P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Science and Technology http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Sun, 24 May 2015 06:37:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Samsung inaugurates first digital village in Cross River http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/08/samsung-inaugurates-first-digital-village-in-cross-river/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/08/samsung-inaugurates-first-digital-village-in-cross-river/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 10:05:53 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=238760 Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross Rivers State

Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross Rivers State

The first “Digital Village” in Nigeria was inaugurated on Thursday by Samsung Electronics West Africa in collaboration with UNESCO in Oban Community, Akamkpa Local Government Area of Cross River.

NAN learnt that the village would provide access to the world’s most advanced information and communication technologies, education and health services to under-resourced areas.

The facility is also expected to bridge the digital divide and serve as a catalyst for local business development and government service delivery.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Brovo Kim, the Managing Director of Samsung Electronics West Africa, observed that some rural areas Africa lacked electricity.

He said that such communities were also challenged by limited access to education, health care and connectivity, as necessary components of their socio-economic development.

“We are not only bridging the digital divide but also providing a facility that meets the most critical health and education needs of the rural community,” Kim said.

“In addition to providing the appropriate technologies, Samsung is also working to ensure that the people of the Oban Community take ownership of the digital village and receive adequate training to optimise use of facilities.

“Samsung believes that technology is a powerful tool to change these circumstances, improve and create a better society,” he said.

Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River expressed commitment to the project, which he said was worth more than N160 million.

Imoke, who spoke through the Special Adviser on International Donor Support, Mr Roy Ndoma-Egba, advised the people of Akamkpa to protect the project.

He also thanked Samsung for their support.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Elder Edem I. Edem, promised that the project would be sustained.

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Teachers, students laud MultiChoice for investing in education http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/08/teachers-students-laud-multichoice-for-investing-in-education/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/08/teachers-students-laud-multichoice-for-investing-in-education/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 09:01:29 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=238751 John Ugbe, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria

John Ugbe, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria

MultiChoice Nigeria has received praises from teachers and students for its heavy investment in the public secondary school system through the MultiChoice Research Centre (MRC) Project.

Through the MRC Project, the company’s flagship Corporate Social Investment initiative, MultiChoice has provided quality teaching and learning aids to many schools across the country.

MRC is a project aimed at integrating audio-visual learning technologies in public schools via digital satellite television and other equipment such as DStv High Definition decoder and educational content. It was conceived to ensure that schools have access to the MultiChoice Education Bouquet, integrating the programmes into their curriculum in order to enhance the teaching process and learning experience.
 
Since the project, in partnership with Innovative Technology Literacy Services Limited (ITLSL), began in 2014, 332 schools in 29 states in Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones have benefited.

The MRC educational bouquet comprises of eight channels: Mindset Learn, Animal Planet, BBC World, Discovery , History, National Geographic, BBC and ED channels. The bouquet has improved the teaching and learning processes, especially by animating previously hitherto abstract subjects.

In turn, the two processes have been helped by MultiChoice’s decision to train teachers in the use of the MRC educational bouquet. Since the project kicked off, over 2,000 teachers have been trained as coordinators of the Resource Centres.

One of such is Uche Otuagha, an MRC coordinator in King’s College Annex, Lagos. He said the Resource Centre has been an immense source for teaching materials for most teachers in his school. “With the Resource Centre, we have observed that more students are now open to learning. We just appeal to MultiChoice to assist us in more ICT-related training programmes,” he said.
 
Similarly, Matthew Olugbade, a teacher at Ansar-U-Deen Comprehensive College, Ota, Ogun State, who has been an MRC coordinator for over five years, said that the MRC facility has improved academic performances in his school. “Prior to the establishment of the Resource Centre, the performances of our students were not so good. But today, the reverse is the case, “he said.

Olugbade, while urging MultiChoice to add alternative power sources to the initiative, also appealed to other corporate bodies to emulate MultiChoice to improve standards in public secondary schools.

Beneficiary students have also commended MultiChoice Nigeria for the initiative. Stanley Ugochukwu, a former student of College of Immaculate Conception, Enugu, now a second year medical student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, recalled that the MultiChoice laboratory in his school made him visualize some of the things he was taught in class.

“We were also able to learn non-academic subjects like the behaviour of some animals that we watched in movies about the animal kingdom at the MultiChoice laboratory,” he said.

Kingsley Nnamdi, who attended the same school with Ugochukwu and is in the same faculty and university with him, expressed similar sentiments.
“It (MRC) brought a new dimension to education by its adoption of audio-visual devices as teaching and learning aids. These certainly broadened my knowledge and world view,” he gushed.

John Ugbe, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, explained that the company chose the initiative because of it is committed to improving cognitive and other forms of learning in public schools in the country by leveraging on its assets and expertise. This, he believes, will enhance the overall development of the country’s educational system. He called on other corporate bodies and individual to join in the efforts to raise the standard of education in public-owned institutions.

“It is only through concerted efforts by public and private stakeholders that the country can make a positive impact in the education sector,” he remarked.

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One in six species faces extinction from climate change http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/02/one-in-six-species-faces-extinction-from-climate-change/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/02/one-in-six-species-faces-extinction-from-climate-change/#comments Sat, 02 May 2015 05:26:28 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=238128 "Whales, dolphins and seals show higher risk of extinction than sharks or invertebrates such as corals," a study found PHOTO: AFP / Luis Robayo

“Whales, dolphins and seals show higher risk of extinction than sharks or invertebrates such as corals,” a study found
PHOTO: AFP / Luis Robayo

One out of six species faces extinction as a result of climate change and urgent action must be taken to save large numbers of animals from being wiped out, an analysis said Thursday.

The study, published in the US journal Science, found that a global temperature rise of four degrees Celsius could spell disaster for a huge number of species around the world.

“We urgently need to adopt strategies that limit further climate change if we are to avoid an acceleration of global extinction,” said study author Mark Urban, an ecology and evolutionary biology researcher at the University of Connecticut.

The analysis evaluated 131 previous studies about the impact of climate change on flora and fauna around the world.

It concluded that with each rising degree in global temperatures, more species were at risk.

