Will the 45p Cineworld share price ever return to £2?

first_img I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. “This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon in 1997” Image source: Getty Images See all posts by Rupert Hargreaves Click here to claim your copy now — and we’ll tell you the name of this Top US Share… free of charge! Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite the statement from Motley Fool Co-Founder Tom Gardner.But since our US analyst team first recommended shares in this unique tech stock back in 2016, the value has soared.What’s more, we firmly believe there’s still plenty of upside in its future. In fact, even throughout the current coronavirus crisis, its performance has been beating Wall St expectations.And right now, we’re giving you a chance to discover exactly what has got our analysts all fired up about this niche industry phenomenon, in our FREE special report, A Top US Share From The Motley Fool. Will the 45p Cineworld share price ever return to £2?center_img The Cineworld (LSE: CINE) share price looks cheap compared to its trading history after recent declines. And with that being the case, the stock looks interesting to me as I’m a value investor at heart. However, I’m worried about the company’s prospects. It seems to me as if the odds are stacked against the business and its plans for recovery in the near term.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Cineworld share price headwindsThe way I see it, three major headwinds are holding back the stock at present. The biggest of this is the fact that most of the firm’s locations are now closed. This is preventing the group from generating revenue. Second, debt. Cineworld has a lot of it. It will be hard for it to make a dent in its borrowings at reduced levels of capacity, and impossible if the screens are not allowed to open. Third, customers. Any business needs customers to be profitable. Cineworld faces a huge problem here. Aside from the fact that the group’s cinemas are closed, the firm is operating in a rapidly shifting media environment. Streaming is taking over. Consumers no longer need to visit the cinema to see the latest film. Streaming services can provide this service at a fraction of the cost. To some extent, the Cineworld share price is tied to new film releases. A good release can make or break the firm’s year. In recent years, it has benefited from a slate of blockbuster films, but there’s no guarantee this will continue. Indeed, several films have gone straight to streaming this year.I think this shows how little power the company really has, and that’s a concern. In some respects, it suggests the firm is not in control of its own future. Uncertain outlookWhen evaluating stocks for my portfolio, I like to buy companies with strong competitive advantages and robust balance sheets. Cineworld has neither of these. As such, I’m wary about buying the shares. Yes, the stock looks cheap compared to its trading history. However, from a fundamental perspective, it isn’t easy to see where the company goes from here. Even if a coronavirus vaccine is rolled out in the next few months, there is no guarantee consumers will return to the group’s screens quickly. What’s more, there’s no guarantee production studios will supply the business with films to show. This makes it very difficult for me to figure out if the company has any future, and if it is worth buying at current levels. Therefore, I may avoid the business for the time being in favour of other opportunities. I think it may be more sensible to wait and see how the next few months pan out before taking a position. Even though a vaccine rollout is on the horizon, this does not guarantee that the Cineworld share price will recover lost ground in the near term.  Rupert Hargreaves | Sunday, 22nd November, 2020 | More on: CINE Enter Your Email Address Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. Rupert Hargreaves has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.last_img read more

Super Rugby Could Change Once Again

first_img Foreign players to begin to be phased out… Rugby Australia To Phase Out Foreigners from Super Rugby Teams LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Expand The Western Force, removed from Super Rugby, will… Rugby Australia To Phase Out Foreigners from Super Rugby Teams “The essence of the product is very strong and we still get the best players in the world playing in that comp. Our big challenge is to get the right mix together to use it as a platform to drive forward.”Don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news. In terms of the conference system, one of the proposed changes was to implement a variation of the all-play-all, or round-robin format.However the one thing that holds this format back is the objective of keeping the current 22-week duration of the tournament. A full round-robin format in which every team plays each other home and away would not be possible as a result.What is clear, is that these discussions will continue to be had, and there is no real solution in sight right now.SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos said: “What we’ve got to realise is that Super Rugby was established originally in order to slip that one level below Test matches and the yield that it’s given is being able to deliver three and now four countries that are seriously competitive on the international stage and have dominated the World Cup since its formation.”“That value can’t be underestimated as a breeding ground for international rugby, which does drive a fair portion of revenue in the game. Mike Ford calls for investment in German rugby after failing to make the World Cup Western Force Returns After Super Rugby Axing Collapse Super Rugby Could Change Once AgainIt looks like Super Rugby could be set to change once again.The number of teams has grown in recent years to as many as 18 with South Africa getting a sixth franchise and teams from Argentina and Japan joining too.Last year however there was a contraction with the number of teams being cut to 15 as two South African teams and one Australian went onto the chopping block. The teams cut were the Southern Kings and Cheetahs who joined the Pro 12 to make it the Pro 14. The Western Force also lost their licence, though they now make up part of the proposed new Global Rapid Rugby competition set in the Asia-Pacific region.It appears as if further changes could be made to Super Rugby with plans to contract it down further and a drastic change to the largely unpopular conference system is also in the pipeline.Right now, despite the Rugby World Cup going to Japan in 2019, the Tokyo-based Sunwolves appear to be the team facing expulsiom which would take place from 2021 onwards.SA Rugby are seeking to keep their four franchises, whilst Australia and New Zealand have also said they will keep the same amount of teams, which leaves the Jaguares and Sunwolves.The Jaguares are unlikely to be cut however given that Argentina are fast becoming a staple of the Rugby Championship and they are a member of SANZAAR. Given their bottom of the table finish last year, the Sunwolves are the most likely to get cut. Western Force Returns After Super Rugby Axing Mike Ford calls for investment in German rugby after failing to make the World Cup Super Rugby could be set to change once again. Find out how in this piece. Expand Mike Ford calls for investment in German rugby…last_img read more

