MrOwl Celebrates Diwali in a Fun, New Way

Telecom & Internet

MrOwl, a Community Interest Engine™ that brings together the best of search, social, and digital organization all in one app, helps you to celebrate Diwali with a unique new way to discover and share more about the things that will help you to have an incredible Diwali.

The MrOwl app and website allows people to collaborate on topics, find inspiring ideas, share knowledge with the community, and explore their interests. The festival of Diwali is shared on MrOwl on different MrOwl user “branches” that help to bring the excitement of Diwali to life.  Think of a “branch” as simply a curated collection of information that is made up of subtopics, links, photos, and documents.  All organized together, in one easy place.

Divya Kapoor, a MrOwl user, created a Diwali themed MrOwl “branch” (URL:, where she shares her favourite Diwali clothing, decorations, and recipes that will help you to take your Diwali celebrations to the next level.

Bhavna Patel, a noted food expert and founder of Bhavna’s Kitchen, highlighted the fun behind the food around Diwali on her MrOwl “branch” (URL:, where she extensively shared her favourite food and vegetarian Diwali recipes.  Her MrOwl “branch” also showcases her innovative recipes that you can enjoy every single day as you share the joy of great food with the friends and family in your life.

Arvind Raichur, CEO and Co-Founder of MrOwl, said “MrOwl is used by users to organize, search and share the things that are important to them.  People add and share incredible content on a daily basis, which makes the discovery of the things that you are interested in both constant and engaging on MrOwl.  So, whether you’re looking for new Diwali recipes, fun places to travel to, or more information on Virat Kohli, MrOwl has it all, because there’s something for everyone.”

From Kenya to Canada: The Story of Kenya’s Only Ice Hockey Team


In Kenya, there is only one ice hockey team, and they have nobody to play against. Every Wednesday and Sunday, the Kenya Ice Lions take to the first-ever ice rink in East and Central Africa: a 1,400-square-metre rink at the Panari Sky Center Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Located next to Nairobi National Park, is where the Ice Lions take to the rink and play the game they love.

In Canada, it is sometimes taken for granted that Canadians can always find someone to grab a stick, find some ice and play a game. Tim Hortons heard the story about the Kenya Ice Lions and decided to share our love of the game by bringing them to the birthplace of hockey.

“In Canada – and as a company – Hockey is part of our DNA,” says Jorge Zaidan, Head of Marketing, Tim Hortons Canada. “We are so inspired by the story of the Lions. Despite having no other teams to play against, the players on the Kenya Ice Lions’ passion for the game is unwavering. Their shared passion and love of the game knows no borders.”

Moved by their love for Canada’s favourite sport, Tim Hortons flew 12 members of the senior Ice Lions team to Canada to have the opportunity to finally play their first game ever against another team. After dressing in brand new CCM hockey equipment and personalized jerseys, they discovered they were in for an even bigger surprise: Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon were joining them on the ice as teammates.

“I was honoured to be able to join the Ice Lions as they played their first game against another team,” said Sidney Crosby, captain of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. “One of the things I love about hockey is how it’s able to reach so many people from so many countries around the world and bring them together.”

“While we played alongside the Ice Lions for their first game, we know it won’t be their last,” said Colorado Avalanche star, Nathan MacKinnon. “The team’s genuine passion and excitement for hockey is contagious – they were amazing teammates and it was great to play with them.”

“It is a dream to not only have the chance to play in Canada, but to play – for the first time – in full gear alongside two of the greatest players of the game,” says Benard Azegere, captain of the Kenya Ice Lions.” When we first started playing in Kenya, we didn’t even have full equipment, but now not only do we have that, we can say we’ve played a real game with some All-Star teammates.”

Tim Hortons made a donation to Kenya’s Youth Hockey League to help ensure that the Ice Lions’ passion for the sport lives on for the next generation. To see the full video of the Kenya Ice Lions hockey game with Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon, please visit

Microsoft Genomics Ventures into the Microbiome With Eagle Genomics


The data scientists and developers behind a ground-breaking microbiome data platform, today, announced their partnership with Microsoft Genomics, a Microsoft Azure service dedicated to meeting the computational challenges of the genomics era. This is the first Microsoft partner focused in the microbiome genomics market.

