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first_imgBEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – HBO’s programming chief pushed back Wednesday against the possibility that the cable channel will suffer under new owner AT&T.Casey Bloys, speaking to a meeting of TV critics, said there are no plans to choose volume over quality for its shows.“No one is asking us to take pitches of a ‘Love Boat’ reboot or anything like that,” he said.As support, Bloys cited comments made during an earnings call Tuesday by John Stankey, who manages the new AT&T division that includes HBO and other Time Warner media assets. AT&T acquired Time Warner in an $85 billion deal concluded earlier this month.Stankey said that the aim was to invest more in premium content at HBO, home to “Game of Thrones,” ”Big Little Lies” and “Westworld.” In contrast, he reportedly told HBO staff recently to prepare for a difficult year.Bloys called Tuesday’s remarks “music to our ears.”Time Warner had curtailed programming investment as it readied itself for sale “so this is the first time in a long time we’ve heard anybody talking about investing in programming,” he said.HBO has long held the high ground in acclaimed shows but is facing challenges from big-spending newcomers including streaming services Netflix and Amazon. In the recently announced Emmy nominations, Netflix ended HBO’s 17-year streak as the most-nominated outlet by snagging 112 bids to HBO’s 108.The outcome was unsurprising given the overall volume of programming, Bloys said, a reference to the phenomenon dubbed “peak TV” that has given viewers nearly 500 series.Getting four fewer nominations “is not going to change the type of programs that we develop and produce at all,” he said, but added that HBO does face the challenge of creating more programming without changing its approach.“So that’s what we’re in discussion now. What’s the right level for us with this increased funding?” he said.last_img read more

first_imgNEW YORK — Stocks are wobbling ahead of the highly-anticipating trade meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China. Investors have long hoped the two will use their meeting at the Group of 20 summit to start resolving the trade dispute between the two countries. Energy companies sank as crude oil dropped under $50 a barrel for the first time since September 2017.KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index added 2 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,740 at 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 20 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 25,318. The Nasdaq composite gained 4 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,277. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 1 point, or 0.1 per cent, to 1,526.Stocks have rallied this week after falling to a six-month low last Friday. The S&P 500 is up 1 per cent this month, but it’s still 6.5 per cent away from the all-time high it set in late September. While the U.S. and China have been sparring for months over technology policy and other trade issues, in the last two months investors have become more pessimistic that the two sides will be able to resolve their differences without causing damage to the global economy.The U.S. has announced tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports so far, with the tax rate on many products set to rise Jan. 1, while China is taxing $110 billion in U.S. goods. Wall Street is concerned that the lingering questions about tariffs and other trade issues will keep businesses from spending money.UNWANTED GUEST: Marriott said the information of as many as 500 million guests at Starwood hotels has been compromised by a data breach that started in 2014 and September 2018. The company said the credit card information of some guests may have been taken, along with other personal details. The company’s stock lost 5.8 per cent to $114.80.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell sank 3 per cent to $49.92 a barrel in New York, which put crude on track to fall for the eighth week in a row. Brent crude fell 2.5 per cent to $58.40 a barrel in London. Oil prices have plunged as supplies have built up, partly because the U.S. agreed to hold off on sanctions for countries that import oil from Iran. Investors are also worried that a slowdown in global economic growth will reduce demand for fuels.Oil and gas drilling services company Schlumberger lost 2.5 per cent to $44.78 and Chevron fell 0.9 per cent to $117.78 while ConocoPhillips lost 1.6 per cent to $65.82.TESTING, TESTING: Medical lab company LabCorp skidded 10.6 per cent to $144.58 after cutting its profit and sales forecasts. On Thursday LabCorp fell 2 per cent and rival Quest Diagnostics dropped 9.3 per cent after Quest did the same, saying testing volumes were down. Quest fell 1.8 per cent to $86.37 Friday.GAME OVER: Video game retailer GameStop skidded 9.8 per cent to $13.20 after it cut its annual profit and sales forecasts. The company said some key titles didn’t sell as well as it hoped, and promotions and sales of used games weren’t as strong as expected.BONDS: Bond prices rose further. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.01 per cent from 3.03 per cent.OVERSEAS: The FTSE 100 index in Britain shed 0.6 per cent. Germany’s DAX fell 0.4 per cent while France’s CAC40 gave up 0.1 per cent.Japan’s Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.4 per cent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.2 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.8 per cent.CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.59 yen from 113.43 yen. The euro fell to $1.1344 from $1.1389.____AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at Jay, The Associated Presslast_img read more

“I am concerned about press freedom in Eritrea and over the way journalists are being treated in the country,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement from Paris, where the agency is based. “Reports about the conditions of detention of journalists imprisoned without trial are a source of grave concern, as are reports of the disappearance of journalists,” he said, calling for Eritrea to “shed light on these cases and to ensure respect for due process of law and basic human rights, including freedom of expression and press freedom, which are fundamental to democracy and rule of law.” Mr. Matsuura’s remarks follow news from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) that poet and playwright Fessehaye “Joshua” Yohannes, formerly a journalist with the now-banned weekly Setit, died in detention on 11 January. Mr Yohannes was arrested in September 2001, along with 10 other journalists and many members of the opposition. At that time, the authorities also suspended the privately-owned press. UNESCO is the only UN agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” 20 February 2007The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN agency mandated to protect press freedom, today voiced his “grave concern” over the treatment of journalists in Eritrea following reports that writer Fessehaye Yohannes had died in detention. read more

17 February 2010The global economic downturn could push an additional 21 million people in the Asia-Pacific region into extreme poverty, rolling back development gains, according to a United Nations-backed report issued today. The publication, launched in Manila, examines the toll that the crisis has taken on progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – eight anti-poverty targets agreed upon by world leaders with a 2015 deadline – in the Asia-Pacific.Produced jointly by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asian Development Bank, the report calls for long-term social protection to boost the region’s resilience against future shocks.It found that across the region, only 20 per cent of unemployed and underemployed people have access to unemployment benefits and other labour market schemes, while just under one third of older people receive pensions.Compared to other areas such as Latin America and Eastern Europe, Asia has much weaker social protection programmes in place, noted Ajay Chhibber, UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.“Without better protection, people fall back into poverty,” he said, adding that the confluence of the economic crisis, health pandemics and natural disasters thwarts recovery and the achievement of the MDGs.The report found that fiscal stimulus packages with a strong social expenditure component could produce a double dividend, boosting growth and also accelerating development progress.Prior to the onset of the economic crisis, the Asia-Pacific region as a whole had been making considerable strides, including being on track to meet three key targets: gender parity in secondary education, children’s universal access to primary school and halving the proportion of people living below the extreme poverty threshold of $1.25 per day.However, the downturn has slowed this momentum, and 21 million people – 17 million in 2009 and a further 4 million this year, roughly equivalent to the population of Australia – have been trapped into extreme poverty.Women, constituting the majority of Asia’s low-skilled, low-salaried and temporary workforce, have been hardest hit, and the demand for migrant labour, also mostly comprising women, has also taken a nose-dive.Regional cooperation, especially through trade in food, the study stressed, can help to protect Asia and the Pacific from future crises.Enhancing financial and monetary coordination could go a long way towards limiting the fallout from recessions, it noted.“This report shows that while we are at a moment of crisis for the MDGs, we also have an opportunity,” said ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer. “As this crisis has exposed many vulnerabilities in the region, we can now address them and direct this recovery towards a stronger sustainable development path for the Asia-Pacific region.” read more

