December 10, 2019
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first_imgPaper Boat, a fledgling Indian brand from Bangalore-based Hector Beverages, is aiming to hold its own in the country against global giants like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. But can traditional Indian drinks really give popular colas and juices a run for their money?When Neeraj Kakkar, a former Coca-Cola executive, turned entrepreneur in 2010 and set up Hector Beverages, competing with the cola giants was the last thing on his mind. Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, Kakkar zeroed in on the beverages market (after rejecting ideas in areas like education, child care and women’s empowerment) simply because it was familiar territory; he had worked with Cola-Cola in India for seven years and was part of its senior management in the country. As an entrepreneur looking at the growing popularity of functional beverages worldwide, he felt it had potential in India, too. It was just a business decision.But today, Kakkar sees himself and Paper Boat as “protectors” of traditional Indian beverage recipes. “At Hector Beverages we believe that if we don’t do something now these recipes will disappear in the next 20 to 30 years.”Management consultancy firm Wazir Advisors estimates that the unorganized market for ethnic beverages in India is around $200 million to $250 million, while the organized market is barely 1% of this. Paper Boat is the dominant brand in this segment with the largest portfolio of flavors. Others include Dabur India, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Parle Agro. These players have only the one or two flavors — primarily mango or lemon.V.T. Bharadwaj, managing director at Sequoia Capital, an investor in Hector Beverages, considers Paper Boat to be a “path breaking” product which has the “potential to transform the beverages landscape in India.” He points out that unlike the U.S., which has traditionally been dominated by colas, India has a short cola history. “India has a rich history of traditional beverages and it’s a shame that no one has tried to present them in an attractive and aspirational manner.”According to Bharadwaj, branded ethnic beverages are a category that was “waiting to be created” in India. “It is category that is waiting to explode and has the potential to break the back of the cola market.”According to market estimates, in the first half of 2016 Coca-Cola and Pepsi were pushed out of the top five highest sold beverages in modern trade outlets in India by fruit juices from Dabur and PepsiCo, and the decades-old rose drink Rooh Afza from Hamdard. Commenting on this in a media interview, Devendra Chawla, president, food and FMCG brands at Future Group, said: “Traditional drinks and tastes have come out of the shadows. The past few decades saw high decibel marketing and commitment of resources from global brands, but consumers are going back to favoring what they perceive are healthier and traditional flavors.”Global trends also show cola growth slowing down. In another media interview, Euromonitor India country manager Janaki Padmanabhan said: “Globally, cola carbonates have received a lot of negative publicity due to high sugar content and lack of nutritional value.”On the Traditional TrailInterestingly, Kakkar and his co-founders Suhas Misra and Neeraj Biyani (both former colleagues at Coca-Cola) and James Nutall (a packaging industry professional in the U.S.) thought of Indian beverages only after their first two product launches — Frissia, a protein drink (in 2011) and Tzinga, an energy drink (in 2012) — failed to create waves. Even as the co-founders were grappling with what to do next and exploring other functional beverages such as vitamin water and smoothies, they hit upon the idea of traditional Indian drinks serendipitously. (Misra and Nutall later exited the company in 2014 and 2015 respectively.)In the summer of 2012, Nutall’s parents were visiting India and he wanted to buy Aam Panna for them — a refreshing raw mango drink that Misra’s mother used to send daily with his lunch to help him keep cool during the scorching heat of New Delhi. (Hector Beverages moved its headquarters from New Delhi to Bangalore in 2014.) While Nutall’s colleagues cautioned him against buying Aam Panna from street vendors to avoid “Delhi belly” (an upset stomach), despite searching in various shops Nutall couldn’t find a safe alternative. “This is when we realized that traditional Indian drinks could have a great market if produced and packaged hygienically. We didn’t do any formal market research. We just followed our instincts,” says Kakkar.Paper Boat has sailed a long way since then. From two flavors in 2013 — Aamras (sweet mango) and Jalzeera (cumin and lemon) — Paper Boat currently has a portfolio of 13 flavors, each comprising specific Indian spices and condiments. The flavors include Aam Panna (raw mango), Jamun Kala Khatta (Indian black berry), Kokum (a berry belonging to the mangosteen family), Anar (pomegranate), Chilli Guava (guava), Neer More (curd-based) and Thandai (milk-based). While all these flavors are available in 250-milliliter doy packs (sealed flexible plastic bags designed to stand upright), the company recently launched Aamras and Anar in 500 milliliter tetra carton packs also.All Paper Boat drinks are made without preservatives, added color or carbonation, and on average it takes the firm 18 months to develop a flavor from idea to launch. Currently, 11 flavors are in the pipeline in different stages of development and are scheduled to be launched by the end of 2017.Hector Beverages has two manufacturing plants — one in Manesar near New Delhi and the second in Mysore near Bangalore. Manufacturing capacity has increased from one million packs per month in August 2013 to eight million packs per month at present, while distribution has increased from 20,000 outlets to 120,000. Kakkar and Biyani are looking to double capacity by the end of 2017.Last year, the company partnered with Indo Nissin Foods for distribution and with this they expect to further ramp up their distribution substantially. Funds, they say, are not a constraint. So far, Hector Beverages has raised$42 million from angels and venture funds like Sequoia Capital, Catamaran Ventures and Foothills Ventures. While Kakkar is tightlipped about sharing any details on revenue and profitability, he says the company has been “growing more than 100% year on year.”Making Traditional ContemporarySo what is the secret of Paper Boat’s success? Kakkar lists authentic recipes right on top. In food, he notes, the central piece is getting the recipe right. “The traditional way to develop a product is at the center of different nodal points. But in a country as diverse as India, trying to satisfy all groups doesn’t work. So when we develop a recipe we try to get it as close to any one group as possible,” says Kakkar. Adds Biyani: “We are extremely strong in product development. Whether it is identifying the right vendors, sourcing at the right time or establishing the right processing standards, we have developed a very strong knowledge base.”Biyani cites an example. For making Aamras, the firm uses only naturally ripened mangoes in order to produce the most authentic taste. This requires that each mango must be monitored individually from when it should be plucked to whether it should be put on hay or on coconut leaves for ripening to deciding when it is ready for processing. All this in turn depends on natural factors like temperature, humidity, rainfall and so on. “We buy thousands of tons of mangoes and for every single mango to be individually monitored not only requires a large and trained manpower but also passion and dedication. This is true for each of our products,” says Biyani.The other key pillars of Paper Boat’s success are its design, packaging and messaging. Infusing tradition and authenticity with a contemporary feel has been central to Paper Boat’s philosophy. Shripad Nadkarni, formerly director of MarketGate Consulting, a strategic business and market consultancy firm and creator of Paper Boat’s brand DNA, recalls that right at the beginning the firm realized that “traditional” and “authentic” had the inherent danger of being perceived as “old and stodgy.” To safeguard against this, they added the concept of “alive.”“The balance between ‘alive’ and ‘authentic’ is very important,” Nadkarni says. “We were clear that whatever we do must connect with today’s consumers. So while the product itself is traditional and the recipe and ingredients are all about authenticity, the packaging, design elements and communication, etc. are all contemporary.”Nadkarni, too, is a former Coca Cola executive. From 2000 till 2005 he was vice president of marketing and head of new beverages at Coca-Cola India. After quitting Coca-Cola, he set up MarketGate, which he later sold to the Publicis Groupe. Nadkarni, who is an angel investor in Hector Beverages, set up Fingerlix, a ready-to-cook food startup earlier this year.Nadkarni believes that India is “at the cusp of a taste revolution.” He notes that as a society, India has long suppressed the need to indulge. “It is only now discovering the whole aspect of indulging in taste and we are seeing this in food and beverages.” Adds Bharadwaj: “Products like Paper Boat are also tapping into a sense of a confident India that is now comfortable with its roots and product history.”Harminder Sahni, founder and managing director of Wazir Advisors, agrees. “Indians are now proud of being Indians. I see this trend gaining ground especially with xenophobia becoming stronger in the Western world. Also, India has so much diversity and therefore variety in all things ethnic — food, drinks, clothes, handicraft, music, etc. This offers a huge opportunity.” Sahni adds that Paper Boat is on the right track in tapping into the “ethnic mood” of the Indian market. “Paper Boat has a unique positioning and a great understanding of consumers leaning towards ethnic products with modern packaging and hygiene. Haldiram’s in sweets, snacks and fast food, and Patanjali Ayurved in FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods] are on the same track.”Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of consulting firm Third Eyesight, points out that food flavors are “deep-rooted in our psyche” and “familiarity and habit” attract us to flavors that we grew up with. He believes that Paper Boat has “very successfully tapped into this need for familiar flavors, while riding on smart branding and modern packaging for convenience, safety and shelf life.”Ramesh Kumar, professor of marketing at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, says: “Paper boat entered into the psyche of consumers in a unique manner — nostalgic emotions associated with cultural origins and ingredients. The brand’s strengths are associated with ethnic taste and recipes of the bygone era that are vanishing in a world of fast-foods.” Pointing out that Paper Boat “implicitly” offers a “healthy lifestyle,” Kumar adds that the brand’s pouch-style packaging and other design elements definitely give it a “contemporary appeal.” Harish Bijoor, brand-strategy specialist who runs his own firm, Harish Bijoor Inc., also thinks that Paper Boat’s strength is that “it is different in every way. It has used differentiation as the cornerstone of its brand strategy. Ethnic drinks was a rebel space — a rebel space against the carbonated cola beverages for sure. The packaging, which is unique, functional and efficient, led in this space. The pricing is premium and the advertising stance with conversations with consumers is unique as well.” Bijoor, however, inserts a note of caution. Pointing out that more than 60% of India’s population is below 35 years, he suggests that Paper Boat’s evoking of memories and its nostalgia for a simpler, carefree life is risky and could result in its being perceived as “geriatric.” He adds: “Classy and conversational is nice, but the volumes are not there. And while margins may be there for now, these will be under pressure as mass distribution needs will eat into them.”Coping with HeadwindsHaving tested the waters well, the challenge now for Paper Boat is to sail full steam ahead. Nadkarni observes that at present the brand value of Paper Boat is much more than its business value. “The brand value makes one think that it is a Rs. 1,000 crore ($150 million) brand whereas it is only a fraction of that. The big challenge for the team is to commercialize the strong bond that consumers have with the brand and bridge this gap,” he says.Distribution will play a key role in this. Juices and cold drinks have a universe of around five million outlets in India. Paper Boat is available in only around 2.5% of those. For an impulse purchase such as Paper Boat, visibility and accessibility are very important.This is even more critical as other players with strong distribution networks have spotted the potential in the segment and are making their moves. Dabur, a leading Indian FMCG firm and a leader in fruit juices, for instance, has recently launched traditional drinks under the brand Hajmola Yoodley. Hajmola is a popular brand of digestive tablets from Dabur comprising traditional Indian herbs, spices and edible salt and is estimated to have around 50% of market share in this segment. Interestingly, like Paper Boat, Hajmola Yoodley is also sold in doy packs with colorful graphics. While Yoodley is yet to make its mark, experts feel that it is only a matter of time.“What was unique to Paper Boat has been usurped by others and has closed the several windows of differentiation it had opened,” Bijoor says. “The brand now needs to think differently to grow and stand apart from the rest.”Paper Boat co-founders however are not fazed. Says Biyani: “We are way ahead in product development and are working on products others would not even be thinking of. Our processes are very different and are a strong competitive advantage. We are at a great place and the sky is the limit. We believe that we can actually give a run to the currently dominant beverages.” Adds Nadkarni: “There is no doubt that the category will grow dramatically. But Paper Boat has the first mover advantage and being the leader will benefit the most.”Meanwhile another challenge is the price point. At Rs. 30 for a 250-milliliter pack, Paper Boat is a premium beverage and priced more than double that of Pepsi and Coca-Cola’s products. Pointing out that Paper Boat’s price is intimately linked to the product quality, Bharadwaj says the company needs to address this challenge with ingenuity. According to him, if Paper Boat continues as a premium, aspirational category it can certainly grow to become a Rs. 1,000 crore brand. However, if it can break the price barrier it has the real opportunity to break open the cola market. “But you can’t break the cola market at this price point,” he notes. Related Itemslast_img read more

