Corruption: View: Is the Global Corruption Barometer missing the big picture?


Corruption is a social fact, as it is difficult to find a society free of corruption. The latest ‘Global Corruption Barometer’ report of Transparency International (TI) for Asia has portrayed India as a country with the highest bribery rate in Asia. To have a balanced perspective, we need to view the report against the backdrop of global occurrence of high value corruption. A quick scan of top 40 enforcement actions, under the Foreign Corrupt



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Twitter’s Controversial Trump De-Platforming Triggers ‘Broader Reckoning’ With Big Tech Agenda



Twitter permanently suspended Donald Trump’s account after he was blamed for the Capitol riots on 6 January in events that resulted in his second House impeachment, with a leaked recording of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey subsequently shedding light on what appears to be a hidden agenda to push on with censorship policy much further than banning POTUS.

Twitter blocked Donald Trump’s account for good on 8 January, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence”, as the president was widely accused of being responsible for inciting his supporters to breach the US Capitol in the riotous events of 6 January.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at the time conceded that there are “real and significant ramifications” to the blocking of an account with more than 88 million followers, adding the move constitutes a “dangerous” precedent.

The decision immediately triggered a wave of warnings of big tech’s political bias and ramped up censorship.
Here is a glimpse into the dynamics at play behind the controversial decision to shutter the account of the US President.

‘Misgivings’ Over Suspension

Twitter’s chief executive had received a phone call from Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s top lawyer and safety expert, on 6 January to update him that along with company executives she had decided to temporarily suspend President Trump’s account to prevent him from posting statements that might purportedly provoke more violence. This followed an attack by a mob of Trump supporters on the US Capitol that day, writes The New York Times.


©
Sputnik / Artur Gabdrakhmanov

Demonstrators protest outside US Capitol Building in Washington to contest the certification of the 2020 presidential election results by the US Congress, 6 January 2021

The move left Dorsey, who had earlier delegated moderation decisions to Gadde, concerned, claim sources cited by the publication.

Throughout Trump’s White House tenure the Twitter CEO had pushed back against demands by liberals and other POTUS critics that the microblogging service terminate his account, ostensibly arguing that the platform was a place where world leaders could ‘speak freely’, but also because he considered the president’s posts newsworthy.

Dorsey was said to have emailed employees, saying it was important for the company to remain ‘consistent’ with its policies. These policies allowed for a user to return after a suspension.

The following day, Dorsey shared several tweets urging caution against a permanent ban of Trump. After the suspension was lifted the next day, Twitter monitored the response to Donald Trump’s tweets across the internet.

Dorsey was subsequently briefed that Trump’s followers had ostensibly seized on the POTUS’s latest tweeted messages to call for more violence.

The referenced tweets on 8 January by President Trump had vowed “American Patriots” who voted for him would have a “giant voice long into the future”. Another Twitter post added that Trump did not intend to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.


©
REUTERS / TOM BRENNER

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden stands at a lectern to deliver remarks as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris looks on during a televised speech on the current economic and health crises at The Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., January 14, 2021

Twitter’s safety team claimed the posts should be viewed “in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilised by different audiences”.

In posts on alternative social networking site Parler, the potential for more ‘real-world unrest’ was perceived as too high.

Twitter employees, including lawmakers, tech investors and others, were also cited as having urged the bosses that Trump be booted off the service, with over 300 staff signing a letter to that effect. The decision to bar Trump, however, preceded the delivery of the letter, claim sources.

A hint at the tensions within Twitter was offered by Jack Dorsey himself in a spate of tweets on 14 January where he wrote that he did “not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump”. Dorsey admitted the move was a testament to the company’s failure to ‘promote healthy conversation.’

Big Tech Under Fire

Since the clampdown, Twitter has been embroiled in a heated debate over big tech influence, censorship and the companies’ accountability.

Lawmaker Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, railed against the decision by Twitter as he appeared in a segment of “Watters’ World” on Fox News.

​Together with host, Jesse Watters, the US Representative for California’s 22nd congressional district discussed the explosive leaked video of CEO Jack Dorsey addressing staff at a virtual meeting.

​The tape, allegedly provided to the outlet by a Twitter “insider whistleblower”, reveals what appears to be plans to push ahead with the platform’s censorship policy further than banning President Donald Trump’s account.

Dorsey is heard instructing staff to focus on the big picture ahead, beyond “the inauguration”.

“So, the focus is certainly on this account and how it ties to real-world violence. But also, we need to think much longer-term around how these dynamics play out over time. I don’t believe this is going away anytime soon,” says Jack Dorsey in the video.

The Twitter CEO then adds that the current company moves were part of a “much broader approach that we should be looking at and going deeper on.”

