UN human rights expert aghast at killings of farmers in Okara Pakistan

In a statement released on Monday in Geneva, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Asma Jahangir, said she was “aghast at the planned and deliberate killings.”The Special Rapporteur voiced regret that the Rangers, who are directly controlled by the army, deliberately used indiscriminate force. She cited “credible reports” that the injured peasants were chained to hospital beds and charged with terrorism.Ms. Jahangir warned the international community that “misuse of punishing marginalized sections of society in the name of terror will marginalize the prevailing war on terrorism itself.” She said she was “fearful for the lives of hundreds of peasants living on army-controlled lands who are being threatened and harassed by the Rangers in Pakistan” and called upon the Government to hold an impartial and independent inquiry into the incident and to bring the perpetrators to justice. The Government was also urged to ensure that the Rangers do not carry out further violence, and that peasants are not harassed and intimidated through illegal means.According to the statement, the tenants had been tilling the farm for generations dating back nearly a hundred years. The Special Rapporteur received reports that the electricity of the farms was disconnected to punish the tenants, but when the farmers refused to negotiate with the authorities under pressure, the Rangers deliberately opened fire on the crowd, including women and children. The act, she said, “was malicious since the Government had publicly announced ownership rights to the landless farmers, who have been sitting on government lands for decades.”In a similar situation in Khanaewal, Pakistan, the Rangers have been threatening the farmers with violence, and on another previous occasion the Rangers killed one person, according to the statement. read more

Iran Halt imminent execution of juvenile offender urge UN human rights experts

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the offender, Hamid Ahmadi, was 17 years old when he was sentenced to death in 2009 for the fatal stabbing of a young man in a fight between five boys, the year before. The court relied on confessions reportedly obtained under torture and ill-treatment at a police station. Mr. Ahmadi was also denied access to a lawyer and his family. “To our knowledge, in the case of Hamid Ahmadi, the most stringent guarantees of fair trial and due process contained in international human rights instruments have been disrespected and, the allegations of torture and confessions extracted under duress were not taken into consideration nor did the lead to any investigation,” the human rights experts said. “Any death sentence undertaken in contravention of a Government’s international obligations, and particularly when a conviction is based on confessions extracted under torture, is unlawful and tantamount to an arbitrary execution,” they stressed. Mr. Ahmadi’s execution, planned to take place – by hanging – on Saturday, 4 February, is the third time it has been scheduled. In the two previous instances, they were halted at the last minute. Any death sentence undertaken in contravention of a Government’s international obligations, and particularly when a conviction is based on confessions extracted under torture, is unlawful and tantamount to an arbitrary executionOHCHR further noted that the Iranian Supreme Court had overturned the death sentence in 2009 due to some doubts about the testimony of several key witnesses but ultimately upheld the death sentence a year later. Furthermore, following the adoption (in 2013) of new juvenile sentencing provisions of the Islamic Penal Code, Mr. Ahmadi was granted a retrial but was eventually re-sentenced to death by a Provincial Criminal Court in December 2015. Unprecedented rate of scheduling and even conducting executions of juveniles The experts also condemned that execution of juveniles continue to be scheduled and even conducted at an unprecedented rate in the country since the beginning of the year. “On 17 January, we already intervened to halt the execution of another juvenile,” they noted. “Since then, we have learned that two other juveniles have been hanged on 15 and 18 January. Arman Bahr Asemani and Hassan Hassanzadeh were both juveniles at the time they allegedly committed the offence for which they were sentenced to death.”Underlining that that international standards unequivocally forbid the imposition and execution of the death penalty on persons below 18 years of age, the UN experts urged Iran to observe its international obligations by putting an end to the execution of juvenile offenders “once and for all.”The human rights experts voicing their concern included:Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in IranAgnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executionsNils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishmentBenyam Dawit Mezmur, current Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, a body of 18 independent experts monitoring implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State partiesIndependent experts and Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva based UN Human Rights Council – an inter-governmental body responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world – to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. read more

Sign up for a quick lesson on the new Finance system

Soon there will be a lot less printing off expense forms or signing sheets of paper.In two weeks, big change is coming for anyone at Brock who requests, approves or executes financial transactions, everything from purchase requisitions to travel advances and expense reimbursements.Effective April 30, Brock will stop recording transactions in its long-serving but aged finance and accounting platform.Starting May 4, Brock will record all financial transactions in the new cloud-based Finance system called Workday.Workday is efficient and user-friendly, but as with anything new, users will need an orientation session.Many University faculty and staff have already registered for the two-hour workshops that explain how to use the new system, and more sessions are scheduled for early May. All faculty and staff are encouraged to sign up for one of them.Registering is easy. Go to https://brocku.ca/hr/training/focus/ and choose one of the Workday Core Navigation and Finance workshops. Purchase Requisition courses are also available.“The two-hour course will save people a lot of time in the end,” says Ed Wall, Brock’s Director of Financial Strategy and Operations. “It is hands-on learning and easier than trying to experiment and figure it out on your own.” read more