A two degree increase, the study noted, could threaten 5.2 percent of species, while a three degree boost would put 8.5 percent of all species at risk.
“If we follow our current, business-as-usual trajectory (leading to a 4.3 degree Celsius rise)… climate change threatens one in six species (16 percent),” the study said.

Different regions of the world had varied extinction threats.

“Extinction risks were highest in South America, Australia and New Zealand, and risks did not vary by taxonomic group,” Urban said.

In South America, the most vulnerable region, 23 percent of species may face extinction. Fourteen per cent could be threatened in New Zealand and Australia.
Five per cent of species in Europe could face extinction, compared to six per cent in North America, the study found. Urban said governments must urgently act to prevent widespread extinction.

“Climate change is poised to accelerate extinctions around the world unless we adopt new strategies to limit it and implement specific conservation strategies to protect the most threatened species,” he said.

– Marine fossils reveal threats –

Meanwhile, a related study in Science Thursday found that marine fossils can help identify which animals and ocean ecosystems face the greatest risk of extinction.

A team of paleontologists and ecologists looked at marine animals that died out over the past 23 million years. They found that some groups were more vulnerable than others and the threat varied regionally.

“Whales, dolphins and seals show higher risk of extinction than sharks or invertebrates such as corals. Clams and mussels — so-called bivalves — had about one-tenth the extinction risk of mammals,” the study found.

Regions of the tropics such as the Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean were most at risk. Climate change and other human-related activities such as fishing contributed to that vulnerability.

“Climate change and human activities are impacting groups of animals that have a long history, and studying that history can help us condition our expectations for how they might respond today,” said lead author Seth Finnegan, an assistant professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

But he said more research is needed to protect vulnerable species.

“There is a lot more work that needs to be done to understand the causes underlying these patterns and their policy implications,” he added.

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GlaxoSmithKline almost ready with first malaria vaccine http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/25/glaxosmithkline-almost-ready-with-first-malaria-vaccine/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/25/glaxosmithkline-almost-ready-with-first-malaria-vaccine/#comments Sat, 25 Apr 2015 17:24:37 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=237445
Anopheles mosquito: vector of the parasite causing malaria in humans

Anopheles mosquito: vector of the parasite causing malaria in humans

The world’s first malaria vaccine, produced by GlaxoSmithKline, could be approved by international regulators for use in Africa from October.

The final trial data showed that the shoe, called RTS, S offered partial protection for children for up to four years.

It will be the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic disease, and could help prevent millions of cases of malaria, which currently kills more than 600,000 people a year.

Experts have long hoped scientists would be able to develop an effective malaria vaccine, and researchers at the British drug maker, GSK, have been working on RTS, S for 30 years.

Earlier trial data releases in 2011 and 2012 dampened the hopes that this shot would be the final answer to wiping out malaria.

Then, it showed it only reduced episodes of malaria in babies aged six weeks to 12 weeks by 27 per cent, and by around 46 per cent in children aged five to 17 months.

But the final stage follow-up data published in the Lancet journal showed that vaccinated children continued to be protected four years on, though at a declining rate – an important factor, given the prevalence of the disease and rates of protection were stronger with a booster shot.

“In spite of the falling efficacy over time, there is still a clear benefit from RTS,S,” said Brian Greenwood, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who worked on the study.

a nurse administers an experimental malaria vaccine on a child

a nurse administers an experimental malaria vaccine on a child

He said an average 1,363 cases of clinical malaria were prevented over four years for every 1,000 children vaccinated, or 1,774 cases with a booster shot.

“The children would normally be expected to have had several cases of infection over that period.

In babies, over three years of follow-up, an average 558 cases were prevented for every 1,000 vaccinated, and 983 cases in those who got a booster.

“Given that there were an estimated 198 million malaria cases in 2013, this level of efficacy potentially translates into millions of cases of malaria in children being prevented,” Greenwood said.

GSK submitted an application in July 2014 for regulatory approval by the European Medicines Agency for RTS, S and is expecting a decision within a few months.

“If it gets a licence, the World Health Organisation could recommend it for use “as early as October this year”, Greenwood said.

Experts say RTS, S will be only one among several weapons against malaria, alongside insecticide-treated bed nets, rapid diagnostic tests and anti-malarial drugs.

RTS, S was co-developed by GSK and the non-profit PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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WHO blames pesticide for ‘mysterious deaths’ in Nigerian town http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/19/who-blames-pesticide-for-mysterious-deaths-in-nigerian-town/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/19/who-blames-pesticide-for-mysterious-deaths-in-nigerian-town/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 11:01:26 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=236743 *WHO scientists say not angry god behind strange deaths in Ode-Irele

Pesticide poisoning was the likely cause of the mysterious deaths of at least 18 people in a southwestern Nigerian town earlier this week, the World Health Organization said Sunday.

The “current hypothesis is cause of the event is herbicides”, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in a Tweet.

“Tests done so far are negative for viral and bacterial infection,” he added.

The victims began showing symptoms early last week in what Ondo state spokesman Kayode Akinmade called a “mysterious disease”, prompting fears of a new infectious disease outbreak in a region ravaged by Ebola.

Oba Olanrewaju Lebi

Oba Olanrewaju Lebi

The victims, whose symptoms included headache, weight loss, blurred vision and loss of consciousness, died within a day of falling ill in the town of Ode-Irele, in southwestern Ondo state.

The Ondo state health commissioner, Dayo Adeyanju, told AFP Saturday that 23 people had been affected.

Akinmade said health officials and experts from the government and aid agencies, as well as WHO epidemiologists, had arrived in Ode-Irele to investigate the deaths.

The tests were carried out at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, the WHO said.

A high chief of the town had attributed the deaths to the anger of the god of Molokun.

High Chief Moses Enimade, next in command to Oba Cornelius Olanrewaju-Lebi, debunked the rumour that the deaths were caused by strange disease or Ebola virus.

No fewer than 20 youths reportedly died of severe headaches and blindness in the town recently.

Enimade contended that some stubborn youths broke into the inner room of Molokun Shrine on April 15.

“Molokun is a deity of the land, only the Chief Priest and High Chief Gboguron are qualified to enter the shrine.’’

The chief said the youths entered the shrine and made away with traditional items in a bid to acquire extra-ordinary powers and engage in money ritual.

