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Thorntons stays upbeat despite fall in sales

first_imgThorntons has seen total sales plummet 10.3% in its commercial division to £41.9m.Sales also fell in its retail division to £44.9m, down 2.4% in its second quarter trading figures for the 14 weeks up to and including 10 January 2015.Despite this, the chocolate business saw a 5% increase in like-for-like sales in the retail sector.Thorntons warned on its sales performance on 23 December, when it said it suffered challenges with a number of grocers, as well as short-term difficulties at its centralised warehouse.It saw a 7.8% increase in like-for-like sales during the Christmas period from 1-24 December.The high street chocolate business said there had been high demand for boxed chocolates, seasonal specialities and advent calendars this festive season.Jonathan Hart, chief executive, said: “Alongside very positive results from our retail division for the second year running, we were disappointed that the continued growth we anticipated in the UK commercial channel of our FMCG division had not been delivered. The challenges we experienced within specific grocers accounted for the majority of the share decline.”Good growth in many of our grocery, convenience and high street accounts and a strong performance from our retail division gives us confidence in shopper demand for our brand and products. We continue with our transformation towards an FMCG business and the investment in our people, systems and factory is ongoing. We have good plans for the spring season and the board remains confident in its multi-channel strategy and ongoing transformation.”Interim results for the company will be announced on Monday 2 March.last_img read more

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State attorneys, public defenders learn the ropes