Coaching carousel connects Ohio State Michigan State

Left: Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio appears on the sidelines during a game against OSU on Sept. 29, 2012 in East Lansing, Mich. OSU won, 17-16. Credit: TNS Right: OSU co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell talks to players on the sideline during a game against Penn State on Oct. 25 in State College, Pa. OSU won in double-overtime, 31-24. Credit: Ritika Shah / Lantern TV News directorWhen Ohio State football fans, players and coaches look across the field Saturday night, there will be more than one familiar face staring back at them.With four straight years of matchups, there was bound to be some familiarity between the two teams as the co-leaders of the Big Ten East Division are scheduled to square off again.Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio spent three seasons in Columbus as the Buckeyes’ defense coordinator (2001-03), helping OSU win a national championship in 2002, before taking his first head coaching job less than two hours from OSU at Cincinnati.During his time with the Bearcats, Dantonio coached with current OSU tight ends and fullbacks coach Tim Hinton.When Dantonio accepted the head coaching job at Michigan State in 2007, Hinton said he was on his way to join him, but changed his mind on the way to East Lansing, Mich.“In reality, I was in a car with suitcases in a car driving towards an airport, and I called Mark and I said ‘I can’t go, I’m going to stay at Cincinnati,’” Hinton said Monday. “I was supposed to have gone with him.”Hinton stayed at Cincinnati for two more seasons before following Brian Kelly to Notre Dame for another two years.Now in his third year at OSU, Hinton said he expects Dantonio to use anything he can to motivate the Spartans for Saturday’s matchup.“I do know Mark very well. The thing that’s really interesting about Mark and that group, they are they have a unique way of saying, ‘OK, I’m going to put the chip on my shoulder somewhat,’” Hinton said. “There’s going to be something that comes out of this press conference, I’m going to guarantee you they’re going to put on a bulletin board somehow, some way, the world’s against them.”Dantonio acknowledged his relationship with Hinton during his weekly press conference Tuesday and said he believes a motivated team is key to winning a big game.“Sometimes I do think you have to play with an edge,” Dantonio said. “I think this is a physical type — I’m talking football in general is a very physical game and it’s a very emotional game and you have to have your tank full, emotionally full to be able to play through the ups and downs of a football game.”Dantonio isn’t the only former Buckeye assistant wearing green and white nowadays as longtime OSU offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Jim Bollman (2001-11) is in his second season as the Spartans co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach.Current OSU co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell, who has been a Buckeye assistant since 2002, said Monday that he considers his peers in East Lansing more of acquaintances than friends.“Friends would probably be someone you talk to on a weekly basis or maybe monthly basis. If that’s the case, I don’t think I have a whole lot of friends,” Fickell said. “The reality is there is a lot of people over there (Michigan State) that I have known, I have worked with and have some long-standing relationships with.”From a game plan standpoint, OSU coach Urban Meyer said he doesn’t expect a big change from the Spartan staff.“The one thing about their coach and coaching staff, they’re pretty set in what they do. They’re really good at it,” Meyer said Monday. “But they’ll have a little wrinkle here and there that we have to be ready for. That’s why we’re watching what we did against them last year. And how do you prepare for it? We anticipate and you give them that rep in practice. That’s the only way to do it.”Friends or not, the Buckeyes and Spartans are scheduled to kick off from Spartan Stadium at 8 p.m. Saturday. read more

iPad 2 Coming on March 2nd

first_imgThere it is, ain’t she a beaut? That’s the official announcement for Apple’s next “special event.” This one will be held on March 2nd at the the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.That definitely appears to be an iPad hanging out there, behind the calendar sheet. And in this case, the giant number “2” seems to indicate more than just the date. What we have on our hands is a bona fide sequel.Yep, as we’ve all suspected, it seems that Apple will finally be offering its next entry into the crowded consumer tablet space it more or less created.last_img read more

Intels new E7 Xeon chips include 10core option

first_imgIn our desktop machines the Intel processor maxes out at 6 cores at the moment, but for the server market, Intel has just introduced a new range of Xeon chips with up to 10 cores available.This new E7 family of Xeon processors is meant for the data center where high performance and low power consumption are essential. Intel is hoping a range of configurations coupled with a claim of up to a 40% performance gain over the previous generation Xeon chips is enough to get E7s bought in serious quantities.AdChoices广告The E7-8800/4800/2800 processors offer 4, 6, 8, or 10 cores and up to 20 threads using Hyper Threading. They can run at frequencies up to 2.67GHz and are built on a 32nm process. Couple that with as much as 30MB of L3 cache, up to 4TB of DD3 memory, and the ability to scale to 256 socket configurations, and you can see why these processors are perfect for cloud computing on a massive scale.Intel also has energy efficiency in mind and these processors can turn idle areas of the chip off completely. As these are processors for business, security is built-in with automatic hardware error correction, AES-NI for quick encryption and decryption of data, and Intel Trusted Execution Technology for creating a secure environment from system boot.Any businesses considering investing in the E7 range better have a nice fat IT budget ready to spend. The high-end 10-core, 2.4GHz E7-8870 costs $4,616 per chip based on you buying 1,000 units. At the other end of the scale is a 6-core 1.73GHz E7-2803 option for $774, again buying in lots of 1,000.Read more at the Intel press release, via ZDNetlast_img read more

