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Prayer vigil for First Nations communities in crisis being held Thursday

In response to the suicide attempts in the northern First Nations communities of Attawapiskat, Ontario and Cross Lake, Manitoba, the Indigenous Solidarity Coalition at Brock University will be hosting a tobacco ceremony and prayer vigil on Thursday, April 21 from noon to 2 p.m. in front of the Schmon Tower.“We are inviting Brock’s extended community to join us for the vigil. We will send our prayers out to communities and together make signs sending good energy and support to the individuals, families and health support workers who are on the front lines of this crisis,” says Indigenous Solidarity Coalition, Co-chair, Jodielynn Harrison.Last week, Attawapiskat’s chief and eight councillors declared a state of emergency, citing 11 suicide attempts so far in the month of April and 28 recorded attempts in March in their small community of less than 2,000 people.Equally heartbreaking is the reportedly more than 140 people attempting or threatening to kill themselves in a recent two-week period in the northern Manitoba community of Pimicikamak Cree Nation (Cross Lake), which has a population of 6,000.Most of the deaths or attempted suicides in these communities are youth, of the same age or younger, than most first-year Brock students.“It’s tragic. Recent news reports state some of the youth who have died by suicide in these communities are as young as 14 and 15 years of age. These young people need hope, to know there is a future out there worth living for,” says Indigenous Solidarity Coalition, Co-chair, Celeste Smith.To put this into context, the Brock student population is more than 18,000. That is three times the size of Pimicikamak and nine times the size of Attawapiskat.“If suddenly almost 150 students at Brock attempted suicide in a two-week period, each and every one of us would stop and question why this is happening in our community? How can we support them so this can stop?” says Smith.Suicide is an epidemic in indigenous communities across Turtle Island (Canada). While these two communities are what is making news, it barely scratches the surface of what is a larger social issue, Harrison says.“The reality is, numerous First Nations and Inuit communities across the country have declared public health emergencies this year. Many communities are without proper health services, adequate housing and in some cases, access to clean water. Health care support workers are burning out. Our communities are in crisis and they need our support,” she says.Please join the Indigenous Solidarity Coalition at noon on Thursday in front of the Schmon Tower to show your support and compassion for the First Nations individuals, families and communities in crisis.Individuals are welcome to bring hand drums, rattles, or other meaningful objects to share in song and prayers. Feel free to bring your medicines, good energy and intentions.For more information email• The Indigenous Solidarity Coalition at Brock is dedicated to providing people in the Brock community and the Niagara Region the opportunity to engage in events which raise awareness and foster activism surrounding Indigenous issues. read more


ExEagle Scout accused in online drug empire to stand trial

SALT LAKE CITY — A 29-year-old former Eagle Scout accused of running a multimillion-dollar opioid drug ring out of his suburban Salt Lake City basement is set to go on trial Monday.Prosecutors say Aaron Shamo was a prolific dark web kingpin who peddled poisonous fentanyl pressed to look like prescription drugs to thousands of people, killing at least one.Authorities said the 2016 bust of the operation that sold nearly half-million pills ranked among the largest in the country.But Shamo’s family and lawyers say that’s a false image of him. They say he made mistakes, but he’s being wrongly targeted as the sole ringleader, despite evidence his partners who were offered plea agreements were as deeply involved as he was.Lindsay Whitehurst And Claire Galofaro, The Associated Press read more


Libyan political accord stands firm but stuck – UN envoy tells Security

UN Special Representative Martin Kobler also underscored that in addition to looking at the security situation in the country, the economic dimensions also needed to be kept on the agenda. “Until today, even the most vociferous critics of the Agreement acknowledge that it is the only workable framework,” Mr. Kobler told the Council at its meeting on the north African country. “That said, the Libyan Political Agreement did not fulfil the expectations. The implementation has stalled,” he added. Mr. Kobler explained factors such as the limited authority of the Government of National Accord (GNA), the rejection, twice, of the proposed lists of GNA by the Libyan House of Representatives, lack of cooperation between State institutions, “pretender” governments competing for power, and crime and volatile security situation continued to add to the worries in the country.To conclude an agreement is difficult, to implement it is even more difficult, as Nelson Mandela said. Sounding the alarm, he said the country “continues to be awash” in weapons, and arrivals of new weapons continue unabated, in violation of existing weapons embargo. “Weapons do not fall from the sky. They come by land or sea,” he stressed, adding that they sometimes end up in the hands of terrorists throughout the region. As such, he called for strong enforcement of the embargo until Libya has a reliable and coherent security set up. Of special concern, Mr. Kobler underscored, were violent clashes in Tripoli – the first since 2014 – triggered by the killing of a religious scholar, and he noted that such clashes were symptoms of the lack of security and underlying tensions between communities. He added that despite an increase in oil production, the country remains in a budget deficit of about 70 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and said that the strained relations between the Presidency Council and the Central Bank further complicated the financial situation. Briefing the UN Security Council, Special Representative Martin Kobler outlines the gains in the fight against terrorism, the challenges faced, as well as the outlook for Libya in 2017. Credit: UN News Centre “Libya’s financial reserves have shrunk from $108 billion in 2013 to $45 billion. The country will face an economic meltdown unless something changes,” he stressed, expressing particular concern for the lack of rule of law, rising corruption and high yields on the black market that result in billions of dollars disappearing into illegitimate accounts.Next steps In moving ahead, the UN envoy said that while the implementation of the Agreement is challenged, its articles are “not set in stone.” “The Libyan Political Agreement foresees a mechanism for change, should the political circumstances demand,” he explained. He pointed to the need to: tackle outstanding political questions; stop the use of armed groups and instead set up a Presidential Guard (as proposed by the Presidency Council) to protect State institutions and embassies; prioritize economic recovery of Sirte and Benghazi; address the fundamentals of the Libyan economy; promptly act on human rights issues, including the situation of migrants; and the return of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), which he heads up, to Tripoli in a phased manner, once the security concerns are mitigated. read more

