Small shops report predicts craft bakers will be resilient

first_imgBakers will survive through to 2015, but other independents, such as convenience stores, grocers and petrol forecourts, are likely to be wiped out by then. That is unless key recommendations from the All Party Small Shops Group are taken on board, predicts a new Parliamentary report.The report from the All Party Small Shops group of MPs says government policies can undermine bakers capabilities and competitive advantage, but they are relatively shielded from competitive pressures. This is due to three main factors – moderate local rivalry, the fact bakery suppliers wield low levels of power, and because there is little substitute for a baker’s shop.As bakers tend to source from regional flour mills and Bako, the supply chain is “divorced from that of large businesses, with independents able to offer a larger range of goods with higher quality than can be achieved elsewhere”, the report says.The group, chaired by Jim Dowd, MP for Lewisham West, suggests independent bakers foster innovation in the grocery market. Product innovation such as sourdough and organic products, first created by independent bakers, has influenced consumer demand, the report says. The supermarkets appear to copy these innovations, although they sell a restricted range of baked goods. The long-awaited report High Street Britain: 2015, published on Wednesday, attacks a “heavily unbalanced trading environment”, which will damage the UK socially, economically and environmentally. The report says there are 184,695 businesses operating 278,630 shops in the UK, which constitutes 11% of all UK businesses. Of these, almost half are managed by a sole trader and 103,000 have fewer than five employees. But the UK has lost nearly 30,000 independent food, beverage and tobacco retailers over the last decade.The report lists the damaging effects on small shops of aggression from larger competitors, distortion of the supply chain, the cost of property, crime, poor planning decisions, a lack of appropriate business support and disproportionate regulatory burdens.Legislation can cost a small retailer anything over £10,000 a year, and the burden of red tape on small retailers is dis-proportionate, it says. And official agencies and regulators are failing to provide the necessary information on how best to meet legislative requirements, it adds. “Once a tipping point is reached, many small shops could be lost instantly, as wholesalers no longer find it profitable to supply them,” the MPs warn.National Association of Master Bakers chief executive David Smith told British Baker: “The group has taken a very serious look at retailing and come up with some interesting points. Bakers have adapted and survived better than other independents. But this report is only good news if we can keep the diversity of the high street. People will not go down the high street if only the baker remains on it.”last_img read more


first_imgWELCOME BACK!! Jockey Victor Espinoza acknowledges the crowd after Thursday’s second race at Santa Anita, his first mount since winning last Saturday’s Dubai World Cup aboard 2014 Santa Anita Derby winner, California Chrome. With his win on Saturday, California Chrome is now racing’s all-time leading money winner, with career earnings of more than $12 million. “Chrome” is scheduled to make the final start of his legendary career in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.last_img read more

