurturing mobile micropayment options extends beyond marketing the BilltoMobile, Boku and Zong services. In conjunction with the partnership, the operator also agreed to reduce its cut of transaction revenues. In the past, carriers often claimed between 40 percent and 50 percent of digital media sales billed on their networks; terms of the AT&T deal are unknown (the company declined an interview request) but are said to be substantially more favorable to its technology partners and merchants. (BilltoMobile, Boku and Zong all take a small transaction fee on each purchase as well.)The growth of mobile micropayments depends on everyone in the value chain continuing to work together, BilltoMobile’s Greenwell says. After all, everyone stands to gain.”For now the focus is on digital goods, and from there it will move to nondigital goods. Eventually, mobile will evolve as a second-nature payment mechanism for all transactions under $100,” he says. “There’s nothing magical about this. It’s a simple model that benefits everyone. It’s beautiful in its simplicity.” Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »
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