7 Strategies for Optimizing Your WordPress Website


For budding entrepreneurs, WordPress is considered an excellent platform to create websites for their startup or small business. This content management service (CMS) is used by millions of business owners around the world – more than 400 million websites worldwide are powered by WordPress, including more than 100 million in the United States. WordPress sites publish posts every 17 seconds. Most of the top one million websites in the world are powered by WordPress and related to business. These facts clearly show the significance of WordPress as a content management service for businesses of all sizes.

Simplicity, social media integration and the large number of theme options available are key reasons why startups and small businesses prefer WordPress. However, you need to keep several important facts in mind before you think about using WordPress for your business website.

1. The quality of themes

Thousands of free and premium themes are available for those planning to create a WordPress-based website for their startup. However, you need to be careful in selecting a reliable theme from those available. The theme should be flexible and you need to have the ability to make modifications without much hassle.

2. Hosting

This is another crucial factor when it comes to creating a website for your startup. You need to look for a managed WordPress hosting service that will help you keep your website up and running at all times. In addition, they should provide regular updates and backups.

3. Choose your plugins wisely

Installing too many plugins on your WordPress website will slow its performance. Only add the plugins that you will actively use and delete the rest.

4. Configuring your website

After you finalize WordPress installation, you need to configure it accordingly. For example, you should think about how the comments are moderated, permalinks are set up, and other best practices. This is easily accomplished in WordPress settings and should be done during your initial setup.

5. Mobile Interface

Many website visitors will access your site through their mobile devices, so your WordPress-based website needs a responsive mobile interface that will provide a smooth experience for users. Users won’t tolerate much irritation from pinching and pulling.

Adam Farra, CEO of HostGator says, “It can be a bit of a chore to make certain that your site is mobile-friendly. But it’s worth the effort. Doing so will help to assure that your site ranks as highly as possible in search engine results”.

6. Security

WordPress comes with decent security features, but consider implementing more advanced security measures using plugins and other best practices to deter potential threats. Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of High-Tech Bridge says, “I would say that a popular CMS, such as WordPress or Joomla may be considered secure in default installation if they are properly configured, don’t have third-party code and are up to date”.

7. Search engine optimization

Consider search engine optimization (SEO) to enhance the visibility of your website on Google and other search engines. Using SEO best practices along with WordPress plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast you’ll be headed in the right direction. In addition to search engine optimization, it’s important to use the new SEO (Social Engine Optimization) as well. Establish an active presence on the social media networks where your customers spend the most time and you’ll quickly build a brand people trust.
[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

Techworld Daily Bytes – 01 December 2015 – Top malware attacks 2015 – Skype for business – interview tips

Today’s Techworld Daily Bytes we explore the top malware attacks 2015, Skype for business and top interview tips for IT pros. Plus: new updates from Office 2016 and how to write the perfect blog post.

Also, take our ‘who said that?’ quiz to find out if you can match the tech quote with the right person.

Here is the best of the web this week. Send your Techworld Daily Bytes tips [email protected]



[Source:- Techworld]

Hierarchy of Trust: The 5 Experiential Levels of Commitment

In creating transactional web experiences, designers are under constant pressure to reduce friction to conversion, drive people to the next step in the funnel, and collect user information as early as possible.

But demands must meet users’ trust needs. It’s too easy to forget the user’s perspective. A useful exercise is to imagine yourself asking a stranger on the street for increasingly big favors. What steps would you need to go through to overcome initial skepticism and build trust before you demand contact information or money? Skip those steps and the person would walk away — or, on the web, leave the site and try somewhere else.

The Pyramid of Trust

Back in the 1940s, Abraham Maslow proposed his famous hierarchy of needs. He asserted that individuals must have basic needs such as food and safety covered before they will move on to desire higher needs like love, esteem, or self-actualization.

Much like Maslow’s pyramid of needs, we can define a pyramid of trust. In relationships (whether between two people or between a site and a user), individuals must have basic trust needs met before being able to progress to more substantial interactions.

Establishing trust, whether with a stranger or with a website, is gradual: as the relationship progresses, skepticism is overcome, the comfort level increases, and new demands can be made. The relationship evolves through different stages of commitment, each built on top of the previous ones. Higher levels of commitment cannot be attained before the lower ones.

