Ten years ago, an IT journalist asked Paul Coby, then CIO of British Airways and about to embark on a massive overhaul of the airline’s core IT systems, what his plans were. Coby’s response was brief: “Understand the process and simplify it. Complexity will kill you.”The work he undertook did not just generate operational IT savings of 40% and improve technology functionality, quality and integration across the business. It transformed ba.com and, in doing so, changed the way Europeans travel by air.It can be easy for CIOs, increasingly part of the core leadership team, to get drawn into commercial priorities that include business growth, competition and the disruptive impact of changing customer behaviour. With their focus on the role of technology as an enabler of customer experience, mobility and collaboration, growing numbers say they would prefer to delegate operational IT.This is the paradox at the heart of IT. On the one hand CIOs want and need to spend more time adding strategic value and less time managing the IT infrastructure; on the other hand a well-managed IT infrastructure is vital for current and future business success.The world is changing, and the next few years will see it change further and faster. Boundaries are blurring: between sectors and between economies; between the real and the virtual; between different digital channels and devices; and even between ‘things’. The world is a computer now and everyone and everything moves around within it, generating clouds of data that can be captured, processed, analysed and stored.Whether you’re in the business of rubber bands or robotics, these changes will impact the way you innovate, manufacture, sell, engage with customers and compete. They also have far-reaching implications for your IT infrastructure.To continue the airline example, we can examine the rise of Low-Cost Carriers (LCCs) here in Asia, which focused on online-first sales models to great effect. AirAsia’s co-founder Tony Fernandes recently stated that AirAsia was an “internet company”, and this really comes as no-surprise, given that LCCs here depend on robust online booking systems that give customers a wide range of choices in terms of both flight timings as well as ancillary goods and services such as in-flight meals and Wi-Fi. It follows that their IT systems have had to be much more flexible and complex as a result.Many firms have over time ended up with complex and disconnected IT systems, where more than half (57 per cent) of the IT budget is spent just keeping the lights on. But such complexity slows down innovation, reduces productivity, uses up valuable IT expertise and leaves an organisation poorly prepared for the kind of responsive, agile, integrated and creative IT they need to succeed.One way of addressing this could be to replace siloed IT systems with a streamlined converged infrastructure. An integrated offering that brings together the company’s disparate compute, storage and network technologies to take charge of the IT infrastructure in a way that makes best use of the available resources and capacity.The business imperative for such integrated IT systems is not hard to find. One example is the need to better connect with customers.In its technology predictions for 2020, industry analyst Forrester highlights the spectrum of customer-focused activities that are now dependent on integrated IT. This includes innovative, customer-centric, contextual services, underpinned by connectivity solutions that can reach customers in ever more ways across ever more devices. These services and solutions demand advanced analytics as well as software acceleration platforms and tools that ideally allow for a ‘let’s try this’ approach to development and support the rapid deployment of new services and applications.All of this will stand or fall on the quality of the enabling infrastructure. Forrester predicts that for a growing numbers of firms this will be an agile, powerful and converged IT infrastructure. The best of these will use advanced capabilities such as virtualization, software-defined technologies and the cloud for maximum operational efficiency and flexibility.According to a sponsored IDC paper on leveraging convergence for business agility, such converged IT systems are already delivering proven benefits. These include a four-fold increase in speed to market for new products and services, around a five-fold increase in the number of applications that can be developed and delivered to the business, IT costs saving of a third and a 41% reduction in maintenance and service time – freeing up IT expertise for value-added strategic initiatives and innovation.In the light of all this it is hardly surprising that the adoption of converged systems is growing. IDC estimates that in 2015 around one in every $10 spent on IT infrastructure will be invested in integrated systems, rising to one in every $6 by 2018. For many firms, when it comes to their IT infrastructure, the future is already here.The fact is that the world is changing and IT needs to change with it, because what got us here won’t get us there. A good place to start is with the cocoon of operational complexity IT departments have built up around themselves. It is time to shed the weight and reclaim simplicity, the world is complicated enough as it is.This post originally appeared on Information Age, sourced from Nigel Moulton, CTO EMEA, VCE
