Go for Gold signs Paul Desiderio

first_imgNueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano “Paul will be a big boost to us offensively. He’s one of the best players in college basketball now,” he said as the Cebuano guard replaces JK Casiño in the roster.Tiu shared he has been craving for Desiderio’s services when he was building up his Go for Gold squad, but coach Bo Perasol wanted all of his Fighting Maroons to focus on the team’s preparations for the upcoming UAAP Season 81.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk“Paul was actually one of the first persons that I wanted to get when we formed the team, but he had some obligations to do for his school,” he said.But desperate times call for desperate measures, and Tiu finally got the green light from Perasol just in time for the Scratchers to make their late rally to make it to the top six. GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer LATEST STORIES Desiderio will make his debut for go for Gold on Monday against Wangs Basketball-Letran.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netEyeing one last push in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup, Go for Gold signed Paul Desiderio for the remainder of the conference.Scratchers coach Charles Tiu welcomed the arrival of the cold-blooded scorer from University of the Philippines in hopes of improving the team’s even 4-4 slate.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award “I’m very grateful that coach Bo allowed him to play for us,” he said.The 21-year-old Desiderio averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in his fourth year in UP, leading the squad to a fifth place finish this past UAAP Season 80.He last saw action in the D-League for Cafe France back in the 2017 Aspirants’ Cup.Tiu said Desiderio is definitely a big addition to the team, but the problem will be his familiarity with the squad as he seeks to quickly blend in with J-Jay Alejandro, Matt Salem, ex-pro Jerwin Gaco, and young forward Justin Gutang.“The challenge will be to integrate him to our team. It will not be easy,” he said. “We have a system on offense and defense that he has to adjust to in two practices only. It will be very tough and honestly, it is a bit of a gamble to make a change this late with short preparation time. But we need to win the last three games to make the playoffs and it’s all or nothing.”ADVERTISEMENT View comments Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Hotshots prepare for worst heading into Game 2last_img read more

