14 corporate partnerships benefitting good causes around the UK

first_imgSilicon Valley Bank & Hands on LondonSilicon Valley Bank has partnered with Hands on London, a non-profit organisation focusing on community service, to pack hygiene and wellness kits to support the homeless. The initiative was part of SVB’s Annual Tech Gives Back week of community service, took place earlier this month. Tech Gives Back is an interactive event created to provide the tech community with an opportunity to work alongside their colleagues and peers to positively contribute to their communities through volunteer work. More than 3,000 professionals from across 200 companies in the United Kingdom, 11 U.S. states, Canada, China and Israel volunteered of hours in the event in total.Image from last year’s partnership with Hands on London Tozers Solicitors seeks Charity of the Year 2020Tozers Solicitors is looking for next year’s charity partner and is inviting nominations until 31 October. Every year Tozers’ staff vote for their Charity of the Year and whilst there is no guarantee as to the amount of funds it will raise, in previous years staff and partners have run marathons, baked (and eaten) cakes, held quizzes and got muddy for great causes. Hendy Group & Cancer Research UKHendy Group has helped Saints legend Francis Benali reach his £1million target for Cancer Research UK after donating a car as a raffle prize. The winner has taken delivery of a new Ford Fiesta ST Line while Benali celebrates reaching the milestone after a series of gruelling sporting challenges: seven Ironman triathlons in seven days. Melanie May | 24 October 2019 | News From Ibstock supporting Shelter to Debenhams and Help for Heroes, here is a selection of recent corporate partnership news. 14 corporate partnerships benefitting good causes around the UK Debenhams & Help for HeroesDebenhams has raised over £2.3m in the five years since it started supporting Help for Heroes. To celebrate, at the retailer’s store in Market Street, Manchester, Debenhams participated in Help for Heroes’ new ’40,000 Strong’ campaign by allowing the charity to take over two of its windows with a team of ‘live’ mannequins, including veteran amputees and fashion influencers. The activity demonstrated the retailer’s support for Help for Heroes, ‘doing its bit’ to help the charity build awareness of the campaign which features an installation of 40,000 model soldiers on display in the Arndale Centre in Manchester.  This represents the number of people from the Armed Forces who have been medically discharged in the past 20 years. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis46 Tagged with: corporate fundraising Corporate Social Responsibility Q-Park & ISPCC ChildlineQ-Park has partnered with ISPCC Childline to support Ireland’s national listening service for children while offering customers discounted parking. The new Q-Park Rewards App is now offering customers the chance to earn cash back on their purchases from Q-Park and its retail partners and donate the amount raised to ISPCC Childline. In addition, individuals who book city centre parking online at Q-Park.ie can receive a 10% discount and support ISPCC Childline by using the promo code ‘ISPCC10′. Q-Park will donate the discounted amount to the charity. Q-Park operates car parks in most of Ireland’s major cities. Morgan Stanley & Teenage Cancer TrustOn Friday 13 September, 300 Morgan Stanley employees set off on a 24 hour cycle from London to Paris to raise funds for Teenage Cancer Trust, the firm’s London charity partner. Following months of training, employees of all cycling abilities set off from Morgan Stanley’s London office in Canary Wharf, cycling a gruelling 300km with a 3,000m ascent, finishing up at the firm’s Paris office. The challenge has raised over £300,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust so far. Lloyds Banking Group & Mental Health UKMental Health UK and Lloyds Banking Group are extending their charity partnership for another two years. The aim is to raise £4 million by the end of 2021 to expand ‘Bloom’ which supports the mental health of young people. The funds raised through the extension of the partnership will enable Mental Health UK to reach half a million young people as well as train over 2,500 teachers. The scheme will help prevent long-term mental health challenges in later years, developing practical resources to provide the skills needed for staying mentally healthy. According to The Mental Health Foundation, 50% of mental health issues start before a person is 15 years old and 75% of mental illnesses start before a person’s 18th birthday.  