My Squashed Interview With Steve Madden, Shoe Guru-Turned-Ex-Convict

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The reputation of the Long Island Press precedes me.Due to the contributions of countless fore-writers before me, its name has paved the way for sources such as Sen. Phil Boyle to send me an after-midnight text message for a quote, for a phone call from Congressman Peter King to interrupt a father picking up his daughter from a play date at my house, for perks like tickets to Jim Breuer at the Paramount and backstage passes to Foreigner at Jones Beach.But so far the biggest effect its notoriety has had in my short tenure here was that its mere association so terrified women’s shoe mogul Steve Madden that he was forced to hide out in an executive office on the third floor of Macy’s in Roosevelt Field shopping mall pretending to be stuck in traffic.Because besides being known the world over as a peddler of high-end knockoffs, Madden’s name is inextricably linked to one of the most notorious Wall Street scams in recent memory, stock fraud of monstrous proportions that defrauded scores of investors and families, Lake Success-based brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont’s “pump and dump” scheme—which netted the firm more than $200 million, was masterminded by Jordan Belfort and glamorized by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio in last year’s The Wolf of Wall Street.Madden, a key participant in the scheme, according to federal authorities, pleaded guilty to stock fraud and money laundering, was convicted, and served 30 months of a 41-month prison sentence for his role. Besides jail time, Madden had to fork over several million dollars in restitution.Yet I wasn’t looking to corner the guy into some huge Come-To-Jesus tell-all (everybody deserves a second chance, right?) to open the eyes of the hordes of screaming teens and pre-teens who, along with their parents, were flooding the ground floor of the mall as if Justin Bieber were performing; I was simply coming to ask him flowery questions about his shoes for a glowing feature spread in the Press’ sister publication, Milieu Magazine.My ill-fated interview with the shoe titan ex-con began as traditionally as possible. An email from a publicist. Some juggling of schedules. Sure, I knew of his past misdeeds. When the Milieu writer who was originally assigned the interview left for vacation and the responsibility fell upon me, I voiced his name aloud in the newsroom, catching the attention of several Press staffers, who reminded me—hell, we’d just published a scathing feature story about the unseen victims who had gotten no screen time in the Oscar-nominated Scorsese film called “Skinning The Wolf of Wall Street” (which I can only assume at least influenced Madden’s handlers’ blatant unprofessionalism). Madden was played by Dustin Hoffman’s son Jake. (Madden’s complaint, I read, was that he was played “too nerdy.”)During my research, I also discovered that Madden, who grew up in LI’s Five Towns, found a new lease on life upon his release from prison, that he had a renewed commitment to the public and the community, that he’d even gotten married (to a former employee, when he realized he looked forward to her visits in greater capacity than he’d anticipated).I thought maybe I should wear a pair of Steve Madden shoes to the interview, which was confirmed through multiple emails with his public relations liaison Casey Bakker at PMK*BNC. Maybe an in-person interview with the designer warranted a shopping trip!The time spent hemming and hawing and justifying more shoes to my husband ran way over the time I’d allotted it—now I was running late. By the time I hit the road, there was just enough time to make it there for my 1:30 meet-up. I wore my motorcycle boot UGGs and hoped he wouldn’t notice.Lucky for me, the Southern State-to-the-Meadowbrook route I drove to work during the week was fairly empty on this Saturday afternoon.My phone rang. En route, I took the call. It was from Gabriella Weiser, Madden’s marketing director. She wanted to “go over some of the questions” I was planning to ask Madden. See “what tack” we were taking for the piece. I told her I wanted to know what types of shoes were on trend for spring. And about his new lease on life. His renewed commitment toward his public. And about his new marriage.“Yeah,” Gabriella said. “No.”“Um. What?” I asked.“Steve won’t be taking any questions about his life,” she told me. “I just want to be clear so that I won’t have to interrupt you during the interview.”“So I can only ask him about shoes?”“Yes.”“What about his new wife? His sense of community?”“No,” she said, firmly. (The “absofuckinglutelynot” was implied.)I agreed, of course, and continued to the mall—wracking my brain for 30 minutes worth of questions about shoes. I’d only come up with “Why can’t I just wear my motorcycle boot UGGs all the time?” when my phone rang again just as I was pulling into the mall parking lot. (A full 20 minutes earlier than anticipated, since traffic patterns are so different on weekends.)It was Gabriella again.“I’m so sorry, Jaime,” she said. “Steve has gotten held up in traffic. He’s not going to be able to get here until about 2 o’clock and the Macy’s event starts right at 2.”The same traffic that I was just not in?“Can you email me your questions and I’ll have Steve answer them over the weekend?” she asked.I agreed. Terrific.Since I was already there, I walked into the mall and headed toward Macy’s—as my cell phone rang yet again.It was Gabriella. Again.“Hi!!!” her voice wafted from my phone. There was an excitement there, like we were old friends. I was touched by her display of friendliness. And I thought briefly that maybe Steve had made it there after all, and she was calling me with the thrilling news.“Hi!” I enthused, right back.Silence.“Hello?” I said.Crickets.That’s weird, I thought. And then her voice came through again, in a strikingly different, sobering tone. “Hi Jaime,” the new voice said. “I called the wrong number.”“Oh.”“Yeah, again, I’m so sorry that Steve couldn’t make it. I hate to be so unprofessional and cancel the interview so close, but.”“Mmm-hmm,” I said, careful not to say, “It’s okay.” Because it wasn’t. It was unprofessional, at the very least.