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Polish volunteers line up to help Ukrainian refugees

“Przemysl is the heart of Europe, and possibly the heart of the whole world,” Dariusz Lapa, a city official, enthused in an interview published in the regional daily newspaper Zycie (Life) yesterday. “Our town is the first safe place reached by refugees.”

Moved to action by anger over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of volunteers from all over Poland have converged on this Mitteleuropa town of 60,000 to greet refugees disembarking from trains and buses with hot, sugary waffles and goulash soup, telephone sim cards, medicine and clothing, offers of lodging and transport to all points in Poland.

In many cases, Poles offer their own apartments. A volunteer tells me how close friends “adopted” a family. Pawel, a car dealer, drove to the border as soon as the war started. “Do you want to come with me?” he asked the first group he met. He drove eight people, ranging from a five-month-old baby to a grandfather, to the home of his girlfriend Monika. She gave her flat to the refugees and moved in with Pawel. Monika’s mother cooks for the refugees daily.

The main refugee reception centre began to take form on the first day of the war, one week ago today, in the parking lot of the former Tesco supermarket. It closed because of Brexit, but the site – like the European Union — has gained new purpose from Vladimir Putin’s aggression. The centre is manned by about 300 Polish volunteers working 24 hours a day. Those from out of town sleep in tents on the parking lot.


“For the first two days of the war we were terrified,” says Ania Lapinska, a 42-year-old mother of four young children and fitness trainer in Przemysl. “I sat at home, crying and hiding with my children. Seeing all those Ukrainian mothers and children arriving lost at the border broke my heart. I had to do something.”

Lapinska stands behind a table laden with soap and shampoo, snacks, milk, fruit and nappies. Ukrainian refugees, virtually all women and children, serve themselves. Boxes of donated goods arrive constantly. Were it not for the tears and shattered expressions of new arrivals, one might think this was a marketplace or open-air fair. “There is no more place for fears and tears now,” Lapinska says. “There’s a lot of energy. I can’t sleep at night. In my dreams I am sorting packages.”

Poland and Ukraine have had their differences, like most close neighbours. Przemysl was long disputed territory between them. Will the warm feelings last? “I hope I am wrong,” Lapinska says, “But I think the Ukrainians’ gratitude towards us will not last long.”

At the moment, the bond between Polish hosts and Ukrainian refugees is deeply emotional. Halina Gryniv, age 48, from the central Ukrainian town of Ivano-Frankivsk, arrived in Przemysl yesterday with her sister, young son and daughter, after a five-day wait on the Ukrainian side of the border. She left a husband and three sons behind to fight the Russians.

When I ask Gryniv what she feels for the Poles, she places a hand over her heart and tears pour down her cheeks. “We are very grateful. We didn’t realise that so many people can be so good.”


Gryniv was a supermarket cashier in Gryniv. “It was an ordinary life. Home, work, home work,” she says. “Only now do I realise it was happy. It goes round and round in my head: everything was fine and life was good and the world was peaceful. I am in shock.”

A bus pulls up behind us. Ukrainian women and children spill out, most too exhausted to speak, many of them crying. Twenty-two year-old Alina Krasnochub was a tour operator in Kyiv. She chokes back tears when she begins to tell me about the boyfriend she parted from in Lviv. Polish volunteers have organised a network to adopt refugees’ pets, but Krasnochub will not part with her pet tabby cat, Judy, who peers out from under the young woman’s anorak.

Men in bikers’ jackets marked “Riders On the Storm Club” ladle fermented rye and sausage soup from a field green military stove they borrowed from the fire department in their home town of Kobliernice, 300 km away. One of the volunteers, whose first name is Mariusz, is fittingly named Zurek, like the soup he is serving. “This is from the bottom of my heart,” he says.

At the transport stand, the licenses of volunteer drivers are photographed, lifts are recorded and refugees are given emergency telephone numbers, just in case. Some criminals had taken Ukrainian women and children away, claiming to be relatives, and imprisoned them in apartments with the intention of trafficking them. Word got around and the refugee women are wary.


The transport stand has the feel of an exchange floor, with volunteers shouting out: “I have a vehicle that can take five people. Where do you want me to go?” “I can take people to Krakow.” “Someone is asking for Lublin.” Justina Ruscka, age 32, drove 600 miles to contribute 15 litres of goulash. She holds up a sign offering lifts to central Poland.

