Conservatives seen tightening grip as Iran votes for parliament

first_imgThe 11th parliamentary election since the 1979 Islamic Revolution comes after a surge in tensions between Tehran and Washington, and Iran’s accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner that sparked anti-government protests.Turnout was estimated at around 40 percent nationwide and 30 percent in Tehran at 1430 GMT, according to Fars news agency, close to the ultra-conservatives.Fars said the official turnout figure would be released on Saturday, while results are not expected to be announced until Sunday.Authorities announced schools will be closed Saturday in dozens of urban centers to allow for ballot counting.  ‘Only a formality’ In November, demonstrations over petrol price hikes spread across Iran and turned violent before being crushed in a deadly crackdown.Tehran and Washington have nearly gone to war twice in the past seven months, most recently after the US assassinated prominent Iranian general Qasem Soleimani on January 3.Millions of people turned out to mourn his “martyrdom”, but that unity suffered a blow after Iran admitted it had on January 8 accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner, killing 176 people.The final results of the election, for 290 parliamentary seats across 31 provinces, are not expected before Sunday.As well as selecting parliamentarians, voters will choose replacements for deceased members of the Assembly of Experts, an 88-strong clerical body tasked with appointing and monitoring the supreme leader. Rouhani under fire According to the interior ministry, turnout has always been higher than 50 percent in the 10 previous legislative elections. Many voters voiced disillusionment.Real estate worker Alireza Hashemi, 25, criticized Rouhani’s government.”After we elected Rouhani everything collapsed. He signed a very bad [nuclear] deal and looked to the West without any real guarantees,” he told AFP.But for Mohsen Jallali, the elections were “completely fair… There was a problem with the candidates who were rejected,” he said.As Rouhani voted, he sought to put a positive spin on the election.”We are very happy that another glorious day is being added to the history of our country and revolution,” he said. Voters formed long queues in the morning at polling stations in south Tehran, where conservatives have a solid support base. Far fewer were seen waiting to vote in upmarket northern neighborhoods.State television showed images from more than 20 cities and towns of people still queued up to vote around 8:00 pm while announcing the second extension.Some voters in a downtown Tehran mosque said they had turned up late for voting as it was a last-minute decision, an AFP journalist reported.The election coincided with an outbreak of the new coronavirus that authorities say has killed four people in the Islamic republic this week.One official accused Iran’s enemies of overplaying the spread of the disease in a bid to harm the credibility of the election.Experts had predicted a low turnout that they said would serve the conservatives at the expense of President Hassan Rouhani, reelected in 2017 promising more freedoms and the benefits of engagement with the West. ‘Broken promises’ Iran fell into a deep recession after US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions following Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from a landmark nuclear deal in 2018.Amir Bahador Marzpour, a humanities student in Tehran, was one of the many who shunned the election.”I didn’t vote because politicians make promises they don’t keep,” the 18-year-old said, voicing concern about runaway inflation.”There are no jobs for young people, and when we finish our studies we won’t have jobs.”Around half of the 16,033 hopefuls in the election were barred by the powerful Guardian Council, most of them moderates and reformists.Iran’s beleaguered president, who has come under fire over the sluggish economy, took another hit Friday as a multinational terrorism financing watchdog reinstated sanctions on the country.The 38-nation Financial Action Task Force said Iran had not taken sufficient measures against money laundering and the financing of terrorist groups. Iranians took to the polls Friday in an election expected to see conservatives tighten their grip on parliament, amid voter apathy after the disqualification of thousands of candidates.Polls shut at midnight after at least five extensions beyond the originally scheduled 6:00 pm closing time to allow a maximum number of people to cast their ballots.Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had urged all Iranians to take part as he cast the first ballot in the election, saying that doing so would “guarantee the country’s national interests”. Topics :last_img read more

