first_imgThis week Darren Lewis is joined by Neil Ashton and Matt Hughes to cast their eyes over the main sporting stories.They discuss the upcoming Mourinho v Guardiola rivalry in Manchester, whether super agents are good for football, as well as all the latest transfer rumours and reports.Listen above or click here to download the podcast from iTuneslast_img

first_imgOver seven years ago (05/01/2003), we reported on the devastation of Iraq’s ancient southern marshes by Saddam Hussein.  Azzam Alwash, an Iraqi who fled Hussein’s regime, had organized “Eden Again,” a project to try to restore the marshes after Hussein’s diversion of the rivers turned the lush ecosystem into a desert.  The extent of this “crime against humanity” (adding more ecological terror to Saddam’s earlier burning of the Kuwaiti oil fields) made such a vast restoration project appear hopeless.    Readers who recall that report, and the subsequent encouraging updates in 02/18/2005 and 06/06/2006 will be thrilled to watch encouraging videos posted by the BBC News.  The first clip is about a search for the marbled teal, a bird not seen for 20 years, that has made a remarkable comeback.  In another BBC News video, Alwash is clearly excited about the prospects for restoring the marshes, if not to their former glory (since dams upstream in Turkey prevent the natural spring floods), at least in a form that allows them to be enjoyed for future generations.  In fact, he envisions the area as the first national park in Iraq.  The wildlife and birds would be the main draw – as well as the history of this land as the birthplace of civilization: nearby is the ancient site of Ur.    There are still political problems in the area.  The video shows dangers the film crew faced threading the needle between warring tribes.  But if a national park is established, income from tourism could lead to a peace dividend as the native tribes gain from the world’s interest in this unique habitat.    The end of the first video shows hunters taking out some of the teal to use for food.  Rather than being horrified, and rushing over to stop them, Alwash acknowledged man’s needs in the ecosystem.  The narrator says, “But Azzam knows that a balance has to be struck between the needs of the wildlife and the needs of the marsh Arabs.”  Alwash explained that his team was not going to go in there and prevent people from hunting and fishing.  “It’s their land, it’s their area,” he said.  “….The fact is, the marshes need to be restored, but they need to be restored for the people – not for nature per se.  Both can benefit from this.”Update 01/19/2011: In Science magazine 01/14/2011,1 Andrew Lawler examined the evidence whether civilization sprang from the Iraq marshlands.  Jennifer Pournelle of the University of South Carolina has been accumulating evidence that people first started settling the high ground in the marshlands before the cities were founded.1.  Andrew Lawler, “Archaeology: Did the First Cities Grow From Marshes?”, Science, 14 January 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6014 p. 141, DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6014.141.What is “nature per se” from an evolutionary world view?  Either humans are part of nature, or they are not (07/27/2010).  An evolutionist has no ground on which to declare that hunters and fishermen, or even dictators like Saddam Hussein, “should not” interrupt nature, because nature includes humans.  Only the Christian world view provides the grounds for making man distinct from nature as well as part of it, because the Bible describes man created in the image of God – a spiritual, rational, moral being.  The angst of people over the destruction of nature, and the joy over its beauty, echoes that image that still resides, though corrupted by sin, in the human heart.    The videos err in calling this the place of the Garden of Eden.  That site was lost during the Flood.  It is, however, the site of important developments after the Flood.  The Tower of Babel was in the Tigris-Euphrates region, and Ur is one of the birthplaces of cities, writing and agriculture – rationally designed phenomena that sprang up quickly in many areas along the Fertile Crescent as tribes separated by the confusion of tongues created settlements where they could.    Ur was also the first totalitarian regime – a brutal dictatorial society that assigned people into castes, some as slaves to work the land while others enriched themselves.  Before long, Sargon of Akkad began his quest for empire: leading to millennia of the rise and fall of middle eastern empires.  Into this region God first began a lineage of people, starting with Abraham, that would receive His word, obey it (more or less), and receive the promised Messiah, who would one day come to offer his life a ransom for the sins of mankind.  Readers are encouraged to visualize that world through Jon Saboe’s historical novel The Days of Peleg (see Resource of the Week for 11/07/2009, and also the book’s website).    This entry flows into the next about political corruption.  It is a case study in the need for political leaders who fear God, have personal integrity, love creation, and respect human rights.  Alwash could never have pulled off this restoration under Hussein.  He had to flee to America to organize the effort.  It was America that created the world’s first national park in 1872, setting a path that the world would follow.  Countries that recognize human rights “endowed by their Creator” and respect the “laws of nature and nature’s God” are the only ones in a fallen world of sinners likely to work for, and cherish, the sight of thousands of marbled teals reaching for the skies.    