Robots, exoskeletons, and invisible planes

first_imgIt’s a government agency unlike any other, with sophisticated change as its mantra.When Steven H. Walker, acting director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), spoke at Harvard Wednesday evening, he first reminded his listeners just how much his agency, which develops technology for the military, has accomplished.“When we consider a project, we ask first if it’s something that can change the world,” he told interviewer Michael Sulmeyer, director of the Cyber Security Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. “In the 1960s, we decided we should think about connecting computers and having some way for them to talk to each other.” Then known as ARPA, the agency developed and in 1969 launched the ARPANET, the precursor to the modern internet.“In a succinct way, that’s what we’re looking for every day: breakthrough technologies that will give an advantage to our war fighters,” Walker said. “And I tell people who come in that if you don’t invent the internet, you get a B.”DARPA remains at the leading edge of national security-related technology, as evinced by the title of the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum session at the Harvard Kennedy School: “The Internet, Invisible Aircraft & Robots: The Future of Defense Is Now.”Recently DARPA made news for developing a computerized exoskeleton that could turn a combatant into a “super soldier,” and the projects now in development are no less ambitious. It also has had a leading role in robotics and stealth airplane research.“The people who come to us have usually done something profound in their careers already, and have an idea that they can’t develop anywhere else,” Walker said. “For example, one of our former directors worked with the Air Force to develop the first stealth airplane. Part of what we do is to invest in technology, but we never forget who we’re working for. The war fighter is our customer, and what we do is about protecting the nation.”Still, he emphasized that DARPA’s more ambitious projects have wider-ranging effects. For example, the fact that many soldiers in the Iraq War lost arms led to important research on prosthetics. “At that time, the state of the art was still the hook. But we developed two arms, the first of which is already FDA-approved. It’s one that you can use your foot to control, an arm that can bend and stretch.” And neurological research is underway to create a robotic arm that can be felt by the user. “This can be tied into the motor cortex of the brain, so that the person can move the arm by thinking about doing it. We can also give that person a sense of touch, tying that back into the sensory cortex.”Walker said that artificial intelligence also holds promise, whether to develop combat technology or to mechanically absorb more information than a human brain could hold. Still, he said that robotic cyber-warriors are best left to the fantasy world. “We’re very clear that the lethality decision should always be made by a human. But we can develop technology for the human war fighter to make his decisions more quickly and effectively.”If the brain is the next development frontier, Walker said that this poses risks as well as promises.“As we understand more and more about the brain, there are all sorts of positive aspects you can think about, in terms of curing disease and psychological disorders. But once you open that door, you can also imagine things that you wouldn’t want to happen, things that can make us less human.” Responding to an audience question, he admitted he worries about such advances getting into the wrong hands. “It goes back to biology, the manipulation of DNA to do potential good like fighting illness. What keeps me awake at night is the thought of some man-made pathogen that we don’t have resistance to.”The Donald Trump administration was invoked only once, when a student asked whether the change of government would affect DARPA’s work. “The transition’s gone great,” Walker said. “We’re an apolitical group, and we’ve always had bipartisan support. We keep our heads down doing what we always do: trying to think of good ideas to prevent technological surprise and to protect our troops. So we’re charging forward, and we’re not stopping.”last_img read more

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Grocer Gold Awards 2018: all the winners revealed

