Is Africa the Right Choice for Business Expansion

The global economy is trending towards recuperation after a long hiatus of slack years. According to the IMF forecast, however, the GDP growth rate is 3.5 percent, which is lower than 4.5 percent, the average growth rate before recession. Even self-sustained countries like the U.K, and U.S seem to be struggling for stability during the post-crisis period.

What are the factors affecting global economy:

Several external factors conflate, and adversely affect business, and hence, it is imperative for the entrepreneurs to assess the situation with somewhat alacrity. The aim should be to prognosticate the possible risks, and avoid the pitfalls. Some common factors, which have corralling consequences upon business are political, economic, social and technological, also cumulatively known as PEST analysis. Of course, there are other factors like demographic, legal, and environmental forces too, which have long lasting effects upon the economy.

Why to do business in Africa:

Africa has become the cynosure among investors over the last few years, especially in a situation where most of the countries have been grappling with their rivals to imprint their footholds in the global market. Gifted with bountiful natural resources, Africa has always been a land of opportunities and promises. It managed to survive against the onslaughts of the two World Wars, and the Great Depression in the previous century.

The current scenario in Africa offers a bag full of promises to the potential investors. With swathes of rich wildlife spanning across the continent, and spotless beaches dotted along the coast line, there is a vast scope to expand the tourism industry. This would, in turn, boost the hospitality industry.

Many African countries are in need of the necessary infrastructure like proper airports, roads, railways, banks, super-markets, telecom,schools and hospitals. The giant concerns have a lot of scope in bagging developmental projects by collaborating with the governments of those countries.

The tropical climate, and rich soil across the Nile basin are ideal for the growth of crops apart from rice and cotton. Hence, there is ample scope for setting up food processing, food packaging, and textile industries in this area.

Besides, Africa is rich in crude oil and natural gas reserves. While oil could be cheaply availed from here for fuel purpose, it could be used for manufacturing petroleum products. The natural gas reserves could be positively used for generating power, which is the basic requirement of all the African nations.

Moreover, the democratic governments across the expansive continent have positive outlook towards entrepreneurship, investment and economic development, thereby attracting foreign investments. In fact, Africa witnessed a growth rate of 6 percent since 2001, and managed to sustain a steady growth rate of 2 percent since 2012, in spite of the global down sliding trends.

This is due to comparatively steady exchange rates, small debt burdens and steady inflation. Countries like Mauritius, Tunisia, Ghana, and South Africa currently outperform the bigwigs like Brazil, China and Russia. With culmination of  such promising factors, Africa appears to offer a kind of respite to the rest of the resuscitating world! Sounds cool, right?

Challenges in Africa:

Everything has a dark side, and Africa is not an exception. Despite offering a potpourri of promises, this place, once dubbed by The Economist as a “hopeless land” poses as a formidable challenge to those looking for investment opportunities:

  • Infrastructure Crisis: Many entrepreneurs in Africa feel hamstrung in their endeavors due to lopsided electricity and transportation facilities. For instance, Nigeria, which has population of approximately 150 million reels under severe power shortage. Countries like Swaizland, and Zambia have paucity of airports, rail penetration, energy and water resources. Such defalcations eventually dissuade business owners from investing money in these laid back regions. Moreover, Africa needs a behemoth investment of US$93bn in the power sector alone. Unless, a giant concern takes a lead in this matter, the rest of ventures seem to be a far cry in this “dark continent”!
  • Weak Demographic Front: The existing educational institutions, and hospitals are not able to accommodate the ever-increasing population due to unplanned urbanization. Consequently, a large number of shanty towns have mushroomed in the last few decades, where living conditions are absolutely pathetic. With downgraded municipalities unable to implement proper town planning, crime is on the rise. The future of business development in such places, undoubtedly remains bleak.
  • Socio-Political Waltz: The late “Arab Spring” testifies a great deal of autocratization, corruption, discontentment, inequalities, and apathy prevailing along the northern stretches of African continent. While there have been exemplar dictators in the other African counties as well, the repressive regimes in Libya, and Egypt have shown the world some of the worst examples of human rights violations. People in the neighboring countries like Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco have also rebelled against their ruthless Arab rulers. The recent years have witnessed executions, and gore in galore. Such unsavory climate is not at all feasible for investors to plan out something lucrative in Africa. 
  • Lawlessness: While the socio-political climate remains in doldrums, poverty has instilled apprehension among the locals. People cannot trust their governments anymore as far as integrity, and security are concerned. Consequently, terrorist groups like Boko Haram find a safe haven in Nigeria, and play havoc with people’s lives. The Al-Qaida finds enough protégé in countries ravaged by Civil Wars to wage Jihad against the infidels. On the other hand, The ISIS, the most outrageous terror outfit on earth is determined enough to establish its stranglehold on the war ravaged zones, and spread its tentacles further across the continent by means of indiscriminate brutalities and mass executions. Moreover, the rising instances of piracy off the Somalian coast have been causing grave threats to the shipping companies, and the international organizations overall. 
  • Health Hazards: Frequent outbreaks of droughts, AIDS, and malarial epidemics in the African countries have exposed their weak healthcare systems. Besides, Ebola, the most dreaded epidemic has spread across these regions like wild fire, and has taken a heavy toll of lives. The fatal virus, which was first discovered in Sudan, and Zaire soon spread to the neighboring countries as well. The governments in these nations have failed to be proactive in containing the outbreak so far. The little known disease resulted in a number of casualties, and deaths in the year 2015. Consequently, quite a number of foreign nationals working in these countries are keen to resign from their existing jobs, and return to their own countries. This has compelled some potential organizations in thinking twice before making investments in the African nations, where health safety has become a prime concern. 

