Two federal agencies are investigating The Home Depot after receiving reports that its contractors did not comply with lead paint regulations.WSB-TV, a television station in Atlanta where Home Depot is headquartered, said that it spent months investigating claims of “questionable business practices” and uncovered a number of customer complaints about contract work involving the removal of lead paint.In one instance, Home Depot was hired to replace windows in an older home in Augusta, Maine, and charged extra for the work after tests showed the presence of lead paint. But workers allegedly took no special precautions and used no special equipment. In that case, the company settled with the homeowner, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined both Home Depot and the contractor who did the work, the station said.Lead paint was common until 1978, when the federal government banned its use in homes. Later, the EPA issued the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, which includes a number of requirements for contractors aimed at protecting people, especially children, from lead. RELATED ARTICLES Lead-Based Paint and Green RemodelingManaging Lead Paint HazardsEPA Steps Up Enforcement of Lead Paint Rule Home Depot said in a filing in March that it was aware the EPA was looking into its compliance with lead-paint rules, MarketWatch reported. A Home Depot representative told the Atlanta TV station that lead-paint work makes up only a very small fraction of its total business and that it was cooperating with the investigation.The retailer isn’t the first home improvement business to run afoul of the federal lead-paint rule. In a similar case, Sears settled with the EPA and the Department of Justice in 2016 by agreeing to pay $400,000 for violating the rules.
AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com. Experiences have flooded the marketplace. Whether they’re investing in pop-up stores or festivals, brands have recognized the major shift happening. The IPA Bellwether Report found that in the U.K., experiential marketing was the only area to experience significant growth in spend in 2017 besides internet marketing.Similarly, EventTrack found that American consumers gravitated toward the brands that gave them experiences to savor, with 74 percent reporting they were more likely to purchase from brands engaging them with experiences. In fact, 98 percent admitted they created social content when they participated in these experiences — and all of those who created content also shared content.The writing’s on the wall for companies that have paid attention. These experiences can be beneficial to brands of every type, and Surkus is determined to use technology to make experiential accessible.Abandoning the Spray-and-Pray ModelSurkus classifies three major areas as experiential: branding experiential (such as pop-ups), ticketed experiences (such as concerts or festivals), and immersive experiences (such as VR). In working with brands that launch experiences in every category, Surkus focuses on making the strongest matches it can between its members and its clients.It does that through technology. The brand’s platform uses an algorithm to identify the right audience members for each experience being offered. By curating a group that’s expressed interest in a certain subject or a similar brand, Surkus pinpoints the members who will feel excited about the opportunity.That translates to a win for Surkus’ client companies. Surkus’ focus on targeting the right audience makes both attendance and engagement possible. Clients can ask for a variety of engagements — social content, surveys, market research — with Surkus enabling communication between clients and members throughout every point of a campaign.“We don’t need to complicate things, but simplify them,” explains Stephen George, Surkus’ CEO. “We want to make sure the right audience is attending and engaging, and we know the little things are our clients’ entire objective in working with us. It doesn’t have to be complex.”Capitalizing on What They’ve GotSurkus’ knowledge of where members are at every touchpoint is valuable: By tracking members’ locations and activity, the platform can nudge them and offer reminders. The platform, designed for Instagram posts, can point out that a member, still at an event, just took 50 photos and should post one of them. If the member exited the venue, the client can ask questions to get real-time feedback on how the installation or product played in front of its audience.“It’s important to be able to time our interactions and engagements correctly,” George says. “In the moment, members shouldn’t be interrupted so they can absorb the experience. But there hasn’t been an easy way to transfer instantaneous reactions. Brands don’t want to target people when they walk in or when they’re in the middle of a performance — they’re not going to get very good information.”But good information is there for the taking. George points to concerts as an example: If a concert producer spent the majority of his budget on the closing act and the grand finale fireworks, but 40 percent of concertgoers left two hours before the encore, Surkus can provide that data to the producer so he can reconsider where he’s spending his money. While Surkus’ goal with members is to provide them with compelling experiences, the brand’s focus for clients is driving long-term value.