AB de Villiers better than Virat Kohli Nathan Lyon picks Mr 360

first_imgNathan Lyon described AB de Villiers as the hardest batsman he bowled to, not Virat KohliIANSIn his now highly-successful career, Nathan Lyon has bowled to all the great batsmen who have played in his era. From the likes of Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli, the off-spinner has been tested against the best batters in the world. But when he was asked in an interview to name the batsman he found most difficult to bowl at, the Australian chose AB de Villiers.The reason cited by him for his choice presents the reason why the South African has earned the epithet of Mr 360. Lyon said on ‘The Back Page Live,’ an Australian television show, that while bowling to de Villiers, he felt that the former Proteas batsman could hit him anywhere at any time.Considering that Indian batsmen were traditionally regarded as the most skilful in playing spin, it comes as a big surprise that Lyon faced most difficulty not from an Indian, or for that matter any other Asian, but a South African.Lyon’s recordIn his career, the 31-year old Aussie has played 15 Tests against South Africa and 18 against India. Kohli and de Villiers have been present in almost all these matches of their respective teams. So, it says a lot about de Villiers’ ability to play spin that the offie rates him higher than any other batsman.If we were to look at the record of the off-spinner against the two teams, he has done considerably better vs the Indians. While he has 85 wickets against the Asian giants with an average of 32.60 and strike rate of 60.2, against South Africa, he has 46 wickets at an average of 42.28 and strike rate of 83.7. The disparity can partly be attributed to highly spin-friendly conditions that the bowler had on his two visits to India.But even when it comes to bowling in his own country, he has a clearly better record against the sub-continental side. Gary, as he is fondly called by his teammates, has taken 18 wickets in 6 Tests against the South Africans in Australia at an average of 46.22 and strike rate of over 91. Against India at home, he has 51 wickets in 11 Tests and with an average just under 34 and strike rate a shade under 66. Clearly, home or away, Lyon loves bowling at the Indian team. Nathan Lyon has enjoyed great success against IndiaReutersSouth Africa’s better record against LyonIt is noteworthy that India’s supposed dominance against spin bowling has considerably declined in recent years. Even somebody like Kohli has had difficulties facing good spinners in the past. De Villiers, on the other hand, seems highly adept at playing the slower bowlers. Having been a hockey player in his pre-cricket days, he seems to have wonderful wristwork that allows him to place the ball in whichever area he desires.Lyon has had the opportunity to bowl at both Kohli and AB when they were in prime form. When South Africa famously saved a Test at Adelaide in 2012 by batting out the entire fifth day, de Villiers played his part by stonewalling Lyon and co for 220 deliveries while scoring just 33 runs. In the very next match at Perth, he scored a magnificent 169 to help his team win the match and series. In the last series between the Aussies and South Africans, the infamous 2018 rubber, de Villiers again starred with a superb knock in the second Test which allowed the Proteas to level the series after losing the first match.Kohli too has enjoyed great success against Australia. He has seven Test hundreds against the kangaroos, six of them scored away from home. Of these, four came in the 2014/15 series alone. Yet, Lyon has picked up the wicket of Kohli seven times in Tests, the most for any bowler in the format.So clearly, Lyon has good reason to rate de Villiers higher. But while the South African has retired from international cricket, Kohli remains and will remain active for some time to come. Hopefully, we will some more riveting contests between the two.last_img read more

Copa America 2019 Schedule preview TV listings live streaming and how to

first_imgArgentina midfielder Lionel Messi reacts during a shoot out against Chile in the championship match of the 2016 Copa America Centenario soccer tournament at MetLife Stadium. ReutersBrazil started their Copa America campaign against Bolivia defeating them 3-0  in the first group stage match of the tournament by a brace from Philippe Coutinho and a goal from Everton Soares. The South American giants are the host nation of this year’s edition of the Copa America. They will miss the services of Neymar as he crashed out of the tournament due to an injury.Schedule and PreviewThis is the 46th edition of the tournament and will be played out in five different cities. The tournament started on June 14 local time and the final will be played out on July 7. Japan and Qatar are participating in the tournament on invitation.This year’s tournament will be a very important one for the likes of Lionel Messi. The Argentine legend is probably going to play his last Copa this time around and he is yet to get any success for his national team so he will look forward to winning it in Brazil. The Argentine team is a collection of a mostly new bunch of players who can actually change the course of the game as they have no fear on the pitch. Lionel Scaloni, caretaker coach of Argentina will be tested n this tournament as after he came in charge after Argentina’s exit from the Fifa World Cup 2018 he was appointed as the interim coach replacing Jorge Sampaoli, this is the first time he is going to face any major task. Argentina will definitely like to win the trophy and equal the number of Copa trophies with Uruguay but they need to play as a team rather than depending on Messi. Their group consists of Qatar, Colombia and Paraguay, they will start their campaign against Colombia on June 15 local time.Host and five-time World Cup champion Brazil have also been in good form before the tournament and they had a perfect start to the tournament. They are the major title contender, this time around. Though they will miss the services of Neymar they have the like of Philipe Coutinho, Firminho, Gabriel Jesus among many who are in top form after performing well for their clubs, to carry Brazil all the way to the South American glory. Neymar is injured at this moment. EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty ImagesOther contenders are Uruguay, former champion Chile and Uruguay. Chile is no expected to win this time around because of their poor performance in the recent past. They were even unable to qualify for the Fifa World Cup 2018 and their performance has been on the low since then. Colombia with the likes of James Rodriguez, Cuadrado and Muriel can also dream of winning the coveted trophy.The dark horse of the tournament will be Peru who defeated Australia in the World Cup and gave tough competition to France. While Uruguay can also win the tournament for the 16th time as they have been in good form in the World Cup.All in all, it will be very interesting to see Argentina legend Lionel Messi’s last attempt at winning the tournament.Global TV listings and Live streamTelemundo (U.S.)Premier Sports 1 (UK)Stream: Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, ESPN+, Premier PlayerWhere can be watched in IndiaThere has been a huge disappointment for Indian football fans as the tournament will not be telecasted in the country. Fans can watch the live stream via the Internet and also via using free VPN services.last_img read more

Fashionista Dixika Vanvari on her journey struggle and how she made a

first_imgDixika VanvariInstagramDixika Vanvari, also known as Miss D, is a popular fashionista, artist and also an anchor. She ventured into the business of fashion and beauty quite early in her life but the journey was a rollercoaster ride for Dixika. She is a fashion graduate from JD Institute of Fashion Technology and has done some remarkable work in the fashion industry.Coming to her background, since her childhood, Dixika was a very hard working and focused girl. As she belonged to a middle-class family, she knew she can’t be asking money for everything from her parents. In her family, women have been living independently and that’s what motivated Dixika to start something of her own when she grows up.After completing her graduation, Dixika started her fashion line called DIXIKA VANVARI DESIGNS in 2013. However, it didn’t succeed. But she didn’t give up. She worked hard to achieve her goal in the fashion industry and in 2015, she ventured into the world of blogging which worked very well for her.On her blog withlovemissd.com, she shares a lot of fashion and lifestyle content, which her followers love. She also shares everyday pictures of her outfit or photos of her travel and holidays which her followers can find relatable too. Dixika Vanvari loves working more on wedding-related content, from wedding outfits to wedding make-ups and that’s what she has made her blog majorly about.About her work and what keeps her going, Dixika said, “Making these lifetime moments a little more remarkable with my presence is what I thrive for.”She also added, “While my work has been loved and appreciated by my clients and audience, I’ve also grown as a human being over the years. So I think, it’s my growth as an artist and as a human being that keeps people on board with me. Believe me, there’s a lot more work still left to be done. I have high expectations of myself! I am my biggest critic. A piece of big news is in the pipeline which I am highly excited about it’s a secret project that I am working on for about a year now all I can say is this project is going to combine both of my worlds Anchoring and Blogging and give my audience a lot of insight about the industry and its people I am turning 30 in a few months and I have Big plans.”last_img read more

