Allegri says Juventus is a team full of champions

first_imgThe Bianconeri is the only team in the Italian Lega Serie A that has not lost a single match this seasonJuventus has now 14 consecutive matches without losing in the 2018-2019 Italian Lega Serie A season.The Bianconeri is the only team in the competition that has yet to lose.And for coach Massimiliano Allegri, his team is made up of champions.Franck Ribery, FiorentinaFiorentina owner: “Ribery played better than Ronaldo!” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso was left gushing over Franck Ribery’s performance against Juventus, which he rates above that of even Cristiano Ronaldo’s.“This is a team made up of champions and men of character,” Allegri told ESPN.“To win you must have the desire to make a race more, to gain an extra centimeter, you must have the humility to put yourself on a par with the opponents on the physical plane and these players have it.”“We started a difficult month in the best way,” he added.“December will be important, at the end of the month we can make an initial assessment. But from here to May, it’s long.”last_img read more

Newspaper Association Kills its Print Magazine

first_imgAnother print publication has fallen victim in the struggling newspaper industry—this time, a magazine.The Newspaper Association of America has ceased publication of Presstime, its print magazine. The May issue will be its last.The association will continue to publish the magazine as a digital edition. “Continuing the Presstime mission online is part of the transformation very much in line with the changes our members are making to their own businesses,” a NAA spokesperson told Editor & Publisher.The decision to shutter Presstime’s print edition came this week as the association eliminated 39 staffers, or roughly halfof its overall workforce. Circulation of daily newspapers dropped 7 percent in March while Sunday papers saw circulation fall 5.3 percent, according to an Audit Bureau of Circulations report released earlier this week.last_img read more

Cision to go Public Through Blank Check Merger

first_imgCision is going public through a merger with Capitol Acquisition Corp. III, a blank-check acquisition firm. Cision, a PR tech company and owner of PR Newswire, is expected to have an initial value of $2.4 billion upon closing in Q2 2017. In a press release, Ein cited industry movement away from advertising and toward unpaid publicity — or “earned media” — as the reason for investing in Cision. As a blank check acqusition firm, Capitol develops publicly-traded investment vehicles to merge with exisiting private companies, easing their transition into a publicly listed company.  In addition to its “earned media” tech arm, Cision owns PR Newswire, Gorkana Group, PR Web, HARO and iContact. The existing Cision management team, including CEO Kevin Akeroyd and CFO Jack Pearlstein, will continue to run the company. Joining the board of directors from Capitol are Mark Ein, chairman and CEO, as well as Dyson Dryden, president and CFO.center_img “There is a shift in corporate marketing spend to the earned channel driven by its higher ROI and proven success in building brands and the declining efficacy of traditional paid media advertising,” Ein said. “We are investing in Cision, a market leader, to get behind this large, important trend and position the company for accelerated future growth.  We think the combined company will deliver superior returns for investors long into the future.” PR Newswire came under the Cision umbrella in 2015 when it was purchased from UBM for $841 million. The sale was part of UBM’s realigned ‘events first’ strategy, through which they have continuously sold off media properties while investing in conference and event assets.last_img read more

