October 25, 2012
English Proficiency Index Ranks 54 Non-English-Speaking Countries
EF Education First’s English Proficiency Index reveals wide gaps in English skills across the world. Women are better at English than men. This is one of many findings officially reported today in the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), an in-depth ranking of English ability. The Swedes are the best English speakers of all based on a survey of 1.7 million adults in 54 Non-English-Speaking Countries and territories in five continents.
The EF EPI is published by international education company EF Education First. “English is key to innovation and competitiveness,” says Michael Lu, Senior Vice President of EF Education First. “The EF ranking should be a wake-up call to countries falling behind their neighbors - because today’s report shows that poor English is linked with less trade, less innovation and lower income.”
Key points revealed by the EF EPI include:
• Italy, Spain and Portugal at the heart of the euro zone crisis are being dragged down by poor English. EF’s research suggests that English skills are strongly linked with how much exports contribute to an economy. All three countries are among the bottom in Europe in proficiency.
• There are wide disparities between the BRIC countries, the developing nations competing to be future economic superpowers. Brazil is ranked only 46th, much lower than China at 36th, Russia at 29th or India - where English is an official language - at 14th.
• The gap between men and women is widest in the Middle East and North Africa, where female scores are considerably higher. This highlights the fact that English could prove key to greater opportunities for women in developing nations. Other countries where men are far worse than women are Italy and China.
• South Korea, at 21st, and Japan, at 22nd, perform disappointingly badly for wealthy countries near the top of global rankings of academic achievement. This is surprising because they come in well behind several lower-income countries, including Hungary (8th) and Poland (10th).
October 22, 2012
Rolex Presents New Watches
Photos: From above, Rolex Sky Dweller White Gold, Rolex Yacht Master, Rolex Datejust Steel, Rolex Lady Datejust, and Rolex Explorer II.
Rolex has presented a wide selection of new watches in its OYSTER collection. These new timepieces illustrate three key Rolex themes: innovation, evolution, and creativity.
According to Rolex, the Oyster Perpetual SKY-DWELLER is an entirely new watch combining practical functions and ease of use. Designed with global travelers in mind, its dual time zone display is easy to read and operate. The SKY-DWELLER is also equipped with an annual calendar that automatically adjusts the date at the end of months with 30 and 31 days.
The new 40 mm version of the Oyster Perpetual YACHT-MASTER in ROLESIUM, a combination of steel and platinum, also benefits from the latest Rolex innovations in terms of the ergonomics, comfort and reliability of the bracelet, clasp and bezel, the company said.
October 15, 2012
America’s Cup World Series San Francisco Championship
Photo: Oracle Team USA, San Francisco. Photo © Guilain GRENIER.
Photo: San Francisco (USA, CA), 34th America’s Cup, America’s Cup World Series San Francisco 2012 October - Final Race Day. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget.
Photo: San Francisco (USA, CA), 34th America’s Cup, America’s Cup World Series San Francisco 2012 October - Final Race Day. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget.
Photo: San Francisco (USA, CA), 34th America’s Cup, America’s Cup World Series San Francisco 2012 October - Race Day 2. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget.
Photo: San Francisco (USA, CA), 34th America’s Cup, America’s Cup World Series San Francisco 2012 August, Race Day 2. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget.
Oracle Team USA Spithill (Jimmy Spithill) rebounded from last place at the first turning mark of the “Super Sunday” fleet race finale to win the America’s Cup World Series San Francisco Championship.
Spithill and crew were “dead last” off the start line, but fought their way back through the fleet. They rounded the last windward gate first and held on for a 17-second win over teammates Oracle Team USA Coutts (Russell Coutts).
“The difference is the four guys on the front of the boat,” said Spithill, referencing his crew. “We were dead last off the start line but it didn’t faze these guys. We have a real team of fighters here. We’re really, really happy.”
“We’ve always said we need to be able to come from behind and overcome adversity,” said Spithill, who skippered the team to victory in the 2010 America’s Cup.
• Oracle Team USA Spithill, Golden Gate Yacht Club, San Francisco, USA.
• Luna Rossa - Piranha, Circolo della Vela Sicilia, Palermo, Italy.
• Team Korea, Sail Korea Yacht Club, Gyeonggi, Korea.
• Energy Team, Yacht Club de France, Paris, France.
• Luna Rossa - Swordfish, Circolo della Vela Sicilia, Palermo, Italy.
• Artemis Racing - White, Royal Swedish Yacht Club, Stockholm, Sweden.
• Emirates Team New Zealand, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Auckland, New Zealand.
