Militant Somalia: The Fight Against al Shabaab (Trailer)

Subscribe to VICE News here: Al Shabaab has been a threat to Somalia for almost a decade. In 2013, the group claimed responsibility for the Westgate Mall attacks in Nairobi, Kenya, where 67 people were killed. This signaled a shift in the scope of al Shabaab’s tactics, which until this point had been focused within Somalia, where the group was in control of much of the country. Over the past few years, with help from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), many cities that were once al Shabaab strongholds were taken back by Somali forces. VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky traveled to Somalia in the wake of AMISOM taking back the coastal city of Barawe — where Ikrima, the man believed to be behind the Westgate attacks, resided — to investigate how al Shabaab evolved from a localized threat to a regional one. Check out “Land Wars: Ethiopia Accused of Massacring Civilians to Clear Way for Foreign Farms” – Watch “Al Shabaab and the Rise of Jihad in Kenya” – Check out the VICE News beta for more: Follow VICE News here: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: Instagram:

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Life After Qaddafi — Libya: A Broken State

Subscribe to VICE News here: Three years after the Libyan revolution and the subsequent downfall of its dictator Muammar Qaddafi, the country has descended further into chaos and insecurity. Rebel militias, radical Islamists and former Qaddafi commander Khalifa Haftar are among the different groups vying for power and oil wealth, creating a vacuum in which violence and militancy reign supreme. VICE News filmmaker Medyan Dairieh was in Libya in 2011 to witness the revolution. This year, he returned to follow members of the 17th February battalion, a rebel group fighting against Haftar’s forces. Dairieh witnessed first-hand how life after the Libyan revolution has devolved into lawlessness and Islamic State-linked extremism. Watch “VICE News Archives: The Rebels of Libya” – Check out “Death Toll Climbs as Fierce Battle to ‘Liberate’ Benghazi Continues” – Check out the VICE News beta for more: Follow VICE News here: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: Instagram:

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The Recovery That Wasn’t: Two Years Since Hurricane Sandy

Subscribe to VICE News here: Two years on, tens of thousands of New Yorkers are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, some with homes that remain completely demolished. Many of these residents continue to wait on funding for construction from NYC Build it Back, the program launched by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to allocate the nearly $2 billion in received federal aid. Until recently, the program had exhibited unmanageable bureaucratic problems — as of January this year, there had been no construction under the program. VICE News spoke with those still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and investigated what’s being done to bolster New York’s coastal communities and protect the population from future storms. Check out “Here’s What New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Did For A Troubled Sandy Relief Program” – Check out “$129 Billion Worth of New York City Real Estate Lies in Flood Zones” – Watch “The Coal Vote: Showdown in West Virginia’s Midterm Elections” – Check out the VICE News beta for more: Follow VICE News here: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: Instagram:

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Spotlight: Date Night Leads to Successful Franchise

painting with a twist

On Valentine’s Day in 2009, Dimitri Papakyriacou accompanied his wife to a Painting with a Twist class. The national franchise has become known for its art classes where participants can bring their own wine to enjoy with friends. He wasn’t thrilled with the idea initially. But he enjoyed the experience enough to open his own franchise.

Now, Papakyriacou owns five studios throughout the Houston area. And he expects to open two more by 2016. Learn more about how this date night turned into one of the most successful Painting with a Twist franchises in the country in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does:

Provides painting classes where guests have the option to BYOB.

Painting with a Twist is a national franchise where guests can bring wine or other drinks and enjoy a night out with friends. Papakyriacou owns five studios in Houston, Katy, The Heights, Cypress and Sugarland, Texas.

For the most part, Painting with a Twist classes are focused on providing evening classes where guests can enjoy glasses of wine. But the business also recently unveiled a new program called Coffee and Canvas. The first formal program of its kind in the paint and sip industry, it allows guests to enjoy classes during the day while enjoying coffee instead of wine.

painting with a twist

Business Niche:

A national franchise with a local connection.

Like many franchise opportunities, the benefit to Papakyriacou was to run a local business that already had some national name recognition. But he and his wife were still able to use their connections in the Houston area to build the business.

In addition, Painting with a Twist has a national charitable arm called Painting with a Purpose. This allows franchisees like Papakyriacou to give back to local community organizations.

How the Business Got Started:

After a Valentine’s Day date.

When Papakyriacou’s wife first suggested they attend a Painting with a Twist class, he was skeptical. He ended up enjoying himself. But he was again skeptical when his wife expressed interest in opening a franchise. He says:

“When Alejandra expressed interest in opening a studio of our own, I was reluctant to pursue the opportunity because I thought it was a “fad” concept. Fast forward a few years to present day, and we are now one of Painting with a Twist’s most successful franchisees, on pace to operating seven Painting with a Twist studios in the Houston area.”

painting with a twist

Biggest Win:

Hosting special events for large businesses in the area.

Papakyriacou explains:

“Many of the big oil and gas players in the area frequently organize team building activities at our studios. The largest one we held was a 92-person event with Shell. We had dueling artists – similar to the dueling pianos concept – where we had a painting that was a set (2 parts) and allowed guests to pair up to collaborate and compete. Each artist instructed half the room for half the painting. The event received multiple five-star reviews and positive feedback across the board.”

Biggest Risk:

Purchasing a failing business.

Papakyriacou says:

“Our first studio was purchased from a previous owner, who had become too busy to handle all the demands of being a business owner. Just one month after taking over, we were able to turn the store around from a loss to a profit.”

painting with a twist

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000:

Open another studio.

Papakyriacou already owns five studios and has plans to open two more in the next couple of years. And he doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.

Favorite Quote:

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” — Socrates (a fellow Greek)

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program.

Images: Painting with a Twist

The post Spotlight: Date Night Leads to Successful Franchise appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Sentenced to Death by a Crowd: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 86)

Subscribe to VICE News here: During the war, various areas of eastern Ukraine under separatist control have been under the jurisdiction of field commanders, who run these areas under their own laws. VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky traveled to Alchevsk in the Luhansk region to interview Alexei Mozgovoi, who’s been running a “people’s court” in which people are tried for various crimes, from rape to theft, with residents acting as the jury. Follow @simonostrovsky on Twitter here: Click to watch “The Firefighters of Donetsk: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 85)” – Check out “Military Convoys on the Move in Rebel-Held East Ukraine as Donetsk Fighting Intensifies” – Click to watch “The Donetsk People’s Republic” – Check out the VICE News beta for more: Follow VICE News here: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: Instagram:

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