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Doctor Honored for Helping Yazidis Calls for Justice

TBILISI – Yazidi families would not feel safe returning to their homes in Iraq until Islamic State militants accused of atrocities against the religious minority face justice, according to a doctor awarded Saturday for his work with Yazidi women and children.

Mirza Dinnayi, a Yazidi activist named the winner of the Aurora humanitarian prize for helping 1,000 Yazidi women and children seek medical treatment in Europe, said prosecutions were key to help the “completely traumatized” community.

“Yazidis need to trust the authorities in Iraq in order to establish peace and make a process of reconciliation and transitional justice. This has not happened,” Dinnayi said.

UN declares genocide

Islamic State rampaged through the Yazidi religious community’s heartland in Sinjar, northern Iraq, in 2014, slaughtering thousands of people, in what the United Nations has called a genocide.

About 7,000 women and children were kidnapped to become sex slaves or fighters. Almost 3,000 of them remain unaccounted for, according to community leaders.

The jihadist group was driven out of the region in 2017, but many Yazidi still live in camps, afraid to return.

Some militants have faced trial in Iraq but on charges of belonging to a terrorist group rather than for alleged war crimes and genocide — something that has fueled a sense of distrust in authorities among the Yazidi community, Dinnayi said.

“The recognition of genocide is the first step in order to satisfy the victims,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview from Armenia where the award ceremony was held.

The problem was exacerbated by Iraqi laws allowing rapists to avoid prosecution by marrying their victims and the lack of a specific crime for sexual slavery, Dinnayi said.

Fears of IS escape

The 46-year-old added he was also concerned that a recent Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces in neighboring Syria could further hamper efforts to see justice done, by providing militants jailed there with a “big opportunity” to escape.

Kurdish officials have said almost 800 Islamic State-affiliated foreigners, many of them women and children, escaped from a camp after the Turkish incursion began last week.

There are also fears that jihadists held in jails in Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria could flee.

Prize money goes to aid groups

Dinnayi, who lives in Germany, was awarded the $1 million prize for his work helping more than 1,000 Yazidi women and children seek medical treatment in Europe.

The prize money would go to his organization, Air Bridge Iraq, and two other aid groups helping people who suffered at the hands of Islamic State militants, he said.

The Aurora prize runner-ups were Zannah Mustapha, a lawyer who set up a school for children affected by violence in northeastern Nigeria, and Yemeni lawyer Huda Al-Sarari, who investigated human rights abuses in the war-torn country.

The annual Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity was founded by Armenia-based 100 LIVES, a global initiative that commemorates a 1915 massacre in which up to 1.5 million Christian Armenians were killed by Ottoman Muslims. (Agencies)

CM Punk Says he is “Absolutely” Interested in Pro Wrestling Return

CM Punk made an appearance Barstool Sports’ My Mom’s Basement podcast where he spoke about potentially getting back within the pro wrestling industry.

This is where he brought up that he’s open to the idea

“Absolutely,” Punk stated. “For five years I’ve always been asked that question. No matter what I say, it gets reduced to clickbait and it gets warped. I’ve gone through some many iterations of people saying, ‘Oh, Punk hates wrestling.’ None of that was ever the case. I think I’ve always been open to it. My attitude has always been that I don’t see it happening. I think I’ve talked about it more recently, but my attitude hasn’t changed. People always ask what would it take to go back, and I say it would take a big bag. So people use their imaginations.”

Punk brought up the offer from AEW and how their way of contacting him was not the right way to do it. 

“How many shows have they had? There is not a lot of content out there for me to be able to watch,” Punk stated. “I like The Young Bucks, I love what they are doing, it is very punk rock.

“I’m that white whale in pro wrestling. I don’t know if that freaks people out on how to approach me, it is what it is. I’m open to the idea, I haven’t been approached properly. I’m not courting anyone to show up with a dozen roses at my front door.”

10 Best Camping spots in the world

Camping in the world’s wildest places doesn’t mean you need to give up the hope of a relaxing holiday. If you have the budget, there are terrific Camping sites across every continent for any traveller who wants to experience solitude in far-off places, without compromising on comfort. We’ve rounded up ten of the best Camping experiences in remote places to inspire you.

Between the salt flats and the stars

Bolivia’s Uyunui salt flats are eternally captivating to travellers and now Kachi Lodge allows you to stay in the middle of this otherworldly landscape. As well as views of the plains ahead, it’s the perfect spot for stargazing, sitting at 3600m elevation. The lodge also runs on solar energy, with its own water treatment unit for added sustainability.

A square white tent with two-tired pyramidal roof glows with soft light in the dusk with the mountains of Ladakh in the background; the tent sits amongst lush vegetation, another similar tent is in the distance
A luxury tent in Ladakh © The Ultimate Travelling Camp

Immerse yourself in the Sanatan way of life

Nestled in the mountains of the Ladakh region of India, the Chamba Camp is steeped in local Hindu and Buddhist culture. Packages include trips to the picturesque monasteries of the region during the day, while in the evening you can enjoy private dining with ingredients picked from their own organic garden. Open from May to October.

Comfortable Caribbean camping

Puerto Rico’s first official upmarket camping experience, Pitahaya Glamping Retreat enjoys some of the darkest skies in the country, making it possible to see the Milky Way at night. You’ll have access to five acres of nature reserves around you, as well as spectacular beaches on the southwest coast some 20 minutes away. Too relaxed to move? There’s also a pool to cool off during the day.

