Kolkata: Three persons have been held for interrogation in connection with the killing of a local Trinamool Congress leader in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, police said on Sunday. “Manoranjan Patra, 55, was beaten to death near the Trinamool party office in Harishchowk. Like every day, he was on his way to the party office when some people attacked him on Saturday. Three individuals have been held for interrogation,” an officer of Khanakul police station said. A Trinamool supporter claimed that Patra was threatened by some Bharatiya Janata Party activists a few days back. Patra’s body has been sent for post-mortem and investigations are going on, the officer added.
OTTAWA – The Trudeau government committed Wednesday to spend $62 billion more over the next two decades for a major expansion of the Canadian Armed Forces, aimed at ensuring it can properly defend the country in an increasingly unstable world.But much of the money won’t flow until after the next election, and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan refused to entertain the question of whether the spending spike would mean bigger federal deficits or spending cuts in other areas.The promised new cash is the cornerstone of the government’s long-awaited defence policy update, which Sajjan unveiled to much fanfare at the Cartier Square Drill Hall in Ottawa.“If we’re serious about our role in the world, we must be serious about funding our military,” he told a news conference attended by dozens of uniformed military personnel.“And we are.”That cash will be essential for the ambitious, 20-year vision laid out in the new policy document, which includes old standbys such as working with the U.S. to defend North America, saving Canadians in distress and working with NATO allies to confront threats abroad.But the plan also calls for adding various military capabilities, such as the ability to conduct offensive cyberattacks, the purchase of armed drones and the addition of 5,000 more full- and part-time troops.At the same time, the review also acknowledged significant shortfalls to date in terms of supporting ill and injured soldiers, as well as the amount of money that has already been set aside for major procurement projects.For example, while the previous government planned to spend $26 billion to replace Canada’s 15 frigates and destroyers, the actual cost will be closer to $60 billion, the review says.Underpinning everything is the reality — spelled out in a major policy speech Tuesday by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland — that Canada can no longer rely on the U.S. for its defence to the same extent it has in the past.While some of the new money will start flowing this year, the taps aren’t expected to really open until 2020-21 — well after the next election, and a veritable lifetime in political Ottawa.Officials speaking on background said the delay was unavoidable because of the amount of time needed to buy new warships, fighter jets and other major equipment.But it immediately raised concerns among the opposition Conservatives, as well as some defence analysts, about future spending cuts, which is what happened to Canada’s last defence policy.“This is a book of empty promises,” said Tory defence critic James Bezan, whose party released a defence policy while in government in 2008 but raided it a few years later to eliminate the deficit.“All this spending has been punted down the road until we see any increases after the last election. And of course the government can change its mind.”Sajjan shrugged off such concerns, saying the current as well as future governments “owe it” to those in uniform to “fully fund the Canadian Armed Forces on a long-term footing. And that’s what we have done.”There were also unanswered questions about where the Liberal government — already staring at a deficit projected at $23 billion for 2016-17 — will actually find the money to make good on its promises.Officials say the money for the first five years has already been included in the government’s current fiscal plan, but that decisions will need to be made over the longer term.For his part, Sajjan would only say that the Liberals’ defence policy had been “rigorously costed” and was “fully funded,” before emphasizing what he described as good news for the military.The plan sparked immediate praise from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who has previously joined U.S. President Donald Trump in calling for all allies to spend more on their militaries.“This new policy affirms Canada’s unwavering commitment to NATO and will ensure Canada has the armed forces and key capabilities that the alliance needs,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.“In these challenging times, Canada’s commitment to the alliance is important as we work to keep our nations safe and NATO strong.”The U.S. is “heartened” by the police announcement, Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said Wednesday, noting it “demonstrates Canadian resolve to build additional military capacity and a more capable fighting force.”“The United States welcomes Canada’s marked increase in investment in their military and their continued commitment to a strong defence relationship with the United States and NATO,” Mattis said in a statement.Trump spokesman Michael Short appeared to give the U.S. president credit for the planned spending increases, linking to a media report on Twitter and writing that Trump was “getting results.”But there also wasn’t any indication that the government plans to increase defence spending to meet NATO’s target of two per cent of GDP, which is what Trump has demanded of alliance members.The policy document instead says Canada has been under-reporting its defence spending for years by not including the money spent by other departments on such items as peacekeeping and veterans’ benefits.As a result, it says defence spending is actually around 1.19 per cent this fiscal year, which it will increase to 1.4 per cent of GDP by 2026-27.— Follow @leeberthiaume on TwitterNote to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version left the impression the spending increase only amounted to $14 billion over 10 years.
22 September 2008A United Nations-supported meeting opening today in Bangkok is closely looking at the impact of migration in Asia and the Pacific – where the number of international migrants has skyrocketed from 28 million to 53 million in just under half a century – on socio-economic development in the region. Dozens of government officials from over 20 countries and representatives from international organizations have gathered at the two-day event, organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), along with the Thai Government and the International Organization of Migration (IOM).“In Asia and the Pacific, the issue of international migration is emerging as a priority,” ESCAP Deputy Executive Director Shigeru Mochida said at the start of the meeting. “It is vital to understand the complex inter-linkages of migration and development in the regional context, especially how migration can contribute to poverty reduction.”He noted that migration in the region is propelled by both real and perceived inequalities in employment opportunity, income, education and health services, and the situation has further been influenced by the growing imbalance of population size and structure among countries.The Asia-Pacific region is home to over 53 million international migrants and is one of the largest recipients of recorded remittances, totalling over $120 million in 2007.Philip Guest, Assistant Director of DESA’s Population Division, said that labour migration is “closely linked to economic and social outcomes and crucial questions about those links remain to be addressed or revisited.”
