Saipan carves niche as sports tourism capital of Micronesia

first_img2013 Hell of the Marianas. Photo from the official HOM Facebook account.SAIPAN—Not only do the steep hills of Saipan provide the best access to breathtaking view of the island, they can also push even the most veteran athletes to their limits.Saipan’s terrain, which features short sharp climbs across the luscious forest overlooking the ocean,  makes for the perfect setting for the island’s top sporting events, which has consistently lured elite athletes from all over the world.ADVERTISEMENT NBA: Westbrook’s triple-double fuels Thunder Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Senators to proceed with review of VFA SEA Games: Kim Mangrobang wins gold anew as Filipinos secure triathlon double sweep PLAY LIST 01:05SEA Games: Kim Mangrobang wins gold anew as Filipinos secure triathlon double sweep00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. EDITORS’ PICK “Aside from the scenic view, the course itself provides a great challenge,” Vincent Seman, president of the Northern Mariana Islands Cycling Federation, told “Anywhere you can lots of flats, but not anywhere you can have lots of flats and short steep climbs.”Seman, who also got into the sport of cycling because of Saipan’s captivating yet challenging courses, believes that that combination is why cyclists and other athletes alike keep coming back. FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSFreddie Roach: Manny Pacquiao is my Muhammad Ali“[Saipan] just the provides a very natural environment. Just to have this kind of scenery and to be able to put up a race like this, it’s just the best of both worlds.”Saipan  is located in the Western Pacific some four hours away from Manila by plane with a population of close to 50,000— a good number of that from the Philippines. View comments Concepcion said Saipan’s hosting of the IRONMAN 70.3 is a first in Micronesia and the MVA is hoping to encourage participants in places where there is an MVA office like Korea, Japan, China and the Philippines.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Earlier this month, Filipino cyclists and triathletes had their mettle tested in the annual Hell of the Marianas 100-kilometer bike race and all of them admitted that the course was one of the toughest they’ve experienced yet.“It was really hard. I hope the level of competition continues to improve because this was a great course and I know a lot more can be encouraged to join, “ said multiple Tour champion Mark Galedo, who finished third in the race last December 3, said in Filipino.Hell of the Marianas is just one of the international sporting tournaments Saipan has regularly hosted in the past decade. There is also the annual XTERRA Off-Road Championships, where Filipinos like professional triathlete Joe Miller of Team Forza have also competed.But there is none bigger than the prestigious IRONMAN 70.3 Saipan this March, something which is sure to boost Saipan’s reputation as a sports tourism destination in this side of the world.“We want to promote as a fun, fit, active, and healthy destination,” said Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Chris Concepcion. “That’s how we want to brand ourselves–as a sports island and paradise here in the middle of the Pacific.”ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img As fate of VFA hangs, PH and US forces take to the skies for exercise Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes We are young Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town MOST READ Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol townlast_img read more

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: Resistance MRE Review & Taste Test Video

first_imgWould this be something you’d buy? Can you believe Guy didn’t know what French Burnt Peanuts are? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Share This!Can you imagine being stranded on a swamp down in Dagobah without access to snack foods? Have no fear! In a preview of merchandise from Galaxy’s Edge, we’re showing you the contents of the Resistance MRE — and doing a taste test.Fair warning, this video is not safe to watch while sipping on your morning beverage. You will laugh enough to shoot blue milk out of your nose.last_img

