Accident at Limit Hill robots

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite An accident involving  a White Toyota Cressida and Black VW Golf took place last night (Sunday) at the Limit Hill robots.Public Safety, Police and towing services were on scene.6 people were slightly injured in the collision.Public Safety officers made sure that traffic flowed smoothly by ensuring the accident scene was cleared out promptly.Follow breaking news on our website or our Facebook pagelast_img

Magic carpet ride to play cricket in Ceylon

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite To many people, the island of Ceylon is known for its world class tea. To others, Sri Lanka represents the heroics of Sanathan Jayasuriya, Kumara Sangarara and Mahela Jawaladene, to name but a few of the outstanding cricketers at the foot of the Indian sub-continent.Towards this mystic island, local sports star and head coach Farouk Seedat will lead a contingent of cricketers for a two-week stint, playing against the island’s best sides.Seedat, as head coach of the Western Cape Schools, will take with him the under 12, under 14 and under 19 teams to play a series of games.This is an exceptional opportunity, and Seedat seems to make a habit of touring the cricket ‘hot-spots’ with his brand of hands-on coaching and mentorship of young learners. A key player of the squad is local cricketer Poovan Govender, who plies his cricketing skills with K&L African United Cricket Club in the Northern District Cricket Union (NDCU). This is the third year Poovan has been invited to participate in foreign tours, having already visited Bangalore and New Delhi in India. A special thanks to the many generous people who helped him fulfil his dream of playing cricket on foreign fields. He will also be the captain of the under 19 team, and is expecting to play some of the best cricket of his life abroad.Last words from Coach Seedat: “Dubai was breathtaking, Bangalore was inspiring, and now Colombo awaits us. It is part of our journey to expose our young cricketers to a variety of international influences, to inspire them by providing the correct exemplars of cricket and the different training facilities, and most importantly, instilling a value system based on social cohesion and sportsmanship.”All the best!last_img read more

No water in Smartiesville area

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite The Smartiesville area has been without water since last night (Thursday).There was no water pressure in the taps, with only droplets coming out.Cllr Warasally was contacted by residents and he phoned uThukela to place a complaint. This morning (Friday), the taps were still dry and Cllr Warasally again contacted uThukela to find out why the problem had not been fixed.Many complaints came in this morning, as residents needed water to cook and bathe at the start of the day.uThukela say there is a burst pipe in the area and workers are at the scene carrying out repairs.uThukela add that the water should be back on later today.last_img

15 injured in taxi crash

first_img15 people were injured in a taxi crash on the Bergville road yesterday afternoon (Friday).It is alleged that the driver of the minibus lost control of the vehicle and it overturned while travelling from Bergville towards Ladysmith.The vehicle rolled off the road.Sharaj Ambulance Services, ER24 and off-duty EMRS paramedics treated the injured at the scene. 4 people sustained serious injuries and were transported to hospital by Sharaj and ER24.RTI and police also responded.Traffic flow was obstructed while the injured were being treated. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsitelast_img