Dominik Ortyl, age 26, took time off from writing his Master’s thesis to help run the traffic stand. Before lunchtime, he matches up close to 400 refugees with drivers.

On Tuesday, Ortyl arranged a lift for a mother, son and aunt from  Zaporizhiya, southeastern Ukraine. “Their refugee convoy was struck by Russian missiles and the father was killed. They had to leave him, beause they were under attack. It was the saddest thing I ever saw,” Ortyl says as tears fill his eyes.

Ortyl believes the war will end either with regime change in Moscow or the defeat of Ukraine and the imposition of a puppet government in Kyiv. “I don’t believe Russia will attack the Baltic states or Poland,” he says. “The Russians know they are no match for Nato, and they see Europe is united for the first time.”

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Healthcare And Digital Upskilling

HeathTech & MedTech

According to EIT Health’s Elaine Murray and Sneha Saloni, it’s time to embrace digital upskilling within the healthcare industry

European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, announced last year that 2023 would be the ‘European Year of Skills’ with the objective of “a Europe fit for the digital age”. It will promote a mindset of reskilling and upskilling, helping people develop the right skills for the most in-demand jobs.

So, what does this mean for the healthcare sector? The European Health Parliament previously stated that, “digital technology is an inevitable part of the future of European healthcare” and called for upskilling healthcare workers.

Digital technologies such as AI, telemedicine and robotics, present huge potential for the way healthcare can be delivered, by maximising the reach and impact of various health services.

Preference is slowly shifting from brick and mortar to virtual healthcare and hence, many in the health sector are starting to reimagine and embrace digital to maximise efficiency and efficacy.

The digital skills gap

Healthcare professions make up approximately 10pc of the workforce in Europe, however estimates forecast that there is a shortage of approximately 1m health workers (600,000 in nursing, 230,000 physicians). Data demonstrates that healthcare companies are not visible among the most attractive employers in the eyes of talent.

Couple that with a 2020 report by the European Commission which stated that “shortages of software skills are now omnipresent” across Europe. The pandemic has not only boosted demand for tech-enabled healthcare services, with 90pc of all jobs in health soon to require an element of digital skills, but it has also widened the skill gap, placing stress on existing healthcare systems.

That means the industry is facing challenges in both recruiting into the sector and equipping the staff it does have with the digital skills they need. Many are either resistant or not well informed about new digital tools and systems. Lack of information and training among clinical and support staff acts as a deterrent to improving efficacy in patient care outcomes.

We therefore find ourselves at a critical juncture. Digital transformation in healthcare means increasing pressure on the existing system to perform, while sustaining and acknowledging the widening skills gap. Adequate investment in the workforce’s digital skills and digital literacy is now crucial.

Empowering healthcare professionals through digital upskilling

EIT Health, Europe’s largest health innovation network, is working to combat the talent shortage in the healthcare industry through its WorkInHealth Foundation. This aims to promote healthcare as a sector in which talent can thrive in Europe, particularly in the areas of digital, commercial, and innovation. EIT Health’s pan-European network links industry and academia which means it can tap into both recruiters and candidates, matching talent across the sector.

For those on the frontline, it can be difficult to stay abreast of so many fast-changing technologies entering the market. Whether it is a hospital administrator seeking to become proficient at using chatbots, cleaning staff adopting autonomous disinfection software, or a physician showing a patient how to use a medical device remotely, technology is integrated at every level of health service delivery.

A holistic approach needs to be adopted for upskilling by creating regular training opportunities for healthcare workers, senior executives and support staff so they can develop the digital expertise they need to carry out their roles efficiently and effectively.

There is also opportunity for institutions to shift from traditional training frameworks to digital alternatives. For example, training programmes to understand the integration of AI, data management, analytics and machine learning into existing infrastructure.

Initiatives such as the HSE’s Spark Innovation Programme create regular knowledge-building opportunities for healthcare staff in areas such as AI, design thinking, and innovation.

The Healthcare Transformation Academy, coordinated by EIT Health and organisations from the European University Hospital Alliance, offers high-quality and affordable on-demand courses in digital transformation, innovation management, high-value care and leadership for healthcare professionals to upskill.

The WorkInHealth Foundation also aims to support in upskilling and reskilling, increasing the volume of talent in the areas with greatest demand and boosting competitiveness of the European health industry. The initiative is in full alignment with the ambitions of the European Innovation Agenda as well as the EU Pact for Skills.