Devon Walker Injured Tulane Player Showing Progress

Tulane University safety Devon Walker, who suffered a broken neck against Tulsa on Saturday, was “alert and responsive,” when addressed by family and friends on Monday, according to Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson.Walker was transported to St. Francis Hospital, where on Sunday he underwent three hours of surgery to stabilize his spine. Tulane team doctor Greg Stewart told ABC the procedure was “very successful.”“[The paralysis potential] is certainly a concern,” Stewart told the Tulsa World, “We don’t know what the ultimate outcome is going to be.”As with any severe spine injury, hours are long and dicey and reveal frustratingly little. It will be days or weeks before Walker’s prognosis is determined. He remains in stable condition in the ICU, with significant swelling around his spine. But late on Monday, Dickson shared a touching story on a Tulane conference call.Although Dickson could not give much in the way of a medical update, he said Devon “has not lost his sense of humor.”Dickson shared a story of a conversation he had with one of the nurses about something very important to the 21-year-old, three-year letterman: his hair.“I told [Devon] one of the things that almost occurred was [a nurse] cutting [his] hair,” Dickson said. “I wanted him to know I put up a fight.”Dickson said Walker glanced up from his hospital bed and “gave me that look: ‘Really? Did she really say that?’ ”Then he smiled.Asked if Walker’s hair was cut, Dickson gave a vociferous, “No!”The crown of Walker’s helmet collided with that of a teammate as the two tried to make a tackle, and it was clear Walker was seriously injured. “We quickly realized it was a significant event,” Dickson said.Medical staff from both teams rushed the field and worked on Walker for more than 20 minutes before an ambulance took him from the stadium. Several coaches were in tears as a prayer was led inside the Tulsa stadium.A Tulane website for Walker has been flooded with messages of support. Walker’s parents, Booker and Inez, released a statement saying, “We have been overwhelmed by the amount of concerned well wishes we have received from all over the world. Although we cannot respond individually to all, we thank everyone for the love and support shown to Devon and our family. The medical care that our son has received so far has been outstanding.” read more


Banro start to gold production from Twangiza DRC imminent

first_imgBanro’s Twangiza gold mine (IM, February 2008, pp8-26) is on schedule to pour gold in Q4 2011 and ramp up to full production of around 10,000 oz/month early in 2012. Simon Village, CEO said in August: “We are fast approaching a significant milestone for both Banro and South Kivu province in the DRC. Since Banro’s Board made the decision to proceed with development and construction of the Twangiza Mine in the summer of 2009, we have worked diligently to a fast schedule which has allowed our company to pour its first gold in two years, and with weeks to go, we remain on schedule. It will be the first new commercial gold mine in the DRC for over half a century.”The successful activation of this 1.3 Mt/y capacity gold production facility follows 24 months of strict deadlines which have been systematically achieved starting with the plant site and construction camp civil excavation works, that were completed two months ahead of schedule with a total of 1.2 Mt of earth being excavated. The capacity of this plant is planned to be increased to 1.7 Mt/y by mid-2012.Grade control drilling for the initial mining has been completed confirming the resource model’s evaluation, and based on this data an optimised mine plan has been finalised. Pre-strip, which was minimal owing to the outcrop of the reserves at surface, has been completed and mine production commenced towards the end of August. The mine planning is designed to optimise revenue by careful management of the cut off/cut over relationships of the orebody.last_img read more


Lockheed Begins Construction on NASAs Quiet Supersonic Aircraft

first_img NASA Conducts ‘Quiet Sonic Boom’ Tests to Prepare for Supersonic FlightVirgin Galactic Completes Second Powered Flight Test of Spaceplane Stay on target Lockheed Martin and NASA are bringing us one step closer to supersonic travel over land.The firm’s advanced design and development division, Skunk Works, has begun manufacturing the first part for the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft.For nearly 30 years, the Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner operated at a speedy Mach 2.04 (1,354 mph at cruise altitude).Now, NASA and Lockheed Martin are collaborating to bring supersonic passenger travel back: Earlier this year, the space agency chose Skunk Works to design, build, and test the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator.“The start of manufacturing on the project marks a great leap forward for the X-59 and the future of quiet supersonic commercial travel,” program manager Peter Iosifidis said in a statement.One of the biggest issued with the Concorde was its sonic boom—the sound associated with shock waves created by an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound—on the ground.A prohibition on supersonic flight over land meant the aircraft could travel at its phenomenal speeds only over the Atlantic.Illustration of the X-59 QueSST as it flies above NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California (via Lockheed Martin/NASA)So, Lockheed and NASA are trying something new.“The long, slender design of the aircraft is the key to achieving a low sonic boom,” according to Iosifidis.Designed to cruise at 55,000 feet at a speed of about 940 mph, the X-59 QueSST will (fingers crossed!) reduce the loudness of a sonic boom to that of a gentle thump—about as loud as a car door closing.Based on NASA’s official timeline, the X-plane will conduct its first flight in 2021, gliding above select U.S. communities to measure public perception of the noise.Data collected will help NASA establish new rules to overturn current regulations banning supersonic travel over land.The agency has already begun, earlier this month conducting a series of quiet supersonic research flights using F/A-18 jets off the Texas Gulf Coast.More coverage on Martin Unveils New Deep Space HabitatNASA Chooses Landing Site for Mars 2020 Rover MissionScientists Discover Potential Super-Earth Orbiting ‘Nearby’ Starlast_img read more

