Jailed newspaper editor rushed to hospital

first_img News Morocco / Western SaharaMiddle East – North Africa April 28, 2021 Find out more RSF joins Middle East and North Africa coalition to combat digital surveillance to go further RSF_en News Demain Magazine – 8 March 2003Abdallah Zaâzaâ: “We are heading toward an uprising against the regime”Abdallah Zaâzaâ, a former political prisoner and former member of Ilal Amam, gave an explosive interview to the Catalan-language daily Avui (Today). We have translated what he could. The rest is frankly unpublishable in today’s Morocco. If we did publish it, we’d go to jail. So, here are extracts from the interview with Morocco’s leading republican.Paco Soto (Avui): What’s your assessment of King Mohammed VI’s reign so far?Abdallah Zaâzaâ: Overall, I don’t think much has changed compared with the past. There has been some progress in freedom of expression, and civil society movements are more important. But the structures of the state haven’t changed. They continue to be the same as they were under King Hassan II. It must be said that the popular and democratic movement had managed to obtain a few pockets of freedom long before Mohammed VI became king.Even if there’s a long way to go before the rule of law is established in Morocco, don’t you think the climate is much more democratic under the new king?I’d say the state had already pulled back in many areas in recent years, long before Mohammed VI became king. Things opened up to a degree, but the trouble is, the changes were not institutionalised. (…) Power is still in the hands of the same sectors, the makhzen and the monarchy. (…)You have always defended and you still defend the model of a republican state. Don’t you feel you are preaching in the desert?I am a republican, this is true. But I am ready to reach a compromise with others. I’m not interested in form so much as content. (…) I would like to see the people who rule us have to pass the text of universal suffrage and not leave it to the king to decide. This is a republican principle that also exists in truly parliamentary monarchies. The king of Morocco is untouchable, no one can punish him.Do you think the Spanish example is applicable to Morocco?In theory, yes, but let’s wait and see. Anyway, let me tell you something: I think a completely democratic monarchy is unlikely if not impossible. I think it is unlikely in a country of the southern hemisphere, of the South, as mine is, where there are deep social contradictions, enormous inequalities and a government that is not ready to make any sacrifices or share.Nothing at all? Not even for the sake of its own survival and to ensure its future stability?I don’t think the government is ready to seek compromises. The government, starting with the monarchy itself, is not going to give up all the wealth stolen from the people. The government in Morocco is not bold enough to participate in democratic change. The people have every right to recover the wealth accumulated by the bourgeoisie and the monarchy. If Mohammed VI is truly a democrat, why doesn’t he give back what he stole from the people? (…)Where do you think Morocco is headed today?I think the regime’s policies are taking us directly towards an uprising. That’s what I think. The technocrats who govern us are paving the way for a generalised, popular revolt. They try to run the country like a business. They have no solutions for the poor strata of the population. They think they can solve problems with police batons. They crack down on street vendors, unemployed graduates and the rest of the working classes. The regime is ready to put tanks on the streets to fire on people.What will the Islamists do in these circumstances?They will do what they always do. They will end up allying with the government as already happened in Hassan II’s time. Hassan used the Islamists to limit the influence of the left, and to wipe out the Marxist-Leninists, the radical left. I don’t say this is the case for all the Islamists, I’m just referring to part of this movement. For example, the Islamists of the PJD would ally with the regime. The Islamist are influential because they know how to talk to people. They talk about radical change, they talk about problems that interest the population, but they are not a democratic alternative.What do you think of the reformist ideas of Mohammed VI’s first cousin, Moulay Hicham, the red prince?I think he is capable of arguing for a series of ideas that favour a debate about the monarchy (…) Moulay Hicham is acting as a public figure. He has stopped acting as a prince. I think that is positive.Will there end up being a solution to the dispute over Western Sahara?I continue to defend the right of the Saharawi to self-determination, as I defend self-determination for all peoples. Even the Moroccan people. As far as I know, the Saharawi have not been allowed to say whether or not they want to remain Moroccan. Hunger strike is last resort for some imprisoned Moroccan journalists Reporters Without Borders voiced deep concern about the condition of jailed newspaper editor Ali Lmrabet, who was rushed to Rabat’s Avicenne hospital today and put on a drip. Lmrabet, who was imprisoned on 21 May, has been on a hunger strike since 6 May. His physician said he was in a very weak condition. June 8, 2021 Find out more April 15, 2021 Find out morecenter_img Receive email alerts Reporters Without Borders voiced deep concern about the condition of jailed newspaper editor Ali Lmrabet, who was rushed to Rabat’s Avicenne hospital today and put on a drip. Lmrabet, who was imprisoned on 21 May, has been on a hunger strike since 6 May. His physician said he was in a very weak condition.The doctor said: “He has not been able to drink since yesterday. He is throwing everything up. He has great difficulty talking. And he can no longer walk.” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said the organisation was “terribly worried” and urged the authorities not to return Lmrabet to prison. “He must remain in hospital for a considerable period of time and must get the best treatment,” he said.”The Moroccan authorities are responsible for Lmrabet’s health. They will bear a heavy responsibility if anything unfortunate happens. The king cannot remain indifferent to what happens to him. This is no longer just about press freedom, a man’s life is at stake,” Ménard said.The editor of two satirical weeklies, the French-language Demain Magazine and its Arabic-language version Douman, Lmrabet was sentenced to four years in prison on 21 May for “insulting the person of the king”, “offence against territorial integrity” and “offence against the monarchy.” The court also fined him 20,000 dirhams (about 2,000 euros) and banned his two weeklies.Since the day of his conviction, he had been held at Salé prison near Rabat, where he was sharing a cell with two inmate held for common crimes.When he began his hunger strike on 6 May, Lmrabet said he was acting to defend his rights, to put an end to repeated acts of intimidation against his printer and others who would otherwise be ready to print his weeklies, and in order to be able to enjoy the right to freedom of movement. In the order the cartoons appear – see below: 1) Douman: “The wedding of Sheikh Idris (Driss Basri, the late King Hassan’s interior minister) and his friends”Ali Lmrabet’s offence in this cartoon is the use of a photo of the “lamaria” (the royal wooden throne) that King Mohammed used for his wedding, but with Driss Basri sitting on the throne in the montage, not the king.2) Douman: “The king’s budget before parliament”Each year, parliament votes the civil list, that is to say, the budget assigned to the king and his household.3) Douman: “History of slavery”In the last picture of this cartoon strip, when the king’s train is travelling around the kingdom, it is customary for local dignitaries to go to the station and bow to the train as passes through. Follow the news on Morocco / Western Sahara News News Morocco / Western SaharaMiddle East – North Africa Organisation NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say May 26, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Jailed newspaper editor rushed to hospital Help by sharing this information last_img read more