first_img State attorneys, public defenders learn the ropes Associate EditorStanding at center stage, Jonathan Bull moves away from the podium and projects his voice. He pretends it is a courtroom and he is defending Peter Randall on charges of selling “eight balls” of cocaine to “Stick,” an informant wearing a wire. He has 15 minutes to work his defense attorney magic and get his client off. A video camera rolls.Walking over to a chalkboard where a prosecutor had earlier scrawled G-U-I-L-T-Y in block letters, Bull draws a fat chalky line through that incriminating word, and says, “It’s a little bit too early for this.”He grabs the state’s evidence of a wad of 10 $20-dollar bills police seized from his client’s pants pocket, reminding the jury his client’s fingerprint was only on one $20 bill on the outside of the money roll, consistent with his version of being handed the cash later.“Wouldn’t a drug dealer count his money?” Bull asks, suggesting if his client was guilty, his fingerprint would have been found on each of the bills.But there is no jury in this mock trial of State v. Randall, just a trio of seasoned lawyers ready to jump in with their verdict on Bull’s trial advocacy skills. After that, Bull will participate in a one-on-one session with another trial lawyer to go over the closing argument videotape for another wave of critiquing.It is all part of an intensive week-long Gerald T. Bennett Prosecutor/Public Defender Trial Training Program, created by the late law professor known for narrowing the gap between legal theory and law practice when he taught his trial practice and criminal clinic course at UF for 30 years.“Like a potter creating a priceless piece of art, Jerry would mold students into being litigators — knowing when to gently massage the students with his kind words of encouragement and when to light the fire of the kiln under the students so that they would become strong and determined,” J. Patrick Shannon wrote in a tribute to Bennett published in the Florida Law Review. Bennett’s hands-on teaching philosophy is in full force at the training week held on campus in Gainesville, a partnership between the University of Florida Levin College of Law and the Criminal Law Section of The Florida Bar, which Bennett once chaired.About 70 young assistant public defenders and assistant state attorneys from all over the state, from circuits large and small, came for a grueling week in August to work on trial skills. Most have between six months and two years of trial experience, so they already have some context to work to polish and refine their skills. In two mock trials, professional actors from Gainesville’s Hippodrome State Theatre played the defendants and witnesses, and real fingerprint technicians and forensic psychologists took the stand as expert witnesses. The faculty is an impressive array of experienced trial lawyers, prosecutors, professors, and judges.It’s now time for Bull to hear what the faculty has to say about his closing argument.“Looking at that word ‘guilty’ with a cross through it the whole time is a lot more effective than erasing it,” tosses out one of the critiquing faculty members, Paul Zacks, chief assistant state attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County and chair-elect of the Criminal Law Section.“But I wouldn’t use the phrase ‘bias of cops,’” Zacks adds, explaining a lot of people on the jury believe police are honest and do the right thing and that could be a turn-off.Melanie Hines, chair of the Criminal Law Section, leans over to whisper: “He’s getting advice from a prosecutor on how to be a better defense lawyer. Isn’t that great?”This training program is unique in that it brings prosecutors and defense attorneys together to learn from each other.“If you want to be a good prosecutor, you’ve got to know how the defense thinks. And if you want to be a good defense attorney, you have to know how the prosecutor thinks,” Zacks said. “You don’t get that anywhere else.”When it was Hines’ turn to offer Bull some tips, she smiles when delivering a compliment: “You have lost your negative mannerisms, like ‘uh’ and ‘um.’” Then she doles out constructive criticism: “But look right at the jury and slow down. You said at one point, ‘If you can’t figure out who to believe, that’s reasonable doubt.’ If you had paused and looked at us and said it again, that’s your case. Well done!”A short time later, Bull returns from his video-critiquing session, and he sums up what he has learned to take back to his job as an assistant public defender in the 18th Judicial Circuit in Melbourne:“You know what? It’s a riot. As soon as I watched the video, the first thing I thought to myself: ‘OK, I’m going on the Atkins Diet. I’m running every morning.’“I learned not to slouch. Two, I learned not to drape over the podium. Three, I learned not to say, ‘um.’ Basically, I got a couple of ideas as far as different angles of attacking the state’s case I didn’t think about before. I got new takes on strategy, new takes on how to present a case and how to cross.”So you’re a better trial lawyer than you were just a week ago?“God, I hope so!”Not that he was bumbling around before he came to this intensive learning experience, having done 15 jury trials, including one felony, and getting 13 acquittals in his young legal career of about one year of trial experience.Hines remembers when she took the Bennett program training in 1983, the fifth year it had been offered. At that time, she had only tried a couple of cases as an intern and had been doing appeals for two years, and now she was an assistant public defender in the Second Judicial Circuit with virtually no trial experience.“When I came here, I had just been assigned to county court (as an assistant public defender). The first couple of days I was here, I thought, ‘I ought not to be trying cases. I don’t know what I’m doing.’ I thought, ‘I am better off doing appeals, doing research and writing. I’m not cut out for this.’ By the end of the week, I went away thinking, ‘OK, there’s some hope.’”Hines went on to become statewide prosecutor in 1991, with the attorney general’s office, and served in that position until this year.This was her first time back at the training as an instructor and she was impressed by what she calls “the crown jewel of all the activities of the Criminal Law Section.”