Floods recede in Manila as thousands evacuated

first_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober In Pampanga’s rice-producing town of Minalin, more than 200 villagers fled after water from a swollen river spilled over a dike and began flooding communities amid pounding rain. Villagers scrambled to lay sandbags on the dike and in front of their houses, said Office of Civil Defense officer Nigel Lontoc.“The villagers are afraid that the dike may collapse any time,” Lontoc said by phone.About 200 members of the Aeta tribe living near the foot of Mount Pinatubo left their homes for fear of being swept away by a raging river near Botolan township in Zambales province, said Elsa Novo, a leader of an Aeta federation in the province. She said other family members stayed behind to watch their property.Evacuations were also under way around the La Mesa dam, north of Manila, which began overflowing. The waters from the dam flow into the Tullahan River, which passes through some of the densely populated areas of the capital.The flooding followed two nights of heavy monsoon rains enhanced by Tropical Storm Trami. The storm hovered over the North Philippine Sea and drenched the main northern island of Luzon with up to 30 millimeters (just over an inch) of rain per hour. It was forecast to move away from the Philippines toward Taiwan on Wednesday. Comments   Share   Top Stories MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Flooding caused by some of the Philippines’ heaviest rains that submerged more than half the capital began receding Tuesday, but authorities evacuated thousands of residents along Manila’s overflowing rivers and braced for more chaos in outlying provinces.At least eight people have died, including four who drowned north of Manila. The dead included a 5-year-old boy whose house was hit by a concrete wall that collapsed, and a 3-year-old boy who fell into a swollen river in Mariveles town in Bataan province. Four people are missing. Throughout the sprawling, low-lying capital region of 12 million people, offices, banks and schools were closed and most roads were impassable. People stumbled through waist- or neck-deep waters, holding on to ropes strung from flooded houses.More than 200 evacuation centers were opened in Manila and surrounding provinces, filled with tens of thousands of people, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said. Overall, more than 600,000 people have been affected by the floods.“I had to wade through a waist-deep flood,” said Esteban Gabin, a 45-year-old driver, who was plotting the best route to check on his family in Pampanga province, northwest of Manila. “But I may have to swim to reach my home because we live near the Pampanga River, and the flood there could reach up to neck deep.”The flooding that covered half of the capital receded to 20 percent, concentrated on Marikina and Paranaque cities, said Eduardo del Rosario, head of the national disaster council.In Marikina, where the river breached its banks, authorities started evacuating some 12,000 people to schools and gymnasiums that were turned into emergency shelters.As the weather gradually improved in Manila, the concern shifted to provinces outside the capital that were expected to be drenched as the monsoon travels north. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Patients with chronic pain give advice In many coastal towns along swollen Lake Laguna, near Manila, and in food-growing riverside provinces, residents were trapped on rooftops, waded through the streets or drifted on makeshift rafts. Many chose to stay close to their homes for fear they would be looted if they left.Flooding has become more frequent in Manila because of deforestation of mountains, clogged waterways and canals where large squatter communities live, and poor urban planning.“We’re surprised by the rainfall. Some areas experienced record levels,” said Science Secretary Mario Montejo.According to an assessment from the Department of Science and Technology, rainfall reached 600 mm (23 1/2 inches) in and around Manila Bay on Sunday alone _ more than a month’s worth of rain in a day. That’s compared to the disastrous 2009 Typhoon Ketsana, the strongest to hit Manila in modern history, when 455 mm of rain fell in 24 hours.Many domestic and international flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport were canceled. Key roads leading to the airport were flooded and passengers and crew were delayed.The Philippine archipelago is among the most battered by storms in the world. About 20 tropical cyclones hit the country every year. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement ___Associated Press writers Jim Gomez, Oliver Teves and Teresa Cerojano contributed to this report.___Follow Hrvoje Hranjski on Twitter at twitter.com/hmanila(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk 5 ways to recognize low testosteronelast_img read more

Youth protest arrest of Muslim cleric in Kenya

first_imgMOMBASA, Kenya (AP) – An official says police have fired tear gas to disperse stone throwing youths who are protesting the alleged arrest of a Muslim cleric in Kenya’s coastal town of Mombasa.Coastal region police chief Aggrey Adoli denied that police arrested Sheik Ramadhan Juma, who preached at the Masjid Musa Mosque.Mombasa police chief Kipkemboi Rop said police fired tear gas as Muslim youth blocked the road outside the mosque following Friday prayers. Kenya Red Cross reported running battles between police and youth Thursday night near the mosque after the alleged arrest. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ali Bashir, a resident, says he saw police put Juma into a car.Two of Juma’s colleagues, who also preached at the Masjid Musa Mosque, were gunned down in separate attacks at the same spot in just over a year.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories center_img Parents, stop beating yourself up Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finisheslast_img read more