Limerick gets a roadmap to a healthier, happier city

first_imgPrint Limerick City walking mapThere is a very clear roadmap to improving the quality of life in Limerick City, according to Rian Mac Giobúin, founder of Eireannachtharlear.comLIMERICK could have its future mapped out as an eco-friendly destination if it follows in the footsteps of a Spanish City called Pontevedra that was pedestrianised twenty years ago.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up One of the consequences of the traffic ban in Pontevedra was the creation of the Metrominuto pedestrian map that was designed to look like a subway map linking the city’s attractions through a series of different “pedestrian routes”. It also shows average travel times and distances between stops. Given the proximity of Limerick’s principal points of interest, the production of a similar guide could transform travel and accessibility as well as enhancing the overall quality of life in the Treaty City.The Metrominuto encourages travel by foot rather than by car and reminds people that walking is an engaging and practical mode of transport.With the issue of public transport dominating debate in Limerick over recent weeks, it should be emphasised that walking is the lowest carbon, least polluting, cheapest and most reliable form of transport available to us.Walking provides social, economic, environmental, health and political benefits and it is becoming increasingly important that we design our cities in a way that promotes walking as one of the primary modes of transport.Recent research by the Living Streets group shows that improving the walking environment can boost footfall and trading by up to 40 per cent. In New York, the Department of Transportation reported a 172 per cent increase in retail sales after street redesigns transformed an underused parking area in Brooklyn.And research conducted by Transport for London found that pedestrians spend approximately 65 per cent more than drivers.Safe walking routes with appropriate facilities such as benches, shelter, street lighting and drinking fountains, can encourage a wide range of activities and healthier lifestyles across all ages. Redesigning the urban environment to encourage walking can bring people back out onto the streets, helping to reduce crime.A walkable environment also increases the potential for social interaction, which in turn can increase a sense of community. One Irish study found that residents living in walkable neighbourhoods exhibit at least 80 per cent greater levels of social capital than those living in car-dependent areas. They are more likely to know and trust their neighbours, feel more connected to the community and are more likely to be politically involved.Walking can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and colon cancer and lower the level of cholesterol, blood pressure and body fat. It also increases muscle flexibility and joint movement and helps to strengthen bones, which in turn reduces the risk of injury from falls. Walking also improves our mood. It reduces the risk of stress, anxiety and depression, positively affecting people’s mental health and happiness.Walkability creates attractive public spaces and marking out small and well-planned distances between destinations enhances the pleasure of strolling through a city and enjoying local services, shops and landmarks, which can help boost tourism.There are many ways that cities can promote walking, including car-free initiatives, health campaigns, economic incentives, pedestrianised streets, improved signage and covering urban spaces to mitigate against adverse weather.Some of these initiatives take time and planning but others can be done almost immediately. The Metrominuto, for example, is something that could be introduced in a matter of weeks.According to the Central Statistics Office’s most recent National Travel Survey 74 per cent of all journeys in Ireland are still made by car. Of all car journeys made, 52 per cent were under two kilometres and 70.4 per cent were under four kilometres.Maps like the Metrominuto or the Limerick map we have created for illustrative purposes show how close key locations within the city really are and encourage people to walk instead of drive.By doing so, we can improve our environment, social cohesion, health, wealth and, most importantly, happiness. RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Linkedin Twitter Limerick centre needed to tackle environmental issues WhatsApp Facebook NewsEnvironmentTransportLimerick gets a roadmap to a healthier, happier cityBy Staff Reporter – April 12, 2019 2216 Local backlash over Aer Lingus threat center_img Previous articleAdare-Rathkeale district in need of ‘plain-speaking’ voiceNext articleNon-stop Shannon Airport to New York service resumes for summer season Staff Reporterhttp://www.limerickpost.ie TAGSdevelopmentEireannachtharlear.comEnvironmentLimerick CityNewsTransportwalkablewalking Thefts of catalytic converters on the rise #crimeprevention Limerick on Covid watch list Advertisement Population of Mid West region increased by more than 3,000 in past year Email Shannon Airport braced for a devastating blow last_img read more

