Guarding against Cyber-attacks

first_imgA report by US-based Inter-American Development Bank and the Organisation of American States has revealed that Latin America and the Caribbean are highly vulnerable to potentially devastating cyber-attacks.The report said that four out of five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean do not have a strategy to prevent cyber-attacks.The report added that nations such as Mexico, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Chile have an intermediate level of preparedness, but remain far from advanced nations like the United States, Estonia and Israel.When we hear about data breaches in the news, it’s usually the big names in countries that are thousands of miles away. We hardly stop to think about our own vulnerabilities and examine ways we can protect ourselves. However, as many countries and large corporations invest in ramping up security, hackers are turning their sights elsewhere, to targets that may not have the resources to fend off their attacks.The international institutes have called on regional governments to step up cybersecurity, saying that two out of three countries do not have a command and control centre for cybersecurity.The question is how can persons protect themselves, organisations and employees? We need to understand why the issue of cybersecurity is important in the first place. In this high-tech era, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Most of our daily transactions are being conducted via digital technology, from socialising to e-commerce. It is true that we may be lagging behind most countries in this regard, but we are well on our way.Quite recently, Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes revealed great plans for Guyana’s e-governance system which are aimed at decentralising Government’s services, providing telemedicine services, distance education and the submission and marking of examination materials even at the level of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), among other things. They pointed to the establishment of an interconnected digital platform that can provide Government services to citizens in an efficient, cost-saving and efficient manner.To make this a reality, the Administration has consulted with the Chinese telecommunications giant, Huawei, to assess the feasibility of expanding the coastal fibreoptic network to include other areas of the country.Sections of the local media reported that Government’s announcement comes at a time when US security experts have cautioned major telecommunications companies like AT&T against using Huawei’s services because of fears of espionage.Amid the uncertainty about this partnership, the Telecommunications Minister assured that Guyana has been placing great emphasis on cybersecurity and Guyana has been sending officials overseas to conferences “so that we can be up to date about mechanisms that could be put in place to protect the integrity of national data”.Officials also assured that every conceivable step was being taken to protect data, largely with support from the Organisation of American States of which the United States is a major supporter.Whether there is genuine cause for concern is left to be seen; however, we need to take the possibility of a cyber-threat seriously.Experts recommend simple steps that can be taken to prevent hacks and protect information. Many in today’s workforce do not realise how easy it is to be fooled by innocent-looking attachments and links within malicious emails. Viruses, ransomware, and malware can invade your system with just one click. Once the trap is sprung, all of a person business’ sensitive data becomes a free-for-all for cybercriminals. Ensuring that employees are aware of the risks is crucial.Persons also need to ensure the company hired to host its website has a good reputation and utilises proven security practices such as encryption. There are many other small, albeit crucial measures that can be taken to safeguard ourselves. These include but are not limited to securing our websites with SSL encryption, using a Secure Hosted Shopping Cart; persons have to be able to trust e-commerce platforms (online shopping is becoming increasingly popular in Guyana), protecting themselves and business with Web Application Firewalls and certainly, by no means least, changing passwords regularly.No matter what preventive measures a person take, there will always continue to be more advanced hackers trying to get at personal or company data, persons simply need to ensure that they are doing all that they can to guard against cyber-attacks.last_img read more

