SAP, Meraka form tech unit

first_img11 May 2006Software vendors SAP Africa and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Meraka Institute have jointly established a facility to foster South African information technology research.The facility, to be known as the SAP Meraka Unit for Technology Development, is also backed by the department of science and technology.As well as conducting basic and applied Information and Communication Technology (ICT) research, the Tech Unit will be seeking to attract R100 million in additional funding and investment in the next five years.Knowledge base“It’s common knowledge that there is a direct positive relationship between progress in science and technology and socio-economic development,” said Meraka Institute director Llew Jones at the unit’s launch in Johannesburg earlier this month.“Yet South Africa does less than half a percent of the world’s new science and technology knowledge generation.“It’s imperative, therefore, that we gain access to the rest of the world’s science and technology knowledge base and skills, so that we can improve our capacity.BenchmarkThe Meraka Institute was formed in response to President Thabo Mbeki’s call in 2002 for a South African “ICT University”. The institute aims to promote economic and social development through ICT research and innovation.“Being the first of its kind, the SAP Meraka Unit will be a benchmark for other such initiatives,” said Jones.Business case“The SAP Meraka Unit will help SAP as a global organisation understand the technology needs of emerging economies,” said SAP Research Vice-President, Dr Joachim Schaper.“Which makes helping the South African government meet its objectives of triggering research innovation, local development and commercialisation an extremely powerful and persuasive business case for us.”SAP is one of the world’s leading business software providers, with more 33 000 customers in more than 120 reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

International win for South African innovation

first_imgVarious energy outlets are built into the device. The PowerPac attached to the cycle’s rear wheel and ready to go. Senior designer Jared Vorster was on hand to accept the accolade at the glittering awards ceremony in Singapore.(Images: Ideso) MEDIA CONTACTS • Jared Vorster  Senior designer, Ideso  +27 21 914 8444 RELATED ARTICLES • Young energy champions lead the way • Driven by imagination • Green valley lives up to its name • Bank’s green building looks ahead • SA’s first hydrogen bike rolled outSue MustafaCape-based company Ideso’s PowerPac has received one of the highest accolades in the design world – the Red Dot ‘Best of the Best’ award for 2012. This is no mean feat, as the awards were contested by 4 515 entries from around 1 800 companies and designers from 58 countries.Ideso is a specialist product design consultancy that, since 1998, has focused on the distribution of creative and interactive products and has brought over 400 products to market for local and global companies such as Shell, Addis, British American Tobacco, and ZaPOP – this achievement led to the company’s recognition by the Singapore-based Red Dot awards. Established in 1955, the awards highlight the importance of design for the advancement of business and society. The sought-after red dot of approval is internationally recognised as a sign of top-quality design and as well as the prestige that comes with earning one, the winners are also presented in the Red Dot yearbooks and exhibitions. There have been three previous South African Red Dot award winners, making Ideso the fourth with PowerPac.How the PowerPac worksThe PowerPac is simply attached to the back wheel of a bicycle and 80 minutes of cycling – by an average cyclist – will result in a full charge and 132Wh of stored potential energy. This human generated energy can later be used to power numerous devices such as phones, cameras and household tools, among others.However, the company has no plans yet to make the PowerPac available outside urban centres.“The technology is aimed at home or office cyclists,” says Ideso senior designer Jared Vorster. “The technology required, along with the production and component costs, mean that this product would be unaffordable for the rural market.”The price of the PowerPac, were it to go public, would be around R6 000 (US$668) depending on the demand for the product. Vorster hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a low-cost version, but says this is not part of Ideso’s plans as yet.While human-generated energy and home fitness training are not new concepts, Ideso goes even further by integrating the concept of a removable storage unit with the means for portable charging wherever and whenever it needs to be utilised.“Our concept is not meant to be a cheaper alternative for electricity,” says Vorster, “but is rather aimed at making existing exercise more meaningful, thus allowing those who currently work out at home or at the office, to put their effort to good use.”The PowerPac consists of two parts: the removable smaller battery unit which contains the 12V battery and various built-in energy output options such as a conventional 220V AC outlet, a 12V DC cigarette lighter type, and a 5V DC USB port, while the second larger unit houses the permanent magnet DC generator and the charge controller.Designing for a better South AfricaThe local industrial design industry is small, but according to Ideso MD Marc Ruwiel the size does not undermine the quality of work produced by the South African design community. Students interested in a career in industrial design careers can enroll at tertiary institutions such as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology as well as at the University of Johannesburg. Ideso promotes the idea of industrial design as a source of economic growth with the use of innovative ambition. Many South African households may own Ideso products and yet have no idea of the company’s existence, but the Red Dot’s stamp of approval has created international interest in the product and has increased Ideso’s visibility within the design world. Ruwiel hopes that this visibility will make the international community aware that “there is more to South Africa than game drives and politics”. PowerPac’s success has arrived at an optimum time as Cape Town prepares to host the World Design Capital in 2014. The company hopes to bring PowerPac into mass production and is currently looking to partner with an existing brand within the cycling industry to use their distribution channels. Among Ideso’s local portfolio are the Addis ComfiGrip range of household cleaning products; a 45l cooler box also for Addis, as well as numerous other plastic storage items for the company; and an in-store drop box for Berco couriers.last_img read more

