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Clyde K. Valle

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Clyde is a business graduate interested in writing about latest news in politics and business. He enjoys writing and is about to publish his first book. He’s a pet lover and likes to spend time with family. When the time allows he likes to go fishing waiting for the muse to come.

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Year after year, the necessity for embracing eco-friendly practices becomes more vital. After all, we only have one planet, and it’s essential that we all ensure it stays as healthy as possible.

Why? Because a thriving business needs a flourishing planet to work from. And making a few small steps toward environmentally-friendly business practices today can pay off in more ways than one in the future. So, how can you make those changes as soon as possible and get your business future-focused and eco-conscious?

Here are some of the most effective methods of embracing sustainability for your business.

Take a renewable energy course

No one is expecting businesses to have all the answers when it comes to making the world a greener place. However, you are going to have to learn a few of the best possible ways to utilise sustainability in your everyday business dealings.

There are top renewable energy courses available online for you to get more familiar with the new world of sustainability. They cover a wide range of ideas, tips, and processes to get you up to speed.

The importance of recycling

Some businesses think that being environmentally friendly means creating no waste. But what it means is correctly disposing of all the waste you create. A strict and simple-to-follow recycling scheme can make a huge difference to your carbon footprint. If you really want to go further, many companies are now using packaging that’s made from recycled products too!

Go fully paperless

With legally binding contracts and other important documents now being done online, full-paperless practices are becoming more common. When you break it all down, paper was previously used for marketing campaigns, letters, leaflets, and more. Emails, online marketing campaigns, and digital documents mean there’s rarely a need to print off all of that wasteful paper.

Renewable energy

Your combined energy usage is probably your biggest source of hazardous environmental output. That’s why so many businesses are now searching for ways to reduce how their energy impacts the planet. With more eco-friendly ways of powering your business, it can be extremely beneficial to take a course on using solar energy, wind, or other renewable energy methods.

Better brand reputation

Sustainable business practices provide your company with more than just cost-saving methods – they’re also fast becoming one of the biggest deciding factors a customer turns to when picking a business.

People are happy to give their money to a brand with a strong reputation for sustainability, as they feel that they’re helping the environment as they spend. This bolsters your brand reputation and establishes you as a forward-thinking and innovative business.

Public pledges

How do you let people know about how kind to the planet your business is? Through announcing these wonderful things on social media and other marketing channels. Let people know about your sustainable energy, your dedication to recycling, and your goals to reduce your carbon footprint. It’s a valuable marketing tool that’s also making a true difference in the world.

President Joe Biden has called for a three-month suspension of the federal gasoline tax in response to the country’s soaring energy prices.

The average cost of a gallon of gas, or petrol, is hovering near $5, up from roughly $3 a year ago.

With national elections for Congress coming in November, President Biden is under pressure to respond.

Analysts say that removing the levy would have limited impact on household petrol and diesel costs.

Political support for the gas tax holiday, which would require an act of Congress, is also uncertain.

President Biden said policymakers should do what is in their power to try to ease the strain on families, calling on companies to pass on “every penny” in savings to the public.

“I fully understand that a gas tax holiday alone is not going to fix the problem,” he said.

“But it will provide families some immediate relief, just a little bit of breathing room as we continue working to bring down prices for the long haul”.

Photo AP

Currently, the US imposes a tax of roughly 18 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24 cents on diesel, using the money collected to help pay for highway infrastructure.

Eliminating the levy through September, as President Biden has proposed, would cost the government an estimated $10 billion.

The move is the latest effort from countries around the world to address the soaring energy costs.

Oil prices have surged since last year, as demand outstrips supplies constrained by cuts that many firms made after the pandemic hit in 2020 and prompted demand to crater.

As the war in Ukraine pushes Western countries to shun oil from Russia – a major energy producer – that has also contributed to the crunch.

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers industry group said a gas tax holiday would provide “near-term relief but it won’t solve the root of the issue – the imbalance in supply and demand for petroleum products”.

President Biden has already taken steps like releasing unprecedented amounts of oil from national stockpiles and lifting taxes on imports of solar panels.

As well as suspending the national gasoline tax, President Biden is urging similar steps by state governments, which typically impose their own taxes, often higher than the federal government’s.

Some states, including New York, have already suspended those charges.

The president, who has intensified his criticism of oil and gas companies in recent weeks, also called on the industry to increase output and refining capacity, while directing some of his pleas to gas station owners across the country.

“These are not normal times,” he said, pointing to the war in Ukraine and noting that oil prices have retreated from earlier highs.

“Bring down the cost at the pump to reflect the price you are paying for the product. Do it now, do it today”.

The price of gasoline in the US is already lower than in many other countries.

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Those who have been around the foreign exchange trading block for a while will no doubt be aware that the Japanese yen has long since had a reputation for being a rock-solid currency. In recent years, it has developed a reputation for being one of the world’s “safe havens,” a currency that investors turned to whenever the going got tough.

However, there has been a range of upsets in recent months as the currency has reached new lows. This blog post will explore why this has happened and examine what the broader context looks like for the currency.

Image source: 123rf.com 

What’s happened?

As any forex trader should know, staying on top of the latest forex news using a reputable site like LeapRate is an excellent idea – not least because it can give you the background to interesting developments like this one, the largely unexpected weakening of the formerly “safe haven” Japanese yen.

The yen has suffered from huge dips recently. Charts show that the yen reached its worst position in 24 years this month. This comes against a complicated backdrop of other problems for the Japanese economy, including the Nikkei stock exchange – which was down by 3% at one stage during the day. The index usually performs better when the yen is struggling due to Japan’s large number of exports. The Japanese government is now being called upon to tighten its monetary policy.

The reasons why

The reasons for this are complex, although one is that competition from other currencies has been high. The US dollar has been surging recently, and some investors have been moving away from the yen to get a slice of greenback action. Interest rates have been hiked up in the US due to various problems, including the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic – with policymakers looking to encourage investors and spenders to behave in certain ways. The knock-on effect for the dollar has been to rise in value.

Another reason for the yen’s problems is that the aforementioned monetary policy in Japan has been loosened to a great degree in recent times. Unlike many other central banks, the Bank of Japan decided in April this year to keep low-interest rates in place. Short-term interest rates in the country still sit at -0.1%, which is almost unheard of elsewhere in the world. That arguably has positive effects in other ways, but it’s not great news for the currency. It even appears that the Bank of Japan may stick to this plan no matter what happens to inflation – news which could fill yen investors with horror.

In sum, the Japanese yen has clearly suffered in recent times. The currency has plummeted to its worst performance in 20 years and has lost out mainly to the US dollar – despite its previous status as a “safe haven.” As this article has shown, there has been a whole host of reasons for this – and investors need to make sure they know the reasons why.

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When was the last time you looked at your bank balance? We’ve all been struggling during the pandemic, but it’s finally coming to an end. If you want to safeguard your future, you’ll need to start growing an emergency fund.

Most people will find it very hard to save money, especially if they don’t earn much. You should use helpful apps if you fall into that category. Let’s look at some of the best ones you should download as soon as possible.

Image source: PublicDomainPictures.net

1. Qoins

“If you look after the pennies, the pounds look after themselves.” It’s a popular phrase that tells you to start saving loose change, which isn’t easy with physical money. You spend everything that’s sitting in your pocket.

Ooins is different because it’s an app that links to your bank account. When you buy something, it rounds it up to the nearest dollar, so $3.75 becomes $4. The extra 0.25 cents goes into account along with all your other change.

2. Mint

Mint is probably the biggest personal finance app on the market. If you take out bad credit loans from Magical Credit, you should add them to the app. You need to link your debit and credit cards to your account too.

Once you’ve added everything to the app, it will trace every penny you spend. It will give you advice to help eliminate your nasty spending habits. You’ll even get reminders when you need to pay important bills.

3. Digit

I’m sure your spending habits would improve if a financial expert followed you around every day. You’ll experience the same thing once you download the Digit app. It will learn about you by analyzing your bank transactions.

If you have a personal loan, it will work out how to pay it off effectively. It can move money into separate accounts based on the goals you set. You’ll reach your goals much faster when Digit gives you a helping hand.

4. Qapital

Qapital lets you save a little cash every time you trigger a particular rule. For example, it will put a certain percentage of your income into another account. It can move money out of your account every day or week.

