Security Bank operations back to normal

Security bank thumbnail © Provided by Mediamerge Corporation Security bank thumbnail

Security Bank Corp. on Thursday said its operations have been restored back to normal, after completing maintenance work to address delays in its electronic banking system.

“Security Bank is pleased to inform our valued customers that our maintenance activity has been completed and all services that were affected by the delay are now available,” it said in an advisory reflecting on the bank’s operational status as of 9:30 a.m.

The lender initiated maintenance activities on Wednesday, following reports of delays in posting transactions. It also extended banking hours to 7:00 p.m. to accommodate clients who were affected by the lag.

“The delay in posting banking transactions does not and will not impact the financial integrity of our customers’ accounts. While some services were affected, the delay did not prevent our customers from accessing their funds,” Security Bank said in a separate statement on Wednesday.

Security Bank is the third bank to report an issue regarding its electronic banking network in the last three weeks, following BDO Unibank Inc. which suffered a “localized skimming attack,” and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) which suffered an internal data processing error. — Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA News

from Security Bank operations back to normal

Wanted: A new CEO to remake Uber

© Will Oliver, USA TODAY “The thing that made him and the company successful is now causing havoc,” Brad Stone, author of The Upstarts, which chronicles category-altering companies such as Uber and Airbnb, says of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. SAN FRANCISCO — Want to run Uber? You’d better have a steel constitution for cleaning up cultural rot and the insight to make the leaky business profitable.

As the ride-hailing start-up gets set to replace co-founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick, who resigned late Tuesday after a group of investor firms pushed him to quit, it’s on the hunt for a change agent who can revamp a company that’s riddled with uncertainty and still hasn’t passed one of the biggest tests of a start-up — its IPO. 

“The challenges they face as a business are as substantial as the recruiting challenges,” says Stephen Beck, founder of competitive strategy consultancy cg42. “There is a combination of factors that will create some significant pause for any qualified manager to come in.”

Among the issues:

— A host of new faces in both vacant senior positions as well as on the board. On Wednesday, Uber confirmed that TPG Capital’s David Bonderman, who stepped down after a sexist remark during the company’s all-hands on sexism and other matters, will be replaced by TPG’s David Trujillo. And Benchmark Capital confirmed that longtime Kalanick adviser turned skeptic Bill Gurley will be replaced by Benchmark’s Matt Cohler. 

— Whether Kalanick, who remains on the board with powerful voting shares, is truly out of the picture. With this forceful personality still tinkering under Uber’s hood, some candidates might balk.

— How entrenched its cultural problems are. They range from a sexist work environment to strategic practices that sometimes skirt the law. Uber has many top positions to fill, including president, COO and CFO, meaning big leadership holes at a company with 12,000 employees.

— And perhaps most significantly is the tenuous ride-hailing business model. It relies heavily on raised capital to keep fares artificially low. Uber and Lyft both are ploughing money into self-driving cars, but it remains to be seen when that cost-saving tech will fully come on line.

Uber’s board has not made clear the extent of Kalanick’s removal from day-to-day operations, nor has it clearly signaled how it will snare a CEO at this pivotal time in the company’s history. Raising the urgency: its market share has slipped to rival Lyft and its brand image is tarnished with riders.

“It’s surprising how incomplete the messaging is from (Uber’s) board, ranging from Kalanick’s exact role to who they’re retained to conduct the CEO search,” says Jason Schloetzer, a corporate governance expert and professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “The fact that so much wasn’t said reveals the continued instability at the highest levels of Uber.”

Schloetzer says that if Kalanick stays involved in key Uber decisions, that might cause CEO candidates “to be cautious about throwing their hat in the ring.”

An Uber spokesperson wouldn’t elaborate on the board’s statement, which framed Kalanick’s departure as “a bold decision and a sign of his devotion and love for Uber,” while allowing the company “to fully embrace this new chapter in Uber’s history.”

Candidates for this challenging but potentially lucrative CEO post — Uber has been valued at upward of $70 billion — are at this point just rumored. They include names that were reported in past weeks as Uber searched for a chief operations officer to partner with Kalanick at the helm.

