“Pay As You Earn”: Obama’s Student Loan Plan

Millions of young Americans are distressed over their job searches following their pricey educations. With over a trillion dollars of student loan debt, this population struggles to sustain themselves.Currently 71% of individuals attaining a bachelor’s degree are graduating with debt. This debt averages $294 hundred.

On Mon., Jun. 9, President Barack Obama had all eyes on him as he proposed expanding programs which reduce the issues of federal student loan borrowing. His announcement of new executive actions at the White House outlined actions could possibly save the average student $2 thousand in loans.

Obama’s “Pay As You Earn” (PAYE) program would widen the number of young student loan debtors who are eligible for monthly payments exceeding %10 of discretionary income. The remaining debt of these individuals would then be forgiven after 10 years for government workers and employees of some nonprofit organizations, and after 20 years for private sector workers.

A Fed study conducted earlier this year points out that more college graduates are working jobs which don’t even require a college degree and that, consequently, they are earning less. The average tuition at a public four-year college has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Meanwhile, an average family’s income has barely changed.

According to the Fed’s Household Debt and Credit Report in May, total U.S. student loan debt had increased by a whopping $31 billion in the first quarter. Surpassing $1 trillion for the first time. In addition, the Education Department estimated that the amount of debtors who joined the Income Based Repayment Plan in the first quarter increased by 24%, amounting to over 1.6 million.

The 5 year old Income-Based Repayment Plan stipulates that federal student loans may be modified annually depending on changes to income and family size. They are estimated at 15% of income following the payment of essential costs of living, known as discretionary income. Beginning in July, borrowers with financial hardship will be qualified for a monthly 10% repayment cap. Nevertheless, Obama’s plan would eliminate the financial hardship stipulation.

“Pay As You Earn” is Obama’s Student Loan Plan. Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, federal student loan debtors who started their debt payments after Oct. 2007 and continued after Oct. 2011 will have the possibility of attaining some amount of debt forgiveness. Additionally, federal student loan debt could be repaid by civil service agencies as a recruitment and retention incentive.

The cost of the Pay As You Earn plan would be an estimated $7.2 billion throughout the span of 2015 to 2019 which resembles the specifics that were outlined in the White House’s 2015 budget proposal.

Obama has also planned to announce that he is directing renegotiations of contracts between the government and federal student loan services in order to make it easier for borrowers to circumvent defaulting on their loans. To promote awareness about tuition tax credits and flexible repayment options, Obama is instructing the Treasury and Education departments to work with major tax preparers which include companies such as H&R Block.

Throughout his presidency Obama has strived to make college more accessible to American citizens, making education a major priority. On Sat., Jun. 7, Obama declared on his weekly radio and Internet address, “At a time when college has never been more important it has also never been more expensive.”

On Tues., Jun. 10, the president will be able to answer questions concerning this plan via submissions on the Tumblr microblogging site. The Senate will debate the legislation next week, but this will certainly not be without drawbacks.

 

 

Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters

President Zuma Enjoys Win after Hospital Release

 

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma was released from the hospital Sunday evening after what officials called a routine checkup. Officials said he suffered bout of exhaustion, and his party voiced their concerns to him, stating that the long election process had taken a toll on them as well as Zuma. The Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, added that Zuma will “continue to rest for a few days and will work mainly from home during the resting period (AFP, 6/9/2014).”

Zuma’s African National Congress (ANC) party won the May 7th elections by an overpowering 62% of the vote. Zuma was sworn in two weeks ago; this is the start of his second five-year term in office. This is the ANC’s fifth straight victory in elections since Nelson Mandela brought the former liberation movement to power in South Africa’s first democratic vote 20 years ago.
Zuma has faced a list of past legal challenges. He was acquitted of a rape charge in 2005, and was accused of racketeering and corruption after his advisor Schabir Shaik’s conviction for corruption and fraud. The charges against Zuma were dropped in 2009.

 

 

 

Photo: AFP

New Playstation 4 Wireless Headsets Incoming From Turtle Beach

In the world of Playstation gaming headsets, the competition is limited to say the least. Primarily Madcatz, Astro, and Turtle Beach have been the three headset companies that Playstation users turn to most frequently. That’s why Turtle Beach is looking to up the ante at the 2014 E3 convention with two brand new headsets. Though E3 isn’t available to the press until tomorrow afternoon, Forbes was able to get an exclusive look at the new pieces early.