Microbiomics is the study of the microbiome; the ecosystem of good bacteria, fungi and viruses present in virtually all living organisms. The microbiome plays a key role in defending against disease, however the uptake and popularisation of anti-bacterial products, pesticides and antibiotics in the last century has caused widespread microbial imbalance and impairment. This has led to a host of ailments we face today including; immune disorders, mental health problems and antibiotic resistance.

The partnership of Eagle Genomics and Microsoft Genomics represents a commitment to address these challenges.

Eagle Genomics’ knowledge discovery platform, the e[automateddatascientist], utilizes machine learning and Azure cloud technology to transform data into actionable insights that drive scientific decision making. Enterprise partners are able to use the e[automateddatascientist] to assess a product’s suitability for retail / consumption by assessing, for example, it’s impact on the complex and unique human microbiome. The insight gained from the platform enables quick assessment of a products potential, accelerates market entry and mitigates early risk.

A recent graduate company from the Microsoft ScaleUp program, Eagle Genomics’ extensive expertise in curating, analysing and interpreting life sciences data combined with Microsoft’s best-in-class Azure cloud technology and Cognitive Services provide an AI-augmented platform that is able to meet the significant data challenges associated with microbiome research. The platform will enable enterprise customers to gain new insights in this new frontier of scientific exploration, particularly its application in healthcare, personal care, cosmetics and food.

The e[automateddatascientist] platform is already deployed in global companies including Unilever and GSK; Eagle’s collaboration with Microsoft will enable the solution to be easily scaled at the enterprise level across these customers, and many more.

Anthony Finbow, CEO of Eagle Genomics commented: “We are delighted to partner with Microsoft Healthcare on its Genomics service and look forward to working together to unlock the potential of the microbiome and solve some of the grand challenges of our age. We are seeing strong demand for our knowledge discovery platform amongst enterprise customers in the biotech and pharma, food and personal care industries as they embrace the digital reinvention of Life Sciences R&D. Microsoft Genomics will help tackle the computing and scaling challenges, accelerating the adoption of the technologies and the launch of new products and therapies, heralding a new era in scientific discovery.”

Geralyn Miller, Director of Microsoft Genomics added: “This collaboration with Eagle Genomics presents exciting opportunities to gain meaningful insight from microbiome data, an area of research that, when better understood, promises to have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing. This is in line with Microsoft’s mission to bring the power and scale of the cloud to precision-medicine, spanning the productization of core services and fundamental research.”

Marriage Can Wait, Education Can Not: CRY


Saleema (name changed) is about to reach her eighteenth birthday and cannot wait to begin her journey into life. But she is also sad to leave her school behind. After all, it was this school that gave her a new lease of life when she joined back four years ago. Saleema was married off when she was just twelve.

After going through the perils of extreme domestic violence, she came back home in a year’s time. It was a school teacher that got in touch with her family living in one of the remote villages of Jharkhand, India – called Modidih, an intervention area of Child Rights and You (CRY).

That was the turning point for Saleema. She went on to not only start on life afresh, but started taking part in singing competitions, winning accolades and using her talent to spread awareness about the importance of education and the perils of child marriage.

But not all girls are as lucky and courageous like her. In India, girls are still seen to be burdens to the family, to be married off soon, often in exchange of dowry. As the world gears up to celebrate the International Day of the Girl, 1 out of every 5 girls enrolled in school drops out after Class 8, 12.5 million girls between 5-18 years are child labourers and 1 out of every 3 child brides in the world is an Indian. Globally, 130 million girls are out of school and 15 million girls of primary school age do not even enter a classroom. This largely comes from the social mindset that investing in girls’ education is not worthy enough.

Puja Marwaha, CEO at CRY says, “When a girl goes to school, she stays away from early marriage, grows up as an empowered citizen who can secure her own future and take care of her family. It’s the responsibility of every individual and the civil society to be responsible and ensure accountability to implement and invest in schemes and legislations for girls’ education.”

CRY, a leading Indian non-profit, believes in creating access to education for girls to grow up educated and capable of influencing their communities. Along with many grassroots level partner organizations, CRY works for ensuring lasting change for children.

One in Five Children in Grandfamilies are Living in Immigrant Families


Children whose parents were detained or deported often go into the care of relatives


More than 544,000 children live in grandfamilies where the child, a parent, and/or a relative caregiver is foreign-born, according to a new report from Generations United, Love Without Borders: Grandfamilies and Immigration.

With increased immigration enforcement and children being separated from their parents, grandparents and other relatives often step up to raise the children left behind.

