Don’t Make Excuses for Not Calling on Your Dream Clients

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Most of us work in businesses that require us to win clients who are already working with our competitors, something we euphemistically refer to as a “competitive displacement.” It can be difficult to win your dream clients, and you can easily be discouraged by the time and effort it requires of you, especially if you don’t have a strategy for doing so (See my third book, Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition for proven strategies and tactics).Win customers away from your competition. Check out Eat Their LunchThe following four excuses prevent salespeople from putting in the work necessary to displace their competitor and win their dream clients, along with a better, healthier way to think about winning your dream clients.They will never leave their current provider. Never is a very long time. So long, you can’t even imagine it, eternity being incomprehensible. Given a long enough timeline, every one of your dream clients is going to leave their current partner. Over that same timeline, you will lose all of your best clients for one reason or another, many lost through no fault of your own. If you aren’t nurturing relationships, when your dream client is willing to explore change, you won’t know it, now will they know you.They aren’t worth the time or trouble. Some clients are more challenging to win than others. They are more demanding, and they need more time and attention. Some of their demands would stretch you and your company, requiring you to grow. There may be easier prospects to target, and there may be fresh leads you believe are more valuable than your targets. Winning these clients can not only grow your capabilities, but it can also help you differentiate your offering, helping you win other clients.They are only interested in the lowest price and won’t invest. Some prospects in your territory only perceive “lowest price” as value. These prospects give you zero credit for your compelling differentiation, even when your higher price results in lower overall costs, something a lot of clients say they want until you hand them the pricing and a contract. Over time, as circumstances change, some of the price-sensitive prospects will decide they can no longer suffer the failures that inevitably come from the concessions they’ve made by accepting the lowest price, and conclude they need to spend more on their solution.We failed them once, and they’ll never use us again. In the course of my career, I have had several grouchy clients tell me they would never use my company again. So far, that has never proven to be true. Over time, the clients you fail will forgive you (and maybe you will forgive them). The stakeholders who were unhappy with you will move on, leaving their company for another opportunity, replaced by a new decision-maker. Another company will purchase that company and look at all of their partners to ensure they’re getting what they need.You are always going to be prospecting, and the time is going to pass whether you do this work or not. If you want to win your dream client, you will have to put forth the effort, believing that, over time, their circumstances will change, and you will be there to capitalize on the opportunity.last_img read more

Farm experts favour super straw management system to fight smog

first_imgWith many parts of the northern States fighting a smog crisis, agriculture experts and officials are optimistic about effectively managing paddy-residue burning in the next season with the help of super straw management system.At a recent meeting at the Ludhiana-based Panjab Agricultural University, agriculture experts, progressive farmers and officials deliberated to devise a strategy to manage stubble burning next year in an environment-friendly manner.It was pointed out during the meeting, which was conducted at the instance of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), that the super straw management system on combine harvesters must be made compulsory so that farmers could easily manage the harvested straw.Dr. H.S. Sidhu of the Borlaugh Institute for South Asia stressed the need for incorporation of paddy straw in the field rather than its removal by way of bales as the latter may create other ecological issues. “Happy seeder was found to be very effective tool this season for direct sowing of wheat after paddy harvesting by combining harvesters fitted with super straw management system,” he said.Besides, it was observed that existing machines such as cutter-cum-spreaders (mulchers), reversible plough and happy seeders effectively managed paddy straw for wheat sowing.PAU developed super straw management system (Super SMS) in 2016.Dr. N.S.Bains, Director Research at the PAU, said the adoption of early maturing varieties of rice developed by the university is another option for farmers as it will not only provide more window for effective management of paddy straw but also save water.Dr. B.S Dhillon, PAU Vice-Chancellor, suggested that Krishi Vigyan Kendras and the agriculture department should hold large camps and field days to explain to farmers how wheat cen be sown without burning paddy straw.“It’s important that government ensures effective ban on stubble burning for better agro ecology and sustainability of agriculture,” experts pointed out.last_img read more

MPs, bureaucrats skip meeting on Delhi pollution

first_imgTop officials of the Environment Ministry, Delhi Development Authority and three Municipal Commissioners on Friday stayed away from a key meeting of a parliamentary panel on urban development that was to discuss the severe pollution levels in the Capital.Chairman of the committee and MP Jagdambika Pal, sources said, cut the meeting short due to the absence of officials. Those who skipped included Union Environment Secretary C.K. Mishra, DDA Vice-Chairman Tarun Kapoor and the three Municipal Commissioners.Sources said Mr. Pal will be writing to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha to initiate contempt of parliamentary privileges against the missing officials.As many as 25 of the 29 members of the committee were absent. Other than Mr. Pal, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, BJP MP C.R. Patil and National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi were the only ones to attend.Delhi BJP MP Gautam Gambhir was among the absentees. A tweet by former cricketer V.V.S. Laxman showed Mr. Gambhir enjoying roadside snacks at Indore in M.P., where he has gone for a commentary assignment on the India-Bangladesh test match.Kabhi pohe se teekhe, kabhi jalebi se meethe … wonderful start to the day in Indoor, where we had breakfast outdoor— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) November 15, 2019  All-out attackAAP launched an all-out attack on the BJP for Mr. Gambhir’s absence. Quoting Mr. Laxman’s tweet, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said in a tweet: “Does Delhi deserve such MPs who are busy with Jalebi Poha while missing crucial Parliamentary Committee Meeting on Pollution in Delhi NCR.” The majority of members in the committee are from the BJP, Mr Bharadwaj said, adding that the absence of Mr. Gambhir and other BJP MPs shows that the party was not serious about the health of Delhiites.The AAP said the agenda for the meeting was circulated a week in advance on November 8.Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said he would investigate the absence of officials from his Ministry. “This is a serious matter and I will definitely enquire about it. But let me emphasise that addressing Delhi’s pollution is not about indulging in blame-game,” he said when reporters sought an explanation for the absence.Later in the day, the Environment Ministry issued a statement saying that the body was represented by a Deputy Secretary and an officer from the Central Pollution Control Board. A Joint Secretary could not attend as she was to appear for “an important matter” in the Supreme Court. The Ministry had submitted “detailed notes” to the Urban Development Ministry, an official statement said.last_img read more