Exoskeleton that helps paralyzed walk faces barrier in Japan

first_imgIn this April 17, 2015 photo, Yuichi Imahata walks using a robotic exoskeleton called ReWalk at Kanagawa Rehabilitation Center in Atgugi, west of Tokyo. Imahata, 31, has been using a wheelchair to get around for seven years after a serious spinal-cord injury suffered in an accidental fall while working for a transport company. He completely lost sensation in both his legs and was told he would never walk again. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama) The product was one of the Israeli technologies highlighted with much fanfare as a symbol of flourishing commercial ties when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Abe’s visit to the Middle East earlier this year.Japanese robotics maker Yaskawa Electric Co. has been distributing ReWalk in Asia under a deal signed last year with ReWalk Robotics, based in Yokneam, Israel.The effort is going far more smoothly in places such as China than Japan, said Yaskawa spokesman Ayumi Hayashida.Hayashida believes ReWalk is being met by bureaucratic stonewalling that is typical of the frustrations Japanese businesses face in doing something new.“We boast the No. 1 skill in robotics, but how we can actually use the skills is where we are behind the rest of the world,” he said.Under the Japanese system, there is a lengthy preliminary vetting process before a formal drug or medical device proposal can be filed. The Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency works with the health ministry to carry out consultations and nonclinical and clinical tests. Only after that can an application be submitted to be followed by a regulatory review and more testing. 0 Comments   Share   5 ways to recognize low testosterone ATSUGI, Japan (AP) — Yuichi Imahata’s 9-year-old daughter is thrilled her dad stands tall above her head. It’s an experience that is new to her.Imahata, 31, has been using a wheelchair to get around for seven years after a serious spinal-cord injury suffered in an accidental fall while working for a transport company. He completely lost sensation in both his legs and was told he would never walk again. But he is now walking, at times with his little girl laughing beside him, because of a robotic exoskeleton called ReWalk.The thrill is still limited to a rehabilitation center in Atsugi city, southwest of Tokyo, where ReWalk is available to a handful of Japanese paraplegics, skirting regulations, in the name of research.It’s already available in parts of Europe, and just received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for individual everyday use. But despite Japan’s prowess in robotics, ReWalk advocates say its wider application here could be stymied by convoluted bureaucracy.“It’s a wonderful tool for people who sincerely want the joy of standing up,” said Moriyasu Marutani of Kanagawa Rehabilitation Center, who works with Imahata to use ReWalk.“Safety is the biggest concern for winning its approval for medical use, as well as presenting data that work as scientific evidence of its health impact,” he said. “Approval tends to take many years here, and so the hurdle is pretty high.”ReWalk, an invention of Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer, who was paralyzed in a 1997 accident, clasps on to the legs and waist, and is designed to create natural walking movements, including standing, sitting and turning through upper-body motion sensors and special software. Medical experts say its use helps keep organs and bones healthy and also enhances mental well-being. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Yet even in its current form, the device is freeing for wheelchair users, who can feel confined to a low eye-level.“I’ve seen Americans using ReWalk on YouTube. They can reach things on shelves,” said Imahata.His wish is simple.He dreams of wearing ReWalk to his daughter’s school for the annual athletics event, standing in a crowd of parents, peering with anticipation over shoulders and heads, and catching a glimpse of his girl in action.___Follow Yuri Kageyama: http://www.twitter.com/yurikageyamaCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement “Technology is evolving and it spreads, finding new uses that weren’t anticipated in the beginning,” said Tomotaka Takahashi, creator of Kirobo, the boy-like humanoid that went on the International Space Station.“It’s truly pathetic when ridiculous regulations get set up, based on irrelevant and negative predictions,” he said of the government approval system which he feels is out of touch with scientific innovation.Yaskawa, one of the top four robotics makers in the world in market share, built its reputation by supplying robotic arms and other automated machinery for automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp.More recently, Tokyo-based Yaskawa has been expanding its lineup to robots that can co-exist with people, helping them get around and assisting in health care.That area could boom in coming years because of Japan’s aging population. There is also export potential because many other countries have growing ranks of old people as birth rates decline and longevity increases.Yaskawa is hoping to fine-tune the $71,600 ReWalk to make it lighter and smaller and hopefully cheaper. It currently requires upper body strength and is not the best design for the elderly. It also requires 40 hours of training. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories The process has public safety in mind. Japanese drug approvals tend to take longer than the U.S. and Europe but some feel the requirements are overly onerous and ill-suited to new technologies.Hiroshi Yaginuma, a health ministry official overseeing the approval of medical devices, said ReWalk was not yet being considered for approval, and it was unclear whether it would meet the criteria for a treatment device. It is assessing the Hybrid Assisted Limb, or HAL, developed by Japan’s Cyberdyne, in which a wearer’s ability to walk is supported though it is not suitable for paraplegics.Abe has promised a “robot revolution” including deregulation and research funding to double Japan’s robot market size in manufacturing from 600 billion yen ($5 billion) to 1.2 trillion yen ($10 billion) a year, and boost it 20-fold outside manufacturing, from 60 billion yen to 1.2 trillion yen by 2020.Annual profits from robotics are already 340 billion yen ($3 billion), or half the global market. That zooms to 90 percent for parts such as servo motors and force sensors.Outside of manufacturing, however, regulatory barriers to practical and potentially life-changing robotics applications remain high. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

