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Shareholder’s Group Demands Morningstar Correct Inaccuracies in Report on ESG Proposals

National Legal & Policy Center

Last week, influential financial ratings and research firm Morningstar reported its findings in its proxy season analysis of a so-called “anti-ESG explosion” of shareholder resolutions at the annual meetings of several major corporations. Without contacting National Legal and Policy Center about its 25 proposals this year, Morningstar mischaracterized them as measures antithetical to the Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) emphasis that has been widely embraced by Corporate America. “In its apparent zeal to denigrate NLPC’s participation in the shareholder process, Morningstar dismissed the fact that nearly all of our resolutions addressed governance issues – that’s right, the “G” in “ESG,” said Paul Chesser, director of the Corporate Integrity Project for NLPC. “That makes them pro -ESG!” Indeed, NLPC’s proposals at various times have been proposed in the past, with very similar language, by progressive shareholders who would be identified as “pro-ESG.” Of NLPC’s 25 proposals, six of them sought to split the Chairman and CEO roles; Eleven of them sought greater charitable donation disclosure; Four of them sought greater lobbying expenditure disclosure; and one sought greater board diversity. The other three also could have been proposed by progressives: One sought transparency from Alphabet about requests it received from the government to remove content from its platforms, and two of them addressed human rights and slave labor (Disney and General Motors). “What about any of these proposals makes them ‘anti-ESG?’” Chesser wondered. “Why is good, transparent governance ‘pro’ when progressives present the idea, but ‘anti’ when conservatives present it? Morningstar can’t even point to anything in our resolutions’ supporting statements that screams ‘conservative’ or ‘anti-ESG.’” Puzzlingly, Morningstar unintentionally admitted that NLPC’s proposals were really pro -ESG, by reporting, “Many of the [NLPC] proposals found language and phrasing that the Securities and Exchange Commission finds acceptable by copying earlier approved pro-ESG proposals.” Morningstar also stated that one of NLPC’s many proposals – to split the Chairman and CEO roles – was “reasonable, and many players, Morningstar Sustainalytics included, recommended that investors vote for the proposal.” Nonetheless Morningstar – in its overall effort to paint the resistance to “woke” corporate policies as a failure – misled its readers, subscribers, and the business media about the nature of NLPC’s resolutions. Worse – and without contacting NLPC to learn more about its proposals – Morningstar smeared NLPC by characterizing its intentions as “disingenuous” and “insincere.” “If shareholders had approved any of our resolutions and the companies implemented their measures, they would not have done so in a way that was advantageous for political conservatives or so-called ‘anti-ESG’ advocates – because that’s not what we asked for in our resolutions,” Chesser said. “Greater transparency and accountability represent good governance for all customers and investors — and again, these are measures sought many times in the past by progressive shareholders.” Chesser added that Morningstar is not the objective research and ratings company -- influencing hundreds of billions of dollars in investments -- that many consider it to be. The finance firm is being investigated by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, under the state’s consumer protection and anti-“Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” laws. “I suspect what really upsets Morningstar and ESG advocates is that we have shown up on what they regarded as their conquered turf at annual shareholder meetings,” Chesser said. “I’m sure they don’t like the competition.” Chesser characterized the proxy season overall as a first-step for conservatives, and noted that nearly all “pro-ESG” resolutions presented to shareholders over the past several years have been rejected also. Nonetheless the progressive shareholders have won the overall “battlefield” by showing up year after year, by virtue of pro-ESG sympathizers overtaking the boardrooms and executive suites of every major corporation. “Morningstar hoped we would be demoralized by the failure of our resolutions to pass, and I’m sure they wish we would just go away,” Chesser said. “But we are just getting started. See you next year!” ### For more information or to schedule an interview with Paul Chesser, contact Dan Rene at 202-329-8357 or drene@nlpc.org. Please visit http://www.nlpc.org. Founded in 1991, NLPC promotes ethics in public life and government accountability through research, investigation, education, and legal action. Contact Details National Legal and Policy Center Dan Rene +1 202-329-8357 drene@nlpc.org Company Website http://www.nlpc.org

August 22, 2022 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Dukkantek seals $10m funding round as it scales digital ecosystem for SMB retail sector in MENA

