Macron can bless his lucky stars, again, as “Les Bleus” win World Cup

first_imgIt looks like Emmanuel Macron just got lucky again.France’s thrilling 4-2 triumph over Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday, their second World Cup after home success in 1998 that ushered in a wave of national optimism, is the sort of good-news fillip most presidents can only dream of.After 14 months in power, Macron’s poll ratings have been falling steadily, down to barely 40 percent. Despite overseeing a raft of economic and social reforms, the 40-year-old former investment banker has earned the label “president of the rich” from many left-wing critics, and the tag has stuck.Recent controversies over spending on official crockery, a swimming pool built at a presidential retreat, and cutting remarks about the costs of welfare have reinforced the image of a leader out of touch with the people, at least in some minds.But just as he took advantage of an extraordinary series of lucky breaks during the 2017 presidential campaign, when his strongest conservative rival had to withdraw after a corruption scandal, Macron’s fortunes may be about to turn upwards again.In Moscow to watch the final with his wife Brigitte, Macron was overcome by the victory, standing on the field in the pouring rain to hug each of the players in turn at length and then kissing the World Cup trophy in delight.In 1998, then President Jacques Chirac’s popularity soared on the ‘World Cup effect’ – an 18-point jump in his ratings according to Ifop pollsters – helping the ageing Gaullist recover from a humiliating defeat in a 1997 snap election.Chirac’s bonhomie and enthusiastic embrace of 1990s-playmaker Zinedine Zidane’s multiracial Black-Blanc-Beur (Black-White-North African) team helped him shake off a string of corruption scandals and he went on to win a second term.That Macron — who is still very much in charge and not reduced to a largely ceremonial role as Chirac was under the ‘cohabitation’ regime with the Socialists — could gain much more than a few points from his current low is unlikely.But nonetheless, political pollsters say a boost of some kind is not out of the question, at home and abroad.“It’s far from a given that what happened in 1998 will be reproduced in the same way now,” Gael Sliman, a pollster with Odoxa, told Reuters. “(But) one could very well see 5, 6, 10 points of popularity gains for the executive.“It could also have a meaningful impact on French economic morale, people’s confidence in the future, their optimism in general, including when it comes to consumer behaviour.”LUCKY GENERALMacron’s lieutenants have sought to play down any suggestion that politics and soccer are linked. They don’t want the president to be accused of leveraging the World Cup, even if Macron and his wife were in Moscow to watch the final.“We have nothing to do with it, but let’s rejoice,” Macron told his ministers last week, after France beat Belgium in the semi-final, according to spokesman Benjamin Griveaux.That said, Macron can expect Sunday’s euphoria to unleash a wave of renewed self-confidence and national pride, while perhaps enhancing France’s reputation internationally.For the young president, it’s somewhat akin to what Napoleon Bonaparte is supposed to have said of his military commanders: never mind their skill, “give me lucky generals”.“You have to be very cautious about a political effect, but maybe there will be a moral effect that will last through the summer,” Frederic Dabi of Ifop told Reuters. “I see more of an effect on the image of France abroad, it gives a cumulative effect, it reinforces the Macron chorus of ‘France is back’.”Domestically, the nation could do with a ‘feel-good’ lift.After years of high unemployment, economic stagnation and a string of deadly Islamist attacks since 2015, the World Cup win may help the nation feel the worst is behind it. That may also help sweeten the pill that the government is shortly to unveil, with unpopular spending cuts due after the summer.“The second half of the year will be a bit complicated,” Ludovic Subran, head of research at Allianz, told Reuters.“Spending power is down and those French who are not entrepreneurs are complaining. Macron needed this victory.”According to Subran’s research, the World Cup will boost French consumption by 0.2 percentage points this year, which in turn will give wider economic growth a 0.1 point lift.That might be just enough to help Macron sing along to the tune of the French team’s 1998 anthem: “I Will Survive”.last_img read more