Site–user relationships progress through the following 5 levels of commitment, starting from the bottom, where each higher level requires all lower levels to be satisfied:

Five experiential levels of commitment shown on the pyramid of trust
Site–user relationships progress through the 5 experiential levels of commitment.

To stretch the pyramid metaphor, new visitors to your site start out standing in the sand (labeled “no trust established yet” in the chart) and that’s where they’ll remain unless you induce them to climb.

At each level of commitment, people have different needs. Once these needs are met in a satisfactory way, users will be more likely to trust your site, honor your demands, and progress to the next level.

Levels of Commitment Users’ Trust Needs
  1. Baseline relevance and trust that needs can be met
Could this site help me accomplish my goal? Is it credible and can I depend on this information? Does it seem to have my best interests at heart?
  1. Interest and preference over other options
Do I choose to use this site for this task? Is it better than other options?
  1. Trust with personal information
Is this site’s offering valuable enough to justify the time and effort to register? Do I trust the site with my personal information? Do I want emails from this company?
  1. Trust with sensitive/financial information
Do I trust this site to securely use and store my sensitive data (e.g. credit card, street address)? Is it worth the risk?
  1. Willingness to commit to an ongoing relationship
Am I comfortable enough to establish a continuous connection with this site (e.g., recurring charge, linking with other accounts)?

These needs aren’t always explicitly articulated; most users aren’t even aware of their doubts at each stage. (This is why you can’t research these issues by simply asking for user feedback. You have to observe actual behavior.) In the beginning, skepticism is strong by default. While this skepticism can sometimes be overcome with the help of external factors such as word-of-mouth recommendations or reviews, the site itself must also work to gain users’ trust by smoothly fulfilling users’ needs at all levels of commitment.

Balance Site’s Demands and Users’ Trust Needs

The more information or effort a site asks for, the more trust and comfort the user must have. In our rush to collect and convert, it’s so tempting to skip ahead. But, as a result, users get put off and abandon the site because it has been too presumptuous and hasn’t yet covered the basic levels of commitment.

The site’s requests and the users’ trust needs must be in equilibrium: Don’t make demands at higher levels of commitment until you’ve addressed all the trust needs at the inferior levels.

Think about how login walls often stop users. Imagine asking complete strangers for their full name and phone number. You better have established comfort, interest and trust. Websites that require login before users get a chance to figure out what the site is about skip straight to level 3. Needs from levels 1 & 2 haven’t been addressed yet. Could this site have something I’m looking for? Does it seem to have my best interests at heart? Is it better than other options? Sites must address these concerns outside the login walls. For example, a descriptive tagline, depictions of how other people vouch for the site (e.g., social proof) or well-chosen representative images can reassure users and help them bridge over levels 1 and 2. If users don’t already know about your site, there is enormous pressure on this content to address several levels of doubt.

Thredup.com homepage with modal overlay
Thredup.com: ‘My email? My Facebook account? You’re way ahead of yourself, Threadup.com. We just met. Who are you?’ This login wall is a modal window that cannot be closed; it remains in a fixed position even when scrolling. The overlay covers up the tagline, navigation categories, and product images. Without those reassurances, many users will not be willing to give up their personal information.
The pyramid of trust for Thredup.com shows where the site assumes users are compared to where they actually are.
In the current Thredup.com design, prospective users are still at level 0 (no trust established yet). But the forced registration via email assumes people are ready for a level-3 request (trust with personal information). The options to login with Facebook or Amazon are even more presumptuous than registering through email, because connecting to an existing account is a level 5-request (it requires willingness to commit to an ongoing relationship). The site would be more persuasive if it gave people a chance to decide whether it meets their level-1 needs for baseline trust.
Nextdoor.com homepage with form asking for street address and email
Nextdoor.com: ‘Hi stranger, my name’s Nextdoor. I’ll tell you about myself in a minute, but first, what’s your full home address and email?’ This site relies on a landing page to convince users to jump straight to level 4. It’s helpful that they have a tagline next to the logo, and a little social proof (’90,000 neighborhoods’), but it’s still a big ask.
The pyramid of trust for Nextdoor.com shows where the site assumes users are compared to where they actually are.
Potential users on Nextdoor.com are still at level 1. By requiring a full street address and email, the site assumes people are ready for a level 4 request. Instead, the site could let users search by postal code, so that they can see if their neighborhood is included, and therefore decide if its worth joining (level 2: interest and preference over other options).