“The critical role grandfamilies play in providing love and care for children who have been separated from their parents is often overlooked in the immigration debates,” said Donna Butts, executive director at Generations United. “Research shows that relatives are uniquely suited to buffer the effects of the children’s stress and reduce the trauma of separation. Yet they usually take on this role with little to no warning and need support.”

Most grandparents and other relatives face a host of challenges caring for children who cannot remain with their parents. Grandfamilies with immigrant members, according to the report, face compounded challenges including restricted access to support and services to help the children, language barriers, and fear of government agencies.

“For the first time, a national report focuses on the intersection of grandfamilies and immigration,” said Ana Beltran, special advisor to Generations United. “Generations United shares its lessons learned from twenty years of working on behalf of grandfamilies so that children in immigrant grandfamilies – most of whom are U.S. citizens facing compounded challenges – can also be supported and thrive.”

The report’s recommendations include:

Advocating against policies that discourage relatives from stepping forward to care for children of parents who were detained or deported.
Ensuring that “Public Charge” determinations do not have detrimental effects on children.
Encouraging the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to require follow up contact for children released from ORR custody to connect them to services.
Ensuring that parents who are under threat of detention or deportation have useful tools to give other family members the legal authority to care for children.
The report also found that the number of children being raised in grandfamilies continues to rise. There are now 2,677,000 children being raised by grandparents, other relatives or close family friends without the children’s parents in the home. The percentage of children in foster care who are with relatives has increased by 9 percentage points from 24% in 2008 to 33% in 2017

Dove certified Cruelty-Free by PETA

Animals and Pets

Dove today confirmed its accreditation by PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – as being a Cruelty-Free brand. From early 2019, Dove products will feature the PETA Cruelty-Free logo on their packaging.

Sophie Galvani, VP Dove Global, explained, “For over 30 years we’ve used non-animal approaches to assess the safety of our products and ingredients. Dove has enacted a policy prohibiting any animal tests, anywhere in the world, and we are delighted to say that our products will now carry PETA’s cruelty-free logo to assure our customers that Dove does not, and will not, test on animals.”

Gaining PETA’s cruelty-free accreditation is acknowledgment of Dove’s broader commitment not just to care for women’s and men’s skin and hair but also to care for the planet and everyone on it —including animals.

Galvani continues, “More than ever, people want, and deserve, clarity on what goes on in the making and composition of the products they love. Dove’s PETA accreditation is part of that, as well as being an important step to inspire further action globally on animal testing across the personal care and beauty industry.”

PETA senior vice president Kathy Guillermo commented, “PETA is delighted to certify a globally recognised personal care brand such as Dove as cruelty-free. We know consumers will appreciate Dove’s commitment to permanently ending tests on animals everywhere in the world, and while there is still much to be done to end animal testing, we hope today’s announcement will inspire other beauty brands and companies to follow suit.”

The news comes as Unilever, Dove’s parent company, confirms its support of a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics. David Blanchard, Unilever Chief R&D Officer, commented, “Animal testing for cosmetics has been banned in the EU since 2013, and we hope that a global adoption of a similar ban will accelerate the regulatory acceptance of alternative approaches and thereby remove any requirements for any animal testing for cosmetics anywhere in the world.”

Unilever’s ongoing work on alternatives to animal testing, and its commitment to promote their adoption globally, has also been recognised by PETA who will now list Unilever as a ‘company working for regulatory change’, which indicates that Unilever conducts no tests on animals anywhere in the world unless specifically required by law. Dove’s commitment goes above and beyond this.

As part of its commitment to support the implementation of a global ban, Unilever will also partner with Humane Society International (HSI), the global animal protection organisation, to support its #BeCrueltyFree initiative to enact legislative reform in key beauty markets to prohibit animal testing of cosmetics. As part of this ambitious new collaboration, Unilever will help develop the capability to make decisions on product safety using non-animal approaches across companies and regulatory authorities globally, so that animal testing is not required.

“We are very hopeful that through collaboration – amongst companies, NGOs and Governments – it will soon be possible to assess the safety of all cosmetic products without any need for animal testing anywhere in the world,” concluded Blanchard.

FDA approves expanded use of Gardasil 9 to include individuals 27 through 45 years old


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved a supplemental application for Gardasil 9 (Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 9-valent Vaccine, Recombinant) expanding the approved use of the vaccine to include women and men aged 27 through 45 years. Gardasil 9 prevents certain cancers and diseases caused by the nine HPV types covered by the vaccine.