(Really) big dairy drama

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Lost Valley Farm, the second largest dairy in Oregon, has been in the news numerous times with diverse legal issues. The drama would make for a great made-for-TV movie, but I don’t think it would air on the Hallmark Channel.Last year, 59-year old Greg te Velde, of Tipton, California, sought permits for a 30,000 cow dairy, which would make it the second largest milk producer in the state of Oregon. The dairy is located on 7,000 acres near Boardman, along the Columbia River in North Central Oregon. More importantly, the site is near the 70,000-head Threemile Canyon Farms, the largest dairy in Oregon. Permitting 100,000 cows in close proximity seems like more than a concentration.There was trouble from the start. To say it lacked local support might be the understatement of the year. There were 4,200 public comments opposed to the dairy in writing.The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality granted the CAFO, and the dairy began operations in April of last year. About the same time, the dairy began racking up citations, as well. Lost Valley failed numerous inspections, was cited four times for permit violations and fined $10,640.The most interesting legal twist was the arrest of the owner for soliciting a prostitute and possession of methamphetamine. That happened on August 19, 2017, in Kennewick, Wa. Greg te Velde was one of 10 people arrested in a Tri-Counties prostitution sting.That was not the only criminal case te Velde faced. He was cited for careless driving contributing to an accident, after he hit an Oregon Department of Transportation truck, on Interstate 84 in Hood River County and fined $450.On the civil side, te Velde was sued by a company that worked on construction of Lost Valley. Laser Land Leveling, Inc., an Idaho contractor, alleges they are owed $1.4 million on a $5.8 million contract.In January of this year, the Oregon Department of Agriculture took legal action to close the dairy due to the environmental problems caused by non-compliance. The agency and the operator, however, reached a settlement, and the dairy remained in production, although with weekly inspections.The latest news is that while the owner made peace with the state agency, he was not able to achieve an agreement with his lender. The dairy is reportedly $60 million in debt, with multiple notes in default, to Rabobank, a Dutch agricultural lender. The banker is calling for a foreclosure sale. To date, the owner has not permitted anyone from the auction house, Toppenish Livestock, on the property. There are 10,500 milking and dry cows and 4,000 replacement heifers the bank wants sold on April 27.Let’s count the different kinds of lawyers that Lost Valley needed in the past two years: an environmental lawyer for the permitting process and repeated violations; a business lawyer for proper business creation; a criminal lawyer for the soliciting and possession and careless driving; if he was married, a divorce lawyer may have been needed when his spouse discovered the solicitation charge; a civil litigator for the construction non-payment suit; and a bankruptcy lawyer for dealing with debtor/creditor issues with Rabobank. That is a total of five, minimum.Contrast this scenario with the recent news about the 130 family dairy farms who are facing closing their operations because Dean Foods canceled their contracts. Walmart opened their own processing plant and prefers to deal with big farms sending whole semi loads. Most of those family farms canceled by Dean Foods have never had an environmental violation, a civil lawsuit of any kind, and certainly no criminal charges. The cost of production on these farms is clearly lower than the high overhead created by the new construction of massive operations. It has been established repeatedly that the quality of milk on small family dairies is preferable to that of the very large dairies.Not to mention the genetics of the cows — the small family dairy farms have cows that have been selectively bred for generations. The largest dairies go for quantity over quality. Family farms tend to have aged cows in their milking string. On a very large dairy, a three-year-old is a rarity and a relic.Where do your want your milk from? I keep hearing that folks want fresh, safe, healthy food from local family farms. What are we, as a country, doing to make sure this happens?last_img read more

