TORONTO – A rare overnight session at the Ontario legislature that saw protesters and politicians gather for debate on a bill slashing the size of Toronto’s council moved the government closer Monday to passing the legislation, which has thrown the municipal election in Canada’s largest city into chaos.The Progressive Conservatives, who’ve been rushing to push through the reintroduced bill after a judge ruled an earlier version unconstitutional last week, said they expected to bring the matter to a final vote on Thursday — about a month before Toronto goes to the polls.Premier Doug Ford said the overnight session was an indicator of the government’s commitment to passing the controversial legislation, which shrinks Toronto’s electoral map to 25 wards from 47 before the Oct. 22 election.“We were here last night, like tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people around this province — the police officers who have to work at night, the nurses who have to work at night and factory workers who have to work at night,” he said. “We were fighting for the taxpayers of this great city.”The midnight session had drawn crowds of protesters to the legislature.Some heckled Progressive Conservative politicians with cries of “shame, shame,” inside the house until the Speaker cleared the public galleries. Others protested outside, chanting “Let us in!” and “Our city, not Ford’s!” as police officers stood in front of the doors.By midday Monday, the majority had left, but protest signs remained scattered on the grounds outside the legislature.Ford, who has drawn much criticism for invoking a rarely used constitutional provision to forge ahead with his council-cutting plan, maintained that the majority of Ontarians supported him.“We are the only ones listening to the people — not the disruptors, not the professional activists that we’ve seen over the last few days. And when you stand up for the people, the people will stand with you,” he told the legislature. “The people are behind us, and I can tell you my friends, we will never, ever back down.”Later in the day, the government downplayed suggestions there hadn’t been enough debate on the bill, which is dubbed the Efficient Local Government Act.“We feel like we’ve heard from all sides,” said government house leader Todd Smith. “We want to provide that certainty to the City of Toronto and the clerk there as quickly as we possibly can.”The New Democrats, meanwhile, said the protests at the legislature indicated many oppose the government’s move.“I would prefer to be here even longer debating this bill,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “But the government is going to ram it through because, just like they didn’t want to hear the voices of those hundreds of people through the wee hours of the morning, they’re not interested in hearing our voice either.”Horwath briefly left the overnight debate to speak to protesters gathered outside the legislature and told them she was proud to see so many rally to defend charter rights at such an unusual time.“Interfering in ongoing elections has … a chilling effect on our democracy,” she said later inside the house. “The reality is this government behaved inappropriately, rammed this change forward without any kind of consultation while the elections were already underway.”Last Monday, an Ontario Superior Court Judge ruled that an earlier version of the bill violated the freedom of expression rights of voters and candidates because it reduced Toronto’s wards in the middle of an election campaign.Ford said his government would appeal the decision and reintroduce the legislation with the notwithstanding clause, which allows his government to override the court ruling.The premier’s use of the notwithstanding clause has been denounced by the opposition parties, prominent Canadian politicians and hundreds of legal professionals.The province has also applied for Ontario’s Court of Appeal to stay last week’s ruling. That case will be heard on Tuesday and if a stay is granted, it would mean last week’s decision will be put on hold until an appeal is heard, and a 25-ward vote would proceed.“All of this is driving more chaos, more uncertainty and more costs,” Liberal legislator Mitzie Hunter said of the added confusion caused by the stay application.Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said the premier’s actions have put the municipal election in jeopardy.“This premier has manufactured a crisis by meddling with elections and trampling on local democracy,” he said. “The Conservatives are acting with impunity, trying to suspend people’s Charter rights under the cover of darkness while Ontarians are asleep. “Evangeline Cowie and Ana Buzdugan, two Grade 12 students from Toronto, had watched the overnight debate for a short time before the public galleries were cleared. The pair said they felt it was important to show their opposition to the bill — even on a school night.“It’s going to send a message that everyone is ready, is prepared to do whatever it takes to go against that decision,” said Cowie, who attended with her parents.“History is kind of going to be made today so I feel like it’s important to be here, especially for something that concerns Toronto and its citizens so much,” Buzdugan added.Frank Griggs expressed similar motivations.“I hope this sends a message to some of the Conservative MPPs that might at least consider voting against this bill based on the feelings of their own constituents and also just their own sense of decency and their own idea of what democracy should be,” Griggs said.The Tory government has maintained that its actions are necessary and within its rights.Last week, City of Toronto clerk Ulli Watkiss said that with each passing day it’s becoming “virtually impossible” to ensure a fair election.
