Top 10 Actionable Ways To Optimize mCommerce with Artificial Intelligence in 2018

first_imgWhich AI solutions should you use?There are countless effective chatbot solutions available in the market. Some of the most reliable ones include:, and BotsifySolutions such as these allow users to quickly create their own chatbot, train it about their product and embed it in their website effectively within days. With self-learning mechanisms, these bots can learn with each conversation and can escalate the chat to a human when required.v) Social Media ChatbotsNext in line for customer support channels is Social media channels. Isn’t it where consumers spend most of their time on phones?Social media channels like Facebook, Kik, Wechat, Telegram, and others provide the ability for users to setup chatbots which can interact with users right within the platform.Which AI solutions should you use?Chatfuel is a great tool for merchants to setup a chatbot and link it with their facebook business page.  To take things even a step ahead, this Facebook linked bot can then be used on the website as well. This can keep all your chats centralized. Not to forget how easy they make the process of setting up a chatbot on Facebook.On the other hand, messaging platform Kik accepts business chatbots that can be coded using their API documentation – a Bot is ready, it needs to be submitted on the BotShop – so users can gain access to it. With over 2 million downloads, it is always a great way for businesses to reach out to their AI-powered IVRIVR (Interactive Voice Response), is one of the most traditional ways to provide customer support. Such systems are helping both public and private ventures throughout the globe. However, the biggest pain point is the traditional model of finding information — which is pretty outdated.By engaging a customer “who is trying to find information” into pressing a series of buttons, customers usually end up frustrated and eventually end up reaching out to an agent.Which AI solutions should you use?After a lot of research, we were able to find only one solution that was actually dependable. Nuance’s Conversational IVR is the most complete solution available for providing AI based IVR support. This system removes all the hassles for the customer to find information and engages him directly using Natural Language Processing and Speech recognition algorithms.By providing them results directly and escalating to an agent only if absolutely necessary, this system is a great replacement for traditional IVR’s.vii) AI for Price NegotiationOne of the biggest reasons for shopping cart abandonment for ecommerce stores is that users aren’t able to negotiate the price of the product as they could have while visiting a brick and mortar store. On the contrary, users tend to research more on different competitor websites in an attempt to find the least price before making the purchase.This affects startup ecommerce stores the most as they have barely stepped into the market and there is hardly any room for a lot of discounts or past record to claim superior services in return for a cost higher than their competitors.Which AI solutions should you use?Using Artificial Intelligence, it is now possible to engage prospects in negotiation and provide them with a strategic discount in order to get them onboard.Nevonprojects recently launched a chatbot based price negotiator that could do just that.The Brihaspati Infotech recently developed an AI-powered price negotiator that could monitor user’s intent and then engage the user in a fully automated negotiation. The bot passes the turing test in a satisfactory manner with the customers hardly able to identify the bot.Smart User InterfaceSo far, we have realized that AI solutions are focused towards customer retention, conversion rate optimization and to facilitate ease of use. Building further upon this thought, AI solutions can work wonders in simplifying the traditional ways of customer interaction with a web store.User Interface elements that need to use AIviii) Voice SearchSearch is one of the most important user interface elements in an Ecommerce store. This is especially true when your store has hundreds (if not thousands) of products under nested categories. While traditional text-based search has been reinvented numerous times now and have stayed as the goto solution, it is finally time for AI-powered voice-based search to take over the baton. Voysis provides it’s customers an interface to setup a Voice AI assistant which then needs to be trained with store data. Once the bot is ready, it can be deployed using Voysis API, JS libraries, and SDK on any web or mobile application.Customer SupportCustomer support is the backbone of any business and having more than one support channels available for customers is no longer a “good to have”. But having multiple support channels don’t need to mean investing in support staff to be available on those channels all the time.Human support will be required without any doubt, but with Artificial Intelligence, it is possible to give actionable solutions to the customer automatically. This would dramatically decrease the workload of support managers and they would be required to step in only for selected cases.Customer support channels which AI can handleiv) Live ChatbotsThe best place to provide support for Ecommerce stores is on the website itself. That is where the customer has the most number of queries before and after making a purchase. Stores like Amazon and Flipkart get around 1000+ regional inquiries on live chat regarding different categories.While large enterprises like Amazon can hire regional support staff to handle such a load, it might not be budget friendly for any startup or mid-sized business. Kapil Arora is a skilled marketer at The Brihaspati Infotech – Web Design and Development Company. Besides analyzing technical requirements of the clients, Kapil is an AI enthusiast. Which AI solutions should you use?While Google has been the most widely used (and effective) voice search system available there are numerous other tools that can be configured into any ecommerce store and they can work equally effectively.Some of them include, Reflektion, Inbenta, Klevu. These voice search services utilize the microphone of mobile devices with perfection and can work flawlessly for native accents as well. While Voice results are not always accurate, one should always consider that 95% success rate is not half bad.ix) Image SearchNext in line to optimize ease of use for mCommerce experiences is image search. Every other smartphone now a days incorporates a camera powerful enough to capture detailed imageries. With AI based machine learning algorithms able to interpret visual data, it is time to use those mobile cameras for something other than taking selfies.With AI-powered Image search, users can search for products that they see in real life with ease. This plays a huge impact on the subconscious mind of prospects and customers in order to boost customer engagement and retention.Which AI solutions should you use? A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Google is probably one of the most active tech giants when it comes to Artificial Intelligence. In their most recent I/O, they probably demonstrated how to nail down a turing test. For those who missed it, here’s a sneak peek: If such disruptive and moot evolution in Artificial Intelligence are not an effort towards enhancing mobile experiences then I don’t know what is. With the change in consumer lifestyles and an escalating preference towards mobile devices, virtually all web applications are following the mobile first approach. Consumer behavior has evolved to an extent that more time is spent on mobile phones as compared to televisions or desktops.The same is true for Ecommerce, with studies indicating a steady growth in Mcommerce sales. Related Posts Fashwell visual search is one of our top picks for implementing Visual search in Ecommerce stores. With a professionally documented API, fashwell search could be integrated with virtually any web application that supports a camera and can match objects clicked by the camera with the ones available in the database.x)  AI+AR powered product visualizersLast but not least on our list is using the power of Augmented reality in combination with Artificial Intelligence. Remember how Pokemon GO revolutionized the way augmented reality can be leveraged through smartphones?Our mobile phones nowadays support a host of sensors including gyroscope, accelerometer and a compass to track each and every movement of a mobile device. These can be used with a camera to setup interactive AR tools for product tryouts.Tons of industry leaders are already using Augmented reality applications. This includes: LensKart, Ikea, Tap Painter, SephoraOne of the most impressive AI+AR implementations we have seen in a while is from Deloitte in their Digital Identibot.Here’s a preview of what they are onto: this is not available as an off the shelf solution, there are certainly resources available that allow developers to perform such implementations.Which AI solutions should you use?AR libraries like AR.JS have always been our top picks as they provide specific endpoints to implement an interactive AR application which can then be integrated with any AI logic that seems fit.To boost AR implementations, Apple and Google are also providing their AR SDK’s by the names of ARKIT and ARCORE with which developers can leverage the desired sensors in order to build AR applications for ecommerce stores like none of your competitors.ConclusionMobile devices are certainly leading on the hardware front with ease of use being their USP’s. Combining it with advancements in AI capabilities and Big Data management, there won’t be any physical boundaries left after a certain point in time.All that would be left for store owners would be to discover new ways of delivering personalized and effective user experiences that play the most important role when it comes to optimizing conversion rates of an e-commerce store. The consistent growth of mCommerce largely depends upon latest technology and cutthroat competition among smartphone companies. This has resulted in bringing down smartphones costs and making it available to over 2 billion smartphone users on the planet.While Mcommerce is undeniably the key to success for Ecommerce retailers, infusing it with Artificial Intelligence can abet Mcommerce stores capable of:Automated reasoningPersonalized RecommendationsCustomer’s Behavior Patterns AnalysisWith developers all around the world going neck-deep in Artificial Intelligence, there are tons of effective AI solutions already available on the web.  We aim to bring into light Top 10 actionable ways how merchants could optimize Mcommerce experiences using Artificial Intelligence this year and some relevant solutions that can be used to implement those techniques without investing a lot of development time.We have grouped the solutions based on a) Personalization, b) Customer Support, c) Smart User InterfaceReady? Let’s BeginPersonalizationGartner’s magic quadrant report for 2017 suggests that delivering a personalized Ecommerce experience has the potential to uplift sales by at least 15%. With Mcommerce, one can easily expect this percentage to rise due to consumer preferences towards mobile devices.With Artificial Intelligence, merchants can utilize machine learning algorithms that can effectively handle big data and perform computations to deduce user preferences which are impossible for any human being to perform.Store sections that should be personalized: i) Product RecommendationsProduct Upselling and Cross Selling has been one of the most effective and traditional ways to engage a buyer just before or after he makes a purchase. Self-learning AI solutions can enhance this process by automatically analyzing customer behavior, preferences and footprint, providing more relevant product recommendations.Which AI solutions should you use? Our top picks for setting up product recommendations has to be Sentient Aware and Granify.With both services being API based solutions, these can be hooked up with any off the shelf or custom Ecommerce management tools used by merchants.Both these solutions analyze the store inventory through visual interpretation, web-based learning, similar customer choices and customer’s buying preferences in order to come up with personalized solutions. Not just that, these solutions also analyze buyer’s intent and offer call to actions in order to decrease store abandonment.ii) Personalized Push NotificationPush notifications play an important role in connecting the dots within a buyer’s journey. AI engines can identify customer preferences and use push notifications to target prospects with personalized alerts to re-engage prospects and existing customers. Kapil Arora China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … Source: Statista AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Which AI solutions should you use?We recommend an out of the box approach of OctaneAI. While the user tracking is done on the website and relevant notifications are sent via Facebook to the customer. Octane AI can automatically track: User demographics, behavior, customer queries, follow up notifications to provide an engaging and personal customer experience.Another cool alternative is Vizury – that specifically provides an intelligent interface for setting up automated and personalized push notifications based on different conditions such as Price alerts, Drop off alerts, New users, Lapsed users, etc.iii) Virtual AssistantsThe world looks up to Google Assistant and Siri when it comes to Virtual assistants, and rightly so because of how far they have come in having fluent and result oriented interactions with users. Such assistants on can do wonders in increasing conversion rates for an Ecommerce store due to the ease of use they facilitate.Imagine opening a web store on your cell phone on your browser or mobile app and simply asking the assistant to make an order for you.Which AI solutions should you use?While there might not be voice assistant solution as effective as Google or Siri, they sure are not the only players out there. Continuous attempts are being made and new voice assistants are consistently being introduced for Ecommerce retailers.One such service is VoysisVoysis AI search uses natural language processing and deep learning to quickly and easily add voice AI assistant capabilities to any business. Using Voysis virtual assistant, customers can search, filter and order products with voice commands. Tags:#artificial intellgence#Chatbots#image search#mcommerce#voice search AI Will Empower Leaders, Not Replace Themlast_img read more