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Eleven Sports expands football broadcasting footprint with IMG

first_img Continuing the expansion of its UK football broadcasting footprint, ELEVEN Sports has won the rights to Italy’s top flight from BT Sport.ELEVEN Sports is owned by Andrea Radrizzani, who is also the chairman of English Championship club, Leeds United. The Serie A deal follows on from ELEVEN Sports winning the rights from Sky Sports to show La Liga for the upcoming season.The group has revealed that forming a strategic partnership with IMG, Eleven Sports 1 and Eleven Sports 2 will launch online in August, in time for the commencing of the La Liga and Serie A season. The significance of the deal increased immensely this week when World Football’s biggest star, Cristiano Ronaldo joined the current Italian champions Juventus.Marc Watson, Executive Chairman and Group CEO of ELEVEN Sports commented on the Eleven Sports website: “Serie A has a dedicated following in the UK and Ireland and there is now added interest following Juventus’ signing of global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. “ELEVEN SPORTS. “With more top-tier rights to come in addition to Serie A and LaLiga, ELEVEN SPORTS’ entry in to the UK and Ireland has changed the market dynamics. History has shown new rivals bring innovation and fresh thinking to the ways in which premium sports action is produced, packaged and distributed for fans.”Commenting on the partnership with IMG, he added: “The partnership with IMG strengthens ELEVEN SPORTS’ position as a major player in the UK and Ireland. IMG adds significant resources to our operations and they will contribute greatly to our innovative way of delivering more contemporary sports coverage that appeals to today’s audience.”Gaetano Miccichè, Serie A President also spoke about the deal on the ELEVEN Sports site: “We have worked very successfully with ELEVEN SPORTS in the last three years to take world-class Serie A action to football fans in several markets around the world.”“We are delighted to continue our partnership in the UK and Ireland and we are looking forward to being a big part of ELEVEN’s sport focused strategy that will place us at the forefront of their innovative offer in what is a very important market for Serie A.” Premier League looks to broadcast every behind-closed-door fixture August 28, 2020 Submit Belgian Pro League selects bwin as its new betting partner August 4, 2020 Related Articles Alexey Khobot, Fonbet: The importance of live streaming for Russia’s betting market July 1, 2020 Share Share StumbleUponlast_img read more

