Guillermo Fariñas ends seven-month-old hunger strike for Internet access

first_img CubaAmericas September 1, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Guillermo Fariñas ends seven-month-old hunger strike for Internet access Follow the news on Cuba Organisation News CubaAmericas Help by sharing this information May 6, 2020 Find out more Reporters Without Borders learned with relief that independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas decided yesterday to end the hunger strike he began on 31 January to press for unrestricted Internet access for all Cubans. Although he had been on an intravenous drip, there was concern that he could die. Fariñas said he would find another way to press his demands when he had recovered.“We hope that Fariñas will recover quickly from this long ordeal that took him close to death,” the press freedom organisation said. “We again call on the Cuban authorities to grant his justified demand for unrestricted Internet access for all Cubans. We also hope that the small news agency he runs, Cubanacán Press, will be able to resume operating without being harassed.”Fariñas, 42, called off his hunger strike on the insistence of Marta Beatriz Roque and Berta Antunez, leaders of the banned Assembly for the Promotion of Civil Society (APSC), who were warned by dissident doctor Hilda Molina that he could die within a matter of days.The day before he reached his decision, his mother, Alicia Hernández, had reported that he was suffering from fever, convulsions, kidney problems, a swollen abdomen and a heart disorder. Although still conscious, he was also suffering from constant migraines. He had been transferred to an intensive care unit on 20 August._________________________________________________________4.07.06 – Hunger-striking journalist back on dripNiurvys Díaz Remond of the independent Cubanacán Press agency has reported that the agency’s director, Guillermo Fariñas Hernández, has again suspended the hunger strike he originally began more than four months ago and is once more being fed intravenously.After initially agreeing to be put on a drip several days ago, he had it disconnected. But the staff at the Villa Clara hospital to which he was admitted on 8 February finally convinced him to call off his hunger strike. His advanced state of malnutrition means that wounds cannot heal properly. He has staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus infections that could do irreversible harm. He also has an extremely painful neuritis in the chest area for which he constantly needs painkillers.____________________________________________________________13.06.06 – Officials reiterate refusal to give full Internet access to journalist on hunger strikeThe condition of Guillermo Fariñas Hernández of the independent Cubanacán Press agency, who has been on hunger strike for more than four months, has stabilised but continues to be very worrying, Cuban Foundation for Human Rights president Juan Carlos González Leiva has reported. Fariñas is refusing to eat to press his demand for unrestricted Internet access in order to be able to work properly as a journalist.González said a Cuban telephone company representative last week proposed partial Internet access to Fariñas but he refused. A few days later, a Major Vladimir Ernesto Méndez went to see Fariñas and told him the government would never give him Internet access.Noelia Pedraza Jiménez, the president of the Martha Abreu women’s movement in the city of Santa Clara, visited Fariñas yesterday and found him to be very weak. In an interview for the Miami-based radio station WQBA 1140AM, she said he was suffering from high fevers and numbness on the left side of his body as a result of a lung condition.Reporters Without Borders voices its support to the members of various dissident groups who have themselves been on a rotating hunger strike since 4 June in a show of solidarity with Fariñas and to draw international attention to his condition.__________________________________________________________05.06.06 – Guillermo Fariñas “critical” after more than four months on hunger strike Guillermo Fariñas Hernández, head of the independent news agency Cubanacán Press, had to undergo an emergency operation at the Santa Clara provincial hospital in central Cuba on the afternoon of 2 June 2006. The treatment he was receiving was not working and fresh complications made rapid medical intervention essential. His condition worsened again at dawn the day following the operation but was stabilised by late morning. The journalist’s mother, Alicia Hernández, confirmed the deterioration in his health in a phone conversation with Reporters Without Borders. She said Fariñas was exhausted and very weak. His condition appears to have stabilised since 3 June, even though he remains critical. Doctors are unable to give any definite indication about the likely prognosis.Reporters without Borders expresses its solidarity with Guillermo Fariñas Hernández and regrets the indifference and inaction of the Cuban government which have contributed to the slow decline in the journalist’s health.__________________________________________________________29.05.06 – Independent editor undergoes operation, writes to UN Human Rights Council Guillermo Fariñas Hernández, the editor of the independent Cubanacán Press agency, wrote to the UN’s new Human Rights Council on 25 May, two days after undergoing an operation to drain excess blood from inside the thoracic wall. Fariñas urged the council, which includes Cuba as one of its members, to condemn Cuba for violating the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Family members said the operation left Fariñas very weak, but his condition is now more stable. He has no more fever, but continues to feel pain in the chest, legs and ankles. He stopped eating and drinking on 31 January to press the government to give Internet access to all Cubans, and was rushed to the Villa Clara provincial hospital, in central Cuba, eight days later.