Wendy’s strikes a ‘cloud kitchen’ deal to respond to pandemic


Wendy’s Co. has struck a deal with India’s Rebel Foods to open about 250 so-called cloud kitchens across the country, one of the most ambitious efforts yet to serve customers through delivery rather than the traditional fast-food stores as the industry adapts to the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. company is experimenting with a new format as the Covid-19 outbreak makes many consumers unwilling or unable to visit traditional stores. Cloud kitchens, which derive their name from cloud computing, are remote facilities without seating or cashiers that prepare food exclusively for delivery.

Wendy’s, with nine brick-and-mortar outlets in India, said it believes its cloud kitchen alliance is the largest yet in the industry. Rebel Foods, backed by Sequoia Capital and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., is the world’s largest cloud-kitchen operator with more than 300 locations.

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“India is one of our high-growth, high-potential markets,” Abigail Pringle, Wendy’s chief development officer, speaking via video conference from the chain’s headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. “I don’t know of any other global brand that has announced this kind of significant multiyear, multi-unit commitment.”

As lockdowns and social distancing disrupt their business models, fast-food chains are experimenting with a variety of ways to adapt. With deliveries surging, many recognize their existing stores aren’t the optimal way to meet demand and have turned to cloud kitchens, also known as ghost or dark kitchens. Chains like Chili’s, Applebee’s and Chipotle have already set up their own delivery-centric virtual locations.

Wendy’s push in India appears to be the largest cloud-kitchen outsourcing deal announced yet, based on the number of locations. Leading startups such as CloudKitchens and Virtual Kitchen, which work with a range of brands in the U.S. and abroad, have fewer than 100 sites. One fast-food operator in Thailand said it plans to open 100 cloud kitchens within five years.

Wendy’s, with 6,800 restaurants in 30 markets worldwide, followed rival burger chains like McDonald’s Corp. into India, opening its first restaurant in New Delhi in 2015. It plans about 150 physical stores over the next decade, in addition to the cloud kitchen push. Sierra Nevada Restaurants, the chain’s franchise partner, will help with both initiatives.

“India is one of the most under-penetrated markets on earth” for quick-serve restaurants, said Jasper Reid, managing director of Sierra Nevada.

Wendy’s, once known for its “Where’s the beef?” tagline, has particular challenges in India, where the majority of citizens worship cows as sacred. Its local menu items include chicken chili, masala fries and the best-selling 69-rupee ($0.93) bun tikki, a spicy potato cutlet served between two burger buns.

Rebel Foods, co-founded by former McKinsey & Co. alum Jaydeep Barman and his INSEAD business school classmate Kallol Banerjee, helped pioneer the cloud kitchen concept. The duo operate their own restaurant brands and are expanding into outsourcing for chains like Wendy’s. With money from Uber Technologies Inc. co-founder Travis Kalanick, along with Sequoia and Goldman, the company has grown to hundreds of kitchens across countries including India, Indonesia and the U.K.

Leveraging the fixed costs of tightly packed, centralized kitchens, it serves far-flung customers who have no idea where their food is prepared. With space-saving, stacked kitchens located in low-cost sites like industrial complexes or side alleys, its model helps side-step the costs of running traditional restaurants with seating and wait staff.

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of food delivery around the world. In the U.S., deliveries now account for more than 5.5% of Wendy’s overall business, while they’ve reached 11% in Canada.

“For generations, brands building a national presence relied solely on a brick-and-mortar strategy and made significant investments over decades,” said Banerjee on a video conference call. Cloud kitchens are aimed at helping chains expand “at far lower levels of capital.”

More must-read retail coverage from Fortune:

  • How Trek Bicycles has kept a great culture rolling in a fast-moving 2020
  • How Lowe’s and Home Depot plan to keep growing even after the COVID home improvement boom
  • Kohl’s CEO insists its supersize beauty shops can compete with the new Ulta/Target partnership
  • Next Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO will be the 41st woman chief in the Fortune 500
  • Black winemakers are climbing up the vine



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China strikes again; A November to remember on ASX; Bega’s new era


In retaliation, China has targeted a range of Australian export industries with sanctions. They have mostly been soft commodities exports, but coal has been in the firing line and there is a belief copper could be next. Importantly, the business sector is broadly supportive of the government’s approach to stand up to China on matters of principle.

