Category: tqjjzjokz

Report unmasks indiscriminate killer of elephants: poaching not for ivory, but for skin

first_imgMyanmar has seen an increase in the number of elephants killed over the past several years, with some of the carcasses found skinned.A report by the U.K.-based conservation group Elephant Family has identified growing demand for elephant skin products from Myanmar’s giant neighbor, China, which it blames for driving elephant poaching in the Southeast Asian country.Conservationists are calling on the Myanmar government to boost law enforcement, beef up forest patrols, and increase conservation outreach and awareness on elephants in the country.Warning: Some images may be disturbing or graphic. Growing Chinese demand for products made from elephant skin is a rapidly growing threat to the species’ survival in neighboring Myanmar, a new report warns.Over the past decade, Myanmar has seen a significant increase in the number of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus indicus) killed, with conservationists pinning the blame on poachers. In 2010, four elephant carcasses were found in the wild in Myanmar, according to government data cited in the new report from U.K.-based conservation group Elephant Family. In 2013, the number was 26; by 2016, it was 61. Government statistics for 2017 record 59 wild elephant deaths, most of them poached.Myanmar has seen an increase in the number of elephants killed in the last decade. Image courtesy of Klaus Reisinger/Compass Films.The Elephant Family report and other recent publications highlight a major driver behind the increase in poaching: demand for elephant skin. Organizations such as WWF-Myanmar, Traffic and the Smithsonian Institution have reported that elephant poachers in the Southeast Asian country are killing the animal for its hide. The tough skin is ground up for traditional medicine or turned into fashion accessories such as beads or pendants.In its report published last month, “Skinned: The growing appetite for Asian elephants,” Elephant Family describes how the transnational animal hide trade sees poachers feed demand in both the physical and online markets in China.“We began by monitoring live trade, but then discovered there was a marked increase in poaching in Myanmar,” Belinda Stewart-Cox, the group’s director of conservation, said in a statement. “We were shown images of elephant carcasses found with strips of skin missing and, more recently, carcasses that had been entirely surgically skinned.”The researchers, posing as buyers, started assessing physical and online markets offering elephant skin, and were told by traders that the product was generally used for medicine and food in China. The earliest online discussion about elephant skin they could locate was from 2014 in a forum operated by the Chinese internet giant Baidu.“We cannot be sure why the [elephant skin] bead manufacture and powder started in 2014,” an investigator with the Elephant Family wildlife crime team, who asked not to be named, told Mongabay by email.But the investigator noted that many events happened around that time or just a few years before that might have jump-started the trend, including steps to eventually shut down China’s domestic ivory markets; a pharmaceutical licensing regulation by the Chinese government allowing the use of elephant skin; and increased enforcement around ivory in China.Asian elephant skin laid out. Image courtesy of Klaus Reisinger/Compass Films.Elephant skin beads for sale in Xishuangbanna,Yunnan province, China. Image courtesy of Elephant Family.Packaging detailing elephant skin products bearing the branding of SINO-TCM/Beijing Huamiao. Image courtesy of Elephant Family.Here a trader explains to potential customers that due to an increase in the price at source, the price for all elephant skin products must be raised. Image courtesy of Elephant Family.Elephant skin in the process of being carved into beads. Image courtesy of Elephant Family.12345 read more

Paul Wright | ISSA should safeguard school rugby

first_img Learn the signs Fact not unnoticed May was designated as Child’s Month, and as can be expected, there were numerous speeches and articles about improving the welfare of our children, particularly those who are designated as ‘at risk’. Congratulations to all the well thinking people and organisations dedicated to ‘help the youth’. However, there was one aspect of the month’s activities that seemed (to me) to avoid the real meaning of Child Month: the welfare of our children at play. There seems to be a lot of attention and fanfare to the welfare of our children at play, when adults benefit. In track and field and football, large sums are spent, by schools and sponsors, in making sure that competition among our children gets first- world tracks (some schools can now boast of their own modern, first-world running and throwing and jumping surfaces), and the medical and nutritional support to (successful) teams, while not up to first-world status, is a ‘work in progress’ and improving year after year. However, there are two aspects of ‘children at play’ that needs urgent and sustained attention, particularly by those who have the awesome responsibility of being in charge of our children at play. Today, I will highlight one. Jamaica has qualified for a place in the Rugby World Cup Sevens next month in San Francisco, California. This unprecedented and remarkable feat is due in no small measure to the never-say-die attitude of the Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU) Chairman and chief cheer leader, Jerry Benzwick. Because of his attitude, hard work and belief in the innate skill of our people, Rugby is a fast -growing sport, with both boys and girls involved in trying to emulate the feats of the pioneers, who have made Jamaica a ‘ranking’ member of the world stage. The Jamaica Crocs and the Jamaica Lady ‘Crocs’ have been earning medals and points, qualifying both our Men’s and Women’s rugby sides to be listed internationally as ‘teams to watch’. Rugby, however has not yet received the blessing of the Inter Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA), therefore competition and practice is undertaken by adults affiliated with the JRFU. The game of Rugby usually comprises 15 players who try to move the ball from their side of the field to the opponent’s side and scoring points, depending on how the ball was taken over a designated line. Rugby Sevens is played on the same sized field with seven players, resulting in more speed being generated prior to a tackle, resulting in a greater force on contact. Knowledgeable rugby fans and players understand that in Rugby Sevens, the increased amount of side-stepping, deceleration and acceleration of the players increases the risk of non-contact injuries in open play. Thus, in this contact sport, new players are particularly vulnerable. This fact has not gone unnoticed by the rugby associations worldwide, and recently some figures concerning contact and non-contact injuries need highlighting, as I am not aware of any injury surveillance data being collected here in our fair isle. Concussion is a serious and important side effect of contact sports. In the USA, in Under 19 and non-elite players, concussion occurs in approximately 42% of Rugby Sevens players, with a staggering 20% of those concussed having another episode of concussion in the next 12 months. International figures also indicate that there is a 100% non-compliance with return-to- play concussion protocols established by sports medicine associations worldwide. Most of the players concussed were those initiating the tackle in open play. It is also well established in Rugby, that the proper way to tackle involves staying low, head up, elbows in hands up, and shoulders above hips. This is taught, but in the heat of competition, errors occur and injury results. The question therefore, is what arrangements are made to identify, treat and follow up children playing at rugby who get concussed, remembering that sport-related concussion (SRC) may not involve loss of consciousness. The majority of SRCs occur without loss of consciousness or neurological signs. The injury can be identified during play or practice when the child complains of a headache, or is seen to have balance issues, confused, or is noticeably more irritable. Further, delayed onset of symptoms are well documented. Usually, the injured child will miss days at school after a tackle -initiated injury at rugby. Such a child should not be allowed to return to sports until they have returned to school and demonstrated symptom-free activity. Too often, our injured children who are designated as ‘must picks’ are allowed to return to sports BEFORE returning to school to be observed by peers, teachers and coaches. Rugby has taken off world-wide, and we in Jamaica can benefit from the many possibilities that this new frontier offers our children, from scholarships to professional contracts, to the multiple benefits of international travel and competition. However, the safety of our children at play cannot, should not, be left to chance. We need to include the sport of rugby under the auspices of ISSA, and insist that any competition involving our children be monitored by trained and competent medical personnel. Our future generation depends on us, the adults, to help and protect them.last_img read more