Facebooks message to video creators Lets make more money

first_img Post a comment Share your voice 0 Now playing: Watch this: Is Facebook spying on you? On Tuesday, Facebook also said that a slice of money from any subscribers who sign up after this year will be diverted to Facebook. Early pages that tested subscriptions, thus far, didn’t need to share any revenue except the 30% bit that Apple and Google take of all media subscriptions that happen as in-app purchases in Facebook’s mobile app. But starting with any subscribers who sign up beginning Jan. 1, Facebook will take 30% of revenue from desktop subscribers. It’ll take 15% of revenue paid by mobile subscribers but only starting in the second year of a subscription. The social giant said its ad-breaks feature would be introducing ways for creators to specify when a midroll commercial cuts into their video. Brand Collabs Manager, an interface that helps online video creators connect with sponsorships, will be enhanced with more analytics. Facebook’s subscriptions option, which lets fans pay creators on a monthly basis, will be expanding to let creators offer supporter-only groups as a benefit to subscribing, so superfans and creators can interact in a more intimate forum. The company is also testing Stars, little stickerlike icons mostly for gaming-video fans that pay a creator a penny whenever you send one his or her way. Similar to the Bits Emotes on Twitch, viewers can send Stars while watching live gaming streams.  Tags Facebook will be taking a cut of money headed to video creators. Claudia Cruz/CNET Facebook is giving videos on its social network more ways to make money, pulling inspiration from other platforms to let you throw cash at your favorite video creators in the form of subscriptions or tokenized “stars” that pay them a penny. It’s also going to start taking a cut of the money that superfans send to creators in paid subscriptions.Facebook announced the new developments ahead of VidCon, the world’s biggest conference for online video creators. VidCon runs Wednesday through Saturday in Anaheim, California. The approach follows a proven Facebook strategy of borrowing features and tools that smaller social networks have rolled out to popular appeal. In the last three years, Facebook made big investments in video as a central part of its service, aiming to eat some of YouTube’s lunch and take a bite of the television ad dollars migrating to digital video. But some of its efforts, like broadcasting original scripted series, have failed to break through to mass audiences. Facebook didn’t provide any hard numbers about how many people are making money on its platform with any of its early-stage money-making tools like ads and subscriptions. Generally, tens of thousands of pages are using ad breaks in videos to make money, the company said. The number of pages earning $10,000 a year with ad breaks has grown since Facebook began testing them about a year ago, but the company wouldn’t provide specifics.  1:39 Mobile Digital Media Facebooklast_img read more

VMC to ban plastic bags Collector

first_imgVijayawada: District Collector Md Imtiaz said that total ban will be imposed on plastic carry bags in the city by releasing a Gazette notification in a couple of days. As part of measures to prevent pollution, they will hold several awareness programmes in the city. Addressing media along with Municipal Commissioner V Prasanna Venkatesh here on Friday. he said they were going to organise ‘Mana Vijayawada’ programme in a big way to sensitise people on ill effects of using plastic from July 30. Also Read – Three of a family commits suicide at Amalapuram in East Godavari Advertise With Us The Collector stated that an initiative by Vijayawada Municipal Corporation and the District Administration to organise a series of stakeholder meetings that are with RWA, commercial entities, the NGOs and individual entities such as bars, hotels, hospitals and butchers with a slogan of Mana Vijayawada with a tag line ‘Be a part of The Solution, Not part of The Pollution’. Also Read – Saaho movie tickets pricey in Nellore Advertise With Us He also said alternative arrangements such as cotton cloth bags, paper bags, cups, adda leaves, palm boxes will be taken up with the support of SHG, NGOs or the CSR programmes and take up training to SHGs in making such alternative products in the place of single-use plastic. They are also planning to set up demonstration units across the city. Advertise With Us The Collector said they would interact with public on Tuesday and Wednesday and explain the ill-effects of plastic use. He informed that special drive would be conducted with cooperation of Municipal Corporation, Police and the Commercial Tax Department. He said they will control the plastic carry bags from entering the city and will also promote on social media. He said a recycling park would be set up in the city. As part of awareness among public, they would conduct various forms of competitions for students on the risks of using plastic. VMC Commissioner V Prasanna Venkatesh said the use of plastic carry bags can be regulated with public participation only. He said they planned to make cotton bags with the cooperation of SHGs. Mass drives of campaigning would be conducted with huge participation of citizens of city and make them take oath not to use plastic carry bags.last_img read more