Dukkantek

Store management platform Dukkantek has quickly scaled across the MENA region as SMB retailers adopted their tech for customer services, business processes and faster growth. In supporting this growth, Dukkantek is today announcing an oversubscribed $10m pre-series A funding round as it powers the digital ecosystem for 13 million SMB retailers across the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia as it looks for more opportunities in North Africa. The funding round was led by BECO with significant participation from Rocketship and Colle Capital. Other strategic investors in the round included Comma Capital, AMK Investment Office, Chaos Ventures, and Wamda Capital. The funding round follows their $5.2m seed round in October 2021, taking their total funds raised to $15.2m. Dukkantek was founded in January 2021 by Ali Al Sayegh, Sanad Yaghi and Shadi Joulani. Originally conceived as a service aimed at retailers in the grocery sector, the merchants on the platform now span 70 different verticals, with clothing and electricals particularly prominent alongside food and drink. It has already attracted more than thousands of customers for its suite of services empowering traditional merchants with end-to-end digital technology that improves all business processes. It enables these retailers to run their bricks and mortar stores more efficiently and productively and to make the leap into ecommerce. Dukkantek co-founder Sanad Yaghi commented: “For too long, the owners of small and medium-sized businesses have been left on the margins of the technology shift; now we are serving their unmet needs. We bring a technology platform consisting of three different value propositions that enable these merchants to compete in a digital world” “This includes a set of tools that enables merchants to run their businesses more effectively. Payments options ensure merchants can offer customers more choice about how to settle their bills. And an e-commerce offering which gives merchants everything they need to start selling online for the first time and to manage that operation in tandem with the brick-and-mortar business. Many merchants struggle to keep track of inventory when selling both online and in physical stores, so having one system that incorporates both parts of the business is very important”. The coronavirus pandemic hastened digital adoption in the MENA region, leading to an increase in online shopping, in particular. The region's e-commerce market is expected to reach $49 billion in 2025, up almost 55 per cent from 2021, a report by EZDubai, an e-commerce zone in Dubai, and Euromonitor International showed earlier this year. The UAE’s e-commerce market alone is forecast to grow 60 per cent to more than $8bn by 2025 from 2021. Community retailers in the UAE without a digital presence, who were unable to accept online payments during the pandemic, were severely affected due to the drop in customer footfall. Dukkantek believes that traditional merchants and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) remain the backbone of the global economy, and their transactions should be digitized to keep pace with market developments. And to this end they platform provides: Cloud POS: The Cloud POS is a Point-of-Sales system that can be accessed online, from anywhere. It allows businesses to keep track of transactions & sales, calculate VAT, generate reports and calculate profit margin. Inventory Management: The Cloud IM is an online software that helps businesses track, manage & organize the inventory. It allows users to keep track of stock, measure stock value, manage fast-moving products and generate reports for analysis. Payment Options: The platform offers a variety of payment options including cash, card payments or credit payments. Reports can be generated to track payments. E-Commerce: The e-commerce functionality allows stores to sell their goods online or through an app. One of its features includes live inventory, as it’s linked to the IM & POS software. Another feature is that stores can choose what items to put online and their corresponding prices. Moreover, it sends push notifications to customers. Companion App: The companion app is a mobile application that helps manage the store online. Its features include: Automated Inventory Reconciliation, live store data, linked to IM & POS, ability to track daily sales on the dashboard, ability to review all transactions, and track cash movements and payment methods. "It's very rare to come across a business and team that have been able to execute the way in which Dukkantek has done so far. Launching 7 countries in 18 short months since founding is no easy feat, yet the Dukkantek team has managed to do it in such a seamless and capital efficient manner. We are very excited to partner with Sanad, Ali and the wider team as they look to build on their exciting traction and overall vision of digitizing merchants." said Abdulaziz Shikh Al Sagha from BECO Capital Having met its geographical expansion goals, Dukkantek’s focus will now turn to adding new services. In particular, exploring working capital solutions and building its data analytics capabilities for users. “We have seen an increase in users accessing analytics tools on the platform which, for example, help them understand which products will sell best. Three-quarters of the businesses on the platform are now trading in this way. Also, many merchants are keen to expand the number of stores they operate, but are held back by the lack of finance available in the region which we can look to explore” added Sanad Yaghi. About Dukkantek Founded in January 2021, Dukkantek is the UAE’s first and only revolutionary store management platform that enables traditional merchants to compete equally in an evolving digital world, and further empower their retail capacity. Redefining the conventional way of managing tasks and sales, the innovative platform aims to strengthen local community stores and power digital transformations with end-to-end technology that enhances and streamlines all business processes, enabling them to compete with dark stores and delivery players. Dukkantek is the technology partner for all local community stores in the region. For more information please visit https://www.dukkantek.com Contact Details Dukkantek Bilal Mahmood +44 7714 007257 b.mahmood@stockwoodstrategy.com Company Website https://www.dukkantek.com/