first_imgThe winners were handed their awards in front of hundreds gathered at the iconic Guildhall in LondonThe winners of this year’s Grocer Gold awards have been announced.Nick Carolan from Tesco’s city-centre store in Hull was crowned The Grocer Gold Awards Store Manager of the Year – the first of 26 awards handed out at a lavish ceremony held at the Guildhall in London on Tuesday (12 June).Hosted by actor and impressionist Rory Bremner, the awards celebrated success across the vast and varied £200bn grocery sector, from startups to giant multinationals, and incorporating independent retailers, specialist online players and third-party service providers.The evening was dominated by disruptors and innovators. Amid huge structural change, uncertainty caused by Brexit, and pressure from new legislation and extra costs, The Grocer of the Year was won by Aldi for the fourth time in the past six years.The Online Supermarket of the Year was won by Ocado after a barnstorming year in which its technology has driven sales domestically and secured a number of international contracts. There was a new winner in the Specialist Online Retailer of the Year category, with high protein and sports supplement player MuscleFood beating off strong competition in this emerging space. Also in the online space, Spoon Guru’s neat dietary filtering system, which has been incorporated into Tesco’s website, won Technology Supplier of the Year.But the awards didn’t just celebrate cutting-edge startups. The Entrepreneur of the Year was Martin Thatcher, who has driven his fourth-generation cider business to market outperforming growth through brilliant leadership, vision and courage.And proving there is still room for independent entrepreneurial retailers, the Scottish chain Greens won the Independent Retail Chain of the Year award.The awards were also a reward for established operators who have adapted to the rapid pace of change. Fowler Welch won the Logistics Supplier of the Year award for its clever use of excess capacity, which saved numerous jobs at an old DC.On the wholesale and convenience side, the Symbol Convenience Retailer of the Year was Londis for its impressive turnaround under Booker.Competition on the supply side was particularly strong. The Brand of the Year was Anchor, another old brand that has been turned around. The SME Brand of the Year was the fast-growing premium petfood brand, Lily’s Kitchen. The Drinks Brand of the Year was AB InBev’s Budweiser, and AB InBev was also voted Supplier of the Year in the branded category.And after being shortlisted on numerous occasions, LDH La Doria was the Own Label Supplier of the Year for the first time.The strong sales growth achieved through the innovative development of Iceland’s Luxury frozen range saw it crowned the Own-Label Range of the Year.There were also awards for a number of campaigns that are delivering change. The Business Initiative of the Year was won by Women in Wholesale following its ground-breaking work to address the gender pay gap. The Green Initiative of the Year was won by the Co-op, for its pioneering Project Closed Loop, an initiative that kicked off long before the Blue Planet II series aired.And East of England Co-op won The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not Award for its brilliantly executed and hugely influential work to sell food past its best before dates.Also on the consumer side, online retailer Master of Malt took home the Consumer Initiative award for its #Whisky Santa campaign.The continuous improvement at foodservice giant Bidfood saw it win Wholesaler of the Year for the first time, while another foodservice operator – Henderson Foodservice – was voted the Employer of the Year after a new employee programme that dramatically cut staff turnover and significantly improved sales growth.On the international trade side Ramsden International won Exporter of the Year.Among the Big Four, Tesco also won the award for Britain’s Favourite Supermarket, the only award voted for by consumers. And in The Grocer 33 Awards Asda won the Price award for the 21st consecutive year, while Sainsbury’s picked up both the Service and Availability awards, for the sixth consecutive year.But with Aldi winning the Grocer of the Year award for the fourth time in six years, it was a reminder that it is disrupters and innovators that are driving the market, creating the conditions in which others will either sink or swim.The winnersClick the award to read moreBrand of the Year – Anchor, Arla FoodsBusiness Initiative of the Year – Women in WholesaleConsumer Initiative of the Year – #WhiskySanta, Master of MaltDrinks Brand of the Year – Budweiser, AB InBevEmployer of the Year – Henderson FoodserviceUK Entrepreneur of the Year – Martin Thatcher, Thatcher’s Cider CompanyExporter of the Year – Ramsden InternationalGreen Initiative of the Year – Project Closed Loop, The Co-opIndependent Retail Chain of the Year – Eros Retail / GreensLogistics Supplier of the Year – Fowler WelchOnline Supermarket of the Year – OcadoOwn Label Range of the Year – Luxury, Iceland FoodsSME Brand of the Year – Lily’s KitchenSpecialist Online Retailer of the Year – Muscle FoodSymbol/Franchise Convenience Retailer of the Year – Londis Technology Supplier of the Year – Spoon GuruThe Grocer of the Year – AldiWaste Not Want Not Award – East of England Co-OpWholesaler of the Year – BidfoodBritain’s Favourite Supermarket – TescoBranded Supplier of the Year – AB InBevOwn Label Supplier of the Year – LDHThe Grocer 33 Price Award – AsdaThe Grocer 33 Customer Service Award – Sainsbury’sThe Grocer 33 Availability Award – Sainsbury’sStore Manager of the Year – Nick Carolan, Tesco Hull Elit Rowland, Women in WholesaleBusiness Initiative of the Year Women in WholesaleNever has there been more awareness of the urgent need to improve diversity among British businesses. And launched in 2016, ahead of the first tranche of gender pay gap data, Women in Wholesale was well and truly ahead of the curve – an initiative to tackle head on the low numbers of women in the senior ranks of the wholesale sector.Curating a series of conferences designed to empower women (and their male colleagues) and to illustrate the power of a more diverse leadership team, the initiative saw its first event sell out three months in advance. Revealing data collated for its 2017 Women in Wholesale report saw major businesses reassess gender diversity, while its mentoring scheme and speed networking events are already reaping results. Our judges felt this initiative was simply “inspiring” and a “real first for the sector”, coming at the opportune time to make a material difference. Rowan Chidgey and Jerry Maguire, AB InBevDrinks Brand of the Year Budweiser, AB InBevBudweiser’s win in this category is no small deal: it’s seen off competition from massive names in fmcg such as Coca-Cola, Fanta and Gordon’s. But it’s well deserved, considering the phenomenal growth the AB InBev brand’s had over the last year. It’s delivered this with a relentless focus on big-ticket events, like its partnership with the FA Cup, a barrage of sleek multichannel marketing, and great customer service (AB InBev was also voted Supplier of the Year). It also tapped the low/no-alcohol trend with the launch of Budweiser Prohibition, a new 0% abv brew, which hit shelves in November.  Our expert judges commended Bud for an “outstanding job”, and thought it was impressive how AB InBev grew sales so much “in a static category”. It was “a great example of a big brand in a tough market, prepared to take risks to make its own luck”, they added, loving new launch Prohibition’s “brand execution and bravery”. Alessandra Bellini, TescoBritain’s Favourite Supermarket TescoIf Dave Lewis was worried, amid the drama of the £3.7bn Booker takeover, that Tesco would take its eye off the ball and stop delivering its core shopper mission, he needn’t have been. Tesco has scooped the award for Britain’s Favourite Supermarket for the fourth year in a row – “a strong indication of how good the shopper engagement is now that Tesco is firing again on all cylinders,” according to Nielsen head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins. The only award voted for by consumers, Britain’s Favourite Supermarket is chosen via an online survey sent by Nielsen to its 6,400-strong panel of statistically weighted UK households based on 10 key factors. Tesco came top across no less than six of those metrics, voted as the leading supermarket when it came to good product availability, a wide choice of products, promotions and offers, good customer service, good overall experience and providing convenient ways to shop.The supermarket giant also came top in half of the eight sector categories, selected as the best place to shop for beers wines and spirits, health and beauty items and non-grocery products, as well as being the favourite destination for vegan, vegetarian and free-from products. “Retailers perceived by shoppers to meet the widest needs and who are seen as improving across most of the different attributes are once again, ranked most highly,” says Watkins. “This is a reflection of how demanding shoppers are in UK and is a reminder that supermarkets now need to keep reinventing, and not stand still (which some have done in food and drink).“If there is one thing I would point to about Tesco’s performance, it’s how consistently well they do on the overall shopping experience,” Watkins adds. “We have a pretty promiscuous shopper base in the UK and all the major supermarkets are having to work really hard to address that. But Tesco has been doing the right things for its customers despite those challenges to the big four. “Yes, they have lost some market share, but that is inevitable given the rise of companies like Aldi and Lidl. But Tesco has very strong brand equity and has more shoppers than it did in 2016; they get more visits and people are spending more money in store.”There was some good news for discounter Aldi though, which came top when consumers were asked to vote on who does the best job on price, which was judged to be the most important factor for customers. It was also judged the most improved retailer over the course of the past 12 months and, as well as holding onto the top slot for fruit & veg, made significant strides in the BWS category, where it entered the top three, behind Tesco and Asda, for the first time, on the back of new merchandising, layout and its new location in store, another move shoppers have recognised.