Posted by Share Tags: Crystal Cruises LOS ANGELES — Crystal Cruises has unveiled plans for Crystal Symphony’s and Crystal Serenity’s multimillion dollar renovations including new suites, dining venues and guest services. The dry dock transformations will be the most comprehensive makeovers to date for the two vessels, says the cruise line.In what the company is calling the ‘Evolution of Crystal Luxury’, this year and next Crystal is investing millions of dollars into new spaces for the ships, and “new standards of innovative luxury”. The plans for Crystal’s two ocean ships are the latest in its brand expansion, which will also see new river yachts, new ocean-going vessels and a privately-owned B777 joining the fleet in the next three years.Crystal Symphony’s redesign is set for Sept. 19 – Oct. 21, 2017 and Crystal Serenity’s for Oct. 14 – Nov. 10, 2018.Crystal CEO and President Edie Rodriguez called Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity “the foundation” of the cruise line. “These ships have earned us not only acclaim from the world’s most eminent entities and publications for more than two decades, but more importantly, the loyalty of the world’s most discerning travellers and travel partners,” she said. “We are committed to continuing their reign as the most luxurious ships at sea by investing in changes and updates that will far exceed our guests’ wishes.”As part of the extensive redesign, several staterooms will be converted into brand new luxurious penthouse categories to take the place of smaller staterooms. There will also be new dining options, “high-tech perks” and what Rodriguez says will be modern, elegant décor updates in many public spaces.New Penthouses and Penthouse SuitesSeabreeze PenthouseSeabreeze PenthouseSeabreeze PenthouseSeabreeze PenthouseSeabreeze PenthouseSeabreeze Penthouse SuiteSeabreeze Penthouse SuiteSeabreeze Penthouse SuiteSeabreeze Penthouse SuiteSeabreeze Penthouse SuiteBoth ships will gain more of the spacious, butler-serviced Penthouses and Penthouse Suites. Crystal Symphony will see two new categories of accommodations altogether: Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah (12 new suites added) and Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah (28 new suites added), both occupying Deck 9, Seabreeze. The new accommodations will boast the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (367 square feet and 491 square feet respectively), while Seabreeze Penthouses will be connected by a shared an entryway recessed from the hall.Aboard Crystal Serenity, the 36 additional Penthouses and two additional Penthouse Suites will occupy the current Penthouse Deck 10, and will also offer the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (403 square feet and 538 square feet respectively).More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Penthouse accommodations offer guests enhanced all-inclusive Crystal amenities, including butler service and in-room specialty dining. Penthouse guests will also now receive unlimited complimentary dining at the onboard specialty restaurants.The conversion of staterooms into the new penthouse accommodations effectively reduces the ships’ guest capacities – Crystal Symphony to 848 and Crystal Serenity to 980 – and increases the per-guest space ratio aboard the ships to 60.2 and 70.3 respectively. Rodriguez says abundant space throughout its luxury ships has long been a cornerstone of Crystal’s platform, and a key distinction between its ships and competitors.Refreshed Dining OptionsSilkThe Crystal Dining Room, the ships’ centrally located main dining venue, will become Waterside, reflecting the décor and ambiance of the main dining room aboard Crystal River Cruises’ Crystal Mozart. Additional tables for two and four guests will offer expanded options for intimate dining while a new open seating concept invites guests to dine at leisure between 6 and 9:30 p.m., eliminating Crystal’s previous format of assigned seating and reservations. Waterside will also continue to serve breakfast and lunch during current timeframes.The Lido Café on both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will take on new life as the Marketplace by day and Churrascaria by night. Both venues will feature an open kitchen concept with dishes made to order. The Marketplace will continue to serve casual buffet style breakfast and lunch options, and will transition to Churrascaria, a stylish casual dinner venue, from 6 to 9 p.m., creating an additional evening option for guests. Churrascaria will feature a Caipirinha as a welcome cocktail and serve a selection of Brazilian-inspired tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled seafood and meats presented by Crystal ‘gauchos’ on sword-like skewers.New to the Crystal menu of onboard restaurants on both ships will be Silk, located in the Trident area of their respective Lido Decks. The contemporary space will offer modern Chinese-inspired fare with family-style dinner plates ideal for sharing, and self-service options for breakfast and lunch that include dumplings, Chinois salad, a soup and noodle bar and other Asian favorites. For the dinner hours between 6 and 9 p.m., reservations will be recommended, although open seating will be accommodated. The Trident Bar & Grill will remain in the adjacent space, serving casual grilled options including burgers and sandwiches.