Air India May Be Broken Into 4 Companies Before Sale: Report

first_imgThe government is planning to split Air India into four separate companies and sell at least 51 per cent in each of them as part of its disinvestment plan. The plan to disinvest the national carrier also caused an uproar in a parliamentary meeting on Jan.15, with some Opposition leaders staging a walk-out.The core airline business, which is Air India and its overseas arm Air India Express, will be offered as one company, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said, Bloomberg reported. The process will be completed by the end of 2018, he added. Air India’s regional arm (Alliance Air), ground handling (AIATSL and JV company AISATS), and engineering operations (AIESL) will sold separately in the same process.“The aviation sector is a very fast growing sector, with really exciting opportunities for all participants, so we felt all of this will unlock growth and competitiveness of Air India group,” Sinha said. “We expect it to be a very bright future for its employees.”While Sinha did not name the potential bidders, he said the management control will be retained by local investors. By altering the foreign investment rules last week, the government, in effect, allowed foreign airlines to own as much as 49 per cent of Air India. Sinha said that investors’ interest will be sought by the end of this month.The government will take on the non-core debt of the carrier to put on its own balance sheet while debt linked to its core operations will be put on the unit on offer. Air India, which carries debt of about $7.9 billion, is currently living on a government bailout. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said last year that the money spent on Air India could be used for education.Air India, with its five subsidiaries and a joint venture, has been unprofitable since its 2007 merger with state-owned domestic operator Indian Airlines Ltd. Due to the slide in oil prices, the company made an operating profit of about Rs 1 billion in the year through March 2016, but still had a net loss of Rs 38.4 billion.Among those reported to have shown interest in acquiring Air India’s operations are IndiGo, run by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, and the Tata group. Turkey’s Celebi Aviation Holding, Bird Group, Menzies Aviation Plc and Livewel Aviation Services Pvt. Ltd. are also said to have expressed keenness in the national carrier’s subsidiaries.Meanwhile, the government’s plan of Air India’s disinvestment itself brought on a heated debate in a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, with members of the ruling party BJP and the Opposition engaging in a war of words on Jan. 15. During the meeting, the BJP and its allies rejected the recommendation in the draft report that the government should defer its plan to disinvest its stake in Air India by five years.BJP MP Rakesh Singh, who was acting as the chair for the meeting in absence of TMC leader Derek O’Brien, announced that 16 members (BJP and allies) of the 31 had signed in favor of disinvestment. When he said the panel will withdraw the draft report opposing the disinvestment, three opposition members — Kumari Selja (Congress), Arpita Ghosh (Trinamool Congress) and independent politician Ritabrata Banerjee — walked out of the meeting saying that only the full time chair (O’Brien) has the power to withdraw the report, PTI reported. Related ItemsAir IndiaAviationlast_img read more

