News Release Informing Wisconsin Taxpayers About Extension of Due Dates due to Extreme Weather Issued

first_imgThe Wisconsin Department of Revenue has issued a news release informing taxpayers that due dates for sales, withholding and other business taxes (premier resort tax, local exposition tax, etc.) have been extended. The news release states that state agencies were closed for public business on Wednesday, January 30, due to extreme weather conditions. Further, the news release states that United States Postal Service is also experiencing service disruptions throughout the state. As a result, due dates for sales, withholding and other business taxes including premier resort tax, local exposition tax, etc. have been extended. Furthermore, due dates to submit Forms W-2 wage and tax statements and Forms 1099 have also been extended. Any return or wage statement that was due January 31, 2019, will be automatically given a new due date of Monday, February 4.News Release, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, January 31, 2019Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Why Ronaldo left Barca for Inter in world-record deal

first_imgFormer Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has revealed that Ronaldo was keen to stay at the club prior to his blockbuster move to Inter, but decided on a transfer while Blaugrana officials were out celebrating his contract renewal at dinner. The Brazilian has gone down in history as one of the finest players ever to star at Camp Nou, despite spending just a single season with the Catalan club. In the 1996-97 campaign, Ronaldo smashed an incredible 47 goals in 49 games in all competitions, making himself an instant favourite with fans following his move from PSV in the summer of 1996.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Fast forward one year and Barcelona’s board were looking forward to extending his stay, only to see Inter jump in with a world record bid of £19.5 million ($27 million) to take him to San Siro. And, according to Gaspart, the news took everyone involved by surprise. “Ronaldo wanted to stay at Barcelona, he was happy and his wish was to renew,” the former chief, vice-president at that time, explained to  Goal . “We had even typed out the contract in front of the player himself and his two agents. “It was three in the afternoon and we justifiably decided to go out to eat and celebrate Ronaldo’s renewal, and then return to the office and sign the agreement we had reached.” Ronaldo Gaspart Barcelona PSWhile Gaspart and his colleagues were celebrating Ronaldo’s new deal, however, the player’s agents were secretly arranging his exit from Barcelona. “We even toasted with cava to celebrate the agreement,” Gaspart recalls. “That was a mistake because if we had not gone out to eat and had signed at the same time we reached the agreement, Ronaldo would have stayed at Barcelona.”During the meeting, Gaspart claims that “one of his agents went off for half an hour to take a phone call”, which happened to be from Inter president Massimo Moratti. “At that time we did not pay much attention to the agent’s absence. When he came back he apologised, had some coffee and toasted before going to the office to sign the contract. “From the first moment we got to president [Josep] Nunez’s office, the agents began to put obstacles up, they told Ronaldo to go home and that they would call him to sign. I asked them if they did not want to sign. “They insisted they did but what they wanted was to renegotiate almost the entire contract, increasing the financial terms. They were trying to destroy the talks.”Even when Barca agreed to reopen discussions, it became clear that the player’s agents were holding out for a San Siro switch.”When we managed to renegotiate the five points they requested, they found a sixth part, which we also solved, and then a seventh,” he stated. “In tears, [Ronaldo] told me that he was sorry but his agents had a much better offer than ours and that it was better for all parties for him to go to another club to make much more money.”The very next day Inter deposited 4bn pesetas ($24m) in La Liga’s accounts to meet Ronaldo’s release clause, making him the second player after Diego Maradona to break the world transfer record twice.fernando couto ronaldo nazario vitor baia luis figo - barcelona cup winners cup - 1997Barcelona, however, were not willing to let their superstar go without a fight. “We did not agree and I went to FIFA in Zurich to file a complaint against Inter,” he said. “The decision was taken to set up an arbitration committee to decide how much should be paid, not if the player could go to Inter, it was clear that was going to happen. FIFA agreed with Barcelona and Inter had to pay a further 400m pesetas.”I personally told Moratti that what he did was not right because he knew we were negotiating and we had closed the operation. He has always denied knowing that we had come to an agreement but that’s a lie.”Whenever I see him I remind him that Ronaldo did not want to go to Inter, it was his agents who convinced him due to the money.”Despite Ronaldo’s swift exit, Gaspart insists that the Selecao star was never happier than when he was lining up at Camp Nou – and that he almost returned five years later.”Ronaldo told me [in 2002] that if we equalled Real Madrid’s offer, he would choose Barcelona but it was a huge offer and we could not make such a big investment for a player who had left in that way,” he said. “Ronaldo’s heart is more Blaugrana than Madrid because he has better memories of his time at Barcelona.”last_img read more

Washington State Pioneers New Model for Utility-Scale Renewable Energy

first_imgMany businesses in Washington state want to use renewable energy. Starbucks, REI and Microsoft are all iconic brands in the Pacific Northwest making big commitments to wind and solar. Of the 65 companies that have signed the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers Principles, more than a dozen use substantial energy in Washington state. Public sector energy users like King County and the Port of Seattle have also committed to renewable power.Nonetheless, Washington’s large energy buyers have found it difficult to access renewable energy because nearly all buyers must go through their utilities to buy energy. Those utilities still use at least some fossil fuel-based sources.Washington’s largest investor-owned utility, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), announced today that it will meet some of those needs with Green Direct, a new renewable energy program, or green tariff. Green tariffs are programs offered by electricity utilities that allow eligible customers to buy energy from a renewable project as well as the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) the customers have traditionally purchased. PSE’s new tariff is the first of its kind, offering a model for other utilities around the country to offer affordable renewable energy through the grid to smaller, existing customers. Green Direct’s first subscribers include commercial customers (REI, Starbucks, Target), local governments (Anacortes, Bellevue, King County, Mercer Island and Snoqualmie) and local institutions (Western Washington University and Sound Transit).Mount Baker seen from Anacortes, Washington. Photo by Joe A. Kunzler/Flickr Customers of utility subscriber programs pay a monthly bill, rather than making a capital investment. Often, community solar programs ask customers to “buy a brick,” or invest money to build the project. Most large companies do not want to spend their capital on renewable energy projects—rather, they prefer to pay an electricity bill each month that includes the power from a renewable energy project. A utility or a private developer will then invest capital in the project in return for those long-term payments. Customers of utility subscriber programs do not accrue a large bill credit for the power the project generates, as net-metered customers with onsite solar or community solar shares often do. In a subscriber program, customers pay for the power they use each month – at the cost of the renewable project – like customers accessing electricity from traditional power plants. This means that these projects are not subsidized by non-participating customers, as sometimes happens in net-metering.U.S. Utilities Look for InnovationWith the emergence of the first, large-scale subscriber-based green tariff, other utilities can point their stakeholders and regulators to this positive example. Expect similar utility programs to crop up, providing new renewable energy at better prices to meet growing demand from large buyers.While Green Direct has been developing, Puget Sound Energy’s single largest customer, Microsoft, has been pursuing a renewable energy solution independent of PSE. In early April 2017, that process took another step forward, reaching a settlement between the parties. Microsoft’s electricity demand is much larger than the next largest PSE customer and their arrangement is well suited to a large, sophisticated customer that can directly engage with electricity markets. Different corporate buyers have different strategies for meeting their renewable energy goals based on their energy use across the country. Does the company have many small retail locations, a few large manufacturing or data center locations, or many mid-size office buildings? Building ownership also impacts the renewable energy strategy – does the company own the real estate or do many franchisees or landlords own the facilities and pay the electricity bills? The emerging range of renewable energy products, offered by both utilities and third parties, points to a maturing and important market for clean energy in the U.S.center_img An Innovative Approach to Utility-Scale Renewable EnergyWhile some companies have added on-site renewables like solar photovoltaics (PV), it’s rarely enough to meet their total electricity needs. Companies therefore look to the grid and their electricity utilities, which are regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.Called Green Direct, or Schedule 139, PSE’s program offers customers a slice of a local, utility-scale renewable energy project that the utility signed a long-term contract with. Customers who choose the Green Direct program will pay a consistent price, even if PSE’s electricity rates rise over time for other customers using traditional fossil fuel-based power.This is a groundbreaking approach to utility-scale renewable power. In October, WRI found that 10 green tariff options had been proposed or implemented around the United States, but they primarily enabled a single very large, new customer to contract with a renewable energy project. PSE’s Green Direct program is the first of a new, subscriber-style of tariff, offering smaller customers a piece of a large renewable project. This will be the first green tariff used by retailers and small governments.In Colorado (see docket 16A-0055E) and Minnesota (see docket 15-985), Xcel Energy is developing similar programs called Renewable*Connect, which won approval from state regulators this winter and will roll out to customers in the coming months.PSE and Xcel Energy’s approach reflects a historic advantage for utilities: economies of scale. Utilities have always worked as demand aggregators, collecting the buying power of many customers to build large, centralized power plants that offer affordable rates. PSE and Xcel Energy’s subscriber programs apply that same approach to renewable energy projects, bringing together customer demand to deliver better prices for electricity than smaller renewable energy projects.Comparison: Utility Subscriber Programs versus Community SolarPSE and Xcel Energy’s subscriber programs are somewhat similar to community solar or shared renewables programs, which are also gaining popularity around the country. In those programs, many smaller customers usually buy part of the community project and pay it off over time, using the electricity from the project for their home or business to replace some of the power they would usually purchase from their utility.Green tariff subscriber programs have advantages that appeal to Fortune 500 companies and other large buyers:Utility subscriber projects are much larger-scale. Community solar may be quite small – often still a “distributed” renewable energy project less than 5 megawatts (MW), enough to power about 800 homes. PSE is signing a contract for 130 MW of wind to support its Green Direct program. That’s enough to power more than 32,000 homes, or a few large factories and sewage treatment plants. Many large buyers need much more power than a shared renewables program is designed to deliver, but are not large enough to contract a whole 130 MW facility alone.last_img read more