__________________________________________________________________16.02.06 – Guillermo Fariñas determined to resume his hunger strike Journalist Guillermo Fariñas Hernández is determined to restart his hunger strike to press his demand to the Cuban authorities for Internet access that he began on 31 January 2006, friends said. Friend and colleague Manuel Vázquez Portal, founder of the Grupo de Trabajo Decoro news agency, now living in exile in Miami, confirmed it. “I phoned him at the hospital on 14 February and he told me that he would resume his hunger strike as soon as he was discharged,” he said. He was admitted to the Arnaldo Milián Castro provincial hospital in Villa Clara, central Cuba on 8 February and is still on a drip. However his state of health has continued to progressively deteriorate despite the artificial feeding.___________________________________________________________________10.02.06 – Guillermo Fariñas gives up his hunger strike Guillermo Fariñas Hernández gave way to pressure from his family and medical staff and agreed to end his hunger strike on 9 February 2006, accepting an intravenous drip, AFP reported, citing a family member. The editor of the Cubanacán Press news agency had been in intensive care at Arnaldo Milián Castro hospital in the central city of Villa Clara since 8 February. He had been refusing food and water since 31 January and remains in a very serious condition._____________________________________________________________09.02.06 – Journalist hospitalised after refusing food and water for 10 days in Internet protestReporters Without Borders voiced deep concern today at a sudden worsening in the condition of independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas, who was rushed to hospital yesterday after losing consciousness. He has been refusing food and water since 31 January.The Cubanacán Press independent news agency said he was admitted to the Arnaldo Milián provincial hospital in the central city of Villa Clara at 12:30 p.m. after losing consciousness at 12:18 p.m. Doctors, who described his condition as critical, put him on an intravenous drip.Fariñas recovered consciousness at 3 p.m. and, despite the gravity of his condition, found the strength to rip out the drip. He previously announced that he could continue his hunger strike until the end unless the authorities allow all Cubans unrestricted access to the Internet and let independent journalists work freely.Reporters Without Borders paid tribute to the courage of Fariñas, who is clearly putting his life at risk for the sake of free expression and the right of Cubans to Internet access._________________________________________________________________________8.02.06 – After nine days of refusing food and water, Guillermo Fariñas is on the point of deathReporters Without Borders is extremely anxious about Guillermo Fariñas Hernández, director of the Cubanacán Press news agency, who is on the verge of death after a nine-day total hunger strike in which he has refused both food and water.The journalist has said he is ready to die unless the Cuban authorities give all Cubans free access to the Internet and allows independent journalists the right to freely inform the public.“Guillermo Fariñas could die at any moment. His fate is in the hands of the authorities,” said Reporters Without Borders. “We urge the government to listen to his message and reply to it, giving him at least the right to use the Internet for his work.“Failing that, we ask for the journalist to be allowed to receive visits from foreign representatives based in Cuba,” said the press freedom organisation.”The mother of Fariñas Hernández has given the organisation details about her son’s condition: “He sleeps badly, he can hardly walk. His blood pressure is very low,” she said on 8 February 2006.There has been a sudden deterioration in the state of health of the Cubanacán Press editor, who started refusing food and water at 12am on 31 January. He is confined to his bed and barely moves. The news agency’s 18 full-time staff and other dissidents have since 6 February been taking it in turns to fast for one day to keep Guillermo company, one of them told Reporters Without Borders. The same source said that the political police had twice prevented the journalist from receiving visits at Villa Clara in central Cuba, on 3 and 6 February. According to his mother, he is being checked twice a day by a doctor.He is supported by all the leading dissident figures, including journalists Raúl Rivero and Manuel Vazquez Portal, who were imprisoned in March 2003 and now live in exile.Fariñas Hernández has warned that he is ready to die unless the Cuban government gives way to his demands. “I want assaults on independent journalists to stop,” he said. “I want all Cubans to be allowed access to the Internet, if the government can do as it said at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in December, and give it to them.“I am ready to die. Fidel (Castro) knows my position”, Guillermo Fariñas, who sent a letter to the Cuban head of state on the first day of his hunger strike, told Reporters Without Borders.According to Manuel Vazquez Portal, his warning should be taken very seriously. “’El Coco’ (the journalist’s nickname) has already staged several hunger strikes. And he is not the man to give in.” This view is shared by the Ladies in White – wives and mothers of prisoners of opinion. to go further News Receive email alertscenter_img RSF_en Guillermo Fariñas Hernández of the Cubanacán Press agency, who was hospitalised in February after staging a hunger strike, underwent a chest operation on 23 May and then, two days later, wrote to the UN Human Rights Council (of which Cuba is a member) to ask it to condemn the Cuban government. October 15, 2020 Find out more News RSF and Fundamedios welcome US asylum ruling in favor of Cuban journalist Serafin Moran Santiago Cuba and its Decree Law 370: annihilating freedom of expression on the Internet News New press freedom predators elected to UN Human Rights Council ————-Create your blog with Reporters without borders: www.rsfblog.org October 12, 2018 Find out morelast_img read more

