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For Kenya’s Yiaku, medicinal herbs are their forest’s blessing and curse

first_imgArticle published by Rebecca Kessler LAIKIPIA, Kenya — Naisimari Lentula, 80 years old, strolls carefully along a narrow footpath through the forest. Suddenly, she stops, her eyes fixed on several aromatic shrubs with bluish flowers that are tumbled over near the path. “This is the work of encroachers,” she says bitterly, then neatly sets the shrubs back to rights with the help of her walking stick.For Lentula, inspecting the condition of the plants around her homestead is a routine she has perfected and performed every other morning for decades. “I have been using these shrubs for medication and used their fruits and tubers as food all my life,” she says.A mother of four and grandmother of a dozen, Lentula is a Yiaku. The indigenous group lives deep inside Mukogodo Forest in central Kenya. Traditionally hunter-gatherers, the Yiaku have embraced pastoralism in recent decades. Although the Mukogodo area is well served by several government and privately owned hospitals and clinics, the Yiaku tend to frown on conventional health care, instead sticking to herbal medicines they gather from the forest. Like many elderly Yiaku, Lentula is a walking encyclopedia of traditional medicinal plants.“You have to know the value of each and every tree here in order to survive and sustain your family’s livelihoods,” she tells Mongabay while stripping a piece of lichen-encrusted bark from a tree to administer to her sick neighbor. Her concoction includes the boiled bark of several tree species, mixed with fresh goat blood and honey — an instant cure for diarrhea, she says.Despite her frail appearance and failing eyesight, Lentula doesn’t plan to retire from her calling as an herbalist any time soon. Nor does she take lightly intrusions that interfere with Mukogodo’s forest ecosystem. Like other Yiaku, Lentula has made it her sacred duty to monitor the 302-square-kilometer (117-square-mile) forest and ensure it remains intact.In fact, the Yiaku are the only indigenous group to whom the Kenyan government has given full responsibility for managing its ancestral forest. They have been so successful at doing so through forest patrols, strategic placement of defensive beehives, and traditions such as the designation of sacred shrines and taboos against cutting trees, that the government plans to spread the model to other communities around the country. Medicinal plants are an important motivation for the Yiaku to conserve Mukogodo.“We can only access medicinal plants if we protect this forest,” Lentula says.Naisimari Lentula, a Yiaku herbalist, with a community forest scout outside her house. Image by Shadrack Kavilu for Mongabay.However, high demand for the herbs, from neighboring communities, is exposing the forest to new threats. In addition to regular small-scale disturbances like the one Lentula observed, community members say outsiders in search of medicinal plants felled several cedar and olive trees in the last year. What pains Yiaku elders most is that some of these were highly treasured trees in a sacred shrine that serves as a water source for the community. They say the intrusions occur mainly during dry seasons when other communities’ habitats have been devastated by drought. The forest suffered the longest spell of intrusions in recent memory this past year.“The encroachment by outsiders in search of herbs could put us on a collision course with the authorities and affect our livelihoods,” says Matunge Manasseh, a Yiaku elder. “We harvest these herbs with a lot of caution so as not to affect the life of a tree, but these encroachers lack the technique and know-how of which specific part of a tree has these medicinal values and instead they cut the entire tree while only the bark has medicinal value.”Manasseh tells Mongabay that the Yiaku community has been generous with information about medicinal plants, but that in return the recipients have ended up using it to damage the forest. “We are now becoming cautious about who we share this knowledge with and for what purposes,” he says, adding that the community must focus on protecting rare tree species that are most sought after by outside herbalists.To combat incursions from herbalists, the Yiaku have become more vigilant. They don’t allow strangers inside the forest without the elders’ consent. Early this year, the community’s forest guards arrested three intruding herbalists, turning them over to the council of elders for disciplinary action, which typically results in the imposition of curses.It is unclear how many other arrests the guards made recently. Forest encroachment is a politically sensitive issue nationally, and especially in Laikipia county, where Mukogodo is located, and it’s common for conflicting accounts to emerge. The Yiaku forest guards claim to have arrested several individuals cutting down trees or taking medicinal plants in Mukogodo and to have handed them over to local authorities. However, the guards couldn’t say how many arrests they had made or when, and the provincial administration chief and Kenya Forest Service (KFS) conservator both denied having received the alleged culprits.Map shows Laikipia County in Kenya, where Mukogodo Forest is located. Image courtesy of Google Maps.Map of Isiolo, Meru, and Laikipia counties in central Kenya shows Mukogodo Forest (center). Click here to enlarge. Image by Yvonne A. de Jong and Thomas M. Butynski, wildsolutions.nl.A national problemThe Yiaku aren’t alone in facing down forest degradation for medicinal plants, and the trend has drawn the government’s attention. In Kenya, as in many African countries, the use of herbal medicine is on the rise, in part because conventional health care is unattainably expensive for many, or simply unavailable, especially in rural areas, according to a 2008 government brief. With just 15 doctors per 100,000 people, “The conventional system provides for only 30 percent of the population, implying that more than two-thirds of Kenyans depend on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs,” the brief states.That reliance is taking a toll on the country’s forests.