Sanlam Kenya Plc (SLAM.ke) listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange under the Insurance sector has released it’s 2012 abridged results.For more information about Sanlam Kenya Plc (SLAM.ke) reports, abridged reports, interim earnings results and earnings presentations, visit the Sanlam Kenya Plc (SLAM.ke) company page on AfricanFinancials.Document: Sanlam Kenya Plc (SLAM.ke) 2012 abridged results.Company ProfileSanlam Kenya Plc (formerly Pan Africa Insurance Holdings Co. Ltd) is an insurance company which underwrites classes of short- and long-term insurance businesses in Kenya. The company offers services for ordinary life insurance, superannuation, general insurance and investments; providing individual life, group and general insurance products as well as investment management services. Sanlam Kenya underwrites life and non-life insurance risks associated with death, disability, credit protection, education, retirement, mortgage protection and property protection. It also has expertise in financial planning and retirement fund management and offers solutions for investment and wealth management as well as diversified asset management solutions. Formerly known as Pan Africa Insurance Holdings Limited, the company changed its name to Sanlam Kenya Plc in 2016. The company is a subsidiary of Hubris Holdings Limited with its head office in Nairobi, Kenya. Sanlam Kenya Plc is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange
Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. The Motley Fool UK’s Top Income Stock… I think investing in stocks and shares is one of the most straightforward ways to generate a passive income. With that in mind, here are five stocks I would use with the goal of generating a passive income of £10,000 a year.Building a portfolio I’m targeting an average portfolio yield of around 4%. Based on this target, I estimate I will need a savings pot of £250,000 to generate a passive income of £10,000 a year.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…I’m not just going to buy any old dividend stocks for my portfolio. Dividends are never guaranteed, which means investors have to be careful when selecting dividend stocks. A high dividend yield can be a sign the market does not believe the payout is sustainable. So, instead of buying the highest dividend yields for my portfolio, I would buy a mixture of companies. I think this strategy could provide me with a sustainable passive income and the potential for income growth, as well as some protection against dividend cuts.Passive income investmentsThe first place I would look for income is the utility sector. Here I would buy National Grid and United Utilities. National Grid operates the UK’s electricity infrastructure, while United Utilities is a water provider. Both of these businesses are highly defensive. That means there’s a steady stream of income available for these firms to support their dividends.Both sectors are also highly regulated. As such, regulators have a lot of control over how much profit these companies can return to shareholders. Unfortunately, this may hurt their ability to increase their payouts in the long run. Still, with dividend yields of 5.8% and 4.4%, respectively, I think these companies would make great additions to my passive income portfolio. Another company I would buy for my income portfolio is the banking giant Lloyds. As it stands, the stock currently supports a dividend yield of 1.3%. However, that is expected to increase to 3.7% next year, and I think further growth could be on the cards, although it’s not guaranteed.Another coronavirus wave could cause significant loan losses at the lender, which would inhibit its ability to increase its distribution. Still, considering its income growth potential, I would add this stock to my passive income portfolio.High yield A company with a market-beating dividend yield I’d buy is insurance group Phoenix. This stock currently supports a dividend yield of 6.7%. As this income is derived from the management of pension assets, which can be a very steady business, I think it looks attractive. Nonetheless, the organisation may have to rethink its dividend plans if there’s a sudden increase in interest rates, which may upset its balance sheet.The final stock I’d buy for my passive-income portfolio is LXI REIT. This company invests in commercial property assets with very long leases stretching up to 30 years. A high-quality tenant portfolio means the group collected 99.8% of its rent for the second quarter of 2021. This high rent collection should support the REIT’s dividend yield, which currently stands at 4.2%.However, as this is backed by income from property, management may have to reduce the distribution if rental income slumps, which it may do in a sudden economic downturn. Learn how you can grab this ‘Top Income Stock’ Report now Rupert Hargreaves | Sunday, 9th May, 2021 Enter Your Email Address Rupert Hargreaves owns no share mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Lloyds Banking Group. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares We think that when a company’s CEO owns 12.1% of its stock, that’s usually a very good sign.But with this opportunity it could get even better.Still only 55 years old, he sees the chance for a new “Uber-style” technology.And this is not a tiny tech startup full of empty promises.This extraordinary company is already one of the largest in its industry.Last year, revenues hit a whopping £1.132 billion.The board recently announced a 10% dividend hike.And it has been a superb Motley Fool income pick for 9 years running!But even so, we believe there could still be huge upside ahead.Clearly, this company’s founder and CEO agrees. 5 passive income ideas I’d use to generate £10k a year Image source: Getty Images I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. 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Podfuscak Residence / Dva Arhitekta Podfuscak Residence / Dva ArhitektaSave this projectSavePodfuscak Residence / Dva Arhitekta Photographs CopyHouses•Zagreb, Croatia 2010 Year: “COPY” Houses Save this picture!© Robert Leš+ 26 Share Architects: Dva Arhitekta Area Area of this architecture project ArchDaily Projects ShareFacebookTwitterPinterestWhatsappMailOrhttps://www.archdaily.com/97703/podfuscak-residence-dva-arhitekta-d-o-o Clipboard “COPY” Area: 774 m² Year Completion year of this architecture project Photographs: Robert LešText description provided by the architects. The house is designed for a young family who wanted to build a new home in greenery near the city centre. Mostly small apartment buildings in combination with some single family houses take place of old garden houses wich used to provide idyllic almost pastoral atmosphere of the area. The main requirement was to hide away from neigbours and open views and orientation to the south and greenery. By using waste brick as a facade cladding the house fits in the old and uncompleted built area of the surrounding. Save this picture!© Robert LešRecommended ProductsEnclosures / Double Skin FacadesIsland Exterior FabricatorsCurtain Wall Facade SystemsWindowsVitrocsaMinimalist Window – SlidingWoodSculptformTimber Click-on BattensWindowsVEKAWindows – SOFTLINE 82 ADMinus one level is in function of service while the first floor is sleeping area. Most of the family’s activities take place on the ground floor. Big openings are oriented to the green areas as well as pulled-in parts of the main house volume wich garantee intimacy. North facade is very closed to the street view, while other three sides of a house volume are pulled into themselves. First pulled-in space stands for entrance and comunication between the basement and garage. Save this picture!© Robert LešIt is excatly the fluidity of the space that makes the strongest impression upon entering the house. The other pulled-in space defines atrium connected to the most vital part of the house – kitchen, dining and living. Atrium brings in nature as well as daylight into the house providing intimacy and hiding views from the neigbours. Third and the biggest one which at the same time connects and separates living and dining spaces is placed diagonally in the direction of the best view. Besides by big windows on facade, the house is heated using geothermal resources through the walls and floors which makes it low energy house.Save this picture!© Robert LešProject gallerySee allShow lessArchitecture City Guide: New York CityArticlesNew Danish State Prison / C. F. Møller ArchitectsArticles Share ShareFacebookTwitterPinterestWhatsappMailOrhttps://www.archdaily.com/97703/podfuscak-residence-dva-arhitekta-d-o-o Clipboard Croatia CopyAbout this officeDva ArhitektaOfficeFollowProductConcrete#TagsProjectsBuilt ProjectsSelected ProjectsResidential ArchitectureHousesZagrebHousesCroatiaPublished on December 22, 2010Cite: “Podfuscak Residence / Dva Arhitekta” 22 Dec 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 12 Jun 2021.
