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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Innovation can Drive Change for Most Disadvantaged Children - UNICEF Report

NEW YORK and BEIJING, Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Urgent action is needed to prevent millions of children from missing out on the benefits of innovation, UNICEF said in a new report launched on the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Connectivity and collaboration can fuel new global networks to leverage innovation to reach every child, according to the children's agency.
The State of the World's Children Report - Reimagine the future: Innovation forevery child calls on governments, development professionals, businesses, activists and communities to work together to drive new ideas for tackling some of the most pressing problems facing children - and to find new ways of scaling up the best and most promising local innovations.

The report is a crowd-sourced compilation of cutting-edge innovations and an interactive platform that maps innovations in countries all over the world and invites innovators to put their own ideas 'on the map.'
"Inequity is as old as humanity, but so is innovation - and it has always driven humanity's progress," said UNICEF Executive DirectorAnthony Lake. "In our ever-more connected world, local solutions can have global impact - benefiting children in every country who still face inequity and injustice every day.
"For innovation to benefit every child, we have to be more innovative - rethinking the way we foster and fuel new ideas to solve our oldest problems," said Lake. "The best solutions to our toughest challenges won't come exclusively either from the top down or the grassroots up, or from one group of nations to another. They will come from new problem solving networks and communities of innovation that cross borders and cross sectors to reach the hardest to reach - and they will come from young people, adolescents and children themselves."

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. Since then, there has been tremendous progress in advancing child rights - with a huge reduction in the numbers of children dying before the age of five and increased access to education and clean water.
However, the rights of millions of children are violated every day, with the poorest 20 percent of the world's children twice as likely as the richest 20 percent to die before their fifth birthday, almost one in four children in the least developed countries engaged in child labour, and millions of children regularly experiencing discrimination, physical and sexual violence, and abuse and neglect.

China has made tremendous progress in scientific and technological innovations that have contributed to improving the lives of children inChina as well as around the world. Many leading academic institutions, entrepreneurs and intellectuals are developing new tools that can address disability, engage young people and improve access to public information on important health and development issues.

The latest edition of UNICEF's flagship report argues that innovations such as oral rehydration salts or ready-to-use therapeutic foods have helped drive radical change in the lives of millions of children in the last 25 years - and that more innovative products, processes, and partnerships are critical to realizing the rights of the hardest to reach children.

The fully digital report includes multimedia and interactive content that invites readers to share their own ideas and innovations, and highlights outstanding innovations that are already improving lives in countries around the world from a wide range of countries, including:

* Solar Ear, the world's first rechargeable hearing aid battery charger, developed to meet the needs of communities lacking regular access to electricity; it can be charged via the sun, household light, or a cell phone plug. (Tendekayi Katsiga, Deaftronics,Botswana / Zimbabwe) * Community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM), a model of care that moves away from the traditional, expensive, low-coverage model of inpatient therapeutic feeding centres run by aid agencies, treats people in their homes with the support of local clinics and using ready-to-use therapeutic foods. (Steve Collins, co-Founder and Director of VALID Nutrition) * New ways to engage Liberian youth in the midst of the Ebola crisis through U-report, a mobile phone-based system developed with young people, that helps examine what issues are most important to them. (UNICEF,Liberia) * Floating schools that provide year-round access to education for children living in flood-prone regions ofBangladesh. (Mohammed Rezwan, Founding Executive Director of the NGO Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha) * Vibrasor, a device invented by two teenage girls in Colombia, to help people with hearing impairments navigate safely through busy urban areas. (Isamar Cartagena, Katherine Fernandez) * To find a new solution to help those without regular access to electricity inNigeria, four teenage girls invented a urine-powered generator. (Nigeria) "There are so many young inventors all cross the globe - even in the remotest corners - who are committed to changing the world for children," says Bisman Deu, a 16-year old from Chandigarh,India whose invention of a building material made from rice waste is featured in UNICEF's report.

"Every nation has different problems and every person has different solutions," said Deu. "We need to learn from one another's experiences, come together as a global community of innovation and keep producing ideas that can make a real difference."

UNICEF has prioritized innovation across its network of more than 190 countries, setting up hubs around the world including inAfghanistan, Chile, Kosovo, Uganda, and Zambia to foster new ways of thinking, working and collaborating with partners and to nurture local talent.

Access the report at <>
Share your ideas and innovations at <>

Access broadcast quality photos, b-roll and multimedia content on: The State of the World's Children Report - Reimagine the future: Innovation forevery child: <>The Convention on the Rights of the Child: <>
About UNICEF: UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit ofall children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work <>

About UNICEF Innovation: UNICEF Innovation <> is an interdisciplinary team of individuals around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling technologies and practices that strengthen UNICEF's work to improve children's lives around the world. For more information <>

Follow us on Twitter <> and Facebook <> using #EVERYchild


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5th Eko International Film Festival Opens With Premiere of Martial Thriller“Rough Chase”

5th Eko International Film Festival Opens With Premiere of Martial Thriller“Rough Chase”.

