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2022 South African Digital Customer Experience Report releases feedback

There’s little need to still attribute this to the Covid era; while it precipitated a move for many to digital, it has permanently influenced our new online shopping behaviour.

Social selling, the astounding impact of reviews and how the major impact of online is impacting offline sales are significant.

This report extrapolates that online product research and discovery influences as much as R293.8-billion in physical retail sales across the economy’s top categories of:

  • groceries
  • fashion, medicine / toiletries, and
  • furniture / hardware.

The report is one of the most comprehensive study of its kind and is authored by:

  • Charlie Stewart, CEO of Rogerwilco
  • Amanda Reekie, founder of online research platform ovatoyou, and
  • Julia Ahlfeldt from Julia Ahlfeldt CX Consulting.

The study is based on the responses from 2 000 South Africans. While the three authors offer the primary insights into the data, the report is also peppered with considerations from 11 seasoned industry veterans including senior marketers from:

  • Meta
  • Woolworths
  • Zando
  • TFG
  • Luno, and
  • the V&A Waterfront.

Offline gets a massive shot in the arm from online activity

Up until very recent times, the very notion of online meant web or app. This could not be further from the current truth.

Online refers to every single interaction a brand can have with its customers through a multitude of digital touchpoints. This includes:

  • social selling
  • marketplaces
  • search engines, and
  • reviews.

Consider how many consumers simply use the Internet to browse for products, only to buy them in-store when discounts come around, or those who consume reviews so as to get a true and accurate picture of what they are considering purchasing before any money is exchanged.

Social selling is a significant area to note, accounting for 10% of all e-commerce sales. As part of the ‘new’ online journey, it is done through buying directly via Instagram, Facebook Shops and WhatsApp, where these portals are as many online pathways to purchase as a now ‘old-school’ e-commerce website is.

“What we need to acknowledge is that online is far more complex than we had realised — and that selling can come from almost anywhere online,” says Julia Ahlfeldt. “Brands need to grasp that new channels of trade are on the rise and that even if purchases don’t happen online, that’s where many customer journeys begin.”

“Brands may be missing valuable opportunities by limiting the channels that they trade through,” adds Ahlfeldt.

Take Facebook and Instagram as a case in point, where 48% of consumers purchase through these social media platforms. 

“It’s key to also note that it’s not just small businesses who are leaning into these ‘alternative’ e-commerce commercial avenues, but global juggernauts such as H&M too,” Ahlfeldt says.

Following the digital crumbs to the storefront

In this fourth annual report, among the most significant insights is that online discovery and browsing morphs into a massive increase in offline sales.

While before brands may have dismissed a Google review potentially leading to an in-store purchase, it is imperative that they now take note that any activity taken online — browsing, researching, comparing and looking at reviews — is all done with a means to an end.

The consumer wants something but is online to gather all their information, even though they will most likely make the sale in the physical store.

Woolworths, for instance, notes that over 60% of its online browsers claim to buy in-store, which has reinforced its focus to lead in omnichannel retail.

Charlie Stewart urges brands to reconsider their thinking, saying that “it’s dangerous to disregard other channels and transactions that contribute to the broader construct of online shopping. These are no longer niche behaviours.”

The rise of the Metaverse

Notwithstanding the integration between online and offline, one key finding from this study is the emergence of consumer interaction with the Metaverse.

Fascinatingly, 53% claim to have never heard of it, while a further 23% don’t know what it is. Only 1% have actually bought something through the Metaverse. Fans are calling the Metaverse Web 3.0, while sceptics are calling it a gimmick.

While it is still to be fully understood, a whopping 79% of surveyed consumers said they would engage with it in future, demonstrating that there’s clearly an eagerness to do so.

The last mile is the only mile

Never before has there been such competition among such an unsexy thing: logistics.

Getting demand delivery right is the new commercial battlefield. It is those that deliver the fastest and at the best price that will win, particularly as consumers insist on next or same-day deliveries.

But, the financial reality is that while being the first to drop and go is what the market wants, it is a high cost to the company. Even Checkers’ Sixty60’s margins are small and one could argue don’t necessarily warrant the expense of a delivery.

But on-demand is the new normal and brands have little choice but to make their deliveries accessible, seamless and affordable — while still finding ways to be financially sustainable.

“The reality is it is expensive to run a fleet of drivers, delivering smallish items or a box of goods; it is even more expensive if the goods need to be recollected if they are not the right size, for example. In this instance, some brands in the United Kingdom have even started charging consumers a fee for returns,” says Reekie.

