WESTLAKE VILLAGE – Ford galloped past Toyota as the leader of the pack in initial quality rankings, taking the top spot in five of 19 segments, J.D. Power and Associates, said Wednesday. Porsche again dominated the overall ranking of brands, averaging 91 problems per 100 vehicles as it had last year, according to Power’s 2007 Initial Quality Study. That compared with a 2007 industry average of 125 problems per 100 vehicles. Last year it was 124. Ford Motor Co. earned segment awards for the Ford Mustang, Lincoln Mark LT, Lincoln MKZ, Mercury Milan and Mazda MX-5 Miata. Mazda is 33.4 percent owned by Ford. Toyota also had seen its list of quality leaders decrease in a quality study released Monday by Strategic Vision Inc., a San Diego-based market research company and consultant to automakers. Despite improving its overall quality, Toyota led in one category in that study – down from four in 2006. South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. led in five categories, outperforming its Japanese, European and U.S. competitors. Last year, it had no winners. Joe Ivers, J.D. Power’s executive director of quality and customer satisfaction, said there’s no clear answer for Toyota’s drop. But several vehicles brought its quality performance down this year, including the Corolla, Prius and Lexus models. It is worth noting, he said, that Toyota executives have been speaking publicly about their concerns about managing to maintain its historically high quality during a time of rapid growth. Toyota Motor Corp., which grabbed the top spot in 11 segments last year, captured only four this year – for the 4Runner, Sequoia, Tacoma and Lexus RX350/RX400h. Ford’s Lincoln brand took third in overall nameplate rankings, averaging 100 problems per 100 vehicles. It was behind Porsche and Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand, which averaged 94 problems per vehicles. Lincoln jumped from 12th in 2006. “We saw dramatic improvement from Lincoln,” said Neal Oddes, J.D. Power’s director of product research and analysis. “It was a fantastic year for the Mercury Milan, with dramatic improvements in terms of defects.” Overall, he said, Ford’s strength came from new launches such as the Edge, MKX and MKZ.
The bill would make it harder to obtain a new patent, and would reduce the penalties for poaching someone else’s idea. It also changes the way damages in lawsuits are calculated, making it more difficult for litigants to reap awards that Berman and others call “excessive.” While Congress has toyed with reforming the patent system for years, this is the first time a bill has made it to the House floor. Since April alone, companies spent nearly $1 million on lobbyists as they scrambled to prepare for major negotiations, records show. Bill Mashek, spokesman for the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform, made up of businesses opposed to the bill, including General Electric, Northrop Grumman and Johnson & Johnson, agreed that important compromises had been reached. But, he maintained, a system that results in lower damages being awarded to victims of patent theft is “unworkable.” “The bill right now doesn’t protect patents the way it should,” Mashek said, noting that drug companies and others risk millions of dollars bringing inventions from the laboratory to the market and need strong protections. Amgen Inc., for example, spends 20 percent of its revenues on research and development, officials with the Thousand Oaks-based company told Berman in a letter. “Research-intensive industries like biotechnology depend on the ability to protect intellectual property and would be devastated by changes in the law that reduce our patent rights or undermine our ability to enforce them,” David Beier, the company’s senior vice president, wrote. Opposition groups said they are relying on the slow-moving Senate to hold up the bill. Advocates, meanwhile, said they hope a definitive House vote will nudge the Senate to approve similar legislation backed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. Meanwhile, the White House has issued a lukewarm endorsement saying it supports patent reform but wants to see a number of changes. Berman has given assurances changes will be made – after the House vote. “If I start compromising now,” he said, “I’ll get watered down to a bowl of mush.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “A tremendous amount has happened in the past few days,” said Berman. “Everyone still has concerns. This is a bill where no one is getting everything they want.” But, he contended, with patent “trolls” snapping up patents for the sole purpose of launching a lawsuit and courts awarding billions of dollars in damages, maintaining the status quo will ultimately strangle innovation. “It adds hugely to the cost of doing business and it makes America less competitive,” he said of the current system. “Instead of producing, selling and employing people, companies are lawyering up.” Added Steve Elmendorf, a lobbyist for a group of technology firms backing the bill, “the patent system is the foundation of the innovation economy. We need a fair system.” WASHINGTON – Van Nuys Democratic Rep. Howard Berman is at the center of multibillion-dollar legislation before the House today that pits the high-tech industry against drug companies and manufacturers over arcane changes to the rules of patent law. Determined to enact the first sweeping changes to patent law in half a century to a system he describes as outdated and rife with abuse, Berman, of Sherman Oaks, on Thursday said he has spent the past several days in intense negotiations with university researchers, biotechnology leaders and union officials whose opposition threatened to block the bill. The result Thursday was a series of compromises that won over both the AFL-CIO and major universities, including the University of California. While the pharmaceutical industry and major manufacturers remain fiercely opposed, advocates said the bill is likely to pass by a wide margin.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has praised Alex Iwobi following his goal against Brighton and revealed the targets he has in mind for the midfielder.The Gunners starlet, 21, put in a decent performance against the Seagulls and scored their second goal of the game, lashing home from an Alexis Sanchez back heel.But Wenger has insisted the player must now kick on and become more productive if he is to become a first-team regular at the Emirates.He said: “I think he is the kind of player who has a good availability and helps you a lot to get out of pressure when you’re in the build-up and creates spaces.“What we want of him is final balls and goals as well. A player like him must score 10 goals and he must get between six and 10 assists. That’s what I want of him.”
