24 July 2015The Department of Water Affairs has created a new online water services system, the National Integrated Water Information System (NIWIS), a data portal for water management institutions.It will allow commercial water users, researchers and the general public to get updated information on the status of water and sanitation in South Africa.The system is user- and interface-friendly, providing information 24 hours a day on any desktop and mobile device. With this new system, the public are can query basic data from a national level, as well as from local and municipal water management information systems.Using the system will benefit the water sector community and the public, the department says, as it will enable faster and more knowledgeable decision-making for more effective water management.The department comprises many specialist subdivisions operating in separate functions that have been unco-ordinated for some time. The NIWIS now integrates all these business units under one system, allowing easy and convenient access this co-ordinated information.It is part of the government’s commitment to using information and communications technology to improve public service delivery.Information available on the NIWIS system includes:Water and waste water monitoring: including general drinking and waste water quality checks and waste water treatment authorisation.Water revenue information: particulars on actual water use versus registered volumes, water revenue per sector and non-revenue water.Water regulation: information about enforcement case management, legal compliance, classification of offences by activity type, classification of offences per sector and status of the legal process.Water services information: including municipal strategic self-assessment, access to municipal water scheme infrastructure and water board tariff information.Water-use authorisation: raw water tariffs, municipal tariffs, water use licence application monitoring, existing lawful water use and information about water licences.Water sector decision makers: information about department representatives and external stakeholders.Source: SAnews.gov.za
Thanks to Carl Levinson | Ai poster photo by Sanfamedia | Birds Nest photo by Edwin Lee April 3, 2011. Ai Weiwei was detained by two customs officers while crossing customs in Beijing Capital Airport. Just separated Ai Weiwei and his assistant. By the two customs officers taken to a separate location. Ai Weiwei’s phone has been shut off, and he’s already been out of contact for 50 minutes. The situation is unclear. Please everyone pay attention. (Note: This is an assistant tweeting.)Continued news on his detainment can be found there and on Ai’s Twitter account.According to the Washington Post, the police “also blocked off the streets to his studio and raided it, carting away laptops and the hard drive from the main computer…eight staff members and Ai’s wife, Lu Qing, were taken to the local police station for questioning.”Although Ai had increased China’s reputation in the world of art, he had yet to receive permission to stage a solo show in his home country. His February show was canceled due to political pressure and the Shanghai studio he built was demolished by order of the Chinese government. Ai’s arrest is not an isolated incident, nor, probably, just the workaday oppression of artists in China; it is instead part of a renewed crackdown, against an anticipated infection of freedom from the Mideast’s Jasmine Revolutions. Keith Richburg of the Washington Post theorizes that this is an attempt to further lower the level of expression in the country. Ai Weiwei was arrested yesterday at the Beijing Airport on his way to Hong Kong, the New Yorker reported. Ai, China’s best known artist, a global star and designer of the Beijing Olympics stadium, the Bird’s Nest, had plans to possibly leave China to live in Germany, where he had set up a studio, according to Deutsche Welle. We cover threats to free speech here, especially when those threats intersects the Web. Sometimes we know the people involved, as is the case with Ai. Our founder, Richard MacManus, took part in an historic conversation a year ago in New York with Ai. According to Richard, the quality that defined Ai the most for him was his curiosity and humility. It was an honour to meet Ai Weiwei in person last year in NYC. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but he came across as a very warm-hearted and curious person. He wanted to know all about what I do, even though he’s achieved much more than I have. Then during the discussion on stage, it became clear that he’s both very brave and always keen to challenge the status quo. He probes for the truth in whatever he says or does. One of his assistants posted this on Ai’s Tumblr account. Related Posts curt hopkins 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… Tags:#art#Breaking#international#news#politics#web 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App