World Bank Earmarks US$100bn for Poor Countries

first_imgThe World Bank Group has announced series of measures aimed at strengthening itself to better meet the evolving needs of clients across the world. The Bank’s president Jim Yong Kim declared Tuesday that the measures will include a startling US$100 billion increase lending capacity of the Bank’s lending arm for middle-income countries over the next decade.The World Bank Group president noted that the Bank will take advantage of new innovations in financial management and a boost in the institution’s ability to provide private sector support. The Bank’s announcement follows the record US$52 billion replenishment of International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, in December, 2013.   Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington D.C in advance of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, Kim outlined how the Bank is positioning itself to better achieve its goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the lowest 40 percent in developing countries.“We now have the capacity to nearly double our annual lending to middle-income countries from US$15 billion to US$26 to $28 billion a year. This means that the World Bank’s lending capacity will increase by $100 billion to roughly US$300 billion over the next ten years,” said Kim. “This is in addition to the largest IDA replenishment in history, with US$52 billion in grants and concessional loans to support the poorest countries.” It is estimated that those living in extreme poverty were estimated at 21 percent in the developing world, and 17.7 percent globally in 2010. Boosting IBRD’s Margins for ManeuverIn addition to the previously announced $400 million in cost savings over the next three years that can be reinvested, Kim described a series of measures at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)—which provides financing, risk management products, and other financial services to middle-income countries—that have the potential to transform IBRD by substantially increasing its ability to serve its clients.These include: increasing IBRD’s Single Borrower Limit by US$2.5 billion for Brazil, China, Indonesia, India, and Mexico, with a 50 basis point surcharge on the incremental amount; revising IBRD’s minimum equity-to-loan ratio to reflect improvements in portfolio credit risk, enabling more efficient utilization of shareholder capital while remaining financially prudent; changing IBRD’s loans terms, including restoring the 25 basis point commitment fee charged on undisbursed balances, and offering longer maturities with increased maturity differentiation.This will allow IBRD’s annual lending commitment capacity to expand immediately from the current US$15 billion in annual lending to more than US$25 billion per year. Therefore, the Bank’s clients over the next 10 years can see IBRD’s capacity, in terms of the maximum loan book it can prudently support, increase from about US$200 billion to nearly US$300 billion, which would also boost the Bank’s countercyclical crisis-response capacity. With an infrastructure financing gap currently estimated at US$1.2-1.5 trillion per year in emerging market and developing economies, additional resources that remain attractive relative to bond markets should continue to be in demand.“New Innovations at MIGA move further toward “One World Bank Group”Mr. Kim also described how separate arms of the World Bank Group are working even more closely together to achieve greater efficiencies. For example, he explained that the Bank Group’s political risk insurance arm, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) is entering into an innovative MIGA/IBRD exposure exchange agreement to improve the diversification of each organization’s portfolios, thereby freeing up capacity to support additional business. The first exchange will be of an IBRD exposure to Brazil for a MIGA exposure to Panama, under a MIGA contract for non-honoring of sovereign financial obligations. Both Panama and Brazil will see benefits, as IBRD and MIGA will have more headroom to do additional business in each country.The World Bank boss also noted that MIGA is planning to increase its new guarantee extension by nearly 50 percent over the next four years.Harnessing the private sector to help end povertyKim described how IFC is looking to enhance its support in achieving the global lender’s twin goals, with an expectation that it will close to double its financing over the next decade.“IFC, the largest provider of multilateral financing for the private sector in developing countries, expects it will nearly double its portfolio over the next decade to US$90 billion. In 10 years, we believe its annual new commitments will increase to US$26 billion.” said Kim.The World Bank Group has seen its financial support to developing countries double over the past ten years, from US$25.8 billion in FY04 to US$52.6 billion in the last fiscal year.  The cumulative effect of the additional lending capacity at IBRD, the largest-ever IDA envelope, and growing business at IFC and MIGA will be significant, Kim noted.“Taken as a whole, the World Bank Group’s annual commitment, which today is around US$45 to US$50 billion, is expected to grow to more than US$70 billion in the coming years. This increased financial firepower represents unprecedented growth for the World Bank Group. We are now in a position to mobilize and leverage, in total, hundreds of billions of dollars annually in the years ahead.”Enhancing the World Bank’s Equity Management FrameworkIn his speech at CFR, Kim noted, “We are strengthening our financial house to make sure that we have the capability and financial firepower to scale up our revenue and build our capital if we are going to meet some of the great needs in the developing world.”Another such measure is to stabilize and protect income generated from IBRD equity to improve the Bank Group’s financial sustainability. An enhanced Equity Management Framework will allow management to respond with more flexibility to changing market and macroeconomic conditions, within agreed rules and risk parameters. The Framework is designed to reduce the interest rate sensitivity of IBRD’s equity income, which accounts for a major portion of revenues, and aims to achieve income stability and protection by applying prudent governance and careful risk oversight.‘A Better ‘Solutions Bank’Kim asserted that the World Bank Group is now on a better footing to help countries meet their development challenges going forward.“Today, we are now better positioned to be the ‘Solutions Bank.’ We are aligning our programs and our talent to help countries grow more inclusively, which will help the poor and vulnerable, to lift themselves out of poverty.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Bogut says goodbye to NBA, vows to win in Australia