A small hut with a clear roof stands on large skis in the middle of a snowy, bare landscape with the Northern Lights in the sky and two people standing the background.
In Finland you can truly camp in the middle of nowhere © Off the Map Travel

Sleep under the Northern Lights

Living up to its name, this Northern Lights Wilderness Camp in Finland is in a different location every winter season. You’ll have the entire place to yourself, as you’re shuttled to and from by snowmobile. The amenities are basic: there’s only room for two but the clear roof means you have the best chance of spotting the elusive Aurora Borealis during the night. Available between January and April.

A woman sits in a hot tub with Australia's Uluru in the background.
The extraordinary glamping site of Longitude 131 mixes luxury and local culture © Baillie Lodges

Dine in the shadow of Uluru

Relax in the heart of outback Australia at Longitude 131 while gazing at the natural wonder that is Uluru. On site there is a spa using products made with local ingredients and an open-air terrace gives you the option to dine under the stars. Guests can also delve deeper into Aboriginal culture, learning about the creation stories of the local Aṉangu.

A Martian experience on Earth

Dubbed the ‘Martin Domes’, the signature lodgings in this Sun City Camp are settled in the red dust of the desert wilderness of Wadi Rum, Jordan Coming equipped with air conditioning to keep you cool, it’s the perfect base to try the quintessential adventures like a jeep tour over the dunes, sunrise yoga or a float in a hot air balloon.

Blue and pine interiors of the Kingfisher Lodge glamping tent, including a couch, glass coffee table, double bed and bookshelves.
The Kingfisher Lodge resides within an area of incredibly biodiversity © Kingfisher Lodge

Sustainable adventures in the UAE

Stretched across its own private peninsula in the ecotourist enclave of Kalba, Kingfisher Lodge boasts just 25 tents in total for an expansive sense of privacy. Explore the region’s spectacular biodiversity by day and retire to the dining tent for a glorious buffet after dark.

A woman reclines on a wooden deck and looks out on the wilderness from a wooden deck at sundown. The deck has a hot tub, candles and small tables.
A view to wake up to at Highlands Camp in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania © Asilia Africa

Wake up in the wilderness

This stunning high-altitude Highlands Camp is in the Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage Site which is Tanzania’s only conservation area that also supports human habitation. Learn about Maasai culture and be rewarded with views over this unique ecosystem at night from your luxury domes in the morning.

Cream-coloured domes stand in the Antarctica, with huge icebergs in the background.
You don’t need to rough it to camp in Antarctica © White Desert

Holiday at the end of the world

Glamping doesn’t get more remote than this. Antarctica’s only luxury accommodation, White Desert skips the traditional gruelling – but spectacular – journey and instead flies visitors in, staying in a temporary but comfortable dome with meals cooked by an award-winning chef. Trips only run in November and December and the company is accredited as carbon neutral.

A white glamping tent looking out over pristine, green rolling hills with nothing else in sight
The way the tents are positioned at Cloud House, you’ll feel like you are totally alone © Cloud House

Retreat into the forest

Cloud House is an off-the-grid farm hidden in the middle of 17 spectacular acres of lush forest in Andalucía. Each room is a private space cocooned among the trees, filled with unique pieces made by local craftspeople. Start your day with freshly squeezed orange juice from the nearby trees before setting off on hiking routes stretching across Sierra Bermeja Mountain Range.

Humans have salamander-like ability to regrow cartilage in joints


Contrary to popular belief, cartilage in human joints can repair itself through a process similar to that used by creatures such as salamanders and zebrafish to regenerate limbs, researchers at Duke Health found.

Publishing online Oct. 9 in the journal Science Advances, the researchers identified a mechanism for cartilage repair that appears to be more robust in ankle joints and less so in hips. The finding could potentially lead to treatments for osteoarthritis, the most common joint disorder in the world.

“We believe that an understanding of this ‘salamander-like’ regenerative capacity in humans, and the critically missing components of this regulatory circuit, could provide the foundation for new approaches to repair joint tissues and possibly whole human limbs,” said senior author Virginia Byers Kraus, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the departments of Medicine, Pathology and Orthopedic Surgery at Duke.

Kraus and colleagues, including lead author Ming-Feng Hsueh, Ph.D., devised a way to determine the age of proteins using internal molecular clocks integral to amino acids, which convert one form to another with predictable regularity.

Newly created proteins in tissue have few or no amino acid conversions; older proteins have many. Understanding this process enabled the researchers to use sensitive mass spectrometry to identify when key proteins in human cartilage, including collagens, were young, middle-aged or old.

They found that the age of cartilage largely depended on where it resided in the body. Cartilage in ankles is young, it’s middle-aged in the knee and old in the hips. This correlation between the age of human cartilage and its location in the body aligns with how limb repair occurs in certain animals, which more readily regenerate at the furthest tips, including the ends of legs or tails.

The finding also helps explain why injuries to people’s knees and, especially, hips take a long time to recover and often develop into arthritis, while ankle injuries heal quicker and less often become severely arthritic.

The researchers further learned that molecules called microRNA regulate this process. Not surprisingly, these microRNAs are more active in animals that are known for limb, fin or tail repair, including salamanders, zebrafish, African fresh water fish and lizards.

