zoom The 37,300 dwt bulk carrier Long Bright has been detained in Singapore waters, according to data provided by the Supreme Court of Singapore.The 2012-built vessel, operated by China’s Highrich Logistics, was arrested in the afternoon hours of March 28, 2018.Focal Investigation & Security Agency has been appointed for security and investigation purposes related to the arrest of the vessel which was built at China’s Shandong Huahai shipyard.The bulker, which features a length of 190 meters and a width of 28.5 meters, is currently located at a PaxOcean dock in Tuas, Singapore.VesselsValue data shows that the bulker has a market value of USD 11.2 million.World Maritime News Staff
Thousands of wrapped toys were handed out to kids in a huge Christmas display Monday at the Los Angeles Mission’s annual Christmas Eve event.Harrison Ford at the LA Mission, December 24Credit/Copyright: Los Angeles MissionThere were more than 4,000 meals served – with Chef Ben Ford creating a gourmet meal for the Skid Row homeless.Among the stars who took part were Harrison Ford, Harry Hamlin, Bella Thorne, Booboo Stewart, Kate Linder, Melissa Gilbert, and many more.Toyota was the primary sponsor for the event, with the Sharing the Spirit Holiday Party presented by the Festival of Children Foundation.“We have made a very big effort to step up the quality of the Christmas meal,” said Herb Smith, President of the Los Angeles Mission. “That’s why we are so pleased to have Ben Ford, of Ford’s Filling Station join us again to create the signature dishes for the meal. That, along with the magnificent Festival of Children Foundation Share the Spirit Holiday Party tent makes this one of the most special events we have.”Celebrity Chef Ben Ford worked with the Los Angeles Mission Chef Chris Cormier and the kitchen staff to envision and prepare the meal. There was Lemon-Rosemary Roasted Chicken, Cheezy Grits, Brown Butter Carrots, Green Beans with Griddled Onions, a special Winter Fruit Chutney created by Chef Ford, and Apricot compound butter for the dinner rolls. The meal was rounded out with cake for dessert.“Changing a life can start with a meal made with love” said Chef Ford. “This Christmas I will be a part of nourishing our community through food and hopefully change a couple of lives along the way.”A generous contribution from Toyota and nearly 200 volunteers helped make the event possible. Thousands of toys were donated by JAKKS Pacific, Imperial Toys, Jazwares, and hundreds from other donors. The Sharing the Spirit Holiday Party featured Santa, decorations, music and crafts for the children. Toys were wrapped so children had the choice of opening them immediately or waiting until Christmas morning. Hundreds of volunteer hours were spent sorting, wrapping and marking the gifts so they could be distributed in an age and gender appropriate manner.“This is Toyota’s third year supporting the Los Angeles Mission’s holiday outreach, and we continue to be touched by the Mission’s dedication and service to families in need,” said Michael Rouse, vice president of philanthropy, community affairs and diversity & inclusion for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “Nearly 200 Toyota associates, friends and family volunteer their time to work this event or who have contributed by donating 100 hygiene kits to the residents of the Mission will come away from this experience with a greater understanding of our broader community and the support needed.”“The Los Angeles Mission wouldn’t exist without the loving financial support of the community,” said President Smith. “Our community volunteers, our donors, the businesses who support us make our work possible. Toyota and the Festival of Children Foundation have worked closely with us for months to make the event happen. As we look toward 2013 we are concerned about how the unsettled economy will impact the Mission. We have seen a significant downturn in donations – we are concerned about financial shortfalls – all at a time when the number of men, women and families coming for help is increasing.”More than 10,000 toys were donated for distribution at the event.“JAKKS Pacific is proud to support the Los Angeles Mission, both year-round and again this holiday season,” said Anne-Marie Feliciano, Vice President of Corporate Communications & Philanthropy, JAKKS Pacific, Inc. “They provide crucial, invaluable services to underserved families and individuals in our community and make a remarkable difference in the lives of disadvantaged young people. We are very proud that together, JAKKS and the Los Angeles Mission, can help make the holidays brighter for so many deserving children and families.”Festival of Children Foundation staff and volunteers arrived early Friday morning to set up the 2,000 square foot Sharing the Spirit Holiday Party tent on Skid Row. There were 30 decorated Christmas trees, giant nutcrackers, Santa, crafts, and each child received a bag of toys. More than 50 volunteers made a very special place for the children of Skid Row with decorations and loads of fun.