China is requiring EV companies to reevaluate their designs for safety report

first_img Car Industry 2019 Honda Pilot Elite: A smoother, tech-rich crossover SUV Honda OdysseyThe feature-rich Honda Odyssey minivan also retains its number-two slot from last year’s list. While the 2019 model doesn’t see any changes from last, it’s still a darn good choice for families on the go with reconfigurable seats, Wi-Fi and an excellent rear-seat entertainment system. The Cabin Watch video system lets parents keep an eye on their little darlings without turning around in their seats, while Cabin Talk amplifies their voice so no yelling is required.The Odyssey is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 rated for 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Most trims get a nine-speed automatic but the top Touring and Elite trims now use a 10-speed automatic with stop-start technology. The Honda Odyssey is made in Lincoln, Alabama. 49 Photos GMC CanyonIf you’re looking for a slightly fancier version of the Colorado that’s more focused on luxe than dirt, check out the GMC Canyon. The top Denali trim gets standard heated and ventilated front seats as well as a heated steering wheel. Maximum payload capability is 1,665 pounds while max towing is a fairly healthy 7,600 pounds.The Canyon is available with the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, 3.6-liter V6 or 2.8-liter diesel as the Chevrolet Colorado. It’s also built in Wentzville, Missouri. 2019 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison: An off-road animal More From Roadshow 2019 Honda Ridgeline: The commuter’s pickup truck 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous Share your voice 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison: A tougher off-roader We ride along in Tesla Mobile Service’s customized Model… 2019 GMC Canyon: A fancier Colorado Tags Electric Cars Car Industry Tags 71 Photos Jeep CherokeeKeeping its top-of-the-list placement, the Jeep Cherokee is 2019’s most American-made car. Refreshed for 2019, the compact crossover now features more tech, better cargo space and a slightly tweaked look. It’s available in no fewer the nine trims, including the off-road specific Trailhawk and a fancy-pants Trailhawk Elite.For 2019, the Cherokee gets a new 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine with 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, though naturally aspirated I4 and V6 choices are also available. Regardless of engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission gets the power to the pavement — or dirt as the case may be. The Cherokee is made in Belvidere, Illinois. Chevrolet ColoradoMaking its debut in the top 10 is the Chevrolet Colorado. Shown here in the tough ZR2 Bison off-road spec, the Chevy Colorado is an excellent truck and one of the two midsize pickups you can get with a diesel engine. Adding to the ZR2’s two-inch lift and front and rear locking differentials, the Bison gets beefier skid plates (trust me, that’s a good thing), steel bumpers and integrated recovery points. Heck, you can even get a snorkel.Base models get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission, but a more popular choice is the 3.6-liter V6 gas engine with 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the 2.8-liter diesel pumps out 186 horsepower and a delicious 369 pound-feet of twist and is mated to a six-speed automatic. The Chevy Colorado is built in Wentzville, Missouri. 12 Photos 68 Photos 2019 Honda Ridgeline review: Light duty, heavy punch 31 Photos Nio debuts ES6 electric SUV for Chinese EV market 2019 Honda Passport: A well-rounded midsize offering 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport loves to hustle 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec: Sharp handling, sharper looks Honda PassportThe Honda Passport is a new (well, reborn) entry to both the Honda lineup and the American Made Index. This midsize crossover comes to the fray with great driving dynamics and plenty of tech like the standard Honda Sensing suite of active safety features. An available 8-inch touchscreen gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot.Under the hood is the stalwart 3.5-liter V6 producing 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. However unlike the Ridgeline, the Passport sends that power through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Having said that, just like the Ridgeline, this is the only powertrain available. The Honda Passport is built in Lincoln, Alabama. 2019 Acura MDX adds new features and an A-Spec modelcenter_img 69 Photos 4:04 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value 18 Photos Acura RDXThe third-generation Acura RDX squeaks into the top ten list with larger proportions, plenty of interior space and better handling than its predecessor. Forward collision warning with collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control that works even in low-speed traffic, lane-keeping steering assist and road departure mitigation are all standard across the board. Like its MDX counterpart, the RDX is available with the A-Spec styling package.The RDX sports a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine. Output is stated at 273 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, and it’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The new RDX is built in East Liberty, Ohio. Chevrolet CorvetteMoving up from the 10th-place slot last year is the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette. While we’ve all been ogling the new mid-engine Corvette, it’s easy to forget what a performance bargain the current-generation ‘Vette is. From the base trim to the Grand Sport to the bonkers ZR1, the Corvette is an American icon.My preference is for the Grand Sport, which strikes a perfect balance between everyday drivability and canyon-carving performance. The 6.2-liter V8 puts out 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. You can get it with a seven-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, but the kicker is the borrowed chassis and aero parts from the beefier Z06. Like I said, perfect balance. The Corvette is made in Bowling Green, Kentucky. 