The Witcher series prompts over 500,000 reprints of Andrzej Sapkowski’s books “Coaches, we don’t complain on paydays,” he said. “That’s part of this job. You have to get it done and that’s part of it. I’ve been able to stay away from that and that’s the only plan here: We’re going to get this right and I’m going to coach as long as I can coach and I hope that’s a long time.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparc Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard MOST READ Read Next NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption PLAY LIST 02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award03:05Malakanyang bilib sa Phivolcs | Chona Yu “Look at all those banners up there,” Beilein said, pointing toward reminders of the 2016 NBA championship, Eastern Conference titles and division crowns won by the Cavs — most of them in the past decade. “It’s been done before. Why can’t it be done again?”This basketball renaissance man is ready for his next recovery project.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsSaying he won’t use the word “rebuild,” Beilein was introduced Tuesday by the Cavs, whose surprising choice of the 66-year-old was met with skepticism only by those who haven’t crossed paths with him over his more than four decades as a coach.Cleveland’s expansive search ended last week with someone who has won at every level in college — most recently during a 12-year run at Michigan — and will now see if his team-first, family-oriented style can work in the pros. Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Independence, Ohio. Beilein left Michigan after a successful 12-year run for what will likely be his last coaching stop, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who believe the 66-year-old can accelerate their rebuild. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — High on a wall and across the courts from where John Beilein was sitting, the Cavaliers’ basketball history stared the new coach in the face.He wants to make it richer.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Luka Doncic, Trae Young unanimous NBA All-Rookie 1st-teamers Eduard Folayang gets new opponent for ONE Manila card Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college “He’s all the things you would want in a head coach,” Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said.Even before being escorted onto the podium by general manager Koby Altman, Beilein showed his eagerness to turn around a team whose run of four straight finals ended this season following the departure of LeBron James. The Cavs went 19-63 and parted with two coaches.About an hour before the news conference, Beilein peeled off his suit coat, went onto the floor and rebounded for Cavs forward Larry Nance Jr., one of the team’s core players. Moments later, he chatted with point guard Collin Sexton, who had just gotten off a plane from the Philippines and was soon practicing a jump shot that improved dramatically during his rookie season.Beilein’s first public moments as Cleveland’s coach couldn’t have gone better.He was joined by his wife, Kathleen, who has been with him every step of the way of a coaching career that began at Newfane Central High School in New York. All four of their children were in attendance along with four grandchildren, including grandson Johnny, who recently revealed to his grandpa that the Golden State Warriors are his favorite team.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Here’s the good news,” Beilein said. “Before we were hired here, Cavs were No. 20 on the list. Now he says we’re all the way up to No. 2. So that’s good.”Beilein said coaching in the NBA was never on his bucket list. While he accomplished everything in college coaching, the exception being a Division I NCAA championship, Beilein says he would have had no regrets had he finished his career at Michigan.But the chance to bring back the Cavs was too much to pass up. His courtship with Cleveland was a whirlwind. An initial meeting with Altman quickly escalated to Gilbert sitting in his kitchen to work out a five-year contract.As in previous stops at Le Moyne, Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia and West Virginia, Cleveland offers a challenge.“Rebuild is not a word we’re going to use here, I saw it more as a renaissance,” he said. “Let’s just change and let’s see what we can through different trial and error. It was one (job) that was appealing to me. Every single time that we’ve decided to do this, some people would say with every job, and probably with this one, ‘What are you crazy? Why are you doing that? And I say exactly that, opportunity and challenges go hand in hand.”Beilein credits much of his success to his ability to connect with young players. He’s changed with the times, adjusted to latest trends. He does have some old-school ways, but he’s also open to new ideas, supplementing his message with analytics.“You can get too analytical as well,” he said. “I want to find the sweet spot, the ones that have been important to me for years and the ones that are important to NBA basketball and try to blend those two.”There’s another constant in Beilein’s career — job security. He’s never been fired.“That’s right,” he said proudly, joking that Gilbert should handle the question about his reasons for taking the job.Beilein said he’s never worried about anything but the present. Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption Solon urges Solgen to reconsider quo warranto petition vs ABS-CBN LeBron James stretches lead in NBA All-Star Game fan voting Pagadian on tighter security for 100,000 expected at Sto. Niño feast View comments
“Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories.”Amílcar Cabral (1924 – 1973) To be exact, my Africa is Liberia, is Sierra Leone, where I was born and where my ancestors are from. I would have loved to write you a piece of hope and the progress that’s measured by how well businesses are performing and how well the rich few eat. But my reality is based on the great need of the many, the community and how poorly they eat, if at all. By right, my Africa should be the leaders in Africa in terms of development, progress, arts and sciences. But the reality is far from this truth. The Athens of West Africa which produced so many of the early teachers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, native missionaries and administrators for the entire region is now a place where the paper our diplomas are printed on is worth more than the education received. This is where people buy their education from teachers, lecturers and professors who are willing accomplices, sometimes even the solicitors, of such an unholy enterprise. This is a place where lecturers don’t publish but copy published materials, then sell them to students as pamphlets. Our primary and secondary school students don’t have textbooks, but study from notes taken in class. How well these students take notes is a matter of grave concern. This is the land where we used to speak the Queen’s English. We spoke better English than the English yet today college students and lecturers can barely speak correct English or write it. Today, college students pay people to write their dissertations and theses or cut and paste from online publications. Asking primary, secondary school and college students to spell or pronounce simple words or do simple calculations is a difficult task. Today, if you speak English (not our language, but still the language of education and the textbooks we read), in public, people will say you are trying to be different, think you are better than them or scoff at you as being a showoff. How did we get to this state of affairs? There are two main reasons for this. First, as a result of the continued deteriorating economic situation, thousands of educators have left for greener pastures in the region, mainly to Gambia, Ghana, andNigeria, on the continent, and further afield. The wars didn’t help either as the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness led most of the remaining few to leave. There is certainly no discounting the hundreds of thousands more, potential educators and contributors to the development agenda, who left for the same reasons. Today, the lack of space at government schools to educate a growing population has led our governments to drop the standards on who could teach, where schools are situated, and the number of students per class. There is a school on every corner or backyard with barely any space for students to walk or play. Everybody is now an educator providing services meant to be in the purview of the government and qualified teachers trained in the science of teaching. The second reason for this state of emergency (as it truly is because we know from the Western experience and from countries like Botswana, Cape Verde, China, Cuba, Ghana,Venezuela, and many more, that education is a way to lift people out of poverty and to aid in the development process) is that African governments don’t appreciate educators and do nothing to aid research. They fear that seasoned and dedicated educators and researchers will expose their shortcomings so they don’t encourage them. Since Fourah Bay College and the University of Liberia were founded in the early and mid-1800s in Freetown and Monrovia respectively, not much has been done in the way of more universities and colleges. For this reason, our students don’t have an interest in pursuing education, especially in the arts and social sciences. The ones who have such degrees work for nongovernmental agencies and international research organizations for a pittance instead of doing their social duties to teach and call our leaders to order by critiquing and exposing public inadequacies. Our children love their teachers. Here, teachers are truly revered. Sadly, we do not have enough qualified teachers. And where we do, they are so focused on earning a living wage that they sell grades to meet that need because they are not paid well. My Africa is a land of great wealth where the overwhelming majority is poor, poorly educated and susceptible to die from treatable diseases; a land where people dress and look good wearing secondhand clothes but with empty pockets and barely any food at home. It is a land of great ignorance, for the leaders like it so. A place where people would tell you that fruits can cause malaria and that cassava leaves can cause typhoid. This is a place where people are fearful of each other and believe that witches rule the day and night. My Africa is a place where people believe everything is a lie because they have been lied to for so long and live a life of lie where things are very bad but people pretend ‘it’s all good’. This is a land where unsanitary practices are not frowned upon, where people fall sick to diseases from such practices so much so that there are pharmacies on every corner, but you won’t find one pharmacist in sight. It is a land where, as children learn from their parents and community, we have learnt from our leaders that to be corrupt is the only way to move ahead here. If a man serves in public office and doesn’t come out rich at the end of his tenure, he is considered a fool: ‘The money was there for the taking but he didn’t take it!’ My Africa is the land where the rich exploit the poor and the poor exploit each other; a land where everything has a price, especially the law and education. It’s as if we are deaf, dumb and blind… What do you call a rich nationWhere the overwhelming majority is poorPoorly educated and susceptible to die from treatable diseases?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nation of lawsWhere the law is broken with impunityBy the same people entrusted to uphold and enforce the law?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nation Known for lies and corruptionWhere disorder is the order of the dayWhere mobs dispense justice far away from the Temple (of Justice)?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhose leaders make dealsWith their pockets and stomachs in mindWhile the needs and interests of the people take the backseat?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere extractive deals are madeWhere foreign companies get a larger percentage share than the countryWhere land is leased to foreign countriesTo grow food for their citizensWhile landowners can’t feed theirsAnd always seeking handouts to do so?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere after 168 years of underdevelopmentWhere after 168 years of successive governments ofCrooks, thieves, leeches, and foolsKeep voting in leaders cut from the same cloth?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWho doesn’t stand up to its leadersWho don’t call them to order or bookEither through civil unrest, protest or the ballot boxWho sit down quietlyWhile being robbed in broad daylight?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere people vote along tribal lines and not political platformsWhere political platforms are built on the backs of the peopleAnd become castles in the sands of time?