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News / Pressure increases on Grayling and ‘illegal’ Seaborne Freight contract

first_img By Alexander Whiteman 04/02/2019 © Jarretera Further allegations have rocked the UK’s Department for Transport, with besieged secretary of state Chris Grayling facing heightened calls to justify awarding Seaborne Freight a contract.A Whitehall source told The Loadstar the decision to award the start-up a contract “stinks” of high-level ministerial intervention and was a “knowing breach” of legislation.Suggesting a lack of transparency around the contract, as well as the timing of the announcement (24 December), the source suggested it appeared that DfT had hoped no one would notice.On 28 December, the DfT made a full announcement, stating it had contracted Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Seaborne Freight to provide ro-ro services if the UK left the EU without a deal.center_img In awarding £103m-worth of contracts, the DfT relied on an emergency exemption provided for by the Public Contract Regulations Act (PCR), which states public tender can be avoided: “For reasons of extreme urgency brought about by events unforeseeable by the contracting authority,  the time limits for the open or restricted procedures or competitive procedures with negotiation cannot be complied with.”The PCR also states that the “circumstances invoked to justify extreme urgency must not in any event be attributable to the contracting authority”.Our source has joined several noted EU law experts to accuse both the DfT and Mr Grayling of “knowingly” breaking the law through use of the emergency exemption.Of particular concern to them is the contradiction surrounding the “emergency” which prevented the DfT putting the bid out for public tender and “its willingness to sacrifice quality in favour of price”.According to an EU notice, DfT criteria for awarding the contract to Seaborne Freight carried an 80% weighting on price, with just 20% premised on quality.This, said, the source fell “well below” expected standards for a procurement of this kind, suggesting contracts only see weighting of this kind for mass-produced products, such as rubber gloves.He then asked how the DfT could claim the “cost of disruption” of a no-deal Brexit was so high as to justify using an emergency exemption, while simultaneously relegating service quality.Surely, he continued, if the cost of disruption was so high as to award the contract in the first place, the disruption would be exacerbated if Seaborne Freight failed in its duties.Following submissions from two specialists in EU Law, the Transport Select Committee has launched an investigation into the use of exemption and the Seaborne Freight contract.One submission came from Dr Albert Sanchez-Graells, who noted: “It is in the nature of emergency awards that the object of the contract needs to be achieved in an immediate or almost immediate manner.“Indeed, not only does [Seaborne] not currently operate a ferry line, but the infrastructure of the UK port from which it plans to provide the emergency services requires adaptation.“Even if the company is reported to have provided reassurances that the dredging of the port will allow it to be ready by the end of March, the DfT is unavoidably accepting a risk of unavailability of the emergency services if that is not the case.”The source also ridiculed “the minister’s attempt to hide” behind claims of “commercial sensitivity” to avoid properly answering the committee’s questions.He then went on to claim the DfT’s position, that Seaborne Freight is responsible for securing vessels, is “increasingly becoming a lie”, with the department “actively” assisting in the hunt.To add to Mr Grayling’s woes, Dr Sanchez-Graells has pointed to “inconsistencies” in the minister’s publicly declared rationale, which he describes as also  illegal.“In a Radio 4 Today interview, he [Mr Grayling] expressed he would ‘make no apologies for supporting a new British business’,” continued Dr Sanchez-Graells.“He further indicated that ‘[Seaborne is] a new start-up business, government is supporting new British business and there is nothing wrong with that’.“This is a clear indication that the DfT may have illegally decided the Seaborne award as part of a post-Brexit industrial policy.“This would breach the requirement for the contracting authority seeking to rely on the ‘extreme urgency’ exemption to act diligently and be in the position to legitimately hold that the conditions for recourse to this procedure were in fact satisfied.”In response to questions surrounding the possibility that the contract conferred illegal state aid on Seaborne Freight, Mr Grayling said neither he or the DfT believed this to be the case.last_img read more

