Tuesday December 12, 2017
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CNN suspends journalist for her tweet in support of Syrian refugees

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Washington: CNN has suspended its global affairs correspondent Elise Labott for two weeks after she expressed her displeasure on Twitter about the US House of Representatives voting on a bill that would make it harder for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the US.

Her tweet garnered over 5,000 tweets and about 7,000 likes. She was suspended on the same day.

The US House lawmakers voted Thursday to halt a program aimed at resettling thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing their homeland that is facing a civil war and battle between the ISIS and other world powers, including Russia and the United States.

“In light of the Paris attacks, we are certainly mindful that there are certain members of Congress that want to take another look at this,” State spokesman John Kirby said, adding, “We’re aware of some potential legislation coming. We’re going to continue to work with members of Congress on that, and any other concern they have.”

After Labott drew flak on Twitter for her comments, she apologized for her “inappropriate and disrespectful tweet”.

While the journalist received support, she was also criticized for her tweet and also for apologizing for expressing her opinion, as the US Constitution allows her to do so.

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US to begin Jerusalem Embassy move preparations: Tillerson

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Photo: wikimedia commons

Washington, Dec 7. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stated that the State Department will “immediately” act on President Donald Trump’s order and start preparations to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Earlier on Wednesday, Trump announced in a televised speech that he officially recognises Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and instructed the State Department to relocate the US embassy to the city, reports Xinhua news agency. (Read: Trump to Announce US Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli Capital, Move Embassy)

Tillerson, who is on a Europe visit, said in a statement on Wednesday night that the US has consulted with “many friends, partners and allies” about the relocation ahead of Trump’s decision.

Though hailed by Israel, Trump’s announcement immediately drew strong opposition and widespread criticism from Arab and European countries that such a move would inflame tensions and fuel violence in the Middle East.

Tillerson said that the US had taken measures to protect Americans in the region.

“The safety of Americans is the State Department’s highest priority, and in concert with other federal agencies, we’ve implemented robust security plans to protect the safety of Americans in affected regions.”

Trump’s announcement marked a dramatic departure from his predecessors’ foreign policy.

Although the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which required the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, former Presidents, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, consistently renewed a presidential waiver to delay the relocation out of consideration for national security interests.

The status of Jerusalem, revered by Muslims as the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site by Jews, lies at the core of the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

The international community does not recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and no foreign countries have their embassies in the city.(IANS)

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How Technology is Streamlining the US Lending Sector

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cash-lending

Today, people are more connected than any other time in history. Since people are constantly using computers and smartphones, most industries have adopted technologies that help in easier and faster service delivery to customers.

In the finance industry, the development of technology has transformed the landscape in the lending sector. In this article, you’ll learn more about how this industry has been affected by technology.

Technology creates better borrower experience

Basically, the lending process requires an exchange of some data between the borrower and the lending institution. Depending on the lender and the amount in question, you may be required to submit tens of pages of information before the application is approved.

As such, the process can be daunting given that you are expected to fill multiple forms as well as provide several documents.  Without patience and some free time, getting through the loan application with traditional banks is close to impossible.

However, when the lending process is digitized the amount of paperwork is reduced dramatically. This is because account activity, credit history, income history as well as tax compliance can be fed into the system with the click of a button. This has made the collection and verification of information quite easy. Besides streamlining the application process, the amount of time it takes to get a loan has also reduced.

In addition, some lenders have developed some innovative mobile solutions that enable customers to submit an application from anywhere. The most outstanding feature about mobile loans is that there is a constant interaction between the lender and the borrowers. This goes a long way in improving service delivery.

Increased transparency

In the past, borrowers had no access to a lender’s system that hold the borrower’s personal details as well as loan application status. This implies that most borrowers were in the dark for the most part of the lending process. When the need to communicate comes, the loan teams were the most potent option. This has been the reason why loan officers were getting hundreds of phone calls from clients who were dying to get the updates about the loans.

Courtesy of technology advancements, now it’s possible to view the status of your loan application as well as your account status with a lender. This helps borrowers to stay updated during the entire online installment loans process. In addition, you can get instant communication about any requests that a lender may have that is critical to the borrowing process.

As a result, there is a high collaboration between borrowers and lenders which makes the involved parties satisfied.

A less painful borrowing process

Traditionally, it takes an average of 18 days to get a loan approval. To get through the borrowing process, you need an extra 50 days if you are applying for a mortgage. But when you consider that it’s possible to purchase something from miles away at the comfort of your home and get it in a few hours, the long lending process seems like a bad joke.

To match the level of service delivery in this digital era, the financial sector has incorporated technology for a better experience. The innovative technology makes it possible for borrowers to navigate through the process thanks to great design and real-time customer support.

This makes it easy to switch from traditional lenders who implement outdated technology and business models. The comfort of knowing that you can get help from the lender in a matter of seconds has made the process painless.