These microRNAs are also found in humans — an evolutionary artifact that provides the capability in humans for joint tissue repair. As in animals, microRNA activity varies significantly by its location: it was highest in ankles compared to knees and hips and higher in the top layer of cartilage compared to deeper layers of cartilage.

“We were excited to learn that the regulators of regeneration in the salamander limb appear to also be the controllers of joint tissue repair in the human limb,” Hsueh said. “We call it our ‘inner salamander’ capacity.”

The researchers said microRNAs could be developed as medicines that might prevent, slow or reverse arthritis.

“We believe we could boost these regulators to fully regenerate degenerated cartilage of an arthritic joint. If we can figure out what regulators we are missing compared with salamanders, we might even be able to add the missing components back and develop a way someday to regenerate part or all of an injured human limb,” Kraus said. “We believe this is a fundamental mechanism of repair that could be applied to many tissues, not just cartilage.”

In addition to Kraus and Hsueh, study authors include Patrik Önnerfjord, Michael. P. Bolognesi and Mark. E. Easley.

The study received support from an OARSI Collaborative Scholarship, a Collaborative Exchange Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society and the National Institutes of Health (P30-AG-028716).

Story Source:

Materials provided by Duke University Medical CenterNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Ming-Feng Hsueh, Patrik Önnerfjord, Michael P. Bolognesi, Mark E. Easley, Virginia B. Kraus. Analysis of “old” proteins unmasks dynamic gradient of cartilage turnover in human limbsScience Advances, 2019; 5 (10): eaax3203 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax3203

As population grows, human diet must cut down on meat, sugar, salt: Nestlé executive

human diet-Nestlé

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Nestlé SA, one of the world’s largest food processors, believes population growth will require human diets to adapt, reducing consumption of sugar, salt and meat products, an executive said on Wednesday.

“We have 7.5 billion people and the population continues to grow, so there is a need to eat more vegetables, cereals, and less sugar, meat products,” said Laurent Freixe, Executive Vice President and head of operations in the Americas.

Limited natural resources on the planet and the growing public health problem of obesity are behind the changes Freixe sees as necessary. He also cited growing public awareness of the food production process as well as issues such as child labor and deforestation, which is especially pertinent in Brazil.

Meat production, particularly beef, is a significant contributor to carbon emissions that scientists blame for global warming.

“We work constantly in the reformulation of our products,” the executive told reporters ahead of an event in Sao Paulo with university students from the four countries in the Mercosur trade bloc: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. It is part of a career training program sponsored by the company.

Freixe also said public awareness is growing around the world regarding raw materials used to produce food. This poses a challenge for every large food processor.

“There is a lot more sensitivity on the matter everywhere, not only in Europe or the U.S. We are in a connected world, people have access to information, consumers want to know where raw materials come from, if they were produced ethically,” he said.

Nestlé is a major buyer worldwide of coffee, sugar, cocoa and milk, among other commodities. It is a significant buyer of Brazilian coffee and sugar.

The company says it clearly states to suppliers that it does not buy raw materials that were produced in recently deforested areas or where child labor has been reported.

“The question mark is how to make that happen? Because there are millions of farmers in so many countries,” the executive said. “When there is an indication of a problem, we investigate. If confirmed, we cut the supplier,” he added.

Forest fires and deforestation in the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, jumped sharply this year, causing a wave of worldwide criticism regarding how the local government is managing the situation.

Global food companies were also pressed by consumers and activists to avoid sourcing commodities from places where forests were recently cleared.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Trump have ‘special’ relationship, but U.S. political circles hostile: KCNA

Kim Jong Un-Trump

EOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump continue to have close relations and trust, with Kim calling the relationship “special,” North Korea’s state news agency KCNA said on Thursday.

In a statement under the name of Foreign Ministry adviser Kim Kye Gwan, KCNA said that contrary to Trump, “Washington political circles and DPRK policy makers of the U.S. administration are hostile to the DPRK for no reason,” using North Korea’s official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The statement said North Korea will see “how wisely the U.S. will pass the end of the year.” North Korea’s Kim had earlier set an end-of-the-year deadline for denuclearization talks with Washington.

Remodelling your Kitchen with these Simple Hacks


They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home and when it comes to remodeling a kitchen it can cost an awful lot of money. Some people will go through with a pricey renovation that puts them without a kitchen for weeks on end for the big payoff at the end, but what if you just can’t afford a major re-do?

Luckily there are minor things that you can do that will spruce up that kitchen and pull it into the current decade. Usually, people can tell the age of your home by what’s on the walls. If your kitchen is full of wallpaper and/or wallpaper border it may be time to freshen it up. Paint those walls and get creative, with that old and dated paper gone the difference will be amazing!

Change those kitchen cabinets.

Refinishing just the cabinets can freshen up a whole space. Yes, it’s a bit time consuming but it is way cheaper than a full renovation and best of all you can do the work yourself.

If you can’t change the cabinets, a smaller fix is to change the cabinet hardware. There are literally thousands of pulls and knobs to choose from that will bring that outdated kitchen up to where it belongs. Be sure to measure the holes in the old hardware though, so you can match them up with new or make sure the new covers them up.

A new tap is a great idea to spruce up a kitchen.

Get one with a veggie sprayer and you’re good to go! They too come in all sorts of colours and designs that will leave you wondering why on earth you didn’t change it up sooner.

