ICBI CONFERENCES: 19th Annual SuperReturn International in Berlin

The financial conference and events company ICBI, a division of multinational organisation Informa plc., will be launching its much awaited SuperReturn International event on the 22th to 25th February 2016, according to the official website hosted by ICBI.

The 19th Annual SuperReturn International, to be held at the InterContinental Hotel in Berlin, will bring together more than 1,500 senior-level delegates from the private equity world, representing over 350 powerful LP firms and 650+ private equity and venture capital managers. The event will also feature a line-up of more than 250 industry heavyweight speakers well versed in the fields of investment and capital growth, including many industry leaders and global investors.

(c) ICBI

The SuperReturn International event, part of the highly-respected SuperReturn and SuperInvestor series of financial events and summits managed by Informa, was first organised in 1998, and since then has gone from strength to strength, helping share valuable knowledge and investment strategies in the private equity field as it has grown from being a small ‘cottage industry‘ to a mainstream one in charge of billions of dollars of investments. Over the years, the SuperReturn International events, which are held yearly, have built up an enviable and formidable reputation as the world’s leading private equity and venture capital event, bringing top private equity performers, global leaders and industry trailblazers together every year to discuss the most pressing issues concerning their market. The event also offers valuable opportunities for networking and discussion among private equity leaders and executives. In 2014 alone, SuperReturn attracted over 1,500 delegates from all over the world. 

The event is also famed for its high levels of current and topical debates in global private equity, without any editing, giving an unaltered and no-holds-barred experience of issues and hot topics on a multi-million dollar industry. It will also host two smaller events during the conference, the German Private Equity Summit and the Private Debt & Mezzanine Finance Summit alongside the set speakers and presentations, aimed at delegates looking to specialise in those aspects of investment.

SuperReturn is particularly aimed at a worldwide audience, including European and North American pension plans and family offices, Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds, global insurance companies, funds of funds investment houses, asset and wealth managers, DFIs and those involved with endowments and foundations. The event comes officially endorsed by private equity and venture capital associations from Poland, the Netherlands, Lithuania, India and Canada.

Among the top delegates and speakers expected to attend SuperReturn include heavyweights such as long-time event veteran David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group; Joe Baratta (The Blackstone Group); Kathleen Bacon (Harbourvest Partners); Mike Powell (USS) and professors from the universities of Oxford and Lausanne. One previous delegate, Kevin Albert, a partner at Pantheon, a leading international private equity fund-of-funds manager, commented that SuperReturn International was “the New York of conferences. It’s the biggest, it’s the best and it’s the one you want to make it at”. The event is also one of the most up-to-date in the field technologically, with delegates able to download brochures and attendee lists via the ICBI event website for SuperReturn, as well as read the event’s official blog, follow the Twitter account, view special programming on SuperReturn TV and organise meetings with other delegates and senior executives via the revolutionary new SuperReturn App and online networking platform.

While the SuperReturn International event has a global focus, there are also specialist events covering private equity leaders and investors in Asia, the United States, Africa, China, the Middle East and for companies in emerging markets.

2016’s SuperReturn International will be held at the InterContinental Hotel conference suite at Budapester Straße 2, 10787 Berlin, Germany on the 22-25 February. For more information visit http://www.icbi-superreturn.com/

DISCLAIMER: The writer is employed with Informa, of which ICBI is a subsidiary.

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SOURCES:
“Informa Accounts” – Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/informa-accounts
SuperReturn, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SuperReturn
“SuperReturn International – private equity conference – Event home” – 19th Annual SuperReturn International, ICBI/Informa plc. http://www.icbi-superreturn.com/?xtssot=0
“Event History – SuperReturn International” – 19th Annual SuperReturn International, ICBI/Informa plc. http://www.icbi-superreturn.com/page/about-us
“Why SuperReturn Is The Must-Attend Global Private Equity Conference” – 19th Annual SuperReturn International, ICBI/Informa plc. http://www.icbi-superreturn.com/page/highlights
“Accommodation” – 19th Annual SuperReturn International, ICBI/Informa plc. http://www.icbi-superreturn.com/page/accommodation
IMAGE CREDIT:
“SuperReturn International – private equity conference – Event home” – 19th Annual SuperReturn International, ICBI/Informa plc. http://www.icbi-superreturn.com/?xtssot=0

AN INSPIRING THOUGHT: Life goes on…

Life is a journey. It can be a smooth dual carriageway with no traffic, or it can be a decrepid country lane full of potholes. Ultimately it has to move on and you have to be prepared to move on with it. Things can be tough at times, and you may have had a difficult life or have gone through some turbulent events, but there is always the future to look forward to. Sometimes chances and opportunities may present themselves in your life, and it is up to you to exploit them and turn things around. Each of these golden chances is a chance to make things fresh.

I have seen people get divorced, get hurt, lose important things and people in their lives. I have seen people suddenly witness their health go into decline, or fall helplessly into a dark and soulless pit of despair. For them, I can try and say to them with reassurance that life still can have its good moments, its positives, that there is still something to live for, while being extremely sympathetic to their current or past situation, of course.

