P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Science and Technology http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Sun, 29 Mar 2015 21:56:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 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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Konica Minolta Raises The Stake With Biz-Hub C1100 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/27/konica-minolta-raises-the-stake-with-biz-hub-c1100/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/27/konica-minolta-raises-the-stake-with-biz-hub-c1100/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 01:26:19 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=227932 David Shikfu Parradang OFR, Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service and Special Guest of Honour and Mr Izzat Debs, Managing Director, Skysat Technologies Nigeria Ltd., during the tape cutting at the official launch of Konica Minolta Bizhub Press C1100 digital printing machine in Abuja Thursday, January 22, 2015

David Shikfu Parradang OFR, Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service and Special Guest of Honour and Mr Izzat Debs, Managing Director, Skysat Technologies Nigeria Ltd., during the tape cutting at the official launch of Konica Minolta Bizhub Press C1100 digital printing machine in Abuja Thursday, January 22, 2015

The world’s leading digital printing solutions company, Konica Minolta, has raised the stakes in the Nigerian market with the introduction of the Biz-Hub C1100 digital printing machine. The C1100 was formally launched at a ceremony in Abuja last week.

Speaking at the event, Izzat Debs, Managing Director of Skysat Technologies, exclusive distributors of Konica Minolta in Nigeria and West Africa, said that the C1100 parades the world’s latest technology in digital printing.

“The Konica Minolta Bizhub Press C1100 Series is a state-of-the-art Press with sophisticated features designed to significantly enhance productivity and improve the quality of print solution for our customers. Among these features are excellent colour production, low cost per print, high productivity, higher resolution (1200×1200 dpi), better paper handling (55gms to 350gms), wider range of size (A3+), better duplex/registration, a newly developed suction feeder, and a newer user-friendly efficiency controller,” he said.

“This latest addition into the Nigerian digital print space is part of a plan Skysat Technologies and Konica Minolta started three years ago to improve the quality of print products for our customers in Nigeria via the use of state-of-the-art technologies that are highly efficient, affordable, durable and easy to use, as well as the provision of training and technical support through our highly dedicated German-trained engineers located throughout our service centres across Nigeria,” he added.

Earlier the Special Guest of Honour, David Shikfu Parradang, OFR, the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, congratulated Skysat and Konica Minolta for the successful launch of the Biz-Hub C1100. He disclosed that the NIS is also a customer of Konica-Minolta, and that his organization is very pleased with the performance of the machines.

Over the past three years, Konica Minolta has expanded in the Nigerian market, becoming the leading brand in the colour digital printing sub-sector. It offers a wide range of machines that fit different requirements and budgets.

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Facebook unveils ‘lite’ app in Nigeria, other emerging markets http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/26/facebook-unveils-lite-app-in-nigeria-other-emerging-markets/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/26/facebook-unveils-lite-app-in-nigeria-other-emerging-markets/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:21:09 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=227897 Facebook

Facebook said Monday it is testing a lightweight version of its mobile app for mobile phones with poor-quality Internet connections in emerging markets like Nigeria, South Africa, others.

A spokesman told AFP in an email that the “Facebook Lite” Android app is designed “for people on 2G (second-generation) connections or in areas of limited Internet accessibility.”

The move expands Facebook’s efforts to grow the world’s biggest social network, which already has more than a billion users.

Most of Facebook’s growth is coming from emerging markets, but many people lack the phones or computers needed for the full-featured app.

The “lite” version can allow users with low-cost Android handsets to quickly load Facebook feeds and photos.

Technology news website TechCrunch said the app was launch in several countries in Asia and Africa over the weekend, including Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Facebook has previously launched a version of its service for people with simple mobile phones.

The social network has launched a project called Internet.org to help bring connectivity to underserved regions of the world.

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Blackberry, Samsung deny takeover report http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/15/blackberry-samsung-deny-takeover-report/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/15/blackberry-samsung-deny-takeover-report/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 04:37:36 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=226294 BB-toronto

Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry’s shares jumped then fell back Wednesday amid rumors of takeover talks with South Korea’s Samsung, which both companies promptly denied.

BlackBerry’s share price gained US$2.89 in the last hour of trading, closing on the Nasdaq up almost 30 percent at US$12.60 before falling back sharply to $10.53 in after-hours trading.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based firm said it is “aware of certain press reports published today with respect to a possible offer by Samsung to purchase BlackBerry.”

“BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry,” it said.

A report out of New York had earlier said Samsung had approached BlackBerry with an offer last week.

“Media reports of the acquisition are groundless,” Samsung said in a statement in Seoul.

Analysts meanwhile continue to be bearish on BlackBerry, setting targets of US$7 to US$10 for its stock.

They expect the company to again post significant losses this year despite gradually improving sales expected from new product launches.

Tech analyst Carl Simard of Medici told AFP he was puzzled by Samsung’s purported interest in its Canadian rival, saying BlackBerry’s main feature — its security encryption — would add little value to Samsung’s consumer-oriented smartphones.

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CNN gets approval to test drones for news coverage http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/13/cnn-gets-approval-to-test-drones-for-news-coverage/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/13/cnn-gets-approval-to-test-drones-for-news-coverage/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 09:19:41 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=226063 Photo: dronelife.com

Photo: dronelife.com

CNN said Monday it has reached agreement with US aviation regulators to test drones for news gathering in the US, the network said.

Conceived initially mainly for military purposes, private use of the small unmanned aircraft allowing for image and information gathering is practically banned in the United States, except at low altitudes (below 122 meters, or 400 feet, and far from airports).

“Our aim is to get beyond hobby-grade equipment and to establish what options are available and workable to produce high quality video journalism using various types of UAVs and camera setups,” said CNN Senior Vice President David Vigilante. UAVs are unmanned aerial vehicles.

Tests are being carried out at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, based in Atlanta, Georgia where CNN, owned by Time Warner, is headquartered.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta expressed hope that the accord will help “safely integrate unmanned news-gathering technology and operating procedures into the National Airspace System.”

“Unmanned aircraft offer news organizations significant opportunities,” Huerta said.

There are growing calls for legislation to be passed so drones can be used in new coverage. No date for such rules have been published.

“Our hope is that these efforts contribute to the development of a vibrant ecosystem where operators of various types and sizes can safely operate in the US airspace,” Vigilante said.

So far there are just a few exceptions to the Federal Aviation Administration ban on drones for aerial surveillance, monitoring of constructions sites and gas flaring and for video production companies.

Besides privacy concerns, one of the biggest obstacles to their authorization is the fear of mid-air crashes.

Some 193 cases of drone flights near aircraft were recorded by the FAA from February 22 to November 2014, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association said.

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Why new technology is getting more personal http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/05/why-new-technology-is-getting-more-personal/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/05/why-new-technology-is-getting-more-personal/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 06:46:56 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=225069 This smart baby bottle holder  helps parents track how much and how fast their baby is drinking, providing feedback on how to hold properly to prevent babies from swallowing air

This smart baby bottle holder
helps parents track how much and how fast their baby is drinking, providing feedback on how to hold properly to prevent babies from swallowing air

New technology is getting more personal. So personal, it is moving to connect and analyze our movements, our health, our brains and our everyday devices.

Welcome to the so-called Internet of Me.

One of the major themes at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is connecting thousands of objects that people use each day — clothing, cars, light bulbs and home appliances.

But the challenge facing developers is making that information useful, and the CES is increasingly seeing inventions related to digital “coaches” and ways to improve health or fitness, or get better information about our cars or appliances, said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Electronics Association in his outlook for the show.

“The key to all of this is that something happens in the physical space, and we digitize it and feed it back into the physical space,” he said.

“No longer the focus is on what can technologically be done but what is technologically meaningful.”

Some of the new devices on display at a preview Sunday included apps to monitor and improve the quality of sleep, a connected baby bottle to measure infant nutrition intake, and sensors that analyze one’s golf swing to compare it to that of the pros.

Smart clothing, connected smoke detectors and dozens of new smartwatches and fitness devices are also in the mix.

– Next phase of Internet –

Smartwatches and other wearables are far more prominent at the show than ever before.

These new technologies “continue the trend of deploying the Internet in a personal way,” DuBravac said. “Nothing gets more personal than wearables.”

Belty, the world's first connected belt, monitors the wearer's waistline measurements and advises when it is time to lose weight

Belty, the world’s first connected belt, monitors the wearer’s waistline measurements and advises when it is time to lose weight

He said this represents a “third phase of the Internet,” after personal computers and mobile devices, to wearables and other connected objects.

“We are moving the Internet now from two billion smartphones to 50 billion objects,” he said.

