Humboldt Broncos to end GoFundMe fundraiser this Wednesday

first_imgHUMBOLDT, S.K. – The Humboldt Bronco’s and GoFundMe will shut down their online fundraiser this Wednesday.The GoFundMe campaign will end on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. MST.  In a press release posted to the team website, the organization thanked everyone for their generosity. As of Monday evening, over $12 million has been donated through the website.“First and foremost, the Broncos’ volunteer board of directors would like to express their tremendous love and sincere gratitude to everyone who has generously donated time and money to support our organization and its families, as we navigate through this dark and heart-wrenching time.The strain on the Broncos’ organization’s limited resources has been immense. Our priority currently remains focused – as it has been since day one – on working with our families, especially now as they lay their loved ones to rest, as well as on all our families and players struggling to heal, physically and mentally, in the wake of this devastating event.”Money from the GoFundMe campaign will be transferred to a newly created non-profit corporation known as “Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Inc.” to be allocated for their intended purpose. An advisory committee will be established to make recommendations for the allocations of all funds that will be held in trust.Any other fundraisers held after the GoFundMe campaign is closed can be donated to the HumboldtStrong Community Foundation.  The mission of the new foundation will be to support employees, families and volunteers connected to the Bronco’s team.For more information about how you can donate to the team, after the GoFundMe closes, visit www.humboldtstrong.infoOn April 12, Fort St. John residents came together and donated over $5,60o towards the campaign.last_img read more

Underwater recovery teams helping with the search for missing twoyearold

first_imgFurther updates will be provided when more information is available. GRANDE PRAIRIE, AB – The Grande Prairie RCMP continue to assist in the search for a two-year-old boy who went missing near the Wapiti River at the Canfor Bridge during the evening of July 6, 2018.The search crews have been using boats, all-terrain vehicles, a helicopter, and people on foot in the search for the missing boy.As of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday the boy has not been located and RCMP Underwater Recovery Team (URT) members from Saskatchewan and Manitoba have arrived to assist in the search and recovery efforts. URT members are searching all probable areas using sonar and physical dives along the river.last_img

SC to hear fresh plea for not evicting forest dwellers tomorrow

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on Monday a fresh plea seeking a direction to authorities not to evict any forest dweller and to set up an SIT to look into alleged illegal acquisition of tribals’ land. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna had on March 5 taken cognisance of the plea, filed by Chhattisgarh-based Tarika Tarangini Larka, seeking a direction to the Centre not to allot possession of any forest land belonging to tribals to anyone other than ‘adivasi’ residing in that particular area. The apex court, while dealing with other similar pending petition, had on February 28 stayed its February 13 order directing 21 states to evict 11.8 lakh illegal forest dwellers whose claims over the forest land have been rejected by authorities. In the fresh petition, filed through lawyer M L Sharma, Larka has alleged that authorities in Tamnar of Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh have forcibly grabbed a large area of tribal land and handed it to outsiders and now are trying to oust ‘adivasi’ from the area. “For this, they adopted simple strategy declaring forest dweller as non-adivasi to grab their land in the forest and village by rejecting their claim upon land,” the plea has said. It has sought restoration of land acquired by the government from tribals in Chhattisgarh for mining and other purposes and to provide them value of mined minerals. The petition has also sought setting up of a special investigation team (SIT) comprising retired judges of the apex court to look into the alleged illegal acquisition of land belonging to tribals throughout the country. Besides, it has sought a direction to the CBI to register an FIR under the provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Act to investigate the matters brought to light by the SIT and to file their report before the apex court.last_img read more

SC to lenders Defer declaring DAMEPL dues as NPA

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the consortium of lender banks that had financed the Delhi airport metro express line of Reliance Infrastructure to defer declaring outstanding dues as non-performing assets.The bench of Justice SA Bobde and Justice AS Abdul Nazeer asked the banks to defer declaring outstanding dues as NPA as Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) opposed Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited’s plea that it (DMRC) be asked to service DAMEPL debts. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderSenior counsel P Chidambram appearing for the DAMEPL told the court that DMRC, which is operating the airport metro express line, be asked to shoulder the responsibility of serving the debts. He also cited the earlier Delhi High Court order asking DMRC to service the debts. Initially court appeared inclined to agree that DMRC should service the debts. “Prima face we are with you. One who is running the train should service the debts”, Justice Bobde said agreeing with Chidambram.last_img read more

Klopp provides an injury update on Trent AlexanderArnold

first_imgLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed they are taking assessing Trent Alexander-Arnold’s fitness on a daily basis ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester UnitedThe English full-back was forced to withdraw in the closing stages of Liverpool’s decisive Champions League victory against Napoli at Anfield on Tuesday night.Arnold remains a doubt for this weekend’s clash against United at Anfield with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez definitely out.“With Trent, it’s not as serious as it is with the other two boys, but of course it is absolutely not top-class news, that’s clear,” said Klopp on the club website.Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“It was unlucky as well, especially with Joel; the last second of the game. When you asked me in the press conference I had no idea about it because I had to go doing different stuff pretty much immediately and I didn’t see him on the pitch because I spoke to Carlo [Ancelotti].“The rehab has already started pretty much, the same for Joe.“Trent, we have to see. For him, it is day by day how we judge it. It’s not cool but as long as we still have enough players, it is our job to always find a solution for it – and we will have a solution for the weekend, but of course, it is not perfect.”The German added that full-back Nathaniel Clyne has been back in training for the last four days and is set to return from injury.last_img read more

Pizzi says Arabia will not take North Korea for granted

first_imgThe Saudi Arabia national team will play their opening match of Group E against North Korea in the 2019 Asian Cup.After seeing surprising results so far in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, Saudi Arabia is not taking things for granted.And coach Juan Antonio Pizzi says they will not relax against North Korea.“I respect all teams we will play against. We know these teams, but history counts for nothing as we have to play each of them and win,” Pizzi said according to The Gulf News.SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - AUGUST 11: Players from South Korea (blue) and North Korea (red) compete for the ball during a "Unification Soccer" matches at Seoul World Cup stadium on August 11, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea's Unification Ministry said on Thursday that North Korea proposed talks at Panmunjom on Monday to discuss preparations for the possibility of a third summit meeting between North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and President Moon Jae-in of the South. South Korean officials have reportedly expressed interest in holding the third meeting soon with hopes of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula amidst easing tensions between both sides. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)Infantino wants a world cup in North and South Korea Manuel R. Medina – March 5, 2019 The FIFA president believes the 2023 Women’s World Cup can be played in North Korea and South Korea, as he wants them to share a bid.“If we can’t win then we won’t get the points. Tomorrow we need to go out there and win those three points.”“It’s not going to be easy. There are pros and cons and the job of the strikers is to score goals so that we can win,” he explained.“We trust in all our players and they will give their best to ensure we take the three points.”last_img read more