Kyle Larson predicts ‘fun change’ ahead for Kasey Kahne

first_imgBRISTOL, Tenn. — Add close friend Kyle Larson to the list of people surprised by Kasey Kahne’s Thursday announcement that 2018 would mark his last season in NASCAR.Larson and Kahne both split time last weekend between Michigan International Speedway and the Knoxville Nationals, the premier event for sprint-car racing. But Larson says that the notion of Kahne leaving the stock-car circuit never came up.RELATED: Larson primed for Bristol| Drivers react to Kahne’s announcementKahne, 38, said he’s opting to spend more time with his 2 1/2-year-old son, Tanner, and to continue as a hands-on driver/owner for his sprint-car operation.“None. I was kind of caught off guard by it,” Larson said Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I spent a whole week with him in Knoxville and he never mentioned anything about that. So yeah, a little surprising but I think in his situation with having Tanner and wanting to spend more time with him, it’s going to be a lot of fun for him — as well as he’ll get to race a sprint car a bunch. He loves doing that and loves trying to figure out how to make his car go faster and being his own crew chief over there is a lot of fun for him.“I’m excited for him because I know it’s going to be a fun change for him. He’s just going to enjoy life a lot more than he already does.”Kahne, an 18-time winner in his 15th Monster Energy Series season, sits 28th in the drivers’ standings.last_img read more

Guyana developing suite of services to better manage coastal ecosystem –…

first_img You may be interested in… Mar 25, 2018 Media Advisory – Caribbean Week of Agriculture 2018 CRFM, UN University Fisheries Training Programme hold value… Fisheries Ministers underscore need for urgent response to… Seabob management plan soon to be submitted to CRFM(Georgetown, Guyana) – A Seabob Management Plan and Code of Conduct were completed and will be submitted to Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) in the third quarter of 2016 for external review. This has been outlined in the Ministry of Finance’s 2016, Mid-year report. The report states that the Seabob…August 23, 2016In “CAHFSA”Caribbean Fisheries Ministers endorse protocol for securing small-scale fisheriesBELIZE CITY, BELIZE, WEDNESDAY, 23 May 2018 (CRFM)—Fisheries Ministers have endorsed a newly drafted protocol on Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the region. The endorsement came at the recently concluded 12th Regular Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), held in Montserrat on Friday, 18 May,…May 23, 2018In “CARICOM”New GEF-Funded Blue Economy Initiative begins in Caribbean(Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism Press Release)—A new US$46M initiative to promote Blue Economic priorities in the Caribbean gets underway with a two-day inception workshop on 5-6 March at the Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City. The initiative is in support of the sustainable use and conservation of…March 5, 2020In “Agriculture”Share this on WhatsApp Jun 20, 2019center_img Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… Sep 1, 2020 Barbados Maritime Affairs Ministry to Co-Host Upcoming… “In Guyana, the marine resources in our coastal waters and exclusive economic zone are an important component of our economy and provide  livelihoods to mainly artisanal Fishers.Artisanal fishing is important to our economy as 80 percent of the catch is exported. In order to ensure the sustainability of these resources, regulations have been introduced to limit fishing by trawlers to only a certain number of days each year and to require the installation of by-catch reduction devices and turtle exclusion devices on all trawlers.Monitoring and surveillance of artisanal vessels are also being increased to ensure compliance and to reduce the incidence of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activity…I wish to share with you at this time that oil production from recently discovered off shore deposits is imminent in Guyana. Conscious of our responsibility, an environmental impact study has been carried out to examine potential risks to marine life and coastal livelihoods, especially of local artisanal Fishers, in the event of oil spills.” Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources Mr. Raphael Trotman addressing the Plenary at the UN Oceans Conference at UN Headquarters, New York, 5 – 9 June, 2017. See Minister’s presentation  –  VIDEO Sep 24, 2018last_img read more

