UNICEF Makes Post-Ebola Donation

first_imgThe everyday management of hundreds of metric tons of fetid dirt, including sewer waste from Monrovia and its environs, especially the slum communities, remain a tremendous challenge to the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) particularly in the absence of reliable trucks.The waste is the fertile breeding site for the outbreak of diseases, most especially the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).UNICEF Liberia Country Representative, Sheldon Yett,  said the Ebola virus is closely related to dirt (waste), and so are many other diseases, including cholera and malaria.“We know that about 600 metric tons of sewer waste are generated in the city everyday and that’s a tremendous amount and it is an emergency by itself.  Yes, it is related to Ebola and other diseases too. Cholera is an example, because it is also closely related to sewer waste,” Mr. Yett said.The UNICEF Liberia boss said the donation of the six trucks came from the partnership and generosity of USAID and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). The Government and people of the United States, through UNICEF, decided to make the donation to Liberia to ensure that Monrovia and its environs are free of any problem that would make the country vulnerable to diseases. The six trucks, valued at US$460,000, can offload dirt or wastes from either side and each truck contains six boxes of spare parts.The deputy team leader for planning of OFDA, Ms. Emily Gish, said the support to the MCC is to help stop the city from overflowing with sewer waste in the rainy season.  “We are happy to be here to provide this support, especially when the rainy season is approaching.   These trucks must start work immediately in order to help prevent the city from  overflowing because of sewer waste,” Ms. Gish said.Assistant Public Works Minister George Yarngo said the issue of solid waste is a huge challenge and expressed gratitude to UNICEF for the trucks.  Monrovia Mayor Clara Doe Mvogo thanked UNICEF for the trucks and the said MCC Solid Waste Department has many challenges and available logistics would eliminate them. “We appreciate the OFDA, UNICEF and also the WASH Cluster for giving us the trucks that would definitely make a serious impact on our cleaning exercises,” Mayor Mvogo said.It may be recalled that the MCC through its partners last week launched clean-up campaign against the foul smelling septic drains running through Newport Street and other streets and several other slum communities in Monrovia, including Soneiwhen and Buzzy Quarter.  The campaign also includes the removal of wastes from hospitals, health centers and  markets, amongst other areas.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Aus firms fast-tracks SA offshore gas project

first_img5 February 2014Australian-listed company Sunbird Energy is fast-tracking the development of the Ibhubesi gas project off South Africa’s west coast, which could pave the way for a multi-billion rand investment that would significantly boost the country’s gas-to-electricity generation capacity.According to Business Day, Sunbird CEO Will Barker told delegates at the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday that the company aimed to complete the preliminary field development plan in the first half of this year and get the front-end engineering and design studies for the project under way.Sunbird Energy received government approval for the acquisition of the Ibhubesi gas project last October, establishing it as the operator of South Africa’s largest and most advanced undeveloped gas field with a 76% working interest, with national oil company PetroSA holding the remaining 24% of the licence.In December, Sunbird signed a memorandum of understanding with South African state power company Eskom to jointly investigate supplying gas from Ibhubesi to Eskom’s 1 300 megawatt Ankerlig power station, to replace the plant’s current high-cost diesel feed stock.Eskom is also currently developing plans to convert Ankerlig from an open cycle gas turbine to a closed cycle gas turbine plant, so that it can run on gas.Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger told Business Day on Tuesday that such a conversion was attractive as it would double the plant’s efficiency.“No hard decisions have been made, but we are looking at the feasibility of the conversion of the plant, with the important parameters of the gas price and its availability”, Etzinger told Business Day. “It’s early days, but it’s a good opportunity.”Sunbird Energy chairman Kerwin Rana, in a statement following the signing of the memorandum of understanding in December, said his company was “delighted to be working with Eskom to progress this nationally significant project of domestic gas supply for South Africa.“Additionally, we acknowledge the support of our joint venture partner in the project PetroSA (24%), the national oil company of South Africa, as well as our South African black empowerment partner Umbono Capital, in bringing these discussions to this important stage.”SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Microsoft Ties Skype Into Windows 8