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission Awards Scholarship to Eight Students

first_imgRobert G. Berger Memorial Scholarship FundThe Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission announced June 18 that eight children of Commission employees have been awarded scholarships through the Robert G. Berger Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund is supported by contributions from the Berger family, employees and retirees of WSSC.Approximately $10,000 in scholarships was awarded to the following students:Andrea Crowe         Lock Haven UniversityDaniel Crowe           Lock Haven UniversitySanchita Gupta        University of VirginiaAmber Kelly             Salisbury UniversityThomas Lilly, III       Georgia Institute of TechnologyTheresa Russell      University of Maryland College ParkNatelie Tobery         Shepherd UniversityChristina Venanzi    Stevenson UniversityThe Robert G. Berger Memorial Scholarship Fund serves as an opportunity for WSSC to support higher education. Formerly known as the WSSC Employee Scholarship Fund, it was renamed to honor the memory of Commissioner Robert G. Berger upon his passing in April 2003. Commissioner Berger was appointed to the Commission from Montgomery County in 1993 and served until 2001. A graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, he was a tremendous advocate of higher education and played a pivotal role in creating the WSSC Scholarship Fund.last_img read more

Norton Bowser and Youth Demand DCs Right to Gun Control

first_imgBy Hamzat Sani, Special to the AFRODelegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser led a first-of-its-kind panel of District political powerhouses in a conversation about the impact of the Federal Government’s interference in D.C.’s gun control laws. The panel included Attorney General for the District of Columbia Karl A. Racine, D, and DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, D, and was part of the 2018 D.C. Emancipation Day Full Democracy Champions Breakfast held at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel downtown.The breakfast is one of several DC Emancipation-focused events going on this weekend as residents call on the Federal Government to make D.C. the 51st State. The crowded banquet hall included former local politicians, DC’s Shadow Delegation, the Emancipation Commission, D.C.’s Statehood Delegation and nearly all the D.C. Council in attendance with the notable exception of ex-Mayor and Ward 7 councilmember, Vincent Gray.Zion Kelly spoke about what his brother meant to him, his classmates and the importance of creating safety zones for schools. (Photo redit: Hamzat Sani)Panelists were moderated by the colorful President and Director-Counsel Emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Elaine Jones. Whitney Jackson led the crowd through the traditional national anthem and punctuated her soulful performance with a 5 stanza deep rendition of the Black national anthem. A fitting tribute to a city where the  majority demographic makeup is Black and longtime statehood activists point to the racial context behind the federal government’s history of denying D.C. its voting rights.While political panelists made astute and powerful arguments for D.C. having the right to regulate its own citizens on the issue of gun control, by the far the most stirring appeal was made earlier in the program by statement of occasion speaker, Zion Kelly. The twin brother of local gun violence victim and star Thurgood Marshall Academy athlete and scholar, Zaire Kelly, Zion not only came with a message that “enough is enough” but also a bill. Kelly’s family is proposing the Zaire Kelly School Zone Amendments Act, to create safe passage zones for students to and from school. The legislation lays out several community “safety zones” and expands the definition of “student” in D.C. to further protect students and ensure their safety.For further information about D.C. Emancipation Day events and activities readers can visit emancipation.dc.gov.last_img read more

Netflix Lost in Space Reboot Draws 63 Million Viewers in First 3

first_img“Lost in Space,” one of Netflix’s newest high-profile original series, drew 6.3 million U.S. viewers within the first three days of its release earlier this month, according to Nielsen.In addition, in the first 72 hours of release (April 13-15) of all 10 episodes, “Lost in Space” viewers on average watched 2.6 episodes, per Nielsen. The media-measurement firm found the series was heavily binged — with almost 1.2 million people having watched the series’ final episode within those three days.By comparison, the “Stranger Things” season 2 premiere episode average 15.8 million viewers from Oct. 27-29, while 11 million U.S. viewers who watched Netflix’s “Bright” during its first three days of release, according to Nielsen.Famously, Netflix doesn’t release viewing metrics, holding such data close to its vest — leaving third parties like Nielsen to try to estimate demand. Netflix has pointed out that Nielsen’s estimates cover only the U.S. and only tracks viewership on connected TVs (excluding mobile devices and computers). The Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings, launched last fall, extrapolate viewership using audio-recognition technology that “listens” to what viewers are watching on TV. In terms of Netflix premiere-day viewing, “Lost in Space” garnered 3.16 million viewers overall on April 13, according to Nielsen’s estimates. That puts it behind “Stranger Things” season 2, with 8.97 million on Oct. 27, and “Bright,” the fantasy cop movie starring Will Smith, which pulled in 5.35 million on Dec. 22. “Lost in Space” was ahead of “Marvel’s The Defenders” (2.8 million on Aug. 18), “Black Mirror” season 4 (2.1 million), and “House of Cards” season 5 (2.0 million on May 30).Nielsen also found that the initial viewers of “Lost in Space” were 60% male and 40% female. Some other Netflix shows skew female, like “Fuller House” (67% female) and “The Crown” (65% female).In “Lost in Space,” which Netflix has been marketing heavily, Will Robinson and the Robot form an unexpected, unbreakable bond that could mean the difference between life and death for the Robinsons.The series stars Toby Stepehens (“Black Sails,” “Die Another Day”) as John Robinson, and Molly Parker (“House of Cards,” “Deadwood”) as Maureen Robinson, the family’s parental leaders. The Robinson kids are portrayed by Taylor Russell (“Falling Skies”) as Judy, Mina Sundwall (“Maggie’s Plan”) as Penny, and Max Jenkins (“Sense8,” “Betrayal”) as the curious and sensitive Will Robinson.The series is produced by Legendary Television and written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (“Dracula Untold,” “Last Witch Hunter”). Zack Estrin (“Prison Break”) serves as showrunner. The three are executive producers alongside Synthesis Entertainment’s Kevin Burns and Jon Jashni with Applebox’s Neil Marshall and Marc Helwig.The original “Lost in Space,” created by Irwin Allen, aired for three seasons, from 1965 to 1968 on CBS. The original also spawned a 1998 feature film starring William Hurt, Gary Oldman, Matt LeBlanc, Heather Graham and Mimi Rogers. Popular on Variety center_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15,The original “Lost in Space,” created by Irwin Allen, aired for three seasons, from 1965 to 1968 on CBS. The original also spawned a 1998 feature film starring William Hurt, Gary Oldman, Matt LeBlanc, Heather Graham and Mimi Rogers.last_img read more