The European Year of Skills 2023 will help the healthcare sector navigate its digital transformation journey by address skills shortages in the EU, promoting a mindset of upskilling, which can ultimately improve patient care and increase reach in healthcare accessibility.

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Paramount Studio Prevails in Copyright Battle Over ‘Top Gun’ Sequel

Paramount & The Copyright Battle Over ‘Top Gun’ Sequel

The Voice Of EU | Paramount emerges triumphant from the legal showdown triggered by Maverick’s triumphant return to the big screen. A U.S. district judge swiftly shut down a lawsuit brought by the widow of the Israeli scribe who penned the piece inspiring the 1986 blockbuster, Top Gun. The heirs of Ehud Yonay alleged Paramount breached intellectual property rights with the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, which soared to unprecedented heights in 2022, raking in over $1.5 billion worldwide. However, the judge decreed that numerous aspects of the sequel, including its narrative and dialogue, bore no resemblance to Top Gun. The sole shared element? Both narratives orbit the U.S. Air Force pilot training hub.

Judge Percy Anderson’s verdict laid bare that many of the claims raised by the Yonay clan failed to meet copyright criteria. In a 14-page ruling, he affirmed that the sequel’s themes, dialogue, characters, setting, and overall presentation diverged significantly from Yonay’s original article, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

Marc Toberoff, the legal maestro representing the Yonay lineage since 2022, swiftly vowed to contest the ruling. The estate had dispatched a cautionary missive to Paramount in May of that year, weeks before the sequel’s release, forewarning of potential copyright infractions due to the family reclaiming story rights in January 2020.

The judge’s decree solidifies that Top Gun: Maverick marches to its own beat, with little homage paid to its predecessor or Yonay’s source material, which meandered through life at Miramar Naval Air Station in a non-linear fashion, honing in on pilots Yogi and Possum. Instead, the latest installment, helmed by Joseph Kosinski, unfurls a linear tale set years later, spotlighting a fresh squadron at North Island Naval Air Station, also in San Diego.

With the lawsuit dismissed, the runway is clear for the trilogy’s third chapter, headlined by the indomitable Tom Cruise. Currently in pre-production at Paramount, the script by Ehren Kruger, architect of the sequel’s success, fuels anticipation. Talks are underway to enlist Kosinski’s directorial prowess once more, though industry pundits speculate production could hit turbulence if Paramount falls under SkyDance’s umbrella. The titans of entertainment are in deep discussions about the fate of Tinseltown’s venerable studio.

Regardless, Ehud Yonay’s legacy won’t grace the credits of the third installment, as Judge Anderson quashes any such notion.

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4 Ways AI Is Transforming Social Media Marketing

Rebecca Barnatt-Smith explains how marketers and content creators can use AI-powered predicative analytics, content personalisation and scheduling tools to create successful social media campaigns.

Is artificial intelligence (AI) the next big thing for social media marketers?

With over 4.26bn social media users to serve, AI is set to transform targeting and improve content personalisation for a more focused marketing future.

AI is not a new phenomenon in the marketing world. When surveyed, over 56pc of chief marketing officers (CMOs) said they use automated assistants for content personalisation and tracking consumer insights. AI-driven social strategies are just the next step in a fast-approaching digital future of campaigning.

However, could a push for AI-infused social campaigns pose ethical concerns for future marketers? From breaching consumer privacy to decision system bias, with great technology comes great responsibility.

Here we look at AI’s impact on social media marketing and discuss some of the best AI-infused platforms that are tipped to lead social strategies in 2023.

How can AI improve your social media?

Using AI, you can quickly segment large demographics into targeted groups, track viral trends and schedule personalised content responses in seconds.

If you want to compete against commerce giants and industry leaders, your social content should be consistent, compelling and customised to each and every consumer. Here are some insights into how AI can help.

Content personalisation

In 2023, 73pc of shoppers expect brands to offer them a personalised experience and content that speaks directly to their values. AI can enhance a brand’s personalisation potential in a number of ways.

Automatically harvesting behavioural and historical consumer data, AI-generated platforms can quickly learn about a user’s interests and predict what products or services they’d be most likely to interact with, resulting in a hyper-individualised experience that can boost engagement and increase the chances of conversion.

However, with 69pc of consumers now concerned about how their data is collected and used on mobile apps, it’s important to use content personalisation tools with caution.