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Cell Electronics Is High-Tech

first_imgTo describe a living cell these days, you have to borrow electronics lingo.  Notice how two recent articles described cell specs:Ham radio immunity:  What acts like a radio dial, a signal amplifier, and a precision rheostat?  Your immune system, according to Science Daily.  Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital described how the cell controls its T cells.  They don’t just use simple on-and-off switching.  “Rather, they possess sophisticated molecular controls that enable them to adjust their function with exquisite precision,” the article says.  “Such subtle adjustment enables T cells to modulate their development and function, including avoiding autoimmunity.”  It’s all done with genes and proteins and other molecules.  How cool is that?  It’s wireless.Dim the lights:  A plant leaf has to deal with a wide range of light, from darkness to overcast to overpowering noonday sun.  To avoid sunburn, reported Science Daily, it has a dimmer switch.  A multi-disciplinary team of scientists identified pigment-binding protein CP29 as the “antenna” (there’s another one of those electronics terms) that squelches the photosynthesis engines when too much light is coming in.  Like a lightning rod, it safely channels the energy down other pathways so that the “light harvesting machinery” is not overwhelmed.  Actually, there is triple redundancy built in, so that no one protein becomes a single point of failure.  The reactions take place in the timescale of a femtosecond (a millionth of a billionth of a second).    The article explained another reason why scientists are keen to understand how a plant cell does this.  Plants achieve an astonishingly high efficiency – 97% – in the conversion of light energy to chemical energy.  Part of that is due to the chloroplast’s ability to quickly fine-tune the available light, even when clouds are passing overhead.  If electronics engineers could mimic that, energy-hungry humans could have a bright future: “This discovery holds important implications for the future design of artificial photosynthesis systems that could provide the world with a sustainable and secure source of energy.”Here’s one for the guy who likes sports instead of nerdy stuff.  Another Science Daily article talked about a cellular tag team.  Two proteins work in tandem to help a dividing cell run the gauntlet of critical functions without getting slammed.  To figure this out, scientists at Duke University had to look at the match from the grandstands, because there were too many players in the ring.  “It’s a new way of thinking,” said Stephen Haase, biology professor.  “We’ve spent decades on a reductionist approach to science.  That method has been phenomenally successful.  But now, with genome technologies, we have the opportunity to look at the dynamics of all the genes at the same time.”  This approach is known as Systems Biology (see 05/07/2008).Where did the cell earn its electrical engineering degree?  From the University of Chance?    None of these articles mentioned evolution or had any use for it.  Engineers, come on in.  Science labs are hiring.  There will be a lot of room after the Darwin Party deadbeats move out with their 19th-century hangovers.  Check out the new Biologic Institute that employs the intelligent design approach explicitly, the way the above stories do implicitly.  Bio-logic.  Get it?(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Gallery: Bricks and mortar make better schools

