To a tee: Cai Evans takes a kick at goal for Wales U18. Photo: Huw Evans Agency An exclusive interview with rising star Cai Evans Date of birth 23 June 1999 Born Penarth Region Ospreys Country Wales Position Fly-halfHow did you get involved in rugby? I rocked up at my local club, Cowbridge, when I was six and was there until I was 16. My parents always encouraged me to try different sports so I played football, tennis and cricket too, but rugby became a natural choice.What positions have you played? I started on the wing, moved infield and ended up at outside-half when I was 13. It’s my favourite position. You get lots of touches and have the ability to run, pass and kick. I like to mix up my game.FOR THE LATEST SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HEREWhat are your strengths? I like the role of playmaker, the distribution aspect, and I want to remain an attacking threat.Which players do you enjoy watching? Dan Carter and Rhys Priestland. They have natural attacking flair. And Beauden Barrett – he has the confidence to try different things and remains accurate.Ieuan Evans is your dad – does that add pressure? LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS I don’t feel it. There could be expectation but I tend to stay away from that. I play how I play. He might give me advice now and then but it’s what any father would do.Talk us through your representative honours… I started off with Cardiff Blues and had a camp with Wales U16, but I didn’t make the final squad. There were three people in my position at the Blues and when I didn’t make the cut I moved to Ospreys U18. My consistency got better and I was given the opportunity to be involved in the national U18 team, which has been a great experience.Have the setbacks helped? It’s made me stronger mentally and kept my determination at a good level. I was always critical of my performances, striving to be a better player.What are your goals this season? To continue to play with Bridgend in the Premiership and hopefully to get some involvement regionally with the Ospreys A team and the U20s. RW Verdict: Mature beyond his years, Evans is showing huge promise as he combines rugby with an accounting and finance degree at Swansea University. He’s impressed for Wales U18 and will benefit from game time at Bridgend.This article first appeared in the January 2018 issue of Rugby World. TAGS: Ospreys
For some of us, all this has a very familiar ring. The early 1980s saw record low farm prices, record high interest rates, a grain embargo, and sluggish economic conditions. Then, as now, there was a lot of talk about how the world wanted what we had. That was of little comfort to the thousands of farm families who lost their farms during that time. Hopefully lower interest rates and a better farm safety net program will keep that from happening this time. Reducing trade barriers, taking restrictions off biotechnology, fostering economic growth, and lowering taxes are all actions that can be taken in the short term that will raise crop and livestock prices and put producers in the black. And, nothing will give a farmer a feeling of optimism more than making a profit on his production.By Gary Truitt Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty? Facebook Twitter By Gary Truitt – Mar 6, 2016 It was billed as his farewell tour since, by the next Commodity Classic, there will be a new Secretary of Agriculture running USDA. During his tenure, the former Iowa Governor has presided over some of the highest farm incomes and some of the lowest farm incomes of the modern era. While he will likely leave office with corn and soybean prices below where they were when he entered office, he painted a rosy future for US agriculture, “I am not willing to suggest that the sky is falling, because I don’t think it is. I am not pessimistic, because I think the world wants what we can grow and graze.” But a strong US dollar, sluggish world economy, and the lack of trade deals with key customers have led to dismal farm export numbers of late. While all of this could change with a drought, flood, disease outbreak, or trade embargo, for the moment supplies are up and demand is down. Farmers are among the most optimistic people on earth. They have to be in order to prevail through the challenges, changes, and disappoints that growing crops or raising livestock can bring. A future that shows little or no chance of making a profit for the next several years has many corn, soybean, and wheat farmers facing this future with less optimism and more grim determination. Yet, facing a hall filled with thousands of the nation’s top farmers at Commodity Classic last week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack sounded a note of optimism. Home Commentary Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty? “By the year 2050 we are going to have 9 billion people in the world, and we will have to ability to feed them.” I have lost track of the number of times I have heard this touted at farm meetings. At Classic, companies used it to justify their investments in new technology to increase and improve food production. Secretary Vilsack used it to justify his optimism about US agriculture. While it is true and is something to consider, it is also true that many of the people farming today will not be farming in 2050. If things are not done to keep agriculture strong and producers profitable today, the production system may not be there in 2050. SHARE Previous articleClosing CommentsNext articleHSUS Training Law Enforcement on Animal Cruelty Investigations Gary Truitt SHARE Facebook Twitter