Oddslife appoints Alexandru Teodorescu as Chief Product Officer

first_img Related Articles StumbleUpon Rasmus Sojmark & Alexandru TeodorescuSocial sports and gaming platform provider Oddslife Ltd has announced the appointment of Alexandru Teodorescu as its Chief Product Officer (CPO).Teodorescu joins Oddslife from online betting software and platform provider EveryMatrix (2005 – November 2015) where he held a number of senior management roles focusing on both strategic and commercial initiatives.Reporting to Oddslife Founder and CEO Rasmus Sojmark, Teodorescu will be charged with leading overall product development, strategy and optimisation.Teodorescu takes charge of Oddslife’s core product, as the firm continues to extend its social partnerships with European media companies such as MARCA (Spain), LiveSport.eu (Czech Republic) and Football.ua (Ukraine).Speaking on the appointment of Alexandru, Oddslife CEO Rasmus Sojmark commented:“It’s a real coup appointing Alexandru to lead Oddslife product operations. His deep knowledge of betting and user engagement will immensely help product development in what will be a busy 2016 for our company. I have no doubt we will build an exceptional product together.”Alexandru Teodorescu commented on joining Oddslife:“It is with great pleasure that I am joining Oddslife! To be part of its development and future success give me great enthusiasm. With its unique business proposition and a fantastic team Rasmus has put together, Oddslife will become a real game changer for sports and gaming engagement in the digital media space.” Share Share SBC’s Barcelona Summit to become digital-only event May 29, 2020 SBC Summit Barcelona – Digital 2020 announces free ticket initiative July 21, 2020 Submit Global audience gears up for opening day of SBC Digital Summit April 26, 2020last_img read more

SA ready for Rea Vaya

first_imgThis Rea Vaya station in Johannesburg will start operating at the end of August. Commuters will now have affordable, safe transportation in and around the city. School children will also benefit immensely from the BRT system as it will cover a number of stops around the city. (Images: Rea Vaya)Khanyi MagubaneSouth Africa’s transport system is set for a major boost when phase one of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system comes into effect on 30 August in Johannesburg, Africa’s leading economic hub.Named Rea Vaya – meaning “we are going” in township slang – the project will start operating at 23 of its 27 stations across greater Johannesburg.About 3.5-million trips are made in the City daily. Of these, 47% are made by public transport including minibus taxis, trains and busses.The system, however, has not been upgraded or improved over the years, resulting in public transport becoming increasingly unreliable and unsafe to use.But, according to Head of Transport in the City of Johannesburg, councillor Rehana Moosajee, the current state of transportation in the City, and the country as a whole, will soon be a thing of the past.“Johannesburg’s commuters will have a first taste of their own world-class public transport system.“We must never forget that BRT is … for the elderly and school children to travel safely, for mothers that need to reach their children speedily and for people with disabilities to have access.”Phase one A, will consist of a main route, known as the trunk route, which will run from the Regina Mundi station in Soweto to Ellis Park East in Johannesburg’s central business district.Supported by four complementary routes, the 143 busses included in the roll out plan will make stops at several key places in the City including University of Johannesburg’s Doornfontein campus, the fashion district, the City’s cultural hub Newtown, the City library and the Johannesburg art gallery.At a media briefing on the progress made on BRT, Moosajee revealed some facts and figures of phase one A of the project;25.5km of dedicated lanes have been constructed, which will serve an estimated 69 000 passengers on a daily basis.3 