Showing posts with label News Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News Related. Show all posts

10 March 2021

After a Year of Pain, Here's How The COVID-19 Pandemic Could Play Out in 2021 and Beyond

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After a Year of Pain, Here's How The COVID-19 Pandemic Could Play Out in 2021 and Beyond
After a Year of Pain, Here's How The COVID-19 Pandemic Could Play Out in 2021 and Beyond (image from shutterstock.com)

One year ago today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the first caused by a coronavirus.

As we enter year two of the pandemic, let’s remind ourselves of some sobering statistics. So far, there have been more than 117.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world; more than 2.6 million people have died. A total of 221 countries and territories have been affected. Some 12 of the 14 countries and territories reporting no cases are small Pacific or Atlantic islands.

Whether the race to end the pandemic will be a sprint or a marathon remains to be seen, as does the extent of the gap between rich and poor contestants. However, as vaccines roll out across the world, it seems we are collectively just out of the starting blocks.

Here are the challenges we face over the next 12 months if we are to ever begin to reduce COVID-19 to a sporadic or endemic disease.

Vaccines are like walking on the Moon

Developing safe and effective vaccines in such a short time frame was a mission as ambitious, and with as many potential pitfalls, as walking on the Moon.

Miraculously, 12 months since a pandemic was declared, eight vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, have been approved by at least one country. A ninth, Novavax, is very promising. So far, more than 312 million people have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

While most high-income countries will have vaccinated their populations by early 2022, 85 poor countries will have to wait until 2023.

This implies the world won’t be back to normal travel, trade and supply chains until 2024 unless rich countries take actions — such as waiving vaccine patents, diversifying production of vaccines and supporting vaccine delivery — to help poor countries catch up.

The vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in preventing symptomatic and severe COVID-19. However, we need to continue to study the vaccines after being rolled out (conducting so-called post-implementation studies) in 2021 and beyond. This is to determine how long protection lasts, whether we need booster doses, how well vaccines work in children and the impact of vaccines on viral transmission.

What should make us feel optimistic is that in countries that rolled out the vaccines early, such as the UK and Israel, there are signs the rate of new infections is in decline.

What are the potential barriers to overcome?

One of the most salutary lessons we have learnt in the pandemic’s first year is how dangerous it is to let COVID-19 transmission go unchecked. The result is the emergence of more transmissible variants that escape our immune responses, high rates of excess mortality and a stalled economy.

Until we achieve high levels of population immunity via vaccination, in 2021 we must maintain individual and societal measures, such as masks, physical distancing, and hand hygiene; improve indoor ventilation; and strengthen outbreak responses — testing, contact tracing and isolation.

After a Year of Pain, Here's How The COVID-19 Pandemic Could Play Out in 2021 and Beyond
In 2021, we still need to wear masks, physically distance, clean our hands, and improve indoor ventilation. (image from shutterstock.com)

However, there are already signs of complacency and much misinformation to counter, especially for vaccine uptake. So we must continue to address both these barriers.

The outcomes of even momentary complacency are evident as global numbers of new cases once again increase after a steady two month decline. This recent uptick reflects surges in many European countries, such as Italy, and Latin American countries like Brazil and Cuba. New infections in Papua New Guinea have also risen alarmingly in the past few weeks.

Some fundamental questions also remain unanswered. We don’t know how long either natural or vaccine-induced immunity will last. However, encouraging news from the US reveals 92-98% of COVID-19 survivors had adequate immune protection six to eight months after infection. In 2021, we will continue to learn more about how long natural and vaccine-induced immunity lasts.

New variants may be the greatest threat

The longer the coronavirus circulates widely, the higher the risk of more variants of concern emerging. We are aware of B.1.1.7 (the variant first detected in the UK), B.1.351 (South Africa), and P.1 (Brazil).

But other variants have been identified. These include B.1.427, which is now the dominant, more infectious, strain in California and one identified recently in New York, named B.1.526.

Variants may transmit more readily than the original Wuhan strain of the virus and may lead to more cases. Some variants may also be resistant to vaccines, as has already been demonstrated with the B.1.351 strain. We will continue to learn more about the impact of variants on disease and vaccines in 2021 and beyond.

A year from now

Given so many unknowns, how the world will be in March 2022 would be an educated guess. However, what is increasingly clear is there will be no “mission accomplished” moment. We are at a crossroads with two end games.

In the most likely scenario, rich countries will return to their new normal. Businesses and schools will reopen and internal travel will resume. Travel corridors will be established between countries with low transmission and high vaccine coverage. This might be between Singapore and Taiwan, between Australia and Vietnam, and maybe between all four, and more countries.

In low- and middle-income countries, there may be a reduction in severe cases, freeing them to rehabilitate health services that have suffered in the past 12 months. These include maternal, newborn, and child health services, including reproductive health; tuberculosis, HIV and malaria programs; and nutrition. However, reviving these services will need rich countries to commit generous and sustained aid.

The second scenario, which sadly is unlikely to occur, is unprecedented global cooperation with a focus on science and solidarity to halt transmission everywhere.

