Politicians change laws to suit themselves – Ram

first_img…calls for two thirds of parliamentarians to monitor oil fundPolitical analyst and Attorney Christopher Ram on Friday weighed in on matters relating to the Natural Resources Fund (NRF) at the inaugural Energy forum hosted by the Guyana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) at Duke Lodge, Georgetown, where he raised concerns over the fact that Government officials draft laws to benefit themselves.It is because of this concern, Ram noted that NRF, previously called the Sovereign Wealth Fund, should be monitored by two thirds of the National Assembly to protect its content.“First of all, this legislation that is proposed or as it is, we have a difficulty with the Constitution. Article 216 of the Constitution which says that all the money must goPolitical Analyst and Attorney, Christopher Ramtowards to Consolidated Fund unless…(but) Article 216 of is not protected. It is not entrenched as you call it. This act, the Natural Resource Fund act, you pass it one day and you can unpass it the next day. Where is the protection? Where is the guarantee that no, even one-seat majority, will take all kind of politics that we have in this country that we’ve had for so very long, whenever they feel like they change the law to suit themselves,” Ram said.According to him, changes to the law to suit governments have happened in the past and continue to happen under the present Administration.It is against this backdrop that Ram pointed to the need for the SWF to be monitored by parliamentarians. “The Natural Resource Fund should be protected by a two thirds majority in the National Assembly,” he stated.Should this come to pass, the analyst said certain laws would have to be amended such as Article 164, which requires a referendum.His fellow panelist, Attorney Charles Ramson Jr, chimed in saying both the Opposition and Government should play a role in drafting this specific legislation as it may have negative impacts on the booming oil industry.According to him, “The protection that Chris (Christopher Ram) was referring to is getting a two thirds majority but how do you get a two thirds majority if you’re doing it and creating your ideas and creating the policy and creating the framework and the legislation all on your own?”Ramson indicated that when the other party is excluded from such matters, when it is time to vote on the legislation, regardless of it is good or bad, the other party will vote against it.The ‘Green Paper’ which details the doings of Government with the earnings from not only the oil industry, but several other areas related to natural resources was released back in August.The Government said in its Green Paper that it would be an unwise decision to spread the limited expertise and experience in fund management in Guyana across two separate funds. The costs of managing two funds would be much higher than those of managing a single fund.As such, the Government considers that it is most efficient to have a single fund (the Natural Resource Fund).last_img read more


A family tradition: Going out to Crabs ball games

first_imgDifferent families have all sorts of traditions when it comes to fathers and their children spending time together but one in particular has become the tradition of several local families, attending Humboldt Crabs baseball games.The Zerlangs, Tellezes, Frasers and Lurtzes are just a few of the families that carry on this tradition. All have been going to games for different periods of time and have different reasons why — but they all share a love of baseball.In 2001 Noah Lurtz was about to …last_img read more