Juergen Stark, CEO of Turtle Beach, told Forbes “Turtle Beach is taking audio for the PlayStation 4 to a new level, with features like DTS, Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound, active noise cancellation, and our new Tournament Audio Controller, it is a whole new game for PlayStation console owners.” And with the video game business being a multi-billion dollar industry, no one wants to miss out on their slice of the pie.

Turtle Beach’s Ear Force Elite 800 will go for around $300 a pair, but don’t worry these headphones come with all the bells and whistles. As previously mentioned the headphones have DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound, dual discrete microphones, and active noise cancellation. The company also claims that it has developed different settings depending on whether the game is a shooter, racer, or sports game.

The headphones even come with software for the PC and an app which allows users to program their own setting for the headset. But what really makes Turtle Beach headphones special this year though, is their ability to connect via Bluetooth. The headphones are also suppose to be able to charge wirelessly through a magnetic stand. A fully charged battery is being reported to deliver 15 hours of use at a time.

If the $300 price tag makes you step back and pause, Turtle Beach is also releasing a pair of headphones for $99. This version is dubbed the Ear Force Stealth 400 and its more expensive counterpart is compatible with both the PS3 and PS4. These headphones offer a decent value as well, with 50mm drivers as well as its ability to work wirelessly.

Turtle Beach Elite 800 for PlayStation 4
Turtle Beach Elite 800 for PlayStation 4

This set is also expected to get 15 hours of battery life off of a single charge. Unfortunately you will out on the wireless charging. Though you will not be able to customize the headphones settings as specifically as you would with the pricier model, the Stealth 400 is still lightweight, comes with controls on the unit, and a mobile cable that can be plugged in by removing the microphone.

Lastly Turtle Beach is releasing their Elite Tournament Audio Controller as a direct competitor of Astro’s MixAmp. It is compatible with PS3, PS4, Xbox360, PCs, and Macs and comes with features including Dolby AC3 decoding, DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround, sliders for mixing game and chat audio, background noise limiters, and audio presets. Turtle Beach plans on incorporating the audio controller into tournament-level headsets, and user will be able to plug them into their current headphones for a more inclusive experience.

 

 

Photo: Amazon.com

Taliban Group Attacks Pakistan’s Largest Airport

Jinnah International, Pakistan’s largest airport, fell under attack yesterday in Karachi after a Taliban group entered the premises and released fire. It has been reported that at least 24 people have been killed and 15 have been injured following a standoff that led to gunfire. The assault took the lives of 14 civilians and 10 militants, leaving the country distraught and many, many hearts shattered.

The Taliban group was disguised as security guards, which allowed them access through checkpoints without much question. The rebels then blustered through the inside, reaping havoc that lasted until approximately 5am yesterday morning when the last of the 10 attackers was finally killed. Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Chief Minister of the Sindh Province, told reporters that Airport Security Forces and a flight engineer with Pakistan International Airlines were among the innocent people that lost their lives.

“They were well trained. Their plan was very well thought out,” Shah said in reference to the attackers. Times of India released that the terrorist group Tehreek-e-Talibanwas responsible for this detrimental act.

“We carried out this attack on the Karachi airport and its message to the Pakistan government that we are still alive to react over the killing of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages,” said the orator of the Taliban group, according to the Dawn news service.

Although this presented itself as a chaotic, tragic circumstance, there have been questions raised as to the ease by which the militants made way through the airport. Many wonder how the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, the military’s spy service, did not detect suspicion.

All incoming flights were directed to other airports during the siege, and the people that were held captive on the airplanes during the attack were safely evacuated later in the night.

 

 

Photo: Reuters

 

Mega Millions Climbs After Sixth Drawing with No Winner

The lottery is one of those things where we know its never going to happen, but for whatever reason most  just can’t keep away, hoping the day would come where they win the jackpot . After the sixth drawing without a winner the Mega Millions jackpot will be at $55 million for tuesday’s drawing. Though buying a ticket is almost the same as throwing a couple of dollars into the trash, buying into the dream even for a little bit makes it worth it for a lot of people. If you are lucky enough to win though, you’ll walk away with $31 million if you choose to take it in a lump sum.

This past May, there was one week in which the Mega Millions and the Powerball national lotteries were both numbered in the nine digit range. Then on May 20, one person matched all 6 numbers on the Mega Million to win a mind boggling $149 million dollars. It is starting to look like the Mega Millions will break the $100 million barrier once again. The Powerball is currently at 221 million. Be warned though the official Powerball site has the odds set at 1 to 175,223,510.

