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What’s in a name? Russia rebrands McDonald’s restaurant chain – Al Jazeera English

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US fast-food giant McDonald’s announced in May that it would leave Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The United States fast-food giant McDonald’s announced on May 16 that it would exit the Russian market in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Sunday, McDonald’s restaurants reopened their doors in Moscow once again under new Russian ownership and a new name, “Vkusno-i tochka”, which translates as “Tasty and that’s it”.

Here’s what we know:

The new logo:

The famous Golden Arches have been taken down and replaced with a new logo, resembling the letter “M” and comprised of symbols that represent two fries and a hamburger against a green background.

Chief Executive Oleg Paroev, McDonald’s former Russian head, said the new company had settled on the new name – a closely guarded secret – only the day before the launch on Sunday.

There was some speculation on social media about how best to translate the new name into English. “Tasty and that’s it” was broadly adopted, although another suggestion was: “Tasty. Full stop or period”.

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Branches:

“Vkusno-i tochka” reopened on Sunday in Pushkin Square in what was McDonald’s first restaurant in Soviet Moscow in 1990, when it sold as many as 30,000 burgers, but the queue outside the restaurant was much smaller than it was three decades ago.

The chain will keep its old McDonald’s interior but will remove any trace of its former name.

Initially, 15 rebranded restaurants will open in and around the Russian capital and another 200 restaurants by the end of June and all 850 by the end of summer, executives said.

The new owner said up to 7 billion roubles ($121m) will be invested this year in the business, which employs more than 50,000 people.

Menu:

McDonald’s flagship Big Mac and other burgers and desserts such as McFlurry are missing, but other popular items are on a smaller menu selling at slightly lower prices.

A double cheeseburger was going for 129 roubles ($2.24) compared with roughly 160 roubles under McDonald’s and a fish burger for 169 roubles, compared with about 190 previously.

Paroev said the chain would keep prices “affordable”. They would likely rise due to inflation, but not higher than the prices of competitors, he said.

Most ingredients come from within Russia, but some items were not immediately available due to logistical difficulties and because some suppliers have left Russia. For instance, the company needs to find a new soft drinks supplier after Coca-Cola suspended business in Russia over the war in Ukraine.

Ownership:

Siberian businessman Alexander Govor has taken over the franchise operation through his firm GiD LLC. He has been a McDonald’s licensee since 2015 and had helped the chain expand into remote Siberia, where he operated 25 restaurants.

McDonald’s will have an option to buy its restaurants in Russia back within 15 years, Russian authorities have said.

Govor told reporters on Sunday that the price he paid was “far lower than market price” and had been a “symbolic” figure. The US chain booked a $1.4bn charge for the deal. McDonald’s did not respond to a request for comment on the price.

Russia and Ukraine accounted for about 9 percent, or $2bn, of McDonald’s revenue last year.

Management/staff:

Until the takeover, Paroev had worked for McDonald’s for seven years, including as chief financial officer of the Russian business for 6 1/2 years until November 2021, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He was appointed Russia McDonald’s CEO in February, weeks before Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24.

Govor will retain the chain’s tens of thousands of employees for at least two years, the US company said.

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Ford government caps rent increases to 2.5% in 2023 – CityNews Toronto

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  1. Ford government caps rent increases to 2.5% in 2023  CityNews Toronto
  2. Ontario is doubling how much landlords can hike rent prices by in 2023  blogTO
  3. Ontario rent guideline highest increase in a decade  CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
  4. Rent increases in Ontario capped at 2.5 per cent next year  Tbnewswatch.com
  5. View Full coverage on Google News



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Air Canada to reduce flights this summer amid 'customer service shortfalls' – CTV News

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Air Canada is planning to reduce its flights in July and August, according to a statement from the company’s president, as the airline continues to deal with “customer service shortfalls.”

“Regrettably, things are not business as usual in our industry globally, and this is affecting our operations and our ability to serve you with our normal standards of care,” Michael Rousseau wrote.

The airline will be reducing its capacity as summer travel comes to a peak and pandemic-related restrictions on travel continue to lift.

In an emailed statement to CTV News Channel, an Air Canada spokesperson said the company will be reducing its schedule by an average of 154 flights per day for July and August. Prior to this change, Air Canada said it was operating around 1,000 flights per day. The routes most affected are flights to and from Toronto and Montreal airports. The changes will reduce the frequency of these flights, and will primarily affect evening and late-night flights on the airline’s smaller aircraft.