Carrying flag a ‘dream come true’ for Brown

first_img “Being the captain of the team is a great feeling because last year, my expectation was to make the Youth Olympic team. So this year before we left for Argentina, I was named the team’s captain and I’m very overjoyed,” he added. Brown noted that as leader, he has to set an example for others to follow. “I’ve to set an example and lead from the front and do the things that are right so at least everybody can follow me and do the things that are good,” he said. “It also motivates me because if I’m the captain, I want to lead from the front so that they’ll say if I can do it, they can do it as well.” Brown will compete in the 400-metre hurdles, where he has a personal best time of 52.16 seconds. The Games are being held out of season, and the Jamaica captain pointed out that his “preparation wasn’t so bad, but wasn’t so good either. I just followed my coach’s instructions throughout the summer, and I’ve come here to do my best.” Besides competition on the track, the weather has been somewhat cold, with temperatures sometimes below 508F at nights. Brown said that he has been acclimatising well and will be “up to standard” when facing the starter. “Stepping out of the airport, it was very cold, and since Tuesday, when we arrived here, I’ve adjusted from wearing long tights to just training in shorts as I’ve acclimatised to the weather. I’m 85 per cent ready,” he said. “My expectation is to put in a phenomenal performance and make Jamaica proud.” BUENOS AIRES, Argentina: Shanthamoi Brown will be living a dream when he carries the Jamaica flag, at this evening’s flag-raising ceremony inside the Games Village and tomorrow’s Opening Ceremony at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) put together a 13-member team to represent the country at the event, and Brown said that he has been harbouring thoughts of carrying the National Flag for several years now. “From 2016, I saw my inspiration, my idol, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, carry the flag. From that day, I said one day I must be a flag-bearer, and now my dream has come true and I’m excited,” said Brown after training. The Kingston College student is also captain of the eight-member boys’ team, which he deems an honour. Honouredlast_img read more

L.A. council to study driver fee at airport

first_img“Our traffic requires us to think out of the box,” said Rosendahl, whose district includes LAX. “I will leave no stone unturned in trying to find ways to free our streets, especially Westside streets, of traffic gridlock.” Under the proposal, residents from outside Los Angeles County would pay a higher fee than local motorists driving to the airport. An automated people-mover would provide a free alternative for those who park elsewhere. Funds raised from the tolls would go toward mass-transit projects, such as more FlyAway bus service and the proposed Metro Green Line extension to LAX, Rosendahl said. More than 25.6 million vehicles entered the central terminal area last year, according to LAX officials. The city’s Transportation Department, chief legislative analyst and administrative office will present the study to the City Council’s Transportation Committee for review. “To provide comprehensive long-term solutions, we must examine the whole spectrum of congestion-reducing strategies and decide which are the right fit for our city,” said Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who leads the council’s Transportation Committee. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Art Marroquin STAFF WRITER A study examining whether motorists headed into Los Angeles International Airport should pay tolls was requested Friday by City Councilman Bill Rosendahl. The study would specifically examine congestion pricing for LAX-bound vehicles, which could lead to higher tolls during busy traffic periods, Rosendahl said. last_img read more

Podcast: Sportsday on talkSPORT 2, May 14

first_imgIt’s final day in La Liga as the title race goes down to the wire between Barcelona and Real Madrid.Conor O’Shea’s reign as Harlequins Director of Rugby comes to an end as they go down 26-19 in the European Challenge Cup to Montpellier.And Andy Murray is into the semi-finals in Rome, live on talkSPORT 2.Here’s the morning’s breaking sports news from Dan Windle and the team.last_img

