TORONTO – Jim Cuddy shared the stage with fellow Canadian music star Gord Downie several times over their long careers, but it was a performance last February that was perhaps the most poignant.Cuddy and his band Blue Rodeo were performing at Toronto’s Massey Hall with opening act the Sadies when they invited Downie onstage at the last minute to perform the hit “Lost Together” as an encore.It had been nearly a year since Downie announced his diagnosis with an incurable form of brain cancer, but the singer-songwriter had shown herculean strength with a series of musical projects, a cross-country tour, and passionate advocacy on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. He was suffering from memory loss and didn’t know the lyrics to “Lost Together” but he seemed undaunted and full of life onstage.Cuddy never thought it would end up being Downie’s last public performance. He died Tuesday night at age 53.“I knew that he had a terminal illness but I guess I just thought Gord would be the one to at least stretch the limit,” an emotional Cuddy said during a phone interview.“I just didn’t realize the end was so near.”The encore performance, which is posted on YouTube, came on a night when there were three “iconic Gords” in the audience, said Cuddy. The others were actor Gordon Pinsent and musician Gordon Lightfoot.Travis Good of the Sadies invited Downie onstage and he obliged, wearing the outfit that became one of his signature looks in the final chapter of his life — a Canadian tuxedo of sorts with a tuque, jean jacket, hoodie and jeans.Holding a piece of paper with the lyrics to “Lost Together,” Downie sang along with the musicians for a bit before crumpling up the cheat sheet and taking in the audience.“He was standing beside me for a while and he was talking to me and he was just saying the most complimentary and loving things,” said Cuddy.“It was so sweet and I just said, ‘No, I’ll guide you, don’t worry. I know you don’t know the song.’”As it turned out, Cuddy forgot to guide him. But Downie charged on, improvising and even doing a little air guitar.“Gord was present and he knew what was going on,” said Cuddy. “He didn’t really know the song and he participated in this way that only an incredibly innate and gifted performer could.“He just suddenly walked to the mic during the piano solo and started to do this beautiful incantation and we were all stunned by how powerful it was.“It was very valiant to be up there.”After the show they had a “general celebration,” said Cuddy, noting fans were thrilled to see Downie there.“I think we were quite aware that it was a historic night,” said Cuddy. “Not that it was the end of anything but that it was a gathering of very close friends that had made their way in music and it was very beautiful.”Cuddy considered Downie a friend and felt they shared a special connection in the music scene. Both Blue Rodeo and the Hip had parallel success, becoming stars in Canada but not south of the border.“I have always used Gord as an example of why Canadian music is unique,” said Toronto-based Cuddy.“People always ask bands like the Hip, ourselves, ‘Why are you popular in Canada and not popular in the States?’ And I realized, because we’re different.”Downie was “incredibly important” to the Canadian music scene, Cuddy said, noting “he was an extremely good singer” who gave a unique expression to songs including “Ahead by a Century” and “Courage.”He was also “super funny,” he said, pointing to a showcase the two bands did along with the Eagles in Newfoundland.The Eagles were slated to perform last, after the Hip, and their manager Irving Azoff “was at the side of the stage gesturing to Gord to shorten his set.”“I was at the side of the stage just totally offended, like, ‘What are you doing?’” said Cuddy. “And Gord was laughing and laughing, spinning around, doing his show. It was just an amazing show.“Afterwards I said to him, ‘Didn’t that piss you off?’ He said, ‘I never thought in my life I’d have Irving Azoff telling me to shorten my set. It was awesome.’“I thought, ‘That’s so Gord, to see the humour in a messed up situation.’”
