Friday, 24 November 2017

Pokémon Go's Tyrogue and how to evolve into Hitmontop, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan

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Like Magby, Pichu, Smoochum and other Babies, it evolves into other established Pokémon - but instead of one linear evolution, there are a total of three available, one of which is a new Gen 2 type, Hitmontop. While on the surface it sounds like the Eevee evolutions, how you get from Tyrogue to Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee and Hitmontop works a little differently and requires a dose of luck. First, you need to get a Tyrogue by hatching a 5km Egg. If you're playing just after the update has gone live, remember that Gen 2 Pokémon will only appear in Eggs collected after the update has gone live, so keep walking and hatching until one emerges.

How to evolve Tyrogue into Hitmontop, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan

Once you have a Tyrogue, how it evolves from into the three fighting types depends on its stats:
  • If Attack is higher than other stats, Tyrogue evolves into Hitmonlee
  • If Defence is higher than other stats, Tyrogue evolves into Hitmonchan
  • If Stamina / HP is higher than other stats, Tyrogue evolves into Hitmontop
If the stats are the same - for example, all are a maximum of 15 - then the evolution will be random. If two are the same, then it'll choose between two of those possible evolutions at random. So if Attack and Defence match, it'll evolve into either Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan. This is based on preliminary findings from the community of researchers over at The Silph Road sub-Reddit, who polled users on their stats and eventual evolutions.

How to find out Tyrogue's stats

How you find its hidden stats - or IVs - can be done in one of two ways. One is by using the in-game Appraisal tool, which you can access by viewing the Pokémon and selecting the menu icon in the bottom right corner. Your team leader will then tell you about its potential in battle, and it's most impressive stat out of its Attack, Defence and Stamina. If you want a more precise reading, then you can find out its specific stats by finding out about its CP values and using an IV calculator. Our CP meaning and values article explains how these stats work, as well as several suggestions for IV calculators.

What else you need to know about Tyrogue, Hitmontop, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan

  • Unfortunately, the stats your Tyrogue will have is seemingly based on luck. While Pokemon hatching from Eggs have a higher chance of getting strong stats / IVs than those found in the wild, where its strengths lie - in Attack, Defence or Stamina - is random. It's simply a case of having to keep collecting Tyrogues until you get the evolution you need.
  • If you're struggling with this method, remember you can find all three evolutions Hitmontop, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan in the wild, according to Reddit. They're particularly rare, however, so you're lucky enough to hatch a Tyrogue with the stats you need, then do that.
  • As of the Gen 2 Johto update, Hitmontop, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan Candy is now named Tyrogue Candy, after its first evolution, in line with other Candy naming conventions.
  • You need 25 Candy to evolve Tyrogue.
  • If you set any of these as your Buddy Pokémon, Candy will drop every 5km.
  • If think these fighting specialists make for great gym Pokemon, you'd be wrong - at the time of writing, based on raw stats in our best Pokémon list, Hitmonlee's attack is the 25th highest in the game, while Hitmontop and Hitmonchan have the 22nd and 24th highest defence.
  • If you are taking these Fighting Types to the Gym, remember they are weak to Flying, Psychic and Fairy Pokémon.
  • The way these three Pokemon evolve from Tyrogue is not unlike the main games; for Hitmonlee, Attack must be higher than Defence, for Hitmonchan, Defence must be higher than Attack, and for Hitmontop, both stats must be the same.

6 Content Strategies to Boost Your Digital PR & Link Building Success

featured imageWhen it comes to link building, most SEO professionals agree: content is king. Cliched as the phrase is, the idea that we can build links or gain coverage without having something valuable to say is, frankly, preposterous. But while many conferences and articles over the past couple of years have instilled the values of great content, few have talked practically about what that looks like – or how we can use it to supercharge our content promotion efforts, too. Here are six kick-ass content strategies you can incorporate into your strategy for optimal off-page success. Content Strategies for Digital PR Success | SEJ

1. Use What You’ve Got

Whether you’re working agency side or in-house, knowing what assets you have at your disposal can reveal a goldmine of digital PR and link building opportunities, just waiting to be exploited. It’s well worth taking the time to dig into what already exists, and to speak to the people around the business who are willing to be figureheads and to comment on issues or topics that can help you gain features.

Use Hobbies & Unique Interests

Got a marketing manager who loves jumping out of airplanes? You need to know about it! This knowledge can lead to some fantastic comment (and link) opportunities for minimal effort. Take this example here: Content Strategy - Use Interesting Hobbies | SEJ

Become the Expert

If you/your client can identify an area in which they want to be thought leaders, all the better. Create a profile as an “expert” and you’ll be able to respond to journalist requests and put yourself/your client forward when opportunities arise. In this example, the client was keen to be known as a leader in manufacturing and by keeping a calendar which showed when key manufacturing data and events would take place, it was possible to get them featured by the BBC and a range of other linking publications: Content Strategy - Be the Expert | SEJ

Mine Existing Data Sources

Data is still an incredibly powerful source of new content and PR hooks. You (or your client) may hold more data than you realize. If you have internal data sources – anything from customer numbers to data that forms part of your product offering – you can use it to craft a story or content campaign that is both newsworthy and compelling. In this example, the company’s product is data, so using that data overlaid with a topic news story (football in the UK) led to a creative content piece that attracted traffic, links and news features: Content Strategy - Mine Existing Data | SEJ

2. Borrow from Others

As creatives, we should be able to make content that is engaging, compelling and that can attract links, no matter what industry or vertical we’re working in. One way to achieve this is to borrow from others. Now, before we get into a duplicate content discussion, let’s be clear: this is about using publicly available data and other marketing collateral, but giving it a new spin.