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better Honda PilotDropping down to seventh place for 2019 is the Honda Pilot. Like its two-row Passport sibling, the three-row Pilot offers parent-focused technology like Cabin Talk as well as myriad standard driver-assistance features through the Honda Sensing tech suite. Honda’s largest crossover offers up nearly 84 cubic feet of cargo space. Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 engine shows up again, making a serviceable 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Touring and Elite trims get a nine-speed automatic transmission while lower trims have to make do with a six-speed auto. The Honda Pilot is made in Lincoln, Alabama. More From Roadshow 2019 Jeep Cherokee can handle the rough stuff 26 Photos Now playing: Watch this: 2019 Honda Odyssey offers plenty of room and features for families Tesla,Enlarge ImageIt’s all in a day’s work for the Jeep Cherokee, the most American-made car in 2019. Jeep With high trade tensions looming and increasing talk of tariffs, more and more consumers are looking to buy American. Cars.com has released its annual American Made Index, showcasing companies that use the most American-sourced parts and labor in their vehicles. The results may surprise you.Cars.com analyzed more than 100 US-built vehicles for five key data points: manufacturing location, parts sourcing, US employment, engine sourcing and transmission sourcing. You might think something like the Ford F-150 would top the list, but it drops from its No. 5 spot for 2018 and out of the top 10 completely. Even the first-place holder, the Jeep Cherokee, is a pretty global product. It’s a Jeep, sure, but that brand is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, an Italian-owned business.Cars.com surveyed 1,000 people and found that half are concerned about automotive import tariffs, with 41% saying they are unsure if tariffs would make them more likely to buy American. Either way, we’re big fans of all the vehicles on this list. These days, buying American doesn’t necessarily mean sticking with a US-based automaker. Comments 0 10 Photos Share your voice 81 Photos Post a comment 2019 GMC Sierra Denali review: So close to greatness 52 Photos 3 Honda RidgelineAgain keeping the status quo, the Honda Ridgeline maintains third place on the American Made Index. This crossover-that-looks-like-a-truck provides a better ride than a traditional pickup and gets an awesome lockable trunk right in the floor of the bed. And it doesn’t do the truck stuff too badly, either, as it’s able to carry 1,860 pounds of payload and tow 3,500 pounds.The Ridgeline is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 good for 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That is channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission with available all-wheel drive. It’s built in Lincoln, Alabama. Acura MDXMoving up one slot to sixth place on the American Made Index is the non-hybrid variant of the Acura MDX. With its SH-AWD system, the MDX is one of the better handling midsize luxury crossovers, and for 2019 the company gives us the A-Spec treatment with a new front fascia and side skirts, 20-inch wheels, wider exhaust tips, unique gauges, a new steering wheel, carbon fiber trim and various Alcantara interior touches.However, both the standard and A-Spec models get a 3.5-liter V6 engine, rated for 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque going through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Acura MDX is made in East Liberty, Ohio.  Enlarge ImageSeveral high-profile EV fires, including a recent one involving a NIO model prompted the Chinese government to act. Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow Recent EV fires have spurred the Chinese government into mandating that makers of battery-electric vehicles re-examine and validate their designs for safety, according to a report published Monday by Bloomberg.Specifically, China is requiring electric car manufacturers to check their designs for battery pack enclosures, the waterproofing of those enclosures, high-voltage wiring and charge controllers. The companies are being required to complete their self-evaluations by October of 2019.This move by China comes after a pair of Tesla fires occurred this year — one in Shanghai and another in Hong Kong — made global news, thanks to video clips shared via social media. The latest incident (and perhaps the last straw) was a fire involving a vehicle made by Chinese company NIO.China’s mandate isn’t limited to new production vehicles either. It wants manufacturers to pay special attention to severe-duty models like those used as taxis or delivery vehicles.It’s unclear what this whole procedure will cost vehicle manufacturers, but with China serving not only as the world’s biggest market for cars but also the world’s largest market for electric and hybrid vehicles, it’s doubtful that there will be much pushback.Neither NIO nor Tesla responded immediately to requests for comment. General Motors Chevrolet Honda Jeep Acuralast_img read more

