Senate Favors LWSC Privatization

first_imgThe Senate yesterday voted 10 for, four against, and one abstention in favor of carrying on stringent reforms in the water supply and sanitation services sector controlled by the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC). The vote taken during that body’s 36th day sitting specifically called for the creation of an enabling environment through, inter alia, making of policies and enactment of legislations to attract private investment to the sector. The Senate’s decision was prompted by a report prepared by the Committees on Lands, Mines Energy, Natural Resources and Environment, and Public Corporations, in which they recommended to plenary requesting President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to consider fast tracking the privatization of key operational areas, such as the commercialization of the LWSC. The Chairmen of the two Committees, Senators Albert Chie and J. Gbleh-bo Brown, informed their colleagues that during the performance of their oversight responsibilities, they held meetings with the management of LWSC at the Capitol Building on May 9, and observed that the corporation needed serious attention. In their conclusion, the Committees reported that “the LWSC has been run inefficiently for many years and is in bad financial state; that it is unable to deliver about 60 percent of the bills to customers it claims to serve, while full collection of debt from bills is far-fetched.” The seven-page report also discussed that the LWSC has been operating mainly on bilateral and multilateral grants, and that even so, it has been able to meet only 25 percent of the water demands of the Monrovia area, let alone the other counties. “The LWSC spoke about plans for the government to obtain a loan of US$10 million to support the work of the corporation; with an inefficiently-run corporation, this loan and future loans and grants may be wasted efforts.”In the debate that followed the vote, four Senators voted against privatization, among them Cllrs. Varney Sherman and Joseph Nagbe. The two Senators, who are also lawyers, argued that communities like West Point and New Kru Town and other less fortunate communities will be victims of such a decision. But pro-privatization Senators, such as Bomi County Senator Morris G. Saytumah, opted for a quasi privatization of the corporation, and admonished his colleagues not to look at privatization as a monster, saying privatization comes with efficiency. For his part, Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay was critical of the lack of attention paid to counties outside Monrovia such as his county, which he boasted is one of the original three counties. The Sinoe lawmaker warned that he will adopt the method to filibuster whenever a loan for ratification lands at the Senate, which limits benefit to only Monrovia. Meanwhile, Senator Nagbe yesterday informed his colleagues that he was going to make use of the rules of the Senate that allow him to file a motion for reconsideration if so desired, not later than three sitting days.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Jose Mourinho to manage Man United after Chelsea sacking? Coral Daily Download

first_imgCoral’s PR manager Nicola McGeady joins the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast to round up the latest sporting odds.All the talk is about Jose Mourinho and Chelsea after the Portuguese boss was axed by the Blues and McGeady looks at where the ‘Special One’ could end up next.She says Mourinho is expected to remain in England and it is 6/4 for him to be the next Manchester United manager.Coral is the official betting partner of the Alan Brazil Sports BreakfastHere’s the latest reaction to Jose Mourinho’s sacking on talkSPORT…Exclusive – Guus Hiddink the ‘perfect’ choice to take over from Jose Mourinho as Chelsea boss, says Ray Wilkins‘A great manager with people skills’ – Ex-Chelsea winger Bolo Zenden backs Guus Hiddink to replace Jose MourinhoMourinho sacked by Chelsea – ‘Performances have SHAMED club. Jose had to go,’ admits Jason CundyChelsea technical director Michael Emenalo: A ‘palpable discord’ with players led to Jose Mourinho’s dismissalChelsea FC: Jose Mourinho’s sacking was due to a ‘historic’ issue with the board, says Neil Ashtonlast_img read more