“We are taking the Internet to new places, to your wrist. And you are going to see that across the show… It’s not just about the distribution and dissemination of information. The way we use the Internet will change.”

CES, which officially opens Tuesday, is one of the world’s biggest trade fairs devoted to technology, with some 36,000 exhibitors and an estimated 160,000 people in attendance.

The show also features new big-screen televisions with “ultra” high-definition displays, and an array of drones for personal and industrial uses. It also includes expanded sections for robotics and automotive technology.

The exhibition opens amid a mixed economic outlook for the global technology industry. The Consumer Electronics Association, which organizes it, said spending on technology rose a mere one percent in 2014 to $1.024 trillion, but that it is too early to know the trend for 2015.

“We have a very mixed spending picture,” CEA analyst Steve Koenig said.

The market is being driven by strong demand for new products like tablets and smartphones in emerging economies in Asia, and by modest economic growth in North America.

The picture is clouded by economic stagnation in the eurozone and Japan and “weak expectations” in big emerging economies such as Brazil, Koenig explained.

Russia, another large emerging economy, is being hit by economic sanctions that could dent tech spending.

The association predicted a drop in tech spending of five percent in Europe and Latin America, and it remains unclear whether the rest of the world will pick up the slack.

Koenig said smartphone and tablet sales are growing at a healthy pace in China and other developing economies, and demand for new televisions is being driven by a “robust upgrade cycle” to the “ultra” high-definition displays.

At the same time, spending is being capped by the decreasing price for new mobile devices.

“A flood of low-cost devices is coming into the marketplace,” he said, noting the prominence of phone makers in China such as Xiaomi, which has pushed into the top ranks of manufacturers.

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Sony Pictures hacking: Cybersecurity experts suspect Russia http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/30/sony-pictures-hacking-cybersecurity-experts-suspect-russia/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/30/sony-pictures-hacking-cybersecurity-experts-suspect-russia/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 07:15:20 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=224471 A Poster of the controversial film: The Interview

A Poster of the controversial film: The Interview

Even after Washington pointed the finger at North Korea for the massive cyberattack on Sony Pictures, some experts say the evidence is far from clear cut.

President Barack Obama earlier this month took the unusual step of naming North Korea for the crippling attack, while promising that the United States would “respond proportionately” after the FBI said evidence pointed to Pyongyang.

But a number of cybersecurity specialists argue that links to North Korea are uncertain, and that some evidence leads elsewhere.

“I’m skeptical about the claim and I would be even more skeptical that the North Koreans did it on their own without help from a third party or government,” said John Dickson, a former air force intelligence officer who is now a partner in the cybersecurity firm Denim Group.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with officials: Pyongyang innocent of hacking Sony Pictures?

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with officials: Pyongyang innocent of hacking Sony Pictures?

The North Koreans “certainly have the will to poke us in the eye,” but “don’t have the critical mass skills of other nation states” to carry out an attack of this kind, Dickson told AFP.

Security technologist Bruce Schneier of Co3 Systems, also a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, said he also doubts the role of North Korea.

“The truth is we don’t know,” he said. “There are facts that are classified and not being released.”

Schneier added that “even if we don’t know (who is responsible), it makes sense for us to pretend we know because it serves as a warning to others.”

In a blog post, Schneier said that “clues in the hackers’ attack code seem to point in all directions at once… this sort of evidence is circumstantial at best. It’s easy to fake, and it’s even easier to interpret it incorrectly.”

North Korea has been seen as the source of the malware, presumably due to anger at the cartoonish portrayal of the Pyongyang communist regime in the comedy film “The Interview.”

But a linguistic-based analysis of the malware by the Israeli-based security firm Taia Global said the native language of the hackers appeared to be Russian, not Korean.

The study concluded that the software authors were not native English speakers, and that the translation errors pointed away from the Koreans.

“We tested for Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and German,” the report said. “Our preliminary results show that Sony’s attackers were most likely Russian, possibly but not likely Korean and definitely not Mandarin Chinese or German.”

- Classified intelligence -

Security experts note that it is relatively easy for hacker to route their attacks through third parties to fake their location and that is nearly impossible to conclusively show the source of an attack.

And Dickson notes that Washington is unlikely to reveal its intelligence sources in the Sony case “because the next set of attackers would change their tactics” to avoid detection.

