Responsible tourism at Buffalo Ridge

first_img17 February 2011 Situated in the expansive Madikwe game reserve, just three hours north-west of Johannesburg, Buffalo Ridge is a luxurious lodge that can accommodate up to 16 guests – but what sets it apart from other five-star lodges is that it is owned entirely by the Balete people of Lekgophung, who live near the Botswana border. For many high end leisure travellers to or in South Africa, the phrases “community-owned” and “community-run” have been known to set red lights flashing and alarm bells ringing. A brief township tour, the novelty of an overnight stay in a rural B&B or the quaint produce on offer at a craft market add to the experience – but if you want to travel in style, stay in luxury and enjoy the best of the best, private commercial service providers are a safer bet. That, at least, is the orthodox, albeit unspoken wisdom in the tourism industry. It speaks to various assumptions about what is meant by experiencing a country. For people from Western countries travelling in the developing world, this leaves two implicit options: either you can really interact with the citizens and try to live as the locals do – which equates to slumming it – or you can enjoy your creature comforts, in which case you’ll be prevented from engaging with their authentic way of life. In mixed economies such as South Africa, affluent domestic tourists who want to see other parts of their own country seem to face the same dilemma. Those with the means to travel from, say, Cape Town or Johannesburg and spend a holiday in a game reserve are no more likely to have substantial contact with their poorer compatriots than visitors from England, America, Germany or Japan.Community upliftment – not just a cliche While there is general consensus over the need to change structural inequalities in South African society – “empowerment” and “upliftment” have become cliched words – attempts to restore both dignity and economic muscle to historically disenfranchised communities have met with mixed success. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that describing an enterprise as community-owned and community-run often results in raised eyebrows and dubious expressions, and that it can be, to put it bluntly, a turn-off for prospective customers. There is a cure for such scepticism, however: Buffalo Ridge. Each of the lodge’s eight chalets is beautifully appointed, and the main building commands a staggering view over the Madikwe plains. The lodge boasts all of the perks one might expect of a five star bush establishment: private game drives, plenty of good food and wine, effusive warmth from the staff. Buffalo Ridge was the first such establishment to be entirely community-owned, and although it is no longer unique, it is still highly unusual. Buffalo Ridge is leased to and managed by the Madikwe Collection, a portfolio of lodges spread across the 75 000ha reserve. Madikwe Collection founders Carl Trieloff and William Stephens have demonstrated both financial and ecological savvy in expanding the company. In addition to Buffalo Ridge, the collection includes another wholly community-owned establishment, Thakadu River Camp, and private investors and communal owners alike follow the environmental models that have been applied throughout the reserve. The story of Madikwe, like so many of South Africa’s game parks, is one of patient and passionate implementation of conservation programmes. Through the decades-long Operation Phoenix, the area was restored from over-grazed cattle farming terrain to a self-sustaining wilderness area. Combining the twin appeals of being malaria-free and offering Big Five game viewing, Madikwe is a highly prized destination for those who can afford it. Certainly, a stay there is not cheap.Supporting fair trade in tourism But patrons of Buffalo Hills, Thakadu River Camp and Tuningi Safari Lodge – which has also been certified by Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) – are reassured that the money they spend will have a positive ripple effect in the local economy. And, in the case of the Balete of Buffalo Ridge, that doesn’t mean only a few individuals; it means training and employment for dozens of staff at the lodge and, equally importantly, it means the development of infrastructure in Lekgophung and surrounds. FTTSA stipulates that certified businesses meet the following criteria: fair wages and working conditions; fair operations, purchasing and distribution of benefits; ethical business practice; and respect for human rights, culture and the environment. While this doesn’t seem to be the kind of thing one associates with the excitement of game drives, the luxury of lazing by a pool overlooking pristine bushveld, or the privilege of drinking and dining under starry skies, it is possible for tourists to be self-indulgent and to support community development at the same time. First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.last_img read more

Do Startup Companies Need Community Managers?