“Price is still the most important factor,” says Watkins. “But overall shopping experience, promotions and offers, and providing convenient ways to shop have become more important. “Project Fresh has clearly made an impact, relative to what many of the supermarkets have done – it’s a step change,” he adds. But when it comes to finding favour with shoppers across the broadest range of metrics, Tesco has proved once again it still leads the way. Charlotte Lawson, AnchorBrand of the YearAnchor, Arla FoodsIn the hard-fought butters and spreads market, where differentiation is tough to create, Arla Foods has achieved the “reinvention and reconnection of a great brand” our judges agreed. Anchor’s success was founded on “creating engagement with customers via brand story” allowing it to take a leading role in the current resurgence of block butter sales and riding its first sales uplift in years. It marks quite the turn of fortunes compared with 2016, when Anchor’s value sales declined ahead of the category. The brand’s ‘Everyday Richness’ positioning wasn’t working. It failed to communicate its central theme of rich taste, while overlooking the emerging trend of British provenance. The answer was ‘Real Life Dairy for Real Family Life’, a message that “communicated provenance and targeted one of the core needs of consumers: local, sustainable, quality food”. New-look Anchor packaging hit chillers in July 2017, bearing bolder colours, a revised logo, and a Union flag to emphasise the brand’s championing of British dairy. Backed by a £4.5m spend, it emphasised the brand’s simplicity and featured the return of the Huggables characters.“Reinvigorating a category and a heritage brand with modern relevance” led to significant commercial success, our judges said. Anchor surpassed its £100m turnover target by £7m, growing its market share from 8% to 10%. The 132-year-old brand’s butters and spreads ended 2017 in strong growth in both value and volume, having had “the courage to take this heritage brand back to its roots and make it famous again”, said our judges. Martin Thatcher, Thatcher’s Cider CompanyUK Entrepreneur of the Year Martin Thatcher, Thatcher’s Cider CompanyWhen fourth generation cidermaker Martin Thatcher took over as MD in 1992 he set out a vision to grow the family-owned Somerset firm – without compromising on its quality, heritage and expertise. An “outstanding performance” in one of the biggest branded categories has seen Thatcher outstrip the market, with sales up 38.9% this past year, compared with 5.2% for the category, under Martin’s “entrepreneurial flame”, as he’s driven “innovation and risk” and set a target to be sustainably trading 100 million litres by 2021. Technological investment and a focus on quality has helped fuel increased distribution among the mults, despite ‘flavour fatigue’ in the cider sector. “In family businesses, previous generations can cast a long shadow. Martin has put himself in the spotlight and driven a renewal of the business to release its potential,” said one judge. John Kerrigan, Fowler WelchLogistics Supplier of the Year Fowler WelchWhen Dairy Crest sold off its liquid milk business to Müller in 2014, the future of its state-of-the-art Nuneaton national distribution centre, capable of handling double the capacity it now needed, was unsure. Thankfully logistics expert Fowler Welch leveraged its long history of collaboration to come up with a solution that our judges described as “creative” and a “genuine win-win for all involved”.And so it was that when Müller finally exited the site in August 2017, reducing throughput volumes by 26%, Fowler Welch seamlessly secured it (and the 104 Dairy Crest jobs within it) by attracting brand new suppliers, including Quorn and Winterbotham Darby, and all while providing its own operations with a strategic base in the Midlands, too. It was a strategy that had “a significant positive impact” on both companies and their staff and applied “innovative thinking” to avoid a crisis. Roger Grosvenor and Sally Chicken, East of England Co-opWaste Not Want Not AwardEast of England Co-op – The Co-op Guide to Dating “Truly pioneering” is how one of our judges summed up East of England Co-op’s decision to become the first major UK retailer to sell food beyond its best before date. Its Guide to Dating initiative (‘Don’t be a binner, have it for dinner’), rolled out nationwide in December, saw ambient packets, jars and cans sold for a nominal sum of 10p after their best before dates had expired. It’s an entirely safe and legal move but one which more powerful retailers have been too scared to consider. Yet so popular has the scheme proved with shoppers the cooperative expects to save at least 100,000 products from waste in the first 12 months alone, worth about £3,000 per week. First revealed by The Grocer, it’s also generated huge amounts of positive publicity for the regional co-op. It was reported across every major news outlet in the UK and across international publications as far reaching as the US and Australia. More recently it’s added fresh fruit & veg, bread and cake to the scheme, and is now predicted to save two million tonnes of food waste a year. And crucially it has sent ripples through industry, putting pressure on the multiples to rethink their own policies, with Tesco announcing last month it would axe best before dates entirely across certain fresh fruit & vegetables. “A bold initiative that could act as a tipping point for more commonsense approaches to date labels,” said one judge. “A piece of action leadership that is for others to follow, and follow they will,” another predicted. Jake Mountain (left) and Dan Oztunc, Master of MaltConsumer Initiative of the Year #WhiskySanta, Master of MaltAchieving customer engagement many huge brands would kill for, online spirits retailer Master of Malt delivered a “simply brilliant” initiative with its #WhiskySanta Christmas campaign in 2017. Seen across a staggering 70 million Twitter feeds, it was “simple but exceptionally executed”, asking customers to post wishes across social media requesting any ‘delicious item’ sold by the retailer, with wishes granted (at random) to the lucky winners. In total, £150k worth of the finest spirits was handed out via social media and at the Master of Malt checkout, including a bottle of Glenmorangie Grand Vintage signed by whisky guru Dr Bill Lumsden, successfully generating huge excitement across its social media channels and millions of organic brand mentions. Shoppers on site also found surprise gifts added to baskets too, from boozy crackers to £1,000 in gift vouchers. In its third year, the latest iteration was so successful it delivered the brand’s most profitable Christmas period ever, with order numbers up 104% year on year and nearly 70,000 unique tweets. In peak periods that reached around 40 tweets for the brand per minute, entirely eclipsing the engagement efforts of some of its biggest competitors. “This campaign was an ingenious example of how to be truly innovative in marketing,” said our expert judges. They proved themselves “better than anyone else at reaching consumers and yet the initiative was so simple.” Keen to repeat its huge success, the brand is now looking at how to evolve the offer and keep up momentum for 2018 – to deliver another very merry Christmas. Lawrence Hene, OcadoOnline Supermarket of the Year OcadoIt takes ground-breaking innovation to stay ahead in the rapidly evolving online grocery market, and Ocado has proved yet again its technology is delivering.  In 2017 it became the first retailer to develop an Amazon Alexa skill for voice shopping, a channel tipped by experts as holding huge growth potential for grocery. It also expanded its next-generation Andover fulfilment centre, fulfilling more orders and creating 200 new jobs, with plans to open a second in Kent this year. Deliveries became more efficient too, with each van dispatching 182 orders per week, up from 176. Using search data, Ocado predicted and developed ranges to meet demand, including vegan and free-from, and to suggest the next products most likely to be on a shopping list, saving consumers time and effort. It introduced Shelf View, showing products online as they would appear on a shelf in store, with images correctly sized in relation to the surrounding items.It formed new partnerships to introduce premium ranges from Hotel Chocolat, Harvey Nichols and French brand Picard, and showed commitment to supporting smaller business, with SMEs making up 70% of its supplier base. And it achieved results, increasing sales by 12.7% to £1.43bn and weekly orders by 14.3% to 263,000 on average, at a time when overall online grocery growth is slowing. But perhaps the biggest landmark of Ocado’s year will be the licensing deals with overseas retailers, taking its advanced online grocery delivery technology beyond the UK. It signed Sobeys in November, with Casino and Kroger swiftly following. Harris Aslam, Eros Retail/GreensIndependent Retail Chain of the Year Eros Retail / GreensFast-growing Eros Retail has been delivering on all fronts while sticking to its core principles of supporting local suppliers and communities.The seven-strong c-store chain, run by Harris Aslam and Raza Rehman, is planning to add a further five stores in the current financial year, having grown turnover by 110% with profits up 13% last year.The judges were impressed by the Scottish chain’s “effective use of local concessions” and the way it has been “pushing fresh food and local supplier engagement to drive growth”. Eros successfully rolled out a local bakery concession to all stores last year and also developed an in-house fresh meat range.On top of this, the retailer has fully embraced the SGF’s Healthy Living Programme, to hold various healthy eating events both in store and in local primary schools. Sean Ramsden, Ramsden InternationalExporter of the Year Ramsden InternationalThe launch of its own label Kingsbury brand swung it for Ramsden International, with our judges hugely impressed the feat was pulled off against the backdrop of Brexit uncertainty. A specialist exporter, with 23,000 products sold in 133 countries, the wholesaler took the “bold” decision to leverage its British values further through its own brand. With 100 products to be launched this year across the biscuits, confectionery, crisps and snacks categories, the range is sold exclusively by Ramsden (preventing competition on price) and designed for ‘ease of import’ with multi-language translations on packs and international compliance built in. Ramsden has already fulfilled orders in 10 countries and is targeting sales of £2m in three years.The “slick operation” used “entrepreneurial flair, backed by innovative processes, to drive performance”, said judges. Nick Preston, Muscle FoodSpecialist Online Retailer of the Year Muscle FoodIn the four short years since it launched, Muscle Food has surpassed £100m in