What A Stretch

first_imgEven the dogs are doing yoga in America!Crunch Fitness, a nationwide gym chain, has introduced Ruff Yoga, yoga classes for Rover to get him relaxed and supple. Two new books have come into the market, Ruff Yoga: Yoga For Pets and The People Who Love Them, and Doga: Yoga For Dogs. The Belly twins Neena and Veena  have given an Eastern twist to dance workouts. Yes, even dogs may trot to yoga class, but it’s far more of a stretch to get desis off the couch! Ask Indu Jaiswal, director of Nutrition Services at the Promenade Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Rockaway Park, New York, if Indian Americans are into fitness, and she retorts, “They are not! Who in our culture goes for exercise? Nobody.”Jaiswal, who is also a medical nutrition therapist at Western Queens Health Associates in Jackson Heights, Queens, advices many immigrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. She says: “No matter which community comes to me, it’s the same story. Lack of exercise, excessive consumption of fats and calories, and eating habits that are out of control.“When you talk to women who are grossly obese, and you tell them to go for a walk – they want a magic pill instead to lose weight. I tell them, ‘There is no such magic pill; you have to change your lifestyle.’They are not ready to do that.” America is of course in the grips of fitness frenzy, with gyms sprouting in every neighborhood and yoga centers proliferating even in strip malls. He points out that there is a greater diversity in programming, so fitness is appeals to a much broader audience than it has in the past, and classes are being held in varied surroundings from neighborhood schools to senior centers and community institutions. Dr Maganlal Sutaria ringing in  his company at the American  Stock Exchange: “I almost  died and that clearly opened  my eyes.” Health and fitness awareness may be percolating to the Indian American community, but not at quite the speed that physicians and dieticians would like to see. Says Jaiswal, “The only time they change their lifestyle is when the doctor scares the hell out of them that if you don’t lose weight you’re going to have a heart-attack, if you don’t lose weight, your diabetes will be totally out of control.”Dr. Maganlal Sutaria, a prominent cardiac surgeon on Long Island, has been on both sides of the operating table – as physician and patient. He says that Indians give the excuse of lack of time, but he chalks it down to plain, simple laziness and the fact that they did not grow up in a culture that encouraged physical activity. ” It’s important to develop a good exercise habit as a child with team sports, because that gets you into doing regular exercise. Most of us who are in our 50’s or 60’s did not have that kind of early habit so it’s harder to develop that habit later.”At the height of his career in 1976, this high-powered physician had a massive heart attack and he admits, “I was no exception, I was like everybody else. Being a busy cardiac surgeon, I was overweight, I was smoking and suddenly at the age of 39 I had a major heart attack.“I almost died and that clearly opened my eyes. I had three young children, the youngest was only three years old and being a cardiac surgeon, knowing the nature of the disease, I thought I wouldn’t live more than ten years unless I did something about it.”He did something about it: knowing that he could not change his heredity and genes, he transformed his lifestyle instead. He says, “I knew the heart is a strong muscle and can take tremendous abuse so I started remodeling it.” He went on a high protein and low calorie diet and reduced the oils, and since then has lost 36 pounds. Sarina Jain has created a  popular exercise concept with  her Masala Bhangra. In the early stages he could not even do ten minutes on the treadmill, but today at age 67, he still works out one hour a day, five times a week, besides toning exercises. He says, “While I’m on the treadmill in the morning, I meditate and listen to classical Indian ragas, which puts you in a relaxed frame of mind. It’s an enjoyable way to start the day by eliminating all negative thoughts.” By changing himself from a Type A to a Type B, calmer personality, Sutaria outwitted the disease: “As you know, coronary artery disease (CAD) which causes the heart attack is a progressive disease, but my disease has not progressed.”Sutaria, who retired in 1999, now has a second career as the CEO of the drug manufacturing company Interpharm Holding Inc., which is listed on the American Stock Exchange. He points out that Indians are genetically disposed toward heart attacks and diabetes, and exercise is all important: “It is a very difficult thing to do because it requires tremendous will power so people generally try to avoid it. It’s a matter of forming a habit, because then you appreciate how good you feel after exercise. It’s a great feeling.”While South Asian physicians are aware of the health risks of inactivity, the desi population seems to believe that ignorance is bliss.  Nutritionist Indu Jaiswal: “Who in  our culture goes for exercise?  Nobody.” Dr. Charulata Badlani, who is a rehabilitation medicine specialist practicing at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, has seen her share of Indians who are at a stage where they really have to make lifestyle changes. “There is a very high incident of diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol within the Indian population,” she says. “In the last few years I’ve seen a lot more Indians getting heart attacks and strokes, even very young men dying from heart attacks. So the idea behind exercising is to prevent the risk factors and I don’t think enough emphasis is put on that.”She finds that educated people who are tuned into health are aware and do a lot of exercise, yoga and meditation and belong to health clubs, but the majority of people feel they just don’t have time to exercise: “We also don’t take good care of ourselves where eating habits are concerned. Hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes are the leading causes of stroke, yet people still eat a lot of salt and high fat foods. We do need to pay more attention to our bodies.” To people who claim they don’t have time to exercise, she suggests creative ways of building exercise into their daily routine: taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking the car a bit further from the office and taking a walk during their lunch break instead of snacking in the cafeteria. She points out that after the age of 35, many start putting on weight because of decreased metabolism and so walking is the best way to burn off the calories. While cardiovascular fitness demands brisk walking to increase the heart rate, one needn’t walk fast to maintain body weight or burn calories.  Dr Charulata Badlani: “There is a very  high incidence of diabetes, high blood  pressure and cholesterol within the Indian population.” The aging body also starts getting flabby so exercises are vital. She recommends starting with very mild weights like half a pound and steadily increasing to 2 or 3 lbs: “You don’t have to be a body builder. If patients are healthy and don’t have any circulation problems, I recommend they put Flex weights around the ankles and walk around the house. In this way you are automatically strengthening your muscles without even making an effort.”After the ages of 35-40, women start developing their menopausal symptoms and their risk of osteoporosis increases, so weight-bearing exercises such as walking and climbing stairs are important. For those with osteo-arthiritis, she suggests swimming and water exercises, because in the water one does not have to carry one’s body weight.Badlani points out that as we age, we also lose our balance so balancing exercises are important and that’s where yoga comes into play. “Yoga is also excellent for stress management and it really calms you down, stretches your muscles and reduces joint and muscle pain. Exercise, in general, produces endorphins, which help in reducing pain and prevents depression.”Having no time is no excuse, she says. Even while watching TV, people can use the treadmill, do knee exercises or do bicycling; every movement consumes calories so it pays to be active.Jaiswal sees a lot of South Asians in her work, and she says many are facing diabetes, high cholesterol, overweight and cardiac problems. At the clinic she does a full nutrition assessment for them and their behavior patterns and puts them on a regimen of a low fat and low cholesterol diet coupled with exercise, and also has Indian menus to help them lose weight. Nitin Chhoda, personal trainer to stars, with a Manhattan client. Indian foods are very high in carbohydrates and starch but try convincing desis! “They tell you I don’t eat this and I don’t eat that, but when we do the nutritional analysis of what they eat, you’ll be shocked to see the amount of calories and fat,” says dietician Indu Jaiswal.She encourages her patients to read labels because otherwise walking through a supermarket can be a landmine.Indians don’t seem to believe in one percent milk at all, and don’t realize that the ready-made paneer they buy in Indian stores is made of whole milk, which is loaded with fat calories. Jaiswal suggests making paneer at home with one percent milk, which produces firmer paneer but is low on calories.Again, for the convenience, people pick up packs of ready-made chapattis, which include oil and salt and have many more calories than the chapattis made at home where the oil can be avoided. She says, “If you’re on a weight reduction program you have to read what’s on the label. People are shopping mindlessly, like they did back in India. Food is available in abundance here so they are not watching what they eat or how they eat.” Again, for the convenience, people pick up packs of ready-made chapattis, which include oil and salt and have many more calories than the chapattis made at home where the oil can be avoided. She says, “If you’re on a weight reduction program you have to read what’s on the label. People are shopping mindlessly, like they did back in India. Food is available in abundance here so they are not watching what they eat or how they eat.”Indians also tend to drink gallons of tea a day and when you add a spoon of sugar to each of these cups, you have massive calorie intake. Desis also love fruit drinks like pineapple and litchi, thinking them to be healthy, but if they don’t burn those calories, it’s all going to add up.While Indians do get high marks for eating lots of fruit, they usually can’t say no to sweets. Says Jaiswal, “We tell our patients you don’t have to eat it all because these are caloric dense foods that you eat subconsciously and don’t realize it. You have to learn to say no and keep your calories for your favorite dessert.”While some Indian immigrants have headed to gyms, others have the equipment at home. However, it requires discipline to actually use the treadmill or bicycle at home, whereas in the gym you are compelled to actually workout. Says Jaiswal, “I don’t want to sound negative but it would be just about one percent who actually goes into the gyms. That’s a fact, they just don’t do it.”What many people don’t realize, she says, is that HMO’s like Oxford and Aetna provide a free once a year visit to a nutritionist as preventive maintenance for healthy individuals. But most Indians don’t avail themselves of this opportunity to customize their food intake. She also points out that the membership fees of a gym are tax-deductible and many HMOs actually even pay a portion of the fees to encourage you to enroll in a gym.This summer, Fauja Singh, 92, made history by becoming the oldest runner to participate in the New York City Marathon, but he is the exception to the rule. Indeed, one has to wonder for a community that has spawned scores of spelling bee champions and science finalists, but has painfully few athletes, runners and players. Has this something to do with a sedentary lifestyle and a culture that places more emphasis on education than on physical and leisure activity?   Does one feel guilty about spending time and money on the gym for basically indulging one’s self rather than the needs of the home and family?The scene is changing slowly, as Indians realize the health benefits and indeed the necessity of maintaining themselves in a land of high health premiums, escalating medical costs and a stressful lifestyle. Renu Jain, a homemaker, who goes thrice a week to her local Lucille Roberts, is also a volunteer with the American Heart Association.She organizes awareness seminars on health and fitness in the South Asian community and tries to reach them at temples and gurdwaras. A recent seminar at the Vedic Heritage Temple in Long Island attracted over a 100 people, and future events highlighting physical fitness are planned. One of the most amazing examples of the benefits of yoga is Swami Bua, who at the age of 106, not only commutes regularly from Manhattan to Queens, but also actually teaches a strenuous yoga class at the Hindu temple in Flushing, doing all the twists and turns that would turn younger people turn pale. If yoga were a person, Americans would probably grant it honorary American citizenship, so enamored are they of its benefits! Slowly Indian Americans are realizing the benefits of something that has been a part of their culture for 5000 years. Renu Vakaya, who conducts yoga classes at the Vedic Heritage Temple in Hempstead as well as other locations on Long Island, sees many Indians , even couples, coming in.Brij and Naveen Gulati is a couple that have been in this country for 30 years, but started their yoga regimen just three years ago. They joined yoga in an adult education class in the Smithtown school district and have an American teacher who was trained in India. Says Naveen, “When we were in India we never went for yoga. Now in class I see more and more Indians. Yoga is good not only for the physical health but also the mental benefits.”Naveen is a medical technologist and her husband is a stockbroker who also exercises in a gym center set up at home. Their grown children, however, go regularly to the gym. Indeed, most immigrants confirm that their children are much more tuned to fitness.  Hardly surprising, seeing all the fit bodies on mainstream television and at the movies! And here, one has also Bollywood to thank for creating role models for young desis. After all, who wouldn’t want a toned body like Karisma’s or the bugling muscles of Hrithik? Most of the dance-song scenes in Bollywood films look more like frenetic exercise videos and indeed the fitness scene in India has revolutionized too.Nitin Chhoda, personal trainer to stars like Rahul Khanna and Ranbir Kapoor, has seen this massive change. Trained as a physiotherapist in Mumbai, he has taught personal trainers as a faculty member and has written scores of fitness columns in India.He says, “I’ve seen the gradual shift in the public perception of health and fitness.   In 1990, there were a handful of fitness centers in India and now the market has exploded with gyms mushrooming in every neighborhood. Gym memberships and even personal training are now regarded as necessities in the middle class and upper middle class, as opposed to being the symbol of the rich. More and more parents step into gyms each day with the express intention of getting their kids to sign up.”Chhodahas started Total Activation, a fitness venture, in New York partnering with an American chiropractor to provide pain relief methods and personal fitness training in the tri-state area. Their personal trainers teach in clients’ homes as well as at local gyms. One of his clients for the past two years is Samir Joshi, a financial consultant in Manhattan who has a hectic lifestyle. He says, “Until Nitin came along to work with me at my apartment gym, I was inconsistent with my diet and exercise. I would party often, drink and smoke 2 packs a day. Today I know exactly when to stop and when to let loose, thanks to the level of consistency that he helped foster. Even though I travel a lot,ºI manage to findºtime for exercise because quite simply, it is now a priority to me.”The first ones to give an Eastern twist to dance workouts were the California twins, Veena and Neena, popularly known as the Belly Twins. They two have become Hollywood performers, have a 22 member dance company, but are proudest of their ability to get people moving with their Indian and Middle Eastern dance moves. Their workout videos are available in fitness stores as well as major outlets like Wal-Mart, Target and Borders.  Veena finds Indians are increasingly getting into fitness and do enjoy belly dancing: “It’s great for fitness because the movements are circular and gentle to your body and are very low-impact. We even have Indian women of both generations come in – it’s kind of odd – but they love dance and of course they don’t have to dress in belly dancing gear! A lot of people don’t stay with fitness programs but Indians all love dance and so dance is a great way to do it.”Sarina Jain of New York has capitalized on the rhythms and energy of Bhangra to create a popular exercise concept with her Masala Bhangra exercise classes and videos, which have really caught on with mainstream Americans. She also teaches at several NYC gyms.Sarina, who’s been in the fitness industry for 14 years, has taught all types of fitness classes ranging from Kickboxing, Total Body Conditioning, Step Aerobics to Latin Groove and Cardio. Masala Bhangra was launched in 2000 and she recently produced her third workout video. She recalls, “My sister Sheila was also very involved with athletics in school, and so our family became involved with exercise and good health. After I began teaching at the larger gyms, it inspired my family to get membership and start attending regularly.”Sheila has a degree in public health, and has focused a lot of her research on the physical activity and fitness levels among South Asians. She believes that there are several dynamics responsible for such low levels of physical activity: “I think for foreign born citizens, the rates are probably the lowest, for several reasons, including time, family priorities, exhaustion, intimidation at gyms, and the lack of importance given to physical activity when they were growing up.There’s also more reliance on automobiles in the U.S, more focus on job/financial stability than personal health, more focus on children than their own personal health that make commitment to fitness very difficult.” At the same time Sheila and Sarina, who now are collaborating on classes on both coasts, do see the scene changing even for older immigrants. Says Sarina, “I find older people in our community are dancing more at parties and celebrations, this is wonderful to see.” While the elderly and the middle-aged are finally putting on their sneakers and getting active, the second generation is much more committed to looking and feeling good, kicking up its collective heels in creative ways. Radha Nadkarni, who came to the United States from Mumbai four years ago to study at New York University, is currently an account executive with Ralph Lauren Footwear. She says, ” It’s boring to run on the treadmill so I take the Masala Bhangra classes; it’s great cardiovascular workout and it’s close to home because it’s bhangra!”So who knows, Masala Bhangra or belly dancing may become the next big trend, the Yoga of the New Century! In America, land of the fit and free and also land of those free to be unfit, anything is possible.   Related Itemslast_img read more