“They were not qualified to enter the room (shrine). They had to face death penalty’’; he emphasised.

“Because these youths want to be rich at all costs, they entered the sacred place and made away with traditional items and 20 of them have died as a result of their desperate acts,

“We have to appease the gods or else many will still die and we have to bury them according to tradition. Their corpses belong to the gods and will be exhumed if buried by their families.’’

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WHO scientists investigate ‘mysterious deaths’ in Nigerian town http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/18/who-scientists-investigate-mysterious-deaths-in-nigerian-town/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/18/who-scientists-investigate-mysterious-deaths-in-nigerian-town/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 20:37:36 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=236680 Oba Olanrewaju Lebi

Oba Olanrewaju Lebi

A “mysterious” disease that kills patients within 24 hours, said to have been inflicted by an angry ‘god’, has claimed at least 18 lives in a south western Nigerian town, the government said Saturday.

“Twenty-three people (were affected) and 18 deaths were recorded,” the Ondo state health commissioner, Dayo Adeyanju, told AFP.

The government spokesman for the state, Kayode Akinmade, earlier gave a toll of 17 dead.

“Seventeen people have died of the mysterious disease since it broke out early this week in Ode-Irele town,” Akinmade told AFP by telephone.

The disease, whose symptoms include headache, weight loss, blurred vision and loss of consciousness, killed the victims within a day of falling ill, he said.

Laboratory tests have so far ruled out Ebola or any other virus, Akinmade said.

The World Health Organization meanwhile said it had information on 14 cases with at least 12 dead.

“Common symptoms were sudden blurred vision, headache, loss of consciousness followed by death, occurring within 24 hours,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP by email, adding that an investigation was ongoing.

Another WHO spokesman, Gregory Hartl, told AFP that according to a preliminary report, all those affected began showing symptoms between April 13 and 15.

Akinmade said health officials and experts from the government and aid agencies, as well as WHO epidemiologists, had arrived in Ode-Irele to search for answers.

The state’s health commissioner, Adeyanju, told AFP that he and his officials had gone on a “field visit with the WHO, UNICEF, NCDC (Nigerian Centre for Disease Control)”.

“This was basically a case search to unravel the cause (of the disease),” he said in a text message.

The WHO’s Jasarevic said blood and urine samples had been taken from two victims and cerebrospinal fluid from another.

One of the victims of the god's anger. Photo Eagleonline

One of the victims of the god’s anger. Photo Eagleonline

“All samples have been sent to Lagos University Teaching Hospital this morning, and results are still pending. Investigations are still ongoing,” he said.

As the WHO experts try to offer scientific explanation for the deaths, the town’s High Chief Moses Enimade, has linked the deaths to a sacrilege done to Molokun, god of the land.

Enimade, next in command to Oba Cornelius Olanrewaju-Lebi, debunked the rumour that the deaths were caused by strange disease or Ebola virus.

No fewer than 20 youths reportedly died of severe headaches and blindness in the town recently.

Enimade contended that some stubborn youths broke into the inner room of Molokun Shrine on April 15.

“Molokun is a deity of the land, only the Chief Priest and High Chief Gboguron are qualified to enter the shrine.’’

The chief said the youths entered the shrine and made away with traditional items in a bid to acquire extra-ordinary powers and engage in money ritual.

“They were not qualified to enter the room (shrine). They had to face death penalty’’; he emphasised.

“Because these youths want to be rich at all costs, they entered the sacred place and made away with traditional items and 20 of them have died as a result of their desperate acts,

“We have to appease the gods or else many will still die and we have to bury them according to tradition. Their corpses belong to the gods and will be exhumed if buried by their families.’’

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Amazon tribe shocks scientists over resistance to antibiotics http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/18/amazon-tribe-shocks-scientists-over-resistance-to-antibiotics/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/18/amazon-tribe-shocks-scientists-over-resistance-to-antibiotics/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 14:09:22 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=236655 A Yanomami tribe woman  and her child: resistance to modern antibiotics shocks scientists

A Yanomami tribe woman and her child: resistance to modern antibiotics shocks scientists

A remote tribe in the Venezuelan Amazon appears to be resistant to modern antibiotics even though its members have had barely any contact with the outside world, researchers said Friday.

The people, known as the Yanomami, were first spotted by air in 2008, and were visited a year later by a Venezuelan medical team that took samples from 34 of them, including skin and mouth swabs and stool samples.

To protect their privacy, the name of their village was withheld from publication.

Scientists found that the tribespeople’s microbiome — the community of bacteria, fungi and viruses that live in and on the body — was far more diverse than seen in comparison communities of rural Venezuelans and Malawians. Their microbiome was twice as diverse as observed in a reference group of Americans.

The remote villagers are generally healthy, and that may be thanks to a microbiome that “contains perhaps the highest levels of bacterial diversity ever reported in a human group,” said the study in the journal Science Advances.

While the Yanomami had some T-shirts, machetes and metal cans, suggesting some limited contact with civilization, they have not been exposed to the many elements of contemporary life that can cut down on microbes, such as eating processed foods, taking antibiotics, hand sanitizing and delivering babies by Caesarean section, scientists said.

Some microbes seemed to have a protective effect on their health, such as preventing the formation of kidney stones.

The tribespeople live in small villages, in a remote area that is accessible only by helicopter or by traveling for days in a canoe.

Researchers found no evidence of obesity or malnutrition among the people they saw, who lived on a diet that included fish, frogs, insects, plantains and a fermented cassava drink, said Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello of the New York University School of Medicine.

However, she said no samples were taken of the tribe’s food and drink, which could reveal more about how they achieved their diverse gut flora.

“I would love to go back to the community, now that we know what we know,” she said.


– ‘Alarming’ antibiotic resistance –

Scientists expected to find some resistance to antibiotics in the population, because these resistance genes have existed in soil bacteria for millions of years or more, so it makes sense that they would migrate into people, too, even without antibiotic use.

What really surprised the team was the discovery that the tribespeople had nearly 30 antibiotic resistant genes that were never before known to science.

Even more, these genes were resistant to some of the world’s most recently developed synthetic antibiotics.

“It was alarming to us to find genes that would inactivate these modern synthetic drugs in the Yanomami population,” said co-author Gautam Dantas from the Washington University School of Medicine.

