DR Congo experts call for bolstered monitoring of arms shipments

In recommendations in its report that was made public today, the five-member panel urged that the mission, known as MONUC, should be notified of “all incoming shipments of military supplies in a timely fashion.”The report was written based on six weeks of investigations that the Group carried out in the DRC, as well as neighbouring countries such as Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, late last year.When investigating reported cases of military supplies being delivered to the country between August and November 2007, the Group “was informed that as a sovereign State, the Democratic Republic of the Congo considers it has no obligation to disclose this information.”The experts also advised that the Security Council ask the Government and its international partners to restart an “effective process” to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate members of illegal armed groups.Last August, the 15-member body voted unanimously to maintain the sanctions until this month. 19 February 2008The Group of Experts dealing with illegal arms flows into and around the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has called for the strengthening of the monitoring capacity of the United Nations Mission in the vast African nation. read more

UN meeting on AsiaPacific seeks to close huge financial gap for development

“The region needs a much needed shot in the arm to jump start its economies and fight poverty,” the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Kim Hak-Su, told the closing session of the group’s 62nd meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia.“I think we can say we are 70 per cent on the way to finding solutions to close the financing gap, which is very encouraging,” he said of the Jakarta Declaration summing up the meeting’s deliberations.The ministers and senior officials from over 50 countries adopted 12 resolutions that provide the Secretariat with mandates on regional cooperation in such areas as Pacific island developing countries, trade and investment, tourism, Trans-Asian Railway network, information society in Asia and the Pacific, literacy, statistics, as well as the coordination of early warning system arrangements for tsunamis. The resolutions reflected the region’s growing concern about education, public health, rising energy prices and a deteriorating environment, as well as the determination to find new ways to finance its development agenda and increase public-private sector partnerships to achieve it.In what was a first for the Commission, six Pacific leaders exchanged views with other ESCAP members, calling for greater support to the sub-region’s development in such areas as employment, sustainable development; economic infrastructure, and trade, investment and tourism.With an Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) of nearly 20 million square miles and a huge maritime area, the resource-rich Pacific island developing countries and territories, with a total population of 8 million, reached out to their Asian counterparts to create what ESCAP called “win-win” partnerships.Headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand, ESCAP is the largest of the UN’s five Regional Commissions in terms of population served and area covered. The only inter-governmental forum covering the entire Asia-Pacific region, it aims to promote economic activity and social progress in developing countries throughout the area. read more

Open Text to buy some business assets from tech company HP for

Open Text to buy some business assets from tech company HP for US$315 million by The Canadian Press Posted Jun 20, 2016 7:49 am MDT Last Updated Jun 20, 2016 at 8:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WATERLOO, Ont. – Open Text Corp. says it will pay US$315 million to acquire some of HP Inc.’s business assets.The transaction includes HP Extream, HP Output Management, HP TeleForm and HP LiquidOffice — collectively used to manage customer communications.Open Text (TSX:OTC) says the purchase will help it expand its range of customer communications management products and services.It estimates that the acquired HP businesses will generate between US$110 million and US$125 million of annualized revenue.The Waterloo, Ont., company is approaching the end of its 2016 financial year, which ends June 30. Revenue for the first nine months ended March 31 totalled US$1.34 billion and analyst estimates full-year revenue will be US$1.82 billion.Open Text expects the sale to close in the first quarter of its 2017 financial year, which begins July 1. read more

Rice genetics placed in global data pool to help develop sustainable crops

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) Treaty made the announcement this week at a meeting for the plant treaty, which is being hosted by FAO in Rome this week.“The genetic information that IRRI is making available to us, and the public at large, is a hugely generous and significant show of support to our endeavours to make all relevant information on genetic resources on plant crops available for future food security,” Shakeel Bhatti, the Secretary of the International Treaty, said in a press release.“To have so much information on rice, which after all is the basic food for half the world’s population, placed at the fingertips of everyone is a major step in securing food security for future generations,” he added.FAO noted that “the need to develop crop varieties that are both more productive, less environmentally damaging and also shock tolerant” is crucial to development, particularly because of the growing global population and the agricultural shocks caused by climate change.During the Rome treaty meeting, participants will discuss how to create one global information system on plant genetic resources, including information on how to access genetic material and seed samples from existing gene banks.“We can’t expect every programme, every gene bank in the world to re-design their databases to match some international standard,” said Director General of IRRI Robert Zeigler, “what we need is inter-operability, to create portals where everyone’s databases can talk to another. This is what the Global Information System on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture will be.” read more

