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UWI opens new faculty of engineering

UWI opens new faculty of engineering

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sept 14, CMC – The University of the West Indies (UWI), has opened a new Faculty of Engineering at its Mona campus here, hoping to train more professionals to satisfy the growing demand of Jamaica’s booming construction and industrial sectors.

“I can’t graduate enough for [our] industry. Engineering has the advantage over medicine and law, where our programmes are seeking international accreditation. It means that our students, upon graduation, can work anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Paul Aiken, Dean at the Faculty of Engineering.

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Dale Webber (left); Managing Director, Global Public Affairs, Jake Suski; Deputy Principal, Professor Ian Boxill and Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Paul Aiken, examine a cake with the logo of the new Faculty of Engineering

He said the UWI is aware of the high demand for local engineers, and wants to help with satisfying this demand, thus the reason they decided to make this investment.

“I know the banking sector is hiring our computer systems engineers. They are hiring electronics engineers. They are saying banking is an information and communications technology (ICT) company now, because of all the technologies involved. Civil engineers go to firms, to companies with electronics, telecommunication, manufacturing [and] all industrial sectors in Jamaica,” he added.

Aiken said the new faculty will offer Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Power Engineering and Electronics Engineering.

“They are three-year degree programmes with foundation courses in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science (for full-time students). We have a Bachelor of Science in Computer Systems Engineering, but we are about to merge that with Electronics, because the graduates tend to go into the same sector,” he said.

Aiken said the faculty will be open to train students with basic high school education up to the fifth form level, who are interested in pursuing a career in the area of engineering.

“For students who find it a little hard to be qualified to go into these Bachelor of Science programmes, we do have the preliminary engineering [course]. It’s a one year qualifying period that we pretty much take you from fifth form, as long as you have English, Mathematics [and] Science. We mould you, we transform you and get you ready to take on the three-year Bachelor of Science Engineering programmes,” Aiken said.

“We have research in all engineering programmes. We have research partners that are willing to give us access to their multimillion dollar laboratory facilities, and we intend to be involved in cutting edge research, and we are going to transform Jamaica,” he said.

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It's long been known that Apple cofounder Steve Jobs treated people cruelly, but his daughter's new autobiography offers new details.YouTube/AllThingsD

The shame of Steve Jobs, as told by his shunned daughter

Published by Q U A R T Z
 
THINK DIFFERENT
By Ephrat Livni  August 25, 2018
A portrait of Steve Jobs made of thousands of pieces of chewed gum, by artists Anna-Sofiya Matveeva.

Lisa Brennan-Jobs is the daughter of a postmodern god. Steve Jobs’ enduring influence after his 2011 death proves the legendary Apple innovator is an immortal of sorts. Now, the child he initially rejected is releasing a memoir that shows the man who may be the most admired technologist of all time was deeply flawed.

Small Fry, which comes out on Sept. 4 and was excerpted in Vanity Fair (paywall) this month, is intended to be an honest retrospective, its author says. Brennan-Jobs, who was not acknowledge by her father as his own for many years, frames his famous story in her own words, to heal and recapture, to get the last word, as she says in an Aug. 23 New York Times profile (paywall).

The book excerpt and the profile piece reveal a woman who appears deeply scarred by her father’s early rejection, though she urges understanding and forgiveness. It’s almost as if she’s being held hostage by the memory of the man, and identifying with her captor, like someone suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. She asks the Times’ Nellie Bowles,“Have I failed in fully representing the dearness and the pleasure? The dearness of my father, and the outrageous pleasure of being with him when he was in good form?”

The answer to that question is, from what we’ve seen so far, is yes. What she has revealed—Jobs’ emotional callousness, his spiritual and financial stinginess with her—cast a dark shadow on his legendary status.

Lisa Brennan-Jobs marks a remarkable life

Brennan-Jobs has just turned 40, gotten married, and given birth to her own child. In a discussion of milestones with the Wall Street Journal on Aug. 13, she explains, “It was important that I examine parts of my life [in my memoir] that seemed shameful or embarrassing so I could try to understand them differently. Milestones are big enough that if you’re lucky you’re going to learn more about yourself. In this case the only way to get to something truthful was to write, to dig.”

And do she did. Brennan-Jobs reveals her complicated backstory. She was born in 1978 on a farm in Oregon. Her father, then 23, wasn’t there: “My father arrived a few days later,” she writes. “‘It’s not my kid,’ he kept telling everyone at the farm, but he’d flown there to meet me anyway. I had black hair and a big nose, and [his friend] said, “’She sure looks like you.’”

