Biden strikes tough tone on Russia in diplomatic push

first_img Facebook Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens as President Joe Biden delivers remarks to State Department staff, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Washington. Pinterest WhatsApp Twitter Local NewsUS News WhatsApp By Digital AIM Web Support – February 4, 2021 center_img Facebook Pinterest Biden strikes tough tone on Russia in diplomatic push Twitter TAGS  Previous articleTrump rejects Dems’ request to testify at impeachment trialNext articleVolunteer army helps Florida elders book coveted COVID shots Digital AIM Web Supportlast_img read more

Los Angeles Lakers take Ingram and Zubac, but nobody’s got the answers to the draft at this point

first_imgEL SEGUNDO >> At some point we’ll understand the science of it all, but on Thursday night, the NBA draft was art. Whether it’s Mona Lisa or Dogs Playing Poker, it’s all in the beholder’s eye.In such a fact-free and opinion-rich zone, all questions and answers are equal. Including these:— Is Brandon Ingram, the second overall pick, similar to Kevin Durant? Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error — Physically, yes, and Ingram aspired to be Durant as he grew up (but not out) at Kinston (N.C.) High. And they both were No. 2 picks. But they aren’t the same player. Durant has more jagged-edge explosiveness than Ingram (or anybody else). Ingram is probably more sophisticated, having played point forward at Kinston and for much of his only season at Duke. “He was the player I wanted,” coach Luke Walton said, having flipped for Ingram’s ability to read situations defensively and come off his man to block shots. “You have to be a pretty intelligent player to do that.”— Is Ben Simmons, the first overall pick, similar to Grant Hill?— Yes. They’re both basketball players.— Where will Kevin Durant play next year?— If money and winning mean anything, it should be Oklahoma City. The Thunder can pay Durant more than anyone else can, and they shipped the increasingly irrelevant Serge Ibaka to Orlando for the rights to low-post artist Domantas Sabonis, former No. 2-overall pick Victor Oladipo and hard rebounder Eryan Ilyasova. That’s your 2017 preseason favorite right there.center_img — How many players were compared to Draymond Green on Thursday night?— Almost as many as were drafted ahead of Green three years ago (34).— Was Ingram the right pick for the Lakers?— Probably. You might have conjured up a case for Buddy Hield, just to give the lineup a little maturity, but adulthood is not just a matter of age (Nick Young). There’s a certain gravity to the 18-year-old Ingram. But who are we kidding? Anybody in the Top 10 would have been a Godsend for a club that was 30th in NBA scoring, 30th in field goal percentage, 30th in 3-point field goal percentage, 29th in point differential and 29th in field goal percentage defense.— Is general manager Mitch Kupchak sold on Ingram?— Of course he was, but then he said he couldn’t make a judgment on Simmons because Simmons didn’t work out for the Lakers. But even though Kupchak left North Carolina 40 years ago, there’s something about Duke that catches in his throat. “He came from, some people say, a well-respected program,” Kupchak said. He did draft Ryan Kelly, after all.— How did Kupchak feel about the Clippers picking Brice Johnson at 25?— Probably not very good. The Clippers didn’t have a 6-foot-10 guy who can catch, run, rebound and shoot. Johnson can do all that and played four years on a big stage at North Carolina.— Does Ivica Zubac, the Lakers’ second-round pick, have a shot?— There’s certainly a void he can fill, and his heart will be in it. The 19-year-old Croatian center idolized the Lakers and says he intends to play here next season. He also watched Kobe Bryant’s goodbye game at 4. a.m. “even though I had practice at 10 a.m.,” and had Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Andrew Bynum jerseys. Where is the Bynum jersey now? “Underneath some of my other clothes,” he said.— What player should have stayed in school?— Tough question, because nobody can justify telling anybody to turn down the money. From a basketball standpoint, Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere might have parlayed a sophomore year into a Top 5 spot in 2017. Instead, he drifted to 28th (Phoenix). But in doing so, Labissiere joins Washington’s Marquese Criss and Croatia’s Dragan Bender as Phoenix loads up on young, tall skill. If you want to second-guess somebody, how about the draft experts who had Labissiere going No. 1 in preseason?— Which team in the West improved itself most?— If Minnesota hangs onto Kris Dunn, the point guard it took with the No. 5 pick, it could explode to 45-50 wins. If it winds up packaging Dunn and trading him to Chicago for Jimmy Butler, even better.— What is the state of American basketball?— Not real good, according to NBA general managers. Seven of the first 16 picks came from elsewhere. Players from The Bahamas, Australia, and Croatia were taken before anybody from Kentucky.— last_img read more

