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Ravaged by Ebola and War, Congo Named Most Neglected Crisis of 2018

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With an Ebola epidemic raging and millions caught in a forgotten “catastrophe” of conflict and hunger, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was the most neglected crisis of 2018, according to an annual Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of aid agencies.

This year’s survey was unusual for the high number of “most forgotten crises”, with experts also listing the Central African Republic, Lake Chad Basin, Yemen, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Burundi, Nigeria and, for the first time, Venezuela.

But Congo’s “mega-crisis” barely made headlines, they said, even as the country gears up for landmark elections on Sunday which some fear could stoke further unrest.

“The brutality of the conflict is shocking, the national and international neglect outrageous,” said Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

“I visited Congo this year and have seldom witnessed such a gap between needs and assistance.”

Congo, where 13 million people in a population of 82 million need help, also topped the annual Thomson Reuters Foundation poll in 2017, but agencies said the situation had deteriorated.

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Six of 21 agencies polled named Congo as the most neglected crisis, including WFP, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, ActionAid, International Rescue Committee, and Christian Aid.

ActionAid’s humanitarian advisor Rachid Boumnijel urged the international community to redouble efforts to end years of conflict characterized by sexual brutality.

“It’s been a catastrophe for the country, and for women and girls particularly,” Boumnijel said.

EBOLA

Christian Aid’s head of humanitarian programs Maurice Onyango said the violence had caused “large-scale trauma”, with children witnessing parents and siblings being murdered.

An upsurge of fighting in the east of the mineral-rich country has also exacerbated the spread of the world’s second largest Ebola outbreak, agencies said.

The Central African Republic, where armed groups control much of the country and 60 percent of the population needs assistance, came a close second in the poll.

Listed as the most neglected by OCHA, UNICEF, MercyCorps, Plan International, and Caritas, the country has been racked by violence since mainly Muslim rebels ousted the president in 2013, provoking a backlash from Christian militias.

Armed groups are increasingly targeting schools, hospitals, mosques and churches, while attacks on aid workers have impacted a “chronically underfunded” humanitarian response, they said.

U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said thousands of children had been trapped in armed groups or subjected to sexual violence.

“The crisis is growing increasingly desperate and resources are at breaking point,” added UNICEF emergencies director Manuel Fontaine.

U.N. appeals for both DRC and CAR are less than 50 percent funded.

“Central African Republic is in a death spiral,” said Caritas Secretary General Michel Roy. “While governments and the world’s media have turned their backs, we must not. It’s the only hope CAR has left.”

Plan International said the media neglected complex crises like CAR and DRC because they lacked the shock factor of a sudden disaster like Indonesia’s huge earthquake in September.

“MASSIVE FLOOD”

Yemen, at risk of the world’s worst famine in 100 years, was highlighted by Muslim Hands and World Vision.

“With three quarters of the population needing assistance, I can’t see how Yemen isn’t at the top of everyone’s list,” said World Vision emergencies chief Mark Smith.

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International Medical Corps warned the disaster in Lake Chad basin, where climate change and a prolonged insurgency by Boko Haram and Islamic State have left 11 million needing help, was also set to worsen next year.

Action Against Hunger said millions caught up in the “almost invisible” crisis – affecting Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon – faced poverty, hunger, sexual violence and child kidnapping.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the world’s biggest relief network, said hunger and disease following major flooding across Nigeria threatened to create a second protracted crisis in the country.

“I’m shocked by how little attention (this) has received. The figures are staggering,” said IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy, adding that nearly 2 million people were impacted, more than 200,000 uprooted and swathes of cropland destroyed.

“This massive disaster has gone largely unnoticed by many donors and journalists,” he added.

This year was the first time Venezuela featured in the poll.

About 3.3 million people have fled political turmoil and economic meltdown in the Latin American country – many driven by hunger or violence – and another 2 million could follow next year, according to U.N. estimates.

The United Nations has launched a $738 million appeal to help nearby countries cope with what one U.N. official called a “humanitarian earthquake”.

CARE said evidence on the ground suggested the real number fleeing was far higher than the U.N. figure.

“Given its scale, it’s incredible how neglected the situation in Venezuela is,” said CARE humanitarian expert Tom Newby. “The world needs to wake up to this crisis.”

Afghanistan was ranked the most neglected crisis by Islamic Relief Worldwide, and South Sudan by Save the Children. The UNHCR named Burundi while mixed migration was highlighted by the Danish Refugee Council. -Reuters

  • Emma Batha

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South Africa aims to finalize long-term energy plan next month: minister

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South Africa is aiming to finalize a long-term plan for the country’s energy mix next month, and once that is done it will launch another round of renewable energy deals, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said on Wednesday.

“We are aiming for February,” Radebe told Reuters, when asked when the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) would be completed. “Straight away after that we will launch more renewable energy contracts,” he added. -Reuters

-Alexander Winning

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The Happiest Companies To Work For In 2018

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Companies that keep employees happy aren’t just helping their workers—they’re helping themselves, since satisfied workers are more productive. In fact, a mutual fund that invests in companies with positive workplace ratings, Parnassus Endeavor, has beaten the market handily over the past 10 years.

What are the organizations with the happiest employees? Careers site CareerBliss launched its eighth-annual list of the happiest companies in America. It surveyed tens of thousands of workers and asked them to rate their employers on ten key factors, such as their relationship with management, workplace environment, compensation, satisfaction with job function and growth opportunities.

To see the top 10 happiest companies to work for, open the gallery below. For the full list of 50, see the end of this article.

Keller Williams Realty takes the top spot. The Austin, Texas company has 175,000 agents across more than 900 metro areas and claims to be the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count. A Keller Williams Realty employee wrote on CareerBliss.com, “One of the greatest benefits is how our company promotes from within. All employees are encouraged and supported to be in control of their growth and career paths.”