Now if we can just get the environmentalists as fired up about the genocides against Christians in Iraq as they are about the birds, we’ll really see a peace dividend (see Fox News).(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgA company’s values, having a social media policy in place, and employees being your customers, were a few of the discussions held at the Future of HR Summit in Boksburg, Gauteng.Ian Dury of Kyocera was on a panel speaking about “Digital Revolution” at the Future of HR Summit. Dury spoke about automation of administration processes such as filling in leave forms. (Image: Melissa Javan)Melissa JavanYour employees are your brand ambassadors, McDonald’s CEO Greg Solomon told delegates at the Future of HR Summit.The conference explored the transformation of human resources in the business environment, forecast trends for the coming year, shared innovative approaches to overcoming challenges and discussed methods of employee engagement in the digital age. It was held on 19 and 20 July in Boksburg, Gauteng.Topics under discussion included “Mobile talent sourcing: what does it mean for your business?” and “Unpacking the 2017 Global Human Capital Trends”.Solomon’s topic was “Guidelines to global success – a McDonald’s case study”.Solomon said out of 11,500 employees in his business, it lost about 2,000 people every year. It was important to treat employees well – if not, they would tell their families and friends, especially children, about their bad experiences. “Your people are your future customers.”When he spoke about a company’s values, Solomon challenged the audience by asking: “What is the one thing in your organisation that everyone can get right?” McDonald’s focus, for example, was quality, service and cleanliness.Equal happiness was important, he said. In 2016, he told restaurant owners they would not get bonuses. “We did make a deal with them that if they met their KPIs [key performance indicators], they would win a six-day trip on a ship to Mauritius. Out of 170 restaurant owners, 120 met their KPIs and went on the cruise to Mauritius.”There were 250 McDonald’s outlets in South Africa, said Solomon, who called it a “people business”. Of that amount, 74% were open 24/7, although he was wary about these hours and put them to the restaurant owners.“We used to close at 23:00, and then employees would be finished at 00:00. They would then arrive at home around 01:00. So we had people saying ‘I’m struggling with this late shift.’” But employees were happy that the shifts were different now; the 24/7 worked for them.Culture in a businessColin Browne, author of How to Build a Happy Sandpit, spoke about the importance of having a company culture. His example was a group of four friends on a road trip to Cape Town. Their strategy would include who paid for the fuel, where they would stay and where they would stop along the way. If they created a culture, he said, it would be an epic road trip.“Culture brings life, heart to strategy. Without culture, strategy is just things we do.”Without culture, the work place would not feel like life. “A lot of people put their ‘work hat’ on and do not bring their best level of themselves.”One way to build a culture in a business was to have fewer stupid rules, Browne said. “Often we are great at teaching, but can we learn too. You don’t have to be in leadership to have a leadership idea.”Respect was a two-way street. “We are seeing that younger people want to work for a company that is perceived to be good.”Speaking about living your company’s values, he gave as an example the McCarthy company. One of its values was family-related. It was found that there were people in the company whop could not read or write; free classes were then arranged to teach these people to read and write, to empower them.The importance of a social media strategyVerlie Oosthuizen, a lawyer, spoke about “The art of connecting: devise your winning social media policies and procedures”.“I did employment law for 10 years. I started seeing social media issues coming up. My friends would post things that I thought ‘how can you do (post) that?’”She was prompted to ask her firm to implement a social media department, and it had seen several cases relating to social media problems at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.WhatsApp was the biggest social media platform in South Africa, according to Oosthuizen’s statistics. “It is also where the biggest problems are found for employees. For instance, you cannot delete a message you send nor edit it. People screen-grab your message easily.”She warned that people who frequently used and understood social media, might not understand the long-term effects of the platforms. “It’s important to look at social media policies. Educate your employees on it.“Employers have a lot of control regarding what their employees say on social media. It’s important that employees are taught about what they can say. You are entitled to have a stand – your employees have chosen to work for your organisation.”Similarly, your employees had to know your social media strategy – it had to “live” when you implemented it. When you were enforcing it, it had to be consistent. “Look at each case differently.”Delegates tweeted their learnings:“You need to up-skill your staff if you expect them to do different things” – David Edwards if @CEB_News at #FutureofHR— #FutureofHR (@Future_of_HR) July 20, 2017We’re here discussing all things HR, Recruitment, Talent Management, Corporate learning etc #futureofhr Summit cc @SABPP1 @Future_of_HR— Ziyana Consulting HR (@HR_Ziyana) July 19, 2017“When you tie your actions to your values you are most likely to complete these actions”-SunInternational @MillionThrills interactivesession— #FutureofHR (@Future_of_HR) July 19, [email protected]_of_HR #futureofhr – treat your employees as if they were your customers. Partner with them— Biase De Gregorio (@Biased77) July 20, 2017Source: Future of HR.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