Mens Basketball No 17 Ohio State fights through slow start and slow

Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) takes a three-pointer in the second half of the game against Penn State on Jan. 25 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe No. 17 Ohio State men’s basketball team could not get out of its own way against Illinois. Whether it was foul trouble or turnovers, the Buckeyes did all they could to keep the Fighting Illini in the game. Even with a 19-0 run to close out the first half, Ohio State could not pull away from Illinois and found itself trailing for 16:23 of the game. However, Ohio State (20-5, 11-1 Big Ten) made a late push to retake the lead and come away with the 75-67 win against Illinois (12-12, 2-9 Big Ten), narrowly avoiding what would have been its biggest upset loss of the season.“To respond like we did being down was really important for us and we knew it was going to be a game of some runs and a game of imperfection,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said. “Having a resilient approach was really important and the guys did that. They deserve a lot of credit.”Trailing 63-60 with 4:31 remaining in the game, redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop drilled a 3 to tie both the game and his career high in points at 32. With 3:39 left in the game, freshman center Kaleb Wesson made a layup to give Ohio State the 65-63 lead. Ohio State finished the game on a 15-4 run to create separation from Illinois in the end.The Buckeyes were carried once again by Bates-Diop, who set a new career high with 35 points. His 13 rebounds, which also led the game, gave him his 10th double-double of the season.With 8:50 left in the second half, Illinois redshirt senior guard Mark Alstork was fouled on a made layup to tie the game at 52. He made the and-1 to give the Illini the 53-52 lead. He stole the ball on the Buckeyes’ next possession and passed it to freshman guard Mark Smith, who took a foul and made his two free throws to put Illinois up three.Ohio State got off to an abysmal start against the Illini, falling into an early 28-13 hole. The Buckeyes quickly regained traction however, fighting back to a 34-30 lead with a 19-0 run over 9:50 to close out the first half. During that stretch, redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop scored 11 points. Ohio State held Illinois scoreless during the final 10:11 of the half.Starting in place of the suspended redshirt senior guard Kam Williams, sophomore forward Andre Wesson started the scoring off for Ohio State with a resounding one-handed dunk for the first basket of the game.Just under four minutes into the game, however, Illinois went on a 17-2 run to pull ahead to a commanding 28-13 advantage. Ohio State battled back, continuing to show this season that even when it allows big runs, it has what it takes to come back from those deficits.“I’m not the most confident guy at that point,” Holtmann said. “When you’ve watched Illinois there has been runs that they do a great job making on teams and then the way they play, it can lead to runs on both ends. I just didn’t think we had enough life to us defensively, but give Illinois credit. But having said that, we do have a pretty poised, confident group.”The Buckeyes did what they needed to do to win. Though they never were able to create much separation from themselves and their opponents, they never gave up and pushed ahead to the eight-point lead late when it needed to ensure it avoided the same devastating loss to Penn State.Ohio State turned the ball over 15 times and was called for 18 fouls during the game, compared to 11 and 23, respectively, by Illinois. The Fighting Illini converted those Buckeye turnovers into 16 points, whereas Ohio State managed 10 points off the Illinois turnovers.Ohio State outrebounded Illinois 45-22 and held a 38-16 advantage in paint points. Ohio State also made 26-of-33 free throws in the win.Up NextOhio State hits the road for its biggest matchup of the year, traveling to West Lafayette, Indiana, to face No. 3 Purdue at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in a clash between the top two teams in the Big Ten. read more

