Marks are just numbers

first_img“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”– Lupita Nyong’oA few months back, my nephew was yelping for not getting some answer right while studying. More than learning, he was worried about the grades. He is 9 years old and is worried about his academic performance. That took me back to my 10th boards and crying my heart out in front of my folks for not writing my SST paper well as if that would decide everything. I was so pressurized and stressed that a silly mistake in board exams would leave a scar on my career for life. The pressure among students is soaring and the competition called life now starts real early.We feel we need a sense of security for life. That is why most of us choose the most conventional career path. Our choice is based on what the majority is doing rather than what we want to do. Here are some truth bombs about the system and milieu I lived in-1) Most of my batch-mates knew nothing more than the academic books taught us. Nobody read any extra literature or we were not majorly motivated to read more. Most of our knowledge is restricted to academic books. Some know 50% of it and some know 90% of it. We are encouraged only to score more. Rest is OUT OF SYLLABUS. We are in a dire need to have a good reading culture even though India is so enriched in literature.2) From the day we learn to talk until the time we are through our student life, there is a strong appreciation for LEARNING THINGS BY HEART MORE THAN THE VALUE AND CONCEPT. Not just with formal education, even with religious chants and stotras. First thing is to learn it by heart. We always celebrate it if some toddler knows a stotra by heart. The utility and values are taught way later or never taught. Believe me, it is the worst way to learn and it involves a lot of pressuring techniques as there is no real logic involved. STOP USING YOUR CHILD AS TROPHY OR A THING TO FLAUNT. Personally, it feels too black mirrorish when we flaunt the cuteness. The bitter truth is every kid around me is JIM CAREY from ‘The TRUMAN SHOW’.3) India is facing the highest unemployment rates and that has worsened after the pandemic. But there are no discussions beyond Ram Mandir. Last month, 69 lakh people applied for a job on a government portal out of which 691 got the job. That percentage is lower than the passing results of most of the competitive exams in India. Does our country have enough jobs to fulfill every child’s dream of going through the Indian system of education? 40% of the Indian population comes under the working population but is it a boon or a curse?4) Education being expensive is a global thing. A US citizen is still at a debt of student loans at the age of 60. For millennials, a year of school in the US is way expensive than all the apple products combined. Personally, what I have spent on education for 17 years cannot be made back through the placements I would have received in college if I did that job for 17 years and most of my fellow mates have spent more and some are still studying and spending on education. Expensive education makes other sectors corruptive and expensive such as health because everybody wants the return on the education investment they made. Then, what is the point of the whole system? This is a global thing, anyway.5) A scam called ‘international’ schools – How can one have the exposure if everyone in his class is from the same income or social household. Education isn’t limited to learning from books. Schools would teach you more if there are students from different ethnic and social groups. Nothing in this so-called ‘INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL’ seems an organic approach of learning to me. Most of the academic scholars are from public or government schools. International schools don’t guarantee success. International schools are just a status-quo thing.6) Our career choice may sound risky and we do need a sense of security and therefore we avoid that. The whole Indian education is designed in such a manner where there is only coaching and no counseling as if the path is paved for you and there is no way you can be a Robert Frost. (Reference to the road not taken).You would have to stress about Mathematics or Science even if it is not your cup of tea, because being academically poor is a stigma in India. Our parents or the system doesn’t think to have a career beyond academics. There resides a ‘Sharmaji ka ladka’ in every lane and by-lanes of India. The education system is made in such a manner that helps Top 10 Rankers and stresses the rest 50 students of a class of 60.COUNSELLING AT A EARLY AGE HELPS A LOT TO SHAPE YOUR CAREER. Every child is unique and everyone has different abilities. Let us face it, in an exam appeared by millions, thousands are selected. So, luck is a crucial factor. Making an IAS or IIM-A graduate a role model would stress the child for life. We need an environment where the person is celebrated for her/his character rather than the degree or designation.7) We are a country where there are coaching institutes even for aptitude exams. Many geniuses have made a syllabus out of it. Now reading newspapers and knowing current affairs is a part of syllabus than the curiosity to know things. How does learning the same stuff again in tuition make sense when the same is taught in the school in the morning? True story, back in the day, taking tuition with your class teacher helped you excel in exams. So some fellow batch mates changed their tuition teacher every year depending on who was the class teacher in the next grade. At that age, marks were not just numbers.THE ONLY SILVER LININGAfter 6 years of deliberation, NEP or The National Education Policy was announced on July 31, 2020. From changing the basic structure to focusing on interaction and focus based learning to prioritizing teaching in mother tongue to vocational training (EVERYTHING CANNOT BE TAUGHT ON BLACK-BOARDS) to picking up the subject (one can study biology with social studies) to bringing something similar to SATs for admission- Every single thing about NEP seems exciting and flexible tackling most of the above points. NEP could be a big reform if implemented well. It would be highly crucial how the NEP rolls out.Until then, we need a psychological and social change within us to give every child an environment to grow and develop stress-free. We need to change our perception about education and encourage more on learning rather than marks and degree. India has a family as its core value. Therefore, money can be an important aspect as there are homes in number where there is only one breadwinner. But we still need to change our priorities towards money. Money is the only enabler to live a life. Right now, we chose a career based more on money rather than interest and hence ends up being mediocre. For now, I can hope for a better tomorrow because ‘hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies’.After all the world is not that cruel.last_img read more