turnover and now sells an impressive 53,000 products a day on average. It’s achieved this by deepening its understanding of customers and introducing brilliant new ideas like ‘Do The Unthinkable’, a subscription-based service giving consumers everything they need to get fit and lead a healthier lifestyle. Products are now sortable based on protein, fat, sugar and carbohydrate content. It topped these innovations in 2017, though, with its Easy Cook meal kit ranges, including 10-minute curries, four-minute soups and 12-minute stir-fry kits, as well as winning listings in retailers including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Co-op, Spar, Poundland and the Musgrave Group. Such growth is “very impressive,” said our judges, and has meant the business has scaled beyond its original body builder base.” Damien Barrett, Henderson FoodserviceEmployer of the Year Henderson FoodserviceIn 2015, voluntary staff turnover was as high as 33% at this Northern Ireland wholesaler, with sales churn a particular concern, due to the cost but also the constant dilution of knowledge and sales. So Henderson Foodservice undertook research to understand why turnover was so high, and has made a number of changes to tackle this. That’s included defining its core values, holding briefing sessions with employees three times a year, conducting annual employee engagement surveys (and then sharing the results and agreeing department action plans), introducing Pride Awards (handed out on a monthly basis), and enhancing its year-round programme of activities under its ‘Well Aware’ health and wellbeing programme. Training has also been enhanced, with a leadership development programme devised in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast. And a new Xsellerator training course resulted in all members of the sales team increasing sales. There’s also been considerable investment to plug skills gaps across the business, including seven new roles in areas such as meat, telesales, marketing and commercial analysis. In 2017 Henderson also celebrated its 50th anniversary with an annual conference and gala ball for employees, customers and suppliers, presenting annual Pride awards. The results have been “impressive” said our judges. “Simple and effective measures have made a real difference”, with voluntary staff turnover falling to 7.7%, employee engagement up, and improvements in sales and the number of job applicants. Simon O’Regan (left) and Tim Allen, Spoon GuruTechnology Supplier of the Year Spoon Guru“Why has this never been done before?” This was how our judges reacted to the “incredibly useful” technology created by winner Spoon Guru to respond to the diverse set of dietary needs and restrictions with which modern retailers must grapple. Its unique food classification platform is capable of processing more than 2.5 million statements, 64 million tags and 16.3 million words on a daily basis, and allowing shoppers to quickly and easily track down foods that fit into their diet, be it gluten-free, vegan or an allergy to nuts. Its partnership with Tesco, announced in 2017, has provided the multiple with valuable differentiation online with a concrete impact on KPIs already. “This is a highly useful tool that taps into a very current challenge for retailers and offers a drastic and demonstrable improvement on the limits of some of the search engines they retailers rely on at the moment. An excellent idea.”center_img Andrew Selley, BidfoodWholesaler of the YearBidfood From extended telesales opening times and Sunday deliveries to a new e-commerce site, the expansion of the chef team and establishing three new hospitality hubs, foodservice giant Bidfood has undergone wholesale change this past year.  Half way through a five-year plan, the aim is to turn Bidfood from a “complex, rigid, procrastinating, inconsistent, outdated and complacent” operation into a “dynamic, visionary, dependable, passionate, aligned, flexible, streamlined, professional, driven” operator (and to double profits in the process). In doing so, it’s ditched a number of large, unprofitable contracts (which helped profits increase 20%). And in eschewing the trend towards centralisation (investing instead in a wider regional depot network), it was notable that earlier this year KFC returned with its tail between its legs after the logistical meltdown that followed its switch to DHL. As well as restructuring its sales and operations to be closer to its customers, it’s simplified its price list, added 1,700 new products (including more vegan and world foods options and an overall focus on managing inflation), and successfully launched four new specialist ranges (or rolled them out nationwide) across wine, fresh meat, ice cream and coffee. It also provided full supply-chain traceability on 3,000 British products for the first time and hosted a second plate2planet conference.Bidfood has also successfully in-sourced IT contracts. In total 60 projects were delivered on time and on budget, reducing costs by 50%, and resulting in a 952% increase in sales on BidFood Direct, its new e-commerce site which includes live pricing and real-time stock information. Another initiative has been the introduction of depot-wide smart-vehicle tracking technology to help customer service teams keep track of deliveries. Training has also been key. It’s established a ‘Care, Share and Dare’ culture through workshops and other initiatives, including its Dragon’s Den-style contest to encourage recommendations for business change, which has received more than 500 responses. The result has been improved employee engagement. And perhaps most important, judges applauded its “strong and improving” customer satisfaction rating in the 2017 Advantage Report, where it was once again ranked first but with an improved score.  Jon Hartland, Jon Bye and Darren Sinclair, Sainsbury’sThe Grocer 33 Customer Service AwardSainsbury’sA new stripped-down store management structure has been put in place at Sainsbury’s this very week, so it will be interesting to see what happens to Sainsbury’s exemplary customer service. Its sixth consecutive win was based on winning 19 weeks in this year’s Grocer 33 year – seven more than nearest rival Tesco. And a lot of work has been done to improve customer service still further, including the introduction of SmartShop to 67 stores, and top stocking to improve availability and increase efficiency. With colleagues “well aware of the challenges Sainsbury’s and the retail industry as a whole is facing,” retail director Simon Roberts believes Sainsbury’s has to get “even better” at customer service. From September, it will “reward employees for their hard work by becoming the market-leading supermarket in terms of pay, investing £110m”, with a base pay rate of £9.20, and £9.80 in London. Henrietta Morrison and Chris Lock, Lily’s KitchenSME Brand of the YearLily’s KitchenLily’s Kitchen, the fastest growing petfood company in 2016-2017, shows no signs of slowing down.On the listings front, it’s gone into Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, and increased penetration by 5%. On the marketing side, its largest ever campaign (‘It’s not loopy, it’s love’) was its biggest ever (£1.5m), and the engagement for #itsnotloopy confessions via social media was “fantastic”. The judges also praised Lily’s Kitchen for its “insightful innovation” this year: ranging from a new 14-strong line of dogfood tins aimed at increasing ease of access to the brand (each costing 99p) and six new recipes, among them Great British Breakfast. This is a brand that is “taking on the ‘big boys’ and forcing them to change,” as the ethos of health and fresh ingredients in pet food continues to spread across the wider market. It also published an agenda-setting sustainability report: ‘Paw Prints for Progress’. Sanj Dosanjh and Neil Nugent, IcelandOwn Label Range of the Year Luxury, Iceland FoodsIceland’s Luxury frozen range was expanded from 72 to 129 products last year to widen choice in areas like ready meals and pizzas.  Our expert judges applauded Iceland’s “well executed” and often highly original NPD (one product was voted ‘Innovative Product of the Year’ at The Grocer Own Label Awards and another won the ‘Champion of Champions’ award). Backed by its ‘Power of Frozen’ ads, the range increased category sales but also helped improve Iceland’s image, attracting new, affluent shoppers. Crucially the NPD delivered in Q4 for maximum sales impact, turning Iceland into one of the fastest growing supermarkets last year. “Attracting premium spend is impressive given their core, historical proposition and market perception,” said the judges. “It’s a quality range that’s broadened Iceland’s appeal and extended choice in the marketplace.” Barry Fine, LDH (La Doria)Own Label Supplier of the Year LDH (La Doria) There was high praise right from the outset for ambient food supplier LDH (La Doria) with supermarket buyers lauding the company’s “inclusive, transparent and genuine” culture and its philosophy of the “customer comes first” in the first round of judging.Having made it through to the finals on many occasions, this was the first overall victory for the Cambridgeshire-based business, beating 11 other category champions in the process. In the second round of judging, leading commercial directors said the supplier was “focused, quick to respond” and willing to “take complete ownership of the projects in question” – all qualities that are top priorities for retailers operating in an increasingly pressured climate. “A great example of a ‘customer intimate’ business, it knows its customers well and will do anything for them,” added another very happy customer. Jerry Maguire, AB InBevBranded Supplier of the Year AB InBevBrewer AB InBev emerged victorious in the contest for best branded supplier thanks to a combination of fantastic NPD, strong growth and superb customer service. Praised by retail buyers for being “fully supportive and available when needed” as well as “consistently thinking of new and innovative means to drive sales” in their business and effectively promote a wide portfolio of brands, the global player took top spot in the alcoholic drinks category in the first round of judging. But securing the support and appreciation of category buyers is one thing. In our second round, AB InBev was considered by a select group of commercial directors from leading supermarkets, wholesalers and symbol groups alongside 11 other category champions, including the likes of Unilever, Arla and P&G. It was a close call too, one that saw our expert judges score suppliers across category management skills, consumer insight, production quality and technical knowhow. AB InBev emerged triumphant