Qubec mosque shooting: five reportedly killed in Canada gun attack

Two arrests made but one suspect may still be on run after fatal shooting during evening prayers on Sunday

Five people have reportedly been killed and several injured in a gun attack at a mosque in Qubec City.

Witnesses said the shooting was carried out by three attackers and happened during evening prayers at about 8pm on Sunday.

Two arrests have been made, a police spokesman said. Local newspaper Le Soleil said police told them a third suspect could still be on the run. Details of the death toll have not been released, however, the mosques president, Mohamed Yangui, said five people were killed.

One of the suspects was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and one was aged 27, Le Soleil reported.

At the time of the attack, about 40 people were thought to be in the two-storey building the Qubec City Islamic cultural center, also called the Grande Mosque de Qubec, on Sainte-Foy Street.

Yangui, who was not inside the mosque when the shooting occurred, said he got frantic calls from people at evening prayers. He did not know how many were injured, saying they had been taken to different hospitals across Quebec City.

Why is this happening here? This is barbaric, he said.

The citys police said the site has been secured and all occupants evacuated. A large security cordon has been set up around the site. Witnesses reported seeing heavily armed police entering the mosque after the shooting.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau offered his condolences to those affected by the cowardly attack.

Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau)

Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims & their families.

January 30, 2017

The premier of Qubec, Philippe Couillard, said the government was taking action to keep people safe and stood in solidarity with the citys Muslim population. he tweeted: #Qubec rejects categorically this barbaric violence. All our solidarity to the families of the victims, the injured and their families.

Canadas publics safety minister, Ralph Goodale, said he was deeply saddened by the deaths.

Local politician Manon Mass said: We know little at the moment, but one or two people have assumed the right to kill our fellow Muslim Qubec citizens. When intolerance goes from debate to murder, solidarity is essential.

The mosque has been targeted before. In June, during the holy month of Ramadan, a pigs head was left there.

Police
Police officers stand guard near a mosque after a shooting in Qubec City on Sunday. Photograph: Mathieu Belanger/Reuters

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/30/quebec-mosque-shooting-canada-deaths

Tech billionaires donate $20m to fund set up to protect society from AI

Reid Hoffman and Pierre Omidyar are donating $10m each to the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, to help tackle ethical problems of AI

AI

The founders of LinkedIn and eBay are donating a combined $20m (16.4m) to fund academic research aimed at ensuring the safety of artificial intelligences.

LinkedIns founder Reid Hoffman and the Omidyar network, the philanthropic investment firm set up by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, are donating $10m each to the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, which will distribute money to researchers working on the tough ethical problems raised by AI.

Theres an urgency to ensure that AI benefits society and minimises harm, said Hoffman. AI decision-making can influence many aspects of our world education, transportation, healthcare, criminal justice and the economy yet data and code behind those decisions can be largely invisible.

The specific research areas the fund will focus on arent fixed, but the possibilities include ethical design how do we build and design technologies that consider ethical frameworks and moral values as central features of technological innovation? and accountability in AI what kinds of controls do we need to minimise AIs potential harm to society and maximise its benefits?

The Knight Foundation is also contributing $5m to the fund, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Raptor Group founder Jim Pallotta are giving $1m each. The founding academic institutions for the initiative will be the MIT Media Lab and Harvard Universitys Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Alberto Ibargen, president of Knight Foundation, said: artificial intelligence agents will impact our lives in every society on Earth. Technology and commerce will see to that. Since even algorithms have parents and those parents have values that they instil in their algorithmic progeny, we want to influence the outcome by ensuring ethical behaviour, and governance that includes the interests of the diverse communities that will be affected.

The fund is one of many new bodies aimed at shaping the future of AI in a positive or, at least, thoughtful direction. The Partnership on AI, a collaborative effort involving Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft, was launched in September 2016 to establish AI best practices but has yet to do anything publicly other than announce its own creation; the Elon Musk-backed OpenAI project, announced in December 2015, was more directly aimed at advancing digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole. It has published research to that effect fairly consistently in the year since it was established.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/11/linkedin-ebay-founders-reid-hoffman-pierre-omidyar-donate-research-ai-safety

The future of American jobs lies with the tech industry

When Donald Trump won the election, many in Silicon Valley were flummoxed: How could a bigoted billionaire with no government experience and a twitchy Twitter trigger finger win the U.S. presidential election? they asked themselves.

Liberal outlets have tried to make sense of the massive divide between our (upper-class liberals working in tech) vision of the country and their (blue-collar workers) vision of the country. We are facing a collective identity crisis, living in a post-truth world, utterly perplexed as to how a person so at odds with our Bay Area politics could win the most important democratically elected seat in the country.

Its quite simple: Trump won precisely because Silicon Valley is so disconnected from the Rust Belt. He won because of machination, because of outsourcing, because of the definitive end to The Industrial Age. Trump won because, for all of our innovation, we have not been giving jobs to them.

