Hudsons Bay Co CEO Gerald Storch leaving executive chairman assuming CEO role

first_imgTORONTO – The CEO of Hudson’s Bay Co. will leave the company and return to his consulting firm next month, the company says — less than two months after he helped bring the Canadian department-store chain to an international market.Gerald Storch, who joined the Toronto-based retailer in January 2015, will return to Storch Advisors effective Nov. 1, the company said in a statement.“I’m looking forward to returning to my advisory firm to work with a range of companies during this transformational time for the retail industry,” Storch, who also once held the top job at Toys “R” Us, said.Richard Baker, whom Storch succeeded in the top role, will resume the CEO’s duties on an interim basis, while the company searches for a permanent replacement.Baker said he and the board are grateful for Storch’s work, which included leading cost-cutting efforts and addressing the challenges for the company’s multiple banners in a fast-evolving retail environment.The team at HBC (TSX:HBC) is focused on delivering a strong holiday season and looking forward at getting the most value from its retail and real estate assets, Baker said.The retailer, which owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, has been struggling in a shifting retail landscape where consumers are increasingly turning to online shopping.This summer, the company announced it was cutting 2,000 jobs and faced pressure from an activist investor to unlock value in its real estate holdings.HBC has remained focused on its European expansion, with the first Hudson’s Bay store opening last month in the Netherlands.At the time, Storch said there was a big gap in the Dutch market between a very-high end luxury player and discount chains, and he expected the company to be welcomed with open arms.Storch’s departure was announced after the Toronto Stock Exchange closed Friday. The stock was at $11.96 in Toronto prior to the announcement.last_img read more

TSX hits another high as pot stocks fall after US Attorney General

first_imgTORONTO – It was another record close for Canada’s main stock index despite a sharp drop in the health-care sector, which includes some of the country’s biggest marijuana companies.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 41.39 points to 16,412.94, gaining ground throughout the day after flatlining earlier on Thursday amid a free fall in cannabis stocks.Pot stocks were pummelled after The Associated Press reported that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will rescind an Obama-era policy that generally barred federal law enforcement officials from interfering with marijuana sales in states where the drug is legal.“That’s added huge volatility today to the marijuana stocks. They all sold off huge in the morning, came back part way during the day and seemed to be cooling off again,” said Norman Levine, managing director of Portfolio Management Corp.“It just shows the unbelievable volatility of these groups because there aren’t really fundamentals in valuations behind it. These are emotionally driven stocks. It shows that even though the vast majority of these stocks have little to do with the United States, it doesn’t take much to set them off one way or another.”Shares of major licensed Canadian cannabis producers such as Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED) and Aphria Inc. (TSX:APH) were down 9.97 per cent and 13.79 per cent at the close of markets Thursday.South of the border, Wall Street indices also hit consecutive all-time highs as the Dow Jones industrial average breached the 25,000 mark for the first time, just five weeks since its first close above 24,000. It climbed 152.45 points to settle at 25,075.13.The S&P 500 index added 10.93 points to 2,723.99 and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 12.38 points to 7,077.92.Strong global economic growth and good prospects for higher company earnings have analysts predicting more gains for the Dow, although the market may not stay as calm as it has been recently.The Dow has made a rapid trip from 24,000 points on November 30, partly on enthusiasm over passage of the Republican-backed tax package, which could boost company profits this year with across-the-board cuts to corporate taxes.“For a long while in 2017 I would say the biggest driver was excitement and anticipation over tax reform, but at a certain point I think there was a handover to global economic growth really helping to carry the stock market,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global markets strategist at Invesco.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of 79.90 cents US, up 0.11 of a U.S. cent.On the commodities front, the February crude contract gained 38 cents to US$62.01 per barrel and the February natural gas contract was down 13 cents to US$2.88 per mmBTU.The February gold contract was up US$3.10 to US$1,321.60 an ounce and the March copper contract added one cent at US$3.26 a pound.– With files from The Associated Press.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.last_img read more

