As the elections draw closer, as usual, our two major polarised ethnic groups are acting like magnetic poles dragging the society into one or the other camp. In the classic Liberal polity, supposedly rational individuals engage in a variety of roles and belong to a multitude of organisations and groups whose several interests are cross cutting. The individual, in his political role as a voter, therefore, makes a “rational” choice based on the position a given party takes on the issues before the electorate. Even if all voters do not conform to this ideal, there are enough who do, to constitute a pool of “swing” votes in the middle for which all parties compete. This situation creates a centripetal moderating effect and the parties line up on a continuum on the issues. We have the politics of “in and out”.The party system in a divided society like ours operates on totally different basis. Here, the individual is a member of groups, which instead of diffusing the cleavages, act to reinforce them. They will generally attend different places of worship, occupy different occupational niches, and have different modes of recreation. The “broker institutions” that each group participates in, and which represents him in the larger society, are also ethnically based trade unions, political parties etc. Political affiliation, is thus not based on the party’s position on a variety of issues, but generally on one issue: which groups’ interest does the particular party represent? Party membership is generally inscriptive, where individuals perceive their fate in ethnic, rather than individual or class terms.For the longest while, the PPP and the PNC have been attempting to be seen as “multi-ethnic/multiracial. However, working against such parties is the existence of “flank” parties or groups. These are found within every ethnic group and take positions which can be considered “extreme” in favour of their given group. The major “multi-ethnic” party are forced to respond to their demands so as not to lose core support. Since the demands of these flank parties are invariably particularistic and in opposition to the “out” group, the major parties move away from the centre as they respond.In 2015, I thought the PNC made an important concession when they courted the AFC for the latter’s Indian-Guyanese supporters. But rather than moving towards the centre and addressing concerns of “both sides”, the PNC simply shrugged and let that promise fall, while the AFC recoiled from any advocacy for Indian-Guyanese issues. In the meantime, the rump WPA, which had merged with the PNC as “APNU”, abandoned Rodney’s signal multiracial stance as its remaining members played leading roles in organisations that flanked the PNC from an Afro-centric perspective: Cuffy 250; ACDA; Buxton First of August Movement (BFAM) etc.I was rather bemused when I read my friend David Hinds asserting on behalf of the WPA, “We would argue that if any group should complain that Government has not put particular attention to them, it is African Guyanese… but it has shown that Government does not have ethnic preference”. What about, for instance, the $2.8B programme to develop the farming lands behind the African-dominated villages of Buxton, BV, Ithaca and Mocha?“The monies would be used to buy farming equipment that will remain in the identified communities, finance land clearing, restore and upgrade drainage and irrigation canals, install a pump in each of the farming communities and provide technical support for targeted farmers. Planners expect that 155 kilometres of canals and drains and 40 kilometres of fair weather dam would be constructed and one pump station would be provided to enable farmers to reclaim 2,500 acres of abandoned land. There would be market-driven approach to match demand for high quality produce in Caricom countries while the second and third best would be processed into value added products”.Or what about the 90% Afro-recruits to the Public Service College; thousands trained for jobs; given scholarships; facilitated in business; 16 out of 17 Permanent Secretaries; Ministers, Heads of Dept; Boards membership; IDPAD initiative; housing schemes; augmented Disciplined Forces? etcBut what took the cake was David claiming the PNC Government “was careful not to throw Indian Guyanese under the bus”. That’s cold. Apart from shuttering sugar, why not an agricultural plan like the above for the fired workers, using some abandoned cane land?Or at least subsidise their electricity bills?