Liam Kerrigan – Sligo Rovers Sligo Rovers teenager Liam Kerrigan has been named on fthe shortlist of three for the FAI Schoolboys footballer of the year award.Kerrigan, who’s a past-pupil of St Attracta’s in Tubbercurry is one of three players nominated for the schoolboy award.He had excellent season for the Republic of Ireland Schools team – which included scoring a goal against Scotland en route to Ireland’s Centenary Shield success.Liam is currently enjoying his football at Sligo Rovers and has featured in the bulk of Rovers league games this season.The two other nominees are: Bohemians Ali Regba and Cork City’s Rory Doyle.The winner will be announced on RTÉ at the FAI international soccer awards ceremony on St Patrick’s Night (March 17th).
Johannesburg, Sunday 17 May 2015 – Brand South Africa has learnt with sadness of the passing of former Chairperson Ms Anitha Soni earlier today.• Download press releaseReflecting on the tenure of Ms Soni from 2009-2012, Brand South Africa’s Chairman Ms Chichi Maponya said, “Today South Africa has lost a passionate and committed Brand Ambassador. Ms Soni was a patriot in the true sense of the word, she used her innate skills and ability to serve our country.”“Under her leadership as Chair of the Board, Ms Soni led the rebranding of the then-International Marketing Council (IMC) to Brand South Africa. It was also during her tenure that Brand South Africa began to focus on the domestic market as well as the international. This was based on the understanding that a successful nation brand is built by citizens of the country, from the inside out.”“Today we express our appreciation to Ms Soni for her active role in branding South Africa a country that Inspires New Ways. We express our deepest condolences to the family, loved ones and colleagues of Ms Soni. We share in your mourning and pray that in time, the pain and sadness that you are now experiencing, will pass,” concluded Ms Maponya.Notes to the EditorAbout Brand South AfricaBrand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.Join the conversation at:Follow Brand South Africa@Brand_SAFacebookTell us how you Play Your Part@PlayyourpartSAFor more information or to set up interviews, please contact:Boitumelo MpeteTel: +27 11 712 5007Mobile: +27 (0) 82 358 9047Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
England women’s football team FA faces calls for fresh investigation after Eni Aluko’s claims of racism and bullying Topics Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Share on Messenger When the Guardian put this to the FA, asking for a response from the governing body or Sampson himself, it provided this newspaper with a previously unseen passage from Newton’s findings. “I have examined MS’s [Sampson’s] Twitter feed and note that his tweets have referenced both black and white athletes before and after EA [Aluko] lodged her complaint,” Newton writes. “There are numerous tweets about female athletes and anything to do with women’s football. However, his Twitter feed is certainly not exclusively limited to this aspect of the sport and he tweets on a variety of sporting matters and other matters, including tweets about Hilary Clinton.”Newton goes on to say she does “not consider the timing of the tweets are linked to any aspect of EA’s complaints. Nor do I conclude that MS has undertaken a cynical exercise in order to paint a picture of adulation of black athletes and politicians.”10) Why did the FA offer Eni Aluko an £80,000 settlement including a confidentiality agreement?The Guardian has been told this settlement was probably twice the amount Aluko would have received if she had won the case she was preparing for at an employment tribunal. The official explanation is that it was to “avoid disruption” before the European Championship and the FA has repeatedly stated that it was not hush money, insisting from the start that Aluko was free to talk. Yet that is not the full story, according to Aluko. The agreement, she says, allowed her to discuss the case if it had already become public, but only on condition she did not say anything that might bring the FA into disrepute. In a case such as this, that effectively gagged her until the two sides appear to have reached a new position last Friday. Eni Aluko: ‘The minute you are brave enough to talk about race you are in a difficult situation’ Read more Women’s football Read more features 1) How could the Football Association, with its internal review, and Katharine Newton, the barrister who undertook the second investigation on behalf of football’s governing body, conduct their inquiries without speaking to the most relevant player?The FA has admitted nobody contacted the mixed-race player who alleged the England women’s team manager, Mark Sampson, had asked her, on her first call-up, how many times she had been arrested. The FA’s explanation is that it did not know her identity, blaming Eni Aluko for “refusing” to name the player in question. Yet this is ludicrous. Aluko had told the FA the player was a mixed-race midfielder – the only one in the England squad – who had been raised in south-east London. She went on to name the player’s club and specified where the alleged incident took place, namely in a midfielders’ meeting at the China Cup in 2015. Apart from adding her telephone number and home address, it is difficult to think what more the FA needed to establish the player’s identity. A simple search of the internet – starting with the FA’s own website – could have provided the FA, and Newton, with the name in minutes. Newton’s inquiry lasted three months – yet the FA’s version of events is that the player’s name was unknown. 