Phillips joins Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson as the only Texas natives to be in charge of “America’s Team.” “It’s great to have these cowboys boots back in Texas,” Phillips said during his introductory news conference in Irving, Texas. “I’m excited about it.” Wade Phillips was hired Thursday to coach the Dallas Cowboys, providing the club with an experienced replacement for Bill Parcells and someone well-versed in the 3-4 defense. Phillips, defensive coordinator at San Diego the past three seasons, has a 48-42 head coaching record over three seasons with Buffalo, two with Denver and season-ending interim stints with New Orleans and Atlanta. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Cowboys owner Jerry Jones interviewed 10 candidates before choosing the defensive-minded Phillips over supposed favorite Norv Turner, a two-time head coach who was the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator for Super Bowl titles after the 1992 and 1993 seasons. Tank pleads guilty: Chicago Bears defensive lineman Terry “Tank” Johnson pleaded guilty in Skokie, Ill., to violating probation in a 2005 gun case. Cook County Judge John Moran denied a request to lift the player’s home confinement, but said Johnson could leave his house to attend practices. Moran delayed sentencing until March 15 so that a presentencing investigation can be done. Coaching carousel: NFC champion Chicago shook up its coaching staff, releasing defensive line coach Don Johnson, who spent two seasons with the Bears after five years as an assistant at UCLA. The Bears also said assistant offensive line coach Harold Goodwin won’t return and offensive quality control coach Mike Bajakian accepted the offensive coordinator job at Central Michigan. … Leslie Frazier became the first assistant to leave Super Bowl champion Indianapolis after he accepted the job as defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. Reid’s son tests positive for heroin: Garrett Reid, the 23-year-old son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, tested positive for heroin after he caused a traffic accident last week that left another motorist injured, police said in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
SAN FRANCISCO — If retirement goes as planned for former Giants manager Bruce Bochy, it’s a period of his life that won’t last long.Bochy is already talking about going back to work.During an appearance with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on SiriusXM Radio Thursday, Bochy explained that he does have a desire to manage again.“I’m just hitting the pause button,” Bochy told Russo. “That’s all, you know, I’m taking a sabbatical here for a year and then, you know, I’ll see where I’m at. I don’t know how …
Nelson Mandela turned 92 years old onSunday 18 July 2010.(Image: BuaNews)MEDIA CONTACTS• Nelson Mandela Foundation+27 11 547 email@example.comRELATED ARTICLES• Mandela: a remarkable 92 years• Gallery: Mandela meets Bafana Bafana• Education focus of Mandela Day 2010• Mandela meets final Bafana squad• Mandela Day now a global eventMary AlexanderLeaders across the world extended birthday wishes to former South African president Nelson Mandela on 18 June, with US President Barack Obama hailing the “extraordinary vision, leadership, and spirit” of the South African statesman and global icon of freedom.“On behalf of the United States, I wish Nelson Mandela a very happy 92nd birthday,” Obama said in a statement. “We strive to build upon his example of tolerance, compassion and reconciliation.”“I also join the American people, the South African people, the United Nations and the world in celebrating the first annual Nelson Mandela International Day. I encourage us all to heed the call to engage in some form of service to others in honour of the 67 years of sacrifice and service Madiba gave to us,” Obama said.In November 2009 the United Nations declared that 18 July, Mandela’s birthday, would henceforth be globally celebrated as Nelson Mandela Day. Yesterday, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon lauded Mandela, describing him as “a towering figure” who “embodies the highest values of humanity, and of the United Nations”.“Nelson Mandela’s accomplishments came at great personal cost to himself and his family. Today, on the first Nelson Mandela International Day, we thank him for everything he has done for freedom, for justice and for democracy,” Ban said.The day was also the 12th anniversary of Mandela’s marriage to Graca Machel, who he married when he was 80 and she 52. Speaking to the BBC, Machel said Mandela “is very well … he is healthy and taking into account the kind of life he had, it is really heartening … he is getting old, he is getting frail but he is absolutely healthy, full of life, spirits high”.Mandela spent his birthday in his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, surrounded by family. “We will gather at home, we will sit around, give him a lot of love,” Machel said.In honour of Mandela, Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman undertook a road trip with 29 other bikers from Johannesburg to Cape Town, along the way contributing to community projects such as building a fence at an Aids care centre in a poor township.“I take it as my connection to Madiba,” Freeman said. “We should do it every day.” Freeman played Mandela in the 2009 film Invictus.South African President Jacob Zuma spent the day at Mandela’s birthplace, the village of Mvezo in the Eastern Cape province. In his speech to mark the occasion, Zuma repeatedly referred to Mandela as “tata”, isiXhosa for “father”.