Listen: Regrets aplenty for Neil McGee, but Gaoth Dobhair get another crack

first_imgNEIL MCGEE says he’s glad that Gaoth Dobhair have got another crack at retaining their Donegal SFC crown.Gaoth Dobhair were denied by Naomh Conaill in a tense game yesterday in Ballybofey after being two points up with less than ten minutes remaining.“We’re glad to get another shot, but we’re disappointed after being two up,” McGee told Donegal Daily/Donegal Sport Hub. “They threw everything at us.“We just didn’t put enough scores on the board. We had some criminal wides. We were on top for 15 minutes in each half, but we didn’t capitalise on it.”Listen to the full interview below … Listen: Regrets aplenty for Neil McGee, but Gaoth Dobhair get another crack was last modified: October 20th, 2019 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:2019 Donegal SFCGaoth DobhairNaomh Conaillneil mcgeelast_img read more

Sir Alex’s heart-warming message to former Man United protege Cristiano Ronaldo

first_img 2 Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 4:37Loaded: 3.57%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -4:37 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreen AFP or licensors Cristiano Ronaldo on international duty for Portugal AFP or licensors “I’m really sorry I can’t be with you, but I look back and see you as a young lad at 17 years of age who came to Manchester United, how you have progressed as a human being and a fantastic sportsman.“I want to say to you, and your mother, and all your family, and all of your kids; well done. 2 The Juventus forward was named as Portugal’s Player of the Yera for a record tenth time, despite turning 34 during the 2018/19 season.Ronaldo beat off competition from Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Ruben Neves and Bruno Fernandes after a season which saw him pick up three trophies.And Ferguson paid an emotional tribute to his former star pupil.“Congratulations on a great achievement and a wonderful night you’re going to have in Portugal,” Ferguson said. Sir Alex Ferguson has sent a tender message to former Manchester United protege Cristiano Ronaldo as he scooped another individual award.The legendary Old Trafford manager brought the 18-year-old to Old Trafford in 2003 and developed a father-son relationship with the winger.Under Sir Alex’s guidance, Ronaldo developed into one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Sir Alex Ferguson helped the nurture the teenager into one of the world’s greatest Michael Kurn picks Ronaldo over Messi for his international achievements “You have been an absolute pleasure for me to have known, to have worked with, and to have seen you progress into the footballer you were.“So, good luck, have a great night, and well done.”last_img read more

Columbus Catholic boys basketball knocks off Loyal for WIAA Division 5 regional title

first_imgDons play Almond-Bancroft at SPASH in sectional semifinal ThursdayBy Steve PilzMARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Columbus Catholic Dons are regional champs after a 69-47 win over the Loyal Greyhounds on Saturday night at the Columbus Catholic High School Gym in a WIAA Division 5 regional final.No. 1 seed Columbus Catholic (23-2) moves on to play second-seeded Almond-Bancroft (23-2) in a Division 5 sectional semifinal Thursday at Stevens Point Area Senior High. The game will be at 7 p.m. and broadcast on WOSQ-FM 92.3 and beat the Dons last season in the D-5 regional final.The Dons’ Nick Malovrh regrouped after a poor performance the night before. The usually steady junior guard and all-conference player had just two points Friday night against Rosholt, partly due to some foul trouble and some uncharacteristically cold shooting.Malovrh redeemed himself and then some as he got the Dons rolling early with a 17-point first half, which included three 3-pointers, as the Dons rolled to a 40-20 halftime lead. Loyal’s Cameron Brussow had eight points at the break, but the Greyhounds were their own worst enemy, turning the ball over 13 times in the first half and shooting just 8-for-21.Little changed to start the second half as the Dons made five of their first six shots, including a pair of lay-ups by Charles Payant, and pushed their lead to 25 at 49-24.With starter Elliot Genteman saddled with foul trouble, sophomore Quinn Brussow came in off the bench and hit three field goals in a row for Loyal. That, sandwiched around a field goal and a 3-pointer by his brother Cameron, spurred a 20-6 run tomake a game of it. Perhaps some ill-advised 3-point shooting by the Dons allowed the Greyhounds to dramatically cut the lead to just 11.“I give coach (Rob) Love all the credit in the world,” Columbus coach Joe Konieczny said. “We had them down 24, 25 points, and he didn’t quit. He kept trying to find a way to get his team back in the game. He put on a 2-2-1 press. We didn’t handle it well at all for seven of eight minutes, and they cut the lead down to 11. Our kids figured out what to do after that.”Payant score all 10 of his points in the second half and shot 5 for 6 in the game.Tyler Fuerlinger led the Dons in scoring with 20 points on 8 of 16 shooting. Malovrh had 19 points in the game, including 3 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc. Hunter Schultz made his return to the starting line-up after missing the past five games with a foot injury and shook off the rust with 18 points.Konieczny had high praise for the Greyhounds.“Give Loyal credit,” he said. “Those kids got a lot of fight. It’s been an honor to play against (Cameron) Brussow and (Riley) Geiger and coach Love. They’ve made us better because they made us a better team.”Up next is a rematch with Almond-Bancroft.“Almond/Bancroft is very good,” Konieczny said. “They’ve got a good point guard. … We’ll have our work cut out for us. We’re going to enjoy this tonight and then start thinking four days ahead. We have an opportunity Thursday against another really good team.”Dons 69, Greyhounds 47Loyal 20 27 – 47Columbus Catholic 40 29 – 69LOYAL (47): Riley Geiger 9, Jordan Radue 5, Quinn Brussow 10, Cameron Brussow 23. FG: 16-41. FT: 12-17. 3-pointers: 3-13 (C. Brussow 2, Q. Brussow). Turnovers: 19. Fouls: 18. Fouled out: C.Brussow. Record 18-7.COLUMBUS CATHOLIC (69): Jarred Mandel 2, Charles Payant 10, Nick Malovrh 19, Hunter Schultz 18, Tyler Fuerlinger 20. FG: 26-54. FT: 10-18. 3-pointers: 7-19. (Malovrh 3, T. Fuerlinger 2, Schultz 2). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: none. Record 23-2.last_img read more