Gold for Rose Ð and a new generation of golfers is set to flower

first_img15 Aug 2016 Gold for Rose Ð and a new generation of golfers is set to flower England Golf ambassador Justin Rose is set to inspire a new generation of players after winning the first Olympic gold for golf since the sport’s return to the Games after 112 years.   The Englishman said after his two-stroke triumph at Rio 2016: “I am proud to be able to say that felt better than anything I’ve ever won. “I hope my win and the Olympics inspires people to get into golf, it truly is a sport for everyone, whatever your age or ability. “Back at home England Golf, who supported me as I developed as a golfer, are working with clubs to encourage participation with beginner courses, taster lessons and special events and break down perceived barriers to playing,” added Rose. Golf is already England’s fifth biggest participation sport, with just over 1.1 million adults playing at least once a month – and it’s set to grow rapidly after Rose’s Olympic triumph. England Golf’s Get into golf campaign – which is supported by Sky Sports – offers new and returning players an ideal way into the game with great value coaching from PGA professionals and an introduction to a sport which offers a good social life and many health benefits. Just playing 9-holes of golf means players will walk two to three miles, take over 5000 steps and burn over 450 calories. Rose says: “Golf is a great game for people looking to keep fit, as you don’t need to be an elite athlete to play. It is a game for everyone, of all ages or levels of fitness. It gets you out in the fresh air and doing some gentle, but effective exercise and can only help people looking to get or keep fit.” England Golf Chief Executive Nick Pink added: “Justin’s wonderful win is a fantastic result both for him and for golf. I am certain it will inspire thousands of people to set out to follow in his footsteps and enjoy the great game of golf – and we are ready to help guide them on their way.” He went on: “Everyone can play golf, there are no age limits and your ability doesn’t matter – golf has a handicapping system which irons out the differences between players and means everyone can play with each other. “Golf clubs and driving ranges everywhere are working incredibly hard to attract people to the game and all it has to offer. It’s an excellent game to play with family and friends because there’s plenty of time for conversation on the course and a really good social life in the clubhouse “But there are many myths around golf that we have to debunk. For example, people tell you that it takes all day to play. Nonsense! You can play 9 holes in 2 hours or whizz round a par 3 course in the same time. If you’re really strapped for time you can work well on your game in half an hour at the driving range or on the putting green.” The Golf Express campaign promotes 9-hole golf to encourage busy people to play all the game in half the time. It recognises the paces of modern life and offers 9 hole formats that most golfers can conveniently fit into a busy schedule Rose often plays 9 holes in practice and describes Golf Express as: “A great way to play all the game in half the time.” As an amateur Rose was an England international and a top boy player, winning the U16 and U18 McGregor and Carris Trophies. He turned professional after the 1998 Open championship when he holed from the rough on the last to tie fourth and, in a stellar career, has won the US Open and, now, his Olympic gold. He says: “I’m hoping that a great tournament in Rio will encourage kids all over the country go to their local club or range and start swinging a club. Golf is a game for everyone and I think that the Olympics will help make that point by getting more and more people playing.” Visit www.getintogolf.org to find out about beginner courses, taster lessons and special events at clubs and ranges nationwide. Visit www.golfexpress9.org to find places to play 9-hole golf across the country through an online directory and to take advantage of special offers.last_img read more

