Eyeing Chapter 11: Once popular Red Lobster to shut 48 locations and auction off restaurant equipment

Red-Lobster-closing

Important Takeaways:

  • The full list of Red Lobster locations that were closed overnight has been revealed.
  • The 48 shuttered restaurants will have their contents, including kitchen equipment and furniture, auctioned off on Thursday.
  • Closures were announced across 21 states on Monday night, effective immediate
  • Florida and California have seen the most closures, followed by Colorado and Maryland.
  • The auctions will be run by Restaurant Equipment Bid. They specialize in selling off gear from restaurants that close down and need to liquidate quickly.
  • Red Lobster items available vary by location but include the likes of high-performance ovens, upright refrigerators and freezers, cooking and warming gear, as well as ‘comprehensive bar and dining setups’, according to the auction site.
  • The struggling chain is eyeing up a possible Chapter 11 filing to restructure its debt, allowing it to discard long-term contracts and renegotiate new leases.
  • The abrupt closures come after the company last year reported record losses of $11 million, which its CFO partly blamed on its unlimited shrimp deal.
  • The chain, which started as a single restaurant in Lakeland, Florida, in 1968 has around 650 locations across almost all states. It’s famous for its cheese-flavored biscuits.

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Brick and Mortar Banks closing as online and mobile Apps are on the rise

Banks-closing

Important Takeaways:

  • US Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citizen, Chase and PNC are shutting hundreds of branches a year – here is what to do if your bank closes
  • Banks are shutting hundreds of branches a year – this month some 41 closures were announced in a single week and among those affected were nine US Bank locations.
  • Bank of America, Chase, PNC, Citizen, Capital One, First National Bank of Pennsylvania and Huntington also said they were axing branches.
  • Such closures deal a huge blow to customers looking to visit in person to submit a document, make a withdrawal or deposit, cash in a check or simply run through their finances with a trusted bank manager.

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McDonalds prepares for layoffs saying “Difficult decisions ahead”

Golden Arches

Revelations 18:23:’For the merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.’

Important Takeaways:

  • McDonald’s temporarily shuts US offices, prepares layoff notices: report
  • McDonald’s Corp is temporarily closing its U.S. offices this week as it prepares to inform corporate employees about layoffs undertaken by the fast food giant as part of a broader company restructuring, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • “During the week of April 3, we will communicate key decisions related to roles and staffing levels across the organization,” the company said in the message viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
  • “[W]e will evaluate roles and staffing levels in parts of the organization and there will be difficult discussions and decisions ahead,” the CEO wrote

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Church doors still closing

  • American churches closing faster than new ones can open
  • Churches are closing at a record pace in the U.S. as less than 50% of Americans are saying they are members of a church.
  • Small-town churches have been particularly hard hit by the trend, having previously served as the cultural center of small communities that have since declined or been consolidated into larger metropolitan areas in recent years.
  • Lizardy-Hajbi said the poll shows that religion is still important despite the decline in church membership.
  • “It doesn’t necessarily mean that religion is dying,” Lizardy-Hajbi said.

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U.S. closing National Mall, landmarks in Washington ahead of inauguration

(Reuters) – The National Park Service said Friday it was immediately closing the National Mall and iconic U.S. landmarks in Washington to visitors through at least January 21 amid an unprecedented boost in security ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The Mall includes landmarks like the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and Washington Monument. The area around the White House has also been closed as has a key bridge over the Potomac River that connects Virginia to Washington as well as East and West Potomac Parks including Hains Point, which are near the Mall.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Tensions rise at U.S.-Mexico border as migrants, holiday travelers wait to cross

A migrant boy, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America en route to the United States, runs while holding a toy at a temporary shelter in Tijuana, Mexico November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

By Lizbeth Diaz

TIJUANA (Reuters) – Hundreds of Central American migrants in Mexico massed on Thursday around a tense U.S. border crossing, where security measures held up long lines of Mexicans headed to Thanksgiving gatherings on the other side of the frontier.

With few belongings and many of them with children in tow, the migrants set out for the crossing from the baseball field in the Mexican border city of Tijuana where they have been camped out. Around 6,000 migrants who have trekked across Mexico in a caravan in recent weeks are now crammed into the field.

