Hélène Pastor dies from shooting


Prominent Monegasque businesswoman Hélène Pastor has died from her injuries sustained in a shooting in Nice on 6th May, despite earlier signs that the 77-year-old’s health was improving. Police are yet to make any arrests in what can now be considered one of the Riviera’s most high profile double murder investigations.

After more than two weeks in a critical condition at Saint Roch hospital in Nice, Hélène Pastor died on the morning of Wednesday 21st May at around 6am. Contacted by The Riviera Times, the hospital confirmed Pastor’s death but did not provide any further comment.

The information came as a shock to many. Hélène Pastor’s condition had been improving and doctors revealed that she had awakened from her coma on 16th May.

The Palace of Monaco today released a statement, saying, “HSH the Prince expresses his deep compassion to the children of Mrs Hélène Pastor-Pallanca at the announcement of her tragic passing.”

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi also expressed his condolences. “My thoughts go out to Gildo, Hélène Pastor’s son, as well as all of her relatives. I share their pain and grief. My thoughts also go out to all the Monegasques who were devastated by this tragedy.”

A source close to the investigation told The Riviera Times that investigators weren’t able to obtain any relevant information from the victim before she died.

“They saw her, but her health condition didn’t allow for an in-depth questioning,” he said.

Hélène Pastor and her driver Mohamed Darwich were shot on 6th May while exiting L’Archet hospital, where she was visiting her son Gildo Pallanca Pastor, who was being treated for a stroke.

According to witnesses, the killer fired through the window twice with what may have been a sawn-off shotgun, before fleeing with an accomplice.

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Better Life for you; Fairpromise


Definition of Better Life

of superior quality or excellence: a better coat; a better speech.
morally superior; more virtuous: They are no better than thieves.
of superior suitability, advisability, desirability, acceptableness, etc.; preferable: a better time for action.
larger; greater: the better part of a lifetime.
improved in health; healthier than before.


Synonyms of Better Life

advance, promote; reform, correct, rectify


Well, there are all kinds of Better Life:

Let’s focus on a great place to find Freedom: Fairpromise


Fairpromise is the next generation social network based on the people’s social commitment, aiming to become a top 3 social network and a complement for Facebook and Twitter. Fairpromise is an action engine which transforms promises (ideas, dreams, concepts) into actions. Fairpromise reduces the gap between people’s expectancies and reality and offers them a platform for accomplishments and achievements of realistic goals providing innovative project and risk management tools made extremely simple to improve their daily activities (users from 5 to 100 years old targeted differently according to their age, location).

Fairpromise is a free site promoting in a playful way justice, responsibility, fair play and educational values. Fairpromise is a personal, professional, political and social barometer.

Watch a video about Fairpromise

Innovation and Tech Companies Go Together



Innovation is central to the success and continued growth of the technology industry. Without innovation, there would have never been an iPhone or a Kindle Fire HDX, Windows or app stores. Innovation and the ability for companies to go beyond what they know to try something new is what pushes the industry forward and changes how we view and interact with the environment around us. Still, real innovation is somewhat hard to come by in the technology industry. At times when one new company springs up to deliver something truly new and innovative, others will simply follow its lead in the hopes of getting a piece of the business.
Tesla makes really cool, high end, electric cars. Buyer get high end tech, but pays for it.
SpaceX makes rockets and space stations. Bet they get outsource work from NASA as US & Russia not buddies.
Amazon is cool, building high tech warehouses and buying drones.
Google is an innovator too. Just heard they want to start production on driverless cars.
Aereo is a big and innovative “Over-The-Air” Broadcaster. Supreme Court  is way behind them in thinking.
Never count out IBM. They have been at it a long time.
Nest is owned by Google. Watch for all kinds of cool things
Corning is an old, established company but it is an up and coming innovator: Gorilla Glass: tough yet beautiful;
Square is making mobile payments not square
Vidyo is all about video over wireless. They are doing stuff Cisco can’t seem to do.