first_img0Shares0000Andrew Bogut, one of Australia’s most decorated basketballers, said he was committed to playing at home for the next two seasons after singing for the Sydney Kings © GETTY/AFP/File / Sean M. HaffeySYDNEY, Australia, Apr 24 – Championship-winning centre Andrew Bogut on Tuesday vowed to win games and draw crowds after signing a two-year contract with Australia’s Sydney Kings — a move he said would “retire me from the NBA”.Bogut, 33, one of Australia’s most decorated basketballers, said he was committed to playing at home for the next two seasons, in what the Kings hailed as the biggest signing in NBL history. “This isn’t an exercise where I’m here to just sell tickets. We want to win games, you know, and sell tickets,” Bogut told reporters in Sydney.“There is no NBA outs in my deal, there is no European outs. I’m committed to be here for two years and that’s very important to put out there.”The Kings did not reveal how much they were paying Bogut, but head coach Andrew Gaze — himself a former NBA player and five-time Olympian — described his arrival as the “greatest coup in the history of the NBL”.The seven-foot (2.13-metre) Bogut, a 13-year NBA veteran, said last month he would not return to the US for the remainder of the 2017-18 season as he wanted to stay in Australia with his pregnant wife.Bogut spent seven seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks from 2005 before being traded to Golden State, the Dallas Mavericks and later Cleveland, where he broke his left leg in his Cavaliers debut.He signed with the Los Angeles Lakers late this year but was waived by the club in January.The NBL’s multi-millionaire owner, Larry Kestelman, described Bogut’s signing as a “game-changer” in his efforts to boost the league since he bought it in 2015 for a reported Aus$7 million (US$5.3 million).“This is without a doubt the biggest signing of a player,” Kestelman said at the press conference.“We started off by changing the rules to allow clubs an easier transition to bring the most valuable and our best players here and there is obviously no better signing than Andrew.”The announcement comes a month after Victoria state authorities said the US men’s basketball team would play the Australian Boomers in a two-game series in Melbourne in August next year ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China.The special series, to be played at the Etihad Stadium on August 22 and 24, will be the first time the “Dream Team” has played in Australia since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Job Vacancy: Storeperson/Delivery Driver required in Letterkenny

first_imgDonegal Tile Centre and Rossview Interiors based in Letterkenny has a vacancy for a Store Person / Delivery DriverThe candidate must have the ability to work on their own initiative, be efficient and tidy.Have the ability to learn quickly and have a flexible attitude to working hours. Main duties will include picking out customer orders and outgoing deliveries.Receiving incoming deliveries and putting into stock.A full clean driving license, forklift and manual handing passes are essential.To apply for this position, please send your CV by email to info@donegaltilecentre.com Closing date for applications : Tuesday 4th June 2019Job Vacancy: Storeperson/Delivery Driver required in Letterkenny was last modified: May 25th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:delivery driverDonegal Tile CentreJob Vacancyletterkenny jobsRossview Interiorsstorepersonlast_img read more

Blaze scorches cruise ship

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 Passengers grabbed life jackets and raced to “muster stations” after the fire started about 3 a.m., said Julie Benson, spokeswoman for Princess Cruises, which is based on Valencia’s Town Center Drive and owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp. The crew put out the fire, then did a cabin-by-cabin search to check for victims and make sure everyone else was safe, she said. Richard Liffidge, 75, of Georgia collapsed and died on deck, said Karl Angell, communications director for the Jamaican police. Benson said the passenger died after suffering cardiac arrest. But Peterkin said an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of death. Liffidge’s wife was taken to a hospital in Montego Bay, Angell said. There was no immediate word on what she was being treated for or her condition. A company statement said two passengers suffered “significant smoke-inhalation injuries” and nine others had “minor complications.” Benson said the company has reached no conclusions about the cause of the blaze. She said about 100 cabins were affected by the fire, though Peterkin put the number at around 150. The Star Princess was sailing from Grand Cayman to Jamaica when the blaze started. Reportedly built at a cost of more than $430 million, the ship has four swimming pools, a half-dozen restaurants and dining rooms, a casino, two theaters and several nightclubs. It stretches about three football fields long. Zach Bramlage, 19, of Columbus, Ohio, was having a late-night meal when word spread that there was a fire. “Some people just ran in where we were eating and told us the ship is on fire and we got our life vests real quick and headed downstairs,” Bramlage said. “I was pretty scared initially but the captain came over the (intercom) and told us everything was going to be all right.” Hours after the ship arrived in Montego Bay before noon, passengers boarded buses that took them to hotels in the nearby resort towns of Negril and Ocho Rios. Other passengers remained on board. The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched investigators and fire engineers to help determine the fire’s cause and whether the ship was seaworthy, Coast Guard Petty Officer James Judge said in Miami. Teams were expected to arrive Thursday afternoon. “Our No. 1 concern right now is safety,” Judge said. The ship was not seriously damaged and would sail back to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Friday, Peterkin said. There was no immediate confirmation from officials at the cruise line. The Star Princess sailed from Fort Lauderdale on Sunday. Associated Press reporters Suzette Laboy in Miami and Stevenson Jacobs in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, contributed to this report. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – A fire apparently started by a cigarette broke out aboard a Princess Cruises ship early Thursday as it sailed through the moonlit Caribbean, injuring 11 people and scorching about 100 rooms. One elderly American passenger died from a heart attack, the Valencia-based cruise ship company said. The Star Princess, carrying 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew members, bore evidence of the nighttime drama as it pulled into Montego Bay’s port. About 85 exterior cabins were blackened from the fire, a stark contrast to the otherwise gleaming white exterior of the ship. Metal was twisted, evidence of the heat of the blaze. “We consider ourselves very lucky,” Klemens Fass of Toronto, Canada, told The Associated Press after he and his wife were evacuated with some other passengers. “When we got out of our stateroom … there was someone lying in the hallway passed out. He was being attended to but it was very, very scary.” A smoldering cigarette is suspected as the cause of the blaze, said Horace Peterkin, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, who toured the ship after it docked here. last_img read more

