Ebony Drags Feet on Freelancer Payments Despite Barrage of Criticism

first_imgThis article has been updated to reflect a response from Ebony.Faced with the threat of a second lawsuit in 12 months, Ebony has completed the third of four quarterly payments owed to freelance writers it had stiffed on a collective $78,000 of work going back to 2015—after initially failing to meet a court-ordered Sept. 28 deadline.The installment of $29,850—which covers 14 of the 45 total writers under the terms of a February settlement between Ebony owner Clear View Group and the National Writers Union—comes after two earlier installments of $14,385 and $15,955, both of which were paid on time. A final $18,328 payment is due Dec. 28 to 16 writers.After the Sept. 28 deadline came and went, the writers union threatened further legal action to compel payment from CVG, which is bound by the agreement—reached in the circuit court of Cook County, Ill.—to cover the payments should Ebony find itself unable to make them.“CVG was about three weeks late and wasn’t returning calls or emails,” National Writers Union president Larry Goldbetter tells Folio:. “After the [court] filing, the checks went out.”Michael Gibson, the chairman of CVG—a Texas-based private equity firm which bought Ebony in 2016—declined to share any reasons for the delay, but confirmed that the third set of checks have been mailed and said the fourth and final payment will be made in December. A spokeswoman for Ebony blamed “legacy business issues” for the outstanding payments. Michael GibsonAs writers awaiting overdue checks aired grievances on social media in recent weeks, Ebony promoted a star-studded gala celebrating its annual Power 100 list set for Friday evening at the Beverly Hilton—the site of the Golden Globe Awards since 1961—hosted by Chris Tucker.“I got my check at the end of October and was shocked to receive it, to be honest,” says Adrienne Gibbs, who served as managing editor of Ebony‘s January 2017 issue among other contributions, adding that another writer in that issue, Rashod Ollison, passed away last month from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma before ever receiving his $900 check.“I talked with [Rashod’s] sister and made sure CVG—via the union’s lawyers—had his sister’s address,” Gibbs adds. “Rashod’s check was ‘in the mail’ for weeks even as he died and was raising money for medical bills.”The controversy ramped up in April of last year, when freelancer Jagger Blaec wrote an article on The Establishment asking, “Why Isn’t Ebony Paying Its Black Writers?” On Twitter, aggrieved freelancers coalesced around the hashtag #EbonyOwes, eliciting initial pushback from both Ebony and CVG vice-chairman Willard Jackson, who accused Blaec of writing an “attack article” and “wanting to tear down black businesses.”“Yeah well, your little Twitter rant isn’t going to change the way the media business is run,” read a deleted Tweet from the official Ebony account. “Y’all acting like it’s 100s of people. It’s 10.” (Turns out it’s at least 45.)Adrienne GibbsWeeks later, however, CVG issued a statement to NBC, asserting that it would pay all debts by early July 2017. When that deadline passed, the National Writers Union became involved, led by Goldbetter and Gibbs.Following the completion of the third quarter payment, the oldest outstanding invoice is now from this past March, and the most any individual writer is owed is $2,650.“In the time since we have started this case, I’ve heard from 10 additional writers who wanted to join the suit,” says Gibbs. “The whole situation is just sad. Every time a new story surfaces, even more people come out of the woodwork.”Gibson disputed this article shortly after it was posted, writing via email, “This story as we see it is completely inaccurate.” Asked which aspects, specifically, are inaccurate, Gibson referred Folio: to Katrina Witherspoon, SVP of marketing for Ebony, who gave the following statement:While unfortunately EBONY was contacted to provide limited response to only one question from Folio pertaining to this particular matter, Michael Gibson made it clear the company has satisfied all outstanding payments with the National Writers Union.As we have stated previously, all prior issues related to payment obligations to former freelance writers were the result of legacy business issues that predated the new business model put in place by Ebony’s current management. Furthermore, as it relates specifically to freelance writers, Ebony has instituted a policy that now provides increased transparency regarding payment terms and conditions for freelance writers we engage.The brand will continue to endure and evolve with a digital first strategy, ensuring its persistence and relevance for decades to come.last_img read more