Hip operations only for those in so much pain they cant sleep

first_imgelderly couple  The number of patients seeking hip surgery has risen significantly amid an ageing population Credit:Alamy Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Board papers seen by Health Service Journal say a “patient’s pain and disability should be sufficiently severe that it interferes with the patient’s daily life and/or ability to sleep” in order for surgery to be funded.Those who are obese with a body mass index of 35 or over will be told they need to lose 10 per cent of their weight to be eligible for NHS hip or knee surgery, unless their joint problems are very severe.Redditch and Bromsgrove, South Worcestershire, and Wyre Forest CCGs are aiming to prevent about 350 operations a year, by drawing up new eligibility restrictions.But the Royal College of Surgeons said there is “no clinical justification” for their plans.The move is the latest in a round of cost-cutting by CCGs – with wide restrictions in access to treatments, drugs and fertility treatment.center_img Mr Cannon said the scoring system used by the CCGs – known as the Oxford scoring system – were designed to measure outcomes of care “and should not be used to create barriers to care”.”Such criteria are in explicit contravention of Nice and surgical commissioning guidance, and have no clinical justification in being applied to a general population to determine who gets NHS treatment.Last year the surgeon warned that increasing numbers of patients would be left to endure “crippling pain” as rationing spreads across the NHS.A spokeswoman from Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG said: “The CCG has reviewed the criteria for those patients requiring hip or knee replacement surgery.”The Oxford scoring system is a guidance for clinicians and they recognise that many patients will benefit from physiotherapy and weight loss before considering surgery.“If a patient feels that they require this surgery but do not meet these criteria, there is a clear appeals system via individual funding requests whereby the effects can be considered upon the patient and the decision made regarding eligibility for funding.” Patients needing a new hip will only be operated on if they are in so much pain they cannot sleep or carry out daily tasks under new NHS rationing plans.The Royal College of Surgeons said the restrictions were “alarming” and “arbitrary” – ignoring the extra costs from delaying treatment and prolonging pain.Vice-President Stephen Cannon said there was “no clinical justification” for drawing up rules which would force pensioners to endure increasing pain and misery amid a growing financial crisis.Three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the West Midlands have drawn up plans to dramatically cut the number of people who qualify for hip and knee replacements, in a bid to save £2m a year.Patients in pain would only receive surgery if they were in such agony that they could not sleep or carry out daily tasks, while the most obese will be told they could only have surgery if they lost weight/The CCGs are aiming to cut the number of people who qualify for hip replacements by 12 per cent, with a 19 per cent drop in knee replacements.Mr Cannon said: “The CCGs’ policy decision to restrict access to NHS care, based on arbitrary pain and disability thresholds, is alarming.“It is another example of how the huge financial strains the NHS is currently under are directly affecting patients. It is right to look at alternatives to surgery but this decision should be based on surgical assessment, not financial pressures,” he said.The college said it was  concerned that the latest policy was “just the tip of the iceberg” with rising numbers of areas limiting surgery to those most in pain.“Although the CCGs claim this will save them £2million a year, this overlooks the longer term impact on patients of delayed treatment, prolonged pain, and potentially higher costs of treatment. For example, patients affected by these changes may require additional pain relief medication, and may still require surgery further down the line, which may be more complex,” Mr Cannon said.last_img read more

Homemaker exwife of Laura Ashley boss wins a third of his £200m

first_imgMr Justice Bodey’s detailed ruling on who gets what is expected to be published in the near future.He had analysed the case at a private hearing but said journalists could name Dr Khoo and Ms Chai and report some information.The judge has barred reporters from revealing confidential financial material.Divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag, who represented Ms Chai, said: “This litigation has been long and arduous. It is a journey which has now ended in the affirmation of the principle of fair sharing.“It emphasises that there is no place in England for discrimination between home maker and bread winner.“I am so proud of the whole team, including our client who worked so hard on this case.”Ms Chai added: “I just want to thank my superb legal team – everyone at Vardags, Richard Todd QC and Nicholas Yates. Thank you.” Khoo Kay Peng, non-executive chairman of Laura Ashley Holdings, leaving the High Court in London Ms Chai is a former Miss Malaysia who was married to businessman Khoo Kay Peng for 42 yearsCredit:Dwayne Senior A former Malaysian beauty queen has been awarded a £64 million divorce payout after a bitter legal battle which her lawyer has described as a victory for the ‘home maker’.A High Court judge ruled yesterday that Pauline Chai should receive the huge settlement – one of the largest in history – after 42 years’ marriage to the chairman of the Laura Ashley fashion business.Legal costs alone had already reached more than £6 million a year ago. The final bill will easily exceed that. The settlement announced by Mr Justice Bodey will be seen as striking a blow in favour of ‘stay at home’ wives.“He is the breadwinner and I stayed at home and looked after the children,” Ms Chai had told an earlier hearing.Ms Chai, who lives in a £30 million mansion in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, had married Dr Khoo, who is also Malaysian, in 1970 and the couple went on to have  five children.The legal costs began to escalate when Dr Khoo fought – and lost – a bid to have the divorce decided in the Malaysian courts where Ms Chai’s settlement would have been far less favourable.  Pauline Chai, estranged wife of Khoo Kay Peng Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Ms Chai had five children with her husband, who she described as the ‘breadwinner’Credit:PA  Pauline Chai, estranged wife of Khoo Kay Peng, non-executive chairman of Laura Ashley Holdings, leaving the High Court in London Khoo Kay Peng had wanted to give his wife £9mCredit:PA Ms Chai, who was Miss Malaysia in 1969, had demanded half of her ex-husband Khoo Kay Peng’s £205 million fortune. Ms Chai, 70, had insisted she made an equal contribution by fulfilling her role as a “traditional” wife.Dr Khoo, 78, the non-executive chairman of Laura Ashley Holdings, had wanted to give her just £9 million following their split on Valentine’s Day 2013. She won the right to have the case heard in London, arguing the Hertfordshire mansion was their main home, where she stored her collection of a thousand pairs of shoes in bedrooms, a corridor and the basement.last_img read more