The 5th annual Eko International Film Festival opens today on Victoria Island in Lagos with the premiere of Nigerian martial arts thriller “Rough Chase: The Race for Life” directed by J Leo Uche who is also playing the leading role with popular Nollywood stars Ernest Asuzu and Emeka Nwafor and also starring Grace Onwurah, Leon Slabor and popular Nigerian Kung Fu master Natty Bruce. The venue of the film festival is the Silverbird Cinemas, Silverbird Galleria, on Victoria Island, Lagos. The 5th edition will close on Sunday with special screenings and ceremony to be co-hosted by Makido Film from Vienna, Austria; with special awards for two young Nigerian filmmakers for film internship in Vienna.

Hope Opara The President of Eko International Film Festival and Film Director Jeta Amata at the Haiti Pavilion during the 2013 Cannes Film Festival in France.

The Eko International Film Festival has attracted world class films from America, France, Germany, UK, Ireland, Spain, Iran, South Africa and other countries. And the Nigerian premiere of Sharon Stone's highly acclaimed and multiple award winning documentary film “Femme” will take place at the film festival tomorrow Friday November 21. "Femme" is directed by award winning filmmaker Emmanuel Itier known for his popular documentary "Invocation". FEMME is an inspirational voyage about women around the world who are actively transforming and healing global society of a daily basis. Starring Sharon Stone (Casino, Total Recall, Basic Instinct), Jean Houston, Marianne Williamson, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Riane Eisler, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire, Rickie Lee Jones, Gloria Steine and Nigeria's Eeefy Ify Ike who is a popular actress, model, motivational speaker, author, film producer and designer.

The theme of this year’s edition is “Nigerian Film Industry and the Media”. “No film industry can succeed without the media, because the media is in fact the vehicle for the promotion and appreciation of the film industry,” said Mr. Hope Obioma Opara, the President of the most popular Nigerian international film festival started in 2010. And he has been the major sponsor of the festival in spite of the enormous costs of hosting the annual event and international travels to promote the Nigerian film industry. Previous editions have received some corporate support from Heineken, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and the official endorsement of the Lagos State government. The 2014 edition is sponsored by Mr. Opara's Supple Communications Limited with some support from MultiChoice Nigeria and Mnet Africa.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This Universal Children's Day, Be One in a Million

SLOUGH, England, November 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

RB's ambitious campaign to tackle children dying needlessly from diarrhoea calls for action
Each year, over 800,000 children in countries such as India, Nigeria and Pakistan die from diarrhoea, claiming more lives than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Despite this, awareness of the true impact of diarrhoea in developing countries remains low. To help combat and raise awareness of these startling figures, RB - the world's leading global consumer health and hygiene company - alongside their charity partner Save the Children, have launched a new campaign, "#IGiveA to end deaths from diarrhoea", to raise funds to help put an end to children dying from this preventable disease.

     (Photo: )

The social media campaign encourages users to 'take action to end deaths from diarrhoea' with the overall aim to reach 1,000,000 actions. For every action taken RB has committed to donate US $1 to Save the Children so that on-the-ground programmes can be implemented to tackle diarrhoea deaths in developing countries.

Speaking about the "#IGiveA to end deaths from diarrhoea" campaign, RB's Global Director of External Relations and Strategic Partnerships, Patty O'Hayer, said: "Diarrhoea is an uncomfortable subject for many, but our own embarrassment creates a lack of awareness about its severity and impact on young children in developing countries. The '#IGiveA to end deaths from diarrhoea' campaign is the first step of a multi-year ambition to end deaths from diarrhoea in some of the most impoverished areas of the world. We believe that every child has the right to reach their full potential and that hygiene and poor sanitation shouldn't stand in their way. To coincide with Universal Children's Day on November 20th, we're asking people around the world to take action against deaths from diarrhoea and show their support for the campaign to help put an end to this preventable disease."
The campaign is focused on 5 key actions - I Give A: second, share, shout, selfie and sign - each with its own specific online social media action. In the lead up to Universal Children's Day (20th November) the campaign is calling on people to focus on one campaign action - "I Give a Shout" - and join the Universal Children's Day Thunderclap in support of the campaign.

Douglas Rouse, Corporate Partnerships Director at Save the Children said: "We are excited to be involved with RB's campaign and hope lots of people show their support and take an action this Universal Children's Day. For every action taken, RB will donate one US dollar to enable Save the Children to help save the lives of thousands of children. Interventions can be simple; just one dollar could provide soap for a family of five living in Pakistan to wash their hands for a month to reduce the risk of diarrhoea. So each individual action really can make a life-changing difference."

To get involved in the campaign and take action please visit Every action you take counts and can help improve the lives of those who need help the most.

Notes to Editors:

RB (formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser) is the world's leading consumer health and hygiene company. We work with the best people to challenge conventional thinking and keep giving people innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes, through our brands like Nurofen, Strepsils, Mucinex, Dettol, Lysol, Harpic, Finish and Vanish.

For more information visit, Twitter:
Save the Children works in more than 120 countries and helps to save children's lives, fight for their rights and help them fulfil their potential. For more information visit:

  1. Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality: an updated systematic analysis for 2010 with time trends since 2000, Li Liu, Hope L Johnson, Simon Cousens, Jamie Perin, Susana Scott, Joy E Lawn, Igor Rudan, Harry Campbell, Richard Cibulskis, Mengying Li, Colin Mathers, Robert E Black, for the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group of WHO and UNICEF (
  2. UNICEF/WHO, Diarrhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done, 2009. Last accessed 10 June, 2014.
  3. The Lancet, Volume 381, Issue 9876, Pages 1499 - 1506, 27 April 2013.
  4. The Lancet, Volume 381, Issue 9876, Pages 1487 - 1498, 27 April 2013.
SOURCE RB (formerly Reckitt Benckiser)
CONTACT: For media enquiries please contact: Kate Ward, Tonic Life Communications, E:, T: +44(0)20-7798-9928 / Edward Lamaison, Tonic Life Communications, E:, T: +44(0)20-7798-9994

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

If Only Nigeria Had A Genuine Leadership, It Would Not Be in this Mess - Prof. Wole Soyinka

 Nobel Laureate, Emeritus Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday, said if Nigeria had a genuine leadership, it would not be in the mess it has found itself, adding that the country should raise a monument for the missing Chibok girls.
He said this at the 66th foundation day anniversary and 2014 convocation ceremonies which held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.
- See more at:

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Nigeria's Energy Sector Encourages Growing Number of Female Leaders

Diezani K. Alison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum Resources.
 Nigeria's Energy Sector Encourages Growing Number of Female Leaders  
Booming Oil Industry Provides Foundation to Close Gender Gap  

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As Nigeria's oil and gas industry flourishes, businesswomen across the country are finding greater opportunities to carve out their place in this male-dominated field.

Since 2010, federal initiatives, such as the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, have paved the way for Nigeria's energy industry to shift ownership from international oil companies to domestic investors. Organizations, such as the Society of Petroleum Engineers Nigeria Council, are working to empower Nigerian women to move away from traditional low-capital businesses toward the energy industry's leadership positions.

Several female entrepreneurs in particular are working tirelessly to increase women's stake in the industry. At the helm of the movement is Diezani K. Alison-Madueke, appointed Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Resources by President Goodluck Jonathan, having previously served as Federal Minister of Transportation and Federal Minister of Mines and Steel Development.

"The fact that two of the biggest cabinet positions in Nigeria, petroleum and finance, are held by women, shows how far we have come," Minister Madueke told a recent meeting in Vienna, referring to the other prominent female member of the cabinet, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. "We are there not because we are women. We are there because of our competence as managers."

Another prominent industry leader is Bola Shagaya, managing director of Practoil Limited, one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria. Her businesses include investment in real estate, spanning across major cities in the country with more than 300 employees.

Moreover, the richest woman in Africa is Nigerian energy mogul Folorunsho Alakija, an entrepreneur who earned the title after the Ministry of Energy approved her oil prospecting license in 1993, granting her a lucrative block in Nigeria's coastal waters. Famfa Oil, which she controls, now holds a 60 percent stake in the oil field.

Other innovators in the field include Catherine Uju Ifejika, chairman and CEO of the Britannia U Group, a group of oil and gas companies, who said, "We are able to hold your homes together, and we are beginning to translate that into boardroom jobs, and then owning companies."

Winihin Ayuli-Jemide, a Lagos-based entrepreneur and former lawyer, is a leading activist of research on women in business and government. She argues that one of the reasons South Africa was the dominant economy in Africa for so long is that women were actively involved in businesses of all sizes. She advocates that it is now time for Nigerian women to think bigger and turn to booming areas such as oil and gas.
A McKinsey study titled Women Matter, found that companies with a higher proportion of female executives showed stronger financial performance than those with no women in top positions. The study discussed how women tended to apply certain "leadership behaviours" more than men such as people development, setting expectations and rewards and acting as role models.

Nigeria is the world's 14th largest oil producing country, with oil accounting for 95 percent of Nigeria's foreign exchange revenues.

These materials are distributed by LEVICK on behalf of the News Agency of Nigeria. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

SOURCE News Agency of Nigeria
CONTACT: Philip Elwood,, (202) 973-5310, Patrick Pannett,, (202) 973-5319

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"Ojuju" is Best Nigerian Film of the Year at AFRIFF 2014

C.J. "Fiery" Obasi's horror thriller "Ojuju" has won the best Nigerian film award at the 2014 Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) that ended Saturday night at the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort in Calabar, Cross River State.

C.J 'Fiery' Obasi with the AFRIFF Best Nigerian Film Award.

"Ojuju" beat the highly acclaimed "October 1" of Kunle Afolayan, "Invasion 1897" of Lancelot Imasuen and "Dazzling Mirage" of Tunde Kelani among other nominees. The movie that was shot on a budget is Obasi's second feature. His first feature "Jim & Joan" premiered at the 2012 annual Eko International Film Festival at the Silverbird Cinemas, Silverbird Galleria on Victoria Island, Lagos.
Acclaimed filmmaker Kunle Afolayan's historic fiction "October 1" won the most coveted Best Feature Film award in competition with more than 75 films. His film also won the Best Actor award for veteran actor Sadiq Daba for his role as "Inspector Waziri" in "October 1" and the Best Screenplay award for Tunde Babalola, the screenwriter.

Other winners include Andrew Dosunmu who won the Best Director award for "Mother of George"; Bola Agbaje and Destiny Ekaragha won the Viewers’ Choice Award for "Gone Too Far";Thishiwe Ziqubu won the Best Actress award for South African film "Hard To Get"; Joanna Lipper won the Best Documentary award for "The Supreme Price"; Samantha Nell of South Africa won the Best Short Film for "Stiff"; Naji Ismail won the Special Jury Prize for Egyptian film, "Om Amira" and Iquo Essien won the Best Student Short Film award for "Aissa’s Story".

L-R: Chioma Ude, Ramsey Nouah, Genevieve Nnaji, Rita Dominic, Gov Imoke and is wife, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Kate Henshaw at the closing of Africa International Film Festival in Calabar on Saturday night.

"Ojuju" is Nollywood's most daring Zombie movie and joins the list of other Zombie movies in the horror genre.

Romero’s (Gabriel Afolayan) neighbourhood is in trouble. People are suddenly manifesting symptoms of rabid river blindness . With his friends, Emmy (Kelechi Udegbe) and Peju (Omawunmi Dada) he struggles to understand how the neighbourhood’s sole source of water supply could have been infected. However, there’s no time to ponder because they all must survive and fight their way through to escape the infested neighbourhood.  
Gabriel Afolayan (Romero) Omowummi Dada (Peju) Kelechi Udegbe (Emmy) Chidozie Nzeribe (Fela) Brutus Richard (Gaza) Meg Otanwa (Alero) Yvonne Enakhena (Aisha) Jumoke Ayadi (Iya Sikiru) Tommy Oyewole (Officer Lade) Emeka Okoye (The Chemist) Paul Utomi (The First Ojuju) And introducing, Kelechi Joseph (Teenage Boy)  
C.J. "Fiery" Obasi (Writer, Producer, Director, Editor) Oge Ugwu (Producer) Tunji Akinsehinwa (director of photography) Victor Akpan (Prod.designer/art director) Ebuka Mike Uzoma (Set designer) Frank Ekwem (AD) Albert Esu (Script supervisor) Muri Sabili (Production Manager) Lawrence Adama (Second Camera) Funke Olowu (Make-up FX) Yewande Adams (Make-up FX asst) Dorothea Nana (Additional Make-up) Murtala Abdulsalam (Gaffer) Sunday Adesugba (Sound) Peter and Young (Still Photography)  

About the Director
C.J. Obasi (also known as "Fiery") was born and raised in small town, Owerri, Nigeria. C.J. grew up watching Hammer House of Horror films and reading Stephen King novels. As a child, he developed a knack for drawing and selling comics based on all his favourite movies and superheroes at the time. Much later on in life, C.J. would put aside his degree in Computer Science from the University of Nigeria (UNN) to launch into film making, full-time. C.J., called “Fiery” or “The Fiery One” by many within and without the industry, has worked on short films, documentaries, TV series and music videos as director, writer, cinematographer and editor. Jim & Joan, his debut feature, was shot in his childhood home in Owerri, as well as some choice beach spots on Lagos Island. Jim & Joan, an art house surrealistic piece, was made without a formal budget, with financial backing from C.J’s friend and partner, Benjamin Stockton. Jim & Joan was screened as the Closing Film at the Eko International Film Festival in November 2012, were it was noted as “the most daring film” in the festival, and C.J’s work was compared to the Danish auteur, Lars von Trier’s expressionism. C.J. set up his company “Fiery Film” in 2012. Soon after, his friend Benjamin Stockton, a screenwriter and movie aficionado from California came on board to help run the company. Fiery Film is currently in post-production for a horror thriller feature film “Ojuju”, written, directed and edited by C.J. C.J. is also developing two feature films “Otown” a crime thriller epic piece, which C.J. calls his “Western in an Eastern land” and describes as “His exploration into genre-film making”, as well as an unnamed period piece. C.J. has also worked as an editor on productions, such as Apostates (a feature film), and commercials for brands, including Globacom.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

"A Dark Reflection": Why Major Airlines Don't Want You To See This Movie

HORSHAM, England, Oct. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Drama conveying truth is what feature films such as "Fast Food Nation", "Erin Brockovich" and "The Insider" have in common. The first uses drama to expose unknown perils in the fast food industry, and the others retell of personal sacrifice and heroics that brought truth to light.

Photo -
Fact Not Fiction Films' most recent feature, "A Dark Reflection", similarly conveys a truth regarding passenger air travel amongst the major airlines. Based on actual events, this film tells a compelling story that raises awareness regarding the air quality made available to captive airline passengers.
As a former British Airways captain, Director and Producer Tristan Loraine delivers an investigative thriller about two British journalists, who whilst investigating a hushed up in-flight safety incident, discover aviation's biggest cover-up. Spurned by catastrophic events and cover-ups, this independent feature ultimately pits corporate profit against the public's safety.

"My first documentary triggered a public inquiry in the UK, and this fact filled drama is something major airlines will not want you to see," explains Loraine.
Filmed in England and Jordan in 2013 and 2014 on Fuji 35mm film, "A Dark Reflection" completed final post-production in early September 2014 and facilitated by Artist View Entertainment is due for worldwide release in 2015.

For further information contact:
Tristan Loraine at Fact Not Fiction Films
+44 (0) 7968 213862
To view the trailer and read recent reviews, visit
This release was issued through WebWire®. For more information, visit
Press Release URL:
SOURCE Fact Not Fiction Films

Fact Not Fiction Films' most recent feature, "A Dark Reflection" To Reveal Aviation's Darkest Secret At The American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica  

HORSHAM, England, Nov. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The recent Virgin Galactic tragedy, like the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, have again raised the questions 'Were these accidents preventable? Who knew the risks?'

Fact Not Fiction Films' most recent feature, "A Dark Reflection" screenings today, November 7th and tomorrow November 8th at AFM, conveys a truth regarding passenger air travel amongst the major airlines. Based on actual events, this film tells a compelling story that raises awareness regarding the air quality made available to captive airline passengers. A truth that was endorsed in the High Court of Australia in 2010 when Joanne Turner won her 18-year fight for justice, resulting in compensation for injuries due to her exposure to toxic chemicals onboard a commercial jetliner.

The filmmaker contends that airlines, and their bosses, have withheld the truth for decades that passengers have been exposed to toxic chemicals onboard aircraft. This issue is one that the filmmaker, and others, have repeatedly communicated to the airlines, "So the airlines can never claim that they didn't know", begins former British Airways captain, Director and Producer Tristan Loraine of "A Dark Reflection".
As a former British Airways captain, Tristan delivers an investigative thriller about two British journalists, who whilst investigating a hushed up in-flight safety incident, discover aviation's biggest cover-up. Spurned by real events, this independent feature ultimately pits corporate profit against the public's safety, and as a surprise to those who have researched the topic, the film was partially financed by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

"Aircraft are flying with no form of contaminated air detection systems. Passengers are being exposed and never told. It's a breach of their human rights," concludes Loraine.
Filmed in England and Jordan in 2013 and 2014 on Fuji 35mm film, "A Dark Reflection" completed final post-production in early September 2014 and facilitated by Artist View Entertainment is due for worldwide release in 2015.