This is a fragile moment in modern world history. But, in record time, we have developed effective tools to eventually control this pandemic. The path to a post-COVID-19 future can perhaps now be characterised as a hurdle race but one that presents severe handicaps to the world’s poorest nations. As an international community, we have the capacity to make it a level playing field.

About Today's Contributor:

Michael Toole, Professor of International Health, Burnet Institute

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

85% Of Women Have Witnessed Harassment & Online Violence, Finds New Research From The Economist Intelligence Unit

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85% Of Women Have Witnessed Harassment & Online Violence, Finds New Research From The Economist Intelligence Unit
85% Of Women Have Witnessed Harassment & Online Violence, Finds New Research From The Economist Intelligence Unit (PRNewsfoto/The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU))
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released a new study supported by Jigsaw, a unit within Google that forecasts and confronts emerging digital threats, delving into the prevalence and impact of online violence against women on a global scale. "Measuring the prevalence of online violence against women" reveals that nearly 40% of women surveyed have been harassed online whilst the vast majority (85%) have witnessed harassment or other forms of online violence.
Undertaken to enable informed decision-making on the issue of online violence, to better understand women's experiences online, and to measure the tactics and trends of online violence, the research also demonstrates the impact of online violence in silencing female voices. 

  • Half of women surveyed said that the internet is not a safe place for them to express their thoughts and opinions. 32% of women reconsidered posting a comment online, 30% reduced their online presence, and 20% stopped using that online platform entirely.
"Measuring the prevalence of online violence against women" further found that online violence against women should be seen on the same continuum as offline violence, with more than half of women (54%) knowing their online attackers, and nearly three-quarters (74%) expressing particular concern about online abuse escalating to offline threats.

According to the results, underreporting likely hides the real numbers with only 1 in 4 women reporting abuse to the platform(s) on which it occurred and only 14% reporting it to an offline protective agency. 78% are often unaware that options exist to report harmful online behaviors. This trend is underpinned by the fact that 6 in 10 women surveyed indicated a sense of helplessness, as little is done to combat the issue. The evidence base supports this, in 64 of 86 countries studied in The Web Index, law enforcement agencies and courts appear to be failing to take appropriate corrective actions to address online violence against women.

Key highlights:

  • 38% reported personal experiences with online harassment
  • 65% reported knowing women in their network who had been targeted online
  • 85% have witnessed online violence against other women (including from outside their networks)
  • Younger women are more likely to have experienced online violence: 45% Generation Z and Millennials versus 31% for Generation X and Baby Boomers
  • Only 1 in 4 women reported online abuse to the platform(s) on which it occurred, and only 14% reported it to an offline protective agency
  • 54% of women who experienced online abuse knew their attackers, and nearly 74% expressed particular concern about online abuse escalating to offline threats
  • 6 in 10 women surveyed indicated a sense of helplessness as little is done to combat the issue
  • 35% of women reported mental health issues as a result of experiencing online violence
  • 92% of women reported that online violence harms their sense of wellbeing
"The internet can provide a vital space for women seeking expression and opportunity but this report shows that the high prevalence of online violence against women is forcing self-censorship, and limiting women's representation in societal, political and economic discussions and decisions. The covid-19 pandemic has led to significant increases in internet use, further exacerbating the situation. Through this granular measurement of the prevalence of online violence against women, we aim to enable timely, synchronised multi-stakeholder action on the issue" said Vaibhav Sahgal, senior manager, The Economist Intelligence Unit.
85% Of Women Have Witnessed Harassment & Online Violence, Finds New Research From The Economist Intelligence Unit
85% Of Women Have Witnessed Harassment & Online Violence, Finds New Research From The Economist Intelligence Unit
The results were compiled from a survey undertaken by The EIU in the year between May 2019 to May 2020. It included 4,561 women, across 51 countries, using an innovative prevalence-estimation modelling methodology. The complete methodology can be downloaded here. The study assessed prevalence across nine threat tactics often used in combination by online attackers: misinformation and defamation, cyber-harassment, hate speech, impersonation, hacking and stalking, video- and image-based abuse, doxing, violent threats, and astroturfing. The prevalence of each tactic was measured at three levels: personal, community and witnessed.

About The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU):

The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU) is the world's leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis. It provides accurate and impartial intelligence for companies, government agencies, financial institutions and academic organisations around the globe, inspiring business leaders to act with confidence since 1946. The EIU products include its flagship Country Reports service, providing political and economic analysis for 199 countries, and a portfolio of subscription-based data and forecasting services. The company also undertakes bespoke research and analysis projects on individual markets and business sectors. 