10 December 2010The Security Council today called on all sides in Haiti to refrain from further violence in the dispute over preliminary results from last month’s first round of presidential and legislative elections. In a press statement following a briefing from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain LeRoy, the 15-member body “underscored their concern about allegations of fraud and expressed their strong commitment to supporting free and fair elections and called on all political forces to work through the electoral process to ensure that the will of the people is reflected in the outcome of the election.”According to media reports, thousands of protesters have been rampaging through the streets of Port-au-Prince, the capital. They set fire to the headquarters of the ruling government coalition, which they accused of rigging the results, after Tuesday’s announcement that former first lady Mirlande Manigat and outgoing President Rene Préval’s party candidate Jude Celestin qualified for the January presidential run-off by coming in first and second.Popular musician Michel Martelly was less than one percentage point behind in third place, but thus excluded from the run-off, and his supporters set up burning barricades of timber, boulders and flaming tires. Haiti’s electoral council has said it will recount the ballots.“The members of the Security Council called upon the Haitian authorities to ensure a calm and peaceful environment and urged MINUSTAH [UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti] to continue to extend its critical support in this regard,” Ambassador Susan Rice of the United States, which holds the Council presidency for this month, said as she read out the statement, which also voiced “deep concern” at the violence.The electoral crisis caps a year of disasters for the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, which has already been ravaged this year by a devastating earthquake in January and a still raging cholera epidemic that erupted in October.The quake killed over 200,000 people and displaced some 1.3 million others, most of them still living in crowded and unsanitary tent camps. The epidemic has already killed some 2,120 people, with over 44,150 others hospitalized. Ever since the 28 November elections Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been appealing for calm, warning that worsening security would hamper efforts to address both disasters.MINUSTAH, with nearly 12,000 military and police personnel currently on the ground, has been in the country since mid-2004 after then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide went into exile amid violent unrest.
The police have busted a major vehicle racket and arrested four people, the police media unit said today.The police said that several vehicles taken on easy payment terms from Je-Ela in a fraudulent manner, had been modified and sold. The suspects are residents of Kegalle, Kelaniya, Warraka and Bulathkohupitiya. The suspects are to be produced before the Negombo Magistrate today. The police recovered two buses, two tipper trucks, a lorry, van and two three-wheelers. The police also recovered several forged documents, forged licence plates and identity cards. Several vehicles sold in that manner were recovered with modified registration and engine numbers.
Investors looked warily at forecasts for poor U.S. corporate earnings and weaker growth in Asia and decided there wasn’t much reason to buy stocks.The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 26.50 points to close at 13,583.65 points Monday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 5.05 points to 1,455.88 and the Nasdaq composite lost 23.84 points to 3,112.35.Companies in the S&P 500 index are expected to post an overall decline in profits for the first time in 11 quarters, according to FactSet. The third-quarter earnings season starts on Tuesday when aluminum maker Alcoa releases its results.Tuesday also marks the five-year anniversary of the record high closes of the Dow and the S&P 500. The S&P, a benchmark tracked by many mutual funds, is currently about 7 per cent below its record high. The Dow is about 4 per cent below its peak.Stocks have been on a strong run, with the Dow up 11 per cent this year, the S&P 500 nearly 16 per cent. But Asia’s slowdown, Europe’s problems, and now forecasts of weak U.S. corporate earnings have caused some investors to wonder whether the stock market has risen too far, too fast.On top of those concerns, some market leaders like Apple have been falling in recent days, noted Bob Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners LLC.“It sort of leads folks into thinking, ‘Why don’t I take a little bit of profit off the table, put it away,’” and maybe re-invest it if third-quarter results turn out to be higher than expected, he said.Apple closed above $700 on Sept. 18, but has been declining since then. On Monday it fell $14.42 to $638.17.Also on Monday, the World Bank warned that a “more pronounced slowdown” is possible in China, the world’s second-largest economy. It also cut its overall growth forecast for developing countries in Asia.Slower growth in Asia could drag down the U.S. economy. One of the few bright points for the U.S. during the recession was tremendous growth in export demand by developing nations in Asia and other regions.While the U.S. economy isn’t doing badly, investors have been counting on growth in Asia for help, said Rex Macey, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors. “There was a point where we said ‘Thank goodness for Asia and China. Their growth can fuel the recovery.” That’s not so clear anymore, he said.Stocks and industries that depend most heavily on U.S. economic growth were among the biggest losers Monday. Intel fell 17 cents to $22.51. Home Depot fell $1.32 to $61.88 and Walt Disney lost 64 cents to $52.33.Wal-Mart Stores and American Express shares didn’t move much after they announced a reloadable prepaid card with no recurring or overdraft fees. But the news hammered shares of prepaid card competitor Green Dot Corp., which has also offered a card with Wal-Mart. Green Dot fell $2.60, or 20 per cent, to $10.25.UnitedHealth Group rose 47 cents to $57.60 after the health insurer said it would pay $4.9 billion in cash to buy most of Brazilian health benefits and hospital services provider Amil Participacoes.Truck and engine maker Navistar rose $1.60, or 8 per cent, to $22.81 after saying it will add two board members associated with activist investors, heading off a proxy battle.European markets also closed lower. France’s CAC-40 fell 1.5 per cent, Germany’s DAX fell 1.4 per cent and Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.5 per cent.U.S. government bond trading was closed for the Columbus Day holiday. US stocks limp lower on dim hopes for corporate earnings, predictions of slower growth in Asia AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by News Staff Posted Oct 8, 2012 4:29 pm MDT
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – A strengthening housing recovery and robust auto sales contributed to moderate economic growth across the United States in late February and March, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday.Growth was moderate or modest in all of the Fed’s 12 banking districts, and it accelerated in two — New York and Dallas — from January and early February.The survey suggested that the economy performed better in March than some government data on hiring and consumer spending had indicated. That could mean the economic weakness might have been temporary.The Fed survey, which is based on anecdotal reports, found that hiring was unchanged or improved slightly compared with the previous report. And it noted that consumer spending — which drives most of the economy — grew modestly. But the report also said higher taxes and a spike in gas prices had slowed sales.By contrast, the Labor Department said earlier this month that job growth slowed sharply in March. And retail sales declined in March by the most in nine months, a separate report said last week.Dana Saporta, an economist at Credit Suisse, said the survey “is consistent with the larger picture of steady if unspectacular growth.”