Before: Take the Farm Friends SurveyAfter: Farm Friends Asks: What’s Your Fantasy Meal? Subject lines are more important than you might think. On average, at least 100 emails flood your constituents’ inboxes every single day. That’s a lot of digital noise to shout over, which is why your email subject lines need as much TLC as the content inside. Here’s a simple, four-step makeover to help transform your subject lines from ho-hum to “Oh, wow!” 1. State the ObviousDon’t dance around the point of your email. Talk straight to your recipients about what they’ll find inside. You can be creative and pique curiosity, but for best results, make sure you answer the question, “What’s this email about?” If you make readers think too hard, they may just opt to delete without reading and move on to their next message. For newsletters, highlight the key piece of content you’re sending—a subject line like “Fall 2013 Newsletter” is easy to gloss over in a busy inbox.Before: All the news that’s fit to emailAfter: The Top 10 Women in Science 4. Keep It ShortMake every word count. After you’ve written your subject line, go back and delete words or phrases that don’t add value. Ideally, stick with around 50 characters or less. Some studies have found that the 28- to 39-character range is the sweet spot for maximum open rates.Before: Final reminder to make reservations to attend the Strutting Dog Gala on October 15, 2013!After: Strutting Dog Gala: Last day to RSVP! 3. Avoid the Spam TrapWhy bother with killer content if your subject line gets it caught in the spam filter? Keep your message front and center by avoiding things like cute symbols and special characters—spam filter magnets that attract the wrong kind of attention. Subject lines containing the words help, RE, or FWD are often interpreted as scams.Before: ♥♥♥You will LOVE these PREMIUM GIFTS for your donation!!!♥♥♥After: Cool donor gifts from Heart Healthy Houston! 2. Stand Out from the Crowd In a sea of emails, it helps to be a little different. Add a touch of visual interest with brackets, quotes, a smidge (just a smidge) of all caps, or an exclamation point (just one!). Personalize your subject line with the recipient’s city or state, which typically generate higher open rates than first or last names. Instead of telling people what’s inside, try asking a question that piques their curiosity.Before: SafeSurf loves its volunteersAfter: SafeSurf LOVES its volunteers! Before: Hot dog! Get down and boogie with your beagle!After: Join Long Island Pet Rescue’s Fall Frolic Before: RE: Help a veteran find a homeAfter Homes for Heroes Fall Fundraiser wants you! Revamping your subject lines with these simple tips can make a big difference in your email open rates. You might even see a boost in constituent engagement and giving!Don’t forget:Your email subject lines can show how much you respect your constituents’ busy schedules by telling them exactly what they’ll find inside.It’s okay to add a little visual interest to your subject line, just don’t overdo it and catch the eye of the spam filter instead.Short and sweet is best when it comes to subject lines. Always try to keep them under 50 characters. Before: Books for Kids is Coming to your neighborhoodAfter: Books for Kids is Coming to Newport!
The following post is a summary of Adam Grant’s presentation on his book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success at the Conference on Volunteering and Service.In Give and Take, Adam Grant’s premise is that there is more to the secret of success than hard work, talent and luck – especially as the world continues to become more hyper-connected. What’s missing is generosity. Givers excel in a collaborative work environment, but can burn out easily if they don’t see the impact of their contributions or don’t learn how to set boundaries. This is especially true for people in helping professions such as nonprofit leadership, cause marketing and social responsibility.Here are Adam’s 4 tips for creating a cultures of successful givers at your organization.1. Get the right people on the bus (a nod to Jim Collins)Weed out the takers and encourage matches to take their cues from the givers. Rewarding giver behavior and helping matchers see the value in reciprocity with a net positive benefit will nudge your culture towards a collaborative, generous workplace.2. Reduce costsThink about the power of 5-minute favors. You don’t have to be Mother Theresa or Gandhi to call yourself a giver. Giver mentality is more about finding efficient ways to make low-cost gestures with high value to the receiver. You’ve heard of micro-volunteering? Think of it as micro-favors. If someone asks you for help and you know you are the best equipped to help and the act will only take you 5 minutes, say yes. Always. If you are not the best equipped to respond, point the person in a new direction to find the help they need.3. Show impactSome givers burn out others are energized by doing favors – why? Givers burn out when they can’t see the value of their impact. Think of ways to have authentic messengers demonstrate the value your staff creates every day. A message from the CEO is nice, but givers are more motivated by a thank you from a program beneficiary or an employee who gave in a personally meaningful way. Showing impact in a tangible way relates to the concept of the ‘identifiable victim’ or ‘singularity effect’ – people are more compassionate when they can relate to one person’s story.4. Encourage help-seekingA whopping 75-90% of helping starts with a request, yet people hesitate to ask for help – especially givers. Givers don’t want to be a burden and often confuse taking and receiving. We need to create work cultures that reward asking for help and make it ok for people to take it. Also, givers to ask for help so other people (namely matchers) have the opportunity to give and so givers know who can benefit from their help and how in the future.Here’s an example of how help-seeking improves results. Appletree Answers, a call center solutions provider, was experiencing 98% staff turnover each year. That’s a huge HR hiring burden to replace your staff every year. The company started internal employee wish program where employees could ask for help fulfilling their dreams and other employees could offer assistance to making those wishes come true. As a result of creating this culture of giving and receiving, staff turnover dropped to 33%.Your organization can create its own Reciprocity Ring. Here’s how.· Invite employees to join the program.· Have everyone participating make a request.· Everyone in the program then tries to help make those requests happen.· Everyone is both a giver and a receiver, so there is no stigma about asking for help.· Everyone gets better understanding of the resources in their network for future giving and receiving. by Kate Olsen, VP of Strategic Projects at Network for Good @Kate4Good
