Liberian Women Raise Money to Support Haiti

first_imgIn early October, many countries were hit by Hurricane Matthew. Of the countries ravaged by the hurricane, Haiti recorded the highest number of deaths and loss of property.Haiti is no stranger to disaster. In 2008, the country was rocked by an earthquake, and while still recovering from its devastating effects, the country was again swept by an outbreak of cholera, which caused the deaths of hundreds of Haitians.Haiti, which means “mountainous country,” is located in the Caribbean. With a population that is mostly black, many elements of Haitian culture originate from Africa, the continent from which many Haitians trace their roots.In many historical accounting, Haiti is considered the first Black Republic. The country gained its independence after successfully revolting against their slave masters. Although Liberia did not gain independence from slave masters, I could not help but observe some similarities between the two black nations of Liberia and Haiti, with Haiti being the first free Black Republic to gain their independence from slave masters, and Liberia being the first African Country to become a Republic. Both nations have also been plagued with mismanagement and poor governance by their leaders, with both countries still being considered among “the poorest countries in the world.” Dismal health care, low education, lack of basic infrastructures and social services, to name but a few, stand out as unwanted features of the two nations.So here is Haiti once again, devastated by another natural disaster, and the world either shrugs with indifference, or move into action to support.In 2014 when Liberia was hit by the deadly Ebola Virus disease, Haiti, a “poor” country like Liberia, looked to her sister country and came to our aid albeit in a small way. Still, they came.In solidarity with Liberia, Haiti joined ActionAid member counties to raise funds in support of ActionAid-Liberia’s Ebola Response, which was mainly focused on support to vulnerable women and children in affected areas. This money was timely and needed. Along with its local partners, ActionAid-Liberia was prompt in providing support to several Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs), quarantined families, and provided several needy communities with support “kits.” Again, the support from Haiti (and other ActionAid Federation countries) proved to be timely, needed and impactful.Today, Haiti has recorded over 800 deaths, with of course, women and children being most affected. Thousands have lost their homes, leaving them homeless and their livelihood affected.Liberia can never forget. We remembered that in our time of need, Haiti, also a “poor nation,” responded as best as they could. They answered our call for help. True to the nation’s character of never abandoning a friend, a number of national organizations that participated in ActionAid-Liberia’s Ebola Response efforts which Haiti supported have decided to join ActionAid-Liberia in fundraising efforts to support women and children recently affected by the deadly Hurricane Matthew.AAL sounded the urgent call to action! It was a call to raise funds to assist and support Haiti. Mrs. Naomi Tulay-Solanke, founder of the Community Health Initiative (CHI), decided to lead the initiative on behalf of AAL’s local partner organizations. The organizations included CHI, COSEO, NEP and KEEP along with some ActionAid Liberia staff and other well-meaning Liberian women who also heard and responded to the call for action. They, too, decided to support. The women organized 3 days of car wash at various traffic lights around Monrovia and offered to wash the windscreens of cars and serve passengers and passersby hot tea to raise funds. For 2 days the women set aside personal pride and made time for up to 4 hours in the early hours of the morning to undertake the exercise. They washed cars. They served tea, often to passengers andpassersby, who took them because the women insisted. Some of the women explained that at the beginning, passersby were curious to know why they were doing what they were doing. Once explained, they would receive small additional donations. For these Liberians, it seems to be the right thing to do. And yet, it was not to be unexpected that a few passersby were rude and abrasive while others were very supportive expressing how sad they felt for what was happening to the people of Haiti. Many of these people would donate whatever little cash they had to support Haiti.The women noted that a majority of the contributions came from taxi drivers and passengers in commercial vehicles while drivers of private vehicles mostly refused to support and threw out insulting words. The fundraising team also went into the local markets where they got a lot of support from the market women who willingly give L$10-20 each. Each woman in the market contacted said they could relate to having lost everything in a heartbeat during the civil war and knew what the mothers of Haiti were experiencing. On the third day of their fundraising activity, the women went to various offices of private companies, government ministries and agencies. At the end of the exercise, they were able to raise US$1,425 and L$62,000 (Liberian currency). The takeover of sorts of this activity by local organizations led by women is profound and admirable. It also reinforces a campaign championed earlier this year by many organizations calling for more localization of aid and the empowerment of local/national organizations as well as the recognition of women as capable First Responders in times of crisis and natural disasters.Naomi of CHI explained “When I saw what was happening in Haiti, my heart broke for the suffering and it reminded me of the various trials we have faced here in Liberia. I was pondering what we as Liberians could do to help, and just in that time, I saw an email from ActionAid-Liberia reaching out to its local implementing partners to contribute to funds being raised to support the people ofHaiti. Recognizing what my organization – CHI- had started doing to raise funds in Liberia to support our work during Ebola, I thought it would be a good strategy to use to support the cause for Haiti.”The initiative was led by women who currently run local charity organizations in Liberia. Many worked as First Responders during the Ebola Virus outbreak in areas ranging from community awareness on Ebola preventive measures, providing psychosocial counseling support, or ensuring that thousands of Liberian school children remained engaged academically during the compulsory closure of schools. Other Liberian women who heard about the work on social media also volunteered their time during the car wash fundraising drive to help support the effort. Mrs. Souriah Haider Dennis, a young mother and entrepreneur, said: “As a concerned Liberian, I saw this as an extremely important initiative and I immediately cleared my schedule to assist. This fundraising act of good will and kindness felt like the right thing to do. While it is true that our challenges as a nation seem to never end, it doesn’t mean we can’t help others in their time of need especially when they did the same for Liberia. The fundraising effort was a very fulfilling experience for me personally and I would like to extend my gratitude to the people of Liberia who contributed to this cause, especially the market women and commercial drivers. As a Liberian, it felt good to see the reaction of fellow Liberians when they were told about the devastation in Haiti as a result of the hurricane” For me, as a “young” Liberian woman who is personally committed to seeing positive changes in Liberia, this collective support from a cross range of Liberians – old, young, male, female, the haves and the have-nots – has warmed my heart and shown me that Liberians are caring people, and will continue to give to humanitarian causes. This is contrary to the common belief that Liberians do not give or care about what is happening globally. I am even more motivated and touched to see Liberian women stepping up and moving into unchartered territories proving that women can indeed be First Responders – that we can lead and show the efficacy of localization even in times of crisis. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Track & Field Set For MVC Outdoor Championship