Johannes Ullrich, dean of research at the SANS Technology Institute, said the attacks could have been carried out by independent hacker groups, possibly with help or direction from North Korea.

“Sometimes state actors use the hacker groups and stay at arm’s length, but are helping these groups,” he told AFP.

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Sony’s PlayStation ‘gradually coming back’ after hack http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/27/sonys-playstation-gradually-coming-back-after-hack/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/27/sonys-playstation-gradually-coming-back-after-hack/#comments Sat, 27 Dec 2014 14:39:10 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=224187 Play Station 4

Play Station 4

Sony was still struggling Saturday to fully restore its online PlayStation system, three days after the Christmas day hack that also hit Microsoft’s Xbox, reporting that services were “gradually coming back.”

Meanwhile, Xbox was up and running except for three of its applications, following an allegedly coordinated attack that sent both companies scrambling.

PlayStation, whose support homepage reported that the system was still offline, tweeted Saturday that “PS4, PS3, and Vita network services are gradually coming back online – thanks for your patience.”

A new Twitter user going by the name “Lizard Squad” took credit for the disruption, claiming it had the “nation on strings.”

The name is the same used by a group of hackers that has targeted Sony in the past, though it was not possible to verify the Twitter account’s authenticity.

The account did not return requests for comment and only became active Wednesday.

Sony had earlier this month been hit by a sophisticated hacking attack that stole massive amounts of data from its servers.

The US has blamed North Korea for the attack, with the reclusive state furious at the release of Sony film “The Interview,” which parodies leader Kim Jong-Un.

After initially canceling the film’s December 25 release, Sony backtracked and brought it out to a small number of US theaters.

The film was also made available online — including through the Xbox console and, soon, the PlayStation.

However, analysts said a direct connection with the Sony Pictures attack was unlikely, and that the latest hack was probably the work of fame-seeking amateurs.

“The timing suggests that this is an attack that we can put in the category of adolescents who are looking for a bit of glory,” said Pierre Samson of the European Circle Security and Information Systems.

“There is a very small probability that there was a direct link with the attack on Sony Pictures. You can order an attack to online services fairly easily with few resources.”

He said thousands of similar hacks are launched daily, although they are not always effective.

– Gamers vent –

Though a direct connection between “The Interview” and the service disruptions could not be confirmed, some gamers were convinced a link exists.

“I blame that darn movie ‘The Interview,'” wrote a user going by as2009man on a PlayStation community forum message board.

“It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

Another poster to the same forum said he was getting fed up with the game world’s vulnerability to repeated denial of service attacks.

“A DDos attack is like a semi (truck) driver intentionally jackknifing his rig on a busy interstate and shutting down traffic for a few hours,” said a gamer writing under the name shadoefax.

Game users also took to Twitter to vent their frustration.

“After this christmas, #lizardsquad is forever on the naughty list,” one frustrated gamer fumed.

A major cyber attack on PlayStation in 2011 saw personal details from 77 million customers stolen, preventing customers from playing online and forcing Sony to disable the network for more than three weeks.

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Hackers hit Sony again, Microsoft Xbox console too http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/26/hackers-hit-sony-again-microsoft-xbox-console-too/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/26/hackers-hit-sony-again-microsoft-xbox-console-too/#comments Fri, 26 Dec 2014 13:26:26 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=224040 The online gaming networks for Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox consoles — hot gifts this Christmas — went dark in what hackers said was a coordinated attack.

The disruption started Christmas Day and went into Friday, PlayStation and Xbox said on their Twitter feeds, adding that they were working to restore service.

A subsequent message posted to the Xbox status page early Friday upgraded service to “limited” — a sign that support teams were making inroads in fixing the problem.

People testing the Sony Playstation in June.  The playstation suffered online outage on Christmas day

People testing the Sony Playstation in June. The playstation suffered online outage on Christmas day

A new Twitter user going by the name “Lizard Squad” took credit for the disruption, claiming it had the “nation on strings.”

The name is the same used by a group of hackers that has targeted Sony in the past, though it was not possible to verify the Twitter account’s authenticity. The account did not return request for comment and only became active Wednesday.

Sony this month was hit by a sophisticated hacking attack that stole massive amounts of data from its servers. The US has blamed North Korea for the attack, with the hermit state seen as furious at the release of a Sony movie comedy, “The Interview”, which parodies leader Kim Jong-Un.

