Govt urged to deal swiftly with Clifton oil pollution

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNearly six months after the government announced it would spend $10 million on oil spill remediation efforts, petrochemical pollution remains a serious threat to the sensitive marine environment throughout The Bahamas, but particularly at Clifton Bay, environmentalists say.Vanessa Haley-Benjamin, CEO of fast-growing social and environmental movement Save The Bays (STB), said recent complaints from divers visiting the Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Gardens, who emerged from the water covered in oil, prove that whatever actions have been taken to date have been far from sufficient.“We appreciate the government’s recognition that oil pollution in Clifton Bay is an issue that needs attention,” she said. “Unfortunately, whatever has been done so far has failed to produce timely results.“Details of the remediation plan were not released to the public, so it is difficult to understand why, considering the reported financial commitment, a tangible solution has yet to be found.”The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) is responsible for the sculpture garden, and executive director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert warned of the devastating impact this pollution is having on living coral reefs, fish and other marine organisms in the area.Haley-Benjamin said: “We wholeheartedly support and second BREEF’s call for increased protection of the reef systems around western New Providence, which are critically important resources, ecologically and commercially speaking, and which have been under severe stress from industrial pollution for years.”The area is vital to the local dive tourism sector, she said, as well as for recreational and commercial fishermen, with the sculpture garden in particular attracting interest from avid divers around the world.Designed as a fusion of art, education, and marine conservation, the garden was created to provide a habitat for fish, corals and other marine organisms, divert snorkelers and divers away from natural reefs and thus providing space for restoration, and serve as an outdoor classroom for environmental education and citizen science.“Quite aside from the dire environmental consequences, the ongoing pollution is threatening tourism revenue and doing untold damage to the country’s reputation abroad,” Haley-Benjamin said. “STB is calling on the government to make this issue a priority and give it the attention it deserves.”According to Dr. Craig Dahlgren, a marine biologist and senior research scientist who studied coral reef ecology in The Bahamas and wider Caribbean for more than 20 years, pollution has already had a devastating effect on Clifton Bay.“In surveys of coral reefs around New Providence conducted in 2011, sites near Clifton were among the lowest in terms of live coral cover, and had seen some of the greatest declines in live coral from previous surveys of reefs off southwest New Providence conducted in 2009,” he said.At some sites, the researched showed this decline to have been as high as 43% in just two years.In addition to coastal pollution, increased temperatures and overfishing have also had an impact. However, Dahlgren said, the sites closest to likely pollution sources were among those with the lowest live coral cover.“It is clear that significant changes are happening to our coral reef resources,” Haley-Benjamin said. “It is imperative that we act now to prevent continued degradation.“We and other concerned environmental groups stand ready to assist the government in identifying the origins of the oil spills and enhancing remediation efforts to accelerate meaningful results.“To the extent that the $10 million plan announced in January may be working, it is clearly not working fast enough.” Related Items:clifton bay, oil pollution, Save The Bays Recommended for you Musical Legend KB’s Latest Save The Bays Release ‘Das What Real Bahamians Do’ Tackles the Silent Tough One, the PSA Environmentalist warns of a third possible Rubis leak Government ‘jumped the gun’ over Rubis leak risks Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