Ministry asks SAI to ensure athletes get food supplements

first_imgNew Delhi, May 17 (PTI) The Sports Ministry has directed the Sports Authority of India to get in touch with Athletics Federation of India so that the track and field athletes at the NIS Patiala receive the required dope-free supplements. The direction came after Sports Minister Sarbanada Sonowals surprise visit at the centre. He heard the grievances of the senior as well as junior athletes at the NIS, some preparing for Rio Olympics, apart from having first hand knowledge of the facilities being provided to the campers. Upon learning that athletes have not been provided food supplements, the minister gave SAI two days to get the job done. AFI officials said there were some issues regarding the purchase of the supplements but they have now got the stock and it will be distributed to the athletes from tomorrow. “The issue arose after the SAI for the first time had stopped giving the food supplements to the athletes and told us to do the job from now onwards. We were told this last month. It is not easy for us to begin the job and so took time,” a top AFI official said. “But we have completed purchase of the supplements and we will start distributing from tomorrow,” he added. It may be mentioned that close to 40 athletes have already left for Poland for training and a few athletes such as shot putter Manjeet Kaur, who has qualified for Rio Games, are training at NIS. “During his day-long visit, the minister went to the hostels, training arenas, mess, recovery centre and various departments of sports sciences to have a first hand knowledge of the facilities being provided to the campers. He interacted with the campers, coaches and sports scientists etc. to receive their feedback on the facilities being provided and further improvement, if needed,” a press release stated. The Minister also directed that an indoor track at the Institute be laid at the earliest to provide better training facilities to junior campers, who are preparing for 2020 Tokyo Games. PTI AT PDS KHSadvertisementlast_img read more

IPL 2017, MI vs RCB Highlights: Rohit Sharma breaches 4000-run mark and leads to Mumbai to top of the table