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Survey Exposes Liberal Bias Among Psychologists

first_img(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Everybody except liberals knows they are intolerant of conservatives, but now a new survey won’t let them deny they have a real bias problem.Conservatives in academia have long been aware that for their own protection they need to keep their views quiet.  Liberals, however, walk around thinking of themselves as the most tolerant people in the world.  An anonymous online survey of 800 social psychologists, about to be published by Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers this month in Perspectives on Psychological Science (a journal of the Association for Psychological Science), caught social psychologists with their tolerant pants down, Science Daily just reported.  Here are some of the most revealing excerpts:Every ten years or so, someone will make the observation that there is a lack of political diversity among psychological scientists and a discussion about what ought to be done ensues.  The notion that the field discriminates against and is skewed toward a liberal political perspective is worthy of concern; scholars, both within and outside the field, have offered various solutions to this diversity problem.Their findings confirm the field’s liberal bias, but they reveal some surprises as well…. Inbar and Lammers found an overwhelming liberal majority when it concerned social issues, but greater diversity on economic and foreign policy issues.It seems that conservative social psychologists hide their views because they perceive the field as hostile to their values. The more conservative respondents were, the more likely they were to report that they had experienced an intellectually unfriendly climate. Importantly, self-defined liberals did not seem to have the same perceptions of hostility.Furthermore, liberal respondents were more likely to say that they would discriminate against psychologists who displayed clear conservative views in the context of a paper or grant review, a symposium invitation, and in faculty hiring.Social tolerance and fairness are important values for many psychological scientists, so it’s surprising to find intolerance of a different kind in the field. And despite the fact that psychological scientists are well aware of the potentially harmful effects of cognitive biases, they are clearly not immune to such biases themselves.Several of the commentaries raise serious questions about how ideology might be shaping the issues and questions that social psychologists systematically choose — and do not choose — to explore.It may be the case that the field attracts a certain kind of inquiring and open mind that tends to embrace liberal values, and that conservatives self-select out of the field.  But this, most of the commentators agree, does not change the fact that pervasive liberal bias is unhealthy for intellectual inquiry.The article ends with Inbar and Lammers declaring the “time is ripe for self-examination in the field.”The time is ripe for housecleaning, not just navel-gazing.  Nothing will change until parity is achieved.  These people lack self-awareness of their intolerance because the only ones they hang out with are people like themselves.  They have no idea about how they stifle true diversity and open debate by their cluelessness, engendered by self-fulfilling prophecies and group reinforcement. Watch the documentary Indoctrinate U – it’s about campus leftist idealogues so pathetically unself-aware, they are downright funny.Don’t fall for the baloney that conservatives self-select out of the field because they lack an “inquiring and open mind.”  That’s leftist hot air.  Notice, instead, that the leftist bias actually influences the very scientific questions they find worthy to explore!  That’s why you so often find social psychologists analyzing religious people instead of conservative psychologists analyzing leftists.  We need more studies on leftism as a mental disorder that produces delusions of tolerance.Notice that some of the social psychos in the survey even admitted they would discriminate against conservatives!  They would prevent them from getting hired or getting grants or tenure.  Well, duh!  No wonder they’re all leftists.Since social psychologists are overwhelmingly Darwinians, this undoubtedly includes Darwin skeptics, who have felt their wrath and found themselves among the ranks of The Expelled.  Ironically, you can bet on it that their universities or institutions have a written policy on “diversity and inclusion” – about as worthless as a UN committee on anti-terrorism run by jihadis.  Your commentator had to take a campus-wide quiz on “diversity and inclusion” at a scientific institution, only to find himself expelled a few years later by the organization’s intolerance of intelligent design.Someone show this article to radio talk show host Dennis Prager, who has often beat the drum about the blindness of leftists in academia (he prefers calling them “leftists” instead of “liberal”–a good word misused).  Prager recently stated wisely that leftists are incapable of love, because they are not intolerant of evil.  It takes intolerance of evil to produce true love.  Celebrate “tolerance” without a hatred for evil, and the hate gets directed at those who don’t buy into the groupthink.For an explanation of why tolerance is impossible as a universal standard of virtue, see the Baloney Detector on “Self-Refuting Fallacy.“last_img read more

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Team South Africa: Caster Semenya