QLD shrugs off mining downturn as housing investment cools: RBA

first_imgThe RBA says Queensland is showing evidence of having recovered from the mining downturn. Photo: Jodie Richter.QUEENSLAND is shrugging off the mining downturn amid declining housing investment and a decreasing pipeline of construction work, according to Australia’s central bank.The minutes of the latest Reserve Bank of Australia meeting reveal the board is optimistic about economic conditions in the Sunshine State, citing evidence of a recovery from the mining downturn, rising commodity prices and the sustained strength in construction. RBA Governor Philip Lowe. Photograph: Adam Yip.In the eastern capital cities, “a considerable number of new apartments was scheduled to be completed in the period ahead”.RBA Governor Philip Lowe will give a speech on Thursday, when he is expected to highlight improvement in the economy, discussing the outlook as non-mining investment grows, and job market conditions tighten. The RBA says Queensland is showing evidence of having recovered from the mining downturn.The RBA stated that while unemployment rates in Queensland had remained high relative to earlier periods, employment growth had risen.That suggested the labour market adjustment to the earlier decline in the terms of trade and falling mining investment was progressing. GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE The board observed that economic conditions in the state had generally strengthened over recent quarters, reflecting continued growth in consumption and a pick-up in business investment and demand. More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investorless than 1 hour ago“Strength in tourism and other service industries had supported growth in aggregate demand in Queensland.”center_img The Reserve Bank of Australia has released the minutes of its latest board meeting. Image: AAP/Dean Lewins.In contrast, the minutes said “population growth had been below average, reflecting lower net overseas and interstate migration”.The RBA noted dwelling investment remained at a high level, but building approvals had stepped down and the pipeline of residential construction work appeared to have passed its peak. Retail boss loses $400K selling Brisbane pad Brisbane’s most liveable suburbs The top retirement hot spots In Queensland, the central bank said dwelling investment had declined from “very high levels” and the stock of work in the pipeline was being worked down gradually. last_img read more