If you hate your counter tops and can’t afford brand new, there is always the option of having someone come in to fit new tops over the old, but if that’s not an option, there is special paint you can buy just for counters. Add a splash of colour and watch that kitchen pop!

How about a new fan or lighting fixture?

Those outdated ones have got to go, and there are so many new and fabulous styles out there that finding a new one will be a fun and easy experience. You don’t even need to be an expert electrician to install that new fan or light, they’re easy to do.

Don’t keep looking at that old kitchen, spruce it up today!

Google Play Store Vs Fleksy Keyboard App


Platform power is a helluva a drug. Do a search on Google’s  Play Store in Europe and you’ll find the company’s own Gboard app has an age rating of PEGI 3 — aka the pan-European game information labelling system which signifies content is suitable for all age groups.

PEGI 3 means it may still contain a little cartoon violence. Say, for example, an emoji fist or middle finger.

Now do a search on Play for the rival Fleksy keyboard app and you’ll find it has a PEGI 12 age rating. This label signifies the rated content can contain slightly more graphic fantasy violence and mild bad language.

The discrepancy in labelling suggests there’s a material difference between Gboard and Fleksy — in terms of the content you might encounter. Yet both are pretty similar keyboard apps — with features like predictive emoji and baked in GIFs. Gboard also lets you create custom emoji. While Fleksy puts mini apps at your fingertips.

A more major difference is that Gboard is made by Play Store owner and platform controller, Google. Whereas Fleksy is an indie keyboard that since 2017 has been developed by ThingThing, a startup based out of Spain.

Fleksy’s keyboard didn’t used to carry a 12+ age rating — this is a new development. Not based on its content changing but based on Google enforcing its Play Store policies differently.

The Fleksy app, which has been on the Play Store for around eight years at this point — and per Play Store install stats has had more than 5M downloads to date — was PEGI 3 rating until earlier this month. But then Google stepped in and forced the team to up the rating to 12. Which means the Play Store description for Fleksy in Europe now rates it PEGI 12 and specifies it contains “Mild Swearing”.

Screenshot 2019 10 23 at 12.39.45

The Play store’s system for age ratings requires developers to fill in a content ratings form, responding to a series of questions about their app’s content, in order to obtain a suggested rating.

Fleksy’s team have done so over the years — and come up with the PEGI 3 rating without issue. But this month they found they were being issued the questionnaire multiple times and then that their latest app update was blocked without explanation — meaning they had to reach out to Play Developer Support to ask what was going wrong.

After some email back and forth with support staff they were told that the app contained age inappropriate emoji content. Here’s what Google wrote:

During review, we found that the content rating is not accurate for your app… Content ratings are used to inform consumers, especially parents, of potentially objectionable content that exists within an app.

For example, we found that your app contains content (e.g. emoji) that is not appropriate for all ages. Please refer to the attached screenshot.

In the attached screenshot Google’s staff fingered the middle finger emoji as the reason for blocking the update:

Fleksy Play review emoji violation

“We never thought a simple emoji is meant to be 12+,” ThingThing CEO Olivier Plante tells us.

With their update rejected the team was forced to raise the rating of Fleksy to PEGI 12 — just to get their update unblocked so they could push out a round of bug fixes for the app.

That’s not the end of the saga, though. Google’s Play Store team is still not happy with the regional age rating for Fleksy — and wants to push the rating even higher — claiming, in a subsequent email, that “your app contains mature content (e.g. emoji) and should have higher rating”.

Now, to be crystal clear, Google’s own Gboard app also contains the middle finger emoji. We are 100% sure of this because we double-checked…

Gboard finger

Emojis available on Google’s Gboard keyboard, including the ‘screw you’ middle finger. Photo credit: Romain Dillet/TechCrunch

This is not surprising. Pretty much any smartphone keyboard — native or add-on — would contain this symbol because it’s a totally standard emoji.

But when Plante pointed out to Google that the middle finger emoji can be found in both Fleksy’s and Gboard’s keyboards — and asked them to drop Fleksy’s rating back to PEGI 3 like Gboard — the Play team did not respond.

A PEGI 16 rating means the depiction of violence (or sexual activity) “reaches a stage that looks the same as would be expected in real life”, per official guidance on the labels, while the use of bad language can be “more extreme”, and content may include the use of tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs.


And remember Google is objecting to “mature” emoji. So perhaps its app reviewers have been clutching at their pearls after finding other standard emojis which depict stuff like glasses of beer, martinis and wine… 

Over on the US Play Store, meanwhile, the Fleksy app is rated “teen”.


While Gboard is — yup, you guessed it! — ‘E for Everyone’… 

image 1 1

Plante says the double standard Google is imposing on its own app vs third party keyboards is infuriating, and he accuses the platform giant of anti-competitive behavior.

“We’re all-in for competition, it’s healthy… but incumbent players like Google playing it unfair, making their keyboard 3+ with identical emojis, is another showcase of abuse of power,” he tells TechCrunch.

A quick search of the Play Store for other third party keyboard apps unearths a mixture of ratings — most rated PEGI 3 (such as Microsoft-owned SwiftKey and Grammarly Keyboard); some PEGI 12 (such as Facemoji Emoji Keyboard which, per Play Store’s summary contains “violence”).