“He’s still in traffic,” she said again.The other reason it wasn’t okay was because there was no traffic. It was an awkward phone call that we were both relieved to end.SUPPORT THE BUSINESSES WHO HELP MAKE OUR JOURNALISM POSSIBLE – CLICK HEREI headed toward the Macy’s shoe department where there were lines of women behind red velvet ropes awaiting the spectacle of the shoe mogul. A DJ was spinning loud tunes while a perfectly coiffed emcee in a black miniskirt and towering gladiator (no doubt Steve Madden) shoes kept the party going. We all “put our hands together” at the prospect of winning a pair of shoes! The anticipation was palpable.Four security guards blocked the front of the line where a roped-off table where Madden was to appear held center stage. I approached them and asked where they wanted press people to stand, so as not to be in the way. He pointed out a tall man who looked to be in his mid-30s.“He’s the Macy’s manager,” he said. “He’ll know where to go.”Indeed he did.“Oh, you’re here for Steve Madden?” he asked. “Right this way.”“He’s here?” I asked, feeling my cell phone, still warm from my last call from Gabriella just moments before.“Oh yeah,” he told me. “He’s here.”The manager led me up the escalator to the third floor where a beige door was placed discreetly behind the children’s department. Inside the executive office was a receptionist’s desk and some folding chairs. I was instructed to wait on one of those chairs while the manager alerted Steve Madden, who was behind yet another beige door.“I’ll tell him you’re here,” he said, just as a sophisticated woman in a black suit with (undoubtedly) Steve Madden heels walked in, balancing a tray of Starbucks coffee in her manicured hands.She looked from him to me and back again, prompting the manager to make our introduction.“This is Jaime from the Long Island Press!” he said.I’ve never seen anyone stop more dead in his or her tracks or turn as white as a ghost before. But in that moment, those very clichés came to life before me. She looked, quite simply, like someone who’d just been caught in a lie. Because she had.The Starbucks shook, but did not spill.Gabriella tried to regain her composure. She stomped toward me in 2014 spring gladiator heels. The sweetness of her wrong number-dialing voice was gone.“I cancelled this interview,” she said, accusingly.“You must be Gabriella,” I replied, overcompensating for her lack of sweetness with my own. “We spoke on the phone.”She looked at me, but did not speak. Or offer her hand (she was still holding the tray of coffee, so that was moderately understandable).“I turns out Steve is here,” I informed her. “So…” I meant so, unless you’re going to tell me that the security guard is wrong and that the person in the other room doing interviews is actually a Steve Madden doppelganger filling in for him since he really is stuck in really, really terrible, though invisible, traffic, which must be snarling hundreds of other imaginary commuters frantically scrambling to get to the mall to try some of his so-not-in-style, so-yesterday, so…’90s (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in this case I’m using it as if it is), we have some unfinished business to take care of here. Or at the very least, I Am Owed The Professional Courtesy Of An Explanation!“You need to go back downstairs right now,” she said.“There is still no interview? Even though Steve made it through the traffic?”It was 1:30 exactly—a good half-hour before show time and our scheduled interview.“No.”Women’s shoe knockoff titan-turned-ex-con Steve Madden waves to adoring fans during a recent appearance at Roosevelt Field shopping mall. (Jaime Franchi/Long Island Press)Back downstairs I went, to where approximately 300 rabid Madden fans were lined up behind velvet ropes while a DJ blasted Ke$ha’s “Timber!” Security personnel, maybe eight of them, dressed in dark suits with earpieces and scrutinizing eyes, surveyed the crowd. They parked me next to where the red velvet rope marked the boundary of where Steve Madden would sit to meet with his fans and to sign T-shirts. Together we waited, while his national sales manager, in a flowered blue shirt raffled off strappy sandals to all who participated and three lanky models pranced and danced to the pounding rhythm set forth by the DJ. I took this time to chat up the security guys and to question why a shoe designer would need such a tremendous security detail for a mall appearance.Might he have been concerned that the people of Long Island would see in him not the figurehead of fancy footwear, but a swindler, a crook, and an ex-convict? Was the plentiful security there to protect him against an unforgiving Long Island, with their long-term memory intact?From the looks of the excited crowd, he had nothing to worry about.But his handlers’ lies about traffic, their attempt to control our interview by forbidding questions about his life that might have served to humanize him or at least have given him a platform to apologize and explain how far he’s come since his arrest and his staff’s vast unprofessionalism solidified the fact that there was one in the crowd who was decidedly now very much not a fan.At about 2:20 p.m., Madden arrived in his trademark baseball cap, button-down shirt, jeans and what I can only assume were Steve Madden shoes accompanied by more security and some staffers, including Gabriella. The whoops and cheers created a cacophony of excitement as he waved to the crowd and took his seat at the table.It was then that Gabriella spied me taking pictures. After all, it was a public event. She leaned into a security guard and whispered something to him. He then blocked my view and began to move me away from my assigned place.“You can’t be here,” he said. “Step 20 feet back.”“I’m with the press,” I told him.“Oh I know exactly who you are,” he said. “Get back!”And so I did. Back from Gabriella and Steve Madden, back from Macy’s and the Roosevelt Field mall. I’d gotten everything I needed. As Julia Roberts said to the store clerk in Pretty Woman: “Big mistake, Steve Madden.”Huge.And to think: All I was ever going to ask him about—and all I was ever going to write about—were exactly that, his shoes! His handlers’ attempts at damage control were nothing but damaging.PS- The next day, I was alerted to a new Twitter follower—Wendy Madden, who identifies herself as Steve Madden’s wife on her bio, and is obviously very much interested in what I have to say.Wonder if she’ll be re-Tweeting this. Wonder if she wears UGGs. I’m guessing, probably not.last_img read more

