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Home Shopping Network stops selling products of Winter Park company

The Home Shopping Network has stopped selling the products of a Winter Park business accused of not paying a vendor.

Bajalia International said it helps women artisans in disadvantaged countries become entrepreneurs, but one Afghan woman said Bajalia International is the reason she is out of business.

Debbie Farah, the founder and CEO of Bajalia International, has built a business that she says is devoted to helping female artisans around the world develop products for market.

"I founded Bajalia on a deep desire to help women globally," she says in a promotional video for the company.

She has sold many of those products on the Home Shopping Network, and said in a HSN YouTube video she empowers women around the world.

"In Afghanistan alone, we have created about 450 jobs," she said.

But HSN confirmed to News 6 it has "stopped selling Bajalia jewelry" and "removed it from its websites and programming," the CEO said in an email to News 6.

The move comes after Bakht Nazira said she was never paid for her products.

"The order she didn't pay for, it was $70,000," Nazira said in a Skype interview with News 6. Nazira is from Afghanistan, but now lives in Pennsylvania.

In a Bajalia International promotional video on YouTube, Farah and Nazira are seen looking at jewelry during one of Farah's trips to Afghanistan.

Both agree they had a successful relationship for years, but in 2014, Farah made a large order of bracelets and necklaces to be sold on HSN, and never paid for it, according to Nazira.

"I lost my business because of her," Nazira said. "Because she didn't pay us for three years and now my business has stopped, there is nothing," she said.

Fifty employees worked through Ramadan to finish the order and never saw a dime, according to Nazira.

Farah tells a different story, "I would say that she cost herself her business," she said.

Farah agreed to an interview with us, and had a crisis-management consultant and attorney present. The attorney at times tried to coach her through the interview.

"Don't say it like that. Just be blunt about it," the attorney said after Farah answered a question in a way that he felt wasn't strong enough.

Farah also showed News 6 her warehouse, where she said she still has the boxes of jewelry Nazira's company sent.

The order Nazira sent her in 2014 had sharp edges, missing stones and didn't meet the standards of her company or HSN, according to Farah.

Farah said she tried to return it, but Nazira wouldn't accept it. She said the quality of the merchandise was better when Nazira was in Afghanistan to oversee production, but changed when she moved to the states.

"Do you have a pattern of not paying people?" investigator Louis Bolden asked.

"We work with hundreds and hundreds of producers," Farah said. "If this is the only incident, clearly we don't have a pattern of this."

HSN wants to make sure of that. The network is asking for a full accounting of all products sold on HSN and status of payment to those vendors.

Democratic Party set to choose its new chair

Democrats are set to choose a new chair to lead their battered party as it tries to channel the anti-Donald Trump energy of its base into an electoral rebound.

The Democratic National Committee is set to meet Saturday morning in Atlanta, where 442 voting members will select from a seven-candidate field led by former Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison. Aides and vote counters for both Perez and Ellison see a tight race, which could require multiple rounds of balloting.

The gathering kicks off at 10 a.m., with each of the candidates allowed 10 minutes for nominating speeches. As long as all of the eligible DNC members participate, it will take 222 votes to win.

Democrats on Capitol Hill and in state offices set the party's policy agenda, but the party chair heads the infrastructure that formulates the party platform and supports its presidential candidates, state parties and local officials. The chair also plays a major role in fundraising for the party and serving as a high-profile public face.

The election in part has been a proxy war between Sen. Bernie Sanders' allies and those more closely aligned with Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.

The Vermont senator endorsed Ellison early, and the progressive organizations that backed Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary have all followed suit. Perez's progressive bona fides haven't been questioned, but he's seen by the left as less in touch with its activist base.

Ellison's allies made the case Friday night that he is the only candidate who can bridge the party's divisions and connect its grassroots supporters to its official infrastructure.

Larry Cohen, the chairman of Sanders' new organization Our Revolution, and former head of the Communications Workers of America, said Perez "didn't win over anyone" on the Sanders-aligned left during the race for DNC chair.

"If they didn't win them over in three months of campaigning, why would they be able to win them over the day after tomorrow?" Cohen asked. "That's what I would be worried about."

Still, Perez, who made gains by campaigning in rural and red states -- and won over full DNC delegations in some places -- is broadly seen as the favorite after picking up the endorsement of South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison, who until recently had been the race's third-place contender.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director Sally Boynton Brown are also expected to pick up votes in the first round of balloting late Saturday morning. Television analyst Jehmu Greene, Air Force veteran Sam Ronan and attorney Peter Peckarsky are also running, although none is expected to gain much, if any, support from DNC voting members.

Perez has sold himself as a turnaround artist, arguing that the party needs to focus on voting access and down-ballot battles.

"Tomorrow's race is all about helping people at scale," Perez told DNC members at a Friday night reception, referring to the need to replicate successful campaign strategies nationwide. "And when we build these strong parties, and when we build these strong partnerships, that's what we'll be able to do."

At the Westin Peachtree Plaza, Ellison rallied his troops with an evening reception where he declared the party would emerge from Saturday's contest united for a "greater and more important fight."

"Unity is critically important," Ellison said. "We have got to come out of this process together. We have got to come out of this process united."

"No one benefits from us fighting each other other than Trump and all those crazy right-wing governors," he added.

1 person in custody after stabbing at bus station, Cocoa police say

One person is in custody and another person was hospitalized after a stabbing at a public bus station, Cocoa police said.

The stabbing happened at the Space Coast Area Transit Cocoa Station on Varr Avenue.

Police said emergency dispatchers received multiple 911 calls around 8:30 p.m. Friday about the stabbing.

Officers said they found a woman with a stab wound. The woman and several witnesses were able to provide information to patrol officers about the suspect, police said.

Police said officers quickly found the suspect, Hugh Newsome, 53, of Cocoa, who was still in the area.

A further investigation indicated that Newsome and the female victim had a prior relationship. Police said the estranged couple argued prior to the stabbing, and it appears the incident was the result of domestic violence.

The woman was airlifted to a hospital in critical but stable condition, police said.

Newsome was arrested and is being held without bond in the Brevard County jail on charges of attempted murder, resisting an officer without violence and violating an injunction for protection against domestic violence, according to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. 

Sunny, warm weekend in store for Central Florida

There are several events taking place across Central Florida this weekend, and News 6 meteorologist Madeline Evans said the weather will be cooperating.

Most of Central Florida will reach the 80s by 4 p.m. Saturday.

"Orlando will make it to a high of 83 with lots of sunshine and no chance of rain, so perfect conditions if you are headed to the Cocoa Beach Seafood and Music Festival," Evans said.

Temperatures will reach a low of 56 degrees under a partly cloudy sky Saturday night.

"If you are out late tonight you are going to want to bring a jacket with you," Evans said.

Weather is looking even better for the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

There will be a weak cold front making its way through Central Florida, dropping Sunday's daytime high to only 75 degrees. No rain is expected to be pushed in with the front, making Central Florida a bit cooler and mostly sunny.

Central Florida will warm up into the high 80s by Tuesday and will see rain chances once again by Thursday.
 


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