You will have complete flexibility to choose how and when it saves money, and it will always be accessible if you’re desperate. If you forget about the app, you’ll get a nice surprise when you finally check your savings.

5. Halfdollar

Some people work more than one job to put food on the table. It’s easy to get a job driving for Uber at night if you need more money. It’s possible to earn a little cash by uploading YouTube videos or posting Instagram photos.

Halfdollar is great at keeping track of income coming in from multiple places, plus it will know when anything leaves your bank accounts. You will save money if the total income is greater than your expenses.

One App Can Work Wonders

You won’t need to download all these finance apps to achieve great results. The right app could help you save money easily, which will change your life forever.

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As an entrepreneur, you know how exciting it can be to start your own successful business venture. After years of working for a company and putting endless hours into work that had no meaning, you felt the calling to be your own boss. You began to imagine a world where you could chart your own course in life, where you could tap into your creativity and birth a brilliant idea that would bring you success in the marketplace.

Then, step by step, you put effort into your new idea and watched it take shape and form. As part of birthing your new venture, you quickly discovered that streamlining your operations is one of the keys to ongoing success. You also discovered that leveraging the following important tools is the best way of ensuring sustainable growth.

QuickBooks Accounting Software

When you are creating a new company it’s easy to get swept away in the numerous responsibilities and demands for your attention. And there are common small business accounting mistakes you can easily make if you are not careful. Unlike the corporate world where every company has a large support staff, as a new owner, every key decision will cross your desk. It’s tempting to skip important building blocks so you can get to exciting things like sales, but you want to make sure you are setting things up for long-term prosperity.

As part of this, it’s important to take the time to set up and install accounting software that will let you manage your operations. QuickBooks provides a comprehensive solution for financial management, inventory, billing, budgeting and expense tracking. It gives you all the tools you need to manage the fiscal health of your company.

Human Resources Software

It’s not unusual for large firms to have HR departments with lots of employees. As an entrepreneur, though, you have to take a more spartan approach. Fortunately, there are many different Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings that provide all the functionality required to manage your HR needs.

The packages are easy to set up, and don’t require an IT department to keep them up and running. These tools will help you streamline operations by putting maintenance of your data into the hands of each employee. With a Human Resources SaaS solution, you’ll be able to manage employee records, handle hiring and onboarding, and accurately track time reporting and paid time off.

Fleet Management Tools

If you operate multiple vehicles and trucks as part of your business, you understand that fleet management is an expensive juggling act. To truly stay on top of things, you need tools that give you a window of visibility into what is really going on. With new vehicle prices rising and gas prices close to an all-time high, operational costs can soar if you don’t get this area under control.

Fleet management tools let you track all of your vehicles using real-time GPS data so you will always know where your mobile assets are. In addition, you can help assure on time delivery of your products when you take advantage of the dispatching and routing functionality that is part of the system. You’ll also be able to use the tools to streamline operations and identify cost-saving opportunities.

Email Marketing Automation Tool

It takes work to fill your sales pipeline with prospects, and to convert potential buyers into customers. Email marketing automation tools can help you manage this process. When someone visits your website, calls in for more information or responds to one of your special offers, you’ll want to begin to nurture them along the sales journey. With email marketing automation, you can set up drip campaigns that give your prospects the information they need to make a purchase decision. Best of all, these campaigns are fully automated so they keep the process going without taking up time and effort from your sales staff.

Project and Task Management Tools

To truly keep on top of everything that is happening in the organization, you’ll want to set up powerful, yet easy to use, project and task management software. These offerings allow you to quickly track an ongoing project, assign tasks to individuals and teams, and monitor where things stand. With the right tools, you’ll be able to leverage the power of more agile teams and stay on top of all the open tasks. These SaaS offerings will help you streamline your business operations and run your projects efficiently.

McDonald’s Russia has found a buyer for its local business, after the war in Ukraine pushed it to quit the country.

Alexander Govor, who currently operates 25 McDonald’s restaurants in Siberia, will take on the company’s restaurants and staff, operating them under a new brand, the fast food giant said.

The firm did not disclose the sale price, but has warned investors it would take a more than $1 billion hit from the exit.

McDonald’s had operated in Russia for more than 30 years.

The opening of its first restaurant in Moscow in 1990 came to symbolise a thaw in Cold War tensions.

In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed and Russia opened up its economy to companies from the West. More than three decades later, however, it is one of a growing number of corporations pulling out as the war in Ukraine and Western sanctions make it difficult to operate.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

McDonald’s, which had nearly 850 restaurants in the country, most of them directly owned, said it expected the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, to close in coming weeks.

Alexander Govor has been a licensee of McDonald’s since 2015. He is also co-founder of Neftekhimservice, a refining company, and a board member of another firm that owns the Park Inn hotel and private clinics in Siberia.

Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said the deal was the result of a “long and difficult” negotiation process and the government would provide Alexander Govor with all the necessary assistance to set up operations.

The terms provide for McDonald’s 62,000 staff in Russia to be retained for at least two years, with their existing pay and Alexander Govor will pay the salaries of corporate staff in Russia until the deal is completed.

McDonald’s will retain its trademark in Russia, it said, while the restaurants will be stripped of their menu, logo and other branding.

Russia: McDonald’s Restaurants Ordered to Close for 90 Days

Russia Closes Four McDonald’s Restaurants in Moscow

Announcing plans for the sale earlier this week, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski called the decision “extremely difficult”.

“However, we have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values. And our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the arches shining there,” he said.

McDonald’s suspended operations at the restaurants it owned in Russia in March, citing the “humanitarian crisis” and “unpredictable operating environment” caused by the Ukraine war.

The move drew outrage among Russian politicians and prompted threats the business would be seized.

A patent application for an “Uncle Vanya” restaurant chain was filed with Russian authorities shortly after. The name, the same as the famous work by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, was one of several brand knock-offs of Western companies to surface.

In 2021, Russia and Ukraine accounted for about 9% of McDonald’s revenue.

The move by McDonald’s came after French carmaker Renault sold its majority stake in carmaker Aftovaz to a state research institute for a symbolic sum, while its Renault Russia business was taken over by the city of Moscow. Manufacturing at the Renault plant is expected to resume under a Soviet-era brand.

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Elon Musk has announced that his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter is on hold after he queried the number of fake or spam accounts on the social media platform.

The world’s richest man tweeted: ”Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.”

Even before his comments, Twitter’s stock had been selling for less than the $54.20 per share Elon Musk has offered, a sign that the markets were not convinced he would complete the buyout.

He has been vocal about “defeating the spam bots”, identifying it as a key goal following his planned takeover of the company.

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Twitter has long faced accusations of not doing enough to address automated, fake accounts posting content.

In a filing more than two weeks ago, Twitter estimated that fake accounts accounted for fewer than 5% of its daily active users during the first three months of this year. It cautioned that the figures were based on estimates and could be higher.

Those claims were not different from what the firm had shared in previous disclosures.

Weeks of market turmoil in the US have wiped billions off the value of many companies – including once favored tech firms.

Tesla, the electric car company where Elon Musk serves as chief executive, has also seen its shares plunge – a hit to Elon Musk, whose status as the world’s richest person is bound up in his stake in the company and who had planned to rely on his shares to help finance the Twitter purchase.

Last month, he raised $8.5 billion by selling shares. He also planned to use the shares to secure $6.5 billion in loans.

After Elon Musk tweeted that the deal was temporarily on hold, Tesla’s share price gained more than 5%.

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Candlestick patterns are one of the essential ways used to study the market. There are several types of candlestick patterns that traders study to gain valuable insights and make informed decisions. Mat hold candlestick patterns represent the directional trend of stocks or commodities.

A mat hold pattern can either be bullish when the market is declining or bearish when there is a significant upswing. Let’s read on to understand more about mat hold patterns, their different types, and ways you could use the pattern to your benefit.

Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

Understanding Mat Hold Patterns

The pattern starts with a bullish or bearish trend on day one. The next three days will show a trend opposite to the directional trend of the first day. Lastly, the fifth day mimics the trends of the first day, pushing in the same direction. The mat hold pattern is a dependable indicator seen in market analysis but most of the time, seeing the pattern is rare as it does not appear more often.