first_img ESPN3 (Sunday) ESPN3 (Saturday) ESPN3 (Friday) Schedule The Drake University track and field teams are set to compete at the 2016 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championship this weekend in Terre Haute, Ind.The three-day competition begins on Friday, May 13 and culminates with the crowning of the men’s and women’s team champions on Sunday afternoon at Indiana State’s Gibson Track & Field Complex. Action from each day’s competitions will be broadcast via The Valley on ESPN3  at the following times.Friday – 5:50-7:30 p.m.Saturday – 3:45-6:15 p.m.Sunday – 11:55-3:15 p.m.The Bulldogs travel to Terre Haute with 15 competitors that currently rank in the top eight in the conference in their respective events and four marks that lead the MVC.Drake’s sprinters are led by senior Pierce Vincent (Fayetteville, Ga.) who owns the top 100-meter time in the Valley at 10.26 with Demetrius Shelton (Markham, Ill.) and Aaron Chier (Belgium, Wis.) ranking fifth and sixth, respectively. Vincent has also run the fourth-fastest 200-meter time in the MVC while Shelton is sixth. All three plan to be part of the Bulldogs’ 4×100-meter relay that earlier this season set the top mark in the Valley at 40.23.The hurdles look to be an area in which the Bulldogs can collect points as well. Bas Van Leersum (Zaandam, The Netherlands) owns the second-fastest 400-meter hurdle time in the league this season at 52.18 while Hudson Priebe (Chamberlain, S.D.) is fourth after earning all-conference honors a year ago as a freshman. In the women’s hurdles, Virginia Hill (Haymarket, Va.) turned in the second-fastest 400-meter hurdle time in the league at 59.44 two weeks ago at the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee. Mary Young (Urbandale, Iowa) also ranks in the top 10 in the events and fifth in the 100-meter hurdles.Drake’s distance runners have made waves all year with Emma Huston (Des Moines, Iowa) breaking four school records, Reed Fischer (Minnetonka, Minn.) coming up a split-second short of a record and Robert McCann (Mississauga, Ontario) winning a Drake Relays title in the steeplechase. That same group aims to add to their standout seasons as Huston runs in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters, two events in which she owns the top times in the league at 4:20.82 and 16:06.55. Fischer will compete in the 5,000 meters, and event he ranks second in the league in at 14:00.28 set at the Drake Relays. Meanwhile, McCann owns the fastest steeplechase performance in the league with a time of 8:47.38 set at the Stanford Invitational.The Bulldog jumpers have also stitched together a strong season and have trained to be in position to claim an MVC title. Kayla Bell (Bolingbrook, Ill.) and Taryn Rolle (Nassau, The Bahamas) rank second and fourth, respectively, in the triple jump. Bell also ranks second in the long jump among MVC competitors.In the league’s annual pre-championship poll, the Drake women’s team was projected to finish seventh with Wichita State as the favorite. The men’s polling projected Drake to take sixth place with WSU again the projected favorite.Print Friendly Version Heat Sheets Story Links Live Results Championship Central last_img read more