• Oracle Team USA Coutts, Golden Gate Yacht Club, San Francisco, USA.
• Artemis Racing - Red, Royal Swedish Yacht Club, Stockholm, Sweden.
• J.P. Morgan BAR, Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, Falmouth, England.
• China Team, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Mei Fan Yacht Club, China.
America’s Cup World Series San Francisco Match Racing Championship Results:
- Oracle Team USA Spithill
- Emirates Team New Zealand
- Artemis Racing - White
- Artemis Racing - Red
- Oracle Team USA Coutts
- Energy Team
- J.P. Morgan BAR
- Team Korea
- China Team
- Luna Rossa Piranha
- Luna Rossa Swordfish
The America’s Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America’s Cup match races between two sailing yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America’s Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging for the cup. The America’s Cup is the oldest active trophy in international sport.
One of the most fiercely competitive and sought after trophies in all of sport, the America’s Cup was first raced in 1851, 45 years before the modern Olympics. The U.S. yacht America won, giving the international sailing competition its name. It consists of 3 different stages — the America’s Cup World Series, the Louis Vuitton Cup (used as the selection series to determine who will race the Defender), and the America’s Cup Finals.
October 14, 2012
UN Secretary-General Attends UNESCO Executive Board Meeting
Photo: View of Paris from UNESCO Headquarters — A view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower from the Salon Lowendael at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as a lunch is hosted in honor of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. 09 October 2012. Paris, France. UN Photo/Evan Schneider.
Photo: UN Secretary-General Attends UNESCO Executive Board Meeting — A wide view of the Executive Board meeting of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in Paris, France. 09 October 2012. Paris, France. UN Photo/Evan Schneider.
Photo: UN Secretary-General Meets UNESCO Chief in Paris — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) meets with Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, France. 09 October 2012. Paris, France. UN Photo/Evan Schneider.
Photo: UN Secretary-General Visits Eglise du Dôme in Paris — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the Eglise du dôme at the Hôtel national des Invalides in Paris. Stained glass window at the Eglise du dôme. 09 October 2012. Paris, France. UN Photo/Evan Schneider.
Photo: UN Secretary-General Meets Community of Democracies Secretary General — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) meets with Maria Leissner, Secretary General of the Community of Democracies, in Strasbourg, France. 08 October 2012. Strasbourg, France. UN Photo/Evan Schneider.
October 9, 2012
71 Countries Vie for 2012 Foreign Language Film Oscar
Photo: The Academy Presents a 50th Anniversary Screening of “Lawrence of Arabia”. Chris Cookson, President of Sony Pictures Technologies, prior to a 50th anniversary screening of the U.S. premiere of a new digital restoration of Columbia Pictures’ 1962 Best Picture winner “Lawrence of Arabia” presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. © Greg Harbaugh/A.M.P.A.S.
Photo: Actress Kym Karath prior to a screening of a new print of the 1965 musical classic “The Sound of Music” presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as part of its series “The Last 70mm Film Festival” at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. © Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S.
• A record 71 countries, including first-time entrant Kenya, have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 85th Academy Awards.
The 2012 submissions are:
• Afghanistan, “The Patience Stone,” Atiq Rahimi, director;
• Albania, “Pharmakon,” Joni Shanaj, director;
• Algeria, “Zabana!” Said Ould Khelifa, director;
• Argentina, “Clandestine Childhood,” Benjamín Ávila, director;
• Armenia, “If Only Everyone,” Natalia Belyauskene, director;
• Australia, “Lore,” Cate Shortland, director;
• Austria, “Amour,” Michael Haneke, director;
• Azerbaijan, “Buta,” Ilgar Najaf, director;
• Bangladesh, “Pleasure Boy Komola,” Humayun Ahmed, director;
• Belgium, “Our Children,” Joachim Lafosse, director;
• Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Children of Sarajevo,” Aida Begic, director;
• Brazil, “The Clown,” Selton Mello, director;
• Bulgaria, “Sneakers,” Valeri Yordanov and Ivan Vladimirov, directors;
• Cambodia, “Lost Loves,” Chhay Bora, director;
