Please Hold for Next Available Bot

Vonage to ‘Turbocharge’ AI Efforts Beth Schultz August 13, 2019 Acquisition of conversational AI platform gives the company much-needed talent for deepening expertise in AI and machine learning. The bot debates are on, and it’s déjà vu all over again. I remember the earlier version of the bot debates with voicemail and the IVR. Before voicemail, if someone wasn’t available to answer their phone, a cheerful receptionist would, and likely jot down a message on one of those pink ”While You Were Out” pads. When voicemail systems gained popularity in the ‘80s, they largely replaced live-answer receptionists.There was debate back then about machines vs. humans, and whether it was cold to answer the phone with an automated voicemail greeting. To some degree the debate continues today, but voicemail became predominant — not just because it was cheaper, but because it effectively eliminated the middleman. Voicemail made it possible to leave a direct, private, complicated, contextual, and even emotional message. Instead of “call me back,” entire conversations could become asynchronous. (Remember, voicemail was before email and text messaging became popular.)A similar debate occurred with interactive voice response (IVR) systems. IVRs saved time and money by providing answers to common questions such as those regarding business hours or driving directions. They became more powerful with CTI and could respond to questions such as asking for the current balance on an account. Universities implemented touch-tone registration systems for students. The IVR was an impersonal bot, but that had advantages on certain types of inquiries such as setting a password or PIN code; it seemed odd to tell these things to an agent.Now these debates are resurfacing with revised chatbot technology. A chatbot is similar to an IVR in function, but new AI technologies make them less programmatic. Clearly, they offer a number of benefits to customers and businesses, including faster and cheaper self-service, improved privacy, and 24-hour availability. Many demographics prefer self-service options but adding chatbots in the name of customer service is a murky proposition.Though there’s no shortage of recent chatbot announcements, I’d like to explore this with three specific, recent announcements from T-Mobile, Moxy, and Google.T-Mobile: In August, T-Mobile announced Team of Experts as a key differentiator in its un-carrier journey. When its customers (all customers, not just the best customers) call or message for service, they will be directed to a skilled team of highly motivated people. T-Mobile pledged the end of robots and phone menus, to reduce call center run-around (internal transfers), and made these experts available 24 hours per day. Two months later, the results are impressive. Its Net Promoter Score increased to an all-time high, up 60%. Use of T-Mobile’s messaging service for customer care increased 34%. Internally, agent turnover dropped 48%.Those are impressive gains, but there are likely situations even at T-Mobile where a chatbot makes sense. It’s unfortunate that it had to vilify the chatbot technology to make its point. T-Mobile improved its customer service scores in a sector known for the worst customer service. The innovation was live answer by competent agents. The real question now is what’s next, and what’s the next innovation for sectors that already have these practices in place? Moxy is the code-name for a new U.S. airline from David Neeleman, the founder of JetBlue. Neeleman describes Moxy as a “technology company that happens to fly airplanes.” His plan is to create a new airline that competes on both air travel and customer service.As a founder of four successful airlines, Neeleman can’t be dismissed. He intends to deliver flights that are twice as fast for half the cost. Three key points to his plan are new fuel efficient planes, routes to/from second tier airports, and an app that empowers customers and lowers costs. An app-powered airline may sound dubious, but the idea of running a global taxi company without dispatchers may have sounded equally absurd only a decade ago.Moxy won’t have customer service, at least not in the traditional sense. The Moxy app is being designed so that customers will never have to talk to the airline. The app is modeled after companies such as Amazon and Uber, for which live customer interactions are the exception rather than the rule. It will allow customers to do most things on their own, including changing or cancelling flights.Live agents will exist, but they are not intended to be part of the normal workflow. The real innovation here is more flexible and powerful processes. Most interactions with airlines are self-inflicted by the airline. Moxy, for example, will proactively reschedule customers as a result of cancellations. Customers can accept the new schedule within the app without ever speaking to anyone. Clearly, Neeleman intends to rethink the workflow, and that likely means lots of AI and, yes, chatbots.Google: This month Google started shipping its Pixel 3 smartphone with a new call screening feature. When a call comes in, a “Screen Call” button is presented alongside the familiar answer and reject options. Screen Call causes a Google chatbot to answer and collect information about the purpose of the call. As the caller speaks their responses, they are presented to the receiver as a live transcript on the smartphone’s display. The receiver of the call can interact with the chatbot via on-screen buttons such as “ask for more information” and “is it urgent?” At any time the call can be accepted, rejected, or marked as spam. Google claims that screening calls this way is fast, private, and uses less battery.It’s a very clever use case that makes the chatbot available to consumers. It’s a logical addition for all smartphones and UC mobile clients. Although there are situations where it will be used with friends and family (is it urgent?), it will more likely be used to screen unfamiliar numbers. In other words, the Google screening chatbot will primarily interact with robocallers — let them chat about cake.This is a fighting-fire-with-fire approach to managing robocalls, which are becoming pervasive. The next salvo will be the personal assistant bot that makes outgoing calls. Google demonstrated its Duplex technology earlier this year at Google I/O 2018. It’s a chatbot that performs common tasks, such as setting an appointment, by making calls. Duplex will begin rolling out next month to Pixel 3 owners on a city-by-city basis.The Chatbots are ComingLike it or not, the chatbots are coming. They are a key component of just about every major contact center vendor/provider’s roadmap and strategy. T-Mobile and Moxy are both leveraging the use (or non-use) of chatbots as a form of competitive advantage in completely opposite ways. Chatbots will be used to reduce costs and improve customer service, and in some cases accomplish both at the same time.Though companies like T-Mobile are swatting automation, these technologies have a role to play. The maligned IVR enables valuable self-service, despite its ridicule. The design goals of improving customer experiences and reducing costs don’t have to be in conflict.The issues of appropriate use of automated technologies are not limited to enterprise communications. The medical industry, for example, struggles with if and how AI-powered solutions for diagnosis should address bedside manner. These are complex issues, in part, because what’s deemed appropriate use of technology varies by age and generation.The effectiveness and acceptance of bots may boil down to implementation. And, there’s no shortage of opportunity to do it right. Last July, Google announced Contact Center AI, and nine launch partners committed to upcoming integrated solutions (see “Google Embraces the Contact Center”). This month, Twilio launched its Autopilot chatbot service, aimed directly at business customers and offer a higher degree of programmability.Two key success factors for chatbots are the workflow and the training. The more well defined the workflow, the more effective a bot can be. Many people prefer bots (and automation) in well-defined workflows such as placing/changing an order or scheduling an appointment. The training process is the Achilles’ heel for most implementations and will likely be the biggest differentiator among offers and implementations.With Google arming the masses with chatbot technology, there’s going to be a whole lot of non-human conversation occurring. Today, we integrate disparate systems largely via APIs. This approach isn’t scalable, however, as it isn’t reasonable to integrate every system with every other system. Instead, chatbots will allow us to use voice as a universal API of sorts — just like humans do. Bots will likely do better talking to bots than humans as bot vocabulary and accents are more predictable.Google agreed to make clear that its Duplex technology is robotic so as to not trick humans into thinking that it’s real, but it seems more likely that Duplex will be interacting mostly with other bots. We are moving to a time where every person and every business will have a bot.Dave Michels is a Contributing Editor and analyst at TalkingPointz.Tags:News & ViewschatbotIVRvoicemailGoogleMoxyT-MobileAI & Speech TechnologiesContact Center & Customer Experience Articles You Might Like Speech Applications Are Vulnerable, Too Gary Audin October 04, 2019 Are you really in control of your voice-enabled devices and applications? Let Your Bots Do the Talking Andrew Prokop August 22, 2019 AudioCode’s Voice.AI Gateway lets enterprises voice-enable bots and call them from any telephone, UC system, or WebRTC endpoint. Cisco to ‘Tuck In’ Voice AI from Voicea Zeus Kerravala August 07, 2019 The acquisition will help advance the company’s cognitive collaboration strategy for Webex. chatbot_500.png No Jitter Roll: Five for Friday Ryan Daily August 30, 2019 A look at the latest news coming from Google, Oblong, Expereo, Nureva, and Verint. See All in AI & Speech Technologies » read more

