P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Science and Technology http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Thu, 15 Jan 2015 17:32:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 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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Technology Is Our Hope, Say Nigerians With Disabilities http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/03/technology-is-our-hope-say-nigerians-with-disabilities/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/03/technology-is-our-hope-say-nigerians-with-disabilities/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:55:46 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=221615 Simon Ateba/Lagos

Technology represents hope and unlimited possibilities for persons with disabilities, it was said on Wednesday, as Nigerians came together to celebrate the International Day for people living with disabilities. ‎‎

The United Nations Day for persons with disabilities is celebrated every year on 3 December and in Lagos, the event was organised by the Lagos State Office for Disabilities Affairs, LASODA.

The theme for ‎the year 2014 , “Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology “, could not have come at a better time because technology can be used as a tool to break barriers and forge an inclusive and more equal society, said Mrs. Tolulope Animashaun, Chairperson, Governing Board of LASODA.

Animashaun said the day (3 December) is important as it reminds everyone of the progress made so far and the challenges ahead.

She said Lagos,  the first state to enact the Special People’s Law to champion the cause of people living with disabilities, has made tremendous progress but more still needs to be done, especially in the area of awareness creation.

Some persons with disabilities in Lagos on Wednesday. Photo: Simon Ateba.

Some persons with disabilities in Lagos on Wednesday. Photo: Simon Ateba.

The private sector for instance, she added, needs to be brought in and should go beyond corporate social responsibility which often looks like charity.

To Akinola Emmanuella of Heroes Media Nigeria who champions issues with people with disabilities, “for people without disabilities technology makes things easier but for people with disabilities technology makes things possible.”

She described technology for people with disabilities as a tool of implementation and possibilities.

“Technology provides hope for sustainability of the SDGs,” Akinola said.

She said Nigeria cannot meet its Millennium Development Goals because it has failed to include people with disabilities in almost all its policy formulations.

According to Dr. Segun Oshiyimika, Permanent Secretary, Office of Youth and Social Development of the Lagos State Government, the celebration is necessary because people with disabilities represent “a sizeable chunk of the world population”.

“Recognising them is important as we cannot afford to neglect such a huge number of people vis-a-vis‎ Nigeria’s population.

But even as the country celebrated the achievements made so far, especially in Lagos, elsewhere the situation looked gloomier.

Only about four to five out of 36 states have passed the Special People’s Law and in  Lagos where the law was passed in 2011, LASODA only got their office this year, two years after it was officially set up by the government in 2012.

Nigeria still does not have a national law for people with disabilities and this is a shame, said Adebowale Ademiluyi, a physically challenged person.

He said what Nigeria has achieved for persons with disabilities is “grossly inadequate” and implementation is also a problem.

To Oshilim Constance, some progress has been made in Lagos, but there is need for a more inclusive society.

Nigeria, she said, should empower the physically challenged, passed laws that will protect them and create jobs for those who are graduates.

According to Vweta Chadwick, Global Programmes Director, ASHA Initiative, ‎the government has not fully explored the use of technology towards promoting the social inclusion of people with disabilities.

She gave the example of the use of tablets and other technological tools that can be used to promote literacy for people with disabilities.

For Deaconess Adedoyin Beyioku-Alase, National President Deaf Women Association of Nigeria, a lot needs to be done.

The government should empower people with disabilities and create and enabling environment for them.

As she spoke, many people with disabilities, especially those on wheelchairs struggled to access the ‎Adeyemi Bero Auditorium where the gathering took place because it was not accessible to them.

While some people on wheelchairs had to be carried others had to ride in the planks provided to make their movement easier and the shame less obvious.

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Social Media: Invaluable Tool for Free and Fair Election, says Aregbesola http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/17/social-media-invaluable-tool-for-free-and-fair-election-says-aregbesola/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/17/social-media-invaluable-tool-for-free-and-fair-election-says-aregbesola/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 17:06:19 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=219991 Abiodun Onafuye/Abeokuta

Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun

Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun

Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola of Osun has declared that digital form of journalism has become an integral part of our cherished political legacy as it offers new scope and invaluable tool of ensuring the conduct of free and fair elections in the country.