Amandla! – singing down apartheid

first_img23 June 2003The stirring account of the struggle against racial oppression in South Africa cannot be told without the role of music in that struggle, and that’s the context and subject matter of Lee Hirsch’s documentary film, Amandla!.For every song, there was pain, for every tune there was joy and heartbreak as South Africans at home and abroad sought solace and encouragement. Amandla! is an impassioned chronicle of the role of music as a means of protest and survival through more than 40 years of struggle against apartheid.Directed by Lee Hirsch, co-produced by Hirsch, Sherry Simpson and Desiree Markgraaff, the documentary took 10 years to make and features well-known political figures, former exiled musicians Hugh Masekela, Vuyisile Mini, Miriam Makeba, Dolly Rathebe, Sophie Mgcina, Duma ka Ndlovu and Vusi Mahlasela, and former Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) guerrillas Thandi Modise and Lindiwe Zulu – as well as numerous unsung heroes.Subtitled “A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony”, Amandla! It is a poignant portrayal of the triumph of spirit, through song, against one of the world’s most repressive state apparatuses. “The apartheid government took everything away from people, but it couldn’t stop them from singing”, says Hirsch.In song lay the resilient spirit of an oppressed people. Also in song could be found that rare ability of South Africa’s people to find humour and creativity in impossible conditions, in abject poverty – and in battle.When the first victims of apartheid brutality died protesting against the pass laws in the 1960s, they were singing. When innocent students were fired on by police with live ammunition during their protest against the use of Afrikaans in black schools in 1976, they were in song.As Masekela amiably puts it: “We will go down in history as an army that spent a lot of time singing, rather than fighting”.Legend has it, according to Masekela, that before the first shot was fired in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, the British commanders ordered their regiments to let the approaching Zulu impis finish the song they were singing – before war broke out in earnest.Amandla! is a typically South African story that begins with the exhumation of Vuyisile Mini’s skull and bones, to be reburied in his home in the Cape. Credited with writing the ominous song “Bhasobha iNdoda eMnyama Verwoerd” (Beware the black man, Verwoerd), which became a rallying cry for many liberation army soldiers, political activist and songwriter Mini was hanged and given a pauper’s burial by the apartheid government.The documentary also captures the archetypal South African war dance, the toyi-toyi. While a marvel to watch, as throngs of “comrades” charge forward chanting slogans, the toyi-toyi could strike fear even in the most menacingly armed forces of the land.Former riot police commanders, interviewed in the film, admit as much: “I can tell you that most of the riot police and soldiers who had to contain those illegal marches were shit-scared of the chanting blacks confronting them. But they had to stand their guard. Here was an unarmed mob instilling fear just by their toyi-toyi!”Over and above the toyi-toyi, there are heart-rending moments in the documentary, accompanied by intensely moving songs such as Vusi Mahlasela’s ballads, Masekela’s “Stimela” and the works of “People’s Poet” Mzwakhe Mbuli.Amandla! also features the music of Vuyisile Mini, Mbongeni Ngema, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Dolly Rathebe, Abdullah Ibrahim, Sibongile Khumalo and Sophie Mgcina. Mahlasela, Masekela, Makeba, Rathebe, Ibrahim, Khumalo and Mgcina are all interviewed in the documentary.“The film has been an emotional journey for us as filmmakers, and we hope it will be for the audience that come to watch. It is the history of a voice that gave courage, hope and comfort, and will be an important historical reference for future generations”, says Markgraaff.Winner of the 2002 Sundance Festival Documentary Audience and Freedom of Expression Awards, the film’s only weakness is by omission. Time and the constraints of making a film could not possibly do justice to half a century of song in South Africa. Equally, the film could have interviewed a more varied range of musicians, activists and ordinary people.However, the power and the urgency of freedom music lives on in the documentary. An inspirational call to arms, “Amandla!” (power) – followed by the retort “Awethu!” (ours) – means power to the people, and the documentary is testimony to that powerful triumph of spirit.Amandla! runs for 102 minutes and is currently showing at selected cinemas across the country.Click here to watch the Dave Matthews interview on Amandla!The soundtrack to Amandla! which includes pre-recorded masterpieces from legendary South African musicians, new voices from South Africa, as well as amazing never-before-heard field recordings and performances recorded exclusively for the movie. One dollar from every record sold will be donated to the Vusi Mahlasela Foundation, a music resource centre for young people in Pretoria. More info, orderslast_img read more

