Commodity costs blamed for Martins’ factory closure

first_imgMartins Foods has been forced to close its Southport bakery after it failed to agree a price increase with a major customer.The closure, set for January 2013, will result in 35 job losses, with 10 employees to be transferred over to its other factory in Radcliffe.Neil Martin, managing director, Martins Foods, confirmed that the firm had been trying to get through a price increase, due to the higher costs the bakery is facing from commodities.“As a team we have worked very hard to turn the business around over the last two-and-a-half years. The business we have left is in great shape, but smaller,” said Martin.“Products made at our Southport site are being transferred to our Radcliffe Bakery from 1 January 2013,” said the firm.It added that its famous Mellor branded iced bun range would still be made and available through its website. Martins acquired the Southport site from Mellors bakery in April 2010.In addition to its retail shops, the Greater Manchester business supplies cakes, iced buns and desserts to supermarkets, foodservice and coffee shop customers.last_img read more

REGIONAL Under-15 : Charles stars as Guyana beat T&T, Clarke fires for Barbados

first_imgBRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – All-rounder Rivaldo Clarke produced an outstanding performance to power hosts Barbados to their second straight win but Trinidad and Tobago stumbled to their second straight defeat, in the second round of the Regional Under-15 Championship here yesterday.Playing at 3W’s Oval, the Barbadians got the better of Leeward Islands by 35 runs while the Trinidadians slumped to a seven-run loss to Guyana at Lucas Street, in the southern parish of St Philip.At Crab Hill in the north of the island, Windward Islands grabbed their first victory when they downed Jamaica by eight wickets.However, it was Clarke who took centre stage with his all-round heroics. Sent in, Barbados rattled up 192 for seven off their 50 overs with Clarke stroking 76 off 114 deliveries with eight fours.The right-hander put on 70 for the second wicket with the left-handed Jacob Bethell who made 29Kenny Sutton (2-23) and Jaylen Francis (2-26) finished with two wickets apiece.In reply, the Leewards were dismissed for 157 off 44 overs with off-spinner Clarke grabbing six for 28.They were given a dashing start by Carlton Tuckett and Anderson Amurdan who staged a 69-run stand off just 86 deliveries.Tuckett did the bulk of the scoring striking four boundaries in an attractive 54 off 90 balls while Amurdan made 15 from 34 deliveries.Left-arm spinner Renacko Belgrave accounted for both, but it was Clarke who sliced through the middle and lower orders with a devastating spell, as the Leewards lost their last seven wickets for 44 runs.T&T’s poor form meanwhile continued as they failed to overhaul a target of 134 and were dismissed for 126.Opener Kyle Roopchand top-scored with 37 off 86 balls with three fours but was the only one to pass 20 as the Trinidadians lost wickets steadily.They were undone by new-ball bowler Sheldon Charles who claimed three for 24 while Andre Seepersaud picked up two for 12.Sent in earlier, Guyana were lifted by Charles’ top score of 42 as they were bowled out for 133 with two balls left in the innings.Arriving at number six, he faced 84 balls and counted four boundaries before being last out.Darren Samlal led Trinidad with four for 18 while Aneil Pitiram ended with three 30.In the other game, Ackeem Auguste stroked 62 as Windward Islands chased down Jamaica’s 133 all out to win in the 42nd over.Sanjay Walker had earlier scored 35 and Jordan Johnson, 27, to lead Jamaica’s batting.last_img read more