It helps you save money

On average, a lender spends about $8,000 to finish one mortgage. This is because they have to pay employees to look into tons of information and collate in various databases. In a manual process, the tasks are repetitive and consume a lot of time. The tragedy here is that the borrower will cover these costs in the form of loan fees and charges.

But when innovative technology is used, much of the redundant tasks during the application process is scraped off. This means borrowing becomes cheaper for both lenders and borrowers. Besides the huge savings on cost, the process takes less time.

Over-reliance on human capital is eliminated and this implies there are fewer errors when gathering information. While this doesn’t conclude that technology has taken the place of experienced manpower, it helps create time and resources that are focused on other tasks with higher value.

Risks associated with technology in the lending sector

While technology has a way of making life more bearable, it comes with several risks. Basically, most of the information is transmitted online and this makes it easy for criminals to intercept the information. With data security being one of the biggest concerns in this industry, most companies are investing heavily in precautionary measures to keep their customers safe.

Therefore, if you are working with a reputable loan company that has implemented the necessary safety measures, you don’t need to worry. However, this doesn’t mean that you should submit a loan application to every online lender out there.

All lenders are not created equal and there are a few predatory businesses out there that can take advantage of vulnerable borrowers and charge astronomical interests. As such, you should restrain yourself from getting into an agreement with any lender who doesn’t have a track record of outstanding customer service and a demonstrated commitment to helping customers.

Finally, identity theft is real and can cause a serious problem if a criminal gets your personal information. Therefore, you should be careful when requesting loans through online platforms. As a rule of thumb, choose to work with businesses that have strict privacy policies as well as having the necessary security measures to prevent data theft.

Final words

Innovative technology has taken the financial industry by a storm and it has created a serious revolution in the industry. Unlike in the past, loans are now easily accessible to more people and the lending process is less painful.

Considering the current trends, it’s clear that more resources are going to be invested in this industry and create better technologies. While there is still much that needs to be done with regards to improving certain loans like mortgages, technology has transformed the sector.

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Race as a tool to keep people Divided: Will Science break the Shackles?

Race as a concept has been used by humans to divide and create divisions among us for deriving economical and political gains.

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Race: Are We So Different at Chicago History Museum
Race is still a big deal in USA and other parts of the World. Pic by Dr. Munish Raizada taken at the Race exhibition at Chicago History Museum. November 2017

Chicago:

Last week I along with my family went to see an exhibit on Race that is being currently held at Chicago History Museum until July 2018. Developed by American Anthropological Association (AAA), theme of the exhibit is: “Race: Are We So Different?”

The answer is: No, we are not!

There is only one human race, and that is Homo Sapiens.

There are no sub-races in humans. We all humans constitute one race, despite the differences in our colors and contours, morphological features. The latter are largely explained by science.

However, it goes with out saying that Race as a concept has been used  by us to divide and create divisions among us for deriving economical and political gains. In the name of superior Vs inferior race, people have been subjugated, persecuted and killed. History tells us that, genocides have been carried out, citing the basis of race.

Whereas science and anthropological studies have solidified that we the current or Modern human species (Homo sapiens) are all descendants of our forefathers originating from Africa. Evidence shows that about 60,000 years ago, some of our African ancestors (therefore Blacks) started spreading out to other parts of world. Some reached Asia (including India) and others of course to Eurasia and the current Western hemisphere.This implies that we all form one race, called Human Race.

Exhibition on Race at Chicago History Museum
We might look different, but are we so different? This is the theme of the exhibit on Race being held at Chicago History Museum. Pic taken by Dr Munish Raizada Nov 19,2017

This anthropological facts backed increasingly with sophisticated genetics tools accessible now will change our understanding more and more in coming years. Indian nationalists will also be for a shock because their premise of preserving Indians as a very special civilization that uniquely originated in India will be difficult to maintain as the scientific concepts reach to the the public in more easy- to- understand style.

The scientific fact about race makes many people uncomfortable. Because this is a strong antidote to the man-made idea of Race. Historically, Race and color have been used to create power structures and inequalities within human societies. In the game of black and white, many find it hard to digest when confronted with the idea that their forefathers were blacks (coming from Africa).

Now, let us apply this fact to religion. The latter is also a man made concept. Religion (in contrast to spirituality) though seemingly a unifier, has historically played a mixed role. It has molded civilizations after civilizations, but no one will deny that much of the bloodshed, conflict and violence has emanated from the womb of religion.

Despite all this, we are living in exciting times of science and technology. The marvels of science are exploding at an unprecedented speed. The research into medicine, human genome project, human brain project, space and quantum or particle physics are already enhancing our understanding of ourselves and the Universe in a manner unknown previously. Through research into consciousness and ageing, humanity will see new victories in years and decades to come.

The rapid emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will catapult the World – for better or Worse, ‘God” only knows! But, I will agree with what Stephen Hawkins is saying: It is time for the humans to move to other planets before AI starts consuming or replacing humans.