QA on origins of Rohingya conflict and why it persists

first_imgFILE – In this Wednesday, May 20, 2015 file photo, migrants sit on their boat as they wait to be rescued by Acehnese fishermen on the sea off East Aceh, Indonesia. Many of the thousands of migrants abandoned at sea in Southeast Asia this month are Rohingya Muslims who fled their home country of Myanmar. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, also known as Burma. Numbering around 1.3 million, they are concentrated in western Rakhine state, which neighbors Bangladesh. (AP Photo/S. Yulinnas, File) Comments   Share   The Rohingya have been in Myanmar for centuries. Some historians say they are indigenous to Rakhine state, while others say they originally migrated from the west. In 1826, when the country was under British India rule, Muslims from Bengal were encouraged to move to the then-depopulated state of Rakhine –or Arakan — fueling ethnic tensions with local Buddhists that continue to this day. The numbers of Rohingya increased dramatically over the next few decades, further polarizing the two communities.Denied citizenship by national law, the Rohingya are effectively stateless and have limited access to education, adequate health care and the right to freely practice their religion. Their movement is severely restricted. In some cases they cannot travel between villages without paying hefty bribes to police and other authorities. If they want to go to the main city of Yangon — even for emergencies — they can expect to pay up to $4,000.After the country moved from dictatorship to democracy in 2011, newfound freedoms of expression gave voice to Buddhist extremists who spewed hatred against the religious minority and warned Muslims were taking over the country. The attacks that followed left up to 280 people dead. Another 140,000 Rohingya were driven from their homes and are now living under apartheid-like conditions in crowded displacement camps. ___WHAT DO THEY WANT?The Rohingya want the same rights as others in Myanmar, starting with citizenship.Soon after President Thein Sein came to power in 2011, he stated the Rohingya do not exist and advocated for their deportation.The government says they are “Bengali,” a term that implies they are all illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. They are not eligible for citizenship under the country’s military-drafted 1982 law, because they are not on an “official” list of ethnic groups that had permanently settled in Myanmar since at least 1823.The legislation does provide an alternative, “naturalized” citizenship for Rohingya, but only for those willing to identify themselves as “Bengali.” They also have to be able to prove their families have been in the country for at least three generations. That’s difficult for members of the religious minority, who have little in the form of documentation and are frequently uprooted.Even those who gain alternative citizenship would continue to be discriminated against. The status falls short of full citizenship, and would continue to deny Rohingya the right to own land, to run for office, to form or lead political parties and to enter professional fields like law, medicine and engineering. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Many of the thousands of migrants abandoned at sea in Southeast Asia this month are Rohingya Muslims who fled their home country of Myanmar. Here are facts about the history and persecution of the ethnic and religious minority:___WHO ARE THE ROHINGYA?The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, also known as Burma. Numbering around 1.3 million, they are concentrated in western Rakhine state, which neighbors Bangladesh. 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 Search-and-rescue operations have begun, with Malaysia deploying four ships and putting helicopters on standby. The Pentagon says it’s preparing to send maritime aviation patrols throughout the region.Foreign governments, right groups and activists say much more needs to be done, starting with addressing the root cause of the problem: Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya.__Sources: Arakan Project, Center for International and Strategic Studies, the United Nations.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories The Rohingya have little say in their future. They will not be allowed to vote in upcoming general elections. And a controversial “action plan” warns they could face eventual deportation or indefinite internment.___WHY THEY ARE FLEEING?With little left for them in Myanmar, the Rohingya have for decades set their sights abroad, most hoping to reach Muslim-majority Malaysia where they can find under-the-table jobs and security.The number of men, women and children who fled the country skyrocketed after the 2012 violence, with more than 120,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis boarding boats in the last three years. Many sold everything they had — land, cattle, gold — to get to a third country. They give human traffickers a little money upfront, the rest coming while they are in transit. Urgent calls are made to their families demanding $2,000 or more before they can continue on their way. Until recently, the first stop along the route was neighboring Thailand, where they were held in secret jungle. Those unable to come up with ransoms risked being held for months, sometimes longer, enduring beatings and getting little food, water or medical attention. Many died; in recent weeks authorities have discovered dozens of shallow graves in abandoned camps. Sponsored Stories Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home The tactics of smugglers changed in November following a crackdown by Thai authorities on human trafficking networks. Instead of bringing their “passengers” to land, they held them on large boats that were effectively offshore camps. They shuttled them to the Thai-Malaysian border on smaller, rickety vessels once they were paid off.When the heat turned up — not only traffickers but also politicians and police were getting arrested — brokers and agents got spooked. People were no longer allowed to disembark. Still more boats kept coming until there were up to 8,000 migrants stranded at sea — both Rohingya, fleeing persecution, and Bangladeshis, who fled their country largely for economic reasons.This month, some alarmed traffickers started abandoning their ships, leaving their human cargo at sea without fuel, food and clean water. More than 3,000 people have so far washed to shores in Southeast Asia. The United Nations estimates an equal number are stranded at sea.___WHAT’S NEXT?After weeks of inaction — and in some cases exacerbating the crisis by pushing boat people back to sea — foreign governments have in recent days started to step in. Indonesia and Malaysia have offered to give temporary shelter to thousands of migrants. And the United States and the tiny, African nation of Gambia have offered to resettle some of the Rohingya.last_img read more