first_imgSince 2009, South Africa’s Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative, known as Asidi, has been building, renovating and providing essential water, sanitation and electricity to schools across the country, improving education – particularly for rural children.Middel Qutsa Senior Primary School in the Eastern Cape. (Image: Department of Basic Education)The Asidi initiative was kickstarted by Department of Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga in her first term of office. Motshekga, a former teacher, was concerned about the state of hundreds of schools in rural and underprivileged areas. The solution was Asidi. After rigorous planning and funding approval from the National Treasury, the programme started building and upgrading schools in various provinces in 2010.Dumakude Primary School, newly upgraded.Asidi’s main aim is to ensure all of the country’s schools comply with basic safety norms set out by the education department. This means providing water, sanitation and electricity to schools without these essentials, and reconstructing old schools built by rural communities from the materials they had at hand – the so-called “mud schools” – with bricks and mortar.The new entrance to Kensington High School.Asidi is funded by the Schools Infrastructure Backlog Grant. The programme falls under Integrated Infrastructure Management System, run by National Treasury and the Construction Industry Development Board.New architectural design at Delta Primary School in the Western Cape.Five years into the initiative, Asidi is bearing fruit. Achievements so far include:• Schools: 89 schools completed• Water: 318 schools have water supplies for the first time• Sanitation: 351 schools have installed decent sanitation systems• Electrification: 279 schools have been connected to electricity for the first time.Locals have been so impressed with the quality of their new and upgraded schools, the Asidi team report, that when the new facilities are handed over to communities, the people describe them as “universities”.The stunning interior of Portia Primary School.By province and year, these are the completed and projected targets of the Asidi programme:2012/13: 140 schools target• 29 schools completed in the Eastern Cape• Seven schools completed in the Western Cape• Three schools completed in Mpumalanga• One school completed in Free State• The balance are at different stages of implementation2014/15: 150 schools target• 99 schools in implementation. Framework agreements are in process for the balance.• 78 of 99 schools at design stage in the Eastern Cape.• Nine of 99 schools are at a stage of planning and one of 99 schools is at a stage of design in the Free State.• 11 of 99 schools are at different phases of construction In the Western Cape.Sophumelela Secondary School.The Asidi team is not just a brick-and-mortar initiative. School handovers are the occasion to celebrate success because a school has been completed – a milestone worth marking.The computer centre at an Asidi-upgraded Western Cape primary school.A state-of-the-art school creates new energy in a community that long thought itself ignored by society. It signals a new start for learners and the vast possibilities that go with that beginning – the possibility of better learning, leading to greater access to the gifts of a democratic society. The completion of an Asidi school means the starting line in the race to success is redrawn for underprivileged children. It means democracy is bearing fruit.Upgrades to Loding Primary School in Mpumalanga.last_img read more

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Thai playmaker Chanathip Songkrasin raises profile in Japan

first_imgFILE – In this Jan. 20, 2019, file photo, Thailand’s midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin controls the ball during the AFC Asian Cup round of 16 soccer match between Thailand and China in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. With soccer booming in Southeast Asia, Chanathip’s move to Japan has been a win-win situation for both the Thai playmaker and the J-League. The 25-year-old Chanathip signed with first-division club Consadole Sapporo in 2017 and has been a hit both on and off the field. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)TOKYO — With soccer booming in Southeast Asia, Chanathip Songkrasin’s move to Japan has been a win-win situation for both the Thai playmaker and the J-League.The 25-year-old Chanathip signed with first-division club Consadole Sapporo in 2017 and has been a hit both on and off the field.ADVERTISEMENT In his second season in Japan, the 5-foot-2 (1.58-meter) attacking midfielder scored eight goals, helping Consadole to a fourth-place finish in the top flight — a record high for the club.He was selected to the J-League XI, becoming the first Southeast Asian player to earn the honor.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chief SPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption charges Indian Wells: Serena Williams, Simona Halep win; Sloane Stephens ousted Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting With the recent signings of players such as Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Fernando Torres, the J-League is bidding to raise its international profile in the region after a period when the Chinese Super League grabbed most of the headlines for its record-breaking signings and transfer deals.During the 2017 season, the Chinese authorities introduced a 100 percent tax on the signing of foreign players for a fee of more than $7 million in a move to increase opportunities for young local players. At the same time, the limited on the number of foreign players that could be selected for a game was reduced from four to three for each team.While Chinese soccer appears to be inching back from a foreign influx, the J-League, long considered the most professional competition in the region, is stepping forward.“We want to create interest in our league not only in Japan but in Asia and around the world,” J-League chairman Mitsuru Murai said. “With players like Chanathip we feel we are well on the way to achieving those goals.”Since 2017, the J-League has permitted each team to sign one player from an Asian Football Confederation nation outside of the existing foreign player quota.ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:35U.S. urges Japan, South Korea to share intel01:09Palace: Duterte to attend Asean Summit in Bangkok but with ‘spacing’02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Japanese football is very fast and physical,” Chanathip said in a recent interview. “Players here are very disciplined, so if more Thai players come to Japan, they will be able to learn a lot and become better football players.”While playing in a more competitive league has helped Chanathip raise the level of his game, it has also helped promote the J-League overseas. Nearly 1.5 million people attend soccer matches every year in Thailand and Japanese soccer officials are eager to gain a foothold there. View comments Last year, Chanathip’s Thailand teammates Teerasil Dangda and Theerathon Bunmathan played in the J-League with Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Vissel Kobe.Thailand captain Teerasil returned to Muangthong following the completion of his loan deal, but Theerathon is continuing to play in the J-League with Yokohama F Marinos.Newly promoted Oita Trinita, meanwhile, has acquired Thai midfielder Thitipan Puangchan on loan.Chanathip has given the profile of the Japanese league a huge boost in his homeland, where he was a star at Thai powerhouse Muangthong United.Thai TV viewership of J-League broadcasts hit an all-time high in 2017 when a match between Consadole and the J-League’s Kawasaki Frontale drew an estimated 400,000 Thai TV viewers, outperforming a broadcast of popular domestic side Buriram United.The J-League hopes its success in Thailand can be duplicated in other Southeast Asian countries, where broadcasts of the top European leagues dominate ratings.Murai has praised Chanathip for his success with Sapporo and promotion of the league in Thailand.“I was surprised when a video of Chanathip’s first practice in Sapporo attracted 3 million viewers, more than the entire population of Sapporo,” Murai told local media. “He has made a huge impact on the J-League.”While he’s completely focused on helping Sapporo achieve its goals, Chanathip said he’s keeping an open mind about his future prospects, including the possibility of one day playing on soccer’s biggest stage.“If I get a chance to play in Europe, I’d be happy to take on a new challenge,” Chanathip said. P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crashlast_img read more

