German firm wins major SA solar contract

first_img3 December 2013A German company has landed its biggest ever solar contract – thanks to South Africa’s renewable energy programme for independent power producers.Juwi AG, which has its headquarters in Worrstadt, will provide engineering, procurement and construction services for an 86-megawatt (MW) solar park in Prieska in South Africa’s sun-drenched Northern Cape province, the company said in a statement last week.Juwi will be working with Sonnedix, an independent solar power producer based in Amsterdam, which landed the contract as one of six solar projects awarded in the third round of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPP).Sonnedix’s South African partners include Mulilo Renewable Energy and Ixowave Women in Power.Known as the Mulilo Sonnedix Prieska PV solar park, it will be larger than any PV plant currently on line on the African continent, and will be Juwi’s fifth project in South Africa.“The project … represents an investment of more than R1.2-billion,” Olivier Renon, South Africa country manager of Sonnedix, told news website PV-Tech last month. He said construction was expected to begin in the second half of 2014, and the park should start generating electricity to the South African grid by the end of 2015.Under the government’s Integrated Resource Plan, a 20-year projection on electricity supply and demand, about 42% of electricity generated in South Africa will have to come from renewable resources. The Department of Energy’s REIPPP, introduced in August 2011, will help meet this target.The programme has helped investment grow from “a few hundred million dollars” to US$5.7-billion last year, according to the Renewables 2013 Global Status Report published in July by REN21, the global renewable energy policy network.SAinfo reporter, Juwi and PV-Techlast_img read more

Madiba Music: Your 67-minute Mandela Day Mixtape

first_imgIn celebration of Mandela Day, here is an essential list of the best Madiba-inspired musical moments. Spend your 67 minutes doing something to honour the man and his life with this soundtrack of great local and international artists paying tribute to South Africa’s greatest citizen. Nelson Mandela dances on stage in October, 1995, with supporters in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Image: Reuters)• South African music• Nelson Mandela – a timeline • Watch: Salif Keita and Black Mambazo call for harmony in Africa• Remembering Mandela, one year on• Jazz trumpets the notes of freedom CD AndersonNelson Mandela called music the “great blessing”, and believed that it has the power to “unite us all to sing with one voice”, to give us all the opportunity to both dream and dance.Madiba inspired a diverse collection of musicians, from ska punkers to classical composers, world-beating rock stars and jazz greats, and they all responded with some amazing tributes.In celebration of Mandela Day, here is an essential list of the best Madiba musical moments, including some of his personal favourites, as well as songs that helped define his place in history and our hearts.While you spend 67 minutes doing something to honour the great man and his life, take a moment to listen to the songs below and join the celebration.Hugh Masekela – Bring Him Back Home One of South Africa’s jazz greats, Masekela spent much of his life in exile, and that longing to return home inspired this somber but powerful lament to both the African diaspora and Mandela himself, the guiding light for those returning home to a new South Africa. Masekela had the honour of playing the song live for Madiba on his release from prison in 1990.Simple Minds – Mandela DayA song celebrating an imprisoned African leader by a Scottish rock band makes for an interesting dichotomy, but it is an appropriate one: Simple Minds’ singer Jim Kerr was one of the more outspoken proponents of the UK’s anti-apartheid movement. This celebratory song is, naturally, the unofficial anthem of July 18th, but a more lasting legacy was its part in bringing the story of Mandela and apartheid South Africa to a global audience during the 1980s.Yvonne Chaka Chaka – Umqombothi According to Chaka Chaka, this song – an upbeat sing-along about traditional African beer – was Mandela’s favourite song of all time. With its bold African groove, catchy chorus and addictive rhythm, it is the perfect fit for our famous Dancing President.Abdullah Ibrahim – MannenbergThe quintessential sound of South Africa, instantly recognised by all its citizens by the rolling piano theme and dynamic tempo. Named after the vibrant District Six area scarred by forced removals during apartheid, the song’s uplifting coda also acts as a perfect motif for a returning hero to free his people.Brenda Fassie – Black PresidentMa Brrr was one of Madiba’s favourite singers, and she celebrated his presidency in 1994 with this impassioned pledge of allegiance to his leadership and his dream for a free South Africa. The song inspired a generation and made her one of the country’s greatest musical icons.Vusi Mahlasela – When You Come BackThe Voice of Mamelodi has enjoyed a long career as a musical storyteller at home and around the world. In 1992, he greeted Madiba and other returning heroes with the “ringing of bells and the beating of drums” in this joyful harmony that quickly become his signature song. The song, much like Mandela, calls for humanity to “give something to the world and not just take from it.”The Specials AKA – Free Nelson MandelaWithout doubt the most famous song about Madiba, this rollicking ska protest song inspired the youth-led anti-apartheid movement across the world during the 1980s. Today, the song’s lyrics still have resonance, highlighting the ideals of Nelson Mandela to overcome poverty through positive action.Johnny Clegg – Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)The live performance of this song says it all: a powerful performer with a powerful song, joined on stage by the most powerful icon in South African history. Asimbonanga is a joyous refrain to all South Africans to be inspired by the life and work of Madiba and use it every day to continue his legacy.U2 – Ordinary LoveWorld citizen Bono has always had a strong connection to Madiba and his ideals, so it was appropriate that U2 was asked to write the theme song for the “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” film in 2013. The song, released a week before Madiba died, is a touching final tribute to the great man and his life’s work.Some other great Madiba-inspired tracks to soundtrack your 67 minutes this Mandela Day: Zahara featuring Mzwakhe Mbuli – Mandela Youssou N’dour – Nelson MandelaSipho Hotstix Mabuse – NelsonKoos Kombuis – Madiba BayWilhelm Kaiser-Lindemann – Hommage a Nelson M for Cello and PercussionMiles Davis – Amandlalast_img read more

