Thursday, 30 November 2017

African Youth: The Hope Of A Forever Struggling Continent

Africa has been the face of poverty for a long time now. People from other countries see Africa as a nation devoid of opportunities for economic, professional, and personal growth and for good reasons. Even the Africans themselves experience extreme hunger, poverty, famine, and economic and political oppression and are a picture of stick-thin people who are deprived of even the most basic of human needs, even access to clean drinking water. It’s depressing to see people suffer when they live in a continent that is innately rich in natural resources that are sadly not put into good use because political leaders aren’t capable of making the change the continent need for progress.

Like in any other nation, we all think of the youth as the hope of the future. After all, they will be the ones to lead us all someday. But what if the youth don’t have access to the tools they need to be effective and efficient future leaders like food, clothing, shelter, and most importantly, a quality education? What is in store for a continent like Africa that has always been struggling to provide for its citizens and often rely on foreign help even just to survive?

Then old age question is how to develop and in fact proper question now is “how to achieve sustainable development.”
Before we try to find an answer to this topical question, it is useful for us to know why we in
Africa have not achieved much successes in providing better health, education, employment, and a clean environment: the critical indicators of “sustainable development.
Well, there are predominantly two views: (i) Africans are deliberately kept poor by their colonisers, and the other view is that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” holds true: Western model of development, that took centuries for the ideas of development to its fruition, is being applied to Africa and hence does not work. In fact, did not work.
It did not work or at least liase the intentions of the “good doers” were: despite over 40 years of aid-based development initiatives with the generous sums of billions of dollars, life of fellow Africans has not changed that much. So, we are back to the same question: How do we achieve sustainable development in
Africa in general and Zambia in particular.


It makes perfect sense to invest more on African youth because of the unprecedented youth bulge in this fairly young and developing continent. Roughly 65% of the African population ages 35 and below. It can be an opportunity or a problem depending on how African leaders see it and what course of action they will take but it proves to be a challenging ordeal that present leaders must address.

RLabs’ goal is to ensure students are able to access long-term and sustained employment as well as provide young people safe spaces to learn skills like project and event management, coding, and photography. After advancing through the program, approximately 80 percent of graduates find employment, aided by the hard and soft skills they have gained. As Coetzee describes it, “The community believes in the power of youth; youth teaching other youth. We are giving youth the tools to change themselves as well as their communities.”

Social innovators across Africa are leading a shift away from the traditional mindset that Africa’s youth are problems to be solved. They know that trusting youth to lead by giving them opportunities to make real decisions, have their voices consistently heard, and make meaningful contributions to their communities ensures young people avoid long periods of “waithood” before fully entering adulthood. RLabs founder Marlon Parker explains: “It is possible to get a young person in a short space of time from being someone that says 'Oh, my needs are not being met,' complaining and not knowing what to do,” to instead, “getting [them] to a place where they could see they are now contributing to society.”


Taking shortcuts can’t solve Africa’s problems. Leaders and adults alike should be proactive in engaging the African youth early on by assigning them leadership roles to hone them and teach them the skills needed to be successful someday. Even if the youth is far higher in number than adults, African adults should still find the time to guide them and offer support if necessary to prepare them for Adulting and just about everything else. By teaching them young, the youth have more time to learn valuable knowledge, values, and skills they need the most when it is finally their time to lead Africa.

African Youth: The Hope Of A Forever Struggling Continent was first published on The Naked Conversations Blog


Saturday, 25 November 2017

Duterte Leading The Philippines To Economic Growth

The Philippines constantly makes it to the headlines because of Duterte’s war on drugs. Since assuming office, several hundred thousand have surrendered voluntarily while a few thousands who resisted arrest and fought back have died in (legitimate) police operations. This war crusade has caught the attention of the entire world and it’s got people divided. Some raise their eyebrows and do not approve of his iron fist implementation of the law but many are actually happy to see these changes happening in the Philippines right now.

If you ask the majority of the Filipinos these days, they will tell you that they feel safer walking the streets now under his leadership. Even if the drug trade has not been totally obliterated, many things have changed and they credit it all to the strong political will of a leader of Duterte’s caliber. Along with his fight against drugs, he is also committed to putting an end to corruption in all aspects of governance, so that the people get what they really deserve from the government. And this drug crackdown is apparently doing the country’s economy a lot of good as the Philippines is now the 10th fastest growing economy globally.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s death squads may have killed democracy in the Philippines, but they haven’t killed the country’s vibrant economy, which is the world’s 10th fastest growing economy in the world in 2017.

That’s according to the World Bank’s latest edition of Global Economic Prospects. For 2017, Philippines’ economy is expected to advance between 6.5 to 7.5 percent. That’s almost twice the country’s long-term growth.

GDP Annual Growth Rate in Philippines averaged 3.68 percent from 1982 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 12.40 percent in the fourth quarter of 1988 and a record low of -11.10 percent in the first quarter of 1985, according to

The Philippines economy has benefited from a stable macroeconomic environment of low inflation and low debt to GDP ratio, which has helped sustain a healthy domestic demand growth; and from a revival of the Asian Pacific region that have boosted exports, which account for close to a third of GDP. 


President Duterte is determined to uplift the lives of six million Filipinos living in or even below the poverty line by growing the Philippine economy by as much as 50% within his 6-year term. At the rate it is now going, the well-loved president by the Filipinos may be able to deliver his promise of a 6.5 to 7.5% economic growth this year. There may be threats still especially when it comes to extreme natural disasters that are constantly wreaking havoc to this island archipelago year in and year out.

Economy: Investing in friendship

The Duterte administration's decision to rekindle ties with countries like China and Russia, as well as strengthen friendships with Japan and Korea, has reaped rewards, economic managers said.

Trade Secretary Lopez said the Chinese and Japanese governments alone have committed about $9 billion each in official development assistance. Business-to-business talks have also gone well, with private deals in the works.

"These are not just commitments. Toyota and Mitsubishi have started to produce some of their cars locally and with local content too," Lopez said.

To further expand the economy in anticipation of more foreign investments, the administration is planning a steady rollout of infrastructure projects during its term.


Alliances are made and some are broken. That’s how politics work. While Duterte has not entirely severed ties with the US now that Donald Trump won against Hillary (Clinton - who is an ally of the current Philippine opposition party), it did not stop him from pursuing friendly relations with China and Russia. These new alliances promise new opportunities/ investments and further growth for the economy in the years to come. These nations have even extended a helping hand to the Filipinos who are still battling IS rebels down south in the war-torn city of Marawi.

Foreign experts who have been keeping a close eye on the Philippines for a while now agree that the country is on its way to economic freedom if this positive economic growth continues. Many are also hoping that the ongoing crisis in Malawi, that has prompted the president to declare the entire Mindanao under Martial Law, will not affect how the country performs economically from now on. There is still a lot of work left to do as corruption is still ingrained in every aspect of the government and Duterte has to perform some kind of miracle to wipe out drugs and corruption in the land for good.

The following blog article Duterte Leading The Philippines To Economic Growth was initially published on Naked Conversations Blog


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Modern Shopping

Retail therapy is one of the best feelings in the world. Being able to buy whatever you want, when you want it, if possible, regardless of the price tag is something not many can relate to but it is motivation enough for you to work harder. Unfortunately, shopping these days can be such a drag. Imagine having to drive for hours because of the terrible traffic especially if you live in big cities and the crowd, just the throng of people trying to complete their Christmas list and the long lines aren’t pretty thoughts either. Remember that the population is exploding and people often migrate to the cities for better opportunities. But do not let that discourage you from finishing your list and no longer having to worry about missing out anything.