Former Steelers LB James Harrison retires

first_imgIn this Sept. 17, 2013, file photo ,Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker James Harrison smiles as he leaves the field following their 20-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl, File)PITTSBURGH (AP) — James Harrison spent a decade as one of the NFL’s most feared players.What the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker fears now, however, is missing out on the childhood of his two young sons.Harrison announced his retirement on Saturday, saying the urge to squeeze in one more season no longer competes with the need to stay at home.“My love for the game isn’t strong enough to make up for missing one more birthday or first day of school,” Harrison posted on his Facebook page. “I am retiring as a man who is truly grateful for all of his blessings.”The 36-year-old was a free agent after spending the 2013 season with the Cincinnati Bengals. He visited the Arizona Cardinals earlier in the week but did not sign a contract. He called the decision “a difficult one” but insisted he has no regrets.“My love for my family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game,” he wrote.Harrison built a reputation as one of the NFL’s toughest and most intimidating players during 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he worked from undrafted free agent to the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.His 100-yard interception return for a touchdown to end the first half of the 2009 Super Bowl against the Arizona Cardinals is one of the most electric plays in league history and showcased the relentlessness that made him respected in the locker room and a polarizing figure in the league office.A seemingly perfect fit for defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 defense, Harrison finished with 66 career sacks, including 16 in 2008 when he helped guide the Steelers to their sixth championship.As the years wore on, however, the injuries — and the fines from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell — piled up. He parted ways with the Steelers in March, 2013 when he declined to take a pay cut. He landed in Cincinnati, where he had two sacks and an interception in a diminished role. The Bengals cut him in March and while he continued to work out hoping the phone would ring, he couldn’t find the proper landing spot.In many ways Harrison’s success was emblematic of “The Steeler Way.” Signed as training camp fodder in 2002, Harrison spent two years on the practice squad before getting signed by the Baltimore Ravens, who sent the undersized Harrison — listed at 6-feet — to NFL Europe for some seasoning. The Ravens eventually cut him loose and Pittsburgh brought him back hoping he had matured.It ended up being one of the better bargains in team history. From 2007-11 Harrison was one of the best outside linebackers, a stretch when the Steelers finished in the top five in fewest yards allowed each year and made it to the Super Bowl twice.Yet Harrison’s violent play sometimes came at a hefty price. He was fined multiple times for hits to the head.Feeling he was being unfairly persecuted by the league, Harrison called Goodell a “crook” and a “devil” during an interview with Men’s Journal in early 2011. Harrison later apologized and promised to clean up his act.It didn’t exactly work. Harrison was suspended for a game in December, 2011 after his helmet smacked into Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy’s facemask a moment after McCoy released the ball.Harrison did not receive any letters from the commissioner’s office in 2012, but his physical style of play took a toll on his body. He missed all of training camp with a knee injury and admitted he had endured “a dozen” concussions over the course of his career.Rather than risk another one, he’s staying home for good.___Online:AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFLlast_img read more