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA SalesSilk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, will be rebranded as Umi Uma – reflecting the Japanese word for Crystal’s seahorses, so prevalent in the cruise line’s branding. The venues will still serve the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and will remain the only Nobu restaurants at sea.All specialty dining reservations for Umi Uma and Prego will be complimentary for Penthouse guests, while all other guests will enjoy one complimentary evening of specialty dining, with additional reservations available for a modest charge. Reservations are always required for specialty dining venues.Technological UpgradesUpon completion of Crystal Symphony’s dry dock in November 2017, guests will receive unlimited free WiFi throughout any Crystal voyage aboard all Crystal vessels. Crystal’s investment in technological amenities for guests will include hardware and software enhancements to enable expanded Internet connectivity and doubled satellite speed. A new guest portal – Crystal Connect – will be launched and featured on the landing page of onboard Internet connections. The portal enables guests to easily access the Internet, as well as shipboard information including daily menus from each restaurant, daily Reflections, day and evening activities, Crystal Adventures shore excursions and daily port maps. A number of international newspapers will also be available for digital viewing, as well as a library of box office hit movies and Crystal lectures on demand. Crystal Connect will also be available in a mobile application for use on guests’ personal devices.In all rooms throughout the ships – in each stateroom and in all public areas – ultra-thin 42” interactive flat-panel TVs will enable guests to conveniently access their onboard folios, view the Crystal Spa & Salon, Connoisseur Wine Selection, and dining menus, with the ability to make any onboard reservations, reserve shore excursions and order room service. These new interactive TVs will also showcase the latest Hollywood movies and hit TV series. Crystal’s acclaimed Computer University@Sea classrooms will also undergo updates and makeover, further enhancing the technological experience and enrichment for guests.Reimagined Public SpacesThe top-deck, forward Palm Court lounge aboard Crystal Serenity will be entirely redesigned to feature more intimate seating, while Crystal Symphony’s mid-ship Starlite Club, a hub for evening dancing and cocktails, will also be refitted, still with panoramic sea views. Crystal Symphony, Serenity are getting new Penthouse Suites – here’s a first look Friday, April 21, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group
He was inducted to the Cardinals’ Ring of Honor in 2008.After his time in the desert, Williams ended his career in St. Louis and helped the Rams win an NFC Championship in his first season there. They’d go on to lose to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI.Williams ranks tied for 19th on the all-time NFL list with 55 interceptions. He was one of ten finalists for induction into the Hall of Fame last season.This year’s list of finalists also includes first-year nominees Jonathan Ogden, Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan.Former Arizona State standout Curley Culp, who played with the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers during a 14-year career, was selected as a finalist by the Hall of Fame Seniors Committee. The Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee has unveiled their list of 15 modern-day finalists for induction into Canton in 2013, and among those finalists is former Arizona Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams.Williams, 44, was a third round pick by the Phoenix Cardinals in 1991 out of Southern University and made his mark immediately, starting 15 games and intercepting six passes in his rookie season.The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Williams went on to play ten seasons with the Cardinals, and went to six Pro Bowls during that decade. He is second on the Cardinals all-time list with 46 interceptions, and his six interception returns for touchdowns is a team record. Top Stories Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
The other guys — King and Sperry — not so much.King, who missed all of OTAs after undergoing offseason surgery, continues to sit for precautionary reasons on the sidelines at University of Phoenix Stadium with fluid on his knee.And Sperry, who played one game with Arizona last season, was one of camp’s early surprises before going down with an ankle injury Monday.“I was really ticked, because Kory was having a heck of a camp,” Arians said. “Finding that he can play fullback, move around and block — because I already knew he could catch — I was really pleased. So, I hated him having a setback because he was really coming on.”Arians noted that while he knows what King can do on the football field, he was encouraged by what Jefferson and Sperry bring from a blocking perspective. In his eyes, both ‘help the picture’ on offense.In the interim, though, there is a small bit of good news on the tight end front. The team claimed Mickey Shuler off waivers Sunday, and the former Penn State standout will take the field for the first time during the Cardinals’ afternoon practice Tuesday.“We’ve got Mickey Shuler going today,” said Arians. “It adds another body, and we’re anxious to see him join the fray a little bit. But this always happens at one position. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 0 Comments Share ErrorOK ErrorOK The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo With returning starters Rob Housler and Jeff King back in the fold to go along with veteran Jim Dray, seventh-round pick D.C. Jefferson and Kory Sperry, Bruce Arians seemed to have plenty of depth at the tight end position going into training camp.Yet five days in, the once-versatile group has already been depleted by injury, making it hard for the Cardinals head coach to evaluate a staple position in his offense.“The injuries are really hurting us right now,” Arians said Tuesday. “Rob [Housler] is looking really good. D.C. Jefferson is making the best of the opportunities, and Jim Dray is as steady as they get. So, we’re finding out about those guys.” – / 22 “We’re still looking [for other options], but unfortunately there’s not much available this time of year. We were fortunate Mickey came across the wire. He was with a couple of our coaches down in Miami, and they think he has a chance.”
