Nicola Sturgeon set to be re-elected as Scotland’s First Minister


NICOLA Sturgeon is set to be formally elected as Scotland’s First Minister at Holyrood.

MSPs will vote at 2pm today, with the SNP leader expected to continue leading the country following the Scottish Parliament election earlier this month.

Willie Rennie will be challenging Sturgeon for the position. He told LBC that “in a parliament of minorities it is important that there is a challenge”. He added: “This should not just be an SNP cakewalk”

READ MORE: SNP rule out Greens coalition and continue as minority

Nominees for the position must put themselves forward by 1.30pm, ahead of the vote that is overseen by the new Presiding Officer, Alison Johnstone.

Candidates will have five minutes to appeal for support from other MSPs who will each be able to cast one vote.

READ MORE: Who could be in Nicola Sturgeon’s new ‘streamlined’ Cabinet?

In the case of only one candidate, MSPs will be asked to vote for, against or abstain. If that candidate obtains a simple majority, he or she will be declared as the Parliament’s nomination for First Minister.

If there are two candidates, a candidate is selected if they obtain a simple majority of votes in their favour.

Where there are more than two candidates, a winner would be elected if they exceed the total number of votes for all other candidates.

If they fall short of an absolute majority, the candidate with the smallest number of votes is eliminated and further rounds of voting take place until a candidate is selected.

You can watch the selection of the new First Minister on Scottish Parliament TV.



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How SMEs can open communication with traditionally non-English speaking markets


International borders are more blurred than they’ve ever been. Technology, working alongside globalisation, has made it possible to hire from across the globe, sell to customers with different backgrounds, and build business relationships outside “traditional” marketplaces.

Running a small business and selling to non-English speaking markets can expand your potential customer base by the millions while saving on staff and translator costs too. The only snag being that selling to these customers is often hamstrung by one problem: the language barrier.

Having worked with overseas markets and non-English speakers throughout my career, I knew that the key to effective communication (and getting sales) was personalised, quality conversations in the speaker’s language. SMEs need to make their messages meaningful to their audiences, not just make them available – they need to be accessible. A vast, untapped market awaits SMEs around Australia, but they’re not yet using the technology to effectively communicate with such markets.

Don’t be afraid to take the leap into messaging to communicate with customers – they want easier ways to connect. Today’s technology can go a step further and provide real-time translation too, saving the need for clunky copy-and-pastes into an online translator. Now, the conversation just flows.

Australia has 4.9 million people speaking a language other than English at home; one fifth of our population. Without the proper tools at your disposal to communicate with them, that’s 20 per cent of the marketplace lost.

Customers want questions answered, and expect clear, concise communication. They need product support, expect top-tier service, and if they don’t receive it, will post a negative review on Google. It’s the same for non-English speakers; SMEs need to make effective communication more accessible to them.

It was understanding this that motivated creating the Jeeves.Plus messaging platform. It provides engagement, staff efficiencies, and cost savings better than phone and email-based customer support.

The system’s uptake allows SMEs to do business with the hearing impaired community, and globalise sales efforts through automatic translation in 109 different languages. It allows for multiple conversations at once, and eliminates the need for call-waiting queues.

With limited staff, managing incoming messages from all your social channels is frustratingly difficult. Jeeves.Plus allows companies to streamline inbound messaging through a single platform – with SMS, Facebook Messenger, Webchat, and Google Business Message requests appearing in one window. The platform’s templated responses allow communication to be even faster: customer details are automatically filled out as new information becomes available.

SMEs can expand their outreach through creating and sending thousands of messages to customers. People are open to, and engage with text messages far more than emails; our methodology achieves 98% open rates – unheard of in email communications. SMEs will find it very affordable and effective to send promotions, such as discount codes, directly to their customers’ mobiles.

Multilingual text-to-translator services and communications will better allow this new customer base to open up a dialogue with businesses and provide valuable input.

The technology now exists to open the doors to a huge market of new customers. It’s as simple as sending an SMS. Start speaking their language, and your customers will be impressed.

non-English

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Clueless John Oliver Shows His True Colors – Accuses Israel of War Crimes – Jewish Business News


Clueless John Oliver Shows His True Colors – Accuses Israel of War Crimes

But he failed to explain why he is such an expert on the matter.

Last Week Tonight (Screen Capture)

John Oliver is just another comedian who thinks he is an expert on politics and so started his own political talk show. But like many of the others, he is incapable of just acknowledging when there is an issue which he knows little about. On the latest episode of his program Oliver showed that this was the case when it comes to Israel.