“We are losing important medicinal tree species to commercial herbalists who are overharvesting trees that are premature,” says Peter Kitelo, a member of the Kenya Forest Indigenous Peoples Network, a Nairobi-based advocacy group. Kitelo says unscrupulous herbalists are exacerbating forest destruction and the loss of medicinal plant biodiversity in the Mau Forest Complex, home of the Ogiek indigenous group to which he belongs, as well as in other forests across the country.The view is shared by conservationists, who note that rising human populations are raising the pressure on forests.“Communities are increasingly encroaching on forests due to climate change and to expand their agricultural land, thus putting pressure on forests and medicinal plants,” says Joseph Mungai, a technical consultant with USAID who is advising the Kenyan government on forest conservation and climate change resilience.By the same token, because traditional medicinal knowledge among the Yiaku and other indigenous peoples plays a vital role in their conservation of forests, researchers are concerned about the rate at which this knowledge is being lost. Over the past century the Yiaku have adopted the culture and language of their pastoral Maasai neighbors, and most of their old people have died without passing their immense wealth of traditional knowledge on to the next generation. Currently there only two remaining elders who can fluently speak the Yiaku language.Yiaku elders Moses Litiku (left) and Naisimari Lentula (right) walk in Mukogodo Forest. Image by Shadrack Kavilu for Mongabay.Edmund Barrow, an independent community conservation and governance consultant based in Nairobi, says the traditional knowledge of indigenous communities is crucial to sustainable land and natural resource management. Indigenous people know more plant species and their medicinal properties than most researchers do, he says, adding that this knowledge should be incorporated into forest policy, both to safeguard it and help conserve the forest.He also says it should be added to school curricula to keep it alive. “We need to bridge this gap in order to ensure the knowledge doesn’t die with the elders,” he says.“Traditional knowledge about biodiversity is inadequately protected” and used, says Barrow. “We have very good laws [and policies] on paper but implementing them remains a challenge.”Since 2009 Kenya has enacted progressive laws and taken other steps to protect and conserve indigenous and local communities’ intellectual property rights over their traditional knowledge, skills and practices, including traditional medicines. However, implementing them has remained a pipe dream, despite the formation of institutions dedicated to the effort.For instance, in 2009 the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), the government agency in charge of patents and trademarks, introduced the Traditional Knowledge and Genetic Resources Unit. One of the unit’s main initiatives was to establish a comprehensive national database of traditional knowledge, in partnership with various Kenyan research institutions, according to Stanley Atsali, a patent examiner with the KIPI.But nearly a decade later, nothing has been done. This despite the country’s adoption, in 2016, of the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expression Act, which specifically mandated the establishment of the database and gave the national government powers to consult with county governments to make it happen.“We are yet to kick off the process,” Atsali tells Mongabay. “We are working with county governments and research institutions to fast-track this process.”None of the high-level initiatives have trickled down to the Yiaku. They say they have yet to receive any support from either the national or county governments in documenting and protecting their traditional knowledge, despite the government’s acknowledgement that it has been so critical to conserving Mukogodo Forest.Shadrack Kavilu is a freelance environmental journalist based in Nairobi. He has published in local and international media outlets, including the Mail and Guardian and Thomson Reuters Foundation News.A view of Mukogodo Forest, a 302-square-kilometer (117-square-mile) tract of largely intact dry forest that is home to 45 mammal species, including threatened elephants, buffaloes and leopards, as well as around 200 bird and 100 butterfly species. Image by Shadrack Kavilu for Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change And Conservation, Community Forestry, Community Forests, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Conservation Solutions, Development, Environment, Featured, Forests, Global Warming, Governance, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Human Rights, Indigenous Communities, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Law Enforcement, Medicinal Plants, Protected Areas, Sustainable Forest Management, Traditional Medicine, Tropical Forests The Yiaku, hunter-gatherers turned herders who live deep inside Mukogodo Forest in central Kenya, have relied on herbal remedies for ages, with knowledge passed orally from one generation to the next.However, high demand for the herbs from neighboring communities is exposing the forest to new threats — a trend mirrored across the country.Recognizing that traditional knowledge is crucial to forest conservation, the government has taken steps to protect it, at least on paper. However, the Yiaku have received little support, even as their most knowledgeable elders pass on and their community becomes increasingly assimilated to their pastoral neighbors.This is the third story in Mongabay’s three-part profile of the Yiaku’s management of their ancestral forest. Read the other stories in this three-part profile of the Yiaku’s management of their ancestral forest:A forest of their own: The Yiaku as Kenya’s model forest stewardsKenya: Bees help indigenous Yiaku defend and monitor their ancestral forest Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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Gardner thanks late Burrell for opportunities