Book Review

first_imgToday, I want to tell you a story. It is not my story. It is Saah Millimono’s story. Maybe it is actually not his story; it is the novel’s protagonist Tarnue’s story. And not just Tarnue’s, it is also Kou’s story. I know that if I go on, and on, this will end up as a story of Tarnue’s family, Kou’s family and by the time we are done, it will be the story of lives in Monrovia, Liberia and beyond to other countries that have been through civil war. As some commentators would want us to believe, this means not just neighbouring Sierra Leone, but much of Africa. Is this is a book about Africa? What never seems to be mentioned is that this has happened, civil war happens and will happen anywhere in the world. That war is human. And love is human too.Let the back cover copy of Saah Millimono’s Kwani Manuscript Project second place winner, Boy, Interrupted not deceive you, when it talks about the trauma and pity of war. In fact, I advise you to ignore Olufemi Terry’s focus on violence, exploitation and displacement in his blurb for the novel. How could Terry not see the love? This is really a love story (read in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s tone). I want to mistrust Hawa Jande Golakai when she says that Millimono captures Liberia’s people, politics and cityscape during its civil war, even though I am not Liberian, and she is. This is a bigger story about love and its triumph. For me, it is a story about one boy, one girl who trust love enough, and despite the interruption of their lives by war are determined to keep trusting love. Maybe all the Liberian people are romantics like Tarnue and Kou? I don’t know. I only know these two lovebirds from Millimono’s novel. Helon Habila is the only one of the three writers whose endorsements appear on the back cover of the Kenya-based Kwani Trust published book that comes close to seeing what I see. He describes the book as “a searing, heartbreaking love story set in the civil war years in Liberia.”While both love and war stand out in this 150-page novel, only love is a result of deliberate actions and a show of passion by the two main characters, Tarnue and Kou. War is an interruption. Out of their control. This book screams one thing: that love can triumph against all odds. That war can indeed interrupt love, but love can triumph. War is a loser. Can someone say, Amen? It therefore beats my understanding why the focus by the blurb-writers is on the war, on violence, on exploitation, displacement, everything else but the love. When Ben Okri talks about the tyranny of dark subjects, I think he is unknowingly pointing the fingers at the readers (including himself), even if he directs the missiles at the writers.But, I promised to tell you a story. Tarnue sleeps in class. He has been sent to live with his uncle by his parents because he is a walkabout. Do you remember Bastard of NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names? This is the Tarnue of New Georgia Estate. His uncle’s wife does not joke. She overworks and starves the boy. One day, he eats a piece of the bread he sells for his uncle’s wife. And she beats him until he literally becomes a walking wound attracting the teacher’s attention. And Kou. Kou, a daughter of a big man in government. Pause.Do you remember your childhood days? Did you have a best friend when you were a child? The days of playing mummy and daddy. The days of imagining and creating your fantasy futures? Please, say yes. I did. Childhood romance. They call it friendship, but despite the innocence of childhood, this was a form of romance. This is what happens to Kou and Tarnue. And this love actually saves Tarnue a lot of pain. He is introduced to Kou’s family. They are rich. Really rich. Beautiful things are happening to Tarnue and Kou that may make you jealous, dear reader. Very beautiful romance is happening.Then Taylor escapes from a United States jail. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is mentioned in the narrative around these parts. The president of Liberia at the time, Doe is mentioned several times. Our Tarnue and Kou are suffering. But dear reader, do not be so distracted by the gory war that you miss what is human. The rape of women, the looting, the ugly betrayals. The murders. Kou loses both her parents. In these hard times is when you see the purity of the love between Kou and Tarnue. I won’t lie. When Kou disappears, I get heartbroken. Tarnue ends up a child soldier.I literally screamed in excitement on reading: “In 1991 I was passing by a booth, selling toothpaste, when suddenly I heard a voice I recognized coming out of the booth dense with opium smoke. There, sitting between two men and big with child, was Kou.” At page 138. Am I not hearing a Hallelujah from y’all? More trials and tribulations follow. Serious things. Tarnue and Kou, by legal definitions are children. But my friend, love is love. Let me cut the story short. You need to find this book and read it.If you remember the hawker and the rich girl in Chibundu Onuzo’s The Spider King’s Daughter, you are onto something. There is some part of the hawker in Tarnue. You remember Ugwu of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun? You will recognize a similarity between Ugwu, my good man and Tarnue. Oh yes, Ishmael Beah’s haunting memoir, A Long Way Gone, will come to mind. And the innocence of childhood educational dreams and ambitions in Camara Laye’s The African Child, will come to mind too. Millimono has written an excellent book about growing up and about love against all odds.Knowing that some privileged critics nowadays have put all African writers on notice: that stories of suffering set in Africa are not welcome, that only happy stories pass their privilege pornography test, I am anxious to see how many of that tribe will rate this story. I will not be surprised when the triumph of love is missed by card-holding members of the African privilege pornography club of critics in their reviews of the book. I mean, some missed the rib-breaking humour and mischief of Darling, Chipo, Stina, GodKnows, Sbho and Bastard of Bulawayo’s We Need New Names because their eyes could not look beyond the darkness of HIV, misrule, poverty and other ills. Sometimes we fail to see the triumph against all odds because we want to see the odds triumph.Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire teaches Law and Human Rights at various Ugandan universities. He also runs the Writivism program of the Centre for African Cultural Excellence, that promotes and connects African Literature to reality.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgMasse, a fourth-year swimmer from LaSalle, Ont., posted a combined nine first-place finishes over two meets in November, helping the Varsity Blues to a pair of wins at the OUA Fairweather Division Championships and a home quad meet.  Print Friendly Version TORONTO (U SPORTS) –Kylie Masse from the Toronto Varsity Blues is the U SPORTS Female Athlete of the Month for November 2017. The reigning world champion and world record holder in the 100m backstroke, Masse captured three wins (50m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 4x50m medley relay) at home against Laurier, Queen’s and York, and another six at the divisional championships in Guelph, highlighted by a time of 4:06.93 in the 400m freestyle in her first time swimming the event. An Olympic bronze medalist at the Rio 2016 Games, Masse won her inaugural performance in the race by 11.27 seconds. She also touched the wall first in the 50m and 200m back, 100m freestyle while helping the Varsity Blues to wins in the 200m freestyle and 200m medley relays at the divisional meet. Male nominees:Oct. 30-Nov.5: Charlie Waters, soccer, Cape Breton (winner)Nov. 6-12: Daniel Vautour, hockey, RMCNov. 13-19: Javon Masters, basketball, UNBNov. 20-26: Kadre Gray, basketball, LaurentianNov.27-Dec.3: Conor Morgan, basketball, UBC Masse and the Varsity Blues will host the 2018 U SPORTS Swimming Championships Feb.22-24. Story Links U SPORTS launched the Athlete of the Month award for the 2016-17 season to give outstanding athletes larger recognition for their passion, accomplishments and dedication to sport. From the winners of the U SPORTS Athletes of the Week in a given month, U SPORTS chooses one male and one female male athlete for the monthly title. Female nominees:Oct. 30-Nov.5: Rowan Harris, field hockey, UBC Nov. 6-12: Sasha Gollish, cross country, TorontoNov. 13-19: Isabel Sarty, swimming, DalhousieNov. 20-26: Kylie Masse, swimming, Toronto (winner)Nov.27-Dec.3: Beth Vinnell, volleyball, Calgary The period for November 2017 Athletes of Month runs Monday, Oct.30 – Sunday, Dec. 3. last_img read more