Office for National Statistics

Check out the Office for National Statistics for UK based data that’s freely available and accessible to anyone. The reality is that the majority of this data goes untapped, leaving a huge opportunity for you to capitalize on the information therein and to use it in your own campaigns. When a small business website wanted to build links but lacked information to use internally, they found a table of information within a 136-page government report that would be of great interest to their audience. This data, which showed where investments into small businesses had been made around the country, was visualized in a simple graphic and achieved visits and links from their target publications: Content Strategy - Borrow From Others | SEJ


Wikipedia can also be a goldmine of new content and PR hooks. That, too, is publicly available – and free! In this example, data on Dragons’ Den investments taken from Wikipedia was visualized in an infographic and news stories based on that data were used to gain a wide range of new links and placements around industry press and business publications: Content Strategy - Use Wikipedia Data | SEJ

Don’t Neglect Offline Marketing

In today’s digital world, it can be easy for us to forget that marketing exists beyond the realms of our laptops and internet devices. In fact, it’s that offline marketing that can inspire online campaigns – helping you to gain more links and coverage, and supporting the success of the campaign overall. By creating a cohesive online/offline marketing plan, you may find opportunities to integrate the two. In the example below, an offline dinosaur exhibit inspired an online dinosaur drawing competition that gained links, features, and some cute pictures from kids of all ages! Content Strategy - Use Offline Marketing | SEJ

3. Hack the Press

This tactic is all about understanding what the press are looking for, and giving it to them! PR hacking is all about understanding what content travels well and what journalists are likely to appreciate. There are certain content formats that are always well received, and we can make use of those in our strategies for coverage opportunities.

Be Ready to Comment on Topical (and Non-topical) Stories

Journalists love to give a human angle, and comments are a great way for them to do this. If you know that something is coming up that will be relevant to your industry, preparing a comment in advance will mean you can jump straight on it as soon as the story breaks. You can make this process even easier by planning a PR calendar and noting down anything that could be a hook, including new data releases, political updates or even national and international awareness days.

What’s Been Covered Once Will Be Covered Again

It’s important to recognize the stories or content topics that work – and build on them. It’s far too common that an idea be struck down simply because someone else has done it already. Try to think “have they done it as well as they could have done?” and, more importantly, “could I do it better?” If a story has performed well in terms of reach and engagement, it’s more likely the journalist will use something similar again. You can boost this by using tools like BuzzSumo to show the journalist how well the story traveled last time, and therefore to incentivize them to use your take on it.

Journalists Love Data

If we’re talking about getting PR coverage, there are few better tools at your disposal than data. We’ve already touched on how valuable an asset data can be, but applying it to a news story and presenting it to the journalist to use in a visually appealing way can reap huge rewards. Be aware of trending topics and be ready to provide data you have if it’s relevant and of genuine value. This also means being prepared where possible. If you know a story will be breaking, look for opportunities to gather the data in advance so you’re ready to pounce.

4. Make News From Nothing

The idea of “making news from nothing” is all about being able to spot things that have the potential to be topical or sharable, and hooking onto it in a new and creative way.

A New Angle

Tapping into an existing news story can be an easy win when it comes to PR coverage and links. By spotting what’s being talked about in your niche or industry, you can create something new by simply identifying a unique angle. When we saw that Nottingham’s house prices were lower than many others in the UK, we quickly pulled together comments from Nottingham business owners to talk about the effect house prices have on attracting new talent to the area. It was an angle that hadn’t been covered before, and it meant new links and features for our clients, by creating news from nothing. Content Strategy - Hack the Press | SEJ This example was inspired by something that was already happening. But what if there’s nothing currently happening that you can use? Or you want to tell a different story?

Brand New Content

This is where you can really affect the news, by creating stories that align with what you want to tell. For example, when we worked on a survey based campaign for our client, every single question we asked as part of our survey had a clear PR story in mind (that would be a story no matter which way people answered) and the result was 48 separate press releases and more than 100 mentions and links from around the web. When attempting to create news from nothing, consider the story you want to tell and how best to get to that point. Surveys are still a great source of news from nothing. We recommend tools including YouGov, Google Surveys, and even forums like Reddit as a source for inspiration and content.

5. Find Content in Forums

Forums, as noted already, are a great source of inspiration. People love to talk, and when you can tap into those conversations, you have the potential to create highly sharable, great content.

Ask Reddit

Ask Reddit is one place we love to look for new content ideas. The questions people ask are sometimes hilarious, sometimes insightful, sometimes newsworthy in their own right. You might create content based on what people are already asking or, if need be, create your own questions and gather feedback that way. Subreddits are also valuable when seeking topic-specific feedback.

Social Listening

Social listening is also worth investing some time in, especially if social reach is one of your KPIs. We recently started using BuzzSumo to find content that’s already traveling well. There are free versions that will give you access to this information. We also like to use Hootsuite, where mining for PR opportunities can be done in various ways. (We’ve also heard good things about Crimson Hexagon, though we’ve yet to try it ourselves.) What you’re looking for on social media is topics that are interesting to people, and that are being shared. If you can identify the influencers in that niche, you may choose to reach out to those people for further insight, or try to build relationships with them as a means of spreading your content once it’s live.