first_img DIFFICULT DECISIONS Former national footballer Ricardo ‘Bibi’ Gardner has credited late president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Captain Horace Burrell ,with providing him with a stage on which to display his talents and having enough confidence in him to allow him to put those talents on display to the world. Gardner was part of Jamaica’s historic football team that qualified for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, a vision of Burrell, who died on Tuesday after a bout with cancer. “I think he (Burrell) played a very significant role in my life as a professional footballer because he was the one in charge of the JFF when I first played for Jamaica, and without Jamaica I wouldn’t be seen in the World Cup,” said Gardner. Gardner was playing with local Premier League club Harbour View in 1998 when Jamaica played their three games at the World Cup in France. His performance in those games led to him later being acquired on contract by English First Division club Bolton Wanderers. Bolton was promoted to the Premier League in the 2001-2002 season, and Gardner was able to display his skills in top-flight English football for 11 years. He was also appointed Reggae Boyz captain for four years from 2005 to 2009. The 38-year-old was also recently appointed National Under-20 coach and said it was again Burrell whose faith led to that appointment. “Recently, I was appointed national coach of the under-20 team, and he was part of that decision, and I want to thank him for that opportunity as it’s a stepping stone to where I want to go in the future, and I think that opportunity and that experience did a lot for me,” he told The Gleaner. Captain Burrell came in for much criticism during his tenure as president of the JFF, but Gardener views him as a “brave” man who was forced to make many difficult decisions and someone whom he could reach out to at any time. “He was always positive, and what I can learn from Captain is that he was very brave, and he was always making choices and difficult decisions that will always help our football fraternity here in Jamaica,” said Gardner. “I just want to thank him for the great job he has done while he was here with us in the flesh, and we only can cherish it every day,” he added. “It’s always sad to see someone pass away, especially someone you are close to and can reach out to any time,” he concluded.last_img read more

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BWI-AVTP Graduates 258

first_imgThe Accelerated Vocational Training Program (AVTP) at the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Kakata, Margibi County last weekend graduated 258 persons who completed courses in eleven disciplines.Some of the disciplines are Automotive, Carpentry, Drafting, Masonry, Plumbing, Domestic Science and Electrical.The event marked the 15th postwar graduation ceremony of the AVTP at BWI.The AVTP was established when the government, during the administration of President William R. Tolbert, Jr., identified the need to build the manpower capacity of the nation’s growing youth population through technical and vocational education and training. Established in 1977 the AVTP was a solution to the inadequate institutions of higher learning to absorb the high number of high school graduates, especially in 1976, when over 14,000 students graduated from high schools across the country. The Charter allows the AVTP to be established at all government owned vocational high schools, including the ones at BWI and the Liberia-Swedish Vocational Training Center in Yekepa, Nimba County.Youth and Sports Deputy Minister for Administration, Dr. T. Nancy Freeman, gave the keynote address on the topic, “The Importance of Technical Vocational Education on Our Development Agenda.” Said Dr. Freeman, the progress and prosperity of most nations of the world are closely identified with economic development. This is because the economic competiveness of a country depends on the skills of its workforce, she said, adding, “The skills and competencies of the workforce, in turn, are dependent upon the quality of the country’s education and training systems.”Vocational education, she said, is therefore considered as one of the crucial elements in enhancing economic productivity.“Technical and vocational education are tools for national development. It is also a form of education in both science, applied science and humanity, all aimed at developing individuals with the right attitude to work and the competency necessary to compete in a global society,” Dr. Freeman told the graduates. As a result, she said government was making all efforts to ensure that technical and vocational education is encouraged and promoted among Liberian youth, noting, “It is a relevant tool for addressing economic, political, and social crises that threaten the political and economic stability of nations.”She observed that reducing unemployment, lack of skilled workers and dropout rates, and the changing demographic nature of the workforce have placed the issue of workforce education high on the educational reform agenda.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Bulldozer demolishes pioneer bungalow