Meet the Experts: Q&A with Leonardo Martinez-Diaz

first_imgLeonardo Martinez-Diaz is the Global Director for WRI’s Sustainable Finance Center. A former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy and Environment at U.S. Department of the Treasury for the Obama Administration, he is an expert on climate finance. He has also served at the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and USAID. In a recent interview, he reflected on prospects for public and private investment in climate actions.Insights: You’ve been a leading participant in several international climate negotiations. What have you taken away from the process?Leonardo Martinez-Diaz: I’ve come to appreciate the importance of international cooperation: how important it is to have a common vision of what the problem is and how to address it. For example, the G20 now has a strong, shared vision of climate action and climate finance. Even though the U.S. has gone in a different direction, the other countries have stuck together. That wouldn’t have happened without the dialogue over the last four years.How have innovations in technology encouraged the market for climate financing?LMD: The market and technology are moving very fast. Look at the cost of solar energy, for example, which has come down 90 percent since 2009. Wind power costs are down 50 percent since 2009. That’s an incredibly fast change in a positive direction, and it’s been going on for the last seven or eight years. Of course, at the same time, climate change itself is manifesting with increased frequency and severity. We have to get our politics aligned with trends, both in nature and technology.What are the most encouraging developments in climate financing?LMD: First, there are now plans at the country level (the NDCs), which create a framework for investments. That sends a signal to the market that governments are interested in making policy and other changes to make those investments happen. Second, markets are reacting to the cost curve. They’re seeing that solar and other technologies are becoming more market-attractive, easier and cheaper to deploy. As a result, we’ve now got about $300 billion a year now going into renewables globally. That’s not enough to get us to the 2-degree target, but it’s certainly very positive. Third, countries are funding new financial instruments, like the green bonds market. That didn’t exist until a few years ago, and this year it’s likely to exceed $120 billion in issuance. Countries from Mali to China are setting up green funds at the national level, and are looking for financial innovations to help them meet their goals.What are the biggest sectors in terms of overall climate investment?Investment powers development of new renewable tech like this solar film. Flickr/eni LMD: In places like China, Germany, the U.S., even South America and northern Africa, a lot of investment is going to renewables. Another important area is energy efficiency―in commercial buildings, in homes, in vehicles. Regardless of what you think about climate change, that’s an area that is very attractive to many people. What we don’t have is adequate investment in adaptation and resilience. That’s where we see a real lack of scale.What are your priorities as director?LMD: At WRI, we have a very dynamic group of people who are global in outlook and are committed to a rigorous, data-based analysis. We can play a role that others can’t – we can take a more neutral stance on issues like finance and be an honest broker, bringing together different folks.One goal is ensuring that multi-lateral and regional banks are investing in things that will be sustainable. Another is focusing on investor awareness of climate risk and opportunity, which we see as very important. Third, to work at the country level to help them to finance the NDCs. Fourth, we want to focus on adaptation finance – how to get finance to flow to adaptation in general.What will it take to expand the role of the private sector in climate finance?LMD: Investors are increasingly aware of climate risk and opportunity. They’re beginning to ask if the money they’re investing in their portfolios is going to going to sustainable activities, or whether it is highly exposed to things that are unsustainable and risky.So it’s a mix: promoting policies that are conducive to investment; making sure that the right players are in the room and have the information to identify opportunities; and getting the big investors and their managers to understand the risks and opportunities. Then they will pass that interest and awareness on to the companies in which they invest.last_img read more

3 More Critical SEO Mistakes You Are Making

first_img 1. Use, But Don’t Abuse Geographic Search Terms for your website, recall that your company’s name is probably your least important keyword. To start with, anyone who types your company’s exact name will be arriving at your site anyway. But more importantly, the words that you put at the front of your page title are the very first thing that someone will see on a search results page that includes you. If their search for “denver datacenter” sends them to a company’s name and not to a page that reads “Denver Datacenter” or “Datacenters near Denver”, they will skip over your result. Put your best foot forward with your potential visitors, and begin with their keyword. SEO Mistakes Last month, we page titles Topics: covered three of the greatest perils Finally, be careful of reusing those well-optimized page title names on many pages. Not only is it a bad geographic keyword placement Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack , but it will make it very hard to read your analytics reports later. Think back to last month’s article: Be thoughtful of which pages are optimized for what words, and that their content matches that keyword. If you have many pages around the same keyword, think about variations or other words that may fit better, or reword things so that you don’t have five pages with the same name. You’ll be more interesting to your readers, the search engines, and your analytics will be more legible. 2. Place Important Keywords Early In Page Titles This brings us to our next point: When planning thecenter_img . This month, let’s take on three more common mistakes that can come up in the process of doing great search optimization: Keyword stuffing and page titles. With this guide in hand, you should be able to confront these nasty website foes and walk into a world with a better-optimized website than ever before. SEO practice terms. Our well-intentioned efforts to optimize our website for lots of local areas can backfire easily: Think about what people search for when they look for your services locally. Then think about your website’s Our first great evil is keyword stuffing, especially of geographic search optimization . Do you have page titles or text on your site that reads something like “Windshield Replacement Boston Cambridge Somerville Everett”? Do you really want to rank for just “Somerville”? I didn’t think so. That’s how search engines are reading your string of stuffed keywords. 3. Don’t Reuse Your Page Titles, No Matter How Tempting Photo Credit: lars604 that confront modern websites that are trying to do healthy People searching for a town or city name are looking for local information – Like government, local news sources, and others. They don’t want their windshield replaced, their taxes done, or construction work. Optimize for strings like “windshield replacement boston”, not “Windshield Replacement Somerville Boston Cambridge Everett”. If you care about many cities like this, create content for each one. Have a page for each city you serve, and explain your relationship that area, or examples of jobs that you did there. Don’t be shy – it will increase the number of indexed pages on your site, and consequentially your search authority. Originally published Oct 14, 2010 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016last_img read more