Explained: When Chelsea will receive Premier League trophy – it won’t be tonight

first_img1 Leicester City’s colours will soon come off the Premier League trophy Victory over West Bromwich Albion tonight will see Chelsea be confirmed as 2016/17 Premier League champions, and here we explain when the trophy presentation will take place.When will the champions be presented the Premier League trophy?Regardless of whether Chelsea, who need three points to seal top spot (assuming Tottenham win all their remaining games), beat West Brom or Watford within the next four days, the trophy presentation will take place on the final day of the season.Should the Blues win the league, the trophy will be lifted after their game against Sunderland, at Stamford Bridge, on Sunday 21 May.With each team kicking off at 3pm across the top flight, supporters can expect the presentation to take place at around 5pm.If Chelsea capitulate in their remaining three games and Tottenham Hotspur leapfrog their rivals, it will be the same scenario at Hull City’s KCOM Stadium.Who will get a winners’ medal?A player must have made five appearances for a title-winning team, which means goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and defender Nathan Ake would miss out on a medal for Chelsea.Former Blues Oscar and Branislav Ivanovic, who departed the club in the winter window, will receive medals having made nine and 13 league appearances, respectively, before their exit.How can Tottenham overcome Chelsea?Seven points separate the pair, so Spurs need Chelsea to, at least, lose two and draw one of their remaining three fixtures and, ideally, pick up maximum points from their three games.If Chelsea were to lose all three and Tottenham win two and draw one, the title could be decided on goal difference – which, right now, the latter have the better.last_img read more

SEAMUS COLEMAN – “I HOPE TO GO BACK HOME AND PLAY GAELIC FOOTBALL WHEN I RETIRE”

first_imgSPORT: Seamus Coleman has yet again reiterated his love of the GAA by stating that he’d love to return to play the game when he retires from professional football. Coleman is only 26, so retirement is a long, long way off but he says he still harbours ambitions to play GAA when he finishes with football.Coleman has revealed his admiration for the sport in the past and credits the game for helping him when he first moved to Sligo Rovers from local club St Catherine’s. However, it was the lure of being able to play the game professionally which prompted Coleman to focus his concentrations on soccer and he decided to move away from the GAA at 17.Despite that decision he has never lost his love or respect for the sport and says he hopes to return home when he retires and play Gaelic for his local GAA club Killybegs.Coleman said, “‘I was a far better Gaelic player than I was a soccer player, but you are not going to make a career in Gaelic football.‘The players train like professionals but they aren’t getting paid. At 17, I decided to take soccer more seriously.’ Coleman famously moved to Everton for just €60,000 in one of the best pieces of transfer business ever done by the club.He has gone on to establish himself as one of the best full-backs in the Premiership and has earned 28 international caps.Coleman will hope he can continue to perform at the highest level for the next decade or so.Then he hopes to return home and start playing GAA again with Killybegs.‘I have a massive respect for Gaelic football and I hope I can go back and play it again. “You can play at 36 or 37 if you look after yourself.SEAMUS COLEMAN – “I HOPE TO GO BACK HOME AND PLAY GAELIC FOOTBALL WHEN I RETIRE” was last modified: August 25th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:newsSportlast_img read more