“As consumers continue to learn and become more informed about their data rights and how their data is currently used, I expect we’ll see more and more calls from consumers to have their data protected,” claims Swish Goswami, CEO of browser extension platform Surf.

The key here is to keep your consumers in the loop. Give your followers a chance to choose what they share, and make sure the data you collect is transparent. Personalised ads, posts and targeting is a business game changer, as long as you have consent.

Automated content posting

Creating content for your brand is the driving force behind audience engagement.

While experts recommend that brands upload social media content daily, this process can be time-consuming. Using AI-driven social media tools, marketers can feel the pressure drain away, as automated assistants not only create original content formats but automatically schedule them too.

For example, AI-infused content planner Sprout Social can generate personalised tweets that reply to fans and followers in seconds. Instead of physically manning social channels and checking for replies, Sprout Social monitors a brand’s comment section before analysing the tone and sentiment of a reply. Sprout can then suggest an auto-response that aims to carry on the conversation between the brand and the consumer.

While automatic replies can pose ethical questions about a brand’s true identity, Sprout Social ensures that before an automatic reply is posted, the social media manager is able to review and edit the content. This guarantees that the brand’s voice still has a human tone when connecting with its audience.

Hubspot is also a nifty tool to have under your belt, especially if you’re struggling to develop new content ideas. By simply pasting a content link into Hubspot’s content generation feature, it uses AI to quickly analyse the metadata and create an original social post.

Social media advertising

Social platforms are the perfect vessels for advertising success. Whether you choose TikTok or Instagram, with the ability to post a pop-up on a user’s scroll-down feed, or a sponsored TikTok that blends seamlessly into a For You Page, social channels allow for a more organic future of ad placement.

However, with so many brands utilising social media, it can be hard to make your ad stand out from the crowd. Your ads must be full of compelling captions, quick links to your online store and contain a personalised hook for your target consumer.

Using AI, brands can optimise their ad performance on social channels. With the ability to analyse historic campaigns and current trends among industry leaders, AI-driven ad tools such as Sprinklr can make recommendations for smarter campaigns that drive better results.

Also, AI-infused ad strategies are more likely to be personalised to each user’s feed. AI tools like Phrase can generate customisable ad phrasing that adapts to target individual customers. This is a great way to ensure your ad captions remain fluid and speak directly to a diverse set of leads.

Predictive analytics

While it’s easier than ever to track social media performance, acting on your results can be tricky. AI-generated monitoring tools utilise the data harvested on content engagement, clicks and consumers, and turn these insights into predictions for new campaigns, content formats and new target groups to work on.

The key here is to take these predictions and turn them into content campaigns that frame the values of your brand. It’s also important to do your own research before jumping into an AI-generated content campaign, as just like humans, AI can have a decision system bias.

“AI is fallible and in a perfect world should be used critically, responsibly and democratically,” says Annie Brown, founder of the creative sharing platform Lips. “AI is only as fair and accurate as the algorithm, and the algorithm is only as fair or accurate as the human-generated information it gathers.”

For example, if the only data your AI tool collects is from a specific consumer group, it’s likely to inherit the same biases. Therefore, it’s important to perform your own content research if you want your brand voice to remain objective on social media.

However, with more data to inform their strategy, brands that use AI to influence their social campaigns are more likely to see higher conversion payoffs.

As social platforms continue to become more visual, AI can also enhance video and image analysis. For example, AI algorithms can now identify certain aspects of Instagram images and TikTok videos, making it easier to gather more data on a user’s interests and behaviours.

Visual analytics could help a brand improve its content styles as AI tools learn more about audience preferences and the formats going viral.

Could AI take social media marketing to the next level?

AI can enhance the experience a consumer has with a brand on social media. With predictive analytics at play, the content targeted users receive is more likely to speak directly to their values.

While there are still ethical concerns surrounding an AI-infused future of campaigning, there’s hope on the horizon for data-sharing transparency and the impact of algorithmic biases as both consumers and marketers take control of how data is gathered and shared.

As machine learning gets even smarter, the possibilities are endless for brands that want to get close to their leads. From automated responses to automatic content creation, the future of social media marketing is AI-driven.

By Rebecca Barnatt-Smith

Rebecca Barnatt-Smith is a freelance content writer and multi-media marketing executive at Solvid Digital, specialising in social media trends and widespread digitalisation in the marketing sector.

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