Aregbesola, however advised that it should be explored and protected for the betterment of our electoral process and political life, noting that, it should be constitutionally made part of our electoral process.

The governor stated this today while speaking as a Guest Speaker at the official opening ceremony of the 2014 Ogun NUJ Press week.

The programme which was held at the Press Centre, Iwe Iroyin, Oke Ilewo, Abeokuta had media dignitaries from across the Southwest in attendance.

The governor, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Oluomo Sunday Akere spoke on the lecture titled: ‘Effectiveness of Journalism in a free and fair election: The Social Media advantage’. He explained the importance of digital journalism, especially as it affects elections in the country, adding that, it was part of what made him victorious during the last August governorship election Osun.

“A new frontier in press freedom has been opened with the advent of the internet and the social media. The internet offers new opportunity for freedom beyond the traditional reach of government clampdown. The internet has rightly observed, breaches and bridges the physical barriers once constituted by state borders. The internet, indeed, brings the world to a borderless state.

“The traditional print and electronic media functioned on information dissemination through restricted platforms in the sense that access to the platforms was controlled by their managers and their owners.

“On the other hand, they were also subject to easy crackdowns by governments. But today, the internet offers us a different world of freedom in digital information dissemination and sharing. The internet platform provides a virtual space of virtually unlimited access in which everybody can disseminate and share information and news to
unlimited number of audience. What’s more, such information and news are made available at the click of a button.

L-R: Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alh.Yussuph Olaniyonu,Chairman Ogun NUJ,Comrade Wole Sokunbi,Osun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Oluomo Sunday Akere, Comrade Dele Atunbi,Vice President,NUJ Zone B and the SSA to Governor Amosun on Media,Mrs Funmi Wakama

L-R: Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alh.Yussuph Olaniyonu,Chairman Ogun NUJ,Comrade Wole Sokunbi,Osun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Oluomo Sunday Akere, Comrade Dele Atunbi,Vice President,NUJ Zone B and the SSA to Governor Amosun on Media,Mrs Funmi Wakama

“It is a platform of information dissemination in which the barriers of time and space collapses. So the social media form of journalism is a powerful tool that can enhance press freedom in many ways. It thus offers a valuable advantage in that, it can be used to improve our political life as well. And I dare say it has been proving useful in this regard.

“I am fully aware that in the just conclude gubernatorial election in the State of Osun, the social media and the internet made it more difficult for the forces of darkness in our midst to ply their accustomed trade of election manipulation and rigging.

“They played very good roles in making the results available to the public as they were being formally announced by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. The fact that the announced results were already in the public domain – thanks to internet journalism – made it almost impossible for the election be declared inconclusive as it was done during the June 12, 19993 elections.

“Therefore, the digital form of journalism has become part of our cherished political legacy. It offers a new era and an invaluable tool of ensuring the conduct of free and fair elections in the country. This is something we must further explore and protect for the betterment of our electoral process and our political life. Indeed, it
is my belief that this should be constitutionally made a part of our electoral process.

“However, just as there are positives, there are also negatives on the internet. The internet offers a limitless opportunity for libel and falsehood. The kind of control possible in the print and electronic media does not exist on the internet. The internet therefore is also a veritable machine for election rigging. Recall the 2003 governorship election in Lagos when false results were posted on INEC’s website. While many thought that it was a deliberate action as a prelude to manipulating the result, INEC alleged that its website was hacked. The
truth is in between.

“Just as updates on electoral situation are being streamed online in real time, so also is falsehood. Conscious efforts are being made to address this problem in other lands. Legal actions can be taken against false reports and some online publications owners have been sent to prison for deliberate falsehood. However, some publications
can still be anonymous and difficult to trace. Some publications can be put down by the internet service provider.

“These disadvantages notwithstanding, the positives overwhelm the negatives and the internet has extended the frontiers of freedom; it has helped pulled down dictatorships and will promote the cause of free and fair election if put to the right use.

“We must continue to insist on the freedom of the people to know as a fundamental human right. This is necessary for the consolidation of our democratic development,” Aregbesola posited.

