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Chinese authorities are cracking down on negative media coverage and social media comments about the coronavirus outbreak, threatening anyone who breaches their rules with many years in jail.

The government authorities even issued an order for an article that looked at the possible negative impact of the outbreak on China’s economy. And indeed, today - the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization was effusive in its praise of the Chinese government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. These efforts include arresting dozens of social media users who spread “false information without verification.”

One of those arrested turned out to be a doctor to contain the virus who shared information about the unknown illness with a private WeChat group. The doctor, who was forced to sign a document saying he would abide by the law, has since been infected with the coronavirus and remains in a critical condition.

China’s huge online censorship system, known as the Great Firewall, is also censoring any information the government deems to be “rumor.”

Examples of this include posts by families of infected people seeking help, by people living in quarantined cities documenting their daily life, and by those criticizing the government’s handling of the crisis.

In a bid to make sure people don’t even try and spread such “rumors” on Chinese social media, the government announced this week that anyone who tries to "disrupt social order" by posting on social media information from sources other than state-run media, will face between three and seven years in jail.

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"The time for reprisals is approaching," North Korea said, threatening to respond to South Korean militants who threw balloons across the border and hung consumer goods, money or messages for North Koreans.

 The 12 million tickets have already been printed, and 3,000 balloons are ready to be sent across the border between the two countries, according to the Pyongyang state news agency.

 On the propaganda tickets are insulting images of the South Korean president, pictures of rockets being fired and slogans against the enemies of the communist regime in the north.  This is an old tactic used by North Korean dissidents in South Korea to spread banned information across the border, such as the human rights situation and the truth about the Kim dynasty.

 "The largest launch of leaflets against the enemy is almost complete," the North Korean news agency said, adding that Pyongyang's publishing houses and printing houses have printed 12 million leaflets and those in the provinces are preparing several million more.

 Tensions between the North and the South erupted again in early June, after South Korean activists sent balloons of money and consumer goods to the North.  This practice has angered Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of leader Kim Jong-un, who holds an important place in the Pyongyang authoritarian regime.

 Kim Yo-jong has threatened to drop the non-aggression pact between the two Koreas and close the North-South liaison office.  Subsequently, on June 16, Pyongyang allegedly blew up the liaison office between the two countries, according to South Korean media.

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The story of this crazy idea of ​​selling a pen at a job interview remains an enigma. What is certain is that more and more employers are trying to implement it and fewer and fewer candidates are successfully passing this test.


What is actually the purpose of this exercise? No one expects that there, during the interview, that candidate will even manage to sell a pen.


In addition to the natural emotions you feel at that moment, in addition to the fear of not taking the job you applied for, it is important to understand what the person who provoked you is expecting.


What employers expect at that moment is to see your communication skills. The approach to the subject of sales can have different aspects. Given the context and who is in front of you as a status or as a company, you can use one of the sales techniques below, which are actually the top answers on Quora to this question. Bemorepanda has collected the best options for you.



1.Answer from Sanket Patil (Territory Sales Manager at Aditya Birla Group)

Luckily I have been in this situation before, so I would like to share my answer with you all. The interview was for a Sales Representative position and the HR asked me to sell the pen to them (3 panelist). So here is our conversation…

HR: You have to sell this pen and 2 of us should agree to buy your pen after your pitch. You have total of 2 minutes to think and pitch for this pen. Your time starts now

Me: So Ma'am we at Reynolds (It was a Reynolds pen) value each and every customer and believe that every customer is different with different needs. We have variety of products available that caters to these needs. May I please know how often do you all use pen and what is the one thing you look for in a pen?

HR1: We use it everyday and I look for smooth writing

HR2: I need a comfortable grip

HR3: I prefer a pointed nip

Me: Exactly what my point was, every customer has different need even in case of a pen. So here is our new product which gives you a ceaseless experience because we don't want interruption in your work. Would you like to try this pen?

HR2: What is the price of this pen?

Me: It will just cost you Rs. 20 and as compared to the value it provides, the cost is totally justified

HR1: I don't think so. I will get a similar pen if not better for Rs. 10, then why should I choose yours?

Me: Yes maam, you may get a similar pen but we just don't sell a pen, we guarantee experience along with it.

HR3: You said, the cost is justified. So tell me how is it justified?

Me: Consider, yourself writing an important letter or signing a document. What if your pen stops writing? You will search for a new one, right? Won't you feel interrupted and disturbed while doing important work. So the extra amount that we charge is because our product won't let this happen. Saving those Rs. 10 can cost you Rs. 100 due to interruption. You never know. Therefore, not for the product but we ask you to pay for the experience.

Ma'am would you like to buy this pen?

(All three of them said Yes and I got selected later)

P. S: It is not the product but the benefits that the customer values and if your customer realizes the value that you provide, your job is done.