72 days that shaped South Africa (4)

first_imgJust how “miraculous” was South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy? How close did the country really come to civil war?Check out our press clipping snapshots of the 72 days leading up to Nelson Mandela’s inauguration as SA’s first democratically elected President – and see how heavily the odds were stacked against “the rainbow nation”.21 MARCH 1994IFP plans poll protestThe Inkatha Freedom Party has rejected an initiative by President De Klerk to bring it into the election and is instead planning a campaign of opposition to the Interim Constitution and next month’s election.Tensions in KwaZulu/Natal continued to soar at the weekend with sporadic outbreaks of violence and both the IFP and ANC announcing steps designed to gain strategic advantage in the province.The Star, Monday 21 March 1994He’s tuning in to ParliamentParliament’s austere corridors might soon be reverberating to the rhythmic reggae beat if James Mange can muster enough fans.The dreadlocked Mange, with his colourful history in struggle politics and music, has resurfaced as leader of the Sports Organisation for Collective Contribution and Equal Rights (SOCCER) Party.The Rastafarian commando spent 13 years on Robben Island after being sentenced to death in 1979 along with 11 others for high treason.Once free he set about establishing a musical career.But politics is in his bones, he says, and he has found a way to marry his two loves and hopefully take them into the realm of government in the new South Africa.The Star, Monday 21 March 199422 MARCH 1994TEC bid to take control in KwaZuluThe Transitional Executive Council (TEC) is considering a series of steps, including giving the SAP jurisdiction over KwaZulu and considering government’s financial obligations to the territory, to ensure free political activity in the region in the five weeks leading up to the elections.At the same time, Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairman Judge Johann Kriegler is trying to secure “an inclusive commitment” to free and fair elections from President FW de Klerk, ANC president Nelson Mandela, Inkatha Freedom Party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.Business Day, Tuesday 22 March 199421 die as prisons eruptA cell fire killed 21 prisoners at the Queenstown Prison yesterday as the countrywide protest by prisoners for the right to vote escalated.And the mood at the majority of prisons around the country was described as “tense and volatile” by prison authorities today.At Maritzburg Prison about 2 000 prisoners broke out of their cells and toyi-toyied in the courtyards.By last night, 3 000 prisoners were also on hunger strike countrywide. These included 614 at East London, 29 at Krugerdorp, 148 at Port Shepstone, 16 at Pollsmoor (Cape Town) and 210 at Brandviel.The Star, Tuesday 22 March 1994Bomb wrecks NP officesA powerful bomb wrecked through the offices of the National Party in Right-wing Ventersdorp last night.A police spokesman confirmed that the explosion caused large-scale damage to the building which houses the offices.The Citizen, Tuesday 22 March 199423 MARCH 1994TEC takes over Ciskei as Gqozo quitsCiskei military leader Brigadier Oupa Gqozo resigned last night as the SADF was deployed along the homeland’s border in readiness to help quell a revolt by public servants and police.The Transitional Executive Council (TEC) said it would appoint two administrators to govern Ciskei until the election, after Gqozo contacted Foreign Minister Pik Botha and offered to step down. He asked SA to intervene and restore control.Defence Minister Kobie Coetzee said troops had been placed on full alert along Ciskei’s border and could be deployed at short notice to “calm the situation”.Business Day, Wednesday 23 March 199424 MARCH 1994Chaos in homelandsBisho – As wildcat strikes by public servants spread throughout Ciskei today, the big question is which way the Ciskei Defence Force will go. The CDF boycotted talks in King William’s Town yesterday called by the South African government and the Transitional Executive Council to smooth the way for the peaceful reincorporation of the homeland into South Africa following the resignation of Oupa Gqozo as president.The Star, Thursday 24 March 199425 MARCH 1994More troops for Natal?Durban – State President De Klerk said yesterday that SA Defence Force troops could be deployed more widely in war-torn Natal and KwaZulu, where political fighting has reached almost unprecedented levels five weeks before the April election.The Citizen, Friday 25 March 199426 MARCH 1994Marching to PretoriaThousands of right-wingers started gathering at Radio Pretoria last night for a massive show of right-wing strength today.As the city prepared for an invasion by up to 25 000 marchers, businesses and security forces said they were ready for any eventuality.Afrikaner Volkstaat and Conservative Party leader Ferdi Hartzenberg is scheduled to address the marchers at Church Square on Hoofstad Dag (Capital Day) and proclaim Pretoria the capital of a right-wing volkstaat.Weekend Star, Saturday 26 March 1994KwaZulu on the agendaKwaZulu Chief Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi meets President de Klerk this weekend for talks that will weigh heavily on contingency planning for strife-torn KwaZulu/Natal.The discussions come amid increasing government speculation that an election in the region could be postponed.Weekend Star, Saturday 26 March 199427 MARCH 1994Nuclear scientists threaten to tell allDisgruntled South African nuclear and rocket scientists are threatening to expose closely guarded secrets about the country’s arms programme unless they are paid R4.5-million in retrenchment benefits.A spokesman claiming to represent 16 scientists admitted this week that the threat amounted to blackmail.“We want a settlement, but negotiation has failed and we don’t want to have to take this to the industrial court. Our disclosures will prove embarrassing for Armscor, Denal (an off-shoot of Armscor) and the Nationalist government”, he warned.Sunday Times, Sunday 27 March 1994The story continued …1 – 6 March 19947 – 13 March 199414 – 20 March 199421 – 27 March 199428 March – 3 April 19944 – 10 April 199411 – 17 April 199418 – 24 April 199425 April – 1 May 19942 – 8 May 19949 – 11 May 1994Research, photos: Ndaba DlaminiWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