first_img17 May 2012It might come as a surprise to some, but Caster Semenya, a medal prospect in the women’s 800 metres at the London Olympic Games, is just 21 years old. She blasted into the public consciousness back in 2009, when she won the 800 metres at the IAAF World Championships at the age of 18.It was an eye-opening victory for Semenya, who decimated her opposition and won going away by 20 metres over the second-placed finisher, Janeth Jepkosgei, in a time of 1:55.45.Yet even before that race, a messy and poorly handled investigation into the muscular young South African had begun when, three hours before the final, the news broke that the IAAF wanted her to undergo a gender test.ClearedIt took almost a year for the International Association of Athletics Federations to clear Semenya, but it certainly set her development as a top athlete back. After a late start to 2010, her best time of 1:58.16 came in Milan in September.Despite that strong performance, she struggled to find the kind of form that made her a world champion, but showed excellent temperament on one of the sport’s biggest stages at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in 2011, lifting her game to excel against the world’s best 800 metres athletes once again.Semenya recorded her best time of the year in the semi-finals, 1:58.07, to win her race and qualify for the final.Top performanceWith medals on the line, she bettered her performance in the final, clocking a fast 1:56.35, which was good for second place behind fast-finishing Russian Maria Savinova.Those two World Championships performances suggest that Semenya has the invaluable quality of BMT – big match temperament – which allows her to perform her best under extreme pressure.She booked her spot at the London Olympics in April when she ran a time of 1:59.58 seconds in Pretoria. Incredibly, that sub two-minute clocking was the first time a woman had cracked the two-minute barrier in South Africa since Zelda Pretorius ran 1:58.35 in 1991.‘A weight off my shoulders’After achieving the qualifying standard for a second time (her first was at the world Championships in Daegu), Semenya told reporters: “It’s a weight off my shoulders and I’m very happy with my time. I possibly can go quicker. Tonight was just my third race of the season.”She also shared her goals with the media, saying: “I have to win a gold medal at the Olympics. That’s what I want.“My dream is to win the Olympics, and that’s my plan. I feel OK, because now I can run good races again, run faster. Qualifying for the Olympics, it’s a good step forward.”Semenya, who is coached by Mozambiquan 800 metres legend Maria Mutola, a former Olympic and world champion, will compete overseas in May and June in a bid to improve her season’s best time to under 1:57.00.If she finds that kind of form, she will be a strong gold medal candidate in London.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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World Cup of Disabled Golf tees off in South Africa

first_img21 May 2014The South African Disabled Golf Association will break new ground this week with the hosting of the inaugural World Cup of Disabled Golf, which tees off at Zebula Golf Estate and Spa in Limpopo province on Wednesday.The event is a 54-hole stroke-play championship and has drawn entries from Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States.In-form rising stars Daniel Slabbert and Reinard Schuhknecht will partner with seasoned campaigner Conrad Scholtz in chasing down a home victory.‘A really big deal’Kathu’s Slabbert said there is a lot of pride at stake for the South African team. “The World Cup is a really big deal, but to tee it up for South Africa here at home is huge,” the three-time Nedbank SA Disabled Golf Open champion said in a statement on Tuesday.“We are South Africa’s first disabled golfers to earn national colours, along with our team manager, Eugene Vorster. We all definitely feel the pressure, because to wear the green and gold is an enormous honour for any athlete.“The South African Disabled Golf Association worked incredibly hard to make this event happen and we want to do the country proud by winning the first World Cup.”Schuhknecht believes the South African trio have had enough laps around the 6 829 metre Zebula layout over the last week to prepare for the challenge.“We all played in the Nedbank SA Disabled Golf Open here last week and we’ve had some practice rounds since, so we are definitely ready for the World Cup,” the 2013 World One-Arm Stroke Play champion explained.“However, every team here wants to be the first winners of the World Cup, so the competition will be stiff. We just have to give it our best shot and make sure we come out on top.”Stranglehold brokenJust a week ago, reigning Canadian and American amputee golf champion Josh Williams broke Slabbert’s stronghold on the country’s premier disabled golf tournament and added the South African Disabled Open title to his tally.The Kitchener native is relishing the chance to win the inaugural World Cup for Canada alongside Johannes Grames and Robert MacDermott.“I love team competitions, so I am really looking forward to the challenge this week,” Williams said.“It’s a fine thing to own three national titles, but in a team competition, it’s all down to how you perform on the day.“We had a great practice round, and I’m confident we’ll do well here. The course is in fantastic nick, despite the struggles they have had with drought in this neck of the woods.“It’s a long layout, but it is very fair and if you go off-line here, you will pay the price.”‘Tough competition’The Canada Post employee said he is expecting a tough week. “We have some serious competition here this week,” he said. “Daniel and Reinard finished second and third last week, so they will be looking for a home victory and a little revenge. But we also have guys like Geoff Nicholas from Australia, Kenny Bonz and Tracy Ramin from the USA, who can be dangerous.“As far as I am concerned, everyone has brought their A-game and the World Cup is wide open.”Multiple US Amputee Championship winner Nicholas will partner Graham Kenyon and Shane Luke for Australia, while Bonz from the United States will line up with James Curley and Ramin, who finished sixth at the Nedbank SA Disabled Golf Open.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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Chef Benny Masekwaneng gears up for his first-ever culinary experience in Davos

