RATP revenue up as it confirms growth plans

first_imgDuring a presentation to announce its results for the first half of 2014, French group RATP has confirmed plans to continue to expand outside its historic territory in the Paris region. It is focusing on the rest of France and international markets with the aim of generating 30% of Group revenue by 2020. Expansion will continue in the second half of 2014 with the launch of the first tramway line in Washington DC, the continued extension of the Manchester tramway and the implementation of the contract to operate and maintain the bus network in Riyadh.President and Chief ExecutivePierre Mongin said:”The Group has continued to grow, for example in the USA with the launch of the Tucson tramway and a new sightseeing bus service in New York City, and in India with the commissioning of Mumbai’s first metro line. Thanks to the confidence shown by its public shareholder, RATP intends to continue its drive to achieve all of the objectives in its ‘Vision 2020’ plan and in particular: to continue to work to improve day-to-day service for Paris region passengers; serve as a major contributor to the Grand Paris project; continue to expand internationally. We aim to achieve these goals given the committed involvement and very high professionalism of our staff members and to constructive labour dialogue.”In March 2014 RATP DEV acquiredthe London Sovereign bus business from Transdev; representing approximately 2% of the London bus market, London Sovereign operates 13 routes in the north west of the city from its two depots in Edgware and Harrow. The purchaseaddedto RATP DEV’sexisting UK holdings which include Epsom Coaches, Selwyns Travel, The Bath Bus Company,Bournemouth’s Yellow Buses and theformer Stagecoach Metrolinkoperation in Manchester.Key points, year to end of June 2014:Group revenue amounted to €2,674 million at 30 June 2014, up by 3.3% compared to 30 June 2013.Group net results increased by 4.8% to €198 million.Cash flow at record high of €527 million, up by 8%.Subsidiaries’ contribution to Group revenue rose by 12% to amount to €454 million, i.e. 17% of the Group’s overall business.last_img read more

What Yelp Has to Say For Itself

first_imgLocal business review site Yelp held a press phone call this morning to discuss major changes it’s making to its site and business. Faced with class action lawsuits by business owners alleging they’ve been extorted by Yelp, the service has decided to make filtered-out reviews publicly visible and has removed the option for advertisers to push their favorite review to the top of their business’s page.Did Yelp just cry Uncle? Is this the beginning of the end for its most important revenue stream, as some have argued? Here’s what we found most interesting about the call today.Yelp Gets Hit Hard With Questionable ReviewsSurprise, surprise – there are a lot of people out there who appear to be trying to game Yelp. This morning the company added a link at the bottom of each business’s page to “filtered reviews.” Those are the ones that the Yelp algorithm determined weren’t trustworthy enough to display on the site. They used to just disappear into a mysterious black hole, something many people found suspicious. Now you can look at them, and most of the time you can see why the reviews were yanked. There are a lot of them, too.CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said he hoped exposing these buried reviews would put to rest the “myth” that the company buries positive reviews if companies don’t buy advertising and will give site users a chance to see the “unique challenge we face.”Did Yelp Just Kill The Golden Goose?Some critics have alleged that the ability to put favorite reviews on top of the page was the most compelling thing Yelp had to offer advertisers. The new video slideshows aren’t nearly as compelling as highlighting the good news and pushing down the bad news, they say.Stoppelman offered a relatively convincing response to that when we asked him about it. He said that search placement is actually the biggest thing advertisers are paying for. “Favorite reviews” have limited draw, he said, because the site’s natural Yelp Sort algorithm already displays reviews with a businesses’s average rating or better at the top of the page automatically. He also said that round tables of business owners across multiple cities identified video advertising as the best possible substitute for the feature. Consider me convinced.Complainers Are Just ComplainingAre businesses that complain about Yelp just upset that Stoppelman has built such a compelling site they feel obligated to advertise there, we asked? The Yelp CEO said in response that many small businesses are used to advertising in the newspaper and on radio and that the traditional local advertising market has been disrupted by Yelp. “Yelp represents a shift in the local business landscape,” Stoppelman said. “When those shifts happen, you’ll see some people lose out and then they’ll register their complaints.”Do Yelp sales people pressure local business owners into advertising on the site? Do they wield the relative placement of positive and negative reviews like a weapon? It’s hard to know what goes on in those conversations, but there are certainly countless business owners who are accustomed to paying for pure positivity in the form of traditional advertising and for whom the presence or risk of negative feedback on a site like Yelp is alarming to the core. As Craigslist founder Craig Newmark said in a blog post today, “By the end of this decade, power and influence will shift largely to those people with the best reputations and trust networks, from people with money and nominal power.” That’s where Yelp operates and it represents a change in the world.Yelp’s changes today seem like wise ones to me. This kind of transparency is likely to be helpful as the world of local business becomes more complicated thanks to the internet. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Analysis#Location#NYT#web Related Posts center_img marshall kirkpatrick Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