Posted on September 26, 2012Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Today, the Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report provided a brief summary of the focus on women and children at the United Nations General Assembly. The summary highlights a number of news publications that report on the discussions about the health and well-being of women from the General Assembly.One of the featured articles, A pledge for every woman, every child, was published this morning on devex. The article describes announcements for new money to protect women and children from sexual violence as well as a new funding mechanism for maternal and child health.From the article:World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, meanwhile, announced a new special funding mechanism aimed at boosting financial support for the fourth and fifth Millennium Development Goals at the Every Woman, Every Child event.The mechanism would enable donors to scale up funding for maternal and child health. Details, however, have yet to be fleshed out.“We will be talking with our IDA shareholders and other interested donors and partners in the coming weeks to agree on the best way to do this, together,” Kim said, who also identified the bank’s work to achieve “better outcomes” for money spent on health: increasing focus on maternal health, designing innovative programs linking financing to results, and helping countries put in place strong health systems.Read the full story here.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on July 17, 2014November 2, 2016By: Katie Millar, Technical Writer, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)This post is part of our “Supporting the Human in Human Resources” blog series co-hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force and Jacaranda Health.To enrich the “Supporting the Human in Human Resources” blog series, a round-up of recent literature on the subject is here aggregated as a useful tool for public health practitioners. Let us know how these articles are helpful and about other human resource topics that interest you.Landmark articles:Systematic Review on Human Resources for Health Interventions to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes: Evidence from Developing CountriesHUMAN RESOURCES FOR HEALTH: foundation for Universal Health Coverage and the post-2015 development agendaHuman resources for maternal, newborn and child health: from measurement and planning to performance for improved health outcomesHuman resources for maternal health: multi-purpose or specialists?Recent Publications:Time to address gender discrimination and inequality in the health workforceFactors affecting motivation and retention of primary health care workers in three disparate regions in KenyaTask-shifting and prioritization: a situational analysis examining the role and experiences of community health workers in MalawiHRM and its effect on employee, organizational and financial outcomes in health care organizationsHope and despair: community health assistants’ experiences of working in a rural district in ZambiaReaching Mothers and Babies with Early Postnatal Home Visits: The Implementation Realities of Achieving High Coverage in Large-Scale ProgramsCommunity Health Workers in Low-, Middle-, and High-Income Countries: An Overview of Their History, Recent Evolution, and Current EffectivenessHome visits by community health workers to prevent neonatal deaths in developing countries: a systematic reviewExpansion in the private sector provision of institutional delivery services and horizontal equity: evidence from Nepal and BangladeshPerformance-based incentives to improve health status of mothers and newborns: what does the evidence show?Building capacity to develop an African teaching platform on health workforce development: a collaborative initiative of universities from four sub Saharan countriesRetention of female volunteer community health workers in Dhaka urban slums: a prospective cohort studyShare this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Posted on December 5, 2014December 3, 2015Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Check out the following opportunities in Maternal HealthJobsResearch Fellow in Qualitative Methods for Impact Evaluation, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Deadline: Thursday, December, 18thResearch Fellow in Epidemiological Methods for Impact Evaluation, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Deadline: Thursday, December, 18thSenior Program Officer, Program Advocacy and Communications for Family Planning, Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationMonitoring and Evaluation Officer, PATH (based in South Africa)Communications Associate, Mobile Alliance for Maternal ActionProject Director for Fistula Care Plus, EngenderHealth ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Urban Health Conference ScholarshipSpecial Call for RMNCH Submissions for 12th International Conference on Urban Health, March 8-12, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Deadline: Friday, January 9th, 2015Scholarships are available for applicants from developing countries whose abstracts are accepted for presentationAreas of special interest include addressing disparities in access to maternal, newborn, and child health services, quality of services, and programs that target youth sexual and reproductive health behaviors to prevent unintended pregnancy. Abstracts that address reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health (RMNCH) in the urban environment, especially approaches that target poor women and women living in slums are encouraged.Questions? Contact Dr. Selmin Jahan, email@example.comSubmit your abstract at www.icuh2015.orgShare this:
Fundraising events take a fair amount of money to produce, and it’s easy to spend more money on the event that it actually raises. There are a number of ways to keep this from happening (like setting a realistic budget and fundraising goal and having a data-backed plan to boost donations), but one of the most efficient ways to ensure your event is a net financial gain is through corporate sponsorships.So, how do you get corporate sponsors to support your event?Step 1: Identify prospects.To start, ask yourself: which companies should be targeted as sponsors? Ideally, you’d like sponsors that fit well with your mission, and whose target markets overlap the demographics of your guests. In other words, the people attending your event would also be likely to support your sponsors.Leverage your board’s personal networks and see if anyone has any connections that might be a good fit. Ask board members if they’d be willing to contact these companies directly, by signing the proposal letter and making a follow-up phone call after it’s been sent.Another method of finding potential sponsors is looking at your competitors. Which companies are sponsoring their events? Who are the competitors of those companies? It helps to check out event pages and websites to find out