Pilot psychological testing: how far should it go?

first_imgIn the wake of the tragic crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 the airline industry has been quick to adopt cockpit procedures designed to help prevent the kind of thing that allegedly brought down the A320. A French prosecutor contends 9525’s first officer Andreas Lubitz’s “intention [was] to destroy this plane,” by locking the captain out of the cockpit and commanding the aircraft to descend on a fatal trajectory into the Alps March 24th. All 150 souls on board perished.Following post-9/11 U.S. regulations, the European Aviation Safety Agency published “a temporary recommendation for airlines to ensure that at least two crew, including one qualified pilot, are in the [cockpit] at all times of the flight.” Airlines are now making that standard.That is the easy part. Far more difficult is what others propose: increased, on-going psychological testing of pilots to make sure bad apples aren’t in the cockpit to begin with.In many cases it all starts with a pre-employment psychological assessment. Most airlines do such testing, focusing on pilots’ attitude about themselves, how they solve problems, how they deal with others. There is no standard pre-employment test by which airlines fashion a psychological profile of a prospective pilot.“Can we do more than [psychologically] screen pilots when they’re first hired? Sure,” asserts Kit Darby, a retired United Airlines captain. “We can do it annually. We can do it every six months. We can do it every five years. Anything would be more than what we do now.” Darby, now heads the U.S.-based aviation consultancy KitDarby.com.Do Forms Fall Short?If commercial airline pilots are under 40 they must have a medical exam once a year, if over 40 every six months. In the United States it’s administered by a Federal Aviation Administration-designated doctor. This is essentially a physical examination. In a prepared response to AirlineRatings.com’s questions, FAA says, “the medical application form includes questions pertaining to the mental health of the pilot.” In other words, it’s the pilot’s duty to tell the doctor if he or she thinks something’s wrong by checking the right box.FAA says the designated Aviation Medical Examiner, “will use this self-disclosure to ask additional questions about mental health issues. The AME can order additional psychological testing.”Psychological screening is “very cursory now,” asserts Darby. “We’re counting…on all pilots to self-report if they have an issue and for other pilots around them to report them if they’re acting strange.” As for fellow pilots assessing the mental state of their colleagues, Darby says they’re simply not trained to do it.The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) establishes standards for the medical exams, but in some instances those standards can be met by something as simple as filling in a form.Once basic ICAO requirements have been met the member nations and airlines can make the physical and mental assessments as comprehensive as they please.Darby believes a pilot answering a few questions embedded in a medical form falls short of an “extensive” psychological exam.If psychological screening can be less than extensive so can communication between doctors. Retired Boeing 747-400 Captain R. Michael Baiada says pilots can “go to their personal doctor with an issue, whether it’s physical or mental.” Problem is “that information probably would never get to the FAA doctor if the pilot chooses not to reveal it.”Baiada, who now heads up the U.S.-based aviation consultancy ATH Group, says it is unlikely a pilot’s personal physician talks to the FAA doctor. This despite the fact that FAA says it requires pilots to report “any health professional visits during the previous three years.”Two issues here: is the psychological information gleaned from the annual or bi-annual medical checks sufficient, and is it communicated among those who need to know? Both questions may be far more than academic as investigators sift through the remains of Andreas Lubitz’s life.Kit Darby says, “serious abnormalities [are] rarely found,” by the time a pilot goes to work for an airline. “Typically, a civilian pilot getting hired by a major U.S. airline has about 6,000 hours [flight time],” he says. “You don’t get people who are very outside the norm who have gotten that far.”Lubitz had 630 flight hours, joining Germanwings in September 2013 from the Lufthansa Flight Training School in Bremen. What demons may have driven the 28-year old aviator to allegedly kill himself and 149 other human beings remains to be seen.What also remains to be seen is how the industry responds in the regulatory arena. Calls for more thorough, more frequent psychological testing, believe Darby, could well meet with opposition among pilot’s unions. “Pilots are going to resist” pressure for increased screening, he says. “They’re already heavily monitored…The unions are going to fight it.”In a prepared statement Air Line Pilots Association, International, the world’s largest pilot union, says, “Airline pilots in the United States and Canada are subject to rigorous screening prior to being hired, including an assessment of the pilot’s mental and emotional state. Once hired, pilots are evaluated continuously throughout their careers…all flight and cabin crewmembers monitor and evaluate each other while on duty.”The same is true in most areas of the world.A Bit of Perspective, PleasePerspective is always a casualty when it comes to public perception of air crashes. International Air Transport Association Director General and CEO Tony Tyler says; “Each day about nine million people board aircraft as passengers. We work very hard to earn and keep their trust by transporting them safely to their destination.”Our trust in the people up front in the cockpit is implicit and ingrained. That’s why something such as Germanwings 9525 shakes us so. Crashes of any kind are rare despite the rash of them we’ve seen over the last year. Crashes where a pilot purposely precipitates the tragedy are rarer still.It’s a perspective too easily forgotten.last_img read more