Smith, Hodge hundreds frustrate Jaguars

first_imgST GEORGE’S, Grenada, (CMC) – Superb unbeaten hundreds from veteran Devon Smith and captain Kavem Hodge dashed Guyana Jaguars’ hopes of a final day victory, as Windward Islands Volcanoes forced a draw in their fifth round match of the Regional Four-Day Championship here Sunday.Starting the day on 47 for one – still requiring a further 62 runs to erase their first innings deficit, Volcanoes were 273 without further loss in their second innings when rain ended the contest prematurely at the National Stadium, about 20 minutes after tea.The 38-year-old Smith was unbeaten on 147 not out, a knock that spanned 261 balls, nearly 5-½ hours and included 12 fours and a six.Hodge, meanwhile, made exactly 100, striking 11 fours off 228 balls in a shade over five hours at the crease, after resuming the day on 17.Together the pair, posted 263 for the second wicket after coming together late on Saturday’s penultimate day to stabilise the innings after Roland Cato (2) fell cheaply.On 16 at the start, Smith marched to 85 at lunch accompanied by Hodge on 41, as Volcanoes cruised to 147 for one.The Grenadian reached his 38th first class hundred but first of the season in the seventh over after the resumption, cutting seamer Chris Barnwell to deep point for a single.Unbeaten on 90 at tea with the hosts on 256 for one, Hodge raised his third first class hundred in the fourth over after the break with a top-edged pull for four off pacer Nial Smith, which narrowly evaded the fielder in the deep.last_img read more

Sharks provide updates on Donskoi, Vlasic’s health

first_imgSAN JOSE — Joonas Donskoi skated for a full hour at the Sharks optional practice Monday, giving head coach Pete DeBoer reason to believe that the scorching-hot forward might be healthy enough to suit up for Tuesday’s clash with the Pittsburgh Penguins at SAP Center.Donskoi missed the last two periods of Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators with an apparent head injury after a net-front collision with Mark Borowiecki forced him to leave the game in the opening frame. He returned for one …last_img

Kenyans tops in London Marathon

first_imgRay Maota Emmanuel Mutai won the men’s race in two hours, four minutes and 40 seconds – the fifth fastest time in the marathon’s 30-year history. (Image: WTOP) Mary Keitany, who shaved 10 minutes off her personal best time for a marathon of this nature, recorded the fourth fastest time in the women’s division since the race’s inception. (Image: Athletics Africa) MEDIA CONTACTS • Virgin London Marathon  +44 020 7902 0200 RELATED ARTICLES • New drive to spark local sports frenzy • Legacy of 2010 shines in Kenya • Quality inputs for Kenya’s farmers • South Africa’s toughest endurance challengesKenyans dominated the 2011 Virgin London Marathon on 17 April, winning both the men’s and women’s races.Emmanuel Mutai won the men’s race in two hours, four minutes and 40 seconds – the fifth fastest time in the marathon’s 30-year history.The women’s division was won by Mary Keitany, who broke a record that had been in place since 2005 with a time of two hours, 19 minutes and 19 seconds.‘My dreams have come true’The marathon – which is run past many of the city’s landmarks including the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and Tower of London, and ends in front of Buckingham Palace – boasted a field of nearly 35 000 runners in 2011.The event is known for attracting an array of participants in elaborate costumes – many of whom dress up and run for charity. This year was no different and one running couple even donned masks resembling the soon-to-be-wed Prince William and Kate Middleton.The 2011 marathon saw 33 new Guinness World Records being set, including the fastest jester to complete a marathon, the fastest male and female marathoners in superhero costumes and the fastest Roman legionary.Mutai would have shattered the world record set by Ethiopian marathon legend Haile Gebrselassie had he come in 41 seconds earlier. Although Mutai didn’t manage this, his winning margin of a minute and five seconds was the largest recorded since 1986.Mutai, who was delighted to win his first major race, said: “My dreams have come true because I had it in my mind that one day I would win one of the five major marathons.“I was second here and in New York last year, but today has finally come for me. My aim was just to win. I was not focusing on the time, but I tried my best to push it when I saw we were inside world-record pace at one stage.”Keitany, who shaved 10 minutes off her personal best time for a marathon of this nature, recorded the fourth fastest time in the women’s division since the race’s inception.“I think I surprised myself because I was running with the champion from last year and I was a bit scared, but then I started to believe in myself that I could do it and I feel very happy,” she said.Running around LondonThe first London Marathon was run on 29 March 1981 after John Disley and Chris Brasher secured sponsorship of US$122,000 (R830 000) a year for three years from the man’s grooming conglomerate, Gillette.Between 1981 and 2009, 746 635 runners had completed the London Marathon.In 1993 the Golden Bond scheme was introduced to enable charities to buy guaranteed entries to the race for $488 (R3 324) each, which they give to runners unable to secure their own places. These runners then pledge a four-figure sum to the charities in return.In 2007 $75-million (R511-million) was raised for good causes by runners. That year saw the London Marathon become a Guinness World Record breaker as the largest single annual fundraising event in the world. That record was broken again in 2008 when $76-million (R518-million) was raised.An estimated $813-million (R5.5-billion) has been raised through the race since 1981 for charitable causes.Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group was signed up as the race sponsor in 2010 and the term will end in 2014.last_img read more