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first_imgHotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim View comments Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Switzerland scored early and twice shortly after halftime to keep alive its impressive run in qualifying.Forward Haris Seferovic netted his fourth goal in the qualifying campaign with a neat flick from close range, and Blerim Dzemaili and Ricardo Rodriguez added to the lead in the second half.___STAYING CLOSEPortugal kept pace with Switzerland with its seventh straight victory since an opening 2-0 loss to the Swiss.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games UST, UP dealt with huge blow as imports Akomo, Ouattara ruled ineligible for UAAP Season 80 Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side LATEST STORIES NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Andorra has four points from a win over Hungary and a draw against the Faeroe Islands.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters An Oct. 10 showdown between Portugal and Switzerland in Lisbon will likely decide which team wins the group to automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Three days earlier, Switzerland hosts Hungary and Portugal plays at Andorra.Earlier Sunday, the Faeroe Islands defeated Andorra 1-0 for its second win, securing its best ever qualifying campaign.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening___PERFECT SWISS Switzerland’s Blerim Dzemaili celebrates scoring, during the World Cup Group B qualifying soccer match between Switzerland and Latvia, at Skonto Stadium, in Riga, Latvia, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP)Switzerland extended its perfect record in World Cup qualifying by defeating Latvia 3-0 Sunday for its eighth straight victory, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal edged 10-man Hungary 1-0 to stay close at the top of Group B.With two games left, Switzerland has 24 points, three more than defending European champion Portugal. Third-place Hungary stayed on 10 points and is out of contention.ADVERTISEMENT Andre Silva scored the winner with a header from close range after a cross by Ronaldo just three minutes into the second half in Budapest.“It was a difficult game from start to finish,” Silva said. “We had to give everything we had. I’m glad I scored the winning goal.”Hungary played with 10 men from the 30th after Tamas Priskin was sent off for an elbow on Pepe.“We were always in control, but it was always a difficult and uncertain match,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said.___HISTORIC CAMPAIGNGilli Soerensen scored a first-half winner and the Faeroe Islands defeated Andorra 1-0 to guarantee its best qualifying campaign ever.With two games left, the Faeroe Islands is in fourth place and out of contention for a World Cup berth, but it already has eight points — one more than it achieved ahead of the 2002 World Cup.Lars Olsen’s team beat Latvia earlier in its campaign, and drew with Andorra and Hungary.Its final games are against Latvia and at Hungary.last_img read more

