07 October 2020

Hyliion Electric Truck SPAC Mints 28 Year Old Billionaire CEO

Arising out of the smoke and rubble of Nikola's recent battle with short sellers, one electric truck company has casually made its way onto the public markets via a SPAC, making its 28 year old founder a billionaire in the process. 

Does it feel enough like 1999 yet?

“We were fortunate on timing,” Hyliion Holdings Corp. CEO Thomas Healy told Bloomberg. His company, founded just 5 years ago in 2015, went public through a SPAC with Tortoise Acquisition Corporation and started trading publicly last Friday. Healy is now one of the world's youngest self-made billionaires. 

He started his company after watching Tesla while growing up and says that spurred an interest in electric vehicles. "I thought: Why do we have electric technology in cars and not in trucks yet, since trucks are where you can have the biggest impact?" he told Bloomberg. 

Healy had originally planned to go public at the time the coronavirus struck. “If we were trying to close right when the stock market was on that downswing, we might have been having different discussions,” he admitted.

The deal has not only garnered scrutiny due to Nikola's recent fall from grace, but also because the SPAC phenomenon is now being watched closer and through a more skeptical lens. Recall, days ago, we noted that SEC Chair Jay Clayton had said on CNBC that the regulator would "look closer" at the deals. 

Like many others who have used SPACs, Healy said the lack of regulation was an obvious benefit. He told Bloomberg:

In the first quarter, we kicked off our next financing round. Going public and being able to bring in more capital than we would staying private was attractive. From that, we considered: do we go down the conventional IPO route? Or do we want a SPAC process? We saw a lot of efficiencies with SPACs. You’re really negotiating a deal with an organization as opposed to going on a roadshow for an IPO that may -- or may not -- be successful. We met with the Tortoise team introduced to us through investment bank Marathon Capital. That was the moment of ‘OK. Let’s do this!’

"From our end, it was a very natural process with Tortoise. We were just going through a conventional financing fundraising process, and then we saw this as the best path," he continued.

"Our goal is you’ll be driving down the highway and the trucks you see will have Hyliion powertrains," Healy said. "There will be other trucks that are electric as well, taking a different approach. We hope all these technologies are successful as ultimately we’re trying to make this shift to electric. The more people are focused on that, the better off we’ll all be."

But don't worry Thomas - even if they don't - you'll still be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

India finalises draft of Naga peace pact

By R Dutta Choudhury

Oct 7
- The Government of India has finalised the draft of the agreement to be signed with militant groups and civil society organisations of Nagaland, but the date for signing it is yet to be finalised. The government has also made it clear that it is up to the leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) to decide whether they would sign the agreement or not.

 Highly placed sources in the Government of India told The Assam Tribune that there would be no more talks with any group of Nagaland and the draft of the agreement is ready.

“The date for signing of the agreement is likely to be decided shortly. The talk process is over and there may be some delay in signing of the agreement because of the ensuing Bihar elections. However, the Centre is keen on signing the agreement as soon as possible,” the sources added.

The sources pointed out that the agreement would be the first of its kind as efforts were made to include all stakeholders in the process. The government had earlier signed a number of agreements with militant groups in different parts of the country. But this time, in addition to the militants, civil society groups including the Naga Gaonbura Federation and the Hohos of all the 14 tribes of Nagaland would sign the agreement to make it inclusive.

The sources revealed that the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), an umbrella organisation of seven militant groups of Nagaland and civil society groups have already approved the draft agreement. “The decisions taken in the meetings have been incorporated in the agreement, which include creation of two autonomous councils, one each on Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh,” the sources added.

On reports that the NSCN (I-M) is still not ready to sign the agreement with the government if their demands for a separate flag and constitution are not accepted, the sources said that it is up to the leaders of the outfit to decide whether they would sign the agreement or not.

But the government has made it clear that it would not be possible to accept the demands for a separate flag and constitution.

Leaders of the NSCN (I-M) who are in New Delhi had several rounds of talks with senior officers of the Intelligence Bureau (IB). The IB officials also tried to persuade the leaders of the outfit to give up the demand for a separate flag and constitution. But the leaders maintained a rigid stand and the IB officials have stopped talking to them.

On surrender of weapons, the sources said that in any such surrender, the militants normally do not hand over all their weapons. The government will have to take administrative measures to recover weapons after signing of the accord, the sources added.

There is also a possibility of fresh elections in Nagaland after signing of the accord. It is a normal practice to go for fresh elections in any state after signing of such peace accords as those who sign the accord should be given an opportunity to join the political system, the sources added.

Source: Assam Tribune

Insurgent group 'chairman' killed in encounter in Assam


UPRF is a Zomi group of Paites, Guites, Vaipheis and assorted Zomi tribes of Churachandpur district in Manipur

Guwahati: Self-styled chairman of UPRF (United People's Liberation Front) Martin Guite was killed in an encounter with Assam police in a village in Manja, in Karbi Anglong district on Monday evening. 

Confirming about the encounter, GP Singh, ADGP (Law & Order), Assam Police tweeted, "Late last evening, Martin Guite, SS Chairman of UPRF, an insurgent group active in Karbi Anglong, was wounded and later declared dead in exchange of fire with team of @assampolice in Manja PS area of Karbi Anglong."

UPRF is a Zomi group of Paites, Guites, Vaipheis and assorted Zomi tribes of Churachandpur district in Manipur.

The outfit was formed by ZRA (Zomi Revolutionary Army) in 1993 with NSCN-IM help to fight Kukis in Churachandpur, sources in Assam Police claimed.

The sources further alleged that the ZRA has been using its Paite cadres to poach rhinos for horns since early 2000 and its strongman Thaghtaum Thomte, who allegedly owns a studio in New Lamka, Churachandpur, controls 70% of the rhino horn trade.