June 2, 2021 Find out more Organisation May 28, 2021 Find out more BelarusEurope – Central Asia RSF_en Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about government harassment of three of Russia’s leading news websites since the start of the March. One, Pravda.ru, was temporarily closed down. Another, Bankfax.ru, is being prosecuted. A third, Gazeta.ru, has received a public warning. All three are accused of spreading extremist ideas.“It is unacceptable that the Russian security service or any other government agency should be able on their own to close down or filter a website whose content they do not like,” the press freedom organisation said. “Only a judicial authority acting independently should be able to take such a decision.”Reporters Without Borders added: “The authorities already control most of the traditional media and now it seems they are trying to get control of the Internet, using the need to combat extremism as an argument for censoring the news websites that are still independent.”In mid-March, the Federal Security Service (FSB) contacted the company that hosts Pravda.ru and asked it to eliminate “all content likely to stir up sectarian hatred.” This intervention resulted in the site being closed for half a day on 23 March. The FSB was supposedly trying to block publication of Mohammed cartoons. But Vadim Gorshenin, the chairman of the Pravda.ru board, told Reporters Without Borders that the cartoons had never been posted on the site.The prosecutor of the city of Barnaul, in the central Altai region, began an investigation into the regional news site Bankfax.ru on 10 March at the request of the Rosokhrankultura, a government agency that regulates the news media. Bankfax.ru was alleged to have “incited religious hatred” by posting supposedly “anti-Muslim” comments by an anonymous visitor to one of the site’s forums in February. The site, which is very popular with the Altai public, is now threatened with closure while the person who wrote the comments faces up to four years in prison.It was the Rosokhrankultura that issued a public warning on 9 March to Gazeta.ru, Russia’s leading news website, for posting the Mohammed cartoons. Site editor Mikhail Mikhailin said the cartoons had to be published in order to understand what the controversy was about.————-Create your blog with Reporters without borders: www.rsfblog.org News Help by sharing this information News March 29, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Authorities harass independent news sites, citing need to combat extremism May 27, 2021 Find out more “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown News to go further RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” BelarusEurope – Central Asia Follow the news on Belarus Receive email alerts News
Jenn Q. Goddu is a freelance writer and editor living in Charlotte. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Charlotte Observer, Midwest Real Estate Journal, and more. As a Canadian, she particularly appreciated getting to talk hockey for this feature. Share Save The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / Worthy of its Name Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago It seems entirely possible that before joining Alacrity Services, one might be asked to define “alacrity.” While actively expanding its property restoration services to insurance, REO, and consumer customers nationwide, the company is determined to continue embodying the true meaning of its moniker: moving nimbly and with good spirit. “We often talk not only about someone’s fit in the role but also about their cultural fit and making sure they have a similar drive,” said Keith C. Hemmer, Alacrity’s Chief Business Development Officer. Alacrity’s 150+ employees—whether in the Eugene, Oregon, head office, or the new Charlotte, North Carolina office, or working remotely from locations across the country—are working in a family-oriented business. “First and foremost, we tend to treat each other as family,” Hemmer said. “Employees don’t hesitate to go above and beyond their daily job duties to do whatever is necessary to get the job done.”A willingness to be available when needed is also essential within the restoration and repair space. “It’s a 24/7/365 job,” Hemmer said. “We’re available whenever and however you need us to be . . . We’re there for you whenever an event may arise.” After all, according to company CEO Jonathan Miko, “There is a low apparent bar to admission into this industry. Everybody thinks they can build a contractor network, and they are popping up all of the time. Very few of them actually succeed, but we need to be able to deal with the reasons these new networks pop up. What is it they think they can leverage to be successful? And is it real or is it a mirage?”First Foothold in Insurance ClaimsThe Alacrity Services model was born in 1999 at then Atlanta-based engineering firm Project Time & Cost. The idea was to solicit contractors to create a network of service providers who could quickly and cost-effectively address insurance carrier claims. The pilot concept launched locally with one main insurer client in 2000, and within a year, it expanded to fill that client’s needs across the country.The business rebranded as Alacrity Services in 2002. With insurance carriers so focused on customer service and paying claims quickly, the company promised its namesake—alacrity—in connecting insurers to credentialed contractors and providing warranties and guarantees. Today, Alacrity touts a network of 1,700 credentialed contractors. While competitors might claim larger numbers of available contractors, Alacrity’s management team is unfazed by that marketing ploy. After all, the goal of the network has remained the same over the last 18 years: Provide a consistently reliable and efficient end-user experience every single