Harris acquires i2 product portfolio from IBM

OTTAWA, Ontario and CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, Jan. 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Harris, a global vertical market software provider, has acquired the i2 intelligence analysis product portfolio of IBM, including the i2 Analyst's Notebook, i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis (EIA) and i2 iBase platforms. The acquisition positions Harris to further deliver mission–critical applications for national defense, state & local law enforcement, maritime security as well as evidence management.

i2's advanced analytics and intelligence analysis tools, such as the industry leading i2 Analyst's Notebook, help analysts transform data into decisions in near–real–time, uncover hidden connections with visual displays, and turn overwhelming and disparate data""regardless of the source""into actionable intelligence.

The i2 product portfolio, i2 executives and their global teams will form a new Harris business unit, i2 Group, which will operate independently and autonomously. Jean Soucy, Harris Group President stated: "The acquisition of i2 is important to Harris because not only is it a proven business with an excellent international team of experts, but it also provides Harris with a feature–rich intelligence platform widely deployed by an influential customer base", adding, "We look forward to working with our partners and customers to expand i2's capabilities in this highly innovative space."

"Resilience and collaboration have never been more critical for organizations as they confront the increasing complexity of intelligence analysis. We're committed to addressing those needs by offering the most complete end–to–end intelligence analysis portfolio on the market" said Jamie Caffrey, Program Director at i2 Group. "The convergence of data and processes is transforming the industry. By integrating i2 into their existing networks, customers will be able to better leverage their data and will be empowered to unlock valuable insights that can translate into business success.”

As part of publicly traded Constellation Software Inc. (TSX: CSU), Harris' financial strength, software industry expertise, and public safety focus were important factors in finding a forever home to execute i2 Group's long–term growth strategies.

Visit www.i2group.com to learn more about i2 solutions.

For further information contact:

Jean Soucy
Group President
Phone: +1 581–205–9821
Email: JSoucy@harriscomputer.com

Steve Hammond
Portfolio Leader
Phone: +44 787–486–2811
Email: SHammond@harriscomputer.com

About N. Harris Computer Corporation (Harris)

Harris acquires vertical market software businesses, manages them well, and builds them for the future. Through acquisitions, Harris has grown extensively from its roots in the utilities, local government, education, and healthcare verticals to operate over 170 businesses globally across more than 20 industries. We are a part of Constellation Software Inc. (TSX: CSU), one of the world's most active acquirers of VMS businesses.

About Constellation Software Inc.
Constellation Software acquires, manages and builds vertical market software businesses.

Expereo Appoints Ben Elms as Chief Revenue Officer

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Jan. 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Expereo, the world's leading provider of Global Internet, Cloud Access Optimization, SASE, and SD–WAN services, has today announced the appointment of Ben Elms as Chief Revenue Officer. Elms' s overarching brief is to lead the Sales and go–to–market transformation across all channels and drive the expansion and adoption of Expereo's services globally.

Elms brings more than 20 years of operational expertise and leadership in the telecommunications industry. Most recently, he served as the Group Director (CEO) at Vodafone Global Enterprise, a division of Vodafone Group Plc, a leading international wireless and wireline operator. Whilst there, he was responsible for leading global team managing relationships with multinational customers around the globe. During his tenure, the business outperformed the market with strong EBITDA performance and delivered significant improvements in customer and employee satisfaction whilst driving a program of operational efficiencies.

With his strong market experience, customer track record, and breadth of international expertise, he is a significant hire for the company as it continues its global growth and development.

Commenting on the appointment Irwin Fouwels, CEO at Expereo, said,

"Ben exhibits all the trademarks of a great leader, a true team player with super–strong commercial acumen and operational experience whilst demonstrating a relentless focus on the needs of the customer. Over the last few years, we see enterprises becoming even more cloud and internet–centric. Expereo has established a global leadership position in the highly attractive global cloud and software–defined networking market. I am very excited to have Ben join our company to continue our global go–to–market transformation. I am looking forward to a great partnership to take Expereo to further heights."

On joining the Expereo, Elms said:

"I am honored to be appointed as Expereo's first Chief Revenue Officer and to lead the next phase of growth. Expereo is on an exciting journey and has developed a unique market leadership position. My immediate focus will be on serving our customers as we continue to invest and expand our market position and in building operational excellence in our go–to–market. I look forward to speaking and meeting with employees, customers, and partners and working with Irwin and the team to take the business forward in a market that has a huge opportunity."