Due to its rarity, mat hold patterns are sometimes confused with the rising-three indicator. Still, mat hold patterns are used to predict how long would the market uptrend last. To better understand these patterns, try looking for examples of bullish and bearish trends so you can easily identify these patterns on a chart.

Bearish Mat Hold Patterns

Bearish mat hold candlesticks present as a 5-candle pattern that appears during a rising market. This pattern indicates the bearish market is turning stagnant and will most likely fall down after the pause. As mentioned above, it will be easy to identify a bearish mat hold pattern as the first and last candles will show a downward trend whereas the middle candlesticks will point towards an uptrend.  

Bullish Mat Hold Patterns

Similar to the bearish trend, bullish mat hold patterns are also represented by 5 candlesticks but the first and the last candles show an uptrend while the middle 3 candles show a fall. Bullish patterns come during an uptrend and indicate the market will keep rising.

Inverted Mat Hold Patterns

This pattern is a variation that is represented by 5 candlesticks. The first candle starts with a very bearish trend after which three bullish candles follow. Each of these 3 candlesticks represents a bullish trend that is higher than the previous candle. Lastly, the final candlestick should also point towards a bearish trend.

Identifying The Patterns

The structure of a mat hold is composed of 5 candlesticks each representing a bullish or bearish trend depending on the type of pattern. Studying the mat hold pattern is essential for investors and traders as it provides valuable insights to help you make the right decision. If you are an aspiring trader or investor, doing your homework is crucial as it will assist you in understanding the market trends in a better way.

Bullish Mat Holds

This scenario is generated when there is a market uptrend, influencing more investors to benefit from the rising market. As a result, investors flock in on the rising bullish market. At the same time, investors become concerned about too many investors jumping on the bandwagon, resulting in investors bailing out from their positions. This bailout causes a surge in sell orders all during similar times and influences a bearish trend. However, the last candle starts to take life and moves uptrend, indicating a rise in the market that will move up for quite some time.

Bearish Mat Holds

During bearish mat holds, the market trends are negative, making investors think of hitting lower prices. To save their invested capital, investors turn to sell, resulting in a beamish candle. Due to this selling influx, the market becomes oversold so investors stop selling while waiting and expecting to see a pullback. Now, the bullish trend starts, making three candles show a positive trend. However, in the end, this positive trend fades away, indicating the market to fall down even further.

Advantages of Using Mat Hold Patterns

These patterns are truly beneficial for the trader when used correctly. There is a continuous candlestick pattern that can be identified easily when analyzing market trend charts and providing accurate information. Investors and traders use this pattern as an indicator to join in on the market trends and these mat hold patterns can also be used with other technical analysis tools so you can get the best possible outcomes in terms of making a decision. Following the pattern gives you a success rate of around 70% which is quite promising when trading.

Trading Mat Hold Patterns

As mentioned above, traders who want to join in on an existing trend follow mat hold patterns. They make this decision after extensive evaluation of the market, the influencing factors, and any other aspect that can affect their strategy. Leading traders suggest entering the market and opening a position when there is a 5th candle in place and you have already anticipated the market trend. As you open a position, remember to put a tight stop order in place. Using a stop-loss order ensures you will not be affected by additional losses if the market trends go against the proceedings you anticipated. In forex trading, losing is a part of the game but using trading tools like a stop loss can easily help you to be on the safe side and avoid as much loss as possible.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Trading is all about patience, studying the market, and making the right move at the right time. There is so much that goes into making a successful trader. Most people think of trading as simple as buying at low rates and selling when the market rises for profit. However, it’s not true as an extensive analysis of the market is necessary that cannot be fulfilled by simply buying or selling. To get the most out of your time, consider reviewing the basics and getting familiar with the terminology so you can better understand the terms used, ultimately improving your trading game over time.

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Costa Rica, a North American country, was attacked by Conti ransomware, a large number of systems in multiple ministries were affected and a large number of sensitive data were stolen.

The Ministry of Finance of Colombia was the most severely affected. The theft of taxpayer information caused public panic, and systems such as taxation and customs were paralyzed for several days, resulting in heavy losses in the country’s export business, at least US$200 million.

The Colombian president said the attackers were trying to destabilize the country, alluding to Russia. However, some security experts believe that this is just an ordinary money extortion, simply because the country’s system has too many loopholes.

In the past week, a ransomware attack has paralyzed the computer system of the government of the Republic of Costa Rica (hereinafter referred to as “Costa”) in the North American country (located in Central America). The Colombian government has refused to pay the ransom and is trying to prepare for the potential fallout as malicious hackers begin releasing stolen data.

Conti, a Russian-based ransomware gang, has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Costa Rican government has yet to issue an announcement on the details.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

The Ministry of Finance was the worst affected, with systems paralyzed and taxpayer information stolen

The Colombian Ministry of Finance first reported the cyber attack on Monday (April 18). From the collection of taxes and fees to customs exports, many systems under the Treasury Department were affected by the attack. Malicious hackers then targeted other targets, including the Social Security Department’s human resources system and the Department of Labor.

The attack shut down for hours the Treasury Department’s payment system, which covers most of the country’s public officials and also handles government pension payments. The Treasury Department had to approve tax deferrals as payment services were not working properly.

The Conti gang did not disclose the exact amount of the ransom. There were rumors on social media that the hacker gang offered $10 million, but there was no corresponding evidence on the Conti gang website.

“Costa Rica will never pay any ransom to cybercriminals,” said Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvardao.

Colombian Finance Minister Elian Villegas said on Wednesday (April 20) that hackers accessed “sensitive” taxpayer history information after breaching the finance ministry’s customs platform, without specifying the amount of data leaked.

Colombian companies fear that classified information submitted to the government could be accessed by hacker gangs and then disclosed or misused. Ordinary citizens worry that their personal financial information could be used to hack into their bank accounts.

Platforms such as tax and customs have been suspended for more than 4 days, resulting in heavy losses in export business

According to a Reuters report on April 22, some platforms, including tax and customs, suspended operations for the fourth consecutive day, causing bottlenecks in imports and exports. The Costa Rican Exporters’ Chamber reported a loss of $200 million on Wednesday.

Christian Rucavado, executive director of the chamber, said cyberattacks against customs agencies had already affected the country’s import and export logistics. The goods stranded in the cold storage are slowly decaying. This is a race against time, and the specific economic loss cannot be determined for the time being. Trading operations continue, but at a much slower pace than usual.

Rucavado explained, “Many processes can only be done manually now, and there are delays in work at many border agencies. We have asked the government to take relevant remedial measures, such as extending working hours to ensure that imports and exports are completed in a timely manner.”

He also mentioned that Costa Rica normally exports goods worth $38 million a day.

Attacker with Russian background carried out double extortion

Allan Liska, an analyst at threat intelligence firm Recorded Future, said the Conti gang is carrying out a double extortion: encrypting government documents to disrupt the normal operations of various departments; if no ransom is received, the team publishes the stolen documents on the dark web for extortion sites.

The first point can be solved if these systems have good backups, Liska said, but if the stolen data is highly sensitive, it could be a big problem.

Liska revealed that the Conti gang often rents out its ransomware infrastructure to any “affiliate gang” willing to pay, so the real person behind the attack could come from anywhere in the world.

A year ago, the Conti ransomware attack forced Irish health authorities to shut down IT systems and cancel a large number of appointments, treatments and surgeries.

At the end of February this year, the Conti gang claimed support for Russia in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The move angered an underground hacker sympathetic to Ukraine, a security researcher who claimed to have been monitoring the movements of the Conti gang for a long time, and released a large amount of sensitive data such as Conti’s internal chat records and codes.

President says attackers are trying to destabilize country, security experts think it’s just money extortion

As the country with the most stable political situation, abundant wildlife and beautiful tropical beaches in Central America, why is Costa Rica targeted by hacker gangs? Liska believes it may simply be because there are too many holes in the country’s system. “Hacker gangs hunt for specific vulnerabilities. The most likely guess is that there are a lot of holes in the Colombian government system that ransomware hackers found and decided to attack.”

Brett Callow, a ransomware analyst at Emsisoft, said he had seen a document leaked by Costa Rica’s finance ministry, and “the data in it does appear to be authentic.”