time. Instead of being concerned with the numbers, Alacrity has focused on “right-sizing” their network. This approach allows them to provide contractors with steady work, and the company still has the ability to scale up the contractor network size if needed. Success was founded also on Alacrity’s proprietary web-based software AlacNet®, standardizing costing procedures and expediting communications between financial institutions or insurance companies, insured parties, claims adjusters, and contractors. In 2011, the company’s success administering and managing property damage casualty insurance claims, and its robust customer service throughout the process by regional field managers (RFMs) and customer service group (CSG) representatives, garnered interest from Fortune 50 company Lowe’s.Alacrity, which by this point had moved its main office operations to Eugene, Oregon, was, at the time, a small power player dealing with much larger companies. A partnership with Lowe’s had many advantages. With the Lowe’s name recognition, Alacrity could enjoy opportunities to expand and to bring new clients to its contractor network participants which they might not get otherwise.The partnership flourished, and, in 2013, Alacrity joined the Lowe’s family of companies, which in Q3 2016 reported $2.4 billion in net earnings. Lowe’s was drawn by Alacrity’s long-standing presence in the restoration service industry and its strong relationships with insurance carriers, said Mike Tummillo, SVP of Pro Sales. “The property-restoration market is a large and relevant segment of the broader home-improvement market, and Alacrity Services provides Lowe’s the opportunity to increase our presence in this space by serving contractors and homeowners in times of need.” Along the way, the parent company added another touchpoint to the service process by funding the restoration service specialist (RSS) position. The territory-based representative acts as a point of contact for the contractors to access product and materials. The Alacrity-Lowe’s relationship works due to their shared values of being service-oriented. Consider Alacrity’s work on property preservation for the likes of Wells Fargo. Wells has a network of bank-owned properties around the country, Alacrity has a network of independent professional contractors around the country, and Lowe’s has roughly 1,800 retail centers across North America. “When Wells wants to get a property off its REO rolls, Alacrity supplies local contractors to identify the repairs needed and the contractors can buy supplies at a nearby Lowe’s at a discount.Alacrity has been able to maintain its point of pride: being a true partner to each of its B2B clients. As Hemmer describes it, “We try to understand their business and make adjustments to our platform to meet their needs, and more on a collaborative/consultative basis than one size fits all.”In June 2016, Alacrity opened a new office in Charlotte, North Carolina, to gain an East Coast presence and to be nearer to the Mooresville, North Carolina, Lowe’s headquarters. “The past year has felt more like being at a technology company,” said Jason Kendall, Director of New Program Development. “We are moving so fast and iterating so quickly and adding new customers and developing new programs,” he explained. “It’s just a much faster pace.” At the same time, he said, employees enjoy the latitude to go and solve problems or meet customer needs. “We can move quickly and get things done and develop an answer in a week as opposed to a month.” Finding New Business OpportunitiesWith a long-range plan to realize significant growth in the next three to five years, Alacrity today aims to become a more full-service company. “It hasn’t been our history,” Kendall said. But customers, competition, and Lowe’s are pulling Alacrity in that direction. The drop in foreclosures is another reason to diversify, Hemmer noted. According to RealtyTrac, the first half of 2016 foreclosure filings saw an 11 percent decrease from the first half of 2015 and a 20 percent drop off from the second half of 2015. “It’s forced us a little bit to think about how we position our business differently as the B2B relationships that we have may not be turning out the number of jobs that they would in years past,” Hemmer said.So while retaining a reliable contractor network remains crucial to the core business, Alacrity must also size up trends in pricing and fee structures and incentivizing contractors, and it must determine what technologies have the possibility to improve or disrupt the company’s model—all this while identifying promising markets where Alacrity’s contractor network model will work well. Considering market size, understanding of the competitive landscape, and opportunities to drive additional revenue back to Lowe’s, Alacrity is actively pursuing new relationships.The challenge, though, is making that first leap into a new market area, said Kendall. “You almost have to have a partner company that wants to develop with you . . . We can’t snap our fingers and have a roofing network or a flooring network across the nation.”Alacrity also aims to move into new markets adeptly. After all, Hemmer admits, the company did enter and decide to exit new spaces recently. For example, a move into the flooring warranty space turned out not to be a good fit. “We were being somewhat successful and we were managing it OK, but it really wasn’t our sweet spot.” Thus, while there is a need to diversify and grow, Alacrity has learned to move a little slower and take a deeper look at how a market will really play out.Nevertheless, the primary mission remains the same. As Kendall puts it, Alacrity’s team is always looking to “be a better partner to our customer.”Alacrity focuses on this better partnership by recognizing everyone in the restoration and claim process is important. In