SpaceX has successfully developed rockets that can enter space and carry equipment and other important cargo to and from the International Space Station. As NASA’s budget gets cut even more, expect SpaceX to play a crucial role in space missions. – See more at: http://www.eweek.com/cloud/slideshows/10-tech-companies-proving-innovation-isnt-dead.html?kc=EWKNLCSM04292014STR1&dni=121871773&rni=25583632#sthash.2TUI3ihI.dpuf

Metro North Installs Autonomous Track Geometry Inspection System (ATGIS)


MTA Metro-North Railroad officials announced last week the railroad will purchase a new track monitoring system that will be mounted on passenger cars to provide continuous inspection data and complement the in-depth inspections performed twice each year.

The two methods are intended to supplement each other and increase the amount of data available to Metro-North track engineers regarding adherence to federally mandated track parameters such as gage, curvature, height and overall alignment.

“Metro-North’s first task is to improve safety on the railroad by all means, including using the latest technology,” said Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti in a press release. “We want to know before normal wear and tear turns into a failure. Continuous monitoring of joints and the surface of the rails themselves will keep us on top of maintenance.”

The Autonomous Track Geometry Inspection System (ATGIS) equipment will be mounted on passenger trains moving at regular speeds. It will generate continuous data to allow Metro-North to identify track geometry anomalies early and prevent failures.

Metro-North plans to purchase four units, one for each major train equipment type: a diesel locomotive, a diesel-hauled coach, an M8 and an M7. The equipment will provide inspection coverage for all three lines and branches.

The ATGIS and track geometry car inspections address a Federal Railroad Administration recommendation that Metro-North make better use of available technology in its track inspection protocol. The railroad will continue to perform twice-weekly track inspections by qualified Inspectors who walk track and drive high-rail vehicles over the infrastructure to look for defects, Metro-North officials said.

All Aboard Florida and Florida East Coast Railway News


Building a new passenger rail system in the United States is a delicate balancing act. The public’s transit needs, the cost and financing, the impact on the environment and the repercussions for the taxpayer create a complicated puzzle of challenges that require a careful give-and-take approach to achieve an effective project that satisfies all the parties involved.

Some rail systems never work without huge costs to the taxpayer, and Southeast Florida’s Tri-Rail is a good example. Most business leaders in this part of Florida have come to realize that Tri-Rail is a bottomless pit that gobbles up public money like black holes gobble up stars.

But now, Florida has a significant rail company with a familiar name that has jumped into the competition, and it has the experience and the potential to get it right. That company is Florida East Coast Railway, and its project is called All Aboard Florida. It is a very different animal from TriRail.

The project has Florida East Coast Railway planning a major expansion to create a new passenger service from downtown Miami to Orlando, with two stops in between — in downtown West Palm Beach and in Fort Lauderdale.

The biggest plus: All Aboard Florida is a private-sector initiative, so all decisions will be based on free-enterprise economics and top-quality business planning, without being a drain on taxpayers. The new rail line will create a significant economic impact for affected counties, in terms of jobs, construction and operations. Tax revenues to local and state governments are estimated at $200 million over six years.

Financing will include a mix of equity and debt. A chunk of the initial capital is expected to come from a federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement loan, which would be backed by private equity collateral. The long-term loan would be repaid over time, with interest, from revenues generated by the rail system.

The Federal Railroad Administration has already found that the most concentrated point of the rail line will have “no significant impact” on area communities, and All Aboard Florida expects the line to relieve about 3 million cars from Florida roads each year.

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The Connected Car Is In View


We have seen publicity from IBM about how they are working with the automotive industry (both OEM‘s and suppliers) to created the “Connected Car” It is all about using big data, cloud computing, mobile and social to change the way the automotive industry does business. They have discovered that the “Internet of Things” is laying in wait under the hood or behind the dashboard for sharp businesses to take advantage of. Sensors, processors and actuators are laying in wait to be harvested for their data. Then we have cell phone links, streaming satellite media and advanced navigation services. A vehicle is now as well connected as the driver’s home is. Let’s take a look at some of the projects underway:

Measure Twice, Cut Once: France’s National Rail Company Just Realised The 2,000 Trains It Ordered Are Too Wide For The Platforms


Well this is embarrassing. SNCF is the butt of jokes on the social media as well as television.