The Mega Millions company still does not know who won the fortune three weeks ago. They announced that the ticket was bought at White Oak Gas & Grocery, 1100 Fawcett Ave., McKeesport, Allegheny County and that the store received $100,000 as a reward for selling the winning ticket. The actual winning ticket owner has yet to step forward though to claim his or her prize.

So if you’re feeling particularly lucky by a ticket or two. There’s almost always a guarantee that you’ll lose, but hey you got to be in it to win it. In the mean time enjoy day dreaming about what you’re going to blow your millions on. Maybe a new house? A new car? The trip of a life time? Whatever you decide on, spending your loot will be easy. It’s winning it that’s the hard part.  But “Hey, you never know”!

Meet the 16-Year-Old Entrepreneur who Sells Out of Saks Fifth Avenue

When most teenagers are 16 they’re worried about getting their license or if they’ll be asked to prom. Then again, Madison Robinson is not most 16-year-olds. Madison created Fish Flops, a creative brand of flip flops that incorporates cute sea creatures and flashing lights, when she was only 13-years-old. When she unveiled the product for the first time at a trade show in 2011, Robison had 30 stores placing orders for their own business.

Online sales boomed and boutique stores everywhere wanted the flip flops on their shelves. Then, Madison did something amazing, she got her flip flops into Nordstrom’s. Not just one store, but 60. And that’s when things really started to take off.

Presently, Robison has sold more than 100,000 pairs of her popular beach footwear. The flip flops currently sell between $20 and $32 a pair. That’s a lot of clams, especially for someone who’s two years away from starting college. The flip flops are so popular in fact, that their servers can’t even seem to handle the amount of traffic they’re receiving. When trying to visit the site, a greeting appear: “Thanks for taking an interest in FishFlops! The site is currently under heavy load. Please email us at info@fishflops.com.”

But she’s not stopping there! This spring, she launched her first clothing line. Saks Fifth Avenue has already signed up to prominently display the young entrepreneurs designs, and so have 120 unique boutiques as well.

Robinson admits, however, that just because she did create the designs for her flip flop line, she does not really have any clothing design experience. For the new line, Madison teamed up with a collaborator in California who has created different clothing designs for tweens. Her instincts seem to be on point, since Saks has already sold out of her tops. They have also scheduled a second order, which is expected to be available later this month.

Right now, the clothing line is targeted towards 9-13-year-olds, but soon Robinson expects to develop a line dedicated to her own age group.

Though it was never Madison’s intention, her success has morphed her into a semi-celebrity. The Houston Chronicle listed her as their top choice for “Most Interesting People for 2014”, beating out athletes and other celebrities who call the Houston area home. Her story has also been incorporated into two separate middle school text books, with as many as $1 million copies printed. Robinson constantly receives emails from peewee entrepreneurs from all around the world, offering congratulations and asking for advice.

Madison acknowledges that keeping school and her business in perspective is a balancing act. Active in dance as well, Madison explains that business is the very last thing she concentrates on at the end of the day. On the weekends though, it gets her undivided attention. This sophomore in high school serves as a true inspiration to people of all ages. She has proved that you do not have to be a “grown-up” to accomplish great things.

 

 

 

 

Photo:  Madison Nicole clothing in Saks Fifth Ave via Yahoo.com 

 

11 Year Old Wins Google Doodle Competition

For years now Google has been conducting its annual “Doodle 4 Google” competitions. In this competition Google opens the floor to public entries of doodles with the prospect of appearing on the mega-corporation’s site. This year, young artists entered their designs which were centered around the prompt of, “If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place.”

Last month, 50 state finalists were flown to Mountain View, California for a ceremony at Google headquarters. Winner, 11-year old Audrey Zhang of Levittown, NY stayed an extra day to work with google’s artists. She was featured on the search engine’s homepage on Mon., Jun. 9. According the The Washington Post, she had entered the competition two times prior. This will be Google’s first time animating a student’s doodle.

Zhang’s impressive, environmental doodle features a machine that cleans polluted water. She calls the machine a “transformative water purifier.” The title of Zhang’s work is called, “Back to Mother Nature”. The leader of the Team Google Doodle artists, Ryan Germick, says that the artwork is, “so lush and so rich and so full and so complete. Every leaf seemed to have life in it.” Germick also spoke about the complexities of animating this doodle, “we never imagined it would have 150 moving parts.” The doodle was made with colored markers, including lightning bugs, dragon flies, and other fantastical characters.

