Friday, July 26, 2013

Mermaid swimming lessons ecourage filipino kids to swim

Mermaid swimming lessons encourage Filipino kids to swim

25 July 2013 

A school in Manila is helping make seaside daydreams come true by teaching swimmers how to be mermaids.

Swimmers use skin-tight suits and plexi-glass mono-tails to slice through the water.

It started as a way to encourage children to swim - but now adults want to join the fun too.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Short on cash? Sell some stock in yourself!

Short on cash? Sell some stock in yourself

Room to grow
Entrepreneur Nathan Sharp raised $50,000. He is repaying investors 2.5% of his income. (Ethan Barr)

Shane Gring was barely scraping by. Saddled with nearly $50,000 in student loans and credit card debt, the 26-year-old Denver, Colorado, entrepreneur needed a way to supplement his income while getting his start-up off the ground.
So, Gring, who runs BOULD, a company that teaches people how to build green homes, decided to crowdfund himself.
Gring hopes to raise $20,000 on Pave, a crowdfunding platform where young American entrepreneurs, artists, students and other “prospects” raise money from accredited investors in exchange for a percentage of their future income.
So far, four investors, strangers to Gring, have pledged a total of $12,000 to him. In return, he’ll pay them 5% of his income for the next 10 years — whether he earns a few thousand dollars per year or a few hundred thousand dollars.
Pave, which publicly launched in June, differs from popular crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo in several ways: It doesn’t require prospects to deliver on a specific project, product or business idea. Instead, they can use the capital however they want.
These financing programs offer students more flexibility than interest-bearing loans. — Alex Holt
Backers — who must prove that they are high net worth — invest in the prospect’s future earning potential, not a current project. Rather than accept donations in exchange for a token gift, prospects agree to a binding repayment contract, much as they would with a traditional loan.
Pave’s first 12 prospects to receive funding raised an average of $20,000 each. About 40% of the 4,000 prospects waiting in Pave’s queue are looking to refinance student debt, said Oren Bass, the platform’s co-founder and chief executive officer.
Global efforts
Pave is part of a small but growing financing effort around the globe, one that enables young people to fund their education or early professional efforts by selling equity in themselves to strangers for a small percentage of their future income. Some of the programs also offer mentorship, career counselling and job referrals to investees.
Another newcomer, Upstart, launched in November. To date, about 60 aspiring professionals and entrepreneurs — all college graduates — have raised more than $1.5 million from investors.
Outside the United States, such platforms have been around for more than a decade: Since 2002, the German company CareerConcept has helped thousands of European students finance college in exchange for a cut of their future earnings. In Latin America, Lumni has put nearly $100 million in investments into the hands of 4,500 students, many of them from lower-income families.
These financing programs offer students more flexibility than interest-bearing loans, said Alex Holt, an education policy researcher at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan Washington, DC, think tank.
“For a student, taking out $35,000 in loans is a very big risk because you don’t know what your income will be,” Holt said.
These new financing programs can deliver strong returns for the financers, too. For instance, although it suffers a 10% default rate at any given time, investments have steadily generated a 9.5% return for CareerConcept investors, even through the credit crisis, said Vishal Garg, company chairman.
These “human capital contracts” are not without risk for the investee. Although most of the companies doing such financing have precautions in place to protect investees from becoming indentured servants, harassment for repayment could be a problem if, for instance, if an unscrupulous financing firm is unhappy about a promising engineering major going into a lesser-paid field or cutting her work hours.
Discrimination is also a potential issue, Holt said. For example, he said, an investor might decide to fund only men, who often draw higher salaries than women.
The future of student financing?
Alternative education financing programs made headlines earlier this month when Oregon’s state legislature approved development of a pilot program that would let students attend state colleges for free. In return, students pledge 3% of their future income for two decades — below federal student loan rates and well below rates for private loans that students can take out upfront to pay for school.
Critics of such programs worry about them taking advantage of students and graduates without other financial options. But the current batch of private sector programs has built-in protections against that.
With Pave, for example, prospects whose income falls 150% below the poverty line are relieved of that year’s payments. Should they strike it rich, Pave prospects can buy out backers for five times their initial investment. Lumni and CareerConcept cap repayment at 15% of an investee’s income. Upstart caps it at 7% and allows beneficiaries earning less than $30,000 per annum to defer repayment a year.
“The Upstart arrangement sounds really scary until you consider the alternative,” said entrepreneur Nathan Sharp, 27, from Boston, Massachusetts, who raised $50,000 on the platform in 2012.
Sharp, who has begun repaying investors 2.5% of his income, used the money to offset $100,000 debt he accrued while earning his masters of business administration degree — as he was trying to grow his online shopping start-up, Nifti.
But it’s not just about the money. Sharp considers the professional mentorship he’s received from backers “the best thing about Upstart.” (Pave and Lumni backers also have the option to mentor investees.)
“I don’t feel timid at all asking them for advice or help,” Sharp said. “Number one, because they had faith in me early on, and number two, their investment depends on it.”
Why investors take the risk
Upstart CEO Dave Girouard said there must be a worthwhile opportunity for investors. To that end, Upstart uses an algorithm to predict a potential investee’s earning potential and only accepts about one-third of applicants.
“We’re structuring this to be a really smart investment, whether you have a philanthropic bone in your body or not,” Girouard said. Even with periods of unemployment, he added, “wages and income — when you invest across a portfolio of people — grow fairly reliably and steadily.”
Craig Walker, the American entrepreneur who invented Google Voice, has put up about $30,000 for seven aspiring entrepreneurs on Upstart, an investment he calls “a no-brainer.”
“I don’t know if their first ideas are going to be their final ideas, but these are top-notch kids,” said Walker, who has already received payments from several investees. “I have no doubt there’s going to be a decent rate of return.”
Like any investment, risks include possible defaults or lower-than-expected returns. Lumni co-founder and CEO Felipe Vergara declined to specify the repayment rate of the organisation’s investees. But, he said, it’s better than initially forecast, given the high employment rates in some of the countries Lumni serves.
Upstart has seen a 100% repayment rate so far, Girouard said. But should a beneficiary refuse to pay or go bankrupt, the delinquent account would be converted to a 14.99% fixed-rate loan, enabling Upstart to notify credit bureaus and work with collections agencies if needed.
CareerConcept, which handles collections in house, is able to collect payments or renegotiate terms on delinquent accounts more than 90% of the time, company chairman Garg said.
Sharp, who hopes to someday be an Upstart investor himself, wouldn’t dream of dishonouring his contract.
“I want all these people to look back and say, ‘That was a good choice. I would back Nathan again’”, he said.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