first_img Tags Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice 13 AKG N700NC: Does it beat Sony and Bose? These high-end audio devices take sound to another level 2:03 Audio Home Entertainment The Audiophiliac Comments The Fluance RT-84 turntable. Fluance Fluance is best known as a speaker company, so when they dropped their first turntable in 2016 I wasn’t expecting much. I figured it was just another half-assed attempt to cash in on the vinyl boom, but Fluance’s RT81 was very decent. It was and remains the best $249 turntable out there, and now Fluance upped its game with four new models, the RT82 for $299, RT83 for $349, RT84 for $449 and the RT85 for $499. I opted for the RT84 for this review, but the four new models are more alike than different. They’re all belt drive turntables with solid wood bases, and height adjustable pointed rubber feet that make it super easy to level the turntable. The RT82 and RT83 have metal platters; RT84 and RT85 have acrylic ones. All models come pre-fitted with Ortofon moving-magnet phono cartridges. The RT84 sports an Ortofon 2M Red that retails for $99 when sold separately. It’s great that the RT84’s tonearm has a removable head shell, which makes it a little easier to replace cartridges in the future. Since the RT84 doesn’t have a built-in phono preamplifier I used a Schiit Mani preamp ($129) for all of my listening tests.Unboxing the RT84 I’m thinking this is a $449 turntable? It looks and feels like double the price. Build quality is exceptional, the machined metal motor pulley, platter bearing, metal “S” shaped tonearm, the heavyweight platter, and hinged clear plastic dust cover, they’re all first rate. The RT84 feels more solidly put together than Rega RP1 ($449) or Pro-Ject Debut Carbon ($399) turntables, that’s for sure. The RT84 is sold with a two year warranty.One indication of a turntable’s sound quality is its ability to minimize LP surface noise. No LP pressing is 100 percent dead silent, but the better turntables keep noise at bay, pushed into the background. The RT84 scored high in this regard, even with LPs I found on the street or bought in thrift shops for under a dollar. They sounded pretty good, not perfect, but very listenable. The RT84 would be a fine choice for your first turntable, or a nice upgrade over your first budget or hand me down turntable from your parents or relatives. You’ll be sure to notice how much quieter and clear all of your LPs and singles sound. Better yet when your music isn’t competing with the sound of clicks, pops, and other noises it sounds better. The RT84 frees the music from the LPs grooves, so you hear deeper into your tunes. If the Fluance RT84’s price puts it out of reach, no worries, their RT81 at $249 is still an outstanding ‘table, a great way to dip into the wonderful world of analog audio, try it, you’ll like it. How to make your audio system sound better for free: Move your speakers into the middle of the room, and listen to them from 4 or 5 feet away.Euro style and high-end sound in an apartment-friendly speaker: Trenner & Friedl’s Osiris speakers produce amazing sound without taking over the room. 17 Photoslast_img read more

first_imgBy Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected] lawmakers are taking action to manage prescription drug prices and gouging, by working to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board in the state.On Jan. 3 County executives from throughout the state of Maryland met in order to support the proposal for a drug affordability board in hopes of reducing the rising health care costs.“Proud to stand with leaders across the state to support legislation to keep prescription drug costs affordable for all,” Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks wrote on Twitter.Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (front row, second from left) and Maryland leaders pose in support of Prescription Drug Affordability Board, in collaboration with Health Care for All, an organization dedicated to expanding affordable and feasible health insurance and care for all Marylanders. (Courtesy Photo)“We know that these drugs can be sold for a lot less money. It’s done in other countries. Maryland has always been a leader, and we can lead on this,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman.Maryland has definitely been a leader in the fight for pharmaceutical prices.  First introduced in spring 2017, Maryland lawmakers worked on legislation, HB 631, to prevent price gouging of generic drugs, the first of its kind in the country. Set to take effect in October of 2017,  HB 631 would have prevented generic pharmaceutical companies from “unconscionable increases,” according to FDA Law Blog.  