After initially canceling the December 25 release of “The Interview”, Sony backtracked and brought it out in a few US theaters and made it available online — including through the Xbox console and, soon, the PlayStation.

Sony’s @PlayStation Twitter account said Friday: “We’re aware that some users are having issues logging into PSN – engineers are investigating.”

Its @AskPlayStation Twitter account wrote early Friday, a day after the difficulties began: “Our engineers are continuing to work hard to resolve the network issues users have experienced today. Thanks for your continued patience!”

Meanwhile, Microsoft on a site for its Xbox customers pleaded with its game fans to be patient.

“We’re aware of this issue, and we’re working to find a fix ASAP! We appreciate your patience in the meantime, and we encourage you to retry signing in when you get a chance. We’ll update you as soon as we know more,” the message said.

While a direct connection between “The Interview” and the service disruptions could not be confirmed, some gamers were convinced a link exists.

“I blame that darn movie ‘The Interview’,” wrote as2009man on a PlayStation community forum message board.

“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” he said.

Another poster to the same forum said he was getting fed up with the game world’s vulnerability to repeated denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

“A DDos attack is like a semi (truck) driver intentionally jackknifing his rig on a busy interstate and shutting down traffic for a few hours,” said one gamer, who wrote under the name “shadoefax.”

Game users also took to Twitter to vent their frustration.

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Defence minister urges Air Force to boost own technology http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/22/defence-minister-urges-air-force-to-boost-own-technology/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/22/defence-minister-urges-air-force-to-boost-own-technology/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 06:04:32 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=223599 Aliyu Gusau, Minister of Defence

Aliyu Gusau, Minister of Defence

The Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd), has urged the Nigerian Air Force to domicile its technology for effective performance.

The minister made the call on Saturday night in Abuja at the End-of-Year Get-Together and Awards Night organised by the Nigerian Air Force.

Gusau was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Alhaji Ismalia Aliyu.

“Concerning our quest to enhance operational capability in the 21st Century, no military can afford to stand by and depend on borrowed technology. Every time, a new platform is acquired. It also means a detection of borrowed and sometimes circumvent technology.

“Therefore, you must thrive to domicile your technological effort and equipment maintenance in pursuit of self-reliance.

“Current events have brought to the fore the lack of co-operation exhibited by some of our international partners in our efforts to ascertain the needs of our security and defence.

“Hence we are compelled to look inwards. I then use this opportunity to assure members of our Armed Forces of President Goodluck Jonathan’s resolve to provide the required impetus to assist the Armed Forces to fulfil their constitutional responsibilities,” he said.

Gusau said the military has the ability to sustain and project the country’s leadership position in Africa and beyond.

He said the nation was currently experiencing security challenges which were placing a high demand on the Armed Forces.

“It is my utmost conviction that our challenges today will not be too feeble efforts, timidity or obsolete dogmas. I therefore challenge us all to reinforce our combined attributes of skills, relentlessness, diligence, doughtiness and personal commitment in the conduct of everyday duty,” the minister said.

He went on to salute the courage of service personnel who put their lives in the line of duty in the fight against insurgency.

“I also use this opportunity to commiserate with the Chief of Air Staff and the families of those who paid the supreme price for peace in our nation.

“We must not let them down and we must keep faith with our resolve to fighting insurgency to a definite end,” Gusau said.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, said the night was a time to celebrate excellence.

He added that every successful administration was a result of the quality of the staff.

“I want every member of the Air Force to be proud of this team because we don’t look for people, we look for team players and we have them in the Air Force.

“In fighting for the nation, the Air Force stands out and we intend to continue. Our heroes have demonstrated courage and commitment to the nation, and they deserve to be recognised.

Amosu expressed regrets that the Air Force had lost some of their brave colleagues in the fight against insurgency.

He however assured the officers that whatever efforts the Air Force was currently putting in place to end insurgency would be doubled in 2015.

Amosu said even after the fight was ended, the Air Force personnel were expected to remain in the North-East region to mop up.

“Please, brace up because the war continues,” he said.

NAN reports that the ceremony also witnessed the presentation of various awards to officers and men who excelled in their duties.