The musics officially over for Woodstock 50 festival

first_imgA music fan at the Woodstock festival in his car covered in anti-war slogans for love and peace. The Woodstock 50 event celebrating the anniversary of the iconic event has been canceled.  Getty Images The Woodstock 50 music festival is a no-go. The festival made an official statement on Wednesday canceling the event, but said it’s hoping the artists already paid to perform will donate 10% of their fees to the charity HeadCount, a nonprofit targeting voter registration in the US.The legendary Woodstock music festival — which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in August — was originally scheduled for Aug. 16 through Aug. 18 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. Tags 22 Photos 0 “We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined with the great lineup we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating,” Michael Lang, co-founder of Woodstock, said in the statement.”We released all the talent so any involvement on their part would be voluntary,” Lang added. “Due to conflicting radius issues in the DC area many acts were unable to participate and others passed for their own reasons.”Festival headliner Miley Cyrus announced on Tuesday that she backed out of the festival. Along with other musical acts including the Raconteurs, the Lumineers, Jay-Z and the Dead & Company, John Fogerty also confirmed he will not be performing at Woodstock.Original Woodstock 1969 performers Santana, John Sebastian and Country Joe McDonald also pulled out of the festival. Originally published July 31, 7:07 p.m. PT.  Post a commentcenter_img Lollapalooza 2019: YouTube lets you watch without heading to Chicago Uh-oh. Ja Rule might be planning a Fyre Festival follow-up SXSW 2019: The weirdest sights from the world’s largest culture fest Test your music system with these great rock tracks Share your voice More music festivals Musiclast_img read more