Want to be a citizen Earth scientist? Join GLOBE Observer

first_imgClouds are more than water and a muse. They play an important role in regulating the temperature of the planet. Now NASA’s new GLOBE Observer app makes it easy for us all to be guardians of the planet.Data collected by the users of NASA’s GLOBE Observer app gives climate scientists a more holistic view of the the changing planetary environment. (Image: GLOBE Programme)Did you spot a dramatic and surfable Morning Glory this morning? Has your day been filled with cumulus, nimbostratus or stratocumulus? These are just a few of the 10 basic types of cloud. Depending on whether they are clumps or layers or streaks, if they’re low, mid-level or high, clouds fit into different species as well.All of them are water – tiny droplets in low clouds and ice crystals in high. And yet, they have captured the imagination of artists and been the muse to poets. They have helped adults while away the day and inspired children with crayons.They also play an important role in controlling the temperature of the planet and its climate system by reflecting sunlight back into space or trapping heat coming from the surface in the atmosphere. “Clouds are one of the most important factors in understanding how climate is changing now and how it’s going to change in the future,” says Holli Rieneek Kohl, an education and outreach officer at NASA.She is also the NASA lead in its GLOBE Observer programme. NASA’s Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) is a two decade-old science and education programme. Schools and students in 110 countries participate through observations of their local environment. Global data is collated and their observations are used to give a clearer view of the global environment.The appIt is now easer to join thousands of global citizen scientists. All you need is a smartphone, the great outdoors and NASA’s new GLOBE Observer app. South African citizen scientists can join the GLOBE community by downloading the app. They will join a global community building a cache of scientific data about local environmental conditions. For South Africans it is a continuation of the country’s storied involvement with NASA. A history that goes back to the agency’s moon landing expeditions. The GLOBE Observer app ties in with South African National Space Agency (SANSA) mandate to promote awareness and an interest in science, engineering and technology. The app allows the programme to grow beyond the classroom and allows anyone anywhere to become a planetary guardian.The app is available as a free download (Image: GLOBE Programme)South Africa has felt the effects of climate change recently with unprecedented drought and unseasonal temperatures. NASA is encouraging citizens around the world to participate in its programme to track these global climate changes by downloading the app and sharing their data with a global audience.For now the app allows users to collect photographs of clouds, which are sent to NASA to form a web of global climate data. A secondary benefit is, NASA hopes, a public more aware of the world outside their homes. The information collected is added to satellite-generated information to create a more holistic data archive.Kohl explains: “NASA studies clouds from satellites that provide either a top view or a vertical slice of the clouds. The ground-up view from citizen scientists is valuable in validating and understanding the satellite observations. It also provides a more complete picture of clouds around the world.”For scientists data is everything, but collecting that data is rarely cheap or easy, especially when the whole world is your laboratory. For NASA’s climate scientists, ground measurements are critical to confirm their measurements taken from space.Erika Podest, a NASA Earth scientist based at its world famous Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explains: “There are some places in the world where we have no ground data, so citizen scientists can greatly contribute to advancing our knowledge of this important part of the Earth system.”Collected data is automatically sent to the GLOBE data and information centre, where it is available to scientists and students studying the planet. But NASA, and Kohl, want to encourage app users to also interact with other users around the globe.Download the app, create an account, follow the tutorial and you are ready to start making observations. Use the drop down menu to record atmospheric conditions – whether the sky is clear, cloudy or obscured by things such as rain, fog or dust – then classify the clouds. The app auto-fills local time and date and co-ordinates.The app will help users to align their camera along compass points and how to best tilt your phone to capture most of the sky. You need a smartphone, but an internet connection is not necessary while taking pictures of clouds. You can submit your data once you have a connection.last_img read more


Despite govt. order, Odisha schools charging fees from disabled students

first_imgDespite the Odisha government’s order to waive all academic fees for physically challenged students, several government and government-aided higher secondary schools are collecting admission fee from them.As per an order of the Department of School and Mass Education of Odisha dated May 25, 2018, ‘all academic fees, except mess charges, will be waived in respect of students with disabilities of 40% or more’. But due to ignorance of authorities of some higher secondary schools, physically challenged students are being pressed to pay up admission fee during admission to +2 courses.Immediate declaration Retired principal of Red Cross School for the Blind in Berhampur, Nabin Chandra Satapathy, has brought this to the notice of the State Commissioner for Persons with Disbilities, Odisha. Mr. Satapathy, who is actively involved in issues related to bind students, demanded that the government make some immediate declaration so that higher secondary schools stop collecting admission fee from blind students during admissions.In his representation, Mr. Satapathy has cited example of three visually impaired students who have passed the tenth board examination from Red Cross School for the Blind, Berhampur, and have got admitted in different higher secondary schools of the State. Receipts of these students clearly state that admission fee was collected from them.This error has happened in top higher secondary institutions of the State like Ravenshaw Higher Secondary School, Cuttack, and Khallikote Higher Secondary School, Berhampur. “Dutikrushna Jena had to pay over ₹4000 to get admitted in +2 first year of arts course in Muniguda Junior College of Rayagada district. Similarly S.Nahak had to pay ₹961 for admission to higher secondary arts course of Ravenshaw Higher Secondary School, Cuttack. Prabhakar Sethi paid ₹1,062 for +2 arts admission in Khallikote Higher Secondary School, Berhampur,” said Mr. Satapathy.last_img read more


88% driving licences underscanner in Assam district

first_imgMore than 88% of the driving licences issued in Hailakandi district of Assam have come under the scanner.The southern Assam district has 45,300 driving licence holders. A scrutiny during an attempt to convert the laminated paper licences to smart cards revealed that some 40,000 of them could be “doubtful” or procured fraudulently.Last week, Hailakandi’s District Transport Officer Syed Rafiqul Mannan issued an order saying a majority of the licences were purportedly issued by his counterpart in Manipur’s Bishnupur district while the rest were issued by a “certain district” of Nagaland. These licences were flagged as doubtful.Agents to blame? There have been cases of people acquiring driving licences from neighbouring States after their applications were rejected in Assam.The DTO said that most of the people who applied for smart card revealed on being questioned that they did not go to Manipur or Nagaland to obtain their licences. This brought to the fore the issue of bogus driving licences being made with the help of agents.“Data was not available online as most of the licences were of the laminated type. The process of converting them into smart cards was accordingly put on hold. More than 40,000 such licences are lying in my office,” Mr. Mannan said.Smart cards The smart cards would be issued once his counterparts in Manipur and Nagaland confirm the authenticity of the driving licences purportedly issued from their offices, he said.Officials said the licences will be cancelled, as per the Motor Vehicles Act, if they are not found to be genuine. People can reapply online for fresh smart card licences.last_img read more





