Minister of State for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Julian Robinson, says that the government is committed to providing Jamaicans with access to computer technology and for them to use it in productive ways to improve their lives and the country’s economy. “Access puts you in the game. Many of our youngsters (may not) have the aptitude for academic work… (but) may have the aptitude to build applications and to develop solutions, but we have to expose them to the technology,” he stated. “We have to provide them with an opportunity for them to engage their brains in a different way and if we don’t do it then we are going to have more of the challenges that we have,” he added. He was speaking on Nov. 5 at the annual Jamaica Customer Service Association (JaCSA) Conference at the Wyndham Kingston. Under the Universal Service Fund, the government has implemented the Community Access Point project to provide high speed internet access to all Jamaicans, especially those in rural communities. Service is being provided at libraries, schools, and post offices across the island. Mr. Robinson informed that some 85 such facilities have been fitted with computer laboratories, equipped with computers and internet access. He noted that work was also in progress on an additional 57 facilities, with new proposals being formulated for another 123. To further increase access, the government has built an island-wide broadband network with the assistance of telecommunications firms, Flow and LIME. “Flow is doing the north section of the country and LIME is doing the south, so that you will have the computer labs connected to high speed internet,” he informed. “So regardless of where you are, if you are in the hills of Mocho, you can go to a library, log on and spend time on the computer. Hopefully, not just playing on Facebook or Twitter, but doing something productive that can earn you a living,” he said. The State Minister further argued that access to the internet and computers “democratises education” in the sense that it closes the gap between upper and middle class students, giving more young people access to the tools that are necessary for their success. “It allows those who don’t have the means to have the same information as those who do,” he said. The JaCSA is hosting its 10th annual service excellence conference under the theme: ‘Power up! Log On: Stay connected to service excellence’, from November 5 to 6. The conference will include presentations from a number of local and international speakers. These include: Motivational speaker and Lecturer from the United States, Andre Boykin; President and Chief Executive Officer, Jamaica Public Service, Kelly Tomlin; Programme Director, Vision 2030 Jamaica, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Richard Lumsden; Chairman, INSPORTS, Don Anderson; and President and Chief Executive Officer, Columbus Communications, Michelle English.
Despite a week and a half of rumors, this year’s NBA trade deadline turned out to be mostly uneventful — save for one big-name star switching teams.1Nerlens Noel also qualifies as a newsworthy trade, but since Dallas, his new team, is unlikely to reach the postseason, that deal feels like more of a move for the future. Neither Paul George nor Jimmy Butler was traded, and even smaller rumored deals, like one that would’ve sent Derrick Rose to Minnesota and Ricky Rubio to New York, didn’t happen. Most of what did take place was smaller in nature, or merely marginal in its scope.And then there are the Toronto Raptors. While they didn’t necessarily move heaven and earth before the trade deadline, they better positioned themselves in the East just in case Cleveland is still vulnerable come the playoffs.Last week, they dealt for Orlando power forward Serge Ibaka, giving up swingman Terrence Ross and this year’s first-round pick in the process. Then on Thursday, minutes before the deadline, they parted ways with Jared Sullinger and two second-round picks to acquire Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker, a hard-nosed small forward who doesn’t need the ball much on offense. Both qualify as welcome moves for the Raptors, who badly needed a jolt after losing 11 of their last 16 games and falling from second to fourth in the conference in less than a month.In many ways, it’s already been decided that Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri won the trade, since he filled an obvious need for Toronto at the power-forward spot without giving up the farm. Before the deal, that position was the Raptors’ weakest, and one at which they’ve struggled defensively more than any team in basketball thus far.The Ibaka move, paired with the one for Tucker (which gives Toronto another potential body to throw onto LeBron James and alleviates some pressure from DeMarre Carroll, who has struggled) gives the team a handful of lineups that should be relatively solid on either side of the ball.Offensively, Ibaka and Tucker don’t hurt the Raptors’ dribble-happy, guard-oriented approach. (If anything, Ibaka helps stretch the floor for them, and Tucker, a low-usage option that would fit nicely with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, will fire up fewer forced looks than Ross off the bench.) Defensively, the additions give Toronto versatility, as both Tucker and Ibaka can adequately guard two positions, depending on the team’s lineup. (That option could be helpful in certain matchups, given the team’s problems on defense — particularly if lead-footed center Jonas Valanciunas struggles against shooting bigs.)Some will point to Toronto as being the anti-Boston here, because of the Raptors’ willingness to make trades in hopes of challenging the Cavaliers, who beat them in the Eastern Conference finals last season. But that’s not a fair comparison.Unlike Boston, who is blessed with high-level draft picks, Toronto doesn’t have the option of looking to the future and waiting out James’s reign in the Eastern Conference. For this team’s core, the time is now. And while these transactions alone may not put the Raptors over the top of a club like Cleveland, the gamble — and the logic behind it — makes perfect sense.