Students honored for artwork spreading anti-drug message

first_img“It’s great to see the elementary school kids at such a young age learning that message: the dangers of drugs and alcohol and being creative with their art work,” Bennett said. “Seeing them come in and see their posters up there gives them a great feeling, and it’s great to see such a young generation learning that for our community.” “The opioid issue, I’ve said since the day I was elected, is a community issue that requires a community response,” Akshar said. “This education and prevention piece are incredibly important to make sure the younger generation, the generation before the one that is currently affected, doesn’t make those same decisions.” Akshar told 12 News that while overdose deaths are in a decline across New York State, these students are doing there part to help with that drop off. The contest was part of the YES Safe Choices program’s Red Ribbon Week. More than 100 posters were submitted to the contest, all created to spread the message about the dangers of drugs and alcohol usage, touching on a pressing issue in our community. “Being part of that solution is incredibly important. It takes a community of all ages,” Akshar said. Program coordinator Aaron Bennett says he was pleased at this year’s turnout and submissions. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) – Dozens of students from schools in Broome and Tioga Counties were honored by State Senator Fred Akshar and the YES Safe Choices program as winners of YES’s poster contest. Amongst the winning posters, Akshar will pick between 10-12 posters to take back to his offices in Binghamton and Albany to display until the contest announces new winners next winter.last_img read more

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Flash Flood Watch in effect for Dominica

first_img Sharing is caring! Photo credit: amild.us.blogspot.comA trough system will produce some unsettled weather over the Eastern Caribbean over the next few days.As a result, generally cloudy skies, scattered showers and possible isolated thunderstorms can be expected across the island. Therefore, the general public should be vigilant and exercise caution as increased showers may cause rivers to overflow their banks and already saturated soils to slip. Hikers should be vigilant and exercise caution.A flood watch is in effect until Tuesday December 6th 2011.For updated weather information please call the weather hotline at (767) 4475555.Dominica Meterological Service Share 7 Views   no discussions Sharecenter_img Tweet Share LocalNews Flash Flood Watch in effect for Dominica by: – December 5, 2011last_img read more

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Press freedom in South Africa

