Excommunication from the village or society was the preferred form of punishment for those who used the Right to Information in Meghalaya. Until youth leader Poipynhun Majaw was murder on Tuesday.The police in the State’s East Jaintia Hills district said unknown assailants killed Mr. Majaw by hitting him with a heavy iron object, possibly a wrench, found lying beside his body in Khliehriat, a coal mining hub. They are following a clue – a 125 cc motorcycle found abandoned nearby – to get to his killers.Rights activists in the State said that at least 20 people have been banished from their villages for using the RTI to expose corruption in local governance and utilisation of beneficiary schemes in less than a decade.“Many of those excommunicated are women who dared to go against corrupt local body heads and moved the RTI to find out rations allotted for them were being diverted or ghost workers were awarded MGNREGS (rural job guarantee scheme) work,” Agnes Kharshiing of the Civil Society Women’s Organisation said.On Wednesday, as the police began hunting for the bike owner, some villagers in the adjoining West Jaintia Hills told the authorities they were being hounded by local leaders after getting a reply to their RTI query on the status of MGNREGS in Sankhat, their village.“The RTI reply revealed that area leaders withdrew more money than what the MGNREGS assignment for 11 job card holders of our village could have entailed. We are under tremendous pressure to either take up the matter or leave,” a member of one of 32 households denied work said from Sankhat.Ostracised for using RTI In 2014, the dorbar (governing body) of Umsumbah village in the West Khasi Hills district deprived 11 people of their basic right of seeking information through RTI. The dorbar ‘blacklisted’ them and it needed the intervention of the Block Development Officer to come to a compromise. But the reprieve was temporary, as the ‘dorbar’ allegedly punished the villagers till December last year, cancelling their job cards, denying them access to fair price shops and residential certificates for their children.In 2011, three women – Fatima Mynsong, Acqueline Songthiang and Matilda Suting – were excommunicated by the ‘dorbar’ of Jongsha village, about 30 km from Shillong, after they exercised the RTI to know about utilisation of government funds for the village.The trio, however, fought back and managed to get the village headman, who ordered their exile, removed from his post.In February 2011, a student leader named Bobby Basaiawmoit was asked by the ‘dorbar’ of Mairangbah village to either pay a fine of ₹5,000 for exercising RTI or be banished.“Mr. Majaw’s was the first case of murder of an RTI activist in Meghalaya, where violence was not associated with activism unlike other States such as Assam,” Ms. Kharshiing said.Rights activists believe that Mr. Majaw was killed because of using RTI to expose the unholy nexus between the Jaintia Hills tribal council and cement companies who have been extracting limestone with scant respect for the fragile ecology of the State.“We are yet to find the motive behind Mr. Majaw’s murder, but we hope to get some answers once we find the owner of the bike. The suspected murder weapon has been sent for forensic tests while the autopsy report is expected within a week,” Nazarius Lamare, Superintendent of Police of East Jaintia Hills district, said.
The police in Manipur have said that Rohingya refugees, displaced from Myanmar’s Rakhine region, are increasingly entering India through human trafficking corridors along the West Bengal-Bangladesh border.More than 300,000 Rohingya have fled from Myanmar and taken refuge in Bangladesh.The Manipur police came to know about the trafficking routes after the arrest of eight Rohingya in Imphal on Monday. The eight had fake Aadhaar cards in their possession.Of the eight, Md. Younus and Md. Anwar had arrived in Manipur last week. Md. Ismail followed them with five minors, travelling from West Bengal to Guwahati by train and to Imphal by road.While Younus and Anwar took refuge in Bangladesh three years ago, Ismail fled Rakhine last year. A Bangladeshi agent helped them to enter India.“A series of drives against illegal immigrants led to the arrest of several Rohingya from the (India-Myanmar) border town of Moreh, Tengnoupal and Imphal during the past few months,” Manipur DGP L.M. Khaute said.The police are also examining the involvement of local agents after the arrested Rohingya said a Bangladeshi agent, Md. Ayub, had helped them cross over to Bengal. Ayub’s wife Sultana is a resident of Imphal, and the police said she arranged the stay of the immigrants. The Manipur police had arrested nine Rohingya last week. They had fake Aaadhaar cards prepared by two Moreh-based locals who were later arrested.
The office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh has so far issued notices to 161 candidates who had allegedly paid for the publication of ‘favourable’ news in various media outlets in the run-up to the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh.“161 notifications have been issued by the Returning Officers to various candidates in suspected paid news cases in the State during the Vidhan Sabha election. Fifteen candidates have admitted to the news mentioned in the notifications issued by the Returning Officer being paid news and accepted the addition of the amount to their election expenditure,” said Joint Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Kaul.Poll expenditure Mr. Kaul said the district-level media certification and monitoring committees have recommended that the paid news amount be added to the candidate’s election expenditure in as many as 146 cases so far.Six appeals against recommendations made by the district-level committees of Ujjain and Betul had been received by the State-level committee, a poll official said. The State committee upheld the recommendation of the district body after hearing the appeals.Regional publicationsA major chunk of complaints on paid news were against vernacular and regional media publications, the official added.Assembly elections were held in all 230 constituencies of the State on November 28, and the counting of votes will take place on December 11. The Congress is in a direct face-off with the BJP, which has been in power for the past 15 years.