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere effective public administrators (Broh)Are forced out of officeBy a miss-poorly-and-uneducated mob screaming for justice?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere everything has a priceWhere your rights can turn to wrongIf the price is right?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere everybody wants to get richBut hard work is not preachedWhere everybody wants to go to America“Or anywhere else but here”And leave the work to be done hereIn the hands of those responsible for our underdevelopment?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere you can’t tell the differenceBetween a pastor, imam, government minister, teacher, police officer and a thief?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere the youth know more about sportsSports heroes and celebritiesWhere they know more about get-rich-quick schemesThan they do about life, health, their condition, books and school work?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere hope seems goneWhere the weak stay weakAnd the strong and educated become pawnsIn the hands of the rich few?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere things are badVery badBut the people pretend or live like ‘it’s all good’Where one can fail an exam but pay a teacher or professor to passWhere parents pay principals and teachersTo pass their children to higher grades although they failed to pass the lower ones?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere teachers, police officers and other civil servantsAre paid a paltry sum not enough for a living wageBut are expected to do their workWhile senators and representativesWho don’t bring any development or jobs to their regionsMake an immoral sum when compared to the average citizen?DEAF DUMB AND BLINDWhat do you call a nationWhere women head more households than menBut are mysteriously missing or underrepresented in public leadership and offices?DEAF DUMB AND BLIND “Seek ye first the political kingdom and all things shall be added unto you”…Kwame Nkrumah (1909 – 1972)Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Rescue Alternative Liberia (RAL), a local human rights group, yesterday accused authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP) of failing to address common human rights abuses and violations by officers.The RAL report, “Human Rights Situation Report 2015, Security Unprofessional Behavior” charges that careless internal investigations do not hold police officers accountable for abuse of power, and that criminal investigations rarely result.Held at the West Point Administrative Building in Monrovia, the launch was attended by LNP, UNMIL officers and community residents.According to RAL, the report is based on interviews with community leaders, residents, eyewitnesses, law enforcement officers and others over a period of one year. He said that during that period the interviews revealed several problems common to all of them such as unjustified shootings, severe beatings, extortion, mob justice, prisoners’ rights violations and other forms of brutal physical treatment.These abuses are violations of international human rights treaties, to which Liberia is bound, as well as domestic laws, the report also pointed out. Furthermore, the report says the abuses are a betrayal of the public who the officers are sworn to serve and protect.According to them, some of the cases of abuse and violation were forwarded to court while some were never addressed, thereby leaving the perpetrators (especially state security personnel) to go unpunished.At the launch, Kedar Poudyah, Rule and Law Advisor in UNMIL’s Human Rights Section, said “Police have a responsibility to protect human rights and not to intimidate people.”The UNMIL human rights advisor said the role of the police in the community is primarily to protect the rights of individuals and the society where he or she stays.“Police roles come from the law and they are not to harass, intimidate and violate the rights of people,” he said.They are there to help people and to ensure security in the community, he said.“If something happens in the community police are there to investigate, arrest and sometimes detain, but not to treat the accused wrongly,” RAL said.Earlier, RAL program Director, Sam M. Nimely, lauded the participants and called on the LNP to do more to protect human rights in the country, especially in the wake of the UNMIL drawdown.He said a strong relationship between the police and the community is the best way to create trust and confidence among the two groups.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – Police in Grande Prairie are investigating after a complaint of mischief at the Grande Prairie Regional College on the morning of January 12.Upon arrival at the college, a member of the Grande Prairie RCMP learned that one of the college’s office windows had been damaged by a gunshot. The bullet is said to have been fired at the window between 7:00 p.m. on January 11th and 8:30 a.m. on January 12th. No one was injured, as the office was not occupied at the time of the incident. Members of the Grande Prairie Police Dog Services and Forensic Identification Sections are continuing with the investigation.If you have any information about the case, you’re asked to call the Grande Prairie RCMP at (780) 830-5701. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1.800.222.8477 (TIPS).- Advertisement –
SAN FERNANDO – A 46-year-old Pacoima man was charged today with murder for allegedly killing his wife over Labor Day weekend. Tanish Vasquez was ordered to remain jailed on just over $1 million bail pending arraignment Sept. 20 in San Fernando Superior Court. Vasquez was arrested Saturday in connection with the death of 59-year-old Jean Hyde, Los Angeles Police said. Officers responding found Hyde unconscious in the 11700 block of Cometa Avenue about 5 a.m. Saturday. She later died at a hospital. The couple were involved in a domestic dispute when the defendant allegedly struck his wife on the head and body with “an unknown hard object,” according to the police report. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