the insurance space, although the carriers sending Alacrity the jobs are technically the clients, the satisfaction of the carriers’ policyholders and of the network contractors are priorities paramount to optimizing Alacrity’s programs.Meeting Customer Demand Now TooFurther embracing the challenge of leaping into new market areas, Alacrity has recently launched Resolve® powered by Lowe’s. The direct-to-homeowner program offers the company a new potential market. “It really, for the first time, gives us the opportunity to reach out directly to people who need our services who previously weren’t able to access them because maybe we didn’t have a relationship with their insurance carrier or their bank,” Miko said.Describing the response to the program, which launched in September 2016, as “strong,” Miko says certain aspects of the process are still in the testing phase. “We’re trying to have very controlled growth with Resolve so that we can determine how the market responds to it.”Under the Lowe’s umbrella, the Resolve program pairs Alacrity’s project management and restoration expertise with Lowe’s customers. With Resolve, the homeowner can become more involved in the restoration and claim process and help drive the conversation—that is, if they want to. The program also provides the personalized support of a dedicated project specialist, giving homeowners new peace of mind.Within the platform, consumers can track deadlines, ask questions, and get answers from the contractors or insurance companies. They can also access Lowe’s materials and products and create Pinterest-like pages of favorite products to illustrate their preferences to the project contractors.Resolve has also proven attractive to real estate investors who can now monitor and manage many property restorations. Being able to select standardized finishes and products, even when there are different contractors, is a boon for those with multiple properties. “We can help a potential investor create more value more quickly by having this offering,” Kendall said. With the project specialist on board tracking the project management side, investors are freed up to focus on oher aspects of their property goals.Lowe’s focuses on helping customers, something Alacrity values as well. Kendall recently saw the impact of this firsthand when two different Lowe’s executives suffered water damage at their Charlotte metro area residences. Going to the project sites to review home losses made the customer’s journey much more important in Kendall’s mind. “You can see the angst with the lack of familiarity with the process, and you can also see their tension get relieved when you explain: ‘This happens every day all day, even if you don’t even know it, and we’re going to get you through this.’”With Expedience and Good SpiritsAlacrity’s competitors range from other contractor networks to standalone contractors to home services websites. Still, more than 17 years’ experience and history in the home repair and restoration industry has helped Alacrity build a robust, reliable contractor network for its Direct Repair Program and Resolve powered by Lowe’s program. The company also seeks to differentiate by embracing a competitive model that also cares. Hemmer says the familiar business maxim “time is money” is transformed at Alacrity. Team members need to deliver the best product they can as quickly as they can, but they do so with an awareness of the very human anxieties tied to each project. “There’s always another side to the story, and understanding the homeowner’s side of the story will help you to want to move and act more quickly.” This attitude motivates unselfishness at Alacrity, Miko said. “People are willing to do what it takes to get the job done… You never hear the phrase ‘that’s not my job.’”Hemmer, who has been with Alacrity from the outset, sees this mentality resulting from the original family-oriented business mentality, sustained through significant and rapid growth, and the return to the company’s start-up roots. “I’m getting the best of both worlds,” Miko said. “We’re embarking on Alacrity’s Launch 2.0. We are a substantial and stable and mature business. But it’s how do we then take that business model and rapidly grow it? That makes the opportunity very fun to think about as we go forward.” in Daily Dose, Featured, Magazine, Market Studies, News, Print Features 2017-03-24 Seth Welborn Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago About Author: Jenn Q. Goddu Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Related Articles Subscribe Previous: First American Executive Awarded as ‘Valuation Visionary’ Next: The Week Ahead: Home Prices May Still Move Upward Print This Post Sign up for DS News Daily March 24, 2017 3,942 Views Worthy of its Name Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago
The hypothesis of self-organised criticality (SOC) predicts that certain open dissipative systems evolve to a critical state where all energy release statistics display power law distributions for event occurrence, size and duration. This has motivated “sandpile” simulations of magnetospheric energy confinement and release events (“avalanches”), previous examples of which have taken the limit where energy inflow (“fuelling”) is slow relative to dissipation, and either uniform or random. However the magnetospheric system has both slow and fast periods mixed together in observations, and naturally modulated fuelling. We have developed an avalanche model with variable, modulated fuelling rate. The power law form for the distribution of energy release events is the least ambiguous current indicator of SOC; we show that this is preserved for the large avalanches in such a system under both constant and varying loading and so such systems are remarkably efficient at eliminating small scale information about their fuelling.