Mauricio Pochettino says he wants to kick Paul Merson for saying Arsenal would ‘rip Spurs to shreds’

first_img Metro Sport ReporterFriday 30 Aug 2019 6:20 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link624Shares Comment Mauricio Pochettino was unimpressed with Paul Merson’s comments (Picture: Getty)Mauricio Pochettino has joked that he would like to kick Paul Merson after he claimed that Arsenal would ‘rip Tottenham to shreds’ in Sunday’s derby.Arsenal head into the game against their north London rivals as slight favourites having won two of their opening three Premier League games compared to Spurs’ one.Merson certainly fancies his former club to take all three points at the Emirates, saying on Tuesday: ‘I think Arsenal will win the game quite comfortably, 4-1. I think they will rip Tottenham to shreds.‘I think Tottenham are struggling at the moment and if Arsenal get going then they could score a few. The Man City game has covered over the cracks at Spurs.’ADVERTISEMENT Mauricio Pochettino says he wants to kick Paul Merson for saying Arsenal would ‘rip Spurs to shreds’ Advertisement Advertisement Tottenham suffered a demoralising defeat to Newcastle last weekend (Picture: Getty)Ahead of the game, Pochettino was asked which of Arsenal’s players – past or present – he would like to have managed at Spurs and the Argentine flipped the question to aim a dig at Merson.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘Maybe play against? Yes, I want to play against Paul Merson. I would like to kick him,’ he said with a smile to an amused press room.Spurs have finished ahead of Arsenal in the Premier League table in each of the last three seasons with Pochettino establishing the club as a regular in the top-four places.However, Spurs failed to beat Arsenal in either league game last season, with the Gunners winning 4-1 at the Emirates before drawing 1-1 at Wembley after Hugo Lloris saved a last-minute penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityMerson’s prediction that Arsenal will win comfortably against Spurs isn’t a universal view amongst Sky Sports’ pundits as Danny Mills selected only two of Unai Emery’s players in his combined XI from both sides.Pochettino also dismissed speculation that he could leave the club after the game saying: ‘What I can say about it is that is stupidity and rumour.’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenallast_img read more

