Word is Spreading about UBT – Have You Spoken Up?

first_imgPhones were ringing all day at Freelancers Union offices in Brooklyn when Mayor Bloomberg announced his proposal to cut taxes for freelancers. I take back what I said about an un-sexy issue: this one’s got legs. The news coverage points out that not only is the UBT generally unfair (see my double-dipping analogy below), but eliminating this tax will help protect the livelihoods of already vulnerable freelancers, whose ranks are surely swelling as jobs vanish. Both the New York Times and NY Post covered Bloomberg’s address and took special note of the UBT proposal (and they quote Sara Horowitz). As one commentary notes, this isn’t a done deal. So thanks to over 400 of you who contacted Bloomberg within 24 hours of getting our announcement. Take this chance if you haven’t already to remind Mayor Bloomberg you’re counting on him to make his proposal a reality. (Oh, and if you want to receive campaign announcements from us, sign in and edit your Subscriptions.)last_img

Budget Meals: 6 Unique Ways to Eat Beans and Rice

first_img Post navigation Welcome back to the collaboration between Mint and Brewing Happiness. I’m Haley, the girl behind Brewing Happiness – a blog about celebrating the small healthy choices we make in our lives, complete with recipes for everybody! I’m here to give you tips on living a healthy, happy life on a budget.Finding cheap, healthy meals to fill you up can be a challenge. How many times have you made a meal with what’s left in your fridge and been sad and unfulfilled by it? There is a solution! If you’re tight on your budget, but don’t want to order off the dollar menu, I suggest rice and beans.Rice and beans is often thought of as a side dish to a Mexican meal. But the truth is that rice and beans is a powerful, healthy combo. Together they make a complete protein! Which means that you don’t always need animal protein with your meal in order to feel full. That’s what makes rice and beans such a great choice if you’re tight on your budget.What kind of beans and rice make a complete protein?ANY! Actually any whole grain and legume combined will make a complete protein with all of the amino acids your body needs. There are endless combinations.Whole grains to try:OatsBarleyBrown RiceQuinoaBuckwheatTeffMilletFarroBulgurAmaranthCheck out my article on cheap grains to keep stocked in your pantry for more ideas on what whole grains to combine with your favorite legumes.Legumes to try:ChickpeasLentilsEdamameKidney BeansBlack BeansFava BeansNavy BeansPinto BeansPeanutsAdzuki BeansToday I am just going to focus on rice and beans. I’ll give you some unique recipe ideas to make, but know that you can always switch out the rice for another whole grain you have on hand. Use whatever is already in your pantry, so it won’t take a lot of effort to make a delicious wholesome meal.6 Unique Ways To Make a Meal out of Beans and Rice1. Make it Asian-inspired.Brown rice is already a staple of Asian cuisine, so throw some fava or edamame beans into your fried rice or stir-fry and you’ve got yourself a full meal deal.Recipe ideas: Brown Rice & Adzuki Bean Bowl or Vegetarian Sushi Bowl2. Have a fiesta!It’s really easy to create a fun Mexican meal with rice and beans. Throw them in a burrito, taco, salad, or quesadilla and your meal is ready to go!Recipe ideas: Black Bean Burrito Bowl with roasted sweet potato or Black Bean Burrito3. Serve it Southern-style.Cajun spice and barbecue are two of my favorite ways to flavor beans and rice. They’re a southern tradition, and make a delicious main course.Recipe ideas: Red Beans & Rice or Healthy Southern Baked Beans served with rice4. Make a burger.Rice and beans actually make a great base for a veggie burger. Combine them with a few other ingredients and you have a cookout worthy meal!Recipe ideas: Black Bean-Brown Rice Burgers or Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers5. Throw it in a soup.Make rice and beans the base of a hearty soup. You can make it creamy, broth-y, or tomato-y. The choice is yours!Recipe ideas: Vegetable Wild Rice Soup or Spiced Fava Bean Soup with Rice and Tomato6. Use Indian flavors.Indian spices and flavors are one of the most delicious ways to combine rice and garbanzo beans (otherwise known as chickpeas.) Curry is my go-to!Recipe ideas: Masala Chickpeas with Coconut Rice or Turmeric Chickpeas and Rice A meal doesn’t have to be extravagant to be healthy and filling. Protein can be found in the simplest of places. If you keep your pantry stocked with whole grains and legumes, you’ll always have something delicious, cheap and easy on hand. Hopefully this inspires you next time your budget is low and stomach is hungry!Follow along!Over the next few months I’ll be covering a variety of ways to be healthy on a budget. Keep an eye out for those and head over to Brewing Happiness for healthy recipe inspiration in the meantime!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related10 Filling and Cheap Pantry StaplesNovember 3, 2017In “Budgeting”Cooking International Meals on a BudgetJune 7, 2018In “Budgeting”Healthy And Affordable Ways to Brown Bag Your LunchMay 17, 2018In “Budgeting” last_img read more