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first_imgChicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (24) controls the ball as Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Toronto on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)CHICAGO — Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen will miss the rest of the season after experiencing a rapid heart rate and fatigue.The Bulls say tests to determine the cause of the problem have come back normal. He will continue to be evaluated over the next 10 to 14 days for precautionary reasons.ADVERTISEMENT “”We just want to do what’s best for him,” Boylen said. “We’re not going rush him back.”The 7-foot forward from Finland averaged 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in his second season.Markkanen joins a long list of unavailable Bulls players. Wendell Carter Jr., Chandler Hutchison and Denzel Valentine all had season-ending injuries.Leading scorer Zach LaVine (bruised right thigh, right knee tendinitis), Otto Porter Jr. (strained right rotator cuff) and Kris Dunn (back) were unavailable Wednesday. That left veteran center Robin Lopez starting alongside guards Antonio Blakeney and Shaquille Harrison and forwards Brandon Sampson and Wayne Selden Jr. starting on Wednesday.ADVERTISEMENT Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving LATEST STORIES Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Markkanen did not play Wednesday night in the Bulls’ loss to Portland. The teams announced afterward he will miss the remaining six games.“The long-term health of our players is always our organization’s top priority,” Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said. “We will continue to monitor Lauri’s condition and work with our medical staff and doctors to provide him with everything he may need.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsMarkkanen remained overnight in Toronto after exiting Tuesday night’s loss to the Raptors with what the team called “extreme fatigue.” He was evaluated in the training room by the Bulls’ medical staff and Toronto’s team physician and underwent more tests at a hospital.He also was examined Wednesday in Chicago. Coach Jim Boylen said Markkanen was in his office at 2 p.m. and even wanted to play against Portland. MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img Breakdancing makes next move to Olympic status at Paris 2024 View comments Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants Google Philippines names new country director PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snaglast_img read more

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first_imgofficialsJammu, Nov 26 (PTI) To speed up developmental works in border areas of Jammu and Kashmirs Poonch district, Chief Secretary B B Vyas has directed officials to remove hurdles by taking appropriate action in a weeks time.The officer gave the directions at a high-level meeting here to review the overall development scenario and implementation of various ongoing projects yesterday, an official spokesman said.The meeting discussed issues, including land acquisition, compensation, and forest clearance, hindering development projects, he said.The chief secretary asked officers to speed up ongoing projects and directed them to monitor these to ensure their completion on time, the spokesman said.District Development Commissioner Tariq Ahmad Zargar apprised Vyas about the physical and financial status of ongoing development works, and the programmes taken up by various agencies and departments in Poonch.Zargar also informed the chief secretary about the shortage of equipment and staff, especially radiologists, in the district hospital, and requested for similar infrastructure in sub-district hospitals and health centres.Commissioner Secretary, Health and Medical Education, Pawan Kotwal said that the department was taking steps to fill vacancies of doctors, the spokesman said.Reviewing the progress of newly-created infrastructure for the health sector, Kotwal directed the chief medical officer, Poonch, to immediately take over the new buildings constructed under the National Rural Health Mission and submit a report on the requirement of medical equipment and furniture.During the meeting, Zargar also raised the issue of restoration of a 132 KV transmission line.The spokesman said that the chief secretary visited the sites of various ongoing projects, including the secretariat building, indoor sports stadium, anganwadi Integrated Child Development Services Centre in the town. PTI TAS ANBadvertisementlast_img read more