Poulos uses bicycle stunts to illustrate life lessons

first_imgBy Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community ReporterChris PoulosNorthborough – Back by popular demand, world champion athlete and motivational speaker Chris Poulos recently paid a visit to the Northborough Summer Recreation program held at Lincoln Elementary School. His visit took place on Aug. 8, during week seven of the eight week program.“He is really cool and the kids really like him,” said Allie Lane, director of the program.Abby Soraci, camp co-director, agreed and shared that there were 125 campers, preschool through 8th grade, during week seven.Poulos has won 85 worldwide competitions, notably the 1991 Bicycle Stunt World Championships in Denmark when he was 20 years of age as well as back to back National Bicycle Stunt Championships in the U.S. in 1990 and 1991.Chris PoulosWhen his competitive career was sidelined due to a series of injuries he turned to helping others through motivational speaking, particularly speaking to young encouraging them to lead positive lives.Poulos’ said that his visit was a special treat for the kids who are 3 to 5 years of age because they don’t go on field trips. However, his presentation was enjoyed by all the campers and counselors.“I’m going to show them my stunts, I’m going to talk about my life, tell them about my sport but I’m also going to share some ways that they can lead better and safer lives,” he said.Chris Poulos“I’ll talk about how they can make and keep friends, include each other and kindness, the same things that our parents taught us when we were kids, I just share it with them,” he added.The audience was captivated as Poulos wove life lessons among his stunts in an hour long program. The premise of his life and the final message he relayed was, “Treat people better than you would want to be treated.”For more information about the Northborough Recreation Department, visit: http://www.northboroughrecreation.com.Photos/Melanie PetrucciChris Pouloslast_img read more

Passengers want a railway they can trustand cheaper fares Calls for network

first_img Click for Sound Watch Next Police search for missing woman Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailA new poll shows most people believe Britain’s railways would be better value for money if they were publicly owned. And the majority of the public are opposed to the rail industry’s plans for increased competition on the railways with rival firms running routes in direct competition to each other. The poll of 1,000 rail users comes in the wake of changes to the London Northwestern Railway’s service. The service – when it was operated by London Midland – stopped at Stoke Station. But it has now vanished from the Stoke-on-Trent timetable. The direct route to London was popular because it was cheaper than services run by Virgin Trains but it will no longer pass through the Potteries, To reach London via an alternative to Virgin, travellers have to go via Birmingham or get to to Stafford to catch the train that still does take the direct line to London. Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to playTap to play We pay for stories! Send your videos to video@trinitymirror.com Most, 45 per cent, said rail fares would be cheaper under public ownership with 19 per cent fearing they would be more expensive. And 56 per cent say railways should be run in the public sector, with 19 per cent saying they should be privately run and 24 per cent unsure. The poll – carried out earlier this month – found almost half of the respondents think that private train firms don’t have their best interests at heart. And just 29 per cent support plans from the Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail firms, for increased competition on the railways. The RDG has been calling for Open Access Rail, where rail companies would compete in delivering services on the same route. The new poll provides an insight into public attitudes towards rail privatisation before the government’s consultation on the running of our railways closes later this week. It found that a majority of the public believe the railways would be better value for money if they were publicly owned. Ellen Lees, of We Own It said:“Private rail companies have been lobbying hard for more private involvement and increased competition on our railways. Video will play in  Watch again Most overcrowed train services revealed Share this video A Northern train “This new poll shows just how out of touch the rail industry is. The public doesn’t want more competition, they want a railway they can trust, with cheaper fares that provide good value for money. Read MoreManchester Metrolink workers to strike for four days over pay (& it clashes with the Parklife Festival)   “This is only possible if the railway is brought into public hands. After endless delays, cancellations and crowded trains, people are sick and tired of privatisation. “So it’s absolutely vital that with the Williams Rail Review coming to an end, Keith Williams makes the right call on the future of our railways.” The government’s consultation is part of the Williams Rail Review, which closes at the end of May. Read MoreTop stories on StokeonTrentLive Driver named following fatal collision Stoke rail station The new times for the service are on London Northwestern Railway’s website but it is difficult to make the right connection unless passengers understand the routes. In addition to this, the West Coast Partnership franchise is due to be awarded next month. poll loadingShould Britain’s rail network be publicly owned?0+ VOTES SO FARYesNo The winning bidder will be responsible for services on both the WCML from March 2020, and designing and running the initial HS2 high-speed services from 2026. Virgin Trains has operated along the route since 1997 but has been disqualified this time in a dispute over pensions, although they have launched legal action against the decision. The snapshot of how rail users feel about current services has been carried out by anti-privatisation group We Own It. It found that 67 per ent of those who took part in the survey would have more trust in the railways if they were brought into public ownership. Read MoreMotorists urged to be patient with learner drivers when they take to the motorway   A total of 43 per cent said privatisation had been a partial or total failure, with only 23 per cent saying it had been a success with 21 per cent claiming they didn’t know. Follow StokeonTrentLive Download our app – You can download our free app for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or get the Android version from Google Play.  Follow StokeonTrentLive on Facebook –  Like our Facebook page to get the latest news in your feed and join in the lively discussions in the comments. Click here to give it a like! Follow us on Twitter –  For breaking news and the latest stories,  click here to follow SOTLive on Twitter. Follow us on Instagram – Featuring pictures past and present from across Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire & South Cheshire – and if you tag us in your posts, we could repost your picture on our page! We also put the latest news in our Instagram Stories.  Click here to follow StokeonTrentLive on Instagram. The video will start in 8Cancel Play now Punter found hiding in bushes Dad slams ‘disgusting’ hospital windowlast_img read more