A Fox Business report citing unnamed sources mentioned two potential COO candidates, Thomas Staggs, the former Walt Disney COO, and Karenann Terrell, former chief information officer of Walmart. The names of YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and former Ford CEO Alan Mulally, credited with a turnaround and winning the hearts of employees, have also been thrown into the ring, reports tech site Recode.

Another buzzy Silicon Valley name is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose operations acumen and cultural imprimatur could serve Uber well.

But Sandberg is unlikely to leave the social networking company if offered the role, according to sources close to Sandberg.

Although hiring a woman for the top Uber job would send a powerful signal that its egregious treatment of women might come to a swift end, the company must deal in concrete changes and not merely symbolic ones, says Barbara Annis, founder of Gender Intelligence Group and co-author with Richard Nesbitt of Results at the Top: Using Gender Intelligence to Create Breakthrough Growth.

“You can’t put the onus on one woman to fix that problem, you need to look at the whole leadership team,” says Annis. “There’s a whole cultural norm at Uber, an alpha-male culture that is part of its nature. So let’s put someone in who has a value system and can create an inclusive culture with a management team aligned on that. You don’t want the ‘poster woman’ in there.”

Then there’s the cult of the founder. The tech industry in particular has a fascination with the role a founder plays in driving the innovation that distinguishes one start-up in a field with another. That belief is persuasive enough to bring some ousted leaders back.

Consultant Beck cites two familiar examples of iconic brands that were saved when founders stepped back in, Apple (with Steve Jobs) and Starbucks (with Howard Schultz). “Some say, ‘founders can only take a company so far,’ but there are examples when professional management isn’t always the panacea you hope for.”

In fact, before Kalanick’s abrupt departure — as recently as last week, the CEO had decided to opt for an extended leave in part to grieve the death of his mother after a late May boating accident — board member Arianna Huffington had repeatedly mentioned how Kalanick was integral to Uber’s disruptive nature.

And new human resources chief Liane Hornsey told USA TODAY that her boss was “extraordinarily fair” and bent on changing the company while driving it forward on a global scale. With such testimonials, there could be a temptation to keep Kalanick involved, thereby limited the corrective powers of a new CEO.

But perhaps the biggest hurdle facing any new chief executive isn’t Uber’s cultural problems or its legal issues, which range from a federal investigation into its Greyball technology that fooled regulators to an ongoing lawsuit brought by Google’s self-driving car company Waymo over allegedly stolen trade secrets. 

And that is Uber’s business model.

Despite heavy operational losses – Uber said it lost $708 million in the first three months of this year, narrower than Q4’s $991 million — the ride-hailing start-up’s market value has floated between $69 billion and $70 billion, making it the most-valued unicorn company.

But its public woes are causing Uber’s shares to take a hit on the secondary market among investors. Brokers told news site The Information that investors in recent months have paid 15% less for Uber stock, lowering its market value to $50 billion. At the same time, the site reported, some Uber shareholders have looked to offload their holdings.

Analysts have long been nervous about how both ride-hailing companies, Uber and Lyft, are spending some of the billions in cash on keeping fares artificially low in order to drive up ridership.

That model ultimately resolves itself in one of two ways if the company wants to turn to profitability, critical if Uber wants to push ahead with an initial public offering: getting consumers so reliant on the service that they don’t balk when prices are inevitably raised, or using self-driving technology to replace the costly human driver.

Uber’s next CEO will have to both fix a range of internal issues as well as convince investors that ultimately the company will become massively profitable, says Mike Ramsey, analyst with Gartner.

“I do think there’s an existential threat to this business model,” says Ramsey. “There are already cracks in it. Despite what analysts say about their exponential growth, there are things that need to be worked out (with the model) or this won’t work.”

Follow USA TODAY reporters Jon Swartz and Marco della Cava on Twitter.

from Wanted: A new CEO to remake Uber

Google, Facebook ‘will lose millions in ads over extremism fears’

A float depicts survellance by Google and Facebook: Google and Facebook have faced criticism over ads appearing next to extremist content and fake news. © Alamy Stock Photo Google and Facebook have faced criticism over ads appearing next to extremist content and fake news. Advertisers will pull hundreds of millions of pounds in spending from Google and Facebook this year over concerns about ads running next to inappropriate content such as extremist sites and fake news. 