though, garnering praise from some of the most powerful operators in the industry. The company “engaged in all our touchpoints and helped bring our business to life” around major sporting events, said one of our judges. “AB InBev have been a great partner to our business over the past 12 months, working with us on testing innovation and helping us improve our online content,” said another. And for a third, the supplier was a deserving winner for “achieving the highest growth in the premium category” and for its “dedicated national account manager”. Cathryn Higgs and Iain Ferguson, The Co-opGreen Initiative of the YearProject Closed Loop, The Co-opWay before Blue Planet II made plastic such a cause célèbre among consumers and other retailers the Co-op had set itself the ambitious commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable. From in-depth research of all 391 local authorities and their various approaches to recycling to careful benchmarking of its own systems and the publication of an agenda-setting report, the retailer has taken Project Closed Loop seriously from the start, without a hint of greenwashing in its comprehensive plans.Among a raft of internal initiatives have been a commitment to ditch black plastic by 2020, trialling biodegradable teabags and simplified plastic trays – and it was the first retailer to sign up to the Plastic Industry Recycling Action Plan to help improve collection rates. All of this “shows the Co-op was leading the sector” in sustainable packaging and recycling, said our judges, making it “a worthy winner”. Martin Swadling, LondisSymbol/Franchise Convenience Retailer of the YearLondisThe turnaround since Booker took over Londis in 2015 ago continues to impress, with judges calling it a “clear winner” in this year’s competition. “Standards across the estate have improved significantly,” and the numbers don’t lie: after growing sales 30% in 2016, non-tobacco sales rose 18.9%, with like-for-likes up just shy of 5%, as the 2,000-strong symbol group added over 250 stores to the estate, attracting more than 100 of these from other symbol groups, while losing just six stores, showing Londis is not just an attractive proposition for prospective new members but that existing Londis retailers are happy where they are.One reason for the improvement is lower prices, but range improvements have also been key: last year Londis introduced Discover the Choice, a 130-strong chilled ready meals range, ramped up its food-to-go offer, and ploughed into free-from. Thank you to our sponsors Dan Ronald, AldiThe Grocer of the Year Aldi Aldi has reclaimed its crown. Knocking last year’s winner Tesco off the top spot, the discounter walked away with the most coveted award of the night as it was named Grocer of the Year, in front of a room packed with its peers, for the fourth time in six years. Aldi’s relentless march on the traditional multiples has continued apace, with double-digit year-on-year growth every year since 2011 and the grocer now accounts for 7% of the market, having overtaken the Co-op in 2017 to become the UK’s fifth largest supermarket.As well as continuing to promise never to be beaten on price, Aldi has stepped up investment in the quality and enjoyment of its shopping experience with its £300m Project Fresh upgrading stores with brand new hi-spec fixtures and fittings, slick new signage and added services such as in-store bakeries as well as extended ranges across fresh, BWS and non-food. Nearly 350 stores are set to undergo a makeover by the end of 2018, and at those that have undergone the refresh it’s making a major difference. With this substantial investment in its estate Aldi has demonstrated once and for all its “willingness and ability to adapt to the needs of UK shoppers”, said our expert judges, formulating an “impressive clarity of offer” as well as a “commitment to do it the right way”. This has included making shopfloor staff the best paid in the industry (while its graduate scheme is consistently named as one of the top schemes in the country) and tackling diversity among senior ranks. It’s also taken major steps to address food waste. From a standing start in 2012 it has now redistributed 1,157 tonnes of surplus food. In 2016 it became one of the first signatories to Courtauld 2025 and in 2018 committed to halving waste by 2030. It has also supported The Grocer’s own Waste Not Want campaign. While it’s best known for its lean business model, the application of Aldi’s three core values of ‘consistency, simplicity and responsibility’ are clearly thought through with rigour, whether on pricing, ranging, sourcing, packaging or marketing. Aldi has also continued to receive plaudits for its dealings with suppliers. In 2017 it topped the league table for its fair treatment of partners across the supply chain in the annual Groceries Code Adjudicator survey for a fourth straight year.Its attention to product quality also continues to shine through, with Aldi scooping 35 gongs at the Grocer Own Label Awards, including 14 innovation awards – more than any other retailer.  The results are plain to see. In 2017 sales were up 13.5% (versus 12% in 2015) and while big four rivals and their analyst friends point to a drop in profits, it’s the result of its rapid investment in its store estate, and a sign of its long-term commitment to this market. Indeed, it’s abandoned its target of 1,000 stores by 2022, in favour of a longer term ambition to open multiple stores in UK cities. As a further sign of its management strength, succession planning following the promotion of CEO Matthew Barnes (with Giles Hurley stepping up) and the retirement of Tony Baines looks to have gone without a hitch.  The discounter has achieved “market-beating growth in a tough market, a strong indicator of success”, added judges, with “compelling evidence” across “all manner of metrics”. Sandy Parsonage, Sainsbury’sThe Grocer 33 Availability Award Sainsbury’sWith 33 full baskets and availability of 97.4%, Sainsbury’s has won this award for the sixth year on the trot. But in a process of continuous improvement it rolled out top stocking last autumn on the back of a 2016 trial. This new approach, in which Sainsbury’s has reduced its range but stacked popular lines on the top shelves, for easier replenishment, “means we’ve got as much stock as possible on our shelves to give moments of certainty to customers,” explains retail director Simon Roberts, and ensured Sainsbury’s was “really well prepared for the peak Christmas trading period”. It’s not the only initiative though. “Online and convenience shopping are growing faster than ever, so having good availability in those areas has been critical. “The whole organisation needs to be really joined up. We’re obsessive about maximising availability and reducing waste,” Roberts adds. Nick Carolan, TescoStore Manager of the Year Nick Carolan, Tesco St Stephen’s, HullWinner Nick Carolan has faced no shortage of competition at his 110,000 sq ft Tesco store in Hull, which has no fewer than 27 Sainsbury’s stores. But the effervescent store manager has embraced the challenge. An exceptional performance over four years has seen him meet targets across 94% of Tesco’s core metrics and achieve positive sales growth at the store after six years in decline, including a record-breaking Christmas that saw staff handle no less than 107,000 transactions in a week.  He’s achieved that by championing changes to the car park system and overhauling the store layout to look bigger and brighter. But perhaps most important has been his work connecting with both his 400-strong team and the wider Hull community. As well as national schemes like Community Food Connection, Carolan and his team host lunches in store for local charities, fundraise for the likes of Hull for Heroes and the Hull Homeless Community Project, and sponsor the Hull Food Nights that featured on the City of Culture schedule in 2017. Not only that but a creative Carolan has successfully tackled shoplifting in the city centre store by inviting local police officers in to use the store as a base for meetings and mealtimes. An overwhelming number of his staff now recommend it to their friends and family as a great place to shop while the proportion of consumers that feel it has successfully embedded within the community has tripled. Passionate, energetic and innovative, Carolan is an exemplary store manager and hugely deserving winner of the Store Manager of the Year Award 2018.The five store managers were nominated by their respective supermarkets from winners of the Grocer 33 Store of the Week competition. They each made a 10-minute presentation on why they should win, before being grilled for a further 10 minutes by a distinguished panel of judges comprising: Andy Cresswell, managing director, MRH; Steven Esom, chairman, Product Chain; Ronny Gottschlich, CEO and founder of Heunadel Retail Advisory; Lorraine Hendle, managing director retail and manufacturing, William Reed; Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer; and Tim Mason, CEO at Eagle Eye. Roger Burnley, AsdaThe Grocer 33 Price Award Asda At the end of the last Grocer 33 pricing year and for a good chunk of this one, there was strong evidence to suggest Asda’s two-decade-long reign as winner of The Grocer 33 Price Award could be under threat, with Tesco and Morrisons in a tight battle with Asda until the end of September. Asda had a slender lead with five weekly pricing wins versus four for Morrisons and three for Tesco.However, from that final quarter, Asda never looked back as it racked up 12 weekly wins on the spin from 7 October, interrupted only by a win for discounter Aldi. That run of form continued, with Morrisons and Tesco scoring just one further victory each across the rest of the year. The gap was borne of US-owner Walmart’s strategic u-turn in 2016, moving away from its policy of protecting its £1bn profits at all costs and actually to start delivering on its low price proposition in a bid to narrow the gap to Aldi and Lidl.With the big four retailers all making further pricing moves, the purple patch of wins represented a real statement of intent and helped Asda deliver its most successful Christmas for years in terms of sales.Asda’s dominance continued in 2018 with newly promoted CEO Roger Burnley at the helm. It finished the Grocer 33 year with 32 victories from 50 weeks. Morrisons managed five wins, Tesco four, while Sainsbury’s grabbed two wins late in the year (just as its proposed merger with Asda was announced).Aldi and Lidl claimed convincing wins as guest retailers – three wins a piece. Iceland was victorious in just one of its three guest slots, another sign of Asda’s resolve.last_img read more