Tycho Announces ‘Awake’ Summer Tour Dates

first_imgTycho has revealed dates for an extensive summer tour in support of their recent album release, Awake. Surrounding performances at a number of major festivals, including Coachella, Lightning in a Bottle, Bonnaroo, Firefly, Ottawa Blues Fest and more, the group will hit a number of spots in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, and will play some major cities in Canada as well.For full ticketing information and more, head to the band’s official website. The schedule can be seen below:Tycho Tour Dates:April 17 Berkeley, CA—Greek Theater April 18 Indio, CA—Coachella May 21 Bradley, CA—Lightning in a Bottle June 3 Cuahutemoc, MEX—Sala June 6 Houston, TX—Free Press Summer Festival June 9 Tampa, FL—The Ritz Ybor June 10 Miami, FL—Grand Central June 11 Jacksonville, FL—Free Bird Live June 13 Manchester, TN—Bonnaroo June 15 Wilmington, NC—Ziggy’s by the Sea June 16 Norfolk, VA—The Norva June 17 Richmond, VA—The National June 18 Dover, DE—Firefly Music Festival June 19 Baltimore, MD—Rams Head Live! July 8 Ottawa, CAN—Ottawa Blues Festival July 9 Quebec City, CAN—Quebec City Summer Festival July 10 Montreal, CAN—Parc Jean Drapeau July 11 Toronto, CAN—Echo Beach July 14 Headingley, CAN—Adrenaline Adventures July 15 Saskatoon, CAN—Diefenbaker Park July 17 Calgary, CAN—Prairie Winds Park July 19 Pemberton, CAN—Pemberton Music Festival August 6 Darrington, WA—Summer Meltdownlast_img read more

Naomi Osaka rolls into Toray Pan Pacific Open semis

first_img Naomi Osaka, Toray Pan Pacific Open, Barbora Strycova Osaka, the world No. 7 struggled to land her first serve early in each set at Arena Tachikawa Tachihi and gave her opponent a number of second chances with inaccurate shots. But in both sets, the local favorite eventually took control after finding her rhythm.The 20-year-old Osaka said she had been prepared for a tough match against the eighth-seeded Strycova, having split their two past encounters on the WTA circuit.“This was my third time playing her, and each time it was very close, so I knew she was very good,” Osaska said.Osaka, who won the previous meeting between the pair in the opening round of Wimbledon last year, broke Strycova in the fourth game to go up 3-1, but the 32-year-old Czech broke back in the seventh game.In the following game, third seed Osaka produced an array of dazzling returns to break her opponent once again before serving out the set in 42 minutes.Having saved a break point in her opening service game of the second set, Osaka leveled the scores at 1-1 with her third ace of the match, a 190-kph thunderbolt. She secured the crucial break in the fifth game to go up 3-2.In the 10th game, Strycova saved one match point with a cracking forehand winner for deuce, before Osaka earned another match point with an ace. The favorite then made no mistake, sealing the win with an unreturnable serve.Earlier in the main arena, 2017 quarterfinalist and former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic survived a thriller against unseeded American Alison Riske.After breezing through the first set, current world No. 8 Pliskova had to fight hard for her 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-4) victory over the tenacious Riske, who had reached the quarters by upsetting another former No. 1, sixth-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, in the last 16.No. 4 seed Pliskova will face Donna Vekic in the semifinals after the 45th-ranked Croat upset sixth-seeded Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-4.Halep praises OsakaSimona Halep believes this year’s French Open victory has helped justify her position as the women’s world No. 1, with the Romanian saying she was now playing pressure-free tennis and motivated to add more Grand Slam titles to her resume.Speaking to a small gathering of reporters in a phone interview on Friday, the 26-year-old also earmarked U.S. Open champion Osaka as a huge prospect for the future after she made her major breakthrough in New York.“My dream was to become No. 1 and I managed that last year and then my goal was to win a Grand Slam because some consider that a sign of being a true No. 1,” Halep commented.“So my motivation was to win a major after I reached the top of the rankings and now I feel relaxed after achieving both. I am still motivated to win every match and now the pressure feels off, I can just feel the pleasure of playing.”Halep knows all too well the pain of losing a Grand Slam final after suffering three failures in as many title matches before she rallied past American Sloane Stephens in Paris to prevail 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 on her favorite clay surface in June.The mental and physical exertion of that triumph seemed to take a toll on the baseliner midway through the season but Halep believes her form in North America indicated she was close to playing her best tennis. Naomi Osaka plays a shot from Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic in their quarterfinal match at the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Friday. | AFP-JIJI RELATED PHOTOS Naomi Osaka booked her ticket to the Toray Pan Pacific Open semifinals with a straight-sets win against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday.Having quickly overpowered Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova in the previous round, the U.S. Open champion had to dig deeper for her 6-3, 6-4 victory over the 25th-ranked Strycova in 1 hour, 31 minutes.center_img KEYWORDS GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5last_img read more

