Why are there so many mass shootings in the US?

With the mass shooting in the US of school children, again, I took a close look at what data and literature there was abour crime in the US, particularly gun crime. People talk about a link between gun ownership and mass shooting. Is there one?

It appears so, according to an article that appeared in the New York times in November. “Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns”, the article says. What a statistic!

The Interpreter, New York Times

What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer

By Max Fisher and Josh Keller

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Where the jobs are for graduates in journalism

I often wonder what graduates of journalism do. It’s not easy finding a job in any discipline but it is probably harder in journalism- because the landscape is changing all the time; too many people want to be investigative journalists (as if they exist any more), and the demand is for digital journalists or whizz-kids on social media.

 I was OK when I graduated from journalism school in the late 1980s. At least there were still traditional journalism jobs, in the UK anyway. And I specialised in finance and economics- since I had come from the Treasury.

 I was interested read this survey that was carried out in Spain. Unsurprisingly the demand is for digital journalists.

Where the jobs are for graduates in journalism"The new journalism specialties". The graphic shows that 56% of the Spanish journalists surveyed work in media that have community managers, and 30% employ data and traffic analysts. Click to enlarge the graphic.Where will the jobs be for graduates in journalism and communication? The results of a survey of journalists in Spain give some indication. The urgent demand is for people with digital media skills, but more on that in a minute. The Press Association of Madrid's (abbreviated to APM in Spanish) 2017 survey was sent to 13,500 professionals, and the overall response rate was a respectable 13%. A little more than a third were working in journalism while another third were working in other professions or were retired or semi-retired. The remaining 30 percent were working in communications, mainly advertising and public relations. (News articles about the survey are here, here, and here in Spanish. Disconnect in training The survey results show that the respondents to the survey are not the ones who are filling the new digital media jobs in their newsrooms. For example, 56% of the respondents said their publications had digital community managers--the people responsible for interacting with users in social networks and other channels--while only 13% of the respondents said they were working in those jobs. Versión en español This might suggest that media organizations are filling these positions with people who are coming from outside their own newsrooms. Another possible explanation is that the people being hired for these new digital media jobs are newcomers to the profession and thus not members of the professional organizations contacted for the survey. In any case, the same discrepancy shows up in several other digital specialties: 35% of the respondents' newsrooms have data visualization specialists, but only 3% of the respondents are working in those jobs. Similar discrepancies exist for data journalists (32% vs. 19%) and analysts of traffic and data (31% vs. 5%). This last one of traffic analyst is critical. It seems to indicate that newsrooms don't have people on board who know how to interpret the data about how the public is interacting with their content. Failure to understand the audience in today's highly competitive environment has fatal consequences. Still a popular major The APM's report, which runs to more than 100 pages, noted that there were 22,000 students enrolled in university programs of journalism and communication. In 2016, Spain's universities granted degrees in journalism to 3,400 students. Where will they find work? There were only 27,000 people working in radio, television, newspapers, and magazines, and many of these organizations have been ruthlessly cutting staff and salaries. That's the bad news. The good news is that traditional newsrooms are hiring more people with digital media skills, and the number of people working for digital-only media is growing. More than a third (36%) of the survey respondents were working in digital media or social media roles. For young people entering the communications professions, there are several career paths:in major media, they might replace laid-off veterans who either could not or would not assume new digital rolesthey can join up with digital media natives, which, unfortunately, have small newsrooms and lower salaries and benefitsthey can respond to a growing demand from small businesses for marketing and advertising specialists to create campaigns in digital media.Not all of this is great news, but the trends are working in favor of those who can fill the changing job descriptions.  For journalism professors and managers of media organizations, the message is the same or similar in every country. We have to ask ourselves if we are doing everything we can to prepare the next generation of communications professionals. We need a generation of professionals with the skills to provide the high-quality information and news necessary for a healthy democracy. In a time of rapid change and shrinking resources, we need to find ways to collaborate--the media, universities, and all the organizations and institutions that provide them with financial support--to guarantee a promising future for these communicators and the audiences they serve.