Sleeping with death: the future of criminalising deliberate HIV infection

first_imgBY JARRYL BRYANRita, who preferred not to use her real name, met her ex-boyfriend at a party in 2015. Having just came out of another relationship, she was on the rebound. She related that something about him prompted her to let her guard down and approached him. By the end of the night, they had exchanged numbers and a romance started.In June, 2016, then Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton (left), Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador George Talbot (centre) and First Secretary in the Guyana Mission at the UN Headquarters, Shiraz Mohamed (right) attended a high level UN meeting discussing eradicating AIDSIn hindsight, Rita recalled that her new found paramour would always find excuses to avoid having her visit his home. They eventually started a sexual relationship, but this would almost always happen at her place of abode.She related that one day he had stopped at his house on the way to take her to the popular seawall lime, as he had to collect something. Feeling the urge use the rest room, Rita subsequently followed him in and found the rest room.A search for napkins led her to the medicine cabinet, where a pill bottle labelled Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) stared back at her.Deliberate transmissionAs of last year, Guyana’s National Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Programme Secretariat recorded statistics showing that there are 7000 Guyanese living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).Of that group, some 5300 are attached to a care and treatment facility and a further 85 per cent receiving ARV treatment.Rita’s is not an isolated case. The issue of HIV positive individuals deliberately withholding information about their status from their sexual partners is a touchy one which has sparked international debate. Varying reasons for this dangerous practice have been provided, such as fear of stigma.But consideration has also been given for criminal liability. In one of the most famous cases, Ugandan born Canadian Johnson Aziga became the first person to be found guilty of murder in 2009 for deliberately transmitting HIV, leading to someone’s death.Diagnosed with HIV in 1996, Aziga subsequently had unprotected sex with 11 women without disclosing his status, infecting seven. Ultimately, two died from AIDS related complications. Aziga was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder, 10 counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of attempted sexual assault.Important to note is that the Canadian courts ruled that since he never disclosed his status to the women, they could not have truly given their consent. It is the same principle which applies when a Police Officer is mandated to read a suspect their Miranda rights or else anything said by the suspect is inadmissible to court.The United States is notable for having over 30 states with laws which criminalise the wilful transmission of HIV. The laws have been criticised and condemned by human rights groups, who argue that they reinforce the stigma against HIV positive persons.Guyana’s effortsEfforts to make similar laws a reality in Guyana were also met with staunch opposition. In 2009, Guyana Action Party/Rise, Organise and Rebuild (GAP/ROAR) Guyana representative Everall Franklin brought a motion to the National Assembly seeking to make intentionally infecting a person with HIV an indictable offence.The National Aids Committee (NAC) had immediately called for it to be rejected, stating that the motion sets out to have “the transmission of HIV to any other person be an indictable offense once a person knows that he is infected. The motion does not require intent. If a condom breaks, for example, and transmission occurs, the transmitter would be liable.”“While recognising that infection rates are still disappointingly high as the motion states, the NAC is completely opposed to the premise of this motion that HIV positive persons are responsible for this state of affairs and must be penalised. In this respect the motion is inhumane, ill-informed and dangerous,” the Committee said in a release.The motion was ultimately defeated. In 2011, then Health Minsiter, Dr Leslie Ramsammy addressed the issue in the National Assembly. He also produced the findings of a Special Select Committee, which was tasked with facilitating public discussion on criminalising reckless and deliberate transmission of HIV.In his remarks, Ramsammy said “we all agreed that the wilful transmission of HIV is unacceptable and is criminal. But we believe that there are general criminal laws that are adequate to address the wilful transmission of HIV. While we accepted that the wilful transmission of HIV is a problem, we do not believe that the problem can be resolved by the criminalising of HIV transmission.”He added that, “the Special Select Committee after deliberations and after hearing the views of individuals and organisations concluded that criminalising of HIV transmission has not been proven to prevent the spread of HIV; it merely encourages individuals not to get tested and increases the stigma and discrimination against those who are positive.”“This in turn can lead to increased spread of HIV from those who do not know their status. The Committee and those citizens and organisations that came forward to make presentations to the Special Select Committee agreed that stigma and discrimination have proven to be the most powerful drivers of the HIV epidemic,” the Minister had concluded.The stance Guyana took was one applauded by local and international groups including the United Nations AIDS humanitarian group.2017Guyana does not have any laws in its statutes specific to wilful HIV transmission. According to the Public Relations Officer for the Director of Public Prosecutions Chambers, Liz Rahman, such a law does not exist now, though she directed further queries to the Legal Affairs Ministry.In an interview with parliamentarian and medical doctor, Dr Frank Anthony, he stated that such legislation may actually not be in the country’s best interest. Anthony, who is a vocal orator in the National Assembly on matters of public health, posited that such legislation may just deter HIV positive persons from disclosing their status.“There are a few cases where persons are practising revenge behaviour. And there are legal (statutes) in other jurisdictions. But by and large we have not seen much of that here in Guyana. And therefore putting in legislation like that would do more harm,” Dr Anthony concluded.Despite denials from her lover that the medication belonged to him, Rita ended the relationship and subsequently tested herself. It turned out that her experience was just a narrow brush with the dreaded disease, as her results came back as negative.She has kept to herself since then. According to Rita, her narrow brush with the wilful transmission of HIV is something she will never forget. She said it is an experience she will carry around with her for the rest of her life and has affected her interactions with all subsequent suitors.And according to her, in her quiet moments she often wonders what justice she would have gotten had the test she took two years ago come back positive.last_img read more

