All of us have faced difficulties and disappointments of one kind or another during the year, which is now closing. However, even as we look back on the challenges we experienced this year, we recognize the meaning of the Season, the traditions and the symbols which give us cause to enjoy the unique feeling that this special time of year brings. Story Highlights We celebrate another Christmas as a nation, and we are grateful for the reminders of the power of peace and goodwill in shaping our lives. Christmas is a time that brings together families, friends, and communities, in thanksgiving and celebration, for the gifts and blessings we have received throughout the year. My fellow Jamaicans at home and abroad,We celebrate another Christmas as a nation, and we are grateful for the reminders of the power of peace and goodwill in shaping our lives. Christmas is a time that brings together families, friends, and communities, in thanksgiving and celebration, for the gifts and blessings we have received throughout the year.All of us have faced difficulties and disappointments of one kind or another during the year, which is now closing. However, even as we look back on the challenges we experienced this year, we recognize the meaning of the Season, the traditions and the symbols which give us cause to enjoy the unique feeling that this special time of year brings.We fully embrace any opportunity to engage with each other in an atmosphere of cordiality and conviviality, and to appreciate how good it is to ‘dwell together in unity.’ At the heart of this fellowship and goodwill is the true message of Christmas- that of building harmonious relationships, and a world where peace reigns in the hearts of humankind.In the spirit of the Season, I urge us all to focus our minds on all that is positive in our past – our values, our faith, and our generosity of spirit. It is equally important for us to recognize where we have fallen short in our responsibilities to the vulnerable; draw inspiration from the Christmas Message, and resolve to correct our oversight or neglect.As we spend time in reflection and renewal, let us:• Remember and sympathise with, those who are spending their first Christmas without a loved one who was taken by crime, illness, road fatality, or other travails.• Spend some quiet time in taking stock of our individual lives, and our impact on community and country.• Strengthen the bonds of responsible family life, and protect our children.• Be constructive with our suggestions as we are critical of our faults.• Renew our long-term resolve to serve those in need and show kindness to those experiencing difficulties.• And let us continue to exude the warmth and generosity which reflect the best of our Jamaican traditions.During this time of faith and family, I hope you will experience the love, gladness and heart of Christmas.Lady Allen joins me in wishing for everyone a safe, holy, peaceful and joyous Christmas Season.Happy Holidays everyone, and may God bless us all. We fully embrace any opportunity to engage with each other in an atmosphere of cordiality and conviviality, and to appreciate how good it is to ‘dwell together in unity.’ At the heart of this fellowship and goodwill is the true message of Christmas- that of building harmonious relationships, and a world where peace reigns in the hearts of humankind.
CALGARY – Gordon Campbell , B.C.’s premier when Vancouver and Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Games, says Calgary should throw its hat into the ring for 2026.“I really hope you do it and I hope you win it and I hope I’m there for it in 2026,” Campbell told Calgary’s chamber of commerce Monday.Campbell was B.C.’s premier from 2001 to 2011, from the bid phase to hosting the 2010 Games.“If you get the opportunity to host an Olympics, that generates all kinds of economic opportunities,” Campbell said.“Literally billions of dollars of investment that won’t come here if you don’t have the opportunity to host the Olympics. Billions.”The impetus to get the 2010 Games started with the B.C. government in the late 1990s. The province was the financial guarantor for those games.“I’m not here to tell you the Olympics will solve every problem that everyone has in this community,” Campbell said.“They will not. They will do an awful lot to lift the community up and see the solutions that are available to them and see what they can accomplish when they do work together.”Since the bid corporation Calgary 2026 released a draft host plan Sept. 11, campaigns for and against bidding for those games have escalated on social media accompanied by several newspaper editorials.Calgary 2026 estimated the cost of hosting the 2026 Winter Games at $5.2 billion and asked the city, province and federal governments to cover $3 billion of thatThe remainder would be paid for via games revenues.While the cost of the 2010 Games in Vancouver and Whistler was roughly $4 billion, the B.C. government’s spending on a rail line to the airport and a convention centre that were completed in time for the games brought the total to $7.7 billion.Calgary city council has reserved the right to pull the plug on a 2026 bid, but won’t likely do that before a Nov. 13 plebiscite asking Calgarians if they want the games again.