Saturday, March 10, 2018

Google and Other Tech Giants Unite to Fight Wildlife Trafficking!

Google and the world's leading e-commerce, technology and social media companies are joining forces in a global effort to stop wildlife traffickers from trading endangered species, a wildlife protection organization said Thursday.
The first-ever Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online said it is bringing together companies worldwide in partnership with wildlife experts at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in a bid to reduce wildlife trafficking online by 80 percent by 2020.

The Coalition said 21 tech firms from North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa will join forces with Google and WWF to render online platforms and apps inoperable for wildlife traffickers to trade endangered species.
Those companies pledged to develop and implement policies and solutions to help end wildlife trafficking online, it said.

The founding members of the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online include China's e-commerce giant Alibaba, top search engine company Baidu, and Tencent, a leading Internet company based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Joining Google as founding members of the Coalition are top U.S. tech giants, such as Facebook, Microsoft and Ebay.

"Bringing these industry giants together is the best shot at systematically closing the open web to wildlife traffickers," said Crawford Allan, senior director of wildlife crime & TRAFFIC at WWF.

Those firms are uniting to ensure an Internet where traffickers have nowhere left to turn, he said.

The annual value of wildlife crime globally is as much as 20 billion U.S. dollars, according to the United Nations (UN) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

More than 20,000 African elephants are illegally killed each year for their tusks, and nearly three rhinos are poached each day in South Africa alone for their horns, said the Coalition.

"Google is proud to partner with WWF as a founding member of this Coalition, and to join other companies in working to protect endangered species from illegal wildlife trade online," said David Graff, senior director of Trust and Safety Global Product Policy at Google. 

The Palm Springs Guru wants to acknowledge these world-leading tech companies that are part of the anti-trafficking coalition: Alibaba, Baidu, Baixing, eBay, Etsy, Facebook, Google, Huaxia Collection, Instagram, Kuaishou, Mall for Africa, Microsoft, Pinterest, Qyer, Ruby Lane, Shengshi Collection, Tencent, Wen Wan Tian Xia, Zhongyikupai, Zhuanzhuan and 58 Group. Thank you for your commitment to fight wildlife trafficking.

The Palm Springs Guru says “Thank You.” To my friend KNEWS radio star Bill Feingold, for bringing this story to his listeners in Palm Springs and around the world.
Thank you too, Bill for posting this information on your Facebook page: 

Thank you to the source of this article: Xinhua    2018-03-09 20:36:43 and Editor: Lifang. 


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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Day, a feast of information, shared by Palm Springs Guru

This article was written By: David J. Silverman
Thanksgiving Day, annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. The American holiday is particularly rich in legend and symbolism, and the traditional fare of the Thanksgiving meal typically includes turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. With respect to vehicular travel, the holiday is often the busiest of the year, as family members gather with one another.

Plymouth’s Thanksgiving began with a few colonists going out “fowling,” possibly for turkeys but more probably for the easier prey of geese and ducks, since they “in one day killed as much as…served the company almost a week.” Next, 90 or so Wampanoag made a surprise appearance at the settlement’s gate, doubtlessly unnerving the 50 or so colonists. Nevertheless, over the next few days the two groups socialized without incident. The Wampanoag contributed venison to the feast, which included the fowl and probably fish, eels, shellfish, stews, vegetables, and beer. Since Plymouth had few buildings and manufactured goods, most people ate outside while sitting on the ground or on barrels with plates on their laps. The men fired guns, ran races, and drank liquor, struggling to speak in broken English and Wampanoag. This was a rather disorderly affair, but it sealed a treaty between the two groups that lasted until King Philip’s War 

The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “Thanksgivings,” days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought. The U.S. Continental Congress proclaimed a national Thanksgiving upon the enactment of the Constitution, for example. Yet, after 1798, the new U.S. Congress left Thanksgiving declarations to the states; some objected to the national government’s involvement in a religious observance, Southerners were slow to adopt a New England custom, and others took offense over the day’s being used to hold partisan speeches and parades. A national Thanksgiving Day seemed more like a lightning rod for controversy than a unifying force.

Thanksgiving Day did not become an official holiday until Northerners dominated the federal government. While sectional tensions prevailed in the mid-19th century, the editor of the popular magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book, Sarah Josepha Hale, campaigned for a national Thanksgiving Day to promote unity. She finally won the support of President Abraham Lincoln. On October 3, 1863, during the Civil War, Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.

The holiday was annually proclaimed by every president thereafter, and the date chosen, with few exceptions, was the last Thursday in November. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, attempted to extend the Christmas shopping season, which generally begins with the Thanksgiving holiday, and to boost the economy by moving the date back a week, to the third week in November. But not all states complied, and, after a joint resolution of Congress in 1941, Roosevelt issued a proclamation in 1942 designating the fourth Thursday in November (which is not always the last Thursday) as Thanksgiving Day.

As the country became more urban and family members began to live farther apart, Thanksgiving became a time to gather together. The holiday moved away from its religious roots to allow immigrants of every background to participate in a common tradition. Thanksgiving Day football games, beginning with Yale versus Princeton in 1876, enabled fans to add some rowdiness to the holiday. In the late 1800s parades of costumed revelers became common. In 1920 Gimbel’s department store in Philadelphia staged a parade of about 50 people with Santa Claus at the rear of the procession. Since 1924 the annual Macy’s parade in New York City has continued the tradition, with huge balloons since 1927. The holiday associated with Pilgrims and Native Americans has come to symbolize intercultural peace, America’s opportunity for newcomers, and the sanctity of home and family.