Categories: Hornberger News 19Oct Rep. Hornberger: Bail reforms needed to address jail overcrowding State Rep. Pamela Hornberger this week introduced a comprehensive plan addressing the overcrowding of Michigan jails.Hornberger, of Chesterfield Township, said approximately 41 percent of the people housed in Michigan’s county jails are there because they cannot post bail.“The system is broken,” Hornberger said. “Too many people accused of minor crimes are stuck in jail because they can’t afford their bail, putting them at risk for losing their jobs, housing and custody of their children. They’re forced to serve a punishment before they are even convicted of a crime.”The solution Hornberger introduced alongside a bipartisan group of her House colleagues would create a basic financial information form that defendants would complete and Michigan judges would use to set a more appropriate cash bond amount. Specifically, Hornberger’s bill would establish a penalty for anyone who knowingly lies or misrepresents their status on the financial disclosure form.Other parts of the nine-bill package:Make a personal recognizance bond the presumed condition of pretrial release for defendants accused of non-violent crimes.Require Michigan courts to make bail findings on the record.Require district courts to submit data on bail practices to the State Court Administrative Office.As is current practice, Hornberger said defendants considered dangerous to the community, as well as anyone deemed unlikely to attend court hearings, would still receive high bail bond or be jailed without the possibility of pretrial release.The legislation, House Bills 6455-63, was referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.###
Russian telco and mobile operator, MegaFon, has selected Elemental to help power its over-the-top MegaFon.TV service.MegaFon claims that its streamed TV offering has seen a sharp rise in subscribers from 10,000 to more than 1.4 million over the past year and that it selected Elemental to ensure seamless delivery of the service.MegaFon selected a suite of Elemental video processing and delivery solutions, including Elemental Server for transcoding video-on-demand files and Elemental Live to compress streamed content. The Elemental systems are installed on the company’s premises in Moscow.“With Elemental’s solution, we have created a reliable and scalable OTT platform that enables us to seamlessly support the expectations of our expanding user base,” said Andrey Kushnarev, head of video streaming at MegaLabs, the development division of MegaFon.“It has proven its effectiveness during our three major seasonal advertising promotions that generated a huge increase in simultaneous connections to our OTT platform. As a result, we managed to significantly extend the number of paid subscriptions, and provided our clients with the constant OTT stream quality at any time.”
For some older adults, private Medicare Advantage plans next year will include a host of new benefits, such as transportation to medical appointments, home-delivered meals, wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars, or air conditioners for asthma sufferers. But the new benefits will not be widely available, and they won’t be easy to find, during this fall’s enrollment period.Of the 3,700 plans across the country next year, only 273 in 21 states will offer at least one. About 7 percent of Advantage members — 1.5 million people — will have access, Medicare officials estimate. That means even for the savviest shoppers it will be a challenge to figure out which plans offer the new benefits and who qualifies for them. Medicare officials have touted the expansion as historic and an innovative way to keep seniors healthy and independent. Despite that enthusiasm, a full listing of the new services are not available on Medicare’s web-based “plan finder,” the government tool used by beneficiaries, counselors and insurance agents to sort through dozens of plan options. Medicare officials see the added benefits as a key to helping Advantage members prevent costly hospitalizations. Federal approval of new supplemental benefits is “one of the most significant changes made to the Medicare program,” said Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, at an insurers’ meeting last month. She added that she expects plans to expand the number of services in coming years.Medicare Advantage plans, which are an alternative to traditional Medicare, serve 21 million beneficiaries and limit their out-of-pocket expenses. But they also restrict members to a network of doctors, hospitals and other medical providers. They often offer benefits not available in traditional Medicare, such as dental and vision care, hearing aids and gym memberships. The federal government pays the plans to help cover the cost of each member. Enrollment is underway now for choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, as well as for people in traditional Medicare who want to buy a policy for drug coverage. The deadline for both plans is Dec. 7.Among the new benefits that some Medicare Advantage plans said they will offer are:Trips to the pharmacy or fitness centerin addition to doctor’s appointments for plan members, depending on where they live or their health conditions.A monthly or quarterly allowance for over-the-counter pharmacy products such as cold and allergy medications, eye drops, vitamins, supplements and compression stockings. Doctors or other health care providers who make housecalls, under certain conditions.A home health care aide for a limited number of hours to help with dressing, eating and other daily activities, sometimes including household chores and light housekeeping.However, plans offering these services will likely have only some of the options and will have different eligibility criteria and other limitations. Advantage members will need a recommendation or referral from a health care provider in the plan’s network. Then they may need to have a certain chronic health problem, a recent hospitalization or meet other eligibility requirements.Also, the same services likely won’t be available in every county the plan serves. For example, next year Humana Medicare Advantage members in Texas and South Florida in just two of the 43 states Humana serves will be able to get a free in-home personal care aide for up to 42 hours a year if they can’t be left alone at home. And more than half of the members in Cigna-HealthSpring Advantage plans will have access to free transportation services in all but five of the 16 states and the District of Columbia where the company sells coverage. To find these supplemental benefits, seniors can go to the online plan finder. After they enter their Zip code and get a list of plans available locally, they can click on a plan name. That will take them to another page that offers more details about coverage, including a tab for health and drug plan benefits. That page might say whether the new services are offered. But often the website will simply say that some benefits are available and advise consumers to contact the plan for more information.”There is a lot of information on the plan finder, but there is a lot of information missing that requires beneficiaries to do more research,” says Deb McFarland, Medicare services program supervisor at the Southern Maine Agency on Aging.There are also other variables to be considered when choosing an Advantage plan, such as which health care providers and pharmacies participate in a plan’s network, what drugs are covered and costs. Where available, however, several insurers say the services will be free with no increase in monthly premiums. “We certainly believe that all of the ancillary benefits we provide will help keep our members healthy which is good for them and it’s good for us in the long run,” said Steve Warner, head of the Medicare Advantage product team at UnitedHealthcare, which insures about 5 million seniors or one out of every four Medicare Advantage members.Insurers are betting that services will eventually pay for themselves.Dawn Maroney, consumer president at Alignment Healthcare, which serves eight counties in Southern California, says it’s much cheaper to give an air conditioner to someone with congestive heart failure to keep that patient healthy than to pay for expensive medical treatment. But if the new benefits are such a good idea, they should be available to the majority of older adults in traditional Medicare, says David Lipschutz, a senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. Medicare Advantage plans have extra money to spend on benefits next year because the federal government increased its payments an average of 3.4 percent, seven times more than the rate of increase in 2018. For free help with Medicare Advantage and drug plan enrollment, contact the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (www.shiptacenter.org) or the Medicare Rights Center (800-333-4114 or www.medicareinteractive.org). Find Medicare’s Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx or call 800-633-4227.Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.
An unusual species of human apparently lived on the island of Luzon in the Philippines as recently as 50,000 years ago. Based on teeth and bones found there, scientists suspect that these early humans probably stood less than 4 feet tall and had several apelike features. Yet, the researchers say, the bones are distinctly human — from a previously undiscovered species. The first clue was a bone that surfaced in 2007. Archaeologist Armand Salvador Mijares was digging in a cave on the island of Luzon and found a toe bone. He says it didn’t look like a modern human bone. “There’s something peculiar with this bone,” he recalls thinking. But one bone wasn’t enough to say for sure who or what it belonged to.Mijares, who’s with the University of the Philippines, was part of a team looking for bones of early humans. They kept digging for four more years. In 2011, they hit pay dirt — more toe bones, as well as finger bones, part of a thigh bone and seven teeth. And none looked like it belonged to modern humans. “We agreed that this could probably be a new species,” Mijares says.Discovering a new species of ancient human is a career-maker in anthropology — or career-breaker, if you’re wrong. So the team spent another eight years studying the bones and teeth. They now conclude that the skeletal fragments are from three individuals who lived sometime between 50,000 and 67,000 years ago. Writing this week in the journal Nature, the scientists call them Homo luzonensis, after the island.And, says paleoanthropologist Shara Bailey of New York University, these three are pretty unusual.”We tend to define species based on unique combinations of traits,” Bailey says, “and that seems to be what’s going on here.” She says it’s “super-surprising” how the teeth and bones exhibit some “very primitive traits” along with modern ones.For example, one toe bone is more curved than modern human toe bones. In fact, it looks just like the toe of a tree-climbing, ape-like creature, Australopithecus, that lived millions of years ago — well before the first humans evolved.Even the mouth combines an unusual mix of past and present: Some of the teeth look much like ours, while others are more like the teeth of ancestors that lived millions of years ago.Bailey calls the find a “mosaic” species: “I think it just opens up so many new questions,” she says. “It’s exciting.”One question is: Were these creatures related to the Hobbits (no, not the movie characters).”Hobbit” is the widely used nickname for another tiny, primitive human species that lived on an Indonesian island from about 100,000 years ago until 50,000 years ago. More formally called Homo floresiensis, the Hobbits were discovered 15 years ago. They, too, had a surprising mix of primitive and humanlike bones and teeth.Paleoanthropologist Matt Tocheri at Lakehead University in Canada is an expert on the Hobbits. “Here we are not that much later, and now we’ve got a similar thing popping up on an island in the Philippines,” Tocheri says. “They’re living out on these oceanic islands — and they’re essentially there at the same time [as] our species is, you know, conquering the world.”With two puzzling species in Southeast Asia, scientists are also wondering what it tells us about the migration of human ancestors out of Africa.The standard view holds that the first species of human to leave Africa was a large-bodied, fairly big-brained group called Homo erectus, almost 2 million years ago. Homo erectus spread through Asia and Europe.One possible explanation for the existence of Homo luzonensis is that a population of Homo erectus got to the Philippines long ago — maybe hundreds of thousands of years ago — and stayed put. As they evolved, some of their physical traits became more like those of modern humans — some of the teeth, for example. But other traits, like toes, did not evolve or may even have regressed to a more primitive form.That’s the view of Florent Détroit, a paleoanthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and one of the discoverers of the new species. He says evolution plays some unusual tricks, especially on organisms that live in isolation.”This is yet another piece of evidence to show that the features [of the body] definitely do not evolve at the same speed,” Détroit says, “especially in different species in different geographical places.”But Tocheri says there may be another explanation: a different migration out of Africa, not by Homo erectus but by some other more apelike species that settled in remote parts of Asia.”That’s where it gets exciting,” Tocheri says. “Because, if it’s true that the other species of early Homo also made it out [of Africa], it means that what we’re finding in Asia is even more complex and more interesting than we ever dreamed of.”With two oddball species of early human turning up in the past two decades, paleontologists are wondering what the findings mean for the history of humanity.”The evolution of Homo is getting weirder and weirder,” says Rick Potts, head of the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. “Species are fluid entities, which makes them highly malleable, subject to change,” he says.These discoveries, Potts says, “are going to play havoc with any easy classification” of our ancestors and with the notion that there was a fairly orderly progression from primitive to more “modern” traits.What is becoming clearer, anthropologists say, is that early humans came in a lot more shapes and sizes than scientists once thought. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
It’s a brand new ranking.Called the Sustainable Development Goals Gender Index, it gives 129 countries a score for progress on achieving gender equality by 2030.Here’s the quick summary: Things are “good” in much of Europe and North America.And “very poor” in much of sub-Saharan Africa.In fact, that’s the way it looks in many international rankings, which tackle everything from the worst places to be a child to the most corrupt countries to world happiness.And there are a lot of rankings. Alexander Cooley, a professor of political science at Barnard College and the author of Ranking the World: Grading States as a Tool of Global Governance, used to keep track but stopped counting.”It’s so hard to keep up. I’ve just sort of given up,” he says. In 2015, he counted 95 different indexes, with over two-thirds launched after 2001.”Countries can get index fatigue, not know where to prioritize, become complacent and refuse to pay attention to them,” notes Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa, an international lawyer based in East Africa.And you do have to wonder: What’s the value of creating so many indexes to measure human and economic development when they usually come to the same predictable conclusions?Why we love to rankIt’s easy to understand why groups like to rank. “Rankings appeal to our notion of who’s on top, who’s below. And they generate competition,” says Cooley.Even though the top and bottom countries are often markedly similar, international groups believe that there are benefits to the sorting and ordering.For starters, a ranking can “name and shame” countries into trying to do better, says Cooley.Consider the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, which measures how easy it is for a company to set up shop in a given country. It looks at everything from construction permits to access to electricity. It’s not a ranking that the general public has likely heard of. But it’s a big deal in the world of economic development.In fact, it’s so influential that Vladimir Putin in 2012 vowed publicly to move Russia up from 120th place in the Doing Business index to 50th by 2015.Russia did not quite succeed (it landed in 62nd place that year). But the index has spurred real-life policy change.From June 2017 to May 2018, for example, the World Bank found that 128 governments “introduced a record 314 reforms” to benefit small- and medium- business entrepreneurs, enable job creation and spur private investment. Another index that has moved countries to action is the African Development Bank’s Africa Visa Openness Index. It shows which African countries are making improvements that support free movement of people across the continent.”Since this index has been in place, several countries, including Ghana and Ethiopia, now allow Africans to get visas on arrival at a border post,” says lawyer Musiitwa.The researchers with Equal Measures 2030, the new gender index, hope their new index can also inspire change: positive steps for laws and policies that benefit girls and women.Sarah Hendriks, director of gender equality at the Gates Foundation (a funder of this blog and NPR), worked on the index. She says the goal was to “put data in the hand of gender advocates” so they can inform their government ministers “where their country is doing well, where they are falling behind and how the country is performing in meeting [women’s] needs.”To ensure that the index reflects the priorities of those advocates, the researchers teamed up with local organizations in countries like El Salvador, India, Indonesia and Tanzania, and drew from surveys from nearly 600 policymakers and gender advocates.And that’s the way things should go, says Dapo Oyewole, an Aspen New Voices fellow working within the Nigerian government. He says that rankings are only useful if there’s local buy-in. “The rankings are only relevant if there’s a local champion willing to drive the local changes — and an appetite from the government itself,” says Oyewole.The rankings gameOf course, there is a potential risk when countries try to move up. They can game the rankings.Cooley cites an example in a 2015 piece for Foreign Affairs. In 2006, Georgia was in 112th place in the World Bank’s Doing Business index. The country put together a working group to “rapidly pass laws and promulgate administrative rules” to shoot the country to 37th place in 2007.”The evidence suggests that the change was more cosmetic than structural,” Cooley wrote of Georgia’s rise up the index. He found that the country’s ranking had not improved on “comparable” indexes, nor did Georgia produce “a sustained increase in foreign investment.”In response to this criticism, World Bank spokesperson Chisako Fukuda told NPR: “To improve their scores, substantive legislative changes need to be made, which require a strong commitment by governments to improve their business environment.”Squishy dataOther rankings come in for criticism of another type: They’re just kind of vague.Consider Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, which attempts to rank the world’s countries by how corrupt their public sectors are. “A fuzzy concept like corruption isn’t amenable to unpacking,” says Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and the author of Results Not Receipts: Counting The Right Things In Corruption.A long-standing criticism from the international community is that the index relies on the perception of corruption to create its rankings.The rankings are based on questionnaires with “experts and business leaders,” according to the group. They’re asked about a wide range of factors, from evidence of bribery to protections for whistleblowers.That vagueness can make it difficult for local anti-corruption advocates and nonprofits to figure out what they need to do to fight the scourge in their countries: “Should I try to make the police less corrupt or should I join a government partnership to reduce corruption?” says Kenny.When NPR asked Transparency International if it has seen any direct links to reform, spokesperson Ferenc Gaál responded: “It is difficult to draw clear causal links between the Index and concrete impact in the form of improvements of the corruption situation in any one country’s public sector.”The group, however, has seen its index make an impression. Advocates against corruption in Nigeria, for example, have cited the country’s poor ranking (144th place out of 180 in 2018) in op-eds calling for government reform.Same old stories — but some surprisesAs for the fact that many rankings look the same at the top and bottom, one reason has to do with money. Many indexes are correlated with GDP per capita, a measure of a country’s prosperity, says Kenny. That includes the World Bank’s Human Capital Index, which measures the economic productivity of a country’s young people; and Freedom House’s Freedom in the World index, which ranks the world by its level of democracy, including economic freedom.And countries that have more money can spend more money on health, education and infrastructure.Musiitwa says it “annoys” her when countries in Africa get poor ratings. It can have a negative effect on a country’s financial opportunities, she says.”I know that when investors are looking to do business in Africa, they look at indexes,” she says, citing the Doing Business index and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. “The rankings provide some kind of guide to show that a country is well-placed to receive an investment, to figure out how stable the environment is.”But what is more frustrating, she says, is “when these countries and others that have been good performers slide back.”Perhaps the true value of the rankings, says Kenny, lies in the outliers: The surprising stories of countries that “demonstrate that there’s space to do better.”Rwanda, for example, is often at the bottom of economic rankings. But in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report in 2018, which ranked countries by how equal its men and women are, the country was in the top 10.Even for wealthy countries, there are lessons to be learned about what they need to address.Consider the U.S. in Equal Measures 2030’s new gender equality index.Although the U.S. is one of the world’s wealthiest nations, when it comes to creating fair policies for women and girls, the country is nowhere near the top. The U.S. comes in at 28th place, in between Bulgaria and Greece. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Apple Urges Government to Form Commission on Encryption Issues Apple Next Article Apple Inc., fighting a demand by the U.S. government that it unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, has called for the creation of a government commission or panel of experts to discuss the implications of the demand on issues such as national security and personal freedoms.”Apple would gladly participate in such an effort,” the company wrote in a post on its website entitled “Answers to your questions about Apple and security.”Apple said “the best way forward would be for the government to withdraw its demands” to unlock the phone.The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking the company’s help to access shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone by disabling some of its passcode protections.Farook and Tashfeen Malik attacked a holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., on Dec. 2, killing 14 people and injuring 22. The pair were killed later in a shootout with police.Apple argues that while it is technically possible to bypass the security features of the iPhone by building a new operating system, such a move would set a dangerous precedent.The company said it has not unlocked iPhones for law enforcement in the past but has extracted data from an iPhone running older operating systems under a “lawful court order.”The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion on Friday seeking to compel Apple to comply with a judge’s order to unlock Farook’s iPhone.”We’ve handed over all the data we have, including a backup of the iPhone in question,” Apple said in the blog post. “But now they have asked us for information we simply do not have.”Representative Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, said last week that the complex issues raised by the Apple case “will ultimately need to be resolved by Congress, the administration and industry, rather than the courts alone.”Some victims of the attack will file a legal brief in support of the U.S. government’s attempt, a lawyer representing the victims told Reuters on Sunday.Apple could not be immediately reached for comment.(Reporting by Abhirup Roy and Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr) February 22, 2016 Image credit: Pres Panayotov / Shutterstock Enroll Now for $5 Add to Queue 2 min read Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Reuters –shares Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand This story originally appeared on Reuters
V12, a leading provider of customer acquisition solutions, announced the launch of its digital data licensing solution to provide brands with unlimited access to high quality, privacy compliant data assets. V12’s data licensing is available with zero restrictions on data usage at flat fee pricing.Powered by AudienceLink, V12’s digital data asset is a multi-verified data source built using high quality data products that deliver both depth and breadth covering consumer and business audiences. V12 houses 215+ million consumer contacts with full address, 186+ million VINs, 208 million consumer emails and 300 million monthly cookies.“In today’s heightened privacy environment, brands must be more diligent than ever by only sourcing data from vendors who continually invest in the quality of their data and who adhere to privacy standards,” said Andy Frawley, CEO of V12. “Working in the data industry for over thirty years, V12 takes strict measures to offer marketers a high quality and broad data catalog of foundational and purchase intender data assets to optimize media spend.”Marketing Technology News: STOMP Out Bullying™ Launches Emma, the First AI Platform Designed to Process and Respond to CyberbullyingSample audiences include:Purchase Intender Audiences, Powered by V12 Signals: Audiences include consumers who are expressing active buying indicators based on store visits or online browsing behaviors. Clients using V12 Signals intender audiences experience 4x the sales conversion rates and 3x the engagement rates of other audience data sets.Automotive Audiences: Powered by V12’s leading VIN dataset with 186+ million VINs, audiences are available for all 50 states, including privacy states and include in-market vehicle shoppers and aftermarket shoppers.Consumer Audiences: ConsumerLink, a proprietary consumer data source, offers access to data on 215+ million consumers, including 50 million individuals with shopping behavior and lifestyle categories and 130 million identified mail order buyers and responders.CPG Audiences: Built from a proprietary algorithm, V12 finds high-indexing “look-a-like” buyers for 70 CPG segments, allowing marketers to target a larger pool of consumers who are 5x more likely to make a purchase.Custom Audiences: V12 employs digital profiling techniques to analyze aggregated customer attributes to form a detailed composite of a brand’s “ideal” buyer. V12’s analytics capabilities provide insights into purchasing behaviors, unique segments and modeling applications.Marketing Technology News: Uber Versus Lyft: The Game of Ride Sharing and Pricing Data Gets Hotter“As data about consumers continues to grow exponentially, brands are increasing their use of both first and third party data in order to better understand their customers’ purchase intentions, shopping habits and media preferences,” said Anders Ekman, President of V12. “Our offering provides advertisers with an award-winning solution to build unlimited audiences and deliver campaigns at scale through the channels of their choosing.”Marketing Technology News: LINK Mobility to Integrate With Oracle Responsys AcquisitionAndy FrawleyAudienceLinkdata licensing solutionMarketing Technology NewsNewsV12 Previous ArticleAccenture to Expand Industry X.0 Capabilities with Acquisition of Zielpuls to Create Smart Products and Services for CarmakersNext ArticleMarchex Launches Marchex Stream, Unlocking Transformative Conversational Analytics Capabilities for Businesses V12 Launches Digital Data Licensing to Provide Brands with Unlimited Access to Privacy-Compliant, High Quality Audience Data PRNewswireMay 2, 2019, 4:02 pmMay 2, 2019
Adam HelfgottInscapeMadHiveMarketing TechnologyNewsTEGNA’s PremionTV advertising solutions Previous ArticleReelTime VRs New ReelTime Virtual Room May Be Coming to a Hotel or Home Near YouNext ArticleStudy Shows Two-Thirds of Consumers Prepared to Flee to Brands Offering Superior Service Ad Platform Known for Powering OTT Advertising for Station Groups Integrates Data from 11 Million Smart TVs to Deliver the First Local TV Market Solution at National ScaleMadHive, the advanced TV advertising solutions company best known for delivering evidence-based accountability with cryptography, today announced a strategic relationship with Inscape, the leading provider of smart TV viewing data. Integrating Inscape’s glass level TV viewing data from more than 11 million smart TVs into MadHive’s proprietary AI advertising platform enables broadcast networks to sell linear advertising alongside data enriched OTT inventory, as well as providing brands with the ability to easily plan, target, measure and optimize cross-platform linear and OTT campaigns in real-time.MadHive is currently powering linear to OTT reach extension, targeting, and fraud