Only one that we could find among the top listed keyboard apps has a PEGI 16 rating.

This is an app called Classic Big Keyboard — whose listing specifies it contains “Strong Language” (and what keyboard might not, frankly!?). Though, judging by the Play Store screenshots, it appears to be a fairly bog standard keyboard that simply offers adjustable key sizes. As well as, yes, standard emoji.

“It came as a surprise,” says Plante describing how the trouble with Play started. “At first, in the past weeks, we started to fill in the rating reviews and I got constant emails the rating form needed to be filled with no details as why we needed to revise it so often (6 times) and then this last week we got rejected for the same reason. This emoji was in our product since day 1 of its existence.”

Asked whether he can think of any trigger for Fleksy to come under scrutiny by Play Store reviewers now, he says: “We don’t know why but for sure we’re progressing nicely in the penetration of our keyboard. We’re growing fast for sure but unsure this is the reason.”

“I suspect someone is doubling down on competitive keyboards over there as they lost quite some grip of their search business via the alternative browsers in Europe…. Perhaps there is a correlation?” he adds, referring to the European Commission’s antitrust decision against Google Android last year — when the tech giant was hit with a $5BN fine for various breaches of EU competition law. A fine which it’s appealing.

“I’ll continue to fight for a fair market and am glad that Europe is leading the way in this,” adds Plante.

Following the EU antitrust ruling against Android,  which Google is legally compelled to comply with during any appeals process, it now displays choice screens to Android users in Europe — offering alternative search engines and browsers for download, alongside Google’s own dominate search  and browser (Chrome) apps.

However the company still retains plenty of levers it can pull and push to influence the presentation of content within its dominant Play Store — influencing how rival apps are perceived by Android users and so whether or not they choose to download them.

So requiring that a keyboard app rival gets badged with a much higher age rating than Google’s own keyboard app isn’t a good look to say the least.

We reached out to Google for an explanation about the discrepancy in age ratings between Fleksy and Gboard and will update this report with any further response. At first glance a spokesman agreed with us that the situation looks odd.

points taken from techcrunch

CEO +Chairman = Limitless Growth

Traditionally, the same person occupies the role of chairman of the board and chief executive officer, though this is gradually shifting to the European model. In most European, British, and Canadian businesses, the roles are usually split, in an effort to ensure better governance of the company, and in turn bring higher returns to investors.

Combining the roles does have its advantages, such giving the CEO multiple perspectives on the company as a result of their multiple roles, and empowering them to act with determination. However, this allows for little transparency into the CEO’s acts, and as such their actions can go unmonitored, it paves the way for scandal and corruption.

An effectively independent board is a shareholder’s best protection. Separating the roles allows the chair to check up on the CEO, and in turn the company’s overall performance, on behalf of the stockholders.

Separating the roles also allows the CEO and chairman to focus on different, equally vital aspects of the company’s performance.

We think it is an appropriate segregation of duties. As a business grows, the CEO can focus on the business and the chairman can help with the ever-growing regulatory requirements.

Ultimately, when the chair does not also occupy the role of CEO, they are able to govern the board in a more impartial manner, meaning that investor returns could potentially be higher.

However, a new survey by three consultants for the international management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton found that the companies that divided the roles actually had smaller shareholder returns, leading some to rethink the CEO-chairman split.

A survey by Christian & Timbers showed that 97% of European executives believe that the roles should be split. However, stockholder returns were nearly 5% lower in European companies that implemented the split, when compared with companies that had the same CEO and chairman.

In America, where only about 20% of the major public companies split the roles despite that 86% of executives polled by Christian & Timbers believed that the roles should be split, returns were 4% lower in companies with a separate chairman and CEO.

One of the reasons they gave for the higher returns in the companies with the same CEO and chairman was the once the board commits to arranging itself that way, they focus less on constant watchdog evaluation of that individual than making him or her successful.

They also pointed out that CEO-chairman might be able to withstand pressure better, especially when short-term changes don’t pay off, than non-CEO chairman.

Thirdly, they attribute the surprising results to lack of authority on the CEO’s behalf. “Clearly, a CEO who is not a chairman is the board’s hired hand; a chief who is also chairman has far more influence over other directors,” they noted.

According to an article in the business journal McKinsey Quarterly, Americans tends to view the role of chairman with less respect than that of CEO, especially in companies where the roles are split.

Therefore, they should consider remarketing the job of chairman as a more respected career path, as it is in British companies, where 95% of companies have separate people occupying the roles of CEO and chairman. The remarketing could then function as a way of restoring trust and confidence in the increasingly corrupted corporate American landscape.

Regardless of whether the CEO is the chairman of the board or not, there is no way the company can be successful unless the directors dedicate themselves to helping the CEO and other upper-management sustain a superior level of performance.

Grim find: 39 dead in one of UK’s worst trafficking cases

GRAYS, England (AP) — Authorities found 39 people dead in a truck in an industrial park in England on Wednesday and arrested the driver on suspicion of murder in one of Britain’s worst human-smuggling tragedies..

Police were reconstructing the final journey of the victims as they tried to piece together where they were from and how they came to be in England.

“To put 39 people into a locked metal container shows a contempt for human life that is evil,” said Jackie Doyle-Price, a member of Parliament who represents the area where the truck was found. “The best thing we can do in memory of those victims is to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”

The truck and the trailer with the people inside apparently took separate circuitous journeys before ending up on the grounds of the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of London on the River Thames.