Will Africa sustain itself in the business world:

Despite being torpedoed by certain hostile factors, Africa shows buoyancy in growth and development. With the erstwhile dictators put to rest, there seems to be very little possibility of future reprisals. Peace would steer the strife-torn countries towards stability. Besides, economic growth, and investments would eventually mitigate poverty, and crimes in the long run. Giant organizations could collaborate with the governments in these countries, in order to make huge investments in mammoth developmental projects.

Go Green- Use Organic Beauty Products

Go green, and save the environmentGoing green has become the heady motto of one and all! People have become aware of keeping their environment free from toxic pollutants. Lately, the market has shown proclivity towards everything organic- Be it food items or beauty products. People have started trashing all kinds of synthetic food items, and have started showing preference for organic food. Sounds great, right?

Just like you need organic food to stay healthy, your skin too requires organic beauty products to remain naturally fresh and glowing. The latest market survey has revealed that many leading brands are laden with high levels of toxic ingredients. For instance, lotions contain high percentage of petroleum wax. Besides, paraben, the cancer causing harmful chemical is present in all the creams, and moisturizers. So, just be cautious next time while purchasing your cosmetics! What might temporarily add to your glamor might actually turn out to be something life-threatening in the long run!

What are organic beauty products:

Organic brands are manufactured, and processed under strict codes of cleanliness and hygiene. Any use of genetically modified organisms, fertilizers, or pesticides is completely banned. Usually, there are logos confirming the purity of these products. The USDA certifies these items as organic only after careful inspection.

Benefits of using organic beauty products;

  • Good for Skin: Since organic beauty products are manufactured under strict codes, and regulations formulated by USDA, they are free from scary chemicals, which might, otherwise cause irritation, itching, or burning sensation to your skin. In fact, organic creams, moisturizers, and lotions have high water content. Hence, your skin remains naturally hydrated, and looks radiant under all conditions.
  • Earth-friendly: Synthetic cosmetics are infested with chemicals, which are detrimental for the environment. When people wash their faces, or take bath, the chemically saturated products get washed off, consequently contaminating water and soil. Organic products, however, are manufactured in chemical-free environment under strict surveillance. Moreover, they are packed in recyclable containers.
  • Good For Health: Your skin undergoes abrasions, and scratches on daily basis. While it is necessary to apply lotions, creams, and moisturizers to sustain supple skin, synthetically produced cosmetics cause severe health hazards in the long run. Harmful chemicals pass through the skin pores, mix with the blood stream, and damage the organs. Organic beauty care products, however, are free from carcinogenic ingredients, and hence, are compatible for skin care.

Absence of synthetic fragrances: Many popular brands use synthetic fragrances, since manufacturers exploit these additives for their marketing strategies. The companies strive to boost their products in the market, and hence, do not find themselves liable to the imponderable damages caused by them. Organic products, however, completely rule out the use of artificial fragrances. So, feel very safe while your skin exuberates natural polish and radiance.

