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The Recorder – Buckingham Rabbits reopening coincides with Turners Falls business festivities



TURNERS FALLS — Downtown businesses will celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with a schedule that includes concerts, yoga classes, art shows, acupuncture sessions and sales.

“It’s our way as businesses of giving back and saying thank you to all of our customers,” said Erin MacLean, a co-owner of LOOT, who is one of the primary organizers of Saturday’s events.

Along with the all-day schedule of activities, the vintage and secondhand clothing store Buckingham Rabbits Vintage will be celebrating its grand reopening in a new location, at 102 Avenue A.

Buckingham Rabbits opened last April on Canal Street. Owner Alex McGuigan said the Avenue A space had been her first choice, but that it wasn’t available when she wanted to open. At the time, it housed Flourish, which sold handmade crafts and repurposed clothing, and included a gallery space.

When the space became vacant after Flourish merged with nearby Stenhouse to create a new store called Two Birds, McGuigan used the space to run a temporary holiday store. LOOT co-owner Erin MacLean, who owns the space, then suggested that McGuigan consider moving Buckingham Rabbits into it.

“The block was developing into a shopping destination. It made sense to us,” McGuigan said. “The canal space felt very DIY. I loved that about it, actually. It felt like it was the right place to open. Us moving into this new space is the next chapter.”

The Avenue A space is slightly larger and more easily accessible for pedestrians, but the biggest difference for McGuigan is the large display windows.

“It’s the perfect storefront,” she said. “It was something that really got my creative mind going.”

Buckingham Rabbits will celebrate its reopening on Saturday with YouTube karaoke and raffles for four $50 gift cards.

Full schedule of events

■The Upper Bend, 112 Avenue A, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Art auction. This is the last day open before going on break for a week, and the only day for biscuits and gravy.

■Fire + Embers Hot Yoga, 141 Second St., 9 a.m. — A 45-minute workshop with Hannah Johnson of Sweet Birch Herbals, followed by a 90-minute hot yoga class with owner Mishel Ixchel.

■Great Falls Yoga, 34 Third St., 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. — Slow flow yoga with Abigail Shapiro.

■Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Connecticut River habitat dioramas are open, and the museum store is open 10 a.m to 1 p.m.

■LOOT, 62 Avenue A, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. — 25 percent off sale, with music from disc jockey Just Loan.

■Charon Visionary Art + Tattoo, 107 Avenue A, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. — Tattoo art available in three prices and sizes: $60, $100 and $150.

■Buckingham Rabbits Vintage, 102 Avenue A, noon to 6 p.m. — Grand reopening in the new downtown location. Enter a raffle to win a gift card.

■Two Birds, 106 Avenue A, noon to 5 p.m. — 20 percent off sale.

■ Nina’s Nook, 125 Avenue A, noon to 7 p.m. — New exhibit on erotic art by 35 artists.

■Mystic Pinball, 104 Avenue A, noon to 9 p.m. — Free pinball on three machines: “Elvira,” “Quicksilver” and “Hard Body.” Get a $25 gift card for $20, or a T-shirt and $20 gift card for $35.

■Abundant Splendor Healing Center, 69 Second St., noon to 4 p.m. — Free ear acupuncture, free herbal mini-consult and free heart-opening herbal tea.

■Great Falls Harvest, 50 Third St., 2 to 4 p.m. — Artist Allen Fowler will present recent paintings and assemblages. Restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

■Breakdown Records, 59 Avenue A, 2 to 4 p.m. — Free concert with DJ Lazy Boy and special guest DJ E-Mag.

■The Local Yoga Joint, 42 Canal St., 5 to 7:30 p.m. — Meditation and discussion with Sarah Frye and Lori Allen.

■Shea Theater Arts Center lobby, 71 Avenue A, 5 to 7 p.m. — Erotic art exhibit and artist reception.

■Shea Theater, 71 Avenue A, 8 to 11 p.m. — Nerd’s Valentine’s Day Double Feature Dream Date: “Labyrinth” and “The Neverending Story.” Admission is $5. Beer and wine are $6.

■The Rendezvous, 78 Third St., 9:30 p.m. — Free concert with Donna Geese, Nanny, Giant Sadness and L.A. Arrest. Restaurant is open 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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Central Bank of India plans to exit housing finance subsidiary



MUMBAI: State-run Central Bank of India is looking to sell its entire 64.40 per cent stake in its housing finance subsidiary – Cent Bank Home Finance (CBHFL), a top bank official said. The lender has floated a request for proposal (RFP) for appointing merchant bankers. The shortlisted bankers will help the lender scout for a potential investor to buy its stake in the mortgage financier.