Review: The HTC One M8 Is Android’s Cream Of The Crop

first_imgIf you’ve ever used a Moto X, you know you can check the time on the Active Display screen just by tilting the phone or picking it up off a table. The Moto X knows when you’re holding it and the gesture-based interaction made it the smartest of the smartphones when it came out last year. Other smartphones have similarly employed a swipe-from-offscreen interaction (Samsung Galaxy, BlackBerry 10, iPhone with iOS 7) model that allows users can access certain functions from behind a locked screen with a simple swiping.These instant-access interactions now come to the HTC One M8, with a swipe down from the top to open voice control, a swipe up from bottom to bring you to your last-used app, a swipe left to visit the home screen and a swipe right to BlinkFeed, HTC’s content feed screen. Like LG devices, if you double tap the screen from an off position (power on, screen off), it will take you to the locked home screen.Gesture control like this is not exactly a new concept; if anything, this is proves that HTC can take cool concepts from other phones and seamlessly incorporate them to create a unique user experience. The HTC One M8’s Dot View cases allow for easy gesture-specific controls while the front cover is closed. If you swipe down on the cover, HTC One M8’s voice system activates, and you can tell your phone who you want to call. If you double tap the case, you can see the time and weather at a glance. If you are a fan of cases (which I am not), the Dot View case is a cool conversation starter that employs an imaginative gesture-based user interface.Whining: Sense, Zoe, BlinkFeed, M8 Tags:#Android#Google#HTC#HTC One M8#HTC One M8 review#HTC Sense#Reviews Every so often, a product comes along and takes the best of almost everything that came before it and packages those things into a beautiful and functional device that’s hard not to admire. The HTC One M8 is such a product.Almost every smartphone comes with its fair share of warts, and the HTC One M8 is no different in that regard. But the M8 has learned from user behaviors and the competitive landscape, which amounts to an excellent device that stands atop the Android heap and next to (if not above) Apple’s iPhone or any Nokia Lumia available.A Company In FluxFor the second year in a row, HTC has built what will likely be one of the year’s best reviewed smartphones (if the M8 can withstand the competition over the rest of 2014), but the company’s revenue and market share remain flat.See also: How The HTC One M8 Smartphone Camera Performs In The Real WorldThe reason for HTC’s stagnation is open for debate. HTC will claim it hasn’t been able to effectively market its phones. The manufacturer recently just hired the Samsung marketer responsible for the “Next Big Thing” campaign but HTC cannot compete with Apple and Samsung in marketing dollars. Another argument is that HTC has been damaged by cellular operators that lust after exclusive agreements to carry a device. Maybe the decline has come from production and shipping delays of its last two flagship devices, or patent battles with the likes of Apple.In reality, HTC’s failures are a combination of all of the above. The question continually asked by pundits is whether the newest HTC flagship can pull the company out of the mire. At ReadWrite, we tend to believe in quality products, so the answer is a definite “maybe.” It’s hard to be positive knowing all the extenuating factors: Motorola made a great smartphone with the Moto X and hemorrhaged money until Google had to sell it to Lenovo. Nokia has done some fine work with the Lumia series and hemorrhaged money until it sold to Microsoft. If HTC is to fail with its own flagship smartphone, it represents a pox on all of the houses in the smartphone manufacturing world. A pox on Apple and Samsung for creating an anti-competitive market. A pox on HTC for failing to achieve the success that its design chops deserve. A pox on Google for allowing the maker of some of the best smartphones on the market to whither and die. So where does the HTC One M8 shine and where does it need to improve? Let’s break it down.Shining: Industrial Design & PerformanceAs long as the manufacturer is alive, HTC should take home the industrial design award basically every year.With all due respect to Apple and certain Nokia devices, the One series has been phenomenally designed over its three generations. The One M8 is a compact and beautiful phone with a full metal casing and no hard edges. Everything that was good about the original HTC One has been refined in the One M8, including the forward facing speakers, the slightly larger screen, the weight and the grip. From an aesthetic point of view, the One M8 is gorgeous.  