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a month agoNoble insists West Ham should be targeting top four

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Noble insists West Ham should be targeting top fourby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham captain Mark Noble insists they should be targeting a top four this season.Noble feels a win against United can show they are serious about playing in Europe next season.He said: “It’s easy to understand why we’re relishing the visit of Manchester United on Sunday. We’ve only lost once in our past nine League matches and been beaten only twice at home in 2019.“There’s a feeling that the chance exists for a change and at least one different club to break into the top six this season. I would even go one step further. I believe there is an opportunity for someone different to actually make it into the top four!“After that, you look at Arsenal, who could easily have lost at Watford last weekend; Chelsea, where Frank Lampard has done incredibly well to play young English players but are banned from signing anyone and have lost Eden Hazard; plus United, who are, let’s say, in transition. Even Wolves, who did so well last season, are finding it tough with their Europa League commitments.” last_img read more

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Trump tax plan paints pretty picture for art collectors

first_imgWASHINGTON – For art aficionados, President Donald Trump’s tax plan paints a pretty picture.The president’s tax overhaul proposal — which he has pitched as a boost for hardworking farmers and truckers — would repeal the federal estate tax paid by people who inherit multimillion-dollar estates. That break could benefit art collectors gazing upon pricey collections of Rothkos and Basquiats.Under current rules, the first $11 million of an estate is exempt for a married couple. Art lovers with pricier collections may seek to lessen the tax liability for their heirs by selling or donating their art or placing it in a trust. Otherwise, their heirs may end up selling off art to pay the IRS.Without the estate tax, it would be easier for people to keep collections in the family. Such a shift in the tax rules could have a ripple effect on the art market and slow the flow of art from private homes to museum walls.Attorney Malcolm Taub, an expert in art law, said the elimination of the estate tax would end the tax issues when a collector dies, but could also “provide somewhat of a detriment” to museums, universities and other institutions that benefit from donations.For now, Taub said, some clients are putting their financial plans related to art on ice.“Estate planners and people in the industry are waiting to see how this happens,” he said.The president has outlined his tax plan in broad strokes for now, as Congress works out the details. Given lawmakers’ struggles to enact major legislation, it remains unclear if Republicans can get a robust plan over the finish line.Trump insists his plan will be a boon for middle-class families, specifically framing the estate tax repeal as a benefit for family businesses. In Pennsylvania recently, he promised to “protect thousands of family businesses by ending the crushing, horrible, and unfair estate tax, sometimes known as the death tax.”Added Trump: “That’s a tax that has destroyed so many businesses and kept those businesses out of your family, your children, your grandchildren.”The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the implications for art.last_img read more