The one industry China is yet to touch, though, is iron ore. If it were to do so, the relative calm about the situation in corporate Australia would surely dissipate, and quickly.

The key steelmaking ingredient is Australia’s most lucrative export earner. At the moment, there is a prevailing belief that China can’t afford to boycott Australian supply as it ramps up infrastructure projects to prop up its economy in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Yet Chinese state-owned enterprises are rapidly moving to diversify their sourcing through ambitious projects in various parts of the globe, most prominently Africa.

Unless things improve dramatically on the diplomatic front, Australia is going to need to diversify its economic reliance on China just as quickly.

November to remember for stonks

It has been a November to remember for stocks (or “stonks” as the internet meme ridiculing the ebullience of equity markets describes them).

The major US equity indices hit fresh highs this week, and with two trading sessions left in the month the local S&P/ASX 200 is on track for a record month after adding as much as 15 per cent.

Remarkably, that means the local benchmark is back to where it started the year, and just a smidgen below its record peak set in February before COVID-19 erupted into a fully-fledged global pandemic.

Investor spirits have clearly been lifted by the encouraging news about three COVID-19 vaccine candidates and the prospect of more political stability in the United States.

Balanced against this is the alarming resurgence of the coronavirus in the US and Europe and the massive debt overhang that advanced economies including Australia will face when the pandemic is eventually behind us. Not to mention the ongoing trade spat with China.

The strength of share prices in Australia around the world this year serves as a useful reminder of one of the great investing truisms: the stockmarket is not the economy.

For starters, share prices are forward-looking (that said, the future doesn’t look terribly bright at the moment).

The businesses that are publicly listed often don’t reflect the underlying economies where they are listed. In the US, Wall Street and Main Street have de-coupled to the point where the stockmarket is arguably no longer a useful proxy for the world’s largest economy. Small businesses power most developed economies, but they aren’t really represented on stock exchanges.

In Australia, there are also disparities. Mining is over-represented on the local bourse (it accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the ASX 200) relative to the number of people it employs (under 2 per cent of the workforce).

Bega deal heralds new era for agribusiness

One of the more encouraging developments for both the stock exchange and the real economy in recent years has been the revival of the Australian agriculture sector.

After a horror, bushfire-afflicted summer last year, farmers in many parts of the country are preparing for bumper harvests, while livestock prices are also strong. Meanwhile, there are now a handful of genuinely interesting and substantial agribusiness stocks on the ASX for investors to consider.

There is no better example than Bega Cheese. The $1.1 billion, ASX listed dairy business based in a sleepy town on the NSW South Coast has now become a genuine force in Australian food manufacturing with the purchase of the Lion Dairy business for $534 million.

The deal will add the Pura Milk and Yoplait brands to Bega’s portfolio, which includes Bega Cheese and Vegemite (the latter of which it acquired for $460 million in 2017).

Bega now expects to generate $3 billion in annual revenue and will become one of the biggest suppliers to the major supermarket chains. As Elizabeth Knight wrote this week, it is good news for the government which is hoping to strengthen local manufacturing of essential goods after the coronavirus exposed our vulnerability to global supply chain shocks.

On the other hand, it adds more fuel to the fire of the original topic of this article. After all, there is one key reason why this deal happened: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg blocked a planned $600 million purchase of the Lion business by China Mengnui Dairy on national interest grounds last year.

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China strikes again; A November to remember on ASX; Bega’s new era


In retaliation, China has targeted a range of Australian export industries with sanctions. They have mostly been soft commodities exports, but coal has been in the firing line and there is a belief copper could be next. Importantly, the business sector is broadly supportive of the government’s approach to stand up to China on matters of principle.

The one industry China is yet to touch, though, is iron ore. If it were to do so, the relative calm about the situation in corporate Australia would surely dissipate, and quickly.

The key steelmaking ingredient is Australia’s most lucrative export earner. At the moment, there is a prevailing belief that China can’t afford to boycott Australian supply as it ramps up infrastructure projects to prop up its economy in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Yet Chinese state-owned enterprises are rapidly moving to diversify their sourcing through ambitious projects in various parts of the globe, most prominently Africa.

Unless things improve dramatically on the diplomatic front, Australia is going to need to diversify its economic reliance on China just as quickly.

November to remember for stonks

It has been a November to remember for stocks (or “stonks” as the internet meme ridiculing the ebullience of equity markets describes them).