“We get caught up in the monthly volatility of the data, and we need to step back,” she said.Zach Pandl, an economist at Columbia Management, an investment firm, said the survey’s rosier tone is probably one reason that several Fed policymakers have recently expressed optimism despite sluggish economic data.The Fed survey said the recovery in home construction is gaining momentum and creating more construction jobs. It’s also boosting factory output of housing-related goods, such as lumber.The report did note some weak spots. Several districts said manufacturers of defence-related goods had cut jobs in response to government spending cuts that started taking effect March 1.Still, it said that growth overall was moderate, an upgrade from the “modest to moderate” pace in the previous two reports.The Fed report, called the Beige Book, provides an overview of economic conditions from Feb. 22 through April 5. The information will be discussed along with other economic data during the Fed’s next policy meeting April 30-May 1.At that meeting, most analysts expect the Fed to maintain its low interest rate policies but take no new steps. The Fed is expected to stick with its plan to keep short-term interest rates at record lows at least until unemployment falls to 6.5 per cent. And it will likely continue buying $85 billion a month in Treasury and mortgage bonds to try to keep long-term rates low and encourage borrowing, spending and investing.Debate has heated up among Fed policymakers about when to start curtailing the bond-buying program, which began last fall. At their last meeting March 19-20, a majority of Fed officials said they favoured continuing the bond purchases at least through the middle of this year. But many members indicated that they want to start winding down the program before year’s end, as long as hiring and the economy continued to improve.Since that meeting, some government reports had suggested that the economy weakened in March. Employers added only 88,000 jobs in March, a sharp slowdown from average gains of 220,000 in November through February. And consumers cut back on spending at retail stores and restaurants last month, a sign that higher Social Security taxes might have made more Americans cautious about spending.Still, reports on housing and autos continue to signal strength. In March, builders broke the 1 million mark on homes started for the first time since June 2008. The increase in the seasonally adjusted annual rate for March was fueled by a surge in apartment construction.And U.S. auto sales rose to 1.45 million in March, their highest level since August 2007. Car sales fell slightly from last March, but pickup sales jumped 14 per cent.Economists forecast that the economy grew at a 3 per cent annual rate in the January-March quarter, a healthy rebound from a scant 0.4 per cent increase in the fourth quarter. But most now think growth will slow sharply to about 1.5 per cent in the April-June quarter. Fed survey: US economy grew at moderate pace in early spring, led by housing and autos by Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press Posted Apr 17, 2013 2:25 pm MDT
Today’s report is the ninth to be completed in Africa. Others include Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland and Uganda. Studies are also currently under way in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. On average, COHA has found that African economies are losing between 1.9 and 16 per cent of their GDP to child undernutrition.To counter this loss and for Chad to achieve sustainable human and economic growth, the report urges that special attention be given to the early stages of life. A lack of measures to combat and eliminate childhood undernutrition will only escalate the country’s costs.“The study provides us with compelling evidence of the consequences of child undernutrition, as well as the justification to increase investment in nutrition and the potential economic returns if we are to take aggressive measures towards eliminating stunting,” said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, Country Director of WFP Chad. COHA’s study provides some of the information necessary to empower Chad to work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As Thomas Yanga, WFP’s Africa Office Director and Representative to the African Union and Economic Commission for Africa said in a statement on behalf of WFP and ECA, “The goal of eliminating stunting, and more broadly of eliminating hunger, will be achieved only through a sustained and coordinated effort.” His hope is that by highlighting the cost of hunger in Chad, the study will “pave the way for all stakeholders to take decisive action.” A WFP truck carrying food for 2,000 people being unloaded at the Kousseri internally displaced camp, located on the outskirts of Baga Sola, Chad. Photo: WFP/Adel Sarkozi The Cost of Hunger in Africa: the Social and Economic Impact of Child Undernutrition on Chad’s Long-Term Development, (CoCHA) found that more than half of the country’s adults (56.4 per cent) have suffered as a result of childhood stunting. This means that more than 3.4 million people of working age are unable to reach their full potential due to childhood undernutrition. The study equates this lower physical capacity to 63.7 billion CFA worth of loss in economic productivity, as well as 168.6 billion CFA in additional health costs.“Africa, and Chad in particular, has the potential to reap a demographic dividend from a young, educated and skilled workforce,” said Dr. Margaret Agama-Anyetei, Head of the African Union’s Division for Health, Nutrition and Population in a joint news release.“But,” she warned, “this potential can only be harnessed if the gains of early investments in the health and nutrition of its people, particularly women and children, are maintained and result in the desired economic growth.”COHA is a Pan-African initiative led by the African Union Commission and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, through the support of the COHA is a Pan-African initiative led by the African Union Commission and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), with support from the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the World Food Programme (WFP). The approach was adapted from a model developed by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) with WFP.
7. RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko6114163:182(-19)3 3. Rhein-Neckar Löwen7412203:200(3)9 1. HC Vardar7601221:192(29)12 ← Previous Story World’s Handball defensive player 2016? Next Story → “Oilers” beat Kadetten for second win in a row! 6. IFK Kristianstad6114165:179(-14)3 4. MOL-Pick Szeged6312163:158(5)7 5. HC Meshkov Brest6303162:161(1)6 PHOTO: SEHA 8. HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo …7106171:190(-19)2 Macedonian champions RK Vardar Skopje showed TOP performance in Frankfurt, where German best team Rhein Neckar Lowen could only watch it – 33:27 (17:16). Furious second half by visitors made 30:21 ten minutes before the end, when RK Vardar coach Raul Gonzales made changes on the court, put Canellas (10) and Cindric (7) on the bench and helped “Lions” to avoid total disasters in front of home fans…Rhein-Neckar Löwen – HC Vadar Skopje 27:33 (16:17)Rhein-Neckar Löwen: Appelgren, Bauer (n.e.) – Schmid, Sigurdsson (7/2), Manaskov (n.e.), Banea Gonzalez (4), Larsen (1), Reinkind (1), Guardiola (1), Steinhauser (n.e.), Groetzki (3), Ekdahl du Rietz (3), Pekeler (1), Petersson (6), Abt (n.e.)HC Vadar Skopje: Sterbik, Milic (16. – 30.) – Abutovic (1), Borozan, Canellas Reixach (10), Cindric (7), Cupic (2), Dereven, Dibirov (3), Dujshebaev (2), Ferreira Moraes, Karacic, Maqueda Pena (4), Marsenic (1), Shishkarev, Stoilov (3)Vive Tauron Kielce back on winning track!STANDINGS: 2. KS Vive Tauron Kielce7502213:199(14)10 EHF Champions LeagueRhein Neckar LowenRK Vardar Skopje
GARDAÍ IN WATERFORD are investigating the discovery of the body of a man in the early hours of this morning.They said the man was aged 24 years and his body was found at a house at St Herblain Park, Kilcohan, Waterford.The body was discovered at approximately 1am this morning and Gardaí were notified. The body remains at the scene.The scene is preserved, pending a technical examination, and the State Pathologist has been notified.
