Monday, 23 April 2018

Care2PETITIONS/Cool Effect: Carbon pollution is warming our planet. Pledge to be part of the solution!

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Carbon pollution is warming our planet. Pledge to be part of the solution!

    by: Cool Effect

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It's time to face the facts. Every day, each of us produces carbon pollution in any number of ways – including from the car we drive, the meat we eat, and the clothes we buy.

Did you know that if livestock were their own country, they would be the 2nd largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet? Or, that purchasing and using clothing accounts for 3% of global carbon emissions?

Our climate is rapidly warming and the repercussions are already proving devastating. Massive wildfires are becoming more common while rising sea levels threaten to drown entire coastal cities and islands. Droughts, heat waves, and extreme storms are also wrecking havoc.

We're all part of the problem and it's our responsibility to be part of the solution. With just a few changes to our lifestyles we can reduce our carbon footprints. Make your next car electric or walk, bike and take public transportation when you can. In your home, turn lights off when you leave a room and switch old bulbs to LED. Eat less meat and when you do go carnivorous, choose grass-fed organic beef.

We made this problem, but we can also make a better, healthier world. Sign and show your support for lifestyle changes that will help ensure the planet stays cool and clean for generations to come.
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Ecobank launches Fintech Challenge competition for African start-ups

Top 10 finalists to be selected as Ecobank Fintech Fellows

LOME, Togo, April 23, 2018/ -- Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com), the leading pan-African banking group, is inviting African fintech entrepreneurs to enter its Ecobank Fintech Challenge. Now in its second year, the initiative gives African start-ups the chance to promote their fintech solutions, and potentially to partner Ecobank in rolling-out their solutions across Ecobank’s 33 markets. Ecobank is currently welcoming submissions from all start-ups and developers in any of Africa’s 54 countries to enter its 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge at http://EcobankFintech.com

10 Finalists will be selected to participate in an Awards and Innovation Fair at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lomé, Togo in July 2018. Following a series of pitches from the finalists, a panel of judges will select the top three winners, who will receive cash prizes worth $10,000, $7,000, and $5,000 respectively.

All 10 finalists will also be conferred Ecobank Fintech Fellows and will qualify to explore opportunities to partner with Ecobank including:

    Multi-national product roll-out: the most commercially viable start-ups can launch their products in Ecobank’s 33 markets across Africa
    Service provider partner deals: start-ups with deep capabilities to become pan-African service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem
    Mentoring and networking support: founders will be conferred as Ecobank Innovation Fellows for a year, which grants them access to networking and mentoring from Ecobank’s vast global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.

Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, reiterated Ecobank’s dedication to support innovations in banking and finance across the continent, stating, “We, at Ecobank, believe that the current winds of change led by technology and innovation will redefine how banks do business, and indeed the relationships people have with their money. We want to be at the forefront of this change, in partnership with Africa’s rising start-ups, and that is why we created the Ecobank Fintech Challenge”.

Mr. Eddy Ogbogu, Ecobank Group Executive for Operations and Technology said, “The maiden 2017 edition of the Challenge proved that Africa has an impressive army of highly capable fintech start-ups. Ecobank is looking forward to another successful competition.”

Ecobank Fintech Challenge was designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by several partners across Africa and globally. Applications for the competition will close on 20th May, 2018.

More information on the competition, benefits, and how to apply can be found on the competition’s website at http://EcobankFintech.com      

You can also interact with us on social media via our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ecobankfintech) and twitter page (https://Twitter.com/ecobank_fintech)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ecobank.



Media Contact
Sherelle Folkes
Sherelle@BrandCommsGroup.com
+44 (0) 20 7638 6856

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,500 people in 36 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.
Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

SOURCE
Ecobank

Ecobank launches Fintech Challenge competition for African start-ups

Top 10 finalists to be selected as Ecobank Fintech Fellows

LOME, Togo, April 23, 2018/ -- Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com), the leading pan-African banking group, is inviting African fintech entrepreneurs to enter its Ecobank Fintech Challenge. Now in its second year, the initiative gives African start-ups the chance to promote their fintech solutions, and potentially to partner Ecobank in rolling-out their solutions across Ecobank’s 33 markets. Ecobank is currently welcoming submissions from all start-ups and developers in any of Africa’s 54 countries to enter its 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge at http://EcobankFintech.com

10 Finalists will be selected to participate in an Awards and Innovation Fair at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lomé, Togo in July 2018. Following a series of pitches from the finalists, a panel of judges will select the top three winners, who will receive cash prizes worth $10,000, $7,000, and $5,000 respectively.

All 10 finalists will also be conferred Ecobank Fintech Fellows and will qualify to explore opportunities to partner with Ecobank including:

    Multi-national product roll-out: the most commercially viable start-ups can launch their products in Ecobank’s 33 markets across Africa
    Service provider partner deals: start-ups with deep capabilities to become pan-African service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem
    Mentoring and networking support: founders will be conferred as Ecobank Innovation Fellows for a year, which grants them access to networking and mentoring from Ecobank’s vast global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.

Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, reiterated Ecobank’s dedication to support innovations in banking and finance across the continent, stating, “We, at Ecobank, believe that the current winds of change led by technology and innovation will redefine how banks do business, and indeed the relationships people have with their money. We want to be at the forefront of this change, in partnership with Africa’s rising start-ups, and that is why we created the Ecobank Fintech Challenge”.

Mr. Eddy Ogbogu, Ecobank Group Executive for Operations and Technology said, “The maiden 2017 edition of the Challenge proved that Africa has an impressive army of highly capable fintech start-ups. Ecobank is looking forward to another successful competition.”

Ecobank Fintech Challenge was designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by several partners across Africa and globally. Applications for the competition will close on 20th May, 2018.

More information on the competition, benefits, and how to apply can be found on the competition’s website at http://EcobankFintech.com      

You can also interact with us on social media via our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ecobankfintech) and twitter page (https://Twitter.com/ecobank_fintech)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ecobank.



Media Contact
Sherelle Folkes
Sherelle@BrandCommsGroup.com
+44 (0) 20 7638 6856

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,500 people in 36 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.
Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

SOURCE
Ecobank

Ecobank launches Fintech Challenge competition for African start-ups

Top 10 finalists to be selected as Ecobank Fintech Fellows

LOME, Togo, April 23, 2018/ -- Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com), the leading pan-African banking group, is inviting African fintech entrepreneurs to enter its Ecobank Fintech Challenge. Now in its second year, the initiative gives African start-ups the chance to promote their fintech solutions, and potentially to partner Ecobank in rolling-out their solutions across Ecobank’s 33 markets. Ecobank is currently welcoming submissions from all start-ups and developers in any of Africa’s 54 countries to enter its 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge at http://EcobankFintech.com

10 Finalists will be selected to participate in an Awards and Innovation Fair at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lomé, Togo in July 2018. Following a series of pitches from the finalists, a panel of judges will select the top three winners, who will receive cash prizes worth $10,000, $7,000, and $5,000 respectively.

All 10 finalists will also be conferred Ecobank Fintech Fellows and will qualify to explore opportunities to partner with Ecobank including:

    Multi-national product roll-out: the most commercially viable start-ups can launch their products in Ecobank’s 33 markets across Africa
    Service provider partner deals: start-ups with deep capabilities to become pan-African service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem
    Mentoring and networking support: founders will be conferred as Ecobank Innovation Fellows for a year, which grants them access to networking and mentoring from Ecobank’s vast global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.

Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, reiterated Ecobank’s dedication to support innovations in banking and finance across the continent, stating, “We, at Ecobank, believe that the current winds of change led by technology and innovation will redefine how banks do business, and indeed the relationships people have with their money. We want to be at the forefront of this change, in partnership with Africa’s rising start-ups, and that is why we created the Ecobank Fintech Challenge”.

Mr. Eddy Ogbogu, Ecobank Group Executive for Operations and Technology said, “The maiden 2017 edition of the Challenge proved that Africa has an impressive army of highly capable fintech start-ups. Ecobank is looking forward to another successful competition.”

Ecobank Fintech Challenge was designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by several partners across Africa and globally. Applications for the competition will close on 20th May, 2018.

More information on the competition, benefits, and how to apply can be found on the competition’s website at http://EcobankFintech.com      

You can also interact with us on social media via our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ecobankfintech) and twitter page (https://Twitter.com/ecobank_fintech)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ecobank.



Media Contact
Sherelle Folkes
Sherelle@BrandCommsGroup.com
+44 (0) 20 7638 6856

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,500 people in 36 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.
Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

SOURCE
Ecobank

Ecobank launches Fintech Challenge competition for African start-ups

Top 10 finalists to be selected as Ecobank Fintech Fellows

LOME, Togo, April 23, 2018/ -- Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com), the leading pan-African banking group, is inviting African fintech entrepreneurs to enter its Ecobank Fintech Challenge. Now in its second year, the initiative gives African start-ups the chance to promote their fintech solutions, and potentially to partner Ecobank in rolling-out their solutions across Ecobank’s 33 markets. Ecobank is currently welcoming submissions from all start-ups and developers in any of Africa’s 54 countries to enter its 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge at http://EcobankFintech.com

10 Finalists will be selected to participate in an Awards and Innovation Fair at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lomé, Togo in July 2018. Following a series of pitches from the finalists, a panel of judges will select the top three winners, who will receive cash prizes worth $10,000, $7,000, and $5,000 respectively.

All 10 finalists will also be conferred Ecobank Fintech Fellows and will qualify to explore opportunities to partner with Ecobank including:

    Multi-national product roll-out: the most commercially viable start-ups can launch their products in Ecobank’s 33 markets across Africa
    Service provider partner deals: start-ups with deep capabilities to become pan-African service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem
    Mentoring and networking support: founders will be conferred as Ecobank Innovation Fellows for a year, which grants them access to networking and mentoring from Ecobank’s vast global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.

Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, reiterated Ecobank’s dedication to support innovations in banking and finance across the continent, stating, “We, at Ecobank, believe that the current winds of change led by technology and innovation will redefine how banks do business, and indeed the relationships people have with their money. We want to be at the forefront of this change, in partnership with Africa’s rising start-ups, and that is why we created the Ecobank Fintech Challenge”.

Mr. Eddy Ogbogu, Ecobank Group Executive for Operations and Technology said, “The maiden 2017 edition of the Challenge proved that Africa has an impressive army of highly capable fintech start-ups. Ecobank is looking forward to another successful competition.”

Ecobank Fintech Challenge was designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by several partners across Africa and globally. Applications for the competition will close on 20th May, 2018.

More information on the competition, benefits, and how to apply can be found on the competition’s website at http://EcobankFintech.com      

You can also interact with us on social media via our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ecobankfintech) and twitter page (https://Twitter.com/ecobank_fintech)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ecobank.



Media Contact
Sherelle Folkes
Sherelle@BrandCommsGroup.com
+44 (0) 20 7638 6856

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,500 people in 36 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.
Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

SOURCE
Ecobank

Ecobank launches Fintech Challenge competition for African start-ups

Top 10 finalists to be selected as Ecobank Fintech Fellows

LOME, Togo, April 23, 2018/ -- Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com), the leading pan-African banking group, is inviting African fintech entrepreneurs to enter its Ecobank Fintech Challenge. Now in its second year, the initiative gives African start-ups the chance to promote their fintech solutions, and potentially to partner Ecobank in rolling-out their solutions across Ecobank’s 33 markets. Ecobank is currently welcoming submissions from all start-ups and developers in any of Africa’s 54 countries to enter its 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge at http://EcobankFintech.com

10 Finalists will be selected to participate in an Awards and Innovation Fair at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lomé, Togo in July 2018. Following a series of pitches from the finalists, a panel of judges will select the top three winners, who will receive cash prizes worth $10,000, $7,000, and $5,000 respectively.

All 10 finalists will also be conferred Ecobank Fintech Fellows and will qualify to explore opportunities to partner with Ecobank including:

    Multi-national product roll-out: the most commercially viable start-ups can launch their products in Ecobank’s 33 markets across Africa
    Service provider partner deals: start-ups with deep capabilities to become pan-African service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem
    Mentoring and networking support: founders will be conferred as Ecobank Innovation Fellows for a year, which grants them access to networking and mentoring from Ecobank’s vast global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.

Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, reiterated Ecobank’s dedication to support innovations in banking and finance across the continent, stating, “We, at Ecobank, believe that the current winds of change led by technology and innovation will redefine how banks do business, and indeed the relationships people have with their money. We want to be at the forefront of this change, in partnership with Africa’s rising start-ups, and that is why we created the Ecobank Fintech Challenge”.

Mr. Eddy Ogbogu, Ecobank Group Executive for Operations and Technology said, “The maiden 2017 edition of the Challenge proved that Africa has an impressive army of highly capable fintech start-ups. Ecobank is looking forward to another successful competition.”

Ecobank Fintech Challenge was designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by several partners across Africa and globally. Applications for the competition will close on 20th May, 2018.

More information on the competition, benefits, and how to apply can be found on the competition’s website at http://EcobankFintech.com      

You can also interact with us on social media via our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ecobankfintech) and twitter page (https://Twitter.com/ecobank_fintech)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ecobank.



Media Contact
Sherelle Folkes
Sherelle@BrandCommsGroup.com
+44 (0) 20 7638 6856

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,500 people in 36 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.
Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

SOURCE
Ecobank

Ecobank launches Fintech Challenge competition for African start-ups

Top 10 finalists to be selected as Ecobank Fintech Fellows

LOME, Togo, April 23, 2018/ -- Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com), the leading pan-African banking group, is inviting African fintech entrepreneurs to enter its Ecobank Fintech Challenge. Now in its second year, the initiative gives African start-ups the chance to promote their fintech solutions, and potentially to partner Ecobank in rolling-out their solutions across Ecobank’s 33 markets. Ecobank is currently welcoming submissions from all start-ups and developers in any of Africa’s 54 countries to enter its 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge at http://EcobankFintech.com

10 Finalists will be selected to participate in an Awards and Innovation Fair at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lomé, Togo in July 2018. Following a series of pitches from the finalists, a panel of judges will select the top three winners, who will receive cash prizes worth $10,000, $7,000, and $5,000 respectively.

All 10 finalists will also be conferred Ecobank Fintech Fellows and will qualify to explore opportunities to partner with Ecobank including:

    Multi-national product roll-out: the most commercially viable start-ups can launch their products in Ecobank’s 33 markets across Africa
    Service provider partner deals: start-ups with deep capabilities to become pan-African service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem
    Mentoring and networking support: founders will be conferred as Ecobank Innovation Fellows for a year, which grants them access to networking and mentoring from Ecobank’s vast global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.

Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, reiterated Ecobank’s dedication to support innovations in banking and finance across the continent, stating, “We, at Ecobank, believe that the current winds of change led by technology and innovation will redefine how banks do business, and indeed the relationships people have with their money. We want to be at the forefront of this change, in partnership with Africa’s rising start-ups, and that is why we created the Ecobank Fintech Challenge”.

Mr. Eddy Ogbogu, Ecobank Group Executive for Operations and Technology said, “The maiden 2017 edition of the Challenge proved that Africa has an impressive army of highly capable fintech start-ups. Ecobank is looking forward to another successful competition.”

Ecobank Fintech Challenge was designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by several partners across Africa and globally. Applications for the competition will close on 20th May, 2018.

More information on the competition, benefits, and how to apply can be found on the competition’s website at http://EcobankFintech.com      

You can also interact with us on social media via our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ecobankfintech) and twitter page (https://Twitter.com/ecobank_fintech)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ecobank.



Media Contact
Sherelle Folkes
Sherelle@BrandCommsGroup.com
+44 (0) 20 7638 6856

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,500 people in 36 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.
Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

SOURCE
Ecobank

Ecobank launches Fintech Challenge competition for African start-ups

Top 10 finalists to be selected as Ecobank Fintech Fellows

LOME, Togo, April 23, 2018/ -- Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com), the leading pan-African banking group, is inviting African fintech entrepreneurs to enter its Ecobank Fintech Challenge. Now in its second year, the initiative gives African start-ups the chance to promote their fintech solutions, and potentially to partner Ecobank in rolling-out their solutions across Ecobank’s 33 markets. Ecobank is currently welcoming submissions from all start-ups and developers in any of Africa’s 54 countries to enter its 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge at http://EcobankFintech.com

10 Finalists will be selected to participate in an Awards and Innovation Fair at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lomé, Togo in July 2018. Following a series of pitches from the finalists, a panel of judges will select the top three winners, who will receive cash prizes worth $10,000, $7,000, and $5,000 respectively.

All 10 finalists will also be conferred Ecobank Fintech Fellows and will qualify to explore opportunities to partner with Ecobank including:

    Multi-national product roll-out: the most commercially viable start-ups can launch their products in Ecobank’s 33 markets across Africa
    Service provider partner deals: start-ups with deep capabilities to become pan-African service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem
    Mentoring and networking support: founders will be conferred as Ecobank Innovation Fellows for a year, which grants them access to networking and mentoring from Ecobank’s vast global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.

Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, reiterated Ecobank’s dedication to support innovations in banking and finance across the continent, stating, “We, at Ecobank, believe that the current winds of change led by technology and innovation will redefine how banks do business, and indeed the relationships people have with their money. We want to be at the forefront of this change, in partnership with Africa’s rising start-ups, and that is why we created the Ecobank Fintech Challenge”.

Mr. Eddy Ogbogu, Ecobank Group Executive for Operations and Technology said, “The maiden 2017 edition of the Challenge proved that Africa has an impressive army of highly capable fintech start-ups. Ecobank is looking forward to another successful competition.”

Ecobank Fintech Challenge was designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by several partners across Africa and globally. Applications for the competition will close on 20th May, 2018.

More information on the competition, benefits, and how to apply can be found on the competition’s website at http://EcobankFintech.com      

You can also interact with us on social media via our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ecobankfintech) and twitter page (https://Twitter.com/ecobank_fintech)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ecobank.



Media Contact
Sherelle Folkes
Sherelle@BrandCommsGroup.com
+44 (0) 20 7638 6856

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,500 people in 36 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.
Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

SOURCE
Ecobank

Ecobank launches Fintech Challenge competition for African start-ups

Top 10 finalists to be selected as Ecobank Fintech Fellows

LOME, Togo, April 23, 2018/ -- Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com), the leading pan-African banking group, is inviting African fintech entrepreneurs to enter its Ecobank Fintech Challenge. Now in its second year, the initiative gives African start-ups the chance to promote their fintech solutions, and potentially to partner Ecobank in rolling-out their solutions across Ecobank’s 33 markets. Ecobank is currently welcoming submissions from all start-ups and developers in any of Africa’s 54 countries to enter its 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge at http://EcobankFintech.com

10 Finalists will be selected to participate in an Awards and Innovation Fair at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lomé, Togo in July 2018. Following a series of pitches from the finalists, a panel of judges will select the top three winners, who will receive cash prizes worth $10,000, $7,000, and $5,000 respectively.

All 10 finalists will also be conferred Ecobank Fintech Fellows and will qualify to explore opportunities to partner with Ecobank including:

    Multi-national product roll-out: the most commercially viable start-ups can launch their products in Ecobank’s 33 markets across Africa
    Service provider partner deals: start-ups with deep capabilities to become pan-African service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem
    Mentoring and networking support: founders will be conferred as Ecobank Innovation Fellows for a year, which grants them access to networking and mentoring from Ecobank’s vast global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.

Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, reiterated Ecobank’s dedication to support innovations in banking and finance across the continent, stating, “We, at Ecobank, believe that the current winds of change led by technology and innovation will redefine how banks do business, and indeed the relationships people have with their money. We want to be at the forefront of this change, in partnership with Africa’s rising start-ups, and that is why we created the Ecobank Fintech Challenge”.

Mr. Eddy Ogbogu, Ecobank Group Executive for Operations and Technology said, “The maiden 2017 edition of the Challenge proved that Africa has an impressive army of highly capable fintech start-ups. Ecobank is looking forward to another successful competition.”

Ecobank Fintech Challenge was designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by several partners across Africa and globally. Applications for the competition will close on 20th May, 2018.

More information on the competition, benefits, and how to apply can be found on the competition’s website at http://EcobankFintech.com      

You can also interact with us on social media via our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ecobankfintech) and twitter page (https://Twitter.com/ecobank_fintech)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ecobank.



Media Contact
Sherelle Folkes
Sherelle@BrandCommsGroup.com
+44 (0) 20 7638 6856

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,500 people in 36 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.
Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

SOURCE
Ecobank

Ecobank launches Fintech Challenge competition for African start-ups

Top 10 finalists to be selected as Ecobank Fintech Fellows

LOME, Togo, April 23, 2018/ -- Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com), the leading pan-African banking group, is inviting African fintech entrepreneurs to enter its Ecobank Fintech Challenge. Now in its second year, the initiative gives African start-ups the chance to promote their fintech solutions, and potentially to partner Ecobank in rolling-out their solutions across Ecobank’s 33 markets. Ecobank is currently welcoming submissions from all start-ups and developers in any of Africa’s 54 countries to enter its 2018 Ecobank Fintech Challenge at http://EcobankFintech.com

10 Finalists will be selected to participate in an Awards and Innovation Fair at the global headquarters of Ecobank in Lomé, Togo in July 2018. Following a series of pitches from the finalists, a panel of judges will select the top three winners, who will receive cash prizes worth $10,000, $7,000, and $5,000 respectively.

All 10 finalists will also be conferred Ecobank Fintech Fellows and will qualify to explore opportunities to partner with Ecobank including:

    Multi-national product roll-out: the most commercially viable start-ups can launch their products in Ecobank’s 33 markets across Africa
    Service provider partner deals: start-ups with deep capabilities to become pan-African service partners within Ecobank’s ecosystem
    Mentoring and networking support: founders will be conferred as Ecobank Innovation Fellows for a year, which grants them access to networking and mentoring from Ecobank’s vast global network of technology leaders, fintech experts, investors and management coaches.

Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, reiterated Ecobank’s dedication to support innovations in banking and finance across the continent, stating, “We, at Ecobank, believe that the current winds of change led by technology and innovation will redefine how banks do business, and indeed the relationships people have with their money. We want to be at the forefront of this change, in partnership with Africa’s rising start-ups, and that is why we created the Ecobank Fintech Challenge”.

Mr. Eddy Ogbogu, Ecobank Group Executive for Operations and Technology said, “The maiden 2017 edition of the Challenge proved that Africa has an impressive army of highly capable fintech start-ups. Ecobank is looking forward to another successful competition.”

Ecobank Fintech Challenge was designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by several partners across Africa and globally. Applications for the competition will close on 20th May, 2018.

More information on the competition, benefits, and how to apply can be found on the competition’s website at http://EcobankFintech.com      

You can also interact with us on social media via our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ecobankfintech) and twitter page (https://Twitter.com/ecobank_fintech)

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ecobank.



Media Contact
Sherelle Folkes
Sherelle@BrandCommsGroup.com
+44 (0) 20 7638 6856

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,500 people in 36 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.
Additional information on Ecobank can be found at www.Ecobank.com.

SOURCE
Ecobank

MainOne’s West Africa expansion gets boost with Cote d’Ivoire license

Construction of a fourth cable authorised by the government will improve the international connectivity of the country and will provide a lot more opportunities for the national market while increasing competition

LAGOS, Nigeria, April 23, 2018/ -- As part of its West Africa expansion, connectivity and data centre solutions operator MainOne (www.MainOne.net) has secured a license to expand national and international connectivity services in Cote d’Ivoire. The C1B license, received from Minister Bruno Koné, the country’s Minister for Communication, Digital Economy and Postal Services, will enable MainOne land its submarine cable and build transmission infrastructure in Cote d’Ivoire, to strengthen connectivity, reduce international capacity costs and support wholesale customers, major operators and Internet Service Providers.

Cote d’Ivoire authorities believe that the construction of a fourth cable authorised by the government will improve the international connectivity of the country and will provide a lot more opportunities for the national market while increasing competition. “We have just taken an important step through this authorisation for the improvement of the telecommunication infrastructure of our country, specifically the improvement of international connectivity. MainOne cable will have an impact on price and quality and will strengthen the security of our infrastructure”, declared Minister Bruno Koné.

The entry of MainOne, an open-access connectivity services provider will further democratize the international bandwidth market in Cote d’Ivoire and neighbouring countries and drive down bandwidth costs for local Internet Service Providers, Telcos and indigenous businesses.

“Cote d’Ivoire is the largest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and a very important hub for business and transport in West Africa. The dynamism of the national economy and accelerated development of the digital economy in Cote d’Ivoire as well as its regional leadership makes it a natural hub for the West African region and guided MainOne’s decision to invest in Cote d’Ivoire”, said Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne.

As part of an overarching plan to invest close to $20m in Cote d’Ivoire with a focus on the provision of wholesale connectivity services, MainOne has obtained the license and will commence the construction of its digital transmission cable in June 2018, to be concluded in the second half of 2019. Its cable landing will provide open-access infrastructure within Cote d’Ivoire and other WAEMU countries to expand internet access for all users in the region and support rapid development as well as facilitate increased non-resources trade and improve public services to aid the evolution of regional businesses.

“By investing and encouraging the business ecosystem within West Africa, we hope to bring meaningful technology solutions to businesses, to enable them in their quest for improved productivity and efficiency through dedicated and reliable connectivity services. We are prepared to collaborate with incumbent operators towards enhancing regional integration and global access,” Ms. Opeke concluded.

MainOne is committed to deepening broadband access via fibre infrastructure and data centres across West Africa. With service delivery in 10 countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Cameroun, Benin, Niger, Senegal and Chad, MainOne operates a 100G international submarine cable system which guarantees highly reliable connectivity to support the growing demand for Internet access and bandwidth-intensive applications such as eCommerce, Content providers, OTT players and electronic banking and payment services via 3/4G mobile networks. The MainOne Submarine cable was the first privately owned cable in West Africa spanning 7000KM with a capacity of 4.96 TBPS to connect West Africa to Europe via a landing in Portugal and multiple routes to London, Paris and Amsterdam.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of MainOne.

View multimedia content

MainOne
Temitope Osunrinde
MarComms@MainOne.net

About MainOne:
MainOne (www.MainOne.net) is a leading provider of connectivity and data centre services for businesses in West Africa. Since its launch in 2010, MainOne has developed a reputation for highly reliable services to become the preferred provider of wholesale Internet services to major telecom operators, ISPs, government agencies, large enterprise, and educational institutions in West Africa. MainOne’s world class submarine cable system running down the coast of West Africa, state of the art IP network, growing regional and metro terrestrial fibre optic networks, and data centre facilities enable broadband services for businesses needing solutions in West Africa. Our network is interconnected and peers with leading operators and internet exchanges worldwide to provide global reach to our customers. Additional information can be found on www.MainOne.net.

SOURCE
MainOne

FORTUNE Data Sheet/Adam Lashinsky: Is it time to regulate big tech

Is it time to regulate big tech  

   
The Download on Technology
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April 23, 2018

I attended a spectacular conference Friday at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, whose Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State hosts an annual discussion of antitrust and competition issues. This year’s event, convened by scholars Luigi Zingales and Guy Rolnik, focused on the threat of concentration of Big Tech, otherwise known as the Big Five: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google.

This was one impressive gathering. As I gazed out at the room I saw some of the most important voices on the debate: USC’s Jonathan Taplin, Columbia’s Tim Wu, Berkeley’s Carl Shapiro, Stratechery proprietor Ben Thompson, and the monopolist scourge Gary Reback. Former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, who also was the European Commission’s top antitrust enforcer, gave an erudite and illuminating lecture on how the EU approaches antitrust with a more unified and less political voice than the U.S. One panel, expertly moderated by Rana Foroohar of The Financial Times, explored how regulation of Big Tech might proceed. The short version: It will be complicated.

As for my panel, it was a riveting, sometimes heated, and informative session. Facebook policy official Matt Perault gamely explained his company’s new party line: Facebook will throw the same energy and resources into fixing its privacy problems as it did to build Facebook. His assertion, which felt sincerely articulated, satisfied almost no one.

Venture capitalist Albert Wanger believes regulation will help Big Tech the most as they’ll be the only ones to afford new strictures. (Wanger has espoused, and backed off of, mandatory APIs, a way of forcing giant platforms to open up.)

Patent expert Elvir Causevic similarly argues that Big Tech benefits from their ability not so much to innovate but to use the patent system to buy and stifle innovation. Researcher Glen Weyl, who works for Microsoft but is visiting Yale, thinks the answer is to refocus antitrust enforcement on competition as opposed to its current scrutiny of consumer wellbeing. Weyl shortly will publish a book on the subject with eminent Chicago jurist Richard Posner: “Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society.” The two sliced off a portion of their thesis in The Wall Street Journal this past weekend.

By the end of the week my brain hurt but my soul was uplifted knowing so many smart people are working so hard to fix at least some of our society’s problems.

    Adam Lashinsky
    @adamlashinsky
    adam_lashinsky@fortune.com
.
        NEWSWORTHY

I am not a crook. The researcher at the center of the Facebook data scandal, psychologist Aleksandr Kogan, tells BuzzFeed that he violated Facebook's developer policy when he transferred personal data about a reported 87 million people to Cambridge Analytica. But there's one conspiracy theory he wants to shoot down: "I am not a Russian spy," he says.