Organizations of all sizes are at risk for a cyber-attack – not just highly regulated industries and major corporations – but small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well. In honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network recently hosted a webinar regarding today’s cybersecurity landscape and what entrepreneurs and SMBs need to know.Erik Day, vice president and general manager of Small Business Sales at Dell, recently caught up with Brett Hansen, vice president of endpoint data security and management at Dell, for a deeper dive on the top cybersecurity risks for SMBs and how they can keep themselves and their businesses protected.Erik Day (ED): Who is at risk for cyber-attacks today?Brett Hansen (BH): I don’t want to be an alarmist, but the short answer is that everyone is at risk today and the problem is not getting better. In 2015, an estimated $455 billion was lost to cyber theft and that number is sure to grow in 2016. While we’ve seen a lot of press coverage of major government and corporate breaches, but what hasn’t been covered consistently is that the problem is actually becoming more pervasive and effecting more people – not just the big names.Many entrepreneurs and SMBs think they may be too small to matter or become a target, but 70% of all attacks globally are not focused on government or major corporations, they are focused on businesses with under 5,000 employees. Sadly, 60% of all small businesses that experience a significant breach will go out of business within six months after the attack.ED: What are attackers going after and how are they doing it?BH: The ecosystem of attacks is vast and it continues to grow and evolve daily. Currently there are 400,000 new malware attacks created every day and 7 million discrete phishing attacks launched each week. Right now we’re seeing a shift in what attackers are looking to accomplish. A decade ago, hackers focused on data theft and destruction of operations. Today, for profit actors are moving to direct attacks, focusing on extracting money right from the source rather than stealing information and then selling it. Ransomware is the most widely used form of this attack – there are 4,000 ransomware events every day according to the Department of Justice.To break it down, ransomware works in three main stages: infection, encryption, and resolution. If an end-user opens an attachment or clicks on a link in a phishing email, their device becomes infected. Once infected, ransomware scans the device for files and, potentially, scans the broader network the device is connected to, encrypting data in network storage or on any linked device. Once it has embedded itself and encrypted data, the end-user will receive a message asking for money, usually in the form of Bitcoin, to release the data. If and when attackers are paid, they will deliver digital keys to unencrypt the data.Unfortunately, it may not end there. Sometimes attackers will infect a user’s device with spyware during the resolution stage or the decryption key will only unlock some data, but not all.ED: What are the steps small businesses should take to ensure they are safe?BH: It is important to reduce vulnerabilities so you are more difficult to attack. While there is no silver bullet for cybersecurity and no one is impenetrable, there are some very practical steps you can take to make yourself and your business safer:Have a plan: A good cybersecurity strategy will align to your business strategy. Consider how employees are accessing data and which parts of your business contain data that is the most valuable, then develop and document a plan of action if you are breached. Make sure your extended team is involved in the documentation and review process, so everyone is familiar with it.Become informed: Cybersecurity is an incredibly complicated topic with many different elements at play and half the battle of staying protected is staying informed. The National Cyber Security Alliance is focused on smaller businesses (~250 employees) and a great place to start. NIST Cybersecurity Framework is also an excellent resource. Allocate a few hours each week and spend time to stay up to date on cybersecurity issues because things change rapidly in this market.Educate and motivate users: 95% of all data breaches originate at the softest part of a business’s security infrastructure: the endpoint or, your people. This is why making sure your employees are educated about security threats is vital. Furthermore, it is important to make cybersecurity education an ongoing priority, not a once a year meeting led by IT. Be sure to make it practical, utilizing examples and information that will resonate with your employees.Focus on the data: We get caught up talking about protecting devices, but the device is just the container. Attackers care about what is in the container, not the container