Sore losers TMC damaged tubewells water lines after Lok Sabha results in

first_imgDIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty ImagesThe Bharatiya Janata Party has accused the Trinamool Congress of acting like sore losers after the disastrous Lok Sabha election results for Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. It is being claimed that Trinamool Congress cadres damaged public property “to teach a lesson to the locals” for supporting the saffron party. The BJP has registered a landslide victory in West Bengal and increased its seat count from two in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to 18 this year.According to IANS, the Trinamool Congress cadres damaged tubewells and snapped water lines in three localities of West Burdwan and Birbhum districts. It was done as BJP received more votes in the Kanakpur polling booth of Birbhum Lok Sabha constituency.”All tubewells in the village have been damaged, because BJP has done well,” said local BJP worker Laltu Mondal.In protest, the villagers gheraoed the house of local panchayat member of Trinamool Congress, Panchanan Das. He denied his party’s hand in damaging the tubewells but promised to repair them.”Nobody can say that Trinamool, or a panchayat member, or some other local club has done all this. BJP has won. It is trying to put the blame on us,” he said. The tubewells were later repaired.last_img read more

Fortigo Network 4TiGO raises 10 million from Nandan Nilekani Accel Partners

first_imgTrucks on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway at Pampore in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Aug 8, 2016 (representational image).IANSLogistics start-up Fortigo Network announced on Wednesday that it has secured $10 million in its Series A funding round from existing investors, Infosys co-founder and former UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani, and Accel Partners.Fortigo Network aims to use the new funds to enhance the platform as well as fuel expansion of their truck network which currently has presence in all south-Indian states, south Maharashtra, Gujarat, Pune, Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi NCR.Launched in June last year, Fortigo Network expects to grow by close to 50,000 trucks over the next 2 years.”With this funding, we will be able to extend the Fortigo Network to a pan-India level. Our blueprint is to enter and mark our presence in all the important transport hubs of the country including Guwahati, Jaipur, Raipur, Nagpur, Lucknow and Kanpurand, the hubs of Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand over the next nine months. With this push, we expect to achieve our next milestone of reaching break-even by December 2018,” Anjani Mandal, Co-founder and CEO, Fortigo Network, said, in a statement.Fortigo Network is India’s only freight exchange platform enabled with live transaction and electronic payments. Fortigo Network also offers complementing business services and facilities for the Indian road transport sector to enable the users to improve their efficiency and profitability. Using the cloud-based platform of Fortigo Network, consignors, consignees, fleet owners, transport companies and agencies can exchange information, transact and manage their entire business.By leveraging its partnerships with Federal Bank and IOCL (Indian Oil Corporation Limited), Fortigo Network facilitates completely cashless transactions on its platform and extends working capital benefits to its members. Additionally, Fortigo Network uses the 800+ networked retail outlets of IOCL to provide complementary amenities to truck drivers, such as overnight stay facilities, secure parking, breakdown assistance, fuel discounts, etc., for greater driver safety and convenience. Vivek Malhotra, Co-founder and Chief of Strategy and Marketing, Fortigo Network, said the funding is also to upgrade the technology needs of fleet owners. “We want to facilitate the technology enablement of small and medium-sized fleet owners in getting onto the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN),” he said. Subrata Mitra, partner at Accel Partners India, had a similar statement to make. “With the proposed GST coming up and growing importance of electronic payments in business transactions, we expect the Fortigo Network to play a significant role in transforming the unorganized and fragmented transport industry,” he said.  Reuters filelast_img read more

Researchers find tin selenide shows promise for efficiently converting waste heat into