Winning the competition has granted Zhang a $30 thousand scholarship for college, a $50 thousand tech grant for her current school, Island Trees Middle School, as well as a $20 thousand donation in her name to help improve sanitation in Bangladesh schools.

Germick explained his faith in Zhang’s future as an artist, “That is just pure talent. She was born with something incredible.”

 

 

 

Photo: Google

Juanita D. Duggan is New AAFA CEO

 

Juanita D. Duggan has been named the American Apparel and Footwear Association’s (AAFA) chief executive officer. She replaces Kevin M. Burke, who left the organization after 13 years of service.

The AAFA represents more than 1,000 famous name brands and is the political voice for the apparel and footwear industries. The AAFA finds solutions to facilitate global trade, social responsibility, product safety and protection of intellectual property, to name just a few areas of its expansive mission goals.

Duggan has a stellar employment track record. She served in the White House under President George H.W. Bush as Special Assistant to the President for Cabinet Affairs. She was responsible for communication between the White House and senior staff from various departments, including the Department of Energy, the Department of Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency.
She was Executive Vice President for Government Affairs and Communications for the National Food Processors Association, where she created and directed the government affairs program and thereby achieved the association’s health, safety and nutrition goals.
Duggan, a Georgetown University graduate, more recently was President and CEO of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. She was the spokesperson and advocate for the industry to government, media and related groups.

Tracy Morgan in ICU After 6-car crash

Comedian Tracy Morgan, 45, is in critical condition following an accident in his limo bus. The multi-vehicle crash took place in New Jersey early this Sat., Jun.7, morning.

Apparently, the accident was so terrible that the limo bus had overturned. The accident occurred around 1a.m. The collide on the New Jersey Turnpike involved a bus, a sports utility vehicle, two tractor trailers, and two other vehicles. A passenger in the limo bus, James McNair, died during the crash. Three men aside from Morgan are also in critical condition. One passenger is in “fair condition”. The two other occupants sustained no injuries.

Williams commented on the accident to CNN, saying it, “Looks like one of the tractor-trailers may have rear-ended that limo bus, but that’s preliminary at this time.” He added that although the investigation will look into alcohol involvement in the incident, it does not seem to be a contributor.

Photo: STEVE PATTERSON/CBS3/CBSPHILLY.COM
Photo:  STEVE PATTERSON/CBS3/CBSPHILLY.COM

Morgan was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Center, in New Brunswick, by helicopter. Gregory Williams, NJ state police spokesman said that his condition was critical and he currently remains in the ICU.

Morgan grew up with four siblings and his mother in Brooklyn where he helped raise and support his family. As a teen he did comedy on the streets to help aid his family’s welfare income. He has been struggling with alcoholism and even been arrested on drunk driving charges. He described his comedic talent as a “defense mechanism” for his circumstances.

Morgan had done a stand-up gig on Friday night, Jun. 6., at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware. It seems probable that he was returning to his house in Bergen County, NJ. The section of the accident on the Jersey Turnpike road was closed until 6:30 a.m.

Celebrities have demonstrated their support of Morgan and hope for his recovery through twitter. Co-host of ESPN’s “Numbers Never Lie”, Jemele Hill, wrote, “Saying a prayer for @RealTracyMorgan. He was a guest on @ESPN_Numbers a few weeks ago. Very sweet and talented person.” Meanwhile, Jay Mohr, a friend of Morgan’s from “Saturday Night Live” wrote, “I’m from NJ. For the Turnpike to be closed for hours is incredibly, frighteningly rare,”€ he tweeted. “€œI love you @RealTracyMorgan. No more comics, God.”

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Image from Tracy Morgan Sorry for Anti-Gay Rant

 

Woman Faces Life in Prison After Murdering Husband with a Hammer

Marissa DeVault, 31, has been found guilty of committing first degree murder. The Arizona woman was convicted after killing her husband, Dale Harrell, 34, with a hammer on Apr. 8 2009 in their home. This past Fri., Jun. 6, Judge Roland Steinle ruled his decision for the trial which had begun in Jan. at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix.

DeVault will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole, which had been a prospective option for 25 years following the sentence. According to Maricopa County Superior Court documents, she killed her husband with the claw of the hummer. Harrell was found soaked in his own blood on his bedroom carpet. The side of his head was caved in. He died three weeks later in the hospital after being taken off of life support, a decision made by his family.

Even though prosecutors attempted to charge her for the death penalty, AZ Central released that DeVault circumvented this sentence after her children reported that Harrell had beat her frequently. Nevertheless, the testimonies were inconsistent, as both sides of the family testified for and against her.