SOURCE: The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

8 March 2021

Nathan's Famous And Andy Cohen "Get Along Famously" In New Video Campaign [Video Included]

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Nathan's Famous And Andy Cohen "Get Along Famously" In New Video Campaign [Video Included]
Andy Cohen shows fans how Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs can help bring people together in new “Get Along Famously” video campaign
Earlier this year, Nathan's Famous, the iconic New York-based hot dog brand, teamed up with another pop-culture icon from the Big Apple, Andy Cohen, to star in the Get Along Famously Stranger Stand campaign – a series of dynamic short videos showcasing how the one and only taste of Nathan's Famous 100% Beef Franks can help bring people together and foster genuine moments of connection.
Throughout the eight episodes, Cohen, a TV host known for interacting with famous faces and settling heated debates on his reunion shows, can be seen taking to the streets of a residential neighborhood to set up a Nathan's Famous hot dog stand. Along the way, he encounters strangers passing by – cliquey high schoolers, bickering siblings, a very friendly pack of dachshunds and more – who are having trouble seeing eye-to-eye and finding common ground. But Andy, using delicious Nathan's Famous Franks and his expert connection skills, helps them reach a mutual understanding and eventually 'get along famously.'
"At Nathan's, we strive to provide a unique taste experience with our original 105-year-old recipe that can bring together individuals from all walks of life, no matter what age, where they live, or who they are, and turn strangers into friends," said Bethany Gurecki, brand manager for Nathan's Famous. "There's no denying that Andy Cohen also knows a thing or two about bringing people together – including feuding A-listers – which is why he was the perfect fit for our Get Along Famously Stranger Stand video campaign."
This past weekend, Cohen posted one of his favorite episodes on Instagram, Episode 3: Capitalistic Beef. In the endearing clip, Cohen manages to 'get along famously' with the kids who strategically set up a lemonade stand next door. 


The entire collection of videos can be found on Nathan's Famous' YouTube channel, including:
  • Episode 1: Dog Thoughts
  • Episode 2: Like Father, Like Son
  • Episode 3: Capitalistic Beef
  • Episode 4: Gamer Headset
  • Episode 5: Bike Security
  • Episode 6: High School
  • Episode 7: Virtual Wedding
  • Episode 8: Sibling Rivalry
Nathan's Famous And Andy Cohen "Get Along Famously" In New Video Campaign
Nathan's Famous And Andy Cohen "Get Along Famously" In New Video Campaign (screengrab)

About Nathan's Famous:

Nathan's Famous is a Russell 2000 Company that currently distributes its products in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and 16 foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities. Last year, over 700 million Nathan's Famous hot dogs were sold. 

Smithfield Employees, Local Volunteers Serve Hot Meals to More Than 2,500 'Hometown Heroes' Across Southeast North Carolina
Smithfield Employees, Local Volunteers Serve Hot Meals to More Than 2,500 'Hometown Heroes' Across Southeast North Carolina (PRNewsfoto/Smithfield Foods, Inc.)

About Smithfield Foods, Inc.:

Headquartered in Smithfield, Va. since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 40,000 U.S. and 15,000 European employees are dedicated to producing "Good food. Responsibly." and have made us one of the world's leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including many industry firsts, such as our ambitious commitment to cut our carbon impact by 25 percent by 2025. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our neighbors in need. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield, Eckrich and Nathan's Famous, among many others.

SOURCE: Smithfield Foods, Inc.

6 March 2021

Pre-registration Now Live On The App Store For Latest Zombie-Themed Strategy Game From 37Games 'First Refuge: Z' [Trailer Included]

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Pre-registration Now Live on the App Store For Latest Zombie-Themed Strategy Game From 37Games 'First Refuge: Z' [Trailer Included]
'First Refuge: Z' (screengrab)
37Games is launching its latest zombie-themed strategy game First Refuge: Z in several countries. Unlike other mobile games of its kind, First Refuge: Z creatively combines underground shelter building, zombie hunting mechanics, and strategic war game elements, bringing a breath of fresh air to the genre. 

First Refuge: Z
is set in a world where humanity has been brought to the edge of extinction by a deadly zombie virus. The desperate actions of the remaining survivors seem futile in the face of treacherous bandits, hordes of zombies, and sinister corporations that roam this wasteland, all contending for supremacy.

In the world of First Refuge: Z, each player can construct and customize a unique underground city. By building rooms of different specialized functions, residents can live safely and happily in their underground shelter. Players can even assign residents to different rooms to do different jobs. Residents in the same room may fall in love with each other, get married, and bear children.
As the senior officer of this underground shelter, players will need to search for and save survivors, recruit formidable heroes, develop the underground city, and fight off deadly zombies as well as other players from over the world. All in all, it's a world full of danger and challenges.
Pre-registration Now Live on the App Store For Latest Zombie-Themed Strategy Game From 37Games 'First Refuge: Z' [Trailer Included]
'First Refuge: Z' (screengrab)
The hero roster in this game is diverse and varied. There are heroes from every background and race. There is a tough looking middle-aged man holding a cigar in his mouth while blasting away at the undead. Not to mention there's the classic sheriff who is always ready to battle incoming outlaws and zombies alike. Let's not forget the little girl named Arora who wields a crossbow and might be the key to curing the zombie virus. There are more heroes than you can count and each of them has their unique skills and origin story. Nobody survives alone. By sticking with these heroes, you can save humanity and even the world.
Similar to other strategy war games, you can deploy heroes and edit the lineup to challenge campaigns and defend your shelter against waves of zombies. Each battle requires valor and strategy. You can even see captains all over the world getting together to fight for the control of the capital. 
Pre-registration Now Live on the App Store For Latest Zombie-Themed Strategy Game From 37Games 'First Refuge: Z' [Trailer Included]
'First Refuge: Z' (screengrab)
  • Who will achieve victory and become the leader of the state? Join the fray and figure it out yourself.
Follow the official First Refuge Facebook fan page to be updated on the latest news, trailers, giveaways, and more.