Disqualified driver arrested at checkpoint after testing positive for drugs

first_imgA disqualified driver is to appear in court after being arrested at a checkpoint in Bundoran for driving under the influence of drugs.The motorist was caught driving under the influence of cocaine and cannabis during a roadside test on Friday, May 10.The vehicle was first stopped by the Donegal Town Roads Policing Unit at a Mandatory Intoxication Testing (M.I.T.) checkpoint. The driver was subsequently tested for the presence of drugs and the test came back positive. The driver has been ordered to appear in court in the near future.Disqualified driver arrested at checkpoint after testing positive for drugs was last modified: May 14th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Bug-Eye Camera, Fly Robot and other Bio-Inspired Tech

first_imgIncredible advancements in technology are coming from the imitation of nature, but engineers cannot yet attain animal performance.Look like a bug:  “New Camera Inspired by Insect Eyes,” announced Science Now.  If you thought insects with their compound eyes had inferior vision to ours, think that no more:An insect’s compound eye is an engineering marvel: high resolution, wide field of view, and incredible sensitivity to motion, all in a compact package. Now, a new digital camera provides the best-ever imitation of a bug’s vision, using new optical materials and techniques. This technology could someday give patrolling surveillance drones the same exquisite vision as a dragonfly on the hunt.In the Illustra film Metamorphosis, Dr. Thomas Emmel notes that butterflies have better color vision than humans.  They can see from infrared to ultraviolet.  And in the Illustra film Darwin’s Dilemma, we see that compound eyes existed in the Cambrian multicellular animals, including trilobites and anomalocaridids.According to PhysOrg, the new camera has an “unmatched field of view.”  Part of the challenge for engineers at the University of Illinois was to develop flexible electronics and optics that could accommodate curved surfaces.  Even so, their “low-end insect eye” mimic does not reach the performance of the design that inspired it:Eyes in arthropods use compound designs, in which arrays of smaller eyes act together to provide image perception. Each small eye, known as an ommatidium, consists of a corneal lens, a crystalline cone and a light-sensitive organ at the base. The entire system is configured to provide exceptional properties in imaging, many of which lie beyond the reach of existing man-made cameras.It would appear difficult to rephrase that paragraph in Darwinian terms, since it depends on the use of concepts like design, configuration, and exceptional properties.  The project caught the attention of Nature, and Science Daily twice.  The engineer’s paper was published in Nature, which noted that arthropods differ in the number of facets or ommatidia.  Some ants have about 100 facets; praying mantises have about 15,000, while some dragonflies have up to 28,000.  They ended by saying, “Biologically inspired schemes for adapting to different light levels are also of interest.”Fly like a fly:  A biomimetic robot that flies like a fly was reported in Science this week.  It caught the attention of Nature and Science Daily.  “RoboBee” doesn’t look anywhere near as sophisticated as an actual fly (and lacks digestive, neural, and reproductive systems), but Nature called it a “manufacturing marvel.”  One of its designers said, “This is a major engineering breakthrough, 15 years in the making.”  The little robot, weighing only 80 milligrams, has thin membranes for wings that it can flap 120 times a second, similar to a fly’s flapping rate (the engineers admitted it is only “modeled loosely on the morphology of flies”). Building a lightweight battery was one of the biggest challenges, so they had to tether it to a power source and computer with thin wire.  Still, it’s “pretty fantastically cool,” an observer said for Science Now.The engineering team faced many challenges.  For instance, if the wings weren’t exactly symmetrical, it failed to fly.  It “took many rounds of tweaking the design before it finally worked,” but when the team had their “Kitty Hawk moment,” they were really proud.  RoboBee can only fly for 20 seconds, and wears out after 15 minutes of use.  But it’s “the smallest flapping wing aircraft that has ever been built and made fully functional,” they said.  The goal is to get the power supply, flight control computer and everything else on board.  They envision making swarms of these robots for search and rescue.  “When you scale things down, smaller is better,” they said.  That speaks volumes about the actual living fly, which not only has everything on board, but also contains digestive, neural, and reproductive systems.  A fly or bee is comparatively large for insects, too (consider gnats and mosquitoes, for instance).  Recently, a microscopic fairyfly dubbed Tinkerbella nana was discovered with a body length of 155 micrometers (see Science Daily for picture).  That’s packing a lot of systems into a very tiny space.Sea horse armor:  In other biomimetics news, scientists at UC San Diego have their eyes on seahorses for ideas.  According to Science Daily, “Sea horses get their exceptional flexibility from the structure of their bony plates, which form its armor.”  The plates slide past each other.  The plates can be compressed to half their size without damage.   The principle behind the UCSD project is broader than one particular animal:“The study of natural materials can lead to the creation of new and unique materials and structures inspired by nature that are stronger, tougher, lighter and more flexible,” said [Joanna] McKittrick, a professor of materials science at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego.McKittrick and Meyers had sought bioinsipiration [sic] by examining the armor of many other animals, including armadillo, alligators and the scales of various fish. This time, they were specifically looking for an animal that was flexible enough to develop a design for a robotic arm.Mr. Clean cicada:  The 17-year locusts are emerging from hibernation in some parts of the south this year.  Live Science reported on work to understand how the bugs can stay so clean.  They don’t need to stand in the rain; the structure of their exoskeleton allows the bugs to be self-cleaning, researchers at Duke University have found.  “Apparently, grime can simply leap right off them, given dew.”  When dewdrops merge together, they literally leap off the bugs, carrying grime with them.  This also happens on lotus leaves and other “super-hydrophobic” surfaces.These findings not only can help explain the mystery of how cicada wings keep clean, but could also lead to improved artificial self-cleaning materials. Jumping droplets could also help remove heat from power plants, Chen said.Protein origami:  Science Magazine published a paper about the use of proteins for self-assembling materials.  A “Perspective” piece in the same issue about the project said that synthetic biology “aims to push natural biological systems in novel directions or to generate biomimetic systems with new properties.”  The team from University of Bristol learned how to control the self-assembly of proteins to generate simple “cages” and patterns out of coiled-coil elements of proteins.  “The assembly properties of the peptides are governed by how their folding results in the projection of chemical functional groups into space.”Short bows:  Nature mentioned the “worm-inspired adhesive” that came from following how a spiny-headed worm embeds itself in the tissues of its host.  A bandage built on the principle is “more than three times as adhesive as surgical staples for affixing skin grafts.”  Live Science posted “Seven Clever Technologies Inspired by Animals.”  Entrants include butterflies, sharks, worms, cockleburs, beetles, geckos, and spiders.As usual, evolution was useless in all these stories.  It was only mentioned occasionally as an ideologically-driven afterthought, such as “Nature has developed and refined these concepts over the course of billions of years of evolution” (PhysOrg).  Nature is not a developer!  Nature is not a refiner.  Nature knows nothing of concepts.  Those are terms from intelligent design.  The Nature paper on the compound eye begins, “In arthropods, evolution has created a remarkably sophisticated class of imaging systems, with a wide-angle field of view, low aberrations, high acuity to motion and an infinite depth of field,” but then says nothing further about evolution.  Evolution is not a creator!  Evolution does not design sophisticated imaging systems with desirable properties!  Tanya Lewis at Live Science dreamed, “Over time, evolution has led to some incredible developments, from the photosynthetic machinery in plants to the human eye.”  She needs to awake from her dogmatic Darwinian slumbers.The lingo that predominates in biomimetics is design, inspiration, exceptional performance.  Darwinians, pack up your snake oil wagons and get out of the way of this new, popular I.D. parade.(Visited 42 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Are you related to Mandela?