first_imgCelebrity Chef Benny Masekwaneng has been hard at work, crafting an authentic South African menu for guests attending a networking dinner hosted by Team South Africa during the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. South Africa will be participating at WEF from 22 – 25 January 2019, to promote inclusive growth and development.As one of SA’s most-loved culinary masters, Chef Benny has featured as a judge on Masterchef SA, as well as The Ultimate Braai Master. For the first time, he jets off to Davos with a South African delegation, offering guests a meticulously-selected culinary experience that aims to introduce them to fine African cuisine.The chef who was born in Alexandra, previously spoke to Times LIVE about the loss his family experienced during apartheid, which impacted his dream of becoming an electrical engineer. His fate, however, led him to pursue a path he’s always been passionate about: cooking!He explained: “We stayed really close to the (men’s) hostels and when the political violence went up, we were forced to move from our house and lost everything in the process. The money that was set aside for my engineering studies had to help us get by, so I ended up helping my mother in her catering business.”With more than 20 years in the industry, Chef Benny applauds local chefs for bringing innovation and excellence to the dining room table.He told Brand South Africa: “We are exactly where we need to be when it comes to global standards. We have the luxury of accessibility to what other countries are doing.”As an avid lover of slow cooking dishes like oxtail, pork trotters as well as split peas and sugar beans, we are sure international guests are in for quite a warm, hearty treat prepared by our favourite chef!last_img read more

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Live Blog from IBM Pulse: The Data World – Buildings, Homes…You Name It

first_imgCognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Tags:#enterprise#news Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… alex williams Today’s live blog comes from IBM Pulse where we will explore how data moves to the greater physical world, be it buildings or physical objects. It’s also an event that demonstrates how deep Tivilo is still embedded into the enterprise data center for the management of IT assets. We’ll be sure to hear more about that in the keynotes this morning.Let’s get started.8:13 A.M PST: The event is just getting started. IBM is setting the stage with three main themes:Better optimizationDeveloping better systemsAnalytics 8:30 a.m. : Dr.Danny Sabbah of IBM is on stage. He is discussing the instrumented world that is interconnected and intelligent. 8:39 a.m: Starting to get into instrumentation, discussing DC Water, the Washington D.C. water system with pipes that date back to the Civil War. Instrument data on the pipes and in the system allows for the assets to communicate with the people who administer the system. That’s cool.8:43 a.m: The Amsterdam airport needs to be better optimized. They can do that with robots, software and analytics to create intelligence, learning and continual optimization. It’s creating space where there was none before. Robotic luggage system saves 40% in costs.8:48 a.m.: IBM is developing an integrated service management platform on a Web-oriented architecture. They say it is an open initiative on an open architecture and federated systems. It means transparent interaction in a Web environment. The process is designed to be collaborative from strategy to the actual devices in the world that are instrumented to collect data, transmit and analyze for predictive capabilities.8:54 a.m. Steve Mills of IBM is taking the stage. Information technology and computing improves just about everything we do. The size of businesses would not be what they are without it. But like fire, you need to control it. And there are budgets. How to be innovative with those constraints is a challenge. The world is made of zettabytes of information. There are 32.6 million servers worldwide. Data centers have doubled their energy use in the past five years. IT operating costs are out of control. The IT infrastructure is costing them too much to run. Their run cost, in some cases, is 70% of the budget. Power and cooling costs are going up. Server management is increasing and new server spending is up as a result.9:01 a.m.: How you decrease the costs is what we hear a lot about. You need to work on the sprawl. Eliminating redundant software and data is critical. There is too many of the same thing. And you want to deliver service delivery. Mills says this shows we are at an inflection point. It’s a time for smart computing. You need to move from sprawl to consolidation and federation. You need to pool services. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of ideology. Mills is getting tough. “You are entitled to your own opinions. Not the facts.”9:07 a.m.: Getting into server consolidation and storage efficiency. Questions about storage: How do you stop storing so much? How do you make the storage smarter? Mills is saying clean the attic, clean the basement – clean it out. Put it on eBay. Make your systems programmatic. Make it elastic. Mills is now pushing the mainframe, the big box. zEnterprise.Mills says people say stupid stuff every day. Of course Dell says it is best. Intel says the same. Duh!9:16 a.m. It’s all about economics. If you can use Solaris you can use IBM AIX. Mills sounds fed up. “Give me a break,” he says.9:18 a.m.: Talking through customers. Ending by telling people that they have to get past the religious debates. Let’s ground in facts and numbers, he says. What a pitch.9:25 a.m. Video time! Now it’s on to Watson, the virtual genius. Discussing the applications such as healthcare where natural language is the best technology for determining context. It changes the processes.9:29 a.m. Dean Kamen is the keynote. We’ll be back later.10:58 a.m. Now at the press event. There