“Today’s approval represents an important opportunity to help prevent HPV-related diseases and cancers in a broader age range,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that HPV vaccination prior to becoming infected with the HPV types covered by the vaccine has the potential to prevent more than 90 percent of these cancers, or 31,200 cases every year, from ever developing.”

According to the CDC, every year about 14 million Americans become infected with HPV; about 12,000 women are diagnosed with and about 4,000 women die from cervical cancer caused by certain HPV viruses. Additionally, HPV viruses are associated with several other forms of cancer affecting men and women.

Gardasil, a vaccine approved by the FDA in 2006 to prevent certain cancers and diseases caused by four HPV types, is no longer distributed in the U.S. In 2014, the FDA approved Gardasil 9, which covers the same four HPV types as Gardasil, as well as an additional five HPV types. Gardasil 9 was approved for use in males and females aged 9 through 26 years.

The effectiveness of Gardasil is relevant to Gardasil 9 since the vaccines are manufactured similarly and cover four of the same HPV types. In a study in approximately 3,200 women 27 through 45 years of age, followed for an average of 3.5 years, Gardasil was 88 percent effective in the prevention of a combined endpoint of persistent infection, genital warts, vulvar and vaginal precancerous lesions, cervical precancerous lesions, and cervical cancer related to HPV types covered by the vaccine. The FDA’s approval of Gardasil 9 in women 27 through 45 years of age is based on these results and new data on long term follow-up from this study.

Effectiveness of Gardasil 9 in men 27 through 45 years of age is inferred from the data described above in women 27 through 45 years of age, as well as efficacy data from Gardasil in younger men (16 through 26 years of age) and immunogenicity data from a clinical trial in which 150 men, 27 through 45 years of age, received a 3-dose regimen of Gardasil over 6 months.

The safety of Gardasil 9 was evaluated in about a total of 13,000 males and females. The most commonly reported adverse reactions were injection site pain, swelling, redness and headaches.

The FDA granted the Gardasil 9 application priority review status. This program facilitates and expedites the review of medical products that address a serious or life-threatening condition.

The FDA granted approval of this supplement to the Gardasil 9 Biologics License Application to Merck, Sharp & Dohme Corp. a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.

This company just sponsored an amazing treat for its 2000 employees – a cruise to Genoa!


To celebrate its 15th anniversary and to highlight the sterling work its staff has performed in this time, Alter Domus, a fully integrated Fund and Corporate Services provider, invited its entire staff of close to 2,000 people to a three-day conference of festivities, teambuilding and fun over the weekend of the 21st – 23rd September 2018. The exact location was kept a closely guarded secret, and the full details were only revealed once the entire team arrived on Friday at their starting point of… Genoa, Italy!

The event, which is one of a kind in this services sector, epitomises the brand’s signature message of acting as one, strong team. Alter Domus’s integrative approach to corporate growth is a distinctive characteristic of the group, and sends a clear signal both to its staff and to the market that people are at the forefront of the group’s strategy. A tripling of the Group’s staffing numbers in just five years speaks volumes to the manner in which Alter Domus fosters and promotes its employees, and how it is committed to creating a working atmosphere where all employees feel empowered and integrated into the company philosophy. The event was also the first opportunity for many to meet their global colleagues, in particular their new teammates from Cortland Capital Markets.

The weekend was a fun-packed three days of fashion, music and team-building, with more than 1,300 staff members congregating in Genoa on Friday before embarking on the cruise ship bound for Marseille. The secrecy surrounding the event and the unique opportunity for many to travel to Europe created an atmosphere of anticipation and enjoyment which no-one at Alter Domus will ever forget.

Event Facts:

More than 1,300 attendees
Event preparations began in May 2016
65 nationalities
24 departure airports
Participants from as far afield as Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Los Angeles
Global team has tripled in size since 2013
Alter Domus CEO Laurent Vanderweyen took the opportunity to address his global team prior to the fashion show in Marseille. Alluding to the team’s sea voyage, he said: “A smooth sea has never made a skilled sailor. It is thanks to hard work, commitment and agility that we have been able to pursue this prolific journey. This success story is down to the team’s key energy. This event reflects our strong corporate values, our collaborative spirit and the thorough global integration that characterises our company and gives us a unique position in our industry. Today more than ever, our 39 offices across 19 countries are One Team.” Dominique Robyns, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Directors and one of the founders of Alter Domus, also voiced his admiration for the achievements the company has made over the past fifteen years, and believes the staff are the ingredients the company needs to shape a prosperous future and help make Alter Domus into the number one in its industry.