Google IO amps up accessibility with Live Caption other projects

first_img2:37 Now playing: Watch this: • Jul 10 • How to get Android 10 right now See All Review • Google Home is better than ever, but you probably shouldn’t buy it Project DivaDigital assistants like Google Home let you listen to a favorite song or movie with just a simple voice command. But for people with disabilities who may not speak, this technology is inaccessible.  Lorenzo Caggioni, a strategic dloud engineer at Google based in Milan, decided to change that. Lorenzo was inspired by his brother Giovanni, who was born with congenital cataracts, Down syndrome and West syndrome and who is nonverbal. Giovanni loves music and movies, and like many other 21-year-olds likes using the latest gadgets and technology. But because of his disability, he’s unable to give the “OK Google” command to activate his Android phone or Google Home device. In an effort to give his brother more independence and autonomy, Lorenzo and some colleagues in the Milan Google office set up Project Diva to create a device that would trigger commands to the Google Assistant without using his voice. They created a button that plugs into a phone, laptop or tablet using a wired headphone jack that can then be connected via Bluetooth to access a Google Home device. Now by simply touching a button with his hand, Giovanni can listen to music on the same devices and services just like his friends and family. Lorenzo said that the device he created for Giovanni is just the start. The team has plans to attach RFID tags to objects associated with a command that will allow people who don’t speak to access other things via Google Assistant.screen-shot-2019-05-07-at-1-08-22-pmThis drawing illustrates how the technology created in Project Diva can be used to provide alternative inputs to a device powered by the voice-activated Google Assistant.  Google Live Relay This project helps people who are deaf or hard of hearing to make and receive phone calls. Using on on-device speech recognition and text-to-speech conversion, the software allows the phone to listen and speak on the users’ behalf while they type. Because the responses are instant and use predictive writing suggestions, the typing is fast enough to hold a synchronous phone call. But Live Relay isn’t just for people who are unable to hear or speak. It can also be used by people who may be in a meeting or on the subway and can’t take a call, but they’re able to type instead. Google is also looking at integrating real-time translation capability, so that you could potentially call anyone in the world and communicate regardless of language barriers.”An important way we drive our technology forward is building products that work better for all of us,” Pichai said in his keynote. Mentioned Above Google Home See it How To • Make Google Home get your groceries Mobile See It Aug 12 • Google will ask you to migrate your Nest account soon: Here’s what you need to know Live CaptionLive Caption is enabled by a breakthrough that allows for machine-learning processing power on devices. This means all the information is processed on the device and doesn’t require data to be sent over a wireless network to the cloud. This makes the transcription more secure and faster, because data isn’t leaving the phone. The feature works even if your volume is turned down or muted. But the transcription can’t be saved. It’s only on the screen while the content is playing, so you can’t save it to review it later. While the feature was designed with the deaf community in mind, Pichai noted that the feature can benefit everyone in circumstances where you can’t turn up the volume on a video. For example, you can watch a video while on a noisy subway or during a meeting. Project Euphonia This project uses artificial intelligence to train computers to understand impaired speech patterns. Most of us take for granted that when we speak, others will understand us. But for millions of people affected by neurological conditions such as stroke, ALS, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injuries or Parkinson’s disease, trying to communicate and not being understood can be extremely difficult and frustrating. Google is working on a fix that can train computers and mobile phones to better understand people with impaired speech. The company has partnered with the nonprofit organizations ALS Therapy Development Institute and ALS Residence Initiative to record the voices of people who have ALS. Google’s software takes these recorded voice samples and turns them into a spectrogram, or a visual representation of the sound. A computer then uses common transcribed spectrograms to train the system to better recognize this less common type of speech. Currently, the AI algorithms only work for English speakers and only for impairments typically associated with ALS. But Google hopes the research can be applied to larger groups of people and to different speech impairments.The company is also training personalized AI algorithms to detect sounds or gestures, which can then take actions, such as generating spoken commands to Google Home or sending text messages. This may be particularly helpful to people who cannot speak at all. See It CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Jul 24 • Nest Hub Max: Google’s 10-inch Assistant smart display costs $230, debuts Sept. 9 Post a comment Preview • For your consideration: Google Home seeks employment as your family’s Rosie the robotcenter_img Aug 26 • Android Q has a name: Android 10. Here’s how you’ll use it Live Caption adds subtitles to any video or audio clip Google I/O 2019 Crutchfield News • Black Mirror season 5 has three new trailers to stress you out today Walmart Bluetooth Google Google is using AI technology to help people with speech impairments more easily communicate. Google Google is using advances in AI and voice recognition to design new products and apps intended to make life easier for people with disabilities. It highlighted some of that work Tuesday at its annual I/O developer conference.During his keynote address, Google CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated the new Live Caption feature, enabled by Android Q, which transcribes in real time any video or audio playing on your phone. Live Caption can work in the background while you watch YouTube, listen to podcasts or video chat via Skype. It will even work with audio and video you record. Pichai also highlighted three new efforts that address the accessibility challenges for people with disabilities. Project Euphonia uses AI to help people with speech impairments; Live Relay allows people who are deaf or hard of hearing to make phone calls; and Project Diva makes voice-activated assistants more accessible to people who don’t speak.Google has been working on accessibility issues for some time now. For example, its Maps team has local guides who scout out places with ramps and entrances for people in wheelchairs. Last year at the I/O developer conference, Google announced the Android Lookout app, which helps the visually impaired by giving spoken clues about the objects, text and people around them. “Building for everyone means ensuring that everyone can access our products,” Pichai said during the keynote. “We believe technology can help us be more inclusive, and AI is providing us with new tools to dramatically improve the experience for people with disabilities.”Here’s a closer look at Live Caption and the other accessibility projects announced at I/O. Google I/O 2019 reading • Google I/O amps up accessibility with Live Caption, other projects Share your voice Tags 0 $69 Google Home $99 $79last_img read more