Read Next Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Few tickets left as La Salle, Ateneo cross paths Sophomore middle blocker Czarina Carandang turned in a breakthrough performance, smashing in 21 points for the Lady Tamaraws, who just became the first team to beat the Lady Falcons this conference.FEU and Adamson will face each other in Game 3 of their best-of-three series on Monday.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“We are overwhelmed. We planned for this match and I told the players to just follow the instructions and they responded well,” said come backing FEU coach George Pascua.Carandang was a pillar for FEU, scoring her last point on a kill-block against Adamson main girl Christine Joy Soyud for a 13-9 lead in the fifth. BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Far Eastern University stood its ground against a rampaging Adamson to prevail, 21-25, 27-25, 25-20, 23-25, 15-11, Saturday night and extend their semifinals series in the Premier Volleyball League at FilOil Flying V Centre.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READ LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Mumbai: Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui will star in filmmaker Glen Barretto’s road trip film, “Dusty to meet Rusty”. The film choices the journey of a girl who takes a road trip from Mumbai to Dharamshala in search of her childhood sweetheart but finds love on her way. “Dusty to meet Rusty” will mark his third collaboration with producer Rajesh Bhatia and Kiran Bhatia’s Woodpecker Movies after his upcoming films “Motichoor Chaknachoor” and “Bole Chudiyan”. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka “When Nawaz heard the narration, he loved the script instantly. Its an honour to work with talent like him who brings great value to the script with his nuances and outstanding performances,” Kiran said in a statement. The preparation for the film has begun and another hero as a parallel male lead and a female actor are on the verge of being finalised. The shooting is scheduled to start in August this year with a start to finish schedule.
Kabul: US forces in Afghanistan revised on Tuesday the death toll from a Taliban attack the previous day near the main American base in the country, saying three service members were killed but not a contractor who was initially reported among the fatalities. The U.S. and NATO Resolute Support mission issued a statement “to clarify initial reporting” about Monday’s roadside bombing of an American convoy near the main U.S. base. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The Pentagon said later that all three service members killed were Marines. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe mission said a roadside bomb hit the convoy near the Bagram Airfield, killing three American service members, and said “the contractor who was reported as killed, is alive.” The statement said “the contractor, an Afghan citizen, was initially treated along with other injured civilians, later identified as a contractor and treated at Bagram Airfield.” Three other U.S. service members were also wounded in the attack. The base in Bagram district is located in northern Parwan province and serves as the main U.S. air facility in the country. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe wounded were evacuated and are receiving medical care, the statement said. Christopher Slutman, a 15-year New York City fire department member, was among the three Marines killed. He leaves behind his wife, Shannon, and three daughters. “Firefighter Slutman bravely wore two uniforms and committed his life to public service both as a New York City firefighter and as a member of the United States Marine Corps,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a written statement. The Pentagon identified the two other Marines killed as Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, New York, and Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, Pennsylvania. In their claim of responsibility, the Taliban said they launched the attack and that one of their suicide bombers detonated his explosives-laden vehicle near the NATO base. The conflicting accounts could not be immediately reconciled. On Tuesday, local Afghan officials said at least five Afghan civilians were wounded in the commotion after the attack on the American convoy. Four were passersby and the fifth was a driver of a car going down the road, said Abdul Raqib Kohistani, the Bagram district police chief. Abdul Shakor Qudosi, the district administrative chief in Bagram, said American soldiers opened fire immediately after their convoy was bombed. Monday’s U.S. fatalities bring to seven the number of U.S. soldiers killed so far this year in Afghanistan, underscoring the difficulties in bringing peace to the war-wrecked country even as Washington has stepped up efforts to find a way to end the 17-year war, America’s longest. There are about 14,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan, supporting embattled Afghan forces as they struggle on two fronts facing a resurgent Taliban who now hold sway over almost half the country and also the Islamic State affiliate, which has sought to expand its footprint in Afghanistan even as its self-proclaimed “caliphate” has crumbled in Syria and Iraq.
The path to what some fans hope will be a national championship season is now set in stone as Ohio State football finalized its 2013 schedule Friday. Fifteen days after Vanderbilt canceled its trip to Columbus for next year, the Buckeyes added San Diego State for a Sept. 7 contest against the Aztecs in Ohio Stadium. “San Diego State has a fine football program and we are happy to be able to add them to our schedule,” OSU athletic director Gene Smith said in a released statement. “We have had an excellent relationship with SDSU over the years with three exciting, competitive games since 2001.” The 2013 game will be the fourth time the two teams have met since 2001. The Buckeyes, which hold a 3-0 advantage in the series, have outscored the Aztecs, 70-31 over the course of contests in 2001, 2003 and 2005. SDSU, which finds itself currently a member of the Mountain West Conference, will move to the Big East next season a long with fellow MWC member, Boise State. Other non-conference opponents for the 2012 season include Buffalo, Florida A&M and California. OSU continues its 2012 campaign against Illinois Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Ohio Stadium.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is seen before tipoff of overtime of a game between the Cavs and the San Antonio Spurs. The Cavs beat the Spurs, 128-125. Credit: Courtesy of TNSIn the last 30 NBA Finals, eight teams have hoisted the trophy.Just think about that for a second. Eight teams in 30 Finals.Eighteen teams have won the World Series in that span (and there wasn’t even a Series played in 1994). Sixteen squads have won the Super Bowl since 1984, as well.But in the NBA, if you’re not the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat or Dallas Mavericks, you have not felt the thrill of victory since the season before Michael Jordan entered the league.This year, thankfully, it seems as though a ninth member will join this exclusive club.Of the four teams remaining — the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors and Rockets — only Houston has won it in the last 30 years. The Rockets appear to be the most unlikely team to make it to the Finals, having to face a lethal Warriors squad. In an ESPN.com poll, each of the 14 experts surveyed picked the Warriors to advance to the Finals.Of course, if the Los Angeles Clippers hadn’t collapsed and blown a 3-1 lead against Houston, we would already be guaranteed a fresh champion.But, nonetheless, if the Rockets fall to Golden State as expected, we will finally see someone new celebrating.It’s hard to call LeBron James in the Finals “new” — after appearing in the previous four Finals with the Heat, winning twice — but the Cavs, one of 13 teams to never win a championship, winning it all would certainly be something we haven’t seen before.The Warriors, meanwhile, won their last title in 1975, while the Hawks have the second-longest drought of any team — last winning in 1958 when they played in St. Louis. In fact, the Hawks have not even been back to the Finals since 1961, and never in Atlanta.So, with three of the 22 teams shut out from the last 30 years of parades still alive, you really couldn’t ask for more from a competitive standpoint.It truly is stunning when you look at that 22-of-30 figure. The simple explanation is the NBA is a league driven by the greats, and there are only so many of those to go around. Each of the last 30 champions, except for the 2003-04 Pistons, featured at least one player who can easily be categorized as one of the greatest of all time.With that in mind, LeBron and the Cavs would have to be considered the favorite as the only team to feature a true legend of the game.That’s not to mean any disrespect to the Warriors’ Stephen Curry, the league’s Most Valuable Player. While a strong case can already be made for him being the greatest shooter ever, he has a long way to go after really emerging this season before being classified as great.It’s also not to remove hope from the Hawks. As the Pistons showed in the 2004 Finals, you can win it all with a team full of good players, but no greats. It’s just really, really difficult.So, looking at the overall picture, it seems like, from a historical standpoint, the Cavs are the most likely team to win it all. LeBron winning his third title in five years also happens to be the least adventurous result — which seems to be the NBA way.Though, knowing the nearly impossible climb to becoming a championship team in the NBA, maybe the Rockets will find a way to add their third title since 1984 after all.
