Indian retail deal for Au Bon Pain

first_imgAmerican bakery café chain Au Bon Pain has struck a deal with Indian-owned Spencer’s Retail, to open 100 stores across India. Au Bon Pain signed a master franchise agreement with Spencer’s Retail, part of RPG Enterprises, which plans to open the target number of stores within the next two years.”India provides exciting new expansion opportunities for American companies,” said Au Bon Pain president and chief executive officer Sue Morelli. “With their extensive experience, we know that Spencer’s will have great success introducing our brand to India.”The Indian menu will be tailored to local needs, including an expanded vegetarian selection. Spencer’s operates around 400 stores in 66 cities in India, from convenience stores to hypermarkets, and is part of the $3bn Indian conglomerate RPG Enterprises.Boston-based Au Bon Pain now has over 200 company-owned and franchised outlets in the USA, South Korea, Taiwan and Thai-land, selling artisan breads, pastries, sandwiches and salads.—-=== Reporting In ===== Matthew Goodman, Policy representative, Forum of Private Business (FPB) ==The summer doldrums are starting to creep into the public affairs arena. Schools are out and parliament is in recess from 28 July, with most folks off on holiday. But many small businesses cannot afford to put their feet up, so the FPB cannot stop either. We’re knuckling down with a couple of months of planning and preparation for a busy autumn and winter.At the end of June, I was in Brussels for a conference on the European Commission’s Small Business Act for Europe (SBAE). The SBAE is a package of recommendations and legislation to help provide opportunities and remove barriers. It includes improving access to public contracts, trying to find a solution to late payment and making it easier for businesses to trade throughout Europe.As part of the package, the Commission has invited Member States to raise the threshold for VAT registration to €100,000 – about £79,000.It has also lifted restrictions on where Member States can apply reduced VAT rates, which means the UK will have the option to apply a reduced rate to locally-sourced trade and services. These reduced rates are aimed at bringing customers into those local businesses, so bakeries, restaurants and coffee shops may see the benefit.It is too early to tell how any of the SBAE’s proposals will be implemented here at home. The UK already has more exemptions from VAT than any other Member State, but there is definitely an opportunity here to help promote local businesses. The government should make sure that British customers and businesses can take advantage.last_img read more

A sure sign of spring: Big Night nears

first_imgSpotted salamander- Ambystoma maculatum. (Photo by Nikolai Lane)FARMINGTON – The snow is melting, the sun is warm and soon the amphibious creatures who spent their winters in a deep sleep will be waking up and migrating in mass.Big night got its name from being the one night that almost all of the amphibious migration happen, though this night is usually just a window of specific conditions. A warm April rain will usually bring the frogs and salamanders out from forested woodlands to vernal pools to lay their eggs.“The salamanders are living down in the woods, under logs, under the leaves, and in the ground they come out to mate and they specifically are looking for vernal pools, where there are no fish,” said Lecturer of Marine Biology, Nancy Prentiss.Usually the perfect set of conditions occur somewhere in mid-April.“It has to be wet out, it has to be raining and it has to be warm enough. The ground has to be soft as well, they’re not going to come out if the ground is frozen,” said Prentiss.Leigh Ann Fish, a professor at the University of Farmington and Maine Master Naturalist has been organizing events and volunteer stations for big night in Farmington.“We would like to set up some public stations that are accessible and safe in terms of traffic. Where people can go if they just want to have this encounter with frogs and salamanders. We’ve identified Seamon Road out by Mt. Blue High School and we’re kind of adopting that as one location where we’ll have some trained volunteers,” said Fish.Big night attracts waves of volunteers each year who help by protecting these creatures as they cross roads and by documenting possible migration routes the frogs and salamanders may be taking as well as documenting the types of species being observed.“We’ll be doing some data collection out there, [such as] number of species identified, which species, how many and what time period. That kind of data is important for understanding what’s happening with the animals in Maine,” said Fish.People can participate in big night near their own homes. They should look for anywhere that there are wooded areas near a road that slopes down to where vernal pools could be formed. Many of these amphibians will be crossing roads to get to suitable locations.“We’re encouraging people to go out in their own backyards or other places that they know about. To help with that we have some kits available. We’re going to check them out to people on a first come first serve basis,” said fish. “They’ll have things like headlamps, reflective vests and species identification cards.”Dressing well is essential. The ideal conditions will be rain, potentially pouring rain.“People have to dress for it, you have to be prepared. It’s going to be raining, sometimes pouring rain. You need to dress in layers, a waterproof jacket…just come dressed to get wet and chilled,” said Prentiss.On March 25 Maine Master Naturalist, Bryce Hach will be delivering a virtual lecture on Maine amphibious wildlife. This is open to the public and can be registered for here.If anyone would like to reserve a kit, or attend a public crossing site they can do that here.COVID-19 social distancing and safety protocols will be followed at these sites.last_img read more