Journalist who denounced drug trafficking murdered in Brazil

first_imgSAO PAULO (AP) — A radio journalist known for denouncing drug traffickers and organized crime groups was murdered in northeastern Brazil, police said Wednesday.Three men armed with machine guns and pistols killed Djalma Santos da Conceicao Saturday night in the small town of Conceicao da Feira in the state of Bahia, police inspector Gustavo Coutinho said by telephoneHe said the gunmen barged into a small bar where the journalist was taking part in a party and “abducted, tortured and murdered” him before dumping his body in a rural zone outside the town. Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories The vital role family plays in society Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies He was the second Brazilian journalist killed in less than one week.The decapitated body of Evany Jose Metzkera, a blogger known for denouncing corrupt politicians, was found May 18 in a rural area in southeastern Minas Gerais state.“The brutal murders of two Brazilian journalists in less than a week represents a troubling escalation of anti-press violence in Brazil, already one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist,” said Sara Rafsky, Americas Program research associate of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, in an emailed statement.Last week, Carlos Lauria, the committee’s senior Americas Program coordinator said that at least 14 Brazilian journalists have been killed since 2011 “in retaliation for their work.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments   Share   3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

China punishes local officials over suicides of 4 siblings

first_imgBEIJING (AP) — Several local Chinese officials were fired or suspended following the suicides of four siblings, aged 5 to 13, who were abandoned by their parents and neglected by government workers in one of China’s poorest regions, the district government said.Two village heads were fired and three other officials — including the district education chief — were suspended from their work and were being investigated, according to a statement by the Qixingguan district government in the southwestern city of Bijie. The district government promised to take proper disciplinary action after the investigation.Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also demanded that local governments be more careful in providing aid services. He asked that such tragedies not occur again.The tragedy has renewed concerns over the wellbeing of tens of millions of rural Chinese children who are left behind in their villages while their parents seek work in factories in faraway industrial cities.Bijie, in impoverished Guizhou province, was the location of another childhood tragedy about three years ago when five runaway boys became asphyxiated after lighting a fire in a garbage bin where they were sheltering from the cold.In the latest incident, the siblings were found dead Wednesday at home in their village of Tiankan after ingesting liquid pesticide.State broadcaster CCTV said the eldest child left behind a suicidal note in which he wrote, “This matter has been planned for a long time, and today is the day to go.”The children’s father left the village for work in March, and their mother has been away for a while, state media reported.The father had sent the children money, and police recovered a bank card with a balance of nearly $600, state media reported. Yet, the children may have had psychological problems because of the long absence of their parents, fellow villagers told state media. Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Top Stories ErrorOKFree Rate QuoteCall now 623-889-0130 ErrorOK Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 must play golf courses in Arizona The children usually kept to themselves, local residents said. They also failed to attend school and did not open the door when village cadres and teachers visited them in attempts to bring them back to school, state media said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Check your body, save your lifelast_img read more

Business management startup vCita acquires email marketing tool WiseStamp

first_imgJust a couple of months after disclosing a $15 million round of funding, vCita, the business management SaaS for SMEs, has made an acquisition: It’s acquiring WiseStamp, a veteran of the Israeli startup scene that launched its email marketing tool a decade ago.Unsurprisingly, terms of the deal remain undisclosed. However, I understand that vCita has acquired WiseStamp as a company, including all assets, employees, customer base, technology and other IP. In addition, WiseStamp’s two remaining founders will join vCita along with the rest of the 20-person team.WiseStamp hadn’t taken much capital in its relatively long history, having raised around $400,000 from angel investors.Founded in 2009 by Orly Izhaki, Tom Piamenta, Tzvika Avnery and Sasha Gimelshtein, WiseStamp offers a email signature solution for self-employed professionals. The company claims over 50,000 paying customers, who it says use the platform to increase social media engagement, expand business reach, and generate more sales.Meanwhile, the much younger vCita says it has more than 100,000 paying users worldwide who use its SaaS to manage their schedule, track invoices, collect payments and organize client data via the vCita app.“We’re thrilled to have WiseStamp join our team. Both companies share the same vision: Empowering small business owners to deliver their services at a level comparable to that of a large company, at a fraction of the cost,” says says vCita co-founder and CEO Itzik Levy in a statement.Adds Orly Izhaki, WiseStamp’s CEO and co-founder: “Over the years, WiseStamp created advanced solutions that enable hundreds of thousands of small enterprises to grow their business online. We are excited about the merger, which will establish us as one of the most dominant players in the SMB market.”last_img read more