“This is a special birthday celebration because 2010 also marks 20 years since Tata was released from prison, which accelerated our march towards freedom and democracy,” Zuma said.“He became the leader of this nation and president of the republic at the right moment for South Africa in 1994, as we emerged from the horrors of apartheid.“Tata helped us to internalise that we are one nation, united in our diversity. He taught us to overcome hatred and embrace reconciliation.”The day was auspicious for 27-year-old South African golfer Louis Oosthuizen, who got to win the British Open competition on Mandela’s birthday.“I would like to take this opportunity to say happy birthday to Mr Nelson Mandela back in South Africa,” Oosthuizen said after being presented with his trophy.“What he’s done for our country is unbelievable, and happy birthday to him.”In Vienna, on the sidelines of the 18th International Aids Conference, South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe led delegates in singing “happy birthday, Madiba” accompanied by vuvuzela trumpets.Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan described Mandela as “an exemplary statesman and selfless leader, whose invaluable contributions to human endeavour continue to earn him international repute and goodwill”.“His legacies continue to inspire people all over the world.”The UN celebrated with activities around the world from Africa to Europe to Central Asia. Communities in Sudan took part in a “Football for Peace” tournament in El-Fasher, with the winning team awarded the Nelson Mandela Cup. In Spain, a 6.7-kilometre charity walk in Madrid was held late on Sunday.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By John Brien, AgriGoldGrain fill is a critical part of a corn plant’s life, but is often overlooked because it is kind of slow, boring and uneventful to watch. What is actually occurring soon after pollination is utterly amazing considering an acre of corn has to “build” over 11,200 pounds of dry matter to equal 200 bushel of grain yield. Therefore grain fill is anything but boring and is vital for high yields.Grain fill is the period of corn growth and development between pollination and black layering (or physiological maturity). During grain fill the corn plant is using their leaves to capture sunlight to drive photosynthesis that in turn produces the sugars the plant needs to build yield. The corn plant also uses its roots to acquire moisture and nutrients to build the dry matter. Therefore the more sunlight a corn plant can intercept and the more nutrients and water it can aquire, equates to more optimal grain fill and therefore higher yield potential.What conditions lead to optimal grain fill? Optimal grain fill begins with having a long window of opportunity. The typical grain fill period for a corn crop is 45 to 60 days. If a grower is able to keep their corn fields in grain fill mode for 60+ days, the chance for high yields increase exponentially. The overall conditions growers should seek for optimal grain fill begin with mild daytime and night time temperatures. Temperatures in the mid 70s during the day and mid 60s at night are ideal. The closer to 90 degrees during the daytime the sooner the corn plant will shut down and shorten its grain fill window. Likewise nighttime temperatures over 70 degrees never allows the corn plant to rest and keeps the engine running and speeds the corn plant right through grain fill.Another component to an optimal grain fill window is maintaining a healthy upper canopy in the corn plant. The goal is to keep the upper third of the corn plant green and healthy as long as possible. A grower can keep the upper canopy healthy by limiting the amount of leaf diseases the corn plant has on its upper leaves and by reducing stress caused by nutrient deficiency, tillage layers, compaction layers and/or sidewall compaction caused by the corn planter that often leads to premature death as witnessed by the corn plant dying from the top down.The third factor in extending the grain filling period is ensuring the corn crop is not starved for any nutrients, especially nitrogen after pollination. Corn plants that have adequate nutrients will be able to fully capitalize on the captured sunlight used for photosynthesis. Also nutrient deficiency causes the corn plant to cannibalize itself to ensure the ear has everything it needs and can therefore lead to root rots that lead to premature death and a shorter grain fill window.The final component to a long grain fill period is adequate moisture. Water is the driving medium of all portions of grain fill. Without water, the corn plant is unable to acquire nutrients via the soil and cannot perform most metabolic reactions in the corn plant that are responsible for growth and grain fill. Rainfall is unpredictable and most growers have no control over when, where and how much they will receive. Therefore to help the corn plant not to shorten its grain fill period during short periods of dryness, growers need to concentrate on establishing a deep and robust root system that will help “weather proof” their corn fields. Deep roots and ample soil oxygen can help reduce stress during grain fill and allow the corn plant to maximize yields under all conditions.Grain fill is complicated and involves many different factors. Some of the factors are out of a growers hands, such as temperatures and rainfall events, but the job of a corn grower is to evaluate the factors they can impact, such as keeping the canopy green and growing along with establishing a deep, robust root system, and then put a plan of attack together to help lengthen grain fill as long as possible to maximize their corn yields.