Poverty in South Africa ‘is declining’

first_img2 October 2008 A new report released by the Presidency has found that there has been a reduction in both absolute income poverty, which is the income of poor people, and in relative income poverty, which is the gap between the average income of poor people and the poverty line. Social assistance The report, entitled “Towards a Fifteen Year Review Synthesis Report”, reviews the government’s successes as well as shortcomings and challenges over the last 15 years, and investigates the impact of government programmes in improving the lives of South Africans. “When using the R322 per person [per month] poverty line, in 1995 about 53% of households was living below that line. In 2005, that figure has decreased to 48%.” Even if absolute conditions of people might be improving, he said that the fact that the upper income groups were experiencing a faster rate of improvement in their conditions started to create a sense of relative poverty in lower income groups. While many poor South Africans were lifting themselves from abject poverty, the rich in South Africa were getting richer, most likely due to access to economic opportunities. The Department of Public Works also has programmes which are aimed at assisting with fighting poverty and assisting in income generation. While the Expanded Public Works Programme did absorb a large number of unskilled labourers, the report found that challenges remained, in that the projects were of short duration and training was often inadequate. “The targets in 2004 were to create one million work opportunities by 2009 . that target had already been met by April 2008,” he said. “There is the challenge that these [work programmes] are of short duration and the training that is meant to take place is not taking place at the optimum level.” Netshitenzhe explained that during periods of high rates of growth it was those who were already well-off who were better positioned to take advantage of that growth. Despite the decrease in the amount of poor people in the country, Netshitenzhe noted that many studies, including the Income Expenditure Survey by Statistics South Africa found a widening inequality gap in the country. Source: BuaNews Netshitenzhe added that when using the lower poverty line measure of R174 per person a month, the number of households in 1995 stood at 3%, decreasing in 2005 to 2%. “What we have established is that income poverty has actually declined, contrary to conventional wisdom,” policy coordination and advisory services head Joel Netshitenzhe told reporters at the Union Buildings in Pretoria this week. “In terms of macro-social trends, a high level of economic growth has exposed one reality that we believe society needs to take to heart . that a higher rate of growth does not necessarily result in a reduction in inequality,” he said, adding that in recent years, inequality especially amongst racial groups, except among Africans, had not been reduced. Widening inequality gap Various studies have confirmed that social grants were well targeted and contributed considerably to poverty reduction. Of social grants, the report indicated that 62% of the total went to the poorest 40% of households, and 82% to the poorest 60%. Even if absolute conditions of people might be improving, the fact that those who are on the upper rim are experiencing a faster rate of improvement in their conditions, it starts to create a sense of relative poverty in the lower ranks, he said. “Social grants have played a very critical role in this regard . from 2.5 million beneficiaries in 1999 to just over 12 million in 2007, the social grants system is the largest form of government support for the poor,” Netshitenzhe said. “Most by far is in the form of the child support grant, which reached 7.8 million beneficiaries in 2007 compared to 34 000 in 1999.”last_img read more

Top marks for SA’s World Cup

first_imgSouth Africans were great hosts, said Fifa. Fifa President Sepp Blatter gave South Africanine out 10 for hosting a great tournament. Government believes its investments willyield great results. (Images: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS• Jermaine CraigMedia ManagerLocal Organising Committee+27 11 567 2010+27 83 201 0121RELATED ARTICLES• SA ablaze as World Cup wraps up• World Cup driving SA tourism• World Cup spirit in Soweto• Bafana frenzy grips the nation• SA buzzing with World Cup spiritBongani NkosiSouth Africa has come out with flying colours for hosting one of the most successful World Cups of all time.This was announced by Fifa boss Sepp Blatter at a press briefing in Johannesburg on 12 July – after a glittering closing ceremony and nail-biting final match between the Netherlands and Spain the night before.Blatter has given the country nine out of 10 for organising the tournament with such flair. This means we got 90% for the job, as far as the international football body is concerned.This score is an improvement on the one Fifa gave the country for hosting the Confederations Cup in 2009. “At the end of the Confederations Cup I gave 7.5. They were very disappointed. Nine on 10 is the highest,” he said.Blatter said this was the most favourable rating possible, because “perfection does not exist”.“It’s not low marks. I think it’s excellent,” President Jacob Zuma said in response.The rating is based on all the Fifa requirements South Africa had to meet for the tournament to be classed as a success. With the billions of rands that went into preparations, the nation did all it could to please the Swiss-based organisation.“Compliments to the government for all the guarantees they gave and met,” Blatter said. “We trusted South Africa and we at Fifa are satisfied.“They can be proud. The compliments must go to South Africa, and not Fifa,” he added. “Africa has proven that it can host such a huge event.”World-class facilitiesIn total, government spent about R28-billion (US$3.7-billion) on infrastructure development and upgrades ahead of the spectacle, with a firm focus on stadium-building, transport and crime-prevention.Thanks to this, South Africa is now home to 10 world-class stadiums – five of which were built from scratch. More than R9.8-billion ($1.3-billion) went into the construction and refurbishment of these facilities, and the development of precincts around them.The eye-catching calabash-shaped Soccer City in Johannesburg was completely upgraded, after the older stadium on that site was dismantled. Nelspruit and Polokwane also scored impressive new stadiums, as did Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.Almost 3.2-million spectators poured into the 10 stadiums during the month-long tournament – this is the third highest attendance in the history of the World Cup, after the US-hosted one in 1994 and Germany’s in 2006.Government beefed up public transport to accommodate football fans by pumping more than R11-billion ($1.5-billion) into the sector. R6.7-billion ($8.83-million) went towards the new King Shaka International airport in KwaZulu-Natal, while OR Tambo International in Johannesburg and Cape Town International received massive facelifts. All these facilities were ready in time for the kick-off on 11 June.Five other domestic airports – including the one in East London – were also upgraded, while the new Bus Rapid Transit system and Gautrain in Johannesburg successfully ferried thousands of fans around the city.Investments will yield resultsThe heavy investment in 2010 football projects did not affect government’s local budget, Zuma said.“The World Cup did not compromise the focus or the funding that we have maintained since 1994 on improving the health, safety, education and economic well-being of our people.”But, “bringing this event to the country compelled us to fast-track certain aspects of the country’s development”, he added.Government is also confident that the 2010 projects will benefit the country in the future: “We are sure that the investments we have made will contribute to increased tourism, trade and investment,” the president said.“This will ultimately create the opportunities and bring in the revenue for us to address social challenges.”Tribute to South Africa’s hospitalitySouth Africans’ welcoming spirit shown throughout the World Cup should also be applauded, said Blatter. “The wonderful hospitality given by the people … is something that has been great,” he said.The country proudly defied some absurd expectations of the foreign media, particularly those of the UK tabloids, which, before the tournament, warned of machete race wars in the streets, poisonous snakes at the stadiums – and even an earthquake that would hit South Africa!Mercifully, these ludicrous suggestions weren’t taken seriously by the legions of fans who came to the country.Government did its best to prevent common crimes by getting the South African Police Service to deploy 41 000 officers specifically for the World Cup, while working closely with international security agencies.There was a large security presence on the streets and at many venues, including stadiums and public viewing areas. Police were also deployed at the hotels where players and dignitaries stayed.“We have to congratulate the police services for what they have done,” Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke said. “They’ve done more than we expected.”International security agencies “were highly impressed by the performance of our enforcements”, according to South Africa’s deputy president, Kgalema Motlanthe.All this praise and positivity was well expressed by a BBC journalist at the press briefing, who said: “No one doubts that this has been an incredible World Cup organised by South Africa.”last_img read more