first_imgHello and Welcome to our Live Coverage of Match No. 38 between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede stadium. (Live Scorecard | Points Table)Mumbai Innings:19.38 IST: WIN BY 5 WICKETS! Rohit takes his team over the line in style! What a chase! A low full toss outside off, Rohit Sharma makes a bit of room and drills it between extra cover and wide mid off for a boundary. Mumbai dugout is all smiles.Match 38. 18.3: S Arvind to RG Sharma, 6 runs, 153/5 #MIvRCB- IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 1, 201719.28 IST: SIX! Hardik Pandya hammers that one for a biggie. What a hit! That’s as flat as it can get! A length delivery on middle, Hardik Pandya stays put and swipes it across the line and dumps it over deep mid-wicket. In the crowd she goes. Kohli is fumed, Rohit is happy. Mumbai Indians 145/5 (18 overs) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore 162/819.18 IST: WICKET! Shane Watson strikes. Straight to the fielder! Watson strikes and has his hands raising skywards! Kohli is all smiles as well. Back of a length delivery on middle, Karn Sharma widns up for the pull as it sits up at a nice height. He goes through with the shot but much to his dismay the ball goes straight down the throat of Adam Milne at mid-wicket. Mumbai Indians 130/5 (16.3 overs) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore 162/8Match 38. 16.1: S Watson to RG Sharma, 4 runs, 129/4 #MIvRCB- IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 1, 201719.16 IST: Shane Watson comes back on for a spell at the death. One reckon his overs could be the difference between the two sides. We are set for a close, close finish here. Not surprising with Mumbai playing. They love such games, don’t they?advertisementFOUR! Karn chooses the safest part of the ground. He lofts the ball straight over the bowler’s head.#MIvRCB #CricketMeriJaan #MI- Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 2017Match 38. 14.6: A Choudhary to RG Sharma, 4 runs, 114/4 #MIvRCB- IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 1, 201719.07 IST: FOUR! Beats the fielder! Very full outside off, Rohit Sharma makes room and squeezes it out past a diving point fielder. Another fielder in the deep, Adam Milne dives to his left but the ball wins the race. A much-needed boundary for the home side.18.58 IST: WICKET! That’s a big wicket for Bangalore! Floats it up around middle and leg, Pollard comes down the track and flicks it uppishly towards deep mid-wicket. Spots the fielder Travis Head to perfection there who gobbles it with ease. Chahal gets his first wicket and the big West Indian walks back dejected. 65 needed from 42 balls! Mumbai Indians 98/4 (12.4 overs) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore 162/8Match 38. 10.6: A Milne to K Pollard, 4 runs, 86/3 #MIvRCB- IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 1, 201718.43 IST: Rohit brings up 4000 runs in IPL. Rohit gets in line and paddles it towards fine leg. Chahal gets across to his right from deep fine leg and slides to stop the ball. They take a couple as the third umpire is referred. Replays show Chahal was clean there and hence they stay to a couple of runs.18.41 IST: WICKET! Pawan Negi strikes again and this time he gets Nitish Rana. Fuller in length on the stumps, Rana goes for the slog sweep. He gets it high in the air towards deep mid-wicket. Head gets under it, takes it easily but spots that he is losing balance and may go over the ropes. He throws it up in the air, hops back from outside the fence and completes the catch. It is referred upstairs. Replays show that Head was safe there and hence Rana has to walk back to the hut. Negi has struck gold again. Mumbai Indians 70/3 (9.2 overs) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore 162/8FOUR! That should be a confidence booster! #RohitSharma pulls with pleasure!#MIvRCB #CricketMeriJaan #MI- Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 201718.31 IST: WICKET! Pawan Negi strikes in his first over and Jos Buttler is back to the pavilion. Buttler departs! Fuller around off, Buttler comes down the wicket and hits it hard. The ball flies to Head at extra cover who takes a good catch. That is a big wicket for the visitors. Buttler walks back disappointed. Mumbai need 102 more runs in 75 balls. Mumbai Indians 62/2 (7.3 overs) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore 162/8BCCI Photo18.22 IST: SIX! Into the stands! Fuller on middle, Buttler gets his front leg out of the way and clobbers it over wide long on for a maximum. This is a superb start for the home side in the Powerplay. Mumbai Indians 55/1 (6 overs) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore 162/818.18 IST: FOUR! In the slot, hit away! Full outside off, Buttler comes forward and drives it on the up and over mid off for a boundary. Superb shot, that!advertisement18.16 IST: FOUR! Full outside off, Rana just times his push through mid on for a boundary.3?6?/1? in 4 overs!That was a tight over by Choudhary. We have seen it off.#MIvRCB #CricketMeriJaan #MI- Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 2017Match 38. 2.6: A Milne to J Buttler, 4 runs, 32/1 #MIvRCB- IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 1, 201718.07 IST: NOT OUT! Good length on the stumps, Rana is early into his tuck. The ball lobs just wide of the square leg fielder running back. He does not get to the ball in time. Bangalore need to make most of this chances. Two runs taken.18.04 IST: FOUR! The extra pace is not helping! Short outside off, Buttler was waiting for it. He gets it off the middle of the bat and through mid-wicket for a boundary. Poor bowling, this.18.04 IST: FOUR! Nobody moved! Fuller length outside off, Buttler just stands tall and thumps it wide of extra cover for a boundary. This is a good start for Mumbai despite the wicket.18.02 IST: FOUR! Classical! Full outside off, Rana lunges forward and drives it through mid off. The fielder at mid off, dives to his right but cannot stop it. Two overs, both have had a poor last ball.Match 38. 0.6: A Choudhary to N Rana, 4 runs, 6/1 #MIvRCB- IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 1, 201717.58 IST: FOUR! Poor line and punished! Full but on the pads, Rana is not going to miss out and he clips it to the fine leg fence. Poor ball to end the over. MI 6/1 in 1 over, chasing 16317.54 IST: OUT! Parthiv departs for a golden duck! Good length outside off, Patel looks to go big first up. He does not hit it cleanly and Chahal from short mid-wicket goes to his right and takes the catch. That is just the perfect start for the visitors. MI 0/1 in 0.1 overs, chasing 163. Nitsh Rana is the new man in, replacing Parthiv!17.53 IST:  Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler are the two openers for Mumbai. Bangalore begin with Aniket Choudhary! A slip in place for him. Here we go…Bangalore Innings:17.39 IST: BANGALORE FINISH ON 162/8! This is a decent effort from both the sides. Bangalore opted to bat first and got off to a decent start before Mumbai came back in the game with a couple of quick wickets. AB de Villiers stepped up with a 27-ball 43 but just when he was looking good, he departed to Krunal Pandya. The pair of Negi and Jadhav steadied them with a 54-run stand to get them past the 160-run mark. All the hosts bowlers were good with the ball. Mitchell McClenaghan finished with 3/34 but was a touch expensive. Krunal Pandya chipped in with a couple of wickets as well. The home side boasts of a deep batting line-up and will back them to come good. The visitors on the other hand will like to make full use of the two-paced deck on offer. It should be an intriguing chase. Join us in a while for it.advertisement17.36 IST: WICKET! Good catch! Two-in-two for McClenaghan! Back of a length outside off, Kedra Jadhav comes down the track looking to slap this one but there is some extra bounce this time. Jadhav slices it towards long off and Pollard once again is into the action. The West Indian runs across to his left from long off, keeps hies eyes, maintains his balance and takes an easy reverse cup catch over his head. MM on a hat-trick now.17.35 IST: WICKET! Got him! McClenaghan serves another length delivery on middle and off, Negi looks to thwack it over long on but doesn’t get enough meat behind the shot. It goes straight to Pollard stationed there who accepts a dolly. A fighting knock from Negi comes to an end. They check if the Mitchell has touched the side line while delivering the ball. He hasn’t and Negi trudges back.17.35 IST: FOUR! Boom! That’s bashed! Pawan Negi where were you all this while? A length ball on middle, Paan Negi clears the front leg and smacks it back down the ground for a one bounce boundary. 160 up for Bangalore, could be competitive on this surface.17.34 IST: FIFTY STAND! Once again it lands safely! Sprays it wide outside off, Jadhav comes down the track and lofts it with no timing. Rohit Sharma from extra cover runs backward, Buttler comes forward from sweeper cover but the ball dies between them. A single taken and brings Pawan Negi back on strike.Match 38. 