Home Indiana Agriculture News ‘Cautious Optimism’ COVID-19 Gets Contained in China, Boosts Ag Purchases Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released a statement on Tuesday saying that progress has been made by China to begin implementing agriculture-related commitments of the Phase One trade deal. Commodity purchases though, particularly soybeans, are likely not happening anytime soon while the Chinese economy, and the global economy, continues to reel from COVID-19, or the coronavirus.Arlan Suderman, Chief Commodities Economist for INTL FCStone, says while the Hubei province in China, where the coronavirus originated, was very slow to react allowing this rapid spread, there is cautious optimism that the rest of China is containing the virus.“If it is contained, then I think confidence will grow that China has moved past it. The Chinese economy will jump start again with lots of stimulus, perhaps interest in buying more commodities and products.”If that happens, Suderman says U.S. products should be included.“Initially, we can anticipate it would be pork. We have seen continued strong shipments of pork to China to this point. Very impressive shipments, but the ports are really getting backed up and there’s a real shortage of the refrigerated containers used to ship that pork over to China. That is a limiting factor.”Suderman added some additional possibilities, saying, “I think there was some good interest in distillers grains prior to the coronavirus outbreak, but the containers that distillers grains are shipped in are also trapped inside of China. We need to see some of that free up and come back, and some confidence in the markets once again. I do not see any soybean interest anytime soon, but there could be some corn, poultry, maybe ethanol, and wheat demand coming out of China once they feel like they are getting back to more normal conditions.”You can hear more from Suderman on this and the rest of his market analysis in the HAT Morning Edition podcast by clicking the play button below. Facebook Twitter Previous articleFFA Students Gathered to Serve the General AssemblyNext articleBlack Tar Spot on the Rise in Indiana and a Coronavirus Impact Update on the HAT Wednesday Morning Edition Eric Pfeiffer SHARE Facebook Twitter SHARE By Eric Pfeiffer – Feb 25, 2020 ‘Cautious Optimism’ COVID-19 Gets Contained in China, Boosts Ag Purchases
News Tanzanian media unable to cover Covid-19 epidemic Help by sharing this information TanzaniaAfrica RSF_en November 27, 2020 Find out more Reports Organisation October 11, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Media up in arms News The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa November 5, 2020 Find out more News TanzaniaAfrica Receive email alerts Reporters Without Borders supports the privately-owned media’s decision on 9 October to stop covering the activities of two government officials indefinitely in protest against a newly-imposed ban on two Swahili-language dailies, Mwananchi (The Citizen) and Mtanzania (The Tanzanian).The two officials hit by the coverage blackout are Fennela Mukangana, the information minister, and Assah Mwambene, head of the Tanzania Information Services (Maelezo). The authorities announced on 27 September that Mwananchi would be suspended for 14 days and Mtanzania would be suspended for 90 days for “publishing articles inciting hostility (…) and thereby endangering peace and social cohesion.” A third Swahili-language paper, Mwanahalisi, has been suspended since July 2012.“These suspensions are totally illegitimate, and the unusual reaction by the privately-owned media associations has confronted the government with the consequences of its media-gagging policies,” Reporters Without Borders said.“It is now absolutely essential that the Tanzanian parliament should repeal and replace the Newspaper Act of 1976, which gives the information ministry draconian powers and is used to carry out freedom of information violations.”Reporters Without Borders added: “In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how the information minister does without coverage in the privately-owned media, which constitute most Tanzania’s print and broadcast media.”The groups that issued the coverage boycott call on 9 October in Dar es Salaam were the Media Owners Association, the Tanzania Editors Forum, the Media Institute of Southern Africa Tanzania Chapter, the Media Council of Tanzania and the Union of Tanzania Press Club. They expressed dismay at the government’s refusal to lift the newspaper bans and called for a “modern law on the right to information” and other up-to-date legislation to replace the Newspaper Act, which allows the authorities to suspend any publication unilaterally.Tanzania fell 30 place in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index and is now ranked 70th out of 179 countries.More information on Tanzania Photo : AFD Follow the news on Tanzania February 4, 2021 Find out more to go further Twitter arbitrarily blocks South African newsweekly and several reporters over Covid vaccine story
Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article HR giants meet up to confront key issuesOn 13 Jul 2004 in Personnel Today Seven of the UK’s leading HR directors gathered together at a networkingevent in central London last week, addressing an audience of HR professionals,along with others aspiring to get into the industry. The event, organised and hosted by Personnel Today and recruitment firmBarkers, heard HR leaders tackle a variety of issues. Companies representedwere IT giant Microsoft, accountancy firm Ernst & Young, law firmLinklaters, South West Trains, the Crown Prosecution Service, HertfordshireCounty Council and Save The Children. This is what was said: – On HR’s image problem: Steve Harvey, group director of people and culture at Microsoft:”If Big Brother was based on the business world, the HR director would bevoted off first.” – On career progression: Alan Warner, director of people and property at Hertfordshire countycouncil: “One of the issues we face is why some really good HRprofessionals turn into crap managers. Reward structures are geared to reinforcingthat model – it is something we have to address. – On how to be noticed: Angela O’Connor, director of HR, CPS: “Don’t stay out of troubleand become merely a compliance officer. I like people who always question theway we do things.” Derek Manuel, director of global HR at Save The Children: “Takea bit more risk – prove that HR is not a brake on the business.”
The graduate labour market is showing signs of cooling, XpertHR research finds. UK employers have frozen graduate starting salaries for a seventh consecutive year and graduate recruitment activity is slowing down.Levels of graduate recruitment activity are down slightly in 2015/2016 when compared with 2014/2015. Three-quarters of UK employers are seeking to recruit graduates, down from four-fifths a year ago.Graduates: XpertHR Benchmarking dataGraduate starting salaries 2015 / 2016: benchmarking dataGraduate recruitment 2015 / 16: benchmarking dataGraduate recruitment 2015 / 2016: XpertHR data reportPodcast: XpertHR graduate recruitment and starting salaries 2015 / 2016The overall picture for graduate starting salaries is subdued. Seven in 10 organisations have frozen graduate starting salaries. Among the minority who have raised graduate starting salaries, the most common increase from the previous year was 2%.The median graduate starting salary has fallen slightly. Across the whole economy, the median graduate starting salary is £23,000 for 2015/2016, down from £23,500 in 2014/2015. However, these figures are not based on a matched sample of respondents, and so may not indicate a trend over time.By broad industry sector, manufacturing-and-production firms offer the highest median graduate starting salaries in 2015/2016, at £24,000. This compares with median graduate starting salaries of £23,000 at private-sector-services organisations and £21,600 in the public sector.The range of graduate starting salaries on offer is wider than ever, going from £13,000 to £50,000. This compares with a range of £15,000 to £36,000 a year ago. The sharp increase in the maximum graduate starting salary recorded by XpertHR reflects what one respondent describes as “salary wars breaking out between employers trying to attract top-calibre graduates in what is becoming a very competitive environment” in some parts of the economy.Graduate starting salaries 2015: benefits on offerSome employers are looking beyond salary to attract the most sought-after graduate recruits, adding company cars, golden hellos and first-year bonuses to their offerings.Overall, UK employers believe they are doing a good job on graduate recruitment. Four-fifths of those recruiting graduates in 2015/2016 rate their organisation as effective or very effective at recruiting and selecting high quality graduates. However, public-sector respondents are five times more likely than those in the private sector to rate their organisation as ineffective on graduate recruitment.The main problem with graduate recruitment is the graduate recruits, according to a number of employers surveyed by XpertHR. Four-fifths have experienced problems when recruiting graduates. Half of these cite the poor quality of applicants as the main issue. “A degree alone will not guarantee them success,” says one private-sector respondent. “Experience, application and attitude are all important.” Another says that increasing numbers of graduates show “unrealistic expectations of development, progression and income”.University careers services are partly to blame for the perceived poor quality of graduate applicants, says one private-sector respondent: “Links from university to industry are awful. Careers advisors often push graduates down the ‘bigger is best’ route. They don’t work with SMEs and don’t promote local careers.” Nonetheless, notifying vacancies to university careers services ranks as the second most popular method for attracting graduate candidates, beaten only by advertising graduate vacancies via the organisation’s own corporate website.The survey also finds that some organisations are refocusing their recruitment efforts away from graduates. Among the one in four respondents not recruiting graduates in 2015/2016, the most common reason is that recruitment is now focused on more experienced staff.The 26th annual XpertHR Benchmarking survey on trends in graduate recruitment and graduate starting salaries is based on responses from 313 organisations with a combined workforce of 1,352,658 employees, and a combined expected intake for 2015/2016 of 4,488 graduate recruits. All XpertHR subscribers can listen to a podcast on the state of the graduate labour market and download a data report on the key findings, including exclusive data on the range of graduate starting salaries on offer in 2015/2016. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Graduate starting salaries 2015: Pay static as recruitment slowsBy Michael Carty on 2 Oct 2015 in Graduates, Pay & benefits, Personnel Today, Recruitment & retention Comments are closed.
