…new security measures may block some online activitiesRepublic Bank (Guyana) Limited has described the recent breach to its Visa OneCard service as a “brute force attack”, which is a trial and error method used by fraudsters to obtain, within seconds, payment information such as account numbers, card expiration dates and security codes.This brute force attack is what resulted in many local customers becoming victims of theft, as they discovered monies missing from their accounts.The bank, in a statement Friday, explained that once this data is obtained by the fraudsters, they attempt numerous transactions at online merchants globally. “While many of these attempts failed, some were also authorised resulting in those customers’ accounts being debited,” the regional financial institution explained.Going forward, Republic Bank in collaboration with Visa, implemented additional authorising measures which might result in some legitimate online transactions being blocked.The bank is advising customers who experience difficulty in attempting online transactions using their Visa OneCard to contact Customer Support using the following numbers: 1-800-271-4725 or 1-868-625-1200.According to the bank, efforts are being made to obtain a toll-free number in the shortest possible timeframe.In the meantime, Republic Bank said it is working with affected customers to detect which online purchases were unauthorised, in a bid to issue refunds.“We continue to reimburse sums proven to have been fraudulently withdrawn. To this end, we encourage customers who suspect fraudulent transactions to their accounts to visit their nearest branch to confirm and validate their transactions,” the bank said.Only recently, Central Bank Governor, Dr Gobind Ganga made it clear that all customers affected by the Republic Bank Visa Card scam must be refunded in full.“That is something that we wouldn’t tolerate. If there is a fraud, it doesn’t matter how long that fraud is dated back. Republic Bank or any bank would have to ensure that the customers receive his/her appropriate refund,” Dr Ganga told reporters earlier in the week.Guyana Times understands that some customers have already received their refunds in full.Meanwhile, the Central Bank Governor said he would also be meeting with the management of the bank to ensure the situation does not occur again, or if it does, better mechanisms would be put in place to deal with the issue.“We will be working with the commercial banks to ensure that the Guyanese public are afforded the opportunity to transact business almost risk-free,” Dr Ganga noted.Additionally, Republic Bank is urging customers to remain vigilant in monitoring their account activities.Moreover, the bank, in its statement, sincerely apologised for this temporary inconvenience. According to Republic Bank, it is seeking “your continued understanding as we work towards a permanent solution with the safety and security of our valued customers being foremost in those considerations”.
0Shares0000Harambee Stars skipper Victor Wanyama hands over a jersey and signed ball to Deputy President William Ruto when he paid the team a courtesy call at the Kasarani Stadium on Friday October 12, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaNAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – Deputy President William Ruto on Friday reiterated the government’s promise of rewarding national football team Harambee Stars with Sh50mn should they qualify for next year’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon.The Deputy President made the promise to the team last year after winning the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup and on Friday when he visited the team at their training session at the Kasarani Stadium reiterated that the promise still stands. “You all remember the promise we made last year?” Ruto quizzed the team at the Kasarani Stadium. “The promise still remains and we will make sure that happens,” he added.“So please work hard and achieve the goal and leave the rest to us. So my friend (speaking to skipper Victor Wanyama) even if it means leaving your leg here, please do,” Ruto joked.He also announced that the promise to give the team its own bus still remains and made a further promise that the same will be availed next month.“You have our prayers, support and good will. Please make us proud on Sunday,” he added.Deputy President William Ruto greets Harambee Stars players during a training session at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on October 12, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu“We thank you (DP Ruto) for coming in here today and I know you have been told of the small problems we had. We are sure that you will help sort them out and for us on the pitch, we will do our job,” skipper Wanyama said.His sentiments were shared by head coach Sebastien Migne who has also been promised that his outstanding salary arrears will be cleared having given the Federation an ultimatum up to Monday to ensure that his dues are taken care of.“I hope, it will be paid, but for me, the most important thing is the game on Sunday. That is why I came here and I believe we can do something special and write a new page of history for Kenyan football,” the tactician said.He added; “I have told him (DP Ruto) that for us to go far, we have to get the support from him and the government. We are on the way to the high level and we cannot do it without them.”The DP also ‘gifted’ the team with Sh1mn for motivation ahead of Sunday’s game.Deputy President William Ruto listens to Football Kenya Federation boss Nick Mwendwa as Sports PS Kirimi Kaberia and Sports Kenya Chairman Fred Muteti listen in at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on October 12, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluMeanwhile, Ruto also said that the remainder of the Sh25mn budget presented by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) for the double header against Ethiopia as well as arrears from the previous game against Ghana, has already been availed.Meanwhile, the country’s second in command has said moving forward, the Sports Fund will be fully operational to ensure that sports federations are well catered for and do not always have to sprawl their begging balls asking for help.“For a very long time we haven’t had a clear funding mechanism for sports but I want to tell you the good news; the government has committed a special fund to ensure all sportsmen and women have requisite infrastructure and financial support,” he said.The DP added; “In the next month or so the new fund will kick in and we expect to raise resources every year directly going to sports and you will be beneficiaries of that endeavor.”Stars were faced with a financial hiccup before travelling to Ethiopia and had to wait until the eve of their journey to get Sh7.2mn from the government. Previously from a submitted budget of Sh25mn, the Federation had only managed to get Sh4mn.Deputy President William Ruto chats with Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani on October 12, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluThe deficit of about Sh14mn has been sent to the federation to ensure the debts accrued from the Ghana match have been settled and facilitation for this weekend’s tie against Ethiopia is also taken care of. 0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)