Gorillaz Begin Phase Four With Ten Pages From “The Book Of Noodle”

first_imgWhen Gorillaz debuted in the late 1990’s, they took the world by storm. The concept of an animated band was new and exciting, and it was all grounded by some genuinely incredible music that fused elements of hip hop, jazz, rock, funk and more. With Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett at the helm, not to mention a host of incredible collaborators, releases like Gorillaz and Demon Days quickly captured the hearts of listeners everywhere.After the band’s 2010 album The Fall, tensions between Albarn and Hewlett forced the two to ultimately abandon the project. While at first they deemed a future collaboration unlikely, the two have since been steadily dreaming of a follow-up album ever since. Things have heated up particularly in 2016, as the two shared photographs from the studio to keep fans on their toes. Then, the group started chronicling their entire history on social media two weeks ago, posting videos and clips from all of their releases and performances over the years.With the anticipation at an all-time high, the band has finally announced the start to their fourth phase! It seems that the new project is to be called The Book Of Noodle, or at least this book is a crucial component to the new phase. The band has posted a number of insights into The Book Of Noodle, which will reveal the narrative of one of the band’s main characters, Noodle. Check out the introduction below: We’ll be sure to continue updating as more information about this exciting project unfolds. Gorillaz are BACK! The first 10 pages from The Book of Noodle have been shared by the band, capturing the story of Noodle following the events of 2010’s Plastic Beach. Check out the illustrations and text featured in those first 10 pages, in each Twitter post below.last_img read more