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market marshall kirkpatrickcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Analysis#Features#web You know what little startup companies need these days? They need to hire more people! It may be a frightening thought, but in an increasingly social world – being social is becoming an important full time job.“Community Manager” is a position being hired for at a good number of large corporations (see Jeremiah Owyang’s growing list of people with that kind of job) but what about smaller companies? We asked a number of people what they thought and the following discussion offers some great things to think about, pro and con.What Is a Community Manager?A community manager can do many things (see below) but the most succinct definition of the role that we can offer is this. A community manager is someone who communicates with a company’s users/customers, development team and executives and other stake holders in order to clarify and amplify the work of all parties. They probably provide customer service, highlight best use-cases of a product, make first contact in some potential business partnerships and increase the public visibility of the company they work for.True believers can’t emphasize the importance of the role enough. John Mark Walker, the Community Manager at CollabNet articulates this perspective well: “I firmly believe that the community manager should be one of the first hires – right after a solid engineering group and before you invest in corporate marketing people.” Not everyone sees it that way, something that causes substantial distress for people in the supply chain who are advocates for the CM role. “Start ups and all companies that exist online need to be looking at a community manager as a salaried position,” said Dylan Boyd of eROI. “We have been working with big brands and it kills me when they just give ‘social media’ to someone that already has 10 other roles…At Omma Social last month in NYC that topic came up asking all the people in the room from Big brands if they had a community manager. 90% of them did not and are still trying to find out how to spec out a job description in order to hire for it.”Dissenters: Community Management Does Not Need to Be a Full Time JobOthers see community management as something that doesn’t need to be a full time job. “Community management is essentially a public relationship issue, so whoever picks up that gauntlet is on point for representing their company to the rest of us,” consultant Peat Bakke told us. “It doesn’t have to be a specific person or a full time job, but it is part of starting and running a business, almost by definition: if you’re in business, you’re doing community management whether you like it or not.”Some would go so far as to call an explicit community manager position a bad idea in the early days of a startup. Darius A Monsef IV, Executive Editor & Creator, COLOURlovers.com told us he thinks that in the early days founders need to be in the thick of managing their own communities.Jonas Anderson voiced concern about community managers being caught between loyalties to the company and its users, while being tripped up by employer nondisclosure agreements. (Others though, such as former BBC blog producer Robin Hamman, point out that having a community manager can greatly reduce legal risk when a company engages extensively with its users.)Startup founder Sachin Agarwal splits his time between community and other work. Though he wishes he had more time for this kind of work, a full timer isn’t necessary, he says. “Our contact us page encourages people to ask each other and post on other sites before coming to us – we’re happy to help, but I’d wager that other users know how to get the most out of our site better than even we do.”Similarly, Twine’s Candice Nobles says after some consideration being given to the position, her company found that their users have been incredibly self-organized and regulating so far.While those thoughts might seem valid, consultant Dawn Foster emphasized that for some companies – making one person ultimately responsible for community work can be essential. “For startups where community is a critical element of the product or service,” she told us, “I think that a community manager should be an early hire. Without a community manager, the frantic pace of the startup environment can mean that the community gets neglected simply because no single person is tasked with being responsible for it. This neglect could result in failure for the startup if the community is critical.”Can Founders Manage Their Communities?We talk to a lot of CEOs on the phone here at ReadWriteWeb and we’ll try to be polite in answering this question. Andraz Tori, CTO at Zemanta answers this question diplomatically. “The [community manager] role can be played by one of the founders early on, but as the project grows you need a person that knows how to listen,” he told us. “Founders have a vision and might be a bit stubborn about what their product represents and offers (that’s why they are founders). Someone a bit more distanced might be much better community manager since he has a lot more empathy for users and their problems and can relay that to developers and managers. And vice versa.”Pete Burgeson, director of marketing for online marketplace crowdSPRING says that a good community manager can help raise the voice of the users themselves. “We want to be able to build a platform for our community to have a voice, showcase their talent and become as active in speaking for crowdSPRING as we are speaking for ourselves.” Still others believe that users may not want to talk to the founder or a community manager, but some one with tech chops and focus. “I think a startup should put a developer in the community as opposed to a ‘community manager’”, Rob Diana told us. “Even though the developer may not be as good of a communicator as a marketing guy, there is a different type of understanding of what people want.”What Does A Community Manager Do?There are many ways that a community manager can benefit a startup company and it often varies from company to company. Eva Schweber, co-founder of CubeSpace says “it depends on the community and what needs to be managed…the style and distractability of the folks in the startup, how they like to collaborate with peers and how they define their peers.”It’s a