BeccaToldMeTo NB celebrates terminally ill teens kindness campaign

first_imgRIVERVIEW, N.B. – It all began as a bucket-list wish, but now a teenager with terminal cancer whose online campaign for kindness has inspired do-gooders across the globe is being recognized in her native New Brunswick with an official day in her honour.Rebecca Schofield, an 18-year-old who lives in Riverview, N.B., learned her years-long battle with brain cancer had taken a turn for the worse last December, with doctors giving her only months to live.She turned her terminal prognosis into a call for “mass of acts of kindness,” asking her Facebook followers to help her cross an item off her bucket list by doing good deeds and sharing them on social media under the hashtag #BeccaToldMeTo.The request soon went viral, eventually leading hundreds of people to commit altruistic acts in her name.“She started something just to encourage people to be kind, and it’s grown so much. It’s kind of got a life of its own,” Anne Schofield, Rebecca’s mother, said in an interview. “It’s really just a simple message: Be kind.“She says that being kind is something that’s taught, and it’s not a hard thing to learn.”The campaign has attracted international media attention, and has even received a shout-out from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.“It’s my pleasure to recognize Rebecca Schofield for her bravery, volunteerism and inspiring commitment to community,” Trudeau tweeted in February.The New Brunswick government has declared the third Saturday of September “Becca Schofield Day,” with several events being held in her honour, with proceeds going to three charities of the teenager’s choice.Premier Brian Gallant said he was “honoured” to take part in Saturday’s festivities.“Becca is an amazing individual, who has shown us that acts of kindness, big or small, can make a real difference,” Gallant tweeted. “The example she has set makes the people of this province incredibly #NBProud.”The Schofields’ Facebook page has been flooded with posts of good deeds as part of the inaugural celebrationSome gestures were as small as treating two chicken-suited mascots at a car dealership to Tim Hortons in New Brunswick, handing out “kindness cards” in Arizona, or sharing extra bus tickets with strangers in Kuwait.Others contributed to broader efforts such as giving quilts to veterans in Moose Jaw, Sask., or donating 750 handmade finger puppets to a hospital in Halifax.Heidi Wheelock of Woodstock, N.B., said she spent Saturday handing out “goodies” with her six-year-old daughter, Lucy, hoping that Rebecca Schofield will become something of a role model for the youngster.“(Rebecca) shows that even in the worst of times, you can always find the positive in something,” said Wheelock. “(She) is just kind of uniting, gosh, basically the world. There’s pictures of people that have been participating all over the place.”Zoe Cole, a 50-year-old cancer survivor from Miramichi, N.B., said she cried as she scrolled through social media Saturday, wishing “Becca Schofield Day” was a year-round national holiday.Cole said the teenager’s message has helped her deal with the emotional impact of disease by inspiring the type of support she felt she lacked during her own battle with cancer nine years ago.“I just brings back all these memories (of) how people should be,” Cole said. “People need to be reminded to be nice, and be kind, and to help others where you can. That should be instilled in us.”No one has benefited more from #BeccaToldMeTo than Rebecca Schofield, her mother said. She said when the teenager is too sick to leave the hospital, browsing through social media “brightens her day” as she takes pride in seeing people perform good deeds on her behalf.“In some ways, it was a very selfish thing to ask people to be kind to each other,” Anne Schofield said. “It benefits her so much more than you would know. … People are getting strength from her, and she gets strength from them.”— By Adina Bresge in Halifaxlast_img read more

In the news today Sept 17

first_imgEight stories in the news for Monday, Sept. 17———AMBER ALERT ISSUED FOR LITTLE GIRL IN SASKATCHEWANAn Amber Alert was issued Sunday night for a six-year-old Saskatchewan girl who RCMP say was in the back of her family’s SUV when it was stolen outside a strip mall in North Battleford. Police said Emma O’Keeffe suffers from epilepsy and autism, and is non-verbal and unable to walk. They said the vehicle was taken late Sunday afternoon after the girl’s mom left it running and went into a strip mall business. Police said Emma requires medication every 12 hours and that missing a dose could lead to extreme medical distress.———RECOVERY CONTINUES FOR CALGARY GIRL HURT IN TEXAS CRASHA Calgary girl who was paralyzed in a Texas highway crash in July is heading to a children’s hospital in California that offers high-tech treatments for spinal injuries. Ten year old Mehak Minhas is to arrive at the Shriners hospital in Sacramento today, accompanied by her eight-year-old sister Jupleen and mother Jasleen. The trio were on holiday with three other family members when their minivan collided with an 18-wheeler. Mehak’s father, brother and grandmother died in the crash.———PROTESTERS RALLY OUTSIDE ONTARIO LEGISLATURE DURING MIDNIGHT SITTINGHordes of protesters shouted to be allowed inside the Ontario legislature as provincial politicians gathered for a rare midnight sitting to speed up passage of a bill to cut Toronto’s city council nearly in half. Protesters also voiced their opposition to the bill inside Queen’s Park, heckling Progressive Conservative legislators with cries of “shame, shame” until the Speaker cleared the public galleries. Those who’d lined up outside to observe the debate chanted “Let us in!” and “Our city, not Ford’s!”———FEDERAL PARTIES RACE TO LINE UP NOMINATIONSFederal political parties are gearing up for the final parliamentary session before the next election, but while the Conservatives and the Liberals tout having many candidates nominated and money in the bank, the NDP has yet to nominate a single candidate. NDP president Mathieu Vick says the party revamped its nomination process over the summer and the new rules came into effect about two weeks ago.———QUEBEC LEADERS TO SPAR IN ENGLISH DEBATEQuebec’s four would-be premiers face off tonight in the province’s first-ever televised English-language debate. Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, Francois Legault of the Coalition Avenir Quebec, Jean-Francois Lisee of the Parti Quebecois and Quebec solidaire’s Manon Masse are hoping to impress English-speaking voters ahead of the Oct. 1 election. The candidates will debate topics including education, health, economy, identity, the environment and relations with the English-speaking community.———CALGARY FLAMES CO-OWNER CLAYTON RIDDELL DIESClay Riddell, billionaire businessman and co-owner of the Calgary Flames, has died. The Flames confirmed his death in a statement on Sunday. Riddell joined Flames ownership in 2003 after spending much of his life building oil and gas companies, including Paramount Resources. He stepped down as CEO of the natural gas and oil exploration company in 2015, when his son, James, took over. Riddell founded the company that has been operating in Canada since 1976.———STEADY TRANSITION TO WINTER IN THE FORECASTThe Weather Network is telling Canadians they can expect to enjoy a full fall season with a steady transition to winter over the next two months. The network is predicting that winter won’t come early this year and that Canadians will get to experience a generally mild fall from now until the end of November. The Weather Network’s chief meteorologist, Chris Scott, says there will be a smooth transition in temperature through the fall months towards December.———POLARIS MUSIC PRIZE TO BE AWARDED TONIGHTAn array of musicians representing diverse sounds and experiences from across the country are in the running for the Polaris Music Prize tonight. Ten albums are in contention, but only one will be awarded as Canadian album of the year by an 11-member jury of journalists, critics and bloggers. The Polaris prize is considered one of Canada’s most prestigious music awards, with the winner receiving 50-thousand dollars. Former winners include Arcade Fire, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Kaytranada and Lido Pimienta.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— The New Brunswick Women’s Council will hold a forum with provincial party leaders in Fredericton on issues affecting women’s equality.— The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will hold hearings in Quebec City.— The Canadian Real Estate Association releases its monthly numbers and quarterly outlook on the housing market.— The Rohingya Human Rights Network and others advocating on behalf of the Rohingya will speak at a media conference on Parliament Hill.— RCMP to launch campaign in Winnipeg to end violence against women, children.— The City of Vancouver goes to court in a bid to close dozens of marijuana retailers operating without business licenses.— RCMP will provide an update on the death of a Belgian tourist who was allegedly killed while hitchhiking in British Columbia.—last_img read more