DARPA on the hunt to catch deepfakes with its AI forensic tools

first_imgThe U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ( DARPA) has come out with AI-based forensic tools to catch deepfakes, first reported by MIT technology review yesterday. According to MIT Technology Review, the development of more tools is currently under progress to expose fake images and revenge porn videos on the web. DARPA’s deepfake mission project was announced earlier this year. Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live face swapped with Donald Trump As mentioned in the MediFor blog post, “While many manipulations are benign, performed for fun or for artistic value, others are for adversarial purposes, such as propaganda or misinformation campaigns”. This is one of the major reasons why DARPA Forensics experts are keen on finding methods to detect deepfakes videos and images How did deepfakes originate? Back in December 2017, a Reddit user named “DeepFakes” posted extremely real-looking explicit videos of celebrities. He used deep learning techniques to insert celebrities’ faces into adult movies. Using Deep learning, one can combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto original images or videos to create realistic-seeming fake videos. As per the MIT technology review,“Video forgeries are done using a machine-learning technique — generative modeling — lets a computer learn from real data before producing fake examples that are statistically similar”. Video tampering is done using two neural networks — generative adversarial networks which work in conjunction “to produce ever more convincing fakes”. Why are deepfakes toxic? An app named FakeApp was released earlier this year which helped create deepfakes quite easily. FakeApp uses neural networking tools developed by Google’s AI division. The app trains itself to perform image-recognition tasks using trial and error. Ever since its release, the app has been downloaded more than 120,000 times. In fact, there are tutorials online on how to create deepfakes. Apart from this, there are regular requests on deepfake forums, asking users for help in creating face-swap porn videos of ex-girlfriends, classmates, politicians, celebrities, and teachers. Deepfakes is even be used to create fake news such as world leaders declaring war on a country. The toxic potential of this technology has led to a growing concern as deepfakes have become a powerful tool for harassing people. Once deepfakes found their way on the world wide web, many websites such as Twitter and PornHub, banned them from being posted on their platforms. Reddit also announced a ban on deepfakes, earlier this year, killing The “deepfakes” subreddit which had more than 90,000 subscribers, entirely. MediFor: DARPA’s AI weapon to counter deepfakes DARPA’s Media Forensics group, also known as MediFor, works in a group along with other researchers is set on developing AI tools for deepfakes. It is currently focusing on four techniques to catch the audiovisual discrepancies present in a forged video. This includes analyzing lip sync, detecting speaker inconsistency, scene inconsistency and content insertions. One technique comes from a team led by Professor Siwei Lyu of SUNY Albany. Lyu mentioned that they “generated about 50 fake videos and tried a bunch of traditional forensics methods. They worked on and off, but not very well”. As the deepfakes are created using static images, Lyu noticed that that the faces in deepfakes videos rarely blink and that eye-movement, if present, is quite unnatural. An academic paper titled “In Ictu Oculi: Exposing AI Generated Fake Face Videos by Detecting Eye Blinking,” by Yuezun Li, Ming-Ching Chang and Siwei Lyu explains a method to detect forged videos. It makes use of Long-term Recurrent Convolutional Networks (LRCN). According to the research paper, people, on an average, blink about 17 times a minute or 0.283 times per second. This rate increases with conversation and decreases while reading. There are a lot of other techniques which are used for eye blink detection such as detecting the eye state by computing the vertical distance between eyelids, measuring eye aspect ratio ( EAR ), and using the convolutional neural network (CNN) to detect open and closed eye states. But, Li, Chang, and Lyu use a different approach. They rely on  Long-term Recurrent Convolutional Networks (LRCN) model. They first perform pre-processing to identify facial features and normalize the video frame orientation. Then, they pass cropped eye images into the LRCN for evaluation. This technique is quite effective. It is also better as compared to other approaches, with a reported accuracy of 0.99 (LRCN) compared to 0.98 (CNN) and 0.79 (EAR). However, Lyu says that a skilled video editor can fix the non-blinking deepfakes by using images that shows blinking eyes. But, Lyu’s team has a secret effective technique in the works to fix even that, though he hasn’t divulged any details. Others in DARPA are on the look-out for similar cues such as strange head movements, odd eye color, etc as these little details are leading the team even closer to detection of deepfakes. As mentioned in the MIT Technology review post, “the arrival of these forensics tools may simply signal the beginning of an AI-powered arms race between video forgers and digital sleuths” and how”. Also, MediFor states that “If successful, the MediFor platform will automatically detect manipulations, provide detailed information about how these manipulations were performed, and reason about the overall integrity of visual media to facilitate decisions regarding the use of any questionable image or video”. Deepfakes need to stop and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ( DARPA) seems all set to fight against them. Read Next Twitter allegedly deleted 70 million fake accounts in an attempt to curb fake news A new WPA/WPA2 security attack in town: Wi-fi routers watch out! YouTube has a $25 million plan to counter fake news and misinformationlast_img read more

Brand USA launches new trade website travel agent contest

first_imgBrand USA launches new trade website & travel agent contest Posted by Tuesday, April 10, 2018 Tags: America, Brand USA, Education Travelweek Group center_img TORONTO — Brand USA is spreading the news about its travel trade website with a new contest just for travel agents.Available at VisitTheUSA.com/TravelTrade, the trade-specific online platform fits the needs of the international travel trade and is readily accessible from all mobile devices, says Brand USA. The site has been live since January 2018, bringing a number of useful trade resources across the organization’s consumer and corporate websites into a single, stand-alone space.“Brand USA understands the importance of the travel trade and we’ve taken detailed measures to create a website that truly reflects the industry’s needs, interests and desires,” said Cathy Domanico, vice president, global trade development for Brand USA. “The travel trade continues to play a significant role in driving international visitors to, through and beyond America’s gateways. This new digital development will enable Brand USA to better connect with, and provide an engaging platform for all travel industry professionals.”Features of the new website include:Mobile-optimized, responsive design across a spectrum of devices, including tablets and smart phonesDirect access to the Brand USA Trip Kit, a resource for USA travel inspiration and informationExpanded corporate calendar highlighting Brand USA’s industry activities and signature events up to five years in advanceInformation and advice on visiting the U.S., including an overview of U.S. travel policiesExpanded directory of receptive tour operatorsContact details for Brand USA’s international representation agenciesNew ‘USA Trip Planner’ toolMore news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upIn addition to the new trade website, Brand USA has also launched its first-ever contest for travel agents for the month of April.The contest, launched in partnership with Canadian Music Week (CMW), runs until April 30 and includes all-access passes to the music-filled event, which runs from May 7-13 in Toronto.Agents who complete the USA Discovery Program and earn their USA Global Regional specialist badge by the end of the month will be entered for the chance to win two all-access Explorer + Wristband for priority access to all official CMW Club Series shows. Access also gains them entry to the CMW Concert Series to experience marquee headline shows at Toronto’s best concert venues.Chances of winning depend on the number of entries. The draw will take place on May 2. Winners will be contacted directly by Brand USA.The Explorer + Wristband, which has an approximate value of $300, is valid for all seven days.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsFor Access Concert Series shows, winners must pick up tickets at the CMW Box Office at the Sheraton Hotel from May 7-13. Limited tickets are available, first come, first served (one ticket per person/per pass). All venues/events are subject to capacity. All passes/tickets are non-refundable. Transportation and lodging are not included.To complete the USA Discovery Program course, go to usadiscoveryprogram.com. For more information on Brand USA, go to TheBrandUSA.com. Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Media services firm RR Media has acquired Israelb

first_imgMedia services firm RR Media has acquired Israel-based SatLink Communications for US$19 million in a bid to “increase scale and expand service capabilities.”SatLink is a global provider of content distribution, management and playout services. RR Media said that, with the deal, it will integrate the companies’ networks, expanding its global content distribution network and content management footprint. “This acquisition, along with the recent acquisition of ESS and the previous acquisitions made in recent years, form essential elements of our strategy to increase the scale of the company expanding our global presence, growing our smart global distribution network and content management services, expanding our service offering, enhancing our mix of premium customers and leveraging world-wide industry expertise,” said Avi Cohen, CEO of RR Media.“This acquisition is expected to contribute to our bottom line in 2015 and beyond. We have watched SatLink’s accomplishments over the years and we are extremely happy to have SatLink become part of RR Media.”RR Media said that as a result of the takeover it expects to generate incremental revenue of approximately US$25 million and adjusted EBITDA of $5 million in 2016.The business and operational integration is planned to be completed by the end of this year.last_img read more