“If brands have already planned out the production of their events and are wasting money at certain times, we need to be able to tell them,” George explains. “They may be able to restructure the production to use the same layout of money but increase engagement. And the longer we can keep people engaged, the more ancillary revenue that drives — but there’s also a better experience because there’s no lag in the event itself.”Bringing Experiential to the MassesTechnology has made things more affordable, particularly through automation. Surkus itself thrives on this fact: While a PR agency helping with experiential activations can handle 20 clients at one time, Surkus can work with 10,000. “Bodies just aren’t as efficient as our algorithm,” George says.This sheer volume helps every activation under Surkus’ umbrella — as its base grows, so does its data collection. This enables Surkus to give first-timers a head start by giving them insight into what’s worked well for similar types of events or which types of audience members responded best. But, as George says, that data becomes more meaningful as clients repeatedly work with Surkus to launch experiences; the brand can provide continuous data on who engaged or took actions so constant tweaks can occur.The affordability and ease created by technology hasn’t completely trickled down, and George says that’s created a misconception that lingers among small brands. “There’s a perception that events have to be grandiose, multimillion-dollar affairs that only global brands can afford,” he says. “It can be a small mom-and-pop retailer with a pop-up event, and that can be just as enticing as Under Armour launching a $1 million activation at its store. The point is targeting the people who will respond.”Brands from small businesses to international conglomerates should be fitting experiential into their budgets, regardless of the size. While attention is paid to experiences offered by Netflix, Anheuser-Busch, or LiveNation, anyone can do it, George points out, and platforms like Surkus enable the same types of results for brands of every size.Smaller brands that refuse to invest in experiential, in fact, will run into a universal problem: ad blockers and other tools that allow consumers to bypass marketing. With people skipping commercials regularly and billboards simply not having the reach they should for their cost, experiential has become a more affordable way to stick in consumers’ minds. Surkus’ platform offers a la carte services, allowing clients to determine what’s most important in terms of engagement and what fits within their budget. Getting one attendee to walk through the door at an event can cost as little as $3. After an era of spray-and-pray advertising, with money sprinkled everywhere, experiential can result in reverse sticker shock.What’s NextBringing experiential to the masses also means expanding markets, and that’s next on Surkus’ agenda. George, the former co-founder and head of operations for Groupon, says the Los Angeles-based business launched in Boston last month and is “relaunching” in San Francisco in October.“A lot of our markets in the past grew organically, but now we’re announcing launches in targeted areas — we’re highly dedicated to these new markets,” George says. The brand also has an eye on global growth and serving its clients in any market they’re operating in; beyond its office in Hong Kong, Surkus plans to expand to Singapore in the next few months.That reinforces the company’s belief that experiential isn’t necessarily what people think it is — and it’s not outside anyone’s reach. By incorporating technology to make experiential activations more affordable and accessible, Surkus just may have found a way to bring personalized experiences to the masses. Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Brad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWrite Tags:#branding#customer experience#CX#event marketing#experiential marketing#festival#marketing#pop-up shop How Data Analytics Can Save Lives AI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… Related Posts
With mercury hovering above 43 degree C in most of Gujarat, the State is witnessing intense heat wave conditions that have claimed one life and affected hundreds in Ahmedabad and other towns.One person died of heatstroke in Ahmedabad city on Monday while 518 cases of heatstroke, dehydration, fluctuations in blood pressure, anxiety were reported in hospitals across the State.Multiple complaintsAccording to the State emergency services, 2,368 persons have been affected by the excessive heat conditions since the beginning of May in Ahmedabad alone. “People are coming in to complain of dehydration, stroke, vomiting, chest and stomach pain and nose and ear bleeding,” a senior staff member for the emergency medical centre told The Hindu.“We are witnessing intense heat wave conditions with dry weather across the State, except for a few places in south Gujarat. Hundreds of patients are pouring in with heat-related illnesses,” a senior doctor of Ahmedabad civil hospital said.Another senior doctor from the city said the bulk of the patients were senior citizens, children and daily wage earners who were exposed to sun due to their work requirements.Orange alertThe Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has issued an orange alert as part of its heat action plan that has been prepared and implemented with the help of experts from the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), Gandhinagar.“We have alerted the citizens to take precautions, minimise exposure to sun between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and remain hydrated during the day,” a senior official of the civic body said. “As per the met department’s prediction, heat wave conditions will continue for another week in the State,” he said.Meanwhile, a sudden change in the wind pattern on Tuesday brought in humidity. “Owing to change in wind direction, the relative humidity has become quite high in the State. In coastal areas, it is around 70-80% while in inland parts, it was 70%,” said Jayanta Sarkar, senior meteorologist of Met office in Ahmedabad.