Deputy SecretaryGeneral pledges UN support to consolidate progress in Latin America

Hailing the region’s overall transition from authoritarian to democratic rule over the past quarter century, Ms. Fréchette told officials attending a conference in New York, “The entire world has a stake in the debate about the fate of democracy in Latin America.”The subject is on the agendas of the Organization of American States OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other important institutions, including her hosts for the day, the Ebert Foundation and the Security and Peace Initiative, she said.“Never before have so many countries in the region been democratic. Never before has democracy endured this long. The region is largely at peace, unlike other parts of the world,” Ms. Fréchette said.Since so many Latin American leaders were formed politically by struggling against authoritarian regimes, they are committed to promoting and protecting democracy, she said.“And yet, there are worrisome trends,” Ms. Fréchette said.With the number of people in poverty and extreme poverty in the area having almost doubled over the last couple of decades, Latin America remains the most unequal region in the world, with high levels of unemployment and with spikes in crime and violence that threaten not only citizens’ lives but hamper the growth of such income sources as tourism and foreign investment.Although democracy has made great inroads, there is disillusionment with the process and with newly propounded economic models, she said.The challenge will be to consolidate the best of what is happening in Latin America and sustain the vigour with which change is being pursued, while addressing the backlog of need. In this regard, leadership from the ground up is a necessary counterpoint to top-down, paternalistic models, the Deputy Secretary-General said.She pledged that the “entire UN team” will continue to support the region in its effort to reduce poverty and raise living standards. read more