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailiStock(NEW YORK) — The Houston Astros have issued an apology after one of its executives reportedly made a “frightening” outburst toward three female reporters while celebrating the team making it to the World Series.The controversy surrounded closer Roberto Osuna, who the Astros acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays last season while he was under a 75-game suspension for domestic violence, per Major League Baseball’s policy on domestic violence.On Saturday, after the Astros clinched the ALCS in Game 6 against the New York Yankees, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman reportedly turned toward the group of female reporters in the clubhouse and said several times, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—— glad we got Osuna!” Sports Illustrated reported. One of the reporters was wearing a purple domestic violence bracelet, and Taubman’s comments were so “offensive and frightening” that another Astros staffer apologized to the women, according to the outlet.The comments were even more puzzling considering that Osuna had been “the least valuable” Astros player that game, Sports Illustrated reported.The Astros initially defended Taubman, describing the Sports Illustrated story in a statement as “misleading and completely irresponsible,” stating that the comments were “not directed toward any specific reporters” and accusing Sports Illustrated of fabricating “a story where one does not exist.”“An Astros player was being asked questions about a difficult outing. Our executive was supporting the player during a difficult time,” the statement, released on Monday, read, although the Houston Chronicle reported that there were no players in the area and no interviews being conducted at the time. “His comments had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else.”On Tuesday, Taubman released a statement admitting to using “inappropriate language” for which he is “deeply sorry and embarrassed.”“In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate,” he said. “My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue. Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father. I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”The Sports Illustrated column accuses Taubman’s comments as illustrating MLB’s “forgive and forget” attitude toward domestic violence.The allegations against Osuna, 24, stem from a May 2018 incident in which he allegedly assaulted the mother of his child, but the charges were dropped after she returned to Mexico and declined to testify, ESPN reported. As part of a peace bond, Osuna agreed to counseling and to not have any contact with the woman.In August 2018, Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement that while the situation “weighed heavily” on their decision to sign Osuna, they “felt that Roberto deserved a second chance” after evaluating “the entirety of information.”“This is the miscalculation that teams make over and over again,” the Sports Illustrated column read. “They acquire players with reprehensible pasts for less than market rate and concede that they will have to pay a price in public trust. But when the bill comes due, teams act like they, not the people their actions wounded, are the aggrieved party.”Astros owner and Chairman Jim Crane said in a statement Tuesday that the team continues “to be committed to using our voice to create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence.”“We not only ensure mandatory training annually for all our employees, we also have created an important partnership with the Texas Council on Family Violence, and have raised over $300K through our initiatives to help various agencies providing important support for this cause,” Crane said. “We fully support MLB and baseball’s stance and values regarding domestic violence.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. Written by October 22, 2019 /Sports News – National Houston Astros apologize after Sports Illustrated describes ‘frightening’ outburst toward female reporters by executive Beau Lund
ABOUT FLORIDA POLY:Florida Polytechnic University opened for classes in 2014-15 and isthe twelfth university in the Florida State University System. TheUniversity was created as an exclusively STEM-focused publicuniversity that offers high-value undergraduate and graduatedegrees and that has intentional industry connections with a focuson economic development of the high-tech I-4 corridor. Dedicated topreparing students for the competitive STEM workforce, FloridaPolytechnic University blends traditional subject matter masterywith problem solving and laboratory experiences to provide studentswith learning opportunities applicable to both the workplace and acareer of lifelong learning. The University delivers its courses insmall class sizes, emphasizes a positive student to facultyexperience, and is dedicated to both its teaching and researchmission.Faculty are employed at Florida Poly via renewable, term definedappointments, codified in a collective bargaining agreement, thatsubstantially mirrors tenure systems with reappointment andprogression in rank upon completion of a significant review ofaccomplishments.Lakeland, home to Florida Polytechnic University’s ultra-moderncampus, is