The average revenue per room per night at three-, four- and five-star hotels in Athens dropped by 19.1 per cent in February compared with the same month last year, coming to just 36.50 euros, according to a survey conducted for the Athens-Attica Hotel Association. In comparison, Istanbul hotels enjoyed an average revenue of 71 euros per room, almost twice that of their Athenian counterparts. The occupancy rate in the Greek capital dropped by 16 per cent, amounting to just 41.3 per cent. Athens hotels had the lowest room prices among 10 European cities that the survey covered, with the average rate coming to 88.30 euros per night after a 3.7 percent decline from February 2011. Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Sevilla manager Vincenzo Montella expects his side to deliver a strong performance against Bayern Munich and has challenged his players to take the visitors out of their comfort zoneAfter knocking out Manchester United in the previous knockout stage, Sevilla will play host to Bayern Munich for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash.The match will mark the first time in 60 years that Sevilla have progressed to this stage of the competition with Montella expecting his side to rise to the challenge against a team with the caliber of Bayern.“We always work looking to improve. I always expect the team to do so, regardless of the level of the opponent. Whoever it is, my conviction is always the same.” said Montella, according to the club website.The former AC Milan manager acknowledges that Bayern are accustomed to scoring a high number of goals with the Bundesliga leaders having defeated Besiktas 8-1 on aggregate in their previous knockout round. But Montella challenged his players to make Bayern do things they are not used to.“Bayern are accustomed to scoring a lot of goals, to having the ball. We have to do the same so we make them do things they’re not used to”.Report: Bayern are held by Leipzig George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Bayern Munich was held to another draw, this time by RB Leipzig.Bayern Munich finds themselves in the unfamiliar position of sitting third in the…Montella was unconcerned about Saturday’s fixtures having a bearing on the match: “I’m not worried about it. Your head is what moves your legs and the team is motivated. Maybe Mercado’s and Navas’ fitness worry me a bit but it’s something we’ll evaluate tomorrow”.A notable absence for Sevilla will be midfielder Ever Banega, who is suspended for the first leg.“He won’t play and he’s a player with very clear qualities. It’s something we can’t change and I’m convinced that the player who replaces him will do well.”Montella also reserved special praise for forward Luis Muriel, who has recently begun to reproduce the sort of performances that led Sevilla to paying €20 to sign him from Sampdoria last summer.“He’s grown a lot in these years and it’s true he needs to improve in the opposition’s box but he has huge potential.” said the Italian.On Saturday, Sevilla lost a two goal advantage to settle for a 2-2 draw against La Liga leaders Barcelona after the brilliance of substitute Lionel Messi denied Montella’s side all three poiints.
MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) – Police are asking for the public’s help in locating a gunman who shot a teen in Miami Gardens.Miami Gardens Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the scene of the shooting along Northwest 171st Street and 42nd Avenue, around 9:45 p.m., Tuesday.Rescue crews transported the teen to Jackson Memorial Hospital after he was shot in the back.The teen remains at the hospital in stable condition.If you have any information on this shooting, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Management MakeoverMany independent niche publishers are startups that are still struggling for a toehold. All About Beer is more than 30 years old, founded in the late 1970 (it’s headquartered in an office that overlooks the ballpark where the movie “Bull Durham” was filmed). Bradford started writing for the magazine in 1983, when he was the marketing director for the Association of Brewers. When he left the AOB, All About Beer asked if Bradford would run the title. When he eventually bought it in 1992, the magazine was far below its potential, he says.Today, All About Beer is 26,000 paid circ. with total distribution of 37,000 copies per issue. It’s published six times annually with two annual issues and four festivals. Annual revenues are in the “$2 million to $3 million range” and split one-third circ, one-third advertising, and one-third events.Critical to the success of a niche publication is the incredible value and impact of each staff position. Running companies this small means every individual player has a significant role to play in the overall success of the corporation. At All About Beer, each team member has P/L responsibility necessitating extensive management processes. “We simply can’t afford a B player in such a lean organization,” says Bradford. “In addition, every team member has quite a broad reach of responsibilities. Again, the value of the horizontal organizational system over the vertical, or silo, approach can be seen in the validation individuals get for their overall performance and the challenges faced in managing.”Bradford follows a strict management structure in which employees must pay for themselves within 18 months. “Virtually everyone has a budget, usually created by themselves and approved by me and the vice president, which covers their areas of expertise,” says Bradford. “They are also given goals based on the previous year’s performance with the next year’s expectations.” The events department has its own budget and the team shares a bonus pool if they exceed revenue and margin expectations. The marketing team has numerical goals and qualitative goals, with bonuses split between both of them. Sales and production share numerical and qualitative goals, vesting each other in the successful execution of the two core information packaging channels.The horizontal approach, while sounding very elegant, does pose some management issues when working across areas, according to Bradford. For example; the “beer wrangler”—who is in charge of discovering trends and new brands—shares in the success of various areas, requiring more management attention to goal setting and evaluation. “Again, the really tricky bit for a niche publication of relatively small size is keeping the support process to a minimum, but making sure it is effective in guiding people toward their goals,” says Bradford. “It’s not an easy balancing act.”Building Business SavvyMany would-be magazine entrepreneurs look at their venture the same way some people look at running a restaurant—as a lifestyle, not a business. But developing business savvy around publishing economics, not to mention advertising and newsstand distribution, is essential for any magazine to survive beyond its first few issues. Crawl, a magazine dedicated to off-road enthusiasts, launched in 2005 by three guys with a passion for the sport but not much magazine business sense. They quickly ran into financial troubles and in April 2008 hired John Herrick, a financial services veteran, to turn the operation around. “I came out of 25 years of financial services and I didn’t know diddly about the magazine business,” Herrick says. “But I loved the sport, took a 65 percent pay cut and thought I’d get a piece of the action.”The problems were readily apparent: Crawl was billed as a bi-monthly but didn’t put its first issue of 2008 out until