Elms' appointment comes after a sustained period of acquisition and expansion for Expereo, which will continue into 2022. With Elms added to its executive management team, the business will look to further consolidate its position as a leading player in the market – delivering simplified global networks while delighting customers with the seamless delivery of complementary services from one trusted supplier

About Expereo
Expereo is the leading provider of managed network solutions, including Global internet connectivity, SD–WAN, SASE, and Cloud Access Optimization services. Expereo is the trusted partner of 30% of Fortune 500 companies and powers enterprise and government sites worldwide, helping to enhance every business' productivity with flexible and optimal Internet performance. In Feb 2021, Vitruvian Partners international growth capital and buyout firm acquired a majority stakeholding in Expereo, alongside the leading European private equity firm Apax Partners SAS and company management.

LinkedIn | Twitter |

Sofia Pensado
Account Director

NetSfere Appointed to NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) Framework to Advance the Digitization of Healthcare in the UK

CHICAGO, Jan. 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NetSfere, a global provider of next–generation secure and compliant messaging and mobility solutions, has been named an approved communication supplier on NHS Shared Business Service's (NHS SBS) Patient/Citizen Communication & Engagement Solutions Framework, under which NHS organizations and the public sector in the UK can contract services.

Through the 250m framework designed to enhance interactions with patients and advance the digitization of the United Kingdom's healthcare system, all NHS organizations have access to NetSfere's portfolio of products.

The framework aims to provide a simple, effective, efficient, and compliant route to market for the supply of communication methods to engage with patients, citizens and the workforce across NHS organizations and wider public sector bodies.

"Helping healthcare organizations streamline communications in a secure and efficient method has been a primary focus of NetSfere," said Franz Obermayer, NetSfere's Vice President UK & Europe. "As part of the Patient/Citizen Communications & Engagement Solutions Framework, NetSfere's platforms are available to support NHS organizations' needs for digital tools on a massive scale as the healthcare system looks to improve clinical efficiency and safety to increase patient satisfaction and address concerns that arose from the pandemic."

Providing NHS organizations multiple avenues to streamline internal and external communications, the NetSfere platform is the leading enterprise mobile messaging service that provides all preferred means of communication – text, video, and voice – all in one encrypted platform. With omnichannel and emergency alert capabilities, NetSfere's portfolio offers the most holistic, secure, all–in–one communication solution on the market.

"The coronavirus pandemic has added to the complexity of patient appointments and waiting lists," said Adam Nickerson, Senior Category Manager of Digital and IT at NHS Shared Business Services. "Our Patient/Citizen Communications & Engagement Solutions Framework is designed to respond to the need within the NHS for better pre– and post–appointment communications, to reduce the backlog of urgent appointments and improve the patient journey, pathway and care."

Addressing the need for compliant and efficient internal communication methods, NetSfere Enterprise features solutions that empower employees with powerful, enterprise–class messaging technology, eliminating the need to use risky, consumer–grade messaging apps. Created with end–to–end encryption and full IT control, the platform is compliant with global regulations and provides enterprises with a private, highly secure, reliable centrally managed and controlled, cloud–based messaging service.

On the patient communication side, NetSfere Omnichannel enables digital customer engagement from a single platform with multi–channels to orchestrate the customer communication journey, including 1–way and 2–way SMS, MMS and RCS messaging, push notifications, voice, email, and social media messaging. The platform provides key benefits like intelligent routing and cost optimization, content management, number validation for increased open rates, full enterprise admin controls, rich analytics, and data archiving. The platform protects medical staff and patients with the highest level of security and meets all regulatory compliance standards including HIPAA, GDPR and PCI DSS.

NHS organizations can also implement NetSfere Lifeline through the framework. The solution allows enterprises to send high priority, critical messaging for targeted teams or an entire organization to disperse emergency information in an attention–grabbing manner. Messages can include text, images, or locations, ensuring that all essential information can be shared quickly in critical situations.

As one of the selected suppliers, NetSfere's solutions were accepted across five lots: Digital (Online) Communication, Email, SMS, Workforce Communication, and All–in–One Solutions.
For more information on NetSfere's portfolio of products, visit"www.netsfere.com.