Exclusive Nagarjuna reveals why it has become tougher for senior actors to

first_imgAkkineni NagarjunaTwitterNagarjuna Akkineni, ahead of the release of Manmadhudu 2, spoke to the media and is happy that after a long time, he has got to do a really good script, which is very much needed for him at this time of his career. Soon, Nagarjuna is going to turn 60 and this is something the actor doesn’t just accept at all. Because for him, age is just a number and he believes that he is very much young at heart. Manmadhudu 2 is directed by actor turned director Rahul Ravindran and it will hit the screens on August 9.In an exclusive interview, the actor talks about his upcoming plans, the need of scripts for senior heroes, working with debutant directors and a lot more.Most of the time, you work with directors who are either debutants or are just one film old. How do you identify their potential?I don’t know, it just happened (laughs). Yeah. In fact, I must say that’s what has made me a star. I have worked with many new directors. Could be Shiva or Geetanjali, things worked really well then. Sometimes, my decisions have been proved to be wrong too. So now, I am a bit more careful. But, I think I can identify their potential and this is all because of experience. Working with youngsters is definitely a good idea is what I believe. Rakul Preet Singh and Nagarjuna Manmadhudu 2TwitterThere are many young actors now, who are doing really well. So has it become tough for senior heroes to get good scripts?Yes. Very much. I can’t expect to keep doing love stories even now. Because it is the turn of my sons to do those kinds of films. So those roles will go to young actors who can do them really better. Thus it is tough for senior heroes to get roles and when we get experimental roles to do, we aren’t sure whether they will always work or not.There were days when you used to have a bunch of films to shoot. What about now? Like I already said, it is getting tougher to get roles. So I don’t have any new projects in my kitty except those which I have signed sometime back. I will begin working very soon for the sequel of Soggade Chinninayana and it is titled Bangarraju. That’s all in Telugu as of now. In case I get any more scripts and if I like, I might agree to do. Screenshots of the kiss scenes in Nagarjuna’s Manmadhudu 2.PR HandoutWill you continue doing romantic films after Manmadhudu 2?I am definitely not an idiot to do that. I don’t think even the audience can see me doing romance now, at this age. Romantic comedy films are not my cup of tea anymore. So I would be looking forward to doing something different from now on. Let’s see if I like any films which I would like to remake, then we will think and talk.Personally, what kind of films do you like to watch?I cannot watch films that are depressing or serious. A big no to those which can make me even feel like crying. In fact, when I find any of such films in suggestions or while searching for some other films, I just change the channel immediately. It is the same on Netflix or Amazon. I love to watch films that make me laugh. Even if I cry, it has to be out of joy only.last_img read more

Maritime ports asked to hoist signal 3

first_imgsignalThe maritime ports of Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Mongla and Payra have been advised to hoist local cautionary signal No 3 as the low over the northwest bay and adjoining area intensified into a well-marked low over the same area, reports UNB.It is likely to intensify further and move in a north/northwesterly direction, said a Met office warning message.Under its influence, steep pressure gradient persists over the north bay and adjoining areas.Squally weather is likely to affect the maritime ports, north bay and adjoining coastal areas of Bangladesh.All fishing boats and trawlers over the north bay have been advised to remain close to the coast and proceed with caution till further notice.They have also been advised not to venture into the deep sea.last_img

IranIraq quake kills at least 145

first_imgMap showing the epicenter of a 7.3-magnitude quake on the Iraq-Iran border Sunday that has has left at least 135 people dead. AFPAt least 135 people were killed and hundreds more injured when a 7.3-magnitude earthquake shook the mountainous Iran-Iraq border triggering landslides that were hindering rescue efforts, officials said Monday.Footage posted on Twitter showed panicked people fleeing a building in Sulaimaniyah, northern Iraq, as windows shattered at the moment the quake struck late Sunday, while images from the nearby town of Darbandikhan showed major walls and concrete structures had collapsed.Iranian state broadcaster IRIB said 129 were dead in an updated toll posted on its website, while the official IRNA news agency said some 300 people had been injured, adding that the toll was expected to rise.Six others were reported dead on the Iraq side of the border.“We are in the process of setting up three emergency relief camps,” said Mojtaba Nikkerdar, the deputy governor of Iran’s Kermanshah province.The quake hit 30 kilometres (19 miles) southwest of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan at around 9.20 pm, when many people would have been at home, the US Geological Survey said.Iran’s emergency services chief Pir Hossein Koolivand said it was “difficult to send rescue teams to the villages because the roads have been cut off… there have been landslides.”The worst-hit towns in Iran were Qasr-e Shirin in Kermanshah and Azgaleh, about 40 kilometres northwest, IRNA said.It added that 30 Red Cross teams had been sent to the quake zone, parts of which had experienced power cuts.In Iraq, officials said the quake had killed six people in Sulaimaniyah province and injured around 150.In Sulaimaniyah, residents ran out onto the streets and some damage to property was reported, an AFP reporter there said.“Four people were killed by the earthquake” in Darbandikhan, the town’s mayor Nasseh Moulla Hassan told AFP.A child and an elderly person were killed in Kalar, according to the director of the hospital in the town about 70 kilometres south of Darbandikhan, and 105 people injured.Residents flee homes in TurkeyThe quake, which struck at a relatively shallow depth of 25 kilometres, was felt for about 20 seconds in Baghdad, and for longer in other provinces of Iraq, AFP journalists said.On the Iranian side of the border, the tremor shook several cities in the west of the country including Tabriz.It was also felt in southeastern Turkey, “from Malatya to Van”, an AFP correspondent said. In the town of Diyarbakir, residents were reported to have fled their homes.The quake struck along a 1,500 kilometre fault line between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates, a belt extending through western Iran and into northeastern Iraq.The area sees frequent seismic activity.In 1990, a 7.4-magnitude quake near the Caspian sea in northern Iran killed 40,000 people and left 300,000 more injured and half a million homeless. Within seconds the quake reduced dozens of towns and nearly 2,000 villages to rubble.Thirteen years later, a catastrophic quake struck the ancient southeast Iranian city of Bam, famed for its mud brick buildings, killing at least 31,000 people and flattening swathes of the city.Since then, Iran has experienced at least two major quake disasters, one in 2005 that killed more than 600 and another in 2012 that left some 300 dead.More recently, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake near Iran’s border with Turkmenistan in May killed two people, injured hundreds and caused widespread damage.last_img read more

LA 92 Documentary Connects Watts to Compton to Here and Now

first_imgIt’s been 25 years since the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and at least six films chronicling those events will be released this year. One film, “LA 92,” screened at the University of Baltimore on April 22.FILE – This March 3, 1991 image made from video provided by KTLA Los Angeles shows police officers beating Rodney King. King was pulled over by California Highway Patrol officers for speeding on a Los Angeles freeway. King, who later admitted he tried to elude authorities because he had been drinking and was on probation for a robbery conviction, pulled off the freeway and eventually stopped his car in front of a San Fernando Valley apartment building. At that point, Los Angeles police officers took charge of the traffic stop. George Holliday, who lived in the apartment building and was awakened by the noise, came out to videotape the scene. After Holliday turned the video over to a local TV station, it quickly spread and created an international outrage. (George Holliday/KTLA Los Angeles via AP)Co-directors and co-editors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin appeared at the screening to promote the film as part of a panel and answered questions from a moderator and the audience. Lindsay and Martin both won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2012 for “The Undefeated.” Martin is the first director of African-American descent to win this Oscar.“LA 92” is assembled from approximately 1500 hours of archival footage sourced from professional and citizen journalists, the city government, and even the LAPD’s internal media unit. The footage takes the viewer from the Watts riots of 1965 to the murder of Latasha Harlins and then seemingly hour by hour through the 1992 riots.In a deliberate choice by the filmmakers, “LA 92” offers no criticism or analysis of the actors, conditions or structures at play in the lead-up to the riots.“We wanted to remove that filter of an expert per se of holding your hand through the piece,” Martin told the AFRO. “Get closer to the raw emotion and the raw experience and give the audience the benefit of the doubt to wrestle with those ideas on their own.”The lack of experts, creates a sometimes bewildering experience as there are no real heroes or real villains in the piece. There are character moments, such as Sergeant Stacey Koon’s, one of the officers accused and acquitted of beating Rodney King in 1992, distinctly affected voice and his flapping arms on his march into the Simi Valley courthouse. Another accused and acquitted police officer, Timothy E. Wind, spends an agonizing few seconds that drag on like minutes before a locked courthouse entrance. Motionless and staring straight ahead under a barrage of reporters questions, he like Koon, both come off as all-too-human, neither seems like the master of their destiny.“As much as I am appalled by the actions of the four officers: Wind, Powell, Koon, and Briseno, you still don’t want to make caricatures of them,” Martin said. “You don’t want to other them. Those are real people and you should be appalled by those actions and you don’t want to create a figure out of them. Because those sentiments and that same type of mentality exists today. You want to humanize them, if anything, that’s more scary.”Without characters, or analysis, the film becomes an artifact of its time. When a Latino man testifies at a community meeting about his violent encounter with the LAPD, he describes the force used as putting him a position where “I cannot breathe”, foreshadowing what Eric Garner in New York would say while he died during an arrest.As order in the city breaks down further, the film portrays a running gun battle between Korean shop-owners and off-screen assailants. The film deliberately places the time after the cessations of hostilities in Iraq; but in another desert town shaded by burning palm trees it’s hard to feel the viewer ever left. This, combined with bleeding colors, double images, and loss of tracking in the footage itself creates another feeling of being trapped. It begins to feel like motorist beatings, burning storefronts and wailing faces are on every channel.“I think it’s a very fine line and I think we’re walking a tightrope,” Lindsay said. “We feel that we have created something that falls on the side of creating empathy for an audience and not being exploitative. That said, we take a massive risk not having the talking heads provide very specific context.”Jason Moore, 39, would have appreciated that guidance while watching the film.“You’re 19 years old and you didn’t learn about this in school,” Moore said. “What am I supposed to take from this? And then how do I parallel it to what’s going on now and how am I supposed to feel? Because it keeps happening and happening and happening.”“LA 92” is currently showing on the National Geographic channel.last_img read more