Creating barriers that lock users out breaks another tenet of usability: People trust sites that make them feel in control. Sites and applications that allow users to explore on their own, to browse or search freely, to easily try something out and go back if they didn’t like it, all give people a sense of agency, and with it, greater confidence in the system.

Summary: To Persuade Users, Build Trust and Comfort Appropriate to Each Ask

The levels of commitment start from the very first interactions. Without building an appropriate foundation, level by level, further efforts to persuade or convert are on shaky ground and you’re left standing in the sand below the pyramid of trust.


[Source:- NNgroup]

With a new episodic model, ‘Hitman’ game aims for everyone

With a new episodic model, 'Hitman' game aims for everyone

This video game image released by Square Enix shows a scene from “Hitman.” (Square Enix via AP)

The creators of “Hitman” are pulling the trigger on an unorthodox way of releasing their espionage saga that could reshape how the interactive industry approaches video game launches.

“Hitman” publisher Square Enix and developer IO Interactive are unloading the latest installment of their assassination simulator episodically instead of all at once. It’s a bold departure from past Agent 47 undertakings and other triple-A titles.

Nowadays, most games are released in their entirety online or on a disc for about $60, and later supplemented with updates and other downloadable content after launch. However, IO Interactive is treating the latest “Hitman” more like a TV show than a game.

“When we’re making games, why should we force the people who want to be with us on this journey to wait until the end?” said IO Interactive studio head Hannes Seifert in true Agent 47 fashion: sitting in a dark corner at a hotel bar during the recent D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas.

For the past 15 years, the “Hitman” series has depicted the clandestine, globe-trotting missions of assassin-for-hire Agent 47 in 7 games, a pair of films and a mobile title. The first episode of the latest game—simply titled “Hitman”—will be released Friday.

With a new episodic model, 'Hitman' game aims for everyone
This video game image released by Square Enix shows a scene from “Hitman.” (Square Enix via AP)

The revelation last year that “Hitman” would be dispersed throughout 2016 in episodes set in such locales as Italy, Morocco, Thailand and Japan didn’t initially hit the mark with many fans conditioned to play a “Hitman” game in full.

“It’s a series that’s been around for over 15 years, so players have huge expectations,” said Seifert. “We have to manage that. Looking back at the last eight months, we could have done a better job of communication. I know many people were confused by what we’re doing with ‘Hitman,’ and now we’ve found the right language to talk about it.”

Seifert said the move to releasing “Hitman” in seven chapters means gamers won’t be forced to pay $60 upfront for “Hitman.” Instead, they can opt to pay $10 per episode. For those who want everything, they can buy all of “Hitman” ahead of time or wait until it will be released in full at the end of 2016 on a disc.

However, to entice players to sign up for the full experience now, the developers are deploying new content in the game throughout 2016, such as unique assassination targets that will appear for a limited time.

While it’s a novel method of releasing a game, it’s a business model that’s not dissimilar to the way some mobile games operate or the season-pass structure of franchises like “Call of Duty” and “Fallout.”

“It’s a risk,” said Seifert. “It’s a risk worth taking because I think we’re opening ourselves up to people who may not have heard of ‘Hitman’ or been intimidated by it in the past.”

[Source:- Phys.org]

Pirate Bay shutdown rumours spark after 24-hour outage: Kat.ph, ISOHUNT, Torrentz, other best alternatives [Updated]

The Pirate Bay suffers massive outage: Remains inaccessible even after 24 hours.

The Pirate Bay torrent-sharing website has been offline for more than 24 hours, sparking rumours about the site being shut down for good. The TPB moderators, however, confirmed to TorrentFreak that the website is undergoing some technical issues, which would be resolved soon.

The Pirate Bay site went offline Wednesday, but allows torrent users to surf a snapshot of the site. According to TorrentFreak, all domains, including .se and .onion, and proxy sites are affected by the outage.

