Absa in multi-currency card first for SA

first_img20 May 2013South African bank Absa has launched a multi-currency travel prepaid cash card through MasterCard, which is available in four currencies and is a first for the country and the continent.The bank will also be launching an Islamic Banking multi-currency passport soon, which is a first Sharia’h compliant and unique solution for clients travelling overseas.“Although there are other prepaid travel cards in South Africa, they can only carry one currency at a time,” Absa’s head of retail banking, Arrie Rautenbach, said in a statement last week.“The multi-currency cash passport card has the ability to allow customers to carry foreign exchange loaded with multiple currencies on one card.“When the card is used in the destination country, the system intelligently chooses the correct currency depending on the country the cardholder is in, as long as the currency is available – for example, if in the US the system will automatically debit the US dollar purse on the card,” he said.It is currently available in US and Australian dollars, British pounds and euros.“If an ATM withdrawal or point of sale transaction is made in a currency which is different to any of the available currencies on the card, or exceeds the relevant available currency balance on the card, the amount will be funded by converting the transaction amount onto the next available currency balance on the card,” he said.It also offers security features and emergency assistance if the card is lost, stolen or damaged. “It is chip and PIN enabled and it is not linked to your bank account, which means it is secure and convenient,” Rautenbach said.Customers whose cards are lost or stolen can phone a toll-free number and arrangements will be made to provide emergency cash up to the available balance on the card or courier a replacement card to the cardholder within 24 or 48 hours.“The multi-currency cash passport is convenient for frequent travellers and those who cross multiple borders on the same trip,” said global prepaid travel card management company Access Prepaid Worldwide’s managing director of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Alan King.Access Prepaid Worldwide is part of Mastercard.“Together with Absa, not only are we first to market in South Africa with this innovative product, but it’s a first for Africa,” he said.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Urban Flooding: A Problem That’s Getting Worse

first_imgExtreme flooding events were in the news during much of 2018, from January’s heavy rains in Southern California to Hurricanes Florence and Michael in September and October. When many of us think about flooding, we think about events like these: major disasters that upend entire communities and trigger a large response from state and federal agencies. However, the new report, The Growing Threat of Urban Flooding: A National Challenge, points out that events like these are only part of the story. This report focuses attention on the widespread and costly destruction caused by a lesser-recognized threat: chronic urban flooding due to city landscapes that cannot absorb or otherwise manage rainfall. Based on the results of a nationwide survey of stormwater and floodplain management professionals, the report (by researchers from the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University) demonstrates how urban flooding is a separate phenomenon from coastal and riverine flooding. It is more frequent, more localized, and not as well understood; in addition (as with other aspects of climate change), it is most likely to affect those who can least afford to deal with it. The triple threat of urban flooding Urban flooding is not just “flooding that happens in an urban area.” This isn’t what happens when a river overflows its banks or when a hurricane drives a storm surge across a coastal neighborhood. Instead, it’s caused by excessive runoff in developed areas where the water doesn’t have anywhere to go.RELATED ARTICLESFlooding Is More Than a Coastal ProblemFlood, Rebuild, Repeat: The Need for Flood Insurance ReformHome Buyers Face Stacked Deck to Learn of Past FloodsTwice-Flooded City Ponders Another Rebuild Urban flooding can be linked to a major disaster, like Hurricane Harvey and its 33 trillion gallons of rainfall. But more often it happens during more routine circumstances, appearing in the form of wet basements and sewer backups. Even small amounts of rain can overwhelm the deteriorated or inadequate infrastructure found in many neighborhoods, especially in impoverished, neglected, and/or socioeconomically isolated urban communities. Let’s take a look at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) definition of urban flooding cited in the report:  “… [T]he inundation of property in a built environment, particularly in more densely populated areas, caused by rain falling on increased amounts of impervious surfaces and overwhelming the capacity of drainage systems.” We can split the definition into three separate components: urban flooding is (1) caused by rain that (2) falls on impervious surfaces and (3) overwhelms local stormwater drainage capacity. Each of these components — heavy precipitation (which is expected to become more frequent due to climate change), increased urbanization, and insufficient or outdated stormwater infrastructure — presents a challenge in and of itself. With urban flooding sitting at the intersection of all three, it’s no wonder that this is a complex problem. Importantly, FEMA’s definition has no mention of floodplains, rivers, or coastlines. That’s because urban flooding has little to do with bodies of water. We usually assume that flooding is more likely along rivers or coasts; that’s the backbone of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), floodplain mapping efforts, and local flood-related planning. However, the report finds that urban flooding happens in places that are well outside of mapped floodplains. Urban flooding is decidedly unnatural and requires