itself. The conversation should be about how to protect data, not devices. It is critical to regularly back-up data and utilize data-centric encryption, which is the preferred method for encrypting data as it moves across devices and the network.Take action to protect endpoints: Popular malware protection and antivirus software that many people currently use was created years ago when the number of malware samples globally was exponentially less than it is today, and far less sophisticated. As such, traditional antivirus doesn’t protect you against the multitude of attacks today and should be supplemented with more robust solutions that offer a broader set of security capabilities. Dell offers best-of-breed technology in endpoint and data security to protect data wherever it travels.ED: What do you think is the most important information SMBs should understand about cybersecurity today?BH: SMBs should never assume they are too small to be at risk. The sheer volume of attacks happening today means that everyone is at risk. It is key to build a cybersecurity plan that best addresses the needs of your business and considers not just your data, but the data of your customers and partners as well. It is also critical to consistently educate your employees on cybersecurity issues and best practices, as they are the weakest link in the security chain! Educate them often and drive accountability to make sure all of your data stays safe.There is no one single technology that will solve all of your cybersecurity problems. You would never rely on an antiquated home security system to protect your family, so you shouldn’t rely on an antiquated cybersecurity solution to protect your data. Collaboration is key in today’s workforce, which means data is on the move and you have to protect it wherever it goes. Deploying solutions that incorporate advanced threat protection will help defend against attacks and prevent infections.***If you have more questions on what you can be doing to prevent cybersecurity at your business, ask your Dell representative to connect you with a security expert. If you do not have a Dell representative, please visit http://dellsecurity.dell.com/ for more information about Dell’s Endpoint Data Security and Management solutions.
In a recent study presented in March at the Strata Data Conference in San Jose, California, Dell EMC researchers Mauro Damo, Wei Lin, Ronaldo Braga, and William Schneider demonstrated that using machines to analyze medical images—specifically diseased human organs—can minimize medical errors and speed up disease diagnosis.Using more than 5,000 magnetic resonance images (MRI) scanned along the transverse plane from the Cancer Imaging Archive, the Dell EMC data scientists attempted to identify bladder cancer using a six-layer convolution neural network (CNN). Such networks have successfully identified faces, objects, and traffic signs, and are used to power vision in robots and self-driving cars.The Dell EMC study tracked four out of fourteen types of primary tumors—T2a, T2b, T3a, and T4a—in patients already diagnosed with bladder cancer. Algorithms were also used to identify significant differences among the images to assess what features could be relevant for bladder cancer detection. Bladder cancer, the fourth most common cancer in men, impacts 430,000 people and their families each year around the world. The direct medical cost of bladder cancer care was $125B in 2010 globally.To conduct the research, team members used powerful hardware and open-source software, including:Dell EMC PowerEdge servers with Intel Xeon E5-2680 processors @ 2.7GHz with 8 cores and 384 GBNVIDIA GRID K2 with 2 GPUsPython open-source script languageTensorFlow 1.4 open-source deep learning packageSimpleITK open-source image transformation packageResearchers learned that GPU and CPU memory are more relevant than cycles in hardware, and that out of memory errors are very common when working with medical data. For models that take weeks to run, it’s better to improve memory and cycles or use a distributed platform; otherwise, it’s preferable to have more memory to fit all your weights initialization and mini batch processes.Using the six-layer convolutional neural network (CNN), the study’s deep learning model improved Top 1 accuracy from 72.3 percent to 81.3 percent, showing the potential to explore similar techniques in practical applications. Researchers noted that more data in the early stages of cancer, the analysis of more types of primary tumors, and the use of independent CNN models for all planes (coronal, transverse, and sagittal) would likely improve results.To learn more about how deep learning can enhance research and processes in healthcare, financial services, retail, manufacturing, and other industries, explore Dell EMC Ready Solutions for AI, Machine and Deep Learning or contact your Dell EMC representative at 1-866-438-3622. We’d be glad to show you a demo in our Dell EMC HPC & AI Innovation Lab, which is at the cutting edge of machine learning, testing new technologies, and tuning algorithms and applications to keep pace with the constantly evolving landscape.