District Six: coming home

first_img“That sense of belonging to something was lost, suddenly the world was not as safe anymore.” – Zahra Hendricks on being forced to leave District Six. (Image: Lorraine Kearney)• Zahra HendricksDistrict Six Museum+27 21 4667200reception@districtsix.co.za Sulaiman PhilipPeople have an amazing ability to adapt to their circumstances. The mind buries trauma till it seems like a dream, and the more traumatic the event, the quicker the mind tries to forget and heal. Yet in the spiritual geography of some Cape Town families, a finger of land still looms large in their identity. It holds memories they are unable to shake off.Now, 30 years after being pushed out of District Six, families are slowly returning and trying to rebuild the community they lost.It’s cold outside; an icy winter front blankets the city of Cape Town with an almost arctic blast. Inside her ground floor flat, Zahrah Hendricks pours herself a cup of tea and waits for the sun to set. The flat is warm, made even more so by the homely appetizing aromas wafting from the kitchen. The table is laid, the sun sets and tea is drunk along with a sweet date. The atmosphere is bright, light-hearted as the family share their day. Above them, the same scene plays out with the neighbours, who tuck into a plate of savoury snacks Hendricks sent upstairs.“Memories of Ramadaan are some of the best I have from District Six,” she says. “Everyone shared. If you did not have a carrot or a tomato for your pot your neighbour would give you. If you had no food your neighbours made sure you had something to eat.”District Six was a community where everyone looked after everyone else’s children. (Image: Jansje Wissema (© Cape Institute for Architecture)) Displaced by apartheidFor 35 years she has dreamed of days like these, back in a place she remembers as home. Even when her family was moved – displaced to Kensington – there was always this idea that one day she would be back here. “My mother never wanted to come back to visit after we left. She never wanted to come to the shops that were still here or go to Good Hope Centre for shows. For too long my mother’s heart was broken.”Mention of the Good Hope Centre brings another stream of memories bubbling up: memories of the colour and sounds of the klopse – the Cape Malay choirs that grew out of the area – who paraded through District Six on New Year’s Eve. “Once you got to be old enough you were allowed to stay up all night to watch the parade. It was carnival, bright colours and songs everywhere. I go to watch the klopse these days, but it’s not the same. In the District we could stand on the street and they would parade past you, and you were there with your family and friends. It can never be that again.”Hendricks loved the culture that grew out of the rough and tumble poverty, the gangsters and the tolerance. This sense of place never died even as she and her neighbours were evicted by the apartheid government and moved to windswept points far outside the city.That sense of community is what old residents of District Six miss the most. The District, on the outskirts of the Cape Town CBD, was home to a mixed race community that was uprooted when the area was declared for white use only. People were moved, mostly to the lunar landscape of the Cape Flats, with life on the District’s vibrant streets committed to memory. The Star Bioscope, the Hanover Street fish market, the communal public baths – these are all remembered; as are the large gay community, and the shops where owners allowed you to take bread and milk to be paid for when you had money.“These stone steps bear the memory.” – From the musical District Six. (Image: Jansje Wissema (© Cape Institute for Architecture))There were the horse-drawn wedding parades to look forward to every weekend. And the different places of worship – Hendricks went to Sunday school with her Christian neighbours, who tagged along to Friday prayers at the mosque. “I loved going to the African churches as well,” she recalls. “It was the only place where I could dance.” Preparing for the feastIt is the last day of Ramadaan; there will be little sleep tonight as the multigenerational household prepares for Eid ul Fitr. There is lunch to be prepared, treats to be readied, and change gathered for the children who will knock on their door to wish the family a blessed day.“In the old District Six Eid was a day for all the children. You would put on your best clothes and visit as many houses as you could. And you could walk safely anywhere. At the end of the day you got home full and had money you could spend on anything you wanted.”That money was saved to buy a cinema ticket on a Saturday afternoon; the bioscope was the place to be seen. Saturday nights were for dancing at a house party, under the watchful eye of many adults. “When I think about those days the thing I remember the most is that sense of safety I felt. I did not know it then, but once we moved and our neighbours were strangers, I knew that something was gone.”For the government District Six was a place of vice and disease, but people really lived there. (Image: Jimmy Riardore/District Six Museum)Hendricks’ new home is not far from where her family once lived. Today, she walks around her growing community. Walking gives life to the memories she has of her District Six. She sounds sentimental and nostalgic as she talks of her home, their street, and neighbours. “This was such a wonderful place to grow up. Everyone’s door was open, as children we could go in and out of our neighbours’ houses as if they were our own homes.”Hendricks’ emotional attachment to what was, is tempered by the knowledge that a community destroyed by the signature of a city official cannot ever be rebuilt. When the area was declared white in 1966, it was home to 1 900 families, numbering a little over 60 000 people.Since then, plans to gentrify the area have failed. Redevelopment will, it is hoped, improve the diversity in the city centre, bringing back the historical memory of the displaced, people of colour, the poor, and the working classes. Redevelopment, the city hopes, will restore the heart that was ripped out in the 1970s, leaving an ugly scar.In their hit musical District Six, David Kramer and Taliep Petersen ask a simple musical question – Can These Stone Steps Forgive the People Who Destroyed Our Homes? – referencing the set of steps at the centre of the neighbourhood. The children of the people have not come back to avenge themselves on faceless bureaucrats, instead they are coming home, slowly, to rebuild.‘Broetjie my bra’ from District Six the Musicallast_img read more

