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What is the now-shuttered Ozy Media — and why did its COO pretend to be a YouTube exec? – CBC.ca

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Media organization Ozy is shutting down less than a week after a story in the New York Times raised questions about its claims of millions of viewers and readers, while also pointing out a potential case of securities fraud.

The story triggered cancelled shows, an internal investigation, investor concern and high-level departures at the company.

Here’s what you need to know about the company, what the New York Times story found and how it involves the company’s chief operating officer pretending to be a YouTube executive.

What is Ozy?

Ozy was a media organization founded in 2013 and based in Mountain View, Calif., that published stories on its website, made podcasts, newsletters and shows and hosted the OzyFest festival. Its website remained up on Friday afternoon.

In a tweet, high-profile CEO and founder Carlos Watson — a former cable news anchor — claimed 25 million newsletter subscribers and more than 30 million views on YouTube.

However, its claim of a large audience has long been regarded as something of a mystery. Industry insiders said on Twitter that they’d never read or come across an Ozy story.

U.S. rapper Common performs onstage at OzyFest in New York City in July 2018. (Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Media)

What did the NYT report?

Ozy has seen a snowballing crisis after a New York Times story earlier this week said the company’s chief operating officer, Samir Rao, impersonated a YouTube executive on a call with Goldman Sachs while attempting to raise money from the investment bank, a potential case of securities fraud.

It also addressed long-held industry questions of whether Ozy was inflating its audience size.

In the story published Sunday, Marc Lasry — the hedge-fund billionaire and co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks who was named Ozy chairman last month — was quoted as saying the board was aware of the February incident. He called it an “unfortunate one-time event,” and supported how it had been handled.

Watson told the Times that the incident was the result of Rao having a mental health crisis, but that he had taken time off and then come back to work.

Carlos Watson is seen at OzyFest in New York City in July 2018. Watson, who founded Ozy in 2013, claimed the company had 25 million newsletter subscribers and more than 30 million views on YouTube. (Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Ozy Media)

What was the aftermath?

But the story’s impact has been explosive in the media industry.

A high-profile employee, former BBC anchor Katty Kay, resigned earlier in the week, and an early investor, a venture capital firm, gave up its Ozy shares. The board had reportedly hired a law firm to review Ozy’s business activities.

Cable network A&E pulled a special on mental health hosted by Watson that was scheduled for Monday night, and Watson stepped down from hosting a documentary Emmys awards show Wednesday night.

Katty Kay is seen in Washington in April 2012. The former BBC anchor resigned from Ozy earlier this week. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

The website Crunchbase, which tracks corporate fund-raising, said Ozy had raised more than $70 million US from investors as of late 2019.

On Friday, shortly before the company shut down, Lasry also stepped down.

An emailed statement Friday from Ozy Media’s board called it a company with many “world-class journalists and experienced professionals to whom we owe tremendous gratitude.”

The statement said it was “with the heaviest of hearts that we must announce today that we are closing Ozy’s doors.” The board’s statement did not give the reason that the company was shutting down.

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'Don't squish them': Photos on social media show slimy, sticky salamanders in Labrador – CBC.ca

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It was late at night when Adam Reid took his dog out and found a little salamander on his front steps. The Happy Valley-Goose Bay man says he panicked, thinking it was an escaped pet, and took it inside. 

“I was like, ‘I cannot leave this poor little salamander here,'” Reid said. “It’s started getting cold in Labrador. Things get pretty chilly.”

Reid made a Facebook post and was surprised to learn that the critters are native to Labrador and even thrive there.

After confirming the salamander — who Reid had affectionately named Sal’ — was in fact going to be OK, he took it out and let it go in his garden. 

“We had our parting words and a few tears were shed by my puppy who didn’t want to let him go. But I put him back in the garden and he went on his way,” Reid said.

“Sal, if you’re out there, I hope you’re doing good, buddy.”

A post in the public ‘Concerning Happy Valley-Goose Bay’ Facebook Group sparked an online conversation where some people realized for the first time that there were salamanders native to Labrador. (Concerning Happy Valley-Goose Bay/Facebook)

Shylah Ernst said after Reid’s post, she too saw salamanders on two occasions outside her work at a local daycare. 

“We found four smaller salamanders inside of an old tire that had some water in the bottom of it,” Ernst said. 

Shylah Ernst found four salamanders and some larva in an old tire that had water in it. (Submitted by Shylah Ernst)

The little amphibians were paraded around the daycare to show the children, Ernst said. However, they were all released back to the wild a short time later. 

“Of course, they kept trying to pick him up. But we put him in a little container with some grass and sand,” Ernst said.

“They looked at him and they played with him in his little basket … they loved him.”

Salamanders more common than you’d think

Sean Boyle, a postdoctoral researcher at Memorial University, says people may not realize just how common the creatures are. He said they are an important part of the ecosystem but they are out of sight for almost the entire year. 

“If you think in terms of biomass — which is the total mass of all of the individuals of the species — the biomass of a salamander will greatly outweigh the biomass of moose. So say you have 100 moose, you’ll probably have tens of thousands of salamanders that weigh more than all of that combined,” Boyle said. 

There are two types of salamanders in Labrador — the two lined salamander and the blue-spotted salamander. The two-lined salamander is aquatic while the blue-spotted salamander lives mostly on land. 