Ohio FSA requests disaster declarations

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest  Leave a CommentThe latest crop progress numbers for Ohio show only half of the state’s corn planted and just over 30% of soybeans sowed. Although those figures lag behind every other corn and soybean growing state in the U.S., there are parts of Ohio that are well behind the state averages.After meeting with farmers in the most impacted areas of the state and after collecting cropping data, gathering planting history and taking photos of the wide-ranging acres of unplanted fields, Ohio FSA has officially requested USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to make Disaster Declarations for Fulton, Henry and Lucas counties.“This development speaks to how serious of a situation were are seeing with the lack of planting progress in northwest Ohio,” said Jack Irvin, senior director of state and national affairs with Ohio Farm Bureau. “Often Disaster Declarations aren’t even considered until harvest time to see just how the planting and growing season transpired. Obviously you won’t have a crop if you can’t get the seeds planted, and that is the case for many of our members.”If Secretary Perdue grants the Disaster Declarations, any contiguous counties to Fulton, Henry and Lucas also would be included. How soon those declarations could be made is still uncertain.Many other county FSA offices in impacted areas have begun the process of gathering information and that may lead the list of Disaster Declaration requests to grow.“Those requests start from the county level and are made to the state, the state then sends requests to USDA and then Secretary Perdue will make the final determination based on the information he receives,” Irvin said. “That final step has yet to be taken for Fulton, Henry and Lucas counties, and we are pressing the secretary to act quickly and decisively on those determinations.”Ohio Farm Bureau is strongly requesting farmers who are having difficulty planting their 2019 crops share their situation with the county FSA office as soon as possible. The information provided will assist them in determining if a Disaster Declaration request would be applicable for that county.“If there was ever a time to get to know your county FSA office, now is the time,” said Leonard Hubert, state executive director for the USDA Ohio Farm Service Agency.If and when a Disaster Declaration is granted for counties suffering from the impacts of heavy rainfall during the planting season, that doesn’t mean that assistance funding is certain. According to the USDA, it is generally true that producers with qualifying losses in a Secretarial Disaster Declaration area will be eligible for disaster relief assistance. However, there is a finite amount of money set aside from the latest disaster package, and there is no guarantee that funds will reach the areas of Ohio that have been affected. Listen now to our latest podcast on this topic.Beginning an open dialogue with your county FSA office is crucial. They can walk you through existing disaster-related programs they offer (listed below), as well as options that may be available to producers who fear a forage shortage later this year, as emergency haying and grazing is granted through a separate process.Ohio Farm Bureau will continue to get accurate, up-to-date information to members. Follow us on our social media platforms and visit ofbf.org for the latest details.Update: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine sent a letter June 14 to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting a USDA Secretarial disaster designation for Ohio amid heavy rainfall impacting Ohio farmers.Update June 20: Ohio farmers who took the prevent plant option because they couldn’t plant their fields could see some relief if Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue answers requests from Senators Brown and Portman, and Ohio’s U.S. House delegation to raise prevented planting payment rates from 55 percent to 90 percent. The 16-member House delegation, including Democrats and Republicans, also asked Perdue to remember the Ohio farmers when doling out more than $3 billion of disaster money. We thank them for realizing the short and long-term impacts this extremely challenging spring planting season will have on our members across Ohio. Here is the formally signed letter from the Ohio congressional delegation.Existing disaster-related programsEmergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) – Farm-Raised Fish Assistance;Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) – Honeybee Assistance;Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) – Livestock Assistance;Emergency Conservation Program (ECP);Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP);Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for 2015 and Subsequent Years;Tree Assistance Program (TAP) andFarm Loan Program.Photo: Fulton County, June 6, 2019ONLINE EXTRA  Leave a Commentlast_img read more

