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15 September, 2019

UAE businesses upgrading Microsoft Office 365. Have you?

WPP Plc, the British multinational creative advertising, and public relations transformation company is among the early ones to move toward upgrading to a single Microsoft Office 365 tenant following the merger of its flagship companies Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson that includes their Dubai business.                                                                                                                                                         
According to WPP's Chief Information Officer James McLellan, until now each company was using
Image by Microsoft Azure
the Microsoft Office 365 business productivity apps as per its individual requirement.

"Our current plan is to have a single Microsoft 365 tenant with everyone taking advantage of the full set of rich and easy-to-use Microsoft 365 capabilities, including Microsoft Teams, Power BI, OneDrive, and Office 365 ProPlus, which will deliver a continually updated productivity suite. As we continue with our deployment, Wunderman Thompson is creating a modern workplace that will serve as the blueprint for digital transformation across WPP," McLellan wrote in a post on Microsoft News.

 A Microsoft Office 365 tenant relates to a suite of items such as users and subscriptions attached to a domain. In other words, when an Office 365 is set up, it creates a tenancy to store data including SharePoint, OneDrive and Yammer.

Power BI is a business analytics service that helps end-users with an interface to create their own reports and dashboards through interactive visualizations and business intelligence.

 Microsoft Office 365, as you must be aware, has become a necessary and essential product for virtually all students and businesses in the world. To meet this escalating need and demand, Microsoft has started new data centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai that will work as the first Microsoft Azure regions in the Middle East, helping companies scale globally as they migrate their businesses to the cloud infrastructure and get Artificial Intelligence ready.

 According to Microsoft, Azure serves more than a billion customers and 20 million businesses.

If you are from or located in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt, you can get or upgrade by clicking here: Microsoft Office 365.

Your 'go-to' tool for Forex Trading

Trading in financial instruments, especially Foreign Exchange currencies or Forex has gained further moment in the Middle East.

If you are aspiring to become a professional Forex player or want to pursue this field as an alternate source of income, iForex offers you an all-in-one amazing platform, ideal for beginners. You may still want to know why iForex?

It's because this online trading platform gives you real-time rates, signals, and reliable data, all crucial for you to be able to make an informed decision. Their all-in-one platform also includes a friendly interface, 4-chart station, trading sentiment, and accessibility from anywhere.

iForex has trained representatives to help and hand-hold you on your way to become a pro and has dedicated educational tools that you'll have complete access to.

Once you've registered with iForex, learning the tricks of trading will then only depend on how focused you are. You can even scale up to and include CFD trading to your moneymaking goals. CFD or contract for difference will help you trade in commodities.

And if you register now, you can be sure you'll be prepared to network at all the Forex Expo scheduled in the UAE, the first of which is scheduled for 2-3 October, 2019 at the Jumeirah Emirates Tower, Dubai.

Click here to register: iForex.

13 September, 2019

Friday the 13th in Indian tradition: Lucky or Unlucky?

You have paraskevidekatriaphobia if you believe in and consider Friday, 13, 2019 as an unlucky day for you

Did you plan to hold a black cat in your arms and walk in the middle of a Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru or any busy road in India to prove Friday the 13th is not unlucky? If no, good. That would've been termed as suicidal.

Friday the 13th is also a horror movie
franchise. Photo bu
Superstition is popularly known in India as Andhashradha. Or, is it...andhaviśvāsaṁ in Malayalam;
Mūḍha in Telugu; Mūṭanampikkai in Tamil; Mūst nambike in Kannada; Vahima in Punjabi; Kusanskāra in Bengali; Andhaśrad'dhā in Gujarati? Please feel free to write back if you feel any of these are incorrect.

Maharashtra and Karnataka have enacted a law on superstition and Kerala is about to legislate one. However, it is unclear whether our constitution has any such law on this weird belief. Anyway, the law in Maharashtra does not include luck or being unlucky which Friday the 13th is associated with for thousands of years.

This belief has almost died in modern, progressive India where young women and men from all faiths converge each day to work in a corporate environment. In fact, you might have wished one of your colleagues celebrating their birthday on 13th September 2019.

Not surprisingly though few among us continue to live this Friday the 13th as an unlucky day, fearing something will go wrong. If you are among them, you have paraskevidekatriaphobia (It has 23 letters)!

National Public Radio, or the NPR says if you learn to pronounce this word correctly, you'll never fear this day again in your lifetime. Want to try it? Just break it up into syllables: Paras - kevi - deka - tria - phobia.