Into the mountains we go! — The Gateway To The Matterhorn Summit (GCQC4R) — Geocache of the Week

first_img SharePrint RelatedNear the top of Europe (GC2BVRY) – Geocache of the WeekJuly 16, 2015In “Geocache of the Week”Rubik’s Cache (GC5YGFM) – Geocache of the WeekJuly 30, 2015In “Geocache of the Week”Started from the bottom, now we’re here. — Roof of the World (GC9A9E) — Geocache of the WeekMay 22, 2013In “Community” Panorama from the lookout. Photo by geocacher laminGeocache Name:The Gateway To The Matterhorn Summit (GCQC4R)Difficulty/Terrain Rating:2/4Why this is the Geocache of the Week:There are no shortage of amazing places in the world—but figuring out which ones to visit can be a daunting task. Luckily for geocachers, we can just look for nearby geocaches, take a look at photos, read logs and check out the favorite points. One look at this geocache’s photos and logs and it instantly went on my bucket list.What geocachers have to say:“Found during a vacation in the area. Wonderful views, hopefully I’ll climb to Matterhorn one day.” – pedron4“What a day, like a post card! Sunshine no cloud and a cache at the feet of the Madonna, TFTC” – zigzagzug“After I had something to eat and drink at the hut, I scrambled up to search for this cache. It wasn’t hard to find, though there were a couple of muggles who had to be avoided 🙂 What a great location!” – johannesvanderwerfPhotos:The Matterhorn from GZ. Photo by geocacher raumangstDespite a DNF, this young geocacher is still all smiles. Photo by geocacher CikloBeautiful mountains. Photo by geocacher johannesvanderwerfWhat geocache is on your bucket list to find? Tell your story and post photos in the comments.Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, just fill out this form. Thanks!Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Why RIM Absolutely Must Seed BlackBerry 10 To The Federal Government