Westport and Caterpillar to develop natural gas technology to power mining machines

first_imgWestport Innovations, a global leader in natural gas engines, has signed agreements with Caterpillar to co-develop natural gas technology for off-road equipment, including mining trucks and locomotives. Caterpillar and Westport will combine technologies and expertise, including WestportTM High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) technology and Caterpillar’s industry leading off-road engine and machine product technology, to develop the natural gas fuel system. Caterpillar will fund the development program. When the products go to market, Westport expects to participate in the supply of key components.“This is a significant opportunity that has the potential to transform important segments of the global off-road equipment industries,” said David Demers, CEO of Westport Innovations. “We are working with the global leader in engines, locomotives and off-road equipment to develop an attractive natural gas offering for their customers. The substantial price difference between natural gas and diesel fuel is resulting in a strong financial incentive to enable off-road applications to take advantage of low natural gas energy costs without sacrificing operational performance. There is also a clear environmental incentive because of the reduced carbon emissions. Adding to the solid business case for this program is the potential to convert existing field units to natural gas – opening up a whole new market opportunity.”While the agreements initially focus on engines used in mining trucks and locomotives, the companies will also develop natural gas technology for Caterpillar’s off-road engines, which are used in a variety of applications worldwide.“This agreement does more than pair two leaders in their respective industries,” said Steve Fisher, Vice President of Caterpillar’s Large Power Systems Division. “Many of our customers are asking for natural-gas powered equipment in order to reap the financial and environmental benefits. The program positions Caterpillar to become the first manufacturer to bring Westport HPDI technology to the high power off-road market, offer the broadest product line of natural gas-fueled machines and equipment, and capitalize on the attractiveness of natural gas as an alternate mobile fuel – all within the shortest time frame for our customers.”“This is a true win-win for our customers and the environment,” said Billy Ainsworth, President and CEO of Electro-Motive Diesel, a subsidiary of Progress Rail Services, which will develop the natural gas-powered locomotives. “As a part of Caterpillar, we have the ability to be on the forefront of developing cutting-edge solutions for our industry, and we look forward to continuing those advancements for years to come.”Development programs will start immediately for both new and existing engines, combustion technology and fuel systems. Commercial production is expected to begin in about five years.last_img read more

Wave Glider autonomous ocean robot never needs refueling

first_imgAs we continue to fill the earth with billions of people, it’s important that we monitor the environment and in particular the oceans. Doing so is quite a difficult and expensive task though, due to the size of the oceans and the amount of resources it takes to setup a monitoring buoy or other such systems floating on the waves.As usual, a cheap solution to ocean monitoring has been developed with the aid of technology. Liquid Robotics have developed a completely autonomous robot known as Wave Glider to carry out such tasks.The unmanned maritime vehicle draws all the power it needs from the sun and sea. Its upper section floats on the surface of the water and looks like a surfboard covered in solar panels. 22 feet below the surface is a separate section of the robot attached by a cable to the board above and consisting of several wings. They bob up and down in the relatively still water as the board above moves with the waves, and in so doing generates energy.The Wave Glider is a connected device meaning it can transmit data via satellite anywhere in the world. If you have a web browser and an Internet connection it’s also possible to login and control the robot remotely.The key benefit of the Wave Glider is its ability to travel anywhere without need of refuelling, combined with remote control and on-board sensor systems allowing 24/7 monitoring capabilities. And as they are inexpensive, it’s possible to deploy tens or even hundreds of Wave Gliders in order to collect data about large areas of an ocean over a long period of time.Liquid Robotics believe the Wave Gliders abilities extend to many different fields. They have plans to offer them up for helping with search and rescue, port and harbor security, fisheries management, pollution detection, and marine mammal observation to name but a few. More at Liquid Robotics, via Make and Bloomberglast_img read more