It's also called friggatriskaidekaphobia.

In India, Friday the 13th or any 13th day or number is considered auspicious. So, the unlucky concept or belief has been more of western world influence.

Fear of number 13 would mean you have triskaidekaphobia.

Author Devdutt Pattanaik, widely known for work in mythology and interpretations of ancient Indian scriptures, stories, symbols and rituals wrote an article on Friday the 13th on 11th January 2008. This article goes without a shelf life as it'll be relevant as long as this belief exists. See: Friday 13 Modern Mythmaking. has come with reasons and the origin of Friday the 13th. See: Why is Friday the 13th unlucky?

Other media platforms educating their readers, sharing about this belief:

News18: Friday the 13th: Here's How the Superstition Started

The Indian Express: Friday the 13th: Spooky for a few, not for most

Mashable India: Upcoming Friday The 13th Lunar Event Makes 'Once In A Blue Moon' An Understatement

Hindustan Times: Bhoot Part 1 poster: Vicky Kaushal brings the horror on Friday the 13th

10 September, 2019

Is Indian Economy In a Recession, Growth Recession, Quasi-Recession? Or, what?

By Francis Adams

Experts in the United States have sounded the alarm on recession in their country, mainly citing the Trump administration's pesky trade war with China. Few of these experts have also hinted at a recession in the United Kingdom although the BBC News on Monday reported that the economy grew 0.3% in July, quoting the Office for National Statistics.
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

How do you know a country's economy is in a recession?

The BBC says a recession has set in when a country's economy sees contraction for two consecutive quarters. In India, experts see contraction of three quarters in a row as a sign of recession.

While few experts have lent chorus to the opposition (especially the Indian National Congress)'s shrill shouts of our country already in the grip of recession, others using various media platform, have offered differing opinions.

Bloomberg, the Manhattan-based media company, has maintained an opinion that India has, effectively, entered a quasi recession. It has made this assumption while referring to a comment from an economist, Teresa John, working with retail broking company Nirmal Bang.

Neither Bloomberg nor Nirmal Bang have provided extended clues, explanation on what is quasi in this context, leaving us to refer to the dictionary meaning that says, seeming; resembling.

Meanwhile, India's largest-selling English-language publication, The Time Group's Economic Times, on Monday, ran a report released by news agency IANS that claimed that India's economy is in a growth recession. According to this report, a growth recession is a technical term used when the economy continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace.

The major impact, says this IANS report, has come from a steep fall in the Private Financial Consumption Expenditure, a term so long that you might be forgiven for sarcastically saying that the recession will have hit by the time you complete pronouncing this term correctly.

This PFCE combined with another long terminology, the Government Final Consumption Expenditure, GFCE, is said to have been driving our country's economic growth since the first major economic reforms were introduced in 1991.

Apparently, you have spent and consumed less in the June 2019 quarter, causing the PFCE to slide to a miserable 3.1 percent compared to the previous quarter percentage of 7.2 percent.

The other major factor, IANS claims, is a drastic fall in the Gross Fixed Capital Formation, GFCF, meaning contribution of investment to the economic growth fell by 6.2 percentage point during the period 2014-19 compared to 2011-14. As a result, this has hurt further infrastructure development.

Another expert, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, consulting editor with the Economic Times, in his Swaminomics column on Monday, cited Global cyclical economic downturn and serious structural flaws or lack of reforms as the reasons behind India's GDP growth hitting 5% in the quarter ended June 2019 compared to 8.2% a year ago.

Aiyar also claims that the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has brought in cheerful measures to boost the economy, such as withdrawing income tax surcharge on capital gains that had seen foreign portfolio investors move away; the removal of angel tax on investors in startups; and reversing the punishment on corporations for not fulling their Corporate Social responsibility, CSR.

Then there are experts who continue to be critical about the Narendra Modi-led government on their reformative implementation of Demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax, GST as triggers for this slowdown.

However, before you step on the side of these critics, let's spare a thought on what triggered this government to take such bold steps.

Among these measures could be a strong reason to stop what this report from the Global Financial Integrity reveals. GFI is a Washington, DC-based think tank that analyzes illegal financial flows. In this June 3, 2019 report, GFI has revealed that trade misinvoicing (fudging) is likely to have cost the Indian government potential tax revenue losses of US$13 billion in 2016.

