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Nancy Clayson

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Nancy is a young, full of life lady who joined the team shortly after the BelleNews site started to run. She is focused on bringing up to light all the latest news from the technology industry. In her opinion the hi-tech expresses the humanity intellectual level. Nancy is an active person; she enjoys sports and delights herself in doing gardening in her spare time, as well as reading, always searching for new topics for her articles.

Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

According to an independent investigation, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, subjecting them to unwanted kissing and groping.

Announcing the results of the inquiry, New York Attorney General Letitia James said Andrew Cuomo had violated state and federal laws.

Governor Cuomo is yet to respond to the investigation but has previously denied wrongdoing.

The report is likely to play a major part in a separate impeachment inquiry.

The investigation was commissioned in 2020 after several women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the governor.

Investigators spent five months speaking to nearly 200 people, including staff members and some of those who made complaints against him. Tens of thousands of documents, texts and pictures were reviewed as part of the inquiry.

“The independent investigation has concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law,” Letitia James said.

Andrew Cuomo, the attorney said, had engaged in “unwelcome and non-consensual touching and making numerous offensive comments”.

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In one case, Governor Cuomo and his staff retaliated against a former employee who accused him of wrongdoing, according to Letitia James.

Other women described being groped, kissed or sitting on the governor’s lap.

Andrew Cuomo allegedly reached under the blouse of an assistant to touch her breast, while another aide said he asked her if she was open to sex with an older man.

The governor stood behind a state trooper in a lift, running his finger down her neck and saying “hey you”, according to investigators.

On top of the allegations of harassment, Andrew Cuomo is accused of presiding over a “hostile and toxic work environment”.

Joon Kim, who co-led the investigation, said: “It was a culture where you could not say no to the governor and if you upset him or his senior staff you’d be written off, cast aside or worse.”

“At the same time the witnesses described a culture that normalized and overlooked everyday flirtations, physical intimacy and inappropriate comments by the governor,” he added.

How Artificial Intelligence is Shaping the Future of Gaming


Anyone who suggests that artificial intelligence is taking over the world is speaking the truth. Even though it may sound hyperbolic, AI will have some say in nearly every sphere of our lives in the next five to ten years.

When people think about artificial intelligence and what it can do for various industries, the online gambling sector rarely comes to mind. As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, so do its possibilities with respect to gaming.

Below are some ways that AI is shaping the future of gaming and gambling.

AI Can Read Thoughts

When the news came through that an IBM Deep Blue computer had beaten a chess master, Garry Kasparov, most people did not bat an eye. The idea of computers being superior intellectually to humans does not seem surprising, as computers have nearly unlimited processing capability.

Other such events have occurred, with Google’s AlphaGo computer beating Lee Sedol, while Libratus has defeated many of the world’s top-rated poker players with ease.

The idea of a computer winning at online gaming or gambling is not that surprising on the surface. People count cards when they have the chance, and a computer can do that better than any person.

What is most remarkable is that Libratus defeated top-rated poker champions not by counting cards, but by reading people’s faces and understanding their weaknesses in the game.

When such AI evolves even more, what are the ways that it could reshape the online gambling industry?

Catching Gambling Addicts

The growth in AI over the past few years has been remarkable to witness, while the popularity of online gambling has continued to rise. With these two niches heading in similar trajectories, a merging is inevitable.

One of the ways that gambling businesses are looking to leverage AI is through the tracking of gambling addicts. Catching an addict at a physical casino is very easy, as there are people watching the different cameras placed throughout those facilities.

When people bet online, catching addicts is a serious challenge. Even though there is a misconception that casinos want addicts to gamble at their facilities, most casinos and online casinos will say that gambling addicts are bad for business.

Thanks to AI, online casinos can now identify problematic behavior by players. The AI can begin to recognize that addicts behave with a specific pattern. When they understand those patterns, the AI can intervene quickly to ensure that person does not gamble away too much of their money.

Leveraging Smart Data

Online casinos are far from the only business sector that looks to leverage smart data. These sites can gather a lot of information about their users, including the games they enjoy playing, how often they play, the bets they make, and when they have their longest gaming sessions.

Leveraging such information to deliver targeted promotions and discounts to their users can help online casinos immensely. They would then have the tools to create the targeted coupons, site-wide discounts, and other perks for each user on their platform.

Delivering Flawless Customer Service

One of the real ways that AI is changing business is through improvements in customer service. Online gambling casinos are taking advantage of this as well.

When you go to an online casino, you often see a little chat box appear in the bottom right or left corner. You can click on that box and start a chat with the AI helper. They can answer most of your questions, while connecting you to a human representative if you need further help.

As AI continues to improve, online casinos believe the customer service they can offer to their clients will only improve as well. They can soon interpret the issues a customer is facing as soon as that person starts a chat with the AI.

Better Sports Odds

If you ever watch a game of soccer, American football or basketball, you can see how many stats are analyzed throughout the contests. With so much information available, online sports books can leverage AI to make sense of the data in real time.

By analyzing the data for the present game and looking at historical outcomes, the AI could better predict the likelihood of a game finishing a specific way at that stage of the contest.

Such predictions would allow the online sports book to dynamically adjust its odds for various events related to that game as the match unfolds. Such changes in the odds would give opportunities to betters, but would also mean the sports book is offering the best possible odds from its perspective.

Reaching a Younger Audience

When most people think about gambling, both in person and online, they imagine an older crowd. That may be true, but online casinos are making several moves to try and win over a younger audience.

Using AI may be one way to make that happen. With AI driven VR, young people who have the relevant hardware could have extremely realistic and unique digital experiences when attending online casinos.

If an online casino or sportsbook wants to lure Millennials and Generation Z clients in the coming years, leveraging AI may be their best way of achieving their goals.