first_img24 April 2007The new Origins Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand is inviting South Africans and international tourists to have their DNA tested to determine their ancestry – and have the results exhibited alongside those of Nelson Mandela.Mandela had his genetic code analysed in 2004, with some surprising results. While he is Xhosa, his mitochondrial DNA shows that he can trace his maternal lineage back to the San Bushmen, the earliest inhabitants of Africa. Mitochondrial DNA is only passed from mother to child and undergoes no genetic mixing, so it’s one of the more common ways to test genetic ancestry.Mandela’s paternal line, on the other hand, was traced to a group of Africans from the Great Lakes area of East Africa. Most of SA’s African population originated from this region and migrated down the continent’s east coast to settle in South Africa.The Origins Centre, which opened in Johannesburg last week, is offering the DNA tests to illustrate one of its themes: “All human beings are related genetically and can trace their roots to a common ancestor who lived in Africa.”DNA will be tested by the National Health Institute, with the results available after two weeks. People can choose to have their ancestry exhibited at the centre.Rock art and archaeologyBut there’s more to the museum than DNA. The Origins Centre brings together a number of institutions that study rock art, palaeontology, anthropology and archaeology.These include the South African Museum of Rock Art, the James Kitching Gallery, the Rock Art Research Institute, the Bernard Price Institute, the Ringing Rocks Digitising Laboratory and the South African Archaeology Society.The centre offers stunning museum displays, meeting and lecture facilities, as well as a shop and cafe.The project was given life in 2000 by then South African Minister of Tourism Valli Moosa and President Thabo Mbeki.The President had the idea when he went walking in the Drakensberg Mountains and discovered that he knew more about rock art than his guides. He wanted South Africa’s impressive rock art collection and research exhibited to benefit the people of the country.The primary objective of the centre is to educate the public by promoting the ancient heritage of southern Africa through an appreciation of rock art and the cultures of the people who produced it.The museum will display its remarkable collection of stone age tools and rock art, evidence of human ancestors living in southern Africa from 2.6-million years ago. There are over 100 000 examples of rock art in Wits University’s archive, probably the largest in the world.Another focus of the museum will be South Africa’s 4-billion year old fossil record.The exhibits in the museum are designed to show how human beings became fully modern in sub-Saharan Africa ahead of their journey out of Africa to populate the rest of the world.”Using the latest technology, the Origins Centre presents its message in an informative and entertaining way. Each section of the museum has interactive touch screens that allow visitors to navigate their way at considerable depth through each subject area.The displays are available in six languages – English, Zulu, Sotho, Afrikaans, French and German, with more to be added each year.For opening times and tariffs, see the Origins Centre website. Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Bhisho Airport gets R100m boost