are 7,000 people here at IBM Pulse. And the talk is about optimization. Water systems, airports – there are hundreds of projects and there will be millions some day, to optimize the world in which we live. Why? The replacement costs are prohibitive. We need to find new space in an old world.11:05 a.m. Information collection and management will be dominating themes for decades to come, Mills says. But can you collect all of the data from the devices on the power grid in the operation? Can you see where you get surges and dropouts. By analyzing the data can you do a better job of deploying crews? It comes down to understanding the patterns to discover the problems. Moving on to Watson – Mills say it served as an entertaining way to show how real language can be defined and understood to come up with answers. There are other real-world problems that apply in a similar way. You can do a better job in treating diseases and what approach is taken to treat the person. The computer brings a certain determination that the human mind can’t do.11:16 a.m. What can you do with human sentiment? Mills talks about defining the data from Twitter and other social technologies where people converse. It, too, is being analyzed and will add another context entirely.11:26 a.m.: As chips get better, the data coming off the infrastructure can be immense. There may be temporal or spatial problems. Formatting becomes an issue.11:31 a.m.: IBM is being asked if Watson can become a pharmacy assistant. They want more accuracy to the delivery of its service due to the complexity that can come with prescriptions. Assistants are in greater need for a more complex world. The nice thing is the computer does not get angry. It does not get tired. It does not quit.11:38 a.m.: Why not connect Watson to the Internet? Mills says, If you understand Google, its business is to displace direct mail. They sell positioning. They’re moving money to them. He says they speculate on its use in a general public Web access in a way to scan the Web and caching. He says they are not interested in that business. They are interested in developing and applying Watson to business applications.4:17 p.m.: I am with Steve Mills. When Mils talks with clients about smarter planet, they begin to see the opportunities but they wonder where they get their seed funding. They have to know that all the costs can be earned back pretty fast. Information technology as the transforming tool is something that provides power in a company. It goes beyond cost accounting. Mills sees cities rapidly adopting smart technologies. Why? It’s in part due to being able to see gaps where they could not before. You can find space where there was none before. Previously, you could not get to it. Now computers are ideally suited to do these things. The computer fills in the gap.Mills say the world we see now is more evolutionary than anything new. Systems evolve. As human beings we experience the benefits. We are dependent on our infrastructure. We evolve with it. The more real-time things become, the more you can find the gaps. 4:30 p.m.: Customers start with the business outcome. IT is a means to an end. They are trying to differentiate. How can I use technology? Conversation turns to the cloud. Mills says definitions do not recognize the sea change over the span of decades. We only started referring to it recently as cloud. Mills put me on the spot, asking if I think ADP is a cloud company. I say the cloud is about data. He says it’s more than that. UPS, for instance, is now more of a logistics company. What are they trying to do? They are delivering what they do as a service. It is the use of information technology.4:40 p.m. Conversation turns to the Internet of Things. Mills gives a historical perspective.He says that in the mechanical age, we made things stronger than we were. The computer does that for the human brain. Machines augmented our muscles. Watson will augment our brain. The computer operates in a different domain and dimension.4:55 p.m. I closed with asking why Watson was so popular. He said Jeopardy is a popular game show that has been around for decades. They know it is not easy. They saw the computer compete and it won. The computer seemed to understand things. It was fed data. It captured people’s imagination about what computers will do in the future. Our great grandparents worked by hand. They then moved into plants. They built using machines. Today, the computer can be an assistant with enormous amounts of knowledge that no one can have in their heads. The computer comes up with the answer.See you tomorrow!Disclosure: IBM covered Alex Williams’s travel expenses for this event.(Lead image courtesy of @nitinraut)center_img IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Nowlast_img read more

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Rural Water Limited to Spend $4.1 Billion on Water Projects

first_imgApproximately $4.1 billion is to be spent by the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL) over the next three years to restore and upgrade water supply systems in rural communities.The undertaking is in keeping with Government’s policy to ensure that all households have access to potable water and adequate sanitation by 2015.Speaking with JIS News, Managing Director of RWSL, Audley Thompson, informed that some 26 projects will be undertaken over the three-year period.These include: repair or restoration work on the Cascade/Claremont/Jericho water system in Eastern Hanover and the Agualta Vale pumping station in St. Mary; and replacement and upgrading of water mains in Orange Hill, Westmoreland.RWSL, instituted in April 1983, is wholly owned by the Government of Jamaica and has a mandate to improve the basic sanitary/health conditions by increasing the coverage of potable water and sanitation services in poor rural areas.Mr. Thompson explained that “the agency investigates rural communities that are without water then identifies the closest water supply to that community, designs a plan for the work to be done and invites tenders and employs contractors.”