FILE PHOTO: Customers walk past Avianca airline check-in machines at Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 12, 2019. REUTERS/Nacho Doce/File Photo
April 15, 2019
By Marcelo Rochabrun
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Struggling Brazilian airline Avianca Brasil had told regulators that it was permanently cancelling several routes as of Monday despite continuing to sell tickets for them on its website, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
The airline, which has been fighting aircraft lessors in bankruptcy court, told civil aviation regulator ANAC in the letter sent on Friday that it was ending 48 flight frequencies — around a quarter of its capacity — due to a shrinking fleet.
The letter, which has not previously been reported, was the strongest sign yet of the operational impact of a bankruptcy process started in December by Brazil’s fourth-largest airline.
The changes were due to take effect on Monday, according to the letter, but Avianca Brasil’s website showed it was still selling tickets for several of the routes that it had told ANAC it would discontinue.
For example, Avianca Brasil said in the letter it would end flights between international airports serving the capitals of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais states but its website was still selling two daily frequencies each way as far out as March 2020.
A representative for Avianca Brasil told Reuters the letter to ANAC was just a preliminary plan and that it was working hard to reaccomodate its flights to affect the fewest passengers possible.
On Friday, facing the imminent repossession of nearly a third of its fleet, the airline issued a news release saying some flights would be canceled on a case-by-case basis, starting with 179 flights from Saturday to Wednesday.
On Monday, Avianca Brasil canceled an additional 150 flights from Thursday through Saturday but did not made public its plans for those routes afterwards.
Currently, the company representative said Avianca Brasil is operating a fleet of 26 planes compared to 36 just a week ago.
ANAC said in a statement to Reuters on Monday that Avianca Brasil is required to “broadcast broadly its canceled and altered” flights and said that so far the agency has not registered any violations.
ANAC has already signaled it is concerned about Avianca Brasil’s ability to keep its flight schedule.
In court documents filed late on Friday, it said there was “a real and considerable risk that (Avianca Brasil) would not honor” its ticket sales, affecting “hundreds of thousands” of travelers.
The regulator issued a press release on Friday saying it had banned Avianca Brasil from selling tickets on “affected routes,” without specifying which routes or for how long.
Canceled flights entail additional costs for the struggling carrier, which has to either reimburse or re-accommodate affected passengers. In court papers, Avianca Brasil described the financial toll of canceled flights as “brutal.”
The airline is already running low on cash. It missed its payroll in recent weeks and several Brazilian airports now only allow its flights if they receive payment in advance.
The carrier is paying its day-to-day expenses largely with short-term loans from two of its competitors, who hope to end up with some of Avianca Brasil’s airport slots — the coveted takeoff and landing rights at crowded terminals.
The carrier’s assets, consisting mainly of its slots, are expected to be auctioned in May as part of the bankruptcy process.
LATAM Airlines Group and Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes have already agreed to bid at least $70 million each for different sets of slots.
(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; editing by Daniel Flynn and Diane Craft)
FILE PHOTO: Mar 31, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton reacts during the second half against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
April 12, 2019
By Rory Carroll
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Los Angeles Lakers and head coach Luke Walton have agreed to part ways after the team posted a disappointing 37-45 record and failed to end a playoff drought stretching back to 2013.
Walton spent two seasons at the helm of a team that struggled to find the right pieces to complement 15-time All-Star LeBron James in his first season in Los Angeles.
“We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the last three years,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said in a press release issued on Friday.
“We wish Luke and his family the best of luck moving forward.”
Walton said he was grateful to team owner Jeanie Buss for the chance to coach the team, where he won two championships as a player.
“I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers,” he said.
“This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family.”
Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is seen as an early frontrunner for the job, according to ESPN.
Lue, who won two championships with the Lakers as a player, coached James to a championship with the Cavaliers in 2016.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ken Ferris)
FILE PHOTO: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) speaks during a markup on the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
April 10, 2019
By Jeffrey Dastin
(Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers proposed a bill on Wednesday that would require major tech companies to detect and remove any discriminatory biases embedded in their computer models, underscoring Washington’s growing interest in regulating Silicon Valley.