Video: Who needs Danny Welbeck?

first_imgCould Swedish Under-21 star Kris Olsson, who is currently on loan from Arsenal at FC Midtjylland in Denmark, have saved Arsene Wenger £16million?This hat-trick against Turkey certainly suggests he’s got potential.last_img

Five Items on My Food and Wine Souvenir Shopping List

first_imgShare This!Oh, Disney. Every time I think I’m all set without the need for new merchandise, you have to have a festival come along and ruin my “I’m not going to go shopping again” rule. Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival has started up, and there’s a ton (and more) of merchandise available. So what’s going in my shopping cart? Here’s the five items I’ll probably buy.Metal Tervis Water BottleI love Tervis products — and water bottles are awesome. So a metal Tervis water bottle? Sign me up!Oven MittWho doesn’t need an extra oven mitt around? And the designs with Chef Minnie? Too cute!Measuring SpoonsThese are so adorable that I probably wouldn’t want to risk using them, but for kitchen decor, I really like these decorated measuring spoons. What do you think, would you use them or display them?Pie PanAlso in the category of “I probably wouldn’t use it, but I would display it” is this Minnie and Mickey pie pan. The vintage Minnie and Mickey style is wonderful, and it makes a great dated souvenir from the festival.Wine Glass CarrierChalk this one up to an impulse buy at the outlets. I don’t drink wine often, and so I can’t think of when I’d use this. I can’t even think that it is all that practical. But darn it, if that isn’t an item that would be totally bought on a whim, I don’t know what is! Would you buy one of these?Got any ideas of what you’d like to buy at this year’s Food and Wine Festival? Any ideas for merchandise you wish they’d sell? And how crazy is that wine glass lanyard thing? Let me know what you think in the comments.last_img read more