USA scraps Iran oil sanction waivers on India, 7 others

first_imgWashington DC: In a move that could have implications on India’s energy security, US President Donald Trump on Monday decided not to grant sanctions exemptions to any oil customers of Iran, further squeezing Tehran’s top export commodity. “President Donald J. Trump has decided not to reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) when they expire in early May. This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe US re-imposed sanctions on Iran last November, after President Trump pulled out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The US’ move which is seen as an escalation of President Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” on Iran comes after it last year gave temporary 180-days waiver to eight countries, including India, China, Turkey and Japan among others. As a result of this decision all countries including India would have to bring down its import of oil from Iran by May 2. Greece, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have already heavily reduced their oil imports from Iran. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostIran is India’s third-largest oil supplier behind Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil during April 2017 and January 2018 (first 10 months of 2017-18 fiscal). The US, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, three of the world’s great energy producers, along with its friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied, Sanders said. “We have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market,” she said. In a statement, Sanders said the Trump Administration and its allies are determined to sustain and expand the maximum economic pressure campaign against Iran to end the regime’s destabilising activity threatening the United States, its partners and allies, and security in the Middle East. “The President’s decision to eliminate all SREs follows the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, demonstrating the US’ commitment to disrupting Iran’s terror network and changing the regime’s malign behaviour. We welcome the support of our friends and allies for this effort,” Sanders said. China and India are currently the largest importers of Iranian oil. If they don’t go along with Trump’s demands, that could cause tensions in both bilateral relationships and spill over into other issues, like trade, the Washington Post reported.last_img read more

Mehbooba leads protest march against suspension of LoC trade

first_imgSrinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday led a protest march of her party activists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district against the suspension of cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade and ban on Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI). The protest march was taken out from Town Hall Pulwama to deputy commissioner’s office. Mehbooba demanded the revocation of the decision to suspend the cross-LoC trade and sought immediate release of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik from custody. She also sought revocation of ban on JeI and an end to the ban on civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. Malik is not in good health. I want to tell the Government of India that if God forbid, his health worsens, then the situation here will deteriorate further which will be very difficult to control. Our fight is against militants, but you should not harass their families, she told reporters.last_img read more

Mediasetbacked pay TV unit Mediaset Premium had 1

first_imgMediaset-backed pay TV unit Mediaset Premium had 1.815 million post-paid subscribers at the end of the third quarter, a quarterly net increase of 112,000, exceeding its original target, according to the Italian broadcaster.The figure does not include customers who acquired Mediaset pre-paid cards. Mediaset originally set a target of 200,000 new subscribers between June and the end of the year, and the June-September figure means it is already over half way towards that target.Mediaset said the figures were higher than those of competitors and reflected the appeal of its acquisition of Champions League football rights, for which the broadcaster reportedly paid over €600 million.Italian observers noted that the latest growth comes after a period of declining pay TV numbers and also possibly reflected Mediaset’s decision not to make Champions League matches available on a pay-per-view basis.last_img read more

Yes I know that there are some churches and indiv

first_imgYes, I know that there are some churches and individual Christians who don’t approve of war, but a huge wing of Christianity in the US has put itself in service to a warfare state. Listening to them, you’d think that Christianity and war were natural bedfellows. If you’ve spent time in Red State America, you know what I mean. Please understand that I am not endorsing the Blue State line of crap either (I reject both wings of the Party), but that’s not my subject today. Red State Protestants have given themselves over to “the virtues of defense,” seemingly without limit. They endlessly laud cops, firemen, and especially soldiers: anyone authorized by the state to use force. State force has become unquestionably righteous – especially if it is overseas. To these people, the US military can do no wrong. This involves killing strangers, you understand… by Christians… people whose Holy Book say that they should love the outsider, turn the other cheek, and that every government belongs to the Devil. Red State Religion as a Mix of Christianity and War Philosophy Red State Christianity has become a State Religion, a Warfare Religion. So, since “judgment begins at the house of God,” let’s be harsh: These churches are sucking up to the state for tax breaks, to follow a popular course, and to get lots and lots of members. It’s the new successful pattern, and they are following it without hesitation… to the point where they invent reasons to justify the killing of children. (“Collateral damage,” that is, not “killing.”) A huge number of Red State churches have become whores to the US military culture, paying endless obeisance to uniformed state agents. According to them, all agents of the state are noble, are to be respected, and are most definitely to be obeyed without question. (Tell that to Sam Adams or Tom Jefferson!) All opinions to the contrary are discarded, condemned or ridiculed, without serious consideration. This War Christianity is definitely at odds with the New Testament, which treats both war and state as barbaric relics. I am not, by the way, opposed to stopping actual killers. What I am opposed to is telling someone to kill another person that he knows nothing about, guided by a superstition that “we’re automatically the good guys.” And yes, I know that no one, in the midst of fire and confusion, has enough skill to avoid accidentally shooting an innocent. My complaint is with worshiping a government that places 18 year old boys in that position. These kids are being told to kill strangers, without any real evidence that the people they kill deserve it. Is “because a politician said so” really sufficient? These boys are coming home in pieces, or with pieces missing – and committing suicide in droves – for what? To magically turn Afghanistan into a western state? Does anyone seriously think that will happen? And as someone who cares about history and theology, I am especially opposed to Jesus’ name being abused – yet again – by credentialed shepherds who are devoted – first and foremost – to gathering the largest flock possible, while not giving a damn that distant brown people die. At this point in American history we are being treated to a continuing and twisted spectacle: Defenders of indiscriminate death pretending that they care about “love.” They lie. So says me and so says John the Apostle. Let me be clear about this: Christianity is an anti-state religion. It always was. So was the Judaism that came before it. All arguments to the contrary are fallacious, at least if we are to take the Bible as a serious reference. But it will change… Sooner or later, some American Christians will remember that theirs is an anti-state religion. It will doubtless begin with meetings in living rooms, barns and job sites, and will include a lot of good and talented young people. But they will make themselves despised outsiders, opposed by the current generation of Christian leaders, who have dedicated themselves to the state and haven’t any inclination to admit their errors. In other words, the new, honest Christians will become the next link in a long and proud chain of heretics. They will be brave and committed people who are right, while all the institutions are wrong. Are we really to believe that there is virtue in sending machines to rain indiscriminate death upon foreign people… at funerals? (Look it up!) Must we really defend repetitive torture as being righteous? Now, to be honest, the Red State Christians don’t say these things. Actually, they avoid facing them altogether. And that is the problem. Many of them have become, as Jesus’ friend Simon Peter said, “willingly ignorant.” The US war machine is killing and torturing, and American preachers are straining their every muscle to thank them for it, in the name of Christ. I’ve read Jesus’ words too many times to be suckered by this game, and I don’t think Jesus is pleased with it either. Let’s hope that some young Christians can pull their act together and do better than the generation that preceded them. War and Christianity don’t belong together. They never have and they never will. Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.com Christianity and War: Do they go together?last_img read more