The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire. Another day, another new satellite startup. EarthNow plans to use satellites to provide a continuous real-time video feed of the planet. The company said it raised an undisclosed amount of capital from private investors, including Bill Gates, Airbus (which is supplying satellites), and Masayoshi Son's SoftBank Group.

Capitalism works better than it sounds. Dell Technologies spin-off Pivotal Software went public of Friday, selling 37 million shares at $15. The first day of trading was relatively modest and the shares finished up 5% at $15.73. CEO Rob Mee told Fortune that the company can't just ask Michael Dell for more capital when it wants to expand. "Michael Dell is extraordinarily frugal," he said. "It's not a mistake he's one of the richest people in the world." Perhaps the same is true of Chinese billionaire Pony Ma, CEO of Internet giant Tencent. The company is planning a public offering of its streaming music subsidiary that could value the sub at $25 billion.

Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain. Speaking of streaming music, the market has bolstered the overall music industry. Global music revenue totaled $17.4 billion in 2017, up 9% from the year before and close to 2008's past peak of $17.7 billion, research firm Midia says. The gain was completely from a 39% jump in streaming subscription service revenue. Sales of digital and physical media fell 10%.

Well, I screwed it up real good, didn't I. The federal government's E-rate program to subsidize Internet connections for rural schools has slowed to a crawl under the Trump administration, Wired reports. Schools currently have to wait a record 240 days to get aid and 60 projects have been denied unfairly since 2017, nonprofit group EducationSuperHighway tells the magazine.

I made my mistakes. Analysts have soured on Apple's iPhone X lately. Sales of the most expensive iPhone helped save Apple in the fourth quarter (its fiscal first quarter) by boosting average selling prices, but could be a drag in the most recent quarter, analysts believe. "The price point above $1,000 has been a greater deterrent for broad market appeal than anticipated," Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley wrote last week. Apple shares lost 4% on Friday.

Defeat doesn't finish a man, quit does. After years of failing to create a compelling messaging app-sorry, Allo-Google is now trying to convince wireless carriers to enable a replacement service for texting, or SMS, to work with its newest effort, simply called Chat. The underlying standard carriers must adopt is called Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services, or RCS. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for this one to catch on. Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wins a payday of almost $400 million on Wednesday, when restricted shares of stock he was granted in 2014 finally vest, Bloomberg reports. Google's stock price has risen 90% since the shares were awarded versus a 39% gain in the S&P 500 Index.

(Headline quote explainer for those who don't remember our 37th president.)
.
        FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The future of money may be in apps like Venmo and Apple Pay, but existing banks aren't sitting around waiting to be disrupted. They crafted their own version of the consumer friendly and easy to use mobile payments apps and called it Zelle. Only one problem, as New York Times reporter Stacy Cowley investigated:

    The same features that make Zelle so useful for customers, its speed and ubiquity, have made it irresistible to thieves. Hackers and con artists have used the system to steal from victims—some of whom had never used Zelle or even heard of it until someone used it to clean out their bank accounts.

    Interviews with more than two dozen customers who had their money stolen through Zelle illustrate the weaknesses that criminals are using in targeting the network. While all financial systems are susceptible to fraud, aspects of Zelle's design, like not always notifying customers when money is transferred—some banks do; others don't—have contributed to the system's vulnerability. And some customers who lost money were made whole by their banks; others were not.

.
        IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Sheryl Sandberg Talks Paid Family Leave, Community Organizing, and Cambridge Analytica Interviewed by Valentina Zarya

The 4 Biggest Takeaways From Facebook's New Data Policy By Lisa Marie Segarra

Your Next Home Could Be 3D-Printed By Chris Morris

Amazon Is Shielding James Comey From Review Spam By David Z. Morris

Wikileaks Claims Coinbase Has Shut Down Its Online Store's Bitcoin Account By David Z. Morris

Twitter Bans Ads from Russian Computer Security Company Kaspersky Lab By Sarah Gray

Commentary: How Blockchain Could Put an End to Identity Theft By Frederic Kerrest
.
.
        BEFORE YOU GO

Astrophysicist Donald Olson and his research team at Texas State University are sort of forensic detectives when it comes to great works of art. They figured out that the glowing circle depicted in Vincent Van Gogh's painting White House at Night must be Venus, for example. Most recently, they've been trying to identify where and when photographer Ansel Adams took some of his most iconic pictures. It took all kinds of creative calculating to crack then mystery of Adams's Denali and Wonder Lake, as writer Cara Giaimo explores at the website Atlas Obscura.
This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman. Find past issues, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters.
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[NASA HQ News] Vice President Pence to Swear in New Agency Administrator; Airing on NASA Television

April 23, 2018
MEDIA ADVISORY M18-067

Vice President Pence to Swear in New Agency Administrator; Airing on NASA Television
Jim Bridenstine was confirmed to serve as the NASA’s 13th administrator.
Jim Bridenstine was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, April 19, to serve as the NASA’s 13th administrator.
Credits: NASA

Vice President Mike Pence will swear in Jim Bridenstine as NASA’s new administrator at 2:30 p.m. EDT Monday, April 23, at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. The ceremony will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Following the swearing-in, Vice President Pence and newly sworn-in NASA Administrator Bridenstine will speak live with three NASA astronauts currently living and working aboard the International Space Station. Expedition 55 crew members Scott Tingle, Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold will offer congratulations and take questions from the Vice President and Administrator Bridenstine. The astronauts will also briefly share stories of their experiences on the orbiting outpost from 250 miles above Earth, traveling at 17,500 miles per hour.

Bridenstine was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, April 19, to serve as the agency’s 13th administrator. Prior to this position, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives for the state of Oklahoma, where he held positions on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Bridenstine also is a pilot in the U.S. Navy Reserve and the former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium.

For information about NASA’s missions, programs and activities, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov

-end-

The Big Issue UK: The street paper seller who predicted Trump and toured the White House


The street paper seller who predicted Trump and toured the White House  

From the streets to the seats of power

Street papers like The Big Issue have always had wisdom and insight worth listening to.

From Bank of England boss Mark Carney revealing he looks to The Big Issue for inspiration to Washington’s Street Sense vendor Jeffery being invited to the White House, it’s clear our voice is now being heard in the corridors of power.
Also this week...

    Maxine Peake tells us how Marti Caine’s story of being a female performing in working men’s clubs inspired her latest film, Funny Cow, and why it took male co-star Paddy Considine’s involvement to get the film funded

    Comedian Russell Howard boasts more Facebook likes than any other comedian. He explains how comedy can be used as a force for good

    King of the track Carl Fogarty shares his memories of winning his first Superbike World title in 1994 and why he might have been “hard work to be around” in this week’s Letter To My Younger Self

READ MORE
Maxine Peake: “No one will finance a film because I am in it”

When Maxine Peake's not a big enough name to finance a film you know things are tough for women in the industry.
READ MORE
A new investigation finds at least 78 homeless people died last winter

A counting project by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism puts the average deaths at two a week.
READ MORE

Meet the street paper seller who predicted Trump and toured the White House

Jeffery McNeil: "This administration opened a world to me that was closed by other presidents".
READ MORE


Farmers are fighting back against the fake meat supermarket invasion

But are plant-based burgers really better for the environment?
READ MORE
John Bird: Wales is at the cutting edge of poverty prevention

The rest of us should follow.