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Liverpool aiming for Carabao Cup success insists Lijndersby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool are hoping to win the Carabao Cup, even if they do make changes to their team for the early rounds.The Reds will take the approach of many top Premier League sides by involving young and fringe players into the starting lineups for the competition.But assistant boss Pepijn Lijnders insists they are serious about winning the games and progressing deep into the Carabao Cup.He told the club’s website about their ambitions: “We want to compete in each competition, we want to attack each competition. We worked so hard to be in this situation where we can compete in each one. “For me, cup competitions are the soul of football because it represents a chance for smaller clubs to play against Premier League clubs and can give historic games for fans. That’s what we’re up against tomorrow. “The cup competitions are something special; when two local teams play against each other, that environment you get with the cup competitions. “We want to attack this cup, we want to attack tomorrow’s game, we will put a team in place that, for me, is a Premier League team. The players feel this responsibility as well: a highly-motivated team plays against us and the players feel this responsibility, so they really look forward to it, I really look forward to it. “It’s another opportunity to put our identity in place and show our passion. “We prepare for the game in the same way we prepared for Chelsea, with the same access, probably even more detail, but with the same hunger to win it.”
ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 04: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats points while the Wildcats practice ahead of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four at AT&T Stadium on April 4, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Twitter/@tneelOn Tuesday night, we shared a clip from Gary Parrish’s radio show, in which he told a story about John Calipari accosting a fellow coach over recruiting allegations. Kentucky Sports Radio has look further into things, and as it turns out, this story might not be a new one. KSR’s Drew Franklin found an old story from Parrish in 2010, that is largely the same as the one he told this week. The coach in question? Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin.Parrish noted that Calipari will let people know when he has problems with others and he liked the fact that he is up front. He told a story about a confrontation Calipari had with Cincinnati Coach Mick Cronin after he heard Cronin had told some associates that he didnt understand how he could go to every game for a kid and then Calipari could come in at the last minute and take him (presumably Marquis Teague). Calipari heard the comment, went to Cronin and basically said “you have to go see all the kid’s games…I can sit back and decide which kid I want and come and get them.”While we’re not totally sure that Cronin was the example given again, it does seem like this is the same story. It’d probably be hard for Calipari to get away with using the same rant too many times. This is probably not something Cincinnati basketball fans want to be reminded of too often, though.
Teen star Victoria Justice is supporting AT&T’s new It Can Wait campaign, which encourages people not to text and drive. LookToTheStars.org recently sat down and talked to the actress about her charity work.Victoria Justice Fronts PSAWhat attracted you to support AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign?Texting while driving is the number one cause of death among teens.I was completely, utterly shocked and horrified by that statistic. I wanted to tell all the people following me that there is a way that we can lower the statistic, and stay safe. Just really remind that no text is no risk.It’s not worth risking your life and anybody else’s. Pledge on ItCanWait.com.The free AT&T app DriveMode is really cool, too. It automatically sends a personalized text message back to the caller, letting them know you’ll text them back, as soon as you arrive safely.The Red-light Story. If most people are not texting and driving, they text at a red light. Safe?It’s still a distraction.You are still in the car and you’re driving — unless you are in Park, on the side of the road, and safely at your destination. You should really put your phone in the glove compartment, somewhere you know you won’t be tempted. Or just turn it off. Because it’s really not worth it.You’re 19. No license! How awesome do you feel!?I feel pretty awesome [giggles] — I do, though! It makes me feel comfortable. It makes me feel safe.I think that’s important because I haven’t been ready to take my big Driving Test to get my license. I’ve been working so much that I haven’t had the time to really practice being on the road.Do you have any family or friends who got in trouble; or were affected by texting and driving?Knock on wood, none of my friends have gotten in serious accidents. You hear stories of friends of friends, and people who you know: and that’s just as devastating.But, I definitely have been in cars with friends, and have seen them get distracted while texting, or looking for the next playlist on their phone. I’m like, “Oh my god. Keep your eyes on the road. I don’t feel comfortable right now you doing this.”It is also important for me to spread this word, and get people to take this pledge, like I have, because I have a younger sister who is 16. She’s going to be on the road soon. And, of course, like a big sister, all I care about is her safety.I want her to grow up with this mentality about not texting and driving.In your famous song Best Friend’s Brother, you are seen texting in a parked car. What are your thoughts on Issue Placement?Issue placement definitely could be effective used in music videos and TV shows — there are a lot of eyeballs on that type of programming.Ford and Audi recently added Internet to their cars, instigating a new industry-wide trend. Thoughts?Wow — that’s really intense! Technology is taking over the world and our lives [Victoria’s alien voice].Technology really is such an incredible thing, and