first_imgVAN NUYS – An effort to save the area’s oldest known home failed Wednesday morning when a bulldozer knocked down the 96-year-old bungalow. The clapboard home was flattened before 9 a.m. to make way for condominiums, a move that disappointed preservationists who had nominated it for city landmark status. “I’m absolutely devastated, absolutely devastated,” said Richard Hilton of Valley Glen, who had rallied a last-minute coalition to try to save the home. The 1,000-square-foot home was built in 1911 before an auction by San Fernando Valley pioneer William Paul Whitsett to sell homes in the fledgling town of Van Nuys. Preservationists had hoped to save the home for a future San Fernando Valley historical museum and fault Councilman Tony Cárdenas, whose office they contacted June 8 in a bid for his help. According to city records, Kami A. Merabi, president and chief executive officer of Merabi & Sons, contributed $500 to Cárdenas’ re-election campaign. Cárdenas did not return a phone call seeking comment. But a spokeswoman for Cárdenas said he and his staff had worked until midnight Tuesday researching ways to save the home. Two years ago, Cárdenas had ushered in a long-sought Van Nuys Historic Preservation Zone not far from the demolished house. “It’s just been really frustrating, really frustrating,” said Cárdenas spokeswoman Stacy Bellew. “The councilman was really disappointed. This house was really important to him.” dana.bartholomew @dailynews.com (818) 713-3730 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Its status as a potential landmark was to have been considered next month by the Cultural Heritage Commission, but the developer exercised his legal right to destroy the home first. Developer Merabi & Sons LLC of Van Nuys recently bought the property for $1 million, with plans to build condominiums. Eleven days after the house was nominated as a landmark, the builder obtained a city permit to demolish it. A lawyer representing Merabi & Sons said that despite the last-minute preservation effort, “time was of the essence.” “Everything was already in motion,” said attorney Jeffrey Sklan. “The property was listed, it was open, it was no secret. Why did these people wait until the last minute to do something about it?” It would have been better, he added, for those hoping to save the house to have contacted the developer with a timely offer to relocate it rather than launch a lengthy city landmark application. last_img read more

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Virginia Tech officials criticized

first_imgBy Kristen Gelineau and Dena Potter THE ASSOCIATED PRESS RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Tech officials might have saved lives if they had notified faculty and students sooner about the first two shootings on campus, a panel investigating the April shootings that left 33 dead concluded. “Warning the students, faculty and staff might have made a difference. ? So the earlier and clearer the warning, the more chance an individual had of surviving,” said the report, which was released late Wednesday night. “The points that I will raise tomorrow, I don’t view that they would be solved by taking that step,” Kaine said. The report also concluded that while Cho had demonstrated numerous signs of mental instability, the university did not intervene effectively. The panel sharply critiqued the university’s counseling center, where Cho was referred for treatment in 2005 after a stretch of bizarre behavior and concerns that he was suicidal. The panel concluded that the center failed to provide needed support and services to Cho, due to a lack of resources, misinterpretation of privacy laws and passivity. The report also noted that records of Cho’s “minimal treatment” at the counseling center are missing. Cho showed signs of mental health problems as far back as middle school, the panel found. His middle school teachers found suicidal and homicidal thoughts in his writings after the Columbine High School shootings in 1999. He received psychiatric counseling and was on medication for a short time, the report said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! However, the report concluded that while alerts might have helped students and faculty to protect themselves or alert authorities of suspicious activity, a lockdown on April 16 of the 131 buildings on campus was not feasible. It may not have prevented the determined gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, from carrying out the shootings. As a student, he had access to campus buildings and the ability to get the same messages as everyone else. He could have gained access to a dormitory or begun shooting people in the open. “From what we know of his mental state and commitment to action that day, it was likely that he would have acted out his fantasy somewhere on campus or outside it that same day,” the report said. The eight-member panel, appointed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, spent four months investigating the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Panel chairman Gerald Massengill declined to comment when reached Wednesday night. Kaine said earlier Wednesday he did not conclude from the report that either Virginia Tech President Charles Steger or campus police Chief Wendell Flinchum should resign. last_img read more