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first_imgAn international environmental group suggests that reducing Canada’s colossal food waste would be a smart business move and good for the environment.“You can make a really strong business case for action,” said David Donaldson of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, an environmental watchdog agency set up under the North American Free Trade Agreement.Canada is one of the biggest wasters of food on the planet, says the commission’s report, released late last week. The agency found that from farm to table, 396 kilograms of food annually are wasted or lost per capita.That’s compared with 415 kilograms in the United States and 249 kilograms in Mexico.Food is considered lost when it is spilled or spoiled before it reaches its final destination.Not only does that waste have an economic cost — other studies have pegged it at about $30 billion a year — it creates 21 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, largely from landfills.By far the largest part of the waste comes from consumers, says the report. Every Canadian, on average, tosses away 170 kilograms of food a year.The commission’s recommendations focus on the middle part of the food chain where Canada’s groceries are collected, processed, distributed and prepared. That’s where the economic case is clearest, Donaldson said.“You can make a business case for it. Companies can improve the way they do business.”Restaurants could reduce portions, the report suggests. Bread served at tables could be optional. Buffet serving trays could be shallower to reduce the amount of food on display.Retailers could sell cosmetically imperfect produce at a discount, as some already do. Expiry date labels could be standardized.Better tools and techniques to prevent food waste and to make processing and transport more efficient would be a big help, said researcher Tamara Shulman.“We interviewed people from across Canada and everyone’s thirsty to get access to information,” she said.James Rillet of Restaurants Canada said his industry is well aware of the economic benefits of cutting waste.“It’s money out of their pockets.”Rillet’s group already runs programs to help restaurateurs plan better to avoid waste. It’s also working with the Ontario government to avoid food waste due to outdated health guidelines.But he called some of the report’s recommendations simplistic.“Some restaurants are known for their portion sizes,” he said. “There’s so many different concepts.“Consumers want what they want.”The National Zero Waste Council, which is devoted to cutting waste from the Canadian economy, praised the commission’s report and said it echoed many recommendations it has already made.“Best-before dates are low-hanging fruit,” said Denise Philippe. “The dates on our food packaging are all over the map.”Too much food gets tossed because consumers and businesses assume a best-before date is a deadline and not a quality benchmark, she said.“It’s not clear to the consumer and sometimes not to businesses that when we say ‘best before’ we’re not talking about a food safety issue.”Donaldson said more people are becoming aware of the problem.The commission’s report was produced at the request of the three NAFTA governments. As well, all three have signed a United Nations pledge to halve food waste and loss by 2030.A federal strategy is expected this spring.“The issue of food waste, for the last decade, has really come to the forefront,” Donaldson said.— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960last_img read more

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first_imgThe Tug McGraw Foundation (TMF), a national nonprofit that raises awareness, supports programs, and drives research to build greater understanding for brain-related trauma and disease, announced today back-to-back fundraising events for research and programming to improve quality of life for children and adults with brain tumors, our nation’s battle-wounded soldiers, and others suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or Trauma Brain Injury (TBI).“The Tug McGraw Celebrity Pro Am Sporting Clay Tournament continues to be an event that artists, athletes, and our Nashville community look forward to every year,” said Tim McGraw, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and actor. “The work of the TMF allows Tug’s memory and spirit to live on. I know he would be very proud that they have expanded the original mission by supporting programs that help veterans and their families suffering from PTSD and TBI, as well as helping athletes that have suffered brain trauma. My family and I are very grateful to the fans, friends, professionals, and other celebrities that give their time, assistance, and philanthropy in support of this meaningful organization.”On Monday, June 8, 2015 the TMF will host an An Evening in the Songwriters Round, emceed by writer, producer and Great American Country host, and SiriusXM radio host, Storme Warren at the historic Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee. A portion of the proceeds from the Songwriters Round will be directed to the International Mental Health Research Organization’s (IMHRO) One Mind Institute.United States combat marine veteran Marcus Fox will kick off this extraordinary evening with his song “I’m Still Coming Home,” which earned the 2014 Nashville Independent Music Award Song of the Year. Some of Nashville’s leading singers/songwriters will then share the stage and trade off playing their original songs. The round includes: Mark Irwin, Lance Miller, Brad Warren, Brett Warren, and special guest Charles Esten (Deacon) from the hit TV show, “Nashville.”Tickets for this event will go fast, so make reservations early. Tickets and sponsorships are available. Reservations can be made online here, or by phone (707) 947-7122.Already sold-out, The 4th Annual Tug McGraw Foundation Celebrity Sporting Clay Pro-Am will be held on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at the Nashville Gun Club in Nashville, Tennessee. Sponsored by Tarver Land Development and course sponsor First Data, the event will feature an exciting array of celebrities from the music, sports, and professional sporting clay communities, all vying for a chance to be crowned champions.An all-star lineup of celebrities will participate including Tim McGraw, Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, Rodney Atkins, Chase Rice, Cassadee Pope (winner of “The Voice” Season 3), Mike Fisher (of the NHL Nashville Predators), ESPN’s John Kruk, Andy Griggs, Andy Ross, Chase Bryant, Christopher Close, Craig Campbell, John McDermott, Lance Miller, Chris Lucas, Preston Brust (of the LoCash Cowboys), BIG 98 Midday Personality Amy Paige, and Headline Country host Storme Warren.“I am excited and extremely honored to be a part of this cause and to lend my voice to the Tug McGraw Foundation,” said Joe Montana. “I have been a huge fan of both Tim and Faith for years and can honestly say that the immense energy that they give on stage is only a fraction of what they devote to the Tug McGraw Foundation. I had the pleasure of meeting Tug a few years back, and am happy to be here to honor his memory in a fun-spirited way that is so true to his character.”The exclusive star-studded event is a sporting clay shooting competition between 17 teams consisting of four shooters, a pro, and a celebrity. There will be great food and a post event awards cocktail reception. For more information about becoming a sponsor of the event, please visit www.tugmcgraw.org.last_img read more