A Watson Victory? This is About a Contest, Not Science

first_imgRelated Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now alex williams Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… We go into day two of the three-day Jeopardy contest with IBM’s Watson tied for first place with Brad Rutter. They each have $5,000. Ken Jennings has $2,000.What does this show more than anything? This is a contest and nothing more. It is not a scientific experiment to do a live broadcast of a game show with a contestant that is a machine. It is a game to use a television show to sell the concept of machine intelligence and set market expectations.That expectation being that someday we will all have a Watson of our very own. It will be in the walls, perhaps, to answer our questions. It will know the language we speak. it will always be listening, mechanically processing what we say and adjusting the information to the algorithm that correlates the data.So this game show exercise is not a scientific achievement of any kind. Watson, Rutter and Jennings are contestants. The show is on television. Advertisers pay to be part of the show. People watch it and tweet about it… a lot.What the Watson Jeopardy Contest RepresentsIn our view, the opportunity for IBM is to discuss the context for Watson and move that conversation beyond the common-man-versus-machine stories that are popping up like cliches do when this topic moves past a tipping point.IBM is offering a new alternative that shows the applications for machine intelligence. It’s not about cloud computing.In this case, it is more effective to use a room full of servers to process natural language. The screen that appears on the Jeopoardy program is connected to server racks that would encompass a large part of the studio floor where the Jeopardy game is taking place. Those servers are processing the data, which is being fed into an algorithm that is listening for subtleties of the natural language. Watson listens to the question and takes the data score. It works down a decision tree and extracts the answer based on how narrow it can define the data set.For example, that’s why it may not know about oddities. Obscure matters may be lost on it. It does not have enough data to know the context for what the oddities represent.Watson will move on after the Jepoardy game and out of the contest spotlight. IBM is offering Watson for university research. The applications? Watson may be in your doctor’s room someday, listening to your symptoms, parsing down your data, applying it to a decision tree, eliminating extraneous data about exotic diseases that have not been in your community for more than 100 years. It will take seconds to get from that point to insight about your condition. There are limitless ways the technology can be applied.Lost Opportunity?Unfortunately, with any contest, there is a bit of a lost opportunity with the Jeopardy game. MIT Professor Henry Lieberman writes that contests can be detrimental to science:In the past few years, there’s been a fad for contests, “challenges,” “grand prizes,” etc. in scientific and engineering fields. I have no objection if it’s only good, clean fun between consenting adults. But on the whole, I think this fad has been detrimental to science. Contests encourage competitive attitudes and secrecy between contestants. They focus people on incremental progress in very specialized areas, for one-shot tests. Science needs exactly the opposite–collaboration between researchers, openness, a diversity of approaches and “out of the box” and long-term thinking. It needs the freedom to choose what problem to work on, rather than have it dictated by the arbitrary rules of the contest.Let’s be clear: winning a particular contest is not, by itself, a scientific achievement. Science is not a contest. Science advances by learning general problem-solving principles. If it happens that scientists introduce new, general principles that enable them to win a particular contest, then a contest can serve as a public demonstration of their prowess. It’s great PR. But sometimes contests can be won by tricks or specialized techniques that don’t cause scientists to learn anything really new. It all depends on how it’s done. Scientists judge by the principles and techniques, not by the contest results. Even after the Jeopardy event, we won’t really know “who won” until all the details of how it was done are published in the scientific literature.The Jeopardy contest is fun. But it’s important to keep in mind that this is a game. Scientists study games. They conduct experiments about games. Using games as research lab? That’s a practice you will most likely only see on television.center_img IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Tags:#Analysis#enterprise#NYT last_img read more

Laxman set to draw the curtains on a ‘Very Very Special’ career

first_imgVangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman, the stylish Hyderabadi cricketer, is all set to call it a day.The 37-year-old middle-order batsman is likely to quit international cricket soon after the two-Test cricket series against New Zealand, commencing on August 23. The first match of the series will be played in his home town of Hyderabad.Laxman is expected to make the announcement on his retirement in a day or two.The “Very Very Special” batsman, who has been out of form for the last two seasons, reportedly told his close friends in the field and a couple of sports correspondents on Friday that he had decided to retire from international cricket and would like to make an announcement to this effect before the commencement of the India-New Zealand Test series for which he was picked up.”I would take a final call after discussing with my parents, wife, well-wishers, coaches and other friends,” he is learnt to have said.Laxman did not respond to the calls and text messages when Mail Today tried to contact him to get confirmation about the reports on his retirement. Sources close to him, however, confirmed that he made up his mind to bid adieu to cricket.Laxman, who made his debut in 1996 against South Africa, has played 134 Tests scoring 8,781 runs, including 17 centuries and 56 fifties, at an average of 45.97. He has also played 86 ODIs, scoring 2,338 runs with six hundreds.Sources said Laxman had, in fact, decided to announce retirement much before the selection of team for the two-match Test series against New Zealand. “The retirement of Rahul Dravid brought a lot of pressure on him to follow suit, as he had not performed well in both the Test series in Australia and England. Since then, he was toying up with the idea of quitting international cricket,” sources said.In fact, Laxman’s average during the four-Test series against Australia was 19.38, and before that, he had just averaged 22.75 in the series against England. In between these two series, however, he had put up a good show against the West Indies in a three-Test home series by scoring 298 runs with a stupendous average of 99.33.Following the pathetic performance in Australia, Laxman was under pressure to quit, as there was criticism against him that he was blocking the chances of youngsters. He was apprehensive that he might not be picked up for the series with New Zealand, but the selectors have thought otherwise. They picked him up for the squad as they apparently thought a senior cricketer like him would be the backbone of the team in the absence of Dravid. As a result, Laxman decided to play for the last time for the country.”Obviously, he wants to retire with grace by putting up a decent performance in the home series,” sources said. – With inputs from Mail Today advertisementlast_img read more

