BOSTON, MA — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today sent a letter to Columbia Gas demanding answers about the company’s plans for the safe and expeditious restoration of gas and fair compensation for affected residents in the Merrimack Valley following the devastating fires and explosions earlier this month.“In the wake of this tragedy, I have heard from many residents and businesses who have suffered significant losses yet remain in the dark about Columbia Gas’ claims process and the plans for restoring gas service,” said AG Healey. “I am demanding information from Columbia Gas about their specific plans because these people need and deserve answers and clarity as they rebuild their lives and communities.”In her letter, AG Healey notes that the failure of the Columbia Gas distribution system resulted in death, serious injury, the loss of homes and small businesses, and disruption of gas services for heating, hot water and cooking for thousands of residents in the company’s Merrimack Valley territory.As the state’s ratepayer advocate and chief law enforcement officer, AG Healey is committed to ensuring that Columbia Gas lays out their plan for implementing the recovery process, including gas restoration and compensation for those affected, and that ratepayers do not bear any of the costs associated with those efforts.The letter requests a meeting with Columbia Gas executives next week to discuss how they plan to implement the recovery effort, specifically:Ensuring that pipes are replaced in a safe manner and that the new pipes will result in a safe gas distribution service going forward.Ensuring the safety of all its Massachusetts territories while working on recovery efforts in its Merrimack Valley territory.Making sure that customers are receiving timely and complete information regarding the company’s restoration plan, including considering a text-messaging or similar real-time communications system (with an opt-out provision) that would reach all affected customers.Developing a plan for paying the electric bills of its customers who are forced to rely on electric space heaters and hot plates.Accommodating customers who choose to make alternative housing arrangements.Clarifying how the company intends to pay customers for losses incurred related to this disaster.Providing the AG’s Office with copies of the company’s internal claims procedure and any claims form it intends to use.Ensuring affected customers can easily obtain alternative heating sources for their homes and, if they choose, permanently transition to energy efficient, clean technologies without any additional costs.Addressing how work will be completed if a property owner is not present to authorize repairs.Clarifying in a written statement its plan to not bill affected customers for any gas service until service is restored.Confirming and ensuring that customers will not pay for any part of this disaster through the regulatory ratemaking process.Earlier this week, AG Healey sent Columbia Gas and NiSource orders to preserve documents for a potential state investigation.AG Healey has also issued two advisories offering guidance and resources in her office to support Merrimack Valley residents and businesses recovering from this tragedy. The AG’s Office issued an advisory about giving wisely to charities and knowing your consumer rights and this week announced a new hotline for residents and business owners with questions and concerns to connect with specialists in the office. The AG’s Office also provided guidance about legal representation and home improvement scams. The AG’s Office has been and will continue to send staff to assist individuals at the claims center in Lawrence.For more information or assistance, contact the Attorney General’s dedicated hotline for Merrimack Valley residents at (617) 573-5370. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Consumers can also obtain guidance and resources at the AG’s dedicated webpage at mass.gov/ago/merrimackvalley.(NOTE: The above press release is from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedAttorney General Files Comments with FERC Urging Caution on Kinder Morgan PipelineIn “Government”Lender To Cancel $1.6 Million In Loans Made To Former ITT Tech Students At Wilmington & Norwood CampusesIn “Government”Attorney General Awards Middlesex Sheriff’s Office A Healthy Summer Youth Jobs GrantIn “Police Log”
India’s largest IT services company Tata Consultancy Services is reportedly planning staff restructuring exercise potentially covering 25,000 senior employees. Every vertical has been asked to evaluate the senior staff, including senior consultants, principal consultants, vice-presidents and above to identify the more productive ones, company sources said.The workforce optimisation programme, which is said to be in its planning stage, will most probably be over by February 2015.At least 25, 000 employees, both from onsite and offsite locations, are likely to come face the evaluation.”These are employees with around 20 years of experience and some 25,000 employees could fall in this category. They would be reviewed during the process which will get over by February 2015, before the next appraisal cycle starts from March,” Business Standard quoted the sources as saying.A TCS spokesperson said: “As a performance-driven company, workforce optimisation is a continuous process, which happens throughout the year, taking into account employee performance, business needs, and people aspirations. This leads to some amount of involuntary attrition in the company. This is nothing out of the ordinary or a special situation for us to comment about.” The optimisation programme is however not going to affect the freshers and junior-level employees, according to an executive.The spokesperson said that the programme is nothing unusual or new, the evaluation of employees goes on throughout the year. The company said it will instead be hiring 55, 000 professionals in the fiscal year 2016.Some analysts said this drive is a new trend being incorporated into the system by several other companies such as Infosys and Wipro. “Around one to two per cent of involuntary attrition happens in almost all the companies and TCS is not an exception. The overall numbers at TCS may be more pronounced due to its size,” an analyst told BS on condition of anonymity.At the end of the second quarter ended 30 September, TCS had total 3,13,757 employees, including gross addition of 20,000.