ShopTalk Art Sociodrama

first_imgShopTalk: Share. Heal. Grow. uses sociodrama and other action-based techniques to engage members of the community. In their book, Sociodrama: Who’s In Your Shoes?, Sternberg and Garcia state that “Sociodrama is a group action method in which participants act out agreed-upon social situations spontaneously. Sociodrama helps people to express their thoughts and feelings, solve problems, and clarify their values. Rather than simply discussing social issues, sociodrama gets people out of their chairs and exploring in action topics of interest to them.”  These facilitated conversations and exercises aim to interact with participants inside of barbershops in order to discuss a number of topics that impact the African-American community, including violence, politics, forgiveness, and drug and alcohol abuse. This format allows the community to experience each other differently and offers solutions to these issues. It’s important to use an action method such as sociodrama in barbershops because of its open environment and no agreement to confidentiality.  Sociodrama forms a collective story on a topic that is relevant to the participants. This action structure opens creative outlets for full involvement and self-expression because it is not a one-person story.   So, how does ShopTalk: Share. Heal. Grow. relate to the Barbershop Art Series by Schroeder Cherry being held at the Function Coworking Community on June 9, 2019? It’s an excellent chance to engage the wider community of people who would appreciate scenes from the barbershop, while at the same time, establish deep connections and have authentic conversations to talk about current events.  Additionally, Schroeder Cherry is one of seven finalists for the 2019 Sondheim Artscape Prize. Shroeder is Baltimore-based artist, master puppeteer and museum educator. He primarily uses mixed media on wood to create magnificent artwork.The intention is behind ShopTalk is to have interactive, highly engaging, conversations with the community inspired by the artwork no matter what one’s background is. Further, states Garcia and Sternberg, “as they explore various issues, they put themselves in other people’s shoes in order to understand themselves and others better.  One of the reasons sociodrama works so well is that it taps into the truth about humanity that we are each more alike than we are different. Sociodrama speaks to both sides of the brain, with its action/reflection components. It is a kinesthetic, intuitive, affective and cognitive educational technique. Sociodrama has as its goals: catharsis (expression of feelings), insight (new perception) and role training (behavioral practice).” Within Schroeder Cherry’s brilliant artwork, there are so many story lines to build upon and play with.  For example, when one sees a real combination lock or a set of keys included as part of the artwork, what comes to mind?  Who knows? That is the point. We will explore, give voice to and share meaning about the many elements embedded in the artwork together as a community to find out.  Please join us. Joshua S. Lee, native of Baltimore, is a mental health therapist, facilitator and performance life coach. He is the owner of UMOJA Integrative Behavioral Health Systems, a behavioral health training organization and the home of The Game Plan for Better Living. By Joshua S. Lee, Special to the AFROAfter the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent civil unrest in Baltimore, resulting in rioting, arsons and vandalism in many parts of the city in the Spring of 2015, ShopTalk: Share. Heal. Grow., a community-based project was ushered into service. It’s mission, led by African-American practitioners (including substance abuse professionals, clergy, community empowerment persons, etc.), is to engage the African-American community in discussions that uplift, heal and inspire the community to provide support for each other and begin to solve its own problems and challenges. Practitioners share their own wisdom and knowledge in a safe, supportive environment of barbershops owned by African-Americans, because they believe the African-American barbershop is a community institution, where people gather to have all types of conversations.last_img read more

Report claims consumers are uninformed regarding magnitude of livestock contribution to carbon

first_imgCredit: Jm Verastigue/public domain Chatham House of the British Royal Institute of Affairs has published a report titled Livestock – Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector (Global Public Opinion on Meat and Dairy Consumption) outlining the results of a survey the group commissioned to learn more about the public’s perception of the impact that the livestock industry has on carbon emissions and ultimately global warming. Their report suggests that consumers have vastly differing views on the subject based on where they live in the world. 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. Explore further More information: www.chathamhouse.org/sites/fil … roggattWellesley.pdf In addition to offering results of the 12-country survey, the authors of the report offer some background information and opinions about the carbon emission impact of the livestock industry and conclude by offering suggestions of where changes might be made. They note that global carbon emissions from the livestock industry—which they claim currently account for 14.5% of total man-made global emissions—actually surpass that of global transportation and are mainly due to emissions released directly from animals in the form of belching, flatulence or from their excrement. The main animals involved in the industry are cows, pigs and chickens—globally pork is the most popular consumed meat due to its huge popularity in China. The report also offer graphs showing the largest meat consumers by country (China tops the list) along with growth forecasts. They also offer warnings, suggesting that the livestock industry is currently on a trajectory that will see meat consumption rise by 75 percent and dairy 65 percent over just the next six years.Questions in the survey centered on awareness of carbon emissions, their source and the likely impact they are having on the planet. They found that on average, people in more developed countries such as those in the U.S. and Europe were far less well informed about the impact that the livestock industry has on the planet than were people living in places like China or even Brazil—the same groups tended to be more resistant to changing their lifestyle to reduce such emissions.The authors of the report theorize that emissions from the livestock industry are not as well known as in other areas such as the transportation or energy sector because governments and private enterprise operations do not want to risk upsetting the public by suggesting they eat less meat and/or dairy products. They note that discussing or negotiating livestock emission reductions is “largely absent” from international meetings on climate change and likewise is rarely if ever discussed at the national level by countries seeking to lower their carbon imprint. The solution, as they see it, is to begin an information campaign, because people are more likely to embrace change if they understand what is really happening. Climate: Meat turns up the heat Citation: Report claims consumers are uninformed regarding magnitude of livestock contribution to carbon emissions (2014, December 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-12-consumers-uninformed-magnitude-livestock-contribution.html © 2014 Phys.orglast_img read more

Mamata tweets on International Animation Day

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted informing the launch of the state-owned animation academy on the occasion of International Animation Day on Sunday.”Today is International Animation Day. You will be happy to know that in July this year, we have launched a state-owned animation academy — the Webel DQE Animation Academy — at Salt Lake Sector V. My best wishes to all,” Banerjee tweeted. The Webel DQE Animation Academy provides the platform for creative individuals to learn, share and develop themselves as animation professionals. The lessons for the courses are being imparted by qualified and experienced faculty members. Webel in technical collaboration with DQ Entertainment (International) Limited is offering various long-term and short-term courses. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeDQ Entertainment (International) Limited is a world-renowned name in television, feature films, home video, visual effects, mobile and next-generation console games etc. Webel is an undertaking of the state Information Technology and Electronics department that collaborated with DQE for the state-of-the-art academy. A MoU was signed between Webel and DQE at the Bengal Global Business Summit which was held at the Convention Centre in New Town in January this year.last_img read more

Top 5 Bot Maker Experts You Should Hear Keynote

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 4 min read June 15, 2017 Register Now » A Chatbot Bot maker is an answer to many of the past year’s exponential growth in messaging apps over social media apps. There are lots of great free chatbot tools to make it easy to get started. Those who choose not to utilize it will be falling behind the technology growth, most likely regretting the decision they have made and later jumping on the chatbot bandwagon. Since consumer behavior has recently shifted from social apps to messaging apps, chatbot marketing seems like the most natural transition away from traditional social media marketing. Retailers and brands alike are scrambling to integrate this new marketing strategy into their processes, leading us to believe this explosion of chatbots is on to something: money.But who am I to tell all this? With the upsurge of chatbot mania in April of last year, (Facebook then announcing that it will now have Facebook Messenger bots with such partnerships as CNN and 1-800-Flowers) so have risen many chatbot marketing experts. Some are chatbot creators, while others are evangelists. All things aside, they preach a similar message, praising the upsides of chatbot marketing. They are definitely people to know and learn from.Here is a list of five top bot maker experts you should hear keynote:1. Murray NewlandsMurray Newlands is at the top of our list, and not just because he received his green card as an “alien with extraordinary abilities”, which, hey, we think is an awesome feat. He is an entrepreneur for a number of successful companies such as sighted.com, an online invoicing company based in San Francisco, CA. His latest foray is now in the world of chatbot marketing as the founder of ChattyPeople, a Facebook commerce solution with a messenger bot without coding. He knows the value of chatbot marketing and what it can do for your company.Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your Business2. Dharmesh ShahDharmesh Shah is the CTO and co-founder of Hubspot. In addition to co-authoring “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs”, Dharmesh founded and writes for OnStartups.com. He is also an angel investor, so he is probably a good person to pitch your next chatbot idea to.Related: How to Create a Facebook Messenger Chatbot For Free Without Coding3. Dion HinchcliffeDion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized thought leader, business strategist, enterprise architect, book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, and more. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in social business, Enterprise 2.0, and enterprise IT. Currently, he is the Chief Strategy Officer of 7Summits. As a digital leader, he has become a well-known chatbot evangelist. In his #H2HChat with Bryan Kramer, he goes in depth as to how chatbots and artificial intelligence are evolving the social experience.Related: Make Chats With Chatbots Work4. Larry EllisonLarry Ellison is the founder of Oracle. He was the CEO of the company until about two years ago and is now Oracle’s Executive Chairman and CTO. Last year, he kicked off the Oracle’s massive tech conference in San Francisco, CA, demonstrating a new chatbot service on Oracle’s cloud. The most noteworthy of the keynote was a joke made about his salary as he demonstrated ordering business cards with his newly debuted chatbot. Using an iPad, he asked an Oracle app called iProcurment to “order cards.” The chat bot then proceeded to show him his last order and then said, “Hmm… It looks like your title has changed since your last order.” All jokes aside, Larry is still top dog in our book and his knowledge of the future of chatbots and their effect on marketing carries some weight.Related: The How-To: Using Chatbots As A Tool For Customer Service5. Adelyn Zhou and Marlene JiaLast but not least, what is turning out to be a heavily male-oriented list, is rounded out with two of the top chatbot experts, Adelyn Zhou and Marlene Jia. Both of these ladies are part of the leadership team of Topbots, a company that offers growth marketing services to help your customers discover and engage with your chatbots. They both also co-authored a book called Chatbots , which is available for pre-order on their site or via Amazon.New to the world of chatbot marketing? Let these experts be your guide. With a little research, you are sure to be an expert in no time. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.last_img read more