Marvel heroes SpiderMan and AntMan team up to defeat fear itself

first_imgTruly a hero. Sony Pictures While many Marvel fans are focused on the epic conclusion to 10 years worth of storytelling in Avengers: Endgame, a team of Israeli researchers are diving back through Marvel’s movie catalog to help people overcome their fears.New research suggests that fear of spiders (arachnophobia) and fear of ants (myrmecophobia) can be alleviated by viewing a seven-second scene from Spider-Man 2 or Ant-Man.The study, published in Frontiers in Psychiatry on April 23, showed 424 participants segments of the Sony Pictures film Spider-Man 2, the Marvel film Ant-Man, a natural scene or the Marvel opening credits scene. Prior to viewing and after viewing they measured the participants’ responses in an online quiz that assessed their socio-demographic variables, familiarity with the films and phobic symptoms.The team showed watching Spider-Man 2 alleviated some of the symptoms of spider phobia. Post-viewing phobia symptoms were decreased, relative to pre-viewing, by 20%. Similar results were seen with Ant-Man. How to watch every Marvel Cinematic Universe film in the right order Sci-Tech Share your voice 26 Photos Now playing: Watch this: 0 Avengers: Endgame is a thrilling sequel to every MCU… 3:14 Post a comment The theory behind the technique is known as exposure therapy. This method is routinely used by psychiatrists to treat specific phobias by showing the patient neutral, non-harmful images of the things they are afraid of. Exposing them to their fear without consequence gradually helps ease the symptoms of the phobia.To ensure that it wasn’t just the idea of watching a Marvel film that had participants less fearful, the researchers compared their scores to those who watched the Marvel credits or a natural scene. The credits and the natural scene provided no reduction in phobia symptoms after viewing. Thus, the team concluded that Spider-Man and Ant-Man aren’t just incredibly good at fighting the intergalactic bad guys, they’re also beneficial for those suffering specific insect phobias.Notably, they suggest that because of the “fun” nature of Marvel films — and the fact they are such a huge part of modern pop culture — may reduce some of the stigmas associated with treatment and therapy of these phobias.The team is now looking at how they can improve the effects of their Marvel-based treatment option. Their next study will again assess the effect of watching Marvel movies on the brain, with a focus on how it may benefit those with post-traumatic stress disorder. Tags Sonylast_img read more


Vodafone found hidden backdoors in Huawei equipment says report

first_img 40 Photos Tags FBI director slams Huawei and ZTE phones 2 Huawei routers apparently had some historical vulnerabilities. Adrian Dennis / AFP / Getty Images Vodafone apparently discovered hidden backdoors in Huawei equipment as far back as 2011.The UK-based carrier found vulnerabilities in routers and other equipment that could have given scandal-scarred Chinese company Huawei unauthorized access to Vodafone’s network in Italy, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.Both Vodafone and Huawei told Bloomberg that these vulnerabilities were addressed in 2011 and 2012. However, the outlet reported that the vulnerabilities remained after that and could also be found in Vodafone’s UK, German, Spanish and Portuguese businesses, citing anonymous sources. Vodafone apparently kept using Huawei equipment because it was competitively priced. Huawei P30 Pro’s four rear cameras from every angle Security Internet Services Share your voice Vodafone disputed the report in an emailed statement, saying the “backdoor” mentioned is a protocol used to perform diagnostic functions and wouldn’t have been accessible from the internet.”In addition, we have no evidence of any unauthorized access. This was nothing more than a failure to remove a diagnostic function after development,” the spokesperson wrote. “The issues were identified by independent security testing, initiated by Vodafone as part of our routine security measures, and fixed at the time by Huawei.”Huawei mirrored this statement, noting that it addressed the “historical vulnerabilities” in 2011 and 2012.”Software vulnerabilities are an industry-wide challenge,” a spokesperson said via email. “Like every ICT vendor we have a well-established public notification and patching process, and when a vulnerability is identified we work closely with our partners to take the appropriate corrective action.”Bloomberg didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment.The story comes as China urges Britain to let Huawei play a role in developing its next-generation 5G wireless network, even as the US pressures its European allies not to adopt Huawei’s 5G equipment. US officials have said the gear could be used to spy for China. Huawei denies the allegations. Comments Now playing: Watch this: 1:11 Huawei Vodafonelast_img read more