• Canada, “War Witch,” Kim Nguyen, director;
• Chile, “No,” Pablo Larraín, director;
• China, “Caught in the Web,” Chen Kaige, director;
• Colombia, “The Snitch Cartel,” Carlos Moreno, director;
• Croatia, “Vegetarian Cannibal,” Branko Schmidt, director;
• Czech Republic, “In the Shadow,” David Ondrícek, director;
• Denmark, “A Royal Affair,” Nikolaj Arcel, director;
• Dominican Republic, “Jaque Mate,” José María Cabral, director;
• Estonia, “Mushrooming,” Toomas Hussar, director;
• Finland, “Purge,” Antti J. Jokinen, director;
• France, “The Intouchables,” Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;
• Georgia, “Keep Smiling,” Rusudan Chkonia, director;
• Germany, “Barbara,” Christian Petzold, director;
• Greece, “Unfair World,” Filippos Tsitos, director;
• Greenland, “Inuk,” Mike Magidson, director;
• Hong Kong, “Life without Principle,” Johnnie To, director;
• Hungary, “Just the Wind,” Bence Fliegauf, director;
• Iceland, “The Deep,” Baltasar Kormákur, director;
• India, “Barfi!” Anurag Basu, director;
• Indonesia, “The Dancer,” Ifa Isfansyah, director;
• Israel, “Fill the Void,” Rama Burshtein, director;
• Italy, “Caesar Must Die,” Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani, directors;
• Japan, “Our Homeland,” Yang Yonghi, director;
• Kazakhstan, “Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe,” Akan Satayev, director;
• Kenya, “Nairobi Half Life,” David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga, director;
• Kyrgyzstan, “The Empty Home,” Nurbek Egen, director;
• Latvia, “Gulf Stream under the Iceberg,” Yevgeny Pashkevich, director;
• Lithuania, “Ramin,” Audrius Stonys, director;
• Macedonia, “The Third Half,” Darko Mitrevski, director;
• Malaysia, “Bunohan,” Dain Iskandar Said, director;
• Mexico, “After Lucia,” Michel Franco, director;
• Morocco, “Death for Sale,” Faouzi Bensaïdi, director;
• Netherlands, “Kauwboy,” Boudewijn Koole, director;
• Norway, “Kon-Tiki,” Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;
• Palestine, “When I Saw You,” Annemarie Jacir, director;
• Peru, “The Bad Intentions,” Rosario García-Montero, director;
• Philippines, “Bwakaw,” Jun Robles Lana, director;
• Poland, “80 Million,” Waldemar Krzystek, director;
• Portugal, “Blood of My Blood,” João Canijo, director;
• Romania, “Beyond the Hills,” Cristian Mungiu, director;
• Russia, “White Tiger,” Karen Shakhnazarov, director;
• Serbia, “When Day Breaks,” Goran Paskaljevic, director;
• Singapore, “Already Famous,” Michelle Chong, director;
• Slovak Republic, “Made in Ash,” Iveta Grófová, director;
• Slovenia, “A Trip,” Nejc Gazvoda, director;
• South Africa, “Little One,” Darrell James Roodt, director;
• South Korea, “Pieta,” Kim Ki-duk, director;
• Spain, “Blancanieves,” Pablo Berger, director;
• Sweden, “The Hypnotist,” Lasse Hallström, director;
• Switzerland, “Sister,” Ursula Meier, director;
• Taiwan, “Touch of the Light,” Chang Jung-Chi, director;
• Thailand, “Headshot,” Pen-ek Ratanaruang, director;
• Turkey, “Where the Fire Burns,” Ismail Gunes, director;
• Ukraine, “The Firecrosser,” Mykhailo Illienko, director;
• Uruguay, “The Delay,” Rodrigo Plá, director;
• Venezuela, “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” Hernán Jabes, director;
• Vietnam, “The Scent of Burning Grass,” Nguyen Huu Muoi, director.
The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at The Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.
October 7, 2012
Airbus’ ‘Fly Your Ideas’ Challenge brings Innovation to University Campus
Photo: A320 on display at the ILA Berlin Air Show. 14 Sep 2012. © Airbus S.A.S 2012. Photo by S. Ramadier.
Photo: Public-Days A380. The 2012 Farnborough Airshow’s public days included a high-profile presence by Airbus’ 21st century flagship A380. © Airbus S.A.S. 2012.
Photo: Smarter Skies - TIME WASTED PER FLIGHT GLOBALLY. This Airbus Smarter Skies infographic highlights the advantages of flying aircraft equipped with optimised Air Traffic Management systems and technology, which would lead to reductions in costs, fuel burned and emissions. © Airbus S.A.S 2012.
• Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas - a UNESCO-backed biennial competition - is challenging students worldwide to develop new ideas for a more sustainable aviation industry.
Prize winners will get a week of learning with top Airbus innovators and €30,000.
This competition enables Airbus to interact with universities across the globe and students of all disciplines, sharing insight on how the industry leader is developing new technologies for the more sustainable aviation that future travelers are looking for.