what kind of publicity your competitors are giving their sponsors.Step 2: Find out what matters to them.If you want to win over a sponsor, you need to speak their language. Formulate your approach with one question in mind: What’s in it for the sponsor?A corporate sponsor is looking for benefits like a new business, more customers, a halo effect with their customer base to encourage brand loyalty or visibility. When you approach prospective sponsors, listen more than you talk, and ask them about their goals and priorities. Then, show how it’s a big benefit to them to be in front of your audience.Chris Baylis at www.sponsorshipcollective.com has five great questions to ask potential sponsor:Who is your target audience?How do you normally engage in sponsorship?What does your target market value?What are your sales goals for the coming year?What would you consider to be the most important elements of a sponsorship proposal?While you’re communicating with various organizations, make sure you’re tracking your interactions. Use your donor management system to create an organization record for every company you approach. If you can’t easily track organizations in your current donor database, talk to us about switching to a system that gives you the option to make a company record.Step 3: Make them a winning offer.With all this background information, you’re ready to formulate a compelling proposal. First things first, your job is to sell the benefit to the sponsor. The cost of that benefit is your sponsorship package. Think of this way:Event Package + Promotional Package + Donation = Sponsorship PackageThat means you should lead with “Here’s what we can do for you – let’s make this win-win happen together,” not “Here’s our sponsorship package – please support us.” You need to demonstrate the value to them.So, how much should you actually charge your sponsors? A lot of it will depend on what you learn from your conversation with them. Also, get to know the market by looking at the competition. What do similar organizations in your region charge?Then, consider your own event. How many people will be attending your event? What kind of exposure can you offer for your sponsors? The answers to all of these questions can help you come up with a fair dollar amount.As you’re working to win over your sponsor, make sure you’re clear on what their role will be. It’s critical to establish clear parameters that are ethical and appropriate from the start.Once your sponsors have agreed to support you, follow-up with a contract – and create a plan to make you both successful. Involve the sponsor in planning and promotion so they feel like an integral part of your event – and so your event feels like part of their overall outreach strategy. The deeper the thought you put into the partnership, the deeper the partnership will be.Not only are corporate sponsors great partners for funding your event, but they lend your event more reach and recognition within your network. Knowing that a well-reputed business supports your cause gives your organization legitimacy in the eyes of a potential attendee or donor. Take advantage of this strategy for the long-term with your organization. Your sponsor’s for-profit savvy and business sense can be a powerful tool beyond your upcoming event.
Posted on February 26, 2016October 12, 2016By: Jacquelyn Caglia, Deputy Director of Administration & Operations, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The 2016 International Conference on Family Planning, convened in Nusa Dua, Indonesia in late January, brought together more than 3,000 researchers, practitioners, policymakers, donors, and advocates. If you weren’t able to participate, here are four important takeaways those of us working in maternal health need to know.Family planning and maternal health are inextricably linked, and our communities of practice must be too. Each day, more than 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Many of these deaths could be avoided if women had access to contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy and increase the amount of time between pregnancies. Family planning must be an essential part of antenatal and postnatal care, and a conversation about contraception should be part of any clinical encounter with women of reproductive age.Various factors affect discontinuation of contraception. Nearly 30% of women who stop using contraception for reasons other than wanting to get pregnant cite concerns related to health service quality including lack of method choice, stock-outs, and ineffective referral systems. Quality matters across the reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) continuum.Young adolescents bear the biggest burden of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, the second leading cause of death globally among girls aged 15-19. Delaying the age of first pregnancy would reduce maternal and newborn mortality as well as improve the health and well-being of young girls.Improved tracking is needed. USAID and UNFPA have called for a new indicator to be added to monitor progress towards Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. In the words of Ellen Starbird of USAID, the new measure – percent of demand satisfied by modern contraception – is “a measure of what women are doing, rather than what women should be doing.” ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: To read more reflections from the 2016 International Conference on Family Planning, visit the ICFP2016 Crowd360 digital hub.Share this:
Srinagar: Kashmir’s uncertain, restive situation has pushed public transport off the roads, leaving many people with no option but to flag down the odd private vehicle passing through the desolate highways of the Valley.A few people, some in twos and threes and some alone, can be seen walking or standing by the side hoping to get a ride into the nearest town or village — to meet their children, parents or maybe just get back home. On Monday, the Centre announced the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in the Rajya Sabha and also its proposal to bifurcate the state into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Valley has been under a virtual communications blackout since the night before with few workable phones, mobile or landline, and virtually no internet connections. Prohibitory orders are in place with authorities saying there is no curfew. And the desperation of people, who said they are trapped and staying indoors is not always possible, is rising by the hour. Among those seen frantically trying to get a car to stop at Narbal Road on the outskirts of Srinagar was Nighat Nasir. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”I have to reach Baramulla (about 60 km away) and be there with my children,” she said. The couple started walking from their Srinagar home till they reached Narbal Road, a distance of 17 km. Their efforts paid off and they finally managed to hop on to an ambulance that promised to take them halfway to Pattan in north Kashmir. Mohammed Ramzan, now admitted in a hospital in Bemina on the outskirts of Srinagar, didn’t stop to wait for a lift. The resident of Srinagar’s Lal Bazar locality got a distress call from his daughter on Sunday night in Budgam in central Kashmir and left his home early after daybreak on Monday morning. Budgam is about 35 km from Srinagar. With no buses or taxis, he walked for 12 km before collapsing in sheer exhaustion. “Ramzan collapsed and was picked by a security vehicle and brought to the hospital,” said Dr Shafkat Bhat at the Bemina hospital. The stories are many. Mohammed Shahim said he took a lift from three different people to cover the 65 km distance from Khrew in south Kashmir to Srinagar. “Is there a curfew? Why can’t we go to any place? We are not creating any disturbance then why are we being troubled,” he asked a paramilitary trooper guarding a road leading to Batmaloo in the city. “I managed to reach from Khrew after taking a lift from three different people. I covered 65 kilometres and now they are not allowing me to go inside my locality,” Shahim, who works in private factory, said. He was allowed in after a senior officer intervened. “These are difficult times, kindly bear with us,” the officer told Shahim and requested people not to take pictures from their mobiles. Riyaz Rather, who stays in downtown Srinagar but runs a medical shop in the Civil Lines area, said covering the 10 km distance is an everyday challenge. “Someone or the other gives a lift and this is how we cover the distance these days. The government is telling us that there is no curfew but police did not allow me to take out my vehicle,” Rather said He has been commuting all these days from his home on foot. “Once I cross downtown, someone or else gives me a lift and that’s how I reach,” he said. PTI
VICTORIA – The mayor of Victoria is hailing a court victory allowing the city to enact a bylaw that will prohibit grocery stores from offering or selling plastic bags to shoppers.Lisa Helps says in a news release that the B.C. Supreme Court decision represents an important step in moving away from unsustainable business practices that create high volumes of waste from single-use plastic bags.The Canadian Plastic Bag Association challenged the bylaw, saying it amounts to an environmental regulation that the city does not have the power to enact without provincial approval.Justice Nathan Smith says the bylaw is characterized as a business regulation and even though some councillors may have been motivated by broad concerns for the environment, they were considering ways in which discarded plastic bags impact municipal facilities and services.The bylaw that goes into effect in July calls on businesses to charge customers 15 cents for a paper bag and $1 for a reusable bag, but small paper bags used for items such as bulk foods, meat, bakery goods and plants would still be free.Fees will increase in July 2019 to 25 cents for a paper bag and $2 for a reusable bag.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the fees increase in January 2019.
Seoul: Authorities in Seoul have cancelled the permit for a new Japanese embassy building citing construction delays, local officials said Wednesday, with relations between South Korea and Tokyo strained by historical disputes. The neighbours are both democracies, market economies and US allies faced with an increasingly assertive China and the long-running threat of nuclear-armed North Korea. But their own ties have remained icy for years due to bitter rows stemming from Japan’s brutal 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula, with forced labour and wartime sex slavery key examples. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USA statue of a “comfort woman” symbolising the Korean women forced to work in Japanese military brothels mostly during World War II stands across the road from the embassy plot. Since 1992 campaigners have held weekly rallies at the site to demand a “full, heartfelt apology” for wartime sex slavery from Tokyo. The 1,382th such gathering took place Wednesday, with activists surrounding the statue. The previous embassy building was demolished some years ago, with staff moving into offices in the neighbouring high-rises, and the plot is now a patch of bare earth behind a high wall, vines growing through the surrounding barbed wire. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsCity authorities gave permission for a new six-storey building in 2015, the year Seoul and Tokyo signed a controversial deal to settle the wartime sex slavery issue. But construction — which under South Korean law must start within a year of a permit being received — was repeatedly delayed. Japan argues that the “comfort women” statue is against the 2015 bilateral agreement, under which Tokyo offered an apology and a one-billion yen payment. But South Korean President Moon Jae-in said last year that the deal had been signed by his ousted predecessor Park Geun-hye without consulting the Korean victims and disbanded a foundation set up with the Japanese funds. An official at the Jongno Ward Office in Seoul said: “We had a meeting with Japanese officials in February, and they said they will accept the revocation of the permit as they cannot start the construction work due to circumstances in their home country.”
New Delhi: Tata Teleservices is in talks with American Tower Corporation to sell its entire stake in the mobile tower business for about Rs 2,500 crore at a price of Rs 212 per share. “Tata Teleservices sold half of its stake to American Tower Corporation (ATC) in October 2018. It is option to sell the rest of the stake it holds along with Tata Sons in this fiscal. The process for sale has started for valuation of around Rs 2,500 crore at Rs 212 per share,” a source, who did not wish to be identified, told PTI. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalNo immediate reply was received from ATC and Tata Teleservices on an e-mail query sent to them in this regard. Tata Teleservices sold half of its 26 per cent stake and IDFC its entire stake in mobile tower company ATC TIPL to majority shareholder American Tower Corporation (ATC) for Rs 2,940 crore. In October 2015, ATC bought a 51 per cent stake in Viom from Tata Teleservices Ltd and SREI Infrastructure Finance for Rs 7,635 crore. After acquiring majority stake, ATC named the firm as ATC Telecom Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostATC TIPL is the second-largest private telecom tower firm in India with a portfolio of around 78,000 mobile towers. Tata Teleservices’ stake in Viom Networks came down to 26 per cent after ATC acquired a majority stake in the company and merged its existing India business and further reduced to 13 per cent after stake sale in October 2018. ATC’s stake in ATC TIPL is likely to reach around 90 per cent if the Tata Teleservices exits the business after selling entire stake.