France’s national rail company SNCF has admitted the 2,000 new trains it ordered at a cost of 15 billion euros ($20.5bn, £12.1bn) are too wide for many of the platforms in the country.

Work on altering the platforms to fit the new trains has already begun at a cost of 80 million euros ($110m, £65m), with hundreds still requiring repairs.

Shown above is workmen at the Cagnes-sur-Mer railroad station.

The error appears to have occurred because the national rail operator RFF gave SNCF measurements for platforms built less than 30 years ago, missing the fact the majority of France’s 1,200 platforms were actually built over 50 years ago when trains were thinner.

RFF spokesman Christophe Piednoel told France Info radio:

We discovered the problem a bit late, we recognize that and we accept responsibility on that score.

France’s transport minister Frederic Cuvillier blamed the “absurd rail system”, a reference to the decision by a previous government to separate the national rail operator and train company.

 “When you separate the rail operator (RFF) from the user, SNCF, it doesn’t work,” he told BFMTV.

Dyson Is Building A Supply Chain Control Tower


Dyson is the company, located in the UK, that creates those revolutionary products: fans, vacuum cleaners and other consumer things. Owner James Dyson is both an inventor and a sharp businessman.

They are building a Supply Chain Control Tower in order to give his company a competitive advantage. The company is trying to engineer a supply chain based on “build-to-order, rather than build-to-forecast” as a way of reducing its store keeping units (SKUs).

Working with them are their lead logistics provider, Flextronics; and supply chain software supplier Elementum.

Dyson chief operating officer Jim Rowan explained the system: “We know that the supply chain can drive financial performance and the bottom line. But if we can harness the complexity in the supply chain and turn it into an advantage, then we can use it to improve the top line as well,” he said.

The system comes as a cloud-based mobile app with three constituent parts: Transport, which manages freight routes and tracks shipments as they move across the world; Exposure, which allows shippers to highlight specific risk hotspots in the supply chain and monitors their situations; and Perspective, which monitors the “health” of a supply chain, defined by individual shippers’ KPIs.

While he extolled the ambition of a mobile application that allowed his supply chain team to work remotely, Mr Rowan said the physical location of staff also continued to matter.

We are building a control tower at Dyson which will show all the parts in our supply chain,” he said. “It will have 16 screens constantly monitoring transport routes, risks points and the quality of products – it will be a physical control tower.

If you have six people looking at these screens, providing constant analysis, then magical things start happening in terms of developing really creative solutions,” he said.

The control tower is due to be operational in July.

Dyson’s annual supply chain involves managing two billion parts from 300 suppliers, which are delivered to four factories that produce eight million appliances.

Not the most complicated supply chain in the world, but with  two billion parts a year, it is complicated,” Mr Rowan added.

Obama Is On His Way To Cooperstown


In recent weeks, the village of Cooperstown has been installing new sidewalks along Main Street. The work is ahead of schedule and should be completed in time for Obama’s visit. Hall of Fame is in the background.


The President will fly into Griffiss International Airport today. He will then make his way to Cooperstown where an anxious and excited village awaits him.

President Barack Obama is traveling to Cooperstown today to stress how tourism can lead to good-paying jobs, and he’s delivering his speech inside the baseball mecca.

That will make Obama the first sitting president to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and it’s a big deal for the small venue that celebrates its 75th anniversary this summer.

“It’s historical,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said Tuesday. “The fact that he would recognize that we are a cultural icon and use Cooperstown to deliver a speech on tourism is big.”

Obama announced the trip during his weekly radio address on Saturday. The event will be private but the president’s speech will be streamed live on the Internet.