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first_img(The gateway to the voting booth for the AFN election for national chief. Photo Brandi Morin/APTN)APTN National news WINNIPEG — As chiefs began casting votes in the first ballot of the election for national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, no candidate appears to have a lock on the two regions with the largest number of possible votes: British Columbia and Ontario.AFN national chief candidates Perry Bellegarde, Ghislain Picard and Leon Jourdain, made the rounds Wednesday through the regional caucus rooms trying to sway votes to their side.It appeared that neither Ontario nor British Columbia chiefs nor proxies would be voting as a block in the first ballot. B.C. and Ontario are the two provinces with the most First Nation communities and the most possible votes.Six Nations Chief Ava Hill, whose community sits in Ontario, said she was voting for Picard after discussing the choices with her council.“He has integrity, he takes a stand,” said Hill. “It’s a question of who I can trust the most, and it’s him.”Mattagami First Nation Chief Walter Naveau, whose community is also in Ontario, said he was backing Bellegarde.“I believe he demonstrates through the years that he has strong leadership capacity and he has the ability to inspire a vision across the nations of Canada,” said Naveau.British Columbia chiefs and proxies also seem to be pulled between the Picard and Bellegarde camps.Clint Tuttle, proxy for Malahat Indian Band, said he was being directed to vote for Picard.“He is the one that will stick to his guns, he is not afraid to voice his opinion,” said Tuttle. “And like a couple of others from B.C. said, we don’t always agree with him, but he won’t back down.”Ed Hall, a proxy for Kwikwetlem First Nation, said he was being directed to vote for Bellegarde.“That was the feedback that the chief got from a council member after he got back from the BC AFN,” said Hall.Onion Lake Cree Nation Chief Wallace Fox wouldn’t say who he voted for, but hoped the next national chief respected the will of the treaty holders.“(Prime Minister Stephen) Harper only meets with the national chief,” said Fox, whose Cree nation is in Saskatchewan. “We are the treaty holders, not the AFN, and our people need to respect that, whoever gets elected.”There were about 432 registered chiefs and proxies at last count. Registration for voting ended at 11 a.m. local time.First ballot voting closes at 12 p.m. local time.@APTNNewslast_img read more

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The Supreme Court of Canada was hearing arguments Thursday on Canada’s prostitution law.The high court is being asked to strike down an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that declared the criminal code ban on brothels as unconstitutional. The ruling says the law puts sex workers in danger by forcing them to work outside. Lawyers for the federal government and for the province are arguing against any decriminalization. One of the women at the centre of the court challenge says currtenly the law doesn’t allow workers to protect themselves. But another former sex trade worker is concerned that the legalization of prostitution could put more women at risk.Canada’s highest court set aside five and a half hours Thursday to hear from the more than one dozen interested parties.00:00:00 | 00:00:00::Projekktor V1.3.09 read more

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“I am gravely concerned for the welfare of the people of Baidoa,” said the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Maxwell Gaylard. “Since fighting erupted in July 2002, access to the area has been extremely limited. As a result, civilians have been displaced several times over and aid activities ranging from food distribution to health services have been seriously disrupted.”UN international staff and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been forced to curtail services since the chair of the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA), Hassan Mohamed Nur, and RRA deputies Sheikh Aden Madobe and Ibrahim Habsade began wrestling over control of Baidoa.The instability has spawned a wave of banditry and targeted killings. Aid vehicles are often looted or attacked with landmines, forcing them to take circuitous routes or abandon the missions. The situation is particularly worrying as residents are now facing water shortages with the dry season underway.”The situation is dire,” the UN Resident Coordinator said, appealing to the warring factions to end fighting and allow aid to reach those in need. “The international humanitarian community must urgently be allowed safe and unhindered access to the area so that we may fully assess and respond to the deteriorating situation.”The impact of the unrest is also felt beyond Baidoa, Mr. Gaylard said. The loss of the town as an operational and supply base for aid agencies, as well as a hub for UN flights has made it difficult to implement and coordinate activities throughout the rest of southern and central Somalia. read more

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AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Manufacturing sales up 2.6 per cent in February, biggest gain since July 2011 OTTAWA – Canada’s manufacturing sector did better than expected in February, with auto sales leading a broad-based advance that was the strongest in 19 months.Statistics Canada reported that manufacturing sales rose 2.6 per cent to $49.6 billion in February, the largest increase since July 2011.The gain was broad based, as sales rose in 14 of 21 industries, representing approximately 85 per cent of the manufacturing sector, the agency saidTransportation equipment was the biggest factor, with other contributions from petroleum and coal products, food and miscellaneous manufacturing.CIBC World Markets economist Emanuella Enenajor says manufacturing growth in February was nearly four times more than the consensus estimate.“Sales of autos led the charge, with auto shipments up a searing 13.5 per cent. Coal product shipments were also up, although prices drove gains there,” Enenajor wrote.Constant dollar manufacturing sales increased 2.5 per cent, indicating that most of the gain reflected higher sales volumes.Enenajor said the big gain in volumes probably came from additional production rather than inventory, a potential “big plus” for Canada’s gross domestic product in February.Sales of durable goods were up 3.7 per cent to $25.1 billion, while non-durable goods sales rose 1.5 per cent to $24.5 billion.Sales rose in eight provinces in February, led by Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. by The Canadian Press Posted Apr 16, 2013 8:39 am MDT read more

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PITTSBURGH — Eric Williams Jr. finished with 22 points, five rebounds and four steals and Michael Hughes scored a career-high 19 to power Duquesne to an 83-71 victory over UMass Lowell on Sunday.Williams hit all five of his shots, including three 3-pointers, and 9 of 13 free throws for the Dukes (4-1). Hughes knocked down 8 of 10 shots, grabbed six rebounds and added two blocks. Marcus Weathers pitched in with 10 points and six boards.Williams, Hughes and Weathers are all sophomores for the Dukes, who led the River Hawks 46-33 at halftime. It was Duquesne’s highest-scoring first half of the season. The Dukes are now 18-1 when they have the lead with five minutes left in the game under second-year coach Keith Dambrot.Alex Rivera, who averages 13.8 points per game off the bench, scored 19 to lead UMass Lowell. Rivera came in shooting 43 per cent from 3-point range and buried 5 of 9 attempts against the Dukes. The rest of the River Hawks (4-4) made just 2 of 11 from distance. Obadiah Noel scored 18 and Josh Gantz had 14 points and six boards. Duquesne held Lowell’s second-leading scorer Christian Lutete (15 per game) to two points on 1-of-5 shooting.The Associated Press read more