Window washer falls to his death in San Diegos East Village

first_img KUSI Newsroom, Ashlie Rodriguez, Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Window washer falls to his death in San Diego’s East Village 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A window washer plunged eight floors to his death while working on an East Village building Tuesday, authorities reported.61-year-old James Stinson of Jamul fell into a courtyard in the 1100 block of J Street about 8:45 a.m., according to police and the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.Medics took Stinson to UCSD Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.The accident will be investigated by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, as is standard in cases of workplace fatalities in the state. June 12, 2018center_img KUSI Newsroom, Ashlie Rodriguez Posted: June 12, 2018 Updated: 10:19 PMlast_img read more

Man killed in Mymensingh gunfight

first_imgA suspected mugger was killed in a reported gunfight with police in the city’s Balashpur area in Mymensingh early Thursday, reports UNB.The deceased is Nayem, 27, prime accused of college student Ibrahim Khalil murder case.To arrest the accused in the college student murder case, a police team conducted a drive in Balashpur area early in the morning, said Khandaker Saker Ahmed, officer-in-charge of Kotwali model police station.Sensing the presence of the law enforcers, members of the muggers gang opened fire on police, prompting them to retaliate that triggered a gunfight.Nayem sustained bullet injuries on his belly while his other accomplices managed to flee.Police took him to the Mymensingh Medical College Hospital (MMCH) where physicians declared him dead.On 18 January, Ibrahim Khalil, 20, an HSC student of Ananda Mohan College was stabbed to death by alleged muggers in city’s Balashpur area.last_img read more

Microbes may encourage altruistic behavior

first_img 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. (—Why do people commonly go out of their way to do something nice for another person, even when it comes at a cost to themselves—and how could such altruistic behavior have evolved? The answer may not just be in our genes, but also in our microbes. Explore further In a new paper, researchers Ohad Lewin-Epstein, Ranit Aharonov, and Lilach Hadany at Tel-Aviv University in Israel have theoretically shown that microbes could influence their hosts to act altruistically. And this influence could be surprisingly effective, with simulations showing that microbes may promote the evolution of altruistic behavior in a population to an even greater extent than genetic factors do.”I believe the most important aspect of the work is that it changes the way we think about altruism from centering on the animals (or humans) performing the altruistic acts to their microbes,” Hadany told’s already well-known that microbes can affect the behavior of their hosts, with a prime example being how the rabies virus increases aggressive behavior in infected individuals. Research has also shown that the microbiome—the community of microorganisms that inhabit our gut—can even manipulate the hosts’ social behavior by infecting neurons and altering neurotransmitter and hormone activity.Against this backdrop, the researchers in the new study have proposed that microbes may induce a person to help others because the close physical contact (for example, food-sharing, co-sheltering, and grooming) increases the transmission of the microbes from one person to another. So when someone does something nice for us, we are not just the recipient of a kind act, but also of their microbes.To show that this idea can have a prevailing effect on a population over time, the researchers designed simulations of interacting individuals, some with altruism-inducing microbes, and some without. Then using a prisoner’s dilemma payoff scheme, the researchers investigated what happens to this population, its microbes, and its altruistic behavior over many generations.The results showed that, as long as horizontal transmission (between individuals) of microbes is allowed, altruism-inducing microbes can take over the population, leading to microbe-induced altruism. This result occurs even when only a very small percentage of the population initially carries these altruism-inducing microbes. The simulations also revealed that the evolution of altruism is successful because the microbes have a chance to either meet genetically related microbes in the recipient or infect and transform some of the recipient’s microbes into relatives.In a variation of this model in which altruism can also be induced by host genes, the researchers found that genetically encoded altruism does not evolve, but microbe-induced altruism continues to evolve whether or not genetic factors are present. Further simulations showed that, although there are some cases in which altruism encoded in genes can persist, microbe-induced altruism persists more often. Overall, the results suggest that microbes may play a dominant and previously overlooked role in the evolution of altruistic behavior.If microbes do exert such large sway on altruistic behavior, then it raises other intriguing questions, such as whether antibiotics, probiotics, and foods affecting the microbiome may influence the altruistic behavior of their hosts. In the future, the researchers plan to address these possibilities, as well as to test the theory.”We are now collaborating with experimental biologists in order to empirically validate the predictions of our theory,” Hadany said. Study reveals some secrets of how microbes and their genes traverse the globe Journal information: Nature Communicationscenter_img More information: Ohad Lewin-Epstein, Ranit Aharonov, and Lilach Hadany. “Microbes can help explain the evolution of host altruism.” Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14040 © 2017 Citation: Microbes may encourage altruistic behavior (2017, January 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from (Left) The payoff matrix and (right) an illustration of horizontal transmission probability of microbes between hosts. Using this model, researchers have found that microbes may induce their hosts to help other hosts, benefitting the microbes and the other hosts, but not always the original hosts. Credit: Lewin-Epstein et al. Nature Communicationslast_img read more