Sandton to get Park Inn by 2010

first_img28 January 2008Belgium-based Rezidor Hotel Group has announced plans to build a Park Inn hotel in Johannesburg’s financial centre of Sandton by 2010 to complement the group’s existing Radisson Hotel Sandton, which is due to open later this year.The Park Inn Sandton will feature 192 rooms and is expected to welcome its first guests in April 2010 – in time for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.“South Africa is an upcoming destination for business and leisure travellers,” Rezidor Hotel Group CEO Kurt Ritter said in a statement last week. “The government has prioritised tourism as a key economic sector, and international arrivals increase continuously – we are expecting new heights in 2010 when the country hosts the Fifa World Cup.”Consisting of leading brands like Radisson SAS, Country Inn, Hotel Missoni, Park Inn and Regent, the Rezidor Hotel Group features almost 300 hotels in operation and under development in 47 countries worldwide.The Park Inn Sandton will be situated directly across the road from the Gautrain station, and will have the benefit of being the closest hotel to the underground station that will link commuters on South Africa’s first underground railway system directly to the OR Tambo International Airport, Rosebank and Pretoria.The new hotel will also be in close proximity to the JSE, headquarters of many multinational corporations, and the Sandton Convention Centre, and only a few hundred metres away from Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square – two of the country’s finest shopping meccas.According to Rezidor, Park Inn is their fastest growing brand, with more than 100 hotels in operation and under development in Europe, Africa and the Middle East since the brand was launched in early 2003.The Park Inn brand is said to represent a young, dynamic and colourful mid-market brand, promising “the best sleep in town”.“With the existing Radisson and Park Inn hotels in Cape Town, as well as the recently signed Radisson hotels in Port Elizabeth and Sandton, this marks another milestone of the development and commitment of The Rezidor Hotel Group in South Africa,” the group said.SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Mahikeng airport freight hub on cards

first_img13 September 2013 The government of South Africa’s North West province is conducting a feasibility study for the development of a freight hub at Mahikeng International Airport. The study will form part of a wider freight transport strategy, including a passenger and freight rail plan, that is currently in the process of being drawn up, says Lesiba Moses Kgwele, spokesperson for the North West Premier’s office. The development of Mahikeng International was one of the priorities outlined by Premier Thandi Modise in her state of the province address earlier this year. The airport is currently undergoing a multi-million rand infrastructure upgrade to bring it into strict compliance with the regulations of the South African Civil Aviation Authority and the International Aviation Organisation. Kgwele said this week that R15-million was being spent on the rejuvenation of the airport’s runway, taxiways, apron and landing strip markings. A new 16-element instrument landing system (ILS) has been installed as part of the upgrade of the airport’s electrical grounding lighting system. “R30-million is also being spent on the project, to be completed in the current financial year,” Kgwele said. According to an approved Provincial Land Transport Framework report – which recommended the development of a freight hub or “dry port” in Mahikeng – the upgrades will enhance regional trade, eliminate border-crossing delays and minimise administrative inefficiencies. Source: read more

South Africa turns on digital classrooms

first_imgThe paperless education system will give pupils access to learning material, workbooks and other subject matter through the use of information communications technology (ICT).The Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa (right), and the Premier of Gauteng, David Makhura (left), with learners from Boitumelong Secondary School, as they receive their first lesson of 2015 from an educator through their tablets. (Image: Kempton Express)Brand South Africa ReporterAs South Africa’s inland schools opened this morning, seven schools in Gauteng walked into a new era of the digital classroom, which will connect them to a world of better educational opportunities.Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, supported by Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, launched the new paperless education system pilot project, The Big Switch On, at Boitumelong Secondary School in Sedibeng Section, Tembisa.The paperless education system will give pupils access to learning material, workbooks and other subject matter through the use of information communications technology (ICT).The seven schools in the pilot project will receive state-of-the-art internet connection and each pupil will receive a tablet, turning ordinary schools into “classrooms of the future”, according to the provincial Department of Education.The Big Switch On, it says, is the first step in realising Gauteng’s vision of building a world-class education system by modernising public education and improving the standard of performance across the entire system.Pupils at the school said that the new devices would make learning more exciting. Many have never owned a computer, let alone a tablet.“I do not think I will ever miss a day of school again and I will never have a reason to fail science or maths ever,” said Pearl Mokoena, in Grade 10.Cost of migrationMigrating all Gauteng school to the digital system is estimated to cost R17-billion over the next five years.The tablets are programmed for educational purposes only, with lessons pre-loaded, and permanent IT specialists will be on site to help the teachers and pupils with the new system.Apart from surveillance cameras, each school will have two armed security officers. The tablets have also been fitted with tracking devices.“Committed teachers and dedicated learners are a beacon of hope for our country,” Ramaphosa said at the launch this morning. “Education is at the core of our government’s strategy for improving the lives of all our people. It is an instrument for achieving social cohesion and national unity.”He congratulated the province for having taken the top spot in the 2014 national matric results. Boitumeleng Secondary achieved an 80.26% pass rate.“To all the Grade 8 learners who are beginning their studies today, remember that hard work, discipline and motivation brings such results. Education provides you with an opportunity to overcome any obstacles that may stand in your way.”New way of doing businessInformation communication technology had revolutionised our lives and the way we did business. The economies of the 21st century were rapidly becoming knowledge- based economies, he said.“Technology, the internet, a multi-skilled workforce, innovation and collaboration are critical to the success of the knowledge economy. To thrive in the 21st century, we need to acquire new skills and be able to adapt to a rapidly changing work environment. One of the factors constraining economic growth in South Africa is the relative shortage of e-skills.”In a World Economic Forum report, South Africa’s global e-readiness ranking had dropped from 47th place in 2007 to 70th in 2013 – it was for this reason that the country had adopted a national e-skills plan.The Big Switch On was in line with this plan and the need to improve the quality of education.“It enables educators and learners to access resources that exist beyond the walls of the classroom. Indeed, it enables them to access resources from the other side of the globe,” Ramaphosa said.“It gives them access to the world. Importantly, it also gives them the skills that are needed to succeed in this world.”The divide between the skills we learned and the skills we needed frustrated efforts to tackle youth unemployment, prompting the need to support and expand this programme. “If our economy is to grow, if the lives of our people are to be improved, if business is to thrive, then we need more of this.”Ramaphosa also emphasised the role of learners. “Ultimately, it is you, the learners, who need to be responsible for your future by taking seriously the opportunities that now exist. Your commitment to learning today will determine your success tomorrow,” he said.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Technology, Service, and Dehumanization