August 19, 2022 07:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Fullintel Appoints Angela Dwyer as Head of Insights

Fullintel, LLC

Fullintel, a leading media monitoring and media intelligence service, is proud to announce it has appointed Angela Dwyer, a leader in the global PR measurement industry, as its new Head of Insights. A former senior vice-president at NYC-based PR agency Lippe Taylor and senior project manager at PRIME Research (now Cision), Angela has spent years developing and implementing advanced media metrics – such as the Hypatia Gravity Score – to help improve the effectiveness of PR campaigns and media outreach. She’s also actively involved in the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC). Building on Fullintel’s Award-Winning Media Measurement Foundation “Fullintel has mastered a cost-effective, human-curated media monitoring approach,” explains Dwyer, “along with a great analysis foundation in terms of Fullintel’s Media Impact Score and PredictiveAI™ crisis module. I want to continue adding to that by customizing the approach for each client based on a range of factors, such as drivers of recall, predictors of how someone might think about your brand, or even different audience drivers depending on the client’s goal.” Angela’s addition builds on Fullintel’s growing momentum in the PR measurement industry, culminating in the company winning Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards at the 2021 AMEC Awards for media measurement. “Angela is one of the most talented senior members of the global measurement community, period. We’re extremely proud to have her join our team,” said Fullintel President Andrew Koeck. “We look forward to providing our clients across healthcare, tourism, retail, aviation, and other industries with even more impactful and actionable insights, based on our ever-evolving measurement program and new products such as PredictiveAI.” Improving Measurement Standards For Communicators Angela is a regular on several industry committees and boards, including the International Public Relations Measurement Commission. She’s also set to join other media measurement experts in hosting the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) Master Class, a strategic playbook for communicators featuring eight live and interactive sessions from Sept. 19, 2022 to April 18, 2023. About Fullintel: Fullintel combines best-in-class technology with expert content curation to deliver the most relevant, cost optimized media monitoring, daily news briefs, and media analysis possible. Our analysts curate print, online, social media, broadcast, and influencer opinions in real time compiled by technology, supplemented and verified by humans. Where technology alone fails, your dedicated analyst has you covered. Fullintel has offices in Cambridge, Mass., Ottawa, Ont. and Nagercoil, India. Contact Details Fullintel Samuel Chen +1 339-970-8005 schen@fullintel.com Company Website https://fullintel.com/

August 17, 2022 10:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Family Pleads for ASIRT to Actively Investigate Death of Alberta Man Who Died in RCMP Custody