complicated job, but one that can help bring cohesiveness to the life of a company. “Any opportunity to interact with the community forces one to think about the product/feature considerations and ramifications of one choice over another,” says Nagaraju Bandaru of SmartWebBlog. “In many ways, community manager is the evangelist for company’s products and the voice of the customer in internal discussions. It’s critical to react to online discussions with skill, consistency and aptitude; The role is hard to understand from outside but impossible to miss once a startup is in execution mode.”This coherent communication can have business development benefits as well. This seems to us to be one of the most important benefits of the position. Graeme Thickins, VP of Marketing at doapp explains:“Their world includes the online community that represents both prospective customers/users, as well as strategic partner companies, possible future investors, future employees, and more. Perhaps thinking in terms of a ‘listening manager’ would help a lot of startup founders better come to grips with what this job is all about.”Carol Leaman from AideRSS says investing in a community manager position has helped her company “gain maximum benefit from our early adopters and growing base of users, as it’s a key link between them and our development team. NOT having someone on this full-time would impede our growth and success. We consider ourselves fortunate to have both realized this need early, and to have found an amazing Community Manager to fill the role.”Does that have to be one person in particular? AideRSS’s Melanie Baker explains that specialization is as appropriate in this role as in others. “While especially at startups there’s a shortage of bodies and it’s all hands on deck, not all hands are best suited to all activities,” she said. “No one would want me writing code, and I wouldn’t necessarily want just anyone talking to frustrated users, for example. It’s also totally a hybrid role. My background involves marketing, web, QA, and writing, and I use all of it as a community manager. Someone with a more specialized background can certainly learn what it takes, but might have a hard time wrapping his/her head around the customer service/marketing/business analysis/tech support/software testing/documentation/journalist needs of the role.”“You need someone who understands the fundamental distinction that while you want to grow your user base, a user base does not equal a community,” Baker said. “The best success involves growing the former while making every effort to evolve them into the latter. Because communities grow themselves organically a lot more easily than user bases do.”Isn’t it ultimately about marketing? Kim Bardakian, Sr. Communications Manager, at the wonderful music site Pandora put it this way: “Pandora just created this position about four months ago and it’s been INVALUABLE to our company, in such a short time! It’s opened a whole new world of communications for us! Lucia Willow fills that role for us and she’s great. With the iPhone/Pandora launch on Friday, the Twitter network and followers were making tons of buzz! It was very exciting.. “Is Community Management the New PR?Hutch Carpenter points to an example of community management leading to extensive new media press coverage and saving money on PR.Others see PR evolving towards a community management type of role in this increasingly social world. “I particularly liked the reference to PR as ‘public relationships’, interjected Kathleen Mazzocco ClearPR. “[That] conveys the directness and transparency of today’s new PR. How can it not be given the open conversations going on? That’s why Community Managers are the critical new PR position.”PR has long got a bad rap, though, and if PR pros are going to get into social media (they are already here in large quantities) then there may be some challenges to their ability to play a community management role. “The idea of a ‘community manager’ is a good one as long as that person has the freedom to discuss the negatives as well as the positives of the company’s efforts,” says Dave Allen of Nemo Design. “If we consider all the aspects of social media as PR 2.0 then I would argue that it is a very important position given that companies would hardly have gone without PR 1.0. I posted a top 10 list of what you might call a ‘community manager’s’ activities might be like here.”(Disclosure: the author has a consulting relationship with Nemo)Is This Worth Paying For?Why would a busy little startup spend precious money on this kind of role?“While a Community Manager isn’t the same as a traditional PR role, ideally they should work together,” says Meredith from A Little Clarity. “Startups are in a blur; often they’re being run by engineers with VCs looking over their shoulders — they don’t know from community managers; so there should be some accountability, and that’s the tricky part. Do you measure connections? Responsiveness? Transparent ‘public relationships?’ Whatever it is that your company will value, get it out there and agree on it, because one thing startups don’t always have is time to do it right after getting burned.”You want tangible? Semantic web researcher Yihong Ding will give you tangible! He says that community managers are tasked with tending the most precious asset that many startups have staked their future on – user content.“As we know, most of the Web 2.0 companies are built upon user generated content,” he told us. “Philosophically, User Generated Content is embodied human mind. This embodied mind is generally the fundamental asset for the company. Maintaining a proper community so that users may embody their mind with high quality is thus a central issue for the growth of the company. The duty of community managers is to supervise and maintain the high-quality production of the fundamental mind asset used by the company. Therefore, I would say that community manager is a critical job title for most of the Web 2.0 companies.”We agree with Yihong. User data and community content are the foundation that web 2.0 style innovation and company valuations rest on. Failing to focus meaningfully on tending those assets is a foolish choice.Thanks to everyone who participated in this conversation. We hope readers will contribute their thoughts in comments below.CC photo by Flickr user ItzaFineDay.last_img read more