NBA’s biggest stars set for All-Star Saturday competitions

first_imgMOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte Judiciary Committee set to take over Trump impeachment probe Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James hangs from the basket after dunking in front of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Alex Abrines during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)LOS ANGELES — The NBA’s best players have arrived in Hollywood for a star-studded All-Star weekend.None of those stars currently play for the hometown Lakers or Clippers, and that dearth will be discussed when basketball’s best get together Saturday for practice.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LeBron James is likely to be asked plenty of media questions about his interest in joining the Lakers, who have cleared salary cap space for two superstars this summer.Paul George, the Oklahoma City All-Star, is from nearby Palmdale, California. He has a well-known love for the Lakers.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThe All-Star game also has a big new wrinkle this season: Captains Stephen Curry and James picked their own teams. That draft wasn’t televised, and some stars could have a few good-natured questions about the process. A few hours later Klay Thompson gets warmed up for the three-point competition and Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell sets his sights on the dunk contest. LATEST STORIES After memorable weekend, Mark Barroca back into basketball mode Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims View commentslast_img read more

Trumps onetwo punch hits birth control LGBT rights

first_imgWASHINGTON – In a one-two punch elating religious conservatives, President Donald Trump’s administration is allowing more employers to opt out of no-cost birth control for workers and issuing sweeping religious-freedom directions that could override many anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people and others.At a time when Trump finds himself embattled on many fronts, the two directives — issued almost simultaneously on Friday — demonstrated the president’s eagerness to retain the loyalty of social conservatives who make up a key part of his base. Leaders of that constituency were exultant.“President Trump is demonstrating his commitment to undoing the anti-faith policies of the previous administration and restoring true religious freedom,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.Liberal advocacy groups, including those supporting LGBT and reproductive rights, were outraged.“The Trump administration is saying to employers, ‘If you want to discriminate, we have your back,’” said Fatima Goss Graves, president of National Women’s Law Center.Her organization is among several that are planning to challenge the birth-control rollback in court. The American Civil Liberties Union filed such a lawsuit less than three hours after the rules were issued.“The Trump administration is forcing women to pay for their boss’ religious beliefs,” said ACLU senior staff attorney Brigitte Amiri. “We’re filing this lawsuit because the federal government cannot authorize discrimination against women in the name of religion or otherwise.”The Democratic attorneys general of California and Massachusetts filed similar suits later Friday.Both directives had been in the works for months, with activists on both sides of a culture war on edge about the timing and the details.The religious-liberty directive, issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, instructs federal agencies to do as much as possible to accommodate those who claim their religious freedoms are being violated. The guidance effectively lifts a burden from religious objectors to prove that their beliefs about marriage or other topics that affect various actions are sincerely held.“Except in the narrowest circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law,” Sessions wrote.In what is likely to be one of the more contested aspects of the document, the Justice Department states that religious organizations can hire workers based on religious beliefs and an employee’s willingness “to adhere to a code of conduct.” Many conservative Christian schools and faith-based agencies require employees to adhere to moral codes that ban sex outside marriage and same-sex relationships, among other behaviour.The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian law firm, called it “a great day for religious freedom.” But JoDee Winterhof of the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT-rights group, depicted the two directives as “an all-out assault, on women, LGBT people and others” as the administration fulfilled a “wish list” of the religious right.The new policy on contraception, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, allows more categories of employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women by claiming religious or moral objections — another step in rolling back President Barack Obama’s health care law that required most companies to cover birth control at no additional cost.Employers with religious or moral qualms will also be able to cover some birth control methods, and not others. Experts said that could interfere with efforts to promote modern long-acting implantable contraceptives, such as IUDs, which are more expensive.The top Democrat in the House of Representatives, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, said the birth-control rollback was despicable.“This administration’s contempt for women reaches a new low with this appalling decision to enable employers and health plans to deny women basic coverage for contraception,” she said.On the Republican side, however, House Speaker Paul Ryan welcomed the decision, calling it “a landmark day for religious liberty.”The new policy took effect on Friday, but its impact won’t be known immediately and may not be dramatic.“I can’t imagine that many employers are going to be willing to certify that they have a moral objection to standard birth control methods,” said Dan Mendelson, president of the consulting firm Avalere Health.Nonetheless, he worried that the new rules would set a precedent for undermining basic health benefits required under federal law. The administration has estimated that some 200 employers who have already voiced objections to the Obama-era policy would qualify for the expanded opt-out, and that 120,000 women would be affected.Since contraception became a covered preventive benefit, the share of female employees paying with their own money for birth control pills has plunged to 3 per cent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.Many Catholic hospitals now rely on an Obama-era workaround under which the government pays for the cost of birth control coverage. That workaround can continue under the new rules.Despite that workaround, there have been extensive legal battles waged by religious institutions and other parties challenging the birth-control mandate. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops hailed the new policy as a “return to common sense” that would enhance “peaceful coexistence” between church and state.Doctors’ groups that were instrumental in derailing Republican plans to repeal Obama’s health law outright expressed their dismay.The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said the new policy could reverse the recent progress in lowering the nation’s rate of unintended pregnancies.“Instead of fulfilling its mission ‘to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans,’ HHS leaders under the current administration are focused on turning back the clock on women’s health,” said the organization’s president, Dr. Haywood Brown.___Crary reported from New York. Associated Press writers Sadie Gurman and Eric Tucker in Washington and Religion Writer Rachel Zoll in New York contributed to this report.last_img read more