“We’ve provided a tremendous amount of information including sharing the hosting plan, which is typically an internal document,” Calgary 2026 chief executive officer Mary Moran said. “We’ve provided them with a lot of information. The question should really be, do Calgarians have it in hand?“We have to continue to encourage Calgarians to get informed and that could be through our website, public forums, could be talking to elected officials. I would highly recommend everybody get more informed.”The International Olympic Committee executive committee meets Tuesday in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The IOC will officially invite cities to the 2026 candidature stage early next week during a general session.“We will know either the eighth or ninth of October if Calgary is moving forward with respect to the IOC making a decision on candidature cities,” Moran said.The IOC’s deadline to submit 2026 bids is January. The election of the successful host city will be held September, 2019.Against the wishes of Campbell and Vancouver organizing committee chief executive officer John Furlong, Vancouver also held a plebiscite Feb. 22, 2003 just weeks before the IOC voted for the 2010 host city.The “Yes” vote prevailed with 64 per cent in favour of the games to 36 per cent against. About 46 per cent of the city’s eligible voters cast their ballot.While the B.C. government was the initial ringleader of bidding for 2010, the province of Alberta is not out front on 2026.Calgary 2026 is currently negotiating with the province, the feds and the city of Calgary on how much money each level of government would contribute to hosting the games.The province has committed to providing its number 30 days prior to the plebiscite.“Those discussions are taking place right now as everybody knows,” Moran said. “We hope to have a split. We’re working on financial tools to ensure there’s some kind of guarantee.”Calgary’s chamber of commerce has yet to take a position on hosting the 2026 games.Campbell drew the loudest applause from the business community when he referenced the oil pipeline that Alberta wants to build through reluctant B.C.“Should there be a pipeline? Yeah, there should,” Campbell said.
Other highlights of the festival will include a biopic of singer Elton John called Rocketman, which will be screened out of competition and was directed by Dexter Fletcher. The aging rocker will bring his own inimitable brand of star power to the festival when he attends the screening. Advertisement Xavier Dolan Canadian actor and filmmaker, Paris, FRANCE – 30/09/2014/JDD_132501/Credit:Eric DESSONS/JDD/SIPA/1410061331 Director Xavier Dolan poses after winning the Grand Prix award for It’s Only the End of the World, in Cannes in 2016. (Joel Ryan/The Associated Press) Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Cannes Film Festival organizers have announced the festival’s 2019 competition lineup, which pits revered directors such as Ken Loach, Jim Jarmusch, Pedro Almodovar and Bong Joon-ho against each other for the top Palme d’Or prize.Festival veterans Loach and Almodovar, as well as the Dardenne Brothers, Jarmusch, Terrence Malick and Xavier Dolan — all of whom have previously won accolades at the French Riviera festival — will return for the May 14-25 event.Four female directors were among the 19 nominated in the main category. They are Atlantiqueby Mati Diop, Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe, Portrait of a Lady on Fire by Céline Sciamma and Sibylby Justine Triet. Advertisement Login/Register With: Cannes 2019 lineup, announced ThursdayCompetitionPain and Glory, Pedro AlmodovarThe Traitor, Marco BellocchioWild Goose Lake, Yinan DiaoParasite, Bong Joon-hoYoung Ahmed, The Dardenne BrothersOh Mercy!, Arnaud DesplechinAtlantique, Mati DiopMatthias and Maxime, Xavier DolanLittle Joe, Jessica HausnerSorry We Missed You, Ken LoachLes Misérables, Ladj LyA Hidden Life (previously known as Radegund), Terrence MalikNighthawk, Kleber Mendonca Filho, Juliano DornellesThe Whistlers, Corneliu PorumboiuFrankie, Ira SachsThe Dead Don’t Die, Jim JarmuschPortrait of a Lady on Fire, Céline SciammaIt Must Be Heaven, Elia SuleimanSybil, Justine TrietOut of CompetitionRocketman, Dexter FletcherThe Best Years of Life, Claude LelouchMaradona, Asif KapadiaLa Belle Époque, Nicolas BedosToo Old to Die Young, Nicolas Winding Refn (2 episodes of TV series)Special ScreeningsShare, Pippa BiancoFamily