Since we are all preoccupied with technology these days, why not put it to good use? After all, most people now own a smart gadget or two aside from all the other tech devices they have that makes up the Internet of Things. With the help of social media and the Internet, it is easier to do your shopping online than it did in the past. You no longer have to go out and mix with the crowd of shoppers looking for a bargain when most shops have online stores and not to mention huge online shopping destinations like the Amazon, eBay, Walmart, etc. that offers just as many options and discounts with just a click of a button. However, not all are savvy when it comes to these especially older adults who are still trying to find their way as they navigate the vast realms of the World Wide Web and the many mysteries and perils of online shopping.

Always Ensure Your Computer Is Secure
Make sure your system is running with up-to-date anti-virus software, and has the latest software security updates installed. 

Protect Your Privacy
Check the “Terms of Service” and “Privacy Policy” to know what information the website is collecting about you and how the owners of the website will use it. 

Get The Details
Check for expected delivery dates, shipping and handling fees, warranties, return policies and other important information. 

Keep An Eye On The Final Price
Keep an eye on the price and make sure it includes all extras such as VAT, postage and packaging, and insurance if required. Most sites display the price of the product inclusive of VAT. The shipping charge, if any, is added at the checkout stage. This information should be easy to find on the retailer’s site. 


Heed these tips to make online shopping such a breeze for you. You don’t always have to be tech savvy when it comes to these things but covering the basics always comes in handy and can save you from a lot of costly headaches that involves replacements and returns among others. Shopping through your computer or smart device may be convenient but just brace yourself for the difficulties you might encounter when there are problems with your purchase. While it is common sense for any online shopper to only buy from legit online shops, the temptation to avail that bargain can be so strong that others end up buying from scammers.

Founder of, Sorin Mihailovici said, "So, what scammers do, they go on, on social media platforms. They advertise great products that are real products only cheaper and they would send them to their own duplicate sites."
The key tip while shopping: look up at the URL and make sure it starts with HTTPS.
"So, if they don't have that if the duplicate site doesn't have the https and it only has HTTP, you can rest assured that that's a scam," explained Mihailovici.
Also, look at reviews of a site before buying but do not depend on testimonials on the site itself because those can be fake too.


Crimes have moved to another platform too – the web. It’s no longer surprising as more and more people access the Internet on a daily basis and do lots of online transactions. The risk is high but if you make sure to protect yourself all the time and avoid dubious sites or links or refrain from opening suspicious emails, you’ll be just fine.

Since you are paying using your credit or debit card when shopping online, take some extra precaution with your bank as well, so that you are aware of all transactions made using it and you can act right away if anything looks awry. The bottom line here is that a little common sense can go a long way. Whether you shop online or in the real world, there are problems you might encounter along the way. Do your research before placing an online order and double-check everything before clicking that final order button.

Modern Shopping was initially published on NC Blog


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Chronic Problems On Poverty And Inequality

Mankind has lived long enough on the planet but poverty and inequality remain to be chronic issues that affect every society, whether that of progressive nations but more so of struggling, developing third-world countries. The planet is naturally rich in different resources that can support the people living in it but the unequal distribution of resources is the main problem why some have too much while many have so little. It’s greed. That’s really the problem in today’s world. And it does not just happen on a personal level. Even powerful nations rob poorer countries of their natural resources without the citizens knowing, like in Africa.

Poverty persists because leaders fail to allocate resources properly. It’s the reason why poor people die poor and the rich ones continue to become rich and pass on their wealth to their next of kin. A few hardworking and really talented people may break out of these stereotypes but the general economic structure remains set in stone. When we talk about inequality, it is not all about income gaps. There is also an ethical and social consideration to this lifelong dilemma. Too much poverty and inequality can lead to social chaos as people will distrust and fight one another over what limited resources they have.

If we can land a man on the moon, we can end poverty. The Jewish community has been grappling with the issue of the impoverished, the other, for thousands of years. We are taught that “There shall be no poor among you” and “Justice, justice you shall pursue.”

Communal service networks have helped knit together organized Jewish communities for generations. Our ancestors, whether escaping Russian pogroms or surviving Nazi death camps, came to the United States in conditions of abject poverty, carrying our legacies with them. Social service efforts have helped hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of our own.

If any community has the history to help launch a “moon landing” to defeat poverty, it is ours. We can’t do it alone, nor should we, but we can convene our neighbors, our friends, our hearts and our intentions to do something unprecedented. We can bring together the minds and the expertise to craft a comprehensive plan to end poverty as has never been done before. We can harness the minds, the will and the resources that resulted in “one giant leap for mankind,” thereby marshaling the tools needed to affect the lives of the poor in the most far-reaching and profound way imaginable.


The continued existence of poverty and inequality continues to puzzle many people because we have the resources around us but there are still people living in hunger while a few live in utter comfort. There are individuals without a house of their own, who lives off from begging on the streets and the generosity of others. Meanwhile, a few lucky ones get to travel the world in style and acquire all sorts of material wealth most people can only dream of.

For Trump, there apparently is no interest about income inequality per se. Instead, the attention may be on that original interpretation of forgotten people. The poll mentions

jobs — an absolutely vital part of any solution, of course. Taxes appear, although indications are that a focus on personal and corporate tax reduction and simplification won't necessarily help ease growing inequality. In addition, apparently repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Actis so monumental a task (after years of Republicans demanding a new plan but not developing one) that Trump said any tax changes would have to wait their turn.

In addition, there is no mention of racial strife, the problem of state violence at high rates against minorities, or the ruinous and unequal degree of incarceration. There's mention of education, but given Betsy DeVos's appointment as education secretary, it seems more likely to assume the emphasis will be on market competition as an answer. Unfortunately, vouchers are unlikely to be large enough to give poorer people access to good private schools, even if there were enough spots in such schools or they had been constructed near their communities.


Unfortunately, the Americans can’t expect to see these problems addressed anytime soon under the leadership of President Donald Trump who has lived in luxury almost all his life. He did not even identify these issues as a part of his priorities during the election, mostly focusing on external issues like defense and immigration policies.

Many internal issues that the country, or even the rest of the world, faces remain unanswered. Even access to education, which is a tool that poor children can use to uplift their lives, is out of their reach anymore. Federal funding has been significantly reduced not only on education and the arts but even of the EPA too. This apparent neglect will likely have lasting damage to the US because the sitting president does not see eye to eye with the rest of the country.

The following blog article Chronic Problems On Poverty And Inequality is republished from


Sunday, 12 November 2017

Parents Should Be More Involved In Their Children’s Education

Before even going to school, children learn from their parents first or from whoever it is taking care of them from an early age. Parents are considered as role models in a lot of ways because kids often imitate what they do. But as soon as a child starts attending school, they spend more time in the four corners of the classroom than at home. They interact with other kids their age and they look up to their teachers who teach them a lot of things about life. It’s when parents often take the back seat and they pass most, if not all, of the responsibility to the teachers in educating their child.