NEW YORK — A government report is showing that Wells Fargo charges students the most in fees on average to have a bank account with them.The report authored by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, released late Friday, showed that students paid an average of $46.99 in fees to Wells Fargo over 12 months. That’s nearly double the fees charged students by TCF National Bank and U.S. Bank, which ranked second and third.The CFPB report focused on what are known as college-sponsored accounts, which is when a bank pays money to a college or university to market their accounts to students when they arrive on campus.Wells Fargo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The Associated Press
London – Morocco was awarded “Africa’s Best Spa Destination 2016” by the World Spa Awards during a prize-awarding ceremony held recently in Italy.Morocco was granted the award by tourism professionals thanks to its thermal spas and luxurious hotels which offer tourists a unique experience.To promote the Moroccan destination, the Moroccan Tourism Office (ONMT) devised a strategy to launch new air routes from Agadir, Marrakech, Oujda, Fez, Tangiers and Rabat. It is also encouraging advertisement in promising markets as France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The World Spa Awards serves to celebrate and reward spa industry excellence through an annual awards program. The World Spa Award is the sister event of World Travel Awards.
Iran’s interior minister announced Saturday that moderate candidate Hassan Rowhani had won outright election as the nation’s next president.Mostafa Mohammad Najjar told a news conference in Tehran that Rowhani obtained more than 50% of more than 36 million votes cast in Friday’s election. Even Rowhani’s inner circle did not predict an outright victory, though his campaign had been polling well in recent days and advisers noted a sense of momentum. Enthusiasm was especially strong among the young, women and middle-class urban voters disillusioned with the nation’s conservative leadership and the stalled economy. Rowhani also did well in voting from the seminary city of Qom, the nation’s religious hub, results showed.Though long regarded as a conservative-leaning cleric, Rowhani emerged in the last week of the campaign as a charismatic champion of reformist ideals, including enhanced personal freedoms, gender equality and artistic liberty. He also backed using foreign policy as a means to improve the nation’s free-falling economy, battered by Western-led sanctions tied to the nation’s controversial nuclear program.Improving the moribund economy was the major theme of all six candidates. (Courtesy L.A Times) Rowhani was the lone moderate candidate supported by reformists in a race that once appeared solidly in the hands of Tehran’s ruling clerics. He faced five other candidates viewed as more conservative. Many observers had assumed that one of his conservative rivals would likely emerge victorious, or at least make it into a runoff election. But instead the conservative vote was split, analysts said, opening the way for Rowhani to pull away from the pack.Only a week ago, Rowhani had been considered a long shot to make it into a runoff election. But he received the endorsement of a pair of former presidents, and a potential rival for reformist votes dropped out of the race, consolidating his prospective support. The victory of Rowhani, 64, a bespectacled, bearded jurist who has long been a member of the inner power circle of the Islamic Republic, was a huge surprise, reflecting several factors, including a tactically adept campaign and a fractured alliance among his hard-line opponents.
Pau Gasol316.31.920.1 K. Abdul-Jabbar816.23.751.3 James’s Cavs and Heat teams have generally gone into the Finals with far less than a coin flip’s chance of winning the series. And although James played poorly (especially by his standards) during his first two appearances — including a 2011 matchup with the Dallas Mavericks, in which Miami was favored and could have won if James had only performed better — he’s been playing at a progressively higher level as his Finals career has gone on. With the Warriors’ juggernaut always advancing out of the Western Conference in recent years, though, it hasn’t mattered.So in that sense, it’s not really a surprise that James has that 3-6 record in the Finals. In fact, if you add up the pre-series odds in the table above, you get an expected championship count of 2.8 for James — meaning he’s somehow running 0.2 titles above expectation, despite his record. Although that trails Jordan (who won 1.9 times more than we’d expect from the pre-series odds), it’s better than Bryant, whose 5-2 mark is exactly even with what the probabilities would have expected.Here are those numbers for every player who averaged at least a Game Score