Kevin Hart Hosts Rally HealthFest In New York

first_imgActor, comedian and Rally Health Ambassador Kevin Hart, and E! News host Maria Menounos hosted a free outdoor health festival, Rally HealthFest, at Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City, lower Manhattan on Saturday, July 30, to show New Yorkers how making simple lifestyle changes can be a lot of fun and help improve their overall health.The New York Rally HealthFest featured fitness activities including boot camps, yoga classes, rock climbing and spin classes, as well as an interactive kids’ zone, all supported by Rally partner Asphalt Green, an NYC nonprofit.Attendees also had a chance to participate in a group workout with Ron “Boss” Everline, Kevin Hart’s personal trainer; got nutritional tips from young celebrity chef Haile Thomas; and earned prizes for participating in activities. There were plenty of healthy eats and beverages from Juice Press. Attendees also joined Rally partner DiamondBack to help build bicycles that will be donated to Madison Square Boys and Girls Club.“Kevin Hart is the ultimate motivator inspiring people to take charge of their health,”said Grant Verstandig, Rally Health founder and CEO. “As our Health Ambassador, Kevin has spoken directly with thousands of people at our HealthFests — most recently in Los Angeles — to help them learn steps they can take to adopt a healthier lifestyle.”Said Hart, “I’m passionate about health and fitness and really love meeting the awesome people who come out to our Rally HealthFests to renew, or make a brand new commitment to their own health and fitness. That’s powerful stuff. I want New Yorkers to know that taking even the smallest steps can make a big difference in their health, and we’re here to help.”To find out more, click here.last_img read more

First time in Baghdad Irans Prez to visit Iraq

first_imgTehran: Iran’s president is making his first official visit to Iraq this week as he faces mounting pressure from hard-liners at home in the wake of the Trump administration’s unraveling of the nuclear deal. Hassan Rouhani’s trip billed as “historic and noble” by his foreign minister is meant to solidify ties between Shiite power Iran and Iraq’s Shiite led-government, a strong Tehran ally. It is also Iran’s response to President Donald Trump’s snap December trip to Iraq and the American president’s comments that US forces should stay in Iraq to keep an eye on neighbouring Iran, with which Iraq shares a 1,400-kilometer-long (870 miles) border. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingAt the time, Trump slipped into Iraq at night, without stopping in Baghdad, to greet U.S. service members at a base far from the Iraqi capital where he extolled the American troops’ fight against the Islamic State group. Rouhani later mocked Trump’s visit, asserting that flying into Iraq under the cover of darkness meant “defeat” for the US in Iraq and asking the US president why he didn’t make an “open and official visit.” “You have to walk in the streets of Baghdad … to find out how people will welcome you,” Rouhani said at the time. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in XinjiangRouhani’s visit to Iraq will provide an opportunity for reaching “serious understandings” between the two neighbors, Iran’s top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif told the official IRNA news agency from Baghdad, where he was preparing for Rouhani’s three-day visit that starts on Monday. Rouhani, who had visited Iraq privately before becoming president, had planned an official visit in 2016 but that one was cancelled over unspecified “executive” problems. This time, Rouhani, who is on a second four-year-term, is particularly vulnerable because of the economic crisis assailing the Iranian rial, which has hurt ordinary Iranians and emboldened critics to openly call for the president’s ouster. Tehran sees the US military presence at its doorstep in Iraq as a threat one that could also undermine Iran’s influence over Baghdad. Zarif alluded to that on Sunday, saying that any country which tries to interfere with the good Iran-Iraq relations would “be deprived of opportunities for itself.” Iran also sees Iraq as a possible route to bypass US sanctions that Trump re-imposed last year after pulling the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.last_img read more