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Close Are you looking to apply for jobs or finding it difficult to hire the right talent for your organization? Shortlist is a start-up that’s keen on solving the biggest pain points of hiring employees.In our latest BizTalk, Danish Manzoor, Executive Editor, International Business Times, India, speaks with Paul Breloff, CEO and co-founder of Shortlist, a Mumbai- and California-based employment-tech start-up, about the hurdles of the hiring process and how his company aims to address them with a simplified and automated process.Shortlist is a platform that is aimed at offering a better approach at hiring – shifting from the traditional paradigm of handing out CVs to a robust and effective way of identifying the right talent for the right job using artificial intelligence. With operations in India and South Africa, Shortlist has been working with numerous clients since 2016 by automating applicant vetting process using online assessments. IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:02/21:29Loaded: 0%00:02Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-21:27?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … Is AI the future of Recruiting? As Breloff said in his interview, Shortlist wants to be a “noise filtration layer” between recruiters and applicants. The start-up uses predictive chat-based interviews and online competency-based assessments to thoroughly screen candidates before pushing them forward.Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the core of Shortlist, which qualifies candidates based on location, salary, and experience, in turn saving time by eliminating the basic Q&As. The company also firmly believes in not judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree, hence it uses customized competency-based assessments and analyses several data points on each candidate’s ability, motivation, and fit.During the BizTalk, Breloff spoke about the how Shortlist came into being, right from getting the brand’s name suggestion from a Kenyan client, to using the latest technology tools like AI and machine learning to solve the most time-consuming phases of hiring, and raising funds as well as plans of acquisitions in the near-future.Shortlist was co-founded by Breloff along with two of his best friends Simon Desjardins and Matt Schnuck, who are also on board as Chief Customer Officer and Chairman, respectively. The start-up currently operates in India and East Africa and has over 80 clients, including ITC, DHL, dunes, and others.[CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL VIDEO]
US President Donald TrumpAmnesty International said on Wednesday US president Donald Trump’s “poisonous” rhetoric on his way to winning the White House led a global trend towards increasingly divisive politics in 2016 that had made the world a “darker” place.In its annual report covering 159 countries, the human rights group said principles of human dignity and equality had come under assault from politicians seeking election and it zeroed in on Trump, who took office on 20 January.”Donald Trump’s poisonous campaign rhetoric exemplifies a global trend towards angrier and more divisive politics,” Amnesty said in a statement issued in Paris. The world, it said, had become a “darker … unstable place”, with a rise in hate speech targeting refugees across Europe and the United States.”The early indications from (…) Trump suggest a foreign policy that will significantly undermine multilateral cooperation and usher in a new era of greater instability and mutual suspicion,” Amnesty added.Trump, a Republican former reality TV star and property magnate, has said he is “the least racist person” and “least anti-Semitic person you’ve ever seen” and that one of his top priorities is to protect the United States from terrorism.His administration has been marked by controversies in the early going, fierce attacks on the news media and legal battles over his executive order to ban people temporarily from seven Muslim-majority countries as alleged security risks.US vice president Mike Pence visited Europe this week Pence and pledged “steadfast and enduring commitment” to ties between the United States and the European Union, a message at variance with Trump’s far-right chief strategist.US allies in Europe have been seeking clarity on the Trump administration’s foreign policy strategy and its stance toward Russia.”The gap between imperative and action, and between rhetoric and reality, was stark and at times staggering,” Amnesty said.”Nowhere was this better illustrated than in the failure of states attending September’s 2016 United Nations summit for refugees and migrants to agree any adequate response to the global refugee crisis.”According to Amnesty calculations, some 75,000 refugees found themselves trapped between Jordan and Syria as the civil war in Syria entered its seventh year.Amnesty said populist movements and messages had also become more common in Europe, notably in Poland and Hungary.”The result was a pervasive weakening of the rule of law and an erosion in the protection of human rights, particularly for refugees and terrorism suspects, but ultimately for everyone.”