Lactalis contaminated baby milk at consumers hands

first_imgActing on instructions from local agent of French dairy giant Lactalis and the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA), local distributors of the company’s baby milk formula are scrambling to recall units sold in the Bangladesh market as a precaution against salmonella contamination, reports news agency UNB.According to a BFSA source who spoke on condition of anonymity, and JS International, the local agent of Lactalis, French health authorities concluded 620 batches of the company’s products had to be recalled and banned for consumption and export, equating to almost 7,000 tonnes of goods.Fourteen importing countries including Bangladesh were alerted in this regard.Lactalis believes the contamination happened at one of its drying towers in north-west France in early May this year. As a precaution, it has decided to recall all products manufactured at the site since February 15, 2017 and has shut down the relevant facilities for cleaning and disinfection.On being alerted by the International Network of Food Safety Authorities (INFOSAN), BFSA relayed the information to the Chittagong Port Authority, Customs and the National Revenue Board, one of the earliest agencies encountered by imported goods for tax purposes, and asked them to prevent milk formula produced by Lactalis under the brand names Baby Care-1, Baby Care-2, Baby Care-3, Baby Care MF, Milumel, Picot and Celia, from entering the country.Two godowns used by the local agent to store the products have also been sealed, said Jawadul Haque, partner of JS International.Upon confirmation of the risk by INFOSAN and Lactalis early last month, BFSA on December 14 made a public announcement through different newspapers and ordered the local distributors to recall the product from the market.According to sources, since last July, four batches of milk powder produced by Lactalis were prevented from gaining entry into the country’s market, but another four made it through.Some 24-25,000 thousand cartons (each carton containing 24 units) have thus been imported through these four batches, of which half was distributed in the market, and out of that 30 percent made it into the hands of consumers, claimed JS International.That means 3600 cartons, or 86,400 units of the potentially harmful baby formula have already been sold.Health authorities in France have said 26 infants in the country came down with salmonella in early December after consuming Lactalis products, according to the BBC. They are said to have since recovered.Salmonella symptoms include severe diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting. The illness – caused by intestinal bacteria from farm animals – is dangerous for the very young and elderly because of the risk of dehydration.No case of salmonella poisoning has been reported as yet in Bangladesh, according to JS International. Nevertheless, distributors are recalling the products on their own and sending them back to the local agent.Stating the presence of salmonella bacteria in baby formula as “severely harmful for public health”, scientist and member of BFSA Manjur Morshed Ahmed told UNB that consumers, parents and children doctors have to be advised to avoid the products.As Bangladesh is one of the largest markets for baby formula, BFSA published the public statement to stop the importation and consumption of the products following the Food Safety Act, 2013.last_img read more

Xerox CEO and Chairman Encouraged Howards 2400 Grads to Build a Better

first_imgMorgan Freeman beams as he receives his honorary degree. (Photo Rob Roberts)Ursula M. Burns, chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation, delivered the 2015 keynote commencement address to Howard University students, faculty, staff and guests. Sharing insights from her groundbreaking career, Burns highlighted education as the key to her success as the first African-American female CEO to head a Fortune 500 company.Noting the changing landscape of America and opportunities for young African-Americans, Burns urged the 2015 graduating class to use their education to pursue their dreams, lead, and make a difference in their communities.“All of you will immerse yourselves in a world full of opportunity and challenge. What is amazing to me is that you are entering an America that my generation could barely imagine,” Burns said. “…honor the memory of those upon whose shoulders you stand today and help build a better tomorrow.”In his speech, Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick reflected on current events and the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray. He called on graduates to uphold Howard University’s long history of community leadership.“As Howard University graduates, we challenge you to continue our legacy of being a voice for the voiceless and advocates for the underrepresented and underserved, particularly during a time when social change is the only answer,” President Frederick said.At the ceremony, Howard University awarded honorary degrees to award-winning actor and director Morgan Freeman, Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum, as well as philanthropists and Howard University graduates Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown.The Howard University class of 2015 has more than 2,400 graduates, including undergraduate, graduate, professional and certification students.  This year’s graduates come from 43 states in the U.S., including the District of Columbia. Internationally, the class represents 32 countries across five continents.To view the full commencement address, please visit: read more

The joy of weaving

first_imgA five- day exhibition was organised by Raj Group, a manufacturer and exporter of weaved materials, celebrating their 75th anniversary. The exhibition that started on 4 July at Stainless Gallery and displayed 18 pieces comprising of art installations, carpets, photographs and wall art. The show also featured photographs by Ajit Bhadoriya and Brahm Maira which narrated the journey of the group since the time the photographers got associated with it. The exhibition also gave a glimpse of its traditions and legacy. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘We are extremely delighted to announce our 75 glorious years of weaving traditions this year. The works displayed are specially made for the exhibition. Designed and handcrafted within our factory premises at Panipat (Haryana), materials like wool, jute, fabric and Poly Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) have been used to make the art works’, says Ajay Nath, Managing Partner, Raj Group. Established in 1939, the group is well known for manufacturing carpets like Panja weaving and displaying an array of carpets and rugs amongst other such products.last_img read more