HighDef Images Help Uncover Galaxys Oldest Star Cluster

first_img Hubble Captures Gorgeous Star’s Final Stages of LifeAstronomers Discover Planet With Strange, Egg-Shaped Orbit High definition isn’t just for home entertainment.An ultra high-resolution image captured by the Gemini South telescope in Chile helped uncover one of the oldest star clusters in the Milky Way.“Ultra-sharp adaptive optics images from the Gemini Observatory allowed us to determine the ages of some of the oldest stars in our galaxy,” Leandro Kerber of Brazil’s University of São Paulo and State University of Santa Cruz, said in a statement.Using advanced adaptive optics technology at the Gemini Observatory, an international team of researchers zoomed in on a cluster of stars known as HP 1.“Because we captured these stars in such great detail,” group leader Kerber added, “we were able to determine their advanced age and piece together a very compelling story.”One that begins 13 billion years ago, as the universe neared its 1 billionth birthday.The cluster—”like an ancient fossil buried deep in our galaxy’s bulge,” as University of São Paulo PhD student Stefano Souza put it—dates back about 12.8 billion years.Which makes these stars among the oldest ever discovered—in the Milky Way and beyond.HP 1 (right) shown relative to the full field of the cluster (left) (via Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA/VISTA/Aladin/CDS)Until recently, astronomers believed that the oldest globular star clusters—spherical swarms of up to a million stars—were found only in the outer parts of the Milky Way, while younger ones resided in the innermost regions.This study, as well as recent data collected from the Gemini Observatory and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, helps prove that theory wrong.Of the roughly 160 globular clusters known in our galaxy, about a quarter form the central hub of the Milky Way (the “yolk,” if you will). Made primarily of old stars, gas, and dust, it stretches some 10,000 light years across.Among the clusters, those that are most metal-poor (lacking in heavier elements)—including HP 1—have long been suspected of being the oldest.Using adaptive optics images from Gemini, as well as archival optical images from the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists were able to confirm that HP 1 was born less than a billion years after the Big Bang, when the universe was in its infancy.“These results crown an effort of more than two decades with some of the world’s premiere telescopes aimed at determining accurate chemical abundances with high-resolution spectroscopy,” study co-author Beatriz Barbuy, of the University of São Paulo, said.“HP 1 is playing a critical role in our understanding of how the Milky Way formed,” Kerber added. “It is helping us to bridge the gap in our understanding between our galaxy’s past and its present.”Kerber & Co. published their findings in the April issue of the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.More on Geek.com:Hubble Telescope Snaps Dazzling View of Two Colliding GalaxiesChandra X-Ray Telescope Uncovers Universe’s Missing MatterGot Sand In Your Shoe? Blame These Exploding Stars Stay on targetlast_img read more

NIB announces higher payments payouts

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 04 Mar 2015 – Higher income earners in the country about to pay more taxes on their salaries, employers are also expected to pay more on those salaries with the changes taking effect at National Insurance come April 1. Increases coming with the new fiscal year for payments to and payouts by the National Insurance Board; the list released yesterday by NIB which now puts into force proposals and approvals from Cabinet and the House of Assembly. Maternity benefits extended now by two weeks to 14 weeks and the wage ceiling will be lifted from $2,600 per month to $4,000 per month being taxable. That new wage ceiling though, will be a gradual change according to the notice; graduated to the eventual $4,000 over three years. In other words, this first year or 30 days from now, the new wage ceiling will be $3,000. The contribution in the private sector is currently 8% with 4.6% payable by the employer and 3.4% payable by the employee… in the public sector it means TCIG will now have to pay 4.025% on all salaries up to $3,000 with the civil service employee paying the other 2.825%; a cumulative 6.85% on higher wages in Government. It will also be easier to pay NIB as the Board is promising that “provisions will be introduced this year for the payment of contributions at places other than an office of the National Insurance Board and payment via credit and debit cards.” Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:house of assembly, national insurance board, TCIG Editorial: Listen to your Mama Seriously, Sixth Form registration begins at Clement Howell High Aug 15 TCI Premier Responds To Beaches’ Letter Announcing Closure Recommended for youlast_img read more