Categories: Local San Diego News Tags: Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, San Diego Police Department FacebookTwitter January 16, 2018 Steve Bosh Steve Bosh, Posted: January 16, 2018 Updated: 10:12 AM 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The process for selecting San Diego’s next police chief has come under fire by some community groups who say there needs to be more than an advisory role for the public in choosing a new chief.Eighteen community leaders and six other members from city boards and commissions make up the advisory group that’s interviewing the candidates.Their information will then go to the search firm hired to oversee the process.Critics of the process see a lack of transparency because the members of the advisory panel will remain secret and the public will not have a chance to question the three finalists for the job.This is about the public’s safety and two audits of the police department, one by the Justice Department and one by San Diego State, found flaws in how the department has handled internal problems, citizen complaints and problematic behavior such as racial profiling. Critics of the process want to confront the finalists on these concerns and they want to know the identity of the panel members.“If they are members of the community or not, and having that open process everybody can see and know that there’s real transparency, you know it leaves us in the dark, and therefore we can’t trust the process,” said Cornelius Bowser of Alliance San Diego.The Mayor’s Office said naming the panelists would open the process up to lobbying by special interest groups.There have been several community forums for public input and an online survey. But again, these are advisory. The process follows the city charter, the mayor appoints a chief with approval from the council. Councilmember Chris Cate said calling it a secret panel is unfortunate.“What I do appreciate though is that the city and the mayor’s office is gonna be holding community hearings to hear feedback, the online survey will allow people to provide feedback,” said Chris Cate back in October of last year.Becky Hunt of one of those critics.“I would like to see one that there is no more racial profiling. That bothers me,” Hunt said.Tony Thomas suggests the ultimate public input is a vote of the people.“There are certain things that they don’t let us vote on,” Thomas said.In his state of the city address, Mayor Faulconer spent a few minutes on the city’s new contract with the cops to keep the department competitive in recruiting and retaining officers.Mayor Faulconer didn’t mention the controversy over the search for a new chief except to say, “Our next police chief will help to keep our city one of the safest cities in the nation.”The process has three stages: The selection of the 24-panel members, reducing the candidates to three and the mayor interviewing the three finalists. The process outlined by the mayor’s office says they are in phase three. Search for San Diego Police Department’s next police chief
Yes Olympus’ OM-D E-M1X camera’s smaller than it looks Yes Post a comment Viewfinder (mag/ effective mag) Best Buy Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II EVF 2.4 million dots 100% coverage 1.48x – 1.65x/ 0.74x- 0.83x Olympus OM-D E-M1X Sensor effective resolution Mentioned Above Panasonic Lumix G9 Sensor shift 5 axis, IS Sync $1,197 20.2 oz., 574g 2.0x 324 area -3 to n/a EV 3 in./.7.5cm Multiangle tilting touch 1.04 million dots $1,199 870 shots (2 x 1,720mAh batteries) -6 – 20 EV ISO 64 (exp)/200 – ISO 25600 Amazon ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 – ISO 25600 Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Optical -2 – 20 EV Wi-Fi (802.11ac), Bluetooth 4.2 60 – 1/8000 sec. (1/32,000 with electronic shutter); bulb to 30 minutes; 1/250 sec. x-sync (Super FP to 1/8,000) Metering Fujifilm X-T3 23.2 oz. (est.), 658g (est.) 3 in./7.5cm Articulated touchscreen 1.04m dots H.264 MP4 UHD/60p @ 150Mbps ; 1080/60p, 50p, 25p, 24p; 1080/180fps n/a 19 oz. (est.), 539g (est.) 18fps (electronic shutter)10fps (mechanical shutter) (60fps with fixed AE/AF and electronic shutter) 49 raw/49 JPEG 5.7 x 5.8 x 3.0 in.; 144 x 147 x 75mm ISO 64 (exp)/200 – ISO 25600 Sensitivity range EVF 2.36 million dots 100% coverage 1.3x – 1.48x/ 0.65x- 0.74x Audio Yes IS 440 shots (1,720mAh) Yes Yes 29 min. H.264 QuickTime MOV C4K/24p @ 237Mbps; UHD/30p, 25p, 24p @ 102Mbps; 1080/120p Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) n/a 121-point all cross-type phase detection AF, 121-point contrast AF n/a Wireless connection 5.3 x 3.6 x 2.7 in.; 134 x 91 x 69mm Maximum best-quality