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INDIANAPOLIS — Denzel Ward had a decision to make.As a highly regarded NFL prospect who might slot among the top 10 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft, he had to make a choice of whether to play in the Cotton Bowl against USC on Dec. 29. He went back and forth, but ultimately chose to sit out and focus on improving his draft stock.However, had the Buckeyes’ made the College Football Playoff rather than end up outside the top-four teams, he would have played. When asked at the NFL combine Sunday whether he would have suited up in scarlet and gray for either the Sugar Bowl or the Rose Bowl, he had a simple answer: “Yes sir.”Former Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward (12) on the sidelines during the Buckeyes’ Cotton Bowl victory against USC on Dec. 29, 2017. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorWard said he did not tell the coaches he would not be playing on the final day, but it was a late, difficult decision. He said he ultimately sat out the bowl game to “not risk injury.”“It’s not that I didn’t want to play the game,” Ward said. “I wanted to play. It was hard. I’m glad I got the win, though.”He said NFL teams have asked him about the decision, but does not believe teams have held the decision against him.“They just want to hear my thoughts of why I did sit out the bowl game,” Ward said.Though Ward did not play in the bowl game as a junior, he practiced the entire week. He said he practiced to help the younger corners, such as then-freshman Jeffrey Okudah who played the most snaps of his career against the Trojans.Ward played three seasons and had a combined 67 tackles, 24 pass deflections and two interceptions. As a junior, he was named a first-team All-American. Ward has a chance to become the fourth Ohio State cornerback selected in the first round, following in the footsteps of Eli Apple, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley. read more

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first_imgThe PSN and SOE hacks may be fixed, and those services on the way back to normality, but hackers are continuing to target Sony servers around the world.The latest attack has seen the Sony Ericsson Canada Eshop server fall, and with it hackers managed to retrieve the personal details of 2,000 accounts. The information taken includes names, email addresses, passwords, and phone numbers. Luckily, the passwords were encrypted making them of little use.As with PSN, Sony has seen no indication that credit card details were accessed during the hack. It also helps that this server was not connected to Sony Ericsson’s main network meaning the information gathered by the hackers was always going to be limited.Other Sony sites falling to hackers recently include the Sony Music site in Greece (8,500 user account details taken), Sony’s Thailand website which was found to contain a phishing website, and Sony’s Indonesia website. It seems an SQL injection was used in each case.The hack has been claimed by the Lebanese hacking group Idahca. They claim to have uploaded the user information to both Facebook and Twitter and also say that credit card details could have been taken, but they chose not to touch them.via BBC News and thestar.comMatthew’s OpinionThis persistent targeting of Sony’s online operations is viewed as a way of showing how weak the company’s security is. But if you look at the flip side of all this Sony is actually getting a very good audit of its operations.Most of the vulnerabilities being found are being used, so Sony knows where they have occurred and can fix them. By the time this assault is over Sony will have much more secure servers around the world. The damage to their reputation has already been done, so they might as well let the hackers carry on without saying anything. At this point they are doing Sony a very big favor for the future.last_img read more

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first_imgUn astéroïde a ‘frôlé’ la Terre dimanche 1er avrilSelon le DailyMail, un astéroïde plus gros qu’un autobus est passé dimanche 1er avril non loin de la Terre, à une distance assez voisine de celle qui nous sépare de la Lune…Détecté par le télescope Pan-STARRS 1 d’Hawaï le 13 mars seulement, un astéroïde de 45 mètres de diamètre est passé à environ 230 000 kilomètres de la Terre le dimanche 1er avril à 9h32 GMT. Baptisé 2012 EG5, l’astéroïde, dont la composition n’est pas connue, aurait pu dégager une énergie comparable à celle d’une arme atomique s’il avait percuté notre planète. À lire aussiPourquoi certains s’évanouissent-ils à la vue du sang ?Néanmoins, “l’astéroïde 2012 EG5 passera en toute sécurité près de la Terre le 1er avril”, avait bien averti un laconique communiqué du Jet Propulsion Laboratory de la NASA. D’un diamètre de 1,80 mètres, le télescope hawaïen, situé à Haleakala, équipé du plus grand appareil photo numérique du monde (1,4 milliards de pixels), est conçu pour rechercher automatiquement dans les cieux les objets en mouvement ou changeant de luminosité : c’est le projet Spaceguard de la Nasa, chargé de prévenir la Terre de tout impact avec un astéroïde géo-croiseur. Deux autres de ces bolides naturels, plus petits, sont d’ailleurs passés ‘près’ de nous au cours du week-end du 31 mars au 1er avril…Le 4 avril 2012 à 13:23 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

