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(BVI News) While stating that he should have good news to report about BVI Airways in the coming weeks, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith last evening declared that his government will fight with every ounce of strength to ensure the privately owned airline delivers on its commitment to the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

He added that he would also ensure the territory is fully compensated if he fails in his efforts to have BVI Airways fulfill its commitment, which is to commence direct flights between the BVI and Miami in the United States.

The government had provided BVI Airways with $7 million to assist with preparation for the flights, but the airline later said it does not have enough money to deliver on its already delayed commitment.

Premier Smith, while being questioned in the House of Assembly yesterday, said BVI Airways is now negotiating with potential investors in order to fulfill the terms of its contract with the BVI government.

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(Demerara Waves) The Demerara Tobacco Company Limited (Demtoco) on Wednesday said it is too early to take take legal action to stop the enforcement of legislation that bans smoking in public places and will almost literally wipe out street-corner cigarette vending.

“At this stage, it would be extremely premature and, for me, I would consider it wrong to make any pronouncements about a legal action,” Demtoco Director, Raoul Glynn told a news conference.

Demtoco instead appealed to President David Granger not to sign into law the Tobacco Control Bill, already approved by the National Assembly, and allow for broad-based consultations on the Bill that would see several hundred cigarette vendors being removed from the streets across Guyana. “We would like to have this engagement and if we have this engagement, threatening to do things, I don’t think is the right way to engage,” added Glynn.

The company said 15 percent of the 3,800 retailers countrywide are cigarette vendors who stand to lose their livelihoods. “When look at hawkers around Bourda Market, Stabroek Market; they made a choice to sell a legal product in a legal way and you are saying to them your livelihood is now gone. There are no alternatives,” Glynn said.

The Tobacco Control Bill bans the sale of tobacco products by vendors and in health care facilities; sports, athletic or recreational facilities; government buildings; educational facilities or any other place prescribed by the regulations or they would be fined GYD$400,000 and jailed for six months.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- China appears to have succeeded in eliminating software programs that enable its people to view an uncensored internet.

Companies that let people avoid the government filters said Saturday that their programs have been removed from Apple's app store in China.

ExpressVPN, one of the companies, posted on its corporate site a message from Apple saying that its program was illegal in China. The British Virgin Islands-based software company says that all major virtual-private network apps were removed from the Apple app store in China. ExpressVPN claimed Apple was "aiding China's censorship effort."

Star VPN, another company, said it also received notice of being removed.

Apple said in a statement that China began requiring this year that developers of virtual-private networks have a government license. The Califronia-based tech giant said it had removed apps "in China that do not meet the new regulations."

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(Barbados Today) The Board of Directors of LIAT has confirmed the appointment of Julie Reifer-Jones as Chief Executive Officer.

In announcing her appointment, Chairman of the Board of LIAT, Jean Holder noted that “Reifer-Jones has served at LIAT in the number two position for some nine years and in that capacity has acted as CEO for extended periods on several occasions.

“In addition to her familiarity with the people and culture of the region and her intimate knowledge of the company, her financial and academic qualifications should complement the practical experience of the airline industry she has acquired on the job. I wish her well as she undertakes one of the most challenging assignments in the region,” Holder said.

On her appointment, Reifer-Jones stated she is delighted to be taking up this new challenge and is looking forward to delivering an improved level of service from LIAT to the region.

Reifer-Jones is the first woman to be appointed CEO of LIAT.

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(Reuters) - Sprint Corp (S.N) has proposed a merger with Charter Communications Inc (CHTR.O) as the wireless carrier seeks an alternative to a deal with T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) that has so far not come to fruition, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Japan's SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), which controls Sprint, proposed a complex transaction that would create a new company and be controlled by SoftBank, the sources said, asking not to be named because the talks are private. The Wall Street Journal first reported the discussions on Friday.

There is no guarantee Charter would be interested in a tie-up with Sprint, the sources said. Bloomberg reported Friday Charter had rebuffed Sprint's merger proposal.

Charter's market capitalization, at $94.6 billion, is much larger than Sprint, which closed trading valued at $32.8 billion on Friday. Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) also expressed interest in a takeover of Charter earlier this year, sources have said.

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