What Marketers Should Know About Google’s Latest Announcements [HubSpot TV]

first_imgThe week before July 4th is a notoriously slow news week. This year, however, Google decided to help keep things exciting with a couple of new announcements that were covered on this week’s episode of the Originally published Jul 3, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated July 11 2013 Don’t forget to tune into the latest and greatest social media attempt On Thursday evening, Marketing Update . We have yet to see how it will impact search results and inbound marketing, but you can keep updated on how marketers can use Google+ by Google’s Ebook/Video on Zero Moment of Truth As a marketer, Google’s ban is an example of why it’s very important to make sure all your content is hosted on domains that following HubSpot Google banned the domain Google also launched its This week, Google also released an ebook and video explaining the zero moment of truth Marketing Lesson: Google+ also allows you to “hang out” with friends through group video chat. You can share videos, chat, or talk to each other via video. You still have the ability to only share your hangout session with the circles indicate you’d like to. (ZMOT). ZMOT is a theory about consumer buying practices. It builds on the First Moment of Truth (FMOT), as defined by P&G back in 2005. According to P&G, FMOT is the first moment when a consumer interacts with your product on a store shelf. ZMOT takes the idea one step further. It refers to the time between when a consumer first becomes aware of your product and when they buy it.  Marketing Lesson: own.  Google+ is an interesting new development in live next Friday at 4 PM ET! Today’s consumers begin to build relationships with and make decisions about products before they ever even come in contact with the product. According to Google’s report, 70% of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase, and the average shopper references 10.7 sources of information before buying. practicing inbound marketing Google’s Ban of Domains Content Marketing However, Google+ is different in how it allows you to manage your friends. It has introduced something called Circles. Each friend can belong to one or more circle, or group of friends. When you share information, you can select which individuals you want to share the content with on a case by case basis.  to ensure that consumers are have a great zero moment of truth.   Marketing Lesson: Google has also integrated Google+ throughout all of Google’s other properties through a menu bar that now appears at the top of your browser window. It keeps you updated on what’s happening in Google+, whether you are in your email account or keeping up with your blogs in your reader.  the social media world this week, the social network Google+. Google+ has much in common with Facebook. Both networks allow you to friend or follow people and share photos, videos, and comments. They each offer the feature of a wall, or stream of information about what your friends are doing. They even look pretty similar.  Brands need to be , which removed every website using that domain from all Google search results. While Google reserves the right to ban all sites on a certain host if a high percentage of sites hosted on that domain are spammy, it’s not something they do very often. Topics: ! on HubSpot TV. you Google’s New Social Network Google+ Inbound Marketing Marketing Update Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

How Long Should Your Videos Be? Ideal Lengths for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube [Infographic]

first_imgImagine winning $100,000 + mentoring from @JaySimons (@Atlassian), @PattyMccord1 (@netflix), @dharmesh (@HubSpot)? Enter on Facebook now 👉— HubSpot (@HubSpot) June 27, 2017 Topics: When a video pops up on your Facebook feed, what do you usually do first? My guess is that you take a peek at its length, ponder whether it’s worth your time, and let that thought process influence whether or not you press play.Once you do actually press play, how many times have you abandoned the video just a few seconds in and scrolled down to the next post? I know I have. I don’t finish half the Facebook videos I start.It seems impossible to hold people’s attention nowadays. Phones buzz with distracting notifications and promise instant gratification, tempting people to check their screens every five minutes. This has diminished the human attention span so much, some studies claim it’s now shorter than a goldfish’s.Video marketers know we lack patience. So they’re starting to tailor content for our dwindling attention spans. In fact, 56% of all videos published in the last year are less than 2 minutes long.Access videos, templates, and tips, to help you launch an effective video marketing strategy. But marketers must innovate further because users expect different video lengths on different platforms. Odds are, they’re more willing to watch a 2-minute long video on YouTube than on Twitter.If you don’t customize video length for each platform, then you’re not fully catering to your audience. Sooner or later, the attention they give to your brand will wither away.That’s why we decided to create this handy, bookmarkable infographic about the optimal video length for the most popular video channels. To help you better engage your audience on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, we extracted insights from HubSpot’s own social and YouTube data, and combined it with existing research in the area. We also provided a video example for each channel, if you ever need some inspiration.So check out the infographic below and start creating optimized videos for these four native video platforms!HubSpot Video Examples for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTubeInstagram: State of Inbound (30 Seconds) Our Summer Startup video on Facebook is 1 minute long. But we cut it down to 44 seconds on Twitter — a tad shorter than the optimal length of Twitter videos, according to our research.This video resonated with our audience because they felt a personal connection to each of the faces we presented. People respond well to the human face. It captures their attention, builds familiarity and trust, and evokes emotion.And since enthusiasm is contagious, the thrilled faces we showcased injected a lot of excitement into our viewers.Facebook: Monthly Social Media Round Up: April Edition (60 Seconds)When we analyzed our Facebook data, we discovered our audience engages the most with videos right under 1 minute. So we decided to cap most of our Facebook videos at around 60 seconds.We also discovered that 95% of viewers watch our videos on mute. This meant we needed to ensure they understood each video’s key point without hearing a single word.We crafted a lot of our Facebook videos like the one you just saw because the subtitles clearly communicate the video’s insights while the visuals provide context and absorb our viewers’ attention.YouTube: Topic Clusters: The Next Evolution of Content Strategy (2 Minutes)On YouTube, our audience engages the most with videos right under two minutes. So we try to keep them around 120 seconds.That might not seem like enough time to dig into a substantial topic, but think about how long YouTube videos should be to cover a concept that would take a blog post 1,000 words to explain.The 2-minute video above does just that, complimenting an article that might take the average blog visitor 10 minutes to read. This saves our audience time and heaves a mental load off of their shoulders.Short but potent videos aren’t just a recording of yourself reading a script, though. Since the human brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, you need to leverage dynamic graphics and visual storytelling so your audience can quickly grasp your message. If you don’t, your video will elapse the optimal length and wilt your viewers’ attention. Don’t forget to share this post!center_img There’s a lot of speculation around how long Instagram videos can be in general — especially since the company is known to change the maximum. Currently, they cap out at 60 seconds.The original State of Inbound video on YouTube is two and half minutes long. How long should the Instagram video be? We cut this one down to 30 seconds for this platform so it would meet our audience’s time length expectations.You might wonder how a video that’s one-fifth the length of the original version could successfully promote our annual research report. Well, it’s because our audience couldn’t keep their eyes off such a clear, concise, and dynamic video.Viewers who watch the first 3 seconds of a video are most likely to finish it, so we made sure our video hooked them with a vivid first frame.After that, we held our audience’s attention by constantly cutting to new frames and animating the video’s graphics. The voiceover and subtitles also conveyed the video’s main takeaway well.Twitter: Summer Startup (~45 Seconds) Social Media Video Originally published Apr 18, 2018 7:00:00 AM, updated April 22 2018last_img read more