Valeant Pharma to cut up to 15 per cent of workforce to

by The Associated Press Posted Jul 29, 2013 3:36 pm MDT Valeant Pharma to cut up to 15 per cent of workforce to pay for $8.7B B+L deal AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email LAVAL, Que. – Valeant said Monday that it will eliminate as much as 15 per cent of its workforce and move Bausch + Lomb’s headquarters to New Jersey as part of its $8.7 billion acquisition of the company.In a letter to its own and Bausch + Lomb workers, the Quebec-based drugmaker said that after the deal closes, it will eliminate between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of positions companywide. That works out to between 1,850 and 2,775 people and is expected to include both Valeant and Bausch + Lomb workers.Valeant (TSX:VRX) said it will remain based in Quebec, but it will move Bausch + Lomb’s Rochester, N.Y., headquarters to New Jersey. The U.S. company’s three businesses will be combined into one unit.The company will continue to operate all of its current U.S. manufacturing locations, including those in Rochester, it said. Valeant added that it expects to receive regulatory approvals by early next month and hopes to close the deal as soon as possible after that.Valeant announced plans in May to by Bausch + Lomb, one of the world’s best-known makers of contact lenses, marking a massive expansion of its own smaller ophthalmology business.The company said at that time that the cash deal will help it capitalize on increasing demand for contact lenses and other products because of aging populations, growing demand in emerging markets and increasing rates of diabetes. Complications of the complex blood sugar disorder can damage the eyes over time.Valeant expects to achieve at least $800 million in annual cost savings by the end of next year, and said the acquisition will add to its profits immediately.Investment firm Warburg Pincus, which leads an investment group that owns Bausch + Lomb, will receive $4.5 billion in cash. The remaining $4.2 billion will be used to repay Bausch + Lomb’s debt.Shares of Valeant fell 58 cents to $93.82 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. read more

Irelands migrant past tragic present for so many Foreign Minister tells UN

“I am acutely conscious, as I stand here […], of my own country’s long experience of emigration over several centuries,” Minister Charles Flanagan told the Assembly’s annual debate. “Indeed, on the newly restored lawn just outside this building a haunting bronze sculpture, Arrival, depicts a huddled group of Irish emigrants ready to disembark in New York after fleeing starvation and poverty in their native Ireland,” he noted. “Our own history as a people forms the enduring backdrop to our foreign policy agenda. That part of our past is, unfortunately, the tragic present for so many,” he said. The vast scale and sustained nature of the movement is, at times, bewildering and threatens to overwhelm rules-based migration systems, he said, citing a wide array of issue to overcome at the same time – the harrowing violence in Syria; the barbarism of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh); the collapse of order within Libya; the practices of ruthless people smugglers; and persistent poverty and inequality in many parts of Africa. Ireland is responding to the migration crisis in a variety of ways, Mr. Flanagan said, including prioritization of funding humanitarian relief and provision of more than €60 million in support of the Syrian people in the region, most of it through UN organizations. Ireland has deployed its navy’s ships to the Mediterranean to assist with search and rescue missions, and is participating in the EU programme to resettle refugees fleeing conflict. Here at UN Headquarters, Ireland acted as co-facilitator, alongside Jordan, to deliver agreement on the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, adopted at the UN earlier this week, he said. He stressed that a multilateral approach is the only one that can work, and that is why the UN must demonstrate its capacity to deliver the solutions. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which the UN agreed one year ago following a successful co-facilitation process by Ireland and Kenya, have the capacity when implemented, to address many of the root causes of migration by ending poverty, reducing inequality, and responding to climate change. read more