first_imgTags:#Microsoft Related Posts Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… markhachman How The Skype Integration Will WorkWhen users download Skype from the Microsoft Store on Friday, the app will appear as a live tile on the home screen. In addition to launching calls when tapped, the live tile will display messages and other live information. If users jump to the People app, they’ll be able to click and connect via Skype just as easily as the app allows them to send an email. Simply logging in to Skype and connecting the Skype account to the People app will automatically add the Skype details of all of a user’s contacts; users can also manually add the phone numbers of contacts who aren’t on Skype. They can also pin favorite or frequently-called connections to the home page.Not surprisingly, users can also snap Skype into a vertical column on either side of the screen, allowing them to continue browsing the Web. Skype has historically allowed users to share screens, but Microsoft said this capability be not retained within the new Windows app. Microsoft will continue to offer a Skype Premium service, which, for $8.99 per month, offers features like group video calls.The idea, according to Microsoft corporate vice president Mark Gillette, is that “[o]n Windows 8, you can be always available and reachable whether you are using a desktop, laptop, tablet or convertible PC with Skype running seamlessly in the background without draining your battery.”Skype isn’t just an app running on Windows 8, it’s an essential, core feature of the Windows ecosystem – not just Windows 8, but Windows Phone 8, too. WPCentral reported last week on a leaked video that Windows Phone will display incoming voice chat requests from contacts as normal calls – including contact display photos. The only difference is the Skype ringtone will sound, so you’ll know it’s Skype rather than a regular call. At some point, of course, the difference will become irrelevant. On Monday, Microsoft brought Skype into the Windows 8 fold, integrating it so tightly into the PC, phone, and tablet experience that it’s essentially the Microsoft Office of connectivity.Naturally, Microsoft’s communications software received a “Metro”-style update, with contacts visually represented as pictures, rather than the text-heavy interface Skype previously used. Yes, you can still use other VOiP and communication clients in Windows 8. But as with the Office suite, Microsoft encourages you to use its software by tying Skype to its People contact manager. The goal is to get users to ask themselves: “Why would I want go anywhere else?”Not Everything Connected YetThe problem, however, is that the full benefits of the new, updated Skype won’t be realized until Microsoft ties it into the remainder of its Office suite. Microsoft will make the Skype app downloadable on Friday, October 26, for both Windows 8 and Windows RT, allowing users to enjoy Skype as a standalone application. But they’ll have to wait for a more formal integration into Office to enjoy the rest of the integration benefits.Microsoft has already indicated that it will integrate Skype into the Office 365 subscription service. Office 365 subscribers, as well as MSDN and TechNet subscribers, will be able to download the new version of Office in mid-November.A Microsoft spokeswoman said that Skype will be integrated into Windows 8 and Office via two separate integration points. Here’s the rundown:When you log into the standalone Skype app for Windows 8 using a Microsoft account, all your Skype contacts will show up in the People app.Skype will also be tied into Office, and 365 subscribers will receive 60 free Skype minutes to place outgoing calls. Skype users will be able to see presence and easily connect with each other from within Office applications. Finally, as Microsoft has previously announced, Lync users will be able to see the presence of other Skype contacts, and instant-message them. Video calling will be added in a future updatecenter_img Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Skype vs. The CompetitionJust over a year ago, Microsoft closed its $8.5 billion deal to bring Skype in-house. Last week, Microsoft said 120 billion minutes of calls were made on the Skype network, an increase of 58%. The service claims 254 million monthly users, and recently said that 45 million Skype users logged on at the same time. Integration into Windows should only boost those numbers.But as Skype’s influence grows, third-party apps will find themselves under increasing pressure. Microsoft is clearly positioning Skype as the default communications app for its Windows platform, just as Google Talk and FaceTime have been integrated into Google Android and Apple’s iOS, respectively.Last week, The New York Times reported that startup AirTime, even though backed by Web wunderkinds Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, was barely staying alive in terms of traffic and users. AOL has essentially given up on AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM. Yahoo Messenger for Mobile, which includes video and text messaging for both iOS and Android, is still growing. But with the new Skype, Microsoft may have put up a very large wall for competing services on Windows 8. A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