In his remark at the event, the Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Yussuph Olaniyonu, who is also the Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy thanked the organisers for choosing the topic and the Guest Speaker, which according to him, put a round peg in a round hole.

“I am very happy that this hall is filled to the brim as the topic we are discussing affects everybody. If this topic is well treated and we all listen to very well, I am very sure that 60 per cent of our problems would have been solved.

“We all know that we are entering into an election year in the country, but yet, we have not understood how to elect our leaders. If we look at the development, especially, concerning the registration of voter’s cards, if you go around the centres, people are on ground but the fear is that are they going to be registered.

“I don’t even know whether I am going to vote next year because I have not got my card. When we talk about this problem, discuss it and x-ray it today, we would have surmounted one of the problems of election and move ahead to
others,” Olaniyonu stated.

The State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Ogun State chapter, Comrade Wole Sokunbi disclosed that this year’s event is a twin programme aiming at provides platform for all members to interact and recognize some members and well meaning Nigerian and also to raise fund for the construction of the permanent secretariat of Ogun NUJ.

The programme continues tomorrow with cultural activities where all members are enjoined to wear cultural attires.

The keynote address will also be delivered by the Osun State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Tourism and Culture, Hon. Sikiru Adetona Ayedun.

Programme for the fund raising of N150million construction of the permanent secretariat is slated for Wednesday at the new site, along Abiola way, Abeokuta while Thursday is for the Health walk and an Evening with Her Excellency, the wife of the State governor, Mrs Olufunsho Amosun.

The grand finale is billed for Friday evening after the Jumat prayer where some individuals and corporate organisations will be honoured.

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Three-man multinational space crew returns to Earth http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/10/three-man-multinational-space-crew-returns-to-earth/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/10/three-man-multinational-space-crew-returns-to-earth/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 06:10:36 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=219174 (L-R) Alexander Gerst of Germany, Maxim Surayev of Russia and Reid Wiseman of the US

(L-R) Alexander Gerst of Germany, Maxim Surayev of Russia and Reid Wiseman of the US

A three-man multinational crew of astronauts returned to Earth Monday aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, after spending 165 days working together at the International Space Station, NASA said.

ISS commander, Russia’s Maxim Surayev, his American colleague Reid Wiseman and German Alexander Gerst from the European Space Agency touched down at 10:58 pm Sunday (0358 GMT Monday).

The three men smiled broadly from reclining chairs as medical personnel tended to them amid patches of snow on the barren steppe just northeast of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, where they landed.

Surayev flashed a V for victory sign while Wiseman pumped his fist as they waited to regain their land legs after nearly half a year of weightlessness.

“Everything was in the spirit of cooperation, so I think that everybody needs to learn and follow the example of the ISS crew members,” Surayev said.

“Let’s try to live together side by side. This is the most important thing,” he added.

While in space the crew traveled more than 70 million miles (112.7 million kilometers), NASA said.

The “bulls-eye” touchdown was executed amid low clouds and fog “following a flawless descent back into the atmosphere,” according to NASA TV.

The spacecraft was pulled onto its side by its parachute upon arrival, which NASA TV added was not uncommon.

The US space agency said the “departure of Wiseman, Gerst and Surayev marks the end of Expedition 41,” referring to their mission to the ISS to carry out equipment repairs, maintenance and experiments.

Surayev was on his second long ISS mission, having now spent a total of 334 days in space, while the other two astronauts were on their first trip.

The three men were pictured smiling and with their arms around each other before hitching the ride back home, undocking from ISS at 7:31 pm (0031 GMT).

Another three-person crew remains on the ISS to “continue research and maintenance aboard the station” and will be joined by three more astronauts who launch from Kazakhstan on November 23, NASA said.

NASA lost its ability to reach the space station when the shuttle program ended in 2011 after 30 years.

The US space agency has helped fund private companies in a push to restore US access to the ISS.

In the meantime, the world’s astronauts must rely on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to get to the ISS and back, at a cost of $70 million per seat.