The Decline of Organic Facebook Reach & How to Adjust to the Algorithm

first_imgWhat Is Facebook Reach and How Has It Changed?Facebook defines organic reach as “how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your Page.” Prior to 2012, that number used to be much, much higher than it is now.2007-2012: Fan PagesFrom the moment “Fan Pages” launched in 2007, anyone could create a Page for their company or organization, start collecting fans, and post unlimited messages to their fan bases with the assumption that they would see those messages.When 2012 rolled around, Page managers learned that only a fraction of their Facebook fans — 16% on average — were seeing their Page posts in their News Feeds. And that fraction got significantly smaller in 2014.2014: Organic Reach PlummetsA study from Edgerank Checker found that between February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for the average Facebook Page dropped from 16% to 6.5%. Research from Social@Ogilvy, meanwhile, suggests that for Pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach could be as low as 2%.Image via BiznologyBased on the figures above, that means a Page with 10,000 fans could expect just 650 of them to actually see that Page’s posts in their News Feeds. For a Page with 1 million fans, about 20,000 would end up seeing posts (based on the 2% figure).2016: Reintroducing Friend and Family ContentSocialFlow analyzed more than 3,000 posts by publishers on Facebook and found that organic reach dropped 42% between January and May 2016.Then, later in 2016, Facebook adjusted its News Feed algorithm again, to further prioritize content from friends and family over Pages. This likely makes News Feed’s current condition less surprising …In the blog post announcing the algorithm change, Facebook Engineering Director Lars Backstrom warned that Pages could anticipate a dip in organic reach — which could leave reach lower than that earlier 2% estimate, in some cases.After this algorithm adjustment, SocialFlow adjusted the decline in organic reach — which had dropped further. Between January and July 2016, publishers saw a 52% decline in organic reach on Facebook.2017: Explore Alternative News FeedFacebook’s biggest algorithm update for 2017 wasn’t an algorithm update, but rather a new News Feed entirely.In October of that year, Facebook tested an ad-free News Feed that users could switch to, dedicated to publisher content rather than personal content. To brands, it clearly foreshadowed a Facebook that separated Pages content from friends and family content. Today, that “alternative News Feed” is known as the “Pages” option on the lefthand sidebar of a user’s News Feed.Just days after Facebook launched this alternative News Feed test, a social media manager for a newspaper in Slovakia reported that 60 of the largest media pages in the country saw their likes, comments, and shares decrease fourfold.2018: Reinforcing That Commitment to Friends and FamilyFacebook’s recent incident of data misuse by analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, prompted Facebook to deeply address the privacy of users who don’t want their personal information exploited in various ways.But this process was preceded by a similar yet unrelated News Feed update to focus less on content from Pages and more from a user’s friends and family. This update to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm doesn’t eliminate Page content from News Feeds entirely, but this update does set different priorities for which content gets prime News Feed real estate.According to a private Facebook webinar hosted in January 2018, those priorities are:If the content is shared over Facebook Messenger.If the content is Liked or commented on.If the content receives multiple replies.”Meaningful interactions” between users.Shares and comments, in particular, are considered “active” interactions, which Facebook considers more “meaningful” when slotting content on a user’s News Feed. For that reason, the company notes that video watch time, referral traffic, and organic reach might decrease this year if the content doesn’t doesn’t stir up a meaningful interaction.Should You Increase Your Paid Content on Facebook?Fewer people seeing your Page’s organic posts on Facebook means fewer clicks, comments, and shares. And having fewer of those interactions means fewer conversions, leads, and customers. But this is only the case if your content doesn’t attract comments and shares to begin with.So, why would Facebook decide to decrease organic post visibility in favor of friend and family content in the first place? How can a marketer create content that competes with the natural appeal of a friend’s new baby picture?Meaningful Content vs. Paid ContentWe already touched on Facebook’s official response to the first question in the introduction: There are simply too many Pages producing too much content for too many fans, which means competition for visibility on the News Feed is high. What’s more, Facebook is trying to make sure people are only seeing the best content — the stuff that is most relevant to them.Some publishers have cracked the code when it comes to engagement on Facebook: by publishing and broadcasting video. (And we’ll get into that later in the post.) But many in the marketing world suspect that Facebook had (and still has) an ulterior motive: to get people to start spending more on ads and “promoted” content.So, should you invest in more ads and paid content to get the exposure you want?Is Paid Content Worth It?As Facebook has evolved into more of a paid marketing platform than an organic one, Page managers are realizing they’re now expected to pay for ads yet again to reach those newly acquired Fans, even if those Fans have seemingly elected to see a brand’s posts by liking their Page in the first place.From Facebook’s perspective, it’s simply not an ideal user experience to flood the News Feed with posts just because a Page has lots of Likes and is publishing prolifically.Nowadays, Facebook is encouraging marketers to look at their fan bases as a way to make paid advertising more effective rather than using it as a free broadcast channel. Additionally, Facebook says you should assume organic reach will eventually arrive at zero. So, if you really want to reach your target audience on Facebook, you’ll need to supplement your organic efforts with some paid advertising.Should you trust Facebook? Are paid ads on Facebook worth it? They can be — especially if they’re part of a longer content campaign, and can stimulate interest in a story that users might not see otherwise. Learn more about how to advertise on Facebook effectively in Step 8 further down in this article.How to Deal With Declining Organic Reach on FacebookNow that you’ve got a better understanding of how Facebook surfaces content, let’s explore some tips for dealing with the decline in organic Page reach.1. Be more selective about what you post.Marketers have to switch gears from untargeted, frequent publishing to targeted, selective publishing. The goal is no longer to spray and pray — it’s to get as much interaction from a single post as possible.Each post published to a brand Page can be targeted to a specific audience regardless of whether or not it’s sponsored, which may improve overall interaction with that post among other people who are likely to find it more interesting and relevant.2. Remind your Fans they can go to Pages Feed on the left sidebar of their News Feed to see content from Pages they’ve Liked.3. Educate your super fans that they can update their notification settings from your page.4. Encourage fans to engage with your posts when they do see them, so they see more of them.This can be as simple as adding a reminder to “Please Like and share” at the end of your posts.5. Share engaging videos on Facebook.Videos on Facebook are engaging and make visitors more likely to stop, watch, and maybe even unmute when they spot them in the News