William and Kate present baby prince

William and Kate present baby prince

The world gets its first glimpse of the new Prince

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have emerged from St Mary's Hospital in west London with their new baby son.

Walking out to cheers from staff and well-wishers, Kate cradled her son and said it was "a special time".

Prince William said they were "still working on a name".

The couple then went back inside the private Lindo Wing and placed their son in a car seat. A few minutes later they came outside again and the duke drove his family home to Kensington Palace.

A small crowd had gathered outside the palace to greet them.

Speaking to reporters outside the hospital earlier, the couple both said the experience was "very emotional".

William and Kate appeared relaxed and smiled as they appeared on the steps of the hospital shortly before 19:15 BST in front of a mass of photographers.

Kate handed their baby, who was wrapped in a white shawl, over to her husband and the couple walked forward to speak to reporters.
Nappy change
"He's got a good pair of lungs on him, that's for sure," William said.

"He's a big boy, he's quite heavy. We are still working on a name so we will have that as soon as we can."

He added: "It's the first time we have seen him really so we are having a proper chance to catch up."

A smiling duchess said: "It's such a special time. I think any parent will know what this feeling feels like."

Addressing the waiting crowd, Prince William said: "I'll remind him of his tardiness when he's a bit older.

"I know how long you've all been standing here so hopefully the hospital and you guys can all go back to normal now and we can go and look after him."

They also revealed William had done the first nappy change.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital with their new baby boy on 23 July 2013 The couple emerged from St Mary's Hospital to face hundreds of photographers
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital with their new baby boy on 23 July 2013 The duchess was admitted to hospital on Monday morning and gave birth at 16:24 BST. She stayed overnight with her husband and new son
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital with their new baby boy on 23 July 2013 Kate and William answered a few questions from reporters, some of whom had been waiting outside for more than two weeks
Duchess of Cambridge holds her new baby boy The new royal baby is the first child for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - and third in line to the throne
Duke of Cambridge drive his family home from hospital The Duke of Cambridge drove his family home from hospital

Earlier in the afternoon, the couple were visited at the hospital by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, and Kate's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton.

Prince Charles said the baby was "marvellous" while Mrs Middleton said he was "absolutely beautiful".

Speaking to reporters as she left the hospital, Mrs Middleton said: "We are so thrilled".

She added her first cuddle with her new grandson had been "amazing".

Queen, Prince Charles, Duchess of Camb

There has been no word yet on what the couple plan to name the prince and asked if she had been told or made any suggestions, Mrs Middleton said: "Absolutely not."

Prince William was at the hospital for the birth at 16:24 BST on Monday, and stayed with his wife and son, who weighed 8lb 6oz (3.8kg), overnight.

Kensington Palace said in a statement: "We would like to thank the staff at the Lindo Wing and the whole hospital for the tremendous care the three of us have received.

"We know it has been a very busy period for the hospital and we would like to thank everyone - staff, patients and visitors - for their understanding during this time."