On Friday (April 22), the Conti gang claimed on a dark web blog that 50 percent of the stolen data had been released, including a total of 850 GB of data from the databases of Colombia’s Ministry of Finance and other agencies. “These are good phishing fodder, and hopefully fellow hackers in Costa Rica can use it to make a fortune,” the gang said.

In recent years, network security has gradually become a hot topic. There are many businesses and governments that are also attacked by ransomware. Enterprises and governments should be vigilant, do a good job in data protection and disaster recovery, and use virtual machine backup and other methods to do a good job in data backup.

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The last thing that any business wants is a lawsuit brought against them. So, this means that you have to educate yourself on what the rules and regulations are. In particular, WCAG compliance is going to be very important. This is going to ensure that your workplace is a fair and equal place to work for everyone. How much do you know about WCAG compliance? Let’s take a look at the things you need to know.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

What is WCAG?

Let’s start by discussing what WCAG stands for. This is short for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This was created by the World Wide Web Consortium and its purpose is to show websites how they can be accessible to everyone. In other words, you can ensure everyone, whether they have a disability or not, is able to operate your website. This is going to be highly relevant if you have to follow the ADA or Americans With Disabilities Act. This is an important piece of legislation that applies to a lot of businesses and ensures equality in access to public areas and the workplace.

Why Do I Need to Be WCAG Compliant?

So, what are the benefits of being WCAG compliant? Well for one thing, you minimize the risk of potential lawsuits. No one likes being sued as it means the loss of both time and money. As a busy business owner, that is the last thing you want to be dealing with. But, there are also many other benefits you should know about when it comes to WCAG compliance. Let’s take a look at them.

First of all, you are going to have a user-friendly website. This is going to make it easy for everyone to use your site and everything you have to offer. People with disabilities will be able to get the support they need, which allows them to use your site, and everything is more accessible. When you offer this, you are going to notice a difference when it comes to business. Thus, you are reaching out to a new demographic and allowing them access to your products and services. Plus, when you offer this type of support, you can attract loyal customers that are going to come back.

When it comes to your employees, there are benefits too. In particular, you can create a positive and inclusive workplace where employees are able to get the support they need. This can make a difference to morale. What’s more, when employees feel supported and like they are given the attention they need, they are going to be more loyal to their company. This means that you can enjoy good employee retention rates since you cater for their needs and care about your staff.

Therefore, it is in your best interests to know about WCAG compliance. This is going to save you a lot of hassle, as well as offer a variety of benefits. So, it is always worth your while when it comes to your business.

The robotics industry is full of innovation right now with a growing amount of applications as each year passes. Whilst many people think of mobile robotics as being a machine that looks to replicate a human, this is just the tip of the consumer-facing iceberg. On the back of the top 5 trends in robotics outlined by the International Federation of Robotics, here are some more trends to look out for in 2022 in the robotics field.

Plug and Play

Robotics is currently a space that requires a lot of expertise and time for even small amounts of progress. The result of this was always that robots were never overly accessible and still required experts in their field to maintain and even use them – much like the robotics in the medical field. However, this is quickly changing, with a shift towards cleaner user interfaces and pre-programmed tasks. 

In the same way that websites offered the drag-and-drop builders, programming and robotics may be heading the same way. So, even if the robotics are not fully pre-programmed, low code solutions may arise. A focus on easier implementation is lucrative because it’s a large obstacle for companies without dedicated IT departments with robotics expertise – something many businesses aren’t looking to develop. In order to help those businesses, many industrial robotics companies such as Robotnik in Europe or Aresbots in China are developping autonomous mobile robots for every types of industries.

Robotics as a Service

Robotics as a service (RAAS) could become a hit in 2022 if the unit prices of the robots do not fall. There are already RaaS companies out there, though this is yet to be the dominant way of developing a fleet of robotics for a business. In this way the RaaS companies Robotnik offers robot customization in order to adapt to the necesity of every businesses. Basically, this is about meeting short-term needs without long-term investment, something that could reduce manufacturing costs by up to 30%. 

There’s likely going to be more support too from companies who know you do not already have a robotics infrastructure set up. If you’re finding that the latest models of robots keep being introduced, this is a good way to always receive the newer, later options, making the operations more flexible.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is an important aspect of robotics, as new research and development are incentivized when it the resulting designs can be legally protected. In 2022, we expect to see more companies focus on patenting more aspects of the design, such as the look and feel. So, beyond the usual utility patents, we expect aesthetics to become more competitive as they strive for better user interfaces – particularly robotics that are direct to the consumer such as the cleaning robots. 

Hype From Retail Investors

Tech companies have been performing above the market index over the Covid pandemic as we saw an increase of the applications of robotics in the medical field. Whether they’re currently overpriced or not is a debate for another day, but what hasn’t yet fully caught wind yet is investment in robotics companies. It’s likely that in 2022, as robotics has a growing presence in new industries, particularly in customer-facing roles, then we will see more sentiment and socially-driven investment into robotics.

Some big names on public exchanges to keep an eye on are iRobot and Intuitive Surgical, of which the former is for performing household tasks whilst the latter is robotic solutions for complex surgical procedures. Amazon is also leading the way with using robots to manage inventory and logistics. Amazon is up over 350% in the past five years, whilst iRobot is up over 110%. As each year goes by, we are beginning to see robotics investing being talked about more and more on publishers like fool and FT, but it’s still flying well under the radar.

Cobots

Collaborative robots, otherwise known as cobots, are set to have a big year. The idea of the cobot is attractive to everyday people, because it’s a future in which we work alongside robots instead of being replaced by them. For businesses, this may mean cutting fear labour costs, but often robots are limited to a set amount of tasks in isolation – but when paired with a human, the robot’s potential is increased.

Cobots are a less idealistic approach to automation, a middle ground in which pragmatic productivity can be achieved. Cobots are also easier to install and maintain, with fewer risks if they malfunction. As there is inherently a human around with cobots, which reduces the disruption in the instance of a malfunction. We expect cobots to be a sensible stepping stone for companies looking for full automation solutions for operations.

Final Word

The robotics industry is quickly expanding. Currently, the solutions and applications are popping up in surprising industries, making it difficult to pin down robotics as an industry in and of itself – which it is. Over 2022, we expect robotics to become more widely accepted as a way of working in various industries, from healthcare to education, which will soon inevitably have cobots.

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The US sports betting explosion has broadened the horizons of sports enthusiasts in the US, opening a wide range of wagering possibilities as dozens of sportsbooks have acquired licenses and released their betting apps.

Different bettors may look for different qualities in a top-rated sportsbook including payment options and methods, range of sports covered, bonus quality and security. However, some sports betting apps excel across a number of categories. Here are some of the best available in 2022.

Image source Wikipedia

Caesars sportsbook

With a platform created expressly for simplicity of use, this app may be the greatest option for individuals new to online betting. All the most important betting markets and details are displayed prominently on the homepage, making it easy to stay up to date.

One of the few apps with two-factor authentication, which ensures that your money and bets are always safe and secure, the Caesars platform provides access to promotional offers that are available on both the website and the app, so you’ll never miss out on a terrific bonus.

FanDuel sportsbook

FanDuel is one of the top mobile sports betting apps in the United States, with an easy-to-use, clean and stylish interface that meets all betting requirements. Their in-game parlay option was the first to debut in the United States, and their in-play choices stand out above the competition, providing lots of live action for bettors to pick from. This strong live betting platform is also one of the few apps to offer live streaming to US bettors.

DraftKings

DraftKings is a major player in the mobile sports betting sector. It began as a leader in Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) but has now grown to include a mobile sportsbook. Outside of Nevada, it was the first legal internet sports betting app.

DraftKings has established itself as possibly the most famous sports app for Android and iPhone customers in every state it operates in, including New Jersey, thanks to its simplicity of use and intuitive layout. In fact, the DraftKings app is often praised as being easier to use than the company’s desktop betting site.

DraftKings offers every major sport on the globe, and it was one of the first to use PayPal as a payment mechanism. A sports bettor does not need to make a large investment to test it out since the minimum deposit is just $5. It also has speedy payout options, a wide range of live betting options and excellent geolocation technology along with a high level of security.

BetMGM

BetMGM’s app is of the finest quality and symbolizes their sophisticated brand as one of the most well-known companies in online sports betting. This is one of the best apps for betting on a wide range of sports, with competitive odds and a variety of markets and props. Rapid payments also provide for a smooth and simple betting experience, with excellent customer support alternatives if you need assistance. BetMGM has done a great job of designing an app that gives bettors access to their website at their fingertips, resulting in a fantastic overall experience.

