BOXING: Pacquiao-Rios Fight Build Up Marred By Trainers’ Altercation

The build up to Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Brandon Rios at the weekend was marred on Wednesday by a spat between the two camps.

Pacquiao’s coach Freddie Roach and his counterpart Robert Garcia were involved in a slanging match at a gym in Macau.

Rios was booked in to train from 9am until 11am with Pacquiao due after him, and when Roach and others from the Filipino’s team arrived, he became involved in a furious exchange with Garcia and members of Rios’ entourage.

The dispute added an extra edge to the pre-fight press conference, with promoter Bob Arum joking that he would get an American television celebrity to adjudicate.

“There is a controversy and it has to be decided,” said Arum. “So I’ve asked my wife, Lovee, who’s sitting out there, to call our friend Judge Judy. And we’re going to do something on Skype and each of them will present the case and Judy will decide. I don’t know if you Chinese people, know who Judge Judy is?”

The incident didn’t seem to impress Pacquiao, who is dedicating the fight to those in the Philippines who lost their lives to Typhoon Haiyan.

“No trash talking before the fight,” he said. “It’s not a good example to all the people who are admiring boxing. For me, all I can say is that if anyone has a grievance against anyone, forgive as the Lord forgives. All I can say is this is a sport, nothing personal. We are doing our job in the ring and after that, you know, nothing personal… this is our job to perform and entertain people.

After cutting a swathe through the lighter weights between 2005 and 2011 when he won world titles from super-featherweight through to welterweight, Pacquiao has lost his last two fights, a split decision to Timothy Bradley and a sixth round knockout to fierce rival Juan Manuel Marquez.

At 34 and with 18 years and 61 fights as a professional behind him, Pacquiao is past his peak, but is keen to raise his game for what could, potentially, be the final time given what has happened in his native country.

Roach, who has long guided Pacquiao’s career, said the former eight-weight world champion was in the shape of his life having trained in the Philippines for the fight in his native General Santos City.

“We had a great training,” he said. “Manny’s been training really hard for this fight. General Santos was a great training camp. Manny was at home nd he was very comfortable. Every day was a good day. We did a lot of hard work. I came about six weeks ago but Willy McMillan ran the camp for the first two weeks and did a great job. Manny’s in the best shape of his life and I expect him to have the performance of a lifetime and I’ve never seen him look better.”

Speaking briefly about the earlier bust up, Roach sought to lay the blame on Garcia. Garcia, for his part, said that Roach was at fault.

It shouldn’t detract from what should be a fascinating encounter, especially as Rios says he has improved his discipline ahead of the fight.

Twice recently Rios came in overweight for lightweight title fights, and he lost last time out to Mike Alvarado when challenging for the interim WBO light-welterweight title.

He should be more comfortable at welterweight, and said Pacquaio would be in for a shock if he had underestimated him.

The fight is slated to hold on Saturday, November 23, at the Venetian Macao in Macau, China.

OPINION: Impact Of Social Media On Nigerian Journalism

Journalism is the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or of broadcasting news on radio or television while Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment on contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks.

The impact of social media in the communication system cannot be overemphasized as traditional media has undoubtedly taken an onward progressive turn in achieving its core assignments of educating, informing and entertaining its audience; the Nigerian populace.

The consistent and goal-driven use of social media has filled the interactive and investigative vacuum found in the traditional media in Nigeria and the entire world. Hitherto this new age of journalism, reporters were only able to practice the time-sensitive profession within a certain constrained environment which permitted the Nigerian journalist to find facts from physically available sources.

Today, the Nigerian journalist can boast of new skills in news gathering and better accuracy in reporting the opinion of the people. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google + have been used to monitor trends and gather intelligence in regards to the opinion of the masses.

Take for instance events which have garnered much attention as a result of activities on social media. Thousands of Nigerians joined Twitter during and after the subsidy protest (OccupyNigeria) of 2012,  the death of four UNIPORT students (ALUU4) caused a nationwide outcry against ‘jungle justice,’ the video of a policeman caught extorting a motorist went viral online and has now found its way into TV and radio.

These events were either instigated or projected online as a result of the use of social media platforms by those who witnessed and shared the details.

The ability of the social media to breed interactivity has caused the audience to exit its passive shell and enter into a new sphere of activity. This has helped in a number of other sectors in the economy; most especially politics and education. Worthy of note is the fact that social media has helped traditional media to gain its lost audience (youths).

With the rise in social media usage, Nigerian youths, who scarcely subscribed to the print media, have now cultivated a healthy habit of keeping abreast of events in the country.

Social media has impacted Nigerian journalism in the area of reporting as new features i-reports which allows individuals report events in real time in any case where an official correspondent is not on ground.

The integration of social media in news gathering and delivery has also enabled the Nigerian journalist to work in a capacity that totally erases the restrictions of distance. Today, interviews are conducted via email correspondence, Twitter conversations, Skype video chats etc.

Breaking News! This feature has been redefined since the advent of social media in Nigerian journalism. Journalists can now break news as they happen with supporting files such as pictures taken and posted alongside headlines.

Live broadcasts have been made possible online via web streaming. In most cases, the audience is able to participate and give feedback via the comments section which allows the reporter access to instant feedback.

The World Wide Web evolves daily; so does the social media. This means traditional media will yet experience even more changes and growth in times to come.

Written by Mayowa Ogundele, an online journalist with Channels Television, creative writer and aspiring broadcaster. Follow her via Twitter @Ohluwamayowa and Google+, Mayowa Ogundele.

Channels TV Mobile App Ranks First In Nigeria

Channels Television’s online platform has once again blazed the trail as its mobile phone application on the Apple and Google Play stores tops the chart of the most downloaded free applications in Nigeria.
Channels Tv’s application is ranked above social media giants Whatsapp, Instagram, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Plus and Skype.
Cable News Network (CNN) ranks 23rd on the ranking while the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) comes in at 173rd position.  Sports news agency Super Sport ranks 117th.
While in the world rankings, Channels TV mobile application is ranked 1st in Africa and 16th in the world.
The App is the most downloaded App in Nigeria ahead of CNN, BBC and Super Sport.

Microsoft Helped NSA, FBI Access User Info

Microsoft Corp worked closely with U.S. intelligence services to help them intercept users’ communications, including letting the National Security Agency circumvent email encryption, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

Citing top-secret documents provided by former U.S. spy contractor Edward Snowden, the UK newspaper said Microsoft worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the NSA to ease access via Prism – an intelligence-gathering program uncovered by the Guardian last month – to cloud storage service SkyDrive.

Microsoft also helped the Prism program collect video and audio of conversations conducted via Skype, Microsoft’s online chat service, the newspaper added.

Microsoft had previously said it did not provide the NSA direct access to users’ information. On Thursday, it repeated that it provides customer data only in response to lawful government requests.

“To be clear, Microsoft does not provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Skype or any Microsoft product,” the company said in a statement on its website.

Facebook Inc, Google Inc and Microsoft had all publicly urged U.S. authorities to allow them to reveal the number and scope of the surveillance requests after documents leaked to the Washington Post and the Guardian suggested they had given the government “direct access” to their computers as part of the NSA’s Prism program.

The disclosures have triggered widespread concern and congressional hearings about the scope and extent of the information-gathering.a

Skype 6.0 released for Windows and Mac users with new look and feel

Less than 48 hours ahead of its launch of Windows 8, Microsoft has unveiled Skype for Desktop 6.0 for Windows and Skype for Mac 6.0, a major new release of its popular cross-platform chat tool. Skype for Desktop 6.0 focuses on improving integration with existing Microsoft Messenger and Facebook services.

New features include the ability to log in using either Microsoft or Facebook accounts before linking all three together. One reason for doing so is that Skype now supports IM conversations with Messenger contacts as well as other Skype and Facebook friends.

Options for signing in with Microsoft or Facebook accounts appear on the main login screen – if you currently log in automatically you’ll need to sign out first to log in using either alternative service. While it’s possible to link to Facebook accounts from within Skype itself, you’ll need to log in first with your Microsoft Account to be given the option of linking that.

Version 6 also debuts a simplified visual design in keeping with the flattened and minimalist approach adopted in Windows 8. The end result is a simpler, less cluttered look and features such tweaks as the removal of the online user counter.

Mac users with Retina displays will also be pleased to learn Skype for Desktop 6.0 promises full Retina support. Also added is support for opening multiple chat windows – this feature was dropped from an early version of Skype, a move which divided the user base.

Other changes include support for switching back to previously used profile pictures, so long as those pictures are currently stored in the user’s profile folder. Sadly this feature isn’t functioning correctly on Macs running Mountain Lion, with recent images not able to be seen and effects unable to be added.

Although labelled version 6.0, this build actually debuted in beta form as Skype 5.11.0 last month and is practically identical in functionality, although Skype has got one major new feature planned for implementation in the next few weeks, support for video and audio calls with Windows Live Messenger users.

Skype for Desktop 6.0 is available now as a freeware download for Windows along with Skype 6.0 for Mac. It will automatically detect and update any existing installations.

Microsoft renames Hotmail as Outlook

Microsoft Corp has unveiled a revamped, Facebook-friendly version of its free, online email service; Hotmail, renaming it Outlook in an attempt to reverse market share losses to Google Inc’s fast-growing Gmail.

The world’s largest software company is renaming its Hotmail service Outlook, giving it a sharp new look, social network links and new features for handling the tide of junk and mass mail that swamps many users.

The revamped service will help sort messages as they arrive and allow users to make internet calls on Skype.

It said the move would help tackle the problem of “cluttered” inboxes.

In addition it is taking steps to link the Outlook account with other services the user might have subscribed to.

“We are giving you the first email service that is connected to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google, and soon, Skype, to bring relevant context and communications to your email,” the firm’s Chris Jones said on its blog.

“In the Outlook.com inbox, your personal email comes alive with photos of your friends, recent status updates and tweets that your friend has shared with you, the ability to chat and video call – all powered by an always up-to-date contact list that is connected to your social networks.”

Hotmail was still the world’s largest online mail service as of June, according to the latest comScore figures available, with 324 million users, or about 36 percent of the global market.

But it is losing customers to Google’s Gmail, the fastest-growing rival, which now has about 31 percent of the market. Yahoo Mail is static with about 32 percent.

In a bid to recapture growth, Microsoft is renaming the service Outlook, a name familiar to most corporate workers who use Microsoft’s Office email application, and sprucing up the whole experience. Hotmail users will be prompted to switch over to the new service over the next few months.

Hotmail, launched in 1996, was one of the first online email services, but it has not been updated by Microsoft for eight years.

“A lot has changed in the last eight years, and we think it’s time for a fresh look at email,” Chris Jones, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows Live said.

The new look is clean and uncluttered, featuring lots of white space, reminiscent of Google’s recent makeover of Gmail. Relatively unobtrusive advertisements appear in a column to the right of the screen when looking at folders. They do not appear when a message is open.

Users can link up with their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts, to see the latest updates from friends and contacts. Online chat is available via Facebook.

Newsletters, offers, daily deals and social updates make up over 80 percent of a typical inbox, according to Microsoft’s own research. To help combat that overflow, the new service automatically detects mass messages and puts them in separate folders. Users can customize the process to sort mail any way they want to.

The new mail service also allows easy use of Microsoft’s Internet-based products, such as SkyDrive for storing documents, Office Web Apps for working away from a PC and will eventually have Skype video chat built in.

“This is about the battle of where people will make their communication home,” said Al Hilwa, an analyst at tech research firm IDC. “The big online players are connecting their online assets together and hoping to provide convenience and functionality of a one-stop-shop of cloud services.”

The success of Microsoft’s new service will depend on whether it can develop it quickly enough “to keep up with a brutally fast Google and a potentially re-invigorated Yahoo,” said Hilwa.

Users can access the service at www.outlook.com. Microsoft said the service is currently a “preview,” meaning more features will likely be added before the final version is fully launched.

In what may be perceived as a dig at Google, Mr Jones added that the firm would not scan email content or attachments in order to sell the information to advertisers or others.

He also announced that web versions of the firms Office apps were built-in, potentially helping it counter competition from other web-based application suits such as Google Docs and Zoho Docs.

Outlook.com also links up with Microsoft’s Skydrive cloud storage, allowing users to send photos and other documents via the service to avoid the risk of going over their attachment size limit.

This could pose a threat to the rival Google Drive service as well as Dropbox, Sugarsync and others.