How to Invest with Your HSA

first_img Post navigation Getting ahead financially is a game of inches. It’s about finding every trick, tip, and loophole you can find to maximize the growth potential of your money. There’s no topic where the phrase “work smarter, not harder” is more relevant.It’s true that hard work is important, but grinding away at your job can only go so far. To build real wealth, you need to take advantage of every opportunity available to let your money do the hard work for you. In short, that means looking into nontraditional investing options once you’ve maxed out your regular accounts.That’s why some people choose to invest with their Health Savings Account (HSA). Here’s what you need to know about going that route – how to do it, what to watch out for and how to decide if it’s the right option for you.What is an HSA?An HSA is exactly what it sounds like – a savings account for healthcare expenses. You can save money in an HSA to pay for lab work, prescriptions, imaging and doctor’s visits. Most medical bills qualify for HSA reimbursement except for elective surgery, monthly premiums and some alternative treatments. You can find a full list of eligible items through your HSA provider.To open an HSA, you have to be under an eligible high-deductible plan. These plans must have a deductible of at least $1,350 for individuals and $2,700 for families. The out-of-pocket max for individuals must be no more than $6,650 for individuals and $13,300 for families. Typically, the high-deductible plans will have an HSA next to the name. Not every high-deductible plan qualifies for an HSA.Like IRAs and 401ks, HSAs have a maximum annual contribution limit of $3,500 for individuals and $7,000 for families in 2019. If you contribute the family limit, both you and your partner have to be covered under a high-deductible plan. People 55 and older can contribute an extra $1,000 per year. There is no limit dictating when you have to stop contributing. As long as you’re under a high-deductible plan, you’re eligible.HSAs famously have a triple tax benefit. You can deduct contributions on your taxes, withdraw money tax-free and let your earnings grow tax-free. There’s no other type of account that combines all three of those aspects.Why Invest Your HSA?Your HSA is one of the best savings vehicles available, but most people don’t realize they can use it as an investment account. While there are situations where investing your HSA is a bad idea, the upside is hard to ignore.An HSA combines the tax benefits of both Roth and traditional IRAs, allowing you to deduct contributions on your taxes. You also don’t have to pay taxes on earnings and withdrawals if you use HSA funds for qualified medical expenses.How to Invest Your HSAFirst, open an HSA if you don’t have one already. Like bank and brokerage accounts, HSA providers are built differently and some companies are better than others. Lively and Fidelity are two of the best for investors because they have the lowest investing fees.You might already have an HSA through your employer. If you do, look at their investment requirements, rules, and fund selection. Not every HSA provider has a good investment selection, and some have as few as 23 mutual funds while others have thousands. If you don’t like what you find, open a new HSA and transfer money from the employer’s HSA to your own.Every HSA mandates that you keep at least some portion of your HSA in cash before you can start investing. Usually, the minimum is $2,000, but there are a few where the requirement is only $1,000. With a small handful, the requirement is a full $5,000. Find the lowest minimum possible if investing is the route you plan to take.Next, pick which funds you want to invest in. If you’re not sure how to pick funds, contact a financial planner who can guide your decision. You can also choose funds similar to your IRA or 401k.Once you’ve picked your investments, decide how you want to manage your account. Some people save manually every month, while others set up automatic transfers from their regular bank account to an HSA. Saving manually will keep you from overdrawing your account if money is tight, but automatic transfers are the best way to encourage consistent contributions. Choose the method that works best for your situation and personality.When to Invest with Your HSABecause HSAs don’t have income limits like Roth IRAs or 401ks, they’re more advantageous to high-income earners with limited access to other retirement plans. You also don’t have to contribute earned money to an HSA as you do with an IRA.If you’ve already maxed out your IRA and 401k and still have money leftover, the HSA is a better choice than opening a brokerage account. You don’t have to pay taxes on your HSA unless you overcontribute or accidentally use HSA money for non-medical expenses.If you’re older than 65, you can use your HSA for anything without paying a fine – though you’ll still owe income tax.There’s no time limit on when you can get medical bills reimbursed through your HSA, as long as you have proof of purchase. If you get surgery at 45 and pay for it out-of-pocket, you’re allowed to reimburse yourself for the cost at 65 with your HSA.The downside to investing with your HSA is that your value can drop suddenly if the market experiences a downturn. For the same reason that investing your emergency fund is risky, investing your HSA could leave your account balance dwindling when you need it most.This is only relevant if you’re dealing with recurring medical bills and don’t have enough in the cash portion of your HSA to cover it. If you have major surgery or expensive lab work coming up, leave an appropriate amount in your HSA uninvested.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedWhat Every Freelancer Needs to Know About Planning AheadNovember 14, 2018In “Early Career”How to Think About Saving Beyond Your Emergency FundNovember 8, 2018In “Saving”How to Get the Most out of Your 401K and MoreOctober 23, 2019In “Early Career” last_img read more

Eat more of this one type of fruit to ease joint pain, says expert

first_imgIf you’re one of the 10 million Brits who suffer from arthritis – a common condition causing pain and inflammation in the joints – then you might be interested to hear that a simple diet switch-up could help ease your symptoms…That’s according to one health expert, who claims that eating one particular type of fruit may have offer an anti-inflammatory effect.Speaking to the Express, Dr Sneh Khemka, Aetna International Director of Population Health, claimed that eating cherries could be helpful as part of a balanced diet.‘Certain foods have been shown to fight inflammation, strengthen bones and improve the immune system,’ he said.‘Adding these foods to your balanced diet, may help ease the symptoms of arthritis. Cherries have an anti-inflammatory effect and form part of your five-a-day.‘If you don’t like cherries you can try other berries,’ he added. ‘Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries have the same effect.’Dr Khemka added that consuming more Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in the likes of oily fish, could also prove helpful if you are suffering from painful joints.This isn’t the first time experts have advised that oily fish can be helpful to those suffering from arthritis. Research published last summer by US scientists showed that eating more fish helped reduce inflammation and ease symptoms in arthritic patients.Sourcelast_img read more

What We’d Tell CEOs About the Elephant in the Boardroom

first_imgThis article was originally posted at the Huffington Post.We are heading into earnings season, and the business world is laser-focused on quarterly reports and whether we will see sustained growth in the stock market. That can make chief executives reluctant to address a looming long-term concern: the idea that business model innovation is lagging behind global consumption. Here’s what we’d tell a hypothetical CEO about that issue.To the Chief Executive Officer,We know that you are in the middle of reporting Q2 earnings and tracking the earnings of your peers. You’re focused on framing performance over the past three months and setting expectations for the three months ahead.But what about the next three years? Or the next decade?Your company and our research teams are looking at many of the same long-term social and environmental challenges. We aim to see the global economy grow in a way that meets the needs of people now and in the generations to come.As we pursue growth, let us offer a strong note of caution on a difficult topic for many businesses, one we’ve found to be the “elephant in the room” for the C-suite and the board: the fact that business model innovation is not keeping pace with global consumption.Consider the combined effect of population growth and poverty reduction: rapid expansion of the middle class, particularly in developing markets like India and China. In the two decades between 2009 and 2030, the global middle class is expected to increase by 3 billion people, which is 10 times the population of the United States.These demographic shifts represent a human development milestone and a rich market opportunity for businesses, but it will not be possible to meet soaring consumer demand with business models that depend on increased consumption. The amount of materials needed could triple by 2050 compared to 2000 under current projections. This is pushing the world towards — and probably beyond — the point where it can provide the raw materials, energy and water societies need.Better technology and improved efficiency will help bridge the gap, but business growth purely through increased consumption is a risky strategy in such an environment. Some industries will be better served by business models that allow customers to share and repair products, rather than dumping and replacing them. Apparel companies such as Rent the Runway and ThredUP are embracing clothing rental and re-commerce. Others may find that they can meet or exceed customer expectations through services rather than through the sale of goods. Philips, long a seller of light bulbs, has shifted to selling the light itself as a service to commercial buyers at a time when light bulbs last for decades, keeping the company profitable. Each industry may explore its own solutions, but we expect that the common denominator will be unprecedented business model innovation.However, that innovation cannot happen unless business leaders address the elephant in the boardroom. We find that most companies’ sustainability teams can comfortably talk about climate change and improvements in efficiency, but not about consumption, because it speaks to the heart of the business model that has been so financially successful for the past century.Our advice: ask your sustainability team to look at our recent research on natural resource consumption and its implications for business, and encourage a frank discussion on the risks of your current business model and opportunities for transformation. These conversations are necessary to ensure that business can continue to be the engine for economic growth.Sincerely,Manish Bapna, Managing DirectorKevin Moss, Global Director, Business CenterWorld Resources InstituteWashington, DClast_img read more

