Showing posts with label people. Show all posts
Showing posts with label people. Show all posts

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Smartphones Are Changing How People and Disaster Experts Respond To Emergencies

25 Aug 2011 15:37 Africa/Lagos

How Smartphones Are Changing How People and Disaster Experts Respond To Emergencies
allRisk says Smartphones Becoming a Necessity for Disasters

PR Newswire

SOMERDALE, N.J., Aug. 25, 2011

SOMERDALE, N.J., Aug. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- August has been a busy month for regional disaster experts, allRisk Inc. ( So far, a recent record-breaking rain led a New Jersey state university to hire the company to perform emergency water mitigation in areas where total repair estimates have reached $1.4 million.

Cleanup from the massive flood needed to be completed within days, before students returned for fall classes. With Hurricane Irene upgraded in intensity, and on track to hit the area this weekend the company expects to be even busier.

allRisk is in a "war room" mode, as they prepare to respond to what they anticipate to be a large volume of calls and texts for emergency help -- some from people with smartphones.

The increasing use of smartphone technology not only helps people to cope in emergency situations through calls, texts, emails and social network communication, but in other less obvious ways, thanks to thousands of unique apps.

"After food and water, smartphones during an emergency are a must for the variety of ways in which you can communicate," says allRisk Inc. President Dean Ragone. "However, with apps that have a flashlight light, a strobe and S.O.S abilities, apps to tune in radio with 40,000 stations, fire and police scanner apps, and a weather app to NOAA, smartphones are changing the way we respond to these emergencies."

In addition to having extra cell batteries, Ragone also recommends that people should use their phones to take pictures and video of their homes and businesses before and after a storm for insurance purpose. He also believes it is important to have a 9-1-1 app and one for Twitter so that you can be informed about what is going on outside your environment, and to inform others about what is happening where you are.

Ragone believes smartphones over the course of the next few years will be a necessity, along with food and water.

"A smartphone will also be a replacement for cash, and you can use it like a debit card," he says. "There are also book apps for reading and if you have an urge to pray, there is a Rosary app," says Ragone.

While Ragone has faith in the effectiveness of smartphones, he also notes that during 9/11 and the recent earthquake some phone lines didn't work or became overloaded, yet most text messages and social media connections seemed unaffected, he said.

"Office or family emergency kits should always contain a radio with batteries to ensure communications from the outside world," Ragone said.

Ragone urges his business and professional trade association clients to consider investing in low-cost ham radio training in the event of a communications blackout.

The Salvation Army, for example, operates an emergency radio network, SATERN, that volunteers monitor and share messages and information related to health and welfare during emergencies.

With a firm grasp on smartphone technology and emergency disaster restoration, Ragone says his disaster staff of 70-plus are waiting for that next phone call or text that propels them into action.

allRisk is a 24/7 emergency response company, and one of the largest and best-equipped property damage firms on the East Coast. The company specializes in commercial property damage restoration, general construction (restoration and tenant fit-out) and environmental remediation. Their expertise includes repairs of damage caused by fire, flood, structural failures and mold.

For more information about how to plan for a disaster or about how allRisk plans for one, contact Christine Messina at 877-247-5252, or

SOURCE allRisk Inc.

CONTACT: Tom Peric, +1-856-874-0049,

Web Site:

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook is on Google Plus?

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook signed up for Google Plus? And he is now the most followed person on Google+. But is he feeling threatened since Facebook is presently losing members worldwide, with a sharp drop in United States membership. Is he afraid that Facebook may slide like MySpace?

The Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has just met with Skype CEO Tony Bates in a partnership for a new video chat feature. But will that help?