Beginning with a modest contribution in May 2005 with the deployment of one military observer to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), Rwanda is currently the fourth largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations.After suffering its own genocide, Rwanda now contributes many personnel to missions that have protection-of-civilian mandates. There are nearly 6,550 Rwandan uniformed personnel currently serving with the UN, the majority of them in hot spots such as South Sudan, the Darfur region of Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR). It is particularly commendable that a nation that has endured the worst atrocities should risk its soldiers to ensure those atrocities cannot happen elsewhere — Secretary-General Guterres“Peacekeeping is a noble, necessary but dangerous mission. The sacrifice and risk peacekeepers endure is always at the forefront of my thoughts,” Secretary-General António Guterres said last month during the commemoration at UN Headquarters of the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.“It is particularly commendable that a nation that has endured the worst atrocities should risk its soldiers to ensure those atrocities cannot happen elsewhere,” he added.The UN chief’s remarks were particularly poignant coming as they did just days after the killing of a Rwandan peacekeeper and the wounding of eight others during an exchange of fire with armed elements in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). Overall, 53 Rwandans have lost their lives while serving with UN peacekeeping operations.Adama Dieng, the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, noted that it is because the tragedy experienced on its soil that Rwanda moved quickly to send troops to places such as CAR and Darfur, where civilians were under threat.“I can say that Rwanda knows exactly what genocide means,” Mr. Dieng told UN News in a recent interview. “That is why when I sounded the alarm in Central African Republic, in November 2013, Rwanda moved and sent troops to protect the population there.For Inspector of Police Maurice Nyierema, who serves with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda has played an important part in his decision to serve as a peacekeeper.“What happened in Rwanda makes my conviction stronger that we cannot allow something like that to happen ever again, in any place of the world,” he said. Mr. Nyierema was among the 183 Rwandan police officers, including 30 women, who received the UN service medal in South Sudan in February of this year. The officers, based in the capital, Juba, carry out tasks such as city patrols and public order management in the UN Mission’s protection sites for civilians seeking shelter from violence.A huge amount is at stake. Since conflict broke out in 2013, thousands of civilians in South Sudan have been killed in targeted attacks, women raped, homes and means of livelihoods destroyed. More than 1.5 million South Sudanese are living as refugees in neighbouring countries and more than 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are living under the protection of the UN Mission in Protection of Civilians (POC) sites across the country.“People should learn to live together and to love each other, love their country and avoid divisions among themselves,” said Lt. Col. Kabera Simon, a Rwandan peacekeeper who served with UNMISS last year. “They should ignore what makes them different from each other and look at what brings them together and build their homes and nation.”“This is my message: after war, after conflict, after misunderstanding, there is hope for the future if people are willing.” read more