0Shares0000Plateau Queens star Mercy Akinyi in action against Limuru Starlets in the Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom semis. Photo/GERALD ANDERSONNAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28- Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom top scorer Mercy Akinyi believes the trip to London for a week-long training will open doors for her as she seeks to turn professional.Akinyi starred during the youth tournament at the regional and national held at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega where she was the top scorer. But it is at the national where she made her name after hitting five goals to inspire her Plateau Queens side from Nyakach upset favourites Tartar 4-3 in post-match penalties to lift the inaugural Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Girls title and book a ticket to London for a week-long training.“My role model is Cristiano Ronaldo, I like the way he plays and fight for his team because he must score so I want to be like him. I want to make Nyakach proud by scoring in each game and I know I can make it,” Akinyi, who is the first born in a family of six said.Mercy Akinyi from Plateau Queens was the star of the semi final of the Girls Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom against Limuru Starlets. Photo/GERALD ANDERSONPlaying as a number 9 striker, Akinyi, a Form 4 student at Nyakach Girls, was part of the national women’s Under-20 team that was bundled out of the 2018 World Cup Qualifier by Ghana and she is now aspiring to upgrade to the senior team.“Last year we were selected to play for the national U20 team. We started well by beating Botswana and Ethiopia, but unfortunately Ghana eliminated us and it’s because our best players were sitting for the Form 4 exams so the team was not prepared,” she added.“I have dreams of playing abroad and that’s why we played so hard to win this tournament so that we can go to London and expose our talent, who knows maybe some of us might be scouted,” Akinyi, who started playing for Plateau Queens four years ago when she joined the school, revealed.Raised by a single mother, Akinyi is thankful for the cash prize she received from the tournament, a total of Sh145, 000 – Sh30, 000 and 50,000 for the top scorer at the region and national level respectively and Sh10,000 and 45,000 team’s cash prize where they won Sh200,000 at the region and Sh1mn at the national.Plateau Queens celebrating. Photo/GERALD ANDERSONShe used the money to pay school fees and assist her family and she is upbeat of lifting her humble family to greater heights through football.“It was not easy to win this title because there were many strong teams. We had to train hard and though we were not financially stable, we kept our heads high and here we are today as champions. Since we started the games, we only had one mission and that is to go to London.Chapa Dimba has made a difference in our lives because we can now pay school fees from the money we won and help our families. It has also brought interaction with other footballers from other counties,” Akinyi noted.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Neither Villaraigosa nor Saenz could be reached for comment. The 11-member Committee on School District Organization reviews proposals for school district reorganizations and recommends to the state Board of Education whether to unify or create new districts. The state panel, not the committee, makes the final decision on district reorganizations. In 2000, for instance, the committee recommended against a plan that would have asked voters to break up the LAUSD and create two San Fernando Valley districts. Sophia Waugh, vice president of the seven-member Los Angeles County Board of Education, said she opposes the move to shift the committee’s duties to the board. “What we have in place right now is working so well and they’re very effective, a body elected by peers to serve on the committee,” she said. “Why make that change unless it wasn’t working well. The system is working as it is now.” Naush Boghossian, (818) 713-3722 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant “This seems under the radar,” said Jo Ann Yee, senior director for urban affairs for the California School Boards Association. “One has to wonder what the motivations behind this are.” With Villaraigosa’s chief counsel, Thomas Saenz, heading up the county board of education, the move has raised eyebrows. “Somebody’s playing cat and mouse,” LAUSD board member David Tokofsky said. “Whatever the motive is, it doesn’t bode well for public discussion and publicly elected officials to take things and make them the authority of an unelected body when issues of school district borders either on breakup or consolidation are among the most passionate issues the populace ever has. “Making this a nonpublic discussion in a nonelected body because of some alleged cost misses the real cost of losing a bit of democracy,” he said. The county Board of Education – whose president is a chief architect of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s plan to take over Los Angeles Unified – is quietly maneuvering to assume the duties of an elected committee in charge of reviewing school district reorganizations. The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, which appoints education board members, was set to discuss the plan today but has put it off for two weeks. Supervisors were to consider asking the state Board of Education to transfer the duties of the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization – an elected body – to its panel of appointees. According to the Board of Supervisors’ resolution, the transfer would increase efficiency and reduce costs, but no savings is specified. But some education officials worry that the plan to put decisions impacting local school districts in the hands of an appointed body is politically motivated and would bolster Villaraigosa’s effort to reorganize LAUSD.