“Brands are either having to charge for shipping or get consumers to cross a minimum payment threshold to be eligible for free shipping. In so doing, they risk the chance of cart abandonment as consumers are simply not willing to pay more for an item they’d find in store,” Reekie adds. 

“It’s most definitely a conundrum for all brands — especially smaller brands who cannot absorb excess costs — but larger businesses like Takealot are going to need to resolve this in the medium term,” says Reekie.

Demonstrating this through the data, 65% of the sample said high shipping costs deterred them from checking out — up a staggering 14% from the 51% who listed this as a barrier in 2021.

Unfortunately for brands, the cost is now becoming a key factor in the delivery consideration process.

International brands set to shake up the local industry

Amazon, in a long-mooted move, will finally open in South Africa around February 2023.

This is thrilling for consumers but a headache for local brands. Consider Takealot. Regarded as the darling of the e-commerce world (22% say it is their shopping place of choice), with its universe of products it is quick, easy and offers reliable delivery.

But in less than six months, Amazon arrives on our shores and is expected to bring with it its suite of product catalogues — as well as its vaunted Prime service — which bundles delivery with access to Amazon TV. Will the slick experience prove to be too much for Takealot loyalists to withhold?

“No brand, regardless of size or product, ‘owns’ the customer. Conversely, the customer is given a smorgasbord of shopping options, often comparing international sites or pages with local varieties,” says Ahlfeldt.

“It’s certainly a dog-eat-dog world, which is why local brands must up their ante to guarantee that they can confidently stand up against, or alongside, international apps and offer a seamless customer experience that keeps up with the next best customer experience out there,” adds Ahlfeldt.

Good keeps brands in the game, bad does untold damage

Against all of this mentioned above, the hard facts are that consumers — when they are unhappy or disgruntled — will tell others about it: 43% will take their grievances to social media. Exactly half would tell their family and friends.

“This puts huge pressure on brands. Given switching is so easy, brands need to retain their customers’ happiness and put in place guardrails to prevent issues from occurring as far as possible,” says Reekie.

Then there’s that little chestnut of cart abandonment: 70% are pulling out from the sale at the last minute (down from 2021’s 76%) and are mostly frustrated by:

  • payment failure
  • high shipping fees
  • clunky sites, and
  • slow delivery.

Given this, in 2022 the authors of the study estimate that the cost of cart abandonment could be as high as R26.621-billion.

When issues do invariably arise, consumers are still prone to turn to email and call centres first (21% each). But human interaction trumps even these traditional channels as consumers want a human to help them with their issues.

While chatbots may be quicker in theory, in reality, they can backfire. This is evidenced by the fact that only 17% would turn to chat as their first port of call.

“It’s clear from this fourth year of research that consumers are savvier about how to use all of online. This is from social media to chat platforms, in addition to web and app — all the while expecting better service and delivery,” says Stewart.

“They are beginning to dabble in new technologies while holding brands to account for their promises by reviewing products and services online before they buy offline. They indeed have all the power and can turn on a dime and switch brands instantly and spend elsewhere from the palm of their hands,” concludes Stewart.

For more information, visit www.rogerwilco.co.za. You can also follow Rogerwilco on Facebook or on Twitter

Digital Digital Customer Digital Customer Experience Customer Experience CX CX report Customer Experience Report South African consumers South African CX CX in SA Online shopping Online retail

Sandy Alcantara early September Cy Young breakdown 

PHILADELPHIA — The Marlins snapped their nine-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over the Phillies on Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park despite Sandy Alcantara once again not being at his best — but did his latest blip loosen Alcantara’s hold on the National League Cy Young race?

Over his past four starts, Alcantara has seen his season ERA rise from 1.92 to 2.43, dropping him from first to third on the NL ERA leaderboard. His latest hiccup — allowing five runs (three earned) over six innings against the Phillies — came just hours after the reigning NL Cy Young winner, Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes, struck out 14 batters over eight innings of one-run ball to jump back into the picture.

“You feel good because we won, but tonight wasn’t my night,” said Alcantara, who has insisted he’s not paying attention to the Cy Young race at all. “But I was able to fight through it.”

In reality, Alcantara is still the favorite to win the award, but at least six other pitchers have a chance to make their case down the stretch.

“At the end of the day, your numbers are what they are,” manager Don Mattingly said. “So you’re really just trying to win games every day and contribute every day. And then there’s a pile of numbers there.”

So what exactly are the numbers with one month left? Here’s a look at the traditional stats for seven of the top candidates, followed by a closer look at what each pitcher will be facing down the stretch.

BREAKING DOWN THE CANDIDATES

Note: The potential remaining opponents for each starter is based on starting every fifth team game, though that is obviously subject to change due to things like off-days and teams setting their rotations for the postseason.