of 15.0 across a minimum of three NBA Finals appearances since the ABA-NBA merger: 2007CLESAS27.5%10.6 2011MIADAL55.913.7 Kyrie Irving318.90.610.4 Count the (adjusted) ringsNBA championships won vs. expected (based on pre-series Elo ratings) for players with at least 3 Finals appearances and an average Game Score of 15.0 per game, 1977-2018 Magic Johnson921.14.051.0 Kevin Durant325.92.42-0.4 2016CLEGSW27.426.5✓ Julius Erving421.22.21-1.2 Stephen Curry418.23.23-0.2 2018CLEGSW19.628.3 LeBron has seldom had much of a chance in the FinalsPre-series odds (via Elo ratings) for LeBron James’s teams in the NBA Finals Clyde Drexler319.81.21-0.2 2015CLEGSW21.424.6 Tim Duncan6220.127.116.11 Scottie Pippen618.104.22.168 Finals Wins Michael Jordan624.54.16+1.9 2014MIASAS20.922.5 YearTeamOpponentPre-Finals W%Finals Game Score/GWon Finals? 2012MIAOKC30.823.6✓ Isiah Thomas317.61.920.1 Another year, another NBA Finals defeat for LeBron James. After his Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Golden State Warriors Friday night, ending a four-game championship sweep, James’s Finals ledger now lists only 3 wins against 6 losses. It’s a mark completely out of step with those of his historical peers, including Michael Jordan (6-0), Tim Duncan (5-1), Kobe Bryant (5-2), Shaquille O’Neal (4-2) and Stephen Curry (3-1). It’s also probably the No. 1 stumbling block in James’s case as the NBA’s greatest-ever player.But, as is usually the case when you dig deeper than simple ring-counting, things are more complicated than they initially seem. For instance: According to the pre-series Vegas lines, Jordan was favored in all six of his Finals bids, while James has been an underdog seven times in his nine trips to the Finals. One of the hallmarks of James’s career has been dragging terrible teammates to the brink of a championship (and none might have been worse than the crew he brought to face the Warriors this season). That’s great for boosting a player’s tally of Finals appearances — but it leads to a terrible record in the title round itself.Because of this, any analysis of rings won has to account for the differing levels of expectation a player’s teams have going into each series. And by that standard, James has actually won more championships than we’d reasonably expect him to, even after falling to the Warriors this year.We can measure a player’s Finals record versus expectation by using FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings (which measure a team’s relative quality at any given moment) to calculate his teams’ pre-series odds of winning the Finals. Add up those probabilities over an entire career, and you get the number of titles we’d expect a player to have won, adjusted for who he played and how good his own team was. Here’s how James’s Finals career breaks down against expectation: Hakeem Olajuwon322.214.171.124 LeBron James922.62.830.2 Shaquille O’Neal622.63.840.2 Kobe Bryant716.75.050.0 Larry Bird520.63.13-0.1 PlayerAppearancesAvg. Game ScoreExp.Act.Diff. James Worthy616.12.730.3 Dwyane Wade517.72.031.0 Game Score is a metric that summarizes a player’s statistical production, set to roughly the same scale as points per game.Source: Basketball-Reference.com 2013MIASAS67.422.5✓ 2017CLEGSW9.629.6 Source: Basketball-Reference.com According to our measure, James is firmly in the middle of this pack of historical greats. That’s probably still a knock if we’re judging his candidacy for the title of absolute GOAT, but adjusting for competition does end up softening the blow of LeBron’s raw Finals record. Individually, James has outplayed almost all of his peers on the game’s biggest stage, but he’s seldom been in a position to convert those performances into championships.And in many ways, 2018 was the ultimate microcosm of James’s Finals career. He went into the series as a massive underdog, after carrying his undermanned Cavs through a grueling Eastern Conference playoff run. Even as James was scoring 51 points in Game 1, JR Smith’s late blunder probably cost Cleveland its best chance to make the Finals competitive. (It also reportedly spurred James to punch a whiteboard in the locker room after the game, injuring his hand for the rest of the series.) Still, according to Game Score, James had one of the best individual NBA Finals of any player since the merger (on a per-game basis) … and for all of his efforts, the Cavs still got swept. He might have been the only player ever, in any sport, who could earn Finals MVP speculation while being on the wrong side of a sweep.This is LeBron James’s fate, it appears. And because of it, we have to measure him relative to his conditions, rather than in the typical vacuum of ring-counting analyses. Perhaps that will be one of James’s enduring legacies: He caused us to bring a new level of nuance to the usual debates about Finals records.
