Investors show interest as O’Briens flounders

first_imgThe head office of Irish sandwich chain O’Briens has been put into the equivalent of administration with debts of over E4m (£3.46m).Paul McCann of Grant Thornton, the examiner (the Irish equivalent of an administrator) appointed by the Irish High Court to handle the case, said nine different investors had expressed interest in investing in O’Briens. Negotiations were also taking place with major landlords to secure rent reductions across the company’s 85 franchised shops in Ireland, an unspecified number of which are to be closed to make the business viable, he told the High Court.O’Briens put its separate UK arm, comprising 109 franchised outlets, into administration at the end of August in a bid to negotiate rent reductions with UK landlords and sell off leases. Chairman Brody Sweeney said the decision to put O’Briens into examinership was caused by a collapse in property values. “We have had to close a number of stores, as some landlords remain intransigent and refuse to reduce rents, and some of our franchisees have struggled to pay.”O’Briens employs 20 people directly in Ireland and 800 indirectly across 85 franchised outlets.last_img read more

Daring to be a doer

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.Clara J.K. Long is graduating from Harvard Law School — surely the only member of her class who once lived in a landfill.That was in 2001. Long was a Brown University undergraduate helping to organize trash pickers in Brazil. She lived next to sliding mounds of trash for a month, the experience an emblem of the eccentric verve with which Long has so far lived.As a teenager, she toured Russia, roamed Central America with just a backpack and bravery for company, and hiked 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. In her 20s, she worked alongside peasant socialists in Brazil, summered as a grant writer in Tanzania, spent a year on human rights work in the Amazon basin, lived as a “fixer” in Venezuela for visiting American reporters, and took a year off from law school to teach filmmaking to youngsters in Burundi. With those years came three other degrees: a bachelor’s from Brown University (2004), a master’s from the London School of Economics (2005), and another, in journalism, from Stanford University (2007).All along, her passion for adventure came in tandem with an equal passion for human rights. In fact, the life Long has lived so far was summed up nicely years ago by Paul Tillich, the Protestant theologian: “In every act of justice, daring is necessary, and risk is unavoidable.”Her sense of daring had its start in Fairfield, Calif., a city of 100,000 in the fertile Central Valley. Long’s mother is a geoscientist; her father an urban activist and former city manager who once dropped out of Brown to join the Army, bound for Vietnam. Long’s sense of justice likely began in elementary school, where through 11th grade she sat alongside the children of migrant workers. “I remember feeling a lot of discomfort,” she said, “about the contradictions that came up.”And 12th grade? That’s the daring part. Long finished high school in Fontainebleau, France. By dint of immersion (and dreaming) in French, she earned a baccalauréat degree. Starting at Brown, “I was really concerned about doing what mattered most,” said Long, who first majored in biology. Then came a spring semester in Belém, Brazil. “That totally changed the trajectory of my life,” she said, and turned a passion for tending the environment into “something that was much more about people.”In 2003, with her senior thesis under way, Long left Brown to work in Brazil’s Tocantins state with Xavier Plassat, an activist Dominican monk. By October 2004 she was at the London School of Economics to earn a master’s in environment and development. She then lived in Venezuela as a radio freelancer and by 2006 was a Stanford graduate student in journalism. During her studies there, Long interviewed a young Latina mother who — terrified by the possibility of arrest by U.S. immigration authorities — had not left her house in two months. “I felt really helpless,” Long said, and came to see law school as a way of acquiring “tools for dealing with injustice.”Long is also co-producer of “Border Stories,” a mosaic-like collection of videos about tensions and realities along the U.S.-Mexico border. Listen to the self-told tales of a bewildered teenager deported to Mexico (a country he never knew), a one-eyed border minuteman, and a ranching couple beset by border crossers.Her first year at Harvard, a fire hose of work, taught Long to love legal analysis. During her first summer and second year, she put her new training to work in Florence, Ariz., a city with 11 prisons, and in Brazil with the School’s International Human Rights Clinic. Injustice and abuse there are woven into the culture of roughneck national prisons.This year Long helped to coordinate a multi-law school project on U.S. protest rights regarding the Occupy movement. (A report is due out this summer.) It’s part of her recent focus, to broaden human rights work in the United States, where violations often simmer unseen. “It helps us,” Long said of Americans, “not to think of ourselves as an exception.”last_img read more

Davey Lopes recalls LA Dodgers’ wild finish in 1980

first_imgIf fans of the Dodgers have been a little nervous about their team trying to clinch the NL West title, imagine how those of the Houston Astros must have felt in 1980.The Astros had a three-game lead on the Dodgers in the West with three games to play — all against the Dodgers.The Dodgers swept the series and forced a one-game playoff, only to lose that game 7-1, sending the Astros to the playoffs.Dodgers first-base coach Davey Lopes was on that Dodgers team. He said the pressure in that final game was different than what’s going on now, what with the big lead the Dodgers have over the second-place Giants with just 10 games to play. “I didn’t check on him this morning, but nothing different than yesterday,” Mattingly said a couple of hours before his team defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-3 in their series finale Thursday to reduce its magic number to clinch to at least four.“We still expect him to make his next start (Monday) in San Francisco.”Turner backThird baseman Justin Turner was back in the lineup Thursday after missing the previous four games with a sore left knee. Even so, Mattingly said he will be cautious with Turner moving forward.“We’re going to be careful with him,” Mattingly said. “He won’t be in there every day, it’s going to be a day here or a day there. We’ve got it calmed down and he feels better, but it doesn’t mean he’ll be out there every day.”Hamstring issuesKike Hernandez, Yasiel Puig and Jose Peraza are all nursing hamstring injuries. Mattingly sounded almost certain Hernandez will return, but he was not as optimistic about Puig and Peraza.“I feel that Kiké will be back this year, 100 percent, unless he has a setback,” he said. “The next few days are big for him with the increased workload. Yasiel is still having issues running. Last I saw, he was running at 70 percent. We’ll see how he progresses.“Peraza is at about the same stage as Puig. We just have to let it play out.”UpcomingThe Dodgers begin a seven-game road trip Friday in Colorado. They will then go to San Francisco for a four-game series before finishing the regular season with three at home against the San Diego Padres. “Because you’re going home, and you know one game and the winner of that game continues and the other one goes home and watches on television,” Lopes said.The Dodgers won all three games of that final series by one run, which added to the fever of the situation. But they ran out of gas in the playoff.“It’s tough to beat anybody four straight, especially a team that’s on its way to a playoff spot like Houston,” said Lopes, who had his 49th RBI of the season in the series finale won 4-3 by the Dodgers. He went 0 for 4 in the playoff game.Greinke updateDodgers manager Don Mattingly said there was little to report on right-hander Zack Greinke, who missed his scheduled start Wednesday with a sore calf.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more