In response to the explosive report, a Twitter spokesperson was quoted by Fox News as saying the remarks in the video were “nearly the same words” that Dorsey had shared in a Twitter thread offering “context around and reflections on our work to protect the conversation in recent weeks”.

The official response was dismissed as ‘mealy-mothed’ by the host of Watter’s World, with Devin Nunes slamming the moves by Twitter as sick and demented’.

​Twitter has since been accused of following double standards by removing Trump but not ‘autocrats’ elsewhere on the platform.

“This is a phenomenal exercise of power to de-platform the president of the United States… It should set off a broader reckoning,” Evelyn Douek, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, was cited by The New York Times as saying.



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Melbourne Stars vs Melbourne Renegades Tips, Odds and Teams – BBL Big Bash 2021


MCG will play host to Sunday”s
Round 6 BBL Big Bash 2021 game between Melbourne Stars and
Melbourne Renegades. The game kicks off at 7:15 pm with Melbourne Stars heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Melbourne Stars vs.
Melbourne Renegades
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Sunday January 17, 2021 at 7:15 pm

Where: MCG

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match
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Melbourne Stars vs Melbourne Renegades Odds

Melbourne Stars vs Melbourne Renegades Preview

The first Melbourne Derby of the season gets underway on Sunday between the league’s bottom two sides.

There’s been very little to like about either side so far, but this does look a winnable game for the Stars as they try and salvage something from this lost season.

The ‘Gades did well to win by six wickets against the Strikers last Friday, but they quickly reverted back to their old ways with a five-wicket loss to the Heat.

To make matters worse, the Stars have won four of their last five games against their local rival.

Marcus Stoinis has averaged just over 66 runs against the ‘Gades in his Big Bash career, so this looks to be a nice little multi spot for the two.

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BBL, Big Bash League 2021, BBL10, Sydney Sixers vs Perth Scorchers, scores, updates, results, live blog, teams, odds, Josh Philippe


Sydney Sixers remain on top of the BBL|10 ladder after a comfortable seven-wicket victory over the Perth Scorchers.

It was a stunning fightback led by the Sixers bowling group which kept the top side in the hunt despite a sluggish start, with opener Josh Philippe starring in the run chase.

It started when Sixers skipper Daniel Hughes put down England international Liam Livingstone in the powerplay in the first innings, the right hander made the most of his chance reaching a half-century before the 10 over mark.

The ONLY place to watch every match of the 2020/21 KFC BBL Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play is on Fox Cricket, available on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >

MATCH CENTRE: Scorecard, videos, stats

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Jakovich believes pair of “bargain” Eagles could have big 2021 impact


Two-time West Coast premiership player Glen Jakovich says his former club’s off-season recruits represent bargain buys.

Alex Witherden moved to the Eagles from Brisbane in the recently completed trade period, while Zac Langdon sealed a move back to his home state from GWS.

Jakovich said he was excited to see what both players could do and held out high hopes for Witherden in particular, who he pinpointed as a possible future replacement for captain Shannon Hurn in defence once he retires.

“In comes Alex Witherden and Zac Langdon, I like the ins and think those are both bargains,” he said on Sportsday WA.

“Especially Alex Witherden, he was a first rounder a couple of years ago and was an elite kick in the national academy program. In this day and age, you need elite kicks that can pull the trigger on 45 degrees when you’re going through the corridor.

“He’ll be looking a suitable replacement for Shannon Hurn one day.”

West Coast will be looking to improve on their shock Elimination Final loss to Collingwood in 2020 and Jakovich said it was up to the players outside of the best 22 to put more pressure to break into the side.

“The list is still very strong, they’ll be a contender and be right up there,” he said.

“Elliot Yeo is a big one and I wouldn’t mind seeing him delaying his start by two or three weeks and then you get the back end of the year where you get him playing his optimum footy.

“Their backline is solid, Tom Barrass and Jeremy McGovern and were all All-Australians last year. Shannon Hurn is going to be an interesting one, he’s looking the goods but it’s only January.

“But where I’m looking at is for the next generation to step up. I like Josh Rotham – I reckon he’s been a bit unlucky a few times to be left out of the side.

“If West Coast are to win the flag, they need pressure from the 24th player right up until the 30th player playing well in their reserves team.”





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Melbourne Stars vs Adelaide Strikers Tips, Odds and Teams – BBL Big Bash 2021


MCG will play host to Friday”s
Round 6 BBL Big Bash 2021 game between Melbourne Stars and
Adelaide Strikers. The game kicks off at 7:15 pm with Melbourne Stars heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Melbourne Stars vs.
Adelaide Strikers
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Friday January 15, 2021 at 7:15 pm

Where: MCG

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match
HERE

Melbourne Stars vs Adelaide Strikers Odds

Melbourne Stars vs Adelaide Strikers Preview

A potentially crucial clash will see the Stars take on the Strikers this evening, with the home side attempting to stay in touch with the Top 4 and the away side looking to consolidate their position.