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US hits Ukraine separatists Russia officials with sanctions

first_imgWASHINGTON – The Trump administration said Friday it will punish 21 people and nine companies with sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.Eleven of the individuals are Ukrainian pro-Russian separatists, the Treasury Department said. They hold titles such as minister of finance, trade, justice and security in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine.The United States is also targeting several Russian officials, including Andrey Cherezov, a deputy energy minister in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government. Cherezov is already under EU sanctions for his role in transferring turbines to Crimea. The turbines were sold to Russia by German electricity giant Siemens for use on Russian territory. Several companies involved in building infrastructure in Crimea are also being targeted by the latest sanctions.Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014 is not recognized by the United States. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has insisted that U.S. sanctions on Russia related to Crimea will remain in place indefinitely as long as Moscow refuses to withdraw from the territory.“The U.S. government is committed to maintaining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and to targeting those who attempt to undermine the Minsk agreements,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, referring to a 2015 peace agreement reached in Minsk, Belarus, that has never been fully implemented.Russia’s government reacted to the sanctions by calling them “senseless” and arguing that previous sanctions have failed to produce results for Washington. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. actions would lead to financial losses for American businesses and that the United States was demonstrating “to the whole world their own helplessness.”“If U.S. authorities prefer to break economic and other ties with Russia, it is their right — just as we reserve the right to respond,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.The new U.S. sanctions came as Tillerson met Friday with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko in Davos, Switzerland.___Associated Press writer Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this report.last_img read more

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Canadian backpack makers eye expansion abroad morph into lifestyle brands

first_imgVANCOUVER – Canada’s backpack makers are experiencing a boon beyond the traditionally busy back-to-school season as students and consumers with all types of carryall needs flock to their designs.That demand is pushing homegrown names like Herschel Supply Co. and Matt & Nat to scale up and open flagship stores, expand their bricks-and-mortar footprints and release products beyond just schoolbags.The back-to-school lead-up is “hot, hot, hot, hot,” said Manny Kohil, CEO of Montreal-based vegan bag brand Matt & Nat.“Month of August is always on fire,” he said, adding that flows into the first week of September before slowing down.Parents plan to spend an average of more than $300 on back-to-school shopping this year, according to an online survey conducted by Maru/Blue for Capital One.Parents will spend an average of about $45 on backpacks — though that jumps to about $68 for high-school students. About 40 per cent of respondents admitted they’d likely go over budget on supplies.The survey was conducted between July 27 and 29, and questioned 276 adults with school-age kids. The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.Herschel Supply Co. anticipated a line out the door at its flagship Vancouver store, which opened this summer, in the three weeks leading up to the first day of school.The business certainly benefits from that time of year, said Lyndon Cormack, one of three brothers who co-founded Herschel in 2009.But it’s not dependent on it, he said, noting backpacks have become more “like an every-day purchase” as people increasingly flock to urban centres, live in smaller spaces, rely on public transit and commute using methods other than cars.Both brands saw an upsurge in demand that’s led them to open retail stores and plan domestic and international expansions.“I think that a retail store still hands down does it better than anything in the world in relation to conveying a brand’s purpose and message,” Cormack said.Herschel’sfirst shop is a logical step as the company previously only sold its goods online and through other retailers, like department stores, he said.In the roughly 5,000-square-foot space, the brand can present all its products to consumers rather than a small selection curated by another retailer, like the Hudson’s Bay Co., Cormack explained.Already, more stores are in the works, though Cormack said there’s no specific timeline for future openings.The company is eyeing a few spaces in New York City and London, England, at the moment. Within Canada, it definitely makes sense to eventually look at Toronto, he said.Matt & Nat already operates six locations, including an outlet shop outside of Montreal. It will soon open another discount store near Toronto, said Kohil, and plans to grow its presence to up to 15 stores in Canada and abroad next year. International locations will include the United States, England and the Netherlands, he said.He opened the chain’s first store more than two years ago “to elevate the brand,” he said.But the rucksack companies’ expansions aren’t just into real estate. Both are evolving into so-called lifestyle brands.Matt & Nat branched out beyond handbags and wallets by introducing shoes in the spring of 2016. It now also sells sunglasses and candles.Meanwhile, less than 50 per cent of Herschel’s sales come from backpacks, said Cormack. The company also makes wallets, laptop sleeves and luggage. It expanded into apparel with packable windbreakers and plans to add other diverse categories into its mix in the future.Herschel appears to be following a similar trajectory to another Canadian retailer: Canada Goose. The luxury winter jacket company started as an e-commerce business, then opened its own stores at home and eventually abroad before holding an initial public offering.Cormack doesn’t deny Herschel could eventually go public, but said the company is certainly not looking at an IPO in the near future.Follow @AleksSagan on TwitterCompanies in this story: (TSX: GOOS) (TSX:HBC)last_img read more

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