Students at Tuscaloosa Christian School raised mon

first_imgStudents at Tuscaloosa Christian School raised money to deliver 10,000 meals to the people of Haiti.Headmaster Dan Lancaster said the students have been raising money for the school, while also raising money to pay for meals for children in Haiti. This was part of “Feed the Need,” an initiative created by The Champion Group, a fundraising consulting firm that serves the United States and Canada.“This whole thing of, ‘hey, this isn’t just for us.’ This is for others and serving the needs of other people around the world,” Lancaster said. “We felt it would go well hand-in-hand with what we want to do here at TCS.”The school held a big packing event on Oct. 26. Students put together six meals per bag, which got put in 45 boxes, all of which will be shipped to the island.last_img read more

The new coleader of the Green party has told Disa

first_imgThe new co-leader of the Green party has told Disability News Service (DNS) that he will make support for inclusive education a key focus of his new role.Jonathan Bartley was elected alongside Caroline Lucas (pictured with Bartley) last week to lead the party in a job-share arrangement.And he revealed that he first spoke to Lucas at a parliamentary lobby in January last year against the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), when he talked to her about his passion for disability issues.Bartley is a long-standing campaigner for inclusive education, and a former chair of the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education.He first secured significant public attention shortly before the 2010 general election when he challenged Conservative leader David Cameron in front of television cameras on the Tory manifesto pledge to “end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools”.He joined the Green party soon after that meeting.Bartley was only able to stand for leader on a job share basis because of his caring responsibilities for his 14-year-old disabled son, Samuel, who was pictured next to his father in the 2010 footage.He told DNS that the Greens’ commitment to inclusive education was the reason he had joined the party, and he pointed to the huge number of disabled pupils now being excluded from schools, both those that showed up in official statistics and those in which young disabled people were excluded from mainstream schools “by the back door”.And he said he welcomed the “emphatic” and “absolutely wonderful” guidance published late last month by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, which stresses that all segregated education should end, and should be replaced by “inclusive classroom teaching in accessible learning environments with appropriate supports”.He said the government’s policies to create more special school places were being carried out “under the guise of choice, but more and more parents are not experiencing that choice but are being pushed into segregated education”.Bartley said he hoped that his party’s election of co-leaders would increase the momentum towards allowing job-share MPs, something many disabled people are campaigning for.He said: “This is why we have done it. [We want to see] a more inclusive form of politics.“Civil service actively practices [job-sharing]. It is happening in the charity sector. Political parties in Germany have done it for decades.“I have responsibilities at home that I want to fulfil and I am passionate about the issues. The only way I can bring that experience to politics is through a job share.”But he said it would be “a battle” to secure the change in the law necessary to allow job-share MPs because “people are waiting to see what happens” with the Greens’ experiment.Bartley also defended his party’s position on assisted suicide, which although it is supported by some disabled people, is fiercely opposed by the disabled people’s movement.He acknowledged that his party’s support for legalisation of assisted suicide had been raised as a concern by disabled campaigners.He said: “I think we need to listen to it. I have heard people say they don’t support the Green Party because of it.”He said he supported the party’s position “provided all the appropriate safeguards are in place”, but he suggested that legalisation was difficult to justify in a climate of austerity in which disabled people’s support was being cut.He said: “In the context of cuts and misery when we seem to be going backwards in disability rights I can entirely understand why people have concerns.“It’s about showing that it can’t work and that there will be pressure [on people to ask to take their own lives].”Speaking before the launch of Inclusion London’s report on the impact of the ILF closure, he said that the decision to abolish the fund was inevitably going to lead to cuts in support, which was what the report showed.Although his son – who has been ill in hospital for four weeks – was never an ILF recipient, the family do receive direct payments to fund his support, and he said: “I know what it’s like to battle against a social worker who should be your ally and your champion… they are under huge pressure to cut budgets.”One of the themes of the speech he and Lucas delivered after they were elected as co-leaders was the need to “take back control”, which he said was a key concern for disabled people, who are often too scared to speak out against their local authority about their social care.He said: “They are fearful and they are scared, they feel they have no control.”He said the Greens were the only party to oppose the closure of the ILF at the last election and pledge to reopen it, and he backed all of the report’s recommendations, including a new national, needs-led system, independent of local authorities, to administer independent living support, which would be free at the point of delivery and funded by taxation.He also backed the call for the government’s ILF grant – it has pledged to provide non-ring-fenced funding to local authorities in England until 2019-20 – to be ring-fenced for former ILF recipients and for that to continue until a national, independent social care system could be set up.Speaking at the Inclusion London meeting, which was held as part of the Rights Not Games week of action organised by Disabled People Against Cuts, he said he was scared by watching his son’s fight for the support he needs, and added: “You’re going to be a prisoner in your own home [and] I fear that’s what’s going to happen to my son.”He also secured a pledge from Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, to write to Labour-run local authorities to ask them to ring-fence the government grants for former ILF recipients.last_img read more