We examined the influence of elevated UV-B radiation on the extractability of carbohydrates from leaf litter of Quercus robur. Saplings were exposed to a 30% elevation above the ambient level of erythemally weighted UV-B (280–315 nm) radiation for eight months at an outdoor facility. UV-B radiation was applied under arrays of fluorescent lamps filtered with cellulose diacetate, which transmitted both UV-B and UV-A (315–400 nm) radiation. Saplings were also exposed to elevated UV-A radiation under arrays of polyester-filtered lamps and to ambient radiation under arrays of non-energised lamps. Abscised leaves were collected, ground and sequentially treated with seven solvents in order to fractionate extractable carbohydrates based on the way in which they are held in the cell wall. Elevated UV-B radiation reduced the extractability of carbohydrates from cell walls of Q. robur. Sodium phosphate buffer at pH 7 extracted 10% less total carbohydrate from leaf material exposed during growth to elevated UV-B radiation under cellulose diacetate-filtered lamps than from leaf material grown under polyester-filtered and non-energised lamps. The cumulative amount of carbohydrate released by sequential extraction with phosphate buffer, CDTA, urea and sodium carbonate was between 5.1% and 7.8% lower from leaf material grown under cellulose diacetate-filtered lamps relative to that from leaves grown under non-energised lamps. Abscised leaves were also digested with Driselase, an enzyme mixture extracted from a basidiomycete fungus. No effects of elevated UV radiation were recorded on the amount of carbohydrate released by Driselase digestion. Regression analyses, using data from a previous field decomposition study, suggested that reduced availability of carbohydrates enhanced the colonisation of Q. robur litter by basidiomycete fungi, which then accelerated the decomposition rate of the litter in soil. We recommend that future studies into the effects of UV-B radiation on plant litter decomposition measure not only the concentrations of chemical constituents of litter, but also determine the availability of litter carbon sources to soil microbes, using methods similar to those used here.
May 27, 2020 /Sports News – National NHL announces plan to resume season with amended playoffs amid COVID-19 pandemic Written by FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailfrancisblack/iStockBy ABC News(NEW YORK) — The National Hockey League, on hiatus since March 12, announced on Tuesday its intention to restart team training camps by mid-July in preparation for an amended Stanley Cup playoffs to be held in two “hub” cities.Twenty-four of the league’s 31 teams will return to the ice to vie for the Stanley Cup, up from the 16 teams that usually make the playoffs.Each of the two conferences will conduct its games in a “hub” city to be selected from among Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver, league officials said.The top four teams in each conference will play a round-robin series to determine seeding, while the conference’s remaining eight teams will play a best-of-five qualifying round, with the winners joining the top seeds for the playoffs’ first round.Game dates and series formats are yet to be announced and will depend on medical conditions and government regulations.“We are hopeful the Return To Play Plan will allow us to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup in a manner in which the health and safety of our players, on-ice officials, team staff and associated individuals involved are paramount,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.Meanwhile, officials with the National Basketball Association, whose season runs roughly parallel to the NHL’s, are holding exploratory talks with The Walt Disney Company, ABC News’ parent company, about resuming the NBA season at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, in late July, league officials say. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved Beau Lund
The move also aims to increase the University’s financial independence from the government, although Cunningham was keen to emphasise that there were “no negative motives behind the campaign.”As well as encouraging applications from students from all backgrounds, the drive hopes to fund improved infrastructure in the University.The money raised will go towards the building of a new humanities and mathematical institute on the site of the former Radcliffe Infirmary. Important developments are also being made to the Bodleian library and to the Ashmolean Museum.The Vice-Chancellor Dr John Hood spoke of the necessity of the campaign, saying, “It must significantly increase the University’s endowment if it is to establish a strong philanthropic foundation for the future.”Cunningham was reluctant to give an estimated time period for the money to be raised saying, “There is no explicit time scale, we would prefer to base our time estimates on the success achieved each year.”She praised the willingness of the patrons of the campaign to get involved, speaking of David Cameron’s enthusiasm for the project, and also adding, “Michael Palin is narrating a film about the University which is accompanying the campaign.”Dame Vivien Duffield, Chairman of the Campaign, also discussed the importance of the campaign. She said,“We are the custodians of the spirit, and the intellectual brilliance, of the University of Oxford.