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ARTS: DAITHI RAMSAY’S AN GRIANAN NEWS UPDATE

first_imgChristmas Craft and Art FairAn Grianán Theatre’s Christmas Craft and Art Fair returns on Sat 1 December 2012. For one day only this selected group of craft makers and artists will give you an opportunity to buy the best and classiest presents anyone will receive this year. Curated by Deirdre Ramsay, the 20 exhibiting artists and designer/makers are some of the finest in the north west. Crafts and arts on display will include pottery and ceramics, textiles, batiks, fashion, jewellery and art prints. The exhibitors are Deirdre Ramsay, Fiona Higgins, Theatre Craft Group, Emer O’Sullivan, Helen Pinoff, Alan McCluney, Maggie Roarty, Clare Cuanane, Emily Bazeley, Michelle Mc Carroll, Shelagh Dwyer, Laura Ferguson, Audrey Henry, Alicia Brolly, Kim Mc Elhinney, Helen Scott, Joanne Gamble, Siobhan Montgomery, Laura Bucannan and Daniel McGarrigle. The fair runs from 11am to 6pm on Sat 1 December. The theatre’s cafe will be on hand to serve tea, coffee and delicious refreshments.  Seize the David O’Doherty Comedian David O’Doherty and his yamaha return to An Grianán on Sat 1 December with his latest stand up show Seize the David O’Doherty. With recent TV apperances that include hosting BBC’s Nevermind The Buzzcocks and appearing as a panellist on QI not to mention his best-selling book 100 Facts about Pandas and recently published 100 Facts about Sharks, David O’Doherty is proving to be one of Ireland’s hottest (in a mild mannered way) comedy exports. Having scaled the heights of telemarketing and temping, David O’Doherty first stepped on stage at Dublin’s Comedy Cellar in 1998. In 1999 he won the Channel 4’s ‘So You Think You’re Funny’ award for new comedians and was runner up in the BBC New Comedy Awards. His first full show ‘The Story of the Boy Who Saved Comedy’ was performed at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2000 and received a nomination for Best Newcomer. He has returned to the festival six more times, his 2006 show ‘David O’Doherty is my name’ receiving a nomination for best show and his 2008 show ‘Let’s Comedy’ won the if.comedy Award (former Perrier) for Best Show. He has performed around the world at festivals in Melbourne, Montreal, New York and Wellington. He has toured around Ireland with Tommy Tiernan, around Britain with Rich Hall and recently around America with Demetri Martin. In 2006 he recorded his first CD “Giggle Me Timbers (or ‘Jokes Ahoy!’)” at home in his flat in front of 35 people. His first television series ‘The Modest Adventures of David O’Doherty’ was transmitted on RTE in Ireland in 2007. He has written widely for newspapers and magazines, published a book for children, written a play (‘Saddled’, with Bryan Quinn – the world’s first theatrical production to feature live repair of audience members’ bicycles), and a radio series about bee detectives with his brother Mark (‘The Bees of Manulla’ RTE).  See David O’Doherty on on Sat 1 Dec at An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny. Gig starts at 8pm and tickets are available at An Grianán now on 0749120777 or see www.angrianan.com.  Donegal band In Their Thousands are coming home triumphant! Donegal band In Their Thousands are this year’s Hot Press/2FM Guinness Play for the Day winners. After coming through their northern heat as winners the band performed at Whelan’s in Dublin on Wednesday night with fellow finalists Hot Sprockets, The Calvinists and Protobaby. But it was the Donegal band’s stunning live set that saw them crowned as winners. “It was really tough,” Niall Stones, Editor of Hot Press said, “but In Their Thousands were absolutely brilliant. The feeling among the judges was that this is a band with huge international potential. They are superb musicians making a truly original and epic noise.” Local audiences will get their chance to congratulate the boys soon as they are playing a special acoustic support slot with Duke Special at An Grianán Theatre on Sat 8 Dec before heading back to the theatre for a post-Christmas show as headliners in their own right on Thur 27 Dec. The Play on the Day prize package includes a full three day recording session, the release of a single and thousands of euro worth of top-of-the-range musical instruments, including equipment from Fender, Tanglewood Guitars, Premier Drums and Casio.Formed in Ramelton in  May 2011 by brothers Aidan and Declan Mc Clafferty, and their cousin Ruairí Friel they were later joined by longtime friend Liam Kelly and the project became In Their Thousands. Despite being little more than a year old they have already developed a distinctive sound and have released two EPs, headlined the Earaail Awakenings Festival while their gig to promote the release of their second EP Cellars has become the stuff of local music legend busing three loads of unsuspecting fans to a secret pop-up venue in remotest Donegal where the band performed in a shed that they turned into a venue for one night only. The band’s sound can only be described as diverse. With the songs coming from all band members their live set changes from stunning vocal harmony laced acoustic acapella folk to edgy electric alternative rock in a seamless progressive crescendo. Songwriting and vocal duties being held down by all four band members and with a diverse and alternative approach to the way music should be enjoyed, In Their Thousands, are one of the most exciting and interesting groups to have come from the North West. See them live at An Grianán Theatre on Sat 8 Dec (acoustic gig supporting Duke Special) and Thur 27 Dec. See www.angrianan.com for further information or call the box office on 074 91 20777. Crash Cabaret This Friday An Grianan’s bespoke entertainment smorgasbord is back with another eclectic picnic! Join your MC DEREK O’CONNOR for the last Crash Cabaret of 2012… This time, it’s ALL about the tunes. And it’s going to be a monster. Starring.. Punk folk poet troubadour, gospel music energy preacher JINX LENNON!  The Donegal debut of blues/jazz/soul/pop/rock/folk/fun outfit.KELLIE AND THE SCRUFFS! Plus… Eclectic songwriter and multi-instrumentalist CHRIS WARD! Sad songs under a low light with SPACEJUCK! By popular demand – the return of MARTY & MAEVE! Northern Soul singer and birthday boy SEAN P. FEENEY At last! It’s the ADRIAN KELLY RARE GROOVE ORCHESTRA! Plus… A thing by NARTYSTATION! And dancing until late! All for a recession-friendly FIVE EURO!  CASH ON MY TASH! Come along early to An Grianan’s MOVEMBER Shave Off event, which kicks off at 9PM! All welcome: here;s how it works, anyone wanting the shave off their Movember tash, by the lovely people from Patrick Gildea’s Hairdressing Team, will throw a tenner into the kitty, their friends pay the normal €5 admission, and all money paid in before 9.30pm will go to the Movember Campaign!ARTS: DAITHI RAMSAY’S AN GRIANAN NEWS UPDATE was last modified: November 25th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ARTS: DAITHI RAMSAY’S AN GRIANAN NEWS UPDATElast_img read more

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49ers pregame: John Lynch, Al Guido again visit fans’ tailgates

first_imgWhereas … SANTA CLARA — For the second time in as many home finales for 49ers general manager John Lynch, he and team president Al Guido spent time before the game visiting fans at parking-lot tailgates.“The coolest deal was someone pointed out a Niners fan in her 90s who attended games at Kezar,” Lynch said. “She said she got splinters in her butt from Kezar.”Making spirits [email protected] @AlGuido pic.twitter.com/4v5SuO0d42— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 23, 2018last_img