Five moments in a crazy Euro 2016 final

first_imgEder of Portugal celebrates scoring the winning goal in Paris.PHOTO/courtesy.A final that appeared to be heading for penalties suddenly swung Portugal’s way thanks to Eder’s tremendous strike in the 109th minute at the Stade de France.The bustling centre-forward had come on in the 79th minute for Renato Sanches and his power and strength was too much for France centre-back Laurent Koscielny to handle.One could hardly have chosen a more dramatic match-winner. After enduring a torrid time at Swansea City, Eder owed winning his place in Fernando Santos’ Portugal squad at the finals to his form on loan at Ligue 1 club Lille in the second half of last season.And in May he signed a four-year deal at the same club. What kind of reception will he get on the pitches of France next season?More tears, of pain and joy, for RonaldoPortugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo is comforted by Portugal’s coach Fernando Santos as he is carried on a stretcher off the pitch by team medics after an injury following a clash with France’s forward Dimitri Payet during the Euro 2016 final.PHOTO/AFPCristiano Ronaldo was just 19 when he cried tears of despair as Portugal lost the Euro 2004 final on home soil.He had stated his wish to be crying with joy this time and the Real Madrid forward was finally able to celebrate winning a major international trophy for the first time.From a personal viewpoint this was not his night. After hurting his left knee in an eighth-minute challenge with Dimitri Payet, Ronaldo tried to carry on but eventually gave up midway through the first half.The three-time World Player of the Year slumped to the turf and was inconsolable as he had to be stretchered off to be replaced by Ricardo Quaresma.The substitution of the biggest star on the field took the sting out of the game. It was also eerily similar to the 1998 World Cup final at the same ground, when Brazil were undermined by the original Ronaldo’s fitness problems as they lost 3-0 to France.He did not reappear until the end of the 90 minutes but he was there willing his colleagues on from the dugout and has now picked up a Champions League winners’ medal and won the European Championship in less than two months. Could a fourth World Player of the Year award be next?France luck as hosts runs outFrance’s forward Antoine Griezmann reacts during the Euro 2016 final football match between France and Portugal at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016.PHOTO/AFPThe last team to win a major international trophy as hosts was France, at the 1998 World Cup, when current coach Didier Deschamps was the captain.In 1984 they won the European Championship as hosts and they were overwhelming favourites to repeat the feat on Sunday.After all France had not lost any of their previous 18 games at home in major competitions, winning 16 and drawing two.They had also won their last 10 matches against Portugal. The Selecao meanwhile, had been the last side to lose a major tournament final as hosts when they lost to Greece at Euro 2004. This was their moment at last.Surging Sissoko stands out in defeatMoussa Sissoko was France’s best attacking threat in the first half with the midfielder’s direct running causing Portugal problems.Moussa Sissoko was outstanding for Didier Deschamps’ beaten side.The 26-year-old’s marauding runs from midfield were a constant source of danger to the Portuguese and he almost conjured a brilliant winner with a late thunderbolt from 30 yards that was superbly kept out by Rui Patricio.Sissoko was not in Deschamps’ first-choice line-up at the start of the competition but impressed in a 0-0 draw against Switzerland in the final group game.After being benched against the Republic of Ireland in the last 16 he returned and impressed against Iceland in the quarter-finals and has kept his place ever since.Sunday’s final was a special occasion for the Newcastle United player of Malian origin.He was born in Paris and started out with a club in Aulnay-sous-Bois, just 10 kilometres (six miles) away from the Stade de France before turning professional with Toulouse in Ligue 1.He will surely earn a move away from Newcastle rather than be turning out in England’s second tier next season.Rui Patricio keeps Portugal in itJust moments after Ronaldo’s injury, Griezmann thought he had given France the lead but for this Rui Patricio save.Portugal would never have won their first European title without the heroics of goalkeeper Rui Patricio.He leaped to claw away Antoine Griezmann’s first-half header into the top-right corner and in the 86th minute he stopped Moussa Sissoko’s powerful drive.In another impressive stop, the Sporting Lisbon ‘keeper denied Olivier Giroud, parrying his shot from Kingsley Coman’s pass.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Cristiano Ronaldo was taken off injured but Portugal still lifted the trophy.PHOTO/courtesy.PARIS, France, July 10 – Portugal beat hosts France 1-0 in the Euro 2016 final on Sunday night thanks to substitute Eder’s dramatic strike in extra-time at the Stade de France. Here are AFP Sport’s five moments from an incident-filled match:Eder the herolast_img read more