Traditional leaders of Liberia are opting for a Constitutional review process aimed at amending Article 30a of the 1986 Constitution.Article 30a requires that “Citizens of Liberia who meet the following qualifications are eligible to become members of the Legislature: (A) For the Senate, have attained the age of 30 years and for the House of Representatives, have attained the age of 25 years.”According to the Chairman of the National Traditional Council of Liberia (NTCL), Chief Zanzan Karwor, the required age for those wanting to occupy said position is “solely responsible for the unpleasant behavior of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.”He noted that until the required age is adjusted through a constitutional process, the conduct of lawmakers, particularly those of the House, will continue to bring shame to the Liberian society.In his wisdom, Chief Karwor believes that more values need to be added to the first branch of government so that the conduct of business in both houses could represent the views and aspirations of the entire country.“How can a 25 year old be representative in the House and all they do there is about boyfriends and girlfriends business. Whole day in the House, all we find them doing is fighting over money; everyday money, money business. We need to look at that part of the Constitution that talks about who is qualified to be lawmaker. If we do that, we will stop plenty of the things that [are] going on in the House,” the Traditional Chief declared.Judging from these situations in the country, Karwor said, “Liberia is now beyond repair and things are not improving.”The Traditional leaders’ assertion is in response to recent standoff on Capitol Hill involving Representatives Roland Opee Cooper and Bill Corneh, of Margibi and Bong Counties respectively.In that commotion, it was established that Opee Cooper physically assaulted his Bong County counterpart when Corneh attempted to calm him (Opee) doing a heated debate in the House’s chamber.According to Chief Karwor, such action does not represent a group of people with high moral integrity, and as such, Liberians must consider changing the rules in order to bring dignity to the Capitol Building.Chief Karwor made the assertions yesterday at a two-day forum organized by Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) held under the theme: “Working with Traditional leaders to enhance citizens’ participation in LEITI implementation.” According to LEITI Head of Secretariat Konah D. Karmo, traditional leaders’ participation in LEITI implementation remains cardinal to the work of the organization.Presenting a lecture on the topic: “The LEITI Process — A benefit for every Liberian”, Karmo encouraged traditional leaders to lead the way in making sure that companies and concessionaires abide by commitments on the book for affected communities and people.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
River pollutionA team from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) is expected to visit Saxacalli, Essequibo River, to address the issue of polluted river water as a result of mining activities in Gold Creek and Tiger Creek in the Mazaruni, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).The community of Saxacalli, along the Essequibo River, remains threated by pollution from mining in inland communitiesResidents have said pollution from mining practices in the Mazaruni region is still affecting them, despite many initiatives over the years to curb the scourge. The situation have escalated to the point where the main water source in the riverine community is so polluted, villagers are afflicted by skin rashes accompanied by diarrhoea.An official from the Natural Resources Ministry told this publication the GGMC is aware of the issue and noted that it is a recurring one. The official added that a team will be deployed to the area to address the issue and provide the residents with some form of relief.Residents informed Guyana Times last Saturday that they made complaints to the GGMC, alerting the Commission of the issue but noted that nothing has been done to address it. The complaints were made since 2015 and they are yet to receive a response as to the next course of action. When contacted, acting Commissioner of the GGMC, Newell Dennison said he had no comment on the issue. However, an email was sent to the Natural Resources Ministry’s Public Relations office for an update to the situation but no response was received.Community Health Worker (CHW) and resident, Helen Williams, told this newspaper on Saturday last that the polluted water is flowing down from upstream locations. “We depend on the rain water; the river water very nasty, that’s with the gold mining that’s going on… at Gold Creek and Tiger Creek,” she explained.This ongoing crisis has altered the very culture of the community, which traditionally saw inhabitants using the river water in nearly every aspect of their lives; including drinking, washing and cooking. But this has all changed as often times; patients are brought in with flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea and vomiting; and skin rashes.“When the rain falls, it usually wash down through the creeks and then come out in the river and sometimes we find small children, even adults coming down with skin infections,” Williams also noted.The health worker further pointed out that often times, members of the community are compelled to purchase water when their rain water reserves become depleted.She said she spoke to officials who visited the community, adding that she made a complaint in 2015 to the GGMC but never received a response. “The GGMC send up people to test the water but nothing else,” posited Williams, echoing the call for the relevant agency to look into the community’s concerns.