300 jobs were created during the building phase of Rea Vaya.It’s expected to generate R158-million (US$20-million) in its first year of operation and will use a smart card system, which passengers can reload at approved vendors’ kiosks.One of the attractive features of BRT is its affordability. Bus fares will range between R8 ($1) for a full trip using both the trunk and complementary routes, and R3 (39 cents) for the complementary routs running within the city.Buses will arrive at stations every three minutes during peak hour and every 10 minutes during off peak hours.SA transport new lookThe BRT system is part of the South African government’s plan to overhaul the public transport system in the country, ahead of the upcoming 2010 Fifa World Cup and beyond.BRT has been designed on similar types of public transport models developed in Columbia, France, Australia, Equador and Brazil.In the countries where the system has been tried and tested, BRT benefits cited have been its efficiency and reliability, its friendliness to people living with disabilities and the elderly, as well as its decreased energy consumption and vehicle emissions.Cape Town, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth will also be rolling the BRT system concurrently, and in Cape Town, the system is expected to be operational in March 2010.Roping in the taxi industryOne of the biggest challenges in rolling out the BRT system has been the resistance from the minibus taxi industry, currently Johannesburg’s majority means of transport.The taxi industry’s concerns have been the anticipated major job losses and collapse of the industry when the new BRT system is implemented.  The industry is also concerned with how the new system would fall in line with the government’s taxi recapitalisation programme, which is already underway.The taxi recapitalisation programme, approved in 1999, was set up to reduce the number of old vehicles on the road, as well as introducing a new non-cash based system.Government partnered with the industry to remove old, unroadworthy taxis by offering operators a “scrapping allowance” to replace ageing and unsafe minibus taxis with newer models.According to a survey conducted in 2000, there were approximately 126 000 taxi vehicles in South Africa.Most of the vehicles were at least 10 years old and no longer fit for road use as public transport.Government had planned to spend R7.7-billion ($56-billion) over seven years to finalise the system.In the wake of confusion over the future of the taxi industry, on 24 March, Johannesburg was brought to a standstill when taxi drivers staged a major protest against the new BRT system.Taxis blockaded major highways around the City, causing traffic standstills on various key roads to and from the City.In the wake of the unprecedented move by the taxis, President Jacob Zuma pleaded with the council that Rea Vaya should be put on hold, to give the new administration a chance to acquaint themselves better with the project and the grievances of the taxi industry.Fortunately, significant progress has been made with the industry, represented by the National Taxi Association, Top Six and the Greater Johannesburg Regional Taxi Council.After a steering committee was set up, both the City of Johannesburg and the steering committee have been able to reach some agreements with regards to the future of the taxi industry in Johannesburg. Local taxi operators have now been offered a stake in the new bus operating company as well as a stake in the station management companies.Some taxi drivers will be employed as bus drivers, as well as station managers.Those previously in the taxi industry will also have the opportunity to invest and own companies linked to the BRT system.Do you have any comments or queries about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at: [email protected] articlesCape Town’s new bus systemNew infrastructure for the 2010 Fifa World CupFirst glimpse of the GautrainUseful linksRea Vaya City of Johannesburg Scrap Taxilast_img read more