“We are looking to engage and interact with the next wave of talents who share our vision for a more sustainable future aviation industry,” said Charles Champion, Executive Vice President Engineering Airbus and Fly Your Ideas patron. “We hope to stimulate ideas and international exchange within the global student and academic community to inspire the next generation of innovators.”
Global enthusiasm for Fly Your Ideas continues to grow, with 111 teams from 55 countries already registered to participate in the 2013 edition.
This year the topics for the competition are: “Energy”; “Efficiency”; “Affordable Growth”; “Traffic Growth”; “Passenger Experience” and “Community Friendliness.” These have been identified by Airbus as the six key challenges of the 21st century for a sustainable aviation industry.
October 6, 2012
Freestyle Motocross: Levi Sherwood of New Zealand wins the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour in Sydney — The best FMX Athletes in the World bring an Explosion of Tricks like Never Seen Before
Photo: Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2012 Sydney. Dany Torres (Spain) in Action. 05.Oct 2012. Sydney, Australia. (© Red Bull).
Photo: Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2012 Sydney. Levi Sherwood (NZL) in Action. 06.Oct 2012. Sydney, Australia. (© Red Bull).
Photo: Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2012 Sydney. Thomas Pages (FRANCE) in Action. 06.Oct 2012. Sydney, Australia. (© Red Bull).
Levi Sherwood of New Zealand won the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour on Saturday with a thrilling victory in the final round of the 2012 season in Australia over his hard-charging rival Thomas Pages of France.
Sherwood was the dominant force during the entire seven-month 2012 season with three wins, getting clear victories in the season opener in Dubai and then in the mid-summer classic in Madrid. But he was beaten decisively in Glen Helen, California by American Todd Potter, who held the championship lead through the middle of the season. Sherwood then opened a big lead after his win in Madrid but was beaten in Munich by red-hot Pages.
Sherwood was finally able to shake off his pesky French rival Pages, getting the clutch triumph he needed in the dramatic showdown battle to win the closest finish in the 12-year history of Red Bull X-Fighters. Pages dazzled the crowd in Sydney with breathtaking moves such as the flair or the volt. The flair is a mind-boggling 540-degree mid-air turn, the volt leaves him spinning in mid-air above his bike.
The best FMX Athletes in the world brought an explosion of tricks like never seen before in a Freestyle-Motocross-Event.
Results Sydney 2012:
- Levi Sherwood (NZL)
- Thomas Pages (FRA)
- Josh Sheehan (AUS)
- Jackson Strong (AUS)
- Eigo Sato (JPN)
- Taka Higashino (JPN)
- Dany Torres (ESP)
- Cameron Sinclair (AUS)
- Blake Williams (AUS)
- Javier Villegas (CHL)
- Todd Potter (USA)
Results World Tour 2012:
- Levi Sherwood (NEW ZEALAND): 335 points
- Thomas Pages (FRANCE): 315 points
- Dany Torres (SPAIN): 215 points
- Javier Villegas (CHILE): 190 points
- Eigo Sato (JAPAN): 190 points
- Todd Potter (USA): 155 points
October 1, 2012
Harmony Project of Los Angeles Launches Academy for Promising Music Students from Low Income Zones in its Area
All Photos © Harmony Project, Los Angeles.
Harmony Project of Los Angeles is launching Harmony Project Academy to provide enhanced music training to music students from low-income homes who show exceptional promise.
According to Harmony Project, it helps low-income students living in or near LA’s gang reduction zones to develop the habits of mind they need to lead successful lives by connecting them with professional musician mentors. Music lessons and instruments are provided after school hours at no charge. School enrollment is required. Students rehearse year-round in orchestras, choirs and other ensembles that Harmony Project builds in the students’ neighborhoods.
Harmony Project enrollment has grown from 36 students in 2001 to 1500 with a waiting of 400. Students participate in dozens of youth orchestras, bands and smaller ensembles, the organizers said.
Exceptional students selected for the Harmony Project Academy will receive quality instruments and additional opportunities including private lessons, chamber music coaching, music theory classes, participation in summer music institutes, field trips and support with college planning.
• Harmony Project was founded in 2001 by Margaret Martin, a doctor of public health from UCLA. “The idea wasn’t to make musicians,” says Martin. “The idea was to use the discipline and joy of ensemble music making to help kids develop the habits of mind they need to lead successful lives and become responsible citizens.”
September 29, 2012
Bridgestone Displays Concept Tire of “100% Sustainable Materials” at the 2012 Paris Motor Show
Photos: Bridgestone at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.
Photo: Bridgestone Battlax Sportbike Tires
Bridgestone Corporation is exhibiting a concept tire of 100% sustainable materials at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.
