CocaCola agrees conditions of AnheuserBusch Africa buyout

first_imgCoca-Cola agrees conditions of Anheuser-Busch Africa buyoutPosted By: News Deskon: June 30, 2017In: Beverage, Industries, Soft drinksPrintEmailCoca-Cola has vowed to increase black ownership in its South African subsidiary to 30% by 2021 – a condition of its buyout of Anheuser-Busch’s majority stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA).The company agreed to buy Anheuser-Busch’s 54.5% stake in CCBA at the end of last year, as AB pressed ahead with removing obstacles to its merger with SABMiller.It has now agreed conditions with South Africa’s government, allowing it to forge ahead with the transaction.CCBA’s bottling territory covers much of the southern and eastern part of the African continent – including South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.Last month, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa also agreed to offload a 21.5% stake in its Appletiser brand to a combination of investors and employees. It included a 17.5% stake sold to investment firm African Pioneer Group, which manages a portfolio of investments on behalf of nearly 100 shareholders, who are predominantly from the black communities of South Africa’s Eastern Cape.The soft drinks giant has also sold a 4% stake to Sipho Excellent Madlala, a 20-year veteran of the company.The divestments were designed to increase black ownership in Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa and empower more black shareholders to own a stake in the companyCoca-Cola chief executive James Quincey said: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with the South African government, which demonstrates our alignment with the government’s national imperatives for inclusive social and economic development.”Share with your network: Tags: Anheuser-Busch InBevCoca-Colasoft drinksSouth Africalast_img read more

McCain Foods to upgrade Canada plant as part of global investment

first_imgMcCain Foods to upgrade Canada plant as part of global investmentPosted By: News Deskon: July 21, 2017In: Distribution, Food, Industries, ManufacturingPrintEmailMcCain Foods has announced plans to boost capacity at its Coaldale plant in Canada to meet increasing global demand.Built in 2000, the site in Alberta employs over 200 workers and draws its supply from 28 potato growers in the Southern Alberta region.The expansion is expected to be completed by end of 2017 and is part of a $1 billion global investment programme.Over the past 18 months, McCain Foods has announced increased capacity funding for its plants in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, France, Belgium, Argentina, Colombia and India.Earlier this year it unveiled a £100 million investment to boost its production site in North Yorkshire, UK.McCain Foods CEO Dirk Van de Put said: “We’re actively evaluating new opportunities to invest in our network as our global volumes increase.“Over the last 18 months, we’ve confirmed investments of more than $1 billion to add capacity, including investments in infrastructure, technology and capabilities, across the full range of McCain products.”Share with your network: Tags: CanadaMcCain Foodslast_img read more

DSM expands position in gut health with BioCare Copenhagen

first_imgDSM expands position in gut health with BioCare CopenhagenPosted By: News Deskon: December 24, 2017In: Business, Food, Health, Industries, Ingredients, Mergers & AcquisitionsPrintEmailRoyal DSM has acquired Danish probiotics manufacturer BioCare Copenhagen, helping it expand its position in gut health ingredients.The Dutch company described it as “an attractive market segment in nutritional ingredients, growing an estimated 7% per year”.BioCare is a relatively young company having only been founded in 2012, but, as DSM explained, it has grown to offer “high-quality white label probiotic supplements and complete product concepts with strong consumer appeal”.It is mainly focused on probiotics and specialized in microbial actives with proven health benefits, targeting gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic disorders, infections, and immunity.BioCare Copenhagen has multi-market distribution agreements with a number of leading dietary supplements and pharmaceutical companies and has launched products in over 40 countries worldwide.The deal will enhance DSM’s strong position in gut health solutions, including its Culturelle product range, which the number-one-selling probiotic dietary supplement consumer brand globally.It also has the ingredient brands Oatwell and Tolerase.The company sees further growth potential in gut health ingredients beyond the established indications for digestive health and immune health. Indeed, in recent times, the gut microbiome has taken on increased significance in relationship to heart health, metabolic health and the gut-brain axis.Terms of the deal were not publicly disclosed.Share with your network: Tags: DenmarkDSMNetherlandsprobioticslast_img read more

Bosch confirms plans to offload its packaging machinery division

first_imgBosch confirms plans to offload its packaging machinery divisionPosted By: Jules Scullyon: July 03, 2018In: Business, Food, Industries, Mergers & Acquisitions, PackagingPrintEmailGerman-headquartered Bosch has announced plans to sell its packaging division, in part due to the competitive environment in which it operates.The company said that it has “intensively and thoroughly” considered all strategic options to sell its food and pharmaceuticals segment of equipment known as PA. It has not identified any sufficiently relevant synergy effects in terms of business or technology that might offer the packaging division prospects for the future within the firm.Bosch drew attention to the competitiveness of the packaging industry “in which the players are small- and medium-sized enterprises, and who are therefore at a structural advantage”.The company’s special-purpose machinery manufacturer Robert Bosch Manufacturing Solutions GmbH is a separate entity, and will remain part of the Bosch Group.“This decision will allow Bosch to narrow its focus on issues of importance for its future, such as the transformation of the Bosch Group and its future digitalisation strategy, including the internet of things, and to pool its resources accordingly,” said Stefan Hartung, the Bosch board of management member responsible for the energy and building technology and industrial technology business sectors.He added: “Both PA and Bosch will benefit from this decision. A reorganised packaging technology business will be able to adapt more flexibly to the diverse requirements of this typically SME market, while Bosch will be free to focus its attention entirely on the group’s impending profound transformation.”Bosch said that from a business perspective, the past two fiscal years were difficult for certain PA units. Under new management, however, many units are now said to be in a good position to serve the growing market. In the years ahead, the company expects to see increasing demand.PA currently employs some 6,100 people in its global packaging technology operations. Bosch’s aim is for all its associates and locations to be retained by the eventual buyer.Stefan König, chairman of the managing board of Robert Bosch Packaging Technology, said: “My colleagues in PA executive management and I are confident of future business success. We’re one of the biggest companies in our industry, and the path we have chosen is clearly the right one.“We will stay together as a strong and stable unit. Under new ownership as well, our tried and tested team will continue to provide our customers with excellent manufacturing solutions and services.“PA has always led a largely independent existence within the Bosch Group, and will in the future be able to respond even better to the requirements of the packaging industry. Our customers will benefit from this.”Share with your network: Tags: BoschGermanylast_img read more

Multivac to open new production site in Taicang China

first_imgMultivac to open new production site in Taicang, ChinaPosted By: Martin Whiteon: March 12, 2019In: Business, Food, Industries, Manufacturing, Packaging, TechnologyPrintEmailMultivac has announced that it will open a new production facility in Taicang, China to allow the company to serve customers in the country more effectively.According to Multivac, the 4,300 square-foot facility should become operational by the end of 2019, and the facility will manufacture a range of packaging equipment such as thermoforming packaging machines, traysealers, chamber machines and more, all of which are for the Chinese market.The Taicang site will also feature an R&D department, which will allow Multivac to react in a more targeted fashion to the needs of customers in the region.Multivac has established a new unit to oversee the operation of the facility, which is led by Steven Shen, who most recently served as the technical manager for Multivac’s sales division in China.Guido Spix, Multivac director and group COO/CTO, said: “China is a significant market for us. This makes the establishment of a local production facility a logical step for us and a further stage in expanding our global production and sales network.“Our objective is to achieve shorter delivery times for our customers and to be able to respond even more rapidly to the needs of local customers.”Steven Shen added: “We are very pleased, that the Multivac Group has opted for China as the place to expand its production capacity.“This means that we can support our customers even better. Employing highly-qualified personnel, we will produce on this site a range of machines in various output categories and for different functions within the packaging procedure, all of them produced to the Multivac quality standard.”Share with your network: Tags: ChinaequipmentMultivacpackaginglast_img read more

Report finds identical branding in different food products across EU

first_imgReport finds identical branding in different food products across EUPosted By: Contributoron: June 25, 2019In: Beverage, Business, Dairy, Food, Industries, Legislation, LegislationPrintEmailAlmost a third of branded food products sold in the European Union have different compositions while being identically or similarly branded, according to a new report by the European Commission (EC).However, the study found there is no evidence of citizens in Eastern Europe being sold lower quality products.Analysing nearly 1,400 food products in 19 EU countries, the study, carried out by the EC’s in-house science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre, showed that 9% of the compared products differed in composition, although the front-of-pack was identical. A further 22% of products with a different composition had a similar front-of-pack.The study did not show a consistent geographical pattern.Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said: “Some Europeans feel branded food products they buy are different, perhaps worse, compared to those available elsewhere. The commission called on our scientists to help objectively assess the extent of such differences on the single market.“The results are mixed: while I am happy that they found no evidence of an east-west divide in the composition of branded food products, I am worried that they uncovered up to one third of tested products having different compositions while being identically or similarly branded.”EC President Jean-Claude Juncker raised the issue of dual food standards in his State of the Union Address in 2017 following a report from the Czech Agriculture Ministry, which found that products including fish fingers, instant soup and coffee often varied from one EU country to another.The EC has since established a common methodology for testing of food products, has issued a set of guidelines to help national authorities apply EU consumer and food legislation and has dedicated over €4.5 million to solve the issue.Věra Jourová, Commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, said: “There will be no double standards in Europe’s single market. With the new laws penalising the dual quality and strengthening the hands of the consumer authorities, we have the tools at hand to put an end to this practice. European consumers will be able to do their shopping in full trust that they buy what they see.”Share with your network: Tags: Dual qualityEuropean Unionfood safetylast_img read more