About NetSfere
NetSfere is a secure enterprise messaging service and platform from"Infinite Convergence Solutions, Inc. NetSfere provides industry–leading security and message delivery capabilities, including global cloud–based service availability, device–to–device encryption, location–based features and administrative controls. The service is also offered in partnership with Deutsche Telekom GmbH, one of the world's leading integrated telecommunications companies, and with NTT Ltd., a global information communications & technology service provider, to jointly offer NetSfere to its worldwide customers."The service leverages Infinite Convergence's experience in delivering mobility solutions to tier 1 mobile operators globally and technology that supports more than 400 million subscribers and over a trillion messages on an annual basis. NetSfere is also compliant with global regulatory requirements, including GDPR, HIPAA, Sarbanes–Oxley, ISO 27001 and others. Infinite Convergence Solutions has offices in the United States, Germany, India and Singapore. For more information, visit"www.netsfere.com.

About NHS Shared Business Services
NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) was created in 2004 by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to deliver corporate services to the NHS. A unique joint venture with Sopra Steria, a European leader in digital services and software development, it makes life easier for NHS employees, patients and suppliers, and deliver value for money to the taxpayer.

Proud members of the NHS family, NHS SBS provides finance & accounting, procurement and workforce services to more than half the NHS in England. Sharing common values and unity of purpose with the rest of the NHS family, its solutions are underpinned by cutting–edge technologies and the teams' expertise, in–depth understanding of the NHS, and commitment to service excellence.

Media Contact
Rachel Gunia
Uproar PR for NetSfere
312–878–4575 x246

Ecstasy as Zimbabwe’s Smallholder Farmers Secure European Pineapple Market

Zimbabwean pineapple smallholder farmers now can sell their organically-produced pineapples on the European markets. Farmers are hopeful this will bring wealth to a region recently devastated by Cyclone Idai. Credit: Tonderayi Mukeredzi/IPS

By Tonderayi Mukeredzi
Harare, Zimbabwe , Jan 4 2022 – In her wildest dreams, smallholder farmer Sarudzai Sithole never imagined that her pineapples could someday stock the produce section of Europe’s finest supermarkets.

Now, the 34-year-old mother of five is part of a group of 45 farmers in Rusitu Valley in Chipinge, a district in Zimbabwean eastern province of Manicaland, who from December 2021 would be exporting nearly 50 tonnes of their pineapples to the Netherlands.

“This is the best experience I have heard in the fourteen years that I have been growing pineapples. I have been selling my pineapples locally to buyers from Mutare, Harare and Bulawayo during this period, but it has been for a small profit.

“I will be selling two tonnes, and at the price of 70 cents that we have been promised, the exported crop will greatly improve my life and that of my family,” an excited Sithole tells IPS.

She says pineapple farming has enabled her to build a house, buy various household goods and send children to school. She is increasing her crop hectarage, hoping that the rewards from the exported crop will empower her to electrify the family home, among other major home improvements.

When growing the pineapples, Sithole says they do not apply fertilisers or chemicals but manure only.

Dudzai Ndiadzo, the Rusitu Fruit Growers and Marketing Trust administrator, says the farmers’ dream to export their produce to Europe became a reality in August (2021). Their pineapples got organic certification from Ecocert Organic Standard, a French quality control body whose certification allows the farmers to send their organic products to international markets. The 45 villagers belong to the trust.

Farmers in Chipinge and most of Zimbabwe’s prime farming areas incur heavy post-harvest losses because their produce often rots by the roadside as they struggle to secure markets or transport their produce to the markets.
Chipinge farmers formed Rusitu Fruit Growers and Marketing Trust to market their crops. It represents over 1 300 farmers.

The farmers were victims of Cyclone Idai. This tropical cyclone hit their home area of Chipinge and Chimanimani in 2019, killing over 180 people, destroying 7,000 households and infrastructure and leaving 4,000 people food insecure, but their pineapple crop was not destroyed.

Ndiadzo said most farmers have been growing pineapples but not on a commercial scale because the market for pineapples wasn’t that good.

“We are excited to be exporting because the local market for pineapples is poor. The money from the export market is better – it is double or more what we would have gotten here,” he tells IPS.

Confronted with market access challenges, Rusitu Fruit Growers and Marketing Trust engaged the country’s export promotion body, Zimtrade, which offered training and technical expertise to the farmers on how to grow pineapples organically.

In 2017, the farmers started working with Zimtrade to get organic certification and have been supported in the certification and export quest by organisations such as COLEACP, Embassy of Netherlands in Zimbabwe, and Netherlands based PUM and RVO International.

