Taliban have launched a new wave of offensive in several Afghan cities and are resorting to bombings and heavy weapons after the United States missed May 1 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
Several cities around Afghanistan are witnessing the wrath of the Taliban’s attacks. The Afghan forces have suffered heavy casualties in the past few days as they fought back the terror group offensive. At least 11 Afghan security forces members were killed in terrorists’ attacks in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday night, authorities confirmed on Thursday.
Afghan security forces had launched airstrikes and deployed elite commando forces to the area. The insurgents had been pushed back but fighting was continuing on Tuesday and hundreds of families had been displaced, he added. “There was a thunderstorm of heavy weapons and blasts in the city and the sound of small arms was like someone was making popcorn,” The News International quoted Mulah Jan, a resident of a suburb of Helmand provincial capital Lashkar Gah, as saying.
“I took all my family members to the corner of the room, hearing the heavy blasts and bursts of gunfire as if it was happening behind our walls,” he said. Families that could afford to leave had fled, but he had been unable to go, waiting with his family in fear before the Taliban were pushed back.
Attaullah Afghan, the head of Helmand’s provincial council, said the Taliban had launched their huge offensive on Monday from multiple directions, attacking checkpoints around the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, taking over some of them.
US forces missed the May 1 deadline to withdraw troops. The May 1 deadline for US troops to pull out was agreed to last year under former President Donald Trump.
US President Joe Biden announced last month the decision to withdraw troops from the country starting on that May 1 deadline, with the aim of completely withdrawing from Afghanistan by September 11, which would mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that sparked the war in Afghanistan, the longest conflict in American history.
The Taliban rejected President Joe Biden’s announcement that troops would stay on past the deadline but withdraw over the next four and a half months.
Last week on Thursday, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the US has begun pulling out its forces from Afghanistan.
On Monday, at least seven Afghan military personnel were killed when the Taliban set off explosives smuggled through a tunnel the group had dug into an army outpost in southwestern Farah province.
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DETOX THE MIND: SANT RAJINDER SINGH JI MAHARAJ RELEASES A POWERFUL, GROUNDBREAKING BOOK
In a worldwide launch of his book that provides great solutions and techniques for reducing stress and anxiety, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj, a former scientist, a world-renowned spiritual leader, and a best-selling author, said that stress, anxiety, and depression could interfere with our happiness and ability to fully function in today’s increasingly hectic world. This book lays out a blueprint of how to identify and overcome the causes of stress.
“Detox the Mind” Book edition by Rajinder singh
He further added in his address, “A life free from stress, fear, anxiety, and depression awaits you. You can wake up looking forward to a day filled with peace and joy. Imagine how wonderful life could be if you could replace stress with relaxation and happiness. You can take simple steps to make this dream a reality. Detox the Mind is a journey into relief from anxiety and stress.
There is a tranquil lake of profound relaxation within us. Unfortunately, many cannot experience it, as it is covered with toxins and pollution, making it inaccessible. The journey begins with removing obstacles to finding our inner spa. Those who want to improve need to go through a process called mental detoxification or ridding themselves of impurities. People worldwide are turning to meditation as a way to detox the mind to achieve peace and happiness. This practical how-to book guides us through simple methods of meditation to replace our stress with blissful relaxation.
By following a step-by-step plan, we can dive into an inner sea of relaxation anytime we want and lead a joyous, peaceful life.”
In this inspirational book, Detox the Mind, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj provides a step-by-step journey along with engaging exercises, so that one can take this at one’s own pace and discover a joyful, wondrous, and peaceful daily life.
In these times, we need all the help we can get to gain a renewed sense of tranquility to face life’s challenges with optimism, enthusiasm, and a fresh perspective – resulting not only in inner peace but also in improved relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. It is even recommended by experts in the medical community for our physical and mental well-being.
The book is available in paperback, eBook (Kindle), and audiobook format on the Amazon website. You can visit the website www.DetoxTheMind.org to discover more details about the book and how it can transform your life.
Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj is internationally recognised for his work towards promoting inner and outer peace through meditation on the inner Light and Sound. A global meditation teacher, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj has been recognised worldwide for spreading the message of peace, love, and human unity for the last 30 years.
He is an internationally celebrated author and his English books such as: ‘The Abode of the Beloved’, ‘Medication as Medication for the soul’, ‘Spark of the Divine, ‘Empowering your Soul through Meditation’ and ‘Inner and Outer Peace through Meditation’ have been rated as best-sellers worldwide in the field of spirituality. His books have been translated into more than 55 languages around the world.
A former scientist, he bases his teachings on science and its findings. His views on how science and spirituality are two sides of the same coin are well received worldwide.
Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj’s life and work can be summed up as a continuous journey of love and selfless service to help people discover their life’s purpose. He has helped people from all walks of life connect to their true selves by teaching them the science of meditation. His is a message of hope, love, human unity, and selfless service. Among his several awards, including the peace awards by various countries and tributes are five honorary doctorates in recognition of his tireless efforts.
Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission has over 3,200 centers across the globe. The Indian headquarters of the organisation is in Vijay Nagar, Delhi, and the International headquarters is in Naperville, Chicago, USA.
Bust the myths surrounding use of AI in recruitment
AI recruiting is the application of artificial intelligence technology for various recruitment functions. It can be as simple as using AI to chat with candidates, or to continuously monitor, analyze, and adapt a selection process to identify potential top performers. AI in recruitment is designed to streamline or automate part of a recruitment workflow.
Artificial intelligence (AI) for recruiting is capable of revolutionizing the talent acquisition process, by enabling machine learning to learn how to select your ideal applicant and automate manual procedures in the hiring process. This technology is intended to expedite or automate some aspects of the recruiting process, particularly those that are repetitive and high-volume. AI can bring in software that does sentiment analysis on job descriptions to uncover potentially biased wording or software that uses machine learning to resume to auto-screen candidates. AI recruiting tools can use the plethora of data that recruiters have on their talent pool to generate valuable insights. Recruiters may use artificial intelligence to aid with blind screening to remove prejudice and visibility into previous successful prospects who have stayed with the company.
Though AI is rapidly changing the recruitment environment, it is impossible to ignore the fallacies that appear as we learn to apply the technology. Here are some of the most common myths about AI in recruitment: –
AI will replace recruiters and will alter the function of the recruiter by assisting them in completing business procedures and becoming more proactive, but it will not replace them. While AI for recruitment can automate several operations that are presently performed manually, technology cannot yet replace all of them. Humans and AI will collaborate, resulting in increased efficiency and improved HR procedures. These procedures need social skills, empathy, and bargaining ability, which AI technology cannot currently provide.
AI RECRUITMENT TOOLS ARE COMPLICATED TO USE
Although AI recruitment tools are not difficult to use, they do take some time and effort. You will be able to extend your talent pool and spend less time on talent acquisition once you and your teams are familiar with the software’s features. This allows you to spend more time onboarding applicants. Artificial intelligence has been easily incorporated into a variety of user-friendly recruiting tools that you are likely already familiar with. Most recruiting task forces already use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) that includes some form of AI. AI is only a tool, and service providers may assist you in easily using it to meet your recruitment goals.
AI IS ONLY BENEFICIAL TO LARGE CORPORATIONS
Larger firms gain the most from AI since it helps with mass hiring, but AI hiring software may help both large and small businesses do more than just speed up the recruiting process. By optimising which job boards your advertisement is posted on, ad placement software may help you lower your cost-per-hire. Your company is more likely to locate the right applicant without wasting time and money. AI may provide a small organisation with a lean operation with the insights and resources that much larger corporations have. They can use AI technology to source candidates, allowing a recruiter to focus on in-person interviews and contract negotiations.