Enjoy Watching Live Sports Thank a Field Service Tech

Tech-Enabled ArenasToday’s arenas and stadiums, fans’ at-home viewing experiences, and teams’ on-field strategies are all more interconnected than ever before. Ongoing technology advancements that support these fronts require constant upkeep and maintenance of underlying infrastructure. This is now paramount to the sports industry. stadium-77878__340.jpg Last month, a record number of sports fans tuned in to watch the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team win its fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup. As a former collegiate soccer athlete myself, it was great to see so many people catch the fever of women’s soccer and cheer the team to another title. The Business Value of Voice Quality Using WebRTC Sorell Slaymaker February 21, 2019 As WebRTC-enabled embedded real-time communications becomes mainstream, it’s critical the technology lives up to the hype. All of these assets (e.g., machines, computers, lights, scoreboards, cameras, pipes, wires, etc.) require a skilled team of service, repair, and maintenance technicians who perform regular upkeep and consistently troubleshoot problems. Tools that allow technicians to understand the nature and history of previous repairs to assets provide immense value. Further, all-mode communications functions support instant communication and collaboration, offering support to technicians to get information or answers no matter where they’re working. These are just a few examples of the types of tools that support accurate and timely maintenance to help avoid slowdowns or downtime to a stadium’s asset network and allows for a seamless game experience for all. In addition, with sports teams utilizing tracking technology to better inform on-field strategies and the health of their players, Internet connectivity allows these technologies to deliver insights to teams. For example, FC Barcelona has recently helped co-develop a wearable technology system called Wimu. The technology relies on wearable sensors to track players’ positions, speed, recovery distance, heartbeat, force of collisions, and other statistics. The two most-critical components to sporting and other live events are electricity and Internet connectivity. Without electricity, there’s no viewing experience for fans at home and a lackluster experience for fans in the stands. Ensuring maintenance of circuit-breaker systems and having an open line of communication with city officials around the nature of an area’s power grids are essential for broadcasts to occur. Thankfully, service technicians are skilled at maintaining these underlying systems and “keeping the lights on.” While electricity is the backbone and heart of any broadcasting experience, Internet connectivity is a close runner-up. Internet access allows broadcasts to be streamed outside of the stadium and connects fans globally to an event. Further, the Internet of Things is changing fans’ in-stadium experiences through in-seat concession ordering, offering access to live camera feeds from TV or Web streams and many more technology-based offerings. Throughout the last two decades, there have been several notable sporting tech “fails,” including the 2013 NFL Super Bowl and 1990 NHL Stanley Cup Finals blackouts as well as the 2010 Minnesota Vikings Metrodome roof collapse due to extreme snow (no one was hurt.) In today’s always-on society, sporting fans are hyperaware of any interruptions, whether digital or in person, that hinder their experiences of watching their favorite teams. WebRTC: What Are You Waiting For? Allie Mellen January 14, 2019 Here’s why you should be using this real-time communications technology to update and improve your contact centers. And as Internet connectivity remains critical for reaching fans across the world, it’s also essential for new and emerging ways of officiating and strategizing gameplay. Traditional sports are now relying more and more on technology and data to ensure accurate calls on and off the field. For example, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup leveraged video assistant referee (VAR) systems. First introduced in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, VAR technology allows for review of calls made by in-play referees using video footage and offsite VAR teams who analyze said footage and report a final recommendation to onsite officials. On the FieldMy husband is a high school basketball coach. At a recent game, the digital scoreboard malfunctioned. No one in the gym could figure out how to fix it, and the game was canceled. You would think the score could be kept on the court, but with shot clocks and the timing of set plays, we’ve become so reliant on “things running” that we can’t continue games without the equipment working. Real-Time Services Putting Real Pressure on CIOs May 21, 2018 Keep your network performing optimally with these three tips, as Martello Technologies discusses in this sponsored post. Beyond Internet-connected systems, other crucial technologies in sports arenas must be serviced. Bathrooms and plumbing systems must function without issue. Food and kitchen equipment at concession stands must maintain regulatory levels of food safety operation and cleanliness. Medical devices in trainer and first aid rooms must function properly in case of athlete or fan injuries. Automated parking systems must function seamlessly to allow for easy entry and exit from event venues. The list goes on. As servicing underlying infrastructure becomes more complex given the evolved nature of today’s stadium and broadcasting activities, outfitting field service technicians with modern communication and collaboration tools to optimize their work has never been more important. With planned game and broadcast times that can’t be moved or delayed, there’s no room for multiple truck rolls or secondary attempts to make sure systems are working properly. Ensuring consistent communication between field service technician teams around the nature of technologies and infrastructures allows teams to quickly understand and address problems before they delay events. Interactive Intelligence Provides Glimpse into PureCloud’s Future Sheila McGee-Smith February 11, 2015 CEO Don Brown made it clear in a recent call with financial analysts that PureCloud is not just a multitenant replacement for the company’s traditional product. But while the world’s best players are giving it their all on the field, many fans don’t consider the crucial behind-the-scenes work performed by service technicians who ensure stadium systems are up and running and global broadcasts are beamed out with no latency or interruption. If you enjoy watching live sporting or music events in person or at home, you have a force of field service technicians to thank. The field of play has certainly changed dramatically since I was on the soccer pitch. As my children are beginning to become more interested and involved in sports, I’m happy to know there are a vast amount of new and emerging technologies that will help them train and play more effectively. I’m also happy to know that there is a force of field technicians who dedicate their careers to keep the game playing, and keep the world running.Tags:News & Viewsfield serviceservice techniciansReal-Time CommunicationsUnified Communications & Collaboration Articles You Might Like Solving the WebRTC Interoperability Problem Andrew Prokop February 23, 2015 While designers of WebRTC are proud of the flexibility that not defining a signaling protocol brings, pragmatic people like me are confused and frustrated. Like digital scoreboards, soon teams will be so reliant on this technology, that when it breaks, an immediate fix will be imperative. And that service technician who no one thinks about will become an even more important factor in the success of the sports industry. When the equipment breaks and the game stops, we need service technicians leveraging modern communications and collaboration tools and software to help get jobs done. 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Witness Spouse of Spain princess wanted sports deal toll

Witness: Spouse of Spain princess wanted sports deal ‘toll’ MADRID – A witness at the trial of Spain’s Princess Cristina and 16 others has testified that the princess’ husband wanted a commission of 300,000 euros ($339,000) as a “toll” to help the regional Balearic Islands government land a cycling sponsorship deal.Former Environment Minister Jaume Matas said Thursday he approved the 2003 payoff deal in return for Inaki Urdangarin’s influence. The Banesto cycling team was then one of the world’s best.Matas, regional leader of Spain’s Balearic Islands at the time, is among the defendants in the trial.Urdangarin is accused of using his former title of Duke of Palma to embezzle public funds for sporting deals through his non-profit Noos Institute.Money was allegedly funneled from Noos for personal use.Cristina, King Felipe VI’s sister, is charged with tax fraud. by The Associated Press Posted Feb 11, 2016 5:19 am MDT Last Updated Feb 11, 2016 at 6:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Darius Slade out for season Malcolm Pridgeon out three months