Retired officers were honoured with gifts, while children who excelled in the Air Force Secondary Schools were appreciated and recognised.(

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Canadian court orders Apple to hand over iPhone documents http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/17/canadian-court-orders-apple-to-hand-over-iphone-documents/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/17/canadian-court-orders-apple-to-hand-over-iphone-documents/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:06:18 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=223252 FILE PHOTO: Apple's new offering, iPhone 6 (L) and iPhone 6 Plus (R)

FILE PHOTO: Apple’s new offering, iPhone 6 (L) and iPhone 6 Plus (R)

A Federal Court in Canada on Wednesday ordered Apple’s Canadian subsidiary to hand over nearly three years worth of documents to a watchdog agency as part of an anti-competition probe into iPhone sales.

The move comes after Canada’s Competition Bureau last week said it was poring over Apple’s contracts with local wireless carriers to determine if the company illegally stifled competition when it introduced the phone.

The agency is particularly interested in determining whether Apple used its global clout to pressure operators into not lowering the price of competing handsets.

Apple is now required to hand over documents including calendars, phone statements and emails of its Canada executives dating from January 1, 2012 to September 1, 2014, as well as communications between Apple and Canadian phone operators during this time.

The court also ordered the Californian giant to submit its figures, analyses and strategic plans for the sale of Apple gear in Canada, as well as contracts signed with distributors.

At the time of its 2008 Canada launch, Apple’s smartphone was provided exclusively by telecommunications firm Rogers, before it was eventually made available by several carriers.

The Competition Bureau last week stressed that the probe was ongoing and no determination had been made as to whether any laws had been broken.

Apple has 90 days to comply or appeal.

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Sony reassures staff after hackers vow ‘Xmas gift’ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/16/sony-reassures-staff-after-hackers-vow-xmas-gift/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/16/sony-reassures-staff-after-hackers-vow-xmas-gift/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 23:01:14 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=223040 Sony

Sony Pictures sought Monday to reassure its staff that a massive cyber attack will not destroy the Hollywood studio, a day after hackers promised a big “Christmas gift,” reports said.

Staff were called together in Los Angeles to hear how the company is responding to the ongoing hacking attack, which has produced a string of damaging and highly embarrassing leaks.

“This will not take us down,” Sony Pictures chief Michael Lynton told staff, according to industry journal Variety, adding: “You should not be worried about the future of this studio.”

The meeting was also addressed by the company’s co-chairwoman, Amy Pascal, who apologized again for some of her leaked email comments, according to entertainment industry news website Deadline Hollywood.

In those emails Pascal notably made racially insensitive remarks about President Barack Obama. She had already apologized publicly.

Sony staffers approached by an AFP reporter at the meeting declined to comment.

Monday’s meeting came after the so-called Guardians of Peace (GOP) hacking group promised: “We are preparing for you a Christmas gift.

“The gift will be larger quantities of data. And it will be more interesting. The gift will surely give you much more pleasure and put Sony Pictures into the worst state,” added the statement, posted on pastebin.com.

The group has demanded that Sony stop the release due on December 25 — Christmas Day — of the comedy “The Interview,” depicting a fictional CIA plot to kill North Korea’s leader.

– FBI probes leaks –

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is probing the hack, met Sony staff last week, a spokesman said.

The latest GOP vow came after a series of damaging leaks about Sony salaries, employee health records, unpublished scripts and email exchanges about movie stars and filmmakers, published by websites including gawker.com.

Sony has been thrown into damage control mode by the unflattering leaks — including a producer labeling Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat.”

They included an email exchange in which Pascal asked film producer Scott Rudin what she should ask Obama at a “stupid” fundraising breakfast.

“Would he like to finance some movies?” joked Rudin, to which Pascal replied: “I doubt it. Should I ask him if he liked DJANGO?” — a reference to Quentin Tarantino slave movie “Django Unchained.”

Rudin shot back: “”12 Years” — harrowing historical drama “12 Years a Slave.” Pascal retorted: “Or the Butler” — Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” about a black butler who serves generations of presidents at the White House.

Pascal apologized for her remarks last Thursday, saying: “The content of my emails were insensitive and inappropriate but are not an accurate reflection of who I am.

On Sunday Sony pressed media outlets not to use data hackers may have leaked about the studio.

In the letter sent to groups including The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter, lawyer David Boies said the “stolen information” must be destroyed and should not make it to publication.

North Korea has denied involvement in the brazen cyber attack, but praised it as a “righteous deed” potentially orchestrated by supporters furious over the movie.

Monday’s Sony meeting was initially scheduled for Friday, but was delayed after a huge storm brought traffic chaos to southern California.

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