The Kapil Sharma Show: Akshay Kumar, Bharti Singh, Kiku ShardaSony TVThe TRP chart of the top ten shows of the week is finally here. After Khatron Ke Khiladi, which maintained its top spot from its premiere episode till the finale, it was interesting to see which show would jump up the ladder. Not only do we have few surprising entries this week but, also a new topper. Take a look.Shaheer Sheikh – Rhea Sharma’s Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke, which came on air just last week, has topped the charts this week with 2.5 ratings. Naagin 3 has continued to maintain its second spot this week too with 2.4 ratings. Kumkum Bhagya, which is another fixture in the list has bagged the third spot this week.The Kapil Sharma show has taken a massive lead and jumped from the seventh spot to the fourth spot this week. After a fabulous start towards the end of last year, the show has just been embroiled in constant controversies which has not allowed it to grab a fixed spot in the TRP chart. From moving down the order, exiting the top 10 to bouncing back and bagging a spot in the top five, the show has seen it all. With constant good content and healthy entertainer, we just hope the show continues to climb up the ladder.Kundali Bhagya has bagged the fifth spot with 2.3 ratings. Kasautii Zindagii Kay has bagged the sixth spot with 2.3 ratings. Shilpa Shetty, Anurag Basu and Geeta Kapoor starrer dance reality show – Super Dancer – has bagged the seventh spot with 2.3 ratings followed by Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala at the eighth spot.Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata has bagged the ninth spot with 2.2 ratings and Tujhse Hai Raabta has bagged the tenth spot with 2.2 ratings.
Marvel’s Wanda is all set to tie the knot! Actress Elizabeth Olsen, who has been dating Milo Greene frontman Robbie Arnett for three years, is now engaged to him.The first time that the two made an appearance as a couple was back in September 2017 when they attended the Gersh pre-Emmys party and were photographed together. However, that was one of the few moments when they stepped out at the red carpet together.Olsen has been extremely guarded about her personal life, but the engagement does not come as a surprise to many. The two have been seen together on numerous occasions. Not to mention how they even took some time off of New York City to go on a vacation in Mexico.Before Robbie, the actress was linked to Narcos actor Boyd Holbrook. In fact, they also got engaged after dating for about three years. However, they called off the engagement later. Elizabeth Olsen and Robbie ArnettTwitterIt is not the only Olsen who has been making headlines for taking the next step in a relationship. Sister Ashley Olsen was also seen donning a ring as she stepped out with her boyfriend Louis Eisner.The couple was spotted in Pacific Palisades, California, and set the rumour mills abuzz with possible news of being engaged. Although they have not confirmed the reports yet, we know for sure that one Olsen sister will be tying the knot soon! Elizabeth Olsen and Robbie ArnettTwitterOn a professional front, Elizabeth Olsen will be seen in the fourth phase of MCU films as she will star in WandaVision, a venture of Disney+ and in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Directed by Scott Derrickson, the film will bring back MCU’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch. He will be donning his Cloak of Levitation again and will reunite with his Avengers: Endgame co-star.