Bet Safely to Make Money

The future of online gambling is very interesting, especially considering the way artificial intelligence is gaining traction in nearly every sector. Online casinos are already leveraging AI to identify and help gambling addicts, dynamically adjust sports odds and deliver the very best customer service to their clients.

Image source: Wikipedia

Rodney Alcala, who was sentenced to death in California for murdering a 12-year-old girl and four other women, has died of natural causes, officials say.

The 77-year-old died at a hospital near California’s Corcoran state prison in the early hours of Saturday.

Rodney Alcala, who was known as the “Dating Game Killer” after taking part in The Dating Game TV show, was convicted in 2010.

As well as the California killings, he had also pleaded guilty to the murders of two other women in New York.

Rodney Alcala was first handed the death penalty in Orange County in 1980 for the kidnap and murder of Robin Samsoe, 12, in Los Angeles the previous year.

However, his sentence was overturned by the California Supreme Court and he was granted a new trial.

He later received the same penalty in the second trial, but this was again overturned in 2003.

In the years that followed, investigators discovered forensic evidence linking Rodney Alcala to the other California murders.

At the 2010 trial, he was found guilty of killing Robin Samsoe as well as four other women aged between 18 and 32 in the years between 1977 and 1979.

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In September 1978, Rodney Alcala took part in The Dating Game, a TV show in which a single woman questioned three single men hidden from her view before selecting one based on their answers.

Rodney Alcala was selected at the end of show, but the woman later said she decided not to date him after a conversation with him backstage, describing him as “creepy”.

In 2012, Rodney Alcala was extradited to New York after he was charged over two additional murders from 1971 and 1977. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in New York to 25 years to life.

California state prison officials said in a statement on July 24 that Rodney Alcala was suspected of being involved in a number of additional killings.

No further details were given about his death.

There are currently some 700 inmates on death row in California, but Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a moratorium on executions.

WhatsApp has announced it blocked over two million accounts in India in May and June for violating rules.

The Facebook-owned messaging service said 95% of these users were blocked for violating the limits of the number of times messages can be forwarded in India.

The submissions were made by WhatsApp in its first monthly compliance report under India’s controversial new IT rules.

India is WhatsApp’s largest market with about 400 million users.

The company said its “top focus” has been to prevent accounts in India from sending harmful or unwanted messages at scale.

Using advanced machine learning technology, WhatsApp reportedly bans close to eight million accounts across the world every month.

Two million accounts in India sending a “high and abnormal rate of messages” were banned in India alone between May 15 and June 15, the service said.

The service identifies an Indian account as one with a +91 (country code) phone number.

WhatsApp often ends up being the focus of discussions on the spread of misinformation and fake news in India.

Such fake news and hoaxes are forwarded to tens of thousands of users in hours, and it’s practically impossible to counter them.

Messages and videos circulating in bulk have in the past incited mob violence in India, even leading to deaths.

WhatsApp Testing New Feature to Let Users Message Without Using Their Phones

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WhatsApp Suspended in Brazil

WhatsApp criticized over privacy policy

In addition to responding to user complaints, WhatsApp said it deployed its own tools to prevent abuse on the platform.

The service said it relied on the “behavioral signals” from user accounts, or on available “unencrypted information”, profile and group photos, and descriptions to identify potential offenders.

WhatsApp’s submissions come at a time when tech companies are embroiled in an intensifying battle with the Indian government over the new IT rules.

The guidelines – announced in February and became effective in May – seek to regulate content on social media and streaming platforms, and have raised serious concerns about free speech and user privacy.

Critics say they give the government and law enforcement agencies powers to take down a wide range of content on the internet. But the government claims the rules are meant to prevent abuse and misinformation.

WhatsApp is testing a new feature that will let users message without using their phone for the first time.

At present, WhatsApp is linked to a user’s phone. Its desktop and web apps need that device to be connected and receiving messages.

However, the new feature will let users send and receive messages “even if your phone battery is dead”.

Up to four other devices – like PCs and tablets – can be used together, WhatsApp said.

To begin with, the new feature will be rolled out as a beta test for a “small group of users”, and the team plans to improve performance and add features before enabling it for everyone.

End-to-end encryption – a key selling point for WhatsApp – will still work under this new system, it said.

Several other messaging apps already have such a feature, including rival encrypted app Signal, which requires a phone for sign-up, but not to exchange messages.

The feature has long been requested by WhatsApp users – of which there are a reported two billion.

In a blog post announcing the move, Facebook engineers said the change needed a “rethink” of WhatsApp’s software design.

That is because the current version “uses a smartphone app as the primary device, making the phone the source of truth for all user data and the only device capable of end-to-end encrypting messages for another user [or] initiating calls”, the company said.

China Blocks WhatsApp Ahead of Communist Party Meeting

WhatsApp Suspended in Brazil

WhatsApp criticized over privacy policy

WhatsApp Web and other non-smartphone apps are essentially a “mirror” of what happens on the phone.

However, that system has significant drawbacks familiar to many regular users, as the web app is known to frequently disconnect.

It also means that only one so-called “companion app” can be active at a time – so loading WhatsApp on another device will disconnect a WhatsApp web window.

“The new WhatsApp multi-device architecture removes these hurdles, no longer requiring a smartphone to be the source of truth, while still keeping user data seamlessly and securely synchronised and private,” the company said.

On a technical level, the solution was giving every device its own “identity key”, and WhatsApp keeps a record of which keys belong to the same user account. That means it does not need to store messages on its own server, which could lead to privacy concerns.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s decision to stop accepting BTC payments due to the digital currency’s “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining” has culminated into what could be the world’s most expensive breakup ever, with the BTC price dropping costing the cryptocurrency market more than $365 billion. Until now, BTC has not yet fully recovered from the price drop.