AI RECRUITMENT SOFTWARE IS EXPENSIVE
While high-quality AI hiring software is not free, it can save your company money in the long run. AI-based recruiting software might significantly reduce resource costs and operating time. And, because time is money these days, saving overheads are just as valuable. The financial ramifications of any hiring activity are critical for HR executives. And if you can save money on that, you can use the money towards other departmental operations that will bring greater value to prospects or current workers and make a significant impact.
AI ALGORITHMS ARE BIASED
Recruiting biases, both conscious and unconscious, frequently enter into the process, resulting in the rejection of deserving candidates. However, instead of creating bias in hiring, AI helps to mitigate it. AI evaluates all data points objectively, reducing preconceptions, mental weariness, and prejudice that humans are prone to. However, this is contingent on how the AI is built, as these systems are capable of mimicking the bias of the people who created them. The truth is that AI is exactly what we train it to be. The question is whether we can teach it better than we were taught.
The author is Vice President, MS Rvantage
WHAT WILL YOU LOOK LIKE IN THE METAVERSE? DECODING THE AVATARS
This week, we wanted to tackle something fun: what will you look like on the metaverse? We will give some background to avatars, look at the different types of avatars currently in use, and see how industry giants like Microsoft and Facebook/Meta are addressing the avatar question for a metaverse-ready future.
In Sanskrit, the word ‘avatar’ refers to the earthly forms taken by celestial beings when they have to walk among humans. The avatars being developed for the metaverse may not have such lofty origins, but the broad understanding and themes behind them are similar. Avatars are digital representations of your physical identities on the internet and, in the future, on an interconnected metaverse. You may have played games where you were able to design and pick a custom character that would be your representation in the game world.
As industry leaders are expanding the bounds of the metaverse and defining what it is, they have landed on avatars as the first and most persistent way for users to interact with the metaverse environment. You will be able to create unique and individualistic avatars in the virtual world, and this avatar will remain the same across platforms and apps. In other words, similar to real life, you will have a reliable, constant visual identity on the internet.
Now, we can categories avatars into two broad types: Full body avatars and VR avatars. VR avatars are relatively simple. They provide the user with a first-person POV and let other users in the environment see only the avatar’s torso. Full-body avatars, as the name suggests, incorporate your whole body into the experience and allow you to wear sensors in different parts of your body to interact more effectively with the virtual world. Now you can use a few different ways to create your avatar; you can use avatar creation services like Ready Player Me to create an internet-wide avatar, or you can scan your face or a photograph to create a photo-realistic avatar of yourself.
Avatars are becoming more and more popular these days. A key indicator of the future relevance of avatars is that both Facebook/Meta and Microsoft are making avatars and virtual environments a keystone of their operations moving forward. Microsoft has accelerated development on Mesh and has introduced avatars for Teams, where you can choose to appear as an avatar in a video meeting, for example. Microsoft’s avatars are not photorealistic and resemble animated characters. Facebook/Meta is taking a different approach. We can see a bright, animated character aesthetic in the newly debuted avatars on Instagram, but behind the scenes, Facebook/Meta is developing highly realistic avatars using bio-scanning technology, AI-powered neural networks, and sensors modeling the physics of body movements. This point to a future where you may essentially be able to upload a tru-to-life digital scan of yourself into the metaverse.
We have also seen avatars introduced on iOS, where you can design an avatar and can then use emoji is derived from that avatar to react to text messages. However, these avatars, from Microsoft teams to Instagram to iOS, have a limited range of uses. And the user is restricted from using it across platforms, devices, and apps. The metaverse conception of the avatar would let users create their avatars once and be able to use them in a variety of digital situations. Your identity in the metaverse – your digital clothes, digital currency, etc. will be tied to this digital manifestation. So, the avatar will be a citizen of the metaverse and a crucial building block of the social structure within it. We are on an exciting frontier with graphic designers, 3D artists, and programmers all united to revitalise and innovate digital identity.