Response to critique on Conservation Effectiveness series (commentary)

first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki Commentary, Conservation, Editorials, Environment, Research, Researcher Perspective Series Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img The team behind Mongabay’s Conservation Effectiveness series appreciates the feedback on our series offered by Madeleine McKinnon and her colleagues. We believe that we and the authors of the commentary share the common goals of encouraging and enabling conservation actions based on the available scientific evidence, and increasing the standard of scientific studies that evaluate the impact of conservation.Importantly, our goal was not to carry out a systematic review — an intensive, sometimes years-long process beyond the scope of our resources. We believe that systematic reviews are invaluable and crucial for answering specific, relatively narrow research questions. At the same time, they are not suitable for providing an overview of evidence of a wide range of outcomes, across a broad spectrum of evidence types, as we have tried to do with this series.We cannot identify an example of our series challenging the findings of existing systematic reviews, as McKinnon and co-authors imply it does. We strongly agree that there are opportunities for improvement. One of the main improvements we hope to make next is turning our database into a dynamic, growing, open contribution platform. The other members of the team behind Mongabay’s Conservation Effectiveness series and I appreciate the feedback on our series offered by Madeleine McKinnon and her colleagues. We believe that we and the authors of the commentary share the common goals of encouraging and enabling conservation actions based on the available scientific evidence, and increasing the standard of scientific studies that evaluate the impact of conservation.Before addressing the specific points made by McKinnon and her co-authors, we would also like to emphasize that our series and visualizations have additional goals:• To make scientific evidence accessible to non-scientists.• To increase the ease with which practitioners can orient themselves in and interact with scientific evidence in order to make informed opinions given the limited time they have.• To demonstrate to a broad audience the complexity of scientific evidence and the different ways in which conservation success can be viewed.• To inspire discussion about what conservation success means for different stakeholders, beyond scientists.Importantly, our goal was not to carry out a systematic review — an intensive, sometimes years-long process beyond the scope of our resources. We believe that systematic reviews are invaluable and crucial for answering specific, relatively narrow research questions. At the same time, they are not suitable for providing an overview of evidence of a wide range of outcomes, across a broad spectrum of evidence types, as we have tried to do with this series.BiasFirst, we disagree that the alternative to a systematic review is “cherry-picking results to fit a desired narrative.” There are many known and unknown biases in scientific research and publication; some can be addressed, others cannot. Reviews, including systematic ones, can suffer from different degrees of bias. Our series is absolutely not a collection of studies cherry-picked to fit a certain narrative. When we did go beyond our review methodology and subjectively selected specific studies to include, such as in the story on Environmental Advocacy, we acknowledged it openly and clearly conveyed our reasons for doing so. One of the main conclusions of all pieces in the series was that “more evidence is needed.”The authors of the commentary highlight the non-exhaustiveness of our database as a bias. Our approach of sampling the literature rather than attempting to gather every last relevant study — that is, our non-exhaustiveness — does not equal being biased per se, although it, like any other sampling, can introduce biases. For example, as we acknowledge on our methods page, we may have introduced bias by only including English-language and peer-reviewed publications. Smaller samples are more prone to biases than larger ones, and we believe that our target of 1,000 search results was a reasonable sample size that would lead to an acceptable level of bias. Moreover our goal was not to carry out systematic, exhaustive reviews, and we’ve clearly stated that our databases are not exhaustive in all of our stories.Amazon rainforest tree in Peru. Photo by Rhett Butler.It’s worth pointing out that even an exhaustive review of all literature is still likely to suffer from biases. For example, publication bias — where journals tend to publish studies with highly significant results rather than ones that, equally importantly, find no substantial change — can be quantified, but not truly eliminated.Our criteria for inclusion of individual studies are described on the methods page. They included things like the study being peer-reviewed; the methodology being clearly described so that the study can be classified as one of the seven types of evidence; the study containing information on the country it examined, the outcomes it measured, what the outcomes were, what it compared the intervention in question to, etc.; the study fitting within our geographic scope; and others.We have read the systematic review on decentralized forest management (DFM) that the McKinnon et. al. commentary suggests our methodological bias may have led us to overlook (Samii et al. 2015). However, this systematic review appears to be, in many parts of the text, a word-by-word copy of an earlier systematic review on payments for ecosystem services, apart from the acronym PES being replaced by DFM. The authors even failed to correct the number of studies found, leaving incorrect numbers in their abstract that did not correspond to the main text. We appreciate the work that went into this review, but we were worried about its rigor given the copy-and-paste warning signs. Nevertheless, we did go through this study in detail and included relevant individual studies that fit our inclusion criteria.TransparencyWe detail our methodology and criteria for including studies here. When two researchers reached different conclusions about whether to include a study, we mentioned it in the infographic within the squares corresponding to the study in question.We acknowledge that