The past can hurt. Believe me, more than most people out there, I can tell you that. Even the present can drag on and on, leaving you feeling perhaps a bit despondent. But you can never entirely predict the future. Or what is around the corner. Nevertheless you must keep on living life if you want to solve the mystery of what your life plans to bring your way. Don’t give up hope.

The past is another place and of course, another time. Dwelling on it will not get you anywhere. It can, and does, teach you some important lessons, but do not let the past define you. Always look towards the future and always keep the faith.

Via W. Thompson

Life goes on….

Whether you choose to move on and

take a chance in the unknown.

Or stay behind, locked in the past,

thinking of what could’ve been.

This inspirational quote and image was made available by Will Thompson. He is an affiliate marketer living in the Western United States.

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ADDITIONAL SOURCE:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
IMAGE CREDIT:
Will Thompson, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Will_T1980

VIRTUAL VEXILLOLOGY: Animated world flags with TLDs (Part 2 – South America)

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Part Two of our Animated ccTLD flags takes us to the other, hotter half of the Americas, namely South America. With the exception of a few nations, this continent is predominately Spanish speaking, and many of the flags shown here date from the independence of these countries from Spain during the 18th and 19th centuries.

As before, the countries and their flag icons will be listed in alphabetical order of TLD.

ccTLDs are based on a system developed by internet institution ICANN. The ICANN is a global forum in charge of managing some of the Net’s core technical elements, such as the domain-name system. Individual two-digit ccTLDs are managed by different organisations or statutory bodies, known as ‘country-code managers’. You can see a list of which managers run which ccTLDs at this link.

SOUTH AMERICA

(c) Wikimedia Commons

ar - Argentina

bo - Bolivia (Plurinational State of)

br - Brazil

cl - Chile

co - Colombia

ec - Ecuador

fk - Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

gs - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

gy - Guyana

pe - Peru

py - Paraguay

sr - Suriname

uy - Uruguay

ve - Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

.ar Argentina
.bo Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
.br Brazil
.cl Chile
.co Colombia
.ec Ecuador
.fk Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
.gs South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
.gy Guyana
.pe Peru
.py Paraguay
.sr Suriname
.uy Uruguay
.ve Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

Next weekend, we take a long trip across the great Atlantic Ocean to visit Europe.

Previous Articles in the Series

Part 1 – North America

This article written at the HEM office in Plaistow and published in Seven Kings, LB Redbridge.

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ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Resources for Country Code Managers” – ICANN/Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/cctlds-21-2012-02-25-en
IMAGE CREDITS:
CC Search, Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/
“File:”Political South America” CIA World Factbook.jpg” – Central Intelligence Agency, Wikimedia Commons (5 April 2014) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%22Political_South_America%22_CIA_World_Factbook.jpg
“Pakistan Defence” – Pakistan Defence http://defence.pk/
“RIGS OF RODS” – Rigs of Rods http://www.rigsofrods.com/content/
IPBURGER/IPBurger.com http://ipburger.com/
“Category:Country Flags” – EP.com Wiki/EntropiaPlanets.com/EntropiaPlanets Wiki – Entropia Universe Guides Wiki Info http://www.entropiaplanets.com/wiki/Category:Country_Flags

VIRTUAL VEXILLOLOGY: Animated world flags with TLDs (Part 1 – North America)

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For every country, and indeed many various territories, dependencies, states, provinces etc. one of the most important elements of self-representation, self-recognition and identity is a humble piece of cloth. The flag, for governments and patriots alike, is more than that though. It is a symbol of their identity, replete with symbolism, sacrifice and values. Many flags have become well-known enough that even the most geographically challenged can match the national flag to the nation it flies under. Everyone knows the Union Flag (Union Jack) is for Britain, the Tricouleur represents France, and the Star-Spangled Banner flutters over the States.

A few years ago, one enterprising graphic designer decided to make full use of the internet’s awesome superpowers and marry the thousand-year old tradition of the flag with a very recent innovation – the top-level domain – to produce a set of virtual animated flags.

A top-level domain is essentially a part of a website’s address, or URL, which identifies a website’s host origin or its function. For example, .com means that the site is engaged in commerce (usually), while .ac (or .edu in the US) means an educational institution.

Top-level domains with a regional flavour are used to represent the hosting nation of a website where that site would be registered. For example, .uk would be for a site registered in the United Kingdom, while a site URL ending in .mu means that the site is based on a Mauritian server.

(c) Wikipedia

These regional domains are officially known as ccTLDs (country code top-level domains). They are generally used or reserved for a country, a sovereign state, or a dependent territory. They are always two letters long and usually are formed from letters in the country’s name, though not always the one in English. While .us is for the United States and .in is for India, Algeria’s ccTLD is .dz (Al-Djazair) and Switzerland’s one is .ch (for its full Latin name, Confœrderatio Helvetica).

The first registered ccTLDs to come into service were .us, .uk, and .il, all registered in 1985. In 1986, .au, .de, .fi, .fr, .jp, .kr, .nl and .se were registered. This was long before the Internet as we now it even came into being.

The story behind these animated flags is shrouded in the depths of mystery. The only solid lead I could find from my research was on a forum post from Forumotion, a company which offers forum setup and development services. A member of Forumotion’s staff, nicknamed Hancki, who also moonlighted there as a forum helper, started a thread in which he/she showed off some animated flags they had allegedly made. They made no comment on how or even if they did create the ccTLD flag GIFs but the other forum participants loved them and thought they were great.