DeVault’s prior husband’s family spoke first. Rebecca Mott stated, “She doesn’t deserve to walk free ever… she deserves to spend the rest of her natural life behind bars, she took Dale’s freedom away. She took her daughters freedom away from them, and she deserves to have her freedom taken away from her.” Prosecutors had claimed that DeVault killed her husband for life insurance repay because she had $300 thousand in loans from her boyfriend.

Devault pleaded saying, “I wish I had known better, I wish I had known all of the things I know now so I could have made healthier choices.” Yet Steinle didn’t buy her remorse. He explained that, “The courts had an opportunity to observe her off and on over the past five years. Quite frankly the court finds remorse hasn’t been shown, she’s a very manipulative person according to the state doctors, she knows how to turn it on, and turn if off.” Steinle even believes that DeVault had manipulated her own children into testifying, which prevented her from receiving the death penalty.

 

 

Photo: TOM TINGLE / THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC VIA APUBLIC VIA AP

Russians are Falling Asleep for Six Days Straight – The Problem Yet To Be Found

In two towns in Russia and Kazakhstan, people have been falling asleep for days straight for no apparent reason. Upon awaking, these people have no memory of the time that has passed.

The epidemic began in Mar. 2013, and has affected about 60 people since. The epidemic seems to come in “waves”. These waves peaked in May 2013, Jan. 2014, and this past May.

Krasnogorsk use to house a uranium mine, causing many to speculate whether the chemical is connected to the epidemic. People have mused the possibility of uranium lingering in the water supply. Yet still, there is no proof of this in the water or in the victims blood or spinal fluid.

Scientists have conducted about 7000 studies of the soil, air, and water in Kalachi, Kazakhstan, and Kransnogorsk as well as of the inhabitants blood. Nevertheless, they were unable to find any common thread or explanation for this situation. The results of these experiments were all inconclusive.

There seems to be no toxicity associated with the strange condition. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to understand it because it has nothing in common with any other sleep disorder. Mikhail Poluektov, a renown somnologist, purposes that the epidemic is actually a sleep disorder which is caused by some unstudied psychosis with underlying paranoia. Patients seem to be getting better with therapy which supports the theory that the illness is of psychogenic nature.

Poluektov also suggests that this condition is a case of massive psychosis comparable to the “Bin Laden itch” in the US. An epidemic during which people found rashes on their skin because of their fear of a bacteriological attack.

Some of the younger victims have expressed strange and vivid hallucinations that occur during this sleep. Meanwhile, adults merely blackout during this time.

When this condition comes on a person will begin to feel weak and dizzy, subsequently the individual, regardless of age or health, will fall asleep for about 2-6 days.

30- year old victim Alexey Gom described that, “it felt like somebody pressed a button to switch me off.” However, upon extensive examination the doctor could find nothing wrong with the man.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It

American Film Institute Celebrates Jane Fonda

Starlett Jane Fonda, 76, was honored for her dream-worthy career with the 42nd Life Achievement Award by the American Film Institute. The event was held on Thurs., Jun. 5., at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

As Michael Douglas presented her with the award, Fonda declared that she was, “so happy to add another woman’s name to the list.” Fonda was particularly praised for her political activism and dedication to gender equality.

Jeff Daniels, Fonda’s “Newsroom” co-star, sang a song in celebration of Fonda with the refrain “abs, butt, and thighs.” Evidently his jingle was in reference to her iconic exercise videos. Another humorous demonstration came from Wanda Sykes who alluded to Fonda’s 1968 film by wearing a Barbarella costume.

Tomlin praised Fonda as,”an evolutionary agent for our species.” Then adding that, “She is a role model for the American modern woman.”

Upon collecting her achievement award, Fonda advised, “Ask questions, stay curious. It’s much more important to be interested than to be interesting.” After thanking Vera Wang for her stunning, custom, black and white gown, she revealed her regret for not asking more questions throughout her career.

Some celebrity hosts at the ceremony included: Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Sally Field, and Cameron Diaz. Diaz stated that Fonda is, “a beautiful example of navigating a career in Hollywood.”

Eva Longoria, Michael Douglas, and Fonda’s brother, Peter Fonda, spoke at the event. The ceremony was filled with renown guests as well, such as Rosario Dawson, Melanie Griffith, and Felicity Huffman.

The private event is scheduled to air on TNT as a special on Jun. 14.

 

 

 

Photo: Press Association – Jane Fonda was celebrated by the American Film Institute

Netflix ignores legal threats made by Verizon

Netflix ignores Verizon’s demands to stop shaming internet companies.