The Big Picture: Retail Video Today and What’s Coming Tomorrow

first_imgWhy should video be high on loss prevention’s list of priorities? Because a fundamental change has created a wave of innovation and will fuel advances for years to come.Once, back when Canon made a splash with its “Image is Everything” advertising campaign, it really was. CCTV offered images of sales floors and stockrooms, with the visual information acting as a surrogate for human observation. The pictures provided the value. Cameras offered extra sets of eyes.It’s a world of difference today. Visual information is no longer the only—and perhaps not even the primary—component of a video surveillance system. Images are still valuable, but it is the data inherent within them that provides for new applications and value. A camera is now a computer with a lens. Video once provided LP with extra eyes—now it also offers brains.- Sponsor – Harnessing this new intelligence has become a true test of loss prevention leadership. And it’s not a stretch to say that a retail organization’s success is increasingly linked to its ability to take advantage of emerging video surveillance tools to reduce loss, enhance situational awareness, improve store operations, aid compliance, and boost sales.By some accounts, this is an area where loss prevention teams and retailers are falling short. Experts we interviewed on all sides—manufacturers, integrators, and end-users—said it’s not uncommon for many deployed video system features to go underutilized and, worse, completely unused. Some cited specific gaps—between the use of video surveillance tools and what they’re capable of—in the areas of integration, remote monitoring, and analytics. One was harsh, saying it’s as much the rule as the exception for retail security cameras to be positioned incorrectly, poorly maintained, and insufficiently managed.In some cases, personnel may not be up to the task. As one loss prevention director shared, the video loss prevention technology now available to stores is, in car terms, like a Ferrari, yet we are asking it to be driven by novice drivers. It is not uncommon for retail security guards and store associates to use but a small fraction of the potential capability of the video systems installed. And in the end, a system is reliant on those who have the time, skills, or inclination to use it.A lack of effective strategic security management can also be to blame. Developments in video technology can outpace loss prevention leaders’ understanding of how to exploit it, and while snapshots like this article may help, truly addressing a potential knowledge gap demands effective and consistent communication between those who follow security technology and those in charge of developing strategies to use it. That said, we think it’s worth noting the issues and applications that rose to the top when we examined new research and solicited expert opinions from end users and video technology providers on where we are, where we’re going, and what pitfalls we may find along the way.Coverage and IntegrationPanoramic HD cameras, remote monitoring, and integration are among the video uses providing LP with significant value. The consensus view is that video surveillance succeeds best in applications where it offers a clear benefit to users, is intuitive and easy to use, and offers robust performance. So how are retailers benefiting from today’s video solutions? Some of the strategies frequently mentioned include:Getting More from Less. “High-resolution panoramic cameras, which can cover more of a store more cost effectively, is a video technology that has been providing a very positive practical contribution to users,” said Dan Reese, director of vertical market applications for Bosch Security Systems.Going Beyond You. The integration of cameras into store infrastructures—such as doors, store alarm systems, EAS gates, and lighting—creates new opportunities for value creation, and many experts think linking security video with other systems and databases is where you’ll find its greatest value. “Integration is a huge area of opportunity,” said Hedgie Bartol of Axis Communications, a network camera manufacturer. For example, the integration of high-definition video with point-of-sale data enables investigators to more quickly and successfully review video surveillance footage associated with a specific transaction. A retailer can expect, at a minimum, 10 to 20 percent of timesaving compared to traditional investigations, according to Scott Emery of NAVCO, an electronic security system integrator.Being Generous. Some sharing of security video is common, such as with risk management to manage slip-and-fall risk, but widespread video sharing across a retail enterprise isn’t always common. One loss prevention executive said it’s important to think of store video as a tool for providing business benefits—not as a departmental asset. Cross-functional corporate executives can use video to obtain feedback on customer traffic, customer service execution, merchandising presentation, procedural compliance, employee safety, and general store operations, among other issues. And there is a bonus benefit, say experts: it’s easier to justify investments in video—and to demonstrate return on investment—when there are more internal users.Business IntelligenceLed by analytics, video is more than ever central to strategies to improve sales and cut loss. Video analytics—computer-assisted video monitoring, analysis, and indexing—changes what a surveillance camera network “sees.” Software using signal processing and pattern recognition techniques automatically generate meaningful or semantic data from video images. It is technology that is rapidly improving according to LP and security executives we consulted. They noted specific and significant progress in analytic functions such as motion analysis, object detection and tracking, identification, and activity recognition.What’s the hottest trend? “Video being used and providing value for more than just loss prevention and expanding to in-store operations,” said Reese. “To make sure things are running smoothly, to monitor queue length, examine dwell times, do calculations on conversion rates, and collect other business data to assist with marketing and merchandising—this is what is up and coming.”Interest in business intelligence and retail analytics stands to be a boon for loss prevention. The same cameras that can run analytics to measure customer impressions of promotional displays or to generate heat maps of customer traffic patterns are the ones used for loss prevention. “Now you can get dual use out of your cameras,” said Reese. “So now the LP pro has more people potentially funding the cameras.”Whether or not this promising future is fully realized significantly depends on whether retailers come to find that video surveillance data does, in fact, enable improved retail performance. Can video information, as is currently being promised, enhance customer experience, optimize store performance, reduce operational costs, and ultimately translate into higher profitability? On this critical question, there is good reason to be hopeful.Researchers at York University in Toronto examined retail sales and video monitoring data