Monday, 30 July 2018

McKinsey & Company/Behrendt, Kelly, Rettig, & Stoffregen: How digital manufacturing can escape ‘pilot purgatory’

McKinsey & Company
Report - July 2018
How digital manufacturing can escape ‘pilot purgatory’
By Andreas Behrendt, Richard Kelly, Raphael Rettig, and Sebastian Stoffregen
Full Report (PDF–6MB)
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Despite enthusiasm for digital manufacturing, few companies have realized its potential at scale, according to our new survey. Six success factors can help.

The global race for innovation leadership in digital manufacturing1 is picking up pace: two-thirds of industrial companies worldwide say that digitizing the production value chain is one of their highest priorities (Exhibit 1). That’s according to our latest research in the area, which we explore in a new report, Digital manufacturing—escaping pilot purgatory.
Exhibit 1
Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents on average say digital manufacturing is a top priority.

To achieve this goal, companies are actively pursuing a broad range of digital-manufacturing use cases in three areas (Exhibit 2):

    Connectivity. This enables the flow of relevant information to the right decision makers in real time. Examples include digital performance management and the use of augmented reality to communicate interactive work instructions and standard operating procedures.
    Intelligence. Use cases relate to applying advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to an array of data to generate new insights and enable better decision making. Examples include predictive maintenance, digital quality management, and AI-driven demand forecasting.
    Flexible automation. In this area, new robotic technologies are leveraged to improve the productivity, quality, and safety of operational processes. Examples include autonomous guided vehicles and using cobots for assembly processes.

Exhibit 2
Digital manufacturing solutions are adopted consistently across industry sectors and categories.

Despite this focus and enthusiasm, McKinsey’s collaboration with the World Economic Forum on the future of production has shown that many companies are experiencing “pilot purgatory” in which they have significant activity under way but are not yet seeing meaningful bottom-line benefits from this (Exhibit 3).
Exhibit 3
Less than 30 percent of organizations did rollout-relevant solutions company-wide.

To more fully understand how manufacturers across the globe are approaching their digital-manufacturing transformation and the challenges they are facing, McKinsey conducted its fourth Digital Manufacturing Global Expert Survey (see sidebar, “Overview of McKinsey’s Digital Manufacturing Global Expert Survey”). The results of this survey provide interesting insights into how manufacturers’ approaches differ across the world, as well as concerning behaviors that are contributing to pilot purgatory.

In the first part of our report, we share the results our 2018 survey. These show largely continued levels of enthusiasm and prioritization related to capturing benefits from digital manufacturing, with notable acceleration in China and India and regression in Japan. However, while there is significant importance placed on the topic and many pilots have been launched across a range of use cases, less than a third of respondents cite having moved critical use cases—such as digital performance management—into large-scale rollout. At the same time, more than 90 percent of surveyed companies believe that they are either at the forefront of digital manufacturing in their industry or, at least, on par with the competition.
Overview of McKinsey’s Digital Manufacturing Global Expert Survey

Our survey entailed a couple elements:

    more than 700 qualified respondents from companies with more than 50 employees and over $10 million in revenues, spanning a range of industry sectors from automotive to chemicals to transport and logistics
    impact, strategy, key solutions, and implementation approach assessed for seven key markets: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, and the United States

In the report’s second part, we offer perspectives on six success factors that manufacturers demonstrating at-scale impact from digital manufacturing are following. These factors span the transformation categories of process, infrastructure, and organization:

    Approach the opportunity “bottom-line-value backward,” rather than technology forward.
    Establish a clear vision and change story for how digital manufacturing will create competitive advantage and develop a phased road map and business case.


    Form an early view on the comprehensive target-state technology stack that is scalable and analytics-enabled and that supports the digital-manufacturing road map.
    Build and lead a focused ecosystem of technology partners to rigorously manage the building of the stack.


    Drive the transformation from the top (and via profit-and-loss owners) and coordinate implementation widely—do not treat it as an isolated IT implementation effort.
    Get ahead of the capability gap: build the skills to achieve impact and the culture to sustain it.

The move from the current version of factory production to digital manufacturing holds the promise of significant value, and according to the results of McKinsey’s 2018 survey, this shift is a top strategic priority for manufacturers across the globe. Despite the importance placed on it, most manufacturers are struggling to take the digital-manufacturing successes they have experienced in limited pilots to a scale that would bring the full benefit of the technology.
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A holistic approach to digital manufacturing—one that considers the fundamentals of the organization and the business as much as it focuses on the technology-related factors—can help manufacturers get over the hurdles that stand between pilot success and company-wide rollout.

The good news is that, as demonstrated by several real-world cases, a rollout is not a mystery, and successes exist. These “lighthouses” have the power to help unify a manufacturer’s vision of digital manufacturing. The knowledge from these case examples can also help build a solid business case and chart the course for company-wide implementation.

Download Digital manufacturing—escaping pilot purgatory, the full report on which this article is based (PDF—5.6MB).
About the author(s)
Andreas Behrendt is a partner in McKinsey’s Cologne office, Richard Kelly is a partner in the Stamford office, Raphael Rettig is a consultant in the Düsseldorf office, and Sebastian Stoffregen is an associate partner in the Munich office.
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Positive Money: The People vs Big Banks


Dear Friend,

We have a big battle on our hands. For every one meeting with people like us - members of the public - the government meets with nine lobbyists from big banks and corporations. [1]

This September will mark 10 years since banks’ reckless lending caused the global financial crash, so Positive Money needs to make a splash in the media with our message: “The banks got bailed out, we got sold out. We demand politicians fix our banking system before inequality and debt get out of control and bankers sleepwalk us into another crash.”

But here’s the thing, if we want our message to drown out the financial lobbyists, we need to make a BIG splash in the media. Simply put, that means we need some funding to make sure we hit the headlines.
If everyone reading this email chipped in just £5 today, together we could raise £20,000 by the weekend. Kofi, please will you chip in now so together we can get moving?


Here’s the plan:

- Already, thousands of Positive Money supporters have decided we want to turn the Bank of England into a financial crime scene on Saturday 15th September. [2]
- Now we need to commission an artist to create the scene: picture citizens in white forensic suits surrounding the Bank of England, covered in yellow crime scene tape.
- And commission a professional video to promote our action and spread it far and wide around the internet.

The financial lobbyists may have big money, but we have big numbers of people. And when we all chip in what we can afford, it adds up to a lot. So please make your secure donation now.

After the crash, the government bailed the banks out with half a trillion pounds. Shortly after, they started starving our public services and the wider economy of investment. This decade will be the worst for pay growth since the 1800s. [3]

Ten years on, big banks are still behaving in reckless, unfair and neglectful ways. [4] The structural problems with our money and banking system still haven’t been fixed. And many experts fear that if we don’t change things soon, we’re going to sleepwalk into another crash. [5]

Positive Money is the only people-powered civil society organisation that works to hold the Bank of England and Treasury to account. And we do it because we believe in a society that’s fairer, where homes are affordable and energy is green, and where financial crises and austerity are things of the past.

The past ten years have shown that when left to their own devices, politicians and central bankers won’t do nearly enough to create a banking sector that serves society. So it’s up to us.

Voices in the media will be talking a lot about banks around this anniversary, about the impact of the crisis on the UK, and reforms in the financial sector since 2008. So let’s make sure it’s us, not the big banks who shape the story. By chipping in today, you will help us make that happen.