Why Dave, the Salesman Hates the CRM

It is quite common in organizations. A new director joins the sales team, looks for marketing and sales details of performance and cannot find those. The only data that he has is the sales per team member, the targets set and the performance achieved by the sales team. Sales team members work in isolation and fear to share data even with their own team leaders. The organization seems to be “performing”, and in an “auto-driven mode”. Good enough…isn’t it?

Not so for the director, who thinks how he can comprehend the overall performance without “reliable and sufficient data”.  How can he control the process? What is the solution to this?

The Nirvana does not seem to be far off. The director’s ray of hope hinges around a tool based on Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  Customer Relationship Management has a wide connotation and means a set of technologies, practices, and strategies for companies to analyze or manage interactions and data during the entire life cycle of customer. By this process of customer relationship, customer retention is improved ultimately helping sales growth. A CRM package can provide automation in various flavors such as Sales Force Automation, Marketing Automation and Services Automation.  A collaborative CRM ideally can establish integration with external suppliers, distributors and vendors. Besides, it may be highly Analytical, offering data mining, pattern recognition and correlation features.

The director is convinced, and soon a CRM is implemented across the organization. Dave, the Salesman is not convinced with this approach. The sales team is used to manual systems and adopting a CRM results in a set of challenges:

  • The Sales team members usually like interactions with people, rather than with a CRM. Their time is well spent talking to potential customers, rather than entering data.
  • Usage of CRM apparently does not benefit  the Sales team members in achieving their targets. The CRM disrupts their existing modes of working, which, they believe have helped them to be “successful” in achieving targets.
  • Lack of systems / IT knowledge among the sales team members  cause hindrance to adoption.
  • The decision for CRM implementation was taken by Senior Management without involving the rest of business or the users of the system. Stakeholders like Dave are bound to be unhappy as their needs are not completely addressed.
  • Over complicated systems require adequate user training and hand holding, followed by self-practice.

The challenges seem to override the obvious benefits that a CRM brings forth, such as creating more visibility in operations and monitoring, storing, archiving and extracting data securely based on access rights of the users.

How do we ensure that organizations adopt CRM effectively and that the implementation does not result in a misadventure? Here are a few tips from the experts:

  • Convey objectives of using CRM clearly to Sales Team. Business benefits for the organization as a whole, and ease of operations for sales team need to be conveyed clearly.
  • Involve the sales team in designing of the system. This would ensure buy-in of the sales team members for using CRM.
  • Demonstrate Return on Investment (ROI) of such a venture, not only for the organization, but also for the sales team. Communicate the wins due to CRM implementation to the team.
  • Finally, a major reason for the frustration of sales folks is the complexity of CRM. Often, the CRM uses data intensive entry screens, making entry of data mandatory. Lot of this data is not required to be entered. Complexity of data needs to be minimized, making it easy to use.

Therefore, any implementation of CRM would require sufficient planning to ensure that the stakeholders are involved, and their requirements are met. Finally, Dave should like the CRM instead of hating it.

How Small Business Can Manage Workers’ Compensation Costs

Running a small business entails a cocktail of challenges in terms of a concatenation of expenses. While some of them are fixed costs, the rest follow in various forms of unprecedented variables.  Keeping these impending expenses in mind, one needs to formulate proper backup plans so as to pre-empt losses.

In case, you are mulling about the possibility of curtailing workers’ compensation insurance, do not forget the premiums, which you need to pay from time to time. In fact, one of the most cumbersome expenses, which hits the small business enterprises includes compensation insurance, covering accidents, and injuries of workers on the job site.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), about 33 percent of small business entrepreneurs have complained about the hefty compensation charges comprising workers’ medical bills, wages for the number of working days lost due to accidents, and compensation costs owing to permanent injuries. These costs vary from state to state. The average premiums, coupled with health insurance, and labor costs keep spiralling year after year, and hence, cannot be ignored. Besides, frequent untoward happenings at the work site lower productivity, and adversely impact employee morale. Also, the replacement costs of damaged equipment should be taken into account. So, what steps should a company take to protect itself?