If Foxconn Replaced Its Humans With Robots, Would You Feel Better?

first_imgFoxconn, the Taiwanese company that manufactures devices for Apple, Nokia, and Sony, has over 1.2 million employees, mostly in factories on the Chinese mainland. By 2016, it would like to replace as many of those as possible with robots that can do the job 24/7.That would address the human rights concerns about the company’s working conditions. But is it worth putting 1.2 million people out of work? It’s the classic globalization question.Foxconn declared its intentions to go robotic last year, announcing that it had 10,000 robots online, ramping up to 300,000 this year. The goal as stated in the 2011 Xinhua article was to get to 1 million robots by 2014. This TechWeb post from January (which was brought to my attention by John Biggs at TechCrunch today) says Foxconn would reach the goal this year. IT + Project Management: A Love Affair I used robots to translate the TechWeb post into English, and I think it reveals some interesting tidbits. It describes (vaguely) a gradual process by which certain tasks will be moved over from people to robots, eventually taking over much of the assembly process. Foxconn chairman Terry Gou says that “Foxconn[‘s] young people will [re-learn] to [manipulate] robot software, application and maintenance, to become robot application engineers and software engineers, operating the robot and joint production.”It’s actually a pretty frank article, acknowledging the tragic suicides of Foxconn workers in 2010 and attributing it to the monotonous, relentless working conditions. No one wants more of that, let alone the underage workers that managed to slip through at one factory. The positive PR in the article points to how much more productive Foxconn will be with these robots, which only cost about $25,000 a piece (three times as much as human workers make). The robots seem like a win-win-win-win.Foxconn gets unbeatably low production costs and high production volume. Tech companies like Apple might even start competing with China for robot manufacturing, driving prices even lower. Thus customers get cheaper computers. And Foxconn workers get trained for higher-skilled, less awful jobs. Or some of them do, at least. The unspoken implication is that nowhere close to 1.2 million workers will be necessary.The reporter relates this exchange between two Foxconn workers (forgive the Google Translate weirdness):“Are you afraid of robots to fight for a job?”“A little worried.”“Robot than you good?” [Presumably, “Worried that robots are better workers than you?”]“Not tired, a robot can top several employees, do not get hurt, and so on.”It’s a win-win-win-win-lose. The losers are the Foxconn workers who depend on these manufacturing jobs and will lose them to robots. This isn’t just going to affect Foxconn. It’s going to come home to all of us, wherever we live, sooner rather than later. Is it worth the trade-off?I think it is, but only on one condition, which Vivek Wadhwa articulated on ReadWrite last month: We have to throw all our efforts into reforming education.Lead image via Wikimedia Commons Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… jon mitchell Tags:#Foxconn Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