Where did the jobs go?

In 1960,1 in 4 Americans had a job in manufacturing; today, its fewer than 1 in 10. The industrial age is over U.S. coal mining has declined 25 percent since 2008, which resulted in 50,000 jobs being lost over a four-year period. The mining industry, in general, has lost more than191,000 jobs since 2014.

This is not particularly new, however. In the late-20th century, we entered the Information Age, a period of time characterized by the economic shift from a dependence on traditional industry to a dependence on computers and digital information. In addition to outsourcing, middle-class workers now had a new beast with which to contend: automation. It is this phenomenon on which Donald Trump based his campaign: Americas middle class is declining, and blue-collar workers are out of work.

However, Trump interpreted the reality of American job loss into an illogical solution: that we need to bring back mining, that we should travel back in time, pre information-age and make America great again. He has said that We will put our coal miners and steelworkers back to work, and that it will be American hands that rebuild this country.

We need to focus on our new, innovative industries that will put us ahead of our global competition.

While the goal is an extremely valid one, the means by which he intends to accomplish it do not make sense. Trump blames outsourcing and government policy for the decline of mining and the coal industry, when in fact it is market shifts that are to blame. Natural gas and renewable energy sources have become increasingly affordable, and in many instances even cost-competitive with coal.

In fact, these industries have been growing in tandem with the coal industrys decline: The solar industry has been growing at a rate of 20 percent annually, and a study found that most coal employees could be easily retrained for similar jobs in the solar industry. We dont need to rebuild the coal industry; we need to focus on our new, innovative industries that will put us ahead of our global competition.

Automation is bringing jobs back stateside

For us in Silicon Valley, this seems patently obvious: The tech industry currently employs 6.7 million people, and over the last 25 years, practically all new private sector jobs have been created by businesses less than five years old.

In fact, between 1988 and 2011, companies more than five years old destroyed more jobs than they created in all but eight of those years, wrote Jason Wiens and Chris Jackson of the Kauffman Foundation.

Its worth noting that emerging markets offer more employment opportunities than staid ones (like the coal industry). Furthermore, if history is any indication of the future, increased automation will result in an infusion of jobs across existing industries.

For instance, as James Bessen of The Atlantic noted, we have recently seen a large portion of paralegal work become automated with electronic discovery software. However, instead of throwing lawyers and paralegals out of work, jobs in this sector have actually grown faster than the labor force as a whole. In fact, on average since 1980, occupations with above-average computer use have grown substantially faster (0.9 percent per year) than those with average or below-average computer use.

The reason why is quite simple: When demand increases enough in response to lower prices, employment goes up with automation, not down. In other words, automation increases productivity, which lowers prices, which increases demand.

As demand goes up, so does the need for new employees. These employees are much more likely to be American because a) the company can now afford it and b) the workers will need to be more skilled than their (probably outsourced) counterparts who were previously doing the work that machines now do.

The tech industry can (and should) cut down on American outsourcing

As an entrepreneur in the customer service industry, both outsourcing and automation (the two main culprits of job loss) hit close to home. In this election, I have seen the politics of job outsourcing reflected in the micro-economy of customer service an industry that is notorious for outsourcing.

For years, economic logic drove customer service jobs overseas to India or the Philippines. The global contact center spend stands at $300-350 billion, of which third-party outsourcing accounts for 20-25 percent.

When call centers ruled the customer service industry, quality dropped, because customers were interacting with overseas employees without a firm grasp of the language or proper training. We are at a turning point now. Consumer preference for efficient modes of communication, such as chat and email, have reduced the industrys dependence on labor-intensive phone contact centers, which also decreases customer service costs.

The era of smartphones, apps and connected devices (like an internet-connected car or a thermostat) generate so much data about a customer and their usage history that interactions are now highly efficient, which allows us the financial wriggle room to bring customer service jobs back stateside. Technology has allowed customer service to be so efficient that companies no longer need to hire as many people. Instead of 500 foreigners, you can hire 40 Americans.

Automation and technology are cutting our dependence on outsourcing.

Around 2012, when customer service automation was taking off, customer service jobs began returning to the U.S. As one article noted, customer service jobs fit a niche in the economy that is more and more underserved. Customer service jobs certainly are not no-skill one needs good communication skills along with basic phone and computer abilities. But they do not require a college diploma, and the training can be done on the job. There were more than 2.1 million of these customer service jobs in 2010 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that number to grow 15 percent over the next decade.

In other words, automation and technology are cutting our dependence on outsourcing. The tech industry has the ability to streamline and automate processes to the extent that costs are cut enough to stop outsourcing. Its not just in customer service; its in energy, car manufacturing and new industries like the shared economy.