recording time per clip AF sensitivity 2 x SDXC (1 x UHS-II) Comparative specifications 1/8,000 to 30 sec. (1/32,000 sec. with electronic shutter); bulb to 60 min; 1/250 sec. x-sync 380 shots (1,860mAh) 1,728 zone Panasonic Lumix G9 No 0 – 18 EV 20fps (with e-shutter); 9fps (with mechanical shutter) 600 JPEG/60 raw (With fixed focus and exposure, 60fps with e-shutter and 12fps with mechanical shutter) 18fps (electronic shutter) 10fps (mechanical shutter) (60fps with fixed AE/AF and electronic shutter) 2 x SDXC UHS-III, V90 ISO 80 (exp)/ISO 160 (exp)/200 – ISO 12800/51200 (exp) Shutter speed Best video Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth 20.4MP Live MOS 12-bit 2 x SDXC (1 x UHS-II) 3 in./7.5cm Articulated touchscreen 1.04m dots Yes 2.2-million-point phase-detection AF, 91-area contrast AF Yes $3,000 See It 35.2 oz. (est.), 997g (est) $1,197 $1,700; £1,500; AU$2,800 OLED EVF 3.7 million dots 100% coverage 1.66x/0.83x Stereo; mic input, headphone jack Stereo; mic input 200,000 Stereo, mic input, headphones Autofocus Display Yes 60 – 1/8,000 sec. (1/32,000 with electronic shutter); bulb to 30 minutes; 1/250 sec. x-sync (Super FP to 1/8,000) H.265 QuickTime MOV C4K/60p @400Mbps; H.264 QuickTime MOV UHD/30p, 25p, 24p at 400Mbps 18 Photos See it 29 min. Adorama 10 min. Wi-Fi (802.11ac) 256 zones Mfr. price (body only) 390 shots (1,260mAh) Shutter durability (actuations) Hot shoe 121-point cross-type phase detection AF, 121-point contrast AF Sensor shift 5 axis, IS Sync 20.4MP Live MOS 12-bit Flash Yes -4 – 18 EV Feb. 2019 Size (WHD) 2.0x Memory slots Included add-on Metering sensitivity Yes 2 x SDXC UHS-II U3 No CNET may get a commission from retail offers. $1,300; £1,500; AU$2,500 Clean HDMI out 20.3MP Live MOS 12-bit Focal-length multiplier Tags Yes $1,197 5.2 x 3.7 x 2.3 in.; 133 × 93 × 59mm 20 min. Yes 17.4 x 13mm 11fps 145 JPEG/42 raw (20fps with e-shutter) 17.3 x 13mm Body operating weight No Dual IS 2 (5 axis) OLPF OLED EVF 3.7m million dots 100% coverage 1.1x/0.75x $1,400; £1,350; AU$2,200 (est.) Panasonic Lumix G9 Sensor size 324 area Fujifilm Olympus Panasonic 5.4 x 3.8 x 3.6 in.; 137 x 97 x 92mm Wireless flash 400,000 Release date Cameras -2 – 20 EV Stereo; mic input, headphone jack Sept. 2018 Seven stops of stabilization is pretty impressive given that the best we’ve seen thus far is about 5.5. Depending upon what you shoot, that could mean the difference between having to tote a tripod or being able to leave it behind, or being able to shoot at a lower ISO than you’d otherwise have to.I’m a big fan of Olympus’ stabilization performance in general, but in the little time I had to try out the E-M1X I didn’t have much luck with it — the best I could do was handheld at 0.1 sec. (with the 12-100mm f4 lens), which is the best tend to get consistently with almost any system.Enlarge ImageShot in Handheld High Res Shot mode (1/80 sec., f4, ISO 320). Not much of a photo, but you can see the tiny distorted buildings in the raindrops. (It’s easier to see if you view the full-res photo.) Normally that’s not a big deal, but the sensors used in Micro Four Thirds cameras tend to be relatively low resolution. Lori Grunin/CNET The improved stabilization plus the dual processors facilitate a handheld High Res Shot mode in addition to the existing tripod-requiring mode; handheld combines 16 shots to produce a 50-megapixel image. While there doesn’t seem to be an impractical lower bound on the length of the exposure, since the camera uses the sensor shift mechanism to produce the image, the in-body stabilization isn’t effective here.Like most computational multishot features, the high-res mode takes a bit of time to process after the shot, despite the extra horsepower. Olympus added another multishot mode, Live ND Filter, which combines photos to simulate the effect of up to five stops of neutral-density light reduction, with the ability to preview the result. Enlarge ImageA more conventional shot in Handheld Hi Res Shot mode (1/80 sec., f4.5, ISO 1000). Download the full-resolution image. Lori Grunin/CNET The increase in processing power also enables the new, AI-driven Intelligent Subject Detection, which can recognize and track cars, motorcycles, planes and trains. You select which subject you’re shooting, and the AF locks on to a specific aspect — for instance, the helmet of the motorcyclist — for tracking. It selects and tracks it automatically in this mode, so you don’t have to initiate the object selection or tracking as you normally would. Combined with the Pro Capture mode, which buffers images before you press the shutter so you don’t miss a shot if your reaction time’s a little off, it can really come in handy.While the detection magic initially only works for those limited shooting situations, additional tracking modes can be added via