Organisers are hoping numbers will go up today before accreditation is finalised. The Legion said it expects numbers to increase back to 10,000 next year when the new system is more widely understood.It said the change had been made to control numbers at the “oversubscribed” service, which this year falls on November 13 and allow the maximum number of service personnel and veterans to take part.Under the new rules, veterans who struggle to walk will be assigned help from someone already taking part, rather than being allowed support from their family.A spokeswoman said: “We stand by the decision to apply more rigorous eligibility criteria for participation in the March Past, which was taken with the agreement of a wide range of stakeholder groups from across the veteran community and government. “As a result of this decision every veteran who wants to march past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday is now able to do so, and we must prioritise those who have served as part of the British Armed Forces.The number of participants this year is marginally lower than our limit of 10,000, however we expect to see this figure rise again next year once the new system is more widely understood.” But this year the Royal British Legion has admitted failing to fill its allocation after being forced to draw up a strict criteria.Fears of a terror atrocity have led police to insist for the first time those wanting to take part register in advance to supply names, addresses and dates of birth.In addition to security concerns, the Legion said it had drawn up a list of include only veterans and widows. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. However, veterans sources said many people had been caught out by the change and either failed to apply, or applied too late.One source familiar with the arrangements said: “It’s a shame because there’s a real risk the parade is going to look a lot smaller this year.”Another veterans’ source said: “We’ve had some people complaining about the new rules, saying they cannot apply for tickets.”The rules have caused anger among some families who have marched in remembrance of their relatives in the past. Sally Aitchison told rerporters said she had been taking part for the past five years in honour of her father.The 47-year-old, from Croydon, said: “I got a call saying I didn’t have a ticket because of this and I’m still in a state of shock. Every year I get my father’s medals down from where I have them in storage.”Standing on the sidelines is just never going to be the same.”Sources said the threat of a terrorist attack means Scotland Yard has insisted on new “enhanced security arrangements”, including named tickets and photo ID for those taking part.Nadir Syed was earlier this year jailed for life for plotting to murder someone around Armistice Day in 2014. The 23-year-old from West London had been inspired by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil), after listening to a call to arms by the group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani.Police sources said there was no specific intelligence of a threat against the high-profile event this year, but “security measures and advice remain under constant review in an effort to keep everyone safe.”The terror threat level in the UK is currently “severe”, meaning an attack is “highly likely”. Senior veterans have expressed anger after family members were excluded from the Remembrance Sunday march past the Cenotaph amid heightened security.Terror fears and a ban on all relatives but widows taking part means the annual veterans parade could have a shortfall of as many as 1,600 people.For years the event has been oversubscribed, with 10,000 people usually joining the annual Whitehall parade. Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of Armed Forces in Afghanistan, said it was a “great shame” that children and parents were missing out on the chance to pay tribute.”It cannot be underestimated how much these memorials mean to the loved ones of those who have been lost,” he added.”I think the Royal British Legion should have been more proactive in the circumstances to make sure every place available was filled.”They have had a long time to think about this. We certainly cannot say that this security threat is new.”Ticketing for the event has also been tightened, with many people having forgotten to apply, it is claimed.
Operation Grange, which was launched by the Metropolitan Police in 2011, is still pursuing several lines of inquiry. The Home Office has granted the force an extra £154,000 in funding which will allow detectives to extend the investigation for another six months. Portuguese police shelved its own investigation in 2008, but after pressure from Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, Scotland Yard launched… It’s now 11 years since Madeleine’s disappearance from her family’s holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on May 3 2007. Scotland Yard is to continue the hunt for Madeleine McCann, the Telegraph can reveal ahead of the 11th anniversary of her disappearance on Thursday.
CiDRA Oilsands has achieved the successful commissioning of over 1,000 HALO® pipe wear measurement and characterisation systems. HALO SMARTring technology and service, a leading automated pipe wear measurement tool and service in the oil sands industry, “overcomes the deficiencies of traditional, manual ultrasonic methods for measuring pipe wall wear.” CiDRA says it leverages its sonar and signal processing expertise to provide “timely, accurate, repeatable pipe wear measurements and other relevant pipeline information and wear characteristics.” The SMARTring pipe wear measurement tool clamps around the outside of the pipe and remains installed throughout the life of the pipe. On larger diameter pipes, the SMARTring solution features twelve measurement locations, equally spaced around the pipe.On-demand, a CiDRA technician can connect a smart handheld reader-processor to each SMARTring sensor band and record all 12 measurements simultaneously. Because measurement of all 12 points can be made virtually in seconds, tens of thousands of points on hydrotransport and coarse tailings slurry pipelines can be frequently measured, and repeatedly and reliably tracked, thereby enhancing predictive modeling and action by pipeline and asset reliability teams. The system is certified for use in Ordinary Locations and Class 1 Div 2 environments. “This milestone reflects CiDRA’s ongoing commitment to our customers in Ft. McMurray”, said Perry McKechnie, Director of Operations, CiDRA Oilsands. “HALO represents just one of CiDRA’s many investments in innovative solutions that help support the production uptime and operating efficiency initiatives of our customer-partners.” Since it began serving the oilsands industry in 2003, CiDRA has successfully launched a series of innovative products and services, based on SONARtrac, SANDtrac and SMARTring technologies, that have been tailored to meet the unique challenges of its customers involved in mineable oilsands operations. These solutions help enable customers to enhance recovery, production and resource sustainability.