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7 Jul 2011

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Art, People and Freedom: Artocracy in Tunisia

Art, People and Freedom: Artocracy in Tunisia

The First Community Action from JR’s InsideOut Project is Unveiled

Paris, France (April 14, 2011) /PRNewswire/ — In early March, the artist and TED Prize winner JR announced his wish to turn the world “Inside Out.” Through his InsideOut Project, JR invited people around the globe to share a photo portrait – along with a statement about what they stand for – and paste thepictures in their communities. A group of photographers and organizers in Tunisia were the first to participate in an InsideOut community project, which they named Artocracy.

Through Artocracy, six Tunisian photographers – joined by JR and his team – traveled the country in late March to take pictures and display images of more than 100 Tunisians who represent the nation’s incredible diversity: men and women of every age, profession, cultural background, and geographic location.

“For the first large street exhibition in a new Arab democracy, the pasting promised to be surprising and the confrontation with art not always simple,” said JR. “There is nothing better to understand the weight of traditions, and the willingness to change them, than to post big portraits in the symbolic places of the revolution.”

Artocracy in Tunisia is an art project initiated by Slim Zeghal and Marco Berrebi, created with a group of Tunisian photographers that include Sophia Baraket, Rania Dourai, Wissal Dargueche, Aziz Tnani, Hichem Drissand Héla Ammar.

The team of photographers and pasters spent the first day in La Goulette and the second in Tunis, where the pictures were taken down. The group then moved on to Sidi Bouzid, an isolated region where the revolution began, to work with those who helped start the revolution.

From there the team traveled to Sfax, Sidi Bouzid, and Le Kram where they met with men and women to discuss the InsideOut Project, raise objections, and eventually paste photos and share the concept with neighbors.

“This project gave hope that Tunisia will become a country as open to art as Spain after Franco or Berlin after the wall was taken down,” said JR.
About the InsideOut Project

JR’s TED Prize wish was the InsideOut Project. Using black and white photographic portraits, people can reveal personal – and perhaps untold – stories, beliefs, and convictions. By visiting, individuals can take a photo portrait of someone whose story they want to tell, including themselves.

After uploading the picture, along with a supporting personal statement (which can be submitted in any language), users will be mailed a poster of their portrait and asked to paste it in their local community – whether as a solitary image in an office window, among other portraits on the wall of an abandoned building, or in a full stadium. The team behind the InsideOutProject also helps connect participants who want to organize community pastings, which will be documented, archived and viewable virtually. Artocracy was the first community organized InsideOut project.

Learn more about JR and the TED Prize here: and

Media Contact:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Americans Like People Who Speak Like They Do

26 Jan 2011 12:08 Africa/Lagos

Americans Like People Who Speak Like They Do

Half of adults think speakers with Southern accents are nice, British accents are sophisticated and New York City accents are rude

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Jan. 26, 2011

NEW YORK, Jan. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Accents are a funny thing. Certain ones prompt stereotypical thought, which might be why people often deny having an accent. Yet, when asked about various attributes, Americans living in the East, Midwest and South all give more flattering responses about the accents from their areas than do adults from elsewhere.

(Logo: )

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll ® of 2,331 adults surveyed online between December 6 and 13, 2010 by Harris Interactive®.

When asked to think about hearing various accents half of adults say they think speakers with a Southern accent are nice (49%), two in five say the same for speakers with a Midwest accent (40%), one in five say those with a British accent or New England accent are nice (19% and 18%, respectively) while less than one in ten say so for speakers with a New York City accent (7%).

Half of adults also think those with a British accent are sophisticated (47%)—far more than adults say so for any other accent (between 20% for New England accents, down to 6% for Southern accents). And, while half of adults think that speakers with New York City accents are rude (51%), very few adults say the same for any other accent listed (between 14% and 4%).