Junior college transfer Malcolm Pridgeon (66) blocking with the offensive linemen. Credit: Sheridan Hendrix | Lantern PhotographerAt Ohio State’s annual media day on Sunday, coach Urban Meyer announced that redshirt sophomore defensive end Darius Slade ruptured his Achilles in practice and will miss the 2016 season.Meyer also said that junior college transfer offensive lineman Malcolm Pridgeon will be out three months with a knee injury.Slade was a member of the 2014 recruiting class who redshirted his first year and then played seven games in 2015 at defensive end.Pridgeon has junior eligibility after transferring from Nassau community college in New York. He was expected to compete for the right tackle position.“With that said, the offensive line depth is a concern,” Meyer said. “Defensive line is starting to materialize a bit with depth.” read more

Womens basketball Buckeyes roll over Nittany Lions 8772

Ohio State senior forward Shayla Cooper guards against Penn State’s forward Kaliyah Mitchell on Feb. 1 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Summer Cartwright | Senior Lantern ReporterThe Ohio State women’s basketball team continued its longest streak of season with its sixth straight win against Penn State on Wednesday, 87-72.OSU (20-5, 10-1 Big Ten) was lead by junior forward Kelsey Mitchell in scoring (23) and assists (5). Sophomore forward Stephanie Mavunga picked up her tenth double-double of season with 11 rebounds and points. Penn State coach Coquese Washington said OSU’s versatility makes them the best team head coach Kevin McGuff has had. “They got great guard play,” she said. “They have fantastic post play and they can throw a lot of different looks at you. They went big there, and then they can go small and quick and spread the floor.”Penn State came out in a 2-3 defense, which the Buckeyes were able to take advantage of. Throughout the first half the Buckeyes passed the ball well, allowing OSU to find their shot from the extra pass. The Buckeyes shot 53.3 percent from the field and hit 50 percent from beyond the arc in the first half. McGuff said the Buckeyes were finding the open man, which sophomore forward Sierra Calhoun capitalized on.“Sierra shot the ball extremely well,” he said. “With as much zone as we see that’s really important and our players did a good job of moving the ball and finding her. She’s an outstanding shooter and you could see that tonight.”Calhoun followed Mitchell in scoring for the Buckeyes with 17 total points, hitting five 3-pointers. Defensively, the Buckeyes opened in a uncharacteristic 2-3 zone, forcing eight turnovers in the first quarter and 18 by the end of the game.McGuff said the turnovers might’ve been related to OSU’s different defensive look.“We played a little bit more zone, I wanted to give Penn State a different look than what they probably thought we were going to do,” he said. “I thought we were effective. We were active and energetic with our zone.”In the second half, the Buckeyes kept up their offensive intensity. OSU was particularly a threat from deep and were able to pass the ball around Penn State’s defense, hitting six 3-pointers at 46.2 percent shooting from deep.Penn State was lead by sophomore guard Teniya Page with 32 points. Page was followed by senior guard Sierra Moore with 8 points and she led the Nittany Lions with eight rebounds. Ohio State will look to continue their winning streak at Wisconsin at 2 p.m. on Saturday. read more

Man arrested for double murder of couple burned to death in Armagh

first_imgPSNI DETECTIVES INVESTIGATING the murder of Thomas O’Hare and Lisa McClatchey in Armagh on 6 November 2006 have arrested a 33-year-old man.The suspect was detained in the Essex area yesterday, Wednesday 22 May, with the assistance of Kent and Essex Police.He is expected to appear before Armagh Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.The couple, 33-year-old O’Hare and McClatchey, 21, were in their home on the Foley Road, near Keady, Co Armagh almost seven years ago when up to six men broke in, and set them both and the house on fire.They died as a result of their injuries.After the attack, four men were treated in St James’s Hospital, Dublin for their burns, out of the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland.Read: Gardaí arrest two men over double murder in NI six years ago>last_img read more

New Chief Magistrate and Criminal Justice Adviser for the TCI

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:Hilary Ryan, new chief magistrate for TCI, new criminal advisor for TCI, Tanya Lobban-Jackson Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI. August 25, 2016 –  The Turks and Caicos Justice system, this month, gets two new defenders; a criminal justice adviser and a chief magistrate.Directly we get Tanya Lobban-Jackson, originally of Jamaica but moving here from the Cayman Islands, where she was senior Crown Counsel, as the new magistrate.  Lobban-Jackson was sworn in last Thursday.Hilary Ryan is the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s newly appointed Criminal Justice Adviser to the Caribbean Overseas Territories. Ms Ryan, who will be based in Miami, will have a particular focus on child safe-guarding, serious crime and money laundering, and the criminal justice system.Giving insight into a meeting held just a couple of days ago, His Excellency Peter Beckingham, the Governor said:  “I hope that Ms Ryan’s new role will encourage all the parts of TCI involved in criminal justice to look to the UK for advice and possibly financial assistance. We had very positive discussions with the Chief Justice, Police Commissioner, Acting DPP, Prison Superintendent as well as with the Chief Magistrate and Court Administrator about their work, and identified a number of areas where more support may be possible from the UK. Ms Ryan also highlighted the value in other jurisdictions of a Criminal Justice Board of senior practitioners, which could be a helpful mechanism as well in Turks and Caicos.” – HE Peter Beckingham.Ms. Ryan also has great experience, said the Governor, in working with the US DOJ or Department of Justice.last_img read more

Trade Promotion Authority Passes Senate

first_imgThe Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, held a mark-up of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, along with three other pieces of legislation: Trade Adjustment Assistance Program, African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) and Trade Facilitation and Enforcements Act.  TPA was passed by a vote of 20-6 and heads to the Senate floor later this month.TPA would establish congressional trade negotiating objectives and enhanced consultation requirements for trade negotiations, to provide for consideration of trade agreements, and for other purposes. Passage of TPA would clear the way for the Administration to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and aide in successful congressional approval.On, Thursday the House Ways and Means Committee is set to mark-up the same TPA bill.Earlier in the week, the American Soybean Association (ASA) sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee, urging Members to vote Yes on TPA. An Action Alert was also sent to ASA Directors, State Presidents and Staff to mobilize individual members to contact their representatives who sit on the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.last_img read more