The second-and-short scenario is noisier than the others (since first-and-10 is far more common), but the difference is pretty clear. If you compare the horizontal gap between the lines, you can compare scenarios. For example, if a running back has the chance to go down after gaining 9 yards when 53 yards out from goal, he should only take the first down if he can get all the way to the 50-yard line. This difference seems to be tightest at midrange distances (which makes sense because the field is compressed), but it’s generally about 2 to 4 yards.So, if it’s first down and you see a rusher or receiver stretch out for that last yard, boo loudly.Gunslinger of the weekThe fickleness of the Hacker Gods5Don’t worry, you don’t need to pray to the Hacker Gods. You need to pray that the Hacker Gods exist. was on complete display last week, as they decided to let interceptions slide: Twenty quarterbacks threw picks at one point or another, and 10 of them won their games anyway.6In Week 2, only one QB won with any interceptions. This past week, Drew Brees had three interceptions, including a pick-6 with his team trailing — the coup de grace of the gunslinger — and his team still pulled off the win!Blake Bortles — the only rookie quarterback who saw any action last weekend — was not among the winners. He threw two interceptions in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ competitive loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.Most notably, on second-and-12, down 10-9 in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars’ coaches called a run, but Bortles called an audible for a pass. That pass was picked off and returned for a touchdown, and Jacksonville lost 17-9.Here’s what Bortles had to say after the game:It was a run. I just saw guys walk up. It wasn’t a good decision. We could have kept the run on and it wouldn’t have been a bad play. It would have given us a shot and it’s something that I can’t make that mistake again and definitely can’t check out of play into a pick-6.No! Don’t listen to the haters, Blake! Your instinct was right. Second-and-12 on your own side of the field is a terrible time to run in general (see our experimental chart of the week, below), and even worse if it’s late in a game you’re losing. Blake, to try to ensure you keep slinging, you get this week’s Gunslinger of the Week award. May it guide you in future games.Kicking awards for Week 5Last week, I introduced my system for evaluating the most and least valuable kickers. It plots points above and below expectation versus how much the kicker contributed to a game’s scoring margin.But then Alex Henery’s 0-for-3 week for Detroit broke the scale:To get it out of the way: San Francisco’s Phil Dawson is the MVK for Week 5. He went 5-for-5 including two 50+ yarders in a close win against the Kansas City Chiefs. Bravo!But on to the fun stuff: Henery essentially produced the Lions’ loss against the Buffalo Bills all by himself. If he’d made as many field goals as he was expected to, all else being equal, the Lions would have won. (The Lions released him after the game.)The three attempts Henery missed were from 44, 47 and 50 yards out (making him 1-for-5 on the season). Historically, this might not seem like the worst stretch imaginable, and Grantland’s Bill Barnwell had this to say about the ordeal:Imagine judging a hitter based on his batting average over a six-game stretch or an NBA player based on his shooting percentage after two games. That’s about what we do when we judge a kicker, who gets 35 chances to test his mettle across an entire 16-game season.But context matters. NFL kickers don’t miss from those distances the way they used to.7The expected value of kicks on that scale is calculated based on a probit regression over every kick since 2001 that includes the year that the kick was taken as a variable. Kickers now make roughly two-thirds of their FGs taken from 50+ yards and four-fifths of those taken from 40 to 49 yards. Based on my expected-value model (which adjusts for the year that kicks were taken), Henery’s -6.73 points below expectation in the game amounted to the tenth-worst single day by a kicker since 2001 (a period that includes more than 7,000 kicker games). But Kris Brown, a longtime kicker for Pittsburgh and Houston, had the second-worst day by a kicker for the Steelers in 2001, and then the best day by a kicker for the Texans in 2007. So a kicker can bounce back.Meanwhile, Detroit fell to 4-for-12 on field goals for the season. The entire league has only missed 44 attempts this year. That’s right, Detroit is responsible for nearly 20 percent of all missed field goals in the NFL this season! The single worst team kicking season since 2001 belongs to San Francisco in 2012. The Niners missed 14 field goals and ran 20.6 kicking points below expectation for the whole year.Through five games, the Lions are already running 16.6 kicking points below expectation. But Detroit signed former Bronco Matt Prater to try to dig it out of this hole. Prater had one of the best seasons by a kicker of all time last year, but he has been inconsistent, posting negative value added in four of his seven seasons in the league. If Prater isn’t in good form, Detroit may be the new bad kicking champions.Experimental chart(s) of the weekRiffing off the play/drive data I used for the chart of the week, I decided to take a look at whether running or passing is more effective in various situations. This chart uses the same distance and average points as the earlier chart, but it’s split into first, second and third downs with 10 yards to go.8Going for it on fourth-and-10 is too rare to be meaningful. It then plots the ultimate success of the drive when a pass is attempted versus when a run is attempted in those situations.From this, we can see that passing has led to better results in nearly any long-yardage situation. This is a little surprising, especially on first down. Game theoretically, if teams are selecting whether to run or pass optimally, and defending optimally, the value from each should be very similar. It’s possible that, on the margins, running and passing do have the same value,9In which case, it would be similar to what I’ve said about NBA 3-point attempts. but from the bubble sizes, we can see that the pass/run ratio is relatively even on first down, so it seems more likely to me that teams are just running in this spot too much.Similarly, we can look at short-yardage spots to see if those situations differ. The chart below is the same as the one above, except it looks at second, third and fourth downs with less than 3 yards to go.10Technically, I’m using “and-1” and “and-2” distances, which includes all distances between 0 and 2 yards, and possibly some distances between 2 yards and 3 yards, as discussed in last week’s column. Running data doesn’t always show what it appears to show, and the “eye test” doesn’t help much either. Our meager human eyes can’t really track the multitude of complex variables involved in whether a running play is successful or not. As I wrote last week, whether a team runs the ball is largely a function of whether it’s ahead or behind. A running back’s productivity is even more a function of role, quality of offense, and the situations his team gets into than it is for a QB. This makes it especially hard to judge outliers (and I love outliers).But the Cowboys have been playing competitive games in which Murray has been very consistent, and he has earned his yards in an extremely impressive fashion.One way to cut down on situational factors3Of course, to be even more accurate, it can help to do a situation-for-situation comparison, like I did for Jamaal Charles and Peterson in my NFC West preview. is to look only at first-and-10 runs that aren’t near the goal line. Like so:Murray has gained an average of 6.4 yards on these runs, compared to a league average of 4.4.His distribution of runs has been great as well. I’ve been critical of running backs (like Peterson) who put up big stats by breaking a lot of long runs but who get stopped too often, making their game like a less-efficient version of the passing game. But that’s not the case for Murray, thus far. He is breaking long runs at the same rate as a back like Peterson, yet Murray has only eight runs for no gain or loss of yardage (10.7 percent, or about half of Peterson’s career average of 22.2 percent). Moreover, Murray’s median run has been 5 yards, which compares favorably even to passing in the same situation, with a median distance of 4 yards. Through the first five games, Murray has been the ideal running back: consistently gaining positive yardage, setting up favorable second-down situations (he leads the league in runs of 7 to 9 yards), and still a threat to go the distance.Chart of the weekOne of my favorite mini-stats from the Murray first-and-10 data is that Murray has five runs this year of exactly4Inasmuch as these things are exact. 9 yards, and none of exactly 10 yards.This is smart! Running for 9 yards on first-and-10 outside of 25 yards from the goal is pretty much always better than running for 10. Getting to second-and-short is more valuable than getting a first down because it leads to a flexible situation and forces the defense to prepare for a wider variety of plays.Here’s the easiest way to understand this: A team is trading one down and one yard for the privilege of having only one yard to gain. Since the team will gain that one yard a high percentage of the time, it has a lot of flexibility: It can rush or sneak to try to pick up the first down (and collect bonus yards in the process), or it can launch a deep pass knowing that, barring a sack or a turnover, it will likely still have a short-yardage play on third down. The opponent has to defend everything from short-yardage runs to deep passes at once, meaning it defends each a little worse than usual.Those two yards before first down, then, are a sweet spot for offenses. How sweet is the sweet spot? Using drive data since 2001, I looked at how many points a possession produced on average, given its spot on the field, when it was second-and-short (defined as second-and-2 or less) versus first-and-10: Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is kinda killing it this year. Through five games, he’s leading the league in rushing by more than 200 yards1His 134 yards per game is more than 30 percent higher than second-place Arian Foster’s 101. — and he’s run for 100 or more yards in every game. He’s even getting MVP buzz, and with his help Dallas is 4-1, tied for the best record in football.Normally I don’t care much about running back stats. RBs have crazy seasons all the time, often signifying very little. This level of performance, for example, is pretty out of character for Murray and Dallas (which has been 8-8 in every year they’ve been together). Seasons like this usually come in two main flavors:The outlier running back has a featured role in some fancy new (usually QB-driven) offense. Examples include Edgerrin James and Marshall Faulk with Indianapolis, LaDanian Tomlinson with San Diego or Marshall Faulk with St. Louis.The outlier back’s stats are a kind of corrupt bargain with defenses that are willing to let the back put up big numbers while otherwise keeping the offense somewhat in check. Likely examples include Adrian Peterson, Barry Sanders and Chris Johnson.2The year Johnson had 2,000 yards, the Tennessee Titans went 8-8. Of the seven times when a running back broke 2,000 yards in a season, only one player — Terrell Davis for John Elway’s Denver Broncos in 1998 — did so on a team that won more than 10 games (or even made it out of the first round of the playoffs). For short distances, it seems that running — on average — produces slightly better results. I was a little surprised by the second-and-short result, since (as previously discussed) this can be a great down for taking shots downfield. But the difference between the two is small, and the results may also be skewed slightly if teams are more likely to run when their chances of picking up a first down are better (such as in second-and-inches situations).On balance, the charts are fascinating to contemplate, but the takeaway is pretty basic, and so obvious that it’s almost counterintuitive: With long distances to first down passing is generally better, and with short distances running is generally better.Most empirically significant game of Week 6When teams do well despite “bad QB play,” it may not actually mean that their QBs are playing badly. Football is a game of limited resources. If a team’s QB is getting the job done, the GM may devote the team’s resources elsewhere.For example, say a GM has $130 million to spend (around the current NFL salary cap). He spends $65 million on offense and $65 million on defense. He pays the team’s quarterback $10 million, leaving $55 million for the rest of the team’s offense. The QB develops into a big-time stud, which leaves two options: The GM can keep spending the same amount on offense as on defense and end up with an above-average offense and an average defense; or, maybe the QB is good enough to produce an average offense with only a $35 million supporting cast, allowing that $20 million savings to be spent on improving the defense. It might not be pretty (especially for the QB), but whether the team’s wins come through offense or defense doesn’t matter to the GM. Why not have an average offense and a better defense?11Or special teams, or coach, or anything — and this applies to resources other than money, but money is the easiest to examine.This is more than just a thought experiment: The Baltimore Ravens have just $33 million devoted to non-quarterback offensive players — the lowest amount in the league and just 35 percent of their non-starting QB expenditures. In other words, aside from Joe Flacco, the Ravens have distributed their money nearly 2-to-1 in favor of defense. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles have more than $63 million devoted to offensive players other than their highest-paid QB.12Technically, the Eagles’ highest-paid QB is Mark Sanchez. That means Nick Foles is starting out with a 2-to-1 money advantage.13Idea for future article: quarterback ratings adjusted for the salary of the rest of the offense!Which brings us to the most empirically significant game of Week 6: the Carolina Panthers vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.QBs like Andy Dalton and Cam Newton have been eclipsed somewhat by young stars like Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, but the Seahawks and 49ers rank third and sixth in non-QB offensive expenditures, respectively. The Panthers and Bengals rank 15th and 23rd, respectively, by that measure. The Bengals have 38 percent of their cap space devoted to non-QB offense — as a share of non-QB salaries, that’s the fourth-lowest in football.Newton has about a $6 million spending advantage over Dalton. Seeing these two solid QBs on teams that don’t spend like crazy on offense go head to head may help us understand how financial considerations affect the game.Charts by Reuben Fischer-Baum. read more