Ralph Cooper Brings the Funny on Awesome Thursdays

first_imgBy day Ralph Cooper is a television producer. By night he is politically incorrect comedian. (Photo by Mark F. Gray)On a night of intense Stanley Cup Playoffs hockey in D.C. there’s a packed house inside RFD – an Irish soccer pub and sports bar – around the corner from Verizon Center in Chinatown.  As Nicklas Backstrom scores the Washington Capitals first playoff goal in what their fans hope will be a championship run a loud crescendo erupts in the main room followed by bellows of laughter from the back.Comedian Ralph Cooper has just taken the microphone for the beginning of “Awesome Thursdays,” the weekly open mic forum for aspiring stand up philosophers to share unique takes on life.  Anything goes during those five minutes of funny time and no subjects are off limits. In this environment, heckling is encouraged.“We’ve turned more hecklers into comedians that anybody in the business,” Cooper told the AFRO with a devilish grin. “I don’t have a problem with the audience making their feelings known but they better be ready for the folks on stage to send it right back.”“Awesome Thursdays” has become a ground breaking stage for aspiring comedians in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.  The stage is a social convergence of humor that crosses all demographic lines. Whether a Black college student, a middle age White businessmen, or a Fox News producer who travels from New York to perform, if you are funny – or think you have the gift to make people laugh – Cooper’s platform for self-expression has become a breakout spot for new talent.  Every performer who emails Cooper is scheduled and the only rule is that no performer can take the stage in consecutive weeks.Randy Syfax left the showcase and appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on NBC last year.  Brandon Brody, the final host of BET’s “106 & Park,” cut his comedic chops during “Awesome Thursdays” hosting another program for the network called “The XPeriment.”  Cooper himself recently opened for Kevin Hart’s taping of his Comedy Central special that is scheduled to air this fall.“Part of the fun of this thing is watching people work hard, get better, and capitalize on their break,” said Cooper.Cooper, a 1998 graduate of Morehouse College, is living the best of both worlds.  By day he lives a Bruce Wayne life as a guest producer at CCTV America where he helps shape impressions of American news for Chinese audiences worldwide.  On Thursday nights he transforms into comedic version of Batman. By the time his elevator doors open in the lobby of network’s Massachusetts Ave studios he has transformed into the DMV’s crusader for politically incorrect humor. He wants comics who take risks and don’t give in to conservative audiences.“I’ve visited [upscale] rooms and [low class] rooms and have had a problem with them all,” said Cooper.  “I don’t like comics who are scared to take risks. I don’t care if you talking about religion, gay marriage, politics or whatever if it’s funny say and it make people laugh”.“Where would we be if the legends of the game had been worried about political correctness,” he adds. “There would be no Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, Paul Mooney or George Carlin. They pushed the envelope and took chances and that’s what I want to give comics a chance to do”.From baby boomers to millennials the acts that debut on the “Awesome Thursday” stages don’t leave any stone unturned.  They push the limits on all aspects of life in brutally raw unwavering fashion to resounding laughs giving the audience a temporary respite from the harsh realities of daily life.“Comedy is my diversion,” said Cooper.last_img read more

International team gets a seismic look at North KoreanChinese volcano

first_img More information: R. Kyong-Song et al. Evidence for partial melt in the crust beneath Mt. Paektu (Changbaishan), Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and China, Science Advances (2016). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501513AbstractMt. Paektu (also known as Changbaishan) is an enigmatic volcano on the border between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and China. Despite being responsible for one of the largest eruptions in history, comparatively little is known about its magmatic evolution, geochronology, or underlying structure. We present receiver function results from an unprecedented seismic deployment in the DPRK. These are the first estimates of the crustal structure on the DPRK side of the volcano and, indeed, for anywhere beneath the DPRK. The crust 60 km from the volcano has a thickness of 35 km and a bulk VP/VS of 1.76, similar to that of the Sino-Korean craton. The VP/VS ratio increases ~20 km from the volcano, rising to >1.87 directly beneath the volcano. This shows that a large region of the crust has been modified by magmatism associated with the volcanism. Such high values of VP/VS suggest that partial melt is present in the crust beneath Mt. Paektu. This region of melt represents a potential source for magmas erupted in the last few thousand years and may be associated with an episode of volcanic unrest observed between 2002 and 2005. (Phys.org)—A team with members from the U.K., the U.S., China and the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, has worked together to learn more about a volcano sitting on the North Korea/Chinese border. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes how they set up seismic monitors and collected data for a two year period and what that data revealed. Baekdu Mountain—Baitoushan volcano (Paektu-san), in the Changbai Mountains along the border of China and North Korea in Northeast Asia. Credit: Wikipedia This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. North Korea, as most are aware, is a secretive country, allowing very little information in our out regarding almost everything, and that includes geological data. Unfortunately, this has until recently included what has been described as a dangerous volcano on the border between North Korea and China—back in 946 AD it went off in what has been called one of the largest eruptions on record. It also sits in the vicinity of 1.6 million people. The volcano is called Mount Paektu on the Korean side and Changbaishan on the Chinese side. North Korean researchers have been studying the volcano for some time on their side of the border and Chinese researchers have been studying their side—what has been missing is a concerted effort to study the volcano as a whole to both learn more about it, and to see if it might be possible to determine if the volcano is likely to erupt again anytime soon.The collaborative effort consisted of setting up six state-of-the-art seismic monitors in a 60 kilometer-long line east from the summit to far into the countryside and monitoring them for the period August 2013 to August 2015. Analysis of the data from the monitors revealed a large portion of the crust below the volcano appeared to be at least partially molten, a hint that the volcano could erupt. The team also studied the area around the volcano, looking for debris thrown from the volcano during prior eruptions, and found evidence of superheated clouds of very hot gasses and ashes sweeping downhill along with large mudslides. That suggested that if the volcano erupts again, it could cause serious flooding if the summit lake is unleashed, or worse a worldwide climate impact as ash is pushed into the sky and sulfur dioxide is released. Alaska volcano settles down after late March eruptioncenter_img Explore further Journal information: Science Advances Citation: International team gets a seismic look at North Korean/Chinese volcano (2016, April 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-04-international-team-seismic-north-koreanchinese.html © 2016 Phys.orglast_img read more