Gilas yields to Canadians

first_imgTrump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Saso bows to Japanese Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress TAIPEI—Gilas Pilipinas started its learning process in the 39th Jones Cup Invitational and crashed and burned in its debut on Saturday against Canada.ADVERTISEMENT FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’center_img And after playing the team with the least amount of practice here, the Filipinos will be tossed in the fire yet again on Sunday night when they clash with the side that’s been together the longest in the tough international tournament.The Filipinos try to bounce back from a 77-90 loss to Canada when they collide with Chinese Taipei-A at Taipei Peace International Basketball Hall here with coach Chot Reyes knowing exactly the problems he needs to address to get the team back on track.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“We have to figure out ways to score against bigger opponents,” Reyes addressed international media after getting just three players in twin digits against the experienced and bigger Canadians. “My players would have to figure that out.”Another cause of concern for Reyes is the officiating, as his players were whistled for 26 total fouls that resulted in 40 free throws for the Canadians. MOST READ El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes Despite being terribly undersized, the Filipinos battled Canada to a 40-all deadlock in rebounds. They also had 14 steals but just couldn’t convert them to points.“You can tell that they (Filipinos) are working on development,” said Canadian coach Kyle Julius, a member of his national team from 2005-2007. “You can tell that they are very talented. They are hard nosed and tough.”“It’s going to be a dogfight from now on,” said Kiefer Ravena, who led the Filipinos with 12 points followed by Bobby Ray Parks with 11 points and Carl Bryan Cruz with 10.As it is, the Philippines would need to get more scoring from its talented lineup if it hopes to survive the Taiwanese.Matthew Wright scored five straight points, capped by a triple in transition from left quarter court hat had the Philippines coming within 68-60, but the Canadians came through with a 7-0 spurt that put the game away going into the final 6:45.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “You can’t give up 40 free throws against a quality team Reyes said.Canada, featuring a selection of stars from its National Basketball League, came over with just a pair of two-hour practice sessions but instantly showed its spunk using its size and athletic ability.Against the Taiwanese in the 7 p.m. game on Sunday, Reyes and his charges will be playing a crew that has stayed together for so long.Naturalized player Quincy Davis and the pony-tailed Wen Ting-tseng again lead the home squad that commands a noisy following.“They (Filipinos) need to learn to play with each other and the system,” said Reyes, who opened the post-game interview by praising the young Filipinos’ effort.“We played them (Canadians) pretty well in all departments, save for the free throws that we gave up.”ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES View commentslast_img read more

Oppo launches R9, R9 Plus with 16-megapixel front cam

first_imgOppo on Thursday launched the R9 and R9 Plus phones in China. Both the phones sport the same (all-metal) design and 16-megapixel camera on the front (with f/2.0 aperture with a 78.1-degree field of view). Both the phones also come with front mounted fingerprint scanners .The Oppo R9 comes with a 5.5-inch FullHD AMOLED display and is powered by a 2GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal memory which is further expandable by up to 128GB via microSD card.It comes with a 13-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.2 aperture. It is backed by a 2,850mAh battery.The R9 Plus comes with a 6-inch FullHD AMOLED display and a 1.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory (expandable by up to 128GB via microSD card). It sports a 16-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.0 lens. The phone is backed by a 4,120mAh battery.Both the R9 and R9 Plus are 4G LTE-capable phones running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. They support VOOC Flash Charge technology.While the Oppo R9 has been priced at CNY 2,799 (roughly $430 or Rs 28,829), the bigger R9 Plus comes at CNY 3,299 (roughly $510 or Rs 33,917). Both the phones are now available for pre-order in China. The R9 and R9 Plus will be available for buy starting from March 24 and April 12 respectively. The company hasn’t announced pricing and availability for the global market for now.last_img read more

Kontron and SYSGO: SAFe-VX computing platform for safety-critical systems

first_imgKontron and SYSGO present SAFe-VX for safety-critical railway solutions. The platform is the first result of the joint technology development from Kontron and SYSGO and is based on Kontron’s proven COTS hardware and SYSGO’s real-time operating system PikeOS. It allows users to quickly switch to a SIL certified system so as to meet the IEC 61508 standards for electronic systems. PikeOS is currently the only real-time operating system with a certifiable kernel according to Common Criteria EAL 3+, supporting tasks segregation, and therefore implementing functional safety and IT security in one system. With its flexible and modular VPX-based architecture, the Safety Computing platform enables faster time-to-market and a major shrink of the total cost of ownership.The SAFe-VX systems in a compact half 19″ 4U format is particularly suitable for controlling safety-critical applications in rail transport, whether in rolling stocks or in station/wayside, as it can be used in large temperature ranges and harsh environments, compliant with EMC/EMI standards. It is also shock and vibration resistant. Thanks to its modularity, SAFe-VX is easy to customize and can be easily adapted to requested I/O subsets in multiple use cases.SYSGO’s real-time operating system PikeOS serves as a hypervisor and ensures functional and software security through its strict partitioning. The versatility and clear separation of software tasks allow the concurrent operation of critical and non-critical partitions in one system when needed. Train Operators can perform multiple applications, such as data analytics, artificial intelligence for autonomous driving, on a single platform. The connection to existing communication systems in trains takes place via Ethernet or fieldbus.In addition, SAFe-VX development platform comes with safety documentation packages, local technical software support and long-term product support of up to 30 years adjusted to the project needs. This makes the platform suitable for the control of all safety-relevant functions for smart railway systems, both for new trains and for the modernization of existing train fleets.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Boards & Modules Continue Reading Previous Arrow drives AI infusion with new OpenCL platform for high-performance FPGA acceleratorNext Teledyne LeCroy’s WaveRunner 8000HD oscilloscope target power, automotive, and Embeddedlast_img read more