located along the I-4 High Tech Corridor halfway betweenTampa and Orlando. Our central Florida community combines smalltown comfort with big-city culture. Florida’s High-Tech Corridor ishome to 11,000 high-tech businesses, and Polk County alone has morethan 600,000 residents, four universities and one state college.Lakeland is just a 45-minute drive from Walt Disney World,Universal Studios, professional sports teams, and thrivingperforming art centers. With no income tax in Florida, and homevalues increasing by approximately 10% over the past year, Lakelandand Central Florida continue to rise among the best places to liveand work.EXPECTED STARTING SALARY: Commensurate with experience andqualificationsAPPLICATION DEADLINE DATE: APPLICATION PROCESS: All Applicants are required to submitthe following in PDF format to the Florida Polytechnic CareersWebsite: https://floridapoly.edu/about/careers/careersportal DESIRED / PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS: Diversity Statement:Florida Polytechnic University is an equal opportunity/equal accessinstitution. It is the policy of the Board of Trustees to provideequal opportunity for employment and educational opportunities toall (including applicants for employment, employees, applicants foradmission, students, and others affiliated with the University)without regard to race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex,religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status,veteran status or genetic information.Special Instructions Regarding Attachments:Required attachments are listed on each posting. Please besure to attach all required documents in the Resume/CV field beforecontinuing through the application. Once your applicationhas been submitted, no changes may be made and additionalattachments will not be considered.An unofficial copy of the degree/transcript is acceptable duringthe application process. For positions requiring a degree, theofficial transcripts are required upon hire.Foreign Transcript: Transcripts issued outside of the United Statesrequire a equivalency statement from a certified transcriptevaluation service verifying the degree equivalency to that of anaccredited institution within the USA. This report must be attachedwith the application and submitted by the applicationdeadline.All document(s) must be received on or before the closing date ofthe job announcements.This position requires a background check, which may includea level II screening as required by the Florida Statute§435.04. Teaching and/or relevant research/industry experienceDemonstrated ability to conduct independent andinterdisciplinary funded applied research.Experience in curriculum delivery and developmentExperience with students’ academic mentoringExperience in program assessment and execution of a continuousimprovement plan. Active participation in professional activities andorganizations. Employment is contingent upon proof of the legal right to workin the United States. This proof must be provided prior toemployment at the University. An appointment is not final untilproof is provided. Positions are open until filled (or recruitment cancelled).Review of applications will begin immediately and continue untilthe positions are filled. Assistant Professor – Computer Science (Interactive GraphicalApplications)Job Description SummaryThe Department of Computer Science at Florida PolytechnicUniversity invites applications for an Assistant Professor withbroad teaching capacity that supports both undergraduate degreesand with research specialization that supports interactivegraphical applications. The Computer Science department is home tothe largest undergraduate program in the University which deliversan ABET accredited degree in Computer Science with specializationareas in Game Development, Cyber Security, Software Engineering,and Autonomous Systems. Successful applicants must be capable ofteaching a range of classes in the curriculum, at all levels, andideally would contribute to instruction focused in at least one ofthe following areas: graphical interactive programs,Cyber-Security, Autonomous Systems, Software Engineering, andDistributed/parallel computing.This position is part of a strategic expansion of the departmentthat will add approximately eight faculty to the current thirteenfaculty members that comprise the department faculty. Thedepartment also delivers a Masters of Science degree in ComputerScience and the expansion of the faculty will be critical togrowing the size of this graduate program.Applicants must demonstrate the ability to develop a highlysuccessful teaching and research program, attract independentresearch funding, publish the results of their research studies inleading scientific journals of their discipline, supervise graduateand undergraduate students, and to teach effectively at both thegraduate and undergraduate level courses. In addition, thecandidates are expected to assist in the education mission of thedepartment and to provide whatever academic service is requested toby the Chair of the Department.Job DescriptionMINIMUM QUALIFICATION: Ph.D. in Computer Science or a closely related field Cover letterCurriculum VitaeStatement of Research InterestsStatement of Teaching PhilosophyList of at least 3 professional references (names and contactinformation)Unofficial copy of the Ph.D./M.Sc. transcript Prior professional US experience with progressiveresponsibility.Demonstrated ability to communicate and work effectively withdiverse campus community.