It’s no secret that running backs have been falling out of favor on draft day since the NFL’s pre-1980s ground-and-pound era. The amount of draft value invested in the position1As defined by a pick’s expected approximate value in his first five seasons. has declined continuously over the last half-century. This reached a low point in 2014 when not a single running back was taken in the first round for a second consecutive season.Things have changed a bit over the past few years. In the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, two rushers — LSU’s Leonard Fournette (who went to the Jacksonville Jaguars) and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey (picked by the Carolina Panthers) — were taken among the top eight picks for the first time since 2005. This came after the Dallas Cowboys picked Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in 2016, to great success. And in 2015, two running backs were chosen in the first round.Clearly, a running back renaissance is in the works. Right?Well, sort of. While it’s true that teams haven’t sworn off stud running backs completely at the top of the draft, they’re also being more selective. After McCaffrey went at No. 8, the class of 2017’s other first-round hopefuls — such as Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara and Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon — were all still available at the end of the night. It’s been five years since a team has taken a RB in the second half of the first round.A lot of this has to do with the economics of the position, as ESPN’s Kevin Seifert wrote on Wednesday. Because the rookie wage scale pays high picks well and running backs are being devalued across the league as a whole, highly drafted RBs are instantly among the highest-paid players at their position before they ever take a snap in the pros. That means teams better be damn sure about a running back before spending a first-rounder on him (lest they end up with the next Trent Richardson). The problem: teams can’t be sure about much on draft day. Only the elite of the elite check off enough boxes to make that kind of investment feel worthwhile.Adding to the risk, running backs also age differently from the rest of the NFL. Unlike, say, quarterbacks — who improve steadily during their early-to-mid 20s and peak right before age 30 — a running back’s shelf life is much shorter. Depending on the research you look at, RBs peak somewhere between the ages of 24 and 26, with the majority of their most productive seasons front-loaded early in their careers. So if you do manage to snag a game-changing runner, you’re most likely getting the best he has to offer before his rookie contract even has a chance to expire.Because of this, a team willing to invest a high pick on a running back better be in a position to win immediately, otherwise his best years could be squandered. For all the talk about the “Zeke Effect” — that Elliott’s high selection and subsequent performance in Dallas would spur increased investment in running backs on draft day — Elliott fell into a tremendous situation as a rookie with the Cowboys. Dallas’s mammoth offensive line paved the way for Elliott to lead the NFL with 999 yards before first contact.2To be clear, Elliott is a tremendous player; he was also second with 632 yards after contact. That’s a luxury Fournette won’t have in Jacksonville, where he’ll run behind an O-line that ranked sixth-worst in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards metric. (Maybe he should call 2015 No. 10 pick Todd Gurley, who has had to run behind a patchwork Rams line, for advice.)The Jags are betting that Fournette’s ridiculous ability to break tackles and run away from defenders in the open field will render that point moot, and maybe it will. But that also underscores just how talented a running back needs to be to justify a high draft pick these days. For those who possess that skill level, things are looking up compared with a few years ago. But for the rest, they’ll still have to wait to hear their names called at the podium. read more

CARM-Elo chancesVegas chances 8Timberwolves47-3515651<110 How Elo is forecasting the Western Conference playoffsAs of April 12 7Bucks44-3815001<120 TeamRecordRatingWin Conf.Win TitleWin Conf.Win Title 2Warriors58-241628844435 376ers52-3016593011175 Statistical favorite: After years of taking a backseat as Golden State dominated our pre-playoff predictions, the Houston Rockets are now front-runners to win the West. Specifically, CARM-Elo gives soon-to-be MVP James Harden and friends a 57 percent chance of making their first NBA Finals appearance this summer. Incredulous? Fine, but doubt Houston at your own peril. Remember that this season’s Rockets team shares many of the same characteristics with the Warriors back when Golden State was first making the climb toward transcendence. Teams that produce all-time great seasons like Houston has this season tend to win NBA titles at a tremendously high rate. Nothing in the regular-season numbers suggests that the Rockets should be anything other than solid favorites to take the conference — if not more.Betting favorite: There is a huge disparity between the chance our model gives the Golden State Warriors of winning the championship and what the betting markets say. CARM-Elo gives the defending NBA champs only an 8 percent chance of winning the West, tied to the team’s relatively unexceptional 58-win campaign that ended with Steph Curry injured and Steve Kerr calling his team out over a series of listless final-month losses. And yet, Golden State remains the betting market’s Western Conference co-favorite (alongside the Rockets), with an implied 44 percent chance of going to the NBA Finals for a fourth-straight season. Similar to the situation with the Cavaliers, the Warriors’ strong odds can be attributed to disagreement over how much we should read into a talented team’s regular-season struggles. The oddsmakers are clearly putting a lot more weight on Golden State’s track record than what we’ve seen on the court in 2017-18 — and considering how well we know the Warriors are capable of playing, that’s probably a good call.Dark horse: The West is so crazy that we could highlight a few teams here, but the Utah Jazz stand out in particular. According to CARM-Elo, they rank as the NBA’s third-best team going into the playoffs — trailing only the Rockets and Raptors — even after making our adjustment for playoff experience (of which the Jazz have very little). Utah put itself in a bit of an unfortunate position by losing to Portland on the final day of the regular season, which dropped the Jazz from the No. 3 seed down to No. 5. As a result, Utah lost home-court advantage in the first round, and the formidable Thunder were locked in as its first-round opponent. (It also set them up for a potential second-round collision course with the Rockets.) Even so, our model lists the Jazz as tied with OKC for the second-best chances of winning the West, and they could prove a dangerous opponent for the top seeds if they make it out of the first round.Best first-round series: CARM-Elo says the closest matchup of the first round is the aforementioned clash between the Thunder and Jazz. Oklahoma City is a slim favorite at 52 percent, by virtue of having home-court advantage. But these teams are very evenly matched: Both posted 48-34 records, and only 5 points of CARM-Elo separate their ratings. This one might be a referendum of sorts on the importance of playoff seasoning — the Jazz are the least-experienced team in the postseason field, while the Thunder rank fourth-highest behind only the Cavaliers, Warriors and Spurs. That edge might be enough to push OKC over the top, although whoever wins the prize likely has a date with the Rockets in the next round. Enjoy these teams while they last.Check out our latest NBA predictions.CORRECTION (April 12, 2018, 4:45 p.m.): A previous version of this article misstated the possibility of the Utah Jazz facing the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round if the Jazz had won their final game. Although Utah would have been the No. 3 seed if it had won, it could have played several different teams depending on the results of other games. 8Wizards43-391487<1<121 TeamRecordRatingWin Conf.Win TitleWin Conf.Win Title 5Pacers48-3415473<110 How Elo is forecasting the Eastern Conference playoffsAs of April 12 Statistical favorite: The numbers say this might finally be a breakthrough year for the Toronto Raptors, who are in the playoffs for a fifth straight season but have only one conference finals appearance (and zero NBA Finals berths) to show for it. Everything seemed to come together for Toronto this season, from a mega-efficient offense to a defense that improved to fifth-best in basketball. Add in a career year from DeMar DeRozan and a world-beating second unit, and the result was the top seed in the East — with a 42 percent chance to win the conference, according to CARM-Elo. That number is much higher than the 30 percent chance that CARM-Elo is giving the 76ers, the team our model thinks has the second-best chance of making it to the NBA Finals. And it’s hugely better than the 14 percent we’re giving the three-time defending conference champion Cavaliers. If the regular-season indicators mean anything, Toronto has earned every bit of its favorite status.Betting favorite: Another year, another case of the stats underrating the Cleveland Cavaliers’ chances in the East. Our model struggled to assess the Cavs last season too, and LeBron James’s squad proved the data wrong by tearing through the East with only one loss en route to the NBA Finals. The same scenario is shaping up to happen this season — and Vegas knows it. That’s probably why the Cavs are favored by the markets to win the conference again (albeit as less of a favorite than in the past), despite a regular season that was unimpressive by the standards of a LeBron team. In the battle between skepticism over Cleveland’s inconsistent form and trust that James can will his team to an eighth consecutive NBA Finals,2Including his time with Miami and his second stint in Cleveland. the bettors are still giving LeBron the benefit of the doubt.Dark horse: Although our ratings are higher on the Philadelphia 76ers than the Las Vegas odds are, both predictions think the Sixers are an intriguing pick to contend for the East crown. On the one hand, Philly’s near-total lack of playoff seasoning is a troublesome indicator for the postseason, where experience matters more than we sometimes acknowledge. (A late-season injury to star big man Joel Embiid also complicates matters; Embiid is recovering but probably won’t be ready for Game 1 of Philadelphia’s opening series with the Heat.) But Philadelphia is loaded with talent, from Embiid down low to likely rookie of the year Ben Simmons at the point and No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, who on Wednesday became the youngest player to post a triple-double. The Sixers are also playing at something close to peak form going into the playoffs, having won 16 straight games to close out the regular season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the longest winning streak ever for a team entering the playoffs, and it’s one big reason why both our model and the Vegas odds list Philly as the only East team other than Cleveland or Toronto with a double-digit probability of winning the conference title.Best first-round series: The East doesn’t have as many quality first-round duels as the West, but the Celtics and Bucks should be an interesting matchup. Boston lost its star player, Kyrie Irving, with just a week to go before the playoffs. The Celtics have home-court advantage and enough supporting talent to win a postseason series without Irving, but the onus will be on Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier to cap off their breakout seasons with great playoff performances. On the Milwaukee side, the Bucks have largely underachieved this season, although they’ve been slightly better after firing Jason Kidd in January. They also have the best individual player in the series by far, according to’s Value Over Replacement Player, in Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak had an MVP-type season this year, and he possesses the skills to potentially take over a series all by himself. It’s been a year since the Bucks put a scare into the Raptors before losing in the first round, and Milwaukee could be poised to actually win this time around. 1Raptors59-23168342%17%29%7% 3Trail Blazers49-3316126332 4Thunder48-3416589532 Vegas odds based on the implied probability of betting line.Source: 1Rockets65-17177257%44%44%35% 7Spurs47-3516226310 5Jazz48-3416639531 2Celtics55-2715789231 6Heat44-381491<1<110 6Pelicans48-3415954210 At long last, it’s time to put regular-season basketball in the rearview mirror and move on to the NBA’s main event — the playoffs are finally here! And FiveThirtyEight is here, too, to help predict how it’ll all go down. With the help of our CARM-Elo projection model, and the betting odds1According to as a second opinion, what follows is our survey of both the Eastern and Western Conference postseason landscapes. And in a departure from last season, when the Warriors were near-universal favorites on the eve of the playoffs, there’s actually some uncertainty in the playoff outlook this time around. Vegas odds based on the implied probability of betting line.Source: CARM-Elo ChancesVegas Chances 4Cavaliers50-3216251444510 read more