Google Scholar is not an ideal search platform, due to the lack of transparency in its search algorithm and the recent change with regard to the use of Boolean operators. Until Google Scholar clarifies its search processes, we would recommend that researchers, scholars and journalists use additional databases, providing they have access to them. If they use Google Scholar, we recommend using “private” or “incognito” search settings to avoid potential biases.We are hoping to open our platform to contributions by researchers, so that our database can be dynamic and grow at the same pace as the evidence base. We have already tested the platform’s documentation for making contributions on several scientists, and will continue to improve it so that anyone can transparently contribute.SubjectivityWe agree that research synthesis is useful for translating large bodies of data into broad insights. Before we respond to the comments on the infographic, we want to emphasize that an important capability of our infographic is the ability to convey specific, geographically local insights. For example, for an NGO in Indonesia hoping to implement a PES project, it’s useful to consult a systematic review to see whether PES has worked overall. But it’s also important to be able to quickly access regional evidence, for example just from Malaysia and Indonesia, or evidence on a particular outcome of PES projects, for example the effect on biodiversity. Our infographic allows both of these functions.We thank the authors for their comments on the visualization. It is difficult to represent conservation evidence and there are numerous pitfalls to avoid. The commentary raises two important points that we will address separately, one about interpreting outcomes as positive, neutral, or negative; the other about evidence types.In our visualization, “vote counting” by adding up the number of green/positive, yellow/neutral, and red/negative squares is discouraged: at no point in the series do we engage in “vote counting,” the unequal weights of individual studies is emphasized in the caveats section in the methods, and we specifically warn against vote counting in the summary PDF documents:“The majority of extracted data points do not imply causation, only correlation. Studies vary in the rigor of design, sample size, methodology, and scope. Therefore, data points (individual squares) cannot be summed or used to calculate overall effect! One red square does NOT cancel out one green square. Please use as a non-exhaustive map of existing scientific evidence rather than as a final verdict on whether PES is effective.”That is indeed why we chose to portray each outcome as an individual square, rather than something like a bar chart or percentage, which would imply that vote counting or averaging were possible. We hope to encourage readers to explore individual results by clicking on squares, which should further bring home the message that not all squares are equal.Additionally, the authors imply that we ignore “the wide array of impacts occurring within and between populations and time frames within a single study.” We do not. Where a single study examined different populations or different time frames, it is represented as multiple outcomes in our database and visualization. We emphasize again that this leads to individual squares in the visualization not being independent and underscores the inappropriateness of vote counting.Finally, the authors argue that we are “giving equal weight to studies whether poorly designed or rigorously executed.” We do not. An important function of our visualization is to communicate that there are different types of evidence, and that these need to be treated and interpreted differently.Rainforest in Borneo. Photo by Rhett Butler.One level of distinction is represented by the light and dark shades of the squares (see legend). At a finer level, the drop-down menu “Select type of evidence” lets users separate different types of evidence within the visualization based on the rigor of the study design. However, our “types of evidence” categories capture only two aspects of the study design variability (the ability to show correlation versus causation, and the ability to generalize). It was beyond our scope to also distinguish between different sample sizes, durations, geographic areas, funding sources, etc.Our visualization is not perfect. However, we hope that it is a step toward better communication of science to a broad audience, and we will continue improving and testing it.False confidenceOne of the main concerns the commentary raises is that we are overly and falsely confident in our results. In all our articles, we conclude that there is either not enough rigorous evidence, or not enough evidence overall, while acknowledging the different levels of rigor with which individual studies have been designed. Even so, we believe that potential overconfidence in this particular conclusion could lead to productive channeling of funding and research effort to fill these knowledge gaps.Again, we do not do vote counting anywhere in the series, and we discourage readers from vote counting using our database. In terms of the forest certification example, we disagree that the article or visualization make conclusions that would be substantially different to conclusions made by the individual, rigorously designed studies mentioned in the critique. The handful of quasi-experimental studies (which can be displayed separately by selecting “Study III” in the “Select types of evidence” drop-down menu) find some positive and some neutral environmental and social outcomes. This reflects very well the findings of less-rigorous studies, which find some positive, some neutral, and very few negative environmental and social outcomes of certification and reduced impact logging.Opportunities for improvementWe cannot identify an example of our series challenging the findings of existing systematic reviews, as McKinnon and co-authors imply it does. We strongly agree that there are opportunities for improvement. One of the main improvements we hope to make next is turning our database into a dynamic, growing, open contribution platform. We will certainly keep in mind the potential biases and pitfalls that such approaches present and will continue informing users about the limitations, with the vision of further narrowing the gap between science and practice in conservation in a rigorous and transparent way.last_img read more