Genetic Tinkering Puts Brave New World at Our Doorstep

first_imgNew tools in the lab put human nature at risk. Can we trust fallible scientists to be ethical?A dystopian future is becoming more plausible, thanks to genomic editing. We don’t mean to scare you. We’ll let the scientists themselves do that.“Scientists from around the world are meeting in Washington this week to debate how best to proceed with research into gene-editing technology,” Julian Saveluscu begins an article on The Conversation. He’s not worried; he likes gene editing. He gives “Five reasons we should embrace gene-editing research on human embryos.” And he’s an ethicist, a distinguished visiting professor at Monash University. He knows about the risks.Many people, including scientists, are worried about creating genetically modified humans. They’re worried about numerous things: genetic mistakes being passed on to the next generation; the creation of designer babies who are more intelligent, more beautiful or more athletic; and the possibility of causing severe growth abnormalities or cancer.While these are valid concerns, they don’t justify a ban on research. Indeed, such research is a moral imperative for five reasons….How’s that for turning a debate? He makes the worriers the immoral guys.The scientists from around the world feel differently. “Embryo editing to make babies would be ‘irresponsible,’ says DNA summit statement,” John Travis reports for Science Magazine. At least, they feel that way for now. Look at the terms under which they would feel it could be allowed:But the group did not rule out such embryo editing later, if safety questions are resolved and society develops a consensus on ethical and legal issues. And the group said basic, preclinical research involving human embryos, sperm, and eggs should continue. It did not endorse any kind of ban or moratorium on such research.The statement—which differs little from similar previous statements from prominent groups—came after 3 days of intense discussion among scientists, government officials, science policy experts, philosophers, and others in Washington, D.C. The unusual gathering, sponsored by U.S., U.K., and Chinese scientific societies, explored the promise and perils of new methods to alter human DNA, focusing considerable debate on the prospect for altering the genomes of eggs, sperm, or embryos. This so-called germline engineering is seen by many as crossing a line, because it bestows permanent genetic changes on a new individual and any offspring they may have. Yet there are circumstances in which such DNA editing could prevent the transmission of genetic diseases, so some advocate it shouldn’t be banned, as it is in many countries.What was that proverb about good intentions?Patrick Western from the Hudson Institute is not as sanguine as Savelescu. “Gene editing in embryos is fraught with scientific and ethical issues,” he titles his piece on The Conversation. He warns of permanent errors and the “epigenetic black box” among other concerns. “Although embryo culture conditions are carefully controlled, we still have no way of properly measuring the potentially complex impacts of the gene-editing process on the embryo,” he warns. The ethical issues are “enormous,” he feels. “If such technology were ever to be applied to the human germline for medical purposes, these issues would need to be addressed with the greatest stringency.”Jennifer Doudna also feels that embryo editing needs scrutiny. Writing for Nature, she explains why the new CRISPR-Cas9 editing too, recently made more efficient and accurate (BBC News), has upsides and downsides. It makes gene editing very convenient, but opens a Pandora’s box of ethical concerns (see 6/05/15).So who is to decide whether to apply germline editing to human gametes and embryos? Doudna ends her article by handing the keys of the kingdom to scientific elites:The December summit is an important opportunity for China, the United Kingdom and the United States to lead the global discussion, and for the genome-editing community to renew its commitment — which began more than 40 years ago — to wholeheartedly engage with the public.Being interpreted, this means letting the scientists convince the public to let them do what they want to do.Nature reports from the gathering that scientists did not support an outright ban on germline editing. Even if they did, they don’t think it’s enforceable.But others saw an embryo research ban as unrealistic: even if some researchers agree to abstain from editing embryos, or if some countries ban it outright, others will continue the work, argued George Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. “You create a nexus for your worst nightmares,” he said.It will take another year for the consensus report to come out. What will happen in the meantime? National Geographic posted an alarming headline: “5 Reasons Gene Editing Is Both Terrific and Terrifying: New ways to easily snip and tuck genes have put scientists in the middle of a fast-accelerating ethical debate.” The fate of the world is being placed into the hands of unaccountable elites who have the angel of ethic responsibility talking into one ear, and the devil of personal gain talking into the other. The devil is whispering to them that angels are a myth invented by the religious right.Science, c. 1670: A search for the truth about the natural world for the good of mankind.Science, c. 2015: Membership in an elite oligarchy without a moral compass possessing power to dictate the direction of human civilization.The public can certainly trust China, that lovely communist country with huge images of Chairman Mao in its capital—you remember, the leader who murdered 77 million of his own people? (11/30/05) What could possibly go wrong, now that Charles Darwin has bequeathed to both China and the West its modern ethic of survival of the fittest? The scientific “consensus” has already conceded the tinkering with human embryos is not a big deal. Abortion is legal, right? They get the body parts for research; the public gets over their initial uproar in time. Throw some big bucks into the equation, and there’s no doubt that the elite will find ways to make human germline editing “ethical” somehow. All for progress, of course.We can see what the scientific-government complex feels about their obligation to “the public.” They just met in Paris to set rules for the rest of humanity on climate, despite major disagreement by “the public” about the importance of “climate change” as a concern. The rules that President Obama and the U.N. want would have drastic effects on the poor and the economies of major nations, with zero chance for making any difference whatsoever on the climate for the next century (listen to Lamar Smith on Family Research Council‘s Dec. 1 radio broadcast). To them, the “public” are “deniers” led about by zealots (mainly Republicans and the “religious right”) who don’t understand “settled science” (see article on Science Daily). Do you expect the scientific elitists to listen to the public? Never; the communication is always one-way. The elite see their job as helping the “scientifically illiterate” understand the wisdom of the consensus.These power-mad elitists, many of them Marxist-Darwinists, now want to have their way with altering the most personal treasures you have: your genes and those of your children. Even George Orwell would be surprised. (Visited 68 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Building Retrofit Proposal Shaved from NYC’s Green Plan

