Dale Ventures’ AUD$2.5 Million Investment Helps Fast-Track Rail Online

Australian railroad travel service adds North American Amtrak ticketing

Rail Online’s leadership team

Rail Online’s leadership team

SYDNEY, Aug. 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A recent AUD$2.5 million investment from Dale Ventures has enabled Rail Online to fast-track its expansion plans. The railroad travel service now allows travelers to search, book, and ticket Amtrak journeys, with multiple currency options via a 24/7 connection to live Amtrak inventory.

In addition to the North American expansion, the investment from Dale Ventures has also helped accelerate Rail Online’s expansion plans in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.

James Dunne, Rail Online’s CEO, says the addition of Amtrak is timely because Rail Online saw strong inquiry levels for North American rail journeys, bolstered by the pent-up demand related to the pandemic.

“By offering live booking capability,” says Dunne, “Rail Online has made it more cost-effective, efficient, and convenient for travelers to book Amtrak journeys.”

“In addition, travelers booking through Rail Online have the freedom and flexibility to self-manage all itinerary changes and refunds,” Dunne says.

Amtrak’s network connects more than 500 destinations in 46 United States and three Canadian provinces. The company’s fleet of more than 300 trains includes 20 Acela high-speed trainsets, which reach speeds of up to 240 km/h, making it the fastest passenger service in the Western Hemisphere.

Dunne says the addition of Amtrak’s North American services brings Rail Online one step closer to fulfilling its aim of being “the one-stop shop for all rail bookings for customers across the globe.”

“With this new Amtrak connection, Rail Online continues to lead the way in making rail travel easier,” says Dale W. Wood, CEO of Dale Ventures. “I congratulate James and his team for their incredible work and rapid growth.”

For bookings, visit www.rail.online.

About Dale Ventures

Dale Ventures is a personal investment holding group founded by serial investor Dale W. Wood. The company partners with management teams to provide the significant strategic and analytic resources needed to build and grow remarkable companies. Dale Ventures has adopted a consultative approach that harnesses the power of innovative teams to generate groundbreaking ideas, tactics, and strategies that drive growth and build long-term value.

For more information about Dale Wood and his projects, please visit www.Dale.com and Facebook.com/DaleVentures.

Media Contact

Dale Ventures FZE
contact.ae@dale.com
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Cluster I; Platinum Tower
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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Image 1: Rail Online’s leadership team

Rail Online’s leadership team (L to R): CFO Lachlan McCallum, CTO Kew Muthalif, GM Kirsty Blows, and CEO James Dunne

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Chicago Luxury Retailer SVRN Unveils Million Dollar Store Remodel in Tangent With Award-Winning Korean Architecture Firm WGNB

After a year of ideation and 5 months of construction, SVRN reopens, revealing an expansion totaling 4,200 square feet with unconventionally innovative architecture that transcends the traditional retail environment to deliver an immersive customer experience.

SVRN Remodel & Expansion

SVRN Remodel & Expansion

CHICAGO, Aug. 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SVRN, Chicago multi-brand luxury retailer, announced that its West Loop storefront has now reopened with an extensive expansion and visionary remodel. Korean architecture firm WGNB, winner of Dezeen’s Emerging Interior Design Studio of the Year 2021, oversaw the redesign, paying homage to SVRN CEO David Kim’s Korean heritage and the story of perseverance that helped his family form a successful business venture. The Kim family fought through many battles to keep their business afloat, including their first store burning down and other rebuilds through the years due to looting and destruction. The remodel presents a purposeful mixture of synthetic and natural forms and materials while personifying the juxtaposition between balance and tension that has helped the Kim family business grow and evolve, eventually leading to the elevated and more conceptual SVRN. The new space elevates Chicago’s fashion retail industry, presenting the previously unseen approach of experimentalism and intersectionality. The storefront is celebrating the remodel with a grand reopening party on Sept. 1, 2022.