different solutions. “The flood losses gnaw away at their well-being” One important issue highlighted by the report is the cascade of effects on affected individuals and communities, “such as loss of hourly wages for those unable to reach their workplaces; hours lost in traffic rerouting and traffic challenges; disruptions in local, regional, and national supply chains; or school closings with resultant impact on parents.” The report’s authors point out that these effects are especially disruptive to lower-income and minority residents, who are more likely to live in flood-prone areas and less likely to be covered by flood insurance. “For those lacking critical resources (savings, insurance, etc.),” they write, “the flood losses gnaw away at their well-being.” That doesn’t even include the physical and mental health effects linked to chronic flooding, such as asthma resulting from mold exposure. A previous study by the Center for Neighborhood Technology found that 84% of people affected by urban flooding in the Chicago area suffered stress; 13% reported effects on their health or the health of someone in their household. It’s clear that urban flooding poses a threat to Americans who are already socially and economically vulnerable. In addition, urban flooding is often too localized to trigger a federal disaster declaration, even when it causes relatively large amounts of damage and disruption. This limits the public assistance available to victims, who are then left on their own to deal with the aftermath, over and over again. Why is urban flooding an under-recognized problem? One of the key observations in the report is that there is no clear responsibility or jurisdiction for urban flooding at the federal level. This complicates data collection, funding availability, and priority setting. Even at state and local levels, flood management and stormwater management are often overseen by different programs, whose responsibilities may not be clearly defined. The NFIP has a clear authority and access to large amounts of data, and it still struggles with a lack of transparency, outdated information, and inaccurate assessments of damage and risk. And because urban flooding often falls outside of the program’s jurisdiction, it doesn’t even have the data and documentation that support the NFIP. This also complicates risk communication, because the NFIP’s flood maps are often the only publicly accessible documentation of flood risk. These Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or FIRMs, indicate whether a property is located in a “special hazard flood area” based on FEMA’s mapped 100-year floodplains. The report notes that, because the NFIP maps generally do not provide information on urban flooding, “there is currently no tool available to communities to assist in similarly delineating potential levels of urban flood risk.” What can we do? The study team identifies several recommendations to address urban flooding, focusing primarily on additional data collection, better coordination among government agencies, and improved assessment of flood risk. An upcoming study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is expected to investigate some of these issues in more detail. Urban flooding has received some attention in Congress, too, with legislation introduced to define urban flooding and more accurately map areas at risk. However, the report’s most essential suggestion might be the following (emphasis added): Attention should be given at all levels of government to ensure that efforts to mitigate urban flooding reach areas that have the highest risk of flooding and cross all economic and social levels and that locally supported steps are taken to incentivize individual homeowner mitigation efforts. These mitigation efforts should include improved transparency, better risk communication, and more support for flood-weary residents who want to move out of harm’s way. And if 2018 was the year of talking about climate change, let’s make sure that urban flooding is part of that conversation as it continues in the new year.   Anna Weber is a policy analyst in the Healthy People & Thriving Communities program of the Natural Resources Defense Council. This post originally appeared at the NRDC Expert Blog.last_img read more

Gov’t Training More Persons for BPO Jobs – PM

first_img Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is providing additional resources to train more persons for job opportunities in the rapidly expanding business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. Story Highlights “The Government of Jamaica stands in support of the BPO (sector), and we will make the necessary investments to ensure that there is the flow of human resources to support the continued development and expansion of that industry,” he said.center_img Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is providing additional resources to train more persons for job opportunities in the rapidly expanding business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.“The Government of Jamaica stands in support of the BPO (sector), and we will make the necessary investments to ensure that there is the flow of human resources to support the continued development and expansion of that industry,” he said.The Prime Minister was speaking at the official launch of KPMG in Jamaica’s nearshore knowledge outsourcing facility – KPMG Jamaica Extended Support Services (K-JESS) – at Harbour Street in downtown Kingston on Tuesday (November 13).Mr. Holness said he is of the opinion that the BPO industry, which now directly employs 30,000 persons locally, has the potential to employ “10 times that” with good quality jobs.