March 31. Many vendor relationships had been severed due to lack of payment. “We reworked the banking relationships and renewed our relationship with the printer, who hadn’t been paid,” says Herrick. “We started answering the phone and talking to customers. We reworked advertising deals—one-third of our ads had been trade or barter.”Then in December 2008, the CEO changed the locks and ceased operations. “After all that work, it just stopped,” Herrick says. “They owed me for wages, I sued and ended up settling with the publishing company for the title, distribution agreements and subscription list. I was already in deep to begin with, I might as well see what would happen if it was mine.”Herrick reached an agreement with his former partners in June 2009 and put an issue out by the end of August. Subscribers didn’t know it was coming. “From a viral standpoint, a lot of people started talking,” says Herrick. Getting costs under control was key. The budget for the January 2010 issue was about $26,000. To manage production costs, Herrick cut the average folio from 180 pages to 148 pages. All newsstand distribution was relegated to 50 percent sell-through based on historical patterns. “We had driven the newsstand cost to the point that if we were at 48 percent sell-through, we were just breaking even,” says Herrick, who claims sell-through today is in the 60 percent range. “We had to overcome that frustration of, ‘Should I send these guys $24 and just hope? Or do I spend $6 at Barnes & Noble and know I have at least that one?’”In the last 90 days, Crawl’s circulation has grown 6.5 percent, with 16,500 copies on the newsstand and 8,200 going out in subscriptions. The fastest growing area is in the southeast and Herrick is looking at distribution on military bases.Crawl also had to woo back advertisers. “Trying to launch at the end of the year, we knew it would be January before we got companies to commit to coming back,” he says. Herrick implemented an across-the-board 35 percent rate cut but is still getting about a $90 CPM. Ad revenue increased 50 percent from issue 18 to issue 20. “Our overhead is close to nothing,” says Herrick. “We’re not paying rent for an office, we’re not supporting three full-time staff people, we’re not paying for warehouse space. I work out of my home and a contractor does layout and design.While Herrick projected Crawl wouldn’t make any money until 2010, the magazine turned a profit with its second issue back. “I don’t believe that Crawl will ever sell more than 30,000 to 35,000 copies per issue,” he adds. “For 2.5 employees, this a $300,000 year net profit operation. This magazine seems to have weathered the biggest storm you could imagine—self-implosion. If I don’t screw it up, it should be fine. There is every indication that people want it in print and are willing to pay for it.” Learning from Past Mistakes Justin Heister and Mike Mazur, founders of Focus Skateboarding Magazine, also learned the hard way from an owner without much savvy. The two had met at another publication, where Heister was in charge of art design and Mazur headed up editorial. “The most valuable lessons learned, for better or worse, were how NOT to run a magazine,” says Heister.Lesson One: Don’t give away advertising. “That’s something the founder was all about—getting big name advertisers in hopes of bringing in other advertisers,” says Heister. “Ultimately, that really cheapened the product. When it came time for people to honor that year of free ads, they never signed up. With Focus, we stayed true to not giving handouts. We’re not going to trade you for product, we need money to publish the magazine.”Lesson Two: Figure out your distribution. “The magazine we worked for was freely distributed,” says Heister. “Everything went out through the Post Office as bound printed matter—and it never went where it needed to go. It would have been cost effective if it actually made it to its destination but it was such a lousy way to mail, half the magazines that went out wouldn’t make it to their destination. The owner wouldn’t use Fedex, which you could actually track, because of the expense.” For Focus, FedEx became the cheapest method after getting multiple line discounts. “We found a printer who would supply the boxes for free and FedEx supplied the labels and we saved thousands of dollars on shipping in the end by switching to FedEx,” says Heister.After that experience, Heister and Mazur launched Focus in 2005. “When we started Focus, we were basically homeless, living rent-free in an apartment with no windows and no heat in the frigid Philadelphia winter,” says Heister. “Between the two of us, we had a single computer, some camera gear, and the ambition to make something happen.”They had no real funding and focused on getting attention with a profile on MySpace and leveraging their reputations in the skateboarding community. Heister says carving out market share wasn’t too difficult because most of the larger skateboarding publications are focused on the West Coast and distribution of those magazines in East Coast shops is typically limited to two or three copies. Focus opted for free distribution, placing 30 or more copies—the magazine prints 16,500 copies per issue—in those shops. “We filled a niche that has been completely overlooked by the skateboard industry,” says Heister. Focus has tried to phase out subscriptions, without luck. “Fulfilling subscriptions is so time consuming,” says Heister. “We raised the subscription price to $25 for six issues per year, but more people started subscribing. We’re up to 400 subscribers right now. Our efforts to steer people away from subscriptions didn’t work at all.”At the beginning of 2009, ad sales took a dive but otherwise stayed steady for the remainder of the year. Focus did around $140,000 in ad sales in 2008 and about $110,000 in 2009. In January, Focus will host its first trade show, The Focus Show, in Philadelphia. According to Heister, it’s the first show of its kind on the East Coast. “Most of industry is in California and they have road reps for the East Coast,” he adds. “We’re offering those reps a chance to meet the East Coast vendors in one place, rather than take a few weeks to visit them one at a time.”Heister says Focus will offer some incentives reps haven’t seen at other shows. “For exhibitors, we’re raffling a free booth—if you bought a booth, you get a refund,” he adds. “There are only 40 booths at the show, so the odds are pretty good.” The Focus Show will also feature a ramp contest that requires shop buyers to attend with their sponsored rider. Prize money goes to the winning riders but the sponsoring shops will also get money to spend at the show courtesy of Focus.The magazine is selling booths for $500 and expects about $20,000 in revenue. “This is our first show and we’re trying to make this a great experience,” says Heister. “We’re not looking to make a profit with this one and we’re putting the majority of the money back into the show.” The Focus Show has received notice from some of the bigger media players in skateboarding, including a write-up in Transworld Business and live, on-site coverage from Fuel TV, which is coming out from California to be at the show. Start ConservativelyInPark, a magazine dedicated to the theme park business, started publishing four issues a year in 2005. In 2008 they published five print and one digital-only issue and in 2009 published five print issues and eliminated the digital issue since it was not a big moneymaker and didn’t fit in with the schedule. The magazine has gone from 2,000 to about 