How to recast antiquity

first_img Noah Wuerfel ’17 gently repairs a plaster cast of an ancient relief. Agnete Lassen (from left), Alma Barjamovic (age 6), Gojko Barjamovic, and Adam Aja examine one of the plaster casts. Classmates Haakon Sigurslid ’18 (left) and Georgia Stirtz ’17 mix together the bright-green silicone that will form the mold for a new resin cast. Rebecca Chen ’16 (left) and Noah Wuerfel ’17 carefully apply a thin layer of silicone. Lecturer on Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Gojko Barjamovic likes to use sensory-driven teaching methods in his classes, like the recasting project, to help bring the past to life. A plaster cast of an ancient relief is pictured. Rebecca Chen ’16 (left) and Elizabeth Hubbard ’18 repair a plaster cast of an ancient relief. Adam Aja discusses the project in the basement of the Harvard Semitic Museum, where the careful work is unfolding. Still, making the ancient past come alive can be tricky, so Barjamovic entices his students by engaging their senses. With the help of Harvard’s Center for Geographic Analysis, students have re-created detailed maps of the area for the course. They have played a reconstructed, 4,500-year-old instrument, and listened to some of the world’s earliest known music. During a recent lab, they cooked a three-course Mesopotamian meal following ancient Babylonian recipes. “To tempt people to commit a semester of their life to something so strange and far away as ancient life,” he said, “you have to think about how to make it meaningful.”Helping re-create the ancient reliefs is meaningful, said Barjamovic, and fits his teaching-to-the-senses approach. About half the class signed up for the 30 hours per student the museum requested to help with the restoration of eight plaster casts. The additional hours and hands have dramatically reduced the work for Adam Aja, the museum’s assistant curator of collections. Aja recently spent almost an entire semester restoring and recasting one relief on his own. Thanks to the students, the process has been trimmed to about a week per cast.“With a little training, they are doing a fantastic job,” Aja said. “They are getting up to my standards.”The original reliefs once hung in the throne rooms and banquet halls of the palaces of Nimrud and Nineveh, the massive homes of the great Assyrian rulers Assurnasirpal II (883–859 B.C.) and Assurbanipal (668–627 B.C.). Some reliefs display battle scenes; others portray the hunt. On one restored relief, Assurbanipal, on horseback, drives his spear into the jaws of a lunging lion. The artworks’ threatening themes, captured in striking detail by expert craftsmen, signaled to foreign dignitaries and Assyrian subjects the king’s undisputed power.“The king of the human world, victorious against the king of the animal world. That’s the symbolism,” said Barjamovic.On a recent afternoon, two sets of students were hard at work in the museum’s basement. One group gently repaired a large relief. Using small brushes and a mixture of fine marble powder and glue, they smoothed over holes and filled in cracks in the chipped plaster. Next to them, two students carefully prepared a bright-green silicone formula in small plastic buckets, then painted the mixture onto another restored cast. (When dry, the rubber is peeled from the plaster and used as the mold for a new resin cast.)Sophomore Georgia Stirtz, her hands in blue latex gloves, spread the silicone onto the surface of a restored relief. “I feel like there’s a much deeper connection when you are actually able to see the thing in real life rather than just on a slideshow,” she said. “Seeing that this simply exists in the world is very different from actually being able to touch it and work with it.”With fighting in the region continuing between the Iraqi government and the self-declared Islamic State, the Harvard project has taken on even greater meaning. In recent months, videos posted online have show ISIS militants destroying the very palace in Nimrud that once housed the Harvard reliefs, and smashing antiquities from Iraq’s Mosul Museum.“That was heartbreaking,” said Stirtz. “I didn’t know much about that until recently. It makes this [work] all the more important.” Gojko Barjamovic (left), who teaches “Ancient Near East 103: Ancient Lives,” and Adam Aja, assistant curator of collections at the Harvard Semitic Museum, discuss the project. Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer Gojko Barjamovic (from left) and Adam Aja discuss the details of the project while Rebecca Chen ’16 and Noah Wuerfel ’17 work to repair a plaster cast of an ancient relief. Refashioning Mesopotamia Classmates Haakon Sigurslid ’18 (left) and Georgia Stirtz ’17 mix together the bright-green silicone that will form the mold for a new resin cast. Georgia Stirtz ’17 (left) and Haakon Sigurslid ’18 mix silicone. Near the end of the 19th century, the director of the Harvard Semitic Museum, David Gordon Lyon, turned to a kind of virtual reality to help him augment the museum’s teaching and displays. But the cutting-edge equipment of the day didn’t involve digital technology or flashy 3-D software. It involved plaster.Following a quick request to museums in London, Paris, and Berlin, Harvard was soon the recipient of copies of Mesopotamian masterpieces: plaster casts of original, vivid reliefs from the ancient world. Many of the originals once adorned the walls of the massive Assyrian royal palaces at Nimrud and Nineveh, both in what is now northern Iraq.At Harvard, the reliefs were displayed in the museum’s galleries and used in classrooms for years. But today many of those 100-year-old casts are crumbling, and a group of Harvard professors, curators, and students is working to save them for future generations to work with and view.As part of the General Education course “Ancient Near East 103: Ancient Lives” and with support from the Elson Family Arts Initiative Fund, Harvard students are fashioning new, lighter, more durable copies of the old casts from resin. The result is a boon for the museum, which is overhauling its third-floor galleries, and a chance for students to touch antiquity.“The students are learning something about the creation process up-close and personal with these wonderful Mesopotamian reliefs and contributing in a very physical way to the revitalization of our gallery spaces,” said Peter Der Manuelian, the museum’s director, who is helping lead the project.The course delves into the early human civilizations that were thriving in Mesopotamia more than 3,000 years ago.“What’s relevant about studying the ancient past? It’s insanely interesting,” said Gojko Barjamovic, the course’s instructor. Peering back in time offers students a look at the foundation for “the givens in our daily lives,” he said: how people organize themselves, what they do when they arise in the morning, the music to which they listen, the gods to which they pray. “Looking at that timespan and looking at what it is fundamentally to be human teaches us an enormous amount about not only them, but about ourselves.”last_img read more

Watch Out for Tech Support Phone Scams

first_imgIt has become an all-too-familiar scenario. You get an unrequested call at home or at work from someone telling you that your computer is infected with a virus and they’ll gladly help. They may claim to be from our partner Microsoft, or they may claim to be from Dell, but your gut tells you something is not right.I’m a big fan of trusting my gut, and so should you in this situation. Keep in mind, we do not make unsolicited calls asking to charge you to fix an issue you did not report or previously request help with unless you have signed up for our premium support services like Dell Tech Concierge, Dell Premium Support or Dell ProSupport services.But, cybercriminals are tricky. They do their homework and learn what they can about you or work hard to gain your trust. They may even tell you things about your computer that you think only a legitimate vendor would know. This is a key element to social engineering – a non-technical method cybercriminals use to trick people into loading malware on their systems or revealing credit card information.The best way to protect yourself is to simply hang up. But, some customers have told us that the phone scams are becoming more relentless – frequently calling them over and over. We regret that they often use our name to perpetuate such harassment and we want to stop it just as much as you.That’s why, should you decide to do more than simply hang up, we’ve created a new form you can use to report information from these callers that will help us investigate the issue. Some of those details include the phone number used to contact you, any information they know about your Dell system, and the name of any program they want you to download. Information you share through this form will go directly to our Security team, and although you may not hear from them, they will use the information to investigate and to attempt to track down the parties responsible.You can also report the phone scams to the following authorities:In the United States, use the Federal Trade Commission Complaint Assistant form.In Canada, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre can provide support.In the United Kingdom, you can report fraud as well as unsolicited calls.Protection of your data is a top priority for Dell. We recommend that you not engage such callers, and never give them your credit card information, access to your computer or any other personal information.Remember, if you’re unsure, trust your gut and simply hang up.[Update:  We now also have a phone number you can call (8am-5pm Central) to report these phone scams to us: 866-453-1742. If you have already filled out the form, there is no need to call. It is simply an alternate way to deliver the same information to us. This was announced here in an update on this topic from our Chief Security Officer in May 2016.][Update 2: The war against fraud continues, but many battles have been won. Read more about the progress in this new post from June 2017.]last_img read more