“This program has been in existence since 1979. So if we had about 70 students each time, the program has trained roughly 1,750 assistant state attorneys and public defenders in this state,” Hines said. “That’s an amazing amount.”It’s a risk-free atmosphere, where no client’s freedom is really on the line, where no boss is going to come down hard if things go wrong.“Several have stood up and said, ‘Let me try something different. I don’t think I would ever do this in the courtroom, but let me try this.’ They did and got positive feedback, so they may in fact be trying that in the courtroom next month,” Hines says.Claire Luten, chair of the steering committee for the program, a former Sixth Circuit judge, assistant state attorney, assistant public defender, and private defense counsel, said the students learn there is no one right way to try a case, that there are different styles that may be equally effective.“Your style is as individual as you are. It’s so good for these kids to see that any number of styles work,” Luten says.The students learn what doesn’t work — with criticism packaged in kind words.“None of the instructors are the type who are ugly, vicious, mean, and nasty,” Luten says with a chuckle. “They may be in their real life, but they aren’t here right now. While we may tell you that you are doing something wrong, we are going to try to put it in the most constructive fashion.”At the Bailey Courtroom, 13th Judicial Circuit Judge Robert J. Simms is gentle and reassuring when he critiques Steve Fraser, an assistant public defender in Orlando’s Ninth Circuit.“Steve, you may be the first person to read your closing argument, but you did it OK,” Simms said. “We always say, ‘Don’t read.. . commit it to memory.’ I would try to get away from it. Jennifer will tell you she wants to take your notes away from you.”“Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah!” interjects Jennifer Zedalis, director of the Trial Practice Program and legal skills professor at UF.“Steve, lose reading the jury instructions,” Zedalis says. “When you did get off to using real language, it was real good. That’s what I want you to dwell on.. . . I want you to reach out and grab the jury with the facts of the case.”During a break, Fraser, who has about a year of trial experience, said it has been day-in-day-out work, preparing before and after class for every stage of the mock trial.“I’m learning how I can improve my style, in delivering my message, communicating better with the jury.”When the seasoned lawyers told him to stop reading, Fraser admits, “It’s scary. But there are different styles in the courtroom. My style is a reader. I just have to improve my style as a reader.”The video session, though, revealed something he can do little about:“I see I’m getting bald in the back,” Fraser says with a laugh.“Terrified” is the word Zacks uses to describe how he felt during his first trial decades ago and he remembers the tendency for young lawyers to write down every word.“It’s a script, for fear you might forget something. What you learn, as you go along, is that actually is distracting, because you’re not getting any eye contact. You’re not listening to responses. If you have a witness on the stand, you are not listening if you are trying to read your next question. You might miss something big and important,” Zacks teaches.Kevin Cobbin, an assistant public defender from Jacksonville with only two months of trial experience, dramatically waved a frying pan around during his closing argument in an attempted murder case. He said the training has been invaluable.“You never get a chance to do a trial, and as soon as you sit down, get critiqued about it, hear what you did wrong, hear what you did right, and see it on tape. As soon as you’re done speaking, someone is telling you: ‘Here’s how to make it better.’ From that very minute. It’s all good criticism, from people who are the best in the business,” Cobbin said.The learning isn’t all one-sided.Lewis Buzzell III, a mentor/supervisor in county court with the Jacksonville public defender office, was once a student at the Bennett training and has been teaching here since 1986.“I often see my own sins mirrored in the students,” Buzzell says, sitting at a video terminal waiting for a student to arrive with her tape. “It’s a good refresher for me to come back here and see how different people handle different problems. Some of my own bad habits I see are in direct examination, asking a really convoluted question that makes no sense. Probably the most common one is resorting to a legal shorthand, when you start using these stilted words. ‘Did you have occasion to.. . ?’ ‘Did anything unusual happen?’ ‘Well, nothing much; I just shot the s— out of my husband.’ Things like that.“Or people who say ‘OK’ after someone answers a question, every time. Leaning on the podium. Waving things around in the air. Things people do when they are nervous and excited and they don’t even know they’re doing it. It’s hard work for everybody. In fact, the nearest analogy I can make to it, it’s like being in a long trial.”Long days turned into long nights for Shannon Gridley-Hetz, an assistant state attorney in Orlando who is still nursing her 10-month old daughter, Isabella. Her mom stayed with Isabella at the hotel during the day while Gridley-Hetz honed her trial skills.“It’s a great program. I learned so much,” said Gridley-Hetz, with 23 trials under her belt in two years as a prosecutor.“Toward the end of the program, I came across as clearer and more confident. So often we go to trial and none of our superiors are in the courtroom. Or sometimes, they won’t be as honest. This was a very humbling experience. You got more negative feedback than positive.”But that’s not to say the participants didn’t have fun.“One of the lawyers here said, ‘The first person to use the phrase ‘Kurdish rebels’ in their closing, I’ll buy them a beer,’” recalls Zacks. “One of the kids got up there and stuck it in the middle of his closing, right in context. It was hilarious!”While Zacks will go home exhausted, he said he also feels energized.“It’s a lot of work, but you really feel like you’ve done something. These young lawyers really grow. Even in the context of the week that we’ve been here, we have seen such remarkable strides from some of these young lawyers. Just remarkable!” State attorneys, public defenders learn the ropes September 1, 2003 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