The wise have stated- Prevention is better than cure. Hence, every small business owner should plan, and implement a strategic safety programme:

  • Talk to your team about workers’ compensation: Talk to your employees, and make them aware of the fact that they are working for a small enterprise where workers’ compensations cannot be granted as freebies. Also, spread awareness about the impunity with which the company would deal with an employee, should he, or she indulge in any fraudulent claims. Make it clear among the workers that the company is liable to pay only the legitimate claims.
  • Take interest in handling the workers’ claims: Many companies tend to overlook workers’ claims thinking that these should be taken care of, by insurance companies. A claim could, however, take alarming proportions if it isn’t handled with care. So, when an injured worker submits a claim, talk to him. Make him sit in your office, and ask him what kind of support he expects from you. The employee seeking claims would feel that he or she is being supported, and would be less aggressive about the massive damages suffered by him or her.
  • Solve the problem in the beginning: Your employee’s well being should be your foremost concern. If a worker has been falling sick off and on, or if he or she feels tired while working quite frequently, then tell him or her to take an off. In such cases, you need to prove yourself as a benevolent employer who doesn’t reprimand his workers for no reason.
  • Prioritize safety: Make sure that safety of your workers should be your priority. Talk to the management team, and frame safety rules right in the beginning. The employees should be trained about the necessary safety norms. Hold regular meetings regarding safety rules, and make your employees aware of the fact that they are accountable for their own safety. Inspections should be conducted at the work place on regular basis so as to rule out all kinds of possible hazards for the workers.
  • Have readymade plans to deal with injuries occurring at the work place: There should be first aid treatment facilities, and healing measures available right at the work site, in order to treat the accident victims. Prompt actions could prevent the minor injuries turning into major ailments. In such cases, your employee would think over before he, or she decides to sue your company. Your immediate response to such untoward situations would eventually make you less liable to workers’ claims.



Plan Eco-Friendly Birthday Party for Kids

Is your kid’s birthday round the corner? If that’s the case, then it’s high time you started planning for a grand birthday bash! Kids love parties, and never want to miss an opportunity to have fun. It’s very natural for them to expect the best when their own special days come. So, being a parent really propels you to make vertiginous trips to the supermarket, right?

Well, you needn’t panic after all! It is possible for you to host a colourful, exciting, and memorable party with a modicum of prior planning. In fact, an eco-friendly party is the best way to make your kid’s day, thereby culling all kinds of hazardous wastes, which are absolutely uncalled for! Moreover, this could be a great opportunity for you to teach your kid about the essentials, and significance of a greenhouse-friendly party. Kids are never very exacting by nature, and you could mould them with a little ingenuity so as to enjoy a real good birthday bash without superfluous confettis and festoons.

Go green, and teach your kid to enjoy his or her birthday party by adopting these eco-friendly steps:

  • Send e-vites or electronic invitations: Avoid sending the paper version of invitations to your guests. You could engage your children in designing invites on leaf plates, and they would simply love this kind of craft work. In fact, they could distribute such invitation to their friends at school. Besides, you could send invitations to your guests via emails, which reach the invitees faster than the paper-made snail mails.
  • Choose the right venue: You could organize a grand party for kids at the nearest park. This would save you the expense of booking an expensive hotel, or restaurant for the purpose. Besides, a party at home entails a lot of cleaning-up work later. Moreover, it’s convenient for the kids to walk down to a neighborhood park, and they would really have fun-time running around.
  • Use washable cutlery: Make it a point to lay out the yummy spread in washable dishes and cutlery. Avoid using paper plastic cups to serve water, or juices to the children. Serve the snack to the little ones on recyclable paper plates.
  • Choose environmental-friendly decorations: The traditional party balloons attract a great deal of derisive remarks from the environmentalists. Though latex balloons are biodegradable, they pose as threats to animals, and those little kids who might choke themselves by accidentally swallowing them. The best way out is to stage a garden party where flowers, and creepers would serve as natural festoons.
  • Serve homemade cake and desserts: It involves somewhat time, but is worth the effort. Bake your own organic cake instead of placing an order at a confectionary. Engage your kids in the kitchen to help you out. The children would imbibe a sense of pride in baking their own birthday cake. Homemade puddings, brownies and ice creams would certainly add laurels to your birthday bash! Just avoid getting any flavored junk from outside!
  • Say bye to flavoured chocolates and aerated drinks: Serve your kids’ little guests with fresh fruit juices, instead of canned ones or soft drinks. A round of freshly squeezed lemonade would do wonders, and the children would simply love it! Also, serve homemade cookies to your little guests instead of passing around flavored chocolates, mints and toffees. Even the synthetic scented wrappers are non-biodegradable, and could choke the kids who accidentally swallow them.
  • Stuff the party bags with eco-friendly contents: When the kids head homewards, they go happily trouncing all the way carrying their little party bags. Now, what have you stuffed them with? If they carry lollies, and short-lived plastic toys, then the entire theme of environmental party would go down the drain! Tweak their teeny-weeny bags a bit, and fill them with pencils and wooden toys instead!