College STEM students present posters highlighting summer experiences

first_imgSaint Mary’s hosted its annual STEM Fall Poster Showcase recognizing the accomplishments of its science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students Friday in Science Hall. Participants presented posters documenting their experiences with a variety of summer activities, including research, internships and STEM study abroad programs.Senior Heather DiLallo, a Saint Mary’s chemistry major who is enrolled in the Notre Dame chemical engineering dual-degree program, presented a poster detailing her summer industrial internship. DiLallo spent time with the company Procter & Gamble (P&G) working on their Bounty, Charmin and Puffs brands and completing projects for the P&G Engineering and Research and Development divisions.“I had four projects this summer that made significant impacts on P&G’s brands, both in their immediate quality and raw material specifications, as well as in their long-term innovative chemistries,” DiLallo said in an email. “One of my projects in particular will save P&G upwards of $2 million each year when implemented.”Her presentation at the Saint Mary’s STEM Poster Showcase included discussions about her experiences working with P&G, as well as her personal advice about balancing work and personal life, choosing the right company and scoring the perfect internship.DiLallo said she grew up loving subjects on all ends of the spectrum, but especially loved the challenges math and science offered.“I knew that I could use my technical skills to make a difference in the world as a scientist and engineer,” she said.DiLallo received a return offer from P&G, which she said she will likely accept. In 2019, she will complete her chemical engineering degree at Notre Dame and plans to use the skills learned and passions developed at both Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame to create societal change, she said.“I loved the chance to work for such an amazing company that cares about the impact it makes in everyday lives and on the environment,” DiLallo said.As a female student involved in STEM, DiLallo said she believes it is important that women become more visible, vocal and represented in more technical fields.“If we don’t allow half of the population to create and design the new products, research and innovations of tomorrow, STEM companies and research groups will never be able to provide the same impetus for change,” she said. “Women are just as bright and talented as our male counterparts and it is so vital for young girls to have mentors and role models in STEM to emulate.”Alex Guevara Stevens, a sophomore chemistry and chemical engineering double-major, said she decided to attend the showcase to support some of her friends who were presenting their summer work, as well as learn about some of the STEM opportunities offered at Saint Mary’s.“I find STEM very interesting because a lot of the research and information that is coming from these fields is allowing us to learn more about technology and ways to improve our daily lives,” Guevara Stevens said in an email.Increased female representation in scientific and mathematical fields will help contribute new perspectives and ideas, improve resources for women and help pave the path for future women in STEM, Guevara Stevens said.“It’s important for younger generations of women to have role models [who are] women succeeding in technical fields,” she said. “Having these examples of success allows for younger generations to believe that they can attain their dreams, and encourages them to follow the footsteps of those who they look up to.”Tags: science technology engineering math, STEM, Stem Fall Poster Showcase, Summer Internshipslast_img read more