firmware upgrades. Olympus plans to release regular feature updates via firmware for the camera, as it does for some of its other higher-end models.Physically fitOf course, the control layout’s been adapted to the bigger body along with the needs of pros. For instance, the drive modes are now more easily accessible on the left shoulder, there are joysticks for manipulating focus areas (plus more AF-area configuration options), and it now has a control-lock switch setting for which you can selectively choose what to lock (before it was all or nothing). On board, it’s got a GPS, barometer, compass and more. The smaller body feels quite comfortable to hold and is likely less fatiguing over the course of a day, and most of the controls are easily reachable. I’m not fond of the location of the metering, AF and drive modes — they’re kind of awkward to reach on the left shoulder and all the buttons feel similar — but I always hated the convention of that location for the mode controls in cameras like the Nikon D5. Clearly a personal preference issue. Most of the other buttons have unique-feeling surfaces so that it’s easy to distinguish among them without looking.The tray holds two batteries. Lori Grunin/CNET The dual SD card slots are now both UHS-II rather than just one of them, Wi-Fi’s been upped to 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) and the viewfinder offers a bit higher magnification, thanks to an additional lens optic in it. Plus, Olympus says the dust removal is 10 percent more efficient than previously, and the subject detection has also been improved. The bigger body means that Olympus can just toss in a second battery to solve the big problem plaguing mirrorless cameras — awful battery life caused by power-draining viewfinders and sensor-shift stabilization mechanisms — while still using the same battery as the E-M1 II’s. Olympus will include two in the box, along with two chargers, which is nice. The camera also jumps on the USB-C charging bandwagon, and the company claims it can charge both batteries in two hours.Otherwise, the M1X has most of the same components and specificatons as the M1 II; most notably, the same 20-megapixel sensor and on-chip autofocus system, metering system, continuous-shooting rates and viewfinder.Really, the only thing that gives me pause is the price. Paying so much for the small Four Thirds-size sensor incites a knee-jerk response when an APS-C Fujifilm X-T3 or M43 Panasonic Lumix G9 equipped with a vertical grip is about two-thirds the cost. The integrated grip does improve the weather resistance — the camera’s rated to IPX 1 even when you’re plugged into the ports, though Olympus claims the sealing goes way beyond that basic claim — and the M1X is faster, but it’s the nuances of speed and stabilization performance that will probably determine whether it’s worth the money for your particular needs.A mockup of the upcoming 150-400mm lens. Olympus Along with the camera, Olympus made a development announcement for a new 150-400mm f/4.5 TC1.25x IS Pro lens. It’s got a built-in teleconverter to stretch that out to 300-1,000mm, and with the upcoming MC-20 converter (expected this summer), that will jump to 600-2,000mm. Olympus didn’t provide any pricing or availability for either. Jan. 2018 225-area DFD Contrast AF 23.5 x 15.6mm Dec. 2016 3 in./7.5cm Articulated touchscreen 1.04m dots 1.5x Update Jan. 24, 4 p.m. PT: Added corrections and hands-on comments, embedded gallery.Read now: Galaxy S10 won’t save Samsung innovation, but foldable Galaxy X couldRead next: Galaxy X: Samsung’s foldable phone must learn from ZTE, FlexPai’s mistakes 26MP X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 14-bit 2.0x Yes See It Share your voice No Battery life (CIPA rating) Yes Yes Lori Grunin/CNET Olympus’ Micro Four Thirds OM-D E-M1X is the first pro camera i’ve picked up without bemoaning my lack of upper body strength. A sibling to the great E-M1 Mark II, it’s designed to attract professional action and wildlife photographers looking for a light(er)-weight alternative to an SLR or even an APS-C mirrorless. While it’s not that light at more than 2 pounds (just under a kilogram), it’s still relatively compact for what it is — and more importantly, the lenses are much lighter and smaller than the APS-C or full-frame equivalents.Olympus plans to ship the E-M1X by the end of February. It’s priced at $3,000 or AU$4,500 for the body, which converts to roughly £2,295. The OM-D E-M1X is essentially the E-M1 Mark II on steroids; physically bulked up with an integrated vertical grip that holds two batteries, two TruePic VIII image processors and a beefier gyro sensor that helps increase the stabilization for up to seven stops of compensation (7.5 with an OIS lens that supports Olympus’ Sync IS hybrid stabilization). 1/8,000 to 60 sec. (1/32,000 electronic); bulb to 60 minutes; 1/250 sec. x-sync Burst shooting 200,000 17.3 x 13mm Preview • The Panasonic Lumix G9 seeks the GH5’s cachet, but for stills See It 0 No Yes H.264 QuickTime MOV C4K/24p @ 237Mbps; UHD/30p, 25p, 24p @ 102Mbps; 1080/60p, 50p, 25p, 24p @ 202Mbps No