Bhullar in title contention in Malaysia

first_imgKuching (Malaysia), July 6 (PTI) Gaganjeet Bhullar, who was tied 3rd last week in the Queens Cup, moved into contention once again with a superb six-under 66, which carried him to 14-under at the Sarawak Championship here today. Bhullar was three behind the leader Paul Peterson of the US who posted a bogey-free three-under-par 69 to hold a narrow one-shot lead over countryman John Catlin in the third round. Bhullar had rounds of 68-68 on first two days and is now in prime position to make a charge for his first win this season and the ninth on Asian Tour in his career. Bhullar had seven birdies, four on front nine and three on back nine against just one solitary bogey on Par-3 eighth. Among other Indians, Himmat Rai (68-67-70) was tied 11th and Ajeetesh Sandhu (68-71-67) was tied 16th. S Chikkarangappa (70-67-70) was tied 19th, while Khalin Joshi (68-70-71) and Honey Baisoya (71-69-69) were tied 31st. The other two Indians who made the cut were Aman Raj (74) at tied 44th and Jeev Milkha Singh (73) at tied 53rd. Rashid Khan (75) was tied 63, while Viraj Madappa, Chiragh Kumar and M Dharma missed the cut. Bhullar said, “I hit the ball really good. I hit all the fairways and missed only three greens. Overall it was a good day in terms of ball striking. I got off to a good start with two birdies and that gave me a lot of boost and confidence. “I’m happy to be in this position. I’ve been striking the ball really good in the last four months. The trick is all mental now. If I’m able to do the same thing in the last few days, I will be happy with my game.”advertisement “Golf is a funny sport and anything is possible. Everybody is giving their 100 percent and so am I. Ill go out there and do my best. Game wise, Im feeling really confident and Ive been converting a lot of good scores and giving myself a lot of opportunities.” Bhullar opened with birdie-birdie and then had three pars. He followed up with birdies on sixth and seventh and dropped his only shot on eighth. On the back nine, he birdied on the 10th, 12th and 17th. Peterson, who won his first Asian Tour title in January, fired three birdies on his homeward nine to hold on to his lead for the third straight day on 17-under-par 199 at the Damai Golf and Country Club. PTI Cor AHAHlast_img read more

Roger Federer’s forward defensive shot floors Sachin Tendulkar

first_imgSachin Tendulkar was highly impressed by Roger Federer’s cricket skills and the legend of the game tweeted his good friend to praise him.Tendulkar was all praise of the Swiss’ hand-eye co-ordination on the grasscoart on Monday during his round-of-16 match with Adrian Mannarino.”As always, great hand-eye co-ordination. @rogerfederer, let’s exchange notes on cricket and tennis after you win your 9th Wimbledon title,” wrote Sachin on Twitter.The Tennis legend was seen going to his front-foot and defending the ball with the middle of his racket after Mannarino returned the ball to him. Mannarion was already handed a point after Federer’s shot landed outside the court.Roger Federer shows off his cricketing skills in WimbledonAs always, great hand-eye co-ordination. @rogerfederer, lets exchange notes on cricket and tennis after you win your 9th @Wimbledon title Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 10, 2018Federer also replied to Tendulkar and said that he is ready to take notes now itself.why wait? I’m ready to take notes! @sachin_rt Federer (@rogerfederer) July 10, 2018Wimbledon then took to Twitter and tagged International Cricket Council (ICC), the world cricket’s governing body, to ask how much “ratings” Federer deserved for that forward defence shot.ICC replied with an image of Test rankings for batsmen which showed Federer ranked as the No. 1 in the world.The cricket body also compared Federer’s shot to Sachin Tendulkar and shared the famous Spiderman meme showing Tendulkar meeting Fedrer. ICC captioned the meme: “When greatness recognises greatness.”advertisement*sigh* ok… (@ICC) July 9, 2018When greatness recognises greatness (@ICC) July 9, 2018Federer then went onto reach the quarter-finals with a 6-0 7-5 6-4 win over Mannarino.The 20-time Grand Slam champion was in blinding form during the first set, which blazed by in 16 minutes, but after the Swiss missed four break points in the opening game of the second set, Mannarino made more of a match of it.The world number 26 became the first man to reach break points against the 36-year-old at the All England Club this year, but failed to convert any of them as Federer made it to at least the last eight of the grasscourt major for the 16th time.Federer, who has now won 32 sets on the trot, needs one more straight sets victory to break his previous longest streak at the All England Club. He holds the record of 34 consecutive sets at Wimbledon between the third round in 2005 and the final in 2006.The eight-time champion will next play South African eighth seed Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.last_img read more

Schalke out to add to Dortmund’s recent derby misery

first_imgBerlin, Dec 7 (AFP) Schalke 04 plot to become the first Bundesliga side to beat Borussia Dortmund this season and extend the German league leaders’ recent misery in Gelsenkirchen in Saturday’s Ruhr derby.This is the first time in six years Dortmund go into the derby top of the table, but they last won at the Veltins Arena half a decade ago.A gulf of 19 points and 12 places in the table separates the clubs, who are only 33kms (20miles) apart, but Schalke are itching to get one over their high-flying neighbours and bitter rivals.”Since Monday, the pulse of the derby beats in the region. Everyone is talking about it,” Manuel Neukirchner, director of the German Football museum in Dortmund, told AFP.”Here, you can’t be neutral.”It reminds me a bit of the Beatles and Rolling Stones in the 1960s – you have to support one or the other.” Dortmund have not won any of the last five derbies and Schalke ran out 2-0 winners in Gelsenkirchen last April.The Royal Blues will be holding an open training session for home fans on Friday to fire the city up for one of European football’s most passionate derbies.”In derby games, there is no outsider and no favourites,” said Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco.”We will do everything to come out of the derby with a positive result.” Tedesco sees his team’s pressing as their biggest weapon, plus the improving form of midfielders Sebastian Rudy and Nabil Bentaleb, whose penalty rescued a point in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Hoffenheim.advertisementHowever, the Royal Blues have huge injury problems up front with forwards Mark Uth, Franco di Santo and Breel Embolo sidelined, while Guido Burgstaller and Steven Skrzybski are struggling to be fit in time.- Stunning draw haunts Dortmund -=================================In contrast, Dortmund’s attack is on fire.Goal-machine Paco Alcacer, the league’s joint top-scorer with ten goals, has scored nine times off the bench and hit the net in each of his last three games.England winger Jadon Sancho may be unavailable due to a family bereavement but captain Marco Reus has scored four goals and set up another in his last four games, including a brace in the 3-2 win at home to Bayern Munich.”I think he’s the bolt which holds Dortmund together — when he plays well, so does the team — he’s an important player,” said Tedesco.Historically, little separates the team with Schalke having won 39 and Dortmund 38 of the 114 derbies with 37 draws.Dortmund are still smarting from the incredible 4-4 home draw in November 2017 when Schalke clawed back four second-half goals with Brazil defender Naldo heading in the 94th-minute equaliser at Signal Idua Park.”Until recently, it was always the successful derby moments that I remembered, but that crazy game is still very present for us,” admitted director of sport Michael Zorc, 56, who was born in Dortmund.”I’ve 50 years experience of the derby – it’s what people talk about in this city, whether you are at the bakers or the petrol station.” Dortmund coach Lucien Favre has lost six times and won just once at Schalke in his career – his solitary away victory coming with ex-club Borussia Moenchengladbach in April 2014.Meanwhile defending champions Bayern will hope Dortmund stumble in Schalke to help them close the nine-point gap when they host strugglers Nuremberg at the Allianz Arena.Bayern are up to fourth in the table after securing a 2-1 win at Werder Bremen last weekend, when winger Serge Gnabry scored both goals, to end a poor run of three defeats in their previous seven games.It’s been ten years since Nuremberg last beat Bayern and 26 since ‘der Klub’, as they are nicknamed, last won in Munich.Bayern coach Niko Kovac is waiting to find out about Arjen Robben’s availability, who missed training in midweek with a thigh injury.(AFP) APAAPAlast_img read more

