Back in October of 2015, Live for Live Music started a petition calling for the banning of ticket scalper bots in America. Amassing over 25,000 signatures, it seems that our words were not taken in vain, as a concurrent New York state investigation found that the ticket scalping industry was widespread, and detracting from an average fan’s ability to buy tickets.The success of the scalpers was largely due to ticket bots, aka software programs that can quickly navigate through the ticket purchasing steps on Ticketmaster and snatch up dozens of tickets faster than humanly possible. This software was not previously illegal, though ticket bot users could face civil charges if brought to the courts.That has all changed in the state of New York, as Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assembly member Marcos Crespo have passed legislation creating criminal penalties for ticket bot users. “This kind of ticket scalping has had a very negative impact on fans that want to enjoy sporting and entertainment events,” said Speaker Heastie in a statement. “Ticket scalpers often buy up as many tickets as possible with this illegal software and then resell tickets at prices that many New Yorkers simply cannot afford. This measure aims to discourage the tactic by criminalizing this offense.”The measure classifies use of ticket bots as a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in fines and jail time for any culprits. “New Yorkers have been dealing with this frustrating ticket buying experience for too long,” said Assembly member Crespo, who wrote the bill. “Countless fans have lost opportunities to experience the richness of our arts and entertainment industry because there are those willing to circumvent by using automated software to deprive the average consumer of access to entertainment venues. The top music, theatre and athletic talent of our nation have priced their events at levels affordable to the mass public. With this bill becoming law, we will ensure the prices to see such talent will be within reach of all New Yorkers.”Let’s hope other states follow suit and eliminate this disrespectful practice.
Advertisement Sergio Reguilon has impressed during his loan spell at Sevilla this season (Getty Images)And the report claims that Arsenal and Tottenham are two of the teams who have asked Madrid about the defender’s availability along with Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.AdvertisementAdvertisementIt’s claimed that Arsenal’s interest in Reguilon could be linked with Bukayo Saka’s situation as the 18-year-old has not yet agreed a new contract with the club and his current deal is due to expire next summer. Arsenal and Tottenham in talks with Real Madrid to sign Sergio Reguilon Comment Sergio Reguilon is wanted by Arsenal and Tottenham (Getty Images)Arsenal and Tottenham are in the race to sign Real Madrid left-back Sergio Reguilon, according to reports in Spain.Mikel Arteta is keen to strengthen his options in defence but the Arsenal manager has admitted that the club’s transfer plans hinge on their final position in the Premier League.Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho is also understood to be looking to bolster his defensive ranks at Spurs when the transfer window opens.Reguilon made his senior debut for Real Madrid last season but the 23-year-old is currently on loan at Sevilla and has established himself as their first choice left-back.ADVERTISEMENTAccording to ABC Sevilla, over 10 clubs have registered have registered their interest in Reguilon in recent weeks. Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 29 Apr 2020 11:32 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link4.8kShares Advertisement Arsenal are desperate for Bukayo Saka to sign a new deal (AMA/Getty Images)Madrid, meanwhile, are yet to make a decision over Reguilon’s future and the Spanish club will take their direction from Zinedine Zidane’s opinion on the player.Should Zidane not want Reguilon at Madrid next season, the club will make the defender available on loan with a purchase option.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CitySpeaking about his future earlier this month, Reguilon told ABC: ‘I know what Monchi [Sevilla’s sporting director] thinks. I also love my teammates, the fans and the city of Sevilla. ‘However, when the season is over I will have to go back to Madrid and then I don’t know what will happen after that.’Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Britain is a nation of speed freaks. When it comes to breakfast, that is. Anything that involves less prep time (and a longer lie-in) hits the spot for today’s time-pressed consumer – and that’s particularly true during the working week. One in four Brits aren’t prepared to spend any longer than two minutes making their breakfast on a weekday, found an exclusive poll of 1,882 breakfasters conducted by Harris Interactive for The Grocer. And a further 25% said their maximum prep time was three to four minutes. Not great news for the full English. Out-of-home players have had a natural advantage when it comes to catering for these up-and-coming consumers, who crave ever more variety in their options. Coffee shops in particular have aimed to offer simple, tasty and convenient deskfast solutions on the go, from Costa’s Breakfast Bloomer Toastie to Pret a Manger’s range of protein pots, including Egg & Spinach and Salmon & Avocado.And these players are constantly innovating. In July, Greggs launched mini cooked breakfasts ideal for eating at a desk. Containing beans, sausage, a cheese omelette and mini hash browns, the boxes (rsp: £2 or £1.90 for a vegetarian box, minus the sausage) are available on a trial basis in 11 branches across the North East.Supermarkets are catching up fast. Waitrose’s open kitchens – available in four branches offering delicacies to-go such as avocado on sourdough – are firmly targeted at the millennial, on-the-move crowd. NPD is also looking to tempt this busy demographic. Rustlers forayed into breakfast for the first time last April with its All Day Breakfast Sausage Muffin (rsp: £1.50), gaining listings in Co-op, Tesco and Morrisons. Ready to eat after 65 seconds in the microwave, it’s well under the two-minute maximum favoured by one in four consumers.But for the grocery market, there has been one key source of excitement in attracting the time-pressed crowd: breakfast drinks. Go back a year, and growth was indeed exciting. For the year ended 8 October 2017, sales were up 24.9% to £20m (while ready-to-eat cereals were in decline for brands). This year, however, is looking less positive. Value fell 11.1% to £18.7m [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 22 April 2018]. Ouch.Harris Interactive research is also painting a mixed picture. Somewhat encouragingly, breakfast drinks are chosen by 23% of deskfasters, rising to 32% of 18 to 24 year olds. But it still pales in comparison with the 46% choosing fruit, 44% picking yoghurt and 39% eating cereal at work. So will grocery have to find new ways of attracting the deskfaster? The fry-up needs updating for the working week. Firstly, it takes way too long to prepare for today’s time-conscious consumer. Secondly, its saturated fat content isn’t exactly screaming health credentials.So we challenged media agency Starcom Worldwide to create a cooked breakfast product that could appeal to today’s deskfasters. Here’s what they came up with.“The fry-up is a treat that so many Brits love, but our stomachs struggle to digest significant amounts of food in the morning,” says Amy Kean, head of strategic innovation. “Some nutritionists are starting to advocate a morning fast until around midday, which has serious benefits for your gut.”Keen to find a modern solution for health-conscious, busy workers looking for energy, convenience and a familiar breakfast taste, the team created Miso Fast, a new range of soluble flavoured capsules to be dissolved in hot water.“We wanted to combine the taste of a big British breakfast, the essential goodness of Berocca, the convenience of Pez dispensers and the health properties of miso soup,” explains Kean.Containing vitamin C, B12 and magnesium, Miso Fast capsules are available in a range of breakfast food flavours, including Streaky Bacon, Spinach Frittata and Smashed Avocado and Feta, as well as sweeter flavours such as Granola and Blueberry Pancakes.Consumers initially purchase the capsules in reusable cork case packs, which can be refilled in a variety of flavours from Miso Fast vending machines in Waitrose and Whole Foods outlets. “Today’s shoppers are looking for modern, responsible products that aren’t covered in plastic or damaging to the environment in any way,” states Kean. “Given the increased consumer interest in sustainability, it was important that Miso Fast packs could be reused.”The new range will be supported by a social media marketing campaign, including tie-ups with healthy eating influencers, which will target consumers with interests in wellbeing . “From a messaging perspective, we’re fresh and tongue in cheek, with an ‘oh what a dutiful morning’ poster highlighting the goodness that comes from fasting,” says Kean. “The strapline: ‘wake up to what your body needs’ is a more assertive statement to help shoppers reassess their breakfast habits.” Breakfast BallsLaunched: August 2018Manufacturer: The Protein Ball CoNew bite-sized Breakfast Balls from The Protein Ball Co launched this month in Apple & Blueberry, Hazelnut & Cacao and Strawberry & Vanilla variants. Each 45g pack (rsp: £1.99) contains six Breakfast Balls totalling 5.4g of natural protein, providing a healthy kickstart to start the day. The vegan-friendly balls are also high in fibre and gluten-free, with no added sugar and 100% natural ingredients. Creative ChallengeBreakfast Creative Challengeoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 705width 940orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CC (originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 705width 940orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CC (originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 1122width 1535orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CC 2originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 1122width 1535orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CC 2originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 705width 940orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CC ( Oaty Quinoa PorridgeLaunched: July 2018Manufacturer: PerkierHealth brand Perkier took aim at Britain’s growing number of vegan and flexitarian shoppers with its Oaty Quinoa Porridge pots (rsp: £1.30/55g), which hit Asda stores in July. Consisting of Original, Golden Syrup and Cranberry & Raisin flavours, each pot contains 10g of quinoa protein and up to 50% less sugar than leading porridge pot brands, as well as being gluten and dairy free. All this need for speed means today is the era of the ‘deskfast’. And consumers are becoming ever pickier about what makes the grade for that ultra-convenient first meal of the day. No longer will a slightly soggy box of out-of-date cereal do. They want all the taste, variety and health benefits of a meal at the breakfast table, but at their desk instead. The trend has spawned a flurry of activity in the out of home sector that has been rapidly mirrored by the supermarkets. So who are the new wave of deskfasters, and what do they want?At the helm of the growing deskfast movement are millennials. Kantar Worldpanel data shows the younger generation is the driving force behind out-of-home breakfast consumption in general. “Of the 263 million out-of-home breakfast occasions this year, almost 40% were eaten by 16 to 34 year olds,” says analyst Charlotte Lovell. Not only that, the number of out-of-home breakfast occasions among millennials is growing fast, up 35% year-on-year [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 25 March 2018]. Our Harris Interactive data shows the desk is a popular venue for these breakfasts. The 25 to 34 age group were most likely to bring their breakfast to work (23%), compared with only 11% of 45 to 55 year olds. Leading breakfast drinks brand Weetabix thinks not. “The breakfast drinks sector is the most impulsive part of the cereal category,” says Gavin Loftus, head of brand for Weetabix On The Go. “We’re seeing rising consumer demand for breakfast drinks that deliver on both substance and taste.”One way it’s hoping to attract the consumer is through health credentials. That was the focus of this year’s packaging refresh for Weetabix On The Go, which introduced on-pack traffic light labelling that Loftus states will “make it easier for shoppers to make a quick, informed choice”.Other breakfast drink brands are taking a similar tack. In July, Quaker rolled out its pilot range of breakfast drinks in Vanilla and Red Berries flavours (rsp: £1.45) that looked to trade on health. “Having identified that one of the barriers for people enjoying breakfast drinks is a belief they are too processed, we ensured there are flashes on pack highlighting milk and wholegrain content,” says marketing manager Steph Okell.Protein smoothie brand Savsé is another example. The brand recently expanded its cold pressed protein smoothie range to include Protein Rise (rsp: £2.99) in May, which contains quinoa flakes along with coconut milk and fruit to produce “a unique, healthy option for consumers”.They are thinking along the right lines. When asked what influences their breakfast purchases, 18% of respondents polled by Harris Interactive named high protein as an important factor. Nearly a quarter looked for low sugar and 17% wanted low calorie content (rising to 23% of 18 to 24 year olds).Kantar Worldpanel says health is particularly important to the younger consumer. “Starting the day off right is an attractive proposition, as consumers tend to start the day with good intentions and make more indulgent choices as the day progresses,” says analyst Emily Garrigan. “Millennial consumers in particular are seeking positive health benefits at breakfast, with 253 million more servings fulfilling the need for health benefits (such as protein or vitamins) this year, and 190 million more being chosen because they’re more natural or less processed.”And so the past few months have seen plenty of NPD outside of breakfast drinks looking to combine convenience and health. Belvita is leading the charge among breakfast biscuits (eaten by 35% of deskfasters in our Harris Interactive poll). In July, it launched Breakfast Soft Bakes Blueberry to appeal to the ‘superfood’-seeking crowd. In other formats, The Protein Ball Co introduced its first Breakfast Balls this month (see innovations below), designed to “provide a healthy energy boost that fits in with hectic lifestyles”. ManiLife Snack PotsLaunched: July 2018Manufacturer: ManiLifeTargeting deskfasters who don’t want to keep a 1kg tub of peanut butter at work, ManiLife created its new snack pot range (rsp: £0.55/15g). Made from