How Raspberry Ketones Help In Weight Loss

Have you been suffering from over-weight issues? In that case, you are alone! In fact, more than a third of the American population are over-weight. The worst part of the entire thing is that some people are on the verge of obesity.

There was a time when I was suffering from over-weight problems. I had almost resigned to my fate of living with extra pounds. Every year, I had to look for clothes, bigger than what I had picked up during the previous year. With advancing age, however, other kinds of health problems started cropping up. My poor knees ached whenever I climbed up a flight of stairs. My blood pressure, and blood sugar level became higher than the normal level.

I joined a gym, in order to shed a few pounds. Also, I consulted a dietician who put me on crash diet. Initially, the results showed somewhat weight loss. I could not, however, sustain gymming due to work pressure. Soon, I discontinued those workouts, and lost interest in day-to-day diet. As a result, I put on again, and this time at a faster rate than before.

I was at complete loss, and did not know what to do. A friend observed by anxiety and depression. She suggested that I should start taking supplements, which accelerate weight loss by burning calories. Also, I was told that these pills, or shakes reduce our hunger pangs.

I soon discovered that that raspberry ketones are the trail blazers in the world of supplements. Dr. Oz has claimed on an American TV show that raspberry supplements show miraculous results in weight loss.

You must be wondering what raspberry ketones really are! They are natural ingredients, which add to the natural aroma of raspberries. Apart from solving hair loss issues, they are widely used in making cosmetics. When raspberry ketones are added to body creams as ingredients, they improve skin elasticity among healthy women. Besides, they added to soft drinks, and ice creams as natural flavors.

Lately, scientists have also started using it for making weight loss supplements. They don’t have side effects. Also, they trigger the fat burning process. This happens due to the presence of a powerful hormone called adiponectin. It is secreted in high quantities by raspberry ketones, thereby burning considerable amount of body fat. Also, adiponectin reduces blood sugar levels.

Researchers state that adiponectin levels are high among thin people, and low among those who are obese. Hence, over weight individuals suffer from ailments like breathlessness, diabetes and high blood pressure. Slim and trim people do not have health issues and hence, lead healthy lives.

Besides, raspberry supplements activate the secretion of norepinephrine in human bodies, which has a lot of positive attributes. Norepinephrine is, generally expected to be present in human bodies. If someone has a deficiency of this hormone, he or she ought to see a doctor for artificial administration through injections.

People consuming raspberry supplements, however, need not worry at all. Norepinephrine, as you must be aware of, increases blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Also, it acts as an excellent panacea for those who suffer from anxiety and depression.

Overall, raspberry ketones boost metabolic rate in human bodies, thereby promising everyone with prospects of healthy lives.




Marijuana Smoking for Moms- Is is a Complete Bliss

Does your pregnancy make you feel nauseated? If you occasionally feel like throwing up in such situations, then there’s nothing really surprising about it! The very sight of chicken salad might make stomach turn, and eventually, you might be badly tempted to smoke the pot so as to ease your morning sickness. Does it really help after all?

Researchers in the American College of Obsetricians and Gynocologists (ACOG) state that more than 5 percent of women indulge in smoking marijuana during their pregnancies. More so, the number of would-be mom smokers is expected to witness an exponential rise in the coming years. Why is it so?

Well, most of the women believe that smoking cannabis ameliorates anxiety, and morning sickness during pregnancy. In fact, some of the expecting mothers have also claimed that weeds smoking boosts their appetite, and serves as a stress reliever. Also, many women have testified that marijuana satiates their cravings for brownies and cookies. Sounds cool, right?

Well, things aren’t the way they appear to be! Like any other drug, Cannabis Sativa, commonly known as marijuana has its side-effects, and after-effects despite providing temporary relief to the expectant women. Some women are prone to smoking pots, and cigarettes, which makes it difficult to ascertain the actual side effects of the former. Scientists have also stated that alcohol is more harmful for pregnant ladies than cannabis. This, however, does not mean that smoking marijuana is safe by all means. So ladies! Just think twice before smoking a pot! You would be inevitably harming your unborn baby!