879 total views,  3 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis46 Deutsche Bank, Cure Leukaemia & Rays of Sunshine Children’s CharityDeutsche Bank’s biggest annual fundraising campaign, One Day, took place on 26 September in support of its Charities of the Year, Cure Leukaemia and Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity. Employees were invited to donate a day’s salary (taken before tax), which is matched by the bank outside of usual matched giving allowance. Last year it raised £1.27m from this day alone and the impact can be seen here. Red Funnel seeks next Charity of the YearNominations to become Red Funnel’s Charity of the Year 2020 are now open. Charities from the Isle of Wight and Hampshire area are encouraged to apply for the chance to be crowned the ferry operator’s charity partner for the forthcoming year. Red Funnel supports over 30 charities, but each year focuses its fundraising initiatives on one charity. This is the sixth year it has run the scheme and so far it has raised over £200,000. Charities can apply at www.redfunnel.co.uk/coty2020. The closing date for entries is 10 November. UKATA & British Lung FoundationUK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) has teamed up with British Lung Foundation (BLF) through its Mesothelioma Patron Scheme to raise awareness, fund research and support the victims of asbestos related diseases. The partnership was announced at UKATA’s AGM by Cheryl Lenny, Research Networks and Partnerships Manager at BLF. Travel Counsellors & Reuben’s RetreatContinuing its support for North West charity Reuben’s Retreat, in September Travel Counsellors took to the airwaves via its own TCTV channel to raise funds in a 25-hour live telethon culminating in a £35k total. A number of live challenges also took place, including groups undertaking walks from Bolton to Trafford, cycling routes from Travel Counsellors headquarters to Glossop-based Reuben’s Retreat, and a motorcycle challenge which saw three Travel Counsellors team members ride over 1000 miles, stopping at four of the UK’s stadiums and drive through England, Scotland and Wales to raise further funds. About Melanie May Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com. Farr Vintners & Cure LeukaemiaFine wine merchant Farr Vintners has been announced as the headline sponsor for former footballer and blood cancer survivor Geoff Thomas’ latest and final Tour de France cycling event, one day ahead of the professionals in 2020. The event, GT15, will take place 15 years after the former Crystal Palace, Wolves and England footballer was declared in remission from chronic myeloid leukaemia. This will be his fifth and final Tour de France challenge taking place from 26 June – 18 July next year. All funds raised from this event will be invested directly into the national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) network which Cure Leukaemia will begin funding from January 2020.Image: Left to right: James Maltin, Geoff Thomas, Doug McKinnon & Hayden Groves during the 3 Tours Challenge in 2017  878 total views,  2 views today Ibstock & ShelterIbstock plc has joined forces with Shelter in a new charity partnership (also main image). Over the next two years, the Group will raise funds for the charity through a series of fundraising initiatives, with a target of £50,000 in the first year. On 18 September, Ibstock plc CEO Joe Hudson was joined by Jeannie Pitt, Partnership Manager at Shelter, to officially launch the partnership at its head office in Ibstock, with a range of fundraising activities taking place across the week to mark the launch including a static Bikeathon which saw Ibstock staff at Leicester ‘cycle’ 465 miles – the distance between the Group’s two most distant sites of Mossend and Swanage. Ibstock has also appointed 50 ‘charity champions’ across its operating sites to help bring staff together to have fun while also raising money. The ATP & Cancer Research UKThe ATP and Cancer Research UK announced a new partnership for the final two editions of the Nitto ATP Finals in London (2019-2020) before the season finale moves to Turin, Italy in 2021. The partnership will see the world’s best eight qualified tennis players and doubles teams come together at the ATP’s season-ending tournament to help Cancer Research UK raise money to fund its research. To kickstart the fundraising, the Nitto ATP Finals has given customers the opportunity to donate when they buy their tickets, and throughout the eight-day tournament, taking place from 10-17 November, short films about the charity’s work will be broadcast. Spectators will also be encouraged to support by text-to-donate or via bucket collections.last_img read more