first_img Explore further Working principle of a thermoelectric generator. Credit: (c) Nature, VOL 508, 327 As the planet continues to experience the impact of global warming, scientists around the world frantically pursue alternate ways to produce electricity—one such possibility is to convert waste heat from industrial process into electricity. To make that happen, a thermoelectric generator must be constructed and used. Such generators operate by taking advantage of differences in temperature experienced by a single material. Two thermoelectric semiconductors are exposed to a temperature gradient and are connected together by conducting plates. Thus far, however, the process has not proved to be efficient enough to warrant the expense of building and using such generators, despite doubling in efficiency over just the past fifteen years—from zT 1 to 2.The increase in efficiency has been due mostly to research work involving nanotechnology, and the materials used have generally been based on lead telluride. The difficulty in finding better materials has been stymied by the dual properties required: low thermal conductivity and high electrical conduction. SnSe has been used by scientists for a variety of purposes, but due to its stiff bonds and distorted lattice was not really considered as a possibility. But that was because others had not taken into account the compound’s low anharmonicity. When the team at Northwestern tested it as a possible material for use in a thermoelectric generator they found it had the highest zT ever found, 2.6. © 2014 Phys.org More information: Ultralow thermal conductivity and high thermoelectric figure of merit in SnSe crystals, Nature 508, 373–377 (17 April 2014) DOI: 10.1038/nature13184AbstractThe thermoelectric effect enables direct and reversible conversion between thermal and electrical energy, and provides a viable route for power generation from waste heat. The efficiency of thermoelectric materials is dictated by the dimensionless figure of merit, ZT (where Z is the figure of merit and T is absolute temperature), which governs the Carnot efficiency for heat conversion. Enhancements above the generally high threshold value of 2.5 have important implications for commercial deployment1, 2, especially for compounds free of Pb and Te. Here we report an unprecedented ZT of 2.6 ± 0.3 at 923 K, realized in SnSe single crystals measured along the b axis of the room-temperature orthorhombic unit cell. This material also shows a high ZT of 2.3 ± 0.3 along the c axis but a significantly reduced ZT of 0.8 ± 0.2 along the a axis. We attribute the remarkably high ZT along the b axis to the intrinsically ultralow lattice thermal conductivity in SnSe. The layered structure of SnSe derives from a distorted rock-salt structure, and features anomalously high Grüneisen parameters, which reflect the anharmonic and anisotropic bonding. We attribute the exceptionally low lattice thermal conductivity (0.23 ± 0.03 W m−1 K−1 at 973 K) in SnSe to the anharmonicity. These findings highlight alternative strategies to nanostructuring for achieving high thermoelectric performance.Press release (Phys.org) —A team of researchers working at Northwestern University has found that tin selenide (SnSe) has the highest Carnot efficiency for a thermoelectric cycle ever found, making it potentially a possible material for use in generating electricity from waste heat. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team describes work they’ve conducted on SnSe and how their discovery might lead to even more efficient materials. Joseph Heremans gives a short history of thermoelectric research in a News & Views companion piece and offers some insights into why SnSe might be so efficient and how it might lead the way to the discovery of even better materials. SnSe is the world’s least thermally conductive crystalline material. Heat cannot travel well through this material because of its very “soft”, accordion-like layered structure which does not transmit vibrations well. It reminds us of the TV commercial for posture-pedic mattress where one can jump up and down on one side of the mattress and a few feet away a glass of wine does not feel the vibrations. By analogy SnSe can get hot on one side and the other side remains cool. The cool side does not feel the vibrations (also known as phonons). In SnSe this means that all heat must go to the other side of the crystal “riding” on the electronic carriers, not lattice vibrations. Thus, the hot carriers can generate useful electricity during their transport. That is enabled by the high thermoelectric power of SnSe. The poor ability to carry heat through its lattice enables the resulting record high thermoelectric conversion efficiency. Credit: Lidong Zhaocenter_img The increase in efficiency is clearly welcome, but is still not enough to revolutionize the field—what might would be the discovery of another material with an even higher efficiency—something that might be similar to SnSe. Journal information: Nature Thermoelectric materials can be much more efficient Citation: Researchers find tin selenide shows promise for efficiently converting waste heat into electrical energy (2014, April 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-04-tin-selenide-efficiently-electrical-energy.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