For worldchampion jumping rope and physics go handinhand

For an Ohio State first-year in physics, Tori Boggs knows a lot about jumping rope.Boggs is a nine-time world rope skipping champion and a two-time world record holder, the current captain of both Jump Company USA and the U.S. National Jump Rope team, and a member of the USA All-Star Ambassador Jump Rope team.“It’s one of those things where you absolutely have to see jump rope to believe it and you just get hooked at the first sight,” Boggs said.Jumping rope is nothing new to Boggs, a Parkersburg, W.Va., native. The 20-year-old has been involved in the sport since she was 5 when she walked into a jump roping event at the Junior Olympic tournament where her brother was participating in a Tae Kwon Do competition.“She went into a gym where they were jumping rope and saw it and didn’t want to leave,” said her mother and jump rope coach, Rochelle Boggs. The mother-daughter pair stumbled upon an advertisement in their local newspaper the following week for tryouts and have never looked back.“She’s my coach now, so we’ve grown in the sport together,” Tori Boggs said.But Tori Boggs is the only person to her knowledge on OSU’s campus who participates in competitive rope skipping, something that means she spends many weekends traveling to perform and compete with her various teams. OSU does not provide any resources for her jump roping, but she said she is “working on” getting jump roping to the point where it is associated with the university.Last year, Tori Boggs spent the summer as part of a circus. She said she might want to pursue performing as a career.“I did a holiday tour with “Cirque Dreams” so it was a national tour, so I toured for a few months and we went around and I jumped rope in the circus,” she said. “I’m (also) employed by Cirque de Soleil for special events.“Ultimately I want to be on a Cirque de Soleil tour.”Until that point, Tori Boggs said she has dreams of bettering the sport of rope skipping.“I’m going to switch to engineering so I can actually apply physics, but basically my motivation for (pursuing a degree) is that I love jump rope so much, my body knows exactly what I’m doing, my muscles know what they’re doing, but I don’t know how to explain it,” Boggs said. “So I want to look at the forces that jump rope places on our body. I want to be able to design a better handle for jumpers, I want to be able to design better shoes and understanding the surfaces that we jump on, like how does that affect our body?”She said currently she is involved with the biomechanics lab at the Wexner Medical Center where she does tricks and uses technology to show her where the forces on her joints are located.“I want to be able to develop better products and improve training methods, and then I’m pre-med, too, so maybe I can go to med school and use that. I don’t know, there’s a lot of options,” Tori Boggs said.With the inaugural 2013 Arnold Classic jump rope competition happening this weekend, she has been working overtime to recruit novice jumpers to register.“I’ve seen people just playing around with the ropes so I always give them Arnold papers and talk to them about jump rope,” she said.The competition is being co-chaired by Rochelle Boggs, and it will have three different competitive categories, encompassing all age groups and skill levels from those who have never jumped before to professionals like Tori Boggs. Other professional jump ropers are excited about the opportunities the weekend may bring.“Any sort of way that we can get the public to view the sport is really exciting,” said Jen Evans, a grand national champion and three-time world medalist who will be attending OSU next year to work on a doctorate of physical therapy. Evans is a Strongville, Ohio, native and currently attends Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.“It’s really cool because I know that people from Columbus will be there and I’m hoping that it increases the awareness of jump rope,” Evans said. Rochelle Boggs said the new competition will fit in at the Arnold well.“The cool thing is it’s kind of like a natural progression to see jump rope get to the Arnold because Arnold is all about fitness and movement,” she said.The Arnold Jump Rope Fitness Competition will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. read more

Worlds first 3D printed rifle successfully fires 14 shots

first_img3D printing is one of those emerging technologies that is simultaneously awe-inspiring, but also rather concerning. When you can make anything, some people are going to use it to make weapons.One amateur gunsmith in Canada has rigged up a fully 3D printed rifle that can fire as many as 14 rounds before suffering damage. He is going only by Matthew, for obvious reasons, and he’s posted the test firings on YouTube.The rifle is made from ABS plastic and has been dubbed the Grizzly 2.0. The original Grizzly didn’t work out so well. It fires 22-caliber rounds, so it’s far from a weapon of war. The rounds are placed in the barrel one at a time and fired with a manual cocking hammer. After the bullet has been fired, the barrel pulls off so the shell casing can be removed. It might not be very fast, but it’s more durable than past 3D printed guns.The Grizzly 2.0 is definitely 3D printed, but it’s still out of the reach of the hobbyist plastic gunsmith. Matthews day job involves making tools for the construction industry. Through that job, he has access to a Stratasys Dimension 1200ES industrial 3D printer, which is what he used to print the gun parts. These 3D printers start at about $35,000, and the other models are much more spendy.Improvement in this version of the Grizzly include a larger barrel with grooves to spin the bullet, and a larger lower receiver, which holds the firing mechanism. Matthew says he will post the plans for the Grizzly online later this summer.Whether we like it or not, this is happening.last_img read more

Nissan Uses A Faraday Cage To Combat Phone Distractions

first_img Keto Turns Your Smartphone Into Your Car KeysAston Martin Will Build You Your Very Own Supervillain Lair Distracted driving is a huge problem. Some have called on Apple and Google to implement features that automatically lock down phones when they detect that you’re driving. Nissan would like to offer a more old-school solution: the Faraday cage.You know, the shield made of conductive metal mesh invented by Michael Faraday in the 1830s. To keep drivers’ attention on the road, Nissan has embedded one in the center armrest of a Juke (much like the one pictured above, minus the Nismo upgrades). They call it “Signal Shield,” and it repels cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth.Nissan says that Signal Shield is about “creating a ‘phone-free’ space and time,” adding that it allows for “a digital detox and a drive that’s free of incoming distractions.” It’s a lot like enabling airplane mode, except you activate it by shutting your phone in a box instead of tapping a button on your screen.Blocking Bluetooth signals does, of course, mean that your multi-hundred-dollar smartphone can’t wirelessly pipe any tunes you have stored on it through the Juke’s stereo. No worries: Nissan has included a good ol’ fashioned USB port so that you can make a (gasp) physical connection.Signal Shield isn’t for everyone. Some of us aren’t fazed by the ever-blinking LED or the odd buzz or chirp from a new notification. That’s fine, Nissan says. Signal Shield is about giving drivers the option, especially “those [drivers] who struggle to ignore the beeps and pings.”There might be an opportunity to profit here, too. Maybe you can corner the market on digital detox Uber rides by requiring your passengers to pop their phones inside when they get in. The whole Faraday cage thing has already proven successful in more than a few bars, after all. Stay on targetlast_img read more