US military plane carrying 3 crashes in Kyrgyzstan

first_imgCHALDOVAR, Kyrgyzstan — An American military refueling plane carrying three crew members crashed Friday in the rugged mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the Central Asian nation where the U.S. operates an air base key to the war in Afghanistan.There was no immediate word on the fate of the KC-135 crew. Officials at the U.S. base said they had no information yet on the cause of the crash.The plane crashed in the afternoon near Chaldovar, a village about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of the U.S. Transit Center at Manas base, which is outside the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek. Pieces of the plane, including its tail, lay in a grassy field bordered by mountains; the air was infused with the heavy stench of petrol.The plane was on a refueling mission for Afghanistan war operations at the time of the crash, a U.S. defense official in Washington said, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss the details of an ongoing investigation.Emergency officials said the front section of the plane has not yet been found, the Russian state news agency ITAR-Tass reported from Bishkek.A resident of the agricultural and sheep-grazing area said the plane exploded in flight.“I was working with my father in the field, and I heard an explosion. When I looked up at the sky I saw the fire. When it was falling, the plane split into three pieces,” Sherikbek Turusbekov told an AP reporter at the site.The U.S. base, which is adjacent to Manas International Airport outside Bishkek, was established in late 2001 to support the international military campaign in Afghanistan. It functions as an interim point for troops going into or out of Afghanistan and as a home for the tanker planes that refuel warplanes in flight.last_img read more

Government claims pulses prices easing markets and consumers disagree

first_imgThe government on Thursday said prices of pulses were easing as per reports from states due to de-hoarding operations and arrival of fresh crop, but a look at the retail rates reveal that this daily source of protein continues to remain dear.”Retail prices of pulses have registered declining trends as per market reports from the states. Release of pulses seized under de-hoarding operations is being expedited,” the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution said in a statement.”Arrival of new crop has also started. This will help to moderate prices further,” it said, adding that Tur or Arhar dal was cheaper by as much as 3.59 percent in the past week alone at Rs.152.11 per kg on November 18, against Rs.157.77 before that.Similarly, it said the price of Urad dal was down by 6.08 percent — from Rs.150.43 a week ago to Rs.141.28 on Wednesday.But at the retail level, the government’s claims did not appear to hold ground.At the Big Basket online retail store, Tur dal was quoting way above at Rs.201 per kg and Rs.375 for a two-kg bag.Reliance Fresh also priced its Tur dal at a price of Rs.219 per kg.At other retail stores, prices fluctuated anywhere between Rs.190 and Rs.230 per kg.Even the commerce ministry data on wholesale price index for October, released on Monday showed that the pulses remained dearer by 52.98 percent over the past year.Even when compared with the previous month, there was a spike of 9.17 percent.The build-up during the current fiscal year, that is since April 2015, has also been rather steep at 41.45 percent.Similarly, data on consumer price index released by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation showed a 22.24 percent inflation rate of pulses as on July 2015, compared to the previous year.The consumer affairs ministry also said thousands of tonnes of pulses had been seized under the de-hoarding operations by the states, which were auctioned or offloaded in the market to increase availability.Curiously, while data released on November 12 said 1,33,828.31 tonnes had been seized, that released six days later showed a lower quantity of 1,32,777.14 tonnes had been confiscated.At the same time, the prices of some other items of mass consumption — onions and tomatoes — were rocketing.On Wednesday, Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha reviewed the prices and availability of essential commodities, especially pulses, tomatoes, onions and edible oils in an inter-ministerial meeting.”It was observed that the increase in prices of tomatoes and onions is largely on account of disruption of supplies due to heavy rains in the southern states which is expected to be temporary,” a press note issued after the review said.”The situation is expected to ease in the coming days,” the statement added.last_img read more

ES File Explorer vanishes from Play Store while QuickPic returns

first_img Here’s What You Should Know Before Dipping Your Toes In The Online Dating Pool Close Earlier this week, Google suspended the Chinese developer – Do Global, which was reported to committing the Ad click fraud by automatically clicking on ads on behalf of users, according to BuzzFeed News. The Search giant removed nearly 50 apps of the developer, which were registered under Do Global and under some other generic names like “Pic Tools Group” and “Photo Artist Studio”. Now, renowned file managing app – ES File Explorer – seems to face the wrath of Google. The search giant has unlisted the ES File Explorer from the Play Store.ES File Explorer is a well-known and longest running file manager, though its popularity has declined as it passed from one developer to another. Recently, it is uploaded under the name of ‘ES Global’ on the Play Store, though the app is actually owned by ‘Du Global’. As LinkedIn confirms, Du is a subdivision of DO Global, which is caught in the Ad click fraud scandal.A few years back, ES File Explorer was listed among the best file manager apps for Android. But since it sold to the third party and stayed in news for bad causes – unwanted charging screen, an unwavering stream of ads, and an unsettling vulnerability allowing others to steal your files by being on the same network – many users switched to alternative apps like Solid Explorer or Files by Google. ES File Explorer removed from Play StoreES File ExplorerDO Global had round 100 apps on the Play Store and had a total of 600 million installs. Last year, in a similar course of action, 8 apps from Cheetah Mobile and its subsidiary Kika were removed by Google due to similar ad fraud. Google asked the developer to resubmit its apps with an improved version.QuickPic, one of these notorious apps owned by Cheetah Mobile, has now been listed on Play Store again. In a statement, the company said to Android Police that QuickPic was not removed due to click fraud. Same way, Google can ask DU Global to resubmit its apps and ES File Explorer might return with changes in future. Until then, if you are using ES File Explorer, then you should uninstall it and should wait for an improved version or use an alternate app. Google Play Protect system now scans over 50 billion apps on users’ devices each day to make sure apps installed on the device aren’t behaving in harmful waysGoogle Blog (screen-shot)Moreover, Do Global has also released its official statement regarding the recent scandal. The company has claimed to do an internal investigation and has apologized for irregularities in some of their products.center_img IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:01/2:09Loaded: 0%0:01Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-2:08?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis 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. COPY LINKAD Loading …last_img read more

