Uriminzokkiri, a major North Korean propaganda website targeting South Korea, yesterday asserted that recent ‘re-defector’ Park In Sook (aka Park Jung Sook) is living happily with her son in Pyongyang, and it’s all thanks to the generosity of the Party.In an article entitled, “Wandering Child Comes Back,” Uriminzokkiri asserted, “Park Jung Sook could not overcome her temporary difficulties and betrayed her country, kind neighbors, and relatives, tumbling into the path of crime. However, our country did not condemn her sins, but took her into its loving embrace with great mercy so that she could live again.”It continued, “The motherland was truly a caring mother. Park In Sook was even given a luxury apartment in the middle of Pyongyang, where she is allowed to live with her son, who attends Kim Won Kyung Pyongyang Music University.”“It is an old saying that anyone who betrays their country cannot be forgiven, but a child is forgiven of its sins,” it concluded. “The country will welcome them with a warm embrace, so that the child does not feel withered.”North Korean domestic educational propaganda is also likely to employ the case in future attempts to dissuade people from defecting, by both implying the difficulties of living abroad and noting the boundless compassion of the Kim regime. However, defector testimony suggests that Park’s family, with a senior member having experienced South Korean society for six years, will actually be put under strict surveillance and is likely to face a difficult future. News Mok Yong Jae NK Propaganda “Embraces Wandering Child” By Mok Yong Jae – 2012.07.02 3:31pm News There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR News Entire border patrol unit in North Hamgyong Province placed into quarantine following “paratyphoid” outbreak Facebook Twitter News SHARE North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with China
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Stagflation is U.S. economists’ biggest fear, SIFMA says Related news The move matched economist expectations, according to Thomson Reuters. The report follows a decision by the Bank of Canada this week to cut its key interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 0.5% and lower its expectations for economic growth this year. In making its decision Wednesday, the central bank said it expected inflation to remain below 2% until early 2016, while core inflation is forecast to remain near 2%. However, Statistics Canada said Friday core inflation was 2.3%. Economists had expected a gain of 2.2%. Bank of Montreal senior economist Benjamin Reitzes said much of the increase Friday could be attributed to the drop in the Canadian dollar. “It is clear that the weaker Canadian dollar is having an impact and the fact that the dollar has weakened again in recent weeks suggests that we will get a little more of that pass through into inflation in the months ahead,” he said. But Reitzes said the Bank of Canada is looking past the impact of the weak loonie and other temporary factors on inflation. Setting aside what it described as “transitory effects” including the recent fall in the Canadian dollar, the Bank of Canada judged the underlying trend in inflation to be about 1.5 to 1.7%. The Canadian dollar has fallen about 10% against the U.S. dollar since the start of the year, raising the cost of imported goods from the country’s largest trading partner. The loonie was down 0.10 of a U.S. cent at 77 cents on Friday. Economist David Madani of Capital Economics said higher prices in the recreation, reading and education category helped boost the core index, which he attributed to the weaker loonie increasing the cost of travel to the United States. Excluding energy prices, inflation was 2.1% as seven of the eight major components were up from a year ago. The transportation index, which includes gasoline, posted its eighth consecutive year-over-year decline as it slipped 2.6% from last year as gasoline prices were down 14.1% from the same month in 2014. However, on a month-over-month basis, gasoline prices were up 6.0% in June after rising 5.5% in May. The price of food was up 3.4% compared with a year ago as the price of meat increased 6.6%. Prices were also up for dairy products, fresh fruit and baked goods. Shelter costs were up 1.0%, boosted by a rise in electricity prices. Home and mortgage insurance costs were also higher. Regionally, prices were up from a year ago in nine provinces with Prince Edward Island posting the lone drop, seeing a decrease of 0.1%. Saskatchewan posted the largest increase with a gain of 1.9%, followed by Alberta with an increase of 1.7%. Canada’s annual inflation rate ticked up in June as the price of food, especially meat, and housing climbed, offset in part by lower gasoline prices. Statistics Canada said Friday the consumer price index rose 1.0% in June compared with a year ago, following an increase of 0.9% in May. Craig Wong U.S. economy is warming up, but unlikely to overheat: Moody’s Keywords Inflation Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Another jump in prices tightens the squeeze on U.S. consumers