For further information contact:
Scott Jones at Artist View Entertainment
Tristan Loraine at Fact Not Fiction Films
+44 (0) 7968 213862

To view the trailer and read recent reviews, visit
This release was issued through WebWire(R). For more information, visit
Press Release URL:
SOURCE Fact Not Fiction Films

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Irish Woman Wins Global Writing Contest

 Amanda Cinelli of Newbridge, Ireland. Photo Credit: Irish Independent.
"I entered the competition two years ago with the same manuscript and didn't make the final cut but an editor did express an interest," said Amanda.
"She asked me to send her the completed manuscript but I panicked and had doubts about my writing so I never did."
But Amanda was inspired to re-enter the competition this year, after having her daughter Zara in January.
"I thought having my first baby would make writing difficult but it made me all the more dedicated.
Offered Two-Book Publishing Contract with Harlequin/Mills & Boon

NEW YORK, LONDON, TORONTO, SYDNEY, AUCKLAND, and JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Harlequin (, a leading publisher of books for women, added a compelling final chapter to its tremendously popular So You Think You Can Write (SYTYCW) 2014 event by announcing Amanda Cinelli of Newbridge, Ireland, as the winner of its writing contest and the recipient of a two-book contract with Harlequin/Mills & Boon.

Out of approximately 500 entries, ten manuscripts were selected by Harlequin's editors and presented for public vote. Ms. Cinelli's manuscript, entitled Resisting the Sicilian Playboy, received 39 percent of all ballots cast—the highest proportion for any entry in the history of So You Think You Can Write. The County Kildare resident was elated when she was notified by telephone of her win by Mills & Boon editor Carly Byrne and USA TODAY bestselling author Sharon Kendrick, the writing mentor assigned to Ms. Cinelli during the final stages of the contest. Ms. Kendrick is a Harlequin Presents and Mills & Boon Modern Romance author who has had over 80 titles published by Harlequin. Please click here to view "The Call."
Resisting the Sicilian Playboy describes the story of a thirtysomething wedding planner who must rely on the owner of an Italian castle to pull off the celebrity wedding of the year.

"Amanda's entry initially stood out because of a memorable opening scene, and the rest of the manuscript lives up to the promise of those first pages," said Ms. Byrne. "The characters have interesting emotional issues to overcome—such as infertility—and the historic castello, where much of the story takes place, is very atmospheric. We are delighted to offer Amanda her first publishing contract—she possesses a fresh and exciting voice that is well suited to the Harlequin Presents series."

In addition to an offer of a two-book series contract with Harlequin/Mills & Boon, the SYTYCW 2014 prize includes a series-specific editor, marketing and PR support, social media training, and a summit meeting with the creative team. Resisting the Sicilian Playboy is scheduled to be published digitally on or close to Valentine's Day 2015 with a print edition to follow. To help her celebrate the fantastic news, Ms. Cinelli is also being presented with a gift card to be used on a champagne dinner for two.
Ms. Cinelli is the first Irish entrant to win the So You Think You Can Write contest. Previous winners hail from the United States and Canada.

Harlequin will also be reaching out to more than twenty additional authors whose contest entries showed promise. Harlequin's editors hope to work with them to revise their manuscripts for resubmission with the publisher.  Harlequin is proud of its reputation as a leading traditional publisher that continues to read slush submissions and work with unpublished writers. Many romance stars like Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber started their careers by working closely with a Harlequin editor.

The So You Think You Can Write contest follows Harlequin's annual online writer's conference where hopeful romance novelists get to spend time with more than 50 Harlequin editors from New York, London and Toronto through social media tools, including podcasts, videos, blogs, live chats, community discussions and Twitter events. Aspiring authors are led through a virtual week-long "boot camp" designed to teach them how to write a romance novel that will attract the attention of publishers.

So You Think You Can Write will return for its sixth conference and contest in September 2015.
For more information, please visit

Twitter Account: 

About Harlequin Harlequin ( is one of the world's leading publishers of books for women, with titles issued worldwide in 34 languages and sold in 102 international markets. The company publishes more than 110 titles monthly and more than 1,300 authors from around the world. Harlequin is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, one of the largest English-language publishers in the world. Harlequin has offices in 18 countries, including offices in Toronto, New York and London. For more information, please visit and Follow Harlequin on Twitter: @HarlequinBooks.

About HarperCollinsHarperCollins Publishers is the second largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 19 countries. With nearly two hundred years of history and more than 65 unique imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year, in over 30 languages, and has a print and digital catalog of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the Man Booker Prize. HarperCollins, headquartered in New York, is a subsidiary of News Corp and can be visited online at

Media Contacts
North AmericaPenny Tantakis
United Kingdom/Ireland/South AfricaClaire Adams
Cherish PR
+44 208 735 4240
Australia/New ZealandAdam Van Rooijen
Head of Digital & Marketing, Harlequin
+612 94159245
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SOURCE Harlequin

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Video and Data Optimization Can Deliver $28 Billion Net Gain to Mobile Operators

 Video and data optimization can deliver $28 billion net gain to mobile operators over five years, independent analysis for Opera reveals 

OSLO, Norway, and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Mobile operators globally can benefit from a net gain of at least $28.7 billion over five years by deploying mobile video and data optimization technology in their networks, according to new findings from ABI Research, revealed by Opera Software's Skyfire unit today.