In This Issue A sticky question… Budget negoti

first_imgIn This Issue.*A sticky question… *Budget negotiations stall… *BOJ to announce more stimulus… *Gold and Silver reverse…And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!Is all debt bad???Good day. I was met with the above question as I walked through the door last night.  As I came home from work my 14 year old asked me the answer to the question ‘Is all debt bad?’.  My daughter, Lauren, is in the middle of exams and she was upset that she had missed this question on a civics exam.  She occasionally reads the Pfennig, and has listened in on enough of our dinner conversations to realize that much of the world is currently in a debt crisis.  So when she was presented with a true false question regarding debt, she answered True – all debt is bad. From reading your comments about yesterday’s Pfennig, many of you would have given Lauren extra credit, but unfortunately I had to let her know that her answer is technically wrong.  As I explained to Lauren, not all debt is bad.  There are times when a country, company, or individual needs to borrow money.  Debt can be used to fund all sorts of very good projects, and keeps economies rolling through slowdowns.  But debt is meant to eventually be paid off, not accumulated in a never ending cycle. So yes, Lauren missed that question on her civics exam; but in a way I am glad she missed it as I don’t think it is a bad thing that my daughter is a bit scared of debt.  I just wish some of our leaders in Washington would match my daughter’s concern over debt accumulation. But enough of my dinner table economics lecture, let’s get to the currency markets.It was a ‘risk off’ day in the currency markets, but the moves were dampened by the holiday thinned trading desks.  The yen finally reversed its recent sell off, and the dollar also climbed a bit as US lawmakers moved further apart on a budget deal.  President Obama told business leaders that budget talks have regressed and accused Republicans of wasting a lot of time with political posturing (perhaps a bit of the pot calling the kettle black). Today we have an absolute plethora of data which will be released here in the US.  We start off the morning with GDP projections for the 3rd quarter which are expected to show the US economy grew just under 3% compared to previous estimates of 2.7% growth.  It is Thursday, so we will also get the weekly jobs numbers which are projected to show another 360k workers filed for jobless claims last week.  Continuing claims are predicted to have increased to 3200k in another indication the labor market will be very slow to recover.  This employment data will be followed up with existing home sales and leading indicators.  Yesterday’s data showed a drop in Housing starts (down 3% MOM) but an increase in building permits (3.6%MOM).  Definitely some conflicting data, so the existing home sales may help give investors a better picture of the housing recovery.  Finally, the leading indicators are expected to show a decrease of .2% during November following an increase of the same amount in the previous month.The yen had dropped for three straight days as investors worried the new Prime Minister would successfully push for more aggressive rounds of stimulus.  The BOJ ends their two day meeting today, and are expected to announce additional stimulus moves. Adding to the worries regarding the yen was a Japanese government report released yesterday which showed the trade deficit widened in November. Traditionally Japan has run a trade surplus, and the deficits have caused investors to re evaluate their demand expectations for the yen.  A country which runs a trade surplus creates demand for their currency, while trade deficits will typically drive the demand for (and value of) a currency lower. The yen has bounced back a bit this morning as some investors apparently believe the three day selloff was overdone.The euro continued to climb through most of the morning yesterday, moving just above $1.33 for a short period.  But the renewed worries out of Washington caused it to give back some of these gains and it is now holding in the $1.32 handle.  I had a reader scold me for not writing more on the Swiss Franc and its recent rise.  I haven’t mentioned the Swiss franc simply because of its peg to the Euro.  So as the euro moves, so will the Swiss franc.  The 3.44% increase in the euro over the past month has been matched with a 3.36% increase in the Swiss franc vs. the US$.  As long as the Swiss National Bank defends the peg to the euro, there is really no need to talk about the Swiss as it is tied to the euro.  Now it will certainly be interesting if/when the peg is relaxed, and you can bet Chuck or I will inform all of you when we start hearing any indications of that.  Until then, readers can simply watch the euro.Several readers asked me to comment on the big drop in gold prices over the past couple of days.  Many of you pointed me toward various manipulation theories, but I think there are two possible explanations for the recent drop in prices.  First, there was improved confidence that a compromise would be reached between the two parties over the fiscal cliff.  As we approached the year end, demand for gold climbed as investors looked for an asset they could hide in if/when our leaders in D.C. took us over the cliff.  A second possible explanation is year-end selling due to the probable increase in tax rates.  Silver has had a nice 12 percent rise this year, and gold is up 6.72% so investors could just be taking these gains off the table before 2013.  By the way, this will be the 12th consecutive year of gains in the price of gold. No matter what caused the selloff, both metals rebounded yesterday as concerns over the fiscal cliff agreement returned.  Negotiations in Washington have deteriorated, so my first theory on what caused the recent sell-off has been flipped and gold is now climbing again.  Most of the gold refineries are also going into a end of year / holiday shutdown, so additional supply will be limited over the next couple of weeks.On a longer term basis, I am confident that demand for precious metals will be increasing.  The fiscal problems facing many of the Western nations will shake global investor confidence in ‘fiat’ currencies.  And my thoughts on the ‘rise of the Chinese consumer’ also support higher metals prices.  As consumers in both China and India see even a slight increase in disposable income, a percentage of that income will likely be invested into the precious metals markets.  Gold and Silver are much more accepted as forms of wealth storage in the Asian cultures, so any increase in disposable incomes should lead toward an increase in demand.  Just another reason I think precious metals should be a part of every investors diversified portfolio.And then there was this. The Fed’s holding of interest rates at record low levels have had a very different impact on two separate classes of investors.  A story I spotted on Bloomberg this morning pointed out the dramatic divergence between savers and professional investors.  The story, written by Bob Ivry starts out with this line “Deepak Narula’s mortgage-bond fund is up 39 percent this year.  George Sanchez’s monthly annuity payout is down 41 percent.”  Ivry goes on to explain some of the unintended consequences of the FOMC’s interest rate policies. “The near-zero interest rate the Federal Reserve charges financial firms, as well as securities purchases that will balloon the central bank’s balance sheet to almost $4 trillion next year, have made it easier for Narula’s $1.6 billion fund to thrive and more difficult for Sanchez, a former college library director, to enjoy retirement.”The story includes an excellent quote by Nobel Prize-winning Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz: “Monetary policy has been indirectly, surreptitiously helping the top and hurting the bottom.”  Stiglitz blames the Fed policies for starving money-savers of income and boosting certain asset prices, widening the gap between the rich and the rest of the country.  Bob Ivry has written some excellent pieces on the Fed, and I always enjoy reading his take on things. To recap. Debt is not always bad, but the constant accumulation of debt is! Budget negotiations hit a snag, sending investors back toward safe havens.  Today will be a big day for data here in the US markets, but holiday thinned trading desks should keep volatility down. The BOJ is expected to announce more stimulus, but the yen has already been adjusted for the expected increase in supply. Gold reversed its recent sell off, and started moving back up on worries on the budget negotiations. And the FOMC’s zero rate policies have caused a divergence in returns for savers vs. professionals.Currencies today 12/20/12. American Style: A$ $1.0493, kiwi .8343, C$ $1.0113, euro 1.3255, sterling 1.6262, Swiss $1.0974. European Style: rand 8.5159, krone 5.5498, SEK 6.5114, forint 216.0, zloty 3.0708, koruna 19.0335, RUB 30.6835, JPY 84.10, SGD 1.2184, HKD 7.7501, INR 54.8544, China 6.2306, pesos 12.7715, BRL 2.0619, Dollar Index 79.163, Oil $89.88, 10-year 1.78%, Silver $31.22, Gold $1,670.62, and Platinum $1591.24.That’s it for today. Congratulations to Antione Lawrence as his lovely wife Brooke gave birth to a beautiful baby girl yesterday.  It is the couple’s first child, and the first of three babies on their way for the WorldMarkets desk (Both Mikes, Harrell and Meyer, are also expecting).  We anxiously awaited the news yesterday morning after Antione let us know he and Brooke were headed into the hospital.  Both baby and mom are doing fine, and I’m sure proud papa Antione is beaming!  Sounds like we could see our first snow of the year, it is currently raining but the temps are supposed to drop and the rain should turn to snow later today.  I will wrap up today’s Pfennig on that great news.  I hope everyone has a great day, and thanks for reading the Pfennig!Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