This was, of course, before Jobs was famous, and was just another young guy refusing to acknowledge paternity or pay child support. He was working on a personal computer that didn’t succeed—it was named the Lisa, like his daughter. But he would not admit a connection. When Brennan-Jobs was a teen, Apple was a successful public company, and her father had evolved into the role of icon, she held on to the idea that the Lisa tag was evidence of love. She writes:

By then the idea that he’d named the failed computer after me was woven in with my sense of self, even if he did not confirm it, and I used this story to bolster myself when, near him, I felt like nothing. I didn’t care about computers…but I liked the idea that I was connected to him in this way. It would mean I’d been chosen and had a place, despite the fact that he was aloof or absent. It meant I was fastened to the earth and its machines. He was famous; he drove a Porsche. If the Lisa was named after me, I was a part of all that.

Jobs finally did admit Lisa was named after the girl. Not because she asked. At a visit to the rock star Bono’s house, the U2 frontman inquired—with Brennan-Jobs, then 27, nearby—whether the computer was named for her. Jobs hesitantly admitted it was. “‘That’s the first time he’s said yes,’ I told Bono. ‘Thank you for asking,’” she writes. “As if famous people needed other famous people around to release their secrets.”

What was once hidden now holds hope

Brennan-Jobs is now famous herself and releasing her own secrets. Yet she seems profoundly wounded, trapped still, though she claims writing the memoir helped to free and heal her. She tells the Times that while penning the book, she covered mirrors around her work space with paper, admitting “I don’t like catching myself in the mirror because it’s like—‘Oh, self.’”

Similarly, she asks her profiler to describe her in her own words, offering a self-deprecating account of her face. “My face is uneven. I have small eyes. I wish I had dimples, but I don’t. I think right now I look jowly…My nose is not particularly delicate.”

Rather than being the memoirist recapturing her own tale, it seems as if her father’s voice is narrating her life story—one in which Brennan-Jobs is failing at being a successful family member, will inherit nothing from her father, and who stinks like a toilet. Those are just a few of the many cruel things Jobs said to her. (He did ultimately put her in his will.)

Perhaps it’s impossible to escape the shadow of a dark master like Jobs, who also happens to be your father and despite being widely acknowledge as a genius, is not a talented dad. Brennan-Jobs defends him anyway, saying he was was just unusually honest and that his toughness taught her valuable lessons.

For the rest of us, who don’t have to deal with Jobs’ legacy personally, the revelations only serve to take the icon—never admired for cuddliness—down another notch. What Small Fry and Brennan-Jobs show is something we already know and don’t like admitting. Our cultural heroes and accomplished geniuses are only just people, and often not particularly good ones.

See also: https://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-terrible-small-fry-daughter-book-2018-8

The memoir by Steve Jobs’ daughter makes clear he was a truly rotten person whose bad behavior was repeatedly enabled by those around him

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Mottley says Barbados needs new international business

Mottley says Barbados needs new international business

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Aug. 24 CMC – Prime Minister Mia Mottley said Barbados needs to pick up new business in the area of international business and financial services.

Barbados PM Mia Mottley

Mottley who made the comment after the Barbados International Business Association’s (BIBA) Task Force  presented a report to the Government on Thursday said many opportunities were available to Barbados but enough people had to be put in place to pursue them “in a credible and structured way”.

She stressed that if this was done, additional business would be brought to the country.   

The Prime Minister also gave the assurance that Barbados would be marketed aggressively and proffered the view that there had to be a different approach to the diversification of marketing, both in terms of product and countries.

Those attending the meeting included Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott; Governor of the Central Bank, Cleviston Haynes; Director of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ian Carrington; members of BIBA and other senior public officers.

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Dominica Opposition party wants answers on Ross University departure

Dominica Opposition party wants answers on Ross University departure

While St. Vincent PM says no blame should be afforded to his regional colleagues on Ross University

ROSEAU, Dominica, Aug 14, CMC – The main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) is calling on the Dominica government to make public the recent 25 year agreement it signed with the US-owned Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) that still allowed for the school to be relocated in Barbados.

“Given the apparent support of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit for the relocation of Ross University to Barbados, the people of Dominica have a right to full disclosure of the 25-year agreement that allowed this to happen without notice. We need to know what are the unmet government obligations under the agreement that allowed Ross to relocate without breaching the agreement,” the UWP said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Skerrit announced Ross University, which had been forced to relocate its operations to St Kitts and the state of Tennessee in the United States following the passage of Hurricane Maria last September, would be leaving the Eastern Caribbean nation after 40 years.

His announcement was followed by a press conference in Bridgetown where Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the president Adtalem Global Education and chief executive officer at Ross University,  Lisa Wardell, announced that Bridgetown would be the new home of the American university by January 5, 2018.

The Skerrit administration said it had informed the RUSM that it could have resumed its operations on the hurricane struck island even before the start of the January semester in 2019.