Please click the button to make a secure donation now:


Thank you for being involved,

Rachel, Fran and the rest of the Positive Money team

[2] Positive Money blog: 10 years on, enough is enough:
[3] Resolution Foundation: Public and family finances squeezes extended well into the 2020s by grim Budget forecasts:
[4] The Guardian:
Banks pay out £166bn over six years: a history of banking misdeeds and fines
UK banks could face new multibillion-pound claims after PPI ruling:
MPs publish full unredacted report into RBS small business scandal:
[5] Bloomberg: 10 Years After Lehman, Four Big Risks:
Business Insider UK: Central bankers are like ‘pyromaniac firefighters’ and they are lighting another blaze:
The Financial Times: John Vickers warns of ‘dangerously high’ levels of bank leverage:


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Port Technology: Construction Begins on World’s Next Largest Boxships

Port Technology
Construction Begins on World’s Next Largest Boxships

 30 Jul 2018 12.36pm
Construction on the world’s next two biggest containerships, capable of holding 22,000 TEU, began on July 26, according to China Daily.

Both vessels, which are to be built in cooperation by Shanghai-based Jiangnan Shipyard and Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, form part of a mega order from CMA CGM.

In addition to carrying a record volume of TEU, the ships measure 400 metres in length, 61.3 metres in breadth and 33.5 metres in depth, making them as equally large as CMA CGM’s Antoine de Saint Exupery and Jean Mermoz.

Another feature of the vessels is their ability to hold 2,200 four-foot refrigerated containers, which would account for 20% of each ship’s entire TEU volume.
Mark Welles and Li Yongcui discuss how automation can be used to welcome the world's largest ships in a recent Port Technology technical paper

The French ocean carrier, the third largest globally by vessel container capacity, signed an agreement with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) in September 2017.

Nine 22,000 TEU vessels will be constructed overall, and once operational will be fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Commenting on the order in 2017, CMA CGM Group CEO Rodolphe Saadé said: “We have made the bold decision to equip our future 22,000 TEUs vessels with a technology firmly focused on the protection of the environment.

“By choosing LNG, CMA CGM confirms its ambition to be a leading force in the industry in environmental protection by being a pioneer in innovative and eco-responsible technologies.”
Read more:

    CMA CGM has released a statement reaffirming their commitment to the IMO’s initial GHG plan to reduce the industry’s CO2 emissions by 50%
    Total and CMA CGM have signed an agreement covering the supply of around 300,000 tons of liquefied natural gas

  Cargo Volumes and Throughput, Carriers, CMA CGM, Environment , Mega Ship Ready, Shipping

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National Review/Jack Crowe: STUDY: ‘Medicare For All’ Would Cost $32.6 Trillion Over Ten Years By Jack Crowe

National Review

Jul. 30, 2018

Health Care   
STUDY: ‘Medicare For All’ Would Cost $32.6 Trillion Over Ten Years
By Jack Crowe

July 30, 2018 8:36 AM

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) asks questions Betsy DeVos during the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee confirmation hearing to be next Secretary of Education on Capitol Hill, January 17, 2017. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

The single-payer health care system advocated by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.) under the tagline “Medicare for all” would cost the federal government $32.6 trillion over the next decade, according to study released Monday by George Mason’s Mercatus Center, a libertarian-leaning policy center.

Extending Medicare benefits to the entire population would require a massive tax increase as the government assumes the entirety of the health care costs currently born by individuals, according to the study, which aligned precisely with a similar analysis performed by the Urban Institute.

The single-payer plan would reduce prescription and administration costs by streamlining operations, but those savings would be far outpaced by the cost of covering some 30 million uninsured Americans and eliminating copays and deductibles for all consumers.

In fact, the government could double all corporate and individual income taxes and it would still lack requisite revenue to fund the program, the study found.
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“Enacting something like ‘Medicare for all’ would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government,” said Charles Blahous, the study’s author.

Sanders, who has long advocated a universal health care system wherein consumers pay no deductibles or copays, impugned the study’s credibility, citing the funding the Mercatus Center receives from the Koch Brothers.

“If every major country on earth can guarantee health care to all, and achieve better health outcomes, while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States cannot do the same,” Sanders said in a statement. “This grossly misleading and biased report is the Koch brothers response to the growing support in our country for a ‘Medicare for all’ program.”

Though Sanders office has not performed a cost analysts on the plan he has championed, they discovered an error in the initial Mercatus Center analysis which, after it was corrected, shaved $3 trillion off of the ten year cost estimate.

The self-described Democratic socialist has been joined in recent years by a growing number of rank-and-file Democrats in advocating for single payer healthcare. The idea has also taken hold as something a litmus test for Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls such as Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California.

Jack Crowe — Jack Crowe is a news writer at National Review Online.
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Global Shea Alliance: Women Shea Collectors Start Paddy Rice Enterprises

Global Shea Alliance
Women Shea Collectors Start Paddy Rice Enterprises    

After the last shea season, members from the Suhuyini Shea Cooperative in Northern Ghana initiated “sinkafa kogriba” (rice processing) by using their shea profits to purchase rice, water, aluminum pots, firewood, and milling fee rental. 30 women processed a total of 120 bags of paddy rice and earned 27,600 GHC (approximately 6,000 USD) in revenue. The additional income was used to meet household needs and reinvest into their local village savings and loans association.

Jemila Masahudu, a member of the cooperative said “working with the cooperative has brought joy and happiness to my life. I do not struggle to process the rice by myself because we divide the work so we can finish faster and produce a lot of rice.”

Women shea collectors and processors often undertake additional income generating activities such as grain farming, cashew and groundnut processing, and soap making. GSA sustainability partners support the cooperatives by providing shea business development trainings that are then applied to other enterprises.

Through public private partnerships, the GSA is implementing community development projects including warehouse construction, business development trainings, health and safety initiatives, parkland management, improved planting materials, and conservation projects. To learn more, contact GSA Sustainability Director Wunmi Osholake.
Our mailing address is:
Global Shea Alliance
Osu, Accra, Ghana.

ClickZ/Yaroslav Kuflinski: Using AI to improve user experience Using AI to improve user experience


Emerging Technology
Using AI to improve user experience
Using AI to improve user experience

Not long ago, a company could gain the loyalty of its clientele based on product quality and little else. But with time, the difference between what a company offers and what its competitors provide has become negligible. Today, companies are increasingly seeking for alternative ways to win their customers. In ecommerce business, one such way is by providing impeccable user experience (UX). The article describes the ways artificial intelligence can enhance user experience.
Yaroslav Kuflinski
Date published July 27, 2018 Categories

    Emerging Technology

Consumers want a seamless user experience from start to finish, complete with a user-friendly platform and outstanding customer service. To achieve this, companies are increasingly investing in AI software development to help them improve UX and gain brand loyalty. Let’s look at the ways in which artificial intelligence can enhance user experience.
Emotion AI

The relatively new field, emotion AI, represents one of the most cutting-edge applications of AI. Emotion AI uses facial recognition software, data, and machine learning algorithms to sort and categorize emotional responses to a variety of stimuli like the colors on a website, product offerings, and advertising content, among others.