High court overturns union ruling

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. High court overturns union rulingOn 1 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Employers are likely to find it harder to defend union demands forrecognition following a decision from the Court of Appeal on the role of theCentral Arbitration Committee in disputes. In a case involving union recognition at the London divisions of Kwik-Fit,the Court of Appeal held that in cases disputing the appropriate bargainingunit, everything turns upon the union’s request and the case it puts forward tothe CAC. The CAC’s duty is to consider whether the bargaining unit put forwardby the union is appropriate. In determining this, the CAC can considerarguments put forward by the employer, but it is not obliged to take on abalancing exercise to weigh up competing proposals. The ruling overturned the High Court’s decision in the judicial review ofthe CAC’s award of union recognition to the TGWU in the two London divisions ofKwik-Fit. The High Court said that the CAC had wide discretion to decide themost appropriate bargaining unit and that the union’s proposal need have nomore weight than any other proposals. “This decision is all the more reason for employers to get it right inthe first place before the CAC,” said David Morgan, employment solicitorat McGrigor Donald. last_img read more

Five Surprising Facts About New On the Town Star Misty Copeland

first_img4. A commercial put her on the mapDespite being a superstar in the ballet world, Copeland’s career exploded in 2014 when she became a spokeswoman (spokesdancer?) for Under Armour. In an ad campaign that paid far more than her ballet salary, Copeland dances up a storm as a voiceover reads a rejection letter she recieved as a young girl. #inspiration 3. Prince pushed her to succeedWhen she recieved an out-of-the-blue phone call from Grammy-winning pop star Prince in 2009, Copeland was shocked. “I was literally still waking up,” she told New York magazine. “What? Prince who?” The next day, the ballerina flew to L.A. to star in Prince’s music video “Crimson and Clover” and went on tour with him. Hey, it’s always nice to have a guy in crushed purple velvet looking out for you! Big news, sailors! Misty Copeland, who was just named the first-ever African-American female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, will make her Broadway debut as Ivy in On the Town beginning August 26. While the stunning ballerina is all grace and poise on stage, Copeland is a tough-as-nails dancer who has risen to the top in the cutthroat world of professional ballet, and her life is even more fascinating than the movie Black Swan. From growing up in a motel to secretly dancing on a broken leg, Copeland’s life is just begging to be made into a movie. Check out the five most surprising facts we learned about On the Town’s new Miss Turnstiles. 2. Ballet tore her family apartWhen Copeland was 15, she was caught in the middle of a custody battle between her dance teachers and her mother. While her instructors Cynthia and Patrick Bradley tried to nurture her ballet career and provide her with a stable family life, Copeland’s mother wanted to pull her out of ballet altogether. Copeland ran away and attempted to emancipate herself, but after going to trial, was returned to the care of her mother. View Comments 5. Broken bones won’t stop herAfter being cast in The Firebird at the Metropolitan Opera House, Copeland began to feel pain in her left leg. Determined to make it to opening night, the ballerina ignored her pain and didn’t tell anyone she was suffering. After the performance, she was diagnosed with six stress fractures in her tibia. Something tells us this new Broadway star won’t be calling out sick when she gets the sniffles.center_img 1. She grew up in a motelUnlike her On the Town predecessor Megan Fairchild, Copeland wasn’t groomed to become a ballerina from a young age. She grew up sharing a tiny room at the Sunset Inn with her mother and five siblings in Gardena, CA. When she began taking formal lessons at age 13, she practiced using the motel’s metal railing as a ballet barre. On the Town Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 6, 2015last_img read more