SA ocean gliders tackle climate change

first_img22 October 2013 South African scientists have deployed the first robotics platform in the Southern Ocean in a bid to gauge the precise links between climate and the carbon cycle in the most southern waters of the world’s oceans. The pioneering project is being led by the marine robotics programme of South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and forms part of the CSIR’s Southern Ocean Carbon Climate Observatory programme. Announcing the project on Monday, the CSIR said the deployment of the robotics platform over 1 000 kilometres south-west of Cape Town would build on pioneering work from 2012, when the CSIR completed the longest high-resolution missions in the Southern Ocean using five unmanned buoyancy seagliders. The new robotics platform will combine both wave and buoyancy-driven gliders in an integrated fleet that will undertake a five- to six-month mission to the Antarctic pack-ice and back “at a crucial period, when there are currently no ship-based observations in place”, the CSIR said in a statement.Understanding ocean-climate links According to the CSIR’s Ocean Systems and Climate research group leader, Dr Pedro Monteiro, this will be the first global deployment of robotics-based carbon dioxide (CO2) observations in the Southern Ocean, signalling the start of a multi-platform strategy that will hopefully close the uncertainty gap in the global annual CO2 flux estimates within three years. “These deployments are a great leap towards aiding us in generating a more accurate understanding of the link between climate and the carbon cycle in the ocean,” Monteiro said. “Combined with global coupled models, this will allow us to understand the intricate relationship of the ocean and atmosphere processes and how these regulate the carbon cycle and ultimately the earth’s climate. It also underlines the important role of the Southern Ocean in global and regional climate.” The mission coordinator, the CSIR’s Dr Sebastiaan Swart, explained the significance of the dual deployment: “For the first time, we are deploying a wave glider in the Southern Ocean, but of more significance to climate researchers, we have twinned it with a seaglider that dives below the wave glider. “This will allow us acquire valuable information from both gliders in an integrated approach, but more importantly, this means we can link CO2 flux between the ocean and the atmosphere at the surface of the ocean with understanding of the connected physical and biogeochemical processes that are occurring below the surface and in the ocean interior,” Swart said.Wave and buoyancy-driven gliders The deployed liquid robotics wave glider is designed to ride on the ocean surface using the vertical movements of ocean waves to propel it forward. It has specialised instruments on board that measure CO2, the ocean acidity, and other physical variables of the surface ocean. The data generated are sent via satellite communications and viewed in real-time by climate scientists back at the CSIR. The buoyancy-driven seaglider dives between the surface and a depth of one kilometre. As the glider moves through the water column, it collects valuable data that describe the physics (such as temperature, salinity and the amount of light penetrating into the surface waters) and biogeochemistry (such as phytoplankton and oxygen concentrations of the ocean). These data are transmitted via satellite every time the glider comes back to the surface. Both gliders are fully controlled by pilots back on land who guide their navigation and activity. In 2012, the CSIR launched five buoyancy seagliders which were retrieved in February and March this year. According to the CSIR, the data from these gliders are currently being analysed by master’s and doctoral students at the CSIR and the University of Cape Town, with the first scientific papers ready to be submitted for publication in international journals. Engineering students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology have also been employed to complete their in-service training and obtain scarce skills from this highly advanced type of marine engineering and robotics technology. This contributes to the CSIR’s HCD goals and skills generation. “We plan to deploy another set of these gliders in December this year on the SA Agulhas II during its annual voyage to Antarctica so that we can expand our observational coverage,” Swart said. Monteiro praised the team for its progrees, noting that Swart was working “with some of South Africa’s the best ocean robotics engineers in Derek Needham and Andre Hoek and their new students Sinekhaya Bilana and JP Smit. “This team is rapidly becoming one of the best-skilled global robotics teams with special experience in Southern Ocean conditions and constraints.” Funded mainly by the Department of Science and Technology, the Southern Ocean robotics project is being undertaken with local partners Sea Technology Services, the South African Maritime Safety Association and the SA National Antarctic Programme; and with US partners the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington. SAinfo reporter and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Researchlast_img read more