Chinese Cities Aim to Rein in Bike-Sharing Boom

first_imgBike-Sharing Challenges and Solutions Go GlobalShanghai’s regulations show a great level of versatility and detail in terms of management of cycling safety, fleet control, parking, maintenance and data sharing. Other cities are now following suit around the globe, such as Seattle.Both Shanghai’s and Seattle’s regulations set a cap for the number of bikes allowed in the city. Seattle also required its fleet control to be carried out in phases, requiring operators to introduce no more than 500 bikes in their first month of operation, and no more than 1,000 by the second month. From the third month onwards, if an operator satisfies all of the city’s regulations, it can introduce more than 2,000 bikes, so long as there are fewer than 340 bikes in 1,000 square miles.In terms of bike parking, the Seattle Department of Transport also suggested that dockless bikes should only be parked on the edges of the sidewalk or on a bicycle rack so as not to obstruct pedestrians. Bike parking is forbidden in certain areas, including narrow areas on the outer side of sidewalks, corners and more. If a dockless bike hasn’t moved for seven days or the bike is not parked standing upright, city workers will remove it and only return it to operators once they’ve paid a fine.A More Orderly Bike-Share SystemEveryone benefits if bike-sharing thrives. Bikes cost-effectively make cities more accessible for citizens, and can complement more traditional mass transport. They’re also vitally important in the global battle against climate change: About 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from cities.Bike-sharing’s evolution will be more orderly and effective with a balanced regulatory framework. Only through proactive regulation can urban bike-sharing systems flourish without jeopardizing public wellness.EDITOR’S NOTE, 1/18/18: A previous version of this blog post stated that Seattle’s bike-sharing regulations limit operators to no more than 130 bikes in 1,000 square miles. It is actually 340 bikes per 1,000 square miles. We regret the error. China’s cities are drowning in bicycles.Dozens of “dockless” bike-sharing startups have emerged in the past few years, offering apps where riders can locate bicycles, unlock them and leave them wherever their ride ends. The result in some Chinese cities has been more than a million bicycles piling up in public spaces, blocking entrances to buildings and public transit stops, and obstructing sidewalks. Not only is the situation disorderly, it’s dangerous: Discarded bikes can block pedestrians’ paths, causing them to trip or forcing them to walk in the road.But the chaos may be coming to an end: New regulations aim to restore order to the city’s streets while still allowing bike-shares to thrive.Chinese Cities Look to Regulate Dockless Bike-SharingIn May 2017, China’s national-level Ministry of Transportation drafted the first country-wide framework for regulating dockless bike-sharing, issuing a formal regulation in August. Since then, nearly 30 Chinese cities have passed regulations to guide bike-sharing’s production, operation and maintenance, adhering to the national guidelines.Shanghai claims to be the largest bike-sharing city in the world, with roughly 1.7 million bikes at the of the end of September 2017. The city drafted one of China’s first city-level bike-sharing regulatory guidelines in  April 2017, issuing it in October. The guidelines push local authorities to integrate bike parking with city planning requirements. It requires operators, government officials and agencies to control the city’s bike fleet, such as by requiring bike plate registration, banning shared electric bikes, and guaranteeing more standardized parking by using Geo-fence technology, which uses a Bluetooth-based sensor to detect if bikes are parked in the proper area.At the urging of these guidelines, Mobike and Ofo, China’s two biggest bike-sharing companies, have made more of an effort to remove bikes in poor conditions from the fleet and relocate bikes during peak use hours. As of the end of October, the total number of shared bikes in Shanghai had dropped to fewer than 1.1 million.The regulations also protect consumers financially. The city appointed an independent financial institute to oversee bike users’ deposits, assuring that they’ll receive their money back if a bike-share operator goes bankrupt.Many Chinese cities have become overrun with dockless bike-share bikes due to lack of regulations. Photo by David Ing/Flickrlast_img read more

Watch: England cricketers rejoice as Three Lions reach World Cup last 8

first_imgThe England cricket team had a big reason to celebrate even after losing the first T20I against India as the national football team reached the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia on Wednesday.England’s football team created history in Moscow as they won their first-ever penalty shootout in a World Cup knockout match to keep their campaign alive and reach the last 8 of the competition after beating Colombia 4-3 on penalties.The match had finished 1-1 in regulation plus extra-time after captain Harry Kane converted a penalty to put England ahead in the 57th penalty but Colombia drew level in stoppage time after Yerry Mina headed in the equaliser in the 93rd minute.World Cup 2018: England overcome Colombia via penalty shootout, in last 8England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford then rose to the occasion after the 30 minutes of extra-time failed to separate the two sides.Pickford saved Carlos Bacca’s penalty to become the first English goalkeeper to stop a spot-kick in a World Cup shootout since David Seaman in 1998 while Mateus Uribe hit the crossbar on his effort to see Colombia crash out of the tournament.Colombia vs England: HIGHLIGHTSBack home in England, Eoin Morgan’s cricket team was watching the action unfold in Moscow after the completion of the first T20I against India in Manchester.KL Rahul, Kuldeep Yadav script India’s demolition over England in 1st T20IAs soon as Eric Dier converted England’s penultimate penalty to ensure victory for his side, the cricket team erupted in joy and started singing ‘It’s coming home’ referring to the World Cup trophy which they had lifted back in 1966 after beating West Germany in the final.advertisementHarry Kane’s England break World Cup penalty jinx: Stats and factsThe England and Wales Cricket Board even posted a video of the celebrations to mark the occasion.Unlike the football team, Morgan’s boys couldn’t deliver the same result on the cricket field as India demolished the hosts by 8 wickets in the first match of the three-T20I series in Manchester.FIFA World Cup 2018: Who plays who in the quarter-finalsEngland posted 159 for 8 after being put into bat with Jos Buttler scoring 69 runs. Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav wrecked havoc in England’s camp with figures of 5/24 from his four overs.#TeamIndia wins the first T20I against England by 8 wickets.#ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/HOKRLviiB2BCCI (@BCCI) July 3, 2018Chasing 160, India lost opener Shikhar Dhawan to David Willey in the first over of the innings but then KL Rahul came in and smashed the bowlers all around the park.Rahul remained unbeaten on 101 and added 123 runs for the second wicket with Rohit Sharma (32) to help India overhaul the target in 18.3 overs.The next T20I between the two teams will be played in Cardiff on July 6, a day before England take on Sweden in the World Cup 2018 quarter-finals in Samara on July 7.last_img read more