In addition, the bill authorized the Maryland Medical Assistance Program (MMPA) to notify the attorney general when the Wholesale Acquisition Cost (WAC) of a prescription drug increases by at least 50 percent from the cost from the preceding year, if the price paid by MMAP would increase by at least 50 percent or if the WAC for a 30-day supply or full course of treatment is more than $80.However the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM) filed a lawsuit against the state of Maryland for their efforts to regulate price gouging, particularly in regards to HB 631.  In October of 2018 Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh worked for SCOTUS to review the bill.Despite the battle against generic pharmaceutical companies, other states such as Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and nearby in Virginia were inspired by Maryland’s efforts to combat price gouging, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.The Prescription Drug Affordability Board, introduced by Prince George’s County Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D) and Baltimore County Senator Kathy Klausmeier (D), is yet another means of Maryland stepping up to take a stand against rising pharmaceutical costs.While all the leaders agreed there is a need for regulating price gouging, some mentioned the concern over rising costs as they work to cover County employees.“I remind folks that even on the local government level, really the escalating costs each year, for employees throughout local government, really has become unsustainable,” said the sole Republican County Executive Barry Glassman, who represents Harford County, according to an article featured on the “Health Care for All” website from {The Daily Record}. “Each year we have to choose between whether we are going to give our employees a raise or if, in fact, we are going to cover some of their prescription costs. You can imagine for a local government, a local family, that these costs are just becoming unmanageable for any working family, any working government.”Similarly to HB 631, even if the drug affordability board is supported legislatively in Maryland, it will likely face opposition and legal challenges from pharmaceutical companies.  However, the creation of a board will be a major topic during the upcoming legislative session.last_img read more

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Most search-engine optimizers focus on purely organic results, based around keywords related to your brand or industry. For example, if you’re a marketing agency, you probably spend time optimizing for phrases like “online marketing agency.”Related: These 9 SEO Tips Are All You’ll Ever Need to Rank in GoogleThe problem is, though, that by using such phrases, you’re relying on search users who aren’t already aware of your specific brand and are merely searching for the products or services you offer.But what about the users who already know your brand? You want those people to see results that favor your brand and influence higher click-through and conversion rates, right? As an example, if you search for my company’s name, AudienceBloom, you’ll see several key features to aim for in a branded search:A strong headline and description. The first thing you’ll note is the headline and description for the result, accurately and concisely describing the company.Expanded sitelinks. Next, you’ll see subsections in the search entry, with notable internal pages named.A Knowledge Graph entry. Off to the right, you’ll see a box with information like the company’s average rating, address and hours. This is from the Google Knowledge Graph and can be influenced, to some degree, by your on-site strategy.Other branded results. Below the main entry for the company’s site, you’ll see a number of peripheral results for its social media profiles and articles covering it.All of these items are beneficial, because they provide more information to your users and present you as a greater authority in your industry.With those features in mind as goals, here are some of the ways you can improve your overall branded search visibility:1. Distinctions and variablesFirst, you’ll want to make sure your brand name is suitably mentioned throughout your site. It helps to link mentions of that name to your home page, and to ensure that at least one link in your site-wide navigation leads back to the homepage. Additionally, make sure to optimize your brand name and company description in your title tags and meta descriptions throughout the site.2. Expanded site linksEveryone wants bigger, badder expanded site links in search results. Unfortunately, the entire process behind expanded sitelinks is automated, not to mention variable, based on user queries. All you can do is set up your site navigation as thoroughly as possible, making sure that you include your most important pages in it, and write descriptive titles and meta descriptions for each.From there, it’s up to Google to decide whether it’s worth offering expanded site links for search queries of your brand name. The more branded search traffic your brand has, the more likely expanded sitelinks will appear, so engaging in a content-marketing strategy to grow your brand can help here.3. Social media profilesYour social media profiles have a high likelihood of showing up in your branded-search results. Accordingly, you’ll want to claim all your major social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc.) and fill in as much information on each of them as possible. Be sure to link to them from your website, and link from each of your social media profiles back to your website’s home page.Related: 6 Essential SEO Strategies to Incorporate in 20164. Knowledge Graph entries.The Knowledge Graph pulls information in from a number of sources, but, most prominently, from