The Guardian view on the Catholic crisis in the US out in

first_img‘Pope Francis has responded with what sounds like passive aggression.’Photograph: Evandro Inetti/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock Catholicism Share via Email Support The Guardian The story linking Pope Francis with the protection of a sexual abuser is false. But the rage behind it will not go away Mon 3 Sep 2018 13.50 EDT Catholicism A savage conflict, largely fought underground, is convulsing the Catholic church in the US after a former Vatican ambassador to Washington demanded that Pope Francis resign – a gambit that has not been played in church politics since around 1417.The ostensible cause is the charge made by the Catholic Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, that Pope Francis rehabilitated and used as his adviser on American appointments Cardinal Theodore (“Uncle Ted”) McCarrick, despite being warned that he had a reputation for abusing trainee priests. There are problems with this story. No one now disputes the sexual abuse. When it came to public knowledge earlier this year, the pope stripped Bishop McCarrick of his post as a cardinal. But Archbishop Viganò claims that Pope Benedict had previously condemned Bishop McCarrick to the lesser punishment of “a life of prayer and penance”. Ignoring this punishment is Francis’s supposed crime and complicity. The trouble is that the punishment was entirely secret. Bishop McCarrick carried on as usual. There is even footage of Archbishop Viganò, as ambassador to Washington, hailing him in public as “a man whom everybody loves”.The US Catholic church is as completely divided by politics and culture as the rest of the country. The Catholic right identifies with the Republican party almost as closely as parts of the evangelical movement do. Its issues are abortion, nationalism, and the suppression of gay rights. It has been recruited to the Republican strategy of detaching social conservatives from the Democrats. It also contains a number of intellectuals, many recruited from Protestant denominations, who see in the apparently timeless and God-given truths of the faith the only defence against the shallow and illusory satisfactions of the consumer society. The Catholic left has a more direct complaint against contemporary capitalism. It is on the side of Latino immigrants, even though many of these are now evangelical Protestants. It regards Catholic teaching on sexuality as possibly inspiring in theory but unworkable and often immoral in practice. Both sides regard the other as heretics who will destroy the church if left unchecked. Neither are nearly as countercultural as they suppose themselves to be. Meanwhile, the church continues to lose numbers and influence in the developed world, something both sides take as proof of the urgency of their diagnoses.There are signs in this present row that the Catholic right has learned tactics from the political right: the constant harping on stories incomprehensible to the public and unknowable in detail is reminiscent of supposed scandals from Whitewater to Hillary Clinton’s emails. The message is always the same: that the establishment is corrupt and full of liars. In a church gravely weakened by successive child abuse scandals, this cuts through.Pope Francis has responded with what sounds like passive aggression. In the homily at his most recent mass, he said that “with people who seek only scandal, with those who look only for division, who want only destruction” the best response was silence. In case anyone should miss the point, he said “the father of lies, the accuser, the devil acts to destroy the unity of a family, of a people”. This scandal will of course blow over but the forces behind it remain and make a lasting peace hard to imagine. The convulsions of the end of the liberal world order are shaking the billion-strong Catholic church as well as the rest of us. Opinion Reuse this content Last modified on Mon 3 Sep 2018 13.55 EDT Opinion The Guardian view on the Catholic crisis in the US: out in the open editorials Christianity Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Shares3939 … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Pope Francis The papacy Share on Twitter Topics US politics Religion Since you’re here… Editorial Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Share via Email Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Share on WhatsApplast_img read more

Long battle expected as worlds top two chess players meet in London

first_img“Chess stars are the boxing champions of the 21st century,” insisted the CEO of World Chess, Ilya Merenzon, which has a accrued a €1m prize fund for the event. “Smart is sexy, and for three weeks we’ll have an amazing experience watching the smartest people in the world battle it out for the title.”Carlsen, the highest-rated chess player in history, has held the world title since 2013. Such is his popularity in Norway that all 12 matches in London will be shown live on prime-time TV. He has also modelled for the fashion company G-Star Raw and endorsed Omega watches and Porsche.But the 27-year-old, who was such a childhood prodigy that he was described as the Mozart of chess, has been struggling to hit the highest notes recently. And among experts there is a sense that Caruana, one year his opponent’s junior, might just spring an upset. Share on Twitter Since you’re here… This article is more than 8 months old “It is like a boxing bout,” admitted Caruana, who was wearing the fashionable US label Thom Browne at the press conference. “There’s unlikely to be a quick knockout, so the aim will be mainly to try and outlast my opponent.”Inevitably, the prospect of psychological warfare on the board came up – understandable given that both players will be sitting barely a metre from each other for up to eight hours a day. During the 1951 world championship match between Mikhail Botvinnik and David Bronstein, for instance, one onlooker noted that at the end of each game both men were “wreathed in beads of sweat, such was their toil”. While during the Moscow Marathon between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov – which lasted five months and 48 games – Karpov lost 10kg in weight.“Psychology will play a huge part,” Caruana told the Guardian. “Part of Carlsen’s success is that he has a very stable psychological demeanour. He rarely gets rattled, and when he loses a game he brushes it aside. Of course, the fact this is his fourth world championships is also in his favour. I will have to learn on the fly, but I feel I am more than ready for the challenge.” Fabiano Caruana Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Support The Guardian Share via Email Chess Read more The reigning world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen, with Fabiano Caruana (right).Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Organisers hope for large global audience as Magnus Carlsen plays Fabiano Caruana Show Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. World Chess Championship 2018 Share on Facebook The last time an American challenged for the world chess championship it was seen as an almighty clash of civilisations: west versus east, capitalism against communism, a cold war by proxy fought over 64 squares between Bobby Fischer and the Soviet Boris Spassky.Chess has never been as cool or relevant since that epic contest in 1972. But at the launch of the 2018 world championship match between the Norwegian champion, Magnus Carlsen, and his US challenger, Fabiano Caruana – which begins in London on Friday – organisers promised that a global audience of millions would tune in for the most anticipated match in a generation. The formatThe match will consist of 12 classical games with each player awarded one point for a win and a half-point for a draw. Whoever reaches six and a half points first will be declared the champion.The time control for each game is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 1. Players cannot agree to a draw before Black’s 30th move. If the match is tied after 12 games, tie-breaks will be played on the final day in the following order:  • Best of four rapid games with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move.  • If still tied, they will play up to five mini-matches of two blitz games (five minutes for each player with a three-second increment). • If all five mini-matches are drawn, one sudden-death ‘Armegeddon’ match will be played where White receives five minutes and Black receives four minutes. Both players will receive a three-second increment after the 60th move. In the case of a draw, Black will be declared the winner. To prepare for the biggest challenge of his career, Caruana has been running most days and doing yoga in between intense bouts of study. The American is known for his deep opening preparation and finding theoretical novelties that have never been played before – the chess equivalent of a thunderous serve in tennis – as well as deep calculating ability. When Carlsen was asked to describe him in one word he instantly replied, “computer”.The Norwegian, however, is still widely regarded as the favourite. However, in recent years he seems to have been afflicted by a dangerous search for ultra-perfection. Recently his sister Illen even suggested that, if he loses, “the chance of him retiring, short-term, is a real possibility”.However, when Carlsen was asked whether he saw himself as the favourite or underdog, the alpha dog in him finally came out. “It has been a while since I have considered myself an underdog, to be honest,” he said, smiling. “If you have been the No1 ranked player in the world for seven years and have won three world titles in a row, then there is something seriously wrong with your psyche, I think.”It makes for an intriguing contest, especially given Carlsen’s official rating of 2,838 is just three points ahead of his challenger, according to the sport’s governing body, Fide. Most observers expect a long and attritional battle, which is right up the Norwegian’s street given he is famous for suffocating his opponents to a slow death over several hours.Not that he is taking anything for granted. “Fabiano is a tremendous player,” he said. “His results this year speak for themselves. I know if I have to continue to play in the same way I have been playing recently, I will probably not win, so I need to step it up. But I have great confidence in my powers to do exactly that.”The players have played 33 times in a classical format in their careers, with Carlsen leading the head, with 10 wins to five and 18 draws. However, Caruana’s brilliant form in recent months makes him believe he can boldly tread in the footsteps of Fischer – and perhaps even become a breakout star in the US. The playersNorway’s Magnus Carlsen is defending the world chess championship against Fabiano Caruana of the United States. The best-of-12-games match is taking place at the College in Holborn between 9 and 28 November, with the winner earning a 60% share of the €1m ($1.14m) prize fund if the match ends in regulation (or 55% if it’s decided by tie-break games).Carlsen, 27, has been ranked No 1 for eight straight years and was considered the world’s best player even before he defeated Viswanathan Anand for the title in 2013. Caruana, 26, is ranked No 2, having earned his place at the table by winning the candidates tournament in March. No American-born player has won or even competed for the world title since Bobby Fischer in 1972. It marks the first title match between the world’s top two players since 1990, when Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov faced off for a fifth and final time.  Topics Share via Email Thank you for your feedback. Shares188188 Long battle expected as world’s top two chess players meet in London Indeed one of his managers, Eric Kuhn, who was previously a Hollywood talent spotter, told the Guardian that “American brands are at the forefront of the cutting edge and they are taking very atypical role models these days. Fabiano is perfect for now. Nerdy is the new sexy.”For now, though, he has a battle over the board to win. “I feel like it is more or less 50/50 contest,” Caruana told the Guardian. “It sounds like a bit of a cop-out, but in terms of playing strength we are so evenly matched in playing strength that is also fair.” Many agree with him. The next 19 days, however, will provide the ultimate test of mind and body. Last modified on Fri 9 Nov 2018 04.04 EST Magnus Carlsen Sean Ingle Read more World Chess Championship 2018 Share on LinkedIn London Was this helpful? Norway The scheduleThu 8 Nov – Opening ceremony Fri 9 Nov – Game 1 Sat 10 Nov – Game 2 Sun 11 Nov – Rest day Mon 12 Nov – Game 3 Tue 13 Nov – Game 4 Wed 14 Nov – Rest day Thu 15 Nov – Game 5 Fri 16 Nov – Game 6 Sat 17 Nov – Rest day Sun 18 Nov – Game 7 Mon 19 Nov – Game 8 Tue 20 Nov – Rest day Wed 21 Nov – Game 9 Thu 22 Nov – Game 10 Fri 23 Nov – Rest day Sat 24 Nov – Game 11 Sun 25 Nov – Rest day Mon 26 Nov – Game 12 Tue 27 Nov – Rest day Wed 28 Nov – Tie-break games/Awards and closingThe games commence each day at 3pm in London. news Hide Thu 8 Nov 2018 14.16 EST Share on Messenger Share on Facebook How yoga and hip-hop helped Fabiano Caruana challenge for the world chess championship Chess: Magnus Carlsen against Fabiano Caruana expected to be tight battle @seaningle Share on Pinterest Quick guide World Chess Championship 2018 This article is more than 8 months old Reuse this contentlast_img read more