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first_img Now Playing Up Next WhatsApp Pinterest Google+ Daniel Bryan Two title matches added to Clash of Champions in three weeks on September 15 WWE stars John Cena, Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler took part in a press conference today in Abu Dhabi to promote WWE’s live events there this weekend. Here are some highlights from the press conference:Cena on his eye injury:“WWE is being extra cautious. A scratched cornea is basically like a scratch on the surface of your eye. I’ve had this injury multiple times. My vision is blurry, it did not effect my driving around Yas Marina Circuit [Cena, Ziggler and Rollins drove cars around the F1 track after arriving in the country]. As always I like to be show up and go and I will be ready tonight and for all three nights.”Ziggler on what his role for Wrestlemania 31 will be:“We have to see how Fastlane goes. There are so many things up in the air right now. I threw out an idea to face Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania because I thought he could have had a better showing at the Royal Rumble, as I thought I should have. We didn’t do our best, I’m rooting for him to get that main event at WrestleMania and also for Roman [Reigns] and see how it plays out. If there is an opening for someone I will be the first to challenge someone.”Rollins on facing Brock Lesnar:“I have watched Brock Lesnar for a really long time and I thought I knew how strong he was, I thought I knew how fast he was. Being in the ring with him, he is a completely different animal. He is a beast. They call him the Beast Incarnate and that is real. Whether you are in the Octagon with him trading fists, or in the ring trading German suplexes it is on another level. It was a pleasure and I am glad I got to be in the ring with him and i think I proved to the entire world I can hang with the guy.”The National in U.A.E. as an article on the press conference that you can view by clicking here. Source: PWInsider.comRecommended videosPowered by AnyClipWrestleMania Could Be Biggest EverVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 0:30/Current Time 0:03Loaded: 100.00%0:03Remaining Time -0:27 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list Jason Namako RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Roman Reigns Videos Articles Now Playing Up Next Celebrity Shortlist: Top 3 Actors You Didn’t Know Could Rap Now Playing Up Next WrestleMania Could Be Biggest Evercenter_img Now Playing Up Next Now Playing Up Next Videos Articles Twitter Vin Diesel and John Cena share ‘intense’ scene Videos Articles WWE Royal Rumble Card Update For 2019 Seth Rollins WWE RAW Preview: Night after SummerSlam, Miz vs. Ziggler, Women’s Tag Team Titles Cesaro Hopeful WWE Will Reunite The Bar WWE RAW Results – 8/12/19 (Night after SummerSlam, Seth Rollins, The Miz vs. Ziggler) Facebooklast_img read more

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first_imgBy Mamadou DemGambia’s Highest Court (Supreme Court) will on Wednesday 12th of November, 2014 determine whether to review or not to review the death sentence imposed on the applicants (Lang Tombong and others) by both the High Court and Appeal Court of The Gambia which was also upheld by the Supreme Court on the 19th of October,2013.Former Chief of Defense Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces, Lt. General Lang Tombong Tamba and six other death row convicts are challenging before a panel of seven judges headed by the Chief justice of The Gambia, Justice Eli Nawaz Chowhan, for the Supreme Court to review their conviction and sentence to death by the High Court upheld by both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of The Gambia.The six other applicants are Brigadier General Omar Bun Badjie, Lt. Colonel Kawsu Camara alias Bombardier, former Deputy Inspector General of, Police Modou Gaye, former diplomat Gibril Ngorr Secka and Abdoulie Joof, a businessman.Replying on the arguments raised by the defence, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Hadi Saleh Barkun informed the court that the applicants were charged under Section 35 (1) a , d and g of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Gambia  and not under Section 35 (1) f as he earlier mentioned. He said even though the applicants weren’t charged under Section 35 (1) f, the death penalty handed over on them was appropriate.According to the DPP, even though the applicants were charged under section 35 a, d, and g respectively, what the trial court applied on the applicants was from the provision of Section 35 (1) f. He referred the court to Section 18 Sub Section 2 of the 1997 Constitution which he said talks about violence.“There is no way a legitimate government can be overthrown without the use of violence,” said the DPP. He added that before a country is invaded by Armed Forces or any other Force, violence must be involved.Talking on Convention and International Law, the Chief-Prosecutor submitted that Section 54 Sub section (8) of the Supreme Court Rules is very clear that the court can only review its Judgment on exceptional circumstances and opined that none of the circumstances cited by the defence prohibits death penalty. “Even if the laws cited by the defence are domesticated,  they are not in any way contradictory or inconsistent with the laws of The Gambia,”  he opined.According to the DPP, Section 209  C and D  and Section 211 of the 1997 Constitution are very clear on International Law; adding that the essence of international law is to guide but they cannot in any way take precedence of the domestic  laws.DPP finally argued that the defence did not furnish the court with sufficient reasons as to why the court should review its decision on the 19th of October, 2013.Countering DPP’s submission, counsel for the applicants Sheriff Tambadou  said, “Whenever violence arise there is presumption of life.”At that juncture, the case was adjourned to 12th of this month for ruling.last_img read more

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first_imgA husband and wife were rescued today about 1,000 feet below the Mt. Adams summit, a point they reached only to get stuck late Thursday on their way down when terrain turned icy, authorities said.At about 10:42 p.m., crews were called on to rescue the husband and wife who were stranded by bad weather and dealing with medical complications, according to emergency police scanners monitored at The Columbian.A search and rescue official said Thursday night the twosome was poorly equipped, cold and likely dehydrated.They were retrieved today at about 10:30 a.m. They were given food and water and walked down the mountain under their own power, said Steve Sutliff of the Yakima County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team. The Tacoma-area climbers are in their 50s.last_img

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first_imgA teen who went missing in Cowlitz County earlier this week was found safe Thursday morning, police said.Evan Byman, 15, told his parents he went into the woods for a weeklong camping trip on Monday and said they shouldn’t try to find him. Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office deputies and volunteers searched for the boy throughout the week but was unable to find him.Someone saw a young man walking on Eufala Heights Road around 8 a.m. Thursday. While police went to investigate, Byman’s family called 911 to report he had come home.“Evan was in good shape and medical treatment was not needed,” the sheriff’s office said in a release.He built a shelter and camped in a wooded area off the end of Eufala Heights. He didn’t know people were looking for him, the bulletin said. “The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office is very happy that Evan is home safe and everything turned out alright.”, said Chief Deputy Corey Huffine. “We have a great group volunteers who dropped everything to help look for Evan, and I would like to thank them and the local citizens who took the time to call in and help us during the search.”last_img read more