PUBLIC EXPENDITURE MINISTER Brendan Howlin has told TDs that the well-flagged Budget measure allowing free GP visits for all children aged five and under is the first step towards a universal scheme.As part of his Budget speech, the Labour minister told the Dáil:“In line with the Programme for Government, I am allocating €37 million to fund the roll out of free GP care for children aged 5 and under, as a first step in our programme to provide Free GP Care for all.”The move has been criticised by, amongst others, the Irish College of General Practitioners, who said it “represents a major change to how early years health services are currently organised and paid for”.The representative group said “there has been no discussion with the profession on this”. “It represents an excellent opportunity to look at how a high standard of care can be provided to Under 5’s, but planning, dialogue and inclusion of GPs and other stakeholders is required for it to work in practice.”Read: As it happens: The Budget 2104 Liveblog >
Met Éireann warns of possible spot flooding as weather warning remains in place> THE WIND IS BLOWING and Ireland is on storm warning, but this isn’t the first time Ireland has been battered by bad weather in early January.This day 175 years ago, Ireland experienced the worst storm the country had seen in over 300 years, bringing gusts of up to 185 km/h.The night of the ‘Big Wind’The night of the “Big Wind” took place overnight in 1839 on 6-7 January, causing wide-spread damage across the country, according to Met Eireann.Winds reached hurricane force and a quarter of all houses in Dublin experienced some damage, ranging from broken windows to complete destruction.There were also a number of casualties reported and up to 400 people are reported to have died. In Greenhill, two children were killed after the house they lived in collapsed.Newspaper reports from the time state that the captain and 14 of the crew of the ‘Andrew Nugent’ – a 200-tonne sailing vessel – died after the ship was wrecked off Arranmore Island, County Donegal. Twelve men of the Roundstone coastguard were also reported to have drowned.Worst storm in 300 yearsAccording to a study from UCD, the storm was the worst storm Ireland had seen in 300 years.The depression tracked eastwards up towards the north of Ireland. Estimations of the cost of the damage caused by the hurricane-force winds to present-day values would suggest a bill well in excess of €250 million.John Sweeney from the Department of Geography in NUI Maynooth stated that “a repeat of this storm is considered to be the worst case scenario for insurance purposes in Ireland. The storm came at a time when a rudimentary instrumental network of meteorological stations was being established across Britain and Ireland, enabling objective rather than subjective data to become available”.Read: Insurance industry: Too early to estimate cost of damage caused by storms
What: Clark County Historical Society’s Authors’ Party and membership meeting. Museum director Susan Tissot will discuss the museum’s past year and preview 2012. “Clark County History 2010” will be available free for members, $14 for nonmembers.When: 5 p.m. Thursday. Membership meeting begins at 6 p.m.Where: 1511 Main St., Vancouver.Information: 360-993-5679 or Clark County Historical Museum.Everybody Has a Story:’Mighty Mauler’ lost fighting spirit after friend’s death in ringHoward Gingold brought a newcomer’s fresh eye and a professional’s seasoned skills to Clark County and its history.“I just like to tell good stories,” he said. “If it’s not a good story, I’m not interested.”Gingold spent decades chasing good stories. The Los Angeles native worked in newspapers and television news as a reporter, writer, producer and CBS bureau chief. Then, a few years ago, he retired to Vancouver with his wife, Fayma Goldman, after the couple’s son moved to Battle Ground.Fayma started volunteering at the Clark County Historical Museum and eventually asked museum director Susan Tissot if there might be any tasks for her husband — an inveterate storyteller with too much time on his newly unbusy hands.Tissot quickly realized what an asset she’d have in Gingold, and made him editor of “Clark County History,” the annual journal published by the county historical society, which also operates the museum. Tissot said Gingold — and designer Jane Leonard, another recent volunteer recruit — have brought a new level of professionalism to the publication, which started up in 1960 but went on hiatus for a few years as longtime volunteers grew old and fell away.