48 Hours in McDowell County

first_imgMcDowell County has many very stocked streams. The mountain trout waters include catch/release at Newberry Creek, delayed harvest in Old Fort on Mill Creek, Curtis Creek, hatchery supported waters at the head of Catawba River at Catawba Falls Campground and at the US 70 bridge in the town of Old Fort. Particularly in and around the Old Fort area and Curtis Creek area, you’ll find wild trout waters. Two of the most popular outdoor sports in McDowell County are fly fishing and mountain biking. Pisgah offers long climbs and fast descents. Elevation changes quickly, but that’s not the only reason these trails are exhilarating. Waterfall Hike Refinery 13 was the first taproom to open. They’re open Tuesday-Saturday between 5pm-10pm. Tuesday Night Trivia is competitive and fun and always attracts a packed house. Lake James State Park is a perfect place to park and go. You have access to 13 trails, offering a combination of hiking and mountain biking trails with varying degrees of difficulty. The Pisgah National Forest spreads throughout western North Carolina and into McDowell County. With close to 70,000 acres surrounding the towns of Marion and Old Fort, these mountains provide the ultimate landscape for outdoor adventures. Find individually owned area cabins, cottages, B&Bs, inns, or a hotel by going to the county’s tourism site. Call 888-233-6111 to request free maps, guides, and more. Old Fort’s MTB areas include legendary trails like Heartbreak Ridge and Kitsuma Peak/Young’s Ridge, local downhill destinations. Day 2 Lake James is ideal for the sports fisherman with over 6,500 acres framed by 150 miles of shoreline.   After burning all of those calories, kick back in downtown Marion and swap stories over a beer and food. The downtown Main Street area includes a variety of new shops, pubs, and a microbrewery. Hike Stay Catawba Falls/Old Fort;Hickory Branch Falls in the Curtis Creek Area/outside Old Fort; Tom’s Creek Falls just north of Marion with a 100-foot drop and it’s an easy trail to hike;Crabtree Falls just south of Little Switzerland with access adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP 339.5; Linville Falls, also adjacent to the parkway with three hiking trail viewing points. Old Fort’s Point Lookout Trail is a paved route ascending Old Fort Mountain where you will gain approximately 900 feet in elevation with a 3.75-mile hike. It opens to spectacular views of the Royal Gorge and if you’re there at the “right time” of day, you’ll watch a train emerging from the mountain. It’s an awesome sight!The Mountains to Sea Trail crosses all through McDowell County and is a 75-mile section. Snook’s Nose is a challenging favorite hiking trail inside the Curtis Creek Area of the Pisgah National Forest.  Newberry Creek Trail is an easy hike. It meanders through the forest until you are within several yards away from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then it’s straight up and is just a gorgeous trail!Marion’s McDowell Greenway is approximately a 3.2-mile round-trip. This greenway borders the Catawba River. Many visitors and residents use the Greenway as an access point to wade in and fish for the morning or late evening. Enjoy outdoor murals in town towns, art organizations in all three communities, and more. There is also a bunch of fun and amazing annual festivals/events happening. Downtown Marion is host to a new music hall and specialty bar, The Spillway Bridge. It’s an eclectic mix of open-mic, jazz, beach music, and bluegrass. Their entertainment schedule says it all. It offers a comfortable vibe with a knowledgeable bartender. Mica Town Brewing is an interesting new spot operated by Emily Causey and husband Jason Snyder.  Their story is as unique as their products, named after local sites and communities. They also host fun events/activities and are open year-round. Kitsuma Peak Woods Mountain Trail View Point Lookout Mountain Bike Ride Food & Drink Tackle one of McDowell County’s 20 public trails! After your morning mountain bike adventure, what better way to cool off than in a waterfall? There are several gorgeous waterfalls to choose from in the region. The top five, according to locals, are Trail conditions pack a punch with lots of roots, rocks, and creeks, scattered throughout lush protected forest lands. Food & Drink The Woods Mountain Trail is known for being one of Marion area’s most challenging rides. The 25-mile trail travels through rugged wildlands and begins and ends north of Marion, North Carolina. This trail is for experienced riders only. Fishing A great downtown dinner spot is McDowell Local. They recently celebrated their one year anniversary. Owners Aaron and Lauren Matthews strive to use locally sourced ingredients and partner with local wineries and breweries to offer the best in locally crafted spirits. Catawaba River Check the NC Wildlife Commission website for detailed maps. Burrito Bros! These brothers learned from their mom and began working with their food truck, transitioning into a brick and mortar site on North Main Street. Their classic logo, Roll One With Us, features a sugar skull on the window fronts. Both McDowell Local and Burrito Bros have been featured on UNC-TV’s Bob Garner’s show. Day 1 Catawba Falls Stop by Bear Creek Marina to stock up on supplies. The public boat ramp is a few yards away from the marina entrance at Black Bear. Artlast_img read more