ATU293 – Vocal ID with Dr Rupal Patel wwwvocalidco

first_imgPodcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Vocal ID with Dr Rupal Patel www.vocalid.co | www.tobiidynavox.com/The AppleVis Community Names the Apps and Developers that were its Golden Apples of 2016 | AppleVis http://buff.ly/2hHTmviApp: ProloQuo2Go www.BridgingApps.org——————————If you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email tech@eastersealscrossroads.orgCheck out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/INDATA——-transcript follows ——RUPAL PATEL: Hi, this is Rupal Patel, and I’m the founder and CEO of Vocal ID, and this is your Assistance Technology Update.WADE WINGLER:  Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Welcome to episode number 293 of assistive technology update. It’s scheduled to be released on January 6, 2016.Happy new year everybody. We are back from our special formats back to our regular format of news stories, interviews, and up reviews. Today we are excited to have Dr. Rupal Patel who is the founder and CEO of vocal ID. They are doing some pretty cool stuff when it comes to voice files and more natural sounding voices.We’ve got an app review from BridgingApps about Proloquo2Go. We hope you’ll check out our website at www.eastersealstech.com, give us a call on our listener line at 317-721-7124, or shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAproject.***From our partners over at AppleVis, we have the 2016 Golden Apple awards. Since 2012 they have been awarding developers of apps that are particularly accessible or useful for folks who use screen readers.In the category of Best iOS app, they have the Voice Dream Reader which is an app that reads articles, documents, and books aloud. I use it; it’s pretty great.In the Best iOS game category, they have Time Crest: The Door. It’s an epic fantasy about Ash Eldon, and you have to scramble to solve a puzzle about who hurls meteors to destroy Ash’s world of Atlancia.In the category of Best Assistant iOS app is the KNFB Reader that turns printed text into high-quality speech.The Best Mac App is A Blind Legend, all about the famous Edward Blake, the blind night guided by his daughter Louise and finding a way to avoid traps in the Highcastle kingdom.In the category of Developer of the Year, there is a tie:  American Printing House for the Blind and Sneaky Crab. Both got the same number of votes with American Printing House and their Nearby Explorer app and Sneaky Crab doing Time Crest: The Door.We love the folks over at AppleVis and support what they are doing. I would encourage you to check our show notes. We’ve got a link over to the full listing of the Golden Apple awards and you can also go there and find all crack kinds of great stuff including their blog, podcast, and all kinds of information about iOS and Mac OS accessibility. Check our show notes.***Each week one of our partners tells us what’s happening in the ever-changing world of apps, so here’s an app worth mentioning.AMY BARRY:  This is Amy Barry with BridgingApps and this is an App Worth Mentioning. I’m really excited about this week’s app called Proloquo2Go. It is one of our favorite AAC apps here at BridgingApps. In fact, I was really surprised when I found out that we had not shared it yet. Proloquo2Go is a full-featured augmentative communication app that offers picture-only, picture and text, and keyboard options for message formulation. We currently use Proloquo2Go with users ages four through adult. The voices are available are a more natural funding male/female adult or child and can be swapped for British or Indian accented English at no additional cost. We really like Proloquo2Go’s American children voices Josh and Ella. They are dramatically improved over voices previously. They have more feeling and varying intonation behind them. The keyboard and picture text grades can be used for novel sentence building but they can require many page navigations in order to successfully build a basic or complex sentence. None of our users have had any problems with that in the past and have all been very successful using this app. The images on the buttons are simple sticks although you are able to use real pictures which we highly encourage. Some of the pictures are more lifelike cartoon drawings. The keyboard also provides word prediction but it does require the user to have fair to good fine motor coordination in order to accurately access and utilize these word production keys.This app has the potential to provide very functional communication, and that is why we highly recommend it. The cost is most definitely higher in comparison with some of the other apps; however, it leaves a lot of room for growth for those users whose receptive and acceptive language and can negation skills are proving that’s what it can be used with an early learner, young child, all the way up through adulthood. And as the accessibility increases, it may prevent needing to purchase and transition to another app. Proloquo2Go is available for $249.99 at the iTunes Store and is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch app for iPhone.For more information on this app and others like it, visit BridgingApps.org.***WADE WINGLER:  The topic of augmentative and alternative communication, or synthesized digitized speech, all those are topics we have talked about in a number of different times and situations on this show. But today we are going to talk about something that’s new and different and frankly I think kind of exciting and maybe even a little bit charming. I’m interested today and excited to have Dr. Ruble Patel on the show who is the founder and CEO of vocal ID, which I recently learned about the folks over at tobii DynaVox. Before we go on, Dr. Patel, are you still on the line?RUPAL PATEL: I am.WADE WINGLER:  I’m so excited and happy to have you on the show. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to talk with us a little bit.RUPAL PATEL: Thank you. I’m happy to be here.WADE WINGLER:  Dr. Patel, can you tell me a little bit about your background and how you have developed a career that brought you to the point where you are working in a project like vocal ID?  And then we are going to get into the what is it questions and have you explain it to us. But tell us about yourself first.RUPAL PATEL: Sure. I am a speech pathologist and speech technologist. I’m a professor at Northeastern University. Vocal ID was initially a research project in my lab for many years from 2007 and on it got to a point where the technology was ready to take it out of the laboratory so that we could help hundreds and thousands of people rather than the handful we can do in the laboratory. That’s the long story of how we got here.WADE WINGLER:  Excellent. I’ve been familiar with augmentative communication systems for many years and I know that a lot of listeners in my audience are as well. When I think about AugCom, I think about synthesized voices primarily. In fact there are some stereotypes about those synthesized voices. I’ve even seen them represented at cartoons like The Simpsons and things like that. That synthesized speech has for me been part of the experience and part of the context of augmentative communication. Talk to me a little bit about that and then tell me some things about vocal ID and the customization and why this is important.RUPAL PATEL: I think augmentative communication, the primary focus until now because of the medical models has been on getting us a functional solution to the lack of the ability to speak. But as we start to think about adoption of AAC. When you think about what it means for someone to live with an AAC all their life and for their identity growing up on how they use their device, I think we are at a point in technology right now where we can do more. In fact we need to do more. We are giving them a method of communication but we are not fully embracing what it means to communicate, which isn’t just the information that we convey, it’s how we convey it and how others get to know us to the way the we interact with them. I think that the fact this satire and jokes about how robotic peoples voices can sound, and Stephen Hawking is our prototypical person we think of when we think of an augmentative negation user, I think we are robbing people of the fact that each of these individuals has an identity and a voice that can be conveyed through the device. Imagine you’re in a classroom full of kids who are using devices. When you’re not looking at them, you don’t actually know who it is that is speaking because many people may use the exact same voice. Sometimes even some people are using an adult male voice if there are little girl. This initial observation was really what got me to think about can we not build voices for these individuals that are unique to them that can grow with them and can change with them and can really reflect who they are. Our voices are a huge part of our identity and it should be the same for people who are AAC users as well.WADE WINGLER:  That makes sense. Until this very moment I hadn’t really thought about sort of the nuance and importance of that. Tell me about vocal ID, what it is and how the process works.RUPAL PATEL: Vocal ID is a voice company. What we do is we create custom digital voices. The way we do it is that we discovered that even those individuals who are unable to speak clearly can still make some sound. Most AAC users use a total communication based method. They use their device, gestures, whatever vocalizations they can make. What we do is we take that vocalization they can still make and then we crowd sourced the collection of voices. We ask people who are helping talkers from around the world to contribute their voices to the voice bank we are growing. From that voice bank we can find a voice that is similar to them in age and gender and so on, and we can combine a sample of voice we got from the people we need to build a voice from and to a matching speech donor and create a digital voice that sounds as clear as their donor but is as unique in vocal identity to the person who’s going to use it.The technology has a lot to do with signal processing and communicating with this unique voice copper in the and the application is one where it’s really all about how they feel about using this voice and how they can be heard as themselves.WADE WINGLER:  As we are having this conversation, I am listening to you. I’m having an image, and you’re going to tell me that I’m wrong, maybe, and I’m totally okay with that. I’m flashing back to images of the bionic man from my childhood in the 70s when it was a portion of the man’s body but with some augmentation from others kind of happening. How far off MI when I make that leap?RUPAL PATEL: I like that analogy. It makes them superpowered AAC users. We are using a simple theory of speech production. Typically when we produce speech, all of us, we make some sound that is created in our voice box and that sound gets pushed to our vocal track and the way we shape our tongues and mouth to create consonants and vowels. The fact that we are re-creating a voice digitally means we can take a sound source from the person who is not speaking and borrow the filter, the rest of the vocal track, from someone who is able-bodied and can speak and combine them digitally. It is like that bionic voice if you want to call it. The great thing about this human powered voice is that you can have a variety of voices so you don’t have to sound like that robotic voice that you’re talking about.WADE WINGLER:  Talk to me a little bit about the resulting voice. How realistic is it and what does it sound like?RUPAL PATEL: It sounds like a combination of the two. You are definitely going to hear the donor voice but you are also going to hear it infused by this vocalization that the individual can’t speak makes. We don’t want the distortions of the nonspeaking individual voice copy want the essence of who they are. We call it their vocal DNA. You hear this combination of the two together. Maybe later in the session I can find a sound file and play it for you so you get a chance to hear it. There’s also a way to secure it on our website as well***WADE WINGLER:  I’m going to interrupt here for just a second because Dr. Patel did send me a sample some going to drop it in and that you hear it and we will jump it back into the interview.SPEAKER:  My name is Maeve and I am 10 years old. I have cerebral palsy so I need my device to speak, but I understand everything. I am so happy to have my new voice. It sounds like a kid and my voice is neat. All my friends and my sister thinks my voice is totally awesome.***RUPAL PATEL: The voice still sounds like a synthesized voice. We can’t do vehicles and make it sound exactly like you and I are sounding today because we are also trying to create this voice and a very scalable and affordable way. Until we came along, it required a voice actor to record thousands of sentences in a sound studio, and then a team of engineers and linguists for over those recordings and create this voice. It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars. What we are trying to do is create this voice for about $1000. One of the ways we do that is we crowd sourced. We ask everyday people to donate their voice. That’s what keeps the cost down. We also have automated a lot of different things about how we collect the voices including the fact that people can donate their voices from their home to bring that barrier of entry down. That creates other issues like they sometimes record and not the best recording settings, like when the TV is on in the background, so we have to clean the audio.The more and more we process the audio, the less realistic it’s going to be. It costs millions of dollars to build a Siri voice, but in the end you’ve got one generic white female a voice. We are trying to make thousands of voices for people quickly and cheaply, so there is a trade-off. We believe and our early adopters don’t see a big difference in the voices we are creating that are authentic to them and the ones they can get generically out-of-the-box. The coolest thing here is we have created several options for many people that we first built voices for, our early adopters. Only two out of the seven cases the people choose the one that was objectively the most understandable voice. Many times people chose the voices that had a little bit of — I don’t know how to call it — a nuance in their voice. They cracked a little bit. It didn’t always sound perfect. We have to remember they are using these voices not to do a radio announcement. They are using these voices as their way of communicating with people. They want to sound like us. They want to sound like everyday people communicating.WADE WINGLER:  Authenticity.RUPAL PATEL: Yeah.WADE WINGLER:  Dr. Patel, if somebody wanted to contribute their voices, is that something our listeners could actively do if they wanted to volunteer?RUPAL PATEL: Absolutely. The website address is www.VocalID.co/voicebank. We have 18,000 people who have started doing the recording process. Some of them have finished it but everyone has because it is a time-consuming process. But without good quality voices, we can’t build voice for AAC users. Even if I had thousands of voices in one area of the world, we still need a variety of ages, accents. This really allows us to have this diversity of voices in AAC for the very first time. I encourage people to take the time to think about sharing their voice. It’s such an incredible experience to be able to share this gift that we all have and take for granted with someone who can’t speak. Kids in high school and middle school are often doing these activities for community service as well as disability awareness. The more we can get people involved in this and push the barrier here, the better voices are going to get as well for our end customers.WADE WINGLER:  And how long does it take if somebody is going to contribute their voice?  What is the time commitment?RUPAL PATEL: It depends a little bit on the individuals that are technologically know how. Some people tend to have more difficulty just using a web-based interface. Usually this is the older individuals. Younger people tend to listen to their samples a lot more. My daughter would listen to every recording that she made and that would take her long. On average people take somewhere around 5 to 7 hours to complete the full recording set which is done in a 20 minute chunks. A couple weeks, 20 minutes a day, you would be done.WADE WINGLER:  That sounds very doable. You are building voices. Once a voice is created for an individual, what platforms do those voices go on?  I know there are different devices.RUPAL PATEL: We have created our voices so that they are compatible with all three platforms, Windows, iOS, and Android. We are working with leading assistive technology companies to have all of our voices compatible with all of the platforms. Regardless of what kind of device you are using, you can use our voice. In the case of iOS, the company has to integrate our engine into their device so there we have only a handful of iOS apps that we are working with just because at the state we are right now, we can’t integrate with every single company. The likelihood that we will get there soon is high.WADE WINGLER:  Tell me about the response that you’ve gotten from some of your users and their families. What are people saying about this?RUPAL PATEL: I think that we are seeing things like increased communication participation, three hundred times more communication. They feel much more like these voices are representative of them. It’s not just for that person, but it’s also for family members speaking. He now has a voice, let them talk, right? It’s both figurative as actual. The other thing is we see that teachers tell us that these children self-esteem level is greater. In terms of adults who have lost their voice and didn’t bank the voice before they lost it and now have their own voice to speak, it just sort of changes relationships. It changes the way they continue to live with dignity and as themselves. The implications are everything from objective measures you can count like the number of times they are communicating, to the relationships they are having and the fulfillment of those relationships. One thing we would love to look at is things around anxiety and communication with unfamiliar individuals. One of our earlier adopters now has a job. She uses her AAC device. She primarily used signing which even though she had an AAC device for many years. Now, because the fact that the voice comes out of her device doesn’t feel for them, she feels that she can enter into communication scenarios that are foreign to her, were not really accessible to her before, because she had to have someone who could understand sign before. Now anyone can listen to the device and can understand what she’s saying. It really can open up doors. This is the kind of evidence we need to start building a case for the voices being funded as well.WADE WINGLER:  That makes sense. Tell me how far along in the process you are and what kinds of things are in the future for vocal ID.RUPAL PATEL: We had our first seven voices that we built last year in 2015 and delivered them. What we were doing was when we were in the laboratory, it took us on the order of 40 to 50 hours beforehand to build each voice in terms of manual labor time. That’s a very expensive process. That would not even be accessible to the average individual. But we did over the last year and a half is take that and start to automate parts of the process so it takes us less manual labor time. It’s a time-consuming, expensive process to build the voice. We brought the cost down to several orders of magnitude less than it used to be, but it still cost $1,250 for someone to purchase a voice today, which is heavily subsidized because we have federal government grants right now to get this product to market. What we are trying to do is continue to do more automation so that we can make these voices available to many people, but the cost, I don’t think is something that is going to go down in the near future just because it is a very time-consuming process, no matter what we do. What we need to do in an actual event is have more consumers starting to use this to show the impact and gated out of various different platforms. We launched the service officially in August 2016 cost we have about 100 customers right now. We have a little bit of a backlog where we are trying to get those voices built out. Then over time I hope we will have many more customers who can continue to purchase their voices and allow us to get this to market fully.WADE WINGLER:  What’s the relationship with tobii DynaVox?RUPAL PATEL: We have a strategic partnership with tobii DynaVox in which they are working with us to both market the product as well as sell the product. We need to get many users to use vocal ID voices to continue to bring this great innovation to market.WADE WINGLER:  I know you have a meeting to go to and we are getting close to the end of the interview. Tell me a story about somebody’s life who is really been impacted before we wrap up here.RUPAL PATEL: I don’t know which story to tell you. I’ll tell you a story of a teenager. He was part of a basketball team at the University. The day that he received his voice, he wanted his entire team that he is part of to be there to hear his voice. It’s interesting. When you see the reaction of the kids on the team and also this young man and how he reacted to his voice, the kinds of things we heard were, wow, it sounds so passionate like he is, or it’s the first time we hear who he is, things like that. Almost a year later, we recently had this interview with several team members and this young man. We are finding he is taking more communication risks in positive ways. He’s interacting in different ways. People are seeing him for who he is. When someone is it augmentative communication user with a physical disability and communication impairment, people don’t always know how much is in that individual cognitively, how much they are capable of and what their physical impairment is holding them back from. I think this is opening up, having your own voice that reflects who you are, is one way to start telling the world I am here and I have a voice and you’re going to listen. I think that’s a really exciting implication of what we are doing.WADE WINGLER:  Amazing stuff. Dr. Patel, give us some contact information as we wrap up here.RUPAL PATEL: You can reach me at rupal@vocalid.co, as well as if you have any questions about vocal ID or products, go to our website at www.VocalID.co. You will find hopefully examples of what we are doing. There are plenty of stories as well as videos online that will help you understand what the product is and its impact as well.WADE WINGLER:  Dr. Rupal Patel is the founder and CEO of Vocal ID and has been our most delightful guest today. Thank you for being with us.RUPAL PATEL: Thank you so much.WADE WINGLER:  Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124, shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. Looking for a transcript or show notes from today’s show? Head on over to www.EasterSealstech.com. Assistive Technology Update is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. Find more shows like this plus much more over at AccessibilityChannel.com. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.***Transcript provided by TJ Cortopassi.  For transcription requests and inquiries, contact tjcortopassi@gmail.com*** Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterest1LinkedInEmailPrint RelatedAM055 – AppleVisJune 15, 2012In “Accessibility Minute”ATU291 – iPad High School Revisited – Part 2December 23, 2016In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU184 – Holiday Shopping Episode 2014 – Part 2December 5, 2014In “Assistive Technology Update”last_img read more