Supply-Chain Shortage Control

first_imgToday’s retail environment is as competitively challenging as ever. The retail sector of our economy is in constant change, moving with evolving technology, adjusting to consumer demands, and anticipating trends. The bedrock upon which healthy retailers are built is the supply chain that provides the goods to be sold. A retailer’s competitiveness, or lack thereof, is in measurable part a reflection of the extent to which these avenues of supply are cost effective and efficient.The responsibility of a supply-chain loss prevention professional, broadly speaking, is to execute priorities that preserve assets, at least those within the loss prevention purview. Fulfilling this directive, and thus promoting effective and efficient supply chains, often requires the loss prevention professional to analyze different business units or types to ensure the sufficiency of shortage control measures. Though the business types within a supply-chain unit or units may be varied, such as third-party logistics entities, picking and packing operations, consolidation units, and so forth, the approach needed to analyze each for shortage control sufficiency is the same.The purpose of this article is to demonstrate a three-component approach to assessing the shortage control sufficiency of any supply-chain unit or business type within the unit and then remedying the insufficiencies as appropriate. The methods discussed here are specifically designed to address shrinkage related to internal theft and waste. Methods related to external and administrative-related shrink are beyond the scope of this article.- Sponsor – Shortage Control AnalysisBeginning a shortage control sufficiency review includes first establishing an understanding upon which all shortage control efforts will be built. That understanding is this: the goal for the loss prevention professional is first to identify exposure to shrink within the business type. Exposure simply means an area, process, practice, or condition in which or because of which loss is either occurring or likely to occur. Once exposure to loss is identified, shortage control measures can be directed at the exposure to either reduce or eliminate it.There are three categories or areas of exposure analyzed in this approach—operational exposure, administrative exposure, and physical exposure. The nature of these relatively broad categories is a symbiotic one; affecting one category may produce either a favorable or unfavorable effect on one or more of the others.Further, specifically not discussed within the scope of this article, although it should be considered from a holistic shortage control perspective, are tools such as data mining, trending, and reporting capabilities. These tools, when used properly, can have a complimentary and profound impact on the overall effectiveness of the shortage control measures implemented as a result of this analysis.Operational Exposure. Review the business’s physical operation in its entirety. Start at the beginning of the process and analyze each subsequent step until the entire operational process has been reviewed. For example, in a typical setting, one might start with a receiving process, work into the merchandise storage functions, and then move on to merchandise processing and handling, merchandise replenishment, quality control if applicable, and finally shipping.As each independent function or handling process is reviewed for exposure, develop answers to questions similar to these to guide your analysis:Are there operational methods employed that although effective operationally nevertheless circumvent or undermine current shortage control measures?Do the methods or practices employed in the operation generate unnecessary exposure to loss?Can operational practices be changed such that the business of the operation continues on, without unnecessary impediment, but does so in a way that reduces exposure to shrink?Consider the following example to illustrate an operational exposure review. A high-volume, high-value business unit secured by fencing around its perimeter generates empty corrugate as a byproduct of the inventory replenishment function. To remove this material, the operation employs the use of powered industrial trucks to drive the empty corrugate through a gate in the perimeter fence and on to a recycling location outside the area. Because of the volume of corrugate, a thorough inspection of the material at the exit gate by loss prevention personnel is impossible. This process is repeated several times daily, and from purely an operational perspective, it is effective.A review from the perspective of operational exposure would reveal that this corrugate removal process, while effective functionally, circumvents shortage control hardware in place, namely the perimeter fence. Further, because of the volume of material and occurrences, a meaningful inspection at the exit gate is not possible. The potential for internal shrink during this process is likely high.In this example, exposure to shrink has been identified through the corrugate removal process. The goal here is to reduce or eliminate this operational exposure by modifying how the corrugate is processed. Consider the following:Could the corrugate recycling process be brought within the confines of the perimeter fencing? If so, the operational elements creating exposure to shrink will be largely removed or eliminated altogether.Could the business change the way in which it removes corrugate from the area that would reduce the risk of loss? For example, could the corrugate be flattened, then palletized, and then removed from within? If so, a large portion of the risk of loss has also been removed.The goal here is a challenging one. After all, you are going to be asking the operation to change the way it does business. Compromises will likely be an element of any long-term solution. However, intelligent changes made here will impact positively the health of the unit, and that is a result all the business partners can agree on.Administrative Exposure. Reviewing exposure to shrinkage from an administrative perspective involves analyzing current employee policy for the business unit within the context of both operational and physical shortage control measures. As matters of employee policy largely define how employees are permitted to interact with the environment in which they work, these policies should be consistent with measures to control shrinkage or at least not compete against them. Where administrative policy does not share alignment with operational and physical shortage control measures, exposure to shrink likely exists.By way of illustration, an administrative issue that could have a direct impact on shrinkage is the employee dress code in certain business units. Employees working in a high-value area with easy access to individual merchandise units should reasonably have a dress code policy that deters against shrink, for example no pockets, no hats, and so forth. In this example, even if robust operational and physical shortage control measures have been established, if the dress code is weak or non-existent, administrative policy is actually undermining the entire shortage control effort.When conducting this type of review, consider the following non-exhaustive administrative policy areas that could impact shortage control measures:Employee parking policyBreak and meal times and locations of eachEmployee ID badge policyBackground check policyDrug screening policyCell phone and electronic device policyDiscount policySmoking area policyPurses and bag inspection policyTime clock policyPhysical Exposure. The goal in this phase of review is simply to determine what pieces of physical hardware, such as access control, CCTV, fencing, lighting, security personnel, alarm systems, and so forth, need to be present to best protect the business from shrink. The nature of the hardware desired will largely depend upon operational and administrative realities. Adjusting some component within the latter two areas will likely adjust the need for physical hardware as well. In any event, anywhere it is identified that a piece of hardware is lacking or does not complement the operational or administrative need of the unit, there is physical exposure and it should be remedied.As with the operational review, a study of the business area must be performed. How does the movement of the business operation interact with current shortage control hardware? Consider the following:Are there sufficient physical controls in place to prevent or deter shrink in all desired areas?Are the current controls intelligently dispersed into the operation?Are the controls and measures used consistent with the value of the area and inventory to be protected?Are controls consistent with the manner of inventory processing; in other words, is the operation largely automated or manual in nature?If modifications to the operation were made, what additional physical controls would be required; which could be re-purposed?Does the shortage control hardware complement the other measures within the unit?Advocating the IntelligentSizable funds can and have been spent on shortage control measures in businesses of all types. Conversely, the opposite is also true—not enough resources are deployed to protect against shrink, resulting in unnecessary loss.An alignment between the business nature and type with the amount and expense of shortage control measures must be achieved. The closer this alignment, the healthier the business unit and supply chain. Being the advocate for the most intelligent ratio of shortage control measures to inventory value and risk of exposure is the desired position for the loss prevention professional. Assessing a business unit for shortage control sufficiency using the three-component approach described here will provide a pathway to effective shortage control. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Breaking News in the Industry: March 21, 2018