dan rowinski Let’s just get one thing out of the way. The name “One M8” is just all kinds of terrible. The HTC One was originally codenamed the “M7” but the moniker was dropped before the phone was released. The “M8” moniker was the development codename for the device that somehow found its way into the actual product name. Good luck with that, HTC marketing.When it comes to skins—the unique user interfaces manufacturers add to Android smartphones—beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You may prefer the interface of the Samsung Galaxy S5 or one of LG’s G series smartphones. Some users (usually Android “purists”) prefer the Google Experience of Nexus devices. HTC employs what its calls HTC Sense. The sixth iteration of Sense is what is shipped with the One M8 and, yes, it does feature some improvements over the last version of the launcher. The gesture-based controls and contextual computing is technically part of Sense and those features definitely add to the positive experience and feature parity of the phone. At the same time, HTC—like Samsung—loves to push its marginal “features” that basically amount to a small mountain of frustrating and annoying features. For instance, Zoe is HTC’s dual-still-photo-plus-video-feature that is confusing to use and difficult to share. Zoe is like adding all of the motion and “best shot” features of other smartphone cameras (notably, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5) into one setting within the camera app. The HTC One M8 camera is particularly good outside of Zoe, so I’d imagine most people won’t need to use this setting. To note, these types of frailties are of the nitpicking variety. Even the Google Experience Nexus devices have the Google Now home screen you can’t really get rid of if you want. The Galaxy S5 has a magazine-like homescreen pre-loaded onto the device. These device-specific feeds are popular on Android products right now. Similar less-than-stellar user experiences exist in just about any device you pick up, from the iPhone to any Windows Phone to the Nexus 5, Moto X, LG G2, Sony Xperia, or Galaxy S5.Overall, the HTC One M8 packages excellent industrial design with a more refined user experience that its predecessor which makes for an excellent Android-based smartphone. If you like Android, you are probably going to dig the HTC One M8. It’s the best of Android and the best of HTC together in one sterling device. Related Posts Sense 6 also employs the next version of HTC’s “BlinkFeed,” a feature that takes an entire homescreen to act as a social feed and newsreader.BlinkFeed in Sense 6 is actually much improved from that found in the last version of Sense shipped with the HTC One in 2013, allowing users to add more customized feeds and publications. But the same basic problem exists with BlinkFeed in Sense 6 as it did in Sense 5: You cannot delete it and maintain an additional customizable home screen. You can either have BlinkFeed or you don’t. You can’t get rid of it to add an extra screen and HTC Sense 6 only allows for five homescreens (unlike Google Experience Android which will let users add as many as they like).You can delete BlinkFeed, as Phil Nickinson explains in the video from Android Central below, but note that once you get rid of BlinkFeed, you lose the ability to access that panel unless you want the feed back.center_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The camera on the HTC One M8 is a little hit-and-miss, but overall it is a marked improvement over the HTC One camera that introduced the concept of “ultrapixels” into the popular lexicon, confusing the heck out of smartphone buyers everywhere. (See our full review of the HTC One M8’s camera here.)Gestures & The Pixel CaseThe HTC One M8 is highly similar to its predecessor, but it also comes with a few new features. Gesture control and screen tapping should be familiar to Android users that have used either a Moto X or LG G2, while the chic pixel case—known as Dot View—is a curiosity all on its own.  The performance of the One M8 is none too shabby. The One M8 employs the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor and it shows up in just about everything that can be done on the phone. From taking pictures (more on the camera below) to switching between CPU-intensive apps, the One M8 is on top of the “superphone” hardware spectrum that essentially puts a powerful PC in your pocket. Given that the One M8’s release comes in the first half of 2014, it will likely be eclipsed in the hardware department by the end of the year, but right now it is fast and responsive and has the ability to run just about any app you might want … and then some.The One M8 is also successful in two areas consumers greatly care about: The screen, and the battery life. The HTC One M8’s 5-inch, 440 ppi display is notably crisper than last year’s model and comparative to other Android flagships within the past 12 months, including the Samsung Galaxy S5. And its battery (2,600 mAh) is only slightly bigger than last year’s (2,300 mAh) design, but the performance is much improved and also comes with a built-in battery saver function that Samsung Galaxy device owners may be familiar with.Let me give you an example of the HTC One M8’s battery life. This past weekend, I traveled with the One M8 while driving down to Washington, D.C., from Boston. Starting from a full charge, the One M8 went to the zoo and snapped many pictures (especially of Bao Bao the giant panda) that were automatically uploaded to Google+, found me directions to get home, played Spotify for about five hours and then helped me navigate around traffic on the George Washington Bridge.In all, the One M8 withstood a solid nine hours of non-stop activity, and still had about 9% of its life left. A quick refresh with an external charger and the battery jumped back up to 26% and played Spotify for another four hours to get me back to Boston. The HTC One could not have performed this feat (though the Galaxy S5 may have). Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Planning for your Child’s Special Needs: Applying Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