http://newsentrepreneurs.blogspot.co.nz/2018/02/where-jobs-are-for-graduates-in.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+NewsEntrepreneurs+(News+Entrepreneurs)

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Solar-powered mosques

 Alternative energy is big in the Middle East and North Africa, by which I mean it is talked about a great deal. The first phase of world’s largest solar plant, Noor I, was switched on in Ouarzazate, Morocco , about two years ago. The German investment bank, Kfw, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank are backing the project for a total of $900 million. For more on what Morocco has planned go to https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/04/morocco-to-switch-on-first-phase-of-worlds-largest-solar-plant.

 One of the reasons alternative energy has never really taken off in the Middle East is that it, is for the most part, cheaper to use fossil fuels, usually oil, rather than put resources into alternative energy. Masdar City, in Abu Dhabi, is an exception. Masdar is a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, an investment company based in the same emirate, and the Government of Abu Dhabi is reported to have provided most of the seed capital. It’s fascinating to walk around Masdar- narrow loans, electric cars and wind mills. Nothing like the rest of the United Arab Emirates.

 With the emphasis on alternative energy, but largely without the commitment to fulfil it, I was fascinated to read this story in Al-Monitor and Palestine Pulse, about solar-powered mosques in Palestine. Maybe this would catch on in other parts of the Middle East?

 This is what was written. https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/02/palestine-west-bank-solar-energy-mosque.html?utm_campaign=20180209&utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%20Newsletter

Solar-powered mosque answers prayers in West Bank

Entsar Abu Jahal February 6, 2018

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Iraqi Kurds move closer to Iran

The September 25th referendum on Kurdish independence was greeted with much enthusiam by Kurds in New Zealand. I was staying with one Kurdish family at the time. There was an expectation that a “yes” referendum would lead to independence for the Kurds. Little did they expect that Iraq, Iran and Turkey would all be opposed to it.

Turkey has launched a massive attack on the Kurds in Afrin, Syria, which is on the border with Turkey. I think Turkey hates the Kurds more than it does IS. The Turkish government, no matter who is in power, has always been against Kurdish independence. The latest attacks show this. No matter that the Kurdish are great fighters, and were instrumental in the fight against IS.

This article, that was published in Al –Monitor  explains why the Iraqi Kurds are moving closer to Iran

Iraqi Kurds maneuver to get closer to Iran

Fazel Hawramy

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How stockmarkets in the Middle East are faring

There’s been an almighty crash in the stock markets over the last couple of days with the Dow Jones Industrial Average index tumbling 1,175 points, or 4.6% to close down at 24,345.75 on Monday.

It regained 567 points by the end of the next day.

 Reportedly, this is because of the fear of an interest rate rise in the US and of a stronger global economy. This means that the economic stimulus that markets introduced during the financial crisis of 2008 will now be withdrawn, amid concern that such stimulus will overheat the economy.

 The rocky ride on the US stock market was followed by stock markets around the world- in the UK, the rest of Europe, Asia, Australia and even New Zealand to some extent, although it was closed on Tuesday because it was Waitangi Day.

But what has happened in the Middle East? While stock markets in that region showed some volatility the plunge was more limited. Dubai's stock market closed 1.5 per cent lower and Abu Dhabi's shed nearly 1 per cent in the region's third day of trading for the week. 

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How newsletters can hit open rates between 50% and 60%

I receive newsletters all the time. Some are simple promotions with links while a few are editorial. Not many though. With these, the articles are summarised and the links made to it. This article below discusses what makes for a good editorial newsletter and how to measure success.

                               Four Ways Newsletter Publishers Can Hit Open Rates Between 50 and 60 Percent

Email newsletters, which seemed all but dead at the height of the social media revolution, have made a roaring comeback.