Asus ROG Strix Scar 3 review: Asus redefines gaming laptops

first_imgWhat comes to your mind when I say gaming laptops? Most people would draw a gaudy-looking bulky laptop with lots of RGB lighting everywhere. And it is quite true gaming laptops have been the same for many years now. Of late, we have seen some premium ones going for a sophisticated design with sleek and slim bodies but the majority of the market still sees the traditional gaming laptop that’s impractical to live with.Asus is possibly the only company who keeps updating its laptops more frequently than anyone else. For the last few years, Asus has been updating its core models with up-to-date specifications but the design of its laptops remained the same. Until now as Asus has just unveiled its 2019 range of ROG gaming laptops in India. Most of the models have received massive updates to the design and the most popular one of the lot the Strix Scar series, has also got new clothes and updated muscle. It starts at Rs 2,00,000 in India and it is easily my favourite gaming laptop for this year. Why? Read on my review.BMW’s design expertise lends Scar 3 a premium and balanced lookGaming laptops have always sported extremely striking designs with wild graphics and stickers. Not the ROG Strix Scar 3 it takes laptops designs to a whole new level. The ROG Strix Scar 3 is one of the most handsome designs I have seen in a laptop in a long time excluding the 17-inch ROG Zephyrus that I played with earlier this year. And there’s a good reason behind this handsome design it’s designed by BMW’s Designworks studio.advertisement Hence, the ROG Strix Scar 3 offers a smart fusion of Asus’ traditional gaming designs and the modern lines that you have seen on BMW products. Most BMW sportscars, such as the M4, M5 and M8, manage to strike a perfect balance between elegance and sporty. The ROG Strix Scar 3 also does that the heat vents all around the laptop make for an aggressive and sporty design while the brushed aluminium lid lends it an elegant design. And Asus goes in with its striking touch the glowing ROG logo that looks hot in the dark.Now, this isn’t an original design the ROG Strix Scar 3 seems to have taken inspiration from Dell’s Alienware gaming laptops just look at the stubby end at the rear. Asus says this chubby section with the vents gives the interior of the laptop a lot of space to breathe and keep the temperatures down by up to 10 per cent. In fact, the entire design is focused to keep temperatures under control.This is still a thick laptop despite the premium design but Asus has cleverly masked it with the wraparound RGB LED strip. To describe this, I only have two words Absolutely amazing! Last year’s Scar 2 had an LED strip at the front but this year’s model has it on the three sides and well concealed under the bulk of the laptop. When you switch it on, it gives a halo effect with shifting colours. In dark rooms, the laptop feels like it’s floating on a carpet of light. All gaming laptops should offer this as standard. All while hiding the bulk, Asus has offered all the essential connectivity options — three USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, HDMI 2.0 port, a headphone and microphone combo jack, an RJ45 Ethernet port and a power port. And at 2.3Kg, it is quite light for what it offers.Open the lid and you will see a familiar Asus design with some neat BMW design touches. The keyboard deck is made of plastic with a glossy two-tone carbon fiber finish. Towards the right, you will see a wrinkled pattern that has a slot for the Keystone. The Keystone is basically a key with an NFC chip that, when plugged in the slot, activates custom profiles and a secret encrypted Shadow Drive in which you cans tore anything. This drive goes away as soon as the keystone is removed this is stuff that you see Ethan Hunt using in Mission Impossible films.And if this wasn’t cool enough, the trackpad can act as a touchscreen Numpad with red backlighting what else do you need to stand out from the crowd. There’s a standard-sized keyboard with individually backlit keys this makes for an awesome light show at night. The lid itself is firm and holds a 15.6-inch display with extremely thin bezels on the edges and thick bezel at the bottom that surprisingly doesn’t hold a webcam. I was okay with no webcam but those who live stream may need an additional high-quality webcam.advertisementOn the whole, I think Asus needs to be commended for designing a laptop that excites the 6-year-olds inside grown-ups.Striking design has raw power to back it upAsus always focuses on delivering top-notch performance in all of its laptops and with the Strix Scar 3, it doesn’t change anything. This is a laptop that can run anything you throw at it with absolute ease.Let’s go through the specifications the variant I had flaunted a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU clocked at 2.6GHz. It comes with 16GB RAM and 1TB NVMe PCIe storage with an extra 2.5-inch drive bay. My unit has an Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU which is the mid-range GPU in Nvidia’s lineup. I had to make do with a 15.6-inch Full HD screen with 144Hz refresh rate but you can equip it with a screen of 240Hz refresh rate. For even the most hardcore gamer, this specification combo is more than enough to play the latest high-end gaming titles with shedding sweat. When it comes to multitasking, the Strix Scar 3 can handle up to 10 tabs in Chrome, a couple of word documents and a game installation in the background with ease. Show the Strix Scar 3 some games and it will happily chew up the latest titles. Games such as FIFA 19, F1 2018, Watch Dogs 2, Project Cars 2 and PUBG ran on the highest setting with frame rates between 50-60fps. In games such as PUBG where faster networking is required, the laptop managed good network performance to keep things smooth and steady. Thermal management is good with the laptop never showing signs of stress after many hours of constant gameplay.All the while you play games, the brilliantly designed thermal management systems ensure the laptop keeps on performing without any throttling. In fact, the ROG Strix Scar 3 throws out the interior heat in clever ways so that it never becomes uncomfortable to use.The 15.6-inch display is quite good to look at. The screen produces colours that are vibrant and have high contrasts. Brightness levels are good whereas the viewing angles are wide with minimal colour loss. The 144Hz refresh rate does make games, as well as mundane Windows tasks, look smooth. The keyboard makes for a decent typing experience. The keys have substantial travel that makes it comfy to type on long documents. The individual RGB backlighting doesn’t cause a distraction while typing.The only issue that the Strix Scar 3 has is something that all gaming laptops suffer from unimpressive battery life. The 66WHr, 4-cell Li-ion battery is good enough for non-gaming tasks at a maximum stretch of up to four hours. But then, gamers will always plug in the charger while playing which is why the battery life doesn’t matter in these laptops.VerdictGaming laptops are getting immensely powerful with each passing day and the ROG Strix Scar 3 is an immensely capable machine that can fuel your fantasies in the virtual worlds. Being a ROG series laptop, there is no surprise about what this laptop can do with its sheer computing power. However, what impressed me more is the design. Asus has finally gone for a design that makes its gaming laptop look elegant and aggressive at the same time. Kudos to the design inputs from the BMW Designworks for making a conventional gaming laptop so appealing. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that this is one of the most exciting gaming laptops you can buy today.advertisementAt a starting price of around Rs 2,00,000, the ROG Strix Scar 3 is a great gaming laptop that pleases on the eyes. With reliable top-notch performance, this is a package that’s hard to miss out.Asus ROG Strix Scar 3 review 8/10 ProsLooks amazingFlawless performanceGood displayConsAverage batterylast_img read more