Going bust Steeling up for insolvency and the intriguing case of Electrosteel

first_imgWHEN THE CRACKS SHOW: Scheduled commercial banks, who are staring at non-performing assets worth lakhs of crores of rupees created through loan defaults by major steel and infrastructure companies are going all out to recover them. REUTERS/Adnan AbidiInsolvency is more than the flavour of the season when there are no more favours to be done. A National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) inquiry on steel company loan paybacks is being carried out on the recommendation of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The deliberations have proved to be stinging verdicts on the profitability of companies seconded for insolvency by RBI under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), following several failed attempts at loan recovery.Equally chastening has been the sense of resignation, — more in the nature of a barely disguised sang froid –, among companies towards their prescribed fates to be assigned by NCLT. Not much of an objection to insolvency proceedings at all, as things stand.Steel is a cyclical industry and firms battling debt is not new. But successive investment cycles, as a byproduct of booming stock markets and optimistic investors, could make it tempting to relax one’s grip at the wrong moments. As the bosses of 12 steel companies are finding out, complacency is not an option in basic materials industries, and the wrong results lead to acute pain.Auto grade steel manufacturing giant Bhushan Steel is facing the heat on behalf of its struggling power venture Bhushan Power & Steel as well. The two companies together owe 41 banks, including seven foreign banks, more than Rs 80,000 crore. Privately held Bhushan Steel, which is said to owe banks a whopping Rs 44,447 crore, has all but run out of steam after some mild brawling to prove SBI wrong (the company had alleged that the bank inflated its dues by around Rs 100 crore).NCLT death rowLast week, Bhushan Power, promoted by the Singal family, had not objected to the insolvency proceedings but requested the court to ensure the company was treated as a ‘going concern’. Data from Capitaline reveals that the company reported net loss of Rs 2,433 crore in 2015-16 on the back of Rs 8,491 crore in revenues. The firm reported net loss of Rs 3,501 crore in 2016-17 on revenues of Rs 15,027 crore. Its annual report for 2015-16 says that it has been facing severe stress in its debt servicing over the past few years.Other companies on NCLT’s death row include Jyoti Structures, Monnet Ispat, Alok Industries, Amtek Auto, Era Infra and Electrosteel Steels. Among them, the case of Electrosteel Steels stands out like a sore thumb.Electrosteel is among the six companies which were specifically referred to the NCLT for a debt resolution plan.Kolkata-headquartered Electrosteel is not among the top five loan defaulters on NCLT’s tickoff roster, owing Rs 14,000 crore in all and Rs 1,404 crore to SBI alone. An unduly high share of non-banking debt is what sets it apart from the rest. Electrosteel is not known to have repaid debt since April 2015. And, it is understood to owe lenders Rs 9,600 crore and a “couple of hundred crore more to non-financial creditors”, as pointed out by a company source in various news reports. ALL SACKED UP: A worker rests on sacks filled with sponge iron at a steel factory on the outskirts of Jammu on July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Mukesh GuptaFresh loans have not helped the company turn the corner. Even as SBI moved in to recover dues by taking control of its assets and manage it under the IBC, Electrosteel did not demur.This was a clear triumph of experience over hope. For, Electrosteel had debt of Rs 10,274 crore on its books in fiscal 2016 and lenders had first opted for the strategic debt restructuring (SDR) path to resolve the issue.The SDR was introduced by the RBI to tackle the issue of burgeoning debt by allowing banks to acquire control of a defaulting company by converting loans into equity. Following this, the banks were supposed to bring in new promoters and upgrade their sticky assets to standard ones. Electrosteel was the first case where lenders invoked the SDR mechanism, as reported in financial daily HT Mint.The Electrosteel Steels management would quickly blame the failed debt restructuring plan in September 2013 and a botched line of credit for the company’s woes.Riding the market waveIn many ways, Electrosteel was a product of unreal market euphoria which did not measure companies on fundamentals like earnings potential, asset quality, or even revenue history – often, like it repeats history today. When Electrosteel floated its initial public offering (IPO) in late 2010, investors did not ask too many questions. The company hadn’t finished a full year of operations and had no earnings or revenue history. In fact, one of the main purposes of its IPO was to finance its maiden manufacturing plant, for which private equity players would have been a better bet.In the event, the IPO did not have a promising start, and Electrosteel and its IPO managers ran foul of the market regulator after SEBI received complaints about non-disclosure of a rejection of the company’s proposal for forest clearance at the Kodolibad iron ore mine. Electrosteel and its merchant bankers SBI Cap, Axis Capital and Edelweiss Financial were hit with fines totalling Rs 2.5 crore on that occasion.The company had serious execution issues, and it was all downhill after that, as it teetered on the edge of bankruptcy in a couple of years. After the IPO price of Rs 10-11 per share, it went as low as Rs 2 per share. It traded on July 27 at Rs 4.73 per share, down 8.33 percent over its previous closing. Essentially, the company stock is trading at over 50 percent below its IPO price nearly seven years later. Raghavendra NWhen management promises to investors turn out to be a sheer mirage in a sea of IPOs, instances like that of Electrosteel Steels are glaring examples of the quantum of mismanagement (see chart above) which Indian banks and taxpayers face. Not to mention greed and misuse of power in the top echelons of banking which is the root cause of humongous NPAs running into the lakhs of crores encumbering India’s PSU banks.Besides declaring insolvency, the possibility of calling international bidders for the steel assets after they are put on sale would work — provided it does not set a precedent. It is equally vital for banks to take care while appraising loan proposals in future and exercising stronger oversight over disbursements to ensure that loan money assets are created and loans not diverted. This will help projects generate sufficient income to repay their loans on time.The RBI expects the average GNPA ratio of banks to increase from 9.6 per cent in March 2017 to 10.2 percent by March 2018, and fears that this number could easily rise. Banks have reduced lending to the steel, infrastructure, construction, real estate, oil and gas and telecom sectors. These are the key drivers of the economy and also comprise the highest amount of stressed assets within the banking system.Withholding lending to these sectors will not work for long. Derisking through the agency of discretion may be a safety valve for banks at the moment, but may not help the Indian economy even in the medium term.last_img read more