There are 15 country participants in the ISS program, though the US and Russia contribute the lion’s share of funds for the project.

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Health benefits of milk under scrutiny http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/29/217754/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/29/217754/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 04:09:01 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=217754 Milk: still beneficial?

Milk: still beneficial?

For centuries doctors and nutritionists have recommended drinking lots of milk to strengthen one’s bones and boosting one’s health. Now, the centuries-old beliefs are being challenged in a new study.

A study in The BMJ medical journal Wednesday said Swedes with a high intake of cow’s milk died younger — and women suffered more fractures.

The findings may warrant questions about recommendations for milk consumption, although further research is needed, its authors said, as the association may be purely coincidental.

A Swedish team used data taken from 61,000 women aged 39-74 and monitored for about 20 years, and more than 45,000 men aged 45-79 followed for 11 years.

The volunteers gave details about diet and lifestyle, body weight, smoking habits, exercise frequency, education level and marital status.

By the end of this long study period, 25,500 of the group had died and 22,000 had suffered a fracture.

Higher milk intake was not accompanied by a lower risk of fractures but “may be associated with a higher rate of death”, the study said.

Among the women, 180 per 1,000 in the group which drank three glasses of milk or more a day died during a 10-year period, compared to the group average, independent of milk consumption, of 126 per 1,000.

Among those who drank a glass or less per day, the rate was 110 per 1,000, co-author Karl Michaelsson of Uppsala University told AFP.

The figures for hip fracture was 42 out of 1,000 women who drank a lot of milk, 35 per 1,000 on average, and 31 per 1,000 of women who drank the least milk.

“Women who consumed three glasses or more per day had a 90 percent higher risk of death, 60 percent higher risk of hip fracture and 15 percent higher risk of any fracture compared to those who drank less than a glass,” said Michaelsson.

For men, the difference in death rate was less pronounced: 207 per 1,000 among the three-glasses-a-day group over 10 years, 189 per 1,000 on average, and 182 per 1,000 among low consumers. There was no difference in fracture rates.

“The higher risk of mortality was evident with all types of milk: full-fat, half-fat and skimmed milk,” Michaelsson added — and started from a daily intake of about two glasses of milk.

At a lower consumption of half a glass to one glass per day, “there was a tendency of slightly reduced hip fracture risk” compared to zero intake, but the same was not true for mortality risk.

The team found that fermented milk products like cheese or yoghurt were associated with lower mortality and fracture rates, particularly in women.

One reason, the authors speculated, is that milk, but not cheese, is high in D-galactose, a type of sugar that in animal studies was shown to hasten ageing and shorten lifespan.

The researchers said it was impossible to draw any conclusions or make recommendations on milk consumption until further work is carried out.

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Exposed: Ebolavirus US bio-warfare, Africans guinea-pigs http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/22/exposed-ebolavirus-us-bio-warfare-africans-guinea-pigs/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/22/exposed-ebolavirus-us-bio-warfare-africans-guinea-pigs/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:59:17 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=217057 Ebola Virus: bio-warfare?

Ebola Virus: bio-warfare?

Could Ebola Have Escaped From US Bio-warfare Labs? American law professor, Francis A. Boyle, answers questions for tvxs.gr and reveals that USA have been using West Africa as an offshore to circumvent the Convention on Biological Weapons and do bio-warfare work.

Boyle is a leading American professor, practitioner and advocate of international law. He was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the American implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.

He served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International (1988-1992), and represented Bosnia – Herzegovina at the World Court. Professor Boyle teaches international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign. He holds a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University.

He is also the author of “Biowarfare and Terrorism”. The book outlines how and why the United States government initiated, sustained and then dramatically expanded an illegal biological arms buildup.

He was interviewed by Aggeliki Dimopoulou

Q: Is Ebola just a result of health crisis in Africa – because of the large gaps in personnel, equipment and medicines – as some experts suggest?

That isn’t true at all. This is just propaganda being put out by everyone. It seems to me, that what we are dealing with here is a biological warfare work that was conducted at the bio-warfare laboratories set up by the USA on the west coast of Africa. And if you look at a map produced by the Center of Disease Control you can see where these laboratories are located. And they are across the heart of Ebola epidemic, at the west coast of Africa. So, I think these laboratories, one or more of them, are the origins of the Ebola epidemic.