Oil India declares 1 3 bonus issue

first_imgOil India declared bonus issue of 1:3 (1 share for every three shares held) after its board met on Monday. The public sector company’s shares were trading with losses at Rs 429 (down 1.81 percent) after the announcement, on BSE.”Oil India Ltd has informed BSE that the Board of Directors of the Company in their Meeting held on November 28, 2016, inter alia, have recommended ‘Issue of Bonus shares’ in the ratio of 1:3 i.e. One (1) bonus equity shares of Rs. 10/- each for every Three (3) existing fully paid up equity share of Rs. 10/- each subject to approval of the shareholders,” the company said in a regulatory filing.For the quarter ended September 2016 (Q2), Oil India earned standalone net profit of Rs 580 crore as against Rs 705 crore in the year-ago period.Total income dropped to Rs 2,331 crore from Rs 2,531 crore, YoY, according to another regulatory filing by the company. Earlier, the other state-run energy companies had declared bonus issues and they were liberal.Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), the state-run Indian oil and gas explorer, has rewarded shareholders with a bonus issue of equity shares in the ratio of 1:2 and interim dividend at the rate of 90 percent (Rs 4.50 per share). The record date for dividend is November 5, 2016.Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL) had declared 2:1 bonus in July, BPCL in the ratio of 1:1 in May and IOC in the ratio of 1:1 in August this year.last_img read more

LyondellBasell Donates Funds For Specialized Firefighter Training

first_imgListen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X 00:00 /01:01 Ed MayberryLyondellBasell’s Bob Patel and Mayor Sylvester Turner join other area mayors and firefighters as HFD Chief Samuel Pena speaks at Houston Fire Station 8 downtown.The $100,000 donation will pay for hazardous materials training for the Houston Fire Department and five other departments that serve areas with a large number of refineries, storage terminals and chemical plants. Mayor Sylvester Turner made the announcement at Houston’s downtown Fire Station 8. “And I will continue to be energized and excited so long as we continue to be here on a regular basis with LyondellBasell (alarm sounds)…alright, does that mean it’s time for me to get on the truck?”   LyondellBasell’s Bob Patel says he’s been aware of Houston’s budget challenges. “Training is something you don’t want to compromise, because you always need that. This training will be administered by the world-renowned Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. It’s one of the global leaders in emergency training and firefighting.” The LyondellBasell donation will be split between the Houston Fire Department, as well as firefighters in Channelview, Pasadena, La Porte, Sheldon and Mont Belvieu. Sharelast_img read more

Texas School District Regrets Critical Comment about Texans Quarterback Made by Superintendent

first_imgOnalaska Independent School DistrictLynn Redden, Superintendent of the Onalaska Independent School District.An East Texas school district says it regrets a critical comment about the Houston Texans quarterback made by its superintendent.After the Texans Sunday game and reflecting on how quarterback Deshaun Watson held the ball as time expired at the end of the game, Lynn Redden, superintendent of the Onalaska Independent School District, wrote on the Houston Chronicle’s Facebook page “You can’t count on a black quarterback.”In a statement that was posted on social media, the school district categorized Redden’s comment as “inappropriate” and the superintendent argues he thought his comment was private.Onalaska is located about 90 miles north of Houston.Social media users have criticized Redden’s comment because they think it’s racist.I feel sorry for the 9 black students in Lynn Redden’s school district in Texas, knowing that their superintendent adheres to white supremacist logic about the cognitive abilities of black Americans. There’s no way that doesn’t filter down. #Onalaskahttps://t.co/i5e5PLIQcC— Christoph Mergerson 🇫🇷⚽️🏆 (@mergerson_jms) September 19, 2018 #Onalaska Superintendent Makes Racist #Facebook Post, Not Held Accountable https://t.co/qrYthmw59F #DeshaunWatson #HoustonTexans#Texans #TX #texas— HumanismRising (@LetHumanismRing) September 19, 2018 Sharelast_img read more