“The BPO industry can create good quality… high-paying jobs. It can create career opportunities – jobs with a long life cycle where you can start at one level and spend your lifetime in it, ending at a significantly higher level where a career path is established,” he said.It is in recognition of this potential that the Government has been preparing the workforce to take up lucrative job opportunities in the sector though training under the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme, and the Heart Trust/NTA.The Prime Minister said he is cognisant that the industry will continue to evolve, and, as such, the Government will be investing in the higher-order services “to ensure that Jamaica continues to be an attractive destination for BPO services”.In the meantime, Mr. Holness praised the local arm of KPMG on the investment the company is making in the knowledge outsourcing sector, noting that the Government is seeking to invest in and expand this industry.“The level of analytical work that is required by your shared support service centre requires high-level trained staff to do your accounting work, to do your research work, to do your data analytics.That is what we want to train our human resources here to do, and that is the investment that the Government of Jamaica is willing to make,” he said.KPMG in Jamaica, which is a member firm of KPMG International, provides audit, tax advisory and outsourcing services from two offices in Kingston and Montego Bay. It employs over 475 professionals.K-JESS, which is Jamaica’s new knowledge outsourcing service, is projected to initially employ an additional 175 persons, which is expected to grow to around 250 individuals.last_img read more

Your Guide To The 2019 NCAA Mens Tournament

From ABC News: East region Top seed outlook: Gonzaga is the best team in the West by a considerable margin, but the Zags, despite reaching the final two years ago, haven’t always performed well under the bright lights of the tournament. Still, Gonzaga has a 70 percent probability of reaching the Elite Eight, according to our model, and the third-best odds of any team to reach the national championship game (26 percent).Should Gonzaga face Syracuse in the second round, the zone defense of the Orange could give the Bulldogs trouble. This is the best offense Mark Few has had in Spokane, but it may be tested by any of the terrific defenses in the West: Four of the top 15 can be found in this region, including the top two in Texas Tech and Michigan.Sneaky Final Four pick: No. 4 Florida State. A fixture in the KenPom Top 20 for most of the season, the Seminoles are hoping to build on last season’s tournament run, which saw them come within a 4-point margin of making the Final Four. FSU has a dominant defense (No. 9 in Pomeroy’s ratings) and a balanced roster that saw four players accumulate at least 2.5 win shares. This draw isn’t terrible, either: Vermont isn’t especially difficult as a first-round foe, and Marquette is very beatable (more on that below). No. 1 seeded Gonzaga probably looms after that, and we give FSU a 24 percent chance against the Zags — but the Seminoles would have a 48 percent chance of making the Final Four if they were to pull off the upset.Don’t bet on: No. 5 Marquette. Teams seeded fifth aren’t usually good bets to make it past the Sweet 16 anyway, but Marquette might be an especially bad pick. According to the FiveThirtyEight power ratings, the Golden Eagles are by far the worst No. 5 seed in the field, and a first-round date with breakout mid-major superstar Ja Morant didn’t do them any favors. Marquette has some star power of its own in junior guard Markus Howard, who ranks sixth in the nation with an average of 25 points per game, but this team lost five of its last six games and has a tough tournament road ahead of it.Cinderella watch: No. 10 Florida. The Gators may have been one of the final bubble teams to sneak into the field of 68, but they could be poised to do some damage now that they are here. They drew Nevada, a so-so No. 7 seed, in the first round, and we give Florida a 42 percent chance of pulling the upset there. Last year’s national runner-up, Michigan, likely waits in Round 2, and that is a tough matchup (23 percent odds for Florida) — but if the Gators win, they have a 38 percent chance of making the Elite Eight. In a region with a number of good-but-flawed options, Florida looks better than the typical 10-seed.Player to watch: Brandon Clarke, GonzagaThe linchpin of the Zags isn’t the consensus lottery pick, nor the two veteran guards who have together started 87 percent of Gonzaga’s games over the past two seasons. It’s Brandon Clarke, a transfer from San Jose State who is in his first active season with the team. He’s perhaps the most underappreciated player in the country.On a team that typically features a 7-footer protecting the rim, it’s Clarke, at 6-foot-8, who is tasked with protecting the paint this season. Clarke has responded by setting a single-season blocks record and posting the highest block rate of any team under Few.“If I feel like if I can get a good, quick jump first, I’ll pretty much jump with anybody,” Clarke told me. “I mean, I’ve seen Zion (Williamson) coming down through the lane before on TV, and if I can’t jump at the right time, I probably wouldn’t jump with him, but … I don’t really see myself not jumping with anybody.”Likeliest first-round upsets: No. 9 Baylor over No. 8 Syracuse (48 percent); No. 10 Florida over No. 7 Nevada (42 percent); No. 12 Murray State over No. 5 Marquette (32 percent) Midwest region South region The NCAA Tournament is finally here! Will we see another No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed? Will Gonzaga finally win its first national championship? Will Zion Williamson’s shoe explode again? We can’t tell you exactly what will happen over the next three weeks, but we can help steer you in the right direction when picking your bracket using our March Madness prediction model. You can read about how the system works here, and read on to learn what the model has to say about the top seeds’ fates, dark horses and Cinderellas to watch, and favorites to avoid. Let the madness begin… Top seed outlook: According to the FiveThirtyEight model, top seed Duke has the best chance of advancing to the Final Four in the entire field (53 percent probability) as well as the best odds of winning the national title (19 percent).The Blue Devils are led by four soon-to-be first-round draft picks, including Zion Williamson, one of the greatest talents in recent memory. Duke is a walking highlight reel on the offensive end and far stingier on defense than many may realize. This is among Mike Krzyzewski’s most-balanced teams and projects to be his first since 2010 to rank inside the top six in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offense and defense metrics. That team won the national title.1 Granted, they won the title again in 2015 with a team that fell below that benchmark on defense.What this team lacks, however, is touch along the perimeter. Duke shoots a ghastly 30.2 percent from beyond the arc, the worst mark among tournament-qualifying teams. In an offensive era increasingly dominated by space and perimeter scoring, the Blue Devils could buck the trend punishing the rim.On the other side of the region is the winner of the Big Ten conference tournament, Michigan State. As their reward, the No. 2 Spartans have the honor of a potential matchup against the top overall seed in the Elite Eight. Head coach Tom Izzo was none too pleased. The Spartans have been pummeled by injuries but remain one of the most balanced teams in the country, ranking inside the top eight in Pomeroy’s adjusted offense and defense metrics.Sneaky Final Four pick: No. 4 Virginia Tech. Led by the star pairing of Kerry Blackshear Jr. and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the Hokies are a balanced squad that ranks among Pomeroy’s Top 25 teams on both offense and defense. Although they’ve lost eight times, only two of those were by double-digits. Virginia Tech also has a not-altogether-unfriendly draw, with extremely winnable opening games against Saint Louis (87 percent) and the Mississippi State-Liberty winner (63 percent) before most likely running into Duke’s juggernaut. We give the Hokies a respectable 25 percent chance against the Blue Devils — and a 54 percent chance against whoever emerges from the bottom of the region if they do manage to knock off Duke.Don’t bet on: No. 3 LSU. With coach Will Wade embroiled in a pay-for-play scandal and his team probably overvalued as a 3-seed, the Bayou Bengals could be ripe for an upset in this tournament. They ranked only 18th in Pomeroy’s ratings — roughly the quality of a No. 5 seed — thanks in large part to a defense that didn’t even crack the nation’s top 60 in adjusted efficiency. (This showed up in the 51 second-half points they allowed to Florida while losing their first game of the SEC tournament.) Their NCAA path isn’t very easy, either: Yale is no pushover as a No. 14 seed, nor is potential second-round opponent Maryland, and we give the Tigers a mere 26 percent chance of beating Michigan State if the teams meet in the Sweet Sixteen. This is easily the lowest-rated top-three seed in the field.Cinderella watch: No. 11 Belmont. The East is top-heavy, with Duke and Michigan State soaking up most of the Final Four odds. But the Bruins are an intriguing lower-seeded team because of an impressive offense led by do-everything swingman Dylan Windler. According to Pomeroy, Belmont ranks 20th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency (and second nationally in raw points per game behind Gonzaga), while Windler was one of only three players nationally to average 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Although the Bruins do have to win a play-in game against Temple just to make the field of 64 — we give them a 59 percent chance — they would have a very competitive 39 percent probability of upsetting Maryland in the first round and an even better chance against the LSU/Yale winner.Player to watch: Cassius Winston, Michigan StateThree years ago, zzo said he thought his 6-foot-1 freshman could be Michigan State’s best passer since Magic Johnson. The Spartans’ do-everything point guard — one of the best facilitators in the country — is validating his coach’s comment. Only Murray State’s Ja Morant, a surefire lottery pick in this year’s draft, has a higher assist rate than Winston (46.0 percent). And behind Winston, the Spartans assist on the highest rate of field goals in the country.The junior also happens to be Izzo’s leading scorer and one of the country’s top perimeter threats, shooting better than 40 percent from beyond the arc. As injuries have relentlessly sapped the Spartans of their on-court production, Winston has elevated his game to compensate. As he put it to The Athletic, “I have to do a lot for my team to win.”Likeliest first-round upsets: No. 9 Central Florida over No. 8 VCU (47 percent); No. 11 Belmont* over No. 6 Maryland (39 percent); No. 10 Minnesota over No. 7 Louisville (34 percent)(* Must win play-in game first.) West region Top seed outlook: On paper, the Midwest seems to be the most open of the four regions, but we still give No. 1 North Carolina the best odds, with a 35 percent probability of reaching the Final Four and an 18 percent probability of appearing in the national championship game. Those odds are at least 8 percentage points lower than any other No. 1 team in the field, though, and for good reason: North Carolina’s offense depends on turning every play into a fast break. The Tar Heels struggle to get to the free-throw line and give up a ton of shots along the perimeter, which, in a slowed-down, half-court matchup, could be quite problematic.After getting waxed by Duke to open the season, No. 2 Kentucky has caught fire in recent weeks while finding balance on both ends of the floor and mostly abstaining from the 3-point line. No. 3 Houston, meanwhile, is in the midst of its best season since Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon were revolutionizing college basketball, and they boast a defense that ranks among the very best along and inside the perimeter.Sneaky Final Four pick: No. 5 Auburn. When the Tigers steamrolled Tennessee 84-64 in Sunday’s SEC title game, it likely got the attention of a lot of bracket-pickers. That wasn’t a one-off — Auburn also beat Tennessee eight days earlier, part of a string of eight straight wins for the Tigers, and 10 in their last 11 games. With an explosive offense (No. 8 in KenPom efficiency) that got more of its points from downtown than any other team in the NCAA field, Auburn can heat up in a hurry. We give the Tigers nearly a coin-flip’s odds of making the Sweet 16 — and a very solid 37 percent chance of beating top-seeded North Carolina if the Tar Heels are waiting for Auburn there. The only kryptonite might be a hypothetical regional-final matchup with No. 2 seed Kentucky, which beat the Tigers by 27 in late February to sweep their season series.Don’t bet on: No. 4 Kansas. The Jayhawks went into the season ranked No. 1 in the AP’s preseason poll, and they appeared to validate the choice by starting the season 10-0. But a 15-9 record (and some key injuries) since then have cast doubt on Kansas’s NCAA Tournament potential. This is a well-balanced team, but to say it doesn’t shoot well from the outside is an understatement — see KU’s 3-for-18 performance from deep in Saturday’s Big 12 ouster against Iowa State. Add an unfavorable draw that puts them on a potential second-round collision course with Auburn (see above), and we give the Jayhawks only an 8 percent chance of making out of the Midwest with their championship hopes intact.Cinderella watch: No. 11 Ohio State. If a Big Ten team that has made 11 Final Fours can be a Cinderella, then you’re looking at it in these Buckeyes. (Hey, the committee’s increasing tendency to seed underwhelming power-conference schools this way really messes with the definition.) OSU went only 18-13 during the regular season, was defeated in its second Big Ten tournament game and has almost twice as many losses as wins since New Year’s. So why are the Buckeyes a potential Cinderella? Despite the seed, this is still a dangerous team, one that ranks 27th in Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive ratings and has star forward Kaleb Wesson back from suspension. So maybe they’ll give Big 12 champ Iowa State trouble. But mainly this tells you something about the other potential Cinderellas in this region: Seton Hall got a very tough first-round matchup with underseeded Wofford; none of the other low seeds here are world-beaters. That leaves the Buckeyes, a team that did all it could to play its way out of the tournament, but has some upset potential regardless.Player to watch: Cameron Johnson, UNCOn a team that doesn’t hoist a ton of shots from the perimeter, Johnson is as lethal as they come. Following an injury-riddled campaign in which he barely made more than one-third of his looks from beyond the arc, the grad student is canning 46.5 percent of his attempts, which ranks inside the top 25 nationally.Johnson has thrived in North Carolina’s every-possession-is-a-transition-opportunity scheme this season. He’s blossomed into one of the best scorers in the ACC, ranking between the 85th and 100th percentiles in scoring efficiency in transition, off screens and on spot-ups.Johnson has elevated his game in conference play, boasting the ACC’s top offensive rating (132.5) and true shooting percentage (64.6). Suddenly, a player who wasn’t seen as a guaranteed professional now projects to be a second-round pick.Likeliest first-round upsets: No. 9 Washington over No. 8 Utah State (49 percent); No. 10 Seton Hall over No. 7 Wofford (37 percent); No. 11 Ohio State over No. 6 Iowa State (33 percent)Check out our latest March Madness predictions.CORRECTION (March 18, 2019, 3:10 p.m.): A previous version of this story misstated the number of Sweet 16s made by Villanova in recent seasons. Although the Wildcats have reached the NCAA Tournament’s “third round” in four of their past five seasons, that round was the Round of 32 until 2016 because of NCAA naming conventions. Top seed outlook: Can No. 1 Virginia exorcise last year’s demons now that the team is at full strength? Our model thinks so. The Cavaliers have a 49 percent probability of cracking the Final Four and a 31 percent probability of reaching what would be the program’s first national title game.With De’Andre Hunter, who wasn’t on the court last year during UVA’s historic loss to No. 16 Maryland Baltimore County, the Cavaliers have been dominant on both ends — the only team ranking in the top five in Pomeroy’s adjusted offense and defense metrics. Once again, Tony Bennett’s pack line defense is suffocating most every offensive opportunity and successfully turning games into rock fights. But this year’s team is even better on the offensive end and should breeze into the Elite Eight, where it could meet Tennessee. Thanks to Grant Williams and the wonderfully named Admiral Schofield, the No. 2 Volunteers are playing their best basketball in program history. We give them a 22 percent probability of reaching the Final Four.Sneaky Final Four pick: No. 6 Villanova. Is it “sneaky” to pick the team that’s won two of the past three national titles? Maybe not. But this hasn’t been the same team that coach Jay Wright guided to those championships. After losing a ton of its best players from last year’s title-winning team, the Wildcats had an up-and-down year and lost five of their final eight regular-season Big East games. But they also got hot over the past week, capping off a season in which they still won the Big East regular-season and conference-tournament titles — and still had one of the 20 best offenses in the country according to KenPom (powered by an absurd number of 3-pointers). Our power ratings think they’re the fourth-best team in the South despite being the No. 6 seed, and they have a 5 percent chance of making it back to the Final Four for a third time in four seasons.Don’t bet on: No. 4 Kansas State. Coach Bruce Weber’s Wildcats nearly made the Final Four last season, but they might find it tougher this time around. K-State has an elite defense (it ranks fourth in the country according to Pomeroy’s ratings), but its offense is prone to struggles — and could be down its second-leading scorer, forward Dean Wade, who missed the team’s Big 12 tournament loss to Iowa State with a foot injury. A brutal draw that gives the Wildcats tough No. 13 seed UC Irvine in the first round, then places them opposite the Wisconsin-Oregon winner in Round 2, could limit their potential to advance deep into a second consecutive tournament.Cinderella watch: No. 12 Oregon. According to our model, the Ducks have the best Sweet 16 odds (24 percent) of any double-digit seed in the tournament, more than twice that of any other candidate. Oregon struggled to string together wins for most of the regular season, and its chances seemed sunk after 7-foot-2 phenom Bol Bol was lost for the season with a foot injury in January. But the Ducks have rallied to win eight straight games heading into the tournament, including a convincing victory in Saturday’s Pac-12 championship. Oregon fits a similar mold as K-State — great defense with a suspect offense — but that’s telling, given that the Ducks are a 12-seed and the Wildcats are a No. 4. If they meet in the Round of 32, we give Oregon a 47 percent chance at the upset.Player to watch: Grant Williams, TennesseeThe junior has come a long way from being “just a fat boy with some skill.” Williams, the de facto leader of Rick Barnes’s Volunteers, has bullied the SEC over the past two seasons, collecting two consecutive conference player of the year honors.The Vols might just feature the best offense of Barnes’s coaching career — and we’re talking about a guy who coached Kevin Durant! Much of that offensive potency can be traced to Williams, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, who ranks in the 97th percentile in scoring efficiency, according to data courtesy of Synergy Sports.Williams possesses an old-man game you might find at a local YMCA, a back-to-the-basket, footwork-proficient offensive assault that manifests primarily in post-ups, where he ranks in the 98th percentile in scoring efficiency and shoots an adjusted field-goal percentage of 56.1. He can get the Volunteers buckets in the waning moments of games, too, as he ranks in the 96th percentile in isolation scoring efficiency.Likeliest first-round upsets: No. 9 Oklahoma over No. 8 Ole Miss (53 percent); No. 12 Oregon over No. 5 Wisconsin (45 percent); No. 10 Iowa over No. 7 Cincinnati (34 percent) read more

Official Gabriel Barbosa signs for Flamengo

first_imgFlamengo have confirmed they’ve signed Gabriel “Gabigol” Barbosa from Inter Milan on loan for the whole yearThe Brazilian side confirmed their interest in signing Gabigol towards the end of last month after an impressive loan spell with old club Santos last season.The 22-year-old forward had returned to Inter on January 7 and expressed his hope that manager Luciano Spalletti would give him a chance to prove himself.But it turns out Gabigol has no part of Inter’s plans with the Brazilian tweeting a video of himself playing Pro Evolution Soccer as a Flamengo player on Wednesday to announce his exit.Now Flamengo have confirmed it on their website and added that they will have Gabigol on loan until the end of the 2019 Brazilian Serie A season, which ends in December.Romelu Lukaku, Serie A, Inter MilanCapello calls Lukaku “a modern striker” Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 The former Italian manager believes Romelu Lukaku is perfectly suited for Antonio Conte’s Internazionale Milan in the Serie A.Gabigol scored 18 goals in 35 Brazilian Serie A matches for Santos last season.GABIGOL É DO MENGÃO!AGORA PODE COMEMORAR, NAÇÃO! É OFICIAL!#BemVindoGabigol pic.twitter.com/LVMfPk41ft— Flamengo (@Flamengo) January 11, 2019last_img read more

National Weather Service issues extended wind advisory through Friday night

first_img KUSI Newsroom, SAN DIEGO ( KUSI ) – High winds will buffet the San Diego-area mountains and deserts Thursday evening and Friday, potentially causing driving hazards in some parts of the East County, forecasters advised Thursday.Due to the gusty conditions, the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory, effective through 9 p.m. Friday in the mountains and the deserts.Wind speeds are expected to range from 20 mph to 30 mph with gusts up 50 mph in those areas over the period, the weather service advised.Roadway visibility could be heavily affected by blowing dust and debris due to the winds, meteorologists cautioned. Drivers of large vehicles, such as motor homes and big rigs, were advised to be particularly wary of using desert roads, especially along Interstate 15 across the high desert. Categories: Local San Diego News, Weather FacebookTwitter National Weather Service issues extended wind advisory through Friday night June 20, 2019center_img Updated: 7:26 PM KUSI Newsroom Posted: June 20, 2019last_img read more

Why Hasnt Samsungs Tizen Operating System Taken Off

first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. November 21, 2014 This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine Register Now » Samsung has made a lot of money selling smartphones based on Google’s Android operating system. So why is Samsung trying again (and again, and again) to build out a competing operating system?Android, which is open source, is free for Samsung to install on its Galaxy phones, Note mini-tablets, and other connected devices. It allows Samsung to outsource to Google the concerns of planning of future features, locking down security, and maintaining a marketplace, the Play Store, with more than 1.5 million apps. Best of all, it actually earns Samsung a cut of Google’s mobile advertising revenue.So why would Samsung bother with its own operating system? Because it can.Samsung has tried many times to launch a phone running Tizen, an open-source operating system it is co-developing with Intel. It has made many promises along the way, such as using the OS for its high-end flagship devices. This week, it revealed that it would instead chase low-end devices in emerging markets such as India—an acknowledgement that, despite its efforts, Tizen lacks traction. (Neither Samsung nor Google responded to requests for comment.)The technology community has long questioned the merits of the Tizen project. On one hand, the mobile devices market is largely dominated by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, with Microsoft’s Windows Phone and the BlackBerry OS trailing far behind. A strong third player would heighten competition and spur further innovation, and Samsung—a massively successful manufacturer of devices around the globe—is best positioned to be it.