Take creative control of your next video project by using song stems, and increase the production value of your video edits.One way to bring a professional workflow to your video edits is by using song stems (also known as music stems or submixes.) We’re going to dive into some of the creative ways you can use song stems, but first let’s learn exactly what a stem is.Song StemsIn order to define song stems, we need to think of our song as a complete mix. Stems are essentially portions of the mix, usually various instrument groups — bass, drums, piano, vocals, etc. When you stack all of these stems on top of each other in an edit timeline, they play back just as the complete song would.However, when you have access to each individual stem track, you can customize the song even more to suit your video project. Using stems opens a lot of creative possibilities. Let’s take a look at a few.Interviews and Film DialogueWhen you’re editing a video with dialogue and music, more often than not, you’ll have to drastically lower the volume of the entire music track to ensure the dialogue comes across clearly. This is no longer the case when you’re using song stems. Now, you can easily fade the more distracting musical elements in and out (such as drum hits or heavy bass.)This is great for interviews; it allows you to customize the mix to match the visuals and sounds of your project. One of my favorite tricks is to create suspense by slowly raising the volume of various stem tracks.Song RemixesAnother great use for stems is creating your own song remixes. You can easily do this by enabling or disabling various stem tracks for the song you’re working with. This allows you to quickly create variations of a song that keep to a similar theme (such as disabling the vocals and piano to get a mix that emphasizes the lows). It’s a great way to get more mileage out of a single song.Target Audio EffectsAlong the same lines as remixing a song, stems allow you to selectively apply audio effects. For example, in Adobe Premiere Pro, you can apply the audio effect Studio Reverb to a specific stem track, which allows you to affect something like vocals, without applying the unwanted reverb to the rest of the song mix.Another example would be using the bass effect to increase or decrease bass on specific instrument tracks. You can really get creative when mixing various effects. A few of my favorite audio effects in Premiere Pro are Vocal Enhancer, Flanger, and Studio Reverb.Splice Together SongsStems also give you the creative ability to splice two songs together. In theory, you can do this with any two songs, but it’s much easier if songs have the same number of beats per minute (BPM). You can mix and match various stem audio tracks atop each other in your timeline, or easily fade stem tracks in and out from one song into another — which is helpful when you need to transition into another song and keep your story momentum moving.Prolong Song ElementsBecause stems give us access to different pieces of a song, it’s easy to prolong sections to fit our edit. A great example would be a song’s intro or outro. You can select the audio tracks that play in the beginning or end and duplicate them before and after the song. This will give you a longer lead-in or -out. (It works great for opening or ending title credits.) You’ve likely heard a similar effect used by DJs on the radio, as they sometimes will loop a stem at the beginning of a song.Looking for more articles on working with audio? Check these out.Download, Prep, and Import Song Stems to Your Favorite NLEWAV vs MP3: Why You Need Hi-Res Audio for Your VideoCreative Ways to Use Music Loops in Your VideosAudio Tips: How to Remove Vocals in a Song Using StemsTutorial: Removing Audio Pops and Recording Audio Differently
Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting View comments Four years since announcing his retirement, Ildefonso still managed to remind everyone why he’s one of the PBA’s greatest players as he suited up for the San Miguel Beermen’s legends team on Sunday night.Ildefonso played his first 15 seasons for the Beermen where he won eight titles, back-to-back season MVP awards in 2000 and 2001, two Finals MVP plums and five Best Player of the Conference honors.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesHe played two more seasons for Meralco before he hung up his sneakers without any fanfare in 2015.Fast forward to today, Ildefonso is currently an assistant coach at Alaska and National University, where his two sons Shaun and Dave but seeing him back on the court prompted a realization from one of his children. ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:31Duterte had wanted Albayalde to take terminal leave — Go00:54Gordon: Albayalde may still face charges even after retirement02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Read Next Shaun, the older among the two brothers, thinks it would be fitting for his dad to get a much-deserved jersey retirement.Who thinks Daddy I needs a proper jersey retirement? 🙋🏽♂️ https://t.co/nxIYf5HYRR— Shaun Ildefonso (@ShaunIldefonso) February 17, 2019Shaun’s tweet has been well received with many expectedly agreeing to his proposition.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter team up anew as PBA All-Star starters announced US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town MOST READ The 42-year-old Ildefonso also mentored June Mar Fajardo in his final years with the San Miguel franchise and was instrumental in Fajardo’s transformation in becoming the most dominant player of his time with already a league record of five MVP trophies. Danny Ildefonso got the ball on the low block, backed down his defender, spun right before smoothly banking in a contested baseline fadeaway.ADVERTISEMENT PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Urgent reply from Philippine football chief Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations LATEST STORIES
Fredericks: West Ham boost from Bournemouth drawby Paul Vegas25 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveRyan Fredericks says West Ham United have gained plenty of confidence from their 2-2 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday.The Hammers came back twice to steal a valuable away point which leaves in fourth place on the Premier League table.”Coming back like that gives us a lot of positive feelings,” Fredericks called the club’s website.”We’re a confident bunch anyway and we know we can go anywhere and pick up a result.”We didn’t panic when we went 2-1 down. Obviously it was frustrating to go behind, especially so early in the second half, but we knew we were going to get chances. “We have very good forward players who always create chances so we knew that as long as we didn’t concede a third we’d always have a chance of getting back in the game.”We’re a different beast this season. We don’t want to just be up there and think ‘it’s nice to be here’. We think we’re good enough to stay in and around these positions so we’re going to fight for every point, every goal and I think teams know that when they play against us it’s never going to be an easy game.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
SHANGHAI – It was looking like a banner year for business in China. The U.S. clothing company was expecting a 20 per cent jump in online sales on Alibaba’s Tmall, thanks to the e-commerce giant’s massive reach.But executives soon learned that what Alibaba gives, it can also take away.The company refused to sign an exclusive contract with Alibaba, and instead participated in a big sale promotion with its archrival, JD.com Inc. Tmall punished them by taking steps to cut traffic to their storefront, two executives told The Associated Press. They said advertising banners vanished from prominent spots in Tmall sales showrooms, the company was blocked from special sales and products stopped appearing in top search results.The well-known American brand saw its Tmall sales plummet 10 to 20 per cent for the year.“Based on our sales record, we should have been in a prominent position, but we were at the bottom of the page,” said the brand’s e-commerce director, who spoke only on condition of anonymity for fear of further retaliation. “That’s a clear manipulation of traffic. That’s a clear punishment.”As the Trump administration pushes China to play by fair trade rules, companies are caught in a quieter but no less crucial struggle for fair access to a $610 billion online marketplace, an AP investigation has found.Executives from five major consumer brands told the AP that after they refused to enter exclusive partnerships with Alibaba, traffic to their Tmall storefronts fell, hurting sales. Three are American companies with billions in annual sales that rely on China for growth.In a statement, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said pursuing exclusive deals is a common industry practice and called the charges of coercion “completely false.”