The Ghost, Silent and Deadly

first_imgBy Geraldine Cook/Diálogo August 18, 2017 Me gusta él reconoce que se le hace a un avión y a una tripulación, que dia a día han sacrificado sus vidas por mantener la soberanía de un pueblo que durante todo este tiempo de guerra interna han podido contar con él.Los hombres que lo vuelan y hacen posible está paz, son héroes silenciosos. Los fecito por este artículo que hace gala al avión AC-47T “Fantasma” y sus hombres “Caballeros de la noche” como se les cocone “La FAC adquirió más de 60 aviones C-47 en la década de 1930” falso esa información es errónea 1. el c-47 comenzó producción despues del 1935los c-47 fueron llegando paulatinamente posterior a la posguerra y tampoco fueron 60 Silent and deadly. That is how the crew describes it. At first glance, the Colombian Air Force (FAC, per its Spanish acronym) AC-47T airplane, known as Fantasma, “The Ghost,” doesn’t impress. Nevertheless, its flight and combat capacities made terrorist groups cower during the time of internal armed conflict in Colombia. “As soon as the terrorists heard the Ghost coming, they retreated,” said FAC Captain Alejandro Henao, who piloted the Ghost. The nickname Ghost came in part from the crew because the plane is undetectable at high altitudes. Specifically, it conducts nighttime missions and sounds like the buzzing of a mosquito during flight. “The terrorists would cease any hostilities and retreat when they felt the presence of the Ghost because they knew how effective the plane was in close support and in attacks on insurgents,” Capt. Henao said. The Ghost assisted towns under attack by guerrillas, who could hear and feel the counter attack without being able to see it. “When we were having our worst terrorist crisis here in Colombia, the Ghost provided that security and hope to the most remote towns in rural areas,” he added. The Ghost is a combat plane for strategic attack, interdiction, close air support, reconnaissance and aerial intelligence, surveillance, and search and rescue. It is also used as an advanced air traffic controller. Its missions include supporting ground troops with surveillance and reconnaissance of the area, using flares to provide light for troop movement, take images, and escort other aircraft. The terrorists feared the “gentlemen of the night,” as they called the Ghost’s crew — when the aircraft flew by, they could not sense it coming, but only felt the machine-gun blasts falling from the sky. That was how the Ghost’s motto came about: “a good reason to be scared.” Simulator with domestic technology The Ghost has its own training simulator. With an exact replica of its flight cabin, the simulator is a unique technological invention found nowhere else in the world. The simulator was inaugurated in January 2017 as a new tool for training pilots and instructors at the AC-47T Pilot Training School located at the FAC Air Combat Command No. 1 in Puerto Salgar, in the department of Cundinamarca, Colombia. The simulator was designed in consultation with FAC and was built by a private Colombian company. “The simulator enhances training for the crews,” said FAC Major Germán Andrés Arias, the commandant of the AC-47T Pilot Training School. “We can have better in-cabin training, fly with night vision goggles, create any kind of emergency, and in general, have a more rigorous training so we can be very well prepared,” Maj. Arias said. The simulator also enriches the instruction of the Colombian Armed Forces DC-3 pilots. Trainees can practice on the simulator at any time and review the aircraft’s procedures both on the ground and in flight. Maj. Arias added that the school hopes to be able to offer simulator training to the armed forces of other countries. “Ten years ago, the simulator for the Ghost did not exist. Today the simulator is a vital tool,” Capt. Henao said as he reminisced about his student days piloting the AC-47T. “Before students had to learn on the job, during the day-to-day of the missions, we had to learn and correct ourselves as we went along.” Combat capacities FAC acquired more than 60 C-47 aircraft during the 1940s. At that time, they were used as transport aircraft for passengers and cargo. FAC engineers initiated upgrades and they outfitted a few models of its AC-47T version. In 1993, FAC transformed eight planes, converting them into combat aircraft for use against terrorist groups and criminal organizations. Adding new turboprop engines and electrical systems, building structural reinforcements, reducing the sound emitted during flight, and adapting the weapons were some of the changes. In 1997, night vision goggles were added to the system. FAC has six Ghost airplanes. With a seven-member crew on board and a flight altitude of more than 7,000 feet, the Ghost can fly for 10 hours. In addition to its three .50 caliber GAU-19 machine guns, it has a camera system with a FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) lens, flares for nighttime illumination, and missile defense equipment. “We are not detected because the engines are very silent,” Major Arias stated. “The FLIR gives us an improved capacity for taking images, we have more precision with the weapons, and the pilot is the only one who can fire the weapons.” “It is a multi-purpose airplane used for different FAC missions,” echoed FAC First Lieutenant Carlos Enrique Londoño, who co-pilots the Ghost. “We have close air support operations with machine guns, the FLIR system records all our missions, we take care of vulnerable populations, and we set off flares.” First Lt. Londoño is very proud of missions where they stop illegal mining. “We are conducting missions against illegal mining, which has destroyed many towns… this has been very gratifying.” FAC First Lieutenant Ana Cruz, who does navigation work on the Ghost, is also proud to be part of the crew of one of FAC’s most emblematic airplanes in the fight against terrorism. “I support aerial navigation, handle communications with the different teams on board, and carry out the functions of special equipment like the FLIR,” said 1st Lt. Cruz, who finds that her work is “fascinating every day” because of the variety of operations conducted. “I am proud of what I do. The crew is like a family.” Meanwhile, Staff Sergeant Óscar Andrés Peña, head armorer on the Ghost, said that his basic job is to “have the weapons ready.” Staff Sgt. Peña has worked as an armorer on the Ghost for 12 years, during which time he has participated in missions of all types, especially against guerrillas. “These aircraft have been very useful due to their configuration and the way they perform in combat,” he said. The crew was called onboard the Ghost for a new mission. “This plane has been operating in FAC for many decades, and it is still very active,” Maj. Arias said. With the cessation of the armed conflict in Colombia, the Ghost will also be doing humanitarian work, responding to natural disasters and cargo missions. “We are very versatile,” Major Arias concluded.last_img read more