The independent research, carried out on behalf of Skyfire, details how video and data optimization can positively impact quality of experience for users, which directly translates into reduced churn and subscriber tariff upgrades. It can also dramatically reduce operators' capital and operational expenditures through the expansion of virtual capacity, resulting in significant total-cost-of ownership (TCO) savings.
Key findings, based on a conservative assumption that if just one in three operators deploys video and data optimization technology, the savings and revenue boost will therefore be as follows:

Churn-reduction savings:             
$12,947 million
Tariff-upgrade revenue boost:          
$6,481 million
Total-cost-of-ownership reduction savings:     
$9,347.6 million
Total over 5 years:                              
$28,776 million

Mobile video and data optimization technology play a significant role in all three areas. Churn reduction savings are brought about by boosting the quality of experience for users, which leads to additional revenues from retained customers. Operators can generate additional income from a proportion of end users through upgrades to higher tariffs, driven by improved quality of experience and, therefore, a greater desire for more data. TCO savings are based in part on boosts in software-based virtual capacity for mobile video, which result in more video being played successfully per unit of CapEx.

"The continued rise in data consumption continues to put substantial pressure on mobile operator networks, and user experience is now seriously suffering as a result. End users are hurting, and many operators are using 'band aid' equipment patches and fixes to keep existing networks and infrastructure up and running – hardly a long-term solution," says Nitin Bhandari, Skyfire CEO and Opera SVP of Operator Products. "This new analysis from ABI Research demonstrates that mobile video and data optimization can make a significant and positive impact both to the subscriber experience and an operator's own user-experience KPIs. These elements all combine to bring enormous financial benefit to operators' business performance."

Regional variations
ABI Research developed an interactive "Mobile Video & Data Traffic Solutions Analyzer" that allows seven developed and emerging-market operator scenarios to be evaluated to assess the impact of mobile video and data optimization.

The model uses actual country market data, from economic and demographic data to mobile operator subscription and radio access network (RAN) deployment data.
The analyzer produced the following outputs for each region, combining to form the "Total worldwide revenue boost, churn and TCO savings":
  • Asia-Pacific: $9,320 million
  • North America: $6,375 million
  • Western Europe: $4,954 million
  • Eastern Europe: $2,610 million
  • South America: $2,600 million
  • Africa: $1,784 million
  • Middle East: $1,133 million
"During the course of our interviews with the mobile operator community, it became clear that many networks have been historically designed to only support the sporadic needs of a voice and messaging client base. End-user expectations are rapidly evolving; operators must now deploy mobile data and video optimization solutions that can effectively enhance the amount of traffic the operator can handle in a given location," says Jake Saunders, Vice President and Practice Director, ABI Research. "Our research, and analyzer, shows that the potential benefits of mobile video and data optimization translate not only to expanded virtual capacity and reduced capital infrastructure spend, but also to reduced churn by delivery of a more satisfactory and richer mobile internet experience. Even in a monthly data quota environment, there is an opportunity for operators to up-sell the mobile internet experience to their customers."

Sample use casesPhilippines, churn reduction: Using the Philippines market, where there is some 4G subscriber adoption (2.5 million) but a much larger proportion on 3G (22 million), the average data throughput in the base station cell edge zones is estimated to be 365 Kbps without optimization. Boosting the quality of experience by enabling 30% to 60% greater data throughput can boost overall subscribers by around 2% per year and increase the subscriber retention rate equating to additional retained service revenues of US$204 million over a 5-year period.

Brazil, tariff upgrade: Using a conservative scenario of 2%, ABI Research calculates that an operator in the Brazilian market can generate an additional US$474 million in service revenue over a 5-year period from its 3G and 4G subscribers, attributed to faster user data rates and improved QoE.

Rocket Optimizer Rocket Optimizer, from Opera Software's Skyfire unit, is a robust and surgical mobile video optimization solution that provides operators with Experience Assurance and cloud-based mobile video Quality of Experience (QoE) management. In August, Skyfire announced that it had added streaming audio optimization to the platform, and, in April, announced Rocket Insights, a video analytics dashboard that helps operators better manage their network loads by providing real-time analytics.

Further information and detailNetwork operators wishing to explore the Mobile Video & Data Traffic Solutions Analyzer should contact Opera's Skyfire unit at

About Opera Software ASAOpera products enable more than 350 million internet consumers worldwide to discover and connect with the content and services that matter most to them, no matter what device, network or location. In turn, we help advertisers reach the audiences that build value for their businesses. Opera also delivers products and services to more than 120 mobile operators around the world, enabling them to provide a faster, more economical and better network experience to their subscribers.