The major US equity indices hit fresh highs this week, and with two trading sessions left in the month the local S&P/ASX 200 is on track for a record month after adding as much as 15 per cent.

Remarkably, that means the local benchmark is back to where it started the year, and just a smidgen below its record peak set in February before COVID-19 erupted into a fully-fledged global pandemic.

Investor spirits have clearly been lifted by the encouraging news about three COVID-19 vaccine candidates and the prospect of more political stability in the United States.

Balanced against this is the alarming resurgence of the coronavirus in the US and Europe and the massive debt overhang that advanced economies including Australia will face when the pandemic is eventually behind us. Not to mention the ongoing trade spat with China.

The strength of share prices in Australia around the world this year serves as a useful reminder of one of the great investing truisms: the stockmarket is not the economy.

For starters, share prices are forward-looking (that said, the future doesn’t look terribly bright at the moment).

The businesses that are publicly listed often don’t reflect the underlying economies where they are listed. In the US, Wall Street and Main Street have de-coupled to the point where the stockmarket is arguably no longer a useful proxy for the world’s largest economy. Small businesses power most developed economies, but they aren’t really represented on stock exchanges.

In Australia, there are also disparities. Mining is over-represented on the local bourse (it accounts for nearly 20 per cent of the ASX 200) relative to the number of people it employs (under 2 per cent of the workforce).

Bega deal heralds new era for agribusiness

One of the more encouraging developments for both the stock exchange and the real economy in recent years has been the revival of the Australian agriculture sector.

After a horror, bushfire-afflicted summer last year, farmers in many parts of the country are preparing for bumper harvests, while livestock prices are also strong. Meanwhile, there are now a handful of genuinely interesting and substantial agribusiness stocks on the ASX for investors to consider.

There is no better example than Bega Cheese. The $1.1 billion, ASX listed dairy business based in a sleepy town on the NSW South Coast has now become a genuine force in Australian food manufacturing with the purchase of the Lion Dairy business for $534 million.

The deal will add the Pura Milk and Yoplait brands to Bega’s portfolio, which includes Bega Cheese and Vegemite (the latter of which it acquired for $460 million in 2017).

Bega now expects to generate $3 billion in annual revenue and will become one of the biggest suppliers to the major supermarket chains. As Elizabeth Knight wrote this week, it is good news for the government which is hoping to strengthen local manufacturing of essential goods after the coronavirus exposed our vulnerability to global supply chain shocks.

On the other hand, it adds more fuel to the fire of the original topic of this article. After all, there is one key reason why this deal happened: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg blocked a planned $600 million purchase of the Lion business by China Mengnui Dairy on national interest grounds last year.

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States panic as virus strikes back


Some states are even contemplating stopping incoming passengers from places like Delhi

New Delhi: From night curfews to shutting down markets and now some states even contemplating stopping incoming passengers from places like Delhi — panic has gripped several Indian states as new coronavirus cases are on a sharp rise —in Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Assam and Haryana. Upset with the chaos and rising cases, the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Assam governments, saying that things will get worse in December if they are not prepared, and sought status reports from them in two days.

India on Monday had a total of 91.40 lakh Covid-19 cases, out of which 44,059 were new cases. The death toll overall is now 1.34 lakh, with 511 new fatalities.

 

The SC sought status reports from the Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Assam governments on the steps taken by them on the Covid situation and what more efforts were being made to deal with the pandemic. “Things worsened in the last two weeks, in November. Our question is: What is your present situation? What more steps are you taking? That is what we are going to look into,” the bench asked the Delhi government.

Saying the Gujarat situation was the worst after Delhi and Maharashtra, the court also pulled up the Gujarat government for allowing weddings and gatherings despite the rising Covid-19 cases. “What is your policy? What is happening? What is all this?” Justice M.R. Shah asked the counsel appearing for the state.  The court was also informed that the situation in Assam was “deplorable”, and that the situation was not improving as hospitals were short of ICUs. Former Assam CM Tarun Gagoi died on Monday due to Covid-19.

 

In a desperate measure, the Delhi government first ordered the shutting down of heavily crowded markets in West Delhi — Nangloi and Punjabi Basti markets — after it was found that wearing masks and social distancing were not being followed there. These orders were, however, later withdrawn. However, street vendors were stopped from setting up stalls to prevent crowding in several parts of Delhi, an order that was widely defied.