E-commerce may grow by 45%-51% in 2023 in Asia-Pacific region: StoreHippo CEO
Rajiv Kumar Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, StoreHippo spoke to The Daily Guardian about his company and its growth plans as well as the e-commerce market.
Q. Tell us about the company and the services that your company offers?
A. Started in 2014, StoreHippo is the most flexible SaaS-based enterprise e-commerce platform. The fully-integrated platform built on MACH architecture enables enterprise brands to launch, pivot, and scale their B2B, D2C, B2B2C, or hybrid business models from one single platform Designed to accelerate the digital journey of enterprise brands, we have been building the most innovative and powerful solutions for brands across industry verticals.
The company has been driving the successful digital transition of enterprises with its 300+ inbuilt features, 120+ seamless integrations, inherent flexibility, and agility. The company makes it possible for brands to build personalised and conversion-oriented omnichannel buyer journeys for both D2C and B2B buyers. StoreHippo’s fully integrated solutions enable enterprise brands to integrate ERP, CRM, accounting, payment, and any other software or services of their choice. The company also provides the most accessible, reliable, and robust shipping solutions to its merchant clients with end-to-end logistics and fulfilment support.
Q. What were the company’s goals and objectives when it was founded?
A. StoreHippo was envisioned with the goal to offer cutting-edge enterprise e-commerce solutions for brands that could be easily customised for unique brand requirements. The aim was not to offer just an e-commerce solution but to offer a complete ecosystem with support for different business models and every aspect of the business operations, marketing, and growth. The company has been helping enterprises ever since to create a niche for their brand with future-ready solutions that help them go to market in record time.
Q. How do you see the e-commerce market by 2023?
A. E-commerce is going to continue its upward climb in the years to come. Ecommerce will keep growing in double digits even in 2023 and the highest growth will be seen in the Asia-Pacific region which will grow by a whopping 45-51%. With Covid induced better adaptation for online buying and selling even traditional, offline brands will hop on the commerce bandwagon. Amazing things are in store in days to come, in terms of hybrid business models and revolutionary tech solutions that would make customer journeys more personalised, immersive, and frictionless.
Q. What were the major challenges the company has faced till now?
A. Initially, the major challenge we faced was convincing clients that e-commerce is the way forward, and adopting the model sooner can actually give them a strong footing in the competitive market. Also, we had to do a lot of handholding as back in 2014, the e-commerce market was still in its nascent stage and customers were also a bit sceptical about purchasing online. However, things changed rapidly after 2016-2017 and enterprises have been lapping up the concept of going digital not only on one channel but across channels like online stores, mobile apps, mobile stores, social commerce, or any other new-age customer touchpoint that can be made commerce-enabled. Also, brands no longer stick to one business model, rather they are strategising the business to run either a hybrid business model or different business models from a single platform (like, D2C+ B2B or multi-vendor marketplace with hyperlocal e-commerce, etc.) StoreHippo’s well-rounded solutions with inbuilt solutions for a variety of business models have been able to handle all such challenges from enterprise brands easily.
Q. What are your growth plans for the next year?
A. StoreHippo is aiming to accelerate growth in untapped global and domestic markets along with solidifying its presence in its existing markets. We are aiming for a 250% growth in the coming year by offering innovative enterprise solutions to brands from diverse industries.
‘GAGANYAAN’ OFFERS A RIVETING ROADMAP TO THE CHALLENGING JOURNEY OF INDIA’S HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT PROGRAMME
Produced by Miditech Studios, the new Discovery+ documentary titled ‘Gaganyaan – Bharat ki Antariksh Udaan’ offers a riveting roadmap to the audacious and challenging journey of India’s human space flight programme, from developing the country’s own state of the art cryogenic engine, testing of flights, rigorous astronaut trainings to the final preparations and anticipation before its launch in 2023.
The 45-minute long documentary is supported with archival footage and modern graphical representations of the complex processes and tremendous dangers of human space flight. This fascinating original also recaps the ground-breaking engineering that enabled India to successfully test an unmanned flight with the crew module from launch to re-entry in 2014.