Alcantara
The opponents: vs. Phillies, at Nationals, vs. Nationals, at Brewers, vs. Braves
The rundown: At this point, the Cy Young Award is Alcantara’s to lose — and his remaining schedule isn’t nearly as brutal as the recent stretch that saw him face six straight postseason contenders in the Phillies (twice), Padres, Dodgers (twice) and Braves. Though his next start will likely once again come against the Phils, Alcantara should then get two consecutive outings against the last-place Nationals before facing the scuffling Brewers.

Of course, the Marlins may eventually pull back on Alcantara’s workload. As it stands now, they’re using off-days to give him extra rest between starts, but he’s still on track to start five more games this season. At his current average of seven innings per start, he’s on pace to pitch 231 2/3 innings this season, which would be the most by any pitcher since 2015 (Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel).

Julio Urías
The opponents:
at Padres, at Giants, vs. D-backs, at Padres, vs. Rockies
The rundown: Urías leads the NL in ERA, though Alcantara is right on his heels — and the latter has racked up 51 more innings and 38 more strikeouts. Things won’t come easy for Urías down the stretch, as he figures to face the Padres twice, as well as the surging D-backs. He does catch a break by facing the Rockies at home instead of at Coors Field.

Zac Gallen 
The opponents:
at Rockies, vs. Padres, at Dodgers, at Astros, at Brewers
The rundown: Gallen hasn’t allowed a run since Aug. 2. He’s tossed 41 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, the eighth-longest streak in the Live Ball Era (since 1920). That streak will be in serious jeopardy his next time out, as he’s slated to face the Rockies at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Gallen will then likely face four straight postseason contenders — the Padres, Dodgers, Astros and Brewers — to close out the season.

If he somehow continues his recent brilliance while navigating that gauntlet, he could have a legitimate Cy Young case.

Max Fried 
The opponents:
at Mariners, vs. Phillies, vs. Nationals, at Nationals, vs. Mets
The rundown: Fried ranks fourth in ERA while racking up 149 strikeouts to just 28 walks. That 5.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the second-best in the NL, trailing only Aaron Nola (8.3). Still, he’ll need to pad the raw numbers a bit more down the stretch — and a pair of starts against the Nationals could help — to overtake Alcantara.

Tony Gonsolin
The opponents: TBD
The rundown: Gonsolin’s numbers are simply ridiculous: 16-1 with a 2.10 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and a .169 opponents’ batting average. Unfortunately, he’s pitched only 128 1/3 innings in his 23 starts — an average of 5 2/3 innings — and he now finds himself on the 15-day IL with a right forearm strain. Even if he returns to make a few more starts, it’s hard to imagine him pitching enough innings to earn the Cy Young.

Corbin Burnes
The opponents: at Cardinals, vs. Mets, at Reds, vs. Marlins, vs. D-backs
The rundown: Burnes reminded everyone on Thursday why he’s the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. His 14-strikeout gem moved him to the top of the NL strikeout leaderboard, while he also ranks second in opponents’ batting average, fourth in WHIP and fifth in innings pitched. Though his eight strong innings on Thursday moved his ERA back below 3.00, he’ll need to improve a bit more on that 2.93 mark to win a second straight Cy Young.

Spencer Strider 
The opponents:
at Giants, vs. Nationals, at Phillies, vs. Mets, at Marlins
The rundown: This one is the real wild card of the bunch. Like Gonsolin, Strider won’t finish with nearly as many innings as Alcantara — but unlike Gonsolin, it’s not because of shorter outings. Strider began the year in the bullpen before joining Atlanta’s starting rotation on May 30, and he’s wasted no time establishing himself as one of the most dominant arms in the NL. He’s racked up 183 strikeouts in only 120 2/3 innings — an average of 13.6 K’s per nine innings. That would be the second highest single-season rate (minimum 100 innings) in MLB history, trailing only Gerrit Cole in 2019 (13.8).

Kenya Tourism Board Launches North American Marketing Campaign

WHY IT RATES: To aid Kenya’s tourism recovery, the new, large-scale “Real Deal Kenya” lmarketing campaign, aimed at the North American market, will offer special flight booking options and itineraries with seven partner tour operators, suited to many different interests and budgets. — Laurie Baratti


The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has launched the first phase of a global marketing campaign in their strongest source market – North America.

The campaign – “Real Deal Kenya” – was developed to reinvigorate Kenya’s tourism industry by highlighting the wildlife, culture, and adventure activities available to the global visitor.

According to KTB CEO Dr. Betty Radier, the campaign is in line with the board’s strategy of making Kenya one of Africa’s top tourist destinations.