Maharashtra, which is again seeing a sharp rise in fresh cases, is now contemplating having checks on arrivals from other states like Delhi. Maharashtra minister Vijay Waddetiwar said the authorities will take a call on allowing flights, trains and road travel to Maharashtra in eight days, while the state government made it mandatory for inbound traffic coming from Delhi, Goa, Gujarat and Rajasthan to carry a Covid negative certificate with them.

 

Himachal Pradesh has imposed night a curfew in four districts — Shimla, Kullu, Mandi and Kangra — that are witnessing high cases and are fast emerging as hotspots. Incidentally, a high number of tourists too have rushed to these places after the lockdowns were lifted to beat work from home and lockdown boredom.

The efforts by the states seem to be to hold on somehow till the vaccine shots arrive in India. On Monday, Britain’s AstraZeneca said its vaccine for the coronavirus could be around 90 per cent effective, without any serious side effects. The combined analysis from both dosing regimens resulted in an average efficacy of 70 per cent.

 

The vaccine developed by Oxford University was 90 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 when it was administered as a half-dose followed by a full dose at least one month apart, according to the data from late-stage trials in Britain and Brazil. No serious safety events related to the vaccine have been confirmed and it was well tolerated across both regimens, it added.

“I am delighted to hear Covishield, a low-cost, logistically manageable and soon to be widely available Covid-19 vaccine, will offer protection up to 90 per cent in one type of dosage regime and 62 per cent in the other dosage regime,” tweeted Adar Poonawala, head of the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, a company that is partnering with AstraZeneca for the production of the vaccines.

 

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The streaming kingdom – Disney strikes streaming-TV gold | Business


DISNEY PROMISED investors in spring 2019 that a new video-streaming service would win between 60m and 90m subscribers by 2024. Disney+ has outperformed that forecast spectacularly, hitting its five-year subscriber target in just eight months. In doing so it is fulfilling the digital-transformation plan set in motion three years ago by Bob Iger, Disney’s longtime boss, now its executive chairman.

Marketing muscle, crucial to success, has been backed up by “The Mandalorian”, a space western inspired by “Star Wars”. Such is its popularity that Disney was late meeting demand for a plush-toy of its baby Yoda character. The pandemic added a turbocharge, dashing fears that Disney+ and other new streaming services, like HBO Max and Apple TV+, might struggle to attract time-starved consumers. Lockdowns mean extra hours to while away, notes Tim Mulligan of MIDiA Research.

Amid school closures Disney+ has been as trusty a baby-sitter as baby Yoda’s nurse droid. Of all the new streaming services Disney+, which launched in western Europe in March, just as lockdowns began, is the clear winner. Even so it has not touched the leader, Netflix, which has 195m subscribers worldwide and over 70m in America alone (see chart).

Disney’s other businesses have suffered because of the pandemic. Shuttered theme parks, closed cinemas and cancelled sporting events have taken their toll. In August Disney said covid-19 wiped out $3.5bn of operating profits at its parks, experiences and products division in three months. The company is expected to report another quarterly loss on November 12th, after The Economist went to press. Yet the streaming service’s subscriber gains have helped shield the firm’s share price. It has fallen but by far less than its peers.

Disney+’s rapid success also underlines a doubt about the firm—whether Mr Iger’s choice of successor was correct. The favourite for the top job was Kevin Mayer, who designed and launched Disney+. Mr Iger chose Bob Chapek, a talented operating executive who had been running theme parks. “Given the runaway success of Disney+ it is even harder to understand how the theme park and home-entertainment executive got the top job,” says Rich Greenfield of LightShed Partners, a research firm. Mr Mayer left Disney this summer.

Will Mr Chapek now bet heavily on Disney+? The firm as a whole lavishes nearly $30bn a year on original and acquired content but this year set aside only $1bn for Disney+. Netflix spends $15bn a year. The Disney service’s rich library is enough to keep under-tens engaged but it may lose subscribers unless it regularly offers original grown-up fare. Third Point, an activist investor, wants Disney to stop its dividend and spend the $3bn a year on Disney+.

Disney could do more than that if it went “all-in” on streaming, dropping its current system in which, for example, big-budget films go exclusively to cinemas, and putting everything it makes onto Disney+ at once. The service could then spend as much as Netflix and raise its price from $6.99 per month to over $10.