6. Multiply Your Content

The final strategy is more of a way of thinking about your content. It’s about getting as much “bang for your buck” as possible. When we invest in creating content, we want to get as much interaction and engagement as possible. One way is to create one piece, that is itself highly sharable and can gain links through a solid outreach strategy. Another way is to consider how we can “multiply” that content. That could be through finding different angles. When we conducted a survey with our client, each respondent was asked to give their business size, location, and industry, which means every story could be spun and segmented by those metrics. Multiplication could also come through the addition of new content over time. For example, when our client conducted research to prove the effects of hard water on skin conditions, we were able to gain widespread coverage of the story itself. When it came to multiplication, we considered all the elements of the study and now have a plan in place to create supplementary content that will enable us to outreach again with new angles on the story. There are various campaigns which have created two clear “bites at the cherry” through their design. One such piece, created for Halfords by Branded3, asked users to complete a set of questions pertaining to their driving abilities. This was the only thing they promoted in stage one, where the survey in itself was enough to gain coverage and engagement. With the survey completed, they then had the data generated to use to create more stories and coverage in stage two of their promotion. Content Strategy - Interactive Content Marketing | SEJ

The Secret to Great Content

So, what’s the secret to great content? We’ll never know for sure. It may sound fluffy, but great content is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why a really solid understanding of your target (the audience who consumes the content and the publications that feature it) is so essential to your campaign’s success. By considering these six content strategies, you’ll be well on your way to creating content that attracts, engages, and converts.

5 Ways You Can Build Links Like a PR Pro

featured imageor years, I’ve been saying that public relations practitioners should make the best search engine optimization professionals. In fact, I even wrote about it 10 years ago. Little has changed since then. The premise is simple: Search engines like quality links. Public relations professionals work every day to get their clients mentioned in the press. In most cases, the press will provide links in these mentions. These links are far more valuable than any links you can get from other sources. Building links is the hardest part of search engine optimization (I’m sure some will argue after me on this point – well, prove me wrong). So if public relations professionals can do the hardest part of SEO, they should be the best SEOs. But with few exceptions, they aren’t. There are many reasons that PR folks don’t like SEO. They think it’s just for techies; they don’t want to be seen as an SEO; but mostly they don’t realize the value links can have for their clients or organizations. But many PR professionals are changing their attitude toward SEO and embracing search. Others, though, are happy to pitch away, worrying more about the ink than the link. But as a search engine marketer, you have an advantage. You can do what PR professionals do, even if they can’t do what you do. Here are five ways you can build links using the time-worn media relations techniques that have been practiced for years by PR pros.

1. Find Your Influencers & Create Relationships With Them

SEO professionals are typically tech-minded. SEOs typically work to create scalable solutions that automate everything. No exception in link building. From e-mail scraping tools to private blog networks, SEOs will jump on any link building tool which promises to create links en masse that they control. Well, at least until Google bans those techniques and the tools start getting websites into trouble. I can tell you from experience that successful link building is more about quality than quantity. I’d rather have one link from the Wall Street Journal than 1,000 links from Joe Schmoe’s blog. But a link from the Wall Street Journal is difficult to obtain. You don’t have to go that big. Finding the influencers in the niche you are working in isn’t hard. It just takes time and research. Once you find those influencers, engage them. Not by spamming them asking for a link. Really read what they are saying. Comment. Send influencers helpful articles that have nothing to do with your site. When the time is right, they’ll be more apt to link to what you want them to, even if it’s not quite a fit. It’s the law of reciprocity – if you do something for the influencer, they will feel that they need to help you out. PRO TIP: Whenever possible, meet with influencers in person. Buying a journalist or blogger a beer typically has a very high ROI. PRO TIP #2: Limit your reach. This sounds counter-intuitive, but if you target everyone, you target no one. Identifying the top 10 or 15 best influencers and cultivating relationships with those folks is, in most cases, far more effective than trying to interact with 100 influencers. Everyone has limited resources. Use yours wisely. SEO PRO TIP: When looking at influencers, look at their search presence. If a decent influencer has a bad search presence, offer them some tips for free. Depending on the influencers, it can be profitable to even offer to fix their site for free. I can say, however, that I’ve turned influencers into clients with this tactic. Again, law of reciprocity.

2. Look for Opportunities That Tie Into Current Events

Many SEO pros already do this, to an extent. But most write an article around something timely and then pitch it. For many of the top sites, that’s too late. Have your experts ready to go quickly. When a news story that affects your niche hits, have your list ready and offer expert commentary. Expert commentary almost always comes with a mention and a link. PRO TIP: Set up Google Alerts around key topics and people in your industry. That way you can know when a big story hits. PRO TIP #2: Practice getting the word out. Create “fire drills” with your team and client and act like a big news story just hit. This is a good way to get your team and client onboard with what you are doing so you don’t get blank stares or flat or refusal to participate when the real thing hits. This is especially important for SEOs who work with other PR professionals. Get the other PR pros involved in the process. That way they don’t feel like you are taking over their job – a common problem for SEOs who practice PR tactics for link building purposes. BONUS PRO TIP: Make sure you have your lists ready as much ahead of time as possible. SEO TIP: In most of these cases, it’s OK to ask if you get a link expert commentary. You don’t need to demand one. In most cases, you’ll get one, but influencers sometimes forget. Better to ask before their story goes out rather than trying to get the link from them later.