The spokesperson also said the airline will be temporarily suspending routes between Montreal and Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Kelowna, and Toronto and Fort McMurray. International flights will remain mostly unaffected, except for timing changes that the spokesperson said would reduce flying at peak times.

“To bring about the level of operational stability we need, with reluctance, we are now making meaningful reductions to our schedule in July and August in order to reduce passenger volumes and flows to a level we believe the air transport system can accommodate,” the statement reads.

While Rousseau acknowledges this will have a “negative impact on some customers,” he said he hopes giving this notice to the public of the airline’s reduced schedule will allow travellers to make other arrangements.

“We are convinced these changes will bring about the improvements we have targeted,” he said. “But to set expectations, it should also be understood the real benefits of this action will take time and be felt only gradually as the industry regains the reliability and robustness it had attained prior to the pandemic.”

Recent data shows that as we head into the summer travel season, more than half of all flights in and out of some of Canada’s major airports are being cancelled or delayed as the tourism and airline sectors continue to face staffing shortages. 

On Wednesday, the CEO of the Montreal-Trudeau Airport – where Air Canada said it would be reducing some of its flights – told CTV News Montreal that the airport was already in discussions with airlines to reduce the number of flights.

“We’re having discussions and it’s likely the frequencies — the number of flights we’ll have on a given destination — or destinations themselves,” Philippe Rainville said, adding that a staffing shortage at the airport is causing issues, most notably in loading and unloading luggage from planes.

Toronto Pearson International Airport is experiencing similar issues, with videos circulating on social media appearing to depict hundreds of pieces of luggage piled up in the baggage claim area.

“I have had conversations with the four largest airports and the two largest airlines just on Thursday and I will be having follow up conversations with them soon,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said at a press conference on Wednesday. “They know that they need to add more resources and they are working on that and we are offering our support to address these issues. But these are unacceptable issues.”

Airline and airport workers say some of the big reasons behind the struggle to address the industry’s staffing shortage are that they’re not being treated well, and their pay is not sufficient for how difficult the job is.

“There are so many screening officers that have quit because of low pay and poor working conditions that the airports are severely understaffed,” David Lipton, representative of the United Steelworkers union in Ottawa, told CTV National News on June 19.

Lipton said some unions are offering screening staff hundreds of dollars a week if they don’t take a vacation or sick days. 

With files from CTV News Montreal, CTV News Toronto, and Alexandra Mae Jones

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Accounting firm EY to pay $100M US fine after auditors caught cheating on ethics exams – CBC News

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Accounting firm Ernst & Young will pay $100 million US to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges that its auditors cheated on certified public accounting (CPA) exams and that it misled the agency’s investigators.

The London-based auditor admitted to the charges and agreed to pay what the SEC said is its largest fine against an auditor.

“EY acknowledges the findings determined by the SEC,” said Brendan Mullin, EY media relations director, adding that the firm’s response has been “thorough, extensive and effective.”

“At EY, nothing is more important than our integrity and our ethics.”

The CPA is the key qualification for accountants in the United States.

EY has also agreed to “undertake extensive remedial measures to fix the firm’s ethical issues,” the SEC said.

49 people got test answers ahead of time

The Wall Street watchdog found that 49 EY professionals “obtained or circulated” answer keys to CPA licence exams, while hundreds of others cheated to complete the continuing professional education components relating to CPA ethics.

“This action involves breaches of trust by gatekeepers … entrusted to audit many of our nation’s public companies. It’s simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated on ethics exams,” said Gurbir Grewal, the SEC’s enforcement director, in a statement.

“And it’s equally shocking that Ernst & Young hindered our investigation of this misconduct,” added Grewal.

EY submitted to the SEC that it did not have issues with cheating when, in fact, the firm had been informed of potential cheating on a CPA ethics exam by a member of staff, the SEC said.

It added that EY admitted it did not correct its submission even after an internal EY investigation confirmed there had been cheating, and even after its senior lawyers discussed the matter with the firm’s senior management.

The SEC’s order also finds that EY violated a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) rule requiring the firm to maintain integrity in the performance of a professional service.

The SEC has ordered EY to retain two independent consultants to help remediate its deficiencies. One will review the firm’s policies and procedures relating to ethics and integrity. The other will review EY’s conduct regarding its disclosure failures, including whether any EY employees contributed to the firm’s failure to correct its misleading submission, the SEC said.

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