US president Trump gives thumbs up during campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: reutersDonald Trump faced greater restraints on his presidency and intrusive investigations from Democrats who won control of the US House of Representatives and pledged to hold the Republican accountable after a tumultuous two years in the White House.Trump and his fellow Republicans expanded their control of the US Senate in Tuesday’s midterm elections, following a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race and immigration.But they lost their majority in the House, a setback for the president after a campaign that became a referendum on his combative leadership.The split power in Congress combined with Trump’s expansive view of executive power could herald even deeper political polarization and legislative gridlock in Washington.The Democrats will now head House committees that can investigate the president’s tax returns, possible business conflicts of interest and any links between his 2016 election campaign and Russia.There may be some room, however, for Trump and Democrats to work together on issues with bipartisan support such as a package to improve infrastructure or protections against prescription drug price increases.Trump made an unlikely gesture toward Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the House Democrats who he has frequently ridiculed, saying her party should pick her to be House Speaker in the new Congress that convenes in January.”In all fairness, Nancy Pelosi deserves to be chosen Speaker of the House by the Democrats. If they give her a hard time, perhaps we will add some Republican votes. She has earned this great honor,” Trump wrote on Twitter.Earlier on Wednesday, he was less conciliatory, describing the elections results as a “very Big Win” and taking a swipe at the media. Trump was due to hold a news conference at the White House at 11:30 a.m. (1630 GMT).The Democrats fell short of a tidal wave of voter support that would have won them control of both chambers of Congress. But in the 435-member House, the party was headed for a gain of around 30 seats, beyond the 23 they needed to claim their first majority in eight years.A Senate majority would have allowed Democrats to apply even firmer brakes on Trump’s policy agenda and given them the ability to block any future Supreme Court nominees.The House Democrats could force Trump to scale back his legislative ambitions, possibly dooming his promises to fund a border wall with Mexico, pass a second major tax-cut package, or carry out his hardline policies on trade.“Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans, it’s about restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration,” Pelosi told supporters at victory party.Losing the House will test Trump’s ability to compromise, something he has shown little interest in over the last two years with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress.He hit back at the prospect of investigations by House Democrats, saying on Twitter that Republicans in Senate would counter with their own investigations of Democrats.GRIDLOCK?US stocks opened higher on Wednesday after the elections, while the dollar dropped on the reduced chances of further US fiscal stimulus.Financial markets often favor Washington gridlock because it preserves the status quo and reduces uncertainty.A Democrat-controlled House will hamper Trump’s pro-business agenda and could lead to uncertainty about his administration, but corporate tax cuts and deregulation measures that have played a large hand in the US stock market’s rally since the 2016 election are likely to remain untouched.”With the Democrats taking over the House we will now have to see what gridlock in Congress means for policy. As for the market impact, a split Congress has historically been bullish for equities and we expect to see the same pattern again,” said Torsten Slok, Chief International Economist of Deutsche Bank.Democrats will use their new majority to reverse what they see as a hands-off approach by Republicans toward Trump’s foreign policy, and push for tougher dealings with Russia, Saudi Arabia and North Korea.Foreign policy has been an area that Trump has approached in a very personal way, sometimes antagonizing allies such as Canada while making what critics see as unduly warm overtures to traditional rivals or foes.Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Democrats could work with Republicans to produce a long-awaited bill to upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges and airports.”Of course, we want to work in a bipartisan fashion. I think we can get an infrastructure bill,” he said.Trump had hardened his rhetoric in recent weeks on issues that appealed to his conservative core supporters. He threw himself into the campaign, issuing warnings about a caravan of Latin American migrants headed through Mexico to the US border and condemnations of liberal American “mobs” he says oppose him.DEMOCRATIC PROBESEvery seat in the House was up for grabs on Tuesday and opinion polls had pointed to the Democratic gains. The party with the presidency often loses House seats in midterm elections.The Republicans had an advantage in Senate races because elections were held for only 35 seats in the 100-member chamber and many of them were in states that often lean Republican.Republicans built on their slim Senate majority by several seats and ousted four incumbent Democrats: Bill Nelson in Florida, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Claire McCaskill in Missouri.Those gains are sure to bolster Republicans’ efforts to get conservative federal judges through confirmation proceedings. In the 36 gubernatorial contests, Democrats won in several states that supported Trump in 2016 but lost high-profile races in Florida and Ohio.Democrats could infuriate Trump by launching another congressional investigation into allegations of Russian interference on his behalf in the 2016 election. A federal probe by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s role in that election is ongoing.Moscow denies meddling and Trump, calling the Mueller probe a witchhunt, denies any collusion.A House majority would be enough to impeach Trump if evidence surfaced of collusion by his campaign, or of obstruction by the president of the federal