In This Issue New Home Sales Slumped… Toda

first_imgIn This Issue. * New Home Sales Slumped… * Today’s data… * Brazil and India slide. * Canada to balance budget… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Markets continue to stabilize… Good day.Uh oh, guess what day it is. What day is it Mike? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not hump day. It’s actually Chris Gaffney’s birthday, so all the best to him today. Well, it was another cold start for us in the Midwest but I’m more than willing to deal with that if the weekends turn out nice like we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks. We eased back into the swing of it yesterday, but things really start heating up from here. It looks like the snow and cold weather is being blamed for the most recent housing data as the December new home sales were a big disappointment. Sales fell 7% to a 414k annualized pace while the November figure was revised down to 445k from the original reading of 464k. For all of 2013, there was a total of 428k new homes sold, which was an increase of 16.4% from 2012 and the most since 2008. Just to give some perspective, we saw a record low of 306k in 2011 and then the peak in 2005 at 1.28 million. The report, however, was primarily brushed aside and hasn’t tarnished the brighter outlook that many see going forward. When you boil it all down, new home sales only account for roughly 7% of the residential market, so it didn’t hold as much weight as sales of previously owned homes. As we’ve explained before, new home sales are counted when the contract is signed instead of closed so this data is much more current and often used as a current indicator by economists. As far as the markets are concerned, housing is still on the right path and looking ahead toward a thaw in both capacities. The rest of the data yesterday was all good news as the Dallas Fed manufacturing activity report beat expectations by climbing for a ninth month in a row to 3.8 in January. Nearly every individual component of the report increased as the production index, which is a key measure of the manufacturing conditions, increased to 7.1 from 6 and the new orders component rose to a seven month high of 14.4. I remember watching the news last week and saw where it was snowing in Houston, so the cold weather wasn’t enough to derail activity in Texas. The last bit of data yesterday came in the way of a better January Markit flash report. The data is a preliminary service sector reading that follows the same logic of many others in that a reading of 50 is the dividing line between growth and contraction. The index came in at a four month high of 56.6, which is up from the previous 55.7, and is adding to the optimism for 2014. We have several reports due today, but the markets are already looking ahead to tomorrow with the FOMC meeting. As I mentioned yesterday, December durable/capital goods orders will be the first data out of the gates and both reports are expected to stay on the positive side but show a slowdown as we headed into year end. Actually, the same can be said about the S&P/Case Shiller home price index and consumer confidence, so nothing extreme is being called for at this point. The bottom line is the Fed meeting holds all of the marbles at this point, or should I say the statements and comments following the meeting, so I would expect to see things just wobble along today. For most of the currencies yesterday, it actually wasn’t too bad. The flight to safety eased and the emerging market rout that held control was really confined to two currencies yesterday, which was the Brazilian real and Indian rupee. Government officials in Brazil are stuck between a rock and a rock at this point. The currency lost about 1% yesterday as the central bank president advised they will fight inflation as the currency weakens and basically reiterated what Rousseff said in Davos. The currency markets are interpreting this as interest rates will be on the rise. Normally, prospects of rate hikes are great news for currencies, just look at the pound sterling and the New Zealand dollar recently, but when its seen as desperation and being forced when it’s not warranted by a growing economy, the market can view it as a negative. Growth forecasts for this year have been recently cut to under 2%, so many worry about the implications of higher rates. India is in a similar situation in that economic growth has been running on the low side while inflation has been well above target. Policy makers are considering a change to the inflation targeting framework by using CPI rather than wholesale prices as the benchmark gauge of inflation. There is thought they would shoot for a CPI target of 4% by 2016, but the problem is that CPI averaged about 10% last year compared to wholesale prices at 6.3%. The overall thought is that interest rates will need to remain higher for longer in order to achieve this goal, which in turn, would hinder growth. Not only that, but the general thought in the market is continued tapering by the Fed will equate to less funds available for investment in emerging markets, so that has also contributed to the currency moves. Except for those two currencies, the others either finished the day on positive ground or just barely in the red. Surprisingly enough, the Mexican peso turned in the best scorecard by rising just under 0.75%. There wasn’t much to support its rise, but we did see the December trade surplus increase more than expected, but I think it got a boost by the brighter US outlook floating around yesterday and the fact that its economy is in better shape than many of the other Latin American economies. The Aussie was right behind in second place, but there weren’t any reports to push it upward so it looked to be a case of an oversold currency. The pound sterling rounded out the top three as investors were betting 4th quarter GDP will come in better and put the central bank in a position to raise interest rates sooner than later. This baffles me since Carney just got done saying interest rates aren’t going anywhere, so I’m not sure where or why they are leaning on this. I guess it’s a case of so you’re saying there’s still a chance. Speaking of that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both the BOE and the Fed move the goalposts as it pertains to their unemployment rate thresholds and future policy. Neither economy is ready for rate hikes, so I can see them both saying something about how unemployment moved faster than expected, but nothing will change until we hit 6% or whatever number they would come up with. The Canadian dollar finished the day down a bit, but Finance Minister Flaherty said there is no doubt they will have a balanced federal budget in 2015. He left some wiggle room if things drastically change, but we’ve heard this all before. If economic growth is healthy and self sustaining, I would see this as a reasonable scenario. In other news, Canadian consumer confidence dropped to a four year low last week but most are looking ahead to Friday when we see November economic growth figures. As I came in this morning, we’re seeing more currencies in positive territory than not with the Indian rupee in the top spot as the central bank did pull the trigger and raise interest rates. The news that got the markets excited was the fact policy makers said they don’t anticipate more rate hikes if inflation stays grounded. We also had an Australian business conditions report rise to a 2 ½ year high in December so the Aussie got a nice boost overnight while the pound lost some steam as 4th quarter growth failed to rise. Economic growth slowed from the third quarter by only increasing .7% but full year growth for 2013 came in at 1.9%, which was the highest since 2007. Then there was this.I was greeted with an email from the Big Boss, Frank Trotter, this morning that I wanted to share, so here you go. “Chris asked me yesterday if I was headed down to Cafayate, Argentina in March.  Seems that the Casey Report and letters from John Mauldin have mentioned that I am speaking at Harvest Conference.  Well the rumors are true and if you are even slightly inclined to visit then head straight to http://www.lec.com.ar/visit/events/ and check out the proceedings and book your flights now.  This will be my fifth or sixth time down and I have to say it gets better every time.  If you are inclined towards golf, or equestrian pursuits, or hiking, or wine you’ll find a calling there.  And for me the best element is the level of conversation with a raft full of intellectual and engaging people in the charming city square, the clubhouse of the estancia, or out in the countryside. Like the different impacts of economic downturns here in the US, while life is great up in Salta province it’s another world entirely in Buenos Aires.  Argentina has been in the news of late as an example of an emerging market gone bad.  Never mind the decline from one of the wealthiest countries after World War I to the volatile situation we have seen now for many years.  In the past week Argentina has been named as the source of extreme concern as their currency was (finally) devalued.  I have personally witnessed the exceptional spread between the official rate and the street rate for exchanging US dollar widen progressively for several years; and even after the devaluation the figures aren’t that close together but the official drop moves in the right direction.  Add to that the global number one 2013 performance of the Merval stock index; according to Bloomberg the measure was up nearly 90% last year – perhaps this requires a moment of reflection for those who think that stock market performance is a clear indicator of national economic health.” Thanks again Frank. Recap.Cold weather is once again being used to justify a disappointing data report as this time its December new home sales, which fell 7%. The bright spot is that new home sales in 2013 was the highest since 2008. Both the Dallas Fed manufacturing report and the Market Flash services report showed improvement, but the Fed meeting tomorrow now has all of the attention. Except for the Brazilian real and Indian rupee, it wasn’t too bad in the currency market. The peso, Aussie, and pound rounded out the top three performers yesterday while the others all finished close to breakeven. Currencies today 1/28/14… American Style: A$ .8803, kiwi .8278, C$ .9003, euro 1.3640, sterling 1.6559, Swiss $1.1122. European Style: rand 11.00, krone 6.1572, SEK 6.4562, forint 223.17, zloty 3.0695, koruna 20.124, RUB 34.63, yen 103.15, sing 1.2744, HKD 7.7633, INR 62.51, China 6.1053, pesos 13.2728, BRL 2.4083, Dollar Index 80.66, Oil $96.22, 10-year 2.78%, Silver $19.71, Platinum $1,414.75, Palladium $716.10, and Gold. $1,254.70 That’s it for today…I just wanted to once again say Happy Birthday to my colleague and good friend Chris Gaffney. It was a busy day yesterday as the tax calls are starting to roll in. It’s that time of the year where all of the tax documents are being sent, so I would expect the call volume to really pick up. Anyway, I’m running a little behind this morning, so I’ll go ahead and wrap it up. Chris will take you through the rest of the week, so until next time, Have a Great Day! Mike Meyer Assistant Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