first_img4.) Encouraging resilience: Teach children about emotions – have them point out how they feel perhaps by using a smiley face rating scale or flash cards.Supplement the pointing by verbal prompts such as: “When my face looks like this I am feeling…” or “Today I feel like…” Written by: Lakshmi Mahadevan, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Extension Specialist – Special Populations, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.Major General Paul D Eaton – retired of the United States army states that “the future of our kids will be greatly enriched and enhanced if we infuse their earliest years with sensitive and thoughtful skills that will help them develop into a healthy, connected, and constructive generation of adults.”.The sensitive and thoughtful skills Major Eaton is referring to constitute social-emotional learning.  Social-emotional learning (SEL), as defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”Children with disabilities often find themselves struggling emotionally. Specifically, they tend not to be accepted by their peers, and they display shortcomings in the way they interact with peers and adults. Further, they have difficulty reading nonverbal and other subtle social cues.Some children with more severe cognitive impairments may lack age-appropriate social understanding of complex interactions. Further, students whose language is impaired may have appropriate understanding of social situations but may have difficulty communicating effectively with others.It is important therefore to teach children with disabilities the skills to recognize emotions, experience empathy, pursue goals and effective navigate interpersonal relationships (CASEL, 2012).Parents/guardians can encourage social-emotional learning in their homes by:1.) Being deliberate: Use progressive supports –Help your child identify a sibling’s emotions or of someone they see on television. – “Julie seems sad.”Ask leading questions – “Why do you think she is sad?”; “how can we make her smile?”Suggest solutions – “Maybe you can ask to play with her.” 2.) Using Scaffolding: ReferencesSupporting the Emotional Needs of Kids with DisabilitiesRaising Caring, Confident, Capable Children Take the time to debrief and teach SEL. Demonstrate and describe:Sharing (cooking and sharing dinnertime with family members, passing on the tv remote for someone else’s favorite program etc.)Kindness (helping a family member find something, organize for school next day)Friendship (visiting with friends at home, having a game night with friends)Cooperation (willing to change schedule to accommodate a family member’s needs)Teamwork (sharing chores, cleaning up together etc.)Sharing your feelings (“I feel upset right now”, “this makes me so happy”) 3.) Modeling SEL at home: 5.) Reviewing the school day: What was one cool thing you learned today?What is one question you didn’t get to ask today that you would like answered?What was your most favorite activity today, why?What was one thing you did with someone else today that you really enjoyed?What was something you learned today that can help you at home?What do you think we will learn next? 6.) Validating expression of child’s emotions: When emotions are expressed, do ask questions (for e.g. “what’s wrong?”; “You seem so happy today, I like it, what’s up?”)When emotions are expressed, don’t:Invalidate – “stop crying”Minimize – make the child laugh for examplePunish – impose time-out etc. Reading stories that evoke emotions:“What do you think Johnny is feeling right now?“What can Johnny do to make himself feel better?”“What did you learn from the story about how Johnny felt during…” Building feelings of competency and mastery – “that is the best work, so well done!”; “Look how far you have come…”Encouraging optimism – “I know our amusement park trip got canceled because of rain but you know we have a lot fun indoors everyday and we will postpone the park to another day!”Teaching children to reframe – “I am sorry our picnic got canceled, how can we make a picnic indoors?”Disarming with charm – “You seem really upset, would you like to talk about it, get a glass of water, put your head down for a bit?”Modeling resiliency – “ I feel bad that I got sick and we couldn’t go on our vacation last week, but I am happy to be well again and we now have a whole new plan for next time.”last_img read more