first_imgWhy IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces During the decline of Research In Motions base of loyal followers, the BlackBerry maker could always count on one bastion of users that would never surrender to the iPhone/Android duopoly: the United States government. Ever an organization of extremely security conscious agencies, the U.S. federal government has long preferred BlackBerries over any other choice. The combination of security and communications in conjunction with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server gave RIM unique capabilities to serve the federal government in a way that no other mobile device maker could.  That base of support for BlackBerry in government finally started to erode in the past several years as RIM was unable to keep up with the quick iteration of new devices and touchscreen capabilities coming from Apple and Android. While many government agencies still mandated BlackBerries for their employees, more and more agencies have started to give their employees a choice, most often the iPhone. Progressive agencies like NASA moved towards both the iPhone and Android – and there have been overtures from the Department of Defense (by far the largest federal agency) and prominent contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton. In short, BlackBerry use among federal agencies has been declining for much the same reasons that it has among top enterprises and the consumer sector: newer, better options along with increased security and mobile management options for non-BlackBerry platforms. BlackBerry 10 On ICEOn Thursday, however, RIM may have notched a small victory in its quest to keep BlackBerries as the preferred smartphone of federal agencies. The Immigrations and Custom Enforcement agency (ICE) has announced that it will begin a pilot program to test RIM’s new BlackBerry 10 (BB 10) mobile operating system along with the BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10) starting in January 2013. ICE will be among the first government agencies to test BlackBerry 10, but the timing of the announcement is a little odd. Just two months ago ICE announced that it would let its employees use iPhones instead of BlackBerries. In all, about 17,000 ICE employees were being switched away from aging BlackBerries to Apple devices. “Our priority is to ensure that ICE and all government agencies understand the full capabilities of the new BlackBerry 10 platform and how it can help them meet their mobility needs today and in the future. We are confident that they will be impressed by what they see and how BlackBerry 10 can help them develop new opportunities, improve service delivery and fully leverage the potential of mobile communications. We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with ICE and other global government organizations,” said Scott Totzke, senior vice president, BlackBerry Security, at RIM in an emailed statement to ReadWrite.BB 10 I FIPS CertifiedOne big chip that RIM has in its pocket for BB 10 is that the operating system already has FIPS 140-2 (Federal Information Processing Standards) certification well ahead of its January 30th launch. RIM announced the FIPS certification in a surprise announcement in November. Normally, FIPS certification comes for an operating system or a device four to six months after the device is released as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) takes time to work through its queue of devices seeking approval to be used in the federal government. The fact that RIM already has FIPS 140-2 certification suggests that the company has had a close-to-consumer ready version of BlackBerry 10 working since at least the middle of 2012. The pilot program by ICE and other government agencies could well end up being very important for the future of RIM and the success of BlackBerry 10. Many large enterprises and top government contractors look towards what the federal government is doing to secure its mobile devices when making decisions on what devices they will roll out to their employees. While there are several enterprise-grade security certifications, FIPS is seen as a standard-bearer in mobile security.RIM fully understands that it needs to take a proactive attitute to maintain its leadership position in placing BlackBerries in government employees’ hands  – if only for the potential trickle-down effect from governement agency to contractor to enterprise to consumer. The ICE pilot program is a good start. Top photo courtesy Shutterstock. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts dan rowinskicenter_img Tags:#BlackBerry#Government#Research In Motion The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementlast_img read more

Asian Games 2018: Pranab Bardhan, Shibhnath Sarkar win gold in bridge men’s pair

first_imgPranab Bardhan and Shibhnath Sarkar won the men’s pair event in the bridge competition to take India tally of gold medals to 15 at the ongoing 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.The 60-year-old Pranab and 56-year-old Shibhnath finished at the top after scoring 384 points in the finals.The Chinese pair of Lixin Yang and Gang Chen won the silver with a score of 378 and the Indonesian combination of Henky Lasut and Freddy Eddy Manoppo bagged the bronze scoring 374.ASIAN GAMES 2018 FULL COVERAGE | MEDALSAnother Indian pair of Sumit Mukherjee and Debabrata Majumder finished at the ninth place with a score of 333. Earlier, India won two bronze medals in the debut sport of bridge on Sunday.India earned the bronze medals after the men and mixed teams lost their semi-final matches.The men’s team lost to Singapore while the mixed team suffered defeat at the hands of Thailand.There is no bronze medal play-off in bridge sport at the Games.After the qualification rounds, the men’s bridge team was placed fourth while the mixed team took the top spot.The super mixed team, however, had failed to qualify for the semifinals.The six-member men’s team comprised Jaggy Shivdasani, Rajeshwar Tewari, Ajay Khare, Raju Tolani, Debabrata Majumder and Sumit Mukherjee.The mixed team is made up of Kiran Nadar, Hema Deora, Himani Khandelwal, Bachiraju Satyanarayana, Gopinath Manna and Rajeev Khandelwal.The men’s team has an average age of 52 while the mixed team has 57.The sport of bridge has been introduced for the first time in the Asian Games.advertisement(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

Liverpool defender Van Dijk focusing on positives

first_imgLiverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk insists he’s focusing on the positives following the team’s 2-1 loss to Manchester City on Thursday night.The Netherlands international made a point to remind the Reds’ fans of the club’s current standing in the Premier League at the turn of the new year.“You can’t look at this situation in a negative way,” Van Dijk said, as quoted by ESPN. “We are still top of the league with a four-point lead. It is still looking fine for us. Our next game in the Premier League is Brighton and we are already looking forward to that. There is the FA Cup in between, of course.”“The only thing we can do now is bounce back. We will. We can go on another unbeaten run, but we take it game by game. We know it is going to be tough.”Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“We have a great mentality. We have shown that all season. We just have to keep on doing what we have been doing. There is no reason to change anything or panic.”Meanwhile, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson insists he’s happy with the team’s performance at the Etihad Stadium in their loss to City.“There is no need to get carried away,” he said. “All season we have taken it game by game and we will do that again.”“It is normal to be disappointed by a defeat. Now it is about reaction and I am sure the lads will react in the right way. Why would you lose confidence after a game like tonight? It could have been different.”“The Premier League is a tough league, the games keep coming. We need to be ready and we will be. In terms of the result we are disappointed. We were beaten by a very good City team, but there were still moments in the game where we could have scored one or two more. We just have to accept the defeat.”last_img read more