But the ramifications of these events did not stop here. Now, digital currencies are being seen as wasting a massive amount of energy like BTC. This is because Bitcoin mining uses Proof of Work algorithm (PoW), which is integral to the original Bitcoin design. According to the Bitcoin white paper published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, all miners who act as nodes on the network must “vote with their CPU power,” expending a huge amount of electricity in the process. Now, all people are talking about is how Bitcoin is inefficient and not environment-friendly.

And this is where the big misunderstanding lies. While BTC is indeed wasting energy due to its massive energy consumption that only benefits the few rich who can afford to store it in order to sell it when its value goes up, the same is not true for all digital currencies, especially BSV, which can actually be considered the green Bitcoin.

“I think what [Elon] got right is that BTC is not efficient and it does not, I think, have a good ratio of what it costs to use and the environmental cost relative to its utility. I think what people get wrong though is then that’s true for all Proof-of-Work blockchains, that’s true for all versions of Bitcoin, that’s true for crypto in general,” Zach Resnick, managing partner of BSV-focused Unbounded Capital, said during a panel discussion at the CoinGeek Conference in Zurich that includes nChain CTO Steve Shadders, TAAL Distributed Information Technologies CMO Angela Holowaychuk and Kristeen Harrison, environmental & sustainability advisor to the board of UK-based wallet Zumo.

“You cannot just look at the power consumption in isolation, you have to look at what is the utility, what is this thing providing and how much power does that cost, and looking at the net metric—not just how much power, which I think is a pretty horrible metric for analyzing this,” Resnick added.

And in this true measure of sustainability, which accounts for the energy consumed in proportion to the benefit and utility it provides, it can be said that BSV is the real green Bitcoin. How so? BTC can only process five to seven transactions per second (tps) and its blockchain only has a maximum of 3MB block sizes due to its refusal to scale. At this rate, where one BTC is mined at 5,500 kilowatt-hours, half the consumption of an average American household in a year, it certainly is a waste of electricity.

Now, compare that to BSV, which continues to scale. At present, its test network has already surpassed 9,000 tps. Last March 14, TAAL mined 2,674 transactions in a 638MB block. And with the release of Teranode later this year, the BSV network can process more than 50,000 tps—a figure that rivals that of VISA. The numbers speak for themselves. And the conclusion can only go one way—BSV is the green Bitcoin and is energy efficient.

“And you know, 50,000 is just the starting point, we’re talking about millions, billions of transactions per second. It’s only one angle to it, but there’s this total energy aggregate cost for Bitcoin, which you can divide amongst five transactions per second, or you can divide that cost amongst millions or billions,” Shadders explained.

“I think there’s a meaningful chance that when we look back 20, 30 years in the future back to now or over the next five to 10 years, there’a a very good chance that BSV adoption is synonymous with our transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and potentially the largest driver of that revolution,” Resnick concluded.

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Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against tech giants Google, Twitter and Facebook, claiming that he is the victim of censorship.

The class action lawsuit also targets the three companies’ CEOs.

The former president was suspended from his social accounts in January over public safety concerns in the wake of the Capitol riots, led by his supporters.

On July 7, Donald Trump called the lawsuit “a very beautiful development for our freedom of speech”.

In a news conference from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Donald Trump railed against social media companies and Democrats, who he accused of espousing misinformation.

He said: “We are demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and cancelling that you know so well.”

The suit requests a court order to end alleged censorship. Donald Trump added if they could ban a president, “they can do it to anyone”.

None of the tech companies named have yet responded to the lawsuit, which was filed to a federal court in Florida.

Donald Trump was joined at the announcement by former Trump officials who have since created the not-for-profit America First Policy Institute.

The former president called the post that got him banned from Twitter, “the most loving sentence”.

According to Twitter, the tweets that resulted in Donald Trump’s ban for “glorification of violence” were from 8 January, two days after the rioting in the nation’s capital. The riot followed his repeated claims, without evidence, that the election was rigged in Joe Biden’s favor.

Donald Trump wrote that the “great patriots” who voted for him will have “a giant voice” and “will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form”, and in another post said he would not attend President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

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President Trump Permanently Suspended from Twitter

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At the same time on July 7, Donald Trump’s Republican allies in Congress released a memo describing their plan “to take on Big Tech”.

The agenda calls for antitrust measures to “break up” the companies, and a revamping of a law known as Section 230.

Section 230, which Donald Trump tried to repeal as president, essentially stops companies like Facebook and Twitter from being liable for the things that users post. It gives the companies “platform” rather than “publisher” status.

“It’s a liability protection the likes of which nobody in the history of our country has ever received,” he said, criticizing the law on July 7.

Donald Trump added that the law invalidates the companies’ statuses as private companies.

The lawsuit has been criticized by legal experts, who pointed to Donald Trump’s habit of issuing lawsuits for media attention but not aggressively defending the claims in court. His argument of free speech infringement has also been questioned by analysts, as the companies he accuses have those same First Amendment protections in determining content on their sites.

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Image source Pexels

Facebook’s shares jumped 4.2% to $355.64 after federal court has dismissed two separate anti-trust lawsuits filed against the social networking giant.

Judge James Boasberg ruled that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s anti-trust complaint against the social networking giant was too vague.

Another separate anti-competition lawsuit filed by a coalition of states was thrown out because the alleged violations occurred too long ago.

This resulted in Facebook’s market value rising above $1trillion for the first time ever.

In the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruling, Judge Boasberg wrote that the FTC’s complaint was “legally insufficient” and had to be dismissed, because the FTC had “failed to plead enough facts” to back up its claim that Facebook was stifling competition.

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Trump’s YouTube Channel Suspended

The FTC’s lawsuit had requested that the technology giant, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, be broken up.

“The FTC’s complaint says almost nothing concrete on the key question of how much power Facebook actually had, and still has, in a properly defined anti-trust product market,” wrote Judge Boasberg.