“We see this as one more piece of clear evidence that antibiotic resistance is indeed a natural feature of the human microbiota but that it’s primed to be activated and amplified for greater resistance after antibiotic use,” he told reporters.

The modern era of antibiotics began in the 1940s when penicillin quickly became a popular drug. Many more types of antibiotics were discovered and marketed from the 1950s to 1970s. Most originated in soil.

But widespread use of antibiotics in people and livestock has raised concern about an approaching era when antibiotics may not work at all, heralding the return of stubborn infections that turn fatal instead of treatable.

Already, drug-resistant superbugs are on the rise, particularly in hospitals, where they kill tens of thousands of people in the West each year.

The latest research “emphasizes the need to ramp up our research for new antibiotics because otherwise we’re going to lose this battle against infectious diseases,” said Dantas.

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Buhari, wife change Twitter accounts http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/16/buhari-wife-change-twitter-accounts/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/16/buhari-wife-change-twitter-accounts/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:13:37 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=236427 General Muhammadu Buhari using his Twitter account

General Muhammadu Buhari using his Twitter account

Nigeria’s president-elect and his wife have changed their Twitter addresses. President-elect General Muhammadu Buhari is switching his Twitter account from @ThisIsBuhari to @MBuhari while his wife, Mrs Aisha Buhari will now tweet from the @ABuhari.

The accounts @ThisIsBuhari and @IAmAishaBuhari will no longer be connected to either party, although they are both functional as at the time of filing this report.

For the latest news and updates on both as they transition into being the First Couple, the @MBuhari and @ABuhari accounts will be a key channel of communication as the president-elect works to fulfill his promises to the nation, a statement issued by State Craft Inc said.

Muhammadu Buhari joined Twitter on December 22, 2014, soon after winning the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress, gaining a following of several thousand within hours. His wife, Aisha Buhari, joined in March 2015, and also has a substantial following.

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Young researchers design tool that helps the blind to see http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/16/young-researchers-design-tool-that-helps-the-blind-to-see/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/16/young-researchers-design-tool-that-helps-the-blind-to-see/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:44:57 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=236406 Saverio Murgia, CEO of Horus Technology Company

Saverio Murgia, CEO of Horus Technology Company

A young team of Ligurian researchers, almost all of them under 25, have designed one of many new generation devices that gives sight to the blind.

Saverio Murgia, the Engineer and CEO of Horus Technology Company, explained on Thursday in Genoa that the device could considerably improve the lives of those who have major vision problems.

“It is similar to a pair of glasses, but one wears it the other way around,” he said.

“In practice, however, it is a new invention made in Liguria, which could radically change the lives of people who are blind or have poor eyesight,” he added.

Murgia said the device, called “Horus”, would be available to buy from the beginning of 2016.

A very young team of Ligurian researchers designed it, almost all of them under 25, and in recent months they have already won a flood of recognition, both in Italy and internationally.

He said anyone who wears it, through vocal assistance, to read any kind of text, recognise people, and most importantly, to identify objects.

Murgia said using a small camera the device can decipher the world that surrounds an individual with vision problems.

“It is a digital device that can be carried in one’s pocket like a simple mobile phone, and can decipher images and transform them into words that are immediately communicated to the device’s user,” he said.

He said “Horus” would have a purchase price that would be within everyone’s reach.

“In the coming months the product will be commercialised first in Italy and then abroad, since we are already receiving many requests especially from France, Holland, Poland, Canada and Japan,” he said.

Murgia said the device has already been tested with excellent results by blind people and individuals with poor vision.

He warned that the function of the device does not rely on internet access, because the device works solely on the basis of images that come from the outside world.

Murgia said for the invention, in a couple of weeks, in Padua, the group of researchers would receive a prize at MIT Technology Review Italy, as one of the most innovative companies among the 10 that have obtained the highest score in Italy.

He said in conclusion, it was an indication that in spite of everything, development was possible in Italy.

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EU to probe Android, charges Google with market abuse http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/15/eu-to-probe-android-charges-google-with-market-abuse/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/15/eu-to-probe-android-charges-google-with-market-abuse/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:01:38 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=236237 Google

The EU on Wednesday formally charged Google with abusing its dominant position as Europe’s top search engine, laying the US Internet giant open to a massive fine of more than $6.0 billion.

The European Commission also said it would open a separate anti-trust investigation into Google’s Android operating system, which dominates the global mobile phone market.

The Commission, which polices EU competition policy, said it had sent a formal “Statement of Objections” to Google charging it with “systematically favouring its own comparison shopping product in its general search results pages.”

“The Commission’s preliminary view is that such conduct infringes EU anti-trust rules because it stifles competition and harms consumers,” a statement said.

The Commission said it would continue to examine three other areas of concern — copying of rivals’ web content, exclusive advertising regimes and undue restrictions on advertisers — identified in probes dating back to 2010.

In a major development, it also announced it would investigate “Google’s conduct as regards the mobile operating system Android.”

“The investigation will focus on whether Google has entered into anti-competitive agreements or abused a possible dominant position in the field of operating systems, applications and services for smart mobile devices,” the statement said.

If found at fault under EU anti-trust rules, a company faces a fine of up to 10 percent of its annual sales — in Google’s case, $66 billion (62 billion euros) in 2014.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the aim was to ensure that “companies operating in Europe, wherever they may be based, do not artificially deny European consumers as wide a choice as possible or stifle innovation”.

“In the case of Google I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules.”

Google has 10 weeks to reply on this count, but if the formal investigation finds the company in the wrong it would “face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe,” Vestager said.

She said Android it is vital for Android to be open to all.

“Smartphones, tablets and similar devices play an increasing role in many people’s daily lives, and I want to make sure the markets in this area can flourish without anti-competitive constraints imposed by any company,” the competition commissioner said.

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Short people have higher heart attack risk http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/09/short-people-have-higher-heart-attack-risk/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/09/short-people-have-higher-heart-attack-risk/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 07:49:15 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=235628 Heart Attack

Short people face a greater lifetime risk of clogged arteries, according to a study out Wednesday that confirmed the long-known link between height and heart disease by examining genetics.