Traditional publishers like the New York Times, online specialists like Quartz and even newsletter-only publishers like TheSkimm are winning over droves of readers and creating new revenue streams at the same time with their email strategies. And there are as many newsletters as there are topics to write about. At Revue, we help tens of thousands of people, from big companies to individual writers, publish editorial newsletters that readers look forward to seeing in their inboxes.

Publishers of editorial newsletters have a laser focus on the right audience

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What the UN can learn from Turkey about refugees

The subject of refugees always evokes a mix of emotions. Some people believe that refugees detract from the local community; others that they enhance it and give back more than they take from society. I’m in the latter camp but that’s because I’ve undertaken research on the matter. (I’ve made a documentary on the subject.: “Stepping Up: NZ’s response to the refugee crisis. https://www.luciadore.com/blog/stepping-up-nz-s-response-to-the-refugee-crisis).

I continue to do research on the subject. Indeed, I’m undertaking ongoing research with the Canterbury Refugee Resettlement and Resource Centre (CRRRC) (http://www.canterburyrefugeecentre.org.nz/) where we’re looking at employment and health.

So this article that was published in the Brookings Brief was both timely and enlightening. What will New Zealand learn about the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR).

 

What the UN can learn from Turkey about refugees

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The fight between the Turks and the Kurds

Dominating news in the Middle East is Turkey’s assault on the Kurds. This is nothing new. The Turkish government has always hated the Kurds- Recep Erdogen anyway- and have done all it can to wipe them out.

 Much to the chagrin of Turkey, the US has backed and even armed the Kurds in the fight against Islamic State (IS). And the Kurds have won. They are great fighters and are certainly effective.

 But they are caught between a rock and a hard place. If they fight too well, the Turks will set out to destroy the Kurds; if they don’t fight, they will be destroyed anyway. And with the backing of the US, and many of the international community, the Kurds are better armed and equipped than they have been most of the time.

 I read the article in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper below with interest. It explains the ongoing battlefield between the Turks, the Kurds and the Arabs.

 Turkey to extend Syria campaign to Kurdish-controlled Manbij

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The impact of women driving in Saudi Arabia.

I’ve thought long and hard about women driiving in Saudi Arabia. I’m a fan of women driving but what no news outlet has said that it will women driving is limited to people who at least 30 years. That’s my friend in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia says anyway. I thought that the article below was interesting.

 

Road To 2030: The Economic Impact Of Women Driving In Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's decision to allow female drivers to drive has been hailed as a step forward for women's rights in the ultra-conservative kingdom, but it could also have a major economic impact. Driven heavily by the “Saudi Vision 2030,” Saudi Arabia is looking at a variety of changes that will make the country globally competitive and less oil-reliant in the future.

First, part of Saudi Vision 2030 is to grow and encourage more foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country. An immediate effect from allowing women to drive is the new market for women drivers. There are estimates that out of the country’s 30 million people, there are more than eight million women aged 15-54 in Saudi Arabia, with a combination of both Saudis and expats, who will be eligible to drive. This means that various automotive companies will potentially have a new massive market to sell their vehicles, as well as those in the auto supply chain.

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What is micro-learning?

Evidently, we've been doing it for years -  micro-learning that is. Flashcards is an example of micro-learning; they're analogue but of course it is now digital. Micro-learning is all about learning when we get the chance, maybe in 10 or 15 minute bursts. This article explains more about the concept.

What is Microlearning: The Education Tactic Stopping Student Burnout Syndrome

Short learning modules can help engage students and fight burnout.

by Meghan Bogardus Cortez Twitter

Meghan is an associate editor with EdTech: Focus on Higher Education. She enjoys coffee, cats and science fiction TV.

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Stampede: why thousands were killed at Mecca

During the hajj of 2015, when more than two million Muslims make the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, some 2,400 pilgrims were crushed or trampled to death in about 10 minutes. Why? The authorities claim that it was "God's will" but, according to an article in Vanity Fair, it was a result of arrogance and dishonesty of the Saudi regime. "The panic that broke out was the result and not the cause of the carnage", the author writes.