Netflix started using error messages to notify their users when their service is causing the video to not load as well. Netflix claimed that Verizon wasn’t the only one they were targeting. Verizon expressed concerns that these messages will deter people from using the cable provider.

On Netflix’s website they have an ISP Speed Index for different countries which rates the average speed of internet providers. Currently Verizon Fios is ranked at number 8.

Qz.com originally reported on the error messages that caught Verizon’s attention. Verizon issued a cease and desist letter to Netflix saying, “There is no basis for Netflix to assert that issues with respect to playback of any particular video session are attributable solely to the Verizon Network.”

Verizon went on to say that is the only thing that is affecting the videos ability to load is Netflix itself. The letter continues on leading to Verizon asking Netflix to stop giving those notices to Verizon users. They also ask that within five days of them receiving the letter that Netflix provides proof of the accusations, and that they give Verizon a list of the people who received the error message.

If the demands aren’t met, legal action is threatened to be taken. Netflix was not phased with the threats, and issued a response to Verizon. In the email it said, “This is about consumers not getting what they paid for from their broadband provider.”

Netflix wants their users to know the type of service they’re getting, and they want to continue doing these tests to determine user’s experiences with their product.

Verizon hasn’t issued any other responses to Netflix. Any legal action that they have threatened to take has yet to be seen.

This is the error message Verizon users received when they were having issues with their connection while using Netflix.
This is the error message Verizon users received when they were having issues with their connection while using Netflix.

Handset Company Xiaomi Sets Aim on Global Market

In the short span of four years, cell phone company Xiaomi (Chinese for “small rice”), has built its China-based brand to compete with big names like Apple, Samsung and Lenovo. Last year’s numbers make it clear that Xiaomi is on the rise; in 2013, Apple sold over 23 million smartphones in China, while Xiaomi sold over 18 million. In the first quarter of 2014, Xiomi has sold 10.4 million smartphones to Apple’s 9.4 million.

CEO, Lei Jun, has cut out the middle man by selling phones entirely online. Additionally, he hasn’t spent a dime on television advertising. He’s used this breathing room in Xiamo’s budget to drive phone prices down. Xiaomi has a powerful buzz on the biggest social media platforms in China, Weibo and WeChat. Xiaomi is already the third biggest handset maker in China, behind Huawei and Lenovo, and the sixth biggest handset maker in the world.

Lei Jun was very popular and successful before Xiaomi. Jun worked with Kingsoft, an office software company. Jun was widely known as the hardest worker at Kingsoft, so when he was named CEO, after only five years, it wasn’t at all a surprise. Kingsoft struggled early on, so Jun steered the company towards video games and security software. Jun took Kingsoft public in 2007 and raised $99M on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Two months later, Jun resigned from the company to forge out on his own. He started a personal venture capital fund that was largely successful, and he was financially set at that point, but it was when he gained support for a startup that things took off.

Jun created the MIUI operating system in 2010, and a year later he announced Xiaomai’s launch. The company has sold several batches, with each batch containing 100,000 phones, of the Mi1 model. Jun ended up selling 7 million Mi1 phones and 15 million Mi2 phones the following year. Some say that Jun will have to adapt to other countries’ tendencies, the largest being that customers worldwide are used to buying there smartphones in stores. Xiaomi’s list of targeted markets includes Mexico and Brazil.

xiaomistats

 

 

Photo: Xiaomi

 

School Shooting at a Seattle College Kills 1, Injures 3

This Thursday afternoon, June 5th, at about 3:20 p.m., a suspect, identified as Aaron Ybarra, wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt, armed with a shotgun and a knife, fired several rounds inside of an engineering building at Seattle Pacific University. The suspect killed a 20-year-old student at the university, and injured three others.

While the gunman was reloading his shotgun, before he could do more damage, a student security guard, identified as Jon Meis, fired pepper spray at the man, and was able to pin him down forcefully until the arrival of police. Police officials have noted that the suspect is not a student at the small Christian university.

The four victims were rushed to Harborview Medical Center. Upon arrival, a 20-year-old man died due to upper body wounds. A 20-year-old woman required surgery for wounds to the upper body and is in critical condition. Reports indicated a 24-year-old and 22-year-old man are in satisfactory condition, both suffering from minor injuries.

Upon the shooting, the small, 4000-student campus went into lockdown, where students and staff were hiding inside a library, gym, and other spots on campus. After hearing gunshots, students on campus were quick to turn off all the lights in classrooms and lock themselves inside.