The One Push Forecasting Rule

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now When you miss your sales forecast or goal, there is almost always a deal or two (or three) that pushed, prospects that didn’t sign the contract by the end of the quarter. Leaving aside the fact that planning to close a deal at the end of the quarter is a bad idea and providing you no margin should you or your client experiences a surprise, a client pushing a deal once means one thing and pushing it three times is something different.In one scenario, something unexpected happens, and your dream client doesn’t keep the commitment they made before the quarter ended. In other cases, the client demonstrates a pattern of not keeping promises and pushing things forward. These two varieties mean something different when it comes to forecasting.One PushIt can be disappointing to have a deal you were counting on push into the next quarter. It can be much more discouraging when you have done everything right, controlling the process, gaining agreements for next steps, and keeping the whole process on track for you and your dream client. Despite your best efforts, some deals are going to push.Your dream client’s lawyers ended up dealing with a large, unexpected acquisition that required their time, and they didn’t even look at your contract. Maybe you could have controlled getting your paper to them earlier, but you had no way of knowing they would have been unavailable.Maybe your primary contact needed two people from executive leadership to approve your proposal, one of whom decided to elope and left the country for two weeks, leaving you without a signed contract.Your client is struggling with a client of their own, and they couldn’t devote the time or resources to you or your proposal and contract. The deal may be important to both you and your dream client, but the timing is more important to you—especially when you are trying to make your number at the end of a quarter.Fair enough. The deal pushed. Many have pushed before. Many will push in the future, despite my best effort at providing a framework for controlling the process and gaining all the commitments in a way that improves your effectiveness in this area.No more pushy sales tactics. The Lost Art of Closing shows you how to proactively lead your customer and close your sales. Every Commitment PushedSome clients push deals forward more than once. They provide clues that should cause concern on the part of the salesperson and the sales manager forecasting the deal. This second variety of deal-pushers is more prevalent and more concerning than those that push a single time because the patterns emerge early.Meetings get pushed. And then they get pushed again. Stakeholders who are supposed to be engaged are moved to other projects. Other stakeholders are unable to make meetings. The executive sponsor who should care the most about the opportunity is never available to meet with you or your team. Every stakeholder you have met seems to behave as if everything is a fire drill.It’s not uncommon for a meeting to be moved. It is unusual for the same meeting to move two or three times—if the meeting is important to the people who are attending. Nor is it uncommon for stakeholders to move into new roles or new projects, but when the replacement for that role isn’t available for weeks or months, you have a hint as to what real timelines might be. In larger deals, the absence of an executive sponsor by itself may be enough to suggest that your deal may not be as a high a priority for your client as it is for you.When the pattern you perceive is that your client misses many deadlines, cancels a lot of meetings, reschedules meetings, and generally works in reactive mode, you should not be surprised when these things happen at the end of the quarter. In many cases, these prospects or dream clients don’t even know it’s the end of the quarter (unless they’re salespeople).Forecasting DealsThe likelihood that a deal that has pushed once comes in during the next quarter is high. The odds of a deal with a client that has a pattern of not being able to keep their commitments is far less certain.Some sales managers and sales leaders do bad math when they forecast, relying on the stage in their sales process as a guide to forecasting. Many make the mistake of believing that the fact that a client has a contract and made a commitment to sign it is enough to forecast the deal confidently. Later, they are disappointed when these deals push.In many cases, the experience pursuing the deal provided substantial evidence the deal was likely to push. The pattern of behavior on the client’s side offers a better indication as to when the deal will close than the stage in the process.You are going to work with prospects and dream clients who are going to experience events and go through stages where it is difficult to get things done. Your role is to help them as much as you possibly can, taking into account that they’re struggling. If you want to help them, the best thing you can do is learn to control the nonlinear process that is the sales, buying, and change.The One Push RuleIf a deal pushes once with a prospect who has a history of keeping their commitments, forecast it (if it doesn’t break your heart and cross the line the second day of a new quarter).If a deal pushes more than once, pursue it, but leave it off of your forecast, especially if there is a pattern that suggests your dram client is struggling to keep their commitments.last_img read more

London Olympics: Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang take aim at medal today

first_imgAbhinav Bindra would be aiming for a second-successive medal, while Gagan Narang would hope to be third-time lucky after past disappointments when the hyped duo takes aim in the 10m Air Rifle event of the London Olympics on Monday. Bindra, India’s first individual Olympic gold-medallist who got the yellow metal in 2008 Beijing Olympics, claims to have all but forgotten about the glory that he brought four years ago.”Looking at the past has no bearing, I don’t want to soak myself with the thoughts of Beijing performance. I won a gold four years ago in two hours of shooting. That is over and done with,” Bindra has stated.This would be Bindra’s fourth Olympic appearance and perhaps never before would he have endured the immense burden of expectations that has followed him to the British capital.Narang, on the other hand, has had to face disappointments in his two previous appearances at the big event.Narang has gone on to win numerous medals in the ISSF World Cups, World Championship, Commonwealth Games and the Asiad, besides creating a new world record in 2008, but Olympic glory has always eluded the ever-smiling shooter from Hyderabad.But given the good form he was in going into the Games here, the Olympic medal jinx could well be broken this time around.”I have been unlucky twice (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008), hope I get third time lucky,” Narang has said.Besides competing against each other, the duo will also face a stiff challenge from China’s Zhu Qinan, who was incidentally beaten by Bindra in Beijing.advertisementBesides 10-metre, Narang is also competing in 50-m Rifle Prone (August 3) and 50-m Rifle 3 Position (August 6), giving himself enough chances of winning a medal at the Royal Artillery Barracks.For the first time ever, India will have 11 shooters, three more than the eight participants in the Beijing Games.last_img read more