A disabled solicitor has accused his governing bod

first_imgA disabled solicitor has accused his governing body of forcing him to abandon disabled clients without legal representation, after it withdrew permission for his new law centre to take on legal aid cases.The Law Society of Scotland (LSS), the professional body for Scottish solicitors, had granted permission to Legal Spark law centre to take on legal aid cases in November.Following that decision, Legal Spark took on cases from disabled people who had been unable to secure legal representation for their discrimination cases.Among them was a disabled student who had to quit their university course because they were not given adequate support, and another disabled client who had previously been unable to secure legal representation because they lived in an isolated part of the Highlands.But LSS has now decided that it made a mistake and has withdrawn permission for Legal Spark to carry out legal aid work.The founder of Legal Spark, disabled solicitor Daniel Donaldson (pictured) – who set up the law centre to help disabled people and other clients excluded from the legal system – said the LSS decision would deprive disabled people of access to justice.He had been hoping to take legal aid cases for disabled people who have experienced discrimination, cuts to their social care provision and other issues.He said: “My clients will just be dropped. The Law Society of Scotland have left me no alternative.“The situation as it has turned out is stopping disabled people availing themselves of their legal rights.”Legal Spark has contacted 134 lawyers, a list provided by LSS, who take on civil legal aid cases and specialise in discrimination law, and none of them have been able to take on Legal Spark’s clients.Donaldson – who qualified as a solicitor six years ago – spent a year discussing Legal Spark with LSS, which originally branded his plans “refreshing” and “innovative”.Now he says the organisation is discriminating against his disabled clients.He said: “It’s deeply disappointing. Instead of working with Legal Spark to find constructive solutions, they have discriminated against and ignored our clients by refusing to listen to them.“They have cancelled meetings, refused to go to mediation and each time a politician contacts them on our behalf, the Law Society avoid the issue.”He said LSS told him it made the decision because Legal Spark didn’t meet its precise interpretation of regulations, “despite us spending over a year in conversation and being actively encouraged by Law Society staff”.He added: “The Law Society gave us their blessing, then took it away.“The timing could not be worse, as our clients were achieving success in pursuing their claims of discrimination.“This is direct disability discrimination – there is nowhere else for our disabled clients to go.”He is encouraging people to sign an online petition and write letters of complaint to LSS.A Law Society Scotland spokeswoman said her organisation had made “a mistake” in originally granting Legal Spark permission to carry out civil legal aid work, before realising that it was “not entitled to provide this type of advice under the society’s civil legal assistance quality assurance scheme”.She said: “The committee made a final decision on 16 June that a waiver could not be granted for public protection reasons and as the compliance certificate for Legal Spark had been issued in error, it could no longer provide advice funded by legal aid. “The committee agreed that given the circumstances, Legal Spark could continue working with its legal aid clients until 30 June, to allow sufficient time to make alternative arrangements for clients.”She said law centres have to be “underpinned by a solicitor practice unit [which she said Legal Spark was not] in order to be able to be on the civil legal aid quality assurance scheme register and provide legal aid funded advice”.She added: “While it is rare for something to go wrong, clients have to be able to seek redress and as it currently stands, Legal Spark is not in a position to meet those requirements.”By noon today (28 July), the Law Society Scotland had failed to explain why it has refused to enter into mediation, although it claims that it was “still in communication with Legal Spark”.Donaldson continues to dispute LSS’s position and claims that under the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980, Legal Spark should be allowed to take on civil legal aid cases.He said: “The LSS have a legal requirement to promote access to justice. They have ignored this entirely. Where’s the justice for our disabled clients?”last_img read more

An influential committee of MPs is to examine clai

first_imgAn influential committee of MPs is to examine claims of widespread dishonesty by healthcare professionals who carry out face-to-face assessments of disability benefit claimants.Last week, Disability News Service (DNS) published the results of a two-month investigation that suggested a serious, institutional problem that spreads across the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the two private sector contractors – Atos and Capita – that assess eligibility for personal independence payment (PIP) on its behalf.DNS included evidence from more than 20 disabled people who had contacted DNS over the last year or had commented on previous DNS news stories to claim that their assessors – usually qualified nurses – lied repeatedly in reports they produced for DWP.Since publication, DNS has collected more than 20 further reports – some through comments on last week’s stories, and others with detailed evidence shared with DNS – from disabled people who say their assessment reports were dishonest and deeply misleading.As a result of that evidence, the chair of the Commons work and pensions select committee, the Labour MP Frank Field (pictured), said today (Thursday): “The committee has been presented with some concerning reports about the operation of the PIP assessment process.“I’m looking at those reports, and the issues they raise, very carefully. It will then be for the committee to decide how it wants to respond.”The team reviewing PIP on behalf of DWP has also confirmed that it will accept evidence collected during the DNS investigation. Paul Gray’s second review of PIP is due to be published in April.DWP has continued to show no interest in the results of the investigation and to insist that there is no dishonesty at all among its benefits assessors.Meanwhile, a former Atos assessor has told DNS why she believes there are so many examples of dishonest assessment reports.The former nurse worked for Atos for about six months in 2014 and 2015 before she left because she was not meeting her target of eight paper-based assessments a day.Although she left before the period covered by the latest reports – which focus on the last 12 months – she said she believes the pressure on her former colleagues to reach their targets for completing reports left them little time to research the conditions they are assessing.She said: “I know staff would make assumptions rather than facts… to get the reports done quickly and hope it didn’t get audited.“Some were like me very conscientious and others banged them out for the financial incentive, with little compassion or research on conditions.”She added: “The lack of knowledge on conditions, drugs and side-effects is shocking, but in reality assessors cannot know about every possible condition but have no time… to look them up and research the condition and effects.”She particularly highlighted the lack of knowledge about mental health conditions, which she said meant assessors were often “totally subjective rather than objective with no time to look up the condition or read up the effects of the prescribed medication and side effects”. She also blamed “target-driven management” and assessors “making assumptions rather than using facts”, while the risk of losing their jobs if they failed to achieve targets for the number of assessments they carried out meant assessors were “not always reading all of the evidence”.And, she said, many assessors often wanted to finish their reports quickly “so they could be paid overtime”.Atos has again refused to comment this week, while a DWP spokeswoman said of the former assessor’s claims: “We can’t respond on Atos’s behalf. I suggest you refer that question to them.”In another development, one PIP claimant has provided evidence which may explain why so few complaints about assessors are upheld by DWP’s “independent” complaints body, the Independent Case Examiner (ICE), which is staffed by DWP civil servants.He has shown DNS an email from a member of the DWP customer services team which makes it clear that he is not allowed to lodge complaints about his PIP assessor with ICE because his concerns were “regarding the decision making process so are not considered as a complaint and as such would not be signposted to ICE as a result”.A DWP press officer responded to a question about the email just before this week’s DNS deadline to say that she could not comment because “we have not been given any details about the email or claimant you’re referring to”.By the time she replied, it was too late to secure permission from the PIP claimant to share his email with the DWP press office.Last week, DWP said: “Assessment providers have their own complaints processes in place, and if claimants are not satisfied with providers’ response they will be signposted to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE). “Over 1.9 million PIP claims have been decided since April 2013 to September 2016 and in this time only a tiny fraction of complaints regarding providers’ service standards have been upheld by ICE.”last_img read more