“By embodying the Eastern philosophy, SVRN’s lens would speak of collections that are not just the product of fashion and trends, but beyond garments,” said Jonghwan Baek, creative director of WGNB. David Kim, CEO of SVRN, agrees with Baek’s philosophy, stating, “WGNB was able to execute my family’s story of perseverance through an artistic lens, where the buildout of our store not only elevates the Chicago retail environment, but portrays a strong message.”

This announcement comes after 14 months of meticulous planning and design work, as well as a five-month closure period for SVRN. The storefront is excited to open and share this new experience with Chicago.

SVRN Remodel Details:

• WGNB’s first-ever North American project executed in tangent with HNR and Helios.

• Additional 1,200 square feet expansion.

• Materials like stainless steel and Venetian plaster are used in synchrony with naturally occurring volcanic rocks, blackened wood and linen, conveying a juxtaposition of intersectionality that is core to SVRN’s brand image.

About SVRN

SVRN is a luxury retail space in Chicago’s West Loop that carries high-end labels such as Rick Owens, Maison Margiela, Jil Sander and more. This shop is the result of 40 years of business with a story that is unlike that of any other boutique in our city. More than that, it is the result of a South Korean family immigrating to the United States with next to nothing; no resources, wealth or connections. Now seen as one of the city’s only experimental fashion storefronts, SVRN is a destination point in the United States for fashion enthusiasts both local and from abroad. With this remodel, SVRN aims to be a hub for self-expression through the intersection of fashion, art, design and culture. Feel free to access our website and Instagram. If further information is needed or you would like to attend our grand reopening event, please contact SVRN at yusra@svrn.com or +1 (630) 441-5635.

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Related Files

WGNB_SVRN Schematic Design Submission Package_Final.pdf

BRAND DECK REDUCED SIZE 2.pdf

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Image 1: SVRN Remodel & Expansion

Photograph of the front (West) side of SVRN’s recently completed remodel and expansion. Photos courtesy of WGNB

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Saint Lucia Citizenship Investment Programme makes top three in the 2022 CBI Index

Castries, Aug. 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — St Lucia took third place in this year’s instalment of the CBI Index – which ranked 13 countries with operational citizenship by investment programmes.

Seen as an industry voice and reliable source for those looking to vet CBI programmes around the world, the CBI Index is published annually by the Private Wealth Management magazine, a publication of the Financial Times, and in partnership with CS Global Partners.

This year, St Lucia was ranked alongside Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Cambodia, Dominica, Egypt, Grenada, Jordan, Malta, Montenegro, St Kitts and Nevis, Turkey, and Vanuatu.

The CBI Index ranked these jurisdictions across nine pillars including Freedom of Movement, Standard of Living, Minimum Investment Outlay, Mandatory Travel or Residence, Citizenship Timeline, Ease of Processing, Due Diligence, Family and Certainty of Product.

Having recently welcomed Mc Claude Emmanuel to the position of Chief Executive Officer of its CBI unit, St Lucia was recognised its affordable minimum investment outlay, reasonable mandatory travel or residence requirements and ease of application processing.

“This recognition means a lot to us. The CBI Index is a globally recognised report that has been assessing CBI programmes for the last six years and not only will investors gain insight into our programme but it also gives us an opportunity to improve aspects of our programme to increase our scores next year,” said notes Mc Claude Emmanuel, CEO of St Lucia’s CPI Unit.

Investors can become a citizen of St Lucia in as little as 90 days by investing only a minimum of US$100,000 through its National Economic Fund, and busy entrepreneurs are not required to stay in the country for prescribed periods of time.

There weren’t many significant changes in the minimum investment outlays since the 2021 CBI Index, this was reflected in no change in the order of the final scores.

There were also no changes from the 2021 CBI Index to scores under the Mandatory Travel or Residence Pillar – Caribbean nations continue to rank highly in this area.

The country scored 87% overall.

St Lucia scored 9 out of ten for Due Diligence, Citizenship Timeline, and Family.