“We plan to exit from Cent Bank Home Finance. The bank already provides housing loans, and so, we feel that there is no need to have a housing finance subsidiary,” Central Bank of India managing director and chief executive officer, Pallav Mohapatra, told .

The bank holds 64.40 per cent in the unlisted housing finance company, while the remaining stake is held by Housing & Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), Unit Trust of India (UTI) and National Housing Bank (NHB).

The bank is facing operational curbs under the Reserve Bank’s (RBI) prompt corrective action (PCA) framework.

Mohapatra said the process of determining the valuation of the Bhopal-headquartered home finance company will begin as soon as the merchant bankers are appointed.

“Right now, it is difficult to say how much we will be able to realise through this disinvestment. Once the valuation is done, we will be in a better position to assess the amount we can raise. But, we expect a better valuation for CBHFL than its peers as it is a deposit-taking NBFC,” he said.

In 2016, the bank had tried to sell its entire stake in CBHFL, but the deal could not be concluded.

It had then reported that another state-run Bank of Baroda had shown interest in buying a majority stake in the mortgage lender. In 2016, the 64 per cent stake sale by the bank in its housing finance subsidiary could have fetched nearly Rs 250 crore, experts had said.

CBHFL’s net owned fund stood at Rs 111.57 crore as on March 31, 2019. Its advances stood at Rs 1270.9 crore while deposits were at Rs 482.33 crore as of end March 2019.

During FY19, it reported a net profit of Rs 16.28 crore, with earning per share of Rs 6.51.

In the April-December 2019, it had reported a net profit of Rs 8.92 crore as against Rs 9.87 crore in the first nine months of FY19. Its total assets stood at Rs 1,390.90 crore in the first nine months of FY20.

CBHFL was incorporated as ‘Apna Ghar Vitta Nigam Ltd’ and was subsequently renamed as ‘Cent Bank Home Finance Ltd’. It commenced operation in June 1991.

The home loan financier has presence in nine states through 18 branches.

Besides the sale of this strategic investment, the city-based lender is also in the talks to sell its 20 per cent stake in Indo Zambia Bank from where it is looking to garner around Rs 60 crore.

The other stakeholders in the bank include Bank of India (BoI) and Bank of Baroda (BoB) with 20 per cent stake each, and the Zambian government owning the balance.

“We are in talks with BoB and BoI to buy our stake in the bank,” Mohapatra had told reporters after the announcement of Q3 FY20 results.

The bank is also targeting to raise Rs 200 crore in the current quarter by monetising its real estate properties.

In the quarter ended December, the lender reported a net profit of Rs 155 crore as against a net loss of Rs 718 crore in the year-ago period.

The profitability was achieved due to better recoveries, higher income and reduction in cost, Mohapatra had said.

The bank’s recovery, including sale to asset reconstruction companies stood at Rs 1,273 crore. Recovery in written off accounts was Rs 520 crore during Q3 of FY20.

It is expecting a good recovery in some of the stressed accounts such as Religare Finvest, Coastal Energen Ltd and Flexi Tuff in the present quarter.

Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) in the quarter ended December reduced to 19.99 per cent from 20.64 per cent, while net NPAs improved to 9.26 per cent from 10.32 per cent in the year-ago period.

Mohapatra had said he expects net NPAs to come below 6 per cent by end this fiscal which will help the bank to come out of PCA.

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Fears about virus hit Asian American businesses



NEW YORK — In Arizona, a burgeoning Asian American community fields xenophobic calls about a planned night market featuring Asian street foods. In New York, a dim sum restaurant owner worries he won’t make rent. In the San Francisco Bay Area, a local Asian American-owned restaurant chain is mulling temporarily shuttering one of its properties because of the downturn in trade.

In major U.S. cities, Asian American businesses are seeing a remarkable decline in customers as fear about the viral outbreak from China spreads. City and health officials are trying to stanch the financial bleeding through information campaigns and personal visits to shops and restaurants, emphasizing that, with just 15 cases diagnosed in the entire country, there is no reason to avoid them.

Business owners, some of whom have seen their customer traffic cut by more than half, are anxiously waiting for things to return to normal.

The freshly crowned Asian District in Mesa, Ariz.,was deep into organizing its night market when news broke that a case of the illness known as Covid-19 was confirmed at nearby Arizona State University.

Xenophobic comments on social media and phone calls started almost immediately, according to Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce CEO Vicente Reid.

“I probably should stop picking up my phone altogether,” Reid said. “One lady was like, ‘Well, aren’t people coming to your event that are the cause of it?'”

The Feb. 29 food festival, modeled after popular outdoor Taiwanese markets, was designed to get the public acquainted with the district.

Mesa Mayor John Giles called the xenophobia directed at the event “ridiculous.”

“We certainly take any health crisis seriously but to make those kinds of connections is just offensive,” he said.