Zimtrade has a long-standing partnership with PUM, where experts offer technical interventions to Zimbabwean exporters in different sectors to improve their quality and production processes for export. Through the collaboration with PUM, Zimtrade developed links with food companies in the Netherlands that have made it possible for smallholders to export their crops.

Admire Jongwe, Zimtrade’s manager for Eastern Region, says the organic certification is a critical milestone in reaching the lucrative organic fruit market, especially in the United States of America, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany and other emerging markets such as the United Arab Emirates.

“The organic certification will enable the farmers to fetch as much as 30 percent premium on their produce in most supermarkets in Europe. This will improve their returns as well as boost their livelihoods from producing the pineapple,” he tells IPS.

Jongwe says with organic standards, the smallholder pineapple farmers will access the global pineapple market, which has grown from US$2,3 billion in 2011 to US$2,5 billion in 2020, according to Trade Map.

Zimbabwe averages US$18 million per year in the total trade value of fruit and vegetable exports. Figures from Zimtrade shows that during the first half of 2021, Zimbabwe’s horticulture exports topped US$30 million with tea, macadamia nuts, fresh flowers, leguminous vegetables, largely contributing to the revenue.

The country used to be one of Africa’s biggest exporters of horticulture, but horticulture exports have been tumbling over the years. Europe is currently the largest export market for the Zimbabwean horticulture sector, with the Netherlands and the United Kingdom leading the pack.


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Journalists Who Faced Relentless, Targeted Attacks: 293 Imprisoned in 2021

Journalists in Zambia protest against attacks on the media. Credit: Kelvin Kachingwe/IPS

By Gypsy Guillén Kaiser
NEW YORK, Jan 4 2022 – This past year, uncertainty blanketed our world. The COVID-19 pandemic, the rapidly advancing climate crisis, the pervasive nature of new technologies, and encroaching authoritarianism have all shown that our world is changing fast and in ways that fundamentally affect how we live.

As conspiracy theories laced with facts have spread to the general public, it is clear that we need reliable, independent information. We need journalists — the kind who hold the powerful to account and whose reporting serves as a bedrock for democracy. Yet, such journalists often face relentless, targeted attacks.

For 40 years, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has assessed the state of press freedom worldwide and in 2021, the data speaks for itself. A record number of journalists were imprisoned: at least 293. CPJ also found that at least 24 journalists were killed in 2021 because of their coverage.

Eighteen more died in circumstances too murky to determine whether they were specifically targeted for their journalism. In tandem with expert partners, brave journalists, and allied public officials, we are pushing the boundaries of change for a free and fearless media.

Our #FreeThePress campaign, which is ever more vital, will be revamped in 2022 to push for a stop to these jailings. You can preview the at RiskLegal Network for Journalists, launching fully early next year to protect independent media from the lethal blows that deplete news organizations’ finances and stymie critical reporting.

We know it is possible to win when we fight together. Last year, CPJ helped win the release of 101 imprisoned journalists, the most we have ever helped free. This includes nearly 40 journalists released from prison in the Middle East and North Africa and 21 freed in Europe and Central Asia — specifically, in Turkey.

Part of our work is getting to the truth about journalist killings and advancing justice. In response to persistent impunity, together with partner groups we embarked on the first ever People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists, a means of alternative justice to hold governments and perpetrators to account.

In 2022, we look forward to case hearings and six investigations into cold cases that can open a path toward justice. We need a Safer World for the Truth, as our project is called. Watch this short documentary to learn why it matters.

Among the victories that give us hope are the steps taken to halt the unfettered use of spyware to target journalists and others. Shortly after CPJ briefed the U.S. State Department on this threat, the administration placed export controls on several purveyors.

The EU also adopted a regulation on the export of dual-use surveillance technology by EU-based companies to prevent the undue targeting of journalists and others. We will continue advocating to stop the weaponization of tech across the world.

The historic crisis in Afghanistan required the collective effort of everyone at CPJ. We knocked on every door and strived to win the support of diplomats the world over, sometimes to our deep disappointment.

Yet, we are gratified by the successful evacuation of many journalists and our continuous work to keep the remaining Afghan press corps safe. Our experience with the Afghanistan crisis holds valuable lessons for our future advocacy.

A year that began with journalists viciously attacked at the Capitol riots in Washington, D.C. on January 6, culminated in a celebration of two journalists CPJ has long defended and cherished — Dmitry Muratov and Maria Ressa — who were honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Change takes time but it is essential. We are grounded in gratitude and hope.
In a polarized and frightened world, solid journalism — journalism that helps us to make informed decisions and to choose leaders who best represent our interests — shall prevail.

