Explosion levels lakeside hotel in Greece; no injuries

first_imgTHESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Authorities say a large night-time explosion has leveled a three-story lakeside hotel just outside the northern Greek town of Kastoria. The hotel was closed and empty at the time, and no injuries were reported. The explosion occurred at around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, destroying the 80-room facility located about four kilometers (2.5 miles) outside of Kastoria. The reason for the blast was unclear, but authorities said they suspect a gas leak.last_img

ASA hosts third annual conference

first_imgThe Notre Dame African Students Association (ASA) will host its third annual midwestern conference, “This Is New Africa,” from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9.The goal of the conference is to educate students at Notre Dame and other universities about African culture and the issues facing the continent, ASA president Ihuoma Nwaogwugwu said.“There are a lot of different perceptions people have of Africa, and [we want] to show that we’ve progressed into being a bigger, better place and try to dispel a few of the misconceptions there might be out there in Africa as a whole,” she said.Nwaogwugwu said the conference, which will include participants from the University of Michigan and Purdue University, will consist of a mixer Feb. 7 in LaFortune Student Center, a basketball game on the morning of Feb. 8 and a keynote speaker that afternoon.Nwaogwugwu said the speaker, who has not yet been confirmed, will be someone who studies or works with African concerns.“Every year we select somebody who is currently working in the African diaspora to come in and discuss with us based on our theme,” she said.On the evening of Feb. 8, there will be a showcase of African-themed music, dance performances and poetry readings in Stepan Center. Nwaogwugwu said the showcase will include Dance Africa, Troop ND, First Class Steppers and several individual performers.“People can just come together, dance, have fun, listen to a bunch of African music,” she said.The conference will conclude with a prayer service in the Coleman-Morse chapel and a brunch in the lounge, Nwaogwugwu said.“There’s going to be praise and worship, and it’ll be a good culmination of the weekend,” she said.In the 21 days leading up to the conference, ASA co-vice president Rosie Olang said she is posting information about African culture and current events on the conference’s Facebook page: Annual ASA Weekend — This Is New Africa 2015.“Everything from fashion,to politics, to football and current events,” she said. “The more stories you hear, the easier it is not to form a single narrative about a place.”Nwaogwugwu said ASA, which meets twice a month and hosts several events throughout the year, provides a place for students who are African or who are interested in Africa to come together and learn about the continent.“Our goal is to get a group of people that are like-minded, have some sort of interest in Africa,” she said. “… A lot of us are from Nigeria, and we have people from Tanzania, other countries like that. We come together, and we discourse about Africa. We want to enlighten campus more about – whether it’s positive or negative – things about Africa, because I think it’s a place that a lot of people don’t know about.”Nwaogwugwu said the conference is open to anyone who wants to learn more about Africa.“It’s, one, knowing that we’re a club, because I don’t know if a lot of people know about our club,” she said. “Two, if you have any interest in Africa, we would love for you to come, and if you don’t know much about it, we’d love for you to come and learn.“… Since we have such a broad group, people can share from personal experiences and from things that they’ve learned and get the discussion going about Africa as a whole.”Nwaogwugwu said students can register for the conference online. Registration costs $20 and includes all events and a t-shirt.Tags: African Students Association, ASA weekend, Ihuoma Nwaogwugwu, midwestern converence, Rosie Olang, This Is new Africalast_img read more

The Lion’s Benjamin Scheuer Gets a Visit From Mary Chapin Carpenter

first_imgThe Lion had a special guest in the audience on February 11, 2015: Five-time Grammy winner Mary Chapin Carpenter! The singer-songwriter took in the autobiographical tale written and performed by Benjamin Scheuer, who opened for her on her recent UK tour. After the show, Carpenter stopped by to reunite with Scheuer and snap a photo. Check out this Hot Shot of Scheuer and Carpenter after the show, then see The Lion at off-Broadway’s Lynn Redgrave Theatre! View Comments Related Shows The Lion Show Closed This production ended its run on March 29, 2015last_img read more