Drake University junior Elle Tubbs (Clinton, Iowa) has been named the Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced Tuesday, Sept. 4.Tubbs earned the honor after leading the undefeated Bulldogs to three more wins and a tournament title at the Holy Cross Invitational Aug. 31-Sept. 1. Tubbs earned a spot on the all-tournament team after recording 19 blocks with no errors in 10 sets while adding a team-high 26 kills in the three wins.Tubbs opened the tournament with five blocks in three sets against Rhode Island along with nine kills on 14 attempts. She followed that with five blocks in the four-set win over Holy Cross and returned on Saturday to record a staggering nine blocks in three sets along with seven kills against Columbia. Her nine block assists matched a career-high and were the most by a Bulldog in two seasons. Tubbs’ efforts at the net have the Bulldogs ranked fifth nationally in blocks at 3.18 per set second leading the nation in opponent hitting percentage at a meager .074.After spending the last two weeks on the road, the Bulldogs bring their perfect 6-0 record back to campus this week to host the Hotel Renovo-Wildwood Lodge Invitational at the Knapp Center. The Bulldogs begin the tournament Friday, Sept. 7 with a 1:30 p.m. match against Eastern Illinois followed by a 7 p.m. against South Dakota State. The tournament continues Saturday with a 12:30 p.m. contest against UMass-Lowell and a 6 p.m. match against Iowa. Print Friendly Version
What’s so big about walking upright? A single birth defect in a human ancestor 21 million years ago could have made it all possible, according to Dr. Aaron Filler (Cedars Sinai Medical Center), a specialist in the spine. According to EurekAlert, he proposes that in the “hominiform hominoid” Morotopithecus, a sibling was born with its horizontal septum transposed behind the lumbar region of the spine. This would have made its normal knuckle-walking gait inefficient. The child must have stood upright for relief. “Any mammal with this set of changes would only be comfortable standing upright,” he said. “I would envision this malformed young hominiform – the first true ancestral human – as standing upright from a young age while its siblings walked around on all fours.”According to the article, this idea “greatly demotes the importance of the bipedalism of Australopithecus species such as Lucy,” because walking upright was already old hat by then. In fact, the septum pattern found in his assumed upright-walking hominoids is as old as some invertebrates. Filler seems to be proposing upright posture not for any particular functional reason but as a mistake. “From an embryological point of view,” he remarked, “what took place is literally breathtaking.”So the Ugly Duckling of an early hominoid family found a sweetheart with the same birth defect and the two lived happily ever after, having lots of children that became medical doctors and philosophers. He’s right; for a story devoid of sense or evidence, this one is literally breathtaking. Better re-read the 11/18/2004 entry to recall all the other birth defects Dr. Filler forgot to fill out.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
For many South Africans, rugby is a serious matter, a source of bursting pride – or shattering disappointment. Here’s a guide to the game of rugby in South Africa.Nelson Mandela in his No 6 shirt with rugby player Francois Pienaar shortly after the Springboks’ win the Rugby World Cup on home turf in 1995. (Image: Rugby World Cup)Brand South Africa reporterRugby is one of South Africa’s big three sports, alongside soccer and cricket. For the many South African fans of the game, rugby is a serious matter, a source of bursting pride and joy – or shattering disappointment.The country has traditionally fared extremely well on the world stage, and South African fans expect their national team to win every game it plays.To help your understanding, here’s a quick guide to the game of rugby in South Africa:The changing face of SA rugbySpringboksTri-NationsSuper RugbyCurrie CupVodacom CupThe changing face of South African rugbySport, like no other South African institution, has shown it has the power to heal old wounds.When the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup on home turf in 1995, Nelson Mandela donned the No 6 shirt of the team’s captain – Francois Pienaar, a white Afrikaner – and the two embraced in a spontaneous gesture of racial reconciliation that melted hearts around the country.A single moment, and 400 years of colonial strife and bitterness … suddenly seemed so petty.For the disadvantaged people of the old apartheid South Africa, rugby was the white man’s game, and even more so the game of the Afrikaner. Traditionally, most communities of colour played soccer while, for white communities, rugby was the