A disabled student has told Labours annual party

first_imgA disabled student has told Labour’s annual party conference that she has been forced to resort to crowdfunding to obtain a wheelchair that is suitable for her needs, because of “chronic” government under-funding.Rebecca Boot (pictured) told the party’s annual conference in Brighton that because she had a cheap powerchair that was not suitable for her impairment, it caused her pain and regular dislocations of her joints.She said her powerchair cost about £2,500 and was one of the cheapest available, but because it has “no suspension and poor shock absorbancy” she spends much of her time in bed “recovering from the pain” it causes.The chair she needs costs four times as much, but she does not believe she will be able to secure it through the “under-funded and over-stretched” NHS wheelchair service.She told the conference: “Not having the right chair costs me sleep, it costs me study time, and it costs me time with my family and my friends, while I lie in bed recovering from the pain that my wheelchair has caused.“The Tories’ chronic under-funding of NHS wheelchair services is costing me my freedom and it’s costing the local authority in personal care funding.”She added: “Having the wrong wheelchair means I am living a life of social exclusion and isolation and unfulfilled potential.”Boot said she had been forced to make the decision to crowdfund the money for a new powerchair, which she believed was “not acceptable”.And she said this was “just one example” of how the Conservative government had failed disabled people, as reported last month by the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities.She told Disability News Service afterwards that she was “getting desperate for a wheelchair that doesn’t cause me too much pain”.She said she was unable to spend more than a few hours at a time in her wheelchair because she starts to develop muscle cramps.Boot, who is just beginning her second year at Aston University, said: “It doesn’t cause problems in terms of going to lectures because they are a maximum of two hours but it means I have to go back to my room and lie down afterwards.“It means I am missing out on the social stuff surrounding university life.”She told the conference: “Wheelchairs are vehicles of freedom. My wheelchair enables me to be here with you today, to go to university and to socialise with my friends.“My wheelchair means I can choose what I do with my life and when. But I, like many others, have the wrong wheelchair.”She added: “A safe wheelchair that works properly should be a right, not a privilege.”last_img read more

The mother of a woman who killed herself after bei

first_imgThe mother of a woman who killed herself after being wrongly found “fit for work” has pledged to continue her campaign for justice, and for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to admit it was to blame for her daughter’s death.The case of mother-of-nine Jodey Whiting, from Stockton, was highlighted this week after a disabled activist mentioned her name as he heckled work and pensions Esther McVey while she gave evidence (listen from 52 minutes) to the Scottish parliament’s social security committee (see separate story).The activist, David*, told McVey: “What about Jodey Whiting, mother of nine, who committed suicide after her ESA was stopped?“It was stopped because she missed an appointment.”It is the latest in a string of distressing and tragic deaths that have been linked over the last eight years to the government’s social security reforms, and particularly to employment and support allowance, the out-of-work disability benefit, and its eligibility test, the work capability assessment (WCA).Jodey Whiting’s mother, Joy Dove, who herself receives ESA as a result of a number of health conditions, has been campaigning for justice for her daughter – including through a petition on the 38 Degrees website – and for an admission of blame from DWP.Her daughter (pictured with her children) took her own life last year after being told she had been found fit for work.She had missed a WCA appointment on 16 January 2017 because she was in hospital being treated for a brain cyst. It later emerged that the letter telling her about the appointment had been waiting for her at home, unopened.DWP refused to back down, even after she wrote back explaining that she had been in hospital and had had pneumonia and had been receiving treatment for the cyst. She also had a number of other health conditions.But despite the evidence she provided, DWP refused to give her another appointment to attend a WCA and confirmed that she had been found fit for work and would lose her ESA.She was told she would receive her last fortnight’s ESA payment on 17 February.She visited Citizens Advice, and an advisor wrote to DWP on 15 February 2017 to ask for another WCA appointment, but she took her own life six days later, just four days after her final ESA payment.Her mother is also angry with DWP because the department sent a letter to her daughter about her claim after it had been told she had taken her own life, and continued to call Jodey’s phone and leave voicemail messages for her for more than two months.Her complaints will be investigated by the Independent Case Examiner.Her mother told Disability News Service (DNS) last night (Wednesday) that she was determined to secure justice for her daughter.She said she remembered her crying as she told her she had lost her ESA, and asking her: “What am I going to do, mum?”“I said, ‘Don’t worry, we will sort it out,’ but she never replied. I think it just wore her down.”She said she was delighted that David had raised her daughter’s case so publicly during McVey’s evidence session on Monday.He had told her in advance of his plan to confront McVey, and when she later heard the recording of him mentioning her daughter’s name in the committee hearing, she said: “I just felt great.”It is moments like that that motivated her to continue with her campaign, she said.“I am so grateful to him. I am really pleased he did it.”She told DNS she would continue with her campaign for justice.She said: “I have kept strong for my daughter, but I am heartbroken, I always will be.”If she had had the chance to confront McVey, she said, “I would have broken down and said, ‘Look, you had no right [to treat my daughter like this].’“It’s all wrong. It has got to stop. They can’t keep doing this to people.”A DWP spokeswoman said: “We have apologised to the family for attempting to contact Ms Whiting after her death.“The Independent Case Examiner (ICE) is an independent office holder.“As such, the DWP cannot comment on the work or decisions taken by the ICE.“We will carefully consider the findings of the ICE.“Suicide is a very complex issue, so it would be wrong to link it solely to anyone’s benefit claim.”*He has asked for his full name not to be usedlast_img read more

New online payment system MULA App set to launch in Uganda

first_imgAdvertisement Mobile commerce company, Cellulant Corporation has launched its online payments ecosystem, Mula App to the Ugandan Market.The system which has been operating under USSD (*223#) to facilitate payment of bills, purchase of airtime and payment of registered merchants across Africa joins a number of other online payment systems which have already been operating in the country, including Sula Pay, Mambo Pay among others.According to officials, the app targets mainly youths aged 25 to 35 years as their core audience, 36 to 40 years as the secondary and 18-24/ 46-65 years as the influencer segment. – Advertisement – “We promise to empower Africans on the move with the best payment experience enabling them to get the best possible value from their money, by delivering a quick, easy and safe mobile payments and digital commerce service,” reads a statement from Cellulant Corporation extended to PC Tech Magazine.Aside from the regular payments, MULA app stands out for its three unique features including Bill presentment, Bill notification and Bill payment from any channel.It allows the consumer to set reminders to pay their bills and saves details of previously paid bills, which means that when you get a reminder, paying your bill is a touch away.MULA also presents a one-stop payments and commerce solution to the clients and partners signed up to the platform and helps one transact across a diverse payments portfolio from a single place through its three unique features.In Uganda, the platform has already partnered with a number of vendors, telecoms, government institutions among others.In government, MULA has partnered with the Kampala Capital City Authority to enable payment of taxes, fines, and licenses for business.In the telecom sector, the app has partnered with MTN Uganda, Airtel, Uganda Telecom, and Smile Telecom.In other businesses, it has partnered with the National Water and Sewage Corporation (NWSC), Guinness, Umeme, Azam TV, Multichoice, Startimes, Zuku TV, Kenya Airways, Stanbic bank among others as listed on their website.The app is already available on google play store and you can download it here. PC Tech Magazine shall use the app and provide a full review, its merits, and demerits after one month of use.About Cellulant CorporationCellulant Corporation has been operational for the last seven years, providing a payments ecosystem connecting financial sector customers, Mobile Network Operators, and businesses to their increasingly mobile consumers.Over the 7 years, the company has acquired 37 banks with combined 12 million bank accounts, 61 merchants directly, and approximately 1 million customers active month on month.They have also connected directly to 16 mobile network operators with a total of 85 million mobile wallets.last_img read more

