Monday, April 28, 2014

VIDEO: First Responder on Scene of South Korean Ferry Disaster Speaks

VIDEO: First Responder on Scene of South Korean Ferry Disaster Speaks

VIDEO: First Responder on Scene of South Korean Ferry Disaster Speaks

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 11:02 AM PDT

As captain of the first ship on the scene of the sinking South Korean ferry, Moon Ye-shik immediately sensed the enormity of the situation.

“The ship was listing (badly), 30 to 40 degrees,” he told CNN. “It was in such a bad condition, anyone would assume evacuation was well underway.”

Moon’s oil tanker, the Doola Ace, was only 200 meters away from the ferry Sewol when the distress call came, and was on the scene within minutes. But Moon saw few signs of the evacuation he expected.

Cell phone footage from the students onboard the ferry show the passengers had been told by authorities to stay put. “Please do not move from your location. Absolutely do not move,” were the instructions issued through the loudspeakers.

More than 300 people remain dead or missing, almost two weeks after the ferry sank on April 16.

Moon remains critical of the actions of the ferry crew, who are now in custody for negligence and failing to help the passengers. “They should have made the call for evacuation. So many lives would have been saved,” he told CNN.

George Clooney Is Engaged

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 11:01 AM PDT

Longtime Hollywood bachelor George Clooney is engaged to attorney Amal Alamuddin, according her law firm.

Doughty Street Chambers, a leading human-rights firm, said the 36-year-old U.K. barrister Amal Alamuddin will marry the two-time “Sexiest Man Alive,” the Associated Press reports.

“She brings a bright light to everything she is involved in and I am so delighted at her happy news,” Doughty Street chief executive Robin Jackson said Monday.

A spokesperson for Clooney declined to comment to the AP.

Alamuddin, who was born in Beirut and educated at Oxford University, has previously represented WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange and advised former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan about Syria.

Clooney, 52, was previously married to actress Talia Balsam from 1989 to 1993.


Internet Explorer Security Flaw: 4 Ways to Protect Yourself

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 10:53 AM PDT

This is why we can’t have nice things. A security flaw affecting most versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser is making the rounds. If you use IE, you’ll want to follow one or more of these four steps in order to keep yourself safe.

Use a Different Web Browser

This is the path of least resistance. Until Microsoft patches up this hole, using a browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox can keep you safe from this particular vulnerability.

Don’t Click On Suspicious Email or Chat Links

This is a rule for every day, not just today. This vulnerability only works if the bad guys can get you to click your way to a special infected page they’ve set up. These trick links might make their way to you via email messages or chat messages that seem legit. If someone forwards you an email or initiates a chat with a link in it, call them on the phone and ask them if they really sent it. This accomplishes two things: One, you can make sure you’re not being duped. Two, it’ll make that person think twice about forwarding you an email or trying to chat with you ever again. The less time you spend dealing with forwarded emails and mind-numbing chat conversations, the more time you’ll have to live your life as intended.

Download and Install This Microsoft Toolkit

I appreciate the irony of having just told you not to click on mysterious links, but click on this mysterious link and install this program. It’ll automatically protect Internet Explorer and “make the vulnerability harder to exploit,” according to Microsoft. Notice that Microsoft didn’t say it’d be impossible to exploit.

Ratchet Up Your Internet Explorer Security Settings

If you don’t want to use a different browser until this blows over, you can goose Internet Explorer’s security level instead. Take note that ramping up the security level could impact the performance on certain sites, especially those containing interactive elements. This should be a last resort, like if you’re using a work computer and your IT department won’t allow you to install a new browser. Seriously, try Chrome or Firefox first if you can. You might like them.

Here’s Microsoft’s how-to:

To raise the browsing security level in Internet Explorer, perform the following steps:

  1. On the Internet Explorer Tools menu, click Internet Options.
  2. In the Internet Options dialog box, click the Security tab, and then click Internet.
  3. Under Security level for this zone, move the slider to High. This sets the security level for all websites you visit to High.
  4. Click Local intranet.
  5. Under Security level for this zone, move the slider to High. This sets the security level for all websites you visit to High.
  6. Click OK to accept the changes and return to Internet Explorer.

Note If no slider is visible, click Default Level, and then move the slider to High.