However, that should not be the case. Children need their parents in as much as they need their teachers. There are things they learn from school but they learn more about real life at home. Kids also perform better academically if their parents are hands-on on their education and often check on them and offer help when needed. Back then, parents worked alongside teachers but now, only the teachers put in almost all the effort. As a result, the child loses a lot when they don’t have the support only their parents can give. Add to that the many technological distractions today like social media, a student’s grade suffers and they perform poorly in class too.

America's schools are caught in a peculiar vise. We've made it clear that we expect schools to succeed with every child. That wasn't always the norm. Over the past 25 years, though, reformers on the left and right fought to ensure that schools be expected to educate every child. Today, we largely take that mission for granted. That represents a tectonic shift and a tremendous victory.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, American education paid a lot of attention to the quality of parenting and far too little to the quality of teaching and schooling. It wasn't unusual to hear educators declare that certain students were unteachable or that they couldn't be blamed for not teaching kids who weren't there to learn.


Parental responsibility is no longer discussed openly and when they do, it is often in hushed voices as the teachers are afraid to upset parents. However, you can’t always blame the parents if they aren’t too keen on attending to the needs of their child in school. Both are presumably working and are overstressed and overburdened with responsibilities that what little time they have left they often take advantage of it to catch some sleep and rest. They are often confident that the teachers can handle everything at school but that is not always the case.

Last month, the US Department of Education released data showing that 13% of American students, over 6 million children, missed more than 15 days of school during the 2013-2014 school year. The same data showed that students who are chronically absent experience a host of negative outcomes, including lower levels of learning and increased likelihoods of being held back and dropping out.

One of us (Robinson) recently called for education reformers to “stop giving parents a pass” and instead seek ways to hold parents responsible for educating their children. To build on this conversation, it is useful to examine ways policy can hold parents accountable for reducing truancy. One state — Georgia — can provide a window into what this conversation might look like at the national level.

In 2004, Georgia decided to hold parents responsible by enforcing the state’s school attendance law. This effort sprang from a series of five meetings that then-Governor Sonny Perdue hosted in early 2003. There were five separate meetings: one with teachers, one with principals, a meeting with superintendents, one with school board members, and one with parents and their students. In each meeting, there was one representative from each of the 180 public school districts in Georgia. Each district chose the attendees, so a large majority of the “parents” were also public school employees.


Parents almost always had the last say when it comes to their kids. They ultimately make the decision that shapes their children’s lives especially when it comes to their education. Also, most students are minors and the state expects their parents to supervise them and guide them in their studies. Meanwhile, teachers also play a big part as well as the sufficient support and government funding in most public schools for the less fortunate who can’t afford to pay for high tuition fees in private schools.

You learn as you go. Parenting does not come with a rulebook. It’s a journey of hits and miss and hopefully, many wonderful memories along the way. While schools can’t always expect parents to be totally hands-on with their children’s studies, they should at least reach an agreement or have a clear understanding of what their responsibilities are when it comes to school and up to what extent they should be involved in their child’s studies. That’s when the child wins and they have bigger chances of succeeding later in life.

The following blog post Parents Should Be More Involved In Their Children’s Education was initially published to


Sunday, 5 November 2017

Slow PC? You Can Make It Faster

We live in a digital age where most homes own a computer and even young kids know how to operate it or even any smart gadget. Most transactions are done online too, and of course, you can’t live without social media and the World Wide Web. They spell convenience to a tee. There are many things you can do online and it has also opened up a world of possibilities for you. While we may have a lot of good things to say for all these tech wonders, they can take its toll on your patience and sanity once something goes wrong and it’s become more sluggish than usual.

We aren’t all gifted with superhuman knowledge and skills to deal with advanced technology like computing. However, you don’t need to be a genius to learn how to make your PC work faster so you spend less time getting frustrated as your PC buffers and your work drags on because of these minor life inconveniences. Most of the time, a PC slows down because of your Internet connection, a full memory or even hard drive issues. And it’s common knowledge that it takes a PC longer to start up when it’s already full of files. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a fortune to make your PC work for you and not the other way around.

Inevitably your computer slows down. You try to open a website and it grinds to a halt, or read an email and it churns along sluggishly. A slow computer, in many ways, is worse than a broken one — or at least infinitely more frustrating.

If you're going to have any chance of reversing the serious slowdown that's affected your computer, you're going to have to work out what's at the root cause of the sluggishness. Don your detective's hat and identify the source of the problem with the help of these tools and tricks.


You may not like it when it happens but over time, PCs also suffer from wear and tear and will not likely function like it used to. Among the first signs to watch out for is a PC that is slowing down. Why it slows down can be because of a variety of reasons but there are ways on how to overcome this minor setback in your computing experience.

Get rid of start-up programs

Part of the reason why well-used PCs take so long to start is because of all the applications and utilities you've installed. Many automatically run when Windows starts up, yet most of them don't need to and should only use up resources when you actually need to use them.

At the right side of the taskbar, click the upwards-facing arrow to display the notification icons. Each is a program that loads with Windows. Some are essential - antivirus software for example - but others may not be. Right-click each one and if there is a Settings menu, select it and turn off the option to start automatically with Windows. Some programs, such as Google Drive, can be manually started when they are needed instead of running all the time.

To disable all the other programs and 'helpers' apps which start with Windows, press Windows+R and type msconfig and click Ok. Select the Services tab, tick ‘Hide all Microsoft services' and see what's left. There may be services you can live without and clearing the tick box prevents them from running. For example, Firefox works perfectly well without the Mozilla Maintenance Service.


A host of other issues can also be the possible culprit as to why your PC takes longer to start or load. It can be because of malware or other tech nasties and viruses and apps that aren’t updated that slows down your gadget. Aside from the tip mentioned above, there are other ways you can boost your PC’s speed like reinstalling Windows for Windows PC, taming the visual effects, updating drivers and apps, freeing up disk space, installing a faster software and upgrading your computer’s hardware.

The post Slow PC? You Can Make It Faster was originally seen on


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Environmental Protection Should Be Everyone’s Priority

The planet is home to a diverse group of plants and animals that live on land, in the water, and up in the air yet we all manage to live harmoniously most of the time. Unfortunately, the beauty of nature is slowly fading as human activities continue to wreak havoc on the environment. Pollution is at an all-time high and numerous species already went extinct because of irresponsible hunting and poaching. You can’t even recognize the world we live in now from the world where our forefathers lived in. Forests are receding as cities keep on expanding. If we don’t stop now, the future generations may miss out on many of the things we take for granted now.

Over the years, environmental conservation efforts have doubled because activists see the extent of the damage to our planet. And you don’t need to be reminded of it every day in the news because you can see and experience it for yourself. Weather systems and phenomena have changed and countless lives and properties suffer from the wrath of Mother Nature each year. Reducing your carbon footprint is one of the ways we can contribute to protecting the environment even in your own little ways.

Additional environmental projects being run by the mine include conservation farming as local farmers are learning the benefit of farming methods which preserve the soil’s fertility and improve crop production.
“Conservation farming is one of the livelihoods that we are encouraging people in Kalumbila to adopt and practise for obvious reasons. We want to protect our environment,” Trident Foundation agriculture field supervisor, Christopher Chenga said.
Out of the different methods of agriculture, they believe conservation farming takes care of the environment as once a field is opened up, a farmer continues using that piece of land throughout their lifetime and for generations after.
He said by staying in one place, a farmer avoids cutting more trees and opening up more fields.