Hartzler Family

For the second time in less than a year and a half, an Alberta man has died while in custody of the Grande Prairie RCMP. Despite evidence to suggest the matter should be under ASIRT’s purview, a decision has been made to allow a specialty unit within the Grande Prairie RCMP to investigate and control the case. On June 3, 2022, Addison Hartzler called 911 requesting help for what he believed to be a break and enter at his residence. The family was told that RCMP officers arrived at the scene and failed to find evidence that a break and enter had occurred; the RCMP then made the decision to take Addison into custody for public mischief – within nine minutes of arrival at his residence. The family believes Addison was taken into custody unlawfully since the Criminal Code of Canada requires officers to have reasonable grounds, to prove that a false report was made intentionally and that there was an “intent to mislead.” According to information provided by the RCMP, Addison’s behaviour indicated that EMS or a doctor should have assessed him prior to being detained. The officers who arrested Addison said he "was either unwilling to provide his name, or was unable to provide his name, and therefore, they were holding him in order to identify him when he was willing to provide his name to the charge." In a phone conversation with Addison’s family after the incident, the RCMP indicated Addison was acting in a psychotic and delusional manner. “It is our view that, given his alleged state of health, Addison was unlawfully detained and that the RCMP failed to provide the necessaries of life,” says Addison’s father, Gregory Hartzler. “We believe these system failures resulted in Addison’s untimely death.” According to the RCMP, at no point was Addison assessed by EMS or a doctor. Additionally, Information received from a request to Alberta Health Services under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act indicates that Addison was last seen alive at 9 a.m. – more than two hours before RCMP placed the request for EMS. The EMS report indicated that Addison was “obviously dead” and had been for some time. The family has serious concerns regarding the two-hour gap between when Addison was last seen alive and when EMS was called. “Due to the circumstances surrounding his death, we believe there was gross negligence in respect to the care provided to Addison while in custody of the Grande Prairie RCMP and their staff, and that an internal investigation by the RCMP is neither appropriate nor adequate,” continues Hartzler. “As a result, we implore the Government of Alberta to direct ASIRT to handle the investigation.” ASIRT is an arm’s length, independent team created under Alberta’s Police Act toinvestigate situations where Alberta police may have caused serious injury or death or when significant allegations of police misconduct have been made. According to an email exchange between the Hartzler family lawyer and Mr. Marlin Degrand, an assistant deputy minister for Alberta Justice and Solicitor General who was the executive director of the Government of Alberta’s Law Enforcement Oversight Branch at the time, it appears the decision to have the RCMP investigate instead of ASIRT was in part due to capacity issues at ASIRT. In his email Mr. Degrand stated he directed the RCMP to oversee the investigation, “…taking into consideration the tasking events recently given to ASIRT.” In further communications between Mr. Degrand and the family, Mr. Degrand indicated that, “Because there was no report of confrontation with police, and no indication of negligence on behalf of the police, I directed that the RCMP should retain carriage of the investigation”. “It is unfathomable that the Government of Alberta does not believe there to be negligence when evidence from EMS states that my son was ‘obviously dead’ and had been for a substantial period of time,” says Hartzler. According to RCMP policy, members must “check prisoner[s] frequently and at irregular intervals to ensure their security and well-being. The intervals are to be no more than 15 minutes apart. These checks must be physical checks, not a check of the CCVE.” “It’s disappointing to see an agency set up by the Alberta Government as a police agency ‘watch dog’ is simply too over tasked and underfunded to actively investigate the death of an individual in police custody. It is suspicious this case is being treated differently than a recent case with seemingly similar circumstances,” adds Hartzler. The RCMP are under investigation for a similar death in custody that occurred on February 8, 2021, at the same detachment. ASIRT is actively investigating that incident. “Albertans should be aware of the RCMP and Government of Alberta’s gross negligence and ASIRT’s apparent capacity issues to investigate the death of an individual while in police custody,” continues Hartzler. “By bringing attention to this issue, we hope to prevent a similar situation from happening to another Albertan family. No one should die alone, in fear – especially while police custody.” Contact Details CIPR Communications Peter Pilarski, President +1 403-462-1160 peter@ciprcommunications.com

August 17, 2022 09:07 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Blockchain Solutions Provider ChainUp Expands Global Presence with a New Office in South Korea

ChainUp

ChainUp, a global blockchain technology solutions provider, announced its expansion with a new office opening in Seoul, South Korea. While they are headquartered in Singapore, ChainUp currently has offices in Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, and the United States. With its office in South Korea, the company plans to strengthen its presence in the region and harness the market’s potential. ChainUp provides businesses with a complete suite of blockchain solutions all within one platform. Its comprehensive solutions include digital asset exchange systems, NFT trading systems, wallet solutions, liquidity solutions, and digital assets custody and management. Since its founding in 2017, ChainUp has served more than 1,000 clients in 30 countries and regions, reaching over 60 billion end-users. Mr. Lee Sangwook, Head of Korea Office of ChainUp said, “The Web3.0 and blockchain industry in Korea is fast-growing and backed by strong government support. With our new office in South Korea, we aim to bring our comprehensive solutions to businesses in the region while fostering close partnerships with relevant stakeholders in the ecosystem to promote technological advancements and industry developments.” Mr. Sailor Zhong, Founder & CEO of ChainUp said, “To fulfil our vision of making blockchain technology more accessible for businesses around the world, we aspire to consistently grow our footprint to facilitate blockchain adoption and support businesses across different industries in their blockchain journeys to stay ahead of the technological curve.” --- End --- About ChainUp Group Founded in 2017, ChainUp is a leading end-to-end blockchain technology solutions provider covering infrastructure development and ecosystem support. Built on the mission to empower businesses through blockchain technology, ChainUp’s innovative and all-around compliant solutions include digital asset exchange systems, NFT trading systems, wallet solutions, liquidity solutions, and digital assets custody and management. Headquartered in Singapore and with offices around the world, the company has served more than 1,000 clients in 30 countries, reaching over 60 million end-users. For more information, please visit: www.chainup.com. Contact Details ChainUp Group Xue Zhen Yeo xuezhen.yeo@chainup.com