Capitals rail link with districts to resume by Monday Minister

first_imgRail minister Mujibul Haque said rail communications of the southern and northern parts of the country with the capital city may resume by Monday morning. He said this while talking to reporters on Sunday noon after visiting a damaged rail bridge in Kalihati upazila of Tangail.Earlier, rail communications of the southern and northern parts of the country with the capital city snapped due to a damaged rail bridge in Kalihati upazila of Tangail.Tangail railway stationmaster, Md Jalal Uddin, said the rail bridge over the Pauli river in the upazila was damaged by floodwaters.The authorities noticed the damage immediately after the Dhaka-bound Sundarban Express passed the area around 5:30am on Sunday, the railway official added.last_img read more

India calls Rohingya refugees threat to national security

first_imgFlag of IndiaThe Indian government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that Rohingya refugees were “a threat to national security”, pushing back against condemnation of its plans to deport them.India’s top court is hearing a challenge to prime minister Narendra Modi’s government’s decision to deport Rohingya Muslims, filed by two Rohingyas living in Delhi who fled their village in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State about six years ago.The decision to deport Rohingyas comes as Myanmar’s military crackdown in Rakhine has forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas to seek shelter in Bangladesh, in a process the UN has described as ethnic cleansing.Myanmar says its forces are carrying out their legitimate duty to restore order after guerrilla attacks on 25 August on security posts and an army camp in which about a dozen people were killed.Close to 40,000 Rohingya Muslims live in India after fleeing Myanmar over the past decade. Nearly 15,000 have received refugee documentation, according to the United Nations, but India wants to deport them all.Rohingyas are denied citizenship in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and regarded as illegal immigrants, despite claiming roots that date back centuries.Some groups allied to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party have stepped up calls for Rohingyas to leave, and Modi said last week that India shared Myanmar’s concerns about “extremist violence” in Rakhine state.On Thursday, a senior lawyer representing India’s government told the Supreme Court that “the state considers that Rohingyas are a threat to national security.”Intelligence agencies suspect that Rohingya Muslim leaders in India are in touch with Pakistan-based militant groups, the lawyer said.The lawyer declined to be named because an affidavit the home ministry is preparing to file with the court has not yet been finalised.More than 400,000 Rohingyas have been living in Bangladesh after fleeing the persecution in Myanmar since the early 1990s. From Bangladesh, some Rohingyas have crossed into India.Aid groups and human rights activists have criticised the plans to expel Rohingyas, and some lawyers say deportation would violate India’s constitution.India’s Supreme Court is expected to start hearing the case on Monday.India this week sent 53 tonnes of relief materials to Bangladesh for Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar.last_img read more