According to Bridgestone, as the world’s largest tire and rubber manufacturer, it is working to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society while providing a constant and reliable supply of advanced and high-quality products to meet the needs of its customers around the world.
September 28, 2012
Opening of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly
Photo: View of a cross-section of the General Assembly Hall during the opening of general debate of the Assembly’s sixty-seventh session. 25 September 2012. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine.
Photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Barack Obama, President of the United States. 25 September 2012. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Mark Garten.
Photo: “Education First”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Global Initiative on Education, which seeks to make a breakthrough to mobilize all partners to achieve universal primary education ahead of the 2015 target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), was launched on the margins of the UN General Assembly’s general debate. 26 September 2012. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Mark Garten.
Photo: Bill Clinton, Founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and former President of the United States, speaks at the launch of the Global Initiative on Education, “Education First”. The Initiative seeks to make a breakthrough to mobilize all partners to achieve universal primary education ahead of the 2015 target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 26 September 2012. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Mark Garten.
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
September 23, 2012
U.S. Higher Education Accreditation Body Launches International Forum
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), Washington, DC, has announced the launch of the CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG).
• “The CIQG (CHEA International Quality Group) will provide an important international forum for institutions, accrediting and quality assurance organizations and others around the world to address vital topics related to quality and quality assurance,” CHEA President Judith Eaton said. “The launch of the CIQG reflects the growing importance of international higher education quality issues.”
The main function of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is to recognize institutional accrediting organizations in the USA.
CHEA advocates self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation.
According to the CHEA announcement, an Advisory Council of individuals from the academic and accreditation/quality assurance communities in a number of countries will guide the CIQG with regard to strategic development and identifying key trends and issues in international quality assurance.
CIQG will hold international meetings, produce an international newsletter and research briefs, and will offer fee-for-service consultation assistance.
September 22, 2012
ACADEMY TO CELEBRATE THE MUSIC OF JAMES BOND
Photo: Record album cover, THUNDERBALL, 1965. Courtesy: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Photo: Record album cover, MOONRAKER, 1979. Courtesy: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Photo: Record album cover, GOLDFINGER, 1964. Courtesy: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
As part of the global 50th anniversary celebration of James Bond, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present “The Music of Bond: The First 50 Years,” at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, USA. Held 50 years to the day after the U.K. opening of the first Bond film, “Dr. No,” the evening pays homage to the memorable title songs that have become as celebrated as the films themselves.
According to the Academy announcement, “Hosted by music historian and writer Jon Burlingame, the program will feature many of the people who made the music, including composer Bill Conti (“For Your Eyes Only”), songwriter Carole Bayer Sager (“Nobody Does It Better” from “The Spy Who Loved Me”), lyricist Don Black (title songs for “Thunderball,” “Diamonds Are Forever,” “The Man with the Golden Gun” and “The World Is Not Enough”) and guitarist Vic Flick, who laid down the famous guitar lick for the “James Bond Theme.” There also will be a special video message from actor Roger Moore [best known for his role as British secret agent James Bond in the official film series between 1973 and 1985].”
“Over the 22 films released to date as part of the official James Bond series, there have been several constants: suave but deadly leading men, gorgeous Bond girls, over-the-top villains and incredible music,” the academy reminded. “Those notable elements combined with the remarkable scores by composers including Conti, John Barry, Marvin Hamlisch and David Arnold has resulted in a body of work that continues to play a major role in popular film culture.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization. The Academy is known around the world for its annual Academy Awards, informally known as the “Oscars”.
September 21, 2012
Taxi of Tomorrow: New York City Approves Nissan as Exclusive Taxi Provider
According to Nissan, New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has officially approved regulations requiring the replacement of taxicab vehicles with the Nissan NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow.
The exclusive agreement begins in late 2013, when the first Nissan taxis will hit the New York streets, Nissan said. Powered by a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, the Nissan NV200 is designed to reduce carbon emissions and enhance fuel efficiency across the entire taxi fleet, as old models are replaced.
Drawing on its full range of commercial vehicle experience - including providing taxis for municipalities around the world - Nissan is in the process of conducting extensive testing for the Nissan NV200 Taxi prior to the vehicle going on sale.
Designed from the inside out, using input from New York taxi drivers, fleets and passengers, standard interior features and passenger amenities include:
• Ample room for four passengers and their luggage, offering substantial improvements over current taxi models.
• Sliding doors with entry step and grab handles, providing easy entry and exit.
• Transparent roof panel, presenting unique views of the city.
• Opening side windows.
• Independently controlled rear air conditioning.
• Active Carbon Lined headliner to help neutralize interior odors.