Why your perception of old changes as you age

first_img This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 11 2019My perception of old age is inextricably linked to my grandmother. When I was a kid, I thought this 65-year-old, white-haired woman whose entire body wobbled when she walked was very old. Now that I’m 66, my personal perception — or perhaps, misperception — of old age has changed. I suspect I’ve got lots of company.Many of us are convinced that while everyone else is aging, that person we see in the mirror every morning is magically aging at a somehow slower pace. The age confusion can start early. A 2018 Michigan State University online survey of respondents ages 10 to 89 revealed that most think middle age begins at 30 — and that old age begins at, OMG, 50.Another study, from the University of Zurich, published in 2011, determined that older adults often try to avoid the negative stereotypes of their age group by distancing themselves from their age group. Yet another study, from Columbia University, in 2018 found considerable evidence that when confronted with negative age stereotypes, older adults tend to distance and dissociate themselves from this negative stereotype.Call it what you will, but this gray-haired group of boomers and beyond — myself included — is having a hard time accepting the realities of aging. Yes, we are mortal, but we’re not quite believing it. The great irony, say experts on aging, is that this flirtation with a slightly different reality from our aging peers may, in fact, be a healthy thing.”Baby boomers are redefining what aging is and what old age looks like,” said Jennifer Ailshire, assistant professor at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California. William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology and principal investigator of the Michigan State study, knows this better than most of us.”People — particularly older people — usually say they feel younger than they are,” said Chopik. “People who report feeling younger actually tend to live longer and healthier lives — and they don’t tend to have as much of a pattern of decline.”In most cases, people say they feel about 20% younger than they really are, according to the Michigan State study of more than 500,000 people. This keeps ramping up as folks age, he said. Beginning at age 50, he said, many say they feel about 10 years younger.The fact we’re generally living longer than we used to also plays a role, experts say. “As our life spans get longer, so does our view of old age,” said Chopik. “How we view ourselves changes constantly as we age.”For me, it’s been more like a sentence to self-motivate. At age 66, when I look in the mirror, I may not see a 46-year-old staring back at me — but, perhaps, someone closer to 56. Maybe it’s because I’m so lousy at sitting still. I’m out walking my dog at 6:15 a.m., lifting weights in the gym by 7:30 a.m. and swimming laps in the pool before 9 a.m. five days a week. Welcome to my nonstop world that seems to somehow keep old age partially in check.While it might not sound like your world, consider Theresa Paulus — the mother-in-law of USC’s Ailshire — who seems to be constantly in motion, too.The 63-year-old Tempe, Ariz., resident’s morning bicycle workout, alone, makes my daily workout schedule look lame. She’s typically up by 5 a.m. and quickly out on her Trek bike for the next hour — or more — on a 10-mile-long excursion. If the weather is lousy, she’ll instead find her way to the spinning class at the local gym before heading to the weight room.Related StoriesCombining aerobic exercise and resistance training helps obese older adults preserve muscle massResearchers identify molecular pathway underpinning exercise and improved motor learningImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patients”I honestly feel like I’m in my 40s,” said the full-time nursing home caregiver, who three years ago, at age 60, got her degree in health service management from Arizona State University. “I haven’t slowed down one bit from the exercise routine I did at 40.”In fact, she may have upped it a bit. Not the distance, mind you, but every day she tries to challenge herself a bit. “Each time I ask myself, can I get there and back just a little bit faster?” she said. She may be passing it along to the next generation, too, as she has taught her two granddaughters how to ride bikes.Paulus’ ability to rebound from injuries is legendary among friends and family. On a recent walking tour of Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher, she twisted her ankle but continued days of walking — only to discover when she got home that she’d broken her foot. Back in 1969, while training on her bike, she was hit by a car — but escaped without so much as one broken bone. And after a moped accident in 2010, she crushed her leg and was advised by her doctor that she’d always walk with a limp — and a cane. She proved the doctor wrong and was soon racing bikes again.Her daughter-in-law, USC’s Ailshire, isn’t surprised by any of this. After all, she said, some baby boomers’ bodies can perform as if they are between two and 15 years younger than their actual age.Paola Sebastiani, 55, is living proof. She barely qualifies as a baby boomer, but when asked how old she feels, the professor of biostatistics at Boston University said she doesn’t even feel 40.Perhaps that’s because she walks 2 miles (in Birkenstock sandals, no less) to and from work every weekday. Or maybe it’s because she’s adamant about eating no red meat and tries to eat avocado daily. Or perhaps it’s her who-gives-a-flip attitude. “My mom would have never worn jeans at my age — but I wear them all the time,” she said. Her point: Folks with a positive attitude toward aging often age more slowly.Which brings us back to my dear grandmother. The most familiar smell from her kitchen was that of the fried chicken crackling on the front burner every Friday evening. I can’t remember even once seeing her exercise. Action, in her world, was a game of cards. And, as was all too common in her day, she thought her smoking habit helped her to relax.Is it any wonder she was old at 65?So, at 66, I’ve given up on most fried foods. I’ve never smoked. I don’t sit around much playing cards or watching TV. And all the time I spent walking our dog, lifting weights and swimming laps this morning I view as an invisible shield that protects me from looking into the mirror and seeing an old man staring back.Instead, I still see me.last_img read more

