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November 15, 2015, BOSTON – Waheeda Saif, along with a group of other muslim women from the Boston area, dressed in black, gathered outside the Boston Public Library at Copley Square, to carry out a silent vigil, mourning the loss of all lives everywhere, due to senseless violence and hatred. “We mourn today to the loss of humanity, and that enough is enough, and specially to the whole anti-refugee sentiment that has in rising, specially in the last few days since the paris attacks. We just want to send the message that we are all human beings, and refugees don’t equal to terrorists, we mourn to loss of lives equally, from Beirut, to Burma, to Afghanistan, to Kabul to Yemen, to paris, and to anywhere else in the world, for the people who suffered daily due to this violence and attacks,” said, Edina Škaljić, the co-organizer of the event (not in the picture). Photograph by Shraddha Gupta.

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PHOTOJOURNALISM

MUSLIM WOMEN IN BLACK

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November 15, 2015, BOSTON – A vigil took place at noon, on Sunday, on the Boston Common, in response to a night of terror in Paris, that killed more than 120 people and injured nearly 300 others. Adriana Harley, a former resident and student of France, expressed her feelings, stating, “I have friends back in France. Its very hard to actually speak about this incident, because one feels that there are no words to express the atrocity, the horror. Its an unspeakable barbaric act. It’s hard to believe that these things have actually happened, like 9/11, so how did we all get here? We think of ourselves as civilised, and having reached the 21st century, and then we go back into tribal actions, this barbaric behaviour that is unworthy of any human being in any period of history. I think even tribes from 3000 years ago would have hesitated before they would have taken the life of innocent people. For the people who did this, to draw the attention of the western world to their despair… I mean their despair might be true, but killing innocent people is not a way to communicate that to the western world”. Photograph by Shraddha Gupta.

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‘People of PARIS’ – #PrayForParis

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November 8, 2015, CAMBRIDGE – Antonio Maycott, spray paint artist, originally from Mexico, giving a live spray paint performance outside the Harvard Square station, MA on Sunday. The artist makes his paintings on the spot, with some quirky music playing in the background to attract the passing by crowd, and sells his work for $10 per artwork. Photograph by Shraddha Gupta.

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Spray Painting ‘Happiness’

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BUSINESS & ECONOMICS

Earning Stories – Day One: AMAZON / McDonalds / Google

McDonald’s bounces back with third quarter comparable sales increase

McDonald’s, is once again bouncing back into prosperity, announcing a net profit increase of 23% in the third quarter of 2015, as net income rose from $1,068.4 million last year, to $1,309.2 million.

“I am encouraged by our operating performance for the quarter, with positive comparable sales across all segments, including the U.S., as well as sales recovery in China following the prior year supplier issue”, said, Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s President and Chief Executive Officer. 

While there is still a consolidated decrease in revenue of 5% to $6,615.1 million; the diluted earnings per share of $1.40, saw an increase of 28% (44% in constant currencies), due in part to a benefit from comparison to the prior year’s increase in tax reserves related to certain foreign tax matters.

Easterbrook also concluded, “Third quarter marked an important step in the Company’s global turnaround – the reorganization of our business from a geographically focused structure to business segments that combine markets with similar characteristics and opportunities for growth”.

Amazon announces a surprising 118% increase in third quarter profits

Amazon.com, Inc. has surprised the market with a sharp increase in its profits, of a breathtaking 118%, for its third quarter ended September 30, 2015.  The company, which is known to grow its business even with a series of losses, reported a net income of $79 million, as compared to a net loss of $437 million in third quarter 2014.

Net sales increased 23% to $25.4 billion in the third quarter, compared with $20.6 billion, along with an operating cash flow increase of 72% to $9.8 billion in comparison with $5.7 billion last year. Earnings per share accounted for a$0.17 per diluted share, from a comparable $0.95 per diluted share.

Contributing to the overall growth of the company, AWS (Amazon Web Services) seemed to be the most significant reason, with a reported operating income of $521 million. According to reports, this is almost the same as the $528 million operating income Amazon generated in its North American retail business this quarter, showing how important AWS has become to its business.

Sounding highly ecstatic in a recent press release by the company, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com said, “Fire sets a new bar for what customers should expect from a low-cost tablet. This is one more step in our mission to bring customers premium products at non-premium prices. Fire is the #1 best-selling product on Amazon.com since launch, and based on the strength of the customer response, we are building millions more than we’d already planned.”

Google declares 13% revenue growth in Third Quarter 2015

Alphabet Inc., the successor issuer to, and parent holding company of, Google Inc., recently announced its third quarter 2015 financial results, reporting a revenue growth of 13% year over year, accounted at $18.7 billion. With a 45.3% increase, the company’s GAAP net income grew from $2,739 million comparable to $3,979 million, in 2014.

Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet and Google, said in the official press release by the company, “Our Q3 results show the strength of Google’s business, particularly in mobile search. With six products now having more than 1 billion users globally, we’re excited about the opportunities ahead of Google, and across Alphabet.”