“RWSL also supervises the construction and when the work is completed, they hand over the water supply system to the relevant agency; whether it is National Water Commission (NWC) or parish council to operate the system,” he further outlined.The Managing Director told JIS News that the agency has also undertaken several projects as part of its corporate responsibility and contribution.“We have carried out a rain water harvesting system at the Police Benevolent Centre in St. Elizabeth, where injured policemen are housed,” he informed.This project, he said, was done to help in the reduction of the facility’s water bill with the team implementing a guttering and pumping system, as well as installing some tanks.Rainwater harvesting projects were also undertaken at the Maldon and Chatsworth Primary schools in South St. James.RWSL is an agency under the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.Contact: Shelly-Ann Irvinglast_img read more

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TCI Premier on Resilient Communities

first_img Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, December 12, 2017 – Providenciales –Salutations,It is with sincere thanks to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations for this platform to address you today having experienced Hurricanes Irma and Maria, not only as Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, but more so as a “Disaster Survivor,” since Hurricanes Ike and Tropical Storm Hanna in 2008.I also capitalize on this opportunity to showcase the solidarity within the region and further express gratitude to Agencies such as, CDEMA (to conduct critical damage assessments) and the Cayman Islands Governments (whose helicopter provided critical airlift), who comprised our early recovery niche after the devastating Hurricanes in September this year, arriving within days of the passage of Hurricane Irma.   We are also grateful for the visit of the Chairman and Secretary General of Caricom. These acts demonstrated that solidarity for which we are grateful.Overview of ImpactHurricane Irma and Maria impacted every island in the Turks and Caicos Islands chain.   Three (3) Islands under our disaster legislation were declared states of emergencies. Irma’s winds recording as high as 200 mph damaged all communication systems, water systems, electricity, damaged both major Hospitals on Grand Turk and Providenciales, destroyed one of our Community Clinics in a largely elderly populated settlement, damaged our two main Airports on Providenciales (our most populated Island and tourism center) and Grand Turk (our nation’s capital), displaced the Police Headquarters and critical services in Providenciales, displaced over 80% Government Offices, damaged 13 of 15 Government Schools, caused widespread damage to homes and critical infrastructure but greatly spared lives, major health challenges, our Cruise Ship Pier and our major Shipping Port.   Immediate challenges apart from the provision of basic human needs of food, water and shelter, were to restore communications which was the greatest source of discontentment as this is even more essential in a multiple Island nation, we were able restore electricity and water, support the Hospitals and to aid in the safe stay and departure of tourists that remained on Islands.  While we had few security concerns in the general population, we were forced to send additional resources to Grand Turk to assist the Police and provide support to the Prison as one of three Wings of the country’s Prison was burned and rendered uninhabitable.We have since made much progress in our recovery with our private electricity provider being able as of November 6th to restore electricity to 100% of its customers who were able to receive the services having to replant over 1500 Poles as the damage was thankfully restricted to Transmission and Distribution and not Generation. Water systems were fully restored within weeks and Communications has been restored but not fully to Pre Storm conditions. Government Offices are still displaced and the majority of school children began to return on October 6, 2017.   Only 6 students on the Island of Salt Cay, our tiniest inhabited Island, yet to return.   Most of our Resorts have completed repairs and reopened but the closure resulted in major loss of revenue for TCI’s economy.   We are currently engaged jointly with Private Sector stakeholders in an “Open For Business” campaign to ensure a strong upcoming tourism season which peaks at December and slows through to April.Humanitarian aid, particularly development action, is critical for the Turks and Caicos Islands at this time. Preliminary data captured by the CDEMA’s Initial Damage Assessment Report, revealed that 80% of the housing stock was damaged due to the impact of Hurricane Irma.   In other words, five thousand and eighty (5080) households across the islands received Levels 1 through 4 damages to their homes (level 4 being homes totally destroyed).   The damages were similar in nature throughout the Islands and largely roofing related.  We have already begun to ensure that the Code is reinforced and policing is strengthened.Moreover, statistics confirmed that South Caicos and Salt Cay suffered ninety-nine to one hundred percent destruction.   In South Caicos, a predominantly fishing community, would have seen only 2 of its homes spared damages.   The Post Disaster Needs Assessment, that is still underway highlighted that approximately one thousand and five hundred persons are displaced, and seven hundred and twenty of those persons are in serious need of housing.   In fact, this vulnerable population comprise the elderly, persons with income earnings of below, on average, twenty-five hundred US dollars per month, and in the most unfortunate and common case, are not Insurance Policy Holders.   