Rescue workers look for survivors after an explosion in Ningbo, China’s eastern Zhejiang province. Photo: AFPA major explosion hit China’s eastern port city of Ningbo on Sunday, sending dozens to hospitals, destroying vehicles, and triggering the collapse of nearby buildings, state media said, citing local authorities.The morning blast occured in a factory, according to the official Xinhua news agency, but state television said it took place at a demolition site.Television images showed cars twisted and mangled by the force of the explosion, a plume of grey smoke rising in the sky, and debris scattered for dozens of metres around the site of the incident.Footage showed rescuers wearing helmets carrying injured people away from the area, while others stood over a person lying on the ground.According to CCTV, eyewitnesses said there were “a large number of injured people” in the city, one of China’s largest ports, which sits just south of Shanghai.At least 30 people were taken to the local hospital and rescue efforts were continuing, the report said.The Communist Party’s People’s Daily said on Twitter that no one lived at site of the explosion but garbage collectors might have been working there.An enquiry has been launched to determine the cause of the explosion, the local police in Jiangbei district, where the blast happened, said on social media.Industrial accidents are common in China, where safety standards are often lax.In 2015, giant blasts killed at least 165 people in the northern port city of Tianjin, causing over $1 billion in damage and sparking widespread anger over a perceived lack of transparency by officials about the accident’s causes and environmental impact.A government inquiry into the Tianjin accident released in February 2016 recommended 123 people be punished.The official who was mayor at the time of the accident was sentenced to 12 years in prison for graft in September.Huang Xingguo, 62, had also headed the disaster response committee.
Top Kurdish officials said their fighters were advancing ‘street by street’ and voiced confidence that ISIS would soon be ejected from the town.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said the latest advances were mainly in the south of the besieged town.‘The (Kurdish) People’s Protection Units (YPG) recaptured streets and buildings in the south of Kobane, after a fierce battle against IS that began yesterday (Monday) evening,’ the Observatory said. Also Read – Pro-Govt supporters rally as Hong Kong’s divisions deepenThe monitor also said the YPG and its Iraqi peshmerga allies shelled IS positions on Tuesday elsewhere in Kobane.Kobane has been under siege from IS since mid-September and more than 1,000 people have been killed in the fighting, most of them jihadists.Syria’s Kurds have been backed by Iraqi peshmerga fighters and Syrian rebels in their fight for the town, as well as a wave of air strikes by the US-led coalition against IS. Syrian Kurdish chief Saleh Muslim said YPG forces were advancing ‘street by street’ and that they would ‘recapture the town in a very short time’. Also Read – Pak Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanThe Kurds’ top field commander in Kobane, Narin Afrin, a 40-year-old woman, said by telephone: ‘We have been resisting for 56 days in very difficult conditions.’ ‘We will liberate the town house by house, and we are determined to exterminate terrorism and fundamentalism,’ she said.Kobane has become a symbol of resistance against jihadists who control swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, committing brutal abuses against rivals and the local population.
July 1, 2006 This story appears in the July 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Imagine visitors to your website being greeted by a lifelike animated character that follows their mouse movements with its eyes and even talks to them.Sound far-fetched? It’s not–and it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to implement, thanks to Sitepal from Oddcast, an internet-based subscription service. Sitepal allows businesses to create animated, talking avatars and add them to their websites for a variety of professional and personal applications. They can be used, for example, as intelligent online customer service agents, virtual salespeople to promote products, or even virtual auctioneers for eBay listings.”Right now, at any given moment, there are 10,000 auctions running with Sitepal virtual salespeople selling a specific product on eBay,” says Oren Levy, executive vice president of New York City-based Oddcast, the only company currently offering the technology in an easy-to-use format for SMB websites.There are lots of ways to personalize your character. During the sign-up process, you can choose what you want your character to say and select from 13 languages in 60 different voices. Or you can record a message in your own voice by microphone or telephone. It’s easy to add the character to your site and make changes to it when needed.The avatars aren’t just fun–they can produce real results. “I like the Sitepal application for its ability to give [customers] information they may not be able to get through text,” says Sucharita Mulpuru, senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.And according to Levy, when Oddcast customers add a character next to a specific product, “[they] see an immediate increase in conversion for that product.” He says one customer saw a 33 percent increase in sales after using Sitepal’s animated characters.Talking avatars work best with high-consideration products like computers, large appliances and travel services. They’re also a good choice for products that face stiff market competition. “It’s a great way to differentiate yourself,” says Mulpuru. Pricing starts at $9.95 per month or $99.50 per year.Melissa Campanelli is a marketing and technology writer in New York City. Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now » 2 min read