The study is the first to show that the higher risk is primarily due to a variety of genes that influence whether a person is tall or short, and not potentially confounding factors like poverty or poor nutrition.

The study led by researchers at the University of Leicester is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers examined 180 different genetics variants in a database of nearly 200,000 people with and without coronary heart disease, which is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries and can lead to heart attack. It is the most common cause of early death worldwide.

They found that every 2.5 inches (6.3 centimeters) in a person’s height affected their risk of coronary heart disease by 13.5 percent.

As an example, a five-foot (1.5 meter) tall person would have on average a 32 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease than a person who was five-foot-six (1.68 meters), said the study.

“The more height increasing genetic variants that you carry the lower your risk of coronary heart disease,” said co-author Christopher Nelson, a British Heart Foundation-funded lecturer at the University of Leicester.

“And conversely if you were genetically shorter the higher your risk.”

Researchers hope that further study of the genes implicated in height and heart disease may lead to better prevention and treatment in the future.

“For more than 60 years it has been known that there is an inverse relationship between height and risk of coronary heart disease,” said lead author Sir Nilesh Samani, professor of cardiology at the University of Leicester.

“Now, using a genetic approach,” he said, researchers have shown that the “association between shorter height and higher risk of coronary heart disease is a primary relationship and is not due to confounding factors.”

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S. Korea develops smartphone app to curb student suicide http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/13/s-korea-develops-smartphone-app-to-curb-student-suicide/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/13/s-korea-develops-smartphone-app-to-curb-student-suicide/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 08:29:22 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=233075 President of South Korea, Park Geun-Hye

President of South Korea, Park Geun-Hye

South Korea has developed smartphone apps to help bring down its high student suicide rate by warning parents when their children might be at risk, the education ministry said Friday.

The government-developed apps, which the ministry hopes to introduce immediately, are programmed to detect “suicide-related” words used by children on social networks or in messages or Internet searches on their phones.

This would then trigger an alert which would be sent to the parents on their smartphones.

Although their use is not mandatory, the ministry hopes the apps will be installed by a large number of parents as an extra precaution against school-related stress for children.

“Student suicide has become a social problem requiring systematic and comprehensive steps to prevent it,” the ministry said in a statement.

South Korea’s suicide rate ranks among the highest of the 34 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Student suicides are a particular problem, peaking every year around the time of the hyper-competitive national college entrance exam.

Education ministry data shows that 878 students took their own lives between 2009 and 2014, including 118 last year.

The most commonly cited cause in school-age suicides was problems at home, followed by depression, grades and career concerns.

– Half have suicidal thoughts –

Just over half of South Korean teenagers aged 14 to 19 confessed to having suicidal thoughts, according to a survey conducted last year by the state-financed Korea Health Promotion Foundation.

More than 40 per cent of those respondents said school pressure and future uncertainty concerned them the most.

The survey found South Korean teens often lack access to professional help or are reluctant to seek it out, with almost half turning to friends instead of teachers, counsellors or parents.

The education ministry said its apps would provide a way of monitoring those interactions with friends for any danger signs.

“The apps were only approved today at a meeting of related cabinet members, but we hope their installation will spread quickly among schools, students and parents nationwide,” a ministry official told AFP.

Smartphone penetration in South Korea is one of the world’s highest with nearly 85 percent of households having a device.

Teachers gave a wary reception to the new initiative, saying more effort should be focused on the causes of suicidal tendencies among students, rather then detecting symptoms.

“Instead of a stop-gap policy, we must work out a fundamental and eventual solution, because various factors lead to the suicide of students,” the conservative Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations said in a statement.

– Privacy issues? –

The more liberal Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union said the apps raised privacy issues and failed to address systemic problems.

“Any direct monitoring of social networks and messaging services raises possible cause for concern,” the union said in a statement, adding that the high-stress exam system also needed reviewing.

Success in the college entrance exam means a secured place in one of South Korea’s elite universities — a key to future careers as well as marriage prospects — and parental pressure can be fierce.

According to the education ministry, South Korean parents spent 19 trillion won ($17.5 billion) on extra tuition for their children in 2013 — equivalent to about 1.5 percent of the national GDP.

With so much riding on the outcome, the day of the exam — held simultaneously in 1,257 centres nationwide — sees the entire country switch to silent mode.

The transportation ministry bans all airport landings and departures for a 40-minute period to coincide with the main language listening test.

The military also reschedules airforce drills and live-firing exercises, while traffic is barred from within a 200-metre (218-yard) radius of test centres.

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Lagos to power 172 schools with solar http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/12/lagos-to-power-172-schools-with-solar/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/12/lagos-to-power-172-schools-with-solar/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 19:56:57 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=233040 Lagos State public school

Lagos State public school

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Thursday said the state government had commenced a process to connect 172 public schools in the state to the solar power.

Fashola made the remark at the presentation of corporate social responsibility awards to 424 individuals, civil society groups and corporate bodies, for their contributions to primary and secondary schools in the state.

“One of the things that have failed primary and secondary schools in Lagos state is regular and uninterrupted electricity supply.

“We have engaged another strategic partnership with the Dfid Engineering Company; we are putting solar panel packs in 172 schools in the first phase.

“When we successfully complete that phase, we will continue school by school. We will ensure that each school has its own power.

“About 20 of those schools have been completed. Government Secondary School, Meiran, has commissioned its own power, the power serves the school dormitory and hostels,” he said.

Fashola said the “support a school project” became necessary because government now has more schools to manage, than they had in the past, when government was doing more of regulation.

He said the state had also increased that education budget to 16.8 per cent in 2015, but still needs more support from its partners.

“Today is a day to say thank you. Some of you I never met, but you have supported our schools. It is not because of me that you have supported our schools, but because of our children.

“The state budget increases year in year out; we have increased education budget from 15 per cent in 2014 to 16.8 in 2015. The 2015 budget is facing revenue funding challenges because it is no longer a secret that our oil resources have reduced.

“Many states cannot pay salaries; Lagos is not one of those states that cannot pay salaries,” he said.

Fashola said the public confidence in public schools had also increased.

“An independent polls commission shows that as at December 2014, 52 per cent of Lagos residents enrolled their children in public primary schools.

