Qatar’s First Humanitarian Org Celebrates 40 Years

Last March 20, Qatar Red Crescent Society or QRCS held a grand celebration of its 40-year anniversary at the Katara Cultural Village in Doha. Attended by the country’s government officials, business leaders, senior officers and volunteers, and other representatives, it was an important event in the field of development and humanitarian advocacy. But it marked even more important achievements.

Established on March 20, 1978, QRCS “boasts of a track record of achievements, lessons learnt and milestones”, it has said in a statement. “These successes have shaped the arena of charitable and social work in Qatar, and enriched the country’s bright image as a major humanitarian player around the world.”

Committed to its slogan “Saving Lives and Preserving Dignity,” the QRCS—as a member of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)—has helped develop zones afflicted by disasters, conflict, and poverty.

“Being Qatar’s first humanitarian organisation, QRCS became a pioneer in its vision, principles and efforts. Now, it serves as an auxiliary to Qatar in its humanitarian policies both locally and internationally. Also, it has become a role model for many NGOs and humanitarian service providers, which follow its strategies and operations,” the statement adds.

The day’s highlights include a special ceremony to honor the organization’s chief contributors and volunteers, the opening to a public exhibit of QRCS’s timeline and history at the Katara Corniche, a showcase and invitation for volunteering opportunities, and even kid-friendly activities.

However, humanitarian advocacy is not only enacted on the organization level, but some powerful individuals constantly do their share, exemplified by other recent milestones in philantropy such as charity auctions for the homeless and benefit concerts for diverse causes. Perhaps even in our smallness, we could wonder about the small ways we could contribute to the giant mission of relieving the suffering of others.

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Dogs Love Baby Talk, Study Says

Dear dog moms and dog dads, fret not. When your pup saves people from a house fire, learns a new trick that would make the family proud, or simply behaves like the good boy that he is, you are not delusional to spend a few minutes babying him. You don’t even need to get him a comfy armchair or mouth-watering treats, researchers at York University say that dogs appreciate baby talk or high-pitched “dog speak.”

“Obviously we know that dogs can’t learn to talk, so we wanted to know whether dog-speak also has a function for dogs, or whether it is simply something we tend to use with our pets in a culture where we think of dogs as part of the family, like fur-babies,” lead author Alex Benjamin told HuffPost […]

The researchers wanted to see if the dogs were interested in the high-pitched intonation used for them or if they were responding to the actual words said to them. After conducting speech tests with 69 adult ones, the research team discovered that dogs were most likely to engage with people who mix dog-directed speech (high-pitched tone) and dog-related content (“Who’s a good boy? You’re a good boy!”).

“I was a little surprised that in the second experiment, neither content, nor prosody ― which [is] intonation of the voice ― was driving the dogs’ preference,” she said. “I think it is really interesting that our dogs are able to use both acoustic and content information to determine what speech might be meant for them.”

So next time, when somebody says that you’re just being a crazy dog mom or dad, give them the scientific basis of your adoration. Perhaps using baby talk could help you guys communicate, too.

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BeepBeep Nation and Your Dynamic Beep Network of Helpers

Soon to launch is BeepBeep Nation — an app that will offer opportunities for people to request whatever kind of help and others to respond to them. You can get a ride home, read restaurant recommendations, even have a tour guide with just one beep. But what’s underneath this seemingly common service of BeepBeep Nation is a greater mission.

It aims to make the world a better place by fostering a culture of kindness and encouraging face-to-face interaction. By helping others, you get to broaden your circle of peers, build a stronger business network, or even just have nonchalant but interesting conversations every now and then.

As a true social app, BeepBeep Nation requires both requestors and helpers to meet in person when resolving a problem.  Social media has inadvertently made human relationships take a colder, digital turn. Even though it still very much utilizes digital technology, the BeepBeep Nation app harnesses that in order to promote more profound social interactions again. But how exactly does it do that?

Of course, as a social app, the BeepBeep Nation app also has its own way of building an individual’s network for him. However, unlike Facebook or Twitter, it does not ask you to make people your “friends” or “followers.” What it does is provide you with a bigger pool of potential requestors and helpers (i.e. potential peers and business contacts) through its very own Dynamic Beep Network of Helpers (DBN). By not offering the same “friends,” “followers,” or “connections” mechanics, it actually provides its users a more dynamic alternative.