first_imgWith its abundance of high-density residential and commercial buildings, New York City already operates with a relatively high degree of energy efficiency. But many of us who regularly visit the place sometimes struggle with the notion that it could someday be a green-building showcase.Part of that struggle is based purely on perception – the feeling that current economic pressures have pushed energy efficiency down the list of priorities in a town where the building mix includes everything from the architecturally stunning to the regrettable, the dignified to the tacky, the well maintained to the decrepit, and the ambitiously green to the environmentally wasteful.City leaders have decided to impose at least a few new standards on the energy efficiency component of that mix. In an effort to reduce New York’s greenhouse gas emissions, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and many on the city council have been promoting legislation that would further the “ambitiously green” agenda. As affirmed last week, though, lawmaking is rarely easy in New York: the plan’s supporters eliminated a provision from the proposal that would have required buildings of 50,000 sq. ft. or more to be audited for energy efficiency and then, based on audit findings, renovated to improve their performance.A timing issueThe deletion came at the behest of building owners, who cited the lousy economic climate, which includes lenders who are reluctant to offer financing for such projects. Highlighting that constraint, That constraint, a recent story in the New York Times points out, is the fact that the city has only $16 million in federal stimulus funds available for loans toward what would have been about $2.5 billion in private investment for improvements.Supporters of the plan said that the renovation requirement, which was a major component of the overall package of provisions, would have affected about 22,000 buildings and, along with the other initiatives in the plan, would have created 19,000 construction jobs. Those supporters say that even without the renovation requirement, the legislation will still create almost as many jobs, although one local construction-industry group, the Building Trades Employers’ Association, isn’t convinced.“I’d be shocked if 5,000 of those jobs were created,” the association’s president and chief executive, Louis J. Coletti, told the Times. “The world of real estate and construction financing have been upended by the economic crisis.”Building owners still aren’t happy about the likely costs they’ll have to bear when complying with the audit requirement, which remains in the legislation. Audit information would be passed along to tenants to help them identify ways they could cut energy costs. The Times also notes that the plan includes the city’s first energy code for all buildings, along with requirements for lighting upgrades and energy system inspections. In any case, even with the elimination of the renovation requirement, the remaining provisions have prompted at least some of the plan’s supporters to see the glass as half full.“Even though the bill is not as strong, it’s still ahead of the rest of the country,” Ashok Gupta, director of energy policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York, told the paper.last_img read more