first_imgDid you hold off on upgrading to the iPhone 4S, thinking the iPhone 5 might arrive early next summer? Or maybe you did snag an iPhone 4S, and are biting your nails in fear that a better iPhone will be launched mere months after you signed a new two-year contract? Those fears may be dispelled, as an alleged leak has Apple releasing a completely redesigned iPhone next fall.The report says that the new iPhone will have a rubber or plastic bezel, which will connect the glass front to a new aluminum back. The bezel material will be similar to that of Apple’s bumper iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S cases. The rubber or plastic will also cover a redesigned antenna system that would let the device have an aluminum back without needing that black plastic strip that you see on the back of the 3G iPad.We can expect to hear billions (or slightly less) alleged leaks about the iPhone 5 (or iPhone 6, as it will be the sixth iPhone) before it launches, and — unless any prototypes land in Cupertino bars — there will be no way to discern truth from fiction until Tim Cook takes the stage. With that said, this leak sounds perfectly plausible, and the source was confident enough to label it as fact.As for the reported Fall release, that would establish the Fall as the new slot for iPhone releases. For the first four generations of the iPhone, the device was announced and released in June or July (the lone exception was the original iPhone’s early 2007 pre-release announcement). The iPhone 4S broke that pattern with its October, 2011 announcement and release. The fall slot for iPhone releases makes sense, as a) the cannibalized iPod line doesn’t need that slot anymore, and b) it would be just in time for the holiday shopping frenzy.via BGRlast_img read more

first_imgGerard Pique insists Barcelona are keen on beating Tottenham Hotspurs in their final Champions League group game, despite already winning the group.Spurs and Inter Milan are the two other clubs vying for the final qualification spot with the Italian giants a bit concerned the Catalans may rest several stars for the game.However, Pique’s claims will somehow bring some respite to Inter fans who will face PSV Eindhoven in their last group fixture.“Of course we’ll play to win like we always do,” Pique told Football Espana.“Our history shows this, plus we don’t want to interrupt our good run of results.Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“In particular, we want to win and keep another clean sheet. As for Inter and Tottenham, I hope the best team qualify.“Of course, we’ll play our game trying to win it.”Spurs will need to produce their best ever performance to get a result at the Camp Nou to make it three wins on the spin.last_img read more

first_imgTEWKSBURY, MA — The Shawsheen Tech held its Annual Scholarship Night on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 in the Tewksbury Country Club.  According to Interim Superintendent Melanie Hagman, $162,800 in scholarships were awarded to 114 graduating seniors.Watch the event, courtesy of Billerica Access Television, HERE.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedShawsheen Tech Alumni Association Announces 3 Class ReunionsIn “Education”SCHOOL BUS ROUTES for Wilmington’s Shawsheen Tech Students (2019-2020)In “Education”Shawsheen Tech Welcomes 11 New Staff MembersIn “Education”last_img read more

first_imgAmaravati: The demolition work of Praja Vedika has been continuing since Tuesday night. As per the officials, the building would be demolished by Wednesday evening. The officials engaged two building breaking machines and four transport vehicles along with workers. The High Court also dismissed the lunch motion petition by advocate Srinivas who filed a petition to stop demolition of Praja Vedika on Tuesday night. The High Court did not accept the petitioner’s plea to give stay order by stopping the demolition work. The High Court posted the case after two weeks. The high court made it clear that it would hear the arguments on the issue of recovering the expenditure on the construction of Praja Vedika from the persons responsible for the illegal construction after two weeks.last_img read more