4,500 subscribers, and now is split 50/50 between digital subscriptions and print. Each issue brings in around $7,000-$10,000 in ad revenue, with a “very seasonal market,” says publisher Martin J. Palicki. “Our tradeshows almost all take place in the fall, so advertisers focus on that period.” Each issue costs around $6,000 to produce and mail.Palicki advises publishers to estimate quantities conservatively. “I printed about 10,000 more copies of my first issue than I actually needed. Now my basement is filled with back issues. I now only print about 200 copies more than my distribution list, and 1,000-1,500 for any tradeshow distribution.” From a $25 Classified Ad to a $5 Million BusinessCountryside Publications is a niche publisher of four country-living and livestock-related titles located in Medford Wisconsin. Its flagship title, Countryside & Small Stock Journal (commonly referred to as Countryside) was launched in 1969 by Jerry Belanger with a $25 classified ad in Rodale’s Organic Gardening. The cost of a subscription then was $1 plus a letter with either a question, or an answer to a previous question, about self-sufficient living. The result became a magazine that was, and largely still is, written by its readers. Over the next 30 years Countryside grew and evolved but never strayed from the core premise; in 2000 Belanger retired and son Dave Belanger and daughter Anne-Marie bought the business in 2001.Today, Countryside is a lean operation approaching $5 million dollars in revenues with 13 full time employees plus two off-site editors, publishing four magazines in Countryside, Dairy Goat Journal, Backyard Poultry and sheep! (While Countryside and Reiman Publications were started about the same time with similar business models in towns just 70 miles away, the two companies have always been separate (although as Belanger says, “If they want to make an offer…”)Countryside Publications has always grown organically and has never used outside investors, a bank loan, or any other source of external funding. Revenue growth has averaged more than 20 percent annually for the past eight or nine years. “We’ll grow less in 2009 due mainly to a slight reduction in direct mail, but our margins will improve,” says Belanger.When Belanger took over the business in 2001, very little focus was placed on subscriber acquisition. In spite of this, renewal rates at the time were at 90 percent-plus, Belanger says. “But what we really had was a platform,” he adds. “In short order, we acquired Dairy Goat Journal and then sheep!” Both were being published in a tabloid newspaper format for fewer than 5,000 subscribers. Belanger converted the magazines to saddle-stitched 8 ½ x 11 and dropped the frequency to six issues a year. The subscription price is $21 per year.“Meanwhile, we embarked on an aggressive direct mail subscription acquisition campaign for Countryside,” he says. “We doubled circulation, and then doubled it again.” Today there are roughly 100,000 Countryside subscribers paying $18 per year with another 40,000 copies on newsstands. Because 85 percent of the people reading Countryside also had chickens, the publisher launched Backyard Poultry in 2006 “not having any idea if it would meet our projections,” Belanger says. “We enlisted my wife to the role of editor, announced the debut in the pages of our other titles, and spent $50,000 to get 150,000 double postcards in the mail. We sent that first issue to the printer with a 150,000 press run and held our breath.”It took only a few days for the initial 15,000 copies to sell out, so they printed 15,000 more and shipped them out in a matter of weeks. “We ended up printing another 15,000 copies before it was time for the second issue to appear,” says Belanger.Because the initial mailing was a relatively small 150,000 pieces, Belanger was able to cherry-pick the lists to mail, mostly from their growing in-house database. One outside list they used pulled a whopping 42 percent response rate and over 80 percent paid the invoice. Overall the response came in at 17 percent with a 45 percent pay-up.“We leveraged the revenue into more mailings including the use of card decks, which had never been a great source for us but worked well for Backyard Poultry, and tested different formats and offers.” says Belanger. Their current control is a self-mailer folded to 5 ½ x 8 ½ offering a free issue and an invoice. Today, Backyard Poultry has 60,000 subscribers paying $21 per year, with 35,000 copies on newsstands across the country which “sell well despite our wholesalers’ initial reservations on the subject matter,” says Belanger.Countryside’s main subscription source is DTP direct mail, and their control piece is the free issue offer (return the card and they will send readers a magazine and an invoice). Overall payup runs around 40-50 percent, but they have an upfront response of 5 percent-plus. This, combined with their low production costs, makes them happy.Another important source of revenue for the publisher is derived from book sales. While Countryside publishes a few anthologies of previous issues, most are titles from other publishers that they resell to subscribers using ad space in the magazines and an annual catalog. “Assuming the cost of advertising space is zero (which we do) net margins run north of 50 percent,” says Belanger, with total contribution to the top line around 7 percent.All back office operations are handled in Medford, Wisconsin. Fulfillment is done in-house including generating, inserting and mailing invoices, renewals, and supplemental issues. While they have used outside fulfillment vendors in the past, Belanger says they have found that they have more control over the process in house, and do it spending a lot less money.“My personal pet peeve is magazines that tell customers to wait 6-10 weeks for their first issue,” he adds. “At Countryside Publications we do weekly supplemental mailings. A new sub comes on board on Monday and their first issue is at our local post office on Thursday. If it’s a free issue, their invoice isn’t far behind.”Countryside outsources printing, larger direct mail campaigns and the creation and maintenance of their four Web sites. While Belanger says Web subscriptions are an efficient source of revenue, they make up only 5 percent of total revenues to date.“We’re consumer circulation driven. From our point of view, giving away magazines for less than the cost of production with the hope of attracting a large audience we can sell to advertisers has never been a viable business model, as a number of advertising-driven publishers have begun to discover in recent years,” says Belanger. “We love our advertisers, but we don’t want to pin our future on the vagaries of advertising economics. Advertising receipts represent only about 15 percent of our total revenue, and while some titles are down a bit, overall ad sales were up roughly 7 percent in 2009.”Niche and Online: Opportunity or Too Late To Catch Up?Many niche publishers remain primarily print publishers. They typically have Web sites dedicated to customer service and magazine content, with more sophisticated publishers offering a Facebook page or Twitter feed. Larger publishers have always contended that online is a mass market game and some smaller publishers don’t think a dedicated Web approach is worth it. “We’re focused on print for now,” says Crawl’s Herrick. “The Web site is just a portal to answer questions. I don’t know if I could go into that area and compete or if I could monetize it enough to make it worthwhile.”However, the low barrier to entry with