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday defied calls to resign and adopted a new slogan, “getting on with the job”, after a catastrophic election performance.Two days after results of Britain’s snap election showed May’s Conservatives had lost their majority in parliament, a visibly weakened premier denied she was feeling “shell-shocked” when quizzed by Sky News.”What I’m feeling is that actually there is a job to be done and I think what the public want is to ensure that the government is getting on with that job,” May said in the televised interview.Criticised for relying on campaign slogans, the prime minister’s appearance from Downing Street saw her drop the “strong and stable” leadership mantra, only to replace it with talk of getting on with governing.May sidestepped direct questioning on whether she intends to serve a full term at prime minister, following calls for her to resign in the wake of the election debacle.”I said during the election campaign that if re-elected I would intend to serve a full term. But what I’m doing now is actually getting on with the immediate job,” she said.Aware that the opposition Labour party had made election gains by focusing heavily on national issues, while the Conservatives drew on Brexit, May listed areas such as education and housing as top priorities.Former finance minister George Osborne, who May sacked after taking office following the Brexit vote last June, on Sunday said May was now a “dead woman walking”.But the prime minister said she had a busy schedule ahead, with a cabinet meeting on Monday and talks with French President Emmanuel Macron the following day.Brexit will likely be on the agenda at the Paris meeting, after May confirmed she will stick to the timetable of negotiations over Britain’s departure from the European Union due to start on June 19.’Titanic’ reshuffleMay tried to reassert her shattered authority over the weekend by announcing her new cabinet — with no moves among her top team.Minimal changes by May including making Damian Green, former work and pensions secretary, her deputy by naming him first secretary of state.In a surprise move, Michael Gove was appointed environment and agriculture minister less than a year after the prime minister sacked him as justice minister.The leader of the Britain’s third largest party the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, dismissed the reshuffle as “rearranging the deckchairs as the Titanic goes down”.May has shown little public contrition for the electoral gamble that backfired, but was forced to accept the resignations of her two closest aides — reportedly a requirement by cabinet colleagues for allowing her to stay in office.Warning from IrelandWith the new government set to present its legislative programme to parliament on June 19, the clock is ticking on efforts to bolster the Conservatives’ position after they won just 318 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.May has turned to the Protestant Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland in the hope of gaining support of their 10 MPs.DUP leader Arlene Foster said there had been “very good discussions” so far and she would travel to London to meet May on Tuesday.Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the government was not looking at a formal coalition but would seek assurances that the DUP would vote with May “on the big things” such as the budget, defence issues and Brexit.He stressed he did not share their ultra-conservative views on issues such as abortion and homosexuality, which have caused disquiet among many Conservatives.More than 600,000 people have signed a petition condemning the proposed alliance, saying it is a “disgusting, desperate attempt to stay in power”.The deal has also caused disquiet in Dublin, prompting Irish premier Enda Kenny to warn such an alliance could upset Northern Ireland’s fragile peace.In a phone call on Sunday, Kenny told May that forming a minority government reliant on the support of the hardline DUP could pose a “challenge” to the 1998 Good Friday peace accords.”The taoiseach (Kenny) indicated his concern that nothing should happen to put the Good Friday Agreement at risk and the challenge that this agreement will bring,” an Irish government spokesman said.London’s neutrality is key to the delicate balance of power in Northern Ireland, which was once plagued by violence over Britain’s control of the province.May responded that the DUP deal “would provide stability and certainty for the UK going forward”, her office said. read more
X Share Listen 00:00 /03:28 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Ed MayberryThe Obama administration has issued new rules to make offshore drilling equipment safer, although the oil industry says those rules are unnecessary and costly. The new rules come six years after the blowout of the BP Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers and dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.The Compliance, Risk and Technical consultancy of Lloyd’s Register helps energy clients implement new technology. Brady Austin is with Lloyd’s Register, and talks with News 88.7 Business Reporter Ed Mayberry on the Bauer Business Focus.
Mannivanan K, an engineer and an MBA quit his typical sales manager job to pursue his passion for writing. Now he has come up with his brand new book, The Great Indian Democracy which he claims is semi-autobiographical. He has also started off his new food venture called the Moodle Stop, read on to know more about him…Tell us about yourself, how did you start off?I am a normal Engineer-turned-MBA from a middle class Tamilian family who was destined to complete 60 years of job in a well respected company. That’s how the script of my life should have been, until I decided to spice it up a little bit by starting to write this novel and starting my own venture in Chennai. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The Great Indian Democracy is your debut book. Tell us something more about it ?The idea as I started out writing was to provide a take on the various happenings in our country through the eyes of discerning and intelligent young guy. The way he looks at our politicians, our newspapers, our reporting and in general, what politics means to him. I did not plan on writing a satire at the first but when I wrote the first few pages, that is when I realized there was a huge scope for a satire built around ‘The Great Indian Democracy’. The book is from the viewpoint of a quirky lead character who looks at the happenings in our country for the very first time. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix Is this book inspired from your own life?It is heavily inspired from my life and many of my friends. Various sub-stories in the book are my personal experiences, so in a sense Vikram’s mental voice is similar to what runs through my mind.In our country, how easy (or difficult) is it for new writers to make their mark?From a personal journey of publishing this book, I think the biggest problem for writers is them believing in themselves and go on to complete a book. I have seen a lot of my friends start off and the interest wanes away after a couple of weeks. Yes, the industry is not very easy on new kid-on-the block, but I don’t think any industry is. However, with self-publishing gaining prominence and Amazon providing an option for ebooks, anyone can publish. What are your other interests that engage you apart from writing? I run my own start-up venture in the food industry which I am trying to establish as a big brand. So, I spend most of my time running around the city and hogging on some street food. There’s not much I do apart from that. What/Who inspires you?I started writing at a very young age. Most of them were crime thrillers which I wanted to write, majorly inspired from the Goosebumps series I was addicted to. But, the real love for the language and flowery English came through because of Nirmal Shekar and Jug Suraiya. I was so much enamoured by their language that left a lasting want in me to somehow write like them. read more