PHOTO MOMENT: The BT Tower

 

A window view of the BT Tower, in Fitzrovia, central London. I took this picture on the 28th of August, 2012, on the first day at my new office in Tottenham Court Road, after my company relocated there from our old site in Bressenden Place, Victoria which was scheduled for demolition.

The BT Tower, formerly known as the ‘Post Office Tower’, was first built in 1961, with construction completed in 1964. Standing in at 191 metres (627 ft), it was initially devised by the then General Post Office as a means of ferrying telecommunications traffic from London to the rest of the UK. It was the tallest structure in London up until the 1980s, and had its own rooftop restaurant which sadly closed in the same decade.

ADDITIONAL SOURCE/IMAGE CREDIT:
“BT Tower” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BT_Tower
Vijay Shah via Facebook.

QUOTE MOMENT: The science of silence

 

When dealing with those awkward questions or when someone is giving you a piece of their mind, sometimes it is better to keep those lips sealed and let the absence of voice do the talking. There are those who have a habit of saying things to provoke or upset and silence is the best way to frustrate them.

This quote was said to be uttered by Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Imam Ali or the fourth Caliph in the early days of Islam. He was also a cousin and son-in-law of the founder of Islam, the prophet Muhammed.

IMAGE CREDITS:
Forgive me Allah, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/LordForgiveMe/
Alia Hellz Bachell.

FIGHTING DISCRIMINATION: London council launches hate crime helpline

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Harrow, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH

In the wake of a massive rise in reported hate crimes such as racist attacks and taunts following the outcome of the EU referendum in June 2016, a London local government body has launched a specialised helpline for its residents to report incidents and crimes of xenophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of hate.

Harrow Council, in north-east Greater London, had set up the service after several people in the borough of Harrow came forward to report ‘low level’ incidences of verbal racial abuse, which the council’s iHarrow portal stated was “causing distress amongst community members” in the borough of 215,000, one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse among London’s 32 borough areas. The council also expressed concerns that while Harrow escaped the worst of the spike in hate-motivated incidents in the wake of Brexit, much of these crimes were going unreported to the police.

The new hotline, 0800 138 1625, which is free to call and runs 24 hours a day, was set up by the council in tandem with the Stop Hate UK service. The service is also being promoted across the borough to encourage people to speak about hate crimes affecting them, their families, friends and communities.

People who witness others being personally attacked or having their property attacked because of their disability, race, religion, creed, sexual orientation or gender identity and where it is not an emergency can call the helpline in strict confidence. People whose first language is not English can arrange for a translator to return their call within five working days by simply leaving their contact details.

SOURCES/IMAGE CREDIT:
Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind
iharrow.com, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/iharrow
“Report Hate Crime in Harrow – 0800 138 1625” – iharrow.com (16 August 2016) http://www.iharrow.com/council/report-hate-crime-in-harrow-0800-138-1625/

FELLAINI: New manager Jose Mourinho on how he convinced footballer to excel at Manchester Utd.

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Manchester, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH

New Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who watched his team steer to an impressive 2-0 victory over Southampton FC at home yesterday, revealed today how he convinced star Belgian international Marouane Fellaini to shine since the beginning of this season and the first matches of the ex-Chelsea manager’s tenure at the Red Devils.

So far, under the ‘Special One’s ‘ leadership, Manchester United have successfully held against both Southampton and Bournemouth. Fellaini, famed for his impressive skills and height, not to mention his distinctive golden Afro hairstyle had put in much effort in the central attack in both Premier League wins this past week alongside Ander Herrera and new £40 million signing Paul Pogba. The manager said a phone call he made to the Belgian helped bring about a ‘change in the relationship’ between him and Fellaini, he told Manchester United’s football news team.

 

After the Red Devils’ fast-paced triumph yesterday evening, Mourinho was quick to praise Fellaini and revealed the phone call, made earlier this summer as Mourinho was easing into his new role and anxious to prove his worth in the eyes of his players.

“Fellaini is playing well,” Mourinho told reporters after the final whistle at Old Trafford. “It’s a complete change in the relationship and I am happy with the result. Maybe a simple phone call can make a difference to a player who was feeling he was not loved, to a player who when the [transfer] market opened everyone was saying he was leaving. Everyone was saying he wasn’t for me.

“Maybe a simple phone call then, after my presentation as Manchester United manager, changed a lot. I said to him, ‘Forget everything you read. With me you don’t leave, for sure’,” he continued.