Lois Lerners emails are back from the dead—sort o

first_imgLois Lerner’s emails are back from the dead—sort of. The former IRS director’s BlackBerry, however, is still long gone. The IRS intentionally destroyed it in June 2012 (after congressional staffers interviewed Lerner about the IRS targeting conservative groups) as the Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel acknowledged in a recent sworn declaration. We’ve all met someone we just don’t trust but don’t know why. There’s often a pretty good reason to feel that way. Has someone ever made an insincere attempt to flatter you? Their words might be complimentary, but their body language, tone, and/or context let you know the compliment is phony. Does this guy really think I’m that stupid? So, up goes your trust wall. If he’ll lie about this, he’ll lie about anything. The IRS debacle is a prime example of why we build trust walls. The emails Congress requested had (supposedly) been deleted when several hard drives crashed. I asked our in-house technology guru, Alex Daley, what the probability was of that happening. Here’s what he had to say: Everyone who ever owned a computer knows that hard drives are finicky beasts. In fact, Google uses a LOT of hard drives and so they have published all kinds of research on their failure rates. The gist: there’s about a 1 in 36 chance a hard drive fails in any given month. The math says then that if the IRS was practicing good data center management practices—we have to assume, however silly it might seem, that the agency responsible for holding the most personal information on American citizens outside the NSA is following best practices—then the chance of seven hard drives failing at the same time and wiping out the data on them is about 1 in 78 billion. How rare is that? The odds of winning the Florida Lottery are roughly 1 in 23 million. So it’s 340 times more unlikely than you winning a state lottery. The odds of winning the Powerball are 1 in 175 million; for Mega Millions, the odds are 1 in 259 million. Of course, we give the IRS too much credit. The risk of hard drives failing increases with age, and we suspect the IRS, like much of the government, isn’t spending a lot of time rotating hard drives. The odds also increase if you keep all the drives in one place, using old-fashioned persistence techniques. Then a fire, flood, electrical issues, or any other number of problems could easily wipe out the whole lot at once. At one point there seemed to be only one plausible explanation for allowing so much data to disappear: negligence. Turns out, however, the data weren’t even gone. As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton announced on Monday: Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday [August 22] that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system. …. There are no “missing” Lois Lerner emails—nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion. It sure seems clear why so many Americans feel put down. Does the government really think we’re that stupid? Maybe. I look at it this way: I suppose it’s possible a dog can eat your homework. It’s still a lousy excuse that no one will believe. It’s no wonder politicians rank so low on our trust scale.Whom Can You Trust? The IRS is in our lives, period. If you live here in the US or you’re a US citizen living abroad, you can’t sever the relationship. Here’s the upside, though: for the most part you can choose to conduct your private affairs with trustworthy people. One of the most common emails I receive is from subscribers looking for a trustworthy broker or financial advisor. Most come with sad tales: they had to fire their advisor because something felt fishy. Maybe they’d been directed to overly risky investments or high-fee mutual funds. Some couldn’t pinpoint their advisor’s exact offense but just knew in their gut something was amiss. We should all expect the people we pay to help manage our money to put our interests ahead of their own. One subscriber said that paying fees to an advisor to put his money into high-fee investments made it almost impossible to end up with the growth he needed. He clearly wasn’t getting the service he deserved and had good reason to look elsewhere. I recently finished reading The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. Dr. Brizendine shares quite a bit of scientific evidence to support the existence of female intuition. In brief, women score higher on tests for reading nonverbal communications and on average have more receptors for those cues than their male counterparts. That explains why my youngest daughter recently fired an attorney. I was quite proud. She explained, “I got tired of feeling like I was being talked down to!” When I asked her to elaborate, she felt he thought she was stupid and should blindly follow his advice without question. She was picking up on the little things that might seem trivial but cause our subconscious mind to take notice. At one point in my career, I sought advice from a top public speaker. (Maybe I wanted to be more like my daughters.) This speaker had an uncanny ability to “read, sense, and feel” his audience. He did this mostly through nonverbal clues and suggested I read Body Language by Julius Fast to help my subconscious mind tune in to nonverbal cues. I read the book and learned that much of it was based on works like ‪Kinesics and Context: ‪Essays on Body Motion Communication by ‪Ray L. Birdwhistell. So I read those books too and worked to sharpen my subconscious mind’s nonverbal recognition skills. Afterward my student critiques even went up a full point. Perhaps that also helped me picked up on the suspect explanations coming from the IRS. It’s certainly helped me trust my gut when deciding whether or not to do business with someone. An attorney, stockbroker, money manager, or certified financial planner can have a great track record and all the requisite credentials you could ask for. That’s not enough. If he or she makes you uncomfortable but you aren’t sure why, don’t ignore your instincts. Switching course and hiring someone new can be an expensive headache, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you did.On the Lighter Side Last Saturday we went to the Frog Follies in Evansville, Indiana. It’s a huge vintage car show, with almost 4,500 cars, all made before 1949. My grandson mentioned that a lot of old people really like car shows, and he’s correct. The classics remind us of our youth, and we often have stories to tell about particular models. I hope future generations preserve their history to share with their grandchildren, too. I snuck away from the grandkids last week for an interview with Kerry Lutz of the Financial Survival Network about annuities. With that in mind, I hope all of our subscribers read through our free special report, The Truth About Annuities: Three Dangers You Must Avoid When Shopping for Annuities. Download your complimentary copy here. And finally… Until next week…last_img read more