“Festival of Children Foundation supports children’s charities nationwide, but today, we’re focusing on bringing Christmas to the children served by the Los Angeles Mission. We’re honored to have the opportunity to share our blessings with them. Christmas means a spirit of love, and that’s what we want every child here today to feel… loved,” said Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, Founder and Executive Director of Festival of Children Foundation.Christmas Eve morning started early for the staff and volunteers and the Mission. There were last minute gift donations to wrap, and the big dinner to prepare. And the volunteers in the kitchen also served breakfast to overnight guests at the Mission. And at about 7:00 AM volunteers also handed out hot breakfast sandwiches and cider to the families waiting in line for the event that would begin later in the morning.Chef Ford, Chef Chris Cormier and the Mission staff marinated and roasted 3,000 pounds of chicken, sliced, seasoned and cooked 600 pounds of carrots, prepared 600 pounds of green beans and griddled lots of onions, mixed and baked 140 gallons of grits for the Cheezy Grits and chopped and mixed 115 gallons of Winter Chutney. (Recipes are attached). The preparation work went on for several days, with the chef staff in a cooking frenzy all Monday morning to be ready for the 11:00 AM serving time.A thousand blankets were handed out by Kimberly Vodang, Ms. America International, to those who attended. There was also underwear distributed which was donated by Briefly Cares, a philanthropic outreach by Briefly Lightweight company. Dining utensils and napkins were provided by Landsberg/Amcor. Hygiene kits were put together by Mission volunteers throughout the month of December, and were handed out Monday as well to participants.Housed in temporary facilities, shelters and low-income housing in the Skid Row area, this will be the only Christmas celebration for many of the guests. As they waited to be seated and served, the guests enjoyed holiday music from a number of local musical groups.The Los Angeles Mission has been providing a Christmas meal and toy distribution at this location since the Mission building was dedicated 20 years ago. The Mission has been operating continuously since 1936, when it was created as a soup kitchen to serve those displaced during the great depression.
With Infosys’ Q3 earnings beating the Street’s estimates, the focus now turns to Wipro results, which will be released on 18 January.While it is widely expected that Wipro — India’s third largest IT firm — will not be able to spring any surprise in its revenue growth for the December quarter, investors may look for impact of Chennai floods on its income.India’s third largest IT firm Wipro also gave a similar warning about its Q3 earnings following floods in Chennai. The company had said that increase in costs due to deployment of business continuity plans would impact revenues and operating margins for the quarter ended December 2015.The Bengaluru-based IT giant is expected to post a 0.5% growth in dollar revenue for the October-December quarter on a sequential basis, according to an analysts’ poll conducted by CNBC-TV18.Wipro’s dollar revenue stood at $1,831.9 million in the second quarter of the current fiscal year.In constant currency terms, dollar revenue is likely to come at around 1-1.2% against guidance of 0.5-2.5% ($1841-1878 million), due to Chennai floods’ impact witnessed in December last year.Wipro has a headcount of about 22,000 people in its facilities in Chennai.”Revenues from our IT Services business are expected to be in the previously communicated range of $1,841 million to $1,878 million; However, we expect revenues to be in the lower half of the guidance range,” the company had said in the statement.Analysts expect the acquisition of Designit to slightly contribute to Wipro’s revenues in the third quarter. Wipro had acquired Designit, a Denmark-based global strategic design firm, in July last year to improve its income from the emerging digital vertical.In rupee terms, Wipro’s Q3 revenue is expected to increase by 2.7% to Rs 12,371 crore compared to Rs 12,042.8 crore in the September quarter.However, a depreciation in rupee during the quarter is expected to partly offset the impact of Chennai floods on its margins.