• Overhead reading lights for passengers and floor lighting to help locate belongings.
• A mobile charging station for passengers, including a 12-volt electrical outlet and two USB ports.
• Driver and passenger intercom system.
In addition, important safety features of the Taxi of Tomorrow include:
• Only taxi ever to be safety tested and certified with full taxi partition.
• Front and rear-seat occupant curtain airbags, and seat-mounted airbags for the front row.
• Standard traction control and Vehicle Dynamic Control.
• Sliding doors to lessen risk of pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists getting struck by doors opening unexpectedly.
• Lights that alert other road users that taxi doors are opening.
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing.
• Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second largest Japanese automotive company by volume, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan and is an integral pillar of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 150,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4.6 million vehicles in 2011.
September 16, 2012
IBM Helps Cities Worldwide Measure Public Social Sentiment on Critical Issues
Photo: Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) is using IBM software to manage maintenance and logistics for the revolutionary high-speed rail network that runs along the west coast of Taiwan. The express trains are capable of traveling at up to 186 miles per hour (300 km/hr) meaning travel between Taipei City and Kaohsiung City is only roughly 90 minutes as opposed to the 4.5 hours by conventional rail. (Photo © IBM).
At the IBM Smarter Cities Forum in New Delhi, India, IBM has unveiled a new social sentiment capability based on sophisticated analytics technologies to help cities around the world better measure and understand public opinions on key city issues and services such as public transportation or education.
The company also unveiled findings from the latest IBM Social Sentiment Index on traffic, which looked at public sentiment across India’s largest cities - Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai.
Analysis of available social media showed that the worst congestion is primarily caused by accidents and bad weather (three out of four times) when looking at the three cities together.
“Combining the knowledge that population will rapidly increase in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai in the coming years, with sentiment on commuters’ preferred mode of transportation, could help these cities more accurately plan for needed investments in transportation infrastructure and its potential impact,” IBM said. “City officials could also gauge where public awareness campaigns need to be administered to shift commuters to different modes of transport in order to alleviate growing traffic congestion.”
Photo: India is experiencing unprecedented growth. In the next 20 years, 30 Indians will move every minute from rural India to the cities. To accommodate this massive urban migration, India will need about 500 new cities in the next 20 years. An IBM analysis of social media sentiment around transportation in India’s three largest cities - Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi - illustrates how cities can use public opinion to help set priorities for urban planning and prepare for future growth. (Photo © IBM).
According to IBM, the top three factors impacting traffic congestion that citizens in each city talked about most online were diverse. Delhites chattered about public transportation, weather and the stress of commuting, while Bangaloreans show more concern for their overall driving experience, construction and parking issues, and Mumbaikars are talking about private transportation, accidents and pollution more often.
By applying analytics capabilities to the area of social media sentiment, organizations are able to better understand public opinions, and city officials can gain additional insights in order to draw logical conclusions about where they should focus their attentions and resources, IBM explained.
September 12, 2012
Universities Need to Reform to Reflect Changing Job Market and Skills Needed
• Universities need to do a better job of cooperating with the corporate world to better prepare students for their careers.
• Young workers are changing companies, forcing companies to adapt.
• An MBA should be carefully considered, as it is not always beneficial.
Photo: Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, Director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, Yale University, USA; World Economic Forum Foundation Board Member; Global Agenda Council on Institutional Governance Systems at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, China 2012 (© World Economic Forum).
Photo: Rajeev Bhargava, Director and Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, University of Delhi, India, at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, China 2012 (© World Economic Forum).
Photo: Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, China 2012 (© World Economic Forum).
As the labour market rapidly changes, universities need to play a stronger role in preparing graduates for life in the workplace, according to a panel on talent development on the second day of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of New Champions 2012 at Tianjin, People’s Republic of China, 12 September 2012.
“There is a mismatch between where talent is and where it’s needed,” Mark Du Ree, Regional Head, Japan and Asia, and Member of the Executive Committee, Adecco Group, Japan, told participants. “We have very good students who have a great academic career, but we seem to have a disconnect between what’s needed in a corporation and the skills brought to the table.”
N. V. (Tiger) Tyagarajan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Genpact, India, agreed that training the next generation of workers to cope in fast-paced and quickly changing environments is key. He said graduates frequently lack the skills necessary to succeed.
Du Ree added that some universities employ professors or instructors from the corporate world, but many are staffed solely by academics. “What we need to do is have more corporate cooperation with the academics,” he said, noting that young people need to be better prepared. “How can we get academics to spend time in the real world - in the working world - so they know what they’re talking about?” he asked.