Romance LLC, Werner HerzogTommaso, Abel FerraraTo Be Alive and Know It, Alain CavalierFor Sama, Waad Al Kateab and Edward WattsMidnight ScreeningsThe Gangster, The Cop, The Devil, Lee Won-TaeUn Certain RegardInvisible Life, Karim AïnouzBeanpole, Kantemir BalagovThe Swallows of Kabul, Zabou Breitman & Eléa Gobé MévellecA Brother’s Love, Monia ChokriThe Climb, Michael CovinoJoan of Arc, Bruno DumontA Sun That Never Sets, Olivier LaxeChambre 212, Christophe HonoréPort Authority, Danielle LessovitzPapicha, Mounia MeddourAdam, Maryam TouzaniZhuo Ren Mi Mi, Midi ZLiberté, Albert SerraBull, Annie SilversteinSummer of Changsha, Zu FengEVGE, Nariman Aliev Facebook Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, a zombie comedy starring Adam Driver, Bill Murray and Chloe Sevigny as police officers protecting a small town, will open the festival on a starry and surreal note.It’s not the first time Jarmusch has competed for the Palme at Cannes using the undead — his 2013 Only Lovers Left Alive featured erudite vampires.Other Americans in the running include Malick, who returns after Tree of Life won the Palme d’Or in 2011 with the long-awaited A Hidden Life, about an Austrian anti-Nazi conscientious objector who was executed in 1943. Memphis-born Ira Sachs will present Frankie starring Isabelle Huppert.Two-time Palme d’Or winner Loach will unveil Sorry We Missed You, about a young British family struggling to stay afloat in the modern era of casual jobs and gig work.No shift on NetflixAlmodovar will be back on the festival’s red carpeted steps with the new film Pain and Glory — a self-referential movie about an aging filmmaker played by Antonio Banderas, alongside longtime muse Penelope Cruz. It’s been compared to Italian filmmaker Fellini’s masterpiece 8 1/2.The Host and Snowpiercer director Bong is set to debut his new film Parasite. He was last at Cannes in 2017 with his action adventure Okja, one of two Netflix films permitted to compete at the festival that year (the other was Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories).The inclusion of the streamer sparked a major protest, especially by French exhibitors, and prompted Cannes to introduce a requirement that all films in submitted for competition also be planned for release in French cinemas. Despite recent talks, Frémaux reiterated on Thursday that position.“We don’t want to accept films in competition that won’t meet audiences in theaters,” he said, adding however that festival officials were in contact with Netflix earlier this week and “there is no battle between us.”Inarritu leads juryThere was dismay that Quentin Tarantino missed out from being included with the highly anticipated Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie.Frémaux lamented to critics during the press conference that the movie was still in editing — explaining that Tarantino’s insistence on using laborious 35mm will delay its completion.Oscar-winning director Alejandro Inarritu will be jury president, although the jury members have not yet been announced. The Associated Press with files from CBC News and Radio-Canada The last time four women were nominated at Cannes was in 2011, when that number set a record for the festival.Cannes has increasingly come under criticism for its tradition of overwhelmingly selecting films by male directors. Last year, Agnès Varda, Ava Du Vernay, Cate Blanchett, Salma Hayek and Kristen Stewart joined a star-studded red-carpet demonstration protesting gender inequality in the film industry.The festival’s artistic director Thierry Frémaux subsequently signed a pledge to raise the prominence of female filmmakers at festivals.Festival artistic director Thierry Frémaux unveils this year’s Cannes Film Festival lineup in Paris on Thursday. The festival will run from May 14 to May 25. (François Mori/Associated Press)A total of 13 women were included in all categories this year — although male artists still dominate.Among those 13, Quebecer Monia Chokri will compete for the Caméra d’or with her film La femme de monfrère (A Brother’s Love).“I am hugely touched,” said 35-year-old Chokri, who is from Quebec City. “It’s huge for a first film. I am a little elated.”A Brother’s Love, which Chokri wrote as well as directed, tells the story of siblings whose close relationship is torn apart when the brother falls in love.“Comedy comes naturally to me,” Chokri told Radio-Canada. “It’s something that is part of my life: laughter, humour, all of that.Although it’s her first time at Cannes as a director, Chokri has walked the red carpet before as an actor. She starred in Xavier Dolan’s Les amours imaginaires (Heartbeats), which took the Regards jeunes prize at Cannes in 2010.All the way up. As high as she could go.Agnès Varda will be the inspirational guiding light of this 72nd edition of the Festival!La Pointe courte © 1994 Agnès Varda and her children – Montage & design : Flore Maquin.More info: https://t.co/RoyeCYyM7m #Cannes2019 #AgnesVarda pic.twitter.com/aW4YKmo3Ct— Festival de Cannes (@Festival_Cannes) April 15, 2019New Dolan dramaCanadian Dolan will be back at Cannes with the French-language drama Matthias and Maxime, revolving around a group of friends in their late-20s. Earlier, the Quebec filmmaker won the Jury Prize (in 2014 for Mommy) and shared in the Grand Prix (for 2016’s It’s Only the End of the World). Twitter
Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). $299 at Amazon Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. Tags $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express Turo Tags $999 Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) $999 Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. 0 Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. $999 Sarah Tew/CNET Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) 2:12 $210 at Best Buy Comments Share your voice Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Comic-Con Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Read Google Home Hub review The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR See It Angela Lang/CNET Read Lenovo Smart Clock review Sarah Tew/CNET TV and Movies,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Post a comment Turo: Save $30 on any car rental $155 at Google Express Read the AirPods review Paramount Pictures dropped a trailer for Top Gun: Maverick at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday. The film is a sequel to the 1986 smash Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise as a crack fighter pilot with a need for speed. Tom Cruise is back in Top Gun: Maverick. Paramount Pictures In the trailer, a Cruise weathered by more than three decades of service, is confronted by the fact that he can’t get a promotion and refuses to retire. “You should be at least a two-star admiral by now. Yet here you are, captain,” a uniformed and authoritative-looking Ed Harris tells him. “Why is that?”We see a series of shots of Cruise flying through terrain from snowy mountains to barren land to open water as dramatic music plays. Apparently he still likes the danger zone. Top Gun: Maverick is slated for a summer 2020 release and also stars Val Kilmer, Danny Ramirez, Jennifer Connelly and Jon Hamm. Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski is directing the sequel. Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Apple iPhone XS What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Chris Monroe/CNET $6 at Tidal JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. See at Amazon Sprint $59 at eBay Best Buy Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) $999 Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Share your voice $60 at Best Buy Amazon See at Turo $520 at HP Boost Mobile See It Top Gun: Maverick trailer debuts at Comic-Con 2019 Rylo Sarah Tew/CNET Read DJI Osmo Action preview See it See It Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. Now playing: Watch this: Read the Rylo camera preview The Cheapskate Sarah Tew/CNET 7
Kolkata: Performing a Jatrapala with a venomous snake proved fatal for Kalidashi Mondal, a Jatra artiste who was declared brought dead by hospital authorities after getting bitten by it.The incident brought to light the shocking negligence on the part of the Jatra organisers, who allowed a local exorcist to perform his tricks on the victim for four hours after the incident occurred. The hospital authorities said the patient’s life could have been saved, had she been brought to the hospital earlier. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIt was learnt from the local sources that the victim, Mondal and her troops were performing ‘Manasa Mangal’ in Barunghat area of Hasnabad on Tuesday evening. The Jatrapala was organised at the house of one Manoranjan Das on the occasion of Manasa Puja. To make the performance more lively, a local exorcist handed over a poisonous snake to the woman. Without assuming the implication of the incident, she also agreed to enact the epic with the snake. According to locals, the victim thought that the snake might have been entirely devoid of venom. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedWhen she started acting with the snake, it suddenly bit her. When she collapsed on the stage, the exorcist insisted on doing the treatment himself and did not allow anybody to take her to a nearby hospital. He continued his tricks on the woman for four hours. When the locals and her fellow colleagues finally took her to the hospital, the doctors pronounced her brought dead.Question arises on why her other colleagues did not prevent the victim from taking the snake. The locals demanded stern action against Biswas who is currently at large. A probe has been initiated.