READ MORE


Have your say with The Big Issue Platform

The Big Issue Platform is non-partisan and open to politicians and policy makers as well as readers and vendors – anybody who has a big idea to tackle homelessness. Email editorial@bigissue.com or write to us: The Big Issue, 43 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 1HW



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Aeon Magazine/Elizabeth Svoboda: Just one in five people will be lucky enough to avoid mental health problems throughout their life. How do they do it?




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Temperamentally blessed
Just one in five people will be lucky enough to avoid mental health problems throughout their life. How do they do it?
Photo by Emin Ozmen/Magnum

Elizabeth Svoboda

writes on topics from creationist biology classes in Galápagos schools to the connections between suffering and selflessness. She lives in San José, California, and is the author of What Makes a Hero? (2013).

2,700 words
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I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know that I was vulnerable. From childhood on, I felt stress as acutely as a needle puncture – the familiar tightness in my ribcage, the trembling in my upper arms. In an attempt to dull the pain, I’d obsess endlessly about the current subject of my worries, whether it was a guy who’d rejected me or the strange bruises that had appeared on my legs overnight. As an adult, I learned that ruminating – lingering over problems like a cow chewing cud – was linked to the depression and anxiety that I suffered in repeated bouts. But knowing this wasn’t enough to halt my obsessing. Something in me believed it was the way through the crucible, and stopping felt like relinquishing all control.

Still, I’ve long known that not everyone responds to stress the way I do. I see the evidence every day in my own home. My husband, the descendant of laid-back Scandinavians, seems largely impervious to stresses and misfortunes. When something bad happens, he might withdraw into himself for a time, but he tends to bounce back within hours or, at most, days. I think of him as a sturdy wagon, one that keeps rolling along, no matter the condition of the road. Then there’s the author Kelly Hayes-Raitt, who has faced various slings and arrows through the years. Post-9/11, her consulting business went bottom-up, leaving her $90,000 in debt. After that, she ran for political office in Santa Monica in California, and lost after enduring multiple rounds of character assassination. But through it all, she says, she’s never felt particularly anxious, depressed or otherwise unmoored – and she’s never received any kind of psychiatric diagnosis.

I regard such temperamentally blessed people with awe, and I’m more than a little curious about the source of their endurance. Why is it that, after what psychologists call an ‘adverse event’, I have a near-irresistible urge to wallow and curl into myself, while the temperamentally blessed deploy their emotional stabilisers and sail on blithely? Is it genes, upbringing or something less easily defined? And should we seek to follow their example – or are emotional ups and downs a natural and integral part of a life well-lived? Is it even mentally healthy to stay so even-keeled when chaos descends?

Jonathan Schaefer, a graduate student in psychology, is among the researchers who have begun to address such questions. Soon before Schaefer arrived at Duke University in North Carolina, his advisor, the psychologist Terrie Moffitt, published a paper showing that when people are assessed regularly for mental-health problems, their incidence of common mental illnesses was far higher than previous estimates. By age 32, more than 40 per cent of the study participants had had at least one episode of depression, while nearly 50 per cent had suffered from anxiety. Schaefer remembers digesting the paper and finding it intriguing. ‘OK, so if this proportion of the population is experiencing different disorders, who’s left over?’ he thought to himself. ‘Who actually is making it through the first half of their life without a diagnosis?’

To find out what made these diagnosis-free people distinct, Schaefer turned to the same subjects whom Moffitt had studied – the Dunedin cohort, a group of 1,037 people all born in the same town in New Zealand between April 1972 and March 1973. Every few years since their birth, the members of the cohort have returned to Dunedin to undergo batteries of medical tests and interviews. Assessors evaluate, among other things, their reproductive health, their social aptitude and their current mental state. To date, the study has retained about 95 per cent of its original subjects and, if all goes as planned, they will submit to periodic testing for the rest of their lives.

As Schaefer dug deep into the Dunedin files, one thing that jumped out at him was that the vast majority of cohort members had met criteria for a mental illness at some point in their lives. In the turbulent years leading up to middle age, 83 per cent had suffered from either short-lived or longer-lasting mental disorders. ‘Experiencing these conditions is actually the norm,’ Schaefer says. ‘It’s kind of weird not to.’
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The discovery that mental illness was far more the rule than the exception made Schaefer more eager to understand who the remaining 17 per cent of the population were – what was it about their approach to life that preserved their mental health? He presumed, at first, that people who’d been born to wealthy parents or who’d maintained good physical health might end up in the temperamentally blessed group, since poverty and ill health are clear harbingers of mental disorder.

That didn’t turn out to be the case, though. Unsurprisingly, the temperamentally blessed in Schaefer’s study tended to be people whose first-degree relatives were never diagnosed with mental illness, suggesting that their ongoing buoyancy was, at least in part, genetic. But people who enjoyed enduring mental health weren’t unusually rich, physically healthy or intelligent. ‘We expected that they would be from well-off families, so would be protected from stress by money and financial resources, but they were not,’ says Moffitt, who was a contributing author on Schaefer’s recent paper. ‘And we expected they would be very high-IQ kids, so would be protected by being extra-smart and able to think their way out of problems, but they were not.’

Enduring mental health, it appears, isn’t as much about surface advantage as how you play the hand you’ve got. In Moffitt’s view, the temperamentally blessed members of the Dunedin cohort ‘embrace life, get active, and get involved, but when bad things happen they don’t over-react. They really just remain calm and get on with it,’ she says. They manage stress, it appears, by not focusing intently on their problems, and also by surrounding themselves with supportive others. ‘They like being with people, and they reach out to build a social network. As loved ones, they are steady and dependable, not touchy or thin-skinned. They don’t often quarrel. They are pretty tolerant of other people in their lives.’

‘We could copy the lifestyles of people with enduring mental health to see how to live well’

Because the Dunedin study has tracked subjects from birth onwards, we know that these distinctive personality traits often show up by the elementary-school years, Schaefer says. Children who have more friends at an early age are less likely to experience an episode of mental illness as adults. ‘This is a process, a way of being, that emerges pretty early on.’

If genetics play a key role in temperament, and if many of the traits that reinforce temperament are baked in early on, does it still make sense to try to foster an environment that promotes temperamental stability? Moffitt says yes – and that one possible approach would be to recreate the social and emotional milieu that the temperamentally blessed seem to inhabit. ‘I think we could copy the lifestyles of people with enduring mental health to see how to live well.’

Almost invariably, such people boast a dense web of communal ties, underscoring the role of supportive networks in mitigating stressful life events such as a job loss or a divorce. (To be sure, these networks might help some more than others; though my husband and I share most of the same social contacts, our responses to stress remain distinct.) Likewise, a live-and-let-live attitude is probably teachable, at least to some degree. Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) – designed to teach emotional regulation – is geared toward boosting clients’ tolerance and acceptance of others. Studies show that this therapy improves their functioning in the real world, inching them closer to the temperamentally blessed category even if they don’t always reach it.

Scientists could someday emulate the biology of the temperamentally blessed as well. If functional MRI studies show that they have discrete patterns of brain activation, and if DNA sequencing reveals distinct stretches of genetic code, those traits could supply clear blueprints for drug-makers. The landmark antidepressant Prozac – first viewed as a potential high blood-pressure treatment – was a partially accidental stride in this direction. It happened to leave more serotonin floating in the synapses between neurons, fuelling the kind of mood benefits that are often the birthright of the temperamentally blessed. Imagine what a more deliberate search, one that targets specific neural pathways from the start, might turn up.