a month agoBurn felt Brighton let themselves down in defeat at Chelsea

first_imgBurn felt Brighton let themselves down in defeat at Chelseaby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveBrighton defender Dan Burn felt they let themselves down in defeat at Chelsea.Burn arguably had Albion’s best chance of the game when his downward header clipped the bar, and reiterated the need for the team to start taking their chances.He said, “I thought Chelsea were the better team on the day and we didn’t do what we do as well as we have done in other games.“They had some good chances, but we were frustrated with the penalty because I didn’t think it was, at the time.“I could’ve scored with that header as well, so it was very frustrating. We are creating chances, and we have to take them, which is what the top teams do.“We’ll look at it all on Monday and Tuesday and see what we could have done better.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

7 days agoPaul Ince believes his Liverpool team should’ve won Premier League title

first_imgPaul Ince believes his Liverpool team should’ve won Premier League titleby Paul Vegas7 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Liverpool captain Paul Ince believes his team should’ve won the Premier League title.Ince reckons that he could have been a Premier League champion with the Reds if he’d had the current side’s defence alongside him.The former midfielder told the Liverpool Echo: “I felt that we had a very talented team. Jamie Redknapp in midfield, Patrick Berger and (Steve) McManaman, I think we had the most goals in the league in those roles, and then you’ve got Michael upfront, Robbie Fowler, (Karl-Heinz) Riedle, so we had some top, top players.“At the back we never got it right. I look at the Liverpool team now, if we had that back five, we would’ve won title after title after title because the rest of the team was pretty much in order.“That kind of rankles with me a bit, also the fact that I was there two years. I should’ve really had longer.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more


first_img Facebook Login/Register With: Twitter Brett Harvey’s filmmaking career is going from strength to strength these days.His most recent release, Ice Guardians (2016), a documentary about NHL hockey enforcers, was named Best of Film by Sports Illustrated and nominated for several awards at festivals across Canada and the United States. It was released this April on Netflix Canada, where it quickly became a trending film.“The response has been overwhelming,” said Harvey. During his high school years in Powell River in the 1990s, Harvey said he never dreamed of making movies, let alone having a successful career in the industry and travelling the world.“Filmmaking was not a realistic option for me growing up,” he said. “Digital technology was in its infancy and quality video gear was virtually inaccessible.”Because film classes were non-existent at the time, he attempted to convince teachers to let him turn school assignments into video presentations. That tactic only worked twice; for an assignment on Macbeth and a project on an Italian painter, he said.“Those are the only two school assignments I still remember,” he added.Harvey excelled in sports at school and was captain of the high school basketball team and involved in track and field. The year he graduated he was recognized as one of two athletes of the year.“I remember him playing basketball and doing track for Max Cameron,” said Brooks Secondary School teacher Tony Rice. “He was a very well-liked student.”After graduating, Harvey volunteered for the local cable station while attending what was then Malaspina College.“I started shooting camera at local events,” said Harvey. “It was my only way to access video gear at the time, and I was able to ask technical questions to people who knew what they were talking about.”Harvey used the experience to get into Capilano College’s Media Arts Diploma Program.“From there I found my love: documentary storytelling,” he added.The first feature documentary he directed and wrote, The Union: The Business Behind Getting High (2007), was about the underground marijuana industry.“It was a small production that gained momentum we never could have predicted,” he said.At the time, cannabis was still considered a taboo topic that no one was interested in investing documentary money into, he added.The film toured the festival circuit in cities around the world, picking up various awards along the way, including National Film Board of Canada’s award for Best Canadian Documentary.“We were even invited to be screened on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, to educate senators and members of parliament on the ramifications of marijuana prohibition,” he said.Harvey made a follow-up film in 2014 entitled, The Culture High, that looks at the many changes in culture, policy and awareness around cannabis since that time. Currently, he is busy filming around the United States for his latest project, Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo, chronicling the life and career of an actor known for playing tough guys.“Danny is one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever met; he was a full-fledged armed robber for the majority of his youth,” said Harvey. “Upon his release from prison, he entered into one of the most illuminating transformations of human character.”Although Harvey is now based in the Lower Mainland and travels frequently for work, he comes back to Powell River to visit his father whenever he can.With diverse subject matter, from hockey enforcers and the cannabis industry to ex-convicts turned actors, the common thread in Harvey’s work is attempting to understand.“It’s engaging the act of empathy,” he said. “You don’t have to agree with someone to empathize with them. Empathy is a tool to come to greater understandings, regardless of the topic.” LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