US government agencies are supposed to do defensive biological warfare research in these labs. Is there any information about what are they working on?

Well, that’s what they tell you. But if you study what the CDC and the Pentagon do… They say it is defensive, but this is just for public relation purposes than anything. It’s a trick. What it means is what they decide at these bio-warfare labs. They say, “well we have to develop a vaccine”, so that’s their defensive argument. Then what they do is to develop the bio-warfare agent itself. Usually by means of DNA genetic engineering. And then they say, “well to get the vaccine we have to develop the bio-warfare agent” – usually by DNA genetic engineering – and then they try to work on the vaccine. So it’s two uses type of work. I haven’t read all these bio-warfare contracts but that’s typical of the way the Pentagon CDC has been doing this since at least the 1980’s. I have absolute proof from a Pentagon document that the Center of Disease Control was doing bio-warfare work for the Pentagon in Sierra Leone, the heart of the outbreak, as early as 1988. And indeed it was probably before then because they would have had to construct the lab and that would have taken some time. So we know that Fort Detrick and the Center for Disease Control are over there, Tulane University, which is a well-known bio-warfare center here in USA – I would say notorious for it – is there. They all have been over there.

In addition, USA government made sure that Liberia, a former colony of the USA, never became a party to the Biological Weapons Convention, so they were able to do bio – warfare work over there – going back to 1980’s – the USA government, in order to circumvent the Biological Weapons Convention. Likewise, Guinea the third state affected here – and there is an increase now – didn’t even sign the Biological Weapons Convention. So, it seems to me, that the different agencies of the US government have been always there try to circumvent the Biological Weapons Convention and engage bio-warfare work. Indeed, we had one of these two lab bio-warriors admit in the NY Times that they were not over there for the purpose of either screening or treating people. That’s not what these labs are about. These labs are there in my opinion to do bio-warfare work for different agencies of the US government. Indeed, many of them were set up by USAID. And everyone knows that USAID is penetrated all up and down by the CIA and CIA has been involved in bio-warfare work as well.

Professor Francis A Boyle: blows the whistle

Professor Francis A Boyle: blows the whistle

Are we being told the truth about Ebola? Is that big outbreak began all of a sudden? How does it spread so quickly?

The whole outbreak that we see in the west coast of Africa, this is Zaire/Ebola. The most dangerous of five subtypes of Ebola. Zaire/Ebola originated 3500 km from the west coast of Africa. There is absolutely no way that it could have been transmitted 3500 km. And if you read the recently published Harvard study on the DNA analysis of the west Africas’ Zaire/Ebola there is no explanation about how the virus moved there. And indeed, it’s been reported in the NY Times that the Zaire/Ebola was found there in 1976, and then WHO ordered to be set to Porton Down in Britain, which is the British equivalent to Fort Detrick, where they manufacture all the biological weapons for Britain. And then Britain sent it to the US Center for Disease Control. And we know for a fact that the Center for Disease Control has been involved in biological warfare work. And then it appears, at least from whatever I’ve been able to put together in a public record, that the CDC and several others US bio-warriors exported Zaire/Ebola to west Africa, to their labs there, where they were doing bio-warfare work on it. So, I believe this is the origins of the Zaire/Ebola pandemic we are seeing now in west Africa.

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Robot cheerleaders, health T-shirts, mind-reading bar unveiled in Japan http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/07/robot-cheerleaders-health-t-shirts-mind-reading-bar-unveiled-in-japan/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/07/robot-cheerleaders-health-t-shirts-mind-reading-bar-unveiled-in-japan/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 07:59:04 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214976 Toshiba unveils the humanoid robot "Aiko Chihira" which demonstrates sign language at the CEATEC electronics trade show

Toshiba unveils the humanoid robot “Aiko Chihira” which demonstrates sign language at the CEATEC electronics trade show

Glasses that tell you how to get home, adverts that know where you are looking and a T-shirt that knows how fast your heart is beating were on display at a huge tech gathering in Japan Tuesday.