GAZA CITY – Military wing of the Popular Resistance Movement and armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine respond to deadly Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.Two Palestinian groups on Friday claimed responsibility for firing rockets and mortar shells against Israeli forces in response to deadly attacks on the Gaza Strip.The Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Movement, said that its fighters fired two rockets toward the Kissufim military site and Benery settlements near Gaza.The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), said it fired six mortar shells toward Israeli tanks east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.The attacks came shortly after four members of the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, were killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza since Thursday.Three Qassam members, including a senior commander, were killed in the small hours of Friday in an Israeli raid in eastern Gaza.The strike came shortly after another Qassam member was killed in an Israeli artillery shelling in eastern Gaza.Meanwhile, five Israeli soldiers were injured in an explosion during an operation to destroy an underground tunnel with the Gaza Strip.An explosive device exploded late Thursday as engineering Corps soldiers were destroying an underground tunnel that was discovered a month ago, according to Israeli media.According to Israeli Channel 10, the Israeli army settled new batteries of the Iron Dome system on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip.Last November, Israel signed an Egypt-brokered ceasefire with Gaza-based Palestinian groups following eight days of unrelenting Israeli raids on the strip that left 190 Palestinians dead and more than 1,500 injured.
RABAT – French President Francois Hollande has telephoned Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to sooth diplomatic tensions raised by civil lawsuits filed in Paris accusing Morocco’s intelligence chief of “complicity in torture.”Morocco, a close ally with strong commercial and cultural ties to its former colonial ruler, had reacted furiously to the announcement last Thursday of two lawsuits filed by an NGO against Abdellatif Hammouchi, the head of its domestic intelligence agency (DGST).Hollande called the king, who is currently touring West Africa, to reassure him of France’s “constant friendship,” and “dispel the misunderstandings,” the French presidency said on Tuesday. He also underlined his desire to “strengthen the partnership between the two countries.”After the lawsuits were filed, seven French policemen arrived at the Moroccan ambassador’s residence to inform Hammouchi, at the time accompanying the interior minister on a visit to Paris, of a summons issued by the investigating judge.Adding insult to injury, the Spanish actor and bete noir of Rabat, Javier Bardem, was quoted by mainstream French media on the same day citing diplomatically embarrassing comments about Morocco allegedly made by the French ambassador to the United Nations three years ago.“Morocco is a mistress who you sleep with every night, who you don’t particularly love but you have to defend,” Bardem quoted him as saying, at the launch in Paris of his new documentary on Western Sahara, “Sons Of The Clouds, The Last Colony.”Morocco summoned the French ambassador on Friday to reject the torture allegations and vigorously protest the lawsuits,France’s while describing the alleged comments by France’s UN envoy as “scandalous and unacceptable.”The French foreign ministry moved swiftly to contain the fallout, saying on Saturday that the police visiting the ambassador’s residence was a “regrettable incident” and promising to shed light on the matter. It also categorically rejected Bardem’s comments.On Monday the foreign ministry received Moroccan ambassador Chakib Benmoussa.Confessions under torture’ The two cases that sparked the diplomatic spat were filed by Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), an NGO based in Paris.They relate to a pro-independence Sahrawi activist, Ennaama Asfari, who was handed a 30-year jail term in 2013 by a Moroccan military tribunal on the basis of confessions allegedly signed under torture.A separate lawsuit accusing Hammouchi of torture was filed on Sunday in France by the lawyer of former world kickboxing champion Zakaria Moumni, jailed 17 months ago on charges of racketeering before being pardoned by the king in 2012.Moumni said he confessed to the charges against him only because he was tortured.On Monday ACAT sharply criticised the French foreign ministry, insisting that “in a democracy” diplomacy has “absolutely no right to interfere in the work of the judiciary.”Morocco has come under fire in recent years for allegedly failing to end the practice of torturing prisoners and of convicting them on the basis of confessions obtained through torture.A UN special investigator said in 2012 that the torture or cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees in the kingdom was “very frequent”.