The Stars flew the blocks but have been subsequently awful during BBL10, recording just three wins and five losses, to sit second-last overall. Finals are probably a dream, and they are almost no chance of winning their first ever title in season 10.

The Strikers have been something of an inconsistent performer throughout BBL10, but they’ve done enough to be better than half the league and subsequently hold a position in the top four.

A win here would go a long way towards the Strikers confirming their position after the regular season and given they are now without Rashid Khan, they’ll want to win wherever possible.

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‘Big lies are part of authoritarian regime changes in history’ – Prof Timothy Snyder on Trump election fraud claims – Channel 4 News


In Washington, security is being ramped up ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, amid increasing concerns about security.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump faces trial in the Senate after becoming the first US president to be impeached for a second time and leading Republicans are increasingly divided over his fate.

We were joined by Prof Timothy Snyder, a historian specialising in fascism and political atrocity at Yale University

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The US Has Become Too Big, Too Diverse, and Too Corrupt to Survive



We’re getting close to the end now. Can you feel it?  I do.  It’s in the news, on the streets, and in your face every day. You can’t tune it out anymore, even if you wanted to.

Where once there was civil debate in the court of public opinion, we now have censorship, monopoly, screaming, insults, demonization, and, finally, the use of force to silence the opposition. There is no turning back now. The political extremes are going to war, and you will be dragged into it even if you consider yourself apolitical.

There are great pivot points in history, and we’ve arrived at one. The United States, ruptured by a thousand grievance groups, torn by shadowy agencies drunk on a gross excess of power, robbed blind by oligarchs and their treasonous henchmen and decimated by frivolous wars of choice, has finally come to a point where the end begins in earnest.

The center isn’t holding… indeed, finding a center is no longer even conceivable. We are the schizophrenic nation, bound by no societal norms, constrained by no religion, with no shared sense of history, myth, language, art, philosophy, music, or culture, rushing toward an uncertain future fueled by nothing more than easy money, hubris, and sheer momentum.

There comes a time when hard choices must be made…when it is no longer possible to remain aloof or amused, because the barbarians have arrived at the gate. Indeed, they are here now, and they often look a whole lot like deracinated, conflicted, yet bellicose fellow Americans, certain of only one thing, and that is that they possess “rights”, even though they could scarcely form an intelligible sentence explaining exactly what those rights secure or how they came into being.

But that isn’t necessary, from their point of view, you see. All they need is a “voice” and membership in an approved victim class to enrich themselves at someone else’s expense. If you are thinking to yourself right now that this does not describe you, then guess what? The joke’s on you, and you are going to be expected to pay the bill…that “someone else” is you.

In reality, though, who can blame the minions, when the elites have their hand in the till as well? In fact, they are even more hostile to reasoned discourse than Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, or Antifa. Witness the complete meltdown of the privileged classes when President Trump mildly suggested that perhaps our “intelligence community” isn’t to be trusted, which is after all a fairly sober assessment when one considers the track record of the CIA, FBI, NSA, BATF, and the other assorted Stasi agencies.

Burning cop cars or bum-rushing the odd Trump supporter seems kind of tame in comparison to the weeping and gnashing of teeth when that hoary old MIC “intelligence” vampire was dragged screaming into the light. Yet Trump did not drive a stake into its heart, nor at this point likely can anyone…and that is exactly the point. We are now Thelma and Louise writ large.

We are on cruise control, happily speeding towards the cliff, and few seem to notice that our not so distant future involves bankruptcy, totalitarianism, and/or nuclear annihilation. Even though most of us couldn’t identify the band, we nonetheless surely live the lyrics of the Grass Roots: “Live for today, and don’t worry about tomorrow.”

The “Defense” Department, “Homeland” Security, big pharma, big oil, big education, civil rights groups, blacks, Indians, Jews, the Deep State, government workers, labor unions, Neocons, Populists, fundamentalist Christians, atheists, pro life and pro death advocates, environmentalists, lawyers, homosexuals, women, Millenials, Baby Boomers, blue collar/white collar, illegal aliens…the list goes on and on, but the point is that the conflicting agendas of these disparate groups have been irreconcilable for some time.

The difference today is that we are de facto at war with each other, and whether it is a war of words or of actual combat doesn’t matter at the moment. What matters is that we no longer communicate, and when that happens it is easy to demonize the other side. Violence is never far behind ignorance.