Sir Martin Sorrell’s GroupM, which buys more than $75bn (£60bn) of advertising space on behalf of clients globally, has slashed its growth prediction for UK digital advertising and has blamed some of the adjustment on an advertiser backlash over the inability of Silicon Valley giants to stop ads appearing around inappropriate content

The latest forecast says that spend on major digital platforms like Google, Facebook and YouTube in the UK – or “pure play” internet advertising, in the industry jargon – will grow by 11% to nearly £10.5bn this year, a reduction on an earlier forecast of 15%.

“Effectively, since March we have seen a surprisingly general effect of clients either stopping spend altogether, or pausing spend in this area. It has been widespread,” said Adam Smith, a director at GroupM. “It has been much more persistent in that if you thought it was something that was a seven-day wonder, it isn’t. There is still a substantial number of advertisers yet to return to their prior weight of ad investment.”

In March, it emerged that major brands’ content was appearing next to videos on YouTube, which is owned by Google, promoting extremist views or hate speech, with a cut of the advertising spend going to the creators. The inappropriate content included YouTube videos of American white nationalists, a hate preacher banned in the UK and a controversial Islamist preacher.

Facebook, which relies upon advertising, has come in for criticism and pressure to clean up its act over a number of issues including distributing “fake news”.

It has faced an advertising boycott by major companies including Havas – the world’s sixth largest advertising group with UK clients including O2, EDF and Royal Mail – which pulled its entire £175m UK digital ad spend.

Earlier this month Vodafone, which spends about £400m a year on digital advertising, introduced a tough new global policy limiting its adverts to sites on a “whitelist”.

Both Google and Facebook are introducing fixes to stem the spread of false information and minimise the chances of advertising appearing next to inappropriate content. However, evidence has emerged that these fixes are not 100% effective.

GroupM said the downgrade will mean that pure play UK internet ad spend – which does not include ad spend on publishers’ websites or TV companies’ digital services – will grow at the slowest rate since 2011.

It is estimated that the cut in forecast spend equates to hundreds of millions of pounds of ad spend being held back from Google and Facebook.

“I think trust in digital advertising is one of the most important industry issues of our time,” said Keith Weed, marketing chief at Unilever, the world’s second biggest advertiser, which owns brands including Dove and Lynx and spends €7.5bn (£6.6bn) globally.

“It is absolutely central to people’s confidence in advertising and brands, and our continued use of these channels. Therefore partners need to have greater accountability to aim for a brand-safe environment. We continue, through tough and difficult conversations with media partners, to accelerate plans that address these challenges.”

Despite the advertiser pullback, traditional media owners offering so-called “brand-safe” environments, such as the websites of newspaper and magazine publishers and on TV companies’ digital services, are not forecast by GroupM to see a major boost in ad spend.

“No traditional media owner has made as much of this as they should have done,” said Smith. “They haven’t seen the message that they were a safer environment for online content translate commercially. Nevertheless, the issue remains an important theme for 2017.”

The forecast for national newspaper advertising, digital and print remains almost unchanged, with a decline of 10.8% to £835m predicted for this year.

GroupM has also downgraded the forecast for the £4.4bn TV ad market this year from flat to a fall of 3%.

The slower rate of growth of pure-play digital ad spend – and the reduced outlook for TV advertising – has led GroupM to forecast the slowest rate of growth for the overall UK ad market since 2012.