collected by video analytics provider i3 International from six US sporting goods stores over five months. Video tracked the times that customers entered and exited stores, their direction, and whether or not a customer entered alone, among other things. Three of the six stores used the data to adjust promotion and sales techniques, while the other three stores did not use the data. The study, “Cameras Tracking Shoppers: The Economics of Retail Video Surveillance,” published in the December 2015 edition of Eurasian Business Review, was unambiguous in its conclusion: “Under our most conservative estimates, the surveillance technology increased total sales per hour by 16.93 percent, increased the number of transactions per hour by 9.69 percent, and increased the average size of each transaction by 9.59 percent. There is less than a 1 percent chance that these findings are due to random chance.”Improvements in analytics are also poised to aid loss prevention. The hope has always been that video surveillance saves money by identifying thieves and discouraging crime. Proof that it does has been surprisingly hard to come by, however, given the reliance of retailers on CCTV to address store theft. A review in May 2016 of forty CCTV studies by University of Leicester Professor Adrian Beck—Amplifying Risk in Retail Stores: The Evidence to Date—concluded that results paint “a very mixed picture.” Overall, research suggests that visible video deters opportunistic offenders but that “professional thieves are likely to look for ways to defeat it.”But experts generally agree that advances—specifically, better analytics, the ability of machines to “learn” from their environment what is a noteworthy event, and the ability for cameras to run analytics and detect anomalies at the edge—are improving video’s theft prevention prospects. Video analytics already do a good job outside by identifying blocked fire lanes, or inside to alert staff to blocked fire exits, and they “continue to get better and better,” said Bosch’s Dan Reese. Advances open new possibilities, such as using video analytics to alert when an employee is processing a return when there is no customer in front of them. Improvements in analytics now allow cameras to track individuals throughout an entire store, using their gait, height, and other personal features to keep them in view. And it’s no longer a fantasy to envision a video surveillance system that can—given enough data sets to go on—identify behaviors that suggest an individual is about to commit a theft and to alert store personnel. New algorithms are being developed that can learn the difference between normal and anomalous behavior. These “deep learning” algorithms could potentially be applied to automatically detect sweethearting and other behaviors related to internal theft. “This is emerging to the point where it’s just becoming practical. It’s something that’s not far off,” according to Reese. Recent scientific studies have shown that novel algorithm approaches significantly reduce false alarms and enhance precision in detecting nonscans versus scans by cashiers at checkout, for example. In short, network cameras plus high resolution plus rapidly advancing analytical capabilities equal a powerful platform to drive value for retailers by both boosting business and reducing loss.Facial RecognitionTechnological improvements and an expansion in use cases are making facial recognition technology more viable in retail. Using facial recognition, equipped security cameras in a retail location are capable of comparing images of individuals who walk into a store against a database of images. If a match is found, personnel can be alerted and provided whatever information is known about the individual. For safety and security, that can alert an asset protection associate to the presence of known shoplifters, members of organized retail crime syndicates, or other persons of interest, such as a disgruntled ex-employee or a violent ex-spouse. Expanding a system’s database by incorporating images provided by local law enforcement or other retailers can make a system more valuable.In a study of potential privacy issues, researchers from the Government Accountability Office identified retail as a potential primary user of facial recognition technology but admitted that the extent to which it’s already in use is unclear. A representative of the National Retail Federation (NRF) said many retailers are looking into facial recognition systems for security purposes, but that it didn’t have data on the level of use. The general sense is that retailers in the US are not currently using the technology broadly as concerns over customer reaction has forced a go-slow approach. But as more retailers investigate positive uses for facial recognition, something that retailers in Europe and Asia have been doing, retailers may increasingly test the American public’s willingness to accept the technology.Facial recognition may have started as a security technology, but consumer commercial applications are growing fast. For example, cameras embedded into digital signs can determine the demographic characteristics of a face, such as approximate age and gender, and show targeted advertisements in real time. In a 2015 survey by Computer Sciences Corporation of 150 UK retailers, including more than half of fashion retailers, 27 percent said they use facial recognition technology (FRT).Saks has been one of the technology’s early adopters as the company described in a presentation at the 2014 NRF Loss Prevention Conference. Sharing Saks’ experience, Patrick McEvoy, director for AP systems and technology for Hudson’s Bay Company, Saks’ parent, suggested the technology had its limitations but was capable of delivering desired results. The presentation suggested that some of the historical causes for a lack of adoption—faulty technology, too expensive, lack of benefits—were being overcome. In addition to identifying bad actors, stores are finding other ways to use the technology including identifying VIP customers, conducting targeted marketing, collecting data on customer demographics, and for general physical security applications such as access control and capacity management. Again, video surveillance cameras can do double duty—serving security needs and enhancing marketing and customer service.In discovering a wider range of uses for facial recognition, retailers are following the lead of casinos. Jessie Beaudoin, former executive director of surveillance for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, explained that the casino has successfully used face recognition for years to spot known criminals, prostitutes, previously ejected individuals, and card counters from its photo database of known “cheats” and problem individuals. Police mug shots of local criminals and discs of facial images sent to them by other properties enhances Hard Rock’s database of people it wants to know are on the property. But the casino also leverages FRT for value beyond security—to immediately identify when high rollers or celebrities come on its premises. This allows staff to greet and tend to them—perhaps point them to high-stakes games in progress—a service that encourages top customers to keep coming back.It’s