August 17, 2022 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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LawPay Launches New Integration With End-to-End Legal Operating Platform Litify

LawPay

LawPay, the leading online payment solution for legal professionals, announced the new integration with cloud-based legal technology platform, Litify. This new integration will provide Litify customers with access to a fully integrated payment solution. This will allow these firms to improve team productivity, increase collections, and have better visibility into the full client cycle. LawPay was developed specifically for attorneys and can get professionals paid up to 39% faster. Litify is an end-to-end legal operating platform for law firms and legal departments. Litify connects all legal professionals across firms and corporate legal departments so that each party can work together in a centralized platform to achieve better business and legal outcomes. With LawPay plus Litify, users can send and receive payments from a single operating system. “We are excited to launch this new integration with Litify, and to bring automated payments onto the Litify platform for law firms of all sizes,” said Dru Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of LawPay. “Integrating with Litify will make the payments aspect of their day even easier. Adding LawPay to an already robust platform such as Litify is sure to make law firms' day-to-day easier, all while getting paid faster.” According to market research via Cision, 70% of companies using cloud-based technology plan to increase their budgets in the near future, making cloud software solutions the new normal. Litify is ranked the #1 cloud software solution amongst enterprise firms. With this new integration, LawPay and Litify customers can expect: All-in-one management: This new integration adds payments onto the most flexible and integrated platform for lawyers, allowing users to manage every aspect in one central place Highest level of PCI compliance: LawPay exceeds the highest industry standards for Internet security and PCI Level 1 compliance Payment Transparency: Litify’s robust automation tools and dashboards will allow firms to automate payments and have transparency in real time to all collection related needs. “The opportunity to integrate LawPay with Litify is going to help our customers manage all operations on a single platform while also getting paid faster,” said Ari Treuhaft, Litify’s Chief Operating Officer. “This integration continues to build on our core vision to add transparency and automation to the legal industry and allow legal professionals to operate more efficiently and provide a better client experience.” For more information about LawPay and Litify, head here. About LawPay LawPay was developed specifically to help law firms streamline billings and collections, providing a simple, secure solution for legal clients to pay their bills. LawPay is the industry leader in legal payments, providing a cost-effective solution for more than 50,000 law firms around the country. It's available through all 50 state bars, 60+ local and specialty bars and the ABA as a vetted and approved payment solution for the legal industry. LawPay is also the ALA’s Exclusive VIP Partner for Payment Processing. Learn more at lawpay.com. About Litify Litify is the end-to-end legal operating platform that breaks down business silos to power better process, collaboration, insight, and performance. Litify is the only platform that offers tailored solutions for law firms, in-house legal teams, government agencies, and nonprofits, connecting the entire legal ecosystem to provide better business outcomes for legal teams and better legal outcomes for their clients. Built on Salesforce, Litify streamlines and automates matter and task management, document generation, timekeeping, billing, and client communications, while providing data-driven insights that allow law firms and legal teams to scale and improve their financial performance. As a proud member of Pledge 1%, Litify donates 1% of their time, money, and resources to charitable causes every year through a charitable arm Litify.org. This year, Litify was named a "soonicorn" by Tracxn Emerging Startups. To learn more about Litify, or request a personalized demo, visit www.litify.com. LawPay was developed specifically to help law firms streamline billings and collections, providing a simple, secure solution for legal clients to pay their bills. Contact Details AffiniPay Keely Leonard +1 512-368-8988 kleonard@affinipay.com Company Website https://www.lawpay.com/

August 16, 2022 09:28 AM Central Daylight Time

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DonorsTrust Givers Recommended $126 Million in First Seven Months of 2022