Richardson red card changed the course of the game, admits Lambert

first_imgPaul Lambert was left proud of his Aston Villa players despite falling to a 1-0 defeat to rivals West Brom at the Hawthorns.Craig Gardner scored the game’s only goal as Alan Irvine’s men secured the bragging rights in the west Midlands derby.But Lambert believes Kieran Richardson’s red card for a studs-up lunge on Stephane Sessegnon changed the game and made it an uphill battle for his side.The Northern Irishman said: “I always believed we had a chance of scoring, even when we changed to a back-three it was backs to the wall for West Brom at times, but the sending off definitely changed the game.“I think at 11v11 we were dominant with the ball and we looked good, the sending off gave us a bit of an uphill battle, but I have to compliment the team for how they reacted.”The 43-year-old believes that his side will bounce back despite their mini-revival coming to an end at the Hawthorns.“We’re confident at the moment and that’s the pleasing thing, everyone in there is disappointed but at 11v10 we gave it a good go which is pleasing to see.”last_img read more

Economies of valleys still strong

first_img“Any place where you’ve had a lot of new construction open up is vulnerable,” Kyser said. Highlights for the Antelope Valley include the good health of aerospace research and development work and the start of airline service from L.A./Palmdale Regional Airport to San Francisco International Airport. The average annual wage in 2006 for the High Desert was $36,957, which was up over the year by a stout 10.2 percent, according to the LAEDC. The Antelope Valley still needs to do a better job in “telling their story,” Kyser said. That story includes the availability of land and a pro-business attitude. Mel Layne, who heads up the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance, agreed with the LAEDC report’s findings. “Everything is on the rise,” Layne said. “Overall, things are bright for the Antelope Valley.” Layne noted that the forecast shows the housing market starting to recover in 2009. “I hope he’s right,” Layne said. “The last time it lasted about 10 years.” Both Layne and Kyser agreed that although the rising foreclosures are a concern, the situation is nowhere near as bleak as the mid-1990s when foreclosures were as high as 3,700 a year. “We’re still in pretty good shape, but we’re heading in the wrong direction,” Layne said of foreclosures. For Santa Clarita, the good news includes the decision to keep Six Flags Magic Mountain operating, a slowly, but surely growing manufacturing sector, and strong employment in professional and business services. The average annual wage in Santa Clarita was $38,882 in 2006, according to the forecast. For the forecast, the LAEDC built in the effects of a strike in the entertainment industry, Kyser said. james.skeen@dailynews (661) 267-5743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PALMDALE – The Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys are in strong economic shape, but there are potential bumps in the road from the sluggish house marketing and potential strikes in the entertainment industry, according to economists. Both valleys are expected to see record employment this year, with the Antelope Valley gaining 4.1 percent, to 76,000 jobs, and Santa Clarita Valley growing 2.4 percent, to 85,000 jobs. Antelope Valley’s job growth is being driven by aerospace research and development while Santa Clarita Valley is showing gains in professional and business services and leisure and hospitality services, according to a midyear forecast by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. “They both appear to be quite strong,” Jack Kyser, chief economist for LAEDC, said of the two North County regions. “The cloud over the Antelope Valley is housing construction.” The slowing housing market and rising foreclosure numbers are a drag on the economy. The key questions for the high desert are how many homeowners are in trouble because of difficulties with their subprime loans and how willing will the financial institutions be in working with those distressed homeowners, Kyser said. last_img read more