School obesity-prevention program may reduce medical costs

first_img Read Full Story School-based programs that teach middle schoolers about healthy foods, encourage less TV and other screen time, and urge more physical activity can reduce eating disorders among girls and help save on medical costs, according to a study co-authored by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) Associate Professor S. Bryn Austin.Analyzing data from a mid-1990s study on Planet Health—an HSPH-developed health promotion/obesity prevention program for middle school children—Austin, who is also a social epidemiologist at Children’s Hospital Boston, and health economist Li Yan Wang of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimated that the program saved about $14,000 in medical costs by averting the costs of treating obesity and eating disorders. They also estimated that expanding Planet Health to 100 schools could save the health care system about $680,000.The study was published in the August issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.last_img read more

Neoliberal policies go hand in hand with social exclusion

first_img Read Full Story Looking more closely at Europe may give us a better understanding of why Donald Trump has grown so popular in the U.S., suggests new research exploring the rise of neoliberalism abroad.Sociologists from Harvard and Boston University describe how citizens in countries which, like the U.S., rolled out neoliberal policies in the 1990s and 2000s, have come to draw strong exclusionary lines between themselves and people at society’s margins, specifically Muslim immigrants and the poor.The researchers — Jonathan Mijs, Elyas Bakhtiari, and Michèle Lamont — argue that citizens’ diminishing solidarity with the poor, the rise of anti-immigrant sentiments, and the growing populist vote are all facets of exclusionary symbolic boundaries, which can be linked to the adoption of neoliberal policies across European societies.Based on the uneven rate of neoliberal policy implementation across European societies, they show the intricate relationship between those policies and the ways in which citizens define who belongs, who is deserving, and who is worthy.last_img read more