Opera Software ASA is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol OPERA. 'Opera', 'Opera Software', 'Opera Mini' and the 'O' logo are trademarks of Opera Software ASA. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Learn more about Opera at

SOURCE Opera Software ASA

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Motivates Online Behaviors? - A.T. Kearney Global Research Reveals Outstanding Facts

A.T. Kearney Global Research on Connected Consumers Looks at What Motivates Online Behaviors 
Continuous connectivity is a universal phenomenon - over 50 percent of the study participants are connected every waking hour Link between connectivity and consumption is complex; behaviors vary widely across geographies  

CHICAGO, Nov. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, A.T. Kearney released the results of the study "Connected Consumers Are Not Created Equal: A Global Perspective," that is focused on better understanding today's connected consumers – Who are they? What motivates them? How do they move from connectivity to consumption and what are the implications for global brands and retailers? Based on the findings the study provides recommendations for retailers and brands.
The research found that there are four important motivations for connected consumers across the globe:
  • Interpersonal connection – 73 percent of participants said that connecting with other people is a key motivation for going online. Strong in India (94 percent), Nigeria (89 percent) and China (88 percent)
  • Exploration – Globally, 95 percent of respondents agree that the need to find and learn new things is a primary motivator for going online.
  • Self-expression – Sharing opinions with others through the Internet is particularly strong in emerging markets and places where offline self-expression is limited. In China, Nigeria, and India, more than 85 percent of respondents say that the ability to express their opinions is a key reason for being online
  • Convenience – Means different things—for some it is sports and movies, for others it is home delivery
Forty-six percent of respondents say social networks are the biggest draw for their time online, but there are big differences. In Brazil, Nigeria, India, and Russia people spend more time on social networks than any other activity; in the United States, Germany, and Japan social networks are not a main focus of online activity.

Hana Ben-Shabat, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study, noted, "The need for connection, self-expression, exploration, and convenience has changed the roles that brands and retailers play. To be successful, brands and retailers must address these needs by building communities, entertaining, and educating consumers and maintaining an ongoing dialogue."

How does connectivity and online activity have an impact on consumption? In mature markets, only a few consumers say that they respond to banner ads or pop-ups (in the U.S. only 7 percent say they click on banners or advertisements). However, a high percentage of consumers in South Africa, Brazil, India, China and Nigeria are open to online ads and are willing to check out the offers behind them. In Nigeria, 93 percent of respondents say they click on banners and ads at least sometimes; in India (84 percent) and China (83 percent).

The influence of social media on consumption varies dramatically by country and by age. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of connected consumers in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan say they rarely or never consider social media chatter when thinking about products, services, or brands to buy. However, the majority of consumers in China, India, South Africa, Brazil, and Nigeria will use social network feedback in shopping. Chinese consumers value social media commentary: almost 95 percent say they occasionally or frequently use social networks to evaluate products, services, or brands.

Mike Moriarty, A.T. Kearney partner and study co-author, noted, "Physical stores remain the foundation of retailing. Ninety percent of retail sales occur in stores, and of people who buy 'online,' 50 percent of the sales go through online sites run by retailers with physical stores.  For those consumers that buy something exclusively online, chances are (67 percent) these consumers will go to a physical store to discover, test, taste or get their friends to weigh in on the decision. The key point is that the debate should not be a question of digital vs. physical. Successful retailers understand how each customer touch point adds value in the eyes of customers, and they develop omnichannel strategies that maximize customer satisfaction and profitability."

To read the full report, "Connected Consumers Are Not Created Equal: A Global Perspective" please go to

About the Study
The Connected Consumer Study was conducted in July 2014, and covered 10 countries with 10,000 evenly distributed respondents. The survey comprised 29 questions; four were customized for market-specific household incomes, education systems, popular social networks, and shopping websites. The responses were census-representative in every country. We achieved an almost even split between men and women and census appropriate representation of income groups in each market.

About A.T. Kearney
A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world's foremost organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission critical issues. For more information, visit

About the A.T. Kearney Global Consumer Institute
The A.T. Kearney Global Consumer Institute is a worldwide network of professionals and executives. The Institute combines proprietary and public data resources with local knowledge to deliver strategic and operational insights to executives in consumer-facing industries seeking long-term growth and competitive advantage. For more information, please contact
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SOURCE A.T. Kearney
CONTACT: Meir Kahtan, Meir Kahtan Public Relations, LLC, +1 212.575.8188,

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