Unisa stands proud at 140 years

first_imgLucille DavieUnisa has a proud list of illustrious alumni.(Image: Unisa)MEDIA CONTACTS• Nancy-Anne AndersonManaging Editor, department of corporate communication and marketing, Unisa+27 12 441 5631.RELATED ARTICLES• Mandela’s ‘classrooms for human beings’• A winning open education system• SA prioritises quality education• Education in South Africa Unisa – the University of South Africa – has seven graduates in the Constitutional Court, six current and former presidents of the High Courts and heads of special courts, and a significant number on the boards of JSE listed companies.The university celebrates its 140th birthday this year, and can proudly notch up an illustrious list of alumni – with Nobel Peace Prize laureates Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu leading them, as well as Judge Dikgang Moseneke, deputy chief judge of the Constitutional Court; the late Professor Kader Asmal, one of the country’s most respected cabinet ministers; Ahmed Kathrada, former Robben Island prisoner and human rights activist; singer and humanitarian Yvonne Chaka Chaka; and Transnet chief executive Brian Molefe, among others.The theme for the anniversary is “140 years of shaping futures to highlight how the university has helped ordinary South Africans achieve their dreams of obtaining quality education”.Its alumni work around the world, and since 1951 it has conferred over 400 000 degrees and diplomas. Today, it has 400 000 students from 130 countries and accounts for 12,8% of all degrees conferred in South Africa. Its black African student numbers are close to 70%. Its enrolment comprises 91,3% South Africans, 8,2% other Africans, and 0,5% from the rest of the world. It has close to 60% black African staff, 55% of whom are women.Significantly, it has always been a non-racial institution, providing a means of study for thousands of South Africans who would have struggled otherwise to get tertiary education.“Unisa students are typically people who in their studies have succeeded against many odds, improved their place in society, enhanced their chances of success in securing employment if they were not already holding down jobs, continued their career development if they were already employed, and pursued a process of lifelong learning,” says Nancy-Anne Anderson, the managing editor in the department of corporate communication and marketing at Unisa, which is based in Tshwane, South Africa’s executive capital city.Vice-chancellor Mandla Makhanya believes Unisa sets itself apart. “In a country of opposites, disparity and diversity, Unisa has perhaps been the single constant. Unisa and those who have worked for her have served South Africa and its people as well as our continent, irrespective of their circumstance, faithfully for 140 years. I can think of no other institution that can make that claim.”Of his studies at Unisa, Moseneke says: “Two numbers [his Robben Island prison number and Unisa student number] were vital for my continued survival and yet they served divergent and often paradoxical ends. The one was the ultimate symbol of deprivation of liberty, repression and human futility. In sharp contrast, the student number served as an icon of goodness. It represented a fountain of knowledge that was life-giving and liberating.” He spent 10 years on Robben Island as a political prisoner of the apartheid government.His feelings are echoed by Kathrada: “Unisa and I both have a strong belief in opening doors, especially to people who have been disadvantaged in the past. Other universities have had a limited access in terms of what they can offer. Unisa has made a big difference in this in that it appeals to students not only of South Africa, but also to those outside the country.”HistoryUnisa was founded in 1873 in Cape Town as the University of Good Hope, and operated as an examining body for the Oxford and Cambridge universities, receiving its Royal Charter in 1877. In 1916, it changed its name to the University of South Africa, and in 1946 it became the first public university in the world to teach exclusively through distance education, using study guides, cassette tapes and limited face-to-face tuition. In 1918, it moved to Pretoria, and in 1972 it moved to its present campus on Muckleneuk ridge.Ten years into democracy, in 2004, it merged with another distance learning institution, Technikon Southern Africa, and also incorporated the former Vista University’s Distance Education Campus to become the largest university in South Africa and Africa, making it one of the world’s mega universities. It has seven regional offices, including one in Ethiopia, and 28 learning centres countrywide.It offers a range of study choices, from short courses and certificate programmes to three- and four-year degrees and diplomas, and doctorates, in the humanities, business and management, law and criminal justice, agriculture and environmental sciences, and science, engineering and technology.Unisa’s mission is to be a “comprehensive, open distance learning institution that produces excellent scholarship and research, provides quality tuition and fosters active community engagement”. It is guided by the principles of “life-long learning, student centeredness, innovation and creativity”, and hopes to “contribute to the knowledge and information society, advance development, nurture a critical citizenry and ensure global sustainability”.Various initiativesIn 2005, Unisa launched an integrated learning management platform called My