Here is the link to the article:

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/01/the-mecca-stampede-that-made-history-hajj

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Lebanon’s energy promise could be regional game changer

Between 2010 and 2014 I sat through numerous debates about the exploitation of oil and gas in Lebanon. The oil and gas blocks were often talked about, and companies like Consolidated Contractors Company, (CCC), one of the largest construction firms in the Middle East, had put in a bid for a block.

Although there was much talk, the political process was slow and the ideal of being self sufficient in terms of energy never happened.

This article from Al Monitor is interesting because the author clearly believes that this time the Lebanese government will make the energy equation work. Great if it were to happen; I doubt that it will though. I’ve heard it all before.

Make up your own mind.

 Lebanon’s energy promise could be regional game changer

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The reason why Qatar is out in the cold

The row between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Qatar continues. I doubt that the Gulf countries and Egypt expected it to go on for so long. But Qatar is holding out. I said the row would have been over something other than terrorism since all countries in the region can be accused of that. I thought it would be for commercial reasons that the row had erupted, such as Emirates Airlines versus Qatar Airways, which are competing on similar routes. Anyway, according to the Daily Mail UK, the row is over the fact that Qatar refused to hand over the wife of a UAE opposition leader (not that I knew there was one) who had fled to Britain.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5263901/Qatar-crisis-began-did-not-hand-wanted-wife.html

Qatar's fallout with its neighbours was sparked 'when they refused to hand over the wife of an Emirates opposition leader after he fled to Britain'

Qatar says the pair fled the UAE in 2013 to escape political arrestsThe woman's activist husband was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK But when she tried to renew her passport at the UAE embassy in Qatar, her application was refused and a demand was made for her extraditionQatar's refusal to comply with the UAE request led to a rise in its social media attacks on Doha,  Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said

By Anthony Harwood For Mailonline

Published: 05:39 AEDT, 13 January 2018 | Updated: 06:35 AEDT, 13 January 2018

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Saudis watch Iran protests intently

The political machinations between Saudi Arabia and Iran go on and on. Both countries are vying for dominance in the region. Iran is helping Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Assad regime in Syria. Saudi Arabia is trying to wrest control from the Houthi rebels (who are mostly Shi’ite) and have been unwilling to let aid through, which has led to a famine of mega-proportions. As the article below states: “Yemen soon will be the ‘world’s worst humanitarian crisis in 50 years’ if the war continues."

Bruce Riedel January 8, 2018

While Saudi Arabia's economy is suffering due to low oil prices and discontent at home grows, the kingdom is following the protests in Iran with great interest, hoping national issues will distract from Iran's regional advances.

Saudi Arabia is following the unrest in Iran with intense interest, hoping it will force its regional rival to turn inward. The Saudis have little capacity to influence Iranian domestic developments, however, and share many of the same problems as Tehran. The Iranian question is unlikely to help resolve Riyadh’s biggest foreign policy challenge: the expensive quagmire in Yemen that is only getting worse. 

Since the start of the protests Dec. 28 in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest and holies city, the state-controlled media in Saudi Arabia has followed the protests closely. The protesters' call for Iran to spend more money at home and less on foreign adventures in Syria, the Gaza Strip, Iraq and Yemen especially has gotten much attention in Saudi media outlets. The Saudis have been fighting to combat Iranian advances in all these states for years with little success, so they hope that domestic unrest will constrain Iran, especially the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Saudi media has expressed concern about the sustainability of the unrest. Media articles in the country featured CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s public estimate that the unrest is likely to continue because of the weakness of the Iranian economy. At least one Saudi commentator has expressed concern that the unrest not produce another failed state in the region, which would create too much turmoil. Better to have enough disruption to keep the Iranians focused internally.

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Media ethics under the spotlight

This article talks about the findings of a survey carried out by the Centre for International Media Ethics (CIME), of which I am a member. It it is an enlightening read.Happy New Year!!!