Cyber Monday shoppers will see more sites charging sales tax

first_imgWASHINGTON — Shoppers heading online to purchase holiday gifts will find they’re being charged sales tax at some websites where they weren’t before. The reason: the Supreme Court.A June ruling gave states the go-ahead to require more companies to collect sales tax on online purchases. Now, more than two dozen have moved to take advantage of the ruling, many ahead of the busy holiday shopping season.“Will your shopping bill look any different? … The answer right now is it depends,” said Jason Brewer, a spokesman for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents more than 70 major retailers.Whether shoppers get charged sales tax on their online purchases comes down to where they live and where they’re shopping.Before the Supreme Court’s recent decision , the rule was that businesses selling online had to collect sales tax only in states where they had stores, warehouses or another physical presence. That meant that major retailers such as Apple, Best Buy, Macy’s and Target, which have brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, were generally collecting sales tax from online customers. But that wasn’t the case for businesses with a big online presence but few physical locations.Now, states can force out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax if they’re doing a fair amount of business in the state. That means retailers such as Overstock.com, home goods company Wayfair and electronics retailer Newegg can be required to collect tax in more states. Those companies were involved in the case before the Supreme Court, but a wide range of businesses from jewelry website Blue Nile to clothing and outdoor company L.L. Bean and electronics retailer B&H Photo-Video are also affected.Before the Supreme Court’s decision, Overstock was collecting sales tax in eight states. Now, it’s collecting sales tax nationwide. Jonathan Johnson, a member of Overstock’s board of directors, said a small number of customers reached out to ask about the change when it happened but the company now hasn’t had a question about it in months. Wayfair, for its part, was collecting sales tax in 25 states before the decision. Now it’s collecting sales tax in 36 of the 45 states with a sales tax.Where online shoppers live also can affect whether they’re being charged sales tax.States had a strong interest in taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s decision by passing laws or publishing regulations prior to this holiday shopping season if at all possible, said Richard Cram of the Multistate Tax Commission, which works with states on tax issues. Those that did have generally been following the lead of South Dakota, which brought the issue to the Supreme Court. South Dakota requires sellers who don’t have a physical presence in the state to collect sales tax on online purchases if they do more than $100,000 in business in South Dakota or more than 200 transactions annually with state residents.A host of states — Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin — began enforcing their own requirements starting Oct. 1. And about another half a dozen states will start in the next two months.But a number of big states, including California, Texas, New York and Florida, do not yet have similar collection requirements in place. As a result, consumers shopping online from those states and others that have yet to act may not be charged sales tax on some websites for a little longer. Online shoppers in those states — particularly those making expensive holiday purchases like televisions, computers and luxury goods — may be motivated to try to purchase from a website that isn’t charging them sales tax. While that may look like a sweet tax savings, shoppers are generally supposed to pay the tax to the state themselves, but few do.Still, it’s getting harder to find sellers that aren’t collecting sales tax