The SwordWielding Pregnant Viking – Freydis Eirikdottir

first_imgThe Latin alphabet arrived in Denmark in the 9th century, but only a select few – mostly missionaries, used it. It slowly traveled into the rest of Scandinavia with the spread of Christianity by the end of the 11th or beginning of the 12th centuries. It’s too bad, in a way, because the people that really could have left us some interesting stories, the Vikings, used primitive runes that were not really flexible enough for long narratives.That leaves historians and the rest of us with just intriguing glimpses of the northern warriors left by Arab travelers, and the sagas written centuries after the last Viking raids.Illustration of a Viking raid, wood engraving by Hermann VogelOne of the most intriguing stories is that of Freydis Eiriksdottir, reputedly the daughter of famed explorer Eirik (or Erik) the Red. There are two stories about Freydis in two different sagas: The Greenland Saga, and the Sage of Eirik the Red.AdChoices广告inRead invented by TeadsThe Greenland Saga, which tells of the Icelandic Viking discovery of the world’s largest island, is believed to have been written sometime in the 1200s, some two hundred years after the events in it are supposed to have taken place. The Saga of Eirik the Red was at about the same time.An interpretation of the sailing routes to Greenland, Vinland, Helluland and Markland travelled by different characters in the Icelandic Sagas, mainly Saga of Eric the Red and Saga of the Greenlanders. Photo by Masae CC BY SA 3.0Though she is only mentioned briefly in the sagas, Eirik’s daughter Freydis stands out. In both sagas, she is a tough, determined woman and a formidable foe. The only problem, from a historical standpoint, is that in one of the stories, she’s a hero, fighting off Native Americans, and in the other, she’s a conniving and dangerous axe-wielding murderer.In the Greenland Saga, Freydis and two brothers, Helgi and Finnbogi, agree to undertake an expedition to “Vinland”, as the Vikings had labeled their southernmost North American landing site. As many of you likely know, this was probably in the area of L’anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland.Vinland Map, allegedly a “mappa mundi” dating from 1440The three agreed to travel to Vinland and share any profits fifty-fifty. Freydis, among other reasons, wanted to go to Vinland to claim a home already built out by her brother Eirik.Eirik tells her she can use it but doesn’t give it to her. Then, she and the brothers agree to go in three ships – but none of them were to take more than 30 men (and an unspecified number of women) with them, so none would have an advantage.“Summer on the Greenland coast around the year 1000”, painting by Carl RasmussenFreydis, however, secreted five extra warriors on her ship. Before you get ahead of yourself, brothers in the Viking Age were not always allies – the sagas and actual history are replete with family members turning on each other.Getting there before Freydis, the brothers move into Eirik’s home. When the woman arrives, she makes them move their things and they are forced to build their own home for the coming winter.Eiríksstaðir, the homestead of Erik the Red in Haukadalur, Iceland. Photo by Bromr CC BY-SA 3.0During that season, she and the brothers engage in petty disputes and develop a nice, deep Viking hatred of one another, but when spring comes, Finnbogi tells Freydis that he is tired of always arguing. Freydis falsely tells him that she is tired of Vinland and wants to go home.They strike a deal involving their ships and some goods, and Freydis goes home, where she tells her husband Thorvard a totally different story. Sounds like a Viking soap-opera, and its about to get bloody.Freydis spins a lie about how the brothers took advantage of her in a deal and how one actually hit her. She keeps egging her man on until he agrees to take the rest of their party and seek revenge.Das Haus des Glockenspiels in Bremen, Germany. Leif Erikson and Thorfinn Karlsefni feature on one of ten panels depicting famous seafarers and aviators by Bernhard Hoetger, 1934. Photo by Bernhard Hoetger CC BY-SA 2.0 deThorvard and his men sneak into the brother’s camp, take them unaware, and truss them up. Then kill them. Within minutes, the only people alive are the five women that were in the brother’s party.Freydis wants them dead, too, but none of her men will do it. So, she grabs an axe herself and hacks them to death, and enjoys doing it. She then swears her men to silence, and heads home, telling her crew to tell any curious Icelanders that the brothers elected to stay in Vinland. For their silence, her men are rewarded handsomely back in Iceland.The consequences? Well, none. Except – her brother Leif finds out and essentially puts a curse on her and her descendants. End of story.In the other version, from Eirik’s Saga, Freydis comes across about as savage, but this time, it is the Native Americans of Vinland who draw her ire. Referred to in the sagas as “skraelings”, meaning “screamers” or “screechers” for their war cries, first contact with the Vikings leaves eight Indians dead on the beach.A sheet of Eiríks saga rauða (The Saga of Erik the Red)On another visit, the Viking settlers and the skraelings settle down to an uneasy peace and even begin to trade with one another, but that peace ends when a Viking bull escapes from its pen, terrifying the natives, who have not seen such a beast before.The Vikings then leave their settlement for a better fighting position and fight a series of small battles with the skraelings, coming out on top, but realizing that no matter what, they will always be outnumbered, and they leave.The Landing of the Vikings by Arthur C. Michael, 1919Sandwiched in between the arrival of the Vikings and their departure is the other story of Freydis. Surprised in the woods by the skraelings, the Vikings turn and run for their homes – all except Freydis, who is pregnant and about to give birth. She screams at her countrymen, “Let me but have a weapon, I think I could fight better than any of you.”None of them help, but she picks up a sword from a Viking body, tears open her blouse to bare one breast, screams at the Native Americans, and beats her bare breast with the flat of her sword at the same time. According to the story, the Indians, never having seen anything like this before, get freaked out, turn tail and run. Freydis has saved the day. And that’s the end of the story.Page from the manuscript of Eiríks saga rauða.Why the two entirely different accounts? Historians debate. Many believe that the Greenland Saga, written centuries later, and by a Christian writer, is a Christian morality tale.The saga also mentions the fact that Freydis, when asked to convert to Christianity at some point, refuses. And of course, there is her murdering innocent countrymen in cold-blood. The saga was written at a time of strong anti-female bias in the Church and reflects that in Freydis’ character.Read another story from us: Modern Viking Mead Hall Opens in Seattle – Packed with Old Nordic LoreThe Freydis of the Eirik the Red’s Saga is believed to be a conglomeration of a variety of old Viking stories about female warriors, or shield-maidens, but is also considered to be a re-write of the Greenland Saga, but with some major revisions. Either way, Freydis, whoever she was, was Viking through and through.last_img read more