“This page (https://thepiratebay.se/) is currently offline. However, because the site uses CloudFlare’s Always Online technology you can continue to surf a snapshot of the site,” the message on The Pirate Bay website reads. “We will keep checking in the background and, as soon as the site comes back, you will automatically be served the live version.”

While it is confirmed that the TPB site is experiencing technical issues with the servers, there are concerns among several torrent users that the site might actually be under another attack by the legal authorities. The Pirate Bay offices were raided by the Swedish police in late 2014 and all the servers and computers were seized.

As a result of the raid, the TPB website was down for more than a month, forcing torrent users to storm to other alternate websites like Kickass Torrents. In case, the TPB outage is causing too much strain, here are some best alternatives that would serve the purpose in TPB’s absence.

Kickass Torrents (kat.ph)

KickAss Torrents is one of the most prominent suppliers of latest torrent files for its users. The website is the home for content such as movies, TV shows, music, games, apps, anime and books. The usual domains used by KickAss Torrents include kat.ph, kat.cr and others.


isoHUNT is run by the same people who are behind Oldpiratebay.org and brings a wide collection of content, including movies, TV shows, videos, music and everything else.


Unlike other torrent sites, TORRENTZ serves as the BitTorrent meta-search engine and has survived for many years. This website doesn’t actually host torrent files but simply redirects users to where the content can be downloaded from. TORRENTZ works under different domains, with .eu and .in being popular ones.

Extra Torrent

Extra Torrent is known for housing the latest content in the earliest hours. If other sites are yet to offer some of the recent releases, check out Extra Torrent for a copy and you may be surprised. You can find movies, TV shows, music and lot more.

Lime Torrents

One of the top 10 torrent sites last year, Lime Torrents became popular for its recent leak of a copy of “The Expendables 3,” for which it was sued. Although the case is still going on, the torrent site offers a wide collection of movies, TV shows, and music for your recreation.

[Source:- IBtimes]

Five years on, cleanup of Fukushima’s reactors remains a distant goal

Worker in protective suit

In the chaotic two years after its name became forever associated with nuclear disaster, the Fukushima Daiichi power plant “resembled a field hospital”, according to the man who is now in charge of the most daunting task the nuclear industry has ever faced: removing hundreds of tons of melted fuel from the plant’s stricken reactors.

“Now it really does feel like the situation is settling down and we can look ahead,” said Naohiro Masuda, head of decommissioning at the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco).

Five years after a magnitude nine earthquake triggered a giant tsunami that killed almost 19,000 people along the north-east coast of Japan and caused a triple meltdown at Fukushima, the plant has been transformed from the scene of a major disaster into a sprawling building site.

Masuda can point to lower radiation levels in and around the plant, better conditions for its 1,200 Tepco staff and 6,000 other workers – including the recent provision of hot meals and a rest area – and progress in containing huge quantities of radioactive groundwater.

In late 2014, the utility overcame arguably the most dangerous challenge since the meltdown, with the removal of hundreds of spent fuel rods from a storage pool inside a damaged reactor building.

But work on removing the melted fuel – something no nuclear operator has ever attempted – has barely begun.

All that Tepco knows for certain – although it was slow to admit it – is that fuel in three reactors melted down after the tsunami knocked out the plant’s cooling system on 11 March 2011.

Fukushima workers are scanned for radiation exposure
Workers are scanned for radiation exposure after returning from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty

Of greatest concern, though, is reactor 1, where the fuel may have burned through the pressure vessel, fallen to the bottom of the containment vessel and into the concrete pedestal below – perhaps even outside it – according to a report by the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning. Reactors 2 and 3 are thought to have suffered partial meltdowns.

Masuda and Tepco engineers who spoke to the Guardian conceded that they still didn’t know where the fuel is located. “To be honest, we don’t know exactly where the fuel is and have to carry out more studies,” Masuda said at a recent briefing. “But we do know that the fuel is in a solid state of cold shutdown.

“No one has ever done what we’re doing, but 30 to 40 years is a target that we can work towards. There are so many people involved that it would be wrong to alter that deadline on a whim. We’ve established a goal and need to show ingenuity to reach it, not take the easy way out.”