first_img2 August 2007The airport runway at Bhisho in the Eastern Cape will be closed for the next six weeks as the airport undergoes a R100-million upgrade, as the province seeks to maximise the facility’s economic potential.The upgrade is being funded through the province’s Department of Roads and Transport, with all upgrades expected to be complete by March 2008.The project as so far provided more than 100 jobs for people from surrounding villages, while more people will be needed as the project progresses, the department said in a statement this week.“The project derives from the Blue Skyway Aviation Strategy, which was unveiled by the [provincial Transport Department] in 2006, in an effort to maximise the potential of the Bhisho and Mthatha airports and bring new life to the rural airstrips within the province,” the department explained.The strategy aims to improve usage of the province’s airports, reduce government involvement in the operation of airports, and involve the private sector, especially small, medium and micro enterprises, through outsourcing services or as airport management.The province has already convinced the South African Police Service Air Wing to relocate to the Bhisho Airport, while the Port Alfred-based 43 Air School is declared its intent to expand to the airport and has started assisting in re-commissioning refuelling facilities.The first 14 students from the air school are expected to relocate to the airport within the next two months.Air BP has also started refurbishing the fuel depot at own costA new R5-million fire tender was brought in from overseas, and firemen at the airport already completed a course to use the new vehicle. The main intention is to increase the emergency capacity of the airport and improve its grades from two to four, the department said.The department said that the Bhisho Airport had been earmarked for international flights during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, with state-owned South African Airways and other airlines expressing their interest in using the airport.At the same time, the national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has appointed consultants to conduct a feasibility study on the upgrade of the Mthatha Airport.That feasibility study has been completed and forwarded to consulting engineers for final costing.“We have purchased two large airport fire tenders for the Mthatha Airport and we will apply to upgrade our license with the South African Civil Aviation Authority from four to six, which will enable bigger aircraft to land there,” the Eastern Cape’s Department of Roads and Transport said.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