‘Gaganyaan – Bharat ki Antariksh Udaan’ features three eminent astronauts viz. Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to go into space, Sunita Willaims, the elite record-holding woman astronaut of NASA, and the Russian Cosmonaut, Oleg Kotov. Along with them, various experts namely, Dr G Madhavan Nair (Former Chairman, ISRO), Air Cdre (Rtd) Ravish Malhotra (Former test pilot, IAF), Asif Siddiqi (Space Historian), Dr Brigitte Godard (Flight Surgeon, European astronaut centre), and other distinguished professionals also lend their expertise on the subject.
This is just the kind of content one expects from Discovery+, the country’s first and leading aggregated infotainment streaming platform, which is famously known for engrossing cosmology content among other fun and facts-based content from more than 55 sub-genres. In doing so, Discovery+ becomes the first OTT platform to bring to the Indian public this historical journey which will put India on the world stage with other spacefaring nations: Russia, China, and the United States. ‘Gaganyaan’ joins a formidable lineup of successful and immensely popular cosmological titles like – ‘India’s Space Odyssey,’ ‘How The Universe Works,’ ‘Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman,’ ‘Space Titans: Musk, Bezos, Branson’ and many more.
Gaganyaan was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 August 2018. But no one at the time saw the pandemic coming less than two years later, with scientists and aerospace engineers realising that going ahead with a manned mission, a complex endeavour with a life at stake even at the best of times, was not something to be rushed.
But despite the uncertainty created by the pandemic, the ISRO is marching toward its ambitious India’s maiden human spacelift mission in 2023. It has completed one more crucial test, which will boost the confidence of the scientific community to push the project further.
On May 9, ISRO completed a test called a static test of a human-rated solid rocket booster, simply known as HS200, for the ‘Gaganyaan Mission’. The test was conducted at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. In simple terms, the test was conducted to see the weak spots, if any, in the rocket to be launched. In this process, human intelligence and scientific knowledge are simultaneously applied to check or anticipate weak spots in a spacecraft. Preventing possible accidents is billed as ‘Human Rating’. The process involves several tests with many variables to ensure the safety of a manned spacecraft to reach the goal and return safely to earth. In a way, it’s analysing and understanding the reliability of human-rated rockets against non-human-rated rockets. During the test, ISRO checked 700 parameters and found them all normal.
Interestingly, PM Modi discussed the ‘Gaganyaan Mission’ in his first Mann Ki Baat of the new year and the new decade. “Gaganyaan mission will be a historic achievement in the field of science and technology for India in the 21st century. It will prove to be a milestone for New India,” he had asserted while praising the four pilots of the Indian Airforce who have been selected as astronauts for the mission and their forthcoming training in Russia. “These promising youngsters symbolise India’s skill, talent, ability, courage and dreams. Our four friends are about to go to Russia in a few days for their training. I am confident that this would script another golden chapter in India-Russia friendship and cooperation,” he faded further.
Watching the documentary one can appreciate the meticulousness that has gone into making it. Discovery+ must be commended for making an important documentary film about India’s human space flight programme. Here is an offering that needs to be watched by each and every India.
‘MEMMO ENABLES MEANINGFUL FAN TO CELEB CONNECTIONS VIA VIDEO MESSAGES’
The platform helps connect famous celebrities with their fans and has users book out a personalised video message to create lasting memories.
Memmo is one of the leading entertainment platforms present at the global level. The firm is an online platform that offers personalised video messages from thousands of well-known celebrities and prominent personalities to their fans and followers. If we talk about personalised videos, these videos are customised for individual viewers and play a major role in developing trusting relationships.
It is the biggest marketplace for personalised videos from thousands of celebrities (sports, actresses, comedians, artists, YouTubers, and so on) that are shared with fans and businesses. The brand›s CEO & co-founders Tobias Bengtsdahl & Gustav Lundberg Toresson, conceptualised the venture with the mission to help connect celebrities one-to-one with fans and businesses. The firm also hosts prominent angels in the business industry by customising videos of celebrities for the marketing campaign, virtual events, team celebrations, and cold sales outreach.