How marijuana affects the health of mothers and their babies:

  • High level of toxins: Though many women claim that cannabis smoking acts as an anti-depressant, and stress reliever for them, it has its ill effects. The smoke has carcinogens, and toxins, which harm the lungs of the fetus. Of course, the mothers’s breathing system is also bound to get affected. In fact, doctors even advise the expecting mothers to stay away from bonfires, since any kind of smoke inevitably damages the lungs of the unborn.
  • Risks during birth: Many states have stigmatized marijuana smoking among pregnant women, since it heightens the risks of still births and premature births. This is because the smoke adversely affects the functioning of blood vessels in the fetus.
  • Other harmful effects in the long run: Studies have proved that cannabis smoking impedes brain development and memory skills. Also, babies are underweight during birth in such cases. These kids are prone to become drug addicts in their adulthood, and are also very likely to develop neuropsychiatric problems. They also tend to have short attention spans and behavioural issues, thereby show very poor progress reports at schools.
  • Harmful effects on breastfeeding: Doctors strictly advise the breastfeeding mothers to abstain from smoking pots, since the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a very harmful ingredient passes into the blood stream of the new born. Moreover, babies become passive smokers, especially when their mothers smoke in their presence. Carbon Monoxide released in this process proves to be detrimental to the health of both.

Is it safe to chew cannabis:

Many women think that chewing the weeds reduce the risks entailed in smoking pots. This is, however, a gross misconception. In reality, it turns out to be more deleterious than smoking. This is because chewing releases more amount of THC into the blood stream than smoking.

Are You Really Safe While Dating Online

Dating is a salubrious experience, and I believe, everyone has the right to go through it! In this context, I would rather say that people have the right to fall in love, not just once, but a multiple number of times. Sounds heavenly, right?

In fact, many people tend to look for suitable life partners, and hence, go scooting around the city pubs, night clubs, bars, and restaurants to meet new people. There are others, however, who wish to meet their “dream lovers” on the net considering it to be a safe bet. A lot of people are lucky enough to meet their ideal partners through the various social media platforms, and dating sites, consequently ending up in happy marriages. The others, however, aren’t so fortunate! Where do things go wrong?

Here is a caveat for you guys! While many men, and women are apprehensive about meeting new people offline, considering the possible perils entailed under such circumstances, online dating could result in throes of anxiety and distress. What could be the reason behind this?

The wise have stated- “All that glitters is not gold.” This holds true in many instances of online dating. You might have genuine feelings for someone, whereas it could be a different story altogether on the other side. Who knows! The person chatting with you from the other side could be a complete imposter after all!

In fact, dating sites, and social media have become game for numerous fraudsters, scammers, spammers, Ipredators, sociopaths, psychopaths and other cyber criminals who keep trolling the networking sites in search of their potential victims.

Researchers state that a large number of men, and women fall prey to these tricksters who indulge in catfishing with various malafide intents. Though a considerable number of men get conned by these tricksters, most of the victims are women. While offline dating could lead to certain pitfalls, online dating is a complete minefield!

So, you need to play your cards really well while choosing to date someone online! To avoid cyber-bullying, you need to be aware of the modus operandi used almost by all the con artists:

Why and how these con men operate:

  • Scammers and Spammers: These people mostly target the loners, especially divorcees, widowers, widows, single parents and disabled. Their motive is to target vulnerable people, befriend them, and slowly victimize them. These con artists create fake profiles by pirating through the net, and lifting photos of other people from different websites. So, if you get a friendship request from someone looking like a hunk, or an overly sexy looking female, then better watch out! You are very likely to fall into the dragnet of a romance scammer! 

If a person half your age professes love for you, then consider it as a red flag! Such scammers pretend to be West European, or American men who keep traveling on business. In fact, they try to lure their targets by professing love towards them. Also, they indulge in wanton chats, and request their victims to perform some sexual acts on the web cam. For some reason or the other, their own webcams always remain dysfunctional. They ask the victims to share their photos online, and in return, send pictures, which are not their own. Most of these scammers operate from countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, The Ivory Coast, Russia and other countries. They use fake profiles for cat fishing purpose, and finally extort money from their victims by feigning some kind of emergency situation. If you try to rescue them from their financial crisis, they ask you for more. They seem to have unending number of bills, or debts piling up!  In case, you get frustrated, and stop paying them further, they resort to abusive language and blackmail at times.  In such trying cases, they might threaten you about sharing your personal videos with your friends and relatives.

Sometimes, your fancy suitor might forward you a few links, or phishing emails. Beware! Your phone, or computer would get infected by malware, or your device would be hacked! You are being targeted by a spammer!