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s personal wealth declined by Rs. 6 crore to Rs. 60.99 crore in the financial year 2016, said data released by the government. It was Rs. 67.01 crore in FY2015. The other ministers are yet to file their financial assets for the year.Jaitley’s financial details included both his movable and immovable assets. The decline in wealth was mainly on account of reduction in his bank balance and number of vehicles owned.Movable AssetsThe minister’s liquidity, under three savings accounts at HDFC Bank and another at SBI, were reduced collectively by Rs. 2.52 crore to Rs.1 crore in 2016. Jaitley’s cash in hand too fell by Rs. 30 lakh to Rs. 65.29 lakh in the same fiscal. The total value of his four cars â€“ two Mercedes, a Toyota Fortuner and a Honda Accord â€“ in FY2016 was Rs. 1.93 crore; lesser by Rs. 86 lakh worth BMW he owned in 2015.His movable assets such as loans and advances stood Rs. 20 lakh more at Rs. 9.34 crore in FY2016. He had also given out more advances for properties worth Rs. 75.6 lakh this year (2016).Jaitley owned gold (5.6 kg), silver (15 kg) and diamonds, which were worth Rs. 1.35 crore, Rs. 5.54 lakh and Rs. 45 lakh, respectively. The quantity and their values have more or less remained the same since 2015.The minister held Rs. 9 crore and Rs. 8 crore as company deposits in Empro Oils and DCM Shriram, respectively, same as that declared in 2015. His public provident fund amount was Rs. 3 lakh more at Rs. 25.69 lakh in 2016. Immovable AssetsJaitley’s immovable assets, like his residential and commercial properties, had the same market valuation in both assessment years. He owned six residential properties (jointly with his wife) in Delhi, Gurgaon, Amritsar and Gandhinagar, apart from land in Haryana, and commercial properties across cities.
NASA’s aerospace engineer, Mark Moore, who has been working with the space agency for the past three decades, has been hired by Uber, the American transportation network company, to design a flying car.Also Read: Does NASA have a captured UFO hidden in California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory?Uber Elevate, the flying car initiative, will have Moore as its director, in the hope that he will be able to drive the initiative to create flying cars that will be available commercially.These “air taxis” will be small aircraft that will have the ability of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL).Moore carried out research on VTOL and came up with the idea of an electric aircraft named Puffin in 2010, a unique airplane that’s also a VTOL tailsitter. The Puffin was quite the internet sensation. The Puffin personal air vehicle concept.NASAPAV on YouTube”The animation of the Puffin on YouTube has gotten more 648,000 hits in a week,” Moore said, according to NASA.”Until the concept was mentioned in the media on Jan 19, the video had only been clicked on a couple of thousand times since it was uploaded to the NASAPAV channel last November,” Moore said further.Larry Page, the Google co-founder came across Moore’s research work on VTOL craft and he funded two companies, Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk, to turn this technology into reality, Bloomberg Businessweek stated in a report.Uber Technologies Inc, is one of Google’s competitors in this area. On October 27, 2016, Uber published a report on their ideas regarding transforming the prevailing way we transport ourselves. The company aims at curbing time wastage on daily commutes.”Every day, millions of hours are wasted on the road worldwide. Last year, the average San Francisco resident spent 230 hours commuting between work and home1 —that’s half a million hours of productivity lost every single day,” Uber stated in its white paper.Uber also hopes to solve the issue of noise pollution, stress, as well as other health issues. People traveling more than 16 kilometres (10 miles) a day were more prone to high-blood pressure, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Passengers will be transported to vertiports situated at a distance of 80 to 100 km (50 miles to 100 miles) from each other.UberAccording to Uber, the long-distance commuter will benefit from VTOL technology. Passengers will be transported to vertiports situated at a distance ranging from 50 miles to 100 miles (80 to 100 kilometers) of each other, Bloomberg Technology reported.According to Moore, various flying cars will come online within the next one to three years, with human pilots in the foreseeable future.