Road Show delegation starts in the Western USA Baha Mar deal should not be secret Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 24 Mar 2015 – New partners, new cities for a bigger impression when the public and private sector team up for a second Road Show and this time the talk will be far more than tourism. Premier Rufus Ewing with the Turks and Caicos Hotel & Tourism Association on Friday made the announcement that now the trip will include the Chamber of Commerce, the Real Estate Association and the Airports Authority. Premier Rufus Ewing: “We will meet with tourism professional as well as Mayors of some cities, Chambers of Commerce of some cities to discuss tourism in Turks and Caicos and to invite those individuals to either invest, visit or do business in the Turks and Caicos islands.”Michel Neutelings, returned recently as president of the TCHTA explained the bigger representation brings a stronger cross section. “We’ll have travel professionals, journalists, and we’ll have business professionals, stakeholders and potential investors and potential real estate buyers and it’s very exciting to be able to promote the Turks and Caicos as a family, as a team.”Nikheel Advani, Vice President of the Association explained how the cities were selected. “We sat down as a team to look at the data with the Tourist Board and the various parties to see where the best business comes out of, where the new flights are coming out of with partnerships. I will speak a little bit about Houston, where the new flight will come from United. The TCIAA together with the Tourist Board, the Hotel Association and the Government worked out to try to get these flights and we support having an increase in flights. We’re doing Houston, Dallas – they are a big market for us – we’ll start in Atlanta, we’re also going back to New York which is our key market as you all know, the North East and the tri-State is definitely very big for us; we will also do Chicago and Boston; Boston is the first time…”New Tourism Minister Hon Porsha Smith called it exciting. It allows us to showcase Turks and Caicos and it also helps us to build upon the expectation of increasing our tourism numbers and tourism arrivals so we are excited to be a part of this.” The Premier’s Tourism Road show will happen May 18-22. Survey shows TCI beaches keep visitors coming Recommended for you Related Items:houston, Portia smith, remier rufus ewing, tourism, tourist board Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp
Report: Hip-hop Highest-Streamed Genre In U.S. hip-hops-huge-year-streaming-how-rap-reigned-supreme-2018 Hip-Hop’s Huge Year In Streaming: How Rap Reigned Supreme In 2018 Twitter Email News Facebook A new study shows consumers of on-demand streaming services leaned hard toward hip-hop and rap in 2018, with the genre accounting for over a quarter of all playsNate HertweckGRAMMYs Jan 3, 2019 – 4:34 pm The rising popularity of hip-hop among consumers is nothing new, but the latest data from BuzzAngle shows the genre’s dominance in a new light. According to their year-end report, hip-hop and rap tracks accounted for more than a quarter of all on-demand plays on music streaming services in the U.S. in 2018. Mic drop.While the data also reveals rock and pop maintain strongholds in digital album sales and physical album sales respectively, streaming is king in 2018 and rap reigns with 25.4 percent of on-demand streams, eclipsing even pop at 18.5 percent.Rock’s top spot in album sales comes with a caveat, as album sales fell by 18.2 percent from the previous year, although rock ruled vinyl sales at 41.7 percent in a format that is up 11.9 percent overall.Hip-hop also holds court with the most audio streams and video streams of any genre, according to the study. But at least in one of those areas, video streams, rap has a hot contender. Latin music saw a surge in video streams up from 20.1 percent in 2017 to 21.8 percent in 2018, placing it just behind rap in the No. 2 position. Urban Latin music artists dominated many of the year-end lists from the likes of YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music.One impossible-to-ignore artist, album and song likely had much to do with rap’s dominance of streaming in 2018. Drake’s double-album Scorpion and its single “God’s Plan” topped BuzzAngle’s biggest overall album for the year and biggest track across all three relevant formats (downloads, audio streams, video streams) lists. This comes as little surprise considering some of the streaming and chart records Drake broke in 2018.Will Latin music’s stock continue to rise in 2019? Will hip-hop widen the gap ahead of the pack? Will physical album sales hemorrhage as rapidly? Only time will tell. Happy listening!Album Of The Year Nominees Revealed | 2019 GRAMMY AwardsRead more
Punter found hiding in bushes UPDATE: Highways England have confirmed all lanes have reopened (as of 00.24am on Monday December 3). The M6 motorway is closed due to a lorry’s load becoming unsecured in North Staffordshire tonight (Sunday December 2). The main carriageway is closed due to a broken down lorry on the M6 Northbound at J15 A500 (Stoke-On-Trent). Traffic is being diverted via the exit and entry slip roads and the Hanchurch roundabout. A lorry’s trailer has become unsecured and lifting equipment is required to re-secure it, according to traffic data company Inrix. The issue was first reported shortly after 9.30pm – with Traffic England and Inrix confirming the closure remained in place as of 11pm. Officers from the Central Motorway Police Group say the carriageway will reopen by 1.30am on Monday morning (December 3). A spokesman said: “All lanes closed from junction 15 while vehicle recovered. Estimated time to reopen 01.30am. “Driver has been reported for having a dangerous load and a vehicle in a dangerous condition.” Delays of 30 minutes are currently reported – with Highways England there are queues almost two miles long. A Highways England spokesman said: “M6 is closed northbound within J15 Stoke-on-Trent due to broken down HGV requiring specialist recovery. Traffic is being diverted via the exit and entry slip roads at J15. Read MoreEmergency services called to incident on rail line between Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield “Delays building on the approach to the closure point. Please allow for extra journey time. “Approximately 1¾ miles of queuing traffic on the M6 northbound, approaching J15 near Stoke-on-Trent. We’re diverting traffic off and around J15 while we deal with a stranded HGV that needs to have it’s load removed and then re-positioned. ” We