According to reports, the substantial growth was also complemented by contributions from YouTube and Programmatic Advertising.

While the operating income was accounted at $4.7 billion, the diluted earnings per share were $5.73, along with a strong operating cash flow of $6.0 billion.

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Oct. 24, 2015, BOSTON – Heather Wilde, 11, and her family participated in the Annual Halloween Pet Parade and Costume Contest, with their three cats, Milo (left), Lucky and Holly, being held at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, MA on Saturday. “These are all Heather’s cats, and it was totally her idea and concept that we are displaying here. We are all dressed up as pirates, and the cats are being carried around in the USS Constitution ship from the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean. We are hoping to win this one,” said Brenda Wilde, Heather’s mother. Photograph by Shraddha Gupta.

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Pirates in the ‘Halloween Pet Parade’

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Oct. 18, 2015, BOSTON – An official HOCR volunteer is spotted in action at Dock 3, to help the launch of upcoming rowing teams for race, at the Finish Area Launch Site (FALS), located in Christian Herter Park, Allston, MA. As observed, the mood at the dock is often a mix of emotions, ranging from the energy of the volunteers, nervousness of about-to-launch rowers, to the happy and tired faces of teams which just finished the race and are ready to dock back after a hectic day. Photograph by Shraddha Gupta.

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‘DOCK 3 TALES’ – Dock. Launch. Go. Park.

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BUSINESS & ECONOMICS

In the business of fabric, it is all about trends

LOCAL BUSINESS STORY (Final Article): By Shraddha Gupta

On a bright sunny weekend, Mark Winer, the Vice President of Fabric Corner Inc., a mom and pop fabric store based in Arlington, is found strolling on the local streets of Newton, keenly gazing through the show windows of every clothing boutique store in the area.

With a small diary and a pen in his hand, he is cautiously making notes of the most prominent colors, prints and textures of latest collections, that are attracting customers into these shops in search of new looks and trends. He then calmly observes what they are buying and appreciating the most, making a rough draft of his next merchandise.

“The key to run a successful fabric business, is to understand the pulse of the people and the market, both at the same time. The products that these boutique stores are selling, and the trends that their customers are eventually buying, are directly promotional to what a fabric store like ours sources and sells ahead with profit,” said Mark.

Adding further, he also claimed, “Our biggest challenge is to maintain freshness in our merchandise. To to keep our customers engaged, we always  have to be on our toes to introduce updated styles of fabrics every couple of months, based on constant market research”.

Being one of the oldest fabric stores in Massachusetts, the company today, gloats over 47 years of a successful history. Since its inception in 1968 by Mark’s father, the business has gone through several reinventions overtime, finally settling in for a highly niche target market, that of a conventional ‘hobbyist’, which has directly influenced the kind of trends that the store stocks.

“As fashion is a dynamic business with new trends coming and going each day, it is vital for us to understand the kind of crowd our store attracts and what is our target market, to source the right material for them”, he said. In Mark’s case, his market is mostly made of local residents, who are very involved in sewing and like to knit, people who like to crochet, to quilt or to make their own clothing and basically sew. “For them it is a hobby, an activity that mothers do with their daughters and sons, to build family relationships. It’s all about classics for them, to make things that can stay with them for long,” he added.

To avoid the possibility of dead stock from season to season, Mark tends to source trends that are a bit in the middle, not too contemporary, not too dated, and something that everyone can use. As he puts it, his taste is more towards the traditional side, and according to him, “Classics luckily always stay in fashion. For instance, we will always have a choice of liberty prints in the cottons sections, as that is one style that always remains in trend . Then there are the evergreen plaids, checks, and flower prints. Also thankfully, this is one category in which we don’t make too many mistakes”.

To stay ahead of the rest in market, Mark also makes it a point to read a lot of fashion magazines and surf online for fashion forecasts. Some of his favorite stores to visit for research are, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lily, Liberty of London, Brooks Brothers for men, apart from the boutique stores in Newton.

“These clothing stores are a bit ahead of time than the fabric stores, which gives me the chance to bring in something that I know people are looking forward to buying. Also, I believe that if you stick with companies which are successful with their trends, you tend to go on the right track”, he concluded with confidence.

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BUSINESS & ECONOMICS

Selling fashion fabrics to the conventional ‘HOBBYST’

LOCAL BUSINESS STORY (Previous Draft): By Shraddha Gupta

Located literally on the corner street of Mass Avenue in Arlington, is Fabric Corner Inc., a mom and pop fabric store that gloats over its 47 years of successful history.  Since its inception in 1968, the business has gone through several reinvention overtime, finally settling in for a highly niche target market, that of a ‘hobbyist’.

“My market is mostly made of local residents, who are very involved in sewing and like to knit, people who like to crochet, to quilt or to make clothing and basically sew”, said Mark, the owner and also the mind and heart of the store. Even though the store caters to a variety of clientage such as students, designers and home decorators, it is the residential community of Massachusetts that brings in its maximum revenue.

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