“I passionately believe that the task before us is to guarantee Oxford’s future pre-eminence in a world now changing so fast that we must lead or fall behind. “For learning and progress in the world, and Britain’s place in it, there can be no greater investment that in the University of Oxford. I urge you to join with us.”Cunningham was also keen to echo this message. She said, “Our campaign supports what Oxford is all about, and that is the students.“We will all benefit from the improvements that will arise form this campaign. It is an exciting moment in the history of the university and I would urge any students who have an opinion on any aspect of the campaign to get in touch.” Since 2004, there have been more than 20,000 donors (individuals, foundations and other organisations) to the University and the pre-launch campaign has raised around £575m. Photo: Oxford University Oxford University launched its biggest ever fund-raising drive on Wednesday in a bid to raise a minimum of £1.25bn.The campaign is to be fronted by several prominent patrons including David Cameron, Michael Palin, Richard Dawkins and Ian Hislop. It is the largest ever to be organised by a European academic institution.It aims to sustain and enhance Oxford’s international reputation as an academic institution and to ensure that students from under-privileged backgrounds are not deterred from applying. The campaign intends to make admission to Oxford University “needs-blind.”One of the key areas the campaign aims to target is the financial assistance offered to undergraduate and postgraduate students. A spokesperson for the University Development Office, Susan Cunningham, said that she hoped that students from poorer-backgrounds are not currently deterred from applying to Oxford, but admitted that there was a problem that was not currently being addressed sufficiently. She said, “There is currently a huge amount done to encourage anyone to apply to Oxford if they have the academic ability. But we are not yet in an ideal position.“We have one of the most generous undergraduate provision schemes, but the situation is not the same for graduates. We need to improve this.”It has been alleged that the campaign is an attempt by Oxford University to compete with the larger American universities such as Harvard and Yale, which can charge higher fees and attract large donations from alumnae.Cunningham said, “Our level of endowments is less than a quarter of our equivalents in the US. We know we need to improve this in order to move forwards.”
Kurt Vile was the featured performer on the newest installment of NPR‘s Tiny Desk concert series. The recent appearance at the NPR offices by the indie rock guitarist and singer acts as the latest live performance in promotion of his new studio album, 2018’s Bottle It In. For his turn on the popular online concert series, Vile gave the NPR staff a three-song performance of material from the album, including “Bassackwards”, “Loading Zones”, and “Peeping Tomboy”.Vile was joined for the first two songs of the stripped-down set by backing guitarist Rob Laakso. The two players started things off with “Bassackwards”, which featured Vile’s trademark nasally-sounding spoken word style of vocal delivery to go with the song’s catchy acoustic guitar riff. Vile’s lyrics to the song could almost be considered new-age psychedelia, as he sang, “I was on the moon, but more so I was in the grass/So I was chillin’ out, but with a very drifting mind.”Related: Aaron Lee Tasjan Showcases Love For Retro Americana Rock On Tiny Desk ConcertThe relaxed performance continued with Vile channeling his inner Springsteen with a performance of “Loading Zones”, a semi-biographical, uptempo folk ballad which heard him constantly reference his hometown as “Godforsaken” and “dirty” but also “beautiful” in the lyrics. Add in some harmonica parts to go with the acoustic guitar, and you’ve got a pretty smooth performance of what feels like a rushed song in the original recording. The performance came to a close with solo Vile hypnotizing viewers through the lovely, finger-picked notes coming out of that Martin acoustic of his during “Peeping Tomboy”.Fans can watch the video below to check out Vile’s entire performance.Kurt Vile – Tiny Desk Concert[Video: NPR]Vile is scheduled to start his 2019 winter tour next week with a show at Club XL LIVE in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on February 11th. The run of North American shows will continue into mid-March before Vile takes his band to New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and the U.K. starting on Aprill 11th. Fans can head over to Vile’s website for tickets to his upcoming 2019 performance.