These Storms saw a record breaking 1500 persons in Shelters and two months later, we still house shelterees in one (1) official shelter in Grand Turk and several unofficial in Providenciales.Coupled with the predicament regarding rebuilding of the housing stock, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government is also faced with approximately 11 million US dollars for repairs and retrofitting of public schools and public administration institutions.It is an understatement when I say, the Turks and Caicos Islands is in need of urgent Humanitarian Support.Critical assessments have shown that four to five feet of coastal erosion was recorded at the popular Grace Bay beach.   This paints a lucid picture on adverse effects on our coastal environment, that is hinged on our main bread winner, Tourism.   Therefore, there is an urgency to engage in in coastal protection efforts.Hurricanes Irma and Maria have crippled our source of national level income over the past three months, resulting high deficits. Our fragile economy that serve as lucrative livelihoods are commonly derived from downstream activities, have been severely impacted.To further emphasize, our major hotel chain, Beaches Turks and Caicos which is responsible for 60% of our airlift, the second largest employer only to TCIG and a major contributor to our GDP, were forced to close its doors for an extended period of four months after sustaining some $25 million dollars in damages.   Resulting in a serious impact on visitor arrival numbers, airlift and employment.   Instances like those reinforce my statement and coagulates my request for assistance from you, in that despite the high income derived from being a preferred Caribbean tourist destination, a small developing island like the TCI, is challenged by the heavy reliance on tourism.   These Storms has pushed my less than 1 yr old Government to increase our efforts already underway in diversifying our economy and even our tourism product.Climate ChangeA Climate Change Committee led by the Office of the Premier was appointed early in my Administration and a draft Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaptation has been prepared for release in a few weeks with a Policy and Green Paper to follow.   This will ensure that climate change adaptation provision is included in all national strategies, policies, programs and operations.With such low lying areas, in August we have also agreed a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) loan and grant funding together with Government funding to conduct a consultancy on building critical climate resilient sea defenses in our most vulnerable Islands.   Research trends have revealed that changing climate attributes to future weather systems, that can be as equal or more deadly in intensity.   Having to prepare for the Category 3 Hurricane Maria and only two(2) weeks after Hurricane Irma can be a viable indication that there may a shorter return period of high intensity, weather events of this nature.In addition to the need for climate change adaptation solutions, the fact that Irma decapitated the electricity and telecommunication transmission and distribution networks, made it imperative that the Turks and Caicos Islands require expert solutions and improvements in areas such as a robust early warning mechanism and emergency communication systems.   My Government has already engaged in dialogue with the communications sector well as critical utility services about the need to invest in underground infrastructure.I also leverage this opportunity to encourage Experts with strong technical experience in urban and land use planning, building code application, particularly regarding roofing for structures, and design and build capacity to assist the Turks and Caicos in our rehabilitation process.I would also like to commend the UNDP and CDEMA on current Safer Schools Building Programme, that is scheduled to commence on November 27th, 2017 in the Turks and Caicos Islands.   We are also grateful for the full Team visit of the UN ECLAC and wish to extend our sincerest appreciation on behalf of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.You can agree that the solutions required for the TCI’s ability to not only build back better, but to be resilient for future events lie in sustainable development actions.It is within this regard, on behalf of my country, I emphasize your significant role in not only financial contributions, but in providing technical capacity to rethink traditional development principles, such as, “relief first and development later.”Building back better is expensive, and is not an easily attainable goal, especially as multi Island nations bring its own set of inherent challenges and when a high percentage of our population have been adversely impacted with no insurance benefits.   Nonetheless we must remain committed to our goals of rebuilding stronger than before.Our immediate challenges and priorities are rebuilding of our schools and other critical government infrastructure including the Prison and Police Housing, investing in critical underground infrastructure through welcomed private sector partnership, assistance for housing repairs and investment in housing construction, debris management, and addressing budget shortfalls, managing our coastlines, robust early warning mechanism and emergency communication systems.We have already begun to adopt the recommendations contained in the CDEMA Report and await the UN ECLAC’s Report due to be received soon.   We are committed to rebuilding stronger and have together with the Tourist Board tagged our recovery phase: TCI Strong, Rebuilding Stronger Than Before.”I urge you and your partners to honor your pledge to the 2030 Agenda commitment which states “leave no one behind,” and collaborate with us in achieving a proactive, climate-smart and community driven, bottom-up approach to a more sustainable and resilient Turks and Caicos Islands.Thank you CARICOM,Thank you United NationsThank you Donors. God Bless You AllHon Sharlene L Cartwright RobinsonPremier & Minister of FinanceThe Turks and Caicos Islandscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

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