Everyone — yes, everyone! — within a 1-5 mile radius of wherever you are is included in your network. All people need to do is install the BeepBeep Nation app on their smartphones, and they’re good to go. No need for “friend” or “follower” requests. Everyone is that easy to reach.

Another interesting thing about your Dynamic Beep Network Of Helpers (DBN) is that it can be composed of different people every time. Say you are travelling from your hometown of Vancouver to attend a conference in Toronto. Your DBN will change so that you have a different pool of potential acquaintances in Toronto from your DBN in Vancouver. Of course, so that people nearby can help you with your needs or you can help people nearby with theirs, the BeepBeep Nation app will connect you to people in the location you yourself specify at any given time. Amazing.

What’s even more amazing is this implication: a constantly changing DBN means having an endless number of opportunities to get help and give help. Having a previously established or curated network of “friends” and “followers” could set your limits — not just with the help you might acquire, but also the potential peers you may still want to get to know. For instance, you only look for people you want to meet in your own circles; you then scan their profiles if you have mutuals. But your DBN always provides you with new possibilities.

After all, BeepBeep Nation’s mission to make the world a better place starts with an individual helping another person out and getting to know him face-to-face. Its feature of giving users a Dynamic Beep Network Of Helpers (DBN) sincerely embodies that mission. If you’re interested in participating and creating a world of kindness, soon to launch is the BeepBeep Nation app. Its fuel, the EMINENT (EMN) token, is already available for sale. Check it out now!

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58-Year-Old Woman is a Hero in Factory Fire

We have seen a dog protect his human family from a house fire. We have seen a 77-year-old man refuse to evacuate so he could save animals from a wildfire. Today’s hero is a 58-year-old Indian woman who saved 20 people from a factory fire, which was happening beside her apartment in Delhi.

In a swift course of action, Jyoti Verma threw one end of her sari to the employees in a higher floor of the neighboring building so they could climb down to her terrace. However, one worker jumped the distance and Verma had to find another way.

Not wanting anyone else to injure themselves by jumping, Verma rushed inside to find something more useful. In the midst of her apartment, she found a small bamboo ladder. With the help of a neighbor, Verma propped up the ladder onto the roof of her terrace so that it stretched across to the factory window. Over the course of the next half hour, twenty workers were able to crawl to safety.

In the reports, before the ensuing hullabaloo, Verma was making breakfast in her apartment at 6:30 a.m. Her neighbor suddenly called her attention to the burning factory and so she rushed to her window, saw the people crying for help in the third floor of the neighboring building as their lower floors were engulfed by the factory fire, and decided to act.

According to one of the workers, the owner of the illegal factory locks the gates to the building every night in order to prevent theft. If it had not been for Verma’s heroic ingenuity, the employees may not have been able to escape.

Whoever said age is just a number has never been more correct in light of kindness and heroism.

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Blockchain Program Piloted to Help Homeless in Austin

With corporate tech giants making appearances on our news feeds every hour, it is difficult to deny that technology serves the purpose of profit most of the time.

Nevertheless, it is also impossible to ignore its greater impact when it serves the purpose of solving real social issues. For example, innovations such as 24-hour “free purchase” vending machines and portable origami tents were produced in a response to the issue of homelessness.

Today, one technological advancement that is making waves is blockchain. Blockchain is used in cryptocurrencies, and the use of cryptocurrency has become more common recently; I believe it is only bound to get bigger in the future.

However, another very real potential of blockchain is the way it can be used to solve critical human issues through its decentralized, private, and secure mechanisms. More governments around the world are also bound to engage this technology if they want to keep finding solutions to various social problems.

Surprisingly ahead of the blockchain race, the city of Austin pilots a platform that uses it to provide identity services for the homeless.

Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin since 2015, explained to TechCrunch that “at a high level, [the pilot] is trying to figure out how to solve one of the challenges we have in our community related to the homeless population, which is how to keep all the information of that individual with that individual.”

If governments cannot address the issue of identity, then the cycle of poverty persists among these people who live in the margins, such as the homeless or refugess. Austin’s blockchain platform seeks to consolidate the identification details of each person and let service providers, like those in health care, safely access that information.