has changed our world in so many positive ways. With those types of features, you just have to be really mindful of not being distracted: using it wisely, and being responsible.And if you are driving—and you have something you desperately have to tweet—then have the person next to you do it for you.Google has almost perfected its cars that can drive themselves. Is the company indirectly encouraging texting and driving?It’s on a whole other level. I can’t even begin to fathom cars that can drive themselves. That’s really crazy. I don’t know how that works, and how they operate.Just curious: Very few actresses in Hollywood represent the influential, election-sweeping Latino community in America. How empowered do you feel as a half Puerto Rican?I’m proud to be Puerto Rican.I’m proud to represent this minority in America. But, Latinos aren’t really so much of a minority anymore because there are so, so many of us here now. So, I think it’s pretty cool that I’m pretty sure I’m the first lead of a television show on Nickelodeon to be Latina.So, that’s something I’m really proud of.I think it’s nice that young Latina girls are able to identify themselves with me, and see someone in the entertainment industry like them—to inspire them, and give validation to their hopes and dreams.Do you try to incorporate Latino-specific issues in your work?I did write a song for Girl Up, an organization I work with which was started by the United Nations Foundation.I traveled to Guatemala last year. I was able to see first-hand and meet these girls, and see the programs that have been funded through Girl Up. It was really an amazing experience and opportunity.It was so inspiring. So, I came back home and worked with this amazing producer Toby Gad. We decided to write a song together, Girl Up. It has a very powerful message. And the lyrics are very honest and real. Hopefully they inspire other people to get involved, and to give back in general.So, I would definitely be interested in incorporating Latino-specific issues in my work. For sure.For example, there are a lot if immigrants who come to this country, and they are not able to raise their children with English. So, I think it’s important to have programs early on, where they have kids who are taught how to read and write in English: So, they have a head start before elementary school. That’s really important.This new generation of celebrities—you, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber — is socially conscious. What do you think that means for the world?It’s so important to spread a message of giving back to your community, and to the world.Especially nowadays with this generation, having access to so much social media — Twitter, Facebook — there are so many ways to reach people: and spread awareness for whatever charity or cause you are passionate about.There are so many ways you can really make a difference.Specifically about your question, it definitely is easier for us to influence societal change. We can reach more people. In today’s world, everything’s in real time. You can really access people so much quicker and easier.LookToTheStars.org thanks Victoria Justice for taking the time to talk to us.Copyright ©2012Look to the Stars
TORONTO – It was another record close for Canada’s main stock index despite a sharp drop in the health-care sector, which includes some of the country’s biggest marijuana companies.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 41.39 points to 16,412.94, gaining ground throughout the day after flatlining earlier on Thursday amid a free fall in cannabis stocks.Pot stocks were pummelled after The Associated Press reported that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will rescind an Obama-era policy that generally barred federal law enforcement officials from interfering with marijuana sales in states where the drug is legal.“That’s added huge volatility today to the marijuana stocks. They all sold off huge in the morning, came back part way during the day and seemed to be cooling off again,” said Norman Levine, managing director of Portfolio Management Corp.“It just shows the unbelievable volatility of these groups because there aren’t really fundamentals in valuations behind it. These are emotionally driven stocks. It shows that even though the vast majority of these stocks have little to do with the United States, it doesn’t take much to set them off one way or another.”Shares of major licensed Canadian cannabis producers such as Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED) and Aphria Inc. (TSX:APH) were down 9.97 per cent and 13.79 per cent at the close of markets Thursday.South of the border, Wall Street indices also hit consecutive all-time highs as the Dow Jones industrial average breached the 25,000 mark for the first time, just five weeks since its first close above 24,000. It climbed 152.45 points to settle at 25,075.13.The S&P 500 index added 10.93 points to 2,723.99 and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 12.38 points to 7,077.92.Strong global economic growth and good prospects for higher company earnings have analysts predicting more gains for the Dow, although the market may not stay as calm as it has been recently.The Dow has made a rapid trip from 24,000 points on November 30, partly on enthusiasm over passage of the Republican-backed tax package, which could boost company profits this year with across-the-board cuts to corporate taxes.“For a long while in 2017 I would say the biggest driver was excitement and anticipation over tax reform, but at a certain point I think there was a handover to global economic growth really helping to carry the stock market,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global markets strategist at Invesco.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of 79.90 cents US, up 0.11 of a U.S. cent.On the commodities front, the February crude contract gained 38 cents to US$62.01 per barrel and the February natural gas contract was down 13 cents to US$2.88 per mmBTU.The February gold contract was up US$3.10 to US$1,321.60 an ounce and the March copper contract added one cent at US$3.26 a pound.– With files from The Associated Press.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.
MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota regulators on Thursday granted key permits to the long-planned PolyMet copper-mining project that’s opposed by environmentalists who fear it could someday foul waters, including Lake Superior.The state Department of Natural Resources issued permits to PolyMet Mining Inc. for the company’s proposed NorthMet project in northeastern Minnesota. The project still needs permits from other agencies, and likely faces court challenges.“No project in the history of Minnesota has been more thoroughly evaluated,” DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in announcing approval of permits for the project, first proposed in 2004.Environmentalists have opposed the mine for fear it could pollute pristine waters and destroy habitat for grey wolves and Canada lynx. The project would be located near tributaries feeding the St. Louis River, 175 river miles upstream from Lake Superior.Duluth for Clean Water said the proposed mine “would create permanent, toxic pollution in the headwaters of Lake Superior, putting our communities and lives in constant danger.”“The massive open-pit mine would destroy huge swaths of the Superior National Forest and significantly increase annual CO2 emissions in Minnesota at the worst possible time,” the group said.PolyMet contends it can operate the proposed mine near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt without harming the environment while creating hundreds of badly needed jobs on Minnesota’s Iron Range.“We look forward to building and operating a modern mine and developing the materials that sustain and enhance our modern world,” PolyMet President and CEO Jon Cherry said in a news release. “Responsibly developing these strategic minerals in compliance with these permits while protecting Minnesota’s natural resources is our top priority as we move forward.”Paula Maccabee, an attorney for environmental group WaterLegacy, said environmentalists will likely appeal if permits are granted, or they could request that the DNR reconsider its decision.The agency issued a permit to mine, six water appropriation permits, two dam safety permits, a public waters work permit and an endangered species takings permit for the project. The permit to mine includes a financial assurance plan — designed to provide enough money so the DNR can reclaim and close the mine and plant site in case PolyMet does not — and a wetland replacement plan. The project still requires water and air quality permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.Landwehr said the DNR is “confident that the project can be built, operated, and reclaimed in compliance with Minnesota’s rigorous environmental standards.”“Yes, there will be an environmental impact,” Landwehr told reporters. “Our job is to ensure those environmental impacts are within state standards, and whenever required, they are mitigated.”Maccabee and other environmentalists questioned why the DNR did not conduct a contested case hearing for an independent review before issuing the permits. But Landwehr said the project did not meet the standards under state law for such a trial-like hearing.“These permits should be reviewed by an independent administrative law judge to establish the facts before permit decisions are made,” Kathryn Hoffman, chief executive of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, said in a statement, noting that such hearings are routine for pipelines and power plants. “It is special treatment for PolyMet to skip this vital step for the first copper-nickel mine to apply for permits in Minnesota.”Minnesota Republican legislative leaders hailed the DNR’s decision.“This new mine will create many good-paying jobs in Northeastern Minnesota and provide a real boost to the state’s economy,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt, a Republican from Crown, said in a statement.The project would cost an estimated $945 million to construct. PolyMet said site preparation and rehabilitation of the former LTV Steel plant for a copper-nickel processing plant will continue through the winter and early spring. The company said the bulk of work is expected to start in the 2019 construction season and last about 24 to 30 months.___Follow Jeff Baenen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jeffbaenen .
New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to drop five social science chapters from class 10 syllabus from this academic session, according to the new curriculum.The dropped chapters, including three on political studies and two on environment, will only be part of internal assessment, but not the final board exam. The chapters are — Challenges to Democracy, Democracy and Diversity, Political Struggles and Movements, Forest and Wildlife and Water Resources. “The chapter will be assessed in the periodic tests, but will not be evaluated in the board examination,” the brief attached with the syllabus sent to schools read. The board had last month issued a circular to schools, saying it wanted to align its assessment patterns with future needs as the Ministry of Human Resource Development has decided to participate in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2021. “Countrywide consultations were held with CBSE stakeholders, including teachers, students, heads of institutions and experts in the field to suggest ways to strengthen the assessment and evaluation practices of the board,” the circular read. “It was agreed upon that the school-based or internal assessment needs to be strengthened by incorporating more diverse strategies,” it added.
Srinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday led a protest march of her party activists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district against the suspension of cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade and ban on Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI). The protest march was taken out from Town Hall Pulwama to deputy commissioner’s office. Mehbooba demanded the revocation of the decision to suspend the cross-LoC trade and sought immediate release of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik from custody. She also sought revocation of ban on JeI and an end to the ban on civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. Malik is not in good health. I want to tell the Government of India that if God forbid, his health worsens, then the situation here will deteriorate further which will be very difficult to control. Our fight is against militants, but you should not harass their families, she told reporters.