After being trained on thousands or even millions of facial/emotional images, emotion AI can categorize responses into meaningful categories like happy, sad, or angry. Businesses and advertisers can then use this information to identify the types of content, platform designs and marketing strategies that are most likely to elicit the desired response in site visitor or targeted viewers.

A 2016 Harris poll commissioned by Lithium found that happy customers spend 78% more with brands that they love. Consumers are most likely to feel happy if they feel like they are part of a brand’s community, share the same ideology as the brand, or are actively engaged by the brand on social media. For many organizations, using emotion AI to tap into consumer emotions is the smartest way to connect with customers at a deeper level, while convincing them to click that “Buy” button.
Bespoke advertising

It’s no secret that consumers are increasingly immune to the efforts of advertisers, online or otherwise. Between ad blocking software, shorter attention spans and decades of being inundated with advertising since childhood, only the most inventive marketing strategies are able to get through to today’s jaded consumers. UX guides often focus on the experience once an individual has arrived at a brand’s web or social media page.

However, UX really begins the moment that a brand engages with a potential customer. If the visitor sees something that relates to them, they are far more likely to take action, whether it’s liking a photo, sharing content, or making a purchase. AI is helping businesses master the art of bespoke advertising.

When used in combination with social media, machine learning algorithms can successfully parse key information about a consumer’s preferences. Instead of creating a broad marketing campaign that may only appeal to a small percentage of customers, companies can use AI to create a one-to-one advertising experience tailored to each individual’s unique interests. In addition, with this new more inclusive data, organizations are also more likely to identify new and or previously overlooked market segments.

The outdoor product retailer North Face is using IBM’s Watson to create uniquely personalized shopping experiences for its online clients. By asking simple questions like, “Do you like to hike in winter?,” the program is able to narrow down the appropriate selection of products to show to the customer, ensuring that only the most relevant content is presented. This highly customized retail interaction significantly increases the probability of a customer buying a product and reporting an enjoyable UX.

Also known as virtual assistants, chatbots are everywhere you look. From banking to pizza delivery, chatbots are an increasingly common part of the user experience. Trained using a subfield of AI known as natural language processing, which derives meaning from text or speech, and machine learning data from actual human customer services interactions, chatbots are now so sophisticated that it is often difficult to recognize them from the real thing. According to Capgemini, 75% of organizations using AI (out of 1,000 surveyed), have increased customer satisfaction by at least 10 percent.

Immune to bad days and frustration, chatbots are a natural supplement to the user experience. However, while they may be able to provide 24/7 support, chatbots are not going to completely replace humans any time soon, as more complex situations still require human intervention and expertise. Likewise, chatbots still require data from human-to-human communication in order to learn and improve.

One company putting AI-enabled chatbot technology to use as both a communication and learning tool is 1-800 Flowers. Using Facebook Messenger as a customer service platform, the organization’s chatbot is trained to use conversational clues to assist clients with purchases. If, for example, someone messages that they need flowers quickly, the chatbot will respond with a number of relevant options, complete with photos, messaging customization, and even delivery choices. The more customers the bot interacts with the smarter it becomes, allowing it to provide an even better user experience.

When people hear the world automation, they tend to picture robots taking over human jobs. But in reality, automation is more likely to augment human tasks than replace them. This is certainly true when it comes to improving user experience. From self-driving cars to drones and online translation software, automation has the power to noticeably improve the quality of goods and services in a variety of industries.

Automation, which is usually applied to repetitive or predictive tasks, can aid human workers by reducing costly errors, improving quality standards and even detecting potential problems that human eyes may miss. In short, this means better quality for everyone, consumers and companies alike. In addition, automation is also being applied to UX design, in the form of automated A/B testing and self-optimizing websites, which means that customers will enjoy an improved UX experience from beginning to end, increasing the chances of them becoming lifelong patrons.

Just a few years ago, AI-based technology was considered too cutting-edge for widespread application. Today, it is shaping the way that brands interact with their customers and creating a whole new standard in UX – one that will ultimately benefit us all.

More about:

    North Face

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Investopedia/Shoshanna Delventhal: Microsoft Is Now a Major Player in Health Care

Microsoft Is Now a Major Player in Health Care
By Shoshanna Delventhal | July 26, 2018 — 11:26 AM EDT
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Microsoft Corp
View Watchlist Inc. (AMZN) isn't the only tech titan dabbling in the health care industry. Old-guard IT industry leader Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has grown its health unit into a multi-billion-dollar business, the company's Chief Medical Officer Simon Kos told CNBC's "Beyond the Valley" podcast in an episode entitled "Your Health Could Soon Depend on Artificial Intelligence." (See also: Microsoft Surpasses Alphabet in Market Value.)

The software giant says it employs 1,100 people in health care and claims 168,000 customers in the industry.

"So we’ve got about 14,000 of them [partners] in health care around the world, and for us that means health at Microsoft is a multi-billion-dollar organization growing faster than the market," said Kos.
A Role for AI and Cloud in Modernizing Health Care

In June, Microsoft officially launched its health care unit, intended to draw on the firm's artificial intelligence and cloud capabilities to build products that modernize IT infrastructures, electronic health records (EHRs) and data analytics capabilities and foster value-based care. The move formalized Microsoft's research-focused Healthcare NExT initiative, launched in 2017, and added a new emphasis on "strategic partnerships ... and driving the cross-company strategy for healthcare and life sciences," according to a company blog post.

Microsoft's involvement in the health care space dates back years. In 2014, when the company experimented in the wearables market, it teamed up Twist BioScience on the capabilities of DNA digital data storage and partnered with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to build AI-enabled care delivery products. The software provider also collaborated with insurer Cigna Corp. (CI) for interactive game-based health screenings.

The health care space is seen as ripe for disruption and has been a target for tech giants such as Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL). Shares of traditional health care providers and pharmacy chains have taken a beating on fears of Amazon's dive into the industry, as it teams up with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A) on a joint health care venture intended to reduce patient costs and improve overall efficiency. (See also: Bezos-Buffett-Dimon Health Care Company Names CEO.)
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Investopedia/J. B. Maverick: Investment Banking Vs. Private Banking Careers

Investment Banking Vs. Private Banking Careers
By J.B. Maverick | Updated July 17, 2018 — 4:20 PM EDT

Individuals aspiring toward a career in high finance often consider either private banking or investment banking. Students, as well as individuals already employed in the financial sector, may have difficulty deciding which path is the best choice for them.

A thorough understanding of the nature of each job is very helpful in making the right choice.
Careers in Private Banking

Private banking involves providing a broad range of personalized, individually-tailored financial and banking services, most commonly to high-net-worth individuals. Private banking is focused on providing financial services to wealthy clients and it takes the concept of being a personal banker to the next level. Among the many services that a private banker may provide for clients are general investment advice, asset and portfolio management, currency exchange or currency hedging services, tax planning and estate planning. Although mergers and acquisitions (M&As) are more in the realm of investment banking, private bankers may have to occasionally handle simple, small-scale acquisitions for a client.

Private banking is the more personal of the two careers. A private banker acts as a trusted personal financial advisor. To acquire and maintain a client base, a private banker has to be outstanding at establishing relationships and trust. A financial analyst who prefers to spend all day alone in a back office, poring over technical charts, is probably not the best candidate for becoming a private banker.