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IRISH WATER SAFETY CONCERNED ABOUT TRAINING OF DIVERS AFTER LATEST DONEGAL DEATH

first_imgChief executive of Irish Water Safety John Leech has urged divers to be well-trained and practiced before undertaking dives in Irish seas.The late Rev Dr Stewart Jones.He said the organisation is very concerned about the deaths of five divers in separate accidents in the past month.It follows the latest death in Co Donegal at the weekend. A 57-year old man was the latest person to die in a diving incident off St John’s Point.Rev Dr Stewart Jones of Donemana Presbyterian Church near Strabane, Co Tyrone, who was a qualified diving instructor died after getting into difficulty near St John’s Point lighthouse.Mr Leech said while many of those who died were experienced, conditions and decision-making can affect the outcome of any dive negatively.He said physical fitness was also very important. “Diving by its nature is not risk free – it’s all a case of managing risk,” Mr Leech said.“Generally speaking, what we’d say is that planning a dive is so important, the whole stress-management, training is vital.“The more training you do the less chance you have of dying, because the more time you put in in the water the more diving fit you are,” Mr Leech added.IRISH WATER SAFETY CONCERNED ABOUT TRAINING OF DIVERS AFTER LATEST DONEGAL DEATH was last modified: July 14th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:DiversdonegalIRISH WATER SAFETYlast_img read more

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Adobe Apollo is now Adobe AIR

first_imgAdobe has just unveiled the official name of its much talked about Adobe Apollo product: Adobe Integrated Runtime, or Adobe AIR for short. Adobe is also announcing a beta version of the runtime, which will include Ajaxand HTML support. This means developers can create an Apollo application entirely based on HTML, without using Flash at all.For those who may not know, Adobe Apollo was the code name for the cross-operating runtime developed by Adobe that allows developers to create Rich Internet Applications for the desktop. There’s a myriad of possible use cases for this technology, from productivity applications that work both online and offline, to music players such as Finetune that can be accessed via the desktop.Adobe AIR is expected to be released at the end of the year, and will include a beta version of this runtime along with Ajax and HTML support. Previously, you could only build an Apollo application using Flash, but Adobe is now making it more appealing to a wider range of HTML developers – who may not use Adobe Flash. So included in this announcement is an extension that allows Apollo apps to be created directly from Dreamweaver, and PDF support to leverage the PDF platform in Apollo applications. The release also includes a SQLite database, just like Google Gears, so developers can gobetween the two easily.Adobe is attempting to streamline the process of building Apollo applications, in the hope it increases adoption rates. The challenge in introducing a web development platform is making it simple enough for developers to test drive, yet valuable enough for the end user. Adobe competitor Dekoh (see our profile here), is using an open-source model and community to increase adoption. In many ways, the Adobe strategy is similar to that of Facebook, which recently opened up the Facebook platform. Most web teams can easily develop a Facebook app in a weekend, as it is simple for the development team to create apps for that platform. In turn, the Facebook team hopes that it’s valuable enough to the end user, which then encourages more application building and innovation from developers at other websites.Although not exactly identical situations, Adobe is making it easier for all the developers out there to play around with the platform – and opening it up to HTML developers seems like a smart move. Backed by a $100 million venture fund and tons of corporate investment, Adobe needs to also do a better job of showcasing successful implementations of Apollo; and convince end users why they need to have online and offline support. That is probably the major goal behind the Adobe Bus Tour, also announced today, in which Adobe is traveling to 18 cities to perform demos and spread the word on the platform.Despite the bus tour, my mother and father (average Internet users) need to be convinced that there are many instances in their lives where they need a desktop application of some of their favorite Internet sites/applications. It’s still early in the process but, coupled with the open sourced Flex 3, Adobe is taking a very active approach to being more nimble and inclusive about engaging early adopters. Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… jay fortner 1 Tags:#news#web center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Breaking News in the Industry: March 15, 2018