A Penguin-Damaged Company Makes its SEO Recovery & Other Marketing Stories of the Week

first_imgIt may have been a shorter work week than usual, but the inbound marketing news sure didn’t slow down. Between new feature releases on your favorite (or maybe not) social networks, websites still recovering from the recent Google Penguin updates, and the usual thought-provoking inbound marketing content that fills our tweet streams, we have a lot to catch up on. So here’s a distilled version of all that industry awesomeness in case you missed it while trying to squeeze a five-day work week into four ;-)Recovering From an Over Optimization Penalty From SEOmozFirst, let’s visit Nick Eubanks at SEOmoz to learn more about the recent Penguin algorithm update from Google — if you haven’t read it yet, you can get a quick recap here. This post is useful because it gives us a step-by-step walkthrough of how an actual company who was dinged in the SERPs by the Penguin update recovered its listing positions. So if you or one of your clients is struggling with this problem right now, this post will give you insight into how you can begin to repair your organic search presence.Why Enterprise SEO Shouldn’t Focus Solely on Keywords From Search Engine LandContinuing on the SEO train, this blog post by Ian Lurie gives us insight into an oft-overlooked topic — how enterprise organizations should approach SEO. Because it’s different than the approach many SMBs should take, and one critical difference is that there really shouldn’t be an incessant focus on keyword optimization. Plus, it opens with a joke — might as well have a chuckle while you read about site crawls.Facebook and Google+ Feature ChangesMan alive there was a lot of inbound marketing news this week. First, Facebook announced the launch of Promoted Posts that lets us extend the reach of our page content. Then, Google+ rocked our worlds with the death of Google Places, which was officially replaced with Google+ Local. That’s right, local businesses, now you have to use Google+! Muahaha. Finally, Facebook came back again to make our lives easier by allowing us to schedule our posts for the future, and letting us assign page admins to certain roles that limit (or increase) their ability to make changes to our brand’s social presence.Is Pinterest Really Leading to Product Purchases? From eMarketerThere’s been a ton of hoopla around Pinterest as of late, but does it actually lead to product purchases? eMarketer just released some data to let us know! Juicy data? You sure know how to make a marketer swoon, eMarketer.10 Reasons to Develop for Android First From Marketing PilgrimFinally, Craig Palli at Fisku helped add fuel to the Android vs. iOS fire with this post that asserts those developing (or thinking about developing) a mobile app should first develop for Android, not iOS. Sneak peak: the Android market’s bigger, and there are fewer privacy constraints. You’ll have to keep reading for the other 8 reasons!What other good inbound marketing content did you find circling the web this past week?Image credit: NS Newsflash Technical SEO Topics: Originally published Jun 3, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How to Painlessly Transition Your Company to Inbound Marketing

first_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Switching to Inbound Marketing We talk to people all the time that are totally sold on the inbound marketing methodology, but there’s just one thing standing in their way from becoming a full-fledged inbound marketer … they can’t convince their boss they can switch to inbound marketing without experiencing a painful blow to their current marketing.It makes sense — change is hard, and honestly, nobody is going to let you waltz in and, with the snap of your fingers, totally change the way your business and marketing department functions. If someone came up to you and said that the proper way to cut paper is by grinding your teeth on it because it results in higher levels of efficiency than traditional scissors, would you make the swap? Of course not. Even if it was true. (Note: it’s not.)That means if you’re really interested in transitioning your company to inbound marketing, it’s time get a little sneaky. It’s time to integrate your inbound marketing campaigns with your company’s more traditional marketing campaigns. Over time, you can not only prove the value of inbound marketing as your campaigns start to generate staggering ROI — numbers tend to do the convincing for you — but you’ll already have that gradual transition towards more inbound-friendly methods underway! So let’s start that transition to inbound marketing together, right now, step-by-step … here’s what to do.Merge Inbound Tactics with Outbound CampaignsMany marketers have already started fusing online and offline marketing techniques. According to Marketing Charts, 90% of marketers believe using online data to optimize the offline experience is important. Furthermore, 73% of company marketers say they will be using a cross-channel marketing strategy over the next few years.Clearly a large population of marketers are comfortable with weaving online marketing tactics with their traditional campaigns. So let’s start there. Kindly request to make inbound tactics a part of the outbound promotion. Here’s a few examples.Connect Your Commercials with a Social Media CampaignIf you work for an organization that uses commercials to advertise their business, ask if you can get social media in on the action just a little bit. Perhaps something small, like a hashtag? Just look at this screenshot from an Audi commercial, for example.This inclusion enables you to unify your online messaging with your advertising campaign, and gives you the opportunity to go to town with social content revolving around the hashtag. Use it in quotes, to start Twitter chats, when citing stats … anything that can help unify the messaging from your commercial and the content you’re publishing to social media.Attach a Landing Page to Your Print Advertisements and Direct MailYour print advertisements may get you noticed, it’s the call-to-action part that’s difficult. In other words, is there any way to get someone to actually take action when they’re inspired by your print ads? Well, when your team sits down to put together their next print ad, ask them for a little space for some copy that points readers to an online destination. This could be through a QR code like Gucci did below, or by simply including a URL.This allows you to create a customized landing page just for this advertisement — you know, something a little more personalized to the reader and the ad you created than just your homepage.Simulataneously Run Inbound Campaigns Alongside More Traditional CampaignsNow that you’ve started to integrate digital and print campaigns, ask if you can run a few additional “inboundy” campaigns of your own. Make this easier by promising you’ll still complete your routine tasks — these additional campaigns will be tests you’re running in addition to those. While this will require more of your time for a bit, it won’t require more of your budget, making it easier to sell your boss and colleagues on the subject. Here are some quick campaigns you can run to include in your ultimate portfolio for convincing your team.Repurpose Existing Content to Create Some Lead Generation OffersIf you’ve been in business for a while — even just a year or two — you’ve likely accumulated a bunch of content and expertise without even knowing it. And if you want to do a test drive of an inbound marketing campaign, you’re going to need that content and expertise. Gather your current sales and marketing collateral — case studies, testimonials, brochures, whatever you got — and start reworking it to spin it into offer content that you can put behind a form, and/or share across social media channels.Set Up CTAs and Landing PagesSee if your boss would be alright with you making some website tweaks. You’re not going to redesign the skin or anything, but you could improve upon what’s already there … and make some key new additions.First, create a call-to-action that lives right on the homepage. It’s easy, you can even make them in PowerPoint! That CTA should lead to a new landing page that houses one of those awesome new lead generation offers you just created. Make sure you consider what type of offer visitors to your home page might be interested in — if the bulk of your traffic is coming in on branded keywords, for example, something a little further down your sales funnel, like a case study or product-focused whitepaper, might be most appropriate. When your sales team starts to see people “raising their hand” to talk about purchasing your product or service, you can bet they’ll want to try more of that inbound marketing stuff.Create Visual Social Media ContentPut on your creative hat and think of a cool new idea for increasing engagement on your social media channels. Can you create a series of memes around a common industry fad? Can you create a few visual representations of important stats and data in your field? You don’t need Photoshop to do this, either. Just head over to memegenerator.net or use PowerPoint to whip up some visuals that can be easily shared, helping you generate more fans and followers and increase your overall social reach.Create and Share Your Blog Content StrategicallyStart writing posts on your company blog — and if you don’t have one, set one up! But be strategic. You can’t just write a post and hope the world stumbles upon it. Instead, start sharing that post with advocates of your brand or others who would find it valuable. And yes, that includes your social media fans and followers. You also need to make sure search engines can find it by writing about topics germane to your company and industry. It would also help to start writing guest blog posts for other related sites so you can get some of those coveted inbound links that help your site rise in the search engine rankings!Collect and Compare MetricsNow that you’ve got some campaigns up and running, you can start collecting metrics that speak to their effectiveness. Collect every metric humanly possible. Generate reports that show you the number of times your hashtags were mentioned on Twitter. Look at your website analytics to see how many users were sent to your customized landing pages or landed on your website because of your blog posts. See which keywords drove the most traffic to your website. You know, see what didn’t work, what did work, and what really, really worked. These metrics will show impact you can tie directly to business goals like generating revenue and closing new business.Then it’s time to organize all your results into a clear, succinct, and educational presentation so you can prove the ROI of inbound marketing to your team. And when you use data based off of recent campaigns — data that you can tie directly to leads and customers generated — you don’t have that difficult of a case to make!What tactics have you used to convince your boss and colleagues to invest in inbound marketing?Image Credit: IT Tech News Originally published Oct 8, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

Virat Kohli delighted to see ‘2nd innings strike bowler’ Mohammed Shami deliver consistently

first_imgIndia captain Virat Kohli heaped rich praise on Mohammed Shami after the pacer ran through the South African batting line-up on the final day of the 1st Test in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.Virat Kohli said Mohammed Shami has delivered whenever the team needed 2nd innings wickets in tough conditions and his 5-wicket haul on Sunday is just a testimony to his importance in the second half of Test matches.Mohammed Shami picked up his 5th 5-wicket haul in Tests after coming up with an inspired spell of bowling. Shami’s figures of 5/35 helped India bowl South Africa out for 191 in the 2nd innings and register a 203-run win in the Visakhapatnam Test.India vs South Africa, 1st Test: Report | Highlights”Shami has been the strike bowler for us in the 2nd innings consistently now. If you see all his 4, 5-wicket hauls, it comes in the 2nd innings where the team invariably needs it. He reverses it well. That’s his strength. All the guys stood up to their strength. The bowlers had it tougher to keep going in these conditions. So they deserve a little bit of extra credit,” Virat Kohli said.1-0 #TeamIndia win the 1st Test in Vizag by 203 runs #INDvSA @Paytm pic.twitter.com/iFvuKOXPOJBCCI (@BCCI) October 6, 2019Stressing that India pacers are more than willing to work harder for their wickets in the sub-continent conditions, Kohli said: “Look, it’s all about the attitude. If the fast bowlers step onto the field, thinking the spinners are going to do all the job, it doesn’t do any justice to them playing in the XI. I think the attitude and the mindset they have created has been outstanding.advertisement”Even in India, they are looking to contribute. It’s not like if it’s hot and humid, they gave up. They ask for shorter spells and they give their 100 percent. They have been brilliant. That’s when you see guys like Shami, Ishant, Bumrah and Umesh, in the past, doing important things that we want them to do.”Mohammed Shami has picked up 4 5-wicket hauls out of his 5 in the 2nd innings. The Bengal pacer inevitably steps up in the 2nd innings. He has 80 wickets in 2nd innings in Tests at an average of 22.58 as compared to his 1st innings tally of 78 at 34.47.On Sunday, Mohammed Shami got the ball on a slow track to do wonders. He castled Faf du Plessis with a beauty even as the South Africa captain shouldered arms to the ball that came back in sharply after pitching. He got another big wicket when he dismissed 1st innings centurion Quinton de Kock.Shami came back in the 2nd session to break a frustrating 91-run stand for the 9th wicket between Dane Piedt and Senuran Muthusamy by removing the former. He wrapped up the South Africa innings by picking up Kagiso Rabada’s wicket.Superb effort from R Ashwin in 1st innings: KohliMeanwhile, Virat Kohli also heaped rich praise on R Ashwin for his effort in the first innings. Kohli pointed out that the pitch was not doing much in the 1st 3 days and it was commendable to see Ashwin pick up a 7-wicket haul.Notably, Ashwin shone on his return to the Test XI after nearly an year’s gap as he finished the Visakhapatnam Test with 8 wickets.”Jaddu and Ash, again, were really really good. Ash, in the first innings, was outstanding, given the conditions. The pitches were flat, they got a few boundaries away. We have to accept that because we all got 500. There weren’t any demons in the first innings. We always knew this was going to be a 2nd innings game. The fact he picked up 6 (7) wickets in the first innings is a great effort from his end,” Virat Kohli said.Also Read | India vs South Africa, 1st Test stat pack: Six-fest, Rohit’s twin hundreds and peerless AshwinAlso Read | India vs South Africa: R Aswhin equals Muttiah Muralitharan’s record for fastest to 350 Test wicketsAlso See:last_img read more

More than 50% of Indian students prefer spending Diwali vacations learning something new: Study

first_imgAs sessional examinations in schools all across the country come to a close and with the festive season underway, Brainly, one of the world’s largest peer-to-peer learning communities, conducted a survey on its Indian user-base to observe how students plan to spend their festive vacations and found that more than 50% of Indian students prefer spending Diwali vacations trying to learn something new.Details about the study on students:Witnessing participation of over 1200 students, largely from across Tier-II and Tier-III cities of the country, the report drew insights on and recorded the mixed responses that these young minds have when it comes to the upcoming holidays.A major share of 37.2% of the students responded that they will be proactively utilizing their Diwali vacations to prepare themselves for the upcoming semestersOver 25% of students noted that will be celebrating with their familiesMore than 22.5% said they will be traveling with their familiesFurther, over 53.9% of students stated how they may be keen on doing activities that involve research on different topics that are beyond their curriculum during this timeOver 70.9% of them said they will be completing the homework assignments that were given to them by the teachers, right before the vacation beganOver 55.7% of students believe that their parents will be helping them prepare for the upcoming semester, and encouraging them to adopt more effective learning practicesStudy shows that learning more is still a priority for studentsInterestingly, students are also looking to hone their skills and capabilities during these vacations, be it learning a new language, engaging in sports-driven skills, and practising arts, crafts, and cooking.advertisementThese figures indicate how while every student seems to have different plans regarding this short vacation spell, learning-related concerns and measures still come as a priority for a majority of them.Why did Brainly carry out this suvey?Sharing an insight behind this survey, Michal Borkowski, CEO, Brainly remarked, “India is renowned for the various festivities that have historically been commemorating its diverse culture. With festivals like Diwali around the corner, everyone is geared up with plans about how to spend these few days of vacations.””This holds true for young minds as well, as they get to not just enjoy but also invest their time and energy in shaping their skills and abilities, and enhancing their knowledge,” he added.”Through our research, we attempt to understand students’ expectations and plans that they have made. We identified significant similarities and patterns. We always aim at leveraging these insights to deliver better value through Brainly and reiterate on the cause of making learning a collaborative, engaging, and fun pursuit,” he said.About BrainlyEssentially, through its unique peer-to-peer approach towards learning, Brainly serves the role of an additional coach for students all over the world in addressing their academic doubts and facilitating a deeper understanding of a topic or a subject.Equipping its vast network of students with a flexible and all-encompassing learning experience, this global leader in online education has steadily been rising as the most-preferred channel for alternate academic learning among students, parents, teachers, and experts across India.Read: Learning different languages good for brain’s cognitive development: DoctorsRead: Teachers go through more stress than any other professional, says studyRead: What you eat could affect your brain and memory: Studylast_img read more

UVic study finds homeless vulnerable finally get care when at deaths door

first_imgVICTORIA – The lives of 25 homeless or marginally housed people in Victoria only started to get better when they were close to death, says a University of Victoria study released Thursday.Researchers followed the people for two years during the study, which concluded that many of them received the best health care available only when they had reached the end of their lives.Kelli Stajduhar, a professor at the university’s school of nursing and Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, said 13 people died during the study and the health status isn’t known for the 12 who survived while the research was underway.The study, “Too Little; Too Late: How we fail vulnerable Canadians as they die and what to do about it,” finds that people living on the streets are in a world of unmet needs, multiple losses, persistent grief and trauma.Stajduhar said the study recommends better training throughout the health-care system to inform providers about the barriers to care endured by marginalized people, including end-of-life support.It called for improved polices to help health workers understand why the homeless avoid care and aren’t getting treatment for life-threatening conditions until it’s too late.Stajduhar said many participants said they were often told by doctors and health providers that their lifestyles of addiction, poverty and homelessness could lead to an early death, but early diagnosis of potential health conditions was limited.“Even if they have advanced illness, that’s not really what they are focusing on,” she said. “They’re focusing on the need to get housing. The need to get food. The need to just live daily life, get money to live, which is kind of sad. They’re just in survival mode while they’re dying.”The study participants, 16 men and 9 women, ranged in age from 19 to 81. Of those people, 15 had cancer, three had uncontrolled diabetes, two suffered from chronic lung disease and five were not aware of their life-threatening diagnosis.Of the 13 people who died; five had access to palliative care for more than two weeks, five received palliative care for less than two weeks and three people did not receive palliative care.“For the people who died, when they were able to come in contact with service providers who had palliative orientation to care that was sometimes the best kind of care that they had gotten, ever,” said Stajduhar.The study does not use the real names of those involved but included details of interviews, where at least two of the participants said they went to a hospital suffering with pain, were diagnosed with cancer and then were given months to live.A homeless man identified as Cliff spoke glowingly of his palliative care treatment.Cliff told researchers he went to a hospital emergency ward complaining about severe back pain and was told he had advanced cancer of the spine and less than six months to live.His last days were spent in comfort.“I am surprised at how much is actually available to me, and how well I’ve been treated,” he told researchers and is quoted in the report. “And since I got the cancer, it’s been nothing but positive reaction from anything I do need or wherever I’ve had to go to get help. I am getting top-rate service. So you know, I can’t complain about anything right now.”But dying wasn’t as easy for others in the study, it said.A 56-year-old man called Sammy, suffering with late-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and schizophrenia, died alone in supportive housing, in a pool of his own vomit with his oxygen mask hanging at his side.“Death and dying in this population occur in some palliative care settings,” the report says. “But more likely they will die in hospital or alone, on the street and in vehicles, or in shelters or transitional housing.”last_img read more

Dictators Dilemma Could Kim Jong Un survive prosperity

HANOI, Vietnam — President Donald Trump’s message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been simple and clear: give up your nuclear weapons and a flood of wealth will soon be yours for the taking.But here’s a nagging question: Is that really what Kim wants?With Trump and Kim descending on Hanoi for their second summit, there has been a persistent suggestion that Kim will look around at the relative prosperity of his Vietnamese hosts — who are certainly no strangers to U.S. hostility — and think that he, too, should open up his country to more foreign investment and trade.Trump himself has been the primary cheerleader.Before boarding Air Force One, he tweeted that “Chairman Kim realizes, perhaps better than anyone else, that without nuclear weapons, his country could fast become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the world.”For sure, North Korea could have a brighter future.“Using the words ‘great economic power’ is a Trumpian exaggeration, but a useful one,” said William Brown, a North Korea economy expert and former CIA analyst. “The truth is North Korea quite easily could become a prosperous country, growing faster than any of its neighbours and catching up with them in terms of income per capita. It has what it takes.”Brown cited North Korea’s strong human capital, low wages and high levels of verbal and math literacy. He also noted it has a potential bonanza of natural resources such as lead, zinc, rare earths, coal, iron ore and hydropower. He agreed with Trump about location — saying North Korea sits “between four big economies that are far richer but increasingly moribund.”But girding against a foreign threat is a time-tested justification for giving a leader extraordinary powers and limiting individual freedoms, like travel and expression. Opening up to foreign capital and bringing his country in line with international financial standards means giving up a great deal of control.Control, for Kim, is the most important commodity of all.While his country is far more dynamic than many outside observers realize, opening up in the pursuit of wealth is for Kim an extremely dangerous proposition. It seems clear he wants to revitalize the economy, but it is anything but apparent he’s ready or even interested in opening up any more than he needs to in order to achieve that narrow goal.As Kim arrived in Hanoi, back in Pyongyang the ruling party’s daily newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, printed a commentary vowing the nation will stay the course the Kim family has set for the past three generations.“The revolutionary cause of juche (self-reliance) and the cause of socialism are sure to triumph” under the guidance of the party and the people “who remain faithful to the cause of the party with indomitable mental power,” it said.Kim’s primary objectives have focused on the development of infrastructure projects, building up the tourism industry and strengthening government regulation of the country’s expanding market-style economy.“The statements from Trump at North Korea as the next economic powerhouse seem to assume that were the nuclear weapons out of the picture, North Korea would immediately open its doors and society to anyone wanting to come in and invest,” said Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein, a fellow at the Henry L. Stimson Center and editor of North Korea Economy Watch. “But the regime will want to maintain the main facets of social control.”Silberstein said the government isn’t likely to let foreign businesspeople roam freely around the country anytime soon. He added that Kim has focused on promoting special economic zones because they have the potential for high growth while remaining isolated “walled gardens.”In the immediate future, Kim’s goals are pragmatic.He is seeking to get in front of the grassroots market forces that are growing all around him and undercut support for trade sanctions that are limiting his options and drying up government coffers.His government is especially interested in moving ahead on projects with South Korea, including the re-opening of a tourist resort at Mount Kumgang and an industrial centre near the city of Kaesong that were both built with massive funding from the South. North Korea is also hurting badly from its inability to export its minerals and coal.Having nuclear weapons is what got him to the point where he could meet directly with a U.S. president. So he would be foolish to throw that away without a significant reward. On the other hand, if he goes deep down the capitalist path, like South Korea, Kim could risk undermining his regime’s own legitimacy.The story of Vietnam, north and south, is in that sense a cautionary tale. The economic reforms and growth of today’s Vietnam only came after unification. For the Koreas, the South remains a viable option.Silberstein believes that is not an insurmountable fear for Kim.“Market reforms are already happening and have been for quite some time, it’s just that Kim Jong Un never formally announced an overhaul of the system,” he said, adding that under Kim, market trade has been allowed to expand, and has even been encouraged by the state to do so. Enterprises have received unprecedented freedom to plan their own production and dispose of a large share of their profits themselves.“The same has happened in agriculture, and from what we know, the results have been successful,” he said. “I strongly believe that Kim wants to take this process of liberalization further, though it will likely never be called ‘reforms,’ only ‘improvements.’”“The tricky part is how to balance letting loose on some of the strict social control, such as opening up space for private investments both from abroad and from the general public, changing the governance of private property, massively upgrading communications infrastructure and the like, with still keeping information about the outside world away or at least regulated.”Silberstein suggested that if given a choice between social controls or economic reforms, Kim will choose control.“Whatever might happen, they’ll proceed cautiously,” he said.___Talmadge has been the AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @EricTalmadgeEric Talmadge, The Associated Press read more

Enbridge CEO says changes to Bill C69 are critical for Canadian energy

Companies in this article: (TSX:ENB)The Canadian Press CALGARY — The CEO of Enbridge Inc. says it’s “critical” to Canada’s energy future that substantive changes are made to proposed federal legislation to revamp how big resource projects win federal approval.Speaking after his company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Calgary, Al Monaco says there are three or four major problem areas in Bill C-69 that must be addressed.His comments come as the Senate considers amendments to the bill that would repeal the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and retire the National Energy Board, leaving the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada and the Canadian Energy Regulator as authorities responsible for assessments of the environmental, health, social and economic impacts of designated projects.Earlier in the day, following a speech at a solar conference in Calgary, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said it’s vital that the bill be passed as soon as possible because it replaces a broken system that is preventing projects from being built.But critics including the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers have demanded changes designed to prevent public policy debates from being part of project assessments, restrict application interveners to those directly affected by the project or with expertise, set firm timelines and limit government ministers’ discretionary powers.Monaco says he applauds the aggressive stance of Alberta’s newly elected United Conservative Premier Jason Kenney in support of energy projects.“I think it’s great news that people are going to take the extra effort to ensure that people really understand the role that energy plays and what it does for our quality of life,” he said.Enbridge pipelines handle about 62 per cent of Canada’s exports of crude oil into the U.S. and move about 18 per cent of all natural gas consumed in the U.S. read more

Discrimination only fuels HIVAIDS epidemic UN officials say

1 December 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today led senior United Nations officials in marking World AIDS Day by calling for an urgent end to discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS to help combat the spread of the disease. Mr. Ban said that progress in reversing the AIDS epidemic in some countries is outpaced by new infections on a global scale, making it one of the leading causes of premature death worldwide.“I urge all countries to remove punitive laws, policies and practices that hamper the AIDS response, including travel restrictions against people living with HIV,” said Mr. Ban. “Successful AIDS responses do not punish people; they protect them.”Laws that institutionalize discrimination against groups most at risk of the infection, such as sex workers, drug users and men who have sex with men only fuels the epidemic and prevents cost-effective interventions, he added.“We must ensure that AIDS responses are based on evidence, not ideology, and reach those most in need and most affected,” said the Secretary-General. “On this World AIDS Day, let us uphold the human rights of all people living with HIV, people at risk of infection, and children and families affected by the epidemic.”Speaking at an event in South Africa, the Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Michel Sidibé also underscored the importance of an AIDS response based on human rights.“Universal obstacles to human rights are getting in the way of universal access,” Mr. Sidibé told a gathering at the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria.Later in the day, Mr. Sidibé told President Jacob Zuma that he is “giving hope to millions who have been waiting for South Africa to join the front line in the global response.” According to 2007 estimates, some 5.7 million people are infected with HIV in South Africa, the largest population living with the disease around the world. Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s hardest hit region, accounting for over two-thirds of all people living with HIV and nearly three quarters of AIDS-related deaths in 2008.Mr. Sidibé praised President Zuma for the bold and ambitious goals he set out “to accelerate the AIDS response and cut new infections in half, and scale up treatment to 80 per cent of those who need it by 2011.”He said that by cutting the number of new infections in Africa in half by 2015, an estimated 2.25 million infections will be averted, saving around $12.5 billion in treatment costs. “That is a huge gain, financially and in human lives.”In her message to mark the Day, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark noted a recent UNAIDS report which highlighted significant successes in increasing access to life-saving treatment over the last five years, with more than 4 million people in developing countries receiving the necessary medication and almost 3 million lives saved already. New HIV infections have also been reduced by 17 per cent globally since 2001.Miss Clark said that significant successes in tackling the spread of HIV/AIDS are attributable to promoting the participation of marginalized and vulnerable populations, and the global campaign to drive down the price of key drugs and prevention technologies.“Unfortunately success is uneven across regions, countries and populations,” she said. “Far too often, prevention programmes are still not reaching those most in need. Too little is being done in too many places to empower girls and women. Stigmatizing homosexuals and refusing to provide harm reduction services for drug users also sets back prevention and treatment work.”She noted that for every two people put on treatment, five become newly infected with HIV.Among the most visible commemorations for the Day will be a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) initiative, in which landmark monuments around the world are set to dim their lights to stress the urgency of halting the epidemic.The Eiffel Tower in Paris is slated to join the “Lights for Rights” operation by switching off its lights for five minutes this evening, along with the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York among other sites. read more

UN mission team finds evidence of killings in eastern DR of Congo

The killings took place “during and after the retreat from the area of members of a faction of the former Congolese National Army, known as RCD-Goma military wing and often referred to by its French acronym ANC,” Fred Eckhard said in a statement issued to journalists.After a 21 and 22 December visit to Walikali, North Kivu, an investigative team from the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) confirmed that ex-Mayi-Mayi militiamen turned regular members of the DRC’s national army carried out extra-judicial killings of “a Rwandan, a Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese and a Congolese from the BaShi community,” he said.In addition, the team obtained information corroborating reports of the murders of four civilians and a soldier, he said.”The team also told of reports that six ex-ANC officers were taken prisoners and subsequently executed by the ex-Mayi Mayi forces. An in-depth investigation of these cases is underway,” he said.Mayi-Mayi tribal militias were allied with the former DRC Government in the five-year civil war that ended in June 2003 with the formation of a multi-factional Transitional Government. read more

All Timorese share responsibility for the success of 2007 elections UN poll

“It is a responsibility of the citizens; it is a responsibility of all the political parties and the civil society to be aware of the importance of this process, of the standards by which it must be conducted, and to conduct themselves in accordance with those standards, both national and international,” Reginald Austin, one of the experts, told a news conference in Dili. “This is a very important election next year in the consolidated process of the building of democracy and stability in Timor-Leste. We are, as has been mentioned, an independent certification team; we are independent of all authorities and we are here in that sense in our personal expert capacity.” The UN shepherded the tiny country to independence from Indonesia in 2002.The other electoral experts, also appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan earlier this month, are Lucinda Almeida and Michael Maley and together they make up the independent certification team, which is a new concept designed to ensure and help guarantee the credibility of the polls by making sure various standards are followed. “Our task will be essentially to hold up, as it were, a mirror to the efforts of the authorities – both national and international – to ensure that this will be a credible and effective election. And that must be done by us, in reference to standards which are very clear,” Mr. Austin said.He said these include the country’s Constitution, as well as a well-established set of international standards that have been developed over the past 20 years, adding that the team’s first visit coincides with a “vital stage” in the preparations for the polls, namely the laying down of electoral law.Mr. Austin said more visits were planned and after each one the team would report to Mr. Annan, as well as to his Special Representative in the country and to the public.Also speaking at today’s news conference was Acting Special Representative Finn Reske-Nielsen, who repeated calls for all political differences in the county to be “sorted out at the ballot box” and not through fighting. The Security Council created an expanded UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) in August to help restore order after a crisis attributed to differences between eastern and western regions erupted in April with the firing of 600 striking soldiers, a third of the armed forces. Ensuing violence claimed at least 37 lives and drove 155,000 people, 15 per cent of the total population, from their homes.In a related development in New York, Mr. Annan has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Atul Khare of India as his Special Representative for Timor-Leste and Head of the UN mission, a spokesperson told reporters today. Mr. Khare succeeds Sukehiro Hasegawa of Japan who completed his assignment at the end of September. read more