The gadgets were all part of this year’s Cutting-Edge IT & Electronics Comprehensive Exhibition (CEATEC), Asia’s largest electronics fair, just outside Tokyo.

Leading the pack was a tiny projection device that can be attached to a pair of glasses to give the wearer an ever-visible screen.

The prototype — dubbed Toshiba Glass and weighing 42 grammes (less than 1.5 oz) — might offer directions or a simultaneous translation, or could assist factory workers who need both hands free while working, a Toshiba researcher said.

“We still don’t know what wearable formats will be the most accepted in the future,” said Toshiba senior research scientist Yoshiyuki Kokojima.

“Constantly seeing a small screen may get tiring to the eyes, but you could get information without even lifting a finger. It’s less effort than consulting a wrist watch.”

Leading mobile carrier NTT Docomo was showcasing a T-shirt that uses a special textile to keep track of the wearer’s pulse.

Murata Manufacturing unveils 10 small robots for cheerleading

Murata Manufacturing unveils 10 small robots for cheerleading

The data is transmitted to a smartphone, which must run a specific app, the company said.

While Docomo’s offering might have concentrated on health, Fujitsu unveiled something to encourage a bit more relaxation, in the form of a device that could help a barman read his customers’ minds.

Small sensors in a bar track where a drinker is looking and automatically offer information on screens about that bottle of expensive wine he keeps gazing at — such as where it comes from and what year it is.

“This could be one way of marketing in the future,” said Fujitsu spokesman Naoki Mishiro.

NTT Docomo’s Yubi Navi might prove useful for customers struggling to find their way home after a night at such an accommodating bar.

Billed as “just like holding someone’s hand”, the small rubber cuboid fits snugly in the palm and buzzes or vibrates to guide the user through unfamiliar streets.

The kit offers freedom from the tyranny of having to keep your eyes glued to a smartphone for directions, the company said.

After a user types in the intended address on their connected phone, the device takes over, nudging left or right until the destination hoves into view.

Its inventors say the Yubi Navi also offers a way to communicate with someone who is far away, effectively “squeezing” their hand by activating your own device.

“Touch sensation can create a new type of gadget for the future,” an NTT Docomo presenter said.

Nearly 550 companies are taking part in the trade show, which has gathered foreign exhibitors from 24 countries and territories.

The show runs until Saturday.

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Woman has baby after womb transplant in world first http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/04/woman-has-baby-after-womb-transplant-in-world-first/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/04/woman-has-baby-after-womb-transplant-in-world-first/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 04:25:07 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214600 A 36-year old Swede has become the world’s first woman to give birth after receiving a womb transplant, medical journal The Lancet said on Saturday, describing the event as a breakthrough for infertile women.

The healthy baby boy was born last month, it said. Both mother and infant are doing well.

Weighing 1.775 kilos (3.9 pounds), the baby was born by Caesarean section at 31 weeks after the mother developed pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy condition, the journal said.

The woman had a genetic condition called Rokitansky syndrome which meant she was born without a womb, although her ovaries were intact.

The surgeons said the exploit smashes through the last major barrier of female infertility — the absence of a uterus as a result of heredity or surgical removal for medical reasons.

“Absolute uterine factor infertility is the only major type of female infertility that is still viewed as untreatable,” they said in a paper published by the British journal.

The replacement organ came from a 61-year old woman, a close family friend who had been through menopause seven years earlier. The organ was transplanted in a 10-hour operation last year.

Embryo

The recipient underwent in-vitro fertilisation, in which eggs were harvested from her ovaries and fertilised using sperm from her partner, and then cryogenically preserved.

A year after the transplant, a single early-stage embryo was inserted into the transplanted womb. A pregnancy test three weeks later was positive.

The womb encountered a brief episode of rejection, but this was successfully tackled by increasing a dose of corticosteroid drugs to suppress the immune system.