Thank you for standing with journalists and working alongside us to protect and uphold our vital freedoms.

Gypsy Guillén Kaiser is Advocacy and Communications Director at Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)


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UN’s Overall Development Agenda at Risk as the Coronavirus Pandemic Escalates

Twelve-year-old boy in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, sorts through hazardous plastic waste without any protection, working to support his family amidst the lockdown. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last year that the pandemic has “laid bare” challenges –such as structural inequalities, inadequate healthcare, and the lack of universal social protection – and the heavy price societies are paying as a result. Ending poverty sits at the heart of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and is the first of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite this, poverty and hunger, the UN chief reminded delegates, are on the rise, following decades of progress. Credit: UNICEF/Parvez Ahmad

By Purnima Mane
NEW YORK, Jan 4 2022 – The Corona-19 pandemic has had an unparalleled and relentless toll on the world in areas beyond health alone. The World Bank’s latest report on global poverty raises concerns as to the severity of the impact of the pandemic on efforts to fight poverty (SDG 1) and hunger (SDG 2).

We also have evidence that other facets of development in addition to poverty and hunger are (and will continue to be) negatively impacted by the pandemic which is surging once again in populations around the world, definitely putting the overall development agenda at risk

In 2015, the United Nations ambitiously adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030 which cover a range of areas of development in which a global, concerted push to ensure progress was seen as imperative.

We have witnessed some of these areas getting more attention since the SDGs were established but even before the goals were set, the world was slowly but surely moving in the right direction in some areas like poverty.

The World Bank reports show that global, extreme poverty had fallen by 1 percent per year between 1990 and 2015 but the decline slowed down after 2015. The World Bank attributes some of the slowing down to the increase in violent conflict in the Middle East and North Africa after 2015 and climate change but with the advent of the pandemic in 2020, the evidence points to this progress not just being slowed down and eroded but wiped out in some instances.

Extreme poverty between 2019-2020 is now larger than the entire period when the World Bank began to track poverty consistently, and new challenges are emerging which require concerted efforts and shifts in policies and programmes.

Data indicate that the poorest are most impacted by Covid which might not come as a surprise, but what is new is the finding that populations relatively spared from poverty earlier, are suffering disproportionately post-Covid.

The WB Report shows that “the new poor” are often more urban and educated and more likely to be engaged in informal services and manufacturing and less in agriculture. In addition, Covid-19 is impacting middle income and conflict-ridden countries disproportionately. These developments add to the complexities of addressing the pandemic and threaten progress in attainment of the SDG goals as a whole.

The areas of coverage by the SDGs were always recognized as extensive and ambitious but imperative. Their wide-reaching scope meant that a global push on key areas affecting development could in fact create synergy and momentum for progress.

This of course suggests that a downturn in the progress towards any of these goals could also impact the other goals negatively. Since the pandemic, resources have been diverted from some of the SDGs more than others and goals suffering previously due to limited allocation of resources are now facing further erosion of resources and attention.

Clearly the range of SDGs that are going to be impacted adversely will go beyond Poverty SDG1, Health SDG3, and Hunger SDG2. Emerging data already indicate the negative impact of the pandemic on education (SDG 4), reduction of inequalities (SDG 10) and gender inequality (SDG 5 ) in particular.

With the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight, our actions to counter the trend need to acknowledge that all the SDG goals, and sustainable development as a whole, are at risk.

The WB report argues that global coordination and cooperation in terms of solutions to the challenges posed by the pandemic are imperative but equally important is the development of action plans that pay heed to the gamut of the areas of development and their inter-linkages.

The response to the pandemic needs to take into consideration the linkages between the different elements of development, epitomized in the comprehensive SDG agenda, and how they impact each other, and needs to ensure continued and requisite investment and attention to these elements, if we are to address the fall-out of the pandemic effectively.

Dr. Purnima Mane is an internationally recognized expert on gender, population and development, and public health who has devoted her career to advocating for population and development issues and working on sexual and reproductive health. Most recently, Dr. Mane was President and CEO of Pathfinder International, prior to which she was Deputy Executive Director (Program) of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN Assistant-Secretary-General (ASG). She has served in senior level positions in several international organizations such as UNAIDS, World Health Organization, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Population Council.


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