VIDEO Deshaun Watson got violently helicoptered in last nights national title win

first_imgIt was worth it. He’s a national champion. This morning, Deshaun Watson sits atop the college football world after a historic 35-31 national championship win over Nick Saban’s latest Alabama juggernaut. Watson finished the night with 420 yards passing and three touchdowns, including the game-winning touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second left in the game.Game-Winner: DeShaun Watson to Hunter Renfrow from the sideline is magical to watch. Congrats to #Clemson. #NationalChampionship pic.twitter.com/dFEL82Celt— Hardys® (@HardysMedia) January 10, 2017 But, the game wasn’t all smooth sailing for Watson. He was on the receiving end of a number of vicious Crimson Tide hits that would have knocked many quarterbacks out of the game. He kept coming back for more.The most punishing shot came with Clemson trailing 17-14 in the third quarter, as Watson scrambled to convert a third-and-long. As he attempted to stretch to get the first, he was crushed by an Alabama defender, and sent into a violent helicopter spin like he was John Elway in Super Bowl XXXII against the Packers.Deshaun Watson tried to fly a helicopter for a 1st downpic.twitter.com/Cbaaves30O— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) January 10, 2017center_img Advertisementlast_img read more

5 Ways to Grow in Any Economy

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. How Success Happens Even in tough economic times, small businesses need to find new ideas, develop original products, and engineer fresh market approaches. These are the pillars of good business, and each is made from a mixture of creativity and expertise. While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s entirely possible to implement strategies that drive not only employee engagement, but also innovation and, ultimately, sales–all without enormous investment in systems or people.What can your company do to remain fresh, vibrant and alive–all without breaking the bank? Here are five ways:1. De-emphasize office spaceThe traditional office space, where cubicles, the hum of overhead lights, and group politics preside, is not usually the most conducive environment for harnessing the most creative ideas. Giving employees the opportunity to perform some or all of their work outside the office can break this routine and cultivate an innovative workforce.Often simply changing the physical working location to the café or tea house on the corner can produce a stream of new and valuable ideas. And many of these “third places” provide complimentary wireless internet access, have space for convening, and sell enough coffee to keep everyone alert. Writers and musicians know about the creative effects of a cafe’s stimulating and relaxing atmosphere–why not CEOs?2. Virtualize your workforceIn addition to being ineffective at times, the office space may be an unnecessary expense. The cost of maintaining an office space is usually the single largest line item when it comes to business overhead. Many small businesses have eliminated the expense by ceasing to rent office space and setting up virtually. Transforming your business into a virtual operation creates the new opportunity to hire and retain talented people from outside of your geographic area and frees up funds to be invested elsewhere.Keep in mind, though, that while there are many benefits to virtualizing a company, the reduction in face time also necessitates a change in management style. Much greater focus is needed on project expectations and deadlines, as well as clear and consistent communication.3. Leverage collaboration applicationsAt the beginning and end of the day, your business is about people–the clients you serve and the staff that you employ. Connecting these people in the right way is essential to creating and running a great company, and collaboration applications are excellent tools with which to accomplish this goal.Collaboration applications create new avenues of communication that effectively improve team cohesion and break down the invisible barriers within a company. Intelligent implementation can turn a stagnant, sluggish company into one composed of engaged employees, who contribute more of their “discretionary time” toward the success of the company.One excellent collaboration application is GoogleDocs, which creates an online conference table where ideas can be put forward, discussed and implemented. Every document created within the application is saved, so it can be opened and edited wherever there is an internet connection. Novice computer users will find GoogleDocs easy to learn and intuitive to operate. Likewise, instant messaging programs such as Skype or MSN Messenger enable fast communication through chat groups formed around departments or projects.CPS Creative, a website design company, is a great model for its implementation of collaboration software. The company, which is almost entirely virtual, requires all employees to use the same instant messaging program and be online at designated times. All of the employees assigned to a specific project join the same chat group. Also, at the beginning and end of each work day, all employees check in with their colleagues in order to let them know they have arrived and left.4. Invest in the skills of current employeesOn a regular basis, companies face a host of small but necessary tasks that must be accomplished, like creating a Flash graphic for the website, writing a marketing brochure, or drafting a press release. Yet smaller companies cannot afford a dedicated IT department, marketing staff or public affairs coordinator, despite the fact that many of these tasks, like maintaining a functioning and well-designed website, are essential to attracting new business and transitioning from a struggling start-up to a vibrant and growing company.Hiring new employees with the necessary skills is not the only solution; invest in the skill development of your current workforce. Your staff most likely either has the requisite capabilities to accomplish these projects or can quickly acquire them. The additional skills will undoubtedly be very marketable, which satisfies your employees while providing for the needs of the company.One resource to help accomplish this is the website Lynda.com, which provides online training in professional-grade applications like Adobe Dreamweaver and Illustrator–the required tools to build quality websites and produce stunning marketing materials.5. Build cross-functional teamsFinally, one of the greatest methods for producing innovation in a company is to solicit contributions from the entire workforce. Taking your employees, who are the most knowledgeable experts on the company, and gathering them around a conference table will help your company develop innovative solutions with little investment.CPS Creative once encouraged a non-technical member of their staff to try his hand at Flash design, something that he had never done before. After seeing his immediate aptitude for it, the company merged the product developed by the original Flash expert with the staff member’s design, creating a better product in the end.Regardless of the condition of the economy, companies should always looking toward expansion. Growing while revenue is stagnant is a difficult, but not impossible, task. Consider these five ideas: shifting the workplace away from the office, virtualizing the workforce, using collaboration applications, investing in new skills acquisition, and tapping into the talents of existing employees. All of these strategies are inexpensive and cultivate the essential ingredients of successful small (and someday large) businesses everywhere–workforce engagement, innovation and, ultimately, sales.Jennifer Brown is a well-regarded speaker and consultant on the future of the workplace, workforce diversity, and the development of new leadership competencies for a new global environment. Brown and her team have coached hundreds of executives and managers worldwide on critical issues of flexible team strategies, harnessing the energy of the workforce, and creative ways to empower current and future leaders. Listen Now 6 min read Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. December 23, 2009last_img read more