Breaking News in the Industry: September 11, 2018

first_imgShoplifting suspect accused of running over deputy’s foot; hitting carsWhat was first a shoplifting run for Indiana authorities, landed a Henderson woman in trouble for a lot more, including woman including battery on law enforcement. Evansville police responded to a 9-1-1 call at Eastland Mall reporting Marilyn Crosby was shoplifting. A sheriff’s deputy was on the clock nearby. He says he found Cosby’s car driving away from the mall, and pulled her over into a parkling lot. During that interaction, the deputy leaned into her window to take her keys out of the ignition. That’s when the deputy says Cosby put her car into reverse, dragged the deputy several feet, and ran over his foot. Investigators say Cosby also hit two cars, including the deputy’s cruiser.   [Source: 14 News]Grocery store employee facing felony theft charges for eating $9,200 of deli hamAn Ohio grocery store employee is facing the possibility of felony theft charges for her daily snacking habit. The unnamed employee worked in Bolivar at the grocery chain Giant Eagle for eight years – during that time authorities say she helped herself to three to five slices of ham every day, totaling $9,200 in lost revenue. Authorities say she would also sometimes eat salami.The Associated Press reports that the store’s loss prevention manager received a tip that the employee had been eating the meat slices for years. The woman is facing potential felony theft charges, however, Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Facebook that “felony charges are unlikely.” “While our office did take a report of the issue as requested by the store, no determination of charges has been made.- Sponsor – The procedure is to send the report to the Prosecutor’s Office and they are the ones to decide. “While my office does not have the authority to make the final decision in this case, I do feel confident that once all of the facts are relayed to the Prosecutor, Felony charges are unlikely,” the statement read before adding that no arrests and “no formal filing of charges” had happened.   [Source: Fox News]Bon-Ton plots comeback after tech company buys IPA technology and brand holding company has plans to reboot Bon-Ton following the discount department store chain’s liquidation in bankruptcy this year. A subsidiary of CSC Generation, which owns the online home goods seller DirectBuy and apparel e-tailer Killion, was the winning bidder in a July 31 auction for Bon-Ton’s intellectual property assets, according to court documents. The sale currently awaits court approval. Bon-Ton’s website currently carries banner messages telling visitors, “Bon-Ton is coming back!” Some of the retailer’s subsidiary brands, including Younkers, have similar messages.USA Today reported Thursday that CSC Generation plans to emphasize online shopping experience and that it is in “advanced discussions” with landlords around reopening stores in Colorado, Indiana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. In stores, the retailer plans to add styling services and extended hours, according to USA Today. Jordan Voloshin, co-president of CSC Generation, told the newspaper, “The new Bon-Ton is a department store tailored to the expectations of the modern customer.” CSC Generation did not immediately respond to Retail Dive’s request for comment.   [Source: RetailDIVE][text_ad use_post=’128086′]Robbery suspect in custody after allegedly threatening employee with axeA robbery suspect in Alaska allegedly swung a hatchet at employees Wednesday afternoon as he attempted to exit a store in the Nugget Mall. According to a Juneau Police Department release, a Sportsman’s Warehouse employee approached Pavel Bogatko, 28, outside the store as he attempted to leave the area with a basket of merchandise without paying. When they asked him to return the items, Bogatko allegedly took a hatchet out of the basket and swung it at an employee. No one was hurt, but police say Bogatko then dropped the basket and took off on foot, still carrying the hatchet.Employees called police who responded and pursued the suspect to Ka-See-Ann Drive where a witness said they saw a man jump a fence. Police say Bogatko did not have the hatchet when they found him. Officers later found it in the woods nearby. Sportsman’s Warehouse employees and surveillance footage later confirmed Bogatko’s identity as the suspect, according to JPD. The stolen items totaling $930 were recovered and police placed Bogatko under arrested and charged him with robbery and theft.  Online arrest records list him as currently in custody.  [Source: KTOO Public Media]Dad admits opening credit cards in daughter’s name, stealing thousands from herA Montana man admitted defrauding friends and family out of tens of thousands of dollars in Yellowstone County District Court on Thursday. Separate charges accusing him of stealing from Stillwater County are still pending. Robert Charles Love, 53, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and five felonies: theft, two counts of deceptive practices and two counts of identity theft. Love used credit cards belonging to his daughter and opened two additional credit cards in her name, charging roughly $13,000 to the new cards,  according to prosecutors.Love spent the money on a cruise to Mexico for himself and his girlfriend, tanning bed sessions and court costs related to Love’s DUI case among other purchases, charges state. Love’s daughter learned of the fraud while applying for a college loan. She told police she was denied based on a low credit score but had previously had a high credit score. Love also took $8,810 from the bank account of an acquaintance during the man’s three-month hospital stay and paid it to one of the fraudulent credit cards, according to court filings. Love later used that card to make payments to the same man for a truck Love was buying from him, according to charges. Under a plea deal, prosecutors have agreed to recommend a six-year deferred sentence, restitution and an apology letter to the victims. Sentencing is set for Oct. 18.   [Source: Billings Gazette]Hurricane Florence path toward the East Coast triggers states’ price-gouging lawsHurricane Florence is gaining speed in the Atlantic Ocean and expected to become a major hurricane soon. As Hurricane Florence was gaining speed to become a category 4 storm, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency on Saturday, he also called anti-price-gouging laws into effect. In South Carolina, selling or renting goods or lodging “at an unconscionable price” is subject to civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation (or up to $15,000 per violation if an injunction has been issued) and may be charged as a misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 30 days in jail.“With the possibility that Florence could make landfall in South Carolina, our people have already started making preparations,” Attorney General Alan Wilson said. “We can expect normal price increases, but we may see businesses and individuals looking to unfairly take advantage of the situation through price gouging of food, gasoline, lodging, and other commodities as defined by the statute. By our law, that’s a criminal violation and an unfair trade practice.”Virginia and North Carolina have also declared states of emergency, which allows them to call in the National Guard. Virginia’s price gouging law allows for a civil penalty of up to $2,500 per violation (or up to $5,000 if in violation of an injunction), and North Carolina allows for a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per violation. Price gouging amid natural disasters and other emergencies should be reported to state attorneys general. A total of 34 states and the District of Columbia have anti-price-gouging laws on the books. The northern coast of South Carolina and the Outer Banks of North Carolina are likely to be the areas most impacted by the storm, which could cause $15.3 billion in damage, said Chuck Watson, a disaster researcher at Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.   [Source: Fortune] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Missteps in Securing Autonomous Vehicles