This would make for a huge global business but there is a danger that it would swiftly cannibalise the existing parts of Disney’s empire. A more likely course is that Disney will move new content more rapidly onto Disney+. It could also combine Disney+ with Hulu, a separate and successful video-streaming service the firm took control of last year.

Disney is expected to announce in December that it will spend a lot more on content for the service. All eyes will be on whether Mr Chapek seems as tuned-in to streaming’s bright future as Mr Iger was.

This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “The streaming kingdom”

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Lightning strikes jolt Adelaide and start fires on Yorke Peninsula


About 100,000 lightning strikes have jolted South Australia overnight, causing a spectacular light show, as well as fires and power outages.

However, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says the weather should clear up this morning.

There were reports of wind gusts up to 120 kilometres an hour at RAAF Base Edinburgh, in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, with numerous reports of trees down and some hail on the Yorke Peninsula.

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BOM senior forecaster Simon Timcke said after between 90,000 and 100,000 lightning strikes overnight, calmer weather was on the way.

“A pretty wild night and there’s still a few storms around,” he said.

“Looking on the radar and satellite picture, there’s just a band of high-based storms.

Few places outside of the Adelaide Hills received more than 10 millimetres of rain overnight.

A top of 26 degrees Celsius is forecast for Adelaide, with showers returning in the evening.

A map of the lightning strikes that hit South Australia until 9:30pm last night.(Supplied: SA Power Networks)

Fires on Yorke Peninsula

Multiple fires ignited on the southern Yorke Peninsula around Minlaton last night, reaching watch and act level, but the threat has since reduced.

Fires that were burning around Moonta Mines and near Maitland on the northern Yorke Peninsula, as well as Lake Gilles, near Kimba, on the Eyre Peninsula, have also been brought under control.

The threat from fires around Wards Hill and Port Broughton on the west coast of the Yorke Peninsula has also reduced.

In the Adelaide beachside suburb of Largs North, a palm tree catching fire created a spectacular scene.

Nearby resident Rob said it was quickly put out by firefighters.

It was “exciting today, terrifying last night”, he said.

Lightning at night above a jetty with a tower looking like a ship's crows nest
Lightning over Brighton jetty in Adelaide.(Supplied: Majella Photo Art)

Crash sparks more power outages

There are nearly 1,300 properties in Adelaide’s south-west without power after a P-plate driver with a suspended licence crashed into three stobie poles at Glengowrie overnight.

Police say the 21-year-old Darlington man escaped with minor injuries, and charges are expected to be laid later this morning.

Senior Constable Peta Squire said the car split into two main pieces, plus the fuel tank.

A car split in two on a road
The car that crashed on Oaklands Road at Glengowrie, causing a power outage.(Supplied: SA Police)

Across the state, more than 8,500 properties are without power, according to SA Power Networks, mostly due to storm activity.

SA Power Networks spokesman Paul Roberts said about 60,000 customers were affected at the peak last night.

He said most of the current outages were in small patches.

“There’s a lot of outages and each of those outages — whether it’s 30 or 600 — can take the same amount of time to repair so it’s a big day ahead for our crews,” he said.



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Eta strikes Florida Keys; expected to become hurricane


HAVANA (AP) — A strengthening Tropical Storm Eta made landfall on Florida’s Lower Matecumbe Key on Sunday night, days after leaving scores of dead and over 100 missing in Mexico and Central America.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami declared hurricane and storm surge warnings for the Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, including Florida Bay.

Florida officials closed beaches, ports and COVID testing sites, shut down public transportation and urged residents to stay off the street. Several shelters also opened in Miami and the Florida Keys for residents in mobile homes and low lying areas. Broward County also shut down in-person schooling Monday and Miami seemed poised to do the same.

On Sunday night, authorities in Lauderhill, Florida, responded to a report of a car that had driven into a canal. Photos taken by fire units on the scene about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Miami showed rescuers searching what appeared to be flooded waters near a parking lot.

Firefighters pulled one person from a car and took the patient to a hospital in critical condition, according to a statement from Lauderhill Fire’s public information officer. Responders were continuing to search for others.

Eta had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) on Sunday night and was centered about 30 miles (45 kilometers) east-northeast of Marathon, Florida, and 70 miles (115 kilometers) east-northeast of Key West. It was moving west-northwest at 14 mph (22 kph).