Being a good private banker requires a certain level of expertise across the whole spectrum of investing — from buying individual stocks to trading exchange-traded funds (ETFs), futures, options and currencies. It also requires skill in financial planning, portfolio management, and tax and retirement planning. A private banker serves to assist his clients in all aspects of managing and investing their money, so he needs to be familiar with a broad scope of services and investments. They also need to be able to clearly determine their clients' individual financial goals, preferences, risk tolerances and any other personal aspects that can assist them in giving out appropriate, personal financial advice.

Private banking is an area specifically targeted for growth at a number of firms trying to establish more stable revenues in lieu of the less consistent income available from investment banking services.

The broad skill set in financial services that private banking requires can often make it easier for individuals with private banking experience to move into other banking or financial service areas. For those individuals considering eventually moving into another division or segment of banking services, a transition from private banking may be easier to make than a transition from investment banking.
Careers in Investment Banking

An investment banker acts primarily in the role of offering advice and services to corporations. Investment banking typically involves putting together debt and equity financing deals, handling M&As, managing stock splits and share buybacks, restructuring debt and conducting initial public offerings (IPOs).

While private bankers may excel at relationships and personal advice, an investment banker's strong suit is more commonly focused on business financial management and negotiation skills. Another notable difference between investment banking and private banking is that private banking doesn't typically offer the high-adrenaline experience of completing a large merger deal or a successful IPO. However, aspiring investment bankers should keep in mind that there can be long periods of relative downtime between exciting, multi-billion dollar business deals.

Private banking requires excellent analytical skills regarding various possible investments. Investment banking requires strong fundamental analysis of businesses and the industries in which they operate. The two skill sets may sound similar, but they are significantly different. There's a substantial difference between being able to select investments for an individual client versus being able to carefully consider two companies and evaluate how they might (or might not) fit together, and determine a proper valuation of one company in relation to the other.

Investment banking may hold a slight edge over private banking in terms of the opportunity to obtain recognition as a star and secure rapid advancement in position and compensation. However, major investment banking deals are usually done by a team. It's important for investment bankers to be comfortable working as part of a team, with the possibility that on one deal or another, they may not occupy the chair that directs how the deal gets done.
What Type of Education and Experience Is Needed?

The best educational path for someone seeking a career in either private or investment banking is similar for either occupation. Both investment banking and private banking firms prefer to see a candidate with an MBA or an accounting degree, ideally earned from a prestigious business school such as Wharton or Harvard. A person aiming for either of these careers should have demonstrated academic achievement and leadership skills. Excellent communication skills are also a must for either position. Investment bankers often conduct negotiations for large amounts of money, and private bankers must be personable to help develop good relationships with individual clients.

For individuals who have already completed their university education and entered the workforce, any relevant training and/or experience acquired at other financial services firms is a plus. Aspiring private bankers will do well to have already taken and passed the basic Series 7 exam required for selling securities products. Obtaining Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credentials is also helpful.

Since so much business is conducted on a global scale these days, being fluent in a second language is a bonus credential, especially if it is Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish or another language used in important emerging market regions.

Any specific experience in the chosen field, either through an internship or through having worked as an assistant to a private or investment banker, is good preparation and looks solid on a resume too.
Choosing Between Investment Banking and Private Banking

One of the first questions that people considering a career as a private banker or as an investment banker should ask themselves is whether they prefer working with individuals or with large corporations. Obviously, this differentiation is not a hard and fast one, since high-net-worth individuals may also be the owners or officers of major corporations. Still, the basic difference in orientation and focus between the two jobs does exist.

Beyond the question of preference is the question of which job is more suitable for their particular natural talents and developed skill sets. A person might prefer to be an investment banker, but he may actually be more well-suited, by talent and temperament, to private banking.

On average, investment bankers draw higher compensation than private bankers. However, this is not always the case, and both careers often easily command six-figure, and potentially even higher, compensation.
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Investopedia/Caitlin Kindig: World's Top 10 Youngest Billionaires

World's Top 10 Youngest Billionaires
By Caitlin Kindig | Updated July 12, 2018 — 10:02 AM EDT
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Thanks to family inheritances, family businesses, and technology startups, there seem to be more young billionaires today than at any point in history.  According to Forbes, the youngest billionaire in the world comes in at just 21 years old, with the tenth youngest being 32 years old. Kylie Jenner is on the cusp of being the world's youngest self-made billionaire, a title that Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Facebook (FB), earned in 2006 at the age of 23. Jenner, now 20 years old has an estimated net worth of $900 million and will turn 21 in August 2018.

This list is according to Forbes' real-time net worth ranking as of July 11, 2018.
1. Alexandra Andresen

Born in 1996, Alexandra Andresen is the world's youngest billionaire, at just 21 years old. She is a Norwegian heiress and the daughter of Johan H. Andresen Jr., who owns Ferd, a Norwegian investment company that runs hedge funds, actively invests in the Nordic Stock Exchange, and has private equity investments. In 2007, Andresen and her sister, Katharina, were each transferred 42.2% of the ownership stakes and subsequently inherited the money. Andresen has an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion.
2. Katharina Andresen

Katharina Andresen is the world's second-youngest billionaire, as only her sister Alexandra is younger. Andresen also inherited 42.2% of the Ferd ownership stakes. She is 23 years old and has an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion.
3. Gustav Magnar Witzoe

Gustav Magnar Witzoe owns nearly half of Salma ASA, one of the world's largest salmon producers. Salmar spearheaded the industrialization of salmon farming in Norway. This stake was given to him in 2013 by his father, Gustav Magar Sr., who founded the company in 1991. Because Witzoe Sr. still runs the company, Gustav invests in real estate and tech startups. He is 25 years old has an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion.
4. John Collison

John Collison is the owner and co-founder of Stripe, a company that builds software for businesses to plug into websites and apps to instantly connect with credit card and banking systems in order to receive payments. The 27-year-old Irish entrepreneur devised the idea for Stripe with his brother, Patrick, when they were both attending university in Boston. The company is valued at $9.2 billion, and Collison himself has an estimated net worth of $1 billion.
5. Evan Spiegel

Evan Spiegel is the co-founder and CEO of Snap Inc, a camera company which operates Snapchat — a photo messaging service that delivers temporary photos between friends. Snap Inc has a market cap of $16.7 billion as of July 11, 2018. Spiegel studied product design at Stanford University, where he met his co-founder and fellow billionaire, Bobby Murphy. Evan Spiegel is 28 years old and has a net worth of $3 billion.
6. Ludwig Theodor Braun

Ludwig Theodor Braun owns 10% of the medical device company B. Braun Melsungen, which was founded in 1839 as a small pharmacy that sold herbal remedies. Now, the company manufactures injection solutions and surgical instruments. The company had over $7.9 billion in sales for 2017. Braun is 28 years old and has an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion.
7. Bobby Murphy

Bobby Murphy is the second half of the co-founding pair that brought Snap Inc to the marketplace, and he also owns the company. Murphy is older than his fellow co-founder Spiegel and studied mathematics and computational science at Stanford University. Murphy is 29 years old and has an estimated net worth of $3 billion.
8. Patrick Collison

Brother of John Collison, Patrick is the co-founder and CEO of Stripe, the company that allows businesses and individuals to easily accept payment over the internet. Stripe's big-name investors include Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. Collison is 29 years old and has an estimated net worth of $1 billion.
9. Wang Han

Wang Han inherited wealth from the shares he holds in Juneyao Air, a major airline company based in Shanghai. He inherited the shares from his deceased father who founded Juneyao Group which also has business involvement in retailing, education, and food. Han is 30 years old and has an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.
10. Lukas Walton

Lukas Walton is the grandson of the famous founder of Walmart Inc. (WMT), Sam Walton. He inherited his fortune as well as one-third of the family estate from his father, John Walton, who died in a plane crash in 2005. An active investor and philanthropist, Walton owns stakes in Walmart, First Solar, and Arvest Bank. He is 32 years old and has an estimated net worth of $14.2 billion.