Person-Centered Thinking and Planning

first_imgThis MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on April 27, 2018. As we’re wrapping up Month of the Military Child, we would like to take this opportunity to revisit a blog post from earlier this month – Person-Centered Thinking and Planning.The Person-Centered Thinking and Planning process is most helpful for parents of children with disabilities, but can be used by all parents and guardians.Watch the video below to learn about Person-Centered Thinking and Planning as it guides you through the steps to mapping out what is important to and for your child.Download the fact sheet on Documenting Person-Centered Thinking and Planning here.last_img read more

Fujifilm Announces X-T2 Camera with 4K Video

first_imgFujifilm announces the new X-T2 Camera with 4K shooting capabilities, film simulation, improved tracking abilities, and more.Image via FujifilmStarting at $1,600, Fujifilm’s versatile new mirrorless camera surpasses the previous X-T1 with more megapixels, 4K recording capability, improved AF, and the X Processor Pro. The camera’s sensor has a native sensitivity range of ISO 200-12800 that can be bumped up to 51200. The X-T2 uses a 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor adding eight megapixels to the X-T1’s 16.3 MP sensor. This improvement in image quality in photography and video is a huge step up with the high ISO sensitivity, low noise level, and new sensor.Image via Fujifilm The FUJIFILM X-T2 captures approx. 1.8x the required number of pixels for 4K video (4K/30P, 25P, 24P) and 2.4x the required data for full HD video (1080/60P, 50P, 24P) to deliver superior movie quality free from moiré or artifacts. It also supports the high bit rate of 100Mbps. — FujifilmThe body of the camera is bigger and has a better grip, plus raised dials that help photographers handle the camera in a more comfortable fashion. On top of the accessible handling, the camera is housed in a weather-sealed body, keeping the elements at bay on your next shoot. The X-T2 also has built-in Wi-Fi, cutting down the process of uploading pictures to your phone, Instagram, and Facebook. With yesterday’s announcement, Fujifilm released a short film made entirely on the X-T2, including a behind-the-scenes look at how the film was made. As far as AF goes, the camera’s detection area has grown by 230% with up to 325 focus points. Eye detection and face detection are among the new AF features, automatically distinguishing facial features to improve focus capability.Image via FujifilmThe cameras “joystick” can change the focus area by moving left, right, up, down and diagonally covering a wide area of focus after establishing your image.Image via FujifilmThe X-T2’s improved viewfinder has a 0.77x magnification ratio:The 2.36-million-dot high-resolution organic EL electronic viewfinder has a magnification ratio of 0.77x, a horizontal viewing angle of 31 degrees, and a display time lag of just 0.005 seconds. The viewfinder, which is 2 times brighter than the previous model, also features an automatic brightness adjustment function so it’s easy to see in all conditions – even intense backlighting. It completely eliminates moiré or false colors, and boasts performance comparable to an optical viewfinder, but with the added advantage of displaying a live view that reflects exposure settings. — FujifilmAnother small change to the body comes from the rear LCD screen that can now swivel out to the right instead of only up and down like the X-T1. This could be beneficial when attempting to shoot difficult angles.Tech Specs24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III SensorX-Processor Pro Engine0.77x 2.36m-Dot OLED Viewfinder3.0″ 1.04m-Dot 3-Way Tilting LCD ScreenInternal UHD 4K Video & F-Log GammBuilt-In Wi-Fi Connectivity325-Point Intelligent Hybrid AF SystemUp to 8 fps Shooting and ISO 51200Weather-Sealed Body; Two UHS-II SD SlotsFilm Simulation and Grain Effect ModesPrice: $1,600Release Date: September 2016Got any thoughts on Fujifilm’s new X-T2? Share them in the comments below.last_img read more