  • Predators and Psychopaths: Online predators and psychopaths are always on the prowl in search of victims, especially single women, widows and single mothers. They try to befriend their targets, and pretend to fall in love within a few hours of knowing their victims. O ladies! Just be careful! You could be dealing with a con artist, or sex predator intending to harm you in the end. In fact, a person indulging in sweet talks could be a paedophile who solely wishes to gain access to your kids. Be careful, and don’t give out your personal phone number and home address. Once these people get your address, it becomes very easy for them to trace your location. In the US, a person’s address could be traced through the whitepapers. The person just needs to know your name! So, just think twice before giving out your name to a stranger. Many cases of thefts, vandalism, molestation, kidnappings, rapes and murders are reported every year. Kids go missing, and are sexually abused. Most of these cases seem to stem from online dating where people fall preys to Ipredators. Often, single moms unknowingly end up marrying paedophiles who are after their kids. Well, this also reminds me of Vladamir Nabokov’s Lolita, a classic novel, which cites Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged professor taking fancy towards a Dolores Haze, a 12-year old. He courted the child’s mother, and married her, only to come sexually close to her. So, beware ladies! Paedophiles have been existing since ages. They exist even now! They exist everywhere! 
  • Gamers: I might sound a bit racist in this aspect, but several women are victimized by gamers every year. Most of the men from the west have fetish for the women of Asian origin, and hence befriend them on reputed social media platforms by making false promises of love. They pose as bachelors, or divorcees who have plans for traveling to Asian countries on business. In reality, they are married men who leave behind their families, and travel abroad on short term, or long term projects. They need “good companions” during their stay. Many cases are reported, in which these men get connected to the petite looking Asian women, before visiting their place, seduce them by making false promises of marriage, and later vanish. 

How to identify the con artists:

  • They mostly pose as West European, or American men who keep traveling overseas.
  • Their profiles have pictures of men, or women of European descent who hail from deemed varsities in Europe and America.
  • Most of these people are widowers or divorcees in search of life partners.
  • Their profiles are written in English language copious with grammatical errors, though some of them are crafted with ingenuity.
  • They profess undying love towards you in flattering words as soon as they meet you.
  • They insist that you move to a different instant messenger outside the social media, or dating site where they have met you. This is because social media sites like Facebook are constantly vigilant about suspicious users, and could pull down their profiles any time.
  • Their chats are obvious due to misspelt words and grammatical errors.
  • Their words are sugar-coated, and they seem to agree with whatever you say.
  • They coax you to come on the web cam, but their own web cams fail to operate due to some unknown reasons.
  • They call you on the phone by using prepaid cards. You cannot trace their numbers via Google search.
  • They are frequent travellers who fall victims to unprecedented emergencies such debts, accidents, hospitalization, illness and so on.
  • They request you to relieve them from such distressing situations by paying up their bills. They keep milking your funds till you start suspecting their ulterior motives.
  • If you question them, they become abusive.

While it’s imperative to keep oneself safe from such traps, women should also take certain precautions before meeting their online suitors. Do not forget that he is a stranger after all, and could be a threat to your personal safety. Keep these points in mind before meeting a stranger:

        • Never agree to meet in a private place such as your home or hotel. Always choose to meet in a crowded café, bar or restaurant.
        • Avoid revealing your bank account details, passport number, SSN to someone online. This could lead to identity theft, and your name could get embroiled in unexpected scams.
        • Don’t give out your home address to your man. Decline his offer to pick you up from your residence. Travel on your own to meet him.
        • Try and avoid drinks offered by him. You never know they might be laced with sedatives.
        • Keep your friends, or family members posted about the place where you plan to meet this person.
        • If your man decides to change the venue of your date at the last moment, just decline to meet him.
        • Avoid talking about your kids to a stranger. Know him well before introducing them to your little ones.

Imposters exist everywhere, and you might never know that your online mate might be chatting with you from the next door house. It is very difficult to track them since most of them form  huge nexus, and operate overseas. People need to act gingerly while interacting with strangers whom they have never met before. my aim, however, is not to dissuade people from online dating. There have been several cases of online romance, which resulted in successful marriages. Keep yourself safe, and you would surely find your “dream partner”!



How African Mangoes Make Weight Loss Happen

There have been numerous questions pertaining to the role of African mangoes in weight loss cases. Widely known as bush mangoes, or wild mangoes, these fruits are known to accelerate the process of shedding weight. Researchers refer to it by its scientific name, Irvingia gabonesis, and widely use it for making weight loss supplements. The resultant extract obtained from these fruits is widely known as IGOB131.

