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Google
Google to open first physical store in New York
20 May 2021, 6:30 PM

Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Thursday it would open its first physical store in New York City when the US enters its summer season, mirroring a retail approach that has helped Apple Inc rake in billions of dollars in the last two decades.

The Google store will be located in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood near the its New York City campus, which houses over 11,000 employees.

Google, which has set up pop-up stores in the past to promote its products, said it would sell Pixel smartphones, Pixelbooks and Fitbit fitness trackers along with Nest smart home devices at the retail outlet.

Visitors will also be able to avail customer service for their devices and pick up their online orders at the store.

The announcement signals the internet giant has taken a leaf out of Apple’s play-book of operating physical stores and providing in-person services to boost sales.

Apple, which opened its first two retail stores in Virginiain 2001, has 270 stores in the United States and many more around the world that drive its sales and also provide shoppers hands-on customer service.

Oscar Mabuyane
Mabuyane calls for politics not to interfere in operations of state entities
20 May 2021, 5:09 PM

Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane, says politics should not be allowed to interfere in the operations of state entities. Mabuyane, with his Provincial Executive Council, is in Nelson Mandela Bay on a two-day visit to assess the provincial catalyst projects.

Amongst the projects he visited were the two ports based in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, the Port of Gqeberha and the Port of Ngqurha.

Transnet has recently moved its headquarters from Johannesburg to Gqeberha.

Mabuyane says these entities should be of benefit in growing the country’s economy.

Premier Oscar Mabuyane met the business sector and Transnet Port Authority. He later opened a vaccination site before visiting the two ports, Gqeberha and Ngqura.

Transnet is also relocating its headquarters to Gqeberha, a move that has drawn criticism from KwaZulu Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala, saying it is not strategic. But Mabuyane says the relocation of state entities to the province is long overdue.

He says politics should not be involved in the running of these state entities.

“Transnet is a national entity, Eastern Cape is part of the national space. I want to believe we don’t want to put politics into that. Even the distribution of resources that Transnet has is going to be important also to benefit people from this side,”

 

Transnet National Ports Authority, CEO Pepi Slinga, says the relocation to Gqeberha won’t affect the operations in the Port of Durban as purported.

“What purpose does it serve to have people sitting in the head office where in fact the actual work that is being done to handle the cargo and receive the cargo actually has vacancies. There is no performance of entity that gets driven in head office anywhere in any reasonable enterprise. So there is no worker that is being relocated that is based in Durban where there is actually work that is being done in the Port of Durban. That is a complete misnormal.”

Other projects in the pipeline that Mabuyane announced includes the construction of a desalination plant, aquaculture farm and gas project. All these projects are situated in the Coega Industrial Development Zone.

The desalination plant comes at the time the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality is experiencing a crippling drought.

Coega Development Corporation CEO, Khwezi Tiya, says they will start operating the desalination on a small scale.

On Friday, Premier Oscar Mabuyane and his Executive Council will continue their visit in Nelson Mandela Bay, to ensure the decisions announced in the State of the Province Address are implemented.

Rory McIlroy
Golf-Long course, long day ahead as PGA Championships begin
20 May 2021, 4:48 PM

Golfers were preparing for a long, tough day as the PGA Championship got underway on Thursday at Ocean Course, which will provide the stage for the longest layout in major history.

With the wind already blowing as the sun rose on Kiawah Island, early starters may have still gotten the best of the conditions with 156 golfers, including 99 of the top 100 lined up to challenge the 7,876 yards seaside monster.

Italy’s Francesco Molinari will not be among them with the 2018 British Open champion withdrawing from the tournament just before teeing off with a back injury.

Molinari’s place in the field was taken by American Brandon Hagy.

Early starter American Cameron Tringale was having few problems easing top the leaderboard at three-under through seven holes as some of the big hitters were teeing off.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, fresh off his win at the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte two weeks ago, headlined a marquee threesome of Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka.

McIlroy, winner of the 2012 PGA Championship, who also played at Kiawah Island, got his day off to a stumbling start with a bogey on his opening hole the 10th.

They were followed out by defending champion,  Colin Morikawa, the newest major winner Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and Bryson Dechambeau, who all had pars to start their days.

Australian Masters champion, Adam Scott, also playing the more difficult back nine first, had a triple bogey at the 10th while compatriot Marc Leishman was also finding the early going tough with three bogeys over his opening five holes.

Coffee
Uganda’s April coffee exports surge 49% year-on-year
20 May 2021, 4:03 PM

Uganda’s coffee exports in April 2021 jumped 49%, from the same period in 2020, as new productive trees reached maturity and favourable weather helped drive up shipments, according to the state-run coffee regulator.

The east African country’s coffee exports jumped to 537,53860-kilogram bags compared to 359,973 bags in the same month last year. Most of the Ugandan coffee production is robust, and the surging output of the varietal drove this year’s export increase.

Uganda also produces some arabica, but arabica figures slowed as it is the off-year in the bean’s biennial production cycle.

Robusta output surged because of “newly planted coffee which has started yielding supported by favourable weather as well, “the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) said in a report.

Upward global coffee prices, too, helped to woo exporters to release more of their stocks, the report said. Uganda is Africa’s largest coffee exporter, followed by Ethiopia.

VBS Bank
VBS Mutual Bank creditors to lodge claims against bank’s estate
20 May 2021, 4:00 PM

Some creditors of the defunct VBS Mutual Bank are making use of the final opportunity to lodge their claims against the bank’s estate.

The liquidator has given creditors Thursday and Friday, this week,  to submit their claims at a hotel in Thohoyandou in Limpopo.

Spokesperson for VBS Mutual Bank liquidator, Louise Brugman, says this final opportunity for creditors to lodge their final claims against the bank, is for those who are owed more than R100 000.

She says creditors who are owed less than R100 000, have until July 19 to withdraw their money at Nedbank.

VBS was liquidated after widespread looting and corruption, allegedly by bank executives and politicians.

The first day of the final opportunity for creditors to lodge valid claims against VBS Mutual Estate started with only a few creditors submitting their claims.

On Wednesday, were the elderly.

Creditors have until Friday to lodge their claims.  71-year-old Gudson Mushaniki lodged his claim for the second time on Thursday. He says he is confident that he will recoup his remaining funds.

“I feel better. This one which has been left behind, I think it will be deposited into our accounts. The process is going well, though it is slow. They can reopen it, but I don’t think it will be having many clients or customers because of  what has happened.”

76-year-old Kanakana Ravele is concerned that he was not paid when he lodged his first claim.  He is hopeful that he will be paid this time around.

“I’m happy, but I’m concerned because we had previously lodged similar claims, but we did not get anything. We should have received money by now since we lodged our first claim last year. I’m lodging a claim for the second time now, but I’m happy because I’m confident that I will get my money.”

Ravele says he is still shocked at the collapse of the bank.

“The collapse of VBS Bank affected me a lot because I used to get a monthly payment for the interests of my investment. I was shocked when I arrived at the bank and informed that I could not get my monthly payment because [there was] no money in the bank. I don’t think VBS Bank will come back again.”

 

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