“Maybe that confidence in him was unexpected. The more organised the team is, the easier it is for players to feel confident. He has played will with Michael Carrick, he has played well with Ander Herrera, he has played well with Paul [Pogba].”

Mourinho also had praises for the strong support of the team’s fans, who came out in force yesterday to see the Devils steam ahead with two impressive goals from the formidable Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He also further emphasised the improved relationships and strength of his squad.

“I am very happy,” he said. “The crowd was magnificent and they are creating a good relationship with the team, with the players. Even players who in previous years I could feel the relationship wasn’t the best.

“I’m happy with the result and the performance [against Southampton]. It’s difficult for us to be better in this moment. The opponents are good, they have good quality. You have to be mentally strong to cope with it but then we score goals and we are always in control.

“I think Pogba and Ibrahimovic were very, very good, but I could say the same about Mkhitaryan in the last 20 minutes when he showed his quality. What pleases me more is the others rising to a different level like Valencia and Blind, and I’ve already mentioned Marouane.”

Manchester will next face Hull City away at the KC Stadium on Saturday 27th August 2016 at 5.30pm.

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Man United Latest, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/LatestManUtd
“Mourinho reveals phone call to Fellaini”- Man United Latest (20 August 2016) http://manunitedlatest.com/mourinho-reveals-phone-call-to-fellaini/
“MOURINHO REVEALS PHONE CALL TO FELLAINI” – Jamie Allen, Manchester United FC – Football News/Manchester United Ltd (20 August 2016) http://www.manutd.com/en/News-And-Features/Football-News/2016/Aug/Jose-Mourinho-reveals-secret-behind-Fellaini-confidence-boost.aspx?newsid=F159858C-EADB-49A1-A4B6-11559968CD52
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Clint Dempsey and Marouane Fellani USA vs Belgium.jpg” – Erik Drost & Ytoyoda, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (29 May 2013) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clint_Dempsey_and_Marouane_Fellani_USA_vs_Belgium.jpg

HUMOUR MOMENT: The Looter’s Prayer

Here’s a little something that I posted on Facebook way back in August 2011 (five years ago). To give you some context first, at that time riots and widespread looting was happening across the UK. The riots first started in my city, London, after a man was shot dead by police in questionable circumstances. The riots soon spread to other major cities. I posted this as a tongue-in-cheek joke and was not intended as a slur against any age or religious group.

It is the Lord’s Prayer reimagined for the rioting classes, and here we have…. the Looter’s Prayer. May the (police) force be with you!

 

The Looters Prayer

Our father who art in prison, my mum knows not his name.
Thy rioting done, you’ll read in the Sun, in Birmingham as it is in London.
Give us this day our welfare bread & forgive us for looting, as we forgive those who give Asbos against us.
…Lead us not into employment but deliver us free housing,
for thine is the petrol bomb, the plunder & all it’s glories,
forever & ever,..

 

 

IMAGE CREDIT:
“A chavvy Christmas: Mary and Joe turn burglars in school’s Nativity study” – Press Team, Mail Online News/Daily Mail/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (10 December 2008) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1093148/A-chavvy-Christmas-Mary-Joe-turn-burglars-schools-Nativity-study.html

A LOT OF CUDDLES: New York City’s largest cat

New York, UNITED STATES
VIJAY SHAH

New York city is famous for its big breakfasts and tiny apartments. It is also a haven for pet-lovers and one cat has certainly taken local, and now international media by storm.

His name is Samson. A Maine Coon cat (normally a hefty, but not giant-sized breed), the chubby tabby has a length of 4 feet (1.22 metres) and weighs 28 lbs (12.7 kg) compared with the average housecat’s 5-10 lbs (2.3-4.5 kg). He in fact is larger and weighs more than most toddlers and practically carpets his owner, when Samson lies on him. And the crazy thing is, Samson may not have yet finished growing.

Though he should really be named Goliath, Samson, aged four, is in fact highly friendly and playful and spends his days lounging around and batting his paw at mini-drones with owner and ‘daddy’ Jonathan Zurbel, in the district of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, where he attracts a lot of attention when he is taken outside in his distinctive green buggy. Samson has even being reimagined as a body positivity icon, and despite many people assuming that the cat is in a bad way due to his size, Zurbel’s local vet has given him a rating of good health.