first_imgIf you used your bank or credit card at K-mart or Sonic in the last several months, you will want to keep an eye on your accounts.Sioux City Police Department have received numerous reports of unauthorized credit card transactions from approximately twenty residents.Investigators say their card information was acquired during a data breach of Kmart between September, 2016 through April of 2017.A second data breach also occurred with Sonic from April through October of this year.Police say there is a new trend in credit card cloning and theft.The card cloners can see the location the card was issued from, then travel there and make and cancel an internet transaction to insure the card is active,They then make a small purchase, usually for a prepaid card.This does not meet the requirements for most fraud alert systems.You’re advised to check your their accounts daily for any strange activity.last_img read more

College Football Player Stretchered Off The Field After Opening Kickoff

first_imgA UCF football helmet placed on the field.GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 01: A UCF Knights helmet sits on the field after the UCF Knights defeated the Baylor Bears 52-42 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)The first game of the season for the UCF Knights brought with it a terrible scene. During the opening kickoff, Aaron Robinson, a transfer defensive back from Alabama, stayed down on the field after a hit.Robinson went down on on the kickoff and lay motionless on the field. Eventually, Robinson had to be stretchered off the field by a group of UCF training staff and medical personnel.The medical staff stabilized Robinson before he was take off the field. ESPN’s commentators revealed Robinson did, in fact, move his legs.Robinson also gave a thumbs up to the fans as he left the field, ESPN reported.UCF defensive back Aaron Robinson is down and being tended to by medical staff after being injured on the opening kickoff— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 30, 2018Both college football and the NFL have made a concerted effort to change the way kickoffs work. Due to the dangerous nature of kickoffs, the NCAA instituted a rule to make kickoffs safer.The end of kickoffs could be here sooner rather than later if serious injuries continue.We’ll update Robinson’s condition when it becomes known.last_img read more

Provincial Diversity Efforts Increase

first_imgA new employment-equity policy, an improved fair-hiring policy and additional diversity training for employees, have made the provincial government a more diverse and inclusive workplace over the past year. The developments are outlined in the province’s 2007-08 annual progress report, Moving Toward Equity: Employment Equity and Diversity in the Nova Scotia Public Service, which was tabled today, Nov. 25, by Human Resources Minister Carolyn Bolivar-Getson. “A diverse workforce that is reflective of our population is a crucial part of providing quality service to Nova Scotians,” said Ms. Bolivar-Getson. “We must make every effort to create a discrimination-free public service workplace where diversity is valued and differences are embraced.” To help improve workplace culture and diversity representation, the Public Service Commission has established a number of policy improvements, employment opportunities, training, and awareness initiatives throughout government, which include: — an improved Fair Hiring Policy that reaffirms government’s commitment to fair hiring practices — a new Respectful Workplace Policy that replaces and expands the scope of the previous No Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy to include personal harassment — the replacement of the Affirmative Action Policy with a new Employment Equity Policy, which reaffirms government’s commitment to being a workplace that is free of discrimination “Through these policy improvements, as well as our educational programs and diversity employment activities, we are building a work environment of fairness, equity, mutual respect, understanding and cultural competence,” said Ms. Bolivar-Getson. Other corporate and departmental activities outlined in the report include: — internationally known teacher, lecturer and diversity activist Jane Elliot’s visit to Halifax — eighteen summer-employment opportunities for students through the Summer Diversity and the Summer Female Mentorship programs — continued support of champions that participate on the Diversity Round Table and work collaboratively to develop ways to support the achievement of our corporate diversity objectives — building additional diversity education opportunities for public servants to increase skills and competencies in the area of diversity.last_img read more