In a factually flawed – to say the least – and very hostile rant, which lasted for more than ten minutes, to open his Sunday night program “Last Week Tonight,”  Oliver took it upon himself to blame Israel for all of the violence which has transpired in the last week. The man who has no journalistic credentials, no background in history, politics or foreign policy, and who cherry picks the news reports which he in turn uses to defend his weekly rants on the issues, has spoken: It is of course all Israel’s fault no matter what the facts may actually be.

HBO seems to be so embarrassed by Oliver’s ravings that it has removed the entire opening segment from his last show as it appears on its YouTube channel.

i24 News Screen Shot

At one point Oliver had the Chutzpah to say these words: “One side has suffered over 10 times the casualties, something which speaks to both the severe power imbalance at play here and how that often gets obscured by how we choose to talk about it.”

Where to begin? This is not a zero sum game. Even Hamas will admit that a large number of the casualties in Gaza are its own terrorists. The casualty figures cited every time there is a conflict in Gaza cite local health authorities as the source. These “authorities” are run by Hamas. And Israeli authorities have reported that a large percentage of Hamas missiles misfired or blew up on the ground, hitting buildings within Gaza. So who knows how many people there have been harmed by Hamas’ own weapons?

Here is some more of Oliver’s rantings:
“But we have got to start having this conversation honestly, and falling back on convenient, sanitized terms like ‘real estate dispute’ and ‘airstrikes on militants’ feels a little disingenuous when what you’re describing is forcing people from the homes they’ve lived in for decades and killing civilians and children. And again, none of this frees Hamas from responsibility, but Hamas doesn’t represent all Palestinians, just as what Israel is doing right now doesn’t represent all Israelis or indeed, Jewish people.”

Fox News Screen Shot

“Lots is complicated here. But some things are pretty simple. One side is suffering much more. And if America really wants to help, it might want to seriously consider changing its long-held position here, because for decades, the backbone of America’s policy in the Middle East is that America is an unwavering friend to Israel. Which is a great thing to try and be, but at the end of the day, I would hope that a real friend would tell me when I’m being an asshole, and definitely when I’m committing a fucking war crime.”

John Oliver seems to think that Israel is more culpable here because it can defend itself with the Iron Dome anti-missile system. He even condemned an Israeli general for saying that Hamas has its own version of the Iron Dome which is to simply stop firing missiles at Israel. Because, of course, how dare anyone imply in any way that these attacks are not justified, or that they are the cause of Israel’s reprisals.

No one should be surprised by the level of Oliver’s self-importance, self-righteous indignation, nor the level of his unveiled disdain for Israel. John Oliver did, after all, get his start as a protégé of Jon Stewart’s working under that comic for many years on “The Daily Show.” His This Week is just a weekly knock off of Stewart’s old show.

Oliver joined Stewart as a comedian who thinks he is a political pundit and who just spits out one sided rants on a regular basis. At least Jon Stewart used to have guests on his show for interviews. And these guests were frequently people who disagreed with him on the issues, but he granted a forum to give the other side’s view of things.

And as for Israel, Jon Stewart was always able to hide behind the fact that he happened to be born Jewish as somehow giving him a right to criticize the country, no matter how wrong or ignorant he always seemed to be about the conflict. What is John Oliver’s excuse?

Oliver is just an Englishman who abandoned his homeland to make more money in Hollywood, but after failing as a comic had to start a weekly political show. For some reason people like him think that as long as they tell a few jokes here and there then they can just say that theirs is really just a comedy program. But in the case of “Last Week Tonight” it is kind of hard to find the laughs, if they exist at all.


Read more about: John Oliver


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US military intercepted small aircraft in restricted airspace as Biden visited Delaware home


The U.S. military intercepted a small aircraft that flew into restricted airspace in Delaware over the weekend, grounding the pilot at a nearby airport in Pennsylvania as President Biden visited his home in Wilmington.

“On May 16, at approximately 1:09 p.m., a small aircraft violated the restricted airspace in Wilmington, DE,” a Secret Service spokesperson said in a statement. “Per standard protocol, U.S. military aircraft responded, the aircraft was intercepted, and the pilot redirected to a local airport.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Defense told Fox News that the pilot was not in communication with air traffic controllers when entering the restricted airspace and thus did so without proper clearance.

“The NORAD fighter dispensed signal flares during the intercept in an effort to gain the pilot’s attention and direct them safely out of the restricted zone,” the Defense Department spokesperson explained. “The violating aircraft was monitored by the NORAD aircraft until it landed at a nearby airfield.”

OUSTED SPACE FORCE OFFICER SAYS HE’S BEEN ‘MISPORTRAYED’, RECEIVED ‘THOUSANDS’ OF NOTES FROM TROOPS

Jon Martin, the aviation director at New Garden Airport in Pennsylvania, confirmed to Fox News on Monday that the small aircraft had violated the temporary flight restriction zone and was signaled with warning flares by the military fighter jet. 

Martin said the plane was then grounded at the New Garden airport, noting that the local airport has been suffering frequent shutdowns due to flight restrictions implemented each time Biden returns home.

This was the first aircraft that was grounded at New Garden Airport, Martin said. Commercial air traffic, he noted, is unaffected by the temporary flight restrictions.

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Typically, flight restrictions for presidential visits include a 30 nautical mile ring, within which there is a smaller no-fly zone.

Martin said the single-engine plane had departed Ocean City, Maryland for New York when it was intercepted. He said he believed the pilot was unaware of the restrictions and was not deliberately trying to cause issues.

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No amount of spin is likely to save our cricketers from this new PR disaster


Some top Australian cricketers are obviously better at reading their big money contracts than the 2018 independent report into their “culture of arrogance” and “gilded bubble”.

Otherwise, they might have not flown back into another publicity debacle amid claims of special treatment on their return from COVID-ravaged India this week.

It is hard to believe our leading players could attract more national outrage than only three years ago during “Sandpapergate”.

The ball tampering incident in March 2018 led to temporary bans for three Test players including the captain and that damning review which promised cultural change.

In February this year the new caring Cricket Australia cancelled the planned South African Test series because of safety fears for their players. At the time that country was reporting 1.5 million cases and 44,000 deaths.

Yet some 38 players and officials flew to India for the IPL tournament beginning mid April just as the COVID cases were exploding. The country has since seen 275,000 deaths and 25 million cases.

Money is the word most often used on social media to explain why they seemed happy to play in a private capacity for the lucrative Indian Premier League, or IPL, while on holiday from representing their country.

As the pandemic escalated in April, there were widespread reports the Australian government might ban return flights to Australia and three players decided to abandon the IPL tournament and make a dash home via Doha.

That option was soon closed when the Morrison government threatened massive fines and jail terms to others using that route to avoid the direct India flight travel ban. Teammates who stayed responded with a variety of passive aggressive tweets.

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Geelong beats St Kilda by 21 points at Docklands to kick off round nine



Geelong has again stepped up in the second half to grind out a 21-point win against a wayward St Kilda under the roof at Docklands.

In a low-scoring scrap on Friday night, the Cats clicked into gear after the main break to record their sixth win of the season.

It was nowhere near as convincing as their irresistible third-quarter demolition of reigning premiers Richmond in last week’s AFL grand final rematch but it was enough.

The Saints trailed by just five points at three-quarter-time and still appeared a genuine chance of an upset victory, but simply lacked polish as Geelong ran out winners 10.8 (68) to 5.17 (47).

Adding to St Kilda’s pain was a foot injury to Rowan Marshall, with the important ruckman distraught after being subbed off for Ben Long in the third quarter.

The Saints dominated early but only led by three points at half-time completely thanks to some diabolical finishing in front of goal.

The Saints sprayed nine behinds before their first goal came through Max King 10 minutes into the second quarter.

But King’s (1.5) night went downhill from there, with his case of yips worsening and he even fell over by himself inside-50 when running into an open goal.

Most of their shots were more than gettable, while Geelong converted opportunities at the other end.

Former Hawthorn wingman Isaac Smith was a game-breaker for the Cats, while midfielders Joel Selwood and Cameron Guthrie delivered.

Tom Hawkins, Gary Rohan and the unheralded Brad Close kicked two goals each for Geelong on a night when scoring proved difficult.

Geelong defender Zach Tuohy had the crowd on their feet in the first quarter when he launched a torpedo from a kick-out which almost hit the roof and journeyed past halfway on the ground.

The Cats will be back at Kardinia Park next Saturday when they host Gold Coast, while St Kilda (4-5) tackle the Western Bulldogs, another premiership contender, in round 10.