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Saturday, 28 July 2018

The New York Times/Luis Ferré-Sadurní: Fixing Public Housing: A Day Inside a $32 Billion Problem

The New York Tmes

Fixing Public Housing: A Day Inside a $32 Billion Problem

We shadowed a superintendent in a Harlem ousing complex to see what saving the nation’s largest public housing system really looks like on the ground.

By Luis Ferré-Sadurní

Photographs by Kholood Eid

    July 26, 2018

The six brick buildings sit on a hill in West Harlem winding with spacious tree-lined paths. They tower high enough to give many of the 3,000 New Yorkers that reside there enviable views of Manhattan. And on each floor of the 20-story buildings, open terraces bathe residents in light and fresh air.

But inside the apartment units of the Manhattanville Houses, a development with one of the worst maintenance backlogs in the city, living conditions have deteriorated. Leaks, crumbling walls and peeling paint have become the norm.

After years of disinvestment, and amid a pervasive culture of cover-ups it admitted to in federal court in June, the New York City Housing Authority has struggled to keep pace with basic repairs in its 325 developments. The agency faces a daunting backlog of more than 170,000 open work orders for repairs, almost double the number housing officials say they can actually manage.


To see what saving the nation’s largest public housing system really means on the ground,  The Times shadowed a Nycha superintendent at the Manhattanville Houses during a recent workday.
8:45 a.m.

John Sotomayor knocked on the door three times and then called out: “Housing!”

Mr. Sotomayor, a superintendent, waited patiently until Thomas Hickman opened the door. Mr. Hickman, 52, a film producer, had submitted several work order requests months ago to replace rotten kitchen cabinets he said had attracted mice.

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“They had a family down there,” said Mr. Hickman, who lives in the three bedroom with his wife and bedridden mother-in-law. He said he waited in vain for Nycha to fix the problem: “They said they were coming and they never came.”

But now, in a flurry of activity, carpenters were replacing Mr. Hickman’s cabinets and plasterers had repaired the water-damaged wall behind them.


That sort of work typically takes months, not days.

For the past two months, Mr. Sotomayor has been overseeing a special program meant to speed up repairs and reduce the maintenance backlog at the Manhattanville Houses. The vast majority of open work orders at Nycha apartments require skilled trades workers like painters, plasterers, plumbers, carpenters and electricians.

The financially challenged agency, however, has struggled to hire enough of these workers, leading to interminable wait times for basic repairs. A resident with a damaged wall, for example, will wait an average of about 100 days for a plasterer and three months more for a painter to finish the job.

Under the new program, Nycha has targeted several dozen developments with the most extensive maintenance backlogs and concentrated teams of contractors and temporary skilled trades workers there to rapidly close individual work orders. The goal is to close 50,000 work orders within two years using $20 million the city allocated earlier this year.
9 a.m.

Mr. Sotomayor, 54, continued to crisscross the sprawling grounds of the development. A Long Island native, Mr. Sotomayor juggles the daily logistics of directly supervising repairs and ensuring his team meets its performance goals at a time when all eyes are on the troubled agency.

“It’s hard to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks,” Mr. Sotomayor said.

Next up was the home of Muhammed Aklas, who was grappling with leaks in almost every room of his five-bedroom apartment. Mr. Aklas, 62, a retired cook from Bangladesh, lives with his wife on the first floor — a curse in a rundown high rise.

“When something leaks all the way up on the 20th floor, odds are it’ll leak all the way down here,” Mr. Sotomayor said.


Mr. Aklas knew the problem well. “Flooding, flooding, flooding,” he said. “Anybody has a problem and we flood. It is nasty water.”

He and his wife would be moving to a two-bedroom soon, now that their eight children were grown — he hoped to a dryer apartment.

The leaks stem from the building’s troubled piping system, a problem many Nycha buildings share. Properly addressing it requires extensive capital investments the agency currently cannot afford, Cathy Pennington, the executive vice president of operations, said in an interview.

Indeed, the task ahead is enormous. Nycha’s efforts to reduce its maintenance backlogs are dwarfed by the staggering $32 billion the agency says it needs to address the underlying problems in its aging buildings.

“If you don’t get to the capital improvements you’re constantly chasing leaks,” Ms. Pennington said.
The Rise and Fall of New York Public Housing: An Oral History
No heat. Leaking roofs. Mold and pests. New York City public housing has become synonymous with dilapidated living conditions. But it wasn’t always like this.
June 25, 2018
9:30 a.m.

Shirley Wright was waiting for Mr. Sotomayor. She had been waiting for more than a year.

That’s how long Ms. Wright, 70, had to fare with a massive hole in her bright yellow shower wall that was left by a worker who replaced her shower head but never returned to cover the basketball-size opening.


Mr. Sotomayor told her that the hole would be fixed that afternoon and that painters were scheduled to fix the damp, peeling paint in her kitchen and hallways later in the day.

“I’m glad it’s getting fixed,” Ms. Wright, a retired special education teacher, told him. “It just took so long.”

Both Mr. Aklas and Ms. Wright offered similar stories: They had reported the conditions for months, but every time they made a work order request, they said, the order would mysteriously get closed without any work getting done, a common complaint among residents.

In fact, a federal investigation found that during the Bloomberg administration, Nycha routinely closed work orders without doing any repairs in order to artificially lower the number of open maintenance requests.

Nycha officials, however, argue that tenants are often not home when workers show up for repairs. At least one tenant refused to let plasterers in for a scheduled repair during The Times’s visit.
9:50 a.m.

Three floors below, Orelis Rodriguez, 55, immediately recognized Mr. Sotomayor when she swung open her door. Mr. Sotomayor had spent the better part of the previous evening in her apartment fixing a toilet flange one of his workers had accidentally broken.


Workers had been scheduled to repair her kitchen cabinets, but soon discovered other issues in the two-bedroom apartment: a broken pipe, disintegrating kitchen walls, peeling paint — and the broken toilet. Mr. Sotomayor said he had expedited her repairs so they would be completed before a chemotherapy appointment she had the following week.

“Housing says they don’t have money and I feel bad for them,” Ms. Rodriguez, originally from the Dominican Republic, said in Spanish. “But I pay my rent.”

11 a.m.   

Back at his makeshift command center, Mr. Sotomayor added meticulous, handwritten notes to a list detailing the 1,500 backlogged work orders at the Harlem development. In two months, his workers had gone through half of the list, or, as he calls it, “The Bible.” Then he filed some recently finished repair jobs, including a new apartment door that should have been installed a year ago.