Vatican threatened over Muslim offense

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsIn a broader talk rejecting any religious motivation for violence, Benedict cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as “evil and inhuman,” particularly “his command to spread by the sword the faith.” The pontiff did not endorse that description, but he did not question it, and his words set off a firestorm of protests across the Muslim world. The new Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said the pope’s position on Islam is unmistakably in line with Vatican teaching that says the church “esteems” Muslims. Benedict “thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions,” Bertone said in a statement. He noted that earlier during his German trip, Benedict warned “secularized Western culture” against holding contempt for any religion or believers. Bertone said the pontiff sought in his university speech to condemn all religious motivation for violence, “from whatever side it may come.” But the pope’s words only seemed to fan rage. Mohammed Bishr, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member in Egypt, said the statement “was not an apology.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI “sincerely regrets” offending Muslims with his reference to an obscure medieval text that characterizes some of the teachings of Islam’s founder as “evil and inhuman,” the Vatican said Saturday. But the statement stopped short of the apology demanded by Islamic leaders around the globe, and anger among Muslims remained intense. Palestinians attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza over the pope’s remarks Tuesday in a speech to university professors in his native Germany. An Iraqi insurgent group threatened the Vatican with a suicide attack over the pope’s remarks on Islam, according to a statement posted Saturday on the Web. “We swear to God to send you people who adore death as much as you adore life,” said the message posted in the name of the Mujahedeen Army on a Web site frequently used by militant groups. The message’s authenticity could not be independently verified. The statement was addressed to “you dog of Rome” and threatens to “shake your thrones and break your crosses in your home.” last_img read more

Best of Instagram

first_imgShare This!This Best of Instagram shows off some truly beautiful scenery within both Disneyland and Walt Disney World resort.If you’re new to this weekly series, I post highlights from our Instagram page, along with a top comment featuring YOU, our subscriber.Enjoy!July 23, 2018(I’m putting the “Top Comment(s) of the Week” here because all of these captions are absolute gold!)July 25, 2018 July 26, 2018July 27, 2018 Should this article inspire you to give our Instagram page a follow, I’ll leave the link right here: read more

FNB’s eWallet now available at Pep

first_img23 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 materiallast_img read more