Certain industries like lead mining have a profound effect on the environment. It’s what happened to this Zambian town, which was dubbed as the world’s most toxic town in terms of pollution just this previous month. Mine waste disposal is one of the major concerns for obvious reasons aside from that of water and air pollution. We all know how big of a threat global warming and climate change is and you are not safe wherever you are in the world. However, things are starting to change for the better for them and it’s all because they decided to do what’s right after all.

The Government has taken a slew of measures to deal with climate change and curb environmental pollution. In line with the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) 2030, India too set its sustainability goals and solemnly pledged for a safer environment. However, action at the grassroots level has been slow with delays in implementation and economic prosperity taking precedence.

In light of the absolute urgency to preserve the deteriorating environment and resources, what should India do?

While the government has established concerted measures to conserve both water and energy, little action has been taken so far, even as India continues to witness recurring droughts, extreme temperatures and rising pollution.

At present, India is sustaining an estimated number of 63.4 million people living without access to clean drinking water. One of the primary reasons for this paucity is uncontrolled abstraction of water for industrial and agricultural use. It is therefore imperative to focus on promoting recycling and reuse of water and waste water treatment as part of the national agenda to create value.


Many nations all over the world are experiencing rapid urbanization. Technology is a big part of our lives, which is not always environment-friendly. It’s the main reason why climate change has arrived quite early than expected because the planet is changing at a rate never seen before in the past. The population has also exploded exponentially. Several billions of people compete for the world’s natural resources that are sadly finite. The time will come that we’ll run out of non-renewable energy sources and live in an inhospitable planet that makes daily living doubly more challenging.

Most progressive countries use fossil fuel because they are convenient to use but there are other renewable sources we can also tap that won’t harm the environment. Not only are they safe to use, they are sustainable too. The environment should not always suffer for the sake of economic prosperity but one sector can’t do it alone. Environmental protection requires the collaborative effort of both the public and private sector as the damage is already extensive and we need all the help we can get to turn things around for the better.

Environmental Protection Should Be Everyone’s Priority was originally published to


Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Future Of The US National Climate Policy

The climate is a hot topic these days as global warming and climate change continues to have a major impact on everyone’s lives. From intensifying weather phenomena and drastic changes to the natural environment, the world that we know of is changing and we have no one else blame for it but ourselves. The US is a big and powerful nation. Whatever policy it adopts, especially one on a global scale, affects the whole world at large. And an environmental policy is something that is everyone’s business right now, what with global warming a reality that we now face and no longer just the threat that it used to be.

President Trump signed the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement along with Syria and Nicaragua because he personally thinks that climate change is merely a hoax and also because he believes the said agreement hurts many big US manufacturers. It’s a trying time, indeed, for everyone and we can expect to see major changes all over the country. Yet despite the president’s withdrawal on the said deal, many concerned US citizens rally together to protect the environment all by themselves.

With the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, national policy on climate change will emerge from U.S. cities working to reduce emissions and become more resilient to rising sea levels, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said at the annual U.S. Conferences of Mayors meeting in Miami Beach.

The conference supported the Paris agreement, and according to preliminary results released Saturday morning from an ongoing nationwide survey, the vast majority of U.S. mayors want to work together and with the private sector to respond to climate change.

“There’s near unanimity in this conference that climate change is real and that humans contribute to it. There may be a little bit of a disagreement about how actually to deal with it,” said Landrieu, who will replace Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett as conference president this weekend.

“If the federal government refuses to act or is just paralyzed, the cities themselves, through their mayors, are going to create a new national policy by the accumulation of our individual efforts,” he said.


US mayors convened in a recent conference and came to an agreement to work alongside the private sector in addressing crucial climate change issues that are being neglected by the federal government. Almost everyone in that conference agreed that climate change is a real threat and that we are all partly to blame for its very existence. It is everyone’s goal to work hard in creating a new environmental policy through the collective efforts of the various cities in the country to minimize the damage caused by major industries that President Trump oh so protect.

The project – aimed at keeping the island city dry amid rising seas – has received national attention, but Levine noted that not all communities can afford to fight climate change without state or federal funding.

“But if we don’t do it, who’s going to do it, right?” de Blasio said. “Cities and states around the country are now doing the kinds of things the national government should do. It’s just that we can’t depend on our national government anymore.”

A May survey of local sustainability efforts, conducted by the conference and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, initially only included 80 mayors who hold leadership positions within the conference. After Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Paris agreement, the survey was extended to all conference members and the mayors of about 1,400 cities with populations of 30,000 or more.


It’s not an easy task especially without the support of the national government but with everyone’s help, we can gradually make the necessary changes that the planet desperately needs. It includes a long list of changes such as energy efficiency programs, the use of renewable energy, and alternative transportation that uses less carbon. More and more cities tap renewable electricity and improve their existing energy policies in support of this cause because they are against the president’s decision to neglect the environment just like that.

The following article The Future Of The US National Climate Policy was originally published to Naked Conversations


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Flunking School Because Of Lost Sleep

Sleep, or the lack of it, can make or break your day. Sleep affects your mood and energy, thereby affecting your performance. Whether your are still a student or already a member of the working class, you can’t afford to always pull all-nighters if you want to put your best shoes forward all the time. We already know it but it’s even more depressing to confirm what we knew all along. Experts reiterate that your grade may suffer if you constantly suffer from sleep deprivation. So students, beware.

Even if you aren’t running for honors, you can afford to always lose sleep regardless of the reason you stay up late at night. However, getting that minimum eight hours of sleep nightly isn’t that easy to pull off with the numerous distractions in your immediate surroundings. From smartphones, the Internet, school, social life, family and relationship issues, etc., you may end up tossing and turning until the early morning hours, so you look like a giant panda sporting dark undereye circles the following day. And worse, your school grades suffer too because your mind isn’t just up to doing any logical thinking and reasoning to help boost your scores.

College students who go to sleep and wake up at different times during the week may be harming their academic performance, according to a U.S. study.

Consistency - going to bed and waking up at about the same time every day, weekends included - was linked with a better grade point average (GPA) among the college students in the study, the researchers found.

“College students who sleep starved themselves during the week and then binge slept on weekends had poorer grades than those whose schedules were more consistent,” senior author Dr. Charles Czeisler, director of the Sleep Health Institute at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told Reuters Health by email.

Importantly, it didn’t matter how much sleep the students got overall. Sleep timing on its own could predict worse academic performance, even if students made up for lost night-time sleep with naps during the day, according to the results published in Scientific Reports.


Truly, getting a good night’s sleep can pave the way to your success in the academe and outside the four corners of the classroom later in life. Sleep restores the body to its peak shape. Many restorative processes take place once we close our eyes for the night that you don’t get even if you try to catch some sleep later in the day. Blame it on your circadian rhythm but that’s how nature designed your body to function.

To achieve success, sleep is vital. And if you’re a student, staying up late to cram for a test is not going to help you get that A. Instead, get in the habit of having a regular sleep schedule.

A recent study by the Sleep Health Institute at Brigham and Women’s Hospital published in Scientific Reports found that students who went to bed and woke up at consistent times every day performed better academically than students who had irregular sleep schedules. By studying 61 full-time students at Harvard University who kept sleep diaries for 30 days, researchers uncovered the relationships between sleep duration, distribution of sleep throughout the day and academic performance during one semester.