Feed. Use videos with captions, animations, and engaging visuals to draw in Facebook users’ attention.According to a recent study by quintly, native Facebook videos have an 186% higher engagement rate and are shared more than 1000% more than videos linked to from other hosting sites. Take the extra steps to publish videos for the platforms you’re promoting them on for best results — distribute your content on Facebook, YouTube, and other social platforms you’re trying to leverage.6. Broadcast on Facebook Live.If you’re not already doing so, start broadcasting on Facebook Live. Users spend 3X more time watching live broadcasts than traditional videos on the platform, so start experimenting with live content if you’re concerned about your organic reach. Advertise what you’re doing on different platforms to generate buzz, broadcast for several minutes (at least) to help your broadcast get surfaced in the News Feed, and share authentic, behind-the-scenes content to attract and interest your viewers.To learn more about Facebook Live broadcasting strategies, check out our free guide.7. Re-allocate your time and effort toward your owned assets.Since the only constant with Facebook (and the larger digital media landscape) is change, it’s always safest to focus on the digital channels you entirely own and control — your website and blog. Spend the vast majority of your effort creating content (blog posts and long-form content such as ebooks, case studies, or videos) that will continue to garner inbound traffic, leads, and customers long after they’re first created. If you have time and budget, share those assets to Facebook for additional reach.8. Start treating Facebook like a paid ad platform.If you’re going to pay-to-play, get your targeting right. Once you’ve built an audience of relevant fans, focus on advertising the content assets you’ve created — blog posts, ebooks, etc. — and use ads to amplify them to targeted users. Remember: It’s likely only a matter of time before organic reach hits zero, so you might as well hone your paid strategy now, which brings me to one final recommendation …9. If you do advertise, go beyond the basics.Facebook’s targeting capabilities have gotten considerably better over the past few years. You can now pay to reach your ideal persona based on demographics, interests, web behavior, and more. Additionally, there are a bunch of tools and features that can help you maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns, including:Conversion Tracking: Track the actions of site visitors after viewing your Facebook ad.Custom Audiences: Target Facebook ads based on your email list.Lookalike Audiences: Target Facebook users similar to your customers.Audience Insights: Learn about your existing Facebook audience to better target your ads.Website Custom Audiences: Target Facebook users who have visited your website before.Facebook Exchange: Place retargeted ads on Facebook for users who’ve visited a certain product or service page on your site.Lots of Customizable Reporting: Create reports based on metrics that matter most for your business.To learn more about how you can improve your Facebook Page’s reach, check out our free guide: How to Attract Customers with Facebook. Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published May 3, 2018 9:57:00 PM, updated October 14 2019 Before we dive into how you can improve your Facebook Page’s organic reach and reengage your Facebook followers, let’s explore exactly how Facebook’s News Feed algorithm works. Then, we’ll see how various algorithm changes — including its 2018 update — have affected the reach of a marketer.How Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm WorksWhen Facebook first launched News Feed back in 2006, the algorithm was pretty basic. Different post formats were assigned different point values — so a post with just text might be worth one point, while a post with a link in it might be worth two points, and so on. By multiplying the post format point value by the number of people interacting with a given post, Facebook could generate a ranking system for determining the order in which posts would appear.As the years rolled on, the News Feed algorithm evolved to factor in the recency of posts, as well as the relationship between the person doing the posting and the person interacting with said post. This iteration of the algorithm was known as EdgeRank. But in 2011, Facebook abandoned EdgeRank for a more complex algorithm that incorporates machine learning.That machine learning-based algorithm is what’s responsible for surfacing content on your News Feed today. Unlike its predecessors, which assigned generic point values to post formats, the current algorithm adapts to individual user preferences. So, for example, if you never, ever, interact with photos in your News Feed, Facebook’s algorithm will pick up on that and show you fewer photos over time.On the other hand, Facebook has identified for marketers the content formats that drive engagement and sharing — native and live videos. Facebook ranks live videos higher in the News Feed, as well as videos with higher watch and completion rates and videos that are clicked on or unmuted as signals of viewer interest.Ultimately, there are thousands of factors that inform Facebook’s algorithm of a meaningful interaction. These factors range from using trigger words that indicate important events (e.g., “congratulations”) to whether or not you’ve actually clicked a link in a post before liking it.Today, Facebook rewards the content that produces these interactions the best: person-to-person content. Facebook’s end goal here isn’t just to match News Feed content to the individual interests of each user — it’s to display News Feed content that reveals connections between each user.As Facebook’s Head of News Feed Research Lauren Scissors said in a 2018 press release:”Interacting with people … is associated with a greater sense of well-being. And the benefits [to the content creator] are even stronger when you’re close to the person, and when the interaction requires some effort.” Topics: If you’ve been managing a Facebook Business Page over the past few years, you’ve likely noticed a drop in how many of your fans have been viewing and interacting with the organic posts you publish to that page.There are two reasons for this.Access Now: Free Advertising Checklist + Best Practices VideosWhy Your Organic Reach Has Declined on FacebookMore Ad Content Competing for News Feed SpaceThis observed decline in organic Facebook reach began in 2014, when Brian Boland, Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology (at the time), said Facebook is simply managing more ad content than it used to, and News Feed space is thus more competitive among marketers.Boland, now Facebook’s VP of Publisher Solutions, is right. There’s simply too much content being published on Facebook, making visibility in the News Feed increasingly competitive. And Facebook strives to show people the content that is most relevant to them, as opposed to surfacing all the content available.Facebook’s 2018 News Feed ChangeMore recently, you might’ve noticed a greater dip in the organic reach of your Facebook content because of an important change to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm.In January 2018, according to Facebook’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri, Facebook began to “shift ranking to make News Feed more about connecting with people and less about consuming media in isolation.”As a result, marketing content was poised to take a backseat to content by friends and family — a value that Facebook says it originally had, and that it’s trying to return to.The good news in all of this is that there’s a lot you can do to counteract these changes, like being more selective about what you publish, paying attention to when you publish, and putting money behind your posts (a.k.a. “boosting” them). Facebook Reachlast_img read more