Cryptocurrencies Could Solve 2 Big Problems for the Cannabis Industry

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Subscribe Now Green Entrepreneur provides how-to guides, ideas and expert insights for entrepreneurs looking to start and grow a cannabis business. Add to Queue Founder of crypto site Blocklr & Growth Nuts, an organic growth co. Blockchain –shares Scott McGovern October 10, 2018 Barriers to banking and increasingly complex regulations make running a cannabis business costly and complicated, hampering what could be astronomical growth for the industry. Cannabis cryptocurrencies can solve both problems but, like all cryptocurrency, cannabis cryptocurrencies weren’t created equal. Some cannabis cryptocurrencies exist as a means to invest. Others were designed to address cannabis business’ inability to process credit cards, and little else.Out of the thriving cryptocurrency market, these cannabis cryptocurrencies stand apart.Obstacles facing the cannabis industry.Legal U.S. marijuana sales will reach between $8 billion and $10 billion in 2018. However, Americans spent a total of $56 billion on marijuana in 2017. In other words, there is a lot of room for growth in the legal cannabis industry, if not for two problems resulting from cannabis’ legal status.BankingThe biggest issue for the cannabis industry is that marijuana is still illegal federally, which means cannabis businesses do not have the same access to banking or credit card processing as other industries. Operating a cash-only marijuana business is dangerous, complex and expensive. Not only do these businesses have to transport cash in armored cars, but they often cannot open a bank account or qualify for a loan.To make matters worse, a survey found that only nine percent of Americans prefer paying in cash. Not only is having a cash-only business expensive, but it’s increasingly unprofitable in the digital age.Related: Cryptocurrency and the Allure of a Cashless Cannabis IndustryA complicated supply chain.The difficulties of managing a cash-only business extend to employee payroll and the entire supply chain. There are a lot of supplies that “plant touching” cannabis businesses — growers, retailers and transporters –have to purchase entirely in cash.On top of buying everything in cash, they also have to license, lab test and track goods. This requires adhering to contracts and complex city and state-specific regulations, like those facing marijuana growers in California. The “green rush” is more complex and expensive than it appears. Luckily, the cannabis industry can overcome these obstacles with cannabis cryptocurrency.Related: Many Licensed California Marijuana Growers Face Regulatory Roadblocks Getting Their Harvest to MarketCannabis cryptocurrencies offer a solution.Cryptocurrency is decentralized digital currency. Cryptocurrency mining, the process of solving algorithms to validate transactions within the network and ‘mint’ new coins, replaces governments, banks and credit card companies.In other words, cryptocurrency doesn’t go through a bank, but through a blockchain. Blockchain is the decentralized, unalterable ledger that records transactions. Since blockchain is not ‘owned’ by a bank that could be accused of money laundering for accepting cannabis money, it can process cannabis transactions in cryptocurrency.And because cryptocurrency is digital currency, the most common way to spend it is through mobile payment. Since digital sales will reach between $1.9 and 4 trillion by 2020, adopting cryptocurrency as a digital payment could boost business.Cannabis cryptocurrencies make sense for business-to-business transactions, too. Instead of buying fertilizer with an armored truck full of cash, a marijuana grower could pay with a click, all within the cryptocurrency market.The supply chain on blockchain.Blockchain can function as a record for virtually anything. Though blockchain started off as the digital record for Bitcoin transactions, it has rapidly expanded into the private sector.Companies including Maersk, De Beers and Walmart use blockchain to record supply chain transactions. Smart contracts—agreements with preset constraints that automatically fulfill themselves once terms are met—help move goods between vendors. And blockchain’s ledger can store information about a product, thereby guaranteeing regulatory compliance and quality.By adopting blockchain, cannabis companies could cut costs, increase efficiency and ensure product value.Related: Smart Contracts: Here Are the Practical Applications of This Exciting Blockchain Technology.Cannabis cryptocurrency marketToday, there are at least 17 cannabis cryptocurrencies. Paragon (PRG) functions as payment for a Los Angeles cannabis co-working space. PotCoin (POT), which has a high cannabis cryptocurrency market cap, has its own ATMs in Colorado.But like all cryptocurrency news, every coin and token in the cannabis cryptocurrency market has different attributes. Do your own research before you buy cryptocurrency.HempCoin (THC)Launched in 2014, HempCoin (THC) was the first cryptocurrency for agriculture. Specifically, HempCoin originated as a tobacco, hemp and cannabis cryptocurrency on Bitcoin’s blockchain.In 2018, HempCoin pivoted to create a more anonymous blockchain. Now, this cannabis cryptocurrency has masternodes, meaning computers that hold a complete copy of a cryptocurrency ledger. The more masternodes, the more decentralized a blockchain.According to their whitepaper, HempCoin has two new features. PrivateSend conceals funds’ origins and InstantSend allows for instantaneous transactions. HempCoin is integrating these features into HempPAY, their mobile and online platform, which can also function as a debit card.HempCoin is also developing a peer-to-peer payment solution. Though it, the customer first specifies how much THC they’re willing to pay. Next, the merchant scans their HempCoin wallet cryptocurrency address to receive the funds.Growers International (GRWI)Growers International (GRWI) is a cannabis cryptocurrency and blockchain for investors and growers. Investors can finance cannabis businesses through the Growers International token (GRWI), which the network will pool to make large-scale investments. The platform will eventually accept Bitcoin, Steem and DopeCoin.For growers, this cannabis cryptocurrency platform will have a cryptocurrency wallet, cannabis and cryptocurrency news, information about nutrients, grow room designs, social media and cryptocurrency price analytics. Furthermore, growers can track plant cycles, initiate smart contracts and buy supplies.According to their whitepaper, Growers International will build a grow facility in California.Tokes (TKS)Tokes (TKS) is a Waves blockchain-based cannabis cryptocurrency for buying marijuana online and in stores. In their whitepaper, Tokes explains that customers first buy Tokes (TKS) on a cryptocurrency exchange, then add it to their wallet, which will also contain product information. Next, they can spend Tokes at approved merchants. All transactions will cost one cent and take less than a minute.Additionally, Tokes offers a point of sale system. Once the merchant accepts Tokes cryptocurrency, the system automatically converts it to USD, Bitcoin or a currency of the merchant’s choosing.Cannabis businesses can also pay one another in Tokes through their platform. This is all possible through Tokes’ partnership with TheraCann, software for marijuana producers, processors and distributors. Tokes also gives merchants access to sales analytics and regulatory information.GreenMed (GRMD)GreenMed (GRMD) has an app that functions as a credit card for marijuana purchases. The app converts a user’s USD into GRMD tokens. Once the dispensary receives the tokens, GreenMed converts them back into USD. These funds can be transferred to a bank account or withdrawn via the GreenMed debit card.Though the app, the customer can choose between dispensaries, strains, pick up and delivery and packaging options. Additionally, GreenMed will have its own delivery service, though the app can function as in-store payment.Overall, the purpose GreenMed token is to facilitate in-app transactions with USD, according to GreenMed’s whitepaper.Cryptocurrency is an affordable and convenient method of digital payment. The ability to bypass financial institutions makes cryptocurrency adoption especially beneficial for the cannabis industry.Furthermore, cannabis could benefit from blockchain adoption. The distributed ledger can securely store data and ensure strain quality and regulatory compliance, all while facilitating business-to-business payments.For investors, marijuana consumers and cannabis farmers alike, cannabis cryptocurrency is the way of the future. And Growers International, GreenMed, HempCoin and Tokes are four cannabis cryptocurrencies poised to redefine the cannabis market. Next Article Cryptocurrencies Could Solve 2 Big Problems for the Cannabis Industry Contributor Marijuana businesses are mostly blocked from banks and have onerous compliance obligations. Blockchain is a promising solution to both problems. Get 1 Year of Green Entrepreneur for $19.99 Image credit: GeorgePeters | Getty Images 7 min readlast_img read more