We at CIME are pleased to share with you the results from the Media Ethics in the Post-Truth Era survey. The aim of the survey was to learn from our colleagues and associates about the state of media ethics in relation to the growing concerns and challenges that fake news presents in your respective countries. Overall, we hope that the results of the survey offer us all, as journalists and media practitioners, an opportunity to reflect on 2017, and think more collectively about the work that we do going forward into 2018.Survey Results   Before we begin, we would like to point out that while we got responses from across Africa, the Americas, Central and South Asia, Europe and Oceania, we did not get any responses from South-East Asia (ASEAN) or China. At CIME we aim to reach as many respondents as possible, but given people's commitments this is not always possible. Nevertheless, globally it was clear that there has been a staggering increase in sensationalist and fake news. In fact, 90% of you had witnessed this in your work, as seen in the first graph below. While we are aware that this is not new, nor unique to 2017 only, as seen by the continuous discussions and debates over Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, 'fake news' has a significant potential for manipulating and influencing public opinions.   Q2. Have you witnessed an increase in sensationalist and fake news in local/national media in the country you live/work in?  When asked about whether your government is protecting media ethics against these emerging trends in fake news and media manipulation, not one said excellent, and a total of 51% said between poor and very poor. Q8. How would you rank the country in which you live/work in regards to the government protecting media ethics?  To emphasis these numbers, many of you shared some of the 'fake news' stories in your home countries, which ranged from the death of Robert Mugabe, matters pertaining to Catalan's Independence Process, the North Korean missile program to Muslims seemingly killing Hindus in India. All of which can flare unnecessary and unwanted conflicts as well as matters of fear mongering and invoking hatred. Such stories often create an image or argument that favours a particular interests without taking into consideration the basic principles of ethical journalism and news reporting which is endangering this profession.   Some of you also mentioned how these stories which are shared via new sources of information such as Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, "purport to be news [without] sourcing, research and diligence done by traditional media." While there are many social media platforms, which publish information unprofessionally, many traditional media outlets and national broadcasters also operate unethically. As was mentioned in one comment, in countries like Brazil, the dissemination of misinformation through traditional media sources "has been always sensationalist". Therefore, this is not a matter of "new" verses "traditional", but complete media ecosystem matter.   A follow up concern to this, was whether or not there has been an increase in media outlets and/or journalists following the agenda of political and corporate elites.   Q3. Have you witnessed an increase in the media outlets and/or journalists following the agenda of political and corporate elites in the country you live/work in?   Again, a large majority (82.9%) agreed that there has been an increase. While many media outlets and broadcasters can openly criticize their presidents and corporate elites (those who have a large stake in a particular country), many of you continue to have a strong state media presence, which supports the state's agenda.   What was more interesting, were comments made about how some governments who want to be seen as having a free and fair media are using alternative methods to indirectly propagate their messages and information through trolls. For example, it was raised in one of the comments that a number of private and/or online media outlets "who write under false names" are paid by politicians, ruling parties and corporate elites to write stories to champion their character and public reputation. This question also flared another issue, the relationship between political parties and corporate elites. Two great examples of this that were shared were the on-going controversy over the Gupta family and Jacob Zuma in South Africa which has been labelled as 'Guptagate' and the power held by Globo Media in Brazil. Noam Chomsky's observations about propaganda and corporate media are useful reminders about what Daniel C. Hallin and Paolo Mancini (2004) defined as 'political parallelism' in both these cases.   Q4. Have any efforts been made by media outlets in the country you currently live/work in to invest in quality information and to combat hatred, racism and intolerance? Nevertheless, 62.7% of you stated that efforts have been made by media outlets to invest in quality information to combat hatred, racism and intolerance; either through "firing particular journalists" who are not maintaining their professionalism, establishing "alternative quality news sources", "editorial-opinion pieces [that] demand responses from government and political leaders", state broadcasters working "in collaboration with organisations such as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)" and national newspapers "investing in fact checking teams whose role is to debunk fake news". Such examples should not go unnoticed and should be recognized for upholding media ethics and combating matters of unprofessionalism, unethical reporting and matters relating to political parallelism.   Following on from these responses, the three principles which you suggested require the most attention in your country were - The publics right to accurate and fair information (82.9%), The journalist's professional integrity (44.6%) and joint third The journalist's social responsibility and Respect for universal values and diversity of cultures (34%). Nevertheless, it was clear from the results that all areas require attention, which emphasises that more work needs to be done.   Q5. In your opinion, which three principles from the list below require the most attention in the country you currently live/work in? As for what were some of the main issues or current violations of ethical reporting that you as a journalist or media practitioner face in order to carry out your work; Fake news (58.3%), low pay (50%), Pressure to provide news that attracts the largest audience and Political or corporate spin (47.9%) were the top three. Clearly fake news threw the media into overdrive amidst continued financial challenges last year. Thus, who is responsibility for ensuring that fake or misleading information is not available to the public delivered a mixed response. However, the three answers that came up the most were, the Government, Journalists/Editors and Facebook. Nevertheless, some of you stated that it was everyone's responsibility.   "Everybody. Consumers need to learn to be more informed, social media platforms need to point out misleading claims, journalists need to be even more careful when covering news to be aware of pitfalls from those trying to make them look bad" This last quote tallies with question 9 which asked whether there are many media literacy resources available to help people identify fake news, and whether the general public fact-check news sources? And the answer was 87.5% no.   Q9. There are many media literacy resources available to help people identify fake news, but do you think the general public in the country you live/work in fact-check news sources?  Many of you suggested that "citizen engagement and media literacy [should] be carried out by civil society organizations" and/or "in schools" to educate young people and the general public more broadly. Other ideas included "awareness raising campaigns" as well as having "accountable regulatory bodies". And as fake news continues to expand, and professional journalism is threatened, the need for people to be able to question, analyse, evaluate and ethically create media messages will become a necessary basic need.   Lastly, and very importantly, we asked you, how many of you are affiliated with other media ethics organisations. Your responses revealed that 36.3% are affiliated with your National Union of Journalists as well as international bodies such as International Federation of Journalists (33.3%) and the International Center for Journalists (24.2%). The reason for asking this question, was based on the success of these networks in recent times to help protect media ethics and journalistic professionalism in the Post-Truth Era. For example, take the network of nearly 400 journalists who worked together to expose the financial practices of the global elite, which we all now know as the Paradise Papers. Speaking truth to power, confronting and challenging information amidst political and economic intimidation, fake news, and changing public opinions, makes the role of professional and ethical journalism all the more important. And while there maybe a long road ahead for us as journalists and media professionals to continue upholding media ethics and the role we play in society, it is evident from the Watergate and Guptagate' that we must continue to work both independently and collectively to build a strong and robust media ecosystem.   Therefore, we would like to again thank all of you who kindly participated in the survey. We cannot stress how important it is to learn from each other about the current status of media ethics in your respective countries. So please continue to carry out the good work that you do, and we from the CIME Team wish you a very happy and ethical 2018!!

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Dubai: Year in Review 2017

I thought this was an interesting article talking about Dubai. Here is the article first published by Oxford Business Group (OBG), the global publishing, research and consultancy firm.

*This article is copyright of Oxford Business Group 2018. Published under permission by OBG www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com.

 

22 Dec 2017

Increased activity in trade, tourism and construction paved the way for another year of growth in Dubai, with momentum expected to continue through 2018 as the emirate’s preparations for Expo 2020 shift up a gear.  

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Has FDI fallen out of favour in New Zealand?

hThese articles recently appeared in FDI magazine.

Lucia Dore | 14/12/2017 12:02 pm |

https://www.fdiintelligence.com/Locations/Asia-Pacific/New-Zealand/Has-FDI-fallen-out-of-favour-in-New-Zealand

Observers fear New Zealand’s historic openness to foreign investors could be a thing of the past under new prime minister Jacinda Ardern, with property speculation coming under increased scrutiny. Lucia Dore reports.

For the most part, New Zealand has had an open and welcoming attitude towards FDI over the years, and has recognised the positive contribution that foreign investors have made to the country. However, this may be about to change. 

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Has FDI fallen out of favour in New Zealand?

These articles recently appeared in FDI magazine.

Lucia Dore | 14/12/2017 12:02 pm |

https://www.fdiintelligence.com/Locations/Asia-Pacific/New-Zealand/Has-FDI-fallen-out-of-favour-in-New-Zealand

Observers fear New Zealand’s historic openness to foreign investors could be a thing of the past under new prime minister Jacinda Ardern, with property speculation coming under increased scrutiny. Lucia Dore reports.

For the most part, New Zealand has had an open and welcoming attitude towards FDI over the years, and has recognised the positive contribution that foreign investors have made to the country. However, this may be about to change. 

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Top 10 UX Articles of 2017

Frequently, I have had to write predictions about different topics. Most recently, I had to write about Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the Middle East and then write predictions for M&A- mainly the countries that will see the biggest deals and the factors driving them. It's all a "stab in the dark" and if any of the predictions are true it's a bit of oil-fashioned good luck mixed with some knowledge.

Many of the predictions cross my desk and they are too numerous to mention. Most will not come to anything. I believe one of the exceptions to this, is the “Top 10 UX articles in 2017” list compiled by Jakob Nielsen based on the most hits an article has garnered. Here is the list.

 Top 10 UX Articles of 2017

The following articles published in 2017 were the ones our audience read the most:

Flat UI Elements Attract Less Attention and Cause Uncertainty Flat interfaces often use weak signifiers. In an eyetracking experiment comparing different kinds of clickability clues, UIs with weak signifiers required more user effort than strong ones.UX Research Cheat Sheet User research can be done at any point in the design cycle. This list of methods and activities can help you decide which to use when.UX Mapping Methods Compared: A Cheat Sheet Empathy maps, customer journey maps, experience maps, and service blueprints depict different processes and have different goals, yet they all build common ground within an organization.Mega Menus Work Well for Site Navigation Large, rectangular menus group navigation options to eliminate scrolling and use typography, icons, and tooltips to explain users' choices.The Most Hated Online Advertising Techniques Modal ads, ads that reorganize content, and autoplaying video ads were among the most disliked. Ads that are annoying on desktop become intolerable on mobile.Comparison Tables for Products, Services, and Features Use this versatile GUI tool to support users when they need to make a decision that involves considering multiple attributes of a small number of offerings. Consistency in content, scannability, and a simple layout are some of the most important qualities of successful comparison tables.Date-Input Form Fields: UX Design Guidelines Date-entry fields must be unambiguous and support task completion by using the right design pattern. Small design changes can prevent big user errors.Personas vs. Jobs-to-Be-Done Jobs-to-be-done focus on user problems and needs, while well-executed personas include the same information and also add behavioral and attitudinal details.Don’t Use Split Buttons for Navigation Menus Menu on hover, category landing page on click: we discuss challenges and solutions for replicating this pattern on touchscreens.Flat-Design Best Practices Flat designs often suffer from usability problems and cause click uncertainty because of lost signifiers. Avoid these negative side effects by consistently and clearly differentiating between clickable and unclickable elements.

Bonus Articles

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Saudi Arabia: Is a purge on corruption really the motive?

The corruption scandal in Saudi Arabia continues to run and run. While prominent Saudi princes and businessmen are arrested, Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal, one of the richest men in the region said to be worth $16 billion, there are stories that they will give part of their holdings to Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) who is calling the shots . Is this really a purge on corruption or a power grab?

 In some of the reports, US mercenaries, who provide protection for MBS, are reportedly holding the hostages. In another report, Americans are also being held in the round up.

This is the link.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5215505/Saudi-prince-detained American-businessmen-crackdown.html

This is the news story in the Daily Mail (UK).

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