“Alibaba and Tmall conduct business in full compliance with Chinese laws,” Alibaba said. “Like many e-commerce platforms, we have exclusive partnerships with some of the merchants on Tmall. The merchant decides to choose such an arrangement because of the attractive services and value Tmall brings to them.”Imagine a company twice as profitable as Amazon that each year serves more people than live in all of North America. That’s Alibaba. It claims to be the marketplace for nearly $550 billion a year in sales — more than is sold online in the entire U.S. economy.The trials of the affected companies offer a rare window onto a bruising business culture forged in China that could spread as Alibaba takes its aggressive, innovative and hugely profitable model of e-commerce global. To the extent that their products are manufactured in the United States — and some are — constricting sales in China’s critical growth market can also deepen the imbalance of trade between China and the U.S., a gap that is a top concern for the Trump administration.The competition between Alibaba and JD.com is so infamous in China — and so dirty — it’s been dubbed the “great cat-and-dog war,” after Tmall’s black-cat mascot and JD.com’s white dog.The executives spoke to the AP only on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, but their concerns were echoed by a U.S. industry group, brand consultants and policy makers in China and JD.com itself.In a speech about cyberspace last week, Chinese president Xi Jinping said ensuring free and fair competition online was a regulatory priority, citing the need “to cultivate a fair market environment, strengthen intellectual property protection, and oppose monopoly and unfair competition,” state media reported.In its months-long investigation, the AP interviewed more than 30 people and reviewed two contracts from Alibaba that contained previously unreported exclusivity clauses. The AP found that the platforms that control access to Chinese consumers online wield such enormous power that even multibillion-dollar foreign companies can have trouble fighting back.“We urge the authorities to quickly investigate and take steps to ensure such practices are eliminated from the growing Chinese marketplace,” said Stephen Lamar, executive vice-president of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, adding that members of his industry group had complained about unfair competitive practices by Alibaba.JD.com is a member and sponsor of the trade group.Wang Hongbo, a consultant who helps Chinese brands sell online abroad, echoed the problems cited by the companies who spoke to AP.“Many brands complained about this to us. Because they didn’t fall in line, they faced restrictions on Tmall,” he said.It’s not clear whether Alibaba’s actions would be illegal, nor is it certain that the evidence of coercion that brands have managed to collect would hold up in court. Under China’s anti-monopoly laws, companies that dominate a market cannot demand exclusivity without justification. A 2015 regulation also specifically bars e-commerce platforms from restricting brands’ participation in promotions on other platforms.The rules are designed to prevent dominant players from squeezing out the competition, which could ultimately hurt both brands and consumers by giving a single, monopolistic player absolute control over prices.JD.com said that over 100 Chinese brands defected last year due to pressure from its main rival, an assertion Alibaba and some brands have contested. The exodus appears to have had a lasting impact.“Based on the feedbacks we received from these merchants, the move was mainly due to the coercive tactics from our competition, which if proven true would be illegal and clearly against the merchants’ will,” said Sidney Huang, JD.com’s chief financial officer, said in a November earnings call.Peacebird, a Chinese fashion company, is among those that left JD.com last year. But Weng Jianghong, the company’s general manager of e-commerce, said Alibaba had not coerced them and the decision to focus on Tmall was strategic.“We will centralize and develop the limited resources of our company on Tmall,” he said.Many companies, including JD.com, do exclusive deals. However, JD.com maintains that it doesn’t strategically push merchants for exclusivity.“We support fair and open competition because greater choice is always better for brands and users,” JD.com said in a statement. “We are winning over customers by providing a superior shopping experience, rather than by limiting the options of brands or consumers.”JD.com is still trying to get brands to return. “We do believe there will be more merchants coming back,” Huang said in a call last month with analysts. “But I do not expect a very quick fix.”PLAY OR PAYTmall controlled six of every 10 dollars spent overall for business-to-consumer sales online in China in the second half of last year — and even more for sectors like apparel — giving it enormous power over companies that rely on Alibaba for access to Chinese consumers online.The contracts reviewed by AP offered a suite of benefits in exchange for exclusivity. One contract specified that brands must not operate storefronts on other e-commerce platforms without Tmall’s written permission. The other contract mandated that new products not be launched on competing platforms and barred brands from sales promotions on other platforms