A former engineer in the Navy, Mr. Sotomayor is a versatile fixer with a no-nonsense attitude. He has been at Nycha for more than 20 years, first as a maintenance worker and now as a superintendent. Mr. Sotomayor, who spends his spare time repairing and racing old hot rods, said he stopped seeking promotions within the agency a long time ago.

“I don’t like sitting behind a desk playing politics,” he said, his tattoo-covered arms stretched over the plastic folding table. “I prefer to be out on the field.”

He said his guiding principle in reducing the overwhelming number of backlogged repairs was to try to keep tenants happy:

“Tenants are already upset with Housing not addressing their concerns right off the bat. So I try to minimize the visits, do the work and get out.”
1 p.m.    

But not all residents are satisfied.

Emma Barricelli, the president of the residents’ association at the Manhattanville Houses, said she was grateful Nycha had brought in backup. But the temporary program doesn’t address repairs submitted after late May. And she fears the backlog will grow again once Nycha shifts its temporary workers to other developments in about a month.


“They’ve been doing a hell of a lot of work,” Ms. Barricelli said, behind the desk in her office. “But it’s not fair for the residents.”

Ms. Barricelli, who has lived at the development for more than 50 years, was elected by residents to represent their interests. She knows the workers at the development by name and she has grown increasingly vocal as conditions have rapidly deteriorated.

“She’s keeping me on the hook,” Mr. Sotomayor said with a chuckle.
3 p.m.

Another resident, Bryan Thompson, said some of the permanent maintenance workers at the development remained as bad as ever.

A month ago, he said, his upstairs neighbor used a chemical drain opener twice to unclog a shower drain. The powerful acid ate through the pipe, which leaked constantly and stained his shower walls.

He said a maintenance worker showed up twice to assess the damage, then closed the work orders without attempting to repair it.


Mr. Thompson said he repeatedly called 311, Nycha’s borough office and the main headquarters to no avail. It wasn’t until Ms. Barricelli called Nycha for him, he said, that the agency sent a plumber to fix the leak earlier this week.

“I called a couple of people that I knew and they listened,” she said. “But it should have been considered an emergency repair and fixed immediately.”

Nycha has 5,000 fewer employees than it did 10 years ago, which has compounded the self-replicating maintenance woes at its developments. The 71 temporary skilled trades workers hired for the new program are helping, but officials acknowledge they aren’t enough.

“Do we want to hire more? Absolutely, yes we do,” Ms. Pennington said. “Do we have adequate funding to hire additional staff? Absolutely no.”

Luis Ferré-Sadurní writes about housing in New York City for the Metro Desk. He joined The Times in 2017 and is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. @luisferre

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Dr. Mercola: Drinking This Healthy Beverage May Fill You With Chemicals

The Dark Side of the Global Tea Industry
    July 28, 2018 • 5,122 views




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Story at-a-glance

    Aside from pure water, drinking high quality tea can be a healthy beverage option. Many teas contain polyphenol antioxidants recognized for their disease prevention and antiaging properties
    Whereas bagged tea used to be the norm, people now want a more refined experience and are moving toward loose teas; tea connoisseurs and aficionados are willing to pay high prices for high-quality tea
    Quality seals such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ promise worker protections and fair wages. In reality, the higher prices you pay for these certified products do not translate into better pay or working conditions for India’s tea workers
    Darjeeling tea pickers get paid just 1.70 euros ($1.98) per day. The tea pickers’ union is pushing for a living wage, which would be at least twice as much
    Testing of tea from plantations in Assam, India, and teas sold in Germany reveal the presence of pesticides in all samples — including some that aren’t licensed for use in Germany, and one banned in tea farming in India

By Dr. Mercola

Aside from pure water, drinking high quality tea can be a healthy beverage option. Many teas contain polyphenol antioxidants recognized for their disease prevention and antiaging properties. For example, research1,2 has shown long-term tea intake can improve your blood pressure.

One systematic review of 25 randomized controlled trials found those who regularly drank either green or black tea for 12 weeks had an average of 2.6 mm Hg lower systolic blood pressure and 2.2 mm Hg lower diastolic pressure compared to those who did not drink tea.

Green tea provided the best results, followed by black tea. According to the authors, this reduction "would be expected to reduce stroke risk by 8 percent, coronary artery disease mortality by 5 percent and all-cause mortality by 4 percent at a population level…" Just how much tea would you need to drink to get these kinds of benefits?

Research suggests an ideal amount is around three to four cups of tea per day.3 For example, one 2007 study4 found "clear evidence" showing that three or more cups of tea — in this case black tea — reduced the risk of heart disease.

But for all their health boons, tea has its dark sides. Erik Hane's 2018 DW documentary "Bitter Cup: The Dark Side of the Tea Trade," investigates some of the lesser-known facets of India's tea industry, which is typically staffed by underpaid workers forced to live under dismal conditions.

Few are also aware of the health ramifications these workers face, as they're frequently exposed to toxic pesticides — or that most teas, including the most prized, are contaminated with these chemicals. Quality certification also has its problems, and is no guarantee that workers are paid and treated fairly.
Darjeeling — The Champagne of Tea

"What is the true cost of tea?" the film asks, "And are Indian workers the ones paying the price?" In Germany, tea appreciation is on the rise. Tea taster Henning Schmidt holds weekly lectures, teaching people about the finer aspects of tea drinking. Whereas bagged tea used to be the norm, more and more people now want a more refined experience with their tea, and are moving toward loose teas.

"Aficionados brew tea according to a very strict ritual," Hane says — techniques that help bring out the flavor and aroma of the tea. Along with this new appreciation for tea comes a willingness to pay more for high-quality tea leaves. According to Schmidt, high-quality tea costs between 20 euros and 30 euros ($23 to $35) per 100 grams. The most expensive tea available can go as high as 60 euros ($70) for 100 grams.

One of the most prized teas in the world — often referred to as "the Champagne of tea" — grows in Darjeeling in Northern India. The tea is grown high in the Himalayan mountains, and many believe it's this unique growing location that makes Darjeeling tea so special. Because of the intense sun exposure, the leaves grow slower than in lower regions, and this slower growth rate is thought to be part of the formula that gives the tea its distinctive flavor.

It's steep price tag is also due to the fact that everything has to be done by hand. The steep hillsides cannot accommodate machinery, and the physical labor that goes into every facet of the tea's production adds to the final price. That, at least, is the justification offered by vendors in the West. In reality, locals in Darjeeling do not appear to be profiting from the region's tea production. In Darjeeling City, poverty and unemployment rates are high, and migrant workers live in the slums, located in the city center.
Darjeeling Tea Pickers Fight for Living Wage

Hane interviews Suraj Subba, the leader of the local tea trade union. According to Subba, Darjeeling tea pickers get paid just 1.70 euros ($1.98) per day. The union is pushing for a living wage, which would be at least twice as much. From this meagre income, workers must pay for housing, food, clothing, school fees and educational material for their children, health care and everything else a person might need for daily living.

Picking tea is backbreaking work. Seven o'clock each morning, the workers start picking tea leaves by hand, baskets suspended from their forehead across their backs to keep both hands free. A local tea picker comments, "Picking tea might not be a very complicated job, but it's extremely tiring."

To earn their daily wage, the workers must also reach the daily quota, which can range from 8 to 20 kilos (17.6 to 44 pounds) depending on the time of the season. Here in the mountains, there are no other jobs, so there's no competition for workers. Moreover, in order to have the privilege of paying to live on the plantation, you have to work there.