Next generation member statements—Why design matters

first_img 49SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Steve Biancaniello As co-founder and EVP of Professional Services, Steve possesses over 15 years of experience in the customer communications management space. He is the architect of Prinova’s highly regarded Integrated … Web: www.prinova.com Details The quality of the member experience is commanding increased attention in every industry, given heightened member expectations for a highly personalized experience and the growing ease with which members can choose another organization should they become dissatisfied. This reality is especially true for credit unions, whose members have already indicated a strong preference for the highly personalized, community experience that typically differentiates a credit union’s service from the bank around the corner.In attempting to meet these growing consumer expectations, one touch point that could be overlooked—but shouldn’t be—is your routine member statements. If you think about it, each statement sent actually represents a trusted appointment with every member. Consider this—recent survey results from research firm InfoTrends has shown that 97 percent of bills and statements are opened and read by consumers, and they spend between two to five minutes reviewing the statements received from their financial services providers, banks, insurers, utilities and favorite retail stores.As a regular and recurring touch point with your members, statements offer a powerful, innovative opportunity to enhance the member experience. Statements should be a considered a key component of an integrated member communications program as a vehicle that has a consistent direct influence on member experience, their financial choices and brand loyalty over time. When you look closely at the statements you send out today, do they support these goals?Would you still own a black and white TV?Credit unions send numerous member statements each month, yet, unfortunately, too often these statements don’t look much different than they did decades ago. Continuing to print static, boring black and white statements when there have been compelling advances in statement design capabilities, including digital color and data-driven personalization techniques, doesn’t make good business sense.Adding color to your statements offers numerous advantages for getting your message across and in terms of the customer experience. Consider these facts:Color in documents increases comprehension by 78 percentColor boosts brand recognition by 80 percentFull color mail pieces are 55 percent more likely to be readInvoices in color get paid 30 percent fasterAdvances in digital technologies have made full color statement design both affordable and highly effective. Research continues to confirm the positive impact of color and eye-catching graphics to boost customer engagement and brand recognition. Today, whether working with a print service provider or in-house production facility, you can affordably put those proven principles to work in your credit union’s ongoing statement design to connect more powerfully with your members and sustain more lasting relationships with them.Some important steps for effective statement designHowever, just adding color isn’t enough. Effective design is also critical to boosting engagement. Poorly written, unclear and cluttered statements continue to drive calls into your credit union, lead to a negative member experience and increase the cost of doing business. Improving statement design to ensure they are an asset to your customer communication portfolio requires consideration of several key components that ultimately deliver significant benefits to your credit union and the recipient:Strategic use of color—reinforces your brand and draws the member’s eye to key informationCreative iconography, graphics and other images—helps members navigate the statement and understand important statement information quickly and easilyPlain language writing—ensures that the structure and content of your document is clear and understandable by your membersPersonalization—delivers the right message to the right member in the right channelWhite space—improves readability and makes your statement easier to navigateConsideration of system requirements—ensures that new statements can make it into production seamlesslyTesting—customer testing is an integral part of every successful statement design to ensure the new statement is something your members will properly use and interpret each time they receive itGaining the capability within your organization to generate member communications that follow the design considerations discussed above is vital to leveraging the tremendous potential statements have for improving member experience, loyalty and your credit union’s ROI. A consistently great member experience can transform satisfied members into “brand promoters”—loyal members who look to your credit union for their financial services needs and urge their friends and family to do the same.Members anticipate their monthly statements and bills. They trust the source and attend to the content. As a result, well-designed statements provide an innovative opportunity for credit unions to communicate and connect with members every month in new and lucrative ways that are sure to pay dividends in achieving loyalty through an exceptional member experience.last_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Friday, May 24