They arrived at the Chaparral border crossing, opposite San Diego, California, and said they would wait there until they could request asylum, in spite of growing U.S. measures to tighten the border.

“We are already desperate, last night it rained and we all got wet. There is no room left. We are all sick. My children have a cold … and nobody has come to give us help,” said David, a Honduran who only provided his first name.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had authorized the use of lethal force on the border and warned that the United States could close the whole frontier.

The San Ysidro vehicular crossing into San Diego, one of the busiest in the world, was briefly shuttered in the afternoon by U.S. officials as they performed a security exercise.

Tens of thousands of Mexicans enter the United States daily to work or study, and many were trying to get to Thanksgiving celebrations. Mariana del Campo, a retired professor, had hoped to make it across before the closing but was stuck in the line.

“What’s happening on the border is maddening,” she said as she waited in her car. “I don’t know how long we can put up with this. Someone is going to get tired or explode.”

Also stuck in her car waiting to cross for Thanksgiving was 54-year-old Aurora Diaz, who said her U.S.-based daughter was reluctant to visit Mexico in case Trump closed the border.

Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, make their way to the El Chaparral port of entry border crossing between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, make their way to the El Chaparral port of entry border crossing between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

U.S. OR BUST

Tensions were palpable at the pedestrian crossing where the Central Americans had gathered. Mexican police and soldiers stood guard while a helicopter buzzed over the U.S side.

Edgar Corzo, an official from Mexico’s human rights commission, spoke into a megaphone to the crowd, telling them they could request assistance in Mexico.

But migrants arrived with blankets and prepared to bed down for the night outside the border station. Some of the children cried and complained of the cold.

Authorities in Tijuana said the migrants are facing up to a six-month wait to be able to get an appointment to plead their case for asylum with U.S. authorities.

Earlier this week, U.S. officials briefly closed the main border crossing in Tijuana, putting up concrete barricades and razor wire after reports that migrants could try to rush the crossing.

“I want President Trump to know that we’re peaceful people, we don’t have weapons, we haven’t come to do evil,” said a man who declined to give his name, holding a white flag on a wooden stick that read “Peace, God is with us.” “We want to work, we want them to help us for the love of God,” he added.

(Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz, Writing by Michael O’Boyle, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

London City Airport shut after WW2 bomb found in Thames

Police officers stand by a cordon at the entrance to London City Airport, in London, Britain February 12, 2018

By Alistair Smout

LONDON (Reuters) – All flights to and from London’s City Airport were canceled on Monday after an unexploded World War Two bomb weighing half a tonne was found buried in silt in the River Thames.

Police said they expected the bomb at George V Dock in east London would be removed by early Tuesday, having set up a 200-metre exclusion zone after the ordnance was found during work at the airport on Sunday.

The Metropolitan Police said properties within the exclusion zone had been evacuated and a number of roads were cordoned off.

“The timing of removal is dependant on the tides, however, at this stage we estimate that the removal of the device from location will be completed by tomorrow morning,” police said in a statement, adding the shell was lying in a bed of dense silt.

London City Airport is the city’s fifth biggest and is popular with business travelers. It is London’s most central international airport and is close to major financial districts in the City of London and Canary Wharf.

The docklands area of London’s East End was a trading hub in the 1940s and was heavily bombed by German planes in World War Two. The airport was opened in 1987 as part of the broader regeneration of the area.

The airport told passengers not to travel there on Monday. Regional airline CityJet said its flights from the airport had been rescheduled to land and take off from London Southend airport, while Italy’s Alitalia [CAITLA.UL] said it would operate flights from London Stansted airport.

British Airways said it was trying to minimize disruption for passengers and said in a statement: “We are rebooking customers due to travel today onto alternative flights or offering refunds for those who no longer wish to travel.”

(Reporting by Alistair Smout in London and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Planned Parenthood to close four Iowa clinics after cuts

FILE PHOTO - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad arrives to testify before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to China at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., U.S. on May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

By Chris Kenning

(Reuters) – Planned Parenthood said on Thursday it would shutter four of its 12 clinics in Iowa as a result of a measure backed by Republican Governor Terry Branstad that blocks public money for family planning services to abortion providers.