“It is almost as if the agency expects the court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist.”

While this is a setback for the FTC that some analysts say could have repercussions for the future of anti-competition law in the US, the watchdog can re-file the charges and has until July 28 to do so.

Separately, Judge Boasberg also dismissed an anti-competition lawsuit brought by a coalition of 45 US states together with the FTC.

This lawsuit had also sought to force Facebook to divest Instagram and WhatsApp. It related to Facebook’s acquisition of the two apps in 2012 and 2014.

In March, Facebook petitioned the federal court in the US to dismiss them, describing the FTC complaint as “nonsensical”.

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Image source; AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

The Miami building collapse death toll has risen to five, authorities say.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the number unaccounted for has now dropped to 156, with three more of the recovered bodies identified.

She told reporters: “Our top priority continues to be search and rescue and saving any lives that we can.”

Part of the building collapsed early on June 24 while many residents slept.

As yet the cause of the collapse remains unclear.

However, an engineer’s report from 2018 was made public on June 26, which highlighted “a major error” in the original design of the seafront Champlain Towers. It said the fault prevented water draining away from the base of the building.

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Miami Building Collapse: At Least Four Killed and 159 Missing

President Joe Biden tweeted: “My heart is with the community of Surfside as they grieve their lost loved ones and wait anxiously as search and rescue efforts continue. Yesterday I spoke with Gov. DeSantis to let him know that we are ready to provide assistance as needed by state and local officials.”

Rescue teams have been using machines, drones and specially trained dogs in their efforts to find survivors. Rescue efforts were briefly hampered on June 26 after a fire broke out underneath the rubble.

According to reports, the missing include people from Israel and Latin America. Paraguay’s foreign ministry said six of its nationals had been registered as missing, including relatives of the country’s first lady.

Local officials have provided families with hotel rooms and food as they wait for news about their loved ones.

The building contained 136 apartments and 55 of them collapsed early on June 24, leaving piles of debris.

Image source: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

A 12-story residential building partially collapsed, killing at least one person in Miami, Dade County, Florida.

Rescuers are combing the rubble, searching for any trapped survivors, and were seen pulling a boy out alive.

Images from Surfside, north of Miami Beach, show a pile of debris on one side of the building. At least eight people have been injured.

The collapse is said to have occurred at about 02:00 local time.

It is unclear how many people were inside the building at the time.

Fifty-one people believed to have been living in the building have not been contacted and are as yet unaccounted for, said County Commissioner José Díaz.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said it had sent 80 vehicles to the scene. Police are also assisting with the rescue operation.

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Rescuers pulled 35 people from the wreckage, officials said. Ten were assessed and treated, of whom two were sent to hospital.

“The back of the building, probably a third or more, is totally pancaked,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told a news conference. At least one person had died, and about 30 units were affected, he said.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he would travel to South Florida on June 24.

“We are bracing for some bad news just given the destruction that we’re seeing,” he warned, saying he thought the quick response from the emergency services had saved lives.

Police gave the building’s location as 8777 Collins Avenue, the address of the 12-story Champlain Towers, which contains more than 100 beachfront apartments and was built in 1981. Surfside runs along Collins Avenue, north of Miami Beach city limits.

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Photo Reuters

Thousands of households have been left without electricity after a huge fire broke out at a power plant in Puerto Rico.

Footages on social media show plumes of smoke rising from the flames at a sub-station in the capital, San Juan.

The fire broke out shortly after the company reported a cyber-attack, which has not yet been linked to fire.

The Caribbean island has struggled with rolling blackouts ever since Hurricane Maria largely destroyed its electrical grid in 2017.

Some Puerto Ricans were left without electricity for nearly a year after the storm.

Puerto Rico Blackout Hits 3.4 Million People

Hurricane Maria Leaves Puerto Rico Without Power

A private company – Luma Energy – took over operation and maintenance of Puerto Rico’s power system this month.

On June 10, Luma Energy said that the fire broke out at the Monacillo power distribution plant soon after the company website was hit with two million visits per second, in a cyber-attack known as a denial of service.

Outages have already affected more than one million households in Puerto Rico so far this month.

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Ideally, growing companies would be able to dedicate as much money as they needed to in order to enhance their marketing efforts. However, in reality, most small businesses have a finite marketing budget. This means that business leaders may have to make tough choices about how best to allocate available funds. If you’re working with a tight budget, but want to maintain a strong marketing presence all the same, then this blog is for you. Here are three tips you can use to make the most of your marketing budget:

Track Everything

Put as simply as possible, the best way to spend your marketing budget is to support campaigns that are successful or that have been successful in the past. Easy enough, right? The problem is that many companies don’t actually know where their leads come from. Some professionals may have no idea which marketing campaigns are producing the best results and which are falling short of expectations. That’s why it’s absolutely essential to track conversions and sales from each of your campaigns. The better data you have, the more informed decisions you can make and the better outcomes you can expect to achieve in the future!

Focus on Quality Leads

Want to get the most bang for your buck when you start marketing online? Then focus most of your efforts on retargeting previous customers and high-quality leads. It can be easy to get excited about campaigns that generate a lot of clicks and attention for your company. Yet, at the end of the day, marketing tactics need to produce tangible returns. If you’re most concerned about making money now, then prioritize re-targeting measures and specific campaigns designed for serious customers. You may generate fewer leads this way, but it could end up producing more sales.

Think Long-Term

Too often, business leaders take a reactive approach to digital marketing. If a campaign begins to falter, they may scrap it prematurely. This is a bad idea. Some marketing strategies can take months or even years to fully develop. As such, don’t start a marketing plan that you aren’t prepared to fully support. The silver lining to long-term marketing is that it can produce significant ROI and set your company up for success. Just because you have a disappointing month using email marketing tactics, it doesn’t mean you should quit doing it altogether! A little patience can go a long way in this regard.