Scientists used this extract to ascertain whether it really accelerates the weight loss process. In fact, there are certain other extracts obtained from African mangoes, which are not effective in shedding weight. IGOB131, however, has shown positive results in this matter.

Researchers conducted an experiment for a period of 4 weeks in which 40 obese individuals were administered, either 3.15 grams of African mango extract, or an equal quantity of oat meal bran. Both the supplements were administered to these people half an hour before their meals. They were put on low calorie diets. These people consumed about 1800 calories daily.

After a month, it was observed that people who had consumed African mango extracts had lost nearly 5.6 percent of weight. On the contrary, people who had been eating oat meal bran had lost merely 1 percent of body weight. Also, their systolic blood pressure dropped by 4 points.

Scientists conducted another study involving nearly 102 healthy, and over-weight men and women. People were put into two groups. Some were slotted into a placebo group while the rest were placed in another group where they were administered African mango extracts.  After 10 weeks, it was observed that people who had consumed IGOB131 had also lost considerable fat from their waist regions. These people had lost almost 28 pounds whereas, the ones who had been placed in the placebo group lost just a pound.

Besides, those who had consumed IGOB131 showed significant fall of LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, C reactive protein and blood sugar levels.

According to scientists, IGOB131 triggers the secretion of adinopectin, which reduces the risks of heart diseases, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

In the South-East Asian countries, mangoes are believed to accelerate weight gain due to their carbohydrate content. In fact, many people in these countries avoid eating these succulent fruits from the sheer fear of gaining excess weight.

African mangoes, however, serve as staple food in countries like Nigeria and Cameroon. The African tribals are known to have slender and trim bodies. Also, occurrences of heart diseases among these people are quite unheard of!

IGOB131 also reduces the level of leptin, a hormone secreted by the fat cells, which determines the appetite of people. High leptin level reduces hunger pangs, and cravings for junk food. .

It has, however, been observed that obese people tend over-eat, and high level of leptin in their blood does not decrease their appetite. Such people become resistant to leptin levels.

So, how does fall in leptin level result in weight loss since it triggers the appetite of a person? Well, decrease in leptin results in less production of fat cells, and hence, weight loss occurs.




Big Data to Bigger Data, Microprocessor to DNA – A Competition with God

Integrated Circuits (ICs) came into existence during the eighties, when there was a need to pack a large number of transistors, diodes, etc.  into a small chip. The 8085s, and 8086s of the world quickly evolved into different ICs, which became ubiquitous by their presence among a wide gamut of computers and customers. Miniaturization, and addition of more power in a chip has been on the rise since then, as the data needs have been constantly increasing.

The world of Big Data has set goals for the next level of chip evolution.  IC manufacturers have been quite aggressive, and competitive in miniaturization, and processing power.  This journey for chip makers, however, is likely to reach a dead end soon with silicon technologies reaching their limits. This is a potential risk for evolving technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, which would require humongous data, or a BIGGER DATA set than Big Data. So…what is the mitigation for this risk??

Scientists have found a solution for such limitation in God’s own creation – the DNA – the natural supercomputers that exist in millions in human bodies. Deoxyribonucleic Acid (i.e.  DNA), which comprises various genes, performs functions, and calculations much faster than the fastest supercomputers on this earth, as of today.

Microsoft, along with a team of researchers from academics recently used Biotechnology to store information of about 200 Megabytes along with a compressed video in a fraction of a liquid drop.  The binary code of 1s and 0s, used in silicon technology was deftly converted, and mapped to the four bases in DNA – Adenine, Cytosine, Thymine, and Guanine by this team.

DNA storage involves some of the latest technologies in security and data compression. This purports to develop a completely new humanoid like another human being, and therefore, can be used extensively while making chips. The units of coding DNA are very small – less than half a nanometer, whereas the modern day transistors are about 10 nanometer in size. Moreover, DNA can be packed in a three dimensional configuration unlike transistor chips, which are packed in a 2 dimensional mode. This results in high processing power for DNA of more than 1000 times over the Silicon chips.

Therefore, DNA would be of great use in storage technologies. We shall be using God’s own creation to derive unprecedented benefits in data based technologies the near future, and potentially create humanoids more powerful than human beings.

– The Value Enablers

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