3. Use Press Releases for Big News

A few years back, SEOs almost ruined the press release. We found out that a tool that has been used for decades by PR pros also worked to create links on a ton of sites. And so we use them, abused them, and almost “losed” them. Today there is still some abuse of press releases, but most legitimate services have increased their prices so that sending out a press release is not practical for every little piece of news. But when you have something big to say? The links are still there. But they don’t come from the syndication. In fact, most of the links that are syndicated are now nofollowed or carry no value. Like you (see tip #2), influencers are monitoring for new stories. They will see your press release. If you don’t get any calls, that means you either used the wrong service, didn’t use the right keywords in the release, or your news wasn’t big enough. PRO TIP: The “emabargoed” release, or a release that goes out to a few influencers before it is syndicated, is a great way to get an influencer’s attention. If you have one that you really want a link from, send them the press release beforehand and ask them not to put anything out about it until it goes live – but make sure to tell them when it goes live. In some cases, you can even let them break the story, which influencers love to do. PRO TIP #2: If you don’t embargo (or more likely don’t embargo to everyone), you can send links to your release in the sites that pick up the release through your wire service of choice. If you send a link from the Houston Chronicle or even the influencer’s local paper that has your news in it, you’ll get their attention. SEO TIP: If you work with a PR firm, ask to see their releases before they put them on the wire. That way you can insure that the keywords you want in there are actually in there. PR folks love language, and sometimes use different words than what is searched. Showing them the light in regards to specific keywords is a win for everyone.

4. Look at HARO

Help a Reporter Out was founded by Peter Shankman initially as a Facebook group to help reporters find sources for stories. Shankman knew that most reporters are looking for sources, and PR pros are looking to provide sources. The Facebook group was such a hit he turned it into an e-mail list. Then Cision bought the whole thing for several million dollars. Today there are still tons of journalists and other influencers asking for sources for stories. There is a veritable linking gold mine in every issue of HARO. And there are three issues per day. PRO TIP: It takes some time to really read through HARO every day. If you can, assign someone on your team to be responsible for looking through each issue to see if there is anything relevant for your client or your company. PRO TIP #2: Follow HARO on Twitter at @helpareporter to see urgent requests from journalists. SEO TIP: There are frequent questions from reporters around search related subjects. Don’t forget to check it for yourself.

5. Research Your Niche

Most PR pros are news junkies. Many came into the profession from a journalism background. Good PR pros always know what is going in their niche – from the latest rumors down to the competitor offerings. Most SEOs I know are news junkies when it comes to SEO, but not when it comes to their clients. SEOs miss out on so many link building opportunities when they don’t know the industry they are working in. For our clients, we try to become experts in their field. We may never know the business as well as the client does, but we can certainly become proficient enough to identify linking opportunities we would never find if we didn’t know the industry. PRO TIP: If there are publicly traded companies in your niche, read their earnings reports. You can learn a lot from earnings reports, and your influencers may not be reading them, so letting them know what’s up is a way to further the relationship. PRO TIP #2: If your niche is wide, try to narrow it. The more you can narrow the niche, the easier it is to become an expert. And once you learn one aspect of your niche, it’s usually easier to expand to broader topics. SEO TIP: Keep tabs on what your competitors are doing in search, what’s working for them, and what isn’t working. Don’t forget to look at their backlinks. By doing this, you will become better at optimizing your own sites.

Remembering AC/DC's Malcolm Young, Band's Unassuming Mastermind

featured image"There's very few rock & roll bands," Malcolm Young explained to a Dutch TV interviewer around the time of AC/DC's 2000 album Stiff Upper Lip. "There's rock bands, there's sort of metal bands, there's whatever, but there's no rock & roll bands – there's the Stones and us," he chuckled. When asked by the interviewer to explain the difference between rock bands and rock & roll bands, he replied, "Rock bands don't really swing ... a lot of rock is stiff. They don't understand the feel, the movement, you know, the jungle of it all." Few rock & rollers have ever understood "the jungle of it all" like Malcolm Young, and fewer still have ever been as single-mindedly devoted to its perpetuation. From 1973, when he formed AC/DC with his younger brother Angus, to 2014, when dementia and other health issues forced his premature retirement, Malcolm never once allowed the band to deviate from its swinging, swaggering, riff-driven course. During Malcolm's tenure, AC/DC's recordings featured three different lead vocalists, three different bassists and five different drummers; and yet, the band's musical aesthetic remained so stubbornly consistent as to make the Ramones look like flighty trend-jumpers by comparison. AC/DC never mucked about with drum machines or synthesizers, never worked with "hit doctors," never invited guest stars to appear on their records, and never made musically touristic forays beyond the Chuck Berry riffs and Australian bar circuit that originally spawned them – their idea of musical experimentation was to let Bon Scott take a bagpipes solo on "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)," or affix a tolling church bell to the start of "Hell's Bells." The most "pop" song in their catalog is "You Shook Me All Night Long," a fist-punching paean to marathon fucking, and the closest they ever came to recording a ballad was "The Jack," a nasty six-minute slow blues about contracting gonorrhea. "Rock and roll is just rock & roll," Brian Johnson sagely opined in "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" – and by the same token, AC/DC has always been just AC/DC, doggedly mining the same vein for good-time gold.

But if AC/DC's public image was largely defined by Angus's naughty schoolboy, Bon's lascivious pirate and Brian's lusty bricklayer personas, it was Malcom who truly defined the band's lean 'n' mean sound. In addition to serving as the captain of the good ship AC/DC, he was also its chief architect and mechanic, tinkering with riffs and songs as tirelessly as he tinkered with his 1963 Gretsch Jet Firebird, which underwent countless modifications as he strove to unleash the ultimate guitar tone. "He's the engine in the Mack truck that is AC/DC," Anthrax's Scott Ian told Loudwire in 2014. "He's the driving force behind that band; has been since Day One. To the casual listener, they probably don't know who Malcolm Young is ... but Malcom's the guy. He's the greatest rhythm guitar player ever."