Indian Image Declines

first_imgGlobal perceptions about the US have improved, while those of India have declined from a year ago, according to a BBC poll of 28 countries.“Worldwide, views of India lean only modestly to the positive, barely edging out views of China. Among 27 countries polled, 15 are positive about India‘s influence in world affairs, ten are negative and two are divided. On average, among 27 countries, 36 per cent are positive and 31 per cent negative about India‘s influence,” according to the report.China, Pakistan and Germany have the most negative attitudes toward India, while South Korea and the US have the most positive attitudes. Germany is most favorably viewed country in the world, followed by Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France. Iran is the least favorably viewed nation, followed by Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, and Russia.  Related Itemslast_img read more

‘Latent’ Tuberculosis? It’s Not That Common, Experts Find

first_imgAlthough experts frequently assert that nearly 1.7 billion people carry dormant tuberculosis worldwide, that figure may be a “gross exaggeration” of the real threat, a recent study concludes.The study, published last month in the journal BMJ, found that nearly everyone who falls seriously ill with TB does so within two years of getting infected. So-called latent infections only rarely become active, even in old age.Researchers “have spent hundreds of millions of dollars chasing after latency, but the whole idea that a quarter of the world is infected with TB is based on a fundamental misunderstanding,” said Dr. Lalita Ramakrishnan, a tuberculosis expert at the University of Cambridge and one of the study’s authors.The challenge to conventional wisdom comes at an opportune time. On Sept. 18, the World Health Organization issued its annual TB report, and on Wednesday, the U.N. General Assembly will hold its first high-level meeting on the disease.No one questions how great a threat active tuberculosis is. Around the world, the disease kills more than 4,000 people a day; in 2015, tuberculosis surpassed AIDS as a cause of death.(TB has not become more lethal, nor AIDS less so. The difference is that 20 million people, mostly in Africa, are now on HIV-suppressing drugs.)Although the incidence of TB is falling slowly around the world, some regions fare much worse than others. For example, South Africa, Mozambique and the Philippines have especially high infection rates.Drug-resistant TB remains a crisis, the WHO reported, and just three countries — India, China and Russia — account for almost half the cases.And the “global treatment success rate” is dropping. The figure was 82 percent in 2016, down from 86 percent three years earlier.Success in treating drug-resistant forms is even lower, at 55 percent, although some relatively poor countries, like Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Myanmar and Vietnam, do better than average.The BMJ study was accompanied by an editorial endorsing its conclusions, written by Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, a tuberculosis expert and deputy director-general of the WHO. She argued that experts should focus on the 55 million people at highest risk of active infection: young children with infected relatives, the severely malnourished, and people with HIV or other immunosuppressive conditions.Experts at nonprofits like the TB Alliance and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease agreed with the major conclusions of the new study and the need to focus on active rather than latent disease.But finding tests to tell which carriers of latent infections are most likely to fall ill is still crucial, said Dr. Daniel E. Everitt, the alliance’s senior medical officer.Ramakrishnan’s study analyzed reports of local TB outbreaks going back to the 1930s, before antibiotics were invented, in places like the Faeroe Islands that were so sparsely populated that it was possible to pinpoint exactly who infected whom and when.Reports on outbreaks as recent as three years ago in the Netherlands and Canada similarly showed that the vast majority of active cases came from recent infections, not latent infections that became active.The misconception that 1.7 billion people are walking time bombs, potentially capable of developing and communicating full-blown TB, comes from the fact that skin and blood tests for the bacterium confirm only that the body once mounted an immune reaction to exposure.The tests do not tell if the bacteria are still alive in the body, said Dr. Paul H. Edelstein, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-author of the new study.Who succumbs is probably determined in part by genetic makeup, said Ramakrishnan, who studies the genetics of TB in zebrafish. She cited the “Lübeck disaster,” a famous incident in the history of vaccines.In 1929, 250 German infants were given a TB vaccine that was accidentally contaminated with live bacteria. About a third died, and another third fell seriously ill — but a third survived unscathed, possibly because they had innate resistance.At the U.N. meeting, member states are expected to pledge to increase efforts to treat the infected and to do more research. The organization has estimated that an additional $3.5 billion a year is needed for tuberculosis treatment, along with over $1.3 billion more for research.In August, the WHO issued new treatment guidelines for drug-resistant TB that rely on newer oral drugs like bedaquiline and delamanid, rather than older injectables with harsh side effects.But newer drugs are expensive, and months of tense behind-the-scenes negotiations preceded the high-level meeting, according to the Intellectual Property Watch website. The debate pitted South Africa and the medical charity Doctors Without Borders against the U.S. delegation, which was defending the interests of pharmaceutical companies.The South Africans and the charity wanted the meeting’s declaration to acknowledge that, under international treaties going back to 1994, poor countries may override patents and import generic drugs when they cannot afford prices that pharmaceutical companies charge.The final language did not spell that out, but cited the treaties and said intellectual property rights should be interpreted to “promote access to medicines for all.”c.2018 New York Times News Service Related Itemstuberculosislast_img read more