Television reports showed what appeared to be the charred wreckage of a van lying next to the front of the train. A crossing gate nearby had been torn off but the cause of the accident was not immediately determined. The commuter train line carries passengers between Los Angeles’ Chinatown and suburbs east of the city. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A commuter train headed toward downtown struck a car on the tracks and burst into flames during the Friday morning rush hour, injuring five people, a fire spokesman said. The train and vehicle collided shortly after 7 a.m. northeast of Los Angeles. The Metro Gold Line commuter train caught fire and received “significant damage” before it was doused, said a Los Angeles fire spokesman, Ron Myers. Five people were hurt, including two with minor injuries, Myers said. He couldn’t immediately say whether the injured were in the car or the train.
Argentine striker Jonathan Calleri scored a brilliant chip for Boca Juniors at the weekend – check it out above.
Facebook added a feature about a year ago that lets you ask for donations in lieu of presents . . . even though literally NO ONE was buying presents for their Facebook friends before this. And some people think they’re a little annoying, just because of how CONSTANT they are. Like, multiple times a week if you’ve got a lot of friends on there. But the good news is they ARE actually doing a lot of good. Have your Facebook friends been hitting you up for cash lately by creating “birthday fundraisers” for their favorite charities? A woman named Asha Sharma heads up Facebook’s “Social Good” initiative. And on Wednesday, she revealed that all those fundraisers brought in $300 MILLION for charity in their first year. The charities that have gotten the most money so far include St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital . . . the Alzheimer’s Association . . . the American Cancer Society . . . No Kid Hungry . . . and the ASPCA.
For Mandela Day, Brand South Africa got involved in a number of initiatives, in partnerships with GEM, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. GEM, Brand South Africa, and the South African Men’s Hockey Team visit the New Jerusalem Children’s Home in Midrand for Mandela Day. It is a centre for abandoned children aged between 1 to 18 years old. (Image: Melissa Javan)On 18 July 2017, the world celebrated former president Nelson Mandela’s birthday, which was declared by the United Nations in 2009 as Nelson Mandela International Day. Brand South Africa commemorated the legacy of Tata Madiba – as he was affectionately known – by partnering with the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) and Going the Extra Mile (GEM). These partnerships were geared towards building pride, patriotism, and a spirit of active citizenship in the country.Brand South Africa’s partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation is geared towards lending a hand to the Adelaide Tambo School for the physically challenged and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Soweto. At the Adelaide Tambo School, stakeholders handed over a computer centre, linen for the learners, and washing machines. Johannesburg Parks supported with the face-lift of the garden. At the YMCA, stakeholders handed over another computer centre, conducted mentoring sessions on career development and financial management.In partnership with GEM, Brand South Africa visited the New Jerusalem Children’s Home in Midrand. New Jerusalem Children’s Home is a centre for abandoned children aged between 1 to 18 years old. In this regard, the South African Men’s Hockey Team played their part by interacting with the children at the orphanage. The following activities took place:Painting of the new buildingMotivational address of the children by South African Men’s Hockey Team CaptainHockey activity at the sports field – an introduction to HockeyThis act of goodwill was aimed at galvanising citizens into embodying the values and spirit of Madiba and playing their part for our country’s growth and development.
8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market By guest author JawadShuaib, the founder of Shuzak.com: The social network forgeeks.Startups have been multiplying like rabbits over the past three years. Due to theadded competition, many startups are beginning to narrow their focus to a much smallerdemographic. The year 2007 will mark the transition from startups aiming for themainstream markets to specialists intensely focused on gaining smaller grounds. This is adifferent landscape, one that demands new rules of the game. It is the entrepreneur’s jobto anticipate these changes in order to align them with their startup’s future.Let us take a look at the social networks available for parents; in this categoryalone we have Cafe Mom, Maya’s Mom, MothersClick, MommyBuzz, MTV’s ParentsConnect,Famster, and Minti. The niche for parenthood seems to be taken. Yet, it can further bebroken down to, say, “Grandparents”, “Stay at home mothers”, “Single mothers”, etc.Becoming a master of any of the smaller niches has many great advantages, such as lesscompetition, loyal readership, and better focus. All marketers exploit a basicpositioning principle that states that it is better to be first than to be better. It isclearly too late to be the first social network, or bookmarking service, or video sharingstartup. Consequently, the Web 2.0 era demands that startups put intense focus on theirniche regardless of the smaller demographics.Image from web2logo.comA short history of startups on the Internet suggests that everything starts off with asingle category, which is then naturally subdivided into more categories as the number ofcompetitors rise. Division is a process that is unstoppable. To survive, startups mustposition themselves to be different, and the only way to do that today is to carve asnarrow a niche as possible. The article that follows dictates the immutable laws allstartups must follow for the sake of survival.1. Divide and Conquer, Differentiate or Die:There may never be a site as big as MySpace again. So while your slice of the marketmay not be as large, by dominating an entire category, your niche can maintain a smalleryet profitable business. As the size of a niche market declines, and the competition init increases, the perceived benefits of competing in that niche depreciates with each newarrival. If your niche is small enough, you can maintain healthy profits whilediscouraging potential competitors from entering your domain. The Law of Division dictates that all categories eventually diverge. They always haveand they always will. It is this divergence that creates opportunities for new startups.The best way to build a company is not by going after an existing category, but bycreating a new category you can be first in. In other words, the survival of a startuprequires that it diverge and then specialize. Markets favor the extremes.2. Generally Speaking, the Smaller the Niche, the More Loyal the UsersBecome.“If everyone exposed to a product likes it, the product will not succeed… The reasonthat a product “everyone likes” will fail is because no one“loves” it. The only thing that predicts success is passion, even if only 10%of the consumers have it.” – Scott Adams, Dilbert BlogIt comes as no surprise that a niche startup that is focused on its category tends tobuild a more bonded community. Digg started out as a great social bookmarking site forgeeks, but as it grew, so did its appetite for a larger share of the market.Consequently, Digg now has many new users but fewer die-hard fans. For many startups lineextension is the easy way out. It is perceived as the inexpensive, logical way to grow.Only when it is too late does a company turn and notice that they became large at theexpense of their user loyalty. Focus is the key to successfully building a community intoday’s ultra-competitive marketplace.3. Focus:Companies, especially the larger ones, have a natural tendency to expand their line ofbusiness. Google, for instance, is known for search but has its hands in just aboutanything “web”.  Expanding out too fast has annihilated nearly every empire and itsarmy in history. In a competitive environment, more is often less because with more youlose your focus.Big companies jump in with their brands to try to take market share from the leaderwhile startups pioneer new categories and sell out for millions. The benefit of operatinga niche startup is that everyone who visits the site will be looking exactly for whatthey provide. Niche is all about being on the narrow point of the wedge; that advantage,though, is ruined when a startup tries to be everything to everyone. The larger themarket, the more specialized a company must become. In the struggle for life, no twostartups can occupy the same position. If they try to do so, one company will drive theother to extinction.4. No Small Market is Small Enough:The world, according to the Internet, is 1 billion strong. The web, therefore,presents a huge opportunity for markets of any size. For instance, there are manythousands of users on the Internet who own and love Persian cats. So if your niche socialnetwork is for Persian cat owners, your potential market is still in several thousands.Is that too small? For MySpace it is, but not for a niche social network. That is thegreat thing about niche startups; no market can ever be too small. Even better, as thesize of the market depreciates, so does the threat of a larger competitor jumping in forthe share.No brand, no corporation, no startup can achieve 100 percent of a market in the faceof competition. Once you accept this reality, finding a niche is greatly simplified. Youdon’t have to face those demons that keep telling you, “Let’s not give up any part of themarket”. The truth is that all businesses are a niche business. The only difference isthat the leader’s niche is bigger than the niches owned by others, but it is still aniche. Nurturing the specific needs of the niche users has become the prevalent theme formost successful startups.5. Mind Numbingly Simple:“What does a person want when he or she clicks a search button?” – Phil Butler atProfy.com“All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one.” – Occam’sRazor How much time does it take for anyone to figure out about 80% of iPod’s functions? Twominutes at most. How much time does it take for someone to figure out about 80% ofGoogle’s functions? 5 seconds? There are 1000’s of components in the iPod, and 1000’s oflines of code running behind Google.  Yet, you can get up and running with both thesetechnologies in less than 3 minutes. That is the law of simplicity: Be mindnumbingly simple. Extra clicks are deadly.We tend to think of boredom on social networks as arising from a lack of stimuli. Asort of information underload. But more and more commonly, boredom is arising fromexcessive stimulation or information overload (often through excessive advertisements).Information, like energy, tends to degrade into entropy-into just noise and redundancy.In a world where startups are as common as ants in the jungle, it is important not tooverload the user with information. Complicated user interfaces do not help anybody.It follows that an unfocused startup will undoubtedly complicate things by forcingextra features onto a web page. Users like mindless choices so get rid of the questionmark lurking over the user’s head.6. Bubble Burps:“There is a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightlyalive.” – Miracle Max, The Princess BrideThis time last year, Bloggers were reporting on many Digg, YouTube and Del.icio.usclones. Many of those startups have died since, but the low cost of hosting means theycan stay online forever, despite having no users. The best way to build a startup is notby going after an existing category, but by creating a new category which it can be thefirst in. In other words, startups must focus on creating new markets over servingexisting ones.It is no secret that almost all startups will fail. This problem started with thebubble, and continues to plague the web today. Comparatively, not much money is flowinginto startups so there isn’t going to be another dot-com bubble. However, I anticipatethat the failure rate for startups will remain the same, if not worse. The biggest singlebarrier to the development of an effective startup strategy is the strongly held beliefthat a company has to appeal to the entire market. In today’s world, if a revenue lessbusiness model doesn’t kill your startup, a more focused competitor will. Conclusion A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Analysis#web guest author 1 Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Where is it written that a startup has to appeal to everybody? There is an almostreligious belief that a wider net catches more customers, in spite of many examples tothe contrary. A department store, for instance, is a place that sells everything. Butwhen a consumer requires some office supplies, they prefer Staples over WalMart. Why?Because even though WalMart is the largest department store in the world, it cannotcompete with a specialist business focused completely on what the customer needs.Generalists often manage to gain a larger share of the market at the expense of consumerloyalty. In the long term, the prospect turns to the specialist.The point is, on the Web, any additional feature adds to our cognitive workload;distracting our attention from the task at hand. The distractions may be slight but theyadd up, and sometimes it doesn’t take much to throw us. On the Internet, the competitionis always just one click away, so if you frustrate users they’ll head somewhere else. Astartup that remains focused on its niche can reduce competition and, therefore, avoidthe pressure to add pointless features. Expanding your focus and being strong somewhereis a better approach than expanding your focus and winding up weak everywhere.Notes: Moreover, if your niche is small enough, bigger corporations (Google, Microsoft,Yahoo, AOL) will not consider it worth pursuing. A few examples include email, online videos, calendars, news, blogs, desktopsearch, photo sharing, online payments, social networking, instant messaging, WiFi, wordprocessors, web hosting, search tool bars, spreadsheets, RSS readers, discussion groups,maps and more. In the past, I have written two articles suggesting that Google put an endto line extension: “How to FixGoogle” and “Napoleonic Lessons