The influential Valley Industry and Commerce Association plunged Friday into the political maelstrom surrounding school reform by endorsing legislation calling for breakup of Los Angeles Unified into at least 15 smaller districts. The group that represents about 300 corporate members across the San Fernando Valley area supports the identical bills proposed by Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Granada Hills, and Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, to split the 727,000-student district by 2010 into districts with no more than 50,000 students each. VICA’s support, coming at a time when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is getting ready to unveil his own reform plan, is a sign of growing support for structural change in the way local schools are run. “There’s no question about it. It’s a school reform symphony and the more people there are on the same page singing the same song, we’re more apt to get something done,” said VICA Chairman Bob Scott, who said they’re looking for a meaningful reorganization of the district. Under his proposal, the reorganization would be overseen by a nine-member commission of mayors from the 27 cities the district serves, the state superintendent of public instruction and university professors. L.A. Unified officials expressed concern that the issue of education reform has become fraught with political agendas, distracting from a focus on actions that would truly affect student achievement. Proposals by Villaraigosa, Richman and Runner muffle the real reforms under way at the LAUSD, they said, pointing to improvement in state academic performance test results and efforts to reduce the dropout rates. Vivien Castro, director of legislative and governmental affairs at the LAUSD, said the district welcomes substantive discussions on all the reform proposals on the table. “The local community should take a stand and be aware of all these issues and be able to weigh these so-called reforms to determine whether they actually are going to improve student experience and achievement,” Castro said. “We want to bring the focus back to what matters for pupils and to improve their academic achievement.” Villaraigosa has questioned whether breakup is practical and VICA has left the possibility of supporting mayoral takeover. More than two-thirds of VICA’s board voted Tuesday to support the Richman/Runner reorganization bills, and Scott said it will be one of their “landmark issues” they will champion in the next year or two by aggressively informing the public to rally support. “The thought is if we bring it closer to the people and we get the size of the school districts down to below 50,000, that that will give us and the various communities of Los Angeles the ability to have a better handle on the operation of the districts,” he said. The endorsement will likely trigger other civic and business groups to get involved in reform efforts aimed at the nation’s second-largest school district, said Jack Kyser, chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “It is a huge endorsement because VICA is a very well regarded organization representing a huge chunk of the city of Los Angeles and this just adds fuel to the fire that Mayor Villaraigosa has already lit. VICA is drawing a line in the sand,” Kyser said. “The ball is rolling downhill more and more rapidly, and now that VICA has come out with this stance, I think you may see other groups fall in behind them, and this is going to get people’s attention.” The United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley has also endorsed the legislation. The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, seen as a key endorsement, has not yet taken a position on the legislation or on mayoral takeover, but has called for all parties – the Mayor’s Office, business community, education providers and the school district – to work together to create a plan and goals, as a way to build consensus, said spokeswoman Marie Condron. VICA’s commitment to taking an aggressive stance on the issue could be the sign of a revived sense of Valley activism – dormant since the secession movement a few years ago. “I think it’s a constructive sign that the stakeholders in the San Fernando Valley are going to re-engage in a metropolitan-wide effort to provide transparency and accountability of LAUSD, so they’re joining forces,” said David Abel, chairman of New Schools Better Neighborhoods, a civic advocacy organization that promotes a 21st-century vision for California’s urban school districts. School board member Jon Lauritzen, who represents parts of the Valley, said he was disappointed in the position taken by VICA. “I think it has some merit to look at the possibility of dividing things up … but I still think the L.A. community in general is better served by a large school district that is comprehensive,” he said. “When you break up a school district like Los Angeles, it’s like breaking up a marriage, and you don’t go through that without suffering some traumatic effects.” While a number of LAUSD breakup and reform efforts stalled in the past decade, Hertzberg said this time change will happen. “Reform of the education system is going to stick, because everybody deeply understands how so dramatically poor education affects our economy and public safety. In this new economy, the only ability to succeed is through education and everybody understands that,” he said. “It’s a different situation now and there’s a real sentiment in the public that this has to get fixed, so I don’t think this is going away.” Naush Boghossian, (818) 713-3722 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 “We have the charter-school movement going on. We have the possibility of mayoral control and breaking up/reorganizing the school district. There are a lot of ideas out there with varying degrees of merit, but we all agree that something has to be done.” Others who have called for major reform took the same tone. “The frustration about the failing schools is alive and well and the civic leaders in the San Fernando Valley and throughout the L.A. area are still mad as hell about the failing school system and want something to be done,” said former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, who mounted his campaign for Los Angeles mayor around a call for breaking up the LAUSD. “The status quo is just not good enough.” Richman said the public is fed up with the district’s failures. “The community has tried over decades to break up L.A. Unified into more manageable and accountable districts, but has been repeatedly stymied in their efforts. There’s no question that there is a much broader recognition of the failure of LAUSD and the need for reform, whether that reform is mayoral takeover, or what I think is a better option, the breakup of the district into smaller districts.”