Donors Trust

The DonorsTrust community of givers during the first seven months of 2022 recommended more than $126 million to nearly 2,000 unique nationwide charities, defying historical rates of inflation and ongoing market volatility. While this 11% increase in YTD charitable dollars is significant, the total number of grant requests is up a whopping 49% compared to the same time period last year, suggesting the DonorsTrust client community is spreading more dollars among more institutions. As DonorsTrust President and CEO Lawson Bader says, “The sheer volume of grant requests so far from our community of givers is a reflection of the historic number of new accounts opened with DonorsTrust during 2021 and 2022. “What’s more, the pace at which our donors are meeting charitable needs is evidence of an engaged, serious community of givers that understands nonprofits need more financial assistance to make ends meet during these turbulent economic times.” Grant-making accelerates year-over-year despite market pressures In 2021, DonorsTrust paid out nearly $190 million to charities nationwide and—if giving continues to keep pace with the first half of 2022—it will end the year easily exceeding last year’s record-breaking total. DonorsTrust givers are stepping up to meet needs even though the S&P 500 has declined 20% YTD, the index’s worst six months in more than 50 years, according to CNBC. Other major stock indexes like the Dow and the Nasdaq were down 15% and 30%, respectively, in the first half of 2022. Donor-advised funds, also known as charitable-giving accounts, offer some shelter from the turbulent markets, however, as the charitable tool enables givers to claim an immediate tax deduction for each irrevocable donation made to their donor-advised fund, also known as a charitable-giving account. Donors respond to war in Ukraine, policy challenges at home During the first half of 2022—in partnership with the Atlas Network, a global network of think tanks that work to secure economic and personal freedom for all individuals—DonorsTrust’s donors responded to the Ukrainian crisis by raising more than $2.5 million and counting for life-saving supplies. DonorsTrust Vice President Peter Lipsett earlier this year interviewed Dr. Tom Palmer, executive vice president for international programs at Atlas Network, about the relief missions Palmer personally conducted, delivering supplies from a Polish base and coordinating travel for those fleeing Ukraine. “[Ukrainians] are committed, not merely to repelling [Russian] aggression, but to doing it because they want a free society. They want to live with freedom of speech and free markets and the ability to live your own life as you want and not as someone commands you to live,” says Palmer. In addition to funding relief efforts in Ukraine, clients’ giving in the first seven months of the year focused heavily on grant-making to policy organizations that preserve and protect civil liberties. More than $85 million in the first seven months of 2022 went to policy-focused charities, including State Policy Network, the Foundation for Government Accountability and the Constitutional Defense Fund. ### About DonorsTrust DonorsTrust is a mission-focused donor-advised-fund provider that primarily serves conservative and libertarian givers. Established in 1999 as a 501(c)(3) public charity, DonorsTrust is a community of donors devoted to creating a better future for all. DonorsTrust supports charities it believes protect constitutional liberties and strengthens civil society through private institutions and initiatives. Since its inception, DonorsTrust has granted nearly $2 billion to more than 4,000 charities in the arts and sciences, education, public policy, religion, and social services. Contact Details Dan Rene +1 202-329-8357 daniel.rene@kglobal.com Company Website https://www.donorstrust.org/

August 15, 2022 02:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time

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Have We Seen The Beginning Of The End Of Data Privacy In The European Union?

