Category: Economy

CSR Europe urges new EU commission and stakeholders to build a European Pact for Youth on skills for jobs

EU policy seminar hosted by Microsoft Europe takes place in Brussels

(4 December, Brussels) Against the backdrop of Commission President Junker’s plan on growth and investment to get European citizens back to work, CSR Europe’s EU policy seminar today set out an ambitious 2016 target to equip 5 million people across Europe with the skills required for jobs in Europe’s competitive business environment.

At the Skills for Jobs seminar hosted by Microsoft Europe, there was also broad support for CSR Europe’s call to establish a European Pact for Youth to work towards setting new standards in business-education alliances to boost employability and job creation.

Together with EU policymakers and educators, CSR Europe member companies including HP, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Samsung, and Telefonica amongst others debated how to practically work together to empower young people to gain the right skills for jobs. Michel Servoz, Director General of EU Commission DG Employment emphasised the key role of businesses in private sector as innovators and job creators. As well as the pressing need for education and skills to keep pace to provide the skills required for new jobs in a modern digital European economy.

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Cocoon

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Amazing photographs from the series ‘Cocoons’  by Peter Steinhauer

Singapore-based photographer peter steinhauer documents the architecture within the urban landscape of hong kong from an uncommon perspective — when the monolithic structures are under construction. his series of ‘cocoon’ compositions capture the towering edifices entirely wrapped in a veil of vibrantly colored silk — a typical structural material unique to the metropolis, which contains debris within and prevents it falling onto the street beneath. enveloped in the brightly-hued fabric, the skyscrapers cloaked in the web of textiles transforms the cityscape, seeming more like a massive artistic intervention rather than a construction device. blue, yellow and green fibers act as a cape, draping over every structural feature like a blanket, framing the scene. the series’ namesake references the casing that wraps some insects during a stage of their metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly — an appropriate way to characterize the architectural sites…

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Mediterranean Sea under TOXIC attack!

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Καταγραφή

Syria has been embroiled in civil war since March 2011, with increasingly unpleasant tactics being employed by all sides. The US and a number of other countries have concluded that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical weapon attacks, but Syrian president Bashar al‑Assad maintains that opposition forces were responsible.

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Google Impact Challenge Awards $500K Each To Four Bay Area Nonprofits

TechCrunch

Google.org, Google’s nonprofit wing, has announced that four nonprofits participating in its Bay Area Impact Challenge will receive grants for $500,000 later this year. Hack the Hood, The Health Trust, Bring Me A Book, and Center for Employment Opportunities came out on top after a 10-day voting period and 200,000 votes cast.

Last month, Google.org selected 25 Bay Area nonprofits from over 1,000 entrants to receive technical support, free co-working space in San Francisco for a year, and grants starting at $100,000. From the 25, it selected the “Bay Area Top 10” on May 22. For 10 days, the company let anyone vote for their favorite four among the group. Last night, Google revealed its top finalists, who will each receive grants from $500,000. The remainder of the 10 will receive grants for $250,000.

The top-four nonprofits run the gamut from giving at-risk students in the Bay Area technical skills to offering kids…

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Microsoft and Facebook turn to white space broadband to connect Ghanaian students

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Microsoft and Facebook are both very keen on figuring out new ways to connect the unconnected – Microsoft with its longstanding efforts to prove that a new wireless technology called white space broadband is viable, and Facebook with its drone-toting Internet.org initiative. Now the two companies have come together on a project in Ghana, West Africa, which involves the provision of wireless connectivity to students.

The pilot scheme falls under Microsoft’s 4Afrika program. It’s based on a commercial deal between Microsoft and local ISP SpectraLink Wireless and will see wireless coverage installed across the campuses and student hostels of All Nations University College and Koforidua Polytechnic. This coverage will come from a mix of technologies including white space – Ghana is in fact the only country in West Africa so far that has given the go-ahead for white space broadband, something that Microsoft and Google are lobbying furiously for across the continent.

White space broadband effectively gathers up and glues together the little buffer gaps between the radio frequency bands being used by television channels. Aggregating these fragments of “white space” and managing them through the use of a location-based spectrum database turns out to be a good way of sneaking through wireless broadband services on otherwise unused airwaves. Check out my detailed write-up of a similar Google pilot in Cape Town, South Africa, if you want to know more – the key point there is that Google has shown white space broadband can work without interfering with the TV channels around those white spaces.

Facebook is involved here on the technology side – the social networking firm is trying to find new ways to grow in the developing world, and it clearly sees now-proven white space technology as a key tool. According to a Tuesday statement, it will collaborate with Microsoft and SpectraLink Wireless “on the policy front,” i.e. lobbying for more regulators to green-light white space usage.

According to Microsoft Technology Policy Group Director Paul Garnett:

“TV white spaces technology, when combined with other low-cost wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi, offers a substantial opportunity for businesses, consumers and governments around the world to improve the economics of broadband network deployment and service delivery. Through these projects worldwide, we are working with local private- and public-sector partners to enable new consumer experiences, while encouraging governments to make needed legal and regulatory changes to allow this technology to be deployed more broadly.”
It’s worth noting that white space broadband isn’t just for developing nations. It could also prove very useful for rural broadband in the U.S. and elsewhere, and Microsoft is also a founding member of Taiwan’s Dynamic Spectrum Access Pilot Group, which is looking at using white spaces for hooking up internet-of-things devices.

Here’s a video about the Ghanaian pilot:

 

Source: http://gigaom.com

Branchless Banking in China: Will Regulation Support Innovation?

Throughout the past few weeks the Chinese banking regulators have intervened on several occasions to put a halt on some innovative products, including virtual credit cards provided by third-party providers and e-commerce companies. At the end of March, People’s Bank of China also announced that it would cap amounts the Chinese can spend using smartphone payment services.

While financial innovation from bank and non-bank actors can create new kinds of risks for consumers, it can also create huge opportunities for the financial sector to expand scale and reduce transaction costs. A recent CGAP report China: A New Paradigm in Branchless Banking? explores how China’s innovative payment ecosystem could significantly deepen financial access in the country, where more than one hundred million people live in poverty and over sixty percent of the poorest population segment has no access to formal banking services.

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7 classic startup mistakes and how to overcome them

Rick Spence | April 30, 2014 8:00 AM ET
More from Rick Spence | @rickspence

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Lucky are those entrepreneurs who get through the startup stage and live to tell about it. Luckier still are those who can learn from the mistakes of other founders.

Kathryn Minshew, co-founder and chief executive of The Muse, a New York-based career-planning and job-site service, survived Y Combinator bootcamp and raised US$1.2-million in capital. She now delivers compelling presentations on “The 7 Classic Startup Founder Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them).” You can watch her 18-minute presentation here, on 99u.com. But first, here’s a quick summary of Minshew’s take on those seven classic slip-ups.

1. Idea vs. product-market fit: Minshew says many founders set out to commercialize a product just because their family members or former college roommates say the product will be a big hit. “Test and refine a product before you launch it,” she says. Talk to people who don’t know you and don’t care about your success. “Once you do that, go out and collect data like it’s your job. Because it is.”

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