The place to be is right here in Clark County. Actually most anywhere in Washington and Oregon. The place not to be is in British Columbia, as the jet stream continues to usher weak weather systems across the province with more clouds and showers.So a status quo forecast into the extended period which includes most of next week. Varying amounts of morning low clouds and plenty of afternoon sunshine with highs in the much-desired ’70s.I don’t have any complaints in my mailbox for a change, which is nice. Still no rain on the horizon, which may be good for hay farmers and of course strawberries and backyard gardeners. Temperatures are cool enough at night for sleeping and not really warm enough to have the air conditioner on. The best of two worlds, I think. The ocean beaches will have pleasant afternoons the next few days but a light sweatshirt might be in order for those afternoon north winds. Wednesday I gave a weather talk to a great group of people who offered many good questions. The one topic I didn’t desire to get into was a new discovery that hurricanes with females names tend to be more destructive than those with male names.
A tourist train derailed Wednesday afternoon north of Skagway and initial reports stated some passengers received minor injuries.The White Pass Yukon Railroad runs scenic train tours between Skagway and Carcross, Yukon. Railroad president John Finlayson confirmed the derailment and said the company was still investigating the cause. He said did not want to comment on any injuries while passengers were being treated and evaluated.Coast Guard Spokesman Kip Wadlow said Air Station Sitka helicopters were put on standby to assist, but were not called out.Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau was notified and went into incident command about 3:45 p.m., according to spokesman Jim Strader. Shortly before 4:30 p.m., Strader said Bartlett received notification to stand down.Skagway municipal officials and Skagway fire and police departments on Wednesday referred all questions about the incident to White Pass.Skagway tourism director Buckwheat Donahue said he was told the incident took place near Summit Lake along the border with Canada. He said he was also told by White Pass representatives that trains were cancelled the rest of Wednesday and possibly part of Thursday.The railroad was built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush. Now it services as one of Skagway’s primary scenic attractions for visitors, traveling over White Pass between Skagway and Carcross, Yukon.
Kolkata: Citizens may have to shell out a maximum fine of Rs 1 lakh for littering in public places, as the West Bengal Assembly passed a Bill to enhance the penalty for offenders. The penalty has been raised through an amendment to section 338 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (second amendment) Act which was passed in the Assembly Thursday. The move comes after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her displeasure after finding out the newly inaugurated Dakshineswar skywalk was stained with betel juice. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life The Bill proposed to impose a minimum fine of Rs 5,000 and a maximum penalty of Rs 1 lakh fine on litterbugs. The earlier law stipulated that minimum penalty for dumping garbage was Rs 50 and the maximum fine was Rs 5,000. It also came on a day, state Urban Development Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim was elected the new mayor of Kolkata after the exit of Sovan Chatterjee, on the directions of Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. Banerjee had formed a 11-member committee on Wednesday to check spitting and littering in public places. Hakim said, he will take up a major awareness drive to keep the city clean. A senior citizen, who did not wish to be named, said “The city had earlier failed to impose a fine of Rs 50 for littering, I am not sure how effective it will be this time.”
Register Now » In a January earnings call with investors, Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook made a confident prediction: “2015 will be the year of Apple Pay,” he said.Since then, the company has aggressively courted retailers – and claimed significant success. “We’ve spoken to all of the top 100 merchants in the U.S., and about half will accept Apple Pay this year, with many more the following year,” a company spokesperson recently told Reuters.But interviews with analysts, merchants and others suggest that Apple’s forecast may be too optimistic and that many retailers remain skeptical about the payment system.The service is one of Apple’s biggest bets, a chance to tie customers more tightly to its phones and its new smart watch, as well as to take a tiny bite from every retail transaction.To assess Apple’s progress, Reuters worked from the National Retail Federation’s list of the top 100 U.S. retailers, surveying the 98 that had brick-and-mortar outlets (two of the top 100 sell only online). Eighty-five supplied detailed responses, and 11 others supplied information only about whether or not they accept Apple Pay. Two did not respond.While some of the country’s top merchants said they use and like the mobile payment system, fewer than a quarter of the retailers said they currently accept Apple Pay, and nearly two-thirds of the chains said categorically they would not be accepting it this year. Only four companies said they have plans to join the program in the next year.The top reasons retailers cited for not accepting Apple Pay were insufficient customer demand, a lack of access to data generated in Apple Pay transactions and the cost of technology to facilitate the payments. Some merchants said they were holding out because they plan to participate in a new mobile payment system to be launched by a coalition of retailers later this year.A Small But Growing MarketReliable statistics on mobile wallet payments are difficult to obtain. Neither the companies offering payment systems nor credit card issuers will disclose detailed data about usage. But analysts agree that they are used for only a tiny percentage of U.S. retail transactions.An online survey conducted by