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Upcoming Webinar: Advocating for Universal Design for Learning in Classrooms

first_imgPlease join MFLN Military Caregiving Wednesday, October 18 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, for our free webinar entitled ‘Successful Transition for Students with Special Needs: Advocating for Universal Design for Learning in Classrooms.’Research has shown that all students and especially those receiving special education who follow a carefully crafted transition plan are more likely to achieve post-secondary success. Helping professionals can craft these plans, but many may not be aware of the various resources available to ensure students’ successful transition. One of the main resources available to parents/guardians and students are their classroom teachers. Teachers who incorporate transition-related content into instruction using universal design for learning (UDL) principles are in the best position to set up students for post-secondary success. It is thus necessary that parents/guardians and students are trained to inform teachers about UDL and advocate for their use in classroom instruction on an ongoing basis.The objectives of this interactive webinar are therefore to introduce attendees to:Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles for instruction.Employability skills that can be taught using UDL principles.Ways in which parent/guardians and students can self-advocate for UDL to be incorporated in classrooms. Presenter:Lakshmi Mahadevan has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Career Development Education from Texas A&M University. Her areas of expertise include career assessment, post-secondary options for individuals with special needs, special education and multicultural career counseling. As Associate Professor and Extension Specialist – Special Populations, Dr. Mahadevan has over ten years of experience in conducting face-to-face and online professional development with educators in Texas addressing various special populations-related issues (particularly students with disabilities and English Language Learners). Her other activities include program evaluation, conducting workshops and presentations, preparing newsletters, creating webcasts and special interest web materials, maintaining and supervising the design of online modules, maintaining websites, liaison with stakeholders and experts, preparing evaluation reports, and providing technical assistance.Continuing Education Credit Available!The MFLN Military Caregiving concentration will apply for continuing education (CE) credit from UT School of Social Work for credentialed and licensed professionals. Additionally, Certificates of completion will be available for participants interested in receiving training hours.Interested in Joining the Webinar?To join this event, simply click on “Advocating for Universal Design for Learning in Classrooms.” The webinar is hosted by the Department of Defense APAN system, but is open to the public.If you cannot connect to the APAN site, an alternative viewing of this presentation will be running on YouTube Live. Mobile options for YouTube Live are available on all Apple and Android devices. This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on October 6, 2017.last_img read more

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Kamal Nath appeals to PM for flood resurvey

first_imgMadhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an immediate Central assistance of ₹9,000 crore as flood relief and a resurvey of affected areas. During a 45-minute meeting with Mr. Modi in New Delhi on Friday, Mr. Nath apprised him of the floods in the State and submitted a memorandum on the loss to farmers. He said the situation in the State must be declared ‘severe’. Mr. Nath sought ₹6,621.28 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund and ₹2,285.88 crore separately for the reconstruction of infrastructure. “Rain has continued since the last visit of a Central team,” he said. “Therefore, there is a need for a resurvey of affected areas, and I request you to send a team”. The Prime Minister assured him of help. The appeal comes a fortnight after Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia had expressed dissatisfaction with the State government’s preliminary survey and demanded a reassessment and “adequate compensation” for the affected farmers. Stating that kharif crop loss in the State would have countrywide ramifications, he said supply of produce to other parts would be affected. Earlier, State Law Minister P.C. Sharma had pegged the crop loss at ₹9,600 crore in 24 lakh hectares, with 22 lakh farmers affected. Cumulatively, the loss to infrastructure, livestock and crops was worth ₹16,000 crore, said Mr. Nath. He informed Mr. Modi that until now the State had witnessed 46% more rain than normal. And 20 out of the 52 districts had witnessed 60% more rain than normal. Crops ravagedMandsaur, Neemuch and Agar Malwa districts in the Malwa region were the worst affected due to rain. And except for paddy, all the other crops were ravaged, he said. Moreover, 1 lakh houses were damaged and 242 villages were completely or partially evacuated. Around 1,100 km of roads and more than 1,700 bridges were destroyed.last_img read more

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Talking Touch – August

first_imgThere was some fantastic media coverage of Touch Football in the month of August, including the NRL-TFA announcement as well as the announcement that Coffs Harbour will host the 2015 World Cup.To view the stories, please click on the links below.NRL and Touch Football Australia PartnershipThe National Rugby League and Touch Football Australia have today launched an historic sporting partnership.http://www.nrl.com/nrl-and-touch-football-australia-partnership/tabid/10874/newsid/74000/default.aspx NRL to grow via Touch Football: CEOWith Touch Football finally under its wing, rugby league is en route to being the game of the people.http://www.nrl.com/nrl-to-grow-via-touch-football-ceo/tabid/10874/newsid/74008/default.aspx Merger puts NRL in touch with 2m player baseThe NRL and Touch Football Australia launched a historic sporting partnership last week representing the biggest boost to participation and game development in the history of either sport.http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/merger-puts-nrl-in-touch-with–2m-player-base-20130813-2rujo.html Touch of skill shown to form partnershipThe NRL and Touch Football Australia launched a historic sporting partnership last week representing the biggest boost to participation and game development in the history of either sport. http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/touch-of-skill-shown-to-form-partnership-20130813-2ruje.html Touch Footy and NRL join forcesThey peg it as the “greatest game of all” and now it’s set to be the biggest game of all, with the announcement yesterday that NRL and Touch Football Australia will join forces.http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/touch-footy-and-nrl-join-forces/story-fni3fbgz-1226696613642 Touch Football and Rugby League join forcesTouch Football associations and rugby league clubs are expected to benefit from a new sporting partnership launched yesterday.http://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/1703210/touch-football-and-rugby-league-join-forces/?cs=12 NRL reminds ASADA it expects a fair goSmith was joined at Allianz Stadium yesterday along with a host of NRL stars including Sonny Bill Williams, Anthony Minichiello, Josh Morris, Matt King and Beau Champion to announce a partnership with TFA. The new agreement will bring more than 1.03 million participants together playing in competitions under a joint NRL-TFA banner.http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/nrl/nrl-reminds-asada-it-expects-a-fair-go/story-fnca0von-1226696609630NRL to grow via Touch Football: CEOWith Touch Football finally under its wing, rugby league is en route to being the game of the people.http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1800045/NRL-to-grow-via-touch-football-CEO  NRL, Touch merger merger must benefit allTaree Touch president Graham Goodwin hopes the agreement announced this week between the NRL and Touch Football Australia will benefit the game at all levels.http://www.manningrivertimes.com.au/story/1709782/nrl-touch-merger-must-benefit-all/ Nice touch boosts both codesTouch Football has unearthed some of the biggest names in the NRL.Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall represented Australia at touch footy, while Warriors halfback and Panthers fullback Matt Moylan were outstanding junior players.http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/touch-football-unearthed-biggest-names/1983583/World Cup Coming to CoffsCoffs Harbour Council has won its bid to host the Touch Football World Cup in 2015.http://www.nbnnews.com.au/index.php/2013/08/07/world-cup-coming-to-coffs/Touch World Cup on the way (video)A Mid North Coast city has been chosen to host the 2015 Touch Football World Cup. http://au.prime7.yahoo.com/n1/news/a/-/national/18401870/touch-world-cup-on-the-way-video /Coffs Harbour selected as host city for 2015 Touch Football World CupHundreds of international Touch Football players will converge on the Coffs Coast in about two years time.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-07/coffs-harbour-selected-as-host-city-for-2015-touch-football-wor/4871038Touch Football World Cup coming to Coffs Harbour in 2015Touch Football players from around the globe are coming as Coffs Harbour announced as host of 2015 FIT Touch Football World Cup.http://www.coffscoastadvocate.com.au/news/touch-football-world-cup-coming-coffs-harbour-2015/1975123/Glory for under 14’s girlsA special  group of friends battled to claim the NSW Touch Football under 14s title in February, and last night soared with the same tenacity to be crowned Junior Team of the Year when the Wagga Sports Awards were announced.http://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/1738377/glory-for-under-14s-girls/?cs=149 Three decades of Touch: from humble beginnings to hosting international gamesWhat a year 1983 was. It was the year Star Wars: Return of the Jedi opened in cinemas, Australian Dick Smith completed his solo circumnavigation in a helicopter, Bob Hawke became Prime Minister then famously said: “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.” – after Australia II won the America’s Cup and touch football was born in Mudgee.Three decades on and the Mudgee Touch Association will celebrate their 30th anniversary tomorrow night with a special dinner at the Mudgee Golf Club.http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/1741878/three-decades-of-touch-from-humble-beginnings-to-hosting-international-games/?cs=1233 Rocky to host Junior State Touch Football Titles this weekendRiley Huggers and Tamika Upton will vie for Queensland team selection as the Junior State Touch Football Titles kick off in Rockhampton.Rockhampton’s Cyril Connell Touch Football fields will be alive with action this weekend as teams from all over the state battle it out in the junior championships.http://www.cqnews.com.au/news/rocky-to-hjunior-state-touch-football-titles/2003580/ Redlands players make national Touch finalsThree Redlands under-12 touch football players will represent Queensland at the national titles in October. Thornlands State School’s Manaia McIntyre, Birkdale South State School’s Bradley Russell and Sheldon College’s Drew Price were selected for the side after playing in the Metropolitan East team at the state competition in Caboolture.http://www.baysidebulletin.com.au/story/1694722/redlands-players-make-national-touch-finals/Summer fun for all agesCanberra Times, 16/08/2013Community: Touch football is a great way to keep fit and healthy, build confidence and make new friends.Touch Football ACT is set to begin its 2013 summer season.Junior competitions will be running in Gungahlin (Amaroo), Belconnen (Kippax), Canberra City (Southwell Park, Lyneham), Woden (Deakin), Tuggeranong (Wanniassa) and Narrabundah (Boomanulla Oval). All competitions are played in school years, so players can form a team with their friends from school and run around together.Costs per player are $65 for kindergarten to year 4 and $85 for years 5 to 10, with no further costs to be paid for the entire season. The summer season runs during term four, starting in week 1 (October 14). Nominations are now open, and close September 16.Touch Football ACT also runs adult competitions all year round, and will be launching its 2013/14 summer domestic season in October as well. Costs are $1200 per team to enter any competition in Gungahlin, Canberra City or Woden. Be quick – places fill very quickly in its competitions and nominations also close September 16.If refereeing is more your thing, Touch Football ACT pays its referees $20 per game for senior touch.For more information, phone 6212 2880 or visit www.acttouch.com.auState representation turns into family affairChronicle (Toowoomba), 21/08/2013Touch Football is a family affair for Chloe and Lachlan Watt.The siblings both play club football every week for Saints, along with their parents Kellie and Geoff Ryan.And now they will represent Queensland together at the National Schools Championships in Darwin in October.Chloe is the older sibling at 14 and she has played for Queensland once before.Chloe said she was determined make the team again after helping the Darling Downs under-15 girls finish fifth at the state titles.“I’ve made Darling Downs the last couple of years. I guess there was a little bit of pressure to make the Queensland team again but it’s exciting,” she said.“It’s an honour to play for Queensland.”Lachlan, 12, will make his Queensland debut at nationals.Despite only being in the under-12 school team, Lachlan has shown he can excel at the higher level, playing for the Saints A-grade men.He has also represented Darling Downs in rugby league but said he preferred the faster pace of touch.“They’re good sports, but they’re a lot different,” he said.“It’s more contact in rugby league but you need a bit more speed in touch and you’ve got to be fitter too.”Nationals will be a rare opportunity for the siblings to play at the same competition.Chloe said she could have some advice for her brother but admitted there was a bit of a friendly rivalry there so Lachlan probably wouldn’t listen.“I’d tell him just run hard and play well, but he’ll just do his own thing,” she said.“I’ve made two Queensland teams so there’s a bit of pressure on him,” she joked.Mum Kellie said Chloe and Lachlan always pushed one another to play their best.“They are competitive against each other and they push each other to their potential,” she said.If you see a story from your local area that you’d like to see on the Touch Football Australia website, please email [email protected] Related LinksTalking Touchlast_img read more