Unisa, an open distance learning initiative. It introduced its first signature courses, fully online modules to ease learning, in 2013. Other initiatives include the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, which is dedicated to investing in new thought leaders for Africa’s renewal. It is supported by the Brigalia Bam/Wiphold Chair in Electoral Democracy in Africa, which facilitates the training of electoral officers and commissioners from selected countries in Africa in democratic election procedures.In addition, in 2013 the Thabo Mbeki Foundation at the university hosted some of Africa’s intellectuals at the Thabo [email protected] Colloquium, which discussed 50 years of the Organisation of African Unity, and key concepts for Africa’s future. “Unisa is an African university and its identity informs its core business areas of teaching and learning, research and innovation, and community engagement. For example, in its curriculum policy, Unisa undertakes ‘to promote African thought, philosophies, interests and epistemologies through inquiry, scholarship and partnership,’” explains Anderson.Regarding community engagement, it has 157 projects that are “aligned with the socio-economic imperatives of the country and continent”. One such initiative is the Bright Site Project, set up in 2009 by the department of social work. A project of “mutual service” in the Pretoria suburb of Sunnyside, here students are encouraged to serve the community. Other departments are also involved in the project, through community-based research and applied research responses.As part of its 140th celebration, in July this year Unisa hosted the world premiere of Credo: a Musical Testament to the Freedom Charter, a multimedia oratorio to honour Mandela and other struggle veterans.In August, Dr Mo Ibrahim, the mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire, and founder of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, delivered the 11th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at Unisa. Other lectures to be given as part of the celebrations include African Intellectuals and Knowledge Systems, Africa Day Lecture, Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture, Steve Biko Memorial Lecture, Es’kia Mphahlele Memorial Lecture, and Founders Lecture.Also this year, in July, Unisa launched its Science Campus in Johannesburg. A green campus, it is built on energy-efficient design principles with a focus on sustainability. “It is an environment that meets the educational and training needs of its distance learning science students, something not usually associated with open distance and elearning institutions,” says Anderson.High-end equipment and facilities give researchers and students in molecular biology, engineering, physics and chemistry the chance to match theory and practice. And the Horticulture Centre, which was opened recently, gives students the opportunity to undertake a range of programmes including agriculture, ornamental horticulture and nature conservation.Chairs and institutesThere are several:•    The Archie Mafeje Research Institute aims to promote indigenous and pan-African research in resolving Africa’s social challenges.•    The South African Research Chairs Initiative Research Chair in Development Education seeks to bring indigenous knowledge systems into university curricula.•    The Unesco-Unisa Africa Chair in Nanosciences and Nanotechnology operates within the framework of the Nano-Sciences African Network and endeavours to harness these key multidisciplinary driving forces in the interests of developing emerging economies. In December 2012, Unisa filed its first patent, involving a novel method for the use of magnetic nanoparticles to remove contaminants from water.•    Unisa also funds research chairs in the key areas of high-performance scientific computing, ecotoxicology, macroeconomic policy analysis, superconductivity energy technology and topology.Unisa has a healthy and growing community of researchers comprising more than 10 000 master’s and doctoral students, and 1 850 academic staff, which includes close on 130 researchers with National Research Foundation ratings, including a significant number of young academics and two A-rated researchers.Flagship projectsUnisa has identified research priority areas that involve all colleges of the university community:•    In the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences the focus is on research into the environment, health and sustainable livelihoods. One study is the Fog Harvesting Project, where ongoing research provides a lifeline to rural communities with little or no access to clean and pure water.•    In the College of Economic and Management Sciences, the Micro- and Macroeconomic Modelling Project provides methods to research current trends and predict important future trends.•    In the College of Education is the Unisa Centre for Childhood Education which acts as a major research site for improving early childhood education in South Africa and the rest of the continent.•    In the College of Law, the Biotechnology and Medical Law flagship project provides expertise and undertakes research on medical law issues.Makhanya is concerned that future goals are important to Unisa. “It is Unisa’s performance as a graduator of quality graduates that will ensure its continued excellent reputation. Let us not falter in ensuring that we build on the wonderful legacy that has been left to us. Let us make our contributions to shaping futures.”last_img read more