Theyll be back Philippine Tourism Secretary on Chinese tourist pul

first_imgNews that Chinese travel agencies are suspending tours to the Philippines amid territorial disputes over Scarborough Shoal has not ruffled the feathers of Philippine Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr, who maintains the move will “not have a major impact” on the country’s tourism.e-Travel Blackboard was on location in Los Angeles where Mr Jimenez admitted the Department of Tourism was saddened by events but claimed that, “from a business stand point, it’s far from disastrous”.“The Philippines has at least ten primary markets, China is only one of them and not even in the top three,” Mr Jimenez said.“Last year, the Philippines welcomed 243,000 visitors from China – nothing to write your mother about.”Mr Jimenez assured media the actions of the Chinese travel agencies will likely be temporary and until the return of the Chinese tourists, the Philippine Department of Tourism will look to its “traditionally stronger markets” to make up the numbers.“There is so much interest to go to the Philippines in Japan. So maybe this is as good a time as any to strengthen our efforts there,” Mr Jimenez said, adding that now may be the time to reallocate resources accordingly.Mr Jimenez was clear that the Chinese will always be very welcome in the Philippines and hopes the dispute will be resolved quickly. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: G.A Mr Jimenez is saddened but not worriedlast_img read more

Study finds that Sabre is the global leader

first_imgStudy finds that Sabre is the global leaderStudy indicates that Sabre offers more ancillary content and finds the lowest fare more oftenOutperforming the competition, global travel technology provider Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) consistently delivers the lowest fares with a large selection of attractive flight options, as found by a wide-scale qualitative and quantitative competitive global distribution system (GDS) study conducted across 18 countries by Dr. Fried & Partner, a leading marketing and consulting firm.While Sabre has been benchmarking its low-fare search performance for several years, this year’s study went one step beyond: it included extensive interviews with travel professionals as well as a “best fare” assessment comparing low fare efficacy, bookability, response time, diversity and ancillary content data.According to the research, Sabre surpasses its competitors in all regions, finding the lowest fare 10 percent more often than Amadeus and 7 percent more often Travelport, on average. In addition, the study finds that 75 percent of bookable air content in Sabre offers a branded fare or ancillary option, versus 59 percent in Amadeus and 55 percent in Travelport.For Australia specifically, the study has revealed impressive data, indicating that Sabre finds the lowest fare up to 18 percent more often than Amadeus and 16 percent more often than Travelport, on average.Travellers increasingly demand ancillary content for a more personalized travel experienceThe study reveals for both leisure and business travellers that while price continues to be important, there is also a growing demand for a higher quality of service as travellers want more out of their travel experience. Depending on the traveller profile and the type of journey they are undertaking, the study indicates that travellers are willing to pay up to 25 percent more for added value.“The concept of best fare for an individual traveller goes beyond price and depends very much on their specific needs, preferences, and reasons for travel.”, said Wade Jones, president, Sabre Travel Network. “Sabre is very aware of the increasingly sophisticated demands of today’s travellers and we have been making significant strategic investments in our air shopping solutions to deliver both low fares and ancillary content. These investments will help airlines and agencies raise conversion rates, increase customer satisfaction, and foster loyalty.”Business and leisure travellers have different expectations on price and ancillary contentWhile the lowest price remains top of mind across all customer segments, the research suggests that there are pronounced differences between leisure and business travellers. The survey found:Leisure travellers have certain considerations when shopping for a trip:Flexibility when it comes to travel dates or destinationPriceBaggage includedRefundability or factors like shorter travel durations are less importantBusiness travellers are also price-conscious, but their needs are more diverse than those of leisure travellers. Alongside price, other deciding factors include:Short travel durationAirline brandAmenities like more legroom, priority boarding and lounge accessFares that deliver convenience and flexibility within the confines of their corporate travel policiesA shifting market landscape will benefit airlines, travel agents and travellers“We are seeing a shift in the market as awareness of rich content is slowly increasing,” said Dr. Markus Heller, co-founder, Dr. Fried & Partner. “As airlines continue to unbundle their offers and provide a wider range of branded fares and ancillaries, travellers appreciate individual services and amenities more than when they were included. Our research suggests that, as rich content gets more and more into travellers’ focus, it will present a significant opportunity for differentiation to travel agents.”“This changing landscape will benefit travel agents as well as airlines,” said Wade Jones. “Sabre is dedicated to helping airlines merchandise and distribute their content, including branded fares and all the air extras, through both direct and indirect channels. We are continuously enriching our technology to support the airlines’ omnichannel strategies, helping them increase their yield, basket size, upsell, cross-sell and merchandise their products in an attractive, consistent manner.”Sabre’s travel marketplace plays an important role in facilitating the marketing and sale of airfares, hotel rooms, rental cars, rail tickets and other types of travel, to more than 475,000 travel agents and thousands of corporations who use it to shop, book and manage travel. It is one of the world’s largest marketplaces, annually processing over $120 billion in estimated travel spend.Source = Sabre Corporationlast_img read more