I am writing this from the bar at the Intercontinental Hotel in Vienna, Austria. I have seen with my own eyes the inundation of Europe with an influx of hostile aliens bent on the destruction of Old Christendom, yet I have some hope for the eastern European countries because they have finally recognized the threat and are working to neutralize it.

Foreign malcontents can never be successfully integrated into a civilized society because they don’t even intend to try; they intend to conquer their host instead. Yet even though our own discontents are domestic for the most part, we have a much harder row to hoe than Old Europe because our own “invaders” are well entrenched and have been for decades, all the way up to the highest levels of government.

That there are signs Austria is finally waking up is a good thing, but it serves to illustrate the folly of expecting the hostile cultures within our own country to get along with each other without rupturing the republic. Indeed, that republic died long ago, and it has been replaced by a metastasizing mass of amorphous humanity called the American Empire, and it is at war with itself and consuming itself from within.

Long ago, we once knew that as American citizens each of us had a great responsibility. We were expected to work hard, play fair, do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and serve our country when called upon to do so. Today, we don’t speak of duty, except in so much as a slogan to promote war, but we certainly do speak of benefits for ourselves and our “group” of entitled peeps. We will fail because of our greed and avarice.

The United States of Empire has become quite simply too big, too diverse, and too “exceptional” to survive.

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Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Renegades Tips, Odds and Teams – BBL Big Bash 2021


Marvel Stadium will play host to Thursday”s
Round 6 BBL Big Bash 2021 game between Brisbane Heat and
Melbourne Renegades. The game kicks off at 7:15 pm with Brisbane Heat heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Brisbane Heat vs.
Melbourne Renegades
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Thursday January 14, 2021 at 7:15 pm

Where: Marvel Stadium

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match
HERE

Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Renegades Odds

Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Renegades Preview

The Brisbane Heat’s return to form was halted by the table-topping Sixers on Sunday, but they are offered a perfect opportunity to bounce back when they face the last-placed Melbourne Renegades this evening.

The Heat were typically slow from the blocks this season, but enjoyed a resurgence over Christmas, culminating in three consecutive wins, and they were probably unlucky not to knock off the Sixers again at their last appearance.

They run into a Renegades side in winning form, but who have managed to salute just twice in nine matches this season.

These two sides are in completely different leagues in terms of class and winning ability, and I am more than happy to take the $1.80 that is on offer for the Heat at publish.

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Man of the Match

Man of the Match
Shaun Marsh at $9.00.



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Small business, big rewards – why customer loyalty programs matter


Most consumers are familiar with loyalty
programs offered by department stores and big businesses, but many don’t
realise some small businesses also offer membership programs and other generous
rewards.

Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities and as owners, I believe we understand better than big business the importance of customer loyalty.

Most of our businesses are family-run
businesses and we don’t have the enormous marketing budgets of big business,
but we can and should continue to find ways to thank our regular customers and
clients for their loyalty.

Every year I give away thousands of
dollars’ worth of vouchers and freebies to regular and new customers through in-store,
email and Facebook and Instagram promotions.

If someone chooses to regularly spend their
money buying from me and follows my business on social media, it makes sense to
me to give them something back to show my appreciation.

Something as simple as giving a customer a
voucher or small gift on their birthday or the chance to win a prize on social
media can go a long way to rewarding them for their loyalty.

Five ways to reward customers:

  • Membership program – members can receive sign-up and yearly birthday vouchers, exclusive discounts and offers and rewards each time they spend a certain amount of money.
  • Workshops and demonstrations – free how-to sessions and product and service tutorials from industry experts allow your customers to find out more about your products and services.
  • Events – give members special access to your business. A VIP shopping event allows them to take advantage of special prices, enjoy food and drink while they shop, go into the running to win prizes and take home a goodie bag of samples.
  • Social media competitions – followers are given the chance to win popular products and vouchers at certain times of the year, such as Mothers’ Day and Christmas.
  • One-off bonus – Sales, giveaways and competition can be used to celebrate your business’ birthday or make a major announcement, such as a move to a new location or the introduction of a product range or service.

Every month I sign up about 250 new members
to my Adelaide home organisation store.

I believe the key to a good loyalty program
is simplicity.

Unlike some big store membership programs,
ours is free to join and easy to use and we don’t ask customers to carry yet
another plastic card in their wallets or accumulate tens of thousands of points
for an appliance they may never use.

We encourage as many people as possible to
join our members program and follow us on social media because that allows us
to communicate with them about special offers, events and competitions.

Statistics show that members spend more
frequently and spend more money.

If a customer is appreciated, they are more likely to support your small business and to tell their friends and family to shop with you too, and that’s a win for everyone.

Dave Strutton, Owner, Howard Storage World Mile End



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