The release of melatonin largely has to do with the many health benefits you get from sleep that also helps regulate your normal body clock. Sleep deprivation delays its release, which consequently pushes back your body clock a little later. Students who lack sleep feel groggy and unable to focus most of the day. That’s why they perform poorly in class and get poor grades as a result.

Aside from tech distractions that leave students wide awake each night, sleep disorders may also be a cause for many of these sleepless nights. Many younger patients find it challenging to comply with a conventional treatment like CPAP but the use of anti-snoring mouthpieces may be a good option to help patients sleep better and not constantly catch their breath in their sleep. Students no longer have to suffer more from sleep disorders like sleep apnea and can sleep soundly at night, so they get the grades they deserve all along.

The following blog article Flunking School Because Of Lost Sleep was originally published to


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Experience The High Life In New York

“All work and no play make a man dull.” How true indeed. While it is important to work hard for a living, it is also vital to take some leisurely time off work during your rest day to help you stay sane and happy in life. The daily grind can stress you out and eventually burn you out. It’s why you should never hesitate to chill and relax during the weekend, perhaps, or whenever you have some free time to give more meaning and excitement to your life.

One of the best places to go to is the city that never sleeps – New York. New York has transformed the East Coast into a top travel and shopping destination. But if you are a local, you can easily feel tired from the endless demands of work and the big crowds you meet. To keep yourself grounded, indulge in some me-time or hang out with friends in the newest and largest rooftop bar in the city. It’s not necessarily quiet time, I suppose, but it can give you a fresh perspective on having fun in the city and a great way to wine and dine. Just brace for it, though, because you have to wait a few more months before you can set foot in this cool hotspot.

When the Moxy Times Square opens in September 2017, it will boast the largest all-season rooftop bar in New York City, becoming the crown jewel in a city known for its sky-high watering holes with stunning views.

The as-yet-unnamed 10,000-square-foot rooftop bar and lounge will be open every night and will start taking reservations later this summer. Guests of the hotel will get priority access.

A spokesperson for the Moxy said that the bar and lounge will have an “urban amusement park” concept, a DJ, and epic views of the Empire State Building.

The rooftop will have carousel seating, an oversized topiary garden, and a miniature putt-putt golf course. The lounge will have multiple bar and seating areas and a light food menu that will include sausage and peppers, Maine lobster roll, duck carnitas tacos, and hamburgers.


Talking about socializing in one of the most famous cities in America and even in the whole world, you should not miss out on this latest New York attraction because it got everything covered. Just a stone throw away from Times Square, Moxy offers you a place to dine and wine that features a garden, mini golf course, bingo, artists and DJ appearances, yoga, and guest rooms among others. The only thing that is lacking is conventional cable or satellite TV because that’s so in the past now and online streaming is what’s in these days.

A Manhattan rooftop bar is offering guests the chance to drink outdoors in the middle of New York City winter—no heavy overcoats necessary.

Visitors to 230 Fifth can already start experiencing the 360° views of New York City’s skyline from the comfort of their very own igloo.

The pop-up structures host up to 11 people at a time, according to Time Out New York, and it’s not possible to make reservations. “People generally share them and chat with strangers,” a spokesperson for 230-Fifth told Travel + Leisure.


It's such a liberating feeling being at the top of these cool places in New York where you get to admire the bustling city life at an angle you have never seen before without missing out on all the fun.

There’s something about being far above the hubbub of the Big Apple’s streets, especially in the summertime, when humidity levels soar and the concrete feels like it’s emanating heat waves.

“Being on a New York City rooftop gives you this special pleasure of feeling part of the city, inside it, but at a distance,” says Ray Chung, director of design at The Johnson Studio, the firm behind the rooftop lounge at The Wit Hotel in Chicago, among other projects.

“Walking down the streets is one thing, but being able to let your guard down and see the city reduced in size — all the while still breathing the same air and still hearing the buzz of the city — it can be intoxicating,” says Chung.

Drinks just taste better 10 stories up, especially when a cool night breeze is blowing.


Many people have New York on their travel bucket list for a lot of reasons. What it lacks in space (aside from that of Central Park), it makes up in vertical attractions like penthouse bars and hangouts. Rooftop bars are all the rage in the Big Apple. The view in many of these rooftop bars are to-die-for and really make for a picturesque setting for Instagrammable photos.

You can head to these popular spots by yourself to meet new friends or go out with existing ones to experience what it is like living the high life (literally many stories high) in the Big Apple. If you are a tourist who wants to immerse in the big city life, the best thing to do is to go up in these nice hangouts or simply chill out if you are a true blue New Yorker yourself.

Experience The High Life In New York is courtesy of Naked Conversations


Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Need For More Female Computer Programmers

We are living in a highly digital world where computers run almost every system. Whatever your industry is, you can’t avoid using a computer yourself because that’s how most businesses and organizations work these days. You can’t definitely go wrong if you go after a computer-related career because the demand for it will always be high. In the past, it was actually women who pioneered computer programming because men likened coding to clerical tasks. Coding was generally thought of as a job for women while the men busied themselves in creating the hardware itself. However, men eventually took over and pursued careers in computer perhaps because of their natural preoccupation with gadgets and anything that is digital but mainly because the pay significantly increased. The demand for coders grew and it captured the men’s interest who eventually took the job away from women.

Fast-forward to today, women are increasingly gaining interest as computers become cooler and fun to use. They are no longer the boring boxes that nerdy guys were all over with back in the days. Today, cool people use computers heavily in their lives. And even if just for leisure, just the sheer thought of social media can excite anyone. Computing technology is no longer limited to just computers since there is also smart technology that is just as exciting.

Close your eyes and picture a computer science college student. In all likelihood, you imagined a male. Sadly, statistics about who decides to major in computer science in college back you up. In 2015, women earned only 18% of all computer science degrees in the nation; that percentage dips even lower for women of color, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

And while identifying the root cause for this gap is difficult, researchers are finding that what happens in a CS college classroom can greatly influence women’s decision to enter or stay out of the programming field. While there is increased interest in addressing gender disparity in Silicon Valley as well as a push to expose young girls to coding, more research is needed to understand the role that colleges can play in the diversity process.


The public assumes that most women are inherently not interested in computers given the statistics. Even today where female professional coders are widely accepted globally, not that many women still take up computer courses in college. Computer professionals need to have the knowledge and skills about computing that you can mostly learn during college. If women lack those two, they’ll have a hard time landing any computer-related job after graduating.

Even at home, parents are likewise more inclined to purchase computers or video games for their son and not their daughter. In the process, women lose exposure to tech devices where they can decide for themselves whether they like using it or not.

A new course at town public high schools would look to attract women into computer science, a male-dominated field whose broader make-up is often reflected in high school classrooms.

The class, Computer Science Principles (CSP), is based on a new Advanced Placement course and requires only Algebra 1, a course typically taken in eighth or ninth grade, as its precursor. It was presented to the Board of Education last week and would launch its first class at Fairfield Warde High School this fall, pending board approval.

As the district has grown its computer science and programming offerings in recent years, CSP would aim to be a more accessible course that would help bring diversity to a field with few women and minorities.

“I really hope that it draws students into the computer sciences,” said Margaret Boice, Director of Secondary Education.