Rohingyas may die due to scarcity of food Aid agency

first_imgRohingya refugees have their breakfast in Kutupalang Makeshift Refugee Camp in Cox`s Bazar, Bangladesh, September 17, 2017. REUTERSRohingya refugees in Bangladesh could die due to a lack of food, shelter and water available for the huge numbers of them fleeing violence in Myanmar, an aid agency warned on Sunday.Nearly 410,000 members of the Rohingya Muslim minority fled from western Rakhine state to Bangladesh to escape a military offensive that the United Nations has branded a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.“Many people are arriving hungry, exhausted and with no food or water,” Mark Pierce, Bangladesh country director for the Save the Children aid agency said in a statement.“I’m particularly worried that the demand for food, shelter, water and basic hygiene support is not being met due to the sheer number of people in need. If families can’t meet their basic needs, the suffering will get even worse and lives could be lost.”Bangladesh has for decades faced influxes of Rohingya fleeing persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where the Rohingya are regarded as illegal migrants.Bangladesh was already home to 400,000 Rohingya before the latest crisis erupted on Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts and an army camp, killing a dozen people.Pierce said the humanitarian response needed to be rapidly scaled up.“That can only be done if the international community steps up funding,” he said.Rights monitors and fleeing Rohingya say the Myanmar security forces and Rakhine Buddhist vigilantes responded to the Aug. 25 insurgent attacks with what they say is a campaign of violence and arson aimed at driving out the Muslim population.Myanmar rejects that, saying its security forces are carrying out clearance operations against the insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which claimed responsibility for the August attacks and similar, smaller, raids in October.The Myanmar government has declared the group a terrorist organisation and accused it of setting the fires and attacking civilians.Bangladesh border guards said on Sunday the flow of refugees leaving Myanmar had eased off over the past day, apparently because bad weather had discouraged people from taking to boats to reach Bangladesh.SUU KYI ADDRESSHeavy rain over the weekend turned roads into mud, with countless Rohingya putting up shelters with bamboo and plastic sheets beside them.“People are living in these muddy, awful conditions. You have to get them to some sort of space where aid can be delivered,” said Chris Lom, of the international Organisation for Migration. “Clean water and sanitation can only be delivered in a structured environment.”Bangladesh is planning a camp for the new arrivals but Lom said it was unclear how long it would take to build.“It all depends on the resources the government throws at it and the resources we throw at it.”There is no sign that violence has stopped in Myanmar, with smoke, apparently from burning villages, seen as recently as Friday, meaning more refugees are likely to cross.Human Rights Watch said satellite imagery showed 62 Rohingya villages had been torched since the violence erupted.Myanmar says more than 430 people have been killed, most of them insurgents, and about 30,000 non-Muslim villagers have been displaced.Myanmar government leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has faced a barrage of criticism from abroad for not stopping the violence.The military remains in full control of security policy and there is little sympathy for the Rohingya in a country where the end of army rule has unleashed old animosities and the military campaign in Rakhine State is widely supported.Suu Kyi is due to make her first address to the nation on the crisis on Tuesday.Her foreign supporters and Western governments that backed her campaign against military rule, and see her as the best hope for Myanmar’s future, will be hoping to see her make a new commitment to protect the rights of the Muslim minority.At home, her supporters could be disappointed if she is perceived to be caving in to foreign pressure and taking the side of a Muslim minority blamed for initiating the violence.The military has called for unity on the issue.The political party founded by retired officers and trounced by Suu Kyi’s party in the 2015 election, could be expected to take heart to see her support eroded by the crisis.last_img