Illegal cross-border drug smuggling on the rise in Manipur

first_imgIllegal cross-border smuggling of drugs from neighbouring Myanmar to Manipur is witnessing a rapid rise despite measures being undertaken by law enforcers to check the menace, police said.A high ranking police officer told PTI that most of the drugs smuggled from Myanmar are heroin, brown sugar and amphetamine tablets, known as “WY tablets” in the common parlance.“There is no doubt that illegal cross-border drug smuggling has increased in recent years and Manipur has become a favourable transit route for transporting them to other parts of the country and beyond,” the officer said. Manipur shares a 398 km border with Myanmar. According to reports available with PTI, 12,37,993 amphetamine tablets— that come in unlabelled packets— were seized by the Narcotics and Affairs of Borders (NAB) personnel and other law enforcers in 2019 so far, up from 12,15,273 tablet seizures in 2018 and 1,80,007 in 2017. Heroin seizures have also spiked, with 9 kg seized till July, 2019. The corresponding figures for 2018 and 2017 stood at 22 kg and 7 kg respectively. The officer said, the number of alleged drug peddlers have also increased manifold due to the lucrative financial prospects of the business.“While 355 drug peddlers, including 79 women, were arrested in 2017, the number of arrests rose to 479, including 95 women, in 2018 and 203 till July, 2019,” he said. The officer said the border drug racket is complicated and foreign nationals are associated with it. In February this year, a 35-year-old Myanmarese national was detained at the Indo-Myanmar border town of Moreh in Manipur for possessing 143 small packets of brown sugar with a total worth of Rs 3.6 crore in the international market, another police officer said. Brown sugar too has made inroads in the State for local abuse. While a little more than 5 kg of brown sugar had been recovered in 2017, 19 kg of the contraband was seized in 2018 and more than 115 kg of the drug seized till July 2019. Not just these smuggled drugs, poppy cultivation in Manipur’s hill districts of Chandel and Ukhrul bordering Myanmar, too is proving a headache to law enforcers. Sources revealed that opium grown in these districts is purchased by dealers from Myanmar, who then export them back to Manipur after chemically processing them into heroin. Poppy cultivation is banned in Manipur under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. Nevertheless, several farmers in the hill areas have discarded rice cultivation and shifted to poppy cultivation for better financial returns, a police officer said. To check poppy cultivation, personnel of the state police, the NAB and the Assam Rifles periodically destroy these plantations, the officer said. Some 2210 acres of poppy cultivation were destroyed in 2017. The corresponding figures for 2018 and till July, 2019 stood at 1506 acres and 446 acres respectively.last_img read more

A founder of WestJet and JetBlue commits to order 60 A220s for

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: JetBlue, WestJet Share By: The Canadian Press FARNBOROUGH – One of the founders of WestJet Airlines Ltd. and JetBlue Airways Corp. has committed to buy 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft for a new U.S. airline he’s launching.A memorandum of understanding for the aircraft which was developed by Bombardier Inc. was announced at the Farnborough Air Show.The deal is worth US$5.4 billion at list prices, but airlines typically receive large discounts.Deliveries of the former C Series jets are slated to begin in 2021, a year after the planes are expected to start coming off a new assembly line in Mobile, Ala.The new airline is backed by a group of investors led by David Neeleman, who is also an investor in TAP in Portugal and controlling shareholder in Azul airlines in Brazil.The commitment is the second since Airbus took control of the aircraft program. Last week, JetBlue ordered 60 of the same aircraft for delivery starting in 2020 with the option for another 60 starting in 2025. A founder of WestJet and JetBlue commits to order 60 A220s for new U.S. airline Tuesday, July 17, 2018 last_img read more