MORE Destination & Tourism

“This is not only a very timely and relevant initiative, but also an important part of our strategy for attracting visitation from abroad, as we regain our stability from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.” she said.

The digital campaign in North America – launched by media-buying agency Dalh-Mac Group, experts in travel marketing – in partnership with Sojern, utilizing their rich data partnerships to deliver a variety of video content and display banners to audiences actively seeking travel inspiration.

In partnership with Kenya Airways the campaign offers flight booking options as well as partner travel itineraries that suit different interests and budgets from seven operators – Africa Answers, African Travel, Audley Travel, GAdventures, Goway, Intrepid, Kensington Tours. Travelers can explore many travel options allowing them access to different facets of Kenyan culture, gastronomy, eco-tourism and engage in adventure activities, cultural events, wildlife safaris and unique family attractions.

“Kenya Airways is proud to partner with Kenya Tourism Board,” said Julius Thairu, Kenya Airways Chief Commercial and Customer officer. “As part of this campaign, we have offered customers the benefit of discounted fares on the non-stop flight between New York and Nairobi.”

Kenya has recorded an upward trajectory in arrivals with resumption of travels and other tourism business. Within the review period (FY 2021/22 July – June, Kenya welcomed 1,207,691 visitors, compared to 483,257 in 2019/20, representing an increase of 149.9%.

Travelers will be directed to the campaign page on Kenya Airways, RealDealKenya.com where they can access flight booking options and partner travel itineraries.

The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife projects international arrivals to recover by up to 75 percent this year, with marketing initiatives being rolled out in various platforms. “Real Deal Kenya” will be launching in other international markets the remainder of 2022.

For more information, visit realdealkenya.com.


SOURCE: Kenya Tourism Board press release.

How low can the stock market go? 4 bear scenarios investors should keep in mind

Bears who reckon the S&P 500 hasn’t yet found its bottom see the large-cap benchmark falling 15% to 35% from current levels, according to DataTrek Research co-founder Nicholas Colas.

With that in mind, the Wall Street veteran, in a Thursday note, outlined four downside scenarios that investors should consider:

3,386 – ‘the last pre-pandemic high for the S&P 500

Both the MSCI EAFE Index
MFSU22,
+1.17%
,
which measures the equity market performance of developed markets outside of the U.S. and Canada, and the Emerging Market equity index, traded below their early 2020 levels, Colas noted.

“If ‘rest of world’ stocks have already given up their pandemic gains, why should U.S. large caps be any different,” Colas said.

3,236 – ‘a conservative projection based on longer-run US equity returns

The worst 20-year compounded annual growth rate for the S&P 500 since the Great Depression was the period from 1999 to 2018, at 5.6% annually, according to Colas. If that is also a “fair” return assumption for the last five years, then note that S&P 500 closed at 2,465 on Sept. 7, 2017. Applying the same return would see the S&P 500 at 3,236. 

3,000 – a ‘nice round number

“Not only does 3,000 fit that bill but is also just about where the S&P closed on September 30, 2019 (2,977),” Colas noted. “That was just before the index rallied 14% into the February 2020 highs, so this may be a more accurate representation of longer run fair value.“

2,600 – ‘a surprisingly easy target to defend even if it is 35% below current levels

Historically, the S&P 500 has fallen an average of 25% around a typical U.S. recession, Colas noted, which would put the index’s earnings power value at $171 per share. Put a P/E ratio of 15 on that, while assuming interest rates stays between 4% to 5%, and compress equity valuations, the S&P is seen at 2,565, according to Colas.

The S&P 500
SPX,
+0.66%

has been volatile this year with the large-cap index hitting its lowest levels of 2022 in June and falling into a bear market. The index had its worst first-half performance since 1970, but saw a partial bounce off its June 16 low where the S&P 500 closed at 3,667, down 23.6 percent from its peak. 

The S&P 500 finished 0.7% higher at 4006.18 on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
+0.61%

and the Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
+0.60%

each gained 0.6%.

Colas, meanwhile, observed a peculiar thing about forecasts for stock-market bottoms: “no one seems to buy when they come to pass.”

Colas argued that the phenomenon, in fact, explains why bottoms occur.

“Investors throw the math away because there’s always a lower possible price target that seems equally justifiable versus current levels. Persistent volatility crushes investor confidence such that any S&P price target seems possible,” he wrote. “Regardless of whether you are bullish or bearish, that is a critical point to keep in mind in the weeks and months ahead.”

See: Bear market for stocks may have ‘one more surprise’ before it’s over, says chart watcher

King Charles III pays tribute to his ‘beloved mother’ | News

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The UK’s new monarch will be known as King Charles III, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Clarence House said.