Men are more adept at handling computers in the same way that they are better with numbers whereas women mostly excel in language. Having these computer and coding courses during high school gives female students a chance to really choose the career path they want to take in college, whether it is computer-related or not, and be exposed to what computing is all about. Making it big as a female coder is not an easy task in an industry dominated by men, so it helps if the female population also get to enjoy the same computing perks that men enjoy at a young age. Maybe it will increase the chances of young girls pursuing computer-related courses on their own and establish careers alongside geeky males who excel in the field.

The Need For More Female Computer Programmers is republished from


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Rescuing The EPA

Many changes are happening to the planet and it is not always for our best interests. For starters, the world is heating up way faster because more heat is trapped within the atmosphere because of global warming. Sea level is rising and becoming more acidic. Natural catastrophes are worsening each year and the worst is yet to come. Despite all these changes, the US government is turning a blind eye to the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change threats. The US Environmental Protection Agency may even cease to exist as the federal government continues to reduce its funding to almost nonexistent.

And just like with President Trump’s decision to sign out of the Paris Climate Agreement where local government units and even the private sector joined hand in hand in making positive changes for the betterment of the planet at a municipal level, environment groups are also making more noise than ever in an attempt to protect the US EPA from the budget cuts as proposed by the new administration. The activists point out how helpful the EPA is in not only preserving the environment but in protecting the health and well-being of the millions of Americans through the various environment-friendly programs they implement.

 “The EPA is the only reason we’re not still drinking cancer water today,” said Michele Baker, a mother from Hoosick Falls. “President Trump and the people he has running the EPA should be looking for ways to strengthen our laws, to keep what happened here from happening anywhere else. It is beyond immoral that they’re pushing cuts instead. If Congress does not stop the President, people will get sick and die.”

Representatives from environmental advocacy groups Environmental Advocates of New York (EANY), Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch and Citizens Campaign for the Environment spoke of the importance of funding the endangered EPA programs at a press conference at the Legislative Offices Building in Albany on Wednesday, June 28.

Under Trump’s proposed budget, Energy Star and WaterSense programs, which help consumers purchase energy- and water-efficient appliances, would be eliminated, as well as the Office of Environmental Justice, which protects lower-income communities disproportionately affected by pollution. It would also remove funding for: Great Lakes and Lake Champlain clean-up programs; lead remediation support; marine, beach and fish safety programs; climate change research; and research into the dangers of pesticides. In addition, the budget would cut diesel emissions reduction grant programs by 80 percent, air and energy research by more than 60 percent and reduce funding for the already-underfunded Superfund program.


These activists highlight the importance of the EPA and how much we will suffer if they can no longer do their job because of insufficient federal funding. If the government fails to realize how vital the EPA is to our lives, they will make it their responsibility to educate the people of its importance before it is too late. They are especially pressuring New York Republican congressmen from passing this 31% EPA budget cut, all the time stressing out how much the EPA protects every family in America by slowing down climate change.

Faso said he opposes the proposed EPA budget cuts. "While there is certainly room for improvement at the EPA, I understand the importance of the agency's role in protecting our environment and ensuring that we all have access to clean air and water," said Faso.

Cooke said the fate of the cuts rests with GOP lawmakers, adding, "They need to protect us, not industry."

The effort sounds similar to the town hall events on health care held in Congressional districts earlier this year, where lawmakers supporting Trump's proposals to weaken Obamacare were met by crowds of angry constituents.


These EPA budget cuts are a direct threat to American communities that are already struggling with the many changes brought about by climate change. Without enough funds, the EPA will lose several long-term programs that the US desperately needs in order to reduce its carbon footprint and encourage the use of renewable sources of energy.

Green activists already stopped the government from doing so just recently but they have to do everything all over again for the new 2018 budget. The changes would even be more severe as the cuts are bigger than previously. If these budget cuts push through, the federal government can increase the budget for defense while virtually crippling other government agencies like the EPA. But the problem is, is that really what the rest of America needs? What will be left worth defending if the nation is no longer a great place to live in?

Rescuing The EPA is republished from


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

American Education Still In Trouble

Education can be your life’s greatest treasure. It’s something nobody can take away from you. For years, parents struggled to send their children off to school whether they have the support of the government or not. Education enabled their young minds to think out of the box and learn things they would never have known had they stayed at home and not frequent the four corners of the classroom. Educated people have a wider understanding of life as they learn what makes the world go round. However, getting an education remains to be a big hurdle that many families face until today.

You can change your life with a good quality education. Unfortunately, it may come at a high price tag. But as the world progresses and technology starts to take over the world, society needs more educated people to help run the affairs of the state and most businesses too. The government has been doing its part in subsidizing the children’s education for decades now, so Americans continue to be globally competitive someday. Then there is a growing middle-class that does not always rely on the government for help in putting their kids to school. Yet despite all these changes, many still struggle to get an education in America, more so in other parts of the world.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus chastised the state Senate on Wednesday for fighting improvements to public education and called on this summer's special session to include work fixing the state's beleaguered school finance system.

Straus said he hopes school finance is added to Gov. Greg Abbott's special session call, which currently includes 20 issues, including a committee to study school finance but not a demand the Legislature pass a series of fixes pushed by the House this session.

The San Antonio Republican told a ballroom full of school board members they should complain often and loudly to pressure state lawmakers to prioritize public education and branded the House as the chamber that "still believes in public education."


The education system is in dire need of reforms to address the issue of underfunding in public schools. It also won’t help that the education sector is included in the list of President Trump’s budget cuts considering that many are already struggling to meet the growing education needs of today’s youth. If this goes on, more Americans will go into adulthood lacking the education they need to find better jobs for their families and struggle even more in their day-to-day lives.

In a stinging speech that slammed the Senate's focus on school vouchers and bathroom bills, the San Antonio Republican told a hotel ballroom full of school board members that they should pressure state lawmakers, and run for election to the state's upper chamber.

"In many ways, your hands are tied and state government is holding the rope," he told more than 200 attendees at the Texas Association of School Boards during their opening dinner at a conference to review legislation from the 2017 legislative session.  "One of my biggest concerns coming out of this year's session is that we are starting to send the wrong signal about who we are as a state."

Branding the House as the chamber that "still believes in public education," Straus said he had looked forward to speaking at the Wednesday night conference so he could be around elected officials who are "sincere, hard-working and committed to education. It's quite a change for me," he said to laughs in the Marriott Rivercenter in downtown San Antonio.


Legislation is needed in order to realize these reforms not only when it comes to funding but even when it comes to the hiring and firing of teachers too. Meanwhile, the controversial bathroom bill is likewise taking up too much time of the legislators that it shadows other more important issues faced by educators and the school system in general. Even issues on property reform taxes should also be addressed as many schools get funding from them rather than from the federal government itself.

The government should no longer turn a blind eye to the myriad of problems faced by schools nowadays. The president may not value the importance of supporting the education of the youth but it does not mean that his opinions speak for the reality we all face. After all, he is a billionaire who has probably been out of touch of reality for the longest time as he looks down on the masses from his high-rise Trump Towers. Meanwhile, many kids will lose the opportunity to advance in life because one person in power thinks otherwise.

The following blog article American Education Still In Trouble was initially published on


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Maximizing Technology In Building Your Business

Technology is a major force in our ever changing world. It defines the era we are living in and provided the tools mankind needs for further progress. If you just look around you, you can see different types of technology dominating the market. Smart technology, for instance, is the hottest tech these days and a favorite of many because of the endless opportunities it offers to just about everyone who owns a smartphone or smartgadget and has Internet access. Technology is rapidly advancing. If you are a business owner, make an effort to keep abreast with all these advancements to fuel your brand’s growth and reach a wider audience. Remember that the competition is doing it too, so you better get on it now than be left behind by everyone else.

