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Cubans Join Authorised Users of Google Chrome

Google Chrome finally becomes “legal” in Cuba and blogger Yoani Sanchez says that she gleans great satisfaction from “knowing that the opinions of citizens interested in the free flow of information and technology influenced the elimination of this prohibition.”

Derailed Train Exposed Inefficient Philippine Mass Transport System

A train overshot it's stop at a terminal in Manila. Photo by Juan Carlo de Vela. Copyright @Demotix. (8/13/2014)

A train overshot it's stop at a terminal in Manila. Photo by Juan Carlo de Vela. Copyright @Demotix. (8/13/2014)

Scores were injured when a train overshot its stop at a busy intersection in south Manila. The crash ignited an intense discussion about the weak and inefficient mass transportation system in the Philippines. Authorities vowed to improve train service amid rising public anger over the incident.

Investors Should Explore Nigeria Despite Negative Reports

Chris Akor's investors’ guide to Nigeria intends to demonstrate how the negatives reports about Nigeria have no basis in reality and that investors who have ignored the reports have been making huge returns on their investments:

Undue clatter has trailed the release of Nigeria’s rebased GDP figures – a purely technical matter devoid of politics – from some groups in Nigeria. These groups are mainly opposition politicians, whose electoral appeal hinges on their ability to paint a grim and gloomy picture of abject poverty, underdevelopment, helplessness and the current government’s culpability in bringing about such a situation. Some civil society groups, who have been making a living from the ‘poverty status’ of Nigeria and who’s survival and funding are now threatened by Nigeria exiting the lower-income category. Ignorant social media activists, whose popularity come from insulting the government and the establishment and putting their country down, and some so-called experts on Nigeria, who make a living out of the ills of the Nigerian society and have been cleverly feeding and sustaining the ‘corrupt, fraudster, never-do-wells’ image of the country in the international community and discouraging well-meaning investors from coming to do business in Nigeria.

Investment Deal with China Leaves Jamaicans With More Questions Than Answers

I AM SO FLABBERGASTED: WHO gives a FOREIGN government the RIGHT to CHOOSE WHICH LAND IT WANTS?

As part of an investment exchange, the Jamaican government has agreed to give 1,200 acres of land to the Chinese government – wherever it wants. Cucumber Juice has critical questions that she feels the government must answer: What is the value of the land? How will it be used? What if it's already occupied? She concludes that “Jamaica is for sale, is being sold, and is not at all as independent as its citizens and residents like to think.”

Improper Land Allocation Harms Trinidad & Tobago's Public Interest

Property ownership is a critical ingredient of the society we are trying to build. No one can deny that. The wealthiest people and companies in this society have made a great part of their wealth through property dealings – buying, leasing, sub-dividing, selling, renovating and so on….property is critical to amassing and holding wealth.

With the state being “the single largest owner of all classes of property” in Trinidad and Tobago, blogger Afra Raymond is interested in how public property is allocated, noting that because of its value, all dealings involving state lands must be transparent.

How the Merger of Two of its Largest Providers May Transform the French Telco Market

The recent merger between French telcos SFR and Numericable is but another example of the broader trend that dominates  today’s telecommunications market: operators are seeking to integrate their products in order to respond to their business clients’ growing desire for streamlined communications solutions. This merger also threatens the dominance of Orange, which – until now- has enjoyed a privileged position among corporate and business clients. 

The merger is a major operation which is poised to radically transform the corporate telecommunications market. Each of the 2 companies already has a significant individual market presence and there have been no comparable upheavals since 2005, when Cegetel and Neuf Telecom merged to form Neuf Cegetel (which then became a subsidiary of SFR). Since 2010, many players have been ‘merged out’ of the telco market (the Club Internet, AOL, Telecom Italia and Cegetel brands, for example, have all been retired). This has been the market's way of responding to operators’ growing desire to at once be present in both the fixed-line and the mobile markets. The merger between SFR and Numericable falls neatly in line with this trend – it would appear that the companies are trying to merge in order to meet consumer expectations concerning price and simplicity.

This market pattern has also been driven by the fact that operators need to invest heavily in new infrastructure to maintain their quality of service. The SFR-Numericable merger, for example, will help both of the merging companies to meet their needs in this field.  Lionnel Piar, Telecommunications vice-president at CGI Consulting stated :  

Industriellement, ce qui est intéressant dans le rapprochement, c’est qu’on a d’un côté un SFR qui a plutôt des offres mobiles, et de l’autre un Numericable plus sur la partie câble. Avec ce rapprochement, on est plus dans la notion d’opérateur global qui va être capable de proposer l’ensemble des services à une entreprise. 

From an industry perspective, the interesting thing about this merger is that, on the one hand, you have SFR which offers mainly mobile products; and, on the other hand, you have Numericable which is more about cable. With this merger, we are moving towards the notion of a unified operator which can single-handedly offer corporate clients a full suite of services.

And it is precisely this new notion that threatens the hegemonic dominance that Orange currently enjoys on the B-to-B market . Orange currently holds a 70% market share and, while SFR and Numericable currently hold 20% between them, the newly merged entity is hoping to attain 30%.

Video: Listen to Nairobi Coffee Shop Entrepreneur

Meet Peter Owiti, coffee shop entrepreneur in Nairobi, Kenya:

The story of Peter Owiti, the brains behind Pete’s Coffee shop, speaks volumes of the great deal of effort that is spent when setting up a successful business. In the brief video below, Pete, who is a father of three, talks to Kuza Biashara about the challenges he encountered when he set up shop in 2004.

Peter resigned from a well-paying office job and, left with nothing other than his lifetime savings that amounted to Ksh500,000 ($6,000), he resolved to tread a path he was barely familiar with. Today, his business is valued at Ksh5,000,000 ($60,000). This admirable growth was recorded despite the scourge of Kenya’s Post Election Violence (PEV) in 2007/2008 which threatened to break his sequence of success.

Improving Internet Access in Cambodia

Danièle Adler, a consultant in communications strategy, gives an overview of the significant improvement of the IT sector in Cambodia:

Six years ago, fewer than 10,000 Cambodians had a web connection, and it was extremely slow. Today 2.5 million people have Internet access at home, and an additional two million Cambodians go online daily using their smartphones.

Cuba's Customs Clamps Down in “Illegal Imports”

On September 1, 2014 the Customs Service of the Republic of Cuba will begin enforcing new regulations intended to combat illegal trafficking of merchandise by relatives, friends and ‘mules’ (a slang term for couriers of goods from overseas through airports and port facilities).

Iván's File Cabinet considers this “one more turn of the screw”, explaining that since 2011, there have been new measures every year to try and stop the illegal importation of goods by families and private businesses on the island.

The Arrest of CCTV News Anchor and Refection on China's Public Relation Business

The arrest of CCTV news anchor Rui Chenggang was related to his ties to PR firm Edelman subsidiary in China. Silicon Hutong took the opportunity to reflect upon public relation businesses in China:

Two issues prevent widespread improvement in PR industry ethics in China. First is a persistent exclusivist belief that because this is China, things are done the Chinese way, and always will be. Operating ethically is seen as naive at best, and culturally imperialist at worst (“how dare you impose your values on us!”)

The second issue is fear. PR executives and their agencies believe that if they don’t take advantage of every opportunity, however morally ambiguous, they will lose revenue and clients to competitors who lack – or opportunistically ignore – their moral compasses.

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