The United Kingdom’s new king, Charles, has described the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, as a moment of the greatest sadness, in a statement issued by Buckingham Palace.

“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world,” King Charles said on Thursday.

“During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the queen was so widely held.”

Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-reigning royal and among the world’s longest-ruling monarchs in history, died at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, Buckingham Palace announced.

Charles, 73, automatically becomes king of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other realms including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. His wife Camilla becomes queen consort.

News that the queen’s health was deteriorating emerged on Thursday when her doctors said she was under medical supervision, prompting her family to rush to be by her side at Balmoral.

The queen had been suffering from what Buckingham Palace has called “episodic mobility problems” since the end of last year, forcing her to withdraw from nearly all her public engagements.

Clarence House confirmed that the UK’s new monarch will be known as King Charles III.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss spoke to Charles after making a statement outside her Downing Street office to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth and call on the UK to unite around the country’s new monarch, her spokesman said.

Buckingham Palace said Charles and his wife Camilla, the queen consort, would remain at Balmoral Castle, where the queen died, before returning to London on Friday.

The new monarch – born Charles Philip Arthur George at Buckingham Palace – will address the nation on Friday, his spokesman said, his first speech following the death of his mother.

Charles is the longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He has been heir to the throne since the age of just three, when his mother became Queen Elizabeth II after his grandfather King George VI died on February 6, 1952.

Charles has been outspoken on issues close to his heart, notably architecture, the environment, farming, faith and alternative medicine.

His Prince’s Trust charity has helped more than one million unemployed and disadvantaged young people since its launch almost 50 years ago.

Charles has kept a relatively low profile in the realm of politics but in June, media reports emerged that he had been involved in a spat with the government over its policy on sending asylum seekers to Rwanda – something the prince was said to have called “appalling”, Reuters reported.

Sporting events called off following death of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II reigned for 70 years

Horse racing was halted on Thursday following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, while Friday’s play in the Test match between England and South Africa was called off.

All Friday’s race meetings in Britain have also been cancelled, along with the same day’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint cricket fixtures.

The second day of the PGA Championship on Friday will also not take place.

The English Football League has also postponed its two games on Friday.

“A determination regarding the remainder of this weekend’s scheduled fixtures will be made following a review of the official mourning guidance, in addition to further consultation with DCMS and other sports on Friday morning,” said an EFL statement. 

Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, died aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.

Following the announcement, the Southwell horse racing meeting was halted after the second race, and Chelmsford after the fourth race.

The British Horseracing Authority is likely to take a decision on when horse racing will resume on Friday.

Play was also abandoned at the PGA Championship at Wentworth.

“Out of respect for Her Majesty and the Royal Family, play has been suspended at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club for the remainder of Thursday and flags at Wentworth Club will be lowered to half-mast,” said a European Tour Group statement.

“Furthermore, no play will take place at the BMW PGA Championship on Friday and the golf course and practice facilities will be closed.

“Further updates on the resumption of play will be provided in due course.

“Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with the Royal Family at this time.”

In football, Manchester United said their game against Real Sociedad in the Europa League went ahead “following direction from the Football Association and Uefa”.

West Ham’s game against FCSB in the Europa Conference League was also played.

The Scottish Championship game on Friday between Cove Rangers and Dundee has been postponed.

The Tour of Britain called off Friday’s sixth stage before also cancelling the weekend’s remaining stages.

“Further to the earlier statement in relation to the cancellation of stage six as a mark of respect following the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, the organisers of the Tour of Britain can additionally confirm that stages seven (Dorset) and eight (Isle of Wight) will not take place,” said a statement.

“This decision has been taken in consultation with stakeholders and partners in light of operational circumstances, including the understandable reassignment of police resource at this time.

“The Tour of Britain organisation, alongside the teams, riders and officials involved in the event, send their deepest condolences to the Royal Family at this sad time.”

In rugby union, Northampton abandoned their Premiership Rugby Cup clash against Saracens scheduled for Thursday evening.

Scotland women’s Test international against Spain on Sunday has been called off and Scottish Rugby has also postponed all domestic competitive games this weekend as a mark of respect.

Formula 1 is planning a minute’s silence with all teams prior to practice on Friday for the Italian Grand Prix, with the race weekend to proceed as planned.

At the US Open tennis in New York, organisers said “to commemorate the passing of Queen Elizabeth II” there would be “a moment of silence prior to the start of the first women’s semi-final match between Ons Jabeur and Caroline Garcia”.