first_imgReporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks South Africa at 38 in its 2010 Press Freedom Index. This puts the country ahead of France (44), Italy (49), and the US (99), and well within the top 50 countries said to have “genuine press freedom”.RSF’s ninth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index – covering the period from 1 September 2009 to 1 September 2010 – reflects the degree of freedom journalists and news organisations enjoy in each country, and the efforts made by each state to respect and ensure respect for this freedom.Best and worstFinland, Iceland, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland shared top spot on the 2010 index, with no recorded censorship, threats, intimidation or physical reprisals towards members of the media.Denmark, which held the number one position in the previous year’s survey, now ranks 11th.The bottom end of the index remains unchanged, with Turkmenistan (176th), North Korea (177th) and Eritrea (178th) occupying the last three spots as authorities there continued a clampdown on independent media activity. These three countries were always at the end of the table, with only their position in the bottom three changing occasionally.“Our latest world press freedom index contains welcome surprises, highlights sombre realities and confirms certain trends,” said RSF’s secretary-general Jean-François Julliard said at the launch of the ninth annual index.“More than ever before, we see that economic development, institutional reform and respect for fundamental rights do not necessarily go hand in hand. The defence of media freedom continues to be a battle, a battle of vigilance in the democracies of old Europe and a battle against oppression and injustice in the totalitarian regimes still scattered across the globe.”Julliard paid homage to human rights activists, journalists and bloggers throughout the world who speak out against press oppression.“We are also worried by the harsher line being taken by governments at the other end of the index,” he said. “Rwanda, Yemen and Syria have joined Burma and North Korea in the group of the world’s most repressive countries towards journalists. This does not bode well for 2011. Unfortunately, the trend in the most authoritarian countries is not one of improvement.”The BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – show major differences in the press freedom situation. South Africa leads the group at 38. Brazil (58th) has implemented legislation that is more favourable to journalists, and as a result has risen 12 places. India, meanwhile, fell 17 places to 122nd. Russia sits at 140 and China, despite what RSF calls “an astonishingly vibrant and active blogosphere”, is placed at 171st because of continuing censorship and imprisonment of dissidents.Press freedom in AfricaWithin Africa, South Africa comes in fifth position, after Namibia (joint 21st), and Ghana, Cape Verde and Mali (joint 26th).In 2009 Ghana topped the list of African countries at 27, with Mali at joint 30th and South Africa in third place at 33.South Africa lost five places in the latest ranking because of attacks on journalists during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, but mostly because of the attitude of senior members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) towards the press. During a press conference in April, controversial ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema threw out BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher while verbally insulting him. The government’s proposed media tribunal and bill restricting the disclosure of information are also threats to press freedom in the country.A number of African countries celebrated 50 years of independence in 2010, but in many cases the press situation was no reason to rejoice.While the Horn of Africa was still the region with the least press freedom, said RSF, East Africa and the Great Lakes region showed a worrying trend of reversal.RSF said that in 2010 in Eritrea, at the bottom of the table, at least 30 journalists and four other media professionals were held in dire conditions, incommunicado and with no right to a trial. The government was silent on their condition. Foreign media, said RSF, are not welcome.In Somalia (161st), the media were often victims of the ongoing civil war. Sudan, whose citizens voted earlier in 2011 to split the country into north and south, had an unfortunate year in 2010 in terms of the media. It fell 24 places and had Africa’s second worst ranking. This was partly because Rai-al-Shaab, the opposition daily, was shut down, partly becaise of the incarceration of five of its staff members, and mostly because the government had again begun to monitor print media and restrict its voice.Rwanda fell 12 places to 169th, Ethiopia dropped a place to 140, Nigeria fell 10 places to 145, and the Democratic Republic of Congo went from 146 to 148.Uganda also dropped 10 places to 96, but increasing violence against journalists may mean that this position is in jeopardy for 2011.Kenya made a big recovery, jumping from 96 to 70, and Chad also bettered its position from 132 to 112. Niger jumped a respectable 35 places from 139 to 104. Angola, too, earned itself a higher ranking, rising from 119 in 2009 to 104 in 2010. However, said RSF, a Radio Despertar journalist’s still unsolved murder in September 2010 has cast a pall on its achievement.Two more African countries joined the world’s top 50 nations in terms of respect for press freedom. They are Tanzania (41st) and Burkina Faso (49th).Sharp declineA number of countries, including the Philippines, Greece, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan experienced a sharp fall compared to their position in 2009.In the Philippines, reported the RSF, this was because of the massacre of around 30 journalists by a local baron. Ukraine has seen a sleady deterioration in press freedom since the election of its new president Viktor Yanukovych. Greece has also experienced attacks on journalists as well as political unrest, and in Kyrgyzstan the situation of ethnic hatred amidst political upheaval led to the country’s fall in rank.How the index is compiledReporters Without Borders compiles its index by asking 14 freedom of expression organisations on five continents, 130 correspondents around the world, as well as journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists, to answer 50 questions relating to the state of press freedom in 168 countries.The questionnaire includes every kind of violation directly affecting journalists (such as murders, imprisonment, physical attacks and threats) and news media (censorship, confiscation of issues, searches and harassment), and registers the degree of impunity enjoyed by those responsible for such violations.It also takes account of the legal situation affecting the news media – such as penalties for press offences, the existence of a state monopoly in certain areas, and the existence of a regulatory body – and the behaviour of the authorities towards the state-owned news media and the foreign press.It also takes account of the main obstacles to the free flow of information on the internet.Source: SouthAfrica.infolast_img read more