The technology needed to send robots deep into the reactors’ bowels – where radiation levels are dangerously high – has yet to be developed. Two robots specially tailored to negotiate debris inside damaged tunnels and pipes stalledlast year when they closed in on the reactors’ highly radioactive innards.

Yet Tepco is persisting with the government’s roadmap for the Fukushimacleanup, which envisions fuel removal to begin in 2021 and end between 30 and 40 years later, at an estimated cost of almost $20bn (£14bn).

But Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany, said the decommissioning schedule was an attempt to convince the public that Japan was recovering from a major nuclear disaster.

“The idea that fuel debris removal will begin in 2021 is not realistic – it’s just not going to happen,” he said. “The roadmap is based on political considerations, not technical ones.

“This applies to the government’s and industry’s approach to the whole Fukushima crisis – to give the impression that things are retuning to normal and to weaken public opposition to the restart of nuclear reactors.

“No one really knows how long it will take, but it will be decades and decades and decades.”

As the deadline for the start of fuel removal edges closer, even industry regulators are beginning to question the methods set out in the current decommissioning plan.

Water storage tanks at Fukushima nuclear plant
The 1,000 tanks built for the storage of contaminated water from Fukushima’s damaged reactors are nearing capacity. Photograph: AP

Last month, Toyoshi Fuketa, a nuclear regulatory authority commissioner, suggested removing all of the melted fuel could take much longer than four decades. “I wonder if it is desirable for work to extract fuel debris to still be going on 70 or 80 years from now,” Fuketa told reporters. “There are a number of other options, including removing as much fuel as possible and solidifying the rest.”

Fukushima Daiichi’s stability is wholly dependent on water constantly being directed into the reactor basements to prevent the fuel inside from heating up. While the method has proved effective, it has led to a buildup of enormous quantities of contaminated water – a mixture of the coolant and groundwater that becomes radioactive when it flows from hills behind the plant into the reactor buildings.

The contaminated water is then pumped out and stored in tanks that cover large areas of the Fukushima Daiichi site. Tepco is able to remove 62 radionuclides from contaminated water – but not tritium – and has so far been unable to get permission from local fishermen to release the treated water into the Pacific Ocean.

While pumping out groundwater upstream and redirecting it into the sea has reduced the amount flowing into the reactor basements from 400 tonnes to 150 tonnes a day, the technology that was supposed to deliver a coup de grace to Tepco’s perennial water problem has encountered problems.

The utility’s plans to activate a 32bn yen (£198m) impermeable frozen wall, which was completed earlier this year, have been frustrated by delays and questions about its effectiveness. It hopes to start filling the underground wall’s maze of pipes with water later this year.

The site is nearing its current water storage capacity of 850,000 tonnes, and there are plans to add to the existing 1,000 tanks, bringing the amount of contaminated water at the plant close to one million tonnes.

Tepco expects to have collected and treated all contaminated water pooled around the reactors by 2020, and will need to continue processing only coolant water for the reactors, according to Sadanobu Kanno, a general manager in the firm’s nuclear power and plant siting division.

The slow progress at Fukushima is mirrored in the painstaking effort to make nearby towns and villages, abandoned five years ago, fit for human habitation.

Thousands of large black plastic bags containing radioactive soil and debris
Thousands of large black plastic bags containing radioactive soil and debris removed from towns and villages near the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Photograph: Franck Robichon/EPA

The disaster forced 160,000 people to flee their homes, 100,000 of whom are stilldisplaced. About 10,000 children whose families fled after the nuclear disaster have yet to return to Fukushima prefecture, amid parental concern over the possible health effects of long-term exposure to relatively low doses of radiation.

Their former hometowns have since been turned into temporary dumping grounds for more than 10m black bags containing soil and other low level radioactive waste cleared from areas around homes, schools and other public buildings.

Here, too, progress is slow, with local authorities reporting that more than 40 communities have yet to be decontaminated. The unprecedented cleanup, involving 26,000 workers, aims to reduce outdoor radiation exposure to one millisievert a year – a target Japan’s environment minister recently criticised asunrealistically low.