first_imgCalifornia Highway Patrol program catches L.A. cargo crooksThe California Highway Patrol Cargo Theft Interdiction Program (CTIP) in February arrested 15 members of a suspected theft crew in Los Angeles County following a seven-month investigation of organized commercial burglary. The total value of the stolen cargo was more than $1 million. Those arrested are alleged to have spent their days driving through industrial areas looking for merchandise, according to CTIP. At night they would return to likely spots, cutting holes into warehouse doors and loading stolen products into vans. Some businesses made the suspects’ jobs easier by leaving pallets of merchandise outside for quick pickup and delivery. The thieves targeted boxes of clothing, shoes, cosmetics and electronics and sold some of the merchandise to a Long Beach, California, couple. The CTIP said it expects to make more arrests in the case. The suspects were charged with grand theft and possession of stolen property. California formed the CTIP program in 1994. Security directors from such organizations as the Western States Cargo Theft Association, California Trucking Association and National Cargo and Security Council Transportation meet with law enforcement monthly to discuss recent trends, losses, suspects and active investigations.   [Source: Transport Topics]Casino employee arraigned in Easter promotion schemeA former host at Mohegan Sun Pocono casino in Pennsylvania accused of participating in a scheme to rig an Easter sweepstakes in 2014 was arraigned Tuesday. Kenneth Rowlands, 32, of Kingston, surrendered before District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo Jr. on charges of theft, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy to participate in a rigged contest. Spagnuolo arraigned Rowlands at Luzerne County Central Court and released him on $15,000 unsecured bail. Rowlands was accompanied by his attorney, Peter Moses. Authorities allege Rowlands was in on the scheme that involved two other casino employees — Robert Joseph Pellegrini, 52, a former vice president of player development, and Colin Ray Boecker, 32 — plus casino patron Mark Heltzel. According to criminal complaints: Boecker set up the Easter sweepstakes, which offered patrons the opportunity to select plastic eggs that contained cash prizes and free slot credits. Rowlands had to make sure Heltzel was made aware that a certain egg contained the grand prize of $10,000, which he picked on April 27, 2014. Heltzel then gave some of the cash to Pellegrini, Boecker and Rowlands. Boecker, of Tonawanda, New York, and Pellegrini are facing similar charges. They have not been arraigned.Heltzel, 53, of Dallas, has not been charged in this case, but pleaded guilty in another. The alleged contest rigging happened before Pellegrini was involved another scheme with Heltzel and former casino waitress Rochelle Poszeluznyj, 40, of Kingston. Pellegrini, Heltzel and Poszeluznyj were charged in 2016 in the scheme that ran from May 2014 to April 2015 and involved the theft of personal identification numbers, or PINs, from gamblers. The numbers were then used to create duplicate rewards cards with $478,000 in free play credits. Heltzel gambled with the cards and split the winnings with Pellegrini and Poszeluznyj who stole the PINs. Heltzel was sentenced last August to 18 months in federal prison. Poszeluznyj was sentenced to six months on house arrest and two years on probation.[Source: Times Leader]Toys ‘R’ Us will sell or close all US stores, according to CEOToys “R” Us is set to file liquidation papers Wednesday (March 14) evening in advance of a bankruptcy court hearing on Thursday, reported The Record. Toys “R” Us CEO David Brandon spoke about the company’s fate to employees in a conference call, calling it a sad day, according to the report. He also said the brand would be missed. However, the decision to liquidate might not sink the retailer totally. CNBC reported that the toy giant is eyeing one plan that would keep some stores open ever after it liquidates the company. Under the proposal, the company would sell its stronger Toys “R” Us Canadian division, along with some 200 of its most profitable US stores, to a new buyer. Although there is no definite buyer yet, there are several circulating, according to CNBC. Toys “R” Us, which filed for bankruptcy in September, currently has more than 700 remaining US locations, between its namesake and Babies “R” Us banners. In related developments, the U.K. arm of Toys “R” Us on Wednesday announced it will be closing its store base within six weeks. [Source: Chain Store Age]- Sponsor – Man robs JCPenney store, threatens LP associate with knifePolice in San Antonio, Texas, arrested a 33-year-old man after he allegedly