Donald Trump’s media Spac fails to win backing for more time to finish deal

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Donald Trump’s plan to take his media business public is in jeopardy after shareholders failed to approve a motion that would allow a blank-cheque acquisition company to keep pursuing a deal with the former president in the face of scrutiny from federal prosecutors.

Executives of Digital World Acquisition Corporation had until Thursday to complete the deal, which had been expected to generate proceeds of at least $1bn for Trump Media and Technology Group.

The transaction would also result in a stock market listing for the nascent venture, which launched as a “non-woke” social media platform in February with the intention of challenging industry players such as Twitter.

Unable to meet the September 8 deadline — and facing investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice that executives have said would probably cause delays — Digital World Acquisition faced having to wind itself up and give its cash back to shareholders. They would receive little more than the $10 per share they invested in the initial public offering a year ago.

That would be a money-losing outcome for stockholders whose shares were worth $23.35 apiece as the market closed on Thursday. To forestall such a prospect, the company last month asked shareholders for a 12- month extension that would allow executives to continue pursuing the Trump deal.

With time running out to secure investor backing, Digital World Acquisition chief executive Patrick Orlando this week sought to rally its base of retail investors to approve the extension. He sat for an interview with Christian worship leader Chad Nedohin that began with a prayer thanking Jesus Christ for “blessing this investment”.

But as the deadline expired on Thursday, it appeared that Digital World Acquisition had not secured approval from a required 65 per cent of shareholders. A shareholder meeting at midday was adjourned to 3pm with no result announced. Finally, at 5pm, the company adjourned proceedings until October.

In a last-ditch effort to keep the deal’s prospects alive, Digital World Acquisition’s backers used an alternative mechanism to loan the company $2.9mn of their own money to secure a three-month extension, which they hope will allow them to win shareholder support for the longer reprieve.

US authorities have not spoken publicly about their investigations, and no person or company has been accused of any wrongdoing in connection with the Trump deal.

TMTG has recently dismissed claims that it is struggling financially following reports that it is running out of money. In a post on Truth Social this month, Trump said his business is “doing really well”.

He also said regulators are “trying to hurt” Digital World Acquisition and claimed he does not need the deal to go through. “In any event, I don’t need financing, ‘I’m really rich!’ Private company anyone???” he wrote.

Anne Garrels, covered Iraq and other conflicts for NPR, dies at 71

Anne Garrels, a broadcast correspondent who was expelled from the Soviet Union, covered Central America’s civil wars and brought National Public Radio listeners into the heart of Baghdad during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, died Sept. 7 at her home in Norwalk, Conn. She was 71.

Ms. Garrels’s death from lung cancer was announced by NPR, where she remained an occasional contributor following her retirement from full-time reporting in 2010.

“I didn’t set out to be a war correspondent,” she said in a 2003 NPR interview. “The wars kept happening.”

Ms. Garrels became one of NPR’s most experienced voices from the field during conflicts and from flash points that included China’s 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy crowds in Tiananmen Square, Russia’s war in Chechnya in the 1990s and the fall of Kabul to Western-allied forces following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

With deft use of natural sound and a vivid descriptive palette, she became a master at what is often the most compelling kind of war reporting: moving beyond what foreign correspondents call the daily “bang-bang” and bringing stories about the people caught in the conflict and informed analysis on what is likely ahead.

Covering one of the indelible moments of the Iraq War — the toppling of a huge statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad — Ms. Garrels accurately noted that the euphoria of Hussein’s downfall would soon fade and the Pentagon would likely be in for a long struggle against opponents of Western forces.

Bernard Shaw, unflappable founding anchor at CNN, dies at 82

In an oral history published by the Columbia Journalism Review, Ms. Garrels said her editors in Washington wondered if she missed the story and should emphasize the celebration. She stood firm. “Many people were just sort of standing, hoping for the best,” she said, “but they weren’t joyous.”

She was among the few correspondents for U.S. media in Baghdad during the initial airstrikes in 2003 that the U.S. military called its “shock and awe” campaign. Her dispatches became a centerpiece of NPR coverage, describing scenes in the Iraqi capital amid the relentless air attacks as U.S.-led ground forces closed in.

On NPR’s “All Things Considered” on April 7, 2003, Ms. Garrels was asked by host John Ydstie to describe how Iraqis were coping with the chaos, blackouts and confusion about when American forces could enter downtown Baghdad and the strongholds of Hussein’s regime.

“People here are terrified. I mean this is what they feared most, that the war would be brought into the city,” she reported. “They are confused. They don’t know who to believe, what reports to believe. … They are just sitting there terrified.”

Ydstie asked Ms. Garrels to tell listeners what she can see and hear.