Keeping the Human Element in Digital Customer Experience

first_img Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 4 min read The longstanding foundations of many consumer-facing businesses (such as banking, for example) are built on personal, face-to-face relationships. Today, though, customer engagement is becoming increasingly self-serviced and transactional. People need to get things done while on the go, and companies need to get more done with fewer resources. With that said, in the age of Twitter and chatbots, can modern businesses realistically ensure the contuinity of this core value of personal relationships into the digital, mobile era? Do people still desire interactions, when tapping and swiping just feels so good? Absolutely! According to a recent survey from InContact, 67 percent of consumers prefer agent-assisted customer service. Only 39 percent of respondents were satisfied with their experience when working through self-service channels.Related: 6 Ways to Exceed Your Customer’s Expectations Just With Good MannersIf that is the case, then are companies being forced to deploy transactional, self-service tools in the name of efficiency, even though their customer experience may feel faceless and/or anonymous as a result? Not necessarily. For example, according to research from Dimension Data, nearly one-third of contact centers expect to deploy video chat for customer engagement. The research says that giving customers the additional option to remotely connect face-to-face, at moments that are important to them (and on their terms), can make their customer experience even more powerful. For example, bank customers or credit union members today may not feel the need to be face-to-face with an employee in the event of a fraudulent transaction appearing on their card. However, in the event of a major financial milestone (like planning for college, launching a small business or buying a home), people want to be one-on-one with another human being. Related: If You Want Real Relationships With Your Customers, Start Being a Better PartnerCore values should not have to change because the way we work has changed.Furthermore, all kinds of companies today are going above and beyond to create a highly differentiated customer experience (CX) to elevate their brand and encourage customer loyalty. A stronger emphasis is being placed on pushing the boundaries of CX than ever before. For internet giants like Amazon, this can manifest itself as introducing a physical element to their brand with brick-and-mortar storefronts. For large banks with millions of customers (and mazes of frustrating, impersonal digital options and voice response systems), it can be something as simple as making it really painless to get a little bit of facetime with another human being when there’s an urgent matter at hand. Time is the new currency for your customers who are looking for painless and informed solutions to their issues. We are also starting, growing and running companies in an “attention economy,” which is defined by the view that human attention is a scarce commodity. By 2018, according to research from Gartner, more than 100 out of the 500 largest global businesses will have implemented video chat. Digital transformation does not mean that Twitter avatars and chatbots (although they are driven by increasingly intelligent knowledge bases) must fully take the place of actual humans speaking to other humans, even for companies that may have millions of users.Related: 6 Strategies Smart Brands Use to Satisfy and Retain Their CustomersYou may be wondering what has changed, from a business and technology perspective, that can now let us have the best of both worlds. I can say from personal experience that the recent proliferation of API platforms is making it much more possible today for companies of all sizes to keep the human element in digital CX, if they make the choice to do so.Whether she is a baby boomer, Gen Xer or millennial, no customer likes to feel anonymous, or that the brand she is supporting is unnecessarily faceless in a time when we have so much incredible technology that gives us a ton of access to anything (and anyone). Again, leading brands today are increasingly seeing that a special, attentive customer experience can be a key differentiator, in a time when it may be more difficult for people to see what makes one bank or credit union any different than another. Keeping the human element in digital CX can give your customers a sense of inclusion and transparency that they can genuinely appreciate. July 7, 2017 Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience.last_img read more