“Believe it or not, tourism is an export,” Obama said. “If we make it easier for more foreign visitors to visit and spend money at America’s attractions and unparalleled national parks, that helps local businesses and grows the economy for everyone.”

Idelson said he found out last week, and learned that the idea originated from the White House.

“The fact that a sitting president has not visited here in our first 74-plus years, it was surprising to get the call, but exciting to realize that the chief executive would be delivering a speech on tourism from a place that thrives on it,”

The last president to visit Cooperstown was Martin Van Buren, and that happened in 1839.”

Local reaction has been positive.

“It came out of left field. I think it’s fantastic,” said Gene Marra, proprietor of the fledgling Cooperstown Distillery. “It’s a great Americana story, an iconic village, as Norman Rockwell as it gets, the home of baseball, Abner Doubleday, the whole nine yards.”

Ironically, the village’s biggest tourist attraction — the Hall of Fame — will be closed. Marra noted that it’s a security issue.

“We’re only closed three days a year — Christmas, New Year’s and Thanksgiving,” Idelson said. “But I guess in our diamond anniversary year, one more day because the president is coming to visit is OK.”

The president’s visit will provide a kick-start to what’s expected to be one of Cooperstown’s best summers in years. This season’s highlights include Saturday’s Hall of Fame Classic at Doubleday Field, the Hall of Fame’s 75th anniversary in June, and induction ceremonies in July.

Still, like other sports museums, the Baseball Hall of Fame has experienced a steady decline over the past five years in the struggling economy. Attendance has gone from 289,818 in 2009 to 253,649 last year.

Given the expected influx of people who hope to get a glimpse of Obama as well as a huge police presence in the village, locals may have to put up with some inconveniences for the day. Hey, they are used to it. Hall of Fame inductions and game every year.

The Clark Sports Center also said it will be closed all day Thursday, saying the move is “in support of a special event hosted by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.” The sports center and the Hall of Fame are both properties of The Clark Foundation.

Obama will be in Cooperstown for approximately one hour, and will address a hand-selected audience of less than 200 people at the Hall of Fame. While it has not been confirmed, he said, there are indications that the visit will take place close to noon.

Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. said his deputies will be out in force, working cooperatively on security with the Secret Service, New York State Police and Cooperstown Village Police. He declined to discuss any specific plans for the day, citing the need for security.

The visit comes on the eve of the kickoff of the busy summer season for the Hall of Fame, the local museums and the village itself. Among former big-league stars slated to participate in the Hall of Fame Classic on Saturday are Steve Garvey, Pedro Martinez, Hideki Matsui and Jim Thome. The Classic will be preceded by the Cooperstown Game Day Parade at noon, followed by the Home Run Derby at 1 p.m.

Obama’s visit comes two month’s before this year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, featuring six retired major leaguers.

The electees include: Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas, and three expansion-era committee electees — Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre. They will be enshrined in a July 27 ceremony at the Clark Sports Center.

Demise of the RPO


Above picture is an RPO at the 1939 World’s Fair

August 28, 1864, was the first run of the CHICAGO & CLINTON RPO. Although a Hannibal & St. Joseph mail car operated for a few months in 1862, 1864 marks the beginning of permanently- established Railway Post Office routes.

 In 1948 there were 794 RPO lines in the United States.

By 1964 there were 219 lines and by 1970 there were only 9 main line RPO’S remaining, (including) the Great Northern’s St. Paul & Williston RPO and the Northern Pacific’s St. Paul and Miles City RPO. Both of these main line Minnesota RPO’s were discontinued along with 6 others on April 30, 1971, with only the New York & Washington RPO remaining until 1977 when it was discontinued. 

On July 1, 1977, at 4:05 am, the last Railway Post Office ground to a halt at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Lot of rumors; why? Politics: rewarding airlines who made contributions. Air mail was/is a good thing New York to California. What about New York City to Hudson, NY (2/3 of the way to Albany)? Instead of using the train, mail was/is flown to Albany and trucked to Hudson.

See Remembering the last New York Central RPO Through Syracuse By Richard Palmer     

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