But in a blow to the government’s push to lift more evacuation orders in Fukushima communities over the next 12 months, a poll published on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the disaster showed that two out of three nuclear evacuees had given up hope of ever returning to their homes.

“It is wrong for the central government to say return home and to lift evacuation orders, even though its own declaration of an emergency situation for the nuclear accident is still in place,” said Miyako Kumamoto, a 73-year-old evacuee, at a rally in Tokyo last week.



[Source:- Gurdian]

Islamic State defector brings ‘goldmine’ of details on 22,000 supporters

A disillusioned former member of Islamic State has passed a stolen memory stick of documents identifying 22,000 supporters in over 50 countries to a British journalist, a leak that could help the West target Islamist fighters planning attacks.

Leaks of such detailed information about Islamic State are rare and give Britain’s spies a potential trove of data that could help unmask militants who have threatened more attacks like those that killed 130 people in Paris last November.

A man calling himself Abu Hamed, a former member of Islamic State who became disillusioned with its leaders, passed the files to Britain’s Sky News on a memory stick he said he had stolen from the head of the group’s internal security force.

On it were enrolment forms containing the names of Islamic State supporters and of their relatives, telephone numbers, and other details such as the subjects’ areas of expertise and who had recommended them.

One of the files, marked “Martyrs”, detailed a group of IS members who were willing and trained to carry out suicide attacks, Sky said.

Richard Barrett, a former head of global counter-terrorism at Britain’s MI6 Secret Intelligence Service, said the cache was “a fantastic coup” in the fight against Islamic State.

“It will be an absolute goldmine of information of enormous significance and interest to very many people, particularly the security and intelligence services,” Barrett told Sky News.

Sky said it had informed the British authorities about the documents which were passed to its correspondent, Stuart Ramsay, at an undisclosed location in Turkey.

Western security sources said that if genuine, the files could be gold dust as they could help identify potential attackers and the networks of sympathizers behind them, and give insight on the structure of the group.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the documents, given their provenance. A selection of them was published in Arabic.

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris and the Oct. 31 downing of a Russian passenger plane over Egypt’s Sinai region that killed 224. They have promised more attacks on the West and Russia.

Western leaders say Islamic State, which has proclaimed a caliphate in the parts of Syria and Iraq it controls, now poses a greater danger to the West than al Qaeda. It uses a militant interpretation of Islam to justify attacks on its foes and the use of extreme violence, including rape and beheadings, against those it sees as infidels.

The defector, a former Free Syrian Army fighter who switched to Islamic State, said the group had been taken over by former soldiers from the Iraqi Baath party of Saddam Hussein, who was ousted in 2003 after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Some of the defector’s Arabic documents, posted on the Zaman Al Wasl Syrian news website, were forms issued by “Islamic State in Iraq and Sham, the General Directorate of Borders” and displayed personal details of each fighter, according to a review of some of the documents by Reuters.

The forms included answers to 23 questions such as assumed name, birthplace, education level, extent of Sharia learning and previous jobs, as well as details about the individuals’ journey to Islamic State and whether they were potential suicide bombers or more traditional fighters.

When asked for his view of the documents, Raffaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at London’s Royal United Services Institute, said in an emailed response: “It seems a bit dated.”

“Very interesting though and a real gift for researchers into understanding the group more,” he added. “The key for me in many ways is how this highlights the bureaucracy of the organization once again – kinda like al Qaeda in fact.”

[Source:- Reauters]

Russia expects Syrian government to attend Geneva peace talks next week

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais in Damascus, in this handout picture provided by SANA on February 20, 2016. Picture taken February 20, 2016. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

President Bashar al-Assad’s government has said its delegates will attend peace talks on the Syrian conflict due to start in Geneva next week, Russia’s foreign ministry said on Friday.

Damascus has yet to publicly confirm it will be taking part in the talks.

Asked whether Russia, a close ally of Assad, was encouraging Damascus to attend, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “They’re not refusing.”

“They said straight away that they are taking part, they’re ready, they will be the first to arrive, wherever is needed,” she said.

The Syrian foreign minister is expected to formally announce his government’s position on the Geneva talks at a news conference in Damascus on Saturday.