3 Valley teens get $10,000

first_imgThe Milken Family Foundation announced Tuesday that 16 high school seniors in Los Angeles have been named 2007 Milken Scholars. The students will each receive a $10,000 scholarship as well as access to career-related counseling, assistance with internships, opportunities to volunteer and support from a network of professionals and Milken Scholar alumni. “These students have demonstrated excellence in academics, leadership and community service,” said Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a director of the Milken Scholars. The students were chosen from among 350 nominees based on criteria including grade-point averages, test scores, leadership and community service. Three of the scholars hail from the San Fernando Valley: Steven Chua of Chatsworth High, who will attend the University of California at Berkeley; Jocelyn Perez of Reseda High, who will go to Yale University; and Taft High’s Kimberly Solomon, who will attend Dartmouth College. The other honorees are Diana Avalos of John Marshall High; Amber Carmi-Smith of Santa Monica High; Melinda Grant of Lawndale High; Jung Hyan Lee of Beverly Hills High; Jennifer Lew of Abraham Lincoln High; Kevin Martinez of Woodrow Wilson High. Alex Melamed of Shalhevet High; Tsung Mou of West Covina High; Diego Renteria of South Gate High; Hong Sio of West Covina High; Huy Tran of Torrance High; Wyles Vance of Santa Monica High and Emmanuel Yekutiel of Harvard-Westlake High. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

A change for the better

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Quartz Hill High center Troy Ross remembers when his basketball career – and his life – did not appear so promising. Ross, who leads the Rebels with 18 points and 13.6 rebounds per game, was a 15-year-old freshman at Jefferson High of Los Angeles immersed in the violent gang scene in South Central Los Angeles. Schoolwork was secondary at best, and his grades dropped so low, graduating seemed remote. “I was just involved with the wrong people back then,” said Ross, now a senior. “I didn’t play ball at all. There were some things I needed to get away from, and I came to Quartz Hill to start a better life.” The turning point came his sophomore year, when his family moved to the Antelope Valley, and he enrolled at the local high school. Ross adapted quickly to his new surroundings, but there still was the difficult task of making up the classes to graduate. At 6-foot-5, 274 pounds, Ross couldn’t help drawing the attention of boys’ basketball coach Bernard Nichter. Initially wary of the youngster’s inexperience and troubled background, Nichter began to notice Ross’ potential on and off the court. “I’ll be honest,” Nichter said. “I really didn’t think too much of Troy’s (basketball ability) at first. If you would have told me a few years ago he’d be this good, I would have called you crazy. “But what I always like to do in evaluating talent is play with the kid before I judge him. When I played with Troy for the first time, I realized he was impossible to move. I’ve never coached anybody so naturally strong.” By his junior year at Quartz Hill, Ross was playing a significant role for a team that finished 19-7 overall and won the Golden League with a 9-1 record. Ross averaged 7.8 points and a team-high 9.4 rebounds. Despite his new-found success, Ross still experienced setbacks. Jeff Smith, the coach at Highland of Palmdale, said Ross occasionally lost his temper in games, argued with officials and berated teammates. It was not until Quartz Hill defeated Highland 60-44 last week that Smith noticed a difference in Ross. “Troy has really matured a lot this year as a person and a player,” Smith said. “He is still very powerful, and he will not back down to anyone, but it seems like he has learned to contain his temper this year.” Although Nichter considers his center too raw to be a top Division I prospect, Ross has 14 double-doubles in the first 19 games this year. He had five in 26 games last year. Quartz Hill also features junior guard Alex Dantzler, who averages 14.5 points per game and a team-best 4.3 steals per game. With the graduation of top scorers Lawrence Tyson (24.4 points per game) and Nate Forte (17.6), the Rebels (9-10, 2-2) already have lost more games than last year’s team. But Quartz Hill defeated league-favorite Lancaster 70-64 Dec. 21 in the San Fernando Valley Tournament. The Rebels will face Lancaster twice this year in league, on Friday night at Lancaster (11-7, 3-0) and Feb. 3 at Quartz Hill. More important to Ross than his double-doubles is his grade-point average, which is better than 3.0. He is scheduled to graduate on time. With help from Nichter, family and friends, he certainly has come a long way. “Troy has a big heart, and he’s really a good kid,” Nichter said. “He’s got a tough exterior and all, but he’s a big softie.” Kevin Connelly, (818) 713-3607 last_img read more