British Couple Who Got Married During Partition Celebrate Love

first_imgThey landed in Southampton and headed to Yorkshire where Clarence’s parents were living. The newly married couple set up a home in Lincolnshire where they lived for 50 years. They brought up two children, Pat and Terry, before they relocated to Llanidloes in Powys on September 1, 1997.They then moved together to Bupa Bupa Maes-y- Wennol residential home after Clarence got diagnosed with dementia. “I’d had him by my side for over 60 years, and I wasn’t going to leave him then!,” Lyne said.Wishes from the QueenThey marked their anniversary with a party at the residential home. Their daughter Pat lives nearby while Terry lives in Scotland with his wife Eileen. Their daughter Helen — Clarence and Lynn’s only grandchild — came from Paris to mark her grandparent’s platinum anniversary.The couple is also set to receive a congratulatory card from the Queen, according to the Sun. Expressing his gratitude  Lyn.“I count us so lucky to have had such a long, happy marriage and don’t know where I’d be without Clarrie by my side. We’ve been through a lot over the years,”When asked for tips for a happy marriage, Lynn laughed. “Don’t ask! He will tell you every man should be married, because no man has the right to be happy all the time. And, he will tell you that every man should have a wife to help him understand all the problems he didn’t have when he was single!”Nevertheless, on their platinum anniversary, Clarence obliged. “Make sure you always agree on the most important things in life. Everything else is a compromise.”Lyn added to his advice: “Never share a cross word, but instead share plenty of fun ones.”Sandra Holt, manager of Bupa Bupa Maes-y- Wennol residential, told the The Sun: “Clarrie and Lyn are such an inspirational couple. They’re always by one another’s side and every night, when Clarrie goes to bed, Lyn will tuck him in and give him a kiss. They’re so loved by everyone here that we couldn’t let their special day go unmarked.”  Related ItemsBritish Couplelast_img read more

Indian Woman Slams U.S. Pub for Hindu Deities on Toilet Walls

first_imgA pub in New York was slammed by an Indian-origin woman for having put pictures of Hindu-deities in its VIP bathroom. The co-founder of the pub has promised to remove the pictures immediately.Ankita Mishra, born in Ohio and raised in New Jersey, who raised the issue of Indian deities walked into ‘House of Yes’ pub in Bushwick, New York last month.She was seated in a plush corner of the pub and wanted to use the washroom. As soon as she entered the washroom, she was shocked to see the private washroom adorned with the picture of Hindu deities including Ganesh, Saraswati, Kali, and Shiva.“I suddenly found myself in a curiously-decorated VIP bathroom inside House of Yes in Bushwick, NY. The walls were papered with bejeweled images of Hindu gods like Ganesha, Saraswati, Kali and Shiva,” she wrote in her blog for Brown Girl Magazine.The incident which took place last month prompted her to write a “Strongly Worded letter” to the authorities of the club, she said.“This is the price of silence. The scales will always tip back to favor the status quo, the inherent whiteness of the spaces we enjoy. Our Hindu holidays and festivals, our grief and history, will only ever be presented as an accessory to American and European conquests — forever owned and forever used as if there are no consequences.”Her letter, which is addressed “To Whom it May Concern, (that should be everyone!),” talks about Hindu culture, the struggles of being in a country which has been blamed as the micro-aggressor of the culture and lastly, the disrespect that is attached with the deities hanging on the walls of a toilet of a night-club.She said, “Cleanliness and purity are obsessive rules in an Indian household. Around Indian deities, it is a very basic form of respect, one that you learn as a child. You cannot present a flower to a god after having smelled it– you cannot wear shoes in a temple. Peeing, shitting, throwing up and all other activities that happen in nightclub bathrooms would also go under the category of uncleanliness,” adding there is no “Piss Christ” art piece equivalent, no cultural Satanic movement that battles each of its innumerable goddesses and gods. Therefore the same rules that apply to Christianity simply are not applicable in Hinduism. You cannot impose your own punk and subversive cultural standards onto another religion. It is just another form of misinterpretation and desire to control something that is not yours.Her elaborate letter also talks about the constant cultural exploitation that Hindu culture has gone through or always exposed to, stating, “Hindu, Buddhist and South Asian culture continues to constantly be exploited through Western capitalism in the name of spiritual awakening and sexual exploration. Our culture is not a ticket to your self-discovery. India was under colonial rule for 200 years and I, frankly, am tired of how uneducated America seems to be about that. Do you think you would even be in that yoga class if it hadn’t been perfectly packaged for you to consume?”She concludes her letter urging the authorities to not “make me lose faith in the ability we all have to right some wrongs and truly hear each other out.”But to her surprise, she got a response where Kae Burke, co-founder and creative director at House of Yes, took total responsibility of the design and apologized stating she should have tried to understand and study the culture more before putting it on the walls of the toilet.Burke wrote, “I am sorry for not taking the time to fully understand and research the deep history of the culture I was inspired by before using it to decorate. I feel awful that you had to experience this type of cultural disrespect at House of Yes of all places.I hear you loud and clear and the tone-deaf appropriative/offensive bathroom will be dismantled and redesigned ASAP. To be transparent, the soonest I can take it on is right after Halloween. If you insist, we can put paint over it until then.” Related Itemslast_img read more

NCAA: Perpetual Help extends Arellano’s slide

first_imgView comments WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Kent Salado paced the Chiefs, who suffered their fourth consecutive defeat and fell to 2-5, in scoring with 14 points but needed 14 shots. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Flags of SEA Games countries raised at Athletes Village Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netPrince Eze dominated anew and University of Perpetual Help downed struggling Arellano University, 68-59, in the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Eze was a man among boys as he finished with 23 points, 21 rebounds and five blocks to power the Altas to their third win in seven outings.ADVERTISEMENT Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses “We just really wanted to win,” said Perpetual Help coach Jimwell Gican in Filipino.GJ Ylagab added a near double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds while Gab Dagangon chipped in 10 points and six rebounds for the Altas.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutEze anchored Perpetual Help’s defense, which limited Arellano’s shooting to just 29 percent, including 5-of-26 from deep.The Altas, meanwhile, shot a decent 43 percent from the field. LOOK: James Harden flaunts ripped physique ahead of new season MOST READ SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes PLAY LIST 01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes03:32NCAA Season 93 Preview: Perpetual Help Altas00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Man sworn in as lawyer by judge who sentenced him to prison as a teen 20 years ago LATEST STORIES Read Nextlast_img read more