Indeed, while notable guitarists like Ian, James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine have regularly sung his praises – no less an authority than Eddie Van Halen has called him "the heart and soul of AC/DC" – the general public has remained largely oblivious to his importance to the band. (As a budding hard rock fan picking up 1979's Highway to Hellfor the first time, it was all about Angus and Bon for me; I wouldn't realize until years later that the tiny guy on the album's cover with the tight T-shirt, center-parted hair and thuggishly menacing gaze was actually the one responsible for so many of the clarion guitar riffs that attracted me to the record in the first place.) Such relative anonymity was perfectly fine with Malcolm, who was usually happy to let Angus, Bon or Brian handle band interviews. In concert, he rarely strayed more than a few feet from his Marshall stack, concentrating on keeping the riff machine stoked while his younger brother's duck-walking, pants-dropping, guitar-shredding antics stole the limelight. But Malcolm was far more than just a riff-meister. "From the get-go, Mal's always been one to come up with melody ideas," Angus explained to me in 2005, when I interviewed him for a Revolver feature about the making of 1980's epochal Back in Black. "I'm a bit rough and raucous – I go for the rhythmic things – but Malcolm will dial in a melody, and likes to get it so it's all hooking together and feels right." Malcolm had clearly internalized the lessons he'd learned at the knee of older brother George Young, who'd taken on a similarly low-key role as guitarist, songwriter and producer with legendary 1960s Australian hitmakers the Easybeats, and who – in partnership with Easybeats guitarist Harry Vanda – had already become a successful producer of other acts by the time Malcolm and Angus formed AC/DC. (George, who along with Vanda produced such classic early AC/DC albums as TNTPowerage and Let There Be Rock, died on October 22nd at the age of 70.) Like George, Malcolm was never content with just a gut-punching riff, a swinging groove and a catchy chorus; everything had to be primed for maximum sonic impact, as well. "Mal always had a better ear for recording and mixing than I did," Angus told me. "He was more involved with that when we were younger, fiddling around with sounds and stuff. He tunes into it more than me; I'm more about just picking up the thing and play it. He helped me a lot with dialing in sounds from my amp; I would be saying, 'I can't get nothin' out of this Marshall,' and he would help me sort it out and get the best out of it."
It was also Malcolm who kept AC/DC firmly focused during the traumatic weeks following Scott's unexpected death-by-misadventure in February 1980. While the band's management and record company pressured them to find a new singer, Malcolm was adamant that he and Angus direct their energies into finishing the songs that would eventually become the Back in Black album. "There were a lot of suggestions [about auditioning singers]," Angus told me, "But Malcolm kept saying to me, 'We'll do it when we feel we've got all our music together. The rest of it can wait!' We didn't want to be rushed into anything." While Malcolm's death at the too-young age of 64 is certainly a massive blow for AC/DC fans everywhere, it's unlikely that he would want Angus to bring it all to an end on his account. Even in his absence, AC/DC has continued to function like a finely-tuned clockwork mechanism – the band successfully soldiered following his retirement, recording and touring behind 2014's Rock or Bust with nephew Stevie Young taking over for his uncle on rhythm guitar. That the band continues to thrive without Malcolm isn't a reflection on his lack of importance to it, but rather a testament to the enduring brilliance of the material he wrote, and the perfection of the musical machine that he designed to deliver it. So long as there's enough electricity left in the world for some guitarist somewhere to hit a ringing, window-rattling A chord, Malcolm Young's spirit will live on. Rock in Peace, Mal.

First DAISY Nurses of 2015 named at Meritus Medical Center

featured imageHAGERSTOWN, Md. – Meritus Medical Center’s nursing division recently awarded the January and February 2015 DAISY Nurse awards to two on the staff who have gone above and beyond in caring for hospital patients.
January’s DAISY Nurse is Patricia Walling, RN, who was nominated by a fellow nurse. Her nomination form recalls an incident when a couple traveling from Canada to Florida ended up in the emergency room. “Neither the patient nor his wife spoke English as their first language. The translation phone services were used for communication; however, Paty Walling is a native French speaker,” the nomination reads. “As she walked toward them and offered a greeting in their native French, it was astonishing and amazing to see their anxiety melt away. Their faces lit up and their shoulders relaxed. … She is an excellent nurse, but more importantly, she is kind, caring and considerate. She is generous with her time and intuitive when it comes to the needs of others.” February’s DAISY is Natalie Cummings, RN. A fellow nurse nominated her. “She (recently) stepped up to the plate and made a wonderful impression on the patient and his family during his final hours – palliative care at its best,” Cummings’ nomination reads. “(The patient’s) daughter … said she was so attentive to her father and the family; that Natalie went ‘way beyond’ expectations. Her exact words were, ‘I didn’t know at the time that my father and my family would be so lucky to have her as our nurse.'” DAISY nurses are selected monthly at Meritus Medical Center using nominations received from patients, families and coworkers. Nomination forms to recognize extraordinary nurses at the hospital are available throughout the campus.