Despite US tariffs, China GDP grows above expected 6.4%

first_imgBeijing: China on Wednesday said its economy grew 6.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, slightly more than expected despite the world’s second largest economy facing a host of headwinds, including a long-running trade war with the US. China’s GDP reached 21.343 trillion yuan (about $3.18 trillion) in the first three months of 2019, and the growth pace was the same with that of fourth quarter 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement on Wednesday. The Chinese economy grew 6.4 per cent in the year’s first quarter compared with the same period in 2018. The first quarter GDP growth was in the range of 6 per cent to 6.5 per cent target fixed by the Chinese government for this year. Last year the economy grew at 6.6 per cent. The tertiary sector reported the strongest growth in added value by expanding 7 per cent to reach 12.232 trillion yuan, which accounted for 57.3 per cent of the total first quarter GDP, picking up by 0.6 percentage points compared with first quarter 2018. Consumption continued to be the mainstay in driving up demand, contributing 65.1 per cent to first quarter economic growth, NBS data showed. The industrial and agricultural sectors saw their added value grow 6.1 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively, the figures said. China’s industrial output, an important economic indicator, expanded 6.5 per cent year on year in the first quarter. The growth rate came in 1.2 percentage points higher than that recorded in the January-February period, the NBS said. In March alone, industrial output increased 8.5 per cent year on year, a record-high since July 2014, up 3.2 percentage points from the January-February period. The industrial production saw faster growth in the first quarter, with more presence of high-tech industries, the NBS said in a statement. Industrial output, officially called industrial value added, is used to measure the activity of designated large enterprises with annual turnover of at least 20 million yuan (about $2.9 million) The Chinese economy, the world’s second largest, has been slowing down facing a host of headwinds which included a long-running trade war with the US, weak consumption at home and slower export demand abroad, as well as debt problems in both the public and private sectors. Expectations were high about reaching durable deal with the US to end the trade war as both the governments gave a positive assessment of nine rounds of talks reaching agreement on a host of issues. US President Donald Trump who kicked off the trade war last year is demanding China to reduce the $375 billion trade deficit and protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), technology transfer and more access to American goods to Chinese markets. He has already increased the tariffs on over $250 billion Chinese exports to US and threatened to extend tariffs on $200 billion Chinese imports to 25 per cent. China too slapped reciprocal tariffs on some US exports to the country. Trump held back his threat to impose additional tariffs on the rest of Chinese imports as both sides stepped up talks to finalise the text of the deal.last_img read more