investigation. But Congress could not remove him from office without a conviction by a two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate, an unlikely scenario.Most Democratic candidates in tight races stayed away from harsh criticism of Trump during the midterm campaign’s final stretch, focusing instead on bread-and-butter issues like maintaining insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions, and safeguarding the Social Security retirement and Medicare healthcare programs for senior citizens.WOMEN, YOUNG, HISPANIC VOTERS FUEL GAINSThe Democratic gains were fueled by women, young and Hispanic voters, a Reuters/Ipsos Election Day poll found. Fifty-five percent of women said they backed a Democrat for the House this year, compared to 49 percent in the 2014 midterm congressional election.A record number of women ran for office this election, many of them Democrats. There were 237 women on ballots for House seats and at least 95 had won their races as of early Wednesday morning, shattering the previous record of 84 women in the House, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.The party picked up seats across the map but some of the campaign’s biggest Democratic stars lost.Liberal Beto O’Rourke’s underdog Senate campaign fell short in conservative Texas against Republican Ted Cruz. Andrew Gillum lost to Republican Ron DeSantis in his quest to become Florida’s first black governor.In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams was seeking to become the first black woman to be elected governor of a US state. Her opponent, Brian Kemp, was ahead in a very close race early on Wednesday and Abrams said she would not concede until all the votes were counted.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. There are a lot of breathless predictions about the future of the Internet of Things, or IoT.According to the pundits, in the not-too-distant future we will live in smart homes and navigate our smart city streets to work in smart offices. All along the way, big-data-driven algorithms will synthesize information across disparate inputs to make our lives easier by automatically controlling all sorts of widgets.According to industry-watchers, the IoT market has the potential to create an economic impact of $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion annually by 2025. Sixty-one percent of executives agree companies that are slow to integrate the IoT will fall behind the competition, and 96 percent of executives expect their business to be using the IoT in some respect by 2016.By 2022, a typical family home in a mature, affluent market could contain several hundred smart objects. That is, smart in the sense of gaining some level of sensing and intelligence combined with the ability to communicate wirelessly.Related: What the ‘Internet of Things’ Means for Enterprising EntrepreneursIn many cases, this cloud-based information will itself be informed by telemetry from other low-power and inexpensive devices, creating a cross-vendor virtuous cycle. Think of the sprinkler system that doesn’t come on in the morning because it knows it’s going to rain in two hours, and you start to get an idea of the potential impact the IoT can have.However, most of the “smart” devices of today are not much more than party tricks. They certainly won’t be the drivers of a billion-dollar revolution. If it’s going to live up to its promise, the IoT must be more than adding a smartphone-based remote control to an existing device.One of my favorite examples of a silly feature is a dishwasher that can be remotely started via a smart phone app. That’s great, but given the amount of physical interaction required to get a dishwasher ready for that step — loading the dishes, putting in the soap, closing the door, etc. — what benefit do consumers really get from walking away and starting the cycle from another device?For most devices, Internet connectivity just isn’t that compelling. Really: How much do I care about my hot water heater? I certainly don’t need regular communications with it. I just want to know that it’s working.Your users are already drowning in smartphone apps. With some limited exceptions in the area of lifestyle brands, they don’t want more. To fully exploit the promise of the IoT, companies of all types need to think about how to leverage a more subtle use of connectivity into compelling products and services. Resetting the lowly thermostat from my phone is fine, but what if I could receive a text alert when the house is too cold or too hot, when the furnace is running inefficiently or when the furnace filter needs to be changed?How about linking my thermostat into geofencing to set back the heat when everyone leaves based on smartphone location? It would be helpful if my thermostat could tie into demand response and offer me a discount if I allow my utility to shed electrical load at peak times.Related: 3 Industries Entrepreneurs Can Disrupt With the ‘Internet of Things’As for the the dishwasher, what if it automatically operated when electric rates are the lowest, alerted me when a drain is blocked or proactively scheduled recommended maintenance? Let’s not stop there. The manufacturer could periodically upgrade the software on my device to give me new features and the dishwasher could automatically order detergent from Amazon when it knows I’m running low, based on the number of cycles since the last purchase.For the strong projected growth to occur IoT technology must evolve the dynamic between people and their things in smart and interactive environments. Product designers and manufacturers have the opportunity to begin creating products that will enhance lives by allowing smart devices to not only interact with the user, but learn, respond, predict and communicate with other devices to understand what is needed before the user even knows.The IoT is quickly reaching the point at which the future visions promised in a Jetson-esque worldview are becoming realities. Companies that develop smart devices with autonomous operation that create additional value for the end user will be the most successful in the long run.Related: Want a Piece of the $33B-and-Growing ‘Internet-of-Things’ Market? Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 4 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global January 22, 2015