Brand USA launches new movie in Toronto says Canada is critical and

first_img Travelweek Group TORONTO — When deciding on the concept for Brand USA’s second feature film, music seemed like an obvious choice.“Music is one of those things that emotionally connects with people, it stays with them and inspires them to travel,” Anne Madison, Brand USA’s Chief Strategy and Communications Officer tells Travelweek. “When people are on a trip, they remember the music that occurred and when they go home and hear that music again, it causes them to re-experience their great travels and also share them with other people.”Out in theatres now, ‘America’s Musical Journey’ is Brand USA’s second 3D IMAX film, following the hugely successful ‘National Parks Adventure’ documentary in 2016. That film has now been viewed by six million people, with 81% saying they would now consider a trip to the U.S., and of those 61% said they would consider the U.S. over another destination. An impressive 20% of total viewers said they will travel to the U.S. as a result of watching the movie, which Madison says is “pretty amazing for a single marketing initiative.”Madison is hoping for similar results with ‘America’s Musical Journey’, which traces the roots of American music by highlighting some of the country’s great musical cities like Los Angeles, New York, Memphis, New Orleans, Chicago, Miami and Nashville. Narrated by Morgan Freeman and starring Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Aloe Blacc, the film will roll out internationally in over 14 markets with the goal of increasing visitation to the U.S.“We want people to dream about a destination, then we want them to book, then we want them to travel, and then we want them to share their experience while travelling,” says Madison. “Music is a vehicle that provides inspiration throughout that entire cycle.”The film was officially launched yesterday in Toronto as part of Canadian Music Week, which for the first time in its 36-year history is spotlighting the United States. The event also welcomed local tourist board representatives, including North Carolina, Myrtle Beach, Portland, Austin, Georgia, and Chicago, who shared the latest updates from their respective destinations.Madison, who describes America’s music as being inspired by the world, says Canada was a fitting locale to showcase the movie. “It’s natural for Canadians and Americans to think of each other’s talent as being their own. There are blurred lines there, which is nice, and it makes it a natural fit for why we’re here at Canadian Music Week,” she adds.Canada, which is a “critical and growing” market for the U.S., was one of the first international markets Brand USA focused its marketing efforts in, with major campaigns launched in 2012. Its efforts have certainly paid off, with 19.3 million Canadians visiting last year, which account for 25% of all international visitor arrivals.(Myrtle Beach): Kimberly Hartley, Canadian/International Sales Manager, Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (left), and Julie Ellis, Public Relations & Communications Manager, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber Of Commerce“The visitation that we’ve driven out of Canada has been incremental,” says Madison. “In fact, the National Travel & Tourism Office’s current forecast is a 22% increase in visitation from Canada through 2022. That’s up from the forecast from a year before, which was only looking at a 9% increase through 2021.”More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Why this boost in Canadian numbers? In addition to Brand USA’s focused marketing efforts, Madison attributes the uptick to the “strong affinity” between Canada and the U.S.“I think it’s the proximity of our countries, I think it’s the shared language, and I also think it’s the diversity of our destinations,” she says. “There’s a commonality between our two countries and yet there’s still that surprise factor. Canadians and Americans like the familiar, but we like to be surprised at the same time.”(Chicago): Melanie Perez, Director, Media Relations Americas, Choose ChicagoThe Challenge of PromotionWhen asked what are the main challenges Brand USA is seeing today in promoting the destination, Madison notes the increasing tourism budgets of other countries.“People are seeing the value in marketing their destinations. So we’re finding better resourced competition from places like France, Mexico, Australia and lately New Zealand,” she says.To meet this competition head on, Brand USA created more direct channels to the consumer, including GoUSA TV, which had its soft launch in November 2017 and is currently available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku. As a connected TVP app similar to Hulu and Netflix, GoUSA TV now has over two million views and features on-demand video content about travel experiences in the USA. Tags: Brand USA Posted by What About Those Budget Cuts?Initial speculation of proposed budget cuts that would essentially eliminate BRAND USA was first reported in May 2017. According to industry reports, President Trump’s controversial budget proposal would shift revenue over to Customs and Border Protection, with travel and tourism falling by the wayside. So whatever happened to these proposed cuts?Madison says there was no slash to the budget, and none in the foreseeable future. “We’re really confident in our budget and our ability to continue to market the USA because we continue to have strong support on both sides of the aisle. While we can’t engage in any kind of advocacy or lobbying efforts, this is information that’s being shared with us.”More news:  Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesMadison also notes that while the President’s budget is a statement of priorities, the “purse strings” and decisions are made by Congress.“We’re not concerned about it. There’ve been a number of federal agencies that have also supported and included us in their budgets,” she says.(North Carolina): Stephanie Freed-Burns, Account Manager, Visit North Carolina Canada Office (left), and Heidi Walters, Director, Partner and Industry Relations, Visit North CarolinaThe Travel Agent Connection“This is really critical for us,” says Madison. “Part of our strategy was to expand our efforts with the travel trade, from the tour operator and travel agency standpoint.”Last month, Brand USA launched a new travel trade website (, which features everything from the Brand USA Trip Kit and an expanded corporate calendar, to an overview of U.S. travel policies and a comprehensive directory of receptive tour operators.“This website was a way to create almost white-label opportunities for the travel trade to promote unexpected destinations across the United States,” adds Madison. “We started out with about 20-24 different itineraries to, through and beyond the main gateways, which is particularly important for a market like Canada.”Featured itineraries take travellers to places where “the population is less than 1,000”, like Loudoun County, Virginia. “With Loudoun County, which is so close to Washington, D.C., people are going to find great farmland, great vineyards, great wine and great locals. It’s places like this, tiny villages and towns, where Canadians can really find that local experience.”Brand USA By The NumbersBrand USA is the destination marketing organization for the United States, with a mission to increase international visitation, spend and market share. The campaigns and marketing initiatives it has launched over the past four years, together with its many partners, have helped welcome 4.3 million incremental visitors to the U.S., and US$13.6 billion in incremental spend. This translates into $29.5 billion in total economic impact (an average of $27 for each $1 spent on marketing).“People around the world are realizing how important Travel & Tourism is, simply from an economic impact,” says Madison.And what’s next?Brand USA is currently in the concept stage of its third feature film, scheduled for release in February 2020. According to Madison, it will “have the essence of Culture and Innovation” in the United States.“The first film was about celebrating our national parks, while this new one is all about music. I can’t give out too much detail about the third, but I can say it will be about Culture and Innovation.”Valerie Bradley, Vice President of Marketing, Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau (left), and Lisa Love, Division Director Tourism, Georgia Department of Economic Development Thursday, May 10, 2018 Share Brand USA launches new movie in Toronto, says Canada is “critical and growing” market << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more


NZ tourism integrates into one voice

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Industry leaders in New Zealand have united their brain power, merging the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) and New Zealand Hotel Council (NZHC) into one single organisation.Effective 1 April this year, current NZHC members will move into TIA, while TIA will launch a new hotel sector dedicated resource.NZHC Regional Chairs will remain in place while both TIA and NZHC members will continue to retain all the benefits and services currently received.Speaking at a Special General Meeting of NZHC this week, TIA chairman Norm Thompson said forming the one organisation would strengthen the tourism industry on a national level.“The integrated organisation will create unified, highly focused leadership for our industry,” he said. “A strong hotel sector is vital to a thriving visitor economy. “Together we can deliver even better outcomes for our members.”Concurring, NZHC independent chair Jennie Langley added that the industry needs to speak with one voice that will shape the future of the country’s tourism.“A collective approach is much stronger and more effective,” she said. last_img read more