British police said they believe the container went from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet, England, where it arrived early Wednesday. Police believe the tractor traveled from Northern Ireland to Dublin, where it took a ferry to Holyhead in Wales before picking up the trailer at the dockside in England.

The truck’s driver — a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland — was arrested on suspicion of murder. He has not been charged and his name has not been released.

The truck was registered in Bulgaria to a company owned by an Irish citizen, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said. It’s point of origin was unclear. The Belgian federal prosecutor’s office said it has opened an investigation.

“We have no idea at the moment how long the lorry (truck) spent in Belgium,” said spokesman Eric Van Duyse. “It could be hours or days. We just don’t know.”

A police motorcycle escort slowly led the Scania semitrailer out of the park as darkness approached Wednesday, taking it to a place where the bodies could be recovered. The driver of the trailer wore a full forensic suit and gloves as he guided the massive vehicle in the impromptu cortege past journalists.

Britain remains an attractive destination for immigrants, even as the U.K. is negotiating its divorce from the European Union. In Parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson put aside the Brexit crisis and vowed that human traffickers would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“All such traders in human beings should be hunted down and brought to justice,” he said.

Ambulance workers discovered the bodies after being called at 1:40 a.m. It was unclear who called the ambulance service.

No cause of death has been made public. Police said one victim appeared to be a teenager but gave no further details.

The number of victims was shocking, although it has become sadly common in recent years for small numbers of migrants to occasionally be found dead in sealed vehicles after having been abandoned by traffickers.

The tragedy recalls the death of 58 migrants in 2000 in a truck in Dover, England, and the deaths in 2015 of 71 migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who were found suffocated in the back of a refrigerated truck that was abandoned on an Austrian highway close to the Hungarian border.

Groups of migrants have repeatedly landed on English shores using small boats for the risky Channel crossing, and migrants are sometimes found in the trunks of cars that disembark from the massive ferries that link France and England, but Wednesday’s macabre find in an industrial park was a reminder that trafficking gangs are still profiting from the human trade. Police also were investigating a separate incident in which nine people were found traveling in the back of a truck in southeast England.

The National Crime Agency said its specialists were working to “urgently identify and take action against any organized crime groups who have played a role in causing these deaths.” It said in May that the number of people being smuggled into Britain via cargo trucks was on the rise.


All about building a Career in Photography

No guys, this is 2019 and photography is not about taking photos. The world has transformed immensely in the last decade, and the art of capturing the memories has grown immensely.

Photography offers numerous career options for everyone who is interested in developing a third eye for themselves.

Below you can read a short list of different types of photography and what kinds of jobs you can have in each field:

1. Portrait Photographer

From marriage photography to the passport size, portrait photographers are on site with their equipment to capture the moment. They may operate out of their own studios as well as working on location, and if they are self-employed or own their own business, they’ll have a wide variety of other job responsibilities, like billing clients, making appointments, processing images and framing photos. It is the ideal entrepreneur opportunity for people looking for quick bucks.

2. Commercial Photographer

The drones still can’t fly themselves. Commercial photography focuses (pun intended) a range of photography careers that specialize in serving clients market their products or services. Commercial photographers take pictures of everything from buildings to merchandise to company employees, for media such as catalogs, advertisements and websites. Additionally, they may document equipment or projects for company records and reports. This is often one of the more lucrative careers in photography.

3. Scientific Photographer

Scientific photographers document a variety of subjects in order to record experiments, illustrate technical information and bring to life images not normally visible to the eye. They often use special imaging techniques and equipment such as micrography, infrared photography, underwater photography and many more. Usually, scientific photographers work for government agencies, research facilities or universities.

4. Photojournalist/News Photographer

Photojournalists document people and events for newspapers, magazines and other publications. Whether they use only images to tell their stories or whether they also accompany them with words, photojournalists must be skilled storytellers. Press or news photographers usually work for newspapers either on staff or as freelancers, and cover local or national events such as sports, politics or court proceedings.

5. Freelance Photographer

As a freelance photographer you can be your own boss rather than working on staff at a studio, publication or other company. There are opportunities for freelance photography careers in just about any industry, from news photography to event photography to fashion photography. Though it can be challenging to establish yourself in the business, the constant variety of assignments means you’ll never be bored.

If you want to settle down, stay in one place and have a family then maybe starting your own studio would be best for you and doing special events might be good for you. If you want to travel a lot and maybe not settle down anywhere in particular, then maybe the nature photography track would be best, since photography for any type of nature magazine usually requires a lot of travel.

Manure, trash and wastewater: U.S. utilities get dirty in climate fight

PIXLEY, Calif. (Reuters) – Joey Airoso has always been proud of his cows, whose milk goes into the butter sold by national dairy company Land O’Lakes. Now he has something new to brag about: the vast amounts of gas produced by his 2,900-head herd is powering truck fleets, homes and factories across the state of California

“It’s pretty incredible if you think about it,” Airoso said during a recent tour of his 1,500-acre farm, as a stream of watered-down manure flowed from cow sheds into a nearby pit. There the slurry releases methane that is captured and eventually piped into fueling stations and buildings. 