20Aug Rep. Hank Vaupel Weekly Column: August 20, 2018 Last Saturday was the very first VetFest hosted at Mt. Brighton by the Region 9 Veterans Community Action Team (VCAT). It was a tremendous success with over 1,200 registered to attend, and it set a high precedent as other veteran groups even from out of state have already looked to the event for inspiration. Food, entertainment, and information on veteran resources were all available free of charge to veterans and their families.All those involved in the planning and organization did a great job appreciating those who serve. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and helped make it such a successful inaugural event. I am blessed to help represent an area that takes such good care of its veterans. For more information about next year’s VetFest or other ways VCAT supports local veterans, contact regional coordinator Josh Parish at (906) 430-1679.***On Wednesday, I participated in the Livingston County United Way Day of Caring. This is an annual opportunity for individuals, groups, and local organizations to come together in community service to help those most in need. It is the largest such one-day event in Livingston County, and I was happy to be a part of it. Thank you to everyone who stepped up and participated and to the Livingston County United Way for faithfully hosting this event each year.Later that night, I attended the Howell Art Project Party put together by the Howell Main Street Inc. Design team. The event included an art competition with artists from Livingston County and across the state and an auction to benefit future investments in downtown Howell. I am proud of the great success Howell has achieved, and I am happy to support its continued growth and development.***Each year, the Livingston Educational Service Agency (LESA) gives away over 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to children of all grades who will soon be returning to school and provides parents with pertinent information and resources. The backpacks are generously donated by local residents, businesses, and organizations, and I was honored to help pass them out Thursday evening. It is always enjoyable to see the excitement on kids’ faces when they pick out their favorite backpack! Thank you to LESA for supporting our young people’s education.***If you have any ideas, comments or questions for my office, please do not hesitate to call us at 517-373-8835 or send an email to HankVaupel@house.mi.gov. We are happy to hear from you!PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Hank Vaupel volunteers alongside local residents for the Livingston County United Way Day of Caring. Categories: Vaupel News
One of the cool things about the Bible is that it contains some very interesting passages that no one seems to read. Understand, please, that I’m neither promoting a literal interpretation of the Bible nor giving you a sermon. I’m just pointing out a fascinating fact that most everyone seems to have missed, religious folks included. In this case, I’m referring to a passage that comes at the very end of the book, where a list is given, itemizing the kinds of people who will be condemned to “the second death.” Who would you expect to stand at the top of the list? Murders? Idolators? Maybe adulterers? Nope, none of those. The first people heading off to destruction are “the fearful.” But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Not what you expected? You can look it up if you like. That’s from Revelation 21:8 (King James Version). And I even checked the original Greek: fearful is the right translation. Fear as a Tool of Damnation I’m not going to get into theological engineering here, but yes, this would mean that the promoters of fear are sending people to hell. And, considering that we live in a fear-based culture, that’s an interesting thought indeed. Now, if you want to be truly bold, think about this: Who is it that currently promotes fear? We know the answer, of course. The people who live on fear are the majesties of the age: politicians being chief among them but followed by the entire ‘law enforcement‘ complex, military and intelligence organizations, television news-readers, religious bosses, newspaper operators, and, increasingly, anyone who wants something and has access to the public stage. If the Bible is correct, people who profit from fear are profiting from the destruction (nay, the damnation!) of their fellow men and women. Religion Isn’t Necessary, of Course The conclusion that fear is the enemy of mankind doesn’t require religion, of course. We can reach the same conclusion just by recognizing that fear (and especially the chemicals associated with fear) damage our health. Literally, people who make you fear are making you sick. (We covered this in issue #38 of Free-Man’s Perspective) Beyond that, it is clear that fear is the number one tool of manipulators. If you want to get large numbers of men and women to do your will, scare them. Every tyrant in history has known this and used this technique. What To Do About It First of all, start paying attention to your feelings and notice when things make you afraid. Stop your thinking and pay attention to the whole fear process. If you do, you can deal with most of these attacks quickly, rather than leaving an indistinct fear to roll around the back of your mind all day. Second, start analyzing the words that convey fear to you. Are they really true? Is the response the fear merchants deliver to you really the only course of action? The hard part of doing this is that the words come too fast; by the time you’re ready to analyze one statement, another one is halfway complete. Analyzing them in writing is far easier, or getting a live speaker to slow down and go one phrase at a time. Third, start discounting the people who consistently throw fear at you. If that’s all they have, they’re not worth paying attention to. Turn off the TV; excuse yourself from the conversation; walk away. You don’t have to take it. Finally, start pointing out these things to other people. They may be defensive at first, but isn’t that worth facing, to clear the minds of your friends and family? Why should they suffer under the lash of fear all their lives? Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.com