“A lot of artillery, bombing, heavy machine gun fire, which is really the first time we’ve heard that,” she said. “I saw a lot of [Iraqi] Republican Guard units outside the city today. … A lot more trenches have been dug or reinforced.”

The next day, as U.S. forces swept deeper into the city, an American tank fired a shell into the 15th floor of the Palestine Hotel, the base for Ms. Garrels and other journalists, overlooking the Tigris River in central Baghdad. The blast killed Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk and cameraman José Couso of the Spanish TV network Telecinco. An investigation by the Committee to Protect Journalists said U.S. forces were intending to target a nearby Iraqi military position, but added that “attack on the journalists, while not deliberate, was avoidable.”

Ms. Garrels, who was not injured, described how the battle unfolded from her window at the hotel.

“It was right in front of our eyes,” she said on NPR. “The fighting was incredibly fierce. … Iraqis tried to set oil fires to mask their positions.”

Investigation clears U.S. troops in shelling that killed journalists

During the height of the war, Ms. Garrels managed like other correspondents: keeping the bathtub full to anticipate water cuts, working by candlelight or generator, and getting by on snacks and, for some, smokes — Ms. Garrels’s favorites were Kit Kat wafers and Marlboro Lights.

Ms. Garrels’s personal account of the war, “Naked in Baghdad,” (2003) refers to her habit of working in her hotel room without clothes as a security trick. If Iraqi security came to the door, she explained, she could ask for time to get dressed — and allow her a chance to stash her satellite phone to avoid confiscation.

Amid her numerous accolades, including a George Polk Award in 2003, Ms. Garrels faced some criticism for a 2007 story on NPR citing statements by prisoners previously tortured by Iraqi Shiite militias, which claimed it was purging members for committing atrocities against civilians.

In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, Ms. Garrels said she was unaware the militiamen planned to take her to the tortured men. She also defended the reporting, saying NPR made clear the men were abused in custody and corroborated their statements.

“We were not told we would see torture victims,” she said. “When we saw what we believe to have been torture victims, we reported it. And in the end, if you ignore the reality of what these groups are doing and do not say they torture these people, then that’s even worse.”

Anne Longworth Garrels was born in Springfield, Mass., on July 2, 1951. She moved to Britain with her family at age 8 after her father, a top executive at agrochemical giant Monsanto, relocated to London.

A longtime family friend, Peter Kazaras, director of Opera UCLA at the University of California at Los Angeles, said Ms. Garrels showed an early hint of the journalist at age 4 at Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International). As she waited with her older siblings for a flight to join their parents in Bermuda, she interviewed all the other passengers.

“She asked everyone from an 80-year-old woman to a young child who, as it turns out, was going to her father’s funeral,” Kazaras wrote in an email. “ ‘Why did he die? How did he die?’ demanded Anne. Her siblings tried to drag her away.”

After completing grade school in Britain, she graduated in 1972 from Radcliffe College with a bachelor’s degree in Russian.

Her language skills gave her many potential options during the Cold War, including government agencies. Her first job was with a British publisher, which led to journalism. In 1975, she started as a researcher at ABC News and later was posted to Moscow. Her reporting on Soviet life, including housing shortages and suicides, put her at odds with Kremlin minders.

She was expelled in 1982 following a tense period after her car struck and killed a pedestrian she described as “drunk.” She was cleared of any charges, but she claimed the investigation was used by authorities to keep her under pressure. I “found myself caught up in a political wilderness where there were no rules,” she wrote in the New York Times in 1986.

After Moscow, she was sent by ABC to cover the conflicts in El Salvador, where the United States backed the right-wing governments, and Nicaragua, where U.S.-aided contras were trying to overthrow leftist Sandinista leaders. She returned to Washington in 1985 as NBC’s State Department correspondent, covering the Reagan administration.

Ms. Garrels joined NPR in 1988 in Moscow just as the Soviet Union was beginning to unravel. Amid the chaotic aftermath, she began following the lives of a group of people in Chelyabinsk, a city near Russia’s Ural Mountains. For two decades, she kept tabs on their lives. The result was the 2016 book, “Putin Country: A Journey Into the Real Russia.”

In the 1990s, she managed to reach the front lines in Chechnya for reporting despite Moscow’s controls on media access to the Muslim republic seeking autonomy. In Afghanistan, she traveled by bus to reach the Northern Alliance, a U.S.-backed force that was the first to push into Kabul in 2001 to topple the Taliban. (Twenty years later, the Taliban regained control of the country.)