12 Stunning Instagram Themes (& How to Borrow Them for Your Own Feed)

first_img Instagram Marketing Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! Originally published Aug 27, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019center_img 1. Black and WhiteA polished black and white theme is a good choice if you’re trying to evoke a sense of sophistication. The lack of color draws you into the photo’s main subject, and suggests a timeless element to your business. @Lisedesmet’s black and white feed, for instance, urges the user to pay close attention to the image’s subject, like the black sneakers or white balloon.Image courtesy of Lisedesmet2. Bright ColorsIf your company’s brand is meant to imply playfulness or fun, there’s probably no better way than to create a feed full of bright colors. Bright colors are attention-grabbing and lighthearted, which could be ideal for attracting a younger audience. @Aww.sam’s feed, for instance, showcases someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously.Image courtesy of aww.sam3. MinimalistFor an artsier edge, consider taking a minimalist approach to your feed, like @windowofimagination does. The images are inviting in their simplicity, and cultivate feelings of serenity and stability. Plus, minimalist feeds are less distracting by nature, so it can be easier to get a true sense of the brand from the feed alone, without clicking on individual posts.Image courtesy of windowofimagination4. One ColorOne of the easiest ways to pick a theme for your feed is to choose one color and stick to it — this can help steer your creative direction, and looks clean and cohesive from afar. It’s particularly appealing if you choose an aesthetically-pleasing and calm color, like the soft pink used in @wildehousepaper’s feed.Image courtesy of wildehousepaper5. PastelsSimilar to the one color idea, it might be useful to choose one color palette for your feed, like @creativekipi’s use of pastels. Pastels in particular, often used for Easter eggs or cupcake decorations, appear childlike and cheerful. Plus, they’re captivating and unexpected.Image courtesy of creativekipi6. One ThemeAs evident from @mustdoflorida’s feed (and username), it’s possible to focus your feed on one singular object or idea — like beach-related objects in @mustdoflorida’s posts. If you’re aiming to showcase your creativity or photography skills, it could be compelling to create a feed where each post follows one theme.Image courtesy of mustdoflorida7. PuzzleCreating a puzzle out of your feed is complicated and takes some planning, but can reap big rewards in terms of uniqueness and engaging an audience. @Wearewildbloom’s posts, for instance, make the most sense when you look at it from the feed, rather than individual posts. It’s hard not to be both impressed and enthralled by the final result, and if you post puzzle piece pictures individually, you can evoke serious curiosity from your followers.Image courtesy of wearewildbloom8. Horizontal LinesIf your brand does well aligning photography with content, you might consider organizing your posts in a thoughtful way — for instance, creating either horizontal or vertical lines, with your rows alternating between quotes with plain backdrops, and images. @Personaljourneyapp employs this tactic, and their feed looks clean and intriguing as a result.Image courtesy of personaljournalapp9. CheckerboardIf you’re not a big fan of horizontal or vertical lines, you might try a checkerboard theme. Similar to horizontal lines, this theme allows you to alternate between content and images, but additionally, the checkerboard, as seen in @Oneartsymama’s feed, evokes a sense of playfulness and creativity.Image courtesy of One Artsy Mama10. Black or White BordersWhile it is a bit jarring to have black or white borders outlining every image, it definitely sets your feed apart from everyone else’s. @Beautifulandyummy, for instance, uses black borders to draw attention to her images, and the finished feed looks both polished and sophisticated. This is likely more successful if you’re aiming to sell fashion products, or want to evoke an edgier feel.Image courtesy of beautifulandyummy11. Same FilterIf you prefer uniformity, you’ll probably like this Instagram theme, which focuses on using the same filter (or set of filters) for every post. From close up, this doesn’t make much difference on your images, but from afar, it definitely makes the feed appear more cohesive. @Nadia_Rachel92, for example, is able to make her posts of family, friends, and travel seem more refined and professional, simply by using the same filter for all her posts.Image courtesy of nadia_rachel9212. FlatlaysIf your primary goal with Instagram is to showcase your products, you might want a Flatlay theme. Flatlay is an effective way to tell a story simply by arranging objects in an image a certain way, and makes it easier to captivate viewers’ attention on a product. As seen in @thedailyedited’s feed, a flatlay theme looks fresh and modern.Image courtesy of thedailyedited Nowadays, Instagram is often someone’s initial contact with a brand, and at least 30% of Instagram users have purchased a product they first discovered on the platform. If it’s the entryway for one third of your potential sales, don’t you want it to look clean and inviting?Taking the time to create an engaging Instagram feed aesthetic is one of the most effective ways to persuade someone to follow your business’s Instagram account, or peruse your posts. You only have one chance to make a good first impression — similar to the importance of creating a well-designed website, its critical you put effort into your Instagram feed.Since it’s often easiest to learn by example, we’ve cultivated a list of 12 stunning Instagram themes to inspire your own feed’s transformation. Beware, these feeds are so desirable, you’ll have a hard time choosing just one.Instagram ThemesBlack and WhiteBright ColorsMinimalistOne ShadePastelsOne ThemePuzzleHorizontal LinesCheckerboardBlack or White BordersSame FilterFlatlayslast_img read more

India vs West Indies: Keemo Paul replaces Miguel Cummins for second Test

first_imgWest Indies have replaced fast bowler Miguel Cummins with all-rounder Keemo Paul in the 13-man squad for the second Test of the two-match series against India beginning Friday in Jamaica.Paul, who was forced to sit out the first Test — which India won by 318 runs in Antigua — due to an ankle injury, but has recovered and is available for selection, Cricket West Indies said in a statement.Miguel Cummins, with his unflinching resistance, managed to enter the record books in the first Test as he stood firm to score the 2nd longest duck in Test cricket, when it comes to the number of minutes spent at the crease. Cummins played out 95 minutes in the morning session before departing without scoring any run.BREAKING: Keemo Paul replaces Miguel Cummins for the 2nd Test v India in Jamaica. #MenInMaroon #ItsOurGame #WIvINDFull squad below! Cricket (@windiescricket) August 27, 2019However, Chris Gayle who had backtracked on his retirement earlier this year and looked keen to play in the Test series against India has not been named in the 13-man squad.Meanwhile, Shane Dowrich has returned to Barbados to continue his rehabilitation after being ruled out of the series with ankle injury.At Kingston, Windies will have the chance not only to win the second Test to draw the series, but also the opportunity to claim 60 points for a win or to claim their first points in the World Test Championship.West Indies squad: Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Braithwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rakheem Cornwall, Jahmar Hamilton, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Keemo Paul, Kemar Roach.advertisementAlso Read | IND vs WI: We have not been able to step up as top-order, says Jason HolderAlso Read | India vs West Indies: Virat Kohli joins MS Dhoni as India’s most successful Test captainAlso Seelast_img read more

Pagalpanti first look posters: Brace yourself for a laugh riot with John Abraham, Ileana D’Cruz and team

first_imgPosters of the entire star cast of the upcoming comedy-drama Pagalpanti were unveiled on Friday.The laugh riot features John Abraham in the lead, who is making a comeback to comedy after a successful streak in the thriller genre. The Anees Bazmee directorial film also stars Anil Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz, Arshad Warsi, Pulkit Samrat, Kriti Kharbanda, Saurabh Shukla, among others in significant roles.The first poster featuring John, who essays the role of Raj Kishore, is seen in a vibrant shirt and white funky sunglasses.Presenting the character posters of #Pagalpanti… Directed by Anees Bazmee… 22 Nov 2019 release. adarsh (@taran_adarsh) October 18, 2019The second poster captures Arshad in a comic gesture.Pulkit Samrat, who was last seen in the sequel of Fukrey will be seen playing the role of Chandu. In the poster, Pulkit sported a funky look with a colourful jacket and matching sunglasses.Urvashi Rautela who will play the role of Kavya is set to send a chill down your spine with her scary big nailed look.Presenting the character posters of #Pagalpanti… Directed by Anees Bazmee… 22 Nov 2019 release. adarsh (@taran_adarsh) October 18, 2019Kriti Kharbanda who will be seen playing the role of Janvi can be seen wearing a striped t-shirt, yellow hairband along with cool orange sunglasses. She can be seen holding a gun in her hand.And at last, Anil who is known to experiment with his character will be seen in the role of WiFi Bhai. In the intriguing poster, Anil can be seen holding a gun in his hand and posing in a funny manner.The film will be produced by Bhushan Kumar, Kumar Mangat and Abhishek Pathak will hit the screens on November 22.ALSO READ | Pagalpanti teaser poster, par dimaag mat lagana: Anees Bazmee film comes with a disclaimerALSO READ | Pagalpanti: Anees Bazmee wraps up film’s first schedule in Hyderabad. See picsALSO READ | Anees Bazmee on comedy films: Critics call it brainless but it definitely needs a lot of brainALSO READ | Anees Bazmee on Pagalpanti shoot: It was not less than a roller-coaster rideALSO WATCH | Sonam Kapoor-Anand Ahuja tie the knot: Best of sangeet, wedding and reception visualslast_img read more