robbed a JCPenney and threatened a loss prevention associate with a knife. Investigators say Roland Pena was caught on camera stuffing a pair of jeans inside a shopping bag at South Park Mall on SW Military Drive around 1 p.m. on February 22nd and then putting on a new pair of shoes before walking toward the elevator. A police affidavit states Pena was confronted by a loss prevention associate, who said Pena took off the shoes but kept the jeans in the bag. Investigators say Pena pulled out a knife as he walked toward the store exit and told the LP associate to stop following him. Pena has been charged with aggravated robbery. [Source: News4SA]Retail jobs increased by over 46,000 in FebruaryRetail industry employment increased by 46,400 jobs in February over January, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said today. The number excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. Overall, the economy added 313,000 jobs, the Labor Department said. “This substantial gain in retail jobs is a significant positive sign regarding the health and viability of the industry,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “It is stronger than expected and there were broad gains across most retail sectors. Beyond retail, labor markets continued to strengthen in all industries in February, and more jobs throughout the economy will mean more consumers shopping in retail stores. With tax reform in effect, consumer confidence increasing and strong underlying economic fundamentals, 2018 is off to a good start and we expect a prosperous year ahead.”The February increase was more than four times the gain of 10,800 jobs seen in January over December. The three-month moving average in February showed an increase of 10,600 jobs.General merchandise stores were up by 17,700 jobs, fueled mostly by gains at warehouse and supercenter stores, while clothing and accessories stores were up by 14,900 jobs and building materials stores were up by 10,300 jobs. There were declines totaling 5,400 jobs spread across health and personal care, sporting goods and miscellaneous stores. Kleinhenz noted that retail job numbers reported by the Labor Department do not provide an accurate picture of the industry because they count only employees who work in stores while excludng retail workers in other parts of the business such as corporate headquarters, distribution centers, call centers and innovation labs. Economy-wide, average hourly earnings in February increased by 68 cents – 2.6 percent – year over year. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, unchanged for the fifth straight month. [Source: Business Wire]ATM debit card fraud hit 10 percent in 2017A new report has revealed that there was a 10 percent increase in the number of payment cards compromised at US ATMs and merchants in 2017. “The number of compromises and the number of card members impacted set a new record last year,” said TJ Horan, vice president of fraud solutions at FICO. “While most devices are safe, fraudsters are developing new technology and methods for hacking ATMs. This is why it’s important for consumers to be cautious when withdrawing cash, and also for them to check their account regularly and confirm that all the transactions on their debit card are legitimate.”The data – which is taken from the FICO Card Alert Service that monitors hundreds of thousands of ATMs and other readers in the US – also showed that compromised card readers at US ATMs, restaurants and merchants went up 8 percent in 2017.ATM hacks have proven to be a real concern for consumers and financial institutions. Earlier this year, Diebold Nixdorf and NCR Corporation – the two biggest ATM makers in the world – warned that hackers are going after ATM machines in the US with tools that can force the machines to spit out cash. A confidential alert was sent to banks from the U.S. Secret Service that hackers are targeting standalone ATMs that are usually found in drug stores, big-box retailers and drive-thru ATMs. And while financial institutions are launching cardless ATM transactions in which customers can use their mobile phones to withdraw money, Krebs on Security found that feature can be hacked, with criminals using stolen bank account usernames and passwords to quietly take cash out of ATMs. In its report, FICO offered tips to keep payment card info safe, including staying away from an ATM that looks odd, or where your card doesn’t enter the machine smoothly; avoiding an ATM if anyone is hanging around nearby; calling your bank immediately if your card is captured inside of an ATM; requesting a new card number if you believe your card has been compromised; and checking your transactions frequently. [Source: PYMNTS] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