online, said lawyer Eric Citron, who was involved in the Supreme Court case. And Citron said it will become even harder in 2019, with more states putting in place expanded sales tax collection requirements. States also have websites such as eBay, Etsy and Amazon in their sights.Amazon collects sales tax when customers purchase goods it sells, but third-party retailers selling products on Amazon make their own sales tax collection decisions. Sellers on eBay and Etsy also make their own decisions. Now states are working to require those large marketplaces to collect taxes on behalf of sellers using their platform.“States tend to use the powers that the Supreme Court gives them, especially when it comes to collecting taxes,” Citron said.___Follow Jessica Gresko on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jessicagreskoJessica Gresko, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Regional District and Residents want Caribou Recovery Program halted

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Union of B.C. Municipalities published an update from provincial officials in regards to the Southern Mountain Caribou Recovery Program.In the update, the Province says they are taking all reasonable efforts to support the recovery of Southern Mountain Caribou in British Columbia.“The B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Environment Climate Change Canada have been developing an S.11 Bilateral Conservation Agreement under the Species At Risk Act. This S.11 Agreement will contain overarching commitments and meaningful strategies for the recovery of Southern Mountain Caribou in B.C. while minimizing implications to local governments and to the various industry sectors that operate in caribou habitat. The S.11 Agreement is looking to increase efforts for habitat restoration, maternity penning, and minimizing land disturbance, etc.” “While it is true that the Province has met with the Regional District several times in person, or on conference calls, it is not accurate that the PRRD has been provided with all information requested.”The Regional District is demanding that the process is halted until the soci-economic impact the program will have on the communities is assessed.Residents are also concerned with the fear of losing their jobs to the point that they have even started a petition to halt the program.In the petition, started by resident Mike Mulvahill, says they are concerned about the closure of the sawmill in Chetwynd and the impact it will have on the community. The Province also says they have been negotiating a Caribou Recovery Partnership Agreement with the federal government and West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations.This Partnership Agreement will contain conservation and recovery measures specific to the recovery of the Central Group of the Southern Mountain Caribou.According to the Province, they have met face-to-face with local governments, other Indigenous nations, sectors and stakeholders, listening to the concerns of the affected communities.The concern for the communities is that if the Province were to go through with the Caribou Recovery Program, it would threaten the future of the logging industry; an industry that residents rely on heavily for their livelihoods.In the update, it states senior officials with the provincial government have met with the Peace River Regional District twice over the past three weeks, and have provided them with the information they have requested.Although, in a letter responding to the UBCM’s update, the Regional District says that while they have met with the Province several times, they say the part about the government providing them with the requested information is untrue.center_img Both residents and the Regional District hope the government will halt the program and consult with the affected parties before proceeding any further.You can view the petition here.last_img read more