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Conference “Šibenik-Knin County as a creative cluster of nautical, culture, enogastrotourism and innovative experiences” was held

first_imgThe total number of charter vessels in Croatia increased to 4.375, making Croatia the leading charter destination in the world, and over half a million nautical guests realized almost 3,5 million overnight stays. In the period from 2010 to 2017, the number of active travel agencies increased by 44 percent, from 870 to 1.254, and revenues by 54 percent, from 3,3 billion to 5,1 billion kuna. The number of employees in Croatian agencies in 2017 reached a total of 5.540, which is 20 percent more than in 2010. As the daily consumption of sailors on charter vessels in 2017 was 183 euros per day, which is significantly more than the consumption of the average tourist with 79 euros per day, it is clear that there is huge potential in connecting nautical tourism with other tourism products such as eno-gastro and cultural, and travel agencies are the creators of such complex high value-added packages.  DAILY CONSUMPTION OF BOATERS IS 40 PERCENT MORE THAN THE DAILY CONSUMPTION OF THE AVERAGE CROATIAN TOURIST Photo: Pixabay.com PROPOSAL OF LAW ON MARITIME PROPERTY AND SEAPORTS PRESENTED The President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Professional Group of Travel Agencies of the Šibenik-Knin County, Ivana Šišara, expressed her satisfaction with the interest of agencies and charters from the rest of Croatia for the conference. “Every year, local agencies design new packages and tours to enrich their offer, and with this conference we want to connect our local agencies and other participants in tourism who offer Šibenik and the region in their offer, and we hope that their cooperation will take place.”, Said Šišara. Paško Klisović, President of the Association of Accommodation Providers on Boats – Charter HGK stressed that the initiative of the Association to connect with travel agencies caused by changing the profile of guests in the charter to which we must adapt given that there are fewer “real” sailors and more “general” “Guests who consume nautical in addition to other tourist products. “Therefore, cooperation with agencies is very important and necessary for us to deliver a quality experience and jointly extend the tourist season in Croatia. We chose Šibenik-Knin County as a meeting place because it has everything, from historical and cultural sites, through two national parks to top gastronomy, music and a unique sea story. All this is packed into excellent transport connections and extremely developed nautical infrastructure”, Klisović emphasized. Photo: Pixabay.com RESEARCH RESULTS PRESENTED “ATTITUDES AND CONSUMPTION OF NAUTICIANS IN CROATIA – TOMAS NAUTIKA YACHTING 2017.” That is one of the conclusions B2B conference “Šibenik-Knin County as a creative cluster” held in Šibenik, organized by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Šibenik Fortress of Culture and with the support of the Šibenik Port Authority. The space of the Šibenik City Hall was filled to the brim with representatives of renowned travel agencies, charter and shipping companies from all over Croatia, as well as various stakeholders in the tourist offer of Šibenik-Knin County, which this time focused on.  “I am extremely glad to see that the reflections and strategies of Ban Tours fit into the official policies of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and other entities. Regarding yacht charter, we have been offering culture along the routes for a long time. Of all things, I am most happy when we can include local DMKs and manufacturers in our programs, or tasting local products, because that way we can directly support someone’s small business. We started from literally zero and I know how important every, even the smallest job is “, emphasized the president of the Cultural Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Suzana Markovic.  New projects in the Šibenik-Knin County were also presented at the conference: the project of the Šibenik Diocese to restore the Galbiani Palace and the Interpretation Center of the Cathedral of St. Jakov “Civitas sacra – Holy City”, themed costumed tour of the city “Dark side of medieval Sibenik” conducted by guides Sibenik Association of Tourist Guides Mihovil, as well as the project HGK ŽK Zadar 4helix +: Creative innovation for blue Mediterranean companies and cluster growth. The Fortress of Culture Šibenik presented the possibilities of using the space and special experiences of the Fortress of St. Mihovil and Fortress Barone, where after business meetings between the participants, the second part of the conference was held, intended for informal connection with the county’s eno-gastronomic offer.   “Today’s meetings among the participants will certainly contribute to the further development of innovative and creative tourism products in the city and the county. Šibenik Fortress has been successfully cooperating with numerous tourist organizations and private entrepreneurs in the tourism sector since the beginning of its activities, and together we are an example of how synergies are created through partnerships and cultural, tourist and eno-gastronomic offer is improved for the benefit of all stakeholders.”Said Gorana Barišić Bačelić, director of the Šibenik Fortress of Culture RELATED NEWS: The joint work of agencies and charter companies would benefit the entire local community because guests of higher purchasing power are looking for special and innovative experiences, eno-gastro, nautical, cultural, adventure and all other products of special topics and interests. Also, these forms of tourism move Croatia away from the image of a sun and sea destination, full accommodation capacities out of season and enable year-round tourism. last_img read more

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Liverpool’s Milner goes viral, snaps coronavirus gloom

first_imgTopics : “Now the tea bags are sorted I’ve got time to level out this lawn,'” he tweeted.”‘Wonder if I can borrow Anfield’s ‘Keep off the Grass sign’.” Liverpool star James Milner has become a social media star in playing up to his no frills image by filming himself doing domestic chores whilst the Premier League is suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.The 34-year-old former England midfielder first posted images of himself sorting his tea bags one by one as a response to team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain posting a glamorous video of himself and his pop star girlfriend Perrie Edwards dancing on their stairs.The players have been left to their own devices after team training was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. “‘Hey @Alex_OxChambo Barrels of laughs here in Milner household as well – rationing the tea bags for the week #crazydays #somuchtogetonwith #notgotthemovestocompete’.” tweeted Milner on Monday.  After rationing his tea bags, the 61-times capped Milner took to his garden and filmed himself nose down to the lawn clipping the grass with a pair of scissors and a ruler to ensure each blade was the same height. The Premier League is in abeyance since last Friday after both Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for coronavirus.Liverpool have been left tantalizingly close to their first ever Premier League title — they are 25 points clear of two-time defending champions Manchester City with nine matches remaining.The English Premier League are due to meet on Thursday to consider their options with the postponement of Euro 2020 until next year at least giving them some leeway in resuming the domestic season.last_img read more