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SA, UK ‘committed to doubling trade’

first_imgBriefing the media at the Taj Hotel in Cape Town on Monday following a bilateral meeting with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, Nkoana-Mashabane said trade between the two countries had improved last year after declining 37% from 2008 to 2009 amid the global financial crisis. While Nkoana-Mashabane urged the EU to relook at trade sanctions on Zimbabwe, Hague said an outcome on EU’s targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe was imminent. He said while there had been some progress on the ground in Zimbabwe, it had not been “as much as we would have liked”. Setting up African Free Trade Area He said the UK would discuss urgently with the Arab League the setting up of a joint Arab League and UN peacekeeping force, but was quick to add that a peacekeeping force could only be deployed once Syria had withdrawn its troops from cities, stopped killing civilians and set up a credible ceasefire. He said the UK would do everything to ensure peaceful elections in Zimbabwe and to support the SADC’s and President Jacob Zuma’s efforts to bring about reforms in South Africa’s northern neighbour. Turning to Syria, Hague welcomed the latest proposal by the Arab League on Syria to isolate the regime, including the endorsement of the Group of Friends which he said is expected to meet in Tunisia on February 24. While the UK remains South Africa’s top source of overseas tourist arrivals, with 453 000 arrivals in 2010, the country is also providing support to set up a Free Trade Area (FTA) in Africa and providing development assistance through its Department for International Development. Source: BuaNews Hague, who was to meet with businesses in the food sector on Monday evening, congratulated South Africa for successfully hosting the COP 17 Climate Change Conference in Durban in December, and said the UK would continue to work with South Africa. South Africa and the United Kingdom are looking to increase economic and trade ties through the export of high-value-added goods to the UK, says International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. African and Middle East issues Asked whether the UK and South Africa would contribute peacekeepers, Hague said it was important that President Bashar Assad follow through with an agreement to pull back troops from cities.center_img Hague and Nkoana-Mashabane also discussed several African and Middle East issues, including next week’s conference on Somalia, to be held in London, and said South Africa had a key role to play in tackling piracy in the Mozambican channel. He said any peacekeeping force should not be made up of Western countries. “I don’t see the way forward in Syria as Western-boots on the ground, I think it should come from outside the West,” he said. “We will continue to work with you over the coming year, and I think that South Africa has given a very good strong lead in that area. And certainly our countries have worked very well together,” said Hague, who was also due to speak at the University of the Western Cape on Tuesday on bilateral trade between the two countries. Hague said Britain was in favour of permanent representation for Africa at the UN Security Council. Last year, the two countries agreed at a bilateral forum to double trade between the two nations by 2015. Nkoana-Mashabane said there were more than 300 UK companies operating in South Africa and several SA ones in the UK, pointing out that the South African government wanted to encourage UK companies to invest in minerals beneficiation and the agro-processing sector in South Africa. He also welcomed the Arab Leagues’ financial and political support for the opposition in Syria and its efforts to foster a more united opposition in Syria. Trade between the two countries increased 77% between 2001 and 2008, growing from R42-billion to R74.5-billion. In the first 10 months of last year, South African exports to the UK increased 10.7%, while UK imports were up 30.6%. 14 February 2012 He said South Africa was a “truly global player” across a range of issues, including non-proliferation, climate change and conflict resolution.last_img read more

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South Africa to tackle crime more holistically

first_img30 July 2014South Africa is working towards tackling crime from a more holistic angle, taking into account societal issues which influence the spread and intensity of crime, says Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko.Tabling his department’s budget vote in the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town on Tuesday, Nhleko said that crime could not be divorced from the extreme poverty that many communities face.For a more holistic approach to work, however, buy-in would be needed from communities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), organs of state, business, research and tertiary institutions.At the same time, Nhleko said, the police would continue to focus on reducing the number of serious crimes, cross-border and cyber crime, while working to stabilise public protests and enhance local police capability.“We commit the [South Africa Police Service] to community engagement, listening and being one with the people that we serve. We are also obliged to fight crime and restore the citizens’ faith and trust in our law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system.”As part of professionalising the police service, Nhleko said the recruitment processes for entry-level constables would be changed to ensure that only the best-suited candidates were hired, with new recruits being taken through rigorous testing for suitability before they start formal training.The SAPS would also take its current members through rigorous sessions to ensure that they understood the police code of conduct.“Our approach on professionalising the police service will contribute to the zero-tolerance towards corruption and nepotism, and deliver the calibre of police official who will serve the people of this country with dignity and pride.”In the course of the past year, Nhleko said, tghe police made 1 392 856 crime prevention arrests, including 818 322 arrests for serious crime and 574 534 for other crimes.A further 1 218 arrests for serious organised crime, with a resultant 828 convictions, were reported by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, popularly known as the Hawks.Convictions were secured that resulted in 1 110 life sentences imposed on 803 suspects for serious crimes such as murder, rape, business robbery, house robbery and armed robbery.Nhleko said the country continued to be faced with challenges and called on all sectors of society to be part of the fight against crime and corruption.“We would like to engage business around the issues of scrap metal and second-hand goods, its threat to the economic development of the country and their contribution in the fight against crime and corruption,” he said.Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