will bring you updates as we get them. Want to keep up to date with the latest traffic and travel news?Each day Stoke-on-Trent Live journalists bring you the latest news on the roads and railways across Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire, South Cheshire and further afield to help keep you on the move. For the very latest updates on roads including the M6, A500, A50 and more, visit our dedicated traffic and travel news channel here. We also run a live news feed each weekday, which you can access on our website’s homepage from 7am to 9pm from Monday to Friday. And for more as-we-get-it updates on the roads across the region and beyond, join The Sentinel’s traffic and travel Facebook group here. For the latest news and breaking news visit www.stokeontrentlive.co.uk Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you. Read MoreTop stories on StokeonTrentLive Dad slams ‘disgusting’ hospital window Driver named following fatal collision Police search for missing woman Follow us on Twitter @SOTLive – the official account – real news in real time. We’re also on Facebook – your must-see news, features, videos and pictures throughout Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire & South Cheshire. Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @SOTLive or message us on our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at StokeonTrentLive .00:23Carriageway reopensThe carriageway has now reopened,“A Highways England spokesman said: “#Staffordshire On the #M6 northbound, approaching J15 near #Stoke, our recovery and clean-up crews have worked hard to resolve the problems with the stranded HGV. Junction has now re-opened. Thanks for your patience!”23:34What we know as of 11.30pmThe M6 Northbound is blocked at junction 15 due to a lorry’s load becoming unsafeTraffic is being diverted using the slip roads – with almost miles of congestion reportedSpecialist recovery equipment is being used to recover the loadPolice say the driver has been reported for having a dangerous loadThe motorway is expected to reopen by 1.30am23:23Another photo from the sceneCMPG have posted this photo from the scene (Image: CMPG)23:20Police say the road will reopen by 1.30amA Central Motorway Police Group spokesman said: All lanes closed from junction 15 while vehicle recovered. Estimated time to reopen 0130 hrs. Driver has been reported for having a dangerous load and a vehicle in a dangerous condition. “22:58Almost two miles of queues on M6A Highways England spokesman said:Approximately 1¾ miles of queuing traffic on the M6 northbound, approaching J15 near Stoke-on-Trent. We’re diverting traffic off and around J15 while we deal with a stranded HGV that needs to have it’s load removed and then re-positioned. “22:57Another photo from the sceneAnother photo Highways England have released of the recovery operation tonight (Image: Highways England)22:56Highways England photo from the sceneHighways England have released this photo from the scene (Image: Highways England)22:37Delays of 40 minutes now reportedDelays of 40 minutes are now reporting on the M6 northbound at junction 1522:31Another lane closed due to a broken down vehicle on the southbound carriagewayOne lane closed due to broken down vehicle on M6 Southbound from J13 A449 (Stafford South) to J12 A5 (Gailey).Lane one (of two). (Image: Inrix)22:30Location of the trailerThe closure is near junction 15 itself on the northbound carriageway.Location of the closure (Image: Inrix)
Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailA three-car crash is causing traffic chaos at a busy Stoke-on-Trent crossroads. Emergency services were called to Baddeley Green Lane, Baddeley Green, just before 12pm today following reports of a collision. A Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service crew from Longton and the West Midlands Ambulance Service are in attendance. A fire service spokesman said: “We were called to reports of a road traffic collision in Baddeley Green Lane, Milton, at around 11.54am. Read More’We don’t want this happening on our road…’ – Stunned residents find their homes cordoned off as cops investigate serious assault on busy Stoke-on-Trent street “One crew from Longton has attended. The collision involved three saloon cars. “Five casualties are currently receiving first aid treatment by paramedics from the ambulance service.” Drivers are being advised to avoid the area at this time as the incident is causing lengthy delays. Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @SOTLive or message us on our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at StokeonTrentLive .
Categories: Garcia News,News 25Jan Rep. Garcia resolution honors birth defect awareness efforts A resolution introduced by state Rep. Daniela R. Garcia, of Holland, to honor and recognize families affected by an abdominal birth defect received unanimous support on the House floor today.The resolution declares Tuesday, Jan. 31, as Omphalocele Awareness Day in Michigan.An omphalocele is a birth defect that prevents the abdominal wall from closing properly during the course of a pregnancy, which allows for organs to partially or completely protrude outside of the baby’s body. Typically discovered during an ultrasound, the defect affects 1 out of 5,000 pregnancies with a small protrusion, 1 out of 10,000 for a large protrusion.“Too many children in Michigan and across the United States are born with an omphalocele,” Rep. Garcia said. “Though the challenges faced by these babies and their families can be significant, many children often go on to live happy, healthy lives. The more we educate people about this defect and honor the efforts of the families affected by this condition, the better it is for everyone.”House Resolution 10 specifically mentions the Mothers of Omphaloceles (MOOs) as “a group of parents from around world created to provide hope, support and information to families with babies diagnosed with an omphalocele.”Six guests impacted by an omphalocele were in attendance for Rep. García’s dedication, including Ellie Hopke and her mother Mindy Hopke of Zeeland. They were joined by Brianna Steffen and her mother Kim Steffen of Chesterfield Township, as well as Brianna’s grandparents Keith and Sallie Rengert of Richmond.“These children and their families should know we stand with them on Tuesday and every day,” Rep. Garcia said. “An omphalocele does not limit their strength and character. That is proven by what they do to draw attention to this and show it does not dictate what they do day-to-day.”Jan. 31 will be the sixth observance of Omphalocele Awareness Day.