Chinese military tells Senior General it wants closer ties

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China wants closer ties with Myanmar’s military to help protect regional peace and security, a senior Chinese general told visiting Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on Wednesday.
China and Myanmar have had close diplomatic and economic ties for years, including increasingly in the strategically important oil and gas sectors, and China has offered its support to its southern neighbour, also known as Burma, throughout a crisis over its treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority. More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled from Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s Rakhine State, most to neighbouring Bangladesh, since a Myanmar military crackdown in response to attacks on the security forces by Rohingya insurgents in August. The United States on Wednesday for the first time called the Myanmar military operation against the Rohingya “ethnic cleansing” and threatened targeted sanctions against those responsible for “horrendous atrocities”. Meeting in Beijing, Li Zuocheng, who sits on China’s Central Military Commission, which runs its armed forces, told Senior General Min Aung Hlaing that China’s development and prosperity were an important opportunity for Myanmar’s development, China’s Defence Ministry said in a statement. “In the face of a complex and changeable regional security situation, China is willing to maintain strategic communication between the two countries’ militaries,” Li was cited as saying in the statement issued late on Wednesday. China wanted greater contacts between the two armed forces and deeper training and technical exchanges and to promote border defence cooperation to ensure peace and stability along their common border, Li added. China has been angered by fighting between Myanmar’s military and autonomy-seeking ethnic minority rebels close to the Chinese border in recent years, which has at times forced thousands of villagers to flee into China. The Chinese ministry made no direct mention of the Rohingya issue in the statement. China built close ties with Myanmar’s generals during years of military rule, when Western countries imposed sanctions on Myanmar for its suppression of the democracy movement. More recently, their ties have included oil and gas as Myanmar pumps natural gas from the Bay of Bengal to China. A new oil pipeline, opened this year, also feeds Middle East crude through Myanmar to a new refinery in Yunnan, China. This has opened a new oil supply route to China, avoiding the Strait of Malacca and Singapore. The United States and other Western countries have stepped up engagement with Myanmar since the military began handing power to civilians in 2011, and especially since former democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi won a 2015 election. But an international outcry over Myanmar’s violations of the rights of the Rohingya has raised questions in Western countries about that engagement. Rights group Amnesty International has called for a comprehensive arms embargo against Myanmar as well as targeted financial sanctions against senior Myanmar military officials. China’s Defence Ministry said Senior General Min Aung Hlaing thanked China for its support in helping Myanmar ensure domestic stability.

Celebrities’ children forge individual identities beyond their parents’ moulds

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WHEN Kaia Gerber strode out onto the New York Fashion Week catwalk for Calvin Klein in September, she cemented herself as a fierce talent we’ll no doubt see a lot more of.

At (just) 16 she’s already appeared on multiple magazine covers, including fashion bible Vogue, starred in a fragrance campaign for Marc Jacobs’ Daisy and walked the runway for Burberry, Moschino and Chanel — to name just a few.

But as much as she is being recognised for her talents, there’s no escaping the striking resemblance to her supermodel mum, Cindy Crawford.

Like mother, like daughter — Kaia with Cindy.
Kaia Gerber wears a creation for the Chanel Spring/Summer 2018 ready-to-wear fashion collection in Paris in October.
Her 18-year-old brother Presley is also a successful model, but it’s Kaia who shares the strongest maternal likeness. But growing up, she tells Teen Vogue, she was largely unaware of her mum’s high profile, sharing the moment she realised Cindy was famous. “I think it was only on my eighth birthday, at Disneyland, that I started to understand what was going on. I wanted to take pictures with the princesses, and everyone wanted to take pictures with her!” And Kaia is not the only celebrity offspring to bear an uncanny likeness to a famous parent. Reese Witherspoon and daughter Ava Phillippe, 18, share the same heart-shaped face, strong chin and rounded cheeks.
Reese Witherspoon and daughter Ava Phillippe enjoy a girls’ night.
But while the high school student was born to an A-list, Oscar winning mum — and her then husband Ryan Phillippe — she’s proving to be far from spoiled. Phillippe was spotted recently participating in the most humbling of teenage rites of passage — a part-time summer job at a restaurant. She also reportedly drives a second-hand car. Her Instagram account shows her strong bond with her mum and brothers (Deacon Phillippe and Tennessee Toth) and is a refreshing reflection of a teenager into art, music and her french bulldog.
Dapper duo Brooklyn and father David Beckham. Picture: @brooklynbeckham/Instagram
But while Phillippe appears to enjoy a relatively normal teenage experience, some children of other celebrities have chosen to make their move into the spotlight a little earlier, using their parent’s connections to secure lucrative deals. David and Victoria Beckham’s eldest child Brooklyn controversially landed a gig photographing a Burberry fragrance campaign last year, at the tender age of 16. While it was widely written off as nepotism — especially by experienced, veteran fashion photographers — it gave the now 18-year-old a foothold in the industry and no doubt helped acquire some of his 10.4 million-strong Instagram following. He also scored a place at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in New York City, where, he told The Cut, he has to negotiate the attention of classmates. “I like people from school. But there are a few fangirls,” he says. “Sometimes, I have to be like, ‘I’m going to be with you for like, four years, so chill.’ They understand and they respect it, but it’s just at the beginning, it’s such a shock to them, so it’s fine.”
Madonna and daughter Lourdes Leon arrive at a West Hollywood after-party.
Beckham was also given the opportunity to release his first book, What I See, featuring more than 400 photographs, many of them selfies and shots of his friends taken on his many jaunts across the globe. His younger brothers aren’t wasting time, either, with brother Romeo, 15, modelling for Burberry and Cruz, 12, releasing his first single, If Everyday was Christmas, last year.

Another celebrity offspring making a splash of his own and trying a range of vocations is Jude Law’s son Rafferty, 21. The younger Law’s likeness to his actor dad serves him well in modelling and an inherited sharp fashion sense from mum Sadie Frost landed him a place among GQ’s 50 best dressed British men. But it appears music, particularly working as a DJ, is his biggest passion.