“Sixty-one per cent have their children in public secondary schools. We have similar indices in our health system.”

NAN reports that Access Bank Plc, Julius Berger Nig. Plc, Budhrani Charitable Trust, Lion’s club, Nigerian Bottling Company, OANDO Foundation, MTN Nigeria and CAPL Plc. were among the awardees.

Mr Akinwale Goodluck, Corporate Service Executive, MTN Communications Ltd., said Lagos State had distinguished itself in receiving corporate social responsibility.

Goodluck said Lagos was a key market for MTN thus, the need to do a lot of corporate social responsibility for the state.

“Lagos is not the only place where we do business; but in other states, we are unable to do anything because there is a complete absence of structure.

“We found that the Lagos environment is conducive, and we thank the state government for providing the enabling environment for our company to operate,” he said.

Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, Lagos State Commissioner for Education, said the ministry would focus more on primary and technical education in 2015.

Oladunjoye said the support our school initiative is aimed at revamping the state educational system through the active participation of individuals, organisations and civil society groups.

She said 1,009 primary schools, 348 junior secondary and 327 senior secondary schools and five technical colleges had benefited from the support our school project.

Mr Olawunmi Gasper, Chairman, Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board, said there was increase in the enrolment in technical colleges, in the past five years.

Gasper said eight years ago, nobody was interested in technical education, but through the support of MTN, things had changed.

“Technical education has made a real difference in lives of countless young people nationwide; it builds self confidence and leadership skills by allowing students to be self employed,” he said.

He called for more support in the area of youth innovation and enterprise, to drive entrepreneurship and reduce unemployment.

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Done your homework? How to track your kids via smartphone http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/04/done-your-homework-how-to-track-your-kids-via-smartphone/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/04/done-your-homework-how-to-track-your-kids-via-smartphone/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:53:15 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=232060 FiLIP

FiLIP

Is your toddler being mean to his baby sister while you’re out of the room? Is your eight-year-old making unauthorised detours to the sweetshop after school?

Chill. Mobile entrepreneurs have got your back, with smartphone-controlled baby cameras and wristwatch tracking devices that let you spy on your kids via your handset.

Among countless new “wearable” gadgets presented this week at the Mobile World Congress trade fair in Barcelona, several companies were peddling brightly-coloured rubber wristwatch devices for four to 11-year-olds.

The watches let parents track their child’s movements on the screen of their smartphone and receive alerts if the child wanders outside a pre-set “safety zone”.

Spanish phone firm Telefonica announced the launch in Europe and Latin America of the FiLIP, a wrist device that has taken off in the United States since 2013.

The watch lets the child talk via their wrist to authorised adults who have the app on their smartphone.

“The idea is before they have their first smartphone, which is full of dangers for a small child, to have a way of locating and contacting them,” said Carla Becker, a project manager at Telefonica, presenting the FiLIP in Barcelona.

“The idea is not to be able to track them all the time. It is for when you need it.”

Other smaller companies trying to market child trackers included B-On, a multinational firm that presented a purple prototype of its Amigo child watch in Barcelona.

“There are more and more tracking devices on the market, for kids, pets, cars,” said B-On vice-president Ishay Shani.

“Now is exactly the right time. Tracking is growing and the product is getting smaller.”

– Don’t trust the babysitter –

For those who miss their child while away — or who just don’t trust the babysitter — Taiwanese firm D-Link showcased its latest home baby-monitoring camera, the EyeOn Baby.

From an application on a smartphone, the parent can view and talk to the child, play lullabies, take pictures and videos and set the app up to deliver alerts if the baby cries or moves.

“It’s the next step for the traditional baby monitor,” said Anselmo Trejo, a D-Link marketing representative in Spain where he said 50,000 such cameras were sold last year.

“Of course, you will still leave the child with a babysitter. But I don’t trust all babysitters,” he said.

“From a hotel on the other side of the world you can see if the children are alright. You can see your child playing, or if they’ve had dinner and done their homework.”

– Selling peace of mind –

A typical connected child tracker or monitoring camera costs about $150 (135 euros). Few figures were available for how many child wrist trackers have been sold.

Ben Wood, an analyst at tech research consultancy CCS Insight, said FiLIP was thought to be the biggest-selling child tracker watch in the United States, “but with relatively small volumes”.

“Connected devices for children have always been a popular concept but they remain problematic,” said Wood.

“Numerous issues exist, not least privacy but also health-related implications, particularly on cellular devices. This makes retailers nervous.”

Companies were careful to market their watches as a kind of telephone, to overcome concerns about privacy and surveillance.

“It’s more to do with a sense of comfort,” said Bobby Moore, one of the directors of US-based company Trackimo.

His firm has a range of smartphone-linked trackers for kids’ or adults’ wrists as well as tags for pets’ collars or luggage.

“You feel more safe and secure knowing where your children are, or your pets or old people,” he said.

“There is a security aspect, but we try to take out the Big Brother element.”

By Roland LLOYD PARRY/AFP

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AIDS originated from gorillas in Cameroon – Scientists http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/04/aids-originated-from-gorillas-in-cameroon-scientists/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/04/aids-originated-from-gorillas-in-cameroon-scientists/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:50:40 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=232033 Cameroon Gorilla

Scientists said in Washington on Wednesday that two of the four known groups of human AIDS viruses originated in western lowland gorillas in Cameroon.

They said the virus that caused almost all the cases of AIDS worldwide, called HIV-1, has jumped species to infect humans on at least four separate occasions generating four HIV-1 lineages.

Martine Peeters of the University of Montpellier in France, who led the study, said previous research had found that groups M and N originated in geographically distinct chimpanzee communities in southern Cameroon.

Peeters said the origins of groups O and P remained uncertain, adding that finding was critical to gauge future human infection risks.

He said the study and others conducted in the past had become clear that both Chimpanzees and Gorillas harbor viruses.

The scientist said the viruses were capable of crossing the species barrier to humans and had the potential to cause major disease outbreaks.

“HIV-1’s four known groups have had very different outcomes in humans,” he said.

Peeters said group M gave rise to the AIDS pandemic, infecting more than 40 million people worldwide by spreading across Africa and throughout the rest of the world.