Here’s what Afghanistan looks like a year after the Taliban regained control

Her husband of 30 years, James Vinton Lawrence, a former CIA operative who became an illustrator for the New Republic and other outlets, died in 2016. Survivors include two stepdaughters, Rebecca Lawrence and Gabrielle Strand; a brother; and a sister.

During the Iraq War, NPR was flooded with letters, emails and voice messages applauding Ms. Garrels’s coverage and sending wishes for her safety. She played down her own courage and often pointed to the people caught in conflict as often showing true resolve.

She once recounted a time when she and her Iraqi assistant, Amer, pulled an injured man from a firefight.

“As Amer and I washed away the blood, [the man] looks at me with a smile and says with a certain amount of surprise, ‘You are very brave,’ ” she said. “I look at his suit, now covered with blood, and tell him the same.”

Thiago Silva sends message to Thomas Tuchel after Chelsea sacking | Football

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The pair struck up a close bond after working together at PSG (Picture: Getty)

Thiago Silva has finally reacted to the sacking of Thomas Tuchel with a heartfelt message saying he wished he ‘could have done more’ to keep the German in the Chelsea job.

Tuchel was sacked as manager on Wednesday morning following the team’s 1-0 loss away to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League the previous night.

Although Chelsea had endured an indifferent start to the season, off-the-pitch issues and a breakdown in Tuchel’s relationship with the club’s new owners are believed to have been the key reasons behind his dismissal.

There were suggestions that the 49-year-old had also lost some of the faith of his players, but he has been inundated with messages of thanks on social media since leaving Stamford Bridge.

Silva – who played under Tuchel at Paris Saint-Germain as well as Chelsea – was one of the last players to pay tribute to the German and appeared to be genuinely upset by his manager’s exit.

‘Beyond being good professionals, you and your staff were amazing human beings,’ wrote the veteran defender on Instagram.

‘It was a real privilege to meet you and work with you. Thank you for everything Thomas Tuchel, I’m sorry I could not be more helpful! God bless you and your family.’

The likes of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and skipper Cesar Azpilicueta have all thanked Tuchel, while Mateo Kovacic wrote: ‘It was a pleasure to learn and work with you and your staff. Thank you, boss.’

Just over 24 hours after Tuchel was dismissed, Chelsea already had his replacement secured with Graham Potter announced as the club’s new manager on Thursday afternoon.

With German coaches Zsolt Low and Arno Michels also having left with Tuchel, Potter has brought several of his Brighton coaching staff with him to Stamford Bridge.

Assistant Billy Reid, first-team coaches Bjorn Hamberg and Bruno, goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts and assistant head of recruitment Kyle Macaulay have all joined Chelsea too.

Speaking about his move, Potter said: ‘I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea FC, this fantastic football club. I am very excited to partner with Chelsea’s new ownership group and look forward to meeting and working with the exciting group of players and to develop a team and culture that our amazing fans can be proud of.

‘I would also like to place my sincere thanks to Brighton & Hove Albion for allowing me this opportunity and in particular Tony Bloom and all the players, staff and supporters for their continued support during my time at the club.’


MORE : Chelsea board reassure Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after Thomas Tuchel sacking


MORE : Chelsea confirm Graham Potter as new manager after sacking Thomas Tuchel

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Samsung partners with Primedia for Samsung Galaxy 947 Move music festival

“We’re excited to give our listeners more by doubling up on what they have ever had before in terms of Joburg Day,” says Primedia Broadcasting’s CEO Randall Abrahams.

“There’ll be two days where Gen Zers get to optimise enjoyment as they embrace the whole lifestyle vibe with cutting edge mobile devices adding to the experience,” adds Abrahams.  

According to the duo, the first day will be hosted by 947’s Chris Beatz and DJs across various genres including:

  • Dance
  • Hip Hop, and
  • Amapiano!.

South African bands will also perform popular hits.

As announced at the launch event on Anele and the Club, 947 and Samsung will be hosting artists not seen at the event before, such as:

  • Mi Casa
  • Shekhinah
  • Zakes Bantwini, and
  • Cassper Nyovest.

“We’re also excited to announce the new venue at Prime View Adventure and Leisure, Olifantsfontein,” Abrahams adds.

Booking is available for both days or just one at Ticketpro.

Justin Hume, vice president of mobile experience at Samsung South Africa, concludes, “Samsung is excited to partner with 947 in yet another collaboration where, together, we’re flipping the script and redefining the way you experience your favourite music.”

For more information, visit www.947.co.za. You can also follow 947 on Facebook or on Twitter.

Samsung Primedia 947 Samsung South Africa Samsung Galaxy 947 Move music music festival SA music SA music festival South African music South African music festival radio radio news radio events 947 947 events 947 music