SOURCE: 37Games

4 March 2021

Why White Supremacists And QAnon Enthusiasts Are Obsessed – But Very Wrong – About The Byzantine Empire

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Inspiration for a mob of angry white men? (Getty Images)

From Charlottesville to the Capitol, medieval imagery has been repeatedly on show at far-right rallies and riots in recent years.

Displays of Crusader shields and tattoos derived from Norse and Celtic symbols are of little surprise to medieval historians like me who have long documented the appropriation of the Middle Ages by today’s far right.

But amid all the expected Viking imagery and nods to the Crusaders has been another dormant “medievalism” that has yet to be fully acknowledged in reporting on both the far right and conspiracy theorist movements: the Byzantine Empire.

Byzantium – or more properly, the medieval Roman Empire – controlled much of the Mediterranean at the height of its territorial rule in the mid-sixth century. Centered in modern-day Istanbul from A.D. 330 to 1453, its capital of Constantinople was a thriving intellectual, political and military power. One of its crowning achievements, the church of Hagia Sophia, is a testament to the empire’s architectural and artistic prowess.

The Hagia Sofia stands as a testament to Byzantium’s achievements. (Salvator Barki/Getty Images)

But in the Western world, the Byzantine Empire has been largely overlooked and forgotten. High school students in the United States are likely to know little about the empire. And nowadays, the word “byzantine” has simply come to mean complicated, secret and bureaucratic. This lowering of its status isn’t entirely a new process. As far back as 1776, English historian Edward Gibbon was disparagingly referring to the empire’s inhabitants as “the servile and effeminate Greeks of Byzantium.”

A ‘New Byzantium

Despite this modern disdain for Byzantium in the West, it has recently served as an inspiration to various factions of the far right.

In September 2017, Jason Kessler, an American neo-Nazi who helped organize the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, inaugurated a new supremacist group calledThe New Byzantium” project.

Described by Kessler as “a premier organization for pro-white advocacy in the 21st century,” The New Byzantium is based on the white supremacist leader’s misrepresentation of history.

His premise is that when Rome fell, the Byzantine Empire went on to preserve a white-European civilization. This isn’t true. In reality the empire was made up of diverse peoples who walked the streets of its capital, coming from as far away as Nubia, Ethiopia, Syria and North Africa. Contemporaneous sources noted – at times with disdain – the racial and ethnic diversity of both Constantinople and the empire’s emperors.

But Kessler’s “New Byzantium” is intended to preserve white dominance after what he calls “the inevitable collapse of the American Empire.” The organization has been operating under the radar since 2017 with little online footprint.

The original ‘deep state

Kessler isn’t alone in appropriating the empire. Through my research, I have monitored references of Byzantium in online forums. Mentions of Byzantium are scattered across message boards frequented by both white supremacists and QAnon enthusiasts – who spout conspiracy theories about a deep-state cabal of Satan-worshipping, blood-drinking pedophiles running the world.

Across 8kun and other online platforms I have reviewed, the Byzantine Empire is discussed as either continuing the legacy of Rome after it was, in their understanding, “destroyed by the Jews” or being the only true empire, with Rome being merely a historical myth created to degrade Byzantium’s power and importance.

This latter story emerges in a QAnon thread on “Baking” – that is, the connecting and weaving together of drops (messages) by the enigmatic Q. One post states: “It all makes sense when you learn that the books of the bible are plagiarized copies of the chronology of Byzantium, and so is the mythical Roman Empire, that never existed in Italy but was in fact centered in Constantinople.”

Other QAnon commentators across message boards and Twitter speak of the “exiled throne of Byzantium,” noting, “the Empire never went away, it just went occult.” They exclaim “Long live Byzantium” and call for a “return to Byzantium” to save people from the satanists.

Oddly, while some hold up the Byzantine Empire as the vanguard of white supremacy, a smaller group of white supremacists and conspiracy theorists sees it as “the original Deep State.”

In some renditions, Byzantium is, by way of some hazy illuminati connections, the origins of the “deep state” – the myth of an underground cabal of elites who run the world in secret. It has persisted in secrecy since Constantinople’s fall, either trading in eunuchs on the clandestine market or preserving whiteness and Christianity, depending on the thread’s negative or positive outlook on the empire.

Reconquest of Hagia Sophia

For many on the far right, talk of Byzantium is cloaked in Islamophobia – both online and in tragic real-life events.

A white supremacist who killed more than 50 worshippers at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019 railed against the Turks and the conquest of Constantinople in a 74-page manifesto.

We are coming for Constantinople, and we will destroy every mosque and minaret in the city. The Hagia Sophia will be free of minarets and Constantinople will be rightfully Christian owned once more,” the shooter wrote. Throughout QAnon message boards, the reconquest of Hagia Sophia is emblematic of the destruction of Islam and the restoration of a mythic white Byzantium. One post stated: “When we free Constantinople and the Hagia Sophia, maybe we can talk.”

