FCC Moves to Banish Illegal Robocalls

phone

FCC wants to track down and block illegal robocalls.

Robocalls have made life easier for illegal intentions, yet harder for households. These annoyances look just like regular phone calls except that at the other side of the line is a robot who doesn’t listen. Instead, they are repeating the text they’ve been programmed to deliver. This system of prerecorded calls is not safe. Scammers have been taken advantage of this for ages by pretending to call from official institutions and asking for funds. Because of their intrusive nature, FFC wants to banish illegal robocalls for good.

FCC Will Collaborate with Phone Companies to Identifiy Illegal Robocalls

On Thursday, the Federal Communication Commission announced that the authorities are planning a series of rules against illegal robocalls. Through them, the FCC hopes to be able to identify and block phone scams. For this, they need to cooperate with phone companies to target unassigned or illegitimate phone numbers.

According to the Chairman of FCC, Ajit Pai, there are around 2.4 billion artificial calls that contact people each month. He stated that the majority have a fraudulent nature.

“Robo-calls are the No. 1 consumer complaint to the FCC from members of the American public.”

The Public Punishes Corporations as Well if They Force Robocalls on Them

Other reports from FCC show that there is at least 1 in 10 Americans who has been falling victim to such a scam. Companies also had something to lose if they tried to appeal to this marketing channel. For instance, PayPal back in 2015 managed to force some of its users to agree on their new robocall campaign. However, as the organization started to receive large waves of criticism even from lawmakers, PayPal redrew this strategy from the market.

Ajit Pai is more concerned with the illegal robocalls than those coming from corporations and institutions. The practice that bypasses security is the spoofing method. Contacted people see an official phone number calling them when scammers are actually using another number. This way, the origin of the call is deceitful.

Thus, the proposal targets illegal robocalls mostly. The authorities may finish their paper by the end of the year. The public can also play a proactive role and submit their feedback. This way, Americans are one step closer to having a peaceful evening without annoying artificial calls. Telecommunications companies are also on board with this direction, especially Verizon and AT&T.

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Tablet Sales Dwindle While Market Receives New Flagship Gadgets

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Tablet sales continue to slip which raises questions regarding their popularity.

In the span of just a month, both Samsung and Apple revitalized the line of tablets for the first time in three years. Nonetheless, this passive period of time experienced industry changes. The overall tablet sales didn’t manage to proliferate at all. Specialists are beginning to wonder if the public has any consideration left for this type of tech product.

Tablet Sales Decreased 20% Annually

In the fourth quarter, IDC consulted the numbers and drew out a declining situation for tablet sales. The number of shipments of such a product dropped 20% year over year. At the same time, Strategic Analytics registered double losses in this domain. In comparison, the introduction of the first tablets on the market sparked the remark that they would become greater than PCs. However, manufacturers are far from seeing the desired rate to which clients are updating their tablet collections.

Jitesh Ubrani is a senior analyst at IDC. According to him, consumers are still using their first generation of iPads.

“People have been hanging onto these devices, and they’re finding that they work just as well as they did when they were released.”

Manufacturers Need a Tablet Revolution to Revitalize the Market

There are few possible reasons that triggered the stagnation of a promising market. First of all, customers didn’t receive any incentive to refresh their tablet collections at the same rate as they do with their smartphones. Many users are employing their devices sporadically. This is why there is no wearing factor to urge them to replace them with the latest model.

Other experts are linking this negative phenomenon to the lack of innovation. While smartphones and laptops receive a booming warm up campaign prior to their release, consumers feel no eagerness for the launch of a new tablet. Furthermore, the technology that empowers tablets remained almost the same. By comparison, manufacturers strived to come up with the latest specs for their smartphones.

Another obstacle that tablets failed to overcome is the growing size of mobile gadgets. There are some tendencies on the market for smartphones to become slimmer and with larger displays. This trend turned them into a hybrid between a phone and a tablet. Thus, consumers don’t feel the need to carry a tablet with them when their smartphone can do so much more than other such gadgets.

However, not everything is lost with the tablet sales. There are still tens of millions of units being shipped to customers all over the world each quarter. However, companies need to create a massive evolution for tablets to surpass PCs in popularity.