The image that often comes to mind when people think of a gamer is a male loner playing in his parents’ basement, but as the world’s premier event for computer and video games, E3, kicks off it’s time to dispel that stereotype with new data.An extensive survey of 5,763 video game players in 11 countries, commissioned by Dell, has revealed that today’s gamers are quite diverse — from your coworker with two kids, to the woman next to you at the gym. Gone are the days that being called a gamer is derogatory. According to those surveyed, less than one in 10 feel either “judged,” “childish” or “embarrassed” being called a gamer.“As pioneers in PC gaming, it’s our responsibility to continuously innovate to deliver the best gaming solutions possible for our community,” said Frank Azor, vice-president and general manager of Alienware, Gaming and XPS for Dell. “This E3 is no exception. This year we are enhancing the ultimate gaming experience with a new online training platform, brand new peripherals and some awesome esports partnerships, helping all players take their game to the next level.”You can see more of the research results in the infographic below. We’re bringing more than industry data to the gaming industries biggest event, however.New Gaming HardwareAre you heading to E3? If so, you’re invited to join Alienware and Dell Gaming there at booth #647 in the South Exhibit Hall to check out our new, high-performance, gaming hardware.At E3 last year, we launched our first branded keyboard, mouse and monitor. This year we’re bringing the Alienware Wireless Gaming Headset to complete the Alienware ecosystem. It’s designed for diehards demanding game-dominating audiophile detail, and will give you up to 15 hours of battery life with AlienFX turned off. But, if you choose to turn it on, the headset also has lighting customizable via the Alienware Command Center with 6.8 million – million — colors and four animations from which to choose.We’ll also be showcasing the newest addition to our Inspiron Gaming line – so customers can compete at all levels. The Inspiron Gaming Desktop with 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™ processor will have some of the highest multiprocessing, multitasking performance gamers can get on a mainstream desktop PC. It joins four other Inspiron laptops with high-performance AMD Ryzen™ Mobile Processors with Radeon™ Vega Graphics or 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processors.Gaming Community SupportJoining Alienware Arena is FREE and members receive access to the most exclusive in-game items and early beta access to some of the most sought-after pre-released games. They also have access to the Arena Rewards program that has been in place for eight years.Next week at E3, these benefits will expand with the launch of the Alienware Arena App. Allowing gamers to stay connected to the Alienware gaming community and rewards, the official Android app was built from the ground up for gamers to create and access their accounts on the go and interact with features of the site such as Arena Awards.Although often find myself blogging about gaming here on Direct2Dell, I’m not an Alienware Arena member because I’m not actually a gamer. Should I opt to change that, though, our State of Gaming Report shows that I would find the gaming community welcoming and accepting of others. When selecting an opponent to play, ethnicity, political view or sexual orientation make little difference – it’s all about skill.And to help gamers increase those skills, we’re launching the new Alienware Academy.It’s a digital PC gaming skill-building platform, in closed beta right now, featuring a series of video lessons, training challenges, and performance feedback. It’s not really designed for n00bs like me, but rather to help amateur athletes learn to game like an esports pro.Alienware Academy courses (example below) are guided by Team Liquid and enabled by Tobii eye-tracking gaze overlay, heatmaps, statistic and pro player comparison tools.Elevating EsportsDid you know that in 2017, more people tuned in to watch esport’s League of Legends finals than the World Series and Super Bowl combined? And, the esports fanbase is predicted to grow from 383 million today to more than 500M in 2019.You may be surprised by that, but we’re not. Dell and Alienware have been supporting the esports industry and historic franchises like Team Dignitas and Team Liquid for more than a decade. And ELEAGUE, an Atlanta-based esports league operated by Turner Media and the WME/IMG agency chose Alienware to be the official sponsor and exclusive PC systems provider, equipping their tournament facility with Alienware systems.Now we’re furthering our esports legacy by forging new partnerships with the NBA, Detroit Renegades, Miami HEAT and Misfits Gaming, and taking our partnership with Team Liquid into unchartered territory for North American esports.Alienware and Dell hardware will be utilized throughout the NBA 2K League live studio experience during league competitions. Renegades athletes will train and compete on newest Alienware hardware. Misfits players will train and stream on all Alienware hardware including the Alienware Aurora desktops, Alienware 15 laptops, AW2518H 240Hz monitors and mixture of Alienware keyboards and mice.On March 7, Alienware and Team Liquid celebrated the grand opening of the Alienware Training Facility. This tech-rich, 8,000 sq foot space — designed to mimic the kind of high-tech training offered to traditional athletes — supporting multiple competitive teams with an in-office chef, sports psychologists, nutritionists, dedicated coaches and analysts. Plans are now underway with Team Liquid to establish a second training facility in the Netherlands by the end of 2018, which will serve as their new European headquarters.All of these announcements are a lot to take in, and it’s only a portion of what we’re showcasing at E3. Beyond the individual gamer and even the esports team support, Dell is here for the people creating the games themselves. Check out the behind-the-scenes video with one of those customers, CD PROJEKT RED, on our Direct2DellEMC blog.