Polish pay TV operator Canal Plus Cyfrowy has hired Marta Szwakopf as director of children’s channels.Szwakopf will head up MiniMini Plus, TeleToon Plus and Hyper Plus.Swakopf, who was previously head of Nickelodeon Poland and was responsible for the launch of the Nickelodeon HD channel in the CEE region, amongst other things, will replace Jolanta Adamowicz, who has left the company.
Swedish cable operator Com Hem reported flat year-on-year revenues for SEK1.145 billion (€135 million) for the fourth quarter, while EBITDA grew by 14% to SEK577 million.The number of connected households grew slightly to 1.749 million, while the number of unique subscribers fell by 3,000 to 828,000.CEO Tomas Franzén said the company had seen the decline in subscribers level off in the fourth quarter. He said Com Hem had managed to deliver stable results in a competitive market.
Why Most Gold Bugs Are Dead Wrong By Jim Rickards, Editor, Jim Rickards’ Strategic Intelligence May 22, 2015 One of the most persistent story lines among gold bugs and market participants who foresee the collapse of the dollar goes something like this: I’m doing something a bit different in addition to today’s Gold & Silver Daily… I consider Jim Rickards to be one of the brightest minds in the financial markets today. He’s worked with many of the largest financial institutions and government agencies—and as you know, he’s also written two New York Times best-sellers about the problems with today’s monetary system: Currency Wars and The Death of Money. In today’s piece, Jim explains why one of the most dearly held beliefs of gold bugs is simply not true. It was originally published in the May issue of Jim Rickards’ Strategic Intelligence. I hope you enjoy. China and many emerging markets, including the other BRICS, are looking for a way out of the global fiat currency system. That system is dominated today by the US dollar. This dollar dominance allows the US to force certain kinds of behavior in foreign policy and energy markets. Countries that don’t comply with US wishes find themselves frozen out of global payment systems and find their banks unable to transact in dollars for needed imports or to get paid for their exports. Russia, Iran, and Syria have all been subjected to this treatment recently. China doesn’t like this system any more than Russia or Iran but is unwilling to confront the US head-on. Instead, China is quietly accumulating massive amounts of gold and building alternative financial institutions, such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, AIIB, and the BRICS-sponsored New Development Bank (NDB). When the time is right, China will suddenly announce its actual gold holdings to the world and simultaneously turn its back on the Bretton Woods institutions such as the IMF and World Bank. China will back its currency with its own gold and use the AIIB, NDB, and other institutions to lead a new global financial order. Russia and others will be invited to join the Chinese in this new international monetary system. As a result, the dollar will collapse, the price of gold will skyrocket, and China will be the new global financial hegemon. The gold bugs will live happily ever after. The only problem with this story is that the most important parts of it are wrong. As usual, the truth is much more intriguing than the popular version. Here’s what’s really going on. As with most myths, parts of the story are true. China is secretly acquiring thousands of tons of gold. China is creating new multilateral lending institutions. No doubt, China will announce an upward revision in its official gold holdings sometime in the next year or so. In fact, Bloomberg News reported on April 20, 2015, under the headline “The Mystery of China’s Gold Stash May Soon Be Solved” that “China may be preparing to update its disclosed holdings …” But the reasons for the acquisition of gold and the updated disclosures—if they happen—are not the ones the blogosphere believes. China isn’t trying to destroy the old boys’ club—it’s trying to join it. China understands that despite the strong growth and huge size of its economy, the yuan is not ready to be a true reserve currency and will not be ready for years to come. It is true that usage of the yuan is increasing in international transactions. But it is still used for fewer than 2% of global payments, compared with over 40% for the US dollar. Usage in payments is only one indicium of a true reserve currency… and not the most important one. The key to being a reserve currency isn’t payments, but investments. There needs to be a deep, liquid bond market denominated in the reserve currency. That way, when countries earn the target currency in trade, they have someplace to invest the surplus. Right now, if you earn yuan trading with China, all you can do with the money is leave it in a bank deposit or spend it in China. There is no large yuan-denominated bond market to invest in. In addition to a bond market, you need the “plumbing” of a bond market. This includes a network of primary dealers; hedging tools such as futures and options; financing tools such as repurchase agreements, derivatives, clearance, and settlement channels; and a good rule of law to settle disputes, secure creditors, and deal with bankruptcies. China has none of these things on the needed scale or level of maturity. When it comes to true reserve-currency status, the yuan is not ready for prime time. China is also not ready to launch a gold-backed currency. Even if it has 10,000 tons of gold—far more than it currently admits—the market value of that gold is only about $385 billion. China’s M1 money supply as of April 2015 is about $5.4 trillion. In other words, even on assumptions highly favorable to China, its gold is worth only about 7% of its money supply. Historically, countries that want to run a successful gold standard need 20–40% of the money supply in gold in order to stand up to bank runs in the market. China could reduce its money supply to get to the 20% level, but this would be extremely deflationary and throw the Chinese economy into a depression that would trigger political instability. So that won’t happen. In short, China can’t have a reserve currency because it doesn’t have a bond market, and it can’t have a gold-backed currency because it has nowhere near enough gold. So what is China’s plan? China wants to do what the US has done, which is to remain on a paper currency standard but make that currency important enough in world finance and trade to give China leverage over the behavior of other countries. The best way to do that is to increase its voting power at the IMF and have the yuan included in the IMF basket for determining the value of the special drawing right. Getting those two things requires the approval of the United States, because the US has veto power over important changes at the IMF. The US can stand in the way of Chinese ambitions. The result is a kind of grand bargain in which China will get the IMF status it wants, but the US will force China to be on its best behavior in return. This means that China must keep the yuan pegged to the dollar at or near the current level. It also means that China can have gold but can’t talk about it. In order to “join the club,” China must play by club rules. The rules of the game say you need a lot of gold to play, but you don’t recognize the gold or discuss it publicly. Above all, you do not treat gold as money, even though gold has always been money. The members of the club keep their gold handy just in case, but otherwise, they publicly disparage it and pretend it has no role in the international