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A new guide – written solely by autistic people – aims to show care providers, commissioners and inspectors how to provide “quality care” for other autistic people.An Independent Guide to Quality Carefor Autistic Peoplehas been written by members of the National Autistic Taskforce (NAT) and has a“heavy emphasis” on developing choice and control for service-users.The guidesays: “The more autonomy a person has, the less support services need to relyon external authorities such as good practice guides, instead looking to theperson themselves as the primary source of information, instruction andguidance.”Among itsrecommendations is that care providers should make the protection of service-users’autonomy “a core priority” and ensure they have choice and control over “majorlife decisions and not just everyday choices”.The guideadds: “Respect the rights of all people to privacy, dignity and the maximumpossible control over their own lives.”It also saysthere should be respect for the right of autistic service-users to make “unwisedecisions”, while their human rights should be prioritised over any “perceivedrisks to organisational or personal reputations”.The guide,which has been endorsed by organisations including the autistic-led AutisticUK and the non-user-ledcharity the National Autistic Society, warns that even “well-meaning approachesto care may be negative experiences for some autistic people when these do notrespect an autistic perspective”.This couldinclude being subjected to “treatments” that seek to “normalise” theservice-user or that try to include them in social activities they do not wantto participate in.The guidesays service-providers should carry out regular “sensory reviews” of the placeswhere autistic service-users spend time, ensure “prompt and effective” accessto advocacy, and embed “rights-based thinking” in day-to-day practice.And it saysthat any “physical intervention, pharmaceutical control of behaviour or anyother forms of restraint” should be viewed as service “failures”.The guidesays: “A good service for autistic people is one where staff try to putthemselves in an autistic person’s shoes, get to know each person as anindividual, and maintain a relationship with the person based on trust andrespect.”And it adds:“A good service for autistic people recognises autistic identity and does not assumethat what is ‘normal’ or ‘good’ for non-autistic people is necessarily rightfor an autistic person.”Thetaskforce hopes its new guide will be part of a growing move beyond the idea ofco-production of services and “towards autistic leadership”.Its mainauthor was trainer and consultant Yo Dunn, a member of the NAT executive.NAT was launched in December 2017 and has received two years’ funding of £100,000 from the Shirley Foundation, with its focus “to help empower autistic adults, including those with less autonomy and higher support needs, to have a stronger voice in the decisions and direction of their own lives”.A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
Enabling Media Companies, Brands, and Marketers to Plan, Target and Measure Cross-Device and Cross-Platform Campaigns4INFO, an identity and media solutions company, announced a strategic relationship with Inscape, the leading provider of smart TV viewing data. By integrating Inscape’s ACR-generated, glass level insights from more than 11 million smart TVs, with 4INFO’s advanced TV platform — marketers are better able to match online and offline data to smart TV viewing data with accuracy, reach and scale.Combining 4INFO’s Advanced TV solutions, powered by its Custom Connected Identity Map (CCIM) — with the largest single source of opt-in smart TV viewing data from Inscape, helps inform marketing campaigns, advertising creative and more accurately target, optimize and segment specific interactions with consumers.“In the world of advanced TV — an effective identity solution has to deliver on scale, accuracy and cross-screen capabilities required from these increasingly complex data ecosystems,” said Tim Jenkins, CEO for 4INFO. “By matching 4INFO’s unique identity mapping capabilities with Inscape’s Smart TV data, we are able to provide a holistic view of audience data without compromising consumer privacy.”Marketing Technology News: The Measurement Advantage: Marketing Leaders Are Four Times As Likely As Laggards To Exceed Business Goals, Grow Revenue, And Gain Market ShareMarketers can map the granular program or ad viewing data at the device level to any matched data set. Matching against near-real-time smart TV data gives marketers the ability to measure campaigns based on meaningful business outcomes and understand ad exposures against cross-platform analytics and measurement.“4INFO is making it possible for media companies, brands and marketers to plan future marketing initiatives based on real viewing data that we’re generating from millions of connected TVs and gaining a better understanding for the business outcomes and results of omnichannel campaigns,” said Greg Hampton, Vice President of Business Development at Inscape.Marketing Technology News: Conroy Media and Nielsen Reach Agreement for Local TV and Audio Ratings ServicesInscape is a TV intelligence company that captures highly accurate, up-to-date viewing data from millions of smart TVs. The company is a leading provider of automatic content recognition (ACR) technologies and comprehensive cross-screen metrics. Inscape’s TV audience viewing data is leveraged by OEMs, brands, agencies, networks, measurement companies, DMPs and marketing technology platforms to power massive transformations in the industry. Its glass-level insights bring a new level of speed, transparency and actionability to the global TV marketplace. Founded in 2010 as TV Interactive Systems, Inc., the company operated as Cognitive before being acquired by VIZIO. Inscape operates as a wholly owned subsidiary based in San Francisco, California. Marketing Technology News: AB Tasty Enriches Personalization Offering With New Advanced Targeting Capabilities 4INFO Adds Smart TV Data Through Partnership with Inscape PRNewswireMay 15, 2019, 4:44 pmMay 15, 2019 4INFOAdvanced TVCustom Connected Identity MapInscapeMarketing TechnologyNewsTV Interactive Systems Previous ArticleCM Group Completes $410 Million Financing and Expands Multi-Channel Marketing Offerings with Acquisition of Global Technology Company, VutureNext ArticleSparkPost Introduces the Industry’s First Predictive Email Intelligence Platform
Canada was looking for a way out of a US$13 billion deal to export armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a televised interview Sunday.“We are engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia,” Trudeau told CTV on Sunday, without elaborating.Amid growing international outrage over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the government has been reviewing the planned sale of the armored vehicles made by London, Ontario-based General Dynamics Land Systems, a unit of U.S.-based General Dynamics Corp.General Dynamics Land Systems in London, Ont. Reddit Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation More Share this storyTrudeau says Canada wants out of $13 billion deal to sell armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Comment Join the conversation → Trudeau’s administration has said it wouldn’t issue new export permits during its review of the deal, which was signed by the previous government.The Canadian leader had indicated previously that his government’s hands were somewhat tied by the contract, saying it could cost $1 billion to cancel it.“The murder of a journalist is absolutely unacceptable and that’s why Canada from the very beginning had been demanding answers and solutions on that,” Trudeau told CTV.Bloomberg.com Email Bloomberg News Facebook Twitter Trudeau says Canada wants out of $13 billion deal to sell armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia Review of sale comes amid growing international outrage over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi General Dynamics Land Systems Canada Lav 6 vehicles are shown carrying troops in 2016.Sgt Jean-Francois Lauzé/Combat Camera/General Dynamics December 17, 20187:03 AM EST Filed under News Economy Sponsored By: Natalie Obiko Pearson Recommended For YouGSK’s Dovato meets primary goal in late-stage HIV studyEuro zone growth, inflation outlook cut as risks from U.S. trade growUPDATE 1-WTO members concerned over U.S. farm spending, EU’s Brexit plansTrade, earnings caution weigh on stocks; oil dropsChina makes biggest U.S. sorghum purchase since April as trade talks resume advertisement 0 Comments Featured Stories ← Previous Next →