These athletes also joined 2019 Traslacion of Black Nazarene

first_imgHotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue LATEST STORIES Vosotros, who now plays for Caloocan Supremos in the MPBL, joined his then girlfriend’s “panata” starting 2008.Jervy Cruz, who is returning to action for Ginebra this season after a conference-long absence due to injury, also joined the festivities at Quiapo Church.Screengrab from Jervy Cruz’ Instagram post.Phoenix star forward Calvin Abueva, a devotee since his NCAA days at San Sebastian, was also spotted with his son during the Traslacion.In an interview with ABS-CBN, Abueva said that he hopes the new year can bring change after the hardships he experienced in 2018.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss MOST READ Screengrab from Borgie Hermida’s Instagram account.Hermida, who is now an analyst in the NCAA and the team manager of the Bataan Risers, has been attending the procession, which attracts millions of devotees yearly, since 2005.Ex-La Salle star Almond Vosotros was also at Quiapo with his wife Cess, whose family has been followers of the Black Nazarene for decades, and two-year-old daughter Caela.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviñocenter_img SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening MANILA, Philippines—Despite their daily grind, these athletes still made sure to celebrate the feast of the Black Nazarene by joining Thursday’s Traslacion around Manila.Former San Beda Red Lion Borgie Hermida, a long-time devotee of the Black Nazarene, was once again present on Thursday, keeping his vow to join the Traslacion for 15 years now.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kiefer Ravena misses chance to share floor with Alyssa Valdez as NLEX muselast_img read more

Mourinho branded ‘pain in the butt’ by ICC chief

first_imgJose Mourinho has been branded a “pain in the butt” by one of the organisers of the International Champions Cup.Mourinho was unhappy during the tournament this summer, insisting that he could not utilise a full-strength squad due to the World Cup commitments faced by his players.And ICC organiser Charlie Stillitano admits that the Portuguese can be difficult to deal with. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! “Yeah we had a few cheeky words together,” Stillitano told ESPN.”He’s a good man and he’s been really good to us and I understand him better than most I’d say.”I think managers that I know see us as the guys who take them abroad. And for them the reality is that they take it very seriously. The managers take it very seriously. And the commercial people take it very serious for their business to grow their brand.”But the managers take it more than anybody, want the right atmosphere, want the right training environment. They want to prepare their team and our tournament has become the best tournament of its kind, and its kind is really to prepare the team, so they take it very seriously.””And Jose, he’s a pain in the butt when it comes to making sure everything is perfect at his training facility. And I would expect whatever teams come over from La Liga are going to torture me too in the same way to make sure that everything is perfect.”There are plans for there to be a La Liga match in the USA, with Girona set to play Barcelona in late January. The relocation of the clash, however, is yet to be ratified by the relevant governing bodies. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

David Spade, Naya Riveras dinner date

first_imgLos Angeles, Apr 23 (PTI) Actor-comedian David Spade and Naya Rivera were spotted enjoying a dinner date.The two, who star together in the Crackle comedy film “Mad Families,” were photographed near the Malibu sushi restaurant Nobu, a popular celebrity hotspot, reported E! online.”David really likes Naya. They are still trying to keep things private, but they have hung out a couple of times since Hawaii,” a source said.For the date night, the 30-year-old former “Glee” actress wore a sexy black dress with a thigh-high split, while Spade, 52, sported a blue shirt, dark pants and black leather jacket. PTI SHD SHDlast_img

Jesse Robinson Replacing Paul Lewis at Guard

first_imgPaul Lewis in at right guard for #okstate. Jesse Robinson is at left guard. Michael Wilson off the field.— Mark Cooper (@mark_cooperjr) October 31, 2015Gundy told reporters last week that Paul Lewis was recovering from “bum knee”, and would likely return to full health this week [for Texas Tech]. So it appears it wasn’t a health issue, but rather the elevated play of Robinson that prompted the staff to make a change.“(Robinson) battled,” Yurcich told The Oklahoman last week after a win against Kansas.  “He did a great job and graded out pretty high. So we’re excited about him and the depth that we’re building on the offensive line.”If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Two weeks in a row Jesse Robinson has started at right guard in place of sophomore Paul Lewis. By any measure, Robinson has been the starter except by official standards. Kieran Steckley points out that the updated depth chart reflects the unofficial changes that have been set for the past 2 games, and Robinson is now listed as the starting right guard.After weeks as the backup, Jesse Robinson is listed as starting RG. Was an “or” with Paul Lewis last week. Robinson has started past 2 games— Kieran Steckley (@Kieran_Steckley) November 2, 2015On Saturday, the offensive line made some strange adjustments, moving Lewis to right guard and moving Robinson to left guard in replacement of Michael Wilson. Apparently, that change didn’t stick with the coaching staff, so Wilson will return to his respective position and Robinson will take over at right guard.last_img read more

Mekhail Sherman, Country’s No. 2 Linebacker, Announces Commitment

first_img The five-star linebacker from the nation’s capital is headed to the SEC.Sherman announced his commitment to Georgia.1000000000 %— Mekhail Sherman🌹 (@JuicedUpK9) May 10, 2019Sherman is the No. 2 outside linebacker and the No. 11 overall prospect in the 2020 class, according to 247Sports’ Composite Rankings.Georgia jumped into the top 10 recruiting classes after the commitment.With the commitment, Georgia jumps from No. 11 overall in the 2020 class to No. 9. The Bulldogs also hold the No. 4 class in the SEC, just one year after taking home the No. 2 overall class behind Alabama.Sherman immediately becomes the top player Kirby Smart’s 2020 class, overtaking offensive tackle Broderick Jones as the top player in the class.Here are the full up-to-the-minute 2020 composite team recruiting rankings. A detail of a Nike official NCAA size football as it sits in the end zone while the West Virginia Mountaineers stretchon the field prior to playing against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium.(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)Five-star outside linebacker Mekhail Sherman narrowed down his collegiate choices late in the month of April. The Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College star holds more than 30 scholarship offers, but entered tonight with only two schools on his mind.In late April, Sherman cut his list to Georgia and Ohio State.“It’s between Ohio State & Georgia fr,” Sherman tweeted. “No interviews, & I appreciate the coaches for presenting me opportunities & the fan bases which came with them. Appreciate you all.”Just over a week later, Sherman knows where he wants to play his collegiate football.last_img read more