US pickups craze all about toughness luxury

The truck’s creative team adjusted the top of the hood so that it would bulge out more where the engine is, like a bodybuilder’s chest. GM also added an inch of height and more curves throughout the vehicle to give it more muscle.The goal was a “brutal look,” said exterior design manager Tim Kozub, adding that the prior version was “too sweet for a truck, maybe too sports car.”The revamped Silverado—a larger pickup typical of those geared almost exclusively to the US market – was just one of an army of pickups unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show this week as automakers race to meet runaway demand for the quintessentially American vehicles. Strong sales of the elongated giants, which are actually less weighty than their predecessors due to lighter materials, have been a cornerstone for Detroit in recent years amid a period of cheaper gas prices. The top three selling vehicles in the US in 2017 were all pickups, and the group’s share of the overall US vehicle market grew to 16.4 percent, up from 13.4 percent in 2012, according to Cox Automotive data. Some even see a political dimension to the trend, with pickups the top-selling vehicle in rural areas that voted for Donald Trump. A map by Cox Automotive with pickup-loving counties in red and car-buying regions in blue had more than a little resemblance to the 2016 election map.”You can say that the heartland of America is also pickup truck country,” said Jonathan Smoke, an economist at Cox Automotive.”It’s also an important reminder for the automotive industry that America is more like what’s in the middle than what we focus on on the coasts, and that’s why the truck market is a solid consistent part of the market.”Rough-and-tumble landscapePickups have long been a mainstay in the US, a logical fit in a vast and varied landscape that includes mountains, farms and swamps. In a nod to the appeal of a rough-and-tumble look in the US, Ford tweaked its Ranger mid-sized pickup for North America compared with the version sold in other regions Citation: US pickups craze all about toughness, luxury (2018, January 16) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-pickups-craze-toughness-luxury.html They are also popular for recreational use such as hunting or hauling a boat.In a nod to the appeal of a rough-and-tumble look in the US, Ford tweaked its Ranger mid-sized pickup compared with the version sold in Australasia, South America and other regions.Ford is positioning the Ranger, which has been absent on the US market since 2011, as a recreational vehicle ideal for weekend activities such as camping or snowboarding.Some of the changes included giving the sides a boxy look instead of the more rounded style overseas “to give it a tougher feeling,” said Todd Willing, who designed the exterior for Ford.Still, the Ranger is much smaller than Ford’s other pickups, including the market-leading F-Series, and communicates an “athleticism probably where it separates itself from the image of the F-150,” Willing said. Serving the ‘high-end rancher’Other new vehicles fit into the fast-growing “luxury pickup” category that can sell for $70,000 or more. The Ram Limited, one of a series of new larger pickups unveiled Monday by Fiat Chrysler, includes a grill bar with an elaborate, worked-over geometric design, soft seats and a tablet-like 12-inch screen that includes the navigation system and switches for climate control, radio volume and other systems.GM is also seeking to capitalize on the growing luxury market, revamping its Chevrolet Silverado High Country with more bells and whistles designed to appeal to a customer that might be thought of as as “high-end rancher,” in the words of Kozub.The High Country “is meant to be brute but then also have all these luxury appointments and detail,” Kozub said. “So it can have the bulging chest and be macho, but then you can dress it up in a fine suit.”Designers have been struggling to keep up with demand for even more amenities, said GM interior design manager Craig Sass.”They want more features, they want more luxury, they want real leather appointments everywhere, so it’s not just soft, it’s really leather,” Sass said. “Every time we think we’ve done something that’s really what everybody thinks they want, they want more.” The vehicles, which are replaced less frequently than other types of autos and are known to enjoy unusually strong brand loyalty, are widely used in some industries, such as construction, the oilfield and agriculture. © 2018 AFP Explore further Honda, Volvo, Ford scoop awards at Detroit auto show The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado is unveiled during the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan When it came time to revamp the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, designers at General Motors knew they needed to beef up the look of the vehicle. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Maker of fearsome animal robots slowly emerges from stealth