In November, GroupM forecast that the UK ad market would grow 7% this year, it now predicts 4.1% growth to £18.6bn. This is the lowest level since 3.8% growth reported in 2012.

from Google, Facebook ‘will lose millions in ads over extremism fears’

Nissan-Renault plan driverless ride-hailing service

FILE PHOTO: Ogi Redzic, Senior Vice President of Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services for Renault-Nissan Alliance, has a conversation with a Nissan IDS prototype vehicle in the background during a Nissan keynote address at the 2017 CES in Las Vegas © REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo FILE PHOTO: Ogi Redzic, Senior Vice President of Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services for Renault-Nissan Alliance, has a conversation with a Nissan IDS prototype vehicle in the background during a Nissan keynote address at the 2017 CES in Las Vegas The Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Renault SA alliance plan to launch driverless ride-hailing and ride-sharing services in coming years, as the automakers look beyond making and selling cars to survive an industry being quickly transformed by new services.

Automakers are leveraging expertise in automated driving functions for mass-market cars to develop mobility services, as they compete with tech firms such as Alphabet Inc and Uber Technologies Inc in the fast-growing “pay-per-ride” market which threatens to hit demand for car ownership.

Ogi Redzic, head of Nissan-Renault’s Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services division, said the alliance would begin self-driving services based on its electric cars “certainly within 10 years,” though not likely before 2020.

“We think that the big opportunity for us is in automation, electric vehicles and ride-sharing and hailing together,” Redzic said in an interview on Thursday.

Nissan and Renault join a small group of automakers aiming to enter the ride-hailing market, which Goldman Sachs last month estimated would grow eightfold by 2030 to be five times the size of the taxi market.

Redzic said the Japanese and French partners were testing self-driving vehicles, and that any service would run on pre-mapped courses with predetermined pick-up and drop-off points.

The two automakers are developing the system with Japanese game software maker DeNA Co Ltd and French public transport operator Transdev SA.

German rival BMW AG is also testing autonomous vehicles for use in ride-hailing services, while Uber has been developing self-driving technology.

U.S. tech firm nuTonomy Inc and ride services company Lyft Inc, which counts General Motors Co as a major shareholder, this month announced they would begin piloting an autonomous vehicle ride-hailing service in Boston.

Redzic said to market a self-driving service, regulations need to change to allow driverless cars on roads. At the moment, most global jurisdictions do not expressly authorise vehicles to operate on regular roads without a driver.

“It doesn’t just depend on us,” he said. “To become fully driverless you need laws to change.”

from Nissan-Renault plan driverless ride-hailing service

The 8 best Android phones on the planet right now

Courtesy of T3: T3 image © Courtesy of T3 T3 image If you’re looking for the best Android phones around then you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your contract or maybe move from an iPhone, we’ve thoroughly tested every top Android-toting device on the market to make sure you choose the best one.

Android is available on a wide variety of handsets. From big to small, powerful to battery efficient, metal clad to grippy plastic, there’s something for everyone.

The headline act in the Android world is Samsung, it just makes so many. Then you’ve got HTC producing some stunning devices and even LG turning its fortunes around and getting back in the game.

Then there are the cheaper options, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the specs. OnePlus combined power, a wonderful screen with a very affordable price-tag and the likes of ZTE, Huawei, and Acer all offer plenty of smartphone for your buck.

We’ve rounded up the best Android handsets available today, making sure every device ticks all the vital boxes. We’ve rated them on performance, extra features, camera credibility and of course, how they look and feel in the hand.

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. 1. Samsung Galaxy S8

All phones look pretty much the same, right? Wrong. The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a gorgeous piece of tech, complete with a curved display which takes up over 80-percent of the screen. It’s so much better than phones which still have large bezels, just because it feels more futuristic (although it does come at the cost of… extra money).

The 5.8-inch QHD display is sublime, probably the best we’ve ever laid our eyes upon, and the 12MP snapper is great in both daylight and nighttime conditions. Everything runs smooth too, thanks to the octa-core processor and 4GB RAM tucked under that metal and glass body. It’s easily the best Android phone out there, hell, it’s also the best smartphone out there.

  © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. 2. LG G6

After LG shook things up with the G5, which was clearly aimed at the tech fans amongst us, the company has gone back to a more conservative approach when it comes to flagship design. That’s no bad thing, because the LG G6 is a belter of a smartphone. 

It carries over the excellent camera from last year’s phone, now with a large bezel-less display, and a more premium design. The specs excel as well, if you’re looking for the top end of the Android market.

  © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. 3. Google Pixel

This is actually Google’s first attempt at designed a phone themselves, and it’s not a bad effort. The Pixel is impressive in almost every area, with a great camera, slick software, decent display and top-of-the-line specs.

It’s let down in a few areas. Firstly, the design is a bit clunky, no where near as premium as its rivals. It also lacks luxury features, such as waterproofing.

All in all however, the Pixel is an amazing phone, and we can’t wait to see the second generation.

  © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. 4. Huawei P10

Huawei impressed us all with the Huawei P9, and it has done it again with the brilliant P10. It’s a fairly compact phone with a sleek, Apple-esque design. Under the svelte body is the latest, speediest internals.

The Leica-branded camera is back, and it’s really rather good. A few things let it down, however, such as the system UI, though, Huawei is slowly improving this. It’s certainly not the best Android phone out there, but we get the feeling Huawei won’t stop until it is.

  © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. 5. OnePlus 5

Forget the price for a second – the OnePlus 5 is a fantastic smartphone. It’s got a premium all-metal design, excellent software, great camera, and amazing specs. Now consider that smartphone costs £499, almost £200 cheaper than some of the others on this list, and it becomes easily one of the best smartphones in 2016.

The OnePlus 5 is the OnePlus phone we’ve been waiting for. The phone feels great in the hand, it’s lightening fast, and we didn’t experience any software bugs while testing.

Battery life isn’t great, but thanks to Dash Charge, a quick 30 minute blast of power will replenish 60-percent of the battery.

It’s a great phone at a great price, what more could you ask for?

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. 6. HTC U11

HTC has a long and proud history of producing amazing, under appreciated smartphones. The HTC U11 is another in the line of brilliant smartphones, and only time will tell if it’ll receive the recognition it deserves. 

The body has evolved into a sleek glass and metal design, and the specs have gotten better as well. You’ve now got a 12MP snapper on the back which takes great snaps. BoomSound speakers still provide the best mobile audio experience around, and the Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB RAM keep everything running smoothly.

Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S8, the U11 doesn’t feel quite so revolutionary, but we still can’t help marvel at the build quality.

  © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. 7. Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Sony’s latest flagship focuses on two areas, the screen, and the camera. The screen on the front has a humongous 807 pixels per-an-inch that makes one of the clearest images on a smartphone, ever.

The 5.5-inch screen is a decent size, but the phone is quite large due to the large bezels at the top and bottom of the screen.

It also includes a 19MP sensor camera that has great auto-focus technology that means you can grab moving objects in a way we’ve never seen before. It also has a super slow motion, 960fps video function.

There’s a new fingerprint sensor running along the side of the phone that works perfectly compared to options we’ve seen on other phones. Overall, this is one of the best choices if you love 4K and slow motion video.

  © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. 8. Motorola Moto X Force

The Moto X Force is one of the best phones we’ve seen in a long time from Motorola and with a durable design which means it’s almost impossible to break.

from The 8 best Android phones on the planet right now

Hubble find shows how dead galaxies evolve

An artist's render of the dead galaxy (right) compared to the Milky Way galaxy. The blue areas on the Milky Way indicate star formation.<br /> © Provided by CNET An artist’s render of the dead galaxy (right) compared to the Milky Way galaxy. The blue areas on the Milky Way indicate star formation.
A galaxy from the early universe has challenged what we know of how dead galaxies evolve.

Imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, the galaxy stopped producing new stars just a few billion years after the Big Bang — a dead galaxy. It’s also an unexpected shape — a rapidly spinning disk. This makes it the first observational evidence that some dead galaxies evolve from a disk-shaped spiral galaxy into a more three-dimensional elliptical galaxy, the more common shape for old-star and dead galaxies.

The research has been published in the journal Nature.

“This new insight may force us to rethink the whole cosmological context of how galaxies burn out early on and evolve into local elliptical-shaped galaxies,” said study leader Sune Toft of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. “Perhaps we have been blind to the fact that early ‘dead’ galaxies could in fact be disks, simply because we haven’t been able to resolve them.”