Amazon beta testing Influencer Program aimed exclusively at social media bigwigs

first_img HomeDigital MarketingAmazon beta testing Influencer Program aimed exclusively at social media bigwigs Amazon beta testing Influencer Program aimed exclusively at social media bigwigsYou are here: Related postsLytics now integrates with Google Marketing Platform to enable customer data-informed campaigns14th December 2019The California Consumer Privacy Act goes live in a few short weeks — Are you ready?14th December 2019ML 2019121313th December 2019Global email benchmark report finds email isn’t dead – it’s essential13th December 20192019 benchmark report: brand vs. non-brand traffic in Google Shopping12th December 2019Keep your LinkedIn advertising strategy focused in 202012th December 2019 Amazon is beta-testing an invite-only Influencer Program that will give social media influencers an vanity URL to make commissions on sales of products they want to promote.Reported last week on TechCrunch, the program is similar to Amazon’s affiliate program in that the influencers — like affiliates — will earn a commission on products purchased via links attached to their Amazon URL. But, unlike the Amazon Affiliate program, which is open to anyone who wants to join, the Amazon Influencer Program is invite-only for social media influencers Amazon deems worthy of inclusion.From the Amazon’s Influencer Program details page:The Amazon Influencer Program is exclusively designed for social media influencers with large followings and a high frequency of posts with shoppable content. An intuitive vanity URL makes it easy for customers to find, browse and buy the products introduced to them through social media influencers. The program allows influencers to earn fees for purchases they drive through their social media platforms.To be considered for the program, Amazon says applications will be evaluated on things like the number of followers an influencer has on various social platforms, their engagement on posts, the quality of their content and level of relevancy for“There is no set cut-off and influencers across all tiers and categories are represented in the program,” says Amazon.The TechCrunch report included comments from Liane Mullin, the president and COO of the YouTube channel “What’sUpMoms,” who is already part of Amazon’s Influencer Program.“We are constantly asked by our community for product recommendations and about the products used in our videos,” says Mullins in the TechCrunch report, “Now that we have our own Amazon store [it] makes it much easier to have a curated collection all in one spot.”To submit applications, social media influencers must follow directions listed on the Amazon Influencer Program page. According to Amazon, only influencers with large followings who meet the program’s qualifications will receive an invite — and that, because of the volume of submissions, anyone who applies will only be contacted if they are invited to join the program.From our sponsors: Amazon beta testing Influencer Program aimed exclusively at social media bigwigs Posted on 4th April 2017Digital Marketing FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+sharelast_img read more

Liverani: Lecce need to be ‘carefree’

first_imgFabio Liverani believes Lecce must be “carefree” in their approach if they are to spring a surprise against Juventus tomorrow. Juve are heavy favourites to beat Lecce, given they are at home and remain the dominant force in Serie A, but Liverani – who must serve a touchline ban on Saturday – is upbeat about his side’s chances. “I won’t be on the field but I’m not bitter about it, even I certainly won’t like not being there,” the Coach said at a Press conference. “I accept the ban that I received after the match against Milan, even if I don’t agree with it. “As for whether Juve will rotate, everyone looks at their own first. The Bianconeri have a squad that can manage any game because they have valid options in every position. “Above all, those who have played less could give something more. Whether Ronaldo is there or not doesn’t change anything. “We’ll certainly enter the field with that bit of carefreeness, which you need in games like these. “We’re only thinking about our guarantees and the collective because we know we can’t match them individually. “We mustn’t think about who we’ll be facing, only that we’ll continue on our way. The group can push us beyond this obstacle. My players can stick together even more when they face difficulties.” The Salentini have yet to win at home this season, so is the ex-Lazio midfielder concerned? “Points count, not where we get them: I don’t look at these things. “I have plenty of forward options and I’ll make my considerations.” Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: read more

Fatigue will not be a real factor, says M S Dhoni

first_imgThere schedule may be chock-a-block but skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni does not believe fatigue will be a real factor for Indian players who are to play South Africa in a one-off T20 match followed by the seven-week long upcoming IPL.Dhoni says he and his team-mates are “happy” to have travelled to South Africa even though it is for a one-off match, and coming after their failure to make the Asia Cup final and the disastrous tour of Australia.”All happy. I don’t think fatigue will be a real factor. We all enjoy playing the IPL…that’s one format where you are not representing your country, and the span of the tournament is slightly longer so you play quite a few games.”It’s a different exposure. I always felt the platform was good for youngsters because they get to play with some of the best international cricketers. It helps you get a bit fitter also,” Dhoni said after he arrived here with his team for the match, scheduled to be held on Friday.Dhoni lauded South Africa for their hospitality and the ability to make visiting teams feel comfortable.”In South Africa the sports are managed really well. When a team comes everything is in place and in order. In the same way, when it comes to India, the management, the airlines and the hotels, they go out of their way to make the players comfortable.”last_img read more