“Groups N and P at the other extreme have only been found in a few individuals from Cameroon,” he said.

“Group O, although not as widespread and prevalent as group M, has nonetheless infected about 100,000 people in West and Central Africa,” he added.

Peeters noted that another virus type, called HIV-2, also causes AIDS, but the virus was endemic only in West Africa.

Beatrice Hahn, professor of Pennsylvania University, said the viral sequencing revealed a high degree of genetic diversity among the different gorilla samples.

“Two of the gorilla virus lineages were particularly closely related to HIV-1 groups O and P showing that the two groups originated in western lowland gorillas,” she said.

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Obasanjo berates US, Europe for exploiting African scientists http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/28/obasanjo-berates-us-europe-for-exploiting-african-scientists/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/28/obasanjo-berates-us-europe-for-exploiting-african-scientists/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 11:50:22 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=231616 Abiodun Onafuye/Abeokuta

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo presenting a paper on “The African Scientist in a Fast-Changing World” at the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences Memorial Lecture for Prof. Ali Mazrui, in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo presenting a paper on “The African Scientist in a Fast-Changing World” at the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences Memorial Lecture for Prof. Ali Mazrui, in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia

Former Nigerian president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia berated the exploits of African scientists in Europe, America and Asia continents, lamenting that their efforts on global horizon is fast regressing.

Obasanjo speaking while delivering paper entitled: “The African Scientist In A Fast-Changing World” presented at the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences in honour of Late Professor Ali Al’Amin Mazrui, however, noted that on the aggregate, African scientists have not been push-over over the ages.

He disclosed that his choice of the topic was borne out of the fact that, “since my friend, Ali Mazrui, was a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences and we are celebrating him at the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, I have decided to reflect with you today on “The African Scientist in a Fast-Changing World,” Obasanjo revealed.

He lamented that: “sadly today, the place of eminence of the African scientist on the global horizon is fast regressing. In a fast-changing world, we are getting far left behind. Our contribution to the science, technology and engineering scholarly literature is the least of all regions of the world.

“Our universities are at the bottom of global league tables of world-class universities with the region having the least number of Nobel Prize winners in science. Even, a good number of our local problems are being solved by scientists from outside our region.

“Yet, we have some of the best intellectually-endowed scientists in the world. The laboratories in Asia, Europe and North America, where breakthroughs are achieved to drive our fast-changing world, are populated in part by brain-drained African scientists,” Obasanjo stated.

Balogun of Owu Kingdom observed the efforts of United Kingdom in recent time, in science and technology, which according to him, “could take the nation to world view.”

According to him: “During the last two weeks, the fast-paced world of science and technology reported the British government voting to allow a new technique involving babies created from three people. If passed by the House of Lords, the UK will become the first country in the world to offer this medical procedure, which can be used to treat mitochondrial diseases.

“Other exciting things in the world of science in the last two weeks include use of biodegradable nano particles to kill brain cancer cells in animals and lengthen their survival and the selection of 100 astronaut candidates for the Mars One project which will land four people on Mars.

“New drugs to counter diabetes and hypertension ravaging Africa and the rest of the world are in different stages of development. The technology in surgery has also advanced in recent months. Consider surgery when a patient is to get his or her diseased heart, liver or spleen removed with minimal invasion through new technologies being developed by biomedical engineers in the University of London and at Harvard.

“By 2050, the scenario that surgeons envisage is one where a patient with an organ failure walks into a hospital, gets a 3-D printed organ to replace it in a few hours.

“It may be twenty years or more before these drugs and surgical techniques become available for the masses. However, when they do, the health of the people will be better secured than what we have today,” the former Nigeria President posited.

Obasanjo further disclosed that, “this situation notwithstanding, when we aggregate the efforts of the global community of scientists through the ages, the African scientist has not been a complete pushover.

“You will recall that some of the well-known contributions of ancient African science include one of the first intensive agricultural schemes; metallurgy, including the mining and smelting of copper, practised in Africa as far back as 4000 B.C.; and the system of hieroglyphic writing and the use of papyrus.

“The science of architecture also reached new heights with the pyramids.They were amazing accomplishments both in terms of construction and the mathematical and astronomical knowledge necessary to build and situate them,” Ebora Owu as fondly called submitted.

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Blogger to remove all sexually explicit content http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/24/blogger-to-remove-all-sexually-explicit-content/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/24/blogger-to-remove-all-sexually-explicit-content/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 20:55:09 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=231128 •Cossy

Google said Tuesday it would ban sexually explicit content or “graphic nudity” on its Blogger platform, asking users to remove the material by March 23.

The move came the same day the online forum Reddit said it would take steps to curb the posting of stolen or unauthorized nude photos.

Google said in an update to its policies it would still allow nudity “if the content offers a substantial public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts.”

The update said users with sexually explicit content may remain on the platform as a “private” blog that can only be viewed by the administrator and persons with whom the link is shared.

Users will also be able to export the blog to another platform if they don’t want to remain on Google, the policy said.

Until now, Google’s policy had banned certain illegal activities including child pornography or pedophilia.

The update by Google comes a year after Twitter-owned Vine made a similar change to ban explicit video clips.

Google’s new policy elicited complaints over Twitter, with some calling it censorship.

Violet Blue, who pens the human sexuality blog tinynibbles.com, tweeted, “Censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression.”

Another blogger, Carin McLeoud, said, “google’s email about adult content on blogger treats adult content as though it harms people and nothing comes from it.”

Twitter user Matt Adlard wrote, “Has #Google gone too far with its self styled #censorship on peoples Blogs?? Are we not adults to decide our own fate and what we watch??”

– Reddit tackles ‘involuntary’ porn –

Separately, Reddit said in its updated privacy terms Tuesday it would ban “involuntary pornography” starting Match 10.

“If you believe that someone has submitted, without your permission, to reddit a link to a photograph, video, or digital image of you in a state of nudity or engaged in any act of sexual conduct, please contact us… and we will expedite its removal as quickly as possible. reddit prohibits the posting of such content without consent,” the new privacy page states.

The move comes after Reddit gained notoriety for hosting forums used to post nude pictures hacked from other online accounts in 2014. That included pictures of celebrities including actress Jennifer Lawrence, pop icon Rihanna and top model Kate Upton.