Theres No Place Like Home For John Isner

John Isner became the top-ranked American male tennis player by playing his best tennis at home. He wins more than two-thirds of his matches in the U.S., but just half elsewhere. Tennis writers have portrayed Isner’s strength at home as a weakness abroad. But in his sport, where players set large parts of their own schedules, displaying a repeatable competitive advantage is an opportunity, not a liability.1Unlike, say, in the NBA, where an Eastern Conference team that struggles out west can’t replace trips to California with more home dates.Even as he’s pledged to solve his road woes, Isner has filled his calendar with U.S. events. His home-court advantage has helped him rise this month from the world’s No. 13 to No. 10. A couple of weeks ago at a tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., Isner reached the semifinals, where he took a set off No. 2 Novak Djokovic. This week in Miami, he reached the round of 16 but lost on Tuesday to No. 7 Tomas Berdych. In two weeks, Isner will seek to defend his title in Houston.These wouldn’t have passed for spectacular American results when Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras ruled the sport in the 1990s, or even when Andy Roddick and James Blake took up residence in the top 10 during the last decade. These days, though, pretty good is as good as it gets for American men in tennis. None of Isner’s peers got past the round of 64 at either tournament this month; he was the last American man at each by at least two rounds. And no other American man is ranked in the top 60 in the world. (There’s little reason to hope for better things from the next generation: No American ranks in the top 20 in either the under-20 or under-21 world rankings.)Isner is famous among casual fans for his role in the longest match ever played, which he won over Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010, with the basketball-like 70-68 score in the fifth set. But he’s done his best work at home. Fourteen of his 17 career finals and six of his eight career titles have come in the United States. He’s been an entirely average player at the tour level2This means matches that count towards a player’s official match record: matches at Grand Slam tournaments, in Davis Cup matches and at ATP World Tour events. away from the U.S., winning 51 percent of his matches. At American events, he’s won 69 percent.“I always play my best in the United States,” Isner said at a press conference in Indian Wells. “A lot of times, especially in Europe, I have ‑‑ you know, I haven’t had great results at all.” He was at a loss to explain why, offering perhaps a lack of toughness at overseas tournaments. “There is no reason I can’t have a result like this outside of the U.S.,” he said.The reasons for Isner’s home advantage are varied. The obvious suspects, like the surface he’s playing on and the strength of his opponents, don’t fully explain it. A lot of it comes down to Isner himself.It’s true that much of Isner’s home success has come against weak competition. He has thrived at smaller U.S. tournaments that are optional for top players, who mostly live in Europe and don’t bother to make the trip. These events account for all of his U.S. titles and all but two of his U.S. finals. Just 6 percent of his matches at those events have come against top 10 players, none ranked in the top four. The relative weakness of his competition thanks to these events can be seen in the median ranking of his opponents over the last year: just 64, making his the softest schedule of any player in the top 35 in the world rankings.Isner also gets to play on hard courts, his favorite surface, at most of the U.S. events where he chooses to play. Just two are played on other surfaces: Houston, on clay; and Newport, R.I., on grass.These factors alone don’t explain Isner’s U.S. success, though. I pulled his career match record and ran a logistic regression, controlling for surface,3Isner has played 32 matches on grass, 66 matches on clay and 256 matches on hard courts. I separately ran the regression with each surface and also combining hard and grass, since so few matches are played on grass. The results were essentially the same. the ranking of his opponent4Technically I used the logarithm of his opponent’s ranking, since there is a much wider gap between the No. 1 and No. 10 players in the world — and therefore the probability of beating each one — than there is between the No. 10 and No. 100 players. and the value of each match, in ranking points.5The goal was to check whether Isner plays better in higher-leverage matches, those that count for more — i.e. matches in big tournaments, or later rounds of smaller ones. If he does, this effect could be confused with a preference for home courts. That’s because many of his U.S. events have weak fields, pitting Isner against early-round opponents whom he’d likely beat anywhere. That gives him more high-stakes home matches, so if he thrives in high-stakes matches, it might help explain his home advantage.To calculate the leverage of each match, I took the number of ranking points Isner would receive if he lost the match and subtracted it from the number he would get if he won, then lost the subsequent match. The result is roughly the value of the match, as prize money rises with ranking points and the points also determine a player’s subsequent seedings and affect his earning potential. The calculation is complicated by the ATP’s change in ranking points in 2009, so it isn’t exact, but since most of Isner’s tour-level matches came after 2008, the effect is small. Even after controlling for these factors, Isner remains a homecoming king. Surface, it turns out, isn’t a statistically significant driver of his success. Nor