CN facing allegations it engaged in criminal conduct and fired employee over

first_imgBy Jorge Barrera and Kenneth Jackson APTN National NewsCanadian National Railway was allegedly “engaged in criminal conduct by defrauding shareholders” and U.S. “federal regulators” by “manipulating” data to boost its efficiency and, by extension, its share price, according to a whistleblower complaint filed in U.S. federal court.The complaint also alleges that CN has an unwritten policy of “retaliating against whistleblowers” and that the alleged criminal conduct was endorsed by a senior official in CN’s head office to keep the company’s share prices high.The case was filed in early August with the U.S. federal court’s Western District of Tennessee by a former trainmaster employed by wholly-owned subsidiaries of CN, Wisconsin Central and Illinois Central Railroad. CN consolidates the financial statements of both rail firms within its own financial statements.Timothy Wallender alleges that he was fired in September 2012 by CN for blowing the whistle on “widespread fraud” committed by the century-old Canadian railway company.Wallender alleges that the fraud was committed under the direction of CN’s former executive vice-president and chief operating officer Keith Creel, who is now with Canadian Pacific, according to the complaint filed with the U.S. court.None of the allegations have yet been proven in court.CN said it would not comment on the individual allegations.“As this is a pending litigation matter and particularly as CN has not been served with the federal court complaint, CN has no comment at this time. Please note that Keith Creel is no longer a CN employee. He is president and chief operating officer at Canadian Pacific Railway,” said CN spokesperson Mark Hallman.A spokesperson for CP said the company would not be commenting on the court action.“As this is a matter currently before the courts, CP has no comment at this time,” said Ed Greenberg in an emailed statement.Creel, who joined CP in February 2013 and is its president and chief operating officer, has been issued a summons, along with Andrew Martin, the general superintendent of the Harrison Yard in Memphis, Tenn., Wisconsin Central and Illinois Central Railroad.“The litigation is just starting, and I don’t expect to hear anything until they get served,” said one of Wallender’s lawyers Eugene Laurenzi, who is with Memphis-based law firm Godwin Morris Laurenzi and Bloomfield.Wallender’s allegations centre around the alleged manipulation of the “terminal dwell time” of rail cars in the Harrison Yard. Terminal dwell time is based on the amount of time a rail car spends in the yard before it’s hooked into another train for transport. The times are key indicators to a rail company’s performance and impact its share price, according to Laurenzi.CN claimed in Oct 2012 that it has “a 20 to 25 per cent advantage relative to its peers, in terms of train speed and dwell time,” according to Wallender’s complaint which quotes from the Brokerage Research Digest.CN’s CEO Claude Mongeau said in the company’s 2011 report to shareholders that “we work hard to run more efficient trains, reduce dwell time at our terminals and improve overall work velocity,” the complaint states.CN outperforms six other major railroads in North American on dwell times, according to online data tracked by Railroad Performance Measures. CN’s times are based on nine of its yards, including the Memphis yard, five yards in Canada and three other yards in the U.S.“Canadian National’s supposedly favorable statistics on terminal dwell at Harrison Yard are based on persistent and pervasive fraud,” according to Wallender’s complaint.Wallender claims Martin, his supervisor, ordered employees to change the program on CN’s computers to automatically show trains departing 30 minutes earlier than they actually left, create records showing lower than actual dwell times in the yard, falsely list trains as having left the yard while they sat on the tracks, and report non-defective cars as defective, among other orders.“By using this scheme, Canadian national was able to create records that falsely showed lower than actual dwell time for Hunter yard,” the complaint said.Wallender also claims Martin ordered CN employees to not report derailments and collisions to the Federal Railroad Administration.Despite complaints against Martin and two investigations by CN’s human resources department, the supervisor was never fired, the complaint alleged.Wallender claims that Martin “told employees at the Harrison Yard that he had a green light and carte blanche from Creel to implement his schemes for using false records to show lower than actual dwell time” at the yard.“Creel protected Martin from being fired so his share-based compensation would not be impaired,” according to the complaint. “A significant part of Creel’s compensation depended on his ability to inflate the price of Canadian National’s shares.”In 2011, Creel had a salary of $558,842, a restricted stock award of $872,583, stock option awards of $676,706, a non-equity incentive plan compensation of $713,947 and, as of the same year, unexercised options for 43,250 CN shares.Despite his complaints Wallender was fired on Sept. 30, 2012, for listing “a train as having arrived before it was physically present.”Wallender, however, believes he was fired as a result of CN’s “unwritten anti-whistleblower policy” because he tried to complain about “mail, wire and securities fraud” along with “violations of SEC rules on regulations and violations of federal laws relating to fraud against shareholders.”Wallender is seeking reinstatement at the same level, back pay with interest, general and special damages and reimbursement for litigation court documentDownload (PDF, Unknown)last_img read more

Amazons stormy week will blow over but debris will stay

SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon has had a complicated few weeks with its cancellation of a New York headquarters Thursday and extortion claims last week related to intimate photos taken by its founder.Experts say the events are unlikely to pose much of a threat to Amazon’s business. But the company will continue to face more challenges as it grows larger.Consumers will keep buying things on Amazon. But Blair Levin, policy adviser to New Street Research, said people are growing more skeptical of big tech companies when governments are cutting them special deals.Backlash against Amazon in New York is part of a larger trend of public anger against big tech companies, which has often centred around data privacy concerns.__Anderson reported from New York.Rachel Lerman And Mae Anderson, The Associated Press read more

UN Daniel Pearl Foundation Museum of Jewish Heritage plan concert series

The United Nations has announced plans to collaborate in organizing a series of concerts next week in New York at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust as part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days named for the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in early 2002.On 8, 9 and 10 October, Israeli artist Idan Raichel will perform as part of the event, one of many Daniel Pearl Music Days being held in October around the world in memory of the slain journalist. UN officials associated with the concert series said the Holocaust and the UN Outreach Programme lends its support to the Daniel Pearl Foundation and the Museum of Jewish Heritage to celebrate the continuing triumph of tolerance and diversity through the universal language of music. The Holocaust and the UN Outreach Programme, called for by the General Assembly, involves civil society partners in Holocaust remembrance and education, in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide. The programme is currently organizing training seminars on the lessons of the Holocaust for UN staff from over 60 offices worldwide and has created “Electronic Notes for Speakers,” an online pedagogical tool for educators and UN Member States to assist them in developing educational programmes. 4 October 2007The United Nations has announced plans to collaborate in organizing a series of concerts next week in New York at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust as part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days named for the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in early 2002. read more

Most Lankan refugees not willing to return

“The refugees were scared of interrogation” and this was “the basic problem” that came in their way to return home. “We are trying to reduce its duration of to the extent possible,” he said. Till now, the refugees, on their return, had to undergo interrogation by three agencies. Now, officials of the agencies were carrying it out together.Mr. Swaminathan said his Ministry had been working closely with the Army, Emigration and the Police authorities on this issue. Calling his department’s task “PR job,” he said only through closer coordination with other departments, work could be done. Only 35 per cent of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in Tamil Nadu are willing to come back, D.M. Swaminathan, Minister for Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs, said.In an interview with The Hindu at his office here, Mr. Swamianthan said that of about one lakh refugees in Tamil Nadu, most of them had got jobs there, married had children. “Not all of them will come here. It is all rubbish.” Mr. Swaminathan, who received 65 refugees on their arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Wednesday, said earlier, those returning to Sri Lanka had to face interrogation that would go on for four to five hours. Emphasising that his government would welcome all those refugees who were willing to return, Mr. Swaminathan said that of those who returned on Thursday, there were people who had Indian passports. “They can come back to Sri Lanka under the dual citizenship system. After all, it is their home country.”He urged those refugees who were planning to return to tell his Ministry in advance so that facilities could be provided on their return. “Those having own lands can go straightaway to their places,” he said. read more

The Latest Rescuer says 4 ship crewmen doing well

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. — The Latest on The Latest on an overturned cargo ship off the coast of Georgia (all times local):10 a.m.One of the rescue co-ordinators who helped save four crew members from an overturned ship off the Georgia coast says the men are “doing well” after being trapped aboard the ship for more than a day.Salvage expert Sylvia Tervoort was part of a private team that assisted the Coast Guard in the rescues Monday of the South Korean crew members still aboard the Golden Ray. She told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday: “They were really exhausted when they came out.”Tervoort said the men waited roughly 30 hours for rescue in tough conditions — in the dark, breathing air filled with fumes in the ship’s engine room, in sweltering temperatures of nearly 150 degrees (65.5 Celsius).The Golden Ray rolled onto its side early Sunday after leaving the Port of Brunswick loaded with more than 4,000 vehicles. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Luke Clayton says removing the ship will likely take weeks. The port remains closed.___8:50 a.m.Now that four crewmembers trapped inside a cargo ship capsized off Georgia’s coast have been pulled to safety, the U.S. Coast Guard says it’s focused on safely removing the massive vessel while protecting the environment.Coast Guard rescuers pulled the four South Korean crew members from the Golden Ray on Monday after drilling through the hull’s steel plates. All four were described as alert and in relatively good condition.The rescues followed nearly 36 hours of work after the Golden Ray rolled onto its side early Sunday while leaving the Port of Brunswick with more than 4,000 vehicles.The ship remains stuck in St. Simons Sound, closing the busy port while shipping hazards are evaluated.Altamaha Riverkeeper, a group that works to protect water in the area from pollution, posted on Facebook that it will keep monitoring the salvage operations.The Associated Press read more

Baloney Meter Andrew Scheer says the carbon tax has been proven to

OTTAWA — “Under Justin Trudeau, we are falling further behind and I do not understand why he is still going all-in on a carbon tax that has been proven to fail.”— Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in Thorold, Ont., on Sept. 24.After the Liberals promised to toughen their greenhouse-gas reduction targets to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was asked whether he would match the proposal.The Conservatives, he said, would stick to the current target of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, through a proposed plan for the environment that would scrap the current federal carbon-pricing regime.The Liberal plan includes a price on carbon-dioxide emissions of $20 per tonne, which the federal government imposes on New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan because those provinces did not have carbon-pricing systems of their own. It’s to expand to cover Alberta in the new year and the price is to rise to $50 per tonne in 2022.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Individuals get rebates through the tax system, meant to equal the average household’s carbon-tax payments. People whose lifestyles produce fewer emissions come out ahead.Economists have long argued that carbon taxes are efficient ways of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions over time, because they use a market mechanism to help shift the behaviour of consumers and corporations away from burning fossil fuels that produce carbon dioxide without favouring one way of reducing emissions over any other.Given the federal carbon tax only came into effect April 1, a reporter asked Scheer what proof he could provide of its failure.“We can point to British Columbia, which has had a carbon tax for a long period of time and whose emissions went up last year,” said Scheer.The B.C. carbon tax came into effect in 2008 and yes, data released earlier this month show that total greenhouse-gas emissions in the province reached 64.5 million tonnes in 2017, an increase of 1.2 per cent over the year before.That same data, the Conservatives noted, also showed that total emissions had declined by only about 0.5 per cent since 2007, which is the baseline year the province uses to measure the reductions.Dan Woynillowicz, policy director at Clean Energy Canada, said B.C. has been experiencing growth in population and the economy that has led to an increase in emissions, which he said would have been much greater if the carbon tax had not been in place.The province also did not increase the carbon tax between 2012 and 2017, before the new government of NDP Premier John Horgan committed to increasing it by $5 per tonne annually beginning in April 2018, which Woynillowicz said should help to put reductions back on track.“A good chunk of that was a period of stasis, where policies were not doing what they needed to be doing,” he said.Other research, Woynillowicz said, shows the carbon tax in B.C. has affected behaviour in ways that would reduce emissions.That has included declines in the consumption of gasoline, diesel and residential natural gas, as well as consumers buying more fuel-efficient vehicles.“All of those independent analyses have found that having the carbon tax made a difference,” he said.Scheer also said that emissions are still rising at the national level.“We can point to the fact that although it is relatively new, the carbon tax has still been in place for some time now and emissions are going to go up,” Scheer said Tuesday. “The projections by independent analysis are that they will continue to go up and so that is the basis of my statement.”The Conservatives shared several sources of data and information to support this claim, including a June report from the parliamentary budget officer.That report estimated Canada would be able to reduce its emissions to 592 million tonnes by 2030 under its current environmental policies, which include the carbon tax. That would leave Canada 79 million tonnes short of what it agreed to at the 2015 United Nations climate conference in Paris.To make up the gap, the PBO estimated Ottawa would need to impose an additional levy that would bring the total carbon tax to $102 per tonne by 2022 — $52 more than currently planned — that would mean an additional cost of 23 cents for a litre of gasoline.The analysis assumed, however, that raising the price on carbon would be the only thing the federal government would do.“That basically said if you froze all policies as they are today and you were going to just use increases in the carbon price to achieve the 2030 target, what would you need to do with that price?” Woynillowicz said, adding that is not what Trudeau, or anyone else, has proposed.Jean-Thomas Bernard, an economist at the University of Ottawa who has studied the impact of the B.C. carbon tax on the consumption of diesel, said it is true that a carbon tax needs to rise over time, and probably quite significantly, to remain effective.Still, Bernard said, that does not mean it was correct for Scheer to say the carbon tax itself has failed.“All the studies found these effects are not large enough … but the effects are on the right side of what we are looking at,” said Bernard, whose study on diesel concluded the carbon tax would need to rise to $262 per tonne to meet Canada’s Paris target.There are legitimate questions to ask about how the Liberals could reach their existing goal, or the new one revealed Tuesday, without increasing the carbon tax. That is different from saying, as Scheer did, the carbon tax has already proven unsuccessful.For that reason, his statement earns a rating of “a lot of baloney” — the statement is mostly inaccurate but contains elements of truth.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2019.— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter read more