Regional Differences

Despite speakers sometimes denying their regional accent, adults award accents from their own area more positive descriptions and fewer negative ones, than adults from other areas do. For example:

* Southerners think that speakers with Southern accents are nice (59%) and honest (45%) more often than those from the West (42% and 28%), East (44% and 29%) and Midwest (45% and 31%) do;
* While just over one in ten adults think that speakers with a New York City accent are intelligent (12%), a higher percentage—18%—of those in the East say this, compared to fewer in the Midwest (12%), West (11%) and South (10%) who say the same;
* Similarly, one in six Easterners say those with a New York City accent are honest (16%), compared to very few in other regions who agree (between 4% and 6%); and,
* On the opposite end of the spectrum, although most adults think speakers with New York City accents are rude (51%), only 46% of Easterners agree, compared to more Midwesterners (54%), Southerners (54%) and Westerners (48%) who say this.

This pattern continues as Midwesterners say that speakers with a Midwest accent are well-educated, intelligent, nice and honest more frequently than adults from other regions say the same. In fact, over half of Midwesterners (55%) say someone with a Midwestern accent is nice compared to 42% of Westerners, 36% of Easterners and just 31% of Southerners who say this.

Does this matter?

Americans cheerleading for their own regional accents is not limited to complimentary adjectives—U.S. adults think that their accents would actually beat out the others in a competitive job market. When asked if four equally qualified applicants for a certain job were only differentiated by their accent, two in five adults (39%) say that the applicant with the Midwestern accent would get the job. However, 63% of Midwesterners say this compared to between 41% and 21% of adults from the other regions who do.

With regard to other regions, a quarter of Easterners say the job would go to the person with the New England accent (26%) compared to fewer adults from elsewhere who agree (between 17% and 9%). One in five Easterners (19%) also say it would go to the New Yorker (compared to between 14% and 7% of those from other areas), and one in five Southerners (18%) say it would go to their applicant, compared to very few adults from elsewhere who agree (between 7% and 3%). Easterners are also more likely than other regions to say the job would go to the person with the British accent (27%).

So What?

Although TV news and other media personalities often work to overcome distinctive regional accents, it doesn't seem that local inflections are bothersome, at least not to an audience from that area. However, it might be interesting if speakers are skilled enough to play up their accent, or not, depending on their situation – it appears there may be circumstances where a different style of pronunciation could work well to one's advantage.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Will and Jada Smith Team Up With charity: water to Provide Clean Water to People in Developing Nations

Will and Jada's Birthday Celebration from charity: water on Vimeo.

Our Mission:

We view contribution and service as a celebration of one’s gifts. We celebrate the grace that has been bestowed upon us as we honor our gifts though sharing them. There are men, women and children who, right now, do not have clean water to drink – we celebrate the fact that we are able to help quench their thirst.

We believe every person on the planet should have access to clean drinking water.

This year we celebrate our birthdays by giving the gift of clean drinking water through charity:water. Join us. 100% of the money raised goes to digging wells and to clean water projects in developing nations. 100% of our gifts will change the world, one person at a time. And make your next birthday a celebration of your gifts by raising money for clean drinking water too. We’ll take the top three fundraisers with us to Africa to see the wells when they’re built.

-Will and Jada Smith

Will and Jada Smith Team Up With charity: water to Provide Clean Water to People in Developing Nations

Three fundraising fans to join Smith family on trip to Africa

NEW YORK, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- charity: water and Will and Jada Smith are joining forces to help make an impact on the water crisis. The Smiths announced today that they are celebrating their September birthdays by asking their fans to make donations to help build water projects in developing nations. See the Smiths' personal video at:

In a once in a lifetime opportunity, Will and Jada Smith are hosting a contest where the top three fundraisers to start their own birthday campaigns will join the Smith family on a trip to visit the completed water projects in Africa.

Will and Jada Smith said:
"We view contribution and service as a celebration of one's gifts. We celebrate the grace that has been bestowed upon us as we honor our gifts though sharing them. There are men, women and children who, right now, do not have clean water to drink -- we celebrate the fact that we are able to help quench their thirst.
"We believe every person on the planet should have access to clean drinking water.