With the population explosion, many entrepreneurs have also opened up more innovative businesses to meet the growing needs of the public. But since you’ll have a hard time dominating the market through conventional means, most business owners tap technology to give them an edge over others. For instance, make use of social media to get in touch with people and communicate the essence of your brand. You also have to distinguish which platform is best for your business because different channels work differently too. You can reach out to more artsy minded people for your arts and craft business on Pinterest while most generic businesses can do well on Facebook.

Many small businesses owners find that the fast-paced growth of the technology industry can make it difficult to know the right time to adopt new tools. But few understand that waiting too long, or lagging too far behind the curve, can have a real negative impact on business. According to recent report from Boston Consulting Group, Lessons on Technology and Growth from Small-Business Leaders, “…research shows technology leaders far outperform their peers in the marketplace,” and, “created jobs almost twice as fast as other small businesses. Technology leaders also increased their annual revenues 15 percentage points faster than companies with lower levels of technology adoption.”

In order to stay competitive, create jobs and increase revenue, small businesses need to seriously consider technology trends and how to leverage them. In addition to growing the bottom line, here are five ways small and mid-sized companies can use technology to grow their businesses.

Reach customers

There are numerous cloud-based technologies that can help a small business grow by more efficiently reaching customers and creating leads. Low-cost applications exist to help manage contacts, accounts, pipeline and opportunities. More robust software may include marketing applications to create more revenue generating email campaigns and providing analytics to help get the right message to target audiences. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube can also be used to promote products and services. Many of these technologies are often low cost or even free.


Over two billion people use social media daily. That’s a lot of people you can easily tap if you just maximize what these social channels can offer. It might seem like a piece of cake but it is challenging to break the Internet if you don’t have any idea on what you are doing, what your company has to offer, and what direction you plan on taking your business. Build your social media presence and target the right traffic for your brand. You can even make use of technology to raise capital for your start-up venture. Crowdfunding does that for you. There are a lot of business opportunities but there are many things to consider as well, so don’t rush in and plan how you wish to maximize technology to make it work for your brand and not the other way around.

Business users were once the first to experience technology. PCs were the norm in the office and on the factory floor long before computers were in use at home. The business user accepted technology at the pace that the business doled it out. That was then. Over the last decade the consumer technology market leapfrogged the business world. Traditional business has been struggling to keep up with its technology savvy employees, and its customers’ expectation for easy information access and seemingly effortless multi-channel transactions utilizing their device du jour.

Relevant business technology is all about software now — specifically customer-facing software that eases information/transaction access, and software bundled into the company’s product or service offerings that add innovative, unique function. That software-defined customer experience and connectedness is crucial to future business vitality. The composition of a “product” has been expanded to include software. A firm’s customer experience needs to be managed in a product management context. Product management in a software defined world must confront the increasingly shortened time frame between innovation and commoditization. Speed to market is crucial.


Even small American businesses are now heavily dependent on new technological solutions and social media innovations in promoting and building their brand and even in regularly reaching out to their customer base. The web continues to innovate as we speak and you really have to devote a great deal of your time, money and effort in harnessing tech to your company’s advantage and in streamlining your business efforts. Open up your mind to various possibilities offered by the web because that is when real growth takes place.

Maximizing Technology In Building Your Business was initially published to NC Blog


Friday, 22 September 2017

What’s In Store For The 2020 Olympics

Life would be so boring without exciting and adventurous activities like sports. Although not everyone are gifted enough to be athletic in build, talent or skills, we all know how to appreciate many of these sporting events that interests us or captures our fancy. Athletes devote a great deal of their time in honing their skills especially if they compete in prestigious events like say, the Olympics. The prestige of winning medals in such competitions can be the highlight of any athlete’s career and determine their path in life.

Every four years, a host country is tasked to prepare for the Olympic Games that were originally held in Athens, Greece. The next Olympic Games or otherwise known as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad will take place in Tokyo in 2020. Being the host country is both a big honor and a responsibility. For this event alone, a budget of 400 billion Japanese Yen was set by the Japanese government to spend for all the hosting preparations.


Commenting on the decision, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The fascinating new events that we approved today, together with the five new sports that were added to the Tokyo 2020 programme last year, represent a step-change in the Olympic programme. I am delighted that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be more youthful, more urban and will include more women.”

The EB decision will lead to a net increase of 15 events, an overall reduction of 285 athletes from Rio 2016, and the highest representation of female athletes in Olympic history. In Tokyo, the number of mixed events will double from nine in Rio 2016 to 18. All new events will make use of existing venues.

Today’s decision is a significant step towards achieving the 50 per cent gender balance at the Olympic Games in both athletes and events, as clearly stated by Olympic Agenda 2020.


Sporting events like rowing, canoe, weightlifting, and shooting are now gender-balanced as well as in athletes for the same four events along with two more – judo and sailing. Freestyle wrestling, mountain bike, and BMX racing have also become gender balanced at a discipline level. Mixed events add more spice and excitement to the Olympics while the adding of events like BMX freestyle and skateboarding indicates the desire to tap a more youthful audience, which happens to be the biggest chunk in the global population today.

THE version of 3-on-3 coming to the Tokyo Olympics in three years isn’t exactly the same game seen on so many local playgrounds.

The IOC on Friday added 3-on-3 to the Olympic program for 2020 in an effort to give the games a more youthful and urban appeal. Basketball and Olympic officials hope the half-court game is as successful as beach volleyball — a smaller, faster version of the 5-on-5 sport.

World governing body FIBA had 3-on-3 in the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games and in the 2014 edition of the event in Nanjing, China, the sport now becoming the first Youth Olympic discipline to be included in the Olympic program.


The introduction of the 3-on-3 basketball as an official Olympic sport is also a strong indicator that the committee also wants to give sports enthusiasts what they want to see, their favorite game of basketball. This move only goes to show that basketball is increasingly becoming a popular sport all over the world. However, basketball fans should not get disappointed if the basketball game they see on the Olympics is far from what they see how this game is usually played.

The Olympics committee is doing their best to maintain the importance and popularity of the Olympics considering that fewer cities are willing to host it and that its audience are mostly the older demographics. This is the main reason why new and more youthful sports were added into the line-up – to capture the attention and interest of the younger people if they want to stay relevant in an increasingly changing world.

What’s In Store For The 2020 Olympics See more on: NC Blog


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Your Skin Needs Some Summer Lovin’

The skin is the largest body organ and is the first barrier to microorganisms so we don’t easily fall prey to bacteria, viruses, etc. Aside from that, the skin also serves an aesthetic purpose. After all, it is the first thing people see when they meet you. People can form judgments on you by simply basing it on the way you look. And as the summer season welcomes everyone, we should take extra precaution in caring for our skin because the intense heat of the sun can do it a lot of harm. Aside from the threats of skin cancer, the very idea of having sun spots or skin tags at an early age isn’t a pretty sight at all.