Over 2,000 Machines Registered Under BGLC Amnesty

first_img Over 2,000 previously unregistered machines were licensed during a Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) licensing amnesty late last year. Story Highlights Over 2,000 previously unregistered machines were licensed during a Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) licensing amnesty late last year.“That was an important breakthrough in terms of bringing the kind of control we want to the industry,” said Chief Executive Officer at the BGLC, Vitus Evans, at a recent JIS Think Tank.He said that the amnesty was undertaken in preparation for the new licensing period, which begins in February.“We knew that there were a number of illegal operators out there, and so we tried to engage them to get them to register,” he noted.He said it is important for the industry to be regulated, as there are various stakeholders, as well as the Government, whose interests must be protected.The amnesty, which took place between November 15 and December 31, resulted in the BGLC discovering more than 3,000 illegal gaming machines at over 1,000 locations across Jamaica.“It is $10,000 to license each machine, so the illegal machines found would have represented $30 million in lost revenue to the Government in the gaming machines sector alone,” said Director of Licensing at the BGLC, Maurice Thompson.He noted that the illegal operators were identified by the compliance team in the field, noting that they were mostly found in community bars, hairdressing parlors and restaurants.Mr. Thompson urged persons with unregistered machines to get regularised, as they could face penalties such as seizure of the machines, and operators could be arrested and charged.He warned that players could also be arrested and charged, and will have no redress if they have difficulty getting payout from winnings on these illegal machines.All licensed machines have a disc at the front, indicating the year it is licensed, similar to a motor vehicle.The gaming industry is a major revenue source for the Government, with $6.5 billion generated in 2018.Four per cent of BGLC’s revenue goes to the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, and Education (CHASE) Fund. “That was an important breakthrough in terms of bringing the kind of control we want to the industry,” said Chief Executive Officer at the BGLC, Vitus Evans, at a recent JIS Think Tank. He said that the amnesty was undertaken in preparation for the new licensing period, which begins in February.last_img read more

Linkage between Tourism and Agricultural Sector to be Increased

first_imgGovernment is seeking to increase business between the tourism industry and the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, in a bid to boost the economy. Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says the linkages will boost local production and help to reduce the country’s import bill. Dr. McNeill was speaking at a stakeholders’ consultation at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on Thursday, February 28, where the linkages between the tourism and agricultural sectors were explored. A consultation with the manufacturing sector was held last year. The Minster noted that everyone was looking to tourism as the driver of economic growth in the country, but greater effort has to be made to ensure that “our homegrown produce and manufactured goods are used in the sector to ensure that the country retains more of what it earns.” To ensure this happens, a Task Force has been created with representatives from Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture, Jamaica Agricultural Society, Jamaica Manufacturers Association and other entities to work together in a bid to better serve the various sectors. Dr. McNeill also reported that there will be a unit established within the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment that will facilitate the linkages. “We are going to pull all the discussions we have had with agriculture and manufacturing, with other areas, such as entertainment and transport, and what we will be doing is putting in place a policy document that deals specifically with deepening the linkages between tourism and all the other areas of our society,” he said. Speaking on behalf of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), President, Senator Norman Grant, welcomed the initiative, calling it a “game changer” and a huge opportunity to grow the economy by engaging the large and small farmers. The Senator pointed out that the tourism sector’s current overall consumption of local fresh produce, fruits and meats is at 10 per cent. He proposes an incentive to the hotels that use locally grown produce. Senator Grant noted that the Jamaican farmers have the capacity to produce a substantial amount of the $1.5 billion worth of food that is imported in the country.last_img read more