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Treasury Appeals to Congress to Fix Debt Default

U.S. treasury department

The Treasury Department will have to deal with severe consequences if the Congress doesn’t tackle the debt default.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary of the United States, started an initiative to address the debt default of the U.S. government. He wants the government to postpone the scheduled payments for its bonds. As a consequence, Steven Mnuchin asked the House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to increase debt limit at the first occasion.

On Thursday, Steven Mnuchin sent a letter to Paul D. Ryan in which he stated that the federal government is in full work on its tax policies. As a consequence, at this moment the government is usually adjourning the sale of certain local and state securities. Other strategies employed are going to regard the payment delay to several pension funds in an effort to not fall behind on other more important payments. However, these delays will eventually catch up with the government. At that point, there will be no other temporary solution left than to admit the fact that they don’t have money anymore to pay off the bills.

Thus, in his letter to Paul D. Ryan, Mnuchin declared that paying the outstanding debt represents a priority for the Treasury that would not be taken lightly. This is why Mnuchin urges Congress to tackle the debt default with the first rising opportunity and change the deadline. Only then will the Treasury be able to continue its common priorities.

The Treasury Department is entitled to perform payments each year that are usually known as Social Security checks. This way, the institution can cover Medicare bills, research, care for veterans, funds for the military, and other projects as well. By the end of the year, the Treasury ends up dealing with trillions of dollars in a complicated system.

However, this year, budget experts signaled a sensitive situation. If the Treasury Secretary fails to convince Congress to raise the debt limit by August, there will be some troublesome consequences. One of them could be that the government will have no other options to fix the debt default and it will have to admit that it failed to respect its obligations.

By the end of the fiscal year which is on September 30th, the Congressional Budget Office expects the government to spend $3.963 trillion. On the other hand, the national revenue will amount to $3.404 trillion. Thus, the deficit will be around $559 billion. CBO predicted that the publicly held debt would round up to $14.8 trillion.

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Uber Employees to Leave because of Broken Culture

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Broken culture at Uber has encouraged employees to seek other workplaces.

The Bay Area has recently become an active area for recruiters. They recorded a surge of job applications. Most of CVs are not from ambitious young students, but from workers with extensive expertise that come especially from the Uber Technologies Inc. In light of recent scandals that engulfed the ride-hail company from all fronts, people no longer want their professional work to be related to a leadership that disregards social and moral values. Moreover, the company is also on the brink of having its stock options drop in value because of a broken culture.

In a span of five weeks, Uber Technologies Inc. Uber had to face numerous crises. As a consequence, the main target customers of the company who are already hooked on online medium turned against the company. There is already a hashtag against Uber, namely #DeleteUber, that promotes the elimination of the application of the company from all smartphones. Instead, people encourage clients to use similar  ride-hail companies.

Even though Uber was once a unicorn type of company within the Silicon Valley, an increased number of employees are thinking of living this successful project. One recruiter who used to work for the downgraded company noticed several professionals who no longer want to work for Uber, even though their situation is a comfortable one. The reason behind this hastiness is a broken culture where employees have no more faith in management.

While the company was trying to mitigate a serious issue last week, the job applications started to flood the desks of recruiters. The scandal in question was about two former Uber employees who blamed the company of sexism and harassment. At the moment, Uber is valued at $70bn. This means that a simple manager has an RSU worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Thus, employees who are applying for other jobs are willingly walking away from a fortune in stock options.

The president at SCGC Executive Search, Guillaume Champagne, stated that back days it was difficult to steal talents from Uber. One of the reasons why this was a demanding task was that nobody was planning to depart from their stock options too easily. However, as there are more people now that are willing to give this opportunity away, recruiters are of the opinion that the awful work environment played the main role in this type of decisions.

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AppDynamics Is Cisco’s Next Big Acquisition

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Cisco Systems announced earlier this week that it will be buying AppDynamics.

Cisco Systems announced earlier this week that it will be buying AppDynamics, the software company, in a $3.7 billion acquisition deal.