"This year we celebrate our birthday by giving the gift of clean drinking water through charity: water. Join us. 100% of the money raised goes to digging wells and to clean water projects in developing nations. 100% of our gifts will change the world, one person at a time. And make your next birthday a celebration of your gifts by raising money for clean drinking water too. We'll take the top three fundraisers with us to Africa to see the wells when they're built."

Jada Smith is celebrating her 39th birthday on September 18th and Will Smith is celebrating his 42nd birthday on September 25th. 100 percent of funds raised from the Smiths' birthday campaign will go directly to water projects.

Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water said, "charity: water is extremely honored to have the support of Will and Jada Smith. Their enthusiasm for the cause is inspirational and we're excited to work together to help make a real dent in the water crisis. Our goal is to motivate others to join the birthday movement. Together, we can bring clean and safe drinking water to those in need."

Four years ago, charity: water was born in September with a birthday party. Since then, thousands of people from around the world are celebrating their birthdays using the online platform, to raise money to make an impact on the water crisis.

About charity: water
charity: water ( is a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100 percent of the money raised goes directly to project costs, funding sustainable clean water solutions in areas of greatest need. Just $20 can give one person in a developing nation clean water for 20 years. In four years, with the help of more than 100,000 donors worldwide, charity: water has funded more than 2,900 water projects in 17 countries. Those projects will provide over 1,277,000 people with clean, safe drinking water.

Why water?
Almost a billion people don't have access to clean, safe drinking water. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80 percent of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, and women and children bear the burden of water collection.

SOURCE charity: water
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Immigration Hostility Widespread in U.S. and 5 Largest European Countries

10 Sep 2010 11:35 Africa/Lagos

Immigration Hostility Widespread in U.S. and 5 Largest European Countries

Many people in all six countries see negative impact on economy, jobs and public services

NEW YORK, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Financial Times/Harris Poll finds that immigration is widely unpopular in the United States and in all of the five largest countries in Europe. The survey asked about immigration generally and not about illegal immigration. Majorities in four of the countries and pluralities in the other two believe that immigration makes it harder to find new jobs. Majorities in three countries and over 40% in the other three believe it has a bad effect on education. Majorities in four of the countries and 40% or more in the other two think it has a bad effect on health care services. Americans, even though they live in what has been described as a nation of immigrants are not, in general, any less hostile to immigration than Europeans.

(Logo: )
(Logo: )

These are some of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive® among 6,098 adults aged 16-64 within France (1,004), Germany (1,036), Great Britain (1,099), Spain (1,032), U.S. (989) and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (948) between August 18 and 25, 2010.

The main findings of this new poll include:

-- Majorities in Britain and Spain, and large minorities in the U.S.,
France, Italy , and Germany think that immigration has a bad impact on
the economy;
-- Majorities in the U.S., Britain, Italy, and Spain believe that
immigration makes it harder to find a new job, as do 45% in France and
46% in Germany;
-- While most people who are working do not believe that immigration has
had any effect on their pay, those who think they are paid less
greatly outnumber those who say they are paid more;
-- Only minorities, between 13% in France and 40% in Italy, believe that
immigration has made it more affordable to hire services such as
cleaners, builders or plumbers;
-- Majorities in the U.S., Britain, France and Spain and over 40% in
Italy and Germany believe that immigration makes the level of health
care services worse; and,
-- Majorities in the U.S., Britain and Germany believe that immigration
has made public education worse, as do over 40% in France, Italy and

Overall, many people in all six countries believe that the current level of immigration makes their countries worse places to live in , varying from 64% in Britain, 60% in Spain, and 57% in Italy to 49% in the U.S., 44% in Germany, and 43% in France.

So What?

This survey underlines the political problems that confront governments and politicians when they are addressing issues of immigration, and the easy opportunities for populist leaders to win votes by advocating anti-immigration policies. And of course the issue of illegal immigration, that was not addressed in this survey, is much more difficult.

"Thinking about your current salary and immigration, do you think you
are paid any less, more or no differently as a result of current
immigration into Europe/the U.S.?"