The Jaguars Defense Isnt Playing Well Enough To Win With Bortles Anymore

QBR48.245.5 yearFOllowing year Cardinals2010308th101926th0 49ers2013306th (tied)5294th (tied)3 Bills2011309th62123th (tied)1 Patriots2010382nd5343rd3 Bears2012441st92813th (tied)6 Bengals2013313rd (tied)52610th (tied)3 Jacksonville’s defense regressed even more than expectedNFL teams from 2010 to 2016 that had at least 30 takeaways and five defensive touchdowns with how they fared the following year, along with the 2017-2018 Jacksonville Jaguars Texans2014342nd52512th (tied)3 Patriots2012412nd52910th (tied)3 There’s no denying that Bortles and the offense are a problem. But this was perfectly predictable. This year, Bortles is playing exactly like you would have expected. His QBR and passer rating are similar to his career rates, and his yards per dropbacks metric is actually significantly better.Bortles has led his team to only 34 points in four losses, though all of those came without bell-cow running back and 2017 fourth-overall pick Leonard Fournette in action. While the Jaguars have averaged 4.3 yards per rush this year, the same rate as in 2017, it could reasonably be argued that defenses no longer need to focus as much on stopping the run, making the sledding more difficult for Bortles and the passing game.But more importantly, last season the Jaguars could count on getting some offense from their defense. They had a league-high seven return touchdowns on picks and fumbles in 2017. But this year, they have had only one — and none in the games they lost. And their defense is not even setting up their offense with good field position via the turnover, as they had just two takeaways in the four defeats after finishing second in the league last year by averaging more than two per game. Sources: Pro-Football-Reference.com, ESPN Stats & Information 2018 Blake Bortles compared with his career average prior to this season Passer rating80.380.8 Chiefs2016331st5267th (tied)3 2018Career Chiefs2013362nd71430th (tied)1 Lions2011343rd (tied)71727th0 Yards per pass play6.415.98 Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com Packers2011381st (tied)52318th (tied)2 The Jacksonville Jaguars’ Super Bowl dreams are turning into a nightmare. And the obvious culprit is quarterback Blake Bortles, who was benched early in the second half of Sunday’s 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans — the team’s third-straight defeat.A civil war appeared to erupt after the game in the locker room, which beat writer Daniel Popper of The Athletic described as having “surpassed 212 degrees Fahrenheit.”“The Jaguars are sinking helplessly into the burning cauldron with no lifeline in sight,” Popper wrote on Twitter.The defensive players were yelling the loudest, so the narrative is that the finger-pointing is at Bortles and the club’s offense. But those fingers may be pointing the wrong way: The real reason for the team’s struggles is that its super-human defense is not merely regressing as expected in forcing turnovers and converting them into touchdowns — it’s collapsing. Cardinals2015332nd6284th (tied)3 DefenseYearTake-awaysLeague RankDef. TDsTake-awaysLeague RankDef. TDs Jaguars2017332nd7529th (tied)1 Bears2011315th (tied)5441st9 Cardinals2013306th (tied)52514th (tied)4 Make no mistake, the Jaguars defense overall is still very good — second in yards allowed and second in yards allowed per pass play. It’s just not supplementing an offense that needs supplementing. So now the Jaguars attack isn’t Bortles-plus — it’s just Bortles. And completely unsurprisingly, “just Bortles” is not a recipe for NFL success.NFL teams this decade that had at least 30 turnovers and at least five defensive touchdowns generally badly regressed — from an average league rank of 3.5 in turnovers to 13.5. But the Jaguars thus far have gone from second to a tie for 29th. So now a team that appeared poised to return to the postseason after reaching the AFC Championship is on life support.Head coach Doug Marrone seemed to concede after Sunday’s game that Bortles wasn’t really to blame for the team’s woes, but he had to do something.“I just literally did it to try to get a damn spark from this football team, to put everyone on notice that they have to focus, and they have to go out there and play better,” he told reporters. “That’s not fair to the quarterback, but that’s the way this business is. … The one thing you do with that position, doesn’t matter the name, doesn’t matter who it is: When you make a move to get a spark, everyone goes on notice. Everyone.”But the spark Marrone was trying to get isn’t really the spark that the Jaguars need. It’s some turnovers.There’s a chicken and egg issue here though. Turnovers are easier to come by when you have the lead. In 2017, the Jaguars forced 41 sacks and 13 picks in 372 pass plays while they were leading — when the opposing offense was more reckless and pass-happy.Those 372 plays were 63 percent of all opponent dropbacks last year and led to 62 percent of the Jags’ picks and 75 percent of their sacks. This year, opponents are throwing only 44 percent of their passes while trailing — and those plays accounted for just 47 percent of their sacks and 33 percent of their picks.So the way for the Jaguars to function better as a team is for someone on either side of the ball to make a play early and give Jacksonville a lead. They’ll get a chance Sunday in London against another team that’s learning that success in the NFL is far from stable, the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles, who are also just 3-4. But if the Jags can’t turn it around, the temperature in their locker room might never go down.Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