The Hubble Space Telescope was able to view this galaxy, three times the mass of the Milky Way but only half its size, in detail thanks to gravitational lensing. The Very Large Telescope provided data on the galaxy’s rotational velocity, determining that it is spinning twice as fast as the Milky Way.

The team believes that merging with other galaxies is the most likely way they evolve from discs into ellipses.

“If these galaxies grow through merging with minor companions, and these minor companions come in large numbers and from all sorts of different angles onto the galaxy, this would eventually randomize the orbits of stars in the galaxies,” Toft said.

from Hubble find shows how dead galaxies evolve

This Flowchart Will End The Grilling Gender Debate Once And For All

There’s an age-old misconception that women cook and men grill.

Most of us know this is absurd. Women know how to handle the heat of the fire just as masterfully as men. The world was recently reminded of that fact when Texas Monthly awarded the best barbecue in Texas to the woman-run Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, TX. Snow’s beloved food is prepared by Tootsie Tomanetz, a woman who has been barbecuing meat for 50 years

But in case there’s any doubt left in anyone’s mind about who should be manning (or wo-manning) the grill, we put together a flowchart that settles the issue once and for all.

Once that sinks into your brain, go grill some steak, burgers, veggies and everything else you can think of. 

Yep, everyone can grill. © Julie R Thomson Yep, everyone can grill. This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

from This Flowchart Will End The Grilling Gender Debate Once And For All

All The Types Of Sparkling Red Wine You Should Try This Summer

© Westend61 via Getty Images

We are deep into rosé season.

That means people have forgotten about their favorite bottles of red and are delving into the best pink wines the market has to offer (and that means both bottlesandcans). This is great news for all the rosé enthusiasts, but not so exciting for those who don’t really dig the pink stuff. (We know you’re out there.)

For you, we have a suggestion: sparkling red wine. 

The great thing about sparkling red wine is that you drink it chilled, so it’s more refreshing than a classic red. And the bubbles ― which can range from semi-sparkling to fully sparkling ― add an element of fun.

You might already know about Lambrusco, the most popular variety, but there are so many more out there that you should try.

The best types of sparkling reds.

Italian Lambrusco is the most popular sparkling red, but it hasn’t always had the best reputation. Lambruscos available in the U.S. some years back lacked complexity, but the options these days have vastly improved. 

There are many options within Lambruscos, so it’s just a matter of finding the right one. Some are very sweet and light (they’ll be labeled dolce) and others are on the drier side, labeled secco. While that might seem confusing, it just means that no matter which type of wine you like, there’s a Lambrusco for you.

But Lambrusco isn’t the only Italian option out there. Another popular one is Brachetto. Brachettos are made in the Piedmont region of Italy ― and they are gently red, lightly sweet wines with low alcohol ranging around six percent. Brachetto, which has been made locally since Roman times, can be sweeter than some of the other options. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth trying ― consider drinking it with dessert, or as dessert.

Australia makes a sparkling Shiraz that’s been known to convert people to this type of wine. These wines are balanced ― deep reds with the right amount of fruit ― and have been making the Australians very proud


Before you embark on your sparkling red journey, there’s one tip you should keep in mind: look at the alcohol percentage. To make sure you don’t end up with a cloyingly sweet bottle, look for an alcohol percentage around 11 to 13 ― and be wary of anything under 8 percent (unless its a Brachetto). Cheers!

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

from All The Types Of Sparkling Red Wine You Should Try This Summer

10 Summer Pasta Recipes That Take The Work Out Of Dinner

Summer is all about taking advantage of the beautiful weather. For us, this means two things: filling up on fresh produce and spending as much time outside as possible. That’s why dinner needs to take require minimal time in the kitchen, and it needs to take full advantage of those summer fresh veggies.

Enter, summer pasta.

Summer pasta is different from winter pasta. Its purpose is not to feed our souls with a big bowl of comfort, but rather to serve as a backdrop for fresh herbs, summer produce and lots of cheese, naturally. It’s quick, easy and always delicious.

Here are 10 recipes to get you started:

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

from 10 Summer Pasta Recipes That Take The Work Out Of Dinner