Chris Brown pleads guilty to assault in Washington

first_imgWASHINGTON — Chris Brown pleaded guilty on Tuesday to punching a man in the face outside a Washington hotel, an assault that occurred while the singer was on probation for attacking his then-girlfriend Rihanna.Brown pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to time served. He spent two days in a District of Columbia jail in the case, one that further tarnished the image of the Grammy-winning singer.Brown, 25, admitted that he hit a man who tried to get in a picture the singer was taking with two women outside the W hotel a few blocks from the White House last October. The victim, Parker Adams, suffered a broken nose.At the time of the arrest, Brown was on probation in a felony assault case for attacking pop star Rihanna hours before the 2009 Grammy awards. The arrest led a judge in California to revoke his probation, and he was ordered in May to serve an additional 131 days in jail. He was released in June.Brown’s attorney, Danny Onorato, argued that Brown had already suffered extensive consequences from the Washington case, noting the additional jail time in California and the four months he spent receiving inpatient counseling. He said that Brown’s career has been on hold for nearly a year and that he wanted to take responsibility for his actions so he could go back to work, including a tour in support of a new album.last_img read more

Jessica Holly

first_imgHer adventures as a journalist have also taken her high into the sky with the Navy’s Blue Angels and deep into a simulated war zone at the U.S. Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center.While she enjoys reporting on many different topics, Jessica has a special place in her heart for helping lost, injured and forgotten animals.When Jessica isn’t hitting the streets of South Florida to report the latest news, she’s spending time with her dog, Lucy. Lucy is a 3-legged lab-mix rescue, a cancer survivor and an inspiration to all who meet her.Follow Jessica on Twitter @jhollyw.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Jessica Holly comes to South Florida from New Orleans, Louisiana, where she was an anchor and reporter.Follow @JhollyWHer career has been a tour of the South. She got her start in her home state of Louisiana. From there it was off to Texas, Alabama, back to Louisiana and now the Sunshine State.She started behind the scenes as a camera operator and worked her way up to become a prime time anchor in multiple markets. Through the years, Jessica has worked in just about every capacity of television news.Jessica has been awarded multiple times by the Associated Press and other organizations for her work in anchoring and reporting.She has covered a vast range of topics during her career including Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill.Jessica spent several years exploring the latest developments in health and medical news. During that time she was able to document and share many courageous battles including a teenager’s long wait for a heart and lung transplant. last_img read more