monetary system. China will be expected to do the same. It’s important to note that China will not act in the best interests of gold investors; it will act in the best interests of China. Moreover, just because the grand bargain is in sight does not mean it will be easy to realize. Both sides are jockeying for leverage. Beijing launched its own development bank to put pressure on the IMF. The US Treasury blames the Tea Party for delays in approving China’s new votes at the IMF. Meanwhile, the White House does nothing to break the logjam in Congress. The White House is happy to let China twist in the wind while the game goes on behind closed doors. Meanwhile, China will probably announce its increased gold holdings later this year. But don’t expect fireworks. China has three accounts where it keeps gold: the People’s Bank of China (PBOC); the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE); and the China Investment Corp. (CIC). China can move enough gold to PBOC when it’s ready and report that to the IMF for purposes of allowing the yuan in the SDR. Meanwhile, it can still hide gold in SAFE and CIC until it needs it in the future. China will also probably be admitted into the SDR basket later this year. Far from launching its own gold-backed currency, China will be acknowledging that the SDR is the true world money as far as the major powers are concerned. Why would China want to give up on fiat money any more than the Fed or the European Central Bank? All central banks prefer paper money to gold because they can print the paper kind. Why give up on that monopoly of power? Gold is still the safest asset, and every investor should have some in his portfolio. The price of gold will go significantly higher in the years ahead. But contrary to what you read in the blogs, gold won’t go higher because China is confronting the US or launching a gold-backed currency. It will go higher when all central banks—China’s and the U.S.’s included—confront the next global liquidity crisis, which will be worse than the one in 2008, and individual citizens stampede into gold to preserve wealth in a world that has lost confidence in all central banks. When that happens, physical gold may not be available at all. The time to build your personal gold reserve is now. P.S. Buying gold and silver is only one way to profit from the current distortions in currency markets. While most investors will be caught completely off guard by the result of this money manipulation, a small group of informed participants could make a fortune. Jim Rickards developed his proprietary “IMPACT” from huge swings in the manipulated currency markets. If you haven’t already heard about Jim’s new system, I encourage you to learn more here
Image credit: Roberto Baldwin | Engadget Add to Queue Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Next Article March 1, 2019 Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals 3 min read Tesla This story originally appeared on Engadget –shares Tesla Launches Orders for the $35,000 Model 3 You can order one now. In a sort of surprise event (CEO Elon Musk tweeted it out two days ago), Tesla announced the $35,000 Standard Range Model 3 is available for order. The automaker has been working diligently to streamline its production line and lower unit costs of the Model 3. You can order it right now.The rear-wheel-drive car will have a 220-mile range, a top speed of 130 miles per hour and a zero to 60 time of 5.6 seconds.The $35,000 Model 3 will enter the market that’s becoming increasingly crowded. The Chevy Bolt, Kia Niro EV and Hyundai Kona EV are all in the same price point and have about the same amount of range. But none of them have the cache of the Model 3.The lower-priced Model 3 will have a few caveats including a new “standard interior.” That means cloth seats, manual steering wheel adjustment, a base trim, basic audio and standard maps and navigation. Gone are the fog lamps and docking ports for a smartphone. But it will have four USB ports, so that’s not a huge loss.Oh, it’s also only available in black at that cost. Blue and silver paint will set you back $1,500, white paint is $2,000 and if you want red, it’s going to cost you a whopping $2,500. Fortunately, black cars are cool.The car will still have the glass roof (woohoo), and folding heated side mirrors. The company went with a more basic interior for the lower-priced vehicle which should be expected.Tesla also announced a Standard Range Plus vehicle with 240-miles of range before you need to hit up a Supercharger. It also has a better interior than the Standard Range Model 3 with adjustable seats, better materials and upgraded audio.The pricing of both of these vehicles does not include the Autopilot suite ( Autosteer and Traffic Aware Cruise Control) which is $3,000 before delivery and $4,000 after delivery. So if after a while you want to upgrade your vehicle with the driver’s assistance package it’ll cost $4,000 and you’ll get an over the air update.The new full self-driving capability (it includes the above and Summon, Autopark, Navigate on Autopilot and future self-driving capabilities) will cost $5,000 before delivery and $7,000 after delivery.Currently, the delivery date for the Standard Range version is two to four weeks in the United States and according to Musk, additional places on the planet in three to six months.Going forward, the way you buy a Tesla will change dramatically. All Tesla’s will now only be available for online order. If you go into a store, they’ll direct you to a computer to order the car that the company says will only take you one minute to purchase.If a $35,000 car is still too rich for your blood, during a call with Musk, he stated that cheaper Tesla vehicles would enter the market in 2-3 years. He reiterated probably closer to three years.If you’re an early reservation holder for this vehicle, you will get first priority according to Musk. So that car you’ve been waiting for is almost ready for pick up. Roberto Baldwin
Internet Grows to 351.8 Million Domain Name Registrations in the First Quarter of 2019 PRNewswireMay 31, 2019, 11:55 pmMay 31, 2019 analytical researchDomain Name Industryinternet infrastructureMarketing TechnologyNewstop-level domainsVeriSign Previous ArticleLionbridge Launches Lionbridge AI, Extends Leadership Position in AI Data Training ServicesNext ArticleUK Consumers Call for Harsher Fines, Citing Brands Going Seemingly Unpunished for GDPR-Breaches VeriSign, Inc., a global provider of domain name registry services and internet infrastructure, announced that the first quarter of 2019 closed with 351.8 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), an increase of 3.1 million domain name registrations, or 0.9 percent, compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. Domain name registrations have grown by 18.0 million, or 5.4 percent, year over year.1,2The .com and .net TLDs had a combined total of 154.8 million domain name registrations in the domain name base at the end of the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 1.8 million domain name registrations, or 1.2 percent, compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. The .com and .net TLDs had a combined increase of 6.5 million domain name registrations, or 4.4 percent, year over year. As of March 31, 2019, the .com domain name base totaled 141.0 million domain name registrations, while the .net domain name base totaled 13.8 million domain name registrations.Marketing Technology News: OneTrust Launches Policy and Notice Management Solution to Centrally Manage and Update GDPR and CCPA Privacy Policies & DisclosuresNew .com and .net domain name registrations totaled 9.8 million at the end of the first quarter of 2019, compared to 9.6 million domain name registrations at the end of the first quarter of 2018.Verisign publishes the Domain Name Industry Brief to provide internet users throughout the world with statistical and analytical research and data on the domain name industry.Marketing Technology News: Neustar and JCDecaux North America Partner to Bring Mobile Location Intelligence to Digital and Analog Out-of-Home AdvertisersVerisign, a global provider of domain name registry services and internet infrastructure, enables internet navigation for many of the world’s most recognized domain names. Verisign enables the security, stability, and resiliency of key internet infrastructure and services, including providing root zone maintainer services, operating two of the 13 global internet root servers, and providing registration services and authoritative resolution for the .com and .net top-level domains, which support the majority of global e-commerce. To learn more about what it means to be Powered by VerisignMarketing Technology News: Usabilla Named a Strong Performer in 2019
boost.ai provides solutions to Scandinavian Banking, Finance, Retail, Transportation, Government, and Insurance – solutions that make headlines while boost.ai grows at a record rate.Now the company employs 40 ambitious individuals with the same goal: To deliver virtual assistants to all industries, enhancing all departments. Abhishek ThakurAIASUboost.aimachine learningNLPTech Bytesvirtual agent Previous ArticleTech. 2019: Global Retail Tech Spending to Top $203 Billion This YearNext ArticleLabTwin’s AI-powered Digital Assistant Now Talks Back and Connects Data Sources in the Lab with New Open API TechBytes with Abhishek Thakur, Chief Data Scientist at boost.ai Sudipto GhoshJune 10, 2019, 2:30 pmJune 10, 2019 About boost.ai Abhishek Thakur serves as Chief Data Scientist at boost.ai. After graduating with a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Bonn University in 2014, Abhishek has been working with automatic Machine Learning. He is a former rank 3 in Kaggle competitions. About AbhishekAbout boost.aiAbout Abhishek Tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at boost.ai.I work as Chief Data Scientist at boost.ai, a Norwegian software company specializing in conversational Artificial Intelligence. My role involves developing state-of-the-art algorithms for Natural Language processing and Natural Language understanding, as well as managing the Machine Learning team. I’m responsible for the machine work behind-the-scenes and building the backbone of our solution. Our work ensures that any customers interacting with a business (be it a bank, insurance company or telco) via one of our virtual agents get served correct and useful replies. We develop algorithms ranging from language detection, entity extraction, intent prediction, and our proprietary automatic semantic understanding.Why are B2B marketing teams steadily moving toward Applied Data Science for Sales and Marketing initiatives?The more data that a Marketing team has at their disposal, the better they can accomplish their goals. Artificial Intelligence is a perfect platform for helping both gather and parse the mountain of data that marketers need in order to effectively do their jobs. Virtual agents are one such avenue that can be utilized to achieve this. We recommend our clients position their Virtual agents as a ‘front-line’ service channel – this not only gives their customers 24/7 access to the answers they need, but it also helps gathers useful customer data that can be utilized by sales and marketing teams to better target their efforts.How do you build Analytics around Conversational AI platforms?Our analytics dashboard offers a deep dive into the interactions of a Virtual agent. Apart from being able to track things like a number of conversations or how many buttons and links are actioned on, we also monitor message and conversation feedback. This feature is popular amongst our clients as it allows them to see how certain intents and responses track with their customers. We have also recently implemented a ‘goals’ system that monitors conversations towards specific business goals. This is a great way to increase conversion rates and see what is and isn’t working in a particular conversation flow.What is conversational AI? What types of technologies run this engine?Conversational AI is the technology powering the next generation of what some people call chatbots. At boost.ai, we think they’re better than that and call them Virtual agents. Using a combination of Deep Learning and Natural Language understanding – as well as a number of our proprietary neural networks – our conversational AI is able to better understand the direction that a conversation is headed and offer intelligent and helpful responses with far greater accuracy than in other solutions. In fact, with our latest Automatic Semantic Understanding (ASU) upgrade, Virtual agents built on our technology are able to reduce false positives in complex customer interactions by up to 90 percent.How can data analytics make virtual agents function more effectively?Data Analytics opens up a world of possibilities for maintaining and improving Conversational AI. For example, if a bank identifies that its customers are regularly asking about a particular product in its portfolio, it can choose to have its Virtual agent proactively mention that product either the next time the customer returns to the bank’s website, or mention it to other customers who might be interested. Similarly, Analytics can be used to find where the gaps in the model might be and generate new Intents and responses almost on-the-fly so the Virtual agent remains constantly up-to-date.Tell us about your Customer Experience products. How can MarTech customers benefit from your AI/ML products?Customer Experience is a primary focus of boost.ai. We believe that if you put Customer Experience first, the rest will follow. Which is why our solution has been developed with a CX mindset from the ground up. While our market-leading algorithms are unparalleled in their ability to understand the underlying Intent and context of the customer interaction, we’ve also developed them to know when it’s appropriate to transfer to a human rather than just answer with a canned ‘I don’t understand’ response. This approach to CX has proved immensely successful for our clients with one major Norwegian bank, DNB, managing in just six months to automate 51% of all chat traffic via their Virtual agent.What is the current state of Machine Learning and AI for Digital Transformation?Machine learning and AI are the catalysts for Digital Transformation. Adoption of these technologies by industries is constantly showing significant results. It is more effective and more accurate decision-making in real-time and can help to dramatically accelerate a business. Every major industry is exploring and educating their employees to approach challenges using data-driven decisions.Can you recommend some best practices when building out a conversation AI solution?At boost.ai, we maintain that it is important that a Virtual agent can be developed and maintained by non-technical personnel. Finding a vendor that provides extensive training material and online certification means you can upskill existing customer support staff into AI trainers. This is key, as it is their expertise and product knowledge that can prove invaluable to maintaining and further developing a conversational AI project after launch.