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsAdnan al-Dulaimi, a Sunni who heads the Iraqi Accordance Front political party, called on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, to take a first step by honoring a pledge to disband militias. “We hope the government carries out what it pledged and disbands militias and considers them terrorist organizations,” al-Dulaimi said. His party is Iraq’s largest Sunni Arab political bloc and holds 44 seats in the 275-member parliament. “Their presence is deteriorating the situation and bringing more troubles to the political atmosphere,” al-Dulaimi said of militias. “We call upon all religious authorities to raise their voices and demand militias be disarmed.” Police said 60 of the bodies were found overnight around Baghdad, with the majority dumped in predominantly Sunni Arab neighborhoods. All the bodies were bound, bore signs of torture and had been shot, police said. Such killings are usually the work of death squads who kidnap people and usually torture them with power drills, or beat them, before shooting them execution-style with a bullet to the head. BAGHDAD, Iraq – The leader of Iraq’s biggest Sunni Arab group demanded Wednesday that the beleaguered Shiite-led government take steps to disarm militias after police said the bodies of 65 tortured men were dumped in and around Baghdad. On a violent day even by the standards of Baghdad, car bombs, mortars and other attacks also killed at least 39 people and wounded dozens. Two U.S. soldiers also were killed, one in enemy action in restive Anbar province on Monday and the other in a roadside bombing south of Baghdad on Tuesday, the U.S. military command said. The attacks have been unrelenting despite a security crackdown around the capital by 12,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops. The more than 1,500 violent deaths last month at the height of the joint operation speak to the difficulties in restoring any semblance of security to this sprawling city of 6 million people. Although Sunni Arabs operate some death squads, the vast majority are run by Shiite militias and gangs. Shiite political groups, including those in power, claim that armed militias have nothing to do with them and that their own military wings were disarmed months ago and turned into social and humanitarian groups. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has hit back at suggestions his team are diving in games – saying the accusations are only because of their strong form in the league.Tony Watt was booked for simulation against Hamilton, while Sam Nicholson was accused of conning referee Craig Thomson to win a second half penalty in the same match.Those incidents came after Jamie Walker was retrospectively banned for two games for diving against Celtic on the opening weekend of the season.But Neilson denies Hearts are gaining a reputation for going down too easily, saying the number of penalty box incidents are down to his team’s attacking intent. He said: “We are a team, especially at Tynecastle, who dominates possession and, with the style of football we play, we have more shots and more penalty-box entries than anyone else in the Premiership.“So we are going to get in situations where we’re one v one with players and opposition players are going to make mistakes with their tackles, so there will be penalties in the games we play.“We just hope the referees aren’t looking back and seeing instances in the past.“We believe we have a good team here – an entertaining team – who are going to go by players in the box.” Asked to explain why he felt Hearts had gathered such attention, Neilson said: “When you win games people are always going to have a nibble at you.“We’ve gone in the space of two or three weeks from being called big physical, aggressive players to now being lightweight and falling down in the box.“So which are we?“That’s what happens when you win football matches.“People ask, ‘Why are they beating us? Why are they sitting second in the league?’“The reason is that we’ve got a good team with good players who get themselves in positions to put people under pressure.”