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10 months agoCardiff boss Warnock finds Zohore positive in Man Utd defeat

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Cardiff boss Warnock finds Zohore positive in Man Utd defeatby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCardiff City boss Neil Warnock found a positive in Ken Zohore’s return for their thrashing by Manchester United.He suggested the Dane, if back to his best, could boost Cardiff’s January transfer search for a new striker.“I was pleased our ‘new signing’ Ken Zohore played quite well today, I have been waiting for that for three months,” he said.“He’s trained really well and looks more like himself from last year. That has been a massive plus for me.“If he plays well it helps our search for a striker, as it is not the most important thing if he plays like that.“But if on January 31 he goes back to how he has been, I’ve got problems! I need him to set his stall out and show me what he can do.” last_img read more

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Minister Henry Tours JIS Television Dept. New Building

first_img Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Lester Michael Henry, who has responsibility for the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), toured the building designated for the agency’s Television Department at 5-9 South Odean Avenue, Kingston 10 recently. The project to transition the television department from analogue to fully digital will shortly advance to the relocation phase as the refurbishing aspect is nearing completion. The next stage, which will be tackled in the coming quarter, includes labelling, packaging, procuring and moving the agency’s archives, library material and equipment. Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Lester Michael Henry, who has responsibility for the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), toured the building designated for the agency’s Television Department at 5-9 South Odean Avenue, Kingston 10 recently.He was accompanied by Chief Executive Officer of the JIS, Donna-Marie Rowe; Project Leader; and Director of Corporate Services, Errol Gardner; and the management team to assess the progress of the refurbishing work.Mr. Henry, who was meeting with the team for the first time, said he was pleased with the infrastructure and the new technology that the JIS, the Government’s premier public relations agency, has sourced and will be using at the location to enhance the dissemination of government communication.“I think this new facility will have a significant impact on the communication flow, as you are putting in new equipment, moving into the digital age, while creating and getting information to the public at the base,” the Minister said.“I’m very impressed with the new facility…and with the layout, I think the JIS is preparing itself for the tasks ahead. There seems to be an ease in the flow of people and connectivity of the different units of JIS TV, and, therefore, it augurs well for enhancing the communication process,” he added.The Minister gave the team a history of Jamaica’s development and progress in communication in which he participated, particularly as Minister of State for Culture (1983-1989).Mr. Henry stressed the importance of identifying, protecting and managing intellectual property to capitalise on its financial benefits.The project to transition the television department from analogue to digital will shortly advance to the relocation phase as the refurbishing aspect is nearing completion. The next stage, which will be tackled in the coming quarter, includes labelling, packaging, procuring and moving the agency’s archives, library material and equipment.“The new location will definitely boost staff morale as it is more spacious and will be technologically driven.  We will be operating with a seamless work flow that is integrated,” Mrs. Rowe said, while she briefed the Minister. Story Highlights “I think this new facility will have a significant impact on the communication flow, as you are putting in new equipment, moving into the digital age, while creating and getting information to the public at the base,” the Minister said. last_img read more

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Home2Suites and Browns raising money for firefighters charity

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Home2Suites by Hilton and Browns Socialhouse in Fort St. John are hosting a fundraiser barbecue in support of the Fort St. John Firefighters Charitable Society today.Browns General Manager Vince Van Wieringen said that the two organizations decided to host the barbecue as a way of saying thank you to members of the Fort St. John Fire Department and the local RCMP detachment for their contribution to making sure all residents were able to safely evacuate from the Ridgeview Village apartment fire just over a week ago. Van Wieringen said that originally, organizers were looking to raise money for the building’s evacuees. However, he said that after learning that all of the building’s residents were fully covered by insurance, organizers decided to donate the money to the local firefighters charity as a way of saying ‘thank-you’ for their efforts.Van Wieringen said that as of 1:00 p.m., over 100 residents had come down to the hotel’s parking lot to enjoy a burger.The event is taking place at the parking lot of the Home2Suites by Hilton on Alaska Road South until 2:00 p.m. UPDATE: Home2Suites Sales Manager Nadya McLean says that in total, yesterday’s fundraiser brought in $842.50.last_img read more

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