first_imgThe Gazette May 10 edition reported Rep. Paul Tonko saying Attorney General Robert Barr was “seriously misleading” the public about the contents of the Mueller report.Barr’s summary quoted the statement on page 173 Volume I of the Mueller report that “the investigation did not establish that the campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” How copying this statement into Barr’s summary becomes misleading escapes me.Perhaps Tonko was influenced by fellow Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who on April 21 stated there is “ample evidence of collusion in plain sight.” Tonko  should call on Schiff to release this evidence so that Mueller, Barr and the American people can see why Barr was completely misled by the Mueller report.Can obstruction of justice exist with no crime (collusion)? According to page 7 Volume II of the Mueller report it can. It states, “obstruction statues do not require proof of crime” and “evidence we obtained did not establish the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.” Using this logic, anyone who is falsely accused could be charged with obstruction of justice if they fought the charges.Charging someone with obstruction when they did not commit a crime strikes me as sour grapes and not reflecting the true meaning of justice.A couple final thoughts: Does anyone seriously think the conclusion on page 173 Volume I will be changed if everything is released, and if Trump is guilty of obstruction, than so is Rep. Schiff, who is doing everything to prolong the investigation.Andy BeiniksCharltonIs Trump bucking for a war with Iran?An act of war? Above the objections of our allies, the United States pulled out of the Iran deal. This deal prevented Iran from making a  nuclear bomb. This act by President Trump was simply interpreted as a juvenile act to undo what President Obama had accomplished. Recently, Trump decided again,  above the objections of our allies, to impose harsh economic trade restrictions on Iran.These punishments dramatically cut oil and metal exports to other nations. This act by the United States is very much like a physical blockade in concept and could be interpreted as an act of war upon Iran by the United States. Will this apparent aggression by the United States goad Iran to respond with an aggressive action?And will a retaliatory aggressive action by Iran give reason for the United States to start a real war, with our best men dying in the Middle East again?A president would not be planning to send thousands of troops to the Middle East if he was not considering an invasionary war. The president is well aware that the popularity of a president goes up when the United States goes to war. Is the end game by Trump to start another Middle East war just to increase his popularity for his re-election? I pray not. The president should concentrate on our real enemies, which are China and Russia.John DworakRotterdamGood economy true measure of fitnessIn Arnold Seiken’s May 22 letter, he said he thinks the fact that President Trump lost $1.17 billion over 10 years should somehow be a reason to question his ability to lead our country.Under President Trump, our economy is stronger than it has been in 40 years. Jobs are coming back. Money from overseas is coming back. Unemployment is lower than it has been in 40 years. I guess you are right. President Trump doesn’t know what he is doing. By the way, under his highness Obama, the national debt nearly doubled in eight years, to $20 trillion. That is more than the first 43 presidents accumulated.I’ll take President Trump anyway.Dave EdwardsHalfmoonHome car-chargers  a boon for engineersThis must be the most optimistic time for an electrical engineer since Thomas Edison, for it offers the opportunity to invent gizmos to turn every house in the world into a “gas station” for the emerging electrical cars. Every car sleeps in its garage 10 hours a day, perfect for recharging.This could displace the new formal recharging stations being built and eliminate the middle man. Who knows, maybe GE could exploit this for its long awaited comeback.David ChildsJohnstownMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionWho are those really obstructing justice?last_img read more

US designates Russian ultra-nationalist group as terrorists

first_imgThe Trump administration has designated an ultra-nationalist group in Russia as terrorists, the first time that the US has applied the label to a white supremacist group.“These designations are unprecedented,” Nathan Sales, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, said in a statement. “This is the first time the United States has ever designated white supremacist terrorists, illustrating how seriously this administration takes the threat. We are taking actions no previous administration has taken to counter this threat.”In addition to the group, the Russian Imperial Movement, the US designated Stanislav Anatolyevich Vorobyev, Denis Valliullovich Gariev and Nikolay Nikolayevich Trushchalov, according to Sales. The Russian Imperial Movement provides paramilitary-style training to neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and it plays a prominent role in trying to rally like-minded Europeans and Americans into a common front against their perceived enemies, according to Sales. The group has two training facilities in St. Petersburg, which the State Department said are probably being used for woodland and urban assault, tactical weapons, and hand-to-hand combat training.“These historic designations are just one part of the administration’s broader efforts to counter white supremacist terrorism abroad,” Sales said. “We’re bringing all of our counterterrorism tools to this fight – information sharing, counter-messaging, combating terrorist travel, engaging with tech companies, and building partner capacity to protect soft targets like synagogues and mosques.”Topics :last_img read more