that type of customer service application that is expected to drive adoption of FRT in retail. In a December NRF poll, 82.5 percent of retailers said it will be “very important” to personalize the shopping experience in 2017, and facial recognition is perhaps the ultimate personalizing technology. “A valuable customer who has opted into a program can get a personal welcome when he comes into the store and personalized coupons sent to his phone,” explained Reese.T-Mobile has FRT in more than 1,000 stores and captures tens of thousands of faces per day, the wireless carrier explained in an ISC West conference presentation. But it regards the technology differently than most—not to provide “recognition” but to provide “face capture events” with the goal of associating every transaction with a face. Although it’s not the stereotypical “face in the crowd” application, it provides evidentiary value. In an identity theft event, for example, investigators can search and find the face that goes with the transaction, and then pull up all other occasions when the suspect individual has been in any T-Mobile’s store. That alone often reveals their true information as a database search of a fraudster’s face often returns legitimate transactions when they used their real identity. Also because an account number has a face associated with it, when a different face makes a change to the account, security can be alerted to the anomaly. The technology did not have an immediate impact on T-Mobile’s security headcount, but it did leverage the value of the people it has, significantly improving investigative closure rates, investigation time-to-closure, and financial return per investigator.Emerging Recognition TechnologyIn 2017, the most talked-about camera and recognition technology may have nothing to do with faces. Four major retailers, including a convenience store and a big box, are currently in varying stages of testing cameras embedded with an algorithm that pick-ups signals from shoppers’ WiFi- and Bluetooth-emitting devices, like smartphones, Fitbits, and Apple watches. The system assigns each individual a unique but anonymous identifier, which facilitates data collection such as where that individual goes in the store, how long they shop, and—so long as they’re in possession of the same device—whenever the individual returns or visits another of the retailer’s locations. The technology gives retailers that are interested in tracking shoppers—but scared away by the privacy concerns associated with personal identifiers—a way forward. With it, retailers can learn about a shopper’s personal habits and whether they’re someone store agents should be suspicious of, but that knowledge is never linked in a database with unique identifying information, like a Mac address, a name, or a face. The technology’s not new, and its inclusion in surveillance cameras allows retailers to take advantage of it without needing to alter the IT infrastructure.The technology has obvious marketing potential, and LP executives are finding useful applications as well, according to Jim Paul of ClickIt, which makes the cameras currently undergoing testing. For example, a criminal who covers his face during a robbery may nonetheless be easily caught by searching for other times his device was in a retailer’s location and reviewing corresponding video to see his unobscured face. Or if a known problem individual enters any of a retailer’s locations, store personnel can receive an alert. On the “crawl, walk, run” continuum, Paul says the technology is currently at the “walk” stage—but that it would soon be a game-changing application for major retailers. Technology that can provide unique security and business intelligence but sidestep privacy concerns seems likely to find its way into retailers’ technology arsenal.Effectiveness Does Not Require PerfectionA willingness to accept less-than-perfect technology is a promising development that may help to drive adoption of new loss prevention tools like facial recognition. “Human recognition systems are inherently probabilistic, and hence inherently fallible,” concluded researchers in Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities, a report by the National Research Council. It’s not the kind of characterization that is likely to inspire confidence in a retailer flirting with adoption of facial recognition technology. Indeed, according to existing retail users, there are substantial technical requirements and a long list of issues that can complicate implementation and degrade performance:Multiple cameras are often needed to effectively capture faces at a double-door entrance,Multiple servers are often needed to run face capture and database matching,Database photos must be of a certain resolution for optimal use in matching live video, andAccurate system testing is really only possible in the live, operational environment of real-world users.Sometimes, warn researchers, improving the performance of one component of a facial recognition system degrades performance of the larger system. For example, upgrading a face image detector can allow a system to find more faces in more poses, but then the number of off-angle and partial faces sent into the comparison process increases. Additionally, there is no way to definitively determine the impact of component changes on system-level performance until the components have been inserted and the system is tested as a whole. Finally, with scant data on operational evaluations of FRT, retailers are often dependent on claims made by the FRT vendors themselves.For a retailer conditioned by Hollywood interpretations of technology, the many caveats may suggest that technology like FRT is simply “not ready.” However, perhaps the best way to approach new video applications are not with a mindset of pass-fail based on their original promise, but instead to recognize what these tools actually can do—and to decide whether those capabilities can return value to your security and retail operation.That approach may be growing increasingly widespread. Several Super Bowls ago, facial recognition was hyped for its use to spot terrorists, promotion that didn’t do the industry any favors, according Stephen Russell, CEO and founder of Prism Skylabs and former CEO of 3VR Security. Hype obscured the fact that even if 88 percent accuracy is as good as we can ever get in such a “face in the crowd” scenario, FRT can still pass a cost-benefit test. Ask yourself whether at that percent of recognition you would find bad guys you would not find otherwise. Then ask if the volume of investigating “possibles” would be too great for your staff to handle. If “yes” and “no,” respectively, are your answers, then the technology is useful despite a lack of absolute precision.While it may sound like an industry trying to lower the bar, there are countless case studies of companies extracting real value from less-than-perfect video technology applications. For example, people counting functions may not be 100 percent accurate—people huddled at exits will cause a miss here and there—but the data may still provide for more informed business and security decisions. As advanced video surveillance tools have been increasingly used for business, there has been more variation