PGS kicks off GeoStreamer X seismic survey in Brazil

first_imgSeismic services provider PGS is back in Brazil in 2020 with a Ramform Titan-class vessel to acquire the first GeoStreamer X MultiClient 3D seismic survey in the region.Ramform Titan vessel; Source: PGSThe Campos Deepwater GeoStreamer X project will deliver high-quality, long offset, multi-azimuth seismic data over the deepwater portion of northern Campos Basin and the first data will be available in 4Q 2020,  PGS said on Monday.According to the company, the survey will provide the first 3D data over blocks offered in the upcoming 17th Bidding Round, will inform operators on drilling decisions in 14th Bidding Round blocks, and will improve subsurface imaging of the presalt section outboard of Campos Basin oil giants, including Roncador, Albacore, and Marlim.The Ramform Titan vessel arrived in Brazil on schedule and started operations on February 25, just north of the Tropic of Capricorn and west of the Marlim field in the Campos Basin.PGS stated that its flagship seismic survey vessel was towing the largest acquisition spread ever deployed in Brazil, comprising over 140 000 meters of active multisensor streamers.GeoStreamer X for Campos Exploration OpportunitiesPGS’ Campos Deepwater GeoStreamer X program targets Campos Basin presalt open acreage, blocks acquired in the 14th Bidding Round, as well as open acreage offered in the 17th Bidding Round that is scheduled for late-2020. The survey will cover an area of approximately 14 500 square kilometers and overshoot PGS’ existing orthogonal MC3D, which is currently being reprocessed.Final multi-azimuth products on Campos Deepwater GeoStreamer X, available in 4Q 2021, will include TTI Kirchhoff and RTM (45 Hz) PSDM. These will benefit from both the new GeoStreamer fidelity and broadband reprocessing of the legacy data. PGS will also be offering a high-resolution PSTM to aid in shallow drilling hazard analysis, gravity and magnetic data for regional basin analysis, as well as standard field deliverables. Fast track products will be available prior to the 17th Bidding Round, scheduled for late-2020.Barrett Cameron, Vice President New Ventures NSA for PGS, commented, “PGS is delighted to return to Brazil in 2020 with the first GeoStreamer X project in this region, in the under-explored presalt play of the Campos Basin. Our previous campaigns, in Potiguar and Sergipe in 2018, proved the unique capacity of our Ramform Titan-class vessels towing large spreads to deliver efficient and safe operations in the challenging environment of Brazil.“We are looking forward to better illuminating this portion of the Campos Basin, potentially containing large exploration opportunities. By combining a tailored GeoStreamer X design with an efficient and cost-effective Ramform Titan-class and leading-edge imaging technologies, we anticipate a step-change in image quality to enable future discoveries and provide an excellent baseline 3D survey.”Spotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Also, if you’re interested in showcasing your company, product, or technology on Offshore Energy Today, please contact us via our advertising form where you can also see our media kit.last_img read more