Supermoms: Striking work-life balance

first_imgStriking right balance between career and personal life can be a real struggle, but it becomes even more challenging when you are a mother – striving to secure your position in a man dominated world, while discharging the responsibilities of a whole other human being. This Mother’s Day, we thought to interact with some of these rock stars who are effortlessly balancing the jobs of a housemaker, a professional, a mother, a wife and what not.Shubhaavi Choksey, Television actress Also Read – The Puja carnivalI am lucky to be blessed with two mothers (mother and mother-in-law) to take care of my child, but despite all the support it hasn’t been easy. Building a career, while fulfilling my duties as a mother has not been a cake walk. Whether I have time or not, whether I have slept enough or not at all, whether I am unwell or absolutely in the pink of health, by default my responsibility is the same. Being a working mother, even 24 hours seem less to me. But I still try and do my level best in the available time. Also Read – Wave City brings special offers this NavratraDr Prakriti Poddar, Mental Health Expert There is no supermom! You have to give up on one job to be good at the other. Balance is really a distant dream, no matter how hard you try. But I still try… However, there are days when meetings supersede the bedtime. Those days, I have to step out and make a quite phone mail to fill prayers into the ears of my children. Sundays are non-negotiable to me. I spend it with my children – Quality over Quantity. Also, we have family groups on WhatsApp, for constant interaction. Luckily, we are all great at communication and my kids have a safe emotional outlet. Arunima Kumar, Kuchipudi dancer The most beautiful thing in this world is to become a mother because you learn to put somebody else before you. But it takes a lot of sacrifices and you have to be on your toes to manage it well. In a dancer’s life, nothing is predictable. You can’t plan your days in advance. Sometimes you are constantly rehearsing , travelling to places – and still, have to be always available for your child. For example, recently I went to France with my group for a performance. We had to rehearse all day and night for it. The schedule was so tight that I couldn’t manage to spend time with my daughter, and so she used to come, watch me dance. It is difficult, but we make it work somehow. Chef Veena Arora, Chef De Cuisine, The Imperial Although I have all grown up children now (and grandchildren too), my biggest support has always been my husband when they were young. I used to work in the evenings while he made sure he comes back home before I leave the house. I used to cook before leaving for work and help the kids with their homework too. We handled everything mutually. If a woman decides to achieve something, she can definitely turn impossible to possible. In my case, it was raising my children along with being a chef and I gave equal priority to both. I taught my children to be independent and maintained my passion and honesty for my work. It’s all about striking the right balance. Kanta Mehra, Art Gallery In-Charge I am a single parent of two kids, working in the most reputed organisation of Delhi for almost 20 years. Initially, it was all very difficult – forgetting about my wishes and desires, and only focussing on work and home. But time teaches you everything. Now, I have a routine. I get up at 5 am to complete all the housework, go out for a walk (because health cannot be ignored), send kids to school, get ready for my office and then rush to catch the 8 am bus. After spending 12 long hours in the office, heading towards home is a big sigh of relief but only until I reach home. Because then, my second shift starts – I cook dinner, and spend time with kids. As the clock strikes 12, I am exhausted enough to crash and sleep.last_img read more

New plastic that can be fully recycled created

first_imgWashington: Scientists say they have created a next-generation plastic that can be fully recycled into new materials of any colour, shape, or form, without loss of performance or quality. As plastics contain various additives, like dyes, fillers, or flame retardants, very few plastics can be recycled without loss in performance or aesthetics, said researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportEven the most recyclable plastic, PET — or polyethylene terephthalate — is only recycled at a rate of 20-30 per cent, with the rest typically going to incinerators or landfills, where the carbon-rich material takes centuries to decompose. Now, a team of researchers at Berkeley Lab has designed a recyclable plastic that, like a Lego playset, can be disassembled into its constituent parts at the molecular level. Described in the journal Nature Chemistry, the plastic, called poly diketoenamine, or PDK, can be reassembled into a different shape, texture, and colour again and again without loss of performance or quality. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protests”Most plastics were never made to be recycled,” said Peter Christensen, a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab. “But we have discovered a new way to assemble plastics that takes recycling into consideration from a molecular perspective,” Christensen said. All plastics, from water bottles to automobile parts, are made up of large molecules called polymers, which are composed of repeating units of shorter carbon-containing compounds called monomers. According to the researchers, the problem with many plastics is that the chemicals added to make them useful — such as fillers that make a plastic tough, or plasticisers that make a plastic flexible — are tightly bound to the monomers and stay in the plastic even after it is been processed at a recycling plant. During processing at such plants, plastics with different chemical compositions — hard plastics, stretchy plastics, clear plastics, candy-coloured plastics — are mixed together and ground into bits. When that hodgepodge of chopped-up plastics is melted to make a new material, it is hard to predict which properties it will inherit from the original plastics. “With PDKs, the immutable bonds of conventional plastics are replaced with reversible bonds that allow the plastic to be recycled more effectively,” said Brett Helms, from Berkeley Lab, who led the study. Unlike conventional plastics, the monomers of PDK plastic could be recovered and freed from any compounded additives simply by dunking the material in a highly acidic solution. The acid helps to break the bonds between the monomers and separate them from the chemical additives that give plastic its look and feel. After testing various formulations, the researchers demonstrated that not only does acid break down PDK polymers into monomers, but the process also allows the monomers to be separated from entwined additives.last_img read more