Third Rome

This “reconquest” of Constantinople had even been tied in some online posts to the presidency of Donald Trump, with images circulated online seemingly prophesying that it would happen under his tenure. In one image, Trump is seen congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin “on the retaking of Constantinople” and shaking hands in front of what is presumably meant to be the Hagia Sophia, though is actually the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque.

Putin himself is not averse to drawing on the symbolism of Byzantium. The Russian state has long tried to position itself as the rightful successor to the Byzantine Empire, with Moscow as the “Third Rome.” This forms part of a religious and political doctrine tied to Russian territorial expansion that can be traced back as far as the late 15th century.

The far-right appropriation of Byzantium in the U.S. appears to be influenced by this Russian interpretation. Indeed, Russian proponents of the “Third Rome” doctrine have been cited as influences by prominent figures on the American right.

No matter the provenance of the recent interest in Byzantium from America’s white supremacists and conspiracy theorists, one thing is clear: It is based on a very warped idea of the Byzantine Empire that has emerged out of the empire’s fraught place in our histories, caught between ancient and medieval, spirituality and bureaucracy.

About Today's Contributor:

Roland Betancourt, Professor, University of California, Irvine

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

3 March 2021

Fire Department Coffee Announces An Initiative to Teach Lifesaving Skills to 22 Million People Through Comedy [Video Included]

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Fire Department Coffee Announces An Initiative to Teach Lifesaving Skills to 22 Million People Through Comedy
Fire Department Coffee Announces An Initiative to Teach Lifesaving Skills to 22 Million People Through Comedy (image via Fire Department Chronicles Youtube Channel)
Fire Dept. Coffee is setting a goal to teach 22 million people lifesaving skills through comedy.

"Comedy CPR" will be hosted by Jason Patton, the star of the popular Fire Department Chronicles videos. He'll bring a lighthearted approach to teaching real, hands-on skills that anyone can use in an emergency.
The goal of the ambitious project is to train 22 million people before the end of 2022, using a combination of in-person events, online training sessions and videos.

"All first responders get CPR training, but those sessions can get tedious and boring sometimes," Patton said. "I believe everyone should know CPR and basic lifesaving skills, whether you're a first responder or not. So we want to make it fun, share some laughs and teach people lifesaving skills."
Patton is an experienced firefighter paramedic in Florida and he's also the vice president of Fire Department Coffee. He's most known as the creator of Fire Department Chronicles, where he built a massive following with online videos that take a lighthearted look at the crazy, hectic and sometimes hilarious day-to-day lives of first responders.

The Fire Department Chronicles fast-growing YouTube channel has gained popularity due to Jason's funny videos about firefighter life. His most popular video titled "Comedy CPR!!!" teaches lifesaving skills and helped inspire this initiative. The video's description reads: "Learn how to save people's lives while laughing at the same time!"


In the video, Patton demonstrates the steps that an average person should take when they see someone unresponsive and not breathing. The video is filled with laughs but also with useful information aimed at educating the viewer while also putting them at ease and helping them feel confident about taking lifesaving action.

While this training does not count for formal CPR certification, the tactics and approaches do reflect the lessons taught to first responders and others in official settings. The training is real, and so are the laughs.

Dates and details for in-person and online training events are still being finalized. To receive an email when new information is available, sign up on the website today by clicking the "Notify Me" button.

About Fire Department Coffee:

Launched in 2016, Fire Department Coffee is veteran-owned and run by firefighters with the mission to make great coffee and an even greater mission to support our nation's heroes in need. Ten percent of the net proceeds go to help first responders who are injured on the job, mentally or physically, or who are facing other serious health challenges..

SOURCE: Fire Department Coffee

Bonus Video:

2 March 2021

How To Transform Your Covid-19 Start-Up Into A Viable Business

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As the adage goes, 'necessity is the mother of invention,' and with the peculiar issues with the ongoing Covid-19, more and more people are becoming innovative. Some people have even become entrepreneurs overnight, finding solutions to new problems that have arisen—and making profits from their solutions. However, the question is, can such startups be transformed into viable businesses? How will government affairs impact your business? The future may be favorable, but how can these budding entrepreneurs sustain their businesses. Here are some vital things to seriously consider if you want to make your business viable.

Innovate and adapt

How To Transform Your Covid-19 Start-Up Into A Viable Business
How To Transform Your Covid-19 Start-Up Into A Viable Business (Image Credit)
Experts in the business industry will confirm that although consumers buy your products, it is the solution that you offer that they really care about. So the first thing to do here is to determine if your product is solving a long-term problem. The best solutions are direct responses to pressing, particular and significant problems. The ability to provide solutions in this Covid-19 times makes this assertion even truer.

For example, there was a need for many quality face masks and other PPE at the beginning of the pandemic, and many organizations and individuals rose to the occasion. Indeed, factories that were shut down were reopened to meet this need. However, will the problem exist in the next five years? You will have to answer this question to make sure your business doesn’t become redundant after a few years.