One bonus tip: If you’re using Internet Explorer on Windows XP, the chances that this issue’s going to get fixed are pretty bleak. Microsoft finally dropped support for XP earlier this month, which means any security fix that’s issued for one of Microsoft’s newer operating systems won’t make its way to Windows XP. If you insist on using XP, your best bet would be to use a different browser like Chrome or Firefox for everything and cross your fingers that neither of those browsers suffers a serious setback such as this in the future. Microsoft details a few other tips here as well.

NAACP Revokes Donald Sterling’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 10:34 AM PDT

A top civil rights organization formally rescinded a lifetime achievement award due to be given to Los Angles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Monday, as outrage over his alleged racist comments continued to build.

Leon Jenkins, the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, said the organization would also return donations from Sterling, and that it’s up to the NBA owner to demonstrate the words attributed to him “don't really reflect his heart.”

“There is a personal and economic price that Mr. Sterling must pay,” Jenkins said at a news conference.

The civil rights group’s move followed Saturday’s publication by TMZ of an audio recording that purportedly depicts Sterling criticizing his girlfriend for publicly associating with African-Americans, including NBA legend Magic Johnson. Johnson, NBA Heat star LeBron James, Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and even President Barack Obama have condemned the comments.

Sterling has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the audio, but the team said in a statement that he’s “emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings.”

Sponsors began distancing themselves from the team on Monday. The NBA is investigating and is set to make an announcement Tuesday.

Stay Classy by Avoiding Ron Burgundy Syndrome

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 10:21 AM PDT

Many years ago, prior to joining LinkedIn, I attended an all-hands where a senior executive was addressing our team. The executive knew the company, was well-respected, and was an excellent public speaker — essentially all of the raw materials necessary to motivate the audience to take action.

On this particular day, the exec was rolling out a new way of thinking about the business. He detailed four new operating “pillars” for the company — all being added to several previously established operating priorities. Operators, in other words, now had to be focused on these additional dimensions when thinking about key initiatives. One of those new pillars was globalization. He wanted managers to develop products, services, and go-to market strategies with an international mindset from day one, and not as a reactive effort requiring expensive retrofits.

In theory, all of this was perfectly reasonable. The reality would prove otherwise.

About six months later, after little material progress had been made on our globalization efforts, the same executive asked me for candid feedback, wondering aloud why we had accomplished so little as an organization on this front despite the clarity of the message at that initial event. I responded with something akin to the following:

“We rolled out four new dimensions on top of seven previously communicated priorities, thus creating essentially 28 different initiatives. While the determination of the seven priorities was a highly collaborative effort, and subsequently well-received, none of the new dimensions and the implications of adding those to the priorities were previously socialized or vetted with the people responsible for executing them. There was no stack ranking of the pillars and their intersection with the priorities. There were no measurable objectives communicated that would enable us to track results. The overlay of the pillars created an entirely new set of inter-dependencies between teams, without any guidance on how to navigate those new relationships or time to create the right connective tissue. No additional process was put in place enabling us to report out on progress, identify blockers, and work together to resolve critical issues.

[Long pause, big smile]

What could possibly go wrong?”

In retrospect, I could have summarized the entire discussion by saying, “As a senior executive, just because you said it, doesn’t make it so.”

I have come back to this anecdote countless times since, not only sharing the experience with leaders on my team so that they can avoid similar outcomes, but constantly reminding myself of the same. It’s a hard lesson to learn. After all, as senior executives, most of us are wired to believe that if we say it, the team will just naturally execute it exactly as we had envisioned.

If management were only that simple.

We all need to be wary of avoiding the Ron Burgundy syndrome: On the surface, looking and sounding the part, but without providing the right discipline, focus, and ongoing context, appearing as nothing more than a talking head.

Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned to help prevent myself from falling into this all too familiar trap:

Repetition, repetition, repetition

As an adviser to four different Presidents of both parties, including Reagan and Clinton, David Gergen is widely recognized as a world-renown expert on the subject of effectively communicating key messages. In his book “Eyewitness to Power,” in which he chronicles his time spent in the White house, he wrote, “History teaches that almost nothing a leader says is heard if spoken only once.”

A former colleague of mine described it this way: In order to effectively communicate to an audience, you need to repeat yourself so often that you grow sick of hearing yourself say it, and only then will people begin to internalize the message. It was an extremely valuable insight and one I’ve employed countless times since (repeating it so often, I now simply refer to the dynamic as “David Gergening” the message.)