first_img Walking robots, a YouTube sensation, get ready for market The firm’s previous military projects included a four-legged robotic pack mule that could haul supplies across deserts or mountains—but which sounded like a lawnmower and was reportedly deemed too noisy by the U.S. Marines.The bigger question of just what Boston Dynamics hopes to accomplish remains murky—and that may be by design. Interviews with eight former Boston Dynamics employees and some of Raibert’s former academic collaborators suggest that that the company has long brushed aside commercial demands, not to mention outsiders’ moral or ethical concerns, in single-minded pursuit of machines that mimic animal locomotion.Former employees say the company has operated more as a well-funded research lab than a business. Raibert’s vision was kept alive for years through military contracts, especially from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA. A federal contracting database lists more than $150 million in defense funding to Boston Dynamics since 1994.Boston Dynamics said only it believes a quarter-century of work on robots will “unlock a very high commercial value.” It did not answer when asked if it ever entertained proposals to weaponize them.Building robots that can jump, gallop or prowl like animals was a fringe field of engineering when Raibert and his colleagues began studying kangaroo and ostrich videos in their Carnegie Mellon University research lab nearly 40 years ago. In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert shows the SpotMini robot during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. For nine years, the secretive firm, which got its start with U.S. military funding, has unnerved people around the world with YouTube videos of experimental robots resembling animal predators. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. For nine years, the secretive firm—which got its start with U.S. military funding—has unnerved people around the world with YouTube videos of experimental robots resembling animal predators.In one, a life-size robotic wildcat sprints across a parking lot at almost 20 miles an hour. In another, a small wheeled rover nicknamed SandFlea abruptly flings itself onto rooftops—and back down again. A more recent effort features a slender dog-like robot that climbs stairs, holds its own in a tug-of-war with a human and opens a door to let another robot pass.These glimpses into a possible future of fast, strong and sometimes intimidating robots raise several questions. How do these robots work? What does Boston Dynamics intend to do with them? And do these videos—some viewed almost 30 million times—fairly represent their capabilities?Boston Dynamics has demonstrated little interest in elaborating. For months, the company and its parent, SoftBank, rebuffed numerous requests seeking information about its work. When a reporter visited company headquarters in the Boston suburb of Waltham, Massachusetts, he was turned away.But after The Associated Press spoke with 10 people who have worked with Boston Dynamics or its 68-year-old founder, Marc Raibert, the CEO agreed to a brief interview at a robotics conference in late May. Raibert had just demonstrated the machine that will be the company’s first commercial robot in its 26-year history: the dog-like, door-opening SpotMini, which Boston Dynamics plans to sell to businesses as a camera-equipped security guard next year.The company hasn’t announced a price for the battery-powered robots, which weigh about the same as a Labrador retriever. Raibert said it plans to manufacture 1,000 SpotMinis annually. In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo, Boston Dynamics founder and CEO Marc Raibert smiles as he responds to a question during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. For nine years, the secretive firm, which got its start with U.S. military funding, has unnerved people around the world with YouTube videos of experimental robots resembling animal predators. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo, a Boston Dynamics SpotMini robot is walks through a conference room during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. But the secretive firm, which for nine years has unnerved viewers with YouTube videos of robots that jump, gallop or prowl like animal predators, is starting to emerge from a quarter-century of stealth. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Citation: Maker of fearsome animal robots slowly emerges from stealth (2018, June 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-maker-fearsome-animal-robots-slowly.html But agile robots aren’t so sci-fi anymore, even if they can still seem that way. Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, for instance, is a hulking humanoid machine that can be seen hiking across broken ground, jumping onto pedestals, and even performing an ungainly backflip . (The company’s robot videos have not been independently verified.)In videos, the company’s robots wander through a variety of locales—in and around the company’s single-story headquarters, a New Hampshire ski lodge and across the secluded meadows and woodlands near Raibert’s home. In some videos, humans kick the robots or jab them with hockey sticks to test their balance.Michael Cheponis, who worked with Raibert at CMU’s pioneering robot laboratory in the 1980s, calls his former colleague an “American hero” for sticking with a vision that could prove useful to the world. “Marc doesn’t have the slightest Dr. Evil in him,” Cheponis said.The defense contracts began winding down in 2013 when Google bought Boston Dynamics and made clear it wanted no part in defense work. Andy Rubin, then Google’s chief robotics executive and architect of the acquisition, swept into the firm’s lunchroom to give a pep talk to employees shortly after the deal was announced in December 2013.Attendees later said they felt a sense of relief and cautious optimism. “He was talking about really ambitious goals,” said one former employee, who asked not to be identified because of concerns it could hurt career opportunities in the small and tight-knit U.S. robotics community. “A robot that might be able to help the elderly and infirm. Robots that work in grocery stores. Robots that deliver packages.”But the Google honeymoon soon soured. Rubin left the company the following year and his replacements overseeing Boston Dynamics grew increasingly frustrated with Raibert’s approach, according to several people familiar with the transition. Among the concerns: Boston Dynamics’ lack of focus on building a sellable product.Google also grew concerned that “negative threads” on social media about the firm’s “terrifying” robot videos could hurt its image, according to leaked emails from its public relations division obtained by Bloomberg in 2016. Inside the company, the idea that its robots could be turned into weapons occasionally inspired casual workplace chatter, chuckles or discomfort, several former employees said. But few took it seriously.”They’re definitely aware that people are frightened by them,” said Andrew String, a former Boston Dynamics engineer. “The company regularly gets hate mail and other weird stuff.” But he said Raibert never felt a need to explain himself, and instead wanted the technology to speak for itself.By 2016, Google was looking to sell the firm—eventually finding an interested buyer in Japanese tech giant SoftBank, which already has a robotics portfolio that includes the cute humanoid Pepper. The deal closed earlier this year.SoftBank declined to say anything about its plans, but Boston Dynamics’ latest job postings reveal a heightened emphasis on finding something that sells. One posting seeks a “robot evangelist” to help find “market-driven” applications for the machines in logistics, construction and commercial security.Raibert credited Google for pushing the firm forward to perform the “best work we ever did,” but said under SoftBank his team is acting as a “standalone company” again.”We have a very strong plan,” he said. “We’re all digging in and working hard on it.” In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo a Boston Dynamics SpotMini robot is walks through a conference room during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. But the secretive firm, which for nine years has unnerved viewers with YouTube videos of robots that jump, gallop or prowl like animal predators, is starting to emerge from a quarter-century of stealth. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Speculation about Boston Dynamics’ intentions—weapons or servants?—spikes every time it releases a new video. The SpotMini straddles that divide, and Raibert told the AP that he doesn’t rule out future military applications. But he played down popular fears that his company’s robots could one day be used to kill.”We think about that, but that’s also true for cars, airplanes, computers, lasers,” Raibert said, wearing his omnipresent Hawaiian shirt as younger robotics engineers lined up to speak with him. “Every technology you can imagine has multiple ways of using it. If there’s a scary part, it’s just that people are scary. I don’t think the robots by themselves are scary.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