Health centers in Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City will close on June 30 and one in Quad Cities soon after as a result of losing $2 million in funds under the new measure, said Susan Allen, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. The four clinics served 14,676 patients in the last three years, she said, including many rural and poor women.

“It will be devastating,” Allen said.

The closures marked the latest fallout from a continuing push by Republicans, including President Donald Trump, to yank funding from Planned Parenthood. Many have long opposed the organization, some on religious grounds, because its healthcare services include abortions, although it receives no federal funding for abortions, as stipulated by federal law.

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives included such a defunding measure as part of the American Health Care Act, the bill aimed at replacing Obamacare.

Iowa’s Republican-led legislature agreed in its recent budget to discontinue a federal Medicaid family planning program and replace it with a state program that bars funding to organizations that provide abortions or maintain facilities where abortions are carried out. The move cost the state about $3 million.

Texas in 2011 made a similar move that has reduced funding. A state report in 2015 found that nearly 30,000 fewer women received birth control, cancer screenings and other care as a result.

A coalition of 35 Iowa groups that oppose abortion have previously argued that funding for family planning indirectly subsidizes abortions.

“The pro-life movement is making tremendous strides in changing the hearts and minds, to return to a culture that once again respects human life,” said Ben Hammes, a spokesman for Branstad, who said there were 2,400 doctors, nurses and clinics around the state for family planning that do not provide abortions.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland said it will continue to operate eight clinics in Iowa. They provide services including cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and annual checkups.

The group said in a tweet on Thursday that politicians driven more by personal beliefs than facts were hurting access to women’s health care.

“The devastation in Iowa is a sign of what could be next for the rest of the nation,” Danielle Wells, an official at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in an email.

(Reporting by Chris Kenning; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Citibank to close Venezuela government accounts: Maduro

Venezuelan President

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said on Monday that Citibank NA <C.UL>, planned to shut his government’s foreign currency accounts within a month, denouncing the move by one of its main foreign financial intermediaries as part of a “blockade.”

“With no warning, Citibank says that in 30 days it will close the Central Bank and the Bank of Venezuela’s accounts,” Maduro said in a speech, adding that the government used the U.S. bank for transactions in the United States and globally.

“Do you think they’re going to stop us with a financial blockade? No, gentlemen. Noone stops Venezuela.”

Citibank, a unit of Citigroup Inc <C.N>, could not immediately be reached for comment about the purported measure against Venezuela’s monetary authority and the Bank of Venezuela which is the biggest state retail bank.

With the OPEC nation’s economy immersed in crisis, various foreign companies have been pulling out or reducing operations.

Critics say the socialist economics of Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez have been a disaster for Venezuela, while the government blames its political foes and local businessmen for waging an “economic war” against it.

Due to strict currency controls in place since 2003, the government relies on Citibank for foreign currency transactions.

(Reporting by Diego Ore; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Andrew Hay)

Schools In Texas, Ohio Close Over Ebola Fear

Concerns over Ebola have shut down schools in two states.

Two public schools in Ohio are closed because staff members were on the same flight as Amber Vinson, the second nurse who contracted Ebola and flew from Ohio to Texas with a low grade fever.

An e-mail was sent to parents of children at Solon Middle School and Parkside Elementary School.

“This circumstance came to light late in the day and we have been working since then to get as much information as possible from public health authorities,” the district’s email read.

“Although we believe what the science community and public health officials are telling us about the low risk of possible transmission of the virus through indirect contact, we are nonetheless taking the unusual step of closing the dual school building for Thursday so that we can have the schools cleaned and disinfected.”

The Belton Independent School District in Texas closed all three schools because of two students who were on the flight.

“Canceling classes at the three campuses will allow us to thoroughly clean and disinfect the schools and buses that served them this week. It will also allow health officials additional time to re-assess the health risk to passengers on the plane,” said Belton Superintendent Susan Kincannon in a statement.  “I’m frustrated that we didn’t learn until late tonight that the CDC was re-evaluating the health risk. The health and safety of our students is my first priority.”