Rohit Sharma fit and available to play 1st T20I vs Bangladesh in Delhi

first_imgIndia’s stand-in captain Rohit Sharma has been declared fit to play the 1st T20I of a 3-match series between India and Bangladesh at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday, November 3.Rohit Sharma gave India an injury scare when he left Friday’s practice session midway after taking a hit on his abdomen. Rohit was facing throwdowns from batting coach Vikram Rathour and throwing expert Nuwan Seneviratne of Sri Lanka when he suffered the injury scare.”Rohit Sharma was hit on the left side of his abdomen while batting in the nets today. The BCCI medical team has confirmed that he is fit and available for the first T20I after assessment of his injury,” a BCCI statement read.Rohit Sharma did not return to batting at the nets after taking the blow. In fact, the India captain was visibly unhappy with the pace at which the ball was bowled at him, according to PTI.In the absence of Virat Kohli, who has been rested for the T20I series, Rohit Sharma is expected to play a key role. The India captain has headed into the series on the back of a record-breaking Test series against South Africa at home.Opening the batting for the first time in Tests, Rohit Sharma went on to dominate the South African bowling unit in the 3-Test series. Rohit scored 529 runs, including two hundreds and a double hundred, in 3 Tests.Earlier in the day, Rohit Sharma took to social media to share his excitement about getting back to the limited-over format.advertisement”Excited to be back in blues. Cannot wait to get it started,” Rohit wrote as caption for a photo.Excited to be back in blues. Cannot wait to get it started #IndvsBan Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) November 1, 2019Rohit has been in fine form in limited-overs cricket in 2019. The India vice-captain had hit a record-breaking tally of 5 hundreds at the World Cup and topped the batting charts.Revealing a couple of his superstitious beliefs, Rohit said he wore the same pair of socks in all the 9 India games after having scored a hundred wearing them in the opening fixture vs South Africa. Something similar transpired in the recent Test series vs the Proteas.”It has led to superstitions. The t-shirt that I wore in one of the Tests against SA, I continued wearing it in the 2nd session too. There is a feel-good factor about such things. It’s been like that with me since childhood. Even in the World Cup, after scoring 100 vs SA, I used the same socks in all the rest games,” Rohit told Sports Tak.Also Read | Nothing comes easy in Test cricket: Opener Rohit Sharma on new found success as red-ball openerAlso See:last_img read more

Deepak Chahar bags 2nd hat-trick in 3 days, this time in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

first_imgIndia fast bowler Deepak Chahar brought in his international form into domestic cricket as he bagged yet another hat-trick inside three days in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match between Rajasthan and Vidarbha on Tuesday.Deepak finished with figures of 4 for 18 in 3 overs which also included a hat-trick and a maiden over as Rajasthan restricted Vidarbha to 99 for 9 in 13 overs in Thiruvananthapuram.Chahar’s hat-trick included the wickets of Darshan Nalkande, Shrikant Wagh and Akshay Wadkar, all of which came off the final three legitimate balls in the 13th over. Akshay Wakhare could not come out to bat for Vidarbha due to rain.Rajasthan though, couldn’t chase down the revised target of 107 in 13 overs and were restricted to 105 for 8 with Wakhare bagging 3 wickets.Aniket Choudhary, Khaleel Ahmed, Chandrapal Singh and captain Mahipal Lomror managed to pick up a wicket each for Rajasthan.This was Chahar’s second hat-trick in three days after his heroics in the Nagpur T20 international against Bangladesh.Chahar registered the best-ever bowling figures by a bowler in the shortest format in international cricket with 6 wickets for 7 runs as India (174 for 5) defeated the visitors (144) by 30 runs in the final match to clinch the series 2-1 on Sunday.While doing so, Chahar also picked up a hat-trick – the 1st by an Indian in T20Is. Thus, Chahar’s feat now means that Indians can now lay a claim to a hat-trick in all 3 forms of the game.Chahar’s hat-trick was spread over 2 overs and began when he removed Shafiul Islam on the last ball of the 18th over. When he came on to bowl the last one, Chahar wasted no time in picking up Mustafizur Rahman and bowling Aminul Islam with a yorker to signal the end of Bangladesh’s chase. He required just 20 balls to claim the hat-trick!advertisementAlso Read | Deepak Chahar rewrites record-books with maiden hat-trickAlso Read | Never thought of it in my dreams: Deepak Chahar on best-ever T20I figuresAlso Read | Credit to my father, he has given his life in shaping my career: Deepak Chaharlast_img read more

Sudan govt shuts down Al Jazeera office as protesters near army HQ

first_imgKhartoum: Sudanese authorities on Thursday shut down news broadcaster Al Jazeera’s Khartoum office, as thousands of protesters gathered outside the country’s military headquarters to pressure the ruling generals to cede power. The sprawling military complex has become the focal point of the weeks-long protest movement, which is calling for the country’s Transitional Military Council to hand over power to civilians, following the ousting of longtime autocrat President Omar al-Bashir in April. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’Late Thursday, the Qatari television channel said its bureau was abruptly shut down and its journalists banned from reporting in the country with immediate effect, without being given a reason. “They told us that the military council had decided to close the Al Jazeera network’s office and withdraw its licence,” bureau director Al-Musallami Al-Kabbashi told AFP. The news channel, which regularly broadcasts footage of the demonstrations in Sudan, is funded by Doha, a close ally of former president Bashir. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in China”The Network sees this as an attack on media freedom, professional journalism, and the basic tenets of the right for people to know and understand the reality of what is happening in Sudan,” Al Jazeera said in a statement published online. Meanwhile, the military council said incidents on the margins of the protest site were threatening public safety. “In the face of those developments that threaten public security and safety,” authorities would “work in accordance with the law to guarantee citizens’ safety and to resolve manifestations of insecurity and lawlessness,” it said in a statement. Chanting slogans in favour of a civilian government, singing and waving Sudanese flags, the mostly young protesters gathered after dusk on Thursday to join the demonstration. “We’re here to confirm our basic demand for a civilian authority in the transitional period until we can guarantee a real democratic transition,” said Mohamed Hasan, a young protester outside the military headquarters. The Alliance for Freedom and Change protest movement had called for people to gather at the site on Thursday for a “million-strong march”.last_img read more

SC seeks govts reply on plea for quashing of 358 mining leases

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to file its reply in four weeks on a plea seeking quashing of allotment, extension or continuation of leases to firms for mining iron ore from over 358 mines across the country without any fresh evaluation.The Centre sought some time from the court to file its reply to the plea. A bench of Justices S A Bobde and B R Gavai allowed it four weeks and said that the issue needs to be heard at length, while listing it on a non-miscellaneous matters day. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!Petitioner advocate M L Sharma contended that mining leases were granted or extended without following the due procedure in law. Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, told the court that a “mala fide” plea has been filed and he wants some time to respond to it.On April 16, the apex court had asked the Centre to respond to Sharma’s plea which has also sought a direction to the CBI to register an FIR to probe the matter. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedThe top court had appointed senior advocate P S Narasimha as amicus curiae to assist it in the case. The plea has alleged that in February this year it came to Sharma’s knowledge that 288 mining leases were extended in exchange of “large donations” to political parities which has created a “serious financial loss” to the tune of Rs 4 lakhs crore to public exchequer. The petitioner has claimed that leases have been either granted or extended to the firms for mining iron ores in over 358 mines without either any fresh evaluation or adopting the auction process. It has also sought directions for recovery of market value of the mined minerals in accordance with the law. Besides, it has sought a court-monitored probe into the extension of lease and allotment of the mineral mines for free of cost alleging that it had caused huge financial loss to the public via a concocted conspiracy. “Within the principle upheld by the Supreme Court in its previous judgement, no natural assets can be allotted/extended free of cost. Impugned extension is contra to the law of the country. No where in the Act, it says to extend the lease free of cost. At least value of extension must be decided as per the maximum rate of auction value by the state or by another state government during these period,” the plea has said. It has said that loss caused to the exchequer is liable to be recovered from the mining firms and their leases are liable to be quashed and the mines be put to fresh auction. The plea has also sought quashing of section 8A of the MMDR (Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation) Act. Section 8-A of the Act provides that all mining lease should be granted for 50 years and on expiry of lease period, it should be put up for auction as per the procedure specified in the Act. “It is revealed to the petitioner that a large amount of political donation has been given by the corporate miner for the impugned provisions (of MMDR Act) for extension of the mining lease as free of cost from escaping auction process which is also a subject matter for CBI investigation and calling list of mines from all states for further action,” the plea said.last_img read more