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 26 2018A new candidate HIV vaccine from Scripps Research surmounts technical hurdles that stymied previous vaccine efforts, and stimulates a powerful anti-HIV antibody response in animal tests.The new vaccine strategy, described in a paper on November 23 in Science Advances, is based on the HIV envelope protein, Env. This complex, shape-shifting molecule has been notoriously difficult to produce in vaccines in a way that induces useful immunity to HIV.However, the Scripps Research scientists found a simple, elegant method for stabilizing Env proteins in the desired shape even for diverse strains of HIV. Mounted on virus-like particles to mimic a whole virus, the stabilized Env proteins elicited robust anti-HIV antibody responses in mice and rabbits. Candidate vaccines based on this strategy are now being tested in monkeys.”We see this new approach as a general solution to the long-standing problems of HIV vaccine design,” says principal investigator Jiang Zhu, associate professor in the Department of Integrative Structural and Computation Biology at Scripps Research.Copies of Env study the surface of HIV; their chief function is to grab hold of host cells and break into them to initiate infection. Since Env plays this crucial role in infection, and is the viral structure with the most exposure to the immune system of an infected host, it has been the main target of HIV vaccine efforts. The idea has been to inoculate people with the whole Env protein or subunits of it to stimulate the production of Env-binding antibodies, in the hope that these antibodies will prevent HIV from infecting host cells in future exposures to the virus.So far, of course, no HIV vaccine has been effective in large-scale clinical trials. Many researchers believe that an HIV vaccine can work if it presents Env proteins to the immune system in a way that closely resembles the shape of Env on a real virus before it has infected a cell. But presenting Env correctly has been a huge challenge.On an HIV virus, Env protrudes from the viral membrane in tight clusters of three, called trimers, and these complex structures adopt radically different shapes before and after infecting cells. HIV vaccine researchers, despite years and tens of millions of dollars of experimentation, have failed to find a broadly applicable method for stabilizing Env trimers in the desired, pre-infection shape.”The trimer-stabilization solutions that have been reported so far have worked for a few HIV strains but have not been generalizable,” Zhu says. “Env trimer ‘metastability’, as we call it, has really been a central problem for trimer-based HIV vaccine design.”Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedEven when HIV prevention drug is covered, other costs block treatmentZhu, trained as a biophysicist, sought a more general solution to the Env stability problem, and in a paper in 2016 he and his Scripps Research colleagues reported that modifying a short, springy section of Env called HR1 might do the trick–it allowed Env to stay in the pre-infection, “closed” shape.In the new study he and his team showed that this strategy does indeed work for Env trimers from diverse HIV strains circulating in different parts of the world. This “uncleaved prefusion-optimized” (UFO) approach, as they call it, yields Env trimers that are stabilized in the closed shape and can be produced efficiently, with surprisingly little need for purification, in the types of cells normally used in biotech manufacturing.”By now in my lab we’ve made this modification to Envs from 30 to 40 different HIV strains, and in most of the cases it has worked like a charm,” Zhu says.He and his colleagues further optimized their vaccine strategy by genetically linking their stabilized Env trimers, up to 60 at a time, to individual nanoparticles that mimic the globular shape of a whole virus. In this way the vaccine molecule, though artificial and lacking the genetic material for viral replication, seems to the immune system very much like a real invading virus and stimulates a stronger reaction.In mice, Zhu and his team found, a sample Env-on-nanoparticles vaccine, within just eight weeks, elicited antibodies that in lab tests successfully neutralized a naturally circulating HIV strain–of a type that prior candidate vaccines generally have failed against.”This is the first time any candidate HIV vaccine has induced this desired type of antibody response in mice,” Zhu says. Similarly unprecedented results were obtained in rabbits, demonstrating that the nanoparticle-based approach is clearly superior to the use of isolated Env proteins–it elicits a significantly stronger response and does so much more quickly.Further tests are now underway in 24 monkeys at the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Southwest National Primate Center in San Antonio, Texas.Zhu and Scripps Research have licensed their HIV vaccine technology to a startup company, Ufovax LLC, which is sponsoring the ongoing tests. “We’re now testing two candidate vaccines based on Env trimers from different HIV strains, plus a third candidate vaccine that is a cocktail of three Env-based vaccines,” says Ji Li, Ufovax CEO. “We think this new approach represents a true breakthrough after 30 years of HIV vaccine research.” Source:https://www.scripps.edu/news-and-events/press-room/2018/20181126-zhu-hiv-vaccine.html