US attorney general pressed for evidence clearing Trump

first_imgWashington DC: Two weeks after he exonerated President Donald Trump in the Russia meddling investigation, Attorney General Bill Barr faces mounting pressure to show the full evidence behind his decision. Allegations this week that the US Justice chief downplayed serious evidence of illegal obstruction by Trump in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report are fueling demands that he release the entire, unexpurgated document to Congress. News reports, citing unnamed members of Mueller’s staff, said Barr ignored the summaries Mueller’s team prepared for public release, and instead issued his own on March 24, in which he peremptorily cleared the president of any wrongdoing. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USAnd Barr now says he will not release key evidence given to Mueller’s grand jury, a special panel used by prosecutors in politically-sensitive cases. Democrats suspect the evidence could be damning to the president — setting up a legal and political showdown. The Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee this week prepared to subpoena the full report, a move Barr and the White House will almost certainly contest. And on Thursday Jerry Nadler, the committee chairman, demanded Barr turn over all communications between his office and Mueller’s, following the reports Mueller’s staff were unhappy with the way Barr presented their conclusions. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsBarr’s distillation “appears to minimise the implications of the report as to the president,” said Nadler. “Releasing the summaries — without delay — would begin to allow the American people to judge the facts for themselves,” Nadler wrote. At stake is the president’s ability to put the Russia probe behind him and look to 2020 for reelection. Trump, who declared a “complete and total exoneration” when Barr announced Mueller’s conclusions, said this week that Democrats “are fighting hard to keep the Witch Hunt alive.” “This is the highest level of Presidential Harassment in the history of our Country!” he tweeted. On Tuesday, members of Congress might get their first chance to press Barr in public about the Mueller report, when he appears before the House Appropriations Committee in a hearing nominally focused on the Justice Department Budget. In his four-page summation of the 22-month investigation on March 24, Barr said that Mueller found no evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election, and that there was insufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction. Yet Barr also conceded that Mueller did compile evidence of obstruction, and quoted the special counsel as saying that: “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Suspicions are deep among Democrats that Barr took advantage of his position to clear Trump and now wants to keep the most damaging parts of the report secret to protect the White House. Trump chose the veteran Republican lawyer to lead the Justice Department after firing his predecessor Jeff Sessions, whom the president resented for recusing himself from oversight of the Russia probe.last_img read more

Netflix to launch first radio comedy channel in US

first_imgSan Francisco: Moving beyond online video content, Netflix is ready to launch its first radio broadcast channel called “Netflix Is A Joke” in the US from Monday. The channel will be available exclusively at number 93 on US-based satellite radio SiriusXM. It will be a full-time comedy channel featuring bits from the streaming platform’s comedy specials, including performers like Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle among others, The Verge reported on Wednesday. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year “‘Netflix Is A Joke’ radio on SiriusXM will be an audio extension of our award-winning stand-up comedy on Netflix,” the report quoted Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix as saying. “We are thrilled to feature some of the greatest and funniest performers in the world with highlights from Netflix shows as well as original programming that further celebrates the art of comedy,” he added. The company also plans to produce an original daily show, “featuring celebrity guests and comedians discussing pop culture and hot topics of the day” as part of its audio-only line-up. Details of the audio channel’s expansion outside the US remains unclear as of now. With over 139 million global subscribers, Netflix is now available and popular in more than 190 countries around the world.last_img read more