The blue-spotted salamander mainly lives on land but travels to local ponds to mate and lay eggs. (Submitted by Sean Boyle)

“Amphibians in general are really good at surviving tough conditions,” Boyle said. “These two salamanders specifically, they kind of just bury themselves, either in the clear running water … or they’ll bury themselves in the leaf litter in the soil and avoid the frost line.”

If people see a salamander out and about, Boyle said, they don’t need to worry about spooking it ,but he said don’t pick it up and avoid it if possible. 

“If you do have to pick them up, just make sure there’s absolutely nothing on your hands. So that’s no no bug spray, no sunscreen, no moisturizer, anything like that, because it can be very toxic to them.”

Salamanders, like all amphibians, breathe through their skin and their skin can take in chemicals can hinder their ability to breathe, Boyle said. However, he said if people see salamanders, it’s most likely wild and not a pet. 

“For the most part, if people have pet salamanders, they’re not the species that we would have in Canada,” Boyle said. “And so the salamanders that you see in the wild would look different than ones that were escaped pets.”

A blue spotted salamander at Kouchibouguac National Park. Blue spotted salamanders can also be found in Labrador. (Parks Canada)

Ernst said she was surprised to read on social media that people didn’t know salamanders were in Labrador, but she said she did grow up seeing them out and about. If people do find them, she said please leave them be. 

“Don’t squish them. Put them back. Leave them alone. Let them grow. So some people are afraid of them and they’ll like ‘uh step on that,’ especially when they’re small, but that’s a sin. Leave them alone, let them grow. Let them make a home here.”

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Hollywood film-crew union reaches tentative deal, averting strike

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A union that represents about 60,000 behind-the-scenes workers in film and television reached a tentative deal with producers on Saturday, averting a strike that threatened to cause widespread disruption in Hollywood, negotiators said.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees ( IATSE), which includes camera operators, make-up artists, sound technicians and others, said negotiators agreed to a new three-year contract.

“This is a Hollywood ending,” Matthew Loeb, president of the union, said in an emailed statement. “Our members stood firm. They’re tough and united.”

Shutdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic had caused a production backlog that led to crews working up to 14 hours a day to feed programming to streaming services.

The union had threatened to strike starting Monday if it was unable to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

A strike would have shut down film and television production around the United States in the biggest stoppage since the 2007-2008 strike by Hollywood screenwriters. It would have hit a wide range of media companies including Netflix Inc, Walt Disney Co and Comcast Corp.

IATSE was seeking to reduce working hours and raise the pay of members who work on shows for streaming platforms, where lower rates were set 10 years ago when online video was in its infancy.

IATSE, in its statement, said the proposed contract addresses those issues, including rest periods, meal breaks, a living wage for those on the bottom of the pay scale, and significant increases in compensation to be paid by new-media companies.

The new labor agreement is subject to approval by IATSE’s membership.

 

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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City of Brandon – October 16th 2021 Media Release – City of Brandon –

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October 16th, 2021

Brandon Police Service Media Release for the Past 24 Hours.

Impaired Driving

At 5:00 pm on Friday afternoon, officers responded to a two vehicle collision in the traffic circle at 34th St and Willowdale Ave. A vehicle driving around the circle went over the curve and back into the circle, striking the back of truck in the process. Officers at the scene observed signs of impairment from the female driver of the vehicle and arrested her for impaired driving. She provided breath samples almost triple the legal limit.  The accused, a 42 year Brandon resident, will appear in court in October on charges of Impaired Driving, Driver over 80 mg% and Dangerous Operation of a motor Vehicle.

Assault

A female youth was charged with assault on Friday.  The accused was involved in a fight a high school in Brandon on October 12th during which she punched another youth several times.  She attended the police service on Friday and was arrested. She will appear in court in December.

Theft Under $5000

A 34 year old man with no fixed address was arrested on Friday evening for Theft Under $5000.  The charges stem from a shop lifting incident at a store in the 900 block of Victoria Ave on September 11th when a man stole $70 in groceries.  The suspect was located at a mall where he was intoxicated by drugs and alcohol and refusing to leave.  He was lodged to sober up and released for court in December.

Sexual Assault

In September, a female youth disclosed to police that she was sexually assaulted by a male at a residence in the 300 block 6th St.  The victim reported she had stayed at the man’s residence and he provided her drugs.  She was assaulted by the man while she was intoxicated  by the drugs.  The suspect, a 30 year old from Brandon, was located on Friday evening and arrested for Sexual Assault and Sexual Interference. He was released on an undertaking with conditions and will attend court in December.

Other Arrests

A 44 year old man was arrested on a warrant on Friday afternoon. He was held to sober up and released to appear in court in November.

One person was lodged for Breach of Peace.

V.W. (Bill) Brown #114, Staff Sergeant

NCO i/c D Platoon

204 729 2319

Anyone with information on any unsolved crime is asked to call Brandon Crime Stoppers at 204-727-(TIPS) 8477, or by texting BCSTIP and your message to CRIMES (274637).  Crime Stoppers pays up to $2000.00 cash for information that leads to the solution of a crime.

CRIME STOPPERS 204-727-TIPS

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