Hanley Woods Journey to Customer First Explained

first_img So the skeptic might say, that’s terrific, sounds great, but what’s “customer first” really mean?  There was a time, about seven or eight years ago, when B2B media companies were clamoring to position themselves as “digital first.” The idea was that print was old school and declining, while digital represented the future and offered more ways to engage with audiences in more ways—all in real time.Peter Goldstone But in 2017 that sounds like an artificial distinction. Everything’s digital—even print content. Also added was a point person for these mega accounts—someone to represent all the media brands, plus coordinate all marketing-service and data efforts. “You need one big corporate representative for the whole company to manage the relationship,” Goldstone says. “This is where the integration of the company is playing out. A media salesperson couldn’t do this. A lead-gen person couldn’t do it. A marketing-services person couldn’t do it. You need an integrated approach.” “The third stage,” Goldstone says, “was to become customer first. Now we leverage digital and data to really get into the workflow of our customers. Those are the three steps in the transformation of our company.” Since then, Goldstone relates, the company has been through a series of transformations, arriving, finally, at what he thinks is where all future-oriented media companies should be: customer first. Goldstone’s perspective—whether you agree with him or favor a different approach—is a valuable lesson in approach and context for any media executive.  Here’s a synopsis. But as valuable as the Metrostudy data is, says Goldstone, without the HW customer list it’s incomplete. “The database would be a fraction of what it is with just Metrostudy—the media assets make it what is,” he says. “Media gets you much deeper within the firms. The media gives you much more depth and engagement.” In 2012 current CEO Peter Goldstone came back to Hanley Wood. He had been the longtime president there, but spent two intervening years at Government Executive Media (both companies are based in Washington, D.C.). Which leads, says Goldstone, to the customer-first part. If you’re a supplier serving the housing market, all this information is at your fingertips, but Hanley Wood can do more: It can help you sell and help you produce qualified leads. “We don’t participate in just one piece of the funnel activity—like advertising,” Goldstone says. “We can participate in every stage—right through to purchase. We don’t have to stop at advertising, we don’t have to stop at leads. We can actually serve as a call center for our customer.” Metrostudy tracks everything from population movement to demographic changes, plus land availability, absorption rates, sale processes, vacancy rates, and the types of products that are going into new housing properties. It tracks deeds, permits and mortgages—publicly recorded data. Essentially, Metrostudy provides builders with intelligence on where to build and what to build based on population and demographic demand.center_img As this part of the Hanley Wood business reaches major scale, Hanley Wood had to restructure its sales operation. Two years ago, Goldstone says, Hanley Wood had four customers spending in excess of $1 million. This year, there are 12. And there are 100 customers in what the company calls its corporate list, big enough to qualify for central management. The company has a database management product called DataScale, which, among other things, allows marketers to outsource their data operations. “They’re turning to us to manage their databases for them,” Goldstone says. “Why? Because they’ve invested millions in tech, most notably a CRM platform, and sometimes they find that they don’t have the resources to do it well. So they outsource the management of their CRMs to us, and we counsel them on how to leverage their databases for advertising, lead gen and marketing services.” It’s a reflection of the modern world of B2B that companies have forced themselves through various transformations in a compressed time period—all while facing unprecedented new forms of competition and macroeconomic challenges. That’s what happened at Hanley Wood in the first years of the current decade. The epicenter of the Great Recession was financial services—mortgages, specifically—which hit the residential construction market as hard as any sector of the economy. “The progression of Hanley Wood has produced a different go-to-market strategy,” Goldstone says. “In 2012 when I came back, we implanted a full-blown digital-first transformation. In 2013 we bought Metrostudy, and became powered by data, essentially data first,” he says. (Metro Study is a research and business-intelligence company focused on the residential housing market.) What that means practically, according to Goldstone, is that now the company’s most important asset is its database, not its individual brands. Brands offer credibility and access to audiences, and produce content that drives engagement. But the database is the core. Customers can select names across the database, and that—not isolated verticals—is what they want, Goldstone says. “If you want to brand yourself, that’s how you do it. If you want insights, that’s where you find them. And if you want to generate leads, you leverage our database,” he adds. Metrostudy is at the heart of the data operation at HW, Goldstone says, but it’s not nearly the whole thing. “Every quarter we track 95 percent of all the available lots and land people are building new communities on,” he says. “That’s 36,000 existing developments and 11,000 future housing developments.” Goldstone’s response: “This has dramatically transformed our company and our customer interactions. Our content teams have overhauled how they approach their work. Our relationships with marketers are stronger and deeper, as we are now in their work flow. Our own knowledge and insights of our markets is second to none. And we’ve grown by more than $35 million directly as a consequence of being customer-focused, digitally driven and powered by data.”last_img read more

Focus on Fourth Estate Reforms Is Not Going Away Experts Say

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Washington, D.C. — An initiative to streamline DOD’s support agencies by cutting duplicative activities and reorganizing others led by House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) likely will take several years to complete, although it still is not clear what ultimately will be achieved through the effort, a panel of Washington-based experts said Wednesday at the 2018 Defense Communities National Summit. “I think it will be a big issue for some time,” said Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “[But] I don’t think there’s a lot of agreement” as to the initiative’s precise goals, he said.Mackenzie Eaglen, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, echoed Harrison’s comments: “This is not going to be a one-year effort … but the details are wildly up in the air.” After troop levels dropped following the height of the armed forces’ buildup in Iraq and Afghanistan, the fourth estate — civilian-dominated agencies that fall outside the military departments — was perceived as an overdue area for reform, she said.There’s also the question as to whether an internal review of defense agencies led by Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chief Management Officer (CMO) John Gibson II will result in the kind of changes and level of savings Thornberry is looking for. If so, Congress may not seek to intervene further, Eaglen said.Thornberry’s initiative, part of the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill passed by the House, calls for the CMO to reduce or eliminate duplicative cross-enterprise functions across all defense agencies and field activities related to civilian resource, services contracting, logistics and real estate management. The provision also directs the CMO to certify that the department has achieved at least 25 percent savings from those functions by Jan. 1, 2021. A separate section calls for the CMO to report to Congress on any recommendations to eliminate an agency or activity, or transfer some or all of its functions to another entity, following a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of defense agencies and field activities. Thornberry’s plan is subject to change, or possibly could be stripped out of the final version of the defense policy bill, as the Senate version does not contain similar language.“I think there are too many eyes on fourth estate for nothing to happen,” said Frederico Bartels, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.last_img read more