Water Vapor Detected on Potentially ‘Habitable’ Planet

first_imgStay on target Water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere of an exoplanet with habitable temperatures.K2-18b is the only planet orbiting a star outside our Solar System known to have water and temperatures that could support life.The discovery, made by a team of University College London (UCL) researchers, was published this week in the journal Nature Astronomy.This marks the first successful atmospheric detection for an exoplanet orbiting in its star’s “habitable zone,” at a distance where H2O can exist in liquid form.“Finding water in a potentially habitable world other than Earth is incredibly exciting,” according to study author Angelos Tsiaras, a research associate at the UCL Center for Space Exochemistry Data (CSED).“K2-18b is not ‘Earth 2.0’ as it is significantly heavier and has a different atmospheric composition,” Tsiaras said in a statement. “However, it brings us closer to answering the fundamental question: Is the Earth unique?”Using archive data captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2016 and ’17, the team developed open-source algorithms to analyze starlight filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere.Their results revealed the molecular signature of water vapor, as well as the presence of hydrogen and helium in the planet’s atmosphere.And while nitrogen and methane may also be present, they remain undetectable—for now. Further studies are needed to estimate cloud coverage and the percentage of atmospheric water present.Identified in 2015 by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, K2-18b orbits the red dwarf K2-18 some 110 light years from Earth in the Leo constellation.It is one of hundreds of super-Earths—planets with a mass between Earth and Neptune—spotted by Kepler; NASA’s new TESS mission is expected to uncover hundreds more.“Our discovery makes K2-18b one of the most interesting targets for future study,” co-author Giovanna Tinetti, UCL physics professor and principal investigator for ESA’s ARIEL mission, said.More than 4,000 exoplanets have been detected, but scientists still don’t know much about their composition. So the more information we can gather on these celestial bodies, the better.“This study contributes to our understanding of habitable worlds beyond our Solar System,” Tsiaras added, “and marks a new era in exoplanet research, crucial to ultimately place the Earth, our only home, into the greater picture of the Cosmos.”More on Discover Planet With Strange, Egg-Shaped OrbitNASA Gives Rare Look at Rocky Exoplanet’s Bizarre SurfaceHubble Detects Scorching ‘Heavy Metal’ Exoplanet in Space Migrating Exoplanet Sculpts Disk Around Young Star in Neon PhotoESO’s Very Large Telescope Upgrade Aids Hunt for Habitable Exoplanets last_img read more

Rates of reported crime in Vancouver, county dip

first_imgThe rate of reported violent and property crimes in Clark County decreased slightly from 2015 to 2016, differing from a slight increase in violent crime nationwide, according to new data from the FBI.In Clark County, the rate of reported violent crimes per 100,000 people declined 2 percent, with the raw number of reported violent crimes not changing and the county’s population growing by about 2 percent, or 9,000 people.The FBI on Monday released its annual crime report, which collects reports of crimes from police agencies around the country. Violent crimes counted in the data include murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.The data do not include justifiable homicides or unintentional killings that result from recklessness or criminal negligence, such as killing someone in a drunken driving crash.In 2016, about 76 percent of violent crimes reported were aggravated assaults, and most of the remaining 24 percent were robberies. The proportions were about the same in 2015.last_img read more

UN calls Trinidad and Tobago Happiest Caribbean Nation

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:caribbean, carnival, happiest nation, switzerland, trinidad and tobago, UN Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 29 Apr 2015 – The Happiest Nation in the Caribbean is for the second year in a row named as Trinidad and Tobago. The United Nation’s World Happiness Report released last week ranked ‘T’n’T’ as the happiest in the region and 41st happiest in the world. Our sources in Trinidad and Tobago said they believe the ranking is due to a combination of things, including a vibrant lifestyle, dynamic culture, booming business center, strong government and, of course, largest Carnival celebration in the Caribbean. Researchers examine 11 areas essential to happiness and well-being, including health, education, local government, personal security, income and overall satisfaction with life. One hundred and fifty six nations were evaluated, the Turks and Caicos was not among them. As for the World’s Happiest Nation – its named by the UN as Switzerland. UN SG is Special Guest at Opening Ceremony for CARICOM Heads Meeting Wednesday Beaches Resort does not owe TCI Gov’t; both sides want multi-million dollar dispute resolved Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos confirms indefinite closure in 2021 Recommended for youlast_img read more