A’s eye playoffs, unfinished business as sting of 2018 wild-card game lingers

first_imgIn May, NASA announced via Twitter its plan to get astronauts back on the moon by 2024. For a four-year stretch beginning in 1969, the United States sent six manned missions to the moon and a total of 12 men walked on its surface. The last of these left the moon in December 1972 and no one has set foot there since. Going back now is about unfinished work; the plan is to make it so that people can stay on the moon and eventually get to Mars.On a recent Saturday in the visitors clubhouse at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, a handful of Oakland Athletics players were bantering about the conspiracy theory that the moon landings were a hoax. Really, relief pitcher Chris Bassitt was doing most of the talking, playing the role of a skeptic. “Look at this,” he said, passing his phone to a teammate to show him a picture. “I don’t trust that thing to get me to Walmart.”MORE: Dodgers give rookie silent treatment after first two homersThe photo is of the Apollo Guidance Computer. It’s more than 1,000 times less powerful than the average iPhone, and Bassitt questioned whether it really could aid in a trip all the way to the moon. His phone made the rounds through the A’s clubhouse, most of them humoring Bassitt enough to keep the banter going. Bassitt might have been half-serious. The clubhouse was sleepy for a team that had just drubbed the White Sox 7-0 the night before. Maybe he just wanted to rile things up a little. Maybe the debate helps disguise the team’s feelings about a return trip to the postseason.Like NASA’s eventual Mars plans, the A’s have some unfinished business of their own.Last year, Oakland finished with 97 wins and a wild-card spot. Against the Yankees in the American League wild-card game in the Bronx, they went down 2-0 in the first inning, the experiment of using an opener and changing pitchers often throughout the game ostensibly failing on the way to a 7-2 loss. After an excellent regular season, they were one-and-done in the playoffs.The home crowd of almost 50,000 in New York that night was intense, and the pressure and excitement was harder for the Oakland players to bear because they hadn’t been in a game like that before.”It was just kind of overwhelming,” outfielder Khris Davis told Sporting News.But there’s a good chance they’ll be back to the wild-card game, and the question in the clubhouse is whether they’re in better shape to handle it. Right now, the A’s trail the Astros in their division by 10 games, but they’re only a couple of games out of the wild-card hunt. There’s a lot of season left, but Oakland could be making its third trip to the American League wild-card game in six seasons. In 2014, the A’s played the Royals in the one-game playoff and lost by one run, scored in the 12th inning. That year, they used the trade market to get pitchers Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, both of whom pitched in the wild-card game. Lester started and gave up six runs, and Hammel gave up the walk-off hit in the bottom of the 12th. Last season, the A’s used six pitchers in the wild-card game, three of whom aren’t on the 2019 team. The hope is that they have built the right roster combination this year to do more than lose a one-game playoff — to handle their unfinished business.”I think we took that experience and just kind of built some confidence knowing we could get to the playoffs,” Davis said. “And I think this year it’s more about getting deep into the playoffs. Maybe taking another step.”After last year’s run, the A’s let go of pitchers Jheurys Familia, Shawn Kelley and Fernando Rodney, and hitters Jonathan Lucroy and Jed Lowrie. In their place, they added shortstop Jurickson Profar, outfielder Robbie Grossman and relief pitcher Joakim Soria via trade and free agency during the winter. In July, they traded for starters Homer Bailey and Tanner Roark. And now they’ve reportedly signed Matt Harvey as well. It’s a revamped group that represents a shift away from the philosophy that came up short in 2018.”We know we have a deep lineup offensively, but the way we’re using the pitchers has been different,” infielder Marcus Semien said.MORE: As 2019 rookie hitters pile up numbers, a look at past classesThe A’s used an opener frequently late last season, but that practice has essentially gone away this year. With the starting rotation they have, it would be unlikely that they would turn to an opener again in a wild-card game.But even so, is this year’s team better equipped for the win-or-go-home playoff? That might have a lot to do with the intangibles the new players bring. Their postseason experience can help temper the anxieties of the other players who have not gone through a long postseason run. Almost all the guys signed during the offseason and traded for this summer have played through the postseason to some degree. Profar with the Rangers, Grossman with the Twins, Bailey with the Reds, Roark with the Nationals, and Harvey with the Mets. But the wild-card game is the antithesis of how the rest of the season is structured, when it’s all about winning one series at a time. The wild card gives teams one chance to advance. “It has added pressure because you know that one mistake may lead to the season being over instead of just a game being over,” Semien said. “So it’s the season, not the game.”There’s little to no margin for error, or at least the players can feel that way. Davis said that he and some of the others felt last year’s wild-card game going by too quickly, getting away from them before they could settle in.”Not having been there, that’s where the pressure came,” Davis said. “The intensity of every single pitch. Just knowing that it’s only one game added to that pressure. The intensity of Yankee Stadium was a tough place to play.”That’s a common refrain among A’s players. Semien agreed that playing in New York made things tougher. “The crowd was pretty hostile. [The Yankees] got out to a lead and they had the crowd behind them,” he said. “That stuff matters.”A couple of months before the last astronaut left the moon in 1972, the A’s won their first of three straight World Series championships. A feat matched or beaten by only the Yankees. As things stand now, the A’s have about six weeks to secure their return trip to the postseason and address their unfinished business and take the next step. The right roster moves have arguably been made, and now the hope in the Oakland clubhouse is that those are enough. And that some good fortune breaks their way.”It’s a crapshoot. You’ve just got to hope the good things happen on your side,” Davis said. “Baseball is so unpredictable.”last_img read more