Cash tolls are being accepted again on the Ocean City-Longport Bridge after being suspended to help slow the spread of COVID-19. By DONALD WITTKOWSKIMotorists crossing over the five bridges connecting the Cape May County beach towns along the Ocean Drive are able to pay their tolls with cash and coins again.The Cape May County Bridge Commission resumed cash payments at its toll booths on Tuesday after they were suspended on March 26 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.Among other safeguards, toll collectors are now wearing masks and gloves to protect them and the motorists who stop to pay their fares.“Our collectors need to wear masks and gloves when dealing with the public. Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers were installed in the booths to make it easier for them to sanitize their hands frequently,” said Karen Coughlin, the bridge commission’s executive director.Unlike some other agencies that operate toll roads or bridges, the commission will not install plexiglass shields to separate the collectors from motorists because of the way its booths are designed.“The installation of barriers wasn’t feasible on the booths with our layout and the collectors needing to access the doorway to exit and enter the booth. They also need to be able to lean out to reach the vehicle at times and the plexiglass would impede their ability to do that,” Coughlin said.The Ocean City-Longport Bridge is one of five toll spans that link the Cape May County beach towns along the Ocean Drive.The toll is $1.50 to cross each of the commission’s bridges, the Ocean City-Longport Bridge, Corson’s Inlet Bridge, the Townsends Inlet Bridge, the Grassy Sound Bridge and the Middle Thorofare Bridge. The bridges connect the Cape May County resort towns from Ocean City to Cape May along the scenic Ocean Drive.The Cape May County Bridge Commission and other road and bridge agencies suspended cash tolls in March as a precaution against COVID-19. The move eliminated the person-to-person contact between motorists and toll collectors and conformed with social distancing guidelines to help slow the spread of the virus.Now that toll collectors are being protected with masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and, in some cases plexiglass shields, the agencies are resuming cash payments.The bridge commission has continued to collect tolls electronically through the automated E-ZPass system. Motorists not having E-ZPass have been billed by mail. A photo was taken of their license plate while passing through the toll plaza and the bill was sent to the vehicle’s registered owner.Bills began going out in the mail in the first week of May. The bill will be for the regular cash toll rate. No additional administrative fees will be charged if the bill is paid within 30 days, Coughlin said.Overall, cash-paying drivers represent only about 20 percent of the bridge commission’s traffic. There has been no strain on the agency’s finances while waiting for cash customers to mail in their payments, Coughlin said in April.