The bill, entitled the Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2019, would grant new power to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and force companies to study if race, gender or other biases underpin their technology. The rules would apply to companies with annual revenue above $50 million as well as to data brokers and businesses with over a million consumers’ data.
“Computers are increasingly involved in the most important decisions affecting Americans’ lives – whether or not someone can buy a home, get a job or even go to jail,” Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said in a press release announcing the bill. “But instead of eliminating bias, too often these algorithms depend on biased assumptions or data that can actually reinforce discrimination against women and people of color.”
The press release cited as examples a Reuters report that Amazon.com Inc had scrapped an automated recruiting engine it had found to be biased against women, and U.S. charges that Facebook Inc let advertisers discriminate by race in alleged violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Senator Cory Booker and Representative Yvette Clarke, both Democrats, joined Wyden in introducing the bill, which could face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“To hold algorithms to a higher standard than human decisions implies that automated decisions are inherently less trustworthy or more dangerous than human ones, which is not the case,” said Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based non-profit that includes industry representatives on its board.
“This would only serve to stigmatize and discourage AI use, which could reduce its beneficial social and economic impacts,” Castro said.
The Internet Association, which counts Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet Inc’s Google and other top tech companies as members, had no immediate comment.
(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in Las Vegas; Editing by Tom Brown)
Sign of the European central Bank (ECB) is seen ahead of the news conference on the outcome of the Governing Council meeting, outside the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
April 8, 2019
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – One euro zone bank is falling short of the European Central Bank’s capital requirements for 2019, meaning it will face restrictions on how much it can pay out to investors and executives, an ECB presentation showed on Monday.
The ECB did not name any of the banks in its annual presentation on the standing of the euro zone’s top lenders, which showed a slight increase in capital demands from the year before as European Union “buffers” introduced in the wake of the financial crisis are phased in.
These requirements are closely watched by analysts as any bank that fails to meet them faces a cap on how much it can pay in dividends, bonuses and certain coupons and comes under pressure to raise capital.
Most of the 119 banks under ECB supervision had way more Core Equity Tier 1 (CET1) capital than demanded by supervisors. Four barely made their required level and just one fell short, a slide in the ECB’s presentation showed.
“Most significant institutions already have capital levels above the CET1 levels and buffers required by the ECB and national authorities, respectively,” the ECB said in a press release.
Italy’s Carige was asked by the ECB to raise more capital last year but failed to do so after its top shareholder pulled back at the last minute. It is currently under an ECB-appointed administration and looking for buyers.
As part of its Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process (SREP), the ECB also handed out “quantitative liquidity SREP requirements” to three banks, likely meaning they have to set aside more cash such as foreign-exchange buffers.
(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
FILE PHOTO: INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon, France, May 8, 2018. Jeff Pachoud/Pool via Reuters/File Photo
March 28, 2019
PARIS (Reuters) – The wife of the missing Chinese former head of Interpol on Thursday dismissed allegations by authorities in China accusing her husband of graft and said his arrest was politically motivated.
China will prosecute former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei for graft after an investigation found he spent “lavish” amounts of state funds, abused his power and refused to follow Communist Party decisions, Beijing’s anti-corruption watchdog said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The press release openly reveals the political nature of Mr Meng’s case, without addressing the issues concerning our family’s fundamental human rights,” Grace Meng said in a statement sent to Reuters by her lawyers.
Interpol, the global police coordination agency based in France, last October said Meng had resigned as its president, days after his wife reported him missing while he was on a trip to China.
The Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CDDI) said Meng Hongwei was suspected of taking bribes and causing serious harm to the party’s image and state’s interests, adding he should be severely dealt with.
Grace Meng, who has remained in Lyon, France with the couple’s two children, said CCDI has failed to provide any information about Meng’s whereabouts or well-being.
“Instead, the CCDI made vague, general, uncorroborated statements,” she said. “Chinese authorities have not formulated actual charges or adduced the alleged supporting evidence.”
(Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry and John Irish; editing by Grant McCool)
If the Utah primary were held today, President Donald Trump would lose to the state’s Republican senator, Mitt Romney, according to a poll released Thursday.
OH Predictive Insights, which is based in Arizona, found most Republicans in Utah prefer Romney to Trump:
- Romney: 55 percent.
- Trump: 37 percent.
- Undecided: 8 percent.
"Republican-base voters around the country back President Trump survey after survey shows," said Mike Noble, OH Predictive Insights' chief of research, in a press release. "But Beehive State voters buck that trend, giving the state’s junior senator a wide margin of victory in a matchup."
Although Romney beats out Trump among Republicans and those who think of themselves as somewhat conservative, Trump holds more sway with those who consider themselves very conservative.
- Somewhat conservative: Romney 56 percent, Trump 34 percent.
- Very conservative: Romney 41 percent, Trump 52 percent.
"Just seven years ago, Romney won a bitter primary battle to carry the mantle for the GOP but lost to President Obama," Noble added. "If he wants to take on President Trump in a primary, he can count on Utahns to have his back."
Trump came in third in the 2016 Utah GOP primary, behind Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, garnering only 14 percent of the vote. He won the state in the general election with 45 percent of the vote, with 21 percent going to independent candidate, and Utah native, Evan McMullin. Romney has said he would not challenge Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020.
OH Predictive Insights polled 275 Republicans in Utah by phone and online from March 15 to 27, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.9 percentage points.
Source: NewsMax Politics
FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen logos are pictured during the media day of the Salao do Automovel International Auto Show in Sao Paulo, Brazil November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
March 27, 2019
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen on Wednesday said it has teamed up with Amazon Web Services to link up and integrate the data from 122 VW Group plants, machines and systems, as a way to improve its production systems and processes.
Amazon will help Volkswagen join up its plants and supply chain with over 30,000 locations and 1,500 suppliers using a data platform known as the “Volkswagen Industrial Cloud”, the company said in a joint press release with Amazon.
The cloud platform could be made available to other car manufacturers and specific negotiations with major industrial companies interested in migrating to the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud are already underway, VW and Amazon said.
The cloud helps VW to detect supply bottlenecks and process disruptions early as well as to optimize the operation of machinery and equipment.
Amazon’s machine learning analytics and production know-how will be extended to the requirements of the auto industry, VW and Amazon Web services said.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Thomas Seythal)
FILE PHOTO: Mar 14, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Tim Miles gestures to his team during the first half in the Big Ten conference tournament at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
March 26, 2019
After making the NCAA Tournament only once in seven seasons, Tim Miles is out as the head coach at Nebraska.
Athletic director Bill Moos made the announcement Tuesday, one day after the Cornhuskers (19-17) ended their season with an 88-72 loss at TCU in the second round of the NIT.
Miles, 52, finishes his tenure in Lincoln with a 116-114 record. Nebraska never got past the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament on his watch and reached the NCAA Tournament one time, in 2013-14.
“Tim Miles is a good basketball coach who has put his heart, soul and energy into the Nebraska men’s basketball program over the past seven years,” Moos said in a press release. “Ultimately, we have not maintained a level of consistent success and stability on the court, and after a full review I have made the decision to move in another direction for the leadership of our program.”
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Miles is owed a monthly salary of $105,000 through March 2021 — about $2.5 million — but that total could decrease if he lands another job.
Nebraska started out 11-2 this season and reached No. 24 in the Associated Press top 25 on Dec. 31, but the Huskers lost seven straight games from Jan. 17-Feb. 9 and dropped 12 of their last 17 in the regular season.
“Thank you to the University of Nebraska for a remarkable journey,” Miles said in a press release. “It was a great honor to represent this University the past seven years. I am extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish during my tenure, most notably developing relationships with so many fantastic people associated with the Huskers.”
Before coming to Nebraska in 2012, Miles compiled a 71-88 record in five seasons as the coach at Colorado State.
The World-Herald identified former Iowa State and Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, 46, as a leading candidate to replace Miles.
–Field Level Media