Odds & Ends: Telly Leung Is What He Is & More

first_img View Comments Star Files Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Telly Leung is What He IsFormer Glee star Telly Leung, who will soon be seen in Allegiance on Broadway, has a new record coming out! The album Songs for You will drop on November 20, and the lead single “New York State of Mind” is set to be released prior to that on October 23. Songs for You will feature familiar classic songs from the worlds of Pop, Jazz, R&B and Broadway, including covers of Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be” and the Jerry Herman standard “I Am What I Am.” Allegiance, which also stars George Takei and Lea Salonga, will begin previews at the Longacre Theatre on October 6.Fox Defends Christopher Jackson InterviewSo, as we all now know, Hamilton’s Christopher Jackson recently did an incredible job maintaining his composure during what can charitably be described as a peculiar interview for Fox’s Good Day New York. Jackson later took to Twitter to write about the segment: “That’s life in the damn circus… #notsurprised #speechless.” A Fox 5 representative responded about the brouhaha: “Our circus is No. 1. Lighten up.” Which left us, unsurprisingly, speechless.Martin Short Circling Maya Rudolph Variety SeriesTony winner Martin Short, who was last seen on Broadway in It’s Only a Play, is in talks to co-headline Maya Rudolph’s new weekly variety show, potentially called Maya & Marty. According to TVLine, the NBC project has been in development for some time, hence the pair teamed up for their now infamously hi-lar-ious SNL 40th anniversary sketch on the Peacock Network earlier this year.Watch London’s Kinky Cast In RehearsalEverybody say yeah! Killian Donnelly, Matt Henry and the cast of London’s Kinky Boots will begin performances in the Tony-winning tuner on August 21. Check out the fun video below of the company preparing to kick up their heels at the Adelphi Theatre.center_img Christopher Jacksonlast_img read more

3 moves to boost your odds of an early retirement

first_imgLet’s start with the facts: Most Americans likely will have a hard time retiring on time, let alone early.For starters, the average retirement account balance for U.S. households ages 50 to 64 is $150,000 — and the median is only $12,000 — according to a report from The New School. Nearly a third of families have no savings at all, the study found.Even if your nest egg is substantially larger, you’ll have to account for living longer. If it’s tricky to save for 30 years of income, stashing enough for 40 might seem especially difficult, said Christine Benz, director of personal finance at Morningstar. But that is not to say it can’t be done, she said.The first step in any plan to leave the workforce ahead of schedule must be acknowledging the obstacles you’re up against. For one, you cannot count on high market returns, said Benz. continue reading » 23SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

New tech turns bank call centers into marketing data goldmines

first_img continue reading » Today, many digitally savvy marketers are so entrenched in the online world, they rarely give much thought to offline marketing tactics. Even if they dabble in direct mail, they’re still less likely to think about that “other” offline world — the world of the telephone.Yes, I’m talking about call centers, IVRs (press 1 for Moviefone), people (CSRs, agents, reps, brand ambassadors), and Muzak. Most marketers don’t think of the telephone as a marketing channel, as the call center usually lives in operations, servicing, or IT (gasp) — never in marketing. Truth be told, thinking about the telephone seems somehow antiquated in this digital age — even the word sounds dated. It’s not the device that’s out of date, more the medium of voice. As marketers we may hardly use our voice to make a phone call anymore, opting instead to speak to Siri, Alexa or their voice-assistant cousins in addition to typing words into devices.In actuality the telephone is as relevant as it’s ever been. With the ubiquitously high penetration of mobile, it has never been easier to make a call. Not only do you not have to commit the number to memory, you don’t even have to dial it. And for large swaths of the population, having a live conversation with a human offers the only true sense of engagement and consideration. For example, talking to someone is an essential and necessary point of entry into the marketing funnel for “high-consideration” products and services, such as automobiles and real estate. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Germany bans Hezbollah activity, raids mosques

first_imgTopics : “This is a welcome, much-anticipated, and significant German decision,” said American Jewish Committee head David Harris.”We now hope other European nations will take a close look at Germany’s decision and reach the same conclusion about the true nature of Hezbollah,” said Harris.The EU classifies Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group, but not its political wing.Last December, Germany’s parliament approved a motion urging Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to ban all activities by Hezbollah on German soil, citing its “terrorist activities” especially in Syria.On a trip to Berlin last year, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hoped Germany would follow Britain in banning Hezbollah. Britain introduced legislation in February of last year that classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.Police raided four mosque associations in Dortmund and Muenster in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen and Berlin which they believe are close to Hezbollah, the interior ministry said.  A spokesman said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had banned the activities of Hezbollah.”Even in times of crisis, the rule of law is capable of acting,” tweeted the spokesman.A heavily armed Shi’ite Islamist group already designated a terrorist organization by the United States, Hezbollah is also a significant backer of the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, which took office in January.Jewish groups hailed the move as a landmark decision.center_img Germany has banned all Iran-backed Hezbollah activity on its soil and designated it a terrorist organization, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday.Police also conducted early morning raids on mosque associations in four cities across Germany. Security officials believe up to 1,050 people in Germany are part of Hezbollah’s extremist wing.Israel and the United States had been pushing Germany to ban the organization. Germany had previously distinguished between Hezbollah’s political arm and its military units, which have fought alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s army in Syria.last_img read more