“Our success is based on more than 10 years of intensive animal research and surgical training by our team and opens up the possibility of treating many young females worldwide that suffer from uterine infertility,” the Lancet quoted Professor Matts Braennstroem of the University of Gothenburg, who led the operation, as saying.

“What is more, we have demonstrated the feasibility of live-donor uterus transplantation, even from a post-menopausal donor.”

Rokitansky syndrome — Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuester-Hauser syndrome to give it its full name — affects approximately one in 4,500 newborn girls, previous research has found.

The options open to women with this disorder, or who have had a hysterectomy, are adoption or having a baby through a surrogate mother.

But surrogacy is not allowed in many countries because of ethical, legal or religious reasons.

The unnamed Swede was one of nine who received a uterus from live donors under Braennstroem’s programme.

Two of them had to undergo hysterectomy within a few months, either because the womb became infected or blood flow to it became clotted, the paper said.

The other seven women began menstruation during the first two to three months, and the transplanted organs remained viable during the first year after the operation.

Two other transplant attempts have been reported elsewhere, but neither resulted in a live birth.

The first, carried out in Saudi Arabia in 2000, ended in failure after three months when the uterus became necrotic and had to removed.

The second, carried out in Turkey in 2011, entailed a uterus that was transplanted from a deceased donor, resulting in pregnancies that miscarried within six weeks.

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Vaccinated’ mosquitos released in Rio to combat dengue http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/02/vaccinated-mosquitos-released-in-rio-to-combat-dengue/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/02/vaccinated-mosquitos-released-in-rio-to-combat-dengue/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 22:54:20 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214380 View of Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae infected with the Wolbachia bacterium

View of Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae infected with the Wolbachia bacterium

Ten thousand mosquitos immunized against dengue fever have been released in Brazil as part of an innovative attempt to curb the spread of the tropical viral sickness, biologists said Thursday.

Gabriel Sylvestre Ribeiro told AFP that the Aedes aegypti mosquitos were released in Tubiacanga neighborhood in northern Rio state.

“We inoculated them in the lab with the Wolbachia bacteria, which block the development of the dengue virus,” he said.

“We release the ‘good mosquitoes’ in front of people’s houses so that they enter and reproduce with the wild mosquitoes. Their progeny will no longer transmit dengue,” which can be fatal, said the biologist.

After two years of research, this is the first time that a Latin American country has tested a method already functioning in Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia, where the first eggs of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitos inoculated with Wolbachia were imported to Brazil.

The researchers hope to obtain results next year when the majority of the mosquitoes in Tubiacanga should already be immunized and harmless to people.

Brazil has been the country most affected by dengue since 2000, with seven million cases reported. Over the past five years, the sickness has caused some 800 deaths.

The Fiocruz experiment is an addition to a project using genetically modified mosquitos and will be rolled out to other neighborhoods and cities.

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Gov. Lamido lauds NIS 64-page e-passport http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/26/gov-lamido-lauds-nis-64-page-e-passport/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/26/gov-lamido-lauds-nis-64-page-e-passport/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:39:25 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=213510 Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State

Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State

Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa on Friday commended the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for introducing 64-page e-passport system for frequent travelers.

Lamido made the commendation while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after receiving the newly- introduced traveling document from the NIS Comptroller in the state, Alhaji Isa Gere, in Dutse.

Describing the innovation as “a positive step”, the governor said that the initiative would address the problems faced by frequent travelers for unnecessary request and renewals of international passports.

He said that before the introduction of the 64-page passport, frequent travelers had difficulties in handling multiple passports which, he explained, was a burden.

“For instance, when I was Foreign Affairs Minister, I had about seven passports before the end of my tenure, which was a burden on me,” Lamido said.

Gere said that the new passport was part of reforms by the Service to reduce frequent request and renewal of passports. According to him, the N8, 750.00 cost for the old 32-page passport remains, adding that the 64-page e-passport costs N20,000.00 per unit.

“Both the old and the new passports have same security features,” Gere noted.