Days of thanksgiving in Canada also originated in the colonial period, arising from the same European traditions, in gratitude for safe journeys, peace, and bountiful harvests. The earliest celebration was held in 1578, when an expedition led by Martin Frobisher held a ceremony in present-day Nunavut to give thanks for the safety of its fleet. In 1879 Parliament established a national Thanksgiving Day on November 6; the date has varied over the years. Since 1957 Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated in Canada on the second Monday in October.

The Palm Springs Guru says “Thank you.” To author, David J. Silverman, an our friends at for this interesting and educational article.
You can read the original article at

Thursday, November 16, 2017

12 Signs Your Identity Might Have Been Stolen; shared by Palm Springs Guru.

A record 15.4 million Americans were victimized by identity theft last year, with fraudsters netting $16 billion in ill-gotten gains, according to the 2017 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research. Since 2011, Javelin reports, identity thieves have stolen $107 billion from U.S. consumers.

Identity Theft: How Do You Know When You’ve Been Victimized?

With so much at stake, Americans may (and should) wonder: “How would I even know if my identity was stolen?”
There is no single answer to that question, as data security experts state there are myriad signs that an individual’s identity has been compromised. Meanwhile, cyber-fraudsters are using that data to steal the victim’s money, especially with bank account, credit card, Social Security number and tax return fraud campaigns.
“There are plenty of signs that your identity may have been stolen,” says Robert Siciliano, an identity theft expert and CEO of “You notice accounts you didn’t open and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain, or you see fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit reports, including accounts and personal information, such as your Social Security number, address, name or initials, or employer.”
What other major signs raise a “red flag” that your identity has been compromised or stolen? Here are some high-risk scenarios that worry even experienced data protection specialists:
  1. Failing to receive bills or other mail

    This could indicate that an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address, says Siciliano. “Make sure to follow up with creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time,”.
  2. You’re rejected for credit

    “Being denied credit or being offered less favorable credit terms, like a high-interest rate, for no apparent reason, is a sign your identity may have been compromised,” Siciliano says.
  3. You’re getting bills for purchases you didn’t make

    If you start receiving bills or notices of overdue payments in regard to accounts you don’t have, you have probably become a victim of identity theft, says Steven J.J. Weisman, a college professor who teaches white-collar crime at Bentley University and is the author of the book Identity Theft Alert. “In this case, you should contact the creditor and inform them that you have been a victim of identity theft and it is not your debt, and also file a police report. “While there is little chance of the criminal being caught. It helps prove that you have been a victim of this crime.”
  4. Your bank account, brokerage account, credit card account or other accounts have unauthorized transactions

    “Again, look into the specific charges, file a police report and demand that the fraudulent activity be stopped and the institution reimburse you for any losses,” Weisman says. “You should also be regularly monitoring your credit reports and all of your financial accounts to recognize fraud as soon as possible.”.
  5. You receive a tax transcript in the mail that you didn’t request

    “Under this scenario, a fraudster logged on to the Internal Revenue Service website and tried to get your information and couldn’t download it immediately because some security test failed,” says Abby Eisenkraft, chief executive officer of Choice Tax Solutions, Inc. “Consequently, the IRS mailed it to you, instead, under the assumption you requested the document.”
  6. Your electronically filed tax return is rejected

    This a big sign your identity has been compromised, says Eisenkraft. “That’s especially the case if your return is rejected and there are no typos and the Social Security number is correct. What likely happened is that an identity thief filed a tax return in your name, claiming a fraudulent refund.”
  7. You receive a tax refund you did not request

    Here, you may get a check or pre-loaded debit card. “What happened is that an identity thief filed a fraudulent return and will try to find the refund in your mailbox,” says Eisenkraft.
  8. Your employer lets you know you’ve got a data security problem

    If a hacker has your Social Security number and the name of your current employer, they can try to collect unemployment benefits in your name. “In this case, if your company is on the ball you might hear from someone in human resources,” states David Cox, an identity theft expert and CEO and founder of LiquidVPN, in Cheyenne, Wyo. “Most hackers will check your social media to see if you just quit a job or just started a new job. With this information, they are much more likely to get away with it for quite a bit longer. Eventually, you will hear from your former employer or the unemployment agency.”
  9. You get two-factor authentication alerts

    It’s a problem when you get a text message sending you a six-digit pin to enter into a service or membership you don’t recognize, says Ralph Rodriguez, an MIT Fellow, and chief technology officer at, a personal data security firm.  “Maybe it’s a new account,” Rodriguez says. “Perhaps it’s account recovery for your bank. The point is you don’t know. And it’s a very eerie feeling when it happens.”
  10. Your credit score is actually rising

    Strange, but true, Rodriguez says – a rising credit score can mean trouble on the identity fraud front. “Check your credit reports frequently for accounts you didn’t open and hard inquiries which could suggest fraudsters are trying to extend credit in your name,” he advises.
  11. You get small “test charges” on your credit card

    Hackers often place a small charge for a couple of bucks on the card to see if it will go through before they initiate an attempt at a larger fraud later, says Ross Federgreen, CEO of CSR, a compliance solutions firm, and a data privacy expert. “If you have a small charge you don’t recognize, don’t ignore it,” says Federgreen.
  12. You get increased direct mail and phone solicitations for expensive items

    The notices could be for cars, loans, and home improvement, and other big-ticket items,” Federgreen says. “This could be the result of new high-ticket activity run on your account.”

Be Proactive in Fighting Identity Theft

For a good tutorial (or two) on how to get ahead of any potential identity theft issues, and properly protect yourself, see also: How to protect your personal information and What to do after a data breach.

The Palm Springs Guru says "Thank you." to Brian O'Connel and our friends at Experian for this helpful information.

You can read the original article and find more great information at