first_imgRecently an autonomous car company highlighted some plans to keep their vehicles safe from hacking. Yet their plans won’t actually make them secure. Such gaffs highlight issues across many different industries where cybersecurity is not sufficiently understood by manufacturers to deliver products hardened against attack. The result, in the case of autonomous vehicles, could be catastrophic.In the article Why Some Autonomous Cars Are Going to Avoid the InternetOpens in a new window, the CEO of the company told the Financial Times (paywall)Opens in a new window “Our cars communicate with the outside world only when they need to, so there isn’t a continuous line that’s able to be hacked, going into the car”. They are choosing to operate the cars in a mostly offline manner to protect against cyber threats.Sounds EffectiveAt first glance, this would seem to be a worthwhile protection mechanism against hackers. It is not. The ‘control’ is to reduce connectivity to the Internet, which does provide some security value for the time it is not connected. But that is where the logic falls apart and in the end, it does not significantly reduce the chances of being attacked.It seems logical, that by reducing the overall vulnerability of the system it will improve the security. But that is not always the case. Just because you remove 50% of the vulnerabilities, it does not mean you reduced the chances of being victimized by half. It is more complex as other dependencies are at work. This mistake is even common among entry level security professionals who are taught to think of risk as a pure equation (R=T x V x I). The Risk equals the Threat times the Vulnerability multiplied by the Impact, which is a fine equation when used properly for a specific purpose. Reduce any amount of vulnerability and the resulting risk is also reduced. However, this equation is not applicable to every problem or discussion.Back to the autonomous vehicle security problem. Intermittent connectivity is a reduced availability tactic. To the attackers, it is simply a network latency problem and can be easily overcome. There is a great deal of precedent and history proving this, which I won’t get into. Instead, let’s think about the problem in a different way by using an analogy.Building a WallImaging you were tasked with protecting your village from marauders. You employed a security specialist to greatly reduce the risks of bandits getting into your hamlet and causing havoc. A wall is built halfway around your town, visible to all. The security specialist then confidently announces he has reduced the vulnerabilities by half, therefore significantly reduced the chances of a successful attack by 50%. Nope. The marauders simply need walk around the wall to get into the town. It might slow them down, as they are laughing and walking around the defenses, but it will not deter or prevent an attack.The same is being proposed here, which is why reducing the Internet connectivity of autonomous vehicles, is an ineffective security control. Such tactics have proven futile in the past.ExploitationThe root of the logic problem is in thinking about security in terms of equal vulnerabilities. Not all weaknesses are the same. There may be a hundred vulnerabilities but only 5 are being used to compromise a system. Only the efforts to close those 5 (the ones being exploited) will be important, while the other 95 are meaningless to the immediate goal of being secure.Cyberattackers will wait for connectivity to compromise devices, just like thieves will bypass the locked door to enter via the open window, and bandits will walk around a wall to enter a village unimpeded. The chances of attack are not significantly reduced, just the timeliness of when it will occur.AccountabilityIn this case, the car company is promoting a security design feature which really is ineffective. Yet, they don’t even realize it. As consumers, we must hold manufacturers accountable for the security, safety, and privacy of the products they produce. This is especially true of devices that hold the potential for life-safety risks. It should draw concern when in marketing and public communications, companies are showing a lack of cybersecurity knowledge and experience, likely as a result of improper skill-sets or executive prioritization, while at the same time exhibiting confidence in the security of their products. It is a dangerous combination.Getting Security RightIt is important to institute optimal security capabilities as part of the design and core functions (Hardware, Firmware, OS/RTOS, software, endpoints, networks, etc.) to protect passengers and pedestrians from potentially catastrophic accidents resulting from digital compromises. Security must be effective, economical, and not undermine usability.Understanding cybersecurity can be challenging, but many car companies are investing heavily in autonomous vehicles to make it a reality. As part of that investment, they must employ the right caliber of cybersecurity professionals to develop a proper strategy, architecture, and capabilities. Thankfully, I do know many in the field who are working on more comprehensive solutions, beyond reducing internet connectivity, to manage the broad range of risks that could impact us all. I believe it is time for all the automakers to work together and develop cohesive capabilities that meet the growing expectation of security, privacy, and safety. Interested in more? Follow me on Twitter (@Matt_Rosenquist)Opens in a new window and LinkedInOpens in a new window to hear insights and what is going on in cybersecurity.last_img read more