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1st made-in-Nigeria satellite to be launched by 2018 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/24/1st-made-in-nigeria-satellite-to-be-launched-by-2018/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/24/1st-made-in-nigeria-satellite-to-be-launched-by-2018/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 04:56:53 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=213129 Obasanjo Space Centre

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Abdu Bulama, said on Tuesday in Abuja that Nigeria would design, fabricate, test and launch its indigenous satellite by 2018.

Bulama stated this when he inspected facilities at the Obasanjo Space Centre of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).

The minister said the centre had the mandate to launch Nigeria’s first indigenous satellite by 2018, and described space science and technology programme as an important component of the Nigerian dream.

According to him, the satellite programme has a very positive role to play in the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Bulama directed that the assembly, testing and integration centre, and the Synthetic Aperture Rader Satellite, which are under construction, be completed by 2015.

“The Assembly, Testing and Integration Centre, and the Synthetic Aperture Rader Satellite are the nucleus of NASRDA.

“It is here that we will, by the grace of God, launch our first made in Nigeria satellite by 2018.

“By 2018, by the grace of God, we want to see made-in-Nigeria satellite launched. It will be built in this laboratory and launched by our Nigerian scientists,” he said.

According to him, competence and capabilities in satellite technology serve as tool for national growth and a huge contribution to the development and benefit of mankind.

Director-General of NASRDA, Dr Seidu Mohammed, who conducted Bulama round the facilities, said the agency could boast of world-class technology in term of facilities.

Mohammed said that the about six million U.S. dollars (about N1 billion) annual budgetary allocation to NASRDA was inadequate, given the huge development expected of the agency.

The director-general also said that no serious country allocates less than 100 million U.S. dollars to its space agency.

According to him, NASRDA pays N1.6 million monthly to an Israeli company to maintain facilities at one of the centres of the agency, and also spends 100 pounds servicing its two dishes.

He said the Emergency Management Project of the agency could be used in tracking kidnapped victims, car theft, pipeline vandalisation, fire outbreak, flood and accidents.

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69% of youths online illegally http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/08/69-of-youths-online-illegally/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/08/69-of-youths-online-illegally/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:12:49 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=210725 Iranians at a cybercafe

Iranians at a cybercafe

More than two thirds of young Iranian Internet users are using illegal software to reach websites that are officially banned, government research cited by media said Monday.

The study, by the research centre of the ministry of sport and young people, was publicised just one day after President Hassan Rouhani said existing Internet controls were counter-productive.

Mohammad Taghi Hassanzadeh, head of the research centre, said that “69.3 percent use proxies (servers in other countries) to circumvent censorship and go on the Internet”, according to ISNA news agency.

Iran has a filtering policy that makes popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube inaccessible without the use of prohibited software capable of creating a VPN (Virtual Private Network) across a regular public Internet connection.

Advocates of filtering in the Islamic republic say it protects citizens from immoral content, such as pornographic websites, but opponents say VPNs render such restrictions pointless.

The research centre study was conducted in the 12 months following March 2013 and it involved 15,000 Iranians aged between 15 and 29.

According to its findings, 67.4 percent of all those who were surveyed use the Internet.

Some 19.1 percent chat online, 15.3 percent use social networks and 15.2 percent cite entertainment as a reason for using the Internet.

Only 10.4 percent are doing scientific research online, it added and a mere five percent admitted that they access “immoral” websites, the research said without being more specific.

Rouhani, who has cited science and educational use as a reason for fewer Internet restrictions, re-entered an edgy debate on censorship on Sunday, saying the current regulations were not working.

“Force does not produce results,” he said in a speech broadcast live on state television. “Some people think we can fix these problems by building walls, but when you create filters, they create proxies.”

The decision of Rouhani’s government to approve faster 3G mobile Internet licences for two Iranian companies last month was seen as a first step toward making Internet access easier.

As well as filtering, Iranian authorities are often accused of deliberately slowing down the Internet, which makes gaining access to even legally-sanctioned websites harder.

The granting of the 3G permits caused controversy with some of Iran’s conservative clerics and officials who said video call functions on smartphones could expose youngsters to dubious content.

The ministry of telecommunications, technology and information later stated that video calling would not be available, despite such services — including FaceTime and Skype — being accessible on regular Internet connections.

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