NAHB Chairman If I Were FHA Commissioner

first_img Ed BradyThe Trump Administration transition team has already announced their selections for positions that will heavily impact the housing and mortgage industry such as HUD Secretary and Treasury Secretary, but one position that has yet to be announced is that of FHA Commissioner. Currently, several names have been thrown into the ring to succeedNAH FHA Acting Commissioner Biniam Gebre, including Debra Still, President and Chief Executive of Pulte Mortgage; Rep. Scott Garrett (R-New Jersey); and Ed Brady, Chairman of the Board for the National Association of Home Builders.MReport spoke with Brady, who shared his perspective on the work that needs to be done in housing policy.What can you confirm about the possibility of your selection as FHA Commissioner?They have reached out to me as part of the transition, and I am sure they are reaching out to industry advocates as well. I have talked to members of the transition team about this position specifically.If chosen as the administration’s selection for FHA Commissioner, what are some of the issues or policies you would like to FHA take a focus on?Part of the reason I am interested in this is because my industry was on the ground during the crisis, building houses and working with customers. FHA was a lifeline to mortgages during the peak of the crisis and I understand how important FHA is to the housing finance system, not only with the first-time buyer or low down-payment buyer but counter cyclical to the economic environment. FHA really provided an outlet for people to still stay in business. I think that we can obviously look at any of the agencies and try and figure out how to streamline them. Being in the building industry, I understand some of the bureaucratic constraints that sometimes get in the way of moving efficiently through the process, even in the FHA single-family insurance projects. I think that streamlining and looking for efficiencies in how to become user-friendly as the largest mortgage company in the world is certainly the first step but making sure that we are meeting the mission of which FHA was founded right after the Great Depression when people couldn’t hang onto their homes without this type of product.In looking at housing policy on a broader spectrum, what issues are you hoping the new administration will make their focus?As a long-term advocate for housing and what housing provides to this country and being a small businessman for over 28 years, I think the government needs to allow small business professionals to do their job and not get in the way of overregulating and creating too many hurdles for a small business person to provide the product. Certainly, in our industry, we feel like we have been overregulated to the point where we can’t provide the product and it’s becoming more and more difficult to provide affordable housing (first-time homebuyer housing or affordable rental housing). We are hopeful that this administration will look at some of those regulations and step back on them so that we can do our jobs.We also have to look at GSE reform and hopefully protect the consistent and predictable system. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac being in conservatorship for the last eight years is not acceptable, and we need to provide enough support for Congress to take action and create a housing finance system that is sustainable, safe, sound, and certain for the American people. We look forward to working with this administration as we have in the past in trying to advocate for GSE reform.Finally, as the demand increases, we are having more and more constraints on the labor force. We need to work with this administration to make sure that Trump and his administration tackle immigration reform, that we are protecting our skilled workers and providing legal, talented workers to produce the product that the demand is asking for. Share FHA National Association of Home Builders 2016-12-19 Seth Welborn NAHB Chairman: If I Were FHA Commissioner . . .center_img in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News December 19, 2016 626 Views last_img read more

Mortgage Rates Break Out of Downward Cycle

first_img The downward slope of mortgage rates has seen a shift in the opposite direction, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS).The average 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages experienced upward movement for the first time in 2017. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.19 percent for the week ended January 26, 2017, rising from 4.09 percent in the previous week. During this time last year, the average 30-year rate was hovering around 3.79 percent.The 15-year rate averaged 3.40 percent, up from 3.34 percent the previous week and higher than 2015’s 3.07 percent during the same time-period. The report notes that the 30-year rate increase exactly matched the 10-year Treasury yield increase of 10 basis points.“This week marks the first increase in the mortgage rate since December 29,” stated Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti. He does not expect the higher mortgage rate to cause any significant downward movement in housing prices.In fact, the shortened supply of homes for sale should keep home prices relatively high for the foreseeable future. “The 2.8 percent decline in existing home sales in December is a reminder of the lack of homes for sale. According to the National Association of Realtors, supply is at its lowest level since 1999, a factor that should support higher house prices regardless of the oscillations of the mortgage rate.”The movement in the rate should not be taken as sign of a continual trend, as the ongoing volatility will likely continue for some time. “Rates have been rather volatile since November, and such moves are not that unusual,” noted HSH.com VP Keith Gumbinger.Gumbinger goes on to state that “it’s a reasonable bet that headlines of higher mortgage rates won’t be exactly welcomed by homebuyers or homeowners looking to refinance,” but he doesn’t think that the increase in the rate will have a meaningful effect on borrowers who are in the process of buying a home, as the costs incurred due to the increase are rather minimal. Mortgage Rates Break Out of Downward Cycle Share January 26, 2017 644 Views center_img Fixed-Rate Mortgage mortgage rate 2017-01-26 Timothy McNally in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News, Secondary Marketlast_img read more