Just like in the movies, default real-life virtual assistants are often female (Siri; Alexa). But there is some promise of change: having announced in May that their Google Assistant would be getting six new voices, but that the default was named “Holly,” Google more recently issued an update that assigns them colours instead of names, done randomly in order to avoid any associations between particular colours and genders.This is a promising step, but technology cannot progress while the same types of people remain in control of their development and management. Perhaps increased female participation in Silicon Valley could change the way we imagine and develop technology and how it sounds and looks. Diversity in front of and behind the Hollywood camera is equally important in order to improve the way we present our possible futures and so inspire future creators. Marvel assistantsAt least since the demise of Stark’s sentient AI JARVIS in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2013), the fictional AI landscape has become predominantly female. Stark’s male AI JARVIS – which he modelled and named after his childhood butler – is destroyed in the fight against Ultron (although he ultimately becomes part of a new embodied android character called The Vision). Stark then replaces his operating system not with a back up of JARVIS or another male voiced AI but with FRIDAY (voiced by Kerry Condon). This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures Iron Man (Stark). Credit: Marvel 2016 Fictional male voices do exist, of course, but today they are simply far less common. HAL-9000 is the most famous male-voiced Hollywood AI – a malevolent sentient computer released into the public imagination 50 years ago in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.Male AI used to be more common, specifically in stories where technology becomes evil or beyond our control (like Hal). Female AI on the other hand is, more often than not, envisaged in a submissive servile role. Another pattern concerns whether fictional AI is embodied or not. When it is, it tends to be male, from the Terminator, to Sonny in I, Robot and super-villain Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Ex Machina’s Ava (Alicia Vikander) is an interesting anomaly to the roster of embodied AI and she is seen as a victim rather than an uncontrolled menace, even after she kills her creator.The Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically the AI inventions of Tony Stark, and the 2017 film Blade Runner 2049, offer interesting and somewhat problematic takes on the future of AI. The future may be female, but in these imagined AI futures this is not a good thing. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Designing a chatbot: male, female or gender neutral? FRIDAY is a far less prominent character. Stark’s AI is pushed into a far more secondary role, one where she is very much the assistant, unlike the complex companion Stark created in JARVIS. Likewise, in Spider-Man Homecoming, Stark gifts Peter Parker (Tom Holland) his own super suit, which comes with a nameless female-voiced virtual assistant. Peter initially calls her “suit lady,” later naming her Karen. Peter imbues his suit with personality and identity by naming it, but you wonder if he would have been so willing to imagine his suit as a caring confidant if it had come with a older-sounding male voice. Citation: There’s a reason Siri, Alexa and AI are imagined as female – sexism (2018, August 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-siri-alexa-ai-female-sexism.html Explore further Provided by The Conversation Karen is virtual support for the Spider-Man suit, designed to train and enhance Peter’s abilities. But in building a relationship of trust with her, Karen takes on the role of a friend for Peter, even encouraging him to approach the girl he likes at school. Here, the female voiced AI takes on a caring role – as a mother or sister – which places the Karen AI into another limiting female stereotype. Female voiced or embodied AI is expected to have a different role to their male-aligned counterparts, perpetuating the idea that women are more likely to be in the role of the secretary rather than the scientist.Blade Runner’s JoiAnother classic example of artificial intelligence can be found in Blade Runner (1982) and its bio-robotic androids, the Replicants. These artificial beings were designed and manufactured to do the jobs that humans in the future didn’t want: from colonising dangerous alien planets to serving as sex workers. Although stronger and often smarter than their humans creators, they have a limited lifespan that literally stops them from developing sufficiently to work out how to take over.The recent Blade Runner 2049 updates the replicants’ technology and introduces a purchasable intelligent holographic companion called Joi (Ana de Armas). The Joi we are shown in the film is Agent K’s (Ryan Gosling) companion – at first restricted by the projector in his home and later set free, to an extent (Joi is still controlled by K’s movements), when K buys himself a portable device called an Emanator. Joi is a logical extension of today’s digital assistants and is one of the few female AIs to occupy the narrative foreground. Credit: Pegasene/Shutterstock.com Virtual assistants are increasingly popular and present in our everyday lives: literally with Alexa, Cortana, Holly, and Siri, and fictionally in films Samantha (Her), Joi (Blade Runner 2049) and Marvel’s AIs, FRIDAY (Avengers: Infinity War), and Karen (Spider-Man: Homecoming). These names demonstrate the assumption that virtual assistants, from SatNav to Siri, will be voiced by a woman. This reinforces gender stereotypes, expectations, and assumptions about the future of artificial intelligence. But at the end of the day, Joi is a corporate creation that is sold as “everything you want to hear and everything you want to see.” A thing that can be created, adapted, and sold for consumption. Her holographic body makes her seem a little more real but her purpose is similar to those of the virtual assistants discussed here already: to serve often male masters. Subservient womenWhen we can only seemingly imagine an AI as a subservient woman, we reinforce dangerous and outdated stereotypes. What prejudices are perpetuated by putting servile obedient females into our dreams of technology, as well as our current experiences? All this is important because science fiction not only reflects our hopes and fears for the future of science, but also informs it. The imagined futures of the movies inspire those working in tech companies as they develop and update AI, working towards the expectations formed in our fictions.