Although presents such as chocolates, jewellery or flowers are seen as the Valentine’s Day stalwarts, why not promote special Valentine’s bakery products as the gift of choice in 2011? To coin a new phrase, “If cake be the food of love, eat on”. Ideas could include: heart-shaped cookies or cakes iced with declarations of love, or red-velvet cupcakes decorated with red and white edible hearts. And as these items are likely to be given as gifts, make sure you consider the packaging for example adorned gift boxes or cookies in clear plastic pouches tied with coloured ribbon.Liana Stevens of Nottingham-based cupcake business Star Bakery says its cupcake gift boxes containing nine cakes for £20 sold very well around Valentine’s Day last year, as well as special Valentine’s cookies, which it will be offering again in February. Meanwhile, Claire Rogers, owner of Crumbilicious in Oswestry, says she will be offering personal message cupcakes, and has already designed a ’marry me’ cupcake, with a partnering ’yes’ cupcake. For those who don’t have a partner to give Valentine’s Day bakery delights to, why not offer them an alternative, such as “I love me” cupcakes, or “broken-hearted” biscuits?Ingredients manufacturer Macphie has just launched a new red velvet cake and muffin mix, which it says is ideal for Valentine’s Day-themed applications. The mix produces a range of cakes with a red appearance, which have a very subtle chocolate flavour and a moist and tender crumb, explains the firm. “Red velvet is new and exciting; it’s the hottest ticket in town for the bakery market,” says marketing manager, Jania Boyd. “Research shows that impulse purchase accounts for 80% of bakery sales and Macphie red velvet mix is ideal for making eye-catching muffins, cupcakes, whoopie pies, and celebration cakes that consumers will find irresistible.”ADM Milling marketing manager Melanie Somerville recommends its Raspberry and Passion Fruit cake mix for the production of Valentine’s Day treats. The mix only requires the addition of water and oil to produce a range of different products, including cupcakes, muffins and heart-shaped cakes that can be hand-finished with romantic messages, explains Somerville. “Bakers who prefer scratch recipes can use ADM’s Golden Dawn Plain flour, which is a low-protein soft flour, ideal for making heart-shaped cookies. These can be hand-finished with icing sugar or sugarpaste hearts,” she adds.Puratos, which develops and supplies bakery, confectionery and chocolate ingredients, says using its newly revamped Satin range, which includes Satin Crème Cake mix, Satin Moist Cake mix, Satin Muffin mix and Satin Farmhouse mix, will enable bakers to extend their range while keeping costs and risk to a minimum. “The Satin Crème Cake makes a great cookie and, with the addition of Puratos’ bakestable fillings, cut them in a heart shape and you have a seasonal variety,” says the firm. Try, for example, Coconut Satin and Raspberry or chocolate cookies dipped in Belcolade chocolate, it adds.Concentrate on chocolateChocolate and Valentine’s Day go together like the proverbial horse and carriage, says Unifine Food & Bake Ingredients, which is why it has kept chocolate at the heart of its Valentine’s recipes for 2011. The recipes use ingredients from the firm’s portfolio, including mixes, chocolate products, fonds and toppings and a brand new plain chocolate heart-shaped frame decoration available now for next year. The 30mm x 30mm decoration could be used to top desserts, cakes and biscuits or to finish the sides of a gateau, for example. Suggested recipes for Valentine’s Day include a heart-shaped sweetheart cake, finished with tempered white chocolate and a St Valentine’s transfer. Unifine’s chef patissier Graham Dunton has also developed a red velvet cupcake using Sumix Choco, designed to carry the new heart decoration.The firm also suggests a different take on coconut kisses heart-shaped macaroons. These can be filled with fruit and topped with tempered chocolate fragments. Or why not offer heart-shaped shortbread biscuits, decorated with the new chocolate heart decoration and finished with delicate stripes of pink icing?Once your product offering is sorted, don’t forget about planning a window display to tempt in all those customers. Mike Holling, retail and sales manager, Birds of Derby, says Valentine’s Day-themed products will sell for weeks in advance of the big day. “Selling Valentine’s treats is a great way of bringing in incremental sales; this year, we achieved sales in excess of £12,000 for Valentine products,” explains Holling. “Our Valentine-themed products are sent out mid-January to allow for a three-week window of trading during the run-up to the day. The colour of these kind of products is very important, the reds and the whites gives a nice contrast and it adds a bit of imagination to the product displays.” The craft bakery chain adapts its regular products, such as biscuits and novelty lines, adding inscriptions, noting its Valentine’s cupcake as a particular success this year.