18.3: J Bumrah to P Negi, 6 runs, 153/5 #MIvRCB- IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 1, 201717.28 IST: SIX! Clears Hardik Pandya! A length ball, it’s the cutter and Negi is up for it. Backs away and swings through the line. He connects well that even a leaping Hardik could only get a hand to it. Second maximum of the over.17.24 IST: SIX! It’s gone the distance! Malinga rolls his finger on the ball, outside off, Negi comes down the track and thumps it over extra cover for a biggie. The young boy who’s the ball boy takes a good low catch.17.22 IST: FOUR! Much-needed boundary! Fires it on the pads, on a length and Jadhav works it with pure timing through mid-wicket for a boundary. The fielder in the deep dives to his left but the ball beats him.Kedar(15) & Negi(2) are between the sticks. #RCB 115/5 after 15 overs. Last 5 overs to go! Go RCB!!??? #PlayBold #MIvRCB- Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) May 1, 201717.11 IST: Malinga to Negi, OUCH! Krunal seems to have hurt himself trying to stop the ball at backward point. He is walking off the field. Replays show Krunal landed on the ball and hence was hurt. Short and outside off, Negi chops it towards the right of the backward point fielder as Krunal dives towards the ball and stops it. But when he does he lands on the ball and has hurt himself. They take a single.. Walks off the field. RCB 112/5 in 14.4 overs Krunal has gone off the field! Good to see him walk though.#MIvRCB #CricketMeriJaan #MI- Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 2017Krunal stops a ball with a great dive, but he seems to have hurt himself. We hope he isn’t injured.#MIvRCB #CricketMeriJaan #MI- Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 201717.05 IST: Bumrah to Watson, BOWLED! Bad shot from the Aussie, he misses and Bumrah hits middle stump. RCB 108/5 16.59 IST: Strategic time out taken! RCB 106/4 in 13 overs. Jadhav 9*, Watson 2*. Last 4 ovs – 30 runs, 2 wickets.16.56 IST: Krunal to de Villiers, OUT! Gone next ball! Krunal Pandya gets his man! De Villiers has been dismissed by Krunal 4 out of 4 times now, bunny eh? KP is delighted and signals a boundary which means he’s got him 4th time today. Floats it up on the stumps, de Villiers makes room and tries to repeat the shot. Ends up getting a big top edge as the ball squirts up behind the keeper. Bumrah from short fine leg comes to his right and settles under it. AB is outta here. RCB 102/4 in 12.2 ovsOUTTTTTTT! YESSSSS! 4? out of 4? for @krunalpandya24 against #ABdeVilliers#MIvRCB #CricketMeriJaan #MI Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 201716.54 IST: Jadhav has not let the run rate drop since arriving at the crease. Good stuff this from RCB (96/3 in 12 ovs) 16.49 IST: Krunal to Head, OUT! Gone! Krunal Pandya strikes! Bowls it flatter through the air around off, Travis Head looks to pull. He goes through with the shot but much to his dismay the ball goes straight down the throat of Hardik Pandya in deep mid-wicket. Easily taken and another partnership that was swelling has been broken. RCB 85/3 in 10.3 oversOUT! Straight down Hardik’s throat in the deep! @krunalpandya24 frustrated Travis Head out.#MIvRCB #CricketMeriJaan #MI Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 201716.46 IST: Excellent over from Karn, just four runs came off it. RCB 80/2 in 10 overs8?0?/2? in 10 overs!Karn Sharma completes a miserly over – just 4 off.#MIvRCB #CricketMeriJaan #MI- Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 201716.41 IST: Krunal to de Villiers, SIX! Top shot! Fuller on the stumps, de Villiers gives himself room, gets under it and clobbers it over mid-wicket for a biggie. He is turning it on here. Ab de Villiers looks to be in an explosive mood today. RCB 74/2 in 8.3 ovs7?6?/2? in 9 overs!ABD seems to be in the mood today. We need to send him back.#MIvRCB #CricketMeriJaan #MI- Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 201716.38 IST: This is how much Kohli’s wicket means for Mumbai. After 8 overs, Bangalore are 63/2 with de Villiers on 19* and Head on 5*.Pumped, Mitch? ??#CricketMeriJaan #MIvRCB #MI Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 201716.38 IST: Malinga to de Villiers, FOUR! Hit away! Full toss outside off, de Villiers makes the most of it and crashes it through covers for a boundary.16.33 IST: Strategic time out taken! RCB 56/2 in 7 overs. de Villiers 14*, Head 4*.16.30 IST: Mumbai Indians troll Virat Kohli after his dismissal.Kohli walks and we dance! #CricketMeriJaan #MIvRCB #MI Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 201716.29 IST: McClenaghan to de Villiers, SIX! Almost a wicket! Shorter outside off, de Villiers comes down the wicket and slams it over the point fielder. There is a deep point in place but the ball just flies over Buttler stationed there. 66 metre hit that one. RCB 50/2 in 5.5 ovs 16.26 IST: McClenaghan to Kohli, OUT! Big wicket, another soft dismissal for the RCB skipper! Fuller and outside leg, Kohli looks to flick it away but ends up hitting it straight to mid-wicket. Rohit Sharma takes a simple catch and jumps in joy. That is a huge wicket for the home side. Kohli have not found his timing here. He has had a couple of soft dismissals. They check for the no ball but the bowler was fine there. RCB 40/1 in 5.1 ovs OUT! Soft dismissal for Kohli, big one for us! @Mitch_Savage strikes on the first ball of his second spell. ??#MIvRCB #CricketMeriJaan #MI Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 201716.19 IST: Travis Head has joined Virat Kohli at the crease instead of AB de Villiers.3?1?/1? in 4 overs!Wonderful, classical leg-spinner’s over by Karn!#MIvRCB #CricketMeriJaan #MI- Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 201716.17 IST: Karn to Mandeep, OUT! Holes out! Karn lands it around off and middle, Singh looks to go over mid-wicket. He has not hit it well and drags it straight to Hardik Pandya in the deep for a simple catch. Mandeep falls after a start. Mumbai strike in time. RCB 31/1 in 3.4 ovs Mandeep tries the slog sweep but fails as H Pandya catches. Mandy(17) is out. Karn gets the wicket #RCB 31/1 after 4 overs #PlayBold #MIvRCB- Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) May 1, 201716.16 IST: Karn to Kohli, SIX! The skipper dispatches the ball for a 77-metre hit over long on.16.14 IST: Hardik bowls a tight over first up, concedes just five runs. RCB 21/0 in 3 ovs 16.09 IST: Good over from Malinga, just six runs came off it including a boundary from Mandeep. RCB 16/0 in 2 ovs16.07 IST: Malinga to Mandeep, FOUR! Nicely done! Slower full toss on the stumps, Mandeep is beaten in the air but recovers well to get his bat down in time. He gets it past the keeper for a boundary to fine leg.16.05 IST: McClenaghan’s first over goes for 10 runs with Mandeep smacking two fours. RCB 10/0 in 1 over16.03 IST: McClenaghan to Mandeep, FOUR! Shorter in length on the stumps, Mandeep gets under it and drags his pull over mid-wicket for a boundary. He has begun well.16.02 IST: McClenaghan to Mandeep, FOUR! In the gap! Good length outside off, Mandeep makes the most of it as he punches it through cover-point. Pollard hares after it from point but does not slide and hence a boundary results. And that’s 1000 runs in the IPL for Mandeep. 2 boundaries bring up 1000 #VIVOIPL runs for Mandeep! Come on Mandy, make this count! #PlayBold #MIvRCB Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) May 1, 201716.00 IST: Kohli gets off the mark with the very first ball from McClenaghan.#MIvRCB has started! #Viratkohli & Mandy open for #RCB. McClenaghan starts the innings for #MI. #PlayBold Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) May 1, 201715.30 IST: TOSS! Royal Challengers Bangalore opt to bat first against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium.Rohit Sharma says that they wanted to bat as well. They just wanted to change things up but their bowlers have been bowling well so it’s not a problem. Adds that they will look to exploit the dry conditions on offer. Informs that Harbhajan Singh has a nerve problem and hence Karn Sharma comes in. Hopes that the crowd enjoys the day, further adds that success is not permanent and they want to do well every game.Paltan, here’s how we line-up today. ?? #CricketMeriJaan #MIvRCB #MI Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 1, 2017Virat Kohli says they will bat first. Adds it’s difficult to bowl during the day time and hence the decision. Hopes that they manage to put good runs on the board. Further says he’s learning with every game and will try to make the most of it. Feels they don’t want to spoil anyone’s party but they would look to play to their potential. Informs they have made 3 changes – Sachin Baby, Samuel Badree and Stuart Binny make way for Mandeep Singh, Shane Watson and Aniket Choudhary.3 massive changes in the line up. Hattrick hero from the 1st leg Badree makes way for #watto Mandy and Aniket in too! #PlayBold #MIvRCB Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) May 1, 2017Brief Preview:All but out of contention for the playoffs, Royal Challengers Bangalore would look to salvage a difficult season by sorting out their batting woes when they take on Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League match here on Monday.Mumbai are on the second spot in the IPL standings with 14 points, while Bangalore are second from bottom after having won just two of their 10 games.Mumbai Indians have won seven of their nine games so far and are in contention to make it to the play-offs.When the two sides meet at the Wankhede stadium, the hosts will have a distinct upper-hand as they have just lost one game at the venue.The form of opener Parthiv Patel, who scored a 70 against Gujarat Lions, will please the Mumbai Indians management.Parthiv will like to continue from where he left in the last game and he, along with Englishman Jos Buttler, would like to give the team a flying start.Mumbai won their match against Gujarat Lions in a super over after both the teams were tied at 153, and they would like to dominate Royal Challengers Bangalore right from the word go.They would except their batters Patel, Buttler, skipper Rohit Sharma, Nitesh Rana and the Pandya brothers — Krunal and Hardik — to fire in unison.Mumbai will also like to get back to winning ways at the Wankhede as they lost their last match against Rising Pune Supergiant.last_img read more