SEE PICS: Lara Dutta with hubby Mahesh Bhupathi and daughter Saira celebrate Christmas

first_imgActor Lara Dutta was spotted at Bandra yesterday, ringing in Christmas with her husband, the ace tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi and her four-year-old daughter Saira.Photo: Yogen ShahPhoto: Yogen ShahPhoto: Yogen ShahEver since her marriage in 2011, the former Miss Universe has only been making sporadic appearances in films. This year, she was first seen in Fitoor and then in Azhar in small but pivotal roles.SEE PICS: Dangal girls Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra strike a poseSEE PICS: Alia spends Christmas with orphaned kidsSEE PICS: Cousins Ranbir and Karishma bond over Christmas lunchLara and Mahesh got engaged in 2010. They married in 2011 and their daughter Saira was born on January 2012. Much before Yuvraj and Hazel on the one hand and Virat and Anushka on the other, Lara-Mahesh were the Bollywood-meets-sports-couple that the paparazzi could never get enough of.ALSO WATCH: I look best in bikini, says Lara Duttalast_img read more

Liev Schreiber and His Hurricane Harvey Rescue Pups Are Now PETA Pinups

first_imgIn a series of snapshots, Liev Schreiber snuggles up to brother-and-sister puppy duo Woody and Willow for a new PETA ad that proclaims, “Adopt! Once You Do, You Won’t Be Able to Picture Your Life Without Them!”Liev Schreiber PETA AdThe ad follows Schreiber’s adoption of Woody and Willow from the Live With Kelly and Ryan show set, where they’d been brought from an animal shelter in Texas that was overwhelmed with homeless animals in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.“Animal shelters across the country are flooded with dogs just like Woody and Willow,” says Schreiber. “It’s hard knowing that so many are still waiting for their forever home. The good folks at PETA and I encourage you to find your own perfect match and save a life (or two!) by adopting.”Not every pup is as lucky as Woody and Willow. Every year, more than 6 million dogs and cats end up in U.S. animal shelters, and half of them have to be euthanized because there aren’t enough good homes for them all. Countless more end up on the street, where they may starve, freeze, get hit by cars, or endure abuse.That’s why PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” — encourages caring people to adopt from local animal shelters and never buy from breeders or pet stores, which only exacerbate the homeless-animal overpopulation crisis.last_img read more

Small earthquake rattles rural San Diego county near Palomar Mountain

first_img Posted: September 16, 2018 Small earthquake rattles rural San Diego county near Palomar Mountain Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter KUSI Newsroom SANTA YSABEL (KUSI) — A small earthquake struck a rural corner of San Diego County in the early morning hours Sunday.A preliminary magnitude 3.3 temblor was recorded near Palomar Mountain at 4:37 a.m. Sunday, according to the United States Geological Survey.The epicenter was located about 20 miles east-northeast of Escondido and about 16 miles north-northeast of Ramona — an area near Lake Henshaw.Reports on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” map showed light shaking could be felt throughout inland North County and the mountains of East County. September 16, 2018 KUSI Newsroom, last_img read more

