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A conference on Out of Home Advertising, with a focus on validating a draft policy document to regulate activities of advertising agencies in the Accra Metropolis, has taken place in Accra.

The one-day conference, the first of its kind in Ghana, sought to provide a platform for stakeholders to make valuable inputs into a draft policy guidelines and standards to ensure sanity in the metropolis.

It was organized by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in collaboration with the Advertising Association of Ghana (AAG).

Addressing participants, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Chief Executive Officer, AMA, noted that despite the gains made from outdoor advertising, its related activities had had some negative impact on the city’s beautification, security and safety, adding that AMA was committed to ensuring sanity in the industry.

Mr Sowah said A DRAFY POLICY “Smart Procedures and Standards for Out of Home (Outdoor) Advertisement” THAT outlined the measures and procedures on how the Assembly could effectively and efficiently manage Out of Home Advertising activities, WAS BEING DEVELOPED. 

He said views and inputs were solicited from the AAG, Ghana Standards Authority, Ghana Institution of Engineers, National Petroleum Authority, Ghana Highway Authority, Ghana Road Safety Authority, Department of Urban Roads and other key stakeholders to ensure that all interests and concerns were properly addressed in the draft of the policy document.

The document, he said, was in three parts, namely the Legal and Institutional Framework Governing Out of Home advertising while the second and third spell out the Procedures and Requirements for obtaining a Permit, and the Standards (Specifications of Advertising Infrastructure) for Out of Home Advertising, respectively.

Mr Sowah urged participants to embrace the new systems and standards that would contribute towards making the city and nation ‘smart.’ 

He reminded advertisers about the temporary ban on Out of Home advertising and its related activities, and expressed the hope that the document would be finalized and ready by the end of December 31, 2017, for the ban to be lifted.

He warned that those who ignored the ban would have their billboards removed.

Mr Joel Edmund Nettey, President, AAG, and Chief Executive of Innova DDB Ghana, who also addressed the conference, identified the lack of clear demarcations of boundaries for the Assemblies as one of the major challenges facing the industry.

 Mr Nettey said advertising agencies had had to deal with contemptuous issues between the AMA, Ga South Municipal Assembly, LEKMA and LADMA, Tema and LEKMA, and Tema and Kpone Katamanso.

He, therefore, commended the AMA for developing a document to regulate outdoor advertising within the metropolis and appealed to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to invite other Assemblies across the country to collaborate with AAG to sanitize the system. 

He expressed the hope that the decisions and agreements made at the end of the conference would create a conducive environment for out of home advertising agencies.

Some participants who spoke to the media pledged to work with the policy document when ready.

Source: PR Unit (Accra Metropolitan Assembly)

Iraqi forces say in control of roads, infrastructure near Kirkuk

NNA – Iraqi forces said Monday they had taken control of roads and infrastructure from Kurdish fighters near the disputed city of Kirkuk as tensions soar following a controversial independence referendum.

Iraq’s Joint Operations Command, which groups all pro-government forces, said it was making progress in its operation to “restore security” in Kirkuk.

Iraqi forces are aiming to retake military bases and oil fields which Kurdish peshmerga fighters took during the fightback against the Islamic State jihadist group (IS).

Central government forces took control of two bridges, two roads and an industrial zone to the southwest of Kirkuk as well as gas facilities, a power station, a refinery and a police station, the JOC said.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces exchanged artillery fire early Monday south of the city, after government forces began a “major operation” in the oil-rich province.

The offensive follows a standoff between Kurdish forces and the Iraqi army prompted by the September 25 non-binding referendum that produced a resounding “yes” for independence for the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Baghdad has declared the referendum — held despite international opposition — illegal.

Both sides are key US allies in the battle against the jihadists, and the crisis has raised fears of fresh chaos just as Iraqi forces are on the verge of routing IS from the last territory it controls in the country. — AFP


Follow the latest National News Agency (NNA) news on Radio Lebanon 98.5, 98.1, and 96.2 FM

Samsung, CPSC: Turn off your Galaxy Note 7 now

Original or replacement, Power down your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone. USA TODAY

NEW YORK — Power down your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone now.

Whether you’ve hung onto the original Note 7 or exchanged it for one of the replacement devices, Samsung and federal regulators are urging consumers to turn the device off because some of the phones — including replacement units — are overheating when charged.

“No one should have to be concerned their phone will endanger them, their family or their property,” U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission Chairman Elliot S Kaye said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY. “Due to the ongoing safety concerns associated with Galaxy Note 7 phones, it is the right move for Samsung to suspend the sale and exchange of all Galaxy Note 7s.”

The South Korean electronics giant, meanwhile, issued a statement late Monday, in which it asked “all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7 while the investigation is taking place.”

In the U.S., leading carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless have already temporarily halted sales and exchanges of the phone, an action Kaye praised in his statement.

Samsung recalled 2.5 million of the original Note 7s last month, with consumers exchanging many of the phablet-sized phones for handsets that Samsung insisted were safe to use. Last week, a replacement Note 7 caught fire on a Southwest Airlines flight from Louisville to Baltimore, prompting an evacuation. In the days since, there have been reports of at least two other phones overheating.

While the investigation continues, the CPSC and Samsung advised Note customers to turn off their devices and to take advantage of available remedies, including a full refund.

“This is the safest course of action,” Kaye said.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere also weighed in with a tweet urging customers to return to stores “ASAP.”

The episode has been a PR nightmare for Samsung and has raised questions about the future of the Note franchise, which had draw rave reviews and initially strong sales.

Jeremy Robinson-Leon, a principal at the Group Gordon crisis management communications firm, says Samsung must figure out why the phones have been exploding before repairing its reputation. By way of comparison, he says, “there was no way (British Petroleum) was going to rebuild its brand until the oil at the bottom of the ocean stopped gushing.”

Consumers with the phones can call 1-844-365-6197 to get more information or visit samsung.com/us/note7recall. The CPSC is also asking consumers to report any ongoing safety issues with the phone at saferproducts.gov.

Email: Ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow USA TODAY Personal Tech Columnist @edbaig on Twitter

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Up to five weeks wait for emergency cap for controversial Great Australian Bight oil well plan