The storm swelled rivers and flooded coastal zones in Cuba, where 25,000 had been evacuated. But there were no reports of deaths.

Eta earlier hit Cuba even as searchers in Guatemala were still digging for people believed buried by a massive, rain-fueled landslide. Authorities on Sunday raised the known death toll there to 27 from 15 and said more than 100 were missing in Guatemala, many of them in the landslide in San Cristobal Verapaz.

Some 60,000 people had been evacuated in Guatemala.

At least 20 people also were reported dead in southern Mexico and local officials in Honduras reported 21, though the national disaster agency had confirmed only eight.

Pope Francis on Sunday spoke about the population of Central America, hit “by a violent hurricane, which has caused many victims and huge damage, worsened as well by the already difficult situation due to the pandemic.” Speaking to faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Francis prayed that “the Lord welcome the deceased, comfort their families and sustain all those so tried, as well as all those who are doing their best to help them.”

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Saturday for eight counties at the end of the state as Eta approached, urging residents to stock up on supplies. South Florida started emptying ports and a small number of shelters opened in Miami and the Florida Keys for residents in mobile homes and low-lying areas.

Miami-Dade County declared a state of emergency Friday night and also warned a flood watch would be in effect through Tuesday night.

Further south in the Keys, officials were monitoring the storm closely, but had no plans yet to evacuate tourists or residents. They urged residents to secure their boats and encouraged visitors to consider altering plans until Eta had passed.

Eta initially hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, and authorities from Panama to Mexico were still surveying the damages following days of torrential rains during the week.

In Guatemala, search teams first had to overcome multiple landslides and deep mud just to reach the site where officials have estimated some 150 homes were devastated.

In the worst-hit village, Quejá, at least five bodies have been pulled from the mud. The Indigenous community of about 1,200 residents consisted of simple homes of wood and tin roofs clinging to the mountainside.

Rescue workers used a helicopter to evacuate survivor Emilio Caal, who said he lost as many as 40 family members and relatives. Caal, 65, suffered a dislocated shoulder when the landslide sent rocks, trees and earth hurtling onto the home where he was about to sit down to lunch with his wife and grandchildren. Caal said he was blown several yards (meters) by the force of the slide, and that none of the others were able to get out.

“My wife is dead, my grandchildren are dead,” said Caal from a nearby hospital.

Firefighters’ spokesman Ruben Tellez said at least one additional person died in Guatemala on Sunday when a small plane went down while carrying emergency supplies to the stricken area.

In neighboring Honduras, 68-year-old María Elena Mejía Guadron died when the brown waters of the Chamelecon river poured into San Pedro Sula’s Planeta neighborhood before dawn Thursday.

In southern Mexico, across the border from Guatemala, 20 people died as heavy rains attributed to Eta caused mudslides and swelled streams and rivers, according to Chiapas state civil defense official Elías Morales Rodríguez.

The worst incident in Mexico occurred in the mountain township of Chenalho, where 10 people were swept away by a rain-swollen stream; their bodies were later found downstream.

Flooding in the neighboring state of Tabasco was so bad that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador cut short a trip to western Mexico and was flying to Tabasco, his home state, to oversee relief efforts.

___

Associated Press writers Kelli Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Marlon González in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Frances D’Emilio in Rome, Italy, contributed to this report.





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Queensland weather: Brisbane hit by hailstones the size of tennis balls as thunderstorm strikes


Queensland has been smashed by tennis ball-sized hailstones with a warning more are likely to fall as a series of dangerous supercell thunderstorms race across the state’s southeast.

Severe thunderstorms formed along the Great Dividing Range from the NSW border to Wide Bay, north of the Sunshine Coast, on Saturday before pushing towards the coast throughout the afternoon.

More are expected during the evening, the Bureau of Meteorology warns.

“The situation is volatile and continuing to change quickly,” a spokesman said.

“Some of these storms are fast-moving and fast-forming, so people should consider whether they need to be outside or on the road at the moment.”

“These thunderstorms are a significant threat to property and life,” the bureau tweeted.

Camera IconHuge hailstones which fell in Springfield. Credit: facebook/Cody Jack/supplied

Giant 14cm hail has been reported in Logan, south of Brisbane.

Hail up to 7cm in diameter fell at Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley, west of the city.