The island’s ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States (OAS), Vince Henderson, speaking on a radio programme last Tuesday night, read from a three-page letter Prime Minister  Skerrit had sent to the university in July indicating that plans were advanced for the resumption of classes in Portsmouth, north of here.

“It is my fervent hope that all things considered there will be a much earlier re-opening of the campus that has been indicated in your earlier communication and during your visit in April 2018,” Skerrit wrote in the July 9 letter to Wardell.

Opposition Leader Lennox Linton

But in its statement, the UWP said that after 40 years of serving as a major engine of economic activity in Dominica, “the Prime Minister found it impossible to negotiate even a phased withdrawal that would give the country at least 12 months to cushion the devastating blow and prepare for adjustments”.

It asked “what exactly does the agreement provide?”

The party said that the circumstances of the termination “allow us to conclude that the Prime Minister failed to deliver on the investment support and public infrastructure improvements that had to be addressed satisfactorily within the context of the agreement to facilitate a return of Ross. What exactly does the agreement provide?

“There was a particular concern about accreditation by the Dominica Medical Board and the future of Ross in Dominica. What exactly does the agreement provide?”

It said that the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation in the United States  is authorized to evaluate the standards of accreditation applied to foreign medical schools and to determine their comparability to standards applied to medical schools in the United States.

“This determination of comparability of accreditation standards by NCFMEA is an eligibility requirement for foreign medical schools to participate in the US government’s student financial assistance program and is therefore extremely important to Ross.

“Yet, under the watch of the Prime Minister who made himself directly responsible for Ross, there has been no determination, for more than 10 years, that accreditation standards in Dominica are comparable to those of the United States,” the UWP said.

The opposition party said “instead of coming clean with the people of Dominica to facilitate learning the lessons that will avert a similar catastrophe in the future, the Prime Minister is busy confusing the issue and creating distractions.”

The party said it has also taken note that both the chief economic and political advisor to Prime Minister Skerrit are Barbadian Avinash Persaud and Hartley Henry, both of whom serve in the same capacity to Prime Minister Mottley.

“These advisors had the inside track on the challenges faced by Ross in Dominica and were no doubt asked to advise both Prime Ministers. What was their advice to their Dominica boss about facilitating Ross to stay in Dominica?

“What was their advice to their Barbadian boss about facilitating Ross to relocate to Barbados? Did they even advise their bosses that they should, as CARICOM partners, meet with the owners of Ross to work out the best way forward for Dominica – a CARICOM Single Market and Economy country that stands to lose the significant development benefits of a 40-year investment relationship?

“Only Barbados is benefitting from this glaring conflict of interest in which the same political and economic advisors serve masters in Bridgetown and Roseau,” the UWP said.

On Monday, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said he would not blame either his Dominican or Barbadian counterparts for the controversy surrounding the decision of the US-owned Ross University to re-locate to Barbados.

Speaking at a news conference, Gonsalves told reporters that he had received information “from different sources” and he does not believe that ‘anyone can reasonably blame Prime Minister (Roosevelt) Skerrit (of Dominica) of losing Ross University neither can one reasonably blame Mia Mottley of poaching Ross University.

“The matter which comes out stark to me first of all is that the business entity has no loyalty to any country or any community if that loyalty conflicts with what they perceive to be their immediate, medium term long term interest,” Gonsalves said.

No blame should be afforded to regional colleagues on Ross University

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Aug 13, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Monday said he would not blame either his Dominican or Barbadian counterparts for the controversy surrounding the decision of the US-owned Ross University to re-locate to Barbados.

Speaking at a news conference, Gonsalves told reporters that he had received information “from different sources” and he does not believe that ‘anyone can reasonably blame Prime Minister (Roosevelt) Skerrit (of Dominica) of losing Ross University neither can one reasonably blame Mia Mottley of poaching Ross University.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

“The matter which comes out stark to me first of all is that the business entity has no loyalty to any country or any community if that loyalty conflicts with what they perceive to be their immediate, medium term long term interest,” Gonsalves said.

Over the weekend, the Dominica government called for an end to the “unwarranted verbal attacks” against the Barbados government as a result of the decision of the university to re-locate after 40 years there.

“The decision to relocate to Barbados was a decision taken solely by Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). The relationship between Barbados and Dominica is longstanding and amicable. The people and Government of Barbados have always stood with us both in good times and most recently in difficult times,’ Skerrit said in a radio and television broadcast.

The Skerrit administration said it had informed the Ross University School of Medicine that it could have resumed its operations on the hurricane struck island even before the start of the January semester in 2019.

The island’s ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States (OAS), Vince Henderson, speaking on a radio programme last Tuesday night, read from a three-page letter Prime Minister  Skerrit had sent to the university in July indicating that plans were advanced for the resumption of classes in Portsmouth, north of here.

