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Gov’t Tightens Grip on Foreign Funding

first_imgThe government last Monday announced that all international and local non-governmental organizations (NGOS) receiving foreign funds would now be disclosing details of such funding, including the source, purpose and how the funds were spent.Making the announcement during her Annual Message to Legislature, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the decision was in line with her government’s “compliance and regulatory environment” policy.Interestingly, people may consider the policy as government suppression of NGOs,’ but President Sirleaf clarified that it is intended to strengthen the NGOs by encouraging them to be transparent and accountable in their stewardship.“Last year, I announced several policy measures on the operations of NGOs that are intended under a compliance and regulatory environment, to strengthen them for proper transparency and accountability of the resources they receive and the results that they produce,” she emphasized.  Instructing the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to enforce her administration’s policy, President Sirleaf declared, “The Ministry is to ensure implementation of those measures by finalizing the NGO’s policy guidelines and re-registration process to be announced by the end of the first half of 2015.”She said the new plan will transition NGOs’ registration from a manual computer based system to an online registration process.According to her, it would enable the international and local non-governmental organizations properly to  account for their operations at the local level where they work, allowing local government to have real time information on which NGOs is doing what and where.“This is consistent with our new drive to de-concentrate and decentralize the delivery of services and to foster greater accountability to local government and citizens’ structure by the NGOs operating at the local level.At the same time, she applauded them for what she described as their “speed and effectiveness during the Ebola outbreak.”“NGOs operating in Liberia continue to be very strong partners in our development work. The speed and effectiveness of their response during the Ebola outbreak made tremendous contribution to our national effort,” she said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Datatec to acquire German IT company

first_img15 July 2011JSE-listed global ICT group Datatec is to acquire entrada Kommunikations, a German-based IT security products distributor and service provider, for an undisclosed sum.The acquisition will be carried out by Datatec’s subsidiary, Westcon, and will be settled entirely in cash from Westcon’s resources.The acquisition enhances Westcon’s German presence and, with entrada’s Swiss operations, allows Westcon to expand into a new geography to better service its pan-European customers’ needs.“The acquisition of the second largest security distributor in Germany allows Westcon to significantly penetrate Europe’s biggest economy and gives its European Security division a wider geographic footprint to better service its customers’ requirements,” Datatec CEO Jens Montanana said in a statement this week.Portfolio of solutionsFounded in 1996, entrada is the second-largest value added distributor of security products in Germany – with a portfolio of solutions that includes Trend Micro, McAfee, Juniper and Riverbed. Since its founding, entrada has grown to achieve annualised revenues of over €63-million.It will now form part of Westcon’s European Security operations.“Entrada’s complementary vendor portfolio further strengthens Westcon’s security offering in Europe, bringing significant possibilities for cross selling into both customer bases,” Montanana said.The transaction is still subject to cartel clearance.Earlier this month, another Datatec subsidiary Logicalis acquired Netarx, a provider of managed services, data centres and IT solutions to customers in the mid-west USA, for about US$34-million.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Robo.to: They’re Watching the Social Web in Real Time – But Will It Pay?

first_imgParticle, the Justin Timberlake-funded microapp development shop, is dedicated to creating “massively small” products that provide simple, creative solutions to real problems.When we first reviewed their Robo.to application, we weren’t sure whether to be confused or delighted – but we knew there was more to the app than met the eye. Not long ago, we had a telephone chat with Particle CEO Rey Flemings; he revealed that Robo.to is to become the channel-surfer of the real-time web. He also told us what Particle is rolling out next. Read on for insights on the microapp universe – including monetization – and a few surprises, as well.On Watching the StatusphereRobo.to is an app that allows users to create soundless, 4-second video clips. These can be used as video avatars, sent as social-web calling cards, attached to all manner of links or geographical data, or simply updated with a line of text as one would update any other status-based message service. Of course, the videos and text can be automatically forwarded to the usual lineup of social networks.What the newly launched TV mode allows for is topic-based surfing of all Robo.to content.“It allows you to watch hashtags,” Flemings explained. “As bits of content bubble up, you can follow that along with the video posts. Users go into TV mode through search or by clicking on a topic. People tend to lost about half an hour when trying this out, because it’s fascinating to watch what people are doing.”For example, here’s what it might look like to watch the hashtag #squee on Robo.to’s TV mode:Flemings did say that the clips will remain soundless. “One of the things we’re trying to do is making it impossible to create bad content. Without parameters, people make all kinds of stuff… What we are doing on the audio front is to create more environmental sound – themeing, music, designing an experience.”On Being Massively Small“Our mission,” said Flemings, “is to reengage with the persistent snags of day-to-day Web use. We approach fairly contained, verticalized problems, apply a creative approach, and launch a massively small, feature-ful product to solve it.”So, what problems are the Particle apps designed to solve?Crusher addresses the problem of how to have a cool party. Pop is a tool for cool-hunting. Robo.to, which began as Smirk, attempts to solve the issue of the static user avatar.And there’s a new app in the works: Uooo. The name, said Flemings, “is based on the sound you make when you see something you ought to be capturing.” Like Robo.to, Uooo will present short-form video for the social web. Unlike Robo.to, Uooo will encourage users to point their cameras at the world around them rather than simply recording themselves. It will launch initially as a Robo.to feature.Particle is trying to perfect the most concise expressions of the social web, a concept that’s been ragingly popular ever since Twitter made tiny sexy and bloated networks began hemorrhaging users. The apps are small and lightweight enough for mobile browsers. The designs are compact. Even the product names are tiny and – dare we say it? – intentionally cute. But can these single-function, “massively small” products generate the massively large user base to generate revenue, and how do Flemings et al. intend to capitalize on their microapp suite?On Finding Users and Making MoneyBack at Robo.to’s launch, we wrote:Then there are the apps that, while nifty, don’t have the power to become a continent or an island because they can’t consistently draw users back. They become digital jetsam, and adoption declines after initial rounds of publicity are over.We’re not damning Robo.to to this particular fate, but we want to know: Why will we return to Robo.to and continue to upload content? What will remind us? Is returning even necessary? Has the Particle team succeeded in creating an app so tiny it’s virtually invisible?And without consistent user traffic prompted by that sticky, infectious property the best new apps have (hel-lo, Twitter!), how will Particle have the leverage to generate revenue?In the weeks between Robo.to’s rather quiet launch and our phone conversation with Flemings, we were told that the app’s user base had doubled and hundreds of video clips were being uploaded each hour.What Flemings could not share was specifics on exactly how many users the site has or how his team plans to monetize the app suite.“Robo.to is a new product,” he said. “It is a social serivce, the key focus is providing utulity and benefit and growing a community of users. Particle has products with much nearer term revenue propositions… Social products unlock their revenue potential at scale. There are certainly very strong ideas, but we’re not publicly talking about those.”Flemings’ purposely vague response left us disconcerted. We’ve been promised “revolutionary” approaches to social media monetization in the past, only to be confronted with freemium models, white-labeled apps, and endless streams of ads, none of which strike us as remotely innovative. Whatever these “strong ideas” happen to be, and however many users Particle needs to acheive their revenue-generating critical mass, we hope the results leave both users and Mr. Timberlake satisfied. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Microapp#start center_img jolie odell Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts last_img read more