Benzinga

With the goal of protecting the European Union (EU) from child pornographers and other unsavory and illegal activity, the Digital Services Act, a regulatory act aimed at making the internet a safer place, is on its way to cracking down on Big Tech. Big Tech Could Be Facing Big Fines If Companies Don’t Comply Beginning in 2024, the new EU law will fine companies like Alphabet Inc. ’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google, Meta Platform Inc. ’s (NASDAQ: META), Facebook and WhatsApp, Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) up to 6% of their global revenue if they are caught violating the strict new rules. Companies like Meta could be looking at fines as high as $7 billion if it decides to ignore the new rules. Companies with repeat violations could eventually be banned from doing business in the EU. The law is a means of cracking down on advertising aimed at children as well as ads that target private information such as religion, gender and political opinions. The rules also give EU governmental entities the right to take down what they deem as illegal content, including any viewed as promoting terrorism, child sex abuse, hate speech or commercial scams. Additionally, online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) must adhere to the law by implementing similar protections for what governments view as suspect products, such as counterfeit items or unsafe children’s toys. The EU laws follow the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission's move to file antitrust actions against Google and Facebook. In a statement released by Google, the company says, “As the (EU) law is finalized and implemented, the details will matter. We look forward to working with policymakers to get the remaining technical details right to ensure the law works for everyone.” Swiss - Hosted Privacy Company Rolls Out EU Regulation-Immune Chat Tool Alain Ghiai, CEO at Swiss-hosted privacy and cybersecurity company Sekur Private Data Ltd. (OTCQX: SWISF), is among those skeptical of the new laws on Big Tech's effect and intent. He sees the law as a government data grab. “This is not unlike China, where everything you do and post online is public property of the EU government, which will be scanning everything. When people use free (chat) applications like WhatsApp, Gmail and Signal and others, they basically force those providers to give them that information,” he said. “The question is whether what they’re doing is pure intent, or is there something else behind it? A lot of people think the new EU regulations are a new way to exercise full control over people’s privacy, and they’re very angry about it.” Taking advantage of the concern with EU government entities snooping on chat and email, Ghiai has been making the media rounds discussing his company’s newest encrypted feature on SekurMessenger, "Chat-by-Invite". The chat tool is Sekur ’s latest instant-messaging tool, letting Sekur users invite non-Sekur users by sending a SMS notification invite, and is now available in 25 countries, covering a population of 1.18 billion people, including SMS invite notifications coverage in the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and most of Latin America and Europe. It says it gives subscribers complete privacy to chat with non-Sekur users, without the non-Sekur users having to register to, or download, Sekur. Chat-by-Invite reports that it protects Sekur subscribers’ instant messages which, when sent to a recipient, open into a private, secure platform hosted in Switzerland, through its proprietary HeliX connection. The chat is essentially occurring on Swiss servers owned and controlled by Sekur. Sekur says that once the instant messaging is completed, the messages disappear and hackers will be unaware of the conversation because of Sekur’s highly private and secure encrypted military technology, which is operating behind it. Though the country pays annual fees to do business with the EU, Switzerland is still independent of the union and is believed to have some of the best and strictest data privacy laws in the world. “Thank God, we’re in Switzerland, and we don’t have such a law (like the EU),” Ghiai said. “It’s not just that the government can go in and read your stuff. The danger is what happens when they get hacked?” With Sekur, there is no direct messaging on open-source platforms, making them invulnerable to cybersecurity breaches. The company reports it has developed or is rolling out products including SekurMail, SekurMessenger, SekurVPN, SekurVoice and SekurPro video conferencing, among others. The SekurMessenger with Chat-by-Invite app is now available on any web browsers, on iOS and Android. For more information on Sekur Private Data, go to https://sekurprivatedata.com. For more information on Sekur solutions, go to https://www.sekur.com. This post contains sponsored advertising content. This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be investing advice. This post contains sponsored advertising content. This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be investing advice. Contact Details Benzinga +1 877-440-9464 info@benzinga.com Company Website http://www.benzinga.com

August 11, 2022 09:55 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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This E-Commerce-Focused Holding Company Reports Taking Advantage Of E-Commerce Growth In The Philippines