Conclusion

Whether your company sells athletic fit scrubs or household appliances, these tips will help you get the most from your marketing budget. Keep them handy moving forward!

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Image source Pexels

Construction accidents are virtually inevitable. You can certainly follow all the safety rules and regulations that exist, but construction sites are full of potentially dangerous equipment, and occasionally, something is bound to go wrong. The question is, who can you hold legally responsible if an accident occurs?

That’s sometimes not as straightforward to figure out as you might expect. Let’s look at the four main entities who you might try to hold accountable if you injure yourself on a construction site.

Equipment or Construction Machinery Manufacturers

If a construction accident injures you, you might be able to sue an equipment or construction machinery manufacturer. However, that will only be the case in certain specific instances.

There’s no point in going after an equipment manufacturer unless you can establish that the equipment or machinery malfunctioned in such a way that it hurt you. If you mishandled the machinery, such as if you never received the proper training in how to use it, a lawsuit is not going to get you very far.

Defective equipment or machinery can harm workers, but a lawyer might have a tough time convincing a jury that’s what happened. They might bring in expert witnesses who can reconstruct the accident or examine the machinery to determine that it malfunctioned.

Architects or Engineers

Engineers or architects are usually the ones who design the structures that you create on construction sites. Because of this, you’re trying to create their vision. That means you’re following along according to the plans they lay out.

These architects and engineers must comply with all safety regulations that exist. They also have to carry out regular site inspections to make sure nothing looks unsafe.

During the project’s design and construction phases, they must also follow accepted performance standards. They must be very knowledgeable about what materials to use.

If all you do is follow along with what an engineer or architect says, but you still hurt yourself because of faulty plans or materials, you might focus on the engineer, architect, or both, if you elect to bring a lawsuit. They must always have worker safety in mind, and if they fail in that charge, you might be able to build a case against them.

General and Sub-Contractors

It’s up to the general and sub-contractors to provide you, the construction workers, with a safe environment in which to do your job. If there are any inherent hazards on the site, they need to tell you about them. They also must inform you of any defects that exist.

They must hire competent professional workers who know what they’re doing. They should follow all regulations that exist within the construction industry.

Any safety lapse that causes you to hurt yourself while on the job might be enough for you to take a general or sub-contractor to court. If they know you don’t have the training or know-how to handle the job, they have no business hiring you. They should also be present on the site to oversee any active work that you’re doing on it.

Construction Site Property Owners

The construction site property owner is one more individual who you might name in a lawsuit if you hurt yourself on the job. An owner must maintain their property and make sure it’s safe to use as a worksite. If a harmful condition exists, and they knew about it, but they let you continue working anyway, you can often find them liable in court.

Some construction site property owners might want you to press on and finish a project, even if they know a dangerous condition exists. That might be because they have a deadline, and they don’t want anything to get in its way.

Finishing projects on time matters, but safety is always going to matter more. The challenging part might be proving that the site owner knew about the dangerous condition, though. They may try to deny it, especially if their reputation and a lot of money are at stake.

Remember, though, an owner might turn site control over to an independent contractor. If that’s true, the contractor should be a lawsuit’s target, not the owner.

Even though these are the four most likely culprits if you hurt yourself while on a construction site, it’s also possible that you might sue more than one of them. It could be that multiple individuals or entities behaved improperly, and if so, there’s no reason not to go after each of them.

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Image by Spencer Wing from Pixabay

These days, many people go online to access goods and services of all types. One of the things that many people do is to check out online reviews from other people before they make any decision with regard to purchasing goods and services that they are interested in. This makes it far easier for them to make an informed decision with regard to the most suitable choice for their needs.

As a homeowner in Richmond, one of the services you may be looking for is a foundation contractor to check or repair foundation issues at your home. If you need to find foundation contractors in Richmond, it can prove extremely helpful to look at reviews from other homeowners in the area before you make your decision. There are many ways in which you can benefit by looking at reviews from other people, and we will look at some of these benefits in this article.

Some Benefits of Looking at Reviews

Finding the right foundation contractor is a very important task, as this type of work must be carried out to high standards in order to protect your home. By looking at reviews, you can find out a lot of valuable information that can help you to make an informed choice. This includes:

The Standard of Workmanship

When it comes to something as crucial as foundation repairs at your home, you naturally want to ensure the standard of workmanship is high. However, if you have never used this type of professional before and cannot get personal recommendations from friends and family members, it can be difficult to determine whether the quality of work will be up to scratch. Fortunately, looking at online reviews will make it much easier to determine what the standard of workmanship is like based on the experiences of other people.

Reliability of the Provider

When you are having foundation repair work carried out at your home, you naturally want a provider that is very reliable. The last thing you need is someone that fails to turn up or spends more time taking tea breaks than doing the work. You also do not want a provider that promises the earth and then fails to deliver or botches up the job completely. By looking at online reviews, you can learn more about how reliable the provider was, which means that you can make your decision with far greater confidence.

Level of Service Offered

It is also important to find professionals that offer a high level of service so that you can get any issues ironed out quickly and easily. What you don’t want is someone who is communicative until they have been paid and then becomes impossible to get hold of it any issues arise. So, make sure you look at reviews and learn more about the levels of customer service provided by the company before you make up your mind.

These are just a few of the ways in which online reviews can help you.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Press release

May 18, 2021

The “cancer clusters” found in The Fifth Ward and Kashmere Gardens may not be the end of the frightening medical reality for folks who live in a section of The Fifth Ward.

New studies confirm leukemia rates up to 600 percent higher and reveal another chemical problem – high levels of arsenic in the groundwater behind a swath of the neighborhood.

Tonight (May 18, 2021) at 7 pm, Houston attorney Jason Gibson will brief the community on the current lawsuits against Union Pacific. Union Pacific is accused of poisoning the air, soil, and water with toxic chemicals, including creosote – a wood preservative used in railroad ties.