Confronting a challenge

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesCarol Fass, who owns a publicity firm bearing her name in New York, recalled two workers who were quite valuable – up to a point.“They were very good publicists and excellent writers and excellent with the clients, but they didn’t create an environment here that I enjoyed – I didn’t want to have an environment full of tension and friction,” Fass said.So, Fass said, she asked both workers to leave; they were poisoning the atmosphere in the company, and Fass realized she was losing the respect of her other employees. Her business has survived quite well without her difficult staffers.“No one is irreplaceable,” Fass said.But Fass doesn’t believe that firing a difficult worker is the only solution. She recalled another situation with an entirely different outcome: “I had one person, a young woman, and when she first started working for me was fresh and kind of presumptuous,” Fass said. “So I said, You really shouldn’t be talking to me this way.’ She totally changed, she really got it and she worked for me for many years and I adored her.”Fass was doing one of the most important things an owner or any boss should do: give an employee feedback. Human-resources consultants advocate communicating with workers on a regular basis, letting them know what they’re doing right and wrong. Feedback is probably the only way you can get a difficult staffer to change for the better.Many small-business owners understandably are queasy about confronting staffers, for a variety of reasons. It certainly can be an unpleasant encounter.But, said Nancy Shenker, principal in ONswitch, a marketing firm in Thornwood, N.Y., “You have to learn to be comfortable communicating with people because sometimes they may not even be aware of the things they do that are driving other people crazy.”Sometimes, she noted, the boss may be part of the problem.“Make it we’ – how can we work better together?” Shenker said. “Maybe they have a short list of things that you do that drives them crazy.”Shenker said some problems might be avoided from the get-go. She tells incoming staffers some of her pet peeves, so they’ll know to avoid some of the behavior that can cause difficulty.In the end, though, even if a worker is very talented and helps the business, he or she could be doing a company more harm than good.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NEW YORK – Your most productive employee drives you nuts – so nuts that you realize you just don’t like her.But she’s so valuable to your small business.So, what do you do?Any company owner who has employees is likely at some point to run into the problem of the talented and highly competent but difficult worker. Small-business owners who have been in that situation recommend dealing with employee problems when they’re in the embryonic stage – the longer you let things fester, the harder it will be to resolve them. And along the way, your company, including your other staffers, is likely to suffer.last_img read more

Alf Khumalo: 5 decades in photos

first_img5 November 2004To take a photograph is to aspire to an art form. To have taken pictures of the most prominent South African leaders of the past five decades, from Albert Luthuli to Thabo Mbeki – that is a privilege, says internationally renowned photograher Alf Khumalo.Khumalo, recently awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, South Africa’s highest award for excellence in the creative arts, is a self-taught photographer.The essence of what attracted Khumalo to photography was and still is the visual impact of a picture. From the beginning, he says, it was always about capturing the movement – the visual impact.He even tried his hand at drawing in an attempt to capture the movement of the situations he found fascinating, but, he says, eventually realised that the camera does a better job.This he discovered when he launched his career as a journalist in the 1950s. Then, he was not only taking pictures, but writing stories as well. He was freelancing for Bantu World, a newspaper regarded as the voice of the black middle class at the time.His beat was covering court cases in Evaton. He says the magistrate so admired his accurate reporting that a special place was created for him inside the courtroom.“This is the time I met Mandela for the first time”, says Khumalo, adding that he enjoyed watching Nelson Mandela at work, drilling and questioning white people who did not want to be questioned by a black lawyer.Their relationship evolved from a professional one into a close friendship. According to Khumalo, when Mandela was in prison it became his duty to take pictures of Mandala’s family and send them to him.Photography won Khumalo his first car, in a 1963 competition run by South African Breweries. Khumalo submitted an image of mine workers, fatigued and sweaty against the background of a mine.Photography also landed him in New York, in 1971, where he tried to crack it as a freelancer. Although he did not plan to stay in the Big Apple for too long, he says he ended up spending eight months in New York.In 1980 Khumalo joined The Star as a permanent staff member. However, his freelance experience is as wide and extensive as his experience as a staff journalist.His work has appeared in international newspapers like The Observer, New York Times, New York Post, and Sunday Independent (UK). Locally, he also worked for Drum magazine and the long defunct Rand Daily Mail.In the course of a career spanning over half a century, Khumalo has documented the life and times of the evolving South Africa, both the commonplace and the historic, in the process capturing, for all time, much of the country’s collective history.He documented, inter alia, the Treason Trial, the Rivonia Trial, the resurgence of the trade unions in the 1970s, the emergence of Black Consciousness, the student uprising of 1976, the states of emergency of the 1980s, the unbanning of the liberation movements, the Codesa talks and the country’s first democratic elections.In September 2004, Khumalo was given the honour of exhibiting a collection of his life’s work at the 59th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, an exhibition that drew much acclaim.His drive to capture the moment gave him the privilege of witnessing extraordinary moments – and forced him to endure detention, arrest and harassment at the hands of apartheid officials.Despite his age, Khumalo continues to work professionally – and to dedicate his time and effort to promoting his craft.In an effort to ensure that a new generation of South African photographers emerge, and to make sure that aspiring photographers do not face the same obstacles he did when he started out, he has opened a photographic school in Diepkloof, Soweto, which offers nine-month courses designed to train photographers from disadvantaged backgrounds.Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