2.Answer from Ian Adams

Just an awesome answer from Ian Adams. It's not just amusing, but it's also a showcase of good salesmanship. But! I am a pain in the ass person so I need to play the role of devils advocate here a bit and explain something about this "sell me this pen"-scheme.

First, the point of the whole "Sell me this pen" is mostly used to identify if the person getting interviewed is in any way a good candidate for a sales job. It's the same reason companies like Boston Consulting Group ask candidates questions like:

"How many square meters of pizza do Americans eat every week?"

You're not supposed to give an exact number, it is your thought process that matters. When an interviewer ask you to "sell me this pen", he doesn't look for a gimmicky answer - he wants to see you be able to perform a basic sales call. He want's to spot if you are a poor salesman or a good salesman.

So let's look at the tale of the tape, shall we?

Poor salesman:

A) Talks about the product features

B) Doesn't ask questions

C) Doesn't try to identify the clients real reason for purchase

D) See every interaction as a one-time transaction

Great salesman:

A) Instead of focusing on the product features, the great salesman focuses on the benefit that feature gives and the meaning it has for the client. Example: HD-TV (feature) --> Better resolution (benefit) --> Better viewing experience (meaning). Nobody cares about the feature, at the end of the day they buy it for what it does for them.

B) The only way to understand what the client wants is by asking questions. You cannot guess what the client needs. A great salesman knows that there is a reason we humans have two ears and only one mouth. We should let the client do the talking. How do you get the client talking? asking questions.

C) An old man comes to your store and wants to buy a swing. Why? Do you think he wants to entertain himself in his golden years. Nope, he probably wants to set it up so when his grand-kids visit, they would have something fun to do. That means that the real reason for his purchase is to have a great time with this grand-kids. Once you've identified the real reason, you can make a more compelling offer - sell him a big toy castle, with a slippery slide and two swings.

D) A great salesman does everything he can to build up trust and a solid relationship with every client. He does it by providing value that other salesmen can't match. That means sometimes that he offers an cheaper alternative because he understands that it's the better choice for the client.

The absolute best answer is.......

It depends what kind of job you are interviewing for (Cue in sad wah wah). Sorry to disappoint you, but there's a big difference if you sell B2C or B2B products. There's also a big difference between selling products/services with long vs short sales cycles.

If you are interviewing for a B2B company that sells complicated products with long sales cycles, well then the classic half-gimmicky answers wont do wonders. They might however work great when it comes to B2C sales, with short cycles and one-time transactions.

As I said before, the main point is to show that you are even in the ballpark when it comes to sales. The person who just fumbles for words and talks about the features of the pen are weeded out quickly.

So don't worry about not being answering the interviewer in a clever and crafty way. Focus on the great salesman's A-D above and you'll do fine!


3.Answer from Barun Mohanty, Passionate about stock market

Don’t ask crap questions like “Do you need a pen?”, “What kind of pen you use?”. I’m gonna tell you the exact words. If you won’t find it useful in your interview, you can downvote my answer.


First, Let’s have a look on some failures.

Interviewer- Sell me this pen?

You- Do you need a pen?

Interviewer- No, I don’t.

You- Can I know, what kind of pen you use?

Interviewer- Yes, I use good pens. But I don’t use craps like yours.


Let’s bring it on. You have a normal, cheap pen to sell (Let’s say 045 Reynolds)

Interviewer- Sell me this pen.

You- Sir, this is 045 Reynolds fine carbure, normally runs 15 days smoothly for an average sales guy.

(You just provided general information and told the interviewer that your target market is salesmen. As we know your interviewer is also in sales. And this pen is specially designed for sales persons.)

You- 70% of the salesmen found it useful as per our survey.

Interviewer- What happened to other 30%? (Now you are controlling the subconscious of the interviewer, he is asking the questions you want. It will make your process easier)

You- Rest 30% don’t use it [humour]. (You just told him your pen is the best selling pen and favourite among the salesmen. At the same time you respected other companies and showed honesty by not saying 100%)

Interviewer- So what? My pen is working perfectly for me and I think I’m among the rest 30%.

You- Sir, it is more than a normal pen. Its ink doesn’t get spilled in high temperature as normal pens. Spilling of ink might cost you a fortune. Your costly suit might get dirty. It might cost you a sales call and you might lose your job.

(You just told him the biggest problem and scared him :-D)

Interviewer- So what? My pen doesn’t get spilled.

You- Sir, your pen is unique (He gets happy). But, this pen costs only 6 Rupee and is easily available in every store in your city. If you lose this pen, don’t worry, you can have it easily.

(You just showed your pen’s availability. People use products which are easily available to them. Will you buy a cell phone, which doesn’t have a service center? Pen is something, people get used to it. If you are using a particular pen, you will need the same pen when you lose it.)

You have just processed his mind to buy your product. Before he says anything, say this-

You- It has a white body and a blue cover. White stands for clean, purity, honesty and blue stands for reliability. It will definitely create positive aura around you and your customer/ prospect during a sales presentation and it might lead to a sale.