Greece finally struck a deal… Over the weekend G

first_imgGreece finally struck a deal… Over the weekend, Greece held an “emergency summit” with its creditors. Negotiations dragged on for 17 hours. At 9 a.m. Monday, the two sides finally agreed on a deal that will keep Greece in the eurozone. Greece will receive €86 billion ($95 billion) in bailout funds. In exchange, it must radically transform its socialist economy. Greece agreed to slash spending, raise taxes, and fix its bloated pension system. It will also sell government assets to pay off some of its debt. Investors are happy to avoid a “Grexit.” The Euro Stoxx 50, an index of European blue chip stocks, climbed 1.8% on the news. The German DAX rose 1.5%. No word yet on when Greek banks will reopen. We told you how the Greek government closed all Greek banks during the crisis and how it would only let people withdraw €60 ($66) per day. The Athens stock exchange is still closed too. •  The Greek debt crisis will fade from the headlines for now… But this bailout doesn’t solve the real problem. Greece owes Europe more than €300 billion it can never repay. Yesterday’s bailout just kicks the can down the road… again. Its Greece’s third bailout since 2010. Europe and the International Monetary Fund had already loaned Greece more than €240 billion since 2010, before this latest bailout. BBC reported that the European Union believes this latest bailout could help Greece pay its bills for three years. After that, Greece will likely run out of money again. So expect to hear about the Greek debt crisis again sometime in 2018. On the brighter side, Greece’s debt crisis has created screaming bargains in some Greek stocks. The Athens stock market is down 84% from its 2007 peak. Nick Giambruno plans to recommend a Greek company in the next issue of Crisis Speculator. He’s found an exceptional Greek business trading for pennies on the dollar. This company is unique because it’s the victim of not one but two crises. That’s all we can tell you for now… more on this opportunity soon. I’ve just seen a shocking file from Bill Bonner… He’s been tracking a threat so big that it could cut us off from basic things that we depend on every day: ATMs, credit cards and more. Sounds crazy, but it looks like it’s finally about to hit. Stay Safe – See It Here. Recommended Links – Until Midnight Tonight, You Can Claim 1 Free Year of Professional Speculator It normally costs $2,500… But until midnight tonight, editor Paul Mampilly is sharing one of the biggest predictions of his career and letting you claim 1 free year of his work to see his top recommendation, and why he believes it could make you an extraordinary 26 times your money over the next decade. Click here for details.  — •  In other news, Japan is close to restarting its nukes… In March 2011, a massive tsunami slammed Japan. It killed 18,000 people. It also caused a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It was the worst nuclear disaster since Three Mile Island. Before the tsunami hit in 2011, Japan got 27% of its power from nuclear. Japan was the third-largest generator of nuclear power on the planet. But the country shut down all its nukes after Fukushima. Now, four years later, Japan plans to restart its first nuclear reactor in mid-August. It will fire up another reactor in September. Japan currently plans to restart 15 reactors total. Japan is a tiny island with few natural resources. It has been paying vast sums to import energy to keep its lights on. Japan paid $270 billion to import fossil fuels (mostly natural gas) in 2013. That caused Japan to have a trade deficit of $112 billion… its worst trade deficit ever. Louis James, editor of International Speculator, and his analyst team recently explained how has Japan no choice but to turn its nukes back on… There’s no way Japan can meet its electricity needs without restarting its reactors. Oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices will not stay low forever either. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority should begin to streamline the restart application process. We then expect a faster pace of restarts in the second half of 2015 and beyond. •  This is good news for the price of uranium… Uranium is what powers a nuclear power plant… just like coal powers a coal power plant. We asked Louis if Japan’s nukes could “move the needle” in uranium prices. Here’s his reply… As it happens, I’m kicking rocks on a uranium exploration project today. There certainly is buzz among the analysts here about the restart of that Japan reactor bringing more buying to the sector. It’s happened before. I’m not so sure, with other forms of energy (like natural gas and coal) so cheap and looking to remain that way. But whether or not the market ticks up on that news, it’s a clear sign of where things are headed, for Japan to be doing this. Very bullish. Uranium is in a bear market. The price of uranium is down 72% from its all-time high of $130 per pound set in 2007. Japan restarting its reactors may or may not revive uranium prices in the short term. But there’s no question that uranium has a promising future. There are currently 437 nuclear power reactors operating worldwide. 60 more are under construction, another 165 are planned, and 331 more are proposed. The number of nuclear power plants in the world could easily double in the next couple decades. China alone plans to build 46 new ones by 2020. It will take a lot of uranium to fuel all those new plants. That means uranium prices will likely have to rise from their depressed levels. Paladin Energy, a uranium miner, reports that the cost of extraction for 60% of global production is above uranium’s market price. In other words, many uranium miners are struggling to make any money at all. Unless uranium prices rise, it’s not worth their while to produce the uranium needed to fuel all those new nuclear power plants. Louis James recently told International Speculator readers about his favorite uranium pick. He said this company is the “best-positioned producer to benefit from the coming bull market in uranium. This is true regardless of any potential weakness in uranium prices in the short term.” Louis thinks this company’s stock will eventually “go much higher” than its price before the Fukushima disaster. And right now, it’s selling for dirt-cheap. This is the company you want to own when the uranium price turns higher. You can learn about it by taking a risk-free trial to International Speculator.last_img read more

The number of inspections by the social care regul

first_imgThe number of inspections by the social care regulator that are cancelled or rescheduled every month has risen by more than 360 per cent in just one year, the watchdog’s own figures have revealed.The figures – revealed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following a freedom of information request by Disability News Service (DNS) – show that 25 inspections of adult social care services were cancelled in April 2015, but that this shot up to 103 in April 2016.The figures also show the number of inspections that had to be rescheduled rose from 25 in April 2015 to 130 in April 2016.The freedom of information request was originally submitted by DNS in an attempt to discover the impact of changes to CQC’s troubled Experts by Experience (EbE) programme, in which people with experience of using services accompany CQC inspectors on their inspection visits of health and care services.The EbE programme was hit by criticism after three of four new contracts to run the programme were awarded to Remploy, the formerly government-owned disability employment business which is now mostly owned by the scandal-hit US company Maximus.In February, DNS reported that the decision to hand the three contracts to Remploy/Maximus had led to confusion, chaos and a stream of resignations, with some Experts even being told to print their own ID badges.Experts had previously been paid more than £17 an hour to take part in CQC inspections, but many were furious when they discovered Remploy planned to cut their pay to just £8.25 per hour (or £9.40 in London), although CQC later agreed to subsidise these wages for existing Experts for the first six months of the Remploy contracts.The new figures released to DNS show that inspections that were cancelled or rescheduled as a result of “insufficient non-CQC resources” (which includes those where there problems with securing Experts to take part in inspections) rose from six in July 2015 (when CQC began to collect the figures) to 26 in April 2016, an increase of more than 330 per cent.One Expert said the figures were “embarrassing”, but he said they did not surprise him because he was currently having more inspections cancelled by Remploy than those that went ahead.He said: “The inspectors [I speak to] are all saying the same thing: there are not any Experts available. That is what they are being told by Remploy.“Quite a lot of this I suspect is because of Remploy’s chaotic handling of the contract.”He said he had real concerns about the impact of so many cancelled inspections on CQC’s ability to root out abuse and other poor practice in care homes, community-based social care services and home care agencies.He said he believed that the inspection programme was “woefully and dangerously underfunded”, while inspectors were “dropping like flies because they are way too over-worked”.A CQC spokesman refused to say whether the increase in cancellations and rescheduled inspections due to “insufficient non-CQC resources” was connected with the decision to hand the contracts to Remploy/Maximus and the subsequent reported chaos within the EbE programme.And he refused to say whether the overall cancellation and rescheduling figures were due to funding problems within the regulator.But he said it was “clear that the majority of our inspections are able to go ahead, as planned”.He said: “When we do have to make arrangements to reschedule planned inspections of adult social care services, there are many possible reasons behind this. “For example, in adult social care these include urgent inspections or enforcement activity being required elsewhere; changes to the provider’s service, such as closure or relocation; and changes needed due to sickness, annual leave and other personal circumstances.“When making these decisions, we always prioritise our activities according to where we have the greatest concerns as this is in the best interests of people who are receiving care.”But he refused to explain why the number of cancellations and rescheduled inspections had risen by more than 360 per cent in just one year.He added: “The Care Quality Commission continues to have formal meetings with suppliers of the new Experts by Experience services which began in February 2016 on a monthly basis and we will continue to closely monitor their progress in helping us deliver our programme, which will significantly expand the number of Experts by Experience that we involve on inspections.“Our commitment to inspect every adult social care service that was registered on or before 1 October 2014 at least once using our current regulatory approach by the end of March 2017 remains and we are on track to do so.”last_img read more