first_imgClose Brazils Health Minister Arthur Chioro on Thursday (14 May) said the country was technically facing a dengue fever epidemic.The country of more than 200m people had registered 745,957 cases of the mosquito-borne virus from 1 January through 18 April, the latest time period for which numbers have been made available.The figure amounts to 367.8 cases per 100,000 residents, surpassing the World Health Organizations definition for an epidemic of 300 cases per 100,000.The growing dengue crisis in Brazil has for months been popularly termed an epidemic in the media.The term we use in looking for a parameter to define when a city, state or country has a dengue epidemic is when the number of cases surpasses 300 per 100,000 inhabitants. Right now we are at 367.8 (cases per 100,000 residents). Therefore, conceptually, we have surpassed the limit of 300 that we use and therefore we can technically confirm that we are seeing an epidemic, Chioro said.Areas throughout the entire South American country are being walloped with Dengue. The hardest hit states are Acre in the west with 1,064.8 cases per 100,000; Goais in the centre with 968.9 per 100,000 and Sao Paulo with 911.9 cases per 100,000 residents.Though the number of cases this year is 234.2 percent higher than those registered in 2014, Chioro said it is still below the number of cases reported at this point in 2013 when there were 1.4m confirmed cases.This year, up until now, up to the week of 15 (April), which is the last I am releasing information for, we have an increase of 44 percent compared to 2014, in deaths. But if we look at the year 2013, which was a year in which we had a worse epidemic compared to this year, we have seen a reduction of 48 percent (in deaths), said Chioro .Dengue is characterised by a high fever above 40C, which develops along with severe muscle and joint pains. There is no cure for the virus and treatment is focused on relieving symptoms, in particular through hydration.last_img read more

first_imgFawaz found the Wham! performer dead on Christmas Day 2016 at home in Oxfordshire.Since the death members of Michael’s family have accused him of leaking stories to the press and asking for money, which Fawaz strongly denies.George Michael (Getty)The fine art photographer wrote on Twitter: “Selling my car that George gave me as Xmas gift ( I will put a picture of it later) so if anyone interested let me know pls. X”He added: “The reason I’m selling is because of lots of memories in my car with George listening to our favourite songs him singing in the car ect ect ect . It’s all a bit much to handle x”He also mentioned that there is a “surprise” that comes with the car, but that is yet to be revealed.The sale comes 10 days after he opened up to the realities of life without his late boyfriend.“A lot happened my dear I became a monster they denied our love our relationship and accused me of so much sh*t and I think somehow you should know what’s been happening since you were gone,” he wrote to his 28,000 Twitter followers.In another post he wrote: “Can you believe they even accused me of taking your life away and for the next 3 month till the truth came out the person behind the counter would give me the change and not touch my hand”.He added: “The person you loved and made number 1 in your life became a leech a liar a monster and almost homeless the person who loved you very much and who you were number 1 to”.RELATED: George Michael secretly donated £500,000 to HIV AIDS charityFawaz has hit out at tabloid rumours repeatedly – playing down reports he claimed were due to be published that he has found love again.“The Media seem to be spreading romour from tomorrow that I have found love again and apprently [sic] very much in love with a new partner,” he wrote online. George Michael tried to stab himself 25 times in rehab, claims ex Fadi Fawaz‘A leech a liar a monster’: Fadi Fawaz confesses struggles after George Michael deathFadi Fawaz deletes Twitter after promising to ‘tell all’ on George Michael deathPINK NEWS- “I just want to make it clear its all untrue, none of it is the truth and its all lies lies lies.”Twitter: @FadiFawazRELATED: Hoaxer poses as Fadi Fawaz and asks fans for moneyHe later added: “Please don’t believe anything you read specially tomorrows news.“All the made up stories about me since day one are getting a bit out of line and very ridiculous. love from me x”.Despite warning followers not to believe the stories about his love life, there was no evidence the stories were actually published.He later added: “Sorry for the delay I was getting my facts right.”Twitter: @FadiFawazThe Lebanese born photographer has struggled to come to terms with the death of his boyfriend, repeatedly posting heart-breaking messages about how much he misses Michael.At Christmas he spoke of his heartache a year on from the sudden death.“I will always miss you till the day I meet you,” read the opening line,” he wrote on Instagram.“It is what it is” Fadi wrote in the caption alongside it.”(Getty)RELATED: George Michael memorial garden turns to mud as fans ask for helpSpeaking to the Sunday Mirror Fawaz revealed that left London for Christmas – haunted by the reminders of time with his celebrity partner.He was said to be “wounded” with grief and headed off to the countryside.(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)He said: “I will be spending Christmas in the countryside with some friends. I can’t stand all the Christmas trees or lights around London.“It makes me so sad, I just want it over and done with.”Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Fadi Fawaz says he is unable to use the car George Michael bought him as it brings back too many memories.Writing on Valentine’s Day, Fawaz, 44, admitted it was “all a bit much to handle”.  eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us)last_img read more

first_img Qlarity Imaging’s software is used to assist radiologists in the assessment and characterization of breast lesions. Imaging features are synthesized by an artificial intelligence algorithm into a single value, the QI score, which is analyzed relative to a database of reference abnormalities with known ground truth. Image courtesy of Business Wire. Feature | Artificial Intelligence | July 19, 2019 | Michal Chorev AI Models Predict Breast Cancer With Radiologist-level Accuracy Breast cancer is the global leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, and the most commonly diagnosed cancer… read more IBM collected a dataset of 52,936 images from 13,234 women who underwent at least one mammogram between 2013 and 2017, and who had health records for at least one year prior to the mammogram. The algorithm was trained on 9,611 mammograms. Image courtesy of Radiology. News | Artificial Intelligence | June 13, 2019 iCAD Introduces ProFound AI for 2D Mammography in Europe iCAD Inc. announced the launch of ProFound AI for 2D Mammography in Europe. This software is the latest addition to… read more News | Artificial Intelligence | August 05, 2019 Montefiore Nyack Hospital Uses Aidoc AI to Spot Urgent Conditions Faster Montefiore Nyack Hospital, an acute care hospital in Rockland County, N.Y., announced it is utilizing artificial… read more Technology | Artificial Intelligence | July 18, 2019 Paragon Biosciences Launches Qlarity Imaging to Advance FDA-cleared AI Breast Cancer Diagnosis System Paragon Biosciences LLC announced the launch of its seventh portfolio company, Qlarity Imaging LLC, which was founded… read more News | Artificial Intelligence | August 13, 2019 Artificial Intelligence Could Yield More Accurate Breast Cancer Diagnoses University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that… read more News | Breast Imaging | August 02, 2019 Volpara to Distribute Screenpoint Medical’s Transpara AI Solution Volpara Solutions and ScreenPoint Medical BV signed an agreement under which Volpara will sell ScreenPoint’s Transpara… read more News | Mammography | July 10, 2019 SimonMed Imaging Implements ProFound AI for 3-D Tomosynthesis Arizona-based SimonMed Imaging announced their implementation of the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-… read more Related Content News | Artificial Intelligence | July 26, 2019 Progenics Pharmaceuticals Collaborating With Veterans Affairs on AI Cancer Imaging Research Program Oncology company Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced their collaboration with the Veterans Affairs Greater Los… read more News | October 15, 2009 Medipattern Raises Capital, Revinests in CAD The Medipattern Corp., a medical software development company, reported it has closed a non-brokered private placement (the “Offering”) of 1,000,000 common shares in the capital stock of the Company at $0.20 per common share, for gross proceeds of $200,000.00 to the Company. As was the case for the $2.5 million raised under the same terms in the summer and early fall of 2009, proceeds from the Offering will be used for general working capital purposes of the Company, including the continued development of its highly successful B-CAD-FOR-LIFE solution. The common shares issued under the Offering will be subject to a four month and one day resale restriction commencing from the date of issuance. The Offering is subject to TSX Venture Exchange final acceptance of the requisite regulatory filings. FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 Technology | Mammography Reporting Software | June 12, 2019 Three Palm Software Releases WorkstationOne Version 1.8.8 Three Palm Software announced the release of the 1.8.8 version of its breast imaging workstation, WorkstationOne. This… read more Technology | Computer-Aided Detection Software | May 21, 2019 MaxQ AI Launches Accipio Ax Slice-Level Intracranial Hemorrhage Detection Medical diagnostic artificial intelligence (AI) company MaxQ AI announced that Accipio Ax will begin shipping in August… read morelast_img read more