Former DC Mayor Marion Barry Dies at 78

first_imgIn this file photo, former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry attends a news conference in Washington. Barry, who staged comeback after a 1990 crack cocaine arrest, died early Sunday morning Nov. 23, 2014. He was 78. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Divisive and flamboyant, maddening and beloved, Marion Barry outshone every politician in the 40-year history of District of Columbia self-rule. But for many, his legacy was not defined by the accomplishments and failures of his four terms as mayor and long service on the D.C. Council.Instead, Barry will be remembered for a single night in a downtown Washington hotel room and the grainy video that showed him lighting a crack pipe in the company of a much-younger woman. When FBI agents burst in, he referred to her with an expletive. She “set me up,” Barry said.Barry died Sunday at 78. His family said in statement that Barry died shortly after midnight at the United Medical Center, after having been released from Howard University Hospital on Saturday. No cause of death was given, but his spokeswoman LaToya Foster said he collapsed outside his home.Speaking at a 4 a.m. press conference at United Medical Center, the city’s mayor-elect Muriel Bowser called Barry an “inspiration to so many people and a fighter for people.”“Mr. Barry, I can say this, lived up until the minute the way he wanted to live,” said Bowser, who had served with Barry on the D.C. Council.The year was 1990, and crack cocaine had exploded in the district, turning it into the nation’s murder capital. In his third term, the man known as the “Mayor for Life” became a symbol of a foundering city.Federal authorities had been investigating him for years for his alleged ties to drug suspects, and while he denied using drugs, his late-night partying was taking a toll on his job performance.The arrest and subsequent conviction — a jury deadlocked on most counts, convicting him of a single count of drug possession — was a turning point for Barry. He had been elected to his first term as mayor in 1978 with broad support from across the city. With his good looks, charisma and background in the civil rights movement, he was embraced the dynamic leader the city’s young government needed. The Washington Post endorsed him in each of his first three mayoral runs, although the 1986 endorsement was unenthusiastic.Barry’s six-month term in federal prison was hardly the end of his political career. But it forever changed how it was perceived. To some, he was a pariah and an embarrassment. But to many district residents, particularly lower-income blacks, he was still a hero, someone unfairly persecuted for personal failures.Barry returned to the D.C. Council in 1992, representing the poorest of the city’s eight wards. Two years later, he won his fourth and final term as mayor. The electorate was starkly divided along racial lines, and Barry advised those who had not supported his candidacy to “get over it.”“Marion Barry changed America with his unmitigated gall to stand up in the ashes of where he had fallen and come back to win,” poet Maya Angelou said in 1999.Barry’s triumph, though, was short-lived. In 1995, with the city flirting with bankruptcy from years of bloated, unaccountable government, much of it under Barry, Congress stripped him of much of his power and installed a financial control board. Barry held authority over little more than the city’s parks, libraries and community access cable TV station. He decided against seeking a fifth term.Barry spent a few years working as a municipal bond consultant, but he couldn’t stay away from politics. In 2004, he returned to the council, again representing Ward 8, where he remained beloved. Many constituents still referred to him as “Mayor Barry,” and he was re-elected in 2008 and 2012.Barry was born March 6, 1936, to Marion and Mattie Barry, in the small Mississippi delta town of Itta Bena, and was raised in Memphis, Tenn., after the death of his father, a sharecropper.While an undergraduate at LeMoyne College (now LeMoyne-Owen College), Barry picked up the nickname “Shep” in reference to Soviet propagandist Dmitri Shepilov for his ardent support of the civil rights movement. Barry began using Shepilov as his middle name.Barry did graduate work in chemistry at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., earning a master’s degree. He left school short of a doctorate to work in the civil rights movement.His political rise began in 1960, when he became the first national chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, which sent young people into the South to register black voters and became known as one of the most militant civil rights groups of that era.Barry’s work with the committee brought him to Washington, where he became immersed in local issues, joining boycotts of the bus system and leading rallies in support of the city’s fledgling home rule efforts.In 1970, The Post wrote: “Four years ago widely considered a young Black Power Militant with almost no constituency, (Barry) has become a man who is listened to — if not fully accepted — on all sides.”Barry’s activism propelled him into local politics, first as a member of the Board of Education and then in 1974 as a member of the first elected city council organized under home rule legislation.In 1977, he was wounded by a shotgun blast in the Hanafi Muslim takeover of D.C.’s city hall. A young reporter was killed. The shooting was credited with strengthening him politically.In 1978, he defeated incumbent Mayor Walter Washington — the city’s first home rule mayor — in the Democratic primary and went on to easily win the general election.Barry’s early years in office were marked by improvement in many city services and a dramatic expansion of the government payroll, creating a thriving black middle class in the nation’s capital. Barry established a summer jobs program that gave many young people their first work experience and earned him political capital.In his second term, the district’s finances were rockier, and some of his appointees were caught up in corruption scandals.The city’s drug-fueled decline mirrored Barry’s battles with his personal demons, leading to the infamous hotel room arrest on Jan. 19, 1990. The video of Barry was widely distributed to the media and made him infamous worldwide.A few months after his arrest, long-time civil rights advocate and educator Roger Wilkins, a past supporter, wrote in The Post: “Marion Barry used the elders and lied to the young. He has manipulated thousands of others with his cynical use of charges of racism to defend his malodorous personal failures.”Even after his comeback, controversy continued to dog Barry. Several times after his 1990 arrest, Barry sought treatment or counseling for problems with prescription medications or other substances. In 2002, he made an attempt to seek an at-large seat on the D.C. Council but abandoned his bid amid allegations of renewed illegal drug use.In 2006, Barry was given three years of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges for failing to file tax returns from 1999 to 2004. As part of a plea bargain, he agreed to file future federal and local tax returns annually, a promise prosecutors later said he had failed to keep.In 2010, he was censured by the council and stripped of his committee assignments for steering a government contract to a former girlfriend. The council censured him again in 2013 for accepting cash gifts from city contractors.Barry played the role of elder statesman in his later years on the council, but he sometimes exasperated his colleagues with his wavering attention at meetings and frequent, rambling references to his tenure as mayor.He suffered numerous health problems over the years. In addition to kidney failure, he survived prostate cancer, undergoing surgery in 1995 and a follow-up procedure in 2000. In late 2011, he underwent minor surgery on his urinary tract. In early 2014, he spent several weeks in hospitals and a rehabilitation center battling infections and related complications.In a statement Sunday, current Mayor Vincent C. Gray expressed deep sadness after learning about Barry’s death. Gray spoke with Barry’s wife, Cora Masters Barry, late Saturday and shared his condolences and sympathies with her. The couple was long estranged but never divorced.“Marion was not just a colleague but also was a friend with whom I shared many fond moments about governing the city,” Gray said. “He loved the District of Columbia and so many Washingtonians loved him.”Mayor Gray said that he would work with Barry’s family and the Council to plan official ceremonies “worthy of a true statesman of the District of Columbia.”Barry was married four times and is survived by his wife, Cora, and one son, Marion Christopher Barry.___Associated Press reporter Jessica Gresko contributed to this report.last_img read more

Insurers Look to Pass Drug Price Breaks Straight to Consumer

first_imgBy The Associated PressSome major health insurers plan to take a little sting out of prescription drug prices by giving customers rebates at the pharmacy counter.Aetna and UnitedHealthcare both say they will begin passing rebates they get from drugmakers along to some customers starting next year. They could spark a trend: The idea has been championed by President Donald Trump, and it’s something other bill-payers like major employers might consider.Aetna and UnitedHealthcare both say they will begin passing rebates they get from drugmakers along to some of their customers starting next year. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)Rebates are a key cog in the largely secretive pricing agreements ironed out between drugmakers and pharmacy benefit managers, the companies that manage prescriptions for insurers and large employers. Rebates have become more common in recent years, and some critics point to them as a factor behind soaring drug costs. Aetna and UnitedHealthcare say they want to make prescription drug pricing more transparent and simplify the process for customers.Here’s a look at the issue.Who gets the rebate?Pharmaceutical companies offer rebates to benefits managers as a carrot to get their drugs included in formularies, or lists of covered drugs. These concessions are usually a percentage of the initial price set by the drugmaker, or the list price.Pharmacy benefit managers typically pass rebates on to the insurers and large employers that hire them. Those clients often use the money to reduce their plan’s spending on drugs or the cost of coverage. Only 4 percent said they passed rebates directly to customers at the point of sale, or when they buy the drug, the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute found in a 2017 report.Will you start receiving them soon?That’s unlikely.Aetna estimates that 3 million customers could receive rebates when it starts offering them next year, while UnitedHelathcare’s plan will initially apply to over 7 million people. Those are big numbers but small slices of the more than 67 million U.S. customers these companies cover in total.In addition, CVS Health’s pharmacy benefits business offers point-of-sale rebates through plans that cover about 10 million of its 94 million customers.More insurers or benefits managers could follow these examples, and big employers that pay their own health care bills also might start passing the rebates to people on their health plans, said Ana Gupte, an insurance industry analyst with Leerink.Plus Trump has proposed giving rebates directly to Medicare prescription drug customers.Rebates delivered directly to the consumer may be attractive to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers because they can help polish their image. Rebates give the companies a tangible benefit they can show consumers instead of saying generally that these refunds help keep overall coverage costs in check, noted Benedic Ippolito, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute.“At a minimum, it sounds like insurers are trying to do something for consumers with high drug costs,” he said.Aare we talking big money?It’s hard to forecast how big the rebates will be. Experts say they could knock anywhere from a few bucks off your prescription bill to more than $100.The rebates are generally not disclosed by companies, and their size depends on factors like competition and the amount of the drug sold.Treatments that have competition may deliver the biggest rebates because pharmaceutical companies are jockeying to have their medicines included in formularies.Discounts and rebates for high-cost specialty medicines usually are lower than those for more traditional drugs, according to the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, which studies prescription drug spending.The consumers who will benefit most are those who take prescription drugs regularly and pay a lot for their medicines out of pocket, or before insurance coverage starts.“It reduces the cost of having a chronic illness somewhat,” said Dan Mendelson, president of the consulting firm Avalere Health.But there may be a price to pay: The cost of coverage could rise for everyone on a given health plan if rebates are no longer being used to keep overall plan expenses in check.last_img read more