CANU to tighten airport security, heighten searches

first_imgAs a result of the large number of persons in 2018 who managed to sneak past local airport security with illegal drugs and were only busted upon arrival at the John F Kennedy (JFK) Airport in the United States and other airports, the Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) has said that plans are in the pipeline to boost detection and searches at local airports.CANU Head Michael AtherlyThe head of the narcotics unit, Michael Atherly told this newspaper during an interview on Monday that the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and the Eugene F Correia International Airport needed new technology to be able to better detect illicit drugs.“We shouldn’t allow any (illegal drugs) to pass, but that’s not possible. Some will slip through because our methods are in need of updating and improving to better technology and so on,” Atherly noted.He added that he was hopeful for budgetary allocations this year to tackle this ongoing issue.The Director acknowledged that there have been at least three such breaches in the past four months, which, according to him, was not alarming.He, however, revealed that plans were in place to have improved searches conducted at local airports. “We do plan to improve our search methods and so on,” the official explained while noting that he does not wish to disclose the plans in detail. The Director would only say that all avenues for improvement are being explored to improve screening and searching for illegal drugs.In October last year, <<>> reported that two Guyanese were facing drug trafficking charges after they were separately busted at the JFK Airport in New York, US with cocaine.Guyanese business owner Luke Kendall was nabbed with cocaine pellets in his stomach upon his arrival on September 20, 2018, in the United States.According to reports, Kendall arrived on a flight from Georgetown, Guyana, and was subjected to a routine search by immigration agents at the airport.However, when the man was asked by the agents to provide names and contact numbers for the persons he was visiting, those persons indicated that they had no idea Kendall was visiting. By this time, the ranks ordered the man to undergo an X-ray examination after which it was revealed that he had ingested cocaine pellets.Further examinations showed that the drug mule had more than 200 pellets containing the illegal drug, which he swallowed. He later admitted to swallowing more than three pounds of the substance.Kendall was charged and arraigned with the offence on September 24, 2018, before Magistrate Steven Tiscione.Meanwhile, a young mother of Ituni, Upper Demerara River, faced similar drug trafficking charges after she was apprehended at JFK with some 200 cocaine pellets in her stomach.The woman, Odessa Edmondson, who was travelling with her baby, was intercepted by US Customs and Border agents.Agents observed Edmondson perspiring and acting in a suspicious manner which led them to question her further. It was then that the young woman reportedly admitted to ingesting the pellets, revealing that she was going to be paid some US$6000 to smuggle the drugs into the United States.Kurt and Maria Bruney, who are also Guyanese, were also nabbed in similar circumstances when they were both busted by US Customs and Border officers at the JFK Airport. The couple allegedly attempted to smuggle hundreds of cocaine pellets into the US, after arriving in New York on a flight from Guyana on September 23.The East Coast Demerara couple both cumulatively had well over 200 cocaine pellets in their systems, with the contents of an excreted pellet testing positive for cocaine. Reports indicate that a sum of US$6000 was promised for his efforts, which was a similar amount to that of the suspected Linden mule.last_img read more