AppDynamics, Inc. is a San Francisco, California-based company. It is specialized in APM and ITOA. APM is application performance management. And ITOA is IT Operations Analytics.

The privately held company was founded in 2008. AppDynamics is focused on the following action. It manages the availability and performance of various applications. The process is followed across data centers and cloud computing environments.

AppDynamics generated a $158.4 million revenue in the first nine months of 2016. Before the sales deal, it was in the process of going public.

However, on Tuesday, Cisco announced that the two companies reached a sales agreement. Cisco Systems will be acquiring the software company.

Cisco, Systems Inc. is a technology conglomerate. The multinational was founded in 1984. It is headquartered in San Jose, California. Cisco sells, develops, and manufactures high-technology products and services. These include telecommunications equipment and networking hardware.

Cisco is also specialized in specifically targeted tech markets. It activates in domain security, energy management, and IoT. These specializations are helped along by their subsidiaries. Cisco is considered one of the world’s largest networking companies.

Now, the conglomerate is reportedly looking to grow beyond the networking business. Their AppDynamics deal will be one of the largest acquisitions. At least over the past several years.

Rob Salvagno, Cisco’s VP of Corporate Development went to offer some details. According to him, the company has been following AppDynamics. Cisco has been interested in the company for some time. And their IPO process offered Cisco quite a chance.

AppDynamics was in the process of going public. It would have been the first tech company to do so this year. Banking analysts had already estimated its value. AppDynamics could have went as high as around $2 billion.

The company was expected to sell off its shares. And their valuation was expected at approximately $1.9 billion. AppDynamics’s per share value would have been at around $10 to $12.

Its acquisition will nonetheless raise its share value. Cisco has agreed to a $3.7 billion sales value. As such, AppDynamics shares will be at around $26 per share. The acquisition deal will be an equity awards and cash mix.

According to Cisco, it is expected to close sometimes in the company’s third fiscal quarter. The sales deal was officially announced in a Cisco press release. This was posted on the official company blog post.

Some additional details were offered. For example, AppDynamics will be part of Cisco’s new software business unit. This latter will be led by Rowan Trollope. He is the general manager and senior VP of the IoT and Applications business.

The AppDynamics acquisition should help and advance Cisco’s new strategy. They are looking to transitions towards a new area. More exactly, that of software-centric solutions. This domain should come with a predictable recurring revenue.

Cisco reportedly based its decision on the ever-growing digital infrastructure dependence. Companies are transitioning to cloud services. And are also getting digitized. But this also leads to large amounts of siloed, complex data. The AppDynamics system should help translate and manage such data. It will contribute to its translation into business insights.

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Ohio Resident Sentenced to 11 Years Behind Bars for Setting His Girlfriend on Fire

41-year-old Michael Slager has been sentenced on Monday, December 12th, to 11 years in jail for setting his girlfriend on fire. The list of charges included assault, possession of criminal tools, and aggravated arson. According to the Franklin County prosecutor, Ron O’Brien, Mr. Slager pleaded no contest to all criminal counts before the judge passed the sentence. Furthermore, Mr. O’Brien said that the defendant received the maximum sentence for his crimes.

Events Leading up to the Conviction

Back in 2015, the Gahanna, Ohio, police dispatch was flooded with multiple witnesses’ reports, stating that a woman has been set ablaze in a gas station by a male attacker. The police later identified the man as Michael Slager, the victim’s boyfriend at the time.

According to the police officers, Judith Malinowski was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The county prosecutor says that the 33-year-old woman is still in medical care at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

Hospital officials say that the woman suffered third and fourth-degree burns on 90 percent of the body’s surface. Furthermore, scars are visible over extensive areas of her body. Also, the hospital staff says that Ms. Malinowski has undergone countless surgical procedures in order to survive.

During the incident, Mr. Slager also suffered several burns, according to the law enforcement officers. In his initial statement, the man claims that the unfortunate series of events occurred as a direct result of a “horrible accident”. However, witnesses declared that the couple was fighting just moments before the attack.