is the value of winning the match. His opponent’s ranking is highly significant. But independent of these factors, a 50-50 match for Isner away from home becomes a match he’ll win two out of three times in the U.S.Tennis isn’t usually associated with strong home-court effects, because of its individual and international nature. Many events draw fans from across the globe, who cheer for players from countries other than their own. And most players get few chances to play at home outside of the Davis Cup, the partisan international team competition that provides a rare home-court advantage in tennis. A popular explanation for home advantage in many other sports — that officials are influenced by partisan crowds — doesn’t translate to tennis because electronic line-call review at the sport’s top levels has greatly reduced the potential influence of subjective calls on match outcomes.Perhaps Isner thrives so much at home because of his background in college tennis, a level of competition where the team is primary. Isner starred at the University of Georgia and loves college team sports, spending much of a press conference last Saturday in Miami breaking down his NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket. Isner counts on support from American crowds, and was taken aback by U.S. Open fans’ cheers for his opponent, Frenchman Gael Monfils, last summer.Isner lamented his inconsistency away from home in that Indian Wells press conference, and he’d naturally rather do as well outside the U.S. as he does in it. But if he had to choose between his unbalanced current record and, say, maintaining the same win probability everywhere, he should opt for the status quo. Ranking points and prize money nearly double at each stage of a tournament, rewarding players who alternate finals with first-round exits over players who consistently lose in the second round.6We can illustrate this by imagining a simplified five-tournament sequence in which each tournament has 32 players and five rounds. Points and prize money double each round, from one point and $1 for a first-round exit up to 32 points and $32 for a title.Player A, with one title and four first-round losses, would pick up 32 points and $32 for the title, and an additional four points and $4 for the other four tournaments, for a total haul of 36 points and $36. His record would be 5-4.Player B, with five quarterfinal exits, would get four points and $4 in each tournament, for a total of 20 points and $20 — barely half the yield of Player A, despite a superior win-loss record of 10-5.So inconsistency in tennis is good. Even better is predictable inconsistency. A player who doesn’t know when he’ll thrive can’t plan around it. Someone who does best at clay-court events can schedule as many as he can fit in. A player who plays best at home ought to schedule as many home tournaments as possible. Isner has learned that lesson. He has reaped the benefits of a tournament calendar that still features a significant number of U.S. events, even as players from other countries have ascended in the rankings.In addition to the U.S. Open and the mandatory events in Indian Wells, Miami and Cincinnati, Isner had 10 ATP events in the U.S. to choose from in 2007 and 2008, his first two years on tour. That number declined to nine, then eight and then, this year, seven. But the decline in American men’s talent has been even steeper during that time, making ranking points at those events low-hanging fruit for Isner. Combine the easy fields with his home-court preference, and Isner finds lots of success in places such as Atlanta, Winston Salem, N.C., and Houston — even as events he played earlier in his career in Indianapolis, Las Vegas, San Jose, Calif., and New Haven, Conn., have vanished.Early in his career, Isner didn’t choose so well for himself. In his first two years on tour, he opted to play just three of his 10 non-mandatory events in the U.S. But from 2009 to 2013, he managed to play 29 of his 53 optional events in the U.S., even though only one-fifth of such events took place there. Last year, the U.S. hosted eight of these events, and Isner played in seven. He reached the semifinals of six and the finals of three, winning twice.Isner has taken advantage of his home-court preference more wisely than his peer and frequent doubles partner, Sam Querrey. I ran the same analysis on Querrey, the second-ranked American man today. For Querrey, too, surface and leverage weren’t significant. He also showed a significant home-court advantage, though the effect was smaller and less significant than for Isner.7A 50-50 match away from the U.S. for Querrey would turn into a match he’d win 62 percent of the time at home. Yet after playing almost exclusively at home in his rookie year on tour, Querrey has opted to play events away from the U.S. almost as often as home tournaments, averaging one more optional road trip per year than Isner.Perhaps many players would show a strong, significant home advantage if they had the chance. None of the world’s top five players gets more than two or three home events each year. Players from the other Grand Slam-hosting countries — the U.K., France and Australia — have a few more opportunities. But those countries combined have about the same number of tournaments as the U.S.Tennis’s general move away from the U.S., and Isner’s impending 29th birthday, might keep him from entering as many home events in the future. He’s compensating by making more of his opportunities and stepping up at the bigger U.S. events, such as this month’s strong runs and his finals in Cincinnati last year and in Indian Wells the year before that. If Isner can keep improving at the big U.S. events, he won’t have to worry about getting better away from home. read more