A very important aspect of any CBI programme is its ability to vet applicants and ensure that only honest individuals who can account for how they make a living are accepted into the programmes.

“We are on an ongoing drive to continuously enhance the due diligence processes of our programme as we are very keen to protect its integrity and value,” noted Mc Claude Emmanuel.

With ongoing geopolitical tensions, special attention is now being given to jurisdictions that offer CBI programmes. The international community is concerned that these programmes may offer boltholes for suspect characters looking to evade the law.

International respect is vital for any CBI programme to thrive, and a layer of ongoing monitoring is becoming a key pillar of reputable CBI Units such as that of St Lucia. Caribbean nations are setting global best practices when it comes to advancements in due diligence processes.

The Citizenship Timeline Pillar looks at the average time taken for citizenship to be secured by the applicant. One of the key merits of CBI programmes is their ability to provide a rapid route to second citizenship; St Lucia was awarded top points for its short turnaround times, which takes three months for citizenship to be granted from the date the Authorised Agent is notified that the application has been accepted for processing.

The CBI Index recognises that the rise of increasingly complex family relationships is driving investors to seek programmes that allow for a more diverse range of family members to be included under a primary application.

As an additional layer of nuance to its scoring system, this year’s CBI Index also draws a distinction between family members who are allowed to apply with and obtain citizenship at the same time as the main applicant and those who can apply at a later stage and because of the main applicant has already received citizenship.

Multiple family member categories were considered, with points being awarded for adult children, parents, grandparents and even siblings. Additional merit was also given to programmes with provisions for family members of the main applicant’s spouse. Additionally, the degree of flexibility within each of these categories can differ radically from programme to programme.

St Lucia scored 8 out of 10 in the Certainty of Product pillar. This pillar encompasses a range of factors that measure a programme’s certainty across five different dimensions: longevity, popularity and renown, stability, reputation, and adaptability.

Longevity measures the age of a given programme while Popularity and renown evaluate the number of applications and naturalisations under each programme per year, as well as a programme’s eminence in the industry.

The reputation of a programme was determined by the amount of negative press or the number of scandals it has been linked to, affecting investors’ broader perceptions of the countries in which they invest. Just as important, however, is evidence that programme funds are being utilised for social good. Points were awarded for a jurisdiction’s transparent use of CBI funds, for example for the development of domestic healthcare, education, tourism and other infrastructure. One of the main ways that investors can become citizens of St Lucia is through its Economic Fund which Mc Claude Emmanuel has said will “benefit all St Lucians by investing in social interventions and assisting the country to be food secure as assistance will be given to local farmers.”

Lastly, adaptability reflects a programme’s ability to rapidly respond to, and sometimes even predict, the needs of applicants and the industry.

St Lucia continues to offer a popular programme with consistently high application volumes, stability with no caps on the number of applications or specific calls to end the programme, and adaptability both in respect of changes to keep the programme functioning during Covid-19 and its swift response to the Russian invasion.

St Lucia, along with Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis scored seven out of 10 in the Freedom of Movement pillar. St Lucia has access to 15 of the 20 key business hubs assessed in the 2022 CBI Index.

Lastly, St Lucia scored six out of 10 for its decent freedom, GDP growth and GNI scores.

Download the full CBI Index here, to get further insights into the CBI industry and a full evaluation of the CBI programmes of the 12 other jurisdictions in the rankings.

PR St lucia
Saint Lucia
+1 758 458 6050
mildred.thabane@csglobalpartners.com

Tunisia Hosts Japanese-African Economic Cooperation Meeting

African heads of state, representatives of international organizations and private business leaders gathered in Tunisia on Saturday for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, a triennial event launched by Japan to promote growth and security in Africa.

Economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, a food crisis worsened by Russia’s war in Ukraine, and climate change are among the challenges facing many African countries expected to define the two-day conference.

Tensions among African countries also weighed on the meeting: On Friday, Morocco announced a boycott of the event and recalled its ambassador to Tunisia to protest the inclusion of a representative of the Polisario Front movement fighting for independence for Western Sahara.