SURVEY: Does Your Employer Care?

first_imgBy show of hands, does your employer care about your work-life balance?Okay, wait. I can’t see whether you’re showing your hand.By commenting below, please indicate whether your employer encourages you to achieve and maintain work-life balance.For all our talk about work-life balance, we have done a poor job of it. Studies show (Google it, no time for citations and annotations here) that employees and employers are not getting better at this. In fact, recent studies are suggesting we’re getting worse!  The “good news studies” say we haven’t changed!{sigh}Employees want to improve, but employers aren’t allowing it.Employers want to help, but employees aren’t taking advantage of it.What about you? Are you maintaining a healthy work-life balance? Is your employer helping? Or nah?(Hint: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/06/24/labor-department-survey-suggests-work-life-balance-largely-unchanged-since-2003 )last_img read more

The Big Intel Xeon Just Got Bigger

first_imgAll this brings me to the point of explaining the taxonomy here.A 4 socket machine has 4 NUMA nodesEach Socket has one chip or processorEach chip or processor has 10 physical coresEach Core has two threads for 20 threads per socketThe operating system sees each thread as a core. The Xeon E7 was released on April 5th – Now the SGI server here in our lab can now support 320 threads on 160 cores to process data along with its 512GB of RAM (expandable to 4TB with the existing configuration!).  And this beast can be expanded to 5120 threads on 256 cores.What a long strange trip it’s been.  30 years ago I stood in a semicircular crowd around a foldup table where a new IBM PC sat.  It had 64KB of RAM, a tape port (for storing data on a cassette tape), and a 5 ¼ inch floppy drive (no 8 inch floppies for this baby). This IBM PC sported an Intel 8088 processor, (8 bit bus for the 16 bit 8086 processor), and it was amazing.   I was working for FORTH, Inc then and I was impressed.  The Intel Architecture has moved so far from those days of the Intel 8086. But enough of the past; the present holds great potential and a lot of water has gone under the bridge.  The Xeon E7 brings AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption and decryption right into the core where this security capability can run with nearly no apparent latency for the application.  The recent theft of the email addresses from Epsilon demonstrates the dangers in storing data in plain character format. Many enterprises have shied away from database encryption due to the inherent latency in decrypt and encrypt process.  This process is handled either through software or an accelerator card on the PCI bus.   This builds in latency that can have an effect on the application meeting SLA response time requirements.However, with encrypted data in a database the only time the data is exposed in human readable format is when it is being placed into the client systems and then it is limited to the immediate data at hand instead of the entire data set being exposed.  This is a significant security enhancement for mission critical applications.  Now, with the Xeon Processor E7 family this trade-off between living with significant latency for security or living with no encryption at all is gone.  Corporate Security Officers and developers don’t have to go through those ‘cost – benefit’ breakdowns any longer.Another big gain for System Administrators and Corporate Security Officers is the inclusion of Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) into the processor.   This TXT process ensures that an application or virtual machine is spawned in only a ‘known good’ environment.  Like current anti-virus ware that looks for ‘known bad’ signatures in the software, a process that can be charitably described as leap-frog between the virus writers and security vendors, the TXT in the core looks for a ‘known good’ signature in the new platform by comparing the configuration of the new hosting platform to a signature of the corporation’s standard platform.And now, with the 32 nanometer process, Intel has been able to squeeze 10 cores on to one processor along with accelerated I/O features and other enhancements.   Each core is dual threaded so the operating system sees 20 cores.  Look at Task Manager in Windows or /proc/cpuinfo in Linux.  With one 4 socket machine you’ll see 80 cores. Whew – Each of these threads blows away the Xeon cores of the past in speed, reliability, and security.A rough heuristicThat IBM PC I brought up at the beginning of this blog is now 30 years old.  At first it was viewed as a hobbyists toy like the TRS-80 from Radio Shack.  But businesses found the IBM PC expandable and Intel, following Moore’s Law, began the march to ever smaller and more powerful processors giving the consumer and business user more bang for their buck.   The old 8086 architecture is barely recognizable in these modern processors.Now the SGI machine in the lab here will have hit the world record performance in SPECint_rate_base2006 of 27,900 (as soon as we finish swapping out the Xeon 7500’s and installing the E7s – yes they are socket compatible with a BIOS update).last_img read more

Fly launches budget smartphone Snap at Rs 2,999

first_imgFly Mobiles has launched a new mobile handset in India in anexclusive collaboration with Snapdeal. The UK based mobile phone brandlaunched the Snap, which it claims, is the cheapest smartphone inIndia at Rs 2,999.The Fly Snap is powered by a 1.3GHz Quad Core processor ofan unknown make which is assisted by half a gig of RAM. It has a 5MP primarycamera and a 2MP front camera. It comes with a 4 inch IPS LCD display with aresolution of 480×800 pixels. It also offers 3G connectivity, GPS and Bluetooth. Thephone runs on a 1500mAh battery. On the storage front, the phone comes with 4GBinternal storage which is expandable to an extra 16GB with the help of aMicroSD card. The phone runs on Android KitKat 4.4.2 out of the box.Recently, Fly Mobiles also launched Fly Qik+ in India whichis an Octa-core processor phone priced at Rs 6,999 and is available onSnapdeal. The phone also sports a 13 Megapixel primary camera and a 5 Megapixelfront snapper. It sports a 5 inch HD screen with a resolution of 720×1280. Eventhe Qik+ comes with Android KitKat 4.4.2 out of the box.last_img read more