Click here for the complete report

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Africa Telecom People Conference and Awards / Optimism on Telecoms Tempered by High Taxes and Degrading Regulatory Environment

23 Feb 2010 08:27 Africa/Lagos

Africa Telecom People Conference and Awards / Optimism on telecoms tempered by high taxes and degrading regulatory environment

PARIS, February 22, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- This year's African Telecom People Conference and Awards on 12 February was held in Paris and as a result was smaller than previous years' events. Nevertheless, it was an interesting gathering as Laurent Marx and Sylvain Béletre from Balancing-Act discovered.

Marc Rennard, VP at Orange AMEA highlighted recent Orange progress in Africa, such as major investment to deploy new fiber networks landing on the continent.
He highlighted the content issue in Africa, mentioning that infrastructure should come before content but that local content can also boost usage demand."Orange is expecting double digit growth on the continent for 3G deployment, but that will most depend on the attitudes of the regulatory, fiscal and political bodies" he added, a clear reference to its current tussle with the Kenyan regulator CCK over the cost of 3G licences.

Rennard also confirmed that Orange Money successes could also be replicated in other African countries pretty soon on the basis that only 5% of Africans have a bank account. Orange is making large progress with content, investing in a new pan-african portal named, in football rights via the CAN (Coupe d'Afrique des Nations) 2010 partnership, and in local website revamping.

A recurring theme was that African Governments were killing “the goose that laid the golden egg”. Tax increases in many countries should stop and stabilise. Real ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) is now as low as USD 3/month in some regions. Data ARPUs in South Africa are USD 2 in South Africa. Observers should not evaluate companies on ARPU, but on AMRU (Average Margin Per User). Wholesale and roaming costs of African telecoms are still much too high to break the telecoms divide.

Not all the extra costs in Africa come from Government. Outside of the conference tracks, there was talk about a lot of money being wasteddue to stealing and hidden costs: "one day you build a post or dig some fiber, the day after it has gone! then the mayor comes to you and suddenly ask for extra taxes. Same from local inhabitants, they want money because you dig in front of their houses" commented a large operator. People steal telecoms equipment and bypass traffic which indirectly increases telecoms costs for local users.

Rémy Fekete, the partner responsible for Technology Media and Telecoms at Gide, provided an in-depth review of the telecoms' regulatory status and related issues in Africa. He raised a number of examples showing that, after a virtuous trend, the continent has witnessed a degradation of its regulatory framework over last year.

The lack of an attractive legal and regulatory environment is a serious threat to the capacity of the continent to move to 3G/Mobile internet generation. Significant investments - both in high capacity transmission networks and local content - are required to make mobile internet a reality in Africa.The significant degradation of the environment does not help to build PPP (public private partnerships) operations.

Diversification, intelligent competition and entrepreneurship should be further encouraged by governments to lower telecoms prices, increase bandwidth and telecommunication access.

There is an obvious lack of support from governments in supporting the telecoms industry: Fekete made a point that most regulators are not truly independent except in a few countries. Government need to put their voice into action and give full powers to follow up with regulators decisions and endorse the law. Competition has been decreasing in several regions as a result. There is a lack of will and means to implement universal access, except for example in Tanzania and Uganda where results are promising.

Demba Diop, Director of Business Services at MTN Ivory Coast mentioned that it had also invested several million dollars in football rights and on content. Diop said that his company has signed a deal with TraceTV - a channel present in the whole Africa which broadcasts in 145 countries - available via pre-paid offer "MTN Trace Mobile" giving the ability to download music video clips among other services.

The offer, set at USD 9 and targeting urban youth includes voice, a data pack available for free over week-ends and free SMS', as well as access to Trace club, an interactive platform. MTN Cameroon launched the offer at the end of Dec 2009, and Ivory Coast is planned for February 2010. Thanks to the offer, ARPU has already increased.