“We don’t often see severe storms on this scale,” meteorologist Lauren Pattie told AAP.

Some of the hailstones were the size of tennis balls.
Camera IconSome of the hailstones were the size of tennis balls. Credit: facebook/Cody Jack/supplied

“For us to get a number supercell thunderstorms all with large to giant hail, significant wind gusts, and the damage from that, across that wide area is exceptional.”

A roof reportedly collapsed in Logan, and dozens of photos and videos of battered cars and homes have been posted on social media.

Queensland Fire And Emergency Service reports more than 1300 people have called for help.

Trains from Nerang & Kuraby on the Gold Coast have been suspended due to fallen powerlines.

Hail from Beaudesert and Yarrabilba.
Camera IconHail from Beaudesert and Yarrabilba. Credit: facebook/Off the Radar Storm Chasers Queensland;Australia/supplied

Energex reports more than 42,000 electricity users are without power.

Severe thunderstorm warnings remain in place for Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Redland City, Moreton Bay, parts of Ipswich and Gympie, Somerset, South Burnett, the Scenic Rim, and the Sunshine Coast.

People are urged to move cars undercover, secure loose outdoor items and stay indoors.

A general severe thunderstorm warning is also current for Wide Bay and Burnett, Southeast Coast and parts of Capricornia and Darling Downs and Granite Belt Forecast Districts.

A huge hailstone from Springfield.
Camera IconA huge hailstone from Springfield. Credit: facebook/South West Storm Chasers/supplied

The storms come less than a week after two days of storms delivered a month worth of rain and flash flooding to some parts of the state, including Brisbane.

Tennis ball-sized hailstones pummelled the region on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Beachmere, near Caboolture, recorded 80mm of rain in an hour and 70mm fell on the Upper Lockyer, west of Brisbane.

Tiaro, north of the Sunshine Coast, recorded 51mm in an hour, with 22mm of it falling in five minutes.

Flash flooding affected some Brisbane areas at the height of the storms on Tuesday, which was the wettest October day in the city since 2010.



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Leganés strikes deal with Hungarian firm to bring fans to home matches digitally | The Budapest Business Journal on the web


 Bence Gaál

 Friday, October 30, 2020, 15:20

Madrid-based football club Leganés has established a comprehensive partnership with a Hungarian tech company, called “Seyu – Together for victory!” to display photos of their cheering fans on the LED wall and giant screens during the home matches, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal. 

The introduction of the solution was successful, as dozens of pictures were shown during the clubʼs duel against Oviedo in Spainʼs Segunda División. The cooperation will remain in place for the upcoming home matches as well.

The alliance between Leganés and “Seyu – Together for Victory!” was formed only two weeks ago and was established within days from concept to technical implementation.

The Hungarian company provides a mobile application through which fans can send their photos – via a moderated channel – straight to the arena’s giant screen and periled in the stadium.

Before the pandemic, Seyu had already developed their services on the Hungarian market, by supporting handball and football teams and worldwide recognized sports events in swimming, fencing, table tennis, and wrestling.

Due to the pandemic, there has been an increased demand for the solution and Seyu has established partnerships in places like the Gallagher Premiership Rugby and LaLiga Smart Bank.

The only requirement for the “Pepineros” (the nickname of Leganés fans) to appear on the giant screen was to purchase their new official mask. Once it has been purchased, supporters could register and send their cheering selfies through the application.

The response has been unexpected, dozens of selfies have been displayed in the stadium last Sunday, and the club hopes that more fans will also be encouraged to do so for the match against Mirandés. The photos of the fans were displayed before the game, during the clash, and after the duel together with the advertising of Citycar Sur, one of the sponsors of Leganés.

Although fans could not enter the stadium physically, some players even acknowledged that they noticed the presence of these photos throughout the match.

“Yes, we did see the photos during the game. Since the fans cannot be there because of the COVID-19 issue, so at least they send us their support,” said Javi Hernández, defender of Leganés at the end of the match.

“It makes us very proud to help the Leganés fans and stand behind their team with our technology. Our solution already brought happiness to many fans who could not travel to their beloved clubs’ matches in the past, unfortunately now we are all forced to watch our favorites from a distance. We hope that the supporters will be able to return into the stadiums soon and encourage their teams in person,” said Tom Vecsernyes, CEO of Seyu Solutions Ltd.

 

 





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