Inside Conditions…No more excuses for Pirates

first_imgYour comments are welcome. Follow @NewPghCourier on Twitter us at our mobile app at No woman no cry, no woman no cry. When it comes to the Pittsburgh Pirates in regards to the last 18 seasons, many Buccos’ fans thought the words to the famous Bob Marley tune meant; “No Pittsburgh, no cry,” well at least when it came to watching the Pirates lose season after season after season.But ya know what, yense? This might be the year for putting away the crying towels and bringing out the “babushkas’” and the “green weenies.”Okay, I may be getting carried away because as most of us know those devices might help the faithful get through tough times but most of us realize that the only thing that matters in sports is that your guy is bigger, faster, stronger and smarter than the opposition, period. There are no magic formulas for winning.Most of the time the teams with the deepest pockets have the largest mantle piece on which to place their numerous championship trophies, because huge reservoirs of “dough” are able to buy huge reservoirs of talent. But somewhere there is evidence aplenty in regards to when the Pittsburgh Pirates stopped being the “lumber” company and became the “slumber” company.According to many and doubted by few, the Pittsburgh Pirates fell into the “abyss of losing” on Oct. 14, 1992 when Atlanta Braves’ infielder Sid Bream slid across home plate to win the National League Championship Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bream who might have timed in the 100 meters at 1000.06 was slower than molasses in Times Square on Jan. 1 at minus 10 degrees. How he scored from second base is still one of the seven unsolved mysteries since the beginning of time.Also Sid Beam wore a Pirates uniform before being traded to the Braves before the 1991 season.According to a report written by J. Brady McCollough for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette McCollough said that; “The Pirates of 1992 are not the type to believe in the supernatural. They are tried and true baseball men, believing only that, when round ball hits round bat, anything can happen. Still, they look for answers—ways to explain the events of an Autumn night in Atlanta that now feels predestined.”As far as I am concerned, destiny or our valid transport towards it can only be feasible when one is equipped with the proper vehicle, roadmap and companions to keep you on the right track as you travel toward the destination. If one of the aforementioned components is missing, chances are that the odds of me, you or the gatepost reaching any arrival point is slim, slim, slim and none. …If you have the perfect vehicle but yet you have no GPS system, roadmap or traveling companion to keep you from falling asleep the wheel the chances of you making past “home plate” in one piece are not very good.At one time not only did a few of the Pirates past managing partners fall asleep at the wheel, they were pulled over and charged with several violations of d.u.i.o.s or simply put in laymen’s terms, driving under the influence of stupidity.For more than a decade they gave away filet mignon and received chuck roast in return. Sid Bream did not initiate the Pirates evolution toward the “dark side” of competitiveness, ill thought out and reckless management decisions resulted in fielding Pittsburgh teams that for many years resembled AAA or some cases even AA minor league franchises.The article by Mr. McCollough goes on to point out that, “After the 1991 season, they [the Pirates] lost slugger Bobby Bonilla to the New York Mets in free agency.Because the organization couldn’t pony up for Bonilla, it was clear to the players that the Pirates also wouldn’t be resigning Barry Bonds and Drabek when their contracts expired after the 1992 season.The window was already closing fast when they arrived in Bradenton, Fla., for spring training. And it was during those normally hopeful six weeks in the sun that the sand began rapidly slipping through the hourglass. One day, the Pirates arrived at the clubhouse to find that pitcher John Smiley, who had won 20 games in 1991, had been traded to the Minnesota Twins for two prospects—pitcher Denny Neagle and outfielder Midre Cummings.Neagle would go on to win 59 games for the Pirates in five seasons, and Cummings would never eclipse 31 RBIs in a season. Everybody was absolutely distraught, pissed, mad, throwing things,” said Bob Walk, then a Pirates starting pitcher. “It was a slap in everybody’s face.”In regards to that fateful slide ex-Pirates centerfielder Andy Van Slyke was quoted in the aforementioned article as saying, “all the stars lined up against us.” Hell, ya’ll, if that small bit of astrological info happens to be true how were the stars lined up on the night when ex-Pirate GM Dave Littlefield was hired? Some even talk about the “Bream Curse.” Well it is always considered a curse when the fish you allowed to get away bites you in the “bootay.” One of the reasons that Bream was “allegedly” traded away was because of his lack of speed; attt, wrong answer.If ex-Pirates manager Jim Leyland had been smart that day, Leyland would have pulled a “Woody Hayes” and rushed out of the dugout as Mr. Bream rounded third base and sucker punched him square in the mouth. Mr. Hayes once the proud head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes punched a player from the opposition and sucker punched himself out of a job. I betcha Mr. “Slowsky” I’m so sorry, I meant Mr. Bream would not have victoriously slid across home plate then. I have a feeling that in 2013 the fans in Chicago and Milwaukee are going to be singing, no playoffs, no cry because if the stars stay lined up as they currently are all the signs are pointing to the Pittsburgh Pirates as being on their way.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected]­pittsburgh­ or 412-583-6741) AUBREY BRUCElast_img read more