without Tmall’s written permission.Such sales events are the lifeblood of online commerce in China. The country’s massive Singles Day promotion in November, which started as an anti-Valentine’s Day gimmick, is now the world’s largest e-commerce event. Last year, Alibaba said $25 billion worth of merchandise was sold on its platforms alone, compared with just $14.5 billion in total online sales in the U.S. for Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, according to data from Adobe Systems Inc.Brands cited commercial, ideological and legal reasons for refusing to cut off business with JD.com.Some said that different people shop in different ways on JD.com and Tmall, so cutting off JD.com means cutting off access to a pool of potential shoppers.“It’s clear from the data we look at these are distinct consumer pools,” said the China head of a publicly-traded company. “If I lost the JD business I would lose a certain part of that business. Another part is on principle: This is blatant anticompetitive behaviour.”Others cited legal concerns. “We didn’t want to go for it in part because we thought it might be an illegal agreement in restraint of trade,” said an executive for a second publicly-traded company.“We’re chided when we participate in promotional events on other platforms,” he added. “What’s never said but actually happens when we don’t co-operate in the way they want us to is our traffic falls. It’s not a coincidence.”Two companies said they granted concessions to Alibaba, agreeing to exclusive product launches, raising their prices on JD.com, or removing ads promoting JD.com sales. Traffic to their Tmall shops rebounded. One company said it ultimately closed its flagship on JD.com to salvage Tmall sales.“You have to go beg,” said the China director of a multi-billion dollar publicly-traded company.THE GREAT CAT-AND-DOG WARTmall and JD.com have different business models but they are increasingly pushing onto each other’s turf.Alibaba’s online marketplaces connect buyers and sellers. Alibaba earns money from advertising, as well as commissions and fees. JD.com runs a similar marketplace but, like Amazon, also buys products from brands, then sells and distributes the merchandise itself.Alibaba has taken aim at JD.com’s long-standing dominance in electronics, while JD.com hopes to cut into Tmall’s core apparel category. Both have expanded into groceries and poured hundreds of millions of dollars into acquisitions to extend their reach into brick-and-mortar businesses.The result is an escalating turf fight that carries a chilling message for brands: Either you’re with us or against us. The Chinese have a name for this unwritten rule, “er xuan yi,” choose one of two.“‘Choose one of two’ is a tacit understanding that has been reached by everyone, but you do not say it directly,” said Zhuo Saijun, who until 2015 was a general manager of e-commerce research at Analysys Ltd., a Beijing-based big data consultancy. “This is certainly a problem for the development of retail sales channels. It is a business ethics problem, and this is how monopolies develop.”Some policymakers have raised concerns about monopolistic tendencies in Chinese e-commerce and called for more effective regulation and enforcement.“Unfair competition still exists,” Wang Bingnan, a deputy director at China’s Ministry of Commerce, said in a June speech about China’s e-commerce market. “Behaviours like forced ‘choose one of two,’” he added, “are hard for regulators to define, prove or deal with accurately.”JD.com has complained about anticompetitive tactics before. In 2015, the company filed a complaint with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, a corporate regulator, accusing Alibaba of pressuring brands into doing exclusive Singles Day sales promotions — a charge Alibaba denied. The complaint was kicked to a regional office in Zhejiang province, where Alibaba has its headquarters.Nothing more was ever heard about it.The regulators did not respond to requests for comment.Alibaba said that while JD.com focuses “on groundless complaints to explain why they are losing brands, we at Alibaba are squarely focused on making our platform the best for our merchants.”MR. MA GOES GLOBALThe battles now being waged within China’s e-commerce sector could well impact the culture and norms of e-commerce globally — at least if Alibaba’s chairman, Jack Ma, has his way.Alibaba aims to serve 2 billion consumers by 2036 — or about one in four people now on the planet. Already, the value of goods sold on Alibaba’s platforms in fiscal year 2017 was $547 billion, larger than the gross domestic product of Sweden.In June, Ma told investors that his company will rank as the fifth largest economy in the world. “Just say USA, China, Europe, maybe Japan and us,” Ma said.The