We can’t deny that the summer months nowadays are hotter than they used to be. Climate change has a profound effect even on the seasons that winter is colder and summer is definitely warmer than what we are used to. The thought of spending hours out in the sun may be a refreshing change for the months we’ve been cooped inside the house but it can leave you sweating like crazy and feeling hot from the inside out. Hence, wearing sunscreen is non-negotiable or risk suffering from painful and ugly sunburns that can ruin your physical appearance for a while.

We all want flawless skin, especially during summer. When temperatures rise and the air is dry, fresh skin becomes even more important. There are thousands of beauty products that promise to give you clear and glowing skin. Instead of relying on these products, you can try some simple and easy home remedies to improve your skin’s overall health and appearance. Here’s a a few simple ways to make sure that your skin stays soft and clear:

Lemon is one of the best ingredients that you can use to promote clear skin. The citric acid in lemons helps keep the skin clear by removing dead cells, and its vitamin C content helps reduce dark spots by increasing the cell renewal process. Lemon also has bleaching properties that will help improve your overall skin complexion. (Side note: you can also use lemon to lighten your hair during the summer!)

Apply fresh-squeezed lemon juice to your entire face and neck. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. After this, rub cucumber slices on your skin to soften and moisturize it. Do this daily or every other day.
Another option is squeeze the juice of one-half lemon and mix one to two tablespoons of raw honey in it. Apply it on your face, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse it off.


Aside from having to deal with the scorching heat of the sun, the humidity is a major bummer too. It’s why wearing loose cotton clothing and short-sleeved shirts, shorts and skirts are outfit staples during the warm summer season. It allows you to sweat and cool off and stay sane the entire day. However, it also means you’ll be showing off more skin than before and exposing it to the harmful rays of the sun.

Between the chlorine-spiked pool water, dank camping-tent air, and endless stream of cold brews (of all varieties), summer tends to do a number on your skin. So if you’re over the age of 25 and are still mostly using one bar of soap to clean and moisturize every part of your body, now is probably a good time to, ahem, expand your repertoire. And a vitamin C serum is a very good place to start.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, a serum is something you use after you wash your face but before you moisturize to give your skin some extra help where it needs it most. Think: acne, wrinkles, and dryness. Vitamin C is a common ingredient in all skin-care products because of its awesome ability to reduce discoloration, stimulate collagen production, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, and protect your skin against future sun damage. Whether you’re spending your summer chilling on a boat or mowing the lawn, this multi-tasker ingredient, in this powerful form, is precisely what your face needs right now.


It is easy to forget about your skin and neglect it with the long list of activities you’ve got lined up this summer. You may aspire to sport that glowing and dewy sun-kissed look but you may end up looking sunburnt along the way especially if you don’t take precautions before going out in the sun. You can’t afford to dilly-dally when it comes to skin care. You have to stick with it without fail every single day because your skin isn’t as infallible as you’d like to think it is. Give it the lovin’ it needs and you’d have no problem looking your best all summer long.

The post Your Skin Needs Some Summer Lovin’ is republished from Naked Conversations Blog


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Growing Terrorist Threat In Southeast Asia

We’ve all heard about wars waged by ISIS in the Middle East but it seems that the threat is about to hit Asia hard as these Muslim terrorists have started expanding their caliphate. For almost a month now, the Philippine government is battling the Maute rebels that have pledged allegiance to ISIS in the battleground that is now Marawi in the southern part of the Philippines. It is being led by Isnilon Hapilon, who has a $5-million bounty on the head and included in the US list of most wanted terrorists. Innocent residents of this inland city have been evacuated but some have already fallen along with Philippine soldiers who came to their aid and are in hot pursuit of the local terrorist group.

It’s not ISIS fighters yet who took over the city but it has been a while since they have started recruiting in this part of the world. There were even other neighboring Asians like Malaysians and Indonesians who joined the Maute group during the attack, which is why the entire island of Mindanao has been put under Martial Law. As the Islamists are losing the battle on their turf (especially in Syria), they were reportedly planning to move and create a new terrorist hub in Southeast Asia. It is indeed very alarming news for the many Southeast Asian nations who aren’t equipped to deal with this kind of terrorism.

Southeast Asia's jihadis who fought by the hundreds for the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria now have a different battle closer to home in the southern Philippines. It's a scenario raising significant alarm in Washington.

The recent assault by IS-aligned fighters on the Philippine city of Marawi has left more than 300 people dead, exposing the shortcomings of local security forces and the extremist group's spreading reach in a region where counterterrorism gains are coming undone.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress last week that a long-running U.S. military operation to help Philippine forces contain extremist fighters was canceled prematurely three years ago. Small numbers of U.S. special forces remain in an "advise and assist" role, and the U.S. is providing aerial surveillance to help the Philippines retake Marawi, an inland city of more than 200,000 people.


Many homes and properties have been destroyed as the government continues to strike the terrorists from the air. The Islamic State will not easily give up without a fight and they will try to bring as many as they can down because of their radical and otherworldly views in life especially religion.

Survival has become a daily battle in Marawi, the capital of Mindanao’s Lanao del Sur province and whose mostly Muslim 200,000 population make the city the biggest Islamic community in what is otherwise an overwhelmingly Catholic country. Villarosa, a teacher in Marawi, was handing out wedding invitations when black-clad fighters of what the locals call Grupo ISIS swarmed the streets. She ran, hid, and took shelter in a nearby house with 38 other people. Outside, she heard, her workplace Dansalan College was burning, and Christians were being killed. “We rescued ourselves—no military,” says Villarosa. “We had to run, walk, crawl.” Seven of her colleagues, including the school’s principal, were unaccounted for, but, low on food and water, and with news that the military was set to bomb the area, Villarosa decided to get to the sanctuary of city hall. “It looked like a movie outside, it looked like The Walking Dead,” she says, referring to the post-apocalypse U.S. TV series.

The battle for Marawi began on May 23, when the Philippine military tried to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the head of a southern militia that has pledged loyalty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But the army met fiercer than expected resistance. Allied with another pro-ISIS brigade called the Maute Group, Hapilon’s fighters took a priest and his congregation hostage, freed prisoners from the local jail, and overran the city. More than three weeks later, the fighting persists, hundreds have died—militants, soldiers, civilians—and hundreds more residents remain trapped in the city. Many have no electricity or running water. Food stocks are diminishing fast. As residents seek safety, much of Marawi has become a ghost town.


Everybody loses in wars. Only the terrorists feel an evil sense of satisfaction in wreaking havoc to our modern world. It’s the civilians that suffer the most because some may die and many get injured and they often don’t have any more homes to return to aside from finding yourself in a limbo as the war drags on. Barely a year into office, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has worked hard to address the drug problem of the nation but he now faces a different even bigger-scale problem that requires help from other nations like America. The Islamic State isn’t giving up that easily, so the war drags on and the government will do its best to wipe out these terrorists and establish peace and order in the war-torn city of Marawi.

For now, everything is put on hold. No more worries over trade and business when it’s the people’s lives in danger. Businesses, big and small, are non-existent. In its wake, you can hear fighter jets dropping bombs on suspected Maute hiding spots or the continuous sound of gunfire. Everyone fled their homes to spare their lives from the brutal attack of the Maute militants who even dare raised the Islamic State’s flag in the city. Christians are killed. Their Muslim brothers and sisters teach the Christians various Muslim prayers in an attempt to spare them from the Maute’s wrath. While many are hopeful that the government can take control of the situation, many can’t still breathe a sigh of relief until that day comes.

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