A worker arranges food packets inside a retail store in Kolkata.ReutersThe Finance Ministry has decided to hike import duties on 19 non-essential items that include imported ACs, refrigerators, washing machines and others in order to curb widening current account deficit (CAD) and a weakening rupee.The hike in import duties varies from five per cent to 25 per cent and changes in rates are effective from September 27 (Thursday). The aviation fuel attracted five per cent hike. The increase, however, is not expected to increase airfare.As per the revised import duty rate, footwear attracted five per cent hike. Hike imposed on AC, refrigerator, washing machine, household items of plastics (tableware and kitchenware), office stationery and others may see public spending a little money from now. Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley.ReutersIt needs to be noted that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while announcing measures to increase capital inflows and check rupee volatility earlier this month, had said that an extensive policy had been made to cut non-essential imports and boost exports.The move comes against the backdrop of the CAD touching 2.4 percent in the June quarter. The import duty hike is part of one of this policy measures.Following are the 19 items that are slightly expensive from Thursday.ItemItemPresent rate (%)Present rate (%)Revised rate (%)Revised rate (%)ItemAir conditionersPresent rate (%)10Revised rate (%)20ItemHousehold refrigeratorsPresent rate (%)10Revised rate (%)20ItemWashing machines less than 10 KgPresent rate (%)10Revised rate (%)20ItemCompressor for air conditioners and refrigeratorsPresent rate (%)7.5Revised rate (%)10ItemSpeakersPresent rate (%)10Revised rate (%)15ItemFootwearPresent rate (%)20Revised rate (%)25ItemRadial Car TyresPresent rate (%)10Revised rate (%)15ItemNon-industrial diamond (other than rough diamonds), i.e., cut and polished diamondPresent rate (%)5Revised rate (%)7.5ItemDiamonds-semi processed, half cut or brokenPresent rate (%)5Revised rate (%)7.5ItemLab-grown diamondsPresent rate (%)5Revised rate (%)7.5ItemCut and polished Colored gemstonePresent rate (%)5Revised rate (%)7.5ItemArticles of jewellery and parts thereof, of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metalPresent rate (%)15Revised rate (%)20ItemArticles of Goldsmith or silversmith wares and parts thereof of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metalPresent rate (%)15Revised rate (%)20ItemBath, shower bath, sink, wash basin, etc. of plasticsPresent rate (%)10Revised rate (%)15ItemArticles of plastics for conveyance and packing such as boxes, case, containers, bottles, insulated ware etc.Present rate (%)10Revised rate (%)15ItemTableware, kitchenware and other household items of plasticsPresent rate (%)10Revised rate (%)15Itemoffice stationery, fitting for furniture’s, decorative sheets, statuettes, beads, bangles etc.Present rate (%)10Revised rate (%)15ItemTrunks, Suitcase, Executive cases, Brief Cases, travel bags and other bags etc.Present rate (%)10Revised rate (%)15ItemAviation turbine fuelPresent rate (%)0Revised rate (%)5 Washing machines less than 10 Kg1020 Diamonds-semi processed, half cut or broken57.5 Tableware, kitchenware and other household items of plastics1015 Non-industrial diamond (other than rough diamonds), i.e., cut and polished diamond57.5 office stationery, fitting for furniture’s, decorative sheets, statuettes, beads, bangles etc.1015 Radial Car Tyres1015 Articles of Goldsmith or silversmith wares and parts thereof of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal1520 Trunks, Suitcase, Executive cases, Brief Cases, travel bags and other bags etc.1015 Speakers1015 Cut and polished Colored gemstone57.5 ItemPresent rate (%)Revised rate (%) Bath, shower bath, sink, wash basin, etc. of plastics1015 Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal1520 Air conditioners1020 Lab-grown diamonds57.5 Household refrigerators1020 Footwear2025 Compressor for air conditioners and refrigerators7.510 Articles of plastics for conveyance and packing such as boxes, case, containers, bottles, insulated ware etc.1015 Aviation turbine fuel05
Students sit for a public examination. Prothom Alo File PhotoQuestion paper leaks have become a regular phenomenon in the country’s public examinations of late, while many question papers are printed full of errors, leaving the nation’s education system in jeopardy.Until now, these acts-students copying from others’ scripts, teachers telling examinees the answers, or question papers going outside the exam centres-were done covertly. However, the situation has worsened and leaked question papers are now sold on social media or at the dormitories in the open.The number of public exams has increased in the country, which means the number of examinees has increased as well. About 7.5 million students are appearing for four public exams – PEC (Primary Education Completion), JSC (Junior School Certificate), SSC (Secondary School Certificate) and HSC (Higher Secondary Certificate).Numerous faults in the question papers and wholesale adoption of unfair means are creating social instability. However, the education ministry, the primary and mass education