Opinion: ‘It’s our turn to move South Africa forward’

first_imgThe freedom we now enjoy and celebrate was achieved through the selfless sacrifice of patriots who were prepared to pay the ultimate price, says the GCIS’ acting director-general Donald Liphoko. (Image: Shamin Chibba)By Donald Liphoko, acting director-general of GCISOn Freedom Day millions of South Africans will celebrate the day that marks the occasion of our first democratic elections in 1994 and gave birth to our freedom and constitutional democracy.Some will choose to spend the day at home surrounded by family and friends, others may gather at the national Freedom Day celebrations in Manguzi, Umhlabuyalingana Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, which will be led by President Jacob Zuma. There are also those who may choose to use the national Freedom Day celebrations as a platform to raise their concerns.Whatever South Africans choose they will be free to do so. Our Constitution, our democracy, and our freedom have ensured that all people across our land are free to celebrate in the manner of their choosing.At face value, this seems utterly obvious, but we must never forget that before 1994, what now seems so utterly normal was denied to the majority of our fellow countrymen and women.The freedom we now enjoy and celebrate was achieved through the selfless sacrifice of patriots who were prepared to pay the ultimate price. They lived and died for the dream of a free and democratic South Africa that would be truly united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous. A country where everyone no matter their present circumstances would be free to strive for a better and more prosperous tomorrow.Since 1994 our country, and successive democratic administrations have worked to make this vision a reality. South Africa is undeniably a better place today than it was at the birth of our freedom, but much work still remains to undo the apartheid legacy of poverty, inequality and unemployment.The administration of President Jacob Zuma has continued this work since 2009. As a caring government, we continue to push for a society that is more equal, both socially and economically. Sadly, some have sought to push back against this vision by advocating that the status quo should remain in place.Such a call is both untenable and deeply worrying. We cannot and will not allow the continued existence of two parallel countries, and economies. It cannot be that our freedom dividend should only benefit some in our society, while the majority remain trapped in an existence of poverty, inequality and unemployment.Therefore government will continue its push for meaningful and inclusive economic transformation, that not only benefits some but all in our country. Our priority is to ensure greater participation in the economy by historically disadvantaged communities.We have already begun to implement this through our Medium-Term Strategic Framework 2014 to 2019. It sets out 14 outcomes around which we will mobilise all sectors of our society and it aims to ensure more equitable growth of the economy.These interventions should be seen as part of government’s long-term economic plan as guided by the National Development Plan, and immediate interventions such as the Nine-Point Plan, and Operation Phakisa.We are aware that many would argue that our immediate challenges cannot be resolved by the NDP, which is a long-term plan. However, the NDP is more than just a plan; it is the overarching vision for South Africa. Therefore it includes all key policy instruments aimed at growing the economy and creating jobs.These include the New Growth Path, which sets the trajectory of economic development; the National Infrastructure Plan, which guides the roll-out of infrastructure to improve people’s lives and enable economic growth; and the Industrial Policy Action Plan, which focuses on promoting investment and competitiveness in leading sectors and industries.Together these interventions are a potent driver for inclusive and far-reaching economic growth. However, our nation faces strong headwinds in the form of a slowing economy and global economic weakness. Therefore we need all South African onboard to tackle both our economic and social challenges.Let us, therefore, move away from the rhetoric and grandstanding. It is a luxury our country cannot afford. We must ensure that our dialogues are fair, less acrimonious and more constructive.As a caring government we will continue to lead the way by providing hope to all South Africans. Our social assistance programmes have lifted millions of people out of despair, and have planted the seeds of hope.The structural changes we are implementing will spur economic growth and ultimately lead to an economy and society that is more equitable. However, we cannot do it alone and need every sector of society to partner with us in this endeavour.Many South African companies have reaped the fruits of our freedom and have over the years have grown into strong multi-national corporations.As pillars in industry, we encourage them to use their success to move the country forward as we create the nation we all envisioned at the start of democracy. When South Africa benefits we all stand to benefit. Equally, we call on society to put aside narrow self-interest. Together we can build the country of our dreams; a nation which is prosperous, equitable and provides space for everyone to shine.The patriots who lived and died for our freedom have paved the way for this future, now it’s our turn to move South Africa forward.last_img read more