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All people in South Africa are and feel safe

first_imgNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN OUTCOME 3In 2030, all people living in South Africa feel safe, have no fear of crime, are properly served by the police and courts, and know corruption no longer eats away at their livelihoods.•  Overview•  Document downloads•  Quality basic education•  Health care for all•  Safety & freedom from fear•  Economy & employment•  A skilled workforce•  Economic infrastructure•  Vibrant rural communities•  Sustainable human settlements•  Accountable local government•  Natural environment•  South Africa in the world•  Efficient public service•  Inclusive social protection•  Nation building, social cohesion Safety – DownloadsFind out more about the National Development Plan.• National Development Plan – full text• National Development Plan – Chapter 12: Building safer communities• National Development Plan – Chapter 14: Promoting accountability and fighting corruption• Medium-Term Strategic Framework 2014 to 2019 – Outcome 3: All people in South Africa are and feel safe• Business Against Crime: Criminal Justice System Review• Statistics South Africa: Victims of Crime Survey 2012• Infographic: Building safer communities • Infographic: Promoting accountability and fighting corruption Safety – The visionThe National Development Plan’s vision is that, in 2030, people living in South Africa feel safe at home, at school and at work. They enjoy community life without fear. Women walk freely in the street and children play safely outside.People have confidence that the criminal justice system will catch and prosecute criminals. The police are professionals – skilled, disciplined and ethical individuals who value their work and serve the community.Substantially reduced serious and violent crime means businesses are thriving. Local and foreign investors are setting up new businesses. These create new jobs, which in turn reduce poverty and inequality.The criminal justice system is well-resourced and professional. Its officials are skilled, value their work, serve the community, safeguard lives and property, protect communities and citizens against violent crime, and respect people’s rights to equality and justice.South Africa’s borders are safely guarded, secure and well-managed.South Africa has zero tolerance for corruption, which has been radically reduced. Anti-corruption agencies are well-resourced, with skilled and experienced officials. Free of political influence, they have strong powers to investigate and prosecute corruption.Citizens do not offer bribes and have confidence that public and private officials will be held accountable for their actions. Leaders, in turn, have integrity and high ethical standards.Safety – The challengesUnacceptably high levels of crime, especially serious and violent crime, cause people in South Africa – especially vulnerable groups such as women, children and the elderly – to feel unsafe and live in fear.Crime hampers the country’s economic development and undermines the wellbeing of its people, limiting their ability to achieve their potential.The criminal justice systemWork is needed throughout the criminal justice system – police, the courts, and correctional services. Public confidence is eroded when criminals escape the law, arrests do not lead to convictions, and prisoners escape courtrooms and detention facilities.Major issues include lengthy court processes, case backlogs, overlong awaiting-trial imprisonment, overcrowding in prisons, inadequate rehabilitation and welfare programmes for first and young offenders, and repeat offenders.Border securitySouth Africa’s borders – land, sea, and air – must be safeguarded to curb transnational crime and corruption.Cross-border crime includes illegal immigration, drug trafficking, human trafficking, arms smuggling, the transport of stolen vehicles, and the import of illegal import of contraband. Criminality at our borders can be exacerbated by corrupt border officials.A range of uncoordinated government departments and state agencies work on our borders. This has