Daniel J. Martin, University President, praised the students who spotted those injured and rushed to their aid, saying the noble students “…acted without regard for their own safety.”

A mother to a student at Seattle Pacific questions the safety at universities that lack gun regulation: “Where are the controls to keep our children from purchasing a handgun or any other kind of weapon? And does that take government controls to keep that from happening? I don’t know. There has to be a greater understanding of what that weapon can do and the pain it can inflict on another person’s life,” the woman tells CNN.

The university canceled classes Thursday night and Friday. They scheduled a prayer service at noon on Friday to help students cope with the tragedy.

But prayer, while comforting, does not seem to be cutting it. When will greater measures be taken to ensure these types of tragedies stop?

 

 

 

Photo: Reuters 

A Surprise Ending during Immigration Protest at White House

This Thursday, June 5th, ten activists from the Pro-Immigration Organization, “United We Dream”, planted themselves down with signs, hollering chants in the middle of a busy intersection near the White House. Their protests called for the halt of deportations of illegal immigrants, smack dab in the middle of traffic, at the corner of 16th and H Streets NW, which would usually prompt police action. Yet this time, D.C. police allowed the protestors to peacefully execute their First Amendment rights.

The group remained on the street for almost four hours telling stories, singing, and chanting until they migrated to just outside the White House, echoing their protests. The activists also referenced the struggles of undocumented LGBTQ immigrants, highlighting the hostile and harsh treatment and attitudes toward homosexuality harbored in their origin countries.

President Obama, in the past, has granted many illegal immigrants who had been brought to the country as children immunity from deportation, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which lent safety and opportunities for those to openly work and live in the U.S. “United We Dream” is protesting to have the same rights and protections extended to the members within their organization.

In the past, the protestors found themselves arrested, fearing for their lives and possessions. Shocked that their protests did not end in imprisonment, Mario Carillo, spokesman for “United We Dream” said the group consisting of people all brought to the U.S. illegally as children “all ended on a really proud moment.”

 

 

 

 

Photo: European Pressphoto Agency

 

Darren Aronofsky is Adapting Atwood’s Dystopian Trilogy for HBO

According to Deadline report, Black Swandirector, Darren Aronofsky, 45, is linked to HBO’s new mini series project. The big budget venture involves adapting Margaret Atwood’s trilogy book series to the small screen. Aronofsky has signed a three year development deal with HBO to executive produce and perhaps even direct the miniseries.

In Atwood’s dystopia, the world is recovering from a biological catastrophe.The series takes place in the mid-21st century as society has embraces genetic modifications which has resulted in a demonic society that is free of government. A great deal of the plotline occurs after a man-made plague, a waterless flood, has killed off almost all of civilization.

The story involves the survivors process of rebuilding and unifying amongst each other. A man named Snowman, previously known as Jimmy, worries that he may be the last human as he travels across the desolate land. The other characters involved are a mix of those responsible for the flood, as well as those trying to survive it. The story is both disastrous and adventurous. The book titles of this sci-fi series include: “Oryx & Crake”, “Year of the Flood”, and “Maddaddam”.

HBO’s ambition with this project seems appropriate when considering their history of success with book adaptations. The “Sookie Stackhouse” series made for an the exciting and popular adaptation of “True Blood”. HBO’s translation of “A Song of Fire and Ice” was certainly an impressive venture as it turned into the megahit series “Game of Thrones”. In addition, HBO’s budget resources ensure good quality.

Atwood’s dystopian “Maddaddam” trilogy is under the ideal circumstances that HBO provides. Furthermore, Aronofsky’s dark and artful touch will be sure to bring this trilogy’s odd universe to life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Courtesy of MargaretAtwood

Anna Wintour up Two Spots on Forbes Annual “100 Most Powerful Women’s List”

Anna Wintour, 64, has been bumped up two spots on Forbes’ 10th annual list of “100 Most Powerful Women”, this past Wednesday, May 28. She now holds the place of #39, which can be largely attributed to her promotion to Condé Nast’s artistic director.

Anna Wintour is editor-in-chief for Vogue, a position she has held since 1988. Wintour’s ex-assistant, Lauren Weisberg, wrote the book “The Devil Wears Prada”, compelling many to speculate whether perhaps the real life Miranda Priestly. This seems likely with consideration of her nickname,“Nuclear Wintour”, which is widely used amongst the fashion world.

Wintour balances her high demanding career with being a mother of two. She has established a signature look as with a chic bob and sunglasses.