Airoso is tapping into a growing market among U.S. utilities for so-called renewable natural gas, or biomethane, that is being driven by the fight against climate change

For farmers, it is a way to get ahead of a wave of greenhouse gas regulation and make a bit of cash at the same time. And for utilities that buy or transport the gas, it is a way to respond to the increasing demands of customers and lawmakers to cut their reliance on fossil fuels. 

“It is not something very many people are aware of yet, but it makes sense once it’s explained,” said Emily O’Connell, director of energy markets policy at the American Gas Association, the trade group for gas utilities.

Renewable natural gas can come from manure, landfills or wastewater and is interchangeable with gas drilled out of the ground. It cuts greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring significant volumes of methane that would have been produced anyway never reach the atmosphere. Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide when it escapes into the air unburned.

Nationwide, more than a dozen utilities have started developing renewable natural gas production through partnerships with farmers, wastewater treatment plants and landfill operators, while nine have proposed price premiums for customers who choose it as a fuel, according to the American Gas Association industry group. Renewable natural gas is currently between four and seven times more expensive to produce than fossil gas, a gap that its proponents hope will narrow as the fuel becomes more widely used.


California’s SoCalGas, the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, is one of the industry’s top proponents of the alternative fuel. It has committed to making renewable natural gas 20 percent of its supply by 2030, said Sharon Tomkins, vice president of strategy and engagement. 

She said California has enough biomethane potential “to make a significant dent in reducing the overall emissions from both the agricultural sector as well as reducing the carbon intensity of our gas stream.” 

Across the country, Vermont Gas hopes to one day supply only renewable natural gas, leveraging the state’s preponderance of dairy farms. The utility’s renewable natural gas supply currently stands at less than 1 percent of overall volumes, according to spokeswoman Beth Parent. But the company is helping large energy buyers in the state, like cleaning products maker Seventh Generation, Middlebury College and Vermont Coffee Company transition to using biomethane.

CenterPoint Energy, Southwest Gas , DTE Energy and NW Natural are among the other gas utilities seeking to integrate more renewable natural gas into their systems. Last year Dominion Energy partnered with meat producer Smithfield Foods on a $250 million venture to capture methane emissions from hog farms. 

“It’s good for their business,” said Marcus Gillette, spokesman for the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, an industry lobbying group. “Many are on missions to decrease emissions from their side of the energy sector as much as possible.” 

Until now, nearly all the market for biomethane has come from bus fleets and other vehicles that are able to use state and federal subsidies to make the fuel competitive with fossil gas. Production of the fuel doubled between 2015 and 2018 to 304 million ethanol gallons equivalent thanks to the incentives, according to a report from consulting firm Bates White. 

Today about three quarters of renewable natural gas production is still used for transportation, though Gillette said that is shifting as more utilities seek to provide it for heating, cooking and industrial uses. 

Some states are more aggressive in bolstering the renewable natural gas industry than others. 

Oregon, for example, passed a bill in August that sets a goal of making renewable natural gas account for 30% of what is carried in the state’s gas pipeline network by 2050. 

California, meanwhile, has mandated a 40 percent reduction in methane emissions by 2030, something that will spell specific regulatory curbs on agriculture in the coming years. Methane accounts for about 9 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, half of which comes from livestock. 

For Airoso, that made tapping into the growing biomethane market an easy decision. “We’ve got a $10 mln investment here, so I had to figure out how I protect my investment,” he said.

Technology is remaking how we see the ancient art of theater

When James Corden kicked off the Tony Awards this year, his opening number was a full-throated endorsement of the live theatrical experience.

“It’s live, we do it live, and every single moment’s unrepeatable,” the late-night TV host sang. “There is a visceral bliss you only get in a theater seeing people do this.”

Turns out he wasn’t correct.

These days, you can watch a Broadway musical from a subway train seat. You can get your stage fix at your local movie theater or hear a play while jogging.

Theater just isn’t what it used to be.

Media companies armed with the latest in technology like Fathom Events, Audible Inc. and BroadwayHD are reshaping the experience, evolving it past the quaint notion of patrons filing into an arena, turning off their phones and sitting quietly in the dark.

Kicking yourself that you never saw the musical “Kinky Boots” or the play “Fleabag”? Relax. Cinema distributor Fathom has you covered. Can’t wait for the live-action “Cats” movie? Then watch a stage version while cuddling your own cat on th couch, thanks to digital theater streaming network BroadwayHD. Or, if you’re in a more serious mood, put on your headphones and listen to the play “True West,” co-starring Kit Harrington, via Audible.

“We’re really going into a place where I hope people look at what theater is differently,” said Kate Navin, who leads the theater initiative at Audible, the world’s largest producer of audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment.

The prices can’t be beat: A Fathom screening will cost you $20, a monthly subscription to BroadwayHD runs $8.99 and an audio play costs $7.95 — all a fraction of a Broadway ticket, which can run you hundreds of dollars.

Broadcasting Broadway shows on TV is nothing new, of course. PBS’s “Great Performances” has been doing it for 40 years. But BroadwayHD argues they’re using the latest technology to make their shows pop.

If rivals rely on a few cameras capturing the stage from the same couple of angles, BroadwayHD promises the “best seat in the house” for each and every scene. For “42nd Street,” it used eight different 4K cameras, shot three different performances and used extra footage to augment them.