winter sport of choice.Things have changed in South Africa since 1994, however, and the South African Rugby Football Union has been working hard to make rugby the game of all South Africans, mainly through an active development programme throughout the country.At provincial age-group levels, players of colour are playing an increasingly prominent role as the development programme and the quota system begin to bear fruit.Through the quota system, players of colour are being given the opportunity to compete at the higher levels of the game, and a growing number are showing that they belong there by securing places in Super 14 teams and – the highest honour for a South African rugby player – in the Springbok side.The SpringboksThe Springboks are the national rugby team and traditionally one of the sport’s international powerhouses. Every talented South African youngster dreams of one day wearing “the green and gold”.The Boks have an outstanding international scoresheet, and for many years enjoyed a winning record against all other nations, until a slight slump in performances after South Africa’s return from international isolation in 1992.New Zealand’s All Blacks now hold a slight edge in head-to-head meetings with the Springboks, but the South Africans retain a winning record against all other countries.There have been five big highlights since South Africa’s return from international isolation. The first of these took place in 1995 when the country hosted rugby’s biggest tournament, the World Cup.The Springboks made it through to the final at Ellis Park where, spurred on by a frenzied home crowd, and with the whole of South Africa willing them on, they trumped the All Blacks 15-12 in extra time to lift the sport’s most coveted trophy.The Boks’ display, opening with a win over defending champions Australia and finishing with victory over favourites New Zealand, united the country, bringing people of all colours together just a year after South Africa’s first democratic elections.The second highlight occurred in 1998, when South Africa broke New Zealand’s hold on the Tri-Nations, a competition that matches up the “big three” of the southern hemisphere, with Australia completing the trio.The Kiwis had won the first two competitions without losing a match, but Gary Teichmann’s 1998 side showed spirit and poise in winning all four of their matches to lift the title for the first time.The third highlight included the Springboks’ 1998 Tri-Nations title and went beyond it. It was a run of 17 victories in succession, equalling the world record run by New Zealand between 1965 and 1970 (which, appropriately, was halted by South Africa).During their 1997/98 run, South Africa defeated Australia, New Zealand, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Italy – all of them, with the exception of Italy, teams rated amongst the world’s elite.After a rough period, during which Springbok coaches came and went with alarming rapidity, Jake White was appointed coach in 2003. He would go on to lead the team in more matches than any other Springbok coach. He was also at the helm when the fourth great highlight was achieved.In October 2007, South Africa beat England 15-6 in the final of the World Cup in Paris, after advancing through the tournament unbeaten, to join Australia as the only two-time winner of the William Webb Ellis Trophy.Not long afterwards, Jake White was named International Rugby Board (IRB) Coach of the Year and Bryan Habana IRB Player of the Year. The Springboks were named IRB Team of the Year and, at the Laureus Sports Awards in February 2008, World Sports Team of the Year.The following year they captured their third Tri-Nations title, defeating the All Blacks three times on their way to the title. They also beat the British and Irish Lions 2-1 in a three-match series.In New Zealand, in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the Springboks won all of their pool matches, defeating Wales, Namibia, Fiji, and Samoa. They exited the tournament at the quarterfinals stage, falling 11-9 to Australia, which, incredibly, was the sole statistic they trailed the Wallabies by when the match was over.Tri-NationsThe Tri-Nations was an annual competition that took place in July and August from 1996 to 2011 to decide the top international team in the southern hemisphere.The competition was born of a demand for more regular competition between the southern hemisphere superpowers following the success of the 1995 World Cup.Between them, the three competing countries – New Zealand, South Africa and Australia – have won six out of the seven World Cups contested since 1987, so to be crowned Tri-Nations champion was a great honour.Tri-Nations champions:2011: Australia2010: New Zealand2009: South Africa2008: New Zealand2007: New Zealand2006: New Zealand2005: New