López Guatemalas 1st billionaire beating Slim with Tigo Mobile

first_imgRelated posts:2 Costa Rican business groups among Central America’s most influential, says Forbes México Pioneering Costa Rica’s solar push in the Central Valley: Alajuela’s Llobet and Sons Nicaraguan coffee farmers seek creative solutions to drought, climate change Six years later, what impact has CAFTA had on Costa Rica? When Mario López Estrada was head of Guatemala’s state telecommunications monopoly in the 1980s, making a phone call in the war-ravaged Central American nation was a hopeless endeavor.Most cities didn’t have a single working phone. Switchboards were overloaded amid one of the lowest penetrations in Latin America, at 1.5 lines per 100 inhabitants. Getting a fixed line could take years, prompting businesses to abandon phones for two-way radios. López saw an opening.“No one believed in cellphones back then,” he said in an interview at his office in Guatemala City. “It seemed like a good opportunity, but no one had a clue it would reach this level. No one.”Almost three decades later, Guatemala ranks No. 1 globally in mobile network coverage, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. Mobile phones outnumber human beings and López’s stake in Tigo Guatemala, the country’s biggest mobile phone service with 54 percent market share, has made him the country’s first billionaire.López’s self-made fortune is noteworthy in a region where most wealth is inherited and divided between family members. Guatemala has an annual per-capita income of $5,300, about half the average in Latin America, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook.“In Guatemala, there is no other large capital that was so quickly forged,” Juan Luis Bosch, co-president of Corporacion Multi Inversiones, said of López. Bosch oversees a family-run empire started in 1911 by his grandfather, which invested $500 million last year to buy a stake in the Central America operations of Telefonica SA.López left his communications minister post under President Vinicio Cerezo as the government granted a 20-year concession to Comunicaciones Celulares in what was an early step in the country’s effort to privatize its phone operations. Comcel was handed a monopoly in exchange for sharing profits with the government.López bought his first stake in Comcel in 1993 and increased his ownership to 45 percent after several share purchases. The company held its monopoly position until 1999 when Telgua, owned by billionaire Carlos Slim’s América Móvil, and Madrid-based Telefónica entered the market.“López was in the right place at the right time — much like Carlos Slim,” said Fernando López, president of Guatemala’s Chamber of Industries.The former public servant’s stake in Tigo is valued at about $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, based on the average enterprise value-to-Ebitda and price-to- book value multiples of three publicly traded peers: Telefónica, América Móvil SAB de CV and Portugal Telecom SGPS SA. He could become even richer if his partner, Millicom International Cellular SA, buys him out.In a two-year put-and-call option agreement that Millicom and López struck in January, Millicom has the option to buy his stake for $1.8 billion. López said the backing of Millicom, which operates throughout Latin America and Africa, was essential in cementing his fortune.“I am somewhat affluent,” López said, before letting out a gleeful laugh inside the high walls of his guarded office building. “What’s important is to not stay in the comfort zone.”López backed a law passed in April that limited the power of local governments to block the construction of data transmitters. Guatemala’s Chamber of Industries and local newspaper El Periódico said an article in the bill favors Comcel over smaller competitors. Companies applying for the permits are asked to have 6,000 kilometers of cable already installed. López says the law doesn’t favor his company.Comcel’s monthly smartphone sales have surged sevenfold from a year ago to 150,000, fueled by a Twitter campaign that encourages Guatemalans to abandon their no-frills mobile phones. These “frijolitos,” or “little beans,” cost as little as a shot of rum at the local bar.“You have to constantly innovate,” he said, standing before one of the bronze sculptures by Mexican artist Javier Marín that adorn his office. “If not, you’re left behind.”López doesn’t see his growth stopping at telephony. He plans to invest in a solar power project and to put $200 million into a mall and office tower development in Asunción, Paraguay, which will house Brazilian lender Banco Itau. He is also considering wind power investments in Guatemala and solar in Ecuador.“Everything is already taken in the big countries,” he said.López, who has a minority stake in local newspaper Prensa Libre, also wants to start a bank. Comcel charges a fee for money transfers using mobile phones that can be withdrawn at Tigo offices, and offers minutes on credit interest-free. His Fundación Tigo helped wire money for food supplies in parts of rural Guatemala to fight malnutrition last year.López says he has no further interest in pursuing a political career like his grandfather, Manuel Estrada Cabrera, a dictator who ruled Guatemala for 22 years before he was overthrown in a 1920 armed revolt.“You have more possibilities to grow in the private sector,” López said. “You can always have more power than bureaucrats.”López declined to reveal his age in a two-hour interview. Instead, he offered his thoughts on aging.“Youth, much like the spring, is overvalued,” he said, flanked by miniature models of his helicopter and jet plane. “They both bring many flowers, but also thorns. In maturity, there may not be so many flowers, but there are many fruits.”© 2014, Bloomberg News Facebook Comments Situación sentimental: http://t.co/4O2wtK0Ult pic.twitter.com/7e2DNmRwVi— Tigo Guatemala (@Tigo_GT) June 12, 2014last_img read more