Hundreds of Millions of Dollars at Stake as .COM Price Freeze Set to Expire

Business, Telecom & Internet

Verisign, the company granted exclusive rights to issue .com domains, is expected to request a price increase for .com domains when its current ‘price cap’ agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) expires on November 30, 2018.  Will NTIA impose a price increase on millions of Internet users to further enrich Verisign, “The Most Profitable Company You’ve Never Heard Of”, which is already enjoying huge windfall profits?

.Com domain names are issued exclusively by Verisign on a “wholesale basis” and sold by domain name registrars directly to the public. Domains ending in the .com extension are, by a wide margin, the most popular.  A price increase would affect millions of individuals and small-businesses throughout the United States and around the globe.

All of the approximately 134 million .com domain names are administered exclusively by Verisign, a public company with a market capitalization of over $19 billion.  Although the cost of running the .com registry may be as low as $3 per domain, Verisign charges $7.85 to their customers.  Due to the dominance of .com, Verisign has no real competitive pressure on their pricing. Before the U.S. government stepped in to cap Verisign’s prices in 2012, Verisign’s previous contract permitted it to raise prices 7% annually in most years.

Thanks to Verisign’s exclusive contract to operate the .com registry, granted without a competitive bidding process, Verisign earned $457 million last year, and enjoys inflated operating margins of over 60%.  Its windfall profits powered a tripling of its stock price over the past five years – despite the freeze imposed on .com prices.  Verisign places fourth behind only Apple, Facebook, and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) in terms of revenue per employee. Verisign uses its excess cash to reward its top four executives with nearly $18 million in compensation in 2017 – equivalent to 7% of Verisign’s operating expenses (excluding cost of revenue).  In comparison, the compensation of Oracle’s and Adobe’s top four executives is about 1% of operating expenses.

Not content with their current windfall profits, Verisign will likely seek an unjustified price increase that would over time effectively constitute a billion-dollar “tax” on Internet users.

For further information on how Verisign profits from .com domains, visit StopthePriceIncreaseof.Com.  A petition has been launched to raise public awareness of this issue at

Google Launches Grow With Google Initiative in Canada


Grow with Google provides small business owners and job seekers with access to free digital training, workshops and events


Today, Google launched Grow with Google, a new initiative aimed at helping Canadians access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses. As part of this new initiative, Google announced $2 million in grants from Google.Org to bring digital skills training to individuals across the country. The grant will be used to bring two of Google’s leading digital skills training programs to Canada: Applied Digital Skills and the Professional IT Support Certificate.

Google is partnering with Canada Learning Code to provide Canadians with access to the Applied Digital Skills Program, a blended online and in-person curriculum that teaches digital skills through practical problem solving so learners can be competitive in an evolving job market. To make sure those lessons are available to all Canadians, the entire Digital Skills Training Program is offered in both French and English.

The Professional IT Support Certification Program takes beginner learners to job readiness in eight months with no experience required. Developed by Google and hosted on Coursera, the program has over 64 hours of video lessons, hands-on labs and interactive assessments for adults looking to reskill and start a new career in technology. Google has partnered with leading Canadian companies like RBC and Walmart Canada, and of course Google Canada to get graduates information into the hands of HR departments following course completion.

Google is also bringing workshops, in-person training, and one-on-one sessions to communities across Canada, in partnership with local community groups, businesses and leaders. Grow with Google events will cover topics suited to small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to scale their business and individuals interested in  growing their skills.

“Technology is the key to opportunity, which is why we are launching Grow with Google in Canada,” said Sabrina Geremia, Country Director, Google Canada. “By making our resources available to everyone online, by bringing hands-on training into communities across the country, and by partnering with organizations like Canada Learning Code who are devoted to expanding access to digital tools and training, we can help Canadians grow their skills, their opportunities, and their futures.”

“Digital skills are tools of empowerment,” says Melissa Sariffodeen, Chief Executive Officer at Canada Learning Code. “Our vision is a Canada in which all people have the knowledge and confidence to harness the power of technology to achieve economic and personal fulfillment. Our partnership with Grow with Google puts us one step closer to achieving that vision by allowing us to offer new content and scale our existing coding and digital literacy curriculum to more Canadians.”