ministry, and the education boards-all are failing to take effective measures to address the problem.There was a rumour that the question paper of PEC’s Science exam held on Wednesday was also leaked.Md Sohrab Hossain, secretary at the education ministry’s Secondary and Higher Education Division, told Prothom Alo on Wednesday, “Leaking of question papers cannot be prevented in the current process. We have formed committees to check the feasibility of having separate question papers for different exam centres. We shall take steps once we get their report.”Question papers full of errorsThe Bangladesh and Global Studies question paper in the ongoing PEC exam was full of errors.One of the questions there read, ‘What would happen if no the Mujibnagar govt. was formed’.In another question, the ‘liberation war’ was written as ‘freedom fight’.There were several other mistakes, and these mostly happened in Sylhet and Narayanganj areas.Seeking anonymity, two school teachers of English version told Prothom Alo that this was not the only time an English question paper was full of errors. Rather, this happens very often as the translators are not that skilled.Another question read, ‘What was the consequence of the British policy ‘divide and rule’ here?’ and the options were racial discrimination, social discrimination, cultural discrimination and economic discrimination. Students got confused by these options. In most cases incompetent people are being recruited as teachers and education officers, which is worsening the situation further, former professor of Dhaka University’s Institute of Education and Research (IER), Siddiqur Rahman, told Prothom Alo.Qualified people who are morally upright should be appointed to such posts, he observed.The National Academy of Primary Education (NAPE) at Mymensingh prepares the question papers for the PEC exams. As many as eight sets of question papers are printed and used at different locations. It’s the education officers who translate these question papers.NAPE managing director Md Shah Alam acknowledged the mistakes.“It is true that it was a big mistake. But, they cannot see the question papers,” he said, adding that they would look into the issue and take necessary steps.The Home Science question paper of the recently concluded JSC exam was full of errors as well.Last year there were 11 errors in the Mathematics question paper of Jessore Board, five in the Physics question paper of Dhaka Board, seven in Bangla question paper of Rajshahi Board, and 11 in the Bangla and English versions of the Mathematics question paper of the Chittagong Board.At several places exams were held with two-year-old questions. This also happened in 2012 at Kurigram and Habiganj disctricts, and Dhaka’s Keraniganj.Tapan Kumar Sarkar, controller of examinations of the Dhaka education board, said, “We take a number of steps, including blacklisting the people responsible for the errors.”Leaks in days prior to examInvestigation reveals that question papers are not leaked only on the morning of the exam days, but in some instances, as many as two or three days before as well. Along with BG (Bangladesh Government) Press and exam centres, persons at the distribution level are also involved in the leaking.Previously, question papers of one or two subjects used to be leaked occasionally but since 2012 the trend has changed. Question papers of almost all the subjects are being leaked these days.A detective branch (DB) official of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (west) told Prothom Alo they detained Gazirchot AM High School and College principal Md Mozaffar Ahmed and eight others on 27 March for their alleged involvement in question paper leaking.The detainees informed police that being secretary of a centre of the last SSC examination, Mozaffar Ahmed, along with one of his office assistants, would go to collect question papers from Savar model police station early on exam day. The then Savar upazilla secondary education officer was one of the question paper distributors there.Principal Mozaffar Ahmed and his office assistant would collect the next exam’s question papers along with the questions of the respective day’s exam and spread that around. Police also found that they used their facebook IDs to disseminate sample questions the night before the exams.Police investigation also revealed that sometimes the same teachers are appointed to prepare question papers for several years. They share the questions with students of their schools and coaching centres in the name of giving suggestions.The investigation also revealed that there is a chance of leaking during the typing of questions at the BG press.Two high-ups of the education ministry and secondary and higher secondary education board of Dhaka acknowledged they changed the English question paper of the SSC exam on exam day as it was leaked the previous night.Earlier in 2014, English and Mathematics question papers of HSC exams were leaked the night before the exams. But from 2015 onwards, some teachers have been breaking the seals of packed question papers just 1-2 hours before the exams and sending out images of the questions. The same happened in the recently concluded JSC MCQ (multiple choice question) exam.