Warren ShaddWorlds First AfricanAmerican Piano Maker

first_imgWarren Shadd, the World’s First African-American Piano Maker. (Photo Courtesy of shaddpianos.com)DISTRICT HEIGHTS, Md. — Warren Shadd adorned the walls of his one-story home with several framed artifacts. On one wall hangs photographs of his family – his grandmother, his father, and his mother – all playing musical instruments. Another wall displays a 1969 article from The Washington Daily News about him as a 13-year-old musical prodigy.Of all the remembrances, however, particularly significant to him is a certificate from the District of Columbia Piano Technicians Guild awarded on May 1, 1967 to James H. Shadd, his father, a professional pianist and piano technician. The certificate hangs as a reminder of the rich musical legacy from which he descends, Shadd said.Shadd is a third generation musician, second generation piano technician and first generation piano manufacturer, as well as the first African-American piano manufacturer in the world. It is what he was destined to do, he explained. “I am the chosen one,” he said, without a hint of sarcasm. “Not only am I the first African-American piano manufacturer, but unfortunately, we don’t make any other musical instruments, even down to things like music stands or drumsticks or guitar strings or accessories. So, I’m kind of like the first and only.”His company, SHADD Inc., is headquartered in the Bronx, N.Y., he said, but at his home in Maryland, he houses eight of his creations, including the acoustic concert grand piano played on American Idol last season, and the one Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Richard Smallwood use to record his upcoming album.Smallwood had nothing but praise for Shadd’s pianos. “First of all, for a pianist, it feels and sounds like every piano you’ve ever wanted to play,” he said, “your dream piano in terms of the highs, the lows, the mids, the harmonics. It’s just an incredible piece of work.“Not only does it have wonderful sound, but it’s beautiful, just a gorgeous piece of furniture. I would play it every day.”Producing world-class instruments wasn’t always Shadd’s dream. After withdrawing from Howard University when he got a record deal, he toured as a drummer with famous jazz artists like Sarah Vaughn, Jimmy Smith, Joe Williams, Lionel Hampton, and his aunt, Shirley Horn. He also performed in the Broadway hit musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’” with singer Nell Carter and the original cast until Carter, who went on to television fame, decided she wanted to stop the show and tour privately.“As a musician, you’re out of work immediately,” Shadd said, explaining the unpredictable nature of the industry. “Then you’re trying to catch onto the next [show.] Each time it becomes arduous, and you still have bills to pay.”Shadd said he thought long and hard about how to sustain himself without relying on other people. He said he decided to work on pianos, which he learned to do in his parents’ basement when he in high school. “I took the resources that I had and made something happen out of those particular resources, which actually helped me later on when it came to formulating my ideas of what are the best parts in a piano to make it sound great,” he said.After the death of his father in 1993, Shadd took over his father’s business, Shadd’s Piano Hospital Service. Shadd’s father had been the exclusive piano technician for Howard Theatre, Shadd said. He would go with his father to the theater while he tuned pianos for musicians such as James Brown, Count Basie, [Duke] Ellington, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and vocalists Pearl Bailey and Peggy Lee.One day, Shadd was tuning a piano when his client gave him the idea for manufacturing pianos. “Old Mr. Tucker started crying, so I turned around and asked, ‘Mr. Tucker, what’s going on?’” Shadd said.“Mr. Tucker said, ‘Shadd? See that piano?’ He points his finger right where the logo was on the piano. ‘That right there should say ‘Shadd’ because you’re the only one.’“I was like, ‘Okay, Mr. Tucker! I got these ideas!’ I had written down some ideas about how to enhance the volume and the sound of acoustic pianos. So I went down and dusted these old pieces of paper that I wrote four or five years previously, and I started really tinkering around with the piano.”That was the inception of SHADD Inc., he said. Thirteen years later, the company is 60 percent finished with a white acoustic concert grand piano that will go to the Vatican City, he said. “There are certain things that I thought would make my brand super huge immediately,” Shadd said. “[The Vatican] seems untouchable. Unattainable. It’s so way and beyond up there.”Aside from the Vatican, Shadd, whose pianos have been played by jazz pianist Monty Alexander,  singers Gregory Porter and Harry Connick Jr., and a host of other famous jazz musicians, also has aspirations of building a piano for President Barack Obama.Additionally, the company has manufactured a hybrid piano with features like speakers on the front of the piano, a bench with surround sound speakers, screens to allow for interactive virtual teaching and learning, and many other innovative accessories. “We tested for over a year with autistic, deaf, and blind children,” Shadd said. “This will be great assistive technology.”ReeRinn, a partially deaf pianist and teacher, expressed excitement when she was introduced to Shadd’s pianos. Numerous childhood ear infections left Rinn unable to detect high register sounds, and though she received a bachelor’s degree in music, Rinn said she was never able to hear the last 10 notes on the piano until she heard Shadd’s hybrid piano.“I suddenly found myself nearly in tears when I realized I could hear piano notes I had never heard before,” she said.”This was astonishing to me and an immensely moving experience.”Shadd recalled her reaction when she first heard the piano. “She started screaming out, ‘I can hear it! I can hear it! I don’t know what this is!’” he said.”That might have been my greatest moment.”SHADD Inc. is building more models of the interactive hybrid, he said, as well as a keyboard version of it, which he plans to ship to children in impoverished communities and developing countries.Shadd said that though he has received a great deal of recognition and though his last name does appear in large letters on both sides of his pianos, he says it’s more about paying homage to those who nurtured him to be the businessman he is today. “I have so much respect for my family name,” he said. “I just continued that name, which is my name, with respect. It has a lot to do with paying homage to the blood, sweat and tears of my father. It was playing homage to all of the family, my grandmother, my grandfather . . . all the people that were super engaged in music.”last_img read more