Actor Jamie Foxx posted from the Oscars: “Red carpet ready with the best date a dad could ask for, my beautiful daughter Corinne.” Picture: Twitter
How successful this crop of celebrity children will be remains to be seen but there are clues to how to succeed in the experiences of older generations. Dhani Harrison, with his narrow nose and penchant for unkempt hair, is the spitting image of his late father George. He also shares his Beatle dad’s talent for musical arrangements. After landing his professional start working on George’s final album Brainwashed (released posthumously), he went on to win a Grammy (2004), record multiple film scores and release albums with bands Thenewno2 and Fistful of Mercy, as well as a solo album.

Others have shown similar dedication. Kiefer Sutherland may have grown up in the shadow of father Donald Sutherland’s success, but he’s arguably become as successful. And refreshingly, there appears no rivalry between the pair.

Actor Tom Hanks and actor son Colin Hanks.
Actors Donald Sutherland and Kiefer Sutherland at a film screening.
After appearing alongside his dad in the 1983 film Max Dugan Returns, he was quick to secure roles on his own merit, including cult vampire film The Lost Boys in 1987. He is now starring in the hit TV series Designated Survivor.
Tom Hanks’ elder sons have taken very different directions. While Chet has struggled with addiction, Colin is a talented actor who has spoken of the challenges of people’s expectations of famous offspring.
Does Kendall Jenner's Friendship with Kaia Gerber SCARE Kaia's Mom Cindy Crawford
“I think, more than anything else, people have a lot of expectations of what you’re like or what your life is like or what your work ethic is like,” Colin told the UK’s Metro. “I think it’s just always going to be the thing people want to discuss.” No one has felt the weight of expectations from a celebrity parent quite like Liza Minnelli. The singer-actor described mother Judy Garland’s reaction to her talents being noticed as that of a lioness, but she tells The New York Times that she’s never known differently and is genuinely grateful for having grown up around her mother’s talented circle. “It’s your life, and there aren’t any comparatives,” Minnelli says. “I mean, how do you ask a princess what it’s like to be a princess — she doesn’t know, it’s the only thing she’s ever been. You do have a choice, though, and I made the choice to be proud of my heritage, instead of rebellious.”

Rise of Terrorism in Africa

featured imageThe recent terror attack by al Shabaab in the port city of Barawe in southern Somalia, a suicide bomb attack by Boko Haram in Maiduguri in Nigeria, and an attack on a military post in Mali by an al Qaeda-linked terror group have brought the focus back on terrorism in the African continent. Over the years, terrorism has become the most important challenge to peace, security and development in Africa. The terror activities have grown exponentially in the continent, not only in terms of the number of attacks but also the number of countries affected due to increased proliferation of terrorist groups. In terms of statistics, according to the IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, the terror attacks by radical groups in Africa have increased by 200 per cent and fatalities by more than 750 per cent during 2009-2015.1 A number of groups have been terrorising the civilians and governments alike in several parts of Africa. While global terror groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al Qaeda have made their presence felt in the region, other local groups too have gained prominence over the years. The deadliest of these are Boko Haram, al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Shabaab. As a result, an arc of instability is spreading across Africa, from Nigeria in West Africa, Mali in Sahel, Libya in North Africa, to Somalia in East Africa.

Nigeria: Boko Haram down, but not out

In Nigeria, Boko Haram (meaning Western education is sin) continues to target civilians and government infrastructure despite several rounds of operation conducted by the Nigerian Army. Boko Haram, that came up in 2009, had emerged as the ‘world’s deadliest terrorist organisation’ by 2014. In the last eight years, it is said that Boko Haram has taken 20,000 lives, displaced 2.6 million people, created 75,000 orphans and caused about nine billion worth of damage.2 Links with the ISIS, with leadership tussle between Abubakar Shekau and ISIS favouring Abu Musab al-Barnawi, have turned the situation more complex. While there may have been some reduction in Boko Haram-led violence in the country due the Nigerian Army’s counter terrorism campaign, the group continues to expand its operations in neighbouring countries such as Cameroon, Niger and Chad.3

Sahel: Resurgence of al Qaeda

In Sahel, there is a resurgence of al Qaeda. The four terrorist groups that continue to wreak havoc in the region - AQIM, Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s al Mourabitoun, Ansar Dine and Macina Liberation Front - have recently decided to combine forces and merge into a single group called Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (Group for Support of Islam and Muslims).4 They have also pledged allegiance to the al Qaeda leadership. This regrouping of terror groups is ominous for countries such as Mali and the neighbouring Niger, Cote d’ Ivoire and Burkina Faso that have borne the brunt of their attacks in the past.

Somalia: al Shabaab on offensive

In Somalia, the notorious al Shabaab is on the offensive and in recent months has taken control of some towns after defeating the troops of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).5 The group has increased its attacks on African Union bases, Somali government facilities, targets in neighbouring Kenya and, for the first time in a show of strength, has also launched attacks in the northern Puntland autonomous region. This comes as a surprise as the al Shabaab had steadily lost ground over the last six years. It lost control of the capital Mogadishu in 2011 and then was pushed out of Somalia’s major cities by the 22,000-strong African Union force deployed in the country. The withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops from Somalia and the announcement by the African Union to withdraw AMISOM too (triggered primarily by reduction in funding by the European Union), may have been to an extent responsible for al Shabaab’s comeback. The attacks in the north may be a move to regain control by the pro-al Qaeda al Shabaab leadership, after the recent declaration of allegiance to ISIS by Abdul Qadir Meemen, leader of the faction based in Puntland.6 Another issue of concern is the possibility of revival of friendship between the al Qaeeda of Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Shabaab. In the past, al Shabaab is reported to have trained cadre along with AQAP. The Saudi Arabia-led war against Houthis in Yemen seems to have benefitted the AQAP.7 This group appears to have rapidly gained control over chunks of territory in Yemen. The emergence of nexus between al Shabaab and AQAP could make the situation in Somalia deadlier.