What an MLB source said about the Dbacks trade h

first_img What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation – / 23 Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Comments   Share   D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Top Stories “Both guys are extremely talented,” said Colledge. “We think both guys can win the game and I think we’re happy with whichever one [is starting] and we’re happy to have the other one backing him up.“We want guys that want to compete and guys that want to win. We think both guys can do that.”A fairly optimistic outlook by Mr. Colledge can’t negate how much pressure is on Kolb, who performed well-below expectations after signing a five-year contract worth $63 million. Once thought to be the new franchise quarterback, Kolb went 1-6 while battling injuries throughout the 2011 season, paving the way for backup Skelton to take his place on the field. Skelton finished the season with a less than adequate 54.9% completion percentage and 11 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, but he did lead the Cardinals to six wins through late-game heroics. It’s the third day of Cardinals training camp in Flagstaff, and the birds are one step closer to deciding who will top the team’s depth chart at quarterback.Unfortunately, nobody is really sure whether Kevin Kolb or John Skelton has the inside track towards landing the starting gig.Offensive lineman Daryn Colledge joined Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo to give his thoughts on the quarterback battle, saying that regardless of who starts, having both players on the team is a huge benefit.last_img read more


Go back to the enewsletter Greenland is an oxymor

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterGreenland is an oxymoron: there is no natural greenery. Over 80% of this vast country, which is more than three times the size of Texas, is permanent ice cap (if it melted completely water levels would rise by around 20 feet worldwide). With a population of just over 56,000, Greenland has established a level of independence from nearby Denmark, although the Danes still contribute around a third of Greenland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and heavily influence decision-making processes affecting the island.So why go to Greenland? It’s never a bad thing to visit new and diverse countries; much to my surprise, my first-ever visit was an introduction to a very colourful land. Nuuk, the capital, has a population of only 17,000. Housing mostly consists of brightly-hued, two- or three-floor Scandinavian blocks that are colour coded originally because many Greenlanders could not read – say you wanted to find fishermen… The answer was simple: head for green-coloured houses.  Now, with 100% literacy, thanks to six public schools and one private school, and a serious university, the tradition of coloured blocks of housing has been continued, for old time’s sake.I was cruising on Seven Seas Navigator, which docked in Nuuk’s main harbour – there is also a new harbour, specifically for containers. We boarded some of the city’s 20 buses, all bright yellow, for a tour around, which included stopping for a photo opportunity at the national cemetery, where all the plots face the water for good luck.After that tour I went for an equally fascinating introduction, to the city’s only luxury lodging, Hotel Hans Egede, named for the Danish-Norwegian Lutheran who in the early 18th-century tried to turn Greenland to religion (wonder what he would say if he coincided, as I did, with a 350-strong meeting of local Jehovah’s Witnesses at Hotel Hans Egede?). This is a really comfortable hotel, with a barista on front desk, and lots of colour everywhere. It caters not only for meetings but looks after government business, and sometimes has Chinese speculators who have been trying, unsuccessfully, to lobby Prime Minister Kim Kielsen to allow them to expand Nuuk’s one runway.There are so many Danes here – they constitute 35% of hotel guests. My new friend Marianne Holdgaard Rasmussen came from Copenhagen in 1990 and, apart from visits home twice a year, she stays put here. As GM of the 156-room hotel, which in addition has 20 apartments to rent, she has no problems filling rooms. There is no competition and business does have to come to this city, plus airport delays frequently mean last-minute demands for beds – her most famous guest, Hillary Clinton, obviously booked ahead, and had the courtesy to write a lovely personal note after her 2012 stay.The challenge, says Marianne Holdgaard Rasmussen, is that Nuuk operates on around-zero unemployment, and finding staff means relying on the cameraderie of those already in the team.  She also has to staff the hotel’s two restaurants, which include a franchised A Hereford Beefstouw, as in Adelaide and Melbourne as well as in 12 locations in Denmark – the beef mostly comes from Australia (best-seller is ribeye on the bone, carved tableside), but if you want local go for red Löjrom roe with blinis, followed by Greenland redfish, or musk ox or reindeer fillet, and dessert has to be vanilla ice-cream with raisins in rum, ginger, whipped cream, powder coffee, and what is described, both in English and Greenlander, as ‘Caloric’ liqueur. Really, Hotel Hans Egede, still privately owned by its Danish founders, Carl Juhl and Helge Tang, is a most unforgettable, and agreeable hotel.The entire visit was truly memorable.  Seven Seas Navigator then sailed on through Prins Christian Sund, with Greenland Ice Cap to port (north) and Sangmissoq to starboard (south). The sun shone, meringue-looking icebergs as big as apartment blocks floated silently past by the hundreds, some of the glaciers either side showed more shades of blue than I imagined possible. Put Greenland on your bucket-list, serious travellers.‘And, by the way, Regent Seven Sea Cruises has just won the ‘Best Small Ship’ accolade at Signature Luxury Travel & Style’s 2018 Cruise Awards.Main image: 2016 © Mads Pihl All Rights ReservedGo back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more