Argentinian peanuts, the range is set for its UK retail debut in the coming weeks, having been initially trialled with a major hotel group. Available in Smooth, Original and Deep Roast variants, the pots are designed to be combined with a range of breakfast products including porridge, yoghurt, fruit or toast. But perhaps the most significant NPD has come from Kellogg’s, which is looking to create an entirely new category. “Ready-in-seconds” smoothie bowl brand Joyböl entered the market last month with the tagline “slow breakfast is no breakfast”. The launch was inspired not only by the need for speed, but also the rise in smoothie bowl snaps on social media. “Search #SmoothieBowl on Instagram and you’ll see at least 1.5 million posts appear from people sharing their food experiences,” says a Joyböl spokesman. Currently only available in convenience and travel sectors, supermarket distribution is set for later this year. With health at the top of its agenda – the three-strong range of Super Berries & Acai, Strawberry Almond Quinoa and Mango & Coconut variants each claim to provide a good source of protein and fibre – it certainly seems to be tapping the right trends.One thing is for sure: the deskfast as we know it is changing. Today’s speed eaters expect the same standards at their desk as they do at their breakfast table. So wave goodbye to that soggy box of out-of-date cereal. Apple and Cinnamon Rice CakesLaunched: July 2018Manufacturer: Wessanen UKContaining just 32 calories, Kallø’s Apple & Cinnamon rice cakes join its Blueberry & Vanilla packs (launched in June 2012) as a sweet breakfast option. The rice cakes, made using four all-natural ingredients (rice, corn, cinnamon and apple juice concentrate), are available in jumbo packs (rsp: £1.49/127g) across Waitrose stores nationwide. Deskfast innovationsHere’s our pick of the latest launches targeting the busy workforce
The home side’s dominance finally paid dividends when Earle went over for a try from a line-out drive on 32 minutes. And just before the break Thomas, on for the injured Shingler, kicked a penalty to give the region an 11-3 interval lead. But with all the ball the Scarlets had it could have been more than an eight-point advantage. Pienaar closed the gap with a penalty five minutes into the second half as Ulster enjoyed a bit more possession But Scarlets’ first concerted attack of the half produced a yellow card and a penalty goal. Replacement David McIlwaine found himself in the bin for slowing ball at a ruck in the Ulster 22 and from the resulting penalty Thomas kicked Scarlets back into an eight point lead at 14-6. But that was cancelled out when Pienaar landed his third penalty 11 minutes from time following a Scarlets scrum offence. And Pienaar had the chance to reduce the gap to just two points but uncharacteristically he missed the target with eight minutes remaining, not helped that flanker Roger Wilson received a yellow card following blatant trip on man of the match Sione Timani. Crucially for the Scarlets, Thomas kicked a third penalty with three minutes remaining to put his side two scores in front. Both sides went into the game stripped of a significant amount of internationals. The Scarlets were without seven players away on international duty meaning that Kirby Myhill started at hooker and prop Samson Lee returned after a two week suspension. Ulster were without eight players are on international duty but Andrew Trimble and Roger Wilson were released by Ireland. Apart from the opening exchanges when Ulster opened the scoring with a Ruan Pienaar penalty goal on nine minutes Scarlets enjoyed the wealth of possession and territory for the rest of the first half. But it took the Scarlets time to convert that pressure into points. At one stage they went through 33 phases in Ulster’s 22 but came away with nothing as the visitors’ defence held firm. Nic Reynolds broke through on another attack but although Lee went over the try was ruled out for obstruction. Scarlets finally got on level terms with a Steven Shingler penalty on 22 minutes. Scarlets produced an impressive victory against Ulster in a closely-fought RaboDirect PRO12 clash at Parc y Scarlets. Scarlets were indebted to George Earle for the only try of the game, as well as replacement Aled Thomas, who kicked three penalties, denying Ulster a losing bonus point in the 17-9 victory. It made up for last week’s setback when Scarlets drew 16-16 in Zebre and also ended Ulster’s four-game winning streak. Press Association