Economic sentiment down in June ERC says

first_imgThe economic sentiment indicator declined by 0.8 points in June, to 117.6, as confidence in construction fell, accompanied by a drop in consumer confidence, the University of Cyprus said.The decline of consumer confidence this month was mainly due to more pessimistic household assessments about their financial situation and their expectation with respect to unemployment over the next 12 months, as well as a more negative stance towards savings, the Economic Research Centre of the university said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.Interviewed construction companies were more pessimistic in assessing their current order book in June, the ERC added.Business confidence among retail companies remained unchanged in June as more unfavourable responses about the current inventories and expectations about sales over the next three months offset an improved assessment of sales over the past three years, the ERC said.The picture in industry was similar, as an improved assessment of current orders was offset by a downwards revision of output expectations over the next three months, the centre said.On the other hand, service companies said they were encouraged by their improved financial situation and demand over the past three months, the ERC said.You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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If you want to search for a location in Maps, France and the UK launched missiles intended to take out Syria’s chemical weapons capability American Ambassador Nikki Haley called on Russia — the main backer of the Syrian regime — "to take a hard look at the company it keeps" Her Russian counterpart Vassily Nebenzia retorted that the US and its allies were engaged in the "diplomacy of myth-making"The strikes against the regime of Russia’s ally Bashar Assad put an exclamation point on how swiftly ties between the former Cold War foes have deteriorated in recent weeks with President Trump even overcoming his past unwillingness to criticize President Putin by nameNow the US-Russia relationship already under severe strain over issues from Russian meddling in the 2016 American presidential campaign to its role in Syria and Ukraine may be irretrievably broken for the foreseeable future There may be too much bad blood too much suspicion and too much anger on both sides to turn the animosity around"I don’t see things getting better" said Boris Zilberman deputy director of congressional relations at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a Russia expert "We’re at a very low point and clearly the administration’s position on Russia has hardened"The result has been an unprecedented wave of retaliations and tit-for-tat actions After the UK blamed Russia for the poisoning of a former spy in Britain more than 150 Russian diplomats were expelled by the UK and allies including the US The Trump administration followed with new sanctions on Russian oligarchs including billionaire aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska His company lost half its value in a day after the sanctions were announcedHaley raised the prospect of still more sanctions on Russia saying Sunday on CBS’s "Face the Nation" that a fresh round of penalties would "go directly to any sorts of companies that were dealing with equipment" related to Assad and his chemical weaponsWhile for now no significant new US sanctions seem likely – limiting Russian market losses after last week’s sharp declines — in Moscow lawmakers are starting Monday to discuss a draft law with counter-measures against the US "What kind of cooperation can there be Where" asked Fyodor Lukyanov head of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy who advises the Kremlin Russia gets "new sanctions and threats every week" he said "Americans believe that you can humiliate and put pressure everywhere and at the same time offer cooperation where they need it This does not happen"The two countries routinely accuse each other of fabricating events as they did during the Cold WarThe US says Russia is blocking investigators from the scene of the chemical attack that prompted the latest airstrikes Russia has argued both that the attack in the Syrian city of Douma never happened or that it was orchestrated by the US and its allies to provoke a military response"Americans need to understand that the wars of the future will look more like this: Russia is investing significant resources to create propaganda and disinformation" said Sen Ben Sasse a Nebraska Republican after Russia claimed that almost all the missiles fired into Syria were shot down — an assertion the US denied "Our enemies will work to create confusion and distrust among Americans here at home"What limited cooperation there was between the two countries has ground to a halt A November agreement between the two sides to press all parties in Syria toward negotiations known as the Geneva process has stalled and they have abandoned plans for more "de-escalation zones" to ease the violence Instead Russia is attempting to create such zones with Turkey and IranFrom the White House there is still hope that Russia will change its posture and Trump’s informal invitation for an eventual meeting with Putin hasn’t been rescinded"After his last call with President Putin on March 20 the president confirmed that the two had discussed a bilateral meeting at a number of potential venues including the White House" Robert Palladino a spokesman for the National Security Council said in a statement Sunday night "The desire for a meeting still stands as the president believes a better relationship with Russia is in our mutual interest That said the president has been consistent and tough on Russia""While we would like to work with Russia we also recognize that an improved relationship will require the Russian government to take positive steps and the president will continue to hold them accountable for malign activities" Palladino saidIn the meantime though routine diplomacy has given way to pettiness Russia’s ambassador to the US, AAP and Congress. to be exact — has earned its place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest distance ever paddled in a pumpkin, as the investigation drew to a close."Richardson says she never spoke to Moore again. Probably with a roommate, 2015. “We will defend our territory with the last blood in our veins. whom he said members freely and willingly elected as their Speaker hence would not embark on such a despicable project.

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