Twitter leads 100M round in top Indian regional social media platform ShareChat

first_imgIs there room for another social media platform? ShareChat, a four-year-old social network in India that serves tens of million of people in regional languages, just answered that question with a $100 million financing round led by global giant Twitter .Other than Twitter, TrustBridge Partners, and existing investors Shunwei Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SAIF Capital, India Quotient and Morningside Venture Capital also participated in the Series D round of ShareChat.The new round, which pushes ShareChat’s all-time raise to $224 million, valued the firm at about $650 million, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. ShareChat declined to comment on the valuation.“Twitter and ShareChat are aligned on the broader purpose of serving the public conversation, helping the world learn faster and solve common challenges. This investment will help ShareChat grow and provide the company’s management team access to Twitter’s executives as thought partners,” said Manish Maheshwari, managing director of Twitter India, in a prepared statement.Twitter, like many other Silicon Valley firms, counts India as one of its key markets. And like Twitter, other Silicon Valley firms are also increasingly investing in Indian startups.ShareChat serves 60 million users each month in 15 regional languages, Ankush Sachdeva, co-founder and CEO of the firm, told TechCrunch in an interview. The platform currently does not support English, and has no plans to change that, Sachdeva said.That choice is what has driven users to ShareChat, he explained. The early incarnation of the social media platform supported English language. It saw most of its users choose English as their preferred language, but this also led to another interesting development: Their engagement with the app significantly reduced.The origin story“For some reason, everyone wanted to converse in English. There was an inherent bias to pick English even when they did not know it.” (Only about 10% of India’s 1.3 billion people speak English. Hindi, a regional language, on the other hand, is spoken by about half a billion people, according to official government figures.)So ShareChat pulled support for English. Today, an average user spends 22 minutes on the app each day, Sachdeva said. The learning in the early days to remove English is just one of the many things that has shaped ShareChat to what it is today and led to its growth.In 2014, Sachdeva and two of his friends — Bhanu Singh and Farid Ahsan, all of whom met at the prestigious institute IIT Kanpur — got the idea of building a debate platform by looking at the kind of discussions people were having on Facebook groups.They identified that cricket and movie stars were popular conversation topics, so they created WhatsApp groups and aggressively posted links to those groups on Facebook to attract users.It was then when they built chatbots to allow users to discover different genres of jokes, recommendations for phones and food recipes, among other things. But they soon realized that users weren’t interested in most of such offerings.“Nobody cared about our smartphone recommendations. All they wanted was to download wallpapers, ringtones, copy jokes and move on. They just wanted content.”So in 2015, Sachdeva and company moved on from chatbots and created an app where users can easily produce, discover and share content in the languages they understand. (Today, user generated content is one of the key attractions of the platform, with about 15% of its user base actively producing content.)A year later, ShareChat, like tens of thousands of other businesses, was in for a pleasant surprise. India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, launched his new telecom network Reliance Jio, which offered users access to the bulk of data at little to no charge for an extended period of time.This immediately changed the way millions of people in the country, who once cared about each megabyte they consumed online, interacted with the internet. On ShareChat people quickly started to move from sharing jokes and other messages in text format to images and then videos.Path ahead and monetizationThat momentum continues to today. ShareChat now plans to give users more incentive — including money — and tools to produce content on the platform to drive engagement. “There remains a huge hunger for content in vernacular languages,” Sachdeva said.Speaking of money, ShareChat has experimented with ads on the app and its site, but revenue generation isn’t currently its primary focus, Sachdeva said. “We’re in the Series D now so there is obviously an obligation we have to our investors to make money. But we all believe that we need to focus on growth at this stage,” he said.ShareChat, which is headquartered in Bangalore, also has many users in Bangladesh, Nepal and the Middle East, where many users speak Indian regional languages. But the startup currently plans to focus largely on expanding its user base in India, hopefully doubling it in the next one year, he said.It will use the new capital to strengthen the technology infrastructure and hire more tech talent. Sachdeva said ShareChat is looking to open an office in San Francisco to hire local engineers there.A handful of local and global giants have emerged in India in recent years to cater to people in small cities and villages, who are just getting online. Pratilipi, a storytelling platform has amassed more than 5 million users, for instance. It recently raised $15 million to expand its user base and help users strike deals with content studios.Perhaps no other app poses a bigger challenge to ShareChat than TikTok, an app where users share short-form videos. TikTok, owned by one of the world’s most valued startups, has over 120 million users in India and sees content in many Indian languages.But the app — with its ever growing ambitions — also tends to land itself in hot water in India every few weeks. In all sensitive corners of the country. On that front, ShareChat has an advantage. Over the years, it has emerged as an outlier in the country that has strongly supported proposed laws by the Indian government that seek to make social apps more accountable for content that circulates on their platforms. Though it is grappling with some of this issue, too.last_img read more