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Google Plus’ Circles System May Not be Sustainable

first_imgHere’s another example: you become friends with someone – real friends, not “Internet friends.” Thanks more public social networks like Twitter or even niche communities like “People You Follow” on Google Reader, there’s now an opportunity to know of someone, even chat casually with them in a safe, public, space. With Circles, you can easily dump all these same folks into one big Circle. From my initial foray into Google Plus, that’s precisely what many of the early adopters have done. They’re using Google Plus the way they used Google Buzz, or FriendFeed before that. Friend everyone, and engage in public chats – mostly about Google Plus, of course.But what about when one of those people becomes a real-world friend? Maybe you first run into them at a conference, putting a face to a name. They’re now an “Acquaintance.” Later, you spend a night out on the town with them, and realize you have a lot in common. You make plans to see each other again, at a non-work event, perhaps. This person has become a “Friend.” Depending on how your Google Circles are set up, you may have had to drag-and-drop them into multiple different circles over time, as this relationship changes. Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Be Prepared: Circle Management Overhead Coming SoonNo big deal, you say – it’s just one person. But are you prepared to do that with all your relationships, from this point forward? Is that a sustainable system? How much of your time with Google Plus will be spent organizing and quantifying your degrees of closeness with your contacts? And if you choose not to, deciding to just friend only your “real” friends, or “return friend” everyone, then how exactly would Google Plus’s system be any different from Facebook or Twitter (respectively) for you, in terms of relationship management?These are some of my initial concerns with the Circles model of managing relationships. It’s not a system I personally mind, to be fair – I’m a geek too, and I like organizing things. But what about the mainstream user, arriving from Facebook? Circles are a lot like Facebook’s friend lists, a feature which Facebook has shown less support for and interest in over time. Maybe regular folks don’t think it’s useful to put people in lists? Maybe regular folks find it easier to live in public, and post things for everyone to see, even if “everyone” now includes mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, and that random friend from high school who wanted to catch up?What Can Google Do?To continually differentiate itself from Facebook, and keep Circles from becoming an organizational overhead nightmare, Google Plus needs to get smarter, quickly. Google should use its engineering brilliance to build algorithms that do relationship management for you. It should know when you change jobs (you update LinkedIn, for example) and suggest or enact a Circles change to reflect that. It could monitor the frequency of your conversations with fellow friends and suggest they’re moved into a more personal circle – all you have to do is click “Accept.” Or it could even auto-create Circles for you based on those interactions, or based on keywords in Google Profiles, or based on whether or not you were friends on other networks, and so on.But should Google intervene? Or would that cross the “creepy line” it so likes to toe? And if it does not intervene, will Circles become end up being too much work to keep up with, thereby destroying the entire value proposition of Why Google Plus and Not Facebook?What do you think? Do you share this concern, or find me overly pessimistic? Let me know your thoughts via comments, Twitter, or heck, Google Plus. Tags:#Google#Op-Ed#social networks#web Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…center_img Related Posts A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit There are now over 3,000 people in a circle I’ve dubbed “work friends.” That may be nothing compared to the likes of Robert Scoble, but at the current rate of friending occurring on Google’s new social network, I’m well on my way to seeing friend counts that rival Twitter, a network where I’m hovering around 12,000 followers. And this is during Google Plus’ private trial period!The beauty of Google’s Circles is that it does allow for this sort of public relationship with people in your industry – in my case, fellow tech enthusiasts. But at some point, I’m concerned the “put people into boxes” model may break down. Relationships aren’t binary (friend or not), but they’re also not static (e.g. “Friend A in Circle X”). Relationships change. How will Circles adapt to change with them?2 Examples of Changing RelationshipsHere’s one simple example to illustrate the problem with Circles: you change jobs. Let’s say you go to work for a competitor. Now, everyone in the circle called “Work” need to be put into a circle with less access to your daily thoughts and posts, assuming you were using Google Plus to talk about projects you’re working on or you were talking to others in your same industry. Those conversations may need to remain private.Even if privacy is not a concern, for organizational purposes alone, the title “Work” is no longer accurate. sarah perezlast_img read more

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Facebook Has Already Shown Us What Its VR App Will Look Like

first_imgOn Tuesday evening, Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox let slip that the company was working on its own virtual-reality apps.Cox’s revelation, in a talk at the Code Media conference in Dana Point, Calif., is hardly a shocker, given Facebook’s purchase of headset maker Oculus VR last year. But it’s the first time the company has hinted at any plans to take advantage of its shiny new toy.So what is a virtual-reality version of Facebook going to look like? Turns out we’ve already seen it.Remember Facebook Home, the social network’s ill-fated attempt to take over your Android phone? Putting photos and status updates on your lock screen didn’t live up to the hype. But in two television commercials—one starring Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself—the company gave a very clear vision of what an immersive, IRL version of Facebook would look like.In one commercial, an airplane ride gets livened up by a shirtless dude in the luggage compartment, drag queens, and a cute kid:In the other, Zuckerberg is interrupted by a screaming goat and a pool party:These wacky interruptions were meant to represent what our friends’ pictures and updates would look like if we could experience them all around us.See also: Facebook Home Could Be A Pain, Unless You Really Love FacebookThe problem is that Facebook Home was a flawed product: It didn’t work as well as it could, and it just didn’t prove as compelling to users as Facebook’s designers and engineers hoped.“The version of the world where you’re sending an immersive picture of what you’re doing is far more interesting,” Cox told his interlocutor, Recode editor Peter Kafka, at the event. “You’ll do it, Beyonce will do it.”Oculus VR, whose Rift headset places you in a virtual world where you can turn left and right and see all around you, could be the vehicle for these experiences. It’s far less clear, of course, how we’ll capture these 360-degree views of what’s happening around us.But Facebook has the building blocks for those tools, in its core app, as well as photo-sharing tool Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.Sharing cat GIFs is so 2014, in other words. Get ready for the screaming goats.Lead image courtesy of Facebook Tags:#Chris Cox#Facebook#Facebook Home#Mark Zuckerberg#Oculus Rift#Oculus VR#virtual reality You Think Your Employees WANT to Wear That Devi… Related Posts How Wearables Will Take Health Monitoring to th…center_img The Key to Mass Adoption of Wearables owen thomas 4 Ways Big Data & VR Are Changing Professi…last_img read more

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