Professor wins Spitz prize for philosophy book

first_imgPhilosophy professor Paul Weithman recently received the 2012 David and Elaine Spitz Prize for his 2010 book, “Why Political Liberalism? On John Rawls’ Political Turn”. The Spitz Prize is issued by the International Conference for the Study of Political Thought (CSTP) and was first awarded in 1988. According to the Conference’s website, the prize is awarded to the best book in liberal or democratic theory published two years prior. Past recipients of the prize include Joseph Raz, Martha Nussbaum, Sheldon Wolin and John Rawls. Weithman said that seeing names like Rawls and Raz on the list of past recipients made him feel a bit out of his league. “I feel like some guy who wins a golf tournament and gets his name put on the same trophy as Jack Nicklaus,” he said. “It’s a great honor that, of the eligible books, mine was the one they wanted to pick out.” Weithman said he was surprised to receive the award because his book is focused on a historical figure rather than on contributing to liberal or democratic theory. “The committee must have thought I succeeded in using Rawls’ work to get at the big theoretical questions of the discipline, and it’s very gratifying that they thought that,” he said. According to the CSTP website, Weithman’s book “provides careful and rigorous exegesis of Rawls’ work as a way of drilling deeply into some of the central questions in modern political theory.” Weithman said he owes much of his understanding of Rawls’ work to a course he teaches each year that covers Rawls’ theories. “The book is about John Rawls; I teach his work to PPE [Philosophy, Politics and Economics Minor] students every fall in the Justice Seminar, and I’m quite sure that I would not understand it to the extent I do were it not for the annual exercise of teaching it,” he said. “We University professors often say that teaching and research go hand-in-hand and each enhances the other. This is one case in which they really did.” Weithman said he admires Rawls and his book “A Theory of Justice,” which is a famous work of political and moral philosophy. “John Rawls was, I think, the greatest political philosopher of the 20th century,” he said. “[‘A Theory of Justice’] really is a great work of political philosophy and it is truly a theory. It’s a big and systematic theory for modern liberal democracies.” Fifteen years after publishing “A Theory of Justice,” Weithman said Rawls began to publish a series of papers that took his work in a different direction. This new direction eventually resulted in the book “Political Liberalism,” he said. Weithman wrote his book as a means of understanding the changes Rawls made in his theories between the two books, he said. “I wanted to understand the changes Rawls made in his own theory, both because of the intrinsic interest and value of coming to understand a great thinker’s work, and also because I thought that understanding those changes would shed light on some of the deep issues political philosophy confronts,” he said. “I wrote the book to work through and understand those changes.” Politics has always been an area of interest for Weithman and he enjoys keeping up with current political events, he said. “I’ve always been something of a political junkie,” Weithman said. “I love following politics and reading about it. I’m now experiencing a painful withdrawal after the election with so much less to read about and so much less news to follow.” Weithman said that he was drawn to the field of political philosophy as a means of bringing his love of philosophy and love of politics together while a Notre Dame undergraduate. “I realized when I came to see the deep philosophical questions politics raises that pursuing them seems natural,” he said. “I just wish I had more answers.” He does not know if winning the Spitz Prize will lead more people to read his book, Weithman said, but he values the recognition either way. “It’s tremendously gratifying to have a book singled out from the many good ones as worthy of recognition with the Spitz Prize, but whether it will come to the attention of more people, and many more people will pick it up and read it, is just hard to know,” he said. “I know philosophy books aren’t best-sellers. I don’t expect to see it on the kiosks at airports, though it would be nice.” Ultimately, Weithman said he wrote the book because it furthered his own learning and progress as an academic. “I think the books professors write, like the research projects graduate and undergraduate students do, are undertaken for what we learn by doing them,” he said. “When we can’t possibly read all that’s worth reading, we have to be satisfied with the progress we ourselves have made in undertaking projects like these.” Weithman is not currently working on another book, but he said he might begin working on one in the future. “I’m working on a couple of papers right now and maybe one of them will provide the seed for a book project, but I can’t see that far ahead right now. I hope one of them will,” he said. “I admire people who finish a book project and immediately know of several more they want to write. When I finished this one, I felt like I’d written everything I know.”last_img read more

Larry David’s Fish in the Dark Opens on Broadway

first_imgAfter plenty of shouting, bickering and (lovably?) trash-talking theater, Larry David has made it to opening night on the Great White Way! Fish in the Dark opens officially on March 5 at the Cort Theatre, with the hysterical playwright downstage center and directed by Anna D. Shapiro. To celebrate, resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson created this portrait of the cast in action. Fish in the Dark wishes the cast of Fish in the Dark a happy opening. Seriously, as happy as one can be for the comedy about a family death. View Comments About the Artist: With a desire to celebrate the magic of live theater and those who create it, and with a deep reverence for such touchstones as the work of Al Hirschfeld and the wall at Sardi’s, Squigs is happy and grateful to be among those carrying on the traditions where theater and caricature meet. He was born and raised in Oregon, lived in Los Angeles for quite a long time and now calls New York City his home.center_img The gang’s all there; in addition to the Seinfeld co-creator, who plays Normal Drexel, the sketch features Ben Shenkman as Arthur, Jayne Houdyshell as Gloria, Rita Wilson as Brenda, Rosie Perez as Fabiana, Lewis J. Stadlen as Stewie, Marylouise Burke as Rose, Kenneth Tigar as Harry, Molly Ranson as Natalie and Jonny Orsini as Greg. Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 1, 2015 Related Showslast_img read more