“Union Pacific has knowingly been an underground poisoner, concealing creosote contamination for decades,” says Gibson.

“There is no longer any doubt about the contamination. My job is to hold Union Pacific accountable.”

The town hall will be held at Norton Memorial Temple Church of God in Christ. 5008 Lucille Street, Houston, Texas 77026.

Please contact The Gibson Law Firm or Dolcefino Consulting for additional information.

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Whether your child has just begun to walk or entered their teenage years, it’s never too early to start saving for their college education. According to Statistics Canada, the average tuition fee for an undergraduate program at a Canadian university was $6,468 per year from 2019 to 2020. Taking living expenses and other costs into account, the total amount needed to complete a four-year program can easily exceed $50,000. Although the steep costs can be discouraging, you can make things a lot more manageable by taking the following measures to save for your child’s future education:

1. Start a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

Image via Flickr by wuestenigel

An RESP refers to a government-sponsored investment program that’s specially designed to help you save for your child’s post-secondary education. It enables your investments to grow tax-free and offers contributions from the government. You’re allowed to contribute as much as $2,500 a year, and the government will match 20% of your annual contributions through the Canadian Education Savings Grant (CESG) program. However, the funds in your account can only be used for the purpose of education. Still, starting an RESP early is an effective way to minimize your kid’s student loan debt.

2. Sign Up for a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

A TFSA is another popular method of saving money for post-secondary education. It’s a federal savings program that enables individuals who are at least 18 years old and have a social insurance number to build up savings in a tax-free manner throughout their lifetime. You have the freedom to withdraw your money anytime and use it for any purpose, including funding your children’s education. With this savings account, your funds will be tax-free even when you withdraw them. However, there’s a limit on the amount of money you’re allowed to contribute each year. 

3. Open a Trust Account

If you prefer to have more flexibility, it’s a good idea to open a trust account. A trust account enables you to use your contributions for any purpose, from paying college expenses to buying a car. With this type of account, your child is regarded as the owner of the funds, but you can withdraw the money you contributed if you’re willing to pay tax on the capital gains.

4. Purchase Life Insurance

Many parents are using life insurance to save money for their children’s college education by building up cash value in their policies. The main advantage of this strategy is that it allows the funds to grow tax-free until they’re withdrawn. Additionally, it gives you the option to use the cash value as collateral for a student loan. However, there’s a downside to this method of saving for college, which is the loss of control over the money you deposit into your policy. You’ll also have less flexibility when it comes to managing your life insurance plan. 

All college savings strategies have their pros and cons. Doing proper research on different options can help you determine which one is most suitable for you and your child.

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“Donald Trump” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

Facebook has removed a video of former President Donald Trump from the page of his daughter-in-law Lara Trump.

The social media giant banned Donald Trump from its platform in January following riots by his supporters on the Capitol building in Washington.

Lara Trump, a new Fox News contributor, posted a video of herself interviewing Donald Trump on a range of issues.

Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law later posted a screenshot of an email she received from Facebook warning her of the ban.

“In line with the block we placed on Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, further content posted in the voice of Donald Trump will be removed and result in additional limitations on the account,” an email from “Katelyn” read.

Trump’s YouTube Channel Suspended

President Trump Permanently Suspended from Twitter

Lara Trump, who is married to Eric Trump, instead posted the interview for her own online show The Right View on the video platform Rumble and linked to it from her Facebook page.

“And just like that, we are one step closer to Orwell’s 1984. Wow,” she commented on her Instagram account.

Long-time Trump supporter and Fox News TV host Sean Hannity described the move as “extreme censorship” in a tweet.

Facebook’s suspension of Donald Trump’s account on January 7 – a day after the Capitol riots – is being reviewed by its new Oversight Board, which was set up to rule on controversial moderation decisions.

Defending the ban at the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg said: “We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”

Former President Donald Trump was also banned from Twitter and YouTube.

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Image source: Getty Images

Ten people, including a police officer, have been killed by a gunman following an hours-long stand-off at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado.

The attack ended with police detaining an injured suspect at the King Soopers market.

The shooting was live-streamed by witnesses and broadcast on YouTube.

Among the dead was 51-year-old Eric Talley, who was the first police officer to respond to the shooting.

“This is a tragedy and a nightmare for Boulder County,” the area’s district attorney, Michael Dougherty, said.

“These were people going about their day, doing their shopping. I promise the victims and the people of the state of Colorado that we will secure justice.”

No other details have been released about the nine other victims or a motive for the attack.

The grocery store is located in a busy shopping plaza in Boulder, a north-central Colorado city about 30 miles away from the state capital of Denver.

The supermarket attack comes less than a week after a mass shooting that left eight dead, including six Asian women, at three spas in Atlanta.

Texas Mass Shooting: Five Killed and 21 Injured in Second Attack in A Month

Santa Fe Shooting: Ten Killed as Student Opens Fire at Texas High School

The incident began at about 14:30 local time on March 22 when the suspect entered the supermarket and began firing.

Shoppers and employees of the store said they had to dive for cover or run to safety as the shooting unfolded.

Some of the stand-off was captured on camera by a passer-by, showing victims near the grocery store.

Gunshots can be heard as he runs away from the shop.

The video continues, with police arriving on the scene and surrounding the market.

The Boulder police department later warned people to avoid the area and told them not to “broadcast on social media any tactical information you might see”.

Eyewitnesses said the suspect was armed with a rifle. A police source told CNN it was an AR-15 style rifle, a semi-automatic gun that has been used in several mass shootings across the US.

Aerial footage later showed a handcuffed, shirtless man with an apparent injury to his leg being put onto a stretcher for treatment. Authorities did not say whether he was the suspect or not.

Speaking at a press conference, Boulder police chief Maris Herold confirmed that a suspect was in custody and was receiving hospital treatment.

Maris Herold named the officer killed as Eric Talley, a father of seven who had been with the Boulder Police Department since 2010.

The names of the other victims will not be released until relatives have been informed.

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Other than rent, spending money on food is many people’s second-biggest expense. Don’t feel too bad about it, good food is essential for good health. However, heading into troubling the economic times of 2021, the food bill is somewhere we can cut monthly spending. Here are some tips to help cut down weekly shopping bills.

Internet shopping and vouchers

The internet is your biggest resource when it comes to saving money in 2021. The internet allows us to compare prices more easily, opt for the best deals, and seek out vouchers. Iceland Vouchers, for example, can save customers 10% on their food bill. There are plenty of ways to find good deals online thanks to affiliate marketing and the fight for customer’s attention.

It’s much faster to compare the prices between two supermarkets online than in real life, so it’s great to use this to inform our decision – even if we do eventually shop in the physical store.

Making food last longer

Making food last longer is one of the most overlooked forms of waste. Fruit and veg contribute to around 50% of food wastage – a statistic that is damaging the environment. This starts with better education surrounding storing different products. For example, potatoes and onions need to be in a cool, dark place, separate from each other so the gases do not combine. 

It’s also important to organise and utilise the refrigerator people, too. The bottom shelf is the coldest, and thus is where meat and fish should be stored, whilst dairy can take the top shelf. Cheese and other items that get opened then re-used should be re-wrapped in a resealable bag.

Bulk buying

Simple economics tells us that bulk buying is cheaper per unit. The reason for this is because companies save money on postage, packaging, and are happy to entice customers into bigger sales to offload stock. 

Customers can make the most of this by looking at the price per kg (or price per unit) that exists on every label in a shop. For example, the largest box of washing powder will likely be cheaper per kg than the smallest box (presuming it’s the same brand). Alternatively, customers can shop at wholesalers.

The caveat here is only buy in large quantity if you’re 100% sure that you will not waste any, or come to the realisation that you did not need that much.

Frozen over fresh

Frozen food has a bad reputation, but it’s often undeserved. Frozen vegetables have been proven to be fresher than non-frozen vegetables because they’re frozen right after harvest. Not only this, but frozen fruit and veg is significantly cheaper than fresh fruit and veg. Plus, you’re going to sidestep the trap of perishable food waste.

Plant-based diet

Being a strict vegan or vegetarian is a personal choice and opinion. What isn’t up for debate, however, is that meat is expensive per gram compared to plant-based foods. The only meat that is cheap typically highly processesed and therefore very bad for your health.

Cutting down meat, such as meatless Mondays, can be a big money saver. Using black beans instead of mincemeat in a Con Carne, or a vegan burger instead of a steak burger is undoubtedly cheaper and can still provide good levels of protein. Plus, vegan alternatives are getting cheaper as the supply has begun to increase.

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Image source: CNN

Beijing was covered in thick dust on March 15 as it experienced what its weather bureau has called the worst sandstorm in a decade.

The storm in the Chinese capital caused an unprecedented spike in air pollution measurements – with pollution levels in some districts at 160 times the recommended limit.

Hundreds of flights were canceled or grounded as the sky was covered by an apocalyptic-looking orange haze.

The sand is being brought in by strong winds from Mongolia.

In Mongolia the severe sandstorms have reportedly caused six deaths and left dozens missing.

China’s Global Times media outlet reported that at least 12 provinces in the country, including the capital, had been affected, and the weather was likely to continue through the day on March 15 before improving at night.

The WHO currently sets safe levels of air quality based on the concentration of polluting particles called particulate matter (PM) found in the air.

According to AFP quoting the Global Times, the PM 10 pollution in six central districts reached “over 8,100 micrograms per cubic meter” on March 15. The WHO considers levels between 0-54 as “good” and 55-154″ as “moderate” levels of PM 10.

AFP added that schools had been told to cancel outdoor events, and those with respiratory diseases advised to stay indoors.

Under the Dome: China takes anti-pollution documentary offline

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The Chinese capital was historically hit by sandstorms on a much more regular basis, but pollution reduction projects – including prohibitions on new coal-fired power plants, restrictions on the number of cars on the road and reforestation – have significantly improved air quality. Sandstorms like the one seen this week, caused by wind, are harder to control.

Beijing and surrounding regions have suffered from high levels of pollution in recent weeks, with one Greenpeace activist telling AFP that it was a result of “intense” industrial activities. These, he said, exacerbated sandstorm conditions, which were the “result of extreme weather conditions and desertification”.

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A lot can happen in a year. From finding out you’re expecting a new bundle of joy to eventually welcoming your little one, to getting engaged and then married, to adopting pets or buying a house, these milestone occasions are worth celebrating — and not just with those you see on a daily or weekly basis.

When it comes to sharing this important news with more distant friends and family members, though, never underestimate the power of a traditional paper card.

Looking for a thoughtful way to announce news of important milestones? Here are three great ideas you’ll love.

1. Add the News to Your Christmas Card

Sending Christmas cards to family and friends is a warm and welcoming holiday tradition. For many, receiving such wishes is one of the highlights of the season, and perhaps a chance to send and receive a little love from those you can’t be physically close to during the festive season.

Christmas cards are also a great way to update those friends and family members about major changes in your life that have happened in the past year.

When your loved ones are already anticipating a card, they’ll be even more excited to learn about the exciting news that you’re looking to announce. Whether you bought a new house or adopted a pet, adding a note and a photo to your custom Christmas cards is a great way to let everyone on your list know.

2. Send an Engagement Announcement or Save-the-Date

While weddings seem to become more extravagant year after year, the average length of an engagement is surprisingly short. In fact, most couples are only engaged for just 12 to 18 months before they tie the knot.