Where Are The Profitable VC Funded Web 2.0 Startups?

first_imgTags:#Analysis#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Thanks to all who sent in their stories of gritty entrepreneurs. To those who just copied the standard PR spiel with an opening line about “gritty entrepreneurs”, please stop! We will be doing some interviews. Right now we are parsing through the incoming stories to classify and spot some trends. The first big question that jumps out is: where are the profitable VC funded web ventures?Lots Of Bootstrappers Out ThereWe heard from lots of gritty entrepreneurs building business the old fashioned way, keeping costs low and funding from revenue. I have done that and know how hard it is to do, so here is a big cheer of recognition for all who are going that route. I hope we can profile some in the future.When you make it to profitability via bootstrapping, you have a wonderful independence and freedom. You have to keep clients happy every day, but you really do get to call the shots. You don’t have a money guy in the boardroom. This is why many people become entrepreneurs.But what we want to focus on here are VC funded web 2.0 ventures that got to profitability as standalone ventures.Surely Jigsaw is not the only one?!We chose Jigsaw to kick off this series because they were VC funded and profitable. (Many people don’t like Jigsaw, it seems like a tool for spammers, but that is another story and a bit out of date from what we can see). The point here is, what other Web 2.0 companies have been funded by VC and have reached profitability? Surely there must be some more? Did all the 2003/2004 era Series A funded ventures either exit or fail? Or are some on the cusp of profitability, with enough investor cash to get them there? Even with revenue forecasts that may need to be to brought down as a result of a slowing economy? Please tell us about any VC funded web 2.0 ventures that are profitable today standalone. Here are the hurdles:“VC Funded”. A minimum $3m Series A from a recognized VC fund.“Web 2.0 venture”. We will be as loose as possible in this definition. In fact, any web venture funded after 2002 is OK as any venture after that date is likely to have some features of user generated content, social media, SaaS or other 2.0ish characteristics. “Web 2.0” is like the definition of art “I cannot define it, but I know it when I see it and I know what I like”.“Profitable”. On this criteria we will be tight. We mean the Warren Buffet definition of profitable, which means “free cash flow”, otherwise known as “owner earnings”. It is really simple and you cannot fake it. You either get more cash from operations (cash from investors does NOT count) than you spend, or you don’t. Accounting conventions like EBITDA don’t count. More on this later.“Today”. That means this quarter. Even better last quarter. Or more than a few quarters. “Standalone”. Skype maybe profitable within EBay or YouTube within Google. That is a separate subject. We are looking for standalone ventures that have not exited. They made it to profitability on their own.Why Free Cash Flow Is The MeasureEBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Taxation Depreciation and Amortization) is an accounting convention that is used a lot in the private equity business. “Private Equity” used to be known as “Leveraged Buyout”. The L word is not in vogue today (Ed, using understatement as humor seldom works). Seriously, Private Equity deals have been based on their ability to raise debt at low cost. That game is over for a while.EBITDA is supposed to be a measure of how much debt you can put on a company. It is usually applicable to well established businesses in traditional industries. Recently it has been used in relation to Facebook and other large web ventures. This is where it gets interesting for web entrepreneurs and their investors.Is Facebook Profitable?According to a report in BoomTown in January 2008, based on an interview with Mark Zuckerberg:“Revenue for Facebook for 2007 will be $150 million, as has been widely reported. But for 2008, Zuckerberg projected revenue to be increased to $300 million to $350 million.More interesting was the news that Facebook would spend $200 million next year on capital expenditures, which is a whole lot of servers.By the way, more expenses, noted chatty Mark, those employee levels would rise to more than 1,000 in 2008 from 450 now.And Zuckerberg also said the company’s