Vermont SAT scores down, ACT up

first_imgVermont students posted a strong showing on the 2009 College Board Advanced Placement (AP) exams and Scholastic Assessment Tests (SAT), as well as the 2009 ACT exam, the Department of Education announced today. The results of the SAT showed that scores dropped, most notably in math, but were still well above national averages. The ACT scores rose by two points and Vermont now ranks fourth in the nation for that test.The AP program offers high school students college-level courses in a variety of subject areas. In all, 3,495 Vermont students participated in the AP program (up 4.2 percent from 2008) and took 5,752 AP exams (up 5.2 percent from last year). According to College Board, Vermont leads the nation in the five year-increase in AP scores.AP exams are scored on a scale of one (lowest score) to five (highest score). Sixty-six percent of Vermont exams were scored at three or higher. A score of three or above is considered demonstrating college level mastery of the content.Vermonters continue to perform above the national average on the SAT exams. Since 2008, Critical Reading decreased by one point to 518 (compared to 501 nationally), Mathematics declined by five points to 518 (compared to 515 nationally) and Writing declined by one point to 506 (compared to 493 nationally).In addition, 64 percent of Vermont high school seniors took the exam, with the number of SAT test takers in the 2009 high school cohort in Vermont decreasing from 5,468 to 5,306.More females than males take the exam in Vermont, and gender gaps still remain by subject area, with females excelling in Writing and males excelling in Math. Females scored an average of 517 in Critical Reading compared to 519 for males; 504 in Mathematics compared to 535 for males, and 514 in Writing compared to 496 for males.The ACT college admission and placement exam tests student skills in Reading, Writing, Math and Science. The scores from those exams are averaged to create a composite score. Vermont s high school graduates in the class of 2009 earned an average composite score of 23.1 on the ACT, up from 22.7 last year. A total of 2,008 Vermont graduates took the exam, a 35 percent increase over the last five years.Vermont s average ACT score of 23.1 is higher than the national average of 21.1 and ranked fourth in the country. Source: Vermont Department of Education. August 25, 2009last_img read more

Law Enforcement, Peter King At Odds About Which Extremist Groups Pose Greatest Threats