The highest quality teas are whole leaf, which have the best flavor and strongest aroma, followed by broken leaf. Bagged teas typically contain the lowest grade tea. Fraud exists in the tea trade as in most others, and large quantities of tea are fraudulently sold as Darjeeling each year. This only adds to the problems facing those trying to make a living in Darjeeling, as it affects both the price and reputation of their tea.
Can You Trust Quality Seals?

There are a number of different certifications meant to assure consumers that fair trade and environmentally friendly practices are observed, including:

    Fairtrade certification, which stands for fair wages and good working conditions
    Rainforest Alliance, aimed at conserving biodiversity and providing "sustainable livelihoods"
    UTZ certification, which stands for sustainable farming practices and better working conditions

The question is, do these seals deliver on their promises? In Assam, India's largest tea growing area, Hane visits the Tonganagaon plantation certified by all three of these organizations. As noted in the film, the higher prices consumers pay for products carrying these quality seals should translate into higher pay and better working conditions for the workers. The reality, however, does not match such expectations.

On the Tonganagaon plantation, the pickers with the highest yields in a year receive a bicycle. Of the 1,286 workers, 11 had received bicycles. The others receive nothing over and above their daily pay and a tin for holding rice. Each family is allotted a portion of rice, as they do not receive a living wage. A typical dinner is plain rice, boiled with plenty of salt and washed down with tea. The workers live in fragile huts made of bamboo and mud, and drink unpurified water from wells they themselves dug by hand.

There's no sewage system; they must use dugout latrine pits when they go to the bathroom — a situation that breeds mosquitoes and promotes malaria. These open latrines also contaminate the ground water. And yet, the tea estate is by law responsible for providing and meeting basic needs such as housing, potable water and toilets. When workers try to file a complaint with the manager, "they make us wait all day long, then say the manager doesn't have time to see us," one of the workers says.
UTZ Suspends Tonganagaon Tea Estate's Certification

As you'd expect, children are hardest hit by the poverty, malnutrition and unsanitary living conditions on these tea estates. Professor Anup Kumar Das with the Assam Medical College and Hospital treats tea workers, noting child malnutrition and mortality are very high in this area. Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation are primary causes of illness leading to death.

This is not the reality promised by Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, the seals of which are supposed to ensure a living wage, social justice and humane working conditions. "How can this be?" Hane asks. In a written statement, Fairtrade replied: "Without a doubt, we are repeatedly confronted by massive problems in Assam.

But pulling out of the tea sector in Assam would only make the situation on the ground even more difficult …" Later, after the release of the film, Fairtrade withdrew its seal of approval for the Tonganagaon estate.

Rainforest Alliance responded to Hane's inquiry saying, "Insofar as they are confirmed by our own auditors, some of the grievances you depict will lead to the decertification of the plantations in question." UTZ was the only organization that took immediate action. It issued the following statement:

    "Our staff in India have inspected the situation at the Tonganagaon tea estate and submitted their evaluation … As conditions there evidently remain inadequate and require further investigation, we have no option but to suspend the certification of the Tonganagaon tea estate with immediate effect."

Workers Exposed to Dangerous Pesticides

As it turns out, most tea plantations view these quality and social justice seals as little more than marketing tools, as many buyers will only purchase tea from estates with one or more of these certifications. As noted by Hane, "That's an approach that does the tea workers little good." Indeed, the plight of tea workers is not restricted to Tonganagaon. The situation is the same on most if not all quality certified tea estates in Assam.

Yet another plight of tea workers is having to apply toxic pesticides without even the most basic of protective gear. Acute poisoning and long-term health effects, including generational effects, are consequences these workers must face, whilst living in inhumane poverty. Consumers may also face health risks.

Testing of tea leaves taken directly from plantations in Assam and teas sold in German grocery stores, reveal the presence of pesticides in all samples — including some that aren't licensed for use in Germany. They even found a pesticide banned in tea farming in India. Whole tea from a plantation certified by Rainforest Alliance also had eight times the German legal limit of a particular pesticide. A take-home message here is that price and quality seals do not equate to a tea being pesticide-free.

    "Pesticide residues in all tested samples, and the at-best dubious benefit of quality seals, the global tea trade has many losers, including European consumers, but no one has been left more vulnerable by its success than tea workers toiling in the estates of Darjeeling and Assam," Hane says in closing.

Matcha Tea and Tulsi — Two Superior Tea Choices

While Darjeeling may be the most popular, Matcha green tea from Japan may be a better choice if you're drinking tea for its health benefits and are concerned about pesticide residues. Matcha green tea has a wonderful flavor and superior nutrient content, as it has not been damaged through processing.

The best Matcha comes from Japan and is steamed rather than roasted or pan-fried. As a result, it retains all the nutrient-rich value possible from the tea leaf. As an added boon, the chlorophyll in Matcha acts as a natural detoxifier.

The whole tea leaves are ground into a fine powder, which you stir directly into hot water, resulting in a bright green beverage. A cold version option that is perfect for summer is Matcha lemonade. Simply dissolve the powder in hot water; chill, then add lemon or lime juice. A small amount of stevia can be added for sweetness. Serve with ice. The vitamin C from the citrus juice increases the benefits of green tea, as the ascorbic acid boosts the amount of catechins available for your body to absorb more than fivefold.5

Another delicious, healthy option is Indian Tulsi tea, which contains hundreds of beneficial phytochemicals. Working together, these compounds possess potential antioxidant, adaptogenic and immune-enhancing properties that can fight stress and help promote your general health in multiple ways, including:

    Bolstering your immune system
    Providing you with a calming effect and relief from occasional stress
    Promoting healthy metabolism
    Helping maintain optimal blood sugar levels

Different Types of Tea May Offer Different Benefits

Naturally, tea connoisseurs will want to experiment with a variety of teas. Just pay close attention to their sourcing, and remember quality seals don't always deliver on their promises to protect workers. Black and green tea (as well as oolong, dark and white teas) come from the same plant, an evergreen called Camellia sinensis. It is the processing method and degree of oxidization (exposure to oxygen) that create the different tea types.

While black tea is oxidized, green tea is not oxidized at all after the leaves are harvested. This minimal oxidation may help to keep the beneficial antioxidants in green tea intact, although both green and black teas have beneficial effects. Generally speaking, the less the tea is oxidized, the lower its caffeine content and higher its antioxidants. White tea is actually the least processed of all teas, while oolong is semi-oxidized, placing it between green and black teas in terms of caffeine and antioxidant levels.

There are also herbal teas, which vary quite dramatically in flavor and health effects (herbal teas are actually not considered "true" teas, as they do not come from Camellia sinensis, but they can be beneficial and enjoyable nonetheless). What types of benefits do different types of tea offer?

    Green and black tea for your gut: Both green and black tea may alter gut microbes in a way that's beneficial for preventing weight gain and obesity.6
    Oolong tea for weight management and heart health: The polyphenols in oolong tea help control fat metabolism in your body by activating certain enzymes. A 2001 study7 published in the Journal of Nutrition found that participants who drank either full-strength or diluted oolong tea burned 2.9 to 3.4 percent more total calories daily.
    Hibiscus tea for overall health: High in vitamin C, minerals and antioxidants, studies suggest hibiscus tea may improve blood pressure, help prevent metabolic syndrome, protect your liver and even provide anticancer effects.8
    Matcha for an antioxidant boost: Studies9 indicate 1 cup of Matcha may provide the antioxidant equivalent of 3 cups of regular green tea and as much as 137 times more antioxidants than low-grade green tea.