Minister Calls for Strengthening of Local Government Regime in Region

first_img Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, is calling for the strengthening of the local government regime in the region. While here, the Mayor will visit the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM); meeting with the Mayors of Kingston and St. Ann’s Bay, and with representatives of the Social Development Commission (SDC). Mr. McKenzie told JIS News that he is hoping that the visit to Jamaica by Mayor Glen Ram, Chairman of the Mayaro Rio Claro Regional Corporation in Trinidad and Tobago, will help to rebuild the regional local government regime. Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, is calling for the strengthening of the local government regime in the region.“There is a lack of a coordinated effort between countries in the region that actually practise local (governance). There are only a few countries that have such a system,” the Minister noted.Mr. McKenzie told JIS News that he is hoping that the visit to Jamaica by Mayor Glen Ram, Chairman of the Mayaro Rio Claro Regional Corporation in Trinidad and Tobago, will help to rebuild the regional local government regime.“We are hoping that out of this visit by Mayor Ram we can forge and develop a stronger local government fraternity in the region,” the Minister said.Mayor Ram arrived in Jamaica on August 9 for a five-day visit, as the guest of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, to observe the local government reform processes.While here, the Mayor will visit the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM); meeting with the Mayors of Kingston and St. Ann’s Bay, and with representatives of the Social Development Commission (SDC).For his part, Mayor Ram expressed gratitude to Mr. McKenzie and the Local Government Ministry for hosting him.He explained that the primary objective of his visit is geared towards strengthening local government practices in the region.Mayor Ram pointed out that there are many similarities between the two countries, in terms of local governance, and indicated that, currently, in Trinidad and Tobago there is an ongoing effort to strengthen the local government process, so the visit is indeedtimely. Story Highlightslast_img read more

Precautions for Possible Freezing Rain

first_imgThe Emergency Management Office and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal advise Nova Scotians to take appropriate precautions in view of Environment Canada’s forecast of freezing rain and ice pellets today, Jan. 7. Such weather conditions can make driving treacherous and cause power outages. The departments advise Nova Scotians to monitor local weather forecasts, avoid driving if possible and make sure they have emergency supplies in their homes, or in their vehicles if driving. A home emergency kit should include: a battery operated or crank radio, a flashlight, spare batteries, non-perishable food, a manual can opener, drinking water, adequate supply of medication, first-aid kit, blankets or sleeping bags, extra clothing and footwear. Similar items are recommended for vehicle kits, along with jumper cables, warning flares, a shovel, traction sand or road salt, and a tow rope. For more information on preparing an emergency kit for your home or vehicle, go to the Emergency Management Office website at . More information on road conditions is available by dialling 511 for provincial highway conditions, or 1-888-432-3233 for local road information. In the event of power outage, people can call Nova Scotia Power’s outage information line at 1-877-428-6004.last_img read more

WilsonRaybould resignation stokes anger frustration within veterans community

first_imgOTTAWA — Jody Wilson-Raybould’s resignation from cabinet this week has stoked long-standing frustration, disappointment and anger among Canada’s veterans, who say they have been ignored and betrayed by the Trudeau government.The Liberals went out of their way during the last federal election to court former service members, as Justin Trudeau promised to improve service delivery and reinstate a lifelong disability pension for veterans after years of Conservative cuts and inaction.That pension, first introduced after the First World War, was abolished by the Conservatives with unanimous support in the House of Commons in 2006 and replaced by a suite of rehabilitation programs and financial compensation for injured soldiers.Since then, the Liberals have run through three veterans-affairs ministers in as many years — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould — while making little headway on improving service delivery and breaking their pension promise.The government has increased some supports and benefits for veterans and unveiled its own so-called Pension for Life program that will roll out in April, but that program has been widely assessed as falling far short of Trudeau’s original pledge.“Our key concern is there’s been a betrayal of the commitment that the prime minister made in the election of 2015,” said Brian Forbes, chair of the National Council of Veterans Associations, which represents more than 60 veteran groups.“That is felt very strongly in the veterans’ community.”The Liberals have also been roundly accused of ignoring the various ministerial advisory groups and other mechanisms established after the 2015 election to solicit feedback from the veterans’ community about its needs and concerns.All of which had sowed seeds of discontent even before Wilson-Raybould was handed the veterans-affairs portfolio on Jan. 14, taking over from O’Regan in a move widely regarded as a demotion from her previous role as justice minister.Now, while parliamentarians and Canadians at large wonder about the truth surrounding Wilson-Raybould’s discussions with the prime minister’s office about SNC-Lavalin, many veterans feel they have been forgotten. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has added responsibility for veterans to his duties, but only temporarily.“It’s like the veterans are the last priority in this story,” said Aaron Bedard, an Afghan War veteran from B.C. who led an unsuccessful legal battle against the government to reinstate the old disability pension. “We don’t have a minister of veterans affairs anymore.”Even before Wilson-Raybould’s departure, some veterans and veterans’ groups had questioned the number of ministers who have handled the portfolio under the Liberals — and what it means about their importance to the government.Not that the trend has been unique to the Liberals; all told, there have been seven veterans-affairs ministers in the past decade, not counting Sajjan. The Conservatives had three in less than two years, leading up to the last election.That in itself creates difficulties, says Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada, which helps former service members with mental-health injuries, because new ministers take time to find their footing.“It just makes it difficult to get the work done,” Maxwell said in an interview earlier this month, before Wilson-Raybould’s resignation. “That’s something we’ve tracked as a barrier.”Yet Wilson-Raybould was also different in that many of her predecessors were seen as up-and-comers getting promotions and looking to impress, not senior ministers getting a demotion. While she repeatedly denied that description, insisting that working for veterans was vitally important, it nonetheless stuck with some veterans.“When you’re saying you’re being demoted and you’re being sent to veterans affairs, it’s a slap in the face for us,” said Daniel Tremblay, an Afghan War veteran from Ottawa who is now struggling with back problems and post-traumatic stress.“It should be a promotion, not a demotion. That way you know the individual wants to be there and cares for us.”The Trudeau government is scrambling to contain the damage caused by Wilson-Raybould’s resignation, which followed a Globe and Mail story saying the Prime Minister’s Office had pressured her to intervene in a criminal case against SNC-Lavalin.Yet her resignation also makes a difficult task for the government even harder, as the Liberals already faced an uphill climb selling their Pension for Life program ahead of this year’s federal election.It’s difficult to assess how veterans’ concerns affect federal elections given that the community is spread across the country, but anecdotal evidence has suggested many former service members voted Liberal in 2015 — largely because of the disability-pension promise.That appears almost certain to change in October, though the question is who veterans will actually support. Bedard, who worked with the Liberals in the last election, says the Conservatives have repeatedly reached out to him and others over the past year or so.Yet others still remember the deep cuts to frontline work at Veterans Affairs Canada that were imposed by Stephen Harper’s government and the Conservatives’ refusal to reinstate the disability pension after a decade in power.That leaves open the question: Where will veterans turn in 2019?“The (veterans-affairs) file has been mismanaged for a decade or more,” said Nova Scotia veteran David MacLeod, who was forced to leave the military in 2010 for medical reasons.“Based on mismanagement alone, I will not be supporting any of the major political parties in the coming election. I support one of the smaller parties or a credible independent candidate.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Family of Quebec man imprisoned in Oman seeks Ottawas help to bring

first_imgMONTREAL — The family of a Quebec man imprisoned in Oman is asking the Canadian government to help repatriate him before he is extradited to the United Arab Emirates on fraud charges.According to his son, Andre Gauthier was imprisoned in Dubai between 2015 and 2017, and has been jailed in Oman since March, when authorities stopped him from returning to Canada during an appeal of an eight-year sentence.The 65-year-old’s son and lawyers describe him as a whistleblower who alerted authorities to irregular dealings in a gold-trading company he was involved with. They say he was blamed for the $30-million fraud after the real perpetrators left the country.They want the Canadian government to step in to stop Gauthier from being returned to Dubai, where they say he faces potential human rights violations and has little chance of a fair trial.Global Affairs Canada says consular officials are aware of the case and members of the government have met with Omani officials to discuss it.But Gauthier’s son, Alexis Gauthier, is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to get personally involved in pressuring authorities to bring his father home.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Shooting for the It Just Works Experience