first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen the White House held its controversial “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) Summit in March, organizations advocating on behalf of Muslims Americans questioned why the event predominantly focused on Muslim radicalization and mostly glossed over American radical right-wing extremism.Still, many Muslim advocacy groups attended the multi-day event. As one local Muslim leader explained at the time: Muslim Americans’ inclusion in the summit was a sign that the often marginalized community was moving from “the ‘outhouse’ to the ‘main house.’”National security hawks lamented what they perceived to be the summit’s lack of focus, while also criticizing the Obama administration for pandering. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), current chairman of the House subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, and former chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, had held five “Muslim Radicalization” hearings in 2011 and 2012. In an interview with the Press, the Congressman said that after the latest Obama-sponsored anti-extremism summit he came away thinking, “It’s almost as if we’re afraid, or the president is afraid…to identify this for what it is.”Last week’s shooting in Charleston, South Carolina by an alleged gunman who espoused racist views toward blacks has revived the discussion of entrenched racism and the current status of radical right-wing organizations in America. The mass slaying also fueled near-widespread condemnation of the Confederate flag’s continued presence in South Carolina and other Southern states.On Wednesday, the New York Times published a widely-shared article titled “Homegrown Radicals More Deadly than Jihadis in US” that cited a not-yet-published survey of police and sheriffs’ departments that by a wide margin reportedly ranks “anti-government violence” (74 percent) as their chief concern. Thirty-nine percent of law enforcement agencies selected al-Qaeda-inspired violence as their primary worry.The survey, which the Times said will soon be published by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Police Executive Research Forum, is not the first of its kind, but rather the latest in a growing number of analyses that place right-wing extremist groups—not Islamic extremism—as constituting the greatest threats facing law enforcement agencies throughout the country.A report released by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to the Terrorism at the University of Maryland in July 2014 found that the dominant threat in the minds of law enforcement agencies nationwide was the right-wing “sovereign citizens” movement, followed by Islamic extremism.The Times story also included statistics compiled by the New America Foundation, which found that almost by two-to-one, right-wing attacks have killed more people (48) since Sept. 11, 2001 than Jihadists’ attacks (26). The nine people killed recently in Charleston were included in the foundation’s tally.“Law enforcement agencies around the country have told us the threat from Muslim extremists is not as great as the threat from right-wing extremists,” Charles Kurzman, one of the authors of the Triangle Center study, told the Times.Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) believes radical Islamist extremists pose the greatest threats to law enforcement agencies across the country. A growing body of analysis finds otherwise, ranking domestic right-wing extremist groups at the top of the terror food chain. (Christopher Twarowski/Long Island Press)Yet despite this growing body of data, King, one of the nation’s top counterterrorism officials, isn’t convinced. During a recent phone interview with the Press conducted on the same day when the Times’ report came out, he staunchly maintained that fundamental Islamic extremism poses the most immediate and significant threats instead.“The threat of Islamic terrorism is thousands of times greater than any homegrown non-Islamic threat,” he says, explaining that the “magnitude” of the threats posed by such extremism is disparate, because of potential cooperation from foreign powers.King also believes the New America Foundation statistics are flawed.“There could’ve been thousands of people killed if attacks weren’t stopped,” he says, citing the 2009 squashed plot to bomb the New York City subway system and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three but injured dozens.The Department of Homeland Security in 2009 released a report warning that the political and economic climate at the time—the economic downturn and the election of the nation’s first black president—could lead to a resurgence in right-wing groups. Homeland Security, however, noted that it had not uncovered any active threats.“Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning,” the report stated.The report was widely condemned by conservatives, and, as the Times noted, eventually withdrawn.Despite the apparent racist motivations that inspired the shooter to murder nine people inside a historic black church in South Carolina, no direct link has been made between Dylann Storm Roof and extremist groups, though a purported manifesto discovered on a website reportedly registered to Roof refers to the Council of Conservative Citizens, which fought against school desegregation, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.The conservative group said on its website that it was “deeply saddened” by the attack.“We pray, for the sake of all Americans, that there will not be an escalation of racial tension,” it said, with a photo collage of the nine victims.Since Sept. 11, Muslims American communities from New Jersey to Long Island have been the focus of surveillance by the NYPD and nationwide by the FBI, the latter using informants to infiltrate mosques, sometimes under the threat of being placed on the government’s secret no-fly list. Such tactics have been condemned by Muslim leaders. In fact, the NYPD has said that surveillance of mosques and shops has not led to a single terrorism investigation.Widespread surveillance without evidence of criminal activity has fueled Islamophobia and cast suspicion on Muslim communities, advocates argued prior to Obama’s recent summit. The focus by the White House on Muslims in America and their purported path to radicalization due to outside threats like ISIS and al Qaeda led advocates to question why the same approach wasn’t being done to better understand extremism on the right.Right-wing groups are very much on the FBI’s radar, King claims, but they just don’t pose as great a risk to national security as their foreign terrorism counterparts, according to him.“They’re basically individual threats,” he says,referring to domestic right-wing extremist groups. “You obviously have the horrible shooting in Charleston. These are evil people, these are dangerous people, but they’re not a threat to the nation like Islamic terrorism is.”–With Christopher Twarowski View image | Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York last_img read more

Playgrounds, sporting facilities to reopen Friday in Broome County

first_imgBroome County June 11 coronavirus update Youth teams will be able to practice and prepare for their seasons on the fields. Additionally, phase three for the Southern Tier will begin Friday. (WBNG) — Broome County Executive Jason Garnar announced Thursday he will not extend the emergency order that closed playgrounds and sporting facilities on Friday. 48 people have died from the virus and 498 recovered. In total, 611 cases have been reported. In the third phase, restaurants will be able to open at 50 percent capacity and personal-care services can operate as long as they follow safety guidelines. Playgrounds and sporting facilities Coronavirus numberscenter_img For a map detailing where cases are located in the county, click here. At restaurants, bands will be able to play as long as they follow social distancing rules, according to Garnar There are 65 active cases of the coronavirus in Broome County. On June 12, Broome County playgrounds and sporting facilities will reopen. The county executive also mentioned garage and yard sales may happen as long as there are no more than 10 customers at the sale at a time. Garnar says the county has not seen a noticeable increase of cases between reopening phases.last_img read more