in the way end users characterize “effective,” said one industry expert.Following are some additional insights from new research and perspectives that appear to be widely shared on the state and future of video:Measuring customer response to products and understanding their level of engagement is necessary for the future of brick-and-mortar retail.On-board processing power of video surveillance cameras will continue to increase, with more applications being performed at the edge.Collecting data on shopping experiences can be done by cameras and image processing algorithms, “but the appearance of new kind of sensors like iBeacons or radio frequency identification [on shopping carts, for example] is leading to new hybrid systems with great performance,” according to “Improving Retail Efficiency Through Sensing Technologies,” a study published in the October 2016 issue of Pattern Recognition Letters.4K video surveillance is accompanied by extensive marketing hype, according to IHS, a market analysis firm in a research report, Top Video Surveillance Trends for 2016. “Yet make no mistake, the video surveillance market is going to 4K cameras; it’s only a matter of when rather than if.”Mundane factors like tight budgets are restricting adoption of advanced video technologies, but there is also a level of fear that, at times, their promise is oversold and that systems try to do too much, which harms performance and reliability.Analytics and more efficient compression technologies can effectively reduce video storage requirements, but alone can’t offset the burgeoning demand, according to IHS. An approach incorporating multiple storage types will often be the most cost-efficient solution, the firm concluded. “In its most basic form, this means a combination of cloud and local storage with one unified platform.”The trend of linking of public and private video surveillance networks will accelerate.Will You Benefit?The big change noted at the outset—that video cameras have moved from single-function pieces of store equipment to a platform technology with limitless business potential—requires effective management to leverage value. Enhanced video functions are less meaningful if they outstrip the ability of loss prevention departments to make effective use of them.As camera technology has improved and options have expanded, it has become more important, when purchasing video solutions, to have clearly articulated goals and strategies. It’s more important now than back when a camera was just a camera and loss prevention was the sole stakeholder. As such, experts frequently identify collaboration as a linchpin to success so that all potential stakeholders can provide input on how they might be able to leverage a retailer’s investment in advanced video technology. LP departments should also be wary of letting capabilities “drive the debate,” warned one security executive. The focus should be on how those features can be effectively used to benefit your LP operation.Experts offered additional advice for squeezing maximum value from future video investments:A retailer’s video technology buying process becomes more important alongside the growth in the number of functions it performs. That makes the tests retailers perform of new video technology increasingly important. Said one executive we spoke with, “Staged product demonstrations always go perfectly. They are often done in a fixed environment and are well rehearsed, so I take them with a grain of salt. I like to see products proven under my own set of conditions.” Unless you thoroughly vet systems under the most extreme conditions in which they are going to operate, you won’t get the balance right—between false alarms and detection, for example—and may even select the wrong system.A staunch dedication to open architecture and a willingness to investigate manufacturer claims of it is important for capitalizing on advances in video technology no matter who develops it. “You don’t buy the camera for the video feed solely. You want all the other nice features,” said Mike Dunn, a vice president at Best Security Industries (BSI). “But you may not know how your retail organization will want to make use of them for months to come,” he warned. Open systems can accommodate those future demands.Utilizing expert counsel from integrators is valuable even as systems become easier to use. It may be easier now to tackle sophisticated video projects without help from integrators, but they can still serve a valuable role in a plug-and-play world. For example, one security pro told us that because end users frequently focus on “capabilities over practicalities,” integrators often return value to a project.It is incumbent upon loss prevention executives to ensure that connected video devices don’t become a threat vector. Experts we consulted said it’s not sufficient to hope that integrators become more diligent or that vendors do more robust testing. According to research presented in October at the 6th International Workshop on Trustworthy Embedded Devices, studies on surveillance systems have revealed vulnerabilities that have had a “large-scale impact in real life,” including theft from retail organizations. The study, Security of CCTV and Video Surveillance Systems: Threats, Vulnerabilities, Attacks, and Mitigations, offers a clear warning to LP executives: “The variety of vendors and vulnerabilities disclosed in those studies and security advisories clearly indicates the unhealthy state of cyber security of video surveillance systems.”Retailers should have a strong baseline of privacy for use and retention of video as concerns will undoubtedly grow alongside more “futuristic” applications. It’s easy to imagine how a smart video camera system—capable of identifying shopper demographics and tracking individuals around a store—might spark lawsuits and raise concerns for the protection of images and data it records. Federal law does not expressly address the use of facial recognition technology by the private sector to identify or track individuals, but that only reflects the slowness of government to adapt laws to reflect new technologies, not necessarily a lack of interest in doing so. With the potential of increased liability and regulations on the horizon, LP executives might want to track industry self-regulation efforts and implement, adhere, and adjust privacy policies accordingly. For example, the Point of Purchase Advertising International’s Digital Signage Group has developed a code of conduct for data collection, the International Biometrics & Identification Association has issued IBIA Privacy Best Practice Recommendations for Commercial Biometric Use, and the Federal Trade Commission has issued a best practices document entitled Facing Facts: Best Practices for Common Uses of Facial Recognition Technologies.Tracking general advances in video-related applications and technology helps prepare loss prevention departments to utilize them. Video technology is evolving rapidly, and several experts we interviewed recommended frequent brainstorming as a way to help LP departments capitalize as technologies mature and applications commercialize—and to help avoid potential problems and obstacles. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more