Theres a Gender Pay Gap for eBay Sellers

first_img Register Now » February 19, 2016 Even on eBay, men make more.That’s the new finding from a study of over a million eBay transactions across the U.S. published Friday in the journal Science Advances.How much more? Comparing sales on brand-new items, women make on average about 80 cents for every dollar a man does.With help from eBay Labs, sociologist Tamar Kricheli-Katz and economist Tali Regev peered into transaction data from 2009-2012, looking at which sellers were men, which were women, and how much each made selling identical items online.Regev says what’s interesting about studying pay disparities on a website like eBay is that unlike workforce wage gap studies, the difference in pay in an online auction can’t be explained by human factors, such as experience.“In labor markets you can always say there are differences between men and women,” Regev says. But when two people are selling the exact same brand new product on eBay? “There’s not much you can say about the differences in the product itself,” Regev adds.The pay gap on eBay mirrors what economists know about the American labor market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women make approximately 81 cents on the dollar, a figure that’s been widening recently. For female CEOs, the gap is worse: they make about 70 percent compared to male chief executives.Kricheli-Katz and Regev weren’t satisfied just seeing the eBay data though; they wanted to be sure online auctioning biases were real. So they set up their own experiment. They invited 116 people, both men and women, to bargain for a $100 gift card. Some study participants bought their gift card from an imaginary online vendor named “Allison,” while some placed bets on “Brad’s” $100 card. “Allison” made on average 7 percent less than “Brad” for the exact same gift card.But it’s not just women who get a raw deal hawking on eBay.In a separate study published in the Rand Journal of Economics last October, professors at Yale Law School and Harvard University found when photos of baseball cards on eBay were held in a black hand, they made 20 percent less than white-handed sellers.“The way we interact in markets is affected by our beliefs about status and the social script we have in mind,” Regev says.Regev’s colleague Kricheli-Katz says she hopes people presented with this new data will become more aware of their own biases. “Maybe if people know that, this process will become more conscious, and over time the gap will narrow,” she says.But sometimes, it does pay to be a woman on eBay.Women outsold men in certain categories, including baby products and toys for pets. Women also had higher “star” ratings, indicating better feedback from buyers. And when women sold used goods, the wage gap nearly disappeared: women earned on average 97 cents on the dollar.The researchers think there may be something about the perceived gender of a product that affects the gap. Is it possible women get more for items like handbags, but men get more for a set of golf clubs?The answer to that question … will be sold to the highest bidder. There’s a Gender Pay Gap for eBay Sellers Hilary Brueck 3 min read Add to Queue This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine –shares Gender Gap Next Article Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Businesslast_img read more

Samsung Flags 53 Billion Profit Hit From Note 7 Failure

first_imgSamsung Next Article Add to Queue Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on Friday said it expected to take a hit to its operating profit of about $3 billion over the next two quarters due to the discontinuation of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.The outlook brings to about $5.3 billion the total losses the global smartphone leader has forecast as a result of the overheating issues, after it said on Wednesday it would suffer a $2.3 billion hit to third-quarter profit.The premium device that was meant to compete with Apple Inc.’s latest iPhones at the top end of the smartphone market had to be scrapped earlier this week, less than two months after its launch, due to safety fears.The South Korean tech giant said in a statement on Friday it expected the blow to profit to be in the mid-3 trillion won over the next two quarters — in the mid-2 trillion won range in the October-December period and about 1 trillion won ($900 million) for the first quarter of 2017.Samsung shares, which have fallen about 8 percent this week, edged up 0.6 percent as of 0228 GMT on Friday, versus a 0.5 percent gain on the broader market.To make up for the lost revenue, Samsung said it would expand sales of gadgets like the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge phones, and make “significant changes” in its quality assurance processes to improve product safety.Investors and analysts said that while the company had to move quickly to reassure the market about the potential financial costs, deeper losses from one of the tech industry’s most spectacular product failures could not be ruled out.Reputational damage remained the great unknown and potentially more harmful than recall costs, with rivals in the cut-throat industry eager to pounce on any sign of weakness in the market leader’s standing among consumers.”The sales impact on other models remains unclear,” said Kim Sung-soo, a fund manager at LS Asset Management, which owns Samsung Electronics shares.”The end of the premium model will damage Samsung’s brand, and hurt demand for its other models. It is difficult to measure such impact.”Samsung posted earnings of $7.2 billion in the second quarter, with mobile profits — its biggest earner — soaring 57 percent.Rebuilding trustThe Note 7 debacle has come at an awkward time for South Korea’s biggest family-run conglomerate, which is in the middle of a leadership succession and is facing calls for a major restructuring from U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management.Park Jung-hoon, a fund manager at HDC Asset Management which owns shares in Samsung affiliates, said that although future losses would not be as bad as the third quarter the company had to work hard to rebuild confidence.”What’s important is whether the flagship S7 can fill the gap left by the Note 7, and how much trust Samsung can regain from consumers by the time the S8 comes out,” he said. Analysts expect the S8 to be released in the first quarter.Key to brand recovery would be rapidly finding out and communicating what went wrong with the Note 7, which was recalled when some devices were found to be combustible and finally discontinued when customers reported similar faults in their replacements.The company blamed faulty batteries for the original problem but it has given no inkling about the cause of overheating in the replacements.”Samsung must announce clearly what the reason was and dispel uncertainty,” Park said.Investors were also expecting the company to show its “commitment to shareholders” by announcing share buybacks or higher dividends, he said.Samsung has announced financial incentives for U.S. and South Korea customers who exchange Note 7s for other Samsung products, as part of efforts to stem customer defections.(Reporting by Se Young Lee and Hyunjoo Jin and Joyce Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates) Image credit: Reuters | Kim Hong-Ji October 14, 2016 Register Now » Samsung Flags $5.3 Billion Profit Hit From Note 7 Failure Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business 4 min read This story originally appeared on Reuters Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. The premium device that was meant to compete with the latest iPhones at the top end of the smartphone market had to be scrapped earlier this week. –shares Reuters last_img read more