Ladder

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Prince Harry’s complaints about upbringing ‘no different to Charles talking about his’


The Duke of Sussex’s complaints about his upbringing are no different to his father’s criticism of his own parents in an authorised biography by Jonathan Dimbleby, sources close to Prince Harry have suggested.

In a podcast, the Duke, 36, implied he had been failed not only by the Prince of Wales but through association, by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh too.

Prince Harry talks to Oprah Winfrey as part of their new mental health series, The Me You Can’t See. Credit:Apple TV

He said his father treated him “the way he was treated” as he revealed that he moved to the US to “break the cycle” of “genetic pain” for his own children.

The comments were reportedly met with bewilderment by the Royal family, who considered it a betrayal. Aides said he had shown a “woeful lack of compassion” and questioned why the Sussexes continued to use their royal titles when they appeared so disillusioned with the institution. But sources close to the Sussexes pointed out that Prince Charles had lifted the lid on his own unhappy childhood in Dimbleby’s 1994 book, The Prince of Wales: A Biography, with which he cooperated extensively.

It recently emerged that in his new Apple TV mental health series, the Duke would be talking about his mother’s death and the experience of having to walk behind her coffin at her funeral.

The five-part documentary, The Me You Can’t See, will be released on Friday.

A trailer released yesterday showed Prince Harry, then 12, in the procession for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. He is shown looking upset, with his hand shaking as he holds it to his mouth.

The series marks the latest in a string of media projects in which he has spoken at length about his experience growing up as a member of the Royal family and the traumatic aftermath of his mother’s death.

He was filmed in conversation with co-presenter Oprah Winfrey, the US television chat show host, saying: “To make that decision to receive help is not a sign of weakness. In today’s world more than ever, it is a sign of strength.”

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Private firms in Indonesia are starting their own vaccination effort


IN TIMES OF hardship, Indonesians turn to each other for help. That is the idea behind gotong royong, or mutual assistance, the Javanese name for a custom in which villagers help build each other’s houses or clean up after a natural disaster. It is therefore unfortunate that the organisers of a private vaccination scheme have borrowed the name. When it launches on May 17th, “Vaksinasi Gotong Royong” (VGR) will inoculate millions of people against covid-19. But rather than encouraging Indonesians to help each other, it encourages the richer ones to help themselves.

When the government kicked off its vaccination drive in January, it pledged to jab 181.5m people, about two-thirds of the population, by the end of the year. The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, known as Kadin, suggested that private companies could help move things along by paying for vaccines procured by the government and inoculating their employees and their families. The idea is to reduce the amount of time it takes for Indonesia to achieve herd immunity and defray the cost of the government’s free vaccination programme. “We have to appreciate that the government is trying its best,” says Shinta Kamdani of Kadin. “But I think they cannot do it alone.”

The government gave Kadin the green light in February. Given that…

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Designing nano-sized chemotherapy


Nature, Published online: 17 May 2021; doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01322-2

Nanoparticles carrying chemotherapeutic drugs could help people with cancer escape some of the drugs’ side effects, hopes Silvia Giordani.

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Euro 2020: Wales fans urged not to travel to Italy and Azerbaijan


Welsh football fans have been warned against travelling to Wales’ delayed Euro 2020 group games in Azerbaijan and Italy due to Covid restrictions.

Thousands of fans had hoped to watch their team in the Euros next month as Wales play Switzerland and Turkey in Baku before facing Italy in Rome.

But the FA of Wales has said the UK Foreign Office had “issued advice” warning Wales fans “not to travel”.

Azerbaijan and Italy are currently on the UK’s amber travel list.

Although travel is no longer illegal to countries on the amber list, UK governments have advised people not travel to amber countries.

Changes to Covid rules mean holidays abroad to some “green list” countries are now allowed, like Portugal.

However, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has urged people against any unnecessary foreign travel..

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said it had been in talks about games at the European Championships with the UK government and has now confirmed fans “attending the matches will not be deemed as essential travel”.

“Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the FCDO (the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) has issued advice warning Cymru fans not to travel to Baku or Rome as Azerbaijan and Italy are on the UK Government’s Amber list,” an FAW statement said.

The FAW has asked fans who may still want to travel to see their team play in a second successive European Championships to make “an informed choice”.

“For those fans who remain determined to travel despite the warnings, the FAW strongly advises that fans check that their travel insurance is still valid and fit for purpose,” their statement added.

This summer’s European Championship, already delayed by 12 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is being staged in different countries across Europe.

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