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Former MCSO Deputy Arrested For Alleged Bogus Drug Busts

first_imgIn January, investigators said then Deputy O’Leary claimed to find illegal drugs during traffic stops but the substances involved were not actually narcotics. A Regional Crime Lab determined one of the substances was a powder commonly used to treat headaches, and another was a sand-based material containing no narcotics.O’Leary had been with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office since February 2018. He was fired from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office in January when the State Attorney’s office found problems with three of O’Leary’s cases. In June, 20 people announced they were filing a lawsuit against the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and O’Leary for the questionable drug arrests.State prosecutors are looking into 80 of O’Leary’s drug arrests over an 11-month period.Attorney Lance Richard says the 20 people he represents for the pending lawsuit all had their charges dropped. A former Martin County deputy, 29 year old Steven O’Leary, is under arrest and facing multiple charges including: official misconduct, false statements, tampering with evidence, false imprisonment, petit theft and battery for questionable drug arrests. last_img read more

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Trial puts spotlight on dark side of college basketball

first_imgNEW YORK (AP) — Big time college basketball was portrayed at the opening of a criminal trial Tuesday as a world where major schools and their heralded coaches count on athletic gear giants to funnel cash to struggling families of top-tier high school athletes to guide them to their doorstep. File Photos-Shown in this picture are coaches and assistant coaches being investigated by the FBI for solicitation of bribery and other fraud conspiracy charges. (l to r) Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, Southern California assistant coach Tony Bland, Arizona’s assistant coach Emanuel Richardson, Oklahoma State University assistant basketball coach Lamont Evans, and Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl. (AP Photos) Assistant U.S. Attorney Eli Mark repeatedly said the schools are victims and urged a Manhattan federal court jury to convict an Adidas executive and two other men of fraud charges, saying their lies put multiple schools at risk of NCAA sanctions and the loss of millions of dollars.Defense lawyers, though, placed the blame largely on the schools’ lust for basketball glory, saying blue-chip athletes were used to attract tens of millions of dollars in donations and revenues.Mark began his opening statement by describing how $20,000 in cash provided by former Adidas executive James Gatto was stuffed in an envelope and handed to the father of a highly sought-after high school prospect from Michigan, Brian Bowen Jr., at a meeting last year in a New Jersey parking lot.It was a down payment in a scheme to get Bowen to attend Louisville, an Adidas-sponsored program, that could launch him to the NBA, where aspiring agent Christian Dawkins could represent him, Mark said. When the payment to the Bowen family was uncovered, Louisville pulled his scholarship and fired its legendary coach, Rick Pitino.“This is what corruption in college basketball looks like,” the prosecutor told the jury.Prosecutors say recordings from wiretaps and testimony of cooperators will show that Gatto, Dawkins and Adidas consultant Merl Code were behind similar payoffs to players sought by Kansas and North Carolina State that sometimes involved bidding wars with Nike, Mark said.All three men have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges. Their lawyers challenged the theory that the college programs were defrauded because of the defendants’ lies.Gatto’s attorney, Casey Donnelly, argued major college basketball programs were complicit because they stood to make so much money themselves.Her client “was not trying to hurt these universities, he’s trying to help them. … He’s supposed to help these schools shine,” Donnelly said. “When Jim was helping these families, he felt he was doing his job.”Donnelly said her client had no intention to harm Louisville because steering top athletes to schools was a “win, win, win,” good for the school, good for Adidas and good for the athlete.The lawyer said Gatto was driven by the knowledge that some schools sponsored by Adidas would do almost anything to build “a nationally renowned basketball program, one that has the entire campus cheering.”“A successful basketball program is the equivalent of a winning lottery ticket,” she said, noting that Louisville’s program generated nearly $40 million in 2017 while Pitino earned $7 million, more than he had made coaching in the NBA. The NCAA, she said, made $1 billion.Yet, she told jurors, “kids on court are not allowed to earn a dime.”Lawyers for Gatto and Code acknowledged that their clients broke NCAA rules by steering cash to prospective college stars.Attorney Steven Haney Sr., representing Dawkins, said his client had known Bowen many years, considered him a younger brother, and believed any financial help fell under an NCAA exemption permitting help to be given by anyone with a pre-existing relationship with the athlete.Haney said Dawkins believed that “helping these poor families was what the schools wanted … by any means necessary.”Attorney Mark Moore, representing Code, said his client worked at Nike 14 years before setting off on his own with various clients, including Adidas.He said Code knew all about the so-called “shoe wars” between shoemakers seeking to sponsor schools and athletes.Moore said elite coaches counted on shoe companies to provide money, almost always cash, to the families of top recruits.“Nobody was dumb enough to do this in the open and wave it in front of the NCAA,” he said.last_img read more

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