Matching talent with demand is another challenge. Ronald Bruder, Founder and Chair, Education For Employment (EFE), USA, a Social Entrepreneur, said that his organization works with employers to find and train talent that meets their needs.
Kevin Taylor, President, Asia-Pacific, BT, Hong Kong SAR, said young workers are also changing the nature of companies. He said young workers are not interested in working seven days a week, or staying up into the early hours of the morning to get their work done. His company has 20,000 employees working from home in the United Kingdom alone. “It’s great,” he said. “The desktop is dead.” He said workers now get their work done anywhere, at any time. According to Taylor, the future will not be how young workers adapt to companies, but how companies can adapt to the working habits and ideals of young workers.
The panellists also tended to agree that an MBA is not as useful as it is perceived to be. Taylor encouraged new graduates to get job experience first, and then pursue an MBA later if it aligns with their career aspirations. Du Ree said he originally planned to pursue his MBA, but, “after working for a few years and finding my passion, I realized I didn’t need it anymore.”
September 11, 2012
New York International Fashion Week: Spring 2013 Collections
Photo: (L-R) Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and designers Diane Von Furstenberg and Yvan Mispelaere walk the runway at the Diane Von Furstenberg Spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 9, 2012 in New York City. (Photo © Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz).
Photo: A model walks the runway at the Tommy Hilfiger Women’s Spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 9, 2012 in New York City. (Photo © Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz).
Photo: A model walks the runway at the Tommy Hilfiger Women’s Spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 9, 2012 in New York City. (Photo © Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz).
Photo: A model walks the runway at the Marimekko Spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 10, 2012 in New York City. (Photo © Dario Canatatore/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz).
Photo: A model walks the runway at the Ralph Lauren Spring 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 13, 2012 in New York City (Photo © Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz).
“This season’s list of designers participating in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is a testament to the strength of the fashion industry,” said Stephanie Zimmer, Manager of Brand Experience Marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA. “Mercedes-Benz is a supporter of fashion initiatives in over 30 countries and we are proud to continue supporting Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. It is the marquee event and this season is shaping up to be an exciting spring collection as the fashion community waits in anticipation for the unexpected designs that will be shown.”
September 7, 2012
World Economic Forum releases The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013
• Competitiveness gap widening among European countries
• US remains world’s innovation powerhouse despite decline in overall ranking
• People’s Republic of China most competitive among large emerging markets; India, Russia fall
Photo: Aerial view of the congress center of Davos, Switzerland, where the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012 took place January 25 - 29, 2012 (© World Economic Forum/Andy Mettler).
Switzerland, for the fourth consecutive year, tops the overall rankings in The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, released by the World Economic Forum.
Singapore remains in second position and Finland in third position, overtaking Sweden (4th). These and other Northern and Western European countries dominate the top 10 with the Netherlands (5th), Germany (6th) and United Kingdom (8th). The United States (7th), Hong Kong (9th) and Japan (10th) complete the ranking of the top 10 most competitive economies.
The large emerging market economies (BRICS) display different performances. Despite a slight decline in the rankings of three places, the People’s Republic of China (29th) continues to lead the group. Of the others, only Brazil (48th) moves up this year, with South Africa (52nd), India (59th) and Russia (67th) experiencing small declines in rankings.
Despite growing its overall competitiveness score, the United States continues its decline for the fourth year in a row, falling two more places to seventh position. According to the report, in addition to the burgeoning macroeconomic vulnerabilities, some aspects of the country’s institutional environment continue to raise concern among business leaders, particularly the low public trust in politicians and a perceived lack of government efficiency. On a more positive note, the country still remains a global innovation powerhouse and its markets work efficiently, the report says.
The report indicates that Switzerland and countries in Northern Europe have been consolidating their strong competitiveness positions since the financial and economic downturn in 2008. On the other hand, countries in Southern Europe, i.e. Portugal (49th), Spain (36th), Italy (42nd) and particularly Greece (96th) continue to suffer from competitiveness weaknesses in terms of macroeconomic imbalances, poor access to financing, rigid labour markets and an innovation deficit.
Behind Singapore, several Asian economies are performing strongly, with Hong Kong SAR (9th), Japan (10th), Taiwan, China (13th) and the Republic of Korea (19th) all in the top 20.
In the Middle East and North Africa, Qatar (11th) leads the region while Saudi Arabia remains among the top 20 (18th). The United Arab Emirates (24th) improves its performance while Kuwait (37th) slightly declines. Morocco (70th) and Jordan (63rd) improve slightly. In sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa (52nd) and Mauritius (54th) feature in the top half of the rankings.