“If anyone can succeed at building that third ecosystem, it’s Samsung,” said Jeff Orr, senior practice director for mobile devices, content, and applications at ABI Research. “They make their own CPUs, modems, displays, software . . . it makes sense they would have a strategy to move away from Google, rather than locking themselves into something outside their own control.”On the other hand, previous operating systems (such as the ill-fated Palm OS) failed to disrupt an apparent duopoly. Less than five percent of smartphones around the world use operating systems that aren’t Android or iOS, according to estimates by IDC, the market research firm. Does the Korean electronics giant really think there’s room for one more?Consider the plight of Windows Phone. Microsoft, no mom-and-pop shop, has just 3 percent of the U.S. market and even less share globally. Or perhaps consider the mobile OS remainders bin: Palm, HP (after buying Palm), Nokia, BlackBerry, and a handful of others.So hitching oneself to Android seems sensible. Yet while Google’s operating system is free, it is far from without constraints. For Google’s own apps and its Play Store to come pre-installed on a phone, companies like Samsung must sign “Mobile Application Distribution Agreements” that dictate requirements that Google has for every Android phone and tablet that ships from its partners.Among them:Google will be the only search engine used on the device at all “access points” unless the owners themselves download alternatives.Google’s search bar will be at the top of the foremost home screen on the phone or tablet.A folder labeled “Google” containing a large number of Google’s apps and prominent placement of certain apps such as Gmail.Those agreements, according to a September report from The Information, are intended to enforce “consistency in the software experience by device makers.” Even before the newer agreements, there have been “frequent fights about” modifications, “particularly between Google and Samsung,” according to The Information.Other companies have grabbed Android’s open-source bits while avoiding Google’s demands. Among them: Amazon (for its Kindle Fire tablets and Fire phone) and the Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. Both technology companies offer versions of Android that look and feel different from Google’s unadulterated version, yet are close enough at their core that developers can easily convert their apps for use in the Amazon Appstore or Xiaomi’s MiMarket. In China, Xiaomi recently overtook Samsung by claiming 16 percent of the country’s smartphone market. In the U.S., Amazon’s Fire phone flopped.So far, Samsung has succeeded in differentiating its Galaxy phones, Note tablets, and other products from Android-based competitors. Daniel Gleeson, senior analyst with IHS Technology, believes Google’s bundling is not really harming Samsung. “Google is simply better than Samsung at building those apps, and of course they are apps that are widely known and loved by consumers. Samsung’s strength is in its hardware engineering, not its software,” Gleeson said.At the same time, Samsung has been pushing Tizen for use in other types of electronic devices such as cameras, watches, and refrigerators. The corporate market is also an option, says ABI Research’s Orr. Samsung has already made steps into enterprise security with its Knox and SAFE programs; it could conceivably work its way into the workplace where support for popular consumer apps is less of a concern and customization of the operating system is more highly valued.“For Samsung to boost development (it must) take Tizen to new devices, and hopefully own that space,” IHS Technology’s Gleeson said. “Samsung will need to provide some compelling use cases where Tizen can out-perform Android.”The clock is ticking. Samsung announced its lowest third-quarter operating profit in three years on Oct. 6, citing flagging sales of its top-end Galaxy phones, heavy marketing and price-cutting to fight the drop, and decreased component orders all around. What’s more, those results came before Apple launched its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones, which carry larger screens that were once Samsung’s sole purview and sold in record numbers.A budding Tizen could be a success if it proliferates on devices where Apple and Google aren’t as entrenched. Samsung’s challenge is that those areas seem to be rapidly disappearing. 6 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goalslast_img read more

7 Tips for Succeeding as a Freelance Tech Business Owner

first_img The following excerpt is from Shelby Larson’s book Moonlighting on the Internet. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunesShelby Larson presents the most reliable and proven ways you can create an extra paycheck for the short term and establish a continual revenue stream for the long term with your own website. In this edited excerpt, Larson outlines seven things you can do to improve your chances on long-term success as a freelance tech professional. If you’re passionate about computers, possess a background in information technology, are naturally analytical, good at problem solving, or have a gift for attention to detail, there are a few freelancing paths in the tech arena that may be just right for you. Trained technicians command high dollar figures, and hanging out your shingle as a freelance tech expert can be an attractive option.It’s important to understand that having a technical skill to market and knowing where to look for your first freelancing jobs are just the start. Employers looking to hire freelancers on job sites generally want skilled workers who are experienced or have a positive feedback rating on the site in question.A good strategy to build a portfolio and client base is to accept jobs paying less than you’re really worth at first in order to get your foot in the door, do good work, and receive positive reviews. Build a reputation this way, then start going after better-paying jobs charging what you’re really worth. Freelance tech people are often scrutinized a little more thoroughly than other types of freelancers. Getting those first few jobs under your belt with positive feedback will make your journey a lot easier.Another virtual guarantee with tech freelancing is that you’ll likely be interviewed before prospects make the decision to hire you. For that reason, it’s important to develop quality interviewing skills and keep an updated resume. This becomes more true as the type of technology services you’re providing become more advanced. Coding a piece of software for someone is a whole different arena from writing a report for them to give away.As a freelancer, you’ll be competing with many other people for jobs, so it’s incumbent upon you to not only present yourself well, but also make it clear that it would be a mistake NOT to hire you! Here are several tips to help make that a reality.1. Assemble a killer personal portfolio. This one can be a bit tricky at the outset, as you need to make sure you have permission to show work you’ve done previously for an employer as a sample of your work. Going forward, make sure anything you do as a freelancer you have the right to show. Be careful about signing NDAs (nondisclosure agreements), as they can sometimes restrict you from showing your best work. Put your best, most recent work in your portfolio, and make both a print and online version of it for best results.2. Get glowing recommendations. Ask clients to give you written or video testimonials, as these can very often make the difference in whether you’re considered for a job. If you’ve done quality work for them, this should be no problem. Moreover, they’ll be likely to use you again and again, as well as refer you to others.3. Be sure to charge what you’re worth. Once you have some freelance jobs under your belt, decide on your base rate and stick to it. You understand what the work entails, and your clients don’t. Explain what they’re getting for their money, and demonstrate why you’re worth it. You’ll always get clients who will lowball you, and who will expect you to do a job on the cheap with the promise of more and better-paying work in the future. This almost never works out, so be willing to decline jobs.4. Diversify your client base. It’s essential that you diversify your client base as much as you can. It’s great to have clients who have projects so large that they eat up most or all of your time, but there will come a day when either you’re done, or they head in another direction.What do you do then? If you plan to remain a freelancer long term, make it your business to always have a steady stream of leads coming into your business. If your work is in high demand, you can take only the highest-paying jobs or perhaps hire a subcontractor or two and realize a little passive income. Wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have!5. Learn new skills and stay up-to-date. While it’s tempting to simply concentrate on the work at hand, if you’re going to build a viable freelancing career, you’ll need to keep up-to-date on what’s going on in the tech world. As you know, this field changes so fast it can be very hard to keep up with, but you must, as clients will be asking you about it, and you need to look well-informed. Consider it a business expense (timewise) you’re putting into your future earnings. Learning new skills can also help make you even more marketable. If you find a certain professional certification will help you get some jobs you might be missing, consider investing in it.6. Learn to network professionally. For a freelancer, this is one of the biggest areas of opportunity. Almost everyone you run into these days either needs a freelancer or knows someone who does. If you’re not out there talking to people, they won’t know how you can help them and will likely find someone else.While it can be hard to venture out into that land beyond the computer screen and actually connect with people, if you want to make the big bucks, this is where the action starts. Start by attending local business gatherings and chamber of commerce mixers. It might be a big stretch for you at first, but when the referrals start flowing in, you may feel differently!You should also consider attending highly ranked internet marketing conferences. Online, you’re just one in a sea of people advertising their skills. But at a conference, you can talk to people, hear exactly the type of work they’re looking for, and get a good feel for their experience working with freelance tech up to that point. It’s invaluable to be able to listen to people in your target market talk about what they’re looking for and what their pain points are. This will enable you to structure yourself as a better solution for them. Plus, you get the opportunity of making yourself and your skills known to them personally.7. Create an air of legitimacy. People need to believe that you aren’t going to take their check and never talk to them again. Create a real business presence; at the very least this includes business cards, a business checking account, a website, a dedicated business email, and a phone or Skype line. When you meet with a prospective client, make sure to present in a professional manner. Most businesspeople you’ll come in contact with and try to solicit work from won’t appreciate or hire someone they feel is not a pro. Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 7 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. April 13, 2016 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Globallast_img read more