Meanwhile, in a clarification, ZRA has denied its involvement in rhino poaching. It said, "It may be made known to all that ZRA has never abetted and supported rhino poaching in the past, present and will never do so in the future."

Further, it added, "It is also factually incorrect to say that ZRA was formed by NSCN (IM) to fight Kuki in Churachandpur, Manipur. ZRA, indeed, is a Zomi Army formed to fight the noble cause of reunifying the Zo people with the active and unstinted support from its people."

It reiterated that, "ZRA is fully committed to the cause it stands for and will never indulge in petty and illegal businesses like rhino poaching."

The organisation has also denied connections with United People's Liberation Front (UPRF) wherein its leader Martin Guite was killed in an encounter by Assam Police on Monday evening at Manja in Karbi Anglong district of Assam.

Source: EastMojo

13 March 2020

Pornhub Is Giving Italians Free Premium Access During Coronavirus Quarantine

As Italy closes down non-essential businesses, Pornhub will allow Italian users to access premium content without having to put in their credit card information.


By Adam Smith
If you're stuck at home during a global pandemic, what do you do? Pick up a book? Catch up on the plethora of streaming TV shows? Dial in to your umpteenth video conference call of the day?

Pornhub is hoping Italians have a little something different in mind. With Italy on lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Pornhub is offering its premium service for free to those in Italy during the month of March, The Next Web reports. No credit cards, just click and view. 

Meanwhile, a portion of the proceeds from Modelhub, Pornhub's creators hub, will be donated to local hospitals, The Next Web says.

Pornhub is never one to shy away from a newsy event; it's jumped on the VPN bandwagon, offered Black Friday deals, and launched a Tor site to protect users' privacy.

In the United States, the coronavirus has severely affected technology companies. Just today, MSI extended customers’ warranties by two months so they can focus on their health, while Twitter ordered its near-5,000 strong staff to work from home.

Many tech conventions, including GDC, f8, Google I/O, SXSW, and E3, have been cancelled, and quarantines have affected manufacturing and shipping.


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Mizoram churches to seek divine intervention for Coronavirus

Health-care workers prepare a drive-through testing station run by the state health department, for people who suspect they have novel coronavirus, in Denver, Colorado.

Member churches of the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee were asked to seek God’s intervention so that the State remains safe from novel coronavirus attack, MKHC general secretary Rev Lalrinsanga said.

A conglomerate of 15 major churches of Mizoram has asked its constituents to seek divine intervention to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a church leader said on Thursday.

 The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, saying it has affected more than 1,18,000 people and claimed 4,290 lives worldwide.

“All the member churches across the State will hold congregational prayer during church services either on Saturday or Sunday night as per their convenience,” Lalrinsanga told the PTI.

“We have appealed to the people to follow and obey the dos and don’ts set by the government in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” the church leader said.

The church leader also said that the committee held a meeting in Aizawl on Wednesday during which it expressed concern about alleged hoarding of essential commodities.

“The church committee appeals to the people not to hoard commodities and hike prices at the time of global crisis,” he said.

To allay fears of people, officials of State Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department said there was enough stock of rice, cooking gas and oil to last for three months.

The State government has formally sealed State borders with neighbouring countries and States on Wednesday.

The closure of borders does not mean disruption of the supply of commodities, the officials said.
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Hoards of starving monkeys storm Lopburi in central Thailand after the tourists who usually feed them fled due to Coronavirus

An elderly Italian couple who had been married for 60 years died two hours apart of the coronavirus while under lockdown

An elderly Italian couple who had been married for 60 years died two hours apart of the coronavirus while under lockdown – and their son is heartbroken that he was not allowed to visit them one last time, according to a report.

Luigi Carrara, 86, and Severa Belotti, 82, were confined to their home in Albino, in the northern province of Bergamo, for eight days without medical help, according to their son Luca Carrara, the Daily Mail reported.

Carrara’s father, a retired bricklayer, was taken to a local hospital on Saturday, while his mother was taken there the following day, the son told the daily Corriere della Sera, the UK news outlet reported.
His parents died on Tuesday – one at 9:15 a.m. and the other at 11 a.m., according to the report.
“They died alone, that’s how this virus works,” the distraught son said.
“Your loved ones are left alone and you can’t even say goodbye, hug them, try to give them some comfort. [You can’t even tell them] a good lie like, ‘Everything will be fine,’” added Carrara, a utility worker who is under quarantine with his family.

The grieving son took to Facebook to bid his parents farewell.

“Hello, Mom and Dad, this evil virus has taken you both the same day, will you continue arguing up there?” he wrote. “Surely, but then you will end with a hug.”
He added, chillingly, that his parents’ bodies have been removed to a cemetery, but “it will take a few days to cremate them because there are too many dead.”
12 March 2020

Kim Jong-un has fled Pyongyang over fears of the coronavirus

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears to have fled Pyongyang for fear of the coronavirus epidemic there.

"Intelligence analysis suggests that Kim Jong-un has been away from Pyongyang for a considerable time," a government source here said on Tuesday. "This appears to be connected with the coronavirus outbreak."
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) smiles as he watches a firing drill in Sondok, South Hamgyong Province on Monday, in this photo from the [North] Korean Central Television on Tuesday. /Yonhap
Kim is reportedly staying in Wonsan, Kangwon Province, where he last made a public appearance during military drills, a Unification Ministry spokesman said.

He oversaw the test-firing of super-large multiple rocket launchers in Wonsan on March 2 and in Sondok, South Hamgyong Province, around 60 km from Wonsan on Monday.
Kim has his favorite dacha in Wonsan.