B3NO2 ring system serves as a versatile catalyst for amide bond formation

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org)—Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, such as graphene, have several potential uses as its π-conjugated structure lends itself to high stability and conductivity. Researchers are interested in exploring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with boron and nitrogen atoms in an effort to explore the functionality and potential uses for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Journal information: Nature Chemistry Amino acids formed from the single-electron activation of carbon dioxide One polyatomic six-member ring that has not been isolated and studied is 1,3-dioxa-5-aza-2,4,6-triborinane, or DATB. DATB has a core B3NO2 ring that evidences some aromatic character. Hidetoshi Noda, Makoto Furutachi, Yasuko Asada, Masakatsu Shibasaki and Naoya Kumagai of the Institute of Microbial Chemistry in Tokyo (Bikaken) isolated and analyzed DATB using an m-terphenyl template. They demonstrated its ability to catalyze the direct coupling of several carboxylic acids with a variety of amines. Their DATB catalyst is thermally stable, structurally planar, and does not undergo hydrolysis. Their work appears in Nature Chemistry.The m-terphenyl template came out of the necessity to combine the B-N-B fragment to the O-B-O fragment to make the 1,2-dioxa-5-aza-2,4,6-triborinane ring. Using a stepwise synthesis, the first compound they made had the m-terphenyl template attached to the B-N-B portion of the DATB and a phenyl group attached to the boron of the O-B-O portion. The other compound that resulted from their initial syntheses had another m-terphenyl attached to the boron in the O-B-O portion of DATB instead of phenyl.The presence of DATB was confirmed with multinuclear NMR, mass spectrometry, and single-crystal x-ray diffraction. Notably, the DATB portion is planar and it exhibited offset face-to-face pi stacking. Additionally, it displayed slight aromaticity based on bond length and showed resistance toward hydrolytic cleavage.The next step was to determine if the DATB derivatives were able to catalyze amide bond formation. Boron has an affinity for amines, making this compound a possible option for catalyzing the direct coupling of amines and carboxylic acids. Noda et al. tested a variety of carboxylic acids because one of the major setbacks with amine and carboxylic acid coupling is that current methods are not generalizable for a variety of carboxylic acids, particularly bulky carboxylic acids. They tested a range of acids and amines whose coupling reactions were successfully catalyzed using DATB. They found that their DATB derivative successfully catalyzed the amide bond formation for sterically bulky aliphatic and aromatic carboxylic acids. They also found that indole-containing substrates did not require a protecting group. And, their method worked with benzoic acid and primary amines, α-branched amines, cyclic secondary amines. Using higher temperatures, they successfully coupled α-tertiary amines and acyclic secondary amines to benzoic acid. Additionally, they showed that the stereochemistry of α-chiral carboxylic acids and α-chiral amines were maintained.Their DATB derivative also worked well in the presence of various functional groups showing that the catalyst displayed good selectivity. Additionally, Noda et al. tested the catalyst’s ability to make peptide bonds with amino acids and biologically relevant amines by coupling Bz-Val-OH with H-Leu-NH2.This catalyst is remarkably versatile compared to other catalysts used for amine-carboxylic acid coupling. The authors contend that this is due to the distinct mechanism in which the three Lewis acid sites on the DATB core are used to bind the carboxylic acid and the amine countering the entropy cost in forming the bond. Chemical space for six-membered heterocycles composed of B, C, N and O atoms and the structure of DATBs. Credit: (c) Nature Chemistry (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2708center_img Citation: B3NO2 ring system serves as a versatile catalyst for amide bond formation (2017, February 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-02-b3no2-versatile-catalyst-amide-bond.html More information: Hidetoshi Noda et al. Unique physicochemical and catalytic properties dictated by the B3NO2 ring system, Nature Chemistry (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2708AbstractThe expansion of molecular diversity beyond what nature can produce is a fundamental objective in chemical sciences. Despite the rich chemistry of boron-containing heterocycles, the 1,3-dioxa-5-aza-2,4,6-triborinane (DATB) ring system, which is characterized by a six-membered B3NO2 core, remains elusive. Here, we report the synthesis of m-terphenyl-templated DATB derivatives, displaying high stability and peculiar Lewis acidity arising from the three suitably arranged boron atoms. We identify a particular utility for DATB in the dehydrative amidation of carboxylic acids and amines, a reaction of high academic and industrial importance. The three boron sites are proposed to engage in substrate assembly, lowering the entropic cost of the transition state, in contrast with the operative mechanism of previously reported catalysts and amide coupling reagents. The distinct mechanistic pathway dictated by the DATB core will advance not only such amidations, but also other reactions driven by multisite activation. Explore further © 2017 Phys.orglast_img read more