The following is a guest post from Glenn Gainor, President, Innovation Studios, Sony Entertainment & TechnologyLet me take you on a journey and start off by telling you that I’ve never publicly shared this story… until now. Some 20 years ago, on a film called “Happy Texas,” I had a problem the night before shooting. It seemed like everything was in order – we had the cameras on the truck, we had the grip and electric equipment loaded; the crew was ready—I had personally spoken to each department head and we had the locations all lined up. Just one thing: we had no film. Imagine that: it’s the night before shooting and one staff member has made a little mistake and forgot to pick it up.The film provider, in this case Kodak in Hollywood, was closed for the night. I thought for a minute when the solution came to me: “Call the guys who sell short ends. They’re open late. We’ll buy enough to get us through the morning until Kodak opens and we can buy full rolls of film.” And that’s exactly what we did.It was a potentially devastating problem – but one that is highly unlikely to happen today since we rarely shoot on film. It wasn’t too long ago when filmmaking was a creative process surrounded by mechanical apparatus. Film was threaded manually through sprockets. Mel Brooks once joked that the hardest thing about making a movie was poking all those holes in film reels. I’m happy to say, purely from a romantic standpoint, that we still call our movies “films” even though most people coming up in the business today never had to thread the cellular halloid chemical strips though the sprockets that pushed this film through the gates for exposure. Today it’s hard to imagine making movies without cutting edge technology. It surrounds us in the preparation, shooting, and post-production process.A generation ago, most innovation came from the backlots, including camera, sound, and lighting departments and the studio color labs. Today, innovation is global and comes from a vast array of industries including technology from the auto world, aerospace, computer hardware companies, cloud services, just to name a few.Innovation Studios, Sony Entertainment and Technology, embraces the history of the film industry that I grew up in and builds upon it utilizing state of the art technical and digital achievements born in the 21st Century. The company that I oversee is poetically located in the heart of Sony Pictures Studios, where I made my first Screen Gems movie, “Vacancy,” starring Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson. We shot on film, on Stage 15 at Sony Pictures and built a small motel with rooms and an office, and a road that led to it and a gas station and even put a large oak tree on the stage. My friend who ran the backlot of the studio told the director and me, “This is how we used to make ‘em. This is how we should make ‘em.”And I agree that there’s nothing like building a village or any kind of large set on a soundstage, but the marketplace in our industry is changing. Quite frankly, we’re running out of space on our stages to shoot our movies and shows due to the rise in content creation thanks in part to streaming services and the overall uptick in production coming mostly from episodics.Our industry has also become much more global since the days when I started making motion pictures. We’re all over the world. We’re in London, New York, Vancouver, Toronto, in states like Massachusetts and in countries like Bulgaria and Australia and France and Thailand.That’s in part why I saw the need for a new way of thinking. What if we could collapse geography and digitize the physical world so we could bring locations far and wide to one stage, wherever that stage may be, and find new and more efficient ways to tell our stories. Hello Innovation Studios.This was a grand idea. And we knew we shouldn’t do this alone. That’s why we partnered up with two tech giants—Intel and Dell. We also brought in an enterprise solution partner in Deloitte Digital. Computing speed, processing speed, storage, cloud services, and the steady hand of Deloitte Digital to help guide us through this emerging world of high tech, are all critical components in our need for global storytelling. Yes, this vision requires a group effort, one that can help storytellers with great ambitions tell their stories like never before.At the onset of Innovation Studios we have focused in on the core principle of digitizing the analog world. We utilize a process called volumetric image acquisition which aims to empower film and TV production with virtual sets. As we have developed this end-to-end process