Cyprus competitiveness ranking falls UCY says

first_imgThe competitiveness of Cyprus’s economy was ranked 41st last year out of 63 countries surveyed, a drop of four positions from 2016, the University of Cyprus said.The fall resulted from a lower ranking in the area of government and corporate efficiency and infrastructure, the Economic Research Centre (ERC) of the academic institution said in an emailed statement on Thursday, citing the findings of the 2018 IMD World Competitiveness Ranking. Cyprus’s overall drop was partly offset by economic performance.The US, Hong Kong, and Singapore were ranked first, second, and third, while Venezuela, Croatia, and Brazil took 63rd, 62nd and 61st positions respectively, according to the report. Cyprus fell behind Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and Latvia and was still ahead of Italy, Indonesia, and India.The financial risk factor, social security contributions, and the increase in homicides were among criteria which last year deteriorated considerably, the ERC said. On the other hand, economic output, gross domestic product per capita, and the fiscal balance improved substantially compared to last year.A public opinion poll demonstrated that what makes the Cypriot economy attractive is its tax regime, its high level of education, the specialised labour force, and the business-friendly environment, the ERC added.The island was 22nd among 63 countries in terms of economic performance, mainly on international investment and the comparably low cost of living, the centre said. On the other hand, the current account deficit, poor diversification of the economy, the high unemployment rate, including youth, had the opposite effect.This year, Cyprus was ranked 28th in terms of government efficiency, down from 22 last year, mainly on the deterioration in the areas of the central bank policy, the country’s credit rating, which remains in the non-investment grade area for almost six years, bureaucracy, justice, disposable income, and legislation on competition and immigration, the ERC said. Last year’s fiscal surplus, helped in partly containing the slippage aided by the island’s tax regime, despite a small drop.The decline in business efficiency to 53 this year from 50 last year, was mainly the result of deterioration in financial criteria such as financial risk factor, stock market, corporate debt, and the digital transformation of companies, partly offset by a minor improvement in administrative practices, the centre added.Lastly, in terms of infrastructure, Cyprus fell one place to 41 mainly on technological and scientific infrastructure, the ERC said. Criteria related to education had a positive impact on infrastructure ranking.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoSmart Tips DailySeniors With No Life Insurance May Get A $250,000 Policy If They Do ThisSmart Tips DailyUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’UndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more


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Rameswaram (Tamil Na

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May,2018 It is being republished in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict on the constitutionality of Aadhaar likely being pronounced tomorrow On Day 35 of the Aadhaar hearings advocate Zoheb Hossain concluded his arguments on the issue of the furtherance of socio-economic rights via Aadhaar He also discussed the issues of disclosure of information in the interest of national security the filing of complaints by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) only under the Aadhaar Act and on the Aadhaar-PAN linkages being applicable to individuals only and not to corporates The Attorney General then continued his arguments on the money bill issue arguing that Aadhaar was at its core a money bill and that Section 57 was just an ancillary provision Representational image AFP Aadhaar advances socio-economic rights Advocate Zoheb Hossain continued his arguments on behalf of the UIDAI and the State of Maharashtra arguing on the issue of advancement of socio-economic rights and their harmonisation with civil and political rights Aadhaar he argued was a project that ensures people’s socio-economic rights He further pointed to the Justice Wadhwa Committee Report on the public distribution system Next he pointed to the case of DK Trivedi vs State of Gujarat in which the Supreme Court observed that the validity of a statute conferring discretionary powers on the executive or an administrative authority could not be judged on the assumption that the said authority would act in an arbitrary manner in the exercise of that discretion He further made reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the reference made to them in previous judgments of the Supreme Court like in Unni Krishnan vs State of Andhra Pradesh He argued based on the ICCPR that all human rights are equally important indivisible and interconnected Socio-economic rights are thus as important as civil and political rights PIL on the right to privacy In order to judge the proportionality of restrictions imposed on privacy he argued that their reasonableness would have to be considered from the perspective of the general public and not that of an individual At this juncture he also questioned how a public interest litigation could be filed for the violation of the right to privacy when privacy is essentially a personal right and none of the petitioners were alleging a violation of their privacy In furtherance of this he cited a US congressional report on the development of the Social Security Number (SSN) which describes it as a quasi-universal personal identification number used for a variety of purposes such as identifying convicted criminals obtaining a loan or insurance etc He argued that individuals in the US could be denied benefits if they fail to produce their SSN As an example he cited a US case where the firing of an employee for failing to produce her SSN was not seen as a violation of her privacy Disclosure of information for national security Next arguing that there were adequate safeguards for records under the Aadhaar Act he cited Section 33(2) of the Aadhaar Act which allows the disclosure of information in the interest of national security He pointed to the safeguard under the proviso of this section which requires every such direction under it to be reviewed by an Oversight Committee He argued that the Aadhaar Act prescribes more oversight than even that prescribed under the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) case on telephone tapping On the issue of national security he further argued that a party could not expect strict adherence to the principles of natural justice during times of emergency The Attorney General argued that Aadhaar is at its core a money bill Getty Filing of complaints by the UIDAI only He further argued on the challenge to Section 47 of the Aadhaar Act which prevents the people from filing a case under the Act He argued that since the person could file a complaint before the UIDAI through its grievance redressal system he wouldn’t be left remedy-less He argued that it was best left to the UIDAI to file complaintssince they have a better understanding of the highly technical nature of the Aadhaar system He also pointed to the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of NCT v Delhi, curbing black money and prevention of money laundering. "Confidence in the official intensity forecast is also lower than normal,Dunn County Sheriff Clay Coker also brought up the annexations as reasons for the increase in calls. While the self-styled, Didomestic was designed with flexibility in mind. Other research has shown that mindfulness can reduce a person’s experience of physical pain (and emotional pain, "We have a pie chart of our brand, Amazon has been pushing for a bigger presence in homes through connected devices such as its Echo smart speaker with the voice-activated assistant named Alexa. Before Ghani’s speech.

in which David-as-Sanders accidentally turns off voters. of course. read more