Saints land key goaltending prospect with Cyclone Taylor Cup experience

first_imgThe Selkirk Saints solidified its net for the upcoming B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League season by inking two-time Cyclone Taylor netminder Aaron Oakley to a playing commitment.Oakley joins Selkirk following an outstanding three-year career in the Pacific Junior Hockey League with the Richmond Sockeyes and Abbotsford Pilots. The of Richmond product appeared at back-to-back Cyclone Taylor Cups in 2011 and 2012 with the Sockeyes and Pilots respectively, and went on to win the Keystone Cup with Abbotsford to conclude his 19-year old season.”Aaron’s performance and accomplishments over the past three seasons match-up favourably against any Junior B goaltender in the province,” said Saints head coach Jeff Dubois, fresh off leading the Saints to the 2013 BCIHL title.”He comes from a winning program in Abbotsford that demands excellence from its players, so we expect him to be well-prepared to make an impact at the college level.”Oakley led the PCHL in a number of statistical categories during the 2012/13 season as a member of the Pilots, including games played (33), minutes played (1941) and wins (23).The 20-year old also finished second amongst PJHL netminders with a 2.01 goals-against average and fourth with a .918 save percentage. His overall totals spanning three seasons in the PJHL include 58 wins and 21 losses with a 2.27 GAA and a .914 SV%.He has also earned a number of individual accolades, including the PJHL’s Most Valuable Player award for the 2012/13 season. He was an all-star in all three years played in the league and was the recipient of the Top Goaltender award as a rookie with the Sockeyes in 2010/11. The addition of Oakley brings Selkirk back to three goaltenders on the roster for the 2013/14 season after former Nelson Leafs Marcus Beesley and the team agreed to defer his commitment by one year. Oakley is the ninth player to commit to the Saints for the 2013/14 season. He joins forwards Darnell Dyck (Langley, BCHL), Markus McCrea (Youngstown, USHL) and Garrett Kucher (Osoyoos, KIJHL), blueliners Stefan Gonzales (Aldergrove, PJHL), Arie Postmus (Beaver Valley, KIJHL), Ryan Procyshyn (Delta, PJHL) and Tanner Lenting (North Delta, PJHL) and goaltender Myles Hovdebo (LaRonge, SJHL).last_img read more

Warriors HQ: How the Warriors won playoff game two against Houston Rockets

first_img9:00 – James Harden injury12:00 – Why the Warriors won Game 215:00 – Steph Curry injury17:00 –  Andre Iguodala’s value24:00 – How Draymond played at center 00:00 – 3:00 – Klay deal/digital subscription plug3:00 – Officiating5:00 – Chris Paul still complaining7:00 – Draymond Green handling the calls well 28:00 – Can Warriors sustain heavy minutes?34:00 – Is the series over?37:00 – Previewing Game 341:00 – The Rockets’ gripes about the officials backfired45:00 – …last_img