No Plans to Remove Baltimore Monument to StarSpangled Banner Writer

first_imgBALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore’s mayor says she has no plans to remove the city’s monument to Francis Scott Key that was recently vandalized.Paint covers part of the statue to Francis Scott Key, the writer of the Star Spangled Banner, after it was defaced overnight in downtown Baltimore, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. The words “Racist Anthem” were found painted on a monument, on the anniversary of the battle that inspired him to write the “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Police are investigating, but have no suspects. (Colin Campbell/The Baltimore Sun via AP)The words “Racist Anthem” were painted on the monument’s base on the anniversary of the battle that inspired Key to write the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”The Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday that Mayor Catherine Pugh also has directed art preservation experts to determine the cost of cleaning it up.Key, who owned slaves, was inspired to write his verses by the Battle of Fort McHenry on Sept. 13-14, 1814 during the War of 1812.The seldom-sung third verse says: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” Many believe it refers to slaves who fought for the British.___Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.comlast_img read more

The heart and soul of music

first_imgLiving up to their tradition of being one the best live-misc destinations in the Capital, Hard Rock Cafe at Saket made sure they kept the volumes loud. The music band, Soul’d Out performed today at Hard Rock Cafe.The idea of the summation of the band floated about for quite a while until its formation in the summer of 2011.The band consists of four members who belong to the same college, Rohit, Bhannu, Abhay and Abhijit. Each member of the band has a very special relationship with music. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’With influences ranging over different genres of music, Soul’d Out quite naturally has a very interesting sound, and the members are not concerned about how that sound is defined or categorised.All that matters to them is that they have fun playing, which eventually spreads contagiously into the crowd! Whether you’re in the mood to bust a move, or just chill out with some friends over a few beers, this band can certainly leave you satisfied!Abhijt Sood played the drums, Bhaanu Mehendiratta was on the guitar, Chetan Awasthi handles the vocals, Sajal Sharma plays the bass and Abhay Sharma, the saxophone.last_img read more

Jack Ma defends the extreme 996 work culture in Chinese tech firms

first_imgIt was just last month when Chinese developers protested over the “996 work schedule” on GitHub. The “996” work culture refers to an unofficial work schedule that requires employees to work from 9 am to 9 pm, 6 days a week, totaling up to 60 hours of work per week. The site, 996icu, that went viral last month, also called out to companies such as Youzan and Jingdong, who both follow the 996 work rule. One such example given was of a Jingdong PR who posted on their maimai ( Chinese business social network) account that “(Our culture is to devote ourselves with all our hearts (to achieve the business objectives)”, defending the 996 work culture. Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, is also among the ones who believe in promoting the 12-hour, 6-day week working schedule. Ma defended the Chinese 996 tech-life on Alibaba’s WeChat account, last week, and chastised people wanting a balanced and typical eight-hour work shift. “In this world, everyone wants success, wants a nice life, wants to be respected. Let me ask everyone if you don’t put out more time and energy than others, how can you achieve the success you want?” Compared to them, up to this day, I still feel lucky, I don’t regret (working 12 hour days), I would never change this part of me”, states Ma. Other companies to support Ma includes JD.com Inc., whose chief executive, Richard Liu, said that although he wouldn’t force people to work 996, however, people who have slacked off are not his “brothers”, reports Bloomberg. “Many people just want to buy a car and buy a house for Mom and Dad. This is very important, but I think you should have this ideal…some things that you are willing to do can help your child to be more blessed and help you to be blessed. Isn’t it a good thing? This requires 996”, states Ma. Jack Ma’s remarks in defense of the 996 work schedule have again ignited uproar among people who strictly disapprove of this extreme over-time work environment in Chinese tech companies. Many have pointed out how promoting “996 work culture” in the name of “devotion” and “hard work” is blatantly ignoring the consequences of such gladiatorial work environment on employees. Unbearable pressure and unrealistic demands from employees often lead to them being depressed, over-fatigued, burned out, and in worst cases, suicidal. For instance, during February 2015, Foxconn forced its employees to work overtime, which resulted in occasional karoshi (death due to job-related exhaustion) and suicide. Public reaction to Jack Ma’s approval of 996 work culture has been largely negative, with people condemning Ma for his utter ignorance towards the issue: Read Next Chinese tech companies don’t want to hire employees over 30 years of age Alibaba’s Singles Day sale hit record $30 billion in 24 hours Alibaba Cloud released Mars, a tensor-based framework for large-scale data computationlast_img read more