for Google and Microsoft“. Thomas Aquinasmade this argument in the 13th century, writing, “If a thing can be done adequatelyby means of one, it is superfluous to do it by means of several; for we observe thatnature does not employ two instruments where one suffices”. Google became the darling of the web 2.0 Generation for simplifying the searchexperience. A business is not a business if it does not make money. Having little definedmeans of generating money is a recipe for disaster. My ideas are never my own. In fact, I don’t think any idea can ever beindependently developed. The thoughts presented here were inspired by the authors ofthese books: “Don’t Make Me Think”, “Trout on Strategy”, “Focus”,“The Origin of Brands”, “The Immutable Laws of Marketing” and“Positioning”. Related Posts
However, despite this lack of supported web services at the moment, one of PutPlace’s better features is its ability to monitor specified folders on your computer and auto-publish them to sharing services. With this option turned on, you can have PutPlace setup to push all your pictures to flickr without having to manually use flickr’s uploader tool. For those that publish a lot of pictures to flickr, this feature could be a huge timesaver. The Desktop SoftwareSetting up the desktop software is easy enough to do and there’s even an online Quick Start Guide with screenshots to walk you through the process. There are other online guides and a FAQ available from the service’s help page. Configuring folders to auto-publish must be done from the web interface to PutPlace, not the desktop software, which honestly took me a couple of minutes to realize after exploring all the options in the desktop software’s menus. Last year, we told you about PutPlace, an online application designed to help you manage all your digital media. PutPlace isn’t just your usual file backup service, though – it also provides web access to your files while allowing you to track where you’ve stored those files online. That’s because in addition to setting up files and folders to be backed up, you can also add “web places” to the PutPlace service, which lets PutPlace track where your files are online at web storage sites like flickr, for example. What It DoesYesterday, PutPlace’s service launched into public beta. With this launch, Windows users (for now – Mac is coming later) can create an account and set up the folders they want backed up on their home computers’ using the PutPlace desktop software. The software is not restricted to a certain number of machines, either. It can be – and should be – installed on all the PCs in the home. That’s because PutPlace is designed for tracking the various versions of digital files as they move around your personal home network as well as when they make it to various online storage service, like flickr.PutPlace knows that users with several computers in the home often end up with multiple copies of the same file and it can hard to determine which one is the newest. To determine the file versions, PutPlace digitally fingerprints each file with a hash so that it can then track it wherever it goes – whether to your laptop or online. Adding “Web Places”After setting up your folders to be backed up on your home computers, you can then add “web places” to your account. At the time of launch, this is a very short list – only flickr is included, but supposedly, in the future, the service will include other sites as well. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… There’s also the possibility that PutPlace may have to, one day, compete with Windows Live Mesh. Currently only in a “technical preview” itself, this service is really a platform built with standard protocols like HTTP, RSS, REST, ATOM and JSON . While at the moment, Mesh only does sync, storage, web access to files, and remote access to meshed machines, there’s no reason why, further down the line, it could not also compete with the type of service that PutPlace offers. However, all that being said, PutPlace may still be worth a look. Since it is providing free online backup and storage, frugal folks like myself will probably utilize PutPlace’s free service for a while to back up some files in addition to all those we already have spread out across the web on other free storage services. Also, for photographers especially, the tool which auto-syncs files to flickr could make the service beneficial. (That is…if they’re running Windows. ) sarah perez Tags:#Product Reviews#web The Public BetaWhile PutPlace is in beta, the software is free*. (*Up to 2 GB). After the beta period is over, pricing will be determined, but it will be on an pay-for-what-you-use basis. In this early state, some have compared PutPlace to syncplicity without the sync and collaboration. That’s somewhat true except for PutPlace’s emphasis on tracking files and auto-publishing them to web services. Of course, with only one source so far (flickr), that option may only hold limited appeal at the moment. If in the future, PutPlace added more services (and there really are so many today – just think of all the ones you can add to FriendFeed!), then it could become more useful. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market