Simplify the narrative

Simply put, we are the stories that we tell. When communicating important new messages, try thinking of it as introducing a new narrative. The simpler, more relevant, and more inspirational, the more likely it is to resonate with its intended audience.

Also, be aware of the number of objectives, priorities, themes, etc. that you’ve been communicating over time. With greater success comes greater scope and complexity. This will inevitably lead to a larger number of important narratives that need to be shared with the team. Yet, people can only grok so many things at once. Try consolidating. Even more importantly, periodically and systematically try taking things off the list (note, this is much easier said then done).

The fewer things you need to communicate, the more likely people will be to internalize the message, align themselves accordingly, and achieve success.

Explain the why

Regardless of how senior you are, and how much authority you wield, just saying it won’t magically make it happen. Your audience is busy (if not overwhelmed) by their own work. In order to get them to take notice, and far more importantly, change behavior, it’s essential you provide the context behind your message: Why is this particular initiative so important? Why is it a higher priority than what the team is currently working on? Why is it a better strategy than the one already in place?

After explaining, it’s equally critical that the team feels heard on the subject, particularly if they disagree. Seek to understand. By virtue of how close they are to the work, more often than not they’ll have a unique perspective that helps shape your own. The resulting conclusion will be that much more effective because you developed it together.

Eliminate the Rashomon Effect

Have you ever been in a meeting with four other people, thought you reached a shared conclusion and set of next steps, only to find later that all five of you left with a completely different understanding of what transpired? If so, you are not alone. Legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa popularized the concept in his film “Rashomon,” which told the story of a tragic event seen through the unique perspective of four different participants (the same film technique would later be used in countless other films and television shows).

The film captured a simple yet powerful tenet of human nature: We all have our own unique way of interpreting the events taking place around us. Understanding this dynamic is critical to ensuring the team is on the same page following important discussions. Specifically, after making an important point or communicating a key action item, try asking attendees to play back what they heard. If you’re not on the same page, make sure to course correct in real-time.

Also, ask someone to take notes at the meeting. The goal is not to capture every word, but rather to summarize, codify, and distribute key conclusions to ensure everyone in attendance (and ultimately those that didn’t attend but who are reliant on the information discussed) has a shared understanding of what was discussed and what’s expected going forward.

Make the team’s priority your own

We’re all familiar with the adage, “If you want something done you need to do it yourself.” While easy to pejoratively interpret as a rallying cry for micro-managers, it can also be positively applied to prioritizing the work yourself and leading from the front. Said another way, “If you want something done, you need to make it your own priority first.” When the team hears a particular initiative is important to you, and sees you spending the resources and managerial cycles to make it successful, more often than not they’ll follow your example.

Beware the last page of the power point deck

Be wary when that key theme you thought you had clearly prioritized repeatedly shows up as the last page of the power point deck. More often than not, it’s there to check a box and appease the person who asked for it, and not because the author believes it’s important. Same thing applies when asking for a specific date on a critical action item only to hear there is no set date, but “It’s on the road map.” These are tell-tale signs that you and the team are not on the same page regarding prioritization.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of these responses, rather than mistakenly assume the work is getting done, take the time to ask questions about where the disconnect is arising, re-align efforts, and ensure everyone is on the same page. If all goes well, six months later, you and the team will be celebrating a needle-moving win rather than trying to figure out what went wrong.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. Follow Jeff Weiner's Influencer posts.

Sponsors Cut Ties to Clippers Following Owner’s Alleged Racist Remarks

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:52 AM PDT

The fallout from Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s alleged racist remarks started to hit the team’s bottom line on Monday, as at least two sponsors said they were jumping ship.

Used car retailer CarMax said it was ending its relationship with the Clippers after nine years. "CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers' owner completely unacceptable," the company said in a statement Monday. "These views directly conflict with CarMax's culture of respect for all individuals. While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for 9 years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship."

Insurance company State Farm is also severing ties with the Clippers, though the company said the decision isn't necessarily permanent. "The remarks attributed to the Clippers' owner are offensive," State Farm said in an emailed statement. "While those involved sort out the facts, we will be taking a pause in our relationship with the organization. We are monitoring the situation and we'll continually assess our options."

State Farm's decision will not affect the "Born to Assist" advertising campaign, which features Clippers point guard Chris Paul portraying a nerdier twin brother, Cliff Paul.

Sterling has been under fire since a recording published over the weekend by TMZ purportedly depicted him criticizing his girlfriend for associating with black people in public, including Magic Johnson. President Barack Obama, Miami Heat star LeBron James and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan have all spoken out publicly against the comments, and Clippers players staged their own mild protest against Sterling before their playoff game versus the Golden State Warriors on Sunday by wearing their warmup shirts inside out.

Sterling’s representatives have neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the audio. The NBA quickly said it would investigate, and the league is set to hold a news conference on Tuesday to make an announcement about its investigation.

“Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings,” the team said in a statement. “It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them.”

Bank of America Suspends Plans To Raise Dividend, Buy Shares

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:43 AM PDT

(NEW YORK) — Bank of America is suspending a long-awaited dividend increase and stock buyback program after the bank discovered an error in a financial report it gave to the Federal Reserve.

The bank said in statement Monday that the error was related to how it valued securities obtained in its acquisition of Merrill Lynch during the financial crisis in 2009.

As a result, the bank slightly overstated the amount of capital it held and other financial ratios it reported last month as part of its earnings release and its annual financial checkup with the Federal Reserve, the bank’s regulator.

Those ratios are a crucial measure of a bank’s health and help investors and regulators determine how much of a financial cushion it has to help it survive another financial crisis.

The error didn’t affect BofA’s earnings, according to the bank’s statement.

The news hit the bank’s stock in early trading Monday. BofA slumped 69 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $15.26.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, said it has already notified the Federal Reserve about the needed revisions. It was only last month that the Fed cleared BofA’s proposal to raise its dividend for the first time since the financial crisis when the bank passed its “stress test,” an annual check-up the Fed conducts on the country’s biggest financial institutions.

BofA planned to buy $4 billion of its own stock and raise its dividend from a penny per share to 5 cents per share

The decision to scuttle that plan came about at the Fed’s request, according to the bank’s statement.

Bank of America said it will submit a new application to the Federal Reserve to increase its dividend and buy back its own stock. The bank warned that its plans for returning capital to shareholders will likely be smaller than previously planned.

The Fed oversees banks’ plans for managing their capital to make sure they have enough money in reserve to keep loans flowing even in during an economic downturn. The Fed has conducted annual tests of the largest U.S. banks every year since 2009, the year after the financial crisis plunged the country into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Growing Number of Women Filling Sommelier Ranks

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:40 AM PDT

This Mother’s Day, sommeliers will be on hand to help you select just the right wine to go with that special meal out. And some of those somms will be moms.

Though it’s still very much a man’s world, more women are moving up the wine ranks, says Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder and CEO of the International Culinary Center which has branches in New York and California. For the 2012 and 2013 school years, 60 percent of the 251 graduates in the schools’ sommelier programs were women.

And at the California branch of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA, Greystone), the Accelerated Wine & Beverage Program, designed to train future sommeliers and wine industry leaders, has enrolled more women than men, looking at overall numbers for the four years the course has been offered.

It comes down to simple economics, says Cann Hamilton. Women already work in front-of-house positions such as waitress and hostess, and when they realize that sommeliers tend to make more money, it makes sense to get the training.

Crystl Faye Horton-Friedman, a certified sommelier working at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Manhattan, started out as a bartender working to support her acting ambitions. But it wasn’t long before she realized that sommelier was the role she wanted to play since she loved wine and enjoyed interacting with customers.

“I didn’t really know at first that it was so male-dominated,” she says. “You very quickly understood that it was.”

Back when she started, she’d sometimes get customers who wanted to know, “Where’s the wine guy?” It made her a little her nervous. But “I started saying to people, ‘Well, now you got the wine babe. How about that?’ I just kept going to school and learning more things and I knew that anything people could throw at me, I could back up with facts and knowledge.”

These days there are four “wine babes” at Del Frisco’s, including fellow sommelier Kristin Beckler.

“Getting someone to trust you is the biggest obstacle to overcome because they are expecting a man to talk to them about wine,” says Beckler. “Once you can win their trust, then they become these really loyal guests.”

Beckler has a 4-year-old son and Horton-Friedman has a 6-year-old and 13-month-old. Like other mothers, they juggle their responsibilities. Both enjoy being able to spend days with their young children since they generally work at night, though the flip side to that is things get tougher when the kids go to school. “Right now, it’s been the best thing,” says Beckler.