Justifying Workspace Applications: Time to Up the Game Marty Parker September 10, 2019 Communication technology vendors and their value-adding partners must take the lead in defining business justifications for their collaboration and workspace applications. What does a good user experience entail? While there are different types of experiences for different types of users, some basic fundamentals are required: Technology is table stakes today. You can have the best technology in the world, but it doesn’t matter if end users aren’t using it. Today’s employees and consumers expect positive and easy experiences when they’re working at their desks or remote locations, interacting with organizations for sales or support, or communicating with colleagues and customers. They expect to have the right business communications tools to make them more productive and effective, without barriers that negatively impact their experiences. Whether for internal communications and collaboration, or interacting with customers, businesses need to focus on the user experience as much as — or even more than — the technology itself. user_interface.jpg Simplicity — whether a customer is contacting customer service or a knowledge worker is using a video collaboration tool, the communications should be simple and easy to use. For users, this means having to go through as few steps as possible to set up a video conference, share screens or documents, reach a knowledgeable contact center agent, etc.Intuitive — time is at a premium, and users should be able to start using communication and collaboration tools right away, no matter the use case. An intuitive user interface, based on task or role, is essential. While training is needed (and recommended) for advanced capabilities, users should be able to get started with basic capabilities as soon as the solution is deployed.Seamless — no one likes having to switch from one application or screen to another, as that disrupts workflow and hampers productivity; the more integrated the experience, the better.Engaging — why should business communications be dull? Communications and collaboration tools can be fun. Whether by providing emojis for collaboration tool users or gamification for contact center workers, the more engaging the experience, the more likely people will be to continue using the tools, and even get enjoyment from their jobs.Mobile-friendly — with the majority of customers and workers using mobile devices, the experience needs to support a mobile environment, utilizing the mobile devices’ native capabilities as much as possible. BCSLogo.png Videoconferencing certainly isn’t new, and there is no shortage of players in this space. But Zoom make videoconferencing easy and simple to use. The most common refrain I hear from Zoom users is “it just works.” Zoom provides the tools that provide the necessary functionality, but beyond the technology, it provides a simple and intuitive user experience. See All in Unified Communications & Collaboration » Pleasant is writing as a member of BCStrategies, an industry resource for enterprises, vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing business communications arena. A supplier of objective information on business communications, BCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of the dynamic business communications market.Tags:News & Viewsuser experienceagent experienceIT tipsUnified Communications & CollaborationBCStrategiesBest PracticesCustomer ExperienceDigital WorkplaceEnterprise Connect Articles You Might Like Think about customer service — the best AI and routing technologies aren’t important if customers can’t get the information they need, if they have to wait on hold for long times, or if they have to repeat themselves when going from chat sessions to agents. Contact center agents who don’t have the right tools, or have tools that are difficult to use and require continually going from one screen or application to another, will have negative experiences — and these, in turn, will impact the quality of service they provide to customers and the overall customer experience. Disruptors “Get It” Enterprise Connect 2019 is weeks past, but the lessons learned from the sessions, speakers, and discussions will be around for years to come. While many people believe that the biggest takeaway was the role of artificial intelligence (AI), I had a different perspective (as per usual). To me, the biggest message was the role of experience. Whether its customer experience (CX), user experience (UX), employee experience (EX), or agent experience (AX), businesses realize that they need to focus on providing awesome business communication experiences in order to succeed. Most of the disruptive companies that have been so successful have one thing in common — an unrelenting focus on the customer experience. From Uber making it easy to get a ride to Amazon changing the face of retail forever, these companies understand the importance of providing a unique customer and user experience. Recently we’ve been hearing and talking about Slack and Zoom a great deal, as these companies have been disrupting the status quo and growing extremely quickly. What makes these companies so disruptive? I’d venture to say that it’s all about the positive user experience their solutions provide. Slack is also focused on the user experience, making it easy to collaborate and get work done. With tight integration to a large variety of applications and workflows, Slack provides a seamless user experience, making it easy for users to collaborate and complete tasks from within a single hub. At Slack’s recent Frontiers customer event, the audience gave a loud round of applause when the company announced the addition of emojis to use in conversations. This demonstrates how much users appreciate anything that makes the collaboration experience more fun, engaging, and enjoyable. Tips for a Good User Experience Avaya Continues Mulling Next-Step Options Beth Schultz September 12, 2019 In a brief update, company said strategic alternative review process continues, gave no indication of new expectations for wrapping it up. We’ve been talking about the user experience for a long time, but I believe we’re at a tipping point — companies are finally developing and fine-tuning their products and solutions to focus on providing truly positive experiences. The winners won’t be the vendors with the better technology or more features, but rather, the companies that enable simple, seamless, engaging experiences that keep users coming back. Tick, Tock, the Clock Is Running for Avaya Zeus Kerravala September 06, 2019 Lots of speculation surrounds Avaya’s future, but mum’s still the word on a final decision. Avaya Still on the Block, Resolution May Come Soon Beth Schultz August 14, 2019 As the company plugs away on cloud sales, CEO Jim Chirico looks to wrap up its review of strategic alternatives in the next 30 days. Mitel, Avaya Merger on Tap? Beth Schultz August 20, 2019 On the heels of word that Avaya is close to reaching acquisition deal, the focus turns to Mitel and a reported bid of $20 per share. I’ve been thrilled to hear more and more vendors focusing on the user experience in the past couple of years. In fact, Fuze’s tagline is: “Reimagining the User Experience for Unified Communications.” At Enterprise Connect, Lori Wright, general manager, Microsoft 365, began her keynote address discussing the role of employee experience and employee engagement. Vendors are finally taking note and recognizing the important role of user experience. Log in or register to post comments read more

Kitchener man dies in Brant County mud run

A Kitchener man died after collapsing while taking part in a “mud run” endurance event in Brant County, Brant County OPP said.The 63-year-old man was participating in the War Horse Warrior Challenge on Saturday when he went into distress, police said.Emergency personnel weren’t able to revive him. The man’s identity was not released.The event, a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society, was held in Paris, a community of about 12,000 located 15 kilometres northwest of Brantford.Officers stayed on the scene for several hours to investigate the incident and work with organizers, police said.Sharie Mulkewich, director of the Central West Ontario Region for the Canadian Cancer Society, said organizers of the challenge closed the course and suspended the remainder of the event after the man collapsed.“We are deeply saddened by this incident and (the Canadian Cancer Society) offers our sincere condolences to family and friends of the deceased participant,” she said in an email.The website for the War Horse Warrior Challenge described the event as a five-kilometre family run in which participants were required to overcome “uncompromising obstacles as you sludge through dirt and mud all in the name of a good cause.”In previous challenges, participants crawled through pooled water under pipes, climbed walls and carried sandbags.A notice on the the website said Saturday’s challenge was cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances,” and people who didn’t complete the course were asked to email or call for a refund.OPP asked anyone with information about the death to contact them at read more

Morgan Stanley CFO says companies still cautious on dealmaking bank rejiggers business