first_img“I remember that day so clearly. I was parking to go pick (Nolen) and (his brother Sam) up at school. The phone binged, I looked, it was an email saying the Stratford Festival was doing Billy Elliot. I called Yannick immediately,” Kristin says from inside the Festival Theatre in Stratford, Ont. “He answered the phone and said, ‘I know. I just read it.’”The hitch: Kristin and Yannick Dubuc, along with their three boys Sam, 14, Nolen, and Gabe, 9, had hectic lives in Vancouver. None of them had ever been to Stratford. If Nolen, who has been dancing since he was 4 years old, auditioned and got the part, it would mean a year away from home.“(Yannick) just said, ‘Let’s just see what happens,’” Kristin says.Long story short, Nolen was cast as the lead in the Olivier and Tony Award-winning Billy Elliot, the Elton John-Lee Hall musical based on the 2000 movie that starred Jamie Bell as the titular ballet hopeful growing up in the middle of the 1984/85 miners’ strike in northeastern England.  READ MORENolen Dubuc, seen in a pas de deux with Colton Curtis as his older self, anchors Billy Elliot the Musical with astonishing talent and confidence, writes Karen Fricker. – Cylla Von TiedemannNOLEN DUBUC OWNS THE LEAD IN BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICALEnter Nolen Dubuc. Director/choreographer Donna Feore cast the 11-year-old Vancouverite in the title role in Billy Elliot after a nationwide search, and he anchors the show with astonishing talent and confidence.Dubuc is already an award-winning musical theatre and dance performer, and those chops serve him well in this gruelling role, fronting the 2.5-hour show and leading multiple major production numbers. Throughout this Stratford summer, as on opening night, audiences will be on their feet hooting and hollering their admiration for Dubuc’s achievement and that of the 30-plus member cast that support him.While there’s an amazing kid at the centre of this show, it should be underlined that this is not necessarily an entertainment for the whole family. One of the first words out of Billy’s mouth is an f-bomb, and the Stratford Festival website accurately describes the language throughout as “strong and at times profane.” READ MORENolen Dubuc, centre, plays Billy Elliot in Billy Elliot the Musical. (Cylla von Tiedemann)STRATFORD FESTIVAL: BALANCING LIFE AND WORK AS CHILD ACTORIt’s both a dream come true and the hardest thing they’ve ever worked on in their lives.For Nolen Dubuc, 11, and Emerson Gamble, 13, landing the roles of on-stage best friends Billy and Michael in the Stratford Festival’s production of Billy Elliot the Musical has meant a complete and abrupt change from everything they once knew.For Nolen, it meant moving with his family from Vancouver to Stratford, while Emerson, who lives and attends ballet school in London, had a little less far to travel.From January, when they both attended Billy boot camp, to their first rehearsal at the beginning of February all the way through to the first previews of the show in April, the two boys and the 15 other kids who make up a portion of the musical’s cast have basically lived and breathed Billy Elliot. READ MORE LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter WHEN BILLY ELLIOT CALLED, NOLEN DUBUC’S WHOLE FAMILY LEAPTIt’s tough to imagine now but, last year, 11-year-old Nolen Dubuc was burnt out.Between his dance classes, singing lessons, keeping up with school, going out for TV and film auditions, and appearing in a few theatre productions, something had to give. So Nolen and his mom Kristin told his agent that the only theatre role he would consider for the time being was Billy Elliot.It wasn’t long before Kristin and her husband Yannick got the email. Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisementlast_img read more

Robust attacks peaceful elections forecasts Fox Hill MP Mitchell

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, March 20, 2017 – Providenciales – Election campaigns are shifting into high gear now and as Bahamians get more creative on how they blast or bless their favorite party with social media memes and commercials and the like… there has been at least one physical clash documented between PLPs and FNMs in a situation in Golden Isles last week.In our recent sit down with Fox Hill Member and Foreign Affairs Minister, Fred Mitchell he shared his thoughts about the upcoming elections.   “I make no predictions about anything, even my own fate or whether we are going to survive, I think we’re gonna do the best we can, we’ve had a tough term this last five years and I think that on ballots we’ll prevail.”Many agree that we are in far more vociferous times, but will that impact the country’s reputation as politically stable with peaceful general elections.   “I don’t detect any violence at all connected with the elections, I think it’s gonna be in language terms, I think it’s going to be pretty robust, but after the American elections who is surprised about language in public anymore.”The last election in The Bahamas was held May 7, 2012; the 2017 national vote constitutionally has to be held within five years of that date.#MagneticMediaNews#Bahamas2017GeneralElections#MinisterFredMitchell#letsvoteBahamas Recommended for you REGISTRATION CLOSED: 24,000 persons now of age to cast ballot Constitutional requirement on General Elections explained Nomination Day in the Bahamas Related Items:#Bahamas2017GeneralElections, #LetsvoteBahamas, #magneticmedianews, #MinisterFredMitchell Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more