But is complete freedom from mental disorder the unalloyed triumph it first seems? To be sure, severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and psychosis have very little adaptive value at all. But certain, more common conditions, especially depression and anxiety, sometimes make a bleak kind of evolutionary sense: they’re screaming neon warnings that there are urgent problems in your life that you need to address.

And depressive or anxious thoughts do drive effective problem-solving in a variety of situations, according to the psychologist Paul Andrews, now at McMaster University in Ontario. Because depressed people’s thinking style is highly analytical (in other words, obsessive), they incisively evaluate the pros and cons of potential solutions. ‘Depression seems less like a disorder where the brain is operating in a haphazard way, or malfunctioning,’ write Andrews and his colleague, J Anderson Thomson Jr, in a 2009 article for Scientific American. ‘Instead, depression seems more like the vertebrate eye – an intricate, highly organised piece of machinery that performs a specific function.’

From that standpoint, the 50something divorcee who weathers financial ruin with a smile seems like the oddball, not her despairing counterpart. While people’s genetic vulnerability to mental disorder differs, most of us are at higher risk when life heads south in one way or another. The temperamentally blessed seem unusually immune to circumstance; either they do not feel the sting of defeat as acutely, or they have found reliable ways to blunt it. They look strong to others because they do not react intensely to calamity. But it’s worth asking whether that very lack of intense reaction might betray a covert psychological weakness – a tendency to stand still when dramatic movement is called for.

In fact, the burgeoning field of post-traumatic growth research suggests that people reap profound benefits when they risk dramatic movement in the face of mental anguish. ‘I think you do see that,’ Schaefer says. ‘Tackling a particular problem, and then having navigated that successfully – that can be a big thing.’ In a study at the University of L’Aquila in Italy, earthquake survivors who suffered moderate depression in the disaster’s wake reported significant post-traumatic flowering. They forged stronger relationships with others, professed more faith in their personal strength, and attained a clearer sense of their life’s mission.

My own experience echoes these findings. After emerging from my first episode of depression, I understood far better what other depressed people were going through. Since then, it’s felt natural to commiserate with them and share my own experience, connecting with them on a deeper level than before. I’m convinced that without the discovery that my own suffering activated my empathy and my desire to help, I never would have written my book What Makes a Hero? (2013), on the science of selflessness.

However even-keeled, the temperamentally blessed don’t score much higher on life-satisfaction scales

In a society where mental disturbance is endlessly pathologised, it’s easy to conclude that the pinnacle of mental health is the absence of illness. This idea leads us to lionise those who steer clear of the ‘disease’ label. But a broader, more Jungian conception of mental health – one that encompasses the entire human meaning-making process – includes emotional setbacks, even profound ones, viewing them as invitations to engage in the ongoing project of destroying and rebuilding the self.

If the temperamentally blessed aren’t experiencing the degree of emotional upset and struggle that’s natural in difficult times, does that mean there’s something fundamental that they’re missing out on, some sort of existential tempering? That’s an open question, from a scientific perspective as well as a philosophical one. What does seem clear, though, is that being temperamentally blessed is not the same as being happy in a deeper sense. However even-keeled they might be, the temperamentally blessed don’t score much higher on life-satisfaction scales than those who are not as blessed. ‘There’s more to life than not experiencing mental disorder,’ Schaefer says. ‘There are some people in the enduring mental-health group who rate their life satisfaction as pretty low.’

We also know that you don’t have to clear the bar of being temperamentally blessed in order to reach fulfilment. Flourishing – experiencing positive emotions, general enthusiasm about life and a sense of purpose (the state that Aristotle called eudaimonia) – ‘is completely separate’, Schaefer says, and ‘not terribly highly correlated with symptoms of a mental disorder’. In other words, you can suffer mental illness, even repeatedly, and still retain a sense that life is meaningful; as Walt Whitman put it: ‘the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse’.

Still, there’s no denying the toll that full-blown mental illness takes on one’s body, mind and ability to work toward goals that promote flourishing. I know firsthand that not all pathology is productive. And while I’m grateful to have broadened my capacity for intimacy and empathy, I don’t want to keep flagellating myself with lessons I’ve already learned.

I yearn, now, to enter a state of relative emotional maintenance, and that’s where the example that the temperamentally blessed set can be a force for good. They seem to have a knack for anticipating and avoiding the most immobilising inner tempests – an approach worth road-testing. After Hayes-Raitt’s political aspirations went bust, she decided to travel to the Middle East to aid refugees there. ‘I worked with people whose losses far outweighed my own to help put my own loss in perspective,’ she says. In so doing, she retained her sense of agency and made a meaningful contribution, reaching much the same flourishing endpoint that many people reach in the aftermath of depression.

We’re well-equipped to break and mend, mentally as well as physically

So while the temperamentally blessed might not have the same access to transformation that arises through emotional trauma, they can still engage full-tilt in the project of building out the self to make it whole. They might just need to be willing to adopt a new approach to life without the knife’s-edge motivation of knowing that the old approach is intolerable.

This year, the subjects in the Dunedin study will finish turning 45. This means that Moffitt, Schaefer and their colleagues are in the midst of collecting another round of data – and checking in on the temperamentally blessed members of the cohort. For the first time, Schaefer plans to carry out functional MRI brain scans of everyone in the ‘enduring mental health’ group to detect neural activity that might distinguish them from their peers. Schaefer is also keen to see whether the number of people who qualify for the group holds steady or keeps falling. ‘My strong suspicion is that the proportion of folks will continue to shrink. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone’s left by the end.’

If we’re tempted to think that there is anything secure or unassailable in being temperamentally blessed, the way that the group’s ranks keep thinning with age dispels that notion. Schaefer’s research reveals that mental disorders are exceedingly common and often transient, a finding he hopes will reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. To me, though, what that finding declares most loudly is that we’re well-equipped to break and mend, mentally as well as physically. The cycle of the hero’s journey, that powerful monomyth that transcends time and culture, features a protagonist who weathers deep adversity, emerges stronger from the struggle, and draws on that earned resolve in conquering further challenges. Being temperamentally blessed, by contrast, is an endowment for which the bearer cannot take full credit. If you sail over the same waves that fell others, by all means, celebrate your good fortune. But it’s no guarantee that the race will be yours.
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23 April, 2018

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Aeon Magazine/Thomas White: What did Hannah Arendt really mean by the banality of evil?


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What did Hannah Arendt really mean by the banality of evil?

1,500 words
Adolf Eichmann at his 1961 trial. <em>Photo courtesy Wikipedia</em>
Adolf Eichmann at his 1961 trial. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Thomas White

is a Wiley Journal contributing author, whose philosophical and theological writings have appeared in print and online.

1,500 words

Can one do evil without being evil? This was the puzzling question that the philosopher Hannah Arendt grappled with when she reported for The New Yorker in 1961 on the war crimes trial of Adolph Eichmann, the Nazi operative responsible for organising the transportation of millions of Jews and others to various concentration camps in support of the Nazi’s Final Solution.