 

 

SOURCES/VIDEO CREDITS:
“catstradamus” – Samson (Catstradamus) and Jonathan Zurbel, Instragram https://www.instagram.com/catstradamus/
“This Cat Is The Biggest Cat In NYC” – The Dodo, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/thedodosite/
“Meet Samson, the largest cat in New York City who’s becoming a body-positive icon” – Melissa Stanger, Revelist/CafeMedia Family/CMI MARKETING (12 August 2016) http://www.revelist.com/animals/largest-cat-new-york-city/4215/follow-samson-on-instagram/9

FIGHTBACK AGAINST DAESH: Syrian forces take back large areas of Manbij

Manbij, SYRIA
VIJAY SHAH via The Jerusalem Post & Reuters

 

In breaking news, the Israeli English-language newspaper The Jerusalem Post reports via the Reuters news agency that Syrian forces, with backing from the American military have succeeded in taking back forty per cent of the city of Manbij, which was previously part of the self-declared ‘caliphate’ of Daesh (so-called Islamic State). The city lies in the Aleppo governorate, thirty miles from the Euphrates river in north Syria, and is around 40-50 kilometres from the Turkish border.

Manbij had witnessed heavy fighting and casualties in the past few months as the Syrian Democratic Army and other forces had tried to retake it, with the help of US Special Forces. New advances by the Syrian forces have meant non-Daesh fighters now control just under half of Manbij’s terrirtory.

The British based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a one-man observation post for activities inside Syria, said that soldiers from the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), with help from controversial US air strikes, had succeeded in wresting back control of the eastern flank of Manbij, after making some slow advances in the western part. The US is also working with local Kurdish peshmerga and Arab allies in moping up the heavy resistance of Daesh. The alliance formed last year and since then has engaged in a campaign for the past two months aimed at driving out Daesh from its territories straddling the Syrian-Turkish frontier. The Daesh’s proximity to the Turkish border has been a headache for the country, with Daesh militants crossing it to perpetrate bombings on Turkish soil and border villages and towns regularly hit by the group’s artillery.

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Chris., Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Chris_1791
“Report: US-backed forces now control 40 percent of IS-held city of Manbij” – Reuters via The Jerusalem Post – Breaking News/Jpost Inc. (31 July 2016) http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Report-US-backed-forces-now-control-40-percent-of-IS-held-city-of-Manbij-462818
IMAGE CREDIT:
“A street view of Manbij city” – Jacky Lee, Panoramio via Wikipedia (22 September 2005) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manbij#/media/File:A_street_view_of_manbij_city_-_panoramio.jpg [CC BY 3.0]

5G WORLD: Post-Brexit strategies webinar

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London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH

KNect365, a subsidiary business of leading multinational events company Informa, is releasing a webinar for telecoms organisations figuring out their next steps in the aftermath of the 24th June referendum that saw the United Kingdom vote by a slim margin to leave the European Union.

In what is an uncertain time for many British businesses, the webinar, which is being held as part of Informa’s telecoms.com e-magazine, will help players in the telecommunications industry explore their post-Brexit strategies, as upcoming negotiations over the UK’s eventual status concerning the EU leave the country’s firms wondering what is in their future, and the direction of the national and international telecoms market.

 

 

Currently the UK regulatory framework for telecommunications is partly underpinned by the EU Regulatory Framework with Ofcom acting as national regulatory body for companies based here such as Sky and TalkTalk. Should the UK Parliament honour the outcome of the referendum and trigger Article 50 for withdrawal from the EU, then it is expected that all telecoms regulation will pass completely to Ofcom.

In addition to regulation, UK telecoms firms are also concerned about other implications post-Brexit, such as increased roaming charges for British tourists travelling in the EU and the termination of EU funding which support research and development for 5G networks in British laboratories and investment into alternative network providers.

The webinar, entitled What’s Your Post-Brexit Strategy?” will also examine other core issues such as the impact of Brexit on fixed and mobile phone operators, corporate preparation work in regards to the split from the EU and the potential changes in Ofcom’s regulatory set-up and directives once EU law ceases to be valid here.

Speakers lined up to offer their advice at the webinar include Mike Conradi, a partner with law firm DLA Piper UK LLP, who specialises in dispensing commercial and regulatory advice to telecoms firms. His speciality is regulatory matters, telecoms and IT outsourcing and in telecoms infrastructure projects. Joining him will be Malcolm Corbett, the chief executive officer of Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA), the trade association for private, public and community sector organisations building next generation fibre and wireless broadband networks in the UK, and Informa’s own Tim Skinner, head of intelligence for telecoms.com, who is in charge of  delivering editorial content on client services, such as white papers, reports, webinars and surveys.

The event is free of charge but requires registration via KNect365. It is scheduled for Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 3 pm British Summer Time, lasting one hour. To register, please see the sources link below.

DISCLAIMER: The writer is an employee of KNect365.
SOURCES:
Informa Accounts, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/informa-accounts
5G World Series, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/5GWorldSeries
“Event Registration” – Knect365 & telecoms.com via ON24 https://event.on24.com/eventRegistration/EventLobbyServlet?target=reg20.jsp&partnerref=KNect365&eventid=1226515&sessionid=1&key=61D49E9A99BB88FDC13D0053BF883671&regTag=&sourcepage=register
IMAGE CREDIT:
5G World Series, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/5GWorldSeries

PHOTO MOMENT: Long hugs

 

“Sometimes, that’s all you need.”

A hug is a good way to release feel-good endorphins into the bloodstream. It is also a quick, simple and ‘warm and fuzzy’ way of reinforcing human relationships (and human-other animal ones too). Even for me, though I’m not the most touchy-feely person, a warm and firm hug from a loved one just makes me feel so much better.

So go ahead, give someone you care about a hug today. It is free after all.

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
#BAE, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Hashtag_Bae
IMAGE CREDITS:
cute couple things, Tumblr http://cute-couples-things.tumblr.com/

VALUABLE SMOKE: Artist helps China turn smog into diamonds

Beijing, CHINA
VIJAY SHAH via World Economic Forum

Smog is probably one of the most useless… and dangerous things known to humanity. The thick all-enveloping clouds of chemical particulates, water vapour, smoke and other atmospheric ingredients kills thousands of people globally per year, causes disruption to traffic and the economy and is an inescapable hazard to sufferers of breathing problems such as asthma. But now, in the notoriously polluted cities of China, they are not only fighting back, but are making a tidy profit from it too.

China has some of the most polluted aerial environments on earth. With a 1 billion-plus population and rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, as well as a determined quest to become a major world superpower, the country’s citizens pay the price for China’s great march to prosperity, enduring extremely high smog levels owing to the proliferation of factories, industrial units and slash-and-burn farming creating smoke which blows in from the countryside. In some large cities, including the capital Beijing, smog occurs almost on a daily basis, and is particularly evident in the summer months. One nationwide smog incident in late 2015 sparked red alerts and health warnings in ten cities, and the dirty air is thick enough to reach California, thousands of miles away in the Pacific.

 

However an artist from the Netherlands has proposed a novel solution that could not only rid cities in China, and in other rapidly developing nations, of their peasoupers, but also provide a boost to the diamond industry, turning a killer into a sparkler.

Dutch national Daan Roosegaarde is the in-charge of the Smog Free Project. The premise of the project is simple. First erect a seven metre tall tower which looks like it was made from window blinds and resembles a portly windmill. The tower draws in the polluted air and purifies it. As it does so, the carbon from the smog is extracted and compressed into carbon, the building blocks for organic life and the core ingredient of diamonds. The tower transforms the carbon dust into valuable gems, in a process that takes just thirty minutes. Beijing’s smog alone is 32 per cent carbon particulates, which will mean a lot of gems. The towers are, not surprisingly considering the background of their designer, influenced by Dutch architectural styles, and are intended to not look too obtrusive or space-consuming, a form of functional urban sculpture.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions, Roosegaarde told the assembled delegates and press: “It started with a dream,”

“The dream of clean air for everyone.”

The idea for the Smog Free Project first formed in Roosegaarde’s imagination when he was observing Beijing’s notorious smog from a hotel window.

“On Saturday, I could see the world around me, the cars, the trees, the people. But on Wednesday it was completely covered in smog, with pollution, and that image made me a little bit sad.”

Determined to free people from being forced to stay inside during smoggy days and to give them freedom to breathe safe air, he began planning the project.

Tests done in Beijing have shown the technology does work. Areas where the towers were tested were found to have air 70 to 75 per cent cleaner than places which did not have them. The success of the tests was picked up on by Beijing’s city government who have decided to endorse the artist’s project. Roosegaarde will now tour other cities in China to display the virtues and benefits of the towers.

The diamonds produced by the Smog Free Project will be used in jewellery making and the profits made ploughed back into the project, particularly in funding the construction of more towers.

SOURCES/VIDEO CREDIT:
World Economic Forum, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/worldeconomicforum/
“Why turning China’s smog into diamonds isn’t as crazy as it sounds” – Rachel Hallett, World Economic Forum – Industry Agenda (27 June 2016) https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/06/why-turning-smog-into-diamonds-isn-t-as-crazy-as-it-sounds?utm_content=buffer507f2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Rosa Ortiz.
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