Costa Rica Receives Virtual Shooting Ranges from the United States

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo August 18, 2017 The U.S. Department of State donated six virtual shooting ranges to the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Security (MSP, per its Spanish acronym). The technology will contribute to the training and professional development of the various public security bodies for the improvement of their emergency response capability. The donation, valued at almost $800,000, was made by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs through the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, as part of the cooperation agreements between the two countries. The new equipment was presented to Costa Rica on July 7th at a ceremony at the National Police Academy in San José. The gathering was attended by Costa Rican Minister of Public Security Gustavo Mata, and the then U.S. ambassador, Stafford Fitzgerald Haney. “By [the third week of August] at the latest, we will begin officially training the first units,” Commissioner Erick Lacayo Rojas, the director of the Costa Rican National Police Academy, told Diálogo. “With this virtual system we will improve our systems for officer education, training, and specialization,” he said. “We don’t intend for this to replace firearms practice. Nevertheless, the technology will help improve the instruction of officers in stressful and delicate situations, with the goal of improving their response capacity.” Cutting edge technology Every virtual simulator includes software and three screens that recreate various 180-degree scenarios. It allows for the inclusion of outdoor conditions such as lighting, the wind, weather, distance, physical spaces, and ammunition trajectory. The personnel doing the security work will put operational protocols into practice, and reinforce their legal knowledge as well as their knowledge on the use of force and of human rights, which is required when using tools employed by police and military agencies throughout the world. “This type of technology will give them the opportunity to not only fire at different distances but also know when they don’t have to fire,” Minister Mata stated. “Using a firearm is indispensable for a police officer.” The simulation systems will provide the instructor with a detailed report on the performance of the police officer, including the number of shots fired and response time. Each trainee will also learn how they react when confronted with a dangerous situation or a criminal act. The U.S. government support will also include training on the use of the virtual shooting ranges for 10 representatives from each of the police departments comprising MSP. Personnel from the National Police Academy, the Police Force, the Air Surveillance Service, the National Coast Guard Service, the Border Police, and the Correctional Officer Force will serve as certified instructors for other officers in their respective institutions. New scenarios will also be designed relating to criminal activity facing the country, such as clandestine airstrip use, gender violence, assault, kidnapping, hostage taking, kidnapping, and carjacking. Better preparation at a lower cost The donation will contribute to the reduction of costs in the teaching and evaluation of officers. “It is easier to create a virtual reality prototype, in which different Police Force teams can participate than to create a realistic scenario. That is more costly for the training process,” Luis Álvarez, director of Álvarez Integrated Systems, a security training company collaborating with the Costa Rican MSP, told Diálogo. “The use of virtual shooting ranges results in high costs savings. In Costa Rica, a 50-round box of nine-millimeter ammunition costs around $25,” Álvarez said. “In a virtual system, 50 shots can be fired in less than 10 minutes. In a real shooting range, you need to supply the ammunition on a regular basis.” “With one dollar they can acquire the resources to operate the virtual simulator and use it 500 times,” Commissioner Lacayo said. “This way we can integrate real practice while staying under budget, and get better results in real-time decision making.” The V-180 simulator is more valuable for training than a firearms simulator with only one screen. The realistic training platform produces better decision-making in life-or-death situations, saving the lives of civilians and officers, according to information from Virtra, the company responsible for maintaining the shooting ranges. “We should use the tool in a logical, academic manner; we have had an important preview of its implementation, how evaluations will be done, and how we’ll measure the impact of our scenarios,” Commissioner Lacayo stated. “It’s not just about coming to the shooting range and firing. The trainees must go through an academic and practical training process. The more training the better the teacher,” Álvarez added. According to MSP, in addition to the six virtual shooting ranges, other equipment is scheduled to come from the U.S. government. The equipment that will arrive in November includes two 110-foot vessels, two Sky Troop airplanes, three helicopters and three tactical vehicles. “All this equipment will improve the skills, capacities, and the professionalism of our officers who look after the security of this country, day in and day out,” concluded Minister Mata.last_img read more

Credit unions turn to video to re-humanize member engagement and optimize resources utilization