Indian employees to see 108 salary hike in 2015

first_imgAccording to Towers Watson 2014-15 Asia-Pacific Salary Budget Planning Report, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam are set to lead the way with over 11 per cent overall salary increases while India is placed at the fourth position with an increase of 10.8 per cent. The report added that though salary across the regions are set to rise, a corresponding rise in inflation would mean that pay increases in ‘real terms’ would be eroded significantly in the coming year. Also Read – I-T issues 17-point checklist to trace unaccounted DeMO cashChina is expected to see the highest salary increase — 5.2 per cent in real terms in the region, followed by Pakistan (4.5 per cent), Bangladesh (4.3 per cent), Vietnam (4.1 per cent) and Sri Lanka (3.8 per cent). India was ranked sixth with a corresponding real increase of 3.5 per cent. ‘We foresee an increased economic growth in Asia Pacific in 2015 in light of a declining unemployment rate and rising GDP in the region,’ Towers Watson Data Services practice leader, Asia Pacific Sambhav Rakyan said. Also Read – Lanka launches ambitious tourism programme to woo Indian tourists‘This, in turn, will lead to inflationary pressures that affect real salary increases. Indians will only see an effective salary increase that is one-third of the overall salary increase due to such pressures,’ Rakyan added.The report further noted that in 8 out of the 10 sectors surveyed, the pay raises for Executive Directors and Senior Management in India are expected to be higher than or equal to 2014 with the professional services sector particularly standing out at 4.5 per cent. In India all employees — from production workers to executive directors — are set to have higher pay raises than last year.last_img read more

Transat AT reports 53 increase in revenue in Q1 results

first_img Posted by MONTREAL — Transat A.T. Inc.’s first quarter results show a marked improvement from last year, and if trends continue, the company expects to maintain gains at the end of winter.The Corporation posted revenues of $725.8 million, compared with $689.3 million in 2017, an increase of $36.5 million (5.3%). This improvement was driven by growth in the number of travellers (6.2%) in the Sun destination market – its main market for the period – and of 20.3% in the transatlantic market. In addition, average selling prices rose slightly across all markets.“During this quarter, we continued the repositioning started last year by announcing the disposal of Jonview for $48.4 million, and the appointment of Jordi Solé as President of our new hotels division,” said Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transat. “The disposals made during the past 18 months generated $327 million in total for our hotel investments. We’re also continuing our work on revenue management and the fleet.”More news:  Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksTransat A.T.’s operations resulted in an adjusted operating loss of $31.0 million, compared with $37.1 million in 2017. The $6.1 million improvement resulted largely from an increase in the number of travellers combined with higher average selling prices and the favourable foreign exchange effect, which led to a $13.3 million decrease in operating expenses for the quarter. However, this improvement in operating results was mitigated by $9.0 million in maintenance costs related to one-time events.On a comparable basis, excluding the sale of Ocean Hotels and Jonview, the adjusted operating loss decreased by $9.1 million compared with the previous year.The Corporation’s second quarter outlook remains positive, with capacity up 5.5% compared with last year. To date, 77% of that capacity has been sold, bookings are ahead by 4% and the load factors are down 1.4%. Due to the strengthening of the loonie, offset by rising fuel costs, operating expenses are currently down 3.3%.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyLooking ahead to summer, the transatlantic market (Transat’s main market during this season), capacity is up 17% compared with 2017. To date, 30% of seats have been sold, load factors are similar and selling prices are up 1.7% compared with the same date last year. Higher fuel costs, net of fluctuations in the Canadian dollar against the greenback, the euro and the pound have currently led to a 3.3% increase in operating costs. Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Transat A.T. reports 5.3% increase in revenue in Q1 resultscenter_img Share Tags: Air Transat, Profit Report, Transat Thursday, March 15, 2018 last_img read more