PointsBet

Offering a sleek user experience that encapsulates all the desktop site has to offer, PointsBet has improved its app for the US market after launching in Australia, and it provides a terrific experience.

While navigation might be a bit sluggish at times, the incredible range of sports to wager on is well worth the wait, especially with live-streaming and in-play betting options. PointsBet is a solid choice for most sports betting customers, and it also offers a wonderful loyalty system to participate in.

FOX Bet

FOX Bet is a favorite among many sports bettors since it offers odds on almost any sporting event imaginable, and it has the best design of any mobile betting app. It offers a wide range of live betting choices and is noted for its user-friendly interface. The app provides an impressive range of prop bets with big odds, and has gained popularity in the states of New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado and Pennsylvania, where it is now available.

When it comes to placing a mobile bet, few apps are simpler to use, with a tab option that makes navigating a pleasure. There is also a relatively low $10 minimum deposit, so a bettor can get into the game at a low cost. The handy new player free wager of $500 is one of the best welcome bonuses around.

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If you are going to hope to be successful in the field of employee engagement and bringing this in at your company, you are going to first need to develop the type of plan that is actionable. Otherwise, you are not going to be focused on what you are doing and this can lead to a situation in which your activities are not properly lining up with one another.

Let’s look in more detail at what you can do in the field of employee engagement.

  1. Assess the Areas that Need Improvement

A full and frank assessment of what is going wrong in employee engagement needs to be looked at. For example, are you not actually in the habit of checking in with employees on a regular basis? Perhaps there is nothing set up in the way of teambuilding, which can lead to a situation in which all members of staff are existing and operating separately from one another. Alternatively, it could be that you are not rewarding and promoting staff from within in the way that you should. You may find that you would like to change a whole host of different things all at once, but it is the case that you need to put in a priority order as you are simply not going to be able to take care of everything.

2. Determine Why Your Company Exists

You need to work out why your company exists in the first place. What is it designed to do and what are the main functions that you have set it up to achieve? Once you get a better handle on questions like this one, it is much more likely that you are going to be able to put in place a plan that has all of the different hallmarks of success in the field of employee engagement. Looking at a wide range of different potential activities that you can try out is a good starting point, so click here to find out more about employee engagement definition.

3. Brainstorm Different Solutions

You may think that you have the perfect solution in mind for how you are going to be able to increase employee engagement, but for other members of staff, this may not work in the way that you had hoped that it would. For this reason, it is certainly going to be worth canvassing a wide variety of different opinions as this will put you in a situation to be able to develop the kind of plan that has the involvement of all sorts of people from a range of different perspectives and outlooks.

There is no doubt that all of these steps are worth following when it comes to developing the type of employee engagement plan that really works for your business and brings in the type of benefits that you had always hoped that it would. So, now is the time to put your thoughts and ideas into action and reap the rewards.

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Image by Mariakray from Pixabay

More businesses are moving to remote work, and even though many areas have eased their restrictions, some businesses have not made a move toward returning to in-office work. That’s especially true for younger people who work for forward thinking businesses. There are several benefits and challenges of remote work, but you can make it work for your career. Understanding these can help you decide if remote work might be for you, which can help you in your career search.

Challenge: Forming a Connection with Others

When you work from home, you might find it harder to progress in your career since you aren’t right there in the office every day, being noticed by your boss. This is especially true if you are part of a team where some members are remote and others are in person. It’s a good idea to have one-on-one conversations with your boss and managers to talk about career development when you are ready.

One way to focus on your career development is to get a degree in a relevant field. Even though you work remotely, you might have a goal of someday being in a management position. A good option would be to get a degree in some type of business management. Paying for school can put a strain on your finances, so you might consider taking out a student loan from a private lender to avoid the financial burden and be able to pay for college.

Benefit: Better Flexibility

You may find you have a bit more flexibility as a remote worker, because you will have plenty of quiet time to get your work done while still being able to attend virtual meetings. This gives you the freedom to work in a style that you find the most productive. And it’s easier to attend meetings since you do not need to work it around anyone’s commuting schedule. This style of work will give you a lot of insight into whether the job is stimulating enough for you to enjoy it outside of an in-person dynamic, where company culture is easy to achieve. Some of the signs of a dead end job that can be masked by group outings and free pizza on Friday’s will come to light when you are exclusively working from home.

You also have the flexibility of balancing out family needs. Some find it harder to work when there are kids in the house, but having kids at home instead of daycare is possible when you are working from home. This can save you a significant amount of money on childcare. And since you will not be commuting through rush hour each day, you will have more time to meet the needs of your family and spend time with them.

Challenge: Working Too Much

In many organizations, employees are expected to put in an eight-hour workday where they stay focused on their work and get tasks done as much as possible. However, if you are working from home, you might find it is harder to turn off work at the end of your day. If you are in an office, you end the day by leaving and going home, but remote workers might find it harder to make that transition. You’ll need a strategy to avoid distractions in this remote environment. It’s easy to get distracted by laundry, dishes, or other household chores during the day, so you aren’t as productive as you would like. That can lead to needing to stay later or start earlier to get everything done.

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Image source Wikimedia

The European Union, United States and their allies have agreed to cut off a number of Russian banks from the main international payment system, SWIFT.

A German government spokesman said: “This is intended to cut off these institutions from international financial flows, which will massively restrict their global operations.”

Russia is heavily reliant on the Swift system for its oil and gas exports.

However, the move could also harm Western businesses doing business with Russia.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), is a secure messaging system that makes fast, cross-border payments possible, enabling international trade.

The banks set to be affected are “all those already sanctioned by the international community, as well as other institutions, if necessary”, the German spokesman said.

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Russia-Ukraine War: More European Countries Close Airspace to Russian Flights

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the allies would stop Russia from “using its war chest,” by paralysing the assets of its central bank. They also agreed to freezing its transactions and prevent the central bank from liquidating its assets.

She added there would be a crackdown on so-called “golden passports” that “let wealthy Russians connected to the Russian government become citizens of our countries and gain access to our financial systems”.

UK PM Boris Johnson said Britain had taken “decisive action”, tweeting: “We will keep working together to ensure Putin pays the price for his aggression.”

The measures were agreed by the US, UK, Europe and Canada.

It is the latest round of sanctions to hit Russia since it launched an invasion of Ukraine this week.

Removing banks from Swift is deemed to be a severe curb because almost all banks use the system.

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Perhaps you’re interested in using an art investment fund to participate in the art market, but you’re a little cloudy on the basics.

Here’s how art investment funds work.

What is an Art Fund?

Essentially, art funds are privately offered investment funds that seek to generate returns through the buying, holding, and selling of art. As compensation, they are paid a management fee, as well as a percentage of the returns the fund delivers.

Beyond that, each art fund has its own characteristics, including size, strategies, holding duration, and portfolio restrictions. Also note that investors are dependent on the fund in terms of art selection and strategy. They have no independent say in terms of how any of that is handled.

Image source Max Pixel

What Art Fund Managers Do

Investment management firms are typically made up of a blend of established art market professionals and investment advisors. Because art fund managers usually have capital of their own invested in the funds they manage, they line up their interests with those of their investors’. Or, said more precisely, potential investors can usually find a fund that lines up with their interests.

Fund managers’ responsibilities include:

— Looking for prospective acquisitions

— Raising fund capital

— Handling investor relations

— Taking care of fund administrative compliance 

— Providing loans to museums and mounting exhibitions to promote the portfolio 

— Storing and insuring the works

— Monitoring the art market as well as the fund’s artists

— Tending to the orderly disposition of the fund’s portfolio 

How Fund Managers Are Paid

Performance primarily determines the fees fund managers receive. Usually, such annual fees are between 1% and 3% of either the portfolio’s net asset value or the overall fund investors’ capital commitments. Art fund managers usually also charge a performance fee that comes out to 20% of any profits from the art portfolio’s disposition.

Art Fund Investment Strategies

There are an almost unlimited variety of strategies that managers can employ to invest in art.  Why? Because they differ from mutual funds and the like in that contract or law does not restrict them. The fact is that most art fund managers use varied strategic approaches in order to capitalize on opportunities and market trends.

It’s a Growing Marketplace

Most of the growth over the last few years has been pegged to investors’ collective realization that the art market continues to benefit from marked price appreciation. Meanwhile, traditional investments in stocks and bonds over the last decade or so have yielded comparatively lower returns. 

The number of art funds is also proliferating because of the recognition that, unlike with stocks, art investment is not subject to the ups and downs of the stock market. What’s more, the investor community sees that the lack of art market regulation offers unique investment opportunities.

Further, because an art fund manager’s compensation is largely tied to performance, excellent art market professionals are increasingly opting to go the art fund route. This enables them to share in pay arrangements that can surpass those of more conventional positions.

Now that you know how investment funds work, you can decide whether such an investment is right for you. Scores of investors do very well with such art funds, and as you can see, the number of art investment funds continues to increase.

Even better, you get all of the benefit of art as an investment, without the concerns of physically owning and caring for and exceptionally valuable work of art on your own. There are security concerns, maintenance concerns and insurance concerns with which you must contend.  This approach gets you the return on the investment, while sparing you the efforts associated with owning rare and valuable works of art.

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If you’re having a challenging time juggling your bills, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average expenditure of a U.S. household was $61,334 annually. Of those bills, 9 of the 14 major expenditures rose in 2020 and continue to rise. With the rise in costs, people are looking for helpful ways to cut and consolidate bills. However, finding the best way to consolidate your bills isn’t easy.

Image source: Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Pix4free

Does Bill Consolidation Work?

Bill consolidation works as long as you don’t use the opportunity to spend more money. When you consolidate bills, you group enough of your bills together to make payments more manageable. Rather than working with different creditors, varying interests rates, and due dates, bill consolidation organizes it all into one fixed monthly payment, as you’ll learn at https://www.bills.com.

Step One: Start to Consolidate Bills

To consolidate bills, you must know the extent of your debt and how much income you have to meet those payments. You’ll have to list your credit cards, loans, and understand what their interest rates are. In addition, you’ll identify your sources of income and compare them to your monthly payments.

Step Two: Choose a Debt-Relief Option

Fortunately, there exists a variety of options to help you consolidate bills. The challenging part is choosing the right one for your situation. The following are the most common options for bill consolidation.

Balance Transfer Credit Card

A balance transfer credit card is a great choice for someone with a small amount of debt on high-interest credit cards. Credit cards with high interest rates can quickly drown you in balances if you’re not extremely careful. Data shows that 98% of credit cards charge hefty late fees and penalties. Using a balance transfer card to lower interest rates and make payments manageable work to consolidate bills from credit cards.

Bill Consolidation Loan

A bill consolidation loan is typically a personal loan from a bank. After taking out the bill consolidation loan, you would use the money to pay off the balance for credit card bills or other high-interest loans. The interest rates for bill consolidation loans rely on your credit score and you must meet the lenders qualifications.

Personal Loan from Friends and Family Members

Most people choose not to borrow money from friends or family members because it can risk relationships if things go south. That said, a personal loan from someone you know is an affordable way to help consolidate bills, especially if your credit is less than perfect. Making the loan more formal — by creating a promissory note, repayment plan, and even an interest rate — can help to make borrowing less from friends or family less awkward.

Home Equity Loan

If you own a home, you might have the option of using it to consolidate bills. A home equity loan uses your home as collateral for a loan. What makes home equity loans appealing are their interest rates, as they’re typically lower than those used for credit cards and car loans. Before looking into a home equity loan, however, you should know that defaulting could result in home foreclosure.

Debt Management Program

A debt management program is not a loan and you don’t need to put up your home as collateral. Rather, a debt management program helps your assess your finances, create a budget, and help you determine how to pay off your debt in a reasonable amount of time. Credit counselors answer your questions about the program and reach out to your creditors for you. The debt management program works with you to devise an affordable monthly payment, and they disburse these funds to pay your bills.

The Final Step: Making it Happen

Choosing a path to consolidate bills is a big step, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re looking for debt relief, Bills.com can answer your questions and help you choose the best way to consolidate your bills.

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Whether you have lived in California all your life, or have recently moved, there may be a number of things that you love about the state. However, at times, it is normal to feel despondent, especially if local or national news, or even your own personal problems, get you down. There are a number of ways that you can take better care of yourself while making the most of what California has to offer. In doing so, you could really boost your overall wellbeing and even fall in love with your state all over again.

Cutting down on going out can be a great way of making yourself feel that bit more financially secure, and could even help to reduce some of the strain on your family. Rather than attempting to take on more work, or even a second job, to get by, you could consider your current bills and figure out which could benefit from a significant change.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Switching to pay-per-mile insurance in California can be one way to make a big difference in your household. This can reduce the amount you pay for your insurance premium simply by using telematics to figure out how much driving you actually do. Many traditional policies could simply set out a blanket price for a number of miles which, more often than not, you may have estimated greater than you actually do. Saving tens, if not hundreds, of dollars on your car insurance could cause less stress, meaning you may feel better within yourself, and even have fewer problems sleeping.

Another form of self-care that you could certainly undertake while living in The Golden State can be to get plenty of fresh air and exercise. While there are a number of gyms and leisure facilities throughout the state, sometimes it can be a good idea to venture into the great outdoors. California has many areas of natural beauty that can be perfect for hiking. You could opt to find some inner peace on a waterfall trail, ground yourself next to the mighty Redwood trees, or even take an amble with your family along some of the gorgeous coves and beaches. Getting yourself outside, and engaging in physical activity, could help your body to release endorphins, which can make you feel a lot happier.

It is quite well-known that California can be a hotspot for celebrities to live in. This does not, however, mean that you need to keep up with all the fashions and trends. It can be difficult to see others having luxuries, especially if you live or work in a city that is known for excess, or people having a lot of money. Attempting to mirror their lifestyle choices could make you feel low, or even cause you severe financial strain. Opting to reduce how much you follow celebrity culture, and finding ways to feel more confident with who you are, could allow you to still appreciate living in a star-studded environment, without the need to feel self-conscious.

Practicing self-care can help you to feel better about yourself. This could involve considering your finances, but also making the most of the sights and attractions that California has to offer.

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Novak Djokovic has been detained in Australia ahead of a court hearing that will determine whether he can stay in the country.

The men’s tennis No 1 faces deportation after his visa was canceled for a second time, with the government labelling him a threat to public health.

Novak Djokovic’s lawyers are appealing against what they called an “irrational” decision, with the hearing set for January 16.

The 34-year-old unvaccinated tennis star is still scheduled to play the Australian Open on January 17 in Melbourne.

If the Serbian were to win the tournament, he would become the most successful men’s tennis player in the history of the sport with 21 major titles.

However, January 16 hearing, which has been scheduled for 09:30 local time, is crucial if Djokovic is to be able to compete just hours later.

If he loses the appeal, the world’s top-ranked men’s tennis player faces deportation and a three-year visa ban.

On January 15, shortly after an online pre-trial hearing, Novak Djokovic returned to the immigration detention hotel where he was held earlier this week. He will remain there until his final appeal on January 16.

Photo Getty Images

Novak Djokovic’s Australia Visa Revoked for Second Time

Novak Djokovic’s Australia Entry Delayed over Visa Issue

Coronavirus: Novak Djokovic Tests Positive for Covid-19

Novak Djokovic’s visa was first revoked shortly after his arrival in Melbourne on January 6, after Australian Border Force officials said he had “failed to provide appropriate evidence” to receive a vaccine exemption.

The tennis star was detained for days at an immigration hotel, before his visa was reinstated by a judge, who ordered his release, ruling that border officials ignored correct procedure when he arrived.

On January 14, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke once again canceled Novak Djokovic’s visa under separate powers in Australia’s Migration Act.

The act allows the minister to deport anyone he deems a potential risk to “the health, safety or good order of the Australian community”.

PM Scott Morrison said the decision followed “careful consideration”.

Alluding to the heavy criticism his government has faced for allowing the unvaccinated player into Australia, Scott Morrison said: “Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected.”

Court documents were released on January 15 that showed Alex Hawke chose to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa because – in his view – the unvaccinated player’s presence could fuel opposition to Covid-19 vaccination.

“[I] consider that his presence may be a risk to the health of the Australian community,” he wrote in a letter to Novak Djokovic and his lawyers, adding that he believed it could also provoke “civil unrest” because he is “a person of influence and status”.

Novak Djokovic’s legal team say their grounds for appeal will centre on the “invalid and illogical” rationale of Alex Hawke’s decision, which lawyer Nick Wood said was based on the threat of “exciting anti-vax sentiment”.

Nick Wood said he believed deporting the Serbian player would potentially do the same thing.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, meanwhile, condemned the Australian minister’s decision, telling Novak Djokovic in an Instagram message: “Novak, we stand by you.”

“If you wanted to ban Novak Djokovic from winning the 10th trophy in Melbourne why didn’t you return him immediately, why didn’t you tell him ‘it is impossible to obtain a visa’?” President Vucic added.

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, one of Novak Djokovic’s biggest rivals, said on January 15: “[The] Australian Open is much more important than any player. If he’s playing finally, okay. If he’s not playing, the Australian Open will be great… with or without him.”

Japanese player Naomi Osaka described the controversy surrounding Novak Djokovic as “an unfortunate situation”.

“He’s such a great player and it’s kind of sad that some people might remember [him] in this way. But I also think it’s… up to the government how Australia is deciding to handle it,” she added.

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Australia has canceled Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time in a row over the tennis star’s right to remain in the country unvaccinated.

The decision on “health and good order” grounds means the 34-year-old Serbian could be deported and get a three-year visa ban.

However, Novak Djokovic can still launch another legal challenge to remain in Australia.

The men’s tennis No 1 was scheduled to play in the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said in a statement: “Today I exercised my power… to cancel the visa held by Mr. Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.”

PM Scott Morrison said that the decision followed “careful consideration.”

Alluding to the heavy criticism his government has faced for allowing the unvaccinated player into Australia, the prime minister said: “Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected.”

Novak Djokovic will meet immigration officials in Melbourne on January 15, and will be allowed to stay in his current accommodation on January 14 – some Australian media had speculated that he may be moved to an immigration detention hotel.

The nine-time Australian Open winner was hoping to defend his title next week, which if he won, would make him the most successful male tennis player in history with a record 21 Grand Slam titles.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Novak Djokovic’s Australia Entry Delayed over Visa Issue

US Open 2020: Novak Djokovic Disqualified After Hitting Line Judge with Ball

Coronavirus: Novak Djokovic Tests Positive for Covid-19

For the moment, Novak Djokovic remains in the Australian Open draw and is due to face fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic early next week. If he is deported, however, his slot will most likely go to Russian player Andrey Rublev.

Novak Djokovic’s visa was first revoked shortly after his arrival in Melbourne on January 6, after Australian border Force officials said he had “failed to provide appropriate evidence” to receive a vaccine exemption.

The palyer’s initial announcement that he was coming to play in the Open prompted a backlash from some Australians, who have lived under long and strict Covid lockdowns, because it was unclear if he could meet Australia’s strict entry rules. Melbourne in particular was hard bit by lockdowns, enduring 262 days under heavy restrictions last year.

Novak Djokovic was detained for hours at the airport’s immigration control when he first arrived, and then spent days at an immigration hotel. Days later his visa was reinstated by a judge, who ordered his release, ruling that border officials ignored correct procedure when he arrived.

However, on January 14, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke cancelled Djokovic’s visa under separate powers in Australia’s Migration Act.

The act allows the minister to deport anyone he deems a potential risk to “the health, safety or good order of the Australian community”.

However, Novak Djokovic can still appeal this.

It comes after Djokovic addressed allegations that his agent had accidentally made a false declaration on his travel form.

Novak Djokovic also admitted meeting a journalist and having a photoshoot after testing positive for Covid-19.

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Novak Djokovic’s entry to Australia has been delayed over an issue with his visa.

The No 1 tennis player arrived in Melbourne on January 5, where authorities noticed that his team had made a mistake on his application.

Novak Djokovic is due to play in the Australian Open, after being exempted from vaccination rules.

However, the Serbian player’s team had not requested a visa that permits medical exemptions for being unvaccinated.

All players and staff at the tournament must be vaccinated or have an exemption granted by an expert independent panel.

Djokovic has been quizzed for hours about his visa status and exemption evidence in a room in Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport and is still awaiting a decision. He has not spoken about his vaccination status, but last year he said he was “opposed to vaccination”.

Australia’s border force had sought clarification from the Victorian state government about his visa application, the Melbourne-based Age newspaper reports.

But state government Minister Jaala Pulford tweeted that Djokovic’s application would not be supported. Visa approvals were a matter for the federal government, she added.

US Open 2020: Novak Djokovic Disqualified After Hitting Line Judge with Ball

Coronavirus: Novak Djokovic Tests Positive for Covid-19

Rogers Cup 2015: Novak Djokovic Complains about Cannabis Smell During Semi-Final

Meanwhile, the player’s father, Srdjan Djokovic said his son was being held in a room guarded by police.

“I have no idea what’s going on, they’re holding my son captive for five hours.

“This is not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world. If they don’t let him go in half an hour, we will gather on the street” Novak’s father said in a statement released to the media.

Djokovic’s coach and fellow Grand Slam champion Goran Ivanisevic posted a photo of himself on Instagram from a room in Melbourne, along with the caption: “Not the most usual trip Down Under.”

Earlier, Australia’s prime minister said Novak Djokovic would be refused entry to the country unless he provided evidence that he could not be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Scott Morrison said the tennis player “could be on the next plane home” if the proof was insufficient.

The tournament’s organizers say the defending champion has not been given special treatment, but the decision has infuriated many Australians. Australia is seeing tens of thousands of Covid-19 cases for the first time after enduring some of the world’s strictest restrictions.

Scott Morrison said Novak Djokovic would be required to present evidence upon arrival that he has a genuine medical exemption from vaccination.

The Australian Open begins on January 17 in Melbourne.

The tournament’s chief executive, Craig Tiley, said 26 athletes had applied for medical exemptions. “A handful” had been granted, he said, under guidelines set by federal regulators.

“We made it extra difficult for anyone applying for an application to ensure it was the right process and to make sure the medical experts deal with it independently,” he told Channel 9.

More than 90% of Australia’s over-16 population is fully vaccinated, but some people still cannot travel interstate or globally because of current measures.

Many Australians had previously accused the government of allowing the rich and famous to do as they please while ordinary people remained separated from sick and dying loved ones.

Image by Peggy cci from Pixabay

The US annual inflation has hit the highest level for nearly 40 years.

According to the latest figures, prices rose 6.8% in the year to November.

Price rises have pushed up food shopping bills, and petrol prices jumped 6.1%, while the cost of second-hand cars and rent also rose.

While the monthly pace of price rises at 0.8% eased a little compared to October’s 0.9%.

Prices for American consumers are rising at their fastest annual rate since June 1982. But the impact is felt more amongst those on the lowest incomes, with the least room to manage.

Rising inflation is also putting pressure on President Joe Biden as he tries to pass his $1.9tn social spending bill.

Some economists blame the president’s previous spending programs, designed to offer support amid the Covid pandemic, for exacerbating price increases.

“One of the major reasons we have inflation is because the government spent so much money,” said Christopher Campbell, chief strategist at Kroll a risk consultancy, and a former Treasury official under President Donald Trump.

He argued that further spending could make inflation worse.

“At the end of the day we hopefully are on the tail end of the pandemic, and the government is still putting its foot on the gas, on the levels of spending.”

In the meantime the poorest are facing both the end of pandemic-era extra support and rising prices.

Price rises are affecting some parts of the country more than others too, with the south and mid-west impacted more.

Dare to Care, a food bank in Louisville, Kentucky, said it has felt the effect of both inflation and supply chain problems.

Usually a lot of Dare to Care’s food comes from producers and retailers passing on any surplus they have.

Dare to Care has had to buy food at retail prices instead, and the cost of transport has risen too.

As a result, Dare to Care has made compromises, like not including wholegrain bread or pure fruit juice as often.

President Biden has pledged to make tackling inflation a priority and has made moves to ease supply chain problems, including changing rules for transport operators. But expectations are now focused squarely on the Federal Reserve too.

Speculation is mounting that the Fed will reduce the bond-buying support it provides every month more quickly than planned, paving the way for a possible rise in interest rates next year.

Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

As fiber-optic Internet reaches more residences in the U.S., the cable versus fiber debate is becoming more prevalent. With that discussion in mind, let us answer some of the most common questions.

What is the Difference Between Fiber and Cable?

Fiber, cable, satellite, DSL and wireless internet are all means of connecting you to the internet. These are channels through which you send data to servers and receive responses. The core difference between all of these methods is how the data is transmitted. Cable internet uses coaxial cables and transmits electrical signals over them. Coax cables have copper wire at the core, and that wire is insulated with aluminum, protected with a copper shield and encapsulated within an outer plastic layer.

Fiber internet uses fiber-optic cables. There are strands of glass at the core of these cables that are encapsulated in multiple layers of plastic. The signal is not electric but rather light, and when a pulse of light is sent out, it continues to bounce from side to side of the cable until it reaches its destination. Both coax and fiber cables can either be strung or buried underground. It is more common for coax to be strung because it is faster and cheaper and allowed for more rapid deployment during the cutting cable boom. Burying fiber cables is still more expensive and time-consuming, but many companies and municipalities opt to do it anyway because fiber is expensive and it protects investments long term.

Why Is Cable More Widely Available?

Cable had a head start not just in regard to the fundamental technology but the infrastructure. When cable internet service providers became prominent in the U.S., much of the infrastructure used had been built in the 1970s and the 1980s. Consider that the main fiber-optic cables that now serve as the backbone of the Internet were not installed until the mid-1990s. It really was not until the aughts that private companies began burying fiber as a means of providing Internet to end-users.

Are There Differences in the Quality of Service?

There are some fundamental advantages that fiber has over cable. Even if both have buried lines, a fiber infrastructure requires less maintenance overall. It is also inherently faster since it uses light as opposed to electricity. Use of electricity has some other issues beyond just slower speeds, and that includes electromagnetic interference and signal degradation. Not only is fiber faster, but it is more dependable. That is supported by the statistics, which show that fiber outages are much less common.

Is Fiber Better Than Cable?

Let us approach this question first from an objective perspective. Fiber is better than cable. It is faster. Current fiber infrastructures allow for much more bandwidth. If you purchase a 1 Gbps fiber plan, that means that you get a 1 Gbps download and a 1 Gbps upload. If you purchase a 300 Mbps cable plan, you may get 300 Mbps download but probably closer to 20 Mbps upload. Fiber is also cheaper when you look at from the perspective of how much you get in return, such as cents per Mbps. If you want the best of both worlds, Spectrum internet offers hybrid fiber and coaxial cable internet which offer an affordable plans both residential and business internet.

Is Fiber Better Than Cable for You?

As far as a lump sum you pay each month, fiber is generally more expensive. That gap is closing but still has a way to go for the average American. Cable speeds are quite good. The average American now has access to 200-300 Mbps, which is good enough for the average household. In order to answer this question for you personally, you have to decide what you need and what you can afford. However, if you work from home and reliability and upload speeds are very important, then yes, it probably is.

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The number of alcohol-related crashes increases drastically during the holiday season. Statistics show that people drink more during the holiday season and, with more people on the road, holiday travels can become deadly. Everyone should be aware of the risks of driving under the influence and strategies to decrease their risk this holiday season.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

What Are the Most Deadly Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents?

All automobile accidents are dangerous. However, some types of crashes are more deadly than others. The deadliest types of accidents are:

·         Head-on collisions. Head-on collisions are considered to be the most dangerous type of car accident. Although they make up only 2% of accidents, they account for 10% of traffic accident fatalities. They are so deadly because crashing head-on into another moving vehicle can double the impact speed. For example, if both automobiles are traveling at 50 miles per hour, the impact of the two cars would be like hitting a stationary object while traveling at 100 miles per hour.

·         Truck accidents. Accidents involving semi-trucks account for around 6.5% of all traffic accidents in the United States. Out of those accidents, 28% result in injuries, and 11% result in fatalities. Semi-trucks are large and can cause severe damage to smaller vehicles.

·         DWI Crashes. Around 10,000 people die in alcohol-related crashes each year. Alcohol can also be a contributing factor in other types of crashes. It may also be a factor in head-on collisions and truck accidents.

Why Are DUI Accidents More Common During the Holiday Season?

Many factors account for the increased number of DUI accidents during the holiday season. Around 91 million Americans take road trips between December 23rd and January 1st each year. Further, holiday celebrations lead to social binge-drinking. 16% of adults admit that they drink more during the holiday season. More people on the road mixed with increased alcohol consumption is a recipe for deadly alcohol-related crashes.

40% of car crash fatalities during the winter holidays are alcohol-related. On New Year’s Day, alcohol-related crashes account for 58% of all fatalities. Over the past five years, an average of 300 people have died in DUI accidents between Christmas and New Year’s. Car accident injuries also dramatically increase during the holiday season. Alcohol-related crashes can transform a joyful holiday season into a tragedy.

How Can Drivers Stay Safe?

Although drivers cannot fully avoid the risk of being involved in an alcohol-related crash during the holiday season, they can take steps to keep themselves safe. Drivers should:

·         Avoid drinking and driving. Driving under the influence is against the law in all 50 states and is extremely dangerous. People can avoid injuring themselves and others if they call an Uber instead of driving under the influence.

·         Avoid driving late at night. Most alcohol-related crashes occur at night after people have been at parties or bars.

·         Buckle up. Seat belts reduce fatalities in car crashes by up to 45%. They reduce severe injuries by 50%. Wearing a seat belt is a simple step that can save lives.

·         Get plenty of sleep. People who drive while drowsy are almost as dangerous as those driving under the influence.

While no one can control the behavior of others, drivers can decrease their risk of being involved in an alcohol-related crash this holiday season by taking simple precautions.

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Many of us want to believe we can do it all, but realistically, we can only make time for a limited amount of things each day. The same can be said for any small organization and its employees. It doesn’t matter how great each individual is at what they do, there are only so many hours in a day.

Fortunately, it’s simple to outsource many functions of your company to other organizations for maximum efficiency. Once concern that may come up is expense. It can actually save a lot of money to outsource certain projects, particularly ones you do not have the resources for.

With partners who have the right set of expertise, along with the equipment or technology they need to get the job done, you’ll be saving both time and money. And, as we know, time is money. So what are you waiting for? Here are some projects you can outsource to simplify your workflow today.

Marketing Outsourcing

A marketing agency has a lot more manpower and expertise than a single marketing associate, and amazingly, they may come at exactly the same price. Wouldn’t you prefer an entire team of experts dedicated to your exact needs? There are great benefits to having an in-house marketing employee, such as them having a deeper understanding of the organization. In fact, because of that, many organizations choose to hire a PR or ad agency along with a small in-house marketing team.

An agency will have contacts in the industry that can generate important leads, experienced web developers with access to the best technology, and public relations experts that might have a uniquely specific outlook on your industry. Hiring a marketing agency with your specific needs in mind is likely a cost-effective solution for almost any small business.

HR Outsourcing

One field we’ve been hearing more and more about lately when it comes to outsourcing is human resources. Many small organizations do not have designated HR departments, and these duties often fall on individuals who are not fully trained to take on a lot of this work.

For example, many small- or medium-sized businesses have hiring managers, finance directors, and IT departments doing a variety of tasks a human resources department should be doing. That means a lot more risk that something will fall through the cracks during each employee’s on-boarding process due to a lack of consistency, as well as concern for privacy and the protection of personal information.

HR outsourcing is a great way to ensure employees feel they have trained experts to approach if something goes wrong, as well as lessen the chance that important information will fall through the cracks regarding policies and procedures.

Pharmaceutical Outsourcing

No matter what industry, it’s always a little harder for less established organizations to get a leg up without access to the experts, the technology, and, most importantly, the funding that backs up both of those things and much, much more. That concept is no different in the pharmaceutical industry, and it’s why outsourcing your pharmaceutical manufacturing can be a game-changer for start-ups and small organizations.

Outsourced pharmaceutical manufacturing has grown significantly over the last decade, and CMOs, or contract manufacturing organizations, are vital in the development of life-saving drugs that would have otherwise gone unproduced. When it comes to batch size, technology needed, expertise required, and regulatory standards to follow, it’s difficult for one small organization to take that under its belt. With a CMO, any small pharma company has the opportunity to make great change in the world.