first_imgUtah case could be tied to $500K underwear theftThree people who investigators believe may be tied to a Chilean theft ring responsible for stealing more than $500,000 worth of merchandise from Victoria’s Secret stores in Las Vegas  have been convicted in Utah.William Orlando Pinzon Galindo, 41, pleaded guilt y on March 6 to theft by receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony. He was placed on probation and ordered to pay restitution.Omaira Reina-Martinez, 24, pleaded guilty the same day to theft by receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony; and having a fake ID, a class A misdemeanor. She was also given a suspended prison sentence, placed on probation and ordered to pay restitution. Francisco Ugarte Garcia, 22, pleaded guilty on Feb. 20 to theft by receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3. The investigation into the trio began Jan. 24, when a car was pulled over on I-70 in Utah for doing 95 mph in a 75 mph zone and later 101 mph in an 80 mph zone, according to charging documents.The car was searched by police because of a strong odor of marijuana coming from it, the charges state. Investigators reported finding “a large amount of new clothing, watches, bras, underwear” that still had their price tags and theft prevention devices on them. An agent from the State Bureau of Investigation was called to assist and served a search warrant on the vehicle the next day. That warrant was unsealed late last week. “It was discovered there had recently been a $500,000 theft ring in Las Vegas from Victoria’s Secret stores,” the warrant states. After contacting the head of security at the store, Utah investigators made a discovery. “These individuals are most likely part of a Chilean ring that has been committing thefts all over Las Vegas,” he warrant states. Reina-Martinez initially told investigators that the trio had purchased the clothing items with cash and thrown away the receipts and “that they planned to go to South America to open a store,” the warrant states.  [Source: KSL News]Arrests made after mob steals $48K of handbagsSan Francisco Police have arrested six suspects in connection with a snatch and grab robbery of over $48,000 worth of handbags from a store at San Francisco’s Union Square. Three suspects are still wanted for the robbery that happened on February 6 at a high-end fashion store located in the 100 block of Geary Street, according to the San Francisco Police Department. Within seconds of entering the store, nine suspects snatched more than 20 handbags and wallets from the display area. An employee attempted to close the door to stop the thieves but was unsuccessful, police say. He was rushed by the group and sustained an injury to his knee, and the assailants fled with over $48,000 worth of merchandise. Utilizing the store’s security surveillance system, police were able to arrest two of the wanted suspects, and arrest warrants were obtained, which led to the arrests of four additional suspects. One other suspect has not been identified. If you have any information on the outstanding suspects’ whereabouts, identities, or additional information related to this incident, please call the SFPD Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 with SFPD at the beginning of the message. You may remain anonymous.  [Source: KRON4 News]- Sponsor – Six charged with identity theft scheme using card skimmersSix Florida residents are accused of using card skimmers at Chicago-area gas stations to commit identity theft to the tune of more than $200,000.