first_imgMillennials are undoubtedly the demographic cohort that is setting the stage for significant changes in the immediate future of consumer banking. Millennials:Will make up 72% of the global workforce by 2025Want to bank on their phones – in fact 74% of millennials say mobile banking is “very important” compared to only 42% of baby boomersAre two to three times more likely to switch financial institutions than other generationsFeel very strongly about the quality of the technology financial institutions provide – 57% would change their bank for a better technology platformIn line with these trends, branch traffic is declining. Consumer visits to retail bank branches are expected to drop 36% between 2017 and 2022. What are credit unions to do?They know they must adapt which is why, over the past decade, credit unions have focused on digitizing member engagement processes and enabling their members with self-service mechanisms. Overall, these efforts have been very effective and have produced some great tools, like online and mobile banking platforms, SMS and email automation systems, self-service kiosks and others. They enhance convenience for members and have become core components of credit unions’ member engagement strategy.However, convenience is only one part of the equation. Those credit unions that most effectively establish trust and build long-term quality relationships with their members reap the reward of member loyalty, deeper share of wallet and high referral rates. So credit unions are now looking for new ways to bring the human touch back in their member engagement strategy.Another key area that credit unions are trying to optimize is the utilization of their staff. Subject matter experts are scarce resources and making them available to serve members effectively is no easy task. In many credit unions, the smaller branches cannot afford to employ many advanced experts, so members visiting these facilities are typically served on a best effort basis or have to wait to get assistance. And members who don’t live near a branch or prefer to use online services struggle even more to access the right expertise. On the opposite side, the main branches often gather most of the key resources, so these experts are sometimes underutilized.Enter real-time video interaction services.Video interaction services have proven to be a perfect means to address these two challenges. They bridge the gap between online convenience and interpersonal connections with members. They enable credit unions to centralize their experts. They allow their members to have a lifelike meeting experience with them, wherever they happen to be in a branch, in the comfort of their home, or even on the go.These services can be used as a primary enquiry mechanism. The member typically selects a click-to-video-call button on the credit union’s web site, on its mobile application or on an in-branch kiosk or ATM. They can also be leveraged in a scheduled calls, where credit union staff invites a member to join a video meeting at a given date and time. The member joins using any personal device: computer, smartphone, or tablet.These video interaction services have a positive impact on many typical situations and processes that credit unions have to deal with every day:For processes that require multiple and regular interactions between credit union staff and the members, such as mortgage applications, private banking, or wealth management. Video adds the human touch each time. Face-to-face engagement, rather than a phone call or email exchange, can make all the difference. It also allows bringing subject matter expects in the conversations each time they’re needed, wherever they may sit.When emotion is running high and the quality of the interaction is key to ensure member satisfaction and maintain loyalty. Typical examples are when a member calls to report a stolen credit card or to complain about extra fees that they‘ve noticed on their account statement. Over the phone, it’s not easy for the credit union staff to deal with an unhappy, or even angry, member, and the member can sometimes feel that the agent is not empathetic to his/her needs. Video communication delivers the missing human element and facilitates a much higher quality relation and mutual understanding.To streamline the process of opening new accounts. Video banking, when coupled with additional authentication and digital signature capabilities, enables new as well as existing members to open a new account without any physical interaction.  To improve the outcomes of branch visits. Pain points that members usually report about their branch visits are long wait time and lack of availability of the resource best suited to address their needs. Video allows some of the branch visitors to be served by remote staff when their needs do not require a physical interaction and can be fulfilled faster and with shorter wait time this way, or when they require advanced expertise that is not available in the particular branch they are visiting.According to our 2017 Video Banking Survey, fewer than 20% of credit unions have already fully deployed a video banking service but more than 75% plan to do so in the not too distant future. So while adoption is still relatively low, interest is definitely accelerating, driven by the tangible benefits that early adopters are achieving.Illinois-based Consumers Credit Union started to implement video banking in 2014. The initial objective was to centralize back-office staff and enable members to connect with experts from any branch in video banking dedicated rooms. Rollout in all branches was completed by the end of the year and the service was expanded to web in 2016 and mobile in 2017. The video channel was integrated into Consumers CU’s contact center environment to provide a seamless omnichannel experience. They report that their member satisfaction increased from 91.5% to 95.8% and the average wait time went from a shocking 1.5 hours or more, depending on the branch, to under two minutes to open a new account or apply for a loan.Even smaller credit unions benefit from video banking. BluCurrent Credit Union has only three branches in Missouri and under 20,000 members. It has been offering an in-branch video service since 2015 to connect members with the right subject matters expert regardless of the branch that they visit. As a result, BluCurrent has increased its cross-sell rate by 20% for its banking products and 93% of service users say that they would recommend it to someone else. BluCurrent reports that 55% of new accounts are due to member referral, even with no formal member referral program.So the lights are all green for an accelerated roll-out of video banking services among the credit union community. They see the tremendous value of video banking in two ways:Convenience for the members, thereby increasing satisfaction and share of walletOptimization of the staffing resources and growth of the credit unions’ bottom lineVidyo is at the forefront of this market evolution with many credit unions already using our video member engagement solutions across the country. Visit www.vidyo.com for additional information. 91SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Damien Simonneau Damien Simonneau is the EMEA Marketing Director & Head of Global Financial Services Solutions Marketing at Vidyo Web: https://www.vidyo.com Detailslast_img read more