3 key drivers of Booking.com’s financial innovation

first_imgThe Top 5 Issues Faced by Futurists Ronald van Loon Tags:#Booking.com#corporate innovation#featured#Fintech#Internet of Things#IoT#Priceline#top 6 User-Interface Musts for Personal Finance Apps What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Big data and related technology are transforming the way businesses approach data analysis. While the sheer volume of data from its disparate sources have made data analysis and the process of extracting insights a challenging task for businesses, there are a few data-driven companies that can give us inspiration and direction.Booking.com has always been at the forefront of technology. Owned and operated by the Priceline Group, Booking.com is the world leader in booking accommodations online; it is estimated that each day, over 1.2 million rooms are reserved via the company’s website, and as a result, the company collects and analyzes massive amounts of data daily.See also: What open APIs will mean for the future of mobile paymentsTo get an insight into Booking.com’s finance-related data handling practices and the technologies and tools that it utilizes, I interviewed Venkat Iyer, the director of financial systems for Booking.com, at SAP Netherlands’ recent S/4HANA Adoption Forum.Almost every company on the internet has experienced massive growth in the volume of data generated by various channels, and Booking.com was no exception. Iyer explained that there was a time when they were wondering what would happen if they doubled the amount of properties on their website in the next three years and how the finance back-office would cope with this growth. They analyzed that the investment in more hardware alone would not solve the problem.A comprehensive evaluation made them realize that to support the increasing volume of data, they will require massive scalability, which was not feasible on the existing ERP platform. It became essential for them to invest in a new solution, but this was risky as well. They didn’t want to bottleneck the business and impede finance business support functions. So, Iyer, along with his team, decided that exploring new opportunities was the only solution.Booking.com evaluated the pros and cons of SAP’s S/4HANA solution and decided that this was the solution that could drive speed, scalability, and innovation, and improve the way people work.This particular decision is quite inspirational for entrepreneurs and leaders who are often required to take tough decisions in challenging circumstances. When I asked Iyer about what really made him take this risk, he said, “We have an obligation to dream and realize it, because if we don’t, we don’t move forward.”Approaching challenges in a more fun wayApart from technical details, I believe that it’s important to share the “actual” experience that Iyer and his team had during the initial HANA implementation. Since the deployment of HANA entailed significant risk, Booking.com chose to give themselves 4 months to implement and to go live a day before a Dutch national public holiday. The rationale was if something went wrong, the company had at least one more day to recover from the problem.“You can’t implement projects like these if you don’t have a lot of fun while you are doing it,” he said. “And you have to trust each other.”3 key drivers for successWhen I asked Iyer about the three primary reasons behind a successful implementation, his immediate response was that there were many drivers. There are a lot of things that went right. In addition to teamwork, one major reason why the decision to invest in a new solution proved to be a strategically sound decision for Booking.com was that it facilitated full financial business involvement. The company worked in collaboration with the solution provider throughout the process and their continuous involvement contributed a lot to the final outcome.When Booking.com invested in this new solution, they were things that they knew they could do with it. And on the other hand, there were things that they didn’t know it could do, and that proved to be very exciting. Iyer and his team experimented and innovated new ways of doing everyday tasks in a more efficient manner. This ability to innovate served as a driving force for every function of the finance organization in all imaginable directions.“The fact that you do not know what you can do with something is the most exciting thing in the journey of innovation,” said Iyer. “Don’t be discouraged by failure. It can lead you in new directions.”In just one sentence, Iyer perfectly summarized the approach he adopted when he was met with challenges and constraints during his innovation journey. As I have mentioned earlier, every decision entails its own risks, and Booking.com’s investment decision was no exception.There were several challenges that the company faced during the migration process. Some of these include:There was a huge volume of unclean, unstructured legacy data that was a pain to deal with during the migration process.There was little room for error during migration as it would push back scalability plans by several months.The company experienced an inconsistent migration experience. One of the migration steps that the team had run successfully multiple times, failed during the deployment, and for six hours, they had no solution. Related Posts Iyer made an interesting choice before he made