 The group is accused of attaching skimming devices to gas station pumps in Cook, DuPage and Lake counties, according to a statement from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. They used information stolen from customers’ cards to make fraudulent credit cards, which they used to spend $210,000 on gift cards and retail purchases. The suspects have used similar skimming devices in Michigan and Georgia, the attorney general’s office said.An American Express fraud investigator noticed suspicious activity on multiple accounts in 2015 and traced all the cards back to a gas station in Glencoe. 

Charges of identity theft, financial institution fraud, theft by deception, conspiracy to commit a financial crime, computer fraud and mail fraud have been filed in Cook County against 45-year-old Caridad Chacon; 23-year-old Jordan Chacon; 24-year-old William Hernandez; 26-year-old Jose Molina; 23-year-old Claudia Chung Prieto; and 25-year-old Katerine Ramirez, prosecutors said. All of the defendants live in Tampa, Florida, except for Ramirez, who lives in Miami.

”This scheme is nearly impossible to detect by a customer, so it is critically important that people regularly monitor their bank and credit card accounts and report any unauthorized charges,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in the statement.   [Source: ABC7 Eyewitness News]Employee accused of stealing $18K from storeA Glen Rock, New Jersey, woman, who was an employee at Kilroy’s Wonder Market, is accused of stealing nearly $18,000 from the store, police said.Police began an investigation March 9 into the theft of cash from the  store. Detective Lucas Doney arrested an employee Wednesday who police identified using the store’s surveillance system, said Chief Dean Ackermann. Store managers reported that the 26-year-old employee, Erin Marciniak, may have stolen the money by conducting fraudulent transactions at her register, Ackermann said. Detectives determined that slightly more than $12,000 was stolen, the chief said. Marciniak was charged with third-degree theft and released from police custody pending an appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack March 30.  [Source: Ridgewood Patch]Police looking for 3 suspects who stole over 100 lottery ticketsPolice in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, are looking for three people who stole more than 100 lottery tickets from a gas station. The theft happened just before 5 a.m. Saturday at the Speedway gas station, located at  N87W17245 Main Street. According to police, a woman entered the gas station and started talking to the clerk at the back of the store. She created a distraction by dropping and breaking a glass bottle. Meanwhile, two men entered the store. One of them went behind the counter and removed 18 “Crossword Craving” Wisconsin Lottery scratch-off tickets, then they both fled the store. A short time later, the woman exited the store without making any purchases.  If you have had similar incidents or can identify the suspects, please contact PO Eric Hansen with the Menomonee Falls Police Department at 262-532-8700 and refer to MFPD case 18-007274.  [Source: WTMJ4 News]Two Ex-Florida Gators reach plea deal in credit card fraud scandalFormer Florida Gator linemen Jordan Smith and Kadeem Telfort both accepted plea deals Friday from the credit card scandal that ensnared nine football players last season. Both Telfort and Smith pled no contest to one third-degree felony charge of scheming to defraud, according to Alachua County court records. They each received two years of probation and must pay $521 in court costs. Telfort initially faced 30 felony complaints. The former four-star recruit and Miami native was accused of using stolen credit card information from at least 10 individuals to add $1,450 to his school bookstore account and purchase $89.48 in food from 352 Delivery. “Mr. Telfort is  very remorseful for the pain that his actions have caused,” his attorney, Peter Schoenthal said in a statement. “However, he is also grateful for the learning experience and for being given the opportunity to make those affected by his actions whole. Mr. Telfort looks forward to continuing his studies and his football career. Mr. Telfort will use this experience as a teaching point and be a positive influence going forward.”Police accused Smith of being a possible “ringleader in the fraud case.” Smith faced nine formal felony complaints, according to court records. Police alleged that he used stolen credit card information to add $3,570 to his bookstore account and settle debts of $1,450 (UF transportation / parking) and $1,008 (apartment lease). Smith was a four-star prospect from Georgia who redshirted in 2016. Both left the program without playing a down. Telfort plans to continue his playing career at Garden City (Kan.) Community College. Smith and Telfort were the only two players accused of wrongdoing who did not receive pre-trial intervention in the case. Five of the nine players — running back Jordan Scarlett, linebacker James Houston, defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis, receiver Rick Wells and linebacker Ventrell Miller — have rejoined the team. The other two have either left for the NFL draft (receiver Antonio Callaway) or to pursue a transfer (lineman Richerd Desir-Jones). [Source: Sports] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Mobile App Makes Your Friends’ Phones Your Eyes & Ears Around Town: Localmind Adds Photos & More

first_imgMobile location service Localmind believes it knows what the future of place-based social networking looks like. It lets you use your phone to ask questions of people who are hanging out at a restaurant, bar, park or other venue. “How crowded is the restaurant right now?” you might ask. If a Localmind user or one of your friends on Foursquare has checked-in at the restaurant in question, they will be sent your question in real time. About half the time, it seems, they’ll write you right back! It’s like the mobile phones of your friends are your eyes looking around the corner. With today’s new release of the app, Localmind users can send photos in response to questions, answer questions older than real time and get forwarded all questions for places they are regulars at. It’s a cool service and a small company to watch for the future. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts Bigger and older competitor Loopt launched a polling feature similar to Localmind’s this Spring, but the Localmind UI and agile development are particularly appealing. Network effects can still be a bit of a challenge. Localmind recently moved from Montreal to San Francisco to focus on building its user base in the Bay Area. It gets to ride along with Foursquare, but that service is only so popular as well. The end result is that in a city like Portland, Oregon (where I live) there are huge numbers of people interested in location-based services and mobile social networks, but still not a whole lot of action on Localmind. The new ability to answer older questions may change that. The company also just released an Android app last week, and that could help.The big change today comes in the form of photos, though. It is super cool to be able to ask for an assessment of what is happening in a place and get a photo someone just took in response. Localmind says future versions of its app will leverage iOS5’s improved battery management for persistent location tracking and will aim to go beyond the last-mile of real-time location. Recommendation and other features based on the rich set of data enabled by mobile location tracking are in the company’s game plan. We’ve long argued that while the Web world goes gaga over Twitter data, mobile location data offers a much larger body of material to work with. Tags:#Location#mobile#web What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology marshall kirkpatricklast_img read more