The use of electronic encrypted records eliminates the need for paper records to verify a person’s identity. In addition to this, blockchain can also build someone’s personal history over time by keeping a record of the services he/she had previously availed. Indeed, the program opens up a lot of possibilities for social services.

As Sly Majid, Chief Services Officer for Austin, said, “If you have your backpack stolen or if your social security card gets wet and falls apart, or if you are camping and the city cleans up the site and takes your possessions, you have to start all over from the beginning again … It really prevents you from going about and doing the sort of activities that allow you to transition out of homelessness.”

If Austin can successfully use blockchain to improve the lives of homeless people, then it only goes to show that more governments should be willing to get involved in advance technologies and new economies as a commitment to their citizens.

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How To Make The Most Out Of Your Weekend

 

For work-a-holics like myself, scrambling to make a weekend worthwhile is more than just a challenge. With so much on my mind, I don’t often get to experience them to their fullest potential. But with 52 weekends in a year and the occasional extra day, there are ways to make each of them rewarding.

Plan ahead. Not every weekend requires stringent planning, but having an idea of what you want to achieve is key. Are you looking to be productive? Do you fancy a road trip? Jot it down! If you’re mostly scatter-brained, having a weekend journal may be a new investment to consider. But leave enough room for spontaneity — you never know what you might run into. Don’t overcomplicate your itinerary.

If work is a major presence in your daily life, you may want to take a few days off to do something social. Making the effort to see friends is almost always gratifying, both for yourself and for them. If you set up a potluck, you’ll have the added bonus of free food.

Chances are, you’ll also need alone time. Relax but don’t forget to exerciseSpoil yourself — there’s no shame in doing so every once in a while. Try out a brand new spa treatment or take yourself out on a date to your favorite restaurant. Know that while it may be exciting to spend your time with a significant other, “me moments” are also cherished ones. And though “stay-cations” may be unwinding, keep yourself active. A simple jog will do the trick.

If you’re adventurous, now would be the time to explore the outdoors. This isn’t an every-weekend activity, so pick a date that is perfect for being outside. Being away from the city provides a great breath of fresh air. Even without the extreme sports, an unfamiliar and scenic atmosphere will undoubtedly leave you energized.

Engaging in a lot of activities may leave a bit to do at home, but don’t stress too much over chores. This is your time to feel like a king or queen. Sunday is perhaps a good time to plan your week. Think about what you have to do and the best times to complete certain tasks. It may bring about the Sunday-to-Monday blues, but try to avoid this.

There are a number of ways to make your Sunday night equally as enjoyable as the rest of the weekend. Discover something new while in the comfort of your home. Maybe you’ve bookmarked a new Netflix show that you haven’t quite gotten around to seeing yet? Or you can take the time to read a book that challenges you. It could be that weekends are the perfect time to learn a new language. Whatever the case, always make room to grow.

Most importantly, avoid routine. Your week is pretty much a regimen, so always aim to do something just a little bit different. While it’s perfectly acceptable to do things you already love and enjoy, doing the same old thing can get pretty boring. Treat your mind and body to something fresh.

Our weekends aren’t always going to be perfect. But we can make them more enjoyable and fulfilling.

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Have A Drink At The UK’s Only Pub And Zoo

I have grown up with zoos. I was the first in my class to see a panda which, according to my first-grade teacher, is the world’s most useless animal. Zoos were easily my go-to when my parents suggested a trip out of town. I have spent birthdays with apes, celebrated good grades with camels, and graduated with giraffes. As an adult, while my fondness of zoos has remained, I’d prefer to stare at zebras with a glass of wine in hand. At the Fenn Bell Inn in the U.K., you can do just that!

The pub zoo, in St Mary Hoo, Kent, is the brainchild of landlord and animal lover Andy Cowell.

Mr Cowell took over the pub in 2014 and housed his collection of exotic animals in the garden.

Now he has opened his zoo to the public, who will be able to see four different breeds of monkeys, genets (an African wild cat), meerkats, lemurs, birds of prey, raccoons and South American coatis.

While many of the animals at Fenn Bell, who are rejected from various keepers, are given a second shot at a comfortable life, keeping them doesn’t come cheap. Weekly upkeep hits around £700–or 233 pints of beer!

So what are you waiting for? Book a trip and treat yourself to a pint of draft beer. After all, you’d probably be paying for a parrot’s next meal!

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