Budget cuts not a problem says Visit Florida Canada still a top

first_img Tuesday, June 25, 2019 Share Tags: Crystal River, Florida, Pensacola, SeaWorld Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Budget cuts not a problem, says Visit Florida, Canada still a top priority TORONTO — Any concerns about Visit Florida losing steam in the Canadian market following hefty budget cuts were eased yesterday at a media luncheon in Toronto, where much of the talk centered on Canadian initiatives and the importance of travel agents.News broke earlier this year that the state-funded tourism agency’s budget would be cut by US$26 million (from $76m to $50m) next fiscal year, and that the agency itself would expire on Oct. 1. That date, however, has been extended until June 30, 2020 following last-minute budget talks, giving Visit Florida another year to stay afloat and market the destination, particularly in Canada.Speaking exclusively to Travelweek, Meagan Dougherty, Public Relations Director, says that Canada will still be a “huge” target for the agency and that the new budget will not alter its focus at all.“We just have to make our marketing dollars work harder for us and stretch further. When you have a larger budget you can do this, this and this. But with a smaller budget, you really have to pare that down and see what’s going to make the biggest impact,” she says.Canada, she adds, is Florida’s number one international market, with 3.5 million visitors last year, up 2% over the year before. Even more impressive is the fact that Canadians spend an average 21 days in the Sunshine State, making them a highly coveted market.“We’re really seeing an uptick among Canadians, both the drive and fly markets,” she says. “A couple years ago, we took Canada for granted and didn’t put as much emphasis here, which is why we started to see the numbers going down. But as soon as we started reminding Canadians of what we have to offer, the numbers started to go up again.”This renewed focus on Canada will take a slightly different approach; while previous directives showcased Florida’s beaches and theme parks, new efforts are being made to highlight lesser-known destinations within the state.Sana Keller and Meagan Dougherty“We really want to highlight more ‘unknown-to-Canadian’ destinations, which is why we’re here today in Toronto,” says Dougherty. “Florida fatigue is real, but that’s only because people are staying in their comfort zones and going to the same places every year. We want to tell them to come on down and try something new.”More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTHow this message is delivered to Canadians depends heavily on travel agents, she adds. Referring to them as “our first point of contact on the front lines”, Dougherty stresses the importance of education and why agents need first-hand experience to better sell the destination.“We want to make sure our travel agents are educated to be able to sell the other side of Florida. We have to get them here to experience it for themselves,” she says.To do this, Visit Florida has tied in some of its fams into its new Florida Travel Pro program, an e-learning platform that was launched in both English and French last year. The agency also recently welcomed new Chief Marketing Officer Gerardo Llanes in May, who Dougherty says is very trade-focused.“He’s already hit the ground running and making sure that we have all of the tools in place for our travel agents to learn the destination and sell it as we would – as Floridians,” she says. “He comes to us with a lot of experience in the tourism sector and we’re really looking forward to the changes and improvements he’s going to help us make, especially in the Canadian market.”Here are the destination partners that participated at the luncheon:Suzanne Pelisson-Beasley, SeaWorld Parks & EntertainmentSEAWORLD PARKS & ENTERTAINMENT• According to Suzanne Beasley, Senior Manager of Communications, SeaWorld’s mission focuses solely on education and conservation: “We want guests to be entertained but also be educated and inspired.”• Many of SeaWorld’s attractions are tied to conservation groups and initiatives. For example, SeaWorld San Diego’s new Tidal Twister coaster, which opened in May 2019, is partnered with The Rising Tide Conservation, which develops techniques for raising marine ornamental fish for both public displays and private aquariums. Its messaging can be seen throughout the ride.• All three SeaWorld parks in Orlando – SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando and Discovery Cove – are now designated as certified autism centres. According to Beasley, the designation will be rolled out to all parks in the coming year.Nicole Stacey, Visit PensacolaPENSACOLA• This family-friendly, laidback beach destination is the most northwestern city in Florida. It’s also America’s oldest settlement, established in 1559.• Pensacola is the only city from Jacksonville to New Orleans where visitors can enjoy the ‘Big 5’: Symphony, Museums, Orchestra, Ballet and Art.More news:  Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin Cruises• Don’t miss the Naval Aviation Museum, a popular attraction for history buffs and multi-generational groups• Palafox Street, named after General Jose de Palafox y Melzi, has been named one of the best streets in America.CRYSTAL RIVER• This coastal gem in western Florida is located just over an hour north from Tampa, and less than two hours west of Orlando• Though small in size (the population is only 3,500), Crystal River is known for being the Manatee Capital of the World, as it’s the only place in North America where you can swim with these gentle creatures in the wild. Surrounding springs flow at a constant 23 degrees Celsius, making the waters attractive to both the manatees and swimmers throughout the year.• Other popular activities include boating, diving, fishing and eco-tours.OCALA MARION COUNTY• Located dead centre in the state, the county is big on horses, known for ample horseback riding and horse carriage rides. It’s officially been named the ‘Horse Capital of the World’.• Other popular activities include bird watching, zipline, river tubing and hiking.• Ocala/Marion County is home to some of the best mountain biking trails in the world. Its Santos Mountain Bike Trails have received the prestigious designation of a bronze-level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, one of only six designated Ride Centers in the United States.• Coming in January 2021 is the World Equestrian Centre, which upon completion will offer horse barns, sporting arenas, a concert venue and an all-suite luxury hotel that will feature a 2,200 square-foot Presidential Suite.FLORIDA’S SPORTS COAST• Following a rebrand in 2018, Pasco County is now known as Florida’s Sports Coast, capitalizing on the destination’s long list of outdoor activities, sports facilities and water sports.• Don’t miss the James E. Grey Preserve, 80 acres of protected swamps and uplands where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk.• Birdwatchers will have a field day at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, where they can spot Bald Eagles, Roseate Spoonbills and even the elusive Black Rail. Other wildlife that call the Salt Spring home include Gray fox, gopher tortoises and dolphins. << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more