UN rights chief welcomes ICC judgement finding JeanPierre Bemba guilty of war

“While recognizing that the judgement delivered today in Jean-Pierre Bemba’s case may be subject to appeal, it sends an important message across the world that international justice will finally prevail, even in cases where civilians with supervisory, or command, responsibility are accused of crimes committed in a country other than their own,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a news release.Jean-Pierre Bemba was the President and commander-in-chief of a Congolese rebel group, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), when its troops were sent to CAR to help fight a coup attempt against former President Patassé in 2002 and 2003. They were accused of carrying out numerous serious crimes against civilians, including widespread sexual violence.“Much remains to be done to ensure justice for the many other terrible crimes that have been committed in CAR since 2002, not least the large-scale violations and abuses committed over the past three years. However I hope this judgement will act as a powerful deterrent against future serious human rights violations and abuses not just in CAR, but everywhere they are committed,” Mr. Zeid underlined, adding that it should also help make perpetrators understand that many victims and their supporters will never abandon their search for justice and accountability.The UN rights chief also stressed that through this “emblematic case,” the ICC has built on the jurisprudence, pioneered in ad hoc international tribunals such as those for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, which established criminal sanctions for people employing rape during a conflict.“I strongly believe that verdicts like the one delivered today represent an important step towards eradicating these horrendous sexual crimes which have blighted the lives of so many women – as well as men and boys – throughout the ages, and which until very recently were carried out with almost total impunity,” he said. read more

Drew Brees Deserves Better Than The Saints Defense

Blake Bortles25.41411+3 WINS Matthew Stafford21.71927-8 Cam Newton23.02726+1 All newsletters Derek Carr25.82322+1 Carson Palmer20.72625+1 Ben Roethlisberger21.03028+2 Alex Smith18.82730-3 Philip Rivers24.42218+4 Eli Manning23.52523+2 Andrew Luck24.22821+7 Matt Ryan24.32925+4 The Saints offense does occasionally sputter, and for those games, the team’s chances of winning are solely reliant on the defense — in other words, virtually hopeless. In games when the Saints scored less than the league average, they went 2-14. Brady’s Patriots went 5-6 when they failed to best the league average.The Saints head into their season opener in Minnesota tonight determined to finally turn around their defense. Head coach Sean Payton said he’s “optimistic” about the unit. Players are even hoping a preseason stretch of eight consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown will prove meaningful now that the games actually count. We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe It’s not Brees’s faultThe difference in win total for quarterbacks if their actual defense was replaced by a league-average defense in each game, 2014-16. Among the 47 games Brees started in the past three seasons, the Saints would have won 10 more games (technically, they would have won 12 games they actually lost and lost two they had actually won, for a net increase of 10). In both 2014 and 2016, Brees’s record would have been 11-5, and New Orleans would have made the playoffs. To be sure, this is just a back-of-the-napkin calculation, and several variables can distort this expected-win statistic — for instance, Brees and the Saints probably wouldn’t have scored as much if they hadn’t been constantly losing.But when you look at all the non-Brees starting quarterbacks who also started from 2014 to 2016, the connection between clearing the league-average point total and winning games is quite strong: The quarterbacks in our sample average 0.97 wins for every one time they clear that bar. Brees, on the other hand, registered 0.68 wins for his better-than-average offensive days. Matthew Stafford is the anti-Brees in this regard: The Detroit Lions’ QB has 27 wins since 2014 despite leading an offense that beat the league-average point total just 19 times. QUARTERBACKAVG. OPP. PTS/GAMEEXPECTEDACTUALDIFF. Joe Flacco20.32321+2 Drew Brees is in a league of his own statistically. He has led the NFL in passing yards three years in a row and seven times as a Saint (no other player in history has hit that mark more than five times). He has topped 5,000 yards five times — all other quarterbacks in history have combined for only four such seasons. Brees’s New Orleans offenses have finished in the top 10 in scoring in six straight years, and his nine consecutive seasons of 30 or more TD passes are nearly twice as many as the next closest QBs (Brett Favre 1994-98 and Peyton Manning 2009-14). Brees’s passing résumé would force the office printer to run out of paper.But there is one reasonably important statistic that Brees struggles in: winning football games. The Saints last had a winning season in 2013, finishing 7-9 for three straight years. And in the 16-game era, no quarterback has started every game and missed the playoffs more often than Brees, who has done this seven times. Even some Saints fans are asking whether Brees is merely a compiler of gaudy passing numbers who can’t deliver in the clutch.But Brees isn’t the reason the Saints have lost 27 games in three seasons — the defense is. Among all 32 teams from 2014 to 2016, the Saints ranked 28th, 32nd and 31st in points allowed per game, respectively. Over those three seasons, the Saints gave up 28.2 points on average in Brees’s starts — that’s practically a touchdown more than the league average during that time (22.7). No other current starting quarterback in this time period has nearly this high a hurdle to clear to get a win.1For this, we looked at the 18 quarterbacks who are currently starters and also started for any team in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The three quarterbacks with the most wins during that time — Tom Brady (35), Aaron Rodgers (32) and Russell Wilson (32) — have defenses that have allowed an average of 18.6, 22.1 and 17.1 points per game, respectively.2Only counting games in which they started.Let’s pretend for a second that New Orleans had an average defense — not even a good one — over the past three seasons. If the actual points surrendered by the Saints in each of the 47 games that Brees started in 2014-16 were replaced with the league average for the season, how many more games would Brees have won? Andy Dalton19.72526-1 Aaron Rodgers22.13532+3 For current starting quarterbacks who also started in the 2014 through 2016 seasons. Expected wins are based on whether the opposition team scored the NFL average points per game for a given season.Source: pro-football-reference.com Russell Wilson17.13032-2 Jay Cutler26.11112-1 Drew Brees28.23121+10 Tom Brady18.63335-2 The Saints need a defensive awakening to happen soon. Although Brees plays as though he’s ageless, he’ll turn 39 in January. He doesn’t even need his defense to be good for the team to be successful. The Saints have finished 20th or better in points allowed just five times in his 11 seasons in New Orleans, and Brees has led his team to the playoffs in each of these seasons — averaging 12 wins. Alas, those are his only winning seasons for Payton and his rotating cast of defensive coordinators.Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more