Zealand2004: South Africa2003: New Zealand2002: New Zealand2001: Australia2000: Australia1999: New Zealand1998: South Africa1997: New Zealand1996: New ZealandThe Rugby ChampionshipIn 2012, the Tri-Nations competition was expanded to include Argentina and became known as the Rugby Championship.Reigning World Cup champions, New Zealand, became the first winners of the new competition.The Rugby Championship champions:2012: New Zealand2013: New ZealandSuper RugbyThe Super Rugby competition features 15 regional teams from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, with each country providing five teams.The forerunner of the competition was the Super 10, contested by provincial teams from the three countries as well as Samoa in 1993 and 1994 and Tonga in 1995.In 1996, the competition became the Super 12, featuring provincial and regional teams from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, with the Tongans and Samoans falling out. Two more teams were added in 2006 and it became the Super 14.The Super Rugby competition begins in February and runs through until August.Five South African teams are selected from the Sharks (made up of players from the Natal Sharks), the Stormers (made up of players from Western Province and Boland), the Cheetahs (made up of players from the Cheetahs, Griquas and Griffons), the Lions (made up of players from the Lions, Pumas and Leopards), the Bulls (made up of players from the Blue Bulls and Falcons) and the Southern Kings (made up of players from the Kings, Bulldogs and Eagles)Back in 1993, the team then known as Transvaal (now the Lions) beat New Zealand team Auckland to win the first Super 10 competition.But it was to be a long wait for local fans for the next South African Super rugby winner: until 2007, when the Bulls scored a converted try after the final hooter to sneak a 20-19 win against the Sharks in Durban.Super Rugby champions:2012: Chiefs (NZ)2013: Chiefs (NZ)Super 14 champions:2011: Reds (Aus)2010: Bulls (SA)2009: Bulls (SA)2008: Crusaders (NZ)2007: Bulls (SA)2006: Crusaders (NZ)Super 12 champions:2005: Crusaders (NZ)2004: Brumbies (Aus)2003: Blues (NZ)2002: Crusaders (NZ)2001: Brumbies (Aus)2000: Crusaders (NZ)1999: Crusaders (NZ)1998: Crusaders (NZ)1997: Blues (NZ)1996: Blues (NZ)Super 10 champions:1995: Queensland (Aus)1994: Queensland (Aus)1993: Transvaal (SA)Currie CupThe Currie Cup, the premier provincial rugby competition in South Africa, was first contested in 1892. The format of the Currie Cup varied from year to year, and finals were held intermittently until 1968, after which the final became an annual event.Up to and including 2011, the most successful province in the history of the Currie Cup is Western Province with 32 titles (four shared), followed by the Blue Bulls with 23 (four shared), the Lions with 10 (one shared), the Natal Sharks with six, and the Cheetahs with four (one shared). Other teams that have lifted the trophy include Griquas (three times) and Border (twice, both shared).For many years the biggest rivalry in South African rugby was between Western Province and the Blue Bulls. During the early to mid-1990s this was superseded by a three-way rivalry between Natal, the Lions and Western Province.The Blue Bulls have returned to Currie Cup prominence, however, while the Free State Cheetahs won three titles in succession, from 2005 to 2007, including sharing the Currie Cup with the Blue Bulls in 2006.The Currie Cup takes place roughly between July and October. The format divides 14 teams into eight Premier Division and six First Division teams.The teams, in alphabetical order, are: Blue Bulls, Boland Cavaliers, Border Bulldogs, Eagles, Falcons, Free State Cheetahs, Golden Lions, Griffons, Griquas, Leopards, Mighty Elephants, Natal Sharks, Pumas and Western Province.Currie Cup champions (since 1994):2013: Natal Sharks2012: Western Province2011: Golden Lions2010: Natal Sharks2009: Blue Bulls2008: Natal Sharks2007: Free State Cheetahs2006: Blue Bulls / Free State Cheetahs2005: Free State Cheetahs2004: Blue Bulls2003: Blue Bulls2002: Blue Bulls2001: Western Province2000: Western Province1999: Golden Lions1998: Blue Bulls1997: Western Province1996: Natal Sharks1995: Natal Sharks1994: TransvaalVodacom CupThe Vodacom Cup has become an important competition on the South African rugby calendar. It takes place at the same time as the Super 14 competition – starting in late February and finishing in mid-May – and thus creates a platform for talented young players who might otherwise not get a chance to make their mark.It has also been a fertile breeding ground for strong players from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, thanks to the enforcement of quotas. Quotas, successfully implemented lower down, now extend through the higher levels of South African rugby, including