your own website. You can tell Google which information is most relevant, and categorize that information (such as your hours of operation) using structured markup; you can find a good guide for this at You’ll also want to claim as many local citations as you can, through Yelp and other third-party directories, and optimize your company’s reviews — more on that below, too.5. Google reviewsGoogle reviews feature prominently in your Knowledge Graph entry (or in local results, depending on where you’re showing up), so you’ll need to make sure yours are in good shape. The quantity and quality of your earned reviews may help you earn a boost in organic search rankings, but more importantly, these factors will help branded searchers decide whether or not your company is worth doing business with.Encourage your top customers to leave detailed reviews from their Google accounts, and do what you can to remedy any bad reviews that crop up. Before you can get reviews, you’ll need to set up and claim your profile on Google My Business, so if you haven’t done so already, do it now.6. Branded articlesAfter your main site and social media profiles, there will still be room for other branded entries on page 1 of the search results. There’s a chance some negative or unwanted results could appear here, so whether you’re trying to suppress such results or just trying to prevent them from appearing in the future, you’ll want to fill this space as much as possible with positive results.One of the best ways to do that is through branded articles, which you can publish off-site. These include press releases, interviews or any other opportunities you can imagine where you get to use your company’s brand name in the headline — that’s absolutely key here.7. Link to your most desirable resultsFinally, build links to your favorite results — the ones you want to boost to a position higher up the search results. Even results that are on page 2 or further down in the search results will get a boost as a result of more inbound links pointing to them. For help building links, see SEO Link Building: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide. You may also wish to build more links pointing to your most important main navigation pages, increasing the chance they’ll be featured in your expanded sitelinks section.Related: 5 Ecommerce SEO Trends That Have Emerged This YearWith these strategies, you can practically guarantee that your online properties are the first to show up for any branded search, but more than that, you’ll make sure your brand makes the best impression possible for new and returning searchers. You’ll have more accurate descriptions, more plentiful information, higher click-through rates, higher conversion rates and fewer problems with online-reputation management. It’s a powerful approach that you can’t get any other way. 6 min read July 4, 2016 Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »last_img read more

first_img The Canadian Press Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Part of Prague’s iconic Dancing House turns into hotel PRAGUE – For many of the millions of tourists who flood the Czech capital every year, taking a selfie in front of the Dancing House has become as important as walking across the medieval Charles Bridge. The unusual building that resembles a pair of dancers is a rare example of contemporary architecture in Prague, which otherwise abounds with picturesque historical buildings, churches and monuments.Originally designed as an office building, access for visitors has been limited. But now a part of it has been turned into a hotel, offering visitors the chance to stay in rooms with magnificent views over the city. The hotel has 21 rooms with fantastic views of the city and will start at 180 euros per night for a single room.The Dancing House is located on the bank of the Vltava river, next to the building where the late President Vaclav Havel lived most of his life. It was built on a plot of land that earlier housed a 19th-century neo-Renaissance building that was destroyed in a World War II air bombardment. Havel is said to have been the first who approached Czech-Croatian architect Vlado Milunic with a request to make an architectural study of a possible arts centre. In 1992, the Dutch company Nationale Nederlanden acquired the land with the aim of construction an office building and Milunic approached famed architect Frank Gehry to participate. Their nine-story project was completed in 1996.More news:  Windstar celebrates record-breaking bookings in JulyDue to its shape, the Dancing House has become a widely used nickname for the building, but it is also known as Ginger and Fred after famed dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It’s formed by two central towers; the one known as Ginger is made of glass and steel, while Fred has a concrete body and a metal head. The unusual architecture initially caused some controversy, with critics saying it doesn’t fit its historical surroundings, but such arguments gradually disappeared as it drew the attention of an increasing number of tourists. Apart from staying in an architectural masterpiece, the 21 rooms offer breathtaking views of the city and of Prague Castle in particular. They can be seen from the beds, and in some of the rooms even from the bathtub and the toilet. Some rooms in the Ginger tower have walls made of glass and breakfast is served in the restaurant at the top of the building. Prices start at 180 euros ($201) per night for a single room. Thursday, September 22, 2016 last_img read more