Dear Enterprise Marketer Stop Growth Hacking

first_imgTalk to Your Salespeople Instead.Let me share my biggest pain, the nightmare that is still keeping me up at night.Two years ago, when we launched Influ2, winning the first few customers was easy. Our product, person-based ads, was new and exciting. No one had ever done it before, so naturally many enterprise marketers were anxious to take it for a spin.But, these “wins” were delusions.What do you do as a digital marketer when you come across a new technology? You conduct an experiment. Spending a few thousand bucks on a new tool is no biggie for an enterprise marketer.So, you set up a low-budget ad campaign with a lead form at the landing page. You determine the success of the campaign by conversions — the number of people who fill in the form.Seems right, doesn’t it? Well, I can promise you with this metric you will get zero or almost zero conversions with person-based ads. In fact, you can run pretty much the same campaign targeting your CRM audience directly on social networks or online media — no need for a new trendy tool to do it.The idea to measure conversions by running experiments came from the e-commerce industry and found broad adoption among low-priced SaaS platforms like Slack, Twilio or Intercom.Now, every growth hacker will tell you to experiment with Google AdWords, Quora ads, LinkedIn promos, and the list goes on. Set up an experiment, run a campaign, track conversions, tune, repeat — that’s what thousands of marketers do, and since everyone does it, it must be right…Now, dear enterprise marketer, let’s think.Do you expect the CMO of Adobe to fill out a lead form to download your e-book? Is your e-book worth Ann Lewnes’s time and valuable contact details? Does she want your SDR to start bombarding her with drip sequences?I hear this over and over from our customers: No matter how good your targeting is, enterprise decision-makers don’t go for the lead forms. (Side note: If you got an enterprise CxO to fill out your lead form, let me know, and I’ll buy you dinner at the restaurant of your choice.)Recommended: Is Person-Based Marketing an Upgrade to ABM?This approach might work for selling sneakers to the mass market or $20 software subscriptions to SMBs, but it is very wrong for enterprise marketing. So, don’t listen to growth hackers. Your audience is fundamentally different.Who do you listen to then? Sorry, but it’s time to break your silo and talk to not-so-easy-going salespeople. Marketing spend pays off when it serves as an air cover for your sales team, especially for the sales development folks.Today, when launching proof-of-concept campaigns, we always ask new clients to talk to their sales department first. Ask them what accounts they are working on. These are your target audience. It’s so much easier for an SDR to talk to somebody who has recently seen your ads and who is aware of your product offering. When a prospect finds an email from your SDR and reacts with “I think I know these guys, it looks relevant, let’s talk” it’s simply because you’ve built an awareness with person-based ads.People don’t click on ads most of the time. So, when they do click, you know you got their attention; they are engaged. Imagine your outbound email goes to somebody who read an article about your company in Forbes yesterday. We are witnessing 3 – 5x better response rates from sales outreach that is in sync with person-based engagement signals compared to cold emails.Now, coming back to my nightmare. In marketing, you often defer to the “brand awareness” excuse when you can’t say if something worked or not but you know it should have. With person-based ads, we usually see around 30% improvement in SDRs’ productivity as a result of the air cover campaign. Our clients typically witness this within 3 months after the launch. However, we keep getting asked why there are no conversions from the lead forms over these 3 months… so my nightmare will recur. ABMAdobeInflu2Marketing Technology BlogPeople-based marketingSaasSales Previous ArticleMarin Software Research Reveals Shifting Patterns in Digital Ad SpendNext ArticleIgnitionOne uses Amazon Neptune to Power Identity Resolution at Scale Dear Enterprise Marketer, Stop Growth Hacking! Dmitri LisitskiApril 24, 2019, 4:25 pmApril 24, 2019 last_img read more