23 January 2012First National Bank has partnered with retailer Pep to make the bank’s eWallet money transfer solution available at Pep stores across South Africa, allowing customers to use their mobile phones to shop and do their banking even if they don’t have a bank account.FNB chief executive Michael Jordaan said the partnership was a milestone for the bank in its efforts to use innovation and technology to make banking services more widely available.“With this partnership we are further extending banking services to all South Africans, with our without a bank account,” he said in a statement this week. “This will enable them to send and receive money instantly; a simple yet safe solution in providing access to financial services.”According to Jordaan, the partnership will enable the bank to extend eWallet services to some 1 200 outlets across the country.While the eWallet solution was previously available only to FNB customers, anyone with a bar-coded South African ID can now deposit, withdraw and send money, as well as make payments and purchase goods at any PEP store in the country – all this accessed via their cellphones.“We are constantly looking for ways to improve on our service and delivery channels,” said FNB eWallet Solutions CEO Yolande van Wyk. “We have seen the importance of innovation and breaking from the norm to differentiate ourselves from our peers.”Since its launch in 2009, more than 700,000 eWallets have been created, at a monthly average of 50 000 new eWallets. Over R1-billion was transferred via the service as of October 2011.Several of the bank’s corporate clients are also using the eWallet service to pay their employees’ salaries.Increase in cellphone bankingAn increasing number of consumers are taking to banking via cellphone, which allows them to make third-party payments and even buy airtime and prepaid electricity.FNB’s Cellphone Banking channel processed in excess of 25-million transactions in December 2011 with a transaction value of over R2.7-billion, compared to R1.7-billion seen in December 2010.The bank has 3.5-million cellphone banking customers, more than 70% of whom fall between the ages of 18 and 40, and earn less than R100 000 per annum.“The channel allows you the freedom and ability to bank anywhere, at any time. Anyone on any network with any cellphone can use it,” said FNB Cellphone Banking Solutions chief executive Ravesh Ramlakan. “There are no complicated downloads or special SIM requirements, and registration is free.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
K-pop dancers celebrate the launch of the new Gold Coast-Seoul Jetstar flights. Photo: Queensland Airports Jetstar has opened up Australia’s first direct low-cost airline connection with Korea amid a flurry of K-Pop dancers and a hope that the Korean penchant to travel will lead them to Queensland’s Gold Coast.The timing of the December 8 launch of the Gold Coast-Seoul flights is not entirely auspicious; it comes as Jetstar grapples with industrial action on two fronts from pilots and ground staff demanding better pay and conditions.The Australian carrier is operating the three-times-weekly Boeing 787 service in a codeshare partnership with Korean budget counterpart Jeju Air.Supported by the Queensland Government in partnership with Queensland Airports and destination Gold Coast, the flights represent an additional 52,625 seats into the holiday destination annually.READ: Philippines Airlines expands to PerthQueensland Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the Korean tourism market had grown steadily from 63,000 visitors in the year to June 2016 to 76,000 in the year to June 2019.Jetstar’s inaugural Korea flight receives a water cannon salute. Photo: Queensland AirportsShe said research also showed visitor nights from younger Korean tourists to Queensland had grown by 12.5 percent in the 12 months to June 2019.“Over the next three years, this service will create nearly 2000 new tourism jobs, bring an extra 156,000 inbound airline seats to the Gold Coast and generate more than $176 million for the Queensland economy,” she said.Jetstar chief executive Gareth Evans said South Koreans traveled more per capita than any other country in the Asia Pacific and ranked Australia at the top country they want to visit.“The Gold Coast is the perfect gateway to explore Queensland and the rest of the country and we look forward to working with our partners to continue to promote the city and the region to make this service a success,” he said.Queensland Airports chief executive Chris Mills said the new flights created an important link between the Gold Coast and Korea and opened up another international destination for local travelers.“It means South Koreans will have a direct link to our stunning beaches and hinterland, delivering significant benefits to our economy,” he said.The first Jetstar passengers from Seoul disembark on the return flight. Photo: Queensland Airports.Later welcoming the first passengers from Korea after the return flight landed December 9, Mills said cultural awareness training had been delivered for employees and terminal stakeholders and a Korean liaison officer had been employed as part of customer service preparations for the new Seoul service.“We are really focused on ensuring South Korean visitors receive a warm welcome and fond farewell when they travel through Gold Coast Airport,” he said.“Our Korean liaison officer is on hand to provide any assistance required, while many of our employees and key stakeholders in the terminal have undergone cultural awareness training to ensure we are doing our best to assist our customers.”