company has been aggressively recruiting foreign brands to sell on its platforms, and they have come, in droves. Alibaba said it signed up 60,000 international brands for its massive Single’s Day sale in November, up from 5,000 in 2015.Alibaba’s retail sales outside of China also are growing fast — they more than doubled last fiscal year to 7.3 billion yuan ($1.1 billion), or 5 per cent of total revenue.America remains at the heart of Ma’s ambition. He told president-elect Donald Trump in Jan. 2017 that he would create a million U.S. jobs by facilitating trade between businesses in the U.S and consumers in China — a pledge he now says is imperiled by the brewing trade war between the two countries.Brands now caught in the great cat and dog war have adopted different strategies to avoid becoming collateral damage.An e-commerce manager at a major European brand said she’d be happy to offer totally different products on Tmall and JD.com to stay out of trouble, but worries her bosses won’t go for it because it cuts off potential buyers.Sometimes, she said, it feels “like we’re working for those platforms.”___Associated Press writer Anne D’Innocenzio in Las Vegas and researchers Si Chen and Fu Ting in Shanghai contributed to this report.Follow Kinetz on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ekinetzSend news tips, documents, etc. securely and confidentially to AP at https://securedrop.ap.org/
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday announced a list of TMC candidates for all the 42 Lok Sabha seats of the state, dropping 10 sitting MPs. She also attacked the BJP and the Modi government, claiming she had information that “VVIPs” were using helicopters and chartered flights to transport money to bribe voters. Releasing the list, the West Bengal leader assailed the Centre over a host of issues including the Rafale deal,farm distress and shrinking employment opportunities. Banerjee, also the TMC supremo, said the outgoing TMC lawmakers whose names do not figure in the list will be drafted for party work. She said 41 per cent of the nominees in the list are women. The TMC, she said, will also contest some seats in Odisha, Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar and the Andamans.
London: Arsenal’s collapse at the business end of the Premier League season means the success or failure of Unai Emery’s first campaign now solely depends on lifting the Europa League and as a result sealing Champions League football. The Gunners travel to Emery’s old club Valencia on Thursday defending a 3-1 semi-final, first leg lead given to them by star strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the Emirates last week. Arsenal’s awful record on the road this season will give the Spanish side plenty of encouragement that they can overturn a two-goal deficit. Emery’s men conceded three times in losing at Wolves and Leicester in their last two away league games and were also defeated at BATE Borisov and Rennes before turning Europa League ties around at the Emirates. Attack may therefore be the visitors’ best form of defence in the cauldron of the Mestalla and Arsenal are at least getting what they paid for from Lacazette and Aubameyang. “We played against two strikers that are very good which is why they cost the millions that they did,” said Valencia coach Marcelino Garcia Toral. “With the slightest error they punish you.” Arsenal have taken one point from their last four Premier League games to realistically end their chances of a top-four finish and the first leg against Valencia could easily have gone the same way as Marcelino’s men scored an early away goal and led the Gunners to a merry dance for the first 20 minutes. However, one moment of magic turned the tie as Lacazette played in Aubameyang, who paused, left Neto, Ezequiel Garay and Facundo Roncaglia on the floor before squaring for his strike partner to roll into an empty net. Lacazette added his second eight minutes later and Aubameyang’s late strike gave Arsenal the two-goal cushion they may well need. The Londoners’ first season without Arsene Wenger for 22 years has been dogged by many of the same defensive problems suffered by the Frenchman towards the end of his reign. But Wenger’s final two big signings have come good as club record fees were paid for Lacazette in the summer of 2017 and Aubameyang in January 2018. After a difficult first six months in England, many thought Aubameyang’s arrival was ominous for Lacazette’s longevity at the club, but the two have formed a fine partnership on and off the field. Only Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has scored more Premier League goals than Aubameyang’s 20, but it is Lacazette who won the club’s player of the year prize for his all round contribution with 18 goals and 12 assists.