led to security loopholes, poorly synchronised planning, monitoring and oversight, the misalignment of critical systems, and weak integrated risk management.CybercrimeInformation and communication technology is now indispensable to South African society. This means both the economy and ordinary people risk falling victim to cybercrime. Digital crime is also a threat to national security.Increased global bandwidth will lead to wider internet use and a corresponding increase in criminal activities in cyberspace. Existing digital security policies and legal frameworks are not up to the task to deal with existing challenges. South Africa also lacks the institutional mechanisms to curb digital crime in a coordinated manner.CorruptionIntolerably high levels of corruption in both the public and private sectors undermine the rule of law and impede South Africa’s work towards socioeconomic development and service delivery.Perceptions of corruption deter investment in the country. More than this, corruption in the criminal justice system erodes public trust in the system’s ability to combat corruption.Anti-corruption measures have not led to enough prosecutions and convictions, especially in cases where the amount involved is more than R5-million.The challenges remain that public servants are not yet sufficiently accountable, whistle-blowers not adequately protected, and procurement not closely enough monitored.Safety – Action requiredAchieving the vision of a safe South Africa, free of fear and corruption, requires targeted action in five areas.• Strengthening the criminal justice system• Creating a professional police service• Demilitarising the police service• An integrated approach to the causes of crime• Building community participationStrengthening the criminal justice systemA strong criminal justice system (CJS) requires cooperation between all departments in the government’s justice, crime prevention and security cluster. The Review of the South African Criminal Justice System has come up with a seven-point plan to fix current weaknesses.• A single set of objectives, priorities and performance measurement targets.• Legislation and protocols to align the CJS.• Practical short- and medium-term proposals to improve performance of courts.• Improve components of the CJS that reduce its overall performance.• A national CJS information system to improve strategies, plans and decision-making.Creating a professional police serviceThe police codes of conduct and professionalism should be linked to promotion and discipline. Recruitment should attract competent, skilled professionals.Demilitarising the police serviceThe decision to demilitarise the police force, moving away from its history of brutality, was a key goal of transformation after 1994. The recent remilitarisation of the police has not resulted in greater respect for the police or higher conviction rates – if anything, it has contributed to violence. The police should be demilitarised and developed into a professional civilian service.An integrated approach to the causes of crimeA safe society means tackling the fundamental causes of criminality, which require a wide range of state and community resources.Building community participationCivil society organisations and civic participation are needed to establish safe communities. Community safety centres should be considered.Safety – Key medium-term goals for 2019The Medium Term Strategic Framework (2014 to 2019) identifies the following sub-outcomes to ensure all South Africans are and feel safe.• Reduced levels of contact crime• An efficient and effective Criminal Justice System• South Africa’s borders effectively defended, protected, secured and well-managed• Secure cyberspace• Domestic stability ensured• Identity of all persons in South Africa known and secured• Corruption in the public and private sectors reducedSafety – Key medium-term targets for 2019The Medium Term Strategic Framework (2014 to 2019) identifies the following targets to ensure all South Africans are and feel safe.GRAPHIC: MARY ALEXANDER Researched, edited and compiled by Mary AlexanderUpdated December 2015last_img read more