first_imgeBay has announced that €1 million in sales has been generated by Irish businesses taking part in its Retail Expansion Programme, an initiative launched to support Irish SMEs. The programme, which commenced in March, was developed by eBay in partnership with Enterprise Ireland to support local Irish businesses reach new audiences in Ireland and around the world.More than 50 businesses in Ireland joined the pilot programme with many reporting an uplift in overall sales of between five and 20 per cent. One company, Monaghan Music & Piano Centre, which sells musical instruments and accessories on eBay, reported an increase in sales of 50 per cent.eBay’s Retail Expansion Programme sees experts from eBay provide support to SME’s around the country who wanted to start up or expand their online presence. Participants receive one-to-one support and take part in training programmes that cover eBay selling basics, digital upskilling, marketing and Search Engine Optimisation.UK and US biggest market for Retail Expansion Programme sellersSuch has been the success of the programme that one item has been sold on eBay every six minutes by sellers taking part in the scheme. The items span all categories on eBay including homeware, fashion, beauty, food and even pet accessories.Significantly, 54% of Retail Expansion sellers had never exported their products to overseas markets prior to joining the Retail Expansion Programme. And now, 80% of sellers are exporting to up to eleven different markets across the world. The UK is currently the largest market for sellers on the Retail Expansion Programme, followed by the US and Germany.Boosting the economyeBay Ireland’s site lead, Hazel Mitchell, said: “The Retail Expansion Programme has given Irish businesses the chance to reach a whole new customer base not just in Ireland, but globally.“Bricks and mortar businesses across Ireland are facing rising business costs due to inflation in commercial rates and insurance. It’s a tough market out there, but those taking part in the Retail Expansion Programme can attest to the fact that having a presence online can really boost sales and complement retail stores.“It’s fantastic to see the progress that those taking part in the programme have made in just four months, reaching the €1 million milestone so quickly. Not only does this impact their own businesses, but also provides a boost to the wider economy. Many of the sellers have indicated that they will need to increase staffing levels as a result of the programme, which is great for communities across Ireland.”Irish sellers confirm uplift in salesOne business that has benefitted from the eBay Retail Expansion Programme is K9Connectables, an Irish company specialising in unique interactive dog toys that stimulate the mind.Founder, James McIlvenna, said: “Since joining eBay’s Retail Expansion Programme we have noticed significantly more online interest and activity for our K9Connectables dog toy range, particularly from international markets. In just four months there has been an unbelievable 20% uplift in sales as a direct result of the programme and the support and direction we are receiving from the team at eBay.“The increase in sales is going to contribute to the overall long-term growth of our business and we are already looking at increasing production capacity and expanding our premises and warehouse space in Dublin. We are also anticipating having to employ more staff because of the huge demand from all over the world for our dog products; this has been such a positive move for K9Connectables and we are amazed by the results.”Another Irish business that has seen a positive impact from taking part in the programme is Machado Men’s Grooming, a grooming company based in Co Laois.Founder and CEO, Síle Headen, said: “eBay’s Retail Expansion Programme has opened up a whole new world and customer base for Machado Men’s Grooming. As a start-up company in rural Laois, we are delighted with the results in such a short space of time.“The support and direction we have received from the team at eBay over the past four months have been phenomenal and we are already planning our next business move, with expansion plans for eBay’s US market. The Retail Expansion Programme has helped future-proof our business and has contributed to the overall long-term growth of Machado Men’s Grooming.”About the Retail Expansion ProgrammeeBay, one of the world’s largest online marketplaces partnered with Enterprise Ireland, We are Dublin Town and the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCOI) earlier this year to launch the platform’s first national Retail Expansion Programme.Retail Expansion harnesses the power of technology and eBay’s global marketplace to support and grow small businesses, strengthen local economies and foster vibrant community growth. Similar projects were first launched in select cities in 2018, including Akron, Ohio, Lansing, Michigan, and Wolverhampton.last_img read more

first_imgThe jaws of life had to be used to free 1 of the occupants of the car, as she was trapped under the truck. All patients were stabilised and transported to hospital for further treatment of injuries ranging from lacerations to broken bones.The driver of the Polo added that, “I just saw lights behind me and the next thing I knew the truck was on top of us! We are lucky to be alive!”The N3 was completely closed (north and southbound) for almost 5 hours due to the fact that the truck was across all the lanes. Clean-up operations began with both the truck and car being towed away. The Freightliner container is still to be “recovered”.Absorbent was used to clean up the oil spillage. By that time, the backlog of traffic had built up to almost 10km on both sides of the N3.N3TC made sure there were no glitches in the clean-up process, and Spill Tech cleared the roadway. 8 people were injured in a horrific crash on Van Reenen’s Pass last night (Friday) when a truck crushed a VW Polo, trapping 1 person in the mangled wreckage.It is alleged that the Polo and Freightliner truck were travelling southbound on the N3 towards Durban when the truck rear-ended the car, completely crushing and trapping the light motor vehicle under it.There were 4 occupants in the Polo, with the driver heroically freeing himself from the wreckage and flagging down another vehicle for help.The driver of the Polo commented that, “We are lucky no other vehicles or trucks crashed into us.”N3TC, Sharaj, Netcare, EMRS, RTI and Van Reenen SAPS responded to the scene. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite last_img read more

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Beware of spiritual healers (herbalists), says a woman who was recently scammed out of her pension payout of half a million rand. The 49-year-old African woman, who is a single mother of three, learned her lesson the hard way after consulting a herbalist to help her business venture prosper.“They mislead and promise the world, but in actual fact, they rip you off and steal your last cent,” said the traumatised woman (who would like to remain anonymous) during an exclusive interview with the Ladysmith Gazette.As a former Department of Education employee, she resigned from her job and wanted to start up her own business. She was prompted to consult a local herbalist after reading his advert in which he said he could make a business prosper. With the advertisement in mind, she decided to visit his business premises in the CBD. It is believed that during the consultation with the herbalist, the woman explained her situation, her pension payout and wanting to get her own business off the ground. The herbalist allegedly prophesied that her ancestors were blessing her with luck and that the luck was heading her way. The woman then claims she heard a “spirit voice” asking if she wanted to see the gift from her ancestors. Suddenly, money appeared in a crate. The disembodied voice, that seemed to be coming out of thin air, then said that the money (in the crate) had to be brought to her home and kept in a suitcase.The following day, a man arrived at her house with a suitcase.“He opened it and money was neatly stacked from top to bottom. We both counted it and it amounted to R6 million. The suitcase was locked and I was given the key.”As per the instructions from the herbalist and the spirit voice, the woman had to withdraw her money once her pension was paid out and add that money to the cash in the suitcase.“I maxed my limit at the bank every day and placed my withdrawal in the suitcase,” explains the woman.During this time, prayers and rituals were conducted. Upon her last cash withdrawal, she had to contact the herbalist, as he said they needed to do a final prayer in order for her business to prosper.After the last withdrawal, the woman unsuccessfully tried to contact him. After three attempts failed telephonically, the woman became annoyed and decided to open the suitcase, as she was in need of money.“When I opened the suitcase, I was horrified to see that instead of my hard-earned cash, the suitcase was full of photocopy paper cut into the size of bank notes and wrapped in white cloth,” she explains.What happened to the money she was locking away on a daily basis is still a mystery.A case has been opened at Ladysmith police station and SAPS are investigating.last_img read more