Corinne Lozé CEO of Orange described the launch of the newly launched Orange information and interactive portal, still in development. The Portal provides free news related to current affairs, sport, music and education (more at The team has 5 full time employees and 15 correspondents from various African regions aggregating content. The portal lives on two financial sources: advertising banners and premium services.

The site will enable interactive user feedback and networking, thus boosting local content and sharing of opinions. It will also expand to cover new areas in order to promote communication from individuals and companies and enable blog-type functions. Lozé added: "internet growth is very rapid in Africa right now; Africans only reprents 2.5% of global internet users but it could fast catch up with the lead pack". Lozé called on African content providers to contact her team in order to increase content flows.

Nadine Berezak-Lazarus, MD of BMP telecommunications consultants GmbH in Germany described "PPP" processes, public-private partnerships on the deployment of regional fiber networks and the set up of universal access.

Serge Thiémélé, associate of the Global telecom center at Ernst and Young Cote d'Ivoire delivered a very interesting presentation on best financial practices and hidden details regarding kpi provided by telecoms service providers.

The conference ended with the awards evening gala which confirmed the following people had received awards (list of awards)

Akwasi Agyeman, Investor Relations Officer at Starcomms Plc. in Nigeria said "It was a great event and Starcomms was excited and grateful for the award. When you think about all the major operators within West Africa and especially Nigeria, and Starcomms wins this The Best Operator Award, it speaks volumes of what the Board of Directors, the CEO and the Employees are trying to achieve – a clear focus on executing all initiatives including excellence in customer service.

We will continue to bring innovative products to the Nigerian community."

Source: African Telecom People Conference and Awards

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lake Chad Facing Humanitarian Disaster

15 Oct 2009 18:13 Africa/Lagos

Lake Chad facing humanitarian disaster / Shrinking water resources are threatening people and livelihoods / FAO calls for urgent interventions

ROME, October 15, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The humanitarian disaster looming at the shrinking Lake Chad in central Africa should be urgently addressed, FAO said today.

The lake, which is surrounded by Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, was once one of the world's largest water bodies. Due to climatic variability, climate change and population pressure over recent decades, the lake has shrunk by 90 percent, from 25 000 square kilometers in 1963 to less than 1500 square kilometers in 2001.

If water continues to recede at the current rate, Lake Chad could disappear in about twenty years from now, according to NASA climate forecasts.

Together with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), FAO will organize a special event ("Saving Lake Chad: A System under Threat") in Rome during World Food Day on October 16, 2009. The event is aimed at raising awareness about the disastrous situation of Lake Chad and mobilizing funds to replenish the lake and improve overall food security in the region.

The 30 million people living in the Lake Chad region are being forced into ever-keener competition for water. The drying-up of the lake and deterioration of the production capacity of its basin have affected all the socio-economic activities and overuse of water and land resources leading to migration and conflicts.

In addition to the approximately 60 percent decline in fish production, there has been degradation of pasturelands, leading to a shortage of animal feed estimated at 46.5 percent in certain places in 2006, reduction in livestock and biodiversity.

"The humanitarian disaster that could follow the ecological catastrophe needs urgent interventions," said Parviz Koohafkan, Director of Land and Water Division of FAO. "The tragic disappearance of Lake Chad has to be stopped and the livelihoods of millions of people living in this vast area should be safeguarded."

FAO closely collaborates with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), founded in 1964. Lake Chad Basin countries are meeting regularly to regulate and control the utilization of water and other natural resources in the Basin. They are actively seeking new models of Adaptive Water Management that take account of traditional agricultural techniques as well as the need to ensure food security for the people of the region.

According to the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the diminished flow of water into the lake requires a radical change in water management techniques and a scheme to replenish Lake Chad.

The flow of the two main sources of replenishment for the lake, the Chari and Logone rivers have decreased significantly in the last 40 years. The feasibility study for an ambitious programme to divert water flow from the Oubangui, the major tributary of the Congo River, into the Chari river system will be presented at the meeting in Rome.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

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