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IPL 2011: Kochi Tuskers Kerala vs Kolkata Knight Riders- KTK win by 17 runs

first_imgKochi made a sluggish start but ended up triumphant against Kolkata beating them by 17 runs during the 45th IPL match at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Thursday. Score | PhotosChasing 157, Kolkata could only manage to score 139/7 despite a fine 66 by Eoin Morgan.Kolkata openers Jacques Kallis and Eoin Morgan started the run chase on a high note. The two were making sure that the required run rate was well within control and were accelerating at the same time. In 10 overs the Kolkata scored was 69/0.Finally in the 11th over, Raiphi Gomez did more than what Kochi wanted. He not only scalped Kallis (45), but also got rid of captain Gautam Gambhir on the next ball to put firm brakes on the Kolkata charge. And Kolkata slumped to 69/2.But, Morgan isn’t the kind of batsman, who can be curtailed for long. A few balls later, he once again upped the tempo. He chose RP Singh for his blitz and hit a four and six off him in the 12th over bring the Kolkata chase back on track.Manoj Tiwary departed without making a major contribution to the team total. He wanted to pull R Vinay Kumar across the fence but ended up edging it to Brendon McCullum at mid-wicket for 1. Kolkata were 97/3 at the stage.Finally, in the 19th over Morgan fell, run out in R Vinay Kumar’s over after scoring a fine 66. His 51-ball innings was decorated with eight fours and two over the fence shots. Next ball, Yusuf Pathan fell to an R Vinay Kumar ball on 17 when the team total was 132/5.advertisementBrett Lee ended up getting run out on the third ball of the last over and Mark Boucher on the last as Kolkata finished with 139/7 on board.And Kochi ended their victory streak with a 17-run win at home at the Nehru Stadium.Kochi inningsCaptain Mahela Jayawardene’s dogged 55 Brad Hodge’s late charge helped Kochi post 156/5 against Kolkata in their IPL match at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Thursday. Live scoreEarlier, Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir won the toss and elected to field. And he got to see the result of his decision early when Kochi opener Breondon McCullum was scalped by Jaidev Unadkat in the second over when the Kochi score was 6.Unadkat struck again on the second ball of the seventh over to despatch Parthiv Patel on 21 with Rajat Bhatia taking a fine catch at mid-wicket. Kochi were 30/2 at the stage.In the 12th over Michael Klinger, in a bid to up the run rate, charged away at Yusuf Pathan and ended up holing out in the deep to Iqbal Abdulla, who took a good catch inches away from the ropes. Klinger fell on 29 and Kochi fell to 81/3.There was no respite for the Kochi batsmen as Kolkata bowlers pressed on. Ravindra Jadeja, who is known for his quick-fire batting, too could not stay in the middle for long and fell in the 15th over off Ranji Trophy veteran Rajat Bhatia’s ball and Kochi were down to 96/4.In the penultimate over of the innings captain Mahela Jayawardene, who was holding fort with gusto, got run out after posting a dogged 55. Kochi were 134/5 at the stage.But, in the last over of the innings, Brad Hodge hit his Australian team-mates for a couple of fours and sixes as Kochi amassed 22 runs of it and finish the innings with a fine 156/5 on board.last_img read more

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Champions Trophy: India will have edge over Pakistan, says Chris Gayle

first_imgWest Indies batsman Chris Gayle said on Monday that India will have the edge when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a much anticipated group match at the upcoming Champions Trophy cricket tournament.The 37-year-old made it clear that both India and Pakistan are his favourites for winning the eight-nation tournament which starts from June 1 in England and Wales.”That will be the biggest match of the tournament and to be frank that’s my two teams as well. So, it will be a nice match. And yes, India is holding an edge against Pakistan when it come to an ICC event,” Gayle told reporters in a promotional event.”In white ball cricket, you cannot call for one team. Everyone will have a chance, especially in England where the conditions will be different. So, you have to see the conditions before you can pick that one team as your favourite,” he added.The eight-team tournament will be played in June, with defending champions India pooled with South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Group B.India have not played outside the sub-continent for the last eight to nine months, so it should be a tough task for Indian batsmen to adjust to foreign ground and weather conditions.But Gayle clarified that Indian batsmen will not struggle in England as they have played there earlier and are familiar with the conditions.”No, I don’t think that. Indian batting line is superb and experienced as well. The good thing is that everybody has played in England,” the explosive opener said.advertisementPlaying for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Chris Gayle has this season failed miserably with the bat unlike earlier editions of the tournament.In the nine league matches that he has played this year, Gayle has scored only 200 runs.”This is cricket and these things do happen. Last year we were fantastic but this season we failed to click in unison. In this edition, we were struggling in all departments, so all we can do is rebuild as an individual and will regroup again for the next season,” Gayle added.Fellow West Indies Sunil Narine has been in great form with the bat in this year’s IPL. Primarily an off-spinner, Narine has been employed as an opener by the Kolkata Knight Riders and the move up the order has done wonders for his form.The 28-year-old has scored 214 runs from 14 matches, including the fastest ever half-century in the IPL when he plundered 54 runs off a mere 15 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore.Commenting on Narine’s form, Gayle said: “Sunil is doing great. It’s good to watch him like this. I love how he is hitting those sixes. So, no tips from my side.”last_img read more