In Latin America, Chile (33rd) retains the lead and a number of countries see their competitiveness improve, such as Panama (40th), Brazil (48th), Mexico (53rd) and Peru (61st).
“Persisting divides in competitiveness across regions and within regions, particularly in Europe, are at the origin of the turbulence we are experiencing today, and this is jeopardizing our future prosperity.” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum. “We urge governments to act decisively by adopting long-term measures to enhance competitiveness and return the world to a sustainable growth path.”
September 3, 2012
Made in Italy: Lancia is main sponsor of the 69th Venice International Film Festival
Photo: Actor Luca Argentero and Actress Myriam Catania attend the Lancia Cafe during the 69th Venice Film Festival on August 31, 2012 in Venice, Italy. (Photo © Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Lancia).
Photo: Actress Barbora Bobulova shows her award during the ‘Premio Kineo’ Ceremony during the 69th Venice International Film Festival at Lancia Cafe on August 30, 2012 in Venice, Italy. (Photo © Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Lancia).
For the seventh consecutive year, the Italian automobile manufacturer Lancia (a part of the Fiat Group) is the main sponsor of the Venice International Film Festival, scheduled from August 29 to 8 September 2012.
The new Lancia Flavia ia being used to provide an exclusive courtesy car service. The glamorous convertible embraces the stylistic features of the Lancia brand. Equipped with 175 HP 2.4 litre petrol engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission, the new Lancia Flavia boasts generous external dimensions. It can accommodate up to four adults.
During the Venice Film Festival, Lancia will present a special edition of the new Flavia created in collaboration with Italian furniture maker Poltrona Frau. This special edition car is distinguished by its seats and armrests completely covered in red Pelle Frau Pieno Fiore leather.
“The new Flavia is the perfect expression of the Italian way of life and the beauty of Italian lifestyle based on taste, imagination, style and refinement,” the company said. “The front wheel drive Lancia Flavia guarantees a refined driving experience unparalleled by any other in its segment, whether tackling the daily trip in town to go to the office or when travelling those spectacular panoramic roads out of town on weekends.”
August 26, 2012
SOPHIA Offers Students Free Homework Help with Many Ways to Learn for Back to School
Students heading back to school have a free homework tool at their fingertips with SOPHIA.org, an online social education platform that provides more than 25,000 free academic tutorials on math, science, English and several other subjects. The ad-free site offers multiple lessons on each concept.
“Finding credible, easy to use help with schoolwork can be challenging, however our library of free online academic tutorials makes it easy to find the help you need to succeed in school,” said Steve Anastasi, president and chief technology officer for SOPHIA. “Whether you want to review concepts in algebra, need to learn a bit more about a chemistry topic, or have a desire to work ahead, we have one of the most robust collections of lessons for students on the web today.”
“With SOPHIA, students now have access to hundreds of teachers, each with their own style and technique, at their fingertips anytime they need it,” Anastasi said. “Our goal is to continue to meet them where they are in this digital age and when they’re ready to learn.”
Owned by Capella Education Company, SOPHIA is a first-of-its-kind social education platform that offers students many ways to learn by making free, credible academic content available to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. The site offers more than 25,000 tutorials created by hundreds of teachers and experts taught in a variety of ways.
August 22, 2012
New Renault Clio with "Love at First Sight" Styling
Since the launch of the original model in 1990, some 11.5 million Clios have been sold in more than 115 countries.
The new Renault Clio stands out through the following features:
• Sensuous, passionate styling, the fruit of the Renault design renaissance, plus an extensive range of exterior and interior personalisation options.
• Affordable innovative technologies: Reversing camera, keyless entry, Renault R-Sound app, Renault Bass Reflex system.
• Six-speed EDC dual clutch automatic transmission.
• Renault R-Link, an integrated internet-connected touchscreen tablet.
• Comprehensive range of engines engineered to deliver fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.
New Renault Clio is the first production model to give full expression to the Renault design renaissance inspired by Laurens van den Acker, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Design.
• Renault competition: 150 schoolchildren in 12 countries working for road safety:
Isabelle Franciosa reports:
Renault has for over a decade been raising the awareness of one million children a year through its Safety and Mobility for All program. The YOUR Ideas, YOUR Initiatives competition is part of this effort, giving children and teenagers worldwide the chance to create projects on road safety and sustainable mobility.
The best projects are short-listed and shared at a big international event. In 2012 the 13 finalist teams met at the Paris Science and Industry Museum to present their projects to the jury. The first prizes went to the teams from Slovenia and India. The initiative is part of the company’s social responsibility policy and contributes to the objectives of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety.