APTN National NewsU.S. President Barack Obama recently decided to delay the Keystone XL pipeline and in response, the Canadian government is ramping up efforts to capitalize on the lucrative gas and oil market in Asia.The alternative is the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.There are over 50 First Nation communities, environmentalists and many individuals who oppose the pipelines, including award-winning actress Tantoo Cardinal.Cardinal was recently arrested in Washington D.C. outside of the White House for protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.Cardinal was in APTN National News‘ Vancouver studio.
Turkish markets hit by Moody’s rating downgrade LONDON – Turkish financial markets took a battering Monday after ratings agency Moody’s downgraded the country’s credit grade to junk status to account for a series of shocks to the economy that included bombings and an attempted coup.The Istanbul 100 stock index fell 3.8 per cent and the national currency, the lira, also took a hit. The dollar was up 0.4 per cent at 2.9796 lira.The sell-off is largely due to Moody’s statement late Friday that it was cutting Turkey’s government debt rating to Ba1 from Baa3. The downgrade means Moody’s joins Standard & Poor’s in rating Turkey below investment grade. That’s important because it will likely cost the government more to borrow on capital markets and prompt some investment funds to sell Turkish assets.Turkey’s economy has wilted this year in the face of a string of extremist attacks and uncertainty following the failed coup on July 15 against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that saw more than 270 people killed.Tourism, a key component of the economy as well as a substantial foreign-currency earner, has suffered, not least because Russian tourists have stayed away in the wake of a diplomatic spat over Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane last year.Moody’s said the “upsurge in security-related incidents” and the sanctions imposed by Russia last year following the downing of the jet, have had “an adverse impact” on tourism, which accounts for around 4.4 per cent of Turkey’s annual GDP but 15 per cent of its foreign capital receipts. In the first half of this year, Moody’s said, tourist arrivals and revenues were down 27.9 per cent and 28.2 per cent compared with a year earlier.The agency said that the country “continues to operate in a fragile financial and geopolitical environment.” This, it said, has “credit implications for Turkey given its dependence on foreign capital.”According to Moody’s, Turkey’s current account deficit remains elevated at 4.3 per cent this year and 4 per cent next and exceeds those of other similarly rated countries.Moody’s also cut its economic growth forecasts for Turkey to an annual average of 2.7 per cent over the 2016-19 period compared with 5.5 per cent over 2010-14.Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus dismissed the downgrade as a “political” move and part of a wider effort to undermine the country.Kurtulmus said Turkey was determined to keep reforming the economy and to fight what he said were efforts to spread the “perception” that the country was in bad shape. He claimed that the outflow of funds following the downgrade has been limited.Lee Hardman, a currency analyst at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, said the downgrade isn’t likely to have too much of an impact given that investors continue to look for higher-yielding assets like Turkey’s. Despite a series of cuts to interest rates, Turkey’s main overnight marginal funding rate stands at 8.25 per cent. In many developed economies, benchmark rates are near zero.“It has helped to dampen downside for the lira so far this year even as domestic political risk has increased,” Hardman said.A longer-term concern for some investors is that Turkey is moving toward a more authoritarian model of governance, a trend that could further dent any hopes the country has of joining the European Union.Since the coup was seen off, tens of thousands of civil servants and government bureaucrats have been dismissed while scores of businesses have been shut over suspicion of being linked to Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for the attempted coup, a charge Gulen rejects.Moody’s said the government’s response “raises further concerns regarding the predictability and effectiveness of government policy and the rule of law going forward.”___Suzan Fraser in Ankara contributed to this report. by Pan Pylas, The Associated Press Posted Sep 26, 2016 6:29 am MDT Last Updated Sep 26, 2016 at 11:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
In a statement issued earlier today by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban deplored the killing last night of nine people in a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina.“He extends his deep condolences to the loved ones of the victims and his solidarity to the survivors. He hopes the person or persons responsible for this hateful act of violence will be swiftly brought to justice,” conclude the statement.News reports subsequently have suggested that a suspect in the murders has been arrested in the neighbouring state of North Carolina.
Incorporated in April 2014, Caspeo Chile launched its operations in May, 2014. Caspeo Chile is a 100% subsidiary of Caspeo, France, publishing the BRGM software range for process analysis: USIM™ PAC, BILCO™ and ECHANT™. Caspeo is also the author and publisher of INVENTEO™, an integrated solution for metallurgical accounting. Caspeo Chile will distribute and support Caspeo software products in Chile and surrounding countries. Based in Santiago, it will also provide associated consultancy in this region, such as process design and optimisation, implementation of INVENTEO and sampling expertise.Caspeo Managing Director, Marie-Véronique DURANCE, said: “Caspeo Chile SpA will help us to be closer to our customers to better understand and answer their needs and at the same time will be helpful to improve our market share in South America.”
TELLING PEOPLE YOU suffer from mental health issues like depression or panic attacks is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.It took me 10 years to figure out that I suffered from depression and what was happening to my body. I’d had serious panic attacks in my mid-20s and at first they were mild and I could laugh them off.In later years they got so serious that at first I presumed they were a heart attack and that I was on my way out. Shooting pains across my chest and the inability to breathe as your head starts spinning are a horrible combination. I can best describe it as that moment you think you are about to hit an animal on the road in your car. With the animal the fright lasts for two seconds but a full-blown panic attack can give you that feeling for a couple of hours and wipe you out for days.“I told myself: I’m not ‘one of them’”Panic attacks can be a sign of depression and mental health issues and I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. I had a great life, travelled the world and had my own business. At that time, I felt the exact same stigma that the vast majority of the population have – I thought to myself: “isn’t being depressed just for crazy people and sure, don’t I have great friends, a house and a car… I’m defo not ‘one of them’.”Although my depression is mild enough it does hit me like a fog at times. Sometimes it means spending three or four days in bed and not being about to physically move. Scared when anybody knocks on the door. Turning the phone off. Not even able to open the curtains and certainly not wanting to meet people.One day I’ll be leading a meeting of ten people in work followed by watching football with friends with not a care in the world but when the fog hits the next day I’ll be scared to walk down the street thinking everyday is watching me and that somebody is about to jump around a corner and attack me.Although I manage a couple of companies and 20-plus staff, there are times when it hits that I don’t have the ability to put a plate into the dishwasher or to charge my own phone.“All you can do is crawl under the covers”No matter how many times you experience depression it just doesn’t get any less scary and all you can do is crawl under the covers and block the world out. It comes in many shapes and sizes but that has been my world for the last decade of my life.At first I had a great solution because I was able to self-medicate. Booze, for me, was the perfect antidote to feeling depressed. A few pints when I saw the signs approaching and I’d be grand. I could stave off the attacks and calm the nerves.This technique worked for a few years but as the attacks become more frequent, so did the drinking. Soon I needed four or five pints a night to calm it down. A bottle of wine here, a gin and tonic there.Before you know it you are having a glass of white wine with breakfast on a Sunday morning.At that stage, not only are you suffering from panic attacks and depression but you are also displaying the first signs of alcoholism. Aware 1890 303 302 Source: depression via ShutterstockThe good news is that there are better solutions. Medication works really well and talking to counsellors worked even better for me. I am in a better place now, although I do take a tablet every single morning.The big problem is that with mental health issues, you are fighting two battles. The illness is a beast to take on – but not as big as the stigma that you face. I wasn’t able to tell a single soul for two years. I eventually found the courage to tell a girlfriend at the time but it was another year before I could tell my very best friends. Longer still before I could tell some family.“Huge taboo”In some ways I am incredibly lucky having my own business because I am my own boss and I certainly wouldn’t fancy having to broach the subject with a manager in a professional situation. Even though one in four people will suffer with mental illness in their life there is a huge taboo around the subject.Nobody wants to say that their brain isn’t functioning as it should, or worse, have people use that Irish saying when talking about you that, “He is suffering with his nerves.”We’ll show off a broken leg as a badge of honour and get our friends to sign the cast but mental illness is seen by many as a failure. I see it in people’s faces when I tell them for the first time. The pity. The fear and not knowing what to say. They want to dance around the subject and there are many that put you in the “crazy box”.I’m lucky because I have a positive outlook. I can take three days in bed and get up more positive than ever once the fog lifts. It only affects me about five per cent of the time now and I know what to do to make it pass quickly. Although it has taken ten years and much soul-searching to get here I feel in control.“Trying to educate people”I can see how people slip into a darker place though especially with nobody to talk to. It’s been great seeing people like Bressie and John Murray talking about it openly and trying to educate people. It is the main reason I wrote such an honest book and tried to share my own experiences without hiding anything.See, with mental health everything can look perfect on the outside. The body can be fit and healthy and people can appear to have a brilliant career and all the trappings of success – but you have no idea what is going on inside people’s heads.If one person reads the book and identifies with the issue and seeks help to get it fixed, I’ll be able to pat myself on the back.Depression isn’t great but nor is it the end of the world – what it needs is more awareness and people talking about it and sharing experiences.Niall Harbison is an entrepreneur and has just published Get Sh*t Done via Penguin, available from any good book shop or online here.If you would like to speak to someone, consider these numbers: Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 Samaritans 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Console 1800 201 890 Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email email@example.com Childline 1800 66 66 66
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram “Typical example is when they hire a plasterer or any other tradesman. First problem is – they give the person cash. And second – the tradesman leaves, without having completed a job,” Mr Bouras says.Senior Australian citizens are likely to fall victims of scamming, with elderly from diverse backgrounds being more susceptible due to language and other barriers they face, AGWS Dimitri Bouras says. “Absolutely, due to language and other factors, elderly of non-English speaking background are more likely to fall victims. It’s usually people who are widowed or live alone. I won’t go as far as to say that isolated elderly people of these communities are targeted, but I can tell you that statistically these people have a high rate of falling victims to scams,” Mr Bouras says. Bouras, who is a case worker for Australian Greek Welfare Society, says that over the last four years he has faced up to 15 cases of elderly Greek Australian who have fallen victims of scams. However, as many scams go unreported, real figures are likely to be higher. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Targeting Scams report for 2012 released on 18 June, level of scams activity in Australia continues to rise. However, contrary to popular beliefs, ACCC report found that young people and the elderly were not overrepresented in contacts. Age group from 45-54 year age comprised 19.4 per cent of the 21,116 scam-related contacts where an individual provided their age; age group from 55-64 represented 15.6 per cent, and 64 year age group 10.5 per cent. In 2012 scams were most commonly reported by persons in the 35 to 44 age category, representing 32.2 per cent of contacts, ACCC found. From the statistics that were published in ACCC report, it is not known if elderly of diverse backgrounds are more vulnerable when it comes to scamming. Media person for the ACCC told Neos Kosmos that the Commission statistics is not being break down by ethnicity. “Over the last 4 years I have had three different cases of widowed women who signed with a new energy provider and ended up receiving two different bills. What you would get as a response from victims was that they felt sorry for a young guy who knocked on their door, so they signed wanting to help him to make some money, without being explained what they were signing. Having 2 energy providers leaving 2 different bills for very little consumption can be very traumatic for Centrelink pensioner,” Mr Bouras explains. A good way to prevent this from happening, Bouras says, is a Do Not Knock Sticker, that he has been handing out to Greek Australian elderly. “The sticker is provided by Legal Aid, and it states that “unsolicited door knocking here is unlawful”. It’s a sticker that can’t be ignored and it’s a very good deterrent. Prevention is always better than cure.” Another type of scamming that Greek senior citizens face is through dealing with tradies, better known as advance fee fraud, where they are lured into handing over money in advance for a promised job. “Typical example is when they hire a plasterer or any other tradesman. First problem is – they give the person cash. And second – the tradesman leaves, without having completed a job,” Mr Bouras says. In 2012, advance fee/up-front payment scams were the most commonly reported scam type, with computer hacking remaining the second most reported. The ACCC report found that the ‘Microsoft’ computer virus scam also heavily targets Australians, while in the last year the public was also targeted by a scareware scam where the perpetrators pretended to be from the Australian Federal Police. “Non-English speaking people need to be trained and educated that they always have to have some sort of receipt or invoice in their hands, for goods and services provided. So they can actually take the case up to the consumer law or ombudsman,” Mr Bouras says. While Consumer Affairs Victoria does not record the age or ethnicity of people who contact them to report the scam, a spokesperson told Neos Kosmos there is some anecdotal evidence that suggests elderly people may be vulnerable to scams. “Elderly people are more likely to be at home and so travelling conmen and telephone scams are more likely to “catch” them, so this way they are more susceptible to scams. We also believe that elderly people tend to be polite and therefore less likely to say no to scammers,” the spokeperson said. Investment scams or so-called ‘get-rich-quick’, money transfer or ‘Nigerian scams’, fake prizes scams and chain letters are only a few of the scams going around. Some scammers will knock on your door, offering cheap deals for ‘today only’. The common denominator of all the above is to steal – your money or your personal details. The preferred delivery method of the 83,803 reported scams in 2012 was using telephone (42.3 per cent), email (23.2 per cent), text message (14.1 per cent) and internet (11.9 per cent). Mr Kirk Kantzipas, the general manager of financial crime at NAB, the team that works with relevant law enforcement authorities to shut down fraud or prevent a new one, told Neos Kosmos that, regardless of their background and age profiles, criminals will often target people. “Criminals domestically and overseas continuously attempt different methods for defrauding financial institutions and their customers,” Mr Kantzipas told Neos Kosmos. NAB’s real-time fraud detection system alerts the team to suspicious activity on customer accounts within seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “If a fraud is committed, our customers are not liable for unauthorised transactions when it’s clear they didn’t contribute to the loss.” Mr Kantzipas advised that citizens using electronic banking system should be aware of the practical steps they can take for their personal and business security, like using a range of strong, varied passwords and keeping a close eye on all account balances. “Also, remember a bank will never ask for your account details on email. If you have any suspicions you can report a scam by contacting NAB’s Fraud Assist line on 1300 622 372 or visiting your local branch,” Mr Kantzipas said. While many people don’t report scams to authorities, this practice is of huge significance for consumer protection agencies to help other people avoid similar experiences. Consumer Affairs Victoria spokeperson advised consumers always be on the alert, as scams continue to become more sophisticated, with some scammers using fake letterheads, logos and genuine-looking websites to deceive consumers and small businesses. Estimated scam losses reported to the ACCC in 2012 were $ 93,423,030 – a nine per cent increase from 2011. To learn how to recognize and deal with scam, visit ACCC’s www.scamwatch.gov.au for tips. To report a scam, contact ACCC on 1300 55 81 81 (or 131 450 for Interpreter Service), or call Consumer Affairs Victoria www.consumer.vic.gov.au For further information on electronic banking security tips, visit http://learn.nab.com.au/electronic-banking-security-tips
Woodland – A section of state Highway 503 will be closed from noon to 4 p.m. today through Thursday for road work.During those hours, Washington State Department of Transportation crews will be out doing hillside stabilization by rock blasting above the roadway. The work will close 503 near Speelyai Bay Road.There will be a signed detour for drivers to follow to navigate around the work.
The extradition bid against Hakeem Al Araibi was dropped and this means the Bahraini player is free to go back to Australia to play.Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi is now free after almost three months in a Thailandese jail, where he was waiting for his extradition to his home country.Al Araibi was a vocal critic of the Bahraini government, and after he was wrongly convicted of vandalism.According to the government, the footballer and a group of persons tried to set a police station on fire in 2012.But Al Araibi was taking part in a televised football match when the incident happened, which the authorities did not care at all.He flew to Australia to look for a better life as a refugee and he had been playing there since 2015, as part of four different teams.But in November 2018, he visited Thailand with his wife for their belated honeymoon, and he was detained and put in jail awaiting his extradition to his native country.FIFA demand release of Bahraini refugee Henry Ikenna Ugwu – January 10, 2019 FIFA have demanded Hakeem Al Araibi, who faces possible deportation from Thailand should be freed and allowed to return to Australia to continue his…FIFA and many different governing bodies tried to help him, and today he was released and is free to go back to Australia to continue his football career.“There are no grounds to hold him anymore. It is his right to decide where he will go next. He is a free man,” said Chatchom Akapin, an official in the Thai Attorney-General’s office according to reporting by Reuters.“We greatly respect the process that they have had to work through and we greatly appreciate their listening to the issues that have been raised by our government and many others,” Australian prime minister Scott Morrison“My thanks go to the wonderful people of Thailand for your support and to the Thai government for upholding international law,” former Australia captain Craig Foster said on Twitter.Thailand will release Bahraini footballer Hakeem Al Araibi, after Bahrain abandoned its bid to seek his extradition. Human rights activists say he could face torture if sent back to Bahrain, where he was a vocal critic of the authorities. pic.twitter.com/WRmjyO2HPe— BFM News (@NewsBFM) February 11, 2019
Earlier this year, Fairchild Fashion Group president and CEO Richard Beckman stepped down to take the chief executive position at e5 Global Media, which now manages Nielsen Business Media’s former entertainment brands. He was replaced as CEO by Gina Sanders, who previously served as vice president and publisher at Lucky.The Fairchild Fashion Group is made up of WWD, WWD.com, WWD Beauty Biz, Footwear News, Menswear, Fairchild Summits, Fairchild Books and affiliated trade shows. Last month, Condé Nast moved consumer fashion title out of the group. As a result of the restructuring, the senior editorial staff that was shared by W and trade title WWD will now work exclusively for WWD.A few days later, the company named T: The New York Times Style Magazine creator and top editor Stefano Tonchi editor-in-chief of the magazine. He replaced editorial director Patrick McCarthy, who left the company. Management changes continue at Condé Nast’s Fairchild Fashion Group. A company spokesperson tells FOLIO: that WWD publisher Christine Guilfoyle is leaving the company.Guilfoyle was named publisher in August 2007. Before that, she served as founding publisher of Every Day with Rachael Ray.The departure comes as Condé Nast on Wednesday named Rolling Stone publisher Will Schenck vice president and chief revenue officer of the Fairchild Fashion Group. His appointment is effective May 10.
WILMINGTON, MA — The Town of Wilmington is seeking lifeguards to work for the Town’s summer beach program at Silver Lake which operates through August 12th. Individuals interested in more information may contact the Recreation Office at 978-658-4270 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click HERE to complete an application.(NOTE: The above announcement is from the Town of Wilmington.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related(GOOSE) POOP HAPPENS: Town Beach Has Successful Season Despite 16-Day Swimming Ban Due To High BacteriaIn “Government”ALERT: Town Beach Is CLOSED For Swimming Due To High Bacteria CountIn “Government”Town Beach Season Is Officially Over: Key Reminders As Beach Remains Open Without Lifeguards Beginning August 12In “Community”
Cannabis Plant. (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)City of Fairbanks voters will consider a 5 percent sales tax on marijuana. The city council has approved putting the proposed retail tax before voters in the October municipal election. The tax is an effort to tap unknown revenue that legalized marijuana sales could provide.Download AudioOrdinance sponsor, Fairbanks City Council member David Pruhs told the panel that the tax follows on direct language from the statewide ballot initiative approved by Alaska voters last fall legalizing recreational marijuana.“This is what the industry wanted. They wanted to be treated alcohol,” Pruhs says. “We’re treating them just like alcohol.”The city of Fairbanks already has alcohol and tobacco taxes. Pruhs further advocated for the proposed marijuana sales tax as an alternative means for the city to raise money to help cover a dip in property tax revenue.“What we have to do is make the decision: ‘Do we want to put this in its operating form for the voters and let them decide?’”A version of the tax ordinance that would have allowed the rate to be set anywhere between 5 and 8 percent was turned back by the council after concerns were raised by council member Jerry Cleworth about compliance with the city charter.“It specifically says that if we’re going to set a rate, then go to the voters. And that’s what we’re doing,” Cleworth says. “But if we’re going to raise that rate, we need to go to the voters again.”Local cannabis advocate Frank Turney spoke out against the proposed marijuana sales tax, saying it will have a negative effect.“Pushing people into the black market, so to speak,” Turney says.Turney and twoother citizens who voiced opposition to the tax, also cited a $50-per-ounce state tax that will be levied on marijuana growers. No one from the marijuana industry testified. The state is still formulating regulations governing commercial marijuana, which becomes legal for licensed operators next year.
Representative Don Young speaking in Washington, DC. (Photo: Don Young congressional webpage)Listen nowZACHARIAH HUGHES: The House of Representatives on Tuesday was working on the spending bill that funds the Interior Department. It typically has a lot of relevance for Alaska, so we’ve called our Washington correspondent Liz Ruskin to tell us about it.RUSKIN: On this bill, in addition to the usual things, funding the Interior Department, Congressman Don Young is trying to add five big amendments to the bill that would essentially rollback key parts of the Obama administration’s resource agenda for Alaska. Oneof his amendments would keep things as they are. It would prevent the administration from removing three Alaska lease sales from the offshore leasing program.HUGHES: What are some of the other pages getting torn out of this book?RUSKIN: If anyone does develop their offshore leases in Alaska, Young has an amendment that says they don’t have to follow the new Arctic drilling standards that the Obama administration looking to finalize.HUGHES: So is that like the House coming out and saying ‘Our rules supersede the president’s’ when it comes to Arctic offshore?RUSKIN: Actually, all of these are amendments to a spending bill, so they actually just say that the government can’t spend any money to develop or enforce these rules.HUGHES: What are some of the others?RUSKIN: Remember the controversy over predator hunting on federal lands, specifically preserves and refuges? So, Young has an amendment that would keep the states’ more permissive rules for hunting predators in place on those federal lands. And it’s very emotional for a lot f Alaskans, not only the sovereignty issue, but they think the state does a better job managing Fish and Game because it manages the number of predators in order to keep game populations healthy. And it’s an emotional issue for environmentalists because they don’t like the idea of killing wolf pups and bear baiting and a lot of other things that are sometimes allowed under state rules.HUGHES: So that’s three. Anything else?RUSKIN: No Alaska issues grab-bag would be complete without something about ANWAR. So back in January 2015, the federal government announced some new management rules for the Arctic refuge. A lot of Alaskans got really mad about this, when the plan recommended new wilderness areas. And Young’s plan would block this management plan but it also wouldn’t open ANWAR. That would take an act of Congress. That’s not in this bill.HUGHES: Do you think these amendments are going to become law?RUSKIN: We’re a long way from that. The spending bills, they must pass legislation, but Congress doesn’t follow its rules lately on spending bills. It usually does an omnibus bill at the end of the year, and we don’t know what that’s going to look like.The Interior Appropriations bill is expected to pass the House tomorrow
Methamphetamine. (Photo via dea.gov)Two men who allegedly had 33 pounds of methamphetamine in a backpack after leaving a ferry in Whittier made their initial court appearances today in Anchorage.Listen nowWhittier Police arrested Eric James Hansen and Marshal Parke on Thursday. Federal authorities say Hansen brought the meth — worth “$225,000” in wholesale quantities — from Bellingham, WA to Whittier on the state ferry Kennicott.The ferry made stops in Southeast Alaska on its way to Whittier, the closest state ferry terminal to Anchorage, about 60 miles away.According to the charges, Alaska Marine Highway employees notified Whittier Police about a “suspicious passenger.” That passenger later turned out to be Hansen, the charges say. The charging document does not say what made Hansen seem suspicious but notes he had been seen with the backpack in the Whittier ferry terminal.The charges say Parke was driving a GMC Yukon with Alaska license plates when police stopped the SUV, and Hansen was in the passenger seat. An unnamed woman rode in back. The charging document says police brought in a drug-sniffing dog that indicated the odor of narcotics coming from the vehicle.The charges say that after getting a search warrant, police found the backpack filled with meth, as well as $8,000 cash in a briefcase, a scale with drug residue on it, a glass pipe with burnt edges and a small baggie with white powder.Both Parke and Hansen are charged with possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
00:00 /01:10 Outside the criminal justice center, First Assistant District Attorney Tom Berg was surrounded by hundreds of protesters demanding justice for John Hernandez.Berg announced the case will be presented to a grand jury, “because that’s the way we have to work. That’s the way our system of justice works. It may not be as fast as everybody wants it, but we all want justice in the end.”Hernandez died after an altercation outside of a Denny’s in east Harris County on May 28. Florian MartinSheriff Ed Gonzalez says they’re conducting a thorough and transparent investigation into the death of John Hernandez.The medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide from strangulation after Terry Thompson restrained him. He was assisted by his wife, an off-duty Harris County sheriff’s deputy.Thompson reportedly confronted Hernandez because he was urinating outside.Meanwhile, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez denied protesters’ accusation that no arrest has been made because of the deputy’s involvement.“At the end we want justice to be served as much as anyone,” he said. “That’s our duty and so there’s no favoritism one way or another. That’s why we have to be very deliberate.”The sheriff asked anyone with information about the altercation to contact the homicide division, at 713-274-9100.The deputy who was involved is on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.Al OrtizHundreds of protesters rallied outside the Harris County Criminal Justice Center Wednesday, June 7, to demand justice for the death of John Hernandez. Al OrtizHundreds of protesters rallied outside the Harris County Criminal Justice Center Wednesday, June 7, to demand justice for the death of John Hernandez. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/07164609/johnhernandez.mp400:0000:0000:32Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video from the protest for the killing of John Hernandez, which ended at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center. X Share Listen
Russians protest for LGBTI rights Russian activists receive fines for trying to organize a Pride in St. PetersburgChechnya one year on – what’s happening there now?World Cup: Football insider reveals Russia will cover up LGBTI murdersRead the full article on Gaystarnews: :https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/kremlin-releases-survey-saying-most-russians-believe-in-lgbti-conspiracy/ GAYSTARNEWS- The survey was conducted by the state-run firm WCIOM.In the survey, Russians were asked if they believed if LGBTI groups were attempting to ‘ruin the spiritual values’ of the nation.63% of those questioned said they did.Far fewer said LGBTI activists ‘do not pursue destructive goals’.Only 24% of people surveyed believed ‘there is no propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations in Russia.’The remaining 13% said they were unsure either way.An even greater number of those polled believed in a conspiracy orchestrated by an unnamed group of individuals who were ‘committed to rewriting Russian history, changing historical facts in order to harm Russia and reduce its greatness,’ Newsweek reported.66% of respondents said they believed this to be the case, with 26 saying they did not.‘Gay propaganda law’The term ‘propaganda’ references Russia’s infamous ‘gay propaganda bill’ which came into effect in 2013.The bill introduced fines for anyone publicly displaying LGBTI symbols or portrayals as normal to minors, classifying them as harmful to children.Earlier this month a 16-year-old became the first person to be fined under the bill. eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Maxim Neverov was fined for posting pictures of partially nude men embracing each other on social network site Vkontakte. A commission on juvenile affairs found Nverov guilty of ‘promoting non-traditional sexual relationships among minors’.LGBTI activists expressed alarm at the ruling, as Neverov was the first person prosecuted who had not been actively campaigning for LGBTI rights. Prior to this, the bill had used as justification to clampdowns on LGBTI protests and activists.In 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Russian gay propaganda law breached European treaty rules, violated people’s right to freedom of expression and discriminated against LGBT people. The Kremlin said that the court’s ruling was unjust.Russia is known for its poor record on LGBTI rights, and clampdowns on the LGBTI community by state authorities are commonplace.In a recent ILGA-Europe poll of LGBTI rights of 49 countries in Europe and Western Asia placed Russia as the second lowest European country polled, and five places from the bottom overall.Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . The majority of people in Russia believe that LGBTI ‘propaganda’ is trying to undermine traditional Russian values, a Kremlin-backed survey has found. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading…
News | PACS | May 22, 2019 Brazil’s Santa Casa Hospital System Chooses Carestream for Unified Diagnostic Workflow Santa Casa de Misericordia has selected Carestream to replace its legacy diagnostic workflow technology across all… read more 360 Photos | Ultrasound Imaging | July 11, 2019 360 Degree View of a Smartphone Performing a Cardiac Ultrasound Exam This 360 degree photo shows a basic, point-of-care cardiac echocardiogram being performed using a smartphone turned i read more Related Content Technology | October 17, 2013 M*Modal Introduces Medical Dictation Application for iPhone, Mobile Digital Devices Fluency Flex Mobile Solution lets physicians document patient encounters at the point of care News | PACS | August 08, 2019 NetDirector Launches Cloud-based PDF to DICOM Conversion Service NetDirector, a cloud-based data exchange and integration platform, has diversified their radiology automation options… read more News | Ultrasound Imaging | May 22, 2019 Philips Lumify Earns U.S. Army Airworthiness Certification Philips announced that Philips Lumify, a point-of-care ultrasound device, has earned the U.S. Army Airworthiness… read more News | Electronic Medical Records (EMR) | August 01, 2019 DrChrono Teams With DeepScribe to Automate Medical Note Taking in EHR DrChrono Inc. and DeepScribe announced a partnership so medical practices using DrChrono EHR can use artificial… read more Feature | Information Technology | July 02, 2019 | By Jeff Zagoudis Mobile Device App Viewing in Radiology Mo… read more News | PACS Accessories | June 13, 2019 M*Modal and Community Health Network Partner on AI-powered Clinical Documentation M*Modal announced that the company and Community Health Network (CHNw) are collaborating to transform the patient-… read more Technology | Virtual and Augmented Reality | June 04, 2019 Ann Arbor Startup Launches Augmented Reality MRI Simulator SpellBound, an Ann Arbor startup specializing in augmented reality (AR) tools for children in hospitals, has officially… read more News | PACS | June 07, 2019 PaxeraHealth Wins Four New PACS Projects in Chile Picture archiving and communication system/radiology information system (PACS/RIS) developer PaxeraHealth has won four… read more News | PACS Accessories | May 28, 2019 Intelerad Showcases Clario SmartWorklist at SIIM 2019 The Clario SmartWorklist intelligently manages picture archiving and communication system (PACS) reading workflow by… read more October 17, 2013 — M*Modal, a provider of clinical documentation services and Speech Understanding solutions, announced a medical dictation application for iPhone mobile digital devices, expanding the company’s mobility solutions. The M*Modal Fluency Flex Mobile application lets doctors quickly and accurately record clinical notes during patient encounters for easy integration with electronic health record systems (EHRs), increasing physician productivity and documentation quality.M*Modal will be demonstrating its iPhone application at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) conference on Oct. 26-30 in Atlanta.M*Modal Fluency Flex Mobile is a cloud-based application that connects doctors with hospital information systems to access patient data and dictate notes on the go. The application captures high-quality audio which is converted to text using the M*Modal Fluency for Transcription speech engine for fast turnaround time and integration in provider workflows and clinical documentation systems.“M*Modal Fluency Flex Mobile lets our physicians work when and where they want to work,” said Michael Sanders, M.D. and medical director, St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital in Jackson, Miss. “Physicians appreciate being able to use their own smartphones, especially when a dictation device is hard to find or not readily available. In addition, the app provides a secure platform that ensures patient information remains private. This flexible dictation platform provides mobility and freedom that our physicians need and appreciate.”M*Modal’s iPhone application addresses the growing preference of physicians to use smartphones in the workplace. According to a 2013 Wolters Kluwer study, eight in 10 physicians use mobile devices in their daily practice.The M*Modal Fluency family of products give healthcare providers the freedom to choose workflow options — mobile, front- and back-end speech recognition, traditional transcription — that best meet their needs. These products leverage a single, cloud-based architecture that constantly improves its language understanding through the 200,000 voices processed every day. Using speech instead of a keyboard, many physicians are able to document faster and tend to expand on the patient narrative. This captures richer information, resulting in better documentation and therefore better reimbursement, continuity and outcomes.The application is designed to run on the iPhone 4 and above. The M*Modal Fluency Flex solution is available now in limited release and will be submitted for iTunes App Store review in the fourth calendar quarter of 2013.For more information: www.mmodal.com FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 The Ambra Health mobile app provides medical image access across Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists’ 21 locations.
A UX practitioner’s primary goal is to provide every user with the best possible experience of a product. The only way to do this is to connect repeatedly with users and make sure that the product is being designed according to their needs. At the beginning of a project, this research tends to be more exploratory. Towards the end of the project, it tends to be more about testing the product. In this article, we explore in detail one of the most common methods of testing a product with users–the usability test. We will describe the steps to plan and conduct usability tests. Usability tests provide insights into how to practically plan, conduct, and analyze any user research. This article is an excerpt from the book UX for the Web by Marli Ritter, and Cara Winterbottom. This book teaches you how UX and design thinking can make your site stand out from the rest of the sites on the internet. Tips to maximize the value of user testing Testing with users is not only about making their experience better; it is also about getting more people to use your product. People will not use a product that they do not find useful, and they will choose the product that is most enjoyable and usable if they have options. This is especially the case with the web. People leave websites if they can’t find or do things they want. Unlike with other products, they will not take time to work it out. Research by organizations such as the Nielsen Norman group generally shows that a website has between 5 and 10 seconds to show value to a visitor. User testing is one of the main methods available to us to ensure that we make websites that are useful, enjoyable, and usable. However, to be effective it must be done properly. Jared Spool, a usability expert, identified seven typical mistakes that people make while testing with users, which lessen its value. The following list addresses how not to make those mistakes: Know why you’re testing: What are the goals of your test? Make sure that you specify the test goals clearly and concretely so that you choose the right method. Are you observing people’s behavior (usability test), finding out whether they like your design (focus group or sentiment analysis), or finding out how many do something on your website (web analytics)? Posing specific questions will help to formulate the goals clearly. For example, will the new content reduce calls to the service center? Or what percentage of users return to the website within a week? Design the right tasks: If your testing involves tasks, design scenarios that correspond to tasks users would actually perform. Consider what would motivate someone to spend time on your website, and use this to create tasks. Provide participants with the information they would have to complete the tasks in a real-life situation; no more and no less. For example, do not specify tasks using terms from your website interface; then participants will simply be following instructions when they complete the tasks, rather than using their own mental models to work out what to do. Recruit the right users: If you design and conduct a test perfectly, but test on people who are not like your users, then the results will not be valid. If they know too much or too little about the product, subject area, or technology, then they will not behave like your users would and will not experience the same problems. When recruiting participants, ask what qualities define your users, and what qualities make one person experience the website differently to another. Then recruit on these qualities. In addition, recruit the right number of users for your method. Ongoing research by the Nielsen Norman group and others indicate that usability tests typically require about five people per test, while A/B tests require about 40 people, and card sorting requires about 15 people. These numbers have been calculated to maximize the return on investment of testing. For example, five users in a usability test have been shown by the Nielsen Norman group (and confirmed repeatedly by other researchers) to find about 85% of the serious problems in an interface. Adding more users improves the percentage marginally, but increases the costs significantly. If you use the wrong numbers then your results will not be valid or the amount of data that you need to analyze will be unmanageable for the time and resources you have available. Get the team and stakeholders involved: If user testing is seen as an outside activity, most of the team will not pay attention as it is not part of their job and easy to ignore. When team members are involved, they gain insights into their own work and its effectiveness. Try to get team members to attend some of the testing if possible. Otherwise, make sure everyone is involved in preparing the goals and tasks (if appropriate) for the test. Share the results in a workshop afterward, so everyone can be involved in reflecting on the results and their implications. Facilitate the test well: Facilitating a test well is a difficult task. A good facilitator makes users feel comfortable so they act more naturally. At the same time, the facilitator must control the flow of the test so that everything is accomplished in the available time, and not give participants hints about what to do or say. Make sure that facilitators have a lot of practice and constructive feedback from the team to improve their skills. Plan how to share the results: It takes time and skill to create an effective user testing report that communicates the test and results well. Even if you have the time and skill, most team members will probably not read the report. Find other ways to share results to those who need them. For example, create a bug list for developers using project management software or a shared online document; have a workshop with the team and stakeholders and present the test and results to them. Have review sessions immediately after test days. Iterate: Most user testing is most effective if performed regularly and iteratively; for testing different aspects or parts of the design; for testing solutions based on previous tests; for finding new problems or ideas introduced by the new solutions; for tracking changes to results based on time, seasonality, maturity of product or user base; or for uncovering problems that were previously hidden by larger problems. Many organizations only make provision to test with users once at the end of design, if at all. It is better to split your budget into multiple tests if possible. As we explore usability testing, each of these guidelines will be addressed more concretely. Planning and conducting usability tests Before starting, let’s look at what we mean by a usability test, and describe the different types. Usability testing involves watching a representative set of users attempt realistic tasks, and collecting data about what they do and say. Essentially, a usability test is about watching a user interact with a product. This is what makes it a core UX method: it persuades stakeholders about the importance of designing for and testing with their users. Team members who watch participants struggle to use their product are often shocked that they had not noticed the glaringly obvious design problems that are revealed. In later iterations, usability tests should reveal fewer or more minor problems, which provides proof of the success of a design before launch. Apart from glaring problems, how do we know what makes a design successful? The definition of usability by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is: Extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use. This definition shows us the kind of things that make a successful design. From this definition, usability comprises: Effectiveness: How completely and accurately the required tasks can be accomplished. Efficiency: How quickly tasks can be performed. Satisfaction: How pleasant and enjoyable the task is. This can become a delight if a design pleases us in unexpected ways. There are three additional points that arise from the preceding points: Discoverability: How easy it is to find out how to use the product the first time. Learnability: How easy it is to continue to improve using the product, and remember how to use it. Error proneness: How well the product prevents errors and helps users recover. This equates to the number and severity of errors that users experience while doing tasks. These six points provide us with guidance on the kinds of tasks we should be designing and the kind of observations we should be making when planning a usability test. There are three ways of gathering data in a usability test–using metrics to guide quantitative measurement, observing, and asking questions. The most important is observation. Metrics allow comparison, guide observation, and help us design tasks, but they are not as important as why things happen. We discover why by observing interactions and emotional responses during task performance. In addition, we must be very careful when assigning meaning to quantitative metrics because of the small numbers of users involved in usability tests. Typically, usability tests are conducted with about five participants. This number has been repeatedly shown to be most effective when considering testing costs against the number of problems uncovered. However, it is too small for statistical significance testing, so any numbers must be reported carefully. If we consider observation against asking questions, usability tests are about doing things, not discussing them. We may ask users to talk aloud while doing tasks to help us understand what they are thinking, but we need the context of what they are doing. “To design an easy-to-use interface, pay attention to what users do, not what they say. Self-reported claims are unreliable, as are user speculations about future behavior.” – Jakob Nielsen This means that usability tests trump questionnaires and surveys. It also means that people are notoriously bad at remembering what they did or imagining what they will do. It does not mean that we never listen to what users say, as there is a lot of value to be gained from a well-formed question asked at the right time. We must just be careful about how we understand it. We need to interpret what people say within the context of how they say it, what they are doing when they say it, and what their biases might be. For example, users tend to tell researchers what they think we want to hear, so any value judgment will likely be more positive than it should. This is called experimenter bias. Despite the preceding cautions, all three methods are useful and increase the value of a test. While observation is core, the most effective usability tests include tasks carefully designed around metrics, and begin and end with a contextual interview with the user. The interviews help us to understand the user’s previous and current experiences, and the context in which they might use the website in their own lives. Planning a usability test can seem like a daunting task. There are so many details to work out and organize, and they all need to come together on the day(s) of the test. The following diagram is a flowchart of the usability test process. Each of the boxes represents a different area that must be considered or organized: However, by using these areas to break the task down into logical steps and keeping a checklist, the task becomes manageable. Planning usability tests In designing and planning a usability test, you need to consider five broad questions: What: What are the objectives, scope, and focus of the test? What fidelity are you testing? How: How will you realize the objectives? Do you need permissions and sign off? What metrics, tasks, and questions are needed? What are the hardware and software requirements? Do you need a prototype? What other materials will you need? How will you conduct the test? Who: How many participants and who will they be? How will you recruit them? What are the roles needed? Will team members, clients, and stakeholders attend? Will there be a facilitator and/or a notetaker? Where: What venue will you use? Is the test conducted in an internal or external lab, on the streets/in coffee shops, or in users’ homes/work? When: What is the date of the test? What will the schedule be? What is the timing of each part? Documenting these questions and their answers forms your test plan. The following figure illustrates the thinking around each of these broad questions: It is important to remember that no matter how carefully you plan usability testing, it can all go horribly wrong. Therefore, have backup plans wherever you can. For example, for participants who cancel late or do not arrive, have a couple of spares ready; for power cuts, be prepared with screenshots so you can at least simulate some tasks on paper; for testing live sites when the internet connection fails, have a portable wireless router or cache pages beforehand. Designing the test – formulating goals and structure The first thing to consider when planning a usability test is its goal. This will dictate the test scope, focus, and tasks and questions. For example, if your goal is a general usability test of the whole website, the tasks will be based on the business reasons for the site. These are the most important user interactions. You will ask questions about general impressions of the site. However, if your goal is to test the search and filtering options, your tasks will involve finding things on the website. You will ask questions about the difficulty of finding things. If you are not sure what the specific goal of the usability test might be, think about the following three points: Scope: Do you want to test part of the design, or the whole website? Focus: Which area of the website will you focus on? Even if you want to test the whole website, there will be areas that are more important. For example, checkout versus contact page. Behavioral questions: Are there questions about how users behave, or how different designs might impact user behavior, that are being asked within the organization? Thinking about these questions will help you refine your test goals. Once you have the goals, you can design the structure of the test and create a high-level test plan. When deciding on how many tests to conduct in a day and how long each test should be, remember moderator and user fatigue. A test environment is a stressful situation. Even if you are testing with users in their own home, you are asking them to perform unfamiliar tasks with an unfamiliar system. If users become too tired, this will affect test results negatively. Likewise, facilitating a test is tiring as the moderator must observe and question the user carefully, while monitoring things like the time, their own language, and the script. Here are details to consider when creating a schedule for test sessions: Test length: Typically, each test should be between 60 and 90 minutes long. Number of tests: You should not be facilitating more than 5-6 tests in one day. When counting the hours, leave at least half an hour cushioning space between each test. This gives you time to save the recording, make extra notes if necessary, communicate with any observers, and it provides flexibility if participants arrive later or tests run longer than they should. Number of tasks: This is roughly the number of tasks you hope to include in the test. In a 60-minute test, you will probably have about 40-45 minutes for tasks. The rest of the time will be taken with welcoming the participant, the initial interview, and closing questions at the end. In 45 minutes, you can fit about 5-8 tasks, depending on the nature of the tasks. It is important to remember that less is more in a test. You want to give participants time to explore the website and think about their options. You do not want to be rushing them on to the next task. The last thing to consider is moderating technique. This is how you interact with the participant and ask for their input. There are two aspects: thinking aloud and probing. Thinking aloud is asking participants to talk about what they are thinking and doing so you can understand what is in their heads. Probing is asking participants ad-hoc questions about interesting things that they do. You can do both concurrently or retrospectively: Concurrent thinking aloud and probing: Here, the participant talks while they do tasks and look at the interface. The facilitator asks questions as they come up, while the participant is doing tasks. Concurrent probing interferes with metrics such as time on task and accuracy, as you might distract users. However, it also takes less test time and can deliver more accurate insights, as participants do not have to remember their thoughts and feelings; these are shared as they happen. Retrospective thinking aloud and probing: This involves retracing the test or task after it is finished and asking participants to describe what they were thinking in retrospect. The facilitator may note down questions during tasks, and ask these later. While retrospective techniques simulate natural interaction more closely, they take longer because tasks are retraced. This means that the test must be longer or there will be fewer tasks and interview questions. Retrospective techniques also require participants to remember what they were thinking previously, which can be faulty. Concurrent moderating techniques are preferable because of the close alignment between users acting and talking about those actions. Retrospective techniques should only be used if timing metrics are very important. Even in these cases, concurrent thinking aloud can be used with retrospective probing. Thinking aloud concurrently generally interferes very little with task times and accuracy, as users are ideally just verbalizing ideas already in their heads. At each stage of test planning, share the ideas with the team and stakeholders and ask for feedback. You may need permission to go forward with test objectives and tasks. However, even if you do not need sign off, sharing details with the team gets everyone involved in the testing. This is a good way to share and promote design values. It also benefits the test, as team members will probably have good ideas about tasks to include or elements of the website to test that you have not considered. Designing tasks and metrics As we have stated previously, usability testing is about watching users interacting with a product. Tasks direct the interactions that you want to see. Therefore, they should cover the focus area of the test, or all important interactions if the whole website is tested. To make the test more natural, if possible create scenarios or user stories that link the tasks together so participants are performing a logical sequence of activities. If you have scenarios or task analyses from previous research, choose those that relate to your test goals and focus, and use them to guide your task design. If not, create brief scenarios that cover your goals. You can do this from a top-down or bottom-up perspective: Top down: What events or conditions in their world would motivate people to use this design? For example, if the website is a used goods marketplace, a potential user might have an item they want to get rid of easily, while making some money; or they might need an item and try to get it cheaply secondhand. Then, what tasks accomplish these goals? Bottom up: What are the common tasks that people do on the website? For example, in the marketplace example, common tasks are searching for specific items; browsing through categories of items; adding an item to the site to sell, which might include uploading photographs or videos, adding contact details and item descriptions. Then, create scenarios around these tasks to tie them together. Tasks can be exploratory and open-ended, or specific and directed. A test should have both. For example, you can begin with an open-ended task, such as examining the home page and exploring the links that are interesting. Then you can move onto more directed tasks, such as finding a particular color, size, and brand of shoe and adding it to the checkout cart. It is always good to begin with exploratory tasks, but these can be open-ended or directed. For example, to gather first impressions of a website, you could ask users to explore as they prefer from the home page and give their impressions as they work; or you could ask users to look at each page for five seconds, and then write down everything they remember seeing. The second option is much more controlled, which may be necessary if you want more direct comparison between participants, or are testing with a prototype where only parts of the website are available. Metrics are needed for task, observation, and interview analysis, so that we can evaluate the success of the design we are testing. They guide how we examine the results of a usability test. They are based on the definition of usability, and so relate to effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, discoverability, learnability, and error proneness. Metrics can be qualitative or quantitative. Qualitative metrics aim to encode the data so that we can detect patterns and trends in it, and compare the success of participants, tasks, or tests. For example, noting expressions of delight or frustration during a task. Quantitative metrics collect numbers that we can manipulate and compare against each other or benchmarks. For example, the number of errors each participant makes in a task. We must be careful how we use and assign meaning to quantitative metrics because of the small sample sizes. Here are some typical metrics: Task success or completion rates: This measures effectiveness and should always be captured as a base. It relates most closely to conversion, which is the primary business goal for a website, whether it is converting browsers to buyers, or visitors to registered users. You may just note success or failure, but it is more revealing to capture the degree of task success. For example, you can specify whether the task is completed easily, with some struggle, with help, or is not completed successfully. Time on task: A measure of efficiency. How long it takes to complete tasks. Errors per task: A measure of error-proneness. The number and severity of errors per task, especially noting critical errors where participants may not even realize they have made a mistake. Steps per task: A measure of efficiency. A number of steps or pages needed to complete each task, often against a known minimum. First click: A measure of discoverability. Noting the first click to accomplish each task, to report on findability of items on the web page. This can also be used in more exploratory tasks to judge what attracts the user’s attention first. When you have designed tasks, consider them against the definition of usability to make sure that you have covered everything that you need or want to cover. The preceding diagram shows the metrics typically associated with each component of the usability definition. A valid criticism of usability testing is that it only tests first-time use of a product, as participants do not have time to become familiar with the system. There are ways around this problem. For example, certain types of task, such as search and browsing, can be repeated with different items. In later tasks, participants will be more familiar with the controls. The facilitator can use observation or metrics such as task time and accuracy to judge the effect of familiarity. A more complicated method is to conduct longitudinal tests, where participants are asked to return a few days or a week later and perform similar tasks. This is only reasonable to spend time and money on if learnability is an important metric. Planning questions and observation The interview questions that are asked at the beginning and end of a test provide valuable context for user actions and reactions, such as the user’s background, their experiences with similar websites or the subject-area, and their relationship to technology. They also help the facilitator to establish rapport with the user. Other questions provide valuable qualitative information about the user’s emotional reaction to the website and the tasks they are doing. A combination of observation and questions provides data on aspects such as ease of use, usefulness, satisfaction, delight, and frustration. For the initial interview, questions should be about: Welcome: These set the participant at ease, and can include questions about the participant’s lifestyle, job, and family. These details help UX practitioners to present test participants as real people with normal lives when reporting on the test. Domain: These ask about the participant’s experience with the domain of the website. For example, if the website is in the domain of financial services, questions might be around the participant’s banking, investments, loans, and their experiences with other financial websites. As part of this, you might investigate their feelings about security and privacy. Tech: These questions ask about the participant’s usage and experience with technology. For example, for testing a website on a computer, you might want to know how often the participant uses the internet or social media each day, what kinds of things they do on the internet, and whether they buy things online. If you are testing mobile usage, you might want to inquire about how often the participant uses the internet on their phone each day, and what kind of sites they visit on mobile versus desktop. Like tasks, questions can be open-ended or closed. An example of an open-ended question is: Tell me about how you use your phone throughout a normal workday, beginning with waking up in the morning and ending with going to sleep at night. The facilitator would then prompt the participant for further details suggested during the reply. A closed question might be: What is your job? These generate simple responses, but can be used as springboards into deeper answers. For example, if the answer is fireman, the facilitator might say, That’s interesting. Tell me more about that. What do you do as a fireman? Questions asked at the end of the test or during the test are more about the specific experience of the website and the tasks. These are often made more quantifiable by using a rating scale to structure the answer. A typical example is a Likert scale, where participants specify their agreement or disagreement with a statement on a 5- to 7-point scale. For example, a statement might be: I can find what I want easily using this website. #1 is labeled Strongly Agree and #7 is labelled Strongly Disagree. Participants choose the number that corresponds to the strength of their agreement or disagreement. You can then compare responses between participants or across different tests. Examples of typical questions include: Ease of use (after every task): On a scale of 1-7, where 1 is really hard and 7 is really easy, how difficult or easy did you find this task? Ease of use (at the end): On a scale of 1-7, how easy or difficult did you find working on this website? Usefulness: On a scale of 1-7, how useful do you think this website would be for doing your job? Recommendation: On a scale of 1-7, how likely are you to recommend this website to a friend? It is important to always combine these kinds of questions with observation and task performance, and to ask why afterwards. People tend to self-report very positively, so often you will pay less attention to the number they give and more to how they talk about their answer afterwards. The final questions you ask provide closure for the test and end it gracefully. These can be more general and conversational. They might deliver useful data, but that is not the priority. For example, What did you think of the website? or Is there anything else you’d like to say about the website? Questions during the test often arise ad hoc because you do not understand why the participant does an action, or what they are thinking about if they stare at a page of the website for a while. You might also want to ask participants what they expect to find before they select a menu item or look at a page. In preparing for observation, it is helpful to make a list of the kinds of things you especially want to observe during the test. Typical options are: Reactions to each new page of the website First reactions when they open the Home page The variety of steps used to complete each task Expressions of delight or frustration Reactions to specific elements of the website First clicks for each task First click off the Home page Much of what you want to observe will be guided by the usability test objectives and the nature of the website. Preparing the script Once you have designed all the elements of the usability test, you can put them together in a script. This is a core document in usability testing, as it acts as the facilitator’s guide during each test. There are different ideas about what to include in a script. Here, we describe a comprehensive script that describes the whole test procedure. This includes, in rough order: The information that must be told to the participant in the welcome speech. The welcome speech is very important, as it is the participant’s first experience of the facilitator. It is where the rapport will first be established. The following information may need to be included: Introduction to the facilitator, client, and product. What will happen during the test, including the length. The idea that the website is being tested, not the participant, and that any problems are the fault of the product. This means the participant is valuable and helpful to the team developing a great website. Asking the participant to think aloud as much as possible, and to be honest and blunt about what they think. Asking them to imagine that they are at home in a natural situation, exploring the website. If there are observers, indication that people may be watching and that they should be ignored. Asking permission to record the session, and telling the participant why. Assuring them of their privacy and the limited usage of the recordings to analysis and internal reporting. A list of any documents that the participant must look at or sign first, for example, an NDA. Instructions on when to switch on and off any recording devices. The questions to ask in thematic sections, for example, welcome, domain, and technology. These can include potential follow – on questions, to delve for more information if necessary. A task section, that has several parts: An introduction to the prototype if necessary. If you are testing with a prototype, there will probably be unfinished areas that are not clickable. It is worth alerting participants so they know what to expect while doing tasks and talking aloud. Instructions on how to use the technology if necessary. Ideally your participants should be familiar with the technology, but if this is not the case, you want to be testing the website, not the technology. For example, if you are testing with a particular screen reader and the participant has not used it before, or if you are using eye tracking technology. An introduction to the tasks, including any scenarios provided to the participant. The description of each task. Be careful not to use words from the website interface when describing tasks, so you do not guide the participant too much. For example, instead of: How would you add this item to your cart?, say How would you buy this item? Questions to include after each task. For example, the ease of use question. Questions to prompt the participant if they are not thinking aloud when they should, especially for each new page of the website or prototype. For example: What do you see here? What can you do here? What do you think these options mean? Final questions to finish off the test, and give the participant a chance to emphasize any of their experiences. A list of any documents the participant must sign at the end, and instructions to give the incentive if appropriate. Once the script is created, timing is added to each task and section, to help the facilitator make sure that the tests do not run over time. This will be refined as the usability test is practiced. The script provides a structure to take notes in during the test, either on paper or digitally: Create a spreadsheet with rows for each question and task Use the first column for the script, from the welcome questions onwards Capture notes in subsequent columns for the user Use a separate spreadsheet for each participant during the test After all the tests, combine the results into one spreadsheet so you can easily analyze and compare The following is a diagram showing sections of the script for notetaking, with sample questions and tasks, for a radio station website: Securing a venue and inviting clients and team members If you are testing at an external venue, this is one of the first things you will need to organize for a usability test, as these venues typically need to be booked about one-two months in advance. Even if you are testing in your own offices, you will still need to book space for the testing. When considering a test venue, you should be looking for the following: A quiet, dedicated space where the facilitator, participant, and potentially a notetaker, can sit. This needs surfaces for all the equipment that will be used during the test, and comfortable space for the participant. Consider the lighting in the test room. This might cause glare if you are testing on mobile phones, so think about how best to handle the glare. For example, where the best place is for the participant to sit, and whether you can use indirect lighting of some kind. A reception room where participants can wait for their testing session. This should be comfortable. You may want to provide refreshments for participants here. Ideally, an observation room for people to watch the usability tests. Observers should never be in the same space as the testing, as this will distract participants, and probably make them uncomfortable. The observation room should be linked to the test room, either with cables or wirelessly, so observers can see what is happening on the participant’s screen, and hear (and ideally see) the participant during the test. Some observation rooms have two-way mirrors into the test room, so observers can watch the facilitator and participant directly. Refreshments should be available for the observers. We have discussed various testing roles previously. Here, we describe them formally: Facilitator: This is the person who conducts the test with the participant. They sit with the participant, instruct them in the tasks and ask questions, and take notes. This is the most important role during the test. We will discuss it further in the Conducting usability tests section. Participant: This is the person who is doing the test. We will discuss recruiting test participants in the next section. Notetaker: This is an optional role. It can be worth having a separate notetaker, so the facilitator does not have to take notes during the test. This is especially the case if the facilitator is inexperienced. If there is a notetaker, they sit quietly in the test room and do not engage with the participant, except when introduced by the facilitator. Receptionist: Someone must act as receptionist for the participants who arrive. This cannot be the facilitator, as they will be in the sessions. Ask a team member or the office receptionist to take this role. Observers: Everyone else is an observer. These can be other team members and/or clients. Observers should be given guidelines for their behavior. For example, they should not interact with test participants or interrupt the test. They watch from a separate room, and should not be too noisy so that they can be heard in the test room (often these rooms are close to each other). The facilitator should discuss the tests with observers between sessions, to check if they have any questions they would like added to the test, and to discuss observations. It is worth organizing a debriefing for immediately after the tests, or the next day if possible, for the observers and facilitator to discuss the tests and observations. It is important that as many stakeholders as possible are persuaded to watch at least some of the usability testing. Watching people using your designs is always enlightening, and really helps to bring a team together. Remember to invite clients and team members early, and send reminders closer to the day. Recruiting participants When recruiting participants for usability tests, make sure that they are as close as possible to your target audience. If your website is live and you have a pool of existing users, then your job is much easier. However, if you do not have a user pool, or you want to test with people who have not used your site, then you need to create a specification for appropriate users that you can give to a recruiter or use yourself. To specify your target audience, consider what kinds of people use your website, and what attributes will cause them to behave differently to other users. If you have created personas during previous research, use these to help identify target user characteristics. If you are designing a website for a client, work with them to identify their target users. It is important to be specific, as it is difficult to look for people who fulfill abstract qualities. For example, instead of asking for tech savvy people, consider what kinds of technology such people are more likely to use, and what their activities are likely to be. Then ask for people who use the technology in the ways you have identified. Consider the behaviors that result from certain types of beliefs, attitudes, and lifestyle choices. The following are examples of general areas you should consider: Experience with technology: You may want users who are comfortable with technology or who have used specific technology, for example, the latest smartphones, or screen readers. Consider the properties that will identify these people. For example, you can specify that all participants must own a specific type or generation of mobile device, and must have owned it for at least two months. Online experience: You may want users with a certain level and frequency of internet usage. To elicit this, you can specify that you want people who have bought items online within the last few months, or who do online banking, or have never done these things. Social media presence: Often, you want people who have a certain amount of social media interaction, potentially on specific platforms. In this case you would specify that they must regularly post to or read social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or more hobbyist versions such as Pinterest and/or Flickr. Experience with the domain: Participants should not know too much or too little about the domain. For example, if you are testing banking software, you may want to exclude bank employees, as they are familiar with how things work internally. Demographics: Unless your target audience is very skewed, you probably want to recruit a variety of people demographically. For example, a range of ages, gender ethnicity, economic, and education levels. There may be other characteristics you need in your usability test participants. The previous characteristics should give you an idea of how to specify such people. For example, you may want hobbyist photographers. In this case, you would recruit people who regularly take photographs and share them with friends in some way. Do not use people who you have previously used in testing, unless you specifically need people like this, as they will be familiar with your tests and procedures, which will interfere with results. Recruiting takes time and is difficult to do well. There are various ways of recruiting people for user testing, depending on your business. You may be able to use people or organizations associated with your business or target audience members to recruit people using the screening questions and incentives that you give them. You can set up social media lists of people who follow your business and are willing to participate. You can also use professional recruiters, who will get you exactly the kinds of people you need, but will charge you for it. For most tests, an incentive is usually given to thank participants for their time. This is often money, but it can also be a gift, such as stationery or gift certificates. A recruitment brief is the document that you give to recruiters. The following are the details you need to include: Day of the test, the test length, and the ideal schedule. This should state the times at which the first and last participants may be scheduled, how long each test will take, and the buffer period that should be between each session. The venue. This should include an address, maps, parking, and travel information. Contact details for the team members who will oversee the testing and recruitment. A description of the test that can be given to participants. The incentives that will be provided. The list of qualities you need in participants, or screening questions to check for these. This document can be modified to share with less formal recruitment associates. The benefit of recruiters is that they handle the whole recruitment process. If you and your team recruit participants yourselves, you will need to remind them a week before the test, and the day before the test, usually by messaging or emailing them. On the day of the test, phone participants to confirm that they will be arriving, and that they know how to get to the venue. Participants still often do not attend tests, even with all the reminders. This is the nature of testing with real people. Ideally you will be given some notice, so try to recruit an extra couple of possible participants who you can call in a pinch on the day. Setting up the hardware, software, and test materials Depending on the usability test, you will have to prepare different hardware, software, and test materials. These include screen recording software and hardware, notetaking hardware, the prototype to test, screen sharing options, and so on. The first thing to consider is the prototype, as this will have implications for hardware and software. Are you testing a live website, an electronic prototype, or a paper prototype? Live website: Set up any accounts or passwords that may be necessary. Make sure you have reliable access to the internet, or a way to cache the website on your machine if necessary. Electronic prototype: Make sure the prototype works the way it is supposed to, and that all the parts that are accessed during the tasks can be interacted with, if required. Try not to make it too obvious which parts work and which parts do not work, as this may guide participants to the correct actions during the test. Be prepared to talk participants through parts of the prototype that do not work, so they have context for the tasks. Have a safe copy of the prototype in case this copy becomes corrupted in some way. Paper prototype: Make sure that you have sketches or printouts of all the screens that you need to complete the tasks. With paper prototype testing, the facilitator takes the role of the computer, shows the results of the actions that the participant proposes, and talks participants through the screens. Make sure that you are prepared for this and know the order of the screens. Have multiple copies of the paper prototype in case parts get lost or destroyed. For any of the three, make sure the team goes through the test tasks to make sure that everything is working the way it should be. For hardware and other software, keep an equipment list, so you can check it to make sure you have all the necessary hardware with you. You may need to include: Hardware for participant to interact with the prototype or live site: This may be a desktop, laptop, or mobile device. If testing on a mobile device, you can ask participants to use their own familiar phones instead of an unfamiliar test mobile device. However, participants may have privacy issues with using their own phones, and you will not be able to test the prototype or live site on the phone beforehand. If you provide a laptop, include a separate mouse as people often have difficulty with unfamiliar mouse pads. Recording the screen and audio: This is usually screen capture software. There are many options for screen capturing software, such as Lookback, an inexpensive option for iOS and Android, and CamStudio, a free option for the PC. Specialist software that handles multiple camera inputs allows you to record face and screen at the same time. Examples are iSpy, free CCTV software, Silverback, an inexpensive option for the Mac, and Morae, an expensive but impressive option for the PC. Mobile recording alternative: You can also record mobile video with an external camera that captures the participant’s fingers on screen. This means you do not have to install additional software on the phone, which might cause performance problems. In this case, you would use a document camera attached to the table, or a portable rig with a camera containing the phone and attached to a nearby PC. The video will include hesitations and hovering gestures, which are useful for understanding user behavior, but fingers might occlude the screen. In addition, rigs may interfere with natural usage of the mobile phone, as participants must hold the rig as well as the phone. Observer viewing screen: This is needed if there are observers. The venue might have screen sharing set up; if not, you will have to bring your own hardware and software. This could be an external monitor and extension cables to connect to a laptop in the interview room. It could also be screen sharing software, for example, join.me. Capturing notes: You will need a method to capture notes. Even if you are screen recording, notes will help you to review the recordings more efficiently, and remind you about parts of the recording you wanted to pay special attention to. One method is using a tablet or laptop and spreadsheet. Typing is fast and the electronic notes are easy to put together after the tests. An alternative is paper and pencil. The benefit of this is that it is least disruptive to the participant. However, these notes must be captured electronically. Camera for participant face: Capturing the participant’s face is not crucial. However, it provides good insight into their feelings about tasks and questions. If you don’t record face, you will only have tone of voice and the notes that were taken to remind you. Possible methods are using a webcam attached to the computer doing screen recording, or using inbuilt software such as Hangouts, Skype, or FaceTime for Apple devices. Microphone: Often sound quality is not great on screen capturing software, because of feedback from computer equipment. Using an external microphone improves the quality of sound. Wireless router: A portable wireless router in case of internet problems (if you are using the internet). Extra extension cables and chargers for all devices. You will also need to make sure that you have multiple copies of all documents needed for the testing. These might include: Consent form: When you are testing people, they typically need to give their permission to be tested. You also typically need proof that the incentive has been received by the participant. These are usually combined into a form that the participant signs to give their permission and acknowledge receipt of the incentive. Non-disclosure agreement (NDA): Many businesses require test participants to sign NDAs before viewing the prototype. This must be signed before the test begins. Test materials: Any documents that provide details to the participants for the test. Checklists: It is worth printing out your checklists for things to do and equipment, so that you can check them off as you complete actions, and be sure that you have done everything by the time it needs to be done. The following figure shows a basic sample checklist for planning a usability test. For a more detailed checklist, add in timing and break the tasks down further. These refinements will depend on the specific usability test. Where you are uncertain about how long something will take, overestimate. Remember that once you have fixed the day, everything must be ready by then. Checklist for usability test preparation Conducting usability tests On the day(s) of the usability test, if you have planned properly, all you should have to worry about are the tests themselves, and interacting with the participants. Here is a list of things to double-check on the day of each test: Before the first test: Set up and check equipment and rooms. Have a list of participants and their order. Make sure there are refreshments for participants and observers. Make sure you have a receptionist to welcome participants. Make sure that the prototype is installed or the website is accessible via the internet and working. Test all equipment, for example, recording software, screen sharing, and audio in observations room. Turn off anything on the test computer or device that might interfere with the test, for example, email, instant messaging, virus scans, and so on. Create bookmarks for any web pages you need to open. Before each test: Have the script ready to capture notes from a new participant. Have the screen recorder ready. Have the browser open in a neutral position, for example, Google search. Have sign sheets and incentive ready. Start screen sharing. Reload sample data if necessary, and clear the browser history from the last test. During each test: Follow the script, including when the participant must sign forms and receive the incentive. Press record on the screen recorder. Give the microphone to the participant if appropriate. After each test: Stop recording and save the video. Save the script. End screen sharing. Note extra details that you did not have time for during the session. Once you have all the details organized, the test session is in the hands of the facilitator. Best practices for facilitating usability sessions The facilitator should be welcoming and friendly, but relatively ordinary and not overly talkative. The participant and website should be the focus of the interview and test, not the facilitator. To create rapport with the participant, the facilitator should be an ally. A good way to do this is to make fun of the situation and reassure participants that their experiences in the test will be helpful. Another good technique is to ask more like an apprentice than an expert, so that the participant answers your questions, for example: Can you tell me more about how this works? and What happens next?. Since you want participants to feel as natural and comfortable as possible in their interactions, the facilitator should foster natural exploration and help satisfy participant curiosity as much as possible. However, they need to remain aware of the script and goals of the test, so that the participant covers what is needed. Participants often struggle to talk aloud. They forget to do so while doing tasks. Therefore, the facilitator often needs to nudge participants to talk aloud or for information. Here are some useful questions or comments: What are you thinking? What do you think about that? Describe the steps you’re doing here. What’s going on here? What do you think will happen next? Is that what you expected to happen? Can you show me how you would do that? When you are asking questions, you want to be sure that you help participants to be as honest and accurate as possible. We’ve previously stated that people are notoriously bad at projecting what they will do or remembering what they did. This does not mean that you cannot ask about what people do. You must just be careful about how you ask and always try to keep it concrete. The priorities in asking questions are: Now: Participants talking aloud about what they are doing and thinking now. Retrospective: Participants talking about what they have done or thought in the past. Never prospective: Never ask participants about what they would do in the future. Rather ask about what they have done in similar situations in the past. Here are some other techniques for ensuring you get the best out of the participants, and do not lead them too much yourself: Ask probing questions such as why and how to get to the real reasons for actions. Do not assume you know what participants are going to say. Check or paraphrase if you are not sure what they said or why they said it. For example, So are you saying the text on the left is hard to read? or You’re not sure about what? or That picture is weird? How? Do not ask leading questions, as people will give positive answers to please you. For example, do not say Does that make sense?, Do you like that? or Was that easy? Rather say Can you explain how this works? What do you think of that? and How did you find doing that task? Do not tell participants what they are looking at. You are trying to find out what they think. For example, instead of Here is the product page, say Tell me what you see here, or Tell me what this page is about. Return the question to the participant if they ask what to do or what will happen: I can’t tell you because we need to find out what you would do if you were alone at home. What would you normally do? or What do you think will happen? Ask one question at a time, and make time for silence. Don’t overload the participants. Give them a chance to reply. People will often try to fill the silence, so you may get more responses if you don’t rush to fill it yourself. Encourage action, but do not tell them what to do. For example, Give it a try. Use acknowledgment tokens to encourage action and talking aloud. For example, OK, uh huh, mm hmm. A good facilitator makes participants feel comfortable and guides them through the tasks without leading while observing carefully and asking questions where necessary. It takes practice to accomplish this well. The facilitator (and the notetaker if there is one) must also think about the analysis that will be done. Analysis is time-consuming; think about what can be done beforehand to make it easier. Here are some pointers: Taking notes on a common spreadsheet with a script is helpful because the results are ready to be combined easily. If you are gathering quantitative results, such as timing tasks or counting steps to accomplish activities, prepare spaces to note these on the spreadsheet before the test, so all the numbers are easily accessible afterward. If you are rating task completion, then note a preliminary rating as the task is completed. This can be as simple as selecting appropriate cell colors beforehand and coloring each cell as the task is completed. This may change during analysis, but you will have initial guidance. Listen for useful and illustrative quotes or video segment opportunities. Note down the quote or roughly note the timestamp, so you know where to look in the recording. In general, have a timer at hand, and note the timestamp of any important moments in each test. This will make reviewing the recordings easier and less time-consuming. We examined how to plan, organize, and conduct a usability test. As part of this, we have discussed how to design a test with goals, tasks, metrics, and questions using the definition of usability. If you liked this article, be sure to check out this book UX for the Web to make a web app fully accessible from a development and design perspective. Read Next: 3 best practices to develop effective test automation with Selenium Unit Testing in .NET Core with Visual Studio 2017 for better code quality Unit Testing and End-To-End Testing
Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home The visit highlights India’s search for energy supplies to fuel its economic boom and concerns about China’s influence in Myanmar, where the elected _ but military-backed _ government is opening up its economy for investment and trade.In recent years, India has nervously watched Beijing’s domination of Myanmar’s oil and gas exploration projects. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers are in Myanmar working on infrastructure and other projects.Indian officials, however, are loath to acknowledge that India’s Myanmar policy is being driven by China’s inroads there.India wants to “secure a stronger and mutually beneficial relationship with a neighboring country that is integral to India’s Look East policy,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters Friday.India has adopted a “Look East” policy of engaging with southeast and east Asia, reaching out and deepening bilateral ties with Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia among others in the region.Singh’s visit will be the first in 25 years by an Indian prime minister, although the two countries share a 1,600-kilometer (1,000-mile) land border, as well as a maritime border in the Bay of Bengal. Myanmar, which was once known as Burma, had been an international pariah for decades under a military junta that quashed any hopes of democratic reform. A 2010 election, though, has lead to at least some reforms and a gradual opening up to the rest of the world.The competition between India and China in Myanmar is expected to surface again when Myanmar begins auctioning new natural gas blocks, both offshore and onshore, in which Indian companies are expected to participate actively.“It would be in Myanmar’s interest to not put all its eggs in one basket,” says Rajiv Bhatia, a former Indian ambassador to Myanmar, referring to China’s overwhelming presence in Myanmar’s oil and gas exploration sector.Mathai said that during Singh’s visit, the two countries are slated to start a bus link between Imphal, capital of India’s Manipur state, and Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city.India also will announce the creation of an IT training institute, an agricultural research center and a rice research park in Myanmar, Mathai said.Over decades of isolation by the West, China reached out to Myanmar, building billions of dollars in roads and gas pipelines in the impoverished country. Associated PressNEW DELHI (AP) – Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh departed Sunday on a three-day visit to Myanmar that underscores India’s quest for energy supplies and concerns about China’s strong influence in the Southeast Asian country.Singh said he hoped to focus on stronger trade and investment links, development of border areas and improving connectivity between India and Myanmar.India remains “committed to a close, cooperative and mutually beneficial partnership with the government and people of Myanmar,” Singh said in a statement before leaving for Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city. Comments Share Top Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Sponsored Stories New Delhi too has offered Myanmar aid and assistance, but not on the same scale as China.In recent years, India has offered around $800 million in credit to Myanmar to help develop infrastructure such as railways, roads and waterways. New Delhi also is helping build a port in the coastal Myanmar city of Sittwe. That port, Indian officials hope, will act as a trade gateway between India’s northeastern states and Southeast Asia.Bilateral trade between India and Myanmar was around $1.2 billion in 2011. Both sides hope to push trade to $3 billion by 2015.Singh’s trip follows high level visits to India by Myanmar’s reformist President Thein Sein in October and visits by the foreign ministers of the two countries.In the 1980s and early ’90s, India was a strong supporter of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in her fight against the country’s military. Singh will meet with Suu Kyi on Tuesday.Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited Myanmar in 1987, the last visit by an Indian premier. But in the mid-’90s, India changed tack to engage with the country’s military junta, resisting pressures from the Western democracies that had imposed economic sanctions on Myanmar. New Delhi insisted it had to follow a pragmatic policy, because it needed its neighbor’s help to crack down on Indian rebels who had built hideouts in the jungles along the India-Myanmar border.India also argued that Myanmar’s military leaders could be nudged toward democracy only by engaging with them _ not by isolating the impoverished nation.Mathai said India also was opposed to the sanctions because Myanmar was a neighbor.“When you are a neighboring country, you do not have the choice of a policy and engagement,” Mathai said. “You remain engaged irrespective of the situation.”In the past year, Myanmar’s military leaders have freed thousands of political prisoners, eased limits on the press and launched a series of economic reform measures. The military-backed regime allowed Suu Kyi’s political party to contest elections and ushered in an elected government.In April, the European Union suspended most of its sanctions to reward Myanmar’s political reforms, and the United States said this month that it would suspend a ban on American investment in the country.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Parents, stop beating yourself up New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements