…set to draw high-profile casesThe judicial backlog is slated to see a reduction as the October Criminal Assizes opened at the Demerara High Court on Tuesday with traditional horsemen and marching policemen. It is expected that several high-profile cases currently before the court could come up for hearing.Acting Chief Justice Roxane George, the High Court’s most senior judge, was onActing Chief Justice Roxane George, SC, in the process of inspecting the guard of honour at the South Road entrance of the High Court in Georgetown (Adam Baksh photo)hand to take the salute and to inspect the guard of honour at the final opening of the Demerara Criminal Assizes for 2018. Justice Sandil Kissoon is sitting once again in the Demerara High Court, while Justices Jo-Ann Barlow and James Bovell-Drakes have been also placed at the October session.Several high-profile matters are pending, including the case of former Bishops’ High School teacher Coen Jackson and popular transgender personality Otis “Otisha” Pearson who were separately committed to stand trial for separate charges of sexual activity with a child under 16. In the case of Jackson, the Virtual Complainant is female while Pearson’s accuser is male.Another pending case relates to that of La Parfaite Harmonie pastor Joseph Persaud, who was accused of allegedly raping one of his female church members. High-profile death row inmate for the 2008 Bartica massacre, Mark Royden Williams, called Smallie, also has to be tried for his alleged involvement in the murder of Kumar Singh, known as “Mango Man”, who met his demise in August 2007.It was reported that four gunmen terrorised his Craig Milne, Cove and John, East Coast Demerara (ECD) home and shot at the man and nine other family members. This case was scheduled to be heard at previous sessions, but was frequently delayed owing to pre-trial matters.
“I was surprised that they’d be in the market for M&A,” the source said.What Happened?When sale talks began, observers estimated ABRY’s asking price was upwards of $240 million, or about 8x EBITDA. As negotiations progressed, however, Wasserstein’s offer was said to have dipped to, or below, $200 million.“Cygnus’ second lien holders didn’t like their take and they ended up screwing the whole deal” with Wasserstein, another knowledgeable M&A source told FOLIO:. In September, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded three of Cygnus Business Media’s ratings as a result of the publisher’s disclosure that it was in default under the financial covenants of its senior secured loan agreements. Cygnus, according to Moody’s, failed to comply with terms of its first lien senior secured loan agreement and its Series A preferred shareholders agreement. At the time, Cygnus had not announced plans to fund the payment of approximately $167 million in debt which is scheduled to mature in July 2009. About $9 million is due in January.Will a Deal Get Done?“It’s a tough time in the economy. The best thing for Cygnus is to get a deal done and begin focusing on their business and strategy,” one source told FOLIO:. “ABRY is still looking to get something done before the end of the year.”Another source isn’t as optimistic. “The whole thing is still up in the air, but it doesn’t sound like a deal is going to get done at this time. It is not a pretty situation.” This summer, Wasserstein and Co. emerged as the likely buyer for Cygnus Business Media. A deal was expected to close by the end of August.Now, Wasserstein and Cygnus owners, Boston-based ABRY Partners, are “going in different directions,” a knowledgeable source told FOLIO: this week.“Exclusivity was broken,” said the source. “While they still reach out occasionally … [Wasserstein] essentially is on the back burner.”ABRY, according to the source, is entertaining bids from a pair of separate private equity groups. The source declined to name the bidders but called the more interested party “surprising.”
Domestic handset maker Micromax is exploring new strategies to defend its market share and is set to commence online ‘flash sale’ program to fend off competition from rivals such as Xiaomi and Motorola.Micromax, country’s second largest handset manufacturer, will sell exclusive products online at different price ranges on Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, Vineet Taneja, chief executive, told The Economic Times.”Apart from creating a buzz, it (flash sale) also helps in planning our supplies better. It gives us an estimate of how much stock we have,” Taneja said.The company, which saw its revenues surging by 54% to around ₹10,000 crore for the fiscal year 2014-15, now claims to be the market leader in the sub-₹7,000 segment with 21% share, surpassing Samsung.To protect its market position, Micromax wants to replicate the flash sales approach followed by Chinese smartphone firm Xiaomi in the Indian market, which usually garners a huge response.Xiaomi is reported to have sold 50,000 units of Redmi 2 smartphone in less than two minutes in a flash sale offered in March.The company may also consider pre-bookings or passes, a strategy followed by another Chinese rival One Plus, to strengthen its offerings online.Micromax launched Canvas Spark on Tuesday, priced at ₹4,999, and will sell the smartphone exclusively on Snapdeal through flash sales from 29 April. It plans to strike similar deals with other online retailers Flipkart and Snapdeal.Taneja said the company aims to continue its lead position in the mass smartphone market, or sub-₹7,000 segment, with flash sale initiatives and by partnering with e-commerce giants. Micromax aims to post a growth of 50% this year also, by launching new models, carrying out flash sales and by stepping up local manufacturing.”Last year we sold 10 million smartphones in the mass category, where we are No 1. The opportunity is much larger, as 10 million feature phones still get sold every month and half of the existing smartphone users still have old smartphones. There’s a massive upgrade market available,” Taneja said.The company’s sales in mass market segment rose to 60% in January-March quarter, from 50% in April-June 2014. The Gurgaon-based handset maker has a market share of 18% in smartphone segment and 15% in overall market, according to IDC.
The guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) is shown in the South China Sea, March 6, 2016.ReutersThe US military said on Wednesday it sent a Navy warship through the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from China, a move likely to anger China during a period of tense relations between Washington and Beijing.Taiwan is among a growing number of flashpoints in the US-China relationship, which include a trade war, US sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.China on Wednesday warned that it is ready for war if there was any move towards Taiwan’s independence, accusing the United States of undermining global stability and denouncing its arms sales to the self-ruled island.The warship sent to the 112-mile-wide (180-km) Taiwan Strait was identified as the Antietam.”The (ship’s) transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement. “The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” he added.The voyage risks raising further tensions with China but will likely be viewed by self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of support from US President Donald Trump’s administration amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing.The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the island with the means to defend itself and is its main source of arms.China has been ramping up pressure to assert its sovereignty over the island, which it considers a wayward province of “one China” and sacred Chinese territory.On Wednesday, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a news briefing on a defence white paper, the first like it in several years to outline the military’s strategic concerns, that China would make its greatest effort for peaceful reunification with Taiwan.”If there are people who dare to try to split Taiwan from the country, China’s military will be ready to go to war to firmly safeguard national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,” he said.China has repeatedly sent military aircraft and ships to circle Taiwan on exercises in the past few years and worked to isolate it internationally, whittling down its few remaining diplomatic allies.
June 2, 2008 Over the past decade, Linux has emerged from a herd of obscure and nerdy operating systems to warrant a place in even the most technologically unsophisticated business environments. And in the past three years, a few distributions have made stupendous leaps in performance and usability, winning the affection of millions of mainstream desktop users.The recent releases of Ubuntu 8.04 and Fedora 9–two top Linux distributions–mark another step forward in the evolution of the Linux desktop. I’ve been running both of them to see which offers the better blend of usability and advanced features.Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy HeronSince the release of version 5.10 (aka Breezy Badger) in 2005, Ubuntu Linux has stood apart from hundreds of other Linux distributions, capturing the attention of penguin heads and of users seeking a free, stable, usable alternative to Microsoft Windows. With its click-and-go Live CD installation and its support for a broad base of hardware devices, Ubuntu built a reputation for ease of use that changed the way many people think about Linux. PC World was so impressed that Ubuntu landed on our list of “The 100 Best Products of 2006,” a first for any flavor of Linux.The latest version of Ubuntu, 8.04 (aka Hardy Heron, or just Hardy for short), builds strongly on the foundation laid by its predecessors. This release is a Long Term Support edition, to be supported until April 2011, and Hardy Heron shows more polish and refinement than any other Linux distribution I’ve seen.The operating system comes packed with new features, beginning with a revised kernel (2.6.24), the latest version of Xorg (7.3), and the most recent Gnome desktop interface (2.22.1). On top of these advances, Hardy offers several new default applications, including Brasero for CD/DVD burning, the Transmission BitTorrent client, and Vinagre virtual network computing software for remote desktop viewing. You also get support for enhanced security via SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux)–but in Ubuntu 8.04 it’s not installed by default, as it is in Fedora 9.From the get-go, the Hardy Heron experience is smooth. I installed it on several machines, including an aging laptop with a Via graphics controller that’s notorious for making a hash of things in Linux. Each installation found and recognized all of my hardware without requiring a reboot. Even my media card slot, which Windows can never locate a driver for on its own, worked right off the bat. Existing Ubuntu users enjoy even slicker installation: The Hardy Heron upgrade comes through the Update Manager, and one click initiates a totally automated –albeit fairly long–upgrade process that leaves all of the user’s data in place.Ubuntu’s automated Hardware Drivers utility seeks out proprietary drivers for devices in your system, simplifying the task of grabbing the latest proprietary nVidia driver, for instance, so that you can enable Desktop Effects. Some hard-core open-source advocates disapprove of Ubuntu’s compromise with the closed-source world, but end users who care more about usability