“It is my fervent hope that all things considered there will be a much earlier re-opening of the campus that has been indicated in your earlier communication and during your visit in April 2018,” Skerrit wrote in the July 9 letter to the Adtalem Global Education president and chief executive officer at Ross University,  Lisa Wardell.

“I wish to assure you that all the arrangements we discussed for the accreditation for Ross by the Medical Board have been acted upon to meet the desired expectation,” Skerrit added.

Last week,Prime Minister Mottley denied there was anything underhanded by her administration into accepting the Ross University School of Medicine’s move to the island.

“Barbados came into the picture, only when, for Ross University, returning to Dominica for the start of the January semester in 2019, was not an option. This is not and has never been a case of poaching or enticing anyone away from Dominica,” she said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Skerrit announced Ross University, which had been forced to relocate its operations to St Kitts and the state of Tennessee in the United States following the passage of Hurricane Maria last September, would be leaving the Eastern Caribbean nation after 40 years. Hours later, Mottley and Wardell held a press conference in Bridgetown indicating that Barbados would be the new home of the American university by January 5, 2018.

In her statement, Mottley said while she could not speak for or on behalf of Ross, “the hands of the Barbados Government are clean in this matter”.

Gonsalves said Ross University was built in Dominica, recalling that “when Ross went to Dominica in 1978 …they started with 80 students, they would have had a hurricane in 1979…that did not stop them, they were just up and running, they came back.

“They have had other hurricanes. The Barbados government, nobody could tell Ross that there will be no hurricane in Barbados. Barbados has had hurricane in the past.

“They (Ross) have assessed where they are. The back to back hurricanes were probably the occasion, the spark for them having consideration for moving. But they would have assessed that their immediate, long term interest is no longer with Dominica”.

Gonsalves said the decision by Ross was “clearly” not based solely on the weather.

“Look, Grenada is outside the hurricane belt more than Barbados. They say Grenada is south of the hurricane belt but what happened in 2004. Ivan blow down the whole place including the medical school and they build it back better because they saw their long term interest being there in Grenada….”

Gonsalves recalled that when the off shore medical schools were first coming into the region, some Caribbean countries campaigned against them saying “they are bad for the medical profession.

“Now their thinking is clearly different,” he said, adding he is unaware if the medical professionals in Barbados “are yet convinced about having it (offshore medical school).

“It is going to be interesting to see how those medical doctors going to work with the medical students at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I am sure they would be working out all of those problems and I don’t want to be negative about that, but I come back to the fundamentals that you can’t reasonably blame Roosevelt Skerrit or Mia Mottley.

“The thing is this between the decision to leave somewhere and to go somewhere else is always some period of uncertainty and that has to be sorted out…and they decided they going to Barbados. But basically 40 years of Ross in Dominica, clearly they did not consider that to be of any importance to them,” Gonsalves told reporters.

 

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Caribbean broadcasters meeting in Jamaica

Caribbean broadcasters meeting in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug 14, CMC –Caribbean and international broadcasters are meeting here amidst calls for regional governments to adapt to the new media environment of which social media is now a critical part.

Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Ruel Reid, addressing the 49th annual General Assembly of the Barbados-based Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), Tuesday, said that it was also necessary for Caribbean societies to guard against insularity as well as to take their place in the discourse in the global geo politics.

“I encourage our governments to adapt to our new media environment of which social media is now a critical part – embrace social media as an additional means to engage with our citizenry, encourage youth participation in our democracies and build trust in our systems.

Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Ruel Reid

“We see the power of the media in the #MeToo Movement – and it is from advocacy against gender based injustices in the West to campaigns for girls to access to education in the East that now cannot be muted given the coverage through multiple media platforms.”

But Reid said that the shift to the online world has also brought many new social problems.

“For example, children and young adults are particularly vulnerable to cyber-bullying, revenge porn, internet addiction disorder and other forms of deeply problematic internet use. One of the worst problems is that some gangs now record their criminal acts, including murders and rapes, which they then post on social media and share via WhatsApp in order to exult in their ‘success’, humiliate their victims, devastate their families and intimidate others. These posts/shares encourage imitation and retaliation, resulting in a vicious cycle of reciprocal violence. “

He said that a less-obvious but equally troubling problem is that as traditional news outlets have become less profitable, they are also losing some of their primary news-gathering and fact-checking capacity.

“The loss of authoritative and independent sources of news means that many people now obtain their information from closed loops of like-minded people, which encourages political tribalism and increases vulnerability to fake news and manipulation via social media.”

Reid said that a number of state agencies, criminal and terrorist organizations and mercenary hackers now have the ability to destabilize countries by penetrating their communications, compromising their infrastructure and manipulating elections with fake news.