Data Investment in Workplace Communications on the Rise

first_img C-Suitecommunications platformInternal Communications IndexMarketing TechnologyNewsSocialChorus Previous ArticleBellwethr Announces $2.5 Million Seed FundingNext ArticleAlteryx Invites Customers to “Unleash Their Inner AI” with Assisted Modeling Beta Marketing Technology News: Live Data Is Now The Lifeblood For Telco Value Creation“Much like the technology stacks that have changed how sales and marketing work, communicators need the same system of record to manage all of their workforce communications from one place,” Fiorenza said. “Only when companies start approaching employee communications in this way — with one place to create and publish content, reach any employee regardless of location in a personalized way, and measure the impact — will they truly be able to align the workforce.” Data: Investment in Workplace Communications on the Rise MTS Staff WriterJune 13, 2019, 4:23 pmJune 13, 2019 center_img New Research Reveals Investment in Workforce Communications on the Rise a New SocialChorus Study Finds Organizations Are Spending More on Employee Engagement Than They Were Two Years Ago, yet Still Struggle to Measure Effectiveness SocialChorus, a global workforce communications platform, announced results from its 2019 Internal Communications Index, which examines how internal communicators are grappling with a multitude of changes in the workplace, from expectations of the C-suite to how they measure effectiveness and the technology they use. As companies place an increasing level of importance on employee engagement and alignment, the survey found internal communications is taking on an even more critical role within organizations, with three-fourths (75%) of respondents spending more on employee engagement than they were two years ago.  “Employees need consistent and comprehensive communications from their company to feel included in the overall company direction, build trust and buy into what the organization stands for,” said Sonia Fiorenza, vice president of communications and engagement strategies at SocialChorus. “Because of this, it is no surprise that organizations are investing in internal communications more so than ever before. As the ways in which companies engage employees continue to evolve, the role of the communicator will only grow as they look to keep up with the demands of the modern workforce.”Marketing Technology News: StarfishETL Introduces Multi-Language Wizard OptionsPutting a stop to “fake news” a top expectation of the C-suiteIn today’s sociopolitical climate, how an employee feels about their organization can change in an instant. One bad actor or poor press coverage can have a lasting impact on morale and employee retention. With anyone in an organization able to spread information on social and collaboration platforms, “digital water coolers” also run rampant and make it difficult for companies to tell a succinct story to employees. In fact, over half (51%) of communicators say prevention of misinformation and rumors is leadership’s top concern in communicating with employees. It is no longer enough to disseminate information on HR enrollment, holiday reminders and compliance trainings. More than half of respondents (53%) said their CEO, executives or board expect the communications team to get employees on board with organizational or strategic changes. This is followed in importance by: Ensuring that employees know about good things happening in the business, not just bad news (41%)Getting the dispersed workforce the same information as employees in headquarters (34%)Effectively and quickly communicating to all stakeholders in a crisis (33%)Marketing Technology News: Tata Elxsi is a Certified Widevine Partner, Selected as the System Integrator for Google Widevine CAS solutionsMeasurement and technology are still major challenges for internal communicatorsWhile the importance of internal communications grows, changes to where and how people work, what channels they use to get information and the speed at which information is shared has made it harder and harder for organizations to keep employees informed, engaged and aligned with company goals. Further compounding this issue is the fact that internal communicators still struggle with determining what is and isn’t effective in reaching employees and not having the right technology in place to do their job effectively.The survey found that: 85% of respondents say measuring the positive impact of internal communications on employee engagement is a challenge 64% say they don’t have a good way to know whether employees have seen or read content published When asked to rank the most important future elements of internal and employee communications, number one (57%) was measuring the impact on employee engagement Communicators spend most of their time creating and publishing content and then posting to multiple locations and managing a variety of platforms. The most common channels used to communicate to employees include:Company email and email newsletters (75%), yet 46% said only a small percentage of employees read email and engage with contentTeam manager-led meetings (67%)Corporate social media (56%)Mobile apps (51%); up from only 13% two years agolast_img read more

Gigapaces Partners with Tableau to Accelerate Machine Learning and Data Visualization

first_img Brian Matsubaradata visualizationGigapacesInsightEdgemachine learningNewsTableau Previous ArticleVerve Releases SDK 4.0 To Supercharge The Revenue-Generating Power Of In-App InventoryNext ArticleVonage Reinforces Its Position as Innovator in Programmable Business Communications With Strategic Partnership With Sendinblue Gigapaces Partners with Tableau to Accelerate Machine Learning and Data Visualization PRNewswireJune 27, 2019, 9:52 pmJune 27, 2019 Combined Solution Provides Real-Time Interactive Views of Operational Data and Machine Learning InsightsGigaSpaces, the provider of InsightEdge, the fastest in-memory real-time analytics processing platform, announced that it has partnered with Tableau, the leading analytics platform, to help enterprises accelerate customized BI visualizations on their operational data for smarter actionable insights at scale.Marketing Technology News: Comm100 Launches Agent Assist to Boost Agent Performance and Customer SatisfactionGigaSpaces InsightEdge big data analytics processing platform runs real-time analytics and machine learning on streaming, hot and historical data, in production at scale. Combined with Tableau, enterprises can visualize and understand their continuously updated operational data with low-latency interactive queries. InsightEdge’s high speed big data layer supports sharding, filtering and customized aggregation in a distributed manner for accelerated customized queries. The solution also supports a high number of concurrent users, while retaining extreme performance and scales according to need, handling peak events utilizing a distributed, highly efficient shared nothing architecture where there is no single point of contention between nodes.In Tableau Desktop 2019.1 or later, InsightEdge can be listed as a connection.Marketing Technology News: Orange County United Way and Salesforce Team Up to Revolutionize Philanthropy“More and more companies are leveraging big data for improved decision-making but are struggling to support their growing requirements for real-time analysis,” said Brian Matsubara, Senior Director of Global Technology Alliances at Tableau. “Integrating Tableau with GigaSpaces InsightEdge will help accelerate complex analytic queries and enable organizations to quickly act on time-sensitive insights.”“Data visualization brings business intelligence to life, helping organizations make better business decisions,” said Yoav Einav, Vice President of Products for GigaSpaces. “Our customers can work with Tableau to visualize their operational data and analytic results in real-time, as well as share them throughout the organization to act at the speed of their business.”Marketing Technology News: New Study From Wunderman Thompson Commerce Reveals Amazon Lacks Loyalty Among Gen Zlast_img read more

How to Set Up Centrally Managed Backups for Your Home or Small

first_img The Dangerous ‘Toy Story 4’ Scene One Million Moms is Protesting We Finally Know Why Black Widow’s Death Was Necessary Celebs Who Were Sadly Killed By Their Fans 9 Comments Tagged In storageextremetech explainsHow-TonassynologybackupsQNAPprivate cloudcentrally-managed backupsEaseus Todo Backup Post a Comment 9 Comments You Might Also LikePowered By ZergNet Willow Smith’s Transformation is Turning Heads Facebook Twitter Linkedin Pinterest Google Plus Reddit Hacker News Flipboard Email Copy 0shares This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use. The Most Offensive Video Game Characters of All Time How to Set Up Centrally Managed Backups for Your Home or Small Business Don’t Watch These Movies With Your Parents Natalie Portman’s Female Thor Name Revealed J.K. Rowling Confirms a Hermione Theory We Suspected All Along If you’re part of a family with changing computing needs, or if you run a small business where employees and computers come and go, it’s quite likely that your backup strategy is a bit of a hodge-podge. You probably also rely on your users to pay attention to whether their data is actually being safely backed up. A recent experience of mine, where we realized that one of our business laptops hadn’t run a successful backup for a month, motivated me to dig in and implement a centrally managed backup system so that we could easily manage and monitor our computer backups. I actually did it two different ways, using one NAS-centric approach, and another more traditional backup suite, so we can compare them in this article.How Centrally Managed Backups WorkA typical, centrally managed backup solution consists of at least three pieces. First, there is a backup server, which keeps the database of clients, tasks, and storage locations. Along with it are one or more console applications. Some systems offer one management console for administrators and a separate one for users to allow them to do some self-service operations like file recovery. Finally, there needs to be some type of client software (often called an agent) that can respond to requests from the server and initiate backups. With Windows clients, this is often a custom application installed on each client. But existing system utilities like rsync may also work as an agent, depending on the product.In all cases, either a new account with administrator privileges needs to be created on each client, or the credentials for an existing account need to be supplied. Once a server and client(s) are in place, then the console (which might be an application or simply a web interface to the server) can be used to create backup tasks and deploy them to clients as appropriate. Most packages include some pre-defined templates that can be used as a starting point. For example, if you have a number of laptops that have a simple configuration, you can have a template that just does a System backup of the OS and boot drive.Backing Up PCs With EaseUS Todo BackupThere are many backup products for Windows PCs, but for this project, we wanted ones where we could upgrade from the typical entry-level standalone offering to a centrally managed, business-class solution inexpensively. So for our first solution, we chose EaseUS Todo Backup Workstation, since the desktop software and management console are quite inexpensive, and we were already using it standalone on several machines. However, currently, EaseUS can only centrally manage Windows client machines. Acronis offers a much broader range of solutions, but at a much higher price point for its business products.Todo Backup is powerful but not always obvious.You can start with the management console, which EaseUS calls Backup Center, and install and deploy from there, or take a more incremental approach and install Backup Workstation on your client computers and make sure they work to your satisfaction first. When you install the clients, you can create a backup user that’s separate from other users of the system. That’s handy for creating a single credential to use for backup tasks. When you install Backup Center, you’ll want to make sure you also select the option to install the server on a machine of your choice. Unfortunately, EaseUS Backup doesn’t support a NAS package for its server, which would be a nice option.Once the clients and the Backup Center console are installed, you can use the console to create, customize, and deploy template backup tasks to some or all of your clients. You can even put them in groups. In our case, we created a simple template for most of our laptops, which only have a System (“C”) drive, and then a couple of other templates for more complex desktops that also have data drives. It was simple to create a schedule for each template and deploy them. I wish the software offered an easier way to combine Full and Incremental backup schedules, but you can choose the type of backup(s) you want, the schedules, and the retention policies.You can add a Network Server as a backup destination for EaseUS Todo Backup using a mount point, a UNC path, or via the NAS Device option.Backing Up Your Network With Synology’s Active Backup for BusinessIf you own a NAS, you may already have access to all the software you need to back up your network. Most NAS vendors bundle at least one backup solution with their hardware and may offer add-on options. Synology did something pretty sweet last year, by including its Active Backup for Business (ABB) software with many of its units. It includes the server package, an active client for Windows, a user portal for self-service recovery, and the ability to back up other types of specialized hardware and virtual machines. I’ve been using ABB with both the Windows client and with my Jetson Nano Linux box with rsync as the agent.Synology’s Active Backup for Business provides a large number of options managed through a central console.One area where ABB goes beyond many of the other backup solutions bundled with network servers is the capability to do a bare metal restore — as you’d expect with a separate cost backup package. You simply create and boot to a recovery drive and then restore your full system image. Alternatively, you can do the expected set of drive, partition, and file backups to take more complete control of your system. There are even additional packages for specifically backing up G Suite and Office 365, although I haven’t used them.Consider a Belt and SuspendersNext to not noticing that backups are failing to run properly, not realizing that they’re corrupt is the next biggest problem with backups. While major corporations have policies in place for regularly testing the integrity and utility of their backups, most small business and families don’t. So in our case, we back all our machines up two different ways, to two different servers.Active Backup for Business offers a nice and easy to understand set of Retention options.Five-bay NAS units are very convenient for this, as shared data can be stored on a three drive RAID array, and backups can go on a separate, mirrored, two-drive array. We use a Synology DS1517+ as our primary data store — since it supports 10Gbps — and destination for system backups generated by Active Backup for Business. Then we also have a DS1019+ where we can keep a clone of our most important shared data on the first three drives, and our EaseUS backups on the other two. Or if you have room to keep your data and backups on the first three drives, the other two are ideal for mirrored security footage archives. Of course, just having two systems locally isn’t a perfect solution either, so you’ll want to have some type of off-site backup as well.Now Read:How to Set Up Subscription-Free Offsite BackupHow to Create Your Own Private Photo Sharing CloudIt’s World Backup Day: Here’s How the ExtremeTech Staff Stays Backed Up By David Cardinal on June 22, 2019 at 9:00 amlast_img read more

Tesla Reports Record Sales Last Quarter

first_imgTesla Reports Record Sales Last Quarter Anna Kendrick’s Transformation is Turning Heads Saying Goodbye to Johnny Depp The Sad Situation That Hayden Panettiere Is Living In Today Tesla has had its share of ups and downs over the years with exploding cars, autopilot mishaps, and CEO Elon Musk saying and doing foolish things on the internet. But this week was a big “up” for the electric car maker. Tesla’s latest quarterly report includes a record number of vehicle deliveries at 95,200. Tesla’s stock rose as expected following the news, gaining 7 percent after falling 35 percent since early 2019 when it reported slower than expected sales. Tesla has benefited from a full quarter selling the Model 3, its most affordable vehicle, in Europe and China. The Model 3 previously launched for US buyers in 2018, after taking reservations for years. The Model 3 makes up the vast majority of Tesla’s record-breaking sales at 77,550. That’s a 50 percent increase over the first quarter of the year. Sales of the more profitable Model S and Model X increased as well from 12,100 to 17,650. However, that number is lower than the 27,550 S and X vehicles delivered in the last quarter of 2018. That suggests the Model 3 is pulling some buyers away from the more profitable cars. Still, the increased sales are making up for it. Tesla also says that its production capacity has increased by 13 percent in the second quarter of 2019. Only 7,400 cars were still listed as in transit to buyers, down from 10,600 at the end of the first quarter. The Tesla Model 3 has proven very successful, making up most of the company’s 95,200 Q2 sales.The increased sales may be harder to sustain going forward. Tesla has cut prices several times in pursuit of its goal of selling 400,000 cars this year. The automaker is also facing the end of government tax breaks for selling electric vehicles. The $7,500 tax credit fell to $3,750 early this year, and now it’s down to $1,875. It will go away completely at the end of this year.  The company is also still operating at a loss. One bright spot on the horizon may be Tesla’s upcoming launch of the Model Y. This vehicle splits the difference between the Model 3 and the high-end Model X. It’s a smaller crossover/hatchback offering more space than a Model 3 and a lower price than the Model X. The Model Y will launch in late 2020 for US customers.Now read:Elon Musk: Tesla Broke in 10 Months Without ‘Hardcore’ Cost ReductionTesla Model 3 in Fatal Accident Had Autopilot EngagedSurprise: The $35,000 Tesla Model 3 That’s Finally Shipping? Not Any More You Might Also LikePowered By ZergNet By Ryan Whitwam on July 5, 2019 at 7:36 am Things Only Adults Notice in ‘ThunderCats’ Facebook Twitter Linkedin Pinterest Google Plus Reddit Hacker News Flipboard Email Copy 0shares This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use. Controversial TV Twists We Still Can’t Wrap Our Head Around We Finally Understand Why ‘Criminal Minds’ Got Canceled 21 Comments You Have To Read This Before You See ‘Zombieland 2’ Tagged In carsteslaelectric vehiclesmodel 3 Post a Comment 21 Comments Deleted ‘Endgame’ Scene Showed Us Tony Stark In The Afterlifelast_img read more

Microsoft Announces Investments to Broaden Opportunities for Partners

first_imgAhead of Microsoft Inspire, Company Shares How It Is Tuning Partner Investments for the Cloud Era, Including Updates to Teams, Dynamics 365, AzureMicrosoft Corp. announced new investments in technologies and programs designed to support its partner ecosystem. The investments are aimed at helping optimize Microsoft’s partner engagement for the cloud era.“Customers and partners alike continue to move to the cloud and accelerate their digital transformation, leading us to new and different levels of partnership,” said Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner group. “Our portfolio of programs, offers and resources for companies partnering with Microsoft is transforming to help them capitalize on this opportunity.”Marketing Technology News: LivePerson Wins 2019 Artificial Intelligence Breakthrough AwardThe following are some highlights of the news announced today, with more details available here.Investments in products and programsMicrosoft Teams extensions and adoption. Just two years after its launch, Teams now has 13 million daily active users and 19 million weekly active users. The company also announced new features in Microsoft Teams for every worker —including new ways to support healthcare organizations and firstline workers. Additional new partner integrations include support for contact centers, compliance recording and cloud solution providers.Dynamics 365 updates. The company announced significant updates to the Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator and two new integrations for Dynamics 365 that address the automotive and financial services industries. In addition, the Business Applications ISV Connect program is generally available, with new development tools and guidance, marketplace resources, joint field engagement processes and go-to-market support.Introducing Azure Lighthouse. Azure Lighthouse gives partners a single control plane to view and manage Azure at scale across all their customers. This provides a better managed Azure experience with higher automation and efficiency, resulting in greater visibility and security for customers. This marks the first time Microsoft has architected a solution at this scale, with partners and for partners.Azure Migration Program. The new Azure Migration Program (AMP) helps customers accelerate their migration to Azure. AMP offers proactive advice and tools to help mitigate risks and address common issues associated with moving workloads to the cloud.Marketing Technology News: Taptica International Rebrand Reflects Video Advertising LeadershipBroadening partner opportunitySince the inception of Microsoft’s co-sell program 24 months ago, the program has seen $9.5 billion in annual contracted partner revenue. The investments announced this week are designed to build on that opportunity:General availability of the Microsoft Security competency. This new competency allows partners to market their expertise and provides access to a range of benefits designed to enable business growth and profitability.Five advanced specializations. These include Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure, Linux and Open Source Databases Migration to Microsoft Azure, Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure, Modernization of Web Applications in Microsoft Azure, and Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure.New advancements in marketplace. Additional pricing models, a rewards program and a new route to market are rolling out in July for companies that publish transactable offers in Microsoft’s expanded commercial marketplace. The pricing models include monthly and annual SaaS billing, flexible, custom-metered billing options, standard contracts, and free SaaS trials that convert to paid engagements.Marketing Technology News: Digital Communication Tools Leave Many Workers Feeling Squeezed out by Tech-Savvy Colleagues Microsoft Announces Investments to Broaden Opportunities for Partners Business WireJuly 12, 2019, 3:20 pmJuly 12, 2019 Marketing Technology NewsMicrosoftMicrosoft’s partner engagementNewsSQL Server Migration Previous ArticleOpenAP Partners with dataxu to Power Digital Audience Creation in Next Phase of its Marketplace RolloutNext ArticleSilverdraft Announces Elizabeth Baron as Their VP of Immersive Solutionslast_img read more