than ideology will find this arrangement a boon.Apart from the new default apps, Ubuntu hasn’t changed much in overall look and feel this time around. Sure, there’s artsy heron-themed wallpaper, but longtime Ubuntu desktop users will find little else to poke at in this version. That development indicates that Ubuntu has matured to the point where it can focus on refining its feature set rather than massively reworking its elements in each new version.The changes in the default apps seem judicious rather than sweeping. Brasero, for instance, is a far more complete disc-burning utility than Serpentine, the relatively simple CD burner found in previous versions of Ubuntu.Hardy Heron still lacks a few features that I had hoped to see as defaults by now, such as a Desktop Effects Manager for Gnome. Downloading Compiz Configuration Settings Manager through apt-get (the command-line tool for handling packages) isn’t hard, but it should really be there in the first place. Without it, newbies have no idea how to turn on the desktop cube they’ve heard so much about. Also still absent is a decent theme manager to take advantage of Desktop Effects.Minor quibbles aside, Ubuntu 8.04 is the best-assembled and most polished Linux distribution I’ve ever used. Ubuntu 8.04 performs well where Windows XP and Vista screech to a halt, particularly on older hardware. And since it comes with OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Evolution Mail, and a host of other apps right out of the box, it may be the best way to breathe new life into a seemingly moribund PC.Fedora 9Fedora was born as an all-open-source alternative to the business-centric Red Hat Linux. As such, it enjoys a solid legacy of Linux development. Unfortunately, as the nonprofit cousin of a major commercial distribution, Fedora doesn’t always seem to get the attention it deserves. But last year, Fedora doffed the shadow of rival Ubuntu by releasing of Fedora 8, which offered a simple, graphical installer and the best hardware support we’d seen from the Fedora distribution. Nevertheless, it lagged behind Ubuntu in ease of installation and overall usability–largely because its commitment to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) left it without complete drivers for some major hardware, including nVidia and ATI cards and various wireless cards. Any astute Linux user could add these, certainly, but the process was too geeky for average Joes who just wanted to give Linux a try.With version 9, Fedora has stepped up its ease-of-use game. Gnome 2.22 brings a host of great new features, including support for Webcam videos. A prerelease version of Xorg 7.4, however, causes problems with nVidia cards, preventing Desktop Effects–which is now standard in Fedora 9–from working. At posting time, this problem remained unresolved, though contributors to the Fedora Forums suggested that it would soon be corrected. Fedora 9 also has a newer kernel (2.6.25) than Ubuntu 8.04.One of the most important changes in the new Fedora is immediately visible: its Anaconda installer can dynamically resize NTFS hard-drive partitions, making the task of adding Fedora to existing Windows installations much easier. Ubuntu users have long enjoyed a similar feature, so it’s nice to see Fedora catch up. Another new feature of the installer is a one-click option for drive encryption. Overall, Fedora’s revamped install routine is the distribution’s best yet, and it nearly matches Ubuntu’s in simplicity and ease of use.I liked Fedora 9’s new PackageKit, a graphical interface for Fedora’s Yum update utility, too. PackageKit is the nicest update manager I’ve tried in Linux, with big, friendly icons for bug fixes and security updates. Also, like Ubuntu 8.04, Fedora 9 now uses PulseAudio to control sound devices throughout the OS.By default, Fedora includes SELinux, which enforces security policies throughout the OS. Developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, this app does an excellent job of alerting users to potential security threats and managing user authentication. Most users will find that the biggest benefit of SELinux is its management of root user authority: The program alerts you when you’ve had root privileges activated for more than a few minutes, so you can minimize your exposure from this vulnerability.For users who are already familiar with Linux, Fedora 9 is an excellent choice. Robust security features and installation options make it somewhat more versatile than Ubuntu, which offers a more streamlined (and therefore more restricted) installation. For most users, though, including millions interested in trying Linux for the first time, Fedora lacks the polish and ready-to-run simplicity of its more popular rival.Ubuntu 8.0.4 offers a level of functionality comparable to that of Mac OS and Windows, from delivery to installation to daily use. Unfortunately, the ties that bind all Linux distributions–primarily a lack of support for major Windows- and Mac-based business, design, and gaming applications–still hold Ubuntu back from mass popularity. For users with such moderate computing needs as Web browsing, e-mail, and basic document creation, however, Hardy is a compelling option. Brought to you by PCWorld Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 7 min read