the Super 14.The Vodacom Cup is divided into two sections – North and South – with the top two teams advancing to the semi-finals and playing cross-section matches of one- versus-two for a place in the final.The North is made up of the Griffons, Pumas, Golden Lions, Griquas, Blue Bulls, Leopards XV, Valke, and the Limpopo Blue Bulls. The South’s teams are the Sharks XV, Free State XV, Western Province, Tusker Simba XV (Kenya), SWD Eagles, EP Kings, Boland Cavaliers, and Border.Since the first Vodacom Cup season in 1998, up to and including 2014, the Golden Lions have won four titles, including a hat-trick from 2002 to 2004, while Griquas have also claimed four titles.The Golden Lions have taken the honours on five occasions, while there have also been titles for and Blue Bulls , the Falcons, Western Province, Griqualand West, Free State Cheetahs and Argentina’s Pampas XV.Vodacom Cup champions:2014: Griquas2013: Golden Lions2012: Western Province2011: Pampas XV (Arg)2010: Blue Bulls2009: Griquas2008: Blue Bulls2007: Griquas2006: Falcons2005: Griquas2004: Golden Lions2003: Golden Lions2002: Golden Lions2001: Blue Bulls2000: Free State Cheetahs1999: Golden Lions1998: Griqualand WestWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Extreme weather conditions like the recent excessive rains and tornadoes have negatively impacted Ohio farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will invest $4 million to help Ohio agricultural producers recover. Technical and financial assistance is now available to producers who were unable to plant their crops, or who have experienced crop loss due to flooded or wet fields. This sign-up is an opportunity for farmers to plant a cover crop.“NRCS can be a valuable partner to help Ohio landowners with their agricultural recovery effort,” said State Conservationist Terry Cosby for NRCS in Ohio. “This special sign-up encourages farmers to plant cover crops to improve water quality and soil health, prevent soil erosion, and suppress weeds on areas not planted to crops.”NRCS will utilize the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for this special disaster recovery sign-up. EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that helps agricultural producers protect the environment while promoting agricultural production.Cover crops provide an alternative to fields going fallow and remaining uncovered. Cover crops also improve soil vitality by adding nutrients and organic matter. Many fields that are saturated for a long period of time face a loss of soil organisms. Cover crop roots reestablish soil health and create pathways for air and water to move through the soil, which is key to restoring it.There are significant changes with cover crops and we want producers to be successful in their 2020 planting year. Educational cover crop workshops and field days are readily available throughout Ohio to learn more. Additional information is also available on the NRCS website and farmers.gov/prevented-planting.Landowners should coordinate with other USDA farm agencies when participating in related programs. It is a producer’s responsibility to work directly with their insurance agent and RMA to ensure they understand their policy.To apply for this special EQIP opportunity, visit your local USDA Service Center. Applications will be accepted beginning July 1, 2019 until funding is exhausted.
The Passivhaus Institut (PHI), headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, announced an online training program that could be the starting point for those who want to become designers and consultants.The video modules are available in English. They are designed as an introduction for beginners in Passivhaus design and as preparatory material for courses leading to certification as a Passive House designer or consultant, PHI said in its March 23 press release.“The Passive House principle is simple; however, a few details need to be kept in mind duringplanning, to ensure that the energy savings expected by building owners are actually assured,” PHI said.PHI’s three-tiered building standard includes limits on overall energy consumption, heat energy consumption, and air leakage through the building envelope. In a revised edition released last year, the standard also added new requirements for renewable energy in the “plus” and “premium” building categories.There are three introductory modules available for free — a good place to start for those who want a quick summary of what Passivhaus construction is about. The full course costs 195 euros (about $218 at current exchange rates).PHI also said that its e-learning program is a good way to prepare for workshops at the International Passive House Conference in Darmstadt on April 22 and 23. If you’re signed up for the conference, you’ll get a 100-euro discount on the course.
ConclusionThe time you spend at work is no indication of productivity. Neither is the number of dials you make per hour or day. The number of face-to-face sales calls or ear-to-ear sales calls or video face to video face sales calls are also no measurement of productivity. They are activity, and not all activity produces the right outcomes. You can have meetings in which nothing is accomplished. They may even be necessary, but that does not mean that any initiative was advanced.Productivity is the measurement of the outcomes you create divided by the time and energy you invest in those outcomes. Time and energy invested in activities that do not produce an outcome do not mean that you were productive. This is true even when the non-productive activities are necessary. If you are vigilant and honest with yourself about the way you spend your time and can cut out or minimize the unnecessary tasks, you will become much better at focusing your time and energy on producing awesome outcomes. A lot of people mistake being busy for being productive. You might get to cross 15 things off your To-Do List, but unless these items are directly related to sales, chances are you are being incredibly unproductive. Productivity is a measurement of the progress you are making on important outcomes. You can say “yes” to all kinds of work and projects that consume your time and energy and while interesting, they do nothing to move you ahead toward your major initiatives or goals.Being more productive requires a broader shift in thinking. It can be tough to improve your productivity overnight but there are some simple steps you can take to meaningfully boost productivity over time. Some of these strategies require lifestyle changes, while others require getting more organized and comparing your progress against peers. Read up on these tips to help you build a foundation for killer productivity.Set Yourself Up For SuccessYou can’t have a great day without a little preparation the night before. Every night I set the coffee pot to go off 10 minutes before I wake up. I also get water bottles ready if I am running in the morning. I start the day in the office with mindfulness meditation, a journal entry and writing. Then I set to work with a cup of coffee and a blank page on my computer.Everyone has different daily routines. But the more you can do to get your day in order before you are up and running, the faster you will get to work and the more you will accomplish. You set the tone for your whole day during the very first few hours. Review your calendar for the next day the night before so you know what to expect. It only takes a few minutes but it’s important to know what you’re doing and where you have space to fit in last-minute tasks that pop up. Make sure you are prepared for meetings and commitments you have planned.It’s also important to write down your priorities or To-Do list – this can help you achieve three or four major outcomes each day. You can try to do this on a weekly basis, but if you’re really staying busy, chances are you will want to revisit your schedule and renegotiate commitments on a daily basis. Review the list and schedule time to do the real work – the proactive, intentional stuff, not the reactive stuff like responding to emails, answering calls, etc. Doing this work the night before lets you do purposeful work starting right at the beginning of your day.Don’t Skimp on SleepGetting a full night of sleep is critical to boosting productivity. The average person needs at least 7 hours of sleep each night and some need even more than that. Figure out how many hours of sleep you need to function most effectively and set a “cut off” time for when you need to go to bed every night. You can even set that cutoff time on your smartphone so you get an alert when it’s time to get some sleep. It’s also important to detach from electronics an hour or two before bed. Studies show that the light emitted from electronics can disrupt your natural sleep rhythms. Instead of checking email or watching TV, try a book or other activities. Maybe get some exercise or use that time to pursue your hobbies. Getting enough sleep may require a significant change in your daily habits. When you set a time to get out of bed, stick to it. People that keep hitting the snooze alarm just come to work feeling groggy and lethargic. You want to pick a wake up time when you can jump out of bed and start your day.Narrow Your FocusBeing productive is about prioritizing your top goals and narrowing your focus. You have to carefully select what is important in your day and eliminate the things that aren’t adding up to anything so you know you are spending your time wisely. A successful day is not just one where you are so busy you don’t have time to sit down – it’s a day where you make progress on the things that are the most important.Keeping a time journal is a great way to take measurements and make adjustments. Write down everything you do from the time you wake up until you go to sleep. If you do this for a few days in a row, you will see exactly how much time you are wasting in between tasks or on tasks that just aren’t helping you stay productive. This is anything from lying in bed scrolling through social media to spending an hour on the phone talking through someone else’s issues.Raise your standards by looking at what you really do and how little of it is related to the outcomes you want to produce. This will create the awareness you need to lead to positive change. Decide and act on the idea that you are going to prioritize what is most important and is moving you closer to your goals.Set Long-Term GoalsYou can’t be productive unless you have broader overarching targets to guide your efforts. Long-term goals help you frame your thoughts and give you a roadmap for success. The ideal timeframe for these goals is 1-3 years, but figure out what works best for you. This process might involve really taking the time to consider what kind of personal growth is important to you. Where do you want to be at the end of those three years? Think about what promotion you’re gunning for or what milestones you want to hit, then think tactically. The next step is figuring out the short-term goals that will get you there.Set Short-Term GoalsShort-term goals are goals over the next few days or months that can help you reach your long-term goals. These goals might include developing a certain skill, learning more about the broader company, or attending conferences to network with peers. It’s not enough to just write down a few short-term goals. Make sure to evaluate your progress at the end of the week to make sure you’re on the right track. Think about what you did well and what you could have done better; there might be some lessons learned that you haven’t considered. Short-term goals are the tactical steps you need to take to reach your long-term goals and require a lot more detail. Depending on your progress towards your short-term goals, you might find it necessary to adapt your long-term goals. Setting goals, striving for them, and reaching them is an iterative process that requires periodic reflection.Set Three 90-Minute BlocksIt’s not enough to just have goals for each day. You need to think about the little steps you’re going to take to get there. Break the day into 90 minute blocks of time (or another interval) and decide what work you want to accomplish in each particular block. This ensures you don’t have long stretches of time without a specific focus. Blocking time doesn’t mean you have to schedule your entire day with no room for last-minute meetings or other work that arises. It just means you need to have a plan and that you work that plan as best you can.If you schedule three 90-minute blocks of time each day for your most important work, you’ll find you get more important work done, the work is higher quality and you finish your tasks faster than you would have if you stretched them out throughout the day.Also, these three blocks account for just 4.5 of the 24 hours in your day. That leaves you plenty of time to be reactive or responsive to other things that come up. You are simply using about half of your work day to protect yourself from distractions and small work that doesn’t move you closer to your goals.Use the first 90-minute block (say between 8am and 9:30am) to finish the most important task you need to complete. This is often the LAST thing you will want to do first thing in the morning but that’s even more reason why you should. Then no matter what else happens in the day you will have been productive and completed an important task. See how it works?Using the second block in the late morning to work on your second most important task boosts the odds of you being doubly productive. Then you can take a break around noon to reenergize and refuel. Even if your day ended at this point you still will have accomplished more than most of your peers!Having a third 90-minute block in the afternoon is a good chance to bang away at one of the important projects you haven’t yet finished or start a new task. If you’re interrupted by something urgent, and we all will be on some days, don’t worry about it. Just get back to it as soon as possible and try to devote the full 90 minutes to it even if it is broken up.Be Aware of Demands on Your TimeWhen you create your workday budget, one of the most important things to do is to set periods of time when you won’t check your phone or email. An email is a significant demand on your time and so is a phone call or text. It might not sound like a heavy burden in terms of taxing your brain or energy, but it does require you to step outside of your current task and consider what to do, how to respond, etc. These interruptions are demands on your time without your consent.Setting limited windows to check messages can stop you from constantly switching your attention from projects to responding to routine emails. Setting aside these blocks of time give you a chance to focus on one specific task and get it done faster.It’s often impossible to ignore demands on your time, but you can bundle them together so you can control your focus and attention. If you landed your dream client, you want to be available to them when they call, text or email you because they are in need of your help. You want to honor your commitment to them but also make sure that every little distraction doesn’t end up keeping you from accomplishing anything with your day.Double Activity or Increase EffectivenessWhat if your sales results are off by 50%? You’re only producing half of your number. In order to close that gap, you can do one of two things: Double your activity or Increase Your Effectiveness.Doubling your activity begins with the assumption that sales is just a numbers game. There is nothing but activity and more activity leads to more opportunities which leads to more wins and so on. Doubling your prospecting efforts might not be a bad plan for those who aren’t doing enough to create the results they need. However, only increasing your activity level doesn’t account for all the other things that one could be doing to improve their sales results.Increasing your effectiveness assumes that better results will happen when the sales force is more effective and sales teams aren’t struggling as much. This involves training, development and coaching that help your ability to target dream clients and go after bigger opportunities. It requires more of a time investment but also improves win rates and creates a higher percentage of wins than just increasing activity alone.Some people need more activity for better results and others need to get more effective at what they are doing. Implementing both strategies at once means more activity as well as new mindsets and skills – usually a winning combination.BenchmarkOnce you’ve got that personal feedback, it’s time to benchmark with counterparts inside and outside your company. It’s time to see how you stack up against the competition. Compare your productivity to peers you admire. Those comparisons are another objective way to evaluate your performance. Figure out exactly what metrics are going to be important when benchmarking. Is it sales growth? Number of new accounts opened? Invitations to speaking engagements? Any metrics can be valuable if they are relevant and easily measurable. Also look at what those people are doing to boost their productivity. Maybe they spend more time networking and getting to know people across the company. They might be more aggressive about finding ways to work smarter instead of harder. Observe your peers and if possible, have a chat; you might learn some new strategies to boost your productivity. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now