“Last year, we missed a chance to be a leader in social media when it comes to protecting your privacy,” said a blog post by the Reddit leadership team.

“No matter who you are, if a photograph, video, or digital image of you in a state of nudity, sexual excitement, or engaged in any act of sexual conduct, is posted or linked to on reddit without your permission, it is prohibited on reddit.”

Reddit was also criticized for allowing users to post pictures of underage girls, before shutting down forums used for that purpose. Reddit three years ago banned child pornography and posting of sexually suggestive material involving minors.

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Watch out: Deadly ‘thogotovirus’ discovered in US http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/21/watch-out-deadly-thogotovirus-discovered-in-us/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/21/watch-out-deadly-thogotovirus-discovered-in-us/#comments Sat, 21 Feb 2015 00:58:03 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=230757 US health authorities on Friday announced the discovery of a new virus believed to be responsible for the death of a previously healthy man in Kansas last year.

The virus — named “Bourbon” after the county where the victim lived — is part of a group of viruses known as thogotovirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

It is the first time a virus from the family has caused a human fatality in the United States, and only the eighth known case of a thogotovirus causing symptoms in people, the CDC said.

Thogotoviruses have been linked to ticks or mosquitoes in Europe, Asia and Africa and officials said the Bourbon virus may also have been spread the same way.

The victim in Kansas, described as a man in his 50s, had been bitten by ticks multiple times in the days before falling ill, the CDC said. The infection was the only known case, he said.

The discovery of the case came after tests for several other infectious diseases proved negative, prompting further analysis of a blood sample by a CDC laboratory.

Researchers using advanced molecular detection technology were able to determine that the man died from a new virus.

Doctors who treated the man found a tick full of blood on his shoulder. He fell ill suffering from a headache and a fever, according to a study published in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.

The man was treated with antibiotics but his condition worsened leading to kidney failure and an inability to breathe without assistance. He died 11 days after the onset of symptoms.

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Japan unveils ‘Tomatan’ a wearable tomatoes http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/19/japan-unveils-tomatan-a-wearable-tomatoes/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/19/japan-unveils-tomatan-a-wearable-tomatoes/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 09:57:02 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=230496 As the world’s electronic companies scramble to set the agenda for wearable devices, one Japanese vegetable juice maker went one better Thursday, unveiling a wearable tomato machine.

The “Tomatan” is a backpack that can be loaded with six mid-sized tomatoes, enough, say the makers, to power runners through this weekend’s Tokyo Marathon.

“Tomatoes have lots of nutrition that combats fatigue,” said Shigenori Suzuki of maker Kagome.

The Tomatan looks like a small humanoid robot — with a tomato for a head — and sits snugly on the athlete’s shoulders.

Tugging a tiny lever in the foot moves the arms to catch a tomato from the shooter. It then rotates the fruit over the runner’s head and holds it in front of his mouth.

Wearable tomato, 'Tomatan' being demonstrated by Shigenori Suzuki of Kagome

Wearable tomato, ‘Tomatan’ being demonstrated by Shigenori Suzuki of Kagome

“We used about 100 tomatoes to complete this machine,” said Nomichi Tosa of creator Meiwa Denki, a company known for its off-the-wall devices and musical instruments.

“We focused mostly on its visual design.”

Despite the eight-kilogramme (18 pound) weight, Kagome’s Suzuki said he will don the device for a a five-kilometre (three-mile) fun-run event on Saturday.

“I will run by his side carrying my tools, just like an F1 mechanic,” Tosa said.

In Sunday’s full Tokyo Marathon, a runner from Kagome will participate with a lighter wearable tomato machine — the Petit-Tomatan — which weighs only about three kilogrammes, Suzuki said.

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Osibanjo calls for redesigning of electronics to reduce e-waste http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/06/osibanjo-calls-for-redesigning-of-electronics-to-reduce-e-waste/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/06/osibanjo-calls-for-redesigning-of-electronics-to-reduce-e-waste/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 08:09:49 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=229067 Prof. Oladele Osibanjo

Prof. Oladele Osibanjo

An expert in environmental protection, Prof. Oladele Osibanjo, on Thursday called for redesigning of electronic gadgets to reduce e-waste.

Osinbajo, the Executive Director, Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for the African Region (BCCC-Africa), made the call at a workshop in Lagos.

NAN reports that the workshop was on the Persons in the Port (PIP) Project.

It was organised by the United Nations University (UNU)/Solving the E-Waste Problem, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Environment.

Osibanjo said that e-waste could be reduced through recycling of waste. “Electronics need to be redesigned so that we do not need to throw away an old thing but replace a bad part to enable it to continue to function.

“We can also go for green redesigning for re-use to make the product to last longer and serve better. The best way to manage electronics is to repair, refurbish and re-use,” the director said.

He noted that electronic gadgets had short life span, adding that it was a reason for increase in e-waste.

The expert suggested that the Federal Government should introduce regulations and advocacy to reduce e-wastes. “The government should ensure that producers of electronics must have a take-back system and have programmes for re-use and refurbishing of products sold.

“They must also provide e-waste collection centres for recyclers, with guidelines and monitoring,” he said.

In her keynote address, the Minister of Environment, Mrs Lawrentia Mallam, said that the workshop was aimed at gathering information on how to tackle importation of Used Electrical Equipment (UEEE) and Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment into Nigeria.

She was represented by a director in the Ministry, Dr Idris Goji.

The minister expressed optimism that the workshop would assist in getting appropriate data to strengthen national policies on importation.

According to Mallam, the data would assist in curbing dumping of e-waste in Nigeria.

“Dumping of e-waste in Nigeria and improper management practices are well publicised by international media, showing Nigeria as a dumping ground for used and unserviceable electrical and electronic equipment.

“If e-waste is adequately managed in Nigeria, more than 50 per cent of problems associated with it would have been solved,” she said.

She said that the ministry had developed a draft policy and prepared guidelines and a strategic action plan on the management of e-waste.

She also said that e-waste management regulations had been prepared by the National Environmental Standard Regulation and Enforcement Agency (NESREA).

“The regulations have been approved and are in force,” Mallam said.

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