Morgan Stanley CFO says companies still cautious on deal-making; bank rejiggers business plan by Christina Rexrode, The Associated Press Posted Apr 18, 2013 7:39 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email NEW YORK, N.Y. – After getting bludgeoned in the financial crisis, Morgan Stanley is staking its future on the steadier, if less spectacular, business of wealth management.In the first quarter, the strategy looked prudent: Profit and revenue soared in wealth management, even as they dipped in investment banking.The wealth management unit generated more fees, and clients shuttled more assets to the bank. Profit margins rose and so did employees’ productivity. In contrast, the company’s investment banking unit brought in less revenue from trading bonds and commodities, and made less money on advising companies on mergers and acquisitions.Overall earnings slipped 12 per cent from a year earlier — to $1.2 billion, or 61 cents a share. While that beat expectations of analysts polled by FactSet, investors weren’t impressed. The stock fell $1.16, or 5.4 per cent, to close at $20.31 Thursday.CEO James Gorman said the first quarter represented “solid momentum.” He’s been investing in the wealth management unit, emphasizing products like home loans, and steering the purchase of the rest of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, the retail brokerage it owns with Citigroup.Analysts, however, described the first quarter almost like a holding period. They said the bank was moving toward the correct positions but were disappointed by weaknesses in the investment bank. They’re also anxious for the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney deal to be completed.Gorman, the CEO since the start of 2010, is under pressure to restore Morgan Stanley’s share price and measures of profitability, including its return on equity. His direction for the bank is borne from previous losses: Risky investment banking activities slammed Morgan Stanley in the financial crisis, and regulators are phasing out some of the investment bank’s old sources of revenue, like trading for its own profit.The CEO’s response has been to expand the bank’s work with individual investors. That business can provide a steady source of revenue even when financial markets are volatile. It also gives the bank more earnings power and access to deposits, which helps it fund lending and other initiatives.A big part of that plan is the retail brokerage, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Morgan Stanley is in the process of buying out Citi’s remaining 35 per cent stake. It has said it plans to do so by the end of this year, though it still needs Federal Reserve approval for part of the process.The bank’s different units are also being encouraged to work together. For example, the investment bank usually deals with companies and other institutional clients, helping them broker deals or trading on their behalf. But those corporate clients also have executives who would make prime customers for the wealth management unit, which advises individuals as well as small and medium-sized companies.Thursday’s results reinforced the shifting focus. The wealth management unit accounted for about 41 per cent of revenue, after stripping out an accounting charge. Three years ago, when Gorman took over, it accounted for 34 per cent.Wealth management’s profit margins and income tend to be more reliable and steady. Analysts said they were pleased that the wealth management unit’s pre-tax profit margin was better than expected at 17 per cent. That’s the highest it’s been since Morgan Stanley formed the joint brokerage with Citigroup, and it’s been steadily rising since 2009. The investment bank’s profit margin was higher, at 20 per cent, but it’s swung widely in recent years: 39 per cent three years ago, and 12 per cent two years ago.Nomura analyst Glenn Schorr said the quarter “showed progress.”“A mixed bag at the (investment bank) isn’t so bad,” he wrote in a note to clients, “when wealth management is so much better (and about to be bigger).”Barclays analyst Roger Freeman noted that the return on equity rate was down over the year — “a sign of progress yet to be made, though with important catalysts on the horizon,” he wrote.More from the earnings report:—The economy: Executives sounded cautiously hopeful about the economy, but were far from declaring victory. In an interview with The Associated Press, Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said that institutional investors had been more confident in January and February, then pulled back in March amid the Cyprus bank bailout and Italy’s uncertain elections. It was a trend seen with clients at Goldman Sachs, which reported first-quarter earnings Tuesday.Porat said the market’s uneven performance in recent weeks is another reminder that the recovery “may not come in a straight line,” even if major economies “are clearly on firmer footing than just a year ago.”—The investment bank: The drop in revenue from advising companies on deal making grabbed analysts’ attention. In some ways, it’s a prime time for companies to be merging or buying other companies. With interest rates low, financing is cheap. But Porat said there’s still a level of worry.“CEOs continue to be concerned about longer term earnings outlook and they’re just being very cautious in deals,” she said. “The level of discussion is very good but it’s just not getting to the announcement stage.”Revenue fell 14 per cent to $4.4 billion, after stripping out an accounting charge. Profit was down 30 per cent to $1.1 billion.—Wealth management: The revenue that each representative brings in has been steadily rising, and this quarter amounted to an annualized rate of $851,000, up from $780,000 a year ago.Overall, revenue was up 5 per cent to $3.5 billion. Profit jumped 48 per cent to $597 million.—Expenses: Like most of its peers, Morgan Stanley has been cutting back on spending, including office space, equipment and marketing. The amount the bank spent on salaries, bonuses and benefits fell 5 per cent. Headcount was down 7 per cent, with the bank cutting about 3,900 jobs.—Regulations: Gorman hinted that uncertainty over new regulations would be less of a drag on results. Investors have already baked in much of the effect of the new regulations into their expectations, he said. The bank’s rejiggering how it makes money has also helped. “Our growth areas are those that are unlikely to be much impacted by further regulation,” he said in a call with reporters. “Our path is clearer.—By the numbers: Earnings totalled $1.2 billion, down from $1.3 billion. Per share, those earnings amounted to 61 cents, beating the forecast of 57 cents.Revenue was $8.5 billion, down from $8.9 billion. That beat analysts’ expectations of $8.3 billion.The earnings and revenue exclude the effect of an accounting charge related to the value of the bank’s debt. read more

As temperature soars UNICEF helps children threatened by water cuts in Aleppo

“These water cuts came at the worst possible time, while Syrians are suffering in an intense summer heat wave,” said UNICEF Representative in Syria Hanaa Singer. “Some neighbourhoods have been without running water for nearly three weeks, leaving hundreds of thousands of children thirsty, dehydrated and vulnerable to disease.”In some cases deliberately implemented by parties to the conflict, the disruption to piped water supplies increased the risk of water-borne disease especially among children. Indeed, since the beginning of July alone, 41 per cent of children attending UNICEF-backed clinics in Aleppo governorate – 3,000 in all – reported mild cases of diarrhoea. “We remain concerned that water supplies in Aleppo could be cut again any time adding to what is already a severe water crisis throughout the country,” warned Singer.UNICEF reminds parties to the conflict to refrain from attacking or deliberately interrupting water supplies, treatment and distribution systems, acts which are prohibited under international Humanitarian law, points out a press release issued today.To address the crisis, and despite the ongoing violence in the city, UNICEF has trebled the scale of its water trucking services from 800,000 to 2.5 million liters a day, the largest volume of water delivered since the start of the conflict. The service provides 15 liters of water per person daily to nearly 200,000 people in some of the hardest-hit communities in Aleppo. But UNICEF is working “around the clock” to provide a longer-term solution in cooperation with partners. The water trucking service has been complemented by the drilling of 50 ground water wells that can provide up to 16 million liters of water per day. In addition, UNICEF is developing an infiltration well, close to Aleppo City’s Kwaik River, to enhance the provision of water by more than ten-fold of a regular groundwater well.Despite these efforts, an estimated 500,000 people in Aleppo are still struggling to receive enough water to survive, the agency acknowledged. To address the rising incidence of water-borne illness, UNICEF has delivered diarrhoea kits sufficient to treat more than 18,000 children. And in anticipation of further water shortages and to prevent disease outbreaks, the Fund, through its partners, is distributing water purification tablets for up to 1 million people.Across the country, the agency is working with partners to support the vital water infrastructure on which some 15 million people in Syria depend, equipping wells and supporting procurement and distribution of water treatment supplies. read more