The conference comes as Russia and China have sought to increase their economic and other influence in Africa.

While 30 African heads of state and government attended the event in Tunis, Tunisia’s capital, many key talks are being held remotely, including those involving Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the summit.

The Japanese government created and hosted the first TICAD summit in 1993. The conferences now are co-organized with the United Nations, the African Union and the World Bank. The summits have generated 26 development projects in 20 African countries.

This year, discussion around an increase of Japanese investments in Africa is anticipated, with particular focus on supporting start-ups and food security initiatives. Japan has said it plans to provide assistance for the production of rice, alongside a promised $130 million in food aid.

The Africa Center for Strategic Studies, an academic institution of the U.S. Defense Department, compared the conference’s format to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, “where government, business, and civil society leaders participate on an equal basis.”

However, this weekend’s summit has sparked controversy in Tunis, which faces its own acute economic crisis, including a recent spike in food and gasoline shortages.

Critics have spoken about the organizers’ alleged “white-washing” of the city, which has seen cleaner streets and infrastructure improvements in preparation for the conference summit. One local commentator said the North African capital looked like it had applied makeup to impress participants.

Meanwhile, the journalists’ union in Tunisia issued a statement Friday condemning restrictions on reporting and information around the summit.

Morocco’s complaint stemmed from Tunisia inviting the Polisario Front leader to attend. Morocco annexed Western Sahara from Spain in 1975, and the Polisario Front fought to make it an independent state until a 1991 cease-fire. It’s a highly sensitive issue in Morocco, which seeks international recognition for its authority over Western Sahara.

“The welcome given by the Tunisian head of state to the leader of the separatist militia is a serious and unprecedented act, which deeply hurts the feelings of the Moroccan people,” Morocco’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Morocco announced its withdrawal from the conference and the recall of its ambassador for consultations. But the ministry said the decision does not “call into question the commitment of the Kingdom of Morocco to the interests of Africa.”

Source: Voice of America

Nations Fail to Reach Deal on UN Treaty to Protect Sea Life

Diplomats from around the world have failed to reach agreement on a United Nations treaty designed to protect marine life on the high seas, after a fifth round of talks ended in impasse.

Negotiations at U.N. headquarters in New York were suspended early Saturday following two weeks of talks that environmentalists had hoped would close a gap in international marine protection measures.

A proposed treaty would set rules for protecting biodiversity in two-thirds of the world’s ocean areas that are outside of national jurisdictions.

Less than 1% of the high seas are protected without a new treaty, and “pockets of marine protection are not enough” for threatened species, said Maxine Burkett, the United States deputy assistant secretary of state who was involved in negotiations.

The global goal is to set aside 30% of ocean area as some kind of marine sanctuary.

Ocean health is also key to combating climate change because more than 90% of the excess heat from climate change is absorbed by the seas. Marine heat waves are getting longer and more frequent.

“The ocean cannot afford further delay,” Burkett said earlier in the week, when the negotiations looked promising.

In the Caribbean, “our livelihoods are directly dependent on the health of the ocean,” said Janine Felson, Belize’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Talks centered on how to share benefits from marine life, establish protected areas, prevent harm from human activity on the high seas and to help poor countries gain the skills and means for ocean exploration.

Campaigners expressed disappointment at the failure to reach a deal but said the talks produced some progress.

Laura Meller, who leads Greenpeace’s ocean protection campaign, accused rich countries such as the United States of being too slow to compromise.

“Russia has also been a key blocker in negotiations, refusing to engage in the treaty process itself, or attempting to compromise with the European Union and many other states on a wide range of issues,” Meller said.

The talks will resume next year unless a special emergency session is called before the end of 2022.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Monica Medina also voiced disappointment but expressed hope that the work done so far would carry forward. She said the United States remained committed to the goal of protecting at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

“We cannot let the tides and currents push us back. We must keep going,” Medina said.

Source: Voice of America