These media companies are also changing what success means in the theater world, which usually means total tickets sold. Carey Mulligan’s short run of “Girls & Boys” at the small Minetta Lane Theatre in 2018 was well-received but its subsequent reach was much wider than what was captured at the box office.

The Audible audio version of her play has sold the equivalent of 26 sold-out weeks at Broadway’s Booth Theatre, which seats 770. “The traditional ways of evaluating whether or not a run was successful don’t really apply anymore,” said Navin.

Audible has made a strong push into theater, not only recording dozens of in-studio plays but also commissioning writers and staging works at its off-Broadway venue, the 400-seat Minetta Lane Theatre. It is perfecting a form of theater without visuals.

Not everything on stage can work as an audio download. Plays with big visual effects are hard. So are farces. “But really because theater is the art of language, a lot of it works,” said Navin. “We’re not trying to replace the live experience. What we really think this will do is expand the audience.”

If Audible skips the optics in favor of a private sonic drama, Fathom embraces the visual and communal parts of theater. It distributes big Broadway musicals like “Bandstand” and “Newsies” and often partners with the United Kingdom’s National Theater Live to put shows on 40-foot movie theater screens.

Fathom, which is owned by the cinema chains AMC, Cinemark and Regal, offers fans a place to gather and celebrate, whether it’s coming dressed as zombies to watch a season ending episode of “The Walking Dead,” getting romantic watching the latest British royal wedding live (with tea and crumpets served) or cheering diversity at a screening of “Kinky Boots.”

“To see people sitting there applauding at the end of an act or at the end of a song as if they were there in that Broadway theater, that is just an awesome experience that you can’t replicate at home,” said Ray Nutt, CEO of Fathom.

BroadwayHD is hoping it that it can, in fact, replicate exactly that — streaming full-length plays and musicals like “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Miserables” to your laptop, TV, phone or tablet. The company was the first to live broadcast a Broadway show — “She Loves Me” with Laura Benanti — and recently captured a big and bold production of “42nd Street” from London.

Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley founded the company in 2015 with a focus on shows with limited runs — often with a celebrity or two — as well as shows that are closing imminently. They work carefully with theater producers to ensure cannibalization of tickets to the live show doesn’t happen.

“We’re not in any way trying to kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” said Comley. “What we’re trying to do is make this available, make it a marketing asset, make it another way for the audiences to have a touchpoint with these brands.”

BroadwayHD, which has some 300 shows, is for subscribers who can’t fly to New York, can’t afford pricey tickets or simply don’t want to navigate Times Square. It offers closed-captioning for the hearing impaired and a chance for theater lovers across the world to see a treasured title come to life.

“Once the shows close, people tend to forget what it looked like, tend to forget how big the cast was, what the set looked like,” said Lane. “You actually have a reference now to actually use to see whether it would fit on their stage and whether they’d want to do the show.”

Some Broadway producers love the idea and some are colder. Many are in the middle, like Mike Bosner, who has produced “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” and the recent revival of “Sunset Boulevard” with Glenn Close.

“Honestly, I’m not trying to be coy about this. I really don’t have an opinion on it. I go back and forth on it because one side of me says theater is meant to be live and it’s meant to be experienced and it’s meant to live on only in the archives,” he said.

“But the plus side when they do that type of thing is you’re bringing it to many people around the world that may not get the opportunity to go see that show in any other way.”

Other media companies are taking note: Nickelodeon is reforming the Broadway cast of “The SpongeBob Musical” and will film it in front of a live theater audience for a December broadcast. On Netflix, you can catch Kerry Washington in the play “American Son” and Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show, both now closed.

All these companies are helping remake one of the most ancient of art forms, redefining it by playing with its elements — visual, communal and live. The result is something more democratic — and evolving.

“I think once you get outside the New York bubble, people think that theater is very elitist, inaccessible, for the highly educated. It doesn’t mean that,” Navin said. “It means something different. Just like TV doesn’t mean one thing.”

(Associated Press)

Strategic Selling Techniques

Collect and Analyze All Necessary Information

Selling strategically works only when you make informed decisions from carefully analyzed and accurate information. Learning how to leverage your social selling skills by using social networking to make connections and gather leads that lead to meaningful relationships can be a great way to gather information about your potential customers.

Learn Your Company

Understanding strategic selling means gaining a clear understanding of your company and its unique vision. When those are well-known and aligned, you can work on selecting the best customers based on how well they fit into the parameters of people who want to buy from you.

Establish Yourself as a Credible Expert to Gain Trust

Sales professionals will have a better chance at earning the trust of their customers when they stop trying to sell them something and start trying to help them overcome their challenges. To sell strategically, sales professionals should learn everything there is to know about their customer’s industry, the unique challenges they face, opportunities for resolving these issues, and positioning your product or service as the best way to mitigate risks.

Sell on Value

When you look at the competition, you can clearly see how your products or services differ. However, a customer isn’t likely to know the industry as well as you. They primarily look at price instead of value, so it’s up to you to create a strategy to sell them on value.

Listen for Opportunities

Customers also tend to know how salespeople operate. For instance, they know that you’re going to tell them features and try to push them to buy, so they’re already on the offensive. The goal is to listen in order to get a better feel for how you can strategically position your solution to their problems.

  • Do they want more information?
  • Do they know what they want or are they asking for help subconsciously?
  • Do they desire more information or want you to point out the best products to help with their issue?

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