French carmaker PSA boosts outlook after historic year

first_imgThe six-percent goal had previously only been a target for the Peugeot, Citroen and DS brands but now includes Opel and British-based Vauxhall, both of which PSA acquired from General Motors in 2017.After the group acquired the two brands, they returned to profitability in less than 18 months following 20 years of losses.Tavares said the forecasts were valid even in the most pessimistic scenarios—including the possibility of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal— but “that will not prevent us from doing better if we can”.PSA said that without the Opel contribution, 2018 sales would have been down 12 percent due to the impact of fresh sanctions imposed on Iran by US President Donald Trump as well as a slump in China.The company sold 3.88 million vehicles last year, up 6.8 percent from 2017. Eighty percent of those sales were in Europe, compared to 65 percent in 2017, due to the popularity of its Peugeot and Citroen SUVs.Tavares spoke of ambitions to grow sales outside Europe by 50 percent, including a Peugeot push in the United States announced in 2016.But, he said, the company is waiting for clarity from the US on tariffs for the cars, which would be imported from factories in Europe and China.Peugeot shares lost more than two percent in the Paris CAC 40 exhange in morning trading. However the stock remains nearly 20 percent higher over the last 12 months. Ranked the second largest carmaker in Europe after Germany’s Volkswagen, Paris-based Groupe PSA said its net profit rose 47 percent to a record 2.83 billion euros ($3.21 billion) in 2018, while recurring operating income soared 43 percent to 5.69 billion euros, also a new high.The company said in a statement that it also posted a new record for revenue, which was up 18.9 percent to 74 billion euros, as well as for volume of sales.PSA chairman Carlos Tavares hailed the “historic results” despite an “extremely chaotic 2018” for the car market.But at a press conference on Tuesday he warned that the industry faced “even stronger headwinds”.The car industry is dealing with a series of challenges, including a slowing global economy, uncertainty over Brexit and new strict European Union emissions standards.Because of the positive results, Tavares told Franceinfo radio that French employees who earn less than twice the minimum wage would receive a bonus of 3,810 euros, up 43 percent from last year.PSA also said shareholders would be offered an increased dividend of 78 euro cents per share, a rise of 47 percent. The group also announced a target operating margin of more than six percent by 2021 for its automotive activities, and a total of 4.5 percent in 2019-2021. French auto giant PSA, which produces the Citroen and Peugeot brands, said Tuesday it had boosted its profit outlook after recording a “historic year” in 2018 despite the car industry facing “strong headwinds”. French carmaker PSA, which produces the Peugeot brand, had a banner year in 2018, it announced on Tuesday Citation: French carmaker PSA boosts outlook after ‘historic year’ (2019, February 26) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-french-carmaker-psa-boosts-outlook.html Explore furthercenter_img © 2019 AFP Opel helps France’s PSA buck China, Iran auto downturn This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. PSA chairman Carlos Tavares hailed the “historic results” despite an “extremely chaotic 2018” for the car marketlast_img read more

Russia confirms it has started delivery of S400 missile systems to Turkey

first_img World 08 Jun 2019 Russia to start delivering S-400 missile systems to Turkey in two months – Ifax World 11 Jun 2019 Russia says to deliver missile defence system to Turkey in July MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation confirmed on Friday it had started delivering S-400 missile defence systems to Turkey and that the deliveries would continue as per an agreed schedule, the RIA news agency reported. Related News World 01 Jul 2019 Turkey’s Erdogan: Russian missile defence system to arrive in 10 days – mediacenter_img Related News The Turkish defence ministry said earlier on Friday that the first parts of a Russian S-400 missile defence system had been delivered, a development set to escalate tensions with the United States which has warned of sanctions over the deal. (Reporting by Maxim Rodionov; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Andrew Osborn) {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more