NDP will determine SA’s direction: Zuma

first_img19 February 2013 The National Development Plan (NDP) is a crucial policy-making tool that will help South Africa develop and determine the direction the country takes, President Jacob Zuma said on SABC’s Sunday Live broadcast on the weekend. The NDP is a a blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in South Africa by 2030. It seeks to do this by drawing on the energies of the the country’s people, growing an inclusive economy, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society. In his 2013 State of the Nation Address last week, Zuma said the NDP had set the ambitious target of creating 11-million jobs by 2030, which will require teamwork to get the economy growing at a rate of more than 5% a year. “There are sectors that we have identified that will create these 11-million jobs by 2030,” Zuma said on Sunday. “These include infrastructure and the tourism sector, among others. These sectors have already created jobs and employed people.” On the issue of land, Zuma said the government was committed to resolving issues around this. This would be done within the ambit of the country’s Constitution. He added that while progress had been slow, compensation for land would be equitable. The matter needed to be looked at “differently”, he said. On the issue of education, Zuma said education had be treated as an essential service. However this definition should not be seen as denying teachers the right to embark on strike action. “We are talking about the importance of education,” he said, adding that education was a key element to the country moving forward and developing. For non-performing municipalities, the government was following up on the non-submission of financial reports. On the issue of councillors who received tenders, Zuma said that some had already been fired, and the government was looking at how it could review the tender system. On the matter of the abuse of women and children, Zuma said that a national response was necessary, adding that the government cannot fight this scourge alone. “We need to work together as a nation, government cannot do it alone. We need to have specialised courts that will be ready to deal with such situations and convict perpetrators speedily.” On talks of a possible Cabinet reshuffle, the President said: “I haven’t said anything on it, I haven’t said whether it will happen or if it will not happen. I have not spoken to anyone about this. I don’t know where people are getting this.” Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

SaveTNet Cyber Safety reaching global audiences through PUBLIC FIGURE film

first_imgJohannesburg, SA: SaveTNet Cyber Safety NPC is sharing its message on an international stage through the recently premiered Public Figure film, creating awareness for responsible digital citizenship. Public Figure (2019) is a documentary-film that investigates the psychological effects of everyday social media use while exploring how influencers deal with the fame, money, hate, and obsession that comes with it.Rianette Leibowitz, Cyber Safety Change Agent and SaveTNet CEO, stars in the film alongside co-producer and South African public figure, Bonang Matheba, as well as other influencers from around the globe including New York comedian and Instagram star, Sebastian Tribbe, as well as American actor, director and producer, Denzel Washington.SaveTNet held a private screening of Public Figure for partners and stakeholders at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, where the 21st-century skill of digital citizenship was probed.  An engaging panel discussion was held where panellists Brian Corso, director and producer of Public Figure, Sebastian Tribbe and Leibowitz shared their views on the collaborations that made this film possible, the influence public figures have through social media, how cybersafety risks need to be managed and how industry can add value to navigate the issue of responsible digital citizenship more positively.“It is time for companies to play an active role and to consider cybersafety as a corporate social investment area of focus, supporting SaveTNet initiatives in order to influence communities positively,” says Leibowitz. “It is a privilege to share the same stage with some of the world’s greatest influencers to raise the awareness of responsible digital citizenship and inform more people that SaveTNet is here to help victims of cybercrime.”As stated in her acceptance speech as winner of the Inspiration and Influence Award at the Global Social Awards 2019 recently held in Prague, Bonang Matheba called on influencers to use their platforms to influence and inspire in a positive way, making sure they light people’s lives and use their social platforms to talk about things that are important around them, in their country.Host partner, Brand South Africa, supports Leibowitz as a #PlayYourPart Ambassador using SaveTNet to drive their movement to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is a reality in our communities and we need to take responsibility in ensuring everyone is aware of cyber risks. As this has an impact on our people, our brands and our country,” says Brand South Africa’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Ms Thulisile Manzini.SaveTNet Cyber Safety offers a network of specialists for anyone who has been affected by cybercrime or related issue.  “While we help cybercrime victims for free daily, we are encouraging experts (forensic analysts, psychologists, legal advisors) to collaborate with SaveTNet to ensure that we continue to be the safety net for anyone who is in trouble,” concludes Leibowitz.last_img read more