On the job, neither woman tries to overawe customers with their wine knowledge. “You take your ego right out of it,” says Horton-Friedman.

When dealing with a somm of either gender, Horton-Friedman has an important piece of advice: Tell them what you want. “Don’t be afraid of the sommelier,” she says. If you want a certain price range say so, and if you end up not liking the somm’s suggestion, don’t be too intimidated to say so.

“Wine is fun,” says Horton-Friedman. “It’s not supposed to be stressful or confusing.”

In California, Lisa Redwine, a certified advanced sommelier, is taking things to the next level, studying for the title of master sommelier, the highest and most rigorous level of certification.

Redwine, who is director of restaurants and beverage operations for The Marine Room, The Shores Restaurant and the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in San Diego, Calif., has been working as a sommelier for the last 15 years ago, a job she was drawn to while working at a restaurant where she noticed “the somms looked like they were having so much fun.”

As a mom to two boys, ages 5 and 10, she has tried to balance work and family, with family taking precedence some of the time and work other times.

She hasn’t found working restaurant hours a hindrance, though she has had to make some adjustments. Thanksgiving is celebrated, together as a family, but the Sunday before. And at Christmas, no need for the kids to wait impatiently until their parents awake. She has them up at 5 a.m. to make sure she won’t miss present-opening before going to work.

“I don’t think they know any different, so for them it’s fine,” she says.

And about her last name — it is perfect for her job, though she wasn’t born with it. Redwine is her husband’s last name. “It shows I have exceptional taste in dating,” she jokes.

Her advice for young women considering a career as a sommelier?

“Go! Run, don’t walk,” she says. “It’s an amazing career.”

Magic Johnson Reportedly Wants to Buy the Clippers

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:39 AM PDT

Magic Johnson is reportedly eager to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers, as the controversy deepens over an audio recording which purports to show current owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks to his girlfriend.

Yahoo Sports, citing anonymous sources, reported that Johnson and his investment backers the Guggenheim Partners are interested in purchasing the team. Johnson already co-owns the Los Angeles Dodgers with Mark Walter of the Guggenheim Partners. The group also purchased the WNBA team the Los Angeles Sparks in February when it was about to fold—possibly to win themselves favor with the NBA.

“This is 100 percent Magic’s plan,” an anonymous league official involved with the buying and selling of franchises told Yahoo Sports.

Johnson was directly referenced in the audio clip leaked by TMZ over the weekend. In the recording the man identified as Sterling admonishes his girlfriend for posting a photo of herself with the basketball legend to Instagram, saying she shouldn’t be promoting her associations with black people. On Sunday, Johnson said on TV that Sterling ought to lose his NBA team.

Johnson played 13 seasons with Los Angeles’ more storied basketball franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers. But a championship-winning coach in Doc Rivers and a run in the playoffs could sway Johnson to take on the Clippers.

[Yahoo Sports]

NC University on Lockdown After Report Of Gunman

Posted: 28 Apr 2014 09:36 AM PDT

(GREENSBORO, N.C.) — North Carolina A&T State University evacuated several buildings and advised other students to take shelter Monday after a report of a man with a rifle on campus.

Campus police received a report of a gunman in the General Classroom Building at 9:57 a.m., university spokeswoman Samantha Hargrove told The Associated Press. There had not been any verification of that initial call to police or reports of shots being fired, she said. There were no reports of injuries.

Messages issued by the campus alert system and the university’s Twitter feed advised students to “shelter in place.”

“If you are off campus do not come to campus,” the message said. The university also canceled classes until 2 p.m., according to its Twitter account.

Campus police were sweeping and evacuating four buildings clustered on the north side of the campus, Hargrove said.

The News & Record of Greensboro reported that students cleared from the area on lockdown packed the Student Union building as an alarm blared across the campus. Some students were seen leaving campus in their cars while others walked around despite the warnings.

N.C. A&T is a historically black university with a nearly 200-acre central campus east of downtown Greensboro. The school’s athletics teams are known as the Aggies.

Junior Elizabeth Robinson was one of the students to be evacuated from the general classroom building. “We were in class as usual,” Robinson told The News & Record. “Then we got a fire alarm. I thought it was a fire until we got the Aggie alert.”

The university campus also includes two public high schools, the Middle College at A&T and the STEM Early College at A&T, which were also placed on lockdown, according to the Guilford County Schools. Phone messages about the lockdowns were sent to parents.


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