2) How could the findings of the FA’s internal review be delivered to Eni Aluko, throwing out her allegations of bullying and discrimination, before the inquiry had even spoken to Lianne Sanderson, one of the players who had been named as a key witness?Again, the FA does not dispute this happened, saying there were timing and logistical issues and the Professional Footballers’ Association was applying pressure to hurry up the process. Yet even if that is true, it does not adequately explain how a professional body could think it satisfactory to deliver the findings of such an important and sensitive case before speaking to all the relevant people. Sanderson was approached two days after Aluko had been informed that Sampson had been cleared. “By the time they contacted me, they had already made their decision,” Sanderson confirms. “That doesn’t make sense, does it? I knew they had already told Eni that the investigation was done.” Sanderson was on the China Cup trip and recalls “a lot of the girls were talking about it [the alleged comment]”.3) How can the FA justify not launching a full investigation after receiving a letter from the PFA stating Aluko had evidence of Mark Sampson telling her to make sure her Nigerian relatives didn’t bring Ebola to Wembley?The FA says it was not a formal allegation, hence the lack of an investigation. But is that good enough when the PFA detailed, in strong terms, an alleged “racist joke” to a black player that had caused distress? The same letter also named another member of staff who allegedly used to talk to Aluko in a mock Caribbean accent. That letter was sent to the FA’s technical director, Dan Ashworth, and the HR director, Rachel Brace, on 25 November last year, as well as being copied into the chief executive, Martin Glenn, and the chairman, Greg Clarke. For it not to lead to a full investigation seems extraordinary. The FA now says it asked Sampson for his comments and he denied making the remark. Yet the bottom line is that the FA has been accused of ignoring an allegation that, if proven, would have meant disciplinary action and possible sackings.4) After 11 years as an England player, Eni Aluko was dropped by Mark Sampson for “unlioness behaviour” within two weeks of participating in the FA’s “culture review” and raising her grievances in what she was assured would be a confidential process. Is that just an innocent coincidence?Yes, says the FA. Sampson’s account is that Aluko seemed “withdrawn” in team meetings and he had misgivings about her attitude behind the scenes. Newton also states that there was no “leak”. Yet Aluko says that when she asked for examples of what Sampson meant, having not been questioned about her behaviour previously, there were none. A player with 102 England caps has since gone on to win the Golden Boot for Chelsea but has not been involved with the national team since bringing up the alleged China Cup incident. Share on LinkedIn Read more 5) Eni Aluko says that within 24 hours of attending a meeting with Dan Ashworth and Rachel Brace to discuss her case she received an email from the FA stating she was under investigation for her work as a sports lawyer. Again, an innocent coincidence?Aluko had been a sports lawyer for five years and makes the point that, if anything, the FA had always “celebrated” her other profession. Then, out of the blue, she was informed that there might be a conflict of interest with her working for a football agency. Aluko took that as a “threat” and believes the timing was “far more sinister” than just being a coincidence. The timing, Newton has concluded, was “unfortunate” but the barrister has also added that there is no evidence of it being “retaliation” on the FA’s part.6) Why has the FA not issued a public statement since Aluko alleged the Ebola comment?Kick It Out and the PFA have called for a new independent inquiry and the story has had huge interest in the media. Two players have now made serious allegations about racial remarks and, aside from those allegations, the other claims are threatening to go to the top of the FA. The FA has let it be known that Sampson denies everything but, apart from that, there has been nothing from the so-called guardians of the sport. It is an extraordinary response to an escalating story.7) Why was Katharine Newton not asked to investigate the FA’s conduct when she was appointed to oversee what has been described by the governing body as an “independent” inquiry?Moreover, can it really be described as independent when Newton was commissioned, and paid, by the FA? An explanation also needs to be forthcoming about why she was not asked to examine the methods employed by the FA’s internal review. Is is true, for example, that the FA’s internal inquiry cleared Sampson when it came to the alleged comment to the mixed-race player – “You’ve been arrested before, haven’t you? Four times, isn’t it?” – without watching a video recording of the meeting when it was said to have occurred. That alone is described as “nothing short of incredible” by the PFA.8) Speaking of that video, why has the FA refused to hand it over to Aluko and her legal team?Newton’s report states that she has repeatedly watched the video, recorded by a cameraman for FATV, and there is no evidence whatsoever of Sampson making the comment. If so, wouldn’t it make sense for the FA to hand it over and remove any lingering suspicions that it might not have been the correct video? Aluko has made the point that a number of meetings were filmed in the China Cup and that there is no way to know if the camera was on when the comment was allegedly made. If there is nothing to hide, let everyone see for themselves.9) Did Mark Sampson orchestrate a deliberate social-media campaign as a response to Eni Aluko’s claims?Two players have told the Guardian about what they perceive to be a deliberate pattern emerging on his Twitter account since Aluko made the first complaint. The PFA’s letter to the FA makes the same point, noting the number of tweets showing “praise and isolated adulation” for Barack Obama and black female athletes – Serena Williams and Nicola Adams are named – after the complaint was made, and questioning whether it was a calculated move in light of everything else that was going on. Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook Share via Email Eni Aluko accuses England manager Mark Sampson of ‘racist’ Ebola remark Reuse this content
TORONTO – Saturday night’s $5 million Lotto 649 draw was claimed by a ticket sold in Ontario.And the guaranteed $1 million prize went to a ticket holder in Quebec.The jackpot for the next draw on Sept. 27 will again be approximately $5 million.
CALGARY — Suncor Energy Inc. says Steve Williams will retire as chief executive after the company’s annual meeting next May.Williams, 62, joined Suncor in 2002 and took the helm of Canada’s largest energy producer by market capitalization from longtime CEO Rick George when he retired in 2012.Williams has been one of the more outspoken CEOs in the oilpatch, insisting recently the company will approve no new major expansion projects until Canada’s export pipeline access problem is resolved.He has also led the way in support for environmental initiatives and was one of four energy company leaders to stand alongside Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in 2015 when she unveiled the province’s sweeping climate plan, which included a growing carbon tax.The company says Mark Little, 56, will trade in his chief operating officer title to become president effective immediately and will assume the CEO’s role in May.Little joined Suncor in 2008 and has served in several leadership roles in the company’s oilsands and international and offshore operations.“It’s been a privilege to lead Suncor. I’m making this transition now, knowing that it’s a good time to do so,” said Williams in a statement.“Thanks to a sound strategy grounded in operational excellence and capital discipline, a healthy balance sheet, and an ongoing focus on sustainability and technology and innovation, I’m optimistic about Suncor’s future under Mark’s leadership.” Companies in this story: (TSX:SU) The Canadian Press
Rabat – A new video released on Sunday by the so-called Islamic State shows militants affiliated with the terror group in Libya executing two groups of Ethiopian Christians.Titled “Until There came to Them Clear Evidence”, the 29-minute video released by the Islamic State’s media arm, Al-Furqan Media, shows both groups – each group has 15 captives –in orange and black jumpsuits being killed at different locations in war-torn Libya.The two groups of men are described by onscreen text as “followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church.” The Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL, said one group was being held in eastern Libya and the other in the south of the country. The footage shows both groups of captives being killed by the terrorists, one group is beheaded and the other is shot dead.An Ethiopian government spokesperson said he couldn’t confirm that the two groups of men killed in the video were Ethiopians. “We have seen the video but our embassy in Cairo has not been able to confirm that the victims are Ethiopian nationals,” he told Reuters.In the video, an Islamic state fighter threatens Christians must convert to Islam or die.“All praise be to Allah, the Lord and cherisher of the world and may peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Mohammed. To the nation of the cross, we are back again on the sands, where the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, have stepped on before, telling you: Muslim blood that was shed under the hands of your religion is not cheap,” the narrator says in Arabic in the video, according to CNN.“In fact, their blood is the purest blood because there is a nation behind them (which) inherits revenge. And we swear to Allah: the one who disgraced you by our hands, you will not have safety, even in your dreams, until you embrace Islam,” the narrator continued.In February, the Islamic State released a video of 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt being executed in Libya.
WASHINGTON — Americans stepped up their retail spending last month, a sign that low unemployment and modest wage gains are encouraging consumers to shop.The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 0.5% in May, after a smaller gain of 0.3% in the previous month. April’s figure was revised up from an earlier estimate that had showed a decline.The figures suggest that Americans remain confident enough in the economic outlook to spend. In June, the economy reached its 10th year of expansion, tying the 1990s as the longest on record. Measures of consumer confidence, after stumbling this spring amid the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, have returned to nearly 19-year highs.Sales at electronics stores jumped 1.1% and rose 0.7% at auto dealers. Sales in a category that includes mostly online rose 1.4%.Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press