+ Sources and References
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Friday, 27 July 2018

Will We Have To Think The Unthinkable - In Order To Make The Free Senior High School Initiative Sustainable?

It is vital that as a people we all contribute to the ongoing conversation about  making the free senior high school initiative sustainable.  We must also keep an open mind about the issue - and shame the negative  politicians who seek to turn it into political football for propaganda purposes.

An aspirational nation keen to successfully transform itself into a prosperous and inclusive society, cannot afford not to have free education from kindergaten to tertiary level,  for those with the aptitude to study, but who come from poor backgrounds. With the pace at which technology is advancing, Ghana needs to keep refreshing its amazing talent pool, to digitise its national economy successfully.

The question is: Will creative thinking help us resolve the sustainability challenges in the provision of free senior high school education in Ghana? For example, should the power to create money be taken away from retail banks - and made the sole preserve of the Bank of Ghana: which will then create  digital accounts for all Ghanaians, into which will be deposited  digital money for the payment of  school fees from kindergaten to tertiary-level, NHIS hospital fees, and for affordable housing for all who need it? What disaster could possibly befall  Mother Ghana by such a  move to digital helicopter-money in the digital era?

There are also those who posit that since the very future of Ghanaian democracy is at stake,  we ought to  have the nous and gumption to persuade oil companies operating in our waters that oil agreements signed by successive regimes since oil was discovered in commercial quantities, were unfairly obtained, and ought therefore to be renegotiated. Production-sharing agreements would give Ghana ownership of all its oil deposits - and give her $140 billion over the lifetime of those oil deposits: instead of the paltry $20 billion due it because the oil companies own that depleting resource under  current agreements. A travesty if ever there was one.

It is for that reason that such independent-minded individuals insist that the plain truth is that every honest and patriotic Ghanaian, who knows anything about the oil industry, and genuinely cares about the welfare of ordinary people (and also  seeks the long-term well-being of our nation at all material times), will agree that for common-good-reasons,  only production-sharing agreements are in the overall national interest.  It offends some of them that even troubled  Chad's leaders were wise and honest enough to opt for production-sharing oil agreements.

The question is: Will such a development in Ghana ensure the sustainability of the government's free senior high school initiative? Faced with the dire societal consequences of the initiative's failure, we must think the unthinkable. Has the time not now come for our leaders to talk to the enlightened leaderships - such as BlackRock's Larry Finks -  of the world's  biggest institutional investors that are major shareholders in the foreign entities operating in Ghana's oil industry, about swapping the current patently unfair so-called hybrid oil agreements with production-sharing ones? Food for thought.

The Guardian/Ian Birrel: Britain is open for business? Not for African musicians coming to Womad

The Guardian

Britain is open for business? Not for African artists coming to Womad
Ian Birrell
Ian Birrell
A humiliating visa process is stopping musicians from performing here – a grim sign of our post-Brexit future

Fri 27 Jul 2018 09.45 BST
Last modified on Fri 27 Jul 2018 09.46 BST

Womad festival

Moonchild Sanelly oozes star quality. When musicians from Africa Express – the organisation I co-founded – went to South Africa earlier this year to make some recordings, they were blown away by her. A huge mop of blue hair, an engaging personality and distinctive vocals, she ended up on so many tracks that one visitor joked they were making her solo album. When the collective played in Johannesburg, Damon Albarn hailed an emerging superstar after she performed.

But British audiences must wait to see this fabulous artist. For Moonchild is the latest African performer to fall foul of our “hostile environment” on migration, forcing her to cancel three planned shows in this country after spending almost £500 for the visa application. She handed over all the demanded documents, which range from checked bank statements through to insurance details, and took two days to collate, only to be seemingly tripped up on a financial discrepancy largely caused by fluctuating exchange rates.

Her case is far from unique. Obtaining visas for non-European artists coming to Britain has long been a nightmare, even for world-famous stars. Two years ago Africa Express sought visas for 50 Syrians to tour a re-formed orchestra, one of the most stressful things I have ever attempted. Everything was still up in the air for a tour costing more than £500,000 just days before the first show – which was due to be joined by the likes of Paul Weller and Rachid Taha. Thankfully, it was well worth the effort in the end. But this gut-wrenching process seems to be getting tougher amid a rising tide of nationalism and post-Brexit paranoia.
Foreign musicians shunning UK, says Womad organiser
Read more

Chris Smith, the director of this weekend’s Womad festival, told the Radio Times that for the first time musicians had rejected invitations rather than face the “humiliation” of confronting Britain’s visa services. “Culture is being crushed as politicians lurch to the right,” he said. “My fear is the situation is only going to get worse.” Yet this is a time when divided communities need the soothing balm of art and unifying power of music reaching across borders more than ever.

Those involved in promoting music from abroad swap horror stories. Womad had to cancel one act after British officials put the wrong date in their visas and shelled out £15,000 on emergency visas for another artist last year. One famous African group’s manager was shocked recently to find charges of almost £7,000 to obtain visas for his touring party – and these only last three months. “It is not really worth coming any more,” he told me sadly. This was echoed by a leading booking agent, who said artists were being deterred by the complexity, the costs and the lack of humanity in an outsourced system. “Often the officers on the borders don’t know their own rules but it’s the artists who get punished,” he added.

It is bad enough that passports are handed over for weeks, preventing artists working, but then they must sit in hotels for days after flying across continents for biometric tests. These are, bear in mind, people from poorer parts of the planet trying to develop careers by visiting a nation that proclaims creative leadership and a desire to improve the world. Sadly, they are often frozen out by costs or confronted by condescending attitudes. I have heard also from Kenyan charity workers, Nigerian entrepreneurs and Ghanaian techies outraged at being treated like illegal immigrants when seeking visas to visit Britain for business from their fast-growing countries.

Such issues pale beside bigger problems such as the soaring death rate of migrants crossing the Mediterranean amid the surge of fearful populism. But when artists from developing nations reject the platform to perform at one of our best-known festivals, this should be a warning sign. For it symbolises the hypocrisy of politicians who boast about global Britain, only to then tighten borders, rip off foreigners and treat visitors with contempt.

Sadly, the message going out is that Britain is closed for business and culture – from some places at least.

• Ian Birrell is co-founder of Africa Express, a collaborative music project
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1 2 3 4 5

    3m ago
    0 1

    UK’s mentality is one of an insular backwater. When the UK had colonies the foreign peoples were fine as trophies or as curiosities. Now UK controls nothing and has lost all respect in the rest of the world. It will be become ever more hostile and unfriendly to outside influences as the rest of the world sails by. Brexit is a symptom of a chronic British disease. We need an antidote.
    Reply Share
    Stella Baker
    18m ago
    0 1

    I think it's a bit rich people going on about people from Africa abusing our visa system when our military forces are occupying several spots in Africa and the Middle East bombing their cities to dust.
    Reply Share
        antistink Stella Baker
        0 1

        One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. As an aside, I've noticed that since I've left the toilet seat up, there have been no Earthquakes round here.
        Reply Share

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