first_imgMy pal the great Paul Hebert had a fantastic piece over on Fistful of Talent titled ‘What HR Should be Thinking About in 2013’, an examination of some of the most important and interesting business and product/service challenges facing organizations, and how HR departments can or should be responding to these challenges. The entire piece is excellent, and I encourage you to read it all, but I wanted to call out two (related), trends Paul highlighted and compare them to another, different example where business, policy, and pragmatism seems to be at odds with what we ‘know’ to be sound business advice.Retro RobotFirst – the two bits from Paul’s piece at FOT:CUSTOMER-FACING EMPLOYEES ARE YOUR BRAIN AND YOUR BACKBONE.The crucial element in any customer experience is still people, no matter how much technology has transformed the landscape. The larger an organization, the more it relies on the thousand tiny decisions its frontline employees make on a daily basis. And listening to their collective wisdom is more important than ever.NOTE TO HR:  Nothing really to add here – just go read that paragraph 100,001 times before starting your next initiative.HUMAN INTERACTION HAS NEVER BEEN MORE PRECIOUS.There’s almost no transaction that can’t be automated today, from buying groceries to learning about health issues. And customers are starting to resist. Look for places to act more human. 2013 reverses the trend toward automated everything, as humanity becomes the crucial differentiator between a beloved brand and a commodity.NOTE TO HR:  This is my mantra for 2013 and on. Just change the word customer to employee in the previous paragraph.  It truly is about BEING HUMAN.  And you all SHOULD be the experts at it!Both of these trends or areas of focus boil down to essentially the same thing – the return of the importance of real and human interaction at the most important customer touchpoints -, which for many kinds of industries are often the responsibility of the most junior and lowest-paid employees. Think call center reps, cashiers, customer service agents, food service folks, the guy who parks your car at the valet – you get the idea. So the advice from both Fast Company and Paul makes perfect sense – listen to your front-line staff, make your organization more ‘human’, don’t jump to automation just for its own sake, etc. Hard to disagree with that line of reasoning. Or maybe not so hard. Take a look at an excerpt from another piece from the Wall St. Journal online titled, ‘Can the Tablet Please Take Your Order Now?’:”Carla Hesseltine is considering buying a few tablet devices for her bakery so customers can place orders for her signature M&M cupcakes on their own, straight from the counter.The reason: She fears the $7.25 an hour that she currently pays her 10 customer-service employees, mostly college students, could rise, perhaps to $9 an hour under a pledge by President Barack Obama earlier this month.In order for her Just Cupcakes LLC to remain profitable in the face of higher expected labor costs, Ms. Hesseltine believes the customer-ordering process “would have to be more automated” at the Virginia Beach, Va., chain, which has two strip-mall locations as well as a food van. Thus, she could eliminate the 10 workers who currently ask customers what they would like to eat.”Did you get all of that? A local cupcake shop thinks it smart, cost-effective, and beneficial to replace their front-line, low-paid workers, the ones that make up the vast majority of customer touchpoints, with a couple of iPads and a custom menu app that will allow customers to place orders without having to actually talk to any of the staff.And Ms. Hesseltine’s cupcake shop isn’t the only one thinking about how technology and automation can reduce or even eliminate or at least reduce the human interaction between customers and front-line staff. More from the WSJ piece:”Tarang Gosalia, of Cambridge, Mass., hopes he can get away with having fewer employees waiting on customers at the three hair-salon franchises and one frozen-yogurt outlet he owns by using Square, a three-year-old technology brand designed to streamline credit-card transactions. He is planning to test it out starting in June to see if it will make accepting payments easier and faster for his staffers—and therefore allow him to downsize. About 70% of the 35 employees who work for his combined businesses currently earn $8 an hour, the minimum pay required in his state. Raising prices to offset the higher payroll costs strikes him as too risky, because he worries his sales may suffer.Some entrepreneurs see a promising market in selling technologies to small businesses that might help them to streamline operations and do away with low-wage workers, or retrain them for higher-skilled jobs. An automatic hamburger flipper currently in development could replace low-wage line cooks at a beachside burger joint, for example.”FastCompany could very well be correct, that ‘”2013 reverses the trend toward automated everything, as humanity becomes the crucial differentiator between a beloved brand and a commodity”, but as the examples from the WSJ piece tell us, at least for small businesses, (and I bet many large ones as well), cost, compliance, and even the lack of available talent are still conspiring to drive organizations to at least consider further automation and technology-driven substitutions for human interaction.Technology can be liberating, it can free up time and resources for people and organizations to actually provide better customer experiences, but it also can be really dehumanizing at the same time. When tablets replace counter help, when robots are the new short-order cooks, when the check-in, check-out and everything in between becomes just a series of user interfaces, touch screens, and customer-machine interactions, we are moving in the opposite direction from humanity as a differentiator.I think the real challenge for HR and business in 2013 (and beyond) isn’t deciding whether or not to automate, but rather making the critical decisions about where and how the organization can afford to automate and where it can’t.last_img read more

Finally, A Practical Use for Second Life

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting How it Works: CICP (Think HTTP for Virtual Worlds)Some of the company’s solutions involve using a proprietary virtual world, “Glasshouse,” for data visualization, but for Second Life, Sun’s Wonderland, and other virtual world users, they’ve developed adapters that project graphs from Glasshouse into whichever virtual world you’re using. The only requirement is that the virtual world be CICP-enabled. CICP, or Content Injection and Control Protocol, was developed in-house by Green Phosphor CEO Ben Linquist and released to the public domain. The standard, cross-platform protocol essentially serves as HTTP for virtual worlds where it works as a communication mechanism that the Glasshouse gateway can use to generate temporary artifacts in the worlds. Already it has been added to Sun Wonderland and released under the GPL license there. It has also been implemented in Second Life with the help of a Java servlet and released under a BSD license. The company is currently working to add it to other virtual worlds, too. When you think of virtual worlds, the first one that probably pops into your head is Second Life, but in reality, there are a number of different virtual worlds out there. There are worlds for socializing, worlds for gaming, even worlds for e-learning. But one thing that most virtual worlds have in common is that they are places for play, not practicality. (Yes, even the e-learning worlds are designed with elements of “fun” in mind). Outside of some reports that virtual worlds will replace web conferencing in the enterprise, we haven’t seen a lot of innovation in this space which would make businesses sit up and take notice. However, that may be about to change thanks to new software that lets you perform data visualization and manipulation techniques within the virtual world environment. About Glasshouse The software, Glasshouse by Green Phosphor, lets you take data from either a spreadsheet or database query and place a 3D representation of it into a virtual world environment where it can then be explored interactively. Users are inserted into the virtual world as an avatar which can then manipulate the visualization of the data by drilling down into it, re-sorting it, or even just spinning it around to see it from all angles. The benefits to working with data in this way don’t really need to be touted too much – many businesses already perform data visualization, often using expensive software and powerful computers to do so. What makes what Green Phosphor does so interesting is not that they’ve come up with a way to visualize data – it’s that they’ve come up with a way to leverage the platforms of virtual worlds to do so. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts sarah perez If you have Java installed, you can test their web-based virtual world demo by clicking here (launches Java window). For more information about their solutions, visit Tags:#NYT#Product Reviews#Visualization#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Data Viz for Anyone: From Spreadsheets to BiotechDepending on company size, there are three different levels of service available. First, a spreadsheet world lets you upload Excel spreadsheets that can then be visualized in a web interface. Next, there’s a workgroup appliance that delivers data visualization and virtual conferencing needs to small or medium-sized businesses. And finally, enterprise solutions designed especially for virtual markets like bio-technology have also been developed as more customized solutions. As Linquist explains in this YouTube video, the technology is even advanced enough to produce a virtual laboratory where researchers can perform model-based drug development. last_img read more

Digital Transformation: A Continuous Process, Not Once and Done

first_imgTechnology is disrupting businesses and industries, and businesses are racing to adopt technology in order to keep up. Digital transformation is needed for businesses to stay relevant and compete. Data Drivers – those organizations that use data to make decisionsData Drifters – those organizations that don’t use data Small companies tend to be more flexible and ready to adopt, while big companies may be slower but have the resources to invest in new technologies. When it comes to Digital Transformation, 451 Research divides organizations into two groups: Matt Aslett, Vice President at 451 Research, said that “traditionally, we think that small and young equals innovative, and large and old is slow-moving. But this isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to being data-driven. In many cases, smaller companies are actually making fewer strategic data-driven decisions.” It’s important to realize that digital transformation is never ending. Nigel Fenwick, Forrester analyst, said that “there is no successful completion of a transformation—it’s a continuous evolution. Transformation creates new sources of customer value by helping customers achieve their desired outcomes in new ways. In doing so, transformation opens opportunities to drive new revenue streams.” An MIT study found that companies that adopt technology are 26 percent more profitable than those that don’t.last_img read more

Nidahas Trophy, India vs Bangladesh, 2nd T20I in Colombo: Live Cricket Streaming available on JioTV from 7 PM today

first_imgIndia will play Bangladesh and DSport have the rights.You can watch Live Streaming of the 2nd T20I between India and Bangladesh of the Nidahas Trophy in Colombo on JioTV from 7 PM today.As for TV the match will shown live on DSport, DD Sports and Rishtey Cineplex/HD in English and Hindi respectively.Nidahas Trophy, India vs Bangladesh, 2nd T20I: Weather forecast, pitch report in ColomboPREVIEWA new-look Indian team will aim to recover from the five-wicket loss against Sri Lanka in the opening match when they face Bangladesh in the second match of the Nidahas Trophy Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket tri-series here on Thursday.Kusal Perera’s brilliant 66 off 37 balls and some crucial contributions from the middle-order helped Sri Lanka beat India in the first game.After the Indian batsmen put up a decent target of 175, their bowlers failed to make a mark as the hosts hammered them all around the park.Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (2/37) and Washington Sundar (2/28) provided the crucial breakthroughs to control the run-flow.Towards the end, Dasun Shanaka (15 not out) and Thisara Perera (22 not out) played sensibly and helped their team clinch the issue.After the loss, skipper Rohit Sharma also said that the track was good and batsmen could have score more towards the end. So in the upcoming match, middle and lower-order batsmen will aim to contribute and try to give the perfect finish.In the bowling department, apart from the Chahal and Sundar no other bowler contributed. However, pacer Jaidev Unadkat scalped one wicket but in order to improve the performance from the last match, other bowlers have to contribute handsomely.advertisementOn the other hand, Bangladesh will take on the field without their regular skipper and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who is injured. In his absence, Mahmudullah will take charge.This could be an advantage to India if the Indian players stuck to the basics.SquadsIndia: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice captain), KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj and Rishabh Pant.Bangladesh: Mahmudullah (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicketkeeper), Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Hider, Abu Jayed, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Islam, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Liton Das.last_img read more