Youve Got Cloud Now What

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 5 min read So, you’ve managed to sell the idea to your CEO that your company should move to the productivity and efficiency heaven that is the cloud. And he or she agrees.Related: Why Cloud Technology Is the Smart Move Right From Start UpAnd, why not? No longer just a cost -cutting solution, the cloud today, with its many facets, has become a business enabler, offering companies large and small the ability to be fast, agile and innovative.But while multi-cloud adoption is through the roof, many businesses realize too late that the real battle begins only after the cloud has been adopted. From not sizing bandwidth needs to assuming the cloud is secure just because someone else is handling it, these unsuspecting companies’ failure to define the cloud has taken a toll on many of them.Don’t let your company be one of them. Make sure that you get the best bang for your buck by using the following suggested four strategies to make your cloud experience the best one yet …Use server-less computing.Don’t let the name fool you: “Server-less computing” still requires server (all cloud computing does), but hides server management from the operators: hence the name. Server-less computing is simply a cloud-computing execution model that dynamically allocates resources based on demand.Also known as “function as a service,” server-less computing breaks up applications into individual functions which are performed as individual tasks; these tasks can be scaled to any limit, as needed. So, even as you work in traditional cloud computing, you rent space in a server or container that is constantly running, in FaaS, and pay only when your function runs.Server-less computing presents numerous advantages over regular cloud usage, including a faster time to market, incredible scalability and even more reduced costs. These advantages make it an ideal addition to your cloud strategy.Add data de-duplication to the mix.Companies that rely on a high number of redundant operations always have to deal with managing server space and bandwidth. Traditionally, every time a new version of a file is created, both versions are stored, resulting in wasted storage.Data deduplication gets around this storage efficiency problem by storing only unique pieces of information instead of the whole group of files. So, if the same 1MB file has been sent as an attachment 100 times over email, your backup will need 100MB of space to save them all. With de-duplication, your system will store only one instance of the file and point back to it for every other instance, thereby reducing the total demand to just 1MB.Data deduplication can be performed on the client side or server side and can reduce storage space requirements by 80 percent.The advantages of such a system cannot be overstated. Storing and transferring less data over a network means greater security, as your disaster recovery can cover data that was previously not stored. Sending less data to backup also means less cooling will be required, which reduces a company’s carbon footprint.Use SaaS business intelligence.While most companies will be tempted to have their own set of data-analytics tools in-house, cloud analytics tools can help you do everything your own hosted software can, without any of the drawbacks.The cloud-based analytics solution offers substantial benefits over on-premise analytics. First, you don’t have to bother with a data center, upgrade and patching. All maintenance is handled by the service provider. Since cloud-based business intelligence (BI) is usually deployed as a pay-as-you-go model, you can forgo the licensing and maintenance fees of a traditional BI software. In fact, it’s easy to shell out 300 percent to 500 percent of a software license’s ancillary cost when going for an onsite setup.Cloud-based business intelligence systems can automate everything from data discovery to report generation. Greater data security, more configurable options and enhanced agility are all points squarely in favor of using a SaaS BI.Use a multi-cloud architecture.Since clouds are not an all-or-nothing sort of affair, companies can go for different services and technologies depending on their budgets or requirements. In the past, a multi-cloud strategy was used to avoid redundancy and vendor lock-ins.Related: 4 Reasons Small Businesses Should Migrate to the CloudToday, however, companies opt for a multi-cloud approach to help them accomplish their business goals. These can include two advantages: 1) harnessing more features, capacity or speed of certain providers over others; 2) and obtaining greater redundancy and more price options to explore. By opting for a multi-cloud approach, you can distribute your resources across the different service providers that best suit your needs.Such an approach offers many benefits. For instance, certain cloud providers might provide better data warehousing while another might have a more efficient sales-support setup. Your developers might also prefer the virtual environment of one cloud service. A multi-cloud approach can also help you scale effortlessly in the future.Related: Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of the CloudConclusionCloud computing is all about scaling hardware and software to the tasks at hand; so it’s best not to think of it as a start-all, be-all. Keeping your options open will help you not only to cut costs, but add (or subtract) services as — and when — they are needed. Doing so will help you manage some of the risks inherent in cloud computing while keeping your organization secure and future proof. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 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