This May the Metropolitan Museum of Art had renamed its halls of fashion. To honor Wintour, the Costume Institutes Galleries was renamed “The Anna Wintour Costume Center”. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony she hosted her 16th Met Gala. The gala raised an impressive $12 million that night. In total, Wintour has raised $137 million for the museum.

The company-wide print advertising at Conde Nast, Vogue’s publisher, had increased by 3.3% and digital 28%. Recently, Wintour has joined other high-profile names to boycott the hotel Le Meurice, during Paris’ fashion week in order to oppose anti-gay laws promoted by its owner.

Although her promotion of fur and implied elitism remains controversial, Wintour is acclaimed for her keen eye for trends and support of young, up-and-coming designers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Instagram Vogue

Small Businesses Lag in E-Commerce

What do Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, and Dominos have in common? Besides the obvious answer that they all sell pizza, these three pizza giants dominate the competition with the ability to take and process orders online. According to a story by the Wall Street Journal, online orders make up a whopping 40% of their overall sales. Why would you order anywhere else when getting a pizza is as easy as making a few selections on your smartphone or computer. People choose to purchase from these companies not for their superior product, but on a purely convenience basis.

According to a study operated by MasterCard, small businesses have been unable to compete with chains like Dominos in the e-commerce department. After reviewing 270 merchants located in Germany, Brazil, Canada, and South Africa, the credit card mongul discovered that small businesses lack the means to operate through the internet. Theodore Iacobuzio, vice president of Global Insights for MasterCard, explained, “The shocking metric we found was that 90 percent of the merchants we surveyed have some kind of presence on the internet, but even when you factor first world developed economies like Canada and Germany, only 20 percent can accept electronic payment through their web site.”

Iacobuzio reasoned that in general small businesses lack the resources that would allow them to explore the possibilities of using technology to expand profit growth. But what the survey really shows is that small businesses do not know how to make the necessary steps. Though MasterCard was kind enough to alert everyone to the problem, the companies suggestions on how to fix the problem rely largely on banks and governments as the solution.

“Where they are missing the bus is marketing and targeting — the loyalty end of things,” Iacobuzio said. Small businesses aren’t expected to put millions into marketing and customer acquisition that bigger franchises spend, but the study argues that the benefits that they could experience by adapting online pay systems is real. It will allow the customer to have greater familiarity with the business and vis versa. Small businesses largely rely on traditional advertising such as newspapers or radio spots. But by allowing customers to purchase online, businesses can start to create personalized ads based on what their data says a specific consumer might be interested in. The mom and pop shops have to start fighting now though, because the day will pass when it is too late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Murs Alison

Honeybee Death Rate is Currently Too High for the Species to Survive

A government report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) was released last week. The report finally acknowledged that the honeybee species are dying off too quickly to “guarantee their long term survival”, likely due to various pesticides.

This past winter, the peak time of vulnerability for honeybee hives, the US lost about 23.2% of its honeybee population. Even though this number is lower than the 30.5% lost the year prior, the total death rate over the last 8 years seriously threatens the honeybees survival as a species. A USDA stated, “Yearly fluctuations in the rate of losses like these only demonstrate how complicated the whole issue of honey bee health has become.”

On Mar. 27th, Harvard published a study which demonstrated that 50% of bee colonies who were in contact with neonicotinoids collapsed, meanwhile 1 in 6 collapsed who had not been in contact with this pesticide. The study verified that neonicotinoids are the reason of colony collapse disorder(CCD). Even though the European Union has banned neonicotinoid poisons, understanding and acknowledging their detrimental effects, the US still continues to use them.

However, the honeybee deaths are mainly due to neonicotinoid poisons, which are present in insecticides. These insecticides are used by big corporations such as Monsanto, Bayer, etc. These corporations assert their denial about neonicotinoid’s impact on the honeybees. They have been attributing their near extinction to “mites”.

Evidently, without rapid and drastic action, the honeybees will likely go extinct in the US which will deprive our country of many fruits. It has even been speculated that micro pollinator drones could be in the country’s future. This means that the big corporations, such as Monsanto, would manually pollinate the fruit and subsequently sell these artificial fruits.

About 25% of the US crops rely on honeybee pollination. The list of fruits that honeybees sustain is enormous. Without honeybees, foods such as apples, peaches, avocados, pears, various beans, cashews, tomatoes, grapes, vanilla, limes, carrots, and tons of other natural treats are in danger of disappearing in nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Photospin