SA holds score on Doing Business Index

first_imgSouth Africa ranks 34 out of 183 countries surveyed in terms of ease of doing business. (Image: ratings of South Africa as an investment market as well as a strong ranking against emerging markets – and specifically the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China – underpin the country’s performance in the annual Ease of Doing Business Index results announced by the World Bank in Washington on 4 November 2010.The Ease of Doing Business Index is an index created by the international financial institution, and uses empirical research to justify its work by showing the effect of improving regulations on economic growth.Higher rankings indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protection of property rights.The index is meant to measure regulations directly affecting businesses and does not directly measure more general conditions such as a nation’s proximity to large markets, quality of infrastructure, inflation, or crime.South Africa lost two places in the latest index results and is now placed 34 out of 183 economies.“As with other indices issued of late, South Africa has not lost place as a result of declining scores, but rather as a result of other economies improving at a more rapid rate,” said Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola.“Our consistent ratings are underpinned by improvements in areas such as closing a business, where we are up three places to 74; as well as in enforcing contracts where we improved on position to 85, from 86. In contrast to this South Africa lost ground in areas such as starting a business, registering a company and trading across borders,” he said.Globally competitive investment destinationMatola added that Brand South Africa will continue to prioritise efforts to promote the country’s reputation as a globally competitive investment destination, guided by indices such as the World Bank’s Doing Business Index and others.“It is critical that we align all the recent indices with our own strategic priorities and measure the direct impact of our efforts in these regions on a market by market basis,” he said.Within the World Bank’s latest index this holds true. In areas such as investor protection South Africa outperformed the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development averages in all four pillars. This includes extent of disclosure, extent of direct liability, shareholder suits and investor protection itself.“South Africa’s role as an emerging market which can compete comparatively with some of the BRIC nations and act as a credible connector to the 1-billion consumers on the continent has been boosted by the recent results where all four BRIC nations lost ground and where sub-Saharan Africa made the greatest improvements,” said Matola.“The credibility of South Africa being ranked as one of the top emerging economies in terms of its ease of doing business has a significant impact on its competitiveness as a country with which investors would want to do business in the future. Studies and reports such as these are key to our understanding and efforts to position and profile South Africa as a trade, investment and tourism destination of choice.”last_img read more

Cartoon: Let’s (All) Make a Deal

first_imgMore Noise to Signal. 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… rob cottingham Tags:#Cartoons#web Related Posts Writing the caption for this cartoon wasn’t easy for me. Not because the joke needed a particular nuance, or involved any special vocabulary… but because it involves a security keyword.It’s irrational, I know. But I now have a Pavlovian aversion to mentioning anything remotely connected to terrorism or weaponry, because at some semi-conscious level I worry it could get me plopped onto some agency’s list. “Sure, he’s probably kidding about his 500-foot homicidal robot, but just to be safe — (type, type, type, type, enter).”Which, let’s face it, is kind of crazy – yes, that could happen, but I’m frankly a lot more vulnerable to ticking off someone at, say, Facebook who worked very hard on that interface tweak, and doesn’t take kindly to a smartass cartoon from someone who might be quite upset if his profile were to, oh, I don’t know, vanish.Actually, now that I put that in cold hard text, it seems pretty damn terrifying.Next week’s cartoon will be all about kittens. 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnoutlast_img read more