10 Quick Fixes for the Worst Security Nightmares

first_img 10 Quick Fixes for the Worst Security Nightmares 12 min read Next Article The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. August 4, 2008 Erik Larkin Technology Add to Queuecenter_img 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List In the world of comic books, every bad guy is an evil genius. On the Web, hackers, spammers, and phishers may be evil, but they’re not required to be geniuses. They can make a healthy living just by exploiting known security holes that many users haven’t bothered to patch. Or by relying on the propensity of millions of people to do things they’ve been told over and over not to do.The silver lining is that you don’t have to be a genius to avoid these common attacks either. Implement a few simple fixes, and you’ll avoid most of the bad stuff out there.Fix 1: Patch Over the Software Bull’s-EyeHave you turned off automatic updates for Windows and other programs on the rationale that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Then consider this: Your programs may be very, very broken, and you don’t know it. The days of big splashy viruses that announce themselves to PC users are over. The modern cybercriminal prefers to invisibly take control of your PC, and unpatched software gives them the perfect opportunity to do so.Today, a hijacked Web page–modern digital crooks’ attack of choice–will launch a bevy of probes against your PC in search of just one unpatched vulnerability that a probe can exploit. If it finds one, better hope your antivirus program catches the ensuing attack. Otherwise you likely won’t even notice anything amiss as it infects your system.Luckily, you can completely block the majority of Web-based exploits by keeping all your programs–not just the operating system or your browsers–up-to-date. Attack sites ferret out holes in seemingly innocuous applications such as QuickTime and WinZip as well as in Windows and Internet Explorer. So turn on automatic update features for any software that offers the service–it’s your quickest and easiest option for getting patches.Fix 2: Find the Other HolesIf every program used easy automatic updates–and we were all smart enough to use them–the thriving malware business would take a serious hit. Until then, a free and easy security app from Secunia can help save the day.The Secunia Personal Software Inspector, available as a free download, scans your installed software to let you know which out-of-date programs might be making your PC unsafe. But it doesn’t stop there–for each old program it finds, it offers quick and easy action buttons such as one labeled Download Solution, which retrieves the latest software patch without you even having to open a browser.The program also gives you links to the software vendor’s site as well as Secunia’s full report about the vulnerability on your system. You can choose to block future warnings about a particular program (but you should, of course, be careful before doing so).Secunia PSI isn’t perfect, and doesn’t always make it easy to update unsafe program components. But for most apps it provides a quick–and very important–fix.Fix 3: Let the Latest Browsers Fight for YouThe most insidious hijacked Web pages are nearly impossible to spot. Tiny snippets of inserted code that don’t display on the page can nevertheless launch devastating behind-the-scenes attacks.Trying to avoid such pages on your own is asking for trouble, especially since crooks like to hack popular sites–attacks against sites for Sony games and the Miami Dolphins are just two well-known examples. But new site-blocking features in the just-released Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5 browsers provide some shielding.Both browsers expand on the previous version’s antiphishing features to block known malware sites as well, whether they’re hijacked pages on legitimate sites or sites that were specifically created by bad guys. Neither browser completely eliminates the risk of landing on such pages, but every additional layer of protection helps.Microsoft plans to add a similar feature to Internet Explorer 8, but this version won’t be ready for prime time for a good while. For more on the browsers’ improved security, see “New Browsers Fight the Malware Scourge.”Fix 4: Sidestep Social EngineeringThe most dangerous crooks use clever marketing to get you to do their dirty work for them and infect your own PC. Lots of social engineering attacks are laughably crude, with misspelled words and clumsy grammar, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the danger. Every now and then, a well-crafted attack can slip past your defenses and lure you into opening a poisonous e-mail attachment or downloaded file. A targeted attack might even use your correct name and business title.To fight back, turn to a simple but powerful tool: VirusTotal.com. You can easily upload any file (up to 10MB) to the site and have it scanned by a whopping 35 different antivirus engines, including ones from Kaspersky, McAfee, and Symantec. A report tells you what each engine thought about your file. While some (such as Prevx) are prone to false alerts, if you get multiple specific warnings that include the name of the particular threat, then you almost certainly want to delete the file.A lack of warnings doesn’t guarantee a file is safe, but it does give you pretty good odds. Use VirusTotal to check every e-mail attachment and download you’re not 100 percent sure about, and you’ll avoid insidious social engineering.If using VirusTotal starts to become a habit (not a bad idea) and you want to make sending files for scanning to VirusTotal really easy, download the free VirusTotal Uploader. Once you’ve installed the utility, just right-click a file, and you’ll see an option (under Send To) to upload it to the VirusTotal site.Fix 5: Get the Jump on Fast-Moving MalwareTraditional, signature-based antivirus software is getting snowed under by a blizzard of malware. Attackers try to evade detection by churning out more variants than security labs can analyze. So besides signatures, any antivirus program worth its salt today uses proactive detection that doesn’t require a full signature to spot sneaky malware.One promising approach uses behavioral analysis to identify malicious software based solely on how it acts on your PC. But your antivirus software by itself may not be enough. ThreatFire, a popular free download from PC Tools, adds such a layer of behavior-based protection. In recent tests, it correctly identified 90 percent of malware based on its behavior alone.PC World’s ThreatFire review provides a thorough analysis of the program and a quick download link (as well as a warning about installing too many security programs on one PC). And for more on behavioral analysis and proactive virus detection, see “When a Signature Isn’t Enough.”Note: If you use the AVG Free antivirus program, hold off on trying ThreatFire until PC Tools releases a new version. The current 3.5 version conflicts with AVG, but PC Tools says it’s working on a fix.Fix 6: Rescue Your Inbox From SpamSpam filters are getting better, but some junk still makes it through even the best of them. Instead of resigning yourself to hitting delete for all those hot-stock and Viagra come-ons, try disposable e-mail addresses.Such an address is something you create every time you encounter an online shopping site, forum, or other service that requires you to enter an e-mail address. If that address gets flooded with spam, you can terminate it. That’s a better system than the alternative, creating a free Web mail account that you use only for purchases and Web signups. With a single separate account, you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater and cancel the whole account if it gets too much spam.Yahoo Web mail users can opt for the $20-a-year Plus service, which includes the AddressGuard disposable e-mail service (among other benefits). With it, you can click a bookmark to create a new, disposable address for any given site in about 10 seconds.Gmail users can simply append “+ whatever” to their regular e-mail address before handing it out, but if that address starts to receive spam you can’t simply turn it off. You’ll have to create a filter in Gmail to block all mail to that address.For everyone else, we suggest a good, free service from Spamgourmet.com that’s quick and easy to set up and use; it allows you to create disposable addresses on-the-fly that will forward e-mail messages to your regular address.Fix 7: Develop an Antiphishing HabitThe dastardly practice of phishing for personal information is still alive and well, and many fake sites can be hard to distinguish from the real ones. But a few simple practices can ensure you’ll never be snagged by a phishing hook.The best approach, and the most straightforward, is never to click a link in any e-mail message to access your financial accounts. Instead, always type the URL or use a bookmark. That one habit will protect you from almost every phishing attack.If you can’t make that change, then at least use the latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Opera to browse the Web. All have built-in features to block known phishing sites (and, as described in Fix 3, Opera and Firefox now also block known malware sites). Avoid Safari, which lacks any built-in antiphishing protection.Finally, keep an eye out for the common phishing tactic of using URLs like “http://adwords.google.com.d0l9i.cn/select/Login.” If you glance at the URL (an actual recent example listed by Phishtank.com), you might think the site’s domain was google.com. In fact, it’s heading to d0l9i.cn, a site in China where operators are standing by to swipe your personal details.Internet Explorer 8 will use an innovative feature called Domain Highlighting that will make spotting such trickery easy. But until it becomes available, watch URLs carefully.Fix 8: Keep Your Own Site SafeIt’s not a good time to run a Web site. The Web may look like a digital wonderland, but behind the scenes it’s a war zone. And the guns are trained on your site.Crooks use automated tools to search sites for the most common vulnerabilities. If they find one, they blow the hole wide open to plant harmful code that will attack your loyal visitors.To help keep your site safe, start with some quick, free scans that ferret out the most obvious problems. First, fill out a form at Qualys.com to request a free scan of one IP address.Next, download the also-free Scrawlr tool from HP. After a quick install, use Scrawlr to scan your site for SQL injection vulnerabilities (a type of hole targeted in a recent Sony site hack).A clean bill of health from both scans won’t guarantee that your site is safe. For instance, neither will find problems with custom JavaScript code, another common type of attack. And while requesting or running either scan is easy, fixing a reported hole might involve a fair bit of work. But that job will still take far less work than repairing your site and your reputation after your site has been hijacked.Fix 9: Make Your Passwords Secure–And Easy to RememberOnline passwords are starting to seem about as safe as tissue paper protecting a bank vault. The supply of stolen logins is now so huge that crooks can hardly make any money selling them unless they add other ripped-off data, like addresses or Social Security numbers, according to security researchers. And thieves don’t stop with stealing logins to financial accounts–the bad guys regularly pilfer access information for Web mail accounts as well. In one recent case, a scammer broke into Web mail accounts and sent messages to the victim’s friends asking for money.Experts say we should use strong, unique passwords for all our accounts. But they don’t tell us how we’re supposed to remember them, so most of us end up using the same, not-so-safe password at all our accounts.Here’s an easy fix that allows you to remember just one password, yet still have a strong, unique password for each site you use. The Password Hash (or PwdHash) add-on for Firefox and IE takes that simple password you type and runs it through an algorithm that uses the site’s domain name as part of the calculation. The utility subs in the resulting strong password before you send it to the site. All you have to do (after installing Password Hash) is hit the F2 key in a password box before you type.For a download link and more info on this useful tool, head to the PC World Downloads page.Fix 10: Get Extra Cleaning Help for Stubborn InfectionsSometimes even the best antivirus program misses an infection. And once a virus or Trojan horse gets in, removing it can be incredibly tough. If you suspect some nasty got past your defenses, then it’s time to bring in extra help.Many antivirus makers offer free and easy online scans through your Web browser. The scan will take time, as the scanning service will need to download large Java or ActiveX components before it can get started, but they’re easy to kick off. You can run them in addition to your already-installed antivirus application for a second (or third, or fourth) opinion. Here’s the lowdown on your options.Trend Micro HouseCall: Will detect and remove malware; works with both IE and Firefox.BitDefender Online Scanner: Detects and removes malware; requires IE.Kaspersky Online Scanner: Detects malware, but doesn’t remove it; works with IE and Firefox.F-Secure Online Virus Scanner: Detects and removes malware; requires IE.ESET Online Scanner: Detects and removes malware; requires IE. Most security attacks are targeted at a few weak points on your PC that aren’t that hard to protect. Follow these simple tips, and you’ll suddenly be a whole lot safer. Brought to you by PCWorld –shares Apply Now »last_img read more