Kolkata: Senior leaders were all praises for TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee’s efforts to groom the party in a unique manner streamlining political ambitions with productive work for “Maa, Mati, Manush,” creating a totally new breed of leaders who are now more sensitive to people’s issues and work extremely hard to bring to reality the Chief Minister’s dreams of making Bengal the number one state in the country in all aspects. In this new breed of leaders is her own nephew Abhishek who is presently the TMC Youth Congress president. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsAt the release of ‘Nisshabda Biplob’ (Silent Revolution), a report card of Abhishek Banerjee’s works as an MP of Diamond Harbour, senior TMC leaders were all praises for his achievements. Praising him, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee who is also the state Education minister said on Tuesday: “Mamata Banerjee has worked tirelessly for people’s rights from the very start of her college life and has been an inspiration for all of us. She has been the torch-bearer and Abhishek has learnt from her how to systematically organise the party. He has instilled the thoughts of the younger generation within the party.” Expressing his optimism about the next Lok Sabha elections, Abhishek said that the TMC will be able to win all the 42 seats. He also slammed the Centre for the rise in petrol and diesel prices as well as cooking gas and announced that protest movements would continue throughout the state.
Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now » January 30, 2014 There’s e-commerce, m-commerce and even t-commerce, but the next wave of tech-driven shopping may be driven by v-commerce, according to Harry’s co-founder Andy Katz-Mayfield.The shaving startup pushed V-commerce – or vertically integrated commerce – into the Silicon Valley spotlight this week, announcing Wednesday it raised $122.5 million to purchase the 93-year-old German razor factory Feintechnik. The company says it will now be able to create products at the speed of digital demand.Vertical integration is hardly a new concept (it was first employed by Andrew Carnegie in the late 1880’s with Carnegie Steel). But the idea of controlling all stages of production, from R&D to manufacturing to sales, is seeing a renewed interest among retailers who today are able to bypass traditional distribution channels and go straight to consumers—thanks to the Internet.“We control everything now from manufacturing to selling directly. It’s important, because it basically creates this feedback loop where customers can drive innovation and send us straight back to product development,” says Katz-Mayfield.Related: 5 Ways to Grow Your Business in 2014In an increasingly fast-paced global market, Harry’s isn’t the only retail startup looking to cut back on the time it takes to develop new products and bring them to market. Startups like American Giant and Everlane are also cutting out the middlemen and putting a premium on manufacturing, and investors are getting on board: American Giant just raised a $3.6 million round, bringing total funding to north of $8 million, and Everlane has raised a reported $1.1 million.“To me, this is a snapback to, ‘Hey, if I’m going to do product innovation, it makes sense to be closer to my factories to harness their capabilities,” says Willy Shih, author of “Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance,” and a professor at Harvard Business School.What’s Driving the Move Toward the New Vertical IntegrationShih says the reemerging trend stems from two major factors: labor and energy costs.While Shih says companies have always seen the advantages of having product development and manufacturing under one roof, cheap labor in Asia in the ‘90s drove businesses to separate the two.“Labor costs in China were so much lower – 50 cents an hour including salary and benefits, relative to average costs in the U.S. that were twenty times to fifty times higher,” says Shih, driving companies whose products had a labor-intensive component to move manufacturing to Asia.Even though separating these phases created a lag time, Shih says the cost savings made it worthwhile.Related: P90X-Inspired Fitmob Aims to Disrupt Gym Industry“What happened to the notion of keeping product design close to innovation? Well, we filled the sky with planes,” says Shih, joking that his earlier engineering career earned him 5 million frequent-flier miles, as his companies shuttled him to Asia up to 18 times annually.But rising labor costs in Asia and a higher cost of fuel – not to mention the natural gas boom in the U.S. – are turning that model on its head. As a result, Shih says startups today are more willing to move to places with a history of expertise (as in the case of Harry’s and Germany, which has a storied background in precision machining), while others will simply move operations closer to home in the U.S.