​ABP agrees to meet with campaign group over Israeli bank holdings

first_imgThe petition sought to take advantage of momentum after 17 European Union member states in July urged caution in dealing with businesses profiting from or funding settlements in the West Bank. It added: “In the wake of the terrible violence unfolding in Israel-Palestine, we, citizens from around the world, are deeply concerned about your companies’ continued investment in companies and projects that finance illegal settlements and the oppressive occupation of the Palestinian people.”Meanwhile hundreds of critical comments have been placed on ABP’s Facebook account.Earlier this year, the €152bn Dutch healthcare scheme PFZW, decided to withdraw its investments from the three banks, a decision that was criticised at the time over the manner in which the divestment decision was reached. Cees de Veer, ABP’s vice chairman indicated that he took the responses seriously. “At the end of August, our board will discuss the case,” he said, adding that the meeting with Avaaz was scheduled for September-end.For now, ABP is to stick with its investments in Israel. “Until now, we have been unable to establish whether the three banks are involved in violation of humans rights. They merely facilitate payments in the occupied territories,” De Veer commented.He said that he was not sure whether the banks also issue mortgages to finance building activities in the disputed settlements. “These facts need to be established during our board meeting and talks with Avaaz,” he pointed out.“However, we noted that the signatories of the petition do not necessarily represent the opinion of the average ABP participant.”He said that he received 6,000 emails during the past weeks about ABP’s investments in Israel, most of them from abroad.,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to Avaaz petition The €325bn civil service scheme ABP has accepted an invitation from international activists network Avaaz to discuss its current €68m exposure to three Israeli banks.Last month, Avaaz urged ABP as well as five other companies – including Barclays and G4S – to divest from Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi and Bank Mizrahi Tafahot, as they are allegedly involved in financing disputed settlements in what is deemed occupied Palestinian territory.The move comes despite the fund saying in February that it did not view the activities of the three banks as in breach of international law. In the opinion of Ricken Patel, Avaaz’s director, ABP needed to act quickly to protect its reputation, following 1.6m people worldwide signing the petition requesting divestment.last_img read more

SAAM to Acquire Boskalis’ Stake in Towage Joint Venture

first_imgChilean company Sociedad Matriz SAAM signed a deal with Dutch Royal Boskalis Westminster relating to the acquisition of the equity stake held by Boskalis in SAAM SMIT Towage.Under the agreement, SAAM will own 100% of the joint venture which is valued at USD 560 million. Boskalis is expected to receive around USD 201 million in cash for its interest.Formed in 2014, the towage joint venture between Boskalis and SAAM covered at the time the respective towage activities in Brazil, Panama, Mexico and Canada. Since then, the joint venture has expanded its presence and realized efficiency savings and commercial synergies, according to Boskalis.“The partnership with Boskalis has been very productive: In just over four years, we have grown the business in Canada and improved our position in Brazil. Today we want to take another step forward. Since the towage area is at the core of our business, SAAM can play an important role in consolidating and growing this industry,” Macario Valdés, SAAM’s CEO, commented.As a result of the deal, SAAM will acquire 49% of the business in Mexico, Panama and Canada and 50% in Brazil.The joint operations boast a total fleet of 106 tugs operating in 30 ports in four countries, including three of the five most important terminals in the Americas — Santos (Brazil) and Colón and Balboa (Panama).This agreement is subject to the approval of regulatory agencies in the respective countries involved. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019, Boskalis said.“We perform over 100,000 towage maneuvers each year in the 60 plus ports where we operate. Every five minutes we begin a new maneuver somewhere in the Americas. This is a business we want to strengthen and develop for the future,” Valdés added.As a result of this agreement, SAAM consolidates as one of the main global operators, with a total fleet of 153 tugs and operations in nine countries in the Americas.last_img read more

XELLZ buys more land for Irish offshore wind supply base

first_imgXELLZ has acquired an additional 100.000m2 of land at the Port of Rosslare in Ireland to establish an offshore wind supply base. “There are many OWF’s to be installed and operated in Ireland, UK, and across the continent and having a Free Zone will help ease the flow of goods and keep projects moving.” “This gives companies who locate in the Rosslare Europort Business Park Free Zone (EBP-FZ) the ability to operate and install offshore wind farms (OWF) in a cost-effective and competitive manner,“ said Phonsey Croke, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of 24shore Ireland. The space will also house a new training facility for the renewable industry where the young can undertake professional training for the offshore wind energy industry. According to XELLZ, the decision to obtain this new land also progressed plans to create a Free Zone at Rosslare Europort and the Europort Business Park (EBP), which is a customs area within the EU where non-Union goods can be introduced free of import duties, taxes and commercial policy measures. center_img These goods may, following time in the Free Zones, be released to the domestic market, subject to payment of import duties and other charges. The EBP is said to offer storage and assembly areas to manage the wind turbines, transition pieces and mobilization equipment. At the beginning of the year, the Dutch company secured about 200.000m2 of land to facilitate a supply base for installation and operating companies for the near future offshore wind industry.last_img read more