the decision. He organized a design thinking workshop that was facilitated by SAP and three finance teams from Booking.com. There were two themes that emerged during the discussions:People were not willing to wait. They wanted everything in real-time because they lived in the world of now.When people have invested in technology and see its possibilities, they start to re-imagine the future and no longer feel constrained by the things that happen.While the second theme was the primary reason the participants of the workshop asked the right questions, dug deeper, and spoke freely without judgment, the first theme directed to a more in-depth issue. It helped the company realize that if they gave a better user experience for employees and provided them easy access to data they could fundamentally change the way they work and have a wider business impact.Beyond a database, opportunityIyer and his team didn’t see S/4HANA as a mere database. Instead, they perceived it as a platform for innovation, an opportunity to change the way the finance teams work at Booking.com. For them, the implementation was not just about driving speed and innovation and improving the analytics skills of the workforce, it was about helping them understand the value of data and turn into a key driver for decision making.Another thing that Iyer focused on was making the finance operation more agile and user-friendly. The company’s website offered an agile and highly responsive experience to the users, allowing them to change their decisions as fast as they wanted. However, the finance functions didn’t have that luxury. They realized that making finance operations simpler and more agile constituted an opportunity for them. Therefore, they aimed for a consistent, user-friendly experience throughout the value chain, and they achieved it through meticulous preparation, consistent testing, and a successful migration.When someone is faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, their attitude matters a lot. When faced with the challenge of a successful implementation of S/4HANA, Iyer asked himself “Are there other opportunities that we are missing? Why are we always looking at it from the point of view of what problem can we solve? Why don’t we look at it from the point of view of what opportunities are out there that we can exploit?”Approaching problems from a positive angle provided the team a new direction. They realized that Booking.com’s limited knowledge was a constraint for the implementation. But they also knew that with SAP’s support and in-depth expertise of the solution, they could resolve the issue and achieve their ultimate objective.“You are not working on your own,” he said. “And for us, we got a lot of support. I must admit we would not have been able to do it if we did not have the collaboration [from SAP] at this point in time.”Using data to predict financial risksAccording to Iyer, the foundation of the HANA database is very critical when it comes to collecting data from different sources with the purpose of generating insights. However, you need to be careful about the kind of data sources you bring in because a solution has the infrastructure to support it, but with time, it may become too costly to maintain all this data and generate something valuable from it.To summarize, your ability to achieve a high return on your database investment depends on:A self-managed environment that’s able to scaleA high-skilled, reliable internal teamBringing the right type of data sourcesHandling the flow of dataBooking.com has always been a data-driven company, but investing in S/4HANA provided the finance functions an opportunity to look at data in a completely different way. Iyer and his team used the solution to innovate with analytics and machine learning. They migrated datasets from several sources to the new database, and the data analysis help them gain a better understanding of financial risks and provided actionable insights to their people at the right time.Start small and trust your teamI realize that many of my readers are aspiring to be an entrepreneur or are ready to drive change in the organizations they work for. Therefore, I asked Iyer to provide his advice to people who are in a similar situation and are required to make an unusual decision.“Start very small. Pick one little use case, start from there,” he said. “If it doesn’t work, you will know. But if it works, you are giving your company an amazing opportunity to march into the future.”The corporate world today is driven by technology, and the finance function of a business is no exception. With information of all types, structured and unstructured, being generated from a spectrum of resources, the long-term financial success of a company depends greatly on its ability to capture data, analyze it, and take immediate and accurate decisions on the basis of insights extracted from data analysis. To meet this needs and expectations, businesses are required to invest in sophisticated tools that can support the data analytics needs of their financial function and help them thrive in today’s technology driven world.“The true value of data becomes apparent when you combine it with the knowledge of your people and the power of technology to make data-driven decisions,” said Iyer.If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data please click “Follow” and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