Kashmir separatist leaders detained

first_imgShujaat case suspect a tough nut to crack PDP and BJP: A Bollywood style break-up, says Omar Abdullah Several separatist leaders in Kashmir, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and Yasin Malik, were detained on Thursday to prevent their Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) from holding a protest march and observing a general strike against the killing of journalist Shujaat Bukhari The detentions come amid concerns in several quarters that the Union government was preparing the State administration to carry out an aggressive crackdown in the Valley.Also Read One must not form the government just to wield power: Ambika Soni  While Mr. Malik was detained from his Maisuma residence after the Fajr prayers and taken to a police station, Mr. Geelani, the Mirwaiz and Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai were put under house arrest.Political vendetta, says the Mirwaiz“This is nothing but political vendetta. The Hurriyat strongly protests the re-starting of cordon and search operations,” said the Mirwaiz.Governor N.N. Vohra called a meeting of the leaders of all political parties, including the State units of the national parties, on Friday evening “to discuss the situation in the State.”BJP national vice president Avinash Rai Khanna called on Mr. Vohra and discussed “steps required for promoting the welfare of the people in all the three regions.”Also Read  “We have a seen a significant change in the local responses. We have had families celebrating killed militants, including a mother firing in the air to celebrate her son’s death. To me the mood is quite like that of the early 90s,” warned a veteran Kashmir observer within the system. He pointed out that for each local youth killed more would join the militant ranks.‘131 militants are locals’“We are no more dealing with anonymous foreign terrorists. We are dealing with local boys,” he said. Of the 144 active militants in South Kashmir, 131 are locals, according to official data. Only 13 are foreigners. And between January 1 and May 31, almost 90 locals have taken up arms.Several sources in the security establishment say they are expecting a massive jump in violence. “Unless the Centre changes the present tactics, the Valley will go up in flames,” a recently retired intelligence officer said.  Many political appointees in the previous PDP-BJP dispensation, including Advocate General Jehangeer Ganai, resigned from their posts on Thursday.A day after the Central government appointed two key officials involved in anti-naxal operations — Chhattisgarh Additional Chief Secretary (Home) BVR Subrahmanyam and retired IPS officer K. Vijay Kumar who was until recently adviser in the Home Ministry — Mr. Vohra said his priority would be to restore peace and tranquillity on the streets of Kashmir, admitting that the youth of Kashmir are annoyed.However, many within the security establishment believe that the new appointments to steer the Governor’s rule are clear indications of a tougher, more security-oriented approach. They warn that the present localised militancy could produce an unexpected backlash.Also Readlast_img read more

Fate of Ballast Water Convention to Be Decided at MEPC 71

first_imgzoom IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee 71, due to gather in London in July, may well have the last chance to ensure that the long-delayed Ballast Water Convention is implemented when ships undergo their special surveys.This would ultimately decide whether the Convention’s requirements are finally fulfilled across the many thousands of ships which require ballast water treatment system installations.“It is a couple of minutes to midnight for this Convention,” Andrew Marshall, Coldharbour Chief Executive, said, adding that the outcome of this next MEPC meeting “will surely decide its fate.”The Coldharbour CEO reports that some flag states are now actively marketing a decoupling of the special survey, the time when practically all ballast water treatment system retrofit installations will take place, from renewal of the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPPC).This is the point in time that IMO set as the trigger for system installations because the IOPPC renewal normally takes place during a ship’s special survey. Decoupling of the two events “is a cynical means of enabling ship owners to buy more time,” Marshall believes, which flies in the face of the IMO’s intentions.The Committee will discuss a two-year postponement of the Convention’s entry into force, which could prove helpful for the industry in several ways, Marshall said, however, he insists that any postponement must come as part of a package which sees shipboard treatment system installations timed to coincide with renewal of the IOPPC at the next special survey.“If a two-year postponement is agreed at MEPC 71, and the decoupling process is not stopped, the IMO’s most-delayed Convention will have no impact on many ships for possibly another seven years from today,” Marshall informed.“I urge delegates at MEPC 71 to take a strong line on these issues which will ultimately seal the fate of the Ballast Water Convention. As an industry, we must have an unambiguous timeline and a chance to see through the IMO’s best intentions to completion,” he concluded.last_img read more