Showcase your startup in Startup Alley at Disrupt SF 2019

first_imgWhat’s the lifeblood of any early-stage startup? Money and media coverage. Opportunities to acquire both abound at Disrupt San Francisco 2019, our flagship tech conference that takes place on October 2-4. It’s all about networking and making the right connections to make your startup dreams come true, and there’s no better networking mecca than Startup Alley.Buy a Startup Alley Exhibitor Package and plant your early-stage startup in the path of more than 10,000 attendees, including leading technologists, investors, 400 accredited media outlets and other leading influencers. The package includes one full exhibit day and three Founder passes.You’ll have access to three days of Disrupt programming across the Main Stage, the Extra Crunch Stage, the Showcase Stage and the Q&A Stage. You can watch Startup Battlefield, our epic pitch competition, to see who takes home the $100,000 prize. You’ll also receive invitations to VIP events, like a reception with top-tier investors and global media outlets.You’ll have CrunchMatch at your side to make networking as easy as possible. This free, business match-making platform helps you find and connect with the people who can move your business forward. It matches people based on their mutual business interests, suggests meetings and sends out invitations (which recipients can easily accept or decline). CrunchMatch even lets you reserve dedicated meeting spaces where you can network in comfort.And how’s this for opportunity? Every early-stage startup that exhibits in Startup Alley is eligible for a chance to win a Wild Card entry to the Startup Battlefield pitch competition. TechCrunch editors will select two standout startups as Wild Card teams to compete for $100,000 in Startup Battlefield.It might sound like a longshot (and it is), but RecordGram earned a Wild Card spot and went on to become the Startup Battlefield champ at Disrupt NY 2017. Because dreams do come true.Disrupt San Francisco 2019 takes place on October 2-4. Buy a demo table, exhibit in Startup Alley and network your way to greatness. Come on and show the world what you’ve got.Is your company interested in sponsoring at Disrupt SF 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.last_img read more

A New Edward HopperThemed Motel Room Allows You to Experience All the

first_imgAs museums all over the world vie for the attention—and dollars—of visitors, they are increasingly turning to experience-based promotions. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is no exception.This October, the institution will host a range of experiences based on the coinciding exhibition “Edward Hopper and the American Hotel“—including the chance to stay at the museum in a three-dimensional recreation of the room in his painting, Western Motel (1965).AdChoicesADVERTISINGinRead invented by TeadsThe exhibition will present more than 60 works by Hopper drawn from public and private collections that explore his interest in hotels, motels, and other hospitality sites. One of the pictures, House at Dark (1935), was purchased by the VFMA in 1953, the year he served as a juror for the museum’s biennial. (He also served as vice chairman of the biennial exhibition in 1938.)House at Dark will be on display along with drawings, watercolors, and paintings, plus a cache of postcards and diary entries by his wife, the artist Josephine Hopper, who kept mementos from the couple’s travels throughout the United States. The show also features 35 works by John Singer Sargent, Charles Demuth, Reginald Marsh, Cindy Sherman, and Ed Ruscha.Edward Hopper, Hotel Lobby (1943). Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. Josephine Hopper/ARS.But most unconventionally, the museum will recreate Western Motel in 3D, and allow visitors not only the opportunity to walk into the scene, but also to spend a night in it as guests.Hopper is best known for creating alienating scenes of modern life, often depicting just one or two people who do not interact with one another. So whether visitors will really want to pay for such an experience remains to be seen. But the museum is also offering other, more conventional options to coincide with the show, such as a dinner at the museum restaurant and guided tours with the show’s curator.Details on the packages related to the “Hopper Hotel Experience,” as it has been named, will be made available as the exhibition date draws near. In the meantime, the museum says the show “represents the first investigation of the artist’s canonical images of hotels, motels, and other hospitality settings.”“Edward Hopper and the American Hotel” is on view at the VMFA from October 26, 2019–February 23, 2020, and will then travel to the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.Follow artnet News on Facebook: Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.last_img read more

A Sculpture That Was Censored From Japans Aichi Triennale Will Become a

first_imgA Spanish collector who is creating a permanent home for art that has been censored just made his latest high-profile acquisition. Tatxo Benet bought the sculpture censored from Japan’s Aichi Triennale earlier this month. Ironically, the piece was removed from an exhibition about censored art.The sculpture, which has caused controversy in the past, is now destined for Benet’s planned “freedom museum” in Barcelona, a hub for contemporary art that has been banned or suppressed in countries around the world.Benet moved quickly to snap up an edition of Statue of a Girl of Peace (2011) by the South Korean artists Kim Seo-kyung and Kim Eun-sung for his fast-growing collection. The sculpture depicts a “comfort woman”—one of many thousands of women sold into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.Immediately after the exhibition, titled  “After ‘Freedom of Expression’?”, opened as part of the Aichi Triennale, the work drew hundreds of complaints; one person even threatened to burn down the museum. As a result, organizers decided to close the section of the triennial just three days later.The backlash was swift: 85 of the nearly 100 participating artists issued a statement requesting that the show be reopened under proper security measures. Ten artists, including Pedro Reyes and Tania Bruguera, also demanded that their own works be removed from the triennial in solidarity with the censored sculptors.Benet told the news agency EFE that as soon as he heard about the controversy, he contacted the artists to buy their work. The triennial’s ban “is a double contradiction because not only an artistic work is censored, but an exhibition against censorship is closed,” he said.The collector told Reuters that he now has enough material for a permanent exhibition “and perhaps even a documentation and archive center about censorship in the art world.” The former journalist and millionaire businessman, who co-founded the Barcelona-based communications group Mediapro, is planning to open his museum in the Catalan capital in the not-too-distant future, although no opening date has been made public.Santiago Sierra’s Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain, which includes jailed Catalan separatists, was removed from the leading art fair Arco Madrid. Photo by Gabriel Bouys, AFP/Getty Images.Benet first came to international prominence in the art world when he bought a work by the Spanish artist Santiago Sierra that was censored at the ARCO fair in Madrid in 2018. The artist’s installation featured partially obscured portraits of jailed Catalan separatists and other political prisoners in Spain.Benet told EFE that he has began collecting censored work less than two years ago. He now owns more than 60 pieces, including a video by the late American artist David Wojnarowicz that was pulled by the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, in 2010. The Smithsonian’s decision to self-censor A Fire in My Belly from the exhibition “Hide/Seek” after complaints by members of Congress as well as members of the Catholic League was was widely condemned in the art world.Benet’s international collection includes work banned in France, Turkey, China, England, Argentina, the US, and from Arab countries. “All have been censored, although the motives vary: political, religious, sexual, social, moral,” he explained. He added that when he contacts artists, they often lower the price of their work when they learn it is destined for a museum championing censored art. Follow artnet News on Facebook: Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.last_img read more

Sewage woes continue for businesses

first_imgEndless sewer problems face business owners at the corner of King and Lyell Street, with claims that sewage has been pouring out of drains in the area for almost 2 years.The raw effluent pours out on a daily basis; not only that, but also oil and fat. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite According to businessmen, the stench is unbearable. They say that, “Sometimes people don’t want to come to our offices due to the smell.” The stench is said to make its way up into the offices and stay trapped inside.Because of the horrendous odour, lots of flies are always around, adding to the unpleasant situation.These businesses want the situation to be sorted out as soon as possible, and say that a solution is long overdue.uThukela workers have been attending to the problem. However, they unblock the drain and within days, sewage is pouring out again.last_img read more

Protest over appointment of new uThukela deputy mayorProtest over appointment of new

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite National Freedom Party (NFP) supporters staged a protest at the uThukela offices on Friday regarding the new appointment of a deputy mayor at uThukela District Municipality.The NFP held internal elections to replace the deputy mayor who was killed in a tavern in Bergville recently, as he was a member of the party. However, according to the NFP, the man who was voted in has not been given the position and it has instead been filled by someone else. Upset supporters staged the protest to show their discontent with what has taken place and to demand that the original candidate be given his rightful position.The issue has been taken up with the National Executive Council (NEC) of the NFP, where a resolution has been put forward to replace the deputy mayor again. A visible presence of police and security guards kept the large crowd of NFP supporters under control.last_img read more

Public Safety holds roadblock in Helpmekaar

first_imgPublic Safety held a roadblock in Helpmekaar Road on Thursday afternoon.Ladysmith Gazette  journalists caught up with the officers while they were checking driver’s licences, outstanding warrants of arrest, and if vehicles were roadworthy.The scorching sun was the last thing on the officers’ minds, as they busied themselves with making sure the rules of the road were adhered to.The officers later moved to the CBD to set up more roadblocks. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsitelast_img

Farmers hold meeting to discuss issuesFarmers hold meeting to discuss issues

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite A mass meeting of local farmers was held at the Town Hall recently to discuss issues facing farmers in the area, including the escalation of violence against farmers. The latter includes farm attacks, rapes and the poisoning of cattle.Farmers from different areas got together with the aim of coming up with workable solutions to problems they face on a daily basis (of a less violent nature), including the cutting of fences and stock theft. Another major problem is stray cattle making their way onto farmers’ land. Currently, farmers have only one option and that is to let the cattle out of their property and onto the road. However, farmers feel they cannot do this, as it could potentially cause obstructions and accidents.If they choose to impound animals on their farms, the rightful owners take matters into their own hands and cut farm fences to reclaim their livestock.Farmers at the meeting had an opportunity to air their views and come up with realistic solutions. The use of intelligence-gathering options (and sources) to find out who the criminals in their areas are was highlighted.Speaking to the farmers in attendance, security expert Mark Pitout said that taking the law into their own hands was not an option. “It will get the farmer locked up.”The only way to overcome problems is for all farmers to work together as a team and to work hand-in-hand with the SAPS. The Dog (K9) Unit and Crime Intelligence Gathering Unit have greatly helped farmers in the past, and farmers have appealed to the police to continue assisting them.Mark Pitout posed the question: “Does Ladysmith and the surrounding areas have a rural safety programme?” According to him, it was clear from the SAPS that they didn’t know.last_img read more