Is speech recognition software having a renaissance?

first_imgFollow the Puck Related Posts Tags:#featured#IBM#Internet of thngs#IoT#Microsoft#Omilia#top#voice recognition Nicolas De Kouchkovsky is the founder and principal at CaCube Consulting. He is an Advisor and Consultant to B2B software companies, helping them grow. Nicolas covers all aspects of marketing and market development, working on a project basis or as a VP of Marketing on demand. He spent over 25 years in the Cloud and Software industry as a product and marketing executive.Nicolas as extensive experience with Enterprise Software markets and is a recognized expert in customer facing technologies including Customer Service, Contact Centers, Sales, E-commerce, and Analytics.Nicolas held numerous executive roles at Genesys. As head of Product Management, he transformed the company from Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) middleware to a Software Application provider. As Chief Marketing Officer, he drove the company expansion in the broader multi-channel Contact Center market. Before joining Genesys, Nicolas held several senior positions at Alcatel-Lucent where he most notably established and developed the Call Center business. Prior, he was Chief Technology Officer at Cirel, a startup that pioneered multi-protocol gateways and ran a Software Integration practice at Digital Equipment (now Hewlett Packard). Nicolas De Kouchkovsky Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… The past months have witnessed breakthrough announcements from Microsoft, IBM, and Google, all hitting new marks in speech recognition accuracy; they claim that the error rate has reached 5.1 percent — the word error rate of humans.Still, that doesn’t seem particularly accurate — the last time I spoke to a machine, I didn’t get the feeling that the recognition was nearly that good. Let’s review the next generation of speech technologies, how they are enabling new analytics, and the growing role of these insights for businesses to see whether the companies’ claims are accurate.Some history of speech recognitionIn early 2000, speech recognition reached 80 percent accuracy. In the enterprise space, it triggered adoption for Interactive Voice Response (IVR), which was initially implemented to remove the complications involved in customer service problems.But speech applications were very dependent on vocabularies and languages. They required a sophisticated set-up by highly specialized system integrators, and each major language had its speech recognition startup. It was only in 2005, when Nuance snapped up 15 companies, that the space was consolidated.See also: Amazon makes it cheaper for developers to use Alexa voiceAside from speech usage for IVR, a second use case emerged for Quality Management (QM). Customer service organizations use quality management applications to listen to call center calls and rate them. The process used to be tedious, limited to a small sample of calls, and like looking for a needle in a haystack. With speech recognition, it became possible to automate parts of the process. Workforce optimization leaders NICE and Verint developed or bought ways into speech analytics, followed by Contact Center Infrastructure players like Avaya or Genesys.These developments remained limited. IVR speech enablement has failed to transform the customer experience, and voice self-service experiences continue to be rated poorly. Speech for QM is often confined to compliance or script adherence verifications. At the beginning of the 2010s, it seemed that speech technology had stalled.The machine learning transformationWhile speech for customer service was developing, Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM, and Microsoft continued investing in research and development of speech technologies, driven by the vision it would eventually become critical for user interaction with machines.Apple broke into the market with the introduction of Siri, which used machine learning to transform speech recognition. Artificial intelligence removed many of speech technology’s complications and intricacies, as well as the need to re-engineer the stack for new languages or new vocabulary sets.Today, most