Verifone and Wakefield Research released in January 2015 found that mobile wallets accounted for about 4 percent of the overall payments market for in-store retail transactions in the U.S.How that market is divided up among the major players is not entirely clear. An ITG Investment Research study conducted in November, soon after Apple Pay was launched, found that the service accounted for 1 percent of digital payment dollars, while Google Wallet accounted for 4 percent.Since then, analysts agree, Apple Pay’s market share has grown dramatically. “In the last six months or so there has been more acceptance of Apple Pay,” said Steve Weinstein, senior internet analyst for ITG. “Google Wallet has kind of stalled out.”In January, Apple’s Cook, citing internal data, said Apple Pay accounted for two out of three dollars spent in “contactless payments,” but the company did not provide data to back up those numbers.Still, it is clear Apple Pay has made considerable progress in signing up vendors, with more than 700,000 sites as of March 9, the last time Apple updated its numbers, including self-service terminals such as vending machines, laundromats and parking meters.Interviews with retailers suggest that the company has relied on aggressive marketing to recruit participants. “They have been pushing hard and it’s been that way for months,” said the representative of one large retailer that has no plans to accept Apple Pay. “They have called and tried to persuade us even after we communicated our decision to them.” The company hasn’t adopted Apple Pay, he said, because not even a “small percentage” of its customers have asked for it.Speed, Convenience and SecurityMany companies that accept Apple Pay report that they and their customers are happy with it. Whole Foods spokesman Michael Silverman said that Apple Pay transactions accounted for 2 percent of its sales dollars as of March and that it expects use to rise.”Our shoppers are really enjoying the speed, convenience and security of Apple Pay,” he said.But for other retailers and consumers, Apple has yet to answer the question “what is in it for us if we use Apple Pay?” said Alberto Jimenez, program director for mobile payments at IBM, which provides technology to mobile wallet makers and retailers. Jimenez would not say whether Apple is among their customers.The program doesn’t offer loyalty rewards to customers, as companies such as Starbucks (SBUX.O) do with their mobile applications, nor does it provide customer information to retailers about Apple Pay users.For 28 of the retailers surveyed by Reuters, lack of access to data about customers and their buying habits is a key reason they don’t accept Apple Pay. “One of the biggest concerns is data control,” said Mario De Armas, senior director, international payments at the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.When a credit card is swiped through a terminal, the retailer gets the name and card number, which when combined with publicly available demographic data like address, phone and email, helps retail chains send well-targeted promotions to customers.Wal-Mart and 18 of the other top retailers are part of a coalition challenging Apple Pay with a mobile wallet called CurrentC, which is scheduled to launch in mid-2015.Retailers participating in CurrentC won’t be allowed to accept any other mobile wallet until 2016, according to a senior official at MCX, the company launching CurrentC. For that reason alone, 19 of the NRF’s top 100 retailers will not be able to accept Apple Pay before the end of the year, although three of them said they plan to accept Apple Pay by early 2016.Another reason cited for not accepting Apple Pay by retailers surveyed by Reuters was the cost of terminals and computer upgrades required to accept a mobile wallet.”What is the return on investment?” asked Maureen Elworthy, director of treasury at Ahold USA, which runs supermarket chains like Stop&Shop, during a panel discussing Apple Pay at an industry conference. “The [return] is negative,” she said.She told Reuters that Ahold USA does not plan to accept any wallets because they see it as an investment cost without immediate returns. The cost to merchants of accepting a mobile wallet is highly variable depending on what technology they already have in place.Retailers face an October deadline to upgrade their credit card terminals to accept cards with microchips, and the new terminals will typically also support contactless payments such as Apple Pay.But mobile payments also require back-end systems that can be costly, especially for a large retail chain accepting multiple types of mobile payment systems, said Rick Dakin, chief executive of Coalfire, a security systems and IT infrastructure firm.Apple declined to comment on the cost to retailers of accepting Apple Pay but referred Reuters to Ian Drysdale, Executive Vice-President at payment processor Elavon, which works with Apple.Drysdale downplayed the cost issue.”As long as the retailer is upgrading to the new payment terminals, which are enabled with contactless payment technology, there is very little additional cost to accept Apple Pay,” he said.Ultimately the success of Apple Pay may rest with iPhone users like Scott Braeckel, an iPhone 6 owner who has used Apple Pay – but only once.Braeckel said he liked the Apple Pay experience, but he generally pays with a credit card, even at places like McDonald’s, which accepts the mobile wallet.A survey released in March by shopper insight firm InfoScout and PYMNTS.com of more than 1,000 iPhone6 users found that while 15 percent of them had tried the payment system, only 6 percent said they continued to use it.”It was an interesting curiosity but hasn’t moved into daily use for me because frankly, I don’t really shop at places it’s taken,” Braeckel said. “The places I mostly shop, which are my grocery store and pharmacy, don’t accept it.”(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Chicago and San Francisco, Editing by Peter Henderson and Sue Horton) Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global This story originally appeared on Reuters June 5, 2015 7 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.
Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Russia has sided with Assad in Syria’s civil war, sending him weapons and shielding him against Western attempts to impose international sanctions.Israel is concerned advanced Russian weapons could fall into the hands of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, another Assad ally.Landau says the Russian arms supplies “promote instability in the Middle East” and that “anyone who provides weaponry to terror organizations is siding with terror.”(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help JERUSALEM (AP) – An Israeli Cabinet minister is accusing Russia of destabilizing the Middle East by selling weapons to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.Monday’s remarks by Tourism Minister Uzi Landau are likely to raise tensions with Russia on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow.Netanyahu is expected to press President Vladimir Putin to halt the arms sales to Assad’s government. Top Stories 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean
0 Comments Share The Arizona Cardinals announced Friday they have signed six players to future contracts. Linebackers Tim Fugger and Colin Parker, defensive linemen Ricky Lumpkin and Everrette Thompson and running back Fozzy Whittaker were all on the team’s practice squad last season and have been re-signed for 2013, whereas offensive lineman Jeremiah Warren was signed to a new contract.Warren spent most of 2012 on the Patriots practice squad after signing as an undrafted free agent out of South Florida. He started 38 career games in college and was named to the All-Big East second-team as a senior. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo
Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald (11) before an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015. The Panthers won 27-16. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone) After five straight 1,000-yard seasons, Fitzgerald has not had more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season in any season since signing his new contract extension.Last season, the 6-foot-3, 218-pound wide receiver had 63 catches for 784 receiving yards, both are which were the lowest totals since his rookie season in 2004. His two touchdown catches were a career-low.Fitzgerald, 31, is the Cardinals’ all-time leader in receptions with 909 catches for 12,151 yards and 89 touchdowns in 11 seasons.Fitzgerald is joined on the list by a NFC West opponent in St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook. Other notables on the list are Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown, Philadelphia Eagles running back DeMarco Murray and Chicago Bears linebacker Jared Allen. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact There is very little doubt that Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most decorated players in franchise history.But is he overpaid?Grantland.com writer Bill Barnwell included Fitzgerald on the “NFL’s All-Bad Contracts Team,” saying that his 2011 contract extension may have more harm to the franchise than good.Contract Flaw: Ever Fallen in Love With a Player You Shouldn’t Have?That’s really not fair. The Cardinals should have been in love with Fitzgerald, because he was an incredible receiver for a long time. The problem is that former Cardinals general manager Rod Graves gave Fitzgerald a mammoth eight-year contract extension that any receiver would have struggled to justify, with a cap hit of $20.5 million in 2012. It didn’t help that Fitzgerald’s numbers took a dramatic downturn that year, as a combination of poor quarterbacks and slowing wheels has kept Fitzgerald under 60 yards per game during each of the past three seasons.New general manager Steve Keim was forced to restructure Fitzgerald’s deal last season to clear out cap space, and with an untenable $23.6 million hit looming for his deal in 2015, the Cardinals ripped up Fitzgerald’s deal again to keep him on the roster. That new contract is hardly a bargain: Fitzgerald’s cap numbers ($10.9 million in 2015 and $15.9 million in 2016) will leave him among the league’s four highest-paid receivers over the next two years. The punishment for the deal really arrives in 2017, though. Fitzgerald’s deal automatically voids after the 2016 season, and the Cardinals will be left with a $9.7 million dead-money charge on their cap for a player who won’t be on their roster. In terms of cap hit, Ndamukong Suh will actually cost more to not play for Detroit ($9.7 million) this season than he will to play for Miami ($6.1 million). That is likely to be the case with Fitzgerald in 2017.Fitzgerald agreed to a seven-year, $113 million contract with $27 million guaranteed following the 2011 season. He has since restructured his deal this offseason to a two-year, $22 million deal that is fully guaranteed. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling
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