$2.68 Billion to Purchase Vehicles and Equipment for JDF

first_img This includes $923 million to facilitate the acquisition of assorted vehicles for the Jamaica Defence Force; a further $930 million to procure hardware and software for cybersecurity initiatives; and $834 million to purchase telecommunications equipment for the JDF. Story Highlights With the maintenance of law and order high on the agenda of the Government, a sum of $2.68 billion has been budgeted to bolster the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) military services.This includes $923 million to facilitate the acquisition of assorted vehicles for the Jamaica Defence Force; a further $930 million to procure hardware and software for cybersecurity initiatives; and $834 million to purchase telecommunications equipment for the JDF.Details of the allocations are outlined in the 2019/20 Estimates of Expenditure, tabled recently in the House of Representatives by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke.The Estimates will be considered by the Standing Finance Committee of the House from March 5 to 6.The acquisitions will be financed from the Consolidated Fund. Details of the allocations are outlined in the 2019/20 Estimates of Expenditure, tabled recently in the House of Representatives by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke. With the maintenance of law and order high on the agenda of the Government, a sum of $2.68 billion has been budgeted to bolster the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) military services. last_img read more

Non-Traditional Exports Doing Well – JEA President

first_imgStory Highlights Non-traditional export sector continues to perform well despite the economic challenges facing the country President of the Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA), Andrew Collins says the non-traditional export sector continues to perform well despite the economic challenges facing the country.“We have been seeing a decline in traditional export products, what is noteworthy however is that non-traditional exports in Jamaica have grown consistently over the past few years. In 2008, the sector saw earnings of US$949.1 million but due to the recession in 2010, this figure had dropped to US$595 million,” he said.“The sector was able to rebound to US$827 million in 2012 which is very close to the pre-recession figure of 2009. This means that there is demand for our products globally and especially in the products which were not traditionally considered export products such as art, craft, gift wear- these are some of the products that there is a demand in the export sector,” he explained.The JEA President was speaking at a closing ceremony for graduates of the JEA and St. Andrew Settlement Income Generating project at the association’s offices in Kingston yesterday (September 12).The objective of the five-month project was to provide skills training to unemployed residents of Majesty Gardens aged 18 to 35. Training areas included: the creation of craft items (jewellery, paintings) from recyclable materials; dressmaking and tailoring; carpentry and woodwork.Mr. Collins added that the JEA stands ready to assist with the continued development of their product line.  “When you are ready to break into targeted niches in the export market directly or indirectly, the JEA stands ready and willing to assist,” he said.Advisor to the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Nugent encouraged the participants to hone their skills while ensuring that the standards of their products remain the highest.“With the skills acquired, (you) can now start (your) own businesses and, indeed, become employers of other youth. In essence, this is empowerment. This project has demonstrated the tremendous potential and what can be achieved by our youth, given the necessary support,” he said.He said that another critical component to a establishing a successful venture is ensuring that their intellectual property (IP) in their designs and creations are protected.“In this connection, you will find that the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office, is ready to assist you in registering your IP. We believe, therefore, that engaging the youth in organized activities directed towards the creation of an entrepreneurial culture will not only serve to harness their enthusiasm, but also lead to the germination of more innovative ideas across our society,” he said.Project beneficiary, Tashia Henclewood expressed gratitude to the developers of the programme, noting that they are now equipped to earn from the skills they have acquired. Ms. Henclewood received training in crochet making.Approximately 40 residents of Majesty Gardens received certificates and tool kits having participated in the ‘Income Generating Opportunities For Young Unemployed People, Through Linkages With Established Micro, Small And Medium Entrepreneurs’ project.The project, which is a collaboration among the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Jamaica Exporters’ Association, the European Union, and the St. Andrew Settlement, sought to empower them to earn and establish their own businesses.The project also included a component for job readiness where the beneficiaries received training in the development of business plans for their respective areas, basic accounting, records keeping, marketing and sales, inventory management, business communication and computing.In addition to the skills training, an intensive programme of internship and vocational training followed which prepared the graduates for careers in entrepreneurship including improved access to start-up capital and business development support. The objective of the five-month project was to provide skills training to unemployed residents of Majesty Gardens In 2008, the sector saw earnings of US$949.1 million last_img read more

Rohit rested Chahars in as India bowl first in 3rd T20

first_imgGuyana: India have won the toss and opted to bowl first in the third and final T20 international against the West Indies here on Tuesday. With the series already in pocket, captain Virat Kohli said that opener Rohit Sharma has been rested though the latter was seen speaking to the umpires along with West Indies skipper Carlos Brathwaite after the toss got delayed due to wet outfield. Ravindra Jadeja and Khaleel Ahmed have been rested and the Chahar brothers — Rahul and Deepak — have been included in their place. K L Rahul has replaced Rohit. Kohli reckoned at the toss that the pitch has been under cover for some time and so India would like to use the dampness. “We need to bat, bowl and field well. We want to convert dots into singles. Our main focus today is to maintain standards. West Indies cricket needs to find protocols and standards that we all abide by,” Brathwaite said at the toss. Agencieslast_img read more