Organizers will be handing out specially made masks with playful Asian-food theme slogans like “Bao to me” and “Insert lumpia here.”

The virus has sickened tens of thousands of people, mostly in China. Fifteen people have been diagnosed with the virus in the U.S., all but two who recently traveled from China. U.S. citizens have also been diagnosed abroad, including 14 who were on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan and have been taken to hospitals in the U.S.


Vegetarian Dim Sum House has been a fixture in Manhattan’s Chinatown for 23 years, but suddenly owner Frankie Chu said he will not be able to make his rent this month.

Chu said sales have plunged 70% over the past two weeks at his no-frills restaurant. Three couples trickled in for lunch on a recent weekday. Normally, Chu said he gets up to 30 customers for lunch. At dinnertime, his narrow restaurant is usually packed with about 70 diners. These days, he gets about four.

Chu has sent some of his staff on vacation to cut costs. Under the circumstances, he will ask his landlord to forgive a 5% late fee normally charged.

“I don’t know how long I can stay here,” Chu said. “After 9/11, it wasn’t this bad.”

The crisis has alarmed New York City officials and business leaders, who have launched a campaign to lure people back to hard-hit communities in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

“Chinatown is bleeding,” said Wellington Chen, executive chairman of the Chinatown Partnership, a local business and community group. “This thing is thousands of miles away. This fear is really out of proportion.”

Small businesses in Manhattan’s Chinatown have reported sales drops of between 40% and 80% the past month as the viral outbreak in China spread, Chen said. In Flushing, business is down an estimated 40%, according to the Flushing Chinese Business Association.

For some businesses, it’s much higher. Derek Law, senior vice chairman of the America China Hotel Association, said business has dropped about 70% at a spa he owns in Flushing.

New York City is home to more than half a million Chinese Americans, the biggest population of any U.S. city. Some New Yorkers of Chinese descent are frustrated at being made to feel like foreigners because of a disease outbreak that feels as far away to them as any other resident.

“I’m probably more American than a lot of the people asking me about coronavirus. It’s a little annoying, to be honest,” said Christina Seid, owner of the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, a neighborhood fixture that her father founded four decades ago with flavor offerings like mango and green tea.

Seid, whose great-grandparents immigrated to New York from China, said business has been slower than usual but added that the winter months are never good for ice cream shops. She said she feels optimistic that things will soon return to normal, relying on New Yorkers’ determination to get on with life.


With no confirmed cases of the virus in New York City, officials and politicians are trying to drive home the point that there is no reason to avoid any neighborhood, with many eating at Chinese restaurants and tweeting out photos under the hashtags #supportchinatown.

In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh has launched a similar social media campaign, encouraging people to share photos of themselves supporting small businesses in the neighborhood with the hashtag #LoveBostonChinatown.

Allison Arwady, the Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner, said she and her colleagues “continue to field rumors” about threats to public health. She said the health risk is low and urged people to not fear visiting and spending time at restaurants or stores in Chicago’s Chinatown.

“Please do not allow stigma, xenophobia or fear to control your decisions,” Arwady said.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the situation is dire enough that Sunny Wong’s family is considering temporarily closing one of the four restaurants it owns in Oakland’s Chinatown. Even some of his friends and patrons have told him about hearing of untrue rumors of people getting sick at one of his restaurants.

“People just are clueless. They hear stories and rumors and they just don’t really look for the facts in a situation,” said Wong, adding that he has had to cut back hours for his workers.

Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, said business owners have reported a drop of roughly 50% to 75% in business. The chamber is planning a Chinese New Year celebration, with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf encouraging residents to patronize Chinatown restaurants.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently visited Nom Wah Tea Parlor, the oldest restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown.

The restaurant has seen a 40% drop in business over the past three weeks, said manager Vincent Tang, whose cousin Wilson Tang took over the restaurant from his father. Normally, the restaurant fills up at lunchtime. But during a recent weekday, nearly half the tables were empty, although it was at least busier than many of its lesser-known neighbors.

“We’re lucky to have loyal customers,” said Tang, sitting near a row of green stools that he used to swing around in as a child. “Usually at this time we are packed and there is a line outside.”

Customers at Nom Wah said they were perplexed that others were staying away.

“It didn’t cross my mind at all,” said Kate Masterson, an artist digging into dumplings with her uncle at a booth beneath signed framed photographs of celebrities such as Kirsten Dunst.

“It’s not happening here,” she said of the outbreak.

Information for this article was contributed by Noreen Nasir and Terry Chea of the Associated Press.

SundayMonday Business on 02/23/2020

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Daily Financial News Analysis in Hindi – 22 February 2020 – Financial Current Affairs for All Exams



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