[Source:- Reauters]

UN warns Isis is strengthening hold in Libya with ‘nationalistic narrative’

Libyan soldiers stand at a military outpost in Wadi Bey, west of the Islamic State-held city of Sirte, February 23, 2016.

Islamic State has greatly expanded its control over territory in Libya, and the militants are claiming to be the key defense for the North African state against foreign military intervention, according to United Nations sanctions monitors.

In their annual report to the UN security council, which was released on Wednesday, the monitors also said Libya has become more attractive to foreign fighters who mainly arrive through Sudan, Tunisia and Turkey.

The US has carried out air strikes in Libya targeting Islamic State, also known as Isis or Isil. A US air strike in the eastern city of Derna in November 2015 killed Isis’s previous leader in Libya, known as Abu Nabil.

The UN experts also said they had received information about the presence of foreign militaries in Libya supporting efforts to combat Isis, but did not name the countries as it was still investigating.

“The rise of Isil in Libya is likely to increase the level of international and regional interference, which could provoke further polarization, if not coordinated,” said the UN experts who monitor sanctions on Libya.

“In anticipation, Isil has been spreading a nationalistic narrative, portraying itself as the most important bulwark against foreign intervention,” they said.

Isis has taken advantage of a political and security vacuum following the 2011 uprising that toppled the country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi. Western officials have estimated the number of Isis fighters to be as high as 6,000.

Late last year the UN experts said Isis had between 2,000 and 3,000 fighters. In the latest report they said “significant numbers of foreign fighters” had arrived in the Isis stronghold of Sirte.

A senior Isis militant described in an interview released by the Site monitoring group – a non-governmental counter-terrorism organization – as the new leader of the jihadists’ Libyan offshoot, said the organization is getting “stronger every day”.

The UN experts investigated whether Isis militants could use a backup of Libya’s banking system in Sirte to misappropriate funds, but all banking employees consulted said the system was either damaged or outdated.

“Consequently, control over Sirte does not give Isil access to state finances or to the wider Swift system,” the experts reported. Swift is a member-owned cooperative that banks use for account transfer requests and other secure messages.

“It is, however, likely that the site continues to hold all Libyan historic banking data, which could prove useful to anyone seeking to mask fraudulent transactions,” they said.


[Source:- Gurdian]

Opera introduces native ad blocking

Opera ad block

Opera has pulled the wraps off the latest addition to its browser: native ad blocking. This move makes Opera the first big-ticket web browser to introduce such a feature.

“If there were no bloated ads, some top websites would load up to 90 percent faster,” said Krystian Kolondra, SVP of Engineering and head of Opera for computers, on Opera’s officialblog.

The feature is currently available only in the developer release of the desktop browser. It promises “unmatched speed” when compared to extensions as the blocking takes place at the web-engine level.

While the first ads began cropping up online in the mid 1990s and were instrumental in helping the Internet grow, ads today take up more bandwidth than ever, seriously hampering the web browsing experience, said Kolondra on the blog, adding that ads have also resorted to tricking users into clicking them.

In the 2015 ad-blocking report by Pagefair and Adobe, it was noted that ad blocking grew 41 percent in 2015, with over 198 million users actively blocking ads. The use of ad-blocking programs has grown in popularity to the extent that even Apple allows their use in its native apps.

The new Opera browser also allows users to compare the time it takes for a page to load with the ad blocking feature turned on and off, and like the extensions available in the market, Opera’s ad-blocker also gives the user the option to white-list pages, displaying the ads on them.

Introducing Opera’s ad-blocking featureOpera

Global marketing solutions company Annalect feels the popularity of ad-blockers is a welcome change as it will get advertisers and websites to evolve and improve the quality of ads. It considers ad-blockers a direct response to tactless advertising that disrupts the online browsing experience. It presents the example of the New York Times offering native ads that give readers more value than regular ads, which has seen immense success.

While ads may ruin user experience, a blanket ban on all online advertisements is sure to prove detrimental to the growth of the web. This has prompted AdBlock Plus, a popular ad-blocking extension, to seek a middle ground and white-list certain websites provided they adhere to certain guidelines. AdBlock Plus offers users the option to enable Acceptable Ads, which do not disrupt the reading experience, and invites its users to participate in the dialogue on their forums.


[Source:- IBtimes]