ISIS in North and Southern Africa

The ISIS plan to establish a caliphate in North Africa was thwarted after it was routed out of Sirte, the last ISIS strong hold, in December 2016 by the Libyan National Army, with air support provided by the United States (US). Since 2014, pro-ISIS terrorist groups have been active in North Africa, particularly in Tunisia and Libya. In Libya, the instability following the collapse of the Muammar al Gaddafi regime, and the presence of numerous indigenous factions and also the porous borders, provided a fertile ground for the expansion of ISIS in the country. Moreover, Libya’s long unmonitored coastline too provided the ISIS with a channel to Europe. Between 2014 and 2016, ISIS expanded its presence in multiple cities in Libya, including Derna, Benghazi and Sirte. While the terror group was driven out of most of the region under its control, there are chances that remnants of the group may reconstitute and again create problems. In Tunisia, Ansar al-Sharia, an ISIS affiliate, has been responsible for a large number of terror attacks in the country. It has also been the main facilitator of ISIS fighters from the country to West Asia. Tunisia, has earned the ignominious tag of being the key recruitment ground for the ISIS (about 6,500) in Syria and Iraq.89 ISIS is recruiting youth from eastern as well as southern Africa to fight its wars in Syria and Libya. In Kenya, coastal Tanzania and Zanzibar, youth from the Muslim communities are vulnerable to the ISIS recruitment drives. Reports suggest that at least 140 youth from South Africa may have joined the ISIS.10 These terrorist outfits are using both internet as well as networks of radical clerics to lure the youth from the region.

Way Forward

There is a growing recognition in Africa that terrorism is a transnational problem and, therefore, there is a need for cooperation at the continental level to effectively deal with it.11 Over the years, African countries have devised various measures to deal with this threat at the pan-African level. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, adopted at Algiers in 1999, had put in place a solid framework to deal with the scourge of terrorism.12 It not only defined terrorism but also laid out areas of cooperation among the member states as well as guidelines for the extradition. This was followed by a Plan of Action on Prevention and Combating terrorism in 2002, which put forward several measures for border surveillance, issue of machine readable passports, checking illegal transfer of weapons, introduction of legislation preventing the financing of terrorism, and sharing of information and intelligence on terror activities.13 The Plan of Action incorporated international standards for combating terrorism, in line with the provisions of the UNSC Resolution 1373 of September 28, 2001. It also called for the establishment of the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT). However, the most important instrument is the 2004 Protocol to the 1999 Algiers Convention. This Protocol recognised the “linkages between terrorism and mercenarism, weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking, corruption, transnational crimes, money laundering and illicit proliferation of small arms”.14 The Protocol also addressed a major weakness of the 1999 Convention, which is, lack of an implementation mechanism. The 2004 Protocol mandated the African Union’s Peace and Security Council to monitor and facilitate the implementation. Unfortunately, despite the existence of these instruments, terror networks continue to operate in the region. This is mainly due to the tardy implementation of the counter terrorism framework by the member states. For example, the 2004 Counter Terrorism Protocol needed ratification by minimum 15 states before it could come into force. However, it took more than a decade to finally operationalise this key instrument in 2014. Moreover, some of the key states facing terror attacks such as Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia and Chad are yet to ratify it.15 Much of the delay has to do with insufficient financial resources and lack of necessary political will amongst African states to implement it. A large number of countries do not have the funds to enforce the counter-terrorism measures. For example, bonder fencing would be extremely costly and most of the states are in a dilemma about utilising the limited development-oriented funds for such tasks.16 Also, a large number of African countries, while understanding the transnational nature of terrorism, shy away from seeking external intervention or support as it is considered a challenge to their national sovereignty. Another important factor could be the very nature of states in Africa.17 Most of the counter measures to deal with terrorism have dealt with enhancing the capacities of the states in the continent. However, this has proved to be counterproductive in some cases, as greed and corruption overwhelmed feelings of nationalism amongst section of political elites. For example, it has been reported that in Somalia the arms transfers from the US found their way to al Shabaab due to corruption in the ranks of the Somali National Army.18 Similarly, there are reports that suggest that Boko Haram may have supporters within the state structures in Nigeria, particularly in North Nigeria.19 There is no doubt that terrorism is a global problem and countries across the world including India have for decades suffered from this scourge. While the rise in terrorism in Africa may not impact India directly, there is no denying the fact that this may not remain the case in future. First, recent revival of piracy off Somalia’s northern coast, an area often used by al Shabaab, has reopened the old debate of possible connections between al Shabaab, AQAP and the pirates.20 The fact that the pirates hijacked an India dhow, adds to the vulnerability for the country.21 Second, as Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa, Boko Haram’s continued attacks in the country makes it an issue of concern for India too. At the Third India Africa Forum Summit in 2015, and during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kenya and South Africa in 2016, the issue of cooperation in counter-terrorism was raised. As African countries look towards the international community in their fight against terrorism, friendly support from India will go a long way in taking the relationship forward.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

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