SEE PICS: Rumoured lovebirds Sara Ali Khan-Harshvardhan Kapoor spotted on a date night

first_imgSara Ali Khan and Harshvardhan Kapoor are the latest lovebirds in B-Town, if rumours are to be believed. The buzz about Saif Ali Khan’s daughter Sara and Harshvardhan being an item started some time ago, when they were reportedly spotted walking hand-in-hand into a restaurant and whispering sweet nothings to each other.And the rumours only got stronger when they were spotted on a dinner date last month. While the two have remained tight-lipped about their relationship status, their public appearances say a lot. It was only last night that Sara was spotted with Harshvardhan yet again. The 21 year old, who attended a party at dad Saif’s residence, was accompanied by the Mirzya actor. The two arrived together for the party. While Sara sported a casual look, Harshvardhan looked dapper in a white shirt. On the work front, Harshvardhan will be seen next in Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi, while Sara is prepping for her big entry in Bollywood. She has been roped in by director Abhishek Kapoor for his next film Kedarnath. Sara will romance Sushant Singh Rajput in her Bollywood debut.  (Photos: Yogen Shah) ALSO READ | Jhanvi-Ishaan to Sara-Harshvardhan: The link-up rumours that made headlines ALSO READ | Harshvardhan Kapoor clicked coming out of Sara Ali Khan’s building in the wee hours ALSO WATCH: Behind the scenes of Jacqueline-Harshvardhan’s shoot for Harper’s Bazaar Bridelast_img read more

Yes, we can: India’s unsung sports heroes

first_imgYes, we can: India’s unsung sports heroesChamps who cleared the path for othersadvertisement Next Rohit Brijnath August 11, 2019UPDATED: August 11, 2019 12:34 IST Abhinav Bindra. (PTI Photo)Can.A three-letter word. Has no great personality. Slang for toilet. Painted by Andy Warhol. Worth five points in Scrabble.Then you look again.’Can’ has muscle. It means to have the ability, the skill, the belief. It’s knowing ‘how to’. It’s having the ‘power to’.It’s worth more points than you can estimate in competition.’Can’ is what Abhinav Bindra, a straight-shooting species with a sense of irony, helps India with. He’s not the first one to dismantle barriers, because even in the 1920s and the 1930s, an army officer called Dhyan Chand and his buddies Leslie Hammond, Feroze Khan and Jaipal Singh Munda were telling the world that India could do some stickball magic.Athletes reflect the society they live in, and in those years, they too were daunted. They’d look at everyone else’s fancy equipment, gyms, facilities, coaches, trainers and tracksuits while eating a scientifically approved diet of McDonald’s burgers because it was the cheapest place to eat, and they would shrink inside. Confidence all curled up.How do you beat them if you don’t belong? If sport is played in the mind, then that’s also where suspicion of one’s own talent rests. Indians anyway weren’t conditioned then to voice their ambitions.No one wanted to look too big for the boots they didn’t even have. Well, not the nice ones their friends sometimes got from abroad.On the plane to England in 1996 for his first Test tour, Rahul Dravid was all freshly shaved enthusiasm, thinking about whether a series could be won, till a senior, carrying the wisdom of the practical, said: ‘Let’s try and win one Test’.advertisementRemember the Titans (2000) is a movie about the semi-miraculous, this was the real modest world of the Indian athlete. It’s not that Asian athletes couldn’t win medals at the Commonwealth Games, or score centuries at Lord’s, but they were understandably inhibited at crucial times.’In sport,’ explained Dravid, ‘the margins are so small that any inferiority is magnified under pressure. And so if things got tough, then we didn’t have enough history behind us to show we could do this.’…Awe needs a few visits to rub off. First time you go to Lord’s or Wimbledon, you can be stilled by history.All those boards, those statues, those names, that legend.Second time, you might recognise that even at Lord’s, the wickets are only 22 yards apart and the net at Wimbledon is the same height as the one in your club in Chennai. But once, says Gopichand, athletes hardly travelled, maybe two tournaments a year abroad, maybe four, and it was not enough to find the necessary comfort, to figure out the poster on your wall was no caped hero but just another nervous human.As he put it: ‘People idolised them so much, they couldn’t beat them.’ Why weren’t you intimidated, I asked Gopichand, the All England champion in 2001, and he replied: ‘I blindly believed I was going to win. I just didn’t like losing, it didn’t matter who it was. It was personal for me on the court.’These people are the path-clearers, the roadfinders, the courage-givers, the confidence-restorers. This is also who Bindra is. Bindra doesn’t gaze at his 2008 Olympic gold medal, and he’s not even quite sure where it is most of the time.But the medal is really for India to look at, a representation of the journey he’s lived and endured for years. A medallion of proof. An Indian can.GO! INDIA’S SPORTING TRANSFORMATION EditorsNandan Kamath, Aparna Ravichandran, Penguin India; Rs 299Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byChanchal Chauhanlast_img read more

Allianz Partners Announces Winners of Its Annual ScholarTrips Program

first_imgWinning Entries Received Nearly $40,000 in Total Prizes to Help Students Travel the World RICHMOND, VA, February 4, 2019 — Allianz Partners, a leading travel insurance and assistance company, has announced the winners of its 2018 annual ScholarTrips essay and video contest.  More than 40 students received $37,500 in prizes in this year’s contest, bringing total prizes awarded by the program since its inception to more than $215,000. The ScholarTrips program recognizes college and high school students passionate about exploring the world and has provided funding to contest winners since 2004.  The Scholartrips prizes are intended to help the winners travel to new places and experience new cultures. The contest required students to submit a video or essay that answers the question: If you could take any TV or movie character with you on your dream trip abroad (animated, animal or human), who would you take and why? This year, the company received more than 1,000 entries. Six first place winners received $2,500 each, ten second place winners received $1,000 each and 25 third place winners received $500 each.  Every video or essay was scored based on its passion, impact and creativity.   Examples of outstanding entries include first place-winning videos from Caitlin Checkett titled “A Warmer Ending,” “Mamma Mia!” by Peyton Wagner, and Casie McManus’ “Dancing with Dory.” A full list of winners can be found on the ScholarTrips website. “Inspiring and supporting young people to travel abroad expands their horizons with diverse world cultures and ways of thinking,” said Joe Mason, Chief Marketing Officer, Allianz Partners. “ScholarTrips serves to change people’s lives through travel, and we’re proud that we’ve been able to help hundreds of students realize their dream of international travel.” For more information, including rules and a full list of winners, visit  Allianz PartnersAllianz Partners (AGA Service Company) is a leading consumer specialty insurance and assistance company.  We provide insurance to 40 million customers annually and are best known for our Allianz Travel Insurance plans.* In addition to travel insurance, Allianz Partners offers tuition insurance, event ticket protection, registration protection for endurance events and unique travel assistance services such as international medical assistance and concierge services. The company also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call center services and claims administration for property and casualty insurers and credit card companies. To learn more about Allianz Travel Insurance, please visit or Like us on Facebook at read more