Knowbly Bringing Collaboration to Content Creation

first_img InstructureConKathryn StewartKnowblyreal-time collaboration Previous ArticleKochava Expands In APAC RegionNext ArticleJoel Smart Joins Vendasta, Ushers in New Multi-Location Platform Functionalities Knowbly : Bringing Collaboration to Content Creation PRNewswireJuly 9, 2019, 11:16 amJuly 9, 2019 Knowbly, developer of the world’s most intuitive rapid authoring tool for creating digital content, is bringing collaboration to a new level in Long Beach at InstructureCon. Easily manage tasks and changes from reviewers while authoring by ensuring you know when and where change needs to happen in your content. Immediately get more insight and feedback from your team with real-time collaboration and commenting.“Our new commenting and review tools integrate directly into your team workflow, ensuring you can iterate rapidly and keep an open record of changes,” said Charles Gerli, VP of Product. No need to send users to an outside tool or site—simply log in and see the comments in real-time.Marketing Technology News: AccuWeather Continues Rapid Expansion with Relocation of Global Office in New York CityAnd for users on the go, you can stay directly on top of feedback with Knowbly’s instant notifications. “We’ve listened to our users and incorporated some of the most loved features used in digital communication and collaboration tools today into Knowbly. Things like @mentions make it easy to directly notify another user and grab their attention immediately. And instant snapshots of changes sent through notification emails mean you follow changes on the go without having to log in,” said Kathryn Stewart, CEO of Knowbly.Of course, keeping authoring fun is part of Knowbly’s DNA, too. “We had to add emojis. People of all ages across the globe have embraced them in their daily communications so it was natural to include them in Knowbly,” said Charles Gerli, VP of Product. “Our users love them and so do we.”Marketing Technology News: ada Strengthens Its Leadership Team as It Doubles Its HeadcountKnowbly™ is the only rapid-authoring platform designed with easy to use tools for creating interactive learning objects, assessments, full courses, and training materials. Simple. Affordable. And just what you need. We’re on a mission to democratize authoring so that you can focus on what you do best—preparing high quality content for your learners. No high-tech manuals required. Share. Create. Collaborate. But most of all, love your content.Marketing Technology News: New ISG Study Focuses on Digital Business Serviceslast_img read more

Ma Mati Modi Bengal Shaped Hindutva Now Hindutva is Shaping Bengal

first_img BJPHindutvaLok Sabha elections 2019Mamata Banerjee First Published: May 21, 2019, 11:36 AM IST | Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai A little over three years ago, a student uploaded an ‘objectionable’ post on Facebook against Prophet Muhammad at Illambazar in Birbhum. Soon, an angry mob ransacked a police station and a 30-year-old man died after being shot in the head by a ‘stray bullet’. The BJP state president called for the beheading of ‘anti-nationals’ and demanded ‘self-respect’ for Hindus.With assembly polls around the corner, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) attacked the BJP for fostering hate. No stranger to political violence, the incident was an anomaly in the district that hadn’t had a reported case of communal violence for decades. A sign of things to come, this was the first in a string of communal incidents that would punctuate Bengal’s politics in the coming years. It predicted the extent to which the BJP’s call for “self-respect” for Hindus, fuelled, at least partly, by Mamata Banerjee’s alleged Muslim appeasement would resonate in the coming years. At Bhagabatipur at Illambazar, less than half an hour’s drive from the Vishwa Bharati University that Rabindranath Tagore had envisioned as a place of learning unfettered by religion or nationalism, the anger at the death of Rezaul Islam continues to rankle. His widow, Farida Bibi, had moved away from the village with her kids. What remained, Abul Kalam (64) said, was a “sense of impending doom”. The former panchayat board member explained, “At the time, there was no way for us to gauge the extent to which this kind of hatred between Hindus and Muslims would spread. I don’t know what will happen to this state.”The Lok Sabha seat is one that the BJP has had on its radar since it finished third there in 2014, with a net vote gain of nearly 14 per cent. The seat, with its 37 per cent Muslim population (varying from 15 to 99 per cent in each of its 13 blocks) is a perfect template of how the BJP’s relentless campaign of Hindutva has allowed them to gain traction and acceptability in a state where it couldn’t muster 2 per cent of total votes two decades ago.With the BJP gaining ground, the TMC victory in last year’s bloody rural polls saw them win 87 per cent of gram panchayat seats uncontested amid allegation of intimidation and murder. Polling in Birbhum left at least nine injured in clashes between the two parties.The CPI(M) often cites the three decades of Left Front rule as evidence that Hindutva is antithetical to Bengal, that under its rule, ideology had trumped identity. But the fact remains that Bengal, unlike the rest of India, was partitioned twice and between 1905 and 1947, relations between Hindus and Muslims had deteriorated, eventually manifesting in the Great Calcutta killings and Noakhali-Tipperia riots in 1946. The state — with a Muslim population of 27 per cent — saw both conflict and cohabitation between the two communities. Today, the Left is a shadow of its former self and the politics of identity dominates discourse.This election season, political conversations — from Contai to Cooch Behar, from Darjeeling to Diamond Harbour — are eventually whittled down to the binary of Mamata versus Modi, Hindu versus Muslim.The Past: How Bengal Shaped Hindutva“How can the BJP claim that theirs is a party that belongs to Hindus? The BJP doesn’t have any respect for the Hindu religion,” thundered Mamata Banerjee at Pandua in Hooghly last month, while listing the development works her government has done for religious sites, in particular for Tarakeswar.An hour’s drive from the hallowed fields of Singur where Banerjee scripted her 2011 victory, the 450-year-old temple at Tarakeswar has come to represent the challenge that Banerjee faces today.In June 2017, Banerjee announced the creation of Tarakeshwar Development Authority (TDA), with a budget of Rs 5 crore to develop the temple. At its helm, she appointed Firhad Hakim, now the first Muslim mayor of Kolkata since Independence. The BJP was up in arms, opposing the decision to appoint a ‘non-Hindu’ at the head of a temple board and flung the charge of ‘Muslim appeasement’ at her. Since then, the temple’s priests have welcomed the move and its head priest, Dandiswami Sureshwar Ashram, was quoted in December 2017 by The Times of India as saying that “any help is welcome…why should we not welcome this?”But for Mamata Banerjee, who strategically polarised Muslim votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to win eight of the 14 Muslim-dominated seats, the charge of appeasement has stuck. Her government’s announcement of a monthly honorarium for nearly 30,000 imams in the state saw the VHP launch a campaign for similar honorarium to Hindu priests and unemployed youths. Competitive communal politics continued, polarising the electorate and weakening the Left. The BJP, meanwhile, gained traction and consolidated the pro-Hindutva, pro-Modi and anti-Mamata votes.Almost exactly at the halfway point between Tarakeswar and Singur is Kaikala village, where, at a 19th century school, Chandranath Basu had first used the expression ‘Hindutva’ in 1892 and the ideology’s connection to Bengal is something that neither the BJP, nor the RSS tire of reiterating. After all, RSS founder KB Hedgewar’s stint as a medical student in Calcutta was greatly influenced by Bengal’s radical nationalists. His successor MS Gowalkar’s time at the Ramakrishna Math was a factor in his understanding of Hindu nationalism, as one characterised by ideas of service and renunciation.It was on Hedgewar and VD Savarkar’s advice that Shyama Prasad Mookherjee became the president of the Hindu Mahasabha, after joining the organisation in 1939. Inducted into the Jawaharlal Nehru cabinet as minister for industries in 1947, he resigned from the Hindu Mahasabha in 1948 and he would subsequently resign from the Nehru cabinet as well, seeking instead to form a political party to oppose Nehru. The RSS, at the time, banned after Mahatma Gandhi’s murder, was looking to form its own political front. This would culminate in the formation of the Bharatiya Jana Sangha (BJS), the BJP’s predecessor.In the 1952 general elections, the BJS contested six of Bengal’s 36 seats, winning two seats and securing 5.59 per cent of the vote share. SP Mookherjee won from Calcutta South East and the party, buoyed by Mookherjee’s leadership and support from Hindu refugees, would continue to script impressive electoral performances. But after his death and BJS’s inability to offer political patronage to Hindu refugees, the party and Hindutva dissipated from the state.That is until the early nineties. The list of “holy and inspirational” men that Modi listed, while countering Banerjee’s salvo of sending him ‘rasgullas’ filled with soil, wasn’t accidental last week. “The soil of Bengal gave birth to so many great men such as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Shyama Prasad Mookerjee. If Modi gets ‘rasgullas’ made out of this soil, it will be like ‘prasad’ to him,” the Prime Minister said.With the BJP growing in north India, the party had realised in the nineties the need to shed its image of being a north Indian party of the Hindi-speaking ‘other’ in the state. A state-level political campaign began where the BJP celebrated regional icons while at the same time asserting the Bengali roots of its Hindu nationalist politics. In February 1990, a rally to celebrate Swami Vivekananda was held in Kolkata, where national leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi accused the ‘pseudo-secular’ Left and Congress of neglecting Bengali personalities. The Organiser, the RSS organ wrote, “Any country would have been proud to have a personality like Vivekananda. But the Marxists and Left progressives in Bengal are a different breed. They are now threatened to be buried in the quicksand of their frothy Marxist ideology that is completely unrelated to the psyche of Bengal, nay of India.”The Ram Mandir issue, the BJP decided, would be utilised in the state differently, fusing the national and the regional. For instance, in April 1991, the state announced a series of jatra (folk theatre) performances where the campaign conflated scenes of the Ramayana with local politics — the victorious Ram was the BJP, a defenseless Sita was Bengal and Ravana was the Left. “Even local panchayat leaders and the legend of SP Mookherjee would find space in these performances. The seeds of Hindutva were planted then. The party is taking advantage of it now. But it is unfortunate that those visionaries like Advani have been sidelined,” said one Bengal BJP leader, who didn’t wish to be identified.The Present: How Hindutva is Shaping BengalOn April 15, a day after the Bajrang Dal organised their Ram Navami rally at Purulia, the TMC countered it with theirs. The two rallies were nearly identical: saffron flags and youth dancing to the shuddering beats reverberated across the city.For two days, the streets of Purulia, once a Maoist bastion and a Forward Block stronghold, brimmed, almost entirely with young men. Dancing wildly to Hindutva pop — a cocktail of thundering techno music, combined with nationalism and religious references — the city remained acutely aware of the political machinations at play. The Bajrang Dal had been organising rallies here for three years, the TMC was a new entrant, coping when no longer able to cope.Armed Ram Navami rallies, organised by the BJP, had first become part of the Hindutva mobilisation in the state in 2016. The procession drew criticism, not just from Mamata Banerjee, but also from within. Union home minister Rajnath Singh had criticised the processions at the time – in particular the fact that children were seen “wielding arms”. Last year, during the armed rallies, one person died in Purulia while a Puja pandal was attacked in Bardhaman district.But in the Lok Sabha seat, where the district administration maintains that at least 500 temples for Lord Ram and Hanuman were constructed in the past year, encapsulates the changing face of Hindutva in the state. As one TMC MLA from Kolkata put it, “We tried making the case that this isn’t Bengali culture. But there has been a lot of assimilation. The difference between the north and Bengal is less than it was.”The result: the TMC has decided to, wherever possible, also assert its own Hindu identity. In Purulia, for instance, the TMC-supported rally was organised under the banner of Nagarik Manch (Citizen’s Platform) and managed by Gaurav Singh. Singh, until recently a key figure in the Bajrang Dal, is now the TMC youth wing president of Purulia town. BJP district president Bidyasagar Chakraborty said, “The Bajrang Dal has been doing it for two years, this is the third. It is a non-political, religious festival. There is a request to all Hindus to participate and last year, some from the TMC had also participated in the past.”With the TMC not being able to stem the flow of Hindutva in Bengal, it has decided instead to ride the wave the best it can. The MLA explained, “Something has changed in the psyche of Hindutva” in the state, but it “is difficult”.In Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency, where 2016 saw rioting at Naihati, the party’s heavyweight, Arjun Singh, switched over to the BJP and is challenging Dinesh Trivedi. A series of defections followed, along with the mobilisation of the BJP and RSS on the ground. A member of Trivedi’s team said that with the Muslim votes and Hindi-speaking Hindu votes cancelling themselves out, “the Bengali Hindu voters might end up deciding”.At the seat that was once the jute bowl of India and elsewhere, the question of ‘Bengali-ness’ has become key for the TMC. The party has been repeatedly attacking the BJP’s legitimacy as a Bengali party — a tactic it had deployed in December last year to counter the BJP’s attempt at conducting rath yatras in the state. At the time, Banerjee had flagged off a rath yatra for Lord Jagannath in Kolkata and said, “There is a close connection between Maa Kali’s Temple and the Jagannath Temple of Puri…I am praying for peace to reign in Bengal as well as in the entire country.” Her nephew, Abhishek had been more direct. “In the name of rath yatra, they have brought a 7-star AC luxury bus from Delhi. We have heard of rath yatra of Shri Jagannath or Shri Krishna (referring to the Rash Mela held in districts like Cooch Behar). But in the name of rath, communal asuras of Bangla will be riding a luxury bus…we have to be alert,” he said.The TMC has also tried to counter the BJP’s narrative of the National Register of Citizen where it proposes a binary of the “Hindu refugee” and the “Muslim infiltrator” as being ‘anti-Bengali’. During the exercise in Assam, Banerjee posited herself at the heart of the debate and claimed that of the 66% of the Bengalis in Assam, whose names don’t feature in the first draft were Hindus. “Does BJP president Amit Shah have the original birth certificates of his parents,” she asked, before concluding, “One shouldn’t hope to win the hearts of Bengalis with repression.”This is key. In 2014, the BJP had received only 21 per cent of the Hindu votes in the state, compared to the TMC’s 40 per cent and the Left’s 29 per cent, as per data from the Centre for Study of Developing Societies, adding that the TMC also received 40 per cent of the Muslim votes, while the BJP only received 2 per cent. “It is a misconception that the TMC is a Muslim party. It has a large support base among Hindus and it’s vital that the BJP isn’t able to erode that,” said a TMC Rajya Sabha MP. But, the MP added, “With polarisation pitting Muslims against Hindus, it is a difficult balancing act to maintain.”The ‘balancing act’ that the MP spoke about can be seen across the state. Hindutva is no longer confined to the margins or restricted to dusty pamphlets. It’s central and finds expression in daily lives. At Basirhat, another seat that has seen rioting in the past years, Mohammad Arif, who owns a restaurant, said the ‘balance’ was one he had to maintain on a daily basis. “I had one restaurant, and my best selling item was the beef biryani and chaap. The mutton biryani a close second,” he said.In the past year, his customers nearly halved and for the first time, the 63-year-old Arif Restaurant was dubbed a ‘Muslim’ eatery. After some consideration, he eventually opened up a smaller restaurant across the road for Hindus that served mutton but not beef. “Those who ate and laughed together for years…now sit across the road, separated from each other,” he said.last_img read more