Sneaker king Nike ranks second. It remains one of the most valuable brands in the world, and it’s navigating a big transition as more consumers shop online. In June it announced its “NIKE Direct” initiative—the company is trying to sell more of its products directly to consumers through its website and own stores, rather than rely on traditional retailers like Foot Locker.

Adobe is the fourth happiest company, according to CareerBliss. The Silicon Valley tech giant invented PDFs and launched them 1993. It claims PDFs have led to a 91% reduction in environmental impact and 90% cost savings when compared with paper-based processes. And Adobe’s Photoshop software is used by 90% of creative professionals. “The atmosphere is highly collaborative and energizing. People have always been friendly and helpful; very professional,” wrote one employee on CareerBliss.com.

Pharmaceutical giant Amgen ranks fifth. Arthritis drug Enbrel is its top-selling product, bringing in nearly $6 billion in sales last year. “The work-life balance is great, fantastic daycare on campus, lots of smart co-workers,” wrote one CareerBliss reviewer. “Working for Amgen was very rewarding to see the positive impact we made in patients’ lives,” reported a West Coast employee.

Full List: The Happiest Companies to Work for in 2018

  1. Keller Williams Realty
  2. Nike
  3. Total Quality Logistics
  4. Adobe
  5. Amgen
  6. Chevron
  7. Intuit
  8. Bristol-Myers Squibb
  9. PNC Financial Services Group
  10. TruGreen
  11. CIGNA
  12. Starbucks
  13. Apple
  14. Quicken Loans
  15. Leidos
  16. Qualcomm
  17. iGATE
  18. The Vanguard Group
  19. Citrix Systems
  20. Kaiser Permanente
  21. Chase
  22. Pfizer
  23. Fidelity Investments
  24. American Income Life Insurance Company
  25. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
  26. American Express
  27. GE Capital
  28. Merck
  29. American Airlines
  30. Microsoft
  31. Cisco Systems
  32. Nordstrom
  33. Exxon Mobil
  34. Alcatel-Lucent
  35. CenturyLink
  36. Bank of America
  37. The Walt Disney Company
  38. Wells Fargo
  39. Oracle
  40. Citigroup
  41. Broadcom
  42. Farmers Insurance Group of Companies
  43. DirecTV
  44. Dell
  45. Symantec
  46. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
  47. ABC News
  48. CareFusion
  49. Spectrum
  50. Verizon Communications
    – Jeff Kauflin

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5 Questions You Should Never Ask During A Job Interview

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So, you think you’re acing your job interview.


Your interviewer seems to like you. You like your job interviewer. The camaraderie couldn’t be better.

Then comes the proverbial: “So, what questions do you have for me?”

Whether you’re interviewing for a job at Google or joining your local small business, the questions that you ask your interviewer matter. It’s your opportunity to showcase your talents, knowledge, and judgment.

Here are 5 questions that you should never ask during a job interview (and three more that you should).

1. “So, how much will I get paid?”

This seems like a no-brainer, but for some reason, interviewees still think the question is fair play.

That said, it is a fair question. After all, you need to know how much you’ll be paid before you take the job. While that’s true, the interview is not the time to discuss salary.

If you receive a job offer, you can discuss salary at that time.

2. “How much vacation time will I get?”

Again, your vacation and personal time might be an important part of your calculus when deciding to take a job offer.

However, asking how much vacation time you’ll get demonstrates you’re focused more on time off than working.

Like salary, your vacation and other benefits should be reflected in the job offer. You can ask all the questions related to salary and benefits at that time. You can also schedule a follow-up session with the human resources department for a benefits deep-dive.

3. “How quickly can I get promoted?”

Climbing the ladder of your potentially new organization is admirable.

However, don’t assume during the interview that you have the job. It’s important to understand options for movement – both upward and lateral – within the organization. If you plan to work at this organization, it’s essential to understand your career trajectory.

You don’t want to come off as entitled. This question may convey to the interviewer that you think you already have the job (when you don’t).

4. “Why did the company fire so many people last month?”

It’s never a good sign to read about layoffs.

This is especially true when you may be joining an organization after a big headcount reduction.

It’s a fair question, and you should understand the details. However, the job interview is the wrong time.

When you receive your job offer, you can have a frank conversation with your manager about the layoffs, the rationale, whether additional layoffs are expected and other related information to fortify your understanding.

Before accepting a job, make sure to understand if the headcount reduction is expected to be ongoing or if it was a one-time occurrence.

5. “So, who do you consider your competition?”

Instead of asking your interviewer about the competition, spend the time asking questions that demonstrate your interest in the company and also show that you’ve done research prior to your interview.

Before the interview, you should have conducted due diligence on the competitive landscape.

That includes understanding key competitors, relative strengths and weaknesses, the supply chain, key opportunities and threats, barriers to entry and other pertinent market dynamics.

You’re better off weaving this information into the interview, rather than asking during the question period.

3 Questions That You Can Ask During An Interview

Here are three potential questions that you could ask during your job interview:

1. “What are the best attributes of the company’s culture?”

  • Show your interest in company culture.
  • Understand the key values that set this company apart.
  • Learn more about the company’s mission and value proposition.

2. “How much is collaboration across departments encouraged?”

  • Determine whether collaboration is promoted internally.
  • Learn more about ways in which collaboration helps create value for employees and customers.
  • See if the interviewer can share concrete examples to further your understanding.

3. “What would you like the person that you hire to accomplish over the next 6-12 months?”

  • Learn about your interviewer’s goals for the position.
  • Understand expectations.
  • This will give you insights because the question is specific to the role and shows your ability to think longer-term.
  • -Zack Friedman

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