through our proprietary software, we have leaned into our partnership with Dell and Intel to help us solve processing and production challenges that never existed before. We are able to design and define new infrastructure solutions that bring a new approach to how technology can be integrated into film and TV production. As we continue to push the boundaries, we look to the skills and experience of our partnership at Deloitte Digital to help not only extend the technology to new industries but define processes and approach.Our partnerships aren’t just about what we do at Innovation Studios but are about leaning into each other outside of our day-to-day work. We have become a sort of extended family. What I mean by that is that it takes all kinds of talented people to help us tell stories. We need engineers and craftspeople who understand each other’s needs. We all know one thing is certain in the entertainment industry: the need for speed so we can move our data quickly from camera to editorial to consumers.I admire those who help us figure out the pressing needs moving enormous amounts of data that help us build digital worlds or in our case, capture analog worlds that we turn into trillions of submillimeter points that are so small… How small are they? You could split your hair seven times before you get to one of our submillimeter points. That’s pretty small. Now imagine trillions of them that you can film in on our stage that utilizes our virtual sets.I shared this concept with my extended family at Dell Technologies World, their biggest event of the year. As I got to spend time there, I realized that Dell Technologies is also collapsing geographies and industries with the amazing and diverse set of partners they assembled. From AI baristas to top photographers, Dell Technologies was bringing everyone together through its technology and services in this field. It was inspiring to see the creativity, enthusiasm and community around our partner.So much of what we do is mechanical, whether it’s opening a new business or preserving valuable assets, and what I noticed at Dell Technologies World was a consistent theme: to get things going, we need a strong technology partner ready to help bring our visions to life through data management, data storage, and the processing of this data. In my case, it’s storytelling that ends up on a screen.When I finally met with Michael Dell, I was happy to say, without hesitation, that he has one heck of a team of people who all share his passion for technology, but they also understand the value of the relationships we make and keep are equally important._____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Glenn GainorPresident, Innovation Studios, Sony Entertainment & TechnologyHead of Physical Production, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Motion Picture GroupGlenn Gainor oversees Innovation Studios, a state-of-the-art facility housed in a sound stage on the Sony Pictures Studios lot. The space features the latest in research and development from Sony Corporation and others in areas including volumetric video and customizable set scanning to help storytellers around the world create content in radically new ways.Gainor is also head of physical production for Screen Gems, a label under the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group umbrella, and has been involved with several #1 movies such as The Perfect Guy, No Good Deed, Think Like a Man, Friends with Benefits, and Obsessed. Since joining Screen Gems in 2007, Gainor has overseen the label’s physical production and has served as an executive producer and unit production manager on films such as 2015’s The Wedding Ringer, which held as America’s number one comedy for three weeks.A cornerstone in Gainor’s innovative approach to film production is the intersection of technology, sustainability and filmmaking.Gainor shepherded the first-ever use of Sony’s flagship consumer-based alpha 7SII cameras to produce films. He also executive-produced the romantic comedy Think Like a Man, which was the first feature to be shot exclusively with LED lights. Gainor’s dedication to maintaining environmentally sustainable productions began in 2007 when he oversaw the construction of the super-structure for the movie Quarantine. The same structure was repurposed for seven productions including The Stepfather, Takers, and Obsessed. Gainor also swapped out traditional wood based sets for ecofriendly fiberboard panels on Proud Mary.Before joining Screen Gems, Gainor produced three pictures for Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison: Strange