digital disrupters, most notably China “Big Three,” Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent, are building their speech stack. Because generic machine learning engines can be used, barriers to entry have been lowered dramatically. Open source options, like CMUSphinx, HTK, Julius, Kaldi, and Simon, are also widely available.Disrupting the customer service spaceThe AI breakthrough has paved the way for new entrants. Companies like iFLYTEK or Speechmatics are aggressively addressing the issues of usability, accuracy, and deployability, in particular beyond the dominant languages.For customer service, the battle is now shifting to the other half of the equation, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU).Yactraq is applying its patented technology to democratize audio mining. It is finding that, by democratizing the technology for businesses, it can enable businesses to innovate besides compliance and adherence, helping discover best practices in customer interaction.Deep Learning has been powering its speech stack since 2013. It now sees NLU as the next frontier, as it can understand more than one command from different, simultaneous speakers, and prioritize them. After targeting automation and assistance for call centers, it is expanding in other industries and use cases. This industry focus is critical to finding solutions.Omilia is another intriguing story. Originally formed as an IVR system integrator, in 2007, it started developing its own speech technology with the vision to leapfrog IVR-directed dialogs and offer natural conversations. Omilia was able to leverage deep learning to assemble its stack; its technology bolstered an impressive 59 percent reduction in IVR abandonment and a double-digit increase in self-service completion at Royal Bank of Canada.Sales communication leading the way?Inside selling is on the rise, and as a result, sales communication has become an active and innovative space. A growing number of sales interactions are taking place over the phone, and sales executives are concerned about becoming blind to these conversations.Chorus.ai is a pioneer of the sales intelligence space. Cultivating a solutions approach, it has assembled a vertically-integrated stack that provides a broad range of indicators for assessing the effectiveness of conversations and correlates sales process elements to actual outcomes. It uses homegrown speech recognition, tuned and modeled for sales conversations. The company is baking its know-how in a three-step “onboarding” process, recording all conversations to uncover insights in a matter of days. These insights are then used to create dashboards tracking performance drivers, which can eventually be monitored in realtime and used to drive changes on the front lines.Gong.io was born from one of its founders experiencing building fast growing sales teams. The founder got frustrated with inaccurate, undeveloped, superficial tools for measuring performance. He reviewed existing tools and found them too complex and ill-suited for B2B sales, which have long, unscripted conversations that can involve more than two participants. Gong.io focuses on conversation intelligence by uncovering topics and recognizing performance patterns. Founded recently, in August 2015, Gong.io assembled its first solution in record time.The sales technology space, though recent, is incredibly dynamic: in only a few years, it evolved beyond coaching and performance management to provide broader prospect and customer insights. Sales technology is poised to become a key element of Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs.Across the three market landscapes —Inside Sales, Interaction Management, and Intelligent Assistance and Bots — I am maintaining with VB Profiles, I have identified over 30 players:Artificial intelligence is transforming the speech industry. Within a given domain or use case, voice recognition technology is very accurate. Usability still has not been perfected, and NLP and NLU have yet to be implemented, but speech technology has already become mature enough to stimulate the creation of new applications and markets — more startups and innovations should be on the way.last_img read more