He said the cost of a cyber-hack/fake news attack has fallen dramatically as the necessary skills have spread through the hacker community, which means that these attacks are likely to be much more common in future.

“So the critical issue for our countries now is that our regulatory framework must focus on protecting vulnerable persons such as children, adolescents and young adults against malign content; our States must take steps to improve national media literacy.

“Media must ensure that it maintains high media quality with particular regard to factual content, support national and citizen security, and protect the integrity of our democratic systems,” he told the delegates.

Reid recalled that while there had been the Ferguson riots in the United States against the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager Mike Brown in 2014, Jamaica was grappling with the Mario Dean tragedy.

Deane was reportedly beaten while in police custody and later died. That matter is still before the courts. Reid said that the ordinary citizen’s perspectives were amplified alongside traditional broadcast journalists and media houses’ coverage ensuring appropriate focus on the issues attendant on both security and justice.

He said tools available to journalists, civil society and the public at large, such as access to information (ATI) legislation must not be underused.

“Just recently, use of our ATI Act exploded the widely held view that women were not allowed to wear sleeveless shirts and or dresses to conduct business in government establishments, effectively proving a barrier to access timely government services.

“Human rights activist and blogger Susan Goffe utilized the Access to Information Act to request from a number of government Ministries, whether this enforced dress code was originated from any policy document. Following the request it was revealed that no policy prohibited women’s access to government buildings in sleeveless shirts or dresses. The national discourse again ignited, and this is where these discussions can influence policy,” he said.

Reid noted the challenges to the survival of indigenous Caribbean media recognising that the global media industry is in the middle of a profound transformation.

“We have left behind the era in which the media industry was organized and regulated by infrastructure -radio, television, telephone, print etc.-. Today, content flows over many different networks and technologies.”

He said that news, information, entertainment, education, directions, home management and shopping, translations and many other services are all now digital streams that can be directed to the nearest screen.

“Many different services can now be handled on the same networks, and different services can be transmitted on a number of competing networks using different and combined technology platforms. This means that the flow of content is no longer controlled by infrastructure.

“In addition, it is now possible to provide media services without the need to have any local presence at all, or ownership of any infrastructure – other than access to the internet- , which makes it increasingly difficult to regulate effectively within a single jurisdiction, let alone by a given technology.”

Reid said that these changes mean that the traditional divisions by region and infrastructure are becoming less and less relevant.

He said in the new era, consolidated content is the heart of the media world, while infrastructure and devices are delivery channels.

“This has implications for how we will regulate, paying particular attention to what flows through an increasingly diverse array of pipes.

“The media and communications sector today is in the business of conveying both specialized and mass information across the rapidly eroding borders of broadcasting. Television and radio, business and market information, education, entertainment, publishing, advertising, telecommunications, motion pictures, home videos, video games, computer databases, and other information products are all now digital streams which run across different networks, including many that flow through some of the currently unregulated spaces”.

Reid said that content, defined broadly, is now a most critical factor and it is where value is generated and added.

“Content is now the critical determinant of the economic dynamism and prosperity of an economy.

We in the Caribbean must take note that media firms are now competing against technology firms that can operate in unregulated and untaxed spaces while accessing advertising revenue. The traditional media organizations therefore are losing both audience and income.”

Reid said between  2012 -2014 the audience for radio fell from 21 per cent to 19.6 per cent; the audience for Free-to-Air TV fell from 25 to 23.2 per cent and newspaper readership fell from 22 to 20.6 per cent as people switched to the internet and international cable.

He quoted from a 2015 document by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) that argued that the creative economy of which Film and Television and Media Arts & Communications are apart, is an important part of global trade.

“The global market for traded creative goods and services totalled US$547 billion in 2012.  Growth rates stood at 8.6 per cent annually from 2003 – 2013, showing the strength and resilience of the sector despite the economic deceleration of the world economy,” the document stated.

But Reid said that there are advantages to some of the profound changes in the media landscape with one of the most significant gains being the shift from traditional to non-traditional platforms and stimulated many new creative and business ideas, as many people are now both consumers and providers of content.

“News, information and entertainment are no longer the sole province of the traditional creators and distributors of content, the broadcast and print media. In an era of citizen journalists, Facebookers, Tweeters, bloggers and vloggers, the average person is both consumer and creator of content. “

The Assembly which is being held under the theme “Building Resilience to Climate Change: Business, Technology & Content Options for Caribbean Media,” ends on Wednesday.

 

 

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Montserrat Innovation Days to Open this Week

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 By TMR staff

OCTA Innovation Newsletter – Montserrat Innovation Days reveals: The Government of Montserrat is organising Innovation Days in Montserrat on 16th and 17th of August 2018. Innovation Days will be held under patronage of the honourable Donaldson Romeo, Premier of Montserrat, who will personally open the Montserrat Innovation Days. That will be great occasion for local both public and private stakeholders to gather and to exchange relevant knowledge and best available practice in different aspects of sustainable development of the island.

Mrs. Janice Panton MBE

Mrs. Janice Panton MBE, UK and EU Representative for the Government of Montserrat and Chair of the OCTA Innovation will present Association of EU Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTA) and OCTA Innovation, EU funded project for propelling innovation in the OCTs. As an introductory speaker at the Montserrat Innovation Days, Janice Panton will particularly highlight her call upon the heads of the governments of the EU Overseas Countries and Territories to embrace Systemic Innovation for the sustainable development of their territories.

The Premier’s Office on Tuesday this week, provided some more details. The linkages between innovation and sustainable development will be the focus of discussions on Montserrat for the ‘2018 Innovation Days’, being organised by the Government of Montserrat with support from the local Innovation Advisory Board.

The ‘Innovation Days’ are scheduled for Thursday August 16 and Friday August 17 at the Montserrat National Trust starting at 9:00a.m. on both days.  The event will be launched on Thursday morning by Hon. Premiere Donaldson Romeo who will deliver opening remarks. Other speakers scheduled to deliver remarks at the opening ceremony include Government of Montserrat’s UK Representative and Chair of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) Innovation, Mrs. Janice Panton, and Brussels based OCTA Innovation Team Leader, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck.

The Brussels based OCTA Innovation Team Leader and the local Innovation Advisory Board explained that the ‘Innovation Days’ are intended to assist in enhancing sustainable development through innovation solutions for economic diversification.  The event targets both local public and private stakeholders, encouraging exchanges of relevant knowledge and best available practice in different aspects of sustainable development of the island.

During the sessions, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck, will lead a group of EU experts who will provide some lectures and transfer of knowledge on the best EU practices to Montserrat. Milan in particular will share his knowledge and experience in innovation and sustainable development; Innovation, entrepreneurship and green business expert from Trinidad and Tobago, Alan Cooper, will share his knowledge and regional experience in policy support for innovation, entrepreneurship and green business development; while development and tourism expert James McGregor, will bring the best worldwide practice and experience in visitor economy. Some members of the local Innovation Advisory Board will also deliver presentations based on their areas of specialisation.

In addition to the Innovation Days on August 16 and 17, a round-table discussion on the ‘Creative Industry’ is also being planned for Monday, August 20 starting at 9:00a.m. at the Cabinet Secretariat’s Conference Room.

The OCTA Innovation programme assists Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) in propelling innovation and creativity through the organisation of local ‘Innovation Days’. Innovation Days are events held in the OCTs, ranging from one day up to several days, with support from the Brussels based OCTA Innovation Team Leader, and features lectures and trainings from experts.

Creativity in Monserrat has been recognised: handmade craft items specific to Montserrat. Emerald Isle Ceramics won OCTA Innovation BIC Award 2017 in creativity field.

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Governments moving to ban plastics and Styrofoam

Governments moving to ban plastics and Styrofoam

NASSAU, Bahamas, Jul. 27, CMC – The Government has embarked upon a programme to ban the use of plastics and Styrofoam which are proving detrimental to the country’s eco and marine system.

In an effort to make the public aware of the planned policy, the first in a series of town hall meetings on Single-use Plastics & Styrofoam Ban was held earlier this week.

(file photo)

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis underscored the importance of banning the use of plastics and Styrofoam.

The aim is to also simultaneously address marine pollution and waste management and to ban single-use plastics, such as shopping bags, food utensils, straws and Styrofoam food containers by 2020.

“Reducing harmful waste streams such as plastics and Styrofoam is one of the first steps we are taking in to implementing a more effective solid waste management strategy that prioritizes waste prevention and minimization, while utilizing waste disposal as a last resort,” he said.

The Prime Minister referenced the New Daily website about a video that went viral on the “world’s latest garbage emergency” showing 30 tons of plastic debris washing up on a beach in the Dominican Republic. 

The New Daily also reported “A huge clean-up operation began on Wednesday with more than 500 local public workers, navy and army support mobilized to collect and remove the massive floating stockpile of plastic bottles, takeaway food containers and Styrofoam.”

According to the Prime Minister, these “shocking” events dramatize why there is a global and his Government’s push towards reducing plastic pollution in the oceans.

More than 60 countries have already committed to introducing levies and bans to reduce single-use plastic waste, he said, adding that plastic pollution is extremely difficult to remove from the environment.

“These plastics break down into much smaller micro-pieces which are often mistaken for food by birds, turtles, and fish. Tiny particles of plastics have been found to build up in fish brains, altering their behaviour,” Minnis said.

He also noted that like other Small Island Developing States, The Bahamas is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

“Coupled with this, we have the prevailing challenge of finding waste management solutions that suit our small size and growing economy.Due to our geographic location, we are besieged by marine debris from the United States of America, and from the many international marine vessels which pass through our waters. This pollution will have a terrible impact on our tourism and fishing industries.”

The Prime Minister said that his Government remains committed to ensuring that significant action is taken to mitigate natural as well as human-made pollution, including pollution resulting from the poor-functioning and poorly managed dump sites throughout our archipelago.

“As the Ministry of the Environment continues to host town hall and consultation meetings with businesses, I want to encourage all Bahamians to do their part in reducing their plastics and Styrofoam use,” he added.

Dominica bans Styrofoam and plastic items

ROSEAU, Dominica, Jul 27, CMC- The Dominica government says it will ban the use of Styrofoam and certain plastic items from January 1, next year.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told Parliament that that the decision is in keeping with his administration’s vision to have the island become the first climate resilient country in the world.

“Madam Speaker, consistent with the Government’s vision to create the world’s first climate resilient nation, our designation as “The Nature Isle” and our commitment to protect Mother Earth, effective 1st January 2019, a number of items considered to be inimical to the environment will be banned.

“These will include the following: plastic straws, plastic plates, plastic forks, plastic knives, Styrofoam cups, Styrofoam containers,” Skerrit said, adding that that the necessary legislation to enforce the ban will soon be prepared.

“We must in every way deserve and reflect that designation,” he said of the island being known as the “Nature Isle”.

He said the issue of solid waste management affects the perception of Dominica as the Nature Island and his government continues to grapple with the problem.

“In a previous budget address, I announced a decision to restrict the importation of non-biodegradable containers and plastic implements used in food service. This matter has not proceeded as quickly as we would have liked, as we wanted to ensure that we implemented that policy without compromising our obligations under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. (that governs the Caribbean Community (CARICOM))

“It is acceptable for a country to adopt measures which will help in the preservation of the environment,” he added.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional, Technology, TOURISM0 Comments

WhatsApp users should be careful when opening messages, after the discovery of a text bomb that can cause your handset to freeze. The glitch works by overloading systems with tens of thousands of hidden text characters, forcing affected users to reset their device

Warning over WhatsApp ‘text bomb’ that could crash your phone: Malicious message causes iPhone and Android handsets to freeze

Mail onLine

  • The glitch overloads smartphones with tens of thousands of hidden characters
  • This forces users who received the message to reset their iOS or Android device  
  • This come in two varieties, one featuring a black dot and a warning message
  • Another contains a crying while laughing emoji with instructions to ‘read more’
  • A full system reboot may be required if you are unlucky enough to activate it

WhatsApp users are being warned about a new ‘text bomb’ that can cause their iOS and Android handsets to freeze. 

It is being spread by messages sent via the popular app and comes in two varieties.  One reads: ‘This is very interesting’ with a crying while laughing emoji, followed by ‘Read more’. Tapping on ‘read more’ causes your handset to freeze. 

Another features a black dot and contains the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot causes the crash to occur. 

The code powering the messages is being shared on Pastebin, meaning anyone can find it online, copy and paste it, then spread the text bomb via WhatsApp.

Its understood that the text message is being circulated by friends as a prank to their WhatsApp contacts, to deliberately crash their phones.

Anyone who is sent the text bomb is advised to delete the message in question. The safest way to do this is to delete the conversation thread it is part of, rather than clicking on the message itself.

Devices caught out by the bomb may need to be rebooted. To do this, hold down the power button on your handset until the restart option appears, or power down the device then power it back up if this option isn’t available.

WhatsApp has yet to issue a statement, but the Facebook-owned firm is likely to issue a software patch fixing the problem in the near future. 

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WhatsApp users should be careful when opening messages, after the discovery of a text bomb that can cause your handset to freeze. The glitch works by overloading systems with tens of thousands of hidden text characters, forcing affected users to reset their device

Another variant of the message is said to contain the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot icon in the message causes the same issues to arise for Android users specifically
 

Another variant of the message is said to contain the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot icon in the message causes the same issues to arise for Android users specifically

The bug has been hidden in the specially crafted messages according to Neowin, who first reported the text bomb after spotting claims made on Reddit.

In the first message, the code in question is hidden just after the emoji and clicking on ‘read more’ causes Whatsapp to expand this part of the message. In the second, the code is hidden after the dot icon.

Posted in International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology, Technology, Youth0 Comments

Darcy Boyce

COTED meeting agrees on CCREE full operationalisation

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Apr 20, CMC – The Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Energy has ended here with an agreement that work has advanced towards the full operationalisation of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) by the middle of this year.

Minister of State in the Office of the Barbados Prime Minister, Darcy Boyce, who chaired the one-day meeting on Thursday, said “we can then move forward with appointment of the executive board and staffing of the Centre”.

Darcy Boyce
Darcy Boyce

Montserrat became the latest Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to have deposited its instruments of ratification of the agreement establishing the CCREEE.

Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica and Belize are the other CARICOM countries that have deposited their instruments of ratification.

The Centre is intended to function as the implementation hub for the CARICOM Energy Policy, as well as the Caribbean Sustainable Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS). I

n 2015, CARICOM leaders approved the establishment of the CCREEE and identified Barbados as the host country for its Secretariat. The COTED agreed to interim operations of the Centre in January, 2016 and on Thursday, the meeting agreed on decisions related to the transition from that interim stage to the first operational phase.

When fully operational, the Centre is expected to improve the quantity and quality of programmes and projects in sustainable energy within the region.

“We had a very useful meeting, and I expect that we would have put ourselves in a position to achieve a lot more in the energy sector, in renewable energy and energy efficiency over the next few years,’ Boyce said, adding that “good progress” had also been made on the matter of labelling of energy efficient equipment within the region.

He said this step would ensure that people knew “exactly what they were getting” when they bought equipment and sought to encourage them to acquire more efficient equipment and appliances for their properties.

The meeting also approved a pilot programme which will get underway shortly to promote energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings. Substantial discussions were held on integrating climate resilience into the C-CERMS against the background of the region’s vulnerability to intense climate-related events.

The one-day meeting also discussed insurance and electricity disruption.

“We felt that we needed to discuss ways in which we could get the work done to guide us… to become more resistant to those situations, and to help us to recover faster” when there are natural disasters,” Boyce said.

He said the ministers also took stock of the availability of technical assistance under the CARIFORUM Regional Programme for Energy under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) to get the resources that were necessary for studies and to implement projects to grow the energy sector.

The ministers also had “robust” discussions on oil and gas in the Region. A working group is to be established to consider how there could be deeper cooperation and more advice available on the technical matters on that sector.

Boyce had at the start of the meeting made reference to the region’s oil and gas sector, and its potential to benefit the populace.

“While we are all determined to make sure that we benefit as best as we can from renewable energy and energy efficiency, we all also have to bear in mind that if we are the owners of resources, we ought not to let those resources stand there idly, but we should use them for the benefit of our countries and for the Region.

“So I am very glad that we are not shying away from the matter of oil and gas. It is a matter of balancing … oil and gas, with the natural resource of sunlight, and wind, and water. And this is what it is all about: optimising, getting the best mix of those resources to give our people and our economies what they need”, he said.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Education, Energy, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology, Technology0 Comments

Ambassador Perry Holloway

US diplomat urges Guyanese to neglect advice from “so-called experts”

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 30, CMS – A  United States diplomat is urging Guyana to be cautious against what he termed the “so-called experts” who have been making negative comments about the country’s new found oil and gas wealth.

US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, speaking on a radio programme here, said that he is impressed that the people of Guyana are getting “oil smart” but encouraged them to seek out the truth for themselves regarding the development of the oil and gas industry.

Ambassador Perry Holloway
Ambassador Perry Holloway

“I encourage everyone, experts and not, to continue to learn. A lot of stuff is available online including the contract, so I encourage people not just to take anyone, myself included, at their word to go out and investigate it and find out the truth,” Holloway said, in an apparent reference to the controversy that has erupted here following the production sharing contract between Guyana and the US-based oil giant ExxonMobil.

The diplomat had first called out these “‘so-called experts” during a business forum at the inaugural Innov8 Conference hosted by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company.

But he told radio listeners that there is more than just gloom and doom stories from oil.

“When I see articles like that, I think, you could have also picked another 20 other countries that have been giant successes,’ he said, reiterating the need for the population to find out the facts for themselves.

“Cherry picking of data, whether it’s to sell newspapers or for political means, while that’s what you do …  I will just encourage everyone to go out and get the whole story,” he said, reminding all that it is the government and its people who determine how the oil revenues are spent.

“What a country does with their oil money is entirely up to the government and the people. So, if the government is corrupt well then you could imagine the results you would get. So, while everyone should hold ExxonMobil’s feet to the fire everyone is going to have to, in the future, hold whatever government is in power’s feet to the fire.”

He said oil revenue can provide “fantastic” education opportunities, security, food security and infrastructure which is the single biggest thing that most Guyanese need”.

The government has received support from the United States in the development of the oil and gas industry. The US had supported Guyana’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) bid and Guyana has since become a member of EITI.

Washington has also provided advice to Guyana in the revision of its regulations as it prepares for oil. The country is also working with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on how to audit large companies.

Guyana is set to begin oil production by 2020 after years of drilling for the commodity in its waters.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Local, News, Regional, Technology0 Comments

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