The first public appearance of the royal baby attracted tweets from more than 18,000 people a minute, social network Twitter said.

But the figure was short of the peak of 25,300 tweets per minute on Monday night after his birth was announced, it said.

Meanwhile, the birth of the third in line to the throne was marked by gun salutes at Green Park and the Tower of London and the ringing of bells at Westminster Abbey.

And at Buckingham Palace, royal watchers and tourists queued in the rain to catch a glimpse of the bulletin announcing the arrival of the royal baby at 16:34 BST on Monday, which is being displayed on an easel.

The birth of the prince means the monarchy has three generations of heirs to the throne for the first time since 1894.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Amazing Japan! - Japan commuters free woman trapped under train - check out the picture

Train passengers and railway staff push a train car to rescue a woman stuck between the car and the platform at Japan Railway Minami Urawa Station in Saitama, near Tokyo, on 22 July 2013

Japan commuters free woman trapped under train

Train passengers and railway staff push a train car to rescue a woman stuck between the car and the platform at Japan Railway Minami Urawa Station in Saitama, near Tokyo, on 22 July 2013 The woman was taken to hospital but suffered no serious injuries

Dozens of Japanese commuters worked together to help a woman who fell between the platform and the train during rush hour in Tokyo.

The unidentified woman, in her 30s, slipped into the gap at Minami-Urawa station, north of Tokyo, on Monday morning, as she got off the train.

Station officials asked commuters to help tilt the carriage so that the trapped woman could be freed.

The woman was pulled from the gap and had no major injuries.

A photographer from Japan's Yomiuri newspaper captured the image of the passengers in action, who applauded when the woman was freed.

The train carriage was able to tilt because of its suspension system, the paper reported.

The train was sent on its way after a delay of just eight minutes, the paper said.

Royal Baby - Kate gives birth to baby boy

Royal baby: Kate gives birth to boy

A formal bulletin confirming the birth of a baby boy has been displayed at Buckingham Palace

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby boy, Kensington Palace has announced.

The baby was delivered at 16:24 BST at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London, weighing 8lb 6oz.

The Duke of Cambridge said in a statement the couple "could not be happier". He and the duchess will remain in the hospital overnight.

The news has been displayed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in line with tradition.

A bulletin - signed by the Queen's gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who led the medical team that delivered the baby - was taken by a royal aide from St Mary's to the palace under police escort.

The document said: "Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm today.

The official bulletin announcing the birth The official bulletin was signed by members of the medical team at the hospital
Royal head of news Ed Perkins handed over notice Royal head of news Ed Perkins, under police escort, took the notice from the hospital to Buckingham Palace
The Queen's senior page Philip Rhodes is given the document The Queen's senior page, Philip Rhodes (right), was given the document in the forecourt of the palace
Crowds outside the gates of Buckingham Palace Crowds outside the gates hoped to get a glimpse of the bulletin
Celebrations among royal fans The news sparked celebrations among royal fans waiting outside St Mary's Hospital
A town crier confirms the birth A town crier confirmed the birth with a pronouncement on the steps of the hospital's Lindo Wing

"Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well."

When the news was announced, a large cheer went up from well-wishers and journalists outside the hospital while a large crowd greeted the posting of the bulletin outside Buckingham Palace.

The Kensington Palace press release said the Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth of his son, who will be known as the Prince of Cambridge and who is third in line to the throne.

"The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news," it said.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said the names of the baby - who was delivered in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's - would be announced in due course.

The Prince of Wales, in a separate statement, said he and the Duchess of Cornwall were "overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild.

"It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy," he added.

"Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone's life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future."

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the duke and duchess spent time bonding with their son before they told the family their news.

Royal doctor Mr Setchell described the new arrival as "wonderful baby, beautiful baby", our correspondent added.

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking outside Downing Street, hailed the "wonderful news".

"It is an important moment in the life of our nation but I suppose, above all, it's a wonderful moment for a warm and loving couple who've got a brand new baby boy," he added.

He said the Royal Family could "know that a proud nation is celebrating with a very proud and happy couple tonight".

Start Quote

May God bless this family with love, health and happiness in their shared life ahead”
End Quote Archbishop of Canterbury

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: "I am sure that people across Scotland will be absolutely thrilled to hear the news of the birth of a baby boy to the Royal couple and will want to join me in wishing the proud parents many congratulations."

And Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones congratulated the couple "on behalf of the people of Wales" as "they enter their journey into parenthood".

The Archbishop of Canterbury, meanwhile, said he was "delighted to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the arrival of their baby boy".

"Along with millions here and around the world, I share in their joy at this special time," he added.

"May God bless this family with love, health and happiness in their shared life ahead."

Catherine and Prince William had arrived at the hospital at 06:00 BST ahead of a Kensington Palace announcement that she was in the early stages of labour.

The world's media had been camped outside St Mary's for days in anticipation of the birth.