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5 Lessons for Brands From the Burger King Twitter Hack

first_img 5 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global This story originally appeared on PR Daily Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Burger King regained control of its Twitter account Monday night, after a day in which its feed was overtaken by hackers and made to look like McDonald’s.Around 10 p.m. ET, Burger King tweeted: Interesting day here at BURGER KING®, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around! — BurgerKing (@BurgerKing) February 19, 2013The breach began in the morning on Monday and lasted for hours. Hackers tweeted a flurry of messages, most of them made little sense and contained offensive language. By the afternoon, Twitter had suspended the account. Burger King did not update its Facebook page on Monday, though it did release this statement to the media:”We have worked directly with administrators to suspend the account until we are able to re-establish our legitimate site and authentic postings. We apologize to our fans and followers who have been receiving erroneous tweets about other members of our industry and additional inappropriate topics.”Anyone who’s managed a brand account can certainly empathize. In the hours after the hack, even McDonald’s tweeted from its verified account: We empathize with our @burgerking counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking. — McDonald’s (@McDonalds) February 18, 2013As bad as it seemed, the fallout won’t be severe—just a week or so of mass embarrassment and a lifelong cautionary tale for PR pros, marketers, and social media gurus everywhere. But it’s unlikely that the brand itself will take any kind of real hit. The word “Whopper” will not suddenly become synonymous with this or any social media hack.In fact, some are even seeing obvious positives in the wake of the fiasco. Cameron McPherson, of strategic communications firm The Hodges Partnership, points out that Burger King saw an increase in followers (more than 30,000) and as well as a number of media mentions.Monday was a slow news day. That the account was hacked and made to resemble that of its notorious rival probably served to fuel the fire.That’s not to minimize the severity of the situation. It’s a huge deal if you’re the people that manage the Burger King account. But it was done in such outlandish fashion that there was no question that it was a hack job from the very beginning. With a more thought-out and subversive approach, you could do some real damage. As it happened, however, it just looked like a bunch of teens messing around. I mean, they linked to a Chief Keef video. You can’t get much more amateur than that.Still, it’s not difficult to extrapolate and see how social media accounts could be an avenue for some crazy corporate sabotage. Therefore, a more likely effect will be that C-level executives could become less gung-ho about signing off on any big social executions. If all they see is nightmare headlines and no extra product moving off shelves, they’ll ask, What’s the point?That said, here are a few measures social media managers should be taking to ensure that they can avoid or mitigate these scenarios.Change your passwords regularly. And change them to something obscure that has nothing to do with the product you sell. Random numbers, letters, and symbols are your best friend. We change our passwords every month—that will probably change to every two weeks in light of this development.Have procedures in place to stop an attack in its tracks. Create a fail-proof social escalation policy that can end something like this before it gets out of hand. Have the assets you need on hand to be able to restore the images on your profile.Minimize the number of mobile devices that can access the account. If you look at all the apps that can access your account, you should know for certain where they’re all coming from and what their purpose is. If you’re unsure about any of them, ax them.Make it mandatory that any mobile phones that link to corporate accounts are password protected. That way, if you leave your phone at, say, a Burger King and you’re signed into your brand’s account, no one can have easy access to it. Similarly, make sure that if you leave your computer at, say, a Burger King, it’s not logged into any accounts. Password protect everything that allows access to accounts that are password protected. Thinking about the computer I’m typing on, if I were to leave it somewhere and some swarthy character logged onto Facebook, they would be able to wreak havoc on about six different accounts (none of which are my personal account). That’s pretty scary when you think about it.Change your passwords every time someone leaves the company—whether or not it’s amicable. Don’t trust people. There’s too much at stake here.   February 20, 2013 Register Now »last_img read more

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