“As oil got more expensive and labor got more expensive, the arbitrage equation doesn’t work so well anymore,” says Shih. Moving away from startups, Shih points to automakers like Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler, which are investing heavily in factories in southern states like Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama, where labor is now relatively competitive and energy prices are low. A New Emphasis on TransparencyReturning to the retail-startup space, entrepreneurs and investors alike say consumers are placing more of an emphasis on getting to know the companies they buy from, giving another edge to vertical integration.A recent paper published by Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers partner Randy Komisar points to a new type of “artisanal” manufacturer, based on principles that “promote economic prosperity, enliven local communities, and offer customers a rewarding experience based on quality and value.”“The Internet and compatible technologies are enabling an unprecedented level of transparency and consumers are increasingly informed about what their alternatives are when making purchasing decisions,” writes Komisar.In this vein, Harry’s e-commerce site heavily promotes the relationship with the Feintechnik factory it just purchased, playing up Feintechnik’s history as well as the expertise of the four hundred engineers, designers and craftsmen who work there. Likewise, Everlane encourages its shoppers to get to know its factories: Its site features a map of the factories the company uses with in-depth histories of each facility.“With the advent of the Internet, consumers have real transparency into brands where they’re making things and how they’re making things. I think that’s really important,” says American Giant CEO Bayard Winthrop. The company produces its apparel in the Carolinas and California.Related: 5 Tips for Launching a Side BusinessAnd though American Giant doesn’t currently own its factories, Winthrop says it is actively moving in that direction, already playing an important role in the staffing and training of the workers making its clothing.While Harry’s will continue to manufacture in Germany, and only a handful of Everlane’s factories are in the U.S., Winthrop and Komisar believe the new landscape could help further fuel a rebirth of American manufacturing jobs.“I can say that in the apparel sector, you can expect to see a lot of change coming, which is going to liberate U.S. manufacturing, at least in the cut-and-sew apparel sectors,” says Winthrop, adding that overseas working conditions, like those that led to the Bangladesh factory fire, are also increasingly top-of-mind for American buyers.Can V-Commerce Become a Lasting Trend?Despite some of the advantages of vertical integration, Shih is quick to point out the potential downsides of this startup model. For one, he says, lower energy costs may disappear. At the same time, it may do nothing for the U.S. on a global scale.“It will take effort to move [factories], but the question is, did we actually fix any of our competitiveness problems, other than labor rates shifting and energy costs dropping?” asks Shih.And it may hurt product innovation, he says.“Historically, the argument for specialization, rather than owning the whole thing yourself, is that all your products need to be competitive,” says Shih. “I have a tech shift that obsoletes some of the aspects of my chain, I now need to get rid of it.”However, Shih says this risk may not be as pressing an issue for startups like American Giant or Harry’s.“The razor market is at a much slower pace than the market for computers or tablets,” says Shih.Related: Corner Office Secrets for Staying Innovative Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 7 min read This story originally appeared on FOX BUSINESS