Interviewer- Okay. I will think about it. (Objection- 1)

(Someone is going to think means he is not going to buy your product)

So, It’s time for CTA (Call To Action)

You- Sir, this amazing pen normally costs 6 Rupee but if you buy it today, I will give you for 5 Rupee.

(You just created an emergency. Let’s see how he responds.)

Interviewer- Well, I will buy it tomorrow then. Today, I don’t have money/ change. (Objection-2)

You- Sir, I won’t mind if you pay me tomorrow. But I want to see you getting benefitted from today. So, please have the pen. Pay me tomorrow.

(What will he say, now? No, I don’t want to get benefitted from today?)

He will buy the pen and you will get selected.


4.Answer from Yannick Duchscher, Blogger Writing Copies 

Imagine that you are a businessman. Don't think too hard about it, it may become the reality. You built many businesses. One is skyrocketing so much that don't have the money to sustain it. This business becomes more than a chore for you. You don’t know how to handle it.

First you tried to delegate. But no one wanted of your business. Then you tried to sell it. It makes two months that you no positive answers. No one wants to meet you to clear the deal. That sucks.

The next day, another businessman call you. You hear the excitement in his voice. That’s clear. He wants to buy. He makes a generous offer. 20% more than what you hoped. You decide to meet him at a restaurant to speak around some dishes.

Happier than ever, you sit at the table and wait for your buyer. Your smile radiate. It’s time. It’s 12AM. Exactly 12AM. The businessman shows up. Grey suit, italian shoes and a suitcase. No doubt, it’s your buyer. He sit at your table, fix you in the eyes and start to tell commodities about the weather.

You are anxious. You don’t know how to follow up the conversation so you come up with the deal. He asks many questions on your business. Hopefully you are the owner so you can answer them all. He feels impressed, he even tell it you. That’s the event you waited your whole life. Big money in a matter of seconds. The voltage is high

You bring the paper on the table, just between the exotic dishes. Just 2 signs and it’s over. You seek for your pen and don’t find it. Hopefully you have 2 of them. You proudly pull it out of your suit. It’s your first pen, it is intact even if it doesn’t look that good. It has many feelings related.

The businessman look successively at you and at the pen. You find him with an air of disgust. He stands up and walks away. Not even a good bye.

What picture do you give with this kind of pen ?

We have what you need to make a great impression. Buy our pen, save your business


5.Answer from Jeff Wiener

You sell the pen by not selling the pen. That's how you sell the pen.

I took a sales course about 10 years ago. I was in a room packed with at least 500 salespeople, all listening to the presenter discuss, in as specific detail as he could, the science of how to sell.

This presenter suggested that he had sales down to a science.


The problem is, sales isn’t a science, it’s an art.

The presenter suggested that in order to sell, you had to follow a series of simple steps, and in the end, when you’re ready to close the sale, you ask the customer the question, “Do you prefer the red car or the black car?”

Most of the salespeople in the room were taking feverish notes. I’m sure they went back to the car dealership (or wherever they worked) and followed, step by very careful step, all of the instructions provided.

I knew, fundamentally, that most of the people in the room who followed the presenter’s drivel would never truly master the art of sales.

So what is the right answer to the challenge, “Sell me the pen”?


You sell the pen by not selling the pen.

Literally, the last thing you do when trying to sell the pen is start by explaining how fantastic the pen is.

So what is the first step to selling the pen?

You first need to understand who your customer, as a person, is. What are their likes and dislikes? What fascinates them? How did they get to the position they are in?

Then, you need to understand their needs, how often they use a pen, what kind of pens they use, whether they use a pen every day or occasionally.

If you do like Belfort suggested in the movie and begin the conversation by “selling the pen,” then you’ve likely lost the sale.

In a sales call, you need to spend more time listening than speaking. That’s why it’s so hard to master the art of sales … because most people like the sound of their own voices, and they feel compelled to sell the customer something. They feel compelled to begin the sale right away.

What you’re selling when you sell the customer the pen is not the pen; it is yourself. And you sell yourself by making yourself likable.

You ask questions, and you listen. You let the customer speak, and you listen some more.


It’s a lot easier to be interested than interesting.

Most people don’t get that.


The ones who do, the people who understand that you don’t just “sell the pen,” but rather that you get to know your customer by being interested in who they are—their wants and desires—those are the ones who master the art of sales.



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With almost 3 million confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world and more than 200.000 deaths caused by the deadly virus, the entire population is currently in lockdown.

It is causing distress to many of us and not only the adults suffer, but also the little ones. Often, parents find to difficult to keep their children entertained in-house and are stuck in a limbo.

A recent video posted online by a parent asking her kid about how many days she has spent in quarantine has received millions of views.

The girls's response to "how many days have you spent in quarantine" was "too f***ing many".

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