first_imgThe World Travel Awards Africa and Indian Ocean Ceremony is taking place in July – but the fight is just beginning to make it on to the coveted winners’ platform. Described as the ultimate achievement for any African company, more than 400 travel brands are competing to be the best. Voting has opened and nominees are now campaigning hard with agents and industry executives to win support. Regional winners will go forward to compete in World Travel Awards 2010 final in London, when they will be up against some of the finest travel operators in the world, consistently demonstrating excellence in every aspect of their business. World Travel Awards, now in its 17th year, is a major driver of supreme quality standards within the global travel and tourism industry, encouraging excellence in everything from product innovation, creativity and staff training to customer service and overall performanceThe African nominees are among 5, 000 nominated companies, spread across more than 1, 000 categories, including airlines, cruise companies, destinations, resorts and hotels in 162 countries. Graham E. Cooke, Founder and President, World Travel Awards, said: “We have been overwhelmed with the tremendous response to self nominations this year, which have grown a phenomenal 50% on 2009.””The surge in nominations, in the face of a global recession, demonstrates the vital role that World Travel Awards now plays within the travel industry. More multinational companies than ever, ranging from Etihad Airways and TAP Portugal to InterContinental Hotels, Universal Studios and Disney, are spearheading their global marketing campaigns with their award victories,” he added. “African operators in particular are up against stiff competition in the regional awards this year”, said Cooke. “The quality of African travel and tourism has improved greatly in recent years, which means that leading authorities believe the region has considerable potential for the future. Africa is expected to achieve a higher travel and tourism growth ratio of around 5%, rather than the global average of just over 4%. Forecasters also say that Africa could benefit from the expected increase in long haul travel up to 2020. “These developments are extremely encouraging and mean that World Travel Awards and its drive to help improve customer service and overall business performance in Africa is more important than ever. Inevitably, the region’s first big test is about to begin as the FIFA World Cup gets under way.“Africa will be an incredibly exciting place to be this summer and we are very much looking forward to bringing the World Travel Awards back to South Africa in July,” he added.Winners of the Africa & Indian Ocean Ceremony will be announced at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa on Wednesday 7th July 2010. One of the most impressive meetings venues in the country and selected to be a nominee in the new 2010 category, ‘Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre’, The Sandton Convention centre is a perfect fit for this years hotly contested awards. <a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Source = World Travel Awardslast_img read more

first_imgEmirates’ Game-Changing First Class Private Suites Win Gold at the Future Travel Experience Global AwardsEmirates’ game-changing first class private suites win goldEmirates airline’s fully-enclosed First Class Private Suites, launched in November last year on its Boeing 777 aircraft, has been awarded gold by Future Travel Experience (FTE) in the “Up in the Air” category.The FTE Global Awards celebrate the outstanding efforts of organizations that have gone the extra mile to improve the passenger experience both on the ground and in-flight. The “Best ‘Up in the Air’ Initiative” category recognizes the top three initiatives that have helped to improve the passenger experience and/or significantly enhance operational efficiency during the in-flight phase of the travel process.The awards ceremony took place at HYDE, an indoor-outdoor nightlife venue overlooking the Fountains of Bellagio on the world famous Las Vegas Strip, the evening of Tuesday, 11 of September.Matthias Schmid, Emirates’ Senior Vice President for North America, who collected the award, said: “We’re delighted that Emirates has won the gold award for our new 777 First Class private suites, which have once again raised the bar in commercial aviation. We always pursue excellence when it comes to delivering the best experience possible to our customers, so to be recognised for our efforts validates the attention we put into our products and services.”Ryan Ghee, Head of Strategy, Engagement & Content, Future Travel Experience said: “The ‘Up in the Air’ category in the FTE Global Awards 2018 was extremely competitive but Emirates ultimately came out on top for its display of true innovation with the development of its First Class Private Suites. On behalf of everyone at Future Travel Experience, I would like to congratulate Emirates on winning this prestigious award.”Emirates’ new First Class private suites, are the first in the industry to be fully-enclosed with sliding doors that extend to the cabin ceiling, ensuring an unmatched level of privacy. Customers can video call the crew for service requests without leaving the comfort of their suite, and crew can serve drinks and canapes through a special service window without disturbing customers.All suites offer a window view, as those positioned in the middle aisle are fitted with ground-breaking virtual windows that live stream views from external cameras.  The suite also comes with a 32-inch full HD screen on which to enjoy the 3,500 channels of inflight entertainment choices that Emirates offers; a personal wardrobe and private stowage space for carry-on bags; soft lighting and temperature settings that can be customised at a touch of a button; and binoculars to make the most of spectacular window views, amongst other features. The luxurious soft leather seat reclines fully flat, can be placed in a NASA inspired “zero-gravity” position, or adjusted into dozens of other custom positions for optimal comfort.The 777 First Class Private Suites will also include new Bowers & Wilkins Active Noise Cancelling E1 headphones created exclusively for Emirates. These headphones were designed by award-winning audio brand Bowers & Wilkins to ensure the sound is optimized for the First Class cabin environment. In addition, each suite is fitted with an inspiration kit which features a luxury Byredo skincare collection found only on Emirates, Hydra Active moisturizing pyjamas, and Bulgari amenity kits.FTE Global, is an independent online media, events and industry change leader established in 2006 dedicated to enhancing the end-to-end passenger experience and business performance. FTE Global 2018 is an independent global forum that brings together airlines, airports, government agencies, vendors, start-ups, terminal designers, architects, ground handlers, destination partners and various other travel industry stakeholders to define tomorrow’s end-to-end passenger experience.About EmiratesEmirates connects people and places around the globe, inspiring travel and facilitating trade across 161 destinations in 86 countries and territories. Onboard its modern and efficient fleet of 270 aircraft, Emirates offers award-winning comfort and service, delivered by friendly cabin crew representing over 135 nationalities. Emirates has received more than 500 international awards for excellence.Today, Emirates operates the world’s largest and one of the youngest fleets of the iconic A380, of which it owns more than 100, and popular Boeing 777s.In 2013 the world’s first purpose-built A380 facility, Concourse A, opened at Dubai International Airport for the exclusive use of Emirates, connecting to over 45 Emirates A380 destinations around the world.Emirates operates 91 flights per week to Dubai from Australia. Emirates’ services operate from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, including nine daily A380 flights. One service daily from Sydney operates via Bangkok. One service daily from Brisbane operates via Singapore. One Melbourne service daily operates via Singapore. Emirates operates seven flights per week to New Zealand – daily A380 to Christchurch from Sydney.Source = Emirateslast_img read more