New Demerara River bridge…as party demands answers on ‘shady’ arrangementsThe political Opposition is in support of a new bridge across the Demerara River. However, the party has insisted that it will not support a bridge that is mired in corruption, is already slated to exceed the Berbice Bridge in cost, and is financially unsustainable.Demanding answers on some of the project’s more shady details, the People’s Progressive Party, in a statement on Saturday, questioned the financial structure of the bridge and the relationship between a businessman and the Government’s choice of the location for the bridge.According to the PPP, the public will note that the Government has been unable to explain how and why the bridge terminates upon land owned by APNU financier Stanley Ming; and that this bridge is estimated to cost US$170 million, which is three times more than the Berbice River Bridge.The Berbice Bridge, which was opened in 2008, cost some US$40 million to build. According to the party, that bridge did not cost the Government anything in subsidies. Moreover, the party noted that the rates charged at the Berbice Bridge were comparable to the cost of using a ferry. It contrasted this with the new Demerara Bridge proposal.An artist’s impression of the new Demerara River bridge“No sources of finance have been identified, and the Government is committed to subsidising this bridge at unsustainable levels. For example, according to the Government feasibility study, if the 2017 toll rates are to be increased by 100 per cent, it will still attract a subsidy of over US$140 million over the first 12 years. That is over Gy$28 billion, which is equivalent to approximately Gy$2.3 billion per year,” the party said on Saturday.“We take this opportunity to draw attention to two bridges constructed in neighbouring Suriname by a previous Government under arrangements that were financially unsustainable. The strain that this had put on the Treasury of that country catapulted its economy into chaos.”The sitePublic Infrastructure Minister David Patterson had claimed that the previous Government itself had identified and touted the Houston-to-Versailles site in its pre-feasibility study. However, the PPP has denied this, noting that the study had identified three possible locations, and had offered opinions on each.“In terms of the location of the bridge, what the PPP/C administration did was a pre-feasibility study, and not a feasibility study. This pre-feasibility study dealt only with possible locations and the different types of bridge suitable for each (site). It did not treat with detailed costs and other variables. It identified three possible locations for the bridge: Hope–Patentia, alongside the current bridge, and Houston–Versailles. By no means was a conclusive decision taken by the PPP/C Government on any model or any location for the bridge.”QuestionsThe party went on to question what would be the cost for Government to acquire lands at Houston and Versailles. It also queried why the Ministry of Public Infrastructure had announced acquisition of lands only at Houston, but not Versailles.“With this new structure, what would be the cost of tolls for commuters and for commercial transporters?” the PPP questioned. “Since the feasibility study indicated that increase of tolls will be inadequate to finance this project, what would be the level of Government subsidy/financing?” the PPP wanted to know.“What is the financing model for this bridge? Would it be a public/private partnership (PPP) or the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model?“Would the selected contractor be responsible for financing and building the bridge, as well as other infrastructure to accommodate usage of the bridge; or would it be two separate awards?”Noting that Government has not shared copies of any social impact assessment or environmental impact assessment into the proposed bridge, the PPP has demanded that the responsible minister inform the nation how this site would affect businesses in the vicinity of both sides of the proposed location.“Since, within a specific distance determined by international standards, mooring of vessels are restricted for safety purposes in the vicinity of this bridge, how will this impact the publicly announced on-shore oil-and-gas facility; investments made by Muneshwer’s Limited at Houston; and other existing fishing establishments, fuel terminals, and other wharves that service ocean-going vessels?” the party also questioned.“As it relates to traffic flow and congestion, is there a network of roads that was considered? And how does the proposed Ogle-to-Diamond bypass road fit into this scheme?” the PPP also questioned.Earlier in the week, the Guyana Times had reported that Government was making contractors bidding to be prequalified sign non-disclosure agreements and waivers. They would also be forced to waive a number of rights, including the right to protest, and even legally challenge any decision taken during the process.“Why is the Ministry requesting that bidders sign non-disclosure agreements as well as waive their rights to protest the award if aggrieved?” the party queried. “Is it because the Government has already predetermined who (would) be contracted to build this bridge, and the financing model secretly agreed on? Are the few selected bidders only to be window-dressing and to give the impression of a fair and open process? Why is it necessary to waive their rights to protest if aggrieved?” were other questions the party posed.