detection in 95%+ of the DMAs across the United States, giving local broadcasters the ability to offer addressable advertising and enabling brands to reach local markets. By incorporating Inscape’s data, Madhive can now deliver the ability to plan, buy, and analyze OTT performance against linear TV data, allowing true optimization across screens at the local level, translating to significant incremental reach.Marketing Technology News: L.A. Lakers Partner Wish Jumps to No. 1 in Earned Social Media Value Among NBA Jersey Patch Sponsors“OTT allows advertisers to leverage the precision targeting of digital on the TV screen, but at the same time it’s also contributing yet another platform to an already fragmented media landscape,” said Adam Helfgott, CEO at MadHive. “This partnership enables advertisers to holistically analyze cross-screen linear and OTT campaigns, while calibrating audiences to drive real business outcomes.”“Advertisers are increasingly looking to take advantage of optimized OTT ad buys especially using local broadcaster inventory,” said Jodie McAfee, SVP of Sales and Marketing at Inscape. “This deal brings optimized cross-platform advertising to all local TV markets in the U.S. regardless of what service provider a home uses to bring OTT into the home”.Marketing Technology News: BabbleLabs Raises $14 million Series A Financing from Dell Technologies Capital and Intel Capital to Accelerate Speech TechnologyThis partnership comes on the back of TEGNA’s Premion announcing integration with MadHive, leveraging the advanced advertising company’s full stack solution to generate better targeting for advertisers and cryptographic proof for buy-side transactions. “OTT not only has the capacity to extend an advertisers reach, but working with MadHive we are able to measure a campaign’s impact on select business outcomes,” said Jim Wilson, President of Premion.Marketing Technology News: Tellius Named by Gartner as a 2019 Cool Vendor in Analytics MadHive, Inscape Partner To Enable Cross-Platform Linear, OTT Planning, Activation and Attribution For Local TV Broadcasters and Advertisers MTS Staff WriterJune 13, 2019, 8:03 pmJune 13, 2019
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 27 2019In Sub-Saharan Africa, the leading causes of death are changing. Fewer people are dying of infectious diseases like malaria or tuberculosis, but non-communicable diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, are on the rise. The situation is particularly grim in South Africa, where citizens are just as likely to die from a non-communicable disease as from anything else.A healthy diet and regular exercise can greatly reduce the risk of developing most non-communicable diseases. But many South Africans, like many Americans, are overweight or obese due to poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. Researchers interested in public health have sought to address these issues with little success.However, a new study from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania published this week in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that a specially designed health intervention given to South African youth improved healthy eating and exercise, with effects lasting at least 4.5 years.Administered to sixth grade students, the intervention consisted of 12 one-hour educational modules, implemented over six sessions and given on consecutive school days. Students participated during their extracurricular time at school, in lieu of some other leisure activity.Aimed at teaching students the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly, the modules were taught by trained facilitators, not the students’ regular teachers, and consisted of interactive lessons and games, including “Health Jeopardy.” The researchers also developed a series of comic books addressing health issues that were used in the modules.”We spent years developing the intervention before launching the study,” says Annenberg professor John B. Jemmott III, lead author on the paper. “We conducted a series of focus groups with local South Africans to ensure we created something culturally relevant. It was also important to us that the intervention be conducted in isiXhosa, the local language.”Related StoriesOverweight and obese adolescents have similar increased risks of heart disordersNew review shows a clear gap in understanding of cancer in LGBTI adolescentsPrecision medicine for pediatric tumors can now be a reality, shows studyMore than 1,000 students from 18 schools participated in the study voluntarily and with parental permission. The study was extremely popular among students, so much so that at some schools the demand could not be met due to space constraints. In addition, the study had more than 90% participation for the duration of the data collection period, even at the final follow up, which occurred 4.5 years after the initial intervention.”We had extremely high attendance rates at the intervention sessions and at all the follow-up visits,” Jemmott says. “I’ve never had attendance rates and return rates for data collection as high as this study.”Immediately before and after the intervention, students completed questionnaires, self-reporting on their eating and exercise habits. Researchers later returned to collect self-reported data at 3, 6, 12, 42, and 54 months.Participants in the intervention had greater odds of meeting guidelines for healthy eating and physical activity than the control group. They also reported consuming more servings of fruits and vegetables and fewer servings of fried food, and engaging in more days of aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening activity, than those in the control group.”The results of the study are impressive,” Jemmott says. “One six day intervention creating behavior change that lasts for 4.5 years is quite promising, and I’d like to see additional research to better understand how we can encourage healthy behavior.” Source:https://www.asc.upenn.edu/news-events/news/new-study-develops-intervention-increase-healthy-behavior-among-south-african