Wärtsilä Unveils Highly Efficient Aframax Design

first_imgJune 3, 2014 zoom A new, highly efficient, Aframax tanker design offering practical and viable solutions that meet current and forthcoming emissions legislation is today launched by Wärtsilä at the Posidonia 2014 exhibition in Athens, Greece.Wärtsilä will also be featuring its range of merchant ship designs to provide owners with tailored designs based specifically on their intended operating profiles. Wärtsilä Ship Design also offers shipyards a solution based approach with integration packages and full support throughout the planning and execution phases.The new Aframax design emphasises energy efficiency to provide lower operating costs and enhanced environmental performance. It features an optimised hull form to minimize resistance, and an optimised propulsion train with energy saving devices (ESDs) for greater efficiency.Fuel savings have been the primary focus during the development of this design, and significant testing of the hull lines by both CFD and tank testing have successfully produced a highly competitive design.Wärtsilä offers the Aframax design in three, fit-for-purpose versions; the Basic configuration using conventional HFO fuel, Environmental with the exhaust emissions cleaned using a scrubber and selective catalyst reduction (SCR), and the Green version based on dual-fuel engines using LNG. The design can also be adapted for Ice Class notation.“Wärtsilä is an experienced and innovative global supplier of efficient, reliable and environmentally sustainable ship designs that fully meet the needs of the rapidly changing marine sector. Our focus is always on lowering operating costs and increasing fuel efficiency, and these elements are clearly evident in the new Aframax design. In particular, our technology leadership in dual-fuel engines and LNG fuel systems gives us obvious advantages in developing ship designs for gas fuel propulsion. We are leading the way in taking merchant shipping into the gas fuel age,” says Riku-Pekka Hägg, Vice President Wärtsilä Ship Design.The Posidonia 2014 exhibition will have future trends in vessel design as one of its spotlight themes, and Wärtsilä will be highlighting its modern merchant vessel designs. The ship owners’ business models are the focal point upon which Wärtsilä’s ship designs are based.last_img read more

Sports Legends Gather To Cure Paralysis

first_imgSports legends, celebrities, corporate leaders, media personalities and more attended this week’s 27th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner, hosted by The Buoniconti Fund To Cure Paralysis.NBC Sports Icon, Bob Costas returned as Master of Ceremonies at the event, which paid tribute to philanthropic heroes and sports legends that inspire and motivate those affected by spinal cord injuries. Held at New York’s famed Waldorf=Astoria, the star-studded dinner raised nearly $18 million.This year’s honorees included Shaquille O’Neal, Joe Torre, Marshall Faulk, Tony Perez, Mark Martin, Lorena Ochoa, Jake LaMotta and Lisa Leslie. Famed NBA Player and NBA Championship Winner, Alonzo Mourning, was presented with The Buoniconti Fund Award for his commitment to the organization. Grammy Award Winning Musician and Producer, Emilio Estefan, was honored with The Outstanding Business Leader Award.Other notables in attendance included: NBA legend Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier, boxer Laila Ali, “Real Housewives of NYC” star Aviva Drescher, Wendy Williams, Comedian Jeff Dye, Olympian Gold Medalists Jordan Burroughs and Allyson Felix, Celebrity Chef Todd English and more.Founded by NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti after his son, Marc, became paralyzed during a college football game, The Buoniconti Fund, is the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center.Since its inception in 1985, the Great Sports Legends Dinner has honored more than 283 sports legends and honorees and has raised $93 million for The Miami Project’s spinal cord injury research programs. Contributions from previous events have funded the first ever human clinical trial, recently approved by the FDA to become the first of its kind.last_img read more

Alarming reports of major violations in southeast Turkey – UN rights chief

“More and more information has been emerging from a variety of credible sources about the actions of security forces in the town of Cizre during the extended curfew there from mid-December until early March,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said in a press release. He added that the picture that is emerging, although still sketchy, is “extremely alarming,” and strongly condemned violence and other unlawful acts committed by the youth groups and other non-state agents, allegedly affiliated with the PKK , in Cizre and other areas. “I regret any loss of life as a result of terrorist acts wherever they have occurred,” Mr. Zeid said. “However, while Turkey has a duty to protect its population from acts of violence, it is essential that the authorities respect human rights at all times while undertaking security or counter-terrorism operations – and international law prohibiting torture, extrajudicial killings, disproportionate use of lethal force and arbitrary detention must be observed.” The High Commissioner said he had received reports of unarmed civilians – including women and children – being deliberately shot by snipers, or by gunfire from tanks and other military vehicles. “There also appears to have been massive, and seemingly highly disproportionate, destruction of property and key communal infrastructure – including buildings hit by mortar or shellfire, and damage inflicted on the contents of individual apartments and houses taken over by security forces,” he said. “There are also allegations of arbitrary arrests, and of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, as well as reports that in some situations ambulances and medical staff were prevented from reaching the wounded.” On top of all this, he noted that there has been huge displacement triggered by the curfews and by subsequent fighting, shelling, killings and arrests in many places in the south-east. “Most disturbing of all,” the High Commissioner said, “are the reports quoting witnesses and relatives in Cizre which suggest that more than 100 people were burned to death as they sheltered in three different basements that had been surrounded by security forces.” “All these allegations, including those levelled at the groups fighting against the security forces, are extremely serious and should be thoroughly investigated, but do not appear to have been so far,” Zeid said. “The Turkish Government has not responded positively to requests by my Office and other parts of the United Nations to visit the region to collect information first-hand.” The UN Human Rights Chief noted that more information has emerged from Cizre compared to other districts, towns and villages in the south-east – including Silopi, Nusaybin and the Sur district of Diyarbakýr, the main city in the region – which were sealed off for weeks on end, and are still next to impossible to access, because of the heavy security presence. “In 2016, to have such a lack of information about what is happening in such a large and geographically accessible area is both extraordinary and deeply worrying,” Mr. Zeid said. “This black-out simply fuels suspicions about what has been going on. I therefore renew my call for access for UN staff and other impartial observers and investigators, including civil society organizations and journalists.” Noting alarm bells rung by other international human rights entities in recent weeks, Mr. Zeid called for a prompt investigation and prosecution of all those suspected of being involved in violations of the right to life, including extrajudicial killings and disproportional use of lethal force, and stressed that the judiciary should act independently from all other branches of the State, including the military and the Executive. He also called on the Turkish authorities to allow the return of all those who have been forcibly displaced, and urged them to ensure that, in future, curfews are limited to the minimum duration necessary and with due concern for human rights obligations and humanitarian considerations. The High Commissioner noted Turkey’s continued engagement with UN human rights bodies, including the recent visit of UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; the recent review of the country’s record by the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; and the ongoing review by the UN Committee against Torture which will issue its concluding observations on 13 May. read more

In wakeup call to AsiaPacific UN report urges region to do more

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today launched a report that outlines declining progress towards defeating hunger in Asia and the Pacific, noting that nearly one-in-three children suffer from stunting, and warning that to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of zero hunger by 2030, the region must redouble its efforts. “The analysis in this report is an eye-opener and a wake-up call to all of us here in Asia and the Pacific,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative, during the launch in Bangkok, Thailand, of FAO’s 2016 Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Insecurity – Investing in a Zero Hunger Generation – the first post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report of its kind. The report indicates that the Asia-Pacific region is home to more than 60 per cent of the roughly 800 million hungry people in the world, 12 per cent of whom remain undernourished – mostly in Southern Asia. Ms. Kadiresan continued: “To some, the year 2030 may still seem far away, but it’s only 14 years from now and we still have nearly half-a-billion hungry people in this region. That 12 per cent represents some of the poorest and hardest to reach people. So the clock is ticking, but with political will and collective action we can reach our goal of zero hunger.” The report acknowledges that eradicating hunger means reducing poverty and addressing economic, social and environmental challenges. This is exacerbated by a forecasted increase of two billion to the world population – culminating in more than nine billion people by 2050. According to the report, zero hunger can be achieved, provided that certain steps are followed, particularly by increasing investment in more efficient production methods and agricultural research.Sustainable Development Goal 2 on Zero Hunger also commits to universal access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food at all times of the year. “Most countries in this region are spending too little on agricultural research,” Ms. Kadiresan noted. “In order to meet both the zero hunger goal and ensure everyone is well nourished in Asia-Pacific by 2030, we will, collectively, need to put our money where our mouths are to ensure we can meet these twin challenges,” she said, adding FAO’s availability to provide technical expertise to help member countries.Changing diets: Another dimension In addition to examining the challenges of hunger and undernutrition amidst limited natural resources, the report explores other aspects of malnutrition arising from poor diets, such as in micronutrient deficiency. While figures differ by country, obesity has been increasing regionally by more than four per cent annually. The report analyzes other emerging regional issues, such as dietary diversification. As countries grow richer, diets change. This is happening rapidly in Asia, where per capita rice consumption has declined and that of fish, fruits and vegetables has grown rapidly. “The most striking example of this is the rapid take up of dairy products across the region,” explained Ms. Kadiresan, elaborating that while milk and dairy products promise improved nutrition, “policy-makers need to ensure that the region’s small-holder dairy farmers […] have fair access to, and compete in, the marketplace.” read more

