An effort bolstered by support from billionaire Michael Bloomberg has raised over $20 million to pay off fines for Florida felons, enabling them to vote in the upcoming presidential election. Bloomberg, NBA star LeBron James, and singer John Legend were among those helping raise funds for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition with an October 5 voter registration deadline looming. The effort drew contributions from more than 44,000 people and eclipsed the $20 million milestone, the coalition announced Tuesday. “The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right,” Bloomberg, a former Democratic presidential candidate, said in a statement. “Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it.” “The ability to vote…
Regional Express (Rex) is one step closer to servicing Australia’s lucrative “golden triangle” market after signing a deal with an Asian firm for $150 million to launch its major city jet operations starting in March 2021.
Rex and PAG Asia Capital (PAG) are in advanced negotiations that could see PAG own 23 percent of Rex’s shares if the initial $50 million draw down is converted in December this year, and 48 percent if the total $150 million is drawn down and converted to shares.
The deal is pending PAG due diligence and shareholders and regulatory approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board who are required to review all foreign investment to determine its strategic risks to Australia’s national interests.
Lim Kim Hai, Rex’s executive chairman, said:聽“PAG is a well-respected and highly successful investment group which manages more than US$40 billion on behalf of major global institutional investors. I am encouraged by the progress of Rex’s negotiations to date with an investor of PAG’s reputation and experience.”
Hai said he is confident Rex will successfully launch its domestic city jet operations with PAG’s support.
“As a well-established carrier with an impeccable track record, I am confident that Rex will deliver to Australians an alternative major city domestic service that is safe, reliable and affordable. Rex’s affordable fares will support Australia’s economic rebuild and recovery efforts,” Hai said.
Rex is Australia’s largest independent regional airline. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline moved quickly to take over routes abandoned by the two debt-laden national carriers, Qantas and Virgin, as they struggled to survive amid travel restrictions and border closures.
John Sharp, Rex’s deputy chairman, told ABC Radio on Sept. 16: “It’s unfortunate, but economics plays the ultimate judge in these things and if a town’s big enough to warrant an air service Rex is willing to provide it.”
Sharp said Rex was also looking at providing services to places that would bring no profit as a way of doing its part to help the nation through the pandemic.
“We would not be here but for the support provided by the Commonwealth government. There would be no regional airline industry, and so many regional communities would be cut off from their capital cities,” Sharp said.
At the onset of the pandemic, the federal government injected funding into the airline industry to keep services operating. Rex Airlines, unlike Qantas and Virgin, was solvent and working at a profit and has weathered the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
PAG’s capital infusion will see the regional airline upgrade its fleet of 60 Saab 340 aircraft servicing 59 destinations to jet aircraft servicing the world’s most profitable domestic flight market鈥攖he golden triangle of Australian capital cities, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
Focus News: Asian Firm May Fund Rex to Compete With Qantas and Virgin
CHICAGO—A former U.S. soldier who said an obsession with witchcraft led him to slay a Georgia nurse in a bid to lift a spell he believed she put on him is the first of two more inmates the federal government is preparing to put to death this week. William Emmett LeCroy, 50, on Tuesday would be the sixth federal inmate executed by lethal injection this year at the U.S. prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Another is scheduled for Thursday of Christopher Vialva, who would be the first African-American on federal death row to be executed this year. LeCroy is white, as were four of the five inmates executed earlier. The fifth was a Navajo. Critics say President Donald Trump’s resumption of federal executions this year after a 17-year hiatus is…