Furthermore, one of the people present on the scene at the time Ms. Malinowski was set on fire says that her boyfriend used a fire extinguisher in an effort to put out the flames. Even though Michael Slager’s attorney claims the defendant did not intend to start the fire, the victim’s family told the police officials that Ms. Malinowski was afraid of her partner.Following Mr. Slager sentencing, Robert Krapenc, his attorney, could not be reached for comments.

Ultimately, Ms. Malinowski’s mother says that her daughter will move on with her life and is prepared to fight in order to lead a normal life again, in spite of her injuries.

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NW Hit By Invasive Mussel Larvae

Invasive mussel larvae on a plate

The officials are doing their best to prevent the invasive mussel larvae from spreading further in the Northwest.

Although the invasive mussel larvae have never been found in Montana before, U.S. Wildlife officials discovered evidence of this parasite in the waters of the Tiber Reservoir earlier this month.

Biologist and officials from three Canadian regions, Montana, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho gathered a few days ago in Boise to discuss the growing threat posed by the invasive mussel larvae.

According to Eileen Ryce, the administrator of the Montana fisheries division, even if the water samples have tested positive for the zebra and quagga mussels, the good news is that the detection system works fine.

The Consequences of an Invasive Mussel Infestation

The problem is that these mussels can easily clog pipes and other important structures. When this happens, the local communities are affected, including the agriculture and the economy. Also, these parasites feed on the microscopic organisms which represent the main food source for other species of fish endemic to the Montana water ecosystem.

Wildlife officials are conducting a comprehensive investigation to establish if other areas have been affected by the invasive mussels. The larvae are very small, so the experts hardly spot them.

Therefore, wildlife officials used detection dogs to point the location of the larvae, so that the authorities can address the issue in a short notice. If the infestation is not contained in time, the mussels will contaminate more waterways and end up covering many beaches.

Viable Solutions

They can easily attach to boats and travel across the country. To tackle this problem, Idaho authorities established boat checkpoints, where biologists inspect every vehicle for the invasive mussel larvae.

Northwest federal and state officials joined their efforts to convince Congress to fund a $4 million project to eradicate the zebra and quagga mussels from Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho.

Some experts believe that the invasive mussel larvae have been brought to these waterways from other areas by boats. That is why prevention is the best strategy to address this issue. It the states receives the money, it will be used to fund the boat inspection project.

The wildlife officials will continue the investigation to detect the exact location of the invasive mussel larvae because in some areas, although detection dogs sensed the presence of the parasites, the biologists weren’t able to spot them.

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West Nile Virus is Hard to Eradicate

West Nile Virus mosquito biting.

West Nile Virus is still widely spread across the United States.

According to recent reports, West Nile Virus is an infection which spread throughout the American continent over the past twenty years.

A group of researcher from the Baylor College of Medicine has conducted a study during which they investigated the mysterious death of several patients who had been infected with the West Nile virus.

The Mysterious Deaths

The problem is that although the patients recovered from the infection, they died shortly after due to other causes which were not related to the mosquito-borne disease.

According to Dr. Kristy Murray, lead author of the study, the team monitored for a few years small groups of patients and observed that some of them suffered a premature death.

Dr. Murray explained that all patients were perfectly healthy until they contracted the virus. After that, they became very sick. Another recent study has pointed to the fact that the West Nile Virus might not be the reason why some patients experience violent symptoms.

In fact, this infection triggers an overreaction of the immune system. The first West Nile case in the U.S. was recorded in 1999. Since then, it spread across the country, Mexico, and Canada as well.

West Nile Virus Statistics

Based on the statistics, more than 40,000 people have contracted this virus over the past 26 years and over 1,600 of them died. Public health experts underline that the WNV is hard to eradicate because the mosquitoes contract the virus from infected birds and other animals.

Dr. Murray’s team monitored 4,144 patients in Texas between 2002 and 2012 out of which 554 of them died due to complications or other health issues unrelated to the infection. Also, about 7 percent of the patients died within 90 days.

Moreover, other 210 patients who experienced violent symptoms died shortly after they had recovered, especially due to kidney failure and other infections. Based on the CDC statistics, 1,521 WNV cases have been reported this year.