Society Pass Incorporated

E-commerce dates to 1948 during the Berlin Blockade crisis when people ordered goods via telex. The debut of the World Wide Web in 1991 and the development of a web browser in 1993 shifted e-commerce from telex to the internet. The global increase in smartphones and the accessibility of fast internet connectivity over the years has significantly accelerated the growth of the industry, as more people can purchase goods via mobile devices such as tablets and even wearables. China, home of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) and the U.S., where Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) reside, have been the top countries where e-commerce has grown at a healthy rate. But things might be changing. Southeast Asia is expected to experience the largest worldwide growth in e-commerce with an increase of 20.6% in 2022, according to Insider Intelligence. Only four countries, including the Philippines, will surpass the combined growth rate of Southeast Asia. E-Commerce In The ICT Hub Of Asia The Philippines — dubbed the information and communications technology (ICT) hub of Asia — ranks first in 2022 e-commerce sales, surpassing the U.S. by 10%. E-commerce in the Philippines has grown from $6.78 billion in 2017 to nearly $21 billion in 2022, with expectations of reaching $32.7 billion in 2025. Consumer preference for shopping online and the increasing internet penetration are behind the growth in e-commerce sales in the Philippines, where people spend an average of 10 hours per day online. The government also has taken various initiatives to bolster the sector. The Philippine E-commerce Roadmap 2022 was launched in January 2021 to encourage the use of e-commerce by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and increase online shopping confidence. "Rising consumer preference for online shopping, the increasing number of online merchants, proliferation of alternative payment solutions and government support will support e-commerce sales in the Philippines. The market is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17% over the next five years," Global Data Banking and Payments Senior Analyst Shivani Gupta said. The Fastest Growing E-Commerce Model? In addition to buying and selling goods on leading platforms such as Lazada and Sea Ltd. ’s (NYSE: SE) Shopee Philippines, Filipinos shop on social media platforms. The social commerce market is expected to reach nearly $682 million this year thanks to the growing number of people flocking to social media platforms to buy products. Companies like Belo Medical Group and Shopee Philippines are using social media platforms such as TikTok to increase sales. Penetrating The E-Commerce Market In The Philippines Society Pass Inc. (NASDAQ: SOPA) says it is on track to infiltrate the fastest-growing e-commerce market in Southeast Asia through acquisitions. Established in 2018, Society Pass (SoPa) has quickly scaled up its operations in Southeast Asia and South Asia through its e-commerce platforms and acquisitions. The company has acquired a number of companies, including the restaurant delivery app Mangan.ph, Gorilla Networks, a next-generation Web3 mobile virtual network operator, and #HOTTAB Biz, a business management platform. The acquisition of online grocery shopping and delivery platform Pushkart.ph is expected to increase SoPa’s revenue by 891% over last year. Pushkart boasts having more than 125,000 users and 20,000 mobile app downloads. Pushkart is looking to expand its presence beyond metro Manila. The company recently announced plans to expand in cities across the Cavite and Pampanga provinces, which have a population of over 6 million people. Pushkart President and CEO Michael Lim said this is the beginning of the company’s goal to expand to other parts of the country and across Southeast Asia. Sopa recently acquired Mangan.ph (“Mangan”), the leading local restaurant delivery service in the Philippines. Founded in 2017, Mangan delivers restaurant food from over 1,200 partner restaurants through its over 200 rider network to its over 500,000 registered users. Thus far, Mangan has generated more than 100,000 mobile app downloads and accumulated over 80,000 social media followers. Operating in Pampanga, the culinary capital of the Philippines, Mangan’s geographic reach extends to 16 other cities including Angeles City, San Fernando, Clark, Dau, Mabalacat, Guagua, Lubao, Tarlac, Bataan, Magalang, Pasig, Cabanatuan, Baguio, Lipa Batangas, Antipolo City, Dagupan City. The newly acquired business will be integrated into SoPa’s F&B vertical, Push Delivery Pte Ltd, along with Pushkart and #HOTTAB. ​​ As a loyalty and data marketing ecosystem, Society Pass operates multiple e-commerce platforms across its key markets in SEA. Its business model focuses on analysing user data through the expected launch of its Society Pass loyalty platform and circulation of its universal loyalty points, which seamlessly connects consumers and merchants across multiple product and service categories to foster organic loyalty. Since its inception, SoPa has amassed over 1.6 million registered consumers and over 5,500 registered merchants/brands on its platform. It has invested 2+ years building proprietary IT architecture with cutting edge components to effectively scale and support its consumers, merchants, and acquisitions.Society Pass provides merchants with #HOTTAB Biz and #HOTTAB POS – a specialized POS technology solution, a comprehensive system for payment, loyal customer management, user profile analytics, and convenient financial support packages for small and medium-sized enterprises.In addition, SoPa operates Leflair.com, Vietnam’s leading lifestyle e-commerce platform, Pushkart.ph, a popular grocery delivery company in Philippines, Handycart.vn, a leading online restaurant delivery service based in Hanoi, Vietnam, and Gorilla Networks, a Singapore-based, blockchain/web3-enabled mobile virtual network operator.For more information, please check out: http://thesocietypass.com/. This post contains sponsored advertising content. This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be investing advice. Contact Details Dennis Nguyen: Founder, Chairman & CEO +1 877-440-9464 dennis@thesocietypass.com Company Website https://thesocietypass.com

August 10, 2022 03:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

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