OYO RoomsReutersHoteliers across India are planning to take the legal route to force bookings aggregator Oyo to abandon alleged predatory behaviour. Hundreds of budget hotels in major metros such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata have joined hands to take the move forward, the Economic Times reported.The grouse of the hoteliers is that Oyo is suppressing prices, changing contract terms and threatening to delay payments. The Budget Hotel Association of Mumbai is in the forefront of forming a nationwide lobby of hoteliers.Oyo, a unicorn startup flush with money, raised $1 billion in September, taking its valuation to $5 billion.”Rooms that we used to sell for Rs 2,000-2,500 are now being sold for Rs 800-900. Because of funding they are able to sell rooms at much lower rates. The minimum guarantee fee is also not coming, so we are not left with a choice,” Budget Hotel Association of Mumbai president Ashraf Ali told the daily.Oyo, India’s most valued startup built by Ritesh Agarwal, disrupted the hotel booking process entirely, offering customers a wide variety of rooms at dirt cheap rates.Backed by Japan’s Softbank and flush with funds, Oyo is already the biggest hotel chain in India. The company is also expanding aggressively into foreign markets like China and Japan.The Gurgaon-based company now manages as many as 180,000 rooms in China, compared with about 150,000 rooms in India and the rest of south Asia combined.Oyo Hotels & Homes, which is India’s second most valuable startup after Paytm, opened up great vistas of opportunities for travellers around the country but the innovative business practice is eating into the profits of hotel owners and threatening to unravel their commercial existence. OYO Rooms founder Ritesh AgarwalHotels owners in various cities say that they are left with meagre little after Oyo levies around 23-30 percent of the heavily discounted prices. Of late, the online platform has been arm-twisting them into accepting terms that are not viable anymore, the owners say.Oyo denied the charges, adding that it is focused on offering fair pricing to customers while hotel owners get an opportunity to scale their business using the platform.
By Hamil R. Harris, Special to the AFROA coalition of African-American pastors announced its support for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. This proclamation comes at a time when some of the state’s top Democratic veterans privately say Ben Jealous is losing ground in his bid to unseat the Republican governor, even during the era of President Donald Trump.Baltimore and Prince George’s County are critical for any chances of Jealous winning and this is why the endorsement of a number of prominent pastors is a political body blow to the former President and CEO of the NAACP. Further two of the pastors are leaders in the Progressive National Baptist Convention, which was formed by pastors aligned with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.Black Pastors such as the Rev. Anthony Maclin of the Sanctuary at Kingdom Square in Prince George’s County are supporting Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan (R) who is running against Democrat and former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous.“The gubernatorial leadership of Governor Hogan for our great state has been, and continues to be, insightful, thoughtful and respectful,” said the Rev. Dr. Harold Carter Jr. of the New Shiloh Baptist Church in Baltimore, according to a statement released by the Hogan campaign. “His administration has been one of inclusivity and stability. We are the better for what he, along with Lt. Gov. Rutherford, bring to the table.”The Rev. Anthony Maclin, pastor of the Sanctuary at Kingdom Square, in Capital Heights, Md., is also supporting Hogan and said in a statement, “This governor has brought people together, reaching across political lines for the betterment of the people of the great state of Maryland.”The endorsement of these pastors came during a time where Jealous is being seen at major African American events such as the Morgan State Homecoming last weekend and the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce Gala at National Harbor. Privately, at both venues, leaders say Jealous is losing to Hogan in terms of a good ground game and African Americans like what Hogan has done.In terms of the faith community the pastors supporting Hogan are major players.“The Hogan/Rutherford team has proven to be thoughtful leaders,” said the Rev. Dr. Alvin Hathaway Sr., pastor of Baltimore’s Union Baptist Church. “I’ve found them willing to listen, debate and collaborate. These are the skills needed in this highly partisan climate. Together we are planning major changes in the west Baltimore community I serve.”The Rev. Dr. Calvin Baltimore of the Peoples Community Church in Silver Spring, Md., said, “These men are giving Maryland stellar leadership. I and other ministers and friends will be supporting these great men for re-election.”In addition to touting $25 billion for K-12 education, including $3.8 billion for Baltimore City, Hogan said in a statement that his administration, “has also taken strong action and spoken out against hatred and divisiveness in Maryland,” and has allocated money to improve security passed laws to strengthen hate crime laws.In terms of the endorsement, Hogan said in a statement, “These pastors are pillars of their communities and it is a privilege and an honor to receive their support.“I have been grateful to receive their wisdom and moral guidance during my first term. I look forward to working with them as we continue changing Maryland for the better.”Rutherford, another key to Hogan’s support, said, “Our administration has made building strong communities throughout Maryland a top priority, and these pastors have been vital allies in that effort.”
The nation is acquiring interest in documentary films, especially since the BBC’s documentary on Nirbhaya rape case created quite a stir in the International platform. Australian documentary films are nonetheless awe-inspiring as they also deal with interesting issues and are creatively presented to the audience. The national Capital also witnessed some of the Australian Documentaries as India International Centre hosted a film festival where award-winning documentaries were shown from July 23-25. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Two documentarians Martin Butler and Pat Fiske, who happened to be in the city for their documentary films, talked about film-making, Australian historical heritage and much more.When asked whether getting into film-making was harder than continuing in the industry, Martin Butler said, “Both are extremely hard but getting started is harder because one does not have the funds or contacts that would facilitate in becoming a documentary film-maker. Money is invested in your work once you gain experience in film-making. Experience makes it easier to get noticed.” Pat Fiske added, “During our time in the 70’s we had access to government funds which was provided to promote film-making and we could explore the art of film-making and learn on the job. At that time the government was putting in a lot of money so we learned by participating but nowadays film schools have come up which did not exist in our time (to Butler) wouldn’t you agree? To which Butler replied “Yes. It is indeed tough to become a documentarian and I suspect one has to be lucky.” Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixTalking about the industry, Butler added, “The Australian film industry is quite big compared to the size of the country and they make quite a number of feature films each year. It is nothing like the size of India obviously, but I think that Australia is stronger in documentary film-making. There are a number of complicated reasons for that but Australian films are bold and they take on interesting, confronting topics and subjects and use them in an innovative way. Indian audience should be advised to watch Australian films, especially, the documentaries. There are a lot of interesting subjects covered, I’d be surprised if they’re already covered in India.” Martin Butler talked about his documentary First Footprints, where he described Australia’s ancient history. He explained how it covers the history of fifty thousand years before the arrival of White Australians. He said, “It is generally assumed that the Aboriginal Australians were too primitive though the research has found out that they were technologically advanced. They were pioneers in sea faring being the first people in the world to cross the ocean. They had explored the ocean when nobody else did. They were also the first ones to make pictures and sculptures. If one would visit the remote areas of Australia, one would find such sculptures and paintings.” He added that Australia is also rich in cultural heritage like India.Pat Fiske, described her two documentary films Scarlet Rose and Love Marriage in Kabul that were shown in the festival.Scarlet Rose follows the extraordinary life of an Australian sex worker, Rachel Wotton. Impassioned about freedom of sexual expression and the rights of sex workers, she specializes in a long over-looked clientele —people with disability.In the documentary Love Marriage in Kabul, Mahboba Rawi is a strong-willed Afghan-Australian woman who has dedicated her life in helping orphans in Afghanistan. She is the founder of Mahboba’s Promise and a mother figure for thousands of orphans and widows currently supported by her programs. The story revolves around one of the girls from her orphanage who falls in love with a boy-next-door and all the problems that she faces in getting them married.
Kolkata: In an attempt to create panic among people, BJP supporters allegedly set fire to a West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) bus on the southbound approach road of Brabourne Road flyover.While resisting the BJP supporters, two police personnel, including the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Howrah Bridge traffic guard, received multiple injuries. A BJP supporter was injured as he got trapped inside the burning bus. School students and patients were also forced to get down from different vehicles to make the bandh a success in two different cases throughout the city. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAccording to the police, some miscreants boarded the bus from route C-7 (Howrah to Harimohan Ghosh College) acting as passengers, on Wednesday at around 1.40 pm. When the bus arrived near Pagaya Patty, the alleged hooligans started creating a ruckus, threatening the passengers and the bus driver.The panic stricken passengers deboarded the bus in a hurry. As the driver of the bus had also got panicked, he was not able to stop the bus in time and rammed it into a divider, before coming to a halt. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedAs the bus stopped, BJP supporters threw some inflammable material inside the bus and set it on fire. In the meantime, one of the BJP supporters somehow got trapped inside the bus, who was later identified as Sanjib Singh. Police and locals immediately joined hands to rescue Singh. Two fire tenders were pressed into action to douse the fire.At the same time, the OC of Howrah Bridge traffic guard Raj Kumar Singh and home guard of Sealdah traffic guard Bidesh Samanta got injured, while confronting the BJP supporters. Police later identified the two persons responsible for the incident and detained one of them. Sanjib has been admitted to the Medical College Hospital with multiple injuries.In another incident, a school bus packed with children was obstructed by BJP supporters near Ganganagar under Airport police station area on Wednesday morning.Sources informed that the children and teachers were forced toget down from the bus. The bandh supporters allegedly tried to ran-sack the bus but later stepped back after repeated requests from the teachers.Meanwhile, a patient and his family members were forced to get down from a taxi near Howrah Station. The taxi was then ransacked. Later, police intervened and arranged another taxi for the patient and his family. Police also dispersed the mob and secured the taxi driver as well.
To mark the martyrdom day of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, an All-Faith Prayer Meeting was organised by the Office of the Resident Commissioner, Government of West Bengal, at the West Bengal Information and Cultural Centre in the Capital.Participants from Guru Harkrishan Public School India Gate, Union Academy Senior Secondary School, Shafiq Memorial Senior Secondary School, Department of Buddhist Studies, University of Delhi, Ahlcon International School, ASN Senior Secondary School and St Columba’s School took part in the solemn ceremony, reciting shlokas, religious texts, and devotional songs. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf’Concert for Harmony’ – a musical ensemble – was presented on the occasion by eminent musicians from Nadd Foundation, with Durjay Bhaumik on Tabla, Monohar Balatchandirane on Mridangam, Tuhin Chakraborty on Tabla, Shounak Banerjee on Ghatam, Ravinder Rajput on Flute and Lavinya Ambade on Sitar. The event concluded with the rendering of ‘Vaishnava Jana To’. A photo-exhibition on ‘150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’ was also organised at the Muktadhara Art Gallery.
People who overturn the apple cart don’t ask for permission. But it takes more than audacity for a 26-year-old to challenge an entire industry. For Ahmed Khattak, it was personal: He couldn’t buy a phone. An international student from Peshawar, Pakistan, Khattak arrived at Yale in 2004 at the age of 18 with no social security number and no credit history. That meant no one would sell him a cell phone.He was appalled at the barriers the U.S. cell phone industry threw in front of consumers at every turn. Restrictive two-year contracts?Indecipherable pricing schemes for voice, data and text? And, once he got a prepaid phone, $50 a week just to call his family back in Pakistan? This, from the most technologically advanced country in the world?”I couldn’t believe it,” Khattak says.In 2007, he went to London for an internship and discovered how to change the game–at the airport, no less, only moments after he got off the plane. “I realized that it was as easy as going to a vending machine, buying a SIM card and [thereafter] paying $22 a month for your phone bill,” he says.It was his “eureka” moment: unlocking cell phones, setting them free. “I decided that I had to change the way people in the U.S. go about their plans and phones,” he says. His New Haven, Conn.-based company, GSM Nation, had sales of $35 million in 2011, its first full year, and is on track to reach sales of $50 million this year.Three components to Khattak’s life help explain how he came to build his business. First, he was exceptionally competitive at squash, good enough to be recruited by Yale.”I am ethnically a Pashtun, and Pashtuns have dominated squash for over half a century. I went on to become a top-10-ranked junior national,” he says.The Pakistan Squash Federation is run by the Air Force, the second major influence in Khattak’s upbringing. He was a military brat–his father was in the Air Force–so he lived the gypsy life of moving frequently and with little notice, more than 15 times, to cities as big as Karachi and to tiny, remote villages.The third component was his can-do personality. “I have always loved building stuff and fixing it; [I am] a problem solver. I tend to look at everything to see where the stress points are and how to fix them,” he says. “I would fix my schoolmates’ and neighbors’ computers and PlayStations. All this was leading to a bigger venture for me.”The chance to study engineering at Yale, his ability to fit into any environment and his tinkerer’s bent laid the groundwork for him to tackle the multibillion U.S. cell phone industry.A Business is BornGSM Nation’s model is simple: Consumers buy manufacturer-unlocked phones that can be used with any network, then they sign up for significantly cheaper voice, text and data plans through third-party carriers such as H2O Wireless or Simple Mobile–with no multiyear contracts.These carriers resell blocks of minutes they’ve purchased from T-Mobile and AT&T.Seed capital for the company first came in the form of a $30,000 loan pooled from friends and family; later it would come from Junaid Shams, who co-founded GSM Nation with Khattak. At the time Shams was in medical school at George Washington University (he graduated in May). “In early 2010, Ahmed came to me with this raw business idea,” Shams says. “We spent the entire night developing it, talking about infrastructure, financing and concept, basically trying to figure out if it was feasible or not.”Raising capital was the first test. Once the company had revenue, Khattak and Shams raised an additional $120,000 in loans. A year after launch, capital arrived from an unlikely angel investor: Khattak’s dentist. Needing a root canal (but with no way to pay for it) Khattak searched locally for an endodontist who would do the work on credit. When he ran across the name Moin Ahmed, he thought, Sounds like he’s from my part of the world. Sure enough, Ahmed was a fellow Pakistani, and he told Khattak not to worry about the money.As GSM Nation stirred to life, Ahmed mentioned that he was seeking a place to park some private capital; Khattak suggested he write a check against equity in the company. Bang: Khattak landed $200,000. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now So far, Khattak has managed this dance. And it hasn’t distracted him from the pleasures of starting a business. “It’s incredible coming to work every day and seeing what you have done,” he says. “I am obsessed with growing my company to thousands of people … the fact that I can get the thing I desire and [share] it with my friends and family is a good perk.”On a Saturday afternoon in San Francisco, the fog has burned off, and it’s a gorgeous summer day. Khattak has flown in early for meetings. He speaks rapid-fire, his brain clearly buffering half a dozen ideas that simply can’t make it into words fast enough. Despite the demands of GSM Nation, he is already at work on his next venture, eDrop.com, a new way of social shopping for great bargains. “I have assembled an amazing team,” he says. “We are going to release our first beta in [September] and hopefully go into a nice round of funding by October.”Khattak checks, then pockets, his iPhone and bids goodbye. He is taking a meeting at the airport, then flying back to Connecticut the very same day he flew in. Why? In spite of the insane hours he commits to his work, he reserves one day a week to spend with his wife and son to enjoy the fruits of his American dream.Storming the GatesWhen a twentysomething vaults into an industry with no experience, no contacts, very little capital and meager working knowledge about American business, you have to ask, How did he make this magic? Here’s what other entrepreneurs can learn from the success of GSM Nation’s Ahmed Khattak.Do your homework. “It’s fine to get into uncharted territories, but once you get in, do your research,” Khattak says. “Too many entrepreneurs spend too much time doing risk analysis [before they take action].”Find paying customers ASAP. James Boyle, managing director of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, where GSM Nation was born, emphasizes the practical: “One of the pieces of advice we give students is to focus on finding the first paying customer as soon as possible. Whether you’re familiar with an industry or not, the process of getting someone to pay you money teaches you a great deal about challenges and opportunities in that space.”Balance the grand vision with immediate action. Ka Mo Lau, co-founder and CFO of advertising tech startup PaperG, calls out fellow entrepreneur and friend Khattak for his ability to move things forward: “Have a grand vision for where you want to go, but like Ahmed, execute on practical, immediate actions that bring you closer to that vision every day.” Enroll Now for Free Ahmed Khattak of GSM Nation. Did the endodontist see the growth potential in GSM Nation from the start? “Not at the time,” he says, “but I wanted to help Ahmed in his venture.” Believing in the man more than in the business itself, he handed Khattak the check.With desperately needed capital in hand, Khattak ramped up inventory, and two friends from Yale joined the company. Still, Khattak ran the show.”I am a very independent person, so I really don’t like a lot of interference. I didn’t seek a lot of help at all,” he says. Indirect help came from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, which gave him a tiny office space and required him to produce quarterly reports. “It instilled a great deal of confidence in me, and I owe them for that,” he says.GSM Nation was an instant hit. “It’s hard to put a finger on a particular occasion when I thought we were going to be successful,” Khattak says, “because we have surpassed our wildest imaginations. I mean, think of it, in excess of $50 million in sales in just over two years. We have taken such huge leaps that every six months we have a new aim and we literally treat that as our starting point.”He estimates the total market for his industry is $2 billion to $3 billion–but growing fast. “Fifty to 70 percent of T-Mobile activations came from contract-free plans in the past year, and now all carriers are going into this segment,” he says. This translates into more sales for the likes of GSM Nation.Full BoilSoaring growth poses the immediate problem of cash flow. On this point, Khattak and Shams agree. “I think the biggest mistake we made in the early going was not having as much funding as we originally thought we needed,” Shams says. “We were growing so fast [in] the first six to 12 months, faster than what even we had expected, that we didn’t have the funding at the time necessary to allow us to grow at the same pace.”Many of GSM Nation’s wholesale clients are based in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. So after a long day at the office, Khattak returns home, and calls begin coming in from the other side of the globe. With Khattak clocking 20-hour days, GSM Nation sidestepped major crises in its first year. Ever the problem-solver, Khattak admits he was constantly putting out smaller fires.The greater challenge is that there are practically no barriers to entry in the unlocked cell phone market, so the company must continually raise its game. “[It makes] the landscape insanely competitive; we started a company that was essentially a repository of information for people, and then if they wanted a device they could buy one,” Khattak says. “It might sound stupid, but our philosophy is to make sure the person who calls wants and needs what he thinks he does … We are not the cheapest in the industry, but we are the best. A lot of our competitors try to compete on pricing, and they never get anywhere.”Related: Young Entrepreneur Challenges the Way Americans Think About Their CellphonesGSM Nation certainly has its fans: A scan of reviews on ResellerRatings.com turns up myriad gushing comments (e.g., “You guys need a Superman cape.”).Yet cash flow remains the biggest obstacle to growth. “If I had a few million [dollars] more, I would do $200 million in sales this year,” Khattak says.Meanwhile, operations are lean at the New Haven headquarters. With just 14 employees, the company relies heavily on contractors. The work environment is casual, with “no sense of hierarchy.” As for his management style, Khattak says, “I am the kind of person [employees] respect and don’t want to disappoint because of my love for them, as opposed to them being scared of me.”Family ManWas Khattak ever frightened of failure? “Absolutely–still am. The fears are different, though. In the beginning, it was more along the lines of, I would have to go back to Pakistan having failed at something, and my friends and family wouldn’t understand,” he says. Today his fears are of disappointing customers. The fire dance of cash flow to keep product moving means that GSM Nation operates on a precipice. This story appears in the October 2012 issue of . Subscribe » 10 min read This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. December 10, 2012
Travelweek Group Tags: Qatar, Qatar Airways Qatar Airways suspends flights to UAE, Egypt, Bahrain Tuesday, June 6, 2017 DUBAI — Qatar Airways has canceled flights to Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from Tuesday until further notice, the airline said on its website, a day after it had suspended flights to Saudi Arabia.The airline said passengers holding a confirmed Qatar Airways ticket to any of the four countries between June 5 and July 6 are permitted to rebook their flights up to 30 days after their current departure date.Qatar Airways said its offices will continue to operate as normal in affected countries until further notice.On Monday, EgyptAir, flydubai and Bahrain’s Gulf Air joined Etihad and Emirates in saying they would suspend all flights to and from Doha.The move came after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move, accusing it of support for Islamist militants and Iran.According to the CAPA Center for Aviation, “Losing Saudi, Bahrain and UAE airspace would effectively ground Qatar Airways.”More news: Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksSince Qatar has very little airspace and is largely surrounded by Bahrain, a permanent ban by the aforementioned countries would be devastating for Qatar Airways. As Business Insider reports, losing access to Bahrainian airspace would force the airline to fly through airspace they are now barred from to reach their base in Doha.Credit: Business Insider With file from Reuters Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >>
Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Air Canada kicks off Montreal-Lima and Yellowknife-Vancouver service Tags: Air Canada MONTREAL — This past weekend was a busy one for Air Canada, which launched service between Montreal and Lima, and from Yellowknife to Vancouver.As Montreal’s first year-round link to the southern hemisphere, flight AC1942 arrived at Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport on the morning of Dec. 17, complementing the airline’s existing flights from Toronto and positioning it as an “important player” in the growing market between Montreal and Latin America, said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.“Air Canada is continuing its global expansion with the launch of Montreal-Lima, the first South American route from our Montreal hub that will offer business and leisure travellers as well as freight forwarders from Quebec and Atlantic Canada convenient access to Peru,” he added. “This concludes an exceptional year of growth out of Montreal-Trudeau with the introduction of eight new destinations.”Next year, Air Canada will launch service to Tokyo-Narita (Japan), Dublin (Ireland), Lisbon (Portugal) and Bucharest (Romania). Smith also added that over the past five years, Air Canada has increased capacity from Montreal by 83% and added 29 new destinations.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesMontreal-Lima direct service runs twice weekly and is operated by Air Canada Rouge with 282-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft featuring Premium Rouge and Economy class service.A day earlier on Dec. 16, Air Canada also inaugurated Yellowknife seasonal service from Vancouver, the only nonstop flights between the two cities. The daily service is offered onboard 76-seat Bombardier CRJ-705 jet aircraft and will operate until April. Next year’s seasonal service from Vancouver will kick off on Sept. 5, 2018.“We are pleased to now link Yellowknife to our Vancouver trans-Pacific hub, connecting seamlessly to and from our Asia and U.S. transborder networks to offer time savings and ease for both international visitors travelling to enjoy our country’s spectacular Aurora Borealis and Canada’s northern winter adventures, as well as for local residents. Our seasonal route will begin in early fall next year to meet the growing demand for travel to Canada’s Northwest Territories from Asia,” said Smith. Share Posted by Monday, December 18, 2017
Legislation introduced by Rep. Kim LaSata streamlining rules regulating Michigan’s Adopt-a-River and Adopt-a-Shoreline programs were signed into law by the governor today.Over the years, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have been separated, combined and separated again through various executive orders. After the most recent split, each department thought the waterway cleanup programs fell within the other’s purview. As a result, the programs remain without administration.“The confusion has resulted in many selfless Michigan residents who want to help clean up our state’s rivers and shorelines with nowhere to turn,” said LaSata, of Bainbridge Township. “We’ve clarified the laws that govern these truly awesome programs so they can be utilized as they were intended.”After working with the DNR and the DEQ to determine a solution, LaSata’s legislation calls on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to administer the programs and offer information to the public about how to become involved.House Bills 5155 and 5156 are now Public Acts 78 and 79 of 2018.### Categories: LaSata News 19Mar New laws improve Michigan water beautification programs
French minister of culture Franck Riester has confirmed plans to close down France Télévisions youth channel France 4 along with international service France Ô, next year, to the consternation of groups representing creatives in the country.Franck RiesterRiester’s confirmation of the closure came at the signature of an agreement on plans to ensure France Télévisions’ continued presence in overseas territories and departments following the disappearance of France Ô.Last week, France Télévisions chief Delphine Ernotte stopped short of confirming outright that France 4 would go, but announced that the pubcaster was launching a new youth-oriented digital offering called Okoo.Copyright societies the SACD and SPFA, representing authors and producers respectively, immediately condemned the closure of France 4 and the way it had been announced.The organisations called for a moratorium on the closure, having previously asked for an evaluation of the proposed new digital service 18 months after its launch.The SACD and SPFA said that the decision to go ahead and close France 4 in line with the government’s initial schedule was part and parcel of a reform process that had been carried out without transparency and consultation and sent a “disastrous” message to authors and producers of animation, as well as to anyone interested in equal access to public service TV.They said that developing a new digital platform at the same time as closing down a channel that accounted for 70% of France Télévisions’ youth and animation programming, with 4,400 hours of programmes aired eachyear, when linear TV remained the main distribution method in the country’s was “a profound error” that had not been replicated in any other European country.The pair said that launching a digital platform without the support of a linear channel at a time of increased digital competition was a dangerous mistake and accused the government of neglecting those without access to the web or the means to access digital services.