Building on existing trends

Some startups that started during the pandemic have leveraged existing trends that have been intensified and hastened due to the current prevailing conditions. Areas such as wellness, food supplements, DIY, social media, contactless deliveries, and others have seen exponential growth because they are things people want. Such businesses are not doing anything new but are doing them in new ways. Indeed, keeping a customer loyal means adapting to their needs as they evolve.

Do your research

To really understand the solutions you provide, you need to take a look into the past. Consumer behavior and patterns during such times have to be critically analyzed. Market trends from the past years should provide you with useful insight that should inform your business strategy for the future. If your solution is short-term, how long can you remain relevant? Put yourself in the consumers' minds and try to predict their needs. Then use the prevailing market conditions to guide you when coming up with solutions for their future needs. If your solution is a long-term one, you have to keep improving the solution, delivery, and customer satisfaction.

Identify the long-term market

The next major step to consider is to identify the long-term market. This refers to the group of people who will continue patronizing your solutions after things have returned to normal. According to CB Insights research, the most common reason startups failed was because of a lack of market. Not identifying your long-term market is not good for business. So please get to know your customers, understand their needs for your solutions. What is the potential market size? What is the actual market size? What can be done to increase the market size? Where are your customers found online and geographically? These are pertinent questions that need to be addressed.

Focus on the customer

How To Transform Your Covid-19 Start-Up Into A Viable Business
How To Transform Your Covid-19 Start-Up Into A Viable Business (Image Credit)
Always focus on the customer; the product or solution will not buy itself. Once you can figure out what the customer wants, you can always offer them a solution. To accomplish this, you should consider reading and researching the user-centered design. It will teach you how to stay in business for a long time by placing the customer above your solutions or products.

Be proactive

One of the hallmarks of successful businesses is the ability to pivot. Pivoting means tweaking your products or solutions to serve a bigger market. So, you should have enough information from your market trends and consumer patterns to know if you will need to pivot soon or much later. A lot of fortune 500 companies had to pivot at one point in time or the other. A strategic pivot could put you way ahead of the competition, who are slow to adapt. This can either make you a trendsetter or secure a sizeable amount of the market share, setting you up quite nicely financially.

Refine and define your business model

During these unpredictable times, a lot of solutions are being created for the goodwill of mankind. And as a solutions provider, you should really consider refining your business model when necessary. This will allow you to play an active role in making peoples' lives easier, better, and safer. This may set you up to even be eligible for some contributions. Indeed, running a business at full-throttle during Covid-19 may be unrealistic without some form of aid.

Consider social entrepreneurship

To make the most out of this situation, switch to a social entrepreneurship business model. Be a positive highlight in society, make a social impact and still make profits. There are several ways to do this. For example, you could donate a percentage of your profits to a recognized NGO helping fight against Covid-19. Or you could decrease prices or add more packages at no extra cost.

Mapping your business

How To Transform Your Covid-19 Start-Up Into A Viable Business
How To Transform Your Covid-19 Start-Up Into A Viable Business (Image Credit)
To securely map your business, look to the past and note how other great economic disruptions led businesses of the time to redefine their operating models without going under. The stock market crash in 1987 and the global recession of 2007 to 2009 are a few to look at. Mark Johnson, Clayton Christensen, and Henning Kagermann present a useful framework to reinvent your business model.
The current economic climate indeed validates the maxim that crisis breeds innovation and opportunity. There are many businesses out there that started because of Covid-19; the fact is a lot will go on to fold up. But unless you don’t plan on keeping the business long term, try not to become part of that statistic. The trick is to focus on the customer's needs and fashion your solutions to meet them. Also, remain relevant by identifying your market and pivot where necessary.

26 February 2021

Jade Patteri Releases New Music Video Calling for Unity [Video Included]

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Jade Patteri Releases Music Video for her original song Unity, which speaks to all barriers of biases and is comprised of a star-studded cast and production team. (Photo Credit Robert Lail)
Jade Patteri (Prom: The Movie Musical) is using her talent to make a positive impact on the world. Her newest music video Unity is the title track to her previously released EP comprised of original songs focusing on different societal issues that need attention. 

Unity speaks to all barriers of biases and is comprised of a star-studded cast and production team with Jade Patteri (Singer, Writer and Co-Director) at the helm. Produced and Co-Directed by Robert Patteri (Beauty and the Beast, Scarlet Pimpernel) the principal cast includes Paul Toweh as Rapper (Brat, Chicken Girls) and Dancers Marcus Emanuel Mitchell (Step Up the Series) and Kayla Radomski (So You Think You Can Dance). Fresh Redding (The LXD: Legion of Extraordinary Dancers) and Outrage used their brilliant choreography to empathetically bring the story to life. With Joseph Films and Unity Song Producer/Mixer/Master Ben Byram, the vision is complete.