Relentless fighting in Syria continues to exact terrible toll on civilians says

Ursula Mueller, the Deputy UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, said the situation is most concerning in north-west Syria where recent fighting has claimed many lives and forced over 270,000 civilians to flee for safety.“Camps for the displaced are overstretched, forcing most of those displaced to seek shelter in some 160 makeshift settlements. During these cold and wet winter months, many families have nothing else than improvised tents which they share with others,” said Ms. Mueller, briefing a Security Council meeting on the humanitarian situation in the war-torn country.Elsewhere in Syria, fighting in Afrin (in Aleppo governorate) where on one hand, some 16,000 people have been displaced, but at the same time, civilian movement has reportedly been restricted by local authorities, particularly for those wishing to leave the area.The situation is equally concerning in eastern Ghouta and in areas of Damascus where at least 81 civilians – including 25 women and 30 children – were killed in the first ten days of January.RELATED: ‘Enough is enough;’ world cannot become numb to killing of children — UNICEF official in SyriaAccording to estimates, altogether 13.1 million people are in need of protection and humanitarian assistance, including 6.1 million people who are displaced within the country and a further 5.5 million people have become refugees in neighbouring countries.Wait for medical evacuations continue to claim livesMs. Mueller also informed the Security Council that although in late December, 29 patients in need of urgent medical care were allowed out of eastern Ghouta, hundreds more – most of them women and children – require immediate medical attention.The law is clear […] medical evacuations take place without conditions and without delay —UN deputy aid chief Ursula Mueller“So far, there have been 21 civilian deaths among those needing medical evacuation. Their needs are critical, and the law is clear,” she said, calling on all parties and all those with influence over the parties, “to see to it that all such medical evacuations take place without conditions and without delay.”In the midst of the catastrophe, relief workers delivering life-saving assistance continue to face considerable challenges, including access to those in need of assistance.Last month, none of the UN cross-line convoys could reach besieged locations and only two convoys reached hard-to-reach areas. This month, UN and partners have had no access to any such locations at all, stressed Ms. Mueller.“Not one convoy has been able to deploy. Discussions about convoys have stalled over requirements to lower the number of beneficiaries, and splitting convoys in a way that would not allow us to provide food or other essential items,” she said, noting also issues in other parts of the country preventing delivery of aid.“Our deliveries must continue to be based on humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law, impartially based on civilian need,” reiterated the senior UN official.Five key areas for concrete progressOur deliveries must continue to be based on humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law, impartially based on civilian need —UN deputy aid chief Ursula MuellerNoting five key areas where the UN is looking to make concrete progress, she called for urgent funding for the Organization’s Syria humanitarian response plan for 2018.Ms. Mueller also called for an urgent agreement on medical evacuations and assistance for those trapped in eastern Ghouta and other besieged areas of Syria. She further underlined the need for improved humanitarian access; and for an agreement on UN-supported aid convoys from Damascus to Rukban in south-eastern Syria.“Fifth, more effective arrangements to enable the UN to support the work of Syrian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and to enable international NGOs to play the stronger role they can and are ready to play in relieving the suffering,” she said.Sochi talks on Syria proposes forming constitutional committee under the Geneva-processMeanwhile, talks sponsored by Russia on a political solution towards ending the seven-year Syrian conflict concluded today in Sochi.Speaking to the press in New York, via telephone from Sochi, Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria said that the main outcome of the talks was the declaration to set up a committee that will draft a new constitution for the war-torn country under the auspices of the UN-led Geneva process.The committee’s mandate, terms of reference, powers, rules of procedure and selection criteria for its composition will be decided by parties to the Geneva talks based on proposals made by the Special Envoy.The devil is in the detail [and] the job ahead is complicated – we always knew it – but we believe we can build on it —UN Special Envoy de MisturaMr. de Mistura further clarified that each of the guarantors – Russia, Iran and Turkey – will provide about 50 names which could be considered as, in his terms, “candidates for such a committee” but the body will “very likely” be composed of 45 to 50 members at a maximum.“I plan to consult widely, including those who did not attend the conference [in Sochi] and consistently with Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), will prepare a list of 45-50 people based on criteria that will be soon announced by me in Geneva, based on very wide consultations,” he added, elaborating on the declaration announced by the participants at the conference.“The devil is in the detail [and] the job ahead is complicated – we always knew it – but we believe we can build on it,” expressed Mr. de Mistura. read more