garagestock/123RF BMO Private Investment Counsel announces fund merger Related news Counsel is closing the following funds and series to all new sales and switches effective immediately: > Counsel Canadian Value Class – all retail series; > Counsel Canadian Growth Class – all retail series; > Counsel All Equity Portfolio Class – all retail series; > Counsel Balanced Portfolio Class – Series I only; > Counsel Conservative Portfolio Class – Series I only; and > Counsel Growth Portfolio Class – Series I only. In addition, Counsel announced that the following funds will be terminated effective on or before Dec. 27, and that effective immediately, all series of the funds are no longer available for additional purchases: > Counsel Canadian Conservative Portfolio > Counsel Canadian Balanced Portfolio > Counsel Canadian Growth Portfolio Series D, DB and DT renamed Effective immediately, all Series D, DB and DT funds will be renamed to Series F, F5 and FT respectively. In addition, Counsel announced it will be moving to a monthly advisory fee collection schedule for Series F, F5 and FT effective Jan. 1. The changes make Counsel’s fee-based offering consistent with others in the industry, the company says. Risk rating changes Counsel also announced risk rating changes to two funds. The ratings for Counsel Canadian Divided Fund and Counsel Canadian Dividend Class change to “Medium” from “Low to Medium”. No changes have been made to the investment objectives or strategies of the funds. The series renaming and risk rating changes will be reflected in the renewal of the simplified prospectus of the Counsel mutual funds, which is scheduled to be filed on or about Oct. 27. Photo copyright: garagestock/123RF Share this article and your comments with peers on social media CI GAM announces fund mergers SLGI Asset Management terminating two mutual funds IE Staff Keywords Fund caps and terminationsCompanies Counsel Portfolio Services Inc. Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Toronto-based Counsel Portfolio Services on Friday announced changes to its product lineup, including several mutual fund closures.
Alberta’s economic outlook on the rise: ATB Financial Ontario unlikely to balance budget by 2030: FAO The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped last week to 406,000, a new pandemic low and more evidence that the job market is strengthening as the virus wanes and the economy further reopens.Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that applications declined 38,000 from 444,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly applications for jobless aid – a rough measure of the pace of layoffs – has fallen by more than half since January. Christopher RugaberAssociated Press Related news Household debt-to-income ratio fell in first quarter: Statscan Keywords U.S., Employment, Economy, Coronavirus The decline in applications reflects a swift rebound in economic growth. The government separately estimated Thursday that the economy expanded at a strong annual pace of 6.4% in the first three months of this year, unchanged from its initial estimate. More Americans are venturing out to shop, travel, dine out and congregate at entertainment venues. All that renewed spending has led companies to seek new workers, which helps explain why a record number of jobs is now being advertised.Yet many businesses complain that they can’t find enough applicants for all those open jobs, even though the unemployment rate remains 6.1%, well above the 3.5% rate that prevailed before the pandemic struck in March of last year. Job growth slowed sharply last month compared with March, a surprise pullback that was largely ascribed to a labor shortage in some industries.Economists blame a range of factors for the shortfall of workers, including an extra $300-a-week payment that people receiving jobless aid have been able to get, on top of their state unemployment check, since March. The federal benefit was included in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package. With many people able to earn more from their combined federal and state jobless aid than from their former jobs, the extra income has likely discouraged some of the unemployed from seeking work, some analysts say.Other people remain reluctant to take jobs in restaurants, hotels and other service industries for fear of contracting Covid-19. And some women can’t return to work without adequate child care, though recent research by two economists found the impact of this factor to be relatively small.Complaints from businesses that they can’t find enough workers have led most Republican governors to curtail unemployment aid. Twenty-four states, including such populous ones as Texas, Florida, Georgia and Arizona, have said they will stop paying out the supplemental $300-a-week federal jobless payment beginning in June.Twenty of those states also say they will stop participating in two emergency programs. One of those programs covers self-employed and gig workers. The other provides aid to people who have been unemployed for more than six months. The cutoffs of those two programs could cost at least 2.5 million people all their jobless aid. Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Share this article and your comments with peers on social media pppfoto15/123RF
Federal Government’s $1.2 billion private school slush fund The Federal Government has allocated more than $1 billion in additional funding between the Catholic and private school sectors while completely ignoring public schools.The $1.2 billion funding package, originally announced in 2018, has been allocated to Catholic and Independent schools in agreements stretching to 2029, with no requirement for the funding to be equitably distributed and little accountability on how the funding can be used.Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan’s media release claimed that the money will go to “schools in regional, rural and remote areas” and “schools affected by drought, bushfires and other natural disasters”, however the actual agreements show that less than 10% is earmarked for regional schools and there is no requirement to support bushfire or drought affected schools.Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe called on the Federal Government to urgently address this school funding inequity and immediately provide additional funding for students in public schools.“This announcement demonstrates that the $1.2 billion ‘Choice and Affordability Fund’ is nothing more than a private school slush fund cynically dressed up as a response to natural disasters,” Ms Haythorpe said.“The Federal Government blatantly ignores the needs of regional and remote public schools in fire and drought-hit areas, while giving more than $1 billion dollars to private schools.”“This announcement shows that the ‘Choice and Affordability Fund’ has little to do with helping rural and remote schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.“In fact, it completely ignores public schools in regional and remote areas. These schools have been significantly affected by bushfire and drought, and where the student need is greatest, yet have not received any additional Commonwealth funding.”“Where is the much-needed funding for public schools which have been equally-impacted by drought, bushfires and COVID-19? Public schools have received nothing from the Federal Government to respond to natural disasters and nothing for much-needed improvements,” Ms Haythorpe said.“Public schools across Australia will also see a $19 billion funding shortfall over the next four years.”“It’s clear that the Federal Government has no interest in true needs-based funding, and has completely abrogated its responsibility to help public schools with the greatest need,” Ms Haythorpe said.“The Commonwealth must ensure that all public schools are funded to 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard, and provide additional funding to schools in fire and drought affected areas to support these schools through crisis times,” Ms Haythorpe said. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:affordability, Australia, Australian, Australian Education Union, bushfires, Catholic, commonwealth, drought, education, Federal, federal government, Government, Minister, President, regional schools, students
Council conducts research to get buzz on mozzies The high-pitched whine of mozzies and the itchy bites they leave behind are a nuisance, but mosquitoes can also carry serious diseases, so Wellington Shire Council is stepping up efforts to control their numbers and learn more about the bloodsuckers. Mosquitoes can transmit Ross River Virus and the rare Barmah Forest Virus. Both viruses are found in the Gippsland region and cause joint pain and stiffness, headaches, fever, rashes and fatigue. To combat the spread of mosquitoes when warmer weather comes, Council has been working with the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to increase monitoring and trapping.Monitoring and trapping to determine species and provide notification of diseases found was conducted from November to April.“Officers from Council’s Mosquito Control Program caught an impressive 350,000 mozzies in six months, at sites ranging from Seaspray to Loch Sport to Longford,” Wellington Shire Council Mayor Garry Stephens said.“And Council has conducted research though additional trapping. This provides more data about how much breeding is going on along Ninety Mile Beach,” Cr Stephens said.“In addition, some 78 hectares of breeding sites were treated using a natural, larvae-killing bacteria called Bti.”Reducing mosquito levels on private land is also important. Council can be asked to check potential breeding sites on private property and householders are asked to regularly remove water from places where larvae lurk. This includes bird baths, old tyres, pot plant bases, buckets and pet bowls.Rainwater tank openings should be covered with mesh, and swimming pools chlorinated. Fishponds should be stocked with Australian native fish because they eat mozzies. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:Australian, Barmah, Department of Health, Government, health, Human Services, local council, Loch, Loch Sport, Longford, mosquito, property, research, Ross, Seaspray, Victoria, Wellington, Wellington Shire Council
No Fs: How area school districts are handling graduation in the age of the coronavirusPosted by Chris BrownDate: Wednesday, April 29, 2020in: Newsshare 0 Districts will mark students below a certain grade level as ‘incomplete,’ but no one is being held back this yearCLARK COUNTY — With school buildings closed for the remainder of the academic year, and perhaps longer, districts across Washington state have been left to figure out how to address the educational needs of students, and also how graduations should be handled.Washington State Schools Superintendent Chris Reykdal explains how grading will be handled in a video posted to YouTube. Photo courtesy Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public InstructionEarlier this month, State Schools Superintendent Chris Reykdal convened a stakeholder group to provide feedback into the issue. The feedback ranged from giving all students an “A,” to eliminating letter grades and going with either a “pass” or an “incomplete” rating.In a video outlining his decision, Reykdal said the concern over those approaches were that students who might need more help in some areas could get lumped in with those who have done well.Still, he says, the state had to approach the situation realizing that no student deserves to be punished because of a pandemic that they had no control over.“First and foremost, do no harm,” he says. “Every student should have the opportunity to take a deep breath right now and know that they’re not moving backwards in their grades, every student will have a chance to improve.”For high school students, grades will be frozen where they were on March 17, when the decision was made to close schools due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “There was so much concern about a pass/fail or a pass/no credit system,” Reykdal says, “that you’d essentially be trying to decide whether the student who really struggled with a concept should get the exact same mark as somebody who’s really accelerating.”Under the guidelines from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), teachers will assign students a letter grade based on where they were March 17. Those who require more help to avoid receiving an “incomplete” will be given the chance to work with educators the rest of this school year, or have classes during the Summer.“It’s not a fail, it doesn’t hurt the GPA, it’s not a withdraw, it’s not a no credit,” Reykdal says. “It’s a sort of pause. ‘Hey, we didn’t have enough time or weren’t able to engage in the learning the way we want.’”Battle Ground High School. Stock photo by Mike SchultzFor high school students, especially seniors, transcripts will include a notation about the circumstances surrounding this year’s graduating class.“We want anyone evaluating their transcript in the future to know the moment that we were in,” says Reykdal.That notation was also requested by businesses, as well as colleges and universities, who wanted to make sure there was a “historic record of this moment.”“I think that helps to ease everyone’s anxiety a little bit around grades at this time,” Reykdal added.Under a State Board of Public Education decision from last year, districts also have the authority to issue waivers for some credit requirements in order to help students graduate on time.At Monday’s Battle Ground School Board meeting, held remotely, Assistant Superintendent Denny Waters explained that the waiver has limitations.“We understand that we still can’t go below the 20 credits that are required,” Waters told the board. “That’s the lowest you can go. So really, in a sense, you can only eliminate three of those credits.”Waters says the district looks at the credit waivers as a “last choice option,” but they will first be looking to work individually with students in need of help to try and get them up to the level needed to graduate.“And if we can’t, and there are some extenuating circumstances and reasons behind that, we’ll go back and we’ll take a look at those waivers,” Waters added. While passing grades are now set in stone, and those with failing grades will have a chance to improve, districts and the state superintendent are urging students to take advantage of learning opportunities no matter where they currently are.“For underclassmen, we’re really focused on the idea that while you may be happy with your C, or your B-minus, or whatever that may be, still understand that when next year comes around, you’re going to have to go into that next class,” said Waters. “And some of those skills that you need to be successful in that next class require you to continue to practice, and continue to work, and continue to learn.”Reykdal has also used the current crisis to enforce emerging ideas that grades are less important than a student’s ability to demonstrate that they can learn.“It’s not the A, or the B, or the C that makes you an amazing person as you take your next step,” Reykdal said in his video. “It’s the fact that you understand quantitative reasoning. That you can write, that you can communicate, that you can think about systems in a scientific world, that you can engage history and know its context today. It’s the PE, the health and the fitness.”In his guidance to schools, Reykdal stressed that the continuous learning now happening online to be more narrow in focus.“Continuous learning requires educators to think about the enduring concepts of content; learning being for learning’s sake, without the expectation of covering a specific content or subject area,” the guidelines read. “Students are introduced to concepts and explore content while applying their learning and self-assessing in a way that demonstrates learning and progression in grade level standards as established by Washington State Learning Standards.”Districts responded early after the closure, distributing Chromebooks or iPads to thousands of students, or offering printed lessons for those who lack reliable internet access. Teachers have helped to film lessons that students can access online, and then arrange for video conferencing if more help is needed. Camas School District. Stock photo by Mike SchultzStill, hundreds of students still haven’t taken advantage of the remote learning opportunities, and there is concern they may not do so now, knowing that failure is not an option.Waters says Battle Ground teachers have been repeatedly reaching out to parents of students who have yet to log on, urging them to make sure they are taking advantage of the opportunities to continue improving.“Once we find out that a student is not engaging, we are reaching out personally to those families, in many instances, you know, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 times to say, ‘hey, what can we do to get you back in the loop here?’” Waters told the board. “‘What can we do to help you pass these classes? We want to see you earn credits. We want to see you graduate.’”For the most part, he says, the response has been positive. “There may be some students that we don’t get back,” acknowledges Battle Ground Superintendent Mark Ross. “But we’re working really hard … to try to get them back and keep them on track.”Reykdal says some of that involves helping parents and students understand that the rest of this school year is more about evaluating the ability to learn than it is trying to keep up with what is being lost during the shutdown.“Let’s take this as a moment, to have a deep breath together to focus on standards very specifically,” he said to educators. “To evaluate students’ success right now and their ability to be successful at the next level.”The final seven weeks of the school year, Reykdal says, will largely be used to evaluate the system, help students who need or want to improve, and try to figure out if the next school year will start the same way.To find out how your student’s school district is addressing grading, click the link below.Battle GroundCamasEvergreenHockinsonLa CenterRidgefieldVancouverWashougalWoodlandAdvertisementThis is placeholder textTags:Battle GroundClark CountyCovid-19LatestVancouvershare 0 Previous : Evergreen School District files legal responses to two lawsuits filed by teachers Next : Deceased victim in fatality collision identifiedAdvertisementThis is placeholder text
RELATED TAGSNewsTorontoAirstream TrailerCanadaTorontoToronto Congress Centre PlayThe Rolls-Royce Boat Tail may be the most expensive new car everPlay3 common new car problems (and how to prevent them) | Maintenance Advice | Driving.caPlayFinal 5 Minivan Contenders | Driving.caPlay2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge | Ministry of Interior Affairs | Driving.caPlayThe 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is a new take on Canada’s fave truck | Driving.caPlayBuying a used Toyota Tundra? Check these 5 things first | Used Truck Advice | Driving.caPlayCanada’s most efficient trucks in 2021 | Driving.caPlay3 ways to make night driving safer and more comfortable | Advice | Driving.caPlayDriving into the Future: Sustainability and Innovation in tomorrow’s cars | Driving.ca virtual panelPlayThese spy shots get us an early glimpse of some future models | Driving.ca RVs, trailers, pop-ups and toy haulers are all good ways to explore Canada with friends and family. Odds are, you’re most likely a car person and would rather spend your extra money on camping gear or a hotel room. But whatever your preferred accommodation, get out there and explore Canada this year — it’s a wonderful place. Between these two options we find a comfy medium. The ever-classic Airstream trailer can be had in many different flavours, but this single-axle model strikes a good balance between space and ease of towing. And among all the bland, beige and navy trailers, the brushed aluminum sides just look so cool. The Airstream also has modern features such as LED lighting and air conditioning. Splitting the difference between the previous two in price as well, it rings in at $64,000. Trending Videos See More Videos On the complete opposite end of the scale was a monstrous Aspire motorhome. Representing the absolute peak of luxury camping, the RV features multiple bedrooms, granite countertops and even a gas-powered fireplace. Outside, a James-Bond-esque panel lifts away to reveal a flat-screen TV for campfire-side viewing. The price is a hefty $399,999. The Aspire is powered by a rear-mounted diesel engine and blurs the line between RV and tour bus. COMMENTSSHARE YOUR THOUGHTS The Toronto RV Show has been showing off the greatest RVs and campers since the early 1980s. The 2017 edition packed more than 200 RVs and trailers into the Toronto Congress Centre. Like when choosing a new car to buy, the variety is bewildering. So we set out to profile the smallest and the largest options available, along with a “middle ground” trailer that splits the difference.One of the smaller options on the floor was the interestingly spelled [email protected] Silver Frost. Essentially a rolling tent, the [email protected] trailer features cozy accommodations for two. Though space is limited, accoutrements are not; flipping up the rear of the trailer reveals a small kitchenette with camp stove and cooler. Now we just need a cool Chrysler Airflow to tow it. While the size is small, the price is a rather large $17,100. Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Toronto RV ShowClayton Seams, Driving Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Toronto RV ShowClayton Seams, Driving Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Toronto RV ShowClayton Seams, Driving Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Toronto RV ShowClayton Seams, Driving Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Toronto RV ShowClayton Seams, Driving Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Toronto RV ShowClayton Seams, Driving Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Toronto RV ShowClayton Seams, Driving Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Toronto RV ShowClayton Seams, Driving The Rolls-Royce Boat Tail may be the most expensive new car ever We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles using Facebook commenting Visit our FAQ page for more information.
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Deutsche Telekom, SoftBank tipped for T-Mobile trade Deutsche TelekomFinancialOTEServicesSlovak Telekom Previous ArticleEC: operators missing out on roaming usersNext ArticleUK’s leading operators back loyalty app, trial Apple’s iBeacon tech Author AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 17 FEB 2014 Deutsche Telekom, eager to bolster its credentials as a pan-European provider of fixed and mobile services, is reportedly close to a deal with the Greek government that would see it increase its 40 per cent stake in OTE, the country’s incumbent, to 50 per cent.According to unnamed sources at local newspaper To Vima, and cited by Reuters, the two sides are “in advanced talks” and “ready to shake hands”.OTE’s current share price on the Athens stock exchange gives the operator a market value of around €6.1 billion, making the 10 per cent stake worth about €610 million.Greece’s debt-laden government owns a direct 6 per cent of that stake, with the remaining 4 per cent held by state-pension fund IKA.Private shareholders make up the rest of OTE’s shareholders.New CEO Timotheus Höttges clearly sees OTE as important to the company’s strategy, making Greece his first subsidiary visit after taking over the helm at Deutsche Telekom on 1 January 2014.“Our Greek subsidiary is independent and doesn’t rely on financing from the group,” said Höttges on 30 January. “The comprehensive restructuring program has greatly reduced its debt.”Claudia Nemat, board member for Europe and technology at the German incumbent, added that the “long-term goal is to create an integrated pan-European network of mobile and fixed networks based on all IP”.Over the past five years, OTE and Deutsche Telekom have invested about €2 billion in the Greek market. Plans are in place to invest a further €1.2 billion over the next four years.Coinciding with developments in Greece, the German incumbent may well be able to increase its stake in Slovak Telekom in which it already owns 51 per cent.According to local reports, the government signed a memorandum with Deutsche Telekom to sell its 49 per cent stake.The Slovak Spectator reports there are plans for an external advisor to be brought in to value the state’s minority share in the incumbent.After the sum is revealed, Deutsche Telekom can then decide if it wants to buy. If it declines, the Slovakian government – reports the newspaper – will offer the shares through London’s stock exchange. The whole process should be finished by the end of the year.As part of its ambition to be a pan-European integrated operator – offering fixed and mobile services – Deutsche Telekom recently struck a €800 million deal in neighbouring Czech Republic to buy the remaining 39.23 per cent it doesn’t already own in its T-Mobile subsidiary. Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight…More Read more Operators back Qualcomm role in open RAN path Deutsche Telekom eyes 5G, fibre lead Tags Home Deutsche Telekom close to OTE deal; chance to expand in Slovakia – reports Related Ken Wieland