In an interview with The Daily Guardian, Abhishek Sarkar, General Manager and Head of India operations, Memmo spoke about the company’s goals, challenges, growth plans and the factors behind the growth of the personalised celebrity video messaging industry.
Q. Tell us about the company and the services that your company offers?
A. Memmo is the biggest marketplace outside of the US for personalised videos from thousands of celebrities (athletes, actors, comedians, musicians, YouTubers etc.) to fans and businesses. Personalised videos are the first step on our mission to tech-enable and democratise access to talent to offer a wide range of products and services to fans and businesses. The platform helps connect famous celebrities with their fans and has users book out a personalised video message to create lasting memories.
Q. What were the company’s goals and objectives when it was founded?
A. After thinking for a long time about the positive and emotional effect that occurs when you have personal contact with inspiring people, the idea of this company came while attending a wedding dinner. During many lengthy speeches, often a little too internal for everyone to appreciate, the evening suddenly stopped. A video clip featuring the bride’s celebrity crush was presented, with some playful lines about how it could have instead ended up being the bride and him–with a big congratulations to the lucky groom. All of the wedding guests suddenly sat in unified laughter and amazement. The question arose–how had the gifter managed to get hold of such a video, and could there be a way to share these experiences of the fan to talent connection more often? One question led to another, and it quickly became apparent that getting in touch with the people we look up to is not something that’s accessible to everyone, but rather the opposite. On the other hand–the inboxes and DMs of these people have never been as busy with requests from their fans as they are today. This identified opportunity to enable more meaningful fan to talent connections was the starting point for the memmo.me team on the journey to becoming the global destination for talent to connect with fans and brands on their terms.
Q. What are the factors behind the growth of the personalised celebrity video messaging industry?
A. In the last two to three years, this space has been growing. There is also a unicorn in this space and the demand is huge across every country we operate in. In India alone, there are over five to six companies in the same space and each has its own top celebrity earning thousands of dollars per month. Top celebrities on our platform earn anywhere between US$ 15K to US$ 20K monthly and this truly goes on to show the demand is high, as long as we are able to follow up with good supply, great products and impeccable service, the sky’s the limit. Fans from around the world want to be connected with their favourite artist, sportspersons and have no platform to get up close and personal, our company helps bridge that gap. This is welcome by both fans and celebrities. A lot of celebrities look for multiple sources of income especially after the pandemic due to lower shootings and such platforms have proved to be great sources of alternate income.
Q. Tell us about your business success so far?
A. We just scaled to three new markets after launches in North America, Europe, and Australia, and are looking to launch more in the coming months. Currently, our company is a market leader in most markets it operates in. The company has grown 10x from last year in terms of total order volumes and the roster of celebrities is increasing every single day. This only shows the demand from users for a product like this and celebrities do not want to miss out on this unique opportunity to stay connected with fans as well as generate additional revenue streams. We have thousands of celebrities who trust us as their go-to platform for on-demand personalised shout-outs to fans from across the world.
Q. What were the major challenges the company has faced till now?
A. The challenge is localising content, offering and celebrity base for each market to cater to the needs and demands of that specific market. We spend a lot of time understanding each market and the nuances it has to offer. The biggest challenge so far has been identifying the right set of celebrities to launch a market with and gain traction. Once we are able to figure these things out, the market is ready for take-off. The space is filled with a lot of competition, so keeping products, offerings, and services top-notch and evolving is yet another ongoing challenge.
Q. What are your growth plans for the next year?
A. We just scaled to these new markets: India, Mexico, and Brazil. The plan is to establish a stronghold in these operating markets, improve on offerings and increase the roster of celebrities to cater to the large audience from the respective countries and the world. The plan is to continue market dominance and keep growing year on year and build more memories for the world.
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