Jade Patteri Releases New Music Video Calling for Unity [Video Included]
Jade Patteri Releases New Music Video Calling for Unity (screengrab)
The video opens with Jade and Toweh walking into a movie theater where they sit down and watch a movie: Unity. On the screen are Marcus Mitchell and Kayla Radomski surrounded by diverse people with tape on their mouths, symbolic of our fear of communicating to those who look different, love different, have different religions, countries of origin, or political ideologies. The screen flashes changing from color to black and white leaving only Mitchell and Radomski behind, their mouths now bound with tape. As they begin dancing with emotional conflict, we cut back and forth to the theater where Toweh and Jade are now younger versions of themselves. As they watch the dance, their pure, reactionary emotions dictate Mitchell and Radomski's change of emotion and movements. At the very end, the children have changed the conflict of the dancer's story to love. As they rise from their theater seats, they step into the movie where they remove the tape from the mouths of the dancers causing the screen to return to color with all the diverse people reappearing; this time without tape on their mouths—all joining together in Unity. The postscript at the end of the Music Video reads: "Choose love not hate, and then we can be the change." Jade Patteri. 

  • For more information on how you can be the change, go to Choose Unity.

 Unity - The Video:

When asked how the video represents current times she shared, "I wrote this song before George Floyd to be a voice of hope and love, addressing the racial and sexual inequalities and political and religious ideological differences that have been dividing us for too long. Then the tragedy of George Floyd, COVID and the political divides converged magnifying our disunity even more as reflected in our current cultural climate, escalating our need for Unity now more than ever."
Jade Patteri Releases New Music Video Calling for Unity [Video Included]
Jade Patteri Releases New Music Video Calling for Unity (screengrab)
Unity was filmed in locations around Los Angeles including Brickhouse Studios and a privately owned movie theater under all the necessary Covid compliance measures needed for the safety of cast and crew. Unity sends an important message given our current social climate. 

Patteri adds, "The message is so fresh and raw right now that it brought an extra layer of intentionality, purpose and healing to the shoot. I'm beyond grateful to the selfless contributions of everyone who brought this timely film to life."
Jade Patteri is a triple threat, chosen for the 2019 Broadway Artists Alliance/ John Raitt Award representing Southern California's High School students Off-Broadway as well as being awarded the 2019 Artist of the Year by the National Youth Arts Awards.

Jade Patteri Releases New Music Video Calling for Unity [Video Included]
Award winning actress, singer-songwriter and dancer Jade Patteri Releases music video calling for Unity on February 26th. "Choose love not hate, and then we can be the change." Jade Patteri (Photo Credit Lenore Brown)

Follow Jade on social media here:

SOURCE: Jade Patteri


19 February 2021

Over 200 Dogs From China Saved From Slaughterhouses, Dog Meat-Trade, Abuse & Neglect Will Soon Arrive in the U.S. on Their Way to Their Forever Homes

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Over 200 Dogs From China Saved From Slaughterhouses, Dog Meat-Trade, Abuse & Neglect Will Soon Arrive in the U.S. on Their Way to Their Forever Homes
Dogs in China awaiting to be adopted by a forever family in the United States.
China Rescue Dogs, an organization committed to rescuing and saving dogs from China and adopting them into homes in the U.S., is calling on the public to help them save over 200 additional dogs.

One hundred forty-five (145) newly rescued dogs will arrive via three cargo planes on March 3rd, 4th and 5th, 2021 at (JFK) John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. An additional sixty (60) will, hopefully, arrive in the United States at the end of March -- but it all depends on donations.
  • These dogs were saved from the inevitable. Many were saved off meat trucks, from slaughterhouses and rescued from abuse, and neglect.
"What was once the end of their lives, is now a new beginning for these beautiful babies," said Jill Stewart, President and Founder of China Rescue Dogs. "They all have been quarantined, micro-chipped, and received all the necessary vaccinations. Now, it is time for them to live the rest of their lives being safe and happy with their forever families."
China Recue Dogs is a 501c3 organization founded by Jill Stewart, an ardent advocate of animal rights worldwide, and especially in China. Their global mission is to rescue and rehabilitate dogs from China and provide them with loving forever homes in North America.

Stewart, along with her small team of volunteers are calling donors and fund-raising for this new life saving project. They now need to raise an additional $30,000 so they can bring in all two hundred (200) dogs and not have to turn any away.

Over 200 Dogs From China Saved From Slaughterhouses, Dog Meat-Trade, Abuse & Neglect Will Soon Arrive in the U.S. on Their Way to Their Forever Homes
Jill Stewart, President & Founder of China Rescue Dogs, welcomes a flight of dogs into JFK airport in January.
"Funding is crucial," admits Stewart. "We never say no to any dog -- mixed breeds, banned breeds, disabled dogs and seniors. We try to rescue them all. Unfortunately, we cannot do that without the public's continued support."

About China Rescue Dogs:

China Rescue Dogs is a 501c3 rescue with the purpose of rescuing dogs from the meat trade, abuse and neglect in China and providing them with loving homes.

SOURCE: China Rescue Dogs

Hip-Hop Icon Nelly Releases His 20th Anniversary Live Performance Of 'Country Grammar' In Its Entirety [Mini-Documentary Included]

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Hip-Hop Icon Nelly Releases His 20th Anniversary Live Performance Of ‘Country Grammar’ In Its Entirety. 'Country Grammar Live' available today as digital downloads and through streaming services
Today, Nelly dropped his new digital release Country Grammar Live (Republic/UMe) which was recorded live at the MelodyVR "Live From LA" studio last July in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Country Grammar
This is Nelly's first live release and features a live band which gives the album reinterpretation a distinct rock vibe, making Nelly a truly genre bending artist who has released a Country, Rap, R&B, and now a rock leaning album. 