Wilderness, Grandma’s Boy and Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. He executive-produced Nicolas Cage’s directorial debut, Sonny, and served as line producer on the critically acclaimed Panic, directed by Henry Bromell. Gainor coproduced George Hickenlooper’s The Man from Elysian Fields, as well as the top selling Sundance picture, Happy Texas.Gainor’s efforts in sustainability and technology have been recognized by numerous organizations. Most recently, he accepted The Sir Charles Wheatstone Award on behalf of Sony Corporation from the Advanced Imaging Society. Also, the Environmental Media Association awarded Screen Gems with the Green Seal for implementing sustainable production practices and raising environmental awareness; LA’s City Council has twice recognized Gainor’s commitment to environmentally friendly production practices in Los Angeles and implication of new technology in the motion picture industry; and Gainor received the California on Location Signature Award, for his efforts to preserve California’s film industry and culture.Gainor is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, and a contributing member of the Motion Picture & Television’s Funds Next Generation.He is a graduate of the film program at California State University at Northridge, and recipient of the 2010 Cinematheque Award from the Department of Cinema.
Fans looking for pregame entertainment before the Super Bowl will have another option this year. Shaquille O’Neal will be holding the virtual SHAQ Bowl on Feb. 7. It’s one of the few official events since many parties that traditionally take place during Super Bowl week have been canceled due to the pandemic. The three-hour special will feature Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, actor Anthony Anderson and musicians Nelly, Quavo and Diplo. It begins at 3 p.m. ET and will be available on Facebook, SHAQBowl.com, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok and Twitter.
PASSAIC, N.J. (AP) — Officials plan to tap a river to help put out a huge fire at a northern New Jersey recycling plant they say could burn for days. The blaze broke out around midnight at the Atlantic Coast Fibers plant in Passaic. More than two dozen fire departments responded. Mayor Hector Lora says there were at least two explosions. Water from firefighters’ hoses froze. One firefighter was treated for exhaustion and another after slipping on ice. All the plant’s employees are accounted for. Officials say the cause of the blaze is being investigated. It is not considered suspicious because fires are not uncommon in recycling plants.
HONG KONG (AP) — Prominent Hong Kong democracy advocate and newspaper founder Jimmy Lai has returned to court to contest an attempt by the government to keep him in jail while facing charges under a sweeping new national security law. No verdict was announced following the hearing Monday and Lai remains in custody. Lai was sent to the Court of Final Appeal in a prison van and entered through an inflatable tunnel as journalists sought to capture the scene. Lai was arrested last month in a sweep against pro-democracy activists accused over their involvement in 2019 anti-government protests. Lai was first refused bail, but released on appeal, leading to attacks on Hong Kong’s judiciary by the ruling Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s foreign ministry says the sailors from a South Korean tanker seized in the Persian Gulf by Iranian troops last month are free to leave the country on humanitarian grounds. State TV on Tuesday cited ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, who said a legal investigation into the tanker and its captain would continue. Iran maintains the tanker and its 20-member crew were stopped because of the vessel’s “environmental pollution,” a claim rejected by the vessel’s owner. The crew, including sailors from Indonesia, Myanmar, South Korea and Vietnam, were in custody at the port city of Bandar Abbas near the Strait of Hormuz.
Egyptians who have taken in children under the Islamic system of guardianship known as Kafala are turning to social media to raise awareness as part of a push to provide orphans with permanent families. They’re sharing their stories and working to demystify the sometimes misunderstood practice. They’re also tackling social prejudices attached to abandoned children or those assumed to have been born out of wedlock. Their activism comes as Egypt has been easing Kafala regulations, and supportive clerics say Islam promises rewards for those caring for orphans. Says one Kafala mom: “I want all the children to find homes.”