UP Assembly sessions may be longer, telecast live: Speaker

first_imgUttar Pradesh Assembly Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit favours longer sessions of the state legislature and “mutual cooperation” between the ruling party and the Opposition for smooth conduct of the House.He is also “open” to the idea of live telecast of the proceedings of the House.“The elected MLAs of both the ruling party and Opposition are interested in running the House. I have full faith that the House will run for more than 90 days as per the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the UP Legislative Assembly, 1958,” 69-year-old Dixit told PTI in an interview.Asserting that the elected MLAs of the 17th Uttar Pradesh Assembly — both ruling and Opposition — are interested in smooth conduct of business, he exuded confidence that the House will run for more than 90 days a year.The sessions have been usually been very brief in the past, irrespective of which party was in power, lasting somewhere between less than a week to little over a week, barring the budget sessions.Asked as to how he was so confident of having a longer session, he said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has himself expressed his willingness to run the House for a “longer time”.“Previous governments did not show the same type of willingness,” Dixit, a five-time MLA, said.According to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the UP Legislative Assembly, 1958, “every year, the Assembly shall ordinarily have three sessions — the Budget session, the Monsoon session and the Winter session and sit for 90 days of which, as for as possible, a session for at least 10 working days shall be convened at the interval of two months.” On the idea of live telecast of proceedings of the Assembly, Mr. Dixit said, “It is a good idea, and we are open to the idea.” He said that positivity exists within the UP Assembly and it must also be highlighted.On whether the Opposition could be bulldozed, given the brute strength of the BJP and its allies, which have together bagged 325 of the 403 Assembly seats in the recent elections, Mr. Dixit said, “The voice of the Opposition will be heard.” The Speaker admitted that from the point of view of numbers, the Opposition is weak.“But, the responsibility of the Opposition is to present alternative policies to the government and to oppose policies which it thinks are not in the interest of the people. In addition to this, the Opposition is supposed to give constructive suggestions to the government.” Invoking former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the importance of Opposition, Mr. Dixit said, “Vajpayee had once said that democracy is not a game of 51-49. Democracy translates to mutual conversation, mutual partnership (paraspar samwaad, paraspar bhaagedaari). Jawaharlal Nehru had said that for a successful democracy, the Opposition should be as strong as the ruling party. There should be mutual cooperation, suggestions and sense of responsibility between the ruling party and the Opposition.” The Speaker also cited British political theorist, economist, author and lecturer Prof Harold Joseph Laski that the role of Opposition is to propose and to oppose.Asked as to when the first session was likely to commence, he said the first-time MLAs will be called to the state capital for an orientation and training programme where they will be imparted all the relevant knowledge by veteran MLAs, parliamentarians and by Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training (BPST).“Recently I was in Delhi, where I met Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and requested her to come to Lucknow and impart training to the first-time MLAs,” he said.“After a week-long training session, the House will meet,” he said.On his election as the Speaker, Mr. Dixit said, “During my election, MLAs of opposition parties extended their support to me out of affection and not out of formality. I enjoy good rapport with the ruling party and the Opposition as well.” Mr. Dixit, who has earlier been minister for panchayati raj and parliamentary affairs, was the leader of the BJP in the Legislative Council till recently. He is also a columnist and has a number of books to his credit.last_img read more

NSCN-IM slams Rijiju over remarks on talks

first_imgThe Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland on Monday lashed out at Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju for “vitiating the atmosphere of negotiations” by saying the issue of sovereignty has been dropped from the talks agenda.Mr. Rijiju on Saturday said the Naga peace process was nearing a solution with the NSCN-IM having dropped some issues such as sovereignty of Naga-inhabited areas.On Tuesday, Mr. Rijiju denied making such a statement. “I have not used any words except that territorial integrity of all States would be maintained,” he said. “At no point of the negotiation have both the parties ignored important political issues, and the concocted statement of Mr. Rijiju that NSCN has dropped the stand of the Nagas on their sovereign right is a figment of his imagination,” the NSCN-IM said in a statement.“When the dialogue is progressing at the level of the Prime Minister, Mr. Rijiju has no business to talk on political issues he is ignorant about,” the NSCN-IM said. It advised Mr. Rijiju to refrain from making irresponsible statements at this juncture.last_img read more

Rohingya trio deported to Myanmar

first_imgThree Rohingya, including a woman, were deported to Myanmar via Moreh in Manipur on Thursday. The three had been caught in 2013 for illegally entering Assam.”We coordinated with Manipur police and Myanmar authorities for the deportation of the Rohingya people,” Sader Ali, Deputy Superintendent of Police in Assam’s Sonitpur district, said on Friday.The three were lodged at a detention camp for foreigners in Sonitpur district headquarters Tezpur. They belonged to the family of five other Rohingya who had been deported to Myanmar on January 3. Mr Ali was in charge of the deportation process that involved Moreh’s sub-divisional police officer Binoy Chongtham.The deported trio was identified as Emam Hussain, 55, Mohammed Saresh, 20, and Rafiqa Begin, 18. Police said they were from a village under Bathidung police station in Myanmar.last_img read more

Indo-Canadian Brothers Accused of Money Laundering Indicted in U.S.

first_imgA federal grand jury in Columbia, United States, indicted on March 20 two Canadian brothers accused of operating an Internet-based unlicensed money service business that processed more than $250 million in transactions, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. Each of the brothers, if convicted, faces a maximum sentence of more than 25 years.Firoz Patel, 43, and Ferhan Patel, 37, the founders and operators of, and, have been charged with one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and to violate anti-money laundering program requirements. They have also been charged with one count of a money laundering conspiracy and one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business in the District of Columbia.MH Pillars, Ltd., doing business as Payza, is charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, the statement said. The Patel brothers, who are Canadian citizens from Montreal, Quebec, together with co-conspirators, created and maintained websites from which they provided money transmission services to millions of customers in the United States and elsewhere.“These websites claimed to provide legitimate money transmission services. Customers set up accounts via the websites that could be used to transfer money to, and receive money from, others for a fee,” the indictment said, adding that the criminal activity took place around March 2012 until now.“The defendants, through, are accused of operating a money transmitting business that operated without the necessary state licenses and knowingly transmitting funds that were derived from illegal activity,” the statement said.Despite receiving cease and desist letters from various U.S. states and even after being told by a consultant that operating a money transmission business without the necessary licenses was a crime, the brothers continued their illegal activity, the indictment claims. The California Department of Financial Institutions, for instance, sent a letter to Payza in September 2012.The Patels, together with other co-conspirators, are suspected to be responsible for transmitting over $250 million throughout the United States.“The arrest and indictments in this case demonstrate that we will vigorously enforce laws meant to protect the American consumer. Money transmitting businesses are required to be registered federally and licensed in most states and jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia,” said U.S. attorney Jessie K. LiuLiu added that consumers should be careful of those who do not follow these laws as they could be acting as a cover for other illegal activity.Ferhan was arrested on March 18, 2018, in Detroit. He made his first appearance on March 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. He will continue to remain held as further proceedings in the District of Columbia are pending. His brother remains at large.Payza’s customers allegedly included ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes and a child pornography site. The Patels are accused of opening bank accounts in the United States and laundering their illegal proceeds through those accounts.“The indictment also seeks forfeiture of any property involved in these offenses or traceable to these offenses.  In addition, the indictment seeks the specific forfeiture of approximately $10 million that has already been seized and frozen,” the statement added.Under the District of Columbia law, money transmission businesses must obtain a license from the superintendent of the office of banking and financial institutions of the District of Columbia, and the failure to do so is a felony. Related ItemsCanadaMoney LaunderingUnited Stateslast_img read more

Thought of quitting after Rio disappointment: Mirabai Chanu

first_imgNew Delhi, Dec 8 (PTI) Newly-crowned weightlifting world champion Saikhom Mirabai Chanu says she thought of quitting the sport after receiving flak for her failure to win a medal at the Rio Olympics.”I was really low after the Olympics. It took me a lot of time to get over the disappointment. I even thought of giving up the sport and stop training. The comments in social media, the criticism against my coach really hurt me,” said Chanu, who recently became the second Indian after Karnam Malleswari to win a World Championship gold medal at the worlds.”I was thinking day and night how to get things right. I decided to do better than what I was doing because I knew that is the only way to stop people from talking. That was the only way to get over the hurt.”The 23-year-old from Manipur clinched Indias first gold at World Weightlifting Championship in 22 years after lifting a new world record of 194kg ? 85kg snatch and 109kg clean- and-jerk at Anaheim, USA last month.Chanu said she had to work on her technique and go for regular sessions with a psychologist to get over the loss and answer her detractors.”I did really bad at the Olympics. I had failed in clean and jerk, so I discussed with my coach about it and brought few changes in my technique during the training,” she said with a smile.”My psychologist also played a big role. I used to go to my psychologist twice in a month but after the Olympics I started taking sessions every week and it really helped me.”advertisementTalking about the dope tests, Chanu said: “Every week, I am tested for doping by NADA and WADA takes my samples twice a month. After reaching Las Vegas, my blood and urine samples were taken and again it was collected during the championship also, so it was collected twice in a month.”Looking back at her Rio Games performance, Chanu said the big stage got to her and she became nervous when her turn came as an Olympic medal slipped through her fingers.”I had really bad luck in Olympics. I could have won a medal. At the Olympic trial I had scored 192, if I could have done that I would have won a silver but I couldnt. It was my first Olympics and I got nervous,” she said.Crestfallen after the Olympics, Chanu did not go home and decided to work on her clean and jerk at the National camp in Patiala, but the Indian hopes to visit her native place early next year.”I will play at Railways event from December 11 and then there is National Championship in January. After that, I will speak to coach and hope to go home,” she said.Now that she has erased the ignominy of the Rio Olympics, Chanu has her eyes trained on the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games next year.”It was my dream to win a gold at World Championship. Now that I have achieved it, my target is to win a medal at Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and 2020 Olympics,” she signed off.Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) president Birendra Prasad Baishya said Mirabais performance is proof of Indias commitment towrads making weightlifting a dope-free sport.”At a time when top countries such as China, Turkey, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan are banned for doping, Chanu showed how to win with honour,” Baishya said.”WADA tested her 15 times and NADA collected samples 30 times. It means in the last four years, there has been 45 tests in her and I congratulate her that all were negative.”Earlier our image was bad due to dope cases but now our federation is dope free. Our aim was to make weightlifting dope free and our coaches and lifter made it possible.”Baishya hoped India will win as many as 16 medals at the Commonwealth Games in April next year.”Commonwealth Games is knocking at the door and already 16 Indian lifters have qualified. I feel we may get 16 medals, which would be the highest ever tally.” PTI ATK AH AHlast_img read more