Authorities recorded 48 cases of human trafficking in 2012

first_imgA TOTAL OF 48 people were reported as victims of human trafficking in 2012, according to new figures published this afternoon by the Department of Justice. The figure represents a decrease of nine on the previous year’s figures; there were 57 alleged victims  in 2011.The 2012 figure is based on information from the gardaí, NGOs and the International Organisation for Migration. It includes 19 Irish victims, all of whom were minors reported as victims of sexual exploitation. The others came from elsewhere in the EU (10), Western Africa (8) and other regions (11).In total, there were 39 reported cases of sexual exploitation, six cases of labour exploitation and three uncategorised exploitation cases. 31 of the reported victims were women or girls – the other 17 were male.Reacting to the figures, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that combating human trafficking remained a priority for the Government. The Minister plans to publish the ‘Second National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking in Ireland’ early in 2014.“The prevention and detection of trafficking in human beings has been a stated priority of An Garda Síochána in recent years and I commend the Gardaí, other State agencies and civil society who work together to fight this crime and support its victims,” the Minister said.Regarding the high number of the minors reported as victims of sexual exploitation, Shatter said that the the majority of cases being investigated did not involve prostitution:“With regard to the abhorrent human trafficking of children for the purposes of sexual exploitation, it is important that we recognise that the offences that are reported for 2012 arise predominantly outside of the context of prostitution.“Human Trafficking is very broadly defined in Irish legislation and offences relating to child pornography, for example, may often contain the elements of human trafficking – such as recruitment and sexual exploitation – that will bring such actions within the legal definition of human trafficking.“The reports concerning 21 of the 23 children in 2012 related to offences such as child pornography, sexual assault and sexual indecency, rather than exploitation through prostitution. That is not to say that the trafficking of children for exploitation through prostitution may not be occurring, 2 cases of that nature were reported in 2012 and remain under investigation.”Figures for the last four years show there has been a decrease in the number of people from outside the European Union being reported as victims. 42 of the 57 victims reported in 2011 were from outside the EU.The full report for 2012 can be found on the State’s dedicated Anti-Human Trafficking website Couple who ran London prostitution ring to be sentenced todayRead: Brothel-keepers guilty pleas welcomed by PSNIlast_img read more

Top readers comments of the week

first_imgCame home from work one day last year to find the two daughters giving each other rides around the house in the wheelbarrow, they are both in their 20s.Ireland’s micro-breweries have been undergoing something of a resurgence of late. Colin Toner pointed out the challenges they face: Rounding out the top five is Joe O’Shea who got 1,033 thumbs up for asking this question on the article about the 28 students suspended from secondary school for ‘liking’ a Facebook post which contained an explicit reference to some school staff members: Did those students not realise their names were identifiable from the ‘likes’ they have given? They should be given another two days suspension for stupidity.Spot any good comments? Let us know: mail with any suggestions for comments of the week. Ru Ni Digs was close behind with 1,348 thumbs up for this comment about Aslan’s lead singer Christy Dignam being diagnosed with cancer: Get well soon Christy!!!Simon got 1,126 thumbs up for this comment about Kate Middleton apparently being related to Brian Ború: I wish we’d stop claiming everyone, its getting embarrassing!A lot of commenters were unimpressed with Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan’s penalty points drama this week. Karen Hynes got 1,038 thumbs up for this: So he thanked the first guard who stopped him using his phone while driving and said that guard may have saved a life… Then got caught again using his phone while driving. Were they the only times he used his phone while driving?Did it ever cross his mind to get a hands free kit? Here are 15 things no-one tells you about being a parent – and here’s one more from Tina Heverin: When leaving the house to do the grocery shopping on your own is like a mini-holiday EVERY SATURDAY MORNING we like to take a look at all the best comments left on the site by you lot over the past week.This week there was a lot of talk about the new pope, Ming and his penalty points, and Ministers flying abroad for Patrick’s Day. Then there was also the issue of teachers spending time on religion in primary schools, the school in Limerick which suspended 28 students for ‘liking’ a Facebook post, and things no-one tells you about having kids.So here, in no particular order, are the standout comments from the week that was.The top 5 articles which received the most comments this week1. And the new pope is… Jorge Mario Bergoglio (331 comments)2. Ming: I want my penalty points back (236 comments)3. 16 amazing songs from the 1990s that you’ve forgotten (198 comments)4. This could ONLY happen on Irish Twitter (194 comments)5. Meath East by-election: Here are the candidates and here’s what they’re saying (185 comments)Some of the best comments left on the site this weekAre there some things you’re never too old for? From kicking piles of leaves to building a fort, there were a lot of suggestions of age-inappropriate activities. Eileen McKenna and Jose had two more: Walking all round tesco without stepping on a join in the tiles! Do it with the carpet tiles in the office too.I’m 53.*sigh* (Video: NewsChamber/YouTube)5 comments which received the most thumbs upJohn Joe Kinsella had the most popular comment this week for a defence of the Gardaí who were attacked while answering a call in Dublin, which received 1,379 thumbs up:Nobody deserves this for just doing their job. It’s amazing how what you picture in your mind when you first hear a news story can be so different from what actually took place. I had visions of this muscle bound beefcake with tattoos thrashing about in the water as the shark rolled him over and over again and the guy in the midst of all the fighting and blood letting shouting in what appears to be his last words on earth….”TELL MY WIFE …..gulp.gulp…pah pah…..I LOVE HERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR……aaagggggghhhhhhhhhWas kinda disappointed. It’s great to see a small revival again with the craft beer market in Ireland, it reached a peak in the late 90′s/ early 2000′s but most of those breweries have closed such as the Dublin Brewing Company and the Biddy Early Brewing Co.There are not enough pubs around the country that support the micro brewing Industry and any micro brew that successfully gets into a pub ( on draught not bottle ) will be quickly forced out by Diageo or Heiniken by offering the publican free stock to get it out. Hopefully the recent surge in micro brew companies will change that but somehow I doubt it.If I Can recommend one new craft beer it would certainly be Creans Lager, one craft beer I would love to see back in production would be Revolution Red. Do you remember your best and worst teachers? Christina Colling definitely remembers her worst (even 30 years later): I remember in senior infants many moons ago I brought in a huge seashell to show it to my teacher mrs mcdonald…so off I toddled up to her during break time. She must have been having a bad day because she snapped it off me and threw it into her desk drawer. Never to see daylight again. She refused to give it back to me. That was 30 years ago and I will never forget it. Never forgave her for it either. I loved that seashell :’(Pun Of the Week comes from Ciaran De Bhal on this article about a nun who voted on behalf of another nun – who had died – in the US presidential election last year: That’s an awful habit she developed..The story was pretty compelling. A man who tackled a shark on a beach was later sacked from his job following a video that went viral showing the battle between man and shark. Michael Burke had high expectations:last_img read more

Google acquires PushLife in move to give Android its own iTunes

first_imgGoogle has just announced that it will be acquiring PushLife, a small company that develops software to sync media on mobile devices.Google seems to have acquired PushLife for a song: the number being floated is just $25 million. Even so, it’s pretty easy to see what Google’s going for here. They want to integrate PushLife’s technology and expertise into Android… and with cloud storage and wireless syncing at the top of everyone’s minds these days, it seems pretty likely the PushLife acquisition was made in pursuit of the launch of Google’s own music service.AdChoices广告Before it was acquired, PushLife’s products included media management applications for Android and BlackBerry supporting wired synchronization with both iTunes and Windows Media Player, as well as social network integration with services like, Facebook and Twitter.This isn’t the first company Google has acquired in pursuit of rounding out their media syncing and musical offerings on the Android platform. Last year, Google acquired Simplify Media, a company that allowed users to stream their iTunes libraries to other computers over the Internet.The fruits of that acquisition have yet to be seen, but it’s easy to see how both the acquisition of PushLife and Simplify Media could come together into Google’s own answer to iTunes: a sophisticated media syncing and buying engine that will also offer Amazon Cloud Locker style storage.It’ll be interesting to see what Google ends up putting together. The search giant sorely needs its own analog to iTunes, which is often cited as a big advantage of the iPhone over Android. For the last year or so, Google’s definitely been picking up all of the stray pieces it needs to launch its own media syncing software and buying platform. The only question is how well integrated all these pieces will be when Google unveils it… likely at next month’s IO conference.Read more at Engadgetlast_img read more

Portland school reacting to student sex videos

first_imgPORTLAND — Grant High School in Portland is reacting to reports some students have been sharing videos of teens having sex on and off campus.Vice Principal Kristyn Westphal told parents at a Tuesday night PTA meeting that students will be required to take courses in health or gym classes.KOIN reports the courses will educate students on how to respect themselves and be healthy in the age of smart phones.Police are investigating the videos as child pornography because sharing images of minors having sex is a crime.last_img

Louises lowdown Will the Lifetime Isa encourage or distract from pension saving

first_imgOn 16 March Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Budget 2016 speech to Parliament. A storm of speculation around pensions tax relief had raged for months before beginning to subside in early March, when word spread that this Budget would not, as many had expected, herald in further radical reform to the pensions tax system.There had been “no consensus”, said the Chancellor, around potential changes; namely a move to a flat rate of pensions tax relief or to an individual savings account (Isa)-style system that follows a Taxed-Exempt-Exempt model rather than the existing Exempt-Exempt-Taxed model.Whatever the Chancellor’s reasoning, the pensions tax relief system is to remain in its current form, for the time being at least, providing some respite for employers, savers and industry as they continue to navigate a pensions landscape already much altered by April 2015’s freedoms.Osborne did, however, unveil a new savings mechanism in his Budget speech: the Lifetime Isa. Designed to encourage younger people to save, individuals will be able to save up to £4,000 a year into a Lifetime Isa and the government will make a 25% contribution. The Lifetime Isa can be opened by those under 40, although individual and government contributions can be made up until the age of 50. Savers will be able to put their savings and government bonus towards the purchase of a first home to a maximum value of £450,000, or withdraw these from the age of 60 for use in retirement. Although savings can be withdrawn for alternative purposes, they would be subject to a 5% charge and would forfeit the government’s 25% contribution.Some have expressed concern that the introduction of the Lifetime Isa will be to the detriment of pension saving, potentially driving employees to opt out of auto-enrolment or to contribute the bare minimum into their workplace pension scheme. Crucially, the Lifetime Isa will not see savers benefit from employer contributions as they do with workplace pension schemes. Employers may need to widen the scope of their pensions education offering to ensure staff are fully aware of this, while continuing their efforts to increase awareness about the importance of saving adequately for retirement.Yet, the Lifetime Isa does provide greater choice and a further incentive to save, particularly for those who are in a position to use it as an additional savings vehicle. According to research by Mercer, published in November 2015, a third (33%) of employee respondents are worried about getting on the property ladder and 48% are concerned about saving enough for retirement. Worryingly, the research also found that these concerns are contributing to stress levels (78%), lowering motivation (57%), negatively impacting employees’ energy levels (51%), and affecting their overall health (46%).Considering the significant impact financial worries can have on employees’ wellbeing and the knock-on effect these can have on a business, it is perhaps no surprise that employers’ financial education programmes are becoming increasingly holistic. Indeed, Nudge Global’s Financial education: the definitive guide 2016 report, published in March 2016, found that 77% of respondents would like to include employees’ personal finances in their financial education offering.So will the Lifetime Isa go some way to alleviating financial concerns, by encouraging employees to save and providing another way in which they can do so? Will it ultimately detract from pension saving or will it complement it? Or will it, as some have speculated, serve as a bridge to an Isa-style tax system for pensions? Only time (and perhaps the next Budget) will tell.last_img read more

EXCLUSIVE Deloitte UK enhances organisation culture to reduce gender pay gap

first_imgEmployee Benefits Live 2017: Deloitte UK has implemented agile working and an unpaid leave programme in order to improve its organisation culture and gender diversity.The audit, financial and tax advisory organisation focussed on introducing work-life initiatives and enhancing its overall organisation culture after focus groups with their female staff discovered they were struggling to juggle home caring responsibilities with work, and also women who held senior positions were found to be disengaged with the organisation due to its corporate culture. This was reflected in the organisation’s recruitment statistics, which show that only 36% of new graduates entering the business are women, as well as in its gender pay gap data.Speaking at Employee Benefits Live 2017, Emma Codd (pictured), managing director for talent at Deloitte UK, said: “We had to actually do something to change. And we did loads of things already, so we had women’s networks, we had some programmes, but the reality was they hadn’t made a difference, they hadn’t moved the dial at all. We knew that we had to do something very, very focused. So we spoke to our women. We spoke to a lot of our women and we analysed and we asked.”To address culture within Deloitte, the organisation implemented a series of work-life balance related initiatives. This included an agile working policy that sought to trust both men and women to complete their work in a more flexible way, with employees judged on output. The organisation also introduced its Time Out policy, which enabled employees to take a month of unpaid leave whenever they wanted.The focus groups had also revealed that in some cases, banter and everyday comments among employees made female employees feel negatively about themselves, therefore Deloitte UK introduced respect and inclusion advisors that allowed employees to speak to someone on a one-to-one basis, where they could raise issues that they perhaps did not want to speak to HR about. Also, 6,000 senior leaders within the business underwent training around diversity and inclusion.“Culture was the one thing that underpinned everything. […] Diversity is principally an output of culture. If [employers] do not have an inclusive culture underpinned by respect, [they] can forget ever achieving diversity in my personal view,” Codd continued.Deloitte UK also changed its recruitment programme in order to include more gender neutral language and introduced a return-to-work programme that included transition coaching for employees who were returning to the workplace as new working parents.Codd noted that these initiatives have produced results over the last three years, with female partner levels increasing from 13% in 2014 to 19% in 2017. More female graduates are now being recruited into the business and its most recent engagement survey also showed that women were more engaged with the organisation than men.Deloitte UK’s gender pay gap data for 2017 revealed a mean gender pay gap of 17% and a mean gender bonus gap of 52.2%. Codd attributed this gap to two positive initiatives that were having an adverse impact on gender pay data. This included the fact that more women were taking up salary sacrifice benefits in order to purchase extra leave, which skewed salary figures, and the organisation’s agile working policy also impacted the bonus pay figures as more women were engaging with this way of working. Deloitte UK’s gender pay gap data was published on its staff intranet, alongside information that detailed what the organisation was doing to tackle the gap. Deloitte UK voluntarily reported its gender pay gap in 2015 and 2016, as Codd observed that tackling gender diversity within an organisation is a long-term project that can take between seven and 10 years to address.Codd said: “Changing this will rely on every organisation focussing on its pain points, but the one thing I would say is please do not assume this can only be fixed through a programmatic approach. To me, for most organisations I’ve spent time with, in fact all of them, it’s also around making sure that culture actually supports everybody to succeed.”last_img read more