Silicon Valley can make America great again

Studies have shown that consumers actually love buying products that are made in America. Just as Ive found that people seeking customer support prefer instant messaging with an American employee to talking on the phone with someone in India. We all want the same thing: American jobs, American products and American customer support.

The only real issue is cost. And thats why Silicon Valley has a duty to the country to use automation to bring jobs back to the United States. We dont need coal; we need customer service, we need solar energy, we need self-driving cars.

Silicon Valley does not need to be removed from the Rust Belt. We are not in a bubble. We are both a part of the problem and a possible solution. The innovation that we see here is an economic opportunity for the entire country, not just because its a win for the economy, but because its a win for companies. Automation can bring back American jobs, which begets higher quality work and a new age of American greatness one that speaks to what we have always been known for: innovation.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/27/the-future-of-american-jobs-lies-with-the-tech-industry/

retirement planning tips

5 Retirement Myths — Debunked!

There are many myths about retirement that people often believe, and only by learning the hard way do many of those people realize the mistakes they’ve made in their retirement planning. By knowing about these myths before you retire, you can take action before it’s too late to do anything about it. In particular, these five common misconceptions about retirement trip up many near-retirees, and it’s important to get the facts so you can plan for retirement correctly.

Myth 1: Stocks aren’t good investments for retirees

Most retirees understand that the older you get, the less time you have to invest for the long run, and it therefore makes sense to reduce the amount of risk you take with your investment portfolio. In the process of making your investments more conservative, however, it’s important not to make the mistake of going too far and getting rid of all your exposure to the stock market. Stocks are volatile, but they also provide greater growth opportunities than most other investments. Especially in the early years of your retirement, having some growth in your nest egg is crucial to set the stage for a retirement that could easily last 20 to 30 years. By emphasizing high-quality stocks Opens a New Window. that pay income and have good prospects for solid, dependable growth, even retirees can benefit from investing in the stock market.

Myth 2: There’s no need to worry about healthcare because of Medicare

It’s true that Medicare kicks in at age 65 for most Americans, providing valuable access to healthcare services that in many ways is more flexible than the insurance coverage most workers have during their careers. Medicare lets you use a wide array of providers without the geographical restrictions that most private plans impose. Yet Medicare comes with costs, including monthly premiums, deductibles, and copayments. Moreover, one key aspect about Medicare is that it doesn’t put a cap on your out-of-pocket expenses, so you’ll have to get either Medicare supplemental insurance or use a Medicare Advantage plan to put an upper limit on your theoretical liability for healthcare costs. Understanding your Medicare options Opens a New Window. is important to make the most of the program, and that requires some up-front advance research as well as ongoing monitoring.

Myth 3: Your tax bill will disappear in retirement

It’s natural to think that once your paycheck goes away, your tax bill will disappear as well. Yet retirees often find that they are even more aware of taxes they pay than they were during their careers. Without the payroll withholding that typically takes care of tax liability for workers, retirees who take taxable distributions from IRAs, 401(k)s, or other retirement accounts often find that they have to make quarterly estimated payments in order to avoid IRS penalties. Moreover, with required minimum distributions kicking in for many accounts at age 70-1/2, those who were successful in accumulating extensive savings often find that their tax bracket doesn’t go down in retirement. By using Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k) accounts during your career rather than relying solely on traditional retirement accounts, you can help to ease the tax burden after you retire and keep more of your retirement assets for yourself.

More on retirement…

  • One More Reason to Consider a Retirement Advisor
  • How to Prepare Your Money for a Trump Presidency
  • Sorry, Baby Boomers: You’re Never Going to Retire

Myth 4: Annuities are never a good choice for retirees

Many investors have negative attitudes about annuities, and in some cases, it’s for good reason. Some annuities come with high ongoing costs and tough restrictions that can lock you into contracts for years or else face paying large surrender charges. However, some annuities are good choices for retirees. Specifically, for those who need a constant stream of dependable income, immediate annuities or advanced life deferred annuities guarantee monthly payments that start either immediately or at a specified point in the future, and will last for the rest of your life. You shouldn’t use your whole nest egg on such an annuity, but making it part of your retirement arsenal can be a good move.

Myth 5: Social Security will replace my work income

Most retirees rely heavily on Social Security for the money they need to pay living expenses. Yet Social Security was never intended to replace all or even most of your salary. For most people, Social Security replaces around 40% of pre-retirement income, with those who earned more during their careers getting an even lower percentage. If you want to be financially secure, it’s important to go beyond Social Security to get other sources of income in retirement, whether it’s from investments, part-time work, or other employee benefits you earned during your career.

Myths about retirement can trip you up at the worst time possible. By being aware of these myths now, you can take steps to avoid them and have a better retirement.

The $15,834 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook
If you’re like most Americans, you’re a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known “Social Security secrets” could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $15,834 more… each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we’re all after.Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies Opens a New Window. .

Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/01/20/5-retirement-myths-debunked.html

Getting a New Business Noticed Online

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