Arendt found Eichmann an ordinary, rather bland, bureaucrat, who in her words, was ‘neither perverted nor sadistic’, but ‘terrifyingly normal’. He acted without any motive other than to diligently advance his career in the Nazi bureaucracy. Eichmann was not an amoral monster, she concluded in her study of the case, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963). Instead, he performed evil deeds without evil intentions, a fact connected to his ‘thoughtlessness’, a disengagement from the reality of his evil acts. Eichmann ‘never realised what he was doing’ due to an ‘inability… to think from the standpoint of somebody else’. Lacking this particular cognitive ability, he ‘commit[ted] crimes under circumstances that made it well-nigh impossible for him to know or to feel that he [was] doing wrong’.

Arendt dubbed these collective characteristics of Eichmann ‘the banality of evil’: he was not inherently evil, but merely shallow and clueless, a ‘joiner’, in the words of one contemporary interpreter of Arendt’s thesis: he was a man who drifted into the Nazi Party, in search of purpose and direction, not out of deep ideological belief. In Arendt’s telling, Eichmann reminds us of the protagonist in Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger (1942), who randomly and casually kills a man, but then afterwards feels no remorse. There was no particular intention or obvious evil motive: the deed just ‘happened’.

This wasn’t Arendt’s first, somewhat superficial impression of Eichmann. Even 10 years after his trial in Israel, she wrote in 1971:

    I was struck by the manifest shallowness in the doer [ie Eichmann] which made it impossible to trace the uncontestable evil of his deeds to any deeper level of roots or motives. The deeds were monstrous, but the doer – at least the very effective one now on trial – was quite ordinary, commonplace, and neither demonic nor monstrous.

The banality-of-evil thesis was a flashpoint for controversy. To Arendt’s critics, it seemed absolutely inexplicable that Eichmann could have played a key role in the Nazi genocide yet have no evil intentions. Gershom Scholem, a fellow philosopher (and theologian), wrote to Arendt in 1963 that her banality-of-evil thesis was merely a slogan that ‘does not impress me, certainly, as the product of profound analysis’. Mary McCarthy, a novelist and good friend of Arendt, voiced sheer incomprehension: ‘[I]t seems to me that what you are saying is that Eichmann lacks an inherent human quality: the capacity for thought, consciousness – conscience. But then isn’t he a monster simply?’

The controversy continues to the present day. The philosopher Alan Wolfe, in Political Evil: What It Is and How to Combat It (2011), criticised Arendt for ‘psychologising’ – that is, avoiding – the issue of evil as evil by defining it in the limited context of Eichmann’s humdrum existence. Wolfe argued that Arendt concentrated too much on who Eichmann was, rather than what Eichmann did. For Arendt’s critics, this focus on Eichmann’s insignificant, banal life seemed to be an ‘absurd digression’ from his evil deeds.

Other recent critics have documented Arendt’s historical errors, which led her to miss a deeper evil in Eichmann, when she claimed that his evil was ‘thought-defying’, as Arendt wrote to the philosopher Karl Jaspers three years after the trial. The historian Deborah Lipstadt, the defendant in David Irving’s Holocaust-denial libel trial, decided in 2000, cites documentation released by the Israeli government for use in the legal proceeding. It proves, Lipstadt asserts in The Eichmann Trial (2011), that Arendt’s use of the term ‘banal’ was flawed:

    The memoir [by Eichmann] released by Israel for use in my trial reveals the degree to which Arendt was wrong about Eichmann. It is permeated with expressions of Nazi ideology… [Eichmann] accepted and espoused the idea of racial purity.

Lipstadt further argues that Arendt failed to explain why Eichmann and his associates would have attempted to destroy evidence of their war crimes, if he was indeed unaware of his wrongdoing.

In Eichmann Before Jerusalem (2014), the German historian Bettina Stangneth reveals another side to him besides the banal, seemingly apolitical man, who was just acting like any other ‘ordinary’ career-oriented bureaucrat. Drawing on audiotapes of interviews with Eichmann by the Nazi journalist William Sassen, Stangneth shows Eichmann as a self-avowed, aggressive Nazi ideologue strongly committed to Nazi beliefs, who showed no remorse or guilt for his role in the Final Solution – a radically evil Third Reich operative living inside the deceptively normal shell of a bland bureaucrat. Far from being ‘thoughtless’, Eichmann had plenty of thoughts – thoughts of genocide, carried out on behalf of his beloved Nazi Party. On the tapes, Eichmann admitted to a sort of Jekyll-and-Hyde dualism:

    I, ‘[t]he cautious bureaucrat,’ that was me, yes indeed. But … this cautious bureaucrat was attended by a … a fanatical [Nazi] warrior, fighting for the freedom of my blood, which is my birthright…

Arendt completely missed this radically evil side of Eichmann when she wrote 10 years after the trial that there was ‘no sign in him of firm ideological convictions or of specific evil motives’. This only underscores the banality – and falsity – of the banality-of-evil thesis. And though Arendt never said that Eichmann was just an innocent ‘cog’ in the Nazi bureaucracy, nor defended Eichmann as ‘just following orders’ – both common misunderstandings of her findings on Eichmann – her critics, including Wolfe and Lipstadt, remain unsatisfied.

So what should we conclude about Arendt’s claim that Eichmann (as well as other Germans) did evil without being evil?

The question is a puzzle because Arendt missed an opportunity to investigate the larger meaning of Eichmann’s particular evil by not expanding her study of him into a broader study of evil’s nature. In The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), published well before the Eichmann trial, Arendt said:

    It is inherent in our entire [Western] philosophical tradition that we cannot conceive of a ‘radical evil’…

Instead of using the Eichmann case as a way forward to advance the tradition’s understanding of radical evil, Arendt decided that his evil was banal, that is, ‘thought-defying’. By taking a narrow legalistic, formalistic approach to the trial – she emphasised that there were no deeper issues at stake beyond the legal facts of Eichmann’s guilt or innocence – Arendt automatically set herself up for failure as to the deeper why of Eichmann’s evil.

Yet in her writings before Eichmann in Jerusalem, she actually took an opposite position. In The Origins of Totalitarianism, she argued that the evil of the Nazis was absolute and inhuman, not shallow and incomprehensible, the metaphorical embodiment of hell itself: ‘[T]he reality of concentration camps resembles nothing so much as medieval pictures of Hell.’

By declaring in her pre-Eichmann trial writings that absolute evil, exemplified by the Nazis, was driven by an audacious, monstrous intention to abolish humanity itself, Arendt was echoing the spirit of philosophers such as F W J Schelling and Plato, who did not shy away from investigating the deeper, more demonic aspects of evil. But this view changed when Arendt met Eichmann, whose bureaucratic emptiness suggested no such diabolical profundity, but only prosaic careerism and the ‘inability to think’. At that point, her earlier imaginative thinking about moral evil was distracted, and the ‘banality of evil’ slogan was born. Moreover, Arendt died in 1975: perhaps if she had lived longer she could have clarified the puzzles surrounding the banality-of-evil thesis, which still confound critics to this day. But this we shall never know.

Thus we are left with her original thesis as it stands. What is the basic confusion behind it? Arendt never did reconcile her impressions of Eichmann’s bureaucratic banality with her earlier searing awareness of the evil, inhuman acts of the Third Reich. She saw the ordinary-looking functionary, but not the ideologically evil warrior. How Eichmann’s humdrum life could co-exist with that ‘other’ monstrous evil puzzled her. Nevertheless, Arendt never downplayed Eichmann’s guilt, repeatedly described him as a war criminal, and concurred with his death sentence as handed down by the Israeli court. Though Eichmann’s motives were, for her, obscure and thought-defying, his genocidal acts were not. In the final analysis, Arendt did see the true horror of Eichmann’s evil.
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