When you know you’ll only be engaged for a short time, it might be tempting to skip over formal traditions in favor of something quick and easy. But before you text or post to social media about the news, you might want to reconsider.

Sending an engagement announcement or even a save-the-date is a special gesture befitting of the occasion. Not only is it exciting mail for your friends and loved ones to receive, but it also acts as a special moment of your all-too-short engagement period.

3. Mail a Birth Announcement

In a time when social media reigns supreme, it’s no surprise that many parents choose to announce the arrival of their new little bundle of joy via a carefully worded, perfectly photographed Instagram or Facebook post. When you’re excited to share the news and want to show off your little one’s already adorable looks, it’s understandable that you’d opt for social media to get the word out as quickly as possible.

Regardless if you decide to post to social media, mailing a birth announcement is still an important tradition to keep. For grandparents, distant aunts and uncles, and even close friends, a beautiful paper birth announcement — especially one featuring a photo of your little one — is a great keepsake. Whether they display it on their refrigerator until they get to meet your newborn in-person or tuck it away in a scrapbook, it’s a small, simple token that can mean a lot to your friends and family members.

Sharing Your Big Moments

From birth and engagement announcements to sharing smaller milestones on your Christmas card, these are all great ways to celebrate life’s moments, both big and small, with your friends and loved ones near and far!

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Image source: Pexels

Many people feel safer in the comforts of their home, particularly when it comes to any kind of pollution. The outside world can be filled with dust, smog, haze, and other potentially harmful pollutants, which is why many people feel like their indoor air is clean and safe for them to breathe.

While it may seem that your home’s indoor air quality is far better than the outdoors, this is not entirely true. In some cases, indoors tend to be more polluted than the outdoors. The air in our homes can be filled with chemicals from home cleaners and fire-control equipment. In fact, there is a high probability that your home has a heating system that retains allergens indoors. It is not always possible to open the windows to air out your home. However, there are numerous ways for you to improve your home’s air quality:

1.   Regularly Clean Your Home

Air pollution in your home will be significantly reduced once you make cleaning a part of your routine. For one, you will see an immediate reduction of dust, pet dander, and other potential allergens. Start by having a regular schedule of vacuuming your carpets and rugs. Make sure you have a vacuum that comes with suitable filters. If you plan to renovate your home, it will help to replace the carpet flooring with hardwood or tiles to reduce the presence of air allergens.

In addition to cleaning your carpets regularly, you should also pay careful attention to your curtains, cushions, sofas, and bedding. If you have pets that stay indoors, make sure to clean their area, mainly where they spend most of their time. It will also help to reduce your clutter that can accumulate dust.

2.   Change Your AC Filters

Your home’s heating, venting, and air-conditioning system work year-round to make sure that your entire family enjoys the perfect temperature. Part of its function is to maintain the proper air cycle in your home by filtering the air pollutants. That’s why it is necessary to practice proper maintenance of the AC filters. Failure to clean these filters can lead to clogging and eventual breakage, which will drastically drop your home’s air quality.

3.   Air Your Plants

Having indoor plants offers many benefits. Aside from improving the overall appearance of your home, they also improve your air quality. However, they can also be prone to become a breeding ground for mold, dust, and other pests. That’s why it is essential to air them once in a while. It will help if you can bring your plants outside at least twice a week to get the necessary sunlight and air they need.

4.   Air Out Your Home

Indoor air can become stale if there is not steady airflow in your home. Whenever possible, it is best to air out your home. Open your windows to let the air circulate. However, if it is not possible, particularly during the winter season, you can use trickle vents instead. They are highly beneficial for homes in urban settings where the outdoor air is full of smog, smoke, and dust. Having them in your bathroom and kitchen helps, as these areas need it the most.

5.   Avoid Smoking Inside

If you live with a smoker, instruct them to smoke outside of your home. The smoke from cigarettes has over 4,000 harmful chemicals, which can cause cancer, infections, and asthma. If possible, quitting is a better option for everyone.

Maintaining good indoor air quality is crucial for one’s health. Following the above tips will ensure that your home is both clean and safe.

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Image source: EPA

Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of jailed Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, has been arrested in the US on suspicion of drug trafficking, authorities say.

The 31-year-old was detained at Dulles International Airport outside Washington DC.

El Chapo’s wife is charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.

The 63-year-old drug lord is currently serving a life sentence in New York for drug trafficking and money laundering.

El Chapo is a former head of the Sinaloa cartel, which officials say was the biggest supplier of drugs to the US.

His trial in 2019 heard shocking revelations about his life, from drugging and raping girls as young as 13 to carrying out the cold-blooded murders of former cartel members and rivals.

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El Chapo Guzman Complains in Court About US Jail Conditions

Emma Coronel Aispuro is due to appear in a federal court in DC via video conference, the DoJ said.

As well as facing drug trafficking charges, she is also accused of conspiring with others to help her husband escape from prison in Mexico in 2015.

El Chapo Guzman was sprung from Mexico’s maximum-security Altiplano prison after his sons bought a property near the prison and a GPS watch smuggled into the prison gave diggers his exact location. He escaped by riding a specially adapted small motorcycle through the tunnel.

Court documents said Emma Coronel Aispuro was allegedly involved in planning another prison escape for her husband before he was extradited to the US in January 2017.

Emma Coronel Aispuro has not commented on the charges.

She is a dual US-Mexico citizen and the mother of twins with Guzman. She attended nearly every day of her husband’s three-month trial in New York, during which she heard not only grim accounts of murder and rape, but also claims he spied on her and other mistresses.

El Chapo Guzmán came from a poor family in Sinaloa state, north-west Mexico. His organized crime business grew so big that he entered Forbes’ 2009 list of the world’s richest men at number 701, with an estimated worth of $1 billion.