Will Proceed As Per Law in Kulbhushan Jadhav Case Pakistan Foreign Office

first_img ICJIndiaInternational Court of Justicekulbhushan jadhav case First Published: July 17, 2019, 9:18 PM IST Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday said it will now proceed “as per law” in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case after the International Court of Justice ruled that it must review the death sentence for the Indian national who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism”.The Foreign Office in a statement said Pakistan as a “responsible member” of the international community “upheld its commitment” from the very beginning of the case by appearing before the court for the provisional measures hearing despite a very short notice. “Having heard the judgment, Pakistan will now proceed as per law,” the statement said.The statement claimed that the Hague-based ICJ in its judgment did not accept India’s plea to “acquit/release” Jadhav.The Foreign Office reiterated that Jadhav entered Pakistan “without a visa on authentic Indian Passport with a fake alias Hussain Mubarak Patel”.The ICJ bench headed by Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf ordered an “effective review and reconsideration” of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav.Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India following which New Delhi moved the world court.In New Delhi, India welcomed the verdict of the ICJ asking Pakistan to review the death sentence for Jadhav and granting consular access to him.The spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry, Raveesh Kumar, said the ruling of the court by a vote of 15-1 upheld India’s position in the case.”This landmark judgement validates India’s position on the matter,” he said, adding, “We will continue to work vigorously for Kulbhushan Jadhav’s early release and return to India.”Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said that execution of Jadhav was stayed by the International Court of Justice only until he exhausts reviews.Mazari tweeted that the verdict was in favour of Pakistan.Oh for heaven sakes only on consular access judgement in India’s favour – otherwise on every other count India lost – execution-only stayed till all review channels utilised, she said. last_img read more

Amid Opposition Protest Lok Sabha Passes NIA Amendment Bill

first_img Amit Shahlok sabhaNational Investigation AgencyNational Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill First Published: July 16, 2019, 9:00 AM IST | Edited by: Sumedha Kirti New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, giving more teeth to the NIA in probing terror cases in India and abroad.The amendments will allow the NIA probe cybercrimes and cases of human trafficking, sources had earlier told news agency PTI. The Bill allows the National Investigation Agency to investigate terror attacks on Indians and Indian interests abroad. The NIA was set up in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack that had claimed 166 lives.Since 2017, the Union Home Ministry has been considering the two laws to give more power to the NIA to meet fresh challenges, the sources pointed out.Ahead of the Lok Sabha session, Home Minister Amit Shah asserted that the Modi government will never misuse it on the basis of religion but ensure that terrorism is finished off irrespective of the religion of the accused.Shah also targeted the Congress-led UPA government for repealing the anti-terror act POTA, saying it was not done because of its alleged misuse but to “save its vote bank”.His response came as several opposition leaders criticised the bill and accused the government of using investigating agencies for “political vendetta”.Some MPs said the anti-terror law is misused at times to target members of a particular community. “Let me make it clear. The Modi government has no such intention. Its only goal is to finish off terrorism but we will also not look at the religion of the accused while taking action,” Shah said.Further responding to clarifications sought by certain members including on alleged backlog of cases, he said that there is only one NIA designated court in every state. He said that these courts would only take NIA cases and not others.last_img read more

Exploding star system revealed through ultraviolet Hubble image

first_img Editors’ Recommendations Spitzer captures childhood, middle age, and maturity of stars in one image See 265,000 galaxies in the epic Hubble Legacy Field mosaic The Very Large Telescope gets upgrade to aid its hunt for habitable exoplanets Images of the Whirlpool galaxy show the value of infrared light observations Cosmic dust feeds star formation in this week’s Hubble image Telescopes, including Hubble, have monitored the Eta Carinae star system for more than two decades. It has been prone to violent outbursts, including an episode in the 1840s during which ejected material formed the bipolar bubbles seen here. NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of Arizona, Tucson), and J. Morse (BoldlyGo Institute, New York)This Hubble image shows Eta Carinae, a double star system 7500 light-years away, which has been exploding in slow motion for more than a hundred and eighty years.The system contains at least two stars which glow five million times brighter than our Sun, and the dramatic event began in 1838, when it experienced an enormous explosion called the Great Eruption. The event threw off enough light that it became the second brightest in the sky by April 1844, and sailors and mariners in the southern seas used it for navigation. It almost destroyed the system, but the light eventually faded although the explosions continued.A smaller eruption happened in 1892, and it has grown consistently brighter since 1940, suggesting the activity is still ongoing. This video traces the evolution of this remarkable system:The new image from Hubble has revealed more information about the two round globe shapes formed by dust, gas, and other materials pushed out into space by the explosion. It was previously thought that the clouds would glow with magnesium illuminated by nitrogen (which is shown in red in the image), but in fact complex magnesium structures were found in between the bubbles of gas instead.“We’ve discovered a large amount of warm gas that was ejected in the Great Eruption but hasn’t yet collided with the other material surrounding Eta Carinae,” Nathan Smith of Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona, lead investigator of the Hubble program, explained in a statement. “Most of the emission is located where we expected to find an empty cavity. This extra material is fast, and it ‘ups the ante’ in terms of the total energy of an already powerful stellar blast.”Hubble captured ultraviolet wavelengths of light to create the image, which help to illuminate warm gas is a different way from other wavelengths.“We had used Hubble for decades to study Eta Carinae in visible and infrared light, and we thought we had a pretty full account of its ejected debris. But this new ultraviolet-light image looks astonishingly different, revealing gas we did not see in either visible-light or infrared images,” Smith said. “We’re excited by the prospect that this type of ultraviolet magnesium emission may also expose previously hidden gas in other types of objects that eject material, such as protostars or other dying stars; and only Hubble can take these kinds of pictures.”last_img read more