You may be aware that this government wound up the Directorate General of Supplies and Goods, DGS&D. In its place, it rolled out a transparent Government e-Marketplace, GeM.

Today, you too can, using your appropriate citizen identity, register on the GeM site, or the etenders site and know every tender detail that the government has released.

This e-marketplace, the government says, eliminates human interface in vendor registration, order placement and payment processing, thus transforming the way in which procurement of goods and services is done by the Government Ministries/Departments, PSUs, autonomous bodies etc.

You may, probably, argue or ask in a supportive manner that would it have been a little better had these bold reforms been delayed until the government got hold of the Indian black money, estimated to be about 90 lakh crores (US$1500 billion) in Swiss and other offshore banks?

Could be. But then again, huge corruption bubbles such as the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) with banks, illegal money and several such messes inherited by this government needed to be got rid of immediately. This would have ensured that our economy does not see big bubbles burst the way the U.S. economy saw in the 2008 crisis.

The latest report says that the Swiss authorities will be releasing the first set of detailed financial information about Indians having Swiss bank accounts, including those closed since last year.

While this process happens, you can continue to remain positive, cheerful and help the economy by boosting domestic consumption, starting with this festival season.

As you know, India has traditionally been self-sufficient in several aspects, including a cash-rich Domestic Institutional Investors (DII) group that has mitigated the blows the stock market could have received on occasions the Foreign Institutional Investors (FII)'s have withdrawn their money from our bourses.

India's current position among the list of Less Corrupt Nations is 78. If you and the rest of 1.25 billion Indians lend this government support for their transparency goals, it is only going to help us and the millennials.

If we gave the previous government more than enough time and got little in return, why not allow this government some more time to make India what we all want her to be.

02 September, 2019

Hartalika Teej, Goddess Parvati and Ganesh Chaturthi with Bappa

The Ministry of Women and Child Development launched Poshan Maah 2019 to coincide with Hartalika Teej and Ganesh Chaturthi, both epitomizing devotion and love of a husband, wife and their children 

At 4.57pm India Standard Time on September 2, 2019, millions of women in India and Nepal
Pic by
completed their two-day fast-without-water in devotion, love for their husbands -- equal halves in the modern-day world -- and for the continuation of their happy, married life.

This devotion celebrated as Hartalika Teej (as Gowri Habba in southern states Karnataka, Tamilnadu,  Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala) and directly inspired by Goddess Parvati, ushers in another biggest occasion, Ganesh Chaturthi.

It was, agreeably, the most opportune moment for the Ministry of Women and Child Development,
Government of India (@MinistryWCD) to launch Poshan Maah 2019. This campaign with a tagline 'Sahi Poshan, Desh Roshan' (Correct nutrition, healthy nation) is initially aimed to run from September 1 to 30.

Click here for: Puja kit, Pooja kit

Developed through the National Nutrition Misson, this drive will target reducing stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women, and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight.

As you can see, just as Parvati's love and care for her child Ganesha was undiminished, so too all mothers in India are expected to ensure their children are raised healthy. To make this drive successful, 13 lakh Anganwadi workers have spread nationwide to guide, educate and help women provide their kids with healthy nutrition.

You could see these Anganwadi workers as messengers of Lord Ganesha, who is known for his wisdom, knowledge, help in removing of obstacles, protection, good fortune and success. So, as you celebrate Ganpati Bappa Morya, you'd surely want to wish malnourished children throughout India to get a new beginning through this holistic nourishment programme initiated by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

As you invite Lord Ganesha in your homes, visit pandals near you chanting "Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha" and apart from wishing Poshan Maah 2019 success, you'd also want to recall Bappa's teachings.

The most important among the teachings your friends, parents would often like to narrate is how Ganesha impressed his father Lord Shiva, mother Goddess Parvati and saint Narada as he circled his father and mother at Mount Kailash to win the contest with his brother and win a mango.

Although Ganesh shared the mango with his parents, brother, offering Narada the seed, the moral of this story, not to be forgotten is: While his brother took few days traveling around the universe to fulfill the contest's requirement, Ganesha did it faster by going around his father and mother whom he considered the universe.

By doing so, he signified that you must not look outside of God to learn about the universe and life.

Buy your Hartalika Teej related requirement, here: Puja Thali, Kum Kum Box and others

Buy your Ganesh Chaturthi related requirement, here: Puja kit, Chowki, Modak & others