Foursquare Borrows $41M, Checks In As The Mayor Of Debt Town

first_imgGuide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Tags:#Foursquare#social media A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos brian proffittcenter_img Related Posts Foursquare has checked in as the mayor of Debt Town today after announcing $41 million in loans from new and current investors. Which really puts the pressure on the company to generate real revenue as it shifts its focus away from simple social check-ins and tries to recoup lost ground in the battle over local search.No investors plunked down cash for new Foursquare shares. Instead, new investor Silver Lake Waterman led the financing with what other reports are calling a multiyear loan, while existing Foursquare investors — Andreessen Horowitz, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures — offered loans that will convert to equity if Foursquare’s valuation rises.In other words, Foursquare just put itself into the hole in a high-risk gamble. The Silver Lake loan will most likely force the startup to make regular interest and principal payments lest it risk default — creating a steady cash drain that most startups try hard to avoid. We’ve reached out to Foursquare for more information on that investment, and I’ll update when and if I hear back.The convertible debt, meanwhile, represents a hedge of sorts for the company’s existing investors. They get to sidestep the question of Foursquare’s actual valuation — which obviously suggests it’s not doing that great — and, should things go south, may stand a better chance of recouping some of their investment than if they held nothing but equity.A Foursquare In FlatlandThis means Foursquare, which has increasingly found itself in trouble with the entry of Google+ and Facebook into local search, is under a lot more pressure to demonstrate that it can make money. Investors like Union Square’s Albert Wenger claim they see opportunities for Foursquare to take off, with the explosion of smartphones and abatement of couponing services like Groupon.Wenger highlights what Foursquare really wants you to do with its app: Don’t just check in, but identify retailers and businesses more actively so that your data in turn can drive better local searches. It’s a tough nut to crack, particularly since Android users are more easily tied to Google to do the same thing, and many smartphone users of any platform are apt to use Facebook.This may be the key problem for Foursquare: it’s too specialized. Users may be more likely to share information on Facebook, for example, because they’re already using it to socialize. I don’t use either service regularly, but if I did, I’d rather share a review with my more well-developed network of Facebook friends.Foursquare is going to have to turn itself around and get more money coming in the door. If it can’t do get positive cash flow through its services, it may have to resort to other methods, such as raise equity privately or publicly to pay off debt holders.There’s also the option my former colleague Jon Mitchell has put forth: Fourquare could sell itself to Apple. Or any bigger company, for that matter. Given Apple’s need for better local data, Mitchell’s argument makes a whole heck of a lot of sense.However it does it, Foursquare now has to make money fast to work off this new debt in a very competitive market. If it doesn’t get traction soon, Foursquare won’t be mayor of anything.Image courtesy of Juan Camilo Bernal/Shutterstock. Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…last_img read more

New Mac Pro Release Imminent

first_imgApple has announced a fall 2013 marketing event and the new Mac Pros are on the agenda.It’s been over a year since Apple released a minor upgrade to the Mac Pro and over three years since any significant update to this ‘workhorse’ system for creative professionals. In June of 2013, Apple gave a sneak preview of a radically redesigned Mac Pro (to largely mixed reviews)…but no further info on when the new computer would be available.Now, Apple has announced an invite-only event on October 22, 2013 that will surely shed more light into the future of the new Mac Pro. According to CurrentEditorials.com, Apple is expected to make public a Mac Pro release date (which is likely be before December).Although the event will likely focus around updates to the Apple iPad line, the new Mac Pro will ‘get some stage time as well” (as reported by AllThingsD.com). Will Apple address the concerns by creative professionals that were raised after the sneak peek (lack of expandability, little support for third party hardware, no Nvidia option)? We’ll know soon enough. Get more info on the new Mac Pro at Apple.com.What is you initial impressions of the new Mac Pro?Share your thoughts in the comments below!last_img read more