EBITDA-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and a number widely used by Wall Street as an indication of operating performance-would be $50 million in 2008.That means the company would have a negative cash flow of about $150 million (EBITDA minus CapEx), rather than break even, as it does now.”Is Facebook profitable today, in the last quarter of 2008? Well it is almost certainly EBITDA positive, butthat is not the true measure. The answer is “maybe”. If Facebook is hitting $300m to $350m this year (2008) and their operating costs have doubled from $50m to $100m (which is reasonable assumption as they said they would more than double employees from 450 to 1,000), they would have EBITDA of $200m to $250m. That sounds pretty good. But after $200m in Capex for servers, they are only breaking even on free cash flow at the bottom of their revenue forecast range. And, given the failure of Beacon and declining CPM rates on social networks, my guess (it is only a guess) is that Facebook revenues will be at the lower end of their forecast or even below.But enough about Faceboom. The more generally interesting business issue highlighted by their story is that Capital Expenditure (“Capex”) does matter for web ventures. In fact, it is a mission critical issue, with good software design at the heart of the issue.Servers Are An Operating Expense For Web 2.0 VenturesWith user generated content, you don’t pay people to create content that you use to generate advertising revenues. So your operating costs are R&D (developers), advertising sales and all those senior management overhead lumped into the General & Administrative (G&A) cost bucket. I don’t really understand what 1,000 people do at Facebook, but that is another story.As you scale, people costs should not scale. Servers do need to scale. That is where Facebook must be suffering from some sloppy early software design. That is fine, the initial win is all about user traction and a scalable design is secondary. But today it is a critical issue for Facebook. It is also a critical issue for any venture starting out today. Spending a few bucks early on to get a scalable architecture seems sensible. This is not rocket science, any competent software architect knows how to do this.Should Servers Be Outsourced Or Leased?Capex sounds old-fashioned. Why buy servers when you can lease or rent? If Facebook leased rather than bought servers, they could have positive free cash flow even at the lower end of their revenue forecast. The credit crisis will make leasing a bit tougher. Renting via Hardware As A Service (HaaS) is the ideal route for startups you benefit from the scale of the HaaS vendor. But it is unclear how the economics scale for the buyer? It is unclear whether Amazon AWS or any other HaaS is a serious option at Facebook’s scale (or the scale of any VC funded venture that is nudging profitability). Scale Or Profits – The New Choice?It seems that ventures that can see a fairly quick way to profitability, simply ignore the VC route. The feeling seems to be mutual. VC look at a lot of the businesses that got to profitability and say “too small”. So, you have to choose either big and unprofitable or small and profitable? That does not make sense. If that is true, is this an issue with Web 2.0 models? Some VCs have seen this as a failure of IPO markets, meaning that public market investors won’t trust unprofitable ventures promising they will be profitable in future. This “won’t get fooled again” view is natural after the Web 1.0 bubble burst. Trade sales for unprofitable ventures are unlikely to be the solution in the next few years. Not good trade sales at any rate (fire sales are technically trade sales, but they are not a good result). The buyer will be much less willing to fund losses because their investors will be less willing to fund losses for an uncertain period of time. If the venture is close to profitability it does not need to exit and nobody wants to exit in a down market unless they have to. VC have plenty of cash so this is not a financing issue, if the path to profitability is clear.Maybe profitability for a lot of Web 2.0 ventures is really close? Maybe it just takes longer for Web 2.0 ventures to get to profitable – but that they will be fantastic cash cows when they get there? Image: mlittycenter_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting bernard lunn 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more