starting an online business is spawning a stream of new online-only publishers. FordMuscle.com caters to Ford performance enthusiasts (and competes for the same automotive aftermarket performance advertising dollars as Source Interlink’s Hot Rod and Car Craft). The site generates about 160,000 unique visitors per month and broke $500,000 in revenue in 2009.While many publishers struggle with implementing a paid content model, FordMuscle.com is succeeding with one. The site introduced a forum category called “Tech Exchange” in which members can submit graphic how-tos. FordMuscle.com staff edits outside content before it’s made available to readers and contributors are rewarded for their submissions. The site receives between three to five submissions (which can range from five pages to 50 photos) per week. If a member submits one tutorial, FordMuscle.com sends a t-shirt. If they do two, they get a hat. If a member does six, they receive $100. “If someone is especially enthusiastic we may bring them on as a freelancer,” says co-founder Jon Mikelonis.Parts manufacturers can also be highlighted throughout, although ads are not sold directly against it. Mikelonis says advertisers haven’t tried to influence the tutorials. FordMuscle sells an annual online subscription for $19.95 per year and is considering a pay-per-article model for the future (subscriptions account for about 40 percent of revenue, while advertising accounts for 60 percent).Wend, a Portland, Oregon-based outdoor adventure magazine, is building a digital subscription base for online content, getting 50 to 70 new sign-ups per day. “We went with free subscriptions online—the platform doesn’t cost anything,” says editor Stiv Wilson. “We had a model for $5 online subscriptions but that will never be real revenue for us.” While Wend’s initial online content was just PDFs of the print magazine, it adds 10 to 15 pieces of new online content per day. In 2010, the site will undergo a redesign, adding a green gear store as well as a new business model in which eco-adventurers can find funding for projects.Offering digital subscriptions has actually helped the print product as well. “We’ve doubled the amount of print subscriptions because people who haven’t found it on their newsstand can now see the digital version,” says Wilson. “We make a decent margin on subscriptions. It’s not a big one but we’re not underwater with it like some other publishers are today.” Wilson says Wend is having a lot of success getting registrations and driving participation with online and newsletter-driven contests.“Nobody has figured out how to monetize the Web to the degree that you’re getting for a print page,” says Wilson. “To me, that’s because of brands not understanding the landscape media is performing in. A lot of ad agencies are way behind the times. You do a contest on Twitter to give away one clean canteen bottle and you get a thousand entries in a day. That kind of branding is worth its weight in gold.” Wilson says Wend has doubled revenue every year and expects $600,000 for 2009 and just under $1 million in 2010. “It’s not a giant leap, it’s a steady-as-you-go increase,” he adds. “Anything that quadruples overnight is bad—it’s hard on your staff and it’s hard on your business model if it stops performing.”In 2009, 80 percent of Wend’s revenue came from print. In 2010, Wilson thinks print will drop to 60 percent, with the remaining 40 percent coming from a mix of online contests, social media and brand consulting. “We’re seeing the media company become the partner rather than the ad agency be the go-between,” says Wilson. “I would expect by 2011, that revenue model will be 50/50. As the subscription portal goes up, print will go down. We’re not going to sell our magazines on newsstands unless its exceptionally high sell-through. It’s not worth it to us.”The magazine landscape is changing, according to Wilson, who cites 625,000-circ. National Geographic Adventure folding (that magazine will continue to live on in a multi-platform approach). “We’re friends with the folks over there and I don’t want to saying anything bad but when you look at the big overhead model and then look to us, we only need to make enough money for six or seven people,” he says. “That shows us our gamble has paid off.” The Hearst’s and Time Inc.’s may get the headlines but the majority of companies in the $40 billion magazine industry are small, independent publishers targeting a specific niche. Most of these magazines go unheralded beyond their target audience but have some of the best content, most loyal readers, and most enduring business models.“It’s hard to relate to larger publishers,” says Daniel Bradford, publisher of All About Beer, a Durham, North Carolina-based magazine dedicated to America’s favorite beverage. “So much of our life is personal and relationship-driven. The woes of the major publishers aren’t exactly relevant to us, especially since we broke down the silos of what we actually do. We are no longer in the magazine publishing business, but the information packaging business.”Being a small publisher carries a unique set of challenges, and even opportunities. In this article we take a look at how small, independent publishers are breaking into the industry, building their business, and navigating the precarious proposition of publishing a magazine in 2010.Some larger publishers like Active Interest Media, Aspire and F+W are filled with small titles dedicated to a specific topic, and almost by definition, b-to-b publishers are niche. But for this article, we’ve tried to limit the focus to consumer enthusiast publishers of $5 million or less (in some cases, much less) in annual revenue.
Close The European Commission proposed to give Greece a €7bn (£4.92, $7.7bn) bridge loan to cover the countrys financing needs in July using the European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM).The Commission believes the EFSM is the best means to provide short-term financing for Greece, Commission vice president for the euro Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters in Brussels.Greece faces urgent financing needs. It has outstanding payments and arrears to the ECB (European Central Bank) and IMF (International Monetary Fund) that need to be paid in the coming days. Euro area leaders therefore invited the Eurogroup to address these issues as a matter of urgency. Member states together with the institutions explored the options available. There are not many, he said.The bridge loan would have a maximum maturity of three months and would be repaid to the EFSM from money that Greece is to get from the eurozone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) on the conclusion of negotiations on the next, €86bn three-year bailout.The proposal to use the EFSM for the bridge loan is controversial because Britain and the Czech Republic are strongly opposed to it.We are aware of serious concerns from non-euro area member states. We are therefore working on arrangements to protect the non-euro area member states from any negative financial consequences should the EFSM loans not being repaid, Dombrovskis said.Unlike the ESM, which is a eurozone fund, the EFSM is an EU-wide fund, backed by the EU budget and therefore disbursements from it need the approval of all of the EUs 28 governments, rather than just the 19 of the eurozone.But decisions in the EFSM are taken by qualified majority voting, which means that if 16 countries representing 65 percent of the EUs population support a disbursement, its opponents like Britain or the Czech Republic can be outvoted.