Nicolas Cage Supports ArtWorks To End Child Labor

first_imgThe International Labour Organization (ILO) – the UN agency specializing in the world of work – has launched ArtWorks, an artist engagement program to raise awareness of fundamental rights at work, including freedom from slavery and from child labor.Hollywood heavyweight Nicolas Cage is the first artist to support ArtWorks. Cage says he’s proud to help the ILO’s work to end child labor.There are more than 215 million child workers in the world today. “As the father of two sons, this is a situation that I find unacceptable, and it makes me want to do something about it,” said Cage in a statement on the ArtWorks website. He calls on people to take action, from urging governments to ratify the international convention to eliminate the worst forms of child labor to writing to clothing and sports equipment manufacturers, asking them to ensure there is no child labor in their supply chains.ILO Director-General Guy Ryder recalled that artists have supported the work of the ILO in the past and he now feels the need to revive the collaboration. “Work is a transformative force in our society, and so is Art – it inspires and moves people to act,” said Ryder. “When we look around the world and see hundreds of millions of people living in poverty, or in conditions of slavery, when we see millions of children forced to work – and millions of adults and youngsters without a job, when we see people’s rights under threat, we feel that we need to work with artists even closer than before, to draw attention to the plight of all these women, men and children. We can do a great deal of good if we work together,” he added.ArtWorks has also attracted the support of rising stars. Songwriter Vienne and Step Up actress Kathryn McCormick have teamed up in the music video ‘She Breaks’, which Vienne wrote after hearing a young lady in her late teens tell her story about being trafficked across international borders for the sex trade.“Work is part of our identity, it’s central to our human condition,” said ILO Director of Communications Marcia Poole, adding that “the world of work is in profound crisis, from scourges such as modern-day slavery to child labor and the global job crisis. But we can change things if people take action and this is why the support of artists is extremely important. We are thrilled to have Nicolas Cage supporting the fight to end child labor and we’re in conversation with other artists, so ArtWorks will be growing in the coming months.”The ILO is the oldest UN agency and was created before the UN itself. It was founded in 1919, as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, to reflect the belief that universal and lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice. The ILO was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969.last_img read more

President calls on Mexican to help in battling fuel thefts

first_imgMEXICO CITY — Mexico’s new president is calling on his countrymen to help battle against fuel thefts, as long lines spread to gas stations in Mexico City.The fuel scarcity arose because of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s decision to close government pipelines riddled with illegal fuel taps drilled by thieves.The fight against $3 billion per year in fuel thefts has become the first big domestic battle for the leftist president since he took office on Dec. 1.Lopez Obrador said Wednesday: “We are asking the people to help us not be defeated by criminals.”A government called on motorists to avoid panic purchases as part of a campaign “to rescue the nation’s sovereignty.”The government has been distributing fuel with tanker trucks; Lopez Obrador said the problem would be solved soon.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Students attend police recruiting event

Const. Nilan Dave of the Niagara Regional Police speaks with Jeanette Ramsay, co-ordinator of Policing and Criminal Justice at Brock, and Lisa Kuiper from Career Services at the Police Recruiting Showcase.Const. Gzime Graffi from the Waterloo Regional Police ServiceFive police forces gathered in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre lobby last week to talk to Brock students about careers in policing.Recruiters from forces such as the Niagara Regional Police and the Waterloo Regional Police Service had displays at the Police Recruiting Showcase, held Jan. 27.“It’s going really great,” said Sgt. Steve Haernel with the Ontario Provincial Police. “We’ve had lots of interest. The OPP is hiring and will continue to hire. We’re anticipating a lot of retirements in the next year.”“We’re always excited to present our services to the students at Brock,” said Sgt. Dean Smith with the Waterloo Regional Police.The recruitment fair was held in collaboration with the Career Services and the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Social Sciences.Sgt. Steve Haernel with the Ontario Provincial Police speaks to Drew Rebek, a second-year Political Science student. read more

SecretaryGeneral sends top advisers to Middle East to defuse crisis calls key

Seeking to defuse what he called “the major crisis” stemming from the flare-up of violence between Israel, the Palestinians and Lebanon, Secretary-General Kofi Annan is today sending a three-member team of veteran United Nations officials for wide-ranging talks in the region. At the same time he is engaging in intensive telephone diplomacy with leaders from both within and outside the region, including United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacque Chirac.“He really is on the phone personally, very engaged in trying to do his best to calm things down,” spokesperson Marie Okabe told a news briefing in New York, where the Security Council today failed to adopt a draft resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli soldier abducted by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza and for a halt to what it called a “disproportionate” military reaction by Israel, due to a veto by the United States, which called the text unbalanced and outdated. Ms. Okabe added that Mr. Annan was about to speak to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. “He is constantly on the phone with all players in the region.”Speaking to reporters in Rome, where he is on a visit, Mr. Annan voiced deep alarm, particularly at the impact of the fighting on civilians, with dozens of Lebanese already killed as a result of Israeli operations and many more injured, and Israeli civilians killed and wounded from Hizbollah militant attacks on Israeli towns.“I would like to remind the parties that under the law of armed conflict, attacks must not be directed against civilian objects,” he said. “In particular, they have an obligation to exercise precaution and to respect the proportionality principle in all military operations so as to prevent unnecessary suffering among the civilian population,” he said.“I and leaders from around the world have been working around the clock, as have my representatives on the ground, to find a solution to the crisis, to urge restraint and prevent these situations spiralling even further out of control,” he added.“I can only hope that the parties heed our counsel, and that regional players who have influence will do likewise. Reckless and dangerous actions will only lead to further bloodshed and instability, inflaming an already highly volatile region.The team Mr. Annan is sending to the region will be led by his Special Political Advisor Vijay Nambiar and includes UN envoy to Middle East Alvaro de Soto and Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen. It will first visit Cairo to meet with Egyptian officials and consult with Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting there on Saturday, the Secretary-General’s spokesman said in a statement issued in Rome. They are also expected to travel to Israel, the occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, and Syria. Other stops will be added as needed during the weeklong trip. “Mr. Nambiar will emphasize to all parties the Secretary-General’s call to exercise restraint and to do whatever possible to help contain the conflict,” the spokesman said. “He will also reiterate the Secretary-General’s message to respect international humanitarian law and to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.” Mr. Annan yesterday called for the immediate release of two Israeli soldiers seized by Hizbollah militants and called on the Lebanese Government to extend its control over all Lebanese territory and prevents such attacks across the line separating the two countries. He has also called for the release of an Israeli soldier seized last month by Palestinian militants from Gaza. In his comments today, he said he was gravely concerned about the situation in Gaza, where Palestinian civilians are paying a bitter price from heavy Israeli military operations and an alarming humanitarian situation that threatens to get worse.Leaders Mr. Annan has already spoken to include Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Syrian President Bashar al Assad. read more