Busy Weekend Of Touch Football

first_imgIt will be yet another massive weekend of Touch Football across Australia this weekend, with many events taking place in several parts of the country. From the commencement of the Touch Football South Australia League, the finals of the 2012 Cobras Cup competition, the Touch Football Tasmania State Cup and Junior State Cup, the 2012 Wine Rules event as well as the Touch Football Western Australia High Performance camp, there’s something for everyone!You can find out more information on each of these events below. Touch Football South Australia LeagueThis Friday, 16 November will see the much anticipated Touch Football South Australia (TFSA) League kick off under lights at City Touch with the Men’s, Women’s and Mixed divisions all being contested. It is the first time since 2007 that all three divisions will feature in the one series and will see a mix of youth and experience reflecting on South Australia’s growing representative participation. The TFSA League is the best domestic Touch Football competition in South Australia and sees five regional teams – the Defence team, the Eastern Stingrays, the Central Scorpions, the South West Wolves and the Vipers from the north – all fighting it out to be crowned champions. Round one will see the Eastern Stingrays take on the Central Scorpions and the Northern Vipers go up against the South West Wolves at 6.30pm in the Women’s fixtures. In the Men’s division the Northern Vipers will take on the Eastern Stingrays and the South West Wolves will take on the Central Scorpions. The Mixed division will round out the first week of competition with the Eastern Stingrays battling it out against the Northern Vipers and the Central Scorpions going head to head with the South West Wolves at 8.20pm.The TFSA League will run for three months with the season decider to be held on Friday, 15 February. The majority of games will be held on Friday nights at City Touch, with the exception of two Sunday afternoon double headers. For news, information and results, please visit the TFSA League website at:  2012 Cobras Cup FinalsThis Saturday, 17 November will see the conclusion of the Cobras Cup competition as some of Queensland’s best battle it out to be named Cobras Cup Champion  for 2012. Whites Hill Reserve in Brisbane will play host to the Grand Finals. Stay tuned to the TFA website for the full preview. WA High Performance CampThis weekend will see Touch Football Western Australia host their High Performance camp, with Western Australia’s representative Touch Football players across all age groups in attendance. Players in attendance will be joined by visiting players and coaches over the weekend including Australian Men’s Open representative Stuart Brierty, who grew up in Western Australia. The junior players will attend the first day of the camp and will undergo practical skill and drill work as well as video analysis and educational programs, whilst the senior players will be present on the Sunday of the camp and work through practical and theory based game planning in preparation for next year’s National Touch League. For more information on the event, head to the Touch Football Western Australia website: 2012 Tasmania State Cup and Junior State CupWentworth Park in Hobart will play host to a big weekend of Touch Football in Tasmania this weekend with the 2012 State Cup and Junior State Cup events being held on Saturday, 17 and Sunday, 18 November respectively. The State Cup will feature Men’s and Mixed Open divisions, as well as 18’s Boys and Girls divisions. The Launceston, Hobart and Devonport affiliates will battle it out in the State Cup. The State Cup trophy hasn’t left Southern Touch since 1999, so the other teams will be keen to change this at this year’s event. The Junior State Cup will see Boys and Girls Under 12’s, Under 14’s, Under 16’s and Under 18’s all battling it out to be crowned best in the state, and is open to club and school teams. Touch Football Australia National Referee High Performance Advisor, Ian Matthew and one of Australia’s best referees, David Baggio will again travel to Tasmania for the event and will host a forum on Friday night before helping out Tasmania’s referees through coaching throughout the weekend. Please visit the Touch Football Tasmania website for more information and results from the two events: 2012 Wine RulesThis Sunday, 18 November will see Wine Rules back for its third year and it is already proving to be bigger and better than previous years. 2012 will see roughly 30 teams take part in the fun yet competitive Touch Football tournament which will allow participants and spectators to enjoy over 60 showcased wines with live music and entertainment the whole family can enjoy. The aim of the event is to raise funds for the St. Mary’s House of Welcome, who support Melbourne’s homeless and disadvantaged. Wine Rules is the perfect event to play your part for charity whilst enjoying the company of family, friends and some of the regions finest wines and entertainment. If you are new to the sport of Touch Football, the experienced staff from Touch Football Victoria will be offering personalised training sessions throughout the day and people of all experience levels will be competing in the tournament. The event will run from 10.00am to 6.00pm at the Elwood Park fields in Elwood, Victoria. For more information on how you can get involved please visit the Wine Rules website or the Touch Football Victoria Related LinksBig Weekend Of Touch!last_img read more

10 months agoArsenal boss Emery defends Ozil halftime hook: Nothing personal

first_imgArsenal boss Emery defends Ozil halftime hook: Nothing personalby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal boss Unai Emery has defended hooking Mesut Ozil at halftime for their draw at Brighton.Emery insists the decision was not personal.He said, “It is one decision tactically, and also the decision is because we have [done] it before because we have a lot of matches away when it tactically changes something, not for the player but for the team. A lot of the matches when we play in the second half, for example Iwobi, it helps us with a different situation tactically and helps us to win the matches.”In other matches, when we changed for the second half we took the performance to go to win. Yesterday, my intention was the same, it is tactically to change one player for another and with our analysis before that in other matches, in the second-half sessions is the reason I do that. But for me, it is only tactically and not [down to the] player, and for me every player is the same. “Sometimes I change Aubameyang, sometimes I change Lacazette and sometimes I change Matteo – it happens to every player and sometimes the result is good and the other times it doesn’t give us the result on the pitch. But the decision is only tactical.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more