Recorded as part of MelodyVR's ongoing Live From LA series which was originally broadcast through the MelodyVR app for a limited time, the Hip-Hop icon took fans back to the summer of 2000 with this special performance which included mega hits such as "Ride With Me" and "E.I."

February 19 also sees the premiere of the 20th anniversary mini-documentary Country Grammar – The Documentary (20th Anniversary), streaming now on Nelly's official YouTube channel. 

The mini-documentary features animated clips, new and old LIVE performance footage, and sees Nelly telling his story of the early beginnings as an artist with a unique style and sound, the creation of his Diamond-selling classic, Country Grammar, and how he put St. Louis on the hip-hop map.

Country Grammar – The Documentary (20th Anniversary):


Country Grammar debuted at No. 3 on the Top 200 and soon vaulted to No. 1. In 2016, the RIAA certified the album Diamond, selling more than 10 million copies to date, a feat which placed Nelly in the pantheon of rock superstars such as Led Zeppelin, the Doors and Bruce Springsteen. Country Grammar was also nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2000 Grammy Awards (along with its title track for Best Rap Solo Performance) and Nelly was crowned Best New Artist at the 2001 BET Awards.

Nelly – Country Grammar Live Track Listing:

  1. St. Louie
  2. Greed, Hate, Envy
  3. Country Grammar (Hot Sh*t)
  4. Steal The Show
  5. Ride Wit Me
  6. E.I.
  7. Thicky Thick Girl
  8. For Me
  9. Utha Side
  10. Thro Dem Wrappas
  11. Wrap Sumden
  12. Batter Up
  13. Never Let Em C U Sweat
  14. Luven Me

Hip-Hop Icon Nelly Releases His 20th Anniversary Live Performance Of 'Country Grammar' In Its Entirety [Mini-Documentary Included]
Nelly (screengrab)

About Nelly:

Born Cornell Iral Haynes Jr. in Austin, Texas, the rapper showed early promise, forming The St. Lunatics in 1993 with his childhood friends, MCs "Ali" Jones, Torhi "Murphy Lee" Harper, Lavell "City Spud" Webb, and Robert "Kyjuan" Cleveland. After Jay E workshopped the music with Nelly, they shopped for labels in New York and the rapper was signed to Universal Records in 1999. The pair drew deeply from the sounds that surrounded them in the Midwest — urban, country, hip-hop — and fused them into a fresh, infectious, unforgettably hooky whole.
SOURCE: Universal Music Enterprises

18 February 2021

Secret Theatre Presents 'Redemption Room' - The Live Online Thriller Experience Makes its World Premiere on February 27th [Trailer Included]

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Secret Theatre Presents 'Redemption Room' - The Live Online Thriller Experience Makes its World Premiere on February 27th [Trailer Included]
"Redemption Room" World Premiere on February 27, 2021 - a new live online theatrical thriller experience
"With the world still locked down, Secret Theatre look to unite us all in a live, online, immersive horror experience that can be streamed from anywhere in the world. And we can't wait."-- BBC RADIO 1
Making its World Premiere on February 27th, Redemption Room is a new live online theatrical experience where the virtual-studio audience gets to judge six disgraced celebrities as they seek redemption for their societal crimes.
Presented by Secret Theatre, this original innovative experience will go live across the world in a Zoom studio from six major cities, including Hong Kong, London, Singapore, Mumbai, Sydney and New York, where the celebrities are located.
A truly immersive format, Redemption Room takes a thrilling twist after an evil entity is awakened into the proceedings. Who will survive? Who will get their redemption? The virtual-studio audience will decide, voting on how far to push the celebrity's fears. But be warned, every-night one audience member will be asked to compete along with the celebrities. The virtual experience allows audiences to vote, judge, contact the celebrities directly and impact their outcome.
To get the full theatrical experience, turn off the lights, light a candle and be prepared for the unexpected. For those with paranormal fears, please prepare accordingly. If Ouija boards are your taste, there will be a moment when you can get involved.

Also, wearing black can summon demons – you have been warned.

The Trailer:


Secret Theatre are pioneers in global immersive events and have produced shows in 7 cities across the globe. Redemption Room is created and directed by Richard Crawford, who has been Artistic Director of Secret Theatre for over 10 years with many immersive credits to his name. He was responsible for directing the immersive Edward Scissorhands in New York, the immersive Project Mayhem in London and Hong Kong, and the immersive Hell Hath No Fury in Singapore.

  • Shows go live on February 27th and run through March 14th, 2021 and can be viewed on any device that supports Zoom.
  • Screening dates and times vary across the US, including a special scary Midnight show (PST) on March 13th.
Secret Theatre Presents 'Redemption Room' - The Live Online Thriller Experience Makes its World Premiere on February 27th [Trailer Included]
"Redemption Room" a new online immersive thriller experience goes live from 6 cities around the globe beginning February 27, 2021

SOURCE: Secret Theatre

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