The Symptoms

Common symptoms include muscle aches, headaches, diarrhea, fatigue, high fever, and even tremors, disorientation, neck stiffness, coma, and paralysis in the case of patients who develop a neuroinvasive disease similar to meningitis.

However, less than one percent of the patients develop this neurologic illness. People who are most at risk to develop acute West Nile Virus symptoms are pregnant women, children, those with weak immune systems, and seniors.

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Hepatitis A Found in Frozen Strawberries

Frozen strawberries in a refrigirator

Ottawa County Public Health officials issued a food alert regarding frozen strawberries contaminated with Hepatitis A.

A massive recall of frozen strawberries has been issued because the fruits were contaminated with the hepatitis A virus. Therefore, the public health officials in Ottawa County decided to take active measures to prevent an outbreak.

Local food markets have been thoroughly analyzed for any signs of hepatitis A contamination. Fortunately, the county’s Department of Health said that these products were not directly sold to customers and no cases were reported.

This contagious liver condition has an incubating period of between two weeks and two months after the exposure. Patients may experience a broad array of symptoms such as pale stool, dark urine, abnormal liver tests, jaundice, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, fever, yellowed skin and eyes.

Many other outbreaks due to this foodborne illness occurred over the past two decades. For instance, green onions contaminated with hepatitis A caused a massive outbreak in Mexico in 2003.

More than 500 people were infected, five of them died, and one patient survived thanks to a liver transplant. In 2013, over 165 people were sickened after frozen pomegranates from Turkey were used in the Costco frozen berry mix.

Also, Tropical Smoothie Cafes are responsible for more than 140 hepatitis A cases due to frozen strawberries imported from Egypt. The recall includes all products sold since January this year as many people might still have the contaminated frozen strawberries in their refrigerators.

Besides consumers, many food handlers are infected every year with hepatitis A. Public health officials across the country underline that people should get vaccinated, especially food handlers, to prevent them from getting infected with the hepatitis A virus.

This disease is dangerous because the symptoms occur a long time after the exposure, meaning that the infected person might transmit the virus to other people as well.

The infection might be transmitted through the exchange of body fluids, using contaminated needles, and unprotected sex. The CDC officials urge citizens to refrain from consuming imported vegetables, frozen fruits, and shellfish harvested from contaminated water.

Also, people should avoid eating inadequately cooked food, because they are more likely to develop hepatitis A. This illness is preventable if people are better informed and aware of the risks of purchasing imported and frozen products.

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This Presidential Election Might Affect Women In The U.S

affect women

Pro-lifers are the ones that support this bill that is going to affect women in the U.S.

Every year new bills are approved and some of them affect women in the U.S. This presidential election might affect women more than they think. If some of the bills that are discussed now are adopted, women might lose some of the right they hardly earned. Paid family leave and reproductive rights are two of the rights that are now discussed.

How Will This Affect Women?

Planned Parenthood might be defunded because the republicans have been trying to do so for a year. Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization that helps women around the U.S learn more about reproduction. This organization also helps women who have problems and can’t afford to go to the doctor.

Pro-lifers are the ones that support this bill. If it bill passes, women might not have the right to have an abortion even though they can’t keep the baby.  The problem here is that if Planned Parenthood is shut down, the number of STD cases might be even bigger because this organization teaches people about STDs and how to avoid them.

This organization also gives women affordable contraception so that they won’t need to make an abortion. Defunding Planned Parenthood will do more harm than good. This is what many doctors believe. Women’s rights should not be taken away from them.

The Affordable Care Act Might Be Repealed.

Also known as Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act helps people who don’t have enough money to get the health care that they need. If they don’t have enough money to pay the health costs, they can use this affordable health insurance. The Affordable Care Act helps many women in the U.S because it covers mammograms, pap smears, and birth control. This is another thing that is going to affect women.

Some of the bills that are going to be approved after this presidential election ends might affect all the women in the U.S because they might take away their rights. People who don’t have enough money won’t be treated in hospitals and this means that more and more people are going to develop diseases and illnesses that won’t be treated. This will only make things worse in the U.S. Let’s hope that none of these bills are approved after the presidential election.

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