SPCA rescues 27 starving farm animals in SW MiamiDade

first_imgWith help from an official with the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department, it was determined the animals needed special care.“These animals have to eat, these animals need vet care, they need vaccines, deworming,” Waggoner said.If you want to help the South Florida SPCA to alleviate the financial burden of taking on these animals, click here.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – The SPCA rescue group has saved dozens of farm animals from starvation and are currently giving them the care they need.The rescue group is known for rehabilitating horses, but now they’re branching out to also help about 27 farm animals that were taken from their owner.SPCA officials said they rescued sheep, cows, horses, a donkey and a bull. They’re now living in a Southwest Miami-Dade ranch run by the SPCA.According to rescuers, they came across the animals after stray cows were spotted in a roadway, which led to a bigger problem.“We picked up the cows and noticed the cows were in very poor condition,” said SPCA director of rescue operations Laurie Waggoner.The group said the animals were neglected. Most of them were underweight and struggling.“We noticed other animals on the property that were in pretty bad condition,” Waggoner said. “After interviewing the guy speaking with the owner of the animals, he wasn’t able to take care of the animals the way they needed to be taken care of.” last_img read more

RMLD Invites Customers To Attend Open House During National Public Power Week

first_imgREADING, MA — In recognition of National Public Power Week (October 7-13), Reading Municipal Light Department (RMLD) invites customers to attend an Open House on Thursday, October 11, 2018, from 3pm to 6pm, at RMLD’s Garage located at 218 Ash Street, Reading.This fun and educational event will feature bucket truck rides, face painting, kid’s games and prizes, pumpkin decorating, a lineman dress-up activity for the kids, lineman demos, and a plug-in electric vehicle showcase. RMLD staff will offer education on electricity, electrical safety, energy conservation, and information about RMLD rebate and efficiency programs. The event will also feature free snacks and music.Public Power Week is an annual national event to celebrate the more than 2,000 community owned, not-for-profit utilities that provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to 49 million Americans.RMLD provides electricity to Reading, North Reading, Wilmington, and Lynnfield Center.(NOTE: The above press release is from RMLD.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSAVE THE DATE: RMLD To Hold Family-Friendly Open House On October 10In “Community”Wilmington Residents Invited To RMLD’s Family-Friendly Open House On October 5In “5 Things To Do Today”RMLD’s Open House Postponed To Thursday, October 18In “Community”last_img read more

Police foil girls suicide attempt

first_imgRajendranagar: The lake police foiled the attempt of a girl of Secunderabad who tried to plunge into Himayat Sagar lake on Monday. Later, by enquiring her details, called her parents and handed over the girl to her parents.last_img

No progress in quota reform committee

first_imgQuota reform activists are holding a human chain on the premises of Central Shaheed Minar. Photo: Prothom AloThere was a proposal to form a committee led by the cabinet secretary in connection with removal, preservation and reform in the quota system for government jobs. But no committee has been formed officially so far.It has not been possible to start work in this connection either. Over a month ago, the public administration ministry sent a proposal to the government about forming a quota reform committee.Several officials of the public administration ministry said, given the prevailing circumstances, the quota system should not be abolished. If it is abolished, the beneficiaries of the system may file cases. They said, ‘something’ will be done on the issue, but did not specify.Several officials from the cabinet ministry shared the same view.Cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said he had no news about the quota issue.Currently, 55 per cent of the first and second grade government job positions are filled by preference. The remaining 45 per cent are recruited by merit.There are various quotas in the third and fourth grade jobs too.The students and job seekers have been long demanding reforms in the existing quota system.During the movements, police attacked the agitators in March. On 8 April the law enforcers beat the protesters at Shahbagh and fired teargas at them. This created unrest.The following day the movement spread across educational institutions in the country.Prime minister Sheikh Hasina then declared abolition of quotas on 11 April.As no notification was issued regarding reforms, the agitating students called a press conference Saturday at the Central Library compound in Dhaka University. They wanted to declare their stand at the conference. Just before the press programme a group of ruling-party-backed BCL (Bangladesh Chhatra League) leaders attacked the activists of the movement.A senior official at the public administration ministry told Prothom Alo, “If any committee had been formed, you would certainly know.”last_img read more

BCL infighting injures 5 in Ctg

first_imgMap of ChattogramFive people including a member of police were injured in a clash between two factions of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) over forming a committee at Chattogram College in the port city on Thursday, reports UNB.Two groups of BCL men chased one another and one of the police officers on duty was injured in the clash, said Abul Kalam Azad, officer-in-charge of Chawkbazar police station.A team of additional police went to the spot and brought the situation under control. But no one was held in this connection, said OC.Earlier on 17 September, the city unit BCL announced a committee of Chattogram College BCL making Mahmudul Karim and Subhash Mallik as the president and general secretary of the committee.After forming the committee, several clashes ensued between the two factions.Earlier, central BCL president and secretary directed them to resolve the issues. But within seven days of their returning, the two groups got involved in another clash.last_img read more

Sure Why Not Make an Emoji Movie

first_imgIn less than two weeks, we can say goodbye to the miserable year of 2016 forever. But that doesn’t mean it’s done messing with us yet. Sony Pictures Animation announced today that they are making a movie all about emoji. Yes, really.To go along with the release, Sony has released what they claim is the wold’s first vertical trailer, specifically designed to be watched on phones. That’s how we watch videos now. 9X16 is the new 16X9, haven’t you heard? If you haven’t left this page to preorder your ticket by now, let’s take a look at the plot of this movie. Did you know there’s a secret world living in your smartphone? No? Buckle up. Inside this *secret world,* we’ll meet Gene, an emoji with multiple expressions. Whaaaaa?Gene, voiced by TJ Miller, wants to become a normal emoji with only one facial expression. He teams up with his best friend Hi-5 (James Corden), and a hacker named Jailbreak (Ilana Glazer) for an epic “app-venture.” Steven Wright also appears as Gene’s father, Mel Meh.OK, let’s be honest for a second. That is a pretty amazing cast. These movies always have great casts. It might just be the casting directors going after whoever’s hot right now, but those are all very funny people. Their performances will undoubtedly add plenty of life and humor to the PG-rated poop jokes.Also, don’t think that the generic messaging app is the only smartphone world we’ll see. The Emoji Movie is a branding opportunity everyone can enjoy. Our three heroes will visit all kinds of licensed apps like Candy Crush Saga, Dropbox, Just Dance, and Spotify. The press release says that Crackle, Snapchat, and Twitch “will also appear in the movie.” Why the second billing, Sony? I guess Twitch doesn’t have the edge-of-your-seat excitement of Dropbox.“We knew early on that we wanted actual apps in the movie, to ground it in reality and raise the stakes for our characters,” said Sony Pictures Animation president Kristine Belson. Yes. I’m sure that’s why.So why an emoji movie? Director Tony Leondis says it’s because we have an “immediate connection with with these icons that we send out to express ourselves.”That may be, but I have another theory: Revenge. Hear me out: Facebook took Minions away from Hollywood. Once the cute and insanely marketable characters from Despicable Me, now they mainly star in your aunt’s Facebook memes about how young people today are on their phones too much. Now, Hollywood is taking Emoji, an almost-entirely phone-based phenomenon, for itself. Devious. Clearly, this is the beginning of a great war. Look out next summer for Hollywood’s next salvo, Reaction Gif: The Movie. Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone.last_img read more

CM to inaugurate Baruipur Central Correctional Home on Wednesday

first_imgKolkata: The Baruipur Central Correctional Home will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by remote control from Nabanna on Wednesday, November 14. The state government will initially shift 700 inmates from Alipore Central Correctional Home (ACCH) to Baruipur and will gradually shift all those lodged in ACCH phase-wise.A senior official of the state Correctional Administration department said that the Baruipur Central Correctional Home (BCCH) has the capacity to house as many as 4,000 inmates. State Correctional Administration minister Ujjal Biswas, Speaker of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly Biman Banerjee and senior officials of the Correctional Administration (CA) department will be present at the inaugural programme at Dhopagachi in Baruipur, where the facility has come up. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”We have given special emphasis on security at BCCH and have taken all possible measures for foolproof security mechanism,” said Ujjal Biswas, minister of state, CA department. Among the 700 inmates who will be shifted in the first phase, 200 are convicts and 500 are under-trials. The Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) has completed the entire work for the infrastructure of BCCH that includes drinking water, drainage, lighting and most importantly, the approach road leading to the correctional home. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”Truckloads of construction material was brought for construction work of the prison through the approach road, which resulted in extremely poor condition of the roads. Sprucing up the road was a tough ask and our engineers worked on a war footing to repair the road,” said a senior official of KMDA. The present accommodation capacity of the 112-year-old ACCH is 1,900. But there are above 2,200 inmates at present. In the correctional home, there are many cells which are of immense historical importance and according to an official of the correctional home, those are now heritage sites. There are around 30 heritage cells. There is a single-storeyed building in which Jawaharlal Nehru was imprisoned by the British for three to four months in 1934. There is another two-storeyed heritage building with ten lockups in each floor, where freedom fighters, including Chittaranjan Das, Jatindra Mohan Sengupta, Bidhan Chandra Roy and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose were imprisoned in the 1930s.last_img read more

NASA and IBM Are Hosting an Epic Global Hackathon This Weekend

first_img If we are ever going to live on Mars, we first have to figure out how to create oxygen on the red planet’s surface. This weekend, entrepreneurs, designers, coders, inventors, storytellers and creatives from all over the world will come together in a 48-hour hackathon to offer solutions to this and other big-picture problems.NASA and IBM are collaborating to host the International Space Apps Challenge. More than 10,000 people are expected to participate in more than 130 locations across the globe.The hackathon starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 11, wherever you are in the world and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 12, local time. Teams work together on open-source problems.Related: Elon Musk Wants to Colonize Mars in Order to Fend Off Human ExtinctionThe challenge topics fall into one of four main categories: earth, outer space, humans and robotics. The problems being tackled this weekend are quite intentionally orders of magnitude more grandiose than the sorts of daily annoyances that most of us mere mortals spend our time sorting through.For example, one challenge NASA is asking hackers to think about is wearable fashion technology for astronauts to wear in space. One challenge wants a team to find the most exciting pictures of the universe. And another involves making a 3-D printer for food in space.Related: NASA Takes a Step Toward Mars With Test LaunchCliche as it may sound, the idea for the International Space Apps Challenge was born on a hotel napkin in San Francisco, and is a product of the belief that “innovation is often bottom-up, decentralized and unpredictable,” according to the Challenge’s website. It’s the sort of naively utopian, kind of crazy, and totally fascinating daydreaming that just really might change the world we live in.Listen to NASA astronaut Catherine “Cody” Coleman talk about the challenge in the video embedded below. Related: Exploring the Deep Ocean With Underwater Robots  April 8, 2015 Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Enroll Now for Freecenter_img This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. 2 min readlast_img read more

Vision Travel debuts new offices in Vancouver and Edmonton

first_imgVision Travel debuts new offices in Vancouver and Edmonton Share Thursday, March 28, 2019 Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img VANCOUVER — Vision Travel has unveiled its newly renovated digs in both Vancouver’s Yaletown and Edmonton, with two open houses that brought together clients, partners and independent travel advisors.The Vancouver event, which was also attended by Vision Travel’s entire leadership team, was celebrated the company’s growth within the Vancouver market.During the festivities, Air Canada presented Brian Robertson, president of the Canada West region of Vision Travel, a Direct Travel Company, with a Circle of Excellence plaque in recognition of the “exceptional” partnership between the two companies.Vancouver Open HouseIn Edmonton, team members from former UNIGLOBE One Travel, former Percy Hunt Travel and Vision Travel were all in attendance, in addition to over 100 clients, team members and partners. Once again, Air Canada presented the management team with the Circle of Excellence plaque.Edmonton Open HouseThe open houses come on the heels of two recent Virtuoso events in Vancouver and Toronto, where Vision Travel was front and centre.More news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong KongLynda Sinclair, senior vice-president of leisure travel for Vision Travel, said that the luxury sector is the key to the company’s success.“These shows featured a tremendous mix of suppliers and proved an excellent opportunity for our advisors to network and learn. In fact, one of the independent travel advisors that recently joined us was able to source an On Site to fulfill a client request with the special Virtuoso touch that sets us apart.”Joelle Goldman, director US & Canada for global member partnerships at Virtuoso, added: “Vision travel advisors truly understand what we are all about and have given us first-rate support from the beginning. As a result, we have a special partnership with Vision Travel, which is one of the largest Canadian Virtuoso member agency groups.” Tags: Edmonton, Openings & Renovations, Vancouver, Vision Travel << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

AFTA rehauls webMAIL new version out next week

first_imgUsing membership funds, the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) have just completed a complete rehaul of its bookable product distribution tool webMAIL and will be launching the new product next Wednesday.Many travel agents have become used to seeing the yellow-coloured plain-text table come through to their inboxes every morning, but soon a brand new mail alert will be gracing the industry.“webMAIL has been around for ten years… it is written in what is now a very old platform,” said Jayson Westbury, AFTA CEO.  “We took the best of what we had and incorporated it into the new system.”“This new product is brand spanking new, we haven’t clipped the edges of the old webMAIL.”Using a $120,000 capital injection, and working with Cornerstone IT to create the new online tool, AFTA has built the new product to at least last until the next decade. Under the new system, which will remain free for both AFTA members and non-AFTA members, travel consultants will be able to quickly see which products fall under which suppliers under a new logo and colour coding system.  Clicking through to the online portal, the search function has been completely re-hauled and available products can be sought under topics including supplier, destination, and dates available.Instead of loading all product under headlines, there is the new ability for branded logo boxes, which will be arranged on the page in accordance with sponsorship “tiers”, with Tier Four sponsors securing the top position and include the most product.e-Travel Blackboard understands that at launch there are at least seven Tier Four sponsors and nine Tier Three sponsors, with a couple more sponsors still negotiating terms and conditions.  AFTA have currently declined to name the sponsors who have committed.AFTA webMAIL will still run under the supplier-pays model and is expected to re-coup its capital investment costs within three years. L-R: Allysha Stibbard AFTA Marketing and Events Coordinatior, Scott Mattew Cornerstone IT Director, Melinda Brown AFTA Marketing & Communications Manager, Jayson Westbury AFTA CEO and Shahid Rahman Cornerstone IT New AFTA webMAIL. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.Xlast_img read more