Journal information: PLoS ONE Baculum in laterial view of: A Helarctos malayanus; B Ursus thibetanus; C Tremarctos ornatus; D Ursus americanus; E Melursus ursinus; F Ursus arctos; G Ursus maritimus; H Indarctos arctoides; I Ventral view of the Baculum of Ailuropoda melanoleuca; J Dorsal view of the baculum of Ailuropoda melanoleuca. Credit: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073711.g001 © 2013 Phys.org (Phys.org) —Researchers working at Spain’s Batallones-3 dig site in the area of Cerro de los Batallones have unearthed five baculum (os penis) that once belonged to five now extinct examples of a species of bear classified as Indarctos arctoides. In their paper published in the journal PLUS ONE, the team describe the baculum fossils in great detail and offer theories as to why the bear had such a large penis. Penis size does matter if you are a bank vole More information: Abella J, Valenciano A, Pérez-Ramos A, Montoya P, Morales J (2013) On the Socio-Sexual Behaviour of the Extinct Ursid Indarctos arctoides: An Approach Based on Its Baculum Size and Morphology. PLoS ONE 8(9): e73711. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073711AbstractThe fossil bacula, or os penis, constitutes a rare subject of study due to its scarcity in the fossil record. In the present paper we describe five bacula attributed to the bear Indarctos arctoides Depéret, 1895 from the Batallones-3 site (Madrid Basin, Spain). Both the length and morphology of this fossil bacula enabled us to make interpretative approaches to a series of ecological and ethological characters of this bear. Thus, we suggest that I. arctoides could have had prolonged periods of intromission and/or maintenance of intromission during the post-ejaculatory intervals, a multi-male mating system and large home range sizes and/or lower population density. Its size might also have helped females to choose from among the available males. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Many male mammals have a bacula, also known as a penis-bone, to assist in reproduction. The stiffness of the bone allows for easy insertion of the penis into the female’s vagina (as contrasted with blood pressure to maintain an erection as occurs with humans.) All bears have a bacula, but what sets I. arctoides apart from modern species was its size. Scientists have found many fossil bones from the bears and thus have a clear idea of its overall size. The bear was on average about the size of modern European Brown bears (265.74 kg for males and 137.30 kg for females), yet its bacula was longer than the much larger Polar or Kodiak bears that exist today. Four of the five specimens found were from adult males—together their baculum averaged 225.26 mm in length.Bacula finds are rare in archeological research, their thinness makes them prone to breaking, and quite often they are mistaken for rib bones. Thus finding 5 wholly intact specimens was a noteworthy find in and of itself—that they represent such a large penis bones relative to body size is perhaps even more remarkable.The researchers can’t say for sure why the ancient bears (they lived approximately 12 to 5 million years ago) had such large penises, but offer some theories. They suggest that a larger penis would allow for longer copulation, helping to ensure that the female became impregnated. A longer penis would also help to guide the sperm that was released more directly to its target, once again, offering higher reliability of impregnation. The researchers also suggest that such a long penis might even have allowed a male to remove plugs deposited by prior males, ensuring their DNA would win over. And finally, they propose that females may have grown to prefer males with a larger penis for these very same reasons, thus ensuring that males with the largest penises would predominate, leading to longer and longer bacula for the species as a whole. Citation: Ancient European bear had unusually large penis bone (2013, September 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-09-ancient-european-unusually-large-penis.html
We have an update on last week’s front page, in which the municipality responds to allegations of bankruptcy. Then we have the scoop on La Verna Hospital’s new ‘green’ system with regards to patients’ meals. Lastly, you may want to enter the Môrester talent competition and show off your stuff on stage.DID YOU KNOW?Click on the words highlighted in red to read more on this and related topics.If you are reading this on your cellphone and there are telephone numbers provided in the text, you can call these simply by clicking on them.To receive news links via WhatsApp.For the latest news, visit our webpage or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Join us there! WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Yes, it’s Thursday, which means that the latest edition of the Ladysmith Gazette has hit the streets, with all the latest news to keep you updated on what has been happening in your town!Will the taxi war come to an end? Read our front-page story about how a new deployment of police are set to tackle the ongoing taxi conflict between the warring Mabaso and Gamede clans.1 person was gunned down and killed in Colenso on Tuesday night. We have the story of how it happened on page 2.On our community pages, a well-known police officer retires after over 30 years’ service in the SAPS.If you love sports, read all about how three local policemen took part in the National Police T20 Cricket Championships and placed fifth in the tournament. They speak about how they started playing cricket and who their role models are.Be sure to get the paper for stories that will not be published online. That’s right, stories that are exclusive to the newspaper!
ESET researchers stated that they have found evidence that ‘Fancy Bear’ (Russia-backed hackers group) is using ‘LoJax’ malware to target certain government organizations in Europe. This research was presented on Thursday at the 2018 Microsoft BlueHat conference. This is the first case of a UEFI rootkit recorded as ‘active’ and still in use. The researchers have not explicitly named the governments that have been targeted. They have only stated that the hackers were active in targeting the Balkans and some central and eastern European countries. This attempt to target european governments is another one of Fancy Bears tactics after hacking into the Democratic National Committee. The hackers had previously targeted senators, social media sites, the French presidential elections, and leaked Olympic athletes’ confidential medical files, which demonstrates their hacking abilities. The LoJax UEFI rootkit LoJax is known for its brutal persistence in making it challenging to remove from a system. It embeds itself in the computer’s firmware and launches when the OS boots up. Sitting in a computer’s flash memory, LoJax consumes time, effort and extreme care to reflash the memory with a new firmware. In May 2018, Arbor Networks suggested that this Russian hacker group was utilizing Absolute Software’s ‘LoJack‘– a legitimate laptop recovery solution- for unscrupulous means. Hackers tampered with the samples of the LoJack software and programmed it to communicate with a command-and-control (C2) server controlled by Fancy Bear, rather than the legitimate Absolute Software server. The modified version was named as LoJax to separate it from Absolute Software’s legitimate solution. LoJax is implemented as a UEFI/BIOS module, to resist operating system wipes or hard drive replacement. This UEFI rootkit was found bundled together with a toolset that was able to patch a victim’s system firmware and install malware at the system’s deepest level. In at least one recorded case, the hackers behind the malware were able to write a malicious UEFI module into a system’s SPI flash memory leading to the execution of malicious code on disk during the boot process. ESET further added that the malicious UEFI module is being bundled into exploit kits which are able to access and patch UEFI/BIOS settings. Alongside the malware, three other tools were found in Fancy Bear’s refreshed kit. A tool that dumps information related to PC settings into a text file A tool to save an image of the system firmware by reading the contents of the SPI flash memory where the UEFI/BIOS is located A tool that adds the malicious UEFI module to the firmware image to write it back to the SPI flash memory. The researchers affirm that the UEFI rootkit has increased the severity of the hacking group. However, there are preventative measures to safeguard your system against this notorious group of hackers. The Fancy Bear’s rootkit isn’t properly signed and hence a computer’s Secure Boot feature could prevent the attack by properly verifying every component in the boot process. This can be switched on at a computer’s pre-boot settings. For more insights on this news, head over to ZDNet. Read Next Microsoft claims it halted Russian spearphishing cyberattacks Russian censorship board threatens to block search giant Yandex due to pirated content UN meetings ended with US & Russia avoiding formal talks to ban AI enabled killer robots