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first_imgPresident Donald Trump said Tuesday that he has signed a memo directing the Justice Department to propose regulations to “ban all devices” like the rapid-fire bump stocks involved in last year’s Las Vegas massacre.Seeking to show action days after a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Trump spoke during a White House ceremony recognizing bravery by the nation’s public safety officers.“We must move past clichés and tired debates and focus on evidence based solutions and security measures that actually work,” Trump said.The announcement came days after the shooting deaths of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The device Trump referred to was used in the October shooting deaths of 58 people in Las Vegas, and attached to a half-dozen of the long guns found in the shooter’s hotel room. A legislative effort to ban the device fizzled out last year.White House officials say the president will be meeting with students, teachers and state and local officials to discuss ways of providing more school safety and address gun violence. Pressure has been mounting for action after the Parkland shooting.Trump has also indicated he is open to a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases.Over the weekend, the White House said he had spoken Friday to Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, about a bipartisan bill designed to strengthen the FBI database of prohibited gun buyers.Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders qualified the support, stressing that talks continue and “revisions are being considered,” but said “the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system.”The main action Trump has taken on guns has been to sign a resolution blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people. The president has voiced strong support for gun rights and the National Rifle Association.The bipartisan background check legislation would be aimed at ensuring that federal agencies and states accurately report relevant criminal information to the FBI. It was introduced after the Air Force failed to report the criminal history of the gunman who slaughtered more than two dozen people at a Texas church.The White House statement comes as shooting survivors and other young people press for more gun control in a rising chorus of grief and activism. Their “March for Our Lives” is planned March 24 in Washington.Ella Fesler, 16-year-old high school student in Alexandria, Virginia, was among the students at the “lie-in” in front of the White House. She said it was time for change, adding: “Every day when I say ‘bye’ to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again.”But previous gun tragedies have not led Congress to act. After the Las Vegas massacre in the fall, Republicans and Democrats in Congress talked about taking a rare step to tighten the nation’s gun laws. Four months later, the only gun legislation that has moved through Congress eases restrictions for gun owners.Kristin Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said the measure Trump discussed with Cornyn would help to enforce existing rules but would not close loopholes permitting loose private sales on the internet and at gun shows. She’s pressing for a ban on assault-type weapons and for laws enabling family members, guardians or police to ask judges to strip gun rights temporarily from people who show warning signs of violence.“We need a comprehensive system,” Brown said. “One of these isn’t enough.”Trump, who visited first responders and some victims Friday, had focused his comments on mental health, rather than guns. The White House says the president will host a “listening session” with students and teachers on Wednesday and will discuss school safety with state and local officials on Thursday. They have offered no further details on who will attend those sessions.Trump spent most of the weekend at his private Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago. White House aides advised against golfing too soon after the shooting. But on Presidents Day, the avid golfer headed to his nearby golf club. The White House did not answer questions about whether he was playing golf.President Barack Obama took heavy criticism in 2014 when he went golfing during a vacation just minutes after denouncing the militants who had beheaded an American journalist. He later regretted playing golf so soon after the killing.Trump watched cable television news during the weekend and groused to club members and advisers about the investigation of Russian election meddling.In a marathon series of furious weekend tweets from Mar-a-Lago, Trump vented about Russia, raging at the FBI for what he perceived to be a fixation on the Russia investigation at the cost of failing to deter the Florida school attack. Sharelast_img read more

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first_imgHad the city of Baltimore not been in the throes of another record wave of violence, 2nd District Councilman Brandon Scott’s appearance at the Idlewood community association meeting last month in the 4th district would have been unremarkable.But his talk to a group of residents outside his constituency on how best to address another seemingly unrelenting stretch of violence has some saying Scott is laying the groundwork for a run against Mayor Catherine Pugh in 2020.2nd District Councilman Brandon Scott. (Courtesy Photo)“I knew why he was there,” said a political observer who attended the meeting but did not wish to be named. “I don’t know if anyone else did, but it was pretty obvious.”Perhaps Scott’s desire to be the city’s next mayor is obvious to some.  However, the 32-year old councilman, who won his second term to serve the 2nd district in 2016 says his appearance was the result of an invitation, not a sign of higher ambitions.“I have been going to meetings in other areas when asked my entire elected life,” Scott told the AFRO. “Right now, the violence is the focus, I’m not afforded time to play politics three years into the future. “But the community meeting in Idlewood is not the only high profile move by Scott in recent months. A series of well publicized maneuvers that seemed in part aimed at raising his profile, if not his odds of winning a city-wide election.Just before Halloween the second term councilman declared a crime emergency, summoning police commanders and other public safety officials to council chambers with little advance notice for an afternoon briefing before the Public Safety Committee, which he chairs.“This was a reopening of a hearing we ended in July because they had not presented a plan,” Scott explained.  “We recalled it at that time because of increasing violence.”The police department pushed back.  Commissioner Kevin Davis refused to attend, citing preparations for the sometimes raucous Halloween celebration in the city.“The response was disappointing and unacceptable,” Scott said via text message.  “We followed the rules of the council and city charter so all agencies should have been there.”If indeed his recent moves presage a run for mayor, Scott is perfectly positioned to make his case.Along with his high-profile chairmanship of the council’s public safety committee, Scott has been outspoken on the issue of policing strategy for years.  In fact, several months ago Scott and his fellow committee members released their own crime plan called “Live to Bmore,” a comprehensive blueprint for reducing violence that called for a crackdown on truancy, increasing job training, and focus on guns and repeat violent offenders.All of this activity comes amid another record year of violence, with homicides up 13 percent this year alone.  As of Nov. 21, there were 309 homicides recorded in Baltimore. Add a well-publicized rash of violent juvenile crimes and some say Scott is simply taking the lead on an issue that needs fresh ideas.“I think he’s been a bold leader on the issue,” said Councilman Kristerfer Burnett, vice-chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee.Focusing on crime as a path to the city’s top job is not without precedent.In 1999, then councilman Martin O’Malley promised to cut the city’s homicide roughly in half if elected.  A goal he tried, but failed to achieve through a controversial policy called zero tolerance which led to the illegal arrest of tens of thousands of African-American residents.But supporters note that Scott’s policy initiatives are more focused on alleviating long festering social ills, not just punishment.“He’s been looking for long term solutions,” Burnett said.As for the possibility that Scott may seek higher office, Burnett says it’s news to him too.“That’s not a conversation we’ve ever had.”last_img read more

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