“[People used to] leak question papers before too, but that was limited. It has increased recently. A good student gets frustrated when he sees that a bad one is doing well getting leaked questions. [As a result] they lose confidence as they grow up. Quality of education is being severely hampered,” said BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology) professor M Kaykobad.Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid, however, said on several occasions that some miscreants known as teachers are leaking questions on the exam days. They are under surveillance and being seized.Identical question might act as boomerangThe education ministry plans to print question papers at the centres on the day of a public exam, to curb the trend.Several officials of the education ministry, though, informed that the plan will not be implemented in the next SSC exam. BG press will print the question papers again.As eight boards will use identical question papers in the next SSC exam, officials of the education ministry suspect the situation will worsen. Questions leaked at one place will spread quickly across the country and create havoc.*This piece, originally published in the Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Nusrat Nowrin
Soldiers attend to wounded and casualties in the aftermath of a suicide bomb attack who ripped through a camp grouping former rebels and pro-government militia in troubled northern Mali left 40 people dead. Photo: AFPA suicide bombing Wednesday on a camp grouping former rebels and pro-government militia in troubled northern Mali left 40 people dead, UN and local sources told AFP.The president’s office ordered three days of national mourning following the attack, the worst in the country in recent years.A member of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, who asked not to be identified, initially put the death toll at 37 but hospital sources later said 40 people had been killed and 60 hurt.The camp is located in Gao, a former bastion for Malian rebels and Islamist fighters who together seized control of much of the country’s vast arid north in early 2012.It was set up under a 2015 peace deal signed between the government and various militia and rebel groups following a French-led international military intervention that was launched in 2013 but which is still in place.The attack occurred as former rebels in the Tuareg-led CMA movement and ex members of a pro-government militia prepared to go on a joint patrol, under the terms of the peace accord.Implementation of the peace accord has been piecemeal with insurgents still active across large parts of the region.“The suicide bomber came in a vehicle and blew himself up,” the MINUSMA source said.The attack took place at 8:40 am (local and GMT) as the former rival groups “were due to soon leave on a joint patrol,” the source added.The camp is close to Gao airport, a key transport hub, which was closed briefly in early December following a suicide attack blamed on jihadists.Fighting broke out following the attack between armed groups, leaving at least one person dead and a dozen injured.A car bomb destroyed prefabricated hangars used by the mission’s aircraft, MINUSMA said at the time, and damage to the installations and debris on the runway made the airport temporarily unusable.
Bangladesh Awami general secretary Obaidul Quader. File PhotoAwami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Saturday said BNP has nothing other than complaining to foreigners after its failure in both the election and its movement, reports UNB.He also described the remarks of BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir over the national election as ‘delirium of a failed politician’.Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, came up with the remarks while talking to reporters before a joint meeting of Awami League presidium members and the party’s different associate bodies at its Bangabandhu Avenue office.”They (BNP) couldn’t wage a movement over the last 10 years. We thank them as they joined the national election. But they utterly failed in the election, too,” he said.Quader further said, “What can be their (BNP’s) resort now as they have failed in its movement and the election? Now they’re complaining to foreigners and it’s their old habit.”He said the Awami League was more united during the 11th parliamentary election than in the past. “We achieved a massive victory as we could show a stronger unity through excellent coordination under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.”The Awami League general secretary said their president Sheikh Hasina’s strong stance against evil and communal forces also helped the party get an unforgettable victory in the election.The minister said their party will celebrate the victory through a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on 19 January.At the beginning of the meeting, one minute silence was observed paying homage to party former secretary general Syed Ashraful Islam.Four days after being elected an MP of the 11th parliament, Awami League presidium member and public administration minister Syed Ashraful Islam died of lung cancer at a hospital in Thailand on Thursday night at the age of 67.