That first selection of little waving flags appeared in April of 2010, and since then have become hot property for forum lovers and gamers looking to add some patriotic sparkle to their signatures. Numerous forum owners from Pakistan to the States have snapped them up, and now for the first time, the Half-Eaten Mind has brought them together in one place, free for use to represent your homeland.

With the help of a list of ccTLDs provided by Wikipedia and another source, I found other forums that had these distinctive animated flags, and by changing the part of the forum’s URL with the country name or ccTLD, was able to collect a flag of nearly every country and territory on Earth. It was just like FlagCounter, only with more fluttering.

To celebrate the amazing design of these flags, the Half-Eaten Mind is producing a special series of articles showcasing the flags of the world’s nations, with their relevant ccTLD. Due to the size of the project, I will be covering a different part of the world every weekend, with links to previous articles in the series. Part One will cover the continent of North America. This geographical region includes Central America and the Caribbean. I will then work my way eastwards and southwards.

Below each set of flags, arranged vertically in the page’s centre due to WordPress’ horrifically fiddly HTML editor, are a list of the featured countries, alphabetically by their ccTLD. Each country name has a link to its government’s website or the nearest equivalent.

Some flags, such as that of Libya are out of date. Some newer countries, such as South Sudan and some dependencies are also absent. There are also some flags of now defunct countries, such as Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, that were issued ccTLDs in the Eighties and early Nineties, which I have also included.

By the way, vexillology is the study of flags, their designs, meanings and history.

NORTH AMERICA

ag - Antigua and Barbuda

ai - Anguilla

an - Netherlands Antilles

aw - Aruba

bb - Barbados

bm - Bermuda

bs - Bahamas

bz - Belize

ca - Canada

cr - Costa Rica

cu - Cuba

dm - Dominica

do - Dominican Republic

gd - Grenada

gl - Greenland

gt - Guatemala

hn - Honduras

ht - Haiti

jm - Jamaica

kn - Saint Kitts and Nevis

ky - Cayman Islands

lc - Saint Lucia

ms - Montserrat

mx - Mexico

ni - Nicaragua

pa - Panama

pr - Puerto Rico

sv - El Salvador

tt - Trinidad and Tobago

us - United States of America

vc - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

vi - Virgin Islands (U.S.)

.ag Anguilla and Barbuda
.ai Anguilla
.an Netherlands Antilles (no longer exists)
.aw Aruba
.bb Barbados
.bm Bermuda
.bs Bahamas
.bz Belize
.ca Canada
.cr Costa Rica
.cu Cuba
.dm Dominica
.do Dominican Republic
.gd Grenada
.gl Greenland
.gt Guatemala
.hn Honduras
.ht Haiti
.jm Jamaica
.kn Saint Kitts and Nevis
.ky Cayman Islands
.lc Saint Lucia
.ms Montserrat
.mx Mexico
.ni Nicaragua
.pa Panama
.pr Puerto Rico
.sv El Salvador
.tt Trinidad and Tobago
.us United States of America
.vc Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
.vi Virgin Islands (U.S.)

(c) Wikimedia Commons

Next weekend, we head south to the other part of the American landmass. Stay tuned.

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SOURCES:
“Country code top-level domain” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_code_top-level_domain
“Some animated flags” – Hancki, Forum of the Forums/Forumotion/phpBB (9 April 2010) http://help.forumotion.com/t68097-some-animated-flags
IMAGE CREDITS:
CC Search, Creative Commons http://search.creativecommons.org/
“ccTLD” – Wikipédia (Portuguese)/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/CcTLD
“PHOTO MOMENT: Old Mauritian coins” – RedDodo.com, netanimations.net via Vijay Shah, The Half-Eaten Mind (7 September 2013) https://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/pm-old-mauritian-coins/
“File:Map of North America.svg” – Cacahuate, Texugo, Joelf, Globe-trotter & Piet-c, Wikimedia Commons (2 August 2008) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_North_America.svg
“Image and Video Post-Processing With WebGL” – Nicolas Garcia Belmonte, Dev.Opera/Opera Software ASA (17 October 2012) https://dev.opera.com/articles/webgl-post-processing/
“Flag Icons” – Webshocker, dribbble/Dribbble LLC. (10 May 2014) https://dribbble.com/shots/1546961-Flag-Icons
“Pakistan Defence” – Pakistan Defence http://defence.pk/
“RIGS OF RODS” – Rigs of Rods http://www.rigsofrods.com/content/
IPBURGER/IPBurger.com http://ipburger.com/
“Category:Country Flags” – EP.com Wiki/EntropiaPlanets.com/EntropiaPlanets Wiki – Entropia Universe Guides Wiki Info http://www.entropiaplanets.com/wiki/Category:Country_Flags

 

JURASSIC WORLD: The dinosaurs are back!

with Sunny Atwal (feature contributor)

Back in 1993, the first of the instalment of the Jurassic Park movies enthralled and terrified audiences equally with their fearsome flesh-eating T-Rexes and velociraptors, alongside giant plant-eaters like Brontosaurus. We watched in horror as the kids were cornered in the kitchen by a bunch of bloodthirsty raptors and laughed at the sneezing Bronto. The Jurassic Park trilogy helped define millions of childhoods in the Nineties and now the franchise comes roaring back. Directed by acclaimed director Steven Spielberg and starring Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill and Laura Dern, a group of palaeontologists visit a remote island off the Costa Rican coast where a scientist (Richard Attenborough) has created a park of prehistoric lizards derived from ancient DNA mixed with frog genes. Events in the island soon take a turn for the worst as the dinosaurs break free and inflict an orgy of destruction and gory snacking on the Jurassic Park staff and visitors.

Fast forward 22 years and the park has reopened. With the loose T-Rex finally back in its enclosure and the park’s security systems updated, once again the world of 65+ million years back is open to the public.

This time round the film is directed by Colin Trevorrow and stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan, and B.D. Wong. The usual inmates behind the electrified fence are in place along with a host of fun visitor attractions including interactive galleries, dinosaur feeding areas and the ubiquitous coffee shops, but now a group of geneticists bankrolled by investment dollars are hard at work behind the scenes, working on a mysterious ‘hybrid’ dinosaur as the new park’s main attraction. Little do they know that the hybrid has plans for a bid for freedom, one which will bring death and destruction to Jurassic Park once again.

Jurassic World is slated for release in North America on the 12th June, 2015 with the rest of the world following a few days afterwards.

The Half-Eaten Mind brings you a selection of videos, sneak previews and trailers, official and unofficial, of the biggest and baddest dinosaur movie in recent memory.

http://uk.jurassicworldintl.com/

http://www.jurassicworldmovie.co.uk/

https://instagram.com/jurassicworld/

 

The official globally issued trailer for Jurassic World, released on Youtube in high definition by the film’s studios Universal.

Jurassic World – Official Global Trailer (HD)
The Park is Open June 12

Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure based on the novel “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton. Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers.

Jurassic World will be released in 3D by Universal Pictures on June 12, 2015.

Promo trailer of the Lego toy company’s video game release tied in with the film.

Take a look at this trailer for LEGO Jurassic World which shows off some gameplay footage of the different types of dinosaurs you’ll see in the game.

TV spot advert broadcast in America.

Special featurette video featuring interviews with the film’s cast and how the Jurassic Park films inspired them. Released by Universal Pictures.

Video commentary on the new movie and what it needs to have to be a success, according to Erin Robinson of Clevver Movies.

Jurassic World is stomping into theaters this coming summer on June 12th, 2015 and we could not be more excited! Of course, we could also not be more fearful of this becoming another treasured franchise getting a lackluster reboot. To help avoid such a thing, we compiled a list of 7 things we think need to happen in Jurassic World to make it successful.

In this clip from the movie, Owen flees the paddock of the genetically modified killer dinosaur Indominus Rex as it breaks free and chases him after devouring his colleague.

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. This new park is owned by the Masrani Corporation. Owen (Chris Pratt), a member of Jurassic World’s on-site staff, conducts behavioral research on the Velociraptors. After many years, Jurassic World’s attendance rates begin to decline and a new attraction, created to re-spark visitor interest, gravely backfires.

A look at the star of Jurassic World, the Indominus Rex, which makes the T-Rex look puny in comparison. Beware this video contains SPOILERS!!

The park is open. Meet the hybrid dinosaur now at Jurassic World.

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ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Jurassic Park (1993)” – IMDb/IMDb.com, Inc./Amazon http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107290/
“Jurassic World” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurassic_World
VIDEO CREDITS:
“Jurassic World – Official Global Trailer (HD)” – Universal Pictures, YouTube GB (20 April 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJJrkyHas78
“Dinosaur Trailer – LEGO Jurassic World” – GameSpot, YouTube GB (14 May 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcAWX3tR9Oc
“JURASSIC WORLD Extended TV Spot #8 (2015) Chris Pratt Sci-Fi Movie HD” – CBR Trailers, YouTube GB (14 May 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2cc5lQuWfI
“Jurassic World – Featurette: “Welcome To Jurassic World” (HD)” – Universal Pictures, YouTube GB (1 May 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA4IdQZ7k7w
“7 Things That Need To Happen In Jurassic World” – Clevver Movies, YouTube GB (30 November 2014) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZn_vz9eIr0
“Jurassic World Movie CLIP – Owen Escapes the Indominus Rex Paddock (2015) – Chris Pratt Movie HD” – MOVIES Coming Soon, YouTube GB (23 April 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2R8Dt6WDPU
“Jurassic World – First Look – Indominus Rex – Flix Movies” – BTV, YouTube GB (30 January 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rlwHjZowZQ

 

 

SOUTHERN THAILAND: Soldier shoots two colleagues dead

soldier in the restive south of Thailand has gunned down two of his armed forces colleagues, killing them both, Singapore’s Strait Times reports today.

According to the report, received via the international news agency Agence France Presse (AFP), the soldier has now been charged with murder after shooting two other soldiers at an army barracks in the south of Thailand, home to a Malay minority and a religiously and ethnically inspired insurgency that has claimed 6,300 lives over the past decade. The majority of the victims have been civilians. Hundreds of Thai troops have been stationed in the southern areas which have seen the army and police battle against an agitation by rebels in the Muslim-majority southern provinces bordering Malaysia. The rebels are demanding greater self-government for the Muslim areas in the south. The vast majority of Thais follow Buddhism.

Royal Thai Army soldier armed with M16A2 stand...

Royal Thai Army soldier armed with M16A2 stands on the streets of Bangkok following the 2006 Thailand coup d’état. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The unnamed soldier, believed to be 57 years old and hailing from the southern province of Phatthalung, opened fire late on Friday at a barracks in the Yaring district of Pattani province, killing two other soldiers, local police chief Montri Kongwatmai told AFP.

“The soldier killed two other soldiers and then surrendered himself,” he said. “Our investigation shows he had a personal conflict with them.” The soldier has been charged with murder and will face trial in a military court, Kongwatmai added. There is no implication of any political or insurgency-linked motive for the killings.

There are estimated to be 60,000 troops and police in the region attempting to secure the area and protect locals. They are regularly the target of roadside bombs and gun attacks by rebels, and the pressure of working in such an environment has caused numerous episodes of soldier-on-soldier violence. Last November, an army conscript went on the rampage, killing four officers and then committing suicide. The Thai armed forces chief has said that more needs to be done to offer support and counselling to troops battling rebels in the south. The south was originally part of what is now Malaysia, but was annexed by Thailand over a century ago.

While Thai security forces are often the subject of attacks by rebels, they have also been accused of human rights violations that have been described as widespread. Recently they have been condemned for killing civilians in raids on suspected rebel hideouts.

The insurgency has intensified since 2001, as various Thai elected and military governments have either fought an all-out war with the Malay insurgents or attempted to win over their hearts and minds. There are numerous insurgent groups fighting for greater autonomy in Thailand’s four southernmost provinces. They include the National Revolution FrontRunda Kumpulan Kecil, the Pattani Islamic Mujahideen Movement and the United Mujahideen Front of Pattani.

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SOURCES:
HEM News Agency, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-news-agency
The Straits Times, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/STcom
“Thai soldier shoots dead two colleagues in deep south” – Agence France Presse (AFP) via The Sunday Times – Home – Asia – Story/The Strait Times/SPH Digital News/Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. (10 May 2015) http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/thai-soldier-shoots-dead-two-colleagues-deep-south-20150510
“Thai soldier shoots dead two colleagues in deep south” – Agence France Presse (AFP) via Zee News – Latest News – World News (10 May 2015) http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/thai-soldier-shoots-dead-two-colleagues-in-deep-south_1593014.html
“South Thailand insurgency” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Thailand_insurgency
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Thai coup soldier.jpg” – goshen42, ChrisO & Fanghong, Wikimedia Commons (19 September 2006) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thai_coup_soldier.jpg

 

HENRY EARL: World’s most arrested man

If ever you find yourself pulled over while driving and served a speeding ticket, or a police officer confiscates your Prosecco outside your local pub because they think you look out of it, the following fact may well give you a small amount of consolation the next time you run into the ‘po-po’.

According to the Facts In Your Face Twitter account, the world’s most often arrested individual is a Mr. Henry Earl. He has been detained by police and sent to jail more than 1,500 times since 1970, mostly for public intoxication, in other words, being completely drunk…trolleyed…smashed…legless….sizzerped…on the streets.

Earl, who is also known by the alias James Brown, is a 64-year-old resident of the city of Lexington, Kentucky state, USA. Sadly his drinking addiction has seen him booked over 900 times alone in the past thirteen years, but the upside is that he has achieved a sort of cult status. There is even a website dedicate to his in-and-out-of-prison stats, named “What’s up with Henry Earl?”

“He likes to get drunk a lot. And he gets busted a lot. As in “900+ times in the last 13 years” a lot. He spends roughly twice as much of his life in jail as out. His rap sheet is pages and pages long. Henry would surely take the gold in any Boozer Olympics competition.” – Wee’s News.

Earl has so far spent 4,618 days inside for 1,030 catalogued offences. His average time spent in jail per year is 243 days, and in an average week, this gentleman will be eating cold porridge for 4.5 days and tasting sweet freedom instead for only two days. He has sadly spent several Christmases, Thanksgivings and birthdays behind bars.

Not much is known about him, but his first arrest was in July 1970 at the age of 20 for carrying a weapon. He is believed to be homeless and one local who has spoken with Earl believes that he has mental health issues and criticised the level of mental healthcare in the United States. Local officers have been accused of constantly picking on Earl and seeing him as an easy arrest, although they say he is detained for his own safety. Earl himself had often provoked matters by hurling people’s drinks onto police cars to score a ‘free ride’ to the cells. He has allegedly even asked local shopkeepers in the town of 300,000 to call the police even though he had not committed any crime. He is renowned for his bubbly personality, fierce independent streak and many tales to those who take the time to listen to him.

He often visited local fast food restaurants and would dance and tell jokes in order to get some money for a meal or alcohol fix. People likened him to the suave crooner James Brown, whose name Earl unofficially adopted. He is also beleived to have served in his homeland’s armed forces and was said to have survived a near-fatal head wound from an explosive device while going through a secret tunnel during the Vietnam War. Many of Lexington’s inhabitants and even some of the police officers have a high regard and fondness for Henry Earl and see him as a quirky local institution. One person who often encountered him at a local shelter, Ginny Ramsey, a co-founder of Lexington’s Catholic Action Center, told CNN: “You can’t help but love him, I tell you.

“He’s as honest as the day is long. With Henry Earl, you’re going to hear the truth.”

His cult status has won him a few thousand fans around the world, and a massive headache for the police force serving Fayette County, where Mr. Earl earns most of his infractions. The county jail, as is normal for American correctional facilities and police forces, posts ‘mugshots’ of their offenders. They apparently have tonnes of pictures of Henry. His impressive arrest tally forced Fayette County jailers to ask the owner of the popular sharing website Fark to cease linking to their offender databases as the thousands of visits were causing their servers to crash.

He now has his own theme song, fan videos and even a Firefox browser extension. You can also follow his status via RSS feeds.

In 2009, he was nearly successfully free from the demon drink in an alcohol recovery programme he was placed onto by the courts, but hit the bottle again after five months and a few days short of his graduation from the course, which would have entitled him to a home and food stamps. Currently he is still in jail, but the Lexington Catholic Action Center are trying to help Earl with his booze addiction and stop him from ever returning to the slammer again. 

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SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Facts In Your Face, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/FactsInYourFace
What’s up with Henry Earl?, Wee’s News http://www.monkeygumbo.com/wee/news/henryearl/
“Thanksgiving In Jail For World’s Most Busted Man” – the smoking gun/TSG Industries Inc. (27 November 2013) http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/drunk/a-henry-earl-thanksgiving-756903
“World’s ‘most arrested man’ nicknamed ‘James Brown’ faces Christmas in prison AGAIN” – Simon Austin, Mirror (Daily Mirror) – News – Prisons/Mirror Online (5 December 2013) http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/henry-earl-worlds-most-arrested-2893792
“Christmas in the clink? Most arrested man goes before judge to hear if he’ll celebrate the holidays in jail” – Ashley Collman & Helen Pow, MailOnline News, Daily Mail/Associated Newspapers Ltd (5 December 2013) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2518767/Henry-Earl-hearing-Most-arrested-man-goes-judge-hear-hell-celebrate-holidays-jail.html
“Most-arrested man to face judge as friends hope for ‘Christmas miracle'” – Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN International Edition – Regions – U.S./Cable News Network/Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (4 December 2013) http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/04/us/kentucky-henry-earl-most-arrested/
VIDEO CREDIT:
“Henry Earl (a.k.a. “James Brown”) 1000th arrest” – teveeschmeevee, YouTube GB (25 September 2008) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2ahSLnd_6U

UNIVERSAL CLASS: I passed Excel 2013 course with flying colours

They say learning is a lifelong process, and that you never stop being a student of the University of Life. Certainly as the years roll on, you pick up lots of little and large things that you will learn from. Sometimes the learning opportunities present themselves, and sometimes you have to seek them out.

It does not matter if you are highly educated or you were never fond of studying, everyone learns one way or the other. I hold a undergraduate degree plus very good GCSEs and A-Levels, but I still have that urge to better and distinguish myself academically and to improve my skills. As it is, we are in a highly competitive world. I graduated nearly a decade ago and in that time I have been busying myself with work. Now I have come to the stage in my life where I need to look at what is next in both my life generally and in my career.

In November 2014, I decided I needed to do something to help me improve my prospects. Although I have a relatively impressive CV, because I had been in the same job for a long while and had not studied in that time, my skills were getting a bit rusty and times had changed since my graduation in 2006. In August of that year, my sister completed her diploma in child psychology, with a little help from me. This got me thinking. Why don’t I do a short distance-learning course too? Something to add to my CV (resumé) and impress potential employers and help upskill myself at the same time. As long as it didn’t mire me in even more student debt (I already have a outstanding £15,000 loan with the Student Loan Company for my degree in journalism and media), then what was the harm in trying?

I was well aware that many boroughs in London, including my own, Newham, had a long tradition of managing courses for residents to add to their skillset in order to survive in this hectic metropolis. With this in mind, I had a look at the website of the borough where I live, Newham Council, and discovered they were offering free courses in association with a company called Universal Class. Based in Tampa, Florida, U.S.A, Universal Class Inc. is an internationally-oriented provider of educational services that offer courses in everything pretty much really, from basic accounting and life coaching, to healthcare and computing. I even spotted a course on blogging. Their slogan is “Learn Anything. Learn Anytime. Learn Anywhere”, and they claim to have 600,000+ students learning via more than 500 courses, and have delivered five million courses so far. I was very fortunate that I still had my old Newham Libraries Card in my wallet, so was able to use the card number to log into the Universal Class portal direct from the Newham Council site and create my login details. I didn’t have to pay a penny for the course either.

Out of those 500 courses, I decided to do the one on Microsoft Excel 2013. Why did I choose that?, you may ask. Well in my current job, I spend a lot of time with Excel. It’s the previous version from 2010, but I depend on it a lot to process client data in my company’s database, and I also daily add information from the database and external materials to Excel spreadsheets, so knowing your way around those little cells is essential for this job. I thought that by getting myself certified as a competent user of the latest incarnation of this office work essential, it would not only prepare me for when my office decides to upgrade their Microsoft package, but also could go on my CV as an extra achievement to maximise my employability.

I will not bore you to death with the intricate details of the course or how everything works but here is a brief explanation.

In the Excel 2013 course, you have twenty lessons to complete, starting from really basic stuff to more complicated matters involving tables, graphics and formulae. Each lesson has an optional ‘assignment’, an activity that helps you put into practice what you’ve learned in that lesson. There is also a multiple choice exam of ten questions. Once you have done all the lessons, there is a final exam which has 45 questions, again multiple choice and it will test you on the contents of the entire course. Each lesson also comes with handy links and YouTube videos to expand your knowledge in a given area. You are also assigned an instructor (tutor) who can give feedback and emails you in your UC inbox your scores for each end-of-lesson exam. There is no time limit to completing the course, so you can work at your own pace. Walk in the park!!

The lessons covered the following:

1. Introduction to MS Excel 2013 and the course.
2. Navigating Excel 2013.
3. Worksheets and workbooks.
4. Entering information into MS Excel 2013.
5. Introduction to working with cells, rows and columns.
6. Formatting data and cells.
7. Formatting rows and columns.
8. Editing cells, rows, columns and worksheets.
9. Introduction to formulas and calculations.
10. Working with formulas and functions.
11. Maintaining worksheets.
12. The What-If Analysis.
13. Adding images and graphics.
14. Charts and diagrams.
15. Creating data lists.
16. Managing data.
17. Pivot tables and charts.
18. Printing worksheets and workbooks.
19. Templates.
20. Protecting, saving and sharing workbooks.

I would work on the course over the weekends, often straight after I had written an article here on the blog. One day would be set aside to copy the notes from the lesson onto a Word document and save for my reference, as well as making additional notes from the provided links. I also used that day to do the assignment for some extra brownie points. The other day would be dedicated to revising and then doing the lesson exam. Overall it was a very comprehensive course. The exams were a little tough at times but that is what you would expect from an exam. It helped though that I was already well-versed with Excel’s earlier versions, so my existing knowledge of spreadsheet software meant some of the lessons were a breeze. I even began using some of the skills I learned from the course in my day job. I was doing well, according to my tutor, who was posting back scores ranging from 80 to 100 per cent. I had this course firmly in the bag.

Finally in April 2014, after five months of weekend studying, I was finally ready to do my finals. I decided to put it off until this Bank Holiday weekend, as I would have two days off work plus the normal weekend. I spent the whole weekend reading through the course notes, memorising everything and then tackled the exam at around 5 pm yesterday evening.

As soon as I completed the exam, I submitted it, expecting to have to wait a day for it to be marked by my tutor, Sean. Surprisingly I clicked on an arrow and immediately was informed that I had passed the course.

I passed it with flying colours.

I achieved a score of 92%.

I was very impressed!!!.

*cue train of smiley face emojis*

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

:D

There!!

This was a very special achievement for me, and I feel ‘well proud’ as we East Londoners say.

Capture  - Universal Class Excel 2013 Class Complete

(c) Universal Class Inc. via V. Shah

(c) Universal Class Inc. via V. Shah

(c) Universal Class Inc. via V. Shah

I got a downloadable PDF certificate (although they put my name as ‘MR SHAH’ instead of my full name, which I’m trying to get corrected). I’ve also ordered a paper certificate from them. It cost me £9 but at least I can put the hard-copy version into my National Record of Achievement folder along with my school and college certificates and my university degree. I should get that in from America within two weeks.

I’m really happy. Although the course may not be as thorough as an average course at a further education college, it is very good value considering I am not even paying for it (apart from the small £5.99 monthly fee for using the Excel 2013 software on your PC, but you can cancel the subscription after you finish the course). I plan to return to the Universal Classrooms again this June or July as my next target is a course in administration. I have also found out from one of my LinkedIn groups that the City University of New York journalism school is offering some free courses in skills for news writing. Might give that a try too. If you’re interested, you can see them at this link .

It just goes to show that if you are smart enough to keep your eyes open, dig around the web a bit and research your opportunities, you can make a learning dream come true for you.

Newham Council – http://www.newham.gov.uk/

Universal Class – universalclass.com/

My Universal Class student’s page – http://my.universalclass.com/jay1984

 

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ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Universal Class: Online Courses and Continuing Education” – Universal Class https://www.universalclass.com/index.htm
IMAGE CREDITS:
Universal Class Inc. https://library.universalclass.com/index.htm?frmurl=www
Getty Images via Zemanta.

 

 

PHOTO FEATURE: Mayweather defeats Pacquiao – Facebook reacts

The much awaited epic boxing match between Floyd Mayweather of the United States and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines saw Mayweather defeat his opponent on an unanimous decision in what was billed as the ‘fight of the century‘ by fans and the media. This will now be Mayweather’s 48th consecutive bout that has ended in a win, along with 26 knockouts and no losses. The two boxers had been sparring for a box-office bustup for several years, but frequent delays meant the fight had no chance of happening until last night.

Pacquiao, in his normal humble manner, congratulated his opponent on their win.

Here is a selection of Facebook posts of the outcome of the fight….

MGM Grand Las Vegas – The Champ Floyd Mayweather doing some interviews just after his win against Manny Pacquiao. Thanks to all the fans who came out tonight!

World Boxing Organization – Congratulations to the Welterweight Champion of the World Floyd Mayweather! Winner by UD 118-110, 116-112, 116-112 ‪#‎WBO‬ ‪#‎MayPac‬

Mayweather Promotions – “Floyd Mayweather is a good boxer, he’s fast and I respect that.” – Manny Pacquiao

HBO Boxing – Congratulations to Floyd Mayweather who improves to 48-0, 26 KOs

ESPN – STILL UNDEFEATED! Floyd Mayweather beats Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision.

Neymar Jr. – Manny Pacquiao is an amazing fighter but for me Floyd is the one and as we said in Brazil he is “the guy”. Thanks for the show guys !! Congratulations my friend !! Floyd Mayweather

CBS Sports – Floyd Mayweather moves to 48-0 after defeating Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision on Saturday night.

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SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/

WORLD WILDLIFE: Declining species may lead to ’empty landscape’

A group of scientists have said that the rapid trend of declining wildlife populations could lead to ’empty landscapes’, the science and environment team at British public broadcaster BBC has reported today.

According to population figures published in the scientific magazine Science Advances, there has been a worrying 60 per cent drop in the number of large herbivores (plant-eating animals) such as giraffe, elephant and rhinoceros, leaving them at greater risk of extinction. The figures covered 74 herbivore species and attributed much of the decline to poaching and other forms of illegal hunting, as well as destruction of natural habitats.

Male elephant in Etosha National Park, Namibia...

Male elephant in Etosha National Park, Namibia Kiswahili: Tembo katika mbuga la burudani Etosha, Namibia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A study on large carnivores such as lions, tigers and wild dogs also reported similar declines in population.

The population research was led by Professor William Ripple of Oregon State University. His research covered large herbivores with a weight above 100 kilograms, from the reindeer up to the African elephant.

He explained in the research: “This is the first time anyone has analysed all of these species as a whole,” 

“The process of declining animals is causing an empty landscape in the forest, savannah, grasslands and desert.” he said.

Professor David Macdonald, of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, was among the team of 15 international scientists who pooled together figures for the report.

“The big carnivores, like the charismatic big cats or wolves, face horrendous problems from direct persecution, over-hunting and habitat loss, but our new study adds another nail to their coffin – the empty larder,” he said.

“It’s no use having habitat if there’s nothing left to eat in it.”

The research indicates that much of the population decline in both prey and predators is being driven by various causal factors, including habitat loss, unregulated hunting and poaching, particularly the killing of large animals for ‘bushmeat’ or body parts in Far Eastern medicine, and pressures on their habitats from livestock, involving competition for resources and the swallowing of their habitats by farmland. This problem is being escalated by a rapidly increasing human population with its greater demand for resources and land.

The various species of African rhino were one particularly sad case reported by the BBC. With ivory made from rhinoceros horn worth more than gold, cocaine, and diamonds on the black market and with increasing and illegal demand from nouveau riche buyers in Asia, it is feared that under current levels of population shrinkage, the wild rhino could cease to exist in the wild within 20 years, the researchers claim.

The consequences of large wild herbivore decline include:

*Loss of habitat: for example, elephants maintain forest clearings by trampling vegetation.

*Effects on the food chain: large predators such as lions, leopards, and hyena rely on large herbivores for food.

*Seed dispersal: large herbivores eat seeds which are carried over long distances.

*Impact on humans: an estimated one billion people rely on wild meat for subsistence while the loss of iconic herbivores will have a negative impact on tourism.

The impact of the extinction of large herbivores, and the large carnivores that feed on them, could see the collapse of food chains globally. Many African countries rely on these animals heavily for tourism purposes, leading to huge economic fallouts if they were to vanish.

The report places particular concern for large animals residing in South East Asia, India and Africa. These areas have long-established populations of big animals as well as increasing human habitation. Many governments are struggling to protect animal habitats due to increasing demands for homes and land to build on, as well as lax regulation of national parks and wildlife reserves.

Europe and North America lost many of their own large mammals after the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. Animals such as the mammoth, woolly rhino and sabre-toothed tiger were wiped out by early hunters or changing habitats as the ice sheets retreated. More recently, the wolf, lynx and some species of deer have all but disappeared from the United Kingdom, after being hunted to extinction. There has been some success in reintroducing smaller mammals, such as the beaver, to Britain, centuries